The Dodgers are in one of the most heated battles since claiming the NL West division last season, in attempting to acquire Masahiro Tanaka from Japan.
The Dodgers are in competition with several other teams, but remain the front runner with the New York Yankees as suitors for Tanaka.
The contract for Tanaka could go as high as $100 million, although the Dodgers remain somewhat tight lipped about the ongoing negotiations, don’t count them out for a moment.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said that the two sides speak daily, and are committed to possibly bringing in the Japanese phenom. The Dodgers vowed several weeks ago that they would not be outbid, and even though they aren’t going as heavy for Tanaka like they did with Hyun Jin Ryu, they have their target locked in.
The Dodgers have the money and flexibility to sign Tanaka, however one gem could be in their favor, is Tanaka’s wife who wishes to stay on the West Coast to further her music career.
If Tanaka joined the Dodgers, they would have one of the most feared and solid rotations in baseball. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Hyun Jin Ryu, along with a solid relief rotation, could be dominate for years to come.
Whatever team signs Tanaka has to complete his physical by 5PM EST on Jan 25th.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (15-9) returned to dominate form on Saturday night against the San Diego Padres, who had no offense nor answer for Kershaw.
AJ Ellis and Yasiel Puig stepped up with huge home runs, that elevated the Dodgers over the Padres 4-0 in front of a near sellout crowd.
“I felt good, so I guess that’s a bonus. A little bit erratic at first with the fastball but A.J. did a real good job of making me use all my pitches on both sides of the plate,” said Kershaw.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pushed back a previous start that allowed Kershaw rest for the upcoming playoffs.
The Dodgers offense clicked in the fourth inning when AJ Ellis blasted a two run home run off Padres rookie starter Burch Smith for the 2-0 lead.
Kershaw remained untouchable as he sat down 14 out of 15 batters.
Yasiel Puig launched a two run home run all the way to La Mesa that made it 4-0 in the seventh inning.
Since Greg Maddox achieved this milestone from 1993-95, Kershaw is trying to become the first pitcher to lead the majors in ERA for three straight seasons.
Ronald Belisario and Brian Wilson pitched flawless innings for the Dodgers in the win.
“San Diego is a tough team. They battle me. They put good at-bats on me and always seem to get my pitch count up. I felt good to finally get a win against these guys,” said Kershaw.
Burch Smith (1-2) gave up two and three hits in six innings of work in the loss.
The last Dodger pitcher to finish below 2.00 ERA was Sandy Koufax with 1.73 ERA in 1966 according to Stats LLC.
Outfielder Matt Kemp returned at the right time knocking the ball all over Chase Field as the Dodgers crushed the Diamondbacks 9-3.
Kemp went a perfect 4 for 4, with three RBI’s and two double on Tuesday night.
Zack Greinke (15-3) pitched brilliantly and allowed two runs on six hits in six innings of work.
“It feels good to just be able to be here with the team and be able to go out there and run out with them and compete with them and do all that, ” Kemp said. “I missed baseball, man.”
Kemp started off hot, when he doubled deep to left that scored Hanley Ramirez and Mark Ellis for the 2-0 lead in the first inning.
After solo home runs from Juan Uribe and Adrian Gonzalez, Kemp continued to dominate as he singled to center that scored Ellis for the 8-0 lead in the fourth inning.
The best bright spot for the Diamondbacks came in the sixth inning when Aaron Hill knocked out a solo home run, and still trailed 8-2.
Michael Young contributed with an RBI triple in the eight inning that scored Ramirez.
Patrick Corbin (14-7) gave up six runs on seven hits in two innings of work in the loss. This was his shortest outing of the season.
Kemp had been sidelined with an injury since July 21st with an severe ankle sprain. Kemp worked his way back into the lineup, rehabbing extensively to prepare himself for the playoffs.
“He swung the bat good,” said Don Mattingly. “I thought he looked good in the outfield, too, just turning, a couple of plays he ended up backpedaling and stuff. It looked like he was pretty easy out there.”
The Dodgers magic number to clinch the NL West is 2 games, and Zack Greinke spoke about the importance of winning the division.
“It’s nice…but it’s not really the special part. Something special would be winning in the playoffs or the World Series.”
The Dodgers ended a four game losing streak, and look to clinch the division on Wednesday as they send Stephen Fife to the mound in place of Clayton Kershaw. Dodgers have decided to give Kershaw some much needed time off to keep him rested for the playoffs.
The journeyman known as Scott Van Slyke crushed a two run homer in the eleventh inning, as the Dodgers captured the 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
Van Slyke has been in between the majors and minor leagues throughout the season, but never shied away from the big moments. Van Slyke was doused with a Gatorade shower by teammates when being interview by Dodgers pre game host Courtney Jones.
“It’s been my goal the whole year just to contribute,” said Van Slyke. “I was just looking for something to hit hard, it was a good changeup down.”
After Yasiel Puig hit into a fielders choice ground out, that ultimately scored Mark Ellis the Dodgers led 2-0 in the second inning.
Arizona charged back in the fourth inning behind a Miguel Montero RBI single, and trailed the Dodgers 2-1.
Dodgers starter Edinson Volquez gave up a two run home run to Didi Gregorius that also scored Gerrado Parra for the 3-2 lead in the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning Andre Ethier connected on a double deep to right field, that scored Hanley Ramirez and tied the game 3-3.
After Van Slyke knocked out the game winning home run, the Dodgers magic number to clinch the NL West dropped to 6 games.
“Everybody is excited about it,” Van Slyke said. “We’re on a roll and we want to continue winning games. I think our attitude will continue to be the same after we clinch.”
Chris Withrow (3-0) picked up the victory with four strike outs in 1 1/3 innings pitched on the night.
Josh Collmenter (4-3) obtained the loss when he gave up home run to Van Slyke. Collmenter also gave up three hits in 1 1/3 innings pitched.
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu will forego his Friday night start against the Cincinnati Reds, with severe back stiffness.
Chris Capuano is expected to start in Ryu‘s place according Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Ryu slid into home plate last Friday night against the Padres while scoring a run. He threw in a bullpen session before Tuesday’s game, and still experienced tightness along with limited use of motion.
“We’re just being cautious, but no matter what the separation was in the standings right now, he wouldn’t be pitching Friday. We would make sure he was right before he went out there,” said Mattingly.
Ryu currently has a 3.02 ERA with a 13-5 record. The injury is not deemed to be serious nor long term, and expects Ryu to pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
Yasiel Puig took an early exit during the Rockies verses Dodgers game on Monday afternoon, due to a right knee strain.
Puig had battled knee soreness for the past couple of weeks, aggravated it as he slid into third base after an Adrian Gonzalez single.
Puig played like a warrior after getting hit by a pitch in the back, he also scored in the sixth inning on sacrifice fly. Both Puig and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly don’t expect him to be out long, and there is no MRI scheduled.
“I’m going to get treatment tonight and we’ll see how it feels Wednesday,” Puig said through an interpreter.
Puig will be listed as day to day, however with the win on Monday, the Dodgers extended their lead to 11.5 games. They will take the necessary precautions to ensure that Puig is healthy for the playoffs. He’s currently hitting .351 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI’s on the season thus far.
Greinke also stole a base, which gave him two stolen bases on the season. He became the first Dodger pitcher to do that since Orel Hershiser.
Greinke (14-3) gave up two hits, struck out seven and walked two in the victory.
“It’s been good the last nine, 10 starts. Location’s been as good as it’s been for a long stretch,” Greinke said about his performance.
The Dodgers tied the score 1-1 on a Mark Ellis RBI single to left that scored Carl Crawford in the third inning.
Puig stepped up big time in the sixth inning, when he crushed a solo home run deep to center off of Dale Thayer for the 2-1 lead. Puig’s 14th home run on the season in just 79 games played in the major leagues.
“Of course I felt good I hit a home run on Cuban Heritage Day,” Puig said.
Kenley Jansen struck out two in the ninth and captured his 24th save with 100 career strike outs.
“Jansen wants to be that guy. We’re seeing a guy who is more and more confident,” said manager Don Mattingly.
Padres starter Tyson Ross was sensational as he struck out ten, gave up one run in five inning of work.
“I wish I could have pitched deeper into the game, but they were making me work and having some patient at-bats,” Ross said. “I was just trying to execute in a couple of tough situations.”
Reliever Dale Thayer (2-5) gave up one hit and one run in 1 2/3 innings in the loss.
Infielder Michael Young acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade over the weekend, will join the Dodgers in Colorado on Monday against the Rockies.