Dodgers pitching was on full display last week, with highlight performances showcasing different generations of franchise arms.
Atop the heap in Dodgers pitching lore are Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax, with the current left-handed legend passing the retired one this week in all-time strikeouts. Thursday was the latest in a string of consistent starts for the now veteran Kershaw, who has pitched at least six innings in all 19 outings this season.
The current dominant left-hander is Hyun-jin Ryu, this year’s Cy Young Award favorite who avenged his only bad start of the season with six scoreless frames at the pitcher nightmare factory that is Coors Field.
We saw a new face in Dustin May, the 21-year-old full of velocity, movement, and red hair, make his major league debut in front of 20 family members and friends.
But the thrust of the week came from the Dodgers’ budding young pitching star, Walker Buehler, who was ruthlessly efficient on Saturday against the Padres. He pitched his second complete game of the season, this time with enough run support that the game ended with him on the mound rather than in the dugout.
Buehler struck out 15 on Saturday, six weeks after he struck out 16 on the same mound. Only two Dodgers have multiple games of 15+ strikeouts in a season — Koufax (three times, in 1959, 1960, and 1962), and Buehler.
“He was keeping guys off balance, and was overpowering,” said catcher Will Smith, the fellow 24-year-old former first-round pick.
Saturday’s gem didn’t only vault Buehler into elite status in Dodgers history, but in major league history as well. In both his 16-strikeout and 15-strikeout games this year Buehler didn’t walk anybody. Only three pitchers in baseball history have two games of 15+ strikeouts and no walks in a season, with Buehler joining Dwight Gooden (1984) and Pedro Martinez (1999 and 2000).
“It’s hard to imagine having more command than he did tonight,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Just being ahead all night, he was as dominant as you could be.”
The Dodgers won two more series against NL West foes, taking five out of seven games against the Rockies and Padres. Los Angeles has owned its division in 2019, going 34-17 against the NL West, including 19-7 at home.
Batter of the week
A.J. Pollock missed a few games with groin tightness, but still packed a week’s worth of production into his limited duty. Pollock hit .429 and tied for the team lead in both home runs (2) and runs scored (6).
Honorable mention goes to one of the new guys. Kristopher Negrón has played every infield and outfield position in his career, and he opened his Dodgers tenure by starting games at four different positions (second, shortstop, center field, and third base) while putting up an 1.162 OPS and getting a hit in all five games. Negrón homered twice, surpassing his total from his previous 87 MLB games dating back to the 2015 season.
Pitcher of the week
We already had one Walker Buehler Game this year, but Saturday night gave us another. Buehler whiffed 15 Padres and walked none, giving him 86 strikeouts against only four walks in 10 home starts this season.
Honorable mention goes to Hyun-jin Ryu with his six scoreless innings, and at Coors Field to boot, on Wednesday. It was Ryu’s seventh scoreless start of the season, tied for the most in baseball. Ryu’s week was so good that he even lowered his ERA without pitching. On Thursday, MLB made an official scoring change, changing his two runs allowed on July 14 at Fenway Park from earned to unearned. That lowered his seasonal ERA from 1.66 to 1.53, and made his July ERA a minuscule 0.55. Ryu this year has had entire months allowing two (July) and three (May) earned runs.
Week 19 results
40 runs scored (5.71 per game)
32 runs allowed (4.57 per game)
.601 pythagorean record
Season to date
620 runs scored (5.44 per game)
448 runs allowed (3.93 per game)
.644 pythagorean record (73-41)
Fastest to 100 HR with Dodgers
Fastest to 100: Cody Bellinger’s home run in the fourth inning Friday against San Diego starter Eric Lauer was the 100th of his career. At 24 years, 20 days old, Bellinger is the youngest Dodger to reach 100 home runs at the start of a career, beating Adrian Beltre (24 years, 365 days). Bellinger also reached 100 at the start of a career faster than any Dodger, in 401 games, beating Mike Piazza’s 422.
Counting any Dodgers — including players who joined the team mid-career, for instance — Bellinger reached 100 home runs in the second-fewest games, behind only Gary Sheffield’s 399 games. Bellinger is the third player in 2019 to reach 100 career home runs with the Dodgers, joining Joc Pederson (May 14) and Justin Turner (July 26).
Welcome aboard: Dustin May on Friday was the seventh Dodger this season to make his major league debut. He entered the sixth inning against San Diego with a 2-1 lead, but three consecutive one-out hits tied the game, then May surrendered a two-out, two-run double to Josh Naylor that ended his night. May was hung with the loss, but still left quite an impression by averaging 95.6 mph and hitting 98.4 mph with incredible movement on his sinker. “That just shows how special he is,” manager Dave Roberts said.
May, who had 20 family members and friends in the stands for his debut, enjoyed the moment. “It’s one of those dreams come true. As a kid thinking about it, it’s surreal,” he said. “It’s an exciting feeling, and it was one of the best days of my life.”
With Ross Stripling still sidelined, May will make at least one more start, on Wednesday against the Cardinals.
Shades of Troncoso: Tony Gonsolin closed out the win aover th Rockies on Tuesday, notching the Dodgers’ first four-inning save since Kenta Maeda on June 9, 2017. Gonsolin retired his first 11 batters faced before three straight hits added a run to his ledger, but in finishing the win was the first Dodger with a four-inning save in Denver since Ramon Troncoso on Apr. 25, 2009. Tuesday was just the seventh four-inning save in Coors Field history, and the first since Jason Hammel on Sept. 11, 2011.
Scoreless at Coors: The Dodgers won their series finale in Denver on Wednesday afternoon thanks to a five-run outburst, including a tiebreaking three-run shot from Will Smith and the second home run in as many days by new utility man Kristopher Negrón. Wednesday was memorable for being just the third game in the 25-year history of Coors Field that was scoreless after eight innings, per Elias. The previous two games were both 1-0 Rockies wins — Sept. 14, 2008 over the Dodgers in 10 innings, and June 11, 2008 over the Giants.
Left in the rear view mirror: Clayton Kershaw whiffed five Padres on Thursday night to win his 10th game of the season. His final strikeout, getting Austin Hedges swinging in the sixth inning, was Kershaw’s 2,397th career strikeout, passing fellow legendary southpaw Sandy Koufax for third place on the Dodgers franchise list. Kershaw only trails the two Hall of Fame Dons — Sutton (2,696) and Drysdale (2,486).
It’s time for ‘I do’: About an hour before game time on Saturday, a couple got married at Dodger Stadium, with the ceremony in the right field pavilion. Can’t say I ever saw that before.
They literally walked down the aisle pic.twitter.com/cJmkkgXojm— Jesus Quiñonez (@JesusQuinonezTV) August 4, 2019
Monday: Kristopher Negrón was activated as Kiké Hernandez was placed on the inured list with a sprained left hand, and the bullpen swapped right-handers with Jaime Schultz optioned to Triple-A and Josh Sborz called up from Oklahoma City.
Monday: Zac Rosscup, who was designated for assignment on July 15 and sent outright to Triple-A five days later, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash considerations. If the left-hander reaches the majors with St. Louis, that will be four major league teams for Rosscup this season.
Tuesday: Tony Gonsolin was recalled for a second time this season, to pitch on Tuesday behind a Julio Urias start, filling the Ross Stripling-sized hole in the rotation. Sborz was sent down to Oklahoma City one day after he was called up.
Wednesday: Dylan Floro was activated from the injured list after missing 10 games with neck inflammation, and Gonsolin was optioned to Triple-A.
Wednesday: Jedd Gyorko was acquired from the Cardinals along with international bonus slot space in exchange for Tony Cingrani and minor league pitcher Jeffry Abreu. St. Louis sent roughly $2.9 million in the trade to help cover the remainder of Gyorko’s $13 million salary this year.
Wednesday: The lone bullpen addition at the trade deadline was groundballing southpaw Adam Kolarek, acquired from the Rays for minor league outfielder Nico Hulsizer, who hit 20 home runs between both Class-A levels this season.
Wednesday: Brock Stewart was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays. The right-hander pitched parts of four seasons with the Dodgers but posted a 7.34 ERA in 76 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.
Wednesday: Rocky Gale, who was sent outright to the minors last week and removed from the 40-man roster, was traded to the Rays for cash considerations.
Thursday: Kolarek was activated, and to make room on the active roster Caleb Ferguson was optioned to Triple-A.
Friday: Dustin May was recalled to make his major league debut, starting Friday night against San Diego, with Dylan Floro optioned to Oklahoma City. “I just don’t think his slider is as consistent as it needs to be,” Roberts said Friday.
Friday: Hyun-jin Ryu woke up the day after his start with a sore neck, and as a precaution he was placed on the injured list. Ryu said he didn’t expect to be out long, and Roberts said Ryu might only miss one start. The earliest Ryu could be activated is Sunday, Aug. 11. Gonsolin was called back up to take Ryu’s active roster spot, and will start Monday.
Monday: Rockies 9, Dodgers 1
Tuesday: Dodgers 9, Rockies 4
Wednesday: Dodgers 5, Rockies 1
Thursday: Dodgers 8, Padres 2
Friday: Padres 5, Dodgers 2
Saturday: Dodgers 4, Padres 1
Sunday: Dodgers 11, Padres 10
Week 19 batting
Week 19 pitching
The week ahead
The Dodgers are home all week, running the Andy Benes gauntlet with three games each against the Cardinals and Diamondbacks. Sunday for now is to be determined. It’s the first day Hyun-jin Ryu is eligible to be activated, though with an off day the following Monday it’s an opportunity to give everyone extra rest again. Ross Stripling is pitching two innings on a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, and is another potential option, though he might also could be back in the bullpen. Barring those two, Tony Gonsolin could get another start as well.
Week 20 schedule
|Mon, Aug 5||Tue, Aug 6||Wed, Aug 7||Thu, Aug 8||Fri, Aug 9||Sat, Aug 10||Sun, Aug 11|
|Mon, Aug 5||Tue, Aug 6||Wed, Aug 7||Thu, Aug 8||Fri, Aug 9||Sat, Aug 10||Sun, Aug 11|
|vs. Cardinals||vs. Cardinals||vs. Cardinals||Off||vs. D-backs||vs. D-backs||vs. D-backs|
|7:10 p.m.||7:10 p.m.||12:10 p.m.||7:10 p.m.||6:10 p.m.||1:10 p.m.|
|Gonsolin v.||Kershaw v.||May v.||Buehler v.||Maeda v.||TBD v.|