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Dodgers notes: Clayton Kershaw, Will Smith, luxury tax payroll

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Los Angeles Dodgers v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

After Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 and had his fourth consecutive strong start since returning from the injured list, it’s only fitting our first morning link is about the Dodgers ace, and his stature within the sport.

Andy McCullough at The Athletic talked to several players, including some former teammates, and others within baseball to find out what makes Kershaw so successful.

“When I got to face him more consistently, you would see that a good pitch is a good pitch,” Zack Greinke said. “If someone has a really good pitch, even if you’re looking for it, it’s not easy to hit.”

Kershaw helped the Dodgers to their 102nd win of 2022, with sixteen games remaining on the schedule.

In examining the Dodgers’ recent success — their piling up of 100-win seasons, a top-five run differential in the modern era, and more — Ginny Searle at Baseball Prospectus wrote, “Our scales of reference only really work in the confines of that which we can already imagine. The Dodgers have broken MLB’s context, and so require creative methods to quantify their success.”


Dave Roberts thinks the Dodgers’ Big Three is really a Big Four, along with catcher and cleanup hitter Will Smith. Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register has more.

The Dodgers will end up with the second-highest payroll in MLB this season, behind the Mets, reports Ronald Blum at the Associated Press. Exact competitive balance tax payroll totals won’t be known until December, but AP estimates the Dodgers will end up at a hair under $290 million, the highest and most punitive tier that was just added this year under the new CBA.

Over the weekend a vendor inside Oracle Park in San Francisco was selling Dodgers-related merchandise, much to the chagrin of many locals. The Giants say it was an error through a third-party vendor. Evan Webeck at the San Jose Mercury News has more.

Kevin Pillar, who had shoulder surgery in early June, starts a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City this week in El Paso. On Monday, he played in a game in Arizona (presumably instructional league).