Last year, the Dodgers made history with their 7-6 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks making them the NL West Division Champions. It was the Dodger’s first National League West title in four seasons and their 12th division crown in history. Will they be able to snag the title again this year? So far, they have proven themselves worthy with a tally of (52-43).
Beckett Strikes a No-Hit Game
As the first no-hitter of the season, many believed it would be either Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke, but it was neither. Josh Beckett stepped up to the plate to deliver a 128-pitch masterpiece during the Dodgers’ 6-0 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. He did so by striking out six, walking three, and allowing zero hits in between. It is the 21st no-hitter in Dodgers history. It was quite the surprise as he had thrown 24 pitches during the first inning, with just half of them being strikeouts. He proved everyone wrong, however, when it was time to mount the plate during the seventh and eighth innings when all he needed was to have 10 pitches count. His impressive fastball speed definitely factored in, along with his 40 curveballs and 20 changeups. Beckett’s fastest heater right down the middle was ranged at speeding more than 94 mph, and became his fastest pitch of the day.
Kershaw’s Record Breaking No-Hitter
On June 18, 2014, Clayton Kershaw became one of the many remembered group of no-hitters on the Dodgers. The greatest classic four no-hitter being Sandy Koufax, is I’m sure an inspiration to Kershaw. Playing against the Colorado Rockies, this two-time National League Cy Young Award winner struck out no less than an all-time high 15 batters. He is known as the first pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter with absolutely no walks. Kershaw was praised from everyone from the Los Angeles Times to ESPN saying that it was the “best pitching performance ever” and the “most dominant [no-hitter] ever.”
The All-Stars Have Been Chosen
There were four players from the Dodgers that were picked and set to play in the National All-Stars game. Those deemed worthy are Zack Greinke, Yasiel Puig, Dee Gordon, and Clayton Kershaw. Puig was voted to be one of three outfielders by the fans, while pitcher Greinke was a manager’s pick, and the rest of the players chose both rotation-mate Kershaw, and second baseman Gordon. Kershaw has appeared four times in the All-Stars, while it’s Greinke’s second honor, and it’s both Puig and Gordon’s first time appearing in the All-Stars.
Being Puig’s and Gordon’s first time, it’s safe to say that they were very happy to hear the grand news. Gordon states, “I almost cried when Donnie [Mattingly] told me. My dad took me to three All-Star Games. Now I can take him to one.” While Puig felt extremely grateful towards his fans, he stated, “I’m happy, obviously, and I appreciate all the support from my teammates and the fans that voted for me. I thank the coaches and my teammates. I’m happy with the way I played the first half of the season.”
Don Mattingly has Fire
It’s obvious not to get on Mattingly’s bad side as he has proven with his arguments over balls and strikes against the Tiger’s home-plate umpire Paul Schrieber. Mattingly was allegedly ejected from the game in the top of the sixth inning during the Interleague game. At a 12-5 game with a five-run lead, the Tigers had an advantage. It was said to be Mattingly’s second ejection this season.
Dedication to the Game
With this passion, also comes deliberate dedication to the team. Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer felt the need to comment on Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke with their left-right combo collaboration. He admits that these two have to be noted as one of the best left/right combos of all time as he comments, “They compete and like to compete. They have that kind of ability, that kind of mentality and that kind of work ethic. You will see a lot of players who have two of those attributes, but they have all three. That’s what separates them from the norm.” Both Kershaw and Grienke are right behind the famous left/right duo of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
The Team Comes First
Although Kershaw was on a three-hit gem as one streak, he decided the team was worth the ending. During Thursday’s game on July 11, 2014, Kershaw gave up a home run for the first time in over a month. This ultimately helped out the team as they ended up beating the Padres, 2-1. Additionally, Kershaw’s 41-consecutive-scoreless-innings streak is recorded as the third longest in Los Angeles Dodgers history. By striking out 11, and walking one, he raised his record to 11-2. Kershaw stated, “I was disappointed I gave up a run. I don’t really care about the streak. It tied the game. I’m not supposed to give up a run. One mistake can kill you, but fortunately it didn’t tonight.” Regaining the lead in the bottom of the inning, Hanley Ramirez singled, stole second, and took third because of Yasmani Grandal’s mistaken throw.
During this season so far, the Dodgers have proven to be very committed to playing their hardest and do whatever it takes to win. Fans from all over Los Angeles just can’t wait to see what happens during the rest of their 2014 season.
By Andrea Montoya