video thumbnail

PIT@LAD: Kershaw presented with the Cy Young Award

Sixty-five years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Dodgers, the 2012 version of the club is doing its best imitation of that 1947 National League pennant-winning squad.

Like the '47 team, this year's Dodgers have gotten off to a fast start -- the best start in baseball, in fact, at 8-1. They go for a sweep of the San Diego Padres on Sunday at Dodger Stadium on the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut.

It figures to be a pitcher's duel as Clayton Kershaw squares off against Edinson Volquez in a rematch of Opening Day. Kershaw, last year's NL Cy Young Award winner, lasted just three scoreless innings in that start because of illness, but he seemed to baffle Padres hitters even though he wasn't 100 percent.

Kershaw then dominated the Pirates, holding them to one run in seven innings in the club's home opener on Tuesday. But he reiterated then that he hasn't been at full strength on the mound just yet.

"My stuff got worse as the game went on, which comes from only throwing three innings last time and not getting my pitch count up," Kershaw said after his last start. "I hope next Sunday I'll be 100 percent."

If he hasn't hit 100 percent yet, Padres hitters beware. Kershaw has struck out 10 in his 10 innings, while scattering just six hits and one walk. Kershaw has also been flat-out brilliant at home, where he has allowed nine runs in his last 85 innings pitched.

Volquez, whom the Padres acquired in an offseason deal with Cincinnati, poses stiff competition, however. He has posted a 3.00 ERA through two starts and looked very good his last time out against Arizona.

"I thought his stuff was great ... good fastball, good curveball, a nice three-pitch mix," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Seven innings and two runs? If he does that, he's going to win a few games."

But Volquez will have to contend with the scorching hot Matt Kemp, who upped his average to .457 with his three hits Saturday. In the first two games of the series, Kemp was a combined 4-for-6 with three homers, six RBIs and four runs scored.

Padres: Black's bench limited
• After placing outfielder Kyle Blanks on the disabled list on Saturday with a strained left shoulder, the Padres have 13 pitchers on their staff but just four players to use off the bench, thus reducing Black's options.

The team might not carry 13 pitchers for long, though. It appears the Padres will activate outfielder Mark Kotsay on Monday, when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. At that point, the Padres will likely option a pitcher back to the Minor Leagues.

• San Diego's 10 walks allowed Friday night were the most by the Padres in a nine-inning game since Aug. 30 of last season, also a loss to the Dodgers.

"Ten walks out of our staff are rare," Black said. "I know [pitching coach Darren Balsley] takes a lot of pride in that and so do our pitchers."

• Third baseman Chase Headley is a career .330 hitter at Dodger Stadium, tied with Chase Utley for the second-best average among all active players with 100 or more at-bats. Scott Rolen is first with a .338 mark.

Dodgers: Scully set for return to booth
• After a nasty cold forced Vin Scully to miss the last five games, the Hall of Fame announcer will return to the booth on Sunday, the team announced.

Scully, who will be resuming his 63rd year behind the mic, missed the Dodgers' home opener for the first time in 35 years.

• Before Saturday's game, the Dodgers placed righty reliever Todd Coffey on the DL with an inflamed right knee, clearing room for lefty starter Ted Lilly, who earned the win.

The move allows for Josh Lindblom to remain with the big league club after a solid start to the season. The righty Lindblom has allowed just one hit in six innings of relief.

• The last time the Dodgers were the lone remaining one-loss team in baseball was 1955, when the franchise went on to win its first World Series.

Worth noting
• Don Newcombe and Tommy Davis, both former teammates of Robinson, will throw out ceremonial first pitches as part of the Jackie Robinson Day festivities.

• San Diego has lost eight consecutive games at Dodger Stadium -- a streak that dates to last May. With a loss on Sunday it would be the Padres' longest losing streak against Los Angeles of all time. Overall, they have dropped 15 of 18 against the Dodgers. Comments