MLB Team Report - Los Angeles Dodgers - INSIDE PITCH
No one can accuse the Dodgers of building their remarkable hot streak by beating up on losing teams.
Seventeen of the Dodgers' first 23 games after the All-Star break were against teams that reached the break with winning records (with some travel challenges thrown in). They won 20 of those 23 games, losing just once each to the Yankees, Reds and Cardinals.
The schedule is turning around now.
Starting with this week's series against the Mets at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers play 32 of their final 45 games against teams that currently have losing records. Only four of their final 14 series are against winning teams -- the Red Sox, Reds, and Diamondbacks (two series).
It's the kind of schedule that should allow the Dodgers to challenge the Braves and Pirates down the stretch for the best record in the National League -- and the postseason seeding advantages that would come with it.
After Wednesday's dramatic 5-4, 12-inning win over the Mets, the Dodgers are just 3 1/2 games behind the Braves for the best record in the NL, 1 1/2 games behind the Pirates.
"I don't think we talk about postseason. That's one thing we don't do," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We just come out and get ready to play every day.
"We talk all the time about putting the same pressure on yourself to perform every day. The game today is the same as a game to put us in the postseason. The pressure you put on yourself in your first at-bat tonight should be the same pressure you put on yourself in the postseason. That should never change."
With the Dodgers winning 40 of their past 48 games, the approach is certainly working.
MLB Team Report - Los Angeles Dodgers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won eight
PAST 10 GAMES: 9-1
NEXT: Friday -- Dodgers (Zack Greinke, 10-3, 3.21) at Phillies (Cliff Lee, 10-5, 3.18)
--RF Andre Ethier slugged a game-tying, pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Wednesday, and the Dodgers went on to beat the Mets 5-4 in 12 innings. Ethier was out of the starting lineup for the second straight night while dealing with soreness in his left calf. He injured the calf on the Dodgers' last road trip in Chicago, and while he continued to play, the tightness hasn't improved. He was sent to a local hospital for tests Tuesday to rule out anything significant. The Dodgers hope to have Ethier back in the starting lineup Friday.
--SS Hanley Ramirez, who had just one at-bat since Aug. 4, returned to the lineup Wednesday and went 2-for-5. Ramirez was sidelined since jamming his right shoulder in a game at Wrigley Field. He appeared as a pinch hitter Friday but otherwise was rested until Wednesday.
--RHP Zack Greinke takes a 10-3 record and a 3.21 ERA into his Friday start in Philadelphia. Greinke has gone 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA in four career games against the Phillies, including three starts. He picked up the win against the Rays on Sunday, throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the Dodgers' 5-0 victory.
--CF Matt Kemp took batting practice and worked out before Wednesday's game but remains unsure when he'll return from a sprained left ankle. The Dodgers have soared in Kemp's absence, but both he and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly insist he will reclaim his starting position when he returns.
--RHP Brian Wilson is quietly rounding back into form in the minor leagues after signing with the Dodgers on July 30, but manager Don Mattingly has yet to announce a timetable for when he might join the big-league bullpen. Wilson threw 21 pitches, allowed one hit and struck out one in 1 1/3 innings of relief for Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday night in his fourth rehab appearance. Wilson has not allowed a run since signing with the Dodgers while throwing one scoreless innings in Class A and 3 1/3 innings in Triple-A. He is making his way back from Tommy John surgery performed in April 2012.
--LHP Chris Capuano allowed 10 hits Wednesday against the Mets, tying a season high. He surrendered four runs in five innings in a no-decision. Capuano has allowed double-digit hits in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is a great homestand. Start it with a walk-off, finish it with a walk-off, and win in between every game." -- 1B Adrian Gonzalez, after the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Mets to cap a 6-0 homestand.
MLB Team Report - Los Angeles Dodgers - ROSTER REPORT
--RF Andre Ethier (left calf tightness) did not play Aug. 13. He appeared as a pinch hitter Aug. 14.
--SS Hanley Ramirez (jammed right shoulder) was hurt Aug. 4 and did not play Aug. 5-13 aside from a pinch-hitting appearance Aug. 9. He was back in the lineup Aug. 14.
--RHP Brian Wilson (Tommy John surgery in April 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 1. He began a rehab assignment with Class Lake Elsinore on Aug 7, and he pitched for Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 9, Aug. 11 and Aug. 13. He might soon be added to the big-league bullpen.
--CF Matt Kemp (left ankle sprain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 22. Kemp had just come off the DL on July 21 after missing a little more than two weeks with inflammation in the AC joint of his surgically repaired left shoulder. As of mid-August, he had increased his daily workouts, taking batting practice and shagging fly balls daily. He also had started light sprinting in the outfield.
--RHP Jose Dominguez (strained left quad) went on the 15-day disabled list July 23.
--RHP Josh Beckett (strained left groin, numbness in right hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 14 due to the groin injury. He began a light throwing program as of May 21, but he was shut down May 27 due to tingling in the fingers on his right hand. He resumed throwing in late June, then was shut down again. He was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, and he underwent season-ending surgery to remove a rib July 10.
--RHP Shawn Tolleson (lower back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 13. He had surgery April 25 to treat a herniated disk. He began a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Arizona League on Aug. 11, and he moved his rehab to Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Aug. 14.
--LHP Scott Elbert (arthroscopic left elbow surgeries in September 2012 and January 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 31. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on May 10, then moved to Double-A Chattanooga on May 17. He was shut down in early June due to renewed elbow pain, and he underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery June 7.
--RHP Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery in April 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 10. He's out for the season.
LHP Clayton Kershaw
RHP Zack Greinke
LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
RHP Ricky Nolasco
LHP Chris Capuano
RHP Kenley Jansen (closer)
RHP Brandon League
RHP Ronald Belisario
LHP J.P. Howell
RHP Chris Withrow
LHP Paco Rodriguez
RHP Carlos Marmol
1B Adrian Gonzalez
2B Mark Ellis
SS Hanley Ramirez
3B Jerry Hairston Jr.
INF Dee Gordon
INF Nick Punto
INF Juan Uribe
LF Carl Crawford
CF Andre Ethier
RF Yasiel Puig
OF Skip Schumaker