Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LeBron James might be done commenting on the matter, but the issue could come before fans attending the season-opener between the Lakers and Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center, where activists plan to hand out free T-shirts displaying support for the Hong Kong protests.A GoFundMe fundraiser online — “Give Away Hong Kong T-Shirts, NBA Opening Night” — set up Oct. 7 by an NBA fan in Northern California raised nearly $42,994 in a fewer than two days.That amount will pay for more than 10,000 shirts, according to organizer “Sun Lared” (the pseudonym that the fan is using on the GoFundMe page), who stopped taking contributions as the fund drive approached $43,000.The Clippers, who will be the home team Tuesday, also have a T-shirt giveaway planned, with all fans in attendance expected to receive a free “L.A. Our Way” shirt and LED wristband. The international firestorm involving the NBA and China began Oct. 4, when Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. That sparked outrage in China, where the Lakers would play a pair of exhibition games with the Brooklyn Nets. Nearly two weeks later, reverberations continue as the league and its players navigate a range of interests.In an online voice call earlier this month, “Lared” said that although he has friends and family in Hong Kong and is sympathetic toward the protest movement there, he’s accepting that there are varying viewpoints about the unrest.It’s his opposition to censorship that inspired him to run with an idea he saw online about making the T-shirts. A similar GoFundMe campaign in Canada was capped after it raised more than $34,000 for a T-shirt giveaway at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on opening night.Gabriel Law is among the supporters of Lared’s T-shirt giveaway in Southern California. After learning of the project, he got in touch with “Lared” and is helping with plans to store, transport and distribute all those T-shirts to L.A. Live. It will be a complicated but fulfilling endeavor, said Law,“This touches on really central American values, freedom of speech,” Law said by phone last week. “I’m here in the U.S., but I’m starting to sense I can’t do certain things because someone in another country us doesn’t want me to do it. Where do we draw the line? “I think the NBA, unfortunately, has crossed the line in that case. China is a huge market, no one’s going to deny that, but if you look at global trade, this is a new kind of problem.”Law, who is active with Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles, a nonprofit formed in 1990 to promote democratic development in Hong Kong, said he was somewhat surprised by how quickly the money was raised, but not by the amount.“People in Hong Kong have raised millions of U.S. dollars for the past three, four months to advertise in newspapers, they’ve raised money to put up billboards around the world, so as soon as they know of this, they are going to support it,” he said.Despite reports of a fan being escorted out of preseason game in Philadelphia for saying “Free Hong Kong,” and a pro-Hong Kong sign (held by fans in “Free Hong Kong” shirts) being confiscated at a preseason game in Washington D.C., Law said he didn’t anticipate any trouble at Staples Center once they get the shirts there.“Are security guards going to kick us out?” Law asked. “We don’t think so, because we’ll be on public land. What if police kick us out? That should not be a problem because we are not selling things.”Furthermore, Law said, “we encourage the fans to put on the shirts. If five people put on the shirts, then they have a chance to be kicked out. If 500 people put on the shirts, they cannot kick everyone out. Five thousand? That, for sure, is a message for the world to see. And that’s our hope.”
Video: What LeBron James said about Jacob Blake … ‘Black people in America are scared’ Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and other NBA stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant The Lakers and Clippers have also told game-night employees that they will continue to compensate them through the NBA hiatus. This includes employees such as team statisticians, announcers and dance teams. Both franchises have asked employees to work from home if possible.On Friday afternoon, Staples Center donated 7,000 pounds of food that would have been wasted because of the lack of events. Donations were made to both The Midnight Mission and the L.A. Mission Men’s Center, both located in downtown Los Angeles.Related Articles On Mamba Night, the Lakers make short work of Blazers to take 3-1 series lead The busiest hub in Los Angeles pro sports won’t host any games for at least the next month. But its employees can expect a paycheck.The Lakers, Clippers, Kings and AEG are finalizing details of a plan that would compensate the hundreds of part-time and contract workers who staff Staples Center’s biggest events. It’s a measure that could help allay concerns that the most vulnerable workers will keep a steady income during NBA, NHL and event shutdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak.Two people with knowledge of the pending arrangement confirmed to Southern California News Group that an announcement was forthcoming. The Lakers, Clippers and Kings are tenants of the building, which is owned by AEG.It’s likely to cover event staff, such as ushers and security personnel who are well known at the arena for their red blazers. For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Photos: Lakers defeat Trail Blazers in Game 4 of first-round playoff series Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Does Rojas have the edge over the other candidates to fill in for Ramirez?“Right now we’re splitting hairs to say which one’s the best or who’s earned what,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ve seen Erisbel a little bit, he does everything a little bit. He’s been flawless when he played. Miguel’s played really well since he’s been in there. Carlos has been for the most part solid. He had the one game where he was a little rough here at the stadium but for the most part he’s been pretty good.”On the disabled list since June 29 with a strained left hamstring, Turner is currently rehabbing in Arizona, “getting 10, 12 at-bats a day so you can keep the guy sharp,” Mattingly said.Figgins reported no pain one day after running the bases at full speed for the first time Thursday. However, Figgins said he felt a “grabbing” sensation when he tries to break into a full sprint. That could keep him from stealing a base, but both he and Mattingly said that Figgins remains “close” to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment.In the meantime, Rojas knows what will keep him in the lineup. “We’ve got plenty of hitters here,” he said, “I have to be that guy who plays good defense.”Ethier, Ramirez sitRamirez was still day-to-day less than 24 hours after receiving an anti-inflammatory injection in the AC joint of his right shoulder Thursday.“He felt like it really kind of relieved everything right away,” Mattingly said. “He had one in Cincinnati that didn’t really do it. It didn’t hit the spot. This one seemed to hit it. Pretty encouraged by that.”Andre Ethier was also held out of the starting lineup due to various bumps and bruises, Mattingly said. Scott Van Slyke started his second straight game in center field.Also …The Dodgers’ starting pitcher for tonight’s game was still listed as “TBA” on Friday afternoon, but Mattingly hinted that Paul Maholm is the leading candidate to start the game. Maholm is 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA. … Carl Crawford could be back in the lineup this weekend against the Padres. “I do look at the next few days as really there’s a start there for him,” Mattingly said. … Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dee Gordon and Yasiel Puig received their red National League All-Star jerseys on the field prior to the game. … Scott Elbert was set to pitch one inning in a rehab assignment for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night. The Dodgers’ starting shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, has needed two anti-inflammatory injections the last two months just to stay on the field.Ramirez’s primary backup, Justin Turner, is in Arizona recovering from a hamstring strain. Chone Figgins began the season in the shortstop rotation, but he’s on the disabled list with a strained hip flexor.With Dodger shortstops practically needing their own disabled list, a healthy Miguel Rojas has started four of the last five games. In terms of ultimate zone rating, Rojas is second only to Erisbel Arruebarrena among the six players who have played shortstop this year for the Dodgers. Arruebarrena is currently on the disabled list with a right hip flexor strain.Rojas’ .232 batting average through Thursday is preferable to that of Carlos Triunfel (.143), the club’s other healthy shortstop. Rojas is versatile, too. His UZR at second and third base – albeit in limited time – ranks ahead of every other Dodger. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
ATLANTA >> Conventional wisdom holds that the Dodgers stood pat at the trade deadline. July 31 saw 12 trades involving 18 teams and 37 players with a combined 13 All-Star Game appearances. None of these trades involved the Dodgers.The unconventional wisdom held that Darwin Barney, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia and Dan Haren could be impact players for the Dodgers in August and September. None of them were acquired at the deadline, but they weren’t playing — or playing well — for the Dodgers a month ago.So far, the unconventional wisdom is winning out.None are stars, but Hernandez, Correia and Haren are more than complimentary players. This week at least, they’re one-half of the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Haren pitched six strong innings against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday in the Dodgers’ 4-2 win. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “He said I’d done a good job for the team, I got a bunch of wins, they feel good with me,” Haren said. “That felt good. Going through a rut like I was, I was off the Internet and ESPN. There’s no need to see any negative reinforcement. It was good to feel something positive from him.”Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt affirmed that Haren was struggling emotionally in July, and “when you’re struggling you try to do more and it leads to problems.”Specifically, Honeycutt said, Haren wasn’t pausing at the top and the bottom of his delivery like he used to. The arc of Haren’s lead arm had changed too, which was affecting his balance.“Any time you get your body in better position to where you’re not spinning off, not only do you see a better quality throw, you see better action at the end,” Honeycutt said.Haren allowed six hits, walked one batter and struck out seven. He was particularly fired up after his last pitch, a splitter in the dirt that struck out Chris Johnson with a runner on first base to preserve a 3-2 lead.Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell, Brandon League and Kenley Jansen combined to shut out the Braves over the final three innings. Barney, who was recalled from Triple-A on Sunday, got his first start as a Dodger at second base on a day off for Dee Gordon. He made a good impression.Barney singled to drive in the Dodgers’ first run off Mike Minor (4-8). In the ninth inning, he gave the Dodgers an insurance run by taking second base on an error and came around to score on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the ninth, Barney ranged into shallow right field to catch a sinking fly ball by Evan Gattis.But it was Haren who sparked the victory, both on the mound and at the plate.With the Dodgers trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, Haren singled and went to third base on a double by Carl Crawford. Haren scored the tying run on a groundout by Yasiel Puig, and Matt Kemp’s single drove in Crawford to make it 3-2.Add Barney and Haren to the Dodgers’ growing list of unlikely sparkplugs. Like Haren, Hernandez and Correia pitched six strong innings in their recent debuts. Like Barney, Hernandez and Correia also singled in their first at-bats as a Dodger. It helps to be able to feast on a struggling opponent. Atlanta has lost 11 of its last 13 games — five against the Dodgers. The Dodgers hadn’t beaten the Braves in five straight games since 1988.If you’re Haren, it doesn’t matter who you beat right now.“As my career has gone on, I feel like the losing has hurt more and the winning hasn’t been as sweet as it was,” he said. “I think it’s just the amount of pressure I put on myself. I want to do well for the team so bad, losing just really hurts. These last two, I definitely am enjoying. The team is playing so well, we’ve got a little cushion in the NL West. The clubhouse, the plane, guys are really loose right now.” “I’ve had two good starts,” said Haren (10-9), who snapped a streak of five consecutive losses by beating the Angels in his previous outing. “I’m not going to make a big deal of it. If I have six more good ones to finish the year, I’ll feel really good about the year.”If Haren makes six more starts, and lasts 6 2/3 innings in each, he’ll get to 180 innings for the season. That would automatically trigger a $10 million vesting option for 2015 — a nice incentive.During Haren’s 0-5 stretch, it didn’t seem like he would have the chance to reach 180 innings. Privately, however, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said there was no talk of removing Haren from the rotation.“We look at the full body of work,” Mattingly said, “and knowing that four starts, has he just all of a sudden lost everything? It’s still there. The fact that Danny’s a competitor and you know he’s going to keep fighting, it’s still there.”Haren said that a pep talk from Mattingly during the team flight out of Pittsburgh helped.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “He seemed to be fighting it a little bit lately and was getting a little frustrated,” Mattingly said of Ethier. “I hope to get him some rest. We’ve probably pushed him as hard as anybody as far as playing time. I’ve been seeing a little bit of frustration the last couple of days.”VIDEO: Watch Dodgers manager Don Mattingly explain his rationale for putting Alex Guerrero in for Andre EthierEthier is mired in a 2-for-18 slump in his past six games (.111 average), though the Dodgers overall weren’t lighting up the scoreboard before Sunday.The Dodgers scored just 19 runs over the previous eight games, a paltry average of 2.3 runs per game.Guerrero ranks third on the team in homers (10) and RBIs (29) despite limited at-bats. He also ranks third among all rookies in homers behind teammate Joc Pederson (18) and Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza Jr. (14). He also leads the majors in pinch-hit homers (3) and RBIs (9). Maybe it was time for a change. Or perhaps it was a way to shake a couple of runs out from the Dodgers’ sputtering offense.Dodgers manager Don Mattingly decided to insert pinch-hitter extraordinaire Alex Guerrero into the lineup in the sixth slot, “hoping for him to do his thing.”The move also allowed Mattingly to spell left fielder Andre Ethier on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series against the San Francisco Giants as the Dodgers tried to avert a sweep.Mattingly said he also plans on resting Ethier against Cubs left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada on Monday, giving Ethier back-to-back days off. Guerrero continues to say all the right things, that he is ready to play whenever his number is called and wherever the team needs him. He said he tries to keep a positive mentality.“It’s about concentrating and focusing and being ready to play every day,” Guerrero said in Spanish. “It’s always good to think positive. It’s bad to think things like ‘Why am I not playing’ or ‘Why am I not in the game?’ “A lot of people tell me I have to have a strong mind.”Mattingly spoke to Guerrero about his playing time earlier in the season. Mattingly said the communication was good for both sides and that he doesn’t expect to have to need another conversation about playing time.VIDEO: Watch Dodgers manager Don Mattingly break down early-season meeting with Alex Guerrero about his role and playing time.“He was very respectful and handled himself great. Like a true pro,” Mattingly said. “Obviously you’ve got to speak up for yourself if things aren’t going the way you like them or want them, but he was very respectful that we have a job to do and we have to make decisions that is best for all of us.“I thought the conversation was good as far as being upfront and honest, and the way he handled himself was great.”Rehab roll callThe parade of rehabbing Dodgers pitchers continued on Sunday.Brandon Beachy, trying to rebound from Tommy John surgery, made his second start for triple-A Oklahoma City. He threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit with three strikeouts and one walk. He threw 26 of 45 pitches for strikes and had a 50-pitch limit.Reliever Pedro Baez, who has missed 36 games with a right pectoral strain, made his second appearance for Oklahoma City. He allowed one hit in one inning and recorded a strikeout.Brandon League, out the entire season with a right shoulder impingement, allowed one run and two hits in one inning.Mattingly said left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez will pitch Tuesday for Oklahoma City.VIDEO: Watch Don Mattingly update on the many rehabbing Dodgers pitchersReliever Joel Peralta, out since April 26 with shoulder soreness, was in the Dodgers clubhouse and said he expects to be activated soon.“Probably tomorrow,” Peralta said.Peralta said he will play catch Sunday at Dodger Stadium and a decision will be made about whether he joins the team on the road trip in Chicago.Peralta pitched back-to-back games for single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday and Saturday, throwing around 89 mph.“I was throwing and hitting my spots,” Peralta said. “One day was better than the other one. The last day was the better one. I gave up one run, but I felt better, my pitches hit the mark and I had more movement.”More videos:VIDEO: Watch the children of some Dodgers players throw out the ceremonial first-pitchVIDEO: Watch Don Mattingly reflect on Father’s DayVIDEO: Watch Don Mattingly break down upcoming 10-game road trip
Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs announced Thursday. The only question for the Cubs is whether Game 1 will be at Dodger Stadium or Citi Field, an issue that will resolve itself in tonight’s winner-take-all NLDS game between the Dodgers and Mets.The Dodgers have only faced one left-handed starting pitcher in the postseason so far, Mets rookie Steven Matz in Game 4 on Tuesday. Lester is anything but a playoff newcomer, having pitched 91 career postseason innings to a 2.66 earned-run average in his career. Lester, 31, went 11-12 with a 3.34 ERA in his first season with the Cubs.• Game 5: Live box scoreLooking two steps ahead, the Dodgers’ history against Lester falls into one of two camps: Those who haven’t faced Lester a lot, and those who have not hit him well. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES — Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda will add to his collection of honorary degrees today when he receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Loyola Marymount University for his “contributions to baseball and sportsmanship.”“Tommy Lasorda is a legendary member of the sports world and has been an outstanding contributor to (the) Los Angeles community for decades,” LMU President Timothy Law Snyder said.“He has been an inspiration to generations of young people in what it means to be a true leader by exhibiting the highest level of honesty, pride and commitment to his team and its individuals and his community.”Lasorda, who never attended college, has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Pepperdine University, St. Thomas University, Cal State Long Beach, University of Phoenix, Concordia University, the University of Hawaii, Argosy University, Cypress College and Marymount College. Lasorda managed the Dodgers from 1976-96, winning two World Series, along with four National League pennants and eight division titles. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, his first year of eligibility.The 88-year-old Lasorda is now a special adviser to the chairman, serving as an adviser on all areas of the Dodger organization for owner and Chairman Mark Walter.Lasorda’s responsibilities include scouting, evaluating and teaching minor league players, acting as an adviser and ambassador for the Dodgers international affiliations and representing the franchise at more than 150 speaking engagements and appearances to various charities, private groups and military personnel each year.
THE GAME: Joc Pederson hit his first home run of the spring as the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 7-6 Wednesday night in Scottsdale.PITCHING REPORT: Left-hander Scott Kazmir retired the first four batters he faced in his spring debut, three on groundouts and the fourth on a strikeout. He lost his way after that. He walked a batter, threw a wild pitch, gave up a rocket double off the right-field wall, walked another batter and finally got a run-scoring groundout before coming out of the game. … Dodgers pitchers gave up only six hits in the game — but walked eight.HITTING REPORT: Pederson’s first hit of the Cactus League schedule was a three-run home run off Giants reliever George Kontos in the fifth inning. He was 0 for 6 before the home run which gave the Dodgers the lead, 6-5. … The Dodgers strung together four consecutive hits against Giants starter Matt Cain for three runs in the second inning. Singles by Cody Bellinger, Bobby Wilson and Charlie Culberson were followed by a two-run triple from Henry Ramos.QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I had a long bullpen (before the game) and everything was on point. … As the night was going on, I kind of got lazy with the stuff I’ve been working on. The first inning, I was able to sync some things up. That’s really what it is for me.” — Kazmir on losing the timing and rhythm in his delivery. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ALSO: Shortstop Corey Seager suffered a contusion to his right leg when he fouled a ball off his shin during Monday’s game. X-rays were negative. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the swelling has gone down and he expects Seager to play in one of Friday’s split-squad games. … Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu reported no problem After throwing a bullpen session Wednesday. Ryu had discomfort in the adductor muscle on his left side earlier in the week. … Closer Kenley Jansen is scheduled to make his first spring appearance in Thursday’s game.UP NEXT: Indians (RHP Danny Salazar) at Dodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw), noon, today, Camelback Ranch. Radio only (AM 570). –Bill Plunkett
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error In 145 games in right field, Puig posted a .996 fielding percentage. He was charged with one error, which ranked fourth among all NL outfielders and second among MLB right fielders.Unlike the Gold Glove awards, the Wilson awards recognize just one player at each position, regardless of league. Here is the full list of winners:C – Martin Maldonado, Angels1B – Carlos Santana, Indians2B – D.J. LeMahieu, Rockies3B – Nolan Arenado, RockiesSS – Andrelton Simmons, AngelsLF — Alex Gordon, RoyalsCF – Byron Buxton, TwinsRF – Yasiel Puig, DodgersP — Tyler Chatwood, RockiesDefensive Player of the Year – BuxtonDefensive Team of the Year – Dodgers LOS ANGELES — Shut out in the Gold Glove awards earlier this week, the Dodgers – and Yasiel Puig, in particular – were recognized for their defensive prowess in the Wilson Defensive awards.The Dodgers were named the Wilson Defensive Team of the Year for 2017 and Puig was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year among right fielders. Wilson began awarding the annual honors in 2012 using a formula that combines advanced defensive metrics, more traditional defensive statistics and data collected by Inside Edge, a scouting service. The Gold Glove awards include SABR Defensive Index in determining the winners but are primarily based on voting by managers and coaches in each league.The Dodgers ranked second in the majors in defensive efficiency, turning batted balls into outs at a 71.9 percent rate, and defensive runs saved as well as ranking fifth in FanGraphs defensive rating. According to Inside Edge, they made 39 ‘non-routine’ plays out of 146 chances in the second half of the 2017 season, a 26 percent rate that ranked fifth in the majors.Puig took to Twitter to express his disappointment in not winning a Gold Glove – Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward won the award for right fielders. But he was recognized by Wilson after leading all National League right fielders in UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) and tying with Heyward in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) among right fielders. Puig ranked first among NL right fielders in FanGraphs’ defensive runs above average measure.
There was plenty to rehash Sunday afternoon in The Ravine, following a three-hour, 35-minute exercise that ended with what the Dodgers considered a beautiful rerun. Matt Kemp, who smacked a three-run home run off Arizona’s Archie Bradley in the eighth inning Saturday night for a 3-2 victory, came up against Bradley in the ninth Sunday afternoon and ripped a first-pitch fastball off the wall in center to chase home the tying and winning runs for, yes, another 3-2 victory, L.A.’s third straight come-from-behind win this weekend.Related Articles There was plenty to chew on Sunday, far more strategic byplay than 25-30 column inches can cover. In the ninth inning alone, Roberts was second-guessed for leaving Caleb Ferguson in to start the ninth. He said his desire was that Ferguson could steal an out before he had to bring in Kenley Jansen, who had pitched the previous two nights. Ferguson instead gave up a go-ahead home run to Daniel Descalso and Jansen had to get three outs anyway just to keep it close.Lovullo, the 2017 NL Manager of the Year, was roasted for leaving starter Zack Greinke in long enough Friday night to give up a game-winning homer to Justin Turner. And he was second-guessed Sunday for bringing Bradley back to face Kemp fewer than 24 hours after that matchup had gone sour. In fact, as Kemp was striding to the plate the video board was replaying the previous night’s home run. And yes, he noticed.“I wasn’t thinking about hitting a home run,” he said. “I was just trying to get that one run in from third base. It just so happened I got two.”Kemp’s first half made him an All-Star. His August (.214 batting average, one homer, five RBI and a .577 OPS) was dreary.So far, Kemp has matched his August RBI output in two September games, and he has a 1.333 OPS for the month after entering Sunday’s game in the seventh as a pinch hitter and going 1 for 2. He keeps up that pace, and the chances are good he’ll have meaningful games in October, too.“You look at his career and the big moments and big hits he’s come up with throughout his career — many against me from the other side — (and) you bet on that, you bet on the preparedness,” Roberts said. “When you get into September and through October, you’ve got to feel comfortable with the heartbeat. Matt’s been there, done that … a guy like him who’s proven (he can) do that and come up in spots like that, I’ll take my chances.”Kemp has been away from September baseball in Los Angeles since 2014. One change from then to now is hard to miss.“I think it gets louder and louder every year,” he said. “I think the fans get more excited every year, because it gets better and better.”Some of that is a conscious effort by the game ops crew to pump up the energy level. But some of it is also the urgency of a fan base that has gotten closer and closer and is anxious for that ultimate payoff.“Tommy (Lasorda) said to me today that that’s the loudest he’s heard Dodger Stadium,” Roberts said of Saturday night’s game.Lasorda might even have amended that after Sunday’s game. Then again, it would have been hard to hear him in the din. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies It was wild, unwieldy, lengthy. It almost certainly irritated those who have decided September call-ups and expanded rosters are somehow a stain on the national pastime. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo used eight pitchers Sunday, while the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts sent out five pinch-hitters (two of them decoys) and a pinch-runner. For a change, he still had a handful of position players available when the game ended thanks to all of those extra bodies.To those who object? Go watch football. All of those available players, and all of the moves and counter-moves are part of the fun of games that matter down the stretch.“September is one of the funnest months,” Kemp said. “We’re going to treat every game this month like it’s a playoff game, like it’s a must-win, because those guys over there (the Diamondbacks) aren’t going to slow up, and Colorado’s a good team.”I mean, are we really still carping about pace of play when we are hanging on every pitch? How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season LOS ANGELES—Ten days ago, the Dodgers were 4-1/2 games behind in the National League West, their bullpen was a mess, their clutch hitting was pretty much nonexistent, and their streak of consecutive postseason appearances seemed on life support.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.Today, they’re in first place by themselves. They’ve won eight of nine, the schedule is in their favor, and three straight come-from-behind victories over the Arizona Diamondbacks have the faithful convinced the magic is just starting.Careful, now. Remember what we said last week about a roller coaster as metaphor for a baseball season. There are almost certainly a few more dips to come over the final 26 games.But that’s the fun, isn’t it? That’s what keeps us all coming back, day after day, to the best serial drama around, especially when your team has something at stake. You can’t second-guess soap operas, after all. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start