Kershaw gets majors’ best 17th win. Dodgers beat Nationals, 4-1.

•September 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw got his mlb leading 17th win Tuesday night as L.A. beat Washington, 4-1. courtesy: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw got his mlb leading 17th win Tuesday night as L.A. beat Washington, 4-1.
courtesy: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw (17-3) went eight innings, allowing a run and scattering three hits earning his major league-leading 17th win of the season in Los Angeles’ 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

It seems to be so easy for Kershaw who’s been virtually automatic. A model of consistency every five days when he’s on the hill and handed the ball.

To read the remainder of this story, please click on this link.

Over-crowding forces L.A. Co. Sheriff to shut down Rams Booster Club Picnic.

•August 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Citing stipulations and rules that changed Saturday’s 11th Annual Southern California Rams Booster Club Picnic at Peter F. Schabarum Regional Park in Roland Heights from a “picnic” into an “organized event,” County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation officials were forced to have the L.A. County Sheriff’s office come in and shut the event down.

“They’ve been here before.” Said a parks and recreation official who didn’t want to be identified adding, “They really amped it up this year and broke rules in the process.”

“Amped” is a good way to put it.

The picnic/event – which began at nine in the morning before being abruptly shut down at three p.m. – attracted a crowd estimated by parks and recreation officials at being more than 2,500 people.

St. Louis Rams fans came from as far as Fresno to the north and Arizona – YES, Arizona – to the southwest to get together prior to the kick-off of the upcoming season.

Panoramic view of some of the 2,500 Rams fans who attended Saturday's annual So. Cal. Booster Club Picninc.

Panoramic view of some of the more than  2,500 Rams fans who attended Saturday’s annual So. Cal. Rams Booster Club Picnic.

Former Los Angeles Rams players – including Frank Corral, A.J. “Jam” Jones and Doug Reed – were there signing autographs for everyone.

 “I’m disappointed. I wanted to meet some of those players.” Said a Sheriff ‘s officer who aided in closing the event. “I’m a huge Rams fan from way back when they were here but rules are rules and we had to shut it down.”

A tremendous turnout for an area that’s been without a team since both the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season – 20 years ago.

“Some of the people at the event brought over-sized portable barbeques, a few were consuming alcoholic beverages,” said the parks and rec official adding, “That’s against the rules.”

The parks and rec official also told me some brought huge portable generators while others plugged into outlets in the available public restrooms causing a “tripping hazard” for park-goers.

“You can’t do that. It’s similar to when a request for concerts or movies in the park are made. You need permits for all of this,” explained the parks and rec official.

With a Sheriff’s department helicopter flying over-head, So. Cal Rams Booster Club president Ralph Valdez told me;

“We’ve had this picnic here the last seven years around this time and never been told to leave.”

The difference from those picnics prior to Saturday’s is that they never attracted more than 200 people – still a big enough number for an area without a team for 20 years.

Schabarum Park is a 575-acre facility with 75 acres developed for activities that include walking, hiking and picnics with “limited parking” provided.

The picnic areas are divided up into 11 locations with the largest sites having a group capacity of no more than 200 people.

According to the park’s picnic information sheet most of those are made available on a first-come first-served basis but with the largest areas requiring a non-refundable reservation/rental fee, a refundable “clean-up/security deposit” fee of between $150-$450 and may require proof of liability insurance showing the County of L.A. as “co-insured” for the amount $2-million.

“I wasn’t told any of that info. I was told picnic areas were first-come, first-served,” explained Valdez adding, “They have my contact info and never called me.”

Prior to this year, there really wasn’t any need to contact him.

That’s all changed with – to borrow from the parks and rec official – recent “amped up” talk of the NFL’s inevitable return to Los Angeles in the near future.

L.A. Sparks show appreciation for fans beating the Seattle Storm, 77-65.

•August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Candace Parker (3) led the Sparks with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists in L.A.'s 77-65 win over Seattle Friday at Staples Center.

Candace Parker (3) led the Sparks with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists in L.A.’s 77-65 win over Seattle Friday at Staples Center.

LOS ANGELES – Getting ready for a Western Conference Semi-Final showdown with either the defending WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx or the Phoenix Mercury, the Los Angeles Sparks took care of business Friday night beating the Seattle Storm on Fan Appreciation Night at Staples Center, 77-65.

L.A. has one game remaining in the regular season before beginning the playoffs. Low and behold it could be a playoff preview with the Sparks finishing the regular season in Phoenix against Brittney Griner and the Mercury.

Candace Parker led the way for the Sparks (16-17) with 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists and Kristi Toliver poured in 20 points and dished out six assists for the winners who held a 16 point half-time lead at 48-32 and led by as many as 20 in the third quarter at 56-36.

The Storm (12-21) – who were led by Jenna O’Hea’s 16 points – went on an 11-0 run closing the gap at 56-47 midway through the third and trailed by a 60-53 score at the end of the stanza but would get no closer.

 “We were on the verge.” Said Sparks coach Penny Toler. “We were up by about 18 and then we got three or four sloppy turnovers. In a game like this you can’t do that.”

L.A. committed 20 turnovers giving up 22 points – seven of those in that third quarter that led to 11 Storm points- letting them right back in the ball game.

 “We just wanted to get the win tonight. “ Said Parker. “It’s fan appreciation night, our last home game. I think we did a good job coming out but we just had spurts where we weren’t focused.”

 

13 year Storm veteran Sue Bird played just under five minutes and didn't score for the Storm.

13-year Storm veteran Sue Bird played just under five minutes and didn’t score for Seattle against the Sparks Friday night.

L.A. will have to show some focus Saturday night in Phoenix when they finish the regular season against the league’s best team – the Mercury – who’ve beaten L.A. in all their match ups this season.

A win coupled with a San Antonio loss gives the Sparks the third seed and they can pack their bags for an opening round series with the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx.

Or L.A. gets the fourth seed and will stay in the Valley of the Sun and open the post season against the Mercury.

Basically, pick your poison.

Dodgers Closer Jansen quiets Angels’ big bats Wednesday night for 32nd save.

•August 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Kenley Jansen got Angels Mike Trout to strike out, Albert Pujols to fly out and Josh Hamilton to strike out for his 32nd save in Wednesday's 2-1 Dodgers win over the Angels.

Kenley Jansen got Angels Mike Trout to strike out, Albert Pujols to fly out and Josh Hamilton to strike out for his 32nd save in Wednesday’s 2-1 Dodgers win over the Angels.

ANAHEIM – Talk about silencing a “murderers’ row” of major league hitters. That’s exactly what L.A. Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen did Wednesday night in the third game of the Freeway Series against the L.A. Angels.

To preserve a 2-1 Dodgers lead and earn his 32nd save, Jansen had to get out in succession Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

That’s like facing a line-up card for Home Run Derby on All-Star Monday night.

To open the 9th inning, lead-off hitter Kole Calhoun got on base with a single and then stole second base.

With nobody out and the tying run in scoring position, Jansen fell behind 3-0 to Trout. He reared back and came all the way back to strike out Trout swinging.

The next batter – Pujols – lifted a fly ball to center that was caught by Yasiel Puig for the second out.

The Angels last chance – in the form of Hamilton – ended with Jansen striking him out swinging for the third out, a Dodgers win and the save for Jansen.

That warranted some fist-pumping on the mound after sitting Hamilton down and that’s exactly what Jansen gave the crowd split with Dodgers and Angels faithful.

Jansen’s been doing plenty of fist-pumping. Since June 21st – a span of 17 appearances by the right-hander, he’s allowed just a single run in 17 and-a-third innings of relief working an .052 ERA in the process. Wednesday’s save was his 12th since the Summer Solstice in 13 opportunities.

In that span, Jansen’s allowed just one extra-base hit while striking out 24 batters and just two walks.

Safe to say if the Dodgers have a lead entering the ninth inning of any game, it should be a lock that Jansen shuts the door on opponents.

To get Jansen’s reaction to getting those three big outs in Wednesday’s 2-1 Dodgers win over the Angels, click on the video below.

Ex-Halo Haren hurls solid 7 & 1/3 inn. Kemp Homers. Dodgers beat Angels, 2-1.

•August 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Matt Kemp homered for the 6th time in the last nine games as the Dodgers beat the Angels, 2-1 Wednesday in Anaheim.

Matt Kemp homered for the 6th time in the last nine games as the Dodgers beat the Angels, 2-1 Wednesday in Anaheim.

ANAHEIM, CA – Former Angel Dan Haren returned to Anaheim Wednesday night pitching three-hit ball into the eighth inning going perfect through six frames and guiding the Dodgers to a 2-1 win over the Angels in the third game of the Freeway Series at sold-out Angels Stadium.

The win lifted a huge Rally Monkey off Haren’s back after losing his previous five starts with a gargantuan 10.03 earned run average in those games.

The line on Haren (9-9) read seven and a third innings, allowing three hits an earned run while striking out four Halos.

Reigning National League Player of the Week Matt Kemp continued his torrid hitting lifting an Angels starter Matt Shoemaker offering into the bullpen in left for a lead-off, second-inning solo home run – his 14th of the season and and his 6th round-tripper in nine games – giving the Dodgers (65-50) a one-nothing lead.

Later in the inning, after Carl Crawford singled and then stole second base, Andre Ethier doubled to right driving in Crawford giving the Dodgers a two-nothing lead.

Not a bad outing for Shoemaker (9-4) who suffered the loss for the Angels. He went five innings, scattering six hits and striking out five allowing the two runs.

After getting on the board in the eighth inning when Chris Iannetta hit a sacrifice fly to Yasiel Puig in center scoring Erick Aybar from third, the Angels (67-46) had a chance in the ninth when Kole Calhoun hit a lead-off single of Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen with the heart of the Halos line-up coming up.

Calhoun then stole second and after falling behind Mike Trout at 3-0, Jansen came right back and struck Trout out swinging for the first out. Albert Pujols popped up for the second out to Puig in center. Josh Hamilton was the Angels’ last hope and Jansen struck him out swinging for the last out and his 32nd save of the season.

To hear post game comments from Matt Kemp and Dan Haren, click on the video below.

The Angels lost a golden opportunity to climb to within one game of first-place Oakland in the American League West after the A’s lost to Tampa Bay 7-3. the Halos remain two games behind Oakland in second place.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers maintained a two-and-a-half game lead over San Francisco in first place in the National League West with the Giants beating the Brewers in Milwaukee, 7-4.

Thursday night’s Freeway Series finale in Anaheim will pit the Dodgers’ Hun-Jin Ryu (12-5, 3.39 ERA) against the Angels’ C.J. Wilson (8-7, 4.74 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 pm PDT.

WNBA: L.A. Sparks don’t lock up playoff berth falling to Tulsa Shock, 96-90.

•August 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment
L.A.'s Nneka Ogwumike scored a career-high 35 points in the Sparks 96-90 loss to the Tulsa Shock .

L.A.’s Nneka Ogwumike scored a career-high 35 points in the Sparks 96-90 loss to the Tulsa Shock .

LOS ANGELES- Riding their best stretch of the season having won four-of-five games coming into Tuesday’s game the Los Angeles Sparks took a small step backwards falling to the Tulsa Shock, 96-90 at Staples Center.

A win over the Shock would’ve clinched a Western Conference playoff spot but now Los Angeles will have to wait. And when you consider the Shock were 3-10 on the road entering Tuesday’s game, it certainly was an opportunity lost.

Also lost were the performances of forwards Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker. Ogwumike knocked down a career-high 35 points and Parker poured in 28 points to go along with nine assists. Rebounding stats were few and far between for Los Angeles which was out-rebounded 37-17 including 16 to 3 on the offensive glass.

After coming back from a nine-point deficit in the first quarter and trailing by six at the half, the Sparks took a two-point lead at the end of the third quarter, 68-66.

Los Angeles only scored two points in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter while Tulsa scored 14 to take the lead for good basically putting the game away. Odyssey Sims drained 15 of her team-high 30 points in the frame. Rebounding was the key for the Shock limiting L.A. to one shot at its end while the Shock grabbed rebounds and pushed the action in the other direction.

“We weren’t hitting shots on offense and they were getting the rebounds.” Said Parker of that 14-2 Tulsa run that put the game out of reach. “We didn’t get back on defense so they got some easy shots on the other end.”

To hear more from Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and L.A. head coach Penny Toler, click on the video with this story.

The Sparks had no one else in double figures. Glory Johnson and Skylar Wiggins each added 18 points apiece for the winners.

Currently sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot in the west, a win in any of the last five regular season games for the Sparks punches their post-season ticket.

L.A.’s next opportunity comes at home Friday night against the Eastern Conference’s top seed, the Atlanta Dream. tip-off is set for 7:30pm PDT at Staples Center.

 

WNBA: L.A. Sparks can clinch playoff berth with win over Tulsa at Staples Center

•August 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Candace Parker looks to lead the L.A. Sparks back into the playoffs with a win tonight over the Tulsa Shock at Staples Center.

Candace Parker looks to lead the L.A. Sparks back into the playoffs with a win tonight over the Tulsa Shock at Staples Center.

LOS ANGELES – A win tonight over the Tulsa Shock at Staples Center and the Los Angeles Sparks secure a playoff berth for the third straight season.

Los Angeles (13-15) currently sits as the third seed in the Western Conference with five games left in the regular season. A win tonight over Tulsa (10-19) gives the Sparks a four-and-a-half game lead with four games left.

It seems the Sparks are getting hot at the right time winning four of their last five games going into the final two weeks of the season.

Sunday’s dramatic 70-69 win at Staples over the Connecticut Sun looks as if it’s provided, ahem, a Spark for Los Angeles.

Trailing by six points with 29 seconds left in the game, the Sparks scored seven straight points thanks to some superior pressure defense culminating when Nneka Ogwumike stole and inbounds pass getting the rock to Candace Wiggins who found Kristi Toliver for an open three-pointer with nine seconds left putting the Sparks ahead for good. When you consider Toliver had been 0-for-6 from the field up until that clinching three went in, she was obviously clutch when she had to be.

“For me it’s not about what happened,” said Toliver after the win, “It’s about what you can make happen in the moment.”

Alana Beard had a team-high 18 points while Candace Parker scored nine after missing a couple of games with a left knee strain.

Tulsa can still make the playoffs even with a loss to the Sparks. Coming in they trail San Antonio by three games with five left. The Shock’s problem is the finish the season with four of their five games on the road – including tonight’s game in Los Angeles – where they’re 3-and-10 away from home.

Tip-off from Staples Center is set for 7:40 pm.

 
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