Dodgers Report: Didi Gregorius

Top things to know: Dodgers at D'Backs

September, 18, 2013

Jake Roth/USA TODAY SportsDon Mattingly has the Dodgers on the verge of a 3rd division title in the last 6 years.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks play the third game of a four-game series in Phoenix tonight (10 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN). Arizona needs only one win in the next two days to win the season series for the third straight year.

Here are a few storylines you might hear about during the broadcast.

1. The Dodgers magic number to clinch first place in the NL West is two, meaning they can clinch with a win tonight.

This would be LA’s third division title in the last six years. However, in each of the last two instances (2008, 2009) the Dodgers were eliminated in the NLCS by the Philadelphia Phillies.

2. The Dodgers have overcome a number of injuries this season. In fact, they’ve used the DL 25 times, more than any other team in the Senior Circuit.

Matt Kemp made his first start off the DL Tuesday night and posted his first four-hit, three-RBI game since Sept. 26, 2012. This was also the fifth such game of his career (four have come against NL West opponents).

3. Paul Goldschmidt has belted five home runs and 18 RBIs off Dodgers pitching this season. His RBIs are tied with Colorado's Michael Cuddyer and San Francisco's Hunter Pence for the most among all players against Los Angeles this season.

In addition, Goldschmidt is riding a seven-game hitting streak that has seen him hit .566 (15-for-27) with nine RBIs.

4. The Diamondbacks have won their share of dramatic games this season. Arizona has 16 extra-inning wins, most by an NL team since the 1999 Atlanta Braves (17) and their 13 walk-off wins are a club record.

Misc. Notes
• Yasiel Puig is hitting .554 on the first pitch of an at-bat this season, the highest average in the majors (minimum 50 plate appearances).

• Arizona’s Didi Gregorius has had a solid rookie season. Among NL rookies, only Yasiel Puig (.401 to .328) has posted a higher OBP (minimum 300 at-bats).

• Opponents are hitting .071 (4-for-56) with runners in scoring position this season against Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen.

Youngsters get Dodgers closer to clinching

September, 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- September can make for some weird moments, when players who have scarcely been heard from jump up and affect a season at a critical moment. Who knows, maybe they'll even affect a postseason game at a critical moment.

The Los Angeles Dodgers got a little dose of that Tuesday night, when Scott Van Slyke hammered a walk-off home run to give them a 5-3 11th-inning win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. It trimmed their magic number for clinching the National League West to just six games, meaning they could be celebrating a division title as early as Saturday.

[+] EnlargeDee Gordon
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsDee Gordon's speed could make him a valuable asset for the Dodgers in the postseason, but there are several younger players who could have an impact.
As nice as Van Slyke's shot was, two other young players who shuttled back and forth between Triple-A and the major leagues all summer could prove useful in a few weeks.

Shortstop Dee Gordon, who has had virtually no impact on this Dodgers season, could give them a dangerous pinch runner for the late innings of close games. Reliever Chris Withrow and his 98 mph fastball might come in handy, too.

Manager Don Mattingly still refuses to talk much about postseason roster possibilities until the Dodgers clinch, but he said both Gordon and Van Slyke will get long looks for a bench spot.

"One guy hits a home run, another steals a base," Mattingly said. "We'll kind of deal with those questions and throw them around upstairs and downstairs if we can get there."

Gordon could give the Dodgers another Dave Roberts nine years after Roberts stole that key base to spark the Boston Red Sox's World Series run. Gordon pinch ran for Adrian Gonzalez in the 10th inning Tuesday night, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

He stayed stuck there when Juan Uribe struck out on a 3-and-2 pitch from Josh Collmenter, but you could see how Gordon's presence on the bases distracted the Arizona reliever. The last thing a pitcher needs in a pressure-packed playoff setting is somebody that fast in his peripheral vision.

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Yasiel Puig
.296 16 69 92
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239