Finley's Sports Roundup
August 1, 2019
The Culver City High School girls' varsity volleyball team will start preseason play at the end of this month. The Centaurs graduated 11 players from last years' team so they are going to have to find some new team leaders and their younger players will have to step.
The last three years have been nothing short of spectacular. In 2016 they had a record of 27-9 and that included a CIF Championship and a trip to the State Playoffs. In 2017 they won another CIF Championship and another trip to state. That year their record was 31-2. Last year they were 32-4 and made a deep run in the CIF playoffs and they also went to state. The question is what can they do for an encore?
The Dodgers started a 10 game home stand last Thursday against San Diego. They play three more games against the Padres on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Monday they start a three game series against St. Louis and August 9-11 they battle Arizona.
This season the Dodgers have used a combination of hitting and pitching to make them one of the best teams in major league baseball. This years' team is one of the best hitting teams in their history but one thing has been consistent even before the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and that's pitching.
The Dodgers have had some of the greatest pitchers in major league baseball history. Don Newcombe, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen, Don Sutton, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Ron Peranoski, Ramon Martinez and Hideo Nomo are some of the Dodgers pitchers in the past that are house hold names to true Dodger fans.
This year and the last few years the names have changed but the results are the same. The Dodgers starting pitchers are still some of the best in the game. They have the best record in baseball at 70-39 and their pitching is a big reason why.
Starting pitchers Hyun-Jim Ryu is 11-2, Clayton Kershaw is 9-2, Walker Buehler is 9-2 and Kenta Maeda is 7-8. Maeda's record could be better but the Dodgers have not produced a lot of runs when he is on the mound.
The bullpen has been a problem for the Dodgers but they still have the best record in baseball. Also their fielding has been up and down this year so the bullpen is not the only players to blame for their 39 loses. Their bullpen is led by Kenley Jensen, Julio Urias, Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcias.
"We have some good arms down there," said Kershaw a few weeks ago referring to the bullpen. "It's just a matter of getting more consistent. It's not any different than a starting pitcher going through a rut. We are just going to have to find that consistency."
Dodger manager Dave Roberts knows baseball is divided into three main parts, offense defense and pitching but he is not giving up on his bullpen. "They have to get better at throwing strikes and quality pitches," said Roberts during their last home stand. "We have to be able to overcome plays that are not made. This is a collective effort, you have to play defense too. We have to make plays for these guys. I am going to keep using them. It's easy to point the finger at one group but I just don't see the world like that."
Last week the Pac-12 held their annual football Media Day in Hollywood. For the first time in a long time neither USC or UCLA was mentioned when came to winning a South Division or Pac-12 championship. Utah was picked by the football writers to win the South. USC coach Clay Helton and UCLA's coach Chip Kelly appear to be on the hot seat. Both coaches will probably need winning seasons to keep their jobs.
The Clippers introduced their two new superstars last week at Green Meadows Recreation Center in South Los Angeles. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George hope to help their team make a deep run in the playoffs.
The next day after the press conference the Clippers held a pep rally in Los Angeles for season ticket holders that included the unveiling of the Clippers new stadium in Inglewood that is set to open in 2024. Clipper owner Steve Ballmer told the crowd that the Clippers need their own arena. Also on hand to speak to the crowd was consultant and basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West and team president Lawrence Frank.
Last week the Rams and Chargers started summer training camps, The LAFC is has the best record in Major League Soccer and the Sparks play three home games in a row starting Sunday.
This sports column is dedicated to former Culver City Observer Editor and Sports Editor Mitch Chortkoff.