The Sports Report: A Game 1 disaster for the Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw sits in the dugout after being pulled.
Clayton Kershaw sits in the dugout after a disastrous Game 1 outing.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Jack Harris: The Dodgers had confidence, spending the last week extolling their clubhouse culture, roster chemistry and ability to overcome obstacles and adversity in a 100-win season.

They had an atmosphere, a sold-out Chavez Ravine revved up after an electric pregame anthem performance and fighter jet flyover.

Most of all, they had a plan: Give the ball to Clayton Kershaw, back him up with a deep bullpen and try to strike for a quick win in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.


The only problem: The Arizona Diamondbacks swiftly, ruthlessly and stunningly socked them in the mouth.

Kershaw gave up six runs while recording just one out, a disastrous first inning complete with a dropped fly ball, squandered two-strike at-bats and a towering, three-run homer (and accompanying bat flip) from Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno.

Rookie right-hander Emmet Sheehan yielded three more runs in the second, leaving Dodger Stadium silent save for Arizona’s family section.

And by the time the night was over, the Dodgers faced a series hole that felt like much more than one game, their 11-2 defeat marking the franchise’s most lopsided postseason loss at Dodger Stadium.

Continue reading here


From Bill Plaschke: He stalked to the mound with a busted wing and a silent prayer, Clayton Kershaw desperately hoping his revival tour would continue rolling into a glorious Dodgers October.


After two batters, fans were booing.

After five batters, Kershaw was crumbling, standing off the mound with his hands on his knees and his stare fixed on the grass.

After eight batters, Kershaw was gone, trudging to the dugout where he sat alone on the bench with the same stance surely adopted by Dodgers fans everywhere.

Head buried in hands.

The playoff opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium was supposed to be the continuation of a late-season Kershaw dream, the potentially retiring Dodgers ace carrying his team into the National League Division Series despite dealing with a shoulder injury that would end a normal pitcher’s season.

In the span of 15 minutes, that dream became a nightmare.

Continue reading here

Dodgers could see another early winter if bats do not come alive

Ominous start puts Dodgers’ vulnerabilities on full display in Game 1 loss

Dodgers box score

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.


All times Pacific

Dodgers vs. Arizona
Arizona 11, Dodgers 2 (box score)
Monday at Dodgers, 6 p.m.
Wednesday at Arizona, 6 p.m.
*Thursday at Arizona, 6 p.m.
*Saturday at Dodgers, 6:20 p.m.

All games will be on TBS.

Philadelphia vs. Atlanta
Philadelphia 3, Atlanta 0 (box score)
Monday at Atlanta, 3 p.m., TBS
Wednesday at Philadelphia, 2 p.m., TBS
*Thursday at Philadelphia, 3 p.m., TBS
*Saturday at Atlanta, 3 p.m., TBS

*-if necessary


All times Pacific

Texas vs. Baltimore
Texas 3, Baltimore 2 (box score)
Sunday at Baltimore, 1 p.m., FS1
Tuesday at Texas, 5 p.m., Fox
*Wednesday at Texas, 4 p.m., FS1
*Friday at Baltimore, 5 p.m., FS1

Minnesota vs. Houston
Houston 6, Minnesota 4 (box score)
Sunday at Houston, 5 p.m., FS1
Tuesday at Minnesota, 1 p.m., Fox
*Wednesday at Minnesota, 11 a.m., FS1
*Friday at Houston, 1 p.m., FS1

*-if necessary

MLB playoffs: Bryce Harper homers, Phillies shut down Braves in Game 1 of NLDS


From Ryan Kartje: After so much had gone so miserably awry, from the sleepy offense and sloppy defense to the missed throws and many more missed tackles, it felt almost too simple that it would end like this for USC. Just a 25-yard field goal to erase the disastrous results that came before it. A routine kick to end a Saturday night that was anything but routine.

Of course, it wouldn’t be that easy. Nothing had been for the Trojans Saturday. It would take three more nail-biting overtimes, two more thwarted conversions from its defense and one last bit of hero ball from its star quarterback for USC to finally dispatch Arizona, 43-41, in a madcap matchup befitting of the farewell tour of #Pac12AfterDark.

But before all that chaos came the high snap – too high at least for Will Rose, USC’s holder, to snag and place with the final seconds of regulation ticking away. The two plays prior had given the Trojans good chances to score from the 6-yard-line, but both had also gone poorly, leaving it up to Denis Lynch, their placekicker, and Rose, whose task would prove impossible from his kneeling position.

Lynch’s desperation kick ultimately went nowhere, a late gut punch on a night full of them. Fortunately for USC, there would be three overtimes to swing back after that.

Not that Arizona would go quietly. The Wildcats first touchdown of overtime took all of one play. Their next drive resulted in a fourth score for wideout Jacob Cowing.

Each time Arizona swung, USC held steady, its faith still strong on the shoulders of its star quarterback.

Continue reading here

USC box score


From Ben Bolch: One yard. One measly yard.

That was all Washington State needed to sustain a drive and its comeback hopes against a UCLA defense that hadn’t given it much of anything all afternoon.

Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward took the snap and hesitated for a moment on the fourth-down play, searching for an opening. He burst toward the line of scrimmage, running into a wall of blue and gold.

Once again, there was nothing there.

Dragged down for no gain as the decibel level soared inside the Rose Bowl, Ward rose slowly as Bruins defensive lineman Gary Smith III and linebacker Kain Medrano excitedly pumped their arms.

The only thing left for the UCLA defense to do Saturday was celebrate its role in a stunning 25-17 comeback victory over the No. 13 Cougars. The cheers were a much more pleasant soundtrack than the boos that had filled the place after the Bruins failed to gain a first down on their first two drives of the second half.

On a day that freshman quarterback Dante Moore sputtered and an unlikely hero revived the Bruins’ running game with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, it was the defense that was the big story.

Continue reading here


From Gary Klein: Cooper Kupp is an established NFL star, an All-Pro receiver who in 2021 led the league in receptions, yards receiving and touchdown catches.

Puka Nacua is a burgeoning star, a rookie off to a historic start for the Rams in part because of a hamstring injury that sidelined Kupp for the first four games of the season.

So how will coach Sean McVay and quarterback Matthew Stafford blend the two Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and beyond? It’s an intriguing subplot as the Rams (2-2) prepare to face the defending NFC champion Eagles (4-0).

McVay announced Friday that Kupp would be activated to the roster from injured reserve. It will be Kupp’s first game since suffering a season-ending ankle injury against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 13.

“Shoot man, it’s going to be great to be back in SoFi, back playing a game again,” Kupp said after practice. “It’s been a long time since I played in a real football game.”

Continue reading here

Pooo-kah Nah-kooo-ahhh already becoming word of mouth among NFL receivers


From Dan Woike: The Lakers opened their preseason against one of the last teams they saw, facing Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors.

Without LeBron James and Austin Reaves in uniform for precautionary reasons, Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell combined for 30 points in the first half of a 125-108 loss.

Both teams played their starters in the first half before ceding minutes to the reserves in the second half.

Continue reading here


From Andrew Greif: When Robert Covington arrived in Hawaii last week, delayed behind his Clippers teammates by a personal issue, the forward asked what he’d missed during the first day of practices.

“A couple veterans was like, ‘That’s the hardest training camp I ever had,’” Covington said.

The first day featured two practices and one message as impossible to miss as the outline of Diamond Head from the Clippers’ beachfront hotel.

“It’s time to wake up,” coach Tyronn Lue told The Times.

Continue reading here


Teemu Pukki scored three of his four goals in the second half to propel Minnesota United to a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday night, eliminating the Galaxy from playoff contention.

Continue reading here


Denis Bouanga scored twice to extend his MLS lead to 19 goals this season and LAFC eliminated Austin from playoff contention with a 4-2 victory on Saturday night.

Bouanga recorded his fifth multi-score game of the season, the second-most in a single season in club history behind Carlos Vela’s seven in 2019.

LAFC (14-10-9) has won six of the eight all-time meetings, with Austin winning the other two.

Continue reading here


From John Cherwa: It’s not enough that Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah, he also can’t seem to lose the race that was named after his Triple Crown winner.

Baffert picked up his fourth win in five years in the Grade 1 $300,000 American Pharoah on Saturday when Muth, a $2-million purchase by Amr Zedan, won the 1 1/16-mile race by an easy 3 ¾ lengths. Baffert also had the second-place finisher in Wine Me Up. It was the 12th time he has won this race, including when the race carried different names.

The win in the American Pharoah earned Muth an all-expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which will be held at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. Baffert also plans to enter Wine Me Up in the race along with the undefeated Prince of Monaco, who is the only horse to have beaten Muth.

Continue reading here


1933 — Cliff Battles of the Boston Redskins becomes the first NFL player to gain more than 200 yards rushing with 215 yards in a 21-20 win over the New York Giants.

1949 — Walt Pastuszak has five of Brown’s 11 interceptions in a 46-0 rout of Rhode Island.

1956 — Don Larsen of the New York Yankees pitches the only perfect game in World Series history, a 2-0 triumph over Brooklyn.

1961 — Paul Hornung scores 33 points, with four touchdowns, six extra points and a field goal, to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 45-7 romp over the Baltimore Colts.

1977 — No. 7 Alabama beats No. 1 USC 21-20 in Los Angeles. USC fullback Lynn Cain scores with 38 seconds remaining but the 2-point attempt fails.

1993 — The Anaheim Mighty Ducks, before 17,174 at the Arrowhead Pond, lose 7-2 to the Detroit Red Wings in their first NHL game.

2005 — Baylor wins a Big 12 road game for the first time in the league’s 10-year history, beating Iowa State 23-13. The Bears had been 0-37 on the road in the Big 12 Conference.

2006 — Randy Moss’ 22-yard TD catch between two defenders 51 seconds before halftime is the Oakland receiver’s 100th touchdown reception. He’s becomes the seventh receiver in NFL history with 100 TD catches.

2018 — Drew Brees’ 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie Tre’Quan Smith makes him the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing and sends the New Orleans Saints well on their way to a 43-19 victory over the Washington Redskins. Brees enters the game needing 201 yards to eclipse Peyton Manning’s previous mark of 71,940 yards. He finishes 26 of 29 for 363 yards and three touchdowns.

2018 — Red Sox utility Brock Holt becomes the first MLB player to hit for the cycle in a postseason game.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.