Apr 11

Game Ten, 2021

Nationals at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: MASN 2, MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA

It’s a battle of 3-time Cy Young winners today. The Nats send RHP Max Scherzer (0-0, 6.00 ERA) to the hill to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 4.26 ERA). Scherzer gave up four HRs in six innings on Opening Day; he did strike out nine. Kershaw had a forgettable Opening Day start but redeemed himself his second time out, when he gave up just four hits and one run over seven innings while striking out eight.

Before today’s game there’ll be a commemoration of Fernando Valenzuela’s accomplishments and the 40th anniversary of Fernandomania (40 years? Really?).

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1912 Rube Marquard begins a nineteen-game consecutive winning streak by beating the Dodgers, 18-3, in a game which features 13 ground rule doubles hit by the visitors because of the overflow crowd being placed in the outfield and along the foul lines. The future Hall of Fame southpaw’s streak will end in July when the Giants lose to Chicago at the West Side Grounds, 7-2.
  • 1961 Robin Roberts, in his twelfth-straight Opening Day start, is tagged with the loss when the Phillies lose to the Dodgers in the LA Memorial Coliseum, 6-2. The right-hander’s effort ties Grover Cleveland Alexander’s National League record for consecutive season openers.
  • 2006 Jeromy Burnitz, Ryan Doumit, Jack Wilson, and Craig Wilson hit solo home runs in the Pirates’ 7-6 victory over the Dodgers at PNC Park. The quartet of round-trippers blasted by the Buc sluggers is each player’s second homer of the season.

Lineup:

Hmm. Rios in RF? McKinstry in LF? Still no Betts?

Apr 10

Game Nine, 2021

Nationals at Dodgers, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: MASN 2, SPNLA

The visiting Nats have yet to declare a starter. Never fear, they eventually will because they have to. The Dodgers send out Julio Urías (1, 1.29 ERA), whose seven-inning stint in his first start was the longest outing of his career. It was brilliant: he gave up one run on three hits while striking out six and walking just one.

In the “you can’t ever have enough pitching” department:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1947 During the sixth inning of an exhibition game against their minor league team at Ebbets Field, the Montreal Royals, Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey issues a brief statement to the press. The two sentences will forever change the game when the team announces “The Brooklyn Dodgers today purchased the contract of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson from the Montreal Royals. He will report immediately.”
  • 1962 In front of 52,564 fans, Reds infielder Eddie Kasko doubles off of Johnny Podres in the first ever at-bat at Dodger Stadium, and Duke Snider’s single in the bottom of the second accounts for the home team’s first hit. After playing their first four seasons at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the team drops a 6-3 decision to the Reds in the debut of the new $22 million ballpark in Chavez Ravine, financed with a low two-percent interest loan from the Union Oil Company in exchange for exclusive rights to advertise within the stadium.
  • 1962 Wally Post hits the first home run in Dodger Stadium history, a two-out, three-run shot in the seventh inning off Johnny Podres that proves to be the difference in the Cincinnati’s 6-3 victory. The left fielder’s round-tripper to center field is a fair ball, unlike some others hit in the ballpark where the foul poles are discovered to be positioned in foul territory, requiring special permission from the National League to be recognized as fair during the first year in the team’s new home in Chavez Ravine.
  • 1976 After being granted his free agency in a landmark case which will forever change baseball, Andy Messersmith becomes one of the first major leaguers to use his new status to sign with a team of his choice. The former Dodger right-hander comes to terms with the Braves and will post a 16-15 record during his two-year tenure for his new club.
  • 2012 Vin Scully misses the Dodgers’ home opener for the first time in 35 years when doctors order the 84 year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster to rest as he recovers from a bad cold. The last time the team’s play-by-play announcer was absent from the season’s first home game he was calling the first round of the Masters in 1977.

Lineup when available.

Betts is still being held out. I hope there’s nothing more seriously wrong than we’ve been told.

Apr 09

Game Eight, 2021

Nationals at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: MASN, MLBN, SPNLA

This is the home opener for 2021, but it’s more than that. The Dodgers will be raising their World Series Chanpionship banner, handing out World Series rings, and welcoming fans back into the stadium for the first time since October 2019. There are some great photos of the stadium as it was being prepared here.

RHP Joe Ross (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the season for the Nationals. He’ll face RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 3.00 ERA) of the Dodgers. Ross opted out last season due to the pandemic; he’s got a 7.02 ERA against the Dodgers in 16 2/3 career innings. Buehler struck out four and gave up two runs in six innings in his first start against the Rockies.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1913 The Phillies spoil the debut of Ebbets Field, beating the Dodgers, 1-0, in front of a small crowd of approximately 10,000 fans, who brave the frigid weather to witness the pitching duel. Given special permission, Brooklyn opens the season a day early to properly inaugurate its new $75,000 Brooklyn ballpark, which took a year to build.
  • 1947 Dodger skipper Leo Durocher, feuding with the Yankees, is suspended for one year by commissioner Happy Chandler for an assortment of actions deemed detrimental to baseball, including association with known gamblers. The Brooklyn and New York clubs are both fined $2,000 and by order of the commissioner are not allowed to discuss the matter.
  • 1966 After sharing space at Wrigley Field in 1961 and Dodger Stadium from 1962-65 during their first five seasons in Los Angeles, the Angels move to nearby Anaheim into their own stadium. The ‘Halos’, now known as the California Angels, host the San Francisco Giants in a pre-season exhibition game in the first contest ever played at Anaheim Stadium.
  • 1981 On Opening Day, Fernando Valenzuela, making his first major league start in place of scheduled starter Jerry Reuss, blanks Houston on five hits at Dodger Stadium, 2-0. During the strike-shortened season, the 20 year-old rookie from Mexico will lead the league in game starts (25), complete games (11), and shutouts (8).

Lineup:

Betts and Bellinger are out with injuries. Bellinger will miss his third straight game after getting spiked in Monday’s win over the Athletics. Betts will miss his second consecutive game with a lower back injury.

Apr 07

Game Seven, 2021

Dodgers at Athletics, 12:37 PDT, TV: MLBN (out-of-market only), NBCSCA, SPNLA

RHP Trevor Bauer (1-0, 5.68 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers and LHP Jésus Luzardo (0-1, 9.00 ERA) goes for the As. Bauer was sailing along with a no-hitter into the seventh in his first start when the wheels came off the wagon a little; he gave up four runs in that inning. Nonetheless he struck out 10 in 6 1/3 in his Dodger debut. Luzardo struck out 8 and walked none in his first start, but he gave up two HRs and five runs overall in five innings and took the loss.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1969 After throwing just two pitches to start the season, Don Drysdale finds himself and his team trailing by two runs when Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan hit back-to-back homers. The 32 year-old right-hander settles down, and the Dodgers come back to win the Crosley Field contest, 3-2.
  • 1969 Bill Singer becomes the first major league reliever to officially record a save, a new stat which will be kept starting this season, in the Dodgers’ 3-2 win over Cincinnati in the season-opener at Crosley Field. The ‘Singer Throwing Machine’ does not allow a hit, hurling three scoreless innings en route to saving Don Drysdale’s victory.
  • 1977 Gary Thomasson starts the game by walloping the first pitch in the Dodgers’ opener for a home run off Don Sutton, who had apparently thrown a gopher ball. Unbeknownst to the Giants’ leadoff hitter, the ball was to be taken for a pitch and handed to the home plate umpire to be sent to Cooperstown.
  • 1977 Frank Sinatra keeps his promise to Tommy Lasorda by singing the Star-Spangled Banner on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. ‘Old Blue Eyes’ had told the team’s new skipper he would perform the National Anthem if his friend ever became the L.A. manager.

  • 2012 Octavio Dotel, playing for his 13th team, breaks a major league record he previously shared with Mike Morgan, Matt Stairs, and Ron Villone. The 39 year-old Tiger reliever, who throws 1.1 scoreless innings against Boston, has also appeared with the Mets, Astros, A’s, Yankees, Royals, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Dodgers, Rockies, Blue Jays, and Cardinals.

Lineup when available.

Apr 06

Game Six, 2021

Dodgers at Athletics, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: NBCSCA, SPNLA

LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 7.94 ERA) tries to right his ship after an outing in which he gave up six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He’ll face RHP Chris Bassitt (0-1, 5.06 ERA), who lost his first start of the year while giving up three runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2001 In the home opener at Veterans Stadium, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning’s number 14 jersey is retired. Kentucky’s Republican U.S. senator, who compiled a 224-184 record in his 17-year career pitching for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates, and Dodgers, joins Richie Ashburn (1), Robin Roberts (36), Steve Carlton (32), and Mike Schmidt (20) as the fifth player to have his number retired by the Phillies.
  • 2004 Adrian Beltre becomes the 36th player in baseball history to hit 100 home runs before the age of 25. The Dodger third baseman joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Lou Gehrig to have exactly 100 homers on their 25th birthday.
  • 2016 The Padres, with their 7-0 loss at Petco Park, become the first team to be shut out in the first three games of the regular season, surpassing the dubious mark set by the Browns, who opened the 1943 campaign with 26 straight scoreless innings. San Diego also dropped their first two decisions of the three-game series against the Dodgers, 15-0 and 3-0.

Lineup when available.

Apr 05

Game Five, 2021

Dodgers at Athletics, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: NBCSCA, SPNLA

RHP Dustin May (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the year against fellow RHP Frankie Montas (0-0, 0.00 ERA), also making his first start. May went 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 12 starts in the shortened 2020 season. Montas had a down year in 2020, going 3-5 with a 5.60 ERA in 11 starts.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1913 In an exhibition game against the Yankees, 25,000 fans watch the Dodgers play their first game in Ebbets Field. Brooklyn beats New York, 3-2, with Casey Stengel hitting the park’s first home run, an inside-the-parker.
  • 1957 The Phillies trade five players, Ron Negray, Tim Harkness, Elmer Valo, Mel Geho, and Ben Flowers (the player to be named later), and send $75,000 to the Dodgers to obtain much-touted Cuban infielder Chico Fernandez. Philadelphia’s new shortstop plays three seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, batting just .242, before being traded to the Tigers.
  • 1989 At Riverfront Stadium, Dodgers’ hurler Orel Hershiser’s scoreless-inning streak ends at 59. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Todd Benzinger’s single scores Barry Larkin, who had been picked off after getting a base hit to lead off the game, but was safe on the ‘Bulldog’s’ throwing error.
  • 1993 In front of 42,334 fans at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, the Florida Marlins, making their major league debut, defeat the Dodgers, 6-3. Joe DiMaggio throws out the ceremonial first pitch, and the team retires uniform number 5 in tribute to Carl Barger, their late president.

Lineup when available.

Apr 04

Game Four, 2021

Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: ATTSportsNetRM, SPNLA

LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 0.00 ERA), last seen closing out Game Six of the World Series, makes his first start of the season. He’ll face LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 0.00 ERA) who’s doing the same. Urias is just 24 years old, but it seems like he’s been a big part of the Dodgers’ success the last couple of years. Gomber came over to the Rockies from the Cardinals in the Nolan Arenado trade this off-season.

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 1968 Due to today’s assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, most of the major league teams will decide to postpone their Opening Day games until the reverend’s funeral takes place in five days. Surprisingly, the Dodgers, at first, are the notable exception, even though the Phillies, their opponents on April 9th, say they will forfeit rather than play on the national day of mourning. [See below]
  • 2016 The Dodgers hand the Padres the worst Opening Day shutout loss since at least 1913, and most likely in the history of the game, blanking the Friars at PetCo Park, 15-0. The contest marked the managerial debut of both skippers with LA’s Dave Roberts and San Diego’s Padres Andy Green both piloting their first major league game.

So what did MLB do to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder? Initially, not much. It took the Pirates, the most thoroughly integrated team in all of baseball, whose numbers included Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills, Donn Clendenon and Matty Alou, to make a stand and refuse to play on Monday, April 8, Opening Day. The Dodgers’ Walter O’Malley and Buzzie Bavasi were positively tone-deaf.

The last holdouts, the Dodgers, were due to host the Phillies in Los Angeles. Team owner Walter O’Malley, who was the club’s vice president in 1947 when the team signed Jackie Robinson, wanted to go ahead with the game. According to an Associated Press story, O’Malley figured King’s funeral would be over by the time his team took the field on the West Coast.

Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi explained the club’s position to the press: “We are going to follow the schedule,” he said. “We would not play the game if the interment was not completely over. I’m not sure Mr. Giles [Warren Giles, president of the National League] has any jurisdiction in a case like this.”

I rarely agreed with anything Dick Young wrote in those days, but I can concur with this:

Dick Young was equally incredulous at the Dodgers’ strategy. “Teams in the East and Midwest, which would be playing during the funeral hours, should postpone their games,” he wrote, summarizing O’Malley’s and Eckert’s plan. “[But] teams in California, which would be opening an hour after the funeral had concluded, would play. It was as though someone was standing by the side of the bier with a stopwatch and a starter’s gun.”

The Phillies’ GM John Quinn announced they’d forfeit rather than play. O’Malley conferred with Quinn and Giles and finally agreed to postpone the game.

Lineup when available.

Bellinger and Seager sit this one out, replaced by CT3 and McKinstry.

Apr 03

Game Three, 2021

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10 PM PDT, TV: ATTSportsNetRM, FS1, SPNLA

RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the year for the Dodgers and RHP Jon Gray (0-0, 0.00 ERA) does the same for Rockies. Buehler only pitched 36 2/3 innings in last year’s shortened regular season; he went 1-0 in eight starts. He beat the Braves in the NLCS and Tampa Bay in the World Series, though. Gray was 2-4 in the same number of starts last season, pitching just 2 1/3 innings more than Buehler.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1968 The Tigers trade left-hander Hank Aguirre to the Dodgers for a player to be named later, minor leaguer Fred Moulder. The All-Star southpaw, better known for being the worst hitter in major league history, will compile a .085 batting average during his 16-year major league career, striking out in an astounding 61% of his 388 at-bats. In his sole season with the Dodgers he appeared in 25 games, threw 39 innings, earned three saves and put up a .069 ERA.
  • 1974 The Indians trade Pedro Guerrero to Dodgers for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen. The 17 year-old infielder/outfielder will compile a .309 batting average and will be named to the All-Star team five times during his 11 seasons with the team.
  • 2008 Twenty minutes before their game, the Dodgers announce reliever Hong-Chih Kuo will start in place of Chad Billingsley, who in turn will be in the bullpen. The unusual move, made due to the threat of rain at the start of the contest, is also employed by the Giants with Merkin Valdez beginning the game on the mound and the announced starter, and eventual winner Tim Lincecum entering the game in the fourth inning.

Lineup:

Mookie and JT get the day off, CT3 gets a start as does Edwin Rios.

Apr 02

Game Two, 2021

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA

RHP Trevor Bauer, 0-0, 0.00 ERA makes his first start of the season and his first start for his new team. He’ll face RHP Antonio Senzatela, 0-0, 0.00 ERA. Bauer, since he was with Cincinnati, didn’t face Colorado at all last year. Senzatela made three starts against the Dodgers, one bad and two good. He went 1-1 against them.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2003 Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine different clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.
  • 2007 For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under the age of 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20 year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher ‘not of age’ to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros, 2-0, in 1981.
  • 2008 Third base ump Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying within the boundaries of the coaching box although he warned the Dodger coach several times to follow the new edict put in place by MLB following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers’ first base coach Mike Coolbaugh. The former infielder and manager’s behavior will lead to a three-game suspension for “inappropriate and aggressive conduct,” in which he had to be restrained by manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer in the sixth inning of the 3-2 victory over the Giants in Los Angeles.

In non-Dodger history, on this day in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager and former Dodger Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name current first base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.

Lineup when available.

Apr 01

Opening Day, 2021

Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: ATTSportsnetRM, SPNLA, ESPN

LHP Clayton Kershaw will make his ninth Opening Day start, most in Dodger history. He’ll face RHP Germán Márquez. Each pitcher faced the other team once last season: Kershaw gave up one run over seven innings at Coors Field, and Márquez went seven, gave up two runs and five hits at Dodger Stadium.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1937 The Reds sell Babe Herman to the Tigers. The 34 year-old outfielder, batting .300 for his new team, will appear in only 17 contests with Detroit before effectively retiring from the game, although he will return to play briefly for the war-time Dodgers in 1945.
  • 1963 Former Brooklyn Dodger Duke Snider returns to New York when the Mets purchase him from LA for $40,000. The 36 year-old outfielder, who will represent New York in the All-Star game, will be told at the end of the season by Buzzie Bavasi, his former GM, that the Yankees had asked for him to back up Mickey Mantle before he was dealt to the team across the river.
  • 2008 On Opening Day in Los Angeles, Juan Pierre’s 434 consecutive game streak, the longest current one in the major leagues, comes to an end when the Dodger outfielder does not play in the 3-2 victory over the Giants. New skipper Joe Torre plays Andre Ethier in left field in place of the highly paid but light-hitting fly chaser.

Can you imagine Duke Snider in pinstripes?

Lineup when available.