The AL Wild Card Series starts Tuesday, Sept. 29 and the NL Wild Card Series starts Wednesday, Sept. 30. The Wild Card games will be played at the top four seeds’ home parks. When the Division Series begins games will shift to neutral sites in California (American League) or Texas (National League).
I’ll have an AL Wild Card games post that covers all four games each day and the same for the NL Wild Card games on Wednesday.
In this, the final game of this extraordinary and extraordinarily weird season, it seems fitting the Dodgers have not yet decided who’s gonna start the game. (Update: It’s Victor Gonzalez, 3-0, 1.40 ERA.)The Angels ask LHP Patrick Sandoval (1-4, 5.56 ERA) to start after three straight good relief appearances. The 23-year-old has only made 18 appearances in the big leagues, 14 of them starts.
…the AL postseason field [is] complete, but with all but two seeds (Rays at No. 1 and Astros at No. 6) unresolved heading into today’s action. And in the NL, the top four seeds have been claimed by the Dodgers, Braves, Cubs and Padres, but No. 5 through No. 8 are all up for grabs. The Brewers blanked the Cardinals in St. Louis and by the end of Saturday found themselves holding the eighth and final NL seed. The Giants and Phillies are on the outside looking in, but with hopes of sneaking into the playoffs still alive.
On this date in Dodgers’ history:
1936 Replacing Johnny Mize, tossed by an ump for arguing, Cardinal rookie first baseman Walter Alston makes an error in handling two chances and strikes out in his only major league at-bat. ‘Smokey’ will, however, win seven pennants and four World Series in his 23-year Hall of Fame career as Dodger manager from 1954 to 1976.
1951 Bill Sharman, recently called up from Fort Worth, is one of 15 Dodgers who are ejected by umpire Frank Dascoli for bench jockeying after a close call at home plate. The future basketball Hall of Famer will never play in the big leagues, and thus he will become the only player to be ejected from a major league game without ever appearing in one.
1960 Ryne Duren makes his first start in two years memorable when he strikes out the first five batters he faces in the Yankees’ 5-1 victory over Washington. The feat ties a modern major league record shared by Lefty Gomez (Yankees), Dazzy Vance (Dodgers), and Walter Johnson (Senators).
1961 Sandy Koufax breaks the National League mark for strikeouts in a season, surpassing Christy Mathewson’s mark of 267 established in 1903. Unlike the turmoil caused by commissioner Ford Frick’s edict of having to hit 61 homers by the 154th game in the extended 162-game schedule to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record, little is made that the Dodgers southpaw’s 268th punch-out occurs in the 151st game of the season, compared to the 142-game sked played early in the century.
1964 The Houston Colt .45’s play their final game in Colt Stadium, the team’s home ballpark since joining the National League in 1962. The future Astros beat the Dodgers in the 12th inning, 1-0, when Jimmy Wynn’s single plates Bob Aspromonte.
1993 In a 7-3 victory over the Dodgers, Cubs’ reliever Randy Myers becomes the first National League pitcher to record 50 saves in a season.
1993 Mike Piazza, who broke the major league rookie record for home runs by a catcher earlier in the month, sets another mark for round-trippers when he hits his 34th, surpassing the previous L.A. Dodger mark shared by Steve Garvey (1977) and Pedro Guerrero (1985). Duke Snider established the franchise record with 43 homers playing with Brooklyn in 1956.
2000 The United States Olympic team, managed by former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda, stuns the world, beating the much-favored Cuban team to win the country’s first gold medal in its national pastime. Ben Sheets ends Cuba’s 21-game Olympic winning streak with a 4-0 shutout.
2011 After giving up five runs in the top of the tenth inning, the Diamondbacks score six times in the bottom of the frame in an amazing 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers. Arizona infielder Ryan Roberts delivers the decisive blow in the Chase Field contest, a walk-off grand slam with two outs.
RHP Dylan Bundy (6-3, 3.29 ERA) goes for the Angels while RHP Tony Gonsolin (1-2, 1.77 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers. Bundy has not been at his best in September: he’s got a 4.91 ERA in the four starts he’s made this month. Gonsolin’s start today may set him up to start Game Three of the Wild Card Series next week if one’s needed. Opponents have a 0.787 WHIP against him for the year, so how do you argue against him?
Here are JT’s two dingers from yesterday’s game:
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1908 Cubs right-hander Ed Reulbach pitches two shutouts in the same day, whitewashing the Brooklyn Superbas in the opener 5-0 on a five-hitter and 3-0 on three hits in the nightcap. The entire Washington Park doubleheader takes less than three hours to complete.
1954 Willie Mays, with three hits in the season finale, wins the batting title, finishing the campaign with a .345 average. The ‘Say Hey Kid’ goes third to first in batting average with his performance passing teammate Don Mueller (.342) and Dodger center fielder Duke Snider (341).
1975 Burt Hooton sets a Dodger record for starting pitchers by winning his twelfth consecutive game. The 25 year-old right-hander, who was traded to LA in May for Eddie Solomon and Geoff Zahn, accomplishes the feat by beating J.R. Richard and the Astros at Dodger Stadium, 3-2.
1981 Nolan Ryan becomes the first pitcher to throw five no-hitters when the Astros defeat the Dodgers at the Astrodome, 5-0. The Ryan Express, who will finish his 27-year major league career with a record seven no-hitters, previously has thrown hitless gems against the Royals (1973), Tigers (1973), Twins (1974), and Orioles (1975).
1997 Dodger catcher Mike Piazza, in a 10-4 win over the Rockies, hits the longest home run in the history of Coors Field. The 28 year-old backstop’s sixth-inning blast travels 496 feet and hits the left-center field billboard between the scoreboard and the Rockpile.
The visiting Angels send out old acquaintance (he was a Dodger for about three hours before they traded him to the Angels for Howie Kendrick on December 11, 2014)) Andrew Heaney (4-3, 4.02 ERA) to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.15 ERA). In Heaney’s last start he gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Rangers. Kershaw’s probably not going to win a Cy Young Award this year (he’s got the fewest starts and innings of the top ten contenders) but his credentials are pretty darned good nonetheless.
Here’s Seager’s oh-so-close-to-a-grand slam sacrifice fly from yesterday’s game:
This day in Dodgers’ history:
1941 Combined with a Cardinal defeat, the Dodgers win their first pennant in 21 years when they beat Boston at Braves Field, 6-0. Whitlow Wyatt throws a five-hitter and Pete Reiser hits a homer in the winning cause.
1956 Dodger right-hander Sal Maglie no-hits the Phillies at Ebbets Field, 5-0. The ‘Barber’s’ gem helps second-place Brooklyn to keep pace in the pennant race with Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
1962 After appearing in 60 games over a two-year span, Dodger reliever Ed Roebuck suffers his first loss. The LA right-hander gives up a 10th inning home run to Houston’s Al Spangler, breaking the 2-2 deadlock at Chavez Ravine.
1974 In the first-of-its-kind operation, Dr. Frank Jobe transplants a tendon from Tommy John’s right wrist to the Dodger pitcher’s left elbow. The revolutionary ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, which will become a standard surgical procedure better known as Tommy John surgery, enables the southpaw to win an additional 164 games, more than half of his career total of 288 victories.
1996 Giants slugger Barry Bonds draws an intentional walk which gives him the National League record with 149 bases-on-balls in a season. The free pass is issued in the seventh inning by LA’s Mark Guthrie with two outs and a runner on third base in the team’s 7-5 loss at Dodger Stadium. (Note: Bonds wasn’t done. He now holds down the top three spots in Most Walks, Hitter, Season).
2008 The Diamondbacks, defending division champions, lose to St. Louis, 12-3, allowing the Dodgers to clinch the NL West. Los Angeles first-year skipper Joe Torre’s 13-year postseason streak continues, unlike the Yankees, his former team.
RHP Mike Fiers (6-2, 4.67 ERA) goes for the As and RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.86 ERA) probably goes for the Dodgers. Probably, because they’ve opened with relievers in four of their last ten games. Fiers has some history with the Dodgers: he no-hit them while pitching for the Astros in 2015 and he was the guy who blew the whistle on that team’s cheating behavior last offseason. Buehler’s blister problem has apparently cleared up: he threw 90 pitches in a simulated game last Saturday with no recurrence.
Here’s Rios’s game-tying HR in the 8th inning of yesterday’s game:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1957 Grounding out, Pirates left-handed first baseman Dee Fondy becomes the last player ever to bat in Ebbets Field when the Dodgers blank the Bucs, 2-0, in the final major league game ever played in Brooklyn.
1971 Al Downing becomes a 20-game winner when he blanks the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 2-0. The Dodger left-hander, best remembered for giving up Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run, will compile a 123-107 record during his 17-year major league career.
1981Dodgers 7, Giants 5 at Candlestick. The Dodgers got a three-run homer from Mike Scioscia and two more runs in the third inning to put themselves ahead. The game was — marred? supplemented? — when a fan threw a helmet and — well, here:
Reggie Smith went into the stands after a fan who had been heckling him during the game; the fan had just thrown a batting helmet into the dugout before Smith climbed into the stands; Smith punched the fan and tried to pull him over the rail onto the field; Dodger teammates grabbed Smith; eight fans were arrested and Smith was ejected by HP umpire Harry Wendelstedt; as two policemen walked with Smith down the RF line to the clubhouse, someone threw a beer bottle and missed.
2001 Batting for reliever Joe Beimel in the bottom of the sixth inning, Craig Wilson drives the first pitch he sees into the seats in left center for his seventh pinch-hit home run, tying the major league mark established last season by Dodger infielder Dave Hansen. The Pirate rookie’s two-run round-tripper sparks a five-run frame, enabling the Bucs to overcome a 5-0 deficit in their eventual 7-6 victory over the Chicago at PNC Park.
2003 Eric Gagne ties John Smoltz’s National League mark for saves with 55 when he helps the Dodgers defeat the Padres, 5-3. The Los Angeles closer equals the NL mark in consecutive opportunities, which is also a record.
LHP Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50 ERA) goes for the visiting As and LHP Julio Urias (3-0, 3.49 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers. Manaea’s record belies his performance: in his last five starts he’s given up more than one earned run only once, and his team has won six of his last eight starts. Urias has trouble in the first inning of nearly every game he starts (maybe he should pitch it in the bullpen before the actual game starts?), but he usually settles down. In his last start he gave up two runs early and then retired 13 consecutive Rockies in 5 2/3 innings.
Here’s the final out of the Dodgers’ NL West-clinching win yesterday:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1901 The Superbas establish a new franchise record for runs scored in a game when they rout the Reds, 25-6. Brooklyn tallies 11 times in the fifth inning during the League Park contest played in Cincinnati.
1916 Allowing only just one walk during a twin bill with the Cincinnati Reds, Grover Alexander of the Phillies wins both ends of a doubleheader, 7-3 and 4-0,to establish a National League record. The future Hall of Famer will repeat the feat on September 3, 1917 against the Brooklyn Robins at Ebbets Field.
1939 In the first game of a twin bill, Brooklyn’s third baseman Cookie Lavagetto reaches base seven consecutive times as the Dodgers rout the Phillies, 22-4. The 26-run Shibe Park contest takes only two hours and five minutes to complete.
1947 Prior to a game against the Giants in a sold-out Ebbets Field, the Dodgers staged Jackie Robinson Day. The Brooklyn rookie, who endured much grief this season as the game’s first black player in modern times, is moved when his teammates crowd around home plate to take part of the ceremony.
1956 Due to the enforcement of a curfew, the Sunday contest between the Dodgers and Pirates is postponed with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, sending the 44,932 fans, the largest crowd in Forbes Field’s history, home. The game will be completed tomorrow with Brooklyn maintaining their 8-3 advantage over Pittsburgh.
1969 In his last major league at-bat, John Miller homers, making the Dodger the only player in history to have hit a home run in his first and last plate appearance in the major leagues. In 1966, as a Yankee, he went deep in the first of only 61 big league career at-bats in which he would collect only 10 hits, including the two memorable round-trippers to start and end his 32-game career.
1986 Astros rookie starter Jim Deshaies sets a major league record by striking out the first eight batters he faces. The young left-hander will finish with a two-hitter and ten strikeouts, beating the Dodgers, 4-0.
1992 Lead-off hitter Bip Roberts ties the National league record with his 10th consecutive hit, a first-inning single in the Reds’ 3-0 victory over Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine. The Cincinnati left fielder’s streak ends when he grounds out in the fifth inning, facing Dodger starter Pedro Astacio.
2006 With one home game left on the schedule, the Dodgers break their single-season attendance record established in 1982 as the team sells 3,708,723 tickets to its games played in Chavez Ravine. The previous record of 3,608,881 was determined by former National League rules which counted fans by turnstile count.
2009 Trailing 8-0 at Dodger Stadium, the Giants take the lead, scoring nine runs in the top of the seventh inning. Although L.A. will come back twice to tie the score with clutch two-out hits in the eighth and ninth, San Francisco tallies four runs in the top of the tenth frame for the 14-10 victory.
Also, in 1908 Fred Merkle’s failure to touch second after an apparent game-winning hit by Al Bridwell scoring Mike McCormick from third costs the Giants a 2-1 win over the Cubs when the ump calls him out and rules the game a tie. Merkle’s ‘boner’ will eventually cost the Giants the flag.
RHP Frankie Montas (3-4, 5.86 ERA) pitches for the visiting As. He’ll be opposed by RHP Dustin May (1-1, 2.68 ERA) of the Dodgers. This will be Montas’s first start in nine days; he was off for paternity leave (Congrats and best wishes!). In his last five starts he’s gone no longer than 5 1/3 innings and has a horrid 10.80 ERA in those appearances. May is coming off a 5 1/3 inning relief stint in a game in which he was announced as the starter. Instead he came in in the third inning and got credit for a hold in the Dodgers’ 7-5 win.
Wild Card Series (begin Sept. 29)
Best-of-three format, with higher seed serving as the home team for all three games
No. 8 Blue Jays vs. No. 1 Rays
No. 7 Indians vs. No. 2 White Sox
No. 6 Astros vs. No. 3 A’s
No. 5 Yankees vs. No. 4 Twins
No. 8 Phillies vs. No. 1 Dodgers
No. 7 Reds vs. No. 2 Cubs
No. 6 Cardinals vs. No. 3 Braves
No. 5 Marlins vs. No. 4 Padres
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1925 Robins starter Burleigh Grimes accounts for seven outs in just three plate appearances in the team’s 3-2 loss to Chicago, a 12-inning game played at Cubs Park. The Brooklyn right-hander follows grounding into two double plays by hitting into a 6-4-3-2 triple play.
1926 At Ebbets Field, the aging 18-year veteran outfielder Zack Wheat hits his last homer as a Dodger, but severely pulls a muscle nearing second. The future Hall of Famer needs to rest nearly five minutes before completing his trip to home plate, making it the longest home run trot in major league history.
1947 On an off day, the Dodgers clinched the National League pennant when Chicago takes the nightcap of the twin bill against St. Louis. Although it is past midnight when the good news about their beloved team reaches the borough, Brooklynites begin to gather on Flatbush Avenue for an impromptu celebration.
1954 Karl Spooner, in his major league debut, blanks the Giants at Ebbets Field 3-0. The 23 year-old Dodger southpaw fans 15 batters, including six straight, recording the most strikeouts in a first appearance by a rookie.
1957 Duke Snider, with his second round-tripper in the Dodgers’ 7-3 victory over Philadelphia, hits his 40th home run, tying Ralph Kiner’s National League record of five consecutive seasons with forty or more homers. The Duke of Flatbush’s seventh-inning homer off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts will prove to be the last one ever hit at Ebbets Field.
1976 Right-hander Don Sutton goes the distance to become a twenty-game winner for the first and last time when the Dodgers beat the Giants at Candlestick Park, 3-1. The future Hall of Famer will compile a 324-256 (.559) record during his 23-year career in the bigs.
1986 Dodger hurler Fernando Valenzuela (20-10) two-hits Houston en route to a 9-2 victory at the Astrodome. The 25 year-old southpaw becomes the first Mexican to win 20 games in the major leagues.
Lineup when available.
Joc Pederson is back from emergency leave and DHing tonight.
RHP Tony Gonsolin (1-1, 1.51 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers and RHP Antonio Senzatela (4-2, 3.30 ERA) goes for the Rockies. Gonsolin is coming off his best performance of the year; he went seven innings against the Padres on Wednesday and gave up just one run. Senzatela threw a nine-inning complete game last Tuesday, beating the As 3-1.
Here’s Mookie’s mad dash:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1907 At Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, Nick Maddox no-hits the Dodgers, 2-1. At the age of 20 years and ten months, the Pirates hurler becomes the youngest pitcher and the second rookie to throw a no-hitter.
1911 Bill Bergen ends his major league career with the lowest lifetime batting average for a position player in major league history by hitting an anemic .170 during his 11-year tenure with the Reds and Superbas. The 33 year-old backstop, who had only one year of batting above .200, also holds the records for lowest season batting average for a regular season (.139 in 1909) and the longest streak of at-bats without a hit (46 in 1909).
1954 The Giants clinch the pennant when they beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 7-1. The National League champs, finishing the season five games ahead of second-place Brooklyn, will go on to sweep Cleveland in the Fall Classic.
1959 The San Francisco Giants, bowing to the Dodgers, 8-2, play their last game at Seals Stadium. The transplanted New York team, who compiled a 163-145 record in their two-year stay in the former PCL park, will move to the newly constructed Candlestick Park next season.
1961 In a 13-inning contest, Sandy Koufax goes the distance, beating the Cubs, 3-2, in the last regular season game to be played at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which was originally built for the 1932 Olympics. The Dodgers are leaving the only home they have known since moving from Brooklyn four seasons ago to play in a brand new stadium in Chavez Ravine, located a few miles from downtown Los Angeles.
2011 Clayton Kershaw becomes the Dodgers’ first 20-game winner since Ramon Martinez accomplished the feat in 1990. Allowing just one run in 7 1/3 innings, the southpaw gets the victory when LA beats the visiting Giants, 2-1.
2012 Washington secures a playoff spot when they beat the Dodgers at Nationals Park, 4-1. The last time there was postseason baseball in the nation’s capital occurred 79 years ago, when player-skipper Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the Giants in five games in the 1933 World Series.
LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 2.28 ERA) goes for the Dodgers while RHP Chi Chi González (0-1, 8.68 ERA) pitches for the home Rockies. Kershaw was the victim of shoddy defense his last time out; he’d struck out nine and walked none when he left the game in the 7th. González was awful in his last outing (walked three, hit one, pulled after 1/3 of an inning) but he’d had two strong relief appearances before that.
Will Smith gets voluminous praise from one of MLB’s editors: “Smith has a triple-slash line of .303/.417/.596, which is good for an OPS+ of 171. That’s the highest mark on Los Angeles, ahead of even Betts (163) and Seager (155) and puts Smith among some extremely impressive company.” He’s in the top ten in OPS, ahead of Jose Abreu and right behind Manny Machado.
Here’s the Dodgers’ five-run fifth inning yesterday:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1935 The Cubs win their 16th consecutive game as they beat Carl Hubbell, completing a four-game sweep of the Giants. The mark is the most since the 1924 Dodgers won 15 straight games.
1964 With two outs in the bottom of the 16th inning, Willie Davis, after singling, swiping second, and advancing to third on a wild pitch, steals home, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia. The fleet outfielder’s theft of the plate is in the latest frame in a National League game the feat has ever been accomplished and ties Hal Trosky’s major league record set in 1944.
1973 Astros’ infielder Dave Campbell hits a first-inning two-run double against San Diego right-hander Clay Kirby to snap an 0-for-45 drought, tying a major league record set in 1909 by Bill Bergen, a catcher who played with Brooklyn. ‘Soup’, who will become a respected national baseball broadcaster, endured the futility while playing for three teams, combining a 17 at-bat hitless streak with the Padres and another 21 at-bat hitless streak for the Cardinals before hitting the two-bagger in his eighth at-bat with Houston.
2000 A Dodger fan, in addition to other court-ordered restrictions, has been banned from attending home games in Los Angeles for 18 months. The irate patron threw coffee in the face of a Mets fan who was cheering a grand slam hit by New York’s catcher Todd Pratt.
2014 LA’s Clayton Kershaw becomes the first 20-game winner of the season when the team routs Chicago at a windy Wrigley Field, 14-5. The 26 year-old southpaw, who has compiled a 20-3 (.870) record along with an ERA of 1.80. is the first Dodger hurler to reach the 20-win plateau twice since Claude Osteen accomplished the feat in 1969 and 1972.
It’s a bullpen game for the Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (0-1, 4.32 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers. The Rockies give the ball to RHP Ryan Castellani (1-2, 4.46 ERA), who walked six Angels and hit one in 5 2/3 innings in his last start but still gave up just one unearned run in a no-decision. Wood has gone longer than one inning only once this year, and that was in July. Don’t expect him to be around too long.
Here’s the Dodgers’ six-run seventh inning yesterday:
If I were Josh Sborz I’d be getting tired of commuting between USC’s campus and wherever the Dodgers are. He was just optioned back there and Mitch White was called up.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1964 Willie Davis broke a 16-inning, 3–3 stalemate between the Phillies and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium with a walk-off steal of home. With two outs in the bottom of the 16th, Davis reached on an infield single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch by Philadelphia’s Jack Baldschun, then stole home on reliever Morrie Steevens.
1984 The Tigers, with a 3-0 victory over Milwaukee, clinch the American League East title to become only the fourth team in major league history to lead from start to finish of a season. The 1923 Giants, 1927 Yankees, and the 1955 Dodgers also led their circuits from wire to wire.
2006 The Dodgers, who are last in the National League in homers, hit four consecutive home runs in an inning when Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson all go deep in the bottom of the ninth to tie the Padres, 9-9. The improbable feat, which had been accomplished only by the 1964 Twins, 1963 Indians, and the 1961 Braves, leads to Nomar Garciaparra’s walk-off two-run homer in the tenth and sole possession of first place when Los Angeles beat the Friars, 11-10.