Game 89, 2018

Dodgers at Angels, 5:15 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

LHP Alex Wood (5-5, 3.84 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers in the rubber match of this three-game series. He’ll face the Angels’ briefly-a-Dodger LHP Andrew Heaney (4-6, 3.94 ERA). Wood has won his last four starts after a three-game slump, while Heaney took the loss in his last start despite giving up only three runs over seven innings to the Mariners. He’s 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in his only two career starts against the Dodgers.

An aside: I suspect the people who write these previews look up and add the career numbers as filler. Logically, if some pitcher is 12-2 over his lifetime against one team (or 2-12) he’s faced numerous iterations of that team. In these days of nearly-unfettered player movement it might be more useful to look at his career stats against each player he’s expecting to face in the game.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1949 Hank Thompson, who broke into the majors as a member of the St. Louis Browns twelve days after Larry Doby’s American League debut with the Indians in 1947, becomes the first African-American to play for the Giants. When the former Kansas City Monarchs’ standout faces Dodger right-hander Don Newcombe, it marks the first time a pitcher-batter confrontation takes place between black players in the major leagues.

In the “Dubious Moments in Baseball History” column comes this item: in 1979 the Mets announce the selection of Mettle as the name for the team’s new mascot mule. Dolores Mapps of Mercerville, N.J., who submitted the winning entry, believes the moniker captures the team’s “spirit, ardor, stamina, and courage, all of which the Mets have in abundance.”

In a slightly more aesthetic moment, back in 1994 Red Sox shortstop John Valentin snares Marc Newfield’s sixth-inning line drive, steps on second to retire Mike Blowers, and then tags the runner coming from first, Kevin Mitchell, to turn an unassisted triple play. After completing the rare feat, accomplishing a play that has occurred only ten times in major league history, the infielder begins a three-homer outburst by Boston in the bottom of the frame, helping the team defeat the Mariners at Fenway Park, 4-3.

Lineup when available.