There’s a lot at stake in this game. If the Dodgers win and the Rockies lose, the Dodgers win the division title and get a few days off before the start of the NLDS on Thursday. If both teams win, they’ll have to play a tiebreaker on Monday to see who wins the division. The loser of that game plays in the Wild Card game. I think. Ah, I’m right.
Should the Dodgers and Rockies finish tied atop the NL West,a one-game playoff would be held Monday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to the NL Division Series and [the] loser playing Tuesday in the single-elimination wild-card game.
Assuming that Andy McCullough’s story remains accurate, the Dodgers will ask their 24-year-old rookie righthander Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.76 ERA) to do what the Dodgers must do to clinch the division — win Game 162 against the bitterest of all rivals. The Giants, wanting nothing more than to spoil the Dodgers’ chances, will send out LHP Andrew Suárez (7-12, 4.22 ERA). Suárez has gone 1-3 in September with a 4.38 ERA and may be getting tired; he threw 155 innings in the minors last year and has thrown 181 1/3 innings with three different teams this year, 158 of them at the big league level.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1923 It’s Zack Wheat Day at Ebbets Field, and the retiring Dodger outfielder collects two hits and is given an automobile. Cy Williams of the Phillies spoils the special day as he ties the score in the seventh inning with his 39th homer and his 40th in the 12th frame gives Philadelphia the victory, 6-4.
1933 At Sportsman’s Park in a 12-2 Cubs rout of the Cardinals, Babe Herman hits for the cycle, becoming the first player in baseball history to do it three times. The Chicago outfielder, playing for the Dodgers, also accomplished the feat on two other occasions in 1931.
1947 Ralph Branca becomes the youngest player to start a World Series opener. At Yankee Stadium, the 21-year and 9 months old right hander and the Dodgers lose to the Bronx Bombers, 5-1.
1951 Knowing the Giants have won their game in Boston, the Dodgers rally from a five-run deficit to beat Philadelphia in 14 innings, 9-8, forcing a three-game playoff for the National League pennant. After Jackie Robinson makes a game-saving catch in the thirteenth to preserve an 8-8 tie, he hits a home run in the next frame that proves to be the difference in Brooklyn’s victory at Shibe Park.
1953 George Shuba, best known as the Montreal Royal teammate who shook Jackie Robinson’s hand after the rookie had homered, becomes the third major leaguer and the first National League player to pinch hit a home run in the World Series when he goes deep off Allie Reynolds in the Dodgers’ 9-5 Game 1 loss at Yankee Stadium. ‘Shotgun’ joins Yogi Berra (1947) and Johnny Mize (1952), who both accomplished the feat playing for the Bronx Bombers.
1956 Don Newcombe, a three-time twenty-game winner, goes the distance to earn his major-league leading 27th victory when the Dodgers beat Pittsburgh at Forbes Field, 8-6, on the last day of the campaign. Newk’s win is the most ever in a season by an African-American pitcher.
1962 On the last day of the season, Gene Oliver’s eighth-inning homer off Johnny Podres proves to be the difference in St. Louis’ 1-0 victory over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. The loss to the Cardinals forces Los Angeles into a best-of-three-game playoff with the Giants for the National League pennant, a series the team will lose to San Francisco.
1999 The largest regular-season crowd in Candlestick Park history, 61,389 fans, watches the Dodgers beat the home team, 9-4 in the last baseball game to ever be played at the ‘Stick’. Giant greats help mark the occasion with Juan Marichal tossing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game and Willie Mays throwing out the ballpark’s final pitch after the game.
Giant killer LHP Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.53 ERA) goes for his tenth win. He hasn’t had a single-digit win season since 2009. He’s 6-1 with a 2.36 ERA over his last 12 starts, and he’s 22-10 against the Giants overall, 13-4 with a 1.20 ERA at their ball park. He’ll face rookie RHP Dereck Rodríguez (6-4, 2.50 ERA), who made his first big league start in May and has had a good first year. He needs to work on his control; he’s got a 2.67 K/BB ratio.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season. In a must-win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants, and four world championships.
1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.
I imagine MLB hoped that the Giants and Dodgers would be fighting it out for the NL West title when they scheduled this series. They got it half-right. The Dodgers need to win all three games and hope the Nationals can take two of three from the Rockies if they hope to win the division. Otherwise it’s a cat’s cradle of possibilities with wild card games, tiebreakers to get into wild card games, and who knows what else.
Tonight the Dodgers ask LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3, 2.00 ERA) to keep them in the game until they can either get to LHP Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.20 ERA) or knock him out. Both of these pitchers have spent lengthy amounts of time on the disabled list this season, and Ryu has done better since his return than has Bumgarner. Ryu has given up no more than three unearned runs in any of his fourteen starts this year including eight since his recovery. Bumgarner has a 1-1 record with a 5.48 ERA for the month of September.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1924 Rogers Hornsby finishes the season with a .424 batting average to lead the National League. The Cardinal second baseman easily outdistances Zack Wheat, who finishes second in the race, batting .375 for the Dodgers.
1952 On the last day of the season at Ebbets Field, the Braves’ 77 years of representing Boston is extended by three innings when Eddie Mathews’ ninth-inning, two-out double ties the game. The contest is called due to darkness and ends in the 12th inning in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers.
1955 In the bottom of the second inning, Elston Howard, in his first World Series at-bat, knots the score at 2-2 when he homers off Dodgers’ right-hander Don Newcombe. The round-tripper to deep left field at Yankee Stadium marks the first time a black batter has hit a home run off a black pitcher in the history of the Fall Classic.
1959 The Braves, who ended the National League regular season in a first-place tie with the Dodgers, lose Game 1 of the three-game series, 3-2, in front of a sparse crowd of 18,297 at County Stadium. Milwaukee will lose tomorrow’s game in L.A., spoiling their chance for a three-peat as NL Champs.
1966 At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Larry Jaster throws a four-hitter, blanking Don Sutton and the Dodgers, 2-0. It’s the southpaw’s fifth shutout against LA this season, equaling a post-1900 major league mark held by the Senators’ Tom Hughes (against the Indians in 1905) and Grover Cleveland Alexander of the Phillies (against the Reds in 1916).
1988 In his last start of the regular season, Dodger Orel Hershiser tosses 10 shutout frames to extend his streak to 59, breaking Don Drysdale’s record of 58 consecutive scoreless innings.
1997 With his 40th home run, catcher Mike Piazza sets a single season Los Angeles Dodger record. Duke Snider holds the franchise record, slugging 43 round-trippers for Brooklyn in 1956.
2003 At Turner Field in Atlanta, Jose Reyes becomes the second Mets player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in one game. Lee Mazzilli was the first when he went yard twice against the Dodgers in LA on September 3, 1978.
2006 At Coors Field in Colorado, James Loney collects four hits, including two homers, and drives in nine runs in the Dodgers’ 19-11 victory over the Rockies. The rookie first baseman, who had one homer and eight runs batted in in 93 previous at-bats with the team, ties the franchise RBI mark set by Gil Hodges in his 1950 four-homer game for Brooklyn and breaks the Los Angeles club mark held by Ron Cey.
The Dodgers send RHP Ross Stripling (8-5, 2.84 ERA) to the hill in Phoenix to meet RHP Zack Greinke (14-11, 3.21 ERA) of the D-Backs. Stripling has had a tough second half of the season, going on the disabled list and going no further than 3 1/3 innings in each of the three starts he’s made since coming off. Greinke’s W-L record is unusually poor for him and he’s lost his last two starts, even though in his last one he went 7 1/3 innings against the Rockies and gave up just three runs on four hits.
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 Dodgers send RHP Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.74 ERA) to the hill to face RHP Matt Koch (5-5, 4.26 ERA) in Game Two of a crucial series. In Buehler’s last start he went six innings and struck out 12 while giving up just three hits and two unearned runs in a game won by the Dodgers on a seventh-inning pinch-hit home run by Yasiel Puig. Koch is taking the place of Clay Buchholz, who’s out for the year with a strained flexor tendon. Koch’s last start was on September 13. He lasted just three innings, giving up eight hits and four runs and taking the loss.
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.
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.