May 31

Game 58, 2019

Phillies at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA

One-time Cubs ace RHP Jake Arrieta (5-4, 3.60 ERA) takes the mound for the Phillies. He’ll face RHP Kenta Maeda (6-2, 3.67 ERA) of the Dodgers. In 8 of his 11 starts this season Arrieta has given up three earned runs or fewer. In his last start Maeda came back from the IL and went five innings, giving up three runs on two HRs to the Pirates but getting the win.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1937 In Game 1 of a Memorial Day doubleheader, Carl Hubbell’s consecutive-game winning streak, compiled over two seasons, ends at 24 when the Dodgers, led by Babe Phelps’ 5-for-6 performance, defeat the Giants at the Polo Grounds, 10-3. ‘King Carl’ is honored between games when the southpaw is presented with the National League’s 1936 MVP Award by Babe Ruth.
  • 1948 Tommy Lasorda, best known as the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame skipper, strikes out 25 batters and collects the game-winning hit when the Schenectady Blue Jays defeat the Amsterdam Rugmakers, 6-5, in 15 innings. The promising southpaw, who goes the distance in the CanAm minor-league contest played in McNearney Stadium, believes he probably threw more than 300 pitches during the game.
  • 1965 For the first time in history, an all-switch-hitting infield starts a big league game. In the nightcap of a twin bill, the Dodgers, with Wes Parker at first base, Jim Lefebvre at second, Maury Wills at shortstop, and Jim Gilliam at third, lose to the visiting Reds, 6-1.
  • 1968 Don Drysdale’s shutout streak stays intact when home plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt rules that Dick Dietz, who is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, did not make an attempt to get out of the way of the right-hander’s delivery. The Giants catcher finishes the at-bat by popping up, and the next two batters also make outs to give ‘Big D” his fifth straight shutout, tying a major league established by White Sox hurler Doc White in 1904.
  • 2001 The Red Sox finally beat the Yankees in their eighth attempt, and for the first time in over a year since Pedro Martinez scoffed at the ‘Curse’. The right-hander was 7-1 with a 1.44 ERA when he said, “Wake up the Bambino and let me face him — I’ll drill him in the “%#$,” but after the comment he managed only seven more winless starts, making it first time he did not win in seven straight starts since the first seven major league appearances as a rookie with the Dodgers.
  • 2012 With their 6-2 victory, the Brewers beat LA at Chavez Ravine for the fourth consecutive day, making the Brew Crew the first visiting team to sweep a four-game series since the Rockies accomplished the feat in August, 1993. The victories also mark the first time the franchise has ever swept the Dodgers.

Lineup when available.


Hmm. Turner’s hamstring might be a little more painful than expected. What else would explain Muncy at third base and Beaty at first? On the other hand, Beaty has played 165 games at first in the minors, more than at any other position.

May 30

Game 57, 2019

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: KTLA, SNY, SPNLA

LHP Jason Vargas (1-2, 5.22 ERA) pitches in the final game of this four-game series against the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-1, 1.65 ERA). Vargas’ ERA is slightly misleading: he was pretty bad in two of his first three starts this season. After three games his ERA was 14.21. It’s dropped steadily after every outing since. He’s given up no more than one run in four of his last five starts. Ryu wasn’t up to his usual standards in his last start; he scattered ten hits in six innings but gave up just two runs and got the win anyway.

Bellinger is on track for possibly the best season ever by Wins Above Replacement. Don’t believe that? Look at the numbers. He’s got 5.4 WAR through one-third of a season.

Here’s a brief list of the things that Bellinger leads the Majors in, just to remind you how great his season is going.

• First in batting average (.382, a 44-point lead over Josh Bell’s .338 mark)
• First in on-base percentage (.469)
• First in slugging percentage (.770)
• First in RBIs (51)
• First in OPS (1.239)
• First in OPS+ (223)
• First in Weighted On-Base Average (.503)
• First in Weighted Runs Created Plus (218)
• First in Wins Above Replacement (5.4)
• First in Defensive Runs Saved (15)
• First in Five-Star Plays on defense (3, tied with Byron Buxton)
• First in defensive Wins Above Replacement (1.4, tied with Lorenzo Cain)
• First in average home-to-first time (3.89 seconds)
• First in Sprint Speed among Dodgers (29.2 ft/sec), and third among MLB RF

In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers’ ninth-inning comeback in yesterday’s game:


Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1946 In Boston’s 10-8 victory over the Dodgers, Bama Rowell’s long drive hits the Bulova clock located above the right field scoreboard, making the left-fielder the first major leaguer to reach the famous landmark at Ebbets Field. The crushing four-bagger, that shatters the face of the clock causing glass to cascade onto Dodgers right fielder Dixie Walker, is believed to be the inspiration for author Bernard Malamud having Roy Hobbs, the hero of his 1952 novel “The Natural,” belt a similar home run, which also rains glass over the diamond.
  • 1962 Frank Thomas strokes a double off Sandy Koufax in the Mets’ 13-6 loss to Los Angeles, extending his franchise mark of consecutive games with a hit to 18 for the expansion team. The streak, which will be only one shy of Maury Wills’ league-leading total for the season, is halted when the New York left fielder goes 0-for-4 in the nightcap of the Dodgers’ sweep at the Polo Grounds.
  • 1986 In a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium, future home run king Barry Bonds goes 0-for-5 in his major league debut. The Pirates center fielder, batting leadoff, strikes out three times.

Lineup when available.


May 29

Game 56, 2019

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SNY, SPNLA

The Mets send RHP Noah Syndergaard (3-4, 4.93 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler (5-1, 3.58 ERA). Syndergaard is not having a good season, whether due to mechanics as his manager thinks or due to “mental issues” as the pitcher himself thinks. Either way, he’s not been very good. He’s got a 5.02 ERA in his last nine starts (he’s made 11 this season). Buehler, on the other hand, has steadily improved his ERA (and W-L record) since his first three starts of the year, and even with a less-than-effective start against Cincinnati on May 18 when he gave up four runs (one earned) he’s given up just two earned runs in his last 19 innings while striking out 20 and walking just two.

Cody Bellinger = Babe Ruth? Maybe statistically.

Why can you get mahi-mahi tacos, crispy coconut shrimp, clam chowder, tri-tip nachos and a burrito packed with steak, shrimp and avocado at Petco Park in addition to the usual stadium chow? Mostly, more kitchens.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1905 According to legend, Dodger hurler Elmer Stricklett introduces the spitball, helping Brooklyn to beat the Giants, 4-3. Prior to the 1921 season, the spitball will be totally banned, except for 17 existing spitballers who are allowed to keep throwing the slippery pitch legally until they are retired, including Burleigh Grimes, who will be the last player to legally throw a doctored pitch before retiring in 1934.
  • 1928 At Ebbets Field, Bill Terry hits for the cycle to pace the Giants to a 12-5 victory over the Robins (Dodgers). The New York first baseman is the first player in major league history to include a grand slam as part of the cycle.
  • 1956 In a 10-1 loss to the Dodgers at Forbes Field, Dale Long is held hitless by Don Newcombe, ending his consecutive-game home run streak. The Pirates’ first baseman had established a new major league mark by homering in the last eight Pittsburgh contests.
  • 1979 At Dodger Stadium, Dusty Baker, Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Garvey, Gary Thomasson, Derrel Thomas, Joe Ferguson, and Davey Lopes set a team record by hitting seven home runs as the Dodgers crush the Reds, 17-6.
  • 2000 At the age of 104, Fred Roberts, the oldest living Dodger fan, makes his first visit to Dodger Stadium. Wearing a jersey with the number 104, the World War I veteran cheers as Shawn Green’s sixth inning grand slam helps to beat Al Leiter and the Mets, 4-1.

Lineup when available.


May 28

Game 55, 2019

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SNY, SPNLA

It’ll be LHP Steven Matz (3-3, 3.63 ERA) for the Mets and LHP Rich Hill (1-1, 2.67 ERA) for the Dodgers. Matz had a horrific outing against the Phillies in which he gave up eight runs. Take that away and he’s been the Mets’ most consistent pitcher. He’s 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA over his last five starts. In Hill’s last two starts he’s given up one run and struck out 17 over 12 innings.

Here are Bellinger’s highlights from yesterday’s game:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1957 Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham are given permission by the National League to negotiate deals with cities on the West Coast, with the proviso that the future location of their respective clubs, the Dodgers and the Giants, be known by October 1. The Brooklyn and New York owners both deny there is any significance to the unanimous vote other than being given an opportunity to explore all the available options for their possible relocation of their clubs.
  • 1969 The day after he becomes a father, Randy Hundley hits a grand slam and a double, driving in five runs in Chicago’s 9-8 victory over San Francisco at Candlestick Park. The eight-pound, four-ounce baby boy named Todd will follow in his dad’s footsteps, becoming a major league catcher, receiving for the Mets, Dodgers, and the Cubs.
  • 1989 With runners on second and third, no outs, and the Mets and Dodgers tied at 3-3 in the 12th inning, home plate umpire Bob Davidson calls a balk against Roger McDowell which scores the winning run in the Chavez Ravine contest. Dave Anderson is waved home when the New York reliever fails to pause and make a discernible stop.
  • 2001 In an 11-inning slugfest with Colorado, LA catcher Paul Lo Duca goes 6-for-6 in the team’s 11-10 victory at Dodger Stadium. The backstop’s five singles and a three-run homer tie a National League record for hits in an extra-inning game.
  • 2011 The game between Los Angeles and Florida continues as fans in a section of the upper deck seats at Dodger Stadium are evacuated due to a small fire in a nearby storage area. With plumes of smoke visible coming from the top level of the ballpark on the first base side, the crowd is informed by the public address announcer that it will not be necessary to evacuate the entire stadium.

Here are a whole mess of links to stories about Bill Buckner, many of which try to go beyond the events of 1986. Looking at the play-by-play, that game shouldn’t have gotten to the point it did. Schiraldi got two quick outs with the Sox ahead 5-3 and couldn’t get the third, allowing a pinch-hit single by Gary Carter, another single by Kevin Mitchell, and still another by Ray Knight. Then, with the Sox still leading 5-4, Stanley came in and wild-pitched Mitchell in to tie the game. It was at that point that Mookie Wilson hit the ground ball Buckner muffed.

Lineup when available.


May 27

Game 54, 2019

Mets at Dodgers, 5:10 PM PDT, TV: ESPN (out-of-market only), SNY, SPNLA

A battle of aces! The Mets send RHP Jacob DeGrom (3-5, 3.75 ERA) to the hill to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-0, 3.33 ERA). DeGrom has made five starts in May and has a 2.81 ERA to show for them. He was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers last season. Kershaw made his fifth quality start of the season last time out, and he’s got a 19-game unbeaten streak going dating back to last year. He’s 10-0 with nine no-decisions in that time, the longest active streak in the major leagues.

SI says Bellinger is making batting average relevant again. Making the case that 1941 was a long time ago and a lifetime away in baseball eras,

When Williams hit .406, the average major league game had 7.1 strikeouts. Now there are 17.5 strikeouts every game. Today the average reliever–not your All-Star closer, just your garden-variety reliever–strikes out batters at the same rate Sandy Koufax did (9.3 per nine innings). Of course, the average reliever also throws 94 mph with a wicked slider and every team is stocked with them.

R.I.P., Bill Buckner. The Dodgers traded him to the Cubs for Rick Monday in 1977, and you’d have to say the Cubs got the better of the deal. However, Garvey was entrenched at 1B and the newly-acquired Dusty Baker was signed to play left field. Buckner was coming off a serious ankle injury, the Dodgers didn’t think he could play center and they wanted more power at that position than they thought Buckner could provide. Monday promptly had the worst year of his career and after one more year as a starter he spent four years as a reserve with the Dodgers, retiring in 1984. Buckner went on to have 10 more productive years including a batting title in 1980.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1904 Giants’ infielder Dennis McGann steals five bases to establish a major league record. The 32 year-old Kentucky native’s thievery helps New York beat Brooklyn at the Polo Grounds, 3-1.

Also! In 2017

“We are honored to pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of Homer at the Bat.The Simpsons has left an impressive imprint on our culture as the longest-running American sitcom, and ‘Homer at the Bat’ remains as popular today as when the episode aired in 1992. ” – Hall of Fame President JEFF IDELSON, commenting about the Cooperstown celebration of the animated series.

The Baseball Hall of Fame inducts fictional cartoon character Homer Simpson as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Simpsons episode ‘Homer at the Bat.’ As part of the ceremony, a roundtable discussion of the much-beloved episode includes comments by real Hall of-Famers Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith, who played themselves on the animated show, as well as executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin and casting director Bonnie Pietila.

Lineup when available.


May 26

Game 53, 2019

Dodgers vs. Pirates, 10:35 AM PDT, TV: ATT SportsNet-PIT, SPNLA

The Dodgers activate RHP Kenta Maeda (5-2, 3.51 ERA) from the IL where he’s been since May 15 with a left adductor occlusion AKA strained left thigh. He’ll face the Pirates’ RHP Chris Archer (1-4, 5.55 ERA), who’s gone 8 2/3 innings in his two starts since coming off the IL and been pretty unsuccessful. He’s given up 11 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits and six walks over that stretch.

Ryu missed a home run by about a foot in Saturday’s game:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2015 Clayton Kershaw pitched seven innings of four-hit ball and the Dodgers scored six runs in the fourth inning on doubles by Howie Kendrick, Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis and went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-0.

Also, a very famous game took place on this date in 1959: Pirates’ hurler Harvey Haddix pitches 12 perfect innings but loses 1-0 to the Braves in the 13th inning. The heart-breaking winning run scores on a Don Hoak error, a sacrifice, a walk, and a two-bagger by Joe Adcock. To add insult to injury,

In 1991, the Committee for Statistical Accuracy in Baseball announced that a no-hitter would be redefined as “a game in which a pitcher or pitchers complete a game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit,” meaning Haddix’s gem no longer qualified. When he was made aware that one of the greatest games ever pitched no longer had a place in the record books, his response was simple: “It’s OK. I know what I did.”

Lineup when available.


May 25

Game 52, 2019

Dodgers at Pirates, 4:15 PM PDT, TV: Fox

LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-1, 1.52 ERA) looks to continue his stellar work for the Dodgers against the Pirates’ RHP Joe Musgrove (3-4, 3.67 ERA). Ryu has the lowest ERA in the big leagues, helped mightily by a startling 0.28 ERA in four May starts. Musgrove had two consecutive bad starts but won his last two, giving up just four runs in 13 2/3 innings. He went 6 2/3 innings against the Dodgers on April 27 and gave up three runs, only one of which was earned.

Freese hit his grand slam in his first AB after an appreciative ovation honoring his work as a Pirate for two-plus years.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1919 Casey Stengel, traded by the Dodgers in the off-season to the Pirates, calls time, steps out of the batter’s box to give the razzing Ebbets Field fans the ‘bird’. The Pittsburgh right fielder doffs his hat, allowing a sparrow to fly out, much to the amazement and amusement of the fans.
  • 2002 With four homers on Thursday (5/23), one on Friday (5/24), and two more on Saturday (5/25), Shawn Green becomes the first major leaguer to hit seven round-trippers in three games. The Dodger outfielder’s nine big flies in a week also breaks a National League record, established by Ralph Kiner with eight and tied by Ted Kluszewski and Nate Colbert.
  • 2002 Getting his 3,509th K, Diamondback southpaw Randy Johnson passes Walter Johnson to become seventh on the all-time career strikeout list. After fanning Shawn Green in the first to catch the ‘Big Train’, Dodger outfielder Brian Jordan swings and misses a 2-2 pitch in the second inning to become the ‘Big Unit’s’ historic victim.

Lineup when available.


May 24

Game 51, 2019

Dodgers at Pirates, 4:05 PM PDT, ATT Sportsnet PIT, SPNLA

RHP Walker Buehler (4-1, 3.83 ERA) takes the mound in Steel City at the confluence of the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers. His opponent will be the dreaded TBD. Buehler went six strong innings his last time out but took the loss as the Dodgers couldn’t score a run. TBD is RHP Michael Feliz (2-0, 4.63 ERA), who’s not made a start all year and whose longest stint in any of his 11 appearances is 1 2/3 innings.

Kyle Garlick has been recalled and Joe Kelly has been placed on the bereavement list.

Speaking of Kelly, here’s some analysis of his difficulties so far this season from the LA Times. In another article about a member of the bullpen, Pedro Baez discusses his newly-found confidence in his changeup and what it’s done for his effectiveness.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1941 ‘Big Poison’ Paul Waner is signed by the Braves after being released by Brooklyn. The former Dodger joins his brother ‘Little Poison’ Lloyd on the Boston roster.
  • 1947 Carl Furillo hits a three-run homer as a pinch-hitter in the first frame of the Dodgers’ 4-3 ten-inning loss to Philadelphia at Ebbets Field. The unusual substitution occurs when Phillies manager Ben Chapman uses his right-handed starter Al Jurisch to pitch only to Brooklyn’s first two hitters, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, and then brings in southpaw Oscar Judd, who had been warming up from the start of the game, to face the next three lefty hitters, Pete Reiser, Dixie Walker, and Gene Hermanski, the batter replaced by Furillo.
  • 1973 In a 19-inning marathon, LA outfielder Willie Davis collects six hits in a 7-3 loss to the Mets at Dodger Stadium. The two clubs establish a National League mark by hitting into a combined nine double plays.
  • 2000 Sixteen Dodger players and three coaches are suspended by the commissioner’s office for going into the stands during the Wrigley Field scuffle with fans on May 16. The suspensions totaling 60 games for players and 24 games for coaches is the harshest penalty ever handed down by major league baseball.

Lineup when available.



May 22

Game 50, 2019

Dodgers at Rays, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: Fox Sports Sun, SPNLA

The Dodgers send LHP Rich Hill (1-1, 3.00 ERA) to the mound to face RHP Ryne Stanek (0-1, 3.70 ERA). Hill’s last start was brilliant: he retired the first ten batters, gave up two hits over six innings and struck out ten. Stanek has filled the Rays new role of “Opener” to perfection, but it sure looks weird in the stats: 12 starts, 24 1/3 innings. His last outing wasn’t good, though: he gave up three runs in 1/3 of an inning against the Yankees.

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Tayler writes about Bellinger’s assault on .400.

In writing about the challenge of hitting .400, Miller noted that the ideal candidate would virtually never strike out, hit a ton of homers, and maintain a high BABIP. That’s a hard combo to find: Power hitters invariably strike out a lot, and high-contact/low-strikeout guys often don’t hit for much power. But in Bellinger, this mythical player actually exists—or at least has for the last two months.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1998 The Mets trade Preston Wilson, Geoff Goetz, and Ed Yarnell to the Marlins for Mike Piazza. Florida had acquired the All-Star catcher last week from the Dodgers along with Todd Zeile in exchange for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios.
  • 1999 Mark McGwire becomes the third player to launch a ball out of Dodger Stadium when one of his two home runs travels 483 feet in the Cardinals’ 10-7 victory at Chavez Ravine. The slugging first baseman joins Willie Stargell, who accomplished the feat twice in 1969 and 1973, and Mike Piazza, whose Ruthian blast cleared the ballpark two seasons ago.

Lineup when available.


May 21

Game 49, 2019

Dodgers at Rays, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: Fox Sports Sun, SPNLA

It’ll be Dodger LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-0, 3.40 ERA) versus some guy named TBD of the Rays. This will be the second (!) time Kershaw has faced the Rays in his career. The first was six years ago when he gave up one run and struck out eight in eight innings of an 8-2 Dodgers win.

Does it strike anyone else odd that Kershaw’s ERA in May is above 3.00? It looks weird to me.

More on Kenley Jansen and his cutter-love from Houston Mitchell of the Times:

Rick Honeycutt put it this way: “Truth of the matter [is] we want Kenley to pitch more. We want him to use his two-seam. We want him to use his slider. He throws the cutter to both sides so … everybody says, ‘What’s the big deal? You only got two pitches. Your cutter, slider.’ Well, he doesn’t. He’s got more than that.”

Jansen throws his cutter 85% of the time. This season, hitters are batting .254 against Jansen’s cutter. Last season, they hit .185.

So, on one side, you have those who wish Jansen would use all his pitches, and on the other side you have Jansen, who owes his success to his cutter and is not willing to give up on it so quickly.

Mitchell also had fun with the question: “If you wanted to pit an all-time L.A. Dodgers team against an all-time Angels team, how would you pick the players? One way is by using the Wins Above Replacement stat, or WAR.” So he does the work and lists the two best starters for each team at each position except pitcher. He lists five starters and four relievers. Startlingly, the best Dodger relief pitcher is not named Jansen or Gagne. Nope, by WAR it’s…Jim Brewer. Take a look.

Urias has been reinstated by MLB but the investigation continues. LAPD has not pressed charges. To make room for him the Dodgers sent OF Kyle Garlick back to OKC.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1927 For the second consecutive day, an umpire at Ebbets Field is the target of fan abuse. Arbitrator Frank Wilson needs a police escort after the Robins (Dodgers) drop a twin bill to the Cubs.
  • 1952 The Dodgers score a major league record fifteen first-inning runs en route to a 19-1 rout over the Reds at Ebbets Field. After Ewell Blackwell retires the first batter, the next 19 Brooklyn batters reached base (10 hits, 7 walks, and 2 HBP), including Pee Wee Reese getting to first base three times during the frame.
  • 1963 Jim Maloney ties a major league record shared by Max Surkont (1953 Braves) and Johnny Podres (1962 Dodgers) when he strikes out eight consecutive batters, beginning with the last out in the first inning, in the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Milwaukee at County Stadium. The Cincinnati right-hander also equals the franchise mark with 16 strikeouts in one game, established by Noodles Hahn in 1901.
  • 2000 Major League Baseball has its first six grand-slam day less than one year after establishing the mark with five, with Garret Anderson (Angels), J.T. Snow (Giants), Brian Hunter (Phillies), Jason Giambi (A’s), and Adrian Beltre and Shawn Green (Dodgers) all contributing to the record. The NL also set a league record, blasting four of the six base-loaded homers.

Lineup when available.