Dec 31

End of another year

The Dodgers got close again in 2016, but they were beaten by what appeared to be the season’s Team of Destiny, the Cubs, in the NLCS. It was frustrating at the time, but I can appreciate the effort more now, and I can look back at the wonder that was Game Five of the NLDS against the Nationals and smile with delight.

Jon Weisman has some thoughts about remembering the little things, although I don’t think he’d classify that game as little.

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to all my favorite Dodger fans. Pitchers and catchers report in less than two months.

Dec 04

Winter Meetings begin

And what will the Dodgers do? Here’s one thought from the LA Daily News:

… the Dodgers’ focus this winter seems less about making significant additions to the roster and more about maintaining what they have already built — an uncommonly deep roster with flexibility and a more manageable payroll.

“Yeah, that’s a really, really good team,” Friedman said of a 2017 roster with the same elements intact that produced 91 wins in 2016 and fell two games short of reaching the World Series.

That group would return with the prospects of improved health, Friedman points out – how could it not be better than last year’s? — and added maturity for the young players who made such critical contributions.

But there is a strain of wistfulness in Friedman’s comments. He is aware just how unlikely it is that the Dodgers will be able to put last year’s band back together.

The word is that they’ve reached a deal with Rich Hill for three years and $40 million, so that’s one part of the puzzle, although not the most important one, at least as far as blogger Howard Cole is concerned. To him Justin Turner’s resigning is Job One.

I guess we’ll see what Friedman and Company do.

Nov 03

Now the offseason has officially begun

And it starts with the announcement that nine Dodgers are officially free agents. Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen top the list, followed by by starting pitchers Rich Hill and Brett Anderson, relievers Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell and Jesse Chavez, outfielder Josh Reddick and second baseman Chase Utley. Scott Kazmir and Carlos Ruiz could join the list depending on their respective opt-outs.

My personal opinion? Keeping Turner and Jansen should be management’s first priority. After that it’s mixed. I doubt they’ll keep Utley. I think I’d keep Blanton and Howell, I’d try to keep Hill, and I’d watch Reddick and Chavez go.

What do you think?

Nov 02

World Series Game Seven, 2016

It’s a magical phrase for a sports fan, Game Seven. Just look at all the previous ones from the World Series.

Here you’ll find Grover Cleveland Alexander’s masterful job of relief in 1926, when he entered the game in the seventh inning of Game Seven after winning Game Six the day before and struck out the Yankees’ Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded to retire the side. You’ll find Dizzy Dean’s 11-0 shutout of the Tigers in 1934, with the left field fans showering Ducky Medwick with bottles after he spiked Mickey Owens in the previous inning. You’ll find Bill Mazeroski’s home run in 1960 and Luis Gonzalez’s bloop single over second base off Mariano Rivera in 2001. And you’ll find Gene Larkin’s single in the 10th inning of the Jack Morris shutout game in 1991.

Cubs at Indians, 8:00PM ET, TV: Fox

The Cubs ask Kyle Hendricks to be the man. He started Game Three, went 4 1/3 innings and gave up six hits but no runs in the eventual 1-0 loss to the Indians. He’ll be opposed by the Indians’ Corey Kluber, who’s already won Games One and Four in this Series for the Tribe. He’ll try to join a very exclusive club of pitchers who’ve won three games in a Series; the last member to join was Randy Johnson of the D-Backs in 2001.

Cubs Lineup:

Indians Lineup:

Oct 30

World Series Game Five and the possible end of baseball for four months

Unless the Cubs win today there will be no baseball games until March.

Go Cubs!

It’ll be on Fox at 8:00PM ET. The Cubbies ask LHP John Lester to keep their hopes alive, while the Indians hope RHP Trevor Bauer can win the clincher. Lester is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA this postseason, while Bauer is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA.

We’ll see.

Oct 22

NLCS Game Six, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 1 Sv, 3.72 ERA this postseason) tries to keep the Dodgers afloat for a Game Seven. He’ll face RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 3.00 ERA this postseason). They matched up in Game Two and Kershaw got the best of it, going seven innings and getting the 1-0 win. Both pitchers will have had five days rest, one more than usual. I doubt that makes a difference for either of them.

Lineup when available.

Huh. “Shake up the order” is the phrase of the day.