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.

Oct 20

NLCS Game Five, 2016

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

On paper the pitching matchup looks to favor the Cubs; LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) faces RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA). Lester has pitched 14 innings in the playoffs and given up just one run; Maeda hasn’t made it into the fifth inning in either playoff start and has a 9.00 ERA over the seven cumulative innings he’s pitched.

Said in Chris Berman’s affected voice: “That’s why they play the games.”

Lineup:


Oct 19

NLCS Game Four, 2016

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

The Cubs send wily veteran RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ rookie LHP Julio Urias (5-2, 3.35 ERA) in hope of tying the series up. Lackey has made 11 career starts in 12 appearances against the Dodgers and has a career 1.75 ERA against them. Urias started twice against the Cubs during the regular season, working six innings to beat them on Aug. 27 at Dodger Stadium after getting beaten up at Wrigley Field in his second Major League start.

Lineup:


Oct 18

NLCS Game Three, 2016

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

The Cubs send RHP Jake Arrieta (18-8, 310 ERA) to the mound to face LHP Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) of the Dodgers. The last time Arrieta faced the Dodgers at this start time was last August; all he did was throw a no-hitter at them. Since then he’s faced them once in May of this season and shut them out for seven innings. He’s not been quite that good in the second half of this season and he hasn’t gotten much help: The Cubs lost all five of his starts in July and four of his last six entering the NLCS start. His ERA is 4.44 in his last 16 starts. Hill, a mid-season acquisition by the Dodgers, hasn’t been able to produce as much as they hoped due to blister issues and an inability to go deep in games. He pitched into the fifth inning in a 5-2 loss at Washington in Game 2 of the NLDS and came out in the third inning of Game 5 when he was working on three days’ rest.
.
Someone post the lineup when it’s out, please. I’ll be in the air to Honolulu and won’t arrive until about the sixth inning.