Oct 29

World Series Game Five, 2017

Dodgers at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

Lefty Clayton Kershaw goes for the Dodgers and lefty Dallas Keuchel goes for the Astros in a rematch of Game One starters. Kershaw went seven innings, struck out eleven and gave up one run on 83 pitches while getting the win in that game. Keuchel went 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and taking the loss.

Odd statistical note: all eight runs Kershaw has allowed this month have been via the home run.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1942 Branch Rickey, the innovator of the farm systems which helped to build a strong Redbird franchise, resigns as the Cardinals’ vice president. Three days later, the Dodgers will announce the Mahatma has been named president of the Brooklyn club, a move that will help to fill the void created by Brooklyn’s general manager Larry MacPhail’s enlistment in the army to serve in World War II.
  • 2008 The Phillies complete the first-ever suspended game in World Series history, playing three innings at Citizens Bank Park, beating the Rays, 4-3, in Game 5 to win the Fall Classic. The World Championship is only the team’s second in franchise history, and its first since 1980.

Lineup when available.


Turner’s knee must be bothering him. Fortunately Forsythe is a good replacement at 3B.

Oct 28

World Series Game Four, 2017

Dodgers at Astros, 5:10 PM PT, TV: Fox

Down two games to one, if the Dodgers’ backs are not against the wall (the train tracks?) they’re being pushed closer and closer to it. They ask LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to stop the Astros’ offensive onslaught or hold it off until they can get their own bats in gear. They’ll have to do it against RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA). Wood pitched 4 2/3 innings of Game Three of the NLCS against the Cubs, giving up three runs and taking the loss. Morton lost Game Three of the ALCS to the Yankees but came back to pitch five two-hit innings in Game Five and get the win.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1981 The Dodgers, after dropping the first two games of the Fall Classic, defeat the Yankees, 9-2, capturing the World Championship in six games. The victory at the Bronx ballpark marks the third time this postseason that Los Angeles has come from behind to win a series, having been down 0-2 against the Astros in the five-game strike-necessitated NLDS, and 1-2 behind the Expos in the NLCS five-game series.
  • 1981 Entering Game 6 of the World Series in the fifth inning, Yankee right-hander George Frazier, relieving starter Tommy John, gives up three go-ahead runs in the team’s 9-2 elimination loss to the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. The 27 year-old right-hander becomes the first pitcher to lose three games in a best of seven World Series, and the second hurler to lose that many in any Fall Classic, joining White Sox southpaw Lefty Williams, who also dropped a trio of games in the best-of-nine series played in 1919.
  • 1995 In Game 6, Tom Glavine and Mark Wohlers combine on a one-hitter to defeat the Indians, 1-0, giving the Braves their third World Championship, the first since moving to Atlanta. David Justice’s leadoff homer in the sixth inning off Jim Poole proves to be the difference.
  • 1998

    “It is especially fitting that this legislation honors a courageous baseball player and individual, the late Curt Flood, whose enormous talents on the baseball diamond were matched by his courage off the field. It was 29 years ago this month that Curt Flood refused a trade from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. His bold stand set in motion the events that culminate in the bill I have signed into law.” – BILL CLINTON, U.S. president commenting on the Curt Flood Act.

    President Clinton signs Curt Flood Act of 1998, revoking baseball’s antitrust exemption for labor matters, but not for matters involving relocation, expansion or the minor leagues. The passage of the legislation by the 105th Congress comes over seventy-five years after the Supreme Court ruled that the sport was not involved in interstate commerce or trade as customarily defined within the context of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

  • 2009 In Game 1, Chase Utley, en route to a record-tying five World Series homers, becomes the first left-handed batter in 81 years to hit two round-trippers off a southpaw in a Fall Classic game. The Philadelphia second baseman, who also set a postseason record by reaching base in 26 straight games with his first-inning walk, goes deep twice off Yankee southpaw CC Sabathia in the Phillies’ 6-1 victory in New York, to match Babe Ruth’s performance in the fourth and final game of the 1928 series.

Lineup when available.

Oct 27

World Series Game Three, 2017

Dodgers at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

The Dodgers’ RHP Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.59 ERA in postseason) will face RHP Lance McCullers (0-0, 1 SV, 2.08 in postseason) in Game Three in Houston’s roofed-over Minute Maid Park.

“Past performance does not guarantee future results,” the financial industry cautions, so Darvish and his 4-1 record with a 2.16 ERA in six career starts at the Astros’ park including a near-perfect game and a separate near-no-hitter in 2013 probably just means he’s comfortable pitching there. McCullers used a lot of curveballs in his four-inning save in Game Seven of the ALCS. The Dodgers had the best batting average in baseball against the curve this year (.274) per Statcast, but they are hitting just .167 (7-for-42) off curves this postseason.

Classic photos of the Dodgers in World Series past.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1985 The Royals become the sixth team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the Fall Classic when series MVP Bret Saberhagen, who became a new dad yesterday, blanks the Cardinals on five hits, 11-0. Kansas City is the first team in World Series history to lose its first two games at home and then come back to win the World Championship.
  • 1991 In Game 7 of the ‘Worst to First’ World Series, the Twins beat the Braves, 1-0, when Dan Gladden scores the winning run in the bottom of the tenth on Gene Larkin’s single, clinching its second world championship since relocating from Washington D.C. in 1961. Atlanta and Minnesota had both finished in last place in their respective divisions the previous season.


    Jack Morris goes the distance in the game, blanking the Braves, 1-0, in the Twins’ ten-inning, dramatic walk-off win at the Metrodome. The 36 year-old right-hander, who posts a 2-0 record along with a 1.17 ERA during his three starts, is named the Most Valuable Player of the Fall Classic.

  • 2002 In the team’s 42nd season, the Angels finally win a World Series title by beating the Giants, 4-1, in Game 7 at Edison Field. Garret Anderson’s three-run double provides enough offense for John Lackey to become the first rookie to win a seventh game since 1909 when Babe Adams accomplished the feat for the Pirates.
  • 2004 Under the moon’s reddish tint caused by a lunar eclipse, the Red Sox exorcised 86 years of agonizing losses by winning their first World Series since 1918. In one of the most dominating Fall Classic performances, Boston, who never trailed during the four games, blanks the Cardinals, 3-0, to complete the sweep.

Lineup when available.

Oct 25

World Series Game Two, 2017

Astros at Dodgers, 5:09 PM PT, TV: Fox

The Astros send out their waiver-trade-deadline acquisition par excellence, RHP Justin Verlander. All Verlander has done since coming over from the Tigers is win nine games without a loss, including four postseason games this year. He’ll be opposed by the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill, who’s pitched nine innings in two starts in the postseason without a decision.


Today in baseball history:

  • 1981 In Game 5 at Dodger Stadium, Pedro Guerrero’s and Steve Yeager’s back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh inning off Yankee southpaw Ron Guidry give Los Angeles a 2-1 win, its third victory in the Fall Classic. Guerrero and Yeager, along with teammate Ron Cey, will be named as the co-recipients of the World Series MVP award.
  • 1986 One strike from defeat, the Mets tie the game on a wild pitch and then, thanks to Bill Buckner’s error, win Game 6, knotting the Fall Classic at three games apiece. This event was selected as one of baseball’s 30 most memorable moments. “If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.” – Vin Scully, describing the aftermath of the play after a long silence.
  • 2005 The first World Series game ever to be played in the state of Texas proves to be memorable when Geoff Blum’s 14th inning solo home run (the 30th Major Leaguer to hit a HR in his first World Series AB) becomes the beginning of the end of the longest Fall Classic contest ever played. The 7-5 victory, which gives the White Sox a commanding 3-0 advantage over the Astros, takes 5 hours, 41 minutes to complete, with the 14 frames equaling the number of innings the Red Sox needed to beat the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 1916 series.
  • 2005 Mark Buehrle becomes the first pitcher to start and save consecutive World Series contests. After receiving a no-decision starting Game 2, the 26 year-old southpaw gets the final out in the 14th inning of Game 3 to record a save as the White Sox beat the Astros, 7-5.

Lineup when available.

Oct 24

World Series Game One, 2017

Astros at Dodgers, 5:09 PM PT, TV: Fox

It’s lefty versus lefty in Game One, as Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA) takes the hill for the Astros and Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers. Keuchel is 2-1 in three starts this postseason with a 2.60 ERA, while Kershaw is 2-0 in his three starts this postseason with a 3.63 ERA.

I didn’t realize the two managers worked together in San Diego and are good friends.

This is the first time two 100-win teams will face each other in the Series since the Reds and Orioles in 1970 (the Series Roger Angell of The New Yorker called “The Baltimore Vermeers”).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1972 Jackie Robinson, weakened by complications of heart disease and diabetes, dies of a heart attack in his home in North Stamford, Connecticut. The 53-year-old nearly-blind baseball pioneer and social activist’s death comes nine days after his appearance at the World Series, where he threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.
  • 1987 The Twins, amidst the deafening crowd noise of the hanky-waving fans in the Metrodome, stave off elimination when the team scores a total of eight runs in the fifth and sixth frames of Game 6 to beat the Cardinals, 11-5. Minnesota’s southpaw-swinging Kent Hrbek hits a sixth-inning grand slam off left-handed Ken Dayley to put the contest out of reach for the Redbirds.
  • 1992 In Game 6, Canada wins its first-ever World Series when the Blue Jays beat the Braves at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, 4-3. Forty-one year-old Dave Winfield’s 11th inning double is the key hit in Toronto’s victory.

Lineup:

Oct 23

WS Day Minus One

In his regular Dodgers Dugout column Houston Mitchell of the LA Times does a position-by-position comparison between the Dodgers and Astros, which I think is tilted a little toward his hometown team. But here’s what I found interesting in the column: a discussion of ticket pricing and a prescription for what to do about the secondary market.

There’s something wrong in the world when I can fly to Houston, stay overnight and buy a ticket for a World Series game there for cheaper than I can stay in L.A. and buy a ticket for a game here.

Places like StubHub are asking for $1,250 for a seat in the top deck. Unless you were the lucky ones to win the chance to buy tickets through the Dodgers.com lottery, there’s no way an average fan can attend a game. That’s a crime. I have kids to send to college. Am I supposed to tell them, “Sorry, no college for you so we can go to a World Series game?”

If I was the Dodgers, here’s what I would do:

1. Discover which Dodgers fans are selling their tickets through a secondary market for a jacked-up price and bar them from ever buying a postseason ticket again.

2. Buy up as many secondary tickets as I could and pull more names from the online lottery. Sell the tickets to those people.

I was curious and looked at StubHub; I discovered that the least-expensive ticket available for a game at Dodger Stadium was $950, and that was a week ago. I don’t know if Mitchell’s suggestion would work, but he’s definitely got a point. Of course, this isn’t new. I remember a Roger Angell column from 40 years ago in which he wrote of a conversation with a player in the Series who looked up in the stands and asked “where are all the people who were here all year,” meaning all the seats were now in the hands and fannies of corporations and the like, not the long-term fans.

Seager is healthy enough to play, they and he say. Also, Charlie Culberson kept the ball he caught for the final out of NLCS Game Four, but he hasn’t yet found a really good place to display it.

Here’s an interview with Orel Hershiser in which he insists that what he did in 1988 (and there’s a brief recap of the number of appearances he made in the postseason) could still be done by today’s athletes if needed, but lineups and bullpens are built differently now.

Sports Illustrated baseball writers predict the Series outcome.

Oct 21

ALCS Game Seven, 2017

Game Seven. Winner goes on, loser goes home. Elimination game. All the marbles. Pick your cliché.

Tonight at 8:00 PM EDT, 5:00PM PT, the Yankees play the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston in one of those Game Sevens.

Tonight’s pitchers are the same men who started Game Three: for the Yankees, veteran lefty C.C.Sabathia; for the Astros, RHP Charlie Morton. In the earlier game Sabathia went six scoreless innings, while Morton went only 3 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs. Sabathia has a 2.30 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 15 2/3 innings in three starts this postseason. Morton started Game Four of the ALDS against the Red Sox and went 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits but only two runs in that game, which was won by the Astros to clinch the series and move on to the ALCS.

This day in baseball history:

  • 1957 With major league baseball coming to the Bay Area, the Giants buy the single A minor league team in Arizona for the purpose of moving the San Francisco Seals to the nearby desert. Their new farm team will be known as the Phoenix Giants.
  • 1973 In Game Seven, the hometown A’s capture their second consecutive World Championship, defeating the Mets, 5-2, when Darold Knowles, coming out of the bullpen with two outs and two on in the ninth, gets Wayne Garrett to pop out. The 31 year-old southpaw reliever, who hurls 6.1 Fall Classic innings without giving up an earned run en route to recording two saves, is the first pitcher to appear in all seven games of a World Series.
  • 1975 In the bottom of the 12th inning of Game Six at Fenway Park, Red Sox backstop Carlton Fisk hits one of the most dramatic home runs in major league history, forcing a seventh game with the Reds. In 2002 this event, seen by a record-75.9 million viewers, will be chosen as one of baseball’s most memorable moments.

  • 1976 The Reds beat the Yankees, 7-2, to complete the World Series sweep over the Bronx Bombers for their second consecutive World Championship. The ‘Big Red Machine’ is powered by Johnny Bench’s two-run and three-run home runs.
  • 1980 In front of 65,838 fans at Veterans Stadium, the Phillies win their first World Series in the 98-year history of the franchise by defeating the Royals in Game 6, 4-1. Winning pitcher Steve Carlton limits Kansas City to 4 hits in seven innings, and Tug McGraw hurls the last two frames to pick up the save.
  • 2000 In the longest World Series game ever played, the Yankees take Game 1 of the Subway Series, thanks to Jose Vizcaino’s 12th inning two-out single, defeating the Mets, 4-3, in four hours and fifty-one minutes. The victory surpasses the streak established by the Murderers’ Row clubs as the present Bronx Bombers win their 13th consecutive World Series game.
  • 2009 When he is issued a first-inning walk by L.A.’s starter Vicente Padilla (Note: Vicente Padilla?!?) in Game 5 of the NLCS, Chase Utley ties a postseason record by reaching base in 25 consecutive contests. The slugging second baseman, who has reached base in every postseason game in which he has participated except for his first in 2007, equals Boog Powell’s mark established from 1966-1971 playing for the Orioles.
Oct 20

ALCS Game Six, 2017

Yankees at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

The Yankees have two games in which to win one, while for the Astros this is an elimination game. It’s a rematch of Game Two’s starting pitchers.

In Game Two, the Astros’ RHP Justin Verlander threw that most rare of things in this era, a complete game, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and striking out 13. His opponent will again be RHP Luis Severino, who was pulled from that game after just four innings “for precautionary reasons.” Before he left he’d given up just one run on two hits to the Astros.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1988 The Dodgers become World Champions when Orel Hershiser limits the opposition to four singles in Game 5 of the World Series and beats the A’s, 5-1. The right-hander, who also won Game 2, is named the Most Valuable Player of the Fall Classic.
  • 2004 After losing the first three games of the ALCS, the Red Sox win four consecutive games to win the American League pennant, beating the Yankees in the Bronx, 10-3. Johnny Damon’s two home runs, including a grand slam in the fourth, and Derek Lowe’s solid pitching performance help Boston to join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders as the only teams in the history of professional sports to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to win a seven-game series.
Oct 19

NLCS Game Five, 2017

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

The Dodgers try to close out the series again today with LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) pitching against the Cubs’ LHP Jose Quintana (11-11, 4.15 ERA). It’s a rematch of last Saturday’s Game One pitchers.

Kershaw went five innings in that game and got no decision. Quintana also went five innings and got no decision, giving up the tying runs and watching his bullpen and offense fail him.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1981 The first Canadian pennant hopes are dashed when Dodger Rick Monday’s ninth inning two-out dramatic home run beats the Expos, 2-1, in the deciding game of the NLCS. It will be the first and last time in franchise history the team makes it into the postseason until 2012, when the Washington Nationals, the team’s new name and home for the past seven seasons, finishes first in the National League East Division.

In other baseball history, in 2004 in an ALCS game which features two reversed calls by the umpires, the Red Sox become the first team in baseball history to force a Game 7 after trailing the series 0-3. Boston, which was three outs from being swept in Game 4, gets an outstanding pitching performance from Curt Schilling to beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium 4-2. Schilling played with a dislocated ankle tendon, thus this game was called “the bloody sock” game. Also, in the NLCS Game 7 in 2006 Endy Chavez made a leaping catch at Shea’s left field fence, grabbing a ball seemingly destined to be a Scott Rolen two-run home run and starting an unbelievable double play. The heroics are overshadowed in the ninth inning as Yadier Molina hits a two-run homer and Carlos Beltran, who has the best HR ratio (11/81) in postseason history, looks at a third strike with the bases loaded with Mets, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 victory and the pennant.

Lineup when available.

Oct 18

NLCS Game Four, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers send the very well-rested LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to the mound to try to close out the series. The Cubs will ask RHP Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA) to put up a roadblock in front of the Dodgers’ seemingly-unstoppable steamroller.

Wood hasn’t pitched in three weeks; he was scheduled to start Game Four of the Dodgers’ NLDS but they swept the D-Backs in that series. He’s been throwing simulated games and yesterday he declared himself ready to go. Arrieta pitched in Game Four of the Cubs’ NLDS against the Nats, going four innings, throwing 90 pitches, giving up an earned run and losing 5-0. He’s a former Cy Young Award winner and once threw a no-hitter at the Dodgers; presumably they won’t take him lightly.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1988 At Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Mark McGwire goes deep off LA’s Jay Howell with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the A’s a 2-1 victory for its only win in the Series. With Kirk Gibson’s heroics in Game 1, ‘Big Mac’s’ walk-off home run marks the first time that two game-winning round-trippers are hit in the same Fall Classic.
  • 2013 The Cardinals advance to their second World Series in three seasons, routing the Dodgers, 9-0, in Game 6 of the NLCS. St. Louis, behind the timely hitting of Carlos Beltran and the strong pitching performance of rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, beats Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) for the fourth time this season, including a pair of victories in this round of the postseason.

Lineup when available.

Grandal gets a start, Ethier and Utley get second starts, and Granderson gets a start. This may be the Dave Roberts “keep guys happy as much as I can within the needs of the team” approach to managing.