Apr 02

Game Five, 2018

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA

It’ll be LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu for the visiting Dodgers and RHP Taijuan Walker for the Diamondbacks. Ryu was 5-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 24 starts last season, while Walker was 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts. Ryu lost his first four starts of last year and then recovered to go 5-5 the rest of the way, even picking up a 4-inning save. Walker’s last appearance of 2017 was not a good one; he started Game One of the NL Division Series against the Dodgers and lasted only one inning, giving up four runs and four hits with two walks in a series the Dodgers swept.

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 2003 Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine different clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.
  • 2007 For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under the age of 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20 year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher ‘not of age’ to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros 2-0 in 1981.
  • 2008 Third base ump Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying within the boundaries of the coaching box although he warned the Dodger coach several times to follow the new edict put in place by MLB following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers’ first base coach Mike Coolbaugh. The former infielder and manager’s behavior will lead to a three-game suspension for “inappropriate and aggressive conduct,” in which he had to be restrained by manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer in the sixth inning of the 3-2 victory over the Giants in Los Angeles.

Lineup when available.


Joc leading off, Chase starting. The Dodgers’ slogan this year really is “Nobody over 140!”

Apr 01

Game Four, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 5:37 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

The Dodgers try to capture the fourth game of the opening series and gain a split. To do that they send LHP Rich Hill to the mound. He was 12-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts with the Dodgers last year. He’ll face RHP Chris Stratton, who was 4-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances for the Giants last season. He’s only made one appearance at Dodger Stadium in his brief career, giving up three runs in four innings last September 24 and taking the loss.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1937 The Reds sell Babe Herman to the Tigers. The 34 year-old outfielder, batting .300 for his new team, will appear in only 17 contests with Detroit before effectively retiring from the game, although he will return to play briefly for the war-time Dodgers in 1945.
  • 1963 Former Brooklyn Dodger Duke Snider returns to New York when the Mets purchase him from LA for $40,000. The 36 year-old outfielder, who will represent New York in the All-Star game, will be told at the end of the season by Buzzie Bavasi, his former GM, that the Yankees had asked for him to back up Mickey Mantle before he was dealt to the team the across the river.
  • 2008 On Opening Day in Los Angeles, Juan Pierre’s 434 consecutive game streak, the longest current one in the major leagues, comes to an end when the Dodger outfielder does not play in the 3-2 victory over the Giants. New skipper Joe Torre plays Andre Ethier in left field in place of the highly paid but light-hitting fly chaser.

Can you imagine Duke Snider in pinstripes?

Yesterday’s Kyle Farmer versatility moment:

Lineup when available.


Young Joc in left. I get the feeling no Dodger is going to play as many as 140 games in the regular season.

Mar 31

Game Three, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

The Giants try to take the third game of a four-game series behind LHP Derek Holland, a non-roster invitee who earned a spot in their rotation with a 4.05 ERA in six appearances this spring. Holland was 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA for the White Sox last year. He’ll face RHP Kenta Maeda, who went 13-6 for the Dodgers last season with a 4.22 ERA. In his two-year career in MLB he’s 3-1 with a 5.56 ERA against the Giants.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

    1948 At Ebbets Field No. 2, the Dodgers play their first exhibition game at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, which will remain the team’s home for 61 years. Amidst much fanfare, including Governor Millard Caldwell throwing the ceremonial first pitch, Jackie Robinson homers in the first inning as Brooklyn beats its top farm club, the Montreal Royals, 5-4.

  • 1998 Mark McGwire hits the first of his historic seventy home runs when he goes deep off Ramon Martinez in the fifth inning of the Cardinals’ 6-0 victory over L.A. at Busch Stadium. The Redbirds’ first baseman becomes the first player in franchise history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day.

Alex Wood deserved better yesterday, as this video shows:

Lineup when available.

Shake up that lineup, Roberts! Barnes and Farmer make their first appearances of the season, Forsythe moves to 2B.

Mar 30

Game Two, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

The visiting Giants send out the 10-year veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto (8-8, 4.52 ERA in 2017) to face the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA in 2017). Cueto has made nine starts at Dodger Stadium and gone 4-5 with a very good 2.67 ERA. Wood is coming off the best season of his career, so of course he’s abandoned the windup and will pitch solely from the stretch (for now — the first time he suffers through a four-run inning may put paid to that idea).

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 1966 Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale’s refusal to report to spring training ends when the hurlers agree to the Dodgers’ offer of $235,000, signing for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively. The LA starters’ joint holdout lasts for 32 days, paving the way for other players to be more aggressive when negotiating with owners.
  • 2012 Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest starting pitcher to make an Opening Day roster when the Rockies announce that the 49 year-old southpaw will face Houston in the second game of the season. Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm was the same age as the Colorado left-hander when he opened the season with L.A. in 1972, but ‘Old Sarge’ appeared strictly in relief for the Dodgers.

Lineup when available.



Utley replaces Kiké at 2B.

Mar 29

Opening Day, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 4:08 PM PDT, ESPN

It’ll be LHP Ty Blach for the visiting Giants and LHP Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. Blach has been very good at Dodger Stadium in his four appearances: he’s got a 1.38 ERA. Kershaw will be making his eighth Opening Day start for the Dodgers, a new franchise record. He had previously shared the record of seven with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton. This will be Kershaw’s 41st career start against the Giants: he’s 22-9 with a 1.60 ERA in the first 40.

The Dodgers are virtually the same team as the NL Champions of last year, albeit temporarily without third baseman and team leader Justin Turner. They do have a left-field platoon which includes prodigal Matt Kemp; I think it’s fair to say most fans didn’t expect to see him still here on Opening Day. And I wonder: Andre Ethier is still a free agent and would have been cheaper to keep than Kemp is.

This is the 12th season opener between the clubs since they moved west in 1958. The Giants have won 6 of the previous 11.

An Opening Day Quiz from George Will at the Washington Post. I started off like a house afire and faded in the later innings. I scored 21 of 41.

Lineup when available.

Kiké hitting cleanup. O-o-o-kay.

Mar 19

Turner breaks wrist, out weeks

This is a fine how-do-you-do.

Dodgers All-Star third baseman Justin Turner suffered a small non-displaced fracture of his left wrist Monday night when hit by a Kendall Graveman pitch. He will open the season on the disabled list and be re-examined by local hand specialist, Dr. Brian Shafer, on Tuesday to determine how long he will be sidelined.

General manager Farhan Zaidi said this type of injury is “usually on the order of weeks” and surgery probably won’t be necessary. He said the club is not looking to replace Turner with an acquisition because of confidence in its internal depth.

Video of the incident and of Manager Dave Roberts talking about the injury at this link.

Mar 15

Getting closer to Opening Day!

Have a nice story complimenting the Dodger Stadium architects and the owners who have kept it up.

Okay, it’s an ad for Kingsford charcoal, it’s still kinda cute.

Cory Seager’s elbow shows no ill-effects from throwing in a game Wednesday and Kiké Hernandez says “Hey, I can hit right-handers too!” Alex Wood went five innings and struck out six White Sox “A” leaguers while giving up just one hit, and Matt Kemp went 1-4 as a starter in left field. Andrew Toles came off the bench and was 0-for-1. Alex Verdugo came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a double. Trayce Thompson came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a bloop double. Other news here.

Mar 10

NCAA Tournament Challenge 2018

Here we are again, folks.

Here’s the link.

Group Name: Elysian Fields

Password: hershiser59

You must fill out the bracket by Thursday morning before the games begin.

d. Lock-time. All picks will lock at the scheduled tip off time of the Tournament currently scheduled for Thursday, March 15, 2018. Your picks for the matchups must be submitted, received and recorded by Sponsor’s computer by the scheduled locktime.

Feb 27

One week into spring (training)

So far this spring the Dodgers have a 2-3 record. I like this deal,though:

Dodgers @ Padres
Peoria Stadium – Wed 2/28
358 tickets as low as $4

As we all expected, the Dodgers have a bunch of outfielders all trying to win a job in left field (Yasiel Puig’s a fixture in right and Chris Taylor’s the same in center). Andrew Toles is coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee, Joc Pederson’s trying to regain his form of 2016, Alex Verdugo might be their best non-pitching prospect, and oh yeah, Matt Kemp is back. He’s 40 pounds lighter than he was last season, which should certainly help his fairly awful defense of the last few years, and he can still hit. I think it’s even money he and his $43M contract get traded, possibly before the season begins, but the Dodgers have supposedly been trying to do that since they reacquired him in the offseason. The left field situation featured in a Dodgers.com story about Maeda’s two-inning stint on Tuesday:

In the ongoing competition for left field, Matt Kemp started in left Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Joc Pederson started in center and was 0-for-2 with a walk, caught-stealing and strikeout, and he threw out former Dodger Willie Calhoun at the plate; and Alex Verdugo started in right and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Off the bench, Andrew Toles was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.

I just subscribed to the new sportswriting website The Athletic. If you subscribe by clicking that link you get 25% off the $59.99 annual subscription price and I get $10 in credit at Amazon. It looks like a slightly pricey deal for a lot of extraordinary sportswriters, including people laid off by ESPN like Jayson Stark. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is there, as is Peter Gammons. It’s covering the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and MLS in addition to MLB. Take a look at it.

Feb 12

Spring Training begins this week

To get into the mood, Houston Mitchell of the Times is listing the results of a readers’ poll which asked “Who are the 10 Greatest Dodgers of All Time?”

I received 8,382 ballots from newsletter readers who responded to send me their choices as the top 10 Dodgers of all time. Points were assigned based on ranking, with the first-place choice getting 12 points, second place getting 10, third place eight, down to one point for 10th place. After tabulating the ballots, I will be presenting the top 25 in points. We will be counting down Nos. 25-11, one each weekday, for the next three weeks. Then we will time the top 10 so No. 1 unveils on March 29, the day the season opens.

Click the link to see who #25 is.

The Cubs wanted Yu Darvish enough to pay him $126 million over six years. Obviously the Dodgers didn’t want to pay that much for that long. I suspect it was the length of the contract more than the dollars which gave the Dodgers pause.

Kenley Jansen and Alex Wood are both ready for spring training: