Jul 15

Game 96, 2018

Angels at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT (? My paper has it at that time; MLB has it at 7:10 PM PDT), TV: SPNLA, FS-W

The Angels ask RHP Deck McGuire (0-1, 6.10 ERA) to win the rubber match. All he has to do is hold the Dodgers in check while his team scores against LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-4, 2.61 ERA). Easy-peasy! McGuire has been used as a spot starters this season; he last started on July 7, also against the Dodgers. He pitched three scoreless innings in that game and didn’t figure in the decision. Kershaw didn’t pitch in last weekend’s series in Anaheim; his last start was on Monday against the Padres. He pitched six scoreless innings, gave up two hits and got the win.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1960 Home plate umpire Frank Dascoli stops play for 24 minutes when Willie McCovey hits a pitch into shallow left field that no one can see because of the dense fog. The Giants first baseman’s second inning ‘invisible triple’ doesn’t deter the Dodgers when they go on to win the Candlestick Park contest, 5-3.
  • 2003 At the All-Star Game played in Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field, Angels outfielder Garret Anderson goes 3-for-4, including a two-run homer and a double, helping the American League to beat the NL, 7-6. Pinch-hitting in the eighth inning, Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock hits a go-ahead two-run homer off the usually untouchable reliever of the Dodgers, Eric Gagne.
  • 2004 Eric Gagne surpasses Jeff Shaw for the most career saves in franchise history, collecting his 130th save in a Dodger uniform. The 28 year-old right-handed closer pitches a perfect ninth, striking out the side, in the team’s 5-2 victory over Arizona at Bank One Ballpark.
  • 2017 Cody Bellinger becomes the first Dodger rookie to hit for the cycle when he collects a seventh-inning triple in the team’s 7-1 victory over the Marlins in Miami. The 22-year old freshman goes 4-for-5, driving in three runs en route to his historic accomplishment.

Also: in 1939 National League president Ford Frick orders two-foot screens affixed inside all foul poles after Billy Jurges of the Giants and umpire George Magerkurth spit at each other after a foul ball call down the left field line is disputed at the Polo Grounds. The American League will soon follow the Senior Circuit lead and will also install foul ball screens.

And: in 1994 after being confiscated in the first inning of the Indians-White Sox contest at Comiskey Park, Albert Belle’s bat, suspected of being corked, is placed in umpire Dave Phillips’ locker for further examination. The attempt to take and replace the suspected bat by a bungling burglar, who gains access to the umpire’s room by squirming through the stadium’s overhead crawl space, a thievery Jason Grimsley will confess to five-years later, is immediately uncovered with the discovery of pieces of broken ceiling tile on the floor, and a new name on the ‘clean’ bat which now reads, Paul Sorrento.

Lineup:


Jul 12

Game 93, 2018

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD

Freshly appointed to his first All Star Game, RHP Ross Stripling (7-2, 2.22 ERA) takes the hill at Petco Park this evening to face RHP Tyson Ross (5-7, 4.41 ERA). Stripling allowed the Angels no hits during his last start; he did give up three to Mike Trout, but he got the win anyway. Ross has seen his ERA jump a full point in his last two starts. The speculation is his slider has temporarily deserted him.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1949 The first All-Star Game which includes black players is played at Ebbets Field. The Dodgers’ Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, and Don Newcombe represent the National League in an 11-7 loss to Larry Doby and his AL teammates.
  • 1966 The National League All-Stars edge the AL, 2-1, in a game played at the newly-built Busch Stadium when hometown favorite Tim McCarver scores the winning run on Dodger shortstop Maury Wills’s tenth-inning walk-off single, with Giants hurler Gaylord Perry getting the victory by tossing a scoreless ninth and tenth inning. The 105-degree weather, 113 degrees on the playing surface, results in nearly 150 people needing treatment for heat exhaustion.

This is notable: In 1949 the major league owners agree to install warning tracks made of cinder in front of outfield fences before the start of next season. The origin of the concept began at Yankee Stadium, where an actual running track, used in the ballpark’s track and field events, helped fielders know their proximity to the outfield fence when attempting to make a play. One wonders if that might have saved Pete Reiser’s career. Reiser “was taken off the field on a stretcher a record 11 times.”

Lineup:


Jul 10

Game 91, 2018

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD

Today’s menu has two lefties, Rich Hill (2-3, 4.56 ERA) for the Dodgers and Eric Lauer (4-5, 4.54 ERA) for the Friars. Hill seems to have recovered from his blister problems (knock on wood) and is making his regular turn despite sustaining a stiff neck in a headfirst slide his last time out. Lauer is a rookie who’s 3-2 with a 2.63 ERA since the first of June.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1943 Some of the Dodgers, led by infielder Arky Vaughan, threaten not to play in today’s game to protest the suspension of their teammate Bobo Newsome by manager Leo Durocher. The Ebbets Field contest begins ten minutes late. Brooklyn plundered the Pirates, 23-6, and in a few days, Newsome, who had argued with his skipper over a pitch selection in a previous game, is traded to the Browns for Archie McKain and Fritz Ostermueller.
  • 1953 With Roy Campanella’s home run off Giants hurler Sal Maglie, the Dodgers establish a National League record, homering in their 24th consecutive game. Campy’s homer is the only run Brooklyn scores as the Giants extend their winning streak to seven with the 6-1 victory.
  • 1979 With his team trailing the Padres 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs at Veterans Stadium, Phillies pinch hitter Del Unser hits a three-run walk-off home run, giving the team a 6-5 comeback victory. The dramatic dinger makes Del Unser only the second player in major league history to hit a homer in three consecutive at bats as a pinch hitter, a feat also accomplished by Lee Lacy of the Dodgers last season.
  • 1984 At San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, Dodger southpaw Fernando Valenzuela and Mets rookie Dwight Gooden combine to strike out six consecutive American League All-Stars on the 50th anniversary of Carl Hubbell’s memorable 1934 Midsummer Classic performance of setting down five future Hall of Famers on strikes. Dwight Gooden, at the age of 19, becomes the youngest player ever to participate in an All-Star Game.

In one of the most famous events in baseball history, at the All Star Game in 1934 in New York’s Polo Grounds, Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell faces a starting lineup comprised of nine eventual Hall of Famers. ‘King Carl’ is up to the unique occurrence in baseball history when he fans five batters in a row after letting the first two hitters reach base: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin.

Lineup when available.


Jul 08

Game 89, 2018

Dodgers at Angels, 5:15 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

LHP Alex Wood (5-5, 3.84 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers in the rubber match of this three-game series. He’ll face the Angels’ briefly-a-Dodger LHP Andrew Heaney (4-6, 3.94 ERA). Wood has won his last four starts after a three-game slump, while Heaney took the loss in his last start despite giving up only three runs over seven innings to the Mariners. He’s 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in his only two career starts against the Dodgers.

An aside: I suspect the people who write these previews look up and add the career numbers as filler. Logically, if some pitcher is 12-2 over his lifetime against one team (or 2-12) he’s faced numerous iterations of that team. In these days of nearly-unfettered player movement it might be more useful to look at his career stats against each player he’s expecting to face in the game.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1949 Hank Thompson, who broke into the majors as a member of the St. Louis Browns twelve days after Larry Doby’s American League debut with the Indians in 1947, becomes the first African-American to play for the Giants. When the former Kansas City Monarchs’ standout faces Dodger right-hander Don Newcombe, it marks the first time a pitcher-batter confrontation takes place between black players in the major leagues.

In the “Dubious Moments in Baseball History” column comes this item: in 1979 the Mets announce the selection of Mettle as the name for the team’s new mascot mule. Dolores Mapps of Mercerville, N.J., who submitted the winning entry, believes the moniker captures the team’s “spirit, ardor, stamina, and courage, all of which the Mets have in abundance.”

In a slightly more aesthetic moment, back in 1994 Red Sox shortstop John Valentin snares Marc Newfield’s sixth-inning line drive, steps on second to retire Mike Blowers, and then tags the runner coming from first, Kevin Mitchell, to turn an unassisted triple play. After completing the rare feat, accomplishing a play that has occurred only ten times in major league history, the infielder begins a three-homer outburst by Boston in the bottom of the frame, helping the team defeat the Mariners at Fenway Park, 4-3.

Lineup when available.


Jun 23

Game 75, 2018

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

LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.76 ERA) makes his first start since going on the disabled list with back pain on June 1. He’d made only two starts in May sandwiched around his first trip to the DL this season with a biceps injury. He draws a nasty assignment: keep pace with the Mets’ ace RHP Jacob DeGrom (5-2, 1.51 ERA). In his last eleven starts DeGrom sports a 0.90 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings.

Per the Associated Press: Kershaw “will be limited against the Mets, with 21-year-old rookie LHP Caleb Ferguson (0-1, 7.59 ERA) ready in reserve.”

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1930 The Dodgers get twelve consecutive hits in a 19-6 win over the Pirates at Forbes Field. Two of the dozen hits in the eight-run sixth inning include a pair of homers hit by Brooklyn outfielder Babe Herman.
  • 1986 The Braves strand 18 runners on base, establishing a National League record. Enough Atlanta players do score to give the team a 6-5 victory over L.A. at Dodger Stadium.

Other notable events in baseball on this date include Ernie Shore’s near-perfect game in 1917, when he relieved Babe Ruth (ejected for arguing balls and strikes and possibly punching the umpire) and retired 26 consecutive batters.

Lineup:


Jun 17

Game 70, 2018

Happy Fathers’ Day to all the Dads in the audience.

Giants at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCS Bay Area

RHP Chris Stratton ((7-4, 4.56 ERA) takes the hill for the Giants. He lost his last start after four consecutive wins, despite going seven innings and giving up only three runs on four hits to the Marlins. LHP Caleb Ferguson (0-0, 9.53 ERA) gets his third start for the Dodgers. His second one on June 12 was a marked improvement over his first on June 6, but he still gave up five hits and two runs in four innings on Tuesday against the Rangers.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1915 Cubs right-hander reliever George Washington Zabel, called into the game with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, throws 18 and 1/3 innings of the Cubs’ 4-3 victory over the Robins at Chicago’s West Side Park. ‘Zip’, establishing the major league record for the longest relief stint in one game, beats Brooklyn starter Jeff Pfeffer, who tosses a 19-inning complete-game. (Pfeffer won 113 games for Brooklyn and lost only 80 in a nine-year career with the Robins.)
  • 1956 Joe Adcock’s ninth-inning home run off Brooklyn right-hander Ed Roebuck, his second round-tripper of the game, proves to be the game winner in the Braves’ 5-4 victory over the Dodgers. The blast to left field, which clears an 83-foot wall at the 350-foot mark, is believed to the only homer ever to land on the roof at Ebbets Field.
  • 1956 Fred Haney, named yesterday to replace Charlie Grimm , wins two games in his managerial debut with the Braves when the team sweeps a doubleheader against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 5-4 and 3-1, starting a streak of 11 consecutive victories. The club’s former coach will compile a 341-231 (.596) record, guiding Milwaukee to two pennants and a world championship during his four seasons at the helm.
  • 1976 At Shea Stadium, Dave Kingman hits a walk-off homer to give the Mets a 1-0 victory over the Dodgers. Sky King’s game-ending blast comes off Charlie Hough in the 14th inning.
  • 1992 Dodger farmhand Mike Piazza, believing he was low balled in his contract negotiations, takes exception to the team giving a reported bonus of $500,00 to top draft pick Ryan Luzinski, a 220-pound catcher from Holy Cross High in Delran, New Jersey who will never play in a major league game. Next season, Piazza will be selected as the National League’s Rookie of the Year, and will hit .331 in seven seasons for LA.

One more item from the history book: on this date in 1962 Met Marv Throneberry’s apparent first inning triple becomes an out on an appeal play for missing second base in an 8-7 loss to San Francisco at the Polo Grounds. When New York manager Casey Stengel questions the call, he is told by the umpire, according to legend, “Don’t bother arguing Casey, he missed first base, too.”

Lineup when available.


May 02

Game 30, 2018

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

The Dodgers send LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-0, 2.22 ERA) out to try to stop their current four-game losing streak. He’s been their most consistent starter this season, and his last start was no exception. He got no decision in 5 2/3 innings against the Giants, giving up a couple of solo home runs in a game the Dodgers’ bullpen eventually lost. The D-Backs send RHP Zack Godley (4-1, 3.81 ERA) out to face the Dodgers for the third time this season; he’s split the first two and posted a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1912 At South End Grounds, the hometown Braves score ten runs in the first two innings and hold on to defeat the Superbas (Dodgers), 11-7. Brooklyn scores four runs in the bottom of the third to knock out Boston’s starter Buster Brown.
  • 1928 With the bases loaded and two out in the ninth inning, Giants’ manager John McGraw orders that Dodger rookie Del Bissonette be intentionally walked with the bases loaded by Larry Benton, forcing home a run. The strategy works when Harry Riconda strikes out, giving New York a 2-1 victory in the Polo Grounds contest.
  • 1958 George Weiss denies any reprisals, but the New York GM warns the National League there will be consequences, interpreted by some as a nationwide Yankees network, if teams continue to flood the market with games, trying to fill the void created when the Dodgers and Giants left the Big Apple. The Phillies have already committed to broadcast 78 of its games in NYC, with the Cardinals and Pirates making plans to show their home games in the Big Apple when they play against the West Coast teams.

One more notable event on this date: in 1917 southpaw Hippo Vaughn of Chicago and Reds righty Fred Toney throw no-hitters against one another through the first nine innings at Weeghman Park. The deadlock is broken in the top of the tenth with a one-out single by Larry Kopf, an error, and an infield hit by Jim Thorpe, and Toney then sets the Cubs down in order to preserve his extra-inning gem.

This Nike ad first appeared on this date in 1999:

Lineup when available.

Apr 17

Game 16, 2018

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD

The Dodgers ask LHP Alex Wood (0-2, 5.09 ERA) to keep up the good work their last two starters have done in this mini-winning streak. He’ll face RHP Brian Mitchell (0-2, 5.27 ERA), who hasn’t yet achieved the potential the Padres hoped he would when they acquired him in December. His control has been poor: he’s walked 14 in 12 2/3 innings. Wood’s last start was hindered by the lingering effects of food poisoning, the Dodgers think. He only lasted 3 2/3 innings against Oakland on April 11, giving up seven runs on seven hits. More concerning than that start is his velocity, which is several notches below what it was last season.

On this date in Dodgers history:

  • 1955 Roberto Clemente singles off Dodger pitcher Johnny Podres in his first major league at-bat. The Pirates’ rookie, who will die in a plane crash attempting to bring relief aid to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua in 1972, will collect exactly 3,000 hits during his 18-year major league career, all with Pittsburgh.
  • 1956 Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale, and Frank Robinson play in their first major league games, respectively, for the White Sox, Dodgers, and Reds. The trio of debuts marks the first time that three future Hall of Famers have made their initial appearance on the same day.
  • 1988 The Braves beat the Dodgers, 3-1, after breaking the National League record with ten losses to start the season. The team will drop 27 of its first 39 decisions, costing Chuck Tanner his job as the Atlanta manager.
  • 2013 Clayton Kershaw becomes the second fastest Dodger to strike out 1,000 batters when he throws a second-inning 93-mph fastball past San Diego first baseman Yonder Alonso. The 25 year-old southpaw reaches the milestone in 970 career innings, 15.2 more than needed by Hideo Nomo, who established the team mark in 2003.

Also in baseball history on this day: in 1969 Bill Stoneman pitched a no-hitter for the Expos in the ninth game of their existence, and in 1976 Mike Schmidt hit four consecutive home runs in a ten-inning 18-16 Phillies’ win over the Cubs.

Lineup when available.

Nov 01

World Series Game Seven, 2017

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

This really has been one of the best World Series of recent memory. Consider this:

Literally every game of this Series has been a good one. Only once (the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory in Game 4) has the margin of victory been greater than two runs, and that featured a five-run rally by Los Angeles in the ninth.

It’ll be the fourth time in the past seven years the Fall Classic has stretched to the max and the second year in a row. There have been 38 previous Game Sevens, and the Cut Four team at MLB has ranked them all.

Tonight it will be Yu Darvish hoping to erase memories of his awful Game Three start (1 2/3 innings, six hits, four runs) followed by every other pitcher the Dodgers have, as needed. I’d expect to see Kershaw in relief unless Darvish has a fantastic performance deep into the game. The Astros will ask Lance McCullers to replicate his Game Three performance in which he went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs. He could be followed by Keuchel and Morton and any other arm in the Astros’ bullpen.

Today in baseball history:

  • 2001 The first major league game ever started in the month of November is a memorable one when the Yankees, for the second consecutive night, make a dramatic comeback in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and go on to a World Series victory in extra innings. Tonight’s heroes are Scott Brosius, who hits a game-tying two out two-run homer to knot the game at 2-2, and Alfonso Soriano, who singles in Chuck Knoblauch in the 12th, giving the Yankees a 3-2 victory and 3-2 lead in the Fall Classic over the Diamondbacks.
  • 2010 Edgar Renteria, who drove in the winning run for the Marlins against Cleveland in the 11th inning during Game 7 of the 1997 Fall Classic, joins Yankees legends Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra as only the fourth player in baseball history to collect two World Series-winning hits. The Series MVP’s three-run homer off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning leads to San Francisco’s 3-1 victory over the Rangers, bringing a World Championship to the Giants for the first time since 1954.

Lineup:

Oct 31

World Series Game Six, 2017

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

The Astros have a 3-2 lead in the Series and, in a rematch of Game Two pitchers, ask RHP Justin Verlander to close it out. The Dodgers counter with LHP Rich Hill. Neither pitcher got the win in that extra-inning affair.

The story of this game may be which starter lasts longest and which bullpen works least.

The Phillies have hired Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development, to be their next manager.

Today in baseball history:

  • 2001 For the first time since Philadelphia A’s Mule Haas hit a game-tying two-run homer in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series, a team comes from behind to tie a Fall Classic game in the ninth and goes on to win in extra innings. Tino Martinez sends the game into overtime with a two-out homer off Diamondbacks’ closer Byung-Hyun Kim and Derek Jeter, dubbed Mr. November, wins it after the stroke of midnight with a full count two-out round-tripper giving the Bronx Bombers a 3-2 victory and knots the series at two games apiece.
  • 2009 Alex Rodriguez’s Game 3 fly ball in the right-field corner of Citizens Bank Park becomes the subject of the first instant replay call in World Series history. The Yankee third baseman’s hit, originally ruled a double, is changed by the umpires to a home run after the replay clearly shows the ball going over the fence before striking a television camera and bouncing back to the field.

Lineup when available.