RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.27 ERA) goes for the visiting Astros, while the Dodgers have designated this a bullpen game and haven’t yet named their opening pitcher. Greinke’s been up and down: “After going 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in his first five starts, Greinke is 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in his past four starts.”
Finding a bright spot in last night’s game wasn’t easy:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1925 In the first game of a twin bill, Robins’ (Dodgers) starter Dazzy Vance no-hits the Phillies at Ebbets Field, 10-1. The Brooklyn hurler had one-hit the team from the City of Brotherly Love five days earlier.
2005 During the six-run second inning uprising by Colorado, each Dodger outfielder commits an error. The fielding of Ricky Ledee (lf), Jose Cruz Jr. (right field), and Jayson Werth (cf) contributes to the 6-4 loss to the Rockies. (The Dodgers finished 71-91 that year, in fourth place in the division. The Rockies finished last.
Also, in 1902, Johnny Evers, acquired to replace second baseman Bobby Lowe, who broke his ankle, joins shortstop Joe Tinker and first baseman Frank Chance on the Chicago infield, marking the first time the three Cubs’ infielders have played together. The legendary double play trio will be immortalized in Franklin Pierce Adams’ baseball poem, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” better known as “Tinker to Evers to Chance”. (And only one of the three really had any business even being considered for induction into the Hall of Fame, as far as I’m concerned. There were a bunch of romantics or cronies on the Veterans Committee in 1946.)
It’s the first game of this bizarre 60-game season, in which each win and each loss has much more weight than in most seasons. Lose ten straight in a 162-game season and you’ve got a chance to make it up; do so in a 60-game season and you’re probably dead. If last year had been a 60-game season, the World Series Champion Nationals would not have made the playoffs. They were 27-33 in their first 60 games.
The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw to the mound for his ninth Opening Day start in ten years. The 32-year-old was 16-5 last season with the highest ERA of his career, a whopping 3.03. He’ll face the Giants’ RHP Johnny Cueto, who was 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA last year in four September starts after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of 2018.
Here’s the Dodgers’ official 30-man roster to start the season:
1939 Using yellow dyed balls, the Cardinals beat the Dodgers 5-2 at Sportsman’s Park. The experimenting with the use of the colored sphere, which is designed to make the ball easier to see for the players and the fans, started in Brooklyn last week and will be tested once more, in a September game played at Wrigley Field.
1962 Jackie Robinson becomes the first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame. Joining the Dodger infielder in the Cooperstown ceremony are fireballer Bob Feller, veteran manager Bill McKechnie, and outfielder Edd Roush.
1965 Dick Stuart homers in the first inning in the Phillies’ 5-1 win over New York at Shea Stadium. ‘Dr. Strangeglove’, who played in Boston for the previous two seasons, becomes the first player to have gone deep in each of the 19 major league ballparks now in use. (Ed. note – Nineteen ballparks because both Los Angeles teams, the Angels and Dodgers, share the ballpark in Chavez Ravine. – LP)
1974 At Three Rivers Stadium, Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey, a write-in All-Star starter, singles and doubles to help the National League beat the Junior circuit, 7-2. Mike Schmidt, also a write-in, plays in his first Midsummer Classic thanks to radio intern Howard Eskin’s on-air campaign which urged Phillies fans to stuff the ballot box for their young third baseman.
Also, Nomah! In 2002 Nomar Garciaparra establishes the record for consecutive home runs in the shortest time in terms of innings. In a 22-4 rout of the Devil Rays at Fenway Park, the Red Sox shortstop homers three times in two frames – two two-run homers in the second and a grand slam in the third.
Lineup when available.
Kershaw is a late scratch due to back pain and has been replaced as the Dodgers’ starting pitcher by Dustin May, the first rookie to start an Opening Day game for the team since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
Jay Jaffe pens a nice appreciation of Hiroki Kuroda’s MLB career.
Four guys are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. One of the electees is a minor surprise to my mind (Smoltz, earlier than I expected), while a couple of the unelected are a disappointment to me (Piazza and Bagwell).
The Hall of Fame election results will be announced tomorrow. The Dodgers’ MLB.com beat writer, Ken Gurnick, has a ballot. Here’s how he voted and why:
Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.
Personally, I think that’s blackballing, tarring with a broad brush, and being sanctimonious as hell. There has never been any suggestion that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas or Craig Biggio used PEDs that I’m aware of, and there have only been unsubstantiated rumors about Jeff Bagwell.
Gurnick can leave Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire and the other confirmed steroid users off his ballot and get no argument from me, but his “none of the above” stance is too sweeping as far as I’m concerned.