Nov 28

Prospects now, prospects later

Throw ‘em into the fire now or give ‘em another year? It’s a question more and more teams are facing. With the Dodgers, it’s 20-year-old Cory Seager at shortstop. The cons, as determined by Richard Justice:

  • He’s 20 years old.
  • He’s played only 38 games above Class A.

The pros:

  • He’s scary good.
  • He’s passed every test so far

The Mets, Twins and Giants are facing similar decisions.

Obviously it’s a gamble. Sometimes it pays off, as when the Orioles brought up a 20-year-old named Cal Ripken in August of 1981. Probably more often than not it fails, or at least the kid has to go back down to the minors for more seasoning. Given the dearth of big league players looking for short-term deals (because the Dodgers don’t want to block Seager for years), they may decide they don’t have much choice.

Update: Vinnie turns 86 tomorrow. A couple of years ago ESPN celebrated his 84th birthday with a sequence of what it picked as his top five calls:

Oct 21

World Series Day One, 2014

Giants at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

The Giants ask Madison Bumgarner to start the Series and do what he did in the Wild Card game and in Game One of the NLCS: give them a strong and long performance and get them off on the right foot in the Series. The Royals send James Shields to the mound. He also started the Wild Card game, although he didn’t do well in it (5 innings, 5 hits, 4 earned runs, ERA of 7.20). He then started Game Three of the ALDS and won it to send the Royals to the ALCS, where he pitched Game One against the Orioles. He didn’t do well in that game either, (5 innings, 10 hits, 4 earned runs, ERA of 7.20 again).

Have the two teams faced each other recently? Yes. In August the Giants went to Kauffman Stadium, where they were swept by the Royals, who were in the midst of a stretch where they won 14 of 16 games. San Francisco was outscored, 16-6, with Bumgarner taking one of those losses in a complete-game effort.

Fun fact: in all the postseason games so far, 14 have been decided by one run.

Not so fun fact: once again we get Joe Buck doing play-by-play. This time his partners are Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, with Ken Rosenthal near the Royals’ dugout and Erin Andrews outside the Giants’.

If you’re in your car, ESPN Radio will have the games, with play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone. The pregame and postgame show consists of host Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB Insider Peter Pascarelli and in-studio host Marc Kestecher.

Sep 28

Playoff schedule, 2014

Update: Here is the full schedule of all championship series games. For some reason MLB and the TV networks are being coy about game times. Nobody seems to know beyond the first day, or else they’re just not telling.

Jon W. has the first two times for the Dodgers-Cardinals series:

Game 1 of the National League Division Series starts at 3:37 p.m. Friday, with Game 2 set for 6:37 p.m. Saturday.

[snip]

Fox Sports 1 will televise Game 1; MLB Network will televise Game 2. Both games will be aired on ESPN Radio and KLAC AM 570.

I assume those are Pacific time.

Update: Pacific Time it is.

Here we go…

American League Central
The Tigers clinched the division with a 3-0 win over the Twins. Detroit will play Baltimore in the American League Division Series, with Game 1 at Camden Yards scheduled for Thursday on TBS.

The Royals, meanwhile, will host the AL Wild Card game against the A’s on Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. ET on TBS. The winner will head to Los Angeles to play Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels on Thursday on TBS.

National League Central
The Cardinals clinched the division before they even took the field in Arizona because the Reds beat the Pirates, 4-1. St. Louis will face the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, with Game 1 at Dodger Stadium set for Friday on Fox Sports 1.

The Pirates will host the Giants in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday at 8:07 p.m. on ESPN. The winner will face the Nationals in the NLDS. Game 1 of that series will be on Friday in Washington on Fox Sports 1.

American League Wild Card

The A’s clinched a playoff berth with a 4-0 victory over the Rangers to claim the second Wild Card. Oakland will head to Kansas City to take on the Royals in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night at 8:07 p.m. on TBS.

Sep 23

Game 158, 2014

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-BA, ESPN, KDOC-56

The game should be accessible to most fans, as it’s being televised by both ESPN and KDOC-56. KDOC-56’s channel numbers for various providers are in the last post.

Zack Greinke brings his 4-0 record and 1.38 ERA in four starts against the Giants this season to the mound tonight. He’ll face Madison Bumgarner, himself 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers this season.

Every game is different, but if Dodger fans are looking for encouragement, this should help:

The career numbers against Greinke in the last five seasons don’t look good for any healthy Giants, but especially not for the heart of the order: Brandon Belt is 1-for-5, Hunter Pence is 1-for-6 and Buster Posey is also 1-for-6.

The most successful Giants hitters against Greinke in the last five seasons? Morse and Pagan, who will each miss Tuesday night’s game with injuries.

Lineup:



No Gordon? No Crawford? Mattingly may just be loading the lineup with right-handed hitters to face Bumgarner. However, Gonzalez is all of 4 for 32 lifetime against the guy.

Sep 22

Game 157, 2014

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, CSN-BA

Update: Whoops! Forgot that from here on out the games are also carried on KDOC. Channel numbers:

Provider HD Channel SD Channel
Charter 710 10
Cox 1012 12
AT&T U-verse 1006 6
DirecTV 56 56
Verizon FiOS 506 6
Dish Network 56 56
Over the air broadcast 56.1 56.1

Admit it. We’d be a lot more nervous about the penultimate three-game series of the season if the Dodgers hadn’t got a 4 1/2 game lead in the division. Barring absolute disaster the Dodgers should win the NL West with relative ease, since their magic number is down to three. The two teams have split the first sixteen games they’ve played this season.

Having said that, tonight’s pitching opponent is no palooka. Jake Peavy has a 7-1 record with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts in Dodger Stadium and a career record against Los Angeles of 14-3. Dan Haren will take the mound for the Dodgers. He’s 6-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 career appearances (16 starts) against San Francisco.

Neither Michael Morse nor Angel Pagan will be in the lineup for the Giants in any of the three games; they both have injuries severe enough to see specialists.

Lineup:


Sep 15

Game 150, 2014

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Roberto Hernandez will start for the Dodgers, hoping he can get his groove back. In his last four starts he’s 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA. The Rockies counter with Christian Bergman, who’ll make his eighth big league start. He’s 2-3 with a 4.89 ERA, but his last two starts have been quality ones.

It’s looking like Carlos Frias will make the Wednesday start against the Rockies in place of Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu’s having an MRI today, and that result may determine when or if he pitches again this season. With that in doubt, Don Mattingly says it’s likely the Dodgers will add a pitcher to the roster.

In good news for Los Angeles Dodgers fans who want to see the team on TV, the last six games of the season will be shown on an independent station. Time Warner

said Monday that it has reached a deal with KDOC, which is carried by every cable, satellite and telco provider in Southern California and can be received over the air with an antenna.

[snip]

Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Dinni Jain says the company will continue to work on long-term agreements with other providers during the offseason to carry SportsNet LA, which televises Dodgers games.

Uh-huh. If you couldn’t get a deal done during the season while the games were being played, why do you think you’ll be able to when there’s no product on your network that fans desperately want to see?

Lineup:


Sep 03

Fewer road games for Vinnie next year

Arrgh! Say it ain’t so!

But it is so.

Scully said he has decided to skip road games, at least early in the season. In addition to the Dodgers’ home games, the 86-year-old Scully currently travels with the team to Anaheim, Arizona, San Diego and San Francisco.

“I’m going to go to Anaheim for sure,” Scully said Tuesday night. “But I’m going to try to cut back on nights on the road. I really want to spend more time at home.”

Enjoy him while we’ve got him, folks.

May 24

Game 50, 2014

It’s the fiftieth game of the 2014 season already? Oy!

Dodgers at Phillies, 12:05AM PT, TV: SPNLA

Dan Haren has done better for the Dodgers than I think most fans expected; obviously the front office knew more than we did. He’s 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA and has given the team at least five innings in each of his nine starts.

The Phillies counter with 25-year-old right-handed David Buchanan, who’s taking the place of Cliff Lee (phew! Got past him this time!), who’s on the shelf with a left elbow strain. This will be Buchanan’s major league debut. If any of you went to Georgia State, he’s a fellow Panther. This will be the first time a former GSU attendee has ever started in the big leagues.



Since it’s the 50th game, how are the negotiations between TWC and the cable carriers in LA going? Not well.

There’s a certain irony in this story appearing on ESPN.com; according to a 2013 article by Patrick Hruby at Sports on Earth

ESPN’s monthly affiliate fee is widely expected to rise from $5-plus to more than $7 by the end of the decade. (By contrast, cable’s most-watched network, USA, reportedly charges $0.68.)

If the facts weren’t so clear, one might say to ESPN “aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black?”

Anyway, things aren’t looking good for the average Dodger fan in Southern California who wants to see his or her team on the tube.

Mar 28

2014 Freeway Series, Game Two


No lineup yet.

Lineup:


It’s a free game on MLB.tv tonight and it’s on the Angels’ Fox Sports West network as well. Tomorrow’s game in Anaheim is on SPNLA. Sunday’s game against the Padres is on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

Gameday.