Oct 07

Divisional Series AL Games Two, NL Games One, 2016

Beginning at 10:00AM PT, there are four Division Series games on tap this Friday. First is Game Two of the Blue Jays-Rangers series, then at 1:30PM PT it’s Game Two of the Red Sox-Indians series. Next at 2:30PM PT is Game One of the Dodgers-Nationals NLDS, and then to close the day out Game One of the Giants-Cubs NLDS begins at 6:00PM PT.

Toronto at Texas, TV: TBS, SportsNet

The Jays start LHP J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA), who ended the season with a rush, putting up a 2.35 ERA over his last five starts. He’ll face RHP Yu Darvish (7-5, 3.41 ERA), who’s 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts against Toronto. Darvish finished strongly too, allowing one run and five hits with 21 strikeouts in 13 innings in wins over the A’s and Rays to end his regular season.

Boston at Cleveland, TV: TBS

The Red Sox send LHP David Price (17-9, 3.99 ERA) to the hill to face RHP Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA). Price has been an ace everywhere he’s pitched, but in the postseason he’s been unable to replicate his regular season performances. He’s 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 14 career postseason appearances, with both of those wins coming in relief. Kluber skipped his last scheduled start with a tight quadriceps and has had ten days of rest.

San Francisco at Chicago, TV: FS1

The Giants ask RHP Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA) to pick up where Bumgarner left off in the Wild Card game, which might not be unthinkable: Cueto’s last start in the postseason was a complete game 1-0 shutout of the Mets in the 2015 World Series. He closed the season with a 4-0 record and 1.78 ERA in five starts in September. His opponent will be LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA), who’s had plenty of postseason experience himself, going 6-6 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 games, 14 of which were starts. He finished the season with a flourish, going 9-1 with a 1.46 ERA in his last 12 starts.

Los Angeles at Washington, TV: FS1. Announcer Kenny Albert with Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci serving as analysts and Jon Paul Morosi contributing reports. Radio: ESPN. Dave O’Brien does play-by-play and Jim Bowden is the analyst.

The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) to the mound to make his tenth postseason start. He’s had bad luck in previous playoff appearances, going just 2-6 with an ERA of 4.59 in his career. He spent two months on the disabled list this year but came back to go 1-2 with a 1.29 ERA in the five starts he made in September and October. He’ll face RHP Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA), who’s gone 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in twelve postseason appearances, all with Detroit. The Nationals have some serious injury worries which may have an impact on this series: C Wilson Ramos is out for the year, P Stephen Strasbourg won’t pitch until the next round if Washington gets that far, 2B Daniel Murphy has made one game appearance since September 20 and RF Bryce Harper has both a jammed left thumb and a sore neck.


Oct 06

ALDS Games One

Toronto at Texas, 1:30PM PT, TV: TBS

The Blue Jays and Rangers don’t like each other much, as shown by the fistfight between Rougned Odor and José Bautista back in May, which followed Bautista’s seventh-inning bat flip in Game Five of last year’s ALDS. They resume the argument tonight with LHP Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.32 ERA) on the hill for the Rangers and RHP Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA) for the Jays.

Boston at Cleveland, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The Red Sox send out RHP Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.15 ERA) to face RHP Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA) at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Porcello had a stellar second half, putting up a 2.62 ERA with 92 strikeouts and only 11 walks. Bauer had an excellent first half, putting up a 3.30 ERA prior to the All-Star break, but his last six starts have been less than optimal as he posted a 6.39 ERA.

Oct 04

2nd Wild Card Games

Tonight’s game: Orioles at Blue Jays, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

With nearly 500 home runs between them this season, these teams will probably give us a 2-1 nailbiter instead. The Orioles send RHP Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.77 ERA) out to do battle with the Jays’ RHP Marcus Stroman (9-10, 4.37 ERA).

Stroman led all qualified starters in MLB with a 60.1 percent ground-ball rate; nobody’s saying so, but it may be the Jays are hoping he can keep the Orioles from hitting long fly balls for homers. Tillman had a 1-0 mark and a 3.63 ERA in four starts against Toronto.

Tomorrow night’s game: Giants at Mets, 5:00PM PT, TV: ESPN

The Giants send LHP Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.79 ERA) to the mound at Citi Field to face the Mets’ RHP Noah Syndergaard (14-9, 2.60 ERA). The Mets were hot coming down the stretch: they had a .643 winning percentage from Sept. 1 on. Conversely, the Giants were awful the entire second half of the season: they were 30-42 after the All-Star break.

Oct 02

Goodbye, Vin, and thanks for all the fish

The Dodgers’ legendary broadcaster Vin Scully called his last game today in San Francisco. The Bay Area did itself proud in paying tribute to him and to his 67-year career.

That plaque on the wall reads in part “Vin Scully’s Final Broadcast.” It’s inside the visitors’ broadcast booth at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and the two gentlemen are Willie Mays and Vin Scully. Vin has always said Willie was the best player he ever saw.

The crowd in the Giants’ park gave him a rousing welcome and ovation when he arrived in the broadcast booth:

And then he said goodbye

and flew off into the sunset with a friend also named Scully:

Thank you, Vin. I first heard you in 1959 or 1960 when my family moved to Westwood, Ca. I scored games in spiral notebooks as you and Jerry Doggett called them from distant places like St. Louis and Milwaukee and Philadelphia as well as right across town in the Coliseum. When I went to the nearest Union 76 station the portraits I got for free represented more than just my imagination, for you had made the players and the games real.

We moved across country after the 1962 season and I rarely heard you for twenty years until my work took me back to Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. I’ll never forget the first night I was back in that city hunting for the Dodgers’ game on the radio and hearing your voice again, a little older and with an additional partner (Ross Porter). It was wonderful.

For the last twenty years the local cable company has carried the Dodgers’ games on either Prime Ticket or the newer Sports Net Los Angeles channels and Scully has done all the home games and until recently away games west of the Rockies, so I’ve had the great pleasure of hearing him even more than I did when I was a kid.

What the hell, the man’s 88 years old. He’s entitled to retire.

Thanks, Vin, for the highlights and the joy as well as the reminder when the team failed that there was always another game next day or next year. Enjoy your retirement with Sandi.

Oct 02

Game 162, 2016

Last game of the regular season, and it has some importance for the home team Giants.

The Giants can claim the second wild-card spot in the National League and a one-game showdown with the New York Mets in the Big Apple on Wednesday with either a win Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers or a St. Louis Cardinals loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cardinals can still force a one-game wild-card tiebreaker against the Giants on Monday in St. Louis with a win Sunday and a San Francisco loss.

As a result of Saturday’s loss the Dodgers locked themselves into the No. 3 seed in the NL playoffs. The second-seeded Nationals, winners of the NL East, have the home-field advantage in the best-of-five series. (The Cubs have the first seed).

Dodgers at Giants, 12:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KTLA, CS-BA, MLB.TV free game (out-of-market)

Kenta Maeda (16-10, 3.28 ERA) hopes to cap off an excellent MLB rookie season with his 17th win. He’s done very well against the Giants this year: 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts. He’ll face lefty Matt Moore (12-12, 4.21 ERA), who faced the Dodgers on September 21 and did not fare well: he gave up six runs on seven hits in one-plus innings.

Vin Scully will do all nine innings of the game, which will be simulcast on radio and TV in LA and in the Bay Area. It’s also going to be streamed live on MLB.com.

Lineup when available.

Oct 01

Game 161, 2016

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KTLA, CS-BA

It’s a mound mismatch, if you look at the records of the two starters. The Dodgers send out Clayton Kershaw (12-3, 1.65 ERA) to face the Giants’ rookie lefthander Ty Blach (0-0, 2.00 ERA). Kershaw has been pretty successful in the Giants’ home park; he’s 10-3 with a 1.30 ERA lifetime. This will be Blach’s second major league start, but he’s seen the Dodgers before: he pitched three scoreless innings against them on September 21. The Giants need to win badly: they’re a game ahead of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card and need both a win and a St. Louis loss today to clinch a spot in the postseason. If they get one but not the other they clinch a tiebreaker game in St. Louis.

Charlie Culberson asked Vin Scully to sign the bat Charlie hit the walkoff HR with last weekend.


Sep 30

Game 160, 2016

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KTLA, CS-BA, MLB.TV free game

When the schedulers at MLB HQ in New York set this weekend’s games up they were surely hoping that the two long-time rivals would be neck-and-neck in the NL West division, and even up to two or three weeks ago that seemed like a wish that might come true. But the Giants’ bullpen continued its season-long collapse and it hasn’t been able to hold a lead to save its life. Somehow it has managed to blow 32 save opportunities this season. Thirty-two! Not all the blame rests with the pen, though; the Giants have been shut out 13 times this season, and nine of those games have been after the All-Star break.

Somehow, despite that, the Giants have a magic number of three to clinch a Wild Card spot. If they end up tied with the Cardinals those two teams would have to play a preliminary game just to determine who gets to play the other Wild Card winner in the one-game playoff, the winner of which gets the Cubs. The Mets are in this too, so it’s complicated.

Tonight it will be the Dodgers’ Rich Hill (12-5, 2.05 ERA) against the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner (14-9, 2.71 ERA). Bumgarner was last seen by the Dodgers as he yelled at Yasiel Puig in the vicinity of first base on September 19 at Dodger Stadium. At the time he had a 1-0 lead through seven innings; he was pulled from the game at that point and the bullpen (there it is again) gave up three singles to tie the game and a game-winning double by Adrian González to win it for the Dodgers.

Hill hasn’t started a game since September 20, presumably in hopes his blistering fingers will fully heal. He’s expected to start Game Two of the NLDS and he needs to stay sharp. He may have a short leash this evening.

Lineup when available.

Adrian’s sinus infection must be ongoing.

Sep 29

Game 159, 2016

Dodgers at Padres, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD

Julio Urias (5-2, 3.53 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and Christian Friedrich (5-11, 4.66 ERA) takes the mound for the Padres. Friedrich’s year hasn’t been good overall, but his September has shown improvement: he’s had a 3.86 ERA through four starts including 25 strikeouts and just nine walks. The Dodgers keep trying to limit Urias’s innings (he’s thrown 119 this year at OKC and with LA) but they keep finding a need to use him. He hasn’t pitched in two weeks, however.

Today will be the final game at Petco Park for the Padres’ own Hall-of-Fame broadcaster, Dick Enberg. He’s been their primary play-by-play man for seven years after a long career at NBC and CBS calling golf, football and tennis, as well as earlier stints as both UCLA basketball’s play-by-play man and the LA Rams play-by-play caller. He even taught and coached baseball at Cal-State Northridge for five years in the early 1960s.

Lineup when available.

Seager off, González off, Kiké in the infield, Chooch at catcher…

Sep 28

Game 158, 2016

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

Yo, Rook! Pitch tonight, you will!

The Dodgers send young Jose De Leon (2-0, 5.52 ERA) to the hill to face fellow rookie Luis Perdomo (8-10, 5.59 ERA). De Leon’s first two starts were good, but his last was forgettable: he gave up six runs over 3 2/3 innings to the D-Backs on Sept. 18. Perdomo has been a very pleasant surprise for the Padres in the second half of the season: he’s had a 3.79 ERA from August on, although his W-L record is an unhappy 3-6 over those two months.

Puig has feasted on Perdomo to the tune of a .714 BA (5-for-7) with a triple, four runs and three RBIs.

Lineup when available.

Sep 27

Game 157, 2016

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

The Dodgers switched starters around for tonight’s game. They had scheduled Kenta Maeda (16-9, 3.20 ERA) to pitch Wednesday and Jose De Leon tonight, but they reversed the order. It may be that they want Maeda to pitch the last game of the season in San Francisco if home-field advantage for the playoffs is still undecided.

His opponent will be Paul Clemens (3-5, 4.48 ERA), who hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts but who has had trouble going deep into games; his last outing was his longest of the year at 5 2/3 innings.

In playoff opponent news, the Nationals’ All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos is out for the season; he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in Monday night’s game.

Lineup when available.