The Dodgers’ leading winners on the pitching staff are Ryu and tonight’s starter, RHP Kenta Maeda (2-0, 3.09 ERA). Maeda is also tied with Julio Urias as the leading hitter on the team; each has a .500 BA. Maeda will try to improve both numbers when he faces the Cardinals’ RHP Jack Flaherty (0-0, 3.86 ERA) tonight at Busch Stadium. Flaherty hasn’t gotten past the fifth inning in either of his first two starts, needing 89 pitches in the first game to go 4 1/3 innings and 98 to go five in the second.
The Dodgers placed Russell Martin on the 10-day injured list with lower back inflammation and called up C Rocky Gale from OKC.
In case you missed it, here’s Ozuna’s flub of Kiké’s fly ball in yesterday game.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1947 During the sixth inning of an exhibition game against their minor league team at Ebbets Field, the Montreal Royals, Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey issues a brief statement to the press. The two sentences will forever change the game when the team announces “The Brooklyn Dodgers today purchased the contract of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson from the Montreal Royals. He will report immediately.”
1962 In front of 52,564 fans, Reds infielder Eddie Kasko doubles off of Johnny Podres in the first ever at-bat at Dodger Stadium, and Duke Snider’s single in the bottom of the second accounts for the home team’s first hit. After playing their first four seasons at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the team drops a 6-3 decision to the Reds in the debut of the new $22 million ballpark in Chavez Ravine, financed with a low two-percent interest loan from the Union Oil Company in exchange for exclusive rights to advertise within the stadium.
1962 Wally Post hits the first home run in Dodger Stadium history, a two-out, three-run shot in the seventh inning off Johnny Podres that proves to be the difference in the Cincinnati’s 6-3 victory. The left fielder’s round-tripper to center field is a fair ball, unlike some others hit in the ballpark where the foul poles are discovered to be positioned in foul territory, requiring special permission from the National League to be recognized as fair during the first year in the team’s new home in Chavez Ravine.
1976 After being granted his free agency in a landmark case which will forever change baseball, Andy Messersmith becomes one of the first major leaguers to use his new status to sign with a team of his choice. The former Dodger right-hander comes to terms with the Braves and will post a 16-15 record during his two-year tenure for his new club.
2012 Vin Scully misses the Dodgers’ home opener for the first time in 35 years when doctors order the 84 year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster to rest as he recovers from a bad cold. The last time the team’s play-by-play announcer was absent from the season’s first home game he was calling the first round of the Masters in 1977.
RHP Ross Stripling (0-0, 2.31 ERA) goes for the Dodgers while RHP Dakota Hudson (0-1, 5.40 ERA) pitches for the Redbirds. Stripling’s opponents are hitting .209 against him in two starts, and while he gave up two HRs his last time out, he retired eight of the last nine men he faced in that game. In his short career he’s 0-2 at Busch Stadium. Hudson made his first MLB start on March 30, going 4 1/3 innings and giving up seven hits and three earned runs while walking two and striking out six. He then made an appearance out of the bullpen, going 2/3 of an inning and earning a save.
From The Athletic, trying to explain Bellinger’s success so far:
Bellinger has swung at a quarter fewer pitches outside the strike zone, according to FanGraphs.com. And he has swung at more pitches inside the strike zone. All together, he is swinging at about the same rate he always has in the major leagues, but he is swinging at pitches that he is more likely to hit and hit hard.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1913 The Phillies spoil the debut of Ebbets Field, beating the Dodgers, 1-0, in front of a small crowd of approximately 10,000 fans, who brave the frigid weather to witness the pitching duel. Given special permission, Brooklyn opens the season a day early to properly inaugurate its new $75,000 Brooklyn ballpark, which took a year to build.
1947 Dodger skipper Leo Durocher, feuding with the Yankees, is suspended for one year by commissioner Happy Chandler for an assortment of actions deemed detrimental to baseball, including association with known gamblers. The Brooklyn and New York clubs are both fined $2,000 and by order of the commissioner are not allowed to discuss the matter.
1966 After sharing space at Wrigley Field in 1961 and Dodger Stadium from 1962-65 during their first five seasons in Los Angeles, the Angels move to nearby Anaheim into their own stadium. The ‘Halos’, now known as the California Angels, host the San Francisco Giants in a pre-season exhibition game in the first contest ever played at Anaheim Stadium.
1981 On Opening Day, Fernando Valenzuela, making his first major league start in place of scheduled starter Jerry Reuss, blanks Houston on five hits at Dodger Stadium, 2-0. During the strike-shortened season, the 20 year-old rookie from Mexico will lead the league in game starts (25), complete games (11), and shutouts (8).
The visiting Dodgers send their Korean ace LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-0, 2.08 ERA) to the mound at Busch Stadium to face RHP Miles Mikolas (0-1, 7.20 ERA). How good has Ryu been? Barring a home run to Madison Bumgarner, Ryu would have had seven scoreless innings against the Giants in his last start, and he’s got 13 strikeouts with no walks in 13 innings so far this season. Mikolas gave up 16 HRs in 32 starts last year and he’s picked up where he left off, giving up four in ten innings this season. Ryu has a lifetime ERA of 0.69 at Busch; Mikolas was 8-4 with a 2.17 ERA there in 2018, his first season as a Cardinal.
Beware! The Cardinals now have Paul Goldschmidt, who hit .333 against Ryu in 12 ABs when he was a Diamondback.
Cody Bellinger now has more homers (7) than strikeouts (6).
Here’s Muncy’s 2-run HR in yesterday’s game:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1966 At the Astrodome, the Astros and Dodgers play baseball’s first game on synthetic grass. Thanks to the Monsanto chemical company, who proposed using an experimental playing surface of nylon grass, the plan to play on an all-dirt field, necessitated by the need to paint the dome’s glass panes to reduce the glare which prevented natural grass from growing, was alleviated by the use of ‘AstroTurf’.
1974 Braves outfielder Hank Aaron passes Babe Ruth as the all-time home run leader with his 715th, going deep in the fourth inning off Dodger hurler Al Downing in Atlanta’s home opener. ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ equaled the Bambino’s mark on Opening Day in Cincinnati.
1994 Kent Mercker no-hits Los Angeles, 6-0 at Dodger Stadium. The Braves left-hander was one of the three Atlanta pitchers, along with Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena, in 1991 to also no-hit the Padres, but this victory is his first complete game in the major leagues.
1994 Chan Ho Park becomes the first Korean to play in the major leagues when he makes his pitching debut at Chavez Ravine. In one inning of work, the 21 year-old Kongju City native gives up two runs on one hit, walking two and striking out two batters in the Dodgers’ 6-0 loss to Atlanta.
2015 Adrian Gonzalez becomes the first major league player to hit five home runs in the first three games of the season when he goes deep three times in the Dodgers’ 7-4 victory over San Diego at Chavez Ravine. The Los Angeles first baseman joins Carl Furillo (1955) and Jimmy Wynn (1974) as the only players in franchise history to have homered in the first three games of a campaign.
Lefty Julio Urías (0-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers and righty Chad Bettis (0-1, 9.53 ERA) goes for the Rockies. Urías pitched five scoreless innings in his first start, while Bettis got pushed around by the Tampa Bay Rays, giving up six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.
1969 After throwing just two pitches to start the season, Don Drysdale finds himself and his team trailing by two runs when Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan hit back-to-back homers. The 32 year-old right-hander settles down, and the Dodgers come back to win the Crosley Field contest, 3-2.
1969 Bill Singer becomes the first major league reliever to officially record a save, a new stat which will be kept starting this season, in the Dodgers’ 3-2 win over Cincinnati in the season-opener at Crosley Field. The ‘Singer Throwing Machine’ does not allow a hit, hurling three scoreless innings en route to saving Don Drysdale’s victory.
1977 Gary Thomasson starts the game by walloping the first pitch in the Dodgers’ opener for a home run off Don Sutton, who had apparently thrown a gopher ball. Unbeknownst to the Giants’ leadoff hitter, the ball was to be taken for a pitch and handed to the home plate umpire to be sent to Cooperstown.
1977 Frank Sinatra keeps his promise to Tommy Lasorda by singing the Star-Spangled Banner on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. ‘Old Blue Eyes’ had told the team’s new skipper he would perform the National Anthem if his friend ever became the L.A. manager.
2012 Octavio Dotel, playing for his 13th team, breaks a major league record he previously shared with Mike Morgan, Matt Stairs, and Ron Villone. The 39 year-old Tiger reliever, who throws 1.1 scoreless innings against Boston, has also appeared with the Mets, Astros, A’s, Yankees, Royals, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Dodgers, Rockies, Blue Jays, and Cardinals.
The Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 15.00 ERA) tries to notch his first win of the young season. He gave up five runs in the fourth inning to the D-Backs in his first start after very little spring training time. He was 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA at Coors Field in three starts last year. He’ll face the Rockies’ RHP Jon Gray (0-1, 4.05 ERA), who struck out 10 in his first start of the year against the Marlins and left after 6 2/3 innings with a cramp in his right calf.
Here’s Bellinger’s 6th HR of the season, a three-run clout in the fifth inning of Friday’s game:
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
2001 In the home opener at Veterans Stadium, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning’s number 14 jersey is retired. Kentucky’s Republican U.S. senator, who compiled a 224-184 record in his 17-year career pitching for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates, and Dodgers, joins Richie Ashburn (1), Robin Roberts (36), Steve Carlton (32), and Mike Schmidt (20) as the fifth player to have his number retired by the Phillies.
2004 Adrian Beltre becomes the 36th player in baseball history to hit 100 home runs before the age of 25. The Dodger third baseman joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Lou Gehrig to have exactly 100 homers on their 25th birthday.
2016 The Padres, with their 7-0 loss at Petco Park, become the first team to be shut out in the first three games of the regular season, surpassing the dubious mark set by the Browns, who opened the 1943 campaign with 26 straight scoreless innings. San Diego also dropped their first two decisions of the three-game series against the Dodgers, 15-0 and 3-0.
The Dodgers send RHP Kenta Maeda (1-0, 4.05 ERA) to the Coors Field mound today to face LHP Tyler Anderson (0-1, 9.00 ERA). Maeda has very good career numbers in Denver: 4-1, 3.19 ERA, with 35 Ks, only 8 walks and a WHIP of 1.065 in 31 innings there. Anderson’s home ERA is third-best in club history at 3.73. He’s coming off a horrible outing against the Padres in which he gave up nine hits and three runs in five innings.
Mr. Puig’s arm hasn’t changed, even though his uniform has:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1913 In an exhibition game against the Yankees, 25,000 fans watch the Dodgers play their first game in Ebbets Field. Brooklyn beats New York, 3-2, with Casey Stengel hitting the park’s first home run, an inside-the-parker.
1957 The Phillies trade five players, Ron Negray, Tim Harkness, Elmer Valo, Mel Geho, and Ben Flowers (the player to be named later), and send $75,000 to the Dodgers to obtain much-touted Cuban infielder Chico Fernandez. Philadelphia’s new shortstop plays three seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, batting just .242, before being traded to the Tigers.
1989 At Riverfront Stadium, Dodgers’ hurler Orel Hershiser’s scoreless-inning streak ends at 59. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Todd Benzinger’s single scores Barry Larkin, who had been picked off after getting a base hit to lead off the game, but was safe on the ‘Bulldog’s’ throwing error.
1993 In front of 42,334 fans at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, the Florida Marlins, making their major league debut, defeat the Dodgers, 6-3. Joe DiMaggio throws out the ceremonial first pitch, and the team retires uniform number 5 in tribute to Carl Barger, their late president.
LHP Derek Holland (0-1, 6.75 ERA) goes for the Giants while RHP Ross Stripling (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his second start for the Dodgers. Holland gave up three runs in four innings to the Padres in his first start of the season, while Stripling threw 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball against the Diamondbacks in his. Holland is 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA in seven career appearances against the Dodgers; Stripling was 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in four games against the Giants last year.
Bellinger is pleased with his start, naturally, but he’s astonished that yesterday’s game was the 300th of his career.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1968 The Tigers trade left-hander Hank Aguirre to the Dodgers for a player to be named later, minor leaguer Fred Moulder. The All-Star southpaw, better known for being the worst hitter in major league history, will compile a .085 batting average during his 16-year major league career, striking out in an astounding 61% of his 388 at-bats. In his sole season with the Dodgers he appeared in 25 games, threw 39 innings, earned three saves and put up a .069 ERA.
1974 The Indians trade Pedro Guerrero to Dodgers for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen. The 17 year-old infielder/outfielder will compile a .309 batting average and will be named to the All-Star team five times during his 11 seasons with the team.
2008 Twenty minutes before their game, the Dodgers announce reliever Hong-Chih Kuo will start in place of Chad Billingsley, who in turn will be in the bullpen. The unusual move, made due to the threat of rain at the start of the contest, is also employed by the Giants with Merkin Valdez beginning the game on the mound and the announced starter, and eventual winner Tim Lincecum entering the game in the fourth inning.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 2.57 ERA) probably deserved better than he got in his first start of the year against San Diego, but the Padres’ Eric Lauer and bullpen held the Giants scoreless. He’ll try to get his first win again tonight against the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 1.50), who was very good in his first start against the Diamondbacks.
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.
In non-Dodger history, on this day in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager and former Dodger Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name current first base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.
The Giants send off-season acquisition LHP Drew Pomerantz to the mound at Dodger Stadium for his season debut. He’ll face the Dodgers’ 22-year-old lefty Julio Urías, who’ll be making his first start in nearly two years. Pomerantz made 26 appearances for the Red Sox last season, starting 11. He posted a 6.08 ERA over the 74 innings he accumulated in those games. He had a WHIP of 1.77, walking 44 and striking out 66. Urías was scheduled to start the year in Oklahoma City, but then Kershaw and Hill got hurt. The youngster had a superb spring in which he put up a 1.72 ERA and 0.51 WHIP with 15 strikeouts over 15.2 innings pitched. The Dodgers still want to limit his innings this season, so he may only go five innings tonight, if that.
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 Buzzi 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.
25-year-old RHP Luke “Dream” Weaver debuts for the D-Backs in this day game, while 24-year-old RHP Walker Buehler does so for the Dodgers. Weaver came up with the Cardinals in 2016 and has a record of 15-17 with a 4.79 ERA in 233 career innings since then, including a 7-11, 4.95 ERA record last season. He came to Arizona in the Paul Goldschmidt trade last winter. Buehler came up with the Dodgers in 2017 and has compiled a 9-5, 2.95 ERA in 146 career innings since then. Buehler had a somewhat abbreviated spring training while saying his arm didn’t “feel right,” so it’s unclear how fully ready he is.
Three Dodgers or former Dodgers are featured in these defensive highlights from yesterday:
Today 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.
2018 Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who goes 3-for-4 in the team’s 3-2 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, becomes the first American Leaguer to have multiple extra-base hits in the first three games of the season. In 2015, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez also accomplished the feat, collecting at least two hits in each of LA’s first three contests when he compiled ten hits his first 14 at-bats of the season.