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.


Lineup:


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.


Sep 25

Game 156, 2016

If the Dodgers win today they will clinch a playoff spot. They would also clinch if the Giants lose down south in San Diego, but I suspect they’d rather win out themselves.

Rockies at Dodgers, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM, MLBN (out-of-market only), KTLA

They’ll put RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-2, 3.63 ERA) on the hill to face LHP Tyler Anderson (5-6, 3.58 ERA). This has been a year of mixed results for McCarthy; on the one hand he came back from the Tommy John surgery he had in 2015 and had five pretty good starts for the team beginning in July. Then he suffered stiffness in his right hip which caused him to lose control of his fastball and issue walks by the bucketload in his next four starts. He gave up 17 walks in just 11 2/3 innings in that period. The Dodgers hope he’s recovered. He’s taking the place of Rich Hill, who was to start this game but is being given more time off in hopes his blister troubles will go away before the playoffs begin.

Anderson is finishing up an excellent rookie season in which he’s struck out 98 in 108 innings and achieved an ERA+ (park adjusted) of 137, meaning 37 percent better than league average.

Lineup when available.


Sep 24

Game 155, 2016

Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM, MLBN (out-of-market only)

This will be Clayton Kershaw’s (11-3, 1.79 ERA) fourth start since his return from the DL. In his previous three he’s gone from two earned runs allowed in three innings to zero in five, and then zero in six. In his last start he threw 88 pitches, so he’s close to fully recovered from his back problem (we all hope). Opposing him will be Chad Bettis (13-7, 4.79 ERA), who is on a roll himself: he’s given up three earned runs or fewer in every start he’s made in the last month.

In case you missed it, here’s Kirk Gibson doing commentary on Vinnie’s call of his 1988 World Series Game One home run.

Lineup when available.


Sep 23

Game 154, 2016

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The Dodgers continue their playoffs’ 4th-starter auditions with LHP Scott Kazmir (10-6, 4.59 ERA), who’s been on the shelf since August 22 with thoracic spinal inflammation. He’ll face the Rockies’ RHP Jon Gray (10-8, 4.42 ERA), who threw a shutout in his last start, striking out 16 Padres in the process. Kazmir beat the Rockies on July 2, going six scoreless innings and giving up just three hits. Gray has made five starts against the Dodgers and gone 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA, but the losses have both come at Dodger Stadium, where he’ll pitch tonight.

This will be opening night of a weekend celebration of Vin Scully:


The ceremony will also be available live at the Dodgers’ website tonight at 6:30 p.m. PT.

MLB came up with a playlist of 10 of Vinnie’s comedic remarks.

In non-Scully amusements, check out this photo of Josh Reddick with Stan Lee (yes, the Marvel comics maven).

Lineup when available.