Apr 14

Game 13, 2018

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:10PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The Diamondbacks have now beaten the Dodgers in ten consecutive regular-season games. They’ll try to continue that this afternoon, sending RHP Taijuan Walker (0-0, 3.27 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (1-0, 2.70 ERA). Walker gave up three runs on six hits in five innings against the Dodgers on April 2. Hill has had a week off since his last appearance thanks to rain and off-days. He started and went four innings last Saturday against the Giants, giving up three runs on five hits in that 14-inning marathon.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1931 At Braves Field, Jack Quinn becomes the oldest pitcher to start an Opening Day game. The 47 year-old Robin right-hander gives up six runs on nine runs in six innings of work, taking the loss when Brooklyn bows to Boston, 7-4.
  • 1968 Jim Bunning becomes the first pitcher since Cy Young to collect a thousand strikeouts in both leagues when he whiffs eight Dodgers during his first win for the Pirates, a 3-0 complete-game victory in Chavez Ravine. The 37 year-old right-hander, acquired from the Phillies in December, sent 1,406 American League batters back to the bench with a bat in their hands for nine seasons while pitching for the Tigers at the start of his Hall of Fame career.
  • 1993 After establishing the all-time career major league record last night with his 358th save, Cardinal reliever Lee Smith breaks the National League mark, recording his 301st in the Senior Circuit when he tosses a perfect 15th frame in the Cardinals’ 2-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. The right-handed reliever will extend the big league mark to 478, pitching for the Cubs (1980-1987), Red Sox (1988-1990), Cardinals (1990-1993), Yankees (1993), Orioles (1994), Angels (1995-1996), Reds (1996), and Expos (1997).
  • 2004 In the game played after teammate Mike Mussina earns his 200th career victory, Kevin Brown, who was obtained from the Dodgers for Jeff Weaver and two minor-leaguers in an off-season trade, reaches the same plateau, beating the Devil Rays, 5-1. It is the first time in baseball history members of the same pitching staff have won their 200th career victory in consecutive starts.

Lineup:


Apr 13

Game 12, 2018

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, KTLA, FS-A

The D-Backs send RHP Zack Greinke (0-1, 5.06 ERA, 14 Ks) to do battle with the Dodgers’ RHP Kenta Maeda (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 K). Greinke gave up five runs in five innings to the Cardinals his last time out. Maeda’s start tonight will be his first since March 31; he was in the bullpen last weekend thanks to off-day scheduling and the rainout last Friday.

Fun fact about Maeda:


Puig can legitimately complain that he’s hitting into bad luck so far. Take a look at the charts and analysis Allan Yamashige has done at Dodgers Digest. The guy is hitting the ball harder than Trout or Harper and harder than any of his teammates.

Puig so far is making contact on 80.7% of his swings, higher than all of his previous seasons and the league-average of 76.4%. He’s also striking out less, with a rate so far of 16.7% which would be the lowest of his career, and well below his career average of 19.8%.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1939 In a spring training game played in Norfolk, Virginia, Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig, with apparent muscle loss, especially around his shoulders, goes deep twice in a 14-12 exhibition loss against the Dodgers. The second and ninth-inning home runs will be the last round-trippers the ‘Iron Horse’ will ever hit.
  • 1993 Lee Smith passes Jeff Reardon to become the all-time major league saves leader when the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, 9-7. The right-handed reliever tosses a scoreless ninth inning at Chavez Ravine to record his 358th career save.
  • 2009 In the LA home opener, Orlando Hudson completes his cycle with a sixth inning triple down the right-field line in the team’s 11-1 rout of the Giants. The second baseman becomes the first Dodger to hit for the cycle at Dodger Stadium, and the first franchise player to accomplish the feat in a nine-inning game since Gil Hodges did it in 1949.
  • 2012 Aaron Harang, after surrendering a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin to start the game, strikes out the next nine consecutive Padres in L.A.’s 9-8 victory at Dodger Stadium. The 34 year-old right-hander’s performance is one more than Johnny Podres’ franchise mark of 8, but falls one short of the major league record held by Tom Seaver, who fanned 10 straight Friars for the Mets in 1970.

Lineup when available.


Apr 11

Game 11, 2018

Athletics at Dodgers, 7:10PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCSCA

The As send RHP Daniel Mengden (0-2, 6.55 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (0-1, 1.93 ERA). Mengden has a mustache that looks like the one Rollie Fingers used to sport. As long as he doesn’t pitch as well as Fingers, that has no significance. In his first two outings he didn’t get past the sixth inning and gave up 10 runs in the 11 he did pitch. Wood pitched eight innings of no-run, one-hit ball against the Giants in his first start but only made it through the sixth in his second start, giving up three runs and six hits to the D-Backs.

Vinnie announces the selection of Dodger Stadium for the 2020 All Star Game:


Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1912 Rube Marquard begins a nineteen-game consecutive winning streak by beating the Dodgers, 18-3, in a game which features 13 ground rule doubles hit by the visitors because of the overflow crowd being placed in the outfield and along the foul lines. The future Hall of Fame southpaw’s streak will end in July when the Giants lose to Chicago at the West Side Grounds, 7-2.
  • 1961 Robin Roberts, in his twelfth-straight Opening Day start, is tagged with the loss when the Phillies lose to the Dodgers in the LA Memorial Coliseum, 6-2. The right-hander’s effort ties Grover Cleveland Alexander’s National League record for consecutive season openers.

Here’s one for John from Aus:

1993 When Brewer catcher Dave Nilsson catches for Graeme Lloyd, they become the first all-Australian battery in major league history. The 23 year-old backstop hails from Brisbane, Queensland with his rookie batterymate calling Geelong, Victoria home.

Lineup:


Puig gets a night off.

Apr 10

Game Ten, 2018

Athletics at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCSCA, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The As send LHP Sean Manaea (1-1, 1.15 ERA) to the hill for his first road start of the season. He’s gone 15 2/3 innings in his two previous starts and given up only two runs while striking out 11. He’ll face LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-0, 7.36 ERA), who went only 3 2/3 innings in his first and only appearance so far this season, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and walking 5.

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.

Lineup when available.


Apr 08

Game Nine, 2018

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCS BA

LHP Clayton Kershaw makes his third start of the season and second against the Giants. He’s 0-2 for the first time since 2009 and has lost his first two starts for the first time ever. His ERA is still a tidy 2.25, however. In a rematch of Opening Day he’ll face the Giants’ LHP Ty Balch, who’s 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA.

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.

Lineup when available.


The Dodgers field a patchwork lineup with the loss of Bellinger to food poisoning, which also got Alex Wood. According to Ken Gurnick Wood will get an extra day to recover and Ryu will start Tuesday. Maeda won’t relieve today, and will start one of next weekend’s games.

Apr 06

Game Eight, 2018, Reprise

Dodgers at Giants, 3:05PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBC Bay Area

In their second try at playing the eighth game of the year, the Dodgers switch pitchers. It’ll be LHP Rich Hill (1-0, 0.00 ERA) against the Giants’ RHP Chris Stratton (0-1, 5.06 ERA). Hill went six scoreless innings against Stratton and the Giants last Sunday. Stratton went 5 1/3 innings and gave up five hits and three runs to the Dodgers that day.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 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 for 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.

Lineup when available.


Apr 06

Game Eight, 2018, PPD

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBC Bay Area


Maeda-san! Save us! The Dodgers ask RHP Kenta Maeda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to duplicate his results from his first start of the year against the Giants, when he went five innings and struck out ten. He’ll face LHP Derek Holland (0-1, 5.40 ERA), who lost in the game Maeda pitched, giving up five runs on three hits in five innings.

On this date 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.

Lineup when available.

Apr 05

Minor-league ballplayers should strike

If you somehow thought MLB was a pretty enlightened employer, disabuse yourself of that notion. In an interview Commissioner Rob Manfred dances all around the idea that the provision of the spending bill Congress just passed which exempted MLB from fair labor law is no big thing, really. Minor leaguers are just seasonal employees like migrant workers and teachers, after all.

“In terms of the mechanics of it, honestly, for us, the wage issue is money. And we deal with money issues all the time. The part of it that was of most concern to clubs was: How do you decide what’s overtime for a minor league baseball player? Player decides he wants to stay and take extra batting. Is that overtime? He decided. I didn’t ask him to do that! Player goes to the gym to work out: Is that a working hour, is it not a working hour? It’s just not realistic. They’re on the road all the time, there’s not time clocks available. And that’s why those laws — nobody ever thought those laws applied to players.

Can you say “specious argument,” class?

Here’s another one:

“You know, look: I think that the way that we think about it—okay—is that we provide playing opportunities for minor-league players. It’s a six-month job. Just like entertainers often work six months at a pop. The other six months are the responsibility of the employee! They’re just not our responsibility.

What the hey, they get paid huge sums for the six months they play, right? No.

The act will not give raises to players at any of these levels (note: the federally-recognized poverty line is $12,140 per year for single-individual households).

AAA: $2,150/month in their first year, $2,400/month in second year, $2,700/month in third, for a 5.5-month season.
(Total: ~$11,825-$14,850 per year.)

AA: $1,700/month, goes up by $100/month in additional years.
(Total: ~$9,350+ per year)

High-A, Low-A: $1,100-1,500/month, goes up by $50 per year in additional years.
(Total: ~$6,050-8,400 per year)

Dominican Summer League: $300 per month, $900 per year for the three-month season. (These players are exempt from the raise, since their labor takes place in another country, and is not subject to U.S. minimum-wage laws.)

Enlightened, MLB is not. What it is is cheap with its employees while spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress, including $1.32M in 2017 alone, to get this sweetheart provision inserted into this spending bill.

Click that first link and read the whole interview. Levi Weaver did a good job asking questions and a better job annotating the answers.

Apr 04

Game Seven, 2018

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 12:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA

The Dodgers ask LHP Alex Wood to stop this mini-losing streak of two games. Wood pitched a masterful one-hitter over eight innings in his first outing this season, only to get no decision and watch the Dodgers lose in the ninth. He’ll face LHP Patrick Corbin (1-0, 3.18 ERA), who won his first outing on Opening Day, giving up two homers but no further runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 1968 Due to today’s assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, most of the major league teams will decide to postpone their Opening Day games until the reverend’s funeral takes place in five days. Surprisingly, the Dodgers, at first, are the notable exception, even though the Phillies, their opponents on April 9th, say they will forfeit rather than play on the national day of mourning. [See below]
  • 2016 The Dodgers hand the Padres the worst Opening Day shutout loss since at least 1913, and most likely in the history of the game, blanking the Friars at PetCo Park, 15-0. The contest marked the managerial debut of both skippers with LA’s Dave Roberts and San Diego’s Padres Andy Green both piloting their first major league game.

So what did MLB do to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder? Initially, not much. It took the Pirates, the most thoroughly integrated team in all of baseball, whose numbers included Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills, Donn Clendenon and Matty Alou, to make a stand and refuse to play on Monday, April 8, Opening Day. The Dodgers’ Walter O’Malley and Buzzie Bavasi were positively tone-deaf.

The last holdouts, the Dodgers, were due to host the Phillies in Los Angeles. Team owner Walter O’Malley, who was the club’s vice president in 1947 when the team signed Jackie Robinson, wanted to go ahead with the game. According to an Associated Press story, O’Malley figured King’s funeral would be over by the time his team took the field on the West Coast.

Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi explained the club’s position to the press: “We are going to follow the schedule,” he said. “We would not play the game if the interment was not completely over. I’m not sure Mr. Giles [Warren Giles, president of the National League] has any jurisdiction in a case like this.”

I rarely agreed with anything Dick Young wrote in those days, but I can concur with this:

Dick Young was equally incredulous at the Dodgers’ strategy. “Teams in the East and Midwest, which would be playing during the funeral hours, should postpone their games,” he wrote, summarizing O’Malley’s and Eckert’s plan. “[But] teams in California, which would be opening an hour after the funeral had concluded, would play. It was as though someone was standing by the side of the bier with a stopwatch and a starter’s gun.”

The Phillies’ GM John Quinn announced they’d forfeit rather than play. O’Malley conferred with Quinn and Giles and finally agreed to postpone the game.

Lineup:


Apr 03

Game Six, 2018

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA

This is Clayton Kershaw’s second start of the season. He actually lost the first, the first loss the lefty has ever sustained in his eight Opening Day outings. He wasn’t exactly lit up, however, giving up only a Joe Panik home run in his six innings of work. He’s 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA. His opponent will be RHP Zack Godley, who’s making his first start of the year.

Here are some observations about Kershaw’s first outing from ESPN’s Buster Olney:

Kershaw threw inside at a higher rate than any pitcher in baseball in 2017, in keeping with a career-long habit of bullying hitters. But on Opening Day, his average fastball was down to a career-low 90.7 mph, and he attacked the outer half of the strike zone in his final few innings, often with off-speed pitches, and kept the Giants’ hitters off-balance, allowing one run in six innings. Some evaluators believe Kershaw would benefit from making the same transition CC Sabathia has made during his career; by consistently using both sides of the plate, he can be less predictable and more difficult for hitters to diagnose.

From ESPN Stats & Information research, no pitcher threw inside at a higher rate last season than Kershaw. He threw 40.2 percent of his pitches inside, a full 3 percent higher than any other player.

Another interesting note about Kershaw’s pitch locations: He threw 70.1 percent of his pitches in the lower half of the strike zone last season, more than 10 percent higher than he has thrown in any other season in the past 10.

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.
  • 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.

Lineup when available.