Oct 06

Wild Card Games, 2015

Today is the American League Wild Card (or play-in, if this were the NCAA basketball tournament) game. Tomorrow is the National League’s version. Comment or ignore as you wish. If you prefer to keep discussing the Dodgers’ playoff possibilities, use the thread below.

Howard Cole (former Dodger blogger) has some thoughts about postseason experience — does it help or does it matter? He cites rookies who’ve done amazing things and veterans who’ve failed miserably, and he cites other cases when the opposite took place.

Today: Astros at Yankees, 8:00PM ET, ESPN (which makes history by putting Jessica Mendoza in the broadcast booth alongside John Kruk and Dan Shulman)

The Astros start Dallas Kuechel on three days rest. He was 15-0 at home and 5-8 on the road this season with a 2.48 ERA and 16 scoreless innings against the Yankees. The Yankees start Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51 ERA), who missed his next-to-last start with a strained hamstring and in his last start went five innings and gave up four runs.

Nothing against the Yankees (well, except the eight times they’ve beaten the Dodgers in the World Series), but I’m rooting for the Astros in this one. They’ve had several awful years and weren’t expected to get this good until next season.

Tomorrow: Cubs at Pirates, 8:00PM ET, TBS (Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Simpson)

Two aces go at one another in this game: the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA including a no-hitter against the Dodgers) versus the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA). I’m uncertain who I’m rooting for here. As a baseball fan it’s hard not to hope the Cubs advance, but I’ve always had stronger feelings for the Buccos.

Oct 04

Pre-playoff Palaver

Have at it. Who’s on first? Which pitchers are on the roster, and whose dreams are crushed? Should Yasiel Puig be on the first-round roster? What about the injured Scott Van Slyke? Should Seager start at shortstop or should it be Rollins? Should Utley be on the 25-man roster?

Do the Mets’ starting pitchers hold a candle to the Greinke/Kershaw combination? Should it be Wood as the number three starter, or should it be Anderson? It’s ironic that gaining home field advantage means the Dodgers’ #3 starter, whether Wood or Anderson, will start on the road. Anderson was 7-4 away from Dodger Stadium with a 3.07 ERA while Wood was 2-4 with a 6.14 ERA.

Oct 04

Game 162, 2015

Padres at Dodgers, 12:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD. The game is available to stream free out of market on MLB.TV.

Clayton Kershaw makes his 33rd start for the Dodgers this season hunting for 300 strikeouts (he needs six) and his 17th win. He’s also put up an ERA of 2.16. The Padres’ lefty Frank Garces will make his first major league start but only go one inning. San Diego wants to look at several relievers one last time to see who they might want to keep around next season.

Don Mattingly says Puig won’t start today but will either pinch-hit or be part of a double-switch. I assume that’s an attempt to save his hamstrings from too much effort too soon.

Playoff talk can continue in the Pre-postseason thread below.

Lineup when available.

Oct 03

Game 161, 2015

Padres at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD, MLB.TV (free game)

Zack Greinke looks to lower his ERA even further, win his nineteenth game and fend of Jake Arrietta’s late charge for the NL Cy Young Award. What more needs to be said about him? His opponent will be lefty Robbie Erlin, who’s 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA. He’s made two appearances for the Padres this season, both starts. The first was against Colorado; he went three innings and gave up nine hits and seven runs, all earned. His next start was against the Diamondbacks; he went seven innings and gave up two hits and no runs.

The Nationals beat the Mets 3-1 in the opening game of their doubleheader, which puts the Dodgers a full game up on the Mets in the race for home field advantage.

Lineup when available.

A Puig sighting!

Oct 02

Game 160, 2015

Keep talking about the postseason in the thread below; this one’s the game thread.

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD, MLB.tv free streaming (out of market)

The Dodgers start Alex Wood, who is 11-12 with a 3.89 ERA. His last start was awful: he gave up 11 hits and 8 runs in 5 1/3 innings at Colorado. In fact, he hasn’t yet shown the Dodgers or their fans a lot since being acquired in July: he’s gone 4-6 in 11 starts for the LA team with a 4.55 ERA.

Wood’s opponent will be Casey Kelly, who spent almost the entire year in AA San Antonio. This will be his third appearance for the Padres; he gave up six runs in the first two innings of his last start against Arizona but got the last 11 men he faced.

Matt Kemp is out for the year with a partial tendon tear in his right middle finger. Juston Upton will be a game-time decision after straining his neck running into a wall in Wednesday’s game. The Dodgers are hoping Justin Turner’s bruised left forearm has recovered.

Lineup when available.

Oct 01

Pre-Postseason jibber-jabber

So, should the Dodgers try really hard to get home field advantage, or should they concentrate on resting their regulars before the playoffs start for the Dodgers and Mets on Friday, October 9?

How many pitchers should make the playoff roster and which ones?

How many outfielders should make the playoff roster and which ones?

How many infielders should make the playoff roster and which ones?

Who’s the emergency catcher behind Grandal and Ellis for the playoffs?

Oct 01

Game 159, 2015

Dodgers at Giants, 12:45PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-BA

Businessman’s special today — baseball under the sun as Abner Doubleday meant it to be played!

Brett Anderson goes for the Dodgers. He’s looking for win number 10 on the year, but perhaps even more importantly, if he goes three innings he’ll surpass the 175 1/3 innings he pitched in his rookie year of 2009, the most he’s ever pitched in a single season. He’s had a tough September, though, going 1-1 with a 6.20 ERA for the month and 11 earned runs in only 8 2/3 innings in his last two starts.

He’ll face Tim Hudson, who is the major leagues’ active leader in wins with 222 against 132 losses. He’s got a career ERA of 3.49. He’s retiring at the end of this season, during which he’s 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA. His last start was not good; he went only 1 1/3 innings against the As on Saturday.


Sep 30

Game 158, 2015

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-BA

The Dodgers (88-69) have clinched the division title, but if they want home field advantage in the NLDS they need to continue winning and hope the Mets lose while they do so. They trail the Mets (89-68) by one game in the overall standings. To that end they send Mike Bolsinger to the hill tonight. Bolsinger has not shown himself to be the pitcher he was in the first half of the season; since his September callup he’s got an 8.66 ERA in four starts. In his last one on September 25 he gave up seven hits and seven runs, four earned, in just four innings. He may be pitching for a long relief spot on the NLDS playoff roster.

Bolsinger’s opponent will be Mike Leake, who was acquired by the Giants from the Reds at this year’s trade deadline. He too has been a disappointment to his team; he’s gone 1-5 with a 4.86 ERA since his arrival.

Lineup when available.

Grandal at first base, huh?

Sep 29

Game 157, 2015

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

It’s Clayton Kershaw’s turn to try to advance the Dodgers into the postseason and turn out the lights on the Giants’ hopes of getting there. He’s 15-7 on the year with a 2.25 ERA, 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA against the Giants. He and his teammates will face Madison Bumgarner, who’s 18-8 with a 2.88 ERA, 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA against the Dodgers this season. Both of these pitchers have been excellent since the All Star break: Kershaw’s gone 9-1 with a 1.48 since then, while Bumgarner has been almost as good, going 9-3 with a 2.31 ERA. He’s also thrown three complete games in that span.

There are some other games of consequence being played today and tonight as well.

Lineup when available.

Sep 28

Game 156, 2015

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA

With the Dodgers’ magic number stuck on two, it would relieve a lot of their fans if they won this game and dispensed with the suspense. To that end they send out odds-on Cy Young favorite Zack Greinke, who’s 18-3 with a microscopic 1.65 ERA to face Jake Peavy, who’s 7-6 with a 3.83 ERA. Greinke skipped his last start with a sore calf but pitched his usual bullpen session on Friday and is thought to be fine. Peavy has been a Dodger-killer in the past if you look at his record (14-3 with a 2.42 ERA in 28 career starts against them), but those numbers were amassed with a different team and facing different players on the Dodgers; I’m not persuaded those kinds of statistics mean much.

I’m sure the Dodgers will be just fine, because they have:

Lineup when available.