Apr 17

Game 16, 2018

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

The Dodgers ask LHP Alex Wood (0-2, 5.09 ERA) to keep up the good work their last two starters have done in this mini-winning streak. He’ll face RHP Brian Mitchell (0-2, 5.27 ERA), who hasn’t yet achieved the potential the Padres hoped he would when they acquired him in December. His control has been poor: he’s walked 14 in 12 2/3 innings. Wood’s last start was hindered by the lingering effects of food poisoning, the Dodgers think. He only lasted 3 2/3 innings against Oakland on April 11, giving up seven runs on seven hits. More concerning than that start is his velocity, which is several notches below what it was last season.

On this date in Dodgers history:

  • 1955 Roberto Clemente singles off Dodger pitcher Johnny Podres in his first major league at-bat. The Pirates’ rookie, who will die in a plane crash attempting to bring relief aid to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua in 1972, will collect exactly 3,000 hits during his 18-year major league career, all with Pittsburgh.
  • 1956 Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale, and Frank Robinson play in their first major league games, respectively, for the White Sox, Dodgers, and Reds. The trio of debuts marks the first time that three future Hall of Famers have made their initial appearance on the same day.
  • 1988 The Braves beat the Dodgers, 3-1, after breaking the National League record with ten losses to start the season. The team will drop 27 of its first 39 decisions, costing Chuck Tanner his job as the Atlanta manager.
  • 2013 Clayton Kershaw becomes the second fastest Dodger to strike out 1,000 batters when he throws a second-inning 93-mph fastball past San Diego first baseman Yonder Alonso. The 25 year-old southpaw reaches the milestone in 970 career innings, 15.2 more than needed by Hideo Nomo, who established the team mark in 2003.

Also in baseball history on this day: in 1969 Bill Stoneman pitched a no-hitter for the Expos in the ninth game of their existence, and in 1976 Mike Schmidt hit four consecutive home runs in a ten-inning 18-16 Phillies’ win over the Cubs.

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 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:


Mar 31

Game Three, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

The Giants try to take the third game of a four-game series behind LHP Derek Holland, a non-roster invitee who earned a spot in their rotation with a 4.05 ERA in six appearances this spring. Holland was 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA for the White Sox last year. He’ll face RHP Kenta Maeda, who went 13-6 for the Dodgers last season with a 4.22 ERA. In his two-year career in MLB he’s 3-1 with a 5.56 ERA against the Giants.

On this date 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.

  • 1998 Mark McGwire hits the first of his historic seventy home runs when he goes deep off Ramon Martinez in the fifth inning of the Cardinals’ 6-0 victory over L.A. at Busch Stadium. The Redbirds’ first baseman becomes the first player in franchise history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day.

Alex Wood deserved better yesterday, as this video shows:

Lineup when available.

Shake up that lineup, Roberts! Barnes and Farmer make their first appearances of the season, Forsythe moves to 2B.

Mar 30

Game Two, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

The visiting Giants send out the 10-year veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto (8-8, 4.52 ERA in 2017) to face the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA in 2017). Cueto has made nine starts at Dodger Stadium and gone 4-5 with a very good 2.67 ERA. Wood is coming off the best season of his career, so of course he’s abandoned the windup and will pitch solely from the stretch (for now — the first time he suffers through a four-run inning may put paid to that idea).

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 1966 Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale’s refusal to report to spring training ends when the hurlers agree to the Dodgers’ offer of $235,000, signing for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively. The LA starters’ joint holdout lasts for 32 days, paving the way for other players to be more aggressive when negotiating with owners.
  • 2012 Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest starting pitcher to make an Opening Day roster when the Rockies announce that the 49 year-old southpaw will face Houston in the second game of the season. Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm was the same age as the Colorado left-hander when he opened the season with L.A. in 1972, but ‘Old Sarge’ appeared strictly in relief for the Dodgers.

Lineup when available.



Utley replaces Kiké at 2B.

Feb 12

Spring Training begins this week

To get into the mood, Houston Mitchell of the Times is listing the results of a readers’ poll which asked “Who are the 10 Greatest Dodgers of All Time?”

I received 8,382 ballots from newsletter readers who responded to send me their choices as the top 10 Dodgers of all time. Points were assigned based on ranking, with the first-place choice getting 12 points, second place getting 10, third place eight, down to one point for 10th place. After tabulating the ballots, I will be presenting the top 25 in points. We will be counting down Nos. 25-11, one each weekday, for the next three weeks. Then we will time the top 10 so No. 1 unveils on March 29, the day the season opens.

Click the link to see who #25 is.

The Cubs wanted Yu Darvish enough to pay him $126 million over six years. Obviously the Dodgers didn’t want to pay that much for that long. I suspect it was the length of the contract more than the dollars which gave the Dodgers pause.

Kenley Jansen and Alex Wood are both ready for spring training:



Jan 14

One month away

Today’s news is that A-Gon is reportedly on his way to play for the Mets in the 2018 season.

The Mets get Gonzalez at the league minimum salary of $545,000 in 2018. The Braves are responsible for the $21.5 million owed to him for the 2018 season under his previous contract.

Except for that whole “playing on the East Coast again” issue it looks like Adrian has landed on his feet. Good for him.

Earlier in the week the Dodgers avoided arbitration with all the players they have who were eligible. Here is a copy of the table Eric Stephen of TBLA put together to show the results:

Player Service Time 2017 salary MLBTR projections TBLA guess 2018 salary
Yasmani Grandal 5.115 $5,500,000 $7,700,000 $7,400,000 $7,900,000
Alex Wood 4.123 $2,800,000 $6,400,000 $6,550,000 $6,000,000
Tony Cingrani 4.088 $1,825,000 $2,200,000 $2,300,000 $2,300,000
Josh Fields 4.083 $1,050,000 $2,200,000 $1,900,000 $2,200,000
Joc Pederson 3.023 $555,000 $2,000,000 $2,800,000 $2,600,000
Pedro Baez 3.059 $550,000 $1,500,000 $1,400,000 $1,500,000
Kiké Hernandez 3.054 $550,000 $1,300,000 $1,650,000 $1,600,000
Yimi Garcia 3.004 $550,000 $700,000 n/a $630,000
Dec 29

Cue Felix Mendelssohn

There have been or will be not one, not two, but six Dodger weddings this offseason. There might even be seven, but Kiké Hernandez and his fiancée may not have set a date yet.

Messrs. Ryu, Stripling, Wood, Turner, Barnes and Pederson have all either gotten hitched already or gotten engaged. Isn’t that sweet? See the pictures at True Blue LA’s link above.

All these gentlemen are obviously taking Satchel Paige’s advice, particularly his 4th rule: “Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.” Marriage will settle a man right down, I’ve heard.

Nov 21

Find your sports bar now

Two of the first four Dodgers’ games in 2018 will be on ESPN.

ESPN will televise the Dodgers-Giants opener on Thursday, March 29, a 4 p.m. PT start, and will also showcase the series finale on “Sunday Night Baseball,” a 5:30 p.m. PT start. Both will be exclusive telecasts by ESPN, which means no SPNLA broadcast of either game.

Hmm. Kershaw pitches Opening Day, Hill in Game Two, Maeda in Game Three and Wood in Game Four, I’m guessing.

Oct 28

World Series Game Four, 2017

Dodgers at Astros, 5:10 PM PT, TV: Fox

Down two games to one, if the Dodgers’ backs are not against the wall (the train tracks?) they’re being pushed closer and closer to it. They ask LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to stop the Astros’ offensive onslaught or hold it off until they can get their own bats in gear. They’ll have to do it against RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA). Wood pitched 4 2/3 innings of Game Three of the NLCS against the Cubs, giving up three runs and taking the loss. Morton lost Game Three of the ALCS to the Yankees but came back to pitch five two-hit innings in Game Five and get the win.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1981 The Dodgers, after dropping the first two games of the Fall Classic, defeat the Yankees, 9-2, capturing the World Championship in six games. The victory at the Bronx ballpark marks the third time this postseason that Los Angeles has come from behind to win a series, having been down 0-2 against the Astros in the five-game strike-necessitated NLDS, and 1-2 behind the Expos in the NLCS five-game series.
  • 1981 Entering Game 6 of the World Series in the fifth inning, Yankee right-hander George Frazier, relieving starter Tommy John, gives up three go-ahead runs in the team’s 9-2 elimination loss to the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. The 27 year-old right-hander becomes the first pitcher to lose three games in a best of seven World Series, and the second hurler to lose that many in any Fall Classic, joining White Sox southpaw Lefty Williams, who also dropped a trio of games in the best-of-nine series played in 1919.
  • 1995 In Game 6, Tom Glavine and Mark Wohlers combine on a one-hitter to defeat the Indians, 1-0, giving the Braves their third World Championship, the first since moving to Atlanta. David Justice’s leadoff homer in the sixth inning off Jim Poole proves to be the difference.
  • 1998

    “It is especially fitting that this legislation honors a courageous baseball player and individual, the late Curt Flood, whose enormous talents on the baseball diamond were matched by his courage off the field. It was 29 years ago this month that Curt Flood refused a trade from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. His bold stand set in motion the events that culminate in the bill I have signed into law.” – BILL CLINTON, U.S. president commenting on the Curt Flood Act.

    President Clinton signs Curt Flood Act of 1998, revoking baseball’s antitrust exemption for labor matters, but not for matters involving relocation, expansion or the minor leagues. The passage of the legislation by the 105th Congress comes over seventy-five years after the Supreme Court ruled that the sport was not involved in interstate commerce or trade as customarily defined within the context of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

  • 2009 In Game 1, Chase Utley, en route to a record-tying five World Series homers, becomes the first left-handed batter in 81 years to hit two round-trippers off a southpaw in a Fall Classic game. The Philadelphia second baseman, who also set a postseason record by reaching base in 26 straight games with his first-inning walk, goes deep twice off Yankee southpaw CC Sabathia in the Phillies’ 6-1 victory in New York, to match Babe Ruth’s performance in the fourth and final game of the 1928 series.

Lineup when available.