Oct 18

NLCS Game Four, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers send the very well-rested LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to the mound to try to close out the series. The Cubs will ask RHP Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA) to put up a roadblock in front of the Dodgers’ seemingly-unstoppable steamroller.

Wood hasn’t pitched in three weeks; he was scheduled to start Game Four of the Dodgers’ NLDS but they swept the D-Backs in that series. He’s been throwing simulated games and yesterday he declared himself ready to go. Arrieta pitched in Game Four of the Cubs’ NLDS against the Nats, going four innings, throwing 90 pitches, giving up an earned run and losing 5-0. He’s a former Cy Young Award winner and once threw a no-hitter at the Dodgers; presumably they won’t take him lightly.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1988 At Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Mark McGwire goes deep off LA’s Jay Howell with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the A’s a 2-1 victory for its only win in the Series. With Kirk Gibson’s heroics in Game 1, ‘Big Mac’s’ walk-off home run marks the first time that two game-winning round-trippers are hit in the same Fall Classic.
  • 2013 The Cardinals advance to their second World Series in three seasons, routing the Dodgers, 9-0, in Game 6 of the NLCS. St. Louis, behind the timely hitting of Carlos Beltran and the strong pitching performance of rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, beats Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) for the fourth time this season, including a pair of victories in this round of the postseason.

Lineup when available.

Grandal gets a start, Ethier and Utley get second starts, and Granderson gets a start. This may be the Dave Roberts “keep guys happy as much as I can within the needs of the team” approach to managing.

Oct 17

NLCS Game Three, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The visiting Dodgers send RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) out to keep the Cubs at bay and take a 3-0 lead in the series. The Cubs counter with RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA). Darvish had a good outing in Game Three of the ALDS against the Diamondbacks, giving up one run on two hits in five innings while striking out seven and not walking anyone. Hendricks had an excellent start against the Nats in Game One of the NLDS when he allowed no runs, but a less-than-stellar one in Game Five when he gave up four runs on nine hits in four innings. He may take some confidence from his two NLCS starts against the Dodgers last year when he gave up only one run on five hits in 12 2/3 innings.

Here are several news items pertaining to the Dodgers and this series: first, from MLB: Memories of last year’s Game Six loss and the subsequent ring ceremonies this year might be a prod for the Dodgers. Second, SI’s Jay Jaffe writes about Yasiel Puig’s discipline and flair. And finally, Rich Hill is known for his curve, but it’s his fastball that’s doing heavy lifting this season.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1978 The Yankees capture their twenty-second and second consecutive World Championship, beating Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. Playoff hero Bucky Dent, who collects ten hits in the six-game series, is named the the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

Other historical note: in 1989 as the Giants and A’s get ready to play Game 3 of the World Series, the Bay Area is hit by the massive 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake, which will be responsible for 63 deaths. The Candlestick Park contest is quickly postponed by Commissioner Fay Vincent, and he orders the evacuation of the ballpark.

Lineup:

Puig at cleanup. Pederson, Ethier and Utley starting. Grandal not starting. No siree, no lineup shakeups here.

Oct 10

NLDS Game Four, 2017

Nationals at Cubs, 2:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

This is the only game today, and it’s an elimination game for the Nats. They ask RHP Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67 ERA) Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52 ERA) to stop the Cubs, who have hardly been a juggernaut but have managed to get past excellent performances from the Nats’ aces Strasburg and Scherzer to take a 2-1 lead in the series. The Cubs counter with RHP Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA), who hurt a hamstring five weeks ago but had been 7-2 with a 1.79 ERA over the previous two months.

After much Sturm und Drang yesterday centered on Starsburg’s health and whether he was too queasy to pitch today on regular rest, apparently he recovered overnight. He’ll start today after all.

Yesterday in baseball history:

  • 1920 The Indians’ Bill Wambsganss becomes the only player in World Series history to complete an unassisted triple play when he makes a leaping catch, steps on second base, and then tags the [Dodger] runner arriving from first base. After the play, a dead calm engulfs Cleveland’s League Park as the hometown fans try to digest what they had just witnessed.
  • 1948 The largest crowd ever to attend a World Series game, 86,288 fans, jam into Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium to witness a showdown between two future Hall of Famers. Braves’ southpaw Warren Spahn beats Bob Feller and the Indians in Game 5 of the Fall Classic, 11-5.
  • 1968 Cardinal fireballer Bob Gibson sets the mark for total strikeouts (35) in a World Series, but loses the seventh and deciding game to ]Mickey Lolich and the] Tigers, 4-1.
  • 2009 The Dodgers advance to their second consecutive National League championship series, beating St. Louis 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep of the Redbirds in the NLDS. Solid pitching by late-season pick-up Vicente Padilla and timely hitting by Andre Ethier, who had three extra-base hits, and Manny Ramirez, who broke out of a slump with three hits and two RBIs, close out the series, which will be best remembered for the team’s dramatic Game 2 comeback when Matt Holliday’s error on James Loney’s ninth-inning two-out line drive leads to a stunning two-run walk-off rally.

Today in history:

  • 1978 Rookie right-hander Bob Welch strikes out Reggie Jackson with two men on base and two out in the top of the ninth inning, dramatically preserving a 4-3 Dodger victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the Fall Classic. The relief performance will put the 21 year-old in the national spotlight.

Sep 15

Game 147, 2017

Dodgers at Nationals, 4:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MASN 2, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The Dodgers currently lead the Nationals by five games in the race for best record in the National League.

LHP Alex Wood (14-3, 2.81 ERA) starts for the Dodgers. He’ll face RHP Edwin Jackson (5-5, 4.14 ERA), now on his twelfth team since he was drafted by the Dodgers in 2001.

Wood’s pitching has deteriorated in the second half of the season after an All-Star performance in the first half. In his last two starts he’s given up nine runs in eleven innings. He’s had a sternum injury, but I wonder if his arm is tired. He’s thrown 134 innings this season after only 60 the year before when he was recovering from elbow surgery mid-season. Jackson has made 10 starts for the Nats after coming over from the Orioles (short distance between moves, anyway) and has a 3.88 ERA in that stretch. His last two outings have been shaky: he’s given up nine earned runs in nine innings.

Here are Houston Mitchell’s suggestions for which players should be sitting and which playing.

What’s the deal with those Pantene 294 fans who travel to Dodgers games?

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1946 In Brooklyn, a giant swarm of gnats engulfs Ebbets Field at the end of the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader. Due to the bothersome insects and the impending darkness, the game is called, resulting in a 2-0 victory for the Dodgers over the Cubs.
  • 1950 At Ebbets Field, Cardinal starter Cloyd Boyer hurts his arm while warming up and is replaced by Red Munger. The reliever goes the distance, beating the Dodgers, 6-2, getting credit for a complete game, but not for a game started.
  • 1978 Don Sutton, in front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. Los Angeles, with tonight’s attendance, becomes the major league first team in history to draw three million fans at home.
  • 1995 Ozzie Smith takes part in the 1,554th twin killing of his career to set a new big league record for double plays. The Cardinals’ shortstop’s wizardry isn’t enough to prevent the Redbirds’ 7-6 loss to the Dodgers at Busch Stadium.

Lineup:

Ethier and Utley get starts.

Sep 11

Game 144, 2017

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

RHP Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.02 ERA) takes the mound against RHP Chris Stratton (2-3, 4.10 ERA) in San Francisco.

Maeda allowed one unearned run over five innings on Wednesday against the D-backs. He’s 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA in four career starts against the Giants. Stratton has both started and relieved this season; he’s been much better as a starter. He’s got an 8.59 ERA in relief. As a starter he’s made five starts and has gone 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA since the All Star break.

A sad note: former Dodger (and nine other teams’) scout Mel Didier died Sunday night at home in Phoenix. He was 90 years old. His most memorable find was probably his analysis which showed that the Athletics’ Dennis Eckersley liked to throw backdoor sliders when the count was full and first base was open. He told the Dodgers’ hitters that before Game One of the 1988 World Series. What was the count to Kirk Gibson when he hit that game-winning home run? 3-2. What was the pitch? A backdoor slider.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1959 The Dodgers end Elroy Face’s consecutive win streak at 22 with a 5-4 victory over the Pirates. The reliever, who will end the season with an 18-1 record, is beaten by Chuck Churn, the winner of only three major league career victories.
  • 1966 In his first major league at-bat, John Miller homers off Lee Stange in the second inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over Boston at Fenway Park. The 22 year-old left fielder, whose total of 10 hits in his 32-game career will include just two round-trippers, will become the only player to hit home runs in his first and last major league plate appearance when he goes deep as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in his final turn at bat in 1966.
  • 1998 Kevin Malone is named as the Dodgers’ general manager, replacing Tommy Lasorda, who is promoted to Senior Vice President of the team. The “new sheriff in town” tenure in Los Angeles will be marked by the signing of high profile players to huge contracts, including Kevin Brown’s seven-year deal making the right-hander the first $100 million man in baseball.

Historical note of more than passing interest to Cody Bellinger fans: today in 1956 Frank Robinson ties Wally Berger’s 1930 National League record for home runs by a rookie for home runs with his 38th in the Reds’ 11-5 victory over the Giants at Polo Grounds. A’s first baseman Mark McGwire established the major league mark for freshman homers with 49 round-trippers in 1989. Bellinger has 36 with 18 games to go in the season.

Lineup when available.

Granderson again? Why not Ethier in LF? And since A-Gon had to have an epidural shot four days ago, why not Cody at 1B?

Roberts, I’m beginning to question your judgment.

Sep 02

Game 135, 2017

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

The Dodgers send RHP Yu Darvish (8-10, 3.88 ERA) to the hill in the nightcap to face RHP Jordan Lyles (0-2, 6.94 ERA). Darvish has been fighting his mechanics in his starts with the Dodgers after coming over from the Rangers. Lyles is making his Padres debut after being claimed off waivers from the Rockies.

Lineup when available.

Ethier gets his first start of the year on September 1. I wonder how excited he is.

Sep 01

Game 133, 2017

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

The Dodgers’ lefty ace Clayton Kershaw (15-2, 2.04 ERA) returns from the disabled list tonight to face the Padres’ RHP Dinelson Lamet, (7-5, 4.60 ERA).

Kershaw may be on a five-inning, 75-pitch limit. He struck out eight in five innings earlier this week in a rehab assignment for OKC. Lamet has had a 2.68 ERA in his last seven starts and allowed no more than four hits in any of them. He has, however, walked 16 in his five August starts.

On the first day of roster expansion the Dodgers called up Rob Segedin, Alex Verdugo and O’Koyea Dickson and reinstated André Ethier and Clayton Kershaw. To make room they moved Grant Dayton to the 60-day DL and designated Brett Eibner and Luis Ysla for assignment.

In hurricane relief news, Yasiel Puig’s foundation donated 20K to the American Red Cross.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1890 On Labor Day at Brooklyn’s Washington Park, the Bridegrooms, later to be known as the Dodgers, win all three games against Pittsburgh in the first tripleheader ever played. The home team sweeps the visiting Alleghenys, who will be renamed the Pirates next season, 10-9, 3-2, and 8-4.
  • 1953 The Cardinals tie a major league mark, hitting five homers in a 12-5 loss to Brooklyn at Ebbets Field. The solo shots hit by Stan Musial, Harry Elliot, Rip Repulski, and Steve Bilko (2), all off starter Preacher Roe, aren’t enough to offset the Dodgers’ 17-hit attack, which includes six doubles but no round-trippers.
  • 1969 At Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis ties the franchise record by hitting in 29 consecutive games with his second-inning single in LA’s 10-6 victory over New York. The mark was established by Zack Wheat in 1916.

Today in questionable sportsmanship: In 1980 on the final day of the season, PawSox infielder Wade Boggs loses the International League batting title when he grounds out to first base in his final turn at-bat of the season. The plate appearance is necessitated when the Mud Hens, who are ahead 6-0, issue a two-out intentional walk in the ninth inning to light-hitting Ray Boyer, who makes every attempt to be put out to end the game, but is allowed to stroll around the bases and score on a deliberate error by the Toledo pitcher, forcing Boggs to make one last unnecessary plate appearance that will put him .007 of a percentage point behind Dave Engle, who plays in the outfield for the opponents.

Lineup when available.

Verdugo starts his first MLB game tonight. Seager still has a sore arm, I imagine.

Aug 19

Game 121, 2017

Dodgers at Tigers, 1:05 PM PT, TV: FS-D, FS1, SPNLA

The Dodgers send lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-6, 3.63 ERA) to the hill to face the Tigers’ RHP Michael Fulmer (10-10, 3.78 ERA). The Dodgers are 6-1 in Ryu’s last seven starts (five of which ended before the sixth), and he’s got a 2.50 ERA in those games. Fulmer has lost four starts in a row and put up a 7.89 ERA in those games.

The Dodgers acquired Curtis Granderson from the Mets for the proverbial player-to-be-named-later or cash. This may have an impact on Joc Pederson’s playing time, and it’s hard to see what they do with André Ethier when he presumably returns from his injuries in September. “The Dodgers designated pitcher Dylan Floro for assignment to make room for Granderson on the 40-man roster. They will have to make a corresponding transaction to make room on the active roster once Granderson joins the team.”

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1955 For the sixth consecutive season, Robin Roberts is a 20-game winner. The Phillies right-hander, who will finish the season with a 23-14 record, beats Don Newcombe and the first place Dodgers at Connie Mack Stadium, 3-2.
  • 1957 Citing poor attendance as the reason, Giants’ president Horace Stoneham, ignoring baseball’s edict of banning announcements about relocation of franchises until after the World Series, informs the press the club has signed a lease to play its home games in San Francisco next season. The club’s Board of Directors voted 8-1 approving the shift to the West Coast, with the only dissenting vote cast by M. Donald Grant, who will become the chairman of the Mets, an expansion team located in New York to fill the National League void created by the departure of the Giants and Dodgers to California.
  • 2004 Pitching a perfect bottom of the ninth inning, John Smoltz establishes the franchise record with his 142nd save in a Braves uniform. The right-handed reliever surpasses Gene Garber as Atlanta beat the Dodgers in Los Angeles, 6-5.
  • 2008 The Dodgers reacquired Greg Maddux (6-9, 3.99) from the Padres for cash and two minor leaguers to be named or an additional monetary sum. The 42 year-old future Hall of Fame right-hander, obtained to help the club down the stretch run, played in LA for part of the 2006 season, winning six of nine decisions.

On this day in 1951 Forty-three inch tall Eddie Gaedel walks on four pitches in his only major league appearance. Bill Veeck’s idea of playing the midget was legal at the time but is later outlawed.

Lineup when available.

Huh. Granderson’s arrival allows movement all over the lineup. I hope it works.

Jul 20

Game 96, 2017

Braves at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSE

This is the first of a four-game series. It’ll pit the Braves’ RHP Mike Foltynewicz (7-5, 3.84 ERA) against the Dodgers’ RHP Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 3.38 ERA). The Dodgers have beaten the Braves twelve of the last fifteen times they’ve met at Dodger Stadium.

Foltynewicz took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a game against Oakland on June 30 before giving up a leadoff HR to break it up. He came out and the reliever struck out the side to preserve the 3-1 win. The Dodgers have won McCarthy’s last five starts, but he came out before completing five innings in two of them. He gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Marlins on Saturday.

The Dodgers have good prospects down on the farm, says Kyle Glaser of Baseball America.

Sergio Romo has been DFA’ed and Grant Dayton has been reinstated from the 10-day DL.

This date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1906 At St. Louis, Brooklyn hurler Mal Eason no-hits the Cardinals, 2-0. The ‘Kid’ was the losing pitcher when Johnny Lush pitched a no-hitter against the Superbas (Dodgers) in May.
  • 1970 Twenty-six year-old right-hander Bill Singer pitches the first Dodger no-hitter since Sandy Koufax’s departure when he keeps the Philadelphia batters hitless in a 5-0 victory at Chavez Ravine. The ‘Singer Throwing Machine’, who spent 52 days on the disabled list earlier in the season recuperating from hepatitis, posts a 5-0 record along with a 1.84 ERA in July, and will be named NL Player of the Month.
  • 2008 The Dodgers, with a five-run ninth-inning rally at Chase Field, beat the Diamondbacks, 6-5, and move into a flat-footed tie (48-50) with Arizona for first place in the National League West. Andre Ethier has the key hit in the comeback victory, a go-ahead triple off the center-field wall, as D-Back closer Brandon Lyon, pitching in his third consecutive game, couldn’t hold a three-run lead.

Lineup when available.

May 09

Game 33, 2017

Pirates at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTPIT

RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.14 ERA) will take the mound for the Pirates versus LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 0.84 ERA). Nova has gone six innings in each of his six starts this year, but his last time out he lost to the Reds when he allowed four runs on a season-high 10 hits. Urias will be making his third start of the year; he’s gone 10 2/3 innings and walked eight while striking out five.

Each pitcher has faced the other team once: Nova gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings to the Dodgers last August 12, while Urias threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief against the Pirates the following night.

This day in Dodgers history:

  • 1947 After leading his team in verbally abusing Jackie Robinson with racial slurs during yesterday’s game at Shibe Park, Philadelphia manager Ben Chapman, who admits he had been ‘kinda loud’, sends word to the Brooklyn clubhouse that he would like to make amends by posing with the Dodger first baseman for the newspaper photographers. The orchestrated gesture, which Robinson agrees to, admitting later that is one of the hardest things he ever had to make himself do, is prompted by the bad press created by the Phillies manager’s intolerance and the wrath of Commissioner Chandler.

Bad news for André Ethier and the Dodgers:

Lineup: