Sep 06

Game 139, 2017

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

Believe it or not, the Dodgers could clinch a postseason spot as early as tonight. The scenario has permutations galore and most of them have to do with the Brewers and Cubs. Put simply, if the Dodgers win tonight’s game and the Cubs and Brewers both lose, the Dodgers are guaranteed a spot because neither of those teams can match the Dodgers’ record of 93 wins.

The streaks end tonight. So saith I, Master of all I survey. In order to make it so, the Dodgers will send their parfait genteel Japanese knight Kenta Maeda, he of the 12-6 W-L record and the 4.19 ERA, to the mound to do battle with the D-Backs’ Taijuan Walker, who brings an 8-7 record with a 3.42 ERA to the game. Oddly, Maeda has 122 strikeouts for the season and Walker has 120. Advantage, Dodgers!

The D-Backs hammered Maeda last week in Phoenix, scoring seven runs on eight hits and knocking him out after three innings. Walker shut out the Rockies for five innings in his last start.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1924 In a game that features a total of only six hits, the Brooklyn Robins beat Boston, 1-0, behind the strong two-hit performance of right-hander Bill Doak. The Braves Field victory is the team’s 15th consecutive win, establishing the longest winning streak in franchise history.
  • 1953 With Giants manager Leo Durocher yelling “stick it in his ear”, Ruben Gomez hits Carl Furillo, the National League’s leading hitter, on the wrist with a pitch. After taking first base, the Dodgers right fielder bolts into the opposing dugout to choke ‘Leo the Lip’, but in the melee, the knuckle on his little finger is fractured, putting an end to his season.
  • 1981 Fernando Valenzuela ties the National League’s rookie record for shutouts, blanking St. Louis, 5-0, for his seventh whitewash of the season. The Dodger lefty shares the mark with Irv Young (1905 Beaneaters), Grover Alexander (1911 Phillies), and Jerry Koosman (1968 Mets).
  • 1985 In a matchup of aces that lives up its advanced billing, Dwight Gooden and Fernando Valenzuela hook up in one of the best pitchers’ duel in recent memory. New York beats Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine, 2-0, thanks to Darryl Strawberry’s two-run double on a day that the 20 year-old Mets right-hander strikes out 10 batters, throwing nine shutout innings, while the Dodgers southpaw pitches 11 innings without allowing a run.
  • 1996 Brett Butler returns to the Dodger lineup four months after having surgery for throat cancer. The 39 year-old center fielder scores the decisive run in the team’s 3-2 victory over the Bucs.

Also on this date in big league history, in 1995 Cal Ripken breaks Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record, playing in his 2,131st straight game. When the game becomes official in the middle of the fifth inning, the new ‘Iron Man’ takes a victory lap around Camden Yards during the 22-minute standing ovation from the sellout crowd, including President Bill Clinton.

Lineup when available.

Nov 28

Prospects now, prospects later

Throw ’em into the fire now or give ’em another year? It’s a question more and more teams are facing. With the Dodgers, it’s 20-year-old Cory Seager at shortstop. The cons, as determined by Richard Justice:

  • He’s 20 years old.
  • He’s played only 38 games above Class A.

The pros:

  • He’s scary good.
  • He’s passed every test so far

The Mets, Twins and Giants are facing similar decisions.

Obviously it’s a gamble. Sometimes it pays off, as when the Orioles brought up a 20-year-old named Cal Ripken in August of 1981. Probably more often than not it fails, or at least the kid has to go back down to the minors for more seasoning. Given the dearth of big league players looking for short-term deals (because the Dodgers don’t want to block Seager for years), they may decide they don’t have much choice.

Update: Vinnie turns 86 tomorrow. A couple of years ago ESPN celebrated his 84th birthday with a sequence of what it picked as his top five calls: