Sep 02

Game 38, 2020

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA

RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 4.32 ERA) pitches for the home team, while the visitors send RHP Zac Gallen (1-0, 2.70 ERA) out to face him. Buehler is returning from the IL, where he went with a blister after his best game of the year, when he gave up just four hits, one run, struck out 11 and walked none in six innings. Gallen’s last start was equally brilliant: he went seven innings and gave up five hits and just one run, getting his first win of the year.

Here’s CT3’s four-RBI game yesterday:

On this date in Dodgers history:

  • 1969 Willie Davis, with his sixth-inning double in the team’s 5-4 loss to New York at Dodger Stadium, breaks a 53 year-old franchise record by hitting safely in thirty consecutive games. The LA outfielder surpasses the streak established by Zack Wheat in 1916 when the team played in Brooklyn.
  • 1971 Cesar Cedeno hits an inside-the-park grand slam when Dodger second baseman Jim Lefebvre and right fielder Bill Buckner collide, trying to make the fifth inning catch. The 200-foot dropped bloop contributes to the Astros’ 9-3 victory over LA at the Astrodome.
  • 1972 In his major league debut, Doug Rau throws a three-hitter, beating St. Louis at Busch Stadium, 5-1. In his first big-league at-bat, the 23 year-old Dodger southpaw helps his cause with a RBI-triple in the second inning.
  • 1993 The Rockies, drawing a crowd 47,699 for their 62nd home game, surpass the 1982 Dodgers when the team attracts 3,617,863 fans to Denver’s Mile High Stadium, setting a new National League single-season attendance record. The expansion club will also break the 1992 Blue Jays’ major league mark of 4,028,318 before the season is over.
  • 2002 In the top of the ninth inning, Diamondback first baseman Mark Grace hurls an inning of relief with the team trailing the Dodgers, 18-0. The All-Star infielder retires three of the four batters he faces in the Bank One Ballpark, yielding a two-out home run to David Ross.

Lineup:

Aug 07

Game 14, 2020

I bought a pre-owned copy of Miracle Men recently. It’s a chronicle of the 1988 Dodgers’ season, and I’ve just gotten to Game One of the World Series. The author mentions a fan named Josie Becker who recreated the entire ninth inning with Nintendo’s RBI Baseball and uploaded it to YouTube:

Giants at Dodgers, 6:30 PM PDT, TV: MLBN (out-of-market only), NBCS-BA, SPNLA

The visiting Giants give RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 9.31 ERA) the ball this evening. He’ll face the Dodgers’ LHP Julio Urias (1-0, 2.45 ERA). Samardzija had a blister which kept him from using his splitter in his last outing against the Rangers on Sunday; we’ll see if it’s back for tonight’s game. Urias went five innings against the Giants and gave up just one run in his first start this year; he went six innings in his second start against the D-Backs. In his seven career starts against San Francisco he’s posted an ERA of 1.16.

Here’s CT3’s game-ending throw from Wednesday night:

From Houston Mitchell’s Dodger Dugout column at the LA Times:

MLB and the players’ union came to an agreement earlier this week that allows the roster to remain at 28 players for the remainder of the season, instead of cutting down to 26 in a couple of weeks, which was the original plan.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2003 Fireballer Eric Gagne ties the single-season record for consecutive saves to start a season, established in 1995 by Jose Mesa of the Indians. The Dodger closer strikes out the Reds’ side in the ninth inning for his 38th save this season and 46th consecutive regular-season save overall.

Lineup when available.

Jul 23

Opening Day, 2020

It’s the first game of this bizarre 60-game season, in which each win and each loss has much more weight than in most seasons. Lose ten straight in a 162-game season and you’ve got a chance to make it up; do so in a 60-game season and you’re probably dead. If last year had been a 60-game season, the World Series Champion Nationals would not have made the playoffs. They were 27-33 in their first 60 games.

Giants at Dodgers, 7:00 PM PDT. TV: ESPN

The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw to the mound for his ninth Opening Day start in ten years. The 32-year-old was 16-5 last season with the highest ERA of his career, a whopping 3.03. He’ll face the Giants’ RHP Johnny Cueto, who was 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA last year in four September starts after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of 2018.

Here’s the Dodgers’ official 30-man roster to start the season:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1939 Using yellow dyed balls, the Cardinals beat the Dodgers 5-2 at Sportsman’s Park. The experimenting with the use of the colored sphere, which is designed to make the ball easier to see for the players and the fans, started in Brooklyn last week and will be tested once more, in a September game played at Wrigley Field.
  • 1962 Jackie Robinson becomes the first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame. Joining the Dodger infielder in the Cooperstown ceremony are fireballer Bob Feller, veteran manager Bill McKechnie, and outfielder Edd Roush.

  • 1965 Dick Stuart homers in the first inning in the Phillies’ 5-1 win over New York at Shea Stadium. ‘Dr. Strangeglove’, who played in Boston for the previous two seasons, becomes the first player to have gone deep in each of the 19 major league ballparks now in use. (Ed. note – Nineteen ballparks because both Los Angeles teams, the Angels and Dodgers, share the ballpark in Chavez Ravine. – LP)
  • 1974 At Three Rivers Stadium, Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey, a write-in All-Star starter, singles and doubles to help the National League beat the Junior circuit, 7-2. Mike Schmidt, also a write-in, plays in his first Midsummer Classic thanks to radio intern Howard Eskin’s on-air campaign which urged Phillies fans to stuff the ballot box for their young third baseman.

Also, Nomah! In 2002 Nomar Garciaparra establishes the record for consecutive home runs in the shortest time in terms of innings. In a 22-4 rout of the Devil Rays at Fenway Park, the Red Sox shortstop homers three times in two frames – two two-run homers in the second and a grand slam in the third.

Lineup when available.

Kershaw is a late scratch due to back pain and has been replaced as the Dodgers’ starting pitcher by Dustin May, the first rookie to start an Opening Day game for the team since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

Jul 18

Opening day roster speculation

Who’s gonna be on it?

Pitchers: Pedro Báez, Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling, Blake Treinen, Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Brusdar Graterol and Dustin May

Starting depth could be an issue. After losing Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill (68 starts combined last year) over the offseason, the only veteran starters the Dodgers added were Price and Jimmy Nelson, but both are out for the season. That leaves Urías, Wood and youngsters May, Gonzalez and White to pick up those 68 starts.

Will Smith and Austin Barnes are the catchers. Infielders are Enrique Hernández, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios. Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, A. J. Pollack and Chris Taylor are the outfielders.

Subject to change at any moment, of course.

Jul 21

Game 102, 2019

Marlins vs. Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-F, SPNLA

The visiting Marlins send Hawai’i boy RHP Jordan Yamamoto (4-0, 1.59 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.44 ERA). Yamamoto has gotten a lot of ink in the local newspaper; our local TV stations don’t even bother with sports news anymore so I haven’t seen him there. He’s made six starts and given up no more than four hits in any of them. Buehler gave up six runs to the Phillies on Tuesday (only two were earned — there’s the Dodgers’ suddenly suspect defense) but gave up no more and went six innings while the Dodgers caught up and took him off the hook.

Here’s Beaty’s HR in the bottom of the 8th inning to retake the lead lost in the top of the inning:

Bonus video: Kershaw’s 60th 10-strikeout game of his career and his RBI single:

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1930 Harvey Henrick’s ninth-inning three-run round-tripper off the bench gives the Dodgers a dramatic 9-8 come-from-behind victory over the Redbirds at Ebbets Field in the first game of a twin bill. Redbirds George Puccinelli and Jim Bottomley and Brooklyn’s Hal Lee also homer appearing as pinch-hitters in the game.
  • 1956 In a 13-6 defeat to the Cubs, Dodgers’ shortstop Pee Wee Reese becomes one of five active players to collect 2000 hits, and teammate Junior Gilliam sets a major league record by handling 12 assists at second base.
  • 1963 The usually mild-mannered Dodger manager Walter Alston is thrown out of both games of a doubleheader when the Braves sweep a twin bill from Los Angeles for the first and only time in Milwaukee, 7-2 and 13-7. To make matters worse, the manager has beer thrown in his face by a hometown fan as he leaves the second game. (My thanks to Lee for sharing this entry. He attended the game at County Stadium as a ten year-old. -LP)
  • 2003 At Dodger Stadium, Vladimir Guerrero hit his 226th career home run, breaking Andre Dawson’s club record. The Expos’ right fielder hits his milestone round-tripper off Odalis Perez, a 454-foot blast over the left field wall.

Lineup when available.


No Bellinger, no CT3. Just a day off for each of them? I didn’t hear why Bellinger left last night’s game in the double switch; was there any speculation?

Jul 19

Game 100, 2019

Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-F, SPNLA

The Marlins give the ball to RHP Zac Gallen (0-1, 4.24 ERA), who’ll make his fifth major league start. In his last one he went five innings, struck out five, walked five and gave up two runs. The Dodgers counter with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2, 1.78 ERA), who’s made 18 starts and given up two earned runs or fewer in all but one. In his last start he went seven innings against the Red Sox, gave up two runs and didn’t figure in the decision as the Dodgers won in the 12th inning.

Kershaw was being interviewed as Matt Beaty hit his HR yesterday:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2017 CT3, Kiké and Seager each hit home runs as the Dodgers defeated the White Sox in a rain-shortened interleague game in Chicago behind Kenta Maeda’s five strong innings and two innings of relief from Ross Stripling.

Lineup when available.

Jun 20

Game 76, 2019

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

LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-6, 3.87 ERA) goes for the Giants in the final game of the series tonight. He’ll face the Dodgers’ young LHP Julio Urias (3-2, 3.05 ERA). Bumgarner may be pitching for the last time against the Dodgers as a Giant; he’s the subject of many trade rumors. Urias has been pitching in relief since mid-April, but he went five scoreless innings in a game he started against the Giants on April 1.

Hill is headed for the IL. He’ll have an MRI today to examine his forearm “discomfort.”

Four of CT3’s seven HRs this year have come off the Giants’ Pomeranz. Here are the two he hit last night:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2008 In recognition of their significant contributions to the community, the Dodgers become the first sports franchise to be honored by the Hollywood Historic Trust and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The team receives an Award of Excellence star, which is placed in the Walk of Fame, which includes a constellation of celebrities, real and fictional, who have had a major impact on the entertainment industry.
  • 2009 Jeff Weaver beats his kid brother Jered when the visiting Dodgers best the Halos, 6-5, at Angel Stadium. The Northridge, California natives become the eighth set of siblings in major league history to start against one another.

Lineup when available.


Dec 14

Roberts on rosters

Newly-inked manager Dave Roberts used his media availability requirement at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday of this week to answer a few questions:

On the position player side, Roberts said he expects Cody Bellinger to be an everyday player in 2019.

“Just the way he can defend and how he can affect a game and impact a game with his legs, with the bat, the goal is to have him out there and handle lefties and righties,” Roberts said.

“I think for Cody, it was a tough year,” Roberts said. “It was a grind for him with a slow start. But if you look at the surface line, it wasn’t bad. Now you kind of introduce the defense and the versatility, for a second-year player, still pretty good.”

But if you have Bellinger in the lineup every day, what position will he play? CF or 1B? “Reply hazy, try again.”

Well, what about Muncy? Kiké? CT3?

Roberts said Muncy, Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández will all be options at second base, with Muncy also getting at-bats at first.

On the pitching side, Roberts said he sees Kenta Maeda and Alex Wood, who transitioned to bullpen roles by the end of 2018, as starters in 2019. Roberts said Ross Stripling will also compete for a starting job after an All-Star 2018 season.

I think Roberts was in a good mood, as shown by this:

On former Diamondbacks All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt going to the Cardinals:

“Goldy, he can stay in the (National League) Central as long as he wants. I’m trying to work on getting him to the American League next. But Goldy, one of my favorite players to watch. To get him out of our division is great. Hope he’s happy. I’ve got to send him flowers.”

Oct 30

Gather ’round the stove, y’all

We go into the offseason earlier than we hoped and without the ultimate prize, so who’s coming back to ensure we get back to the Series for the third consecutive year?

…the Dodgers retain their nucleus. Hill will return for the final year of a three-year deal he signed after 2016. Justin Turner and Jansen will be back. Max Muncy, this year’s breakout star, will be back and cost-controlled. Seager is expected to be healthy. A young nucleus of position players that includes Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson will also come back, with Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo perhaps ready to take on bigger roles.

Kershaw or not, the rotation could post a combination of Buehler and Julio Urías that is currently a combined 45 years old.

Besides Kershaw, other free agents include Machado, Freese, Dozier, and Grandal. Despite the current dissatisfaction with Grandal,

…only J.T. Realmuto was a more valuable catcher by Baseball Prospectus’ WARP metric, and he is coming off the best offensive season of his career. He will be paid, and handsomely, as the Dodgers will look to find a catching partner to join the light-hitting Austin Barnes.

Beyond Kershaw’s decision, which must be made this week, the biggest question is whether Dave Roberts will manage the team next year. You’d think three consecutive playoff appearances and two trips to the World Series would make that question ludicrous, but baseball owners have done screwier things*.

To win the World Series, the Dodgers would have had to play better than they had for any seven-game stretch all season. Roberts would have had to nail every single decision, which he did not. Puig would have had to throw to the cutoff man, which he did not. Their pitchers would have had to pitch to their strengths, which they did not. Their hitters would have had to, well, hit.

“You have to realize that we are a really good team to get to go to the World Series two years in a row,” Kershaw said. “It might not be a personnel thing. It might just be a ‘play better’ thing.”

So, what’s next? Here are selected events from Major League Baseball’s calendar:

  • Nov. 2, 2018 Deadline for teams to extend qualifying offer to own free agents, 5 p.m. ET
  • Nov. 8-15, 2018 Japan All-Star Tour (including CT3)
  • Nov. 12, 2018 Deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offer, 5 p.m. ET
  • Nov. 30, 2018 Non-tender deadline
  • Dec. 9-13, 2018 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas
  • Dec. 13, 2018 Rule 5 Draft

*Back in 1964 the Cardinals’ owner Gussie Busch fired the team’s entire senior management in August, leaving field manager Johnny Keane as sole survivor for the time. Shortly after the Cardinals won the World Series, Keane surprised management by resigning (and then being hired by the Yankees, who’d just lost to Keane’s former team).

Feb 27

One week into spring (training)

So far this spring the Dodgers have a 2-3 record. I like this deal,though:

Dodgers @ Padres
Peoria Stadium – Wed 2/28
358 tickets as low as $4

As we all expected, the Dodgers have a bunch of outfielders all trying to win a job in left field (Yasiel Puig’s a fixture in right and Chris Taylor’s the same in center). Andrew Toles is coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee, Joc Pederson’s trying to regain his form of 2016, Alex Verdugo might be their best non-pitching prospect, and oh yeah, Matt Kemp is back. He’s 40 pounds lighter than he was last season, which should certainly help his fairly awful defense of the last few years, and he can still hit. I think it’s even money he and his $43M contract get traded, possibly before the season begins, but the Dodgers have supposedly been trying to do that since they reacquired him in the offseason. The left field situation featured in a Dodgers.com story about Maeda’s two-inning stint on Tuesday:

In the ongoing competition for left field, Matt Kemp started in left Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Joc Pederson started in center and was 0-for-2 with a walk, caught-stealing and strikeout, and he threw out former Dodger Willie Calhoun at the plate; and Alex Verdugo started in right and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Off the bench, Andrew Toles was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.

I just subscribed to the new sportswriting website The Athletic. If you subscribe by clicking that link you get 25% off the $59.99 annual subscription price and I get $10 in credit at Amazon. It looks like a slightly pricey deal for a lot of extraordinary sportswriters, including people laid off by ESPN like Jayson Stark. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is there, as is Peter Gammons. It’s covering the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and MLS in addition to MLB. Take a look at it.