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).

Oct 28

World Series Game Five, 2018

Red Sox at Dodgers, 5:09 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller appears to be the first person to commit the notion that ‘the darkest hour is just before the dawn’ to print. His religious travelogue A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof, 1650, contains this view:

It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.

Kershaw for the Dodgers, Price for the Red Sox. Let’s hope it’s the great Kershaw and the bad Price in this game.

Today in Red Sox history:

  • 1951 The Red Sox trade catcher Les Moss and flychaser Tom Wright to the Browns for backstop Gus Niarhos and outfielder Ken Wood. The deal will have little impact in Boston (6th place) and in St. Louis (7th place) as both teams will finish in the second division.
  • 2007 With a 4-3 win over the Rockies at Coors Field, The Red Sox, for the second time in four years, complete a four-game sweep to win the World Series. Terry Francona becomes the first manager to win his first eight games in the Fall Classic.
  • 2007 During the middle of Game 4 of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Rockies, SI.com reports Alex Rodriguez has decided to opt out of his contract with the Yankees. The timing of the announcement and being a no-show at the game to receive the Hank Aaron Award, which honors the most outstanding offensive performer in each league, are severely criticized by fans and the media.
  • 2010 Before Game 2 of the World Series at AT&T Park, Tim Wakefield receives the Roberto Clemente Award, in recognition of his excellence as a ballplayer and his commitment to the community. The 44 year-old Red Sox starter is actively involved with “Pitching in for Kids,” a nonprofit that provides grants to improve the lives of children across New England.
  • 2013 In the fifth game of the World Series, Red Sox first baseman David Ortiz ties Billy Hatcher’s 1990 World Series record, reaching base in his ninth consecutive plate appearance. ‘Big Papi,’ the Fall Classic MVP, extends the streak that began in Game 3 with a fourth-inning single in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1953 Red Barber resigns as a Brooklyn Dodger broadcaster and will take the ‘catbird’ seat with the rival New York Yankees. The ‘Old Redhead’ is reported to have left the team because he was upset with Brooklyn owner Walter O’Malley, who refused to support him when he failed to get a higher fee from Gillette, the sponsor of the 1953 World Series on television.
  • 1981 After dropping the first two games of the Fall Classic, the Dodgers 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 will 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 drop that many decisions in any Fall Classic, joining White Sox southpaw Lefty Williams, who also lost a trio of games in the best-of-nine series played in 1919.
  • 2012 At a press conference held before Game 4 at Detroit’s Comerica Park, Clayton Kershaw is named the recipient of the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award, an honor given to a major leaguer who demonstrates the value of helping others by his action off the field. The Dodger right-hander and his wife, Ellen, founded the Kershaw Challenge, which includes its cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” that helps the couple to build and sustain an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia known as “Hope’s Home.”

Lineups when available.

Red Sox:


Dodgers:


Oct 24

World Series Game Two, 2018

Dodgers at Red Sox, 5:09 PM PDT, TV: Fox

LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches for the Dodgers v. LHP David Price of the Red Sox. Ryu pitched well in the NLDS but not so well in the NLCS, in which he made two starts and gave up seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Price didn’t get the win, but for the first time in one of his postseason starts his team did, in Game Five of the ALCS.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1951 Former Reds and Dodger owner Larry MacPhail suggests there should be four new major leagues, including one located on the West Coast. The innovative baseball executive, responsible for introducing night baseball and commercial air travel, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
  • 2017 The Dodgers win Game One of the World Series 3-1 behind Clayton Kershaw’s strong seven innings.

Today in Red Sox’ history:

  • 2007 In a 13-1 rout of the Rockies, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia becomes the second player and first rookie to hit a leadoff home run in a World Series opener. The 24 year-old freshman, the 31st major leaguer to homer in his first Fall Classic appearance, joins Orioles’ outfielder Don Buford, who went yard in 1969 as a leadoff batter in Game 1 off Tom Seaver of the Mets.
  • 2013 The Cardinals defeat the Red Sox 4-2 in Game Two of the World Series behind Michael Wacha.

Lineups when available.

Dodgers:


Red Sox:


Oct 23

World Series Game One, 2018

Dodgers at Red Sox, 5:09 PM PDT, TV: Fox

As we all know by now, the only time these teams have met in a World Series was way back in 1916, when the Dodgers’ stars were named Zach Wheat, Casey Stengel, Jake Daubert, Rube Marquard, Nap Rucker and Chief Meyers. They also employed Fred Merkle (yes, that Fred Merkle). The Red Sox had guys named Babe Ruth, Ernie Shore, Carl Mays, Duffy Lewis and Harry Hooper.

Today’s game will pit the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw and the Red Sox’ LHP Chris Sale against one another. This will be Kershaw’s second appearance in the World Series (2017) and Sale’s first. Kershaw is a year older than Sale and started in the big leagues in 2008; he’s got a career record of 153-69 with a 2.39 ERA. Sale started in the big leagues two years later and has a career record of 103-62 with a 2.89 ERA.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1945 Dodger President Branch Rickey announces that the team has signed two black players, shortstop Jackie Robinson and pitcher Johnny Wright, to play with Brooklyn’s Triple A team in Montreal. The 26 year-old Negro League infielder will be the first black player to play in organized baseball since 1884.
  • 1951 The Associated Press selects Giants skipper Leo Durocher as the Manager of the Year. Under his leadership, the Giants rallied from a 13 1/2-game deficit in mid-August to win the pennant, beating the Dodgers in a three-game playoff series best remembered for Bobby Thomson’s fabled home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the deciding game at the Polo Grounds.
  • 1993 Mike Piazza, the sixty-second round pick of the 1988 draft, is the BBWAA’s unanimous choice for the Rookie of the Year award in the National League. The Dodger catcher is the first player to hit over .300 (.318), connect for more than 30 homers (35), and drive in at least 100 runs (112) in the Senior Circuit as a freshman since Wally Berger accomplished the feat in his initial major league season with the Braves in 1930.
  • 1998 Davey Johnson is hired to manage the second-place Dodgers, taking over the reins from Bill Russell. The former Mets, Reds, and Orioles skipper, who has finished first with every team he has ever led, will see his streak end in LA when he compiles a 163- 161 (.503) record.

Today in Red Sox’ history:

  • 1986 In Game 5 of the World Series played at Fenway Park, Bruce Hurst throws a complete game to beat the Mets, 4-2, earning his second victory of the Fall Classic and bringing the team within one victory of ending their 68-year World Championship drought. New York will dash the Red Sox Nation’s hopes with two come-from-behind victories at Shea Stadium.
  • 2004 The Red Sox begin a four-game sweep of the Cardinals in the World Series with an 11-9 win.
  • 2013 The Red Sox win Game One of a World Series in which they’ll defeat the Cardinals in six games behind Jon Lester’s 7 2/3 innings of scoreless five-hit ball.

Lineups when available.

Dodgers:


Red Sox:


Oct 17

NLCS Game Five, 2018

Brewers at Dodgers, 2:05 PM PDT, TV: FS1

Wade Miley goes for the Brewers on short rest. He threw 5 2/3 innings in Game Two of this series and watched the bullpen give up four runs late. Clayton Kershaw pitches for the Dodgers after a lackluster outing in Game One.

Why is Kershaw getting fewer strikeouts this season? Possibly because the respective speeds of his fastball and slider are converging.

Due to his second-inning ankle injury, the Brewers have removed LHP Gio Gonzalez from their 25-man roster and added RHP Zach Davies as his injury replacement.

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 Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

Today in Brewers’ history:

  • 1982 In Game 5 played at County Stadium, Robin Yount becomes the first player in World Series history to have two four-hit games. In addition to today’s 4-for-4 performance, the Brewers’ third baseman collected four hits in 6 at-bats in the opening game of the Fall Classic, helping Milwaukee to beat the Cardinals, 10-0.

Lineups when available.

Brewers:


Dodgers:


Oct 05

NLDS Games Two, 2018

Rockies at Brewers, 1:15 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Rockies send LHP Tyler Anderson (7-9, 4.55 ERA) to the hill at Miller Park to face the Brewers’ RHP Jhoulys Chacin (15-8, 3.50 ERA). The Brewers hammered Anderson back on August 4, when he went just four innings and gave up seven runs including three homers. He made five starts in September and had a 3.25 ERA to show for them. This will be Chacin’s first postseason appearance and his first time ever pitching on only three days rest.

Lineups when available.

Rockies:


Brewers:


Braves at Dodgers, 6:37 PM PDT, TV: FS1

Lefty Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the Dodgers against the Braves’ Aníbal Sanchez (7-6, 2.83 ERA). Kershaw spent time on the DL for the third straight season and his velocity has dropped a couple of miles per hour from what it once was, but he’s still one of the best pitchers in the league. He beat Atlanta on July 27, going 7 2/3 innings and giving up one run on six hits. Sanchez had the best year he’s had in ERA terms since 2013. He beat the Dodgers June 9 and lost to them July 26.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic covers the Kershaw/Ryu Game One start story.

Oh, doctor! On October 5, 1947 Al Gionfriddo of the Dodgers robbed the Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio of a home run in Game Six of the World Series.

Lineups when available.

Dodgers:


Braves:


Oct 04

NLDS Game One, 2018

The Rockies and Brewers play the early game on Day One of the NL Division Series, while the Braves and Dodgers play the late game.

I’m not going to fiddle with four teams’ historical facts from this date. You’re welcome to look at the following link: Today in baseball history.

Rockies at Brewers, 2:07 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Rockies call upon RHP Antonio Senzatela (6-6, 4.38 ERA) to start Game One. The Brewers are going with the “opener” concept, starting a reliever and going from there.

“We really think when we’re going to put together our pitching staff for this series, every one of the guys we’re adding is going to pitch significant innings in the series,” Counsell said.

The team has not yet announced who that first pitcher is going to be.

Lineups when available.

Brewers:


Rockies:


Braves at Dodgers, 5:37 PM PDT, TV: MLBN, MLBN-INT

The Braves will start RHP Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85 ERA) in their first postseason game since 2013. He started one game against the Dodgers this year, going five innings, giving up six hits and four runs and taking the loss. Two of the runs were knocked in by Clayton Kershaw, who got a single and three walks in 7 2/3 innings in that game.

The Dodgers give the ball to LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 1.97 ERA). Picking Ryu to start Game One may have surprised some people, but he’s been lights-out since coming back from a groin injury in August, making nine starts and posting a 1.88 ERA over that stretch. He also has a 2.81 ERA in three post-season starts as well as a history of big game performances in Korea, the Olympics (in the gold medal game against Cuba in 2008 he pitched 8​1⁄3 innings, allowing two earned runs in a 3–2 victory) and the Asian Games (gold medalist in 2010). Here’s more on the decision from The Athletic. And here’s Sports Illustrated’s preview of the Braves–Dodgers series. The LA Times has five stories about the playoffs, from Plaschke’s “They must win the Series this year” to Dylan Hernandez’s “Kershaw got the shaft,” as well as the omission of Stripling from the 25-man NLDS roster and Madson’s appearance there.

Lineups when available.

Braves:


Dodgers:


Sep 29

Game 161, 2018

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCS Bay Area, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Giant killer LHP Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.53 ERA) goes for his tenth win. He hasn’t had a single-digit win season since 2009. He’s 6-1 with a 2.36 ERA over his last 12 starts, and he’s 22-10 against the Giants overall, 13-4 with a 1.20 ERA at their ball park. He’ll face rookie RHP Dereck Rodríguez (6-4, 2.50 ERA), who made his first big league start in May and has had a good first year. He needs to work on his control; he’s got a 2.67 K/BB ratio.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season. In a must-win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
  • 1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
  • 1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants, and four world championships.
  • 1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
  • 2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.

Lineup when available.


Sep 13

Game 147, 2018

Dodgers at Cardinals, 4:15 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-M, MLBN (out-of-market only)

LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-5, 2.42 ERA) goes for the Dodgers at Busch Stadium this evening against the home teams’ LHP Austin Gomber (5-0, 2.93 ERA). Kershaw has given up no more than two earned runs in a game since July 15 and hasn’t lost since April 25 (okay, that sounds better than his record indicates; he was on the DL for nearly two months). Gomber made his MLB debut in June of this season; the Cardinals have won eight of his nine starts, including one against the Dodgers on August 20. That was Kenley Jansen’s first game back from his heart-related stint on the DL, the one in which he gave up two home runs in the ninth inning.

Houston Mitchell of the LA Times has a cold-eyed look at the Dodgers, their 2018 record and its splits, and its players WAR relative to prior seasons. For example:

They are 12-4 against San Diego and 4-0 against Texas, meaning they are 63-63 against everyone else.

There’s an “Ask Ross Porter” segment to Mitchell’s column, and I found this interesting:

Bill Russell, who played in a Los Angeles Dodger record 2,181 games, has been an MLB umpire supervisor since 2002 and sees all Angels and Dodgers home games. Bill tells me the umpiring is as good today as when he played.

Read the rest.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1925 In the first game of a twin bill, Robins’ (Dodgers) starter Dazzy Vance no-hits the Phillies at Ebbets Field, 10-1. The Brooklyn hurler had one-hit the team from the City of Brotherly Love five days earlier.
  • 2005 During the six-run second inning uprising by San Diego, each Dodger outfielder commits an error. The fielding of Ricky Ledee (lf), Jose Cruz Jr. (right field), and Jayson Werth (cf) contributes to the 6-4 loss to the first place Padres.

Lineup: