Apr 20

Game 18, 2018

Nationals at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, MASN 2

In a matchup of aces, the Nats send RHP Max Scherzer (3-1, 1.33 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 1.73 ERA). USA Today’s Jorge Ortiz had a game story that’s more entertaining than I could write, so I’ll defer to him. He calls this a matchup between a dying breed of aces.

Scherzer and Kershaw cross paths as the only active three-time Cy Young winners, as well as top-five finishers in the ballot each of the last five seasons, credentials that will burnish their Hall of Fame cases. Of the 10 pitchers ever to claim three Cy Youngs, the only one eligible for the Hall without a plaque in Cooperstown is Roger Clemens, who has been dogged by accusations of steroid use.

Anybody hungry?


Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1999 A crowd of 37,317 fans enjoys a 3-2 victory over the Braves when LA surpasses the 100 million mark in attendance at Dodger Stadium. The ballpark opened in 1962, four seasons after the franchise moved from Brooklyn to the west coast.
  • 2011 Bud Selig announces MLB is taking over operations of the Dodgers because of concerns over team finances and the ability of Frank McCourt to run the franchise. Los Angeles is facing substantial debt payments, which the owner plans to meet by using funding from the club’s new $2.5 billion, 20-year media-rights deal with Fox Sports, but the Commissioner has withheld his approval of the agreement between the News Corp.’s media company and the team.
  • 2012 The Reds become the fifth major league team to record their 10,000th franchise victory with a 9-4 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field. Cincinnati joins the Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Braves in reaching the milestone.

Lineup:


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 16

Game 15, 2018

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD, MLBN free game of the day (out-of-market only)

The visiting Dodgers send LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 2.79 ERA) to the hill to face the Padres’ LHP Robbie Erlin (0-1, 2.38 ERA). In his last start Ryu gave up only one hit in six innings while striking out eight and getting the win. Erlin is making a spot start for the banned-for-five-games Luis Perdomo. He’s made five relief appearances this season and in 11 1/3 innngs he’s given up three runs on seven hits while striking out nine.


Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1928 Braves’ pitcher Charlie Robertson has his glove removed from the game by umpire Charley Moran after the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) complain the ball is acting strangely. The Boston hurler still manages to win, 3-2.
  • 1946 LOCAL NEWSPAPER AD — “An Apology to Braves Fans – The management will reimburse any of its patrons for any expense to which they might have been put for necessary cleansing of clothing as a result of paint damage.” As the result of the newly painted grandstand seats having not yet completely dried, about 5,000 fans attending the Boston’s home opener against the Dodgers left Braves Field with green paint covering much of their clothing. The team took out newspaper ads to apologize to the affected patrons, agreeing to reimburse any expense caused by the mishap, an offer that will cost the team $6,000, after it generates nearly 13,000 claims, including some from as far away as California and Nebraska.
  • 1964 Shea Stadium is christened with Holy Water from the Gowanus Canal, which passes near Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the Dodgers’ old home, and Holy Water from the Harlem River at the location where it flows past the Polo Grounds, the once longtime ballpark of the Giants and the Mets’ home for the past two seasons. The stadium’s namesake Bill Shea, the lawyer credited with bringing the National League back to New York, pours the water from two bottles, blessing the Flushing Meadows structure on the eve of its debut.
  • 1975 After making the second of his two poor starts for the Dodgers, Juan Marichal, who signed with the team as a free agent, appears in his final major league game. The 37 year-old ‘Dominican Dandy’ finishes his 16-year Hall of Fame career with more complete games (244) than the total of his victories (243).
  • 1983 Steve Garvey appears in his 1,118th straight game, breaking the National League record established by Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams playing for the Cubs in 1970. The Padres’ first baseman, who spent 13 seasons with the Dodgers before signing as a free agent with San Diego in the offseason, will see his consecutive game streak end at 1,207, the third-longest span in major league history at the time, due to a dislocated thumb suffered as a result of a collision at home plate during the first game of a doubleheader in 1983.
  • 1988 The Braves establish a National League record for losses at the start of a season by losing their tenth consecutive game. With a 7-4 defeat to the Dodgers, Atlanta surpasses the mark, previously owned by four teams, including the infamous 1919 Braves and the 1962 Mets.

Lineup when available.


Apr 15

Game 14, 2018

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A

The D-Backs go for a second consecutive sweep of a series against the Dodgers this season, putting RHP Zach Godley (2-0, 0.64 ERA) on the mound against the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 1.89 ERA). Godley went seven innings against the Giants his last time out, giving up four hits and no runs. Kershaw went seven innings, also against the Giants, and gave up one run on six hits in a game the Dodgers won in ten innings.

ESPN reports that Forsythe left the game with shoulder discomfort and will have an MRI Sunday. Kiké Hernandez and Kyle Farmer are expected to play third until that’s resolved. On Saturday Justin Turner “played catch while wearing a glove on his right hand as he assisted with infield practice.” There’s no timetable for his return yet, Manager Roberts said.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1909 On Opening Day, the Superbas are no-hit by the Giants’ Red Ames for 9.1 innings. The Polo Grounds contest will go thirteen innings before Brooklyn defeats the 26 year-old right-hander, 3-0.
  • 1930 On Opening Day, Phillies’ southpaw Les Sweetland throws a three-hitter at Ebbets Field. The 28 year-old southpaw doubles and scores the lone run in the eighth inning of his 1-0 complete-game victory over Brooklyn.
  • 1933 In his major league debut, Tigers rookie Lynwood “Schoolboy” Rowe tosses a six-hitter, blanking the White Sox, 3-0. During his 15-year career, playing also with the Dodgers and Phillies, Rowe will compile a 158-101 record, posting an ERA of 3.87.
  • 1947 A year before President Truman desegregated the military, Jackie Robinson debuts for the Dodgers, becoming the first black player to participate in a major league game this century. In front of 25,623 Ebbets Field fans, the 28 year-old first baseman is hitless in three at-bats, but scores a run in the 5-3 Opening Day victory over the Braves.
  • 1958 On Opening Day, the transplanted New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers play the first major league game on the West Coast. The California contest sees Ruben Gomez blanking Los Angeles and Don Drysdale at San Francisco’s Seals Stadium, 8-0.
  • 1959 Cardinal right-hander Bob Gibson makes his major league debut at LA Memorial Coliseum, tossing the final two innings in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers. The 23 year-old rookie becomes the first future Hall of Fame hurler to give up a home run to the first batter he faces in the major leagues when third baseman Jim Baxes takes him deep in the seventh inning.
  • 2004 Major league baseball begins the tradition of Jackie Robinson Day, an annual celebration commemorating the day the color line was broken in 1947. At big league venues across the country ceremonies are being held to honor the ground-breaking historic event, including baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Jackie’s widow Rachel Robinson attending the festivities at Shea Stadium.
  • 2005 The Dodgers, to commemorate the 58th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game in the big leagues, wear replicas of the old road uniforms worn by the 1947 team which played in Brooklyn. Right-hander Derek Lowe throws a three-hitter, blanking the Padres in San Diego, 4-0.
  • 2007 To honor Jackie Robinson, some players on each team, including Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter and Braves’ outfielder Andruw Jones, wear the Dodger immortal’s uniform No. 42 on the 60th anniversary of his historic breaking the color barrier in baseball. In the Cardinals and Brewers contest at Busch Stadium, every player and coach on both teams dons Jackie’s revered number.

Lineup when available.


Apr 08

Game Nine, 2018

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCS BA

LHP Clayton Kershaw makes his third start of the season and second against the Giants. He’s 0-2 for the first time since 2009 and has lost his first two starts for the first time ever. His ERA is still a tidy 2.25, however. In a rematch of Opening Day he’ll face the Giants’ LHP Ty Balch, who’s 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1966 At the Astrodome, the Astros and Dodgers play baseball’s first game on synthetic grass. Thanks to the Monsanto chemical company, who proposed using an experimental playing surface of nylon grass, the plan to play on an all-dirt field, necessitated by the need to paint the dome’s glass panes to reduce the glare which prevented natural grass from growing, was alleviated by the use of ‘AstroTurf’.
  • 1974 Braves outfielder Hank Aaron passes Babe Ruth as the all-time home run leader with his 715th, going deep in the fourth inning off Dodger hurler Al Downing in Atlanta’s home opener. ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ equaled the Bambino’s mark on Opening Day in Cincinnati.

  • 1994 Kent Mercker no-hits Los Angeles, 6-0 at Dodger Stadium. The Braves left-hander was one of the three Atlanta pitchers, along with Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena, in 1991 to also no-hit the Padres, but this victory is his first complete game in the major leagues.
  • 1994 Chan Ho Park becomes the first Korean to play in the major leagues when he makes his pitching debut at Chavez Ravine. In one inning of work, the 21 year-old Kongju City native gives up two runs on one hit, walking two and striking out two batters in the Dodgers’ 6-0 loss to Atlanta.
  • 2015 Adrian Gonzalez becomes the first major league player to hit five home runs in the first three games of the season when he goes deep three times in the Dodgers’ 7-4 victory over San Diego at Chavez Ravine. The Los Angeles first baseman joins Carl Furillo (1955) and Jimmy Wynn (1974) as the only players in franchise history to have homered in the first three games of a campaign.

Lineup when available.


The Dodgers field a patchwork lineup with the loss of Bellinger to food poisoning, which also got Alex Wood. According to Ken Gurnick Wood will get an extra day to recover and Ryu will start Tuesday. Maeda won’t relieve today, and will start one of next weekend’s games.

Apr 03

Game Six, 2018

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA

This is Clayton Kershaw’s second start of the season. He actually lost the first, the first loss the lefty has ever sustained in his eight Opening Day outings. He wasn’t exactly lit up, however, giving up only a Joe Panik home run in his six innings of work. He’s 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA. His opponent will be RHP Zack Godley, who’s making his first start of the year.

Here are some observations about Kershaw’s first outing from ESPN’s Buster Olney:

Kershaw threw inside at a higher rate than any pitcher in baseball in 2017, in keeping with a career-long habit of bullying hitters. But on Opening Day, his average fastball was down to a career-low 90.7 mph, and he attacked the outer half of the strike zone in his final few innings, often with off-speed pitches, and kept the Giants’ hitters off-balance, allowing one run in six innings. Some evaluators believe Kershaw would benefit from making the same transition CC Sabathia has made during his career; by consistently using both sides of the plate, he can be less predictable and more difficult for hitters to diagnose.

From ESPN Stats & Information research, no pitcher threw inside at a higher rate last season than Kershaw. He threw 40.2 percent of his pitches inside, a full 3 percent higher than any other player.

Another interesting note about Kershaw’s pitch locations: He threw 70.1 percent of his pitches in the lower half of the strike zone last season, more than 10 percent higher than he has thrown in any other season in the past 10.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1968 The Tigers trade left-hander Hank Aguirre to the Dodgers for a player to be named later, minor leaguer Fred Moulder. The All-Star southpaw, better known for being the worst hitter in major league history, will compile a .085 batting average during his 16-year major league career, striking out in an astounding 61% of his 388 at-bats.
  • 1974 The Indians trade Pedro Guerrero to Dodgers for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen. The 17 year-old infielder/outfielder will compile a .309 batting average and will be named to the All-Star team five times during his 11 seasons with the team.
  • 2008 Twenty minutes before their game, the Dodgers announce reliever Hong-Chih Kuo will start in place of Chad Billingsley, who in turn will be in the bullpen. The unusual move, made due to the threat of rain at the start of the contest, is also employed by the Giants with Merkin Valdez beginning the game on the mound and the announced starter, and eventual winner Tim Lincecum entering the game in the fourth inning.

Lineup when available.


Mar 29

Opening Day, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 4:08 PM PDT, ESPN

It’ll be LHP Ty Blach for the visiting Giants and LHP Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. Blach has been very good at Dodger Stadium in his four appearances: he’s got a 1.38 ERA. Kershaw will be making his eighth Opening Day start for the Dodgers, a new franchise record. He had previously shared the record of seven with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton. This will be Kershaw’s 41st career start against the Giants: he’s 22-9 with a 1.60 ERA in the first 40.

The Dodgers are virtually the same team as the NL Champions of last year, albeit temporarily without third baseman and team leader Justin Turner. They do have a left-field platoon which includes prodigal Matt Kemp; I think it’s fair to say most fans didn’t expect to see him still here on Opening Day. And I wonder: Andre Ethier is still a free agent and would have been cheaper to keep than Kemp is.

This is the 12th season opener between the clubs since they moved west in 1958. The Giants have won 6 of the previous 11.

An Opening Day Quiz from George Will at the Washington Post. I started off like a house afire and faded in the later innings. I scored 21 of 41.

Lineup when available.

Kiké hitting cleanup. O-o-o-kay.

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.

Nov 01

World Series Game Seven, 2017

Astros at Dodgers, 5:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

This really has been one of the best World Series of recent memory. Consider this:

Literally every game of this Series has been a good one. Only once (the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory in Game 4) has the margin of victory been greater than two runs, and that featured a five-run rally by Los Angeles in the ninth.

It’ll be the fourth time in the past seven years the Fall Classic has stretched to the max and the second year in a row. There have been 38 previous Game Sevens, and the Cut Four team at MLB has ranked them all.

Tonight it will be Yu Darvish hoping to erase memories of his awful Game Three start (1 2/3 innings, six hits, four runs) followed by every other pitcher the Dodgers have, as needed. I’d expect to see Kershaw in relief unless Darvish has a fantastic performance deep into the game. The Astros will ask Lance McCullers to replicate his Game Three performance in which he went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs. He could be followed by Keuchel and Morton and any other arm in the Astros’ bullpen.

Today in baseball history:

  • 2001 The first major league game ever started in the month of November is a memorable one when the Yankees, for the second consecutive night, make a dramatic comeback in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and go on to a World Series victory in extra innings. Tonight’s heroes are Scott Brosius, who hits a game-tying two out two-run homer to knot the game at 2-2, and Alfonso Soriano, who singles in Chuck Knoblauch in the 12th, giving the Yankees a 3-2 victory and 3-2 lead in the Fall Classic over the Diamondbacks.
  • 2010 Edgar Renteria, who drove in the winning run for the Marlins against Cleveland in the 11th inning during Game 7 of the 1997 Fall Classic, joins Yankees legends Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra as only the fourth player in baseball history to collect two World Series-winning hits. The Series MVP’s three-run homer off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning leads to San Francisco’s 3-1 victory over the Rangers, bringing a World Championship to the Giants for the first time since 1954.

Lineup:

Oct 29

World Series Game Five, 2017

Dodgers at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

Lefty Clayton Kershaw goes for the Dodgers and lefty Dallas Keuchel goes for the Astros in a rematch of Game One starters. Kershaw went seven innings, struck out eleven and gave up one run on 83 pitches while getting the win in that game. Keuchel went 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and taking the loss.

Odd statistical note: all eight runs Kershaw has allowed this month have been via the home run.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1942 Branch Rickey, the innovator of the farm systems which helped to build a strong Redbird franchise, resigns as the Cardinals’ vice president. Three days later, the Dodgers will announce the Mahatma has been named president of the Brooklyn club, a move that will help to fill the void created by Brooklyn’s general manager Larry MacPhail’s enlistment in the army to serve in World War II.
  • 2008 The Phillies complete the first-ever suspended game in World Series history, playing three innings at Citizens Bank Park, beating the Rays, 4-3, in Game 5 to win the Fall Classic. The World Championship is only the team’s second in franchise history, and its first since 1980.

Lineup when available.


Turner’s knee must be bothering him. Fortunately Forsythe is a good replacement at 3B.