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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s lefty versus lefty in Game One, as Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA) takes the hill for the Astros and Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers. Keuchel is 2-1 in three starts this postseason with a 2.60 ERA, while Kershaw is 2-0 in his three starts this postseason with a 3.63 ERA.
I didn’t realize the two managers worked together in San Diego and are good friends.
This is the first time two 100-win teams will face each other in the Series since the Reds and Orioles in 1970 (the Series Roger Angell of The New Yorker called “The Baltimore Vermeers”).
Today in baseball history:
1972 Jackie Robinson, weakened by complications of heart disease and diabetes, dies of a heart attack in his home in North Stamford, Connecticut. The 53-year-old nearly-blind baseball pioneer and social activist’s death comes nine days after his appearance at the World Series, where he threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.
1987 The Twins, amidst the deafening crowd noise of the hanky-waving fans in the Metrodome, stave off elimination when the team scores a total of eight runs in the fifth and sixth frames of Game 6 to beat the Cardinals, 11-5. Minnesota’s southpaw-swinging Kent Hrbek hits a sixth-inning grand slam off left-handed Ken Dayley to put the contest out of reach for the Redbirds.
1992 In Game 6, Canada wins its first-ever World Series when the Blue Jays beat the Braves at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, 4-3. Forty-one year-old Dave Winfield’s 11th inning double is the key hit in Toronto’s victory.
The Dodgers try to close out the series again today with LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) pitching against the Cubs’ LHP Jose Quintana (11-11, 4.15 ERA). It’s a rematch of last Saturday’s Game One pitchers.
Kershaw went five innings in that game and got no decision. Quintana also went five innings and got no decision, giving up the tying runs and watching his bullpen and offense fail him.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1981 The first Canadian pennant hopes are dashed when Dodger Rick Monday’s ninth inning two-out dramatic home run beats the Expos, 2-1, in the deciding game of the NLCS. It will be the first and last time in franchise history the team makes it into the postseason until 2012, when the Washington Nationals, the team’s new name and home for the past seven seasons, finishes first in the National League East Division.
In other baseball history, in 2004 in an ALCS game which features two reversed calls by the umpires, the Red Sox become the first team in baseball history to force a Game 7 after trailing the series 0-3. Boston, which was three outs from being swept in Game 4, gets an outstanding pitching performance from Curt Schilling to beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium 4-2. Schilling played with a dislocated ankle tendon, thus this game was called “the bloody sock” game. Also, in the NLCS Game 7 in 2006 Endy Chavez made a leaping catch at Shea’s left field fence, grabbing a ball seemingly destined to be a Scott Rolen two-run home run and starting an unbelievable double play. The heroics are overshadowed in the ninth inning as Yadier Molina hits a two-run homer and Carlos Beltran, who has the best HR ratio (11/81) in postseason history, looks at a third strike with the bases loaded with Mets, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 victory and the pennant.
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.
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.
The Dodgers will start LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) in tonight’s game. It is still unclear who the Cubs’ starter will be as of Friday evening. It’s likely either John Lackey or Jose Quintana.
Update: It will be Quintana. He started and went 5 2/3 innings in Game Three of the NLDS against the Nats and gave up one unearned run on just two hits. He also threw 12 pitches to four hitters in relief in Game Five.
Update: Seager is not on the official NLCS roster. More here:
“His back’s been barking since that Game 3 in Arizona, so we’re going to have him lay low,” manager Dave Roberts said on Friday. “A lot of what we’ve done even this season, just keep him off the field, helps the elbow and now with the back, so to keep him laying low. But we’re optimistic he’ll be fine day-to-day.”
Obviously that didn’t work. Culberson took his place on the roster, and with Hernandez and Taylor possibly needed to play shortstop as well, the Dodgers added Joc Pederson to the roster for outfield depth.
Today in baseball history:
1969 Thanks to two great catches by Tommy Agee at Shea Stadium, the Mets beat the Orioles to take a 2-1 game lead in the World Series. The center fielder’s outfield heroics save the team at least five runs in the 5-0 victory over Baltimore.
1985 Ozzie Smith provides one of the most memorable moments in Cardinals history by hitting a dramatic homer to win Game 5 of the NLCS. The round-tripper was the first left handed home run of the Wizard’s career, which spans 3009 major league at-bats. (“Go crazy, folks, go crazy!”)
2003 Holding a 3-0 lead and needing only five more outs to go the World Series for the first time since 1945, the Cubs give up eight runs on five hits, three walks, and an error to the Marlins. The team appears to come apart after a fan, later identified as Steve Bartman, sitting along the left-field line at Wrigley Field, tries to catch a foul ball that was about to be caught by Chicago outfielder Moises Alou for the second out of the inning.
The Cubs’ RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA) faces off against RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52 ERA) of the Nationals. Hendricks started Games Three and Seven of last year’s World Series. In the final game he went 4 2/3 innings, gave up four hits and two runs and left without the decision. Strasburg didn’t pitch last postseason and famously sat out the 2012 playoffs as well. He made his only playoff start in 2014.
The Diamondbacks used both of their aces in the Wild Card Game, so they’ll ask RHP Taijuan Walker (9-9, 3.49 ERA) to get them of on the right foot against the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31). Walker was 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA against the Dodgers this season in three starts. Kershaw was 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA against the D-Backs this year. This will be Kershaw’s 18th playoff appearance; it will be Walker’s first.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1941 In Game 5 of the Fall Classic, Tiny Bonham goes the distance, limiting the Dodgers to just four hits to give the Yankees their 12th World Championship in franchise history. In one inning during the Bronx Bombers’ 3-1 victory at Ebbets Field, the New York fireballing right-hander will need just three pitches to retire the side.
1949 In Game 2 of the World Series, only one run is scored again, but Preacher Roe and the Dodgers win this contest at Yankee Stadium, 1-0. Gil Hodges’ second inning single drives in Jackie Robinson to even up the Fall Classic at a game apiece.
1959 The largest crowd ever to attend a major league game, 92,706 fans, watches a nail biter as White Sox hurler Bob Shaw beats Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 1-0, in Game 5 of the Fall Classic.
1963 The Dodgers complete a four-game World Series sweep of the Yankees as Sandy Koufax wins his second game, 2-1. Frank Howard leads the offense with a home run and a single, the only two hits Whitey Ford gives up, and New York’s first baseman Joe Pepitone’s error (loses a thrown ball in the white-shirted crowd) leads to the decisive run in the seventh inning.
1965“Hey, skip, bet you wish I was Jewish today, too.” – Don Drysdale, commenting after the game about his poor performance on the mound with manager Walt Alston. Sandy Koufax declines to pitch the first game of the World Series against the Twins because the game is scheduled on Yom Kippur, the most sacred of the Jewish holidays. As the Dodger southpaw attends shul and fasts on the Day of Atonement, Don Drysdale gives up seven runs in three innings in the team’s 8-2 loss at Minnesota’s Metropolitan Stadium.
1966 Jim Palmer becomes the youngest player to pitch a shutout in the World Series when the 20 year-old Oriole right-hander blanks Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 6-0. The contest will become more memorable next month when Koufax surprises the baseball world by announcing his retirement, making this game his last major league appearance.
1966 In the same Game Two loss to the Orioles at Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis establishes a World Series record by committing three errors in one game. The center fielder’s blunders come on two consecutive plays in the fifth inning, the first by losing a fly ball in the sun, then by dropping the next fly ball, followed by overthrowing third base.
1980 In the 163rd game of the season, 35 year-old knuckleballer Joe Niekro earns his 20th victory, going the distance to defeat the Dodgers, 7-1, in the winner-take-all contest for the NL West. With the win, the Astros hold on to capture their first title in the 19-year history of the franchise after losing a season-ending three game series to LA, (3-2, 2-1, and 4-3) that forced the one-game playoff.
LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.21 ERA) tunes up for the postseason against RHP German Marquez (11-7, 4.38 ERA), who’s trying to clinch the second Wild Card spot for his team. Since the Brewers are the team to beat for that position and they play the Cardinals earlier in the day, the Rockies might know by game time whether they’re in before the first pitch is thrown.
Kershaw is chasing a 4th Cy Young Award and will probably pitch no more than five innings, or so it’s been suggested by Dodgers’ manager Roberts. Marquez may be tiring; he’s had a poor September (1-2, 5.47 ERA) which has detracted a little from an otherwise excellent rookie year.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1923 It’s Zack Wheat Day at Ebbets Field, and the retiring Dodger outfielder collects two hits and is given an automobile. Cy Williams of the Phillies spoils the special day as he ties the score in the seventh inning with his 39th homer and his 40th in the 12th frame gives Philadelphia the victory, 6-4.
1933 At Sportsman’s Park in a 12-2 Cubs rout of the Cardinals, Babe Herman hits for the cycle, becoming the first player in baseball history to do it three times. The Chicago outfielder, playing for the Dodgers, also accomplished the feat on two other occasions in 1931.
1947 Ralph Branca becomes the youngest player to start a World Series opener. At Yankee Stadium, the 21-year and 9 months old right hander and the Dodgers lose to the Bronx Bombers, 5-1.
1951 Knowing the Giants have won their game in Boston, the Dodgers rally from a five-run deficit to beat Philadelphia in 14 innings, 9-8, forcing a three-game playoff for the National League pennant. After Jackie Robinson makes a game-saving catch in the thirteenth to preserve an 8-8 tie, he hits a home run in the next frame that proves to be the difference in Brooklyn’s victory at Shibe Park.
1953 George Shuba, best known as the Montreal Royal teammate who shook Jackie Robinson’s hand after the rookie had homered, becomes the third major leaguer and the first National League player to pinch hit a home run in the World Series when he goes deep off Allie Reynolds in the Dodgers’ 9-5 Game 1 loss at Yankee Stadium. ‘Shotgun’ joins Yogi Berra (1947) and Johnny Mize (1952), who both accomplished the feat playing for the Bronx Bombers.
1956 Don Newcombe, a three-time twenty-game winner, goes the distance to earn his major-league leading 27th victory when the Dodgers beat Pittsburgh at Forbes Field, 8-6, on the last day of the campaign. Newk’s win is the most ever in a season by an African-American pitcher.
1962 On the last day of the season, Gene Oliver’s eighth-inning homer off Johnny Podres proves to be the difference in St. Louis’ 1-0 victory over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. The loss to the Cardinals forces Los Angeles into a best-of-three-game playoff with the Giants for the National League pennant, a series the team will lose to San Francisco.
1999 The largest regular-season crowd in Candlestick Park history, 61,389 fans, watches the Dodgers beat the home team, 9-4 in the last baseball game to ever be played at the ‘Point’. Giant greats help mark the occasion with Juan Marichal tossing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game and Willie Mays throwing out the ballpark’s final pitch after the game.
Lineup when available.
Tonight’s Dodger lineup at Rockies: Taylor CF Seager SS Turner 3B Bellinger 1B Barnes C Granderson LF Puig RF Utley 2B Kershaw P