Oct 23

WS Day Minus One

In his regular Dodgers Dugout column Houston Mitchell of the LA Times does a position-by-position comparison between the Dodgers and Astros, which I think is tilted a little toward his hometown team. But here’s what I found interesting in the column: a discussion of ticket pricing and a prescription for what to do about the secondary market.

There’s something wrong in the world when I can fly to Houston, stay overnight and buy a ticket for a World Series game there for cheaper than I can stay in L.A. and buy a ticket for a game here.

Places like StubHub are asking for $1,250 for a seat in the top deck. Unless you were the lucky ones to win the chance to buy tickets through the Dodgers.com lottery, there’s no way an average fan can attend a game. That’s a crime. I have kids to send to college. Am I supposed to tell them, “Sorry, no college for you so we can go to a World Series game?”

If I was the Dodgers, here’s what I would do:

1. Discover which Dodgers fans are selling their tickets through a secondary market for a jacked-up price and bar them from ever buying a postseason ticket again.

2. Buy up as many secondary tickets as I could and pull more names from the online lottery. Sell the tickets to those people.

I was curious and looked at StubHub; I discovered that the least-expensive ticket available for a game at Dodger Stadium was $950, and that was a week ago. I don’t know if Mitchell’s suggestion would work, but he’s definitely got a point. Of course, this isn’t new. I remember a Roger Angell column from 40 years ago in which he wrote of a conversation with a player in the Series who looked up in the stands and asked “where are all the people who were here all year,” meaning all the seats were now in the hands and fannies of corporations and the like, not the long-term fans.

Seager is healthy enough to play, they and he say. Also, Charlie Culberson kept the ball he caught for the final out of NLCS Game Four, but he hasn’t yet found a really good place to display it.

Here’s an interview with Orel Hershiser in which he insists that what he did in 1988 (and there’s a brief recap of the number of appearances he made in the postseason) could still be done by today’s athletes if needed, but lineups and bullpens are built differently now.

Sports Illustrated baseball writers predict the Series outcome.

Oct 14

NLCS Game One, 2017

Cubs at Dodgers, 5:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

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.

The Dodgers’ prized shortstop Corey Seager is day-to-day with a back issue, Manager Dave Roberts said.

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.

Lineup:

Sep 21

Game 153, 2017

Dodgers at Phillies, 10:05 AM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-P, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The Dodgers have lost 20 of their past 25 games and can’t clinch until Friday at the earliest since the D-backs came back from a 6-2 deficit in Wednesday’s game to win 13-7 and have the day off Thursday.

The Dodgers ask RHP Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.21 ERA) to stop the bleeding and hold the Phillies and RHP Mark Leiter (3-6, 4.93 ERA) off.

Maeda’s last six starts have not been very good. He’s posted an ERA of 6.04 in those games and opponents are slugging .527 off him, and the Dodgers are 2-4 in those games. Leiter is a rookie who’s been both a starter and a long reliever this season. In his last three starts his ERA has jumped a full run.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1934 “If I’d-a known he was gonna throw one, I’d-a thrown one, too.” – Dizzy Dean, after his brother threw a no-hitter in the nightcap of a double-header. In the second game of a doubleheader at Ebbets Field, 22 year-old Cardinal hurler Paul Dean, called Daffy by his teammates, becomes the fifth rookie to throw a no-hitter, beating the Dodgers, 3-0. His brother Dizzy held Brooklyn hitless until the eighth inning in the opener, settling for a two-hitter in the team’s 13-0 blanking of the Bums.
  • 1952 In front of the second largest crowd this season, with many of the 8,822 fans rooting for the Dodgers, the Braves play their final home game in Boston. Brooklyn catcher Roy Campanella hits the last home run at Braves Field in an 8-2 victory over the Milwaukee-bound club.
  • 1969 In a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the tenth inning at Candlestick Park, LA’s Pete Mikkelsen quickly retires the first two Giants batters, but then is ordered to intentionally walk Willie McCovey, who is 4-for-4 in the game. The Dodger reliever proceeds to issue free passes to the next two hitters unintentionally, loading the bases, and then loses the game when shortstop Maury Wills boots pinch-hitter Jim Davenport’s ground ball. I’m glad I didn’t hear that 10th inning.

Lineup when available.

Seager fouled a ball off his foot yesterday. X-rays were negative for breaks, but he’s getting a couple of days off.

Sep 03

Game 136, 2017

Dodgers at Padres, 1:40 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD

The Dodgers ask LHP Alex Wood (14-1, 2.41 ERA) to help them salvage a split in this series, while the Padres ask RHP Jhoulys Chacin (11-10, 4.03 ERA) to help pull off an unlikely series win.

Wood is coming off the disabled list where he’d been with an irritated sternum; he’s been given a cortisone injection. Despite that he’s having a career year. Chacin has been unable to get past the fifth inning in his last four starts but has limited the opposition to one run in three of them.

Seager and Bellinger have not been in the lineup together since August 19. The Dodgers are averaging 3.14 runs-per-game in the two weeks since.

This day in Dodgers history:

  • 1917 Grover Cleveland Alexander goes the distance in both games of the Phillies’ doubleheader sweep of Brooklyn at Ebbets Field. In his 18 innings of work, the Philadelphia right-hander limits the Dodgers to seven hits en route to posting 5-0 and 9-3 victories in the twin bill.
  • 1978 At Dodger Stadium, Lee Mazzilli becomes the first Mets player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a game. The center fielder’s first and seventh inning blasts, respectively hit off southpaw Tommy John and right-hander Charlie Hough, pace the last-place club to an 8-5 victory.

Lineup when available.

Sep 01

Game 133, 2017

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD

The Dodgers’ lefty ace Clayton Kershaw (15-2, 2.04 ERA) returns from the disabled list tonight to face the Padres’ RHP Dinelson Lamet, (7-5, 4.60 ERA).

Kershaw may be on a five-inning, 75-pitch limit. He struck out eight in five innings earlier this week in a rehab assignment for OKC. Lamet has had a 2.68 ERA in his last seven starts and allowed no more than four hits in any of them. He has, however, walked 16 in his five August starts.

On the first day of roster expansion the Dodgers called up Rob Segedin, Alex Verdugo and O’Koyea Dickson and reinstated André Ethier and Clayton Kershaw. To make room they moved Grant Dayton to the 60-day DL and designated Brett Eibner and Luis Ysla for assignment.

In hurricane relief news, Yasiel Puig’s foundation donated 20K to the American Red Cross.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1890 On Labor Day at Brooklyn’s Washington Park, the Bridegrooms, later to be known as the Dodgers, win all three games against Pittsburgh in the first tripleheader ever played. The home team sweeps the visiting Alleghenys, who will be renamed the Pirates next season, 10-9, 3-2, and 8-4.
  • 1953 The Cardinals tie a major league mark, hitting five homers in a 12-5 loss to Brooklyn at Ebbets Field. The solo shots hit by Stan Musial, Harry Elliot, Rip Repulski, and Steve Bilko (2), all off starter Preacher Roe, aren’t enough to offset the Dodgers’ 17-hit attack, which includes six doubles but no round-trippers.
  • 1969 At Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis ties the franchise record by hitting in 29 consecutive games with his second-inning single in LA’s 10-6 victory over New York. The mark was established by Zack Wheat in 1916.

Today in questionable sportsmanship: In 1980 on the final day of the season, PawSox infielder Wade Boggs loses the International League batting title when he grounds out to first base in his final turn at-bat of the season. The plate appearance is necessitated when the Mud Hens, who are ahead 6-0, issue a two-out intentional walk in the ninth inning to light-hitting Ray Boyer, who makes every attempt to be put out to end the game, but is allowed to stroll around the bases and score on a deliberate error by the Toledo pitcher, forcing Boggs to make one last unnecessary plate appearance that will put him .007 of a percentage point behind Dave Engle, who plays in the outfield for the opponents.

Lineup when available.

Verdugo starts his first MLB game tonight. Seager still has a sore arm, I imagine.

Aug 30

Game 131, 2017

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 3:40 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A, MLBN

Ryu v. Ray. Sounds like an MMC card, doesn’t it? Nope, it’s the Dodgers’ lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-6, 3.34 ERA) going up against the D-Backs’ LHP Robbie Ray (10-5, 3.06 ERA).

In his last nine starts Ryu is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA and 49Ks. He held the Pirates to one run over six innings in his last start and was rewarded with the win. Ray’s last start was his first in a month; he gave up one run to the Mets in five innings and got a win. He’d been on the DL since July 28 with a concussion and related symptoms.

Where do Ryu and Kenta Maeda fit in the post season? Eric Stephen has thoughts.

Curtis Granderson’s foundation is donating 25K to the Houston Food Bank.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1918 At the Polo Grounds, the Giants beat the Dodgers, 1-0, on an unearned run in the bottom in the ninth in a contest that takes only fifty-six minutes to complete. Pete Compton’s base hit off Jack Combs plates Larry Doyle, who had singled to lead off the frame and moved to third on Ollie O’Mara’s errant throw on a sacrifice bunt.
  • 1952 Nine-time All-Star infielder Arky Vaughan drowns with a friend when their boat capsized while fishing in a volcanic lake near Eagleville, CA. The former shortstop and third baseman, who compiled a .318 batting average and a .406 on-base percentage playing with the Pirates and Dodgers, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
  • 1966 Sandy Koufax, in his final decision facing the Mets, lasts only two innings, losing to Bob Friend at Shea Stadium, 10-4. The Dodgers Hall of Fame southpaw has compiled a 17-2 record against the lowly expansion team since their inception in 1962.
  • 2000 Earning his 1,600th victory, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox passes former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda on the career list for most managerial victories. His 5-2 victory over the Reds puts him 14th on the all-time list.
  • 2015 The NL’s eventual 2015 Cy Young Award recipient Jake Arrieta, needing just 116 pitches, beats Los Angeles, 2-0, tossing the 12th no-hitter ever thrown at the Chavez Ravine ballpark, and the 13th no-no in Cubs history. The contest marks the second time in ten games the Dodgers has been unable to get a hit, after being held hitless by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers on August 21.

Lineup when available.

Note Bellinger’s return to the lineup at 1B. To make room for him the Dodgers optioned Kyle Farmer back to OKC. Seager is still nursing his elbow, I imagine.

Aug 18

Game 120, 2017

Dodgers at Tigers, 4:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-D

On “University of Michigan” night in Detroit, it’s fitting that the Dodgers send former Michigan baseball standout lefty Rich Hill (8-4, 3.44 ERA) to the mound to face righty Jordan Zimmermann (7-9, 5.62 ERA).

Hill was the NL Pitcher of the Month for July but has yet to get a decision in August. He went six innings in his last start against the Padres while giving up two runs on five hits. He’s pitched at Comerica park seven times while in the AL, but only once as a starter. That was last year for Oakland before the Dodgers acquired him. Zimmermann gave up seven runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings in his last start but somehow avoided taking a loss. The Dodgers are familiar with him from his years with the Nationals. He was 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA against them.

The Dodgers activated Adrian Gonzalez and optioned Rob Segedin.

From Dodgers Insider

An entire baseball team could be fielded with the number of different Dodger players who’ve hit a walk-off this year. With Puig’s game-winning two-run double, he became the ninth different player to walk the Dodgers off with a win in their 10 walk-offs this season.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1959 Long time baseball executive Branch Rickey is named president of the newly formed Continental League. The 77 year-old former Dodger general manager is currently serving as an advisor with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • 1982 In the second longest game in franchise history, the Cubs lose to the Dodgers, 2-1. The Wrigley Field contest, which is played over two days, takes a Dusty Baker sacrifice fly and 21 innings to complete.

Lineup when available.

Adrian’s first day off the DL and he’s in the lineup at 1B, Seager gets to sit on the bench and think about hitting, Bellinger roams left field, and Taylor moves to shortstop for the day.

It just struck me how many guys on this team have names that begin with “C.” On days when Kershaw pitches and Utley plays 2B, the Dodgers could have 5/9 or nearly 56% of their lineup made up of them.

Aug 02

Game 107, 2017

Dodgers at Braves, 4:35 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSE

The Dodgers have won nine in a row. They have already had two 10-game winning streaks this year; only two teams have had three since 1913.

The visiting Dodgers give RHP Brock Stewart (0-0, 0.00 ERA) the ball and ask him to hold off the hometown Braves, who counter with RHP Julio Teheran (7-9, 5.09 ERA).

Stewart went only 3 2/3 innings against the Twins last Wednesday, but all five of the runs scored on him were unearned and he got off the hook when the Dodgers rallied to win 6-5. Teheran has lost three straight games and posted a 6.88 ERA since the All Star break. It doesn’t get any easier: Corey Seager is 3-for-9 against Teheran, all of them home runs. Yasiel Puig (5-for-10, HR), Chase Utley (7-for-28, HR), Logan Forsythe (3-for-5, HR), Yasmani Grandal (6-for-13, three doubles) and Joc Pederson (4-for-13) have been successful against him as well.

Yu Darvish has been activated. To make room, Josh Ravin was optioned to OKC.

This date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1938 As an experiment, bright yellow baseballs are used in the first game of a doubleheader. The teams go back to the traditional white ball in the nightcap as the Dodgers swept the twin bill from the Cardinals, 6-2 and 9-3.
  • 1982 During a ceremony held in Cooperstown, NY, the United States Postal Service unveils a 20-cent stamp commemorating baseball great Jackie Robinson as part of its annual Black Heritage series. The Dodger infielder becomes the first individual baseball player to be depicted on a U.S postage stamp.

  • 2002 Reds general manager Jim Bowden is fined by commissioner Bud Selig for the comments he made to reporters prior to yesterday’s game against the Dodgers comparing a baseball strike with the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Quickly realizing the use of such analogy was inappropriate and insensitive, the Cincinnati GM issues an immediate apology after the game.
  • 2008 In the first game after the Manny Ramirez trade to the Dodgers, the Fenway Faithful enthusiastically welcome Jason Bay, the player replacing the Boston icon. The former Pirates outfielder doesn’t disappoint, tripling and scoring the winning run in the 12th inning of the Red Sox’s 2-1 victory over the A’s.

In non-Dodgers history of note, in 1921 with the jurors lifting the men onto their shoulders, the eight White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are acquitted by the jury. The next day, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis will say the overwhelming evidence clearly shows the Black Sox fixed the games with gamblers, and all involved will be banned from playing professional baseball again.

Lineup:

Jun 25

Game 77, 2017

Rockies at Dodgers, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM

YALHP Tyler Anderson (3-5, 5.75 ERA) goes for the Rockies and RHP Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 2.87 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers.

Anderson has been on the DL for much of June with an inflamed left knee. He’d had a bad April but a good May. He’s 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA in three starts vs. L.A. this year. McCarthy’s had right knee tendinitis since Spring Training and it flared up on May 27, when he threw six scoreless innings in a victory over the Cubs. In the four starts since then he has a 1.59 ERA while holding opponents to a .218 batting average.

Seager is still day-to-day, and we may get some news about Puig, who looked like he twisted or pulled something when he took second base in the 7th inning Saturday night.

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1937 Augie Galan becomes the first National Leaguer to hit a homer from each side of the plate. The switch-hitter’s pair of round-trippers, a homer from the left side off Freddie Fitzsimmons in the fourth frame and from the right side in the eighth against Ralph Birkofer, helps the Cubs beat Brooklyn at Wrigley Field, 11-2.
  • 1968 Bobby Bonds hits a grand slam in his third at-bat of his first major league game, going deep off Dodger right-hander John Purdin in the Giants’ 9-0 victory at Candlestick Park. The 22 year-old Giant outfielder joins Philadelphia National pitcher Bill Duggelby (1898 – first at-bat) as the only other player to hit a base-loaded home run in his major league debut.
  • 1984 Dodger infielder Bill Russell plays his 1,953rd game to become the team’s leader in games played. The shortstop, who will extend the mark to 2181 during his 18-year tenure with the club, is hitless in three trips to the plate, but will walk twice in LA’s 9-4 loss to San Diego at Chavez Ravine.

Lineup when available.

As I suspected, Puig is not in the lineup. Gutierrez has been put on the 10-day DL with an episode of ankylosis spondylitis and his roster spot taken by Mike Freeman. Also, according to management, Seager is feeling much better today.

Jun 24

Game 76, 2017

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The Rockies send out RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.08 ERA) to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 2.61 ERA).

Chatwood has been on a roll in June, allowing two runs or fewer in each start since June 3. In his career he’s 3-2 with a 1.62 ERA over 39 innings in six starts at Dodger Stadium. This year he’s 3-1 on the road with a somewhat gaudy 1.41 ERA and he’s held opponents to a .182 batting average away from Coors Field. Kershaw’s coming back from a poor (for him) start against the Mets on June 19th when he gave up six runs on four HRs and threw 112 pitches over 6 1/3 innings. With all of that, he still got the win.

Alex Wood has started 2017 like a house afire. He’s “the first Dodgers starter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to start a season 8-0, and he’s the first Dodgers starter since Orel Hershiser in ’85 to remain unbeaten 11 starts into a season.”

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1947 The Dodgers win, 4 – 2, over the Pirates, as Jackie Robinson swipes home for the first of 19 times in his career.
  • 1956 Ed Bailey of the Redlegs hits three home runs in a 10 – 6 first-game win against the Dodgers. The Redlegs win the nitecap, 2 – 1. Eleven Cincinnati players then make an appearance on the What’s My Line? television show that night.
  • 2013 Rookie Yasiel Puig hits his 7th homer in 20 games and drives in the deciding run in the 8th in leading the Dodgers to a 3 – 1 win over the Giants.

Lineup when available.

Hmm. Utley at 1B, Bellinger in LF, Seager on the shelf.