Mar 07

Three weeks from Opening Day

Kershaw has thrown six of the last seven days, but Roberts and Honeycutt haven’t yet decided what Plan B is if, as seems likely, he’s unavailable for Opening Day.

Tweets of note:




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).

Oct 27

World Series Game Four, 2018

This is a 1971 Commemorative Trading Card. Its text is now obsolete.


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

The Dodgers send Rich Hill to the mound tonight while Alex Cora is still puzzling over who he might start for the Red Sox.

“We’ll sit down now and we’ll go over it, and we’ll decide,” Cora said. “Somebody will start. Most likely a lefty.”

The options range from logical (Eduardo Rodriguez) to highly intriguing (Chris Sale on three days’ rest) to someone who would be utterly stunning (Pomeranz).

The Athletic recounts the Muncy tale from unemployed to Game Three hero.

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post on momentum:

For those who wonder whether a powerful Game 3 showing by a star pitcher can swing a whole World Series, even if that ace’s team trails by two games when he takes the mound, I refer you to Game 3 of the 1978, ’81 and ’85 World Series. Ron Guidry, Fernando Valenzuela and Bret Saberhagen were the complete-game star pitchers for the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals. All three of their teams came back to win the Series.

Roberts thinks the Dodgers’ bullpen is “in pretty good shape.”

Amazing facts about Game Three.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2017 Yu Darvish has his first bad outing of the postseason, giving up four runs in 1 2/3 innings in Game Three of the World Series. The Dodgers couldn’t come back against the Astros’ Lance McCullers and Brad Peacock and fell behind two games to one.

Today in Red Sox’ history:

  • 2013 Johnny Gomes hit a three-run homer off the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn in the sixth inning and the Red Sox won Game Four of the World Series.

Lineups when available.

Dodgers:


Red Sox:


Sep 14

Game 148, 2018

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:15 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-M

The visiting Dodgers send RHP Walker Buehler (6-5, 3.09 ERA) to the hill to face RHP Jack Flaherty (8-6, 2.92 ERA) of the Cards. Buehler lost his last start, giving up four runs in six innings to the Rockies. He went seven innings and gave up just three hits to St. Louis back on August 22 in a game the Dodgers lost thanks to the surrender of two ninth-inning home runs by the bullpen. The starter for the Cardinals in that game was this same Flaherty, who went six innings and gave up just one hit, a home run by Joc Pederson. He had five quality starts in August but hasn’t gotten out of the sixth inning in either of his September starts.

Wood to bullpen, Stripling to rotation. About Wood Roberts says

“Two reasons: No. 1 is that he’s done it before and he’s really flourished in that role, and we expect him to throw leverage innings and dominate. That’s probably the main reason. And we’re going to go with five starters.”

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1951 Preacher Roe wins his 20th game of the season when the Dodgers beat the Pirates at Forbes Field, 3-1. The 36 year-old southpaw will finish the season with a 22-3 record.
  • 2002 Chin-Feng Chen becomes the first Taiwan-born player to appear in the major leagues as he walks and scores as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers against the Rockies. The 24 year-old first baseman-outfielder played for the 1990 Taiwan team which won the Little League World Series.
  • 2008 Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, with his eighth-inning thievery in a 7-4 loss to the Braves at Shea Stadium, becomes the first player to have four straight seasons of 50 or more stolen bases playing for a New York area team, which also includes Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants. The accomplishment extends the infielder’s own record, as he is also the only Gotham major leaguer to achieve the feat for three consecutive years.

Also, in 1990 Mariner Ken Griffey and his son, Junior, become the first father and son to hit homers in the same major league game. The back-to-back blasts are given up by Angel hurler Kirk McCaskill.

Lineup when available.


Sep 01

Game 136, 2018

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A

The visiting D-Backs send Patrick Corbin (10-5, 3.15 ERA) to the mound today. He’ll face the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, (6-5, 2.39 ERA). Corbin has made five straight quality starts and has gone 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA over that stretch. In three starts against the Dodgers this year he’s 1-0 with a 0.98 ERA; the Dodgers are hitting an anemic .115 in those games. Kershaw has made eight consecutive starts in which he’s given up fewer than three earned runs and has gone seven starts since his last loss. Moreover, he’s only given up three HRs since the All Star break. (Side note: take a look at the picture of Corbin at the link above: his face looks a lot like Greg Maddux to me. He should have such a career!)

The Dodgers acquired David Freese from the Pirates for minor leaguer Jesus Manuel Valdez.

Also, “Solo HRs are Us” should be the Dodgers’ motto this season. Fully 69% of their dingers have come with no one on base.

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 personal history: in 1973 George Foreman knocked out José “King” Roman at the 2-minute mark of the first round at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo. I was seated in the nosebleed seats, so far away when it ended we didn’t immediately have a clue it was over. I don’t think there were any big screen TVs showing the fight to those of us in the cheap seats at the time; that innovation came later.

Power shift has MLB managers’ pay in free fall, says Bob Nightengale.

Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who led their teams to the World Series a year ago, have contracts that expire after this season.

Lineup when available.


Aug 15

Game 122, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCS BA, MLBN (out-of-market only)

LHP Derek Holland (6-8, 3.57 ERA) goes for the Giants in their attempt to sweep the Dodgers, who’ll counter with their fresh-off-the-DL lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-0, 2.12 ERA). The Giants have won Holland’s last three starts, while Ryu has been shelved since May 2 with a left groin strain. He made two rehab starts and gave up seven hits and one earned run in nine innings.

MLB’s Will Leitch compiles a timeline of Puig’s on-field incidents over his career and concludes

We can argue all we want about Puig, what he’s like off the field, whether he rubs other players the wrong way. But on the field … the problems are rarely his fault, and the scuffles are usually started by other people. (And usually the Giants.) People always want to start something with Puig. But on the field, that’s on them, not him.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1914 Brooklyn’s Jake Daubert sets a National League record with four sacrifices in one game. The first baseman’s efforts aren’t enough when the Dodgers drop an 8-7 decision to Philadelphia at Ebbets Field.
  • 1926 When Babe Herman doubles with the bases loaded, three Dodgers wind up on third base. The runner on second rounds third but decides to go back as the runner from first reaches the same base, and a few seconds later Herman slides in to join his two teammates.
  • 1951 With one out in the top of the eighth inning and a runner on third base in a 1-1 tied game, Willie Mays, running at full speed, makes an incredible catch of Carl Furillo’s drive to deep centerfield. After grabbing the ball, the rookie outfielder turns counterclockwise and throws a perfect strike to home to nail a surprised Billy Cox at home to complete the double play. Some believe the catch, in the Giants’ eventual 3-1 Polo Grounds victory over the Dodgers, is the impetus for the beginning of the team’s incredible comeback from an 11.5 game deficit to win the National League pennant.
  • 2006 The Dodgers, with their 4-0 blanking of the Marlins, win their sixth consecutive game and 17th in the last 18 contests. The stretch is the team’s best run since the Brooklyn Superbas went 20-1 in 1899.

Lineup when available.


Aug 05

Game 113, 2018

Astros at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, ATTSportsnet-SW, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The Astros try to sweep this series with RHP Gerrit Cole (10-3, 2.55 ERA) taking the mound against the Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler (4-4, 3.65 ERA). The last time Cole pitched in Dodger Stadium was August of 2016; he was a Pirate then. He had an excellent June but a so-so July. Buehler spent time on the DL with a microfractured rib (is that what we used to call a cracked rib?) and hadn’t had a really good outing since he came back until his last start on July 31, when he went seven innings, gave up one earned run, struck out seven and walked none. He still got the loss as the Dodgers couldn’t score a single run in that game against the Brewers.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1954 Stan Musial, in a 13-4 rout of the Dodgers in Brooklyn, paces the Cardinals attack, hitting two homers and driving in seven runs. The defeat is Preacher Roe’s first loss to St. Louis at Ebbets Field in four years.
  • 1969 With a titanic blast that clears the right-field pavilion, Willie Stargell becomes the first player to hit a home run completely out of Dodger Stadium. The 506-foot round-tripper helps the Pirates defeat LA, 11-3.

  • 1979 Don Sutton, surpassing Don Drysdale, becomes the Dodgers’ all-time strikeout leader with 2,487 when he fans six in an 8-1 victory over San Francisco at Chavez Ravine. After establishing the mark, and receiving a two-minute standing ovation that he acknowledges by tipping his cap, the right-hander is charged with an automatic ball due to running his fingers across his lips while thanking the crowd.
  • 1979 Outfielders Willie Mays (Giants, Mets) and Hack Wilson (Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, and Phillies) are enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Baseball administrator Warren Giles, who served as the president of the National League from 1951 to 1969, is also inducted during the Cooperstown ceremony.

Lineup when available.


With all the interchangeable parts Dave Roberts has and uses, I’m thinking of calling him Casey Stengel II.

Aug 04

Game 112, 2018

Astros at Dodgers, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, ATT SportsNet-SW

RHP Lance McCullers (10-6, 4.06 ERA) tries to snap a personal three-game losing streak in which he’s got a 9.22 ERA over 13 2/3 innings. He’ll face the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.48 ERA), who was 2-1 for July but whose loss came in his last start of the month, when he gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Brewers.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1908 In Brooklyn, the last-place Cardinals blank the Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers), 3-0. The entire Washington Park contest is played with just one ball.
  • 1941 Mickey Owens becomes the first catcher to handle three foul pop ups in one frame. The Brooklyn backstop’s third inning defense contributes to the Dodgers’ 11-6 victory over New York at Ebbets Field.
  • 1942 In a military relief game at the Polo Grounds, which will be the last war-time twilight game played, Pee Wee Reese’s grand slam in the top of the ninth, which puts the Dodgers up 5-1, doesn’t count, because of the 9:10 pm government curfew. The game ends up as a 1-1 tie with the Giants.
  • 1948 Ernie Harwell, filling in for Red Barber, who is recovering from a bleeding ulcer, calls his first major league game as the Dodgers beat the Cubs at Ebbets Field, 5-4. To obtain the future Hall of Fame broadcaster, Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey trades minor league catcher Cliff Daper to the Atlanta Crackers.

Lineup when available.


Kiké at first? Bellinger off? What is Roberts thinking?

Jul 25

Game 102, 2018

Dodgers at Phillies, 9:35 AM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBCSP, MLBN (out-of-market only)

If any member of either team is awake enough to play well behind the two rested starting pitchers I’ll be surprised. The Dodgers send out their young righthander Walker Buehler (4-2, 3.45 ERA) to face the Phillies’ righty Jake Arrieta (7-6, 3.47 ERA). Buehler arrived in Philadelphia from Oklahoma City Tuesday. He’d been sent there as a roster move before the All Star break but didn’t pitch an inning for the team there on this latest visit. Arrieta started the year with two good months, going 5-2 in April and May. His June was awful: he lost four out of five starts. He’s bounced back in July to win two games and lose none so far.

Manager Dave Roberts says he expects Buehler “to stick around for a while.”

Injury updates were announced before Tuesday’s marathon. Tom Koehler is done for the year without throwing a pitch for the Dodgers. Puig and Baez are rehabbing in OKC and will be back for Thursday’s game in Atlanta, and Ryu is about to start rehabbing in the minors. The Dodgers expect him to make at least four starts before returning to the big club.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1962 At Sportsman’s Park, Stan Musial surpasses Giants’ legend Mel Ott as the National League’s all-time RBI leader. ‘Stan the Man’s’ two-run home run off Don Drysdale in a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers gives the Cardinals’ right fielder 1,862 career runs batted in with the Redbirds.
  • 2017 The Dodgers defeat the Minnesota Twins to run their record to 70-31. Kenta Maeda gets his ninth win of the season and Josh Ravin posts his first save.

Lineup when available.