RHP Kenta Maeda (3-1, 3.80 ERA) goes for the Dodgers while LHP José Quintana (2-1, 3.43 ERA) pitches for the Cubs. Maeda will be working on six days rest, which bodes well for the Dodgers: he’s 10-4 lifetime when he has that much time between appearances. Quintana has held his opponents scoreless for 14-plus innings in his last two starts, striking out 18 and walking just one.
There’s a very flattering profile of Cody Bellinger at MLB.com as part of its “Young Stars Week.”
Bellinger’s overall approach at the plate has changed in ways that set him up to continue being an offensive menace, too. His strikeout rate has slashed in half, down to 12 percent from his career average of 24.2 percent. His walk rate is up a few ticks, too, in part due to pitchers approaching him more cautiously and in part due to improved discipline — he’s swinging at just 21.7 percent of pitches out of the strike zone, down nearly six percent from last season. And when he swings, he’s missed less often than anyone in the NL, with a league-best contact rate of 87.7 percent.
1958 In a 7-6 loss to Chicago at the LA Coliseum, two Dodger mainstays from Brooklyn reach career milestones. First baseman Gil Hodges, who will finish his 18-year major league tenure with 370 home runs, hits his 300th career round-tripper, and Captain Pee Wee Reese, a future Hall of Fame shortstop, plays in his 2000th game.
1999 Fernando Tatis becomes the only player in baseball history to hit two grand slams in one inning when he collects eight RBIs in one frame to breaks the old record of six. The Cardinal third baseman hits both off Dodger starter Chan Ho Park in an 11-run third of the team’s 12-5 victory at Chavez Ravine.
2000 The Dodgers complete a sweep of the Reds to notch their 1,000th win over baseball’s oldest professional franchise. Since 1970, Los Angeles is the only National League franchise to play over .500 ball (120-115) in Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field).
RHP Zach Davies (1-0, 1.69 ERA) pitches for the Brew Crew and LHP Caleb Ferguson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) starts for the Dodgers. Davies will be making his third start after a year lost to back and shoulder injuries, while Ferguson is filling in for the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu. It’s expected that his fellow 22-year-old, RHP Dennis Santana, will come in to pick up several innings for the Dodgers as well.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1939 In a spring training game played in Norfolk, Virginia, Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig, with apparent muscle loss, especially around his shoulders, goes deep twice in a 14-12 exhibition loss against the Dodgers. The second and ninth-inning home runs will be the last round-trippers the ‘Iron Horse’ will ever hit.
1993 Lee Smith passes Jeff Reardon to become the all-time major league saves leader when the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, 9-7. The right-handed reliever tosses a scoreless ninth inning at Chavez Ravine to record his 358th career save.
2009 In the LA home opener, Orlando Hudson completes his cycle with a sixth inning triple down the right-field line in the team’s 11-1 rout of the Giants. The second baseman becomes the first Dodger to hit for the cycle at Dodger Stadium, and the first franchise player to accomplish the feat in a nine-inning game since Gil Hodges did it in 1949.
2012 Aaron Harang, after surrendering a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin to start the game, strikes out the next nine consecutive Padres in L.A.’s 9-8 victory at Dodger Stadium. The 34 year-old right-hander’s performance is one more than Johnny Podres’ franchise mark of 8, but falls one short of the major league record held by Tom Seaver, who fanned 10 straight Friars for the Mets in 1970.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 2.57 ERA) probably deserved better than he got in his first start of the year against San Diego, but the Padres’ Eric Lauer and bullpen held the Giants scoreless. He’ll try to get his first win again tonight against the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 1.50), who was very good in his first start against the Diamondbacks.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
2003 Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine different clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.
2007 For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under the age of 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20 year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher ‘not of age’ to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros, 2-0, in 1981.
2008 Third base ump Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying within the boundaries of the coaching box although he warned the Dodger coach several times to follow the new edict put in place by MLB following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers’ first base coach Mike Coolbaugh. The former infielder and manager’s behavior will lead to a three-game suspension for “inappropriate and aggressive conduct,” in which he had to be restrained by manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer in the sixth inning of the 3-2 victory over the Giants in Los Angeles.
In non-Dodger history, on this day in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager and former Dodger Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name current first base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.
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.
I imagine MLB hoped that the Giants and Dodgers would be fighting it out for the NL West title when they scheduled this series. They got it half-right. The Dodgers need to win all three games and hope the Nationals can take two of three from the Rockies if they hope to win the division. Otherwise it’s a cat’s cradle of possibilities with wild card games, tiebreakers to get into wild card games, and who knows what else.
Tonight the Dodgers ask LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3, 2.00 ERA) to keep them in the game until they can either get to LHP Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.20 ERA) or knock him out. Both of these pitchers have spent lengthy amounts of time on the disabled list this season, and Ryu has done better since his return than has Bumgarner. Ryu has given up no more than three unearned runs in any of his fourteen starts this year including eight since his recovery. Bumgarner has a 1-1 record with a 5.48 ERA for the month of September.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1924 Rogers Hornsby finishes the season with a .424 batting average to lead the National League. The Cardinal second baseman easily outdistances Zack Wheat, who finishes second in the race, batting .375 for the Dodgers.
1952 On the last day of the season at Ebbets Field, the Braves’ 77 years of representing Boston is extended by three innings when Eddie Mathews’ ninth-inning, two-out double ties the game. The contest is called due to darkness and ends in the 12th inning in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers.
1955 In the bottom of the second inning, Elston Howard, in his first World Series at-bat, knots the score at 2-2 when he homers off Dodgers’ right-hander Don Newcombe. The round-tripper to deep left field at Yankee Stadium marks the first time a black batter has hit a home run off a black pitcher in the history of the Fall Classic.
1959 The Braves, who ended the National League regular season in a first-place tie with the Dodgers, lose Game 1 of the three-game series, 3-2, in front of a sparse crowd of 18,297 at County Stadium. Milwaukee will lose tomorrow’s game in L.A., spoiling their chance for a three-peat as NL Champs.
1966 At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Larry Jaster throws a four-hitter, blanking Don Sutton and the Dodgers, 2-0. It’s the southpaw’s fifth shutout against LA this season, equaling a post-1900 major league mark held by the Senators’ Tom Hughes (against the Indians in 1905) and Grover Cleveland Alexander of the Phillies (against the Reds in 1916).
1988 In his last start of the regular season, Dodger Orel Hershiser tosses 10 shutout frames to extend his streak to 59, breaking Don Drysdale’s record of 58 consecutive scoreless innings.
1997 With his 40th home run, catcher Mike Piazza sets a single season Los Angeles Dodger record. Duke Snider holds the franchise record, slugging 43 round-trippers for Brooklyn in 1956.
2003 At Turner Field in Atlanta, Jose Reyes becomes the second Mets player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in one game. Lee Mazzilli was the first when he went yard twice against the Dodgers in LA on September 3, 1978.
2006 At Coors Field in Colorado, James Loney collects four hits, including two homers, and drives in nine runs in the Dodgers’ 19-11 victory over the Rockies. The rookie first baseman, who had one homer and eight runs batted in in 93 previous at-bats with the team, ties the franchise RBI mark set by Gil Hodges in his 1950 four-homer game for Brooklyn and breaks the Los Angeles club mark held by Ron Cey.
Ex-Dodger Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.93 ERA) goes for the D-Backs and Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-1, 2.18 ERA) goes for the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. It could be argued this is the first of several “must-win” games the Dodgers face in the next couple of weeks. Greinke won his last start, but it was the first game he’d won in the month of August. His ERA for the month was 2.81, though, so he didn’t pitch all that badly. Ryu has come off a three-month stint on the DL showing no ill effects from the groin injury which put him there. In his last time out he scattered 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Padres, got two base hits and won the game.
Coincidentally, a year ago on this date the Dodgers and D-Backs faced off and Greinke pitched in that one too. His opponent was Maeda, and the D-Backs won handily.
Pedro Moura at The Athletic watched last night’s game and says the Dodgers have had a season-long “clutch” problem which bit them once again in the first game of this series, and they’re running out of time to fix it.
On this date in Dodgers’ history:
1950 In front of 14,226 fans at Ebbets Field, Gil Hodges becomes the fourth major leaguer in the century to hit four home runs in one game as Brooklyn routs the Braves, 19-3. The Dodger first baseman also ties the major league record for total bases with 17.
1959 Sandy Koufax fans 18 batters to establish a new National League record for a nine-inning game in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over San Francisco at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The left-hander’s performance equals the major league mark established in 1938 by Indians fireballer Bob Feller during a 4-1 loss to Detroit.
2010 The Dodgers trade a player to be named (infielder Tony Abreu) to the Diamondbacks in exchange for starter Jon Garland. The 31 year-old right-hander will post a 3-2 record with a 2.72 ERA in his six late-season starts for the Dodgers, before signing as a free agent with San Diego.
The visiting Dodgers send LHP Alex Wood (7-6, 3.60 ERA) to the mound to face the Rangers’ LHP Mike Minor (10-6, 4.40 ERA). Wood was scheduled to start last Sunday and had his turn pushed back. He had a poor start his last time out, giving up three runs on seven hits with two walks in four-plus innings. Minor has won his last four starts, including a scoreless one-hit gem against the As in his latest one.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1939 Wheaties sponsors the first telecast of a baseball game when their ads are aired during the Ebbets Field contest between the Reds and the Dodgers. The commercial broadcast is available only in New York City, where an estimated 500 people own television sets.
1948 Jackie Robinson hits for the backward cycle when he homers in the first inning, triples in the fourth, doubles in the sixth, and completes the rare event with a single in the eighth. In addition to his ten total bases, the Dodger second baseman drives in two runs, scores three times, and steals a base, helping Brooklyn beat the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park, 12-7.
1951 With his second home run of the game, the sixth time he has accomplished the feat this year, Gil Hodges hits his 36th round-tripper to establish a new franchise record for homers in a season. The Dodger first baseman’s seventh-inning three-run blast in the team’s 13-1 rout of Cincinnati at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field surpasses the mark of 35 set by Babe Herman in 1930.
1989 Giving up just three singles, recently acquired Mets southpaw Frank Viola outduels Orel Hershiser and beats the Dodgers, 1-0. The classic contest between two aces marked the first time in baseball history that the reigning winners of the Cy Young Award have faced one another in the regular season.
Cultural history note: On this date in 1966: On a typically cool night, the Beatles play their final concert at Candlestick Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. The “Fab Four’s” performance on a five-foot stage, which is located just behind second base surrounded by a six-foot high wire fence, is less than stellar due the ballpark’s inadequate lighting, poor acoustics, and the group’s growing disdain of doing live shows.
The Dodgers’ rookie righthander Walker Buehler (5-4, 3.32 ERA) will face the Mariners’ lefty Wade LeBlanc (7-2, 3.80 ERA). Buehler has a 1.40 ERA in his last three starts, including seven scoreless innings against Colorado last week. LeBlanc won one of his last two road starts and is 6-1 at home this season.
The Rangers pulled off a weird triple play yesterday against the Angels:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1992 Kevin Gross, retiring 22 of the final 23 batters he faces on his wife’s birthday, no-hits the Giants at Dodger Stadium, 2-0. The LA right-hander’s no-no averts the team from being swept in a four-game series at home against the Giants for the first time in 69 years.
2013 Clayton Kershaw blanks the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, 5-0, giving the Dodgers their first double-digit winning streak since 2006. The team’s 42 victories in their last fifty games, including a 25-3 mark since the All-Star break, equals the 1941 Yankees and 1942 Cardinals for the best record for that span of games since 1900.
Lefty Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.55 ERA) has reached the .500 mark much later this season than he or the Dodgers anticipated, but he appears to have hit his stride after multiple trips to the disabled list. He gave up two runs in six innings in his last start. He’ll face the Athletics’ newly-acquired Mike Fiers, who’ll make his debut for Oakland after arriving from the Tigers last week. He was 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA for Detroit, which was pretty good for a team that’s 20 games under .500 this year.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1903 In the third inning of the 4-3 nightcap loss to New York at the Polo Grounds, Dodger starter Henry Schmidt is thrown out of the game after he throws the baseball out of the park. The Brooklyn hurler became very angry when opposing pitcher Joe McGinnity dashed home from third base while his infielders were arguing the close call at the bag.
1954 Gil Hodges comes to bat three times in the eighth inning when the Dodgers score 13 runs en route to a 20-7 rout of the Reds at Ebbets Field. The first baseman will go 1-for-3 in the frame with a leadoff triple, but will be responsible for all three outs when he hits into a double play and flies out to centerfield to end the Brooklyn barrage.
1957 Club President Walter O’Malley makes it official, announcing the Dodgers will play in Los Angeles next season. The club’s departure from Brooklyn corresponds with the massive social shift taking place in the borough that finds many of its former residents leaving for the suburbs of Long Island.
2000 Cubs hurler Phil Norton becomes the 18th pitcher in major league history to give up four homers in one inning in the Dodgers’ 7-5 victory at Chavez Ravine. Kevin Elster, Darren Dreifort, Gary Sheffield, and Shawn Green all take the 24 year-old southpaw deep in the bottom of the fourth inning.
2000 Darren Dreifort hits two home runs and gets the win in the Dodgers’ 7-5 victory over the Cubs. The starting pitcher, who hurls 6.2 innings, goes deep in the bottom of the fourth and fifth frames.
2000 After kissing one another in the seventh inning, a female couple is abruptly asked to leave Dodger Stadium immediately and are told never to “set foot back on the premises” for “lewd behavior”. The pair had planned to sue the organization, but ended up not doing so after the team apologized, promising to contribute 5,000 tickets to LGBT organizations and continue sensitivity training for all its employees. [Note: The Dodgers held their sixth annual LGBT Night in 2018.]
RHP Chase Anderson (7-7, 3.69 ERA) brings his current hot streak to the mound at Dodger Stadium. He’s given up two or fewer runs in each of his last seven starts and has a 1.93 ERA over those 37 1/3 innings. He’ll face the Dodgers’ lefty Rich Hill (4-4, 3.82 ERA), who went 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA for July.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1906 After pitching 10.2 innings of no-hit ball, Harry McIntire yields a single to Pirates second baseman Claude Ritchey. The Dodgers and McIntire lose the game in the 13th on an unearned run, 1-0.
1924 Dazzy Vance strikes out seven consecutive batters to establish a major league record when the Brooklyn Robins defeat the Cubs at Ebbets Field, 4-0. The future Hall of Famer, who will compile a 28-6 record for the Brooks this season, will lead the National League in strikeouts with 262.
1957 Gil Hodges, in a 12-3 win over the Cubs, hits his 13th and last career grand slam in Brooklyn Dodger history. The first baseman’s bases-loaded shot off Dick Littlefield establishes a new National League record, previously shared by Rogers Hornsby and Ralph Kiner.
2011 After popping out in a pinch-hitting appearance, Craig Counsell remains without a hit in his last 45 at-bats, tying the longest single-season hitless streak by a position player in history, established by Brooklyn backstop Bill Bergen in 1909. The major league record is 0-for-70, established in 1970 by Bob Buhl, a pitcher who toiled with the Braves and Cubs that season.
2015 Clayton Kershaw strikes out Mike Trout looking with a wicked curveball, marking the first time that reigning MVPs have faced one another in a major league game. The interleague contest between the two LA teams ends with Dodger southpaw keeping the Angel outfielder 0-for-3 while hurling eight innings in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Halos at Chavez Ravine.