Jun 18

Game 70, 2017

Dodgers at Reds, 10:10 AM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-O

The Dodgers hope to sweep the series with this game, and they’ll send RHP Kenta Maeda (4-3, 4.95 ERA) out to try to win it. He’ll face old acquaintance Bronson Arroyo (3-5, 7.01 ERA).

Maeda has struggled this season, with only two quality starts in the ten games he’s started, but his last outing was a four-inning save against the Reds on June 9. If he pitches to that level again he may rejoin the Dodgers’ starting rotation.

Arroyo never threw a pitch for the Dodgers, but he came over from the Braves in the July 2015 trade in which they acquired Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Luis Avilan, Jose Peraza and Jim Johnson. He was injured at the time and the Braves were dumping his salary. He was granted free agency in November of that year and landed with the Reds. He may not last very long if his performance doesn’t improve, because Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan can come off the DL by the end of June.

Notes:

Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has been clobbering the ball in June. On Tuesday, he became the fastest player to record at least four multihomer games. According to Statcast, as of Saturday, Bellinger is fifth in MLB in barrel rate (23.5 percent) and currently leads left-handed batters in hard contact rate against left-handed pitchers this season. His teammate Corey Seager ranks second in hard contact rate. Bellinger hit his 19th homer on Saturday.

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1938 After accepting GM Larry MacPhail’s offer to coach first base, Babe Ruth wears a Dodger uniform for the first time as a coach and takes batting practice with the team. The ‘Bambino’ will quit at the end of the season, ending his ties with major league baseball.
  • 1940 Dodger Ducky Medwick, acquired in a trade less than a week ago, is beaned by former Cardinal teammate Bob Bowman and needs to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Brooklyn president Lee MacPhail accuses the St. Louis pitcher of deliberately hitting Medwick in the head because the two had quarreled in a hotel elevator prior to the game.
  • 1996 Brant Brown hits the first three home runs of his career on the same day. The 25 year-old rookie goes deep as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning off Chan Ho Park in a 9-6 loss to the Dodgers in the opener of a Wrigley Field twin bill, but his two additional round-trippers contribute to Chicago’s 7-4 victory in the nightcap.
  • 2014 With the only batter reaching base as a result of a throwing error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the seventh inning, Clayton Kershaw no-hits the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, striking out a career-high 15 batters. The left-hander’s teammate Josh Beckett also threw a no-hitter 24 days ago, making it the shortest span between no-hitters by a team since the Reds’ Johnny Vander Meer accomplished it in consecutive starts, four days apart, in 1938.

Vinnie calls Kershaw’s no-hitter:

Lineup when available.

Nov 01

Hot Stove League Talk

The Dodgers bought out Chad Billingsley’s contract for $3M, making him a free agent.

The 30-year-old Billingsley, a former All-Star, is trying to return from two arm operations. He didn’t pitch in 2014 and made only two starts in 2013 before needing Tommy John surgery. While rehabbing this year, he required surgery to repair a partially torn flexor tendon.

A first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Billingsley went 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA for the Dodgers. He won a career-high 16 games in 2008 and was an All-Star in ’09.

Billingsley becomes the seventh Dodger free agent. In addition to him, Hanley Ramirez, Paul Maholm, Chris Perez, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia and Jamey Wright are also free to negotiate for new deals with any team.

Ramirez’s contract is possibly the biggest decision new boss Andrew Friedman will have to make. Do the Dodgers make him a $15.3M qualifying offer, which ensures they get something in return (a supplemental draft pick between the first and second rounds) if he rejects it and goes elsewhere? He might be worth more than that, especially if he’s willing to move to third base for a new team. The Dodgers have Uribe signed through 2015, so that’s not an option they could easily fulfill. My guess is they make the qualifying offer just to guarantee themselves a player in return when he signs with the Yankees to replace Derek Jeter.

Dan Haren picked up his $10M option to stay with the Dodgers, and Brian Wilson is expected to pick up his for the same amount. Maholm is recovering from knee surgery, Perez was lightly used down the stretch, Hernandez was mostly adequate, Correia wasn’t much help, and Jamey Wright is 40 years old with who knows how much left in his arm.

The team still has more outfielders than it knows what to do with, and it’s also got Joc Pederson pounding on the door to get in, although his cup of coffee at the end of September wasn’t very successful. Ethier and Crawford could be trade bait, but both have very large contracts. Ethier is signed through 2017 with an option for 2018; the balance of the contract is $53.5M through 2017. Crawford is still under terms of the contract he signed with the Red Sox, which has a balance of $62.5M through 2017.

It should be an interesting off-season.

Oct 07

Who might go?

In end-of-the-season news, Josh Beckett announced his retirement after the game. He did better for the team than most of us anticipated he would, I think: 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA and a no-hitter before going down for the year with a torn labrum in his hip.

The Dodgers have a passel of free agents led by Hanley Ramirez. The team has until five days after the World Series to extend what’s called a Qualifying Offer of $15.3M (a number set by the Basic Agreement as the average of the 125 highest contracts by average annual value). That ensures that the Dodgers would get a compensating draft pick if Ramirez rejects the offer and goes elsewhere. On the other hand, he could accept it. If so, he and the Dodgers would be committed to one another for next year.

Other free agents: Chad Billingsley (team option of $14M or a $3M buyout — after two surgeries the Dodgers may elect to buy him out); Paul Maholm, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia and Jamey Wright. Dan Haren has earned a $10M player option but even after Tuesday’s game said he remained undecided whether to play or retire. Brian Wilson has a $10M option he’s expected to accept.

Sep 18

Game 153, 2014

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Greinke, save us!

Okay, that’s a little heavy on the hyperbole. Nonetheless, the Dodgers’ pitching needs to improve over its results in the last two games, and the only one who can do it better than Zack is Clayton Kershaw, who pitches tomorrow. Greinke is 15-8 with a 2.64 ERA on the season, 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA in six career starts against the Cubbies.

The Cubs send Tsuyoshi Wada to the mound. Wada was 4-3 with a 3.34 ERA in his first 11 Major League starts but has struggled in his last two, going 3 1/3 and 4 1/3 innings. Those two outings ballooned his ERA; it had been 2.79 before the Pirates whacked him around twice. He pitched against the Dodgers back on August 2, going 5 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and two runs and striking out six in a game the Dodgers won on a Hanley Ramirez walk-off HR in the twelfth inning.

Speaking of Ramirez, the Dodgers “hope” to have him back for this series.

The Giants are off today. With a win the Dodgers would be up 2 1/2 games in the NL West.

Lineup when available.

Aug 30

Game 136, 2014

Dodgers at Padres, 5:40PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD, MLB.tv free game

Zack Greinke brings his presumably-recovering elbow to the mound to face the Padres at Petco Park for the first time this season. He beat the San Diegans on April 1 at Dodger Stadium in his only time facing them this year. Greinke is 13-8 with a 2.79 ERA. Ian Kennedy of the Padres, on the other hand, will face the Dodgers for the fifth time this season. He was the losing pitcher in the Greinke game on April Fool’s Day, in fact. Kennedy is 10-11 with a 3.75 ERA.

In player news, Hyun-Jin Ryu will come off the DL tomorrow and pitch against San Diego. Roberto Hernandez will now pitch on Monday against the Nationals. Mattingly says the matchups make sense, since Ryu has given up only one run to the Padres in 19 innings this year. Hernandez has allowed Washington one unearned run in 15 innings this year. Scott Van Slyke’s ankle isn’t nearly as bad as it looked when he first turned it the other night, as should have been obvious since he was sent up to pinch-hit last night.

Lineup when available.

I don’t know whether it was oversight or Hanley talking his way into the lineup, but the original one had Rojas at short hitting 7th.

Aug 26

Game 133, 2014

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Roberto Hernandez makes his fourth start for the Dodgers and Trevor Cahill starts for the D-Backs. Hernandez is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts for the Dodgers, while Cahill is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in August after returning from the minors in July.

To make room for the reinstated-from-the-DL Hanley Ramirez the Dodgers optioned Erisbel Arruebarrena to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, but they expect to bring him back up when rosters can expand September 1.

Lineup:

For scoreboard watchers, Rockies at Giants, 7:10PM PT, TV: CSN-BA

Aug 23

Game 131, 2014

Mets at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Zack Greinke starts, two days later than he would ordinarily have done. He and the Dodgers hope the elbow irritation he has been fighting will have dissipated enough for him to return to his usual impeccable self. He’s 12-8 on the year with a 2.75 ERA. Also, and this might be significant, he’s thrown more innings (157 1/3) than any other Dodgers pitcher.

His opponent will be Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Jacob deGrom, a righthander who is 6-5 on the year with a 2.87 ERA in 100 1/3 innings. This is his first time out after coming off the 15-day DL for right shoulder tendinitis.

Hanley Ramirez is still scheduled to come off the DL tomorrow and start at shortstop. For the Mets, Bartolo Colon is back from the bereavement list and will start tomorrow against the Dodgers.

Lineup when available.

Aug 19

Game 127, 2014

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

Kevin Correia gets the start for the Dodgers. He’s faced the Padres twice already this season, even though he pitched for the Twins of the AL before his acquisition. In May he went six innings against them, striking out six, walking one, and giving up three earned runs. In August he also went six innings, struck out three, walked one, and again gave up three earned runs. In his first start for the Dodgers last Monday he threw six innings of one-run ball with just four hits and one walk allowed with five strikeouts and beat the Braves. Correia is 6-13 on the season with a 4.79 ERA. He had a horrible April, ending the month with a 7.33 ERA. It’s been dropping every month thereafter.

Ian Kennedy will go for the Padres. He’s 9-10 with a 3.54 ERA. This will be his fourth start since missing a turn due to a minor oblique injury; the previous three he went five, six and six innings and gave up no more than three earned runs in any of those games.

Hanley Ramirez is expected to come off the DL on Sunday, the moment the 15 day period is up. We get to see Erisbel Arruebarrena at short tonight. He’s been in eight previous games at the big league level, getting five hits in sixteen ABs and playing error-free ball.

Aug 17

Game 126, 2014

Brewers at Dodgers, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

It’ll be Dan Haren for the Dodgers and Wily Peralta for the Brew Crew. Peralta is 14-7 with a 3.46 ERA. This will be his second try at win number fifteen. Haren is 10-9 with a 4.50 ERA, but has won his last two after a five-game losing streak.

In Uribe’s absence the Dodgers might try Hanley Ramirez there, leaving Rojas at shortstop. Of course they give Barney the start at short today. Ramirez took some grounders at third on Saturday.

Lineup:

Aug 15

Game 124, 2014

Brewers at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

These two teams faced each other last weekend in Milwaukee and the home team won two of three, including one against Zack Greinke, tonight’s starter for the Dodgers. In that game he threw six innings, gave up four earned runs on eight hits, and continued a rather unhappy streak: In seven starts against his former teams (Brewers, Angels, Royals) he’s lost them all. However, he’s still 12-8 with a 2.84 ERA this season.

The Brewers send out Jimmy Nelson, who also pitched in last weekend’s series. He went six innings, giving up eight hits and two runs while losing to Kershaw on Sunday. Overall he’s 2-3 with a 4.00 ERA this year.

Hanley Ramirez isn’t swinging a bat yet, but he has done a little throwing. The Brewers’ Ryan Braun has a nerve problem in a hand, but he expects to play tonight. Another note: it’s hard to believe, but the Brewers’ K-Rod (Francisco Rodriguez) needs one save to tie Rollie Fingers at No. 11 on the all-time saves list with 341. Man, it seems like only a couple of years ago he was a 20-year-old kid pitching for the Angels in the 2002 World Series.

Lineup when available.