Padres at Dodgers, 1:10pm PT, Dodger Stadium
Here it is at last, the first day of the new season, with the changes the new management made over the winter soon to be on display.
Will Jimmy Rollins play better defense than Hanley Ramirez? Will Howie Kendrick hit better than Dee Gordon? Will Kershaw win a fourth Cy Young Award? Can he lead the National League in ERA for the fifth consecutive year? Will Hyun-Jin Ryu recover from his shoulder woes and win more than fourteen games? Can Kenley Jansen come back from his foot woes and regain his form as an elite closer? Will the Dodgers miss Matt Kemp’s bat more than they’ll be helped by Puig’s play in right field? Can Uribe play up to his standard of the past two years while remaining healthy enough to play 125 games or so? Can Justin Turner keep up his torrid hitting from last year while coming off the bench and playing all over the infield? Will Joc Pederson keep up the hitting he did in spring training? What’s going to happen with André Ethier?
Questions, we have questions. Today we start getting answers.
Nationals at Giants, 2:00PM PT, TV: MLBN
The Nats have their backs against an 0-2 hole and need both a good outing from Doug Fister and some luck in order to beat the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. Fister has plenty of postseason experience, as does Bumgarner. The Nationals may start Ryan Zimmerman for the first time in the playoffs after two pinch-hitting appearances, which would add a potentially stronger bat to the lineup in left field and allow Bryce Harper to move to center, while putting the light-hitting Denard Span on the bench.
Dodgers at Cardinals, 6:00PM PT, TV: Fox Sports 1
The Dodgers rest their hopes on Hyun-Jin Ryu, who hasn’t pitched for nearly a month while resting a shoulder. Based on a simulated game he threw last Wednesday and two bullpen sessions, they think he’ll be fine. The Cardinals hope that the John Lackey who’s been a star during previous postseasons with the Angels and Red Sox is the one who shows up today, rather than the guy who went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA after they acquired him at the trading deadline.
Rockies at Dodgers 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KDOC-56
Greinke’s on the hill for four or five innings as a tuneup. Uribe’s managing. Kershaw’s the pitching coach. Ryu may be the bullpen coach “if he can get him to understand when he calls down,” Mattingly said.
The Rockies send out rookie Christian Bergman, who’s 3-4 with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts this season and coming off a win against the D-Backs in which he gave up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Ryu is throwing bullpen today and Kershaw will throw a couple of innings in a simulated game. The Dodgers are feeling pretty hopeful that Ryu will be able to start Game Three of the NLDS on October 6.
If you’re interested in what has happened or is still happening elsewhere, here’s MLB’s live blog of the events in Cincinnati between the Pirates and Reds, in Texas between the As and Rangers, in Seattle between the Angels and Mariners, in Chicago between the Royals and White Sox, and in Detroit between the Tigers and Twins. What’s the big deal? Well, there’s a chance that there might be three, three! Game 163 tiebreakers required to settle the playoff seedings and even some of the participants. The possibilities are laid out in mind-numbing detail in that post.
Lineup when available.
Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KDOC-56
Nobody’s calling Dan Haren a hot young prospect anymore, unlike his opponent in today’s game, a right-hander named Eddie Butler. Haren’s luck against the Rockies throughout his career has been poor: he’s 7-9 with a 5.19 ERA in eighteen starts against them. He’ll be on a pitch count today, the team says. Young Mr. Butler made only his second big league start last Saturday and went six innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk to the D-Backs.
Hun-Jin Ryu reported he felt fine after throwing off a mound for the first time in two weeks Friday. He only threw 20 pitches, though. He’s scheduled to throw a full bullpen session tomorrow. An aside: I’m not sure that’s going to be all that representative of his control or velocity, since as I understand it he doesn’t throw between starts, unlike his American-trained counterparts. We’ll have to see.
This is a mildly interesting bit of trivia:
The Dodgers will finish the season without a losing streak longer than three games, joining the 1988 (161 games) and 1924 (154) teams as the only ones in franchise history without a four-game losing streak in a season.
Their longest winning streak of the season was six, for comparison.
Lineup when available.
Update: If the Dodgers’ Twitter feed is to be believed, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw are expecting their first child. Less importantly, Jeremy Lin is going to throw out the first pitch.
Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
The Dodgers’ Roberto Hernandez is possibly pitching for a playoff roster spot with the Dodgers tonight. In his last four starts he’s gone no longer than 4 1/3 innings in any game and given up 11 runs in those 15 innings.
The Rockies will send out Jordan Lyles, who’s 7-3 with a 4.15 ERA on the year. On August 6 he returned from two months on the DL with a fractured hand, and he hasn’t gone longer than 6 1/3 innings in any start since then.
Dan Haren and Zack Greinke are scheduled to go this weekend for the Dodgers, but they may be on limited pitch counts or be scratched altogether, depending on how Mattingly wants to set up his rotation for the NLDS, which begins a week from today in LA. Hyun-Jin Ryu threw off a mound today for the first time since his shoulder inflammation flareup took him out of his start against the Giants on September 12.
Update: News from Phoenix: The D-Backs hired Dave Stewart to be GM, which means Matt Kemp will have to find another agent, and they fired Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell.
Woot! Justin Turner hitting cleanup!
Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ESPN, KDOC-56, CSN-BA
If the Dodgers win, they win the NL West. If the Giants win, they clinch a playoff berth. One way or the other one of these teams is going to be celebrating something after tonight’s game.
Most every sportswriter in the country and most fans as well are probably chalking up this game as a win for the Dodgers, what with Clayton Kershaw pitching for them tonight. Well, Tim Hudson is having a poor year, but he’s not chopped liver. He’s started 456 games in his 16-year career and won 214 of them (first among all active pitchers) while losing only 123, with a lifetime ERA of 3.45. However, in his last outing he went only 4 1/3 innings against the Padres, giving up four runs on seven hits. The start before that was against the Dodgers, and it was awful: six runs on eight hits in just one inning.
In personnel news, Mattingly thinks Hyun-Jin Ryu won’t be seen on the mound again until the playoffs.
Lineup when available.
Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Roberto Hernandez will start for the Dodgers, hoping he can get his groove back. In his last four starts he’s 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA. The Rockies counter with Christian Bergman, who’ll make his eighth big league start. He’s 2-3 with a 4.89 ERA, but his last two starts have been quality ones.
It’s looking like Carlos Frias will make the Wednesday start against the Rockies in place of Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu’s having an MRI today, and that result may determine when or if he pitches again this season. With that in doubt, Don Mattingly says it’s likely the Dodgers will add a pitcher to the roster.
In good news for Los Angeles Dodgers fans who want to see the team on TV, the last six games of the season will be shown on an independent station. Time Warner
said Monday that it has reached a deal with KDOC, which is carried by every cable, satellite and telco provider in Southern California and can be received over the air with an antenna.
Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Dinni Jain says the company will continue to work on long-term agreements with other providers during the offseason to carry SportsNet LA, which televises Dodgers games.
Uh-huh. If you couldn’t get a deal done during the season while the games were being played, why do you think you’ll be able to when there’s no product on your network that fans desperately want to see?
Dodgers at Giants, 7:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA, NBC Bay Area
Hyun-Jin Ryu faces Madison Bumgarner. Ryu is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA against the Giants this season; Bumgarner is 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA against the Dodgers this season. This year Ryu is 14-6 with a 3.16 ERA overall; Bumgarner is 17-9 with a 3.02 ERA overall.
It will be Greinke v. Hudson on Saturday night and Kershaw v. Petit Sunday afternoon.
Lineup when available.
Also from Twitter: “The Dodgers have selected the contract of LHP Scott Elbert from Triple-A Albuquerque, and designated RHP Red Patterson for assignment.”
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Hyun Jin-Ryu is 14-6 with a 3.18 ERA. The next game he wins will be an MLB career high for him. He’ll face Chase Anderson, a rookie righthander who’s 8-6 with a 3.75 ERA. Ryu is 2-0 against the D-Backs this season, while Anderson is 1-1 against the Dodgers. He gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings the first time out, but that was the game in which the Diamondbacks bombed Clayton Kershaw for seven runs and eventually won 18-7. His second time out he only gave up two runs in five innings but lost to Kershaw. He’s probably thanking his lucky stars that at least he’s facing Ryu rather than Clayton again.
Puig is sick and getting an IV, Mattingly says
. In other player news, Paco Rodriguez, who’s still on the DL, suffered an unspecified “setback” during his bullpen session Tuesday.
According to Dodgers.com Beckett is thinking about retirement.
Beckett needs surgery to repair a torn labrum and a lesion in his left hip, whether he pitches again or not.
He’s a high-mileage 34-year-old, having thrown 2,051 innings in 13 big league seasons.
I don’t doubt Beckett might decline a four-month rehab, as the article suggests is needed. He hurts, he’s made more than $116M in his career and has a couple of small kids, so why not retire? Other than the no-hitter this year I suspect he hasn’t had much fun this season. He even says “It takes four hours of [therapy] work to do two hours on the field.”
I think baseball may have seen the last of Josh Beckett as a player. But that bit about his innings pitched raised a question for me — is 2,051 IP high-mileage? Over 13 years he’s averaged 209 IP over a 162-game period. He was a full-time starter when he was 22 years old. Among Dodger starters:
- Dan Haren is 33 and has thrown 2,202 innings in 12 MLB seasons for a 162-game average of 215 IP.
- Kevin Correia is 34 but has thrown only 1,397 MLB innings for a 162-game average of 168 IP in 12 seasons.
- Roberto Hernandez is 34 with 1,248 MLB innings for a 162-game average of 190 IP over 9 seasons.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu is 27, has 7 years of Korean League experience and 1,269 innings there in addition to the 336 he’s got in the big leagues, averaging roughly 178 IP (the Korean Leagues throw off the 162-game calculation).
- Chad Billingsley is 30 and has 1,175 MLB innings for a 162-game average of 195 IP over 7 seasons (and 12 innings).
- Kershaw, believe it or not, is 27 but has 1,349 MLB innings himself and has averaged 223 IP over a 162-game period in 7 seasons.
Of the three guys who are the same age as Beckett, Haren’s the closest in hard use. He’s always been a starter. Correia pitched his first five years in relief and as a spot starter. Hernandez was a full-time starter in his second year in the bigs.
If Beckett is high-mileage, then Haren, averaging 215 IP, and Kershaw, averaging 223 IP, are the two guys who could also be classified as such. We can only hope Kershaw doesn’t injure himself throwing that many innings every year.