LHP Jason Vargas (1-2, 5.22 ERA) pitches in the final game of this four-game series against the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-1, 1.65 ERA). Vargas’ ERA is slightly misleading: he was pretty bad in two of his first three starts this season. After three games his ERA was 14.21. It’s dropped steadily after every outing since. He’s given up no more than one run in four of his last five starts. Ryu wasn’t up to his usual standards in his last start; he scattered ten hits in six innings but gave up just two runs and got the win anyway.
Bellinger is on track for possibly the best season ever by Wins Above Replacement. Don’t believe that? Look at the numbers. He’s got 5.4 WAR through one-third of a season.
Here’s a brief list of the things that Bellinger leads the Majors in, just to remind you how great his season is going.
• First in batting average (.382, a 44-point lead over Josh Bell’s .338 mark)
• First in on-base percentage (.469)
• First in slugging percentage (.770)
• First in RBIs (51)
• First in OPS (1.239)
• First in OPS+ (223)
• First in Weighted On-Base Average (.503)
• First in Weighted Runs Created Plus (218)
• First in Wins Above Replacement (5.4)
• First in Defensive Runs Saved (15)
• First in Five-Star Plays on defense (3, tied with Byron Buxton)
• First in defensive Wins Above Replacement (1.4, tied with Lorenzo Cain)
• First in average home-to-first time (3.89 seconds)
• First in Sprint Speed among Dodgers (29.2 ft/sec), and third among MLB RF
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers’ ninth-inning comeback in yesterday’s game:
1946 In Boston’s 10-8 victory over the Dodgers, Bama Rowell’s long drive hits the Bulova clock located above the right field scoreboard, making the left-fielder the first major leaguer to reach the famous landmark at Ebbets Field. The crushing four-bagger, that shatters the face of the clock causing glass to cascade onto Dodgers right fielder Dixie Walker, is believed to be the inspiration for author Bernard Malamud having Roy Hobbs, the hero of his 1952 novel “The Natural,” belt a similar home run, which also rains glass over the diamond.
1962 Frank Thomas strokes a double off Sandy Koufax in the Mets’ 13-6 loss to Los Angeles, extending his franchise mark of consecutive games with a hit to 18 for the expansion team. The streak, which will be only one shy of Maury Wills’ league-leading total for the season, is halted when the New York left fielder goes 0-for-4 in the nightcap of the Dodgers’ sweep at the Polo Grounds.
1986 In a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium, future home run king Barry Bonds goes 0-for-5 in his major league debut. The Pirates center fielder, batting leadoff, strikes out three times.
The Mets’ LHP Jason Vargas (5-8, 6.56 ERA) goes against the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (6-5, 3.59 ERA). Vargas is 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA over his last four starts. In the one game in the recent Dodgers – Diamondbacks series the Dodgers lost, it was Hill who got beaten, giving up a three-run home run the Dodgers couldn’t overcome. It was his first loss since June 10.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1924 The Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) take a twin bill from the Braves, sweeping their fourth doubleheader in four consecutive days. Between September 1-3, the Brooks beat the Phillies six times.
1966 The Dodgers become the first team to draw two million fans at home and two million on the road as 18,670 Crosley Field patrons watch Los Angeles beat their hometown Reds, 8-6.
1969 After thirty-one games, the third longest consecutive game hitting streak in National League history ends as Dodger Willie Davis is stopped by Dick Kelley and Gary Ross in a 3-0 loss to the Padres.
2017 J.D. Martinez becomes the 18th major leaguer, joining Reds utilityman Scooter Gennett as the second player this season, to hit four home runs in one game when he goes deep in the top of the ninth inning In the Diamondbacks’ 13-0 rout of the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. The Arizona outfielder, who was acquired in a trade from the Tigers in July, has one more home run than the opponent’s total amount of hits.
The Giants ask veteran Ryan Vogelsong to put a stop to the Royals’ advance, while the Royals send Jason Vargas out to give them enough innings to get to their so-far lights-out bullpen. Vogelsong had a poor outing against the Cardinals in Game Four of the NLCS, lasting only three innings while giving up four runs on seven hits in a game the Giants eventually won. But he’s been a postseason horse for them in the past, making five postseason starts in which he compiled a 3-0 record, a 1.19 ERA and a .168 batting average against. The lefty Vargas has pitched 11 1/3 innings of nearly flawless baseball in the postseason, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks against the Angels and Orioles while holding them to a .135 batting average.
A bit of history: “Holland has now recorded seven saves this postseason, tying the record for a single postseason. He joins five others — John Wetteland (1996 Yankees), Robb Nen (2002 Giants), Troy Percival (’02 Angels), Brad Lidge (’08 Phillies) and Koji Uehara (’13 Red Sox).” Some pretty good names there.
Startlingly, the Royals are up three games to none in the ALCS. Today they send out lefty Jason Vargas to try to win the series. He last pitched in Game One of the ALDS against the Angels, giving up two home runs over six innings. He’s 2-3 with a 1.94 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Orioles. Vargas will face a very well-rested Miguel Gonzalez, who hasn’t pitched since September 28.
The Giants took a 2-1 lead in the series on a Randy Choate throwing error in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s game. They’ll put Ryan Vogelsong on the hill Wednesday night against Shelby Miller of the Cards. Vogelsong went 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals in his NLDS appearance October 7, giving up two hits and one run. Miller gave up five hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings the same day in his NLDS outing against the Dodgers.
The Os-Tigers matchup appears at first to come down to whether the Tigers’ pitching, starting with Max Scherzer tonight, can hold down the Orioles’ penchant for home runs (they were the only team to hit over 200 dingers this season in either league). Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles.
The hook for the Angels-Royals game tonight is that the starters were college teammates at Long Beach State back in 2004 and took the 49ers to the Super Regionals in the runup to the College World Series. The Angels send out Jared Weaver while the Royals counter with Jason Vargas.