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:


Aug 24

Game 129, 2018

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

Clayton Richard (7-10, 5.11 ERA) goes for the visiting Padres; he’ll face Rich Hill (5-4, 3.73 ERA) of the Dodgers. Richard’s second-half ERA is a whopping 7.84. Hill’s last start featured a horrid first inning (4 of the first 5 hitters scored) but he only gave up one run in the remaining six innings he pitched.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1941 During a double-header against the Cardinals, a rag tag group of five ‘musicians’, dubbed the Dodger SymPhony by announcer Red Barber, makes their Ebbets Field’s debut. This band, in which none of the members can read music, performs their zany antics at all evening and weekend games.
  • 1955 A telegram sent to Brooklyn president Walter O’Malley by the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce offers the team “thirty acres or more of dry flat land in open country in the heart of Long Island’s densest Dodger fan concentration.” The village’s attempt to attract the fleeing franchise to the south shore of Suffolk County will not materialize, and the club, after exploring many different venues as an alternative to Ebbets Field, will leave the East Coast in 1958 to play in Los Angeles.
  • 1957 The Dodgers, in a 13-3 loss to Milwaukee at Ebbets Field, use eight pitchers in one game, tying a major league record. Johnny Podres gives up three home runs in the fourth frame when Nippy Jones, Hank Aaron, and Andy Pafko all go deep off the Brooklyn starter.
  • 1960 During a dull game, Vin Scully, the play-by-play voice of the Dodgers, knowing that many fans in the stands follow the game on transistor radios, asks his listeners to help him surprise third base umpire Frank Secory. His ballpark audience responds when the veteran broadcaster tells them, “Let’s have some fun. As soon as the inning is over I’ll count to three, and on three everybody yell, ‘Happy birthday, Frank!'”
  • 1974 Davey Lopes steals five bases, tying a National League record established in 1904 by Giants first baseman Dan McGann. The Dodger second baseman’s quintet of stolen bags adds to the team’s franchise mark of eight stolen bases in their 3-0 victory over the Redbirds at Chavez Ravine.
  • 1975 Davey Lopes steals his major league record 38th consecutive base, but the streak will be stopped by Montreal backstop Gary Carter when he attempts to swipe another base in the Dodger Stadium contest. The second baseman will be thrown out in the 12th inning of the team’s 5-3 loss in fourteen innings.
  • 2014 Joc Pederson becomes the fourth player in the history of the Pacific Coast League to have a 30-30 season, and the first to accomplish the feat in 80 years, when he steals his 30th base for the Isotopes. The 22 year-old Albuquerque slugger, who has 32 home runs and a .432 slugging percentage in 116 games this season, will join the Dodgers when rosters expand next week.

Lineup when available.


Jul 09

Game 90, 2018

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD, MLBN (out-of-market only)

The Dodgers have beaten the Padres in six of nine meetings so far this season. Today they’ll send LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-4, 2.86 ERA) to the mound in hopes he’ll continue to recover from his two stints on the disabled list. He’ll face the Padres’ RHP Luis Perdomo (1-2, 6.86 ERA), who has made one start since coming back from a two-month stay in AAA El Paso with the Chihuahuas.


The Dodgers and Yankees are promoting Muncy and Giancarlo Stanton as candidates for the ASG Final Vote.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1956 The BBWAA, by a narrow margin of 14-12, votes to establish the Cy Young Award to honor the major leagues’ most outstanding pitcher. Commissioner Ford Frick initiated the idea because he felt hurlers were not recognized in the MVP voting, but ironically the first recipient of the Cy Young Award, Dodger Don Newcombe, also won the Most Valuable Player Award.
  • 1996 Mike Piazza, who will be named the All-Star Game’s MVP, hits a moon shot into the upper-deck at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. The Dodger backstop also strokes an RBI double, helping the National League to beat the AL, 6-0.

Lineup when available.

As expected, Puig (probably) to DL. Toles in CF, Kemp in RF, Joc in LF.


Jun 29

Game 81, 2018

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, ATT SportsNet-RM

The Rockies send LHP Tyler Anderson (4-3, 4.62 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 5.30 ERA). Anderson has been better on the road this season; he’s 3-0 with a 4.08 ERA in nine starts away from Coors Field. His last two road starts have been even better: he’s put up a 1.93 ERA over 14 innings. In his lone start against the Dodgers this year he didn’t do well, going five innings and giving up five runs on seven hits, although he avoided taking the loss. Hill’s second start off the DL wasn’t as good as his first: he gave up four runs on five hits to the Mets and hit three batters while doing so.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1923 Dodger first baseman Jacques Fournier goes 6-for 6, collecting a home run, two doubles, and three singles. The southpaw-swinging slugger’s 11 total bases contribute to Brooklyn’s 14-5 victory over the Phillies at the Baker Bowl.
  • 1960 The Phillies strike out a dozen times in each end of a doubleheader when they are swept by the Dodgers at Connie Mack Stadium, 6-3 and 5-2. The 24 K’s tie a major league record for strikeouts in a twin bill.
  • 1990 For the first time since 1917 (Hippo Vaughan and Fred Toney), two no-hitters are thrown on the same day when the A’s Dave Stewart shuts out the Jays 5-0 and the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela blanks the Cardinals, 6-0.
  • 2012 In the Diamondbacks’ 9-3 victory over Milwaukee at Miller Park, Aaron Hill becomes the first modern-era player to hit for the cycle twice in one season since Babe Herman accomplished the feat with the Brooklyn Robins in 1931. Eleven days ago in Seattle, the Arizona second baseman also collected a single, double, triple, and home run in the game.
  • 2015 Joc Pederson becomes the third rookie in major league history to hit 20 home runs before July when he goes deep off Allen Webster in the Dodgers’ 10-6 loss to Arizona at Chase Field. The 23 year-old center fielder joins Wally Berger (Braves, 1930) and Albert Pujols (Cardinals, 2001) in accomplishing the feat as a freshman.

Lineup when available.


Apr 02

Game Five, 2018

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA

It’ll be LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu for the visiting Dodgers and RHP Taijuan Walker for the Diamondbacks. Ryu was 5-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 24 starts last season, while Walker was 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts. Ryu lost his first four starts of last year and then recovered to go 5-5 the rest of the way, even picking up a 4-inning save. Walker’s last appearance of 2017 was not a good one; he started Game One of the NL Division Series against the Dodgers and lasted only one inning, giving up four runs and four hits with two walks in a series the Dodgers swept.

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.

Lineup when available.


Joc leading off, Chase starting. The Dodgers’ slogan this year really is “Nobody over 140!”

Apr 01

Game Four, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 5:37 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

The Dodgers try to capture the fourth game of the opening series and gain a split. To do that they send LHP Rich Hill to the mound. He was 12-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts with the Dodgers last year. He’ll face RHP Chris Stratton, who was 4-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances for the Giants last season. He’s only made one appearance at Dodger Stadium in his brief career, giving up three runs in four innings last September 24 and taking the loss.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1937 The Reds sell Babe Herman to the Tigers. The 34 year-old outfielder, batting .300 for his new team, will appear in only 17 contests with Detroit before effectively retiring from the game, although he will return to play briefly for the war-time Dodgers in 1945.
  • 1963 Former Brooklyn Dodger Duke Snider returns to New York when the Mets purchase him from LA for $40,000. The 36 year-old outfielder, who will represent New York in the All-Star game, will be told at the end of the season by Buzzie Bavasi, his former GM, that the Yankees had asked for him to back up Mickey Mantle before he was dealt to the team the across the river.
  • 2008 On Opening Day in Los Angeles, Juan Pierre’s 434 consecutive game streak, the longest current one in the major leagues, comes to an end when the Dodger outfielder does not play in the 3-2 victory over the Giants. New skipper Joe Torre plays Andre Ethier in left field in place of the highly paid but light-hitting fly chaser.

Can you imagine Duke Snider in pinstripes?

Yesterday’s Kyle Farmer versatility moment:

Lineup when available.


Young Joc in left. I get the feeling no Dodger is going to play as many as 140 games in the regular season.

Feb 27

One week into spring (training)

So far this spring the Dodgers have a 2-3 record. I like this deal,though:

Dodgers @ Padres
Peoria Stadium – Wed 2/28
358 tickets as low as $4

As we all expected, the Dodgers have a bunch of outfielders all trying to win a job in left field (Yasiel Puig’s a fixture in right and Chris Taylor’s the same in center). Andrew Toles is coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee, Joc Pederson’s trying to regain his form of 2016, Alex Verdugo might be their best non-pitching prospect, and oh yeah, Matt Kemp is back. He’s 40 pounds lighter than he was last season, which should certainly help his fairly awful defense of the last few years, and he can still hit. I think it’s even money he and his $43M contract get traded, possibly before the season begins, but the Dodgers have supposedly been trying to do that since they reacquired him in the offseason. The left field situation featured in a Dodgers.com story about Maeda’s two-inning stint on Tuesday:

In the ongoing competition for left field, Matt Kemp started in left Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Joc Pederson started in center and was 0-for-2 with a walk, caught-stealing and strikeout, and he threw out former Dodger Willie Calhoun at the plate; and Alex Verdugo started in right and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Off the bench, Andrew Toles was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.

I just subscribed to the new sportswriting website The Athletic. If you subscribe by clicking that link you get 25% off the $59.99 annual subscription price and I get $10 in credit at Amazon. It looks like a slightly pricey deal for a lot of extraordinary sportswriters, including people laid off by ESPN like Jayson Stark. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is there, as is Peter Gammons. It’s covering the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and MLS in addition to MLB. Take a look at it.

Jan 14

One month away

Today’s news is that A-Gon is reportedly on his way to play for the Mets in the 2018 season.

The Mets get Gonzalez at the league minimum salary of $545,000 in 2018. The Braves are responsible for the $21.5 million owed to him for the 2018 season under his previous contract.

Except for that whole “playing on the East Coast again” issue it looks like Adrian has landed on his feet. Good for him.

Earlier in the week the Dodgers avoided arbitration with all the players they have who were eligible. Here is a copy of the table Eric Stephen of TBLA put together to show the results:

Player Service Time 2017 salary MLBTR projections TBLA guess 2018 salary
Yasmani Grandal 5.115 $5,500,000 $7,700,000 $7,400,000 $7,900,000
Alex Wood 4.123 $2,800,000 $6,400,000 $6,550,000 $6,000,000
Tony Cingrani 4.088 $1,825,000 $2,200,000 $2,300,000 $2,300,000
Josh Fields 4.083 $1,050,000 $2,200,000 $1,900,000 $2,200,000
Joc Pederson 3.023 $555,000 $2,000,000 $2,800,000 $2,600,000
Pedro Baez 3.059 $550,000 $1,500,000 $1,400,000 $1,500,000
Kiké Hernandez 3.054 $550,000 $1,300,000 $1,650,000 $1,600,000
Yimi Garcia 3.004 $550,000 $700,000 n/a $630,000
Dec 29

Cue Felix Mendelssohn

There have been or will be not one, not two, but six Dodger weddings this offseason. There might even be seven, but Kiké Hernandez and his fiancée may not have set a date yet.

Messrs. Ryu, Stripling, Wood, Turner, Barnes and Pederson have all either gotten hitched already or gotten engaged. Isn’t that sweet? See the pictures at True Blue LA’s link above.

All these gentlemen are obviously taking Satchel Paige’s advice, particularly his 4th rule: “Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.” Marriage will settle a man right down, I’ve heard.