Oct 15

NLDS Game Two, 2017

Cubs at Dodgers., 4:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

Two grizzled lefties have at one another in Game Two: 33-year-old Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA) for the Cubbies and 37-year-old Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA) for the Dodgers. Lester is the active leader in postseason innings pitched with 143 1/3. He worked 9 2/3 innings in the NLDS against the Nationals, making one start and giving up only two runs for a 1.86 ERA. He’s 2-3 with a 3.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers. Hill gave up two runs on three hits in four innings against the D-Backs in Game Two of the NLDS. He’s only faced the Cubs twice in his career, once in 2011 and once last year in Game Three of the NLCS when he went six scoreless innings.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1946 In Game 7 of the World Series, the Cardinals beat the Red Sox, 4-3, when Enos Slaughter streaked home from first on Harry Walker’s single. The play surprises everyone, including cut-off man shortstop Johnny Pesky who hesitates, as legend has it, throwing the ball home.
  • 1970 Brooks Robinson is selected as the World Series Most Valuable Player after batting .429 (9/21) and driving in six runs during the five-game set against Cincinnati. The Orioles’ third baseman becomes the first player to be named the MVP in the Fall Classic, an All-Star game (1966), and for his league (AL-1964).
  • 1988 In his only plate appearance in the Fall Classic, a limping Kirk Gibson, appearing as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in the ninth inning of Game 1, sends a two-out, 3-2 back-door slider from the A’s relief ace Dennis Eckersley over the right field fence. It’s the first time a World Series game is ever decided on a come-from-behind home run in the final inning.

Lineup when available.

Oct 07

NLDS Games Two, 2017

First game: Cubs at Nationals, 2:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

The visiting Cubs trot out veteran (133 2/3 playoff innings!) LHP Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA), who made two starts against the Nats this season and came away with no decisions but a 2.84 ERA. He’ll face LHP Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.86 ERA), who saw the Nationals just once this year; he gave up two hits and five walks over six innings and took the loss in June.

Second game: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The D-Backs send LHP Robbie Ray (15-5, 2.89 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers, three days after pitching 2 1/3 innings of relief and making 34 pitches in the Wild Card game. He’ll face LHP Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA), who was 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA in four starts against the D-Backs this season. That ERA was skewed by one bad game in which they scored six runs in 3 2/3 innings against him.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1952 In the decisive Game 7, the Yankees beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 4-2, to win their fourth consecutive World Championship. Gil Hodges finishes the Fall Classic hitless in twenty-one at-bats, which had prompted some Brooklyn fans to gather at local churches asking for divine help for their beloved first baseman.
  • 1977 In Game 3 of the NLCS, the Dodgers rally for three runs with none on and two outs in the top of the ninth inning to take a one-run lead in their eventual 6-5 victory over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium. The game appeared to be over when LA’s Davey Lopes is picked off first base for the final out, but a throwing error by Gene Garber advances him to second base, from where he will score the decisive run on Bill Russell’s single.
  • 1978 In Game 4 of the NLCS, Ron Cey scores in the 10th inning on Bill Russell’s two-out game winning single, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Phillies and their second consecutive National League pennant. Cey, who walked after the first two batters were retired, advanced into scoring position when Garry Maddox misplayed Dusty Baker’s fly ball in center field.

  • 2001 Barry Bonds extends his major league record for home runs in a season to 73 as he drives a 3-2 first inning knuckleball off Dodger Dennis Springer over the right field fence. The blast also secures two more major league records for the Giants’ left fielder when he surpasses Babe Ruth (1920 – .847) with a .863 season slugging percentage and bests Mark McGwire (1998 – one HR every 7.27 AB) by homering in every 6.52 at-bats.
  • 2006 The Mets defeat Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, 9-5, to complete a three-game sweep in the NLDS. The Dodgers have won only one postseason game in 13 attempts since beating the A’s in the 1988 World Series.

Lineup when available.

May 28

Game 51, 2017

Cubs at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-C, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Two lefties go at one another in a Sunday afternoon game: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) of the Cubs faces Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA) of the Dodgers. The last six times the Dodgers have beaten the Cubs they’ve shut them out.

Lester pitched a four-hit complete game against the Giants his last time on the mound, giving up one run, striking out ten and still keeping his pitch count at 99. Kershaw didn’t get a decision in his last outing against the Cardinals despite going nine innings and giving up only one run and three hits with a pitch count of 104.

Numerology: “Kershaw has a 2.18 ERA vs. the Cubs and has limited Chicago batters to a .218 batting average.”

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1957 Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham are given permission by the National League to negotiate deals with cities on the West Coast, with the proviso that the future location of their respective clubs, the Dodgers and the Giants, be known by October 1. The Brooklyn and New York owners both deny there is any significance to the unanimous vote other than being given an opportunity to explore all the available options for their possible relocation of their clubs.
  • 1988 The Expos scored a run in the 10th off Jay Howell in Montreal as the Dodgers wasted a nine-inning five-hitter from Fernando Valenzuela.
  • 2001 In an 11-inning slugfest with Colorado, LA catcher Paul Lo Duca goes 6-for-6 in the team’s 11-10 victory at Dodger Stadium. The backstop’s five singles and a three-run homer tie a National League record for hits in an extra-inning game.

Lineup when available.

Apr 10

Game 8, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:10PM PT, TV: ESPN (No SPNLA today)

It’ll be lefty Alex Wood (0-0, 0.00 ERA) making the start for the Dodgers, replacing Rich Hill (on the 10-day DL with a blister). Wood has made one appearance this year, against the Padres April 5. He threw two scoreless innings in relief of Hill in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win that day.

He’ll face lefty Jon Lester (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who went five-plus innings on Opening Day against the Cardinals in a game the Cubs eventually lost 4-3. Lester’s only 33, but it feels like he’s been around forever. He’s 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA in five career regular-season starts against the Dodgers.

The Cubs get their World Series rings and the Championship banner today, and that’s nice, but Dave Roberts is less than enthusiastic:

“Is it inspiring to see? No,” he said. “I think it’s great for the Cubs and great for their fans, and it’s been a long time coming. But for our guys to be on the line for 45 minutes to watch the rings when it’s 40 degrees, I don’t know how inspiring that will be.”

Lineup when available.

Joc starting against this left-hander.

Oct 20

NLCS Game Five, 2016

Cubs at Dodgers, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

On paper the pitching matchup looks to favor the Cubs; LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) faces RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA). Lester has pitched 14 innings in the playoffs and given up just one run; Maeda hasn’t made it into the fifth inning in either playoff start and has a 9.00 ERA over the seven cumulative innings he’s pitched.

Said in Chris Berman’s affected voice: “That’s why they play the games.”

Lineup:

Oct 15

NLCS Game One, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

I’m pretty sure when RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) signed with the Dodgers last off-season he didn’t expect to be starting Game One of the NLCS. Nonetheless, that’s what he’s doing. He’ll face LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) of the Cubs. Yes, another lefty. Maeda started Game Three against the Nats in the NLDS and gave up four runs on five hits in three innings. Lester started Game One of the other NLDS against the Giants and threw eight shutout innings to pick up the win.

We all know the history here: the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988, but that pales in comparison to the Cubs, who haven’t made it to a Series since 1945 and haven’t won one since 1908. What more needs to be said?

In case you missed it, yesterday Orel Hershiser posted this:

I don’t know why Twitter isn’t posting those in normal format. Click the Pic link to see the Dodgers’ roster for the NLCS.

Someone post the lineup when it’s up; I’ll be dining out at game time (what was the committee thinking)?

Oct 07

Divisional Series AL Games Two, NL Games One, 2016

Beginning at 10:00AM PT, there are four Division Series games on tap this Friday. First is Game Two of the Blue Jays-Rangers series, then at 1:30PM PT it’s Game Two of the Red Sox-Indians series. Next at 2:30PM PT is Game One of the Dodgers-Nationals NLDS, and then to close the day out Game One of the Giants-Cubs NLDS begins at 6:00PM PT.

Toronto at Texas, TV: TBS, SportsNet

The Jays start LHP J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA), who ended the season with a rush, putting up a 2.35 ERA over his last five starts. He’ll face RHP Yu Darvish (7-5, 3.41 ERA), who’s 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts against Toronto. Darvish finished strongly too, allowing one run and five hits with 21 strikeouts in 13 innings in wins over the A’s and Rays to end his regular season.

Boston at Cleveland, TV: TBS

The Red Sox send LHP David Price (17-9, 3.99 ERA) to the hill to face RHP Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA). Price has been an ace everywhere he’s pitched, but in the postseason he’s been unable to replicate his regular season performances. He’s 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 14 career postseason appearances, with both of those wins coming in relief. Kluber skipped his last scheduled start with a tight quadriceps and has had ten days of rest.

San Francisco at Chicago, TV: FS1

The Giants ask RHP Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA) to pick up where Bumgarner left off in the Wild Card game, which might not be unthinkable: Cueto’s last start in the postseason was a complete game 1-0 shutout of the Mets in the 2015 World Series. He closed the season with a 4-0 record and 1.78 ERA in five starts in September. His opponent will be LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA), who’s had plenty of postseason experience himself, going 6-6 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 games, 14 of which were starts. He finished the season with a flourish, going 9-1 with a 1.46 ERA in his last 12 starts.

Los Angeles at Washington, TV: FS1. Announcer Kenny Albert with Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci serving as analysts and Jon Paul Morosi contributing reports. Radio: ESPN. Dave O’Brien does play-by-play and Jim Bowden is the analyst.

The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) to the mound to make his tenth postseason start. He’s had bad luck in previous playoff appearances, going just 2-6 with an ERA of 4.59 in his career. He spent two months on the disabled list this year but came back to go 1-2 with a 1.29 ERA in the five starts he made in September and October. He’ll face RHP Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA), who’s gone 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in twelve postseason appearances, all with Detroit. The Nationals have some serious injury worries which may have an impact on this series: C Wilson Ramos is out for the year, P Stephen Strasbourg won’t pitch until the next round if Washington gets that far, 2B Daniel Murphy has made one game appearance since September 20 and RF Bryce Harper has both a jammed left thumb and a sore neck.

Lineup:

Aug 28

Game 130, 2016

Cubs at Dodgers, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-C, TBS

Lefty Jon Lester (14-4, 2.81 ERA) goes for the Cubs and RHP Brock Stewart (0-2, 11.25 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers. Lester’s been pitching even better than his record looks: he’s 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA since the All-Star break. In Stewart’s first two career starts in the big leagues he’s given up 14 earned runs and five dingers.

Lineup:

Jun 01

Game 54, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN, ESPN (out-of-market only)

The Dodgers send righty Mike Bolsinger (1-1, 4.50 ERA) out to face the Cubs’ lefty Jon Lester (5-3, 2.48 ERA). Lester is 1-2 with a 5.19 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers, and Bolsinger has had even fewer appearances against the Cubs.

Lineup: