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).

Aug 02

Game 110, 2018

Brewers at Dodgers, 6:00 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Dish455

The Brewers send ace RHP Jhoulys Chacín (10-3, 3.45 ERA) to the hill to face the Dodgers’ ace LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 2.52 ERA). Had Kershaw not been on the DL for nearly a month this season I suspect his W-L record would be as scintillating as his ERA is. Chacín has gone 18 innings in his last three starts and given up just three earned runs over that stretch. People are fussing about Kershaw’s lower velocity so far this year, but he’s still getting people out and his strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio of 9.17 is only one below what he averaged from 2014-2017.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1938 Bright yellow baseballs designed by Frederick Rah, who believes the visibility of the dandelion-hue sphere will help players avoid getting hit by a pitch, are used in the first game of a doubleheader. The one-game experiment draws mixed reactions and the Dodgers complete their sweep of the twin bill from the Cardinals, 6-2 and 9-3, using the traditional white ball in the nightcap.
  • 1982 During a ceremony held in Cooperstown, NY, the United States Postal Service unveils a 20-cent stamp commemorating baseball great Jackie Robinson as part of its annual Black Heritage series. The Dodger infielder becomes the first individual baseball player to be depicted on a U.S postage stamp.

  • 2002 Reds general manager Jim Bowden is fined by commissioner Bud Selig for the comments he made to reporters prior to yesterday’s game against the Dodgers comparing a baseball strike with the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Quickly realizing the use of such analogy was inappropriate and insensitive, the Cincinnati GM issues an immediate apology after the game.
  • 2008 In the first game after the Manny Ramirez trade to the Dodgers, the Fenway Faithful enthusiastically welcome Jason Bay, the player replacing the Boston icon. The former Pirates outfielder doesn’t disappoint, tripling and scoring the winning run in the 12th inning of the Red Sox’s 2-1 victory over the A’s.
  • 2017 The Dodgers lost to the Braves, ending their nine-game winning streak. Had they won it would have been the third time that season they’d have won ten straight. The bullpen gave up the go-ahead runs in the eighth inning at Sun Trust Park in Atlanta.

Lineup when available.


Turner’s back from the DL, which moves Machado back to SS. Muncy’s back after a day off and Bellinger moves to CF. That means Kemp and Taylor get the night off unless they’re need for pinch-hitting duties.

Jul 22

Game 99, 2018

Dodgers at Brewers, 11:10 AM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Dish455

The Dodgers try to win the rubber match with LHP Alex Wood (5-5, 3.92 ERA) pitching against the Brewers’ LHP Brent Suter (8-6, 4.39 ERA). We’re told Wood has “corrected a mechanical flaw” and is “pitching with more confidence.” He’s won four of his last six starts, averaging six innings in each of them. Suter tied for the team lead in wins at the All Star break with eight, but he’s been slumping. He’s given up 10 runs in 16 innings in his last three starts.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1913 In a game against the Superbas (Dodgers), Slim Sallee becomes the first pitcher in Cardinal history to steal home. In the third inning, the Redbird southpaw scores the first run in St. Louis’s 3-1 victory over Brooklyn at Ebbets Field.
  • 1966 The Mets left fielder learns he is a new dad when the Dodger Stadium scoreboard relays the message, “Congratulations, Ron Swoboda. Your new son is born tomorrow morning”. Cecilia Swoboda gave birth to Chipper, the couple’s first child, at 1:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time, making it the next day on the West Coast.
  • 2005 Yhency Brazoban records his 18th save when he works a perfect ninth inning as the Dodgers beat the Mets, 6-5. The Los Angeles freshman, who is filling in for injured closer Eric Gagne, breaks Steve Howe’s club rookie record for saves established in 1980.

Lineup when available.


Turner is back in the lineup. Whether he’s fully healthy is a different question.

Jul 20

Game 97, 2018

Dodgers at Brewers, 5:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Dish455

The visiting Dodgers send LHP Rich Hill (2-4, 4.55 ERA) to start the second not-quite-half of the season. He’ll face lefty Wade Miley (1-1, 2.38 ERA), who’s made just one start since coming off the 60-day DL where he’d been recovering from a right oblique injury (I hope Puig’s injury requires less time than that!). In that start he went five innings, walked five, struck out five, and gave up two runs. After a one-inning relief appearance on Sunday this will be Hill’s first start in ten days.

The Dodgers suddenly find themselves with as many as eight starting pitchers.

A six-man rotation is under consideration, especially for an initial stretch of 17 games in 17 days. It would include, in no particular order, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda and Walker Buehler. But Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is throwing off a mound, could come back next month. And Julio Urias, the lefty phenom who is recovering from shoulder surgery, theoretically could rejoin the rotation by the start of September, if not sooner.

That’s eight starters if everyone stays healthy, and the Dodgers would like to somehow use all of them.

“If healthy” is the operative phrase there.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1906 At St. Louis, Brooklyn hurler Mal Eason no-hits the Cardinals, 2-0. The ‘Kid’ was the losing pitcher when Johnny Lush pitched a no-hitter against the Superbas (Dodgers) in May.
  • 1951 In a game against the Reds with All-Star hurler Ewell Blackwell on the mound, the Giants, for the first time, employ their infamous scheme for stealing catchers’ signs using a telescope positioned in the centerfield clubhouse. The ‘Jints’ beat Cincinnati, 11-6, and New York will win 22 of the remaining 27 games at the Polo Grounds, overtaking the Dodgers to win the National League pennant.
  • 1970 Twenty-six year-old right-hander Bill Singer pitches the first Dodger no-hitter since Sandy Koufax’s departure when he keeps the Philadelphia batters hitless in a 5-0 victory at Chavez Ravine. The ‘Singer Throwing Machine,’ who spent 52 days on the disabled list earlier in the season recuperating from hepatitis, posts a 5-0 record along with a 1.84 ERA in July and will be named NL Player of the Month.
  • 2008 The Dodgers, with a five-run ninth-inning rally at Chase Field, beat the Diamondbacks, 6-5, and move into a flat-footed tie (48-50) with Arizona for first place in the National League West. Andre Ethier has the key hit in the comeback victory, a go-ahead triple off the center-field wall, as D-Back closer Brandon Lyon, pitching in his third consecutive game, couldn’t hold a three-run lead.

Lineup when available. This is the first one with newly-hired Manny Machado in it.


As long as Turner’s ailing, it puts off the “where do we play Muncy” decision.

Speaking of JT, he and Alex Wood had a boisterous reaction to Machado’s acquisition:


Jun 19

Game 72, 2018

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, ABC 7

For the Dodgers it’ll be LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 6.20 ERA) in the nightcap of this forced doubleheader. He has had a rough start to 2018, starting just six games and lasting just 24 2/3 innings in the first 2 1/2 months of the season. He’s been on the DL twice, first with a cracked fingernail and then with a blister. Mike Montgomery (2-2, 3.31 ERA) will start for the Cubs. This will be his 23rd appearance. The first 18 were in relief, but he’s started in his last four games. He’s got an impressive 1.14 ERA over those starts in 23 2/3 innings, too.


Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1952 Carl Erskine throws a no-hitter against the Cubs in the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory at Ebbets Field. A third inning walk to the opposing pitcher, which accounts for the only runner to reach base, may have been a result of skipper Chuck Dressen telling the 25 year-old right-hander to speed up his pitches due to an impending storm.
  • 1963 At Yankee Stadium, the Mayor’s Trophy Game is revived, with the cellar-dwelling Mets beating the mighty Yanks, 6-2. Prior to leaving for the West Coast, the Dodgers would play the Bronx Bombers in the annual midsummer exhibition contest to raise money for sandlot baseball teams.
  • 1972 At Three Rivers Stadium, Roberto Clemente hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to become the Pirates’ all-time RBI leader. The Pittsburgh right fielder’s three ribbies in the 13-3 drubbing of the Dodgers give the future Hall of Famer a total of 1,274 runs batted in for the Bucs.
  • 1973 In different games, the Reds’ Pete Rose and Dodger Willie Davis both collect their 2,000th career hit. The Cincinnati infielder, known as ‘Charlie Hustle’, reaches the milestone with a single against San Francisco in the Reds’ 4-0 victory at Candlestick Park, and the L.A. outfielder, known as ‘3-Dog’, reaches the plateau in front of the home crowd with a two-run home run in the team’s 3-0 victory over Atlanta.
  • 1990 Gary Carter breaks a National League mark when he catches his 1,862nd career game in the Giants’ 4-3 loss to San Diego. The ‘Kid’ surpasses Al Lopez, who had established the record for backstops in 1946, after playing 18 seasons in the Senior Circuit with the Dodgers, Braves, and Pirates.

Also of note: In 2003 during a College World Series contest against Stanford, a pitch strikes Cal State Fullerton shortstop Justin Turner on the left side of his face as he attempts to bunt. Adding insult to injury, the future Mets and Dodgers infielder also suffers a broken ankle on the play when he unsuccessfully tries to avoid getting hit by the 87-mph fastball thrown by Matt Manship.

Lineup when available.


May 15

Game 41, 2018

Dodgers at Marlins, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-F

LHP Alex Wood (0-3, 3.60 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers against the Marlins’ LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-2, 10.22 ERA). This will be Wood’s ninth start. He has pitched better than his record indicates as opponents are hitting only .219 against him. Chen has been far better at home than on the road this year, which bodes well for him this evening.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1919 After 12 scoreless innings at Ebbets Field, the Reds score ten runs in the 13th inning to beat Al Mamaux and the Dodgers, 10-0. Cincinnati starter Hod Eller, who tossed a no-hitter in his previous start, is the beneficiary of the blowout.
  • 1956 Sal Maglie, obtained on waivers by Cleveland last season from the Giants, is shipped to the Dodgers for a hundred dollars after impressing Brooklyn in an exhibition game. The ‘Barber’ will post a 13-5 record along with a 2.89 ERA for the eventual NL Champs, finishing second to teammate Don Newcombe in the balloting for both the Cy Young and MVP awards.
  • 1998 On the day the Marlins trade Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios to the Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile, the team hangs on to beat the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, 8-7. In the first inning, the Fish connect for nine consecutive hits, a franchise record, and score seven runs, all without the help of their recently departed teammates.

Turner and Forsythe both return. I hope they’re both fully recovered and not trying to come back too soon.

Lineup when available.


Apr 15

Game 14, 2018

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A

The D-Backs go for a second consecutive sweep of a series against the Dodgers this season, putting RHP Zach Godley (2-0, 0.64 ERA) on the mound against the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 1.89 ERA). Godley went seven innings against the Giants his last time out, giving up four hits and no runs. Kershaw went seven innings, also against the Giants, and gave up one run on six hits in a game the Dodgers won in ten innings.

ESPN reports that Forsythe left the game with shoulder discomfort and will have an MRI Sunday. Kiké Hernandez and Kyle Farmer are expected to play third until that’s resolved. On Saturday Justin Turner “played catch while wearing a glove on his right hand as he assisted with infield practice.” There’s no timetable for his return yet, Manager Roberts said.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1909 On Opening Day, the Superbas are no-hit by the Giants’ Red Ames for 9.1 innings. The Polo Grounds contest will go thirteen innings before Brooklyn defeats the 26 year-old right-hander, 3-0.
  • 1930 On Opening Day, Phillies’ southpaw Les Sweetland throws a three-hitter at Ebbets Field. The 28 year-old southpaw doubles and scores the lone run in the eighth inning of his 1-0 complete-game victory over Brooklyn.
  • 1933 In his major league debut, Tigers rookie Lynwood “Schoolboy” Rowe tosses a six-hitter, blanking the White Sox, 3-0. During his 15-year career, playing also with the Dodgers and Phillies, Rowe will compile a 158-101 record, posting an ERA of 3.87.
  • 1947 A year before President Truman desegregated the military, Jackie Robinson debuts for the Dodgers, becoming the first black player to participate in a major league game this century. In front of 25,623 Ebbets Field fans, the 28 year-old first baseman is hitless in three at-bats, but scores a run in the 5-3 Opening Day victory over the Braves.
  • 1958 On Opening Day, the transplanted New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers play the first major league game on the West Coast. The California contest sees Ruben Gomez blanking Los Angeles and Don Drysdale at San Francisco’s Seals Stadium, 8-0.
  • 1959 Cardinal right-hander Bob Gibson makes his major league debut at LA Memorial Coliseum, tossing the final two innings in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers. The 23 year-old rookie becomes the first future Hall of Fame hurler to give up a home run to the first batter he faces in the major leagues when third baseman Jim Baxes takes him deep in the seventh inning.
  • 2004 Major league baseball begins the tradition of Jackie Robinson Day, an annual celebration commemorating the day the color line was broken in 1947. At big league venues across the country ceremonies are being held to honor the ground-breaking historic event, including baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Jackie’s widow Rachel Robinson attending the festivities at Shea Stadium.
  • 2005 The Dodgers, to commemorate the 58th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game in the big leagues, wear replicas of the old road uniforms worn by the 1947 team which played in Brooklyn. Right-hander Derek Lowe throws a three-hitter, blanking the Padres in San Diego, 4-0.
  • 2007 To honor Jackie Robinson, some players on each team, including Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter and Braves’ outfielder Andruw Jones, wear the Dodger immortal’s uniform No. 42 on the 60th anniversary of his historic breaking the color barrier in baseball. In the Cardinals and Brewers contest at Busch Stadium, every player and coach on both teams dons Jackie’s revered number.

Lineup when available.


Mar 29

Opening Day, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 4:08 PM PDT, ESPN

It’ll be LHP Ty Blach for the visiting Giants and LHP Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. Blach has been very good at Dodger Stadium in his four appearances: he’s got a 1.38 ERA. Kershaw will be making his eighth Opening Day start for the Dodgers, a new franchise record. He had previously shared the record of seven with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton. This will be Kershaw’s 41st career start against the Giants: he’s 22-9 with a 1.60 ERA in the first 40.

The Dodgers are virtually the same team as the NL Champions of last year, albeit temporarily without third baseman and team leader Justin Turner. They do have a left-field platoon which includes prodigal Matt Kemp; I think it’s fair to say most fans didn’t expect to see him still here on Opening Day. And I wonder: Andre Ethier is still a free agent and would have been cheaper to keep than Kemp is.

This is the 12th season opener between the clubs since they moved west in 1958. The Giants have won 6 of the previous 11.

An Opening Day Quiz from George Will at the Washington Post. I started off like a house afire and faded in the later innings. I scored 21 of 41.

Lineup when available.

Kiké hitting cleanup. O-o-o-kay.

Mar 19

Turner breaks wrist, out weeks

This is a fine how-do-you-do.

Dodgers All-Star third baseman Justin Turner suffered a small non-displaced fracture of his left wrist Monday night when hit by a Kendall Graveman pitch. He will open the season on the disabled list and be re-examined by local hand specialist, Dr. Brian Shafer, on Tuesday to determine how long he will be sidelined.

General manager Farhan Zaidi said this type of injury is “usually on the order of weeks” and surgery probably won’t be necessary. He said the club is not looking to replace Turner with an acquisition because of confidence in its internal depth.

Video of the incident and of Manager Dave Roberts talking about the injury at this link.

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.