Oct 24

World Series Game Four, 2020

Dodgers vs Rays, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FOX

The visiting Dodgers ask LHP Julio Urias to keep the ball rolling toward a championship. All he’s done so far is go 4-0 this postseason with an ERA of 0.56 over four games, three in relief. He’ll face the Rays’ LHP Ryan Yarbrough to start; he went five innings in Game Three of the ALCS against the Astros and got the win, so he’s not necessarily filling the role of “opener,” but he might be pulled from the game early.

You may have heard that Justin Turner tied Duke Snider for most postseason career home runs for the Dodgers (remember, casual fans, that the Duke’s postseasons were limited to World Series games). Here are all of them:

Baseball history has many events on October 24, but none really includes the Dodgers or Rays except for 1972 when Jackie Robinson, weakened by heart disease complications and diabetes, dies of a heart attack in his North Stamford (CT) home. The 53 year-old nearly blind baseball pioneer and social activist’s death comes nine days after his appearance at the World Series, where he threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.

Lineups:

Dodgers:

Rays:

Oct 15

NLCS Game Four, 2020

Dodgers vs Braves, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Dodgers once more ask LHP Clayton Kershaw to be their ace and get them back to even in the series, which the Braves still lead 2-1 despite the bludgeoning they took yesterday. Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 14 postseason innings this year. The Braves hand the ball to yet another rookie (in nine postseason games they’ve started six rookie pitchers), a righthander named Bryse Wilson. This will be his first postseason appearance. He was 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA in six games in 2020, two of which were starts. It’s not expected that Wilson will be in the game very long, but he could be the reincarnation of Howard Ehmke. Who knows?

Let’s hope the Dodgers repeat yesterday’s first-inning exploits:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1981 With Dave Righetti, Ron Davis, and Goose Gossage combining to shut out Oakland, 4-0, the Yankees sweep the A’s to capture their thirty-third American League pennant. The Bronx Bombers will face the Dodgers in the World Series for the third time in the past five Fall Classics.
  • 1988 In his only plate appearance in the Fall Classic, a limping Kirk Gibson, appearing as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Game 1, sends a two-out, 3-2 pitch from relief ace Dennis Eckersley over the right-field fence, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 victory over the A’s. The round-tripper marks the first time a World Series game ends on a come-from-behind home run in the final inning.
  • 2008 In Game 5 of the NLCS, the visiting Phillies beat the Dodgers, 5-1, to win their first pennant since 1993. Southpaw Cole Hamels, the series MVP, hurls his third postseason gem, and Jimmy Rollins starts the Philadelphia attack with a leadoff home run to start the game.
  • 2017 Twenty-nine years later to the day, Justin Turner follows Kirk Gibson into franchise folklore when he hits a postseason walk-off three-run home run in the 12th inning of the LA’s 4-1 victory over the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS. In 1988, a hobbled Kirk Gibson, in his only Fall Classic appearance, came off the bench to hit one of the most memorable round-trippers in World Series history, giving the Dodgers a come-from-behind victory against the A’s in Game 1.

Lineups:

Braves:

Dodgers:

Sep 26

Game 59, 2020

Angels at Dodgers, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-W, SPNLA

RHP Dylan Bundy (6-3, 3.29 ERA) goes for the Angels while RHP Tony Gonsolin (1-2, 1.77 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers. Bundy has not been at his best in September: he’s got a 4.91 ERA in the four starts he’s made this month. Gonsolin’s start today may set him up to start Game Three of the Wild Card Series next week if one’s needed. Opponents have a 0.787 WHIP against him for the year, so how do you argue against him?

Here are JT’s two dingers from yesterday’s game:

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1908 Cubs right-hander Ed Reulbach pitches two shutouts in the same day, whitewashing the Brooklyn Superbas in the opener 5-0 on a five-hitter and 3-0 on three hits in the nightcap. The entire Washington Park doubleheader takes less than three hours to complete.
  • 1954 Willie Mays, with three hits in the season finale, wins the batting title, finishing the campaign with a .345 average. The ‘Say Hey Kid’ goes third to first in batting average with his performance passing teammate Don Mueller (.342) and Dodger center fielder Duke Snider (341).1975 Burt Hooton sets a Dodger record for starting pitchers by winning his twelfth consecutive game. The 25 year-old right-hander, who was traded to LA in May for Eddie Solomon and Geoff Zahn, accomplishes the feat by beating J.R. Richard and the Astros at Dodger Stadium, 3-2.
  • 1981 Nolan Ryan becomes the first pitcher to throw five no-hitters when the Astros defeat the Dodgers at the Astrodome, 5-0. The Ryan Express, who will finish his 27-year major league career with a record seven no-hitters, previously has thrown hitless gems against the Royals (1973), Tigers (1973), Twins (1974), and Orioles (1975).

  • 1997 Dodger catcher Mike Piazza, in a 10-4 win over the Rockies, hits the longest home run in the history of Coors Field. The 28 year-old backstop’s sixth-inning blast travels 496 feet and hits the left-center field billboard between the scoreboard and the Rockpile.

Lineup when available.

Sep 15

Game 49, 2020

Dodgers at Padres, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: FSSD, SPNLA

RHP Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 1.57 ERA) gets back to his starting role after an unexpected stint in relief of Dustin May after May’s foot injury last Thursday. He’ll face RHP Zach Davies (7-2, 2.48 ERA), who is apparently the changeup artist in all of baseball, using it to great effect: opponents are hitting .175 against it.

Highlights of yesterday’s game are few, so here’s the postseason schedule instead.

The best-of-three Wild Card Series, best-of-five Division Series and best-of-seven League Championship Series will each take place without any off-days in between games. Teams will have to decide whether to use the traditional five-man rotation, or utilize four starting pitchers, with the potential for as many as three of them pitching on short rest.

Each series will be preceded by at least one off-day, though more are possible depending on when other series are completed.

The 116th World Series is slated to start with Game 1 on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Globe Life Field in Arlington. A potential Game 7 is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The Dodgers have activated IF Justin Turner and optioned RHP Josh Sborz.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1946 In Brooklyn, a giant swarm of gnats engulfs Ebbets Field at the end of the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader. The nightcap is called due to the bothersome insects and the impending darkness, resulting in a 2-0 Dodger victory over the Cubs.
  • 1950 At Ebbets Field, Cardinal starter Cloyd Boyer hurts his arm while warming up and is replaced by Red Munger. The reliever goes the distance, beating the Dodgers, 6-2, getting credit for a complete game, but not for a game started.
  • 1978 Don Sutton, in front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. Los Angeles, with tonight’s attendance, becomes the major league first team in history to draw three million fans at home.
  • 1995 Ozzie Smith takes part in the 1,554th twin killing of his career to set a new big league record for double plays. The Cardinals’ shortstop’s wizardry isn’t enough to prevent the Redbirds’ 7-6 loss to the Dodgers at Busch Stadium.

Lineup when available.

Sep 01

Game 37, 2020

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

With six days rest LHP Julio Urias (2-0, 3.67 ERA) goes for the home team. He’ll face the D-Backs’ LHP Alex Young (1-1, 4.70 ERA), who will be making his fourth start as the replacement for an injured Madison Bumgarner. Urias has been “throwing his fastballs slower and his offspeed pitches faster than last year,” says MLB. In Young’s last start he gave up three runs on five hits over five innings.

The D-Backs traded their crusty relief pitcher Archie Bradley to the Reds over the weekend, so the Dodgers won’t have to face him anytime soon.

Here are the three home runs which the Dodgers hit on Sunday to set the NL record for most dingers in a month:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1890 On Labor Day at Brooklyn’s Washington Park, the Bridegrooms, later to be known as the Dodgers, win all three games against Pittsburgh in the first tripleheader ever played. The home team sweeps the visiting Alleghenys, who will be renamed the Pirates next season, 10-9, 3-2, and 8-4.
  • 1953 The Cardinals tie a major league mark, hitting five homers in a 12-5 loss to Brooklyn at Ebbets Field. The solo shots hit by Stan Musial, Harry Elliot, Rip Repulski, and Steve Bilko (2), all off starter Preacher Roe, aren’t enough to offset the Dodgers’ 17-hit attack, which includes six doubles but no round-trippers.
  • 1969 At Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis ties the franchise record by hitting in 29 consecutive games with his second-inning single in LA’s 10-6 victory over New York. The mark was established by Zack Wheat in 1916.

Lineup when available.

Aug 29

Game 35, 2020

Dodgers at Rangers, 4:05 PM PDT, TV: FSSW, MLBN free game-of-the-day, SPNLA

The Dodgers send RHP Ross Stripling (3-1, 5.46 ERA) to the mound against the Rangers’ RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 1.59 ERA). Stripling’s first start was excellent (7 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 7 Ks) and he’s been getting progressively worse ever since. In his last start he went just four innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He leads the majors in HRs allowed with 10 in 29 2/3 innings. Lynn has had a great start and is being mentioned as a trade possibility given the woes his Rangers are having. He’s made seven starts against the Dodgers in his career and gone 3-1 with a 3.69 ERA.

Here’s Mitch White’s MLB debut yesterday:

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1939 Wheaties sponsors the first telecast of a baseball game when their ads are aired during the Ebbets Field contest between the Reds and the Dodgers. The commercial broadcast is available only in New York City, where an estimated 500 people own television sets.
  • 1948 Jackie Robinson hits for the backward cycle when he homers in the first inning, triples in the fourth, doubles in the sixth, and completes the rare event with a single in the eighth. In addition to his ten total bases, the Dodger second baseman drives in two runs, scores three times, and steals a base, helping Brooklyn beat the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park, 12-7.
  • 1951 With his second home run of the game, the sixth time he has accomplished the feat this year, Gil Hodges hits his 36th round-tripper to establish a new franchise record for homers in a season. The Dodger first baseman’s seventh-inning three-run blast in the team’s 13-1 rout of Cincinnati at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field surpasses the mark of 35 set by Babe Herman in 1930.
  • 1989 Giving up just three singles, recently acquired Mets southpaw Frank Viola outduels Orel Hershiser and beats the Dodgers, 1-0. The classic contest between two aces marked the first time in baseball history that the reigning winners of the Cy Young Award have faced one another in the regular season.

Cultural history note: On this date in 1966: On a typically cool night, the Beatles play their final concert at Candlestick Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. The “Fab Four’s” performance on a five-foot stage, which is located just behind second base surrounded by a six-foot high wire fence, is less than stellar due the ballpark’s inadequate lighting, poor acoustics, and the group’s growing disdain of doing live shows.

Lineup:

Aug 14

Game 21, 2020

Dodgers at Angels, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-W, SPNLA

LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 3.60 ERA) pitches for the visiting Dodgers against the Angels’ LHP Patrick Sandoval (0-1, 2.70 ERA). Kershaw gave up three homers to the Giants (the Giants!) and lasted only 4 1/3 innings. Sandoval’s last start was pretty good: he went six innings against the Rangers and gave up just two runs.

The LA Times has a whole bevy of interesting Dodgers stories today:

In Houston Mitchell’s Dodgers Dugout he lists all the Dodgers (Brooklyn and LA) who have hit three homers in a game; I was surprised to see that Adrian Gonzalez had done it twice while in a Dodgers uniform, and of the current players, Pollock, Turner, Seager and Hernandez have all done it in the last three years.

The LA Times’s game story recapping Mookie Betts’ 3-HR game is full of quotes from the happy guy.

The LA Times’s Bill Plaschke writes about his experience with COVID-19 in his column today.

Yesterday’s game had so many highlights that it takes five minutes of video to show them all:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1919 In a total of two hours and seventeen minutes, the Dodgers and Cubs split a doubleheader. In the opener, the Cubs blank Brooklyn 2-0, in one hour and ten minutes, and in the nightcap, it takes the Dodgers one hour and seven minutes to shut out Chicago, 1-0.
  • 1932 Brooklyn’s 10-inning, 2-1 victory over the Giants at the Polo Grounds makes reliever John Quinn, at the age of 49, the oldest player to win a major league game. Johnny Frederick, who will have a total of only six home runs during the entire season, hits a ninth inning game-tying homer off Carl Hubbell, his fourth round-tripper as a pinch hitter, establishing a new major-league record.

Also, in 2015 the Padres’ Matt Kemp hits a ninth-inning triple to complete the cycle, making him the first player in the 35-year history of the franchise to accomplish the feat. The San Diego outfielder’s home run in the first, single in the third, and double in the seventh contribute to the team’s 9-5 victory over Colorado at Coors Field.

Lineup:

Jul 28

Game 5, 2020

Dodgers at Astros, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, FS1, SPNLA

The Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler makes his first start of the season. Also making his first start of the year is the Astros’ LHP Framber Valdez, who’s in his second full season in the big leagues.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Astros’ sign-stealing methods of 2017 were revealed in the off-season.

A number of Astros players and coaches apologized when spring camps opened in February, but many, including Dodgers center fielder and reigning National League MVP Award winner Cody Bellinger, were critical of the team’s response.

[snip]

Many of the core players [from the 2017 World Series] on both sides remain the same, including Bellinger, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen for the Dodgers, and José Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman for the Astros.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1991 Expos right-hander Dennis Martinez pitches a perfect game, defeating Los Angeles 2-0 at Dodger Stadium. Ron Hassey becomes the first backstop to ever catch two perfect games, as he also was behind the plate on May 15, 1981 when Indian hurler Len Barker faced 27 batters, beating the Blue Jays, 3-0.
  • 2017 Alex Wood won his twelfth game against just one loss, going seven innings while giving up eight hits and four runs to the Giants. The Dodgers came from behind with four runs in the seventh and won 6-4.

Lineup when available.

Jul 18

Opening day roster speculation

Who’s gonna be on it?

Pitchers: Pedro Báez, Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling, Blake Treinen, Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Brusdar Graterol and Dustin May

Starting depth could be an issue. After losing Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill (68 starts combined last year) over the offseason, the only veteran starters the Dodgers added were Price and Jimmy Nelson, but both are out for the season. That leaves Urías, Wood and youngsters May, Gonzalez and White to pick up those 68 starts.

Will Smith and Austin Barnes are the catchers. Infielders are Enrique Hernández, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios. Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, A. J. Pollack and Chris Taylor are the outfielders.

Subject to change at any moment, of course.