Jun 30

Game 82, 2017

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

Lefty Alex Wood (8-0, 1.86 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers and YALHP Clayton Richard (5-7, 4.42 ERA) takes the hill for the Padres.

Wood is having the best year of his career, partly because he’s making batters hit the ball on the ground 66.2 percent of the time. Richard is no slouch; he’s getting ground balls 60.1 percent of the time.

RBI asked “When a third strike is dropped by the catcher, why must the runner be thrown out at first?” This SABR article explains the origins and reasons.

The three-strike rule in 1845 takes this form: “Three balls being struck at and missed and the last one caught, is a hand out; if not caught is considered fair, and the striker bound to run.”

There’s lots more interesting history there. Read the whole article.

Kenley Jansen wants to be “the Kershaw of the bullpen.”

“He’s the guy here,” Jansen said. “Me, in my role in the bullpen, I’m the same thing, I’m the ace and the leader in my department. I have to take care of my responsibility.”

Seager’s not hurt, just easing back in to the day-to-day.

This date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1962 Sandy Koufax becomes the first Dodger southpaw to throw a no-hitter since Nap Rucker accomplished the feat in 1908 when he keeps the expansion Mets hitless in the team’s 5-0 victory in Los Angeles. The 26 year-old left-hander, en route to fanning 13, strikes out the first three batters he faces – Richie Ashburn, Rod Kanehl, and Felix Mantilla, on nine pitches to start the game with an immaculate inning.

     

  • 1973 With an 8-7 extra-inning loss to L.A. at Riverfront Stadium, the Reds finish the day 11 games behind the first-place Dodgers. Led by the eventual National League MVP Pete Rose, who will win the batting title with a .338 average, Cincinnati will go on a 60-26 tear to capture the Western Division by 3.5 games.
  • 1985 Pedro Guerrero ties a major league record by hitting 15 home runs in June when he goes deep off Bruce Sutter in his final at bat of the month. The eighth inning two-run round-tripper will prove to be the difference in the Dodgers’ 4-3 victory over Atlanta at Chavez Ravine.
  • 1997 Rangers’ hurler Bobby Witt becomes the first American League pitcher to hit a home run in a regular-season game in nearly 25 years. His round tripper off Ismael Valdes helps Texas to beat the Dodgers in interleague action, 3-2.

Lineup when available.

Mar 29

Freeway Series begins

The Dodgers and Angels put on their annual Freeway Series three-game show to end spring training for both teams starting Friday night. Opening Day is Monday, April 3 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.

Brandon McCarthy earned the #4 spot in the rotation. He’ll be preceded by Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill and followed by Hyun-jin Ryu. At least that’s the plan today.

Roberts added that Alex Wood, a finalist for the rotation, would share the long relief role with Ross Stripling. Rounding out the bullpen are closer Kenley Jansen, set-up man Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan and Chris Hatcher.

Barnes will likely be the backup catcher, although that’s not been formally announced. Kiké Hernandez hurt his wrist the other day and is questionable for the backup infielder spot until he shows it’s healed. If he can’t go, it’ll probably be Chris Taylor, and that might mean Van Slyke stays up too, since he can play center field and Taylor doesn’t. Additionally,

The Dodgers trimmed the roster before leaving Arizona on Wednesday, sending out seven players. Infielder Rob Segedin was optioned and reassigned were outfielders Tyler Holt and O’Koyea Dickson, pitcher Brandon Morrow, first basemen Cody Bellinger and Ike Davis, and infielder Charlie Culberson.

Nov 03

Now the offseason has officially begun

And it starts with the announcement that nine Dodgers are officially free agents. Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen top the list, followed by by starting pitchers Rich Hill and Brett Anderson, relievers Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell and Jesse Chavez, outfielder Josh Reddick and second baseman Chase Utley. Scott Kazmir and Carlos Ruiz could join the list depending on their respective opt-outs.

My personal opinion? Keeping Turner and Jansen should be management’s first priority. After that it’s mixed. I doubt they’ll keep Utley. I think I’d keep Blanton and Howell, I’d try to keep Hill, and I’d watch Reddick and Chavez go.

What do you think?

Jun 16

Game 68, 2016

Brewers at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI

The Brewers open up a four-game series with the Dodgers tonight, sending righthander Junior Guerra (3-1, 3.31 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.52 ERA). Kazmir walked five in his last start against the Giants and left after just five innings, but he’s won his last three decisions. Fun fact: when he throws his first pitch tonight Kazmir will become one of the small number of pitchers who have faced all thirty MLB teams over their careers. In other milestone news, Jansen’s save last night was his 161st as a Dodger. That ties Eric Gagne for most ever by a Dodger reliever.

The Brewers’ Braun (OF) and Lucroy (C) have both been mentioned in trade rumors. I can’t see the Dodgers wanting Braun, but they might want a catcher who’s less vulnerable to injury than Grandal has shown himself to be over his 160 games in a Dodgers uniform.

Lineup:

This is Venable’s first start in Dodger blue.

Dec 07

Winter meetings

Update: The Chapman trade is on hold until MLB finishes a domestic violence investigation of an incident involving Chapman and his girlfriend in October. It’s not pretty, although the police filed no charges.

Police interviewed multiple people, including Chapman, Chapman’s girlfriend, her brother and a man identified as Chapman’s driver, according to the report. No arrests were made “due to conflicting stories and a lack of cooperation from all parties involved,” the report said.

On Day One of the meetings the Dodgers have already traded for Aroldis Chapman, sending two prospects to the Reds. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Jose De Leon are not in the deal.

As the article suggests, getting an elite closer in a trade means your current elite closer may have some bad feelings, understandably so. What they’re going to do, or try to do, with Kenley Jansen is still up in the air.

Earlier in the day the Dodgers signed 34-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, a free agent who’d been with the Mariners for four years. Interestingly, he’s thrown fewer pitches in his career than Greinke, who’s three years younger.

They also signed 37-year-old infielder Chase Utley to a one-year deal for $7M, about half what he made last year, a season in which he never fully recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in January.

Jun 04

Game 54, 2015

Cardinals at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

It’s a pitching rematch of last Saturday’s game featuring the Cards’ Michael Wacha versus the Dodgers’ Carlos Frias. Frias won the first game 5-1, going seven innings and giving up just that (unearned) run. Wacha gave up just three hits but four earned runs, including a three-run homer to Yasmani Grandal in the sixth which chased him. It was Wacha’s only loss of the season so far: he’s 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA. Frias is 4-2 with a 4.29 ERA.

Regarding Kenley Jansen’s non-appearance in last night’s ninth inning, Mattingly said repeatedly “he just wasn’t available.”

Update:

I think Vassegh co-hosts Dodger Talk on AM570 radio in LA.

Lineup:

May 15

Game 35, 2015

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Clayton Kershaw goes for victory number 100 for the fifth time. His last time out he was roughed up (or nibbled to death) by the Rockies for five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t figure in the decision as the Dodgers recovered to win 9-5 at Coors Field. His opponent will be Eddie Butler, who pitched and lost the rain-shortened game last week, also at Coors.

The Dodgers could activate Kenley Jansen as early as today. Whether he’s immediately thrown into the closer role is up in the air.

Sports Illustrated has a nice story about the Dodgers’ defense and how it’s improved, particularly with Joc Pederson in center field.

Lineup when available.

Apr 05

Opening Day 2015

Padres at Dodgers, 1:10pm PT, Dodger Stadium

Here it is at last, the first day of the new season, with the changes the new management made over the winter soon to be on display.

Will Jimmy Rollins play better defense than Hanley Ramirez? Will Howie Kendrick hit better than Dee Gordon? Will Kershaw win a fourth Cy Young Award? Can he lead the National League in ERA for the fifth consecutive year? Will Hyun-Jin Ryu recover from his shoulder woes and win more than fourteen games? Can Kenley Jansen come back from his foot woes and regain his form as an elite closer? Will the Dodgers miss Matt Kemp’s bat more than they’ll be helped by Puig’s play in right field? Can Uribe play up to his standard of the past two years while remaining healthy enough to play 125 games or so? Can Justin Turner keep up his torrid hitting from last year while coming off the bench and playing all over the infield? Will Joc Pederson keep up the hitting he did in spring training? What’s going to happen with André Ethier?

Questions, we have questions. Today we start getting answers.

Lineup:

Oct 01

Walkoff win!

It’s not every day you see a manager pull a double switch which involves pulling the guy who hit a two-run home run earlier in the game and putting a relief pitcher in his spot. That’s what Don Mattingly did in this game, however, taking Andre Ethier out of the number-two spot and replacing him with closer Brandon League while putting little-used utility-man Elian Herrera in the number-nine spot. It paid off in spades when Herrera came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and lined a single off the glove of the drawn-in Marco Scutaro at second base, scoring Hanley Ramirez to give the Dodgers a 3 – 2 win and keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.

This was a tight game all evening, with the Dodgers falling behind 1 – 0 on a double by Buster Posey in the very first inning, scoring Scutaro, who’d walked. Ethier got the run back and one more with a booming home run to center field after a Mark Ellis single. The Dodgers had a chance to score an insurance run in the sixth inning, but Adrian Gonzalez’s career-high 47th double of the year was wasted when he was out at the plate on an excellent throw by Dodger cast-off Xavier Nady after a single by Shane Victorino. Then in the eighth inning the Giants tied the game on a double by Angel Pagan and a single by Scutaro, who took second on Victorino’s ill-advised throw to the plate. Fortunately for the Dodgers, pitcher Kenley Jansen got the next two Giants out with no further damage. League got the Giants out in the ninth, allowing a single by Aubrey Huff but no further damage. That set the stage for Herrera’s heroics in the bottom of the inning.

St. Louis defeated Cincinnati 4 – 2 earlier in the evening, reducing its magic number to one. The Dodgers’ only hope is to win the final two games against the Giants while the Reds defeat the Cardinals in the final two games of the season. That would leave the Dodgers and Cardinals with identical 87 – 75 records and force a one-game playoff between the two teams to determine which goes on to another one game playoff against the Atlanta Braves, who won the National League’s Wild Card #1.