Newly-inked manager Dave Roberts used his media availability requirement at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday of this week to answer a few questions:
On the position player side, Roberts said he expects Cody Bellinger to be an everyday player in 2019.
“Just the way he can defend and how he can affect a game and impact a game with his legs, with the bat, the goal is to have him out there and handle lefties and righties,” Roberts said.
“I think for Cody, it was a tough year,” Roberts said. “It was a grind for him with a slow start. But if you look at the surface line, it wasn’t bad. Now you kind of introduce the defense and the versatility, for a second-year player, still pretty good.”
Roberts said Muncy, Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández will all be options at second base, with Muncy also getting at-bats at first.
On the pitching side, Roberts said he sees Kenta Maeda and Alex Wood, who transitioned to bullpen roles by the end of 2018, as starters in 2019. Roberts said Ross Stripling will also compete for a starting job after an All-Star 2018 season.
I think Roberts was in a good mood, as shown by this:
On former Diamondbacks All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt going to the Cardinals:
“Goldy, he can stay in the (National League) Central as long as he wants. I’m trying to work on getting him to the American League next. But Goldy, one of my favorite players to watch. To get him out of our division is great. Hope he’s happy. I’ve got to send him flowers.”
Ex-Dodger Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.93 ERA) goes for the D-Backs and Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-1, 2.18 ERA) goes for the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. It could be argued this is the first of several “must-win” games the Dodgers face in the next couple of weeks. Greinke won his last start, but it was the first game he’d won in the month of August. His ERA for the month was 2.81, though, so he didn’t pitch all that badly. Ryu has come off a three-month stint on the DL showing no ill effects from the groin injury which put him there. In his last time out he scattered 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Padres, got two base hits and won the game.
Coincidentally, a year ago on this date the Dodgers and D-Backs faced off and Greinke pitched in that one too. His opponent was Maeda, and the D-Backs won handily.
Pedro Moura at The Athletic watched last night’s game and says the Dodgers have had a season-long “clutch” problem which bit them once again in the first game of this series, and they’re running out of time to fix it.
On this date in Dodgers’ history:
1950 In front of 14,226 fans at Ebbets Field, Gil Hodges becomes the fourth major leaguer in the century to hit four home runs in one game as Brooklyn routs the Braves, 19-3. The Dodger first baseman also ties the major league record for total bases with 17.
1959 Sandy Koufax fans 18 batters to establish a new National League record for a nine-inning game in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over San Francisco at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The left-hander’s performance equals the major league mark established in 1938 by Indians fireballer Bob Feller during a 4-1 loss to Detroit.
2010 The Dodgers trade a player to be named (infielder Tony Abreu) to the Diamondbacks in exchange for starter Jon Garland. The 31 year-old right-hander will post a 3-2 record with a 2.72 ERA in his six late-season starts for the Dodgers, before signing as a free agent with San Diego.
The Dodgers have to shake off Saturday night’s ninth-inning walk-off calamity and win this game to gain a split in the series against a team that’s only 1 1/2 games behind them in the hunt for first place in the NL West. To do so they’ll give LHP Rich Hill (5-4, 3.62 ERA) the ball. He’s 4-1 in his last seven games with a 2.41 ERA over those 37 1/3 innings. He’ll face RHP Chad Bettis (5-2, 5.62 ERA) of the Rockies. He’s made one start since returning from the disabled list where he’d been with a right middle finger blister, and that didn’t go well. He gave up nine runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Pirates.
Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling move to the bullpen for now. One wonders how the current relievers feel about that.
This day in Dodgers’ history:
1984 Former Dodgers Don Drysdale and Pee Wee Reese, along with Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew, American League hurler Rick Ferrell, and perennial All-Star shortstop Luis Aparicio are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In 2006 the Portland Beavers honor Rodney McCray, the former Vancouver Canadian who gain everlasting notoriety in 1991 when he literally ran through the right field plywood fence trying to catch Chip Hale’s fly ball in Portland’s Civic Stadium. The PCL team commemorates the memorable play with a bobble head promotion which features the moment of impact and renames the right field area of their current ballpark “McCray Alley.”
In a great moment of fan history, in 2014 Tim Pinkard, attending his first game at Minute Maid Park, catches two home run balls, both off the bat of the Astros’ DH Chris Carter. In the third inning of Houston’s 10-4 victory over Minnesota, the Springfield (VA) resident gets his first souvenir of the night when the ball rebounds off a sign in left field, and then in the fifth frame, against astronomical odds, catches the second round-tripper stroked by the same batter, which is a laser shot hit directly to his seat.
The Dodgers send RHP Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.73 ERA) to the mile-high mound at Coors Field tonight to face the Rockies’ Jon Gray (9-7, 4.73 ERA). Maeda’s ERA since the All Star break is 6.88 due mostly to four homer runs allowed, two of them three-run shots. Gray had a two-start trip to Albuquerque (it still seems weird to have a AAA team in that city that’s not affiliated with the Dodgers) and since his return has posted a 1.52 ERA in four starts.
This date in Dodgers’ history:
1979 Dodger hurler Don Sutton sets a franchise record with his 50th shutout, blanking San Francisco at Candlestick Park, 9-0. The 34 year-old right-hander has previously shared the mark with Don Drysdale. (Ed. note: 50! In his eleventh year Clayton Kershaw has a career total of 15!)
1995 The first forfeit in the majors in sixteen years occurs when the fans for the third time during the night throw promotional souvenir baseballs onto the Dodger Stadium field. At the time of the decision to halt the game, Los Angeles is trailing the Cardinals, 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
August 10 is a good day for pitchers: in 1971 at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, Juan Marichal records his 50th career shutout as the Giants blank the Expos, 1-0. The Dominican hurler’s ninth inning double helps to build the winning run.
RHP Lance McCullers (10-6, 4.06 ERA) tries to snap a personal three-game losing streak in which he’s got a 9.22 ERA over 13 2/3 innings. He’ll face the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.48 ERA), who was 2-1 for July but whose loss came in his last start of the month, when he gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Brewers.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1908 In Brooklyn, the last-place Cardinals blank the Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers), 3-0. The entire Washington Park contest is played with just one ball.
1941 Mickey Owens becomes the first catcher to handle three foul pop ups in one frame. The Brooklyn backstop’s third inning defense contributes to the Dodgers’ 11-6 victory over New York at Ebbets Field.
1942 In a military relief game at the Polo Grounds, which will be the last war-time twilight game played, Pee Wee Reese’s grand slam in the top of the ninth, which puts the Dodgers up 5-1, doesn’t count, because of the 9:10 pm government curfew. The game ends up as a 1-1 tie with the Giants.
1948 Ernie Harwell, filling in for Red Barber, who is recovering from a bleeding ulcer, calls his first major league game as the Dodgers beat the Cubs at Ebbets Field, 5-4. To obtain the future Hall of Fame broadcaster, Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey trades minor league catcher Cliff Daper to the Atlanta Crackers.
Tonight’s matchup is the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.27 ERA) versus the Brewers’ Freddy Peralta (4-2, 3.74 ERA). Peralta is a rookie who has control issues. Last time out he walked four and hit a batter and all five of those men scored. His ERA for July is 6.10. Maeda was cruising along in his last start until he gave up three runs in the seventh inning. That was the 16-inning game won by the Phillies when Plouffe hit a walk-off three-run dinger off Kiké Hernandez.
Here’s an oddity: with Jack Morris’s and Alan Trammel’s induction into the Hall of Fame Sunday, the ’84 Tigers are now represented. That means the 1981 Dodgers
are now the only championship team before 1997 that did not have a player who became a Hall of Famer. That Dodgers team included many players with long and successful careers — Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, Jerry Reuss, Dusty Baker and so on — but only Manager Tommy Lasorda has reached the Hall of Fame.
I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out any Hall of Fame member on the 1988 champs and the only one I can come up with is Don Sutton in the last season of his career. He was released in August before the season ended.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
2004 In a blockbuster trade, the Marlins deal Brad Penny, the winner of two World Series games last season, first baseman Hee Seop Choi, and southpaw prospect Bill Murphy (will be traded to the Diamondbacks tomorrow) to the Dodgers for backstop Paul Lo Duca, relief pitcher Guillermo Mota, and much-traveled outfielder Juan Encarnacion.
2017 Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre collects his 3000th hit when he doubles in the fourth inning in the Rangers’ 10-6 loss to the Orioles at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The twenty-year veteran, who has also spent time with the Dodgers, Mariners, and the Red Sox, is the first-ever Dominican-born player to reach the coveted milestone.
If any member of either team is awake enough to play well behind the two rested starting pitchers I’ll be surprised. The Dodgers send out their young righthander Walker Buehler (4-2, 3.45 ERA) to face the Phillies’ righty Jake Arrieta (7-6, 3.47 ERA). Buehler arrived in Philadelphia from Oklahoma City Tuesday. He’d been sent there as a roster move before the All Star break but didn’t pitch an inning for the team there on this latest visit. Arrieta started the year with two good months, going 5-2 in April and May. His June was awful: he lost four out of five starts. He’s bounced back in July to win two games and lose none so far.
Manager Dave Roberts says he expects Buehler “to stick around for a while.”
Injury updates were announced before Tuesday’s marathon. Tom Koehler is done for the year without throwing a pitch for the Dodgers. Puig and Baez are rehabbing in OKC and will be back for Thursday’s game in Atlanta, and Ryu is about to start rehabbing in the minors. The Dodgers expect him to make at least four starts before returning to the big club.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1962 At Sportsman’s Park, Stan Musial surpasses Giants’ legend Mel Ott as the National League’s all-time RBI leader. ‘Stan the Man’s’ two-run home run off Don Drysdale in a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers gives the Cardinals’ right fielder 1,862 career runs batted in with the Redbirds.
2017 The Dodgers defeat the Minnesota Twins to run their record to 70-31. Kenta Maeda gets his ninth win of the season and Josh Ravin posts his first save.
The Dodgers put RHP Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.12 ERA) on the mound in Philadelphia to face the Fightin’ Phils’ RHP Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.30 ERA). Maeda has been the Dodgers’ most consistent pitcher all season, and he hasn’t given up more than three runs in a start since May 11. He got a win in relief in his last appearance on July 15, one in which he worked 1/3 of an inning, striking out the Angels’ Ian Kinsler with the bases loaded to get Kershaw off the hook. The Phillies’ Nola is 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA since June 1 and pitched a scoreless inning in the All Star Game. This is the best start of his short career.
Internet-sourced trade proposal: The Mets’ deGrom for the Dodgers’ prospects Verdugo (#2), Ruiz (#7) and Alvarez (#9). MLB’s Jim Duquette poo-poos that but suggests an alternative: “a deal involving Ruiz, right-hander Dustin May (the Dodgers’ No. 9 prospect) and middle infielder Gavin Lux (the Dodgers’ No. 11 prospect) could bring both sides together.”
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1909 At Washington Park, the Superbas sweep a twin bill from the visiting Cardinals with identical 1-0 scores. Brooklyn’s southpaw Nap Rucker, who will finish second in the NL with 200 strikeouts, whiffs 16 Redbirds in one of the contests.
1931 For the second time in ten days, Babe Herman hits for the cycle. The Dodger outfielder joins “Long John” Reilly and Bob Meusel as one of only three ‘tricyclists’ to have accomplished the feat of collecting a single, double, triple, and home run in one game three times.
1965 Unbeknownst to him at the time, 75 year-old Mets skipper Casey Stengel, who compiled a managerial record of 1,905-1,842 with the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, and Mets, manages his final baseball game, a 5-1 loss to Philadelphia at Shea Stadium. After leaving a party after midnight at Toots Shor’s, the ‘Old Perfesser’ loses his balance and fractures his left hip, resulting in the unexpected retirement with the team.
1968 ChiSox reliever Hoyt Wilhelm breaks Cy Young’s record when he makes his 907th career appearance, pitching a third of an inning in which he gives up a run on two hits to be on the short side of the team’s 3-2 loss to Oakland. The 45 year-old knuckleballer, who will retire in 1972 after pitching in 1,070 games, will finish his 21-year major league career with a 143-122 (.540) won-loss record and 228 saves, hurling for the Giants, Cardinals, Indians, Orioles, White Sox, Angels, Braves, Cubs, and Dodgers.
1970 Tommy Agee steals home with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning, giving the Mets a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, the New York center fielder stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, before scoring the winning run with his thievery of home plate.
1977 After his two-out foul pop-up is dropped by Mets’ right fielder Bruce Boisclair, Davey Lopes responds with a game-ending three-run home run off Bob Apodaca. The L.A. second baseman’s ninth-inning dramatics provide the Dodgers with a 5-3 win and spoil the opportunity for a win for Nino Espinosa, who left the game needing just one more out for a complete-game victory.
1993 Following the game at Dodger Stadium, Vince Coleman tosses an M-80 from a car, resulting in reported injuries to three fans in the Chavez Ravine parking lot, including an 11 year-old boy and a two year-old girl. The Mets’ player was a passenger in the 1991 Jeep Cherokee driven by LA outfielder Eric Davis, who acknowledges Coleman flipped the firecracker out of his vehicle as a ‘joke,’ but not into a crowd of people.
1993 In a 5-4 loss to the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, Mets right-hander Anthony Young extends his record losing streak to 27 games. The latest defeat is the result of the hard-luck hurler walking Dave Hansen in with the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning.
2015 Michael Conforto becomes the 1,000th player in Mets history when he makes his major league debut, going 0-3 in the team’s 7-2 loss to the Dodgers at Citi Field. Tomorrow, the 24 year-old rookie left fielder will enjoy a 4-for-4 day at the plate when he will collect three singles and a double en route scoring four runs.
The Dodgers send RHP Kenta Maeda (5-5, 3.24 ERA) to the mound to face the Padres’ LHP Joey Lucchesi (4-4, 3.27 ERA). Maeda went 5 2/3 innings against the Angels in his last start, giving up just one run. He went on paternity leave the following day. Lucchesi is a rookie; he went down with a hip strain but has come back and pitched well in three of his four starts since then.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1953 Giant rookie Al Worthington throws a four-hitter, blanking the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 6-0. The whitewashing, which halts Brooklyn’s record NL streak of homering in 24 consecutive games and marks the only game this season the team will not a score, makes the 24 year-old right-hander the first National League freshman this century to throw consecutive shutouts at the start of a career, a feat that Karl Spooner will also match next season.
1958 The Los Angeles city council declares today ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game Day’ to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic baseball song. In a pregame ceremony at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers honor lyricist Jack Norworth, presenting him with a lifetime pass to any American or National League game.
1978 At Jack Murphy Stadium, Steve Garvey becomes the first two-time MVP in All-Star history. The Dodger first baseman’s game-tying, two-run single and a triple help the National League to beat the AL, 7-3.
1980 The Dodgers sell Charlie Hough to the Rangers. The 32 year-old knuckleballer will spend 11 seasons with Texas, posting a 139-123 record along with an ERA of 3.68.
1998 Padre reliever Trevor Hoffman, brother of opposing manager Glenn Hoffman, saves the Padres’ 4-1 victory over the Dodgers. It’s the first time in major league history a player has faced his brother as the skipper of the opposing team.
Also, in 1976 At Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium thirty-four couples marry at home plate and a wrestling championship match takes place in a promotion billed as Headlocks and Wedlocks. The Braves take down the Mets, 9-8.
RHP Ross Stripling (6-2, 2.27 ERA) goes for the Dodgers against the Angels’ RHP Deck McGuire (0-1, 7.56 ERA), who’ll be making his second big league start. His first didn’t go well: last Sunday he gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Orioles. Stripling himself hasn’t won in his last four starts.
1953 The Dodgers set a major league mark for the most consecutive games with a home run by a team with a least one round-tripper in their 24 contests. Brooklyn starter Preacher Roe hits the record-breaking homer with a third-inning blast in the team’s 9-5 victory over Pittsburgh at Forbes Field.
1998 Jeff Shaw becomes the first player to participate in an All-Star Game wearing a uniform for a team he hasn’t yet played for when he works an inning, allowing three hits and a run pitching for the National League squad before appearing in a regular season game for the Dodgers. The 32 year-old closer, who posted a 1.81 ERA along with 23 saves in the first half of the season for the Reds, was traded three days ago by Cincinnati to Los Angeles for Paul Konerko and Dennys Reyes.
2004 Kazuhisa Ishii tosses a one-hitter in the Dodgers’ 11-0 defeat of Arizona. The 30 year-old Japanese southpaw retires the first 12 batters he faces before issuing a leadoff walk to Luis Gonzalez, which is followed with a single by Shea Hillenbrand, but then the left-hander proceeds to mow down 15 consecutive D-Backs to finish his masterpiece.