The Diamondbacks have now beaten the Dodgers in ten consecutive regular-season games. They’ll try to continue that this afternoon, sending RHP Taijuan Walker (0-0, 3.27 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (1-0, 2.70 ERA). Walker gave up three runs on six hits in five innings against the Dodgers on April 2. Hill has had a week off since his last appearance thanks to rain and off-days. He started and went four innings last Saturday against the Giants, giving up three runs on five hits in that 14-inning marathon.
1931 At Braves Field, Jack Quinn becomes the oldest pitcher to start an Opening Day game. The 47 year-old Robin right-hander gives up six runs on nine runs in six innings of work, taking the loss when Brooklyn bows to Boston, 7-4.
1968 Jim Bunning becomes the first pitcher since Cy Young to collect a thousand strikeouts in both leagues when he whiffs eight Dodgers during his first win for the Pirates, a 3-0 complete-game victory in Chavez Ravine. The 37 year-old right-hander, acquired from the Phillies in December, sent 1,406 American League batters back to the bench with a bat in their hands for nine seasons while pitching for the Tigers at the start of his Hall of Fame career.
1993 After establishing the all-time career major league record last night with his 358th save, Cardinal reliever Lee Smith breaks the National League mark, recording his 301st in the Senior Circuit when he tosses a perfect 15th frame in the Cardinals’ 2-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. The right-handed reliever will extend the big league mark to 478, pitching for the Cubs (1980-1987), Red Sox (1988-1990), Cardinals (1990-1993), Yankees (1993), Orioles (1994), Angels (1995-1996), Reds (1996), and Expos (1997).
2004 In the game played after teammate Mike Mussina earns his 200th career victory, Kevin Brown, who was obtained from the Dodgers for Jeff Weaver and two minor-leaguers in an off-season trade, reaches the same plateau, beating the Devil Rays, 5-1. It is the first time in baseball history members of the same pitching staff have won their 200th career victory in consecutive starts.
RHP Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.02 ERA) takes the mound against RHP Chris Stratton (2-3, 4.10 ERA) in San Francisco.
Maeda allowed one unearned run over five innings on Wednesday against the D-backs. He’s 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA in four career starts against the Giants. Stratton has both started and relieved this season; he’s been much better as a starter. He’s got an 8.59 ERA in relief. As a starter he’s made five starts and has gone 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA since the All Star break.
A sad note: former Dodger (and nine other teams’) scout Mel Didier died Sunday night at home in Phoenix. He was 90 years old. His most memorable find was probably his analysis which showed that the Athletics’ Dennis Eckersley liked to throw backdoor sliders when the count was full and first base was open. He told the Dodgers’ hitters that before Game One of the 1988 World Series. What was the count to Kirk Gibson when he hit that game-winning home run? 3-2. What was the pitch? A backdoor slider.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1959 The Dodgers end Elroy Face’s consecutive win streak at 22 with a 5-4 victory over the Pirates. The reliever, who will end the season with an 18-1 record, is beaten by Chuck Churn, the winner of only three major league career victories.
1966 In his first major league at-bat, John Miller homers off Lee Stange in the second inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over Boston at Fenway Park. The 22 year-old left fielder, whose total of 10 hits in his 32-game career will include just two round-trippers, will become the only player to hit home runs in his first and last major league plate appearance when he goes deep as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in his final turn at bat in 1966.
1998 Kevin Malone is named as the Dodgers’ general manager, replacing Tommy Lasorda, who is promoted to Senior Vice President of the team. The “new sheriff in town” tenure in Los Angeles will be marked by the signing of high profile players to huge contracts, including Kevin Brown’s seven-year deal making the right-hander the first $100 million man in baseball.
Historical note of more than passing interest to Cody Bellinger fans: today in 1956 Frank Robinson ties Wally Berger’s 1930 National League record for home runs by a rookie for home runs with his 38th in the Reds’ 11-5 victory over the Giants at Polo Grounds. A’s first baseman Mark McGwire established the major league mark for freshman homers with 49 round-trippers in 1989. Bellinger has 36 with 18 games to go in the season.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup at Giants: Granderson LF Seager SS Turner 3B Bellinger CF Puig RF González 1B Grandal C Utley 2B Maeda P pic.twitter.com/nospRks44K