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).

Oct 16

NLCS Game Four, 2018

Brewers at Dodgers, 6:09 PM PDT, TV: FS1

LHP Gio Gonzalez (10-11, 4.21 ERA) goes for the Brewers and LHP Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA) for the Dodgers. Gonzalez started Game One of this series but by design went only two innings, giving up a home run to Manny Machado. He faced the Dodgers in Game Three of the 2016 NLDS while with the Nationals, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and three runs and not figuring in the decision. Hill walked five in Game Four of the NLDS against the Braves but limited the damage to two runs in 4 1/3 innings. He faced the Brewers twice in the regular season, giving up one run in six innings each time.

People are writing:

Machado on hustle.

“It was a pretty bad game for everybody calling himself a Dodger.”

‘You don’t rise to the occasion, the occasion rises to you’: The mysticism of Rich Hill.

Kiké Hernandez on Twitter.

The Brewers’ Counsell shares the Sporting News NL Manager of the Year award with the Braves’ Brian Snitker. Counsell won the award outright last season.

Matt Kemp is the Sporting News NL Comeback Player of the Year. David Price of the Red Sox won the AL award.

Today in Brewers’ history:

  • 1982 The Brewers defeat St. Louis in Game Four of the World Series with a six-run seventh-inning.
  • 2011 The Cardinals capture their 18th pennant with a 12-6 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park in Game 6 of the NLCS. The Redbird relievers toss 28 2-3 innings, accounting for three of the wins while compiling a 1.88 ERA.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1949 Brooklyn does not renew Branch Rickey’s contract as president of the Dodgers. The ‘Mahatma’ will join the Pirates as the team’s executive vice president and general manager, with his son, Branch Jr., assuming the post of Pittsburgh’s vice president and farm system director.
  • 1985 In Game 6 of the NLCS, Cardinal first baseman Jack Clark’s dramatic come-from-behind two-out, three-run home run in the ninth inning stuns a sold-out Dodger Stadium. St. Louis wins the game, 7-5, and captures the National League flag.
  • 1988 At Dodger Stadium, Don Baylor becomes the first player to participate in three consecutive World Series for three different teams when he pinch-hits in the eighth inning of the A’s 6-0 loss to L.A. in the second game of the Fall Classic. The 39 year-old veteran played with the pennant-winning Red Sox in 1986 and the World Champion Twins in 1987.

Lineups:

Brewers:


Dodgers:


Oct 08

NLDS Game Four, 2018

The NL has only one divisional series still going. Game Four will be played between the Dodgers and Braves at Sun Trust Field at 1:30 PM PDT and will be televised by FS1.

The Dodgers ask Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA) to finish the Braves off without a need for a Game Five. The Braves send Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85 ERA in the regular season), who lost Game One of this series on October 4, going just two innings and giving up three hits and four earned runs including two homers. Hill will make his first start of this postseason; in last year’s playoffs he made four starts and posted a 2.55 ERA with no decisions in 17 2/3 innings.

How did Kiké get his groove on at the plate?

Dodgers’ history on October 8 has ups and downs. Don Larsen pitched his perfect game on this date in 1956, but three years later the Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox in Game Six of the World Series to win it. The Braves lost Game Two of the 1948 World Series on this date.

Lineups when available.

Dodgers lineup:


Braves lineup:


Aug 25

Game 130, 2018

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

The Friars send rookie RHP Brian Kennedy (0-2, 8.36 ERA) to perform a thankless task: try to beat the Dodgers behind LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 2.40 ERA). Kennedy’s first two big league starts were poor, but his last one was pretty good: he gave up just two runs in five innings in a game the Padres’ bullpen lost. Kershaw has given up one run in each of his last two starts and, like Kennedy, watched the bullpen cough up a lead late against San Francisco. He won the other game in Seattle.

Ha! Justin Verlander got a surprise when he had lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel yesterday.

By the time this game starts we’ll know whether the Hawai’i Little Leaguers have won their fifth US Championship.

Yesterday was Kiké Hernández’s 27th birthday; today is Max Muncy’s 28th.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1979 In a Hollywood Stars vs. the Media game played at Dodger Stadium, Robin Williams, the star of the hit television series, Mork and Mindy, a show in which he plays an alien, runs the bases backwards. The comedian explains circling the bags clockwise is very common on the Planet Ork, his character’s home in the universe.
  • 1995 At Veterans Stadium, Gregg Jefferies hits for the cycle when Philadelphia crushes the Dodgers, 17-4. The Phillies’ first baseman, who has four RBIs and scores four runs, collects all of his extra-base hits off of LA starting pitcher Hideo Nomo.
  • 2008 After being swept in a four-game series earlier in the month in L.A., the Phillies return the favor, beating the Dodgers, 5-0, to complete its own four-game sweep. It is the first time in franchise history that Philadelphia has swept the Dodgers in a four-game series at home.
  • 2009 With a 5-4 win in ten innings over the Dodgers, the Rockies move 18 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history. The wild-card leader, winning 52 of their last 74 games, the latest on a Troy Tulowitzki bases-loaded single, has cut LA’s Western Division lead from 15.5 games on June 3 to just two games.
  • 2012 In a nine-player blockbuster trade, the Dodgers obtain Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto, and cash considerations for James Loney, Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, Jr., and two players to be named later (Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands). The deal gives the new Dodgers ownership an opportunity to show their fans they are serious about making a run for the postseason, while giving an under-performing Boston team more financial flexibility in the offseason.

Lineup when available.

Aug 04

Game 112, 2018

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

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.

Lineup when available.


Kiké at first? Bellinger off? What is Roberts thinking?

Jul 26

Game 103, 2018

Dodgers at Braves, 4:35 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSSE, MLBN (out-of-market only)

LHP Rich Hill (3-4, 4.26 ERA) goes for the Dodgers while the Braves send RHP Aníbal Sánchez (5-2, 2.76 ERA) to the hill. Hill went six innings in his last start against Milwaukee, giving up five hits and one run while striking out nine. Sánchez has a 2.92 ERA for the month of July and is having his best year since 2013 when he went 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA for the Tigers.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1900 In Brooklyn, a sheriff seizes the St. Louis share of gate receipts to reimburse Gus Weyhing, recently released by the Cardinals after posting a 3-4 record in eight starts with the team, who claims to have been cheated out of ten days of pay. Next week, the right-hander, known as Cannonball by his teammates, will sign with the Superbas as a free agent.
  • 1948 Former Dodger skipper Leo Durocher, who left the team ten days ago, makes his first appearance at Ebbets Field since taking over the Giants. The return of ‘the Lip’ is less-than-triumphant when his new team drops a 13-4 decision to Brooklyn.
  • 1951 In a 9-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Jim Russell becomes the first player in major league history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a game in two different games. The Dodger outfielder’s accomplishment will be surpassed in 1956 when Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle goes deep both right and left-handed in the same game for a third time.
  • 1960 The Phillies end their scoreless streak of thirty-eight consecutive innings when Johnny Callison plates Tony Gonzalez with a sixth-inning single in the team’s 4-3 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Philadelphia’s drought began when the team failed to score in the last six frames of a 3-0 win against the Giants, and continued when they were shut out in three straight games ( 2-0, 2-0, and 9-0) by the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
  • 1991 Mark Gardner no-hits the Dodgers for nine innings, but Los Angeles wins the game in the bottom of the tenth on two singles off the Expos’ starter and Darryl Strawberry’s RBI single off reliever Jeff Fassero. It’s the first time the Dodgers had been held hitless at home for nine innings since Johnny Vander Meer’s second straight no-hitter in 1938.

Lineup when available.


One wonders why Muncy is starting at second base and why Bellinger is at first, and why Hernandez is not starting at all.

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 30

Game Two, 2018

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

The visiting Giants send out the 10-year veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto (8-8, 4.52 ERA in 2017) to face the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA in 2017). Cueto has made nine starts at Dodger Stadium and gone 4-5 with a very good 2.67 ERA. Wood is coming off the best season of his career, so of course he’s abandoned the windup and will pitch solely from the stretch (for now — the first time he suffers through a four-run inning may put paid to that idea).

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 1966 Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale’s refusal to report to spring training ends when the hurlers agree to the Dodgers’ offer of $235,000, signing for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively. The LA starters’ joint holdout lasts for 32 days, paving the way for other players to be more aggressive when negotiating with owners.
  • 2012 Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest starting pitcher to make an Opening Day roster when the Rockies announce that the 49 year-old southpaw will face Houston in the second game of the season. Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm was the same age as the Colorado left-hander when he opened the season with L.A. in 1972, but ‘Old Sarge’ appeared strictly in relief for the Dodgers.

Lineup when available.



Utley replaces Kiké at 2B.

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.

Jan 14

One month away

Today’s news is that A-Gon is reportedly on his way to play for the Mets in the 2018 season.

The Mets get Gonzalez at the league minimum salary of $545,000 in 2018. The Braves are responsible for the $21.5 million owed to him for the 2018 season under his previous contract.

Except for that whole “playing on the East Coast again” issue it looks like Adrian has landed on his feet. Good for him.

Earlier in the week the Dodgers avoided arbitration with all the players they have who were eligible. Here is a copy of the table Eric Stephen of TBLA put together to show the results:

Player Service Time 2017 salary MLBTR projections TBLA guess 2018 salary
Yasmani Grandal 5.115 $5,500,000 $7,700,000 $7,400,000 $7,900,000
Alex Wood 4.123 $2,800,000 $6,400,000 $6,550,000 $6,000,000
Tony Cingrani 4.088 $1,825,000 $2,200,000 $2,300,000 $2,300,000
Josh Fields 4.083 $1,050,000 $2,200,000 $1,900,000 $2,200,000
Joc Pederson 3.023 $555,000 $2,000,000 $2,800,000 $2,600,000
Pedro Baez 3.059 $550,000 $1,500,000 $1,400,000 $1,500,000
Kiké Hernandez 3.054 $550,000 $1,300,000 $1,650,000 $1,600,000
Yimi Garcia 3.004 $550,000 $700,000 n/a $630,000