One of the most famous pitchers in baseball has been competing in team-roping events under an alias for some time. Was he the Mason Saunders who competed alongside Colorado-based roper Tammy Ellerman in March of last year, two days before Bumgarner pitched for the Giants in a Cactus League game against the Athletics? “That was me, too,” Bumgarner said. Has “Saunders” won other events? “Yeah,” he said. “Maybe.”
Bumgarner has been roping so long that “it’s just part of who you are,” he said Sunday. He learned the sport at 15 or 16 under the instruction of the man who became his father-in-law. (His brother-in-law also “rodeos full time during the summer,” the pitcher said.) He’s practiced roping on everything from a statue of a bull at Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall to Jeremy Affeldt’s patio furniture.
Every game in baseball begins at the same time today. I’m sure MLB is hoping for a repeat of the events of September 28, 2011, when within thirty minutes two teams were eliminated from the playoffs after leading in their respective games. There are two games which are important today, but neither has quite the same amount of weight as those games eight years ago:
The Cardinals’ magic number to win the NL Central is one. That means a St. Louis win or Milwaukee loss Sunday would make the Cardinals division champs, while a Brewers win and Cardinals loss would force a tiebreaker Monday at Busch Stadium (3:09 p.m ET on ESPN) to determine the division winner. If both teams win Sunday, the Cardinals win the NL Central.
The Dodgers will make the last game of the season a bullpen game, starting LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.59 ERA) but not allowing him to go more than three innings, I imagine, thanks to his balky knee. The Giants have changed their minds; Madison Bumgarner was originally scheduled to start but was scratched by manager Bruce Bochy after Friday night’s game. Instead they’ll give RHP Dereck Rodríguez (6-10, 5.27 ERA) his 16th start of the season. He’s 0-1 with an 11.32 ERA in four lifetime appearances against the Dodgers.
Here’s Mr. Ryu’s excellent game Saturday: seven strikeouts, an RBI base hit, seven scoreless innings and the NL ERA title.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season. In a must-win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants and four world championships.
1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-6, 3.87 ERA) goes for the Giants in the final game of the series tonight. He’ll face the Dodgers’ young LHP Julio Urias (3-2, 3.05 ERA). Bumgarner may be pitching for the last time against the Dodgers as a Giant; he’s the subject of many trade rumors. Urias has been pitching in relief since mid-April, but he went five scoreless innings in a game he started against the Giants on April 1.
Four of CT3’s seven HRs this year have come off the Giants’ Pomeranz. Here are the two he hit last night:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
2008 In recognition of their significant contributions to the community, the Dodgers become the first sports franchise to be honored by the Hollywood Historic Trust and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The team receives an Award of Excellence star, which is placed in the Walk of Fame, which includes a constellation of celebrities, real and fictional, who have had a major impact on the entertainment industry.
2009 Jeff Weaver beats his kid brother Jered when the visiting Dodgers best the Halos, 6-5, at Angel Stadium. The Northridge, California natives become the eighth set of siblings in major league history to start against one another.
RHP Walker Buehler (6-1, 3.69 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers against the Giants’ LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-5, 4.05 ERA). Buehler’s last start might have been his best of the season: he went eight innings, gave up two hits, struck out 11 and walked none, getting the win against the D-Backs. Bumgarner pitched well against the Mets last time out, going six innings without figuring in the decision. He’s 15-12 lifetime against the Dodgers with a 2.56 ERA; today will be his 35th career start against them.
Here are Seager’s four hits in Saturday’s game:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1919 Dodger standout pitcher Rube Marquard breaks his leg running the bases, ending his season with a record of 3-3. The hard-throwing southpaw will finish his 18-year Hall of Fame career in 1925, after compiling a 201-177 record along with an ERA of 3.08.
1973 Rightfielder Rusty Staub becomes the pivot man in a very unusual double play during a 4-2 Mets victory against the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. Racing in from the outfield, ‘Le Grand Orange’ gets a throw near second base from first baseman John Milner and tags Davey Lopes, who was picked-off from first, and then throws home to nail Tom Paciorek trying to score from second during the P-1B-SS-1B-2B-1B-2B-RF-C rundown.
1990 Eddie Murray ties Mickey Mantle’s major league mark, hitting a homer from both sides of the plate for the tenth time in his career. The switch-hitting first baseman’s second home run of the game, batting left-handed against Eric Show, proves to be the eventual winning run in the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory over San Diego in the 11th inning at Jack Murphy Stadium.
It’ll be the Dodgers’ LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-1, 2.96 ERA) versus the Giants’ LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-4, 4.30 ERA). Ryu went seven innings against the Pirates in his last start, striking out ten and walking none. This season he’s struck out 33 and walked two. Bumgarner gave up 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Yankees last Friday. He’s 15-12 with a 2.39 ERA in 33 career appearances against the Dodgers.
Here’s a recap of the Dodgers’ offensive explosion yesterday:
1906 At Brooklyn’s Washington Park, Philadelphia southpaw John Lush strikes out 11 batters en route to throwing a 6-0 no-hitter against the Superbas, a team that will become known as the Dodgers in 1911. There will not be another no-hitter by a Phillies pitcher until Jim Bunning’s perfect game against the Mets in 1964.
1920 The longest game ever played ends after 26 innings in a 1-1 tie, with Brooklyn Robin right-hander Leon Cadore and the Braves hurler Joe Oeschger, also right-handed, both go the distance for their respective clubs. Boston third baseman Charlie Pick establishes the major league record for hitless at-bats in one game, going 0-for-11 in the marathon.
1965 Tommy Davis, trying to break up a double play, dislocates and breaks his ankle sliding into second base in the fourth inning of the team’s 4-2 victory over the Giants at Dodger Stadium. The two-time National League batting champ will not play again this year until he appears as a pinch-hitter in the season finale.
1972 Philadelphia starter Dick Selma goes the distance, three-hitting the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, 2-1. The victory is the fifth consecutive complete-game thrown by a Phillies starter, with Steve Carlton, Woody Fryman, Barry Lersch, and Bill Champion each finishing their game without help from the bullpen in team’s previous four contests.
1974 Tom Seaver strikes out 16 Dodgers, giving up only three hits in twelve innings of work, but gets a no-decision when the Mets lose the Chavez Ravine contest in 14 innings, 2-1. Steve Garvey strokes a walk-off single to center field off Harry Parker, scoring Billy Buckner with the winning run.
2000 The Braves establish a franchise-record 14th straight victory, with a 2-1 win at Dodger Stadium. Quilvio Veras’ third-inning homer proves to be the difference.
2009 With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Duaner Sanchez walks Russell Martin, who checks his swing on a full count with the bases loaded, bringing home the winning run in L.A.’s 1-0 triumph over the Padres. The win keeps the Dodgers undefeated at home, extending their record at Chavez Ravine to 8-0 with their ‘walk-off’ victory.
2012 With the final payment received on the record $2.15-billion purchase price, Frank McCourt’s turbulent era of the Dodger ownership comes to an end. The team’s new ownership group, fronted by Magic Johnson and incoming club president Stan Kasten, includes Mark Walter, chief executive of the Chicago-based Guggenheim Financial, who arranged the financing and holds a controlling interest in the franchise.
Lineup when available.
Updated Dodger lineup at Giants: Hernández 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Bellinger RF Martin C Muncy 1B Taylor LF Verdugo CF Ryu P
The visiting Dodgers send their Korean ace LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-0, 2.08 ERA) to the mound at Busch Stadium to face RHP Miles Mikolas (0-1, 7.20 ERA). How good has Ryu been? Barring a home run to Madison Bumgarner, Ryu would have had seven scoreless innings against the Giants in his last start, and he’s got 13 strikeouts with no walks in 13 innings so far this season. Mikolas gave up 16 HRs in 32 starts last year and he’s picked up where he left off, giving up four in ten innings this season. Ryu has a lifetime ERA of 0.69 at Busch; Mikolas was 8-4 with a 2.17 ERA there in 2018, his first season as a Cardinal.
Beware! The Cardinals now have Paul Goldschmidt, who hit .333 against Ryu in 12 ABs when he was a Diamondback.
Cody Bellinger now has more homers (7) than strikeouts (6).
Here’s Muncy’s 2-run HR in yesterday’s game:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1966 At the Astrodome, the Astros and Dodgers play baseball’s first game on synthetic grass. Thanks to the Monsanto chemical company, who proposed using an experimental playing surface of nylon grass, the plan to play on an all-dirt field, necessitated by the need to paint the dome’s glass panes to reduce the glare which prevented natural grass from growing, was alleviated by the use of ‘AstroTurf’.
1974 Braves outfielder Hank Aaron passes Babe Ruth as the all-time home run leader with his 715th, going deep in the fourth inning off Dodger hurler Al Downing in Atlanta’s home opener. ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ equaled the Bambino’s mark on Opening Day in Cincinnati.
1994 Kent Mercker no-hits Los Angeles, 6-0 at Dodger Stadium. The Braves left-hander was one of the three Atlanta pitchers, along with Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena, in 1991 to also no-hit the Padres, but this victory is his first complete game in the major leagues.
1994 Chan Ho Park becomes the first Korean to play in the major leagues when he makes his pitching debut at Chavez Ravine. In one inning of work, the 21 year-old Kongju City native gives up two runs on one hit, walking two and striking out two batters in the Dodgers’ 6-0 loss to Atlanta.
2015 Adrian Gonzalez becomes the first major league player to hit five home runs in the first three games of the season when he goes deep three times in the Dodgers’ 7-4 victory over San Diego at Chavez Ravine. The Los Angeles first baseman joins Carl Furillo (1955) and Jimmy Wynn (1974) as the only players in franchise history to have homered in the first three games of a campaign.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 2.57 ERA) probably deserved better than he got in his first start of the year against San Diego, but the Padres’ Eric Lauer and bullpen held the Giants scoreless. He’ll try to get his first win again tonight against the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 1.50), who was very good in his first start against the Diamondbacks.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
2003 Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine different clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.
2007 For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under the age of 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20 year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher ‘not of age’ to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros, 2-0, in 1981.
2008 Third base ump Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying within the boundaries of the coaching box although he warned the Dodger coach several times to follow the new edict put in place by MLB following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers’ first base coach Mike Coolbaugh. The former infielder and manager’s behavior will lead to a three-game suspension for “inappropriate and aggressive conduct,” in which he had to be restrained by manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer in the sixth inning of the 3-2 victory over the Giants in Los Angeles.
In non-Dodger history, on this day in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager and former Dodger Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name current first base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.
I imagine MLB hoped that the Giants and Dodgers would be fighting it out for the NL West title when they scheduled this series. They got it half-right. The Dodgers need to win all three games and hope the Nationals can take two of three from the Rockies if they hope to win the division. Otherwise it’s a cat’s cradle of possibilities with wild card games, tiebreakers to get into wild card games, and who knows what else.
Tonight the Dodgers ask LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3, 2.00 ERA) to keep them in the game until they can either get to LHP Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.20 ERA) or knock him out. Both of these pitchers have spent lengthy amounts of time on the disabled list this season, and Ryu has done better since his return than has Bumgarner. Ryu has given up no more than three unearned runs in any of his fourteen starts this year including eight since his recovery. Bumgarner has a 1-1 record with a 5.48 ERA for the month of September.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1924 Rogers Hornsby finishes the season with a .424 batting average to lead the National League. The Cardinal second baseman easily outdistances Zack Wheat, who finishes second in the race, batting .375 for the Dodgers.
1952 On the last day of the season at Ebbets Field, the Braves’ 77 years of representing Boston is extended by three innings when Eddie Mathews’ ninth-inning, two-out double ties the game. The contest is called due to darkness and ends in the 12th inning in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers.
1955 In the bottom of the second inning, Elston Howard, in his first World Series at-bat, knots the score at 2-2 when he homers off Dodgers’ right-hander Don Newcombe. The round-tripper to deep left field at Yankee Stadium marks the first time a black batter has hit a home run off a black pitcher in the history of the Fall Classic.
1959 The Braves, who ended the National League regular season in a first-place tie with the Dodgers, lose Game 1 of the three-game series, 3-2, in front of a sparse crowd of 18,297 at County Stadium. Milwaukee will lose tomorrow’s game in L.A., spoiling their chance for a three-peat as NL Champs.
1966 At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Larry Jaster throws a four-hitter, blanking Don Sutton and the Dodgers, 2-0. It’s the southpaw’s fifth shutout against LA this season, equaling a post-1900 major league mark held by the Senators’ Tom Hughes (against the Indians in 1905) and Grover Cleveland Alexander of the Phillies (against the Reds in 1916).
1988 In his last start of the regular season, Dodger Orel Hershiser tosses 10 shutout frames to extend his streak to 59, breaking Don Drysdale’s record of 58 consecutive scoreless innings.
1997 With his 40th home run, catcher Mike Piazza sets a single season Los Angeles Dodger record. Duke Snider holds the franchise record, slugging 43 round-trippers for Brooklyn in 1956.
2003 At Turner Field in Atlanta, Jose Reyes becomes the second Mets player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in one game. Lee Mazzilli was the first when he went yard twice against the Dodgers in LA on September 3, 1978.
2006 At Coors Field in Colorado, James Loney collects four hits, including two homers, and drives in nine runs in the Dodgers’ 19-11 victory over the Rockies. The rookie first baseman, who had one homer and eight runs batted in in 93 previous at-bats with the team, ties the franchise RBI mark set by Gil Hodges in his 1950 four-homer game for Brooklyn and breaks the Los Angeles club mark held by Ron Cey.
Tonight’s episode of that rivalry pits two of the best pitchers in the game against one another. Their respective won-loss records are highly unusual. Madison Bumgarner of the Giants is 4-4 with a 2.69 ERA, while Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is 5-5 with a 2.58 ERA. Each pitcher has spent a lot of time on the disabled list this season; Bumgarner didn’t make his debut until June, while Kershaw lost seven weeks in May and June. In MadBum’s last start he went seven innings, gave up five hits and no runs to the Astros and got no decision. Kershaw’s last start was against the Athletics; he went six innings, gave up six hits and two runs and also got no decision.
1910 In a game which features each team having 38 at-bats, 13 hits, 12 assists, 2 errors, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 hit batsman, and 1 passed ball, the Pirates and the Superbas (later to be known as the Dodgers) play to what else – an 8-8 tie.
1951 Any fan who shows up with a musical instrument during the Dodgers’ Musical Depreciation Night is admitted free to the Ebbets Field contest against Boston. With an assortment of trumpets, trombones, zithers, tubas, accordions, bugles, flutes, various type of drums, violins, mandolins, assorted horns, a glockenspiel, a washboard, and a piano, 2,426 fans, which is about 10% of the total crowd, take advantage of the team’s unusual promotion.
1965 Dean Chance establishes an American League record when he fans to extend his streak to 11 consecutive plate appearances with a strikeout. The Angels’ right-hander falls one shy of the major league mark set by Sandy Koufax, who whiffed in 12 consecutive plate appearances in 1955.
1982 At Chavez Ravine, Dodger second baseman Steve Sax steals his 41st base to set a franchise record for rookies when he swipes second base in LA’s 6-1 victory over San Francisco. The eventual National League Rookie of the Year, the fourth consecutive Dodger to win the award, will extend the record to 49.
2006 LA’s Greg Maddux and SF’s Jason Schmidt hook up in a classic West Coast pitcher’s duel, reminiscent of match-ups of Koufax and Marichal, as the Dodgers beat the Giants, 1-0, thanks to Russell Martin’s 10th inning walk-off home run. When Giants slugger Barry Bonds lines into a double play in the first inning, it marks the only time in baseball history a 300 game winner pitches to a batter with over 700 homers.
2007 For the first time in 1,303 games, Nomar Garciaparra of the Dodgers is ejected from a game. The 12-year veteran infielder, who is tossed by home plate umpire Tom Hallion for arguing a called third strike in the fourth inning, is restrained by first base coach Mariano Duncan when he continues to shout and points his bat toward the umpire.
The Giants’ LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 4.76 ERA) got a late start thanks to a broken finger on his pitching hand, so this is just his third start of the year. He gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Marlins his last time out. He’ll face the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood (1-5, 4.43 ERA), who’s still trying to find the form which made him 16-3 last season. He’s had hamstring and abductor muscle “issues” this season.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1933 Last year’s National League batting champ, Lefty O’Doul, and pitcher Watty Clark, a 20-game winner last season, are traded by the Dodgers to the Giants for first baseman Sam Leslie. Brooklyn’s newest infielder will bat .311 during his three seasons with the team, before returning to New York in 1936.