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 09

NLDS Post-mortem stories

From The Athletic:

Machado and the Dodgers’ attempts to keep him from pressing.

Freese, seemingly impervious to big-moment pressure.

Madson and the late-season adjustment.

From the LA Times:

Plaschke on Game Four.

Dylan Hernandez on Freese.

Andy McCullough on Machado and more.

Jorge Castillo and Andy McCullough on NLCS Game One starter Kershaw.

Houston Mitchell on the Dodgers’ previous results against the Brewers.

Jul 21

Game 98, 2018

Dodgers at Brewers, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Dish455

LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-4, 2.74 ERA) starts the second half of the season with a losing record for the first time since his rookie year. However, after his two trips to the disabled list he’s getting back to his normal sterling self; he’s gotten through the sixth inning in each of his last three starts and gotten wins in two of them. He’ll face RHP Chase Anderson (6-7, 3.78 ERA), who has a 1.65 ERA over his last five starts but has only a 1-1 record and three no-decisions to show for that good work.

Interesting note: “Manny Machado is the first player to reach base at least 4 times in his Dodgers debut since Rafael Furcal on April 3, 2006. (@EliasSports)”

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1930 Harvey Henrick’s ninth-inning three-run round-tripper off the bench gives the Dodgers a dramatic 9-8 come-from-behind victory over the Redbirds at Ebbets Field in the first game of a twin bill. Redbirds George Puccinelli and Jim Bottomley and Brooklyn’s Hal Lee also homer appearing as pinch-hitters in the game.
  • 1956 In a 13-6 defeat to the Cubs, Dodgers’ shortstop Pee Wee Reese becomes one of five active players to collect 2000 hits, and teammate Junior Gilliam sets a major league record by handling 12 assists at second base.
  • 1963 The usually mild-mannered Dodger manager Walter Alston is thrown out of both games of a doubleheader when the Braves sweep a twin bill from Los Angeles for the first and only time in Milwaukee, 7-2 and 13-7. To make matters worse, the manager has beer thrown in his face by a hometown fan as he leaves the second game. (My thanks to Lee for sharing this entry. He attended the game at County Stadium as a ten year-old. -LP)
  • 2003 At Dodger Stadium, Vladimir Guerrero hit his 226th career home run, breaking Andre Dawson’s club record. The Expos’ right fielder hits his milestone round-tripper off Odalis Perez, a 454-foot blast over the left field wall.

Lineups! (2-for-1):


Jul 20

Game 97, 2018

Dodgers at Brewers, 5:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Dish455

The visiting Dodgers send LHP Rich Hill (2-4, 4.55 ERA) to start the second not-quite-half of the season. He’ll face lefty Wade Miley (1-1, 2.38 ERA), who’s made just one start since coming off the 60-day DL where he’d been recovering from a right oblique injury (I hope Puig’s injury requires less time than that!). In that start he went five innings, walked five, struck out five, and gave up two runs. After a one-inning relief appearance on Sunday this will be Hill’s first start in ten days.

The Dodgers suddenly find themselves with as many as eight starting pitchers.

A six-man rotation is under consideration, especially for an initial stretch of 17 games in 17 days. It would include, in no particular order, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda and Walker Buehler. But Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is throwing off a mound, could come back next month. And Julio Urias, the lefty phenom who is recovering from shoulder surgery, theoretically could rejoin the rotation by the start of September, if not sooner.

That’s eight starters if everyone stays healthy, and the Dodgers would like to somehow use all of them.

“If healthy” is the operative phrase there.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1906 At St. Louis, Brooklyn hurler Mal Eason no-hits the Cardinals, 2-0. The ‘Kid’ was the losing pitcher when Johnny Lush pitched a no-hitter against the Superbas (Dodgers) in May.
  • 1951 In a game against the Reds with All-Star hurler Ewell Blackwell on the mound, the Giants, for the first time, employ their infamous scheme for stealing catchers’ signs using a telescope positioned in the centerfield clubhouse. The ‘Jints’ beat Cincinnati, 11-6, and New York will win 22 of the remaining 27 games at the Polo Grounds, overtaking the Dodgers to win the National League pennant.
  • 1970 Twenty-six year-old right-hander Bill Singer pitches the first Dodger no-hitter since Sandy Koufax’s departure when he keeps the Philadelphia batters hitless in a 5-0 victory at Chavez Ravine. The ‘Singer Throwing Machine,’ who spent 52 days on the disabled list earlier in the season recuperating from hepatitis, posts a 5-0 record along with a 1.84 ERA in July and will be named NL Player of the Month.
  • 2008 The Dodgers, with a five-run ninth-inning rally at Chase Field, beat the Diamondbacks, 6-5, and move into a flat-footed tie (48-50) with Arizona for first place in the National League West. Andre Ethier has the key hit in the comeback victory, a go-ahead triple off the center-field wall, as D-Back closer Brandon Lyon, pitching in his third consecutive game, couldn’t hold a three-run lead.

Lineup when available. This is the first one with newly-hired Manny Machado in it.


As long as Turner’s ailing, it puts off the “where do we play Muncy” decision.

Speaking of JT, he and Alex Wood had a boisterous reaction to Machado’s acquisition:


Jul 09

Game 90, 2018

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

The Dodgers have beaten the Padres in six of nine meetings so far this season. Today they’ll send LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-4, 2.86 ERA) to the mound in hopes he’ll continue to recover from his two stints on the disabled list. He’ll face the Padres’ RHP Luis Perdomo (1-2, 6.86 ERA), who has made one start since coming back from a two-month stay in AAA El Paso with the Chihuahuas.


The Dodgers and Yankees are promoting Muncy and Giancarlo Stanton as candidates for the ASG Final Vote.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1956 The BBWAA, by a narrow margin of 14-12, votes to establish the Cy Young Award to honor the major leagues’ most outstanding pitcher. Commissioner Ford Frick initiated the idea because he felt hurlers were not recognized in the MVP voting, but ironically the first recipient of the Cy Young Award, Dodger Don Newcombe, also won the Most Valuable Player Award.
  • 1996 Mike Piazza, who will be named the All-Star Game’s MVP, hits a moon shot into the upper-deck at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. The Dodger backstop also strokes an RBI double, helping the National League to beat the AL, 6-0.

Lineup when available.

As expected, Puig (probably) to DL. Toles in CF, Kemp in RF, Joc in LF.


Jun 27

Game 79, 2018

Cubs at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN (out-of-market only)

The visiting Cubbies send RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-7, 3.73 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood (3-5, 4.13 ERA). In Hendricks’ last start he walked four and gave up four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings and lost. In Wood’s last start he went six innings, gave up only two hits and two runs while striking out seven and got the win.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1980 Dodger southpaw Jerry Reuss, facing only 28 batters, no-hits the Giants at Candlestick Park, 8-0. Shortstop Bill Russell’s errant throw on Jack Clark’s grounder with two outs in the first inning deprives the 31 year-old left-hander from tossing a perfect game.
  • 2011 Citing MLB refusal to sign off on a transaction that would provide the team with $385 million, the Dodgers file for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court. Although there will be no disruption to the day-to-day status of the franchise, the Chapter 11 financing permits the Dodgers to use $150 million for daily operations and gives owner Frank McCourt time to seek a media deal that will ensure the club’s long-term financial stability.

If you believe USA Today’s Bob Nightengale’s sources, the Dodgers are front-runners in the hunt to acquire the Orioles’ infielder Manny Machado.

Per Nightengale, Baltimore has recently placed increased focus on scouting Los Angeles’ Minor League system as the market for Machado begins to pick up steam. The Dodgers, who are 26-10 since May 17 after opening the season 16-26, ranked 10th on MLB Pipeline’s preseason list of the top farm systems in baseball.

Lineup when available.


Try the “translate this tweet” option. You’ll probably have to click the time stamp to see it at Twitter. Microsoft didn’t work very hard on that function, I’m thinkin’.