Oct 18

NLCS Game Four, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers send the very well-rested LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to the mound to try to close out the series. The Cubs will ask RHP Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA) to put up a roadblock in front of the Dodgers’ seemingly-unstoppable steamroller.

Wood hasn’t pitched in three weeks; he was scheduled to start Game Four of the Dodgers’ NLDS but they swept the D-Backs in that series. He’s been throwing simulated games and yesterday he declared himself ready to go. Arrieta pitched in Game Four of the Cubs’ NLDS against the Nats, going four innings, throwing 90 pitches, giving up an earned run and losing 5-0. He’s a former Cy Young Award winner and once threw a no-hitter at the Dodgers; presumably they won’t take him lightly.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1988 At Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Mark McGwire goes deep off LA’s Jay Howell with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the A’s a 2-1 victory for its only win in the Series. With Kirk Gibson’s heroics in Game 1, ‘Big Mac’s’ walk-off home run marks the first time that two game-winning round-trippers are hit in the same Fall Classic.
  • 2013 The Cardinals advance to their second World Series in three seasons, routing the Dodgers, 9-0, in Game 6 of the NLCS. St. Louis, behind the timely hitting of Carlos Beltran and the strong pitching performance of rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, beats Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) for the fourth time this season, including a pair of victories in this round of the postseason.

Lineup when available.

Grandal gets a start, Ethier and Utley get second starts, and Granderson gets a start. This may be the Dave Roberts “keep guys happy as much as I can within the needs of the team” approach to managing.

Oct 07

NLDS Games Two, 2017

First game: Cubs at Nationals, 2:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

The visiting Cubs trot out veteran (133 2/3 playoff innings!) LHP Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA), who made two starts against the Nats this season and came away with no decisions but a 2.84 ERA. He’ll face LHP Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.86 ERA), who saw the Nationals just once this year; he gave up two hits and five walks over six innings and took the loss in June.

Second game: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The D-Backs send LHP Robbie Ray (15-5, 2.89 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers, three days after pitching 2 1/3 innings of relief and making 34 pitches in the Wild Card game. He’ll face LHP Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA), who was 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA in four starts against the D-Backs this season. That ERA was skewed by one bad game in which they scored six runs in 3 2/3 innings against him.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1952 In the decisive Game 7, the Yankees beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 4-2, to win their fourth consecutive World Championship. Gil Hodges finishes the Fall Classic hitless in twenty-one at-bats, which had prompted some Brooklyn fans to gather at local churches asking for divine help for their beloved first baseman.
  • 1977 In Game 3 of the NLCS, the Dodgers rally for three runs with none on and two outs in the top of the ninth inning to take a one-run lead in their eventual 6-5 victory over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium. The game appeared to be over when LA’s Davey Lopes is picked off first base for the final out, but a throwing error by Gene Garber advances him to second base, from where he will score the decisive run on Bill Russell’s single.
  • 1978 In Game 4 of the NLCS, Ron Cey scores in the 10th inning on Bill Russell’s two-out game winning single, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Phillies and their second consecutive National League pennant. Cey, who walked after the first two batters were retired, advanced into scoring position when Garry Maddox misplayed Dusty Baker’s fly ball in center field.

  • 2001 Barry Bonds extends his major league record for home runs in a season to 73 as he drives a 3-2 first inning knuckleball off Dodger Dennis Springer over the right field fence. The blast also secures two more major league records for the Giants’ left fielder when he surpasses Babe Ruth (1920 – .847) with a .863 season slugging percentage and bests Mark McGwire (1998 – one HR every 7.27 AB) by homering in every 6.52 at-bats.
  • 2006 The Mets defeat Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, 9-5, to complete a three-game sweep in the NLDS. The Dodgers have won only one postseason game in 13 attempts since beating the A’s in the 1988 World Series.

Lineup when available.

Sep 11

Game 144, 2017

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, NBCS BA

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.

Granderson again? Why not Ethier in LF? And since A-Gon had to have an epidural shot four days ago, why not Cody at 1B?

Roberts, I’m beginning to question your judgment.

Jan 07

Principled stand or an idiotic one?

The Hall of Fame election results will be announced tomorrow. The Dodgers’ MLB.com beat writer, Ken Gurnick, has a ballot. Here’s how he voted and why:

Morris

Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.

Personally, I think that’s blackballing, tarring with a broad brush, and being sanctimonious as hell. There has never been any suggestion that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas or Craig Biggio used PEDs that I’m aware of, and there have only been unsubstantiated rumors about Jeff Bagwell.

Gurnick can leave Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire and the other confirmed steroid users off his ballot and get no argument from me, but his “none of the above” stance is too sweeping as far as I’m concerned.

Update: Cliff Corcoran has even stronger words for Gurnick in his column at SI.com.

Update: ESPN has released the votes of all 17 of its employees who have them.

Oct 30

Nice catch

Via Jon W. on Facebook, we learn that AJ Ellis’s wife gave birth to their third child on the way to the hospital.

Yikes.

Update: The Dodgers signed Brandon League to a three-year deal. Even though League can both close and come in in the seventh or eighth, I’m not sure a three-year contract is a great idea.

Update: The Dodgers’ clubhouse in the bowels of Dodger Stadium undergoes major renovations starting next week, and Lasorda, Yeager, Cey and Lou Johnson reminisced about it before its rehab.

Update: In slightly older news, the Dodgers declined club options on Juan Rivera, Todd Coffey and Matt Treanor. I wonder if that means they plan to bring FedEx up as a backup catcher next year, or perhaps even to have him compete with AJ for the starting job.

Update: Via Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy comes this rather startling news: Mark McGwire may take the hitting coach job with the Dodgers.

Mark McGwire, who has served as Cardinals hitting coach for three seasons under two managers, has informed the club that he intends to accept a similar position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources familiar with the situation told the Post-Dispatch this afternoon.

Though a deal between the Dodgers and McGwire is not considered final, McGwire has told the Cardinals that he does not anticipate accepting their offer of a contract extension.

Apparently McGwire’s family lives in Orange County and he’d prefer to work closer to home. He’s been on the Cardinals’ staff for three years; the conventional wisdom seems to be that he’s done a good job while there.

Update: Oh fer . . . now Guerra has had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder ” to clean up bursitis and the acromioclavicular joint, where the top of the scapula meets the collarbone.” The team expects him to be “competitive” by the time Spring Training rolls around.

Update: Jay Jaffe suggests free agent David Ross is the Practically Perfect Backup Catcher. If the Dodgers conclude that FedEx needs another year of seasoning in the minors, maybe Ross would be a sensible acquisition.