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 27

World Series Game Four, 2018

This is a 1971 Commemorative Trading Card. Its text is now obsolete.


Red Sox at Dodgers, 5:09 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Dodgers send Rich Hill to the mound tonight while Alex Cora is still puzzling over who he might start for the Red Sox.

“We’ll sit down now and we’ll go over it, and we’ll decide,” Cora said. “Somebody will start. Most likely a lefty.”

The options range from logical (Eduardo Rodriguez) to highly intriguing (Chris Sale on three days’ rest) to someone who would be utterly stunning (Pomeranz).

The Athletic recounts the Muncy tale from unemployed to Game Three hero.

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post on momentum:

For those who wonder whether a powerful Game 3 showing by a star pitcher can swing a whole World Series, even if that ace’s team trails by two games when he takes the mound, I refer you to Game 3 of the 1978, ’81 and ’85 World Series. Ron Guidry, Fernando Valenzuela and Bret Saberhagen were the complete-game star pitchers for the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals. All three of their teams came back to win the Series.

Roberts thinks the Dodgers’ bullpen is “in pretty good shape.”

Amazing facts about Game Three.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2017 Yu Darvish has his first bad outing of the postseason, giving up four runs in 1 2/3 innings in Game Three of the World Series. The Dodgers couldn’t come back against the Astros’ Lance McCullers and Brad Peacock and fell behind two games to one.

Today in Red Sox’ history:

  • 2013 Johnny Gomes hit a three-run homer off the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn in the sixth inning and the Red Sox won Game Four of the World Series.

Lineups when available.

Dodgers:


Red Sox:


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 02

Game 110, 2018

Brewers at Dodgers, 6:00 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Dish455

The Brewers send ace RHP Jhoulys Chacín (10-3, 3.45 ERA) to the hill to face the Dodgers’ ace LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 2.52 ERA). Had Kershaw not been on the DL for nearly a month this season I suspect his W-L record would be as scintillating as his ERA is. Chacín has gone 18 innings in his last three starts and given up just three earned runs over that stretch. People are fussing about Kershaw’s lower velocity so far this year, but he’s still getting people out and his strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio of 9.17 is only one below what he averaged from 2014-2017.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1938 Bright yellow baseballs designed by Frederick Rah, who believes the visibility of the dandelion-hue sphere will help players avoid getting hit by a pitch, are used in the first game of a doubleheader. The one-game experiment draws mixed reactions and the Dodgers complete their sweep of the twin bill from the Cardinals, 6-2 and 9-3, using the traditional white ball in the nightcap.
  • 1982 During a ceremony held in Cooperstown, NY, the United States Postal Service unveils a 20-cent stamp commemorating baseball great Jackie Robinson as part of its annual Black Heritage series. The Dodger infielder becomes the first individual baseball player to be depicted on a U.S postage stamp.

  • 2002 Reds general manager Jim Bowden is fined by commissioner Bud Selig for the comments he made to reporters prior to yesterday’s game against the Dodgers comparing a baseball strike with the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Quickly realizing the use of such analogy was inappropriate and insensitive, the Cincinnati GM issues an immediate apology after the game.
  • 2008 In the first game after the Manny Ramirez trade to the Dodgers, the Fenway Faithful enthusiastically welcome Jason Bay, the player replacing the Boston icon. The former Pirates outfielder doesn’t disappoint, tripling and scoring the winning run in the 12th inning of the Red Sox’s 2-1 victory over the A’s.
  • 2017 The Dodgers lost to the Braves, ending their nine-game winning streak. Had they won it would have been the third time that season they’d have won ten straight. The bullpen gave up the go-ahead runs in the eighth inning at Sun Trust Park in Atlanta.

Lineup when available.


Turner’s back from the DL, which moves Machado back to SS. Muncy’s back after a day off and Bellinger moves to CF. That means Kemp and Taylor get the night off unless they’re need for pinch-hitting duties.

Aug 01

Game 109, 2018

Brewers at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Dish455, MLBN (out-of-market only)

RHP Chase Anderson (7-7, 3.69 ERA) brings his current hot streak to the mound at Dodger Stadium. He’s given up two or fewer runs in each of his last seven starts and has a 1.93 ERA over those 37 1/3 innings. He’ll face the Dodgers’ lefty Rich Hill (4-4, 3.82 ERA), who went 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA for July.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1906 After pitching 10.2 innings of no-hit ball, Harry McIntire yields a single to Pirates second baseman Claude Ritchey. The Dodgers and McIntire lose the game in the 13th on an unearned run, 1-0.
  • 1924 Dazzy Vance strikes out seven consecutive batters to establish a major league record when the Brooklyn Robins defeat the Cubs at Ebbets Field, 4-0. The future Hall of Famer, who will compile a 28-6 record for the Brooks this season, will lead the National League in strikeouts with 262.
  • 1957 Gil Hodges, in a 12-3 win over the Cubs, hits his 13th and last career grand slam in Brooklyn Dodger history. The first baseman’s bases-loaded shot off Dick Littlefield establishes a new National League record, previously shared by Rogers Hornsby and Ralph Kiner.
  • 2011 After popping out in a pinch-hitting appearance, Craig Counsell remains without a hit in his last 45 at-bats, tying the longest single-season hitless streak by a position player in history, established by Brooklyn backstop Bill Bergen in 1909. The major league record is 0-for-70, established in 1970 by Bob Buhl, a pitcher who toiled with the Braves and Cubs that season.
  • 2015 Clayton Kershaw strikes out Mike Trout looking with a wicked curveball, marking the first time that reigning MVPs have faced one another in a major league game. The interleague contest between the two LA teams ends with Dodger southpaw keeping the Angel outfielder 0-for-3 while hurling eight innings in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Halos at Chavez Ravine.

Lineup when available.


Dozier’s first start in a Dodgers uniform means someone has to sit. Tonight it’s Muncy who gets the night off.

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.

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.


May 16

Game 42, 2018

Dodgers at Marlins, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-F

The Dodgers send young righty Walker Buehler (2-1, 1.64 ERA) out to face the Marlins’ RHP Elieser Hernandez (0-0, 3.00 ERA). This will be Hernandez’s first MLB start; he’s given up one run on six hits in three relief innings this year. Buehler was the starter in the combined no-hitter the Dodgers’ pitchers threw against the Padres in his next-to-last start. In his last one he gave up two runs on five hits in six innings and took the loss against the Reds.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1913 Alfredo Cabrera, born in the Canary Islands, becomes the first person from Spain to appear in the majors. The 32 year-old Cardinals shortstop will go 0-for-2 in the only big league game he will play, a 6-5 loss to the Dodgers at Ebbets Field.
  • 1967 Reliever Phil Regan loses his first game in 77 appearances. The ‘Vulture’ gets pinned with his first defeat in over a year when Astros’ third baseman Bob Aspromonte hits a two-run triple in the tenth to beat the Dodgers, 5-3.
  • 1970 During a game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium, Alan Fish, sitting with friends from the Poinsettia Playground in the second row seats along the first base line, is struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of Manny Mota. The 14 year-old boy will die four days later to become the first fatality as a result of a batted ball in major league history.
  • 1983 In an 11-4 rout of the Pirates, rookie right fielder Darryl Strawberry hit his first major league home run, a two-run round-tripper off Pittsburgh’s Lee Tunnell at Three Rivers Stadium. The troubled Mets outfielder, the eventual franchise leader with 252 homers, will hit a total of 335 during his turbulent 17-year career with the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees.
  • 2000 After a fan steals Los Angeles’ catcher Chad Kreuter’s hat and hits him in the back of the head, many Dodgers, including coaches John Shelby and Rick Dempsey, go into the stands and start fighting with the Wrigley Field faithful. When the melee ends, several fans are arrested as the game is delayed nearly ten minutes, and there is litter all over the field.

Lineup when available.


Muncy at 1st Base, Bellinger in CF. That’s new.