He reported late to the Dodgers’ summer camp due to an unexplained absence, but he did reveal that he did not take part in baseball activities for two weeks. He began the season at the team’s alternate site at USC, and when he finally did get called up to the Dodgers, he looked like a mess. In 19 games, Lux had an OPS of .596. He made throwing errors that made it look like he had the yips. He was left off the postseason roster as the Dodgers went on to win the franchise’s first World Series title since 1988.
This year, the Dodgers can make do with some combination of Chris Taylor, Zach McKinstry and Max Muncy at second base in the event that Lux can’t immediately rebound from his disappointing 2020. But he is only 23 years old and can be forgiven for experiencing a lost season during the pandemic.
Cubs star Javier Báez said earlier this week that he simply was not mentally prepared for last season, and here’s betting Lux wasn’t, either. It’s not fair to judge anyone on how well they performed amid COVID-19. And that is why I’m excited to see if Lux can put last year behind him, secure the second base job and rake his way back into the hearts of Dodgers fans.
Today’s lineup, including one Trevor Bauer making his first start in Dodger Blue:
Adam Weinrib of Fansided doesn’t think so. He has the usual suspects in the usual places, although handing left field to A.J. Pollock and leaving Chris Taylor on the bench might be premature.
I agree with Lux at second assuming the season is close to a normal length, which it just might be if the vaccines for COVID-19 really do pan out as effectively as the trials seem to have shown. Lux needs more time to show whether his prospect status was warranted; his 2020 season was horrible (19 Games Played, .175 BA, 3 HR, 8 RBI). He was late reporting to the second training camp before the abbreviated season began and never rounded into the form he’d shown as a September callup in 2019.
This assumes that Turner is awarded a new contract, that Kiké Hernández finds a new home where he can play regularly, and that Taylor and Pederson don’t object to a lot of bench time.
RHP Garrett Richards (0-1, 4.60 ERA) pitches for the Padres while RHP Ross Stripling (3-0, 4.00 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. These two guys faced one another last Wednesday, August 5. In that game Stripling got into the sixth and picked up the win, but he did give up three extra-base hits including a home run to Tatis Jr. Richards gave up four runs in five innings, but even with that he’s got a 2.55 ERA in his seven career appearances against the Dodgers.
Courtesy of WBBsAs in the comments to yesterday’s post, Kiké describes the longest road trip of the “year” and what the protocols for virus-prevention are like.
Molly Knight has written a wonderful article at The Athletic which tells the story of some of the photo cutouts in the stands at Dodger Stadium. The ones she writes about were all purchased by family or friends to memorialize deceased Dodger fans.
I wonder if the Dodgers do this for their season ticket holders?
Here’s a bright spot in yesterday’s disheartening loss: May strikes out Machado with a wickedly-moving fast ball. It’s nearly a duplicate of one Machado struck out on during last week’s game. The video of that went viral among baseball fans.
This day in Dodgers’ history:
1946 Sweeping a doubleheader, the Phillies end the Dodgers’ 18-game winning streak, a major league record, in Philadelphia. The Dodgers hadn’t lost in the City of Brotherly Love since May 5, 1945.
1950 Vern Bickford, throwing just 97 pitches, no-hits the Dodgers at Braves’ Field, 7-0. The 29 year-old right-hander hurls the first hitless game for Boston since Jim Tobin accomplished the feat, also against Brooklyn, on April 27, 1944.
1951 WCBS-TV televises the first baseball game broadcast in color, a Braves’ 8-1 victory over the hometown Dodgers in the first game of a twin bill at Ebbets Field. Brooklyn’s announcers Red Barber and Connie Desmond provide the play-by-play commentary.
2015 The Blue Jays, Rays, Marlins, Mets, Indians, Cubs, Royals, White Sox, Twins, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Padres, Dodgers, and Giants all win, making it the first time in the live ball era that every contest is won by the home team in a full slate of games. The unique occurrence became a reality when the two last games to finish end in extra innings, with the host clubs enjoying a walk-off victory.
RHP Ross Stripling (2-0, 2.92 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers while the Padres send RHP Garrett Richards (0-0, 3.38 ERA) to the mound. Stripling has made it into the sixth inning in both his starts, the only Dodgers’ pitcher to do so. Richards is on the comeback trail after Tommy John surgery in August of 2018. In fact, due to injuries he’s only thrown 147 1/3 innings in the last four years; in his two starts this season he’s gone 10 2/3 innings, reaching 90 pitches in the second one.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1954 Stan Musial, in a 13-4 rout of the Dodgers in Brooklyn, paces the Cardinals attack, hitting two homers and driving in seven runs. The defeat is Preacher Roe’s first loss to St. Louis at Ebbets Field in four years.
1969 With a titanic blast that clears the right-field pavilion, Willie Stargell becomes the first player to hit a home run completely out of Dodger Stadium. The 506-foot round-tripper helps the Pirates defeat LA, 11-3.
1979 Don Sutton, surpassing Don Drysdale, becomes the Dodgers’ all-time strikeout leader with 2,487 when he fans six in an 8-1 victory over San Francisco at Chavez Ravine. After establishing the mark, and receiving a two-minute standing ovation that he acknowledges by tipping his cap, the right-hander is charged with an automatic ball due to running his fingers across his lips while thanking the crowd.
1979 Outfielders Willie Mays (Giants, Mets) and Hack Wilson (Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, and Phillies) are enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Baseball administrator Warren Giles, who served as the president of the National League from 1951 to 1969, is also inducted during the Cooperstown ceremony.
LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 1.80 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers. He walked three and struck out three in five innings in his first start. He’ll face the D-Backs’ RHP Luke Weaver (0-1, 16.20 ERA), who gave up six runs on seven hits in his first start, walking two and striking out six.
Mookie Betts’ throw may make us forget Yasiel Puig:
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. Counsell and Bergen’s record for position players has since been surpassed by the Orioles’ Chris Davis, who got it up to 54 straight hitless ABs in 2019 before getting a hit on April 13.
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.
As of Friday evening the Giants are using that TBD guy off the mound again, while the Dodgers ask LHP Alex Wood to beat them for the third straight game. Wood spent last year ostensibly with Cincinnati but mostly on the injured list. He signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers in the off-season, presumably in hopes he can recover his previous form (career 53-43, 3.40 ERA) and leverage it to a new contract for 2021.
Here are Muncy’s two HRs from Friday night:
This date in Dodgers history:
1962 At Sportsman’s Park, Stan Musial surpasses Giants’ legend Mel Ott as the National League’s all-time RBI leader. ‘Stan the Man’s’ two-run home run off Don Drysdale in a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers gives the Cardinals’ right fielder 1,862 career runs batted in with the Redbirds. (Ed. — He’s now eighth on the all-time list, behind Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, Cap Anson, Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds and Lou Gehrig)
Non-Dodgers history which amuses me as a lapsed guitarist: 2010 The Baseball Hall of Fame honors John Fogerty for his classic rock song “Centerfield”. At the induction ceremonies, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer performs his 1985 hit and then donates his baseball bat shaped-guitar to the Cooperstown museum.
Here’s John and his kids playing the song at Dodger Stadium earlier this year:
Pitchers: Pedro Báez, Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling, Blake Treinen, Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Brusdar Graterol and Dustin May
Starting depth could be an issue. After losing Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill (68 starts combined last year) over the offseason, the only veteran starters the Dodgers added were Price and Jimmy Nelson, but both are out for the season. That leaves Urías, Wood and youngsters May, Gonzalez and White to pick up those 68 starts.
Will Smith and Austin Barnes are the catchers. Infielders are Enrique Hernández, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios. Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, A. J. Pollack and Chris Taylor are the outfielders.
RHP Walker Buehler (13-3, 3.14 ERA) comes off one of his best games of the year, a four-hit, eleven-strikeout gem over seven shutout innings which pushed the Dodgers over the line to win the Division Championship on Tuesday. He’ll face the Mets’ RHP Zack Wheeler (11-7, 4.21 ERA), who’s been on a roll recently, posting a 1.50 ERA over his last three starts despite opponents hitting .300 against him during that stretch.
Here’s Muncy’s slide to first base after Ramos hit the ball off Ryu’s back:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1946 In Brooklyn, a giant swarm of gnats engulfs Ebbets Field at the end of the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader. The nightcap is called due to the bothersome insects and the impending darkness, resulting in a 2-0 Dodger victory over the Cubs.
1950 At Ebbets Field, Cardinal starter Cloyd Boyer hurts his arm while warming up and is replaced by Red Munger. The reliever goes the distance, beating the Dodgers, 6-2, getting credit for a complete game, but not for a game started.
1978 Don Sutton, in front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. Los Angeles, with tonight’s attendance, becomes the major league first team in history to draw three million fans at home.
1995 Ozzie Smith takes part in the 1,554th twin killing of his career to set a new big league record for double plays. The Cardinals’ shortstop’s wizardry isn’t enough to prevent the Redbirds’ 7-6 loss to the Dodgers at Busch Stadium.
LHP Clayton Kershaw (13-5, 3.06 ERA) tries to get back on track for the Dodgers. After completing at least six innings in each of his first 23 starts, he’s failed to get past the fifth in any of his last three. He’ll face the Mets’ RHP Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 4.06 ERA), who appears to be unhappy with Wilson Ramos as his catcher. Last weekend he asked the Mets to put Rene Rivera or Tomas Nido in the lineup when he pitches.
Rich Hill’s injury is a recurrence of the one which delayed his start this season: a balky MCL. In spring training it was a full-on sprain; he says yesterday’s injury is not as painful.
Here’s the Orioles’ pitcher completely forgetting he’s supposed to cover home plate after a passed ball, allowing Seager and Bellinger to score in yesterday’s game:
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1925 In the first game of a twin bill, Robins’ (Dodgers) starter Dazzy Vance no-hits the Phillies at Ebbets Field, 10-1. The Brooklyn hurler had one-hit the team from the City of Brotherly Love five days earlier.
2005 During the six-run second inning uprising by San Diego, each Dodger outfielder commits an error. The fielding of Ricky Ledee (lf), Jose Cruz Jr. (right field), and Jayson Werth (cf) contributes to the 6-4 loss to the first place Padres.
The Dodgers have activated IF Max Muncy from the 10-day injured list.
The Dodgers send RHP Tony Gonsolin (2-1, 2.74 ERA) to the Chase Field hill to face the Diamondbacks’ RHP Zac Gallen (2-4, 2.56 ERA). Gonsolin beat the Yankees August 24 in the game that featured Kenley Jansen getting out of a one-out bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to preserve the Dodgers’ 2-1 win. Gallen came over to the D-Backs in a trade deadline deal and has shown some promise; he’s gone 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA for Arizona. He has, however, walked 12 batters in 20 innings in August, which is not ideal.
X-ray on Muncy showed no fracture. Contusion remains the diagnosis.
1918 At the Polo Grounds, the Giants beat the Dodgers, 1-0, on an unearned run in the bottom in the ninth in a contest that takes only fifty-six minutes to complete. Pete Compton’s base hit off Jack Combs plates Larry Doyle, who had singled to lead off the frame and moved to third on Ollie O’Mara’s errant throw on a sacrifice bunt.
1952 Nine-time All-Star infielder Arky Vaughan drowns with a friend when their boat capsized while fishing in a volcanic lake near Eagleville, CA. The former shortstop and third baseman, who compiled a .318 batting average and a .406 on-base percentage playing with the Pirates and Dodgers, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
1966 Sandy Koufax, in his final decision facing the Mets, lasts only two innings, losing to Bob Friend at Shea Stadium, 10-4. The Dodgers Hall of Fame southpaw has compiled a 17-2 record against the lowly expansion team since their inception in 1962.
2000 Earning his 1,600th victory, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox passes former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda on the career list for most managerial victories. His 5-2 victory over the Reds puts him 14th on the all-time list.
2015 The NL’s eventual 2015 Cy Young Award recipient Jake Arrieta, needing just 116 pitches, beats Los Angeles, 2-0, tossing the 12th no-hitter ever thrown at the Chavez Ravine ballpark, and the 13th no-no in Cubs history. The contest marks the second time in ten games the Dodgers has been unable to get a hit; they were held hitless by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers on August 21.