In terms of who plays where and when against Milwaukee, Gavin Lux will likely be paired up the middle with rookie infielder Miguel Vargas, who hasn’t been swinging due to a hairline fracture on his pinky finger, but he should play about five innings. David Peralta could be in the lineup as well. Aside from knowing that starter Michael Grove will be the starting pitcher on Saturday, there are still questions brewing, especially with lineup construction.
“I’ve thought about it, you know,” said Roberts, when asked about how much time he’s spent on lineup combinations. “It’s just trying to figure out, you know, Mookie [Betts] at the top, is it best? Where to put J.D., where to put Will Smith, where’s Max [Muncy]? I don’t think there’s a right answer. As we have conversations and let things play out, it’ll show itself a little more.”
How does the up-the-middle defense hold up?
The Dodgers will have a new starting shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. Lux moves to short, Vargas will start at second (not till next week when his hairline-fractured finger is fully healed), and center is still uncertain.
Can Syndergaard turn back the clock?
Can he get his velocity back, and will his command come with it?
Which young pitchers take the next step?
If there are no injuries the rotation on Opening Day will be Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Syndergaard. After them? Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove and Andre Jackson. According to observers, Pepiot has impressed early in camp, and Grove will start the Dodgers’ opener on Saturday.
Top prospects Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller will also be in the mix. Stone is the Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year and is the more polished of the two pitchers. Miller, on the other hand, hits triple digits with ease, and scouts fall in love with his ability to spin the baseball.
“It’s going to be important,” Roberts said of the Dodgers’ young pitchers continuing to develop. “They have to take the next step because we expect more from them this year than we did last year.”
The Rockies give the ball to RHP Kyle Freeland (9-11, $.63 ERA) and the Dodgers give theirs to RHP Michael Grove (1-0, 4.07 ERA).
Because the Dodgers have been in more tie-breaking series than any other team in baseball, they’ve had a lot of activity on the first day of October over the years. On this date in Dodgers’ history:
1944 Dixie Walker, an outfielder on the seventh-place Dodgers, wins the National League batting crown with a .357 batting average, finishing ten points higher than runner-up Stan Musial. In 1947, the ‘People’s Cherce’s younger brother, Harry ‘the Hat’, will also lead the Senior Circuit, hitting .363 in the year when he is traded, after playing ten games for St. Louis, to Philadelphia.
1946 The Dodgers and Cardinals, who both finished the season with a 96-58 record, play the first game of a best-of-three series to determine the National League’s championship, marking the first time in major league history a playoff is needed to send a team to the World Series. St. Louis wins today’s Sportsman’s Park contest, 4-2, and will clinch the pennant in Game 2, beating the Brooklyn at Ebbets Field, 8-4.
1950 On the last day of the season, Pee Wee Reese, ignoring second base ump Frank Dascoli’s directive to slow down when his high outfield fly becomes stuck between the screen and the right field wall, continues sprinting around the bases at full speed, crossing home plate with the tying run in a game the team needs to win to finish tied with Philadelphia for the NL flag. The Dodgers shortstop’s unusual inside-the-park homer, due to an odd ground rule, will be the only run Robin Roberts allows in the Phillies’ pennant clinching 4-1 victory at Ebbets Field.
1950 After they retire today, Burt Shotton of the Dodgers and the A’s Connie Mack will become the last managers to wear street clothes. Although no edict specifically mandates a skipper must wear a uniform, there is now a rule that states that a person not wearing a uniform, except medical personnel, isn’t allowed on the field of play during a game.
1950 In the season finale, Robin Roberts, in the first of his six consecutive 20-win seasons, becomes the first Phillies right-hander to win twenty games for the team since Grover Cleveland Alexander accomplished the feat with a total of 30 victories in 1917. The complete-game, ten-inning 4-1 Ebbets Field victory over the Dodgers hurled by the Whiz Kid from Springfield (IL) clinches Philadelphia’s first NL pennant since 1915.
1951 The Giants’ 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in the first game of the National League playoffs is the first major league contest to be televised coast-to-coast. CBS, who obtained rights to the game, transmits the picture from Ebbets Field, but has to get the signal from ABC, who had made previous arrangements with WOR-TV, the New York station which carried Brooklyn’s regular season games.
1955 After losing the first two contests in the Bronx, the Dodgers even the World Series at a pair of games apiece when they defeat the Yankees at Ebbets Field, 8-5. Brooklyn will make it three victories in a row tomorrow with a 5-3 victory over the Bronx Bombers, but it will take a dramatic Game 7 for the ‘Bums’ to capture their first World Championship.
1961 The Wrigley Field on the West Coast hosts its last professional baseball game when the Angels, who will play at Dodger Stadium next season, are defeated by Cleveland, 8-5, in front of 9,868 fans at the 36 year-old ballpark, which will be torn down in five years to make room for an eventual public playground and senior center. In addition to being the home for the American League expansion team, the venue housed the PCL’s Angels from 1925 through 1957 and served as the location for the 1960 television series Home Run Derby.
1974 At the Astrodome, Mike Marshall establishes the major league mark for the most appearances by a pitcher when he throws two innings in the Dodgers’ 8-5 victory over Houston. With his 106 appearances, the right-handed reliever appears in 65% of the games that his team played this season.
1993 Mike Piazza plates Jose Offerman with a first-inning single to set a new team mark for runs driven in by a rookie with 107. The 24 year-old Dodgers catcher breaks the franchise record for rookie RBIs established by Del Bissonette, a freshman first baseman who played with Brooklyn in 1928.
2009 The Rockies’ 9-2 win over Milwaukee assures the team of a wild card berth in the postseason, and puts the team in position to still win the NL West by sweeping the Dodgers this weekend in L.A. Although the team was 12 games under .500 on June 3, today’s victory, their 91st – a club record – puts Colorado 23 games over .500, another first in the 17 year history of franchise.
Lineups when available.
Yonathan Daza (R) CF
Jose Iglesias (R) SS
Ryan McMahon (L) 3B
C.J. Cron (R) 1B
Brendan Rodgers (R) DH
Sean Bouchard (R) LF
Randal Grichuk (R) RF
Elias Diaz (R) C
Alan Trejo (R) 2B
Mookie Betts (R) RF
Trea Turner (R) SS
Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
Trayce Thompson (R) LF
Miguel Vargas (R) DH
Austin Barnes (R) C
Cody Bellinger (L) CF
Hanser Alberto (R) 3B
Gavin Lux (L) 2B
RHP Adam Wainwright (11-10, 3.38 ERA) goes for the Cardinals and RHP Michael Grove (0-0, 4.66 ERA) does so for the Dodgers. Wainwright and Kershaw each have 195 wins in their respective careers.
This day in Dodgers’ history:
1941 Combined with a Cardinal defeat, the Dodgers win their first pennant in 21 years when they beat Boston at Braves Field, 6-0. Whitlow Wyatt throws a five-hitter and Pete Reiser hits a homer in the winning cause.
1956 Dodger right-hander Sal Maglie no-hits the Phillies at Ebbets Field, 5-0. The ‘Barber’s’ gem helps second-place Brooklyn to keep pace in the pennant race with Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
1962 After appearing in 60 games over a two-year span, Dodger reliever Ed Roebuck suffers his first loss. The LA right-hander gives up a 10th inning home run to Houston’s Al Spangler, breaking the 2-2 deadlock at Chavez Ravine.
1974 In the first-of-its-kind operation, Dr. Frank Jobe transplants a tendon from Tommy John’s right wrist to the Dodger pitcher’s left elbow. The revolutionary ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, which will become a standard surgical procedure better known as Tommy John surgery, enables the southpaw to win an additional 164 games, more than half of his career total of 288 victories.
1996 Giants slugger Barry Bonds draws an intentional walk which gives him the National League record with 149 bases-on-balls in a season. The free pass is issued in the seventh inning by LA’s Mark Guthrie with two outs and a runner on third base in the team’s 7-5 loss at Dodger Stadium. (Note: Bonds wasn’t done. He now holds down the top three spots in Most Walks, Hitter, Season).
2008 The Diamondbacks, defending division champions, lose to St. Louis, 12-3, allowing the Dodgers to clinch the NL West. Los Angeles first-year skipper Joe Torre’s 13-year postseason streak continues, unlike the Yankees, his former team.
2020 Dusty Baker will become the first major league skipper to manage five different teams to the postseason as the Astros clinch a spot in the MLB’s expanded 16-team Fall Frenzy when the Dodgers beat the Angels. The three-time National League Manager of the year (1993, 1997, 2000) had previously won a playoff spot with the Giants (1997, 2000, 2002), Cubs (2003), Reds (2010, 2012, 2013), and Nationals (2016, 2017).
1907 At Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, Nick Maddox no-hits the Dodgers, 2-1. At the age of 20 years and ten months, the Pirates hurler becomes the youngest pitcher and the second rookie to throw a no-hitter.
1911 Bill Bergen ends his major league career with the lowest lifetime batting average for a position player in major league history by hitting an anemic .170 during his 11-year tenure with the Reds and Superbas. The 33 year-old backstop, who had only one year of batting above .200, also holds the records for lowest season batting average for a regular season (.139 in 1909) and the longest streak of at-bats without a hit (46 in 1909).
1954 The Giants clinch the pennant when they beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 7-1. The National League champs, finishing the season five games ahead of second-place Brooklyn, will go on to sweep Cleveland in the Fall Classic.
1959 The San Francisco Giants, bowing to the Dodgers, 8-2, play their last game at Seals Stadium. The transplanted New York team, who compiled a 163-145 record in their two-year stay in the former PCL park, will move to the newly constructed Candlestick Park next season.
1961 In a 13-inning contest, Sandy Koufax goes the distance, beating the Cubs, 3-2, in the last regular season game to be played at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which was originally built for the 1932 Olympics. The Dodgers are leaving the only home they have known since moving from Brooklyn four seasons ago to play in a brand new stadium in Chavez Ravine, located a few miles from downtown Los Angeles.
2011 Clayton Kershaw becomes the Dodgers’ first 20-game winner since Ramon Martinez accomplished the feat in 1990. Allowing just one run in 7 1/3 innings, the southpaw gets the victory when LA beats the visiting Giants, 2-1.
2012 Washington secures a playoff spot when they beat the Dodgers at Nationals Park, 4-1. The last time there was postseason baseball in the nation’s capital occurred 79 years ago, when player-skipper Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the Giants in five games in the 1933 World Series.
That’s an astonishing statistic: 60 times Kershaw has gone seven-plus innings without allowing a run. In a different era he’d have been pushing the shutout numbers that Sutton (52), Drysdale (49) and Koufax (40) put up for the Dodgers.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Preacher Roe wins his 20th game of the season when the Dodgers beat the Pirates at Forbes Field, 3-1. The 36 year-old southpaw will finish the season with a 22-3 record.
2002 Chin-Feng Chen becomes the first Taiwan-born player to appear in the major leagues as he walks and scores as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers against the Rockies. The 24 year-old first baseman-outfielder played for the 1990 Taiwan team which won the Little League World Series.
2008 Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, with his eighth-inning thievery in a 7-4 loss to the Braves at Shea Stadium, becomes the first player to have four straight seasons of 50 or more stolen bases playing for a New York area team, which also includes Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants. The accomplishment extends the infielder’s own record, as he is also the only Gotham major leaguer to achieve the feat for three consecutive years.
Also, in 1990 Mariner Ken Griffey and his son, Junior, become the first father and son to hit homers in the same major league game. The back-to-back blasts are given up by Angel hurler Kirk McCaskill.
RHP Aaron Nola (1-4, 3.83 ERA) pitches for the Phillies and the Dodgers send out 25-year-old RHP Michael Grove, newly called up from Tulsa in the AA Texas League where he was 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA. Nola has thrown 40 innings this season, giving up 18 runs on 33 hits. He averages 10 strikeouts per nine innings.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1919 After 12 scoreless innings at Ebbets Field, the Reds score ten runs in the 13th inning to beat Al Mamaux and the Dodgers, 10-0. Cincinnati starter Hod Eller, who tossed a no-hitter in his previous start, is the beneficiary of the blowout.
1956 Sal Maglie, obtained on waivers by Cleveland last season from the Giants, is shipped to the Dodgers for a hundred dollars after impressing Brooklyn in an exhibition game. The ‘Barber’ will post a 13-5 record along with a 2.89 ERA for the eventual NL Champs, finishing second to teammate Don Newcombe in the balloting for both the Cy Young and MVP awards.
1998 On the day the Marlins trade Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios to the Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile, the team hangs on to beat the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, 8-7. In the first inning, the Fish connect for nine consecutive hits, a franchise record, and score seven runs, all without the help of their recently departed teammates.