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.
The Braves haven’t yet announced their starter, but an informed guess would be Dallas Keuchel or Julio Teheran. Whoever it is will face the Cardinals’ rookie RHP Dakota Hudson, whose 16 wins led all MLB rookies this year. He had a 2.75 ERA at home in Busch Stadium, too.
The Dodgers start LHP Rich Hill, who may be pitching with a knee brace and is not expected to go more than three or four innings. He’ll face RHP Max Scherzer, last seen striking out the side in the eighth inning of Game Two of this series on Friday.
Who is hot and who is not? Dodgers: Turner had a homer, double and single in Game 3 and has hit safely in 10 straight NLDS games, batting .390 (16-for-41) with two homers and 10 RBIs. Since 2015, he has hit safely in 19 of 20 NLDS games. David Freese is equally a postseason monster and on Sunday became only the fourth player in postseason history to come off the bench with a three-hit game.
Every game in baseball begins at the same time today. I’m sure MLB is hoping for a repeat of the events of September 28, 2011, when within thirty minutes two teams were eliminated from the playoffs after leading in their respective games. There are two games which are important today, but neither has quite the same amount of weight as those games eight years ago:
The Cardinals’ magic number to win the NL Central is one. That means a St. Louis win or Milwaukee loss Sunday would make the Cardinals division champs, while a Brewers win and Cardinals loss would force a tiebreaker Monday at Busch Stadium (3:09 p.m ET on ESPN) to determine the division winner. If both teams win Sunday, the Cardinals win the NL Central.
The Dodgers will make the last game of the season a bullpen game, starting LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.59 ERA) but not allowing him to go more than three innings, I imagine, thanks to his balky knee. The Giants have changed their minds; Madison Bumgarner was originally scheduled to start but was scratched by manager Bruce Bochy after Friday night’s game. Instead they’ll give RHP Dereck Rodríguez (6-10, 5.27 ERA) his 16th start of the season. He’s 0-1 with an 11.32 ERA in four lifetime appearances against the Dodgers.
Here’s Mr. Ryu’s excellent game Saturday: seven strikeouts, an RBI base hit, seven scoreless innings and the NL ERA title.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season. In a must-win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants and four world championships.
1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.
LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.68 ERA) tries to come back from his spell on the IL and the torn scar tissue in his knee which forced him out of his last start in the first inning. He’ll be wearing a knee brace. His opponent will be rookie RHP Ronald Bolaños (0-1, 5.79), who’s made just three big league appearances, all this month. Two of those were starts in which he went a total of 11 innings and gave up seven runs on ten hits, walking six and striking out ten.
Here is Ryu’s first career home run:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1957 Grounding out, Pirates left-handed first baseman Dee Fondy becomes last player ever to bat in Ebbets Field when the Dodgers blank the Bucs, 2-0, in the final major league game ever played in Brooklyn.
1971 Al Downing becomes a 20-game winner when he blanks the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 2-0. The Dodger left-hander, best remembered for giving up Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run, will compile a 123-107 record during his 17-year major league career.
1981Dodgers 7, Giants 5 at Candlestick. The Dodgers got a three-run homer from Mike Scioscia and two more runs in the third inning to put themselves ahead. The game was — marred? supplemented? — when a fan threw a helmet and — well, here:
Reggie Smith went into the stands after a fan who had been heckling him during the game; the fan had just thrown a batting helmet into the dugout before Smith climbed into the stands; Smith punched the fan and tried to pull him over the rail onto the field; Dodger teammates grabbed Smith; eight fans were arrested and Smith was ejected by HP umpire Harry Wendelstedt; as two policemen walked with Smith down the RF line to the clubhouse, someone threw a beer bottle and missed.
2001 Batting for reliever Joe Beimel in the bottom of the sixth inning, Craig Wilson drives the first pitch he sees into the seats in left center for his seventh pinch-hit home run, tying the major league mark established last season by Dodger infielder Dave Hansen. The Pirate rookie’s two-run round-tripper sparks a five-run frame, enabling the Bucs to overcome a 5-0 deficit in their eventual 7-6 victory over the Chicago at PNC Park.
2003 Eric Gagne ties John Smoltz’s National League mark for saves with 55 when he helps the Dodgers defeat the Padres, 5-3. The Los Angeles closer equals the NL mark in consecutive opportunities, which is also a record.
The Dodgers send LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.55 ERA) to the mound for the first of four expected starts before the playoffs begin. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since June 19 when he strained a flexor tendon, and he’s not expected to go more than a couple of innings. His opponent will be RHP Dylan Bundy (6-13, 5.06 ERA), who’s had an odd schedule: before 18 of his 27 starts he’s had an extra day of rest and has had one before today’s start, which has seemed to be beneficial. When he’s had that extra day he’s cut his ERA a full run from what it had been entering the game.
The Dodgers held a lead in yesterday’s game, believe it or not:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1930 The last major league bounced home run is hit by Dodger catcher Al Lopez at Ebbets Field as the NL joins the American League, which had enacted the rule change in 1929. The player who hits the ball over the wall on a bounce will now be awarded a ground-rule double.
1932 In the bottom of the ninth, Johnny Frederick hits his major league record-setting sixth pinch-homer of the season, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Cubs. The Brooklyn outfielder’s major league mark will not be broken for 68 years until another Dodger, Dave Hansen, strokes seven round-trippers coming off the bench in 2000.
1953 The Dodgers clinch a pennant at the earliest date ever in baseball history with a 5-2 victory over the Braves at County Stadium. Carl Erskine gets the win when Brooklyn, who clinches consecutive titles for the first time in franchise history, goes up 13 games up on Milwaukee with 12 left to play.
1962 One game behind the front running Dodgers, the Giants lose Willie Mays, their All-Star center fielder, when he is hospitalized for nervous exhaustion. The ‘City by the Bay’ will drop six games in a row, but will recover along with ‘Say Hey Kid’ in time to beat Los Angeles in a playoff to win the National league pennant.
“I look up into the stands, and it looks like Ebbets Field. The Mets are wonderful, but you can’t take the Dodger out of Brooklyn” – DUKE SNIDER, – addressing the Mets fans on his special night at the Polo Grounds.
In a pregame ceremony with his former Dodgers teammates, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Ralph Branca in attendance, Duke Snider is honored by the Mets with a special ‘night’ at the Polo Grounds, which coincidentally marks the last time the Giants, now located in San Francisco, will ever play in their once long-time home in Harlem. The ‘Silver Fox’, obtained by the last-place expansion team in April, has recently requested to be traded to a contender.
1995 During a WGN pre-game radio broadcast at Wrigley Field, Cubs announcer Harry Caray remarks to the team’s skipper Jim Riggleman, “Well, my eyes are slanty enough, how ’bout yours?”, referring to Hideo Nomo, the Japanese rookie hurler scheduled to start for the Dodgers. The veteran announcer, known for not backing off for his on-the-air off-handed comments, does issue an apology, calling the incident “unfortunate.”
2000 On the same date the mark was established 68 years ago, Dave Hansen breaks Johnny Frederick’s 1932 record for pinch-hit home runs in a single season with his seventh round-tripper coming off the bench. The Dodger pinch-hitter’s historic homer, a seventh-inning three-run blast off Diamondback right-hander Curt Schilling, isn’t enough to prevent the team’s 5-4 loss to Arizona at Bank One Ballpark.
RHP Ross Stripling (3-3, 3.79 ERA) makes his fourth start replacing the injured Rich Hill. He hasn’t been really successful as a starter yet this season; he’s not gotten past the fifth inning in any start and he’s given up four runs in each of the last two. He’ll face LHP Chris Sale (3-8, 4.04 ERA), who’s not been his usual ace-like self this year. In fact, he gave up five runs in each of his last two starts prior to the All Star break.
In about the only Dodger highlight of Friday’s game, Alex Verdugo curls a home run around the Pesky Pole in right field:
This has nothing to do with the Dodgers or the Red Sox, but I found it interesting: a history of the walk-up song.
RHP German Márquez (7-3, 4.57 ERA) goes for the Rockies and RHP Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.06 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers. Márquez is having a horrible June: he’s got a 10.06 ERA for the three starts he’s made thus far this month. Buehler has given up one run in the three starts he’s made in June.
Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill was placed on the 10-day injured list on Thursday with what doctors told him is a strained left flexor tendon and will be sidelined until at least August.
Hill, 39, said he won’t resume throwing for three to four weeks, then will probably need another month of build up toward competition. A free agent after this season, Hill said he expects to pitch again this year.
More personnel news: Beaty, sent down yesterday, was recalled today and starts tonight at first base. I suspect he didn’t leave LAX.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1957 In his first major league start, Von McDaniel‚ who graduated from Oklahoma’s Hollis High School last month, two-hits the Dodgers at Busch Stadium‚ 2-0. Brooklyn does not get a hit off the 18 year-old bonus baby until the sixth inning.
1998 Bill Russell is released as Dodger manager and is replaced in the dugout by Glenn Hoffmann. In the front office, Tommy Lasorda assumes the general manager duties of the third-place club from Fred Claire.
2016 Dean Kremer becomes the first-ever Israeli to sign a contract with a Major League baseball team when he comes to terms with the Dodgers, after being selected in the annual amateur draft earlier this month. The 20-year-old right-hander, who won Europe’s Most Valuable Pitcher award in both 2014 and 2015, has hurled for Israel’s national baseball team for the past three seasons. (Note: Kremer was traded to the Orioles in the Manny Machado deal in 2018)
LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-6, 3.87 ERA) goes for the Giants in the final game of the series tonight. He’ll face the Dodgers’ young LHP Julio Urias (3-2, 3.05 ERA). Bumgarner may be pitching for the last time against the Dodgers as a Giant; he’s the subject of many trade rumors. Urias has been pitching in relief since mid-April, but he went five scoreless innings in a game he started against the Giants on April 1.
Four of CT3’s seven HRs this year have come off the Giants’ Pomeranz. Here are the two he hit last night:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
2008 In recognition of their significant contributions to the community, the Dodgers become the first sports franchise to be honored by the Hollywood Historic Trust and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The team receives an Award of Excellence star, which is placed in the Walk of Fame, which includes a constellation of celebrities, real and fictional, who have had a major impact on the entertainment industry.
2009 Jeff Weaver beats his kid brother Jered when the visiting Dodgers best the Halos, 6-5, at Angel Stadium. The Northridge, California natives become the eighth set of siblings in major league history to start against one another.
LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-6, 6.43 ERA) has adjusted his arm slot (whatever that might be) and pitched 10 consecutive innings without surrendering an earned run in his last two starts. LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.60 ERA) gave up two HRs to the Cubs in two-plus innings his last time out and then went the next four innings allowing just one hit to get his third straight win in June.
Kershaw had a good night:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1952 Carl Erskine throws a no-hitter against the Cubs in the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory at Ebbets Field. A third inning walk to the opposing pitcher, which accounts for the only runner to reach base, may have been a result of skipper Chuck Dressen telling the 25 year-old right-hander to speed up his pitches due to an impending storm.
1963 At Yankee Stadium, the Mayor’s Trophy Game is revived, with the cellar-dwelling Mets beating the mighty Yanks, 6-2. Prior to leaving for the West Coast, the Dodgers would play the Bronx Bombers in the annual midsummer exhibition contest to raise money for sandlot baseball teams.
1972 At Three Rivers Stadium, Roberto Clemente hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to become the Pirates’ all-time RBI leader. The Pittsburgh right fielder’s three ribbies in the 13-3 drubbing of the Dodgers give the future Hall of Famer a total of 1,274 runs batted in for the Bucs.
1973 In different games, the Reds’ Pete Rose and Dodger Willie Davis both collect their 2,000th career hit. The Cincinnati infielder, known as ‘Charlie Hustle’, reaches the milestone with a single against San Francisco in the Reds’ 4-0 victory at Candlestick Park, and the L.A. outfielder, known as ‘3-Dog’, reaches the plateau in front of the home crowd with a two-run home run in the team’s 3-0 victory over Atlanta.
1990 Gary Carter breaks a National League mark when he catches his 1,862nd career game in the Giants’ 4-3 loss to San Diego. The ‘Kid’ surpasses Al Lopez, who had established the record for backstops in 1946 after playing 18 seasons in the Senior Circuit with the Dodgers, Braves, and Pirates.
Also of note: In 2003 during a College World Series contest against Stanford, a pitch strikes Cal State Fullerton shortstop Justin Turner on the left side of his face as he attempts to bunt. Adding insult to injury, the future Mets and Dodgers infielder also suffers a broken ankle on the play when he unsuccessfully tries to avoid getting hit by the 87-mph fastball thrown by Matt Manship.
Righty Kyle Hendricks (7-4, 3.00 ERA) pitches for the Cubs; Lefty Rich Hill (3-1, 2.40 ERA) does so for the Dodgers. Hendricks has won his last three starts with a 2.05 ERA over those 22 innings. He last faced the Dodgers on June 27, 2018 and it didn’t go well. He gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings. In Hill’s last three starts he’s won two and had an ERA of 2.00. He shut the Cubs out for six innings in his only start against them last season.
Here are Bellinger’s two homers from yesterday’s game:
This date in Dodgers’ history:
2003 After being activated from the disabled list by the Dodgers, first baseman Fred McGriff bats cleanup and goes 2-for-4 in his return against the Padres. It was the Crime Dog’s first trip to the DL during his 18-year career.
2010 After just seven days in the major leagues, Stephen Strasburg is named National League Player of the Week. The Nationals’ right-handed flamethrower starts his career 2-0 with 22 strikeouts, second to only Karl Spooner, who fanned five more batters in his first two major league starts with the Dodgers in 1954.