Nov 21

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Two of the first four Dodgers’ games in 2018 will be on ESPN.

ESPN will televise the Dodgers-Giants opener on Thursday, March 29, a 4 p.m. PT start, and will also showcase the series finale on “Sunday Night Baseball,” a 5:30 p.m. PT start. Both will be exclusive telecasts by ESPN, which means no SPNLA broadcast of either game.

Hmm. Kershaw pitches Opening Day, Hill in Game Two, Maeda in Game Three and Wood in Game Four, I’m guessing.

Oct 31

World Series Game Six, 2017

Astros at Dodgers, 5:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

The Astros have a 3-2 lead in the Series and, in a rematch of Game Two pitchers, ask RHP Justin Verlander to close it out. The Dodgers counter with LHP Rich Hill. Neither pitcher got the win in that extra-inning affair.

The story of this game may be which starter lasts longest and which bullpen works least.

The Phillies have hired Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development, to be their next manager.

Today in baseball history:

  • 2001 For the first time since Philadelphia A’s Mule Haas hit a game-tying two-run homer in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series, a team comes from behind to tie a Fall Classic game in the ninth and goes on to win in extra innings. Tino Martinez sends the game into overtime with a two-out homer off Diamondbacks’ closer Byung-Hyun Kim and Derek Jeter, dubbed Mr. November, wins it after the stroke of midnight with a full count two-out round-tripper giving the Bronx Bombers a 3-2 victory and knots the series at two games apiece.
  • 2009 Alex Rodriguez’s Game 3 fly ball in the right-field corner of Citizens Bank Park becomes the subject of the first instant replay call in World Series history. The Yankee third baseman’s hit, originally ruled a double, is changed by the umpires to a home run after the replay clearly shows the ball going over the fence before striking a television camera and bouncing back to the field.

Lineup when available.

Oct 25

World Series Game Two, 2017

Astros at Dodgers, 5:09 PM PT, TV: Fox

The Astros send out their waiver-trade-deadline acquisition par excellence, RHP Justin Verlander. All Verlander has done since coming over from the Tigers is win nine games without a loss, including four postseason games this year. He’ll be opposed by the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill, who’s pitched nine innings in two starts in the postseason without a decision.


Today in baseball history:

  • 1981 In Game 5 at Dodger Stadium, Pedro Guerrero’s and Steve Yeager’s back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh inning off Yankee southpaw Ron Guidry give Los Angeles a 2-1 win, its third victory in the Fall Classic. Guerrero and Yeager, along with teammate Ron Cey, will be named as the co-recipients of the World Series MVP award.
  • 1986 One strike from defeat, the Mets tie the game on a wild pitch and then, thanks to Bill Buckner’s error, win Game 6, knotting the Fall Classic at three games apiece. This event was selected as one of baseball’s 30 most memorable moments. “If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.” – Vin Scully, describing the aftermath of the play after a long silence.
  • 2005 The first World Series game ever to be played in the state of Texas proves to be memorable when Geoff Blum’s 14th inning solo home run (the 30th Major Leaguer to hit a HR in his first World Series AB) becomes the beginning of the end of the longest Fall Classic contest ever played. The 7-5 victory, which gives the White Sox a commanding 3-0 advantage over the Astros, takes 5 hours, 41 minutes to complete, with the 14 frames equaling the number of innings the Red Sox needed to beat the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 1916 series.
  • 2005 Mark Buehrle becomes the first pitcher to start and save consecutive World Series contests. After receiving a no-decision starting Game 2, the 26 year-old southpaw gets the final out in the 14th inning of Game 3 to record a save as the White Sox beat the Astros, 7-5.

Lineup when available.

Oct 17

NLCS Game Three, 2017

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

The visiting Dodgers send RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) out to keep the Cubs at bay and take a 3-0 lead in the series. The Cubs counter with RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA). Darvish had a good outing in Game Three of the ALDS against the Diamondbacks, giving up one run on two hits in five innings while striking out seven and not walking anyone. Hendricks had an excellent start against the Nats in Game One of the NLDS when he allowed no runs, but a less-than-stellar one in Game Five when he gave up four runs on nine hits in four innings. He may take some confidence from his two NLCS starts against the Dodgers last year when he gave up only one run on five hits in 12 2/3 innings.

Here are several news items pertaining to the Dodgers and this series: first, from MLB: Memories of last year’s Game Six loss and the subsequent ring ceremonies this year might be a prod for the Dodgers. Second, SI’s Jay Jaffe writes about Yasiel Puig’s discipline and flair. And finally, Rich Hill is known for his curve, but it’s his fastball that’s doing heavy lifting this season.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1978 The Yankees capture their twenty-second and second consecutive World Championship, beating Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. Playoff hero Bucky Dent, who collects ten hits in the six-game series, is named the the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

Other historical note: in 1989 as the Giants and A’s get ready to play Game 3 of the World Series, the Bay Area is hit by the massive 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake, which will be responsible for 63 deaths. The Candlestick Park contest is quickly postponed by Commissioner Fay Vincent, and he orders the evacuation of the ballpark.

Lineup:

Puig at cleanup. Pederson, Ethier and Utley starting. Grandal not starting. No siree, no lineup shakeups here.

Oct 15

NLDS Game Two, 2017

Cubs at Dodgers., 4:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

Two grizzled lefties have at one another in Game Two: 33-year-old Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA) for the Cubbies and 37-year-old Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA) for the Dodgers. Lester is the active leader in postseason innings pitched with 143 1/3. He worked 9 2/3 innings in the NLDS against the Nationals, making one start and giving up only two runs for a 1.86 ERA. He’s 2-3 with a 3.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers. Hill gave up two runs on three hits in four innings against the D-Backs in Game Two of the NLDS. He’s only faced the Cubs twice in his career, once in 2011 and once last year in Game Three of the NLCS when he went six scoreless innings.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1946 In Game 7 of the World Series, the Cardinals beat the Red Sox, 4-3, when Enos Slaughter streaked home from first on Harry Walker’s single. The play surprises everyone, including cut-off man shortstop Johnny Pesky who hesitates, as legend has it, throwing the ball home.
  • 1970 Brooks Robinson is selected as the World Series Most Valuable Player after batting .429 (9/21) and driving in six runs during the five-game set against Cincinnati. The Orioles’ third baseman becomes the first player to be named the MVP in the Fall Classic, an All-Star game (1966), and for his league (AL-1964).
  • 1988 In his only plate appearance in the Fall Classic, a limping Kirk Gibson, appearing as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in the ninth inning of Game 1, sends a two-out, 3-2 back-door slider from the A’s relief ace Dennis Eckersley over the right field fence. It’s the first time a World Series game is ever decided on a come-from-behind home run in the final inning.

Lineup when available.

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 27

Game 159, 2017

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD, ESPN (out-of-market only)

The Dodgers are up three games in the win column over the Indians for the best record in baseball (and home field advantage through the playoffs and World Series if they get that far) with four games left to play.

The Padres send LHP Clayton Richard (8-14, 4.63 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (11-8, 3.50 ERA).

These pitchers have faced their respective opposing teams before this season:

Hill will be making his final tuneup ahead of a probable start in Game 3 of the NL Division Series. The southpaw is 2-0 in four starts vs. the Padres this season, owning 1.50 ERA to go along with 25 strikeouts. Richard is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts at Dodger Stadium this season. The southpaw is 3-4 with a 3.61 ERA over his last 11 starts.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1936 Replacing Johnny Mize, tossed by an ump for arguing, Cardinal rookie first baseman Walter Alston makes an error in handling two chances and strikes out in his only major league at-bat. ‘Smokey’ will, however, win seven pennants and four World Series in his 23-year Hall of Fame career as Dodger manager from 1954 to 1976.
  • 1951 Bill Sharman, recently called up from Fort Worth, is one of 15 Dodgers who are ejected by umpire Frank Dascoli for bench jockeying after a close call at home plate. The future basketball Hall of Famer will never play in the big leagues, and thus he will become the only player to be ejected from a major league game without ever appearing in one.
  • 1960 Ryne Duren makes his first start in two years memorable when he strikes out the first five batters he faces in the Yankees’ 5-1 victory over Washington. The feat ties a modern major league record shared by Lefty Gomez (Yankees), Dazzy Vance (Dodgers), and Walter Johnson (Senators).
  • 1961 Sandy Koufax breaks the National League mark for strikeouts in a season, surpassing Christy Mathewson’s mark of 267 established in 1903. Unlike the turmoil caused by commissioner Ford Frick’s edict of having to hit 61 homers by the 154th game in the extended 162-game schedule to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record, little is made that the Dodgers southpaw’s 268th punch-out occurs in the 151st game of the season, compared to the 142-game sked played early in the century.
  • 1964 The Houston Colt .45’s play their final game in Colt Stadium, the team’s home ballpark since joining the National League in 1962. The future Astros beat the Dodgers in the 12th inning, 1-0, when Jimmy Wynn’s single plates Bob Aspromonte.
  • 1993 In a 7-3 victory over the Dodgers, Cubs’ reliever Randy Myers becomes the first National League pitcher to record 50 saves in a season.
  • 1993 Mike Piazza, who broke the major league rookie record for home runs by a catcher earlier in the month, sets another mark for round-trippers when he hits his 34th, surpassing the previous L.A. Dodger mark shared by Steve Garvey (1977) and Pedro Guerrero (1985). Duke Snider established the franchise record with 43 homers playing with Brooklyn in 1956.
  • 2000 The United States Olympic team, managed by former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda, stuns the world, beating the much-favored Cuban team to win the country’s first gold medal in its national pastime. Ben Sheets ends Cuba’s 21-game Olympic winning streak with a 4-0 shutout.
  • 2011 After giving up five runs in the top of the tenth inning, the Diamondbacks score six times in the bottom of the frame in an amazing 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers. Arizona infielder Ryan Roberts delivers the decisive blow in the Chase Field contest, a walk-off grand slam with two outs.

Adrian Gonzáles is done for the season, it appears.

Lineup when available.

Sep 22

Game 154, 2017

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, NBC Bay Area, MLB.TV (free game of the day)

The Giants ask RHP Jeff Samardzija (9-14, 4.42 ERA) to keep the Dodgers and LHP Rich Hill (10-8, 3.60 ERA) from clinching the NL West title in tonight’s game.

Samardzija’s 14 losses are a career high (low?), but the Giants are 13-17 in his starts this year, which isn’t all that bad considering their overall W-L record. Hill pitched five innings of one-hit one-run ball against the Nationals his last time out but got lifted for a pinch hitter in hopes of adding some runs. That didn’t work, but the Dodgers won 3-2 anyway.

Seager will get a few days off to rest his sore ankle, Roberts says.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1925 Robins starter Burleigh Grimes accounts for seven outs in just three plate appearances in the team’s 3-2 loss to Chicago, a 12-inning game played at Cubs Park. The Brooklyn right-hander follows grounding into two double plays by hitting into a 6-4-3-2 triple play.
  • 1926 At Ebbets Field, the aging 18-year veteran outfielder Zack Wheat hits his last homer as a Dodger, but severely pulls a muscle nearing second. The future Hall of Famer needs to rest nearly five minutes before completing his trip to home plate, making it the longest home run trot in major league history.
  • 1947 On an off day, the Dodgers clinched the National League pennant when Chicago takes the nightcap of the twin bill against St. Louis. Although it is past midnight when the good news about their beloved team reaches the borough, Brooklynites begin to gather on Flatbush for an impromptu celebration.
  • 1954 Karl Spooner, in his major league debut, blanks the Giants at Ebbets Field 3-0. The 23 year-old Dodger southpaw fans 15 batters, including six straight, recording the most strikeouts in a first appearance by a rookie.
  • 1957 Duke Snider, with his second round-tripper in the Dodgers’ 7-3 victory over Philadelphia, hits his 40th home run, tying Ralph Kiner’s National League record of five consecutive seasons with forty or more homers. The Duke of Flatbush’s seventh-inning homer off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts will prove to be the last one ever hit at Ebbets Field.
  • 1976 Right-hander Don Sutton goes the distance to become a twenty-game winner for the first and last time when the Dodgers beat the Giants at Candlestick Park, 3-1. The future Hall of Famer will compile a 324-256 (.559) record during his 23-year career in the bigs.
  • 1986 Dodger hurler Fernando Valenzuela (20-10) two-hits Houston en route to a 9-2 victory at the Astrodome. The 25 year-old southpaw becomes the first Mexican to win 20 games in the major leagues.

Lineup when available.

Sep 16

Game 148, 2017

Dodgers at Nationals, 10:05 AM PT, TV: Fox

LHP Rich Hill (9-8, 3.67 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and RHP A.J. Cole (2-4, 4.30 ERA) pitches for the Nats.

Hill has lost his last four starts and since his near-perfect game in Pittsburgh he’s got a 6.14 ERA. Cole has never faced the Dodgers and hasn’t started for the Nationals since Sept. 4. He’s made a couple of relief appearances since then, giving up three runs in four innings.

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1924 Cardinal first baseman Jim Bottomley goes 6-for-6, including two homers, and bats in a record twelve runs when the team beats the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 17-3. The previous mark of 11 RBIs in one game was established in 1892 by today’s opposing Dodger manager, Wilbert Robinson.
  • 1976 In the 11th inning at Veterans Stadium, Rick Joseph hits a walk-off grand slam in the Phillies’ 8-4 victory over the Dodgers. Two batters are walked intentionally by Ron Perranoski to face the weak hitting Philadelphia pinch hitter, who responds with his first career home run, which will be his only round-tripper this season.
  • 1988 The Reds’ Tom Browning pitches a perfect game against the Dodgers, striking out eight and allowing only eight balls to be hit out of the infield in his 1-0 victory. Over three starts, including the perfect game, he retires 40 consecutive batters – one shy of a major league record.

Lineup when available.

Sep 10

Game 143, 2017

Rockies at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, TBS (out-of-market only), ATT SportsNet-RM

The Rockies ask RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-12, 4.88 ERA) to complete the sweep, facing the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (9-7, 3.67 ERA). The two teams meet at the end of the season for a final three-game series.

Chatwood has a 10.57 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season over 7 2/3 innings. He’s only started two games since July 15 when he injured his right calf in the first inning of a game against the Mets and he’s expected to throw between 60-70 pitches. Hill’s last start was a good one against the D-Backs on Monday when he gave up two runs on two hits over six innings. The bullpen collapsed and the Dodgers eventually lost that game 13-0 while giving up four home runs to J.D. Martinez.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1992 Cardinals vice chairman Fred Kuhlman tells reporters that a “security check” had revealed serious issues involving the two out-of-state investors, Vince Piazza and Vincent N. Tirendi, part of the six-man group trying to buy the Giants and move the franchise to Florida. The candid reply to the press will cost baseball more than $6 million to settle a suit that includes a letter of apology from acting Commissioner Bud Selig to Vince Piazza, whose son Mike started his major league career with the Dodgers nine days before his father’s rejection by the MLB owners.
  • 1974 Lou Brock ties and then breaks Maury Wills’s 12 year-old single season stolen base record with his 104th and 105th swipes. The Cardinal left fielder’s thievery against the Phillies doesn’t help when the Redbirds drop the Busch Stadium contest, 8-2.

Lineup when available.