May 17

Game 46, 2019

Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-O, SPNLA

LHP Rich Hill (0-1, 4.20 ERA) was pushed back from the Padres’ series in order to face the lefty-dominant Reds for this reason: lefties are hitting .445 OPS against him while righties are at 1.069 OPS. The Reds give the ball to RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 4.17 ERA), whose first two outings in May were strong but whose last start was short (4 innings) and unpleasant (eight hits, four runs).

The Dodgers’ management and catchers seem to be frustrated by Kenley Jansen’s insistence on throwing a cutter which isn’t as effective as it once was while his slider has been very effective indeed.

Jansen, 31, has already surrendered as many runs this season as he did in 2017, when he used his signature cutter 85 percent of the time to great success. He is using it just as often in 2019, but the pitch is no longer as dominant.

[snip]

This season, hitters have slugged better than .500 against it, more than two hundred points greater than in 2017. Yet after Tuesday’s save, he had thrown the cutter roughly 300 times this season, and he had thrown the slider only 22 times. Hitters had swung at it 13 times and missed it six times. They had not registered a hit against it.

[snip]

“Kenley obviously knows what he wants to do,” Roberts said. “He can be stubborn at times. He can be convicted at times. We’ve gotta work things out, as far as what we’re trying to do to get Kenley and the catchers on the same page.”

That page, Roberts allowed, covers how best to attack hitters.

“I think that, right now, he can do some different things,” Roberts said.

Which team’s uniforms are the best? MLB polled 85 players and got a tie at the top: the Dodgers and Yankees each received 10 votes.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1947 At Forbes Field, Hank Greenberg asks Jackie Robinson if the Dodger infielder was hurt in a collision with him at first base earlier in the game and then tells the embattled Brooklyn rookie, “Stick in there. You’re doing fine. Keep your chin up.” Jackie will remark to the writers a few days later that his “diamond hero” is Hank Greenberg, knowing that the Pirates’ first baseman, who due to the bigotry endured as a Jew, can appreciate his difficulty of facing racial injustice every day as the first black player in the major leagues this century.
  • 1978 Pinch-hitting for Davey Lopes in the Los Angeles 10-1 rout of the Pirates, Lee Lacy goes deep in the bottom of the eighth inning off Will McEnaney at Dodger Stadium. The utility player becomes the first player in major league history to homer in three consecutive at-bats as a pinch hitter.
  • 1992 Using only 21 dates, the Blue Jays reach the one-million mark in attendance sooner than any team in major league history. The 1991 Blue Jays and the 1981 Dodgers shared the previous record.

Lineup when available.


May 09

Game 40, 2019

Nationals at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: MASN, SPNLA

LHP Patrick Corbin (2-1, 3.71 ERA) makes his first start against the Dodgers as a member of the Nats. As a Diamondback last season he was 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in 23 1/3 innings against them. His opponent will be LHP Rich Hill, (0-0, 3.60 ERA), who’ll be making just his third start. He was sharp in his first one against the Pirates but went only four innings in the second start against the Padres, giving up three runs on two HRs by Manny Machado.

Here is the latest speculation about free agent Craig Kimbrel. The Dodgers could see a need for him if Kenley Jansen can’t stop giving up HRs.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1947 Philadelphia manager Ben Chapman, who admits he had been ‘kinda loud’ in leading his team in verbally abusing Jackie Robinson with racial slurs during yesterday’s game, sends word to the Brooklyn clubhouse that he would like to make amends by posing with the Dodger first baseman for the newspaper photographers. The orchestrated gesture, which Robinson agrees to, admitting later that is one of the hardest things he ever had to make himself do, is prompted by the bad press created by the Phillies manager’s intolerance and the wrath of Commissioner Chandler.

Also on this day: In 2015 with runners on second and third, the Pirates turn the first recorded 4-5-4 triple play in baseball history, recording all three outs entirely on the left side of the infield. The oddity occurs when Yadier Molina lines out to second baseman Neil Walker (1), who throws to third baseman Jung Ho Kang to double up Jhonny Peralta (2), who had strayed too far off the third, and then fields the third baseman’s return throw to triple up Jason Heywood at second base (3).

Lineup when available.


May 04

Game 35, 2019

Dodgers at Padres, 5:40 PM PDT, TV: FSSD, SPNLA

LHP Rich Hill (0-0, 1.50 ERA) makes his second start of the season for the Dodgers, while LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-2, 4.94 ERA) goes for the Padres. In Hill’s first start he went six innings, struck out six, walked none and gave up one earned run. This season Lucchesi has had outings in which he’s given up seven, five and five runs in a total of fifteen innings. Last year he gave up 13 runs in 12 2/3 innings while making three starts against the Dodgers. Oddly, one of his starts against them was last year on this date when the two teams met in Monterrey, Mexico.

Sad news about The Bison: The Reds released him today. He was hitting .200 with one HR and five RBI for Cincinnati and was on the 10-day IL. I suspect he’ll get picked up by an AL team looking for a DH at some point this year.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1919 A SRO crowd attends the first-ever major league game played on a Sunday in Brooklyn. The Ebbets Field contest, in which the Dodgers beat the Braves, 6-2, was made possible when the New York Legislature passed the Sunday Baseball Bill into law.
  • 1966 In a 6-1 victory over L.A. at Candlestick Park, Willie Mays becomes the all-time National League home run leader when he strokes his 512th career round-tripper off Dodger starter Claude Osteen. The San Francisco center fielder passes another Giant, breaking the mark established by Mel Ott in 1946.
  • 1976 Illinois state Rep. Eugene F. Schlickman, co-author of the House of Representative Resolution 747 declaring today as Rick Monday Day, will be in attendance when Los Angeles vice president and GM Al Campanis presents the Cub outfielder with the flag he saved that was about to burned on the field at Dodger Stadium. Last month, the former Marine reservist, in a game played in Los Angeles, ran in from his position, swiping the ‘Stars and Stripes’ away from a father and a son, who were intent on setting it afire.
  • 2009 With their 7-2 win over Arizona, the Dodgers establish a National League record for consecutive victories to open a season at home. Their 11-0 start surpasses the NL mark shared by the 1918 Giants, 1970 Cubs, and 1983 Atlanta Braves, and is one shy of the major-league record set by the Tigers in 1911.

Lineup when available.


Bellinger separated his shoulder in last night’s game and is day-to-day.

Apr 28

Game 30, 2019

Pirates at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: ATT SportsNet-PIT, SPNLA

RHP Trevor Williams (1-1, 2.59 ERA) goes for the Pirates while LHP Rich Hill makes his first appearance of the season for the Dodgers. Williams is like Musgrove in that every start he’s made in 2019 has been a quality one, and in fact he’s got a 1.67 ERA for his last 18 starts. Hill strained a knee in Spring Training and has been rehabbing ever since. The Dodgers think he’s built up enough arm strength to go six innings. He’ll be pitching to Russell Martin, who’s coming off the IL after recovering from lower back inflammation. The Dodgers sent Rocky Gale back to OKC.

Kershaw thinks he’s Superman sometimes, and maybe he’s right:


Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1922 At Ebbets Field, Lee King drives in seven runs in the Phillies’ 10-7 win over the Robins. The Philadelphia outfielder will collect a total of only 15 RBIs this season playing with Philadelphia and the Giants.
  • 2012 Bryce Harper makes his much-anticipated debut in the Nationals’ 4-3 loss to Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine. The 19 year-old rookie center fielder, who drives in the potential go-ahead run in the ninth inning with a sacrifice fly, doubles in the top of the seventh off Chad Billingsley for his first major league hit.

Lineup when available.


Apr 25

Game 27, 2019

Dodgers at Cubs, 11:10 AM PDT, TV: NBCSCH, MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA

RHP Ross Stripling (1-1, 3.07 ERA) climbs the hill for the Dodgers and the Cubs trot out veteran lefty Jon Lester (1-0, 2.57 ERA) in his return from the IL, where he’s been since April 8 with a strained hamstring. This will be Stripling’s sixth and possibly last start for a while, as Rich Hill is coming off the IL and will make his first start of the year on Sunday.

The Dodgers are 7-9 against the NL Central Division. They are 3-0 against the Reds, 4-3 against the Brewers, 0-4 against the Cardinals and 0-2 against the Cubs with one game to go in this series.

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 1937 Cliff Melton becomes the first rookie to fan at least 10 batters in his major league debut, finishing with 13 strikeouts in a complete-game loss to the Braves at the Polo Grounds. The 25 year-old southpaw, who loses the 3-1 contest due to the poor defense of the Giants in the ninth inning, will hold the rookie record for K’s in his debut until Dodger freshman Karl Spooner whiffs 15 batters in his first major league start in 1954.
  • 1958 In front of 60,635 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Dodgers, who beat St. Louis, 5-2, set a National League record for the largest crowd to attend a night game during the regular season. The mark will be broken next season when 61,552 fans show up on Opening Night at the Coliseum to watch their team defeat the Redbirds again.
  • 1967 Jim Lefebvre commits three errors in the fourth frame, paving the way for the Braves’ 7-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles third baseman commits a fourth error, booting Hank Aaron’s grounder in the top of the ninth inning.
  • 1975 LA hurler Andy Messersmith strokes three doubles at Candlestick Park. The trio of two-baggers contributes to the Dodgers’ 6-5 victory over San Francisco with the right-hander scoring two runs and driving in another en route to his victory.
  • 1976 During the fourth inning of the game being played at Dodger Stadium, Rick Monday becomes a national hero when he takes away an American Flag about to be set on fire by the two trespassers (a father and son) in the outfield. The Cubs’ 30 year-old fly chaser, who served six years in the Marine Reserves, will be presented the flag a month later in a pregame ceremony at Wrigley Field by L.A. executive Al Campanis as a gesture of patriotic thanks.

  • 1995 The 257-day strike ends when the Dodgers beat the Marlins 8-7. The work stoppage caused last season to end early, forced the cancellation of the World Series, and delayed the opening of this season.

Lineup when available.


Apr 12

Game 15, 2019

Brewers at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: FSWI, KTLA, SPNLA

RHP Corbin Burnes (0-1, 9.90 ERA) goes for the visiting Brewers while LHP Julio Urías (0-0, 3.12 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. In his first two starts (and first MLB starts) Burnes has given up three home runs in each game. He was 7-0 as a reliever for the Brew Crew last year, so this is probably an aberration. Urías only went 3 2/3 innings in his last start against the Rockies but was rescued by the Dodgers’ offense and got no decision.

Rich Hill says

he felt great after throwing his simulated game today. He said he didn’t feel any problem with the knee. “Good step in the right direction.”

On this day in Dodgers history:

  • 1906 At Brooklyn’s Washington Park, Boston Beaneater rookie Johnny Bates becomes the first modern player to homer in his first major league at-bat. The 23 year-old outfielder connects off Harry McIntire in the top of the second inning in the team’s 2-0 Opening Day victory over the Superbas.
  • 1962 Pete Richert, making his major league debut, comes out of the bullpen and strikes out the first six batter he faces, a major league record. The rookie southpaw fans four in the third inning in LA’s 11-7 comeback victory over the Reds at Dodger Stadium.
  • 1976 The game against the Padres is rained out at Dodger Stadium for only the second time in the 14-year history of the ballpark. The washout ends a streak started in April 1967, covering a span of 724 straight contests, with subsequent postponements coming much sooner when inclement weather cancels two consecutive home dates in September.

Lineup:


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:


Oct 16

NLCS Game Four, 2018

Brewers at Dodgers, 6:09 PM PDT, TV: FS1

LHP Gio Gonzalez (10-11, 4.21 ERA) goes for the Brewers and LHP Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA) for the Dodgers. Gonzalez started Game One of this series but by design went only two innings, giving up a home run to Manny Machado. He faced the Dodgers in Game Three of the 2016 NLDS while with the Nationals, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and three runs and not figuring in the decision. Hill walked five in Game Four of the NLDS against the Braves but limited the damage to two runs in 4 1/3 innings. He faced the Brewers twice in the regular season, giving up one run in six innings each time.

People are writing:

Machado on hustle.

“It was a pretty bad game for everybody calling himself a Dodger.”

‘You don’t rise to the occasion, the occasion rises to you’: The mysticism of Rich Hill.

Kiké Hernandez on Twitter.

The Brewers’ Counsell shares the Sporting News NL Manager of the Year award with the Braves’ Brian Snitker. Counsell won the award outright last season.

Matt Kemp is the Sporting News NL Comeback Player of the Year. David Price of the Red Sox won the AL award.

Today in Brewers’ history:

  • 1982 The Brewers defeat St. Louis in Game Four of the World Series with a six-run seventh-inning.
  • 2011 The Cardinals capture their 18th pennant with a 12-6 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park in Game 6 of the NLCS. The Redbird relievers toss 28 2-3 innings, accounting for three of the wins while compiling a 1.88 ERA.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1949 Brooklyn does not renew Branch Rickey’s contract as president of the Dodgers. The ‘Mahatma’ will join the Pirates as the team’s executive vice president and general manager, with his son, Branch Jr., assuming the post of Pittsburgh’s vice president and farm system director.
  • 1985 In Game 6 of the NLCS, Cardinal first baseman Jack Clark’s dramatic come-from-behind two-out, three-run home run in the ninth inning stuns a sold-out Dodger Stadium. St. Louis wins the game, 7-5, and captures the National League flag.
  • 1988 At Dodger Stadium, Don Baylor becomes the first player to participate in three consecutive World Series for three different teams when he pinch-hits in the eighth inning of the A’s 6-0 loss to L.A. in the second game of the Fall Classic. The 39 year-old veteran played with the pennant-winning Red Sox in 1986 and the World Champion Twins in 1987.

Lineups:

Brewers:


Dodgers:


Oct 08

NLDS Game Four, 2018

The NL has only one divisional series still going. Game Four will be played between the Dodgers and Braves at Sun Trust Field at 1:30 PM PDT and will be televised by FS1.

The Dodgers ask Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA) to finish the Braves off without a need for a Game Five. The Braves send Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85 ERA in the regular season), who lost Game One of this series on October 4, going just two innings and giving up three hits and four earned runs including two homers. Hill will make his first start of this postseason; in last year’s playoffs he made four starts and posted a 2.55 ERA with no decisions in 17 2/3 innings.

How did Kiké get his groove on at the plate?

Dodgers’ history on October 8 has ups and downs. Don Larsen pitched his perfect game on this date in 1956, but three years later the Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox in Game Six of the World Series to win it. The Braves lost Game Two of the 1948 World Series on this date.

Lineups when available.

Dodgers lineup:


Braves lineup: