RHP Mike Leake (4-2, 2.03 ERA) tries to recapture his lead in the NL ERA race one night after he was overtaken by the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (2.01 ERA after last night’s gem). He’ll face the Dodgers’ Rich Hill (1-1, 2.77 ERA), who’ll be pitching on seven days’ rest.
Leake has been impressive all season; in fact he’s the only NL pitcher to post a quality start every time he’s gone to the mound in 2017. This will be Hill’s second start since coming off the 10-DL; he hasn’t faced the Cardinals since 2008.
This day in Dodgers’ history:
1947 Carl Furillo hits a three-run homer as a pinch-hitter in the first frame of the Dodgers’ 4-3 ten-inning loss to Philadelphia at Ebbets Field. The unusual substitution occurs when Phillies manager Ben Chapman uses his right-handed starter Al Jurisch to pitch only to Brooklyn’s first two hitters, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, and then brings in southpaw Oscar Judd, who had been warming up from the start of the game, to face the next three lefty hitters, Pete Reiser, Dixie Walker, and Gene Hermanski, the batter replaced by Furillo.
1973 In a 19-inning marathon, LA outfielder Willie Davis collects six hits in a 7-3 loss to the Mets at Dodger Stadium. The two clubs establish a National League mark by hitting into a combined nine double plays.
2000 Sixteen Dodger players and three coaches are suspended by the commissioner’s office for going into the stands during the Wrigley Field scuffle with fans on May 16. The suspensions totaling 60 games for players and 24 games for coaches is the harshest penalty ever handed down by major league baseball.
In non-Dodger history I thought this was interesting:
1964 The major league mark for shutouts in one day is broken as seven of the twenty major league teams do not cross home plate. The Twins, White Sox, Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Cardinals, and Pirates are all blanked. The record is now eight, set on June 4, 1972. Yes, the Dodgers were participants. Claude Osteen lost to Bob Gibson 4-0.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup vs. Cardinals: Forsythe 3B Seager SS Grandal C Bellinger LF González 1B Taylor CF Utley 2B Puig RF Hill P pic.twitter.com/mXRPQEKSFg
LHP Rich Hill (1-1, 3.38 ERA) tries to avoid blister problems while making his third start of the year; after each of his first two he had to go on the 10-day DL while his fingers healed. He pitched five innings Wednesday in a rehab assignment with Rancho Cucamonga with no physical effects. The Giants counter with YALHP Ty Blach (0-2, 4.88 ERA), who has taken Madison Bumgarner’s spot in the rotation while Bumgarner recovers from his dirt bike accident. Blach has gone 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA in three games (two starts) against the Dodgers in his career. In the game he won he shut out the Dodgers over eight innings on three hits. That was in October of 2016.
1967 Reliever Phil Regan loses his first game in 77 appearances. The ‘Vulture’ gets pinned with his first defeat in over a year when Astros’ third baseman Bob Aspromonte hits a two-run triple in the tenth to beat the Dodgers, 5-3.
2000 After a fan steals Los Angeles’ catcher Chad Kreuter’s hat and hits him in the back of the head, many Dodgers, including coaches John Shelby and Rick Dempsey, go into the stands and start fighting with the Wrigley Field faithful. When the melee ends, several fans are arrested as the game is delayed nearly ten minutes, and there is litter all over the field.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup at Giants: Taylor 2B Gutierrez LF Turner 3B Hernández SS Barnes C Puig RF Pederson CF Van Slyke 1B Hill P pic.twitter.com/s8mX0v2sbo
There’s another lefty on the hill in this game, but for a change it’s the Dodgers’ pitcher. Alex Wood (1-0, 1.00 ERA, 8K) takes the injured Rich Hill’s spot tonight against the D-Backs’ righty Taijuan Walker (2-1, 3.94, 16K). Wood has made one previous start this season. He went 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs on April 10, walked five, struck out four and gave up only one earned run. He’s pitched an additional 5 1/3 innings of relief this year. Walker allowed one run in five innings with seven strikeouts against the Dodgers on April 16 and got the win.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup at D-backs: Pederson CF Seager SS Turner 3B González 1B Puig RF Grandal C Toles LF Utley 2B Wood P pic.twitter.com/t1ONkcKAf5
I think the other National League teams have concluded that the Dodgers are vulnerable to left-handed pitching, and until proven otherwise they’re going to keep starting them. Thus today the Diamondbacks send LHP Robbie Ray (1-0, 2.19 ERA) out for the finale of this four-game series. He’ll be opposed by RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.50 ERA) for the Dodgers.
Ray has a 2.96 ERA in his career against the home team. Among current team members only Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig have had great success against him.
McCarthy has been a very pleasant surprise for the Dodgers since coming off last year’s surgery. He held the Padres to two runs over six innings in his first start and last time out he blanked the Cubs for six innings. Only one of the current D-Backs has even 10 at-bats against him in his career. He pitched for the D-backs in 2013-2014 and went 8-21 with a 4.75 ERA in 40 starts.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup vs. D-backs: Forsythe 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Puig RF Grandal C Hernández CF Segedin 1B Van Slyke LF McCarthy P pic.twitter.com/Hbfpawhgcp
RHP Taijuan Walker (1-1, 4.91 ERA) takes the mound for the D-Backs and LHP Rich Hill (1-0, 1.80 ERA) comes off the 10-day disabled list to pitch for the Dodgers. Walker lost his grip on his last start against the Giants when he threw away (video) a comebacker with the bases loaded in the 4th:
With the bases loaded and one out, Moore tapped a dribbler that Walker fielded halfway up the first-base line. He threw wildly past home, enabling Brandon Crawford to score. Catcher Jeff Mathis scooped up the ball but misfired past Walker, who was covering home. Joe Panik scored on that play. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt caught up with the ball and threw home, but Jarrett Parker slid under Walker’s tag.
Hill missed his last start with a blister on his pitching hand. His curve is devastating to hitters but it hurts him as well, apparently. In his first and only start so far he was very effective, giving up only two hits and one run over five innings to the Padres on April 5.
The Dodgers will have to option someone to make room for Hill on the roster. Trayce Thompson goes down. Forsythe’s hammy leaves him available for pinch-hitting duty today. He’s expected to be back in the lineup tomorrow.
Lineup when available.
Today's Dodger lineup vs. D-backs: Toles LF Seager SS Turner 3B González 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Puig RF Utley 2B Hill P pic.twitter.com/Gybzy5B4gT
The Padres’ righthander Trevor Cahill makes his first start of the season against the team he’s faced more often than any other in the big leagues: he’s pitched against the Dodgers 20 times with a 6-5 record and a 3.86 ERA. He spent the last two years with the Cubs and went 4-4 in 50 games with a 2.74 ERA in 65 innings. He hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2014.
The Dodgers will counter with lefty Rich Hill, who signed a three-year $48M contract after coming over from the As at the trade deadline last year. He pitched well for the Dodgers despite ongoing blister problems, going 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts.
The Dodgers and Angels put on their annual Freeway Series three-game show to end spring training for both teams starting Friday night. Opening Day is Monday, April 3 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Brandon McCarthy earned the #4 spot in the rotation. He’ll be preceded by Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill and followed by Hyun-jin Ryu. At least that’s the plan today.
Roberts added that Alex Wood, a finalist for the rotation, would share the long relief role with Ross Stripling. Rounding out the bullpen are closer Kenley Jansen, set-up man Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan and Chris Hatcher.
Barnes will likely be the backup catcher, although that’s not been formally announced. Kiké Hernandez hurt his wrist the other day and is questionable for the backup infielder spot until he shows it’s healed. If he can’t go, it’ll probably be Chris Taylor, and that might mean Van Slyke stays up too, since he can play center field and Taylor doesn’t. Additionally,
The Dodgers trimmed the roster before leaving Arizona on Wednesday, sending out seven players. Infielder Rob Segedin was optioned and reassigned were outfielders Tyler Holt and O’Koyea Dickson, pitcher Brandon Morrow, first basemen Cody Bellinger and Ike Davis, and infielder Charlie Culberson.
“It’s a doggy-dog world out there.” I have seen that written on the Internet more times than I care to mention, and it apparently applies to the Dodgers’ starting rotation competition this spring. There are seven proven pitchers trying to fit into the two spots for fourth and fifth starters. Kershaw, Hill and Maeda look to be locks for the first three slots, but after that you’ve got McCarthy, Wood, Kazmir, Ryu, Stripling, Stewart and Urias hunting for work.
“As we look around here today, we have a lot of starting pitching depth, but as we finish spring training, guys like Alex Wood, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, they’re going to have to pitch somewhere,” Roberts said. “So whether it is out of the rotation or potentially out of the pen, I don’t know that answer right now.”
Oh, and once they get the starting pitching set, they can start on their “eight outfielders for three positions” problem.
MLB released its Top 100 Prospectslist and the Dodgers placed five guys on it. Only two are in the top fifty; 1B Bellinger at #13 and RHP Yadier Alvarez at #49. Bellinger is up 19 spots since the last list was released at mid-season last summer, while Alvarez is up 49.
Logan Forsythe is glad to be on a winning team. “I’m happy to just come over to a winning ballclub, organization and help some young guys if I can, jump in with the core guys and try to help these guys anyway I can,” Forsythe said.
And what will the Dodgers do? Here’s one thought from the LA Daily News:
… the Dodgers’ focus this winter seems less about making significant additions to the roster and more about maintaining what they have already built — an uncommonly deep roster with flexibility and a more manageable payroll.
“Yeah, that’s a really, really good team,” Friedman said of a 2017 roster with the same elements intact that produced 91 wins in 2016 and fell two games short of reaching the World Series.
That group would return with the prospects of improved health, Friedman points out – how could it not be better than last year’s? — and added maturity for the young players who made such critical contributions.
But there is a strain of wistfulness in Friedman’s comments. He is aware just how unlikely it is that the Dodgers will be able to put last year’s band back together.
The word is that they’ve reached a deal with Rich Hill for three years and $40 million, so that’s one part of the puzzle, although not the most important one, at least as far as blogger Howard Cole is concerned. To him Justin Turner’s resigning is Job One.