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:


Sep 15

Game 149, 2018

Dodgers at Cardinals, 10:05 AM PDT, TV: FOX

LHP Rich Hill (8-5, 3.88 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and RHP John Gant (7-5, 3.16 ERA) goes for the Redbirds. Hill is 2-0 for September but has a horrific ERA of 6.55 for the month. He’s gone 11 innings and given up eight earned runs in his two starts. Nine of Gant’s last ten appearances have been starts, and he’s not allowed more than two runs in any of his last seven. This will be his first career start against the Dodgers; he’s made two relief appearances against them and given up one run in 2 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers win on Friday was followed shortly thereafter by wins by the Class AA Tulsa Drillers and the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in their respective league championship games.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1946 In Brooklyn, a giant swarm of gnats engulfs Ebbets Field at the end of the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader. Due to the bothersome insects and the impending darkness, the game is called, resulting in a 2-0 victory for the Dodgers over the Cubs.
  • 1950 At Ebbets Field, Cardinal starter Cloyd Boyer hurts his arm while warming up and is replaced by Red Munger. The reliever goes the distance, beating the Dodgers, 6-2, getting credit for a complete game, but not for a game started.
  • 1978 Don Sutton, in front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. Los Angeles, with tonight’s attendance, becomes the major league first team in history to draw three million fans at home.
  • 1995 Ozzie Smith takes part in the 1,554th twin killing of his career to set a new big league record for double plays. The Cardinals’ shortstop’s wizardry isn’t enough to prevent the Redbirds’ 7-6 loss to the Dodgers at Busch Stadium.

Lineup when available.


Sep 10

Game 144, 2018

Dodgers at Reds, 3:40 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-O

Lefty Alex Wood (8-6, 3.37 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers at Great American Ball Park today. He and Rich Hill’s starts were flipped because Dave Roberts felt Wood’s “stuff” is better suited for this stadium than Hill’s. He’ll face the Reds’ Cody Reed (0-2, 4.81 ERA), who gave up six runs in five innings against the Pirates in his last start. The Reds have a dismal record when he starts: they’re 0-14. Reed himself is 1-10 in the 35 games he’s been in the big leagues.

Bellinger’s versatility is a plus, says Pedro Moura at The Athletic.

Houston Mitchell of the LA Times guesses the fate of Dave Roberts after this season.

I think, and this is only a guess, that if the Dodgers don’t make the playoffs, he is gone. They have a team option on his contract, and the fact they haven’t picked it up yet speaks volumes.

The Dodgers called up LHP Julio Urias from AAA Oklahoma City today, and Kenley Jansen’s cardiologist confirmed another surgery will be performed shortly after the season’s end.

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:


Sep 09

Game 143, 2018

Dodgers at Rockies, 12:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, ATTSportsNet- RM

The visiting Dodgers ask LHP Rich Hill (7-5, 3.73 ERA) to get them back within a half-game of first place by defeating the Rockies’ Tyler Anderson (6-7, 4.80 ERA) and his buddies. Hill and Alex Wood have flipped starting spots due to “matchups,” per Dodger manager Dave Roberts. In Hill’s one start at Coors Field this season he gave up two runs in six innings. Anderson’s last start was against the Giants; he went 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1948 At the Polo Grounds, Dodger Rex Barney no-hits the Giants, 2-0. The Brooklyn 23 year-old right-hander had to endure a one-hour rain delay, as well as showers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to finish his gem.
  • 1965 Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs bests Bob Hendley’s one hit effort, 1-0. The Dodger Stadium gem is the southpaw’s record fourth no-hitter.

    “And there’s 29,000 people in the ballpark and a million butterflies.” – Vin Scully’s description Of Koufax’s masterpiece.

  • 2013 Juan Uribe homers in each of his first three trips to the plate in the Dodgers’ 8-1 victory over Arizona. Los Angeles goes yard six times in the Chavez Ravine contest, falling two shy of the franchise record established in 2002.

Lineup when available.

Sep 04

Game 139, 2018

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, SNY

The Mets’ LHP Jason Vargas (5-8, 6.56 ERA) goes against the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (6-5, 3.59 ERA). Vargas is 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA over his last four starts. In the one game in the recent Dodgers – Diamondbacks series the Dodgers lost, it was Hill who got beaten, giving up a three-run home run the Dodgers couldn’t overcome. It was his first loss since June 10.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1924 The Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) take a twin bill from the Braves, sweeping their fourth doubleheader in four consecutive days. Between September 1-3, the Brooks beat the Phillies six times.
  • 1966 The Dodgers become the first team to draw two million fans at home and two million on the road as 18,670 Crosley Field patrons watch Los Angeles beat their hometown Reds, 8-6.
  • 1969 After thirty-one games, the third longest consecutive game hitting streak in National League history ends as Dodger Willie Davis is stopped by Dick Kelley and Gary Ross in a 3-0 loss to the Padres.
  • 2017 J.D. Martinez becomes the 18th major leaguer, joining Reds utilityman Scooter Gennett as the second player this season, to hit four home runs in one game when he goes deep in the top of the ninth inning In the Diamondbacks’ 13-0 rout of the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. The Arizona outfielder, who was acquired in a trade from the Tigers in July, has one more home run than the opponent’s total amount of hits.

Lineup when available.


Aug 30

Game 134, 2018

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A

LHP Robbie Ray (3-2, 4.73 ERA) pitches for the visiting D-Backs against the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (6-4, 3.50 ERA). Ray gave up one run in five innings against the Mariners in his last start, getting no decision. Hill threw six scoreless innings against the Padres in his last start, an 11-1 Dodgers win.

The Dodgers activated Josh Fields from the 60-day DL and optioned Yimi Garcia to Rancho Cucamonga.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1918 At the Polo Grounds, the Giants beat the Dodgers, 1-0, on an unearned run in the bottom in the ninth in a contest that takes only fifty-six minutes to complete. Pete Compton’s base hit off Jack Combs plates Larry Doyle, who had singled to lead off the frame and moved to third on Ollie O’Mara’s errant throw on a sacrifice bunt.
  • 1952 Nine-time All-Star infielder Arky Vaughan drowns with a friend when their boat capsized while fishing in a volcanic lake near Eagleville, CA. The former shortstop and third baseman, who compiled a .318 batting average and a .406 on-base percentage playing with the Pirates and Dodgers, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
  • 1966 Sandy Koufax, in his final decision facing the Mets, lasts only two innings, losing to Bob Friend at Shea Stadium, 10-4. The Dodgers Hall of Fame southpaw has compiled a 17-2 record against the lowly expansion team since their inception in 1962.
  • 2000 Earning his 1,600th victory, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox passes former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda on the career list for most managerial victories. His 5-2 victory over the Reds puts him 14th on the all-time list.
  • 2015 The NL’s eventual 2015 Cy Young Award recipient Jake Arrieta, needing just 116 pitches, beats Los Angeles, 2-0, tossing the 12th no-hitter ever thrown at the Chavez Ravine ballpark, and the 13th no-no in Cubs history. The contest marks the second time in ten games the Dodgers has been unable to get a hit, after being held hitless by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers on August 21.

Lineup:


Aug 18

Game 124, 2018

Dodgers at Mariners, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTNW, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Lefty Rich Hill (5-4, 3.57 ERA) takes the Safeco mound for the Dodgers this evening. He’ll face the Mariners’ RHP Erasmo Ramírez (0-2, 6.75 ERA). Hill’s been pitching very well; he’s given up two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts and gone 3-0 in that stretch. Ramírez just came off a three-month period on the DL and was given the unenviable task of replacing Felix Hernandez in the Mariner’s rotation after Hernandez lost his last six starts.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1959 Long time baseball executive Branch Rickey is named president of the newly formed Continental League. The 77 year-old former Dodger general manager is currently serving as an advisor with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • 1982 In the second longest game in franchise history, the Cubs lose to the Dodgers, 2-1. The Wrigley Field contest, which is played over two days, takes a Dusty Baker sacrifice fly and 21 innings to complete.

A sad note: On this day in 1967 Jack Hamilton of the Angels threw a fastball which shattered Tony Conigliaro’s left cheekbone. The 22 year-old Red Sox slugger missed the rest of 1967 and all of the following year and never came close to the Hall of Fame potential displayed during his first three seasons.

Lineup when available.


I’m sure Doc has some baseball reason for picking his cleanup hitters, but damned if I can figure out what it is.