Oct 30

Game Seven, 2019 World Series

Nationals at Astros, 5:07 PM PDT, TV: Fox

Ah, Game Seven. I wrote this five years ago on my blog, and I see no reason to change my mind.

There’s no more dramatic phrase in sports, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve said so before and I’ll say it again: Game Seven is evocative of heroics on the field in do-or-die circumstances: Bill Mazeroski’s and Joe Carter’s home runs, Sid Bream’s slide, Carlos Beltran’s strikeout, Luis Gonzalez’s dribbler off Mariano Rivera, Koufax’s gutty 10K, three-hit shutout on two day’s rest … so many instances of melodrama.

Today’s edition offers two former Cy Young Award winners, righthanders Max Scherzer for the visiting Nationals and Zack Greinke for the Astros. I’m sure Scherzer will be on a very short leash with all hands on deck to relieve him if the neck spasms which prevented him from starting yesterday recur. Greinke dodged and weaved for 4 2/3 innings in Game Three of this series in a game the Astros eventually won.

Nationals lineup:

Astros lineup:

Oct 06

NLDS Games Three, 2019

On this day in baseball history Sandy Koufax takes Yom Kippur off, Willie Davis makes three errors in the fifth inning of Game Two of the World Series, Jim Palmer beats Sandy Koufax in the same game, Phil Niekro wins his 300th game, and Lenny Harris surpasses Manny Mota’s career pinch-hit record.

The early game is Braves at Cardinals, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Braves send rookie RHP Mike Soroka to the Busch Stadium mound to face the Cardinals’ veteran RHP Adam Wainwright. Soroka has been sensational on the road; he’s made 16 starts away from home and given up no more than three runs in any of them and no more than two in fourteen. That computes to a road ERA of 1.55. Wainwright will be making his 25th career postseason appearance — his 13th start — and a 3.03 career ERA in those games. He’s been even better at Busch, where he’s got a 1.72 ERA.

Braves lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

The second game is Dodgers at Nationals, 4:45 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers send LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound to face the Nationals’ RHP Aníbal Sánchez. Ryu’s been dominant at home and a little less so on the road, but as the MLB Game Preview author says, when you lead the major leagues in ERA you pitch well everywhere. Sánchez is substituting for Max Scherzer, who’d originally been penciled in for this start until he struck out the side in the 8th inning in Game Two.

The Dodgers and their families arrived at National Airport yesterday evening. Look at all the daddies holding their children’s hands going down the stairs.

Dodgers lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Sep 27

Game 160, 2019

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

RHP Walker Buehler (13-4, 3.25 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. He’ll face RHP Johnny Cueto (1-1, 2.57 ERA), who is making his fourth and last start of the season after recuperating from Tommy John surgery. In his first two starts he was surprisingly good, going ten scoreless innings. His third start was less so: he gave up four runs in four innings against the Braves. Buehler went six innings in his last start, gave up four runs to the Rockies and took the loss.

How yesterday’s shutout was pitched:

Check out the photos up and down the Dodgers’ Twitter feed. They look a lot like these:

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.

Lineup when available.

Sep 20

Game 154, 2019

In pre-expansion era baseball this would be the last game of the season.

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: ATT Sportsnet-RM, ESPN, SPNLA

RHP Peter Lambert (3-6, 6.98 ERA) takes a slightly less elevated hill than the one in Denver for the Rockies. He’ll face LHP Clayton Kershaw (14-5, 3.05 ERA) of the Dodgers. Lambert has had a rough first season, walking 35 and giving up 113 hits in 86 innings while striking out 54. He’s faced the Dodgers twice this year, Kershaw has been nearly as good as ever, although he uncharacteristically lost three games in a row before winning his last one.

The Dodgers named Gavin Lux and Josiah Gray prospects of the year for 2019. Lux we are familiar with; Gray was acquired in the trade which sent Puig, Kemp, Wood and Farmer to the Reds last off-season.

Food for thought: the Dodgers hit high-velocity fastballs better than any other team. Will that matter? Does it even mean anything? Sam Miller asks and attempts to answer those questions.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1907 At Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, Nick Maddox no-hits the Dodgers, 2-1. At the age of 20 years and ten months, the Pirates hurler becomes the youngest pitcher and the second rookie to throw a no-hitter.
  • 1911 Bill Bergen ends his major league career with the lowest lifetime batting average for a position player in major league history by hitting an anemic .170 during his 11-year tenure with the Reds and Superbas. The 33 year-old backstop, who had only one year of batting above .200, also holds the records for lowest season batting average for a regular season (.139 in 1909) and the longest streak of at-bats without a hit (45 in 1909; since surpassed by the Orioles Chris Davis, who went 0 for 54 over 2018-2019).
  • 1954 The Giants clinch the pennant when they beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 7-1. The National League champs, finishing the season five games ahead of second-place Brooklyn, will go on to sweep Cleveland in the Fall Classic.
  • 1959 The San Francisco Giants, bowing to the Dodgers, 8-2, play their last game at Seals Stadium. The transplanted New York team, who compiled a 163-145 record in their two-year stay in the former PCL park, will move to the newly constructed Candlestick Park next season.
  • 1961 In a 13-inning contest, Sandy Koufax goes the distance, beating the Cubs, 3-2, in the last regular season game to be played at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which was originally built for the 1932 Olympics. The Dodgers are leaving the only home they have known since moving from Brooklyn four seasons ago to play in a brand new stadium in Chavez Ravine, located a few miles from downtown Los Angeles.
  • 2011 Clayton Kershaw becomes the Dodgers’ first 20-game winner since Ramon Martinez accomplished the feat in 1990. Allowing just one run in 7 1/3 innings, the southpaw gets the victory when LA beats the visiting Giants, 2-1.
  • 2012 Washington secures a playoff spot when they beat the Dodgers at Nationals Park, 4-1. The last time there was postseason baseball in the nation’s capital occurred 79 years ago, when player-skipper Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the Giants in five games in the 1933 World Series.

Lineup:

Sep 17

Game 152, 2019

Rays at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: YouTube

The Rays send out LHP Blake Snell (6-7, 4.28 ERA) to make his first start since undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove “loose bodies” from his left elbow on July 25. The Rays probably won’t let him go more than two or three innings. He’ll face the Dodgers’ RHP Ross Stripling (4-4, 3.40 ERA), who’s made 14 starts and 15 relief appearances this year. He last started six days ago against the Orioles; he went three innings, giving up three hits and one run.

Here’s Gyorko’s go-ahead single in the 9th inning on Sunday:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1912 Casey Stengel of the Dodgers makes an impressive major league debut against the Pirates. The likable Brooklyn outfielder from Kansas City collects four hits, drives in two runs, and swipes a pair of bases.
  • 1963 Dodger ace Sandy Koufax tosses a four-hitter, blanking St. Louis at Sportsman’s Park, 4-0. The southpaw’s scoreless effort establishes a National League record for shutouts thrown by lefties in a season with 11, five shy of Grover Cleveland Alexander’s major league mark set in 1916 with the Phillies.
  • 1981 Dodgers southpaw Fernando Valenzuela ties White Sox freshman Ewell Russell’s 1913 rookie record when he hurls his eighth shutout of the season, blanking Atlanta on three hits. The 20 year-old Mexican’s 2-0 victory breaks the previous National League mark shared by Irving Young (Braves, 1905), Grover Cleveland Alexander (Phillies, 1911), and Jerry Koosman (Mets, 1968).
  • 1996 Dodger right-hander Hideo Nomo no-hits the Rockies, 9-0, at Coor Field, becoming the only big league hurler to accomplish the feat in the thin air of Denver. Tornado Boy’s performance in Colorado is the best-attended no-no and is the only hitless game with a paid attendance of more than 50,000 fans.

  • 2010 Joe Torre, who will compile a 2326-1997 (.538) managerial record during his 30 seasons as a skipper with the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees, and Dodgers, announces he will be retiring at the end of the month. Los Angeles immediately hires the team’s hitting coach Don Mattingly to replace the 70 year-old.
  • 2014 Jacob DeGrom strikes out the first eight batters he faces in the Mets’ 6-5 loss in Miami, tying the modern-day major league mark to start a game. The Amazins’ rookie right-hander now shares the record with Jim Deshaies, who struck out the first eight Dodgers he faced with the Astros in a 1986 contest.

A whole lot of interesting things happened on this date in baseball history; take a look.

Lineup when available.

Sep 08

Game 145, 2019

Giants at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

The Giants’ RHP Derek Rodríguez (5-8, 5.15 ERA) comes off one of his best games of the year, a one-run seven-inning gem last Tuesday against the Cardinals, and tries to complete a sweep. Julio Urias (4-3, 2.55 ERA) will try to stop it for the Dodgers. Urias went three innings last week in his first appearance after completing a suspension, giving up one run.

There was nary a Dodgers’ highlight in yesterdays game. In case you missed it, there was a complimentary column about Dodger catcher Will Smith in USA Today the other day.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1955 The Dodgers clinch their eighth National League pennant with a 10-2 victory over the Braves at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. Brooklyn’s 17-game lead makes it the earliest date that a team has captured a flag in baseball history.
  • 1957 Before their departure to play on the West Coast for next season, the Dodgers and Giants face one another for the final time in New York. The Jints beat the Bums at the Polo Grounds, 3-2, to finish the intense 68 year-old storied rivalry with a 656-606 advantage over Brooklyn in the battle between the boroughs.
  • 1967 The Mets, at the urging of their fans, honor former Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax, who retired last season when arthritis ended his career prematurely at the age of 30. The Brooklyn-born southpaw, who threw a no-hitter against New York in 1962, started twenty games against the Amazin’s, compiling a 17-2 record that included 14 complete games and 5 shutouts.
  • 2007 Alex Rodriguez, hitting his 50th and 51st home runs, joins Babe Ruth (1920-54, 1921-59, 1927-60, 1928-54), Roger Maris (1961-61), and Mickey Mantle (1956-52, 1961-54) to become only the fourth player in Yankee history to hit 50 or more homers in a single season. The Yankee infielder’s second homer breaks the major league mark of 49 homers hit by a third baseman, shared with Mike Schmidt (Phillies-1980) and Adrian Beltre (Dodgers-2004).
  • 2017 The Dodgers, who just a couple of months ago seemed poised to challenge the major league record of 116 wins in a season, lose again, their 8th straight defeat and 13th in 14 games, as they bow to the Rockies, 5 – 4. They blow an early 4 – 1 lead as D.J. LeMahieu hits a two-run double in the 5th to put Colorado ahead to stay. On a positive note, Yu Darvish records the 1000th strikeout of his career, punching out Carlos Gonzalez in the 5th, becoming the fastest starting pitcher to reach the mark, in 812 innings over 128 games.

Lineup:

Aug 31

Game 138, 2019

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 5:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA

It’ll be LHP Clayton Kershaw (13-3, 2.76 ERA) against LHP Robbie Ray (11-7, 3.86 ERA) in today’s game at Chase Field. Kershaw actually has a losing record at this site: he’s 6-8 in his career there. He struck out 12 but gave up 3 solo home runs and lost to the Yankees in his last start. Ray had a bad June (1-4, 5.00 ERA) but he’s been solid the rest of this season. He’s averaging 11.8 K/9 and is 2-0 in August.

Here’s the last play of yesterday’s game:

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1950 In front of 14,226 fans at Ebbets Field, Gil Hodges becomes the fourth major leaguer in the century to hit four home runs in one game as Brooklyn routs the Braves, 19-3. The Dodger first baseman also ties the major league record for total bases with 17.
  • 1959 Sandy Koufax fans 18 batters to establish a new National League record for a nine-inning game in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over San Francisco at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The left-hander’s performance equals the major league mark established in 1938 by Indians fireballer Bob Feller during a 4-1 loss to Detroit.
  • 2010 The Dodgers trade a player to be named (infielder Tony Abreu) to the Diamondbacks in exchange for starter Jon Garland. The 31 year-old right-hander will post a 3-2 record with a 2.72 ERA in his six late-season starts for the Dodgers, before signing as a free agent with San Diego.

Lineup when available.

Aug 30

Game 137, 2019

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA

The Dodgers send RHP Tony Gonsolin (2-1, 2.74 ERA) to the Chase Field hill to face the Diamondbacks’ RHP Zac Gallen (2-4, 2.56 ERA). Gonsolin beat the Yankees August 24 in the game that featured Kenley Jansen getting out of a one-out bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to preserve the Dodgers’ 2-1 win. Gallen came over to the D-Backs in a trade deadline deal and has shown some promise; he’s gone 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA for Arizona. He has, however, walked 12 batters in 20 innings in August, which is not ideal.

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; they were held hitless by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers on August 21.

Lineup when available.

Aug 26

Game 133, 2019

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: FSSD, SPNLA

RHP Dustin May (1-2, 4.26 ERA) makes his third start for the Dodgers in his ongoing audition for the post-season roster. He’ll face LHP Eric Lauer (6-8, 4.47 ERA), who’s made six starts against the Dodgers in his two-year career and has four wins, no losses and a 1.72 ERA to show for them.

The Dodgers’ only offensive highlight of yesterday’s game was Joc Pederson’s leadoff HR in the bottom of the first inning:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1939 At Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, NBC televises the first major league game in history on experimental station W2XBS, covering a doubleheader split in which the Reds win the first game, 5-2, and the Dodgers take the nightcap, 6-1. The network employs two cameras, one behind home plate, showing a wide view of the field, and the other on the third base line to capture the plays at first base.
  • 1947 Dan Bankhead becomes the major league’s first black pitcher. The 27 year-old right-hander doesn’t do well in a relief stint, giving up ten hits and six runs in 3.1 innings in a 16-3 loss to the Pirates, but the Dodger rookie hits his only big league home run in his first major league at-bat.
  • 1965 At Shea Stadium, the Mets beat the Dodgers, 5-2, making Tug McGraw (2-2) the first Mets pitcher to defeat Sandy Koufax (21-7). Previously, New York had lost 13 consecutive times to the future Hall of Fame southpaw.
  • 1993 The Mets announce that Vince Coleman will remain on paid administrative leave until the end of the season, effectively ending his playing career with the team. Co-owner Fred Wilpon’s unequivocal decision that the controversial outfielder, who signed a four-year $11.95 million contract before the 1991 season, will not ever put on a Mets uniform again is the result of Coleman admitting to tossing a M-100 firecracker from a Jeep departing from a Dodger Stadium parking lot last month, injuring three people.

Lineup:

Aug 23

Game 130, 2019

Yankees at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: FB-WATCH (out-of-market only), SPNLA, YES

LHP James Paxton (9-6, 4.53 ERA) takes the hill for the Bronx Bombers while LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-3, 1.64 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers. Paxton has won all four of his starts this month and has averaged a below-4.00 ERA in each of his six MLB seasons, although he’s never reached double digits in wins. Ryu is having a Cy Young-caliber year. He did give up back-to-back HRs in his last start, only the third time all year he’s given up more than one home run in a start.

Here’s the Dodgers’ ninth-inning rally last night:

Dodgers – Yankees history via WBBsAs in comments to the previous post:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1958 Gil Hodges hits his 14th career grand slam in the Dodgers’ 10-1 victory over Milwaukee at LA Memorial Coliseum. The first baseman’s bases-full round-tripper establishes a new National League record, but is far fewer than Lou Gehrig’s major league mark of 23.
  • 1989 In the 11th frame of an eventual 22-inning 1-0 loss, the Expos’ Youppi! becomes the first mascot to be thrown out of a game when Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda complains to the umpires about the hairy orange giant’s behavior at Olympic Stadium. The L.A. skipper takes exception to the loud noise caused by the hairy creature’s running leap onto the visitors’ dugout before sneaking back into a front row seat.
  • 1989 In that same game, the second-longest shutout in big league history ends when Rick Dempsey hits a home run in the top of the 22nd inning, giving the Dodgers an eventual 1-0 victory over the Expos at Olympic Stadium. The Astros blanked the Mets for 24 frames en route to a 1-0 win at the Astrodome in 1968.
  • 2000 Team president Bob Graziano apologizes to a female couple who were asked to leave Dodger Stadium on August 8th because the two shared a kiss during a game. The pair felt the action of the eight security guards was discriminatory because the couple’s friends, a man and a woman, also kissed but were not ejected.
  • 2013 At a Dodger Stadium press conference, LA announces Vin Scully will continue to broadcast Dodgers’ games for his 65th consecutive season. Some of the historic moments the Hall of Fame broadcaster has called include Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, 19 no-hitters, including four thrown by Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and Kirk Gibson’s dramatic walk-off in the 1988 Fall Classic.

Lineup when available.