Sep 29

Game 160, 2017

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ATT Sportsnet RM, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Why are baseball games always scheduled to start at five or ten minutes after the hour?

The Dodgers open their final series of the 2017 season with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-8, 3.47 ERA) pitching in the rarefied air of Coors Field against RHP Chad Bettis (1-4, 5.72 ERA).

Ryu has been very good since the All Star break, going 2-2 in ten starts with a 2.42 ERA. He’s in a tussle with Alex Wood for a spot in the post-season rotation. Bettis had a good outing his last time out, giving up just one run on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings last weekend in San Diego. He’s battling for a spot on the Rockies’ post-season roster if they get in. The Rockies have a two-game lead over the Brewers for the second National League Wild Card spot. If they win and a Brewers lose tonight they’ll clinch it.

The Dodgers select IF/OF Tim Locastro’s contract from OKC.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first African-American to win twenty games in a season. In a must win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
  • 1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
  • 1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants, and four world championships.
  • 1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
  • 2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.

Today is also the anniversary of The Catch (the Willie Mays one, not the Dwight Clark one):

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 11

Game 144, 2017

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

RHP Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.02 ERA) takes the mound against RHP Chris Stratton (2-3, 4.10 ERA) in San Francisco.

Maeda allowed one unearned run over five innings on Wednesday against the D-backs. He’s 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA in four career starts against the Giants. Stratton has both started and relieved this season; he’s been much better as a starter. He’s got an 8.59 ERA in relief. As a starter he’s made five starts and has gone 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA since the All Star break.

A sad note: former Dodger (and nine other teams’) scout Mel Didier died Sunday night at home in Phoenix. He was 90 years old. His most memorable find was probably his analysis which showed that the Athletics’ Dennis Eckersley liked to throw backdoor sliders when the count was full and first base was open. He told the Dodgers’ hitters that before Game One of the 1988 World Series. What was the count to Kirk Gibson when he hit that game-winning home run? 3-2. What was the pitch? A backdoor slider.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1959 The Dodgers end Elroy Face’s consecutive win streak at 22 with a 5-4 victory over the Pirates. The reliever, who will end the season with an 18-1 record, is beaten by Chuck Churn, the winner of only three major league career victories.
  • 1966 In his first major league at-bat, John Miller homers off Lee Stange in the second inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over Boston at Fenway Park. The 22 year-old left fielder, whose total of 10 hits in his 32-game career will include just two round-trippers, will become the only player to hit home runs in his first and last major league plate appearance when he goes deep as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in his final turn at bat in 1966.
  • 1998 Kevin Malone is named as the Dodgers’ general manager, replacing Tommy Lasorda, who is promoted to Senior Vice President of the team. The “new sheriff in town” tenure in Los Angeles will be marked by the signing of high profile players to huge contracts, including Kevin Brown’s seven-year deal making the right-hander the first $100 million man in baseball.

Historical note of more than passing interest to Cody Bellinger fans: today in 1956 Frank Robinson ties Wally Berger’s 1930 National League record for home runs by a rookie for home runs with his 38th in the Reds’ 11-5 victory over the Giants at Polo Grounds. A’s first baseman Mark McGwire established the major league mark for freshman homers with 49 round-trippers in 1989. Bellinger has 36 with 18 games to go in the season.

Lineup when available.

Granderson again? Why not Ethier in LF? And since A-Gon had to have an epidural shot four days ago, why not Cody at 1B?

Roberts, I’m beginning to question your judgment.

Aug 30

Game 131, 2017

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 3:40 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A, MLBN

Ryu v. Ray. Sounds like an MMC card, doesn’t it? Nope, it’s the Dodgers’ lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-6, 3.34 ERA) going up against the D-Backs’ LHP Robbie Ray (10-5, 3.06 ERA).

In his last nine starts Ryu is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA and 49Ks. He held the Pirates to one run over six innings in his last start and was rewarded with the win. Ray’s last start was his first in a month; he gave up one run to the Mets in five innings and got a win. He’d been on the DL since July 28 with a concussion and related symptoms.

Where do Ryu and Kenta Maeda fit in the post season? Eric Stephen has thoughts.

Curtis Granderson’s foundation is donating 25K to the Houston Food Bank.

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 when available.

Note Bellinger’s return to the lineup at 1B. To make room for him the Dodgers optioned Kyle Farmer back to OKC. Seager is still nursing his elbow, I imagine.

Aug 23

Game 125, 2017

Dodgers at Pirates, 4:05 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ATT SportsNet-PIT

The Dodgers’ lefty Rich Hill (9-4, 3.54 ERA) tries to keep the team’s momentum going today when he faces the Pirates’ RHP Trevor Williams (5-6, 4.71 ERA). Hill got a five-inning win last week against the Tigers despite giving up a couple of runs in the first inning. He’s walked five in his last ten innings, but when he has runners on base in scoring position behind him he’s got a .172 expected average allowed — based on the quality of contact against him, plus his actual strikeouts, which ranks third lowest in either the NL or all of MLB (it’s not stated). Williams’ first big league start was against the Dodgers on May 8, and it was awful: he gave up eight runs (six earned) in three innings to them. His last start was similar: he gave up eight runs to the Cardinals in three-plus innings. In between, he’s thrown 97 innings and has a 3.62 ERA.

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.

Jul 29

Game 104, 2017

Giants at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PT, TV: FS1, SPNLA Spanish, NBCS Bay Area

The Giants send LHP Ty Blach (6-6, 4.50 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill (7-4, 3.48 ERA).

Blach gave up five runs on eight hits on Sunday against the Padres, but the Giants have won seven of his last twelve starts. Hill has gone 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last six starts.

Friday’s game marked the first time there was a 30-game difference or larger between the Giants and Dodgers entering a series. The last time these teams met with a 30-game difference in the standings was Sept. 27, 1985, when the Dodgers were exactly 30 games ahead of the Giants.

No gloating!

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1915 Pirates third baseman Honus Wagner reaches Robins hurler Jeff Pfeffer for a grand slam in the eighth inning, helping Pittsburgh beat Brooklyn at Forbes Field, 8-2. The inside-the-park round tripper makes the 41 year-old infielder the oldest player ever to hit a home run with the bases full, a record which will last until 1985.
  • 1996 After a mild heart attack last month, Tommy Lasorda, 68 year-old Dodger manager of twenty years, announces his retirement due to his health. The future Hall of Fame skipper, who was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1983 and ’88, led Los Angeles to four pennants and two World Series championships during his 21 seasons at the helm.

Here’s a nice sight for the morning, but does it look to you like he’s got a bit of a belly?

Lineup:

Jun 21

Game 73, 2017

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

The Mets ask RHP Tyler Pill (0-2, 3.75 ERA) to take the hill tonight. They’d originally planned that Rafael Montero would start this game, but he had to throw 3 2/3 innings of long relief Monday night. LHP Rich Hill (3-3, 5.14 ERA) will get the start for the Dodgers.

PIll, a San Dimas native, made two starts earlier this season, posting a 3.48 ERA despite a fastball that averages less than 90 mph. His manager says he has to change speeds or he won’t be effective. Hill is coming off his worst start of the year; he gave up seven runs in four innings against the Indians last week. He has yet to record an out in the sixth inning this season.

Even more astonishing, perhaps, is that the guys holding down positions 2 and 3 are not only active but are in tonight’s lineup: Seager and Pederson each hit 26 in their respective rookie years.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1957 In his first major league start, Von McDaniel‚ who graduated from Oklahoma’s Hollis High School last month, two-hits the Dodgers at Busch Stadium‚ 2-0. Brooklyn does not get a hit off the 18 year-old bonus baby until the sixth inning.
  • 1998 Bill Russell is released as Dodger manager and is replaced in the dugout by Glenn Hoffmann. In the front office, Tommy Lasorda assumes the general manager duties of the third-place club from Fred Claire.
  • 2016 Dean Kremer becomes the first-ever Israeli to sign a contract with a Major League baseball team when he comes to terms with the Dodgers, after being selected in the annual amateur draft earlier this month. The 20-year-old right-hander, who won Europe’s Most Valuable Pitcher award in both 2014 and 2015, has hurled for Israel’s national baseball team for the past three seasons. (Note: Kremer is currently 1-3 with a 6.69 ERA for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Dodgers’ Advanced A team in the California League)

Lineup when available.

May 31

Game 54, 2017

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:15 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ESPN (out-of-market only), FS-M

LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-5, 4.28 ERA) comes off a four-inning relief stint last Thursday in which he got his first career save. He’ll take the place of Alex Wood, currently on the 10-day DL. Ryu will pitch against hard-luck RHP Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.32 ERA). Two starts ago Martinez pitched nine innings of shutout ball against the Giants and got no decision, and his last time out he gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings against the Rockies and lost. He’s 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA in five starts in May.

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1937 In Game 1 of a Memorial Day doubleheader, Carl Hubbell’s consecutive-game winning streak, compiled over two seasons, ends at 24 when the Dodgers, led by Babe Phelps’ 5-for-6 performance, defeat the Giants at the Polo Grounds, 10-3. ‘King Carl’ is honored between games when the southpaw is presented with the National League’s 1936 MVP Award by Babe Ruth.
  • 1948 Tommy Lasorda, best known as the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame skipper, strikes out 25 batters and collects the game-winning hit when the Schenectady Blue Jays defeat the Amsterdam Rugmakers, 6-5, in 15 innings. The promising southpaw, who goes the distance in the CanAm minor-league contest played in McNearney Stadium, believes he probably threw more than 300 pitches during the game.
  • 1965 For the first time in history, an all-switch-hitting infield starts a big league game. In the nightcap of a twin bill, the Dodgers, with Wes Parker at first base, Jim Lefebvre at second, Maury Wills at shortstop, and Jim Gilliam at third, lose to the visiting Reds, 6-1.
  • 1968 Don Drysdale’s shutout streak stays intact when home plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt rules that Dick Dietz, who is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, did not make an attempt to get out of the way of the right-hander’s delivery. The Giants catcher finishes the at-bat by popping up‚ and the next two batters also make outs to give ‘Big D” his fifth straight shutout, tying a major league established by White Sox hurler Doc White in 1904.

Lineup when available.

Apr 15

Game 12, 2017

Wait a minute. After 11 games of the season Andrew Toles and Yasiel Puig lead the Dodgers in home runs with three each?

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Lefty Patrick Corbin (1-1, 1.80 ERA) goes for the D-Backs and righty Kenta Maeda (1-1, 6.30 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. In Corbin’s last appearance he went six scoreless innings and gave up just four hits against the Indians. Maeda hasn’t gotten past the fifth inning in either of his outings so far this season but got the win last time out despite giving up four runs.

Today’s big event won’t be the ball game, really. It will be the unveiling of a statue of Jackie Robinson at the Left Field Reserve Plaza entrance, where nearly 20% of all fans enter the stadium.

Jackie’s widow, Rachel, and children, Sharon and David, will attend the ceremony. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson will also be there, along with Dodgers icons Tommy Lasorda, Sandy Koufax, Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin.

Lineup when available.

Oct 30

Nice catch

Via Jon W. on Facebook, we learn that AJ Ellis’s wife gave birth to their third child on the way to the hospital.

Yikes.

Update: The Dodgers signed Brandon League to a three-year deal. Even though League can both close and come in in the seventh or eighth, I’m not sure a three-year contract is a great idea.

Update: The Dodgers’ clubhouse in the bowels of Dodger Stadium undergoes major renovations starting next week, and Lasorda, Yeager, Cey and Lou Johnson reminisced about it before its rehab.

Update: In slightly older news, the Dodgers declined club options on Juan Rivera, Todd Coffey and Matt Treanor. I wonder if that means they plan to bring FedEx up as a backup catcher next year, or perhaps even to have him compete with AJ for the starting job.

Update: Via Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy comes this rather startling news: Mark McGwire may take the hitting coach job with the Dodgers.

Mark McGwire, who has served as Cardinals hitting coach for three seasons under two managers, has informed the club that he intends to accept a similar position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources familiar with the situation told the Post-Dispatch this afternoon.

Though a deal between the Dodgers and McGwire is not considered final, McGwire has told the Cardinals that he does not anticipate accepting their offer of a contract extension.

Apparently McGwire’s family lives in Orange County and he’d prefer to work closer to home. He’s been on the Cardinals’ staff for three years; the conventional wisdom seems to be that he’s done a good job while there.

Update: Oh fer . . . now Guerra has had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder ” to clean up bursitis and the acromioclavicular joint, where the top of the scapula meets the collarbone.” The team expects him to be “competitive” by the time Spring Training rolls around.

Update: Jay Jaffe suggests free agent David Ross is the Practically Perfect Backup Catcher. If the Dodgers conclude that FedEx needs another year of seasoning in the minors, maybe Ross would be a sensible acquisition.