The Nats send Tanner Roark (6-4, 3.14 ERA) out to make his first-ever start against the Dodgers, who counter with Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.64 ERA). It’s a matchup of differing pitchers: Roark has made it through six innings in 11 of his 14 starts, while Kazmir hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in any of his three starts since May 31.
The Dodgers want to extend their four-game winning streak while the Nationals want to halt their three-game losing streak.
As expected, the Dodgers have activated Yasiel Puig from the 15-day DL and have optioned Carlos Frias back to OKC.
Alex Wood (1-3, 4.03 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers while Jason Hammel (6-1, 2.17 ERA) goes for the Cubs. Those are gaudy numbers, but in his career he’s 2-6 with a 4.93 ERA in 16 games (12 starts) against the Dodgers. Wood is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five games (two starts) against the Cubs.
The Dodgers’ 19-year-old rookie Julio Urias makes his first MLB start against the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (3-1, 3.07 ERA), who’s hit a bad patch: he’s 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA over his last four starts.
This will be Chase Utley’s first appearance in NYC since he slid into the Mets’ then-shortstop Ruben Tejada during the playoffs last year, a collision which resulted in a broken leg for the infielder. Tejada has since moved on to the Cardinals, but the Mets fans are still there and are expected to be loud in their displeasure toward the Dodgers’ second-baseman.
For those on the road or away from the West Coast, this will be “an MLB Network Showcase game, [which] can be seen free on MLB.TV and will feature MLB Plus — MLB.com’s data-driven online broadcast that uses Statcast™ and other analytical and broadcast elements to deliver an in-depth discussion about both the action on the field and the big picture.”
Here’s Vinnie reciting the “People Will Come” soliloquy from “Field of Dreams.”
It’s Sunday Night Baseball! If ESPN’s producers were smart they’d go back to something the network did years ago; it would pick up the local TV feed (if there is one) or ask the team broadcaster to come into the booth and do play-by-play so the national viewer could get a taste of what the home teams’ fans hear every day. Baseball lovers all over the country should get a half-inning of Vin Scully, particularly in his last year.
The Cardinals send out Mike Leake (1-3, 5.10 ERA) to try for his second win as a Redbird. It took him six starts to get his first, which he did his last time out. He’ll face the Dodgers’ Alex Wood (1-3, 4.58 ERA), who’s been a much better pitcher at home than on the road so far this season, posting a 1.33 ERA at Dodger Stadium and a horrible 8.05 ERA elsewhere.
In other baseball news and notes, congratulations to Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays, who graduated and took part in the customary ceremonies at Duke today.
And then there’s this amazing scoring play in a softball game between Notre Dame and Army yesterday:
Lineup when available.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Grandal C Kendrick LF Puig RF Pederson CF Wood P
The Mets’ Jacob deGrom (3-1, 1.99 ERA) of the Flowing Locks starts against the Dodgers’ Alex Wood (1-3, 5.18 ERA) of the Moussed Pompadour. The right-handed deGrom only has 16 strikeouts in his four starts, which seems low. Lefty Wood would undoubtedly trade his 28 Ks for a couple of wins; he hasn’t had one in his last five starts.
Lineup when available.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Puig RF Crawford LF Wood P
But first, Vin Scully reads a grocery list. Yep, someone sent the Sunday Night Baseball crew an audiotape of Vin reading just that back in the 1970s, and they played it during a tribute they offered to him during the third inning of tonight’s game.
Alex Wood (1-1, 4.50 ERA) goes for the Dodgers against some guy named TBD. It will probably be Julio Teheran (0-2, 6.35 ERA, 17 innings, 9 BB, 14 Ks). This will be Wood’s first appearance at Turner Field since he was traded to the Dodgers last July for Hector Olivera, Paco Rodriguez and minor-leaguer Zachary Bird. Olivera has played five games in left field for the Braves this season and Rodriguez will miss the entire year after Tommy John surgery.
This game matches the Giants’ Johnny Cueto and the Dodgers’ Scott Kazmir against each other for the second time in a week. Cueto got the better outcome in the first game: he survived a five-run first inning and went six more to get the win. Kazmir gave up three HRs and six runs in four innings but escaped with a no-decision.
The Dodgers optioned catcher/infielder Austin Barnes to OK City and reinstated right-handed pitcher Chris Hatcher from paternity leave on Friday.
Throw ’em into the fire now or give ’em another year? It’s a question more and more teams are facing. With the Dodgers, it’s 20-year-old Cory Seager at shortstop. The cons, as determined by Richard Justice:
He’s 20 years old.
He’s played only 38 games above Class A.
He’s scary good.
He’s passed every test so far
The Mets, Twins and Giants are facing similar decisions.
Obviously it’s a gamble. Sometimes it pays off, as when the Orioles brought up a 20-year-old named Cal Ripken in August of 1981. Probably more often than not it fails, or at least the kid has to go back down to the minors for more seasoning. Given the dearth of big league players looking for short-term deals (because the Dodgers don’t want to block Seager for years), they may decide they don’t have much choice.
Update: Vinnie turns 86 tomorrow. A couple of years ago ESPN celebrated his 84th birthday with a sequence of what it picked as his top five calls: