Oct 02

NL Wild Card Series 2020, Game Three

The early game is between the Marlins and the Cubs originally scheduled for yesterday before the rains came.

Marlins at Cubs, 11:08 AM PDT, TV: ABC

The pitchers remain Darvish for the Cubs and Sanchez for the Marlins, as previewed below.

The Cubs have frequently been in action on October 2. The Marlins have rarely made news on that date.

The later game is a result of the Padres’ furious late-inning comeback in Game Two, in which they scored nine runs after the fifth inning and held on to win 11-9.

Cardinals at Padres, 4:08 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

The Cardinals send RHP Jack Flaherty to the mound in this elimination game; the Padres haven’t yet announced their starter as of 11:00 AM PDT. Flaherty finished 2019 strong but had an uneven 2020, going 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA in just 40 innings. His longest stretch of the season was 7 innings in his first start of the season; he only made it to the 6th once after that.

Here’s some of the Cardinals’ history on October 2. The Padres haven’t done as much on this date.

Oct 01

NL Wild Card Series, Game Two

Reds at Braves, 9:08 AM PDT, TV: ESPN

RHP Luis Castillo pitches for the Reds and RHP Ian Anderson (not the Jethro Tull guitar and flute guy) for the Braves. Castillo had a great September going (4-0, 1.26 ERA) until Saturday the 26th, when he gave up four runs in four innings. Anderson was 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in six starts in this, his rookie season. Among his outings were six innings of one-hit ball against the mighty Yankees in August and seven innings of one-hit ball against the WS Champion Nationals.

Marlins at Cubs, 11:08 AM PDT, TV: ABC

The Marlins’ RHP Sixto Sánchez is a rookie who started off with a bang; five starts in which he posted a 1.69 ERA followed by two in which he ran up an 11.57 ERA. He’ll face the Cubs’ RHP Yu Darvish, an old friend of Dodgers fans. He’s been an ace for the Cubs since 2019; his postseason record is 2-4 with a 5.81 ERA. Much of his poor ERA was built in 2017 when he was with the Dodgers and he went only 3.1 innings in two games against the Astros in the World Series. In light of what has since surfaced about the Astros and sign-stealing, it may be that Darvish’s travails in that Series were not all of his own making.

Cardinals at Padres, 4:08 PM PDT, TV: ESPN2

RHP Adam Wainwright makes his 28th postseason appearance and 15th start for the Cardinals; he’s 4-5 with a 2.81 ERA over those games. He’ll face RHP Zach Davies of the Padres. Davies has been consistent all season: he gave up no more than three earned runs in any of his twelve starts.

Brewers at Dodgers, 7:08 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

The Brewers send RHP Brandon Woodruff out to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw. Woodruff was 3-5 with a 3.05 ERA this year, but his last start was his best. He went eight scoreless innings against the Cardinals in a must-win game on September 26. Kershaw had a 6-2 and 2.16 ERA season, although his last start was forgettable. He went just four innings, gave up eight hits and four runs (only one earned) last Friday against the Angels.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1944 Dixie Walker, an outfielder on the seventh-place Dodgers, wins the National League batting crown with a .357 batting average, finishing ten points higher than runner-up Stan Musial. In 1947, the ‘People’s Cherce’s younger brother, Harry ‘the Hat’, will also lead the Senior Circuit, hitting .363 in the year when he is traded, after playing ten games for St. Louis, to Philadelphia.
  • 1946 The Dodgers and Cardinals, who both finished the season with a 96-58 record, play the first game of a best-of-three series to determine the National League’s championship, marking the first time in major league history a playoff is needed to send a team to the World Series. St. Louis wins today’s Sportsman’s Park contest, 4-2, and will clinch the pennant in Game 2, beating the Brooklyn at Ebbets Field, 8-4.
  • 1950 On the last day of the season, Pee Wee Reese, ignoring second base ump Frank Dascoli’s directive to slow down when his high outfield fly becomes stuck between the screen and the right field wall, continues sprinting around the bases at full speed, crossing home plate with the tying run in a game the team needs to win to finish tied with Philadelphia for the NL flag. The Dodgers shortstop’s unusual inside-the-park homer, due to an odd ground rule, will be the only run Robin Roberts allows in the Phillies’ pennant clinching 4-1 victory at Ebbets Field.
  • 1950 After they retire today, Burt Shotton of the Dodgers and the A’s Connie Mack will become the last managers to wear street clothes. Although no edict specifically mandates a skipper must wear a uniform, there is now a rule that states that a person not wearing a uniform, except medical personnel, isn’t allowed on the field of play during a game.
  • 1950 In the season finale, Robin Roberts, in the first of his six consecutive 20-win seasons, becomes the first Phillies right-hander to win twenty games for the team since Grover Cleveland Alexander accomplished the feat with a total of 30 victories in 1917. The complete-game, ten-inning 4-1 Ebbets Field victory over the Dodgers hurled by the Whiz Kid from Springfield (IL) clinches Philadelphia’s first NL pennant since 1915.
  • 1951 The Giants’ 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in the first game of the National League playoffs is the first major league contest to be televised coast-to-coast. CBS, who obtained rights to the game, transmits the picture from Ebbets Field, but has to get the signal from ABC, who had made previous arrangements with WOR-TV, the New York station which carried Brooklyn’s regular season games.
  • 1955 After losing the first two contests in the Bronx, the Dodgers even the World Series at a pair of games apiece when they defeat the Yankees at Ebbets Field, 8-5. Brooklyn will make it three victories in a row tomorrow with a 5-3 victory over the Bronx Bombers, but it will take a dramatic Game 7 for the ‘Bums’ to capture their first World Championship.
  • 1961 The Wrigley Field on the West Coast hosts its last professional baseball game when the Angels, who will play at Dodger Stadium next season, are defeated by Cleveland, 8-5, in front of 9,868 fans at the 36 year-old ballpark, which will be torn down in five years to make room for an eventual public playground and senior center. In addition to being the home for the American League expansion team, the venue housed the PCL’s Angels from 1925 through 1957 and served as the location for the 1960 television series Home Run Derby.
  • 1974 At the Astrodome, Mike Marshall establishes the major league mark for the most appearances by a pitcher when he throws two innings in the Dodgers’ 8-5 victory over Houston. With his 106 appearances, the right-handed reliever appears in 65% of the games that his team played this season.
  • 1993 Mike Piazza plates Jose Offerman with a first-inning single to set a new team mark for runs driven in by a rookie with 107. The 24 year-old Dodgers catcher breaks the franchise record for rookie RBIs established by Del Bissonette, a freshman first baseman who played with Brooklyn in 1928.
  • 2009 The Rockies’ 9-2 win over Milwaukee assures the team of a wild card berth in the postseason, and puts the team in position to still win the NL West by sweeping the Dodgers this weekend in L.A. Although the team was 12 games under .500 on June 3, today’s victory, their 91st – a club record – puts Colorado 23 games over .500, another first in the 17 year history of franchise.

Brewers’ lineup:

Dodgers’ lineup:

Sep 08

Game 43, 2020

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA

RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.60 ERA) goes to the Chase Field mound to face the home team’s RHP Luke Weaver. Coincidentally the last outing for each of these guys was against the other’s team. Buehler went five innings, gave up just two hits and walked just one while striking out six on September 2, while Weaver went 5 1/3 innings against the Dodgers on September 3, giving up four hits and two runs and taking the loss.

Here are Seager’s two home runs from Sunday’s game:

Old friend note: Dee Gordon has changed his name to Dee Strange-Gordon to honor his mother, who was killed by her boyfriend when Dee was just seven years old.

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:

Jun 15

Game 71, 2019

Cubs at Dodgers, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: ABC7 (Chicago), KTLA (Los Angeles), MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA

Cubs RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.98 ERA) makes his first appearance at Dodger Stadium since his horrific 2017 World Series Game Seven appearance in which he gave up five runs in 1 2/3 innings and put the Dodgers in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. Interestingly, he credits the Dodgers with making him appreciate baseball again.

“The Rangers were an old-school organization,” Darvish said. “They had a lot of rules. I really didn’t like that. But I came to the Dodgers and was told I could do what I wanted. I felt a lot more relaxed. It made me love baseball more. I felt a greater appreciation for the concept of a team.”

Darvish will face the Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.35 ERA), who went 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs in April and then gave up a three-run home run to Javier Baez. His last start was a seven-inning scoreless gem against the Giants. His ERA for June is 0.60.

Workout T-shirts:

This is fascinating. WBBsAs found it and posted it in the comments to the last post. It’s some guy (whose language is salty; be forewarned) explaining Jansen’s balk in the ninth inning last night.


Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1938 In the first night game played in New York City, Johnny Vander Meer pitches his second consecutive no-hitter, beating the Dodgers at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, 6-0. Four days ago, the Reds’ southpaw held the Braves hitless in a 3-0 victory at Crosley Field.
  • 1951 The Cubs trade Andy Pafko along with Johnny Schmitz, Wayne Terwilliger, and Rube Walker to the Dodgers for Bruce Edwards, Joe Hatten, Eddie Miksis, and Gene Hermanski. The deal, which prevents the coveted ‘Handy Andy’ from going to the rival Giants, is the first of many to be made by Buzzy Bavasi, Brooklyn’s new general manager.
  • 1996 In the first inning of their 6-2 victory over the Braves, the Dodgers turn their first triple play in forty-seven years. After making a running, back-to-the-plate grab of Chipper Jones’s popup to short left with runners on first and second, Juan Castro throws to second baseman Delino Deshields to double up Marquis Grissom, then the ball is relayed to first baseman Eric Karros to get Mark Lemke, who was also running on the pitch.

Lineup:


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:


Feb 12

Spring Training begins this week

To get into the mood, Houston Mitchell of the Times is listing the results of a readers’ poll which asked “Who are the 10 Greatest Dodgers of All Time?”

I received 8,382 ballots from newsletter readers who responded to send me their choices as the top 10 Dodgers of all time. Points were assigned based on ranking, with the first-place choice getting 12 points, second place getting 10, third place eight, down to one point for 10th place. After tabulating the ballots, I will be presenting the top 25 in points. We will be counting down Nos. 25-11, one each weekday, for the next three weeks. Then we will time the top 10 so No. 1 unveils on March 29, the day the season opens.

Click the link to see who #25 is.

The Cubs wanted Yu Darvish enough to pay him $126 million over six years. Obviously the Dodgers didn’t want to pay that much for that long. I suspect it was the length of the contract more than the dollars which gave the Dodgers pause.

Kenley Jansen and Alex Wood are both ready for spring training:



Nov 02

Free agency day

Here’s the most comprehensive list of free agents I could find. Go shopping for ones the Dodgers might want!

Here are the Dodgers who are free agents: Yu Darvish; Curtis Granderson; Franklin Gutierrez; Brandon Morrow; Chase Utley; Tony Watson

MLB has a slightly longer list. It includes Forsythe and his $8.5 million club option and Ethier and his $2.5 million club option.

The following Dodgers are arbitration-eligible: Luis Avilan, Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia, Yasmani Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Alex Wood.

MLB’s story also raises several questions:

  1. Does Seager’s elbow need surgery, and if so, when will he have it done?
  2. Will Honeycutt be back for another season? His contract’s up and he’s 63 years old (I remember him as a pitcher! He can’t be that old!)
  3. What does Adrian Gonzalez want to do and what do the Dodgers want to do with him?

They might very well go after Darvish, despite his horrific failures in the World Series. They will probably try to sign Morrow, but he might be offered more than the Dodgers want to pay. The same goes for Watson. Granderson they’ll let go, and Gutierrez was a failed pickup (due to injury, not performance); I can’t see them keeping him. I doubt they’ll keep Utley unless he wants to coach. They have more use for the 25th spot on the playing roster than to re-sign him for several million dollars just to act as a pinch-hitter and occasional caddy for whoever plays second base next season.

Nov 01

World Series Game Seven, 2017

Astros at Dodgers, 5:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

This really has been one of the best World Series of recent memory. Consider this:

Literally every game of this Series has been a good one. Only once (the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory in Game 4) has the margin of victory been greater than two runs, and that featured a five-run rally by Los Angeles in the ninth.

It’ll be the fourth time in the past seven years the Fall Classic has stretched to the max and the second year in a row. There have been 38 previous Game Sevens, and the Cut Four team at MLB has ranked them all.

Tonight it will be Yu Darvish hoping to erase memories of his awful Game Three start (1 2/3 innings, six hits, four runs) followed by every other pitcher the Dodgers have, as needed. I’d expect to see Kershaw in relief unless Darvish has a fantastic performance deep into the game. The Astros will ask Lance McCullers to replicate his Game Three performance in which he went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs. He could be followed by Keuchel and Morton and any other arm in the Astros’ bullpen.

Today in baseball history:

  • 2001 The first major league game ever started in the month of November is a memorable one when the Yankees, for the second consecutive night, make a dramatic comeback in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and go on to a World Series victory in extra innings. Tonight’s heroes are Scott Brosius, who hits a game-tying two out two-run homer to knot the game at 2-2, and Alfonso Soriano, who singles in Chuck Knoblauch in the 12th, giving the Yankees a 3-2 victory and 3-2 lead in the Fall Classic over the Diamondbacks.
  • 2010 Edgar Renteria, who drove in the winning run for the Marlins against Cleveland in the 11th inning during Game 7 of the 1997 Fall Classic, joins Yankees legends Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra as only the fourth player in baseball history to collect two World Series-winning hits. The Series MVP’s three-run homer off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning leads to San Francisco’s 3-1 victory over the Rangers, bringing a World Championship to the Giants for the first time since 1954.

Lineup:

Oct 27

World Series Game Three, 2017

Dodgers at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

The Dodgers’ RHP Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.59 ERA in postseason) will face RHP Lance McCullers (0-0, 1 SV, 2.08 in postseason) in Game Three in Houston’s roofed-over Minute Maid Park.

“Past performance does not guarantee future results,” the financial industry cautions, so Darvish and his 4-1 record with a 2.16 ERA in six career starts at the Astros’ park including a near-perfect game and a separate near-no-hitter in 2013 probably just means he’s comfortable pitching there. McCullers used a lot of curveballs in his four-inning save in Game Seven of the ALCS. The Dodgers had the best batting average in baseball against the curve this year (.274) per Statcast, but they are hitting just .167 (7-for-42) off curves this postseason.

Classic photos of the Dodgers in World Series past.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1985 The Royals become the sixth team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the Fall Classic when series MVP Bret Saberhagen, who became a new dad yesterday, blanks the Cardinals on five hits, 11-0. Kansas City is the first team in World Series history to lose its first two games at home and then come back to win the World Championship.
  • 1991 In Game 7 of the ‘Worst to First’ World Series, the Twins beat the Braves, 1-0, when Dan Gladden scores the winning run in the bottom of the tenth on Gene Larkin’s single, clinching its second world championship since relocating from Washington D.C. in 1961. Atlanta and Minnesota had both finished in last place in their respective divisions the previous season.


    Jack Morris goes the distance in the game, blanking the Braves, 1-0, in the Twins’ ten-inning, dramatic walk-off win at the Metrodome. The 36 year-old right-hander, who posts a 2-0 record along with a 1.17 ERA during his three starts, is named the Most Valuable Player of the Fall Classic.

  • 2002 In the team’s 42nd season, the Angels finally win a World Series title by beating the Giants, 4-1, in Game 7 at Edison Field. Garret Anderson’s three-run double provides enough offense for John Lackey to become the first rookie to win a seventh game since 1909 when Babe Adams accomplished the feat for the Pirates.
  • 2004 Under the moon’s reddish tint caused by a lunar eclipse, the Red Sox exorcised 86 years of agonizing losses by winning their first World Series since 1918. In one of the most dominating Fall Classic performances, Boston, who never trailed during the four games, blanks the Cardinals, 3-0, to complete the sweep.

Lineup when available.

Oct 17

NLCS Game Three, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The visiting Dodgers send RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) out to keep the Cubs at bay and take a 3-0 lead in the series. The Cubs counter with RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA). Darvish had a good outing in Game Three of the ALDS against the Diamondbacks, giving up one run on two hits in five innings while striking out seven and not walking anyone. Hendricks had an excellent start against the Nats in Game One of the NLDS when he allowed no runs, but a less-than-stellar one in Game Five when he gave up four runs on nine hits in four innings. He may take some confidence from his two NLCS starts against the Dodgers last year when he gave up only one run on five hits in 12 2/3 innings.

Here are several news items pertaining to the Dodgers and this series: first, from MLB: Memories of last year’s Game Six loss and the subsequent ring ceremonies this year might be a prod for the Dodgers. Second, SI’s Jay Jaffe writes about Yasiel Puig’s discipline and flair. And finally, Rich Hill is known for his curve, but it’s his fastball that’s doing heavy lifting this season.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1978 The Yankees capture their twenty-second and second consecutive World Championship, beating Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. Playoff hero Bucky Dent, who collects ten hits in the six-game series, is named the the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

Other historical note: in 1989 as the Giants and A’s get ready to play Game 3 of the World Series, the Bay Area is hit by the massive 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake, which will be responsible for 63 deaths. The Candlestick Park contest is quickly postponed by Commissioner Fay Vincent, and he orders the evacuation of the ballpark.

Lineup:

Puig at cleanup. Pederson, Ethier and Utley starting. Grandal not starting. No siree, no lineup shakeups here.