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:
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:
Does Seager’s elbow need surgery, and if so, when will he have it done?
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The series is tied at one. Today the Nationals send last year’s Cy Young winner RHP Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.51 ERA) to the hill to face the Cubs’ LHP Jose Quintana (11-11, 4.15 ERA). Scherzer’s first postseason appearance this year has been delayed while his right hamstring healed, but he and the doctors say he’s healthy now. He’s got a 2.92 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs. Quintana came over from the crosstown White Sox in July and was 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 14 starts for his new team. This will be his first postseason start and the first time he’ll face the Nats. Scherzer has made 14 appearances in the postseason (12 starts) but only two for the Nationals.
The Dodgers acquired RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) with the postseason in mind, and now it’s here. He’ll face ex-Dodger now D-Back RHP Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA). Darvish was 6-4 with a 2.44 ERA on the road this season, while Greinke was 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA at home. Darvish has made two postseason appearances in his career, both with Texas, and is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Greinke has made ten postseason appearances and is 3-3 with a 3.92 ERA.
Today in baseball history:
1949 During the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 10-8 loss to the Yankees in Game 5, the Ebbets Field lights are turned on, making it the first time a World Series game has been played under artificial lights. The first scheduled Fall Classic night game will not take place until 1971, when the Pirates host Baltimore for Game 4 at Three Rivers Stadium.
1966 For the second consecutive day, the Orioles win a World Series game, 1-0, in a contest decided by a home run when Frank Robinson takes a Don Drysdale pitch deep over the left field fence in the fourth inning. With the lone run being scored on a homer, for only the fifth time in the history of the Fall Classic, and the complete-game shutout thrown by Dave McNally, Baltimore completes a four-game sweep over the Dodgers.
Also, this is the anniversary of the Jeffrey Maier game in 1996 when he leaned over the wall and caught a Derek Jeter fly ball. It was ruled a home run despite clear evidence that he interfered with Baltimore outfielder Tony Tarrasco’s attempt to catch it.
In 2005 the Astros won the longest postseason game in history, beating the Braves in 18 innings on a Chris Burke walkoff home run to take the NLDS and advance to the NLCS.
What incentives do the Dodgers have to win these games beyond pride? Well,
Los Angeles holds a 4 1/2-game lead on the Nationals for the best record in the NL, positioning the Dodgers for home-field advantage up to the World Series. The Indians trail the Dodgers by one game for the best record in baseball, which will determine home-field advantage in the Fall Classic.
LHP Travis Wood (4-6, 6.55 ERA) pitches for the Friars while RHP Yu Darvish (9-12, 3.96 ERA) goes for the Dodgers.
Wood held the D-Backs to two runs over six innings in his last start, a marked improvement over his previous two when he gave up 15 earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings. Darvish is hoping to finish the season with a third consecutive good outing. In his previous two he gave up just one run in 12 1/3 innings.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1941 Combined with a Cardinal defeat, the Dodgers win their first pennant in 21 years when they beat Boston at Braves Field, 6-0. Whitlow Wyatt throws a five-hitter and Pete Reiser hits a homer in the winning cause.
1956 Dodger right-hander Sal Maglie no-hits the Phillies at Ebbets Field, 5-0. The ‘Barber’s’ gem helps second-place Brooklyn to keep pace in the pennant race with Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
1962 After appearing in 60 games over a two-year span, Dodger reliever Ed Roebuck suffers his first loss. The LA right-hander gives up a 10th inning home run to Houston’s Al Spanger, breaking the 2-2 deadlock at Chavez Ravine.
1974 In a first-of-its-kind operation, Dr. Frank Jobe transplants a tendon from Tommy John’s right wrist to the Dodger pitcher’s left elbow. The revolutionary ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, which will become a commonplace surgical procedure better known as Tommy John surgery, enables the southpaw to win an additional 164 games, more than half of his career total of 288 victories.
1996 Giants slugger Barry Bonds draws an intentional walk which gives him the National League record with 149 bases-on-balls in a season. The free pass is issued in the seventh inning by LA’s Mark Guthrie with two outs and a runner on third base in the team’s 7-5 loss at Dodger Stadium.
2008 The Diamondbacks, defending division champions, lose to St. Louis, allowing the Dodgers to clinch the NL West. Los Angeles first-year skipper Joe Torre’s 13-year postseason streak continues, unlike the Yankees, his former team.
Tonight's Dodger lineup vs. Padres: Taylor CF Seager SS Hernández RF Bellinger LF Forsythe 3B Barnes 2B Grandal C Segedin 1B Darvish P pic.twitter.com/zaG2ZJxwuk
Apparently Roberts is still annoyed and frustrated by Puig. I can’t imagine any other reason for him not to play, considering he’s 5-for-8 off Wood in his career, reaching in seven of his 10 plate appearances.
RHP Yu Darvish (9-12, 4.08 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and Aaron Nola (11-10, 3.60 ERA) pitches for the Phillies. Darvish has been inconsistent with the Dodgers, but in his last start he threw seven shutout innings and beat the Giants. Nola had a good start his last time out too, giving up one run on four hits over seven innings and getting a win against the Marlins.
The NFL Lions’ QB Matt Stafford and the Dodgers’ Kershaw have been friends since high school. Last night during Monday Night Football Stafford used Kershaw’s name as a signal for a play from scrimmage.
Today in Dodgers’ history: The site I usually get this from is down this morning. Instead, here’s a piece of history from 1988: On this day Orel Hershiser shut out the Astros 1-0 on four hits (the Dodgers only got three, but one was a home run by John Shelby in the seventh inning). This was his fourth consecutive shutout, and his streak hit 40 consecutive scoreless innings.
Oh look: it’s back up now.
1935 The Cubs win their 16th consecutive game as they beat Carl Hubbell, completing a four-game sweep of the Giants. The mark is the most since the 1924 Dodgers won 15 straight games.
1964 With two outs in the bottom of the 16th inning, Willie Davis, after singling, swiping second, and advancing to third on a wild pitch, steals home, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia. The fleet outfielder’s theft of the plate is in the latest frame in a National League game the feat has ever been accomplished and ties Hal Trosky’s major league record set in 1944.
1973 Astros’ infielder Dave Campbell hits a first-inning two-run double against San Diego right-hander Clay Kirby to snap an 0-for-45 drought, tying a major league record set in 1909 by Bill Bergen, a catcher who played with Brooklyn. ‘Soup’, who will become a respected national baseball broadcaster, endured the futility while playing for three teams, combining a 17 at-bat hitless streak with the Padres and another 21 at-bat hitless streak for the Cardinals before hitting the two-bagger in his eighth at-bat with Houston.
2000 A Dodger fan, in addition to other court-ordered restrictions, has been banned from attending home games in Los Angeles for 18 months. The irate patron threw coffee in the face of a Mets fan who was cheering a grand slam hit by New York’s catcher Todd Pratt.
2014 LA’s Clayton Kershaw becomes the first 20-game winner of the season when the team routs Chicago at a windy Wrigley Field, 14-5. The 26 year-old southpaw, who has compiled a 20-3 (.870) record along with an ERA of 1.80. is the first Dodger hurler to reach the 20-win plateau twice since Claude Osteen accomplished the feat in 1969 and 1972.
Taylor CF Seager SS Turner 3B Bellinger 1B Granderson RF Utley 2B Grandal C Ethier LF Darvish P
Righthander Yu Darvish (8-12, 4.25 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers, while LHP Matt Moore (5-13, 5.31 ERA) goes for the Giants.
Darvish had one excellent start after coming over from the Rangers at the trade deadline but has lost his last three starts. Moore has four quality starts in his last five, but he’s got a 7.02 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers this year.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1925 In the first game of a twin bill, Robins’ (Dodgers) starter Dazzy Vance no-hits the Phillies at Ebbets Field, 10-1. The Brooklyn hurler had one-hit the team from the City of Brotherly Love five days earlier.
2005 During the six-run second inning uprising by Colorado, each Dodger outfielder commits an error. The fielding of Ricky Ledee (lf), Jose Cruz Jr. (right field), and Jayson Werth (cf) contributes to the 6-4 loss to the Rockies. (The Dodgers finished 71-91 that year, in fourth place in the division. The Rockies finished last.
Also, in 1902, Johnny Evers, acquired to replace second baseman Bobby Lowe, who broke his ankle, joins shortstop Joe Tinker and first baseman Frank Chance on the Chicago infield, marking the first time the three Cubs’ infielders have played together. The legendary double play trio will be immortalized in Franklin Pierce Adams’ baseball poem, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” better known as “Tinker to Evers to Chance”. (And only one of the three really had any business even being considered for induction into the Hall of Fame, as far as I’m concerned. There were a bunch of romantics or cronies on the Veterans Committee in 1946.)
Tonight's Dodger lineup at Giants: Taylor CF Seager SS Turner 3B Bellinger 1B Forsythe 2B Barnes C Hernández LF Puig RF Darvish P pic.twitter.com/QIdkMbsvtY
The Rockies send RHP German Marquez (10-6, 4.26 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ RHP Yu Darvish (8-11, 4.09 ERA) in game two of the series.
Marquez is a 22-year-old rookie who’s been getting hit early in counts in his last few starts as the league has begun to figure his patterns out. He gave up three runs in the sixth in his start Sunday against the D-Backs when they did just that. Darvish’s first two starts for the Dodgers were very good, but his last four have been pretty bad (6.16 ERA).
On this date 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 Amazins, 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).
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup vs. Rockies: Granderson LF Seager SS Turner 3B Bellinger 1B Puig RF Pederson CF Barnes C Forsythe 2B Darvish P pic.twitter.com/QVD7uFu4ie