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 25

Game Three, 2019 World Series

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

The Astros ask RHP Zack Greinke to win what really can be called a must-win game for them. He’s made three starts this postseason; the first was horrid but the last two were acceptable (3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 innings). The Nationals counter with RHP Aníbal Sánchez, who’s got an 0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings this postseason.

Astros lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Oct 22

Game One, 2019 World Series

Nationals at Astros, 5:00 PM PDT, TV: Fox

On paper this is a starting pitcher’s series like we haven’t seen in quite a while. Each team’s rotation has three excellent starters: Verlander, Cole and Greinke for the Astros and Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin for the Nats.

All six of those starters performed admirably this season. In fact, they were all top 20 in ERA among qualified pitchers: Cole was third, Verlander fourth, Scherzer eighth, Greinke ninth, Corbin 13th and Strasburg 16th. It’s the first World Series since 1945 to feature six of the top 20 pitchers in ERA, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

[snip]

That’s when the Tigers, with Hal Newhouser (1st) and Dizzy Trout (T-10th), faced the Cubs, who had Claude Passeau (4th), Paul Derringer (T-10th), Hank Wyse (T-15th) and Ray Prim (T-15th).

Game One will feature RHP Max Scherzer for the Nationals and RHP Gerrit Cole for the Astros. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last start, Game Two of the NLCS against the Cardinals. Cole has won all three of his postseason starts, giving up ten hits and one run in 22 2/3 innings.

Nationals lineup:

Astros lineup:

Oct 12

ALCS 2019

Game One: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: Fox

Two righthanders go at one another: Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees and Zack Greinke for the Astros. Tanaka’s career postseason ERA is 1.54. Greinke has not been his usual dominant self in recent postseason appearances: he’s got a 9.49 ERA in his last three.

Game Two: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

LHP James Paxton takes the hill for the Yankees. He’ll try to match innings with the Astros’ RHP Justin Verlander. Paxton faced the Houstonians twice during the year, giving up five runs in an April game but just one in a game in July. Verlander beat the Yankees twice in the 2017 playoffs, but of course that was a different Yankee team. He made two starts against them in 2019 for a total of 13 innings, giving up six runs and going 1-0.

Game Three: Astros at Yankees, 1:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Series is tied at one game apiece. The Astros give the ball to RHP Gerrit Cole, who’s been virtually untouchable in his first two postseason starts, giving up six hits and only one run in two wins against the Rays in the ALDS. The Yankees counter with RHP Luis Severino, who went four scoreless innings against the Twins in Game Three of the Yankees’ side of the ALDS. Four innings, oddly, is the average length of the seven postseason outings he’s made in his career, posting a 1-2 record with a 5.33 ERA.

Game Four has been postponed until Thursday at 8:08 p.m. ET due to inclement weather.

Game Four: Astros at Yankees, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Astros send RHP Zack Greinke to the mound in the Bronx to face the Yankees’ RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who, thanks to yesterday’s rainout, will be pitching on regular rest. He’s been spectacular in his postseason appearances: 1.32 ERA over 41 innings in seven starts. Despite a quality start in Game One, Greinke was the loser as Tanaka shut out the Astros over six innings and the bullpen did the rest.

Game Five: Astros at Yankees, 4:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

This is a rematch of Game Two with the Astros’s Verlander going against the Yankees’ Paxton. That game displayed a stark difference in the teams’ pitching philosophy: Verlander went 6 2/3 innings while Paxton came out after 2 1/3, not because he was injured or tipping pitches or getting shelled (one run on four hits), but because Yankees manager Aaron Boone trusts his bullpen more than he does most of his starters.

Game Six: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

Both managers are calling this a bullpen game, so no “starters” have been named by either side. It’ll be a surprise!

Oct 07

ALDS Games Three, 2019

Here’s the road map which lays out how that might happen.

On this day in baseball history Whitey Ford beats the Phillies to complete a World Series sweep, Gil Hodges finishes a World Series 0-21 at the plate, Curt Flood is traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies and refuses to report, and Benny Agbayani hits a 13th-inning HR to beat the Cubs in the longest NLDS game ever played — 5 hours and 22 minutes.

The early game is really early for me at 7:05 AM my time. It features the Astros at Rays, 10:05 AM PDT, TV: MLBN

The Astros have a 2-0 lead in the series. They send out their third starter, RHP Zack Greinke, to face the Rays’ RHP Charlie Morton, who’s already distinguished himself this postseason by winning the Wild Card Game last week. Morton was 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA on the year, while Greinke was 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA for the Astros after coming over from the D-Backs at the trade deadline. He was 18-5 with a 2.93 ERA overall.

Astros lineup:

Rays lineup:

The late game showcases the Yankees at Twins, 5:40 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Yankees lead the series 2-0. They’ll send RHP Luis Severino to the mound in Minneapolis. He spent most of the season on the IL, making just three starts in September. He’s got a career 6.26 ERA in six postseason starts. His opponent will be RHP Jake Odorizzi, who gave up nine runs in four innings against the Yankees on July 24 and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of the ten starts he’s made since.

Yankees lineup:

Twins lineup:

Jun 24

Game 80, 2019

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

Dodgers’ lefty Kershaw (7-1, 2.85 ERA) versus D-Backs’ righty Greinke (8-3, 2.91 ERA). Kershaw is 16-9 with a 2.59 ERA in his career against the Diamondbacks, 6-8 and 3.70 ERA at Chase Field. Greinke is 7-6 with a 4.28 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers.

Here’s young Mr Smith’s walk-off HR yesterday:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1947 At Forbes Field, Jackie Robinson steals home in the Dodgers’ 4-2 victory over the Pirates. It is the Brooklyn infielder’s first theft of the dish, something the rookie will accomplish 19 times during his ten-year career.

Lineup when available.


Mar 28

Opening Day, 2019

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SportsNet LA, ESPN

Zack Greinke will make his third consecutive Opening Day start for the D-Backs. He says he’s the healthiest he’s been in years. If that’s true the league may be in trouble because Zack is 32-18 over the past two seasons. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers. As we all know, he’s the first pitcher other than Kershaw to start an opener for the Dodgers since Vicente Padilla in 2010. He’s earned it, though. Last year he was 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA in 81 innings and a 2.2 WAR.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

Unsurprisingly the Dodgers have recorded no meaningful events on March 28 since the baseball season has only begun starting in March within the last decade or so.

Lineup:


Sep 26

Game 159, 2018

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

The Dodgers send RHP Ross Stripling (8-5, 2.84 ERA) to the hill in Phoenix to meet RHP Zack Greinke (14-11, 3.21 ERA) of the D-Backs. Stripling has had a tough second half of the season, going on the disabled list and going no further than 3 1/3 innings in each of the three starts he’s made since coming off. Greinke’s W-L record is unusually poor for him and he’s lost his last two starts, even though in his last one he went 7 1/3 innings against the Rockies and gave up just three runs on four hits.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1908 Cubs right-hander Ed Reulbach pitches two shutouts in the same day, whitewashing the Brooklyn Superbas in the opener 5-0 on a five-hitter and 3-0 on three hits in the nightcap. The entire Washington Park doubleheader takes less than three hours to complete.
  • 1954 Willie Mays, with three hits in the season finale, wins the batting title, finishing the campaign with a .345 average. The ‘Say Hey Kid’ goes third to first in batting average with his performance passing teammate Don Mueller (.342) and Dodger center fielder Duke Snider (341).1975 Burt Hooton sets a Dodger record for starting pitchers by winning his twelfth consecutive game. The 25 year-old right-hander, who was traded to LA in May for Eddie Solomon and Geoff Zahn, accomplishes the feat by beating J.R. Richard and the Astros at Dodger Stadium, 3-2.
  • 1981 Nolan Ryan becomes the first pitcher to throw five no-hitters when the Astros defeat the Dodgers at the Astrodome, 5-0. The Ryan Express, who will finish his 27-year major league career with a record seven no-hitters, previously has thrown hitless gems against the Royals (1973), Tigers (1973), Twins (1974), and Orioles (1975).

  • 1997 Dodger catcher Mike Piazza, in a 10-4 win over the Rockies, hits the longest home run in the history of Coors Field. The 28 year-old backstop’s sixth-inning blast travels 496 feet and hits the left-center field billboard between the scoreboard and the Rockpile.

Lineup:


Aug 31

Game 135, 2018

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A, KTLA

Ex-Dodger Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.93 ERA) goes for the D-Backs and Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-1, 2.18 ERA) goes for the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. It could be argued this is the first of several “must-win” games the Dodgers face in the next couple of weeks. Greinke won his last start, but it was the first game he’d won in the month of August. His ERA for the month was 2.81, though, so he didn’t pitch all that badly. Ryu has come off a three-month stint on the DL showing no ill effects from the groin injury which put him there. In his last time out he scattered 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Padres, got two base hits and won the game.

Coincidentally, a year ago on this date the Dodgers and D-Backs faced off and Greinke pitched in that one too. His opponent was Maeda, and the D-Backs won handily.

The Dodgers got some bullpen help, acquiring Ryan Madson from the Nationals for minor league RHP Andrew Istler. To make room on the 40-man roster they designated Adam Liberatore for assignment.

The pennant pushes begin this weekend, says Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com.

Pedro Moura at The Athletic watched last night’s game and says the Dodgers have had a season-long “clutch” problem which bit them once again in the first game of this series, and they’re running out of time to fix it.

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.


Apr 30

Game 28,2018

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

RHP Ross Stripling (0-0, 0.63 ERA) gets a spot start in place of the injured Rich Hill. He’s made 10 relief appearances and no starts this season, although he says he’d prefer to start. He’s pitched 14 1/3 innings and given up 12 hits, one run, and struck out 16 while walking seven (one intentionally). He’ll face RHP Zack Greinke (2-2, 4.80 ERA), who has been much better at home this season (1-0, 1.27 ERA in two starts) than on the road (1-2, 7.27 ERA). Take note of the location of tonight’s game.

Oh no! Seager out for year!

Today, the Dodgers recalled Breyvic Valera from Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed Corey Seager on the 10-day DL with a right UCL sprain. Seager will undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1940 The Dodgers tie the major league mark for consecutive wins from the beginning of the season with style as James ‘Tex’ Carleton no-hits the Reds, 3-0, for the team’s ninth straight victory since Opening Day.
  • 1944 In the first game of a doubleheader split, first baseman Phil Weintraub gets 11 RBIs, and player-manager Mel Ott scores six runs, drawing five walks in the Giants’ 26-8 rout of the Dodgers. Brooklyn wins the nightcap 5-4 in a game shortened due to darkness.
  • 1988 Dave Winfield ties the major league RBI record for April established by Dodger infielder Ron Cey in 1977 and matched by Dale Murphy of the Braves in 1985. The right fielder, who was on base at least once in every game, drives in his 28th and 29th runs of the month in the Yankees’ 15-3 rout of Texas in New York.

Lineup when available.