Oct 09

NLDS Games Three, 2017

First game: Nationals at Cubs, 1:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

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.

Second game: Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 7:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

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.

Lineup when available.

Oct 03

Wild Card Games, 2017

Tuesday, October 3: Twins at Yankees, 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, TV & Radio: ESPN

I think it’s fair to say the Twins are the surprise team in these playoffs. The Yankees beat them 4-2 in the season series, including a three-game sweep two weeks ago. But as the prospectuses tell us, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results,” so the Twins and Yankees have an equal chance of winning a single game against one another. Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of the two teams.

The Twins probably feel good about pitching RHP Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA) since he’s had eight previous post-season appearances including two starts. On the other hand, the most recent of those was in 2009 with the Angels. The Yankees counter with RHP Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA), who’s in his third year in the big leagues but his first postseason at any level.

Wednesday, October 4: Diamondbacks at Rockies, 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, TV: TBS; Radio: ESPN

These two teams have been locked into the Wild Card game since midsummer when it became apparent they’d be chasing the Dodgers for the NL West title all season. There were only two other teams who came close to catching them, the Brewers and the Cardinals, falling short by one and four games respectively. It’s astonishing to note that the NL only had seven teams finish above .500 — the three division leaders, the Rockies, D-backs, Brewers and Redbirds.

Pitching for the Diamondbacks in Coors Field will be RHP Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA), one of five 17-game winners in the big leagues this season (there were four 18-game winners; no one won more). His opponent will be RHP Jon Gray (10-4, 2.67 ERA). Greinke is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA in nine postseason appearances; this will be Gray’s first. Gray’s on a 13-game run of allowing three runs or fewer and has gone 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five starts. Greinke is 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA over his last five.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1947 In Game 4 of the Fall Classic, Bill Bevens comes within one out of pitching the first no-hitter in World Series history. The Yankee hurler loses his claim to fame and the game when Cookie Lavagetto, pinch-hitting for Eddie Stanky, hits a two-out ninth-inning double, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 victory.
  • 1951 In Game 3 of National League play-off series at the Polo Grounds, Bobby Thomson’s one-out three-run homer beats the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4, and the Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant. The round-tripper, better known as the ‘shot heard around the world’, becomes one of the famous home runs in baseball history.

  • 1962 At Dodger Stadium, the Giants beat Los Angeles, 6-4, to take the rubber game of the best-of-three National League playoffs, clinching the National League pennant. LA shortstop Maury Wills sets a major league record for the most games played in a season, appearing in all of his team’s 165 games.
  • 1972 Surpassing Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente appears in his 2,433rd game for the most ever played by a Pirate. Sadly, it will be the last regular season game the Pittsburgh outfielder will ever play as he will be killed in a plane crash during the off-season.
  • 1976 After being at the Dodger’s helm for 23 years, Walter Alston’s managerial career comes to an end when the team drops a 3-2 decision to the Padres, finishing the campaign 10 games behind the Reds. During his tenure, which began in Brooklyn in 1954, the skipper known as Smokey to his players compiles a 2040-1613 (.523) record en route to capturing seven pennants and four World Series titles.

There are a lot of other things that happened on this day in baseball history; you can see the rest at National Pastime.

Sep 05

Game 138, 2017

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

The D-Backs send ex-Dodger Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.08 ERA) out to extend their winning streak to twelve, while Hyun-Jin Ryu tries to stop the Dodgers’ losing streak at four.

Greinke has not been as good on the road this year as at home; he’s got a 3-5 record with a 4.28 ERA away from Chase Field. Ryu has had a good second half if you take away his last outing against Arizona, when he gave up six runs and eight hits including three HRs in a 6-4 loss last Wednesday.

Pederson and Thompson have been recalled from OKC.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1908 Superbas southpaw Nap Rucker strikes out 14 Doves en route to tossing a no-hitter in the team’s 6-0 victory over Boston at Washington Park. The only runners to get on base off the talented left-handed redhead come as a result of three Brooklyn errors.
  • 1938 For the third time this season, Dodger catcher Babe Phelps breaks a bone in his throwing hand. Although the injuries will limit his playing time to only 66 games and 208 at-bats this season, the southpaw-swinging backstop will hit .308 and was named to the National League All-Star team, the first of three consecutive games he’ll play in the Mid-summer classic.
  • 1955 In an 11-4 win over the Phillies, Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe hits his seventh homer, establishing a National League record for home runs by a pitcher in a season. The victory is Newk’s 20th of the season.
  • 1998 Barry Bonds sets a new National League mark, reaching base in 15 consecutive plate appearances. The Giants outfielder’s five singles, two doubles, two homers, and six walks during the streak break Dodger Pedro Guerrero’s mark of 14 established in 1983.

Lineup when available.

Aug 31

Game 132, 2017

My Navy boot camp company in 1972 was #132.

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 12:40 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A

It’ll be RHP Kenta Maeda (12-5, 3.76 ERA) for the Dodgers against old friend RHP Zack Greinke (15-6, 3.14 ERA) for the D-Backs.

Maeda pitched one of his best games of the year last time out, going six innings and giving up just one hit and one run to the Brewers. In his last eleven starts he’s gone 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA and has held hitters to a .205 batting average. Greinke got his 15th win of the year last Friday against the Giants. This will be his third start against the Dodgers this year; he’s lost the first two.

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.

Aug 09

Game 113, 2017

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

Two thirteen-game winners face off tonight at Chase Field: the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood (13-1, 2.33 ERA) against the D-Backs’ RHP Zack Greinke (13-4, 3.10 ERA). Wood cited fatigue as a reason for a drop in his velocity (his fastball had a 90.8-mph average, lowest of the year) in his last start but says a change in mechanics has resolved that. Greinke saw his ERA jump nearly a full point from 2.12 to 3.10 after he gave up six earned runs in six innings in his last start.

Wood needs to be careful with A.J. Pollock; he has a .462 batting average and two homers in 13 career at-bats against the Dodgers’ lefty.

This date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1975 At Shea Stadium, Davey Lopes steals his 32nd consecutive base without being caught, breaking Max Carey’s 1922 record in the Dodgers’ 2-0 victory over New York. The Dodger second baseman’s mark will be broken by Vince Coleman in 1989.
  • 1976 John Candelaria becomes the first Pirate since 1907 to throw a no-hitter in Pittsburgh. Nick Maddox threw the first and only Buc home no-hitter until the ‘Candyman’ beat the Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium. (There was never a no-hitter pitched in the 61-year history of spacious Forbes Field.)
  • 2001 Mike Hampton ties the National League record for pitchers with his seventh homer when he goes deep off Felix Heredia in the Rockies’ 14-5 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Colorado southpaw equals the mark established by Dodger hurlers Don Drysdale (1958, 1965) and Don Newcombe (1955), and two shy of the major league standard set by Wes Ferrell, playing for the Indians in 1931.
  • 2013 The Dodgers rally for four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, overcoming a six-run, seventh-inning deficit, for their fifth walk-off victory of the season. The team’s 7-6 victory over Tampa Bay is their 11th consecutive win in a one-run games, a span in which they have defeated ten different clubs.

Lineup:

Apr 14

Game 11, 2017

Epitaph for the Cubs series from the LA Times:

On 24 occasions during these 27 innings, a Dodger came to bat with a runner in scoring position. Only once did a Dodger supply a hit. The team stranded 26 runners and managed only four runs in all.

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

Today it will be a treat: Clayton Kershaw v. Zack Greinke, two guys who were 1-2 in the Dodgers’ rotation in 2013-2015.

The duo went 104-34 during their three seasons together. Greinke finished second in National League Cy Young award voting in 2015, while Kershaw finished third. Kershaw won the award in 2013 and 2014.

Other info:

Kershaw has started 24 games in his career against Arizona and is 12-8 with a 2.75 ERA in those contests. Last season, he faced the D-backs once and struck out 11 in 7 1/3 innings.

Greinke has started seven games against the Dodgers and is 3-2 with a 3.80 ERA.

Lineup when available.

Sep 16

Game 147, 2016

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

RHP Kenta Maeda (14-9, 3.28 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and RHP (and old friend) Zack Greinke (12-6, 4.54 ERA) goes for the D-Backs. It’s hard to believe Greinke’s ERA is nearly three runs higher this year than it was last year when he pitched for the Dodgers. He’s gone against them twice this year with vastly different results. On September 5 he gave up eight runs on five homers to them in just 4 2/3 innings, while on June 13 he gave up only two runs in 7 2/3 innings and got the win. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have won seven of Maeda’s last nine starts. He’s pitching on four days rest for the first time since August 9, which may have an impact on him.

Lineup:

Sep 05

Game 137, 2016

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 5:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A

Today sees Zack Greinke’s (12-4, 4.17 ERA) return to Dodger Stadium to face Kenta Maeda (13-8, 3.38 ERA). Greinke beat the Dodgers in Phoenix on July 13 while Maeda has seen the D-Backs four times this year, going 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA with 20 strikeouts against just three walks. He’s been on a roll recently, going 5-1 in his last seven starts while posting a 3.71 ERA.

Scoreboard watch: the Giants play the Rockies in Denver at 1:10PM PT.

In case you missed it, here’s a great throw (Pederson) and tag (Utley) from yesterday’s game:

Lineup when available.

Jun 13

Game 65, 2016

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A, MLB.tv

Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.84 ERA) faces his former team for the first time, but he faced them before he ever became a Dodger too. He was 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA against them before 2012. Greinke has won five straight starts. He’ll be opposed by Mike Bolsinger (1-3, 5.75 ERA), who has yet to go past the sixth inning in any of his four starts.

Lineup:

Jan 05

New Year, New Post

Rob Neyer at FoxSports:

The Dodgers were expected to spend WHATEVER IT COSTS to retain the services of Zack Greinke. Absent Greinke, or maybe even with Greinke, the Dodgers were expected to acquire one of the other big-time pitchers out there: David Price or Johnny Cueto.

Greinke signed with the Diamondbacks, Price with the Red Sox, and Cueto with the Giants. Ergo, the Dodgers had (or are having) a lousy winter. Right?

Before exploring that question in some detail, we should start with this salient fact: The Dodgers won 92 games last season.

Thank you, Mr. Neyer. The pundits and fans do somehow forget the team has won three titles in a row, and only two of them were Greinke-aided. It can survive without him.

Neyer points out that the Dodgers re-signed Anderson, who was pretty good and figures to be close to that again. They signed Kazmir, who figures to be better than Anderson. They signed Maeda, who only has to be an average pitcher for him to replace the 12 guys who tried to fill that role at the back end of the rotation last year. They also still have Wood, who’s young and whose history is better than his performance with the Dodgers last season. They’ll get Ryu back, and we don’t know yet how complete his recovery might be. Finally, they’ll get McCarthy back mid-season, and if he’s recovered most of his form that will be the equivalent of getting a mid-season trade for a starter done without giving up a player or two.

Neyer thinks the Dodgers will be pretty good this season. So do I.