Feb 28

Spring Training #2, 2024

Yesterday Shohei Ohtani made his spring training debut for the Dodgers and homered in three at-bats. Today it was Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s turn to make his first appearance. He performed really well, and it wasn’t his fault the Dodgers lost their first game after five consecutive wins to open the Cactus League season.

In his first Cactus League start Wednesday against the Rangers at Surprise Stadium, the Japanese phenom tossed two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing just one hit in what ended up being the Dodgers’ first loss of the spring, a 6-4 defeat. Yamamoto threw 19 pitches, 16 for strikes, displaying his wide arsenal of pitches.

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In total, Yamamoto threw 11 four-seam fastballs and was clocked between 94-96 mph. He threw three curveballs, all of which went for strikes. Yamamoto also threw the splitter and cutter, showing why he won the Eiji Sawamura Award three consecutive years in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league.

In other news, Max Muncy got hit with a curveball in his first AB and left the game with a contusion. He’s day-to-day (as Vinnie said, “aren’t we all”).

Tomorrow’s starter is yet another new acquisition: James Paxton. He’s a 6’4″, 212-lb lefthander with a lifetime record of 64-38 and 3.69 ERA. His career started well; he went 56-32 with a 3.50 ERA from 2013-2019. He’s had a tough three-year stretch since:

He was limited to just five starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season after a strain of his left flexor tendon. Paxton also underwent spinal surgery in February 2020 as well.

One year later, Paxton’s 2021 season with the M’s lasted just one start after he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2022.

Jan 24

2024 Hot Stove League #5

The Dodgers added another starting pitcher to their rotation. They have signed LHP James Paxton to a one-year deal for $11 million plus incentive bonuses.

These are the guys they have penciled in as starters: Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Paxton, Bobby Miller, and a bunch of choices including Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw, Gavin Stone, Emmet Sheehan, Ryan Yarbrough and Michael Grove. Buehler will have an innings limit in hopes he’ll be fully capable for the postseason; May and Gonsolin are recovering from injuries and won’t be ready immediately, and Kershaw is both recuperating and still a free agent. Juan Toribo goes over the list in his column at MLB.com.

This would seem to push the Dodgers toward a six-man rotation, at least to start the year. Some of their arms are fragile, and Yamamoto is used to pitching just once a week in Japan.

Nov 24

2023 Hot Stove League #2

Other than the Phillies resigning Aaron Nola and asserting that Bryce Harper will remain at first base, thus blocking Rhys Hoskins’ return to his long-held position, not much has happened so far in this off-season. The Dodgers and White Sox are rumored to have discussed a trade for the Sox RHP Dylan Cease (7-9, 4.58 ERA in 2023, 43-35, 3.83 ERA lifetime), but no Dodger prospects’ names have been made public yet.

Nov 07

2023 Hot Stove League #1

Well now, this looks interesting:

Surgeries, they’ve had a few.

Hernández, Kershaw and David Peralta have each undergone surgery since the Dodgers were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series.

Kiké had hernia surgery last month, Kershaw and Peralta in November.

You may not care for Rush, the band, but you might like the memorabilia collected by its bassist and lead singer. Geddy Lee is auctioning 300 pieces on December 6.

Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are finalists for the NL MVP award, but Dave Roberts wasn’t one of the finalists for NL Manager of the Year.

Nov 01

World Series Game Five, 2023

Texas at Arizona, 5:03 PM PDT, TV: Fox. Texas leads the Series three games to one.

The Rangers send RHP Nathan Iovaldi (4-0, 3.52 ERA postseason) out to try to win the Series. RHP Zac Gallen of the Diamondbacks (2-2, 5.27 ERA postseason) will try to extend it.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1942 The Dodgers replace team president Larry MacPhail, who accepted a commission in the U.S. Army in September, with Branch Rickey, formerly the Cardinals’ vice-president before resigning three days ago. Brooklyn’s new boss will guide the team to two pennants during his eight-year reign in the “The Borough of Churches.”
  • 1966 In the final time when there is only one selection from both leagues, Dodger southpaw Sandy Koufax becomes the first three-time recipient of the Cy Young Award. The 30-year-old left-hander, recipient of the prestigious pitching prize in 1963 and 1965, posted a 27-9 (.750) record and an ERA of 1.73 for the National League champs.
  • 2001 The first major league game ever started in November becomes memorable 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 Game Five victory in extra innings. Scott Brosius hits a game-tying two-out two-run homer to knot the game at 2-2, and Alfonso Soriano 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.
  • 2005 The unveiling of a bronze sculpture capturing the friendship of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson takes place at Brooklyn’s KeySpan Park, home of the Mets’ Single-A team. The William Behrends sculpture captures the moment when the Dodger captain showed support by putting his arm around his black teammate’s shoulder, hushing an unruly crowd hurling racial slurs at his teammate at Crosley Field in 1947.
  • 2010 Edgar Renteria, who drove in the Marlins’ winning run against Cleveland 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.
Oct 31

World Series Game Four, 2023

Texas at Arizona, 5:03 PM PDT, TV: Fox. Texas leads the Series two games to one.

LHP Andrew Heaney (0-0, 6.00 ERA postseason) goes for the Rangers while LHP Joe Mantiply (2-0, 4.26 ERA postseason) pitches for the D-Backs.

Today in baseball history:

  • 2001 The Yankees’ 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks marks the first time a team comes back to tie a Fall Classic game in the ninth and then goes on to win in extra innings since the Philadelphia A’s Mule Haas hit a game-tying two-run homer in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series. Tino Martinez sent the contest into overtime with a two-out homer off Diamondbacks’ closer Byung-Hyun Kim, and Derek Jeter, dubbed Mr. November, wins the game after the stroke of midnight with a full count two-out round-tripper, giving the Bronx Bombers the walkoff victory.
  • 2005 On Halloween night, former Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein eludes the media on the night of his resignation parked outside Fenway Park disguised in a gorilla suit. The hairy costume will be auctioned at a future charity event, making $11,000 for the Jimmy Fund and Theo’s Foundation, To Be Named Later.
  • 2009 In Game 3, Alex Rodriguez’s fly ball in the right-field corner of Citizens Bank Park becomes the subject of the first instant replay call in World Series history. The umpires changed the Yankee third baseman’s hit, initially ruled a double, to a home run after the replay clearly showed the ball going over the fence before striking a television camera and bouncing back to the field.