Every game in baseball begins at the same time today. I’m sure MLB is hoping for a repeat of the events of September 28, 2011, when within thirty minutes two teams were eliminated from the playoffs after leading in their respective games. There are two games which are important today, but neither has quite the same amount of weight as those games eight years ago:
The Cardinals’ magic number to win the NL Central is one. That means a St. Louis win or Milwaukee loss Sunday would make the Cardinals division champs, while a Brewers win and Cardinals loss would force a tiebreaker Monday at Busch Stadium (3:09 p.m ET on ESPN) to determine the division winner. If both teams win Sunday, the Cardinals win the NL Central.
The Dodgers will make the last game of the season a bullpen game, starting LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.59 ERA) but not allowing him to go more than three innings, I imagine, thanks to his balky knee. The Giants have changed their minds; Madison Bumgarner was originally scheduled to start but was scratched by manager Bruce Bochy after Friday night’s game. Instead they’ll give RHP Dereck Rodríguez (6-10, 5.27 ERA) his 16th start of the season. He’s 0-1 with an 11.32 ERA in four lifetime appearances against the Dodgers.
Here’s Mr. Ryu’s excellent game Saturday: seven strikeouts, an RBI base hit, seven scoreless innings and the NL ERA title.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season. In a must-win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants and four world championships.
1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.
The Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-5, 2.41 ERA) takes the mound at Oracle Park, facing the Giants’ RHP Logan Webb (2-2, 5.61 ERA). Ryu hit a sour patch in August and has watched his ERA jump a full run since August 23, but his last two outings have been encouraging. He’s gone seven innings in each and surrendered three runs total. Webb is coming off the best outing of his two-month big league career last Sunday; he went six innings and gave up just one run while striking out seven and walking two.
Young Mr. Lux hit his first MLB triple, bouncing it off the wall in right field and caroming back over Mike Yastrzemski’s head.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1924 Rogers Hornsby finishes the season with a .424 batting average to lead the National League. The Cardinal second baseman easily outdistances Zack Wheat, who finishes second in the race, batting .375 for the Dodgers.
1952 On the last day of the season at Ebbets Field, the Braves’ 77 years of representing Boston is extended by three innings when Eddie Mathews’ ninth-inning, two-out double ties the game. The contest is called due to darkness and ends in the 12th inning in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers.
1955 In the bottom of the second inning, Elston Howard, in his first World Series at-bat, knots the score at 2-2 when he homers off Dodgers’ right-hander Don Newcombe. The round-tripper to deep left field at Yankee Stadium marks the first time a black batter has hit a home run off a black pitcher in the history of the Fall Classic.
1959 The Braves, who ended the National League regular season in a first-place tie with the Dodgers, lose Game 1 of the three-game series, 3-2, in front of a sparse crowd of 18,297 at County Stadium. Milwaukee will lose tomorrow’s game in L.A., spoiling their chance for a three-peat as NL Champs.
1966 At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Larry Jaster throws a four-hitter, blanking Don Sutton and the Dodgers, 2-0. It’s the southpaw’s fifth shutout against LA this season, equaling a post-1900 major league mark held by the Senators’ Tom Hughes (against the Indians in 1905) and Grover Cleveland Alexander of the Phillies (against the Reds in 1916).
1988 In his last start of the regular season, Dodger Orel Hershiser tosses 10 shutout frames to extend his streak to 59, breaking Don Drysdale’s record of 58 consecutive scoreless innings.
1997 With his 40th home run, catcher Mike Piazza sets a single season Los Angeles Dodger record. Duke Snider holds the franchise record, slugging 43 round-trippers for Brooklyn in 1956.
2003 At Turner Field in Atlanta, Jose Reyes becomes the second Mets player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in one game. Lee Mazzilli was the first when he went yard twice against the Dodgers in LA on September 3, 1978.
2006 At Coors Field in Colorado, James Loney collects four hits, including two homers, and drives in nine runs in the Dodgers’ 19-11 victory over the Rockies. The rookie first baseman, who had one homer and eight runs batted in in 93 previous at-bats with the team, ties the franchise RBI mark set by Gil Hodges in his 1950 four-homer game for Brooklyn and breaks the Los Angeles club mark held by Ron Cey.
RHP Walker Buehler (13-4, 3.25 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. He’ll face RHP Johnny Cueto (1-1, 2.57 ERA), who is making his fourth and last start of the season after recuperating from Tommy John surgery. In his first two starts he was surprisingly good, going ten scoreless innings. His third start was less so: he gave up four runs in four innings against the Braves. Buehler went six innings in his last start, gave up four runs to the Rockies and took the loss.
How yesterday’s shutout was pitched:
Check out the photos up and down the Dodgers’ Twitter feed. They look a lot like these:
1936 Replacing Johnny Mize, tossed by an ump for arguing, Cardinal rookie first baseman Walter Alston makes an error in handling two chances and strikes out in his only major league at-bat. ‘Smokey’ will, however, win seven pennants and four World Series in his 23-year Hall of Fame career as Dodger manager from 1954 to 1976.
1951 Bill Sharman, recently called up from Fort Worth, is one of 15 Dodgers who are ejected by umpire Frank Dascoli for bench jockeying after a close call at home plate. The future basketball Hall of Famer will never play in the big leagues, and thus he will become the only player to be ejected from a major league game without ever appearing in one.
1960 Ryne Duren makes his first start in two years memorable when he strikes out the first five batters he faces in the Yankees’ 5-1 victory over Washington. The feat ties a modern major league record shared by Lefty Gomez (Yankees), Dazzy Vance (Dodgers), and Walter Johnson (Senators).
1961 Sandy Koufax breaks the National League mark for strikeouts in a season, surpassing Christy Mathewson’s mark of 267 established in 1903. Unlike the turmoil caused by commissioner Ford Frick’s edict of having to hit 61 homers by the 154th game in the extended 162-game schedule to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record, little is made that the Dodgers southpaw’s 268th punch-out occurs in the 151st game of the season, compared to the 142-game sked played early in the century.
1964 The Houston Colt .45’s play their final game in Colt Stadium, the team’s home ballpark since joining the National League in 1962. The future Astros beat the Dodgers in the 12th inning, 1-0, when Jimmy Wynn’s single plates Bob Aspromonte.
1993 In a 7-3 victory over the Dodgers, Cubs’ reliever Randy Myers becomes the first National League pitcher to record 50 saves in a season.
1993 Mike Piazza, who broke the major league rookie record for home runs by a catcher earlier in the month, sets another mark for round-trippers when he hits his 34th, surpassing the previous L.A. Dodger mark shared by Steve Garvey (1977) and Pedro Guerrero (1985). Duke Snider established the franchise record with 43 homers playing with Brooklyn in 1956.
2000 The United States Olympic team, managed by former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda, stuns the world, beating the much-favored Cuban team to win the country’s first gold medal in its national pastime. Ben Sheets ends Cuba’s 21-game Olympic winning streak with a 4-0 shutout.
2011 After giving up five runs in the top of the tenth inning, the Diamondbacks score six times in the bottom of the frame in an amazing 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers. Arizona infielder Ryan Roberts delivers the decisive blow in the Chase Field contest, a walk-off grand slam with two outs.
LHP Clayton Kershaw (15-5, 3.15 ERA) tunes up for the playoffs and tries to get his ERA below 3.00. He’ll face LHP Joey Lucchesi (10-9, 4.28 ERA). Kershaw gave up three HRs and four runs in six innings to the Rockies his last time out but still got the win thanks to the Dodgers’ prolific offense. Lucchesi has had two bad outings in a row (11 runs in 7 2/3 innings), but his sophomore season has been otherwise acceptable.
Here’s Rios’s 473-foot HR:
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.
Roberts said the Dodgers are being prudent ahead of the playoffs as Turner sits with back tightness and Seager sits with hamstring tightness. Seager's expected to return Friday. https://t.co/GkAXXlpjW9
RHP Ross Stripling (4-4, 3.32 ERA) goes for the visiting Dodgers while RHP Dinelson Lamet (3-5, 3.84 ERA) goes for the Padres at Petco Park. According to Dave Roberts, Stripling will either start this game or go multiple innings in relief. Lamet returned from Tommy John surgery in mid-season and has done well in his last three starts, posting a 2.65 ERA with 25 Ks despite a 1-2 record.
Yes, yes, Muncy hit a grand slam in yesterday’s game, but Rich Hill’s double was even more entertaining:
This day 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 Spangler, breaking the 2-2 deadlock at Chavez Ravine.
1974 In the 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 standard 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. (Note: Bonds wasn’t done. He now holds down the top three spots in Most Walks, Hitter, Season).
2008 The Diamondbacks, defending division champions, lose to St. Louis, 12-3, 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.
LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.68 ERA) tries to come back from his spell on the IL and the torn scar tissue in his knee which forced him out of his last start in the first inning. He’ll be wearing a knee brace. His opponent will be rookie RHP Ronald Bolaños (0-1, 5.79), who’s made just three big league appearances, all this month. Two of those were starts in which he went a total of 11 innings and gave up seven runs on ten hits, walking six and striking out ten.
Here is Ryu’s first career home run:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1957 Grounding out, Pirates left-handed first baseman Dee Fondy becomes last player ever to bat in Ebbets Field when the Dodgers blank the Bucs, 2-0, in the final major league game ever played in Brooklyn.
1971 Al Downing becomes a 20-game winner when he blanks the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 2-0. The Dodger left-hander, best remembered for giving up Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run, will compile a 123-107 record during his 17-year major league career.
1981Dodgers 7, Giants 5 at Candlestick. The Dodgers got a three-run homer from Mike Scioscia and two more runs in the third inning to put themselves ahead. The game was — marred? supplemented? — when a fan threw a helmet and — well, here:
Reggie Smith went into the stands after a fan who had been heckling him during the game; the fan had just thrown a batting helmet into the dugout before Smith climbed into the stands; Smith punched the fan and tried to pull him over the rail onto the field; Dodger teammates grabbed Smith; eight fans were arrested and Smith was ejected by HP umpire Harry Wendelstedt; as two policemen walked with Smith down the RF line to the clubhouse, someone threw a beer bottle and missed.
2001 Batting for reliever Joe Beimel in the bottom of the sixth inning, Craig Wilson drives the first pitch he sees into the seats in left center for his seventh pinch-hit home run, tying the major league mark established last season by Dodger infielder Dave Hansen. The Pirate rookie’s two-run round-tripper sparks a five-run frame, enabling the Bucs to overcome a 5-0 deficit in their eventual 7-6 victory over the Chicago at PNC Park.
2003 Eric Gagne ties John Smoltz’s National League mark for saves with 55 when he helps the Dodgers defeat the Padres, 5-3. The Los Angeles closer equals the NL mark in consecutive opportunities, which is also a record.
RHP Antonio Senzatela (10-10, 6.83 ERA) takes the mound for the Rockies and LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-5, 2.35 ERA) does so for the Dodgers. Senzatela has had some hard luck this season but hasn’t helped himself much; he’s given up 147 hits in 114 innings, striking out 66 but walking 52. Ryu hasn’t picked up a win since August 11, but the Dodgers hope his last start put him back on track after three straight losses.
I heard some speculation on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball a week ago that Kiké Hernandez had the best arm of any Dodgers’ outfielder. I thought that was nonsense considering Bellinger and Verdugo play out there, but I gotta admit the throw he made on Saturday was brilliant:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1925 Robins starter Burleigh Grimes accounts for seven outs in just three plate appearances in the team’s 3-2 loss to Chicago, a 12-inning game played at Cubs Park. The Brooklyn right-hander follows grounding into two double plays by hitting into a 6-4-3-2 triple play.
1926 At Ebbets Field, the aging 18-year veteran outfielder Zack Wheat hits his last homer as a Dodger, but severely pulls a muscle nearing second. The future Hall of Famer needs to rest nearly five minutes before completing his trip to home plate, making it the longest home run trot in major league history.li>strong>1947 On an off day, the Dodgers clinched the National League pennant when Chicago takes the nightcap of the twin bill against St. Louis. Although it is past midnight when the good news about their beloved team reaches the borough, Brooklynites begin to gather on Flatbush Avenue for an impromptu celebration.
1954 Karl Spooner, in his major league debut, blanks the Giants at Ebbets Field 3-0. The 23 year-old Dodger southpaw fans 15 batters, including six straight, recording the most strikeouts in a first appearance by a rookie.
1957 Duke Snider, with his second round-tripper in the Dodgers’ 7-3 victory over Philadelphia, hits his 40th home run, tying Ralph Kiner’s National League record of five consecutive seasons with forty or more homers. The Duke of Flatbush’s seventh-inning homer off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts will prove to be the last one ever hit at Ebbets Field.
1976 Right-hander Don Sutton goes the distance to become a twenty-game winner for the first and last time when the Dodgers beat the Giants at Candlestick Park, 3-1. The future Hall of Famer will compile a 324-256 (.559) record during his 23-year career in the bigs.
1986 Dodger hurler Fernando Valenzuela (20-10) two-hits Houston en route to a 9-2 victory at the Astrodome. The 25 year-old southpaw becomes the first Mexican to win 20 games in the major leagues.
LHP Kyle Freeland (3-11, 6.98 ERA) goes for the Rockies while RHP Walker Buehler (13-3, 3.15 ERA) climbs the hill for the Dodgers. This is Freeland’s first appearance after nearly a month on the IL with a groin strain. He’s been in 20 games and thrown 99 innings this year. Buehler’s only bad start in his last six was against the Rockies on Sept. 2; despite giving up six runs in five innings he still got the win.
Here’s the Dodgers’ 7-run fourth inning yesterday:
On this date in Dodgers’ history:
1934“If I’da known he was gonna throw one, I’da thrown one, too.” – Dizzy Dean, after his brother threw a no-hitter in the nightcap of a double-header. In the second game of a doubleheader at Ebbets Field, 22 year-old Cardinal hurler Paul Dean, called Daffy by his teammates, becomes the fifth rookie to throw a no-hitter, beating the Dodgers, 3-0. His brother Dizzy held Brooklyn hitless until the eighth inning in the opener, settling for a two-hitter in the team’s 13-0 blanking of the Bums.
1952 In front of the second largest crowd this season, with many of the 8,822 fans rooting for the Dodgers, the Braves play their final home game in Boston. Brooklyn catcher Roy Campanella hits the last home run at Braves Field in an 8-2 victory over the Milwaukee-bound club.
1969 In a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the tenth inning at Candlestick Park, LA’s Pete Mikkelsen quickly retires the first two Giants batters, but then is ordered to intentionally walk Willie McCovey, who is 4-for-4 in the game. The Dodger reliever proceeds to issue free passes to the next two hitters unintentionally, loading the bases, and then loses the game when shortstop Maury Wills boots pinch-hitter Jim Davenport’s ground ball.
RHP Peter Lambert (3-6, 6.98 ERA) takes a slightly less elevated hill than the one in Denver for the Rockies. He’ll face LHP Clayton Kershaw (14-5, 3.05 ERA) of the Dodgers. Lambert has had a rough first season, walking 35 and giving up 113 hits in 86 innings while striking out 54. He’s faced the Dodgers twice this year, Kershaw has been nearly as good as ever, although he uncharacteristically lost three games in a row before winning his last one.
The Dodgers named Gavin Lux and Josiah Gray prospects of the year for 2019. Lux we are familiar with; Gray was acquired in the trade which sent Puig, Kemp, Wood and Farmer to the Reds last off-season.
Food for thought: the Dodgers hit high-velocity fastballs better than any other team. Will that matter? Does it even mean anything? Sam Miller asks and attempts to answer those questions.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1907 At Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, Nick Maddox no-hits the Dodgers, 2-1. At the age of 20 years and ten months, the Pirates hurler becomes the youngest pitcher and the second rookie to throw a no-hitter.
1911 Bill Bergen ends his major league career with the lowest lifetime batting average for a position player in major league history by hitting an anemic .170 during his 11-year tenure with the Reds and Superbas. The 33 year-old backstop, who had only one year of batting above .200, also holds the records for lowest season batting average for a regular season (.139 in 1909) and the longest streak of at-bats without a hit (45 in 1909; since surpassed by the Orioles Chris Davis, who went 0 for 54 over 2018-2019).
1954 The Giants clinch the pennant when they beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 7-1. The National League champs, finishing the season five games ahead of second-place Brooklyn, will go on to sweep Cleveland in the Fall Classic.
1959 The San Francisco Giants, bowing to the Dodgers, 8-2, play their last game at Seals Stadium. The transplanted New York team, who compiled a 163-145 record in their two-year stay in the former PCL park, will move to the newly constructed Candlestick Park next season.
1961 In a 13-inning contest, Sandy Koufax goes the distance, beating the Cubs, 3-2, in the last regular season game to be played at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which was originally built for the 1932 Olympics. The Dodgers are leaving the only home they have known since moving from Brooklyn four seasons ago to play in a brand new stadium in Chavez Ravine, located a few miles from downtown Los Angeles.
2011 Clayton Kershaw becomes the Dodgers’ first 20-game winner since Ramon Martinez accomplished the feat in 1990. Allowing just one run in 7 1/3 innings, the southpaw gets the victory when LA beats the visiting Giants, 2-1.
2012 Washington secures a playoff spot when they beat the Dodgers at Nationals Park, 4-1. The last time there was postseason baseball in the nation’s capital occurred 79 years ago, when player-skipper Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the Giants in five games in the 1933 World Series.
LHP Brendan McKay (2-4, 5.27 ERA) goes for the Rays while RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-2, 2.83 ERA) starts for the Dodgers. McKay is regarded as the Rays’ top pitching prospect; they’ve gone 4-6 when he’s started, so they’re not helping him out much. Gonsolin has been a pleasant surprise to the fans if probably not to Dodgers’ management. He’s made appearances as a starter (10 walks in 28 innings) and as a reliever (no walks in seven). He came in and pitched three quality innings after Rich Hill’s forced departure last week.
Here’s a recap of Tuesday’s game:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1964 Willie Davis broke a 16-inning, 3–3 stalemate between the Phillies and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium with a walk-off steal of home. With two outs in the bottom of the 16th, Davis reached on an infield single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch by Philadelphia’s Jack Baldschun, then stole home on reliever Morrie Steevens.
1984 The Tigers, with a 3-0 victory over Milwaukee, clinch the American League East title to become only the fourth team in major league history to lead from start to finish of a season. The 1923 Giants, 1927 Yankees, and the 1955 Dodgers also led their circuits from wire to wire.
2006 The Dodgers, who are last in the National League in homers, hit four consecutive home runs in an inning when Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson all go deep in the bottom of the ninth to tie the Padres, 9-9. The improbable feat, which had been accomplished only by the 1964 Twins, 1963 Indians, and the 1961 Braves, leads to Nomar Garciaparra’s walk-off two-run homer in the tenth and sole possession of first place when Los Angeles beat the Friars, 11-10.