RHP Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.41 ERA) pitches for the Cubs tonight and LHP Tyler Anderson (9-1, 3.09 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers. Thompson was a reliever until May of this year when the Cubs turned him into a starter. He’s now made ten starts; only two of them have extended into the 6th inning. In his last start his defense made some errors behind him and he threw 86 pitches in just four innings. After losing his previous start in Colorado Anderson went 6 1/3 innings, gave up one run on six hits and got the win in his next one last Friday.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1949 Hank Thompson, who broke into the majors as a member of the St. Louis Browns twelve days after Larry Doby’s American League debut with the Indians in 1947, becomes the first African-American to play for the Giants. When the former Kansas City Monarchs’ standout faces Dodger right-hander Don Newcombe, it marks the first time a pitcher-batter confrontation takes place between black players in the major leagues.
In the “Dubious Moments in Baseball History” column comes this item: in 1979 the Mets announce the selection of Mettle as the name for the team’s new mascot mule. Dolores Mapps of Mercerville, N.J., who submitted the winning entry, believes the moniker captures the team’s “spirit, ardor, stamina, and courage, all of which the Mets have in abundance.”
In a slightly more aesthetic moment, back in 1994 Red Sox shortstop John Valentin snares Marc Newfield’s sixth-inning line drive, steps on second to retire Mike Blowers, and then tags the runner coming from first, Kevin Mitchell, to turn an unassisted triple play. After completing the rare feat, accomplishing a play that has occurred only ten times in major league history, the infielder begins a three-homer outburst by Boston in the bottom of the frame, helping the team defeat the Mariners at Fenway Park, 4-3.
My radiation appointment was scheduled to end at 11:30. I thought I’d have plenty of time to write up a preview of this game. My radiation oncologist didn’t like the swelling in my left foot and sent me for ultrasounds. At 4:00 I was finally able to leave.
In his regular Dodgers Dugout column Houston Mitchell of the LA Times does a position-by-position comparison between the Dodgers and Astros, which I think is tilted a little toward his hometown team. But here’s what I found interesting in the column: a discussion of ticket pricing and a prescription for what to do about the secondary market.
There’s something wrong in the world when I can fly to Houston, stay overnight and buy a ticket for a World Series game there for cheaper than I can stay in L.A. and buy a ticket for a game here.
Places like StubHub are asking for $1,250 for a seat in the top deck. Unless you were the lucky ones to win the chance to buy tickets through the Dodgers.com lottery, there’s no way an average fan can attend a game. That’s a crime. I have kids to send to college. Am I supposed to tell them, “Sorry, no college for you so we can go to a World Series game?”
If I was the Dodgers, here’s what I would do:
1. Discover which Dodgers fans are selling their tickets through a secondary market for a jacked-up price and bar them from ever buying a postseason ticket again.
2. Buy up as many secondary tickets as I could and pull more names from the online lottery. Sell the tickets to those people.
I was curious and looked at StubHub; I discovered that the least-expensive ticket available for a game at Dodger Stadium was $950, and that was a week ago. I don’t know if Mitchell’s suggestion would work, but he’s definitely got a point. Of course, this isn’t new. I remember a Roger Angell column from 40 years ago in which he wrote of a conversation with a player in the Series who looked up in the stands and asked “where are all the people who were here all year,” meaning all the seats were now in the hands and fannies of corporations and the like, not the long-term fans.
Seager is healthy enough to play, they and he say. Also, Charlie Culberson kept the ball he caught for the final out of NLCS Game Four, but he hasn’t yet found a really good place to display it.
Here’s an interview with Orel Hershiser in which he insists that what he did in 1988 (and there’s a brief recap of the number of appearances he made in the postseason) could still be done by today’s athletes if needed, but lineups and bullpens are built differently now.
“We are not understood. We have to adapt. There are things we are not used to doing in our countries. When you keep doing things wrong, people get tired; I even got tired myself. There should not be so many rules. You just have to do your job and let people have fun, which is what I was doing in 2013. They’ve wanted to change so many things about me that I feel so off. I don’t feel like the player I was in 2013.”
YASIEL PUIG, DODGERS, CUBA
Unused sports venues can represent millions in wasted money, but also in lost moments of joy and sorrow.
Via the Dodgers Dugout email from Houston Mitchell of the LA Times:
Since the All-Star game began in 1933, which Dodgers have pitched the most career innings for the team without ever appearing in the game?
Doug Rau, 1,250 2/3
Ismael Valdez, 1,065
Tom Candiotti, 1,048
Luke Hamlin, 1,011
Joe Hatten, 961 1/3
Pedro Astacio, 886 2/3
Darren Dreifort, 872 2/3
Hugh Casey, 867 2/3
Roger Craig, 814
Tim Belcher, 806
And which Dodgers batters appeared in the most games without ever making the All-Star team?
Eric Karros, 1,601
Wes Parker, 1,288
Steve Yeager, 1,219
Willie Crawford, 989
James Loney, 896
Dave Hansen, 884
Billy Cox, 742
Dave Anderson, 713
Joe Ferguson, 699
Alex Cora, 684
It doesn’t startle me that none of those pitchers ever made the All Star Game, but I am surprised that neither Karros nor Parker ever made it. It may be that first base has been a traditionally star-laden position.
The Phillies send RHP Nick Pivetta out to make his major league debut. He was 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts in Triple-A. He’ll face the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-4, 4.64 ERA), who had a good start his last time out, holding the Giants to one run in six innings.
Note: Yasmani Grandal has a 1.117 OPS against the Phillies, the highest of any active player.
Lineup when available.
Corey Seager gets a day off. Dodgers lineup: Toles CF Bellinger LF Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Puig RF Grandal C Taylor 2B Hernandez SS Ryu P