Feb 09

World Baseball Classic 2023

This event is supposed to be a quadrennial affair, but the pandemic played hell with that as it did with so much else. So, two years late, it begins March 8.

After a six-year wait, the World Baseball Classic has returned, and it’s bigger than ever. That’s not hyperbole, either: The tournament field has been expanded to 20 teams, with three first-time participants in Great Britain, the Czech Republic and Nicaragua [What took Nicaragua so long to enter? It failed to qualify in its previous three attempts. Panama is a returnee after missing the last two Classics.] hoping for a Cinderella run. But they’ll need to get past Japan (looking for its third title), the USA (hoping for a repeat), the Dominican Republic (the pre-tournament favorite) and Puerto Rico (trying to win it all following back-to-back second-place finishes).

Baseball is more of a global game than ever before, and that’s proven on the rosters: There are 67 MLB All-Stars, 186 players on 40-man rosters and 332 players under contract with big league teams. There are eight Major League MVPs in Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, Jose Altuve and Miguel Cabrera. In fact, 16 of the top 18 finishers for the 2022 NL MVP and six of the top 10 finishers for the 2022 AL MVP are scheduled to participate in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, with the reigning Nippon Professional Baseball MVP Munetaka Murakami and Korea Baseball Organization MVP Jung-Hoo Lee joining in, too.

So how many Dodgers are playing and for whom? Funny you should ask.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Austin Barnes, C (MEX), Mookie Betts, OF (USA), Liam Doolan, RHP (AUS), Freddie Freeman, INF (CAN), Clayton Kershaw, LHP (USA), Adam Kolarek, LHP (ISR – DPP), Jose Ramos, OF (PAN), Miguel Rojas, INF (VEN), Will Smith, C (USA), Trayce Thompson, OF (GBR), Julio Urías, LHP (MEX).

One more connection: Mike Piazza is managing Italy’s team.

Why is the Dominican Republic the favorite? Well:

This lineup is a veritable Murderers’ Row, with Rafael Devers and Manny Machado battling for time at third base, Mariners sensation Julio Rodríguez joining an outfield with Eloy Jiménez and Juan Soto, and Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s freshly minted Gold Glove and powerful bat just added to the mix.

The rotation looks just as strong as the offense, with reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara fronting a staff featuring World Series champion Cristian Javier, young Pirates fireballer Roansy Contreras and veteran hurler Johnny Cueto.

One more thing:

Note: Players marked “DPP” are members of their team’s Designated Pitcher Pool. Each WBC team may choose up to 10 players as part of their pool — these players are eligible to participate in one or more consecutive rounds of the WBC, but if replaced on their team’s roster will be unavailable for the rest of the tournament. Affiliated players in Designated Pitcher Pools who are not actively on their team’s WBC roster during a given round will report to Spring Training with their Major League clubs.

Adam Kolarek is part of Israel’s Designated Pitcher Pool.

Sep 17

Game 51, 2020

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40 PM PDT, TV: ATTSportsNet-RM, SPNLA

The Dodgers send LHP Julio Urias (3-0, 3.53 ERA) to the Coors Field mound to face the Rockies’ LHP Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.54 ERA). Urias gave up one run in six innings against the Astros last Saturday. This will be Freeland’s second start this year against the Dodgers; on August 22 he gave up three runs on four hits in six-plus innings.

Dustin May went 5 1/3 innings after Graterol and Kolarek went the first two innings and struck out six in the process.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1912 Casey Stengel of the Dodgers makes an impressive major league debut against the Pirates. The likable Brooklyn outfielder from Kansas City collects four hits, drives in two runs, and swipes a pair of bases.
  • 1963 Dodger ace Sandy Koufax tosses a four-hitter, blanking St. Louis at Sportsman’s Park, 4-0. The southpaw’s scoreless effort establishes a National League record for shutouts thrown by lefties in a season with 11, five shy of Grover Cleveland Alexander’s major league mark set in 1916 with the Phillies.
  • 1981 Dodgers southpaw Fernando Valenzuela ties White Sox freshman Ewell Russell’s 1913 rookie record when he hurls his eighth shutout of the season, blanking Atlanta on three hits. The 20 year-old Mexican’s 2-0 victory breaks the previous National League mark shared by Irving Young (Braves, 1905), Grover Cleveland Alexander (Phillies, 1911), and Jerry Koosman (Mets, 1968).
  • 1996 Dodger right-hander Hideo Nomo no-hits the Rockies, 9-0, at Coor Field, becoming the only big league hurler to accomplish the feat in the thin air of Denver. Tornado Boy’s performance in Colorado is the best-attended no-no and is the only hitless game with a paid attendance of more than 50,000 fans.

  • 2010 Joe Torre, who will compile a 2326-1997 (.538) managerial record during his 30 seasons as a skipper with the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees, and Dodgers, announces he will be retiring at the end of the month. Los Angeles immediately hires the team’s hitting coach Don Mattingly to replace the 70 year-old.
  • 2014 Jacob DeGrom strikes out the first eight batters he faces in the Mets’ 6-5 loss in Miami, tying the modern-day major league mark to start a game. The Amazins’ rookie right-hander now shares the record with Jim Deshaies, who struck out the first eight Dodgers he faced with the Astros in a 1986 contest.

A whole lot of interesting things happened on this date in baseball history; take a look.

Lineup:

Aug 01

Game 111, 2019

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: FSSD, SPNLA

LHP Joey Lucchesi (7-5, 4.12 ERA) pitches for the Friars tonight against LHP Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.85 ERA). Lucchesi had a good outing his last time out against the Giants on Friday, but he’s still averaging three walks per game over his last three starts. Kershaw remains Kershaw; he’s got the sixth-lowest ERA in the league and is trying to reach the double-digit mark in wins for the ninth time in his 12-year career.

Smith and Negron hit home runs in the ninth inning yesterday to give the Dodgers the win:

The Dodgers added LHP Adam Kolarek to the roster and optioned LHP Caleb Ferguson to AAA OKC.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1906 After pitching 10.2 innings of no-hit ball, Harry McIntire yields a single to Pirates second baseman Claude Ritchey. The Dodgers and McIntire lose the game in the 13th on an unearned run, 1-0.
  • 1924 Dazzy Vance strikes out seven consecutive batters to establish a major league record when the Brooklyn Robins defeat the Cubs at Ebbets Field, 4-0. The future Hall of Famer, who will compile a 28-6 record for the Brooks this season, will lead the National League in strikeouts with 262.
  • 1957 Gil Hodges, in a 12-3 win over the Cubs, hits his 13th and last career grand slam in Brooklyn Dodger history. The first baseman’s bases-loaded shot off Dick Littlefield establishes a new National League record, previously shared by Rogers Hornsby and Ralph Kiner.
  • 2011 After popping out in a pinch-hitting appearance, Craig Counsell remains without a hit in his last 45 at-bats, tying the longest single-season hitless streak by a position player in history, established by Brooklyn backstop Bill Bergen in 1909. The major league record is 0-for-70, established in 1970 by Bob Buhl, a pitcher who toiled with the Braves and Cubs that season. Counsell and Bergen’s record for position players has since been surpassed by the Orioles’ Chris Davis, who got it up to 54 straight hitless ABs in 2019 before getting a hit on April 13.
  • 2015 Clayton Kershaw strikes out Mike Trout looking with a wicked curveball, marking the first time that reigning MVPs have faced one another in a major league game. The interleague contest between the two LA teams ends with Dodger southpaw keeping the Angel outfielder 0-for-3 while hurling eight innings in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Halos at Chavez Ravine.

Lineup: