Apr 09

Game Eight, 2021

Nationals at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: MASN, MLBN, SPNLA

This is the home opener for 2021, but it’s more than that. The Dodgers will be raising their World Series Chanpionship banner, handing out World Series rings, and welcoming fans back into the stadium for the first time since October 2019. There are some great photos of the stadium as it was being prepared here.

RHP Joe Ross (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the season for the Nationals. He’ll face RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 3.00 ERA) of the Dodgers. Ross opted out last season due to the pandemic; he’s got a 7.02 ERA against the Dodgers in 16 2/3 career innings. Buehler struck out four and gave up two runs in six innings in his first start against the Rockies.

On this day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1913 The Phillies spoil the debut of Ebbets Field, beating the Dodgers, 1-0, in front of a small crowd of approximately 10,000 fans, who brave the frigid weather to witness the pitching duel. Given special permission, Brooklyn opens the season a day early to properly inaugurate its new $75,000 Brooklyn ballpark, which took a year to build.
  • 1947 Dodger skipper Leo Durocher, feuding with the Yankees, is suspended for one year by commissioner Happy Chandler for an assortment of actions deemed detrimental to baseball, including association with known gamblers. The Brooklyn and New York clubs are both fined $2,000 and by order of the commissioner are not allowed to discuss the matter.
  • 1966 After sharing space at Wrigley Field in 1961 and Dodger Stadium from 1962-65 during their first five seasons in Los Angeles, the Angels move to nearby Anaheim into their own stadium. The ‘Halos’, now known as the California Angels, host the San Francisco Giants in a pre-season exhibition game in the first contest ever played at Anaheim Stadium.
  • 1981 On Opening Day, Fernando Valenzuela, making his first major league start in place of scheduled starter Jerry Reuss, blanks Houston on five hits at Dodger Stadium, 2-0. During the strike-shortened season, the 20 year-old rookie from Mexico will lead the league in game starts (25), complete games (11), and shutouts (8).

Lineup:

Betts and Bellinger are out with injuries. Bellinger will miss his third straight game after getting spiked in Monday’s win over the Athletics. Betts will miss his second consecutive game with a lower back injury.

Apr 04

Game Four, 2021

Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: ATTSportsNetRM, SPNLA

LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 0.00 ERA), last seen closing out Game Six of the World Series, makes his first start of the season. He’ll face LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 0.00 ERA) who’s doing the same. Urias is just 24 years old, but it seems like he’s been a big part of the Dodgers’ success the last couple of years. Gomber came over to the Rockies from the Cardinals in the Nolan Arenado trade this off-season.

Today in Dodgers history:

  • 1968 Due to today’s assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, most of the major league teams will decide to postpone their Opening Day games until the reverend’s funeral takes place in five days. Surprisingly, the Dodgers, at first, are the notable exception, even though the Phillies, their opponents on April 9th, say they will forfeit rather than play on the national day of mourning. [See below]
  • 2016 The Dodgers hand the Padres the worst Opening Day shutout loss since at least 1913, and most likely in the history of the game, blanking the Friars at PetCo Park, 15-0. The contest marked the managerial debut of both skippers with LA’s Dave Roberts and San Diego’s Padres Andy Green both piloting their first major league game.

So what did MLB do to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder? Initially, not much. It took the Pirates, the most thoroughly integrated team in all of baseball, whose numbers included Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills, Donn Clendenon and Matty Alou, to make a stand and refuse to play on Monday, April 8, Opening Day. The Dodgers’ Walter O’Malley and Buzzie Bavasi were positively tone-deaf.

The last holdouts, the Dodgers, were due to host the Phillies in Los Angeles. Team owner Walter O’Malley, who was the club’s vice president in 1947 when the team signed Jackie Robinson, wanted to go ahead with the game. According to an Associated Press story, O’Malley figured King’s funeral would be over by the time his team took the field on the West Coast.

Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi explained the club’s position to the press: “We are going to follow the schedule,” he said. “We would not play the game if the interment was not completely over. I’m not sure Mr. Giles [Warren Giles, president of the National League] has any jurisdiction in a case like this.”

I rarely agreed with anything Dick Young wrote in those days, but I can concur with this:

Dick Young was equally incredulous at the Dodgers’ strategy. “Teams in the East and Midwest, which would be playing during the funeral hours, should postpone their games,” he wrote, summarizing O’Malley’s and Eckert’s plan. “[But] teams in California, which would be opening an hour after the funeral had concluded, would play. It was as though someone was standing by the side of the bier with a stopwatch and a starter’s gun.”

The Phillies’ GM John Quinn announced they’d forfeit rather than play. O’Malley conferred with Quinn and Giles and finally agreed to postpone the game.

Lineup when available.

Bellinger and Seager sit this one out, replaced by CT3 and McKinstry.

Apr 03

Game Three, 2021

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10 PM PDT, TV: ATTSportsNetRM, FS1, SPNLA

RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the year for the Dodgers and RHP Jon Gray (0-0, 0.00 ERA) does the same for Rockies. Buehler only pitched 36 2/3 innings in last year’s shortened regular season; he went 1-0 in eight starts. He beat the Braves in the NLCS and Tampa Bay in the World Series, though. Gray was 2-4 in the same number of starts last season, pitching just 2 1/3 innings more than Buehler.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1968 The Tigers trade left-hander Hank Aguirre to the Dodgers for a player to be named later, minor leaguer Fred Moulder. The All-Star southpaw, better known for being the worst hitter in major league history, will compile a .085 batting average during his 16-year major league career, striking out in an astounding 61% of his 388 at-bats. In his sole season with the Dodgers he appeared in 25 games, threw 39 innings, earned three saves and put up a .069 ERA.
  • 1974 The Indians trade Pedro Guerrero to Dodgers for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen. The 17 year-old infielder/outfielder will compile a .309 batting average and will be named to the All-Star team five times during his 11 seasons with the team.
  • 2008 Twenty minutes before their game, the Dodgers announce reliever Hong-Chih Kuo will start in place of Chad Billingsley, who in turn will be in the bullpen. The unusual move, made due to the threat of rain at the start of the contest, is also employed by the Giants with Merkin Valdez beginning the game on the mound and the announced starter, and eventual winner Tim Lincecum entering the game in the fourth inning.

Lineup:

Mookie and JT get the day off, CT3 gets a start as does Edwin Rios.

Dec 15

Too early to talk lineups?

Adam Weinrib of Fansided doesn’t think so. He has the usual suspects in the usual places, although handing left field to A.J. Pollock and leaving Chris Taylor on the bench might be premature.

Betts, RF
Seager, SS
Turner, 3B
Muncy, 1B
Smith, C
Bellinger, CF
Pollock, LF
Lux, 2B

I agree with Lux at second assuming the season is close to a normal length, which it just might be if the vaccines for COVID-19 really do pan out as effectively as the trials seem to have shown. Lux needs more time to show whether his prospect status was warranted; his 2020 season was horrible (19 Games Played, .175 BA, 3 HR, 8 RBI). He was late reporting to the second training camp before the abbreviated season began and never rounded into the form he’d shown as a September callup in 2019.

This assumes that Turner is awarded a new contract, that Kiké Hernández finds a new home where he can play regularly, and that Taylor and Pederson don’t object to a lot of bench time.

Oct 21

World Series Game Two, 2020

Rays vs Dodgers, 5:00 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The visiting Rays send 2018 Cy Young winner LHP Blake Snell to the mound to face what’s expected to be a parade of Dodger relievers beginning with RHP Tony Gonsolin. Snell is 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA this postseason; he hasn’t gone past the fifth inning since the Rays’ Wild Card series against the Blue Jays. Gonsolin started and lost Game Two of the NLCS, giving up five runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings. Entering in the second inning of Game Seven of that series in relief of Dustin May he went two innings, giving up two runs on two hits in a game the Dodgers subsequently won on Bellinger’s HR and Julio Urias’s brilliant three closing innings.

How was your day, Mookie Betts?

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2009 In Game 5 of the NLCS, the Phillies defeat the Dodgers, capturing their second straight pennant. Philadelphia, with their 10-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park, becomes the first National League team to repeat the feat since the Braves won consecutive flags in 1995-96.

Lineups:

Rays:

Dodgers:

Oct 08

NLDS Game Three, 2020

Braves vs Marlins, 11:08 AM PDT, TV: FS1

Atlanta leads the series 2-0.

The Braves hand the ball to RHP Kyle Wright, who’ll be making his first postseason appearance. He last pitched on September 25 against the Red Sox; he gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings. That was the longest outing of his short career. He’ll face the Marlins’ RHP Sixto Sánchez. who went five scoreless innings against the Cubs in the Marlins’ Wild Card Series.

The second NLDS game will be the Dodgers vs Padres, 6:08 PM PDT, TV: MLBN

Los Angeles leads the series 2-0.

The Dodgers haven’t named a starter as of 8:25 PM HST, but my guess would be RHP Tony Gonsolin or LHP Julio Urias, since they’ve both started this season. The Padres will send out LHP rookie Adrian Morejon, who will make his first postseason start. He pitched three innings in two appearances against the Cardinals in the Wild Card Series.

Here are nine of the best reactions to Bellinger’s catch.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1929 In front of 50,000 fans at Wrigley Field, surprise starter Howard Ehmke establishes a new World Series record, striking out 13 Cubs en route to a 3-1 A’s victory in Game 1 of the Fall Classic. The mark will last for 34 years until Dodger hurler Carl Erskine fans 14 Yankees in 1953.
  • 1956 Don Larsen pitches the first perfect game in World Series history, defeating the Dodgers, 2-0 in Game 5 of the Fall Classic at Yankee Stadium. The 27 year-old right-hander, who had a poor start in Game 2 because of a lack of control, throws only 97 pitches, striking out pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell looking for the final out.

  • 1957 Club President Walter O’Malley makes it official, announcing the Dodgers will play in Los Angeles next season. The club’s departure from Brooklyn corresponds with the massive social shift taking place in the borough that finds many of its former residents leaving for the suburbs of Long Island.
  • 1959 Chicago’s speed and quickness weren’t enough to overcome Los Angeles’ hitting and pitching as the ‘Go-Go Sox’ drop a 9-3 decision, losing the World Series in six games to the Dodgers, who win their first championship representing the City of Angels. In the Comiskey Park, LA’s Chuck Essegian sets a record with his ninth-inning shot off of Ray Moore to become the first player to hit two pinch-hit homers in the Fall Classic.
  • 1966 The Orioles managed only three hits off Claude Osteen, but Paul Blair’s fifth-inning 430-foot home run proves to be the difference as Baltimore beats the Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series, 1-0. Wally Bunker throws a six-hitter to get the victory in the first Fall Classic game ever played in Baltimore.
  • 1977 In Game 4 of the NLCS played at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, Dodger hurler Tommy John goes the distance and beats Steve Carlton and the Phillies, 4-1. The LA southpaw considers this pennant-clinching performance the best game he has ever pitched in the major leagues.
  • 1995 After dropping the first two games of the series, the Mariners make a dramatic comeback in Game 5 to beat the Yankees with a 6-5 extra-inning victory to capture the ALDS. Ken Griffey Jr. ties a major league record when he hits his fifth home run in the postseason series, an eighth-inning round-tripper off David Cone, equaling the mark Reggie Jackson established in 1977 when he went deep five times in the World Series against the Dodgers.

  • 2009 A ninth-inning error by left fielder Matt Holliday with the bases empty and two-out leads to the Dodgers’ stunning 3-2 walk-off victory and gives LA a commanding 2-0 game advantage in the NLDS. After the crucial miscue on the sinking line drive, Cardinals’ closer Ryan Franklin gives up RBI singles to Ronnie Belliard and pinch-hitter Mark Loretta to complete the improbable two-run comeback rally.

Today in Padres’ history:

  • 2002 The Tigers select their former All-Star shortstop Alan Trammell (1977-1996) to manage the faltering franchise. The California native had been a coach with the Padres for the last three seasons.
  • 2006 In the inaugural season in their new ballpark, the Cardinals beat the Padres 6-2 at Busch Stadium to take the NLDS playoff three games to one. The Redbirds advance to the championship series for the third consecutive season when Chris Carpenter gets the win, earning his second victory in the best-of-five series.

Lineups when available.

Padres’ lineup:

Dodgers’ lineup:

Aug 30

Game 36, 2020

Dodgers at Rangers, 11:35 AM PDT, TV: FSSW+, SPNLA

The Dodgers’ RHP Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has been untouchable in his three spot starts and 14 2/3 innings. He’ll be called up from the taxi squad before today’s game. He’ll face RHP Kyle Gibson (1-3, 5.73 ERA), who’s in his first year with the Rangers after seven with the Twins. He last faced the Dodgers in April 2014. (I am stunned to find that MLB’s still got box scores from six years ago on its servers.)

Here’s Bellinger’s two-run HR in Saturday’s game:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1918 At the Polo Grounds, the Giants beat the Dodgers, 1-0, on an unearned run in the bottom in the ninth in a contest that takes only fifty-six minutes to complete. Pete Compton’s base hit off Jack Combs plates Larry Doyle, who had singled to lead off the frame and moved to third on Ollie O’Mara’s errant throw on a sacrifice bunt.
  • 1952 Nine-time All-Star infielder Arky Vaughan drowns with a friend when their boat capsized while fishing in a volcanic lake near Eagleville, CA. The former shortstop and third baseman, who compiled a .318 batting average and a .406 on-base percentage playing with the Pirates and Dodgers, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
  • 1966 Sandy Koufax, in his final decision facing the Mets, lasts only two innings, losing to Bob Friend at Shea Stadium, 10-4. The Dodgers Hall of Fame southpaw has compiled a 17-2 record against the lowly expansion team since their inception in 1962.
  • 2000 Earning his 1,600th victory, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox passes former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda on the career list for most managerial victories. His 5-2 victory over the Reds puts him 14th on the all-time list.
  • 2015 The NL’s eventual 2015 Cy Young Award recipient Jake Arrieta, needing just 116 pitches, beats Los Angeles, 2-0, tossing the 12th no-hitter ever thrown at the Chavez Ravine ballpark, and the 13th no-no in Cubs history. The contest marks the second time in ten games the Dodgers have been unable to get a hit; they were held hitless by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers on August 21.

Lineup when available.

Aug 15

Game 22, 2020

Dodgers at Angels, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FS-W, SPNLA

The visiting Dodgers send RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 4.40 ERA) to the mound tonight in Anaheim. He’ll face the Angels’ LHP Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.26 ERA). Buehler’s “Summer Camp” was too short and he’s working his way into shape. In his last start he got into the sixth inning, an improvement over his first two games. He gave up two runs on just one hit while walking four and striking out six.

You may remember Heaney as the guy who was a Dodger for five hours before being traded to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. That was six years ago, and if that seems impossible to you you’re not alone. He missed half of the 2016 season and most of 2017 as well after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July of 2016. He was the Angels’ Opening Day starter this season, going 4 2/3 innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out six and walking none.

MLB’s Mark Feinsand has selected one guy each team could trade at the trade deadline, which is August 31 in this topsy-turvy year. He asks, “If Joc Pederson was tradeable in the off-season, why would he not still be tradeable this month? He would be.”

Here are Cody’s two homers from last night’s game:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1914 Brooklyn’s Jake Daubert sets a National League record with four sacrifices in one game. The first baseman’s efforts aren’t enough when the Dodgers drop an 8-7 decision to Philadelphia at Ebbets Field.
  • 1926 When Babe Herman doubles with the bases loaded, three Dodgers wind up on third base. The runner on second rounds third but decides to go back as the runner from first reaches the same base, and a few seconds later Herman slides in to join his two teammates.
  • 1951 With one out in the top of the eighth inning and a runner on third base in a 1-1 tied game, Willie Mays, running at full speed, makes an incredible catch of Carl Furillo’s drive to deep centerfield. After grabbing the ball, the rookie outfielder turns counterclockwise and throws a perfect strike to home to nail a surprised Billy Cox at home to complete the double play. Some believe the catch, in the Giants’ eventual 3-1 Polo Grounds victory over the Dodgers, is the impetus for the beginning of the team’s incredible comeback from an 11.5 game deficit to win the National League pennant.
  • 2006 The Dodgers, with their 4-0 blanking of the Marlins, win their sixth consecutive game and 17th in the last 18 contests. The stretch is the team’s best run since the Brooklyn Superbas went 20-1 in 1899.

Lineup when available.

Aug 11

Game 18, 2020

Padres at Dodgers, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: FSSD, SPNLA

RHP Garrett Richards (0-1, 4.60 ERA) pitches for the Padres while RHP Ross Stripling (3-0, 4.00 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. These two guys faced one another last Wednesday, August 5. In that game Stripling got into the sixth and picked up the win, but he did give up three extra-base hits including a home run to Tatis Jr. Richards gave up four runs in five innings, but even with that he’s got a 2.55 ERA in his seven career appearances against the Dodgers.

Courtesy of WBBsAs in the comments to yesterday’s post, Kiké describes the longest road trip of the “year” and what the protocols for virus-prevention are like.

Molly Knight has written a wonderful article at The Athletic which tells the story of some of the photo cutouts in the stands at Dodger Stadium. The ones she writes about were all purchased by family or friends to memorialize deceased Dodger fans.

I wonder if the Dodgers do this for their season ticket holders?

Here’s a bright spot in yesterday’s disheartening loss: May strikes out Machado with a wickedly-moving fast ball. It’s nearly a duplicate of one Machado struck out on during last week’s game. The video of that went viral among baseball fans.

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1946 Sweeping a doubleheader, the Phillies end the Dodgers’ 18-game winning streak, a major league record, in Philadelphia. The Dodgers hadn’t lost in the City of Brotherly Love since May 5, 1945.
  • 1950 Vern Bickford, throwing just 97 pitches, no-hits the Dodgers at Braves’ Field, 7-0. The 29 year-old right-hander hurls the first hitless game for Boston since Jim Tobin accomplished the feat, also against Brooklyn, on April 27, 1944.
  • 1951 WCBS-TV televises the first baseball game broadcast in color, a Braves’ 8-1 victory over the hometown Dodgers in the first game of a twin bill at Ebbets Field. Brooklyn’s announcers Red Barber and Connie Desmond provide the play-by-play commentary.
  • 2015 The Blue Jays, Rays, Marlins, Mets, Indians, Cubs, Royals, White Sox, Twins, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Padres, Dodgers, and Giants all win, making it the first time in the live ball era that every contest is won by the home team in a full slate of games. The unique occurrence became a reality when the two last games to finish end in extra innings, with the host clubs enjoying a walk-off victory.

Lineup when available.

Bellinger at 1B, Muncy taking the day off, Seager still day-to-day, I imagine.

Jul 28

Game 5, 2020

Dodgers at Astros, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, FS1, SPNLA

The Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler makes his first start of the season. Also making his first start of the year is the Astros’ LHP Framber Valdez, who’s in his second full season in the big leagues.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Astros’ sign-stealing methods of 2017 were revealed in the off-season.

A number of Astros players and coaches apologized when spring camps opened in February, but many, including Dodgers center fielder and reigning National League MVP Award winner Cody Bellinger, were critical of the team’s response.

[snip]

Many of the core players [from the 2017 World Series] on both sides remain the same, including Bellinger, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen for the Dodgers, and José Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman for the Astros.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1991 Expos right-hander Dennis Martinez pitches a perfect game, defeating Los Angeles 2-0 at Dodger Stadium. Ron Hassey becomes the first backstop to ever catch two perfect games, as he also was behind the plate on May 15, 1981 when Indian hurler Len Barker faced 27 batters, beating the Blue Jays, 3-0.
  • 2017 Alex Wood won his twelfth game against just one loss, going seven innings while giving up eight hits and four runs to the Giants. The Dodgers came from behind with four runs in the seventh and won 6-4.

Lineup when available.