Sep 30

Game 161, 2023

Dodgers at Giants, 6:05 PM PDT, TV: NBCS BA, SPNLA

LHP Clayton Kershaw (13-4, 2.42 ERA) makes what might (might!) be his last regular season start for the Dodgers. He’ll face RHP Tristan Beck (3-3, 4.05 ERA) of the Giants.

Tom Verducci of SI has his doubts that the Dodgers can navigate the postseason successfully with the rotation they have:

Not since Leo Durocher sent a bunch of draft classified 4F pitchers to the mound in 1944 have the Dodgers had a worse rotation. Never in franchise history have Dodgers starters thrown fewer innings in a full season.

The workaround for manager Dave Roberts will be to parcel the game among many pitchers. It’s a dangerous way to navigate October—the more pitching changes you make, the more chances you have to be wrong—but it’s what Roberts has done all season, and it has a better chance of working because of a fortuitous postseason schedule chock full of off days.

When you consider why this formula is necessary more than preferred, think about all the starting pitchers the Dodgers are paying this year who are not on their active roster: Trevor Bauer, Julio Urias, Noah Syndergaard, Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May. That’s $63.2 million in starting pitching gone.

The Dodgers were forced to cobble together a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, youngsters and well-traveled veterans in which nobody has thrown 140 innings. The rotation’s ERA is 4.61, the fourth worst in franchise history and the worst since Hal Gregg and his bad back fronted Durocher’s Brooklyn wartime rotation while leading the league in the Triple Crown of wildness: walks, wild pitches and hit batters.

Roberts’s workaround to this assortment has been to consistently pull starters quickly and rely on his bullpen. The Dodgers have the best bullpen in baseball in the second half (2.28 ERA) and it’s not even close.

[snip]

This is Roberts’s plan: cover the first 18 batters or so with a starter and divide the other 20 or so among relievers.

[snip]

The plan can work because of the off days, including one before and one after NLDS Game 2. Even if the Dodgers advance in five games against their NLDS opponent, Roberts will have a rested bullpen for six of his first eight postseason games. There is almost no penalty for scripting short starts every game.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1923 It’s Zack Wheat Day at Ebbets Field, and the retiring Dodger outfielder collects two hits and is given an automobile. Cy Williams of the Phillies spoils the special day as he ties the score in the seventh inning with his 39th homer and his 40th in the 12th frame gives Philadelphia the victory, 6-4.
  • 1933 At Sportsman’s Park in Cubs’ 12-2 rout of the Cardinals, Babe Herman hits for the cycle, becoming the first player in baseball history to do it three times. The Chicago outfielder also accomplished the rare feat on two other occasions while playing for the Dodgers in 1931.
  • 1947 Ralph Branca becomes the youngest player to start a World Series opener. At Yankee Stadium, the 21-year and 9 months old right hander and the Dodgers lose to the Bronx Bombers, 5-1.
  • 1951 Knowing the Giants have won their game in Boston, the Dodgers rally from a five-run deficit to beat Philadelphia in 14 innings, 9-8, forcing a three-game playoff for the National League pennant. After Jackie Robinson makes a game-saving catch in the thirteenth to preserve an 8-8 tie, he hits a home run in the next frame that proves to be the difference in Brooklyn’s victory at Shibe Park.
  • 1953 George Shuba, best known as the Montreal Royal teammate who shook Jackie Robinson’s hand after the rookie had homered, becomes the third major leaguer and the first National League player to pinch hit a home run in the World Series when he goes deep off Allie Reynolds in the Dodgers’ 9-5 Game 1 loss at Yankee Stadium. ‘Shotgun’ joins Yogi Berra (1947) and Johnny Mize (1952), who both accomplished the feat playing for the Bronx Bombers.
  • 1956 Don Newcombe, a three-time twenty-game winner, goes the distance to earn his major-league leading 27th victory when the Dodgers beat Pittsburgh at Forbes Field, 8-6, on the last day of the campaign. Newk’s win is the most ever in a season by an African-American pitcher.
  • 1962 On the last day of the season, Gene Oliver’s eighth-inning homer off Johnny Podres proves to be the difference in St. Louis’ 1-0 victory over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. The loss to the Cardinals forces Los Angeles into a best-of-three-game playoff with the Giants for the National League pennant, a series the team will lose to San Francisco.
  • 1999 The largest regular-season crowd in Candlestick Park history, 61,389 fans, watches the Dodgers beat the home team, 9-4 in the last baseball game to ever be played at the ‘Stick’. Giant greats help mark the occasion with Juan Marichal tossing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game and Willie Mays throwing out the ballpark’s final pitch after the game.

Here’s a kick: Miguel Rojas took the rookies shoe shopping.

Lineups when available.

Jun 13

Game 67, 2023

White Sox at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: MLBN (out-of-market only), NBCSCH, SPNLA

RHP Lance Lynn (4-6, 6.72 ERA) is the White Sox’s pitcher this evening. He’ll face the Dodgers’ RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 2.21 ERA).

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1957 In a game which features the ejection of Johnny Logan and Don Drysdale, Clem Labine loses for the first time in ten months and 38 relief appearances when the Braves beat Brooklyn, 8-5. The Milwaukee shortstop charged the mound after getting drilled in the ribs by the Dodger right-hander, resulting in banishment for both players.
  • 1962 Warren Spahn’s record drops to 6-7 when the Braves southpaw suffers his fifth one-run decision of the young season, losing a 2-1 decision to the Dodgers at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. Sandy Koufax’s fifth-inning home run, the first of only two round-trippers he collects during his 12-year career, proves to be the difference.
  • 1973 The Dodgers infield, a quartet which will be together eight and a half years, setting a major league record for longevity, plays together for the first time. First baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, third baseman Ron Cey, and shortstop Bill Russell are in the lineup in the 16-3 defeat to the Phillies.
  • 1998 The first triple play ever completed at Dodger Stadium is turned by Darren Dreifort (p), Eric Young (2b), Jose Vizcaino (ss), and Bobby Bonilla (3b). With Colorado runners on first and second base, the 1-6-4 double play becomes a triple killing when Jamey Wright is thrown out at third base by the LA second baseman, who covered first base for the second out.
  • 2010 The Angels, with their first sweep at Dodger Stadium, complete their 14-game road trip with 11 victories, the most for the team on a single trip since 1962. In the 6-5 decision over their crosstown rivals, Halo hurler Jered Weaver strikes out his older brother, Jeff, who came into the game as a long reliever in the third inning, for the first time since they were kids.

Lineups when available.

Apr 04

Game Six, 2023

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: ATT SportsNet-RM, SPNLA

RHP Germán Márquez (1-0, 3.00 ERA) takes the mound for the Rockies and LHP Julio Urías (1-0, 3.00 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers.

On this date in Dodger history:

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

    Lineups when available.

Feb 24

Spring Training Games Begin!

Dodgers at Brewers at American Family Fields of Phoenix. 12:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA

MLB’s Matthew Ritchie says: Dodgers have several lineup options in Cactus League opener

In terms of who plays where and when against Milwaukee, Gavin Lux will likely be paired up the middle with rookie infielder Miguel Vargas, who hasn’t been swinging due to a hairline fracture on his pinky finger, but he should play about five innings. David Peralta could be in the lineup as well. Aside from knowing that starter Michael Grove will be the starting pitcher on Saturday, there are still questions brewing, especially with lineup construction.

“I’ve thought about it, you know,” said Roberts, when asked about how much time he’s spent on lineup combinations. “It’s just trying to figure out, you know, Mookie [Betts] at the top, is it best? Where to put J.D., where to put Will Smith, where’s Max [Muncy]? I don’t think there’s a right answer. As we have conversations and let things play out, it’ll show itself a little more.”

In another MLB article, Juan Toribio previews spring camp:Three things to look for:

  1. How does the up-the-middle defense hold up?
    The Dodgers will have a new starting shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. Lux moves to short, Vargas will start at second (not till next week when his hairline-fractured finger is fully healed), and center is still uncertain.

  2. Can Syndergaard turn back the clock?
    Can he get his velocity back, and will his command come with it?

  3. Which young pitchers take the next step?
    If there are no injuries the rotation on Opening Day will be Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Syndergaard. After them? Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove and Andre Jackson. According to observers, Pepiot has impressed early in camp, and Grove will start the Dodgers’ opener on Saturday.

    Top prospects Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller will also be in the mix. Stone is the Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year and is the more polished of the two pitchers. Miller, on the other hand, hits triple digits with ease, and scouts fall in love with his ability to spin the baseball.

    “It’s going to be important,” Roberts said of the Dodgers’ young pitchers continuing to develop. “They have to take the next step because we expect more from them this year than we did last year.”

Oct 06

Waiting for the NLDS opponent

Turner has laid out the extent of his discussions with the Dodgers on a potential extension. Outside of a brief conversation before last winter’s lockout that didn’t get into specifics, the two sides haven’t had much in terms of talks. Some of that is the Dodgers’ preference and some Turner’s. The Dodgers told Turner shortly before the season they wouldn’t be making him an offer before Opening Day. Turner, who said he was open to talks, stated his preference was to not negotiate during the season.

— The Athletic

Oh, and that “Turner wants to play on the East Coast business?”

There was also a perception that Turner was not happy being sent to the West Coast and would not likely sign a long-term deal to stay out west. A Florida native, Turner played college baseball at North Carolina State where he met his wife, Kristen, who is also an East Coast native.

Turner acknowledges that he helped create that perception.

“I originally said that so I wouldn’t necessarily get traded to certain places. I was trying to control as much as I could – because a lot of it was out of my control,” he said. “Yeah, I’m an East Coast guy. But with free agency, you get a chance to pick and control it as much as you can in your entire career. I’m open to anything really. Everything is in play.

“That was more for a trade and an extension in a place I didn’t really know. I didn’t want to get traded and then get offered an extension right away and not know anything about the city and stuff. … To me, that (decision) would be all based off money and that’s not how I want to make my decision. Obviously, that’s a factor but a lot more goes into it. I think it was more of that.

“Yeah, I’m from the East Coast. Would I like to go back? Sure. But I think L.A.’s been really good to me.”

The Orange County Register

Also from The Athletic:

This much is already clear. The Dodgers made history this season. Regardless of what happens once the Dodgers open the NLDS next Tuesday against either the Mets or the Padres, this group will remain the comparison for the elite clubs should they ever encroach upon such heights.

“Winning 100 games is crazy,” Turner said. “The fact that we won 111 is wild.”

But that legacy will be settled in the crapshoot of October. The 116-win 2001 Mariners got bounced in the ALCS. Cleveland won 111 games in 1954, only to get swept out of the World Series. Those 1906 Cubs? They lost the series in six games. And of the 110-win clubs that wound up raising the trophy, only one — the 1998 Yankees — survived three rounds of the postseason to do so.

That format shifts again this October. Despite their brush with history, the Dodgers entered Wednesday with the third-best odds (14.4 percent) of winning the World Series, according to FanGraphs. Should the Mets advance past the Padres in the new Wild Card Series, the Dodgers will face a 100-win club in the first round for the second consecutive year.

This is the gauntlet ahead, and it’s one Roberts embraces.

“Fans don’t want to hear that,” he said. “Media doesn’t want to hear that. They don’t care if you had to go four rounds or five rounds to get to the World Series. If the Dodgers don’t win this season, there’s a subset that’s going to feel that we choked, we aren’t a good team, it was a lost season. It doesn’t matter. That factual narrative isn’t going to change with some people, but that’s just noise for our guys.

“We can’t change that. We can’t change the structure. The structure is different than it was in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. This is where we’re at right now. We have to abide and play. Our guys aren’t going to make excuses. We have to win three series, and that’s what we expect to do.”

That’s the expectation the Dodgers have put on themselves. Questions or concerns about injuries and roster decisions aside, they’ve won the games. They’ve set the records. And once Tuesday arrives at Dodger Stadium, that washes away until it becomes the polish for whatever the end result is.

“First tournament’s over,” Freeman said. “Now the big tournament starts. No one cares what your numbers were or how many wins you have starting Tuesday. It’s the first one to 11 (wins).”

Jul 29

Game 99, 2022

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40 PM PDT, TV: ATT SportsNet RM, SPNLA

LHP Julio Urías (9-6, 2.72 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers and RHP Chad Kuhl (6-5, 4.48 ERA) does the same for the Rockies. Urías is 3-0 for July with a 3.00 ERA. Did you know that his lifetime W-L record of 41-16 puts him ahead of Clayton Kershaw’s pace at the same moment in his career? Kershaw’s ERA was lower than Julio’s 3.02, but not by much. Kuhl has had a bad July; he’s 1-0 for the month but he’s got a 9.00 ERA. He’s given up 17 runs on 25 hits in 17 innings.

From the LA Times, news of rehabbing pitchers:

Unlike last week, when May struggled with his command during a two-inning appearance, the 24-year-old struck out six batters over three scoreless innings. He gave up only two hits. He touched 99.9 mph with his sinker. And he found the zone with 32 of his 46 pitches.

[snip]

Roberts announced Thursday afternoon that Treinen, who stayed in Los Angeles, is scheduled to face live hitters Friday for the first time since injuring his shoulder in April — a key step in the reliever’s carefully managed recovery process.

The news came just two days after Roberts had initially said the right-hander was still a couple of weeks away from facing live hitting.

Since then, however, Treinen said he felt ready to take the next progression in his rehab, after several weeks of routine bullpen sessions.

“[He’s] getting closer,” Roberts said of when Treinen could return to the active roster. “I still don’t see Blake being back within the next three weeks. So end of August makes sense.”

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1915 Pirates third baseman Honus Wagner reaches Robins hurler Jeff Pfeffer for a grand slam in the eighth inning, helping Pittsburgh beat Brooklyn at Forbes Field, 8-2. The inside-the-park round-tripper makes the 41 year-old infielder the oldest player ever to hit a home run with the bases full, a record which will last until 1985.
  • 1996 After a mild heart attack last month, Tommy Lasorda, 68 year-old Dodger manager of twenty years, announces his retirement due to his health. The future Hall of Fame skipper, who was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1983 and ’88, led Los Angeles to four pennants and two World Series championships during his 21 seasons at the helm.

    Lineups when available.

Oct 20

NLCS Game Four, 2021

It’s gotta be the haircut. He started hitting the moment he cut his hair. Sort of a reverse Samson.

Houston Mitchell in the LA Times on Bellinger’s home run

Braves at Dodgers, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Braves give the ball to RHP Huascar Ynoa (postseason 0-0, 18.00 ERA). He’ll face the Dodgers’ LHP Julio Urías (postseason 1-0, 3.60 ERA). The Dodgers hope that Urías can bounce back from his relief showing in Game Two in which he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and Atlanta tied and later won the game.

Today in baseball history Gene Tenace hit his fourth home run of the Series in 1972, Orel Hershiser threw a four-hitter to win Game Five and the Series for the Dodgers in 1988 and the Red Sox completed their 2004 ALCS comeback from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees and move on to the World Series.

Lineups when available.

Braves:

Dodgers:

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.

Oct 20

World Series Game One, 2020

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

By virtue of the better season record the Dodgers earned “home field advantage” for this neutral-site series; they’ll have last ups in games 1,2,6 and 7.

Here’s MLB’s position-by-position analysis. (Spoiler: In their estimation the Dodgers have large or small edges everywhere except the rotation and the bullpen.)

The Rays give the ball to their very tall (he’s 6′ 8″ and his nickname is “Baby Giraffe,” MLB says) RHP Tyler Glasnow, who’s 2-1 in the playoffs with 25 Ks. His last appearance was in Game Four of the ALCS and it didn’t go particularly well: he gave up four runs to the Astros in six innings of work. He’ll face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw, who’ll be making his fifth World Series start. We all know the stories of his postseason woes; Roberts does too, one assumes, and he should be ready to replace Kershaw at the first moment he looks to be in trouble.

Now this is startling:

Six years and six days before Game 1 of the 2020 World Series, Andrew Friedman left his longtime post running the Tampa Bay Rays’ front office to become the Los Angeles Dodgers’ president of baseball operations.

He departed with a promise disguised as friendly banter, one that will be fulfilled when his current team lines up against his former club on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

“We joked when I left the team that we were going to meet up in the World Series one day,” Friedman said, “and for it actually to happen is surreal.”

Oh my. I like Jeff Passan of ESPN, and he wrote a good book, but I dunno. Here he is on Pablo Torre’s podcast earlier today:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1988 The Dodgers become World Champions when Orel Hershiser limits the opposition to four singles in Game 5 of the World Series and beats the A’s, 5-1. The right-hander, who also won Game 2, is named the Most Valuable Player of the Fall Classic.

  • 1994 Receiving all 28 first-place votes, Raul Mondesi (.306, 16, 56) is named the National League’s Rookie of the Year. The Los Angeles right fielder, who easily outdistanced Astros’ hurler John Hudek and Braves’ outfielder Ryan Klesko, is the third consecutive Dodger to win the award.
  • 2010 Ted Lilly signs a three-year, $33 million deal to remain with the Dodgers. The 34 year-old southpaw, obtained from the Cubs in early August, compiled a 7-4 record with a 3.52 ERA in 12 starts for LA, including victories in the first five starts for his new team.

Lineups:

Rays:

Dodgers:

Oct 18

NLCS Game Seven, 2020

Braves vs Dodgers, 5:15 PM PDT, TV: Fox, FS1

When the Braves send RHP Ian Anderson to the mound this evening he’ll be the sixth-youngest pitcher ever to start a postseason elimination game. He’s made three starts in the playoffs, going 15 2/3 innings without allowing a run, including four innings against the Dodgers in Game Two of this series. The Dodgers failed to take advantage of the five walks he issued during that outing and lost the game. It seems unlikely he’ll be that generous again, but if he is they’ve got to score those runners.

The Dodgers have not yet announced who’s gonna start, but Gonsolin seems to be the likely choice. He could go deep into the game or, if he falters, he could be pulled quickly. The Dodgers have several fairly well-rested arms in the bullpen, although they may be well-rested because they’re not entirely trusted. Who knows?

Update: In a surprise to me, RHP Dustin May is going to start for the Dodgers. He went two innings in the Dodgers’ 7-3 win in Game Five, starting the game and giving up three hits and two runs.

Please, Roberts, do not be tempted to use Clayton Kershaw on short rest. He is no longer the 22-year-old wunderkind of ten years ago. He’s a guy with 2,300 innings of major league baseball under his belt. Asking him to do anything in today’s game would be setting him up to fail in the postseason again, and he deserves better from his bosses.

The catch didn’t steal a homer, but it would have scored a run and put Ozuna on 2nd or 3rd. It was Betts’ reaction after he caught it that really amused me, though:

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1977 In the Yankees’ 8-4 victory over the Dodgers in Game 6 of the Fall Classic, Reggie Jackson, who also homered in his last at-bat in the previous contest, hits three more home runs, each on the first pitch of the at-bat, giving the New York slugger three homers on three consecutive pitches, after drawing a base-on-balls in his first plate appearance. ‘Mr. October’s heroics in the Bronx ballpark assures the team of their twenty-first World Championship and first since 1962.

  • 2013 The Cardinals advance to their second World Series in three seasons, routing the Dodgers, 9-0, in Game 6 of the NLCS. St. Louis, behind the timely hitting of Carlos Beltran and the strong pitching performance of rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, beats Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) for the fourth time this season, including a pair of victories in this round of the postseason.

Lineups when available.

Braves:

Dodgers: