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:

Aug 21

Game 28, 2020

Rockies at Dodgers, 6:40 PM PDT, TV: ATT Sportsnet RM, MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA

The visiting Rockies send RHP Jon Gray (1-2, 5.74 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 5.21 ERA). Gray won his last start, giving up three runs on three hits while striking out seven in seven innings. Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts says Buehler is close to his normal self, but his ERA surely doesn’t reflect it yet.

Kershaw passed Don Drysdale in career strikeouts as a Dodger yesterday:

Today in Dodgers’ history, two very different events, one a calamitous bullpen meltdown I witnessed on Friday Night baseball and one hilarious overreaction on the part of a baseball team’s supposedly-professional management:

  • 1975 The Reuschel brothers of the Cubs join forces to blank the Dodgers, 6-0. Rick goes 6.1 innings, and Paul finishes the game for the first shutout thrown by siblings.
  • 1990 The Phillies overcome an eight-run deficit, scoring nine runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Dodgers, 12-11. John Kruk’s pinch-hit three-run homer ties the game, and two batters later, Carmelo Martinez’s double plates Rod Booker with the eventual winning run in the Chavez Ravine contest.

  • 2005 Florida suspends their bat boy for six games after the 11 year-old accepts former Marlin and current Dodger hurler Brad Penny’s $500 dare to drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without throwing up. The Milk Processor Education Program will promise to pay off the dare and to cover the lost wages resulting from the suspension if the sixth grader, who is able to drink the quantity in the allotted time but cannot keep it down, agrees to drink three glasses every 24 hours.

Lineup:

Apr 21

A grim outlook

This is an extremely pessimistic look at the Dodgers’ prospects this season from SI’s Tom Verducci. It’s hard to argue with much of it.

No team stands to lose more from the loss or truncation of the 2020 Major League Baseball season due to the coronavirus than the Dodgers. They may have traded three prospects to Boston for few or no games from Mookie Betts and his $27 million salary. As the team that draws half a million more fans than any other franchise, they are losing the most gate revenue. As the deepest team in baseball, their depth may be less valuable in a shorter season. And as the clear favorites in the National League West, their road to the postseason is more difficult as more games come off the schedule.

If there is a season it’s going to be a short one. With the pitching depth they have they might be best served by going to a six-man rotation, considering the possibility of more doubleheaders (did the Dodgers play even one over the last few years? I don’t remember any). In fact, Verducci says, “The six-man rotation, including a plethora of openers, is likely to be standard procedure for teams in a shorter season with expanded rosters.”

Roberts thinks getting baseball back when the science allows could be therapeutic for hospital patients and health-care workers and for the nation as a whole:

“You know, my father would tell stories of the family being huddled around a radio to listen to a game or around the TV for the one game of the week the family could watch. Lord willing, we can get this season in, and we’re playing and it’s broadcast into our homes to get back that feeling from decades in the past of families huddled around the TV watching America’s pastime.

Sep 25

Game 158, 2019

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

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.

Lineup:

Aug 15

Game 123, 2019

Dodgers at Marlins, 12:05 PM PDT, TV: FS-F, MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA

RHP Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.08 ERA) takes the mound for the Dodgers against the Marlins’ LHP Caleb Smith (7-6, 3.71 ERA). Buehler was annoyed with himself after his last start; he went six scoreless innings and struck out eight but “didn’t throw enough first-pitch strikes.” Smith has struggled since the All Star break. He had a 3.50 ERA before that and has had a 4.15 ERA since. He averaged 2.63 BB/9 and 11 K/9 before the break and 3.89 BB/9 and 10.13 K/9 after it.

Senor Rios had a big night: his first two home runs.

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.

Jul 06

Game 91, 2019

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

The visiting Padres send RHP Chris Paddack (5-4, 3.05 ERA) to the (hopefully stable) mound at Dodger Stadium tonight. He’ll face the Dodgers’ RHP Kenta Maeda (7-4, 3.78 ERA). Paddack’s a rookie whose May-June was rocky but whose last start was good: he threw six innings of two-hit ball against the Cardinals and got the win. Maeda threw four scoreless innings at Coors Field his last time out but gave up two runs in the fifth and didn’t figure in the Dodgers’ eventual 12-6 win.

Thoughts during an earthquake:

In the Dodgers’ dugout, manager Dave Roberts hoped for a Hernández home run “to add to the commotion.”

Across the way, Padres manager Andy Green thought, too, of a long drive. He leaned over to bench coach Rod Barajas with a thought.“I’d love Kiké Hernández to hit a ball down the line where the foul pole sways in,” Green said, “and the ball swings just foul based on that.”

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1938 At Crosley Field, Yankees’ hurler Lefty Gomez is defeated for the first time in four All-Star starts as the NL wins the All-Star game 4-1. National League shortstop Leo Durocher becomes the first Dodger to start in an All-Star Game and gets a ‘bunt’ home run.
  • 1953 In his first major league start, 24 year-old right-hander Al Worthington throws a two-hitter, blanking the Pirates, 6-0. The Giants’ rookie, known as ‘Red’, will become the first National League freshman to throw consecutive shutouts at the start of a career, when he repeats the feat in his next outing, also blanking the Dodgers, 6-0.
  • 2000 Vin Scully, 72, is voted the No. 1 sportscaster of the 20th century by members of the American Sportscasters Association. The Dodger veteran broadcaster’s 51-year career has included play-by-play of 25 Fall Classics and a dozen All-Star Games.

Lineup when available.


May 17

Game 46, 2019

Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-O, SPNLA

LHP Rich Hill (0-1, 4.20 ERA) was pushed back from the Padres’ series in order to face the lefty-dominant Reds for this reason: lefties are hitting .445 OPS against him while righties are at 1.069 OPS. The Reds give the ball to RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 4.17 ERA), whose first two outings in May were strong but whose last start was short (4 innings) and unpleasant (eight hits, four runs).

The Dodgers’ management and catchers seem to be frustrated by Kenley Jansen’s insistence on throwing a cutter which isn’t as effective as it once was while his slider has been very effective indeed.

Jansen, 31, has already surrendered as many runs this season as he did in 2017, when he used his signature cutter 85 percent of the time to great success. He is using it just as often in 2019, but the pitch is no longer as dominant.

[snip]

This season, hitters have slugged better than .500 against it, more than two hundred points greater than in 2017. Yet after Tuesday’s save, he had thrown the cutter roughly 300 times this season, and he had thrown the slider only 22 times. Hitters had swung at it 13 times and missed it six times. They had not registered a hit against it.

[snip]

“Kenley obviously knows what he wants to do,” Roberts said. “He can be stubborn at times. He can be convicted at times. We’ve gotta work things out, as far as what we’re trying to do to get Kenley and the catchers on the same page.”

That page, Roberts allowed, covers how best to attack hitters.

“I think that, right now, he can do some different things,” Roberts said.

Which team’s uniforms are the best? MLB polled 85 players and got a tie at the top: the Dodgers and Yankees each received 10 votes.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1947 At Forbes Field, Hank Greenberg asks Jackie Robinson if the Dodger infielder was hurt in a collision with him at first base earlier in the game and then tells the embattled Brooklyn rookie, “Stick in there. You’re doing fine. Keep your chin up.” Jackie will remark to the writers a few days later that his “diamond hero” is Hank Greenberg, knowing that the Pirates’ first baseman, who due to the bigotry endured as a Jew, can appreciate his difficulty of facing racial injustice every day as the first black player in the major leagues this century.
  • 1978 Pinch-hitting for Davey Lopes in the Los Angeles 10-1 rout of the Pirates, Lee Lacy goes deep in the bottom of the eighth inning off Will McEnaney at Dodger Stadium. The utility player becomes the first player in major league history to homer in three consecutive at-bats as a pinch hitter.
  • 1992 Using only 21 dates, the Blue Jays reach the one-million mark in attendance sooner than any team in major league history. The 1991 Blue Jays and the 1981 Dodgers shared the previous record.

Lineup when available.