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.”
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.
Can Syndergaard turn back the clock?
Can he get his velocity back, and will his command come with it?
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.”
RHP Joe Musgrove (10-8, 2.87 ERA) takes the hill for the Friars. He’ll face LHP Julio Urías (16-3, 3.11 ERA) of the Dodgers.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1992 Cardinals vice chairman Fred Kuhlman tells reporters that a “security check” had revealed serious issues involving the two out-of-state investors, Vince Piazza and Vincent N. Tirendi, part of the six-man group trying to buy the Giants and move the franchise to Florida. The candid reply to the press will cost baseball more than $6 million to settle a suit that includes a letter of apology from acting Commissioner Bud Selig to Vince Piazza, whose son Mike started his major league career with the Dodgers nine days before his father’s rejection by the MLB owners.
1974 Lou Brock ties and then breaks Maury Wills’s 12 year-old single season stolen base record with his 104th and 105th swipes. The Cardinal left fielder’s thievery against the Phillies doesn’t help when the Redbirds drop the Busch Stadium contest, 8-2.
Padres at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: Bally Sports San Diego, MLBN (out-of-market only), SPNLA
RHP Trevor Bauer (2-0, 2.70 ERA) takes the hill at Petco Park for the Dodgers in hopes of sweeping the Padres, who send out LHP Blake Snell (0-0, 4.35 ERA), last seen being removed from Game Six of the World Series despite his complete mastery of the Dodgers to that point of the game. He had a terrible outing his last time out, not getting out of the first inning against Pittsburgh. Bauer, meanwhile, has been terrific through six innings in each of his first three starts, giving up no more than two hits and striking out nine during those periods.
The Dodgers made a series of moves today, recalling IF Sheldon Neuse, activating RHP Brusdar Graterol from the injured list, optioning LHP Alex Vesia and placing IF Gavin Lux on the 10-day injured list with right wrist soreness, retroactive to April 16.
1925 At his Waldorf-Astoria apartment, Dodgers’ owner Charles H. Ebbets dies of a heart attack at the age of 65. Later in the day, his team opens the home season in Brooklyn losing to the Giants at Ebbets Field, 7-0.
1939 In Brooklyn, Red Barber calls the action in the first broadcast of a regular-season Dodger game, a 7-3 loss to New York at Ebbets Field. The future Hall of Fame announcer was brought in from Cincinnati by the team’s new president, Larry MacPhail, who had hired the ‘Ol Redhead’ when he was in a similar post with the Reds.
1947 Dodger president Branch Rickey names team scout Burt Shotton to replace Leo Durocher, who was suspended ten days ago by Commissioner Happy Chandler for acts “unbecoming to a major league manager.” Brooklyn’s new 62 year-old skipper reluctantly takes over the team two games into the season and will manage the club for one year in his street clothes along with wearing the team’s hat and jacket.
1950 Vin Scully calls the first game of his illustrious 67-year career with the Dodgers, detailing Brooklyn’s 9-1 defeat to the Phillies on Opening Day at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park. The 22-year old broadcaster, who will be awarded the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award by Bud Selig in 2014, will become the team’s primary announcer just three seasons later.
1950 The Phillies play their first game with name official changed back from Blue Jays, routing the Dodgers at Shibe Park, 9-1. The team wears red pinstriped uniforms designed by manager Eddie Sawyer that are reminiscent of club’s look in the early 1900s.
1952 On Opening Day in Brooklyn, Willie Mays is knocked unconscious when he smashes into the Ebbets Field wall after chasing pinch hitter Bob Morgan’s seventh-inning, two-out base-loaded line drive into the gap in left field. All three Dodgers base runners cross the plate but do not score when the motionless Giants center fielder comes to his feet and jogs into the dugout, apparently unhurt, having held onto the ball after making a fantastic catch for the third out to end the inning.
1958 At the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of a National League record crowd of 78,672, the Dodgers play their first game in the City of Angels. Carl Erskine gets the win, besting Al Worthington and the Giants, 6-5.
1959 Branch Rickey, former general manager of the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Pirates, is appointed the president of the Continental League. The third potential major league never materializes, but helps to accelerate the expansion of the existing leagues, including putting a National League team in New York to fill the void created by the Giants’ and the Dodgers’ departure to the west coast in 1958.
1964 L.A. southpaw Sandy Koufax throws the second of his two career immaculate innings when he strikes out the side on nine pitches. Although Leo Cardenas, Johnny Edwards, and Jim Maloney all strike out quickly in the top of the third inning, Cincinnati will score all of the game’s runs in the next frame, thanks to a three-run homer hit by Deron Johnson, to beat the Dodgers in the Chavez Ravine contest, 3-0.
1966 Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills singles to center off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, becoming the first batter to hit on artificial turf in a major league game. The Astrodome’s new playing surface, called Chemgrass initially by its manufacturer, the Monsanto Company, couldn’t be made quickly enough, so the season begins with the artificial material only on the infield with the outfield remaining painted dirt until July.
2008 The Dodgers announce Joe Beimel has been selected by fans, in an online poll during Spring Training, as the player whose likeness will now be used in an August 12 bobblehead promotion. The 30 year-old southpaw reliever, considered a long shot for the honor, gets the nod due to a strong internet campaign orchestrated by his parents, Ron and Marge.
He reported late to the Dodgers’ summer camp due to an unexplained absence, but he did reveal that he did not take part in baseball activities for two weeks. He began the season at the team’s alternate site at USC, and when he finally did get called up to the Dodgers, he looked like a mess. In 19 games, Lux had an OPS of .596. He made throwing errors that made it look like he had the yips. He was left off the postseason roster as the Dodgers went on to win the franchise’s first World Series title since 1988.
This year, the Dodgers can make do with some combination of Chris Taylor, Zach McKinstry and Max Muncy at second base in the event that Lux can’t immediately rebound from his disappointing 2020. But he is only 23 years old and can be forgiven for experiencing a lost season during the pandemic.
Cubs star Javier Báez said earlier this week that he simply was not mentally prepared for last season, and here’s betting Lux wasn’t, either. It’s not fair to judge anyone on how well they performed amid COVID-19. And that is why I’m excited to see if Lux can put last year behind him, secure the second base job and rake his way back into the hearts of Dodgers fans.
Today’s lineup, including one Trevor Bauer making his first start in Dodger Blue:
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.
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.
The Dodgers give RHP Walker Buehler the ball for Game One, just as they’ve done for the previous two series. He hasn’t gone past four innings in either of his previous two starts and hasn’t thrown more than 95 pitches in a game since 2019. He’ll face LHP Max Fried, who won Game One of the Wild Card Series for the Braves, beating the Reds, but gave up four runs in four innings against the Marlins in the NLDS. The Braves win behind him, though: they’re 12-1 in his starts this year.
Edwin Ríos and Alex Wood have been added to the 28-man roster for the NLCS. Gavin Lux and Terrance Gore were dropped to make room.
This day in Dodgers’ history:
1916 In front of record crowd of 43,620 fans at Braves Field, Red Sox right-hander Ernie Shore three-hits the Robins in Game 5 of the World Series, 4-1, to capture the team’s fourth World Championship in the 13-year history of the Fall Classic. Boston, as it did last season, plays its Fall Classic home games in their crosstown National League rival’s larger ballpark, which allows more fans to attend the game than if the contest had held at Fenway Park.
1920 At Cleveland’s League Park, the Indians’ hurler Stan Coveleski blanks the Robins, 3-0, to win the 1920 World Series. The Tribe, en route to the franchise’s first World Championship, wins the best of nine series five games to 2.
1948 The Yankees surprise their fans and a skeptical press when they name Casey Stengel to replace Bucky Harris as the team’s manager. In his previous stints as the skipper with the National League’s Braves and Dodgers, the ‘Old Perfesser’ had never finished higher than fifth place.
1949 Vin Scully, working his first broadcast ever, does the play-by-play when Maryland defeats Boston University at Fenway Park, 14-13. The football assignment marks the start of a 67-year career in the broadcast booth for the Hall of Fame baseball announcer, who becomes the iconic voice of the Dodgers.
The Dodgers send RHP Ross Stripling (3-1, 5.46 ERA) to the mound against the Rangers’ RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 1.59 ERA). Stripling’s first start was excellent (7 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 7 Ks) and he’s been getting progressively worse ever since. In his last start he went just four innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He leads the majors in HRs allowed with 10 in 29 2/3 innings. Lynn has had a great start and is being mentioned as a trade possibility given the woes his Rangers are having. He’s made seven starts against the Dodgers in his career and gone 3-1 with a 3.69 ERA.
Here’s Mitch White’s MLB debut yesterday:
Justin Turner is out today with a hamstring injury, but the #Dodgers have gameplanned all season to make sure his impact is felt in the stretch run; Gavin Lux returns and looks to make his own impact. https://t.co/S8UWVtGmVq
1939 Wheaties sponsors the first telecast of a baseball game when their ads are aired during the Ebbets Field contest between the Reds and the Dodgers. The commercial broadcast is available only in New York City, where an estimated 500 people own television sets.
1948 Jackie Robinson hits for the backward cycle when he homers in the first inning, triples in the fourth, doubles in the sixth, and completes the rare event with a single in the eighth. In addition to his ten total bases, the Dodger second baseman drives in two runs, scores three times, and steals a base, helping Brooklyn beat the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park, 12-7.
1951 With his second home run of the game, the sixth time he has accomplished the feat this year, Gil Hodges hits his 36th round-tripper to establish a new franchise record for homers in a season. The Dodger first baseman’s seventh-inning three-run blast in the team’s 13-1 rout of Cincinnati at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field surpasses the mark of 35 set by Babe Herman in 1930.
1989 Giving up just three singles, recently acquired Mets southpaw Frank Viola outduels Orel Hershiser and beats the Dodgers, 1-0. The classic contest between two aces marked the first time in baseball history that the reigning winners of the Cy Young Award have faced one another in the regular season.
Cultural history note: On this date in 1966: On a typically cool night, the Beatles play their final concert at Candlestick Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. The “Fab Four’s” performance on a five-foot stage, which is located just behind second base surrounded by a six-foot high wire fence, is less than stellar due the ballpark’s inadequate lighting, poor acoustics, and the group’s growing disdain of doing live shows.
RHP Dustin May (1-1, 2.79 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers against the Rangers’ LHP Mike Minor (0-5, 6.75 ERA). May has been effective but he’s throwing a lot of pitches, which has kept him from getting as deep in games as desired. He had only one strikeout in his last five-inning outing and he’s got only 20 in the 29 innings he’s thrown in six starts this season. His opponent has thrown the same number of innings in the same number of starts, but he’s given up 23 runs (22 earned) to May’s 9.
Mookie Betts narrates a message for Jackie Robinson Day:
Lux will go back to the taxi squad this weekend. Gonsolin will start Sunday in Texas, with Urías getting pushed back to Tuesday.
1945 A moment in American history takes place in Brooklyn as Branch Rickey meets with Jackie Robinson to share his plans to integrate the major leagues. During the three hour meeting, the Dodgers’ president will shout racial epithets to ‘test’ the 26 year-old ballplayer’s mettle to withstand the abuse which will come with being the first player to cross the color line this century.
1951 The Giants’ 16-game winning streak comes to end when Howie Pollet six-hits the team in the Pirates’ 2-0 victory at the Polo Grounds. The consecutive victories enable Leo Durocher and his club to narrow the Dodgers’ lead from 13.5 to six games.
1967 Giants hurler Gaylord Perry begins the longest consecutive inning scoreless streak in franchise history when he shuts out the Dodgers at Candlestick Park, 7-0. The right-hander will not give up another run over a span of 40 innings, a feat the son of a tenant farmer from North Carolina will repeat three seasons later.
1977 Steve Garvey collects five extra-base hits in one game when he bashes three doubles and two homers, including a grand slam, in the Dodgers’ 11-0 rout over St. Louis at Chavez Ravine. The LA first baseman becomes just the fourth major leaguer to accomplish the feat, joining Lou Boudreau (1946 Indians – HR, four 2B), Joe Adcock (1954 Braves – four HR, 2B), and Willie Stargell (1970 Pirates – two HR, three 2B).
2003 Eric Gagne earns his 44th straight save in the Dodgers’ 6-3 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park. The Los Angeles reliever’s effort establishes a new major league record, surpassing Tom Gordon, who had saved 43 in a row to begin a season with the Red Sox in 1998.
2008 In the 11-2 victory over the Dodgers, Cristian Guzman becomes the second player in Nationals history to hit for the cycle, joining Brad Wilkerson, who accomplished the feat in 2005, the team’s first year in Washington, D.C. The 30 year-old shortstop completes his cycle with an eighth inning triple.
2015 “Vin will be back for one more year (at least). God bless us, everyone” – JIMMY KIMMEL’s cue card message to the crowd.
Team executive Magic Johnson, appearing on the Dodger Stadium video board, introduces Jimmy Kimmel to report “big, breaking news.” The ABC late-night television host, who waves to the fans without saying a word, displays a succession of cue cards, informing the Chavez Ravine crowd the 87 year-old Vin Scully will be returning to broadcast Dodgers games in 2016 for his 67th season.
This doubleheader was necessitated when the Dodgers and Giants players declined to play their scheduled game on August 26 as a protest against the shooting of yet another black man by police, this time in Kenosha, WI. The game was one of three in the major leagues which was postponed; the NBA postponed all three of its scheduled playoff games, Major League Soccer postponed five of six and the WNBA postponed all three of its scheduled games.
The Dodgers have not yet announced which pitcher will start. Update: It’ll be Caleb Ferguson (1-0, 0.71 ERA); the Giants send RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 4.65 ERA) to the mound.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1937 Dodger right-hander Fred Frankhouse holds the Reds hitless for 7.2 innings before a heavy downpour ends the Ebbets Field contest permanently. The right-hander’s 5-0 victory will be one of the 31 “no-no’s” erased when MLB redefines a no-hitter in 1991 as a game in which a pitcher throws nine innings or more without giving up a hit.
1951 Dodger right fielder Carl Furillo, in the top of the third inning in the team’s 5-0 victory over Pittsburgh at Ebbets Field, throws out Mel Queen by two feet at first base, after the Pirates pitcher had apparently singled into right field. The ‘Reading Rifle’ will lead the NL in assists for the second consecutive season, with opponents becoming increasingly more reluctant to challenge the strong arm of the Brooklyn outfielder.
1952 The Dodgers set the National League mark for consecutive games with a double play when they complete a twin killing in their twenty-third straight contest, a 10-5 loss to Chicago at Wrigley Field. The fifth inning 1-4-3 DP, pitcher Clyde King to second baseman Jackie Robinson to first baseman Gil Hodges, leaves Brooklyn two shy of the major league record.
2005 Jeff Kent becomes the first player to hit 300 homers as a second baseman. The Dodger infielder, who surpassed Ryne Sandberg’s total of 277 last September, is the major league leader at this position, with Joe Gordon holding the American League record with 246 round-trippers.
Lineup when available.
Today's Gm. 2 doubleheader will start at 4:40 p.m. PT.
Pitchers: Pedro Báez, Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling, Blake Treinen, Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Brusdar Graterol and Dustin May
Starting depth could be an issue. After losing Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill (68 starts combined last year) over the offseason, the only veteran starters the Dodgers added were Price and Jimmy Nelson, but both are out for the season. That leaves Urías, Wood and youngsters May, Gonzalez and White to pick up those 68 starts.
Will Smith and Austin Barnes are the catchers. Infielders are Enrique Hernández, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios. Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, A. J. Pollack and Chris Taylor are the outfielders.