Every game in baseball begins at the same time today. I’m sure MLB is hoping for a repeat of the events of September 28, 2011, when within thirty minutes two teams were eliminated from the playoffs after leading in their respective games. There are two games which are important today, but neither has quite the same amount of weight as those games eight years ago:
The Cardinals’ magic number to win the NL Central is one. That means a St. Louis win or Milwaukee loss Sunday would make the Cardinals division champs, while a Brewers win and Cardinals loss would force a tiebreaker Monday at Busch Stadium (3:09 p.m ET on ESPN) to determine the division winner. If both teams win Sunday, the Cardinals win the NL Central.
The Dodgers will make the last game of the season a bullpen game, starting LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.59 ERA) but not allowing him to go more than three innings, I imagine, thanks to his balky knee. The Giants have changed their minds; Madison Bumgarner was originally scheduled to start but was scratched by manager Bruce Bochy after Friday night’s game. Instead they’ll give RHP Dereck Rodríguez (6-10, 5.27 ERA) his 16th start of the season. He’s 0-1 with an 11.32 ERA in four lifetime appearances against the Dodgers.
Here’s Mr. Ryu’s excellent game Saturday: seven strikeouts, an RBI base hit, seven scoreless innings and the NL ERA title.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season. In a must-win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants and four world championships.
1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.
The Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-5, 2.41 ERA) takes the mound at Oracle Park, facing the Giants’ RHP Logan Webb (2-2, 5.61 ERA). Ryu hit a sour patch in August and has watched his ERA jump a full run since August 23, but his last two outings have been encouraging. He’s gone seven innings in each and surrendered three runs total. Webb is coming off the best outing of his two-month big league career last Sunday; he went six innings and gave up just one run while striking out seven and walking two.
Young Mr. Lux hit his first MLB triple, bouncing it off the wall in right field and caroming back over Mike Yastrzemski’s head.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1924 Rogers Hornsby finishes the season with a .424 batting average to lead the National League. The Cardinal second baseman easily outdistances Zack Wheat, who finishes second in the race, batting .375 for the Dodgers.
1952 On the last day of the season at Ebbets Field, the Braves’ 77 years of representing Boston is extended by three innings when Eddie Mathews’ ninth-inning, two-out double ties the game. The contest is called due to darkness and ends in the 12th inning in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers.
1955 In the bottom of the second inning, Elston Howard, in his first World Series at-bat, knots the score at 2-2 when he homers off Dodgers’ right-hander Don Newcombe. The round-tripper to deep left field at Yankee Stadium marks the first time a black batter has hit a home run off a black pitcher in the history of the Fall Classic.
1959 The Braves, who ended the National League regular season in a first-place tie with the Dodgers, lose Game 1 of the three-game series, 3-2, in front of a sparse crowd of 18,297 at County Stadium. Milwaukee will lose tomorrow’s game in L.A., spoiling their chance for a three-peat as NL Champs.
1966 At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Larry Jaster throws a four-hitter, blanking Don Sutton and the Dodgers, 2-0. It’s the southpaw’s fifth shutout against LA this season, equaling a post-1900 major league mark held by the Senators’ Tom Hughes (against the Indians in 1905) and Grover Cleveland Alexander of the Phillies (against the Reds in 1916).
1988 In his last start of the regular season, Dodger Orel Hershiser tosses 10 shutout frames to extend his streak to 59, breaking Don Drysdale’s record of 58 consecutive scoreless innings.
1997 With his 40th home run, catcher Mike Piazza sets a single season Los Angeles Dodger record. Duke Snider holds the franchise record, slugging 43 round-trippers for Brooklyn in 1956.
2003 At Turner Field in Atlanta, Jose Reyes becomes the second Mets player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in one game. Lee Mazzilli was the first when he went yard twice against the Dodgers in LA on September 3, 1978.
2006 At Coors Field in Colorado, James Loney collects four hits, including two homers, and drives in nine runs in the Dodgers’ 19-11 victory over the Rockies. The rookie first baseman, who had one homer and eight runs batted in in 93 previous at-bats with the team, ties the franchise RBI mark set by Gil Hodges in his 1950 four-homer game for Brooklyn and breaks the Los Angeles club mark held by Ron Cey.
It’ll be LHP Clayton Kershaw (13-3, 2.76 ERA) against LHP Robbie Ray (11-7, 3.86 ERA) in today’s game at Chase Field. Kershaw actually has a losing record at this site: he’s 6-8 in his career there. He struck out 12 but gave up 3 solo home runs and lost to the Yankees in his last start. Ray had a bad June (1-4, 5.00 ERA) but he’s been solid the rest of this season. He’s averaging 11.8 K/9 and is 2-0 in August.
Here’s the last play of yesterday’s game:
On this date in Dodgers’ history:
1950 In front of 14,226 fans at Ebbets Field, Gil Hodges becomes the fourth major leaguer in the century to hit four home runs in one game as Brooklyn routs the Braves, 19-3. The Dodger first baseman also ties the major league record for total bases with 17.
1959 Sandy Koufax fans 18 batters to establish a new National League record for a nine-inning game in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over San Francisco at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The left-hander’s performance equals the major league mark established in 1938 by Indians fireballer Bob Feller during a 4-1 loss to Detroit.
2010 The Dodgers trade a player to be named (infielder Tony Abreu) to the Diamondbacks in exchange for starter Jon Garland. The 31 year-old right-hander will post a 3-2 record with a 2.72 ERA in his six late-season starts for the Dodgers, before signing as a free agent with San Diego.
LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.00 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers against RHP Merrill Kelly (9-13, 4.86 ERA) of the D=Backs. Ryu has faltered in his last two starts, giving up 5 home runs and lasting just 4 1/3 innings in his latest one. The Dodgers might have him on a shorter leash just to reduce fatigue. Kelly pitched credibly against the Dodgers in July, giving up three runs in six innings. He’s won two of his last three starts after losing the previous six.
Kiké scores the go-ahead run in the 10th inning on a throwing error by the Padres’ shortstop:
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
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.
LHP James Paxton (9-6, 4.53 ERA) takes the hill for the Bronx Bombers while LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-3, 1.64 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers. Paxton has won all four of his starts this month and has averaged a below-4.00 ERA in each of his six MLB seasons, although he’s never reached double digits in wins. Ryu is having a Cy Young-caliber year. He did give up back-to-back HRs in his last start, only the third time all year he’s given up more than one home run in a start.
Here’s the Dodgers’ ninth-inning rally last night:
Dodgers – Yankees history via WBBsAs in comments to the previous post:
1958 Gil Hodges hits his 14th career grand slam in the Dodgers’ 10-1 victory over Milwaukee at LA Memorial Coliseum. The first baseman’s bases-full round-tripper establishes a new National League record, but is far fewer than Lou Gehrig’s major league mark of 23.
1989 In the 11th frame of an eventual 22-inning 1-0 loss, the Expos’ Youppi! becomes the first mascot to be thrown out of a game when Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda complains to the umpires about the hairy orange giant’s behavior at Olympic Stadium. The L.A. skipper takes exception to the loud noise caused by the hairy creature’s running leap onto the visitors’ dugout before sneaking back into a front row seat.
1989 In that same game, the second-longest shutout in big league history ends when Rick Dempsey hits a home run in the top of the 22nd inning, giving the Dodgers an eventual 1-0 victory over the Expos at Olympic Stadium. The Astros blanked the Mets for 24 frames en route to a 1-0 win at the Astrodome in 1968.
2000 Team president Bob Graziano apologizes to a female couple who were asked to leave Dodger Stadium on August 8th because the two shared a kiss during a game. The pair felt the action of the eight security guards was discriminatory because the couple’s friends, a man and a woman, also kissed but were not ejected.
2013 At a Dodger Stadium press conference, LA announces Vin Scully will continue to broadcast Dodgers’ games for his 65th consecutive season. Some of the historic moments the Hall of Fame broadcaster has called include Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, 19 no-hitters, including four thrown by Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and Kirk Gibson’s dramatic walk-off in the 1988 Fall Classic.
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.
Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.74 ERA) goes for the Dodgers while RHP German Márquez (10-5, 4.88 ERA) pitches for the Rockies. Ryu says his command has been shaky recently, but he’s still given up just four runs in his last four starts with a 1.35 ERA to show for them. Márquez has won his last two starts and given up just four runs in those games.
Here’s Kristopher Negron’s first home run as a Dodger:
Gonsolin performed well and got a four-inning save in Tuesday’s game, so of course the Dodgers optioned him back to OKC today and activated Dylan Floro.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1954 At Ebbets Field, using a borrowed bat, Joe Adcock hits four home runs in one game as well as a double which just misses by inches being his fifth round-tripper, in the Braves’ 15-7 victory over the Dodgers. The Milwaukee first baseman’s 18 total bases, collected on just seven pitches, set a major league record, surpassing the mark established in 1950 by Brooklyn’s Gil Hodges.
1955 The Indians obtained Sal Maglie off waivers from the Giants, who release the 38 year-old right-hander because of his ailing back. The ‘Barber’, who will be used sparingly in Cleveland, will become a major cog next season in the Dodgers’ National League championship after being acquired by the team in May for $100.
1983 Orioles Gold Glover Brooks Robinson, Giants ace Juan Marichal, ten-time American League All-Star infielder George Kell, and long-time Dodger skipper Walter Alston are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Marichal, the Dominican Dandy, becomes the first Latin player to be enshrined at Cooperstown.
2004 Ten minutes prior to the trading deadline, Steve Finley gives the Diamondbacks permission to deal him to the Dodgers. The trade sends the four-time Gold Glove center fielder and backstop Brent Mayne to LA for minor league catching prospect Koyie Hill, flycatcher Reggie Abercrombie, and southpaw Bill Murphy, who was acquired in yesterday’s trade with the Marlins.
2006 The Dodgers trade infielder Cesar Izturis to the Cubs for 300-game winner Greg Maddux. The last minute deadline deal, in which the future Hall of Famer waived his no-trade clause, gives the 40 year-old hurler an opportunity to go to a contender.
2008 In a three-team swap, the much anticipated departure of Manny Ramirez from Beantown is finally accomplished with the unhappy outfielder being traded to the Dodgers. Former Pirates player Jason Bay will now roam left field for the Red Sox, with Pittsburgh receiving outfielder Brandon Moss and pitcher Craig Hansen from Boston as well as getting third baseman Andy LaRoche and right-hander Bryan Morris from Los Angeles to complete the last-minute deal.
RHP Kenta Maeda (3-1, 3.80 ERA) goes for the Dodgers while LHP José Quintana (2-1, 3.43 ERA) pitches for the Cubs. Maeda will be working on six days rest, which bodes well for the Dodgers: he’s 10-4 lifetime when he has that much time between appearances. Quintana has held his opponents scoreless for 14-plus innings in his last two starts, striking out 18 and walking just one.
There’s a very flattering profile of Cody Bellinger at MLB.com as part of its “Young Stars Week.”
Bellinger’s overall approach at the plate has changed in ways that set him up to continue being an offensive menace, too. His strikeout rate has slashed in half, down to 12 percent from his career average of 24.2 percent. His walk rate is up a few ticks, too, in part due to pitchers approaching him more cautiously and in part due to improved discipline — he’s swinging at just 21.7 percent of pitches out of the strike zone, down nearly six percent from last season. And when he swings, he’s missed less often than anyone in the NL, with a league-best contact rate of 87.7 percent.
1958 In a 7-6 loss to Chicago at the LA Coliseum, two Dodger mainstays from Brooklyn reach career milestones. First baseman Gil Hodges, who will finish his 18-year major league tenure with 370 home runs, hits his 300th career round-tripper, and Captain Pee Wee Reese, a future Hall of Fame shortstop, plays in his 2000th game.
1999 Fernando Tatis becomes the only player in baseball history to hit two grand slams in one inning when he collects eight RBIs in one frame to breaks the old record of six. The Cardinal third baseman hits both off Dodger starter Chan Ho Park in an 11-run third of the team’s 12-5 victory at Chavez Ravine.
2000 The Dodgers complete a sweep of the Reds to notch their 1,000th win over baseball’s oldest professional franchise. Since 1970, Los Angeles is the only National League franchise to play over .500 ball (120-115) in Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field).
RHP Zach Davies (1-0, 1.69 ERA) pitches for the Brew Crew and LHP Caleb Ferguson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) starts for the Dodgers. Davies will be making his third start after a year lost to back and shoulder injuries, while Ferguson is filling in for the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu. It’s expected that his fellow 22-year-old, RHP Dennis Santana, will come in to pick up several innings for the Dodgers as well.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1939 In a spring training game played in Norfolk, Virginia, Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig, with apparent muscle loss, especially around his shoulders, goes deep twice in a 14-12 exhibition loss against the Dodgers. The second and ninth-inning home runs will be the last round-trippers the ‘Iron Horse’ will ever hit.
1993 Lee Smith passes Jeff Reardon to become the all-time major league saves leader when the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, 9-7. The right-handed reliever tosses a scoreless ninth inning at Chavez Ravine to record his 358th career save.
2009 In the LA home opener, Orlando Hudson completes his cycle with a sixth inning triple down the right-field line in the team’s 11-1 rout of the Giants. The second baseman becomes the first Dodger to hit for the cycle at Dodger Stadium, and the first franchise player to accomplish the feat in a nine-inning game since Gil Hodges did it in 1949.
2012 Aaron Harang, after surrendering a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin to start the game, strikes out the next nine consecutive Padres in L.A.’s 9-8 victory at Dodger Stadium. The 34 year-old right-hander’s performance is one more than Johnny Podres’ franchise mark of 8, but falls one short of the major league record held by Tom Seaver, who fanned 10 straight Friars for the Mets in 1970.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 2.57 ERA) probably deserved better than he got in his first start of the year against San Diego, but the Padres’ Eric Lauer and bullpen held the Giants scoreless. He’ll try to get his first win again tonight against the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 1.50), who was very good in his first start against the Diamondbacks.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
2003 Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine different clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.
2007 For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under the age of 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20 year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher ‘not of age’ to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros, 2-0, in 1981.
2008 Third base ump Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying within the boundaries of the coaching box although he warned the Dodger coach several times to follow the new edict put in place by MLB following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers’ first base coach Mike Coolbaugh. The former infielder and manager’s behavior will lead to a three-game suspension for “inappropriate and aggressive conduct,” in which he had to be restrained by manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer in the sixth inning of the 3-2 victory over the Giants in Los Angeles.
In non-Dodger history, on this day in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager and former Dodger Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name current first base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.