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).
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.
The big news of the day is that the Nats’ scheduled starter Max Scherzer has neck spasms and has been scratched. In his place will be RHP Joe Ross, who started the season in the bullpen but emerged as a member of the Nationals’ rotation when relieving didn’t suit him. He had Tommy John surgery in 2017; 2019 was his first full season back from that. He’ll face the Astros’ Gerrit Cole, who had an uncharacteristic loss in Game One in which he gave up five runs on eight hits in seven innings.
LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 2.84 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers and RHP Joe Ross (0-2, 9.45 ERA) takes the mound for the Nationals. In his last start Kershaw went six scoreless innings and struck out ten, leaving with a six-run lead and then watching the bullpen give up all of it. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Matt Beaty hit a three-run HR in the 8th inning to give the Dodgers the eventual win. Ross will be making his second start of the year; his first was Sunday, July 21. He gave up three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings in a spot start.
Here’s Turner’s 8th-inning three-run HR which gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead:
The streak began with Robinson Cano of the New York Mets on Tuesday. Paul DeJong of the St. Louis Cardinals and Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins followed up on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, before Betts went deep three times in the first four innings against Yankees starter James Paxton.
Prior to Thursday, it had never actually happened on three straight days in MLB history.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1918 In his major league debut, Robins (Dodgers) starter Harry Heitman, after giving up hits to four consecutive batters in a 22-7 loss to the Cardinals, is pulled from the Ebbets Field contest. The 21 year-old Brooklyn rookie right-hander will never hurl again in the big leagues, ending his career with an ERA of infinity.
1959 The Continental League is formally announced, with franchises located in Denver, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, and Toronto. The concept of the new major league is the brainchild of William Shea, an attorney who proposed the idea a year after the Giants and Dodgers left New York City to move to the West Coast.
1966 Sandy Koufax strikes out 16 Phillies and Jim Bunning whiffs 12 Dodgers in the first 11 innings of a pitching duel between future Hall of Famers at Chavez Ravine. With both starters out of the game, Los Angeles beats Philadelphia, 2-1, thanks to an unearned run scored in the bottom of the twelfth inning.
1998 Tony Womack of the Pirates establishes a new major league mark by not grounding out into a double play in 888 consecutive at-bats, breaking the record previously established by Dodger outfielder Pete Reiser in 1946.
2005 Ryan Freel becomes the first player in the Reds’ 136-year history to steal five bases in a game, including two in the ninth that moves him to third base, where he scores the eventual winning run on Felipe Lopez’s sacrifice fly. The Cincinnati second baseman’s thievery contributes to the team’s 7-6 victory over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. [Note: the Dodgers’ catcher was Jason Phillips, in his only season with the team.]
To extend their season the Dodgers have decided to go with Clayton Kershaw on short rest. He’s done this three other times in the postseason and put up a 1.89 ERA. However, those other times he hadn’t spent two months of the season on the DL with a bad back. We shall see. His opponent will be RHP Joe Ross (7-5, 3.43 ERA). More preview here from ESPN.
#Dodgers' NLDS Game 4 lineup: Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B González 1B Reddick RF Pederson CF Grandal C Toles LF Kershaw P
The Cubs go with RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) against the Giants’ LHP Matt Moore (13-12, 4.08 ERA). Lackey is a postseason veteran who’s got an 8-5 record with a 3.11 ERA over 127 1/3 postseason innings. This will mark the 16th playoff series for him. Moore has given up two runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts, so he’s on his game.
The Dodgers go for their sixth straight win and a series sweep tonight behind their youngster Julio Urias, whose 0-2 won-loss record and 4.50 ERA don’t fully reflect how he’s improved with each outing. The Nationals ask their own youngster 23-year-old Joe Ross to stop the juggernaut. Ross is 6-4 with a 3.13 ERA.
“Zack, Save Us!” Well, maybe that’s overwrought. Nonetheless, the Dodgers are hoping that Zack Greinke, who’s 11-2 with a Major League-leading 1.71 ERA, can stop their four-game losing streak. If nothing else, they’re hoping he can get to the seventh or eighth inning so they don’t have to go to their beleaguered bullpen before then.
Greinke’s mound opponent will be rookie righthander Joe Ross, who’s 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA, 47 strikeouts and only four walks in 45 big league innings.
It’s Lakers Night at the ballpark, which is probably not as big a deal after the last two seasons the basketball team has had as it would be if we were still in the 1980s.