The Dodgers give the ball to RHP Max Scherzer (postseason 0-1, 1 SV, 1.46 ERA). He’ll face the Braves’ RHP Ian Anderson (postseason 1-0, 0.00 ERA).
Today in baseball history Steve Blass threw a four-hitter and the Pirates beat the Orioles in Game Seven to win the 1971 World Series, in Game Seven of the 1979 World Series Willie Stargell went 3-4 and the Pirates overcame a three games to one deficit and beat the Orioles (again!), and the Loma Prieta earthquake rattled the Bay Area just minutes before Game Three of the 1989 World Series was to begin.
LHP Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA) tries to bounce back from a one-inning five-run outing in Game Two of the ALDS against the Rays. He’ll face the Astros’ LHP Framber Valdez (11-6, 3.14 ERA). His last outing was about as bad as Sale’s, although he lasted into the fifth inning of Game Two of the ALCS against the White Sox. He gave up four runs on seven hits in that game (which the Astros came back to win).
Today in baseball history the Yankees won their first World Series in 1923, Enos Slaughter scored as “Pesky held the ball” in Game Seven of the 1946 World Series and Ron Swoboda’s diving catch kept the Orioles off the scoreboard in the 1969 World Series:
Kirk Gibson hit a memorable HR for the Dodgers in Game One of the 1988 World Series:
And in 2017 the Dodgers’ Justin Turner emulated Gibson and hit a three-run walk-off home run against the Cubs in the twelfth inning of Game Two of the NLCS:
LHP Julio Urías (18-3, 3.10 ERA) of the Dodgers tries to right his personal ship after he gave up seven hits and four earned runs in six innings in his last start. He’ll face the D-Backs’ RHP Humberto Mejía (0-2, 7.20 ERA). Note this is the second time in three games that the Diamondbacks have started a pitcher named Humberto.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1908 Cubs right-hander Ed Reulbach pitches two shutouts in the same day, whitewashing the Brooklyn Superbas in the opener 5-0 on a five-hitter and 3-0 on three hits in the nightcap. The entire Washington Park doubleheader takes less than three hours to complete.
1954 Willie Mays, with three hits in the season finale, wins the batting title, finishing the campaign with a .345 average. The ‘Say Hey Kid’ goes third to first in batting average with his performance passing teammate Don Mueller (.342) and Dodger center fielder Duke Snider (341).
1975 Burt Hooton sets a Dodger record for starting pitchers by winning his twelfth consecutive game. The 25 year-old right-hander, who was traded to LA in May for Eddie Solomon and Geoff Zahn, accomplishes the feat by beating J.R. Richard and the Astros at Dodger Stadium, 3-2.
1981 Nolan Ryan becomes the first pitcher to throw five no-hitters when the Astros defeat the Dodgers at the Astrodome, 5-0. The Ryan Express, who will finish his 27-year major league career with a record seven no-hitters, previously has thrown hitless gems against the Royals (1973), Tigers (1973), Twins (1974), and Orioles (1975).
1997 Dodger catcher Mike Piazza, in a 10-4 win over the Rockies, hits the longest home run in the history of Coors Field. The 28 year-old backstop’s sixth-inning blast travels 496 feet and hits the left-center field billboard between the scoreboard and the Rockpile.
RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-9, 4.42 ERA) goes for the Rockies and newly-recalled RHP Mitch White (1-1, 3.06 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers.
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.
In a battle of 10-game winners the Giants send RHP Anthony DeSclafani (10-4, 2.78 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler (10-1, 2.37 ERA).
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1913 In a game against the Superbas (Dodgers), Slim Sallee becomes the first pitcher in Cardinal history to steal home. In the third inning, the Redbird southpaw scores the first run in St. Louis’s 3-1 victory over Brooklyn at Ebbets Field.
1966 The Mets left fielder learns he is a new dad when the Dodger Stadium scoreboard relays the message, “Congratulations, Ron Swoboda. Your new son is born tomorrow morning”. Cecilia Swoboda gave birth to Chipper, the couple’s first child, at 1:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time, making it the next day on the West Coast.
2005 Yhency Brazoban records his 18th save when he works a perfect ninth inning as the Dodgers beat the Mets, 6-5. The Los Angeles freshman, who is filling in for injured closer Eric Gagne, breaks Steve Howe’s club rookie record for saves established in 1980.
RHP Walker Buehler (6-0, 2.38 ERA) takes the hill for the Dodgers. He’ll face the Diamondbacks’ RHP Matt Peacock (2-4, 5.26 ERA). Buehler hasn’t lost a regular season game since 2019; he’s up to 22 straight games. Peacock has had a horrible June in which he’s given up nine runs in 11 1/3 innings in three starts.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1952 Carl Erskine throws a no-hitter against the Cubs in the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory at Ebbets Field. A third inning walk to the opposing pitcher, which accounts for the only runner to reach base, may have been a result of skipper Chuck Dressen telling the 25 year-old right-hander to speed up his pitches due to an impending storm.
1963 At Yankee Stadium, the Mayor’s Trophy Game is revived, with the cellar-dwelling Mets beating the mighty Yanks, 6-2. Prior to leaving for the West Coast, the Dodgers would play the Bronx Bombers in the annual midsummer exhibition contest to raise money for sandlot baseball teams.
1972 At Three Rivers Stadium, Roberto Clemente hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to become the Pirates’ all-time RBI leader. The Pittsburgh right fielder’s three ribbies in the 13-3 drubbing of the Dodgers give the future Hall of Famer a total of 1,274 runs batted in for the Bucs.
1973 In different games, the Reds’ Pete Rose and Dodger Willie Davis both collect their 2,000th career hit. The Cincinnati infielder, known as ‘Charlie Hustle’, reaches the milestone with a single against San Francisco in the Reds’ 4-0 victory at Candlestick Park, and the L.A. outfielder, known as ‘3-Dog’, reaches the plateau in front of the home crowd with a two-run home run in the team’s 3-0 victory over Atlanta.
1990 Gary Carter breaks a National League mark when he catches his 1,862nd career game in the Giants’ 4-3 loss to San Diego. The ‘Kid’ surpasses Al Lopez, who had established the record for backstops in 1946 after playing 18 seasons in the Senior Circuit with the Dodgers, Braves, and Pirates.
Also of note: In 2003 during a College World Series contest against Stanford, a pitch strikes Cal State Fullerton shortstop Justin Turner on the left side of his face as he attempts to bunt. Adding insult to injury, the future Mets and Dodgers infielder also suffers a broken ankle on the play when he unsuccessfully tries to avoid getting hit by the 87-mph fastball thrown by Matt Manship.
RHP Jack Flaherty (8-1, 2.84 ERA) takes the mound for the visiting Cardinals and RHP Trevor Bauer (5-3, 2.07 ERA) goes for the Dodgers.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1937 In Game 1 of a Memorial Day doubleheader, Carl Hubbell’s consecutive-game winning streak, compiled over two seasons, ends at 24 when the Dodgers, led by Babe Phelps’ 5-for-6 performance, defeat the Giants at the Polo Grounds, 10-3. ‘King Carl’ is honored between games when the southpaw is presented with the National League’s 1936 MVP Award by Babe Ruth.
1948 Tommy Lasorda, best known as the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame skipper, strikes out 25 batters and collects the game-winning hit when the Schenectady Blue Jays defeat the Amsterdam Rugmakers, 6-5, in 15 innings. The promising southpaw, who goes the distance in the CanAm minor-league contest played in McNearney Stadium, believes he probably threw more than 300 pitches during the game.
1965 For the first time in history, an all-switch-hitting infield starts a big league game. In the nightcap of a twin bill, the Dodgers, with Wes Parker at first base, Jim Lefebvre at second, Maury Wills at shortstop, and Jim Gilliam at third, lose to the visiting Reds, 6-1.
1968 Don Drysdale’s shutout streak stays intact when home plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt rules that Dick Dietz, who is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, did not make an attempt to get out of the way of the right-hander’s delivery. The Giants catcher finishes the at-bat by popping up, and the next two batters also make outs to give ‘Big D” his fifth straight shutout, tying a major league established by White Sox hurler Doc White in 1904.
2001 The Red Sox finally beat the Yankees in their eighth attempt, and for the first time in over a year since Pedro Martinez scoffed at the ‘Curse’. The right-hander was 7-1 with a 1.44 ERA when he said, “Wake up the Bambino and let me face him — I’ll drill him in the “%#$,” but after the comment he managed only seven more winless starts, making it first time he did not win in seven straight starts since the first seven major league appearances as a rookie with the Dodgers.
2012 With their 6-2 victory, the Brewers beat LA at Chavez Ravine for the fourth consecutive day, making the Brew Crew the first visiting team to sweep a four-game series since the Rockies accomplished the feat in August, 1993. The victories also mark the first time the franchise has ever swept the Dodgers.
RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the year for the Dodgers and RHP Jon Gray (0-0, 0.00 ERA) does the same for Rockies. Buehler only pitched 36 2/3 innings in last year’s shortened regular season; he went 1-0 in eight starts. He beat the Braves in the NLCS and Tampa Bay in the World Series, though. Gray was 2-4 in the same number of starts last season, pitching just 2 1/3 innings more than Buehler.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1968 The Tigers trade left-hander Hank Aguirre to the Dodgers for a player to be named later, minor leaguer Fred Moulder. The All-Star southpaw, better known for being the worst hitter in major league history, will compile a .085 batting average during his 16-year major league career, striking out in an astounding 61% of his 388 at-bats. In his sole season with the Dodgers he appeared in 25 games, threw 39 innings, earned three saves and put up a .069 ERA.
1974 The Indians trade Pedro Guerrero to Dodgers for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen. The 17 year-old infielder/outfielder will compile a .309 batting average and will be named to the All-Star team five times during his 11 seasons with the team.
2008 Twenty minutes before their game, the Dodgers announce reliever Hong-Chih Kuo will start in place of Chad Billingsley, who in turn will be in the bullpen. The unusual move, made due to the threat of rain at the start of the contest, is also employed by the Giants with Merkin Valdez beginning the game on the mound and the announced starter, and eventual winner Tim Lincecum entering the game in the fourth inning.
MLB rated teams which got better between the end of last year’s truncated season and Opening Day and finds several who improved (in WaR) more than the Dodgers. But:
Speaking of an already-good NL West team that somehow managed to get better: the Dodgers. Part of this, obviously, was that when the offseason began, they didn’t really have a third baseman, Turner having gone off to a surprisingly lengthy free agency. (The Los Angeles third-base group, at the time seemingly led by Edwin Ríos, ranked 27th in November’s rankings. They’re now ninth.) Otherwise, the position-player group is so deep that the departures of longtime role players like Enrique Hernández and Joc Pederson didn’t really move the needle; this club is well-equipped to handle it.
There was another big add here, of course, and this time from a new face, as reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer signed with the Dodgers in February. In addition to the value he brings — he’s projected for 4.4 WAR himself — he takes some of the workload off others. David Price, for example, was projected to need to throw 144 innings back in November. Now, it’s only 62.
This was already clearly the best team of 2020. It’s almost unfair they’ve now gotten even better.
The Dodgers and Justin Turner are still a couple of years apart before they can make a deal. Turner, who’s 36, wants a four-year deal. The Dodgers, in part because he’s 36, don’t want to give him more than a two-year deal. MLB’s Jon Heyman reported on Tuesday that there are three teams beside the Dodgers expressing interest, although one of them, the Blue Jays, may have lost interest now that they’ve signed infielder Marcus Semien. The Braves and Brewers are likely the other two.
In other news, stupidity shut down Dodger Stadium for an hour this afternoon; approximately fifty anti-everything* people blocked an entrance to the Stadium where COVID-19 vaccinations were being performed.
*A post on social media described the demonstration as the “Scamdemic Protest/March.” It advised participants to “please refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs only.
“This is a sharing information protest and march against everything COVID, Vaccine, PCR Tests, Lockdowns, Masks, Fauci, Gates, Newsom, China, digital tracking, etc.”