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.”
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 visiting Dodgers ask LHP Julio Urias to keep the ball rolling toward a championship. All he’s done so far is go 4-0 this postseason with an ERA of 0.56 over four games, three in relief. He’ll face the Rays’ LHP Ryan Yarbrough to start; he went five innings in Game Three of the ALCS against the Astros and got the win, so he’s not necessarily filling the role of “opener,” but he might be pulled from the game early.
You may have heard that Justin Turner tied Duke Snider for most postseason career home runs for the Dodgers (remember, casual fans, that the Duke’s postseasons were limited to World Series games). Here are all of them:
Baseball history has many events on October 24, but none really includes the Dodgers or Rays except for 1972 when Jackie Robinson, weakened by heart disease complications and diabetes, dies of a heart attack in his North Stamford (CT) home. The 53 year-old nearly blind baseball pioneer and social activist’s death comes nine days after his appearance at the World Series, where he threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.
The Dodgers once more ask LHP Clayton Kershaw to be their ace and get them back to even in the series, which the Braves still lead 2-1 despite the bludgeoning they took yesterday. Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 14 postseason innings this year. The Braves hand the ball to yet another rookie (in nine postseason games they’ve started six rookie pitchers), a righthander named Bryse Wilson. This will be his first postseason appearance. He was 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA in six games in 2020, two of which were starts. It’s not expected that Wilson will be in the game very long, but he could be the reincarnation of Howard Ehmke. Who knows?
Let’s hope the Dodgers repeat yesterday’s first-inning exploits:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1981 With Dave Righetti, Ron Davis, and Goose Gossage combining to shut out Oakland, 4-0, the Yankees sweep the A’s to capture their thirty-third American League pennant. The Bronx Bombers will face the Dodgers in the World Series for the third time in the past five Fall Classics.
1988 In his only plate appearance in the Fall Classic, a limping Kirk Gibson, appearing as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Game 1, sends a two-out, 3-2 pitch from relief ace Dennis Eckersley over the right-field fence, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 victory over the A’s. The round-tripper marks the first time a World Series game ends on a come-from-behind home run in the final inning.
2008 In Game 5 of the NLCS, the visiting Phillies beat the Dodgers, 5-1, to win their first pennant since 1993. Southpaw Cole Hamels, the series MVP, hurls his third postseason gem, and Jimmy Rollins starts the Philadelphia attack with a leadoff home run to start the game.
2017 Twenty-nine years later to the day, Justin Turner follows Kirk Gibson into franchise folklore when he hits a postseason walk-off three-run home run in the 12th inning of the LA’s 4-1 victory over the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS. In 1988, a hobbled Kirk Gibson, in his only Fall Classic appearance, came off the bench to hit one of the most memorable round-trippers in World Series history, giving the Dodgers a come-from-behind victory against the A’s in Game 1.
RHP Dylan Bundy (6-3, 3.29 ERA) goes for the Angels while RHP Tony Gonsolin (1-2, 1.77 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers. Bundy has not been at his best in September: he’s got a 4.91 ERA in the four starts he’s made this month. Gonsolin’s start today may set him up to start Game Three of the Wild Card Series next week if one’s needed. Opponents have a 0.787 WHIP against him for the year, so how do you argue against him?
Here are JT’s two dingers from yesterday’s game:
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 Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 1.57 ERA) gets back to his starting role after an unexpected stint in relief of Dustin May after May’s foot injury last Thursday. He’ll face RHP Zach Davies (7-2, 2.48 ERA), who is apparently the changeup artist in all of baseball, using it to great effect: opponents are hitting .175 against it.
The best-of-three Wild Card Series, best-of-five Division Series and best-of-seven League Championship Series will each take place without any off-days in between games. Teams will have to decide whether to use the traditional five-man rotation, or utilize four starting pitchers, with the potential for as many as three of them pitching on short rest.
Each series will be preceded by at least one off-day, though more are possible depending on when other series are completed.
The 116th World Series is slated to start with Game 1 on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Globe Life Field in Arlington. A potential Game 7 is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The Dodgers have activated IF Justin Turner and optioned RHP Josh Sborz.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1946 In Brooklyn, a giant swarm of gnats engulfs Ebbets Field at the end of the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader. The nightcap is called due to the bothersome insects and the impending darkness, resulting in a 2-0 Dodger victory over the Cubs.
1950 At Ebbets Field, Cardinal starter Cloyd Boyer hurts his arm while warming up and is replaced by Red Munger. The reliever goes the distance, beating the Dodgers, 6-2, getting credit for a complete game, but not for a game started.
1978 Don Sutton, in front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. Los Angeles, with tonight’s attendance, becomes the major league first team in history to draw three million fans at home.
1995 Ozzie Smith takes part in the 1,554th twin killing of his career to set a new big league record for double plays. The Cardinals’ shortstop’s wizardry isn’t enough to prevent the Redbirds’ 7-6 loss to the Dodgers at Busch Stadium.
With six days rest LHP Julio Urias (2-0, 3.67 ERA) goes for the home team. He’ll face the D-Backs’ LHP Alex Young (1-1, 4.70 ERA), who will be making his fourth start as the replacement for an injured Madison Bumgarner. Urias has been “throwing his fastballs slower and his offspeed pitches faster than last year,” says MLB. In Young’s last start he gave up three runs on five hits over five innings.
The D-Backs traded their crusty relief pitcher Archie Bradley to the Reds over the weekend, so the Dodgers won’t have to face him anytime soon.
Here are the three home runs which the Dodgers hit on Sunday to set the NL record for most dingers in a month:
Roberts said Alex Wood will be activated today and in the bullpen. Dodgers will roll with Kershaw, Buehler, Urías, May and Gonsolin in the rotation.
1890 On Labor Day at Brooklyn’s Washington Park, the Bridegrooms, later to be known as the Dodgers, win all three games against Pittsburgh in the first tripleheader ever played. The home team sweeps the visiting Alleghenys, who will be renamed the Pirates next season, 10-9, 3-2, and 8-4.
1953 The Cardinals tie a major league mark, hitting five homers in a 12-5 loss to Brooklyn at Ebbets Field. The solo shots hit by Stan Musial, Harry Elliot, Rip Repulski, and Steve Bilko (2), all off starter Preacher Roe, aren’t enough to offset the Dodgers’ 17-hit attack, which includes six doubles but no round-trippers.
1969 At Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis ties the franchise record by hitting in 29 consecutive games with his second-inning single in LA’s 10-6 victory over New York. The mark was established by Zack Wheat in 1916.
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.