Oct 06

Waiting for the NLDS opponent

Turner has laid out the extent of his discussions with the Dodgers on a potential extension. Outside of a brief conversation before last winter’s lockout that didn’t get into specifics, the two sides haven’t had much in terms of talks. Some of that is the Dodgers’ preference and some Turner’s. The Dodgers told Turner shortly before the season they wouldn’t be making him an offer before Opening Day. Turner, who said he was open to talks, stated his preference was to not negotiate during the season.

— The Athletic

Oh, and that “Turner wants to play on the East Coast business?”

There was also a perception that Turner was not happy being sent to the West Coast and would not likely sign a long-term deal to stay out west. A Florida native, Turner played college baseball at North Carolina State where he met his wife, Kristen, who is also an East Coast native.

Turner acknowledges that he helped create that perception.

“I originally said that so I wouldn’t necessarily get traded to certain places. I was trying to control as much as I could – because a lot of it was out of my control,” he said. “Yeah, I’m an East Coast guy. But with free agency, you get a chance to pick and control it as much as you can in your entire career. I’m open to anything really. Everything is in play.

“That was more for a trade and an extension in a place I didn’t really know. I didn’t want to get traded and then get offered an extension right away and not know anything about the city and stuff. … To me, that (decision) would be all based off money and that’s not how I want to make my decision. Obviously, that’s a factor but a lot more goes into it. I think it was more of that.

“Yeah, I’m from the East Coast. Would I like to go back? Sure. But I think L.A.’s been really good to me.”

The Orange County Register

Also from The Athletic:

This much is already clear. The Dodgers made history this season. Regardless of what happens once the Dodgers open the NLDS next Tuesday against either the Mets or the Padres, this group will remain the comparison for the elite clubs should they ever encroach upon such heights.

“Winning 100 games is crazy,” Turner said. “The fact that we won 111 is wild.”

But that legacy will be settled in the crapshoot of October. The 116-win 2001 Mariners got bounced in the ALCS. Cleveland won 111 games in 1954, only to get swept out of the World Series. Those 1906 Cubs? They lost the series in six games. And of the 110-win clubs that wound up raising the trophy, only one — the 1998 Yankees — survived three rounds of the postseason to do so.

That format shifts again this October. Despite their brush with history, the Dodgers entered Wednesday with the third-best odds (14.4 percent) of winning the World Series, according to FanGraphs. Should the Mets advance past the Padres in the new Wild Card Series, the Dodgers will face a 100-win club in the first round for the second consecutive year.

This is the gauntlet ahead, and it’s one Roberts embraces.

“Fans don’t want to hear that,” he said. “Media doesn’t want to hear that. They don’t care if you had to go four rounds or five rounds to get to the World Series. If the Dodgers don’t win this season, there’s a subset that’s going to feel that we choked, we aren’t a good team, it was a lost season. It doesn’t matter. That factual narrative isn’t going to change with some people, but that’s just noise for our guys.

“We can’t change that. We can’t change the structure. The structure is different than it was in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. This is where we’re at right now. We have to abide and play. Our guys aren’t going to make excuses. We have to win three series, and that’s what we expect to do.”

That’s the expectation the Dodgers have put on themselves. Questions or concerns about injuries and roster decisions aside, they’ve won the games. They’ve set the records. And once Tuesday arrives at Dodger Stadium, that washes away until it becomes the polish for whatever the end result is.

“First tournament’s over,” Freeman said. “Now the big tournament starts. No one cares what your numbers were or how many wins you have starting Tuesday. It’s the first one to 11 (wins).”

Aug 23

Game 122, 2022

Brewers at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: BSW, SPNLA

The Brewers send RHP Corbin Burnes (9-5, 2.48 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Tony Gonsolin (15-1, 2.12 ERA). Burnes is only two wins and 19 innings short of his record in last years’ Cy Young-winning season. He beat the Dodgers last week in Milwaukee, going 5 2/3 innings and giving up three runs on six hits. A day earlier Gonsolin beat the Brewers, going seven innings and giving up just two hits.

Jeff Passan of ESPN asks is Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner’s slide the prettiest play in baseball?

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 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.

Lineups when available.

Apr 09

Game Two, 2022

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10 PM PDT, TV: ATT SportsNet RM, SPNLA

The Dodgers hand the ball to RHP Tony Gonsolin, while the Rockies give it to Germán Márquez.

Oh look, another shiny thing the league instituted this season with little input from players.

This season, for the first time, Major League Baseball will store game balls in humidors at all 30 stadiums. Previously limited to 10 ballparks, most famously at Coors Field to counter the thin air in Colorado, the storage unit will be used across the board in attempt to standardize baseballs in different environments. The humidors were recommended in a 2018 study commissioned by MLB that examined home run rates.

The science is complicated. The effects are a mystery. And the unknown adds to the skepticism, frustration, and anger players have with Major League Baseball’s handling of the most fundamental part of the sport: the baseball.

“I’m sure it’ll mess up a lot of things,” Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner said this week. “They always come up with these ideas, but they don’t seem to pan out correctly. So, I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m sure something will happen and then halfway through the year there’ll be an adjustment made and whether we know it or not, I’m sure they’ll change it.”

Turner was referring to MLB’s recent history of changing the composition of its baseballs without notice — before, during, and after seasons.

Today 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).

Lineups when available.

Dec 03

Open Thread #3, 2021

As it stands, Max Scherzer and Corey Seager have left the Dodgers for greener pastures. Kenley Jansen may have found several teams willing to give him a longer term contract than the Dodgers are. They did re-sign Chris Taylor. Trea Turner can slide from second base to shortstop, where he’s played most of his MLB career. They’re hoping Max Muncy returns to full health, but he admitted earlier in the week that he’d torn his UCL in that last game and he wasn’t healing as quickly as he’d like.

They need starting pitching; right now they have Walker Buehler and Julio Urías. They need to re-sign Clayton Kershaw not just for sentimental reasons but because he’s still a very good starter. Their other starters include David Price and Tony Gonsolin and possibly newly-signed Andrew Heaney, whom they believe they can help improve and reduce his tendency to give up home runs.

Heaney has allowed home runs at a higher-than-average clip in three of the past four years, and he was among the game’s most homer-prone arms this past season. The former first-round pick allowed 2.01 HR per nine innings in 2021, a rate eclipsed by just five other hurlers (minimum 100 IP).

On the free agent market, the best starting pitching remaining includes Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Carlos Rodón. Trading for starters is another option, of course. And they’re waiting for Dustin May to rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery.

The lockout precludes any activities by teams or players until a new collective bargaining agreement is completed, so we may be in limbo for a while.