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.