Saturday, October 15, 2022

NLDS Game 4 Thread: Oct 15 @ Padres, 6.37p

Anderson vs. Musgrove.

A 22-game lead in the regular season doesn't matter for shit, now that we've dropped two straight in a best-of-five series, and are facing an elimination game way earlier than we had expected in this postseason. David is actually going to slay Goliath. The Dodgers hadn't really been challenged all year during the regular season, so let's see how this team fares when the stakes are actually meaningful and our backs are against the wall.

That said, I'm not expecting much. Our bats are now 0-for-17 in the last two games, and we have not scored a run against this Padres bullpen in the entire series. It's easy to point the finger at Will Smith, 0-for-4 last night and choker in multiple run-scoring opportunities this whole series. But the fact of the matter is that Chris Taylor (0-for-4 with 2 Ks) isn't much of a replacement for the listless Cody Bellinger; Mookie Betts (1-for-3 last night) is batting .182 in leadoff; Justin Turner is batting .100 this series; and Trayce Thompson (1-for 3, batting .111) is also punchless.

Dodgers pitchers are getting maligned here, especialy with Tony Gonsolin's four-out starting performance in Game 3. But six arms only let two runs cross the plate last night in Game 3. This is about our lack of offensive performance when the presure is on--and we can't score more than one run all game.

This is bad. I'm still drunk while writing this post. I'll probably stay this way through Game 4.

Friday, October 14, 2022

NLDS Game 3 Thread: Oct 14 @ Padres, 5.30p

Not the rally fowl we needed in Game 2.

Tony Gonsolin vs. Blake Snell.

After a deflating Game 2 home loss, the Dodgers head down to Petco Park with the potential to not play another game at Dodger Stadium this year. It's that terrifying, Dodger fans! And though I'm actually feeling more zen than I did before Game 1, I can't say that I'm feeling very positive.

Mookie Betts is 1-for-8 this series in the leadoff spot. Trea Turner is making errors or bad judgment calls in the field. Will Smith choked in two key situations to score runs in Game 2. Trayce Thompson and Cody Bellinger are chasing each other for the "most strikeouts" title. And the Dodgers went 0-for-8 with RISP in Game 2, and are 3-for-16 in this series.

Yes, our bullpen has been pretty sharp, with the exception of Brusdar Graterol, who needed a lucky comebacker and out at home to prevent further damage from his one-dimensional performance on Wednesday. But the Padres bullpen has been better, keeping us scoreless across both games. We've now ceded the advantage of the Wild Card round bye as well as home-field advantage. And we're having to start a guy who won't even last five innings, given his recent return from the IL.

I'm feeling like our goose is already cooked. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

NLDS Game 2 Thread: Oct 12 vs. Padres, 5.37p

The Dodgers' Chris Martin seals the NLDS Game 1 victory, as Padres tears rain from the heavens. (hat tip, SoSG AC)

Clayton Kershaw vs. Yu Darvish.

The Dodgers eked out a win in NLDS Game 1, which was critical not only because the Game 1 winners go on to win the five-game series 71% of the time, but also because that was the only game in which the Padres' rotation was hampered by the Wild Card round last week against the Mets. But with this game, the Padres' rotation flips former Dodger Yu Darvish, who was dominant against the Mets in WC Game 1 (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 Ks and 0 BB). Darvish is 3-5 against the Dodgers in 10 starts, with a 2.47 ERA.

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the Dodgers, and he is 23-9 lifetime against the Padres across 45 career starts, with a 2.03 ERA. Kershaw will have the weight of his recently-redeemed postseason record, blah blah blah. I'm worried less about Kersh and more about the six-through-nine in this lineup, who combined for a shitty 1-for-13 with 5 Ks in NLDS Game 1 (Bellinger, who had 2 Ks, looked absolutely lost up there).

Look, I know all the talk is about the Dodgers owning the Padres after going 14-5 against them this season. But NLDS Game 1 evidences that the Padres are a lot more talented than that record would show. We've got to have our guard up--and that means taking good at bats (I'm talking to you, Cody).

I don't want to go to Petco Park with a split. Let's get this Game 2 win, Dodgers!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Post-NLDS Game 1: Clevinger Bails Out The Dodgers

This photo is not from this game, because Fernando Tatis is suspended.


Oh sure, the Dodgers took Game 1. But that was only because the Padres, crippled by the Wild Card Round, had to pitch Mike Clevinger in Game 1. Clevinger gave up five runs in his three innings of work, and it was very fortunate that those five runs held up, because we were shit against the San Diego bullpen.

Julio Urias was good, but not great, in this Game 1 start. Give innings, but 3 ER: not a quality start for him, especially watching his mortality in the fifth (his final inning). Evan Phillips came in for a high-leverage sixth inning, and Doc made the right choices with Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol, and Chris Martin to close out the win.

Credit Trea Turner with his first-inning solo HR for opening this up; Will Smith with two huge doubles and an RBI; and Max Muncy and Gavin Lux for RBIs on their own. But Mookie Betts was 0-for-4; Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger were 0-for-3--and we couldn't do anything against the four Padres relievers that came in from the third inning onward.

That's going to have to change if we want to progress in this postseason. For now, I'm going to drink my last beer...and make sure I have enough for tomorrow and the rest of this series.

2022 NLDS Game 1: Oct 11 vs. Padres, 6.37p

Julio Urias vs. Mike Clevinger.

The Dodgers watched the Mets and Padres play a full three-game series, and now host San Diego in a best-of-five series. All the talk has been about how the Dodgers are 14-5 against the Padres this year, but this Padres team looked a lot better versus a 101-win New York Mets team: Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto each batted .333 at the top of the lineup; Trent Grisham mashed a 1.917 OPS (and a .500 batting average) from the eight-hole; and even Josh Bell woke up his power bat (Manny Machado, as well). Not to mention, both Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove had great starts for the Padres in their two victories.

The Dodgers? Well, they've been taking some time off, which means that our pitchers are rested, but our bats may be rusty. And don't forget that Max Muncy, though hot at the end of the season, ended the year batting .196; Cody Bellinger slumped his way to a .210 batting average; and Chris Taylor, if he makes the postseason roster, is battling some neck issues.

Yeah, I'm pretty nervous. I may be at the game. Or I might be biting my nails at home for this one.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Urias To Start Game 1; Kershaw To Start Game 2

With today's news that Urias will start Game 1, the Dodgers are basically going all-in on winning these first two games at home. If the series goes long, Kershaw's only appearance of the series would be Game 2 without pushing him on short rest--not a good option given his injury issues this season.

Kershaw is 12-3 this year with a 2.28 ERA. Kershaw is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA this year across two starts versus the Padres; he is 23-9 with a 2.03 ERA career against San Diego (45 starts).

Urias, 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA against the Padres this season, is 6-1 with a 2.19 ERA against San Diego across 15 lifetime appearances (10 starts). Urias, a Cy Young contender this year at 17-7 this year, definitely deserves the Game 1 start.

But man, I'm nervous.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

So, Padres It Is.

Padres win Wild Card Game 3, 6-0

I suppose this is the better of the two possible NDLS opponent outcomes, given our 14-5 record against them this season. And if nothing else, this makes the travel schedule a bit easier--especially important if the NLDS goes long, since there is no travel day between Game 4 and Game 5.

But my hope is that it doesn't get that far. Joe Musgrove, inspected Sunday but not found to have any illicit substances on him, was masterful in shutting down a potent Mets lineup that lit up the Padres on Saturday night. Yu Darvish looked good in Game 1. And Josh Bell finally awakened in this series.

The Dodgers have been playing simulated games just to stay fresh. I suppose the layoff was good for our starting pitchers (and given the alternative of playing a best-of-three series, I'm glad we had a bye). But this isn't going to be an easy series.

I'm nervous.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Games 157-162 Thread: Sept 30-Oct 5 vs. Rockies

Fri 30 7p: Kershaw vs. Kuhl
Sat 1 6p: Grove vs. Freeland
Sun 2 1p: Anderson vs. Marquez
Mon 3 7p: Gonsolin vs. TBD
Tue 4 7p: Urias vs. TBD
Wed 5 1.20p: Kershaw vs. TBD

Baseball is all about tradition, and now it's time for the traditional end-of-season six-game series. The Dodgers' magic number for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the World Series, is down to 1 (with six games to play), so my guess is that the rotation doesn't exactly play out as planned. I'm looking forward to seeing how Tony Gonsolin does on Monday in his return from the IL.

This series will also be the last audition for Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, Cody Bellinger, and Joey Gallo; it's likely that only two of those four will make the postseason roster (only Mookie Betts is a solid outfield lock), with the other two being cut (hopefully not like the movie poster up there). But knowing the Dodgers, there will be more injuries between the end of September to the final postseason game--so we've gotta take a close look at everyone this series. Buckle up, Dodger fans!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Games 154-156 Thread: Sept 27-29 @ Padres

The Padres were hunting for a ring. Tatis was focused on ringworm.

Tue 27: Anderson vs. Snell
Wed 28: Urias vs. Musgrove
Thu 29: TBD vs TBD

The Padres may not be in the divisional race anymore (the 2022 NL West Champion Dodgers are 21 games ahead of the Padres), but they're still fighting for their second wild-card position, only 1.5 games ahead of the Phillies (who have the third WC spot) and 3 games ahead of the Brewers. But you wouldn't know that from watching the play of heralded trade-deadline pickup Juan Soto, whose BA hasn't suffered much since being acquired from the Nationals (.242 vs .246), but whose OPS+ has dropped from 158 (his career average) to 136 with San Diego.

Manny Machado is still mashing--his BA and OPS have both increased since Soto has joined the San Diego lineup. And then there's Fernando Tatis Jr., who is suspended.

The Dodgers have nine games left to tinker with pitching options. Recent momentum from Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger at the plate is encouraging. But it's the arms which are going to be the question mark going into the 2022 postseason.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Games 151-153 Thread: Sep 23-25 vs. Cardinals

Fri 23 7p: Heaney vs. Quintana
Sat 24 6p: Kershaw vs. Montgomery
Sun 25 1p: Anderson vs. Wainwright

This series marks the return of all-time Dodger great Albert Pujols, who, after his legendary stint with the Dodgers, opted to play out one final year with the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols is on 698 home runs (fourth all-time), and there is a chance he can get to 700 while playing at Chavez Ravine--which would be entirely fitting for the future Hall of Famer. (It is widely rumored that Pujols, always generous, may opt to give St. Louis a little bit of love on his HOF plaque, given that the Dodgers already have so much HOF representation.)

St Louis leads the NL Central by 7.5 games--but as the NL division leader with the weakest record, the Cardinals will likely have to play in the Wild Card Round before the NLDS. Should they advance, there's a chance these two teams could meet in the NLCS. Better not show the entire hand this series, right?

Welcome back to Dodger Stadium, Tio Albert!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Games 146-150 Thread: Sep 19-22 vs. D'backs

Mon 19 7p: Kershaw vs. Kelly
Tue 20 12p: TBD vs TBD
Tue 20 7p: TBD vs TBD
Wed 21 7p: May vs. TBD
Thu 22 7p: Urias vs. TBD

Five games in four days? Is that any way to reward the 2022 NL West Champion Dodgers after sweeping the Giants in San Francisco, finishing the season with an astounding 15-4 record against the team that edged us out for the divisional title last year?

Luckily, the Dodgers are a stratospheric 46-16 against the NL West this year, including a 11-3 record against the Diamondbacks. Our starting pitchers for this extended series aren't called just yet, particularly for that day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. But the Dodgers still have a six-game lead for the best record in baseball with 17 games left to play. I'd like to see us continue to smush some sad snakes here at home.

Oh, and I'll be at the Stadium on Wednesday evening; hit me up if you want to say hi!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Games 143-145 Thread: Sep 16-18 @ Giants

Fri 16 7.15p: May vs. Webb
Sat 17 6p: Urias vs. TBD
Sun 18 4p: Heaney vs. Cobb

Fresh off a stinging walk-off loss on Wednesday in Arizona, the already-crowned 2022 National League West Champion Dodgers will be up for a weekend series in San Francisco that doesn't have much impact on the playoff races. However, it is interesting to think that last year, these two rival squads were neck and neck gunning for the NL West title...and this year, the 29.5-game gap between the two teams is massive. The Giants are indeed...far behind.

Sure, the Giants replaced Oyster Pubes wth Joey Bart (batting .230 in the nine-hole). But they did pick up that pearl necklace-wearing former Dodger as well (he's batting .268 this season). And there's plenty of stories about how the Giants will make a run for Aaron Judge at year's end, in which case, the rivalry will be different. For this weekend, though, I'm hoping for the revitalized Max Muncy (who finally crested the .200 mark for the frist time Tuesday, before going 0-for-5 in Wednesday's loss) to deposit a couple of balls in the ocean.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Los Angeles Dodgers, 2022 NL West Champions

Step one to restoring the crown.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Games 140-142 Thread: Sep 12-14 @ D'backs

Mon 12: Anderson vs. Nelson
Tue 13: Kershaw vs. Kelly
Wed 14: TBD vs. TBD
all games at 6.40p

After winning two of three against the Padres this past weekend, the Dodgers have a 20-game lead and have officially clinched a playoff berth. But now, it takes two: Two more wins (or Padres losses), and the NL West Divisional crown is in order, for the ninth time in ten years. The Dodgers' +310 run differential is the most in the majors by over 100 runs. And in the Sunday Padres game, even Chris Taylor had a home run (though Justin Turner's grand slam was the dagger)--and even more amazing, Cody Bellinger had a base hit (snapping a 0-for-24 streak).

Bellinger is batting .200. Muncy is batting .197. Can both of them get over Mendoza by the end of the year?

Friday, September 09, 2022

Games 137-139 Thread: Sep 9-11 @ Padres

Fri Sep 9 6.40p: May vs. Clevinger
Sat Sep 10 5.40p: Urias vs. Snell
Sun Sep 11 1.10p: Heaney vs. Musgrove

With the Dodgers' magic number at a tantalizingly low six, there's a small chance we can blow into Petco Park and exit the weekend 2022 NL West Champs. Standing in the way are the second-place Padres, 19 games behind, including this cast of characters:

  • Manny Machado, whose MLB top-10 OPS this year (.894) is impressive (albeit behind Mookie Betts' .911 and Freddie Freeman's .908), but sometimes lackadaisical attitude caused a divorce from the Dodgers after his 2018 end-of-season rental;
  • Blake Snell, whose 2020 World Series Game 6 start was proceeding swimmingly against the Dodgers, until Rays coach Kevin Cash beheaded Snell's outing, leading to the Dodgers' game and series victory that evening;
  • Mike Clevinger, who died last Sunday against the Dodgers (3.1 IP, 5 ER), which the Dodgers went on to win 9-4;
  • Juan Soto, whose divorce from the Nationals almost brought him to Los Angeles--but instead he joined the Padres and also went 0-fer in two of the three series games last week;
  • Sean Manaea, who won't be pitching in this three-game series, but was beheaded by the Dodgers in his 12-1 loss last weekend (he lasted only 4.1 IP, giving up 8 ER)
  • Yu Darvish, who also won't be pitching in this three-game series, and survived his game last week in LA, helping the Padres to a 7-1 victory and their only win of that series.

So let's recap: Divorce, beheaded, died. Divorce, beheaded, survived. Hmm. That sounds pretty catchy, like one could sing along? Let's see if the Dodgers can bust through the two doors of Petco Park and grab some wins here.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Games 134-136 Thread: Sep 5 - 7 vs. Giants

Mon Sep 5 7p: Heaney vs. Webb
Tue Sep 6 7p: Anderson vs. TBD
Wed Sep 7 1p: Kershaw vs. Cobb

This Game Thread is late.

But the Giants are still lame.

photo from San Jose Mercury News; Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group, May 23, 2022

Friday, September 02, 2022

Games 131-133 Thread: Sept 2-4 vs. Padres

Fri Sep 2 7p: May vs. Darvish
Sat Sep 3 6p: Urias vs. Manaea
Sun Sep 4 4p: Heaney vs. Clevinger

The Dodgers just dropped two of three to the second-best team in the National League, but Dodger Nation isn't freaking out just yet. But with the 18-games-back Padres checking in for what should have been a divisional showdown (had they not been a full EIGHTEEN GAMES BACK, if you catch my drift), there's a chance that this series could tighten the Dodgers' sphincters a bit more than they are currently puckered.

Even still, it's three games with Manny Machado and Juan Soto, not to mention...oh wait, no, he's suspended for steroid usage.

Man, it's nice to have an 18-game divisional lead.

Go Dodgers!


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Post-Game 128 Thread: Dave Roberts Just Clowned the Mets


In the first game of an incredibly over-hyped three-game series featuring the best two teams in the National League, the Dodgers eked out a gritty 4-3 win over the Mets mostly due to three RBI from Gavin Lux across two clutch AB. But that wasn't the full story.

Dodger Manager Dave Roberts, watching his team battle back and scratch out the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, was entering the ninth inning having spent starter Andrew Heaney, journeyman Heath Hembree, and bullpen stalwarts Alex Vesia and Evan Phillips. Most of us Dodger fans were expecting Phillips to go two frames; or possibly hold our breaths (and our scrotums) to watch Craig Kimbrel try and close out the ninth.

Nope. Roberts sent out Jake Reed to the mound.

Jake Reed had a 9.00 ERA across 9 IP this year, including five games with the Mets (who dumped him on July 10, allowing the Dodgers to claim him on waivers). In Reed's three games with the Dodgers, he'd pitched 2.2 IP and given up 5 H and 1 ER. Not exactly a great audition, right? But it was good enough to convince Roberts to send him out there to finish the game.

That was insane.

What was even more insane was...Reed actually delivered the victory. Leadoff single to Eduardo Escobar, yikes. Then Reed induces Daniel Vogelbach to GIDP to a shifted Max Muncy (credit Roberts with the shift, as well!), and then gets Brandon Nimmo to hit a comebacker for the final out.

Nice performance from Reed, of course. But what a ballsy move by Roberts, who not only saved the rest of his bullpen arms either for the next two games, or down the late-season stretch--he also basically told the Mets, "I can beat you, even with the dregs of my team. And if I can't? I don't care."

And Roberts was right. It was a crazy move, but just so crazy that it might work...and it did! Amazing.

Buck Showalter has got to be steamed. The capacity crowd at Citi Field must have been pissed off.

And we may lose tonight to Jacob deGrom, as the betting lines are indicating; and then who knows on Thursday, for Clayton Kershaw's return from the IL.

But Dave Roberts doesn't care. He's going to be bold, anyway.


Game Thread for the rest of the Mets series is here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Games 128-130 Thread: Aug 30 - Sep 1 @ Mets

Tue 30 4p: Heaney vs. Walker
Wed 31 4p: Anderson vs. deGrom
Thu 1 1p: Kershaw vs. Bassitt

lolMets no longer? The Mets and Dodgers split four in Los Angeles back in early June, and that was before the Mets got Jacob deGrom back (we'll see him on Wednesday). But it's a different scene now in New York. While the YankMes across town are suffering from tattoo-induced leg infections, the Mets are off to the second-best record in the majors (tied with Houston), behind only the Dodgers' blistering 89-38 record. And we're seeing three All-Stars in this series (and that excludes Max Scherzer).

On top of that, the Mets are hungry, trying to stave off a Braves team that is nipping at their heels (three games back of the division lead). The Dodgers played extra innings Monday in Miami and are showing up to Queens late, not to mention we just lost Tony Gonsolin to the IL. I reckon this series doesn't bode well for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers' magic number, entering this series, is 15.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Games 124-127: Aug 26-29 @ Marlins

Fri 26 3.30p: Anderson vs. TBD
Sat 27 3p: May vs. Alcantara
Sun 28 9a: Urias vs. Cabrera
Mon 29 3.30p: Gonsolin vs. Lopez

Four games against the Fish. Sure, it would be exciting to look ahead to that Saturday game against Sandy Alcantara again; or to think about how we decrease our magic number from 19 (thanks to a totally insane 19.5-game lead over the Juan-Soto-fortified, Fernando-Tatis-"enhanced" Padres).

But instead, shouldn't we be Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables? Because, according to this Four Fish book, we have a damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants. Just three decades ago, nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today, rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex marketplace. Four Fish offers a way for us to move toward a future in which healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.

Nah, I'd rather just watch these games against the Marlins.

And eat some more sushi.