Thursday, September 17, 2020

Series Thread (Games 41-44): Sept 17-20 @ Rockies

Thu 9.17 5.30p: Urias vs. Freeland
Fri 9.18 5p: TBD vs. Castellani
Sat 9.19 5p: Kershaw vs. TBD
Sun 9.20 12n: Gonsolin vs. Senzatela

Hot off of another series win in San Diego, the Dodgers now travel to Colorado for their last road series of the "season". It would be great to get some bats working here, especially since our bullpen is beleaguered (Kenley Jansen: shaky; Caleb Ferguson: injured; Joe Kelly: pouting; etc.). Max Muncy is right below the Mendoza line at .199, and I have a feeling he's due. Joc Pederson (.174) and Gavin Lux (.152), I'm not so sure. Nothing like four games @ Coors Field to get some Dingers going!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

PLAYOFFS BABY

Monday, September 14, 2020

Series Thread (Games 48-50):Sept 14-16 @ Padres

It's a heavyweight matchup.

Mon 9.14 6p: Kershaw vs. Lamet
Tue 9.15 6p: TBD vs. TBD
Wed 9.16 1p: TBD vs. TBD

In a first for this blog, I'm going to write the words "this series between the Dodgers and Padres is a heavyweight matchup." What seemed like a ridiculous statement in any of the blog's 14 years of existence is now suddenly realistic, a by-product of a coronavirus-shortened season as well as the potent powers of Fernando Tatis Jr. and ephemeral Dodger Manny Machado. The Padres are only 2.5 games behind the Dodgers with 13 games to play, with both teams having beaten up on the NL West (LA is 22-11, SD is 19-13), but their head-to-head record is pretty balanced (LA 4 games to SD 3). Tatis is tied with Dodger Mookie Betts for the NL home run lead (15), with both in the conversation for NL MVP.

And the Padres meet the Dodgers with multiple starters sidelined (Buehler, May), not to mention continued offensive struggles from Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger (whom I hope are just starting slow, but whom are running out of time here). The one positive note is Will Smith, who has lit it up recently to provide some pop behind the plate. But of course Will Smith is rocking it now; after all, we're talking about the Wild Wild West.

Holy smokes, that video doesn't hold up well.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Series Thread (Games 46-47): Sept 12-13 vs. Asterisks

Sat 9/12 5p: Urias vs. Valdez
Sun 9/13 5p: TBD vs. Tiny Head

Spectrum SportsNet Dodgers recently re-aired 2017 WS Game 1 and it was disgusting, the pre-game interview with Asterisks manager A.J. Hinch saying how proud he was to get to the World Series in three years through all that hard work. He didn't mention the cheating, the trash can banging, the likely under-jersey buzzing. Those smug fuckers. I couldn't even watch.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are limping into the final quarter of the season. The starters, alreday depleted by the losses of Walker Buehler (IL with a persistent blister) and Dustin May (comebacker which hit him on the ankle), also have to own up that their conssitent short outings have taxed the bullpen, which is now starting to fray a bit. We won our last series over Colorado only with two comeback victories and some strokes of fate (Rockies running through stop signs or making fielding errors). The Asterisks won't have Joe Kelly throwing at them this time, so they might be more ready for revenge.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Series Thread (Games 43-45): Sept 8-10 @ Snakes

Vin Scully's 1988 World Series ring can be yours for a mere $100,000-$300,000 (projected winning bid).

Mon, 6:30p: Walker Buehler vs Luke Weaver
Tues, 6:30p: Clayton Kershaw vs Taylor Clarke
Wed, 6:30p: Dustin May vs Madison Bumgarner

The invincible Dodgers have been felled, at least temporarily, by the sub-.500 Rockies. Colorado's series win marks the first series the Dodgers have dropped this season. Fortunately, providence has us visiting the hapless Snakes after we swept them at home last week. Can the $220 million-payroll Dodgers repeat the feat? Or will Madison Bumgarner dig deep and find his Dodger-killing form in a rare bright spot for the Diamondbacks?

Friday, September 04, 2020

Series Thread (Games 40-42): Sept 4-6 vs. Rockies

Fri 9.4 6.30p: May vs. Senzatela
Sat 9.5 6p: Gonsolin vs. Márquez
Sun 9.6 7p: Urias vs. TBD

Two-thirds of the way through this "season" now, and the Dodgers have opened up a six-game lead on the Padres, thanks to winning 12 of their last 14 games. Clayton Kershaw passed 2,500 career strikeouts last night; Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Kike Hernandez have all clawed their way over a .200 batting average; and Mookie Betts and Corey Seager continue to be red-hot. Speaking of red-hot, Los Angeles is going to be beastly this weekend. No better time to stay indoors and watch these games!

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Series Thread (Games 37-39): Sep 1-3 vs. D'backs

Tues 9/1: Urias vs. Young
Wed 9/2: Kershaw vs. TBD
Thu 9/3: TBD vs TBD
All games 6.40p

Home sweet home come the Dodgers, fresh off a prolific August in which they hit a NL-record 57 home runs (remember: we're playing with the designated hitter this year, so it's not exactly apples-to-apples). And here to greet them are the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks, who are probably just happy to not be playing indoors where COVID-19 can flourish. That's all I got right now, sorry. Rough week at work.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Farewell, Chicken Strips

The Dodgers just traded Ross Stripling to the third-place Toronto Blue Jays, in exchange for two players to be named later. If this trade was based on weight, one might think this was a sly attempt of Andrew Friedman to re-obtain Hyun-Jin Ryu. However, I think it will actually end up to be two separate players.

Across five seasons with the Dodgers, Stripling went 23-25 with a 3.68 ERA, however 2020 was his Dodgers' nadir: 5.61 ERA across seven games, and a 78 ERA+ (in no other year was he below 100, with a career ERA+ average of 110). His career WAR is 3.9 but that includes a -0.8 this season. Stripling made the All-Star Game in 2018.

All the best, Ross!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Series Thread (Games 34-36): August 28-30 @ Rangers

Fri 8.28 5p: May vs. Minor
Sat 8.29 4p: Stripling vs. Lynn
Sun 8.30 11.30a: Gonsolin vs. Gibson

This year, a new era for the Texas Rangers begins with the opening of Globe Life Field in Arlington. According to the Rangers' website, "the beautiful baseball-only facility serves as the centerpiece of a 270-acre complex which solidifies Arlington, Texas as an entertainment giant in the Southwest." Except no fan is able to attend a game this year! COVID-19 clearly threw a spanner in the works here, but to be fair, naming your new baseball park "Globe Life Field" when the "old", now multi-purpose field is called "Globe Life Park", is really frickin' confusing. All in the name of retractable roofs, and air conditioning.

The Rangers are 11-19 this season and sit two games ahead of the bottom-feeding Angels in the AL West. They're 1-9 over their last 10, whereas the Dodgers have won 10 of their last 12. And the Dodgers are gifting Texas with our presence on Jackie Robinson Day, which really should have been a home game for us. Everything just seems weird about this, right?

Words from Jackie Robinson Narrated by Mookie Betts

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Series Thread (Games 31-33): Aug 25-27 @ Giants

The Giants DFAd Hunter Pence on Sunday (.096 average), but he already hurt Johnny Cueto on August 8 by spoiling his no-hitter bid. On Tuesday, there will be no Hunter Pence. Is this Cueto's time for Cueto's first no-hitter?!

Tues 8/25 6:45p: Urias vs. Cueto
Wed 8/26 6.45p: Kerhsaw vs. Gausman
Thu 8/27 5p: Buehler vs. Webb

Halfway through the season, and the Dodgers are 22-8 (best record in baseball) with a league-high four game lead over their closest opponent. But those statistics are biased seeing how this year's geographically-managed schedule forbids us from playing anyone out of either the NL or AL West. So it's way too early to get cocky--thirty games in may be halfway through this insane MLB season, but there's still plenty of time for storylines to change.

Which brings us to this series in San Francisco, where the Giants play better (they're 8-6 at home vs. a 6-10 record on the road) and the seagulls can defacate on any of the few fans willing to embarrass themselves with a cardboard cutout (to be fair, they're only $99 each, a discount to the Dodgers' pricing). I'd like to get out of this series without getting shit on, either. In that way, at least, Hunter Pence is way ahead of everyone.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Series Thread (Games 28-30): Aug 21-23 vs Rockies

Fri 6.30p: Walker Buehler vs. Jon Gray
Sat 6p: Dustin May vs. Kyle Freeland
Sun 1p: Ross Stripling vs. Antonio Senzatela

The Rockies were leading the NL West for a while there, before being overtaken by San Diego (four-game win streak, coupled with Colorado's four-game loss streak). Meanwhile, the Dodgers, boosted by Clayton Kershaw's excellent performance yesterday, have now gone all nine series without a series loss. This one looks to be scary on paper, though, with both Buehler and Stripling struggling to delivery quality starts.

On the flipside, being back at home might be the perfect place for Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy to try and break the Mendoza line. Let's see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

"Series" Thread (Games 26-27): Aug 19-20 @ Mariners

Wed 6.30p: Julio Urias vs. Taijuan Walker
Thu 4p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Yusei Kikuchi

Come, as you are, to Seattle. The Dodgers come with the major's best win streak (at seven games), against the team with the second-worst loss streak (also at seven games), an opponent with whom we should be comfortable by now. The Dodgers have won both slugfests and pitching duels, and little brother Corey (4-for-8, 4 RBI) seems to be barely outplaying his brother Kyle (also 4-for-8, with 3 RBI).

Not to mention our lineup, carrying Mookie Betts in the outfield; swear, he don't have a gun. It just seems that way after outfield assists like these (July 31, 2020):

Dodgers have a four-game lead in the NL West and seem unstoppable. No grungy nightclubs while up there, boys.

Monday, August 17, 2020

"Series" Thread (Games 24-25): Aug 17-18 vs. Mariners

Surely all this has to come crashing down, right?

Mon 8.17 6.30p: Ross Stripling (3-1, 3.97) vs. Justin Dunn (1-1, 4.85)
Tue 8.18 4p: Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 0.00) vs. Marco Gonzalez (2-2, 3.97)

The Dodgers have won five in a row, including this weekend's sweep of the Angels on the road. Sunday's win even overcame some early game baserunning blunders by breaking out the whupping sticks for another four home runs (Dodgers lead the league with 43 HR). The Dodgers' +60 run differential is almost twice as much as the #2 team (Twins and Yankees, both tied at +35). And even resident LAT grump Dylan Hernandez posted a nice valentine column on the impact of Mookie Betts.

I honestly don't know what to think here. Years of disappointment have me steeled to what's to come. But here we are, almost halfway through the shortened season, and the Dodgers actually look...pretty good. I know this can't last, and honestly, I'm a little scared to even have a shred of happiness over what's transpired so far.

I guess you can say, I've been Gonsolin, being down don't bother me.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Series Thread (Games 21-23): Aug 14-16 @ Angels

Congrats on your latest Silver Slugger, Mookie! (Better make a macro for that line.)


Fri, 6:30p: Clayton Kershaw vs Patrick Sandoval
Sat, 6:30p: Walker Buehler vs Andrew Heaney
Sun, 1p: Dustin May vs Julio Teheran

So, Mike Trout. Best player in baseball. Hands down. I'm a certified Mookiehead and in awe of Aaron Judge, but Trout's dominance is indisputable.

The rest of the Angels? Well, put it this way: Arte Moreno didn't think adding Ross Stripling to his team "would make much of a difference." The Angels' pitching staff has a 4.54 ERA, 22nd in MLB.

But! Do the Dodgers play the Angels well? They do not. I'm not going to look up stats to back up my totally irrational hunch; just trust me on this one. But we have our top three pitchers going and Mookie and A.J. Pollack (!) carrying the offense. But, Mike Trout HEAD EXPLODES

Monday, August 10, 2020

Series Thread (Games 17-20): August 10-13 vs. Padres

 

The Dodgers are mashing like it's Home Run Derby (which is canceled this year--probably a good thing until they figure out how to manage those insanely wide fan sections down the first base line (field level is especially absurd))

Mon 8/10: Dustin May (1-0, 2.63) vs. Garrett Richards (0-1. 4.60)
Tues 8/11: Ross Stripling (3-0, 4.00) vs. Luis Perdomo (0-0, 5.40)
Wed 8/12: Julio Urias (1-0, 2.40) vs. Zach Davies (2-1. 2.87)
Thu 8/13: Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 3.60) vs. Chris Paddack (2-1, 3.18)
All games @6.30p

Two late-inning bombs on Sunday afternoon not only won us the game and series against San Francisco, but they extended the Dodgers' streak of games with a HR to 11 straight games, which the radio post-game show said led the majors. Despite their vaunted mashing, the interesting thing is that the Dodgers, with their fifth-best record in the majors, still haven't clicked on offense yet: Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Austin Barnes all sit with batting averages below .200, and only A.J. Pollock has an average above .300. Jack Harris of the LAT notes that the Dodgers are tied for the major league lead in HR, but are 14th in team batting average.

Is this a sign of fluky swinging for the fences giving us some positive breaks, while we wait for the engine to start firing on all cylinders? Will we be even more potent once the bats come back, and we're not so reliant upon the longball for victories? With over a quarter of this "season" already complete, there's not a lot of margin for much more error.

In positive news, we've seen Mookie Betts get his swing back, inching up from that .200 average in late July closer to .300 now (Mookie had a three-run HR yesterday, to match Pollock's three-run shot). I can't imagine Muncy and Bellinger bottom feeding for much longer (Barnes, on the other hand, gives me less hope). This four-game series with San Diego is due for one of those guys to break out.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Series Thread (Games 14-16): August 7-9 vs. Giants

Couldn't find a gif with the incredible CT3 throw to nail Padre tying run Trent Grisham at the plate for the final out. Instead, here's the happy aftermath celebration from his game-saving 93.3mph cannon shot.

Fri 8/7 6.30p: Julio Urias (1-0, 2.45) vs. Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 9.31)
Sat 8/8 6p: Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00) vs. Johnny Cueto (0-0. 4.97)
Sun 8/9 1p: Walker Buehler (0-0, 5.19) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-1, 5.27)

What would normally be a weak series between a powerhouse and punching bag, suddenly tees up with some excellent pitching matchups all weekend long. Kershaw vs. Cueto is the heavyweight title bout on the card, but it will also be interesting to see if Urias can go a little bit deeper than his five-inning start vs. SF in July; as well as if Buheler can shake his early-season jitters (5 ER in 8.2 IP).

This would normally be a perfect weekend series that I'd attend at least two games. Alas, I'm watching at home again. At least the beer is cheaper.

Let's go, Dodgers!

Monday, August 03, 2020

Series Thread (Games 11-13): Aug 3-5 @ Padres

Mookie sends love to you! And the Dodgers! But not to John Henry!


Mon, 6p: Walker Buehler vs Chris Paddack
Tues, 6p: Dustin May vs Dinelson Lamet
Wed, 6p: Ross Stripling vs Garrett Richards

Let's get the bad news out of the way: Commissioner Rob Manfred, who previously derided the World Series championship trophy that bears the title of his office, recently implied that players choosing to opt out this season for safety reasons were "quitters".

Also — brace yourselves — we're still stuck in the hellscape that is 2020.

The good news: The 2020 Dodgers (7-3) appear to be coalescing into a powerhouse. They lead the NL in home runs (17); the bullpen, while not perfect, has shown encouraging consistency; and Clayton Kershaw impressed in his season debut yesterday, which gives us hope that he and Walker Buehler can lead the rotation.

But let's not sleep on the Padres (6-4), who feature rising superstar Fernando Tatís Jr. and old friend Manny Machado. Not to mention starters that generally own us, although I can't understand for the life of me why they traded Dodger-killer Eric Lauer (to the Brewers).

In any case, Game On! Enjoy baseball (while it lasts)!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Series Thread (Games 7-10): July 30 - Aug 2 @ D'backs

Thu July 30 6.30p: Ross Striping (1-0, 1.29) vs. Robbie Ray (0-1, 7.36)
Fri July 31 6.30p: TBD vs. Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.25)
Sat Aug 1 5p: Julio Urias (0-0, 1.80) vs. Luke Weaver (0-1, 16.20)
Sun Aug 2 1p: TBD vs. Merrill Kelly (1-0, 1.17)

Fresh off a sweep of the Cheaters in Houston, the Dodgers take their 4-2, third-place record into the Arizona desert to see if we can wake some of these bats up. Besides Justin Turner's team-leading .333 average (Corey Seager is close behind at .320), we've got only Kiké Hernandez at .280...and then there's a big drop to find Chris Taylor (.211), Mookie Betts and Max Muncy (.200), and Cody Bellinger (.192). Neither Betts nor Bellinger have a HR through six games. It's early, so I don't want to sound the alarm bells...but honestly the only person who seems to be stroking is Seager.

Let's get the rest of the team started in this series. There isn't a lot of time to waste in this abbreviated season, guys.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Post-Game 6 Thread: Dodgers Vanquish Evil

DODGERS 4, CHEATERS 2 (13)

The Dodgers sweep the Cheaters with an extra-inning victory punctuated by a two-run Edwin Rios HR in the top of the 13th, which is officially MLB's first leadoff two-run HR. We didn't have the fireworks from Joe Kelly tonight, as he deals with his appeal following a eight-game suspension. But Mookie Betts had a clutch 11th inning double to go up 2-1 (the Cheaters tied it in the bottom of the inning, continuing the game); Corey Seager had a solo shot in the second; and Dennis Santana earned the win with a scoreless 2.1 IP to close the game (2 BB, 4 Ks).

Time to leave the Cheaters behind and let another team throw inside on them. We're off to Arizona.

available here