Friday, September 21, 2018

Series Thread (Games 154-156): Sept 21-23 vs. Padres

This picture doesn't have anything to do with my GT, but I did think of this game when looking at the Padres' starter for Sunday.

Fri 9/21 7p: Stripling vs. Lauer
Sat 9/22 6p: Hill vs. Nix
Sun 9/23 1p: Ryu vs. Lucchesi

This is it, the last home series of the year! The Dodgers are coming off a head of steam, sweeping Colorado for the first three games of this short homestand, seizing a 2.5 game lead on the division with nine games left. Hackneyed articles about the Dodgers' bloated payroll be damned; we are now a "blue-collar" team, according to Mike Lupica of mlb.com. So we need to keep grinding away at our magic number, currently at 8 for the division title.

There's more baseball to play.

That said, we always seem to do poorly against the bad teams (exhibit a: 1-6 record vs. Cincinnati this season), so do you think we'll keep up the grinding against a team that's not even .400 on the season (61-92)?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Billie Jean King Joins Dodgers Ownership

This is unexpected and thrilling in equal measure — a move that helps us root for the Dodgers as an organization as opposed to merely a group of players. Welcome to the Blue, Billie Jean & Ilana!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Series Thread (Games 151-153): 9/17-19 vs Rox

Mon, 7p: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Jon Gray
Tues, 7p: Clayton Kershaw vs Kyle Freeland
Wed, 7p: Walker Buehler vs Tyler Anderson

Three games against the team that's a half game up on us? It's crucial!

But what about that four-game series we just took from the team we're battling for the second wild card spot — wasn't that crucial too?

Well, it can't be as crucial as this series, so let's say it was critical.

But what about when we played the Rockies two weekends ago? And the Snakes three weekends ago? I heard those were crucial too!

OK, so maybe those were more like pressing series. But this series — it's crucial!

Also, we would be remiss if we didn't recognize that Tuesday is quite possibly Clayton Kershaw's last home start as a Dodger. What else is there to say but: Thank you for everything, Clayton! and (cries)

photo: Chris Carlson/AP

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wonderboy Lives!

And is feeling the love.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Series Thread (Games 147-150): Sept 13-16 @ Cardinals

Thurs 9/13 4.15p: Kershaw vs. Gomber
Fri 9/14 5.15p: Buehler vs. Flaherty
Sat 9/15 10a: Hill vs. Gant
Sun 9/16 5p: TBD vs. Wainwright

Look, I could write something about how this is a critical four-game series for the Dodgers, 1.0 games out of the NL West lead with only 16 to play (pending completion of the AZ@COL game on Wednesday 9/12). There's still time, anything can happen, blah blah blah.

But let's face it, this year is toast, having lost all momentum following an absolutely pathetic series loss (and almost sweep) in Cincinnati, which drops us to 1-6 on the season against one of the worst teams in baseball.

Whose breakout star is named after a muppet.

Instead, it's time to look critically at this team and accept the fact that, despite bringing almost everyone back from last year's NL-champion squad, and witnessing a few bright surprises in Max Muncy and Walker Buehler, we've seen regressions across the board for this team:

  • CT3 is the king of Ks
  • Turner, our rock-solid bat, spent most of the year injured
  • Joc and Kike are worse than last year from the plate
  • Yaz is not only a defensive liability, his cold streaks at the plate are death to the lineup
  • Bellinger has struggled against the shift and, despite a good August (on which my brother can't stop reminding me), has been moribund all year
  • Kemp had a surprising first half but has fallen to earth
  • As has Chicken Strips and Wood
  • Dozier is batting .193 with the Dodgers, which is shockingly even worse than Logiebear was
  • Utley is old
  • Kenley is not Kenley
  • Kershaw, again injured, also doesn't have his best stuff this year
  • Our bullpen is unreliable, and Pedro Baez is still there
  • Charley Steiner is mixing up his calls
  • Rick Monday still can't tell us the score of the game
  • Dieter's organ is sounding more tinny than last year
  • Digital bobbleheads are a stupid idea
  • The new netting makes the outfield scoreboards difficult to read
  • The hat shuffle is too fucking difficult with seven hats
  • There are no dippin' dots in the future
  • There are probably no playoffs in our future, either

On the flipside, though, there is a positive side of the ledger (as SoSG Dusty reminded me):

  • We can get beer in our seats now

So I guess all is not lost, he says. I suppose he's right.

but it sure feels that way

(cries)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Series Thread (Games 144-146): Sept 10-12 @ Red Stockings

Monday 9/10 3.40p: Wood vs. Reed (that sounds kinda funny, huh)
Tuesday 9/11 3.40p: Ryu vs. Castillo
Wednesday 9/12 9.30a (ugh): TBD vs. DeSclafani

Did you know the Cincinnati Reds were originally called the Red Stockings? And if the kid in Nebraska who wrote the Wikipedia entry is to be believed, after an early dissolution and move to Boston (to make a team that eventually became the Atlanta Braves), the Cincinnati Red Stockings were "expelled from the league after the 1880 season, for 'violating' rules which had not yet gone into effect: namely, serving beer at games and allowing their park to be used on Sundays." Love the part about the beer violation; that gives the Reds more street cred in my book.

Street cred aside, however, we need the Dodgers to really take it to the Reds this week, and take advantage of drawing the third-worst team in the NL on our schedule in mid-September. We see two starters with losing records before DeSclafani on Wednesday, and he's 7-4 but with a 4.56 ERA. But you may recall, when the Reds visited us in Dodger Stadium in May, we were swept in the four-game series for the first time since 1976. So this may not be easy.

Since the third-place Diamondbacks are visiting NL West leader Colorado for a three-game set, this would be a perfect time for us to be stocking up some wins in the home stretch.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Series Thread (Games 141-143): Sept 7-9 @ Rockies

Friday 9/7 5.40p: Kershaw vs. Gray
Saturday 9/8 5p: Buehler vs. Freeland
Sunday 9/9 12p: Wood vs. Anderson

The last time we faced a divisional rival, we romped, taking three of four dramatic games vs. the Diamondbacks at home. Arizona entered the series in first place and exited the series in third place, allowing us a very brief stay at the top of the division, with happiness and momentum on our side.

And then, we went out and shit the bed vs. the Mets, ending with a comedy of errors and an inexplicably late yanking of our starting pitcher from the usually trigger-happy Dave Roberts.

Now we're in Colorado, against the division-leading Rockies, back 1.5 games. The 10-game road trip that starts tonight mandates that we get off to a strong start, because we end with four in St. Louis that won't be pretty (16 of the Dodgers' last 22 games are on the road). It's crunch time. Hope we brought our bats on this trip.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Series Thread (Games 138-140): Sept 3-5 vs. Mets

The Kempire Strikes Back...Twice

Monday 9/3 5p: Wood vs. deGrom L, 2-4
Tuesday 9/4 7p: Hill vs. Vargas W, 11-4
Wednesday 9/5 4.30p (?) Ryu vs. Wheeler

Coming off two consecutive 3-2 victories punctuated by two consecutive dramatic hits by Matt Kemp off of two consecutive misplaced pitches by Arizona reliever and pool defender Archie Bradley, the Dodgers now find themselves in first place, over Colorado by a half-game and Arizona by a full game.

That was one hell of a rip-roaring series, as we took three of four from the Diamondbacks, who came to Los Angeles in first place with momentum, and left in third place, battered and bruised.

Tonight's series doesn't start any easier, despite the fact that it's the 61-75 Mets. The opening game starts Jacob deGrom, whose 8-8 record belies his 1.68 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. But it's go time now: 25 games left in this short season. Let's go, Dodgers.

Show me what you got!

UPDATE 9/5: Okay, so we scorched the Mets 11-4 Tuesday night. I'm still pissed off at seeing our 4-2 loss on Monday. And now it seems the Mets only got the win through chicanery and deceit.

The Mets suck.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

At-Game Recap: Kemp HR Lifts Dodgers To First Place

Went to the game last night and had a blast watching the Dodgers' dramatic comeback 3-2 victory over Arizona, putting us in a first place tie for the division. With apologies to Allan Malamud, here are some notes on a scorecard:

  • Went to the game with my father and my brother-in-law and his wife. My brother-in-law is a Giants fan and wore a Giants spring training shirt to the game. I told him he was on his own.
  • I know it was a sellout crowd (announced attendance, 52,394), but there was no line at the Kings Hawaiian Barbecue in left field. Had a lobster roll before the game and was pleasantly satisfied. This is becoming my go-to place.
  • Took my position on the third base side, field level. Views were awesome as usual, despite that horrible netting which makes it more difficult to see the right-field scoreboard. Man, I love it here.
  • Saw the brand new beer-delivery-in-seat guy, but I had already gone up to grab my second beer, so I didn't partake. Was excited to find out that you could get beer at the Michelada Express line, which saved me a long wait.
  • The Dodgers looked woeful in those opening innings. I wasn't scared by Clayton Kershaw's two HRs yielded, as solo shots aren't deathblows and I knew Kershaw would settle. His line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks.
  • What was pissing me off, though, were all the missed opportunities. In the third inning, the one-out double by Justin Turner, stranded when Manny Machado and Matt Kemp both struck out, was infuriating. But the following inning was worse: Second and third with one out, Austin Barnes taps back to the pitcher who nails David Freese at home, but Barnes was so useless on his FC, he didn't even take second base (Puig, at least, was smart enough to take third on the baserunning gaffe). It ended up being irrelevant since Kershaw grounded out for the final out, but still.
  • I'm actually not sure why Brian Dozier was in the lineup (0-for-3 in the leadoff (?) spot, though he made a great defensive play). Or Austin Barnes (1-for-2 in the 8-hole). New addition David Freese batting fifth was weird, but he went 1-for-2 and also had some great grabs at first, so I'll take it.
  • Got a text from my mom, who was up in loge, complaining that I wouldn't stoop to visit her from the snooty field level. As I went upstairs, I bumped into with Stan Kasten. "Hi Mr. Kasten, I'm enjoying the game!" I said. "I'm not," said Kasten, "because we're losing!" But I got a selfie with him as we went up the escalators.

  • Said hello to my mom in the unremarkable fifth inning.
  • Also said hi to SoSG Alex Cora, in the house!
  • Then went back down to field level to see SoSG Orel, also in the house! He too was with a Giants fan, wearing said cap...who ended up liking the game after seeing the dramatic victory (probably doesn't get many of those up north). SoSG Orel was also sitting with SoSG regular Johnny Blanchard. Good to meet you, Johnny!
  • Kenta Maeda was dealing in the eighth inning, with 2 Ks.
  • The fateful bottom of the eighth played out like this. Turner singles to right, so I get excited. Machado works a ridiculous walk, which flustered Arizona reliever Archie Bradley. Kemp came up and after swinging late on two fastballs, watched a knuckle curve miss before slamming the fourth pitch into left center for a three-run HR. Why Bradley didn't throw more heat, I don't know; a second straight curve seems really stupid, and Kemp made him pay for that mistake. But Matt freaking Kemp? Who has had a horrible July / August, to balance out his torrid first half? HE hits the home run to take the lead? That was totally surprising.
  • My father, ever the optimist, called the Kemp HR. I, on the other hand, ever the realist, was calling "anything but a GIDP, Matt!" I'm glad my dad was right.
  • I did my part, though. I have a Dodgers cap from Sydney Australia (from the March 2014 games they played in that country to kick off the baseball season), and I like this hat but unfortunately it has not been good luck for Dodger games. So I turned it inside out for the late innings, and wore it upside down. It WORKED. That's good, as I like wearing that cap.
  • I was also wearing a Real Madrid jersey (the away jersey, which is dark blue). It's a weird call; I almost always wear Dodger shirts to the game. I felt like we needed a change of pace, though. And maybe this worked as well.
  • Kenley looked Kenley-esque last night, which was a nice change. Hopefully he's back?!
  • My brother in law got shit from some fans for his shirt, and I told him he was on his own.

So with that 3-2 victory, we're now in a tie for first, with one more game in this series this afternoon, and 26 games to play in the season.

Let's get schwifty!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Series Thread (Games 134-137): 8/30-9/2 vs Snakes

Thurs, 7p: vs Rich Hill vs Robbie Ray
Fri, 7p: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Zack Greinke
Sat, 6p: Clayton Kershaw vs Patrick Corbin
Sun, 1p: Walker Buehler vs Clay Buchholz

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"Series" Thread (Games 132-133): August 28-29 @ Rangers

Tues 8/28: Walker Buehler vs. Ariel Jurado, 5p
Wed 8/29: Alex Wood vs. Mike Minor, 5p

Just after abandoning all hope in the SoSG World Headquarters, following the dispiriting sweep by the Cardinals, the Dodgers beat up on the division rival Padres to get back a small piece of their manhood (if beating up friars makes one more masculine, that is). COupled with the Giants' shutout of Arizona in SF, and the Angels' late come-from-behind victory vs. Colorado, the Dodgers find themselves only two games back of the division lead and one game back of the Rockies. The Dodgers still have shrunken scrotums, abut at least there may be something in there after all.

Meanwhile, we Sons took the weekend off from posting Series Threads (i.e., we were hung over), but now we're back, somewhat hopeful again (and back atop Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds charts, at 56.0% playoff odds vs. Arizona's 53.4%), though incredibly guarded (and, as seen from the above picture, dressed in hipster garb). I would love nothing more than to have "Ariel, listen to me" in the first game, and then get make sure the second game ends on a Minor key for the Rangers.

I'm gingerly hopeful, that the offense will show up, that Matt Kemp's slump is over, that Kenley Jansen won't give up any more ninth-inning home runs.

You?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Series Thread (Games 126-128): August 20-22 vs. Cards

Monday 8/20 7p: Wood vs. Gomber
Tuesday 8/21 7p: Ryu vs. Poncedeleon
Wednesday 8/22 7p: Buehler vs. Flaherty

We just took the series in Seattle, winning two games with huge offensive outputs, and losing the middle game despite a valiant comeback due to another shaky bullpen effort and a questionable balk call. But with only 37 games to go, we sit two games out of the divisional lead, in third place (behind Arizona and Colorado, a half-game back of the Snakes), and host a red-hot Cardinals team (8-2 in their last 10 games) who is also vying for a playoff spot (and is closer than we are in the wild card race by a game).

A series victory would be great against the Redbirds, but will it be in the cards?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Series Thread (Games 123-125): August 17-19 @ Mariners

Friday 8/17 7p: Buehler vs. LeBlanc
Saturday 8/18 7p: Hill vs. Ramirez
Sunday 8/19 1p: Kershaw vs. TBD

It's a tale as old as time, but the Dodgers' season needs to turn around with this series, or we're doomed. There's positive thinking for you!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Series Thread (Games 120-122): 8/13-15 vs Giants

Mon, 7p: Clayton Kershaw vs Madison Bumgarner
Tues, 7p: Alex Wood vs Andrew Suarez
Wed, 7p: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Derek Holland

Friday, August 10, 2018

Jansen to Miss 3-4 Weeks For Irregular Heartbeat

Ouch.

We may have had a great comeback victory vs. the Rockies last night, but the high altitude of Coors Field felled closer Kenley Jansen, who has had heartbeat issues flare up in Denver in the past:

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is expected to miss about a month with an irregular heartbeat, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.

Jansen was taken to the hospital with the issue before Thursday's game at Colorado.

Manager Dave Roberts said after the Dodgers' 8-5 victory that Jansen was at the team hotel earlier in the day and didn't feel right. Jansen called the trainer and was taken to the hospital.

Jansen has dealt with an irregular heartbeat in the past. Roberts said the right-hander had his medication with him on the trip and will visit his cardiologist in Los Angeles.

[...]

Jansen spent a month on the disabled list during the 2011 season because of blood-thinning medication he was taking to treat an irregular heartbeat. In 2012, he was out again after suffering an irregular heartbeat during an Aug. 27 appearance in Colorado. He underwent a procedure on his heart on Oct. 23, 2012, to return it to normal rhythm.

Get well soon, KJ!

Meanwhile, get us another reliever, Farhan! (And get rid of Pedro Baez while you're at it. My favorite quote from the post-game interviews last night came from Dave Roberts, describing Baez' four-run, three-hit, one-third-inning meltdown last night (at the end of the video montage): "Baez has had three or four days off, and that’s a spot where he’s got to go up there and get outs." Well, that didn't work so well for Pedro. Or us.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Series Thread (Games 116-119): August 9-12 @ Rockies

Thurs 8/9: Ross Stripling vs. Tyler Anderson LAD 8, COL 5
Fri 8/10 5.40p: Kenta Maeda vs. Jon Gray
Sat 8/11 5.10p: Walker Buehler vs. Kyle Freeland
Sun 8/12 12.10p: TBD vs. Chad Bettis

We're back in second place, 0.5 games behind Arizona and 2.5 games ahead of the Rockies.

We really need a big series here.

If I only had a sign...

------

UPDATE 8/10, 11.40a (Sax): Wow, what a comeback. When Baez gave up that Iannetta three-run HR to change a 3-1 Dodgers lead to a 5-3 deficit, I was disconsolate to say the least. But the Dodgers came back with home runs from Cody Bellinger to tie it, and Brian Dozier to ice it, and won Game 1, 8-5.

I'll take it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Series Thread (Games 114-115): August 7-8 @ Athletics

Tuesday 8/7 7p: Rich Hill (4-4, 3.63) vs. Sean Manaea (10-7, 3.38)
Wednesday 8/8 7p: Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.55) vs. Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.64) Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.48)

First off, I don't like calling these two-game escapades a "series." It's like calling a one-night stand a "relationship."

But all the talk is going to be about Rich Hill's return to Oakland (67-46 on the year, five games better than the Dodgers' 62-51 record), given it was the last team on which Hill pitched (in 2016), and he hasn't faced them since. But what about our opposing starter, and why isn't he getting more press? So Manaea vowels in his name! Why isn't that getting more press?

Manaea is no slouch, having pitched a no-hitter against eh Red Sox on April 21 of this year, when Boston had a winning percentage of .894, making them the best team to ever be no-hit. Strangely, Manaea's feat only had him share the AL Player of the Week award...along with Manny Machado (11-for-22 with five HR, two doubles, eight RBI, seven runs scored). I'd be happy if Machado could erupt like that again in Oakland tonight.

Dodgers start the day a half-game back of first place Arizona, who is also two games in front of the Rockies.

Seager Opts For More Surgery

This time, on his hip. From ESPN:

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left hip on Tuesday in New York, the team announced.

Seager is recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right (throwing) elbow, which he had in early May.

Seager is expected to resume baseball activities in January and be ready for spring training, the team said.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Post-Series Thread: Still Nervous Time Regarding Houston

Well, that series didn't quite go as I had hoped.

Coming off a killer pair of victories against the Brewers, we hosted the Houston Astros only to get shut down by Justin Verlander (14 Ks) on Friday, then slaughtered 14-0 on Saturday, before winning Sunday's finale in a tense 3-2 victory.

Sunday's heroes were Walker Buehler (8 Ks over 5.1 IP), new Dodger Brian Dozier (two-run double in the bottom of the first, to put the Dodgers up 2-1), and Cody Bellinger (RBI double in the third). Manny Machado went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. And while our squad nurses injuries to Alex Wood (tendinitis), Erik Goeddel (right lat inflammation), Yasiel Puig (oblique), and Matt Kemp (ankle, not to mention a batting slump), Houston also came away with injuries to Lance McCullers and George Springer (whose leadoff HR Sunday was thankfully short-lived). That's a lot of casualties in a weekend series, which compounds the overall concern about the Dodgers' chances to win a World Series with this squad.

The LAT's Dylan Hernandez greeted us this morning with concern not of the Astros, but of winning the NL West:

When the Dodgers moved into first place for the first time on July 12, the expectation was for them have a comfortable lead over the Diamondbacks and Rockies by now.

Only the anticipated midseason surge by the Dodgers hasn’t materialized and here they are, still clustered with a group of so-so teams. And if the season ended Sunday, neither the Dodgers nor the Diamondbacks would be in position for a wild card spot. The Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves would play in the wild card game.

“I think that it’s a lot [harder] than saying you get to first place and you’re just going to leave everyone behind you,” manager Dave Roberts said.

The reality is that the Dodgers aren’t as good as they were last season. As much as Andrew Friedman’s front office was credited with building a team that reached the World Series, it’s undeniable that the group’s efforts were aided by a league-high payroll.

The Dodgers are now operating with a budget, the $197-million luxury-tax threshold.

They have something of a feast-or-famine lineup. Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig were sidelined with injuries Sunday, but the Dodgers nonetheless started eight position players who averaged almost 19 home runs between them. Remove Manny Machado from the group, however, and the highest batting average entering the game was Joc Pederson’s .261.

If the Dodgers were criticized in previous seasons for constructing teams that were better suited for the regular season than the playoffs, the opposite is now the case.

But look, we ended up the weekend tied with the Diamondbacks, whom we can watch play the Phillies tonight at 6.40p (Arrieta (9-6, 3.32) vs. Godley (12-6, 4.46)). We may get back to outright first place by the end of the night, while we enjoy our first off-day since the All-Star break, before pitting Rich Hill against his former Sean Manaea and his former team.

And, Roberto Osuna didn't pitch this weekend, saving Osuna from inevitable boos, and allowing the Astros to postpone heralding the further erosion of any possible integrity for another day. So that's a win, I suppose.

Lest you fall down the Dylan Hernandez rabbit hole, I should remind you that Baseball Prospectus' playoff odds have the Dodgers at a 62.1% chance to win the division, with the Diamondbacks at 29.0%. We still wield the World Series of any NL team (13.3%), trailing only Houston (17.0%) in the majors.

Ah yes, Houston. I'm hoping we don't have to see them again this year, as this series didn't give me a lot of hope. But we move on.

Let's lick our wounds and get cracking on the divisional title, boys.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Series Thread (Games 111-113): 8/3-5 vs Fuckin Assholes

Fri, 7p: Alex Wood vs Justin Verlander
Sat, 6p: Kenta Maeda vs Lance McCullers Jr.
Sun, 1p: Walker Buehler vs Gerrit Cole

These fuckin assholes again.

Thanks Orel for the post; UPDATE from Sax (6:37p):

Well, last night was the first time I'd been to the stadium in a long time, and it was really cathartic to be there for that 21-5 explosion over the Brewers. I'd been filled with hangover dread for a lot of this season, having gone to a number of games early on (when we were falling nine back of the NL West lead), and the team looked like it hadn't yet overcome that bitter World Series loss from last year. Neither had I, for that matter.

Last night, for me, set the Dodgers rejuvenated. Not only did we re-take the division lead and now sit a game ahead of Arizona and two games ahead of Colorado, in first place--but the trade deadline moves to pick up Manny Machado (what an arm!) and Brian Dozier (two HR in three games now ties the season output from his successor, Logan Forsythe), but it was a full beatdown of a decent team vying for the lead in its own division. We made the Brewers look like chumps last night, Christian Yelich and his hometown fan club (who sat a couple levels up, behind me) notwithstanding (local boy Yelich was pretty great last night, to be fair).

And here come the Astros again, still playing with racist idiots, but now recently fortified with a player suspended by the league for an alleged domestic violence incident. This, from an organization that earlier cited its "zero-tolerance" policy on domestic violence. Uh huh.

The Astros are worthy of your hate. Let's hope we didn't use all of our offense in Thursday's game.