Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Real Star of the Series: Lindsey Buckingham

More specifically, the LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM BEER KOOZIE. With every comeback, every basket catch, every lick-worthy dinger from Puig, the koozie was never far from the hand of the Delino.

Fleetwood Mac might have shit-canned Mr. B, but SOSG welcomes him (and his reasonably priced beer receptacle) with open arms. Luckily, Lindsey's legendary tune below turned out to be about the BeerBall folks from cheese-land.

Here's to four more wins!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Once More, With Feeling

NLCS Game 7 Thread: Oct 20 @ Brewers, 5p

Walker Buehler (8-5, 2.62) vs. Jhoulys Chachin (15-8, 3.50)

For almost a full year now, I have lived in fear of the baseball gods.

These baseball gods have not been kind to me, a diehard Dodger fan. They have denied me playoff joys so many times during my lifetime, crescendoing in the last six years of consecutive NL West division crowns, which were followed by brutal disappointments. The 2013 NLCS loss to the Cardinals, followed up by an even worse dispatching in the 2014 LDS by the same team. Zack Greinke falling short in the 2015 LDS to the Mets. The NLCS loss to the eventual world champion Cubs in 2016. And the worst one, the gut-wrenching World Series loss in Game 7 last year.

I went to 2017 World Series Game 1 (with SoSG Orel; one of the best games of my life and needing a much overdue blogpost), as well as Game 2 (with my wife; probably the best baseball game I have ever witnessed if not for the sad outcome).

And then I had a shot to go to Game 7.

And I passed. I figured that the downside of the potential loss was much greater than the upside gain of the potential win. SoSG AC went without me. I was sad, but I was hoping the baseball gods would appreciate my sacrifice.

They didn't. The Dodgers lost in excruciating fashion. And I was sentenced to this past year of absolute baseball hell.

In 2018, I've tried even harder to be deferential to these baseball gods, following my Dodgers' many travails along the way. Losing three of four to the Giants in April. The depths of nine games below .500. The early loss of Corey Seager. The early bouts of ineffectiveness of Kenley Jansen's cutter. Justin Turner's wrist injury. Another Clayton Kershaw DL stint. Sitting in fourth place in the division, in June. Dylan Floro's walk-off balk loss. Kike Hernandez throwing BP to lose a critical game. The string of bullpen collapses. Chris Taylor's league-leading 178 Ks. The 1-6 record against the Cincinnati Reds. Brian Dozier. The river of shit on the Dodger Stadium field. Multiple power outages. The ignominy of having to play a game 163 against the Colorado Rockies, just to advance to the LDS. Having to listen to Joe Buck and John Smoltz' anti-Dodgers banter this whole fucking series.

Enough.

I'm breaking free of these shackles that the baseball gods have tried to place upon me. I'm not bowing to them any more.

The Dodgers are winning. I'm calling it.

I'm not even going to talk about the Brewers, as I'm moving forward. I'm not even giving this Milwaukee team the courtesy of a label for this blogpost. I'm already preparing for the World Series matchup with the Red Sox, whom we last saw in 2016 (we went 2-1). We're 12-8 this year in interleague play, which may not be as good as Boston's 16-4, but they haven't seen us yet. And we'll have a well-rested Clayton Kershaw, who won't be needed in today's blowout victory.

Fuck you, baseball gods. We're winning this Game 7, and going on to Boston.

Hasa diga eebowai.

(and speaking of LDS:)

Friday, October 19, 2018

NLCS Game 6 Thread: Oct 19 @ Brewers, 5:30p


Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Wade Miley

Wait. Wade Miley? I think I blacked out or something because didn't he start Game 5? Oh yeah, Craig Counsell threw him out there for one batter, in a wackadoo gambit to get Dave Roberts to turn over his lineup. And it kinda worked...until it didn't. Good October Kershaw showed up and prevailed, and now the Dodgers stand one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time in about 365 days.

But, as the spooky gentleman above reminds us, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Dodgers have to get the job done against the Brewers first. The adjustments they made in Game 5 were definitely encouraging, but holy hell have they struck out a lot in this series. We are still nervous.

One person who DEFINITELY got ahead of himself is Adrian Gonzalez, who tweeted this WHILE ALCS GAME 5 WAS STILL GOING ON:


It's now deleted, but holy shit, AGon. Sure, he got one right*, but you do NOT fuck with the baseball gods like that. The real pity is if he's proven 100% correct later tonight, there won't be time to ask him for tonight's Mega Millions numbers.

GO BLUE!

--

*We here at SoSG would VERY MUCH like to dance on the grave of the Astros' 2018 season, but we'll restrain ourselves until the Dodgers win this series.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

NLCS Game 5 Thread: Oct 17 vs. Brewers, 2p


All Belli, no flop.

Clayton Kershaw vs. Wade Miley

Are you awake? Are you alive?

In a 5+ hour Game 4 that felt like it took about 5 days (and at least 5 years off our lives), the Dodgers finally bounced back. The NLCS is now tied, thanks to the combined heroics of the Dodger bullpen(!!!), Brain Dozier (an early RBI single after most were shocked he was even starting), Manny Machado (a 13th inning single followed by taking second on a wild pitch, plus some...other stuff), and Cody Bellinger (walk-off single and the above game-saving catch).

Look for today's game to be ~NARRATIVE CITY~ with the FS1 broadcast (which, to this point, has been AWFUL, even by FOX standards) focusing on both the now-villainous Manny Machado and the postseason woes of Clayton Kershaw. The Manny complaints are legitimate, as last night's kicking of Aguilar's leg at first base was, at worst, dirty, and, at best, massively stupid. The Kershaw story? Well, that's up for him to write. We've seen both sides this postseason, and we're ready for the good chapter again.

So, take a late lunch, because this one's a weird-ass day game. At least it should end at a reasonable time, right? Right?

GO BLUE!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

NLCS Game 4 Thread: Oct 16 vs. Brewers, 6p


Dick Mountain vs. Gio Gonzalez

Last night's loss was a breaking point for a lot of people. Fans turned on players. Players turned on fans. The offense turned on scoring opportunities. It was a mess.

But that's in the past. And it has to stay there, if the Dodgers are to have any hope of winning this series. Molly Knight said it best on Twitter today:
Nothing more to say, really. Play better or go home.

What's it going to be, Dodgers?

Monday, October 15, 2018

NLCS Game 3 Thread: 10/15 vs Brewers, 4:30p

Walker Buehler vs Jhoulys Chacin.

That's right, Dodger fans. Just when you thought you were all snug as a bug wearing your Coat of Emotional Indifference, along come Justin Turner and Pedro Baez (!!!) to rip that fucker up and throw it in the shredder (I know, no such thing as a coat shredder, work with me here).

So now we're hopeful! Which means we're vulnerable! Which we promised we would never ever be since goddamn Game 7!

Someday we'll look back and realize these are good problems to have.

But not today.

So here's a little nugget of hope: Unlike Wade Miley — who has been so good against us he could join Billie Jean King in the Dodgers' ownership group — Jhoulys Chacin isn't a Dodger-killer. In his last start, the Dodgers won 21-5.

So let's channel our inner Michael Corleone and send the Brewers to go fishing with Al Neri on a cold, wintry day.

(splash)

It Was 30 Years Ago Today


Earlier at SoSG: It Was 25 Years Ago Today

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Good Times for L.A Pro Sports

Turner: Jeff Roberson/AP

Last Night's Real Hero

I'm not asking for a parade, for the Delino is not one to brag or boast.

But the second Delino Jr's daddy sat down with his spiked arnold palmer and brand new Lindsey Buckingham Koozie, the game changed.

Even YAZ could not harsh the mellow of the Delino's hardcore lemonade/iced tea fueled buzz.

Once Justin Turner cracked his two run dinger, the future of this series was cemented. The Koozie. The sweet sweet booze. The now somewhat tight, ten year old NLDS shirt (courtesy of SOSG's Sax). They will be the staple for the rest of the playoffs. Fight on!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

NLCS Game 2 Thread: 10/13 @ Brewers, 1p

Dammit cloud wipe that smile off your face.

Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley.

Yesterday the Dodgers and Brewers teamed up to beat the Dodgers — but just barely, which I guess is the silver lining here. (Why always with the goddamn silver lining? Why can't we make the whole cloud out of silver???).

The good news is that resident Brewers youthful racist/homophobe Josh Hader won't be available today, and Ryu can solidify his status as the Dodgers' number-one pitcher (sorry Clayton, but giving up a 407-foot homer to a reliever will do that) by pitching the Dodgers to a win.

The bad news is that Miley dominated the Dodgers earlier this year, holding them scoreless over seven innings in a 1-0 Brewers victory in July. Oh, and the Dodgers are down in this series. That's bad news too.

Friday, October 12, 2018

NLCS Game 1 Thread: Oct 12 @ Brewers, 5p



Clayton Kershaw vs. Gio Gonzalez

The Dodgers are back in the NLCS for the third(!) year in a row. This will be a very difficult series for us here at SoSG. Is it because we still don't have 100% faith in the swing for the fences offense? Is it because the Dodgers reversed the Kershaw Game 1, Ryu Game 2 rotation that worked so well in the NLDS? Is it because the Brewers have such a formidable bullpen? Is it because the Dodgers have a chance to go back to the World Series and our hearts are still fragile from last year?

All those are things to worry about, sure, but the most important reason the Sons are concerned about this series is having to root against one of our oldest and dearest friends...BEER. OK, Miller beer specifically, but it hurts our souls to disparage any beer. (Even though "I like beer!" has become a real shitty take. THANKS, BRETT.) And beer brewers are our personal heroes.

But it's the Dodgers. And history is on the line. There are lots of other beers in the taps. (We'll need them all.) So, we officially kick Miller and all Milwaukee-adjacent beers to the curb.

GO BLUE!

Monday, October 08, 2018

Post-NLDS Thread: SoSG Orel, Machado Is Listening

Late season acquisition Manny Machado finally showed up in Game 4, lifting his NLDS average to a whopping .176 in the process.

I'll take it.

Let's go, Dodgers! On to Milwaukee!

More: Manny Machado's concussive blow helps Dodgers finish off Braves in NLDS (Andy McCullough, LAT)

NLDS Game 4 Thread: Oct 8 vs. Barves

"Look, don't give up on me just yet, SoSG Orel."

Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85).

Manny Machado has batted cleanup all three games this series, where he is collectively 1-for-12 with 7 Ks, a .083 BA, and a .487 OPS. Sure, his one HR in Game 2 probably won the game for us. But the rest of his swings, a big looping disaster reminiscent of Cody Bellinger in last year's playoffs, is a catastrophe (Bellinger is also anniversarying his playoff performance with an 0-fer-series so far in 2018). If we lose this series--and last night's pendulum-swinging Game 3 loss seems to have shifted momentum to Atlanta--it's going to be because Machado has been a black hole up there at the plate.

Not that we didn't have our chances last night, battling back to tie the game after a Walker Buehler mental meltdown in the second inning (even Buehler recovered, and he sounded pissed off after the game), only to fall short by one run thanks to another Alex Wood mistake.

We've got D Mountain going tonight, so you know there's going to be at least one shaky inning in there. Let's get to Foltynewicz early, as we did in Game 1, and see if we can put this series away.

photo: AP / Mark J. Terrill

Sunday, October 07, 2018

NLDS Game 3 Thread: 10/7 @ Barves, 5p

The Wave sucks but I'll take it over the stupid imperialistic tomahawk chop any day.

Walker Buehler (regular season: 8-5, 2.62) vs Sean Newcomb (rs: 12-9, 3.90).

Goddammit, Dodgers. Now you've given us hope.

In the 2017 NLDS against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers started:

  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Rich Hill
  • Yu Darvish

In the 2018 NLDS against the Braves, the Dodgers are starting:

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Walker Buehler

Which rotation makes you feel better?

Despite a frustratingly topsy-turvy regular season, the Dodgers are again in a position to sweep their NLDS opponent (we swept Arizona last year; haha, eat it Snakes!). Not only that, but the 2018 Dodgers led the NL in home runs with 235, while the 2017 edition was fourth with 221.

This is conflicting: How can this year's team, which scratched its way to a division title, seem better than last year's juggernaut? If this year's team could just stop leaving the bases loaded, we might stand a chance against the Brewers in the NLCS.

photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Friday, October 05, 2018

NLDS Game 2 Thread: 10/5 vs Barves, 6:30p

Clayton Kershaw (regular season: 9-5, 2.73) vs Anibal Sanchez (RS: 7-6, 2.83).

With half of the Ryu/Kershaw "controversy" settled — nice work, Hyun-Jin! — it's time for Kershaw to dominate tonight's game and make us wonder who would start a possible Game 5.

There's no other choice, really. Anything less than a stellar performance will serve notice that Kershaw is fatigued beyond repair, placing him behind Ryu and Walker Buehler as the Dodgers' third-best pitcher.

Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' third-best pitcher? Does not fucking compute.

So forget about what's going to happen in the off-season (he's totally opting out, by the way). Clayton Kershaw has a very high bar to clear tonight.

SoSG Sax and I will be in the house tonight, cheering him on. Go Blue!

Thursday, October 04, 2018

NLDS Game 1 Thread: 10/4 vs Barves, 5:30p

"Wassup peeps?"

Hyun-Jin Ryu (regular season: 7-3, 1.97) vs Mike Foltynewiczczskemindhiemfbw (RS: 13-10, 2.85).

Surprise! The era of the Dodgers totally and completely leaning on Clayton Kershaw is over as Dave Roberts tabs Hyun-Jin Ryu for his first-ever (I think; too lazy to look it up) postseason Game 1 start.

Kershaw, 30, has seen his velocity dip precipitously this season and has had to rely on old-man wiles to get by. Meanwhile, Ryu, 31 — wait a goddamn minute. Ryu is older than Kershaw but we're acting like Kersh is hobbling to the old folks' home while Ryu just hatched from an egg?

What an odd, stressful season this has been.

Anyhoo, is this really the sixth straight year we've gone through the playoff wringer? Ouch. Are you ready to forget the massive heartbreak from 2017 and cheer with an unburdened heart? Me neither, but let's pretend!

Two Sons in the house (AC & myself) so be sure y'all GT folks keep it lively. Go Blue!

P.S.: If you believe this...

...how do you explain this?

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Ryu Goes Thursday (Game 1); Kershaw Friday (Game 2)

The Dodgers named their starters for the 2018 NLDS, and for the first time in forever, Clayton Kershaw is not starting Game 1:

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Game 1 of the National League Division Series for the Dodgers on Thursday, while Clayton Kershaw will get the nod in Game 2 on Friday, the club announced Tuesday.

That gives both pitchers an extra day of rest and keeps them in order, as Ryu pitched Friday night in San Francisco and Kershaw on Saturday. Because of scheduled off-days after Games 2 and 4 in the NLDS, Kershaw could still start Game 5 on normal rest, so the move does not affect his availability to pitch twice on full rest in the series.

This year, Kershaw has a 3.21 ERA with 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings, and a 3.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio on four days' rest. With five or more days of rest, he has a 2.48 ERA, a 9.2 K/9 and a 6.4 K/BB ratio. Although Kershaw has started on short rest repeatedly in past postseasons, there are no plans to use him that way this year. He did say after Monday's win over the Rockies, though, that he was available out of the bullpen on two days' rest.

If this sounds weird, it's because we haven't had a non-Kershaw Game 1 since 2009:

The move marks the first time since 2009 that Kershaw will not start a postseason opener for the Dodgers. Kershaw has allowed eight runs on 14 hits over his past 11 innings, while Ryu has given up only one run on 12 hits in his past 19 innings.

Look, as long as I get a chance to see both of them go at home this week, I'm okay with the ordering.

UPDATE 10/3 11.49p: Apparently, Dylan Hernandez is not okay with the ordering.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Dodgers Leverage Global Footprint For Strength

Fascinating article over at mlb.com, indicating that the Dodgers' path to postseason contention is different from the other nine teams, in that the Dodgers leveraged homegrown players more than almost all the other playoff teams--but were without peer as far as looking internationally to fill their roster:

Dodgers
Homegrown (Draft + Int'l): 11 (WAR: 23.3)
• Draft: 6 (WAR: 16.1)
• International: 5 (WAR: 7.2)
Free Agents: 2 (WAR: 8.6)
Trades: 12 (WAR: 18.9)

Though the Dodgers had baseball's largest payroll each year from 2014-17 and rank third among postseason teams in 2018, they are the most homegrown postseason participant besides the Rockies. Clayton Kershaw (2006) and Walker Buehler (2015) were first-round selections, while Ross Stripling (fifth round, 2012) and Cody Bellinger (fourth round, 2013) were later-round steals. Los Angeles leads all playoff clubs with five international signees, including Yasiel Puig ($42 million contract out of Cuba in 2012), Hyun-Jin Ryu ($36 million contract, Korea, 2012) and Kenley Jansen ($85,000 as a catcher, Curacao, 2004). The Dodgers have fewer free agents than anyone, though both Justin Turner and Max Muncy have made bigger impacts that expected. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi have filled out the lineup with astute trades for Manny Machado, Chris Taylor, Yasmani Grandal and Enrique Hernandez.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Is the Sixth Time the Charm?