Friday, May 24, 2019

Series Thread (Games 51-53): May 24-26 @ Pirates

this is a better song than it is a video

Fri 5.24 4p: Walker Buehler vs. TBD
Sat 5.25 4p: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Musgrove
Sun 5.26 10.30a: Kenta Maeda vs. Archer

The Pirates are coming off a losing series at home vs. Colorado. Okay, that's bad (salvaged by a 14-6 win Thursday). What's worse? Well, the Dodgers are coming off a disastrous meltdown in the second game against Tampa Bay, in which Dylan Floro and Caleb Ferguson joined forces to collectively shit the bed (not that they were in the same bed, per se). This came one night after Pedro Baez was hit by a wicked comebacker, expelling him from the game and now he's out indefinitely.

We ended up splitting that series against the Rays, but we fly into Pittsburgh with the weaknesses of our bullpen unveiled for everyone to see. So sure, we still hold the best record in the NL (32-18). But it's a worry.

It doesn't matter why we're known. We're just known.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Series" Thread (Games 49-50): May 21-22 @ Rays

Tue 5/21: Clayton Kershaw vs. TBD
Wed 5/22: Rich Hill vs. TBD
Both games at 4p PT

A two game series? In Tampa? The only thing weirder than this scheduling anomaly would be if Tampa had to travel west to play the Diamondbacks, as that would be Rays In Arizona. Alas, we get a chance to rest for this two-game picnic soiree in Tampa, with off-days before and after this "series."

And we'll probably need it, given the Rays have the best ERA in the majors @ 2.98 (the Dodgers are in second, at 3.38), as well as the second-best batting average against (.214); the Dodgers are third-best with .221. As of this post's press time, the Rays had not named their starters, to duel against Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, but we know it won't be Charlie Morton or Blake Snell (who pitched this past weekend vs. the Yankees). Let's see if all that rest can do our bats some good.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Series Thread (Games 46-48): May 17-19 @ Reds

Fri 5.17 4p: Rich Hill vs. DeSclafani
Sat 5.18 1p: Walker Buehler vs. Mahle
Sun 5.19 10a: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Roark

In a series marked by ever-earlier game start times, the Dodgers see the Reds for the second time this year. And this time, the Dodgers can't say "I see you" to Matt Kemp, who has already been let go by Cincinnati (the Dodgers are still on the hook for $3.5M of the $21.75M Kemp receives in salary this year).

But the Dodgers will see former Dodger Yasiel Puig, who despite beating the Cubs with a walk-off recently, still has struggled to a measley .206 BA this year. Now that we've got an excitable outfielder of our own with a more potent bat, to replace Puig's spot, it appears (early on) that the Dodgers may have timed this deal with the Reds pretty well. Then again, another series sweep would also make the point just fine.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Series" Thread (Games 44-45): May 14-15 vs. Padres

Tues 5/14: Kershaw vs. Paddack
Wed 5/15: Maeda vs. Strahm
Both games at 7p

It's good to be done with Gerardo Parra, who torched us for a game-winning grand slam on Saturday, and then came back Sunday to break up Hyun-Jin Ryu's no-hitter bid with one out in the eighth. That guy has always killed us.

So now we move on to see the pesky Manny Machado, who got to Clayton Kershaw last time they met, with a two-run HR to start the game going (the Dodgers ended up winning, 4-3). The Padres, who started out the season hot, have regressed to third place (behind the Diamondbacks, 3.5 GB), four games back in the NL West. Will the Padres claw their way back into the race? I'd say it's a longshot.

Oh yeah, and there's this, on Wednesday:

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Series Thread (Games 40-43): May 9-12 vs. Nationals

Thu 5/9 7p: Rich Hill vs. Corbin
Fri 5/10 7p: Kenta Maeda vs. An Sanchez
Sat 5/11 6p: Walker Buehler vs. Scherzer
Sun 5/12 1p: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Strasburg

The husk of the team once known as the Washington Nationals, now gutted with the loss of Bryce Harper, sit at 14-22 with the second-worst record in the National League. Given our opponent, this might be the series where we extend our three-game lead over Arizona by starting three good arms as well as Kenta Maeda (whose 4.66 ERA is not as bad as Walker Buehler's, but his 3-2 record sits at the bottom of the four).

Some might say this is pessimistic, coming off of a great sweep of Atlanta earlier this week, capped by a 9-4 spanking last night. Joe Kelly even pitched a full inning with 2 Ks and no runs scored. I'm a bad liar, you say? Oh, I've been askin' for / Oh, I've been askin' for problems, problems, problems.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Series Thread (Games 37-39): May 6-8 vs. Braves

This is not only an appropriate (and good!) song, but it's a cool video as well

Mon 5/6: Buehler vs. Gausman
Tues 5/7: Ryu vs. Fried
Wed 5/8: Kershaw vs. Foltynewicz
all games at 7p

We took two of three against the Padres, but all the air was let out of the tires after Kenley Jansen loaded the bases with none out, and then got two out...only to give up a walkoff grand slam to lose the game 5-8. Upon that kick to the nuts, it also became clearer that our two comeback wins Friday (4-3) and Saturday (7-6) were probably more fluky luck rather than division dominance. We easily could have dropped all three in San Diego. As it is, we leave the weekend with a narrow one-game lead over Arizona and 2.5 games over San Diego.

Welcome the new, great depression.

Sure, everyone will tell you, we've got more wins than anyone in the majors. That's partially because we've also played more games than any other team in the majors (our 36 games are tied for first with three other teams); the Cubs have played FIVE fewer games than us (and are only three back in the wins column). So I'm not buying into the optimism just yet, and especially not when Jansen's labored delivery and heavy pitch load with each batter seems to indicate something is amiss.

We host a Braves team who is only 1.5 games behind the Philadelphia Bryce Harpers in the NL East, and are hungry. I'm hungry as well--for Dodger Dogs--so I'll be attending Monday and Wednesday's game. Shout out if you're at the Stadium as well (I'm talking to you, Quad!).

Friday, May 03, 2019

Series Thread (Games 34-36): May 3-5 @ Padres

No jokes for the Padres' third weekend starter.

Fri 7p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Lauer
Sat 5.30p: Rich Hill vs. Lucchesi
Sun 1p: Kenta Maeda vs. Margevicius

After dropping two of three in Birdshit Park, the Dodgers go to warmer climes to face the Padres, surprisingly +4 games over .500 and only 1.5 games behind the Dodgers, in third place. Manny Machado has been busy pulling hijinks, and Fernando Tatis Jr. is on the IL. But San Diego is still 7-3 over their last ten (along with the Snakes, who have moved up to second place in the division).

So let's roll, Dodgers! Are you ready to let go?

I'm kind of disturbed by this video, though.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Fan + Foul > Fries + Freschetta

We dropped the series last night, but at least we ate heartily. Unlike this guy.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Series Thread (Games 31-33): April 29-May 1 @ Giants

Mon 4/29 6.45p: Kenta Maeda (3-2, 5.20, 25K) vs. Jeff Samardzija (2-1. 3.00, 24K)
Tue 4/30 6.45p: Walker Buehler (2-0, 5.25, 18K) vs. Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 3.65, 28K)
Wed 5/1 6.45p: Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-1, 2.96, 33K) vs. Ashley Madison (1-4, 4.30, 35K)

Fresh off a sweep of the Pirates at home, the Dodgers head north into the belly of the beast to face three starting pitchers with a decent amount of strikeouts, but not a lot of wins to show for it. Still, the team is compelling enough to have stolen Farhan Zaidi to join them, despite the fact that the Giants will lose 180 games over the next two years.

The Giants' -20 run differential is second-worst in the NL only to the Marlins; their farm teams are barren; and it took the team 26 games to score a run in their first inning. Oh yeah, and seagulls still shit all over their park. Let's hope the Dodgers can get out of here with some wins, and without any histoplasmosis.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Series Thread (Games 28-30): April 26-28 vs. Pirates

Fri 7p: Ryu vs. Archer
Sat 6p: Kershaw vs. Musgrove
Sun 1p: Rich Hill vs. Williams

Winning only one game in Chicago by the skin of our ass isn't very promising. But as SoSG Nomo reminded me over What's App, it was a winning road trip! Yeah, so there's that.

At least we're back home now, and tonight we face an alcoholic secret agent who is also a starting pitcher. I had tickets to tonight's game, but had other priorities. I hope tonight's game is at least...animated.

And who's that new guy pitching on Sunday?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Series Thread (Games 25-27): Apr 23-25 @ Cubs

This is Chicago. It's our 25th game. I predict a 6 to 4 victory.

Tue 4/23 5p: Kenta Maeda vs. Jose Quintana
Wed 4/24 5p: Walker Buehler vs. Cole Hamels
Thu 4/25 11.30a: Ross Stripling vs. TBD

Somehow, the Cubs are 10-10, and we have played four more games than they have this year. Some desk research reveals that, unlike the Cubs' cushy schedule so far (with four days off and one postponed game vs. the Angels), the Dodgers have been forced to keep their nose to the grindstone, and they've responded by mashing all the way. Taking three of four in Milwaukee this past weekend (including an incredible Cody Bellinger performance Sunday!), the Dodgers are now six games above .500--and this includes that six-game losing streak when we couldn't get anything right. Imagine if we had just gone .500 over those six games; we'd be 18-6!

I don't recall Wrigley Field being "friendly confines" for the Dodgers (we went 1-2 last year there, including a walk-off, tenth-inning loss). The Cubs have won seven of nine, keeping pace with our winning seven of our last eight. And we haven't fared well against NL Central teams. This series should be a dogfight. So let's get some inspiration, please (note Russell Martin is in the house for this clip!):

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Series Thread (Games 21-24): Apr 18-21 @ Brewers

Thu 4/18 5p: Julio Urias vs. Zach Davies
Fri 4/19 5p: Ross Stripling vs. Jhoulys Chacin
Sat 4/20 4p: Hyun-Jim Ryu vs. TBD
Sun 4/21 11a: Clayton Kershaw vs. Brandon Woodruff

Since we licked our wounds by taking a lickin' to the Reds in a series sweep, we've recovered from the prior series loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. So now we face them again, with their slugger Christian Yelich on a tear, he with his nine HR on the year to lead the National League.

But wait, don't we have a slugger of our own, with nine HR to his name as well? Cody Bellinger returns (actually, he started Wednesday and went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk), after sitting for a game and a half with a bruised knee. Well, we're laughing like it didn't hurt / I'm in the dirt, I'll make it work though. We won Monday (the game where Belli got hit), and then substitute Alex Verdugo had his first three-hit game on Tuesday, and now Bellinger is back.

Yelich. Bellinger. Last year's NLCS opponents. Both teams leading their respective divisions. This looks to be a good one.

I'm going to go stock up on groceries for this weekend.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Post-Game 18 Thread / At-Game Recap: Happy Jackie Robinson Day (April 15, 2019)

The Goodyear blimp above the Stadium last night, in honor of Jackie Robinson.

DODGERS 4, REDS 3

I haven't done an At-Game Recap for a while now, so forgive me if this is rusty or choppy (and, I'm on a conference call right now to which I should be listening).

I could write about the horrible traffic into the Stadium, which denied me my Jackie Robinson jersey (despite being there in the top of the first). I could write about Yasiel Puig's welcome back and game-leading two-run HR off of Clayton Kershaw. I could write about how I didn't see a video tribute for either former Dodger Puig or for Matt Kemp--possibly because they didn't want to obscure the majesty of Jackie Robinson night, but strange as we recently made a video montage to celebrate Yasmani Grandal's return to Dodger Stadium last series (Yasmani Grandal, for pete's sake!).

But instead I want to write about how fun it is to be at a baseball game alongside an Australian who is trying to understand this crazy sport.

I had had the benefit of learning Australian Rules Football (AFL) from this same individual when spending time in Australia. AFL is an awesome game, with rapid gameplay that seems a little like what full contact ultimate frisbee would be, if run on a gargantuan field (a cricket pitch). The scoring is at NBA levels (100+ per team on a game, counted in six-point goals and one-point "behinds"). And the constant movement is very fun to follow, with momentum shifts like volleyball matches; and full-contact hits between huge people without pads (which is terrifying, and somehow also more safe than NFL).

Trying to understand AFL is difficult and takes time. So I can appreciate what it must be like for an Australian, at his second MLB game ever, trying to understand how this game is played.

I got a lot of questions about why players weren't running on fly balls (they have to tag up); at how a pinch runner must be the ultimate job (Chris Taylor entered for David Freese after Freese walked to start the ninth); and how crazy it was to stop the game to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame (my favorite baseball tradition, probably ahead of even drinking beer). It was great to see Clayton Kershaw back to form (despite that first inning).

I also was delighted to get appreciation for the tension of each pitch during the high-leverage situations of the game (he had heard about this tension in his first game, but in this game he really understood it). And we both were delighted for full-strength beer (which is not available @ most of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, btw).

The Australian was also adamant that if you strike out to end the inning, as Max Muncy did twice during the game, he should have to go back to the dugout and grab his own defensive gear, rather than have a teammate bring that out for him. Frankly, watching Muncy flail at the plate last night (A.J. Pollock was also no better), I would agree.

And the best part, of course, was the game's finish.

My Australian friend was aghast at the people who left the game after Kemp's bloopy single off of Kenley Jansen in the top of the ninth. "Why are these people leaving?", he asked. I explained that there was probably an ~80% chance at that point that the Dodgers would lose (my math was pretty close); and with the crowds for this game (did I mention I didn't get my Jackie Robinson SGA jersey?), these early departers probably wanted to beat the traffic.

But we stayed. David Freese walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth. And then...Joc!

Gotta love how the walkoff HR lands right in front of the only guy wearing a Reds jersey in that section.

What a way to end this game, on Jackie Robinson Night, on a night when the opposition's RBI came from former Dodgers, and yet the new Dodger squad prevailed. The Australian loved the game, and we stayed late to buy a lot of merchandise. And we drove home very happy.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Series Thread (Games 18-20): Apr 15-17 vs. Reds

With Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp back in town, will the Dodgers step up and bury a friend?

Mon 7p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Luis Castillo (1-1. 0.92)
Tue 7p: Kenta Maeda (2-1, 4.76) vs. Tyler Mahle (0-0, 0.82)
Wed 12n: TBD vs. Sonny Gray (0-2, 2.03)

I guess I should have used last week's series thread photo for this series, given we're seeing the Reds and everything. But I suppose I'm just too surprised that we actually won a game Sunday, our first win in seven games against NL Central teams, who seem to be more formidable opponents than the cushy NL West teams we've played. Amazingly, the Dodgers' plummet to Earth still has us only 2.0 GB the league-leading Padres (I can't believe I just typed those last three words in succession), so it's not inconceivable that we could find ourselves back in first before the end of this homestand Wednesday. (The Padres host the 4-12 Rockies for a quick two-game two-step.)

This series also gives us the opportunity to see an inevitable video montage of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp on Monday night; after all, the Dodgers gave passed-ball king Yasmani Grandal a video tribute on Friday. Both Puig and Kemp were so instrumental to the Dodgers' 2018 run, not to mention the Dodgers' teams over the past years, that it's inevitable to be a little nostalgic. Let's hope A.J. Pollock, whose batting average has slipped from .324 to .242 over the past 8 games (excluding Sunday's game, in which he went 2-for-5), continues to get back on track and make us forget about these two outfielders.

Oh, and we've got some new guy making his first start of the year on Monday night, Jackie Robinson Day. Good luck to him!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Series Thread (Games 15-17): April 12-14 vs. Brewers

Oh, that series sweep by St Louis makes me mad.

Fri 7p: Julio Urias vs. Corbin Burnes
Sat 6p: TBD vs. Zach Davies
Sun 1p: TBD vs. Jhoulys Chacin

What a shitshow. Meeting our first non-NL West opponent of the year, the Dodgers got absolutely spanked in St. Louis, both on the field (outscored 26-12 across four straight losses) as well as off the field (Russell Martin, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Corey Seager all felled by injuries). Our starting rotation is now up in question for this series--as I post the starting matchups, two of the three are filled by the infamous "TBD" (whom I don't think can start on consecutive days!)--and we look discombobulated coming back to Los Angeles against the division-leading Brewers, our formidable 2018 NLCS opponent.

Speaking of which, remember that Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS in Milwaukee? Cody Bellinger's two-run HR; Chris Taylor's amazing catch in centerfield; Yasiel Puig's mammoth three-run shot to break the game open; and Clayton Kershaw's relief appearance in the ninth?

As inspiration for this series, let me remind you:

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Eugenio Velez - Still Number One In Our Hearts!

Which score on an exam is more impressive: 100 or 0?

DiMaggio had his streak. The Undertaker too. But I'd argue that Eugenio Velez's was even more impressive: 0 for 46, including 37 in Dodger Blue. Getting zero hits is not the impressive part. His being allowed to go up for his 46th futile at bat and still have a job - that's a f'ing miracle.

Then along came Chris Davis and his $23 Million plus contract. Thus far, his season has been the most consistent we've ever witnessed.

At least Journeyman Eugenio's "0 for" came at a discount: back then, he got paid in Blimpie coupons.

When you tack on the last few games from Chris Davis's equally lackluster 2018, he's reached a LEGEN (wait for it) DARY O for 50! (as of SOSG's press-time)

As you can see, he's more than ready for his closeup.

Rest assured, Eugenio Velez - Dodgers nation will always remember you as the People's Champion of Futility.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Series Thread (Games 11-14): April 8-11 @ Cardinals

A sweep of the Rox; but are the Cards stacked?

Monday 4/8 4.45p: Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-0, 2.08) vs. Miles "I'm not Spider-Man" Mikolas (0-1, 7.20)
Tuesday 4/9 4.45p: Ross Stripling (0-0, 2.31) vs. Dakota Hudson (0-1, 5.40)
Wednesday 4/10 4.45p: Kenta Maeda (2-0, 3.09) vs. Jack Flaherty (0-0, 3.86)
Thursday 4/11 10:15a: Walker Buehler (1-0, 6.75) vs. Michael Wacha (0-0, 1.54)

These are honestly the most bizarre game times I have seen in years. What the hell is going on here?!

I mean, besides the Dodgers going 8-2 on the season, and now 2-2 in games in which Joe Kelly appears (Kelly actually picked up the win Sunday in Colorado, with his ERA lowering to 14.40 on the year). The Dodgers have mashed at least one HR in all 10 games, all of which have been against the super-cush NL West. Now we head to St. Louis for four against our first non-NL West opponent of the season, the 4-5 Cardinals. Let's keep on mashing, Dodgers!

Friday, April 05, 2019

Series Thread (Games 8-10): Apr 5-7 @ Rox

Does "chocolatey" have an "e"? Wegman's doesn't think so, but then again they're ending sentences in prepositions, so screw them.

Fri 4.5 1p: Kenta Maeda (1-0, 4.05) vs. Tyler Anderson (0-1, 9.00)
Sat 4.6 5p: Walker Buehler (0-0, 15.00) vs. Jon Gray (0-1, 4.05)
Sun 4.7 5.30p: Julio Urias (0-0, 0.00) vs. Chad "Jerome" Bettis (0-1, 9.53)

The NL West-leading, 5-2 Dodgers would be 7-0 if not for Joe Kelly's missteps--and maybe it's the googly-eyed glasses, but I'm pretty convinced that he's going to recover from these issues, boos understandable. So we move into Colorado with a decent amount of steam, coming off of two series wins in our first homestand of the year. Will it be a rocky road there? With the mile-high ERAs of those opposing starters, I doubt it.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Series Thread (Games 5-7): Apr 1-3 vs. Giants

Monday 4/1 7p: Julio Urias vs. Drew Pomeranz
Tuesday 4/2 7p: Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 1.50) vs. Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 2.57)
Wednesday 4/3 7p: Ross Stripling (0-0, 0.00) vs. Derek Holland (0-1, 6.75)

Happy April Fools Day!

And at this early part of the season, it's like the Dodgers and Giants are Superman and Bizarro Superman, just like the Ed McGuinness cover above.

The Dodgers are 3-1, leading the majors in OBP (.439), SLG (.647), and then obviously OPS (1.086). The Dodgers only trail the Seattle Mariners (who have played two more games than the Dodgers) with 14 HR on the season. Cody Bellinger is tied for first with three others in HR (4), and Joc Pederson is tied for fifth in the majors with 3 HR. The Dodgers have scored an amazing 42 runs this season in only four games. This opening series had a disappointing loss, but it also had two beatdowns of the Snakes, capped by a Sunday comeback victory after Walker Buehler went awry in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the 1-3 Giants are indeed the ugly and less articulate reflection in this metaphor. San Francisco ranks 26th in the majors for average (.177) and OPS (.516). And in losing three of four against the San Diego Manny Machados, the Giants also demonstrated how they're the oldest team in the major leagues, creaking their way to a total of five runs over the four games, tied for last in the major leagues.

So while the Dodgers are having an Opening Week, the Giants are Opening Weak.

Dodgers: Good! Giants: Bad! Let's keep this theme going to finish out the homestand, okay? This series kicks off with Julio Urias getting his first start since 2017.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Series Thread (Games 2-4): Mar 29-31 vs. D'backs

From before Thursday's game. Maybe the HR balls were taking the evacuation plans to heart.

Friday 7p: Ross Stripling vs. Robbie Ray
Saturday 6p: Kenta Maeda vs. Zack Godley
Sunday 1p: Walker Buehler vs. Luke Weaver

It's going to be hard to top yesterday's Opening Day extravaganza. But since they've painted "Opening Week" on the field, we may as well keep up the festivities.

Sax is going to be out of town this weekend, so I'll need you guys to keep the comments going while I'm gone.