Friday, September 24, 2021

Series Thread (Games 154-146): Sept 24-26 @ Diamondbacks

Fri 9.24 6.40p: Gonsolin vs. Castellanos
Sat 9.25 5.10p: Kershaw vs. Gallen
Sun 9.26 1.10p: Urias vs. H Mejia

Nine games left, one game back. And we visit the Snakes, the worst team in the National League, while the Giants head to Colorado (where the Rockies, who dropped two with us last series, have usually been good at home).

The good news for this series: we face three starters with ERAs all over 4.00, and none of which have more than two wins this year.

The bad news: our starters have been uncharacteristically pedestrian of late, including consecutive shaky starts from normally solid Walker Buehler; five runs scored off of our ace Max Scherzer; and a concerning dip in fastball velocity from 18-game winner Julio Urias, who is well over his season-high innings count.

My expectation is that we don't make up ground this weekend. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Series Thread (Games 151-153): Sept 21-23 @ Rockies

Tue 9/21 5.40p: Urías vs. Senzatela
Wed 9/22 5.40p: Buehler vs. Márquez
Thu 9/23 12n: Scherzer vs. Freeland

Twelve games left. One game back. For us, it will come down to whether we can take care of business against weaker teams, instead of playing down to their level (as are oft to do), before ending the season hosting the Brewers (who hopefully will have nothing for which to play by then, with their 11.5-game lead in the NL Central). For the Giants, it comes down to whether they can produce against the Padres, whom they see six of their final 12 games (SF is 7-6 in the head-to-head matchup).

In this series with Colorado: Senzatela is 1-2 against the Dodgers this year, but dominated us for seven scoreless innings in the win on Aug 29; Marquez is 1-0 against us but that win was back on April 1; and Freeland is 1-2 against the Dodgers but also picked up a win recently on August 27.

Again, looking at Fangraphs and Fivethirtyeight, it's basically a 50-50 tossup despite the fact that we start the final push one game behind. This is nail-biter time.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Series Thread (Games 148-150): Sept 17-19 @ Reds

Fri 9/17 4p: Buehler vs. L Castillo
Sat 9/18 11a: Scherzer vs. S Gray
Sun 9/19 10a: Kershaw vs. Miley

It's down to a one-game deficit. And both Fangraphs playoff odds, and Fivethirtyeight playoff odds, have the Dodgers now with a very slight edge to win the NL West.

I'm not believing it, though. Sure, the offense heated up quite a bit over that last 6-0 homestand (in which even Cody Bellinger and Gavin Lux got hits!). And Tony Gonsolin came back with a strong starting performance, earning a win. And Julio Urias notched his 17th and 18th wins.

But there's still a lot of baseball to be played. So while we visit Cincinnati (one game out of the second wild card spot), the Giants host the Braves (three games up in the NL East). Playoff implications abound for all four teams, and this time, the Dodgers play their game earlier in the day. Should be a fun weekend of scoreboard watching (and chili eating)!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Series Thread (Games 145-147): Sept 13-15 vs. Diamondbacks

Mon 9/13: Kershaw vs. Gallen
Tue 9/14: Gonsolin vs. Weaver
Wed 9/15: Urias vs. TBD

Congratulations, Max Scherzer!

Right on the heels of Scherzer's 3,000-K milestone (and third immaculate inning!), another former Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, kicks off this series with the Snakes. Kershaw has not pitched since July 3 (@ Washington, 4.0 IP ND), and is only 347 Ks short of the 3,000-K milestone himself. I want to celebrate Clayton's return to the mound, but I'm guessing he is much more focused on helping the team claw back ground against the Giants, still 2.5 games ahead after sweeping the Cubs this weekend (and matching our sweep of the Padres). FanGraphs' Playoff Odds gives us a 44% chance of winning the division, starting this series.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Series Thread (Games 142-144): Sept 10-12 vs. Padres

Fri 7p Urias vs. Musgrove
Sat 6p Buehler vs. Paddack
Sun 1p Scherzer vs. Snell

Remember when we were playing for first place back in San Francisco? Yeah, it seems like an eternity ago. Since then, we left Birdshit Park down one game, then split with the Cardinals (while the Giants swept the hapless Rockies), so now we're 2.5 GB and barely any time left on the clock. With AJ Pollock injured, Cody Bellinger has been thrust back into the starting lineup...and since gone 0-for-13 when asked to step up (Cody is 0-for-19 in September, across seven games. Fangraphs finally has the Giants favored to win the NL West this season. And now we're facing the Padres who are hungry for a Wild Card berth (against us, to boot), while the Giants feast on the defeated Cubs.

We are probably fucked. But hey, I guess I'll watch anyway.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Series Thread (Games 138-141): Sept 6-9 @ Cardinals

Mon Sep 6 1p: Scherzer vs. Mikolas
Tue Sep 7 4.45p: TBD vs. Happ
Wed Sep 8 4.45p: TBD vs. Wainwright
Thu Sep 9 10.15a: TBD vs. Kim

Albrt Pujols returns to St. Louis, but we've got more pressing things to which to attend, after dropping the rubber match to the Giants and dropping back ou tof first place by a game. I'm posting this late (after Monday's win), in which Scherzer dominated but the Giants won as well, so we just kept pace (one back). And we don't have a starting pitcher named for the rest of this series. Hoo boy. I don't know if House of Cards refers to Busch Stadium, or our precarious attempt to summit the NL West.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Series Thread (Games 135-137): Sept 3-5 @ Giants

Fri Sep 3 6.45p: Price vs. TBD
Sat Sep 4 6p: Urias vs. TBD
Sun Sep 5 4p: Buehler vs. TBD

After 126 days, we've finally made this a race again. We hadn't tasted first place since April 28. And we were stalled at five games back on August 12. But here we are, back in first place in the NL West following a sweep of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, having ascended back to the top thanks to a 16-3 record over the last 19 games taking us back to that August 12 nadir.

And the Giants aren't going away; they took the fourth game of the series to avert the sweep to the Brewers, and make it all tied up at the top, going into this head-to-head series, where we won't have Mad Max Scherzer. Will Mookie Betts, fresh off a four-K night on Wednesday, rise to the occasion yet again?

Monday, August 30, 2021

Series Thread (Games 132-134): Aug 30 - Sep 1 vs. Braves

Mon Aug 30 7p: Urias vs. Smyly
Tue Aug 31 7p: Buehler vs. Morton
Wed Sep 1 7p: Scherzer vs. Fried

Talk about missed opportunities. We lose two of three to the worst road team in the league, forgoing an opportunity to make up ground on the Giants. And now we face the Braves (who beat the Giants two of three this weekend, as playoff-hungry teams tend to do). We sit 2.5 games back (still), with the Braves and Giants all week. This rock just went from a pushover to a Sisyphean task.

BTW don't look up "guy squished by rock" as the results aren't comforting.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Series Thread (Games 129-131): Aug 27-29 vs. Rockies

We need to push these Rox.

Fri 8.27 7p: TBD vs. Freeland
Sat 8.28 6p: Price vs. Jn Gray
Sun 8.29 1p: TBD vs. Senzatela

The good news: the Dodgers, who can only name one starting pitcher for this three-game series, are going up against three Rockies starters who each have losing records and ERAs over 4.00. The bad news: we tend to under-perform against losing teams (though against the Rockies this year, we are 10-3). Meanwhile we still sit 2.5 games behind of the Giants, who are in Atlanta (we went 1-2 when we traveled to the Braves). But if our sweep against the Padres couldn't make us up any ground in the race, do we expect this weekend to be any different?

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Series Thread (Games 126-128): Aug 24-26 @ Padres

Tues Aug 24 7p: TBD vs TBD
Wed Aug 25 7p: Buehler vs. Snell
Thu Aug 26 6p: Scherzer vs. TBD

We're 2.5 games back now, having improved a half-game over the weekend (thanks to an extra win over the Mets). But with Joe Kelly, Julio Urias, and Mookie Betts all potentially set to return to the lineup this series, I have high hopes for another nine-game (or more) win streak. Let's get Mr. Mojo Risin' with this quick series in San Diego!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Series Thread (Games 122-125): Aug 19-22 vs. Mets

Thu Aug 19 7p: TBD Knebel vs. T Walker
Fri Aug 20 7p: Buehler vs. Carrasco
Sat Aug 21 1p: Scheerzer vs. R Hill
Sun Aug 22 1p: Price vs. Stroman

Now three games back of the Giants, having made up a game with the sweep over the Pirates. But the Giants get a rest and massage day Thursday, before skipping across the Bay to face the Athletics, who might be the first competitive opponent that the Giants have seen in eons. Can we make up some more ground?

Monday, August 16, 2021

Series Thread (Games 119-121): August 16-18 vs. Pirates

Mon Aug 16 7p: TBD vs. Brault
Tues Aug 17 7p: Price vs. Crowe
Wed Aug 18 7p: TBD vs. Brubaker

Oh man, this is indeed the PITs. About three weeks ago, we were two out. Now, even after a 5-1 road trip back east, we're even worse, at four games back. And with the Giants not looking like they're going to slow down (they get a wearied Mets team for three, starting today), our divisional chances look pretty horrid. Not to mention we've only got one real starter named across the three-game series. Yikes.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Series Thread (Games 116-118): Aug 13-15 @ Mets

And now, we are five games back. This isnt going to happen, is it?!

Monday, August 09, 2021

Series Thread (Games 113-115): Aug 10-12 @ Phillies

Still four games back. Now only 50 games to play. Nervous time!

Friday, August 06, 2021

Series Thread (Games 110-112): August 6-8 vs. Angels

Friday: Price vs. P Sandoval
Saturday: Urias vs. Barria
Sunday: Buehler vs. Detmers

Just over 50 games left in the season, and the Dodgers are four games back with only a 62% chance to win the division. Sure, new recruit Max Scherzer delivered in his debut; Corey Seager is finally back from his IL stint and went 2-for-4 on Wednesday (with Trea Turner, still out for COVID-19 reasons, waiting in the wings); and Mookie Betts is also back and looking spectacular both offensively and defensively. Will this be enough to get the Dodgers over that four-game hump? (And do we even care about winning the division?)

There's a school of thought that, if the Dodgers can stumble to the second-best record in baseball while suffering all of these injuries this year, that this stocked lineup will perform when it comes back. No worries.

And there's another, more realist perspective, that the Dodgers are who their record says we are: four games back of a divisional rival that shouldn't even be there. Case in point: Cody Bellinger, who in only 50 games this year is batting .168 and a 54 OPS+ (over 100 points worse than his MVP performance year in 2019).

Maybe we're just not that good. I still think we need to win the division, given the capriciousness of the wild-card play-in format. The Giants still have a slightly higher strength of schedule for here on out, contributing toward the Dodgers' projected wins of 97.7 (about a game and a half ahead of the Giants' projected finish).

We'll see.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Series Thread (Games 108-109): Aug 3-4 vs Cheaters

Oh, this series should be fun. Especially seeing the re-stocked Dodgers team take the field against the cheating Astros: Let's GO!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Series Thread (Games 105-107): July 30-Aug 1 @ D’backs

I'm sorry but I have to throw this post up for now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Series Thread (Games 102-104): July 27-29 @ Giants

Tues 7/27: Urias vs. Webb
Wed 7/28: Buehler vs. DeSclafani
Thu 7/29: Price vs. Cueto

Two series ago, San Francisco came into town for a four-game series, and were one Will Smith walk-off HR away from a series sweep. This time, the Dodgers head up north hoping to whittle down a two-game divisional deficit. Mookie remains on the IL, Corey Seager isn't back yet, and our bullpen is still shaky. I'm not hopeful.

But let's give it one more try.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Series Thread (Games 99-101): July 24-26 vs Rockies

Really, after those shit shows the last two nights: what is the point?

Monday, July 19, 2021

Series Thread (Games 95-98): July 19-22 vs. Giants

Mon 7/19: Gonsolin vs. Gausman
Tues 7/20: TBD vs. Alex Wood
Wed 7/21: Urias vs. Webb
Thu 7/22: Buehler vs. DeSclafani
all games 7p

It's an old-fashioned showdown in the West, except not against the team that we thought would be the challenger. San Francisco, not San Diego, sits one game up on the Dodgers, who closed the gap coming out of the All-Star break, but missed an opportunity to make it a tie atop the division when we fell in extra innings to Colorado, 6-5. (The Giants lost two of three to the Cardinals.)

Despite the Dodgers being without Clayton Kershaw (likely out until August with elbow inflammation) and Trevor Bauer (he who cannot be named), we match up okay in this series. We've just got to get through the first two games of this series.

Mathematically, we can't end up this series tied with the Giants. But we'll need to take at least three if we are to emerge with the NL West lead.