Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Congratulations to the Royals, World Series Champions

The Royals celebrating after their Game 7 walkoff victory.

The MVP. What an inspiration.

World Series Game 7 Thread: Enemies in Orange vs. Brothers in Blue, 7p

@TheRealJGuts vs. Thud.

If the Dodger fan in you hates that the FH's are in the World Series again, then the baseball fan in you can at least appreciate tonight's Game 7, in which the home team has a decided advantage AND BETTER WIN IT DAMMIT GO BLUE

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

World Series Game 6 Thread: WhenWillThisEnd, 5p

Yordano Ventura (0-0, 3.38) vs. Jake Peavy (0-1, 7.20).

Let's just get this over with.

Logan's Run...ning to Padres

Looks like Andrew Friedman now has quite a "renewal! renewal!" on his hands, now that Logan White has left the Dodgers for the Padres:

LOS ANGELES -- The San Diego Padres have hired longtime Dodgers amateur scouting director Logan White to their front office, sources told ESPN on Monday.

The feeling around baseball when the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman to be their president of baseball operations was that he would want to bring in his own people in key front-office positions. With White departing, he'll have at least three top positions to fill.

It is not clear which position White will fill with San Diego.

In Los Angeles, Friedman has vacancies at general manager, amateur scouting director and farm director. The Dodgers' previous general manager, Ned Colletti, was reassigned to an advisory role, and farm director DeJon Watson left before Friedman's hiring to work for Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart.

White was involved in drafting Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, among others, and with the signing of Cuban defector Yasiel Puig two summers ago in Mexico, where he also found one of the Dodgers' top minor league prospects, pitcher Julio Urias. White leaves the Dodgers with three of baseball's top 20 prospects on his résumé -- Urias, outfielder Joc Pederson and infielder Corey Seager.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

World Series Game 5 Thread: Sluggerrr @ Lou Seal, 5p

The Dodgers' Twitter feed in late October (cries).

James Shields vs. Madison Bumgarner.

C'mon, Royals. Give us a shred of hope here. Don't give us another off-season of San Francisco hubris.

thanks to SoSG Dusty for the GT idea

Saturday, October 25, 2014

World Series Game 4 Thread: KC @ SF, 5p

Jason Vargas vs. Ryan Vogelsong.

The Royals have the 2-1 series advantage. The Giants have never trailed in a World Series since 2002...and we all know what happened then. Let's hope history repeats itself. Go Blue!

photo from @robotbraden via @EephusBlue

Friday, October 24, 2014

World Series Game 3 Thread: Royal Giants, 5p

Daily News: "Mets foreshadow World Series with Royal Giants uniforms."

Jeremy Guthrie vs. Tim Hudson

For the third time in five years, seagulls will shit all over the World Series. Hooray!

Image: Getty Images

Joe Maddon Quits Rays, But It, Like, Totally Doesn't Mean Anything


But then...


Nothing to see here! Move along! Everyone is assuredly telling the absolute truth, as is always the case in American sports.

UPDATE (12:24pm): Andrew Friedman released a statement through the Dodgers:
As I said last week, Joe and I enjoyed a tremendous relationship working together in Tampa Bay and I wish him nothing but the best, wherever his next stop will be. However, nothing has changed on our end. Don Mattingly will be our manager next season, and hopefully for a long time to come.
Definitive rumor-squashing, bold-faced lie, or gambling that Donnie will up and quit? You be the judge.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World Series Game 2 Thread: Pumpkins vs. Crowns, 5p

Yordano Ventura (who cares) vs. Jake Peavy (who cares).

Enjoy, you masochists!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

World Series Game 1 Thread: NL West 2nd Place Finishers @ AL Central 2nd Place Finishers, 5p

James Shields (0-0, -.--) vs. Ashley Madison (0-0, -.--)


Really, how are Dodger fans supposed to be motivated to watch the third Giants World Series appearance in five years? What, are we supposed to cheer for the team in blue with the inept manager because it feels familiar? I guess. Not really that strong a motivator, given how we know in our heart of hearts that the baseball gods hate us, hate joy of any kind, and will OF COURSE allow the Giants to squash the feel-good story of the Royals.

At least if we don't watch, the streak of abysmal ratings for the Giants in the World Series will continue. There is a slight possibility there will be an uptick in ratings due to people tuning in to see if the Royals can go 12-0, but that would be immediately snuffed out by a Game 1 loss.

So yeah, we're still bitter. Maybe we'll hate-watch. Maybe we'll tune in to see if the "Ned Yost, Super Genius" story continues. Or maybe we'll just watch every Simpsons episode ever. I think I'll watch this one first:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Forgotten Los Angeles Stadiums

To get your mind off of this awful World Series matchup, CurbedLA had a nice piece on old, forgotten Los Angeles stadiums.  I didn't know that we had the first Wrigley Field! Hat tip to Mrs. Cora for finding this.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Walking Ned

Well, holy crap.

Ramona's got the full scoop HERE.

To recap: Andrew Friedman is the new President of Baseball Operations. He can hire a new GM. Ned falls up, to become Stan's...something. Donnie likely staying.

More later, after our heads are done exploding.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ryu Noodles Around

Hyun-Jin Ryu's now-legendary Ottogi Noodle commercial, featuring "lookalikes" of some of his Dodger teammates, has been making the rounds EVERYWHERE in the Dodger community. It's only fitting we preserve it here at SoSG as well.

The video is hilariously bizarre and deserving of all the attention. In addition to the video, friend-of-SoSG Sarah Wexler uncovered a link to some amazing behind-the-scenes photos of the commercial shoot. These photos reveal that both a Puig lookalike and a Uribe lookalike were hired for the shoot, but not used in the final commercial.
Hopefully, we'll see these two in an extended version soon. Though, there was word on Twitter that Uribe would be flying to Korea to appear in another commercial with his best buddy Ryu. That better not have been a joke.

I feel like this commercial and semi-baseless rumors about front office firings are the two things keeping Dodger fans afloat right now.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fan Ad-preciation Day

From today's LA Times' sports section:

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Post NLDS Game 4 Thread: There Is No God


There is no god. Because even the most psychotically perverse deity would not have allowed what befell Clayton Kershaw in the seventh inning in Game 4. Stoked by a lead again (2-0), and cruising to a one-hitter over the Cardinals, Kershaw inexplicably gave up a three-run HR to unlikely rotund hero Matt Adams. This time, unlike in Game 1, Kershaw wasn't just trying to overpower the Cardinals with fastballs. But this time, it was a hanging curveball which unraveled the Dodgers, and ultimately eliminated us from the 2014 postseason.


How inexplicable was this? So crazy, that ESPN's statistics department couldn't even add correctly:

Clearly, in giving 108%, Kershaw was short 2%.

Kershaw, obviously crestfallen and befuddled, admirably faced stupid questions from an insipid St. Louis press corps, and soldiered through post-game interviews with class and dignity that I suppose could only be expected from The Best Pitcher In Baseball:

"The season ended and I'm a big part of the reason why," Kershaw said. "It doesn't matter how I pitched. It's bad deja vu all over again. I felt we had a really good chance to win. I'm thankful we got here and hope to be back."

Looking at the photos of Kershaw walking off the mound in the seventh inning, my heart aches. He doesn't deserve this. And we Dodger fans don't deserve this either, what with the NL West-winning Dodgers going home, while the second-place retread Giants advancing to the NLCS, in a series where I don't want either team to win (in fact, I hope it goes seven games of 99 innings each, all of which with microscopic television ratings).

Manager Don Mattingly? Yeah, he deserves the vitriol, again doing a fine job managing the team through six innings, but finding himself at a loss beyond that. Mattingly also spent the morning getting crucified on Twitter for benching Yasiel Puig in favor of Andre Ethier (who went 0-for-2 with two walks, but was picked off third base to end the sixth inning in Puigian fashion, failing to dive back to the bag after considering coming home on a shallow passed ball). Ethier's performance was not worth the substitution. And Mattingly did end up putting Puig in later in Game 4, as a pinch runner of all things, which also makes no sense.

Dan Haren never entered the NLDS, even in relief. Not sure why we were saving him.

Ned Colletti sure as heck should be under consideration for blame, being allowed to play with the highest payroll in baseball, but neglecting to fortify a bullpen beyond a closer.

And there are fingers to be pointed at some of the members of the team. Hanley Ramirez, if he had any defensive skills, could have leapt for that second single that preceded the Adams HR. It would have been a double play had he caught it. Dee Gordon and Juan Uribe, both of whom were impressive this regular season, neglected to show up at the plate for most of this series.

But Kershaw, at the center of the storm? I've lost faith in everything at this point. But not him.

We'll get 'em next year, Clayton. We just have to clean some house around you first.

Now please excuse me, as I go get my Orioles and Royals gear on.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

NLDS Game 4 Thread: Oct. 7 @ Cards, 2p

Bracing for oblivion.

Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 10.80) vs. Shelby Miller (0-0, -.--)

*sigh* So, it comes down to this. The entire Dodgers season rests in the hands of Clayton Kershaw, the undisputed "Best Pitcher in Baseball Who Also Gets Knocked Around Inexplicably by the Cardinals in October"™. We stand one Cardinals win and one Giants win away from the most insufferable NLCS since the last one the Dodgers weren't in (which, coincidentally, featured the same two teams...barf). Times are grim.

But...somehow...there is hope.

Dad has hope...

Trusted SoSG associate Todd has hope...

Do the rest of us dare have hope? For me, the true crushing blow came in Game 1. I've been more or less numb since then. At his point, why not have hope? At the very least, let's have this damn thing decided in OUR house. Everything has come too easy for the Cards. Everything has gone their way. Make them work for it. And for Vin's sake, DON'T THROW STRIKES TO CARPENTER!

Oh, and somebody lock the bullpen gate.



*If you're somewhere you can drink at 2pm on a Tuesday.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Post-NLDS Game 3 Thread: Whatever Pitching Decision Don Mattingly Makes, It Is Inevitably Wrong


At this stage, it's getting ridiculous. Mattingly leaves Clayton Kershaw in for Game 1, when the Cardinals are teeing off his fastball and Kershaw doesn't seem to want to throw anything else, even shaking Mattingly off the mound in the process. Wrong answer. And then in Game 1, he signals for Pedro Baez, who had entered a game with baserunners in only three of his 20 2014 appearances. Also, wrong answer. Then, for Game 2, Mattingly pulls Zack Greinke after seven shutout innings in Game 2, going to J.P. Howell. Wrong answer.

And tonight, Mattingly has Hyun-Jin Ryu plugging along through six solid innings and a 1-1 game, going this time to Scott Elbert, who had struck out both batters he faced in Game 1. Sure thing, right? Nope, wrong answer again; Elbert gives up a leadoff double to Yadier Molina, and then a home run to biblical scholar Kolten Wong, to put the Cards up 3-1 and put the Dodgers down 2-1 in the series. Arguably, Elbert was the wisest choice yet, given Ryu was at 94 pitches coming back from shoulder issues; Scott Van Slyke pinch-hit in the top of the seventh for Ryu, with none on and two out, and grounded to short. But in Mattingly's hands, in this NLDS, the Elbert decision could only go incredibly awry. Which it did.

Sure, we had a chance in the ninth inning with consecutive singles and one out off of Trevor Rosenthal. Cardinals manager Mike Metheny calmly came out when Rosenthal was down 2-0 in the count to Juan Uribe, delayed the game while calling for the grounds crew to apply a drying agent ("drying agent"? sort of like Lana Kane in Archer?) to the mound, and allowed his closer to catch his breath. Rosenthal then got Uribe and A.J. Ellis to fly out to right field, and end the game.

Mattingly has made regrettable pitching decisions in each of the three NLDS games. Metheny, on the other hand, has seemed to slow the game down when his team looks unwieldy. This contrast cannot be underlined more, as it's swinging the series.

You look up and down the two lineups, and with the exception of Matt Carpenter's torrid run and Juan Uribe's lack of jazz hands this series, we should be ahead in this series, not down 2-1. I'd like to think that, with Kershaw starting Game 4 and Greinke starting a possible Game 5, we have a shot at winning this series in five games.

That is, if baseball games were six innings long. At a full nine innings? We're bound to choose the wrong answer, again. That was easy.

NLDS Game 3 Thread: Oct. 6 @ Cardinals, 6p

So much this.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-7, 3.38) vs. John Lackey (14-10, 3.82).

The series shifts to Busch Stadium, home of those Best Fans in Baseball. The Dodgers turn to Ryu, coming off of three weeks of rest for an irritated shoulder. Mattingly has said that Dan Haren is waiting in the wings should Ryu falter early, which would almost certainly trigger Kershaw on three days' rest for Game 4. So in other words: I just want to tell you good luck, Hyun-Jin. We're all counting on you.

Offensively, well, just look at the picture above. The Dodgers have piled on 24 hits in two games so far, A.J. is 5 for 8, and only Uribe has yet to contribute at the plate. And as we noted earlier, this Dodger team is a bunch of road warriors, for whatever reason. I know regular-season success hasn't been much of a postseason predictor (hello, Angels), so it's time for the Dodgers to change the narrative. I don't know exactly what that means, but it feels like it needed to be said. GO BLUE!

Sharp Dressed Men

Matt Kemp Is A Player.

I love the outfit that NLDS Game 2 hero Matt Kemp wore to the post-game press conference.

It's chill, man. Kemp has got this NLDS thing under control.

Mind Games

Through two games, the Cardinals have been pretty effective at getting into Yasiel Puig's head, to distract him:

ST. LOUIS -- Asked how an opponent should best deal with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, one scout said, "Get into his head."

The Cardinals seem to have the same game plan in the best-of-five National League Division Series that resumes Monday with the teams tied at one win apiece.

The Dodgers' must-see outfielder already has had two dustups with the Cardinals involving catcher Yadier Molina. That has been followed by strikeouts in Puig's last five at-bats.

It's easy to connect the dots with Puig, who plays with unbridled emotion and flair to the delight of fans. But opponents get irritated with his antics and the Cardinals seem intent on irritating Puig right back. Irritated players can lose their cool and make big mistakes. The Dodgers can see where this is going. [...]

"A day off like today is the time we all talk to Yasiel, tell him to take a step back, think about what has happened, that they're doing this to get to you," Mattingly said.

"This is where you want to simplify it," he added. "Just play baseball, get a good pitch to hit, hit it hard. When we talk about preparation, we are asking to be prepared for the big moment, to program it in your mind. The mind is a computer and you program it. You're ready to handle the noise here [at Busch Stadium], you're ready for the big moment, to hit the right pitch, throw to the right base, play the scoreboard, all because you've prepared mentally.

"Last year's [playoff experience] should help him, the All-Star Game, too. Those are emotional times, but it's still baseball. Bring it back to the simple things."

My guess is that the St. Louis fans are going to razz Puig early and often. And I have this feeling that Puig rises to the occasion, starting tonight. No more mind games, and no more headcase. Let's do this.

MLB Conspiracy Theorists, Take Note

From the LA Times, the Dodgers' Game 2 broke television records:

Ratings record

The Dodgers' Game 2 victory over the Cardinals was the most-watched and highest-rated program in the history of MLB Network. The telecast drew 1.8 million viewers and a 1.7 coverage rating, according to Major League Baseball. The viewership peaked at 2.2 million viewers from 9:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. PDT.

Meanwhile, guess which two World Series have the lowest overall ratings of all time? That's right, 2010 and 2012, when no one cared (nor watched).

Take note, MLB.

Game 3 (And A Bit More): NLDS ZIPS Preview

I found this late, but Jim Bowden and Dan Szymborski at did a preview of the Dodgers-Cardinals NLDS series before it started. Their simulations on the starting pitching matchup gave Game 1 to the Dodgers (wrong!) and Game 2 to the Dodgers (correct!). Here's what they predict for Game 3, not to mention their other ratings and scenario-based predictions for the series outcome (link insider only):

Game 3 starters: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. John Lackey. Ryu hasn't pitched since Sept. 12 because of a shoulder injury but was cleared to start Game 3 after successfully throwing a simulated game Wednesday. The lefty's two primary assets are his ability to hit the corners and his deadly down-and-away changeup that he uses most often against right-handed hitters. ... The Cardinals traded for Lackey in large part because of his playoff experience and success. Simply put, the Cardinals are hoping that Lackey pitches as well for them as he did last year against them in the World Series. Lackey finished the season with two strong starts against the Reds and Cubs, which no doubt helped him earn the Game 3 start. Between his postseason experience and Ryu's three-week layoff, the edge goes to St. Louis here. Edge: Cardinals.

Lineup: The Dodgers have a significant advantage here. Not only do they have a balanced and complete lineup, but all the key options are healthy again. Plus, they're hot, particularly Matt Kemp, who was the NL player of the month for September and looks like the hitter who was second in the NL MVP voting in 2011. ... The Cardinals were 29th in the majors in home runs and 28th in the league in stolen bases. The Cardinals need to win this series with pitching and defense, because they won't out-hit the Dodgers. Edge: Dodgers.

Bullpen: The Dodgers have the advantage at closer with Kenley Jansen, who is coming off another stellar season. The Cardinals, however, have a much deeper bullpen, including many different looks in terms of arm angles, repertoire and release points. Closer Trevor Rosenthal has a 98-99 mph fastball with a devastating changeup and an underrated curveball, Pat Neshek was one of the league's best eighth-inning relievers with his low three-quarters arm angle, Seth Maness has one of the best sinkers in the league, Randy Choate can still get lefties out and Carlos Martinez is another flamethrower. Sam Freeman came on late and also could be a factor. The rest of the Dodgers' right-handed bullpen have the names, including Brian Wilson to Chris Perez, but they have had a lot of inconsistency in terms of stuff and results this season. They are, however, strong from the left side with J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez. The Dodgers have the advantage in the ninth, but the Cardinals have the overall better bullpen. Edge: Cardinals.

Team defense: The Cardinals led the National League in runs saved and are an improved defensive team from last year. Matt Carpenter has more range than David Freese did last year, Jhonny Peralta makes routine plays better than Pete Kozma did, while both Matt Adams and Jon Jay are better than they were a year ago. The Cardinals had the fourth-fewest errors in the NL, and using the exaggerated defensive shift almost three times more than they did in 2013 has helped them. The Dodgers have an above-average defense on the right side of the infield, but they're below-average on the left side. The Dodgers' outfield has above-average range, and while Yasiel Puig is not a pure center fielder, he makes up for it with a passion to get to every ball and a rifle of an arm. The Cardinals have the best defensive catcher in baseball in Yadier Molina, but don't underestimate A.J. Ellis, who is one of the best catchers in the majors at calling a game. Edge: Cardinals.

Bowden's series prediction: Dodgers just have too much for the Cardinals; they win in five games. [...]

  • Game 3 in St. Louis (Ryu vs. Lackey): Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2. The Cardinals have a 54.1 percent chance of winning this home game.
  • Game 4 in St. Louis, if necessary (Dan Haren vs. Shelby Miller): Cardinals 5, Dodgers 4. The Cardinals have a healthy 62.8 percent chance of winning.
  • Game 5 in Los Angeles, if necessary (Wainwright vs. Kershaw): Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1. Just like in Game 1, the Dodgers have a 66.4 percent chance of winning.

Series recap: The Dodgers-Cardinals matchup projects as the most even pairing of the four divisional series entering Game 1. Adam Wainwright is a terrific pitcher, but there's literally nobody in the playoffs who's in Clayton Kershaw's class this year. The home team is favored by the projections in every game -- Hyun-Jin Ryu isn't the pitcher he was in 2013 and Dan Haren really pitches like a fourth starter -- but Kershaw and an extra home game are enough to give the Dodgers a slight edge.

ZiPS' series result percentages:

  • Dodgers in 3: 15.5 percent
  • Dodgers in 4: 15.3 percent
  • Dodgers in 5: 25.7 percent
  • Cardinals in 3: 13.0 percent
  • Cardinals in 4: 21.6 percent
  • Cardinals in 5: 9.0 percent

Overall series odds: Dodgers 56.5 percent, Cardinals 43.5 percent.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Cardinals So Confident, Already Taking Day Off

No workout for St. Louis on the eve of NLDS Game 3:

ST. LOUIS -- After flying through the night and touching down in St. Louis around 6 a.m. CT on Sunday, most Cardinals players and staff members stayed away from Busch Stadium on the team's off-day.

While it is customary for teams to hold a workout on non-game days during a postseason series, manager Mike Matheny urged everyone to stay home, sleep and re-energize before Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Monday (8 or 8:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1). The only obligations the club had on the off-day was to make Matheny and Game 3 starter John Lackey available during afternoon news conferences.

"Hopefully they're getting a good sleep today and getting ready for tomorrow," Matheny said. "Put that [Game 2 loss] behind us and realize we've got a couple of great games here at home and watch our fan base here get excited about us being back here."

Still pending confirmation to the rumor that Don Mattingly is having his team run stadium steps on Monday.

Scoreboard Watching: ALDS Game Thread (October 5, 2014)

Big As (not the Athletics, though), and Os, today.

Sorry this is so late! I'm emotionally wrought after our first two games.

Orioles are already playing against the Tigers in the early game. Orioles up 2-0, bottom 7, in Detroit. Baltimore is up 2-0 in the series, so Detroit needs a comeback here to stay alive.

Later tonight, Angels @ Kansas City. C.J. Wilson (13-10, 4.51) vs. James Shields (14-8, 3.21). Kansas City is crazily hot and the Angels need a win on the road to keep going.

You Guys Had Better Be Right

Especially you, Jim Bowden, David Schoenfield, and Jayson Stark.

screenshot taken from

Post-NLDS Game 2 Thread: Rekemption


Matt Kemp and Zack Greinke gave us permission to exhale on Saturday night, injecting the Dodgers with a burst of hope by preventing a repeat of a catastrophic Game 1. For Kemp, who hit what would be the game-winning home run in the eighth inning, it was a triumphant high point following two years of rehab and rebuilding after his fateful collision with the Coors Field outfield wall in 2012.

Greinke performed masterfully, settling the frayed nerves of a pitching staff that surrendered 10 runs in Game 1. He pitched seven shutout innings, striking out seven and going 2 for 3 at the plate with a run scored in the third. A.J. stayed hot by starting the inning with a double, followed by a single by Greinke. Dee hit an RBI grounder and Greinke moved to second thanks to Mattingly's successful challenge of Kolten Wong's misplay. After a Puig strikeout (he went 0 for 4), AGon knocked Greinke in.

And that was it until the eighth, when Mattingly replaced Greinke with J.P. Howell, having already gotten lucky by extending Greinke through the seventh. Howell promptly gave up a single then a home run to that motherfucker Matt Carpenter, the score was tied, and Dodger fans were reliving the nightmare.

But Kemp rewrote the ending on the fourth pitch from Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek, Kenley came in for a much-needed 1-2-3 save, and this series is tied 1-1.

Breathe. In. Out. Game 3 is Monday in St. Louis and the Dodgers have a 49-32 road record this year. Breathe. In. Out.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

NLDS Game 2 Thread: October 4 vs. Cardinals, 6.30p

Zack Greinke (17-8, 2.71) vs. Lance Lynn (15-10, 2.74).

It's a little bit earlier in the postseason than I thought we'd have to experience a must-win game, but here we are. Yesterday's gut-wrenching Game 1 loss means that Zack Greinke had better have broad shoulders to keep the Dodgers in the NLDS hunt. The good news is, with the exception of Dee Gordon and Juan Uribe, all of the Dodgers starters had a multi-hit game today, with many of those hits coming off the Cardinals' #1 pitcher, Adam Wainwright.

The bad news is, Lynn is 3-1 all-time with a 4.50 ERA against the Dodgers. (Greinke is 9-4 with a 3.17 ERA against the Cardinals for his career.)

Lance Lynn has a lot of Ls in his name. I'd like to give him another one today.

More Mattingly Armchair Managing On The Day After Game 1

Just woke up, and I'm still pissed off at Don Mattingly's mismanagement of that Game 1.

Let's start with this much-repeated tidbit from Elias (on the game recap sidebar as well):

From Elias: Clayton Kershaw (LAD): 1st starter to allow at least 7 ER in consecutive postseason starts in MLB History (7 ER in 2013 NLCS Game 6)

And to be clear, both of those times it was Mattingly's call to leave Kershaw in. Mattingly's instincts on when to take a pitcher out are flawed.

Exhibit two: bringing in Pedro Baez. If the Cardinals have suddenly figured out how to crush Kershaw's fastball, why bring in a kid who only has a fastball? Especially when all year long, Mattingly has been using his bullpen arms liberally in late-game situations, rotating Brandon League and Scott Elbert and Brian Wilson and everyone else with reckless abandon; why go to Baez here, and now?

I can't figure these two moves (or non-moves) out. I'm struggling to figure out how we can mount a World Series run here, if we have to win in spite of Mattingly (and not because of him, a la Lasorda).

Two More Stories To Fuel The Hate

Both from Deadspin:

Kolten Wong Autographs Baseball With Non-Existent Bible Verse. I had to laugh, looking at this picture.

The Mayor of St. Louis Is A Complete Dipshit. Done in Fire Joe Morgan style, it's worth a read.

Fuel the hateHateHATE!

Let's Play "Where's Ken Rosenthal?"

Hmm, where could bowtie-clad Fox reporter Ken Rosenthal be? I wonder.

screenshot from, October 3, 2014

Glimmers Of Hope After A Brutal Game 1

Losing Game 1 was gut-wrenching. I sure as heck didn't want to write the Post-Game Thread (thanks, Orel!). But amidst the wreckage there still is hope.

The headlines are all about how amazing it was that Clayton Kershaw was knocked out suddenly, in the seventh inning, after he had overcome a first-inning solo HR to settle down and become machine-like in his dispatching of the Cardinals.

But lost in this narrative is the fact that 1. we had Adam Wainwright on the ropes from the get-go. St. Louis' ace didn't last much more than four innings, thanks to a steady barrage by the Dodgers that kept runners on the basepaths and Wainwright ill at ease. So sure, they may have knocked out our ace, but not until after we had already gotten to theirs.

2. A.J. Ellis going 4-for-5 with 2 RBI, from the eight hole? This from a guy who batted .191 in the regular season? I'll take it. If Ellis can add yet another bat to an already daunting lineup, that will be great. We'll also need Ellis because...

3. ...Someone has to manage this team, since it's not going to be Don Mattingly. Mattingly's mismanagement of Kershaw in the seventh, when nerves got the best of him, was so typical: the player's coach left it to the player to make the call. When three straight Cardinals reached base, slapping Kershaw's fastballs convincingly, one would think that that would be the perfect time for the manager to come and slow the game down for his ace to recover. Instead, just like Donnie has handled Joc Pederson this past month, Donnie left his young player in a series of difficult spots, forcing him to sink or swim alone. This one could have been prevented--and if Donnie has already exhausted his trips to the mound, it's up to Ellis to stop the game, have some discussions, feign injury if necessary--but take control of this game. We are going to have to win in spite of Donnie, but I am confident Ellis can help do so.

4. Adrian Gonzalez is a stud. Not only did mild-mannered A-Gon call bullshit on Wainwright and Yavier Molina after the Yasiel Puig HBP, but he came back late in the game to stroke a two-run HR. We'll need his fire, but I'm sure we'll get that as well. A-Gon made clear, he's not sticking around just to watch the game; he's here to play.

5. Aside from Pedro Baez' missteps, the bullpen wasn't all that bad in Game 1. One on which to build.

6. Down 10-6, we didn't just roll over and go away. We didn't pull off the comeback, but battling back for three runs late shows we've got some grit, too.

Look, I'm bitter, and angry, and still trying to process this one. It was one bad inning, but that's all it was. This series is still far from over, so let's hope we come back today and show some more fire.

Post-NLDS Game 1 Thread: Fuck Everything.

"Not this shit again."


Soul-crushing disappointment was in the air at Dodger Stadium on Friday, baked in the oppressive heat and cooled in the shadows, leaving a bitter veneer on every surface it touched. Clayton Kershaw, owner of three Cy Young-caliber seasons and a no-hitter, now also has two consecutive postseason starts in which he has been torched for a total of 15 earned runs.

Kershaw did everything in this start, but not in a good way. After giving up a first-inning home run to Randal Grichuk, Kershaw retired 16 straight. At the plate he had two sacrifices and a walk. In the sixth he gave up another homer to his nemesis from last year's NLCS, Matt Carpenter, but escaped further damage. That made the score only 6-2, thanks to RBIs from Hanley, Crawford, Puig and Kemp, and a surprising two-run homer by A.J. Ellis in the fifth.

The seventh inning was Kershaw's undoing; I won't sprinkle more tequila salt on our wounds by recapping it, save to note that Mattingly visited the mound with the bases loaded and one out, and Kershaw convinced him to leave him in the game. The decision paid off initially with a strikeout of Oscar Taveras for the second out, but that damn Carpenter knocked Kershaw out with a two-RBI double. The next pitcher, Pedro Baez, gave up a three-run homer to Matt Holliday.

But don't forget the Dodgers are good enough to create hope, which they did by rallying with an AGon two-run homer in the eighth and a Dee Gordon RBI in the ninth. But they're also bad enough to crush hope on a regular basis, and the Cards' fireballing closer Trevor Rosenthal struck out Puig with Ethier on third to end it. LIVE. BREATHE. LOSE BY ONE.

The Dodgers' bullpen loomed large in this game, even in its absence. Mattingly obviously left Kershaw in for too long, but his fears were justified by Baez's poor performance. It was a lose-lose-lose situation.

Thank goodness for short turnarounds, so we don't have to stew in this mess for long. Baseball is like alcohol, after all: You swear it off one day, and the next you're partaking again. Let's see how this team bounces back in Game 2. Or let's see just how much we fans can take.

Friday, October 03, 2014

NLDS Game 1 Thread: Oct. 3 vs. Cardinals, 3:30p

First on the field, first in our hearts.

The only bunting we hope to see today.

When did postseason become one word? Can we look forward to springtraining next year?

Kersh (21-3, 1.77) vs. Waino (20-9, 2.38).

A year ago, the Cardinals owned the Dodgers in the NLCS. In Game 1, Joe Kelly plunked Hanley Ramirez in the McRibs and we were McFucked. Matt Kemp was already on crutches. Twice Kershaw faced the rookie Michael Wacha, and twice Wacha won, with the nadir arriving in the form of a humiliating Game 6 shellacking in which Kershaw was charged with seven earned runs.

Things be different now. The setting is one round earlier. Kelly is on the Red Sox, and some Red Sox are probably on some island in the Bahamas. Kemp is hot and healthy. Most significantly, Kershaw has thrown far fewer innings this year (198 1/3 as opposed to 236). And Wacha has been relegated to the Cards' bullpen after a major DL stint for a shoulder issue.

Oh, and Kershaw's pissed. Yeah, he'll say all the right things, but you know he's just dying to shut these ribcrackers down. And there are 215 million reasons to think he'll deliver. You could say the same for Hanley, who knows he's putting his skills on display for potential free-agent suitors.

Then there are the external narratives. Heat! Shadows!

This thread will also serve as your scoreboard watching thread for those other teams playing today. GO BLUE!

Dodgers Announce NLDS Roster

Image by the always-amazing @akaTheConman.

Per Dodger Insider...
Starting pitchers (4): Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren

Relief pitchers (8): Pedro Baez, Scott Elbert, Carlos Frias, J.P. Howell, Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Jamey Wright

Starting lineup (8): A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp

Reserves (5): Drew Butera, Andre Ethier, Miguel Rojas, Justin Turner, Scott Van Slyke
They're going with bullpen quantity to address the bullpen quality issue. No Joc Pederson (not surprising at all). No Darwin Barney (I wanted him for slick late-inning defense). No Paco Rodriguez, which is surprising. Scott Elbert gets the call as the second lefty. Best of all, no Chris Perez, Roberto Hernandez, or Kevin Correia. Pedro "Don't Call Me Joan" Baez and Carlos "Chuckie Freeze" Frias will see their first postseason action.

Now, let's go bird hunting!

Expect Chippiness

The worst part of the 2013 NLCS was of course watching the St. Louis Cardinals pitch inside to Hanley Ramirez, breaking his rib and rendering him powerless for the series, which the Dodgers lost. Since then, manager Don Mattingly says he isn't thinking about this incident. But we Dodgers fans sure as hell are:

LOS ANGELES -- The Cardinals started last season's National League Championship Series with a roar when Joe Kelly hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch during the first inning of the Game 1 at Busch Stadium. The pitch cracked Ramirez's ribs, and he batted .133 (2-for-15) in five games.

Ramirez has since been hit again twice by Cards pitchers, coming in the same game in St. Louis on July 20 -- by Carlos Martinez early on and later in the game by closer Trevor Rosenthal. Clayton Kershaw, who is slated to start Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Friday at Dodger Stadium (3:30 p.m. PT, FOX Sports 1) against Adam Wainwright, hit Matt Holliday in the middle of that July game, the most recent time the two teams have met.

Kelly has since been traded to the Red Sox, and Ramirez is somewhat healthy going into the playoffs after a season filled with nagging injuries. If there is any bad blood left over from the dual confrontations, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn't biting on it when questioned on Thursday.

"To be honest with you, it's hard to go into a series thinking about who is going to get hit and who is not going to get hit, or [what if] somebody gets hit," Mattingly said. "Our preparation has been just that, trying to get ready for Wainwright and his pitches and what he does -- make sure our guys are ready to play baseball.

If I'm Hanley, I'm wearing kevlar today. And if I'm Chris Perez or Brandon League, I'm ready to get a good shot back at St. Louis.

Ryu Set For Game 3 Start

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Hyun-Jin Ryu will make his return in the high-pressure Game 3 of the NLDS:

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers cleared pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu to pitch Game 3 of their NL Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, a day after Ryu threw a three-inning simulated game at Dodger Stadium.

It will be Ryu's first time on a mound in a major-league game since he left his Sept. 12 start in San Francisco with a sore left shoulder.

Ryu has twice had to miss starts this season with shoulder irritation. This time, he received a cortisone injection to help bring down the inflammation.

"I'd say it feels a little different than the last time," Ryu said through an interpreter. "In fact, I feel much better than the last time this injury happened."

Ace Clayton Kershaw will pitch Friday, followed by Zack Greinke, Ryu and maybe Dan Haren. Haren is aware he might get skipped if the Dodgers elect to bring back Kershaw on three days' rest to pitch Game 4, as they did against the Atlanta Braves while up two games to one last October.

Ryu will face off against John Lackey, who pitches before Shelby Miller in Game 4 (and after Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn in the first two games).

On, Mattingly said he expects a full 100-odd pitch start from Ryu:

Mattingly said he expects Ryu to be able to make his typical 100-110 pitches despite the layoff.

"We don't feel like he's lost a ton of arm strength or anything like that. This is late in the year, and if anything, Hyun-Jin is the right guy for missing this much time," said Mattingly. "And the other guys know that he's not a bullpen guy, he doesn't throw [bullpen sessions] in between. He's been through this once before ... came back and threw really well.

"You see him after he sits out for 15 days, and his [bullpen sessions] are right on. He throws the ball where he wants. So he's not a guy that we're really concerned about coming off this layoff. But we'll still be the same. Even when he's been 100 percent fully healthy, he's been a 100 to 110 [pitches] guy, unless everything goes really smoothly."

In the 2013 playoffs against St. Louis, Ryu limited the Cardinals to three hits over seven scoreless innings in a Game 3 NL Championship Series win. This season, Ryu lost his only start against St. Louis, allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings on June 27 at Dodger Stadium.

Okay. Back to worrying about today's Game 1.

Dodgers-Cardinals 2009 Playoff Archives

The Dodgers and Cardinals have a rich playoff history, just like we do here at Sons of Steve Garvey. In anticipation of this afternoon's game, we've dug back into the archives to excavate some of our Dodgers-Cardinals coverage, from the 2009 NLDS in which the Dodgers won the series, 3-0:

I think we may have met the Cardinals in last year's NLCS, but frankly I've blocked that series out of my memory.

Former Dodger Mark Ellis Won't See 2014 NLDS Action

The Cardinals announced their NLDS roster, but former Dodger infielder Mark Ellis did not make the cut:

LOS ANGELES -- Veterans Jason Motte, Mark Ellis and A.J. Pierzynski have been left off the St. Louis Cardinals' 25-player roster for the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers have yet to release their roster. The deadline is Friday before the teams meet in Game 1.

The Cardinals chose 12 pitchers for their roster: left-handers Randy Choate, Sam Freeman and Marco Gonzalez; and right-handers John Lackey, Lance Lynn, Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez, Shelby Miller, Pat Neshek, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright, who will start Game 1.

Catcher Yadier Molina will be backed up by Tony Cruz.

The infielders are Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso, Pete Kozma, Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong. The five outfielders are Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Oscar Taveras.

Dodgers Best Bet To Win WS

Vegas odds have the Dodgers at a 6-1 WS winner, which is the best of the playoff teams...tied with the Tigers, Nationals and Angels (link insider only):

While the favorites/dogs and home/away teams split, both games went over the totals of 6.5 runs. But now the one-and-done wild-card games are behind us and we have four best-of-five divisional series to see who moves on in the march to the World Series.

As we wrote Tuesday, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook had the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals as 9-2 tri-favorites to win it all. The Los Angeles Angels were 5-1, but have since been bet down to 9-2 as well. The other division winners -- Baltimore Orioles (7-1) and St. Louis Cardinals (8-1) -- were next in line, with the Giants at 14-1 and the Royals at 16-1, but now they're both 10-1. [...]

St. Louis Cardinals versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Series starts: Friday, Oct. 3 (6:35 p.m. ET)
Series odds: Los Angeles minus-185/St. Louis plus-165

How they match up: Los Angeles won the season series 4-3 and is a heavy favorite here. But don't forget that last year the Dodgers were a minus-135 favorite in the NLDS yet St. Louis eliminated them as rookie Michael Wacha beat Clayton Kershaw twice. Kershaw again leads the Dodgers' rotation (which is considered much stronger, but L.A. only has a slight edge in team ERA at 3.40 to 3.50) while Wacha is likely to be moved to the St. Louis bullpen after going just 5-6 this year in a season shortened by elbow and shoulder injuries. The Cardinals have the lowest runs-per-game average of the playoff teams at 3.82, while the Dodgers average more than a half-run more at 4.43.

Series pick: There are reasons to fade Los Angeles here and go with St. Louis, not the least of which being the Cards prevailing over the Dodgers last year. However, I think the favorite will win, so I'll pass on the tempting underdog price.

Situational play: I think the way to play the Cardinals is to back them in Game 1 on Friday. Kershaw, for all his regular-season success and he certainly deserved to be in the MVP discussion, is 1-3 lifetime in the playoffs and I believe is fadable, especially with Adam Wainwright in the opener at plus-180. Wainwright has a postseason record of 4-3 but was 4-1 before last year's World Series. He lost his only start against the Dodgers this year, but gave up only one run. I would also look to the unders in this series as the under was 5-2 in the season series; however, it's hard to go under a total of 5.5 like we have in Friday's Game 1.

I don't know what half of this stuff means, but I hope it's good.

ESPN: Dodgers Have Best Playoff Lineup

So says Jim Bowden (link insider only):

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

MLB ranks (regular season): Runs: 6th | OPS: 3rd | HR: 16th | SB: 2nd

Projected lineup

  • Dee Gordon, 2B
  • Yasiel Puig, CF
  • Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  • Matt Kemp, RF
  • Hanley Ramirez, SS
  • Carl Crawford, LF
  • Juan Uribe, 3B
  • A.J. Ellis, C

The Dodgers enter this postseason with a much better lineup than last year's team, which reached the National League Championship Series before falling to the St. Louis Cardinals. The biggest change is at the top of the lineup, where Dee Gordon and Yasiel Puig each scored 92 runs while combining to steal 75 bases (64 by Gordon). The middle of the lineup is more potent thanks to a return to full health by the end of the season of both Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez. Adrian Gonzalez had another banner season as their most productive hitter, leading the team in both home runs (27) and RBIs (116). Carl Crawford finally won the left field job by season's end and hit .300 with 23 stolen bases. The Dodgers are well-balanced, possess an impressive power/speed combo and have the ability to hit the game's best pitchers.

The Cardinals rank eighth.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

ALDS Game Thread, Oct. 2

Tigers @ Orioles, 2:30p
Max Scherzer (18-5, 3.15) vs. Chris Tillman (13-6, 3.34).

Royals @ Angels, 5p
Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.71) vs. Jered Weaver (18-9, 3.59).