Sunday, May 31, 2015

Post-Game 49 Thread: Dodgers Lose, But Giants Bigger Losers

Yasmani Grandal tags Matt Carpenter out at the plate in the eighth inning.

CARDINALS 3, DODGERS 1

The Dodgers dropped the rubber match of the series by mustering only two hits, one of which was an eighth-inning Joc Pederson HR to close the gap to 2-1. Brett Anderson only allowed a Jhonny Peralta two-run HR in the first inning, and then proceeded to keep the Cardinals quiet through six full frames. Peralta got a bloop single in the bottom of the eighth to add a third run for the Cards. The Dodgers had a two-out threat in the ninth when Andre Ethier and Yasmani Grandal took two-out walks, but Justin Turner Kd to end the game.

The Dodgers' bats were absolutely pathetic this roadtrip, and the finger pointing has to start with Jimmy Rollins, whose drop to the eight hole didn't do anything to lift his Mendoza-like average (Rollins went 0-for-3 with a K). Alberto Callaspo started at 3B in Rollins' (now vacated) second spot in the lineup, but also went 0-for-3, with 2Ks. Adrain Gonzalez went 0-for-4. The only other hit of the game was a single by Ethier in the second inning.

But the real story of the day was Santiago Casilla's third blown save of the year for the Giants, who lost 7-5 to the Braves. Casilla came in for the ninth and ceded a solo HR to Freddie Freeman, before loading the bases and then Jace Pederson tripled home three runs to put the Braves up 7-5 (the Giants entered the ninth with a 5-3 lead). Awesome stuff up there in Birdshit Park! (Oh, and Juan Uribe had a two-run HR for the Braves in the seventh inning, which helped chase Ashley Madison from the game.)

Dodgers stay in first place. Giants remain in second place, though they have the belt.

photo: Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Game 49 Thread: May 31 @ Cardinals, 11:15a

"Quote-unquote, eat that, Cardinals!"

Brett Anderson (2-2, 3.47) vs. Carlos Martinez (4-2, 3.54).

The road-weary, punchless Dodgers showed up in St. Louis for 14 innings, but in that 15th inning (the 6th inning of yesterday's game), the offense finally came alive, punctuated by a three-run home run by Yasmani "What Concussion?" Grandal. Let's see what the pundits are saying about the Kemp trade now:

Bonanza!

Post-Game 48 Thread: Grandal Returns Dodgers To First Place

"Even a guy nicknamed 'Curly Fries' can get a hit! Come on, Dodgers; it ain't that difficult!"

DODGERS 5, CARDINALS 1

You know Joe Buck and the whole Fox Statcast crew was salivating over this game, with undefeated Michael Wacha going up against the unknown Carlos Frias and a Dodger team that hadn't scored in 37 innings on the road. Alas, the first five innings brought that total to a franchise-worst streak of 42 innings (which coincided with the Dodgers falling out of first place in the NL West). But Howie Kendrick (2-for-3, RBI, 2 R) opened the Dodgers' bats back up with a RBI single to right, and then Yasmani Grandal, just back from the DL, launched a Wacha pitch to center to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. Alberto Callaspo singled home Kendrick on the eighth to make it 5-1, and that's all she wrote.

Wacha takes his first loss of the year. Frias, on the other hand, got the win with his 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER performance--which included his first major league hit, a bunt up the third-base line. Dodgers move back into first place as the Giants were spanked by the Braves 8-0. Joe Buck had to bite his tongue as Statcast focused on the launch angle of Grandal's HR (at 21 degrees, it was said to be more of a line-drive HR). Let's get ready for tomorrow afternoon, and see if we can come away with a series victory.

photo: AP / Billy Hurst

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Game 48 Thread: May 30 @ Cardinals, 4p

Carlos Frias (3-2, 5.34) vs. Michael Wacha (7-0, 1.87).

The GT is late, the game is in rain delay, and all I'm thinking is that our lousy bats plus an undefeated Wacha is probably not a good time to watch the Dodgers' getting analyzed to death on national television with Fox Statcast technology. Let the rain come. Second place is a lot more dismal, huh?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Game 47 Thread: May 29 @ Cardinals, 5p

Eh, he's no Zack Greinke.

Mike Bolsinger (3-0, 0.71) vs. John Lackey (2-3, 3.18).

Okay, Magic Mike. You've come out of nowhere to become the Dodgers' second-best starter, and for that we are grateful. But we fans always want more more more, and we note that your three wins came against the sub-.500 Marlins, Rockies and Padres.

In fact, with the exception of a certain club up north, no team has given the Dodgers a seriously hard time this season. That could change today, when the Dodgers roll into Busch (man, the stripper jokes just write themselves) to face the red-hot Cardinals (18-5 at home!).

And not only is this a battle of two first-place teams, but the Dodgers will face the Cards in 7 of their next 11 games. Help us, Magic Mike, you're our only hope.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Guest Post: Sprung Free in Spring

It's been a while, but here's Mrs. Orel with a travelogue:

For Dodger fans, spring signifies trips to Camelback Ranch, Opening Day at Dodger Stadium and renewed hope for a winning season.

For east coast baseball fans, spring signifies wearing shorts, greenery, and a renewed hope for warmth.

After back-to-back brutal winters, New Yorkers and Bostonians are reveling in lighter clothing, sun-kissed cheeks, and the parks, the parks, the parks, where balls are tossed, hit, and caught in freshly unearthed gloves.

Orel and I were in Manhattan, where we observed New Yorkers bouncing around city streets like released prisoners. Central Park, on a Sunday in May, was filled with children chasing pigeons, parents chasing children, and adults chasing softballs.

We plopped ourselves onto the wooden stands at the Hecksher Ballfields as two teams readied to face off. Folks have been playing these six fields since 1927. Central Park is home to 27 baseball and softball fields. Every year, hundreds of games are played by teams of all stripes and ages.

The Broadway Show League, for example, is serious softball biz-ness. Teams made up of casts, crews and orchestras of current Broadway and off-Broadway shows must wear matching uniforms ablaze with show titles. Games are played on Thursday afternoons. If you can't get a ticket to
Kinky Boots, Jersey Boys, or Wicked, find your way to Central Park and watch the Boots kick the pants off those Boys in some Wicked rundowns.

We had the privilege of witnessing teams from a, I want to say, over-50 or over-60 league, but on closer inspection included some younger fellows. Two teams dressed in a mashup of AL and NL shirts and caps. "Warming up" would be a loose description of their preparations. For a full 20 minutes before the first pitch, players squabbled over the position of the third-base bag.

"Here! Right here! I'm tellin' ya...it's 60 feet between bases!"
"Let's go!" from an outfielder.
"What the hell, not there? Are you nuts?!"
"Let's go!" from the same outfielder.
"No, I'm sayin' here!"
"Let's go!" Guess who.

Once the game began we laughed every time the ump called a strike. Pure showmanship, pure grandstanding, pure New York as he threw his arm skyward and swayed his hips, his voice hitting notes we hadn't heretofore heard.

The bickering continued. Was he out, was he safe, could he run (iffy), should he run (iffy), a foul, a strike, a ball...where we eatin' afterwards?

These were New Yorkers let loose after a harsh winter, at the end of what may have been a rough workweek or a slow retirement week, who knows. But their comical joy was as delicious as a pizza slice or pastrami on rye. I'd love to know where they corralled their creaking bones for a beer and somethin'.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Game 46 Thread: May 27 vs. Barves, 7p

Zack Greinke (5-1, 1.48) vs. Alex Wood (2-2, 3.83).

Sexyzack hasn't gotten a decision in his past three starts, although the Dodgers have won two of them (versus the Marlins and Padres). The Dodgers have already secured the series win against the Braves and—

WHO AM I KIDDING I CAN'T PRETEND IT ISN'T KILLING US THAT THE DODGERS TRADED JUAN URIBE GOODBYE PAPI WE LOVE YOU WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE


FEELS LIKE

UPDATE: ALL OF THE FEELS


photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Game 45 Thread: May 26 vs. Braves, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 4.32) vs. Julio Teheran (4-1, 3.91).

Little known fact here, that Julio Teheran's real last name is Pinto. And we know what happens when Pintos experience a little bit of pressure (see above), right? Not that we're putting even more pressure on our ace, Clayton Kershaw: his 87 ERA+ this year is on track to be a career low, even worse than his highly aberrant 5-5 rookie season of 2008.

From a BHWT belt perspective, in case you're keeping score: if the Brewers can win the last two against the Giants, and then beat the Diamondbacks but lose to the Cardinals June 1-3, we can come back and regain the belt June 4-7. Winning today...would have no impact on the belt per se, but would still be good to secure the series.

And if you're going to the game tonight, we recommend that you be there at least 45 minutes before first pitch, especially at this time of year.

Baseball World Heavyweight Title Update: Giants Retain (Plus Game-Changing Announcement)


Over the weekend, The San Francisco Giants retained the Baseball World Heavyweight Title, by virtue of a draw with the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies' arch-nemesis, rain, interfered yet again, possibly costing the Rockies their fourth shot at the title. It was an ugly affair all around, with the champs finding themselves on the wrong side of an 11-2 drubbing to end the match.

The Giants' next challenge comes from the Brewers, and, as of this writing, the Giants have already captured the first fall of a three-game series.

Let's take a look at the title history to date.


Current Champion: San Francisco Giants

2015 BASEBALL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY
CHAMPION WON FROM REIGN LENGTH SUCCESSFUL DEFENSES
1) San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
(9/28/14)
6 days
1
(vs. AZ)
2) San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
(4/12/15)
13 days
2
(vs. CHC, COL)
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
(4/25/15)
25 days
6
(vs. SFG, AZ, MIL, COL, MIA, COL)
4) San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
(5/20/15)
7 days
(through 5/26)
1 (vs. COL)

--

With that bit of business out of the way, it's time to change the game.

Introducing...the SoSG World Championship.


Joc holds up the new title belt, modeled after the NWO World Title.

What is the SoSG World Championship, you ask? It's simple. It imagines an alternate timeline where the Dodgers never lost the Baseball World Heavyweight Title to the Giants. Yes, the BWHT championship committee has gone mad with power and destroyed any illusion of impartiality. We're a Dodgers blog and we've awarded "our guys" their own belt. Not unlike when Brock Lesnar took the WWE title to Smackdown, forcing Eric Bischoff to create a belt out of thin air to hand to Triple H:


My thought process on this stemmed from my love of the uber-nerdy WWE Linear Title, chronicled by Voices of Wrestling. The following passage directly inspired the SoSG World Championship:
Due to the odd, and previously unprecedented, circumstances from WWE Night of Champions 2014, we’ve added the WWE Linear Championship #DarkestTimeline. Seth Rollins beat Roman Reigns on that event, in an official match, via forfeit. Because the match began, and the referee stopped it due to forfeit, it is treated as a ref stoppage. A ref stoppage is a valid way for the title to change hands, so Seth Rollins won the WWE Linear Championship from Reigns on that night. However, due to controversy, and honestly the thought that it would just be fun to track, the #DarkestTimeline (A reference to NBC’s Community) was created. The #DarkestTimeline sees Reigns retaining the WWE Linear Title, as if it never changed hands due to the forfeit. So, we have a split lineage in a way. Rollins won the Linear Title, while Reigns retained with the #DarkestTimeline.

So, yes, the Dodgers legitimately lost the BWHT to the Giants. BUT...because my recap of the series described the loss as a forfeit (due to the offense not showing up), it became the launching point for this alternate timeline.

The SoSG World Championship will follow the same rules as the BWHT, with two exceptions:
1. This is OUR belt. If the Dodgers lose a series, but we don't feel like giving up the belt, we won't give up the belt. Again, we are ABSOLUTELY biased and crooked when it comes to this title. We have embraced our role as heel authority figures and we DO NOT like to lose.

2. If the BWHT belt-holder faces the SoSG WC belt-holder, the match will be a title unification match.


Current Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers

2015 SoSG WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
CHAMPION WON FROM REIGN LENGTH SUCCESSFUL DEFENSES
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
Awarded by SoSG
(5/22/15)
5 days
1
(vs. SD)


Celebration erupts at SoSG Headquarters.

Despite succumbing to corruption, we will continue to chronicle the lineage of BOTH made-up championships. The BWHT lineage will be on the up-and-up. The SoSG WC is our toy to play with. This will either be really fun, or really stupid. (Perhaps both.)

Confused about what the BWHT is and how it works? Hit the BWHT link on the sidebar for all the relevant posts to date.

Vin Scully, Hungry Like the Wolf

Post-Game 44 Thread: Backbone

DODGERS 6, BRAVES 3

As predicted by the GT, the Dodgers had trouble solving Williams Perez, particularly given our sleepy bats of late: six innings of Perez pitching afforded us only one run, a bases-loaded walk to Andre Ethier in the bottom of the first. The Braves got back ahead with a couple of runs, and when we had a good look at Braves reliever Luis Avilan in the seventh, with the bases loaded and one out, we were only able to eke out one run with an Adrian Gonzalez RBI comebacker preceding a Justin Turner ground out.

2-2 and going to the eighth, with Adam Liberatore performing well by dispatching the Braves in the top of the inning. Nick Masset came in for Atlanta, and we greeted him with a go-ahead HR from Ethier to start the inning, then a one-out two-run HR by Alex Guerrero, and a two-out home run by...Jimmy frickin' Rollins, ladies and gentlemen! Holy smokes, that is indeed amazing! In fact, let's break to a post-game conversation I had:

SoSG Sax: With that home run, Jimmy Rollins is finally back over .200 in batting average!

Non-Sax Dodger fan: Which is about half of Dee Gordon's batting average!

(Dee's average is actually down to .373, and Gordon has 0 HR to Rollins' five HR.)

The Dodgers took a 6-2 lead into the ninth, but Chris Hatcher looked shaky, heralding Kenley Jansen to come in and record the save. 6-3 final score. The Dodgers broke out some bats AND came back to win the game. This is the team that's been missing the past week or so. Let's go, boys!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Game 44 Thread: May 25 vs. Braves, 5p

George Sparky vs. Ted Tony.

Brett Anderson (2-2, 3.61) vs. Williams Perez (0-0, 6.14).

It's a special Baseball Hall of Fame matchup on Memorial Day 2015, as we've got starting pitchers who reflect four Baseball HOF members in their four names. This phenomenon hasn't happened since...well shoot, I am not exactly sure how to look that one up on Baseball Reference. But it seems pretty uncommon, right?

I want to be excited about the fact that this marks Perez' first career start, however we all have heard about how the Dodgers struggle seeing new starting pitchers. And the fact we've scored nine runs in their last eight games doesn't give me a lot of confidence, either. Or this, from mlb.com's game preview: "[Perez] generated whiffs on 38.5% of his changeups (5-for-13) and 33.3% of his curveballs (3-for-9)." Hoo boy, looks like another low-scoring affair is in the works for the boys in blue. That statistic is certainly the last [name] thing that I wanted to hear.

Cole Hamels / Scott Kazmir Rumors

Rumors about Cole Hamels and / or Scott Kazmir coming to the Dodgers' starting pitching rescue keep abounding; and David Schoenfield of ESPN.com says the asking price is quite high (link insider only):

Cole Hamels, LHP
Philadelphia Phillies
Trade likeliness rating: 4 (on a scale of 1-to-5, with 5 being "gone")
Best fit: Dodgers

Interested teams: Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees

Hamels, signed through 2018 with a club option for 2019, is the most valuable pitcher on the trade market because the acquiring club will control him through 2019 at market value. However, the Phillies don't have to trade him, and they won't if they don't get the package they're looking for. But I believe some team will pony up, especially given Hamels' postseason success.

Scott Kazmir, LHP
Oakland Athletics
Trade likeliness rating: 5
Best fit: Cardinals or Dodgers

Interested teams: Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees

Kazmir, a free agent-to-be, has an impressive 8.9 K/9 rate this season, and opponents are hitting just .214 against him. The A's are not going to be able to sign him long-term, so he'll be dealt, and the A's should be able to get plenty for him. The Dodgers and Cardinals are the favorites, given their strong farm systems.

According to the same article, the Dodgers are also in the mix for Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija, Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, and Tyler Clippard.

Johnny B. Predicting More Dodgers on ESPN

He's predicted the future before and now Johnny Blanchard is back with an update:

Now we have 3 more ESPN games coming up on or before June 7:

  • vs. Atlanta May 26th
  • @ Colorado June 3rd
  • vs. St. Louis June 7th.

And some detective work, courtesy ME, regarding this: "(MY BIG PREDICTION: Sun. June 21 vs. Jints, it's TBA, and it's one of only 2 Sunday games vs. them this year, so I'll guess they'll put it on Sunday night baseball)"

Well, now, ESPN has narrowed it down to two games for Sunday June 21. Check out this MLB Schedule, sortable by date and including information on game time, network coverage, and more!

It's either us or the Yankees-Tigers. We're on two weeks prior on Sunday Night Baseball... but the Tigers are on May 31st, 3 weeks prior.

Thanks, Johnny!

Post-Game 43 Thread: Extra-Crispy Curly Frias

PADRES 11, DODGERS 3

With the series already wrapped up, the Dodgers let Carlos Frias take the mound today and get absolutely shellacked. A first-inning grand slam by yesterday's defensive bungler Justin Upton left Frias dazed, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made sure Frias was completely cooked extra crispy before hooking him after four innings, 12 hits, and 10 ER later. Frias saw his ERA more than double to 5.34; the radio broadcast had Rick Monday note that Frias was still giving his all in backing up plays during the parade of hits that drubbed the Dodgers to death. So that's good, I suppose.

Mattingly went on the record later and said Frias' job was not in jeopardy. Then I'm sure he went straight to Andrew Friedman's office and begged for another starter, so that we could build upon our second-best record in the NL. Keeping with the food theme, a little Cole slaw, perhaps?

You know what else was good about today? The Giants lost by an even wider margin, downed by Colorado 11-2. Tim Hudson didn't even last as long as Frias, and Hudson's ERA is now in the same neighborhood at 5.04! So the Dodgers' NL West lead remains at two full games. Ha ha ha ha ha!

photo, and accompanying recipe, swiped from here

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Game 43 Thread: May 24 vs. Padres, 1p


Actually, based on recent performance, all Curly Fries wouldn't be so bad.

Carlos Frias (3-1, 2.55) vs. James Shields (5-0, 3.74)

Another helping of Curly Fries! Don't fill up and ruin your dinner!

James Shields doesn't have a loss this season. Seems a fine time to rectify that. Also of note today, Austin Barnes will be making his MLB debut at catcher for the Dodgers, taking the place of the concussed Yasmani Grandal. Watch your head, kid!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Game 42 Thread: May 23 vs. Padres, 7p

Think they waited for a series against the Padres to give away tonight's AGon bobblehead? Hmmm.

Mike Bolsinger (2-0, 1.04) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-3, 6.75).

What's up with the Padres' pitching staff? They're third in the majors in strikeouts (366), but 25th in ERA (4.26). And when you strip out their suspect defense, they've got the second-worst FIP (4.41). (xFIP is better at 3.67, but I'm still trying to figure out the difference. Maybe some big brain can explain in the comments.)

But nothing cures bad pitching like bad offense, which the Dodgers still are evincing despite Joc Pederson's corkscrew-swing game-winning home run last night. If something's gotta give when two slumping teams meet, then last night it only gave a little. Let's get more "give" tonight*, boys.

*I have no idea what this means.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Game 41 Thread: May 22 vs. Padres, 7p

Work your magic, Mr. Sexypants.

Zack Greinke (5-1, 1.52) vs. Andrew Cashner (1-7, 3.24).

What, you're still here? After the debacle of that last series? What are you, some kind of diehard Dodger fan?

OK, the only ray of hope tonight is that the Padres are scuffling almost as badly, sitting two games below .500 with no runs scored in their past 14 innings. So things could get ugly...unlike Zack.

Giants Win Baseball World Heavyweight Title Via Forfeit After Dodgers Fail to Appear


Left behind.

In the most bizarre development of the Baseball World Heavyweight Championship season, the Dodgers failed to appear for their title defense against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Their entrance music played three times, but the champs never emerged from behind the curtain. So, by virtue of a forfeit, the Giants become (sigh) the new Baseball World Heavyweight Champion.

Now, there's no possible way the Dodgers would fail to show up voluntarily, so something sinister must have happened. Maybe they were run over by a limo. Maybe they were kidnapped. We may never know. Hopefully, someone will locate them soon, so we can get some answers.

So, congratulations, Giants! We just need to send our man Steve to pick up the belt and deliver it to you. Should be just a moment...


Oops.

For those of you just joining us, here's how the Baseball World Heavyweight Title works:
The BWHT imagines the World Series Championship as a pro wrestling belt defended in regular season series. The defending World Series champions start the season with the belt. From there:

1. A team must win a series from the champion to take the belt. One game isn't going to cut it, considering it's a 162-game season and teams all view the season in terms of series.

2. If the belt-holder splits a series (two- or four-game series), it retains. Much like on a draw in boxing or a count-out situation in pro wrestling, you don't get the belt unless you actually beat the champion. A tie isn't good enough.

3. If, at the end of the regular season, the belt-holder does not make the playoffs -- and due to the dynamics of this thing, that scenario is entirely plausible -- said team will be stripped of the title for not qualifying for the postseason. Then the winner of the playoffs -- the World Series -- takes the belt and the title into the offseason.

Let's take a look at the title history to date, as the Giants begin their second reign...


Current Champion: San Francisco Giants

2015 BASEBALL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY
CHAMPION WON FROM REIGN LENGTH SUCCESSFUL DEFENSES
1) San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
(9/28/14)*
6 days
1
(vs. AZ)
2) San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
(4/12/15)
13 days
2
(vs. CHC, COL)
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
(4/25/15)
25 days
6
(vs. SFG, AZ, MIL, COL, MIA, COL)
4) San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
(5/20/15)
5 days
(through 5/24)
N/A

First up for the new champs will be the Rockies, who are getting their FOURTH shot at the belt this season. Can Dinger and company make the Giants' reign brief, or will they be labeled the Lex Luger of the BWHT? (Tons of title shots, but can never win the big one.)

And fear not, Dodger fans, because this is still a Dodgers blog and not a (OH MY GOD WHY DON'T YOU START A) Giants blog, we will periodically update you on the Dodgers' best chances to regain the title. At the moment, best we can tell, we should hope the Rockies win the belt and then retain until June 1st. I know we're all disappointed, but the real goal is to be the team standing tall with the strap at the end of the season.

*Upon researching the path of the title in 2014, I learned that the Giants actually won the belt on the final day of the season and successfully defended it through the postseason. Gross. Their initial 2015 title reign length still remains 6 days, however.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Game 40 Thread: May 21 @ Giants, 12:45p

From @akaTheConman, who else?

Clayton Kershaw (2-2, 4.24) vs. Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 3.20).

Shit shit shit. The Dodger Express has hit a wall called AT&T Park, where their bats have gone into deep freeze. Put it this way: The first run they score today will be the second run they will have scored ALL WEEK. Regression to the mean is a bitch.

Meanwhile, Kershaw keeps striking 'em out...and allowing runs. He'll be fine, Daniel Brim of Dodgers Digest tells us. Well, today would be a good day to start getting there.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Game 39 Thread: May 20 @ Giants, 7p


Brett Anderson (2-1, 3.50) vs. Tim Lincecum (3-2, 2.43)

The Dodgers have score a grand total of TWO runs over their last 26 innings (29 if you include the last three innings of Friday's game), and are 1-2 over that stretch. The glorious, flowing rivers of offense we've come to be spoiled by have dried up.

The Dodgers have yet to win a game at the Seagull Feeding Trough this season, and must win two straight there to keep the belt. A sudden cloudburst of offense would go a long way to ending this drought.

Post-Game 38 Thread: Unsupported Frias

GIANTS 2, DODGERS 0

Carlos Frias pitches a very admirable six innings of seven-hit, one-run ball. And we can't score a frickin' run to support him.

Dodgers remain winless at Phone Park this year.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Game 38 Thread: May 19 @ Giants, 7p

Would you like Frias with that?

Carlos Frias (3-0, 2.89) vs. Tim Hudson (1-3, 4.57).

Since getting swept at AT&T Park in April, the Dodgers have played seven series and lost none of them. That's been good for first place in the division (by 4.5 games) and the top spot in SI.com's latest Power Rankings.

And with the news that Hyun-Jin Ryu is likely out for the season, the focus on the Dodgers' fragile pitching staff intensifies. The maturation of Frias and the front office's canny addition of Mike Bolsinger have been fine stopgaps, but will they now have to become workhorses?

Hey Chicago Peeps

Hint: When in Chicago, don't do this.

Got a message from SoSG reader Joe:

Yo!

This summer I am planning a trip to Chicago with my grandson specifically to see the Dodgers and the Cubs play. Is there a particular section or area I should try to get tickets for to be with other Dodger fans? And enjoy the unique Chicago culture of course! Any thoughts for other recreational ideas while there?

I don't know the answer to Joe's questions, so I thought we'd open this up to the readership. Any Chicago folks out there?

photo by Tom Cruze/Chicago Sun-Times

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dodgers and Rockies Battle to Time Limit Draw; Dodgers Retain Baseball World Heavyweight Title


Let me show you punks how it's done!

The Dodgers survived a roller coaster of a sixth defense of their Baseball World Heavyweight Title belt against the Rockies, earning a split of a four-game series. This one was not the slightest bit pretty for the champs. To begin with, the Dodgers thought they had another shortened victory in the bag after the Rockies arch nemesis, Rain, intervened yet again on Thursday night. The interference backfired, however, when the Dodgers were forced to finish the fall, and were shocked by CarGo in the ninth. The champs bounced back with Clayton Kershaw's 100th career win on Friday, but were then quickly embarrassed, losing the third fall in front of a collection former Baseball World Heavyweight Champions and legends. In the final fall, they were forced to take the easy way out, scoring a little offense early, then playing keep away with the belt until time expired. It was cheap, but effective.*

While Kershaw was good and Mike Bolsinger was stellar, no clear hero emerged from the series. And so, we decided to indulge in a little McMahon-level nepotism and put the belt on Steve Garvey. Congrats, Pops!

Let's take a look at the title history to date, as the Dodgers approach a full month as champs...


Current Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers

2015 BASEBALL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY
CHAMPION WON FROM REIGN LENGTH SUCCESSFUL DEFENSES
1) San Francisco Giants
Kansas City Royals
(2014 World Series)
6 days
1
(vs. AZ)
2) San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
(4/12/15)
13 days
2
(vs. CHC, COL)
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
(4/25/15)
25 days
(through 5/19)
6
(vs. SFG, AZ, MIL, COL, MIA, COL)

After an off-day to lick their wounds, the Dodgers travel to San Francisco for a second defense against their hated rivals. The Giants handed the Dodgers' their last series loss, guaranteeing three days of stress-induced ulcers for your friends here at the heavily-biased BWHT championship committee.

Confused about what the BWHT is and how it works? Hit the BWHT link on the sidebar.

*This recap of the weekend's events brought to you by someone who saw a grand total of about five minutes of Dodger baseball this weekend.

Off Day Sleuthing

Mamma Cora found this ball in her collection and doesn't know who it was signed by.  I thought it was a Dodger, but looking at who wore number 9 in the past (such greats as Todd Hundley), the signature doesn't match.  Thus, I was hoping for some SOSG help.  Anyone recognize this autograph?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Game 37 Thread: May 17 vs. Rockies, 1p

Mattingly attempts the old "Hey, there's mustard on your shirt" gag
on Mike Bolsinger during a visit to the mound 

Mike Bolsinger (1-0, 1.59) vs. Kyle Kendrick (1-4, 7.65)

Hasn't Bolsinger pitched like three times already this week? He's going to need to sack up today in order to get the series split with a team who came into the stand having lost its last ten games. And a stand the featured our 1 and 1A starters. And a team whose all-world SS Troy Tool is battling yet another injury and missing playing time.

All of us will need to have a stiff Bloody Mary or two and knock the funk off yesterday's frustrating loss. However, it seems imminently doable given that Kyle Kendrick has been very poor thus far this season (please tell me that Howie Kendrick is in today's lineup so we can note a Kendrick-Kendrick matchup). Bolsinger will need to forget about that 478-foot bomb he gave up to Stanton earlier in the week but perhaps keep some nugget of a memory of it when he faces the always-dangerous Karina's Crush.

Not a lot to write home about in this one. Hopefully Mattingly put out his Sunday lineup yesterday and we'll see a robust set of bats (including Gonzalez, Pederson, and Grandal) out there leading into the off day tomorrow.

photo: Rick Scuderi/USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers' Offense: Producing At Historic Pace

Thanks to Mike Petriello, who tipped off David Schoenfield, about the fact that the Dodgers' offense so far has been more potent than the 1927 Yankees, not to mention all other teams all-time:

Wow. I had no idea. That link goes to a list of the best teams in history in a stat called wRC+, which stands for weighted Runs Created. It's park- and league-adjusted, so it's a better barometer for determining the best offensive teams of all time than just looking at runs scored totals, which will obviously be skewed toward teams from the high-scoring 1930s and late 1990s. Also, this particular list has removed pitchers' hitting from the equation.

So there are the Los Angeles Dodgers, first on the list, ahead of the famous 1927 Yankees of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Maybe they won't miss Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez after all. [...]

[T]he 2015 Dodgers:

wRC+: 141 (.282/.365/.508)

W-L: 23-12

Runs per game: 5.26

League average: 4.13

The Dodgers are playing in a relatively low-scoring era and in a pitcher's park, so that helps pump up their wRC+. Everybody was concerned about the offense after they traded Kemp and lost Ramirez to free agency, but the Dodgers have impressive depth in an era when most teams are struggling to put out four or five decent hitters, let alone seven or eight. They've even managed to do this despite a hamstring injury to Yasiel Puig -- the team's projected best offensive player -- that has limited him to 11 games.

The big surprises have been rookie center fielder Joc Pederson, hitting .243/.401/.559, after a preseason ZiPS projection of .239/.327/.420, and veteran Andre Ethier, who has received playing time with Puig out and is hitting .330/.431/.582 versus a projection of .259/.335/.392. Of course, Adrian Gonzalez has been hot with a .689 slugging percentage that is second in the NL to Bryce Harper's .690, and Alex Guerrero is slugging .786 in limited playing time.

Is the offense overperforming? Sure, we can expect some regression to happen -- although there is plenty of bad pitching on the Rockies and Diamondbacks to tee off against the rest of the season. Pederson has continue to hit home runs but his average has dropped from .300 on May 1. Gonzalez hasn't had a .500 slugging percentage since 2011, let alone one approaching .700. Yasmani Grandal has an OBP over .400 and that will likely decline.

Still, it's fun to watch. Manager Don Mattingly already is having trouble getting all the hot bats into the lineup, especially the revolving door at third base with Juan Uribe, Justin Turner and Guerrero. Once Puig returns, what happens with Ethier? And Scott Van Slyke has replaced the injured Carl Crawford in left field with better results. Then there's Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, a 30-year-old third baseman/second baseman who signed a $62.5 million contract and just got cleared for his visa, and shortstop prospect Corey Seager, now in Triple-A after hitting .375 in Double-A to start the season.

Anyway, it certainly explains why the Dodgers are 23-12 even though Clayton Kershaw has just two wins, Hyun-Jin Ryu has yet to pitch and Brandon McCarthy made just four starts before being lost for the season. There are different ways to win games. This is just a new way for a franchise historically built on great pitching.

The 1927 Yankees have a wRC+ of 135.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Game 36 Thread: May 16 vs. Rockies, 6p

Keep it coming, dreamboat.

Zack Greinke (5-0, 1.52) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (0-2, 9.56).

The Dodgers clawed out a win yesterday after losing a heartbreaker on Thursday night. One win in the next two games retains the belt. And you would think, with our winningest pitcher this season on the mound, we should be pretty set, right?

Not so fast, sports fans. This game is weird not only because of the 6p start, but also because the Dodgers are running an Oldtimers' Game before handing out 1965 Replica World Series rings (first 40K fans). The Oldtimers' Game will start at 4p and will be headlined by Sandy Koufax, but attendees will also include: Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes, Rick Monday, Reggie Smith, Eric Karros, Billy Bean, Nomar Garciaparra, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, Wally Moon, Ron Perranoski, Wes Parker, Jeff Torborg, Ron Fairly, Jim Lefebvre, Al Ferrara, and Lou Johnson.

Game rosters include Chan Ho Park, Tommy John, Pedro Guerrero, Mickey Hatcher, Tim Wallach, Steve Yeager, Rick Honeycutt, Eric Gagne, Charlie Hough, Manny Mota, Shawn Green, Ken Landreaux, Steve Finley, Todd Zeile, Mike Marshall, and Jerry Hairston Jr. Oh, and one other guy: me!

Everybody stay Saxy today!

The Curse Of The Mingling Sons

As SoSG Dusty chronicled yesterday, May 14, 2015 was the first game in which two Sons not only mingled at the game, but also may have made sweet sweet love. And, after going an amazing 11-0 this season, that game marked the end of the Sons' undefeated attendance streak in 2015.

It also marked the rare game where the Dodgers scored 4+ runs and lost the game, not to mention an end to the Rockies' 11-game loss streak. And, it was rainy as all get out. But leave weather aside, sports fans: us Sons have diligently been trying to understand the true meaning of this event, sort of like Nicolas Cage in National Treasure. (Except with less overacting.)

From our super-secret What's App message stream:

SoSG Nomo: Is this the first game where [SoSG Dusty] and SoSG AC mingled? Maybe we should have kept you guys apart.

SoSG Dusty: True. I also hung out with [name redacted; not a Son] as well, so he takes some blame.

SoSG AC: And I also saw Rudy Tomjanovich and he's really tall so he gets most of the blame. (true story, btw)

SoSG Nomo: Yeah, I can't figure out the exact science of it, but Son-canoodling seems to increase the chances of a loss. We hung out at the Jackie Robinson game, which was a win, but you were incognito as [identity redacted].... My theory applies to the Stadium (blogger nights seem immune).

SoSG Dusty: The science seems pretty sound on this theory.

SoSG Orel: But Sax and AC were at the two Australia wins last year!

SoSG Dusty: But they were below the equator so everything is opposite. Duh.

SoSG Orel: (slaps forehead)

We've sent this theory to ESPN Stats, the Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia Brown for further investigation, but SoSG Nomo's theory looks pretty solid at first glance. Until further notice, Sons are not allowed to meet at the Stadium during a game. Or at least, not make sweet sweet love in the aisle.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Game 35 Thread: May 15 vs. Rockies, 7p


Can I have my 100th career win NOW? Pretty please?

Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 4.26) vs. Eddie Butler (2-3, 3.73)

A two-game losing streak? The hell? I thought we didn't do that anymore. Can we have some good news, please?

Yeah, that'll do. The clouds are lifting. Here's your ray of sunshine...

My Sad Soggy Slog

Thought I'd check in with a take on last night's game. [This is not an official PGT; I would have had to remember critical details of the game itself that seemed to take 17 trillion hours to play.] The game was my third game this week, and I admit I actually almost didn't go. But what the heck, it was Sandy Koufax pin night, so I just made a right on Sunset instead of heading home from work. Game on!
The clouds were already looming ominously as I made my way up to the gates. And of course I hadn't grabbed the right waterproof jacket on my way out, so I was set up to fail. The good news is that I ran into SoSG AC, and we made sweet, sweet love right there at the top of the steps of Section 21 on the Field Level. I'm sure there are videos of it on YouTube by now. Our attorneys will be issuing a cease and desist soon. It was good to catch up with my beloved brotha from the same dad, though unbeknownst to us, the curse of multiple Sons attending games and meeting each other at the stadium was already threatening the unprecedented Sons season unbeaten streak.

Some stuff happened in the game (beat that for expert in-game reporting!) and we were pretty decent but I was mainly running into other buddies, walking around, standing in beer lines, etc. as a light rain fell. I realized that the rain was going increase so I dug in: full 24oz beer and my own table top and stool along the right field line on the Field Level. I was mostly set but others were escaping the rain and standing in front of me, so I assume some other stuff happened in the game at that point. I decided to put my head down and play some Marvel Puzzle Quest. From my vantage point, I could see lightning in the west and knew that officials would end things soon if lightning were thought to be a threat, so I headed to the area on Loge where my actual seats are that provides the quickest exit toward where my car was parked, in case the game was called. And I snagged a Dos XX along the way in case it wasn't.

Not long after I settled in to a spot on Loge overlooking the field, the heavy stuff really started coming down. Not just wussy LA rain; the real heavy stuff. On came the tarp.
The tarp! WTF? We actually have a tarp? And the grounds crew actually knows how to use it? Who knew? The tarp actually looked more like a space blanket (credit to @themunson for that phrasing). Where's my Tang?
Aaaaand....then we had to endure what seemed like hours of low-quality in-game entertainment (which I think was largely SportsNetLA re-runs) and multiple god damned playings of CCR's "Who'll Stop the Rain." It wasn't genius the first time nor was it genius what seemed like the 54th time they played it.
video
Luckily I had laid into a nice smoked porter and met up with aforementioned @themunson so we had a good time snarking and catching up. Quite frankly, I would have left earlier after a long work week and being cold and under the assumption the game would be called. Except that I was too much of of a cupcake to walk a half mile to my car in the pouring rain.

And then, amazingly, the rain slackened then stopped and they announced the game would resume. Ok, I thought, I'll stick this one out. It's not all that often that Dodger Stadium has to deal with rain so it's quite the novelty. It was actually fun and interesting to watch the fan reaction to the rain since it is so rare. A lot of people actually stuck it out. You couldn't see from the video (especially if you can't watch the games!) but there were a lot of fans still in the stadium; they were just up under the overhangs and on the mezzanines.

And then I couldn't hang any more. Had to go. Found the car, stayed fairly dry, and listened to the game on the way home. And the damn game was still going when I got home. Someone kill that thing! Eventually, Karina's boyfriend Cargo did kill the game with a HR blast. I feel like I put so much into this game that I deserved the win. Even worse, the Sons attendance meter was hit with its first loss.

Dry your feet and your tears, though. Tonight's another game. Unless it rains again...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Game 34 Thread: May 14 vs. Rockies, 7p

Tonight's stadium giveaway.

Brett Anderson (2-1, 3.52) vs. Chad Bettis (0-0, -.--).

Back to a normal start time, but also back to the Rockies and rain. Will we play tonight?

Who the hell is Chad Bettis? There's not much info available about him, so I'll just assume he's a hybrid between Chad Billingsley and Jerome Bettis. Which means he must have monster thighs.

Anderson should be fresh, having thrown only 63 pitches in last weeks' rain-shortened win in Colorado. The bullpen will be sans Pedro Baez, who was placed on the DL with a strained pec. When does Kenley return?

UPDATE (Sax): Despite threatening rain, it looks like the game is on, according to the TWC pre-game coverage:

Thanks to the SOSG stringer for the screengrabs!

At-Game Recap: SoSG AC Finds A New Friend (May 12, 2015)

Doesn't get much more beautiful than this, on Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead night. Photo by SoSG AC.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Game 33 Thread: May 13 vs. Marlins, 4:50p


Carlos Frias (3-0, 2.13) vs. Jarred (not canned) Cosart (1-3, 3.67)

WEIRD AFTERNOON START TIME ALERT! (Perhaps the schedulers had "mental problems.") Expect lots of shadow talkin' from the announcers (including Vin, he's guilty too, but he gets a pass) and snide attendance comments from beat writers on Twitter.

With the series won, the belt retained, and old friends both shut down and knocked around, the only thing left for the Dodgers to do is get the sweep. They can do that and still be done in time for me to watch Arrow.

Squish the Fish!

Dodgers Filet Fish, Retain Baseball World Heavyweight Title


Respect the Beard!

In record time and devastating fashion, the Dodgers squashed their challengers from South Beach, retaining the Baseball World Heavyweight Title in two straight falls.* The champs lured the Marlins into a false sense of security early, letting them think they'd take the first fall. Then, from out of nowhere, Scott Van Slyke hit his finisher on Steve Cishek, giving the Dodgers the first fall.


Gif by the always-astonishing Conman. Duh.

The second fall was almost never in doubt, despite an aerial assault from Giancarlo Stanton in the opening moments. The Fish were no match for the sustained onslaught from the Dodgers, including a five-hit night from Andre "The Giant" (like the wrestler, not like the baseball team) Ethier.

For those of you just joining us, here's how the Baseball World Heavyweight Title works:
The BWHT imagines the World Series Championship as a pro wrestling belt defended in regular season series. The defending World Series champions start the season with the belt. From there:

1. A team must win a series from the champion to take the belt. One game isn't going to cut it, considering it's a 162-game season and teams all view the season in terms of series.

2. If the belt-holder splits a series (two- or four-game series), it retains. Much like on a draw in boxing or a count-out situation in pro wrestling, you don't get the belt unless you actually beat the champion. A tie isn't good enough.

3. If, at the end of the regular season, the belt-holder does not make the playoffs -- and due to the dynamics of this thing, that scenario is entirely plausible -- said team will be stripped of the title for not qualifying for the postseason. Then the winner of the playoffs -- the World Series -- takes the belt and the title into the offseason.

Let's take a look at the title history to date, as the Dodgers continue their run...


Current Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers

2015 BASEBALL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY
CHAMPION WON FROM REIGN LENGTH SUCCESSFUL DEFENSES
1) San Francisco Giants
Kansas City Royals
(2014 World Series)
6 days
1
(vs. AZ)
2) San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
(4/12/15)
13 days
2
(vs. CHC, COL)
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
(4/25/15)
21 days
(through 5/15)
5
(vs. SFG, AZ, MIL, COL, MIA)

Up next for the Dodgers is the final fall of the match with the Marlins, with only pride on the line. Then, starting tomorrow, the Rockies come to town for their rematch from this past weekend. Rain has been banned from ringside by management, but will that really prevent him from ruining the Rockies' chances again?


*Yes, the series with the Marlins is still going on, but the title has been decided and I won't be free to do anymore updates until after the Rockies series.

Vin Scully, on a Hole in the Wall and Perfectly Timed Storytelling

"My thanks to Adrian Gonzalez for fouling off all those pitches...."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Game 32 Thread: May 12 vs. Marlins, 7p

Mike Bolsinger (0-0, 1.59) vs. Dan Haren (4-1. 2.68).

Revenge! ABC may have canceled it, but Haren is hoping to keep it alive tonight against the team that paid him to "go away." Let's not underestimate the value to flipping a fat old middle finger to your former bosses.

Although he leads the Marlins starters in traditional categories, Haren's 4.62 FIP suggests a correction may be in order (aaah, I linked to Bleacher Report. Is that still uncool?). And don't forget Dee Gordon also has a chip on his shoulder, despite all the nice things he's saying to the media.