Monday, June 28, 2021

"Series" Thread (Games 79-80): June 28-29 vs. Giants

Mon 6.28: Bauer vs. DeSclafani
Tue 6.29: Buehler vs. Gausman
both games, 7p

We took three of four from the visiting Cubbies this weekend, including a walk-off ending on Saturday (I was there!), followed by a beatdown early on Sunday. These 4pm start times are favorable for the Dodgers!

But don't, don't, don't let's start. This is the worst part. Now we face the league-leading Giants for two; the Giants sit 3.5 games ahead of us and have shown no signs of letting up, almost halfway through the season. The Giants' surprising strength has been their starting rotation: DeSclafani is 8-2 with a 2.77 ERA (slightly worse than Trevor Bauer's 2.57), and Gausman is 8-1 with a 1.49 ERA (much better than Beuhler's 2.51). The Dodgers have basically split the season series with the Giants to date (LA four games to SF 3). so these two duels are going to be critical if we are going to make up ground.

They might be Giants? We'll see.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Series Thread (Games 75-78): June 24-27 vs. Cubs

Welcome the new great depression.
(also used May 6, 2019)

Thu 24 7p: Buehler vs. Davies
Fri 25 7p: Gonsolin vs. Arrieta
Sat 26 4p: Urias vs. Mills
Sun 27 4p: Kershaw vs. Alzolay

Honestly, I just can't on this team right now. We absolutely sucked vs. the Padres, and now we face a Cubs team that swept us in Chicago. We're doomed.

Yeah, Cody Bellinger is back, as is Max Muncy. But our offense is still a steaming pile of crap. We have no one with a batting average over .300 (only Justin Turner is above .280), and only Muncy is in the top 10 OPS. We strand tons of players. And from a pitching perspective, we are giving up a ton of first-inning HRs.

I'm going to go to the Stadium today and Saturday to try and fire up our team. You'll hear me yelling.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Series Thread (Games 72-74): June 21-23 @ Padres

screenshot from the WSJ, 4/15/21

Mon 21: Urias vs. Darvish
Tue 22: Kershaw vs. TBD
Wed 23: Bauer vs. TBD

Fernando Tatis Jr. is day-to-day, having re-aggravated a shoulder injury.. But we still have Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy ailing (both are apparently "on track" to come back later in this SD series, but we'll see), not to mention Corey Seager hasn't even started a rehab assignment yet.

The Dodgers may have swept the lowly Diamondbacks this weekend, but the Padres pulled off a four-game sweep of their own against the .500 Reds (rather than a team that has lost 17 in a row). With the Dodgers only 3-4 against the Padres this season, I am guessing we'll drop this series. Prove me wrong, Dodgers!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Series Thread (Gamea 69-71): June 19-21 @ Diamondbacks

Happy Father's Day!

Fri 18 6.40p: Bauer (6-5, 2.64) vs. TBD C Smith (2-2, 3.61)
Sat 19 7p: Buehler (6-0, 2.38) vs. TBD Peacock (2-4, 5.26)
Sun 20 1p: Gonsolin (0-0, 3.38) vs. TBD

Wow, that's a lot of TBDs there (Update: edited)! But before we get cocky about visiting the last-place Diamondbacks, losers of 14 straight and 24.5 games out of first place, let's remember that the Dodgers tend to play down to their opponents. And the Diamondbacks are due to hit a hot streak--maybe even win their next series.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers should have done better than a 4-2 homestand (especially with full stadium capacity over the last two Phillies games, which were split including a depressing shutout loss (2-0) on Wednesday). 11 Ks from Clayton Kershaw and the pen didn't make that Jumbo Jack go down easier, not when we're 0-for-6 with RISP and 10 LOB. At least on Sunday, when we see if Tony Gonsolin can get into the fifth inning for the first time this year, we'll have Father's Day to distract us.

Dodgers start the weekend 2.5GB the Giants (hosting the Phillies this weekend). The Dodgers have the second-best record in the NL.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Series Thread (Games 66-68): June 14-16 vs. Phillies

Mon 6.14: Gonsolin vs. Howard
Tues 6.15: Urias vs. Eflin
Wed 6.16: Kershaw vs. Wheeler
All games 7p

The Dodgers sit one game back of the Giants for first place in the NL West, but still have the second-best record in the league as well as the biggest run differential in the NL. But the Phillies are a > .500 team and it doesn't take an arthouse film afficionado to understand that the series will only go our way if Gonsolin can ensure Howard's End in Game 1. From then on, the series should be a breeze: an Eflin' layup for Julio Urias, followed by Clayton Kershaw dueling a loose Wheeler. Let's go, Catman.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Series Thread (Games 63-65): June 11-13 vs. Rangers

Fri 6.11 7p: Kershaw vs. Foltynewicz
Sat 6.12 7p: Bauer vs. Allard
Sun 6.13 1p: Buehler vs. Dunning

Dodgers leave a rainy Pittsburgh (the first two games' starts were delayed by rain; Thursday's game was ended early due to rain) with a sweep, so that gave us a 4-2 road trip. Which looked a hell of a lot worse after dropping turds in Atlanta, but hey--I'll take it.

So now we come home to start a series with Texas, last place in the AL East and 13 games behind the A's. More importantly, though, it finally gives me the chance to hype Sunday's game as WALKER / TEXAS RANGERS.

Thank you, Hollywood! Good night!

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Series Thread (Games 60-62): June 8-10 @ Pirates

Tue 6.8 4p: Buehler vs. Brubaker
Wed 6.9 4p: TBD vs. T Anderson
Thu 6.10 9.30a: Urias vs. M Keller

Dropping two of three in Atlanta bodes poorly for this series @ PNC Park. I thought we could take the series, but instead we couldn't establish any sort of momentum save one 8-run inning in the first game of the Braves series. Now, on to the Pirates, worst in the NL Centra (9.5 games out of first). But we're now three games out of first place in the NL West and fading fast, despite a league-leading run differential. Not feeling good here.

UPDATE 6/9: Dodgers win Game 1, 5-3. But it would have been closer, had Ke'Bryan Hayes' HR not been overturned after he forgot to step on first base:

Friday, June 04, 2021

Series Thread (Games 57-59): June 4-6 @ Braves

Fri 6/4 4.20p: Julio Urias vs. Anderson
Sat 6/5 4.15p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Morton
Sun 6/6 10.20a: Trevor Bauer vs. Fried

Ah, the Braves, who took us to seven games in the 2020 NLCS but dropped the last three games of that series to send us to the World Series. Marcell Ozuna isn't in the lineup. But the Braves are still in second place in the east (to the Mets) despite their 26-28 record, and we know they've got a bone to pick with the Dodgers.

I predict we'll win the series. Watching those highlights again gets me as pumped as our 11-run first inning on Wednesday (but keep your shoulder in its socket, Cody!).

Wow, I still get chills watching those highlights. Amazing.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Recapping the Dodgers' Amazing 11 First-Inning Runs (June 2, 2021)

screenshot stolen from Spectrum SportsNet last night

Last night, en route to a 14-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Dodgers mashed out 11 runs in the first inning. It was the most runs scored in an inning since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger finally broke out of his return-to-the-majors somnabulation and crushed a one-inning franchise record 6 RBI.

Here's a recap of the whole bottom of the first:

In fact, it reminded me a lot of the last 11-runs-in-one inning outburst by the Dodgers, which came in the 2020 NLCS vs. the Braves:

More important than winning the series with the Cards and moving 1.5 GB the divisional lead, this game showed that the Dodgers' offense might actually be back. We can't depend on Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and a recent coming of age from Gavin Lux. If we can get Bellinger healthy, Mookie Betts back to a prolific leadoff hitter...who knows how we might look when Corey Seager comes back from the broken hand, around the All-Star break.

But for now, let's celebrate the bottom of the first inning, batter by batter:

  • Mookie Betts hits a ground-rule double (17) on a fly ball down the right-field line.
  • Max Muncy walks.
  • Justin Turner singles on a sharp ground ball to left. Betts scores, Muncy to third, Turner to second. Throwing error by left fielder Tyler O'Neill. LA 1, STL 1
  • Cody Bellinger singles on a sharp line drive to right. Muncy, Turner score. LA 3, STL 1
  • Chris Taylor walks, Bellinger to second.
  • Gavin Lux singles on a sharp fly ball to center. Bellinger scores. Taylor to third, Lux to second. Throwing error by shortstop Edmundo Sosa. LA 4, STL 1
  • Zach McKinstry singles on sharp ground ball to right. Taylor, Lux score. LA 6, STL 1
  • McKinstry steals (1) second.
  • Austin Barnes walks. This is eight straight batters without an out recorded.
  • Walker Buehler strikes out on a foul bunt. One out.
  • Betts singles on a line drive to left. McKinstry scores, Barnes to second. LA 7, STL 1
  • Muncy flies out to right. Two out.
  • Turner walks. Barnes to third, Betts to second.
  • Jake Woodford replaces pitcher Carlos Martinez.
  • Bellinger hits a grand slam (1) to right-center. Barnes, Betts, Turner also score. LA 11, STL 1
  • Taylor lines out sharply to short. Three out.

Wow, what an inning. Between this, and Chris Taylor's 14-pitch AB in Monday's game (below--people, this AB takes over nine minutes!!!), this series might have the turning point for the Dodgers' season. We're in third place in the division, but with the third-best record in the NL (and fifth-best in MLB). Let's GOOOOOOO!