Sunday, December 10, 2023

Dodger Currently Wearing #17 Bummed Out About Ceding Number To Ohtani

Miguel Vargas started out the year wearing #17, but his demotion to the minors let this guy hold it for the end of the 2023 season. Apparently, he's pretty disappointed to give it up to Ohtani.

Poor guy.

photo: Bob Levey / Getty Images

Saturday, October 07, 2023

2023 NLDS Thread: Oct 7-14 vs. Diamondbacks

Game 1 @ LA: Sat 10/7 6.20p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Merrill Kelly
Game 2 @ LA: Mon 10/9 6p: TBD vs. TBD
Game 3 @ AZ: Wed 10/11 TBD: TBD vs. TBD
Game 4 @ AZ: Thu 10/12 TBD: TBD vs. TBD
Game 5 @ LA: Sat 10/14 TBD: TBD vs. TBD

I apologize for having to put up a full series thread for this rather than individual Game Thread links. I'm going to be traveling this week--which means I unfortunately had to pass on going to Game 1, which is brutal--so I'm posting this in case I can't get to all the individual GT posts.

The Dodgers went up against the Diamondbacks in their last playoff appearance (2017), in which the Dodgers swept them out of the playoffs before advancing to eventually get cheated out of a World Series title. But the Diamondbacks scared me more this year than the heavily-vaunted Padres did; the Diamondbacks actually were in first place this year as late as July 19, before going on a nine-game losing streak that basically dropped them out of contention for good.

The Dodgers just posted their NLDS roster, and Ryan Yarbrough and Amed Rosario did not make the cut. Kolten Wong and Michael Grove did. Hmm.

Thursday, October 05, 2023

On the Dodgers' 2023 Playoffs

There's obviously a lot of stress around the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2023 playoff run, which starts Saturday against a surprising opponent in the Arizona Diamondbacks, who dispatched the favored Milwaukee Brewers with two straight come-from-behind victories to sweep the best-of-three Wild Card series.

The Diamondbacks play a fast and athletic style of baseball that is basically the anti-Max Muncy, finishing the season in second place (84-78) and earning the final NL Wild Card (and playoff) spot. And though they went only 1-for-10 with RISP in Game 1 against the Brewers, and were caught stealing twice in their four attempts, they rode a bevy of relievers in the first game before deploying starter Zac Gallen (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 Ks and 3 BB) for a more conventional win in the second game (when they went 3-for-5 with RISP).

Leadoff hitter and ROY candidate Corbin Carroll batted .571 with a 1.810 OPS in the series, and cleanup hitter Christian Walker mashed his way to a .375 BA. The Diamondbacks look potent, and they still have starter Merrill Kelly (12-8, 3.29 ERA in the regular season) primed and ready to go.

Sure, the Dodgers were 8-5 against Arizona this season--but we were 5-1 against the Brewers. I'm a little concerned here to be facing Arizona in the NLDS.

But then again, we can't forget that the Dodgers--after an off-season in which they lost Justin Turner, Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, and effectively Gavin Lux--shouldn't even be in the playoffs in the first place. Our pitching rotation was a disaster, with losses of Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Julio Urias; the failed Noah Syndergaard experiment; and the inability of Walker Buehler to rejoin the team this year. Even our Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw--who leads the Dodgers in IP this year with a puny 131.2 IP (apparently this is one of the lowest IP numbers ever for a player leading his team)--spent much of the year on the IL.

This was supposed to be the Dodgers' rebuilding year. Many predicted we wouldn't even compete.

The big-spending Padres were picked by some to win the 2023 World Series.

And instead, the Dodgers--languishing in third place (four games back) in mid-June, took the divisional lead on July 14 and never looked back, eventually winning the NL West by 16 games. It marked the Dodgers' fourth consecutive full-season with the Dodgers winning at least 100 games (and three in a row, accounting for the pandemic-shortened year).

This 2023 season is already absolutely amazing.

Our bullpen was one of the worst in the majors at the All-Star Break, and somehow that crew (augmented by Joe Kelly) has locked it down since August. We even eked a 7-2 record out of midseason pickup Lance Lynn (who is not easy to pick up, literally), who gave up more home runs this year than any other player in the major leagues.

Even our light-hitting shortstop, Miguel Rojas, started hitting home runs late in the season. Talk about unexpected.

So sure, the scrappy and full-of-momentum Diamondbacks will be a big test for us. And should we be lucky enough to advance, the Braves look unstoppable this year (as they lead fangraphs' World Series forecasts by a healthy projection), and last year's NL Champion Phillies look just as hot and hungry as they were last year.

But I'm just impressed that we are even here in the playoffs at all. Credit to Andrew Friedman for constructing this roster, and to Dave Roberts for getting the most out of this year's crew.

If we can advance, I'll be stoked.

But even if we can't--this year was one for the ages, and worthy of celebration.

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

2023 NLDS Update: Diamondbacks It Is


Pretty impressive by the underdog Diamondbacks, who took both games on the road for the series victory (Texas did the same thing @ Tampa Bay).

Game 1 of the NLDS is at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the Dodgers; no starter has been named yet for the Diamondbacks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Scoreboard Watching: NL Wild Card Game 2s (October 4)

4p: Diamondbacks' Zac Gallen @ Brewers' Freddy Peralta (D'backs lead 1-0)
5p: Marlins' Braxton Garrett @ Phillies' Aaron Nola (Phillies lead 1-0)

The Dodgers can rest up while seeing if the Diamondbacks can prevail and steal another game in Milwaukee, or if the Brewers can send this series to a rubber match Thursday. The Brewers were the overwhelming favorites for this series, but Arizona's Game 1 win now gives them a 72% chance of advancing.

Starting to get nervous.

Oh, and there's another NL Wild Card game at hand, too. And two other AL Wild Card games (first pitch, 12p (Rangers @ Rays, Rangers lead 1-0) and 1p (Blue Jays at Twins, Twins lead 1-0).

These Wild Card series are nuts. If any of the Brewers, Marlins, Rays, and Blue Jays lose--they're done for the year. Yikes!

Monday, October 02, 2023

At-Game 161 Thread: Into The (Baby) Lions' Den

This is how close we were at Oracle Park. Wow.

Saturday night, I went up with a friend to Oracle Park to see the Dodgers fall to the Giants, 2-1. The game itself was kind of a bummer of an evening, with the only redeeming takeaway being Mookie Betts registering his 107th and final RBI of the 2023 season, driving in David Peralta in the top of the fifth to momentarily tie the game at 1-1.

But even though starter Clayton Kershaw was cruising (having given up only a solo HR earlier), he was undone by Max Muncy's ineptitude at third base on two consecutive plays in the sixth. First, with two runners on and no out, Muncy is hit a ball that he foolishly decides on which he can try to pull a 5-4-3 double play (he didn't), so the runner on first is safe and the lead runner, whom Muncy could have either tagged out or just raced to the third base bag, is now safe at third. The following batter, Wilmer Flores, again hits a ball to Muncy, who promptly botches the play and allows the runner on third to easily score. Michael Grove came in to escape the jam, but the damage was already done--and worse off, Clayton Kershaw, in what could be his final appearance as a pitcher let along possibly as a Los Angeles Dodger, was on the hook for the loss, his first since May 21.

Also want to call out that many Giants fans--and the crowd was about 50-50 from where we were sitting--applauded as Kershaw left the mound for the dugout in the sixth. That might be his last regular season start, as a Dodger or as a player in total. I was excited to be there to see it, even if the result wasn't what I had hoped.

Kershaw, grabbing some food before his start.

Muncy also went 1-for-4 and I know his OPS is over .800 and his WAR is 2.6 (ahead of JD Martinez and Jason Heyward, for example). But he's a three-outcome hitter and more often than not, it's a strikeout (his 153 Ks on the year is second only to James Outman) or a weak fly out to the infield. And his defense is a disaster, as evidenced by this debacle Saturday night.

The Dodgers ultimately ended up losing when, having just reached on a two-out single, Chris Taylor was thrown out trying to advance to second. Upon exiting the stadium, I heard another Dodger fan (and there were plenty of them at this game, which was great) mutter about how Taylor shouldn't have been running with David Peralta at the plate. But with Austin "Automatic Out" Barnes batting behind Peralta, Taylor really didn't have another option. It was then or never. He had to try to get into scoring position for Peralta.

And anyway, the game was meaningless for the standings, and it felt like a low-stakes game in kind. The Giants' season ended the following day, and they go into the offseason having shed themselves of smarter-than-everyone-else manager Gabe Kapler and a lot of pressure to make a bold move after striking out on both Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa last offseason. The Dodgers rest up during the Wild Card round and prepare to face either the Brewers or Diamondbacks next week in the NLDS.

We move on. The Giants stay home.

On Saturday, the Dodgers didn't get their 100th win of the season (though they did on Sunday afternoon). Nor did Mookie get his 40th HR or Freddie his 30th HR or 60th double (none of which happened on Sunday, either). So from that perspective, it was a bummer.

I end up the season 5-5, counting this road game.

That said, my friend (who invited me to the game) had incredible seats, first row right down the first base line. And even with the quicker pace of play, the game gave us enough time to talk and reminisce about the rivalry, how we got into our respective NL West fandoms. We shared perspectives on empty nest syndrome as well as the difficulties of aging. And we got to watch some great athletes and a stadium full enough to keep the seagulls away for one evening. It was a great night.

I noticed that the Oracle Park scoreboard seems sharper than our Diamondvision screen at the Stadium. The Giants also have more quiet time between innings and pitches, a stark contrast to the aural barrage that happens at Dodger Stadium. And they have stupid between-innings traditions--namely, a sing-along set to Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" (because nothing strikes fear in one's opponent like a 90's one-hit wonder from the Dawson's Creek soundtrack)--but at least it wasn't as insipid as the Food Truck dot racing animation that they've been running this year at Dodger Stadium. But overall it was a good night.

Actually, it's always a good night at a ballpark. This year, I got to a game at Yankee Stadium (my first at new Yankee) as well as here at Oracle Park. I also got in a game at the Dayton Dragons (the Reds' High-A affiliate) as they hosted the Lansing Lugnuts.

Man, I do love baseball.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Games 160-162 Thread: Sep 29-Oct 1 @ Giants

This man is not happy.

Fri 9.29 7p: Lynn vs. Winn
Sat 9.30 6p: Kershaw vs. Beck
Sun 10.1 12p: Miller vs. Harrison

After posting a quick placeholder on Friday afternoon, I listened to Lance Lynn suffer through a 359-pitch first inning (yielding one run) and thought that the Dodgers' 2-1 lead (through 1) was precarious. Well, it was, though not for the Dodgers; they went on to win 6-2 off the backs of homers from Will Smith, Freddie Freeman, and J.D. Martinez. Lynn actually got the win, as well, which is nuts; he's 7-2 with the Dodgers though it's a nail-biter each outing.

Clayton Kershaw goes on Saturday and I am going to be at Birdshit Park to watch, unlike former Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who was strangely fired with three games to go this season (and one postseason appearance in four seasons). Kapler may the fall guy, and Logan Webb may be mad at his teammates, but I'm sure the Giants will deploy their massive financial resources and record profitability to figure it all out.

For now, though: the Dodgers are NL West Champions in 2023, and advancing to the playoffs next week. Let's celebrate.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Games 156-159 Thread: Sept 26-28 @ Rockies

A picture of Coors Field with a couple of strays.

Tue 26 12.10p: Pepiot vs. TBD
Tue 26 5.40p: Miller vs. TBD
Wed 27 5.40p: TBD vs. TBD
Thu 28 5.40p: TBD vs. TBD

The Dodgers are still four games back of the Braves with seven games to play, so that #2 position in the NL Postseason is all but set. But there's still some milestones for which to play, namely an opportunity for Mookie Betts, who already has more RBI (105) than any leadoff hitter in baseball history, to be the first leadoff batter with 40 HR in a season (Betts is at 39). Freddie Freeman, at 57 doubles on the year, has a chance to get to 60 which would be the most in the modern era (former Rockie Todd Helton has 59).

And of course, there's no better place to chase these offensive records than Coors Field, and the Dodgers will get four chances at it. That said, I definitely would want Betts and Freeman to get some rest, too. We need them both for the NLDS, that's for sure.

photo: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Games 152-155 Thread: Sept 21-24 vs. Giants

Giant in the distance.

Thu 21 7p: Sheehan vs. Harrison
Fri 22 7p: TBD vs. Manaea
Sat 23 6p: Kershaw vs. TBD
Sun 24 4p: Lynn vs. TBD

The Giants are 76-76 this year and three games out of the final NL Wild Card spot. But they have to vault over Miami and Cincinnati to get there, but it's still possible--FanGraphs says there's a 2.1% chance of the Giants making the playoffs.

Now, the Dodgers could pull a 2021 NLDS here and just squash all hope for their rivals. Or, the Dodgers could just take it easy--we're comfortably set for the #2 National League playoff slot, which gets us a bye in the first round. It's a nice position in which to be for these seven remaining games with the Giants (four here, three up north).

I'm going to the Stadium on Friday, and am excited to watch TBD as our starter.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Games 149-151 Thread: Sept 18-20 vs. Tigers

Mon 18: Lance Lynn vs. Rodriguez
Tue 19: TBD vs TBD
Wed 20: Miller vs. Olson
all games 7p

The Tigers are not going to play in October. And the Dodgers, fresh off a sweep of the hopeful Mariners in Seattle (and having clinched the NL West as part of said sweep), go into this series without a real agenda either.

No stakes. Sleepy tigers. You get the drill.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

DODGERS CLINCH 2023 NL WEST TITLE (Post-Game Thread 147)

"In a year that has experienced so much change, one thing is the same: The NL West STILL runs through LA!"


The Dodgers battled through nine scoreless scoreless innings, including a particularly nail-biting bottom of the eighth inning (two on, none out: Alex Vesia gets JP Crawford swinging, and then Boston castoff Ryan Brasier gets Mariner phenom Julio Rodriguez swinging, before striking out Teoscar Hernandez to quell the threat). Clayton Kershaw delivered four scoreless innings, and Emmet Sheehan gave three more. And after trading runs in the tenth, the Dodgers erupted in the eleventh inning with five runs, stoked by Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, and Kike Hernandez RBI singles. The ghosts of our 2020 WS team drove us to victory, including Joe Kelly messily but effectively cleaning up the bottom of the 11th.

More important than all that, the Dodgers clinched the NL West divisional title, and celebrated at T-Mobile Park in Seattle:

Loved these quotes from Jack Harris' LAT piece (only available online, given the LAT's stupid only-print-features-in-the-new-diminished-sports-page plan):

“I think everybody talked about what we didn’t do [in the offseason], but we still had Mookie, we still had Freddie, it’s not like we were underdogs by any means,” said Clayton Kershaw, who pitched four scoreless innings in what became his fifth career start in a division-clinching game.

“It wasn’t like a ‘silence the doubters’ kind of moment,” Kershaw added, standing shirtless and beer-soaked in a plastic-wrapped postgame clubhouse. “We were expecting to do this. We were supposed to do this. But it doesn’t make it any less special.”

Technically, Arizona could still also claim a share of the divisional crown, if they win their next 12 games and the Dodgers lose their next 15 (not exactly sure why the gap in games played is so huge). But at this stage, the Dodgers are basically set with the #2 seed in the NL, and the Diamondbacks (who won an extra-inning thriller against the Cubs) are tied for the third Wild Card spot (with the Reds), behind the Cubs and the Phillies, and with the Marlins (0.5 GB) and Giants (2.5 GB) also in the mix.

Time for us to rest up the few guys we have left.


Friday, September 15, 2023

Games 146-148 Thread: Sept 15-17 @ Mariners

Fri 15 7p: Miller vs. Kirby
Sat 16 6.40p: Kershaw vs. Miller
Sun 17 1p: TBD vs. Gilbert

The Mariners are fighting for their playoff lives, 1.5 games out of the divisional lead (in third place, behind the Cheaters and Rangers) and 1.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays for the final AL Wild Card spot.

The Dodgers, with a 13.5-game lead in the division and a magic number of 4, don't have a lot to stake on this series. So, just like the last series against the Padres (which the Dodgers dropped, culminating with a meek performance vs. 2020 WS G6 exiter Blake Snell), I guess we'll just have some fun out there in Seattle.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Games 143-145 Thread: Aug 11-13 vs. Padres

Ah yes, Ricardo. I remember that prediction.

Mon 9.11: Stone vs. Avila
Tue 9.12: Lynn vs. Wacha
Wed 9.13: Pepiot vs. Snell
all games 7p

The Padres, like the New York Mets over in the NL East, were supposed to use their big-name roster to romp to the divisional crown.

And here we are in September 2023, and the Padres are in fourth place and 10 games under .500, 21 games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers, whose divisional lead against second-place Arizona is so fat, that we're starting three dudes who weren't even on the roster the first half of the year.

Sure, we might get swept by San Diego at home this series. But with a magic number of only 7 with 20 games to play, it's not worth losing any sleep about this "rivalry series." Let's just have some fun.

Friday, September 08, 2023

Games 140-142 Thread: Sep 8-10 @ Nationals

Should we tell Washington he's already eliminated from this race?

Fri 9.8 4p: Sheehan vs. Gore
Sat 9.9 1p: Miller vs. TBD
Sun 9.10 10.30a: TBD vs. TBD

The Dodgers barely exerted any effort in Miami earlier this week, winning only the last game after going down meekly in the first two sessions. This may be a hangover from the unfortunate Atlanta series outcome; or it may be lingering effects from knowing Julio Urias isn't going to pitch again for the Dodgers, probably ever.

That said, the Dodgers still have a 13-game lead in the division (which has expanded over the last ten games, since the Dodgers' 5-5 record still beats the Diamondbacks' 4-6 record and the third-place Giants' 3-7 record), and with a magic number of 9 in the first week of September, we are fine to limp to the finish line rather than exhaust ourselves going into the playoffs.

So let's just have fun out there, Dodgers! Maybe participate in the Racing Presidents event, or go grab a sandwich from Swizzler? Or do some scoreboard watching--Diamondbacks at Cubs this weekend looks pretty interesting.

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Games 137-139 Thread: Sep 5-7 @ Marlins

Tue Sep 5: Kershaw vs. Luzardo
Wed Sep 6: Lynn vs. TBD
Thu Sep 7: TBD vs. Garrett
all games 3.40p first pitch

After a depressing weekend against the Braves in which Lance Lynn threw BP meatballs on Thursday (loss); then Julio Urias went back to his wobbly ways Friday (loss); followed by the Dodgers coughing up multiple chances to win before Alex Vesia crumbled in extras on Saturday (loss)--the Dodgers salvaged a psychological win by avoiding the sweep on Sunday afternoon.

Whoop dee frickin' doo. We're clearly not in the Braves' tier, despite having the second-best record in the NL and the third-best in the majors. Cap that off with Julio Urias arrested Sunday night for what would be his second offense of domestic violence--no MLB player has ever been suspended twice under the policy (enacted in 2015), and Urias had a 20-game suspension for his first incident, in which the victim dropped charges--this truly was a shitty weekend for the Dodgers.

I can try and be hopeful in that the Dodgers still have the second-best run differential in the majors, and our 14-game lead over second-place Arizona (and 15-game lead over the Giants) will allow us to coast to the end of September. Walker Buehler just had a nice rehab outing in Oklahoma City (with a fastball up at 95mph), and he could return and fill a rotation slot. And Bobby Miller, who earned the Dodgers' victory on Sunday, has already been knighted as the Dodgers' new ace by LAT columnist Bill Plaschke (which means he is probably going to be a pile of shit in the playoffs, the way Plaschke's predictions typically play out).

So maybe it isn't all bad? If you squint your eyes, realize that whatever might happen in this series is against the ~.500, playoff-missing Marlins, well yeah, sure, maybe the last weekend wasn't a total disaster. I mean, there were some survivors on the Titanic as well, right?

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Games 133-136 Thread: Aug 31 - Sept 3 vs. Braves

I'm going to skip 2021 playoff results and just think about 2020.

Thurs Aug 31 7p: Lance Lynn vs. Strider
Fri Sep 1 7p: Julio Urias vs. Fried
Sat Sep 2 6p: TBD vs. Elder
Sun Sep 3 1p: Bobby Miller vs. Morton

The Atlanta Braves have a four-game lead for the one-seed in the National League, and ESPN pundits are already calling the Braves unbeatable this year. But there was this part, late in the article:

The Phillies beat the Braves in four games last October, but that doesn't make them more dangerous for Atlanta than the Dodgers, according to several executives.

"The Dodgers' talent, experience and consistency give them the best shot at taking a playoff series," one executive said.

Another dove into the numbers.

"The Dodgers share a lot of the same hitter run value numbers vs. pitching as the Braves, and have more hard-throwing relievers, who are successful [in October]," he said. "The Dodgers are ranked first in pitcher run value when a pitch is 96 mph or above."

Essentially, the Dodgers rank second to the Braves in most offensive categories, averaging 5.6 runs per game compared to Atlanta's 5.8. But their pitching injuries have piled up, leading to just the seventh-best ERA in the NL. Then again, Clayton Kershaw just returned from injury and looks as good as ever.

"I think the Dodgers' overall 26-man roster depth is probably better than Atlanta's, so I would think they have the best chance against them in a long series," one executive said. "And they are a team that knows how to win, can take a punch, and has a tremendous home-field advantage."

Said the executive: "That would be one heck of a series."

So let's see how this series goes. We will see all three of the Braves' key starters. The Braves might not see all of ours.

I will be there at the Stadium Thursday night. I also have no idea why the Dodgers aren't playing on the Labor Day holiday.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Games 130-132 Thread: August 28-30 vs. Diamondbacks

Mon 28: Bobby Miller vs. Gallen
Tue 29: Clayton Kershaw vs. Kelly
Wed 30: Ryan Pepiot vs. Pfaadt
All games at 7p

4-2 on the last roadtrip, which brings us to an amazing 21-4 record in August. Concerns that we are peaking too soon notwithstanding, the Dodgers have now opened up a 12-game lead on the second-place Diamondbacks and a 13.5-game lead on the Giants.

And like the Braves, the only other division leader with at least a ten-game gap, the Dodgers should be thinking more about resting our arms for the playoffs--so the TBD sitting on Wednesday's docket makes a lot of sense. With Tony Gonsolin out for the season, and the Dodgers picking up Tyson Miller off of waivers, let's not push anything over the edge!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Games 127-129 Thread: Aug 25-27 @ Red Sox

Fri 25 4p: Lynn vs. Crawford
Sat 26 1p: Urias vs. Paxton
Sun 27 10a: TBD Ferguson vs. Hauck

I just want to take this opportunity to thank the Red Sox again for giving us Mookie Betts.

photo swiped from this site

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Games 124-126 Thread: August 22-24 @ Guardians

Tue 22 4p: Bobby Miller vs. Noah Syndergaard
Wed 23 4p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Xzavion Curry
Thu 24 10a: TBD vs. Gavin Williams

Hot off two victories in a rain-altered doubleheader, and then followed by a two-day respite while Hurricane Hilary barreled through Southern California, the Dodgers face the Baby Groots in Cleveland. And though this series may not carry the level of drama like a space-age fantasy saga, a return sighting of Dodgers discard Thor Syndergaard, followed by a guy with strange consonant strings like a Superman villain, make this a weird series indeed.

As of Sunday night, the Dodgers had a 11.5-game lead over the second place Giants in the NL West. Cleveland is likely out of the playoffs at this stage (6.0 games behind the Twins in the NL Central, and 10.5 games out of the AL Wild Card). But crazy things happen in these Guardians episodes, so who knows?!

Friday, August 18, 2023

Games 121-123 Thread: Aug 18 - 20 19 vs. Marlins

Fri 18 7p: Tony Gonsolin vs. Sandy Alcantara
Sat 19 12n: TBD vs. TBD
Sat 19 6p: Julio Urias vs. Eury Perez

The Dodgers have won 11 in a row and now it's getting ludicrously implausible. Thursday's game, a 1-0 victory, came at the hands of seven scoreless innings from a Chicago White Sox castoff (Lance Lynn, now 4-0 with the Dodgers), and the first home run in almost a year for the meek Austin Barnes (who raised his average to a still microscopic .136).

Wednesday's game, a 7-1 victory, included home runs from the light-hitting nine-hole Miguel Rojas (now bating .220 on the year, with three HR total) and Chris Taylor in the eight hole (his 13th of the year, batting .219). If we could just get Max Muncy hitting again, this would be absolutely absurd.

But here we are, having feasted on poor teams but still thriving against good ones (Milwaukee still leads the NL Central, with a two-game lead over the Reds). And here come the Marlins, tied with the Reds for the third and final Wild Card position, and throwing their reigning Cy Young award winner to start the truncated weekend series (rescheduled due to the incoming hurricane Hilary).

I highly doubt we can stretch this streak to 14 by grilling the visting Fish. But that's okay, I'd much rather save some in the tank for the playoffs! I hope we're not peaking too soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Games 118-120 Thread: Aug 15-17 vs. Brewers

Tue 15: Bobby Miller vs. Adrian Houser
Wed 16: Clayton Kershaw vs. Wade Miley
Thu 17: Lance Lynn vs.Corbin Burnes
All games 7p

Wait, we have a regular, no "TBD" rotation set for this three-game series? I'm confused.

We enter this series with a nine-game lead over the Giants in the NL West. The Brewers are also leading their division (3.5-game lead on the Cubs and Reds). After fattening up on a soft schedule for the last 13 games (Athletics 3-0; Padres 3-1; Diamondbacks 2-0; Rockies 4-0), it will be interesting to face a more formidable opponent.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Games 114-117 Thread: August 10-13 vs. Rockies

Thu Aug 10 7p: TBD vs. Blach
Fri Aug 11 7p: Lynn vs. Gomber
Sat Aug 12 6p: Gonsolin vs. Lambert
Sun Aug 13 1p: Urias vs. Flexen

I was supposed to go to tonight's (Thursday's) game. But I can't go, so I'm salty.

But you know who isn't salty? The Dodgers, who extended their lead in the NL West to six games over San Francisco (who lost its last two), 11 games over Arizona (who were swept in the two-game series at home), 13 games over San Diego, (who lost three of four to us in the recent weekend series), and a crazy 22.5 games over the visiting Rockies.

All this, and we still can't pitch well. It's amazing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Games 112-113 Thread: Aug 8-9 @ Diamondbacks

Tue 8.8 6.40p: Urias vs. Pfaadt
Wed 8.9 6.40p: Miller vs. Kelly

The Diamondbacks shared first place in the NL West at the All-Star break. Since then, they've absolutely cratered, inclduing losing their last six games coming into tonight, and now sit in third place in the division, nine games back of the Dodgers (the Giants are four games back).

The Dodgers have been on a tear, including taking three of four in San Diego, but it's not because of the pitching (Tony Gonsolin's "win" last night, 6.0 IP and 6 ER, actually raised his already elevated ERA further, to 4.42). We have been mashing the ball, thanks to Mookie Betts (grand slam yesterday, to put the Dodgers up 8-5), Freddie Freeman (OPS of 1.013), and even new additions Amed Rosario and Kike Hernandez have been surprisingly potent in the lineup. Heck, even Miguel Rojas went 2-for-5 yesterday, boosting his batting average to .221; now, only Max Muncy sits below Mendoza-line levels.

It would be nice to keep the mashing going in the desert here. Let's go smush some snakes.

Friday, August 04, 2023

Games 108-111 Thread: Aug 4-7 @ Padres

Fri Aug 4 6.40p: Bobby Miller vs. Yu Darvish
Sat Aug 5 5.40p: TBD vs. Blake Snell
Sun Aug 6 4.10p: Lance Lynn vs. TBD
Mon Aug 7 1.10p: Tony Gonsolin vs. Seth Lugo

With the trade deadline pickups of Rich Hill and Ji-Man Choi, the Padres are all-in! And I feel about as confident about that assertion, as I do about the Dodgers being all-in by picking up Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, and Amed Rosario.

I suppose the material difference is that the Dodgers are 62-45 and have a 2.5-game lead in the NL West, whereas the Padres are in fourth place in the division, 9.0 GB (and 4.0 games out of the Wild Card race).

Still, these four games should be a better barometer of how formidable the Dodgers might be for the playoffs--at least, relative to the Dodgers' recent sweep over the hapless and homeless Athletics. Let's go, Dodgers!

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Games 105-107 Thread: August 1-3 vs. Athletics

All games (Tues-Thu) at 7p

Honestly, if the Dodgers can't expand upon their divisional lead with this series, we'll have to look at ourselves in the mirror.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Games 102-104 Thread: July 28-30 vs. Reds

Fri Jul 28 7p: Bobby Miller (6-1, 4.28) vs. Brandon Williamson (2-2, 4.60)
Sat Jul 29 6p: Emmet Sheehan (3-1, 6.75) vs. Luke Weaver (2-2, 7.20)
Sun Jul 30 1p: Michael Grove (2-2, 6.19) vs. Graham Ashcraft (5-7, 5.64)

Well this is hilarious: the vaunted Dodgers start three minor-league callups to face the red-hot Reds, vying for the NL Central divisional lead with the Brewers. The Reds are largely back in the mix thanks to the outstanding phenom Elly De La Cruz, quite possibly the fastest third baseman to ever play the game. Wish I could see this series live, but I'll be out in the wilderness this weekend.

Go Dodgers!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Post-Game 101 Thread: Kiké Hernandez Returns To Lead Dodgers To Blowout Defeat


Everyone was excited to welcome Kiké Hernandez, 2020 World Series Championship contributor, back to the Dodgers. Nostalgia is great, but his 2023 record (batting .222, OPS a dismal .599 (OPS+ of 61), and WAR of -0.7) is a sober reminder that three years have passed, and Hernandez is nowhere near the same player. And sure, this move gets Mookie Betts back out to his regular right field position, and gives us another option besides the offensive black holes that are the two Miguels (Rojas and Vargas). But still. Enrique Hernandez is not going to save us.

And that started today, with an absolute whooping by the Blue Jays, thanks to another inefficient and ineffective outing by Tony Gonsolin (5.0 IP, 5 ER, 109 pitches), not to mention porous outings from Alex Vesia (1 ER in an inning) and Tyson Miller (2 ER in 2 IP). Phil Bickford had a scoreless ninth, but after Monday night's Bickfordian meltdown (losing the game in the 11th by ceding three runs, in the 6-3 loss), who gives a damn.

Oh yeah, Kiké. He did go 2-for-4 to lift his average to .226 (ahead of starters Chris Taylor (1-for-4, .213), Max Muncy (0-for-3, .197), and Austin Barnes (1-for-3, .110). But we can't expect Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith (who didn't play) to do all the heavy lifting here (J.D. Martinez was 0-for-4 with 3 Ks). Not with this pitching staff, that's for sure.

Day off tomorrow, then we host the red-hot Cincinnati De La Cruzes this weekend.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Games 99-101 Thread: July 24-26 vs. Blue Jays

The last showdown of these two mega-stars didn't go so well for Los Angeles.

Mon 24 7p: Grove vs. Berrios
Tue 25 7p: Urias vs. Bassitt
Wed 26 1p: Gonsolin vs. Kikuchi

The Dodgers completed their nine-game road trip yesterday with a dispiriting 8-4 loss to the Rangers, but that didn't detract from an overall 6-3 roadtrip record that saw the Dodgers expand their divisional lead to four games over the Diamondbacks and Giants.

The Snakes have lost four in a row; the Giants have lost five straight. Meanwhile, the Dodgers won all three series (against the Mets, Orioles, and Rangers), have now won their last five series, and seem to be rolling...all without reliable pitching from either the starters or the bullpen.

Now, we're back at home for the first time since the All-Star break, with pleasant days off in between all three of the series on this homestand. I'm sure Mookie Betts will welcome Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the Stadium, having lost in their Home Run Derby faceoff in Seattle (Guerrero Jr. went on to win the whole Derby). Our bats had better keep slugging if we have any chance of overcoming this pitching staff...and who knows, maybe help is on the way?

Friday, July 21, 2023

Series Thread (Games 96-98): July 21-23 @ Rangers

Fri 21 5p: Gonsolin vs. Heaney
Sat 22 1p: Miller vs. Dunning
Sun 23 11.30a: Sheehan vs. Perez

Win two, lose one. Win two, lose one. That's how the Dodgers have fared since the All-Star Break, winning series in Queens and in Baltimore. But now they face their toughest opponent of all, the Texas Rangers, who lead the AL West by 4.5 games (as of end of play Wednesdauy).

Thursday's day off will help erase the turd of Wednesday's eight-run stinker by Julio Urias. But this weekend will be quite a test to see if the Dodgers can maintain their razor-thin lead in the NL West.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Series Thread (Games 93-95): July 17-19 @ Orioles

Mon 17 4p: Sheehan vs. Rodriguez
Tue 18 4p: Grove vs. Wells
Wed 19 10a: Urias vs. Kremer

It's difficult for me to write something recapping the last series with the Mets, partially because the Los Angeles Times no longer covers game recaps with its emasculated Sports content strategy. I think we did pretty well in the first two games @ Citi Field, including the Friday Night Baseball nationally-televised game, before dropping the final game in extra innings, which means we beat Justin Verlander and held pretty close with Max Scherzer. So I'll take it.

And now we face the O's in Baltimore, at one of my favorite ballparks in the majors, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The world has now found out about Adley Rutschman, with his incredible 2023 Home Run Derby performance (switching sides of the plate for the bonus time round--amazing!), and is the best catcher in baseball (sorry, Will Smith). The Orioles are a surprising second place in the competitive AL East, they have a better record than the Dodgers, and they're one of the small-market feel-good stories of the year. Tough for me to root against them.

But I'll try.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Series Thread (Games 90-92): July 14-16 @ Mets

Fri 14 4p: Urias vs. Verlander
Sat 15 4.15p: TBD vs. TBD
Sun 16 2p: TBD vs. Scherzer

42-48 and fourth place in the NL East (18.5 games behind the Braves), and yet ESPN's Buster Olney attests that the Mets, the team with the highest payroll in the league, are not sellers. Indeed, they're still fighting--winners of six in a row, right before two losses to the Padres, heading into the All-Star break. And it makes a tough start to a nine-game road trip for the Dodgers, including stops in Baltimore and Texas.

But the Dodgers surged a little bit before the break, as well, retaking first place from the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and jumping ahead by percentage points (51-38, vs. the Snakes' 52-39 record).

The Dodgers' starting rotation is still in shambles, and we go up against the Mets' two expensive veteran aces. But from the plate, Mookie Betts should be a little bit more rested than fellow Home Run Derby participant Pete Alonso, right? So let's go!

Monday, July 10, 2023

Home Run Derby 2023 Thread: Let's Go, Mookie!

Mookie Betts has to go against Vlad Guerrero Jr. in the first round. In the Dodgers' last homestand, Mookie was impossibly hot. Hoping this carries into Seattle!

Friday, July 07, 2023

Series Thread (Games 88-89): July 7-8 vs. Angels

Fri Jul 7 7p: Gonsolin vs. Canning
Sat Jul 8 6p: TBD vs. Detmers

No Angels? Not the German female supergroup, of course. We're talking the Los Angeles Angels, who have lost Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon in this week alone. The Dodgers certainly aren't weeping, having had their own pitching staff decimated by injuries all season long, capped by Daniel Hudson's injury to his other knee, after working his way back from ACL surgery last year.

Hudson had just closed out Wednesday's win against the Pirates, in his third appearance of the year, earning his first save. Now, he'll be out for at least a month, and possibly the rest of this season.

But back to the Angels! They too are struggling for the playoffs, aiming for a Wild Card spot while sitting in third place in the AL West, 6.5 games behind Texas (and 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot). The Dodgers have inched their way back to a half-game deficit to the Diamondbacks, and hold the NL's second Wild Card spot. Let's see if we can make up any more ground in these last two games before the All-Star Break.

Monday, July 03, 2023

Series Thread (Games 84-87): Jul 3-6 vs. Pirates

Mon 7.3 7p: TBD vs. Keller
Tue 7.4 6p: TBD vs. Ortiz
Wed 7.5 7p: TBD vs. Bido
Thu 7.6 7p: TBD vs. Oviedo

Well, that last road trip didn't go very well. After winning two of three in Colorado and then drubbing the last-place Royals 9-3 in the first game of the series, Kansas Ciry raced to victory on Saturday's game and then thoroughly pummeled Tony Gonsolin in Sunday's game, a 9-1 KC victory.

The Dodgers now sit 3.0 games behind the Diamondbacks in second place, and though all is not yet lost, this Dodgers team looks to be completely ill-equipped to play against the younger, faster teams excelling under the new rules (like the division-leading Diamondbacks). I was listening to Sunday's game on the radio, and all Charley and Rick could say was how the Dodgers looked out-hustled and unhungry, all game long.

Austin Barnes started Sunday's game, which was an omen in itself. Barnes actually raised his average to .108 with a hit in his first at bat, but that doesn't change the fact that he is awful and the Dodgers have lost nine of the last 12 games in which Barnes has played. Why he's on the roster is beyond me. 2022 Futures Game participant and Dodgers minor leaguer Diego Cartaya is in AA ball batting .197, but that's still twice as good as Barnes.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have NO starrters named for any of the four games this series (as of 10.30am Monday), which is concerning. There's at least one bullpen game in there, and our bullpen absolutely sucks. The Dodgers' ERA is 11th in the National League at 4.51, and with the only stalwart, Clayton Kershaw, dealing with shoulder inflammation, we are in for more hurt before the All-Star Break. Luckily for us, there's only six more games left to play, starting with four at home against the plundering sub-.500 Pirates.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Series Thread (Games 81-83): June 30 - July 2 @ Royals

Fri 6.30 5p: Miller vs. Marsh
Sat 7.1 4p: TBD vs. Lynch
Sun 7.2 11a: Gonsolin vs. Singer

Two out of three wins vs. Colorado just moved us up into second place in the NL West, two games behind the Diamondbacks. Now we've got three games against the Royals, second-worst team in the American League (while the Giants play the Mets in New York; and the Diamondbacks play the Angels in Anaheim). Could we pull a KC Masterpiece move up even further with this weekend series? (Probably not with that bullpen game slotted for Saturday, but who knows.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Series Thread (Games 78-80): June 27-29 @ Rockies

Tue 27: Clayton Kershaw vs. Seabold
Wed 28: TBD vs. Freeland
Thu 29: Sheehan vs. Anderson
All games 5.40p

I come back from my vacation, and the Dodgers have dropped to third place, looking up at the Arizona Diamondbacks (who haven't cooled off yet) and the San Francisco Giants (who I believe are playing above their heads). Despite taking two of three from the Cheaters at home last weekend, the Dodgers have much more ground to make up, so this six-game road trip to Denver and Kansas City should--and I repeat, should--help. We're hoping to get Max Muncy back from the IL, and though he's still dealing with some hamstring discomfort, it will be an improvement over Michael Busch (batting .200 with a .561 OPS).

Meanwhile, the Giants are in Toronto, and the Snakes host the Rays. So I'm hoping we make a late run before the All-Star break!

Friday, June 23, 2023

Series Thread (Games 75-77): June 23-25 vs. Asterisks

Never forget: they're CHEATERS.

Fri 6.23 7p
Sat 6.24 4.15p
Sun 6.25 4p

I'm having to put up a bunch of placeholder GameThreads while I will be off the grid, so these won't be full of my pithy sarcastic wit. I know you'll weep at its absence as you lament the void in your soul. Sorry about that.

photo swiped from this site

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Series Thread (Games 73-74): June 20-21 @ Angels

We can still dream of future days. (image: The Athletic)

Tue 6.20 7p
Wed 6.21 6.38p

I'm having to put up a bunch of placeholder GameThreads while I will be off the grid, so these won't be full of my pithy sarcastic wit. I know you'll weep at its absence as you lament the void in your soul. Sorry about that.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Series Thread (Games 70-72): June 16-18 vs. Giants

2021 NLDS Game 5: Ump says he went around. (photo: Getty Images)

Fri 6.16 7p
Sat 6.17 6p
Sun 6.18 1p

I'm having to put up a bunch of placeholder GameThreads while I will be off the grid, so these won't be full of my pithy sarcastic wit. I know you'll weep at its absence as you lament the void in your soul. Sorry about that.

But screw the Giants anyway.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Series Thread (Games 67-69): June 13-15 vs. White Sox

Tue 6.13 7p
Wed 6.14 7p
Thur 6.15 7p

I'm having to put up a bunch of placeholder GameThreads while I will be off the grid, so these won't be full of my pithy sarcastic wit. I know you'll weep at its absence as you lament the void in your soul. Sorry about that.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Series Thread (Games 64-66): June 9-11 @ Phillies

Remember this guy?

Fri 6.9 4p: Grove vs. Suárez
Sat 6.10 1p: Miller vs. Nola
Sun 6.11 10.30a: TBD vs. Walker

I'm having to put up a bunch of placeholder GameThreads while I will be off the grid, so these won't be full of my pithy sarcastic wit. I know you'll weep at its absence as you lament the void in your soul. Sorry about that.

But I can say, as disappointing as Trea Turner has been this year for the Phillies (through June 4: batting .237 with a .655 OPS (79 OPS+), Turner is a heck of a lot better than our own Miguel Rojas (batting .218, .512 OPS (39 OPS+). Is he $300M / 11 years better? 2023 WAR values would tell vote no: Turner = 0.2 WAR; Rojas = 0.3 WAR.

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Series Thread (Games 61-63): June 6-8 @ Reds

Tue 6.6 4p: Gonsolin vs. Weaver
Wed 6.7 4p: Syndergaard vs. Williamson
Thu 6.8 9.30a: Kershaw vs. Ashcraft

Coming off a losing series with the YankMes, the Dodgers get a quick two-city road trip starting in Cincinnati. I'm terrified by the Wednesday game with a Noah Syndergaard start, since either outcome is bad: if he wins (against a sub-.500 Reds team), we get lulled into thinking he might still be salvagable; if he loses (as he should), we drop a game we shouldn't be losing. It's a lose-lose proposition. Yikes.

Friday, June 02, 2023

Series Thread (Games 58-60): June 2-4 vs. Yankees

Happier times in the Dodgers-Yankees history, back in 1981

Fri 2 7.10p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Luis Severino
Sat 3 4.15p: Michael Grove vs. Gerrit Cole
Sun 4 4.10p: Bobby Miller vs. Domingo Germán

First of all, let's start with the sobering fact that the Dodgers are now TIED for first in the NL West, with the upstart Diamondbacks, who are on fire. And now, here come the Yankees into the Stadium.

The Dodgers have faced the Yankees in the playoffs more than any other opponent. And in 2023, with both teams vying for the playoffs, this series promises to be a good one. The Yankees go with their ace, Gerrit Cole, as well as their #3 and #5 starters. And the Dodgers go with their legend, Clayton Kershaw, as well as...two dudes we have brought up from the minors early, due to injuries in our starting rotation.

Bobby Miller has been impressive, 2-0 in two games with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. However, Michael Grove has not been good, 0-1 in four games with an 8.44 ERA ad a 1.75 WHIP. I'm not hopeful for this series, for the record. Hopefully the Dodgers prove me wrong.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Dad Considering Senate Run

LATimes: Former Los Angeles Dodger Steve Garvey weighs U.S. Senate bid

Former Los Angeles Dodgers icon Steve Garvey is considering running for the open U.S. Senate seat in California as a Republican, a move that would immediately upend the 2024 race, according to several GOP state party insiders and operatives who requested anonymity to discuss the former All-Star’s plans.

The 74-year-old has never held elected office but has been meeting with GOP donors and leaders around the state as he weighs a bid and is expected to make a decision within the next month or so.

Being a relative, I am recusing myself from initial comment.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Post-Game 57 Thread: Syndergaard Sucks, Bullpen Follows Suit

Noah Syndergaard, pitching in today's game


The Dodgers took the field today against Washington hoping for a sweep. But by throwing Noah Syndergaard out there on the mound, there was no way that was going to happen, crystallized by Syndergaard's horrible outing (5.0 IP, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 HR) and emphasized by bullpen failures from Brusdar Graterol (hit batsman and error preceding a three-run HR from Luis Garcia) and Phil Bickford (a two-run Keibert Ruiz HR, lofting Bickford's ERA to 6.92). With pitching this bad, there's no hope.

Syndergaard's ERA is 6.54 now and he's 1-4 on the year. I don't even know why that guy gets a start every five days. If he can't even beat the Nationals--seriously.

The Dodgers had some constructive moments offensively--Mookie Betts had two solo HR, and Will Smith had a home run as well. And we stole six bases (Chris Taylor 2; Freddie Freeman 2; Miguel Rojas 2). But we also went 2-for-14 with RISP, leaving 11 on base all game. With Max Muncy batting fifth and going 0-for-4 (and the bottom of our lineup just a black hole), it just shows that when we can't hit the home run, we are awful at moving players station to station.

We drop the final game of the series to the team with the worst record in the National League. And Friday, we get a real opponent in the visiting New York Yankees.

Go shake this shitshow off, Dodgers.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Series Thread (Games 55-57): May 29-31 vs. Nationals

Mon 29 6p: Bobby Miller vs. Trevor Williams
Tue 30 7p: Tony Gonsolin vs. Jake Irvin
Wed 31 1p: Noah Syndergaard vs. Patrick Corbin

Hot off a disappointing 4-6 road trip (their longest of the season), not to mention a depressing 11-10 loss which dropped the series in Tampa Bay, the Dodgers return to the Stadium to face a swarm of pesky Nats. The Dodgers still own the second-best record in the National League (only behind the Braves by a half-game), and pundits have those two teams as the only NL playoff locks at this point.

But the team definitely looks weaker than their record shows, pillaged most recently by injuries to the starting rotation, not to mention a horrible May for Max Muncy that saw his batting average drop back below .200 (he's at .208 going into Monday's game, which he is sitting out). We get three games against the sub-.500 Nationals before the red-hot Yankees come to town. Better get the kinks out now.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Series Thread (Games 52-54): May 26-28 @ Rays

I remember the Rays quite well.

Fri 26 3.40p: Syndergaard vs. TBD
Sat 27 1.10p: Kershaw vs. Glasnow
Sun 28 8.35a: Stone vs. TBD

The Dodgers meet Tampa for the first time since dispatching them in the 2020 World Series. And though the Rays' cast of characters has changed, they are still getting it done in a highly-competitive division, with the Rays at a major-league-leading 36-15 record, which would be five games better than the Dodgers if we were division rivals.

The Dodgers are coming off a winning series in Atlanta, punctuated by an unfortunate Phil Bickford outing on Wednesday, which dropped the Dodgers below .500 (3-4) on this road trip. The Dodgers still have problems getting runs across the plate; 1-for-10 with RISP on Wednesday, 10 LOB, led by Max Muncy's 0-for-5, 3K day in the cleanup spot (Chris Taylor also had 2 Ks in a 1-for-4 day, putting his average at .191).

This trip was always going to show if we have what it takes for the playoffs, especially leaning on our offense given our starting rotation is in shambles. After dropping three of four in St. Louis, the series win in Atlanta gave me some hope. Now the Rays are poised to crush that hope in their domed field.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Series Thread (Games 49-51): May 22-24 @ Braves

Mon 5.22: Stone vs. Morton
Tue 5.23: Miller vs. Strider
Wed 5.24: Gonsolin vs. Elder
All games 4.20p first pitch

Well, that house of cards toppled pretty fast.

Not only were the Dodgers soundly beaten in St. Louis (the Dodgers dropped three of four to the Cardinals), felled by poor bullpen showings, capricious strike zones, and sitting Mookie Betts on Sunday (basically conceding the series)--we also lost Dustin May (flexor issue) and Julio Urias (hamstring issue), plus Clayton Kershaw has had two straight ineffective starts. As such, we don't know who is going to start for two of the three games this series...against the best team in the National League and a likely matchup for playoffs in October.

So yeah, it's 52-card pickup at this stage. Which is funny, since .052 isn't that far off from the batting averages of either Austin Barnes (.092) or Trayce Thompson (.109).

Hoo boy.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Series Thread (Games 45-48): May 18-21 @ Cardinals

Thu 18 4.45p: Julio Urias vs. Wainwright
Fri 19 5.15p: Tony Gonsolin vs. Metz
Sat 20 4.15p: Noah Syndergaard vs. Mikolas
Sun 21 11.15a: Clayton Kershaw vs. Flaherty

Prior to Opening Day, everyone picked the Cardinals to win the NL Central (to be fair, that "everyone" also chose the Padres over the Dodgers in the NL West). And the Cardinals still might.

But their 17-26 record is curently worst in the National League, and they've got issues. Local product Jack Flaherty is not the 2019 ace they need him to be in 2023 (though he did come to life last start with 10 Ks). Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol doesn't like Tyler O'Neill's lack of hustle on the basepaths.

And by going 8-2 over the last 10, while the Pirates have falle back to earth and the Brewers scuffle around, the Cardinals are only 6.5 games out (the smallest distance to first place for all six MLB divisions).

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have won their last six series including going 5-1 at home this past week, the lone blemish being a rare loss for the bereaved Clayton Kershaw, for his first home loss since June 2021. But wait, there's more: in Wednesday's 7-3 victory over the Twins, we may have lost Dustin May for what's being called "at least a month," but will probably be a lot more. It's a flexor pronator strain, which in layman's terms is really fucking bad.

May's slot in the rotation isn't due for this four-game series in St. Louis, but everyone else's is. So here we go: a hot start to May, precariously set up for a let down. Sounds like a house of cards, no? Or at least a visit to one? Sigh.