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.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Series Thread (Games 42-44): May 15-17 vs. Twins

Mon 5.15 7p: Noah Syndergaard vs. López
Tue 5.16 7p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Ober
Wed 5.17 12n: Dustin May vs. Gray

Technically, the Loudon Wainwright III song refers to Wednesday's afternoon matchup, starring the Twins' Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.39 this year, but 1-3 vs. the Dodgers and 1-2 in Dodger Stadium).

But there's gloom across the rest of this series as well. Clayton Kershaw will be pitching with a heavy heart Tuesday, following the passing of his mother on Saturday. Our condolences to Clayton and Ellen and their family.

Less serious, but still gloomy, is Monday's starter Noah Syndergaard, who will be trying to rebound after his exploded blister derailed his last start. Syndergaard is 1-3 with a 6.12 ERA this season, and this setback to his digits will likely mean...a setback to his (ERA) digits. My expectations are low. And that's just the first game of the series (at least attendees will get a great consolation prize).

Despite this gloom, though, the Dodgers have been rolling of late, inlcuding a sweep of the Padres over the weekend. But now the Dodgers will play a winning team, as the Twins sit atop the largely weak AL Central with the division's only >.500 record. We'll see if the Twins bring rainclouds with them to the Stadium this week.

Mad Props to Dieter Ruehle For Playing "Tarzan Boy" for James Outman

At first, I thought I was hallucinating, but on Saturday, I realized that Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle was definitely playing Baltimora's "Tarzan Boy" whenever James Outman, newly-nicknamed Tarzan, makes a fine defensive play. It's such an obscure song from a one-hit wonder that I had to laugh at Ruehle's depth of knowledge with this pull. You can hear it a bit in the background here:

Well played as always, Dieter!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Post-Game 41 Thread: And That Sweep Makes It Five Out of Six

Unlike San Diego, I'm staying classy.


There's a joke in here somwhere about a whale's vagina--but let's just agree to disagree. What is not in dispute, though, is that the Los Angeles Dodgers just swept the San Diego Padres, sending the mothers of the world home happy, on the heels of the Dodgers' third shutout of the year.

Credit to Mookie Betts for his two-run homer in the third, and Miguel Vargas for his two-run double in the sixth. But the real credit for this game, and this series, was the pitching: Tony Gonsolin (5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB and 6 Ks) was great, but Yency Almonte, Victor González, Brusdar Gratrol, and Justin Bruihl held down the fort with only 1 H and 4 Ks across the remaining four innings. This built upon a solid bullpen showing on Saturday (Caleb Ferguson striking out Jake Cronenworth to ice the 4-2 victory), which was preceded by another 4-2 victory on Friday where Dodger relievers Ferguson and Evan Phillips shut the door on the Friars.

This Dodgers bullpen, which was pretty horrible in April, has seemed to have turned a corner here in May. The Dodgers have now won five in a row and 13 of their last 15, and at 26-15 have the best record in the National League.

I don't know if the Dodgers are actually this good, or if this is just because we've beaten the Padres five of the last six times this season. Either way, though, I'll take it.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Series Thread (Games 39-41): May 12-14 vs. Padres

There's no crying in baseball. But wouldn't the eyes at least be watering, if one didn't have eyelids?

Fri 5.12 7p: Dustin May vs. Snell
Sat 5.13 4.15p: Julio Urias vs. Musgrove
Sun 5.14 1p: Tony Gonsolin vs. Wacha

Last weekend, the Padres decided to post a "crying Kershaw" meme on their Petco Park scoreboard, a move that the San Diego Union-Tribute--the local paper, for pete's sake--called out as classless. "Padres should act like they've been there before — even though they haven't," the Union-Tribune wrote.

And even though Buster Olney, on his ESPN Baseball Tonight podcast, took great pains Monday to point out that "it wasn't the Padres, it was the scoreboard operator" (who is salaried by the Padres, I might add--so Olney's contention is ridiculously absurd), even his co-host Sarah Langs reminded him that she knew exactly what was going to happen afterward: the Dodgers would win the last two games of the series and take the series.

Which they did.

The Padres then flew to Minnesota, where they dropped the last two games in the series, including reviving the offensive prospects of a formerly-moribund player also known for cheating (you know, like this guy).

Watching his team drop back to .500, Padres manager Bob Melvin ripped into his team, using a tactic which worked to motivate the team at the end of 2022. But this is what happens when you anger the baseball gods.

So this weekend, I don't expect the Dodgers, including their scoreboard operator, to stoop to immature levels of behavior while we host the Padres. The Padres are now four games back in the standings entering Friday's game, so San Diego can't leave Los Angeles in first place in the NL West. But it still would be nice to put some more distance between us from this series. Heck, that might even cause me to cry some tears...of joy!

I'll be at the game Saturday if you want to say hi.

photo swiped from this site

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Post-Game 38 Thread: Jet Lag Is Real (For the 2023 Dodgers)


On Monday's radio broadcast, all Rick Monday could talk about was how the Dodgers' plane out of San Diego was delayed, causing an after-midnight landing in Milwaukee, and how the Dodgers were so tired, they couldn't even take batting practice on the field. As if a three-and-a-half hour direct flight time was really going to affect the Dodgers. It sure as heck was affecting Monday, who couldn't move past the point.

Well, I hate to say it, but Rick may have actually gotten this one right. After laying an egg on Monday (a 9-3 loss which looked awful), the Dodgers bounced back for a 6-2 victory yesterday, followed by today's early-morning whupping, 8-1.

Yesterday's one-inning cameo appearance by Noah Syndergaard was curtailed early after a blister on his hand basically exploded, causing the Dodgers' bullpen to go to work and salvage the mess. Today, Clayton Kershaw was dealing: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER (a solo shot by William Contreras), 0 BB and 8 Ks. This gave Freddie Freeman time to work (2-for-5 with 3 RBI, including a HR), along with timely RBI from Mookie Betts and Will Smith, the latter of whom also hit a home run. Miguel Vargas also added to the hit parade, with a two-run HR in the sixth.

Wander Suero came in for the eighth and ninth, striking out three and allowing no baserunners. And the Dodgers leave American Family Field with a 2.5-game lead over second-place Arizona (and a 3.5-game lead on San Diego; both Arizona and San Diego lost on Wednesday). Day off tomorrow (to shake off any jet lag from today's getaway game, I'm sure!), and then the Dodgers host the Padres this weekend at the Stadium.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

This Mookie Bobblehead Ad Rocks

Monday, May 08, 2023

Series Thread (Games 36-38): May 8-10 @ Brewers

Mon 5.8 4.40p: Gonsolin vs. Peralta
Tue 5.9 4.40p: Syndergaard vs. Lauer
Wed 5.10 10.40a: Kershaw vs. Miley

The Brewers, widely picked to win the NL Central this year, are looking up at the Pittsbrgh Pirates, who started the season 20-8 before losing their last seven games to fall to only a half-game up on Milwaukee. The Dodgers, meanwhile, will start the bottom half of their rotation, having juggled everyone around to have better arms face San Diego this past weekend.

We came away from the Padres series pretty frothy, with a series victory including a dramatic comeback Sunday on national television. Hope we don't get skunked on the second half of this road trip, which starts by facing Freddy Peralta (who struck out 10 in his last start). Burp.

You Stay Classy, San Diego

All right, I said I wasn't going to respond. But SoSG's own Dusty Baker just forwarded this, and I have to post it:

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Post-Game 35 Thread: Dodgers Destroy Evil Empire


3.3% chance of winning. Not quite one in a million, more like 1 in 30. But that's what Fangraphs had forecasted for the Dodgers, down 2-1 in the top of the ninth inning in San Diego, with two outs and no one on. Up to the plate was Mookie Betts, and if you were paying attention to the graph up above (I warned you, there was going to be a quiz!), Betts had some atoning to do.

In the first inning, Betts had let a Xander Bogaerts ball go off his glove in right field (he may have mis-timed his leap, and the sun was also in his eyes--though while mic'd up with ESPN during the third inning, Betts claimed the sun was not a factor in him missing that ball), allowing Manny Machado to score and putting the Dodgers in a quick 2-0 hole. The game stayed 2-0 SD until the sixth inning, when Will Smith doubled home Freddie Freeman (who reached on a fielding error by Juan Soto), chasing Joe Musgrove (who had only allowed two hits all game, but also gave up 3 BB along with 5 Ks).

Betts was 0-for-3 coming into this ninth-inning AB against Josh Hader, who hadn't blown a save all year in 11 opportunities. And Betts did this:

With Betts' (Han) solo HR, the game was tied. We go to extras, after a great hold from Caleb Ferguson (who got the win), a solid 1-2-3 ninth inning that ended with two Ks.

Top of the tenth, and Smith grounds ghost runner Freeman to third. Max Muncy is rung up on strikes for out number two, and then Michael Busch singles home Freeman to take the lead. Then, James Outman, who going into this AB was 0-for-9 this series, with 3 Ks; not to mention a mortal 3-for-20 in the month of May--launched a home run to right field that cheater Fernando Tatis Jr. could only watch. 5-2 LA, and Evan Phillips comes in to secure the save in the bottom of the tenth.

The Dodgers end up taking two of three on the road in San Diego, and end the weekend in first place in the NL West, 1.5 games ahead of Arizona and three games ahead of the Padres. I'm not going to read too much into this game--we looked pretty bad offensively through most of the game today before the late eruption, and the other two games weren't much better.

But amazingly, the bullpen did a pretty nice job this weekend. 3.1 no-hit innings on Friday; a run yielded in three innings in Saturday's victory (Brusdar Graterol was the victim); and then 4.1 innings of one-hit ball (with no walks) today. If you had told me neither Clayton Kershaw nor Julio Urias was going to get a win this weekend, I would have thought we would be swept. To come away with a series win on the road was pretty sweet indeed.

I'm going to also add the highlights video below, so you can see Betts pointing to the Dodgers' dugout after his game-tying home run. Way to go, Mookie!

Also, I'm aware that the Petco Park folks put up some immature memes and banners about our guys this weekend, en route to losing two of three games against the Dodgers. On that point:

Friday, May 05, 2023

Series Thread (Games 33-35): May 5-7 @ Padres

"Aren't you a little bloated for a stormtrooper?"

Fri 5/5 6.40p: Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 1.89) vs. Yu Darvish (1-2, 3.60)
Sat 5/6 5.40p: Dustin May (3-1, 3.15) vs. Blake Snell (1-4, 5.28)
Sun 5/7 4.10p: Julio Urias (4-3, 3.86) vs. Joe Musgrove (1-0, 10.80)

The Padres certainly bulked up this offseason, filling up their bloated lineup with signing shortstop Xander Bogaerts (11 years, $280M); extending Manny Machado (11 years, $350M) and Yu Darvish (6 years, $108M); and reaching one-year deals with Juan Soto ($23M) and Josh Hader ($14.1M), not to mention a rash of other deals that helped push San Diego's commitments to over $1B over the next decade.

So is it fair to call the Padres, whose $246M 2023 payroll is eclipsed only by the Mets ($346M) and Yankees ($280M), a true evil empire? Well, San Diego has certainly built a giant space-station-like structure in a short amount of time. And while this new entity might be capable of vaporizing opponents with that potent lineup, Machado's .235 BA and Juan Soto's .222 BA are pretty mortal so far. In fact, Machado (84), Ha-Seong Kim (98), Jack Cronenworth (102), and recently activated cheater Fernando Tatis Jr. (104) all have OPS+ numbers at or below the league average.

It's not that I'm taking the Padres lightly (honestly, with that girth, it would be impossible anyway), especially with our first season meeting and a nationally-televised game (ESPN) on Sunday. This will be a good test to see if the Dodgers, hot off a perfect six-game homestand and set up with our best starters, are up to their first big interdivisional challenge.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Post-Game 32 Thread: Dodgers Turn To Stone, Then Spring Back To Life

Little-known fact about Dodger 3B Max Muncy: he doesn't eat or drink with his mouth. Rather, he absorbs nutrients like sunflower seeds and Gatorade through his skin--so his teammates are happy to help him ingest.


In a game that started with a shaky MLB debut from Gavin Stone, the Dodgers were able to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat against Philadelphia at the Stadium today. Stone was not great (4.0 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 8 H, 1 K and 2 BB), putting the Dodgers in a 5-0 hole through three innings, and giving the Phillies their first lead of the entire three-game series. But, luckily for Stone, the Dodgers didn't roll over and play dead; rather, they scratched back a run in the third (Mookie Betts with an RBI single), and two more runs in the fourth (two-run HR from Miguel Vargas). Freddie Freeman added a sacrifice fly in the seventh to bring us to within one run, down 5-4.

Then, unexpected things happened from two of the worst hitters on the team. Miguel Rojas, pinch-hitting for Jason Heyward in the eighth, hit a one out single. Rojas was batting .162 entering this game, so the fact he was even at the plate as a PH in the first place was an unusual call (Rojas added a slick defensive play in the top of the ninth inning to nab Trea Turner on an apparent infield single, not an easy feat given Turner's speed). James Outman doubled to put two runners in scoring position. And even though Vargas got Rojas thrown out at home on a fielders choice for the second out, Vargas stole second--and Dave Roberts' second unusual PH call, Austin Barnes (hitting for David Peralta), amazingly singled home two runs to put the Dodgers in the lead.

Barnes was batting .085 entering this game. How Roberts made both PH calls yield benefits is honestly befuddling. Both calls were incredibly illogical, and yet both calls worked.

The Dodgers gave up the lead in the top of the ninth when Roberts yanked Craig Ferguson, who had cruised through the eighth and gotten one out in the ninth--but Roberts opted to go with Brusdar Graterol. Graterol got lucky on that Turner ground out I mentioned earlier, but then fell apart after that, yielding a single to Bryce Harper (who got his first hits of the 2023 season today, in his second game back), a walk to Nick Castellanos, and then a bloop single by Bryson Stott that tied the game. Graterol struck out Alec Bohm to staunch the damage, but it was still tied going to the bottom of the ninth.

But guess who bailed the Dodgers out of this one? None other than Craig Kimbrel, former Dodger reliever (who was awful for us in 2022, mercifully losing the closer role midway through the campaign), now with the Phillies. We tarred and feathered Kimbrel on Monday night (0.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, and 1 HR), but here was Kimbrel again, ready to serve up another disaster...this time, with the Dodgers taking advantage instead of taking the pain. Chris Taylor lead off with a single, and though Betts got caught looking, Freeman was intentionally walked, Will Smith was unintentionally walked, and then Max Muncy wasted no time taking the first pitch yard:

The Dodgers went 6-0 on this homestand, sit atop the NL West with a 19-13 record (1.5 games ahead of Arizona and 2.0 games ahead of the Padres), and get a day off tomorrow before a huge series in San Diego this weekend. The Dodgers' +42 run differential is only fourth in the NL (behind Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and the Cubs), but we've scored more runs than anyone else in the NL, thanks to a league-leading 52 HR.

There's still cause for concern, however: the Dodgers' batting average at .238 is only 21st in the majors, as we have the second-most number of team strikeouts (only behind the Giants). Our OPS at .787 is fifth in the league, showing how much we are dependent upon the home run for run generation; small ball is just not our game, with many of our runners lacking speed. I think this is going to expose us as the year goes on. For now, as the Dodgers are mashing, our momentum is rolling.

Let's go!

James Outman Named NL Rookie of the Month (April 2023)

Hefty congratulations to James Outman, the National League Rookie of the Month for April 2023:

James Outman has been amazing in center field for the Dodgers this season, with a .973 OPS that tops all rookies, but is also in the top 15 for all qualified hitters as well.

But what I find particularly amazing is that, even with the surprising resurgence of 2022 Dodger centerfielder Cody Bellinger in Chicago, Outman's numbers hold pace with Bellinger's numbers:

  • Bellinger: 99 AB, 30 H, 7 HR, .303 BA, 23 R, 18 RBI, 5 SB, .377 OBP, .974 OPS, 161 OPS+.
  • Outman: 103 AB, 29 H, 7 HR, .282 BA, 20 R, 21 RBI, 4 SB, .378 OBP, .961 OPS, 154 OPS+.

With Chris Taylor stil mired in a slump, J.D. Martinez injured, Miguel Rojas unable to hit, and Austin Barnes not only unable to hit but also unable to throw anyone out at second--we've needed Outman in the lineup. He's been great this first month of the season.

This is Outman's first career Rookie of the Month award. Ichiro Suzuki (2001), Mike Trout (2012), and Aaron Judge (2017) have all won the award four times--but no NL players has won it four times (Jason Bay, 2004, and Juan Soto, 2018, have won it three times).

Keep on slugging, James!

Clayton Kershaw Named NL Pitcher of the Month (April 2023)

Hefty congratulations to Clayton Kershaw, the National League Pitcher of the Month for April 2023:

With a 5-1 record across six starts, Kershaw was on fire this April. 38.0 IP, only 24 H and 8 ER (for a ERA of 1.89), with 41 Ks against only 5 BBs. Kershaw went six innings in four starts and seven innings in the other two starts. And of course, this six-run stint included his 200th career victory, with Kershaw being one of only four active pitchers with 200+ victories (Justin Verlander, 244; Zack "Tiny Head" Greinke, 223; and Max "Sticky Stuff" Scherzer, 203).

It's safe to say that without his contributions, particularly among a starting rotation that has underwhelmed (Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Noah Syndergaard: I'm looking at you three), the Dodgers wouldn't be in first place in the NL West.

This is Kershaw's seventh career Pitcher of the Month award, behind only Roger Clemens (15), Greg Maddux (10), Pedro Martinez (8), Randy Johnson (8), and Johan Santana (8). Kershaw last won the NL Pitcher of the Month award in May 2016.

Monday, May 01, 2023

Series Thread (Games 30-32): May 1-3 vs. Phillies

Mon 5.1 7p: Tony Gonsolin vs. Taijuan Walker
Tue 5.2 7p: TBD vs. Matt Strahm
Wed 5.3 1p: TBD vs. Aaron Nola

The 2022 National League Champion Phillies are only 15-13, basically the same record as the Dodgers (16-13). Except they sit in fourth place in their division (only ahead of the lowly Washington Nationals), while the Dodgers share first place with Arizona. There's upside for the Phillies on the near-term horizon, though, with Bryce Harper potentially being reinstated for this series in Los Angeles, as early as Tuesday. That's always dangerous for Phillies opponents...not to mention opponents' stadium walls.

UPDATE 3.07p: Harper has been cleared to play starting Tuesday, which would be 160 days since his Tommy John surgery. Amazing! And welcome back, Bryce Harper!

For the Dodgers, that weekend sweep over the Cardinals to start off this homestand was pretty sweet indeed--as was seeing Will Smith and Max Muncy return to the lineup, not to mention only the second multi-hit game for Chris Taylor all year. Our bullpen (and timely defense) held the Cardinals bats at bay during high-leverage situations in all three games. Three more games to go on this homestand, before a well-deserved day off!

Oh, and I'll be at the Stadium on Monday night, so hit me up if you want to say hi.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Series Thread (Games 27-29): Apr 28-30 vs. Cardinals

Fri 4.28 7p: TBD vs. Flaherty
Sat 4.29 6p: TBD vs. Montgomery
Sun 4.30 1p: TBD vs. TBD

Friday's game marks a return to Dodger Stadium for Harvard-Westlake's own Jack Flaherty, who pitched the Wolverines to their only Southern Section Division 1 Championship in 2013 with a 1-0 vitory over Marina. Flaherty was one of three Harvard-Westlake pitching phenoms who would later play in the major leagues; in fact, all three pitchers (inlcuding the White Sox' Lucas Giolito and the Braves' Max Fried) started 2021 Opening Day for their respective teams.

Flaherty, who starts Friday for the Cardinals, is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts @ Dodger Stadium, with 29 Ks over 18.0 IP. His 0.611 WHIP is the second-lowest across all 20 ballparks in which he has pitched, evidencing that he might be a little more fired up here at home. With the struggling Cardinals way back in the NL Central standings, I'm sure he has even more motivation to start this series off with a bang.

Let's welcome Flaherty back...but not be the best hosts possible. (But given we are a .500 team, I am sure we will be quite hospitable to St. Louis at least once this weekend.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

USA Today Making Sure Dodgers Remember The Past

Thanks, Pete Donovan of USA Today, for pointing out how former Dodgers have been faring on other teams this season:

5 Former Dodgers and how they are faring this year:
Justin Turner (Red Sox): Hitting .284 with 2 home runs.
Cody Bellinger (Cubs): After hitting .165 and .210 in his last two years in Los Angeles, he’s bounced back nicely and is hitting .300 with the Cubs – and has three homers against his former teammates.
Corey Seager (Rangers): Hit .359 in first 11 games of season before going on the injured list with a hamstring strain.
Trea Turner (Phillies): Solid, but not spectacular; hitting .293 with only seven RBIs.
Kenley Jansen (Red Sox): Has not given up a run in seven games with five saves.

It's all in how you look at the data, right? Over at third base, I do miss JT but Muncy's revival (and MLB-leading 11 HR this year) is certainly helping me move on. Cody Bellinger had three HR against us across seven games, but James Outman's .316 BA is ahead of Bellinger, and Outmans' 193 OPS+ is also ahead of Bellinger's 154 OPS+.

It has been a while since we've seen Corey Seager at shortshop in Dodger Blue, but let's hope he gets well soon. But speaking of shortstop, Trea Turner's .293 with seven RBIs still eclipses Miguel Rojas' .125 BA and ZERO RBI this year. Maybe with Mookie slotting over at shortstop, we'll finally get some production from that spot...but I do miss having a real shortstop in the lineup.

And good for Kenley Jansen, who also led the league with 41 saves last year in Atlanta. Our bullpen is still patchwork and hardly revered, but $16M is a lot of money for a last-place Boston team's closer.

And no mention of Kiké Hernandez, and his .220 BA (84 OPS+) starting for Boston every day at shortstop? Or Joc Pederson, batting .250 in 13 games with the Giants? Or Alex Wood, off to a good start with San Francisco and a 1.50 ERA, but sidelined to injury?

It's a mixed bag, to be sure.

Post-Game 24 Thread: Unlikely Avengers Pick Up Pummeled Thor


Sure, the Dodgers had five-run comeback victories last year. But this 2023 Dodger team is much different, starting with a 0-3 guy on the mound whose 6.58 ERA is pretty darn mortal. Noah Syndergaard had coughed up seven runs through four innings, rendering the Dodgers' 2-0 lead in the first useless, and the Dodgers were down 7-2 through four short innings.

But the Dodgers scrapped their way back, and even more exciting, it was done by some unlikely contributors. 25-year-old Michael Busch got his first MLB hit, an RBI single in the sixth, to make it 7-4 PIT. Austin Barnes and his whopping .057 batting average then tacked on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to two runs.

And then Chris Taylor, who has been grinding his way out of a multiple-season slump, came up with a three-run HR to put the Dodgers in front for good.

Also making amazing contributions were the pitchers in the Dodgers' bullpen, which has been more porous than a Tulare Lake levee of late. But Victor Gonzalez (in his first appearance in over a year!), Evan Phillips, Yancy Almonte, Caleb Ferguson, and Shelby Miller each put in a full inning of scoreless work, to carry the Dodgers over the line and win this one, ending the Pirates' five-game win streak.

I could be critical of Trayce Thompson getting thrown out at home badly in the top of the ninth inning. Or complain about Mookie Betts (0-for-5 with 4 LOB) getting robbed of a three-run HR in the sixth by a nice play by Pirate left fielder Jack Suwinski. But I'll just take the win for now.

We've got Tony Gonsolin's 2023 debut this afternoon. Go Dodgers!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Series Thread (Games 24-26): Apr 25-27 @ Pirates

Tue 4.25 3.35p: Syndergaard (0-3, 4.91) vs Oviedo
Wed 4.26 3.35p: TBD Gonsolin (0-0, ---) vs. Contreras
Thu 4.27 9.35a: TBD Urias (3-2, 3.33) vs. Keller

Typically, the Dodgers have beaten up on the Pirates; from 2016-2021, the Dodgers had won every season series. But last year, the Dodgers went 1-5 against Pittsburgh. And this year, the Pirates are off to a scorching 16-7 start, including a seven-game win streak that has them atop the NL Central (tied with the Brewers).

Everyone's excited that the Dodgers' 48 HR ranks second in the majors (beyind Tampa Bay), or that our .787 team OPS is fourth in the majors (behind the Rays, Cubs, and Phillies). But don't let that distract you from the fact that we're a 12-11 team who has hovered aroudn the .500 mark all year (our peak was three games over .500 on April 6). Sure, that's good enough for first in the NL West, tied with the Snakes and a half-game ahead of the Padres. Given PNC Park has a sub-par HR factor (23rd in the league), my expectations are low.

Also want to shout out that I was considering attending this series, before life got in the way. Sigh.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Max Muncy Wins NL Player of the Week

Max Muncy's scorching past week (.389 / .593 / 1.222; 5 HR, 7 RBI, 9 walks in 7 games) resulted in winning the National League Player of the Week Award. It's the first NL POTW award since Freddie Freeman (9/10/22), who won it three times last year. Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger also each won the award one time last year.

Before we get too excited about Muncy's return to familiar power levels, let's remember, Bellinger--who was batting .273 on April 24, 2022, and won the POTW award on 4/23/22--went south fast after that. Bellinger had slipped below Mendoza-line levels by May 13, and finished the year with a .210 BA and a 79 OPS+.

I'm crossing fingers that Muncy's trajectory stays hot. Muncy, who leads the majors with 11 HR, is slated to go on paternity leave for at least some of this upcoming series in Pittsburgh.

Get some rest, Max!

Archiving the 2022 SoSG Attendance Record, for Posterity

Here we go with another sidebar cleanup: archiving our 2022 record. I'm sad to say that I had a losing record last year at 3-4, but then again, I'm already 0-2 this year and we've barely started (started losing, that is):

SoSG 2022 record: 4-4

4/17 vs. CIN (W, 9-1): Orel, Sax
5/13 vs. PHI (L, 10-12): Sax
6/4 vs. NYM (L, 4-9): AC, Sax
8/20 vs. MIA (W, 7-0): AC
8/21 vs MIA (W, 10-3): Sax
9/21 vs AZ (L, 1-6): Sax
10/1 vs COL (W, 6-4): Sax
10/4 vs. COL (L, 2-5): Sax

Prior SoSG attendance records: 2008 (18-15), 2009 (21-10), 2010 (9-8), 2011 (10-7), 2012 (24-18), 2013 (24-16), 2014 (22-12), 2015 (27-13), 2016 (10-5), 2017 (27-13) 2018 (12-9), 2019 (10-5), 2020 (0-0), 2021 (4-3).

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Post-Game 20 Thread: James Outman Helps Dodgers Avoid Sweep in Chicago

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh


Dodgers starter Michael Grove wasn't really great tonight, lasting only three innings before exiting with a groin strain and Cubs on second and third with none out in the fourth (Grove did lower his ERA from 9.00 to 8.44 tonight, however). Mookie Betts, activated after his paternity leave, wasn't in the starting lineup. And a rain delay in Chicago led to a late start time with winds swirling and a warnings of a possible tornado.

And yet, there were still rays of sunlight for the Dodgers; they just came late and from the Dodgers' dugout. After squandering a lead twice in this game, Betts entered in the seventh inning at shortstop for his first SS appearance in the majors (pinch hitting for Luke Williams), and promptly singled, only to be quickly erased by Austin "Automatic Out" Barnes (GIDP; Barnes went 0-for-3 with 4 LOB and is now batting .040 on the year).

But Betts then made an amazing double play in the bottom of the eighth to quell the Cubs' rally (from two on and none out, to two out and runner at third, with that runner eventually being stranded). And then, in the top of the ninth, James Outman (who had already hit a solo HR in the third inning) sealed the game with this grand slam:

I'm not sure if I like Stephen Nelson's "DID YOU?" home run call very much (I think this is the second time I've heard it now). But boy, I love Dodger grand slams at Wrigley Field, like this one in the 2008 NLDS. Outman is really blossoming as an everyday starter, almost making me forget about our last centerfielder (who also had a solo HR tonight, and is amazingly batting .290 this year).

Dodgers win the first game in this four-game series, with all the rest of the games starting early (11.20a first pitch). Up and at 'em, Dodger fans!

Series Thread (Games 20-23): Apr 20-23 @ Cubs

Thu 4/20 4.40p: Michael Grove vs. Assad
Fri 4/21 11.20a: Julio Urias vs. Smyly
Sat 4/22 11.20a: Clayton Kershaw vs. Wesneski
Sun 4/23 11.20a: Dustin May vs. Stroman

Weather forecasts show a weekend of wetness in Chicago, where the Thursday game is already in rain delay with tornado warnings (as of 5.20p PT Thursday). Given this is against a Cubs team that took two of three at the Stadium last week, I'm forecasting a whupping @ Wrigley. Maybe all we can do is pray for rain.

image courtesy

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Post-Game 18 Thread: Kershaw Wins His 200th


121 MLB pitchers have 200 or more victories. And tonight, Clayton Kershaw has joined that exclusive club.

Kershaw, at 200-88, has the best winning percentage of any MLB pitcher with 200+ wins (.694).

Congratulations, Clayton!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Series Thread (Games 17-19): April 17-19 vs. Mets

Mon 4.17 7p: Dustin May vs. Peterson
Tue 4.18 7p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Megill
Wed 4.19 12n: Noah Syndergaard vs. some guy with heterochromia

The 8-8 Dodgers are most decidedly a .500 team in 2023. They don't have consistent offense, made worse by mini-slumps from Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, further complicated by an IL stint from Will Smith (the Dodgers' leading hitter). They don't have very good pitching, with a weak bottom of the rotation, complemented with a unreliable bullpen. And they have a ton of lineup spots with weak bats, like Miguel Rojas, Chris Taylor, and possibly Max Muncy (who we hope might have snapped out of it vs. the Giants last week).

And the Dodgers rate 25th for batting average with RISP, at .231. There's some slight solace that the Padres are 26th on that list (and the Mets are 28th!), but both of those teams have big bats coming back. We have Austin Barnes, batting .053 and unable to throw anyone out stealing second, now playing every day.

Enter into this shitshow the Mets, who had a payroll over 50% more than the Dodgers ($346M vs. $225M), and a much better record (10-6) to show for it. I'm going to the Stadium on Monday, but I'm not feeling it. This seems like another losing series to me.

graphic courtesy Cat Sims of Sports Illustrated

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Friday, April 14, 2023

Series Thread (Games 14-16): Apr 14-16 vs. Cubs

Still wearing blue. Still batting .238.

Fri 4.14 7p: Noah Syndergaard vs. Steele
Sat 4.15 6p: Michael Grove vs. Taillon
Sun 4.16 1p: Julio Urias vs. Smyly

Welcome back to Dodger Stadium, Cody Bellinger! Let's hope the former Dodger MVP enjoys the trip back to the Stadium, in a year where he's seeing a little bit of a resurgence (.703 OPS), up from last year (.654) but still well below his career average or those great first four years of his Dodger career. That career went careening off the tracks with a shoulder injury from celebrating with Kiké Hernandez in the 2020 World Series championship run.

After that fateful blow, two long years of waiting for a non-existent rebound finally came to an end with Bellinger's off-season departure. As Jack Harris of the LAT quoted Dave Roberts, "sometimes, you just don't have any answers." (Harris did a great job of chronicling Bellinger's imability to make batting swing changes permanent--even when they were starting to yield positive results.) I'm glad to see Cody is performing a bit better for Chicago, who is surprisingly in third place in its division, two games behind the Brewers.

They may have moved beyond Bellinger, but the Dodgers' front office will be drooling during this series watching Cubs SS Dansby Swanson, who left the Braves this offseason and is batting .400 with a .917 OPS this season. That's a heck of a lot better than Miguel Rojas (.182 BA, .477 OPS) or Chris Taylor (.091 BA, .435 OPS).

Kinda sucks not having a real shortstop on the squad. Oh, and we're feeling it. Believe me.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Stat of the Day: Stolen Bases Running Wild...Except For The Dodgers

The new 2023 bases would have been incentive for former Dodger maanger Tommy Lasorda.

With the new larger bases, stolen bases are up this year! And the stolen base success rate is up this year (to ~80%)!

But stolen bases aren't compelling for the Dodgers, who rank T-28th in the majors for stolen bases, with a total of two on the whole team (both by James Outman). Only Minnesota has fewer stolen bases (1), through Wednesday April 12th's games--though to be fair, the Twins lead the AL Central, ahead of the Cleveland Guardians, who lead the majors with 19 SB. Still, T-28th is probably not where the Dodgers want to be.

Now, there are four Dodgers who have tried stolen bases and gotten caught, so that gives us a 33% success rate, which isn't very inspiring. But when it seems every other team is running wild (the NL West-leading Diamondbacks have 17 SB this year), shouldn't we at least consider swiping a bag or two more often?

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Post-Game 13 Thread: Muncy The Giant Killer


Max Muncy will not be denied in the Giants' Oracle Park.

When Dave Roberts started Muncy this series, he delivered. Two homers and 7 RBI (including a grand slam in the seventh inning) led the Dodgers to a 9-1 lashing over San Francisco on Monday. Here's both HR, with the grand slam being pretty majestic:

And thanks to SoSG QuadSevens for picking up Muncy on the post-game show Monday, when he confessed he doesn't even like Oracle Park in the first place:

Roberts followed that epic sitting Muncy against Alex Wood (Muncy did come in to pinch hit in the eighth, and struck out. And the Dodgers promptly lost 5-0.

So in the rubber match against the Giants on Wednesday, guess who was back in the starting lineup? Max Frickin' Muncy. And even though the Dodgers were down 3-0 through two frames, and the comeback was a team effort (with six Dodgers tallying RBI, and eight Dodgers scoring runs), it was Muncy's heroics which headlined the win. Here's Muncy's second home run of the game:

According to Ben Ross of, Muncy's 21 round-trippers against the Giants since the start of the 2020 season are the second-most of any player against any team, behind only Aaron Judge’s 22 against the Orioles. Kershaw got win #199 (6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB and 4 Ks).

It's a series win over the Giants. but itnwould have been a series sweep if Muncy had started all three games.

And the Dodgers go back atop the NL for run differential (+24), tied with the Brewers. Los Angeles ends the day in second place in the NL West, tied with the Padres and trailing the Diamondbacks.

Muncy's batting average lifted from .121 before the series to a whopping .214 ending play tonight. Now, Chris Taylor is still batting .091, so that's a continuing concern. We're going to need Taylor more, now that Miguel Roas looks to be out with a left hamstring cramp. Maybe some home cooking (starting Friday against the Cubs) will turn things around for CT3?

Monday, April 10, 2023

Series Thread (Games 11-13): Apr 10-12 @ Giants

Mon 4.10: Julio Urias vs. Webb
Tue 4.11: Dustin May vs. Wood
Wed 4.12: Clayton Kershaw vs. Cobb
All games 6.45p

The Dodgers just came off a very unsatisfying four-game series in Arizona in which they scored 22 runs, striking first blood in all four games--and only ended up with one win to show for those efforts. Three times, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Diamondbacks used speed on the bases and timely hitting to overwhelm the Dodgers and take back leads for good. The Dodgers yielded 23 runs to the Snakes on Saturday and Sunday alone, letting the games get out of hand quickly.

This may be the pitch clock era swallowing the methodical Dave Roberts' relief pitching decisions, as things spiral out of control before an arm is reaady in the extremely shaky bullpen. Noah Syndergaard's 6.30 ERA and Michael Grove's 14.73 ERA also don't help any, but nor does a bullpen full of underachieving pitchers (Caleb Ferguson, 4.50 ERA; Andre Jackson, 5.40; Brusdar Graterol, 6.75; and Alex Vesia, a stratospheric 12.00).

Oh, and Max Muncy, who ended last year batting .196, is even WORSE this year at .121. I didn't think that was possible given the shift limitations, but Muncy is beyond my putrid expectations so far. Miguel "I'm Not Gavin" Rojas is .118; Chris Taylor is .125; and David Peralta is .174. It's pretty pathetic from about half of the Dodgers' lineup.

So what to make of this? Maybe the Snakes just have our number this year (winning five of eight). Or maybe this 2023 Dodgers team just sucks. At 5-5 through 10 games, we're in second place by a game. This series against San Francisco should prove whether we've got something, or whether we will just be in the Padres' rear view mirror all year.

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Series Thread (Games 7-10): April 6-9 @ D'backs

The MLB creative department did not release a logo for this weekend's series, so I used the Power Lifting America one instead.

Thu 4.6 7.10p: Dustin May vs. Kelly
Fri 4.7 6.40p: Clayton Kershaw vs. TBD
Sat 4.8 5.10p: Noah Syndergaard vs. TBD
Sun 4.9 1.10p: Michael Grove vs. TBD

When we last saw the Diamondbacks, oh...two games ago, the Snakes split four games at our house. Which in my mind, was a steal--this is a team that's supposed to finish with only 76 wins this year (latest PECOTA projections). But small ball at the plate, and a total Dodgers power outage in the even-numbered games, doomed the Dodgers and left us with an unsatisfying series split.

Winning two against the Rockies puts us at 4-2 and atop the NL West by a game. And there's no Urias on the mound this series, so we'll need the next four in the rotation to step up and keep our two-game win streak alive.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Post-Game 6 Thread: Jason Heyward Starts 2023 Like A Wrecking Ball


Jason Heyward mashed his second home run of the year, a third-inning solo shot to right that was absolutely crushed with a 112.7 mph exit velocity. Holy smokes, that was a violent swing. And with that, the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead (Will Smith had homered in his third straight game to notch the Dodgers' first two runs), and were sporting a 84.8% win probability.

Heyward also brought his wrecking-ball ways to his defense, however. He undercut a retreating Mookie Betts on a fly ball to short right for the last out of the seventh inning. And then Heyward let a double go off his glove to score the Rockies' first run in the ninth. Suddenly, that pendulum we saw in the series with the Diamondbacks had turned into a two-way wrecking ball, for sure. But fortunately for the Dodgers, Evan Phillips was there to shut the door on the Rockies, and the Dodgers sweep both games from Colorado and take the lead in the NL West.

Max Muncy also hit a home run tonight and went 2-for-4 in the cleanup spot to raise his average to .150. Chris Taylor is still struggling, 0-for-3 tonight and batting .071 on the year. And Julio Urias had a clean 6.0 IP, 5 H and 0 ER, with 0 BB and 6 Ks, halving his ERA to 1.50 in his second performance.

The Dodgers go 4-2 on this opening homestand, but there's still work to be done. Off-day tomorrow, and then four in the Arizona desert starting Thursday.

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Post-Game 5 Thread: The Dodgers Pendulum Keeps On Swinging


One day after 0-fer-ing with RISP, the Dodgers lit up the Rockies with a 4-for-9 with RISP performance, including what's Juan Toribio called "one of the best two-out rallies you’ll see all season long." Apparently, the Dodgers are a pendulum swinging from feast to famine on successive games. If this continues, I'm going to be sea sick. Or hypnotized.

The Dodgers had just given up a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth, and were trailing 4-2. And then Chris Taylor popped to second, and Mookie Betts Kd swinging, to make it two out and no one on. And then:

  • Freddie Freeman doubles to right.
  • Will Smith walks.
  • Max Muncy walks. Bases loaded. Rockies go to Jake Bird to relieve starter Ryan Feltner.
  • JD Martinez narrowly misses a grand slam, then singles to left to score Freeman and Smith. Muncy to second. Tied at 4.
  • James Outman triples (his first of two triples in the game!), scoring Muncy and Martinez. 6-4 LA.
  • Miguel Vargas singles to left, scoring Outman. 7-4 LA.
  • Jason Heyward homers, scoring Vargas. 9-4 LA.
  • Taylor grounds to second for the third out.

What an inning, and the Dodgers didn't look back. So now we have blowout victories in games 1, 3, and 5; and bad 2-1 losses in games 2 and 4 (both of which showed 0-fers with RISP).

So I guess we know what's in store tomorrow, right? Maybe that's why they're giving away hooded sweatshirts to the first 40K attendees.

Monday, April 03, 2023

Series Thread (Games 5-6): Apr 3-4 vs. Rockies

Mon Apr 3 7p: Michael Grove vs. Feltner
Tue Apr 4 7p: Julio Urias vs. Marquez

With Tony Gonsolin recuperating from a spring training ankle injury, and prospect Ryan Pepiot on the mend from an oblique injury, the Dodgers go to Michael Grove (career 6 GS, 1-0, 4.60 ERA) to take the mound Monday as our fifth starter. Going 2-2 against the lowly Diamondbacks doesn't give me a lot of confidence with how this two-game series is going to go, even against the 2-2 Rockies (to be fair, almost the entire NL West is also 2-2).

Let's see how Grover fares tonight!

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Post-Game 4 Thread: Dodgers Decide To Hit Only Every Other Game

We keep forgetting situational hitting like today's farce, and we'll see a lot more sad Thor faces this season.


Wasting a great effort from Noah "Thor" Syndergaard in his first Dodgers appearance, the Dodgers went 0-for-6 with RISP to split the series with a scrappy but overmatched Arizona team that had no business stealing two wins out of four. Not that the Dodgers' four measly hits all game helped any--and that includes a first-inning HR from Will Smith that seemed to get things on the right foot this afternoon. But that was the only run the Dodgers scored, leaving eight on base all game--and it was a frustrating disaster to watch (in my first game of the year at the Stadium).

Today's pathetic RISP performance echoed Friday's turd, another 2-1 loss that wasted another great starting effort (Dsustin May: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB and 4 Ks), when the Dodgers went 0-for-7 with RISP and had 12 LOB. Chris Taylor went 0-for-7 in two games this series and looked overmatched at the plate, which is a huge concern after his poor performance last year; he's on track to be Cody Bellinger 2.0 at this rate. Will Smith, JD Martinez, and Trayce Thompson each had two strikeouts (the latter two also going 0-for-4 today), and Thompson, last night's hero, looked as bad as CT3 from the plate today.

Dodgers highlights, besides the Smith HR in the first, included Mookie Betts nailing a Ketel Marte at home on a Lourdes Gurriel Jr single to right, preserving the tie. However, Brusdar Graterol--who looked crappy all inning in the top of the ninth--couldn't escape from a jam of his own creation, when a drag bunt up the first-base line inexplicably evaded his glove on what would have ended the inning. Instead, now down 2-1, the Dodgers went feebly in the ninth: PH Austin Barnes Kd on three pitches; Chris Taylor Ks on a foul tip; and PH Jason Heyward grounds to first to end the game.

The quick 2:32 game time wasn't a lot of consolation when watching the Dodgers' half innings fly by in the blink of an eye. We're better than this. This wasn't a good start.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Diamondbacks Displeased with Dodger Power Output

Dodger Stadium got new LED lights this offseason. They're brighter, they're designed to reduce glare and improve quality, and now they can incorporate color. And the Diamondbacks aren't happy about it.

“I wasn’t too pleased about that,” [Diamondbacks manager Torey] Lovullo said. “It’s the first game for everybody. Hopefully they figure it out. I’ll definitely bring it up with my group here in the front office here and just see what they think about doing. I don’t think anything was done maliciously. I just think they hit the wrong button at the wrong time and they need to be better at that.”

My first game of the year will be a day game, so I won't be able to see the light show in action. I did notice, in watching highlights of Game 1's 8-2 victory, that the light effects seemed to be a little aggressive.

I suppose the biggest remedy for this, from the Diamondbacks' perspective, is to allow fewer Dodger runs. But by the same token, I'd prefer to be able to watch the game as well, rather than see runners take an extra-base hit under strobe effects. Let's have the light guy keep it in the pants a bit.

Faster Baseball Games Means Less Time To Drink (And Pour) Beer

graph courtesy New York Times Upshot

We all saw this coming, but now it's here: major league baseball games are a heck of a lot faster, with the pitch clock implementation of 2023. Spring training was a key indication, with games shortening by 26 minutes (from 3:03 average time to 2:35. And having attended a Dodgers Spring Training game in Camelback this year, I have to tell you, it's a different experience as a spectator and fan. Tim Kurkjian over at ESPN had warned me that his first time watching the game, he couldn't take his eyes off the field because he was afraid of missing something. And that's how it felt, watching Dustin May deliver pitches to the plate so quickly even with men on base.

Pitchers are probably going to have the biggest adjustment to this new rule, which turns baseball into more of a momentum game like volleyball or basketball--you can't get a sideout or take a timeout to stop a coming snowball from accumulating mass and speed. And along with the shorter game time, that same NYT Upshot piece also found that the average hits per hour had a sharp increase as well, now 6.1 hits per hour from 5.3 last year.

So what does this mean for fans?

Less time to drink beer. Yep, this is going to lead to some serious binge drinking at the ballpark, especially if they continue to cut off beer sales at the end of the seventh inning. The Dodgers-Diamondbacks game last night lasted only 2:35 and that's with 10 runs scored; we had two games go as short as 2:14 in duration on Opening Day 2023. Thankfully, Dodger Stadium recently implemented beer sales at one's seat. Those vendors are going to have to be as fleet footed as the batboys and ballboys will need to be under these new 2023 rules.

Does this mean that we'll have the travesty of foamy beer pours in the aisles, from flustered mobile beer vendors looking to increase their throughput time? Let's hope not (and I prefer to pour my own beer, anyway). But who speaks for the beer drinker, when everyone is just speaking for the casual baseball fan? Beer drinkers have rights, too!

I'll be at the Stadium Sunday afternoon to see this in action. Will report back.