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

Tough Break For Dodgers’ Leading Hitter

Dodgers place Will Smith on IL with Concussion Symptoms (

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.