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.

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 "Gray in LA" 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.