Friday, July 28, 2023

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

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

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

Go Dodgers!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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


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

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

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

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

Monday, July 24, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 21, 2023

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 17, 2023

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

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

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

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

But I'll try.

Friday, July 14, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 10, 2023

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

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

Friday, July 07, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 03, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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