Friday, September 29, 2023

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

This man is not happy.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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

A picture of Coors Field with a couple of strays.

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

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

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

photo: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images

Thursday, September 21, 2023

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

Giant in the distance.

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 18, 2023

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

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

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

No stakes. Sleepy tigers. You get the drill.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, September 15, 2023

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2023

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

Ah yes, Ricardo. I remember that prediction.

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 08, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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