Monday, April 29, 2024

Games 31-33 Thread: April 29-May 1 @ Diamondbacks

Mon 4.29: James Paxton (2-0, 2.61) vs. Tommy Henry (1-1. 5.55)
Tues 4.30: Landon Knack (1-1, 3.27) vs. Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 2.77)
Wed 5.1: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-1, 3.54) vs. TBD
All times 6.40p first pitch

Jordan Montgomery played a big role helping the Texas Rangers win their first World Series last year, by beating the Diamondbacks. In 2023, Montgomery went 3-1 across six games, and though the loss came against the Snakes in WS Game 2, he had 17 Ks in 31 IP and was a big reason why the Rangers kept advancing through the 2023 playoffs. After an off-season standoff in which a long-term deal did not materialize, Montgomery ended up signing with the Diamondbacks in late March for one year, $25M (with player options for subsequent years): well under the $100-150M multi-year projections that had been floated.

And then Montgomery fired agent Scott Boras and went with Wasserman Sports soon thereafter.

So this now becomes an important year for the 31-year-old, as Montgomery has to again show his value in the hopes of signing a long-term deal at year's end. He beat Blake Snell in his first start against the Giants (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB and 3 Ks), but then dropped a decision to Kyle Gibson and the Cardinals last week (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB and 4 Ks). He's got a potent arsenal, though, as chronicled during last year's playoff run by the WSJ:

Montgomery, who has seven years of major-league experience under his belt, has made changes to his pitch repertoire and usage in the time since he left New York. Montgomery has long relied on secondary pitches, namely his curveball and change-up, to get him through an opposing lineup. It’s the progression of two different types of fastballs, two-seam and four-seam, that have helped him create the varied and effective approach that has befuddled hitters in this year’s postseason.

Oh, and the Diamondbacks also have Joc Pederson this year. The former Dodger is batting .296 with a 169 OPS+ and 2 HR on the year.

photo: Ken Murray / Shutterstock

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Post-Game 30 Thread: Grover Sad To Break The Streak

Michael Grove, after giving up three runs in the second inning (photo, Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)


Kevin Gausman didn't have a win all year, but the Dodgers made sure he felt comfortable in his start today for Toronto, notching only five hits across seven innings pitched to have him coast to victory. Michael Grove's shaky second inning was all the Blue Jays needed to salvage the final game in the series and bring an end to the Dodgers' six-game win streak.

The Dodgers offense didn't show up today either, with Freddie Freeman's sixth-inning HR being the only run while the team went 0-for-9 with RISP. And it was the bottom of the order again that killed us: James Outman (0-for-4 with a K), Gavin Lux (1-for-4 with a double, but 2 Ks), and Austin Barnes (0-for-2 with a walk).

In the eighth inning, the Dodgers had second and third with none out and couldn't score. Ohtani chased two bad pitches and popped out; Freeman was intentionally walked, and then Teoscar Kd and Muncy hit a deep pop fly. We had no chance in the ninth with those "bats" coming up.

And so, we lost our first game of the his roadtrip (we are now 5-1). On to Arizona!

Friday, April 26, 2024

Taylor's Tortured Batters Department

Chris Taylor signed a four-year, $60M contract with the Dodgers after the 2021 season. In the five full seasons with Los Angeles prior to that contract, he always had a OPS+ over 100 (peaking at 127 in 2020), and in 2021 he was named as an All-Star for the first time. The utility player can not only play any outfield and most infield positions, Taylor also has had some pretty amazing Dodger moments, including this walk-off in 2021's NL Wild Card, sending us to the NLDS:

Not to mention, this incredible 2018 NLCS Game 7 catch vs. the Brewers:

Ah, memories. We've loved CT3, no doubt.

But now, there's a different and much more bleak reality. After a slightly subpar 2022 (89 OPS+; .221 BA) and a slight improvement in 2023 (100 OPS+, .237 BA), Chris Taylor has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster so far in 2024: .047 BA through 27 games, with 21 Ks in 43 ABs.

Taylor has a OPS+ of -29. I don't even know how to think about a negative OPS+ number and I looked at this, and found the ratio is OPS+ = 100 * (OBP/lgOBP* + SLG/lgSLG* - 1), but honestly the discussion got so confusing I didn't spend a lot of time there. Let's just say, negative 29 OPS+ is really bad.

Taylor has always been a high-strikeout batter, leading the league with 178 Ks in 2018. But Taylor's strikeout rate this year is almost 50%--over 10 points higher than his worst season (and sadly, every since Taylor signed his renewal, his K rate has elevated by over +20%).

Taylor has two hits on the year (to be fair, that's one more than the other Taylor has had so far this year). Both were singles--and Chris Taylor has only had only one single in the month of April (in 14 games, and 38 AB).

Even the recent sweep series in Washington DC couldn't cure Taylor's ills. He's incredibly tortured right now, and I am hoping for the best for CT3. But with the bottom of our lineup so spotty already, we can't afford to torture the rest of the team until he can snap out of this and stop playing the Anti-Hero, instead of the hero he once was for the Dodgers. As of right now, he's the problem, it's him.

Games 28-30 Thread: April 26-28 @ Blue Jays

Get used to this view at the Rogers Centre. Friday's weather forecast is a high of 46F, and the other two days are forecasting rain.

Fri 4.26 4p: Gavin Stone (1-1, 6.00) vs. Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.90).
Sat 4.27 12n: Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 2.92) vs Yusei Kikuchi (2-1, 2.28).
Sun 4.28 10.30a: TBD vs. Kevin Gausman (0-3, 5.57).

The Dodgers' recent sweep in Washington DC not only gave the team a 2.5-game lead over the Padres, it cured the slumps of almost all the underperformers bottom-feeding at the bottom of the lineup. Well, almost--James Outman had a PH RBI on Tuesday, but followed that promising moment up with a 0-for-5 performance on Wednesday, dropping his average to .178.

And then there's Chris Taylor, whose 0-for-4 (with 2 Ks) on Thursday dropped him to a .047 BA, with 21 Ks in 43 AB. Nationals Park can't solve everything.

Let's see if the Dodgers can move to turf and keep the momentum rolling, or if Toronto's cold exterior threatens to ice our bats up once again.

These three games are pretty early, so set your alarm clocks!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Post-Game 25 Thread: Ohtani Absolutely Clobbers HR

Shohei Ohtani's HR, with an exit velocity of 118.7 mph, was the hardest-hit ball all year in the majors. The sound of that pitch leaving the back is unbelievable, and the fact that it ended up in the second deck of Nationals Park is completely unsurprising. Wow.

The Dodgers had plenty of surprises today, though! After bumbling through five innings and letting winless Nationals starter Patrick Corbin stymie the lineup, it was the Dodgers' scrubs who came through to win this game. In the sixth inning, Kiké Hernandez singled home Teoscar Hernandez to tie the game at 1.

Teoscar Hernandez scored again in the eighth inning when James Outman, pinch hitting for Kiké with two out and a man on second, doubled to right to put the Dodgers ahead. And then Miguel Rojas singled to right to score Outman.

The Ohtani HR in the ninth was the capper, with the Dodgers almost giving the game away in the ninth save an out at home for the second out, plus a bases-loaded K on Jesse Winker to end the game.

But the scrubs (5-through-9 in the order) out-hit the Dodgers' Big Four, five hits to four, today (Freddie Freeman went 2-for-4; Will Smith went 0-for-4). And that makes three out of the last four games where the Dodgers, ranked 22nd in the majors with 9.42 Ks per game, actually had five or fewer Ks (we had 14 Ks on Saturday).

Could the Dodgers be getting more patient at the plate? Or more productive from the worst part of our lineup (to be faire, neither Gavin Lux nor Chris Taylor played today)? Either way, it was a good start to this nine-game roadtrip.

Games 25-27 Thread: April 23-25 @ Nationals

Let's see if the Dodgers kept their bats warm in the airplane ovens while flying over to Washington, D.C.

Tues 4.23 3.45p: James Paxton (2-0, 2.81) vs. Patrick Corbin (0-3, 8.06)
Wed 4.24 3.45p: Landon Knack (0-1, 3.60) vs Jake Irvin (1-1, 3.13)
Thu 4.25 1p: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (1-1, 4.50) vs. MacKenzie Gore (2-1, 3.60)

The Dodgers wrapped up their pitiful 3-6 homestand with a breakout 10-0 win over the Mets, marking their first 10-run victory of the year (they had four such games last year of at least a 10-run margin). But that doesn't erase dropping each series in the homestand, including losing the bookends against the Nationals. At least we face Patrick Corbin in the opener, as Corbin was tagged for 5 ER in 6.1 IP in the April 16 loss to the Dodgers, the Nationals' only loss of the series.

Barely above .500 at 13-11, the Dodgers have nine games on this roadtrip. We enter play on Tuesday with a scant half-game lead over the Padres, and a two-game lead over the Diamondbacks (whom we play at the end of the roadtrip). Not that I'm looking ahead. A good outing against the Nationals would be a great start to this trip.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Dodgers' Big Three: Big, But Rarely Big Together

No, not this Big Three.

THIS Big Three!

Much has been made about the Dodgers' Big Three at the top of our lineup, and it's no wonder: they're the only guys in our lineup consistently hitting (though Will Smith makes a strong case for re-naming it "The Big Four"). Here's the stats so far:

Betts: .355 BA, 1.103 OPS
Ohtani: .368 BA, 1.094 OPS
Freeman: .287 BA, .797 OPS
Smith: .346 BA, .853 OPS

Everyone else in the lineup has an average at or below .258 (Teoscar Hernandez, who went 1-for-9 in the series with the Mets, including at least two ABs leaving the bases loaded), with many of the players closer to .100 batting averages than .200. In other words, if not for these three (or four) dudes, we'd be toast.

But here's your fun fact of the day: through the Dodgers' first 24 games, the Big Three have only gotten consecutive hits twice this season--and only in yesterday's win over the Mets did these consecutive hits yield at least one run.

In fact, in the Sunday April 21 10-0 win over the New York Mets, it was the first time all year that Betts, Ohtani, Freeman, and Smith (the Big Four) all got consecutive hits--opening up a mammoth eight-run fifth inning that put the game way out of reach, and finally showed what might happen if this team lived up to its true offensive potential.

The only other time the Big Three stitched consecutive hits together this year, was on March 30 vs. the Cardinals, when we led off the game with three singles, only to strand everyone with consecutive strikeouts from Will Smith, Max Muncy, and Teoscar Hernandez. (The Dodgers are second in the majors in strikeouts with 226, only behind the Boston Red Sox.)

It might be too much to ask for the bottom of the lineup to hit closer to the league average. So maybe we'll need to see more strings of consecutive hits at the top of the order, if we want to notch some more victories.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Post-Game 24 Thread: Dodgers Bats Finally Wake Up In The Finale

Andy Pages goes yard in the fifth to put the Dodgers up 10-0 (Pages' first MLB HR).


Really excited for Andy Pages to get his first major league home run today, and the HR looked like this:

And that wasn't the only memorable home run today, as Shohei Ohtani hit his 176th career MLB home run, the most ever for a Japanese-born player, breaking a tie with Hideki Matsui. That moonshot, in the third inning to put the Dodgers up 2-0, looked like this:

Tyler Glasnow bounced back from his bad outing against the Nationals (where he was apparently under the weather, which may account for his off-day), and went eight scoreless innings with 10Ks and no walks. That was the first time the Dodgers had had a starter go to the eighth inning since 2022 (Clayton Kershaw).

Oh, we needed today's win (our first shutout win of the year), after dropping the first two games in this series (capping a 3-6 homestand) and looking awful at the plate. Chris Taylor (0-for-1 with a HBP) is still batting a miniscule .051; Gavin Lux (0-for-2 with 2 walks and 2 runs) .148; and James Outman (0-for-4 today) .179. But we may have seen Freddie Freeman get some rhythm again (which started last night). If Teoscar Hernandez could start hitting again, and the bottom of the lineup could just start hitting, we might have something here.

That is, until our middle relievers enter the game.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Games 22-24 Thread: April 19-21 vs. Mets

Fri Apr 19 7p: Yamamoto vs. Manaea
Sat Apr 20 1p: TBD vs. Buttó
Sun Apr 21 1p: TBD vs. Houser

The Mets are supposed to be in some sort of rebuild, after last year's disastrous season. Having shed Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, the team with the highest payroll in the major leagues ($308.3M) is actually...pretty good? They're 10-8, and unlike the Dodgers, they only have one position starter with a batting average below .200 (Francisco Lindor, who is off to a horrible start but is certain to flip the script, potentially against the Dodgers this weekend).

Meanwhile, the Dodgers just look awful. Losers in three of their last four series, the Dodgers still have more holes in their lineup than Nike's new "breathable" uniforms. James Outman has an OPS+ of 74 (the league average is 100; Mookie Betts leads the team with a 213 OPS+, followed by Shohei Ohtani at 184). Kiké Hernandez is at 38. Gavin Lux is at 6.

And Chris Taylor, batting .029 on the season (one hit in 35 AB, with 18 Ks), has a -41 OPS+. I didn't even know OPS+ went into negative numbers. I suppose this means that if we play an average player instead of Taylor, we'd expect almost a 150% improvement from the offense (from that position).

Oh, and Max Muncy and Teoscar Hernandez, tied for the team lead with 29 Ks on the year (each!), now have fallen to fifth place in the majors (Muncy had the lead for most strikeouts in MLB, earlier in the week).

Not to mention that the starting rotation is already showing signs of wear, halfway through the first month of the year--so as of Thursday 4/18, we had only named starters for one of the three weekend games. This is not good. Get ready for the sweep.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

At-Game 19 Recap: Nationals Spoil Jackie Robinson Day (April 15, 2024)

Despite all the celebrations at Dodger Stadium for Jackie Robinson Day, the Dodgers' Tyler Glasnow laid his first egg of the season in a 6-4 loss to the visiting Washington Nationals.

This was the Dodgers' first loss on Jackie Robinson Day during the Dave Roberts managerial era (the Dodgers are now 7-1 on April 15, under Roberts' tenure), and have a 11-4 record (including five walk-off victories!) on April 15, since everyone in the major leagues started wearing #42 on this day, in 2009.

SoSG Orel and I were there (note: SoSG Dusty was there too, but we didn't find out until later! Missed beer opportunity...), and when the Dodgers went down 6-2 in the fifth on Luis Garcia Jr's three-run HR, you knew it was going to be over. We scratched back a couple of runs on a Will Smith RBI groundout in the sixth, and a Max Muncy RBI single in the eighth, but the Dodgers went a woeful 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leading to the 6-4 loss.

That said, we stayed until the end. Here are some of the photos from that night. First, the field-level concession stands have totally changed. I think my favorite spot, the fried chicken sandwiches somewhere between first base and home plate, has disappeared. And there are a couple of new Asian cuisine spots on the third base side:

I got a shot of the Jackie Robinson Day logo on Diamondvision:

Here's the Dodgers players in #42:

I also got a couple of videos. Here's Mookie Betts, coming to the plate in the bottom of the first inning:

And here's Shohei Ohtani, with a single in the first inning (he later scored, to tie the score at 1):

And here's the scoreboard later in the game, before the bottom dropped out:

Always a great time at the Stadium, thuough it would have been a lot better if we had won. At least we each got a free cap, I guess.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Post-Game 21 Thread: My, Sure? Oh, No.

(Holy smokes, I had never really listened to these lyrics or understood the backstory. Yikes.


Landon Knack's major league debut wasn't that bad: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB and 4 Ks. But those two runs in the first were enough for the Nationals to coast to victory, facing a Dodgers lineup that was positively awful--shut out for the first time since July of last year. Here's the line score:

1 Betts 0-for-4
2 Ohtani 3-for-4--the only bright spot today
3 Freeman 0-for-3
4 Smith 0-for-4 with 2 Ks
5 Muncy 1-for-4 with a K
6 T Hernandez 0-for-3 with a 2 Ks
7 Outman / Hernandez: combined 1-for-3
8 Pages 0-for-3 with 2 Ks
9 Lux 0-for-3 with 2 Ks

That's a combined 5-for-31 with 8 Ks. We were 0-for-7 with RISP today and 6 team LOB.

In the series, we were 3-for-20 with RISP. And this is against the Nationals.

The bottom of our lineup isn't just a problem, it's a set of concrete boots that is dragging us to the bottom of the abyss with accelerating speed. While the top three in our order seem to only get hits in alternating fashion (never stringing hits with all three of them together), the bottom 7-9 slots are just tragic. We've rotated five guys through those three spots: Outman, K Hernandez, Pages, Lux, and Taylor--none of whom has a batting average above .200, and all of whom strike out an awful lot.

We're 21 games into this season. It's time for those five players to step up or get the heck out of the lineup.

Teoscar Hernandez, by the way, is on the precipice of joining the 7-9 players with his rapidly declining potency. His game-ending K today, his second of the day, was pathetic: feebly swinging on a ball waaaaaay outside.

This marks the third series loss in the last four series (only taking two of three in Minnesota). The Dodgers get a day off before hosting the Mets. How about some of those guys hit the batting cage? Maybe hit of a tee a bit?

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

RIP Carl Erskine

Carl Erskine, who threw 14 Ks and a complete game to win Game 3 of the 1953 World Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers, died in Indiana this morning at 97.

Carl Erskine, who pitched in five World Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers, passed away at Anderson Community Hospital in his hometown of Anderson, Ind., early Tuesday morning. He was 97.

Over his 12-year career, spent entirely with the Dodgers, Erskine went 122-78 with a 4.00 ERA, earning an All-Star nod in 1954 and helping the Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series in '55. During his career, Erskine threw a pair of no-hitters and delivered an iconic and then-record 14-strikeout complete-game performance in Game 3 of the '53 World Series against the Yankees.

According to ESPN, Erskine's death leaves Koufax as the lone surviving Dodgers player from that [1953] World Series Dodgers team.

photo from Dodgers' twitter feed

Monday, April 15, 2024

This Bobblehead Looks Nothing Like Walker Buehler

Come on, Dodgers. Put some effort into these bobbleheads, for Pete's sake. We want Buehler to be excited to come back, not part of the witness protection program.

(bottom photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Games 19-21 Thread: April 15-17 vs. Nationals

Mon 4.15 7p: Glasnow vs. Parker
Tues 4.16 7p: TBD vs. Corbin
Wed 4.17 12n: TBD vs. Irvin

The Dodgers just got spanked by the Padres, starting this homestand 1-2. Bobby Miller, who was scheduled to start Tuesday, hit the IL with shoulder inflammation. And the bottom of our lineup still sucks.

I don't know, man. I mean, we're two games up in the NL West (over the Padres and Diamondbacks), but this doesn't look good enough to win in the playoffs. It's early, I know. But we expect a lot more.

UPDATE 4.15 11:47a: Whoops, forgot to mention! SoSG Orel and I will be at tonight's game (Monday 4.15, Jackie Robinson Day). Drop a line in the thread if you are going and want to say hi and grab a beer!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Post-Game 18 Thread: Padres Scrappy, Dodgers Crappy

Paxton, en route to his eighth walk of the outing


The Padres took the rubber game on national television today, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win, 6-3, at Chavez Ravine. Dodger pitchers gave up an astonishing 14 walks today, eight of which came at the hands of Dodger starter James Paxton, who was tagged for three earned runs thanks to another subpar outing from Ryan Brasier.

But it was J.P Feyereisen who coughed up a bases-clearing double to Jurickson Profar, whose ridiculous antics the night before caused Will Smith to name Profar "irrelevant." That quote might have been enough to propel Profar to his heroics tonight.

The bottom of the Dodgers lineup (James Outman, Kiké Hernandez, and Gavin Lux) was once again pathetic, going a combined 0-for-9--except that the malaise actually spread up the lineup to Teoscar Hernandez, who also went 0-for-4 on top of that. So the six hits from the top of the lineup didn't mean much when we couldn't convert any of those baserunners; the Dodgers were 1-for-5 with RISP and had many leadoff baserunners stranded in place.

Tonight marked the second time in this series that the Padres clawed their way back to a victory. I didn't see that spark from the Dodgers this weekend. We'll see if we get something back against the Nationals, starting tomorrow.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Game 16-18 Thread: April 12-14 vs. Padres

Strangely, these colors almost match the uniforms!

Fri 4.12 7p: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (1-1, 4.09) vs. Michael King (2-0, 3.14)
Sat 4.13 6p: Gavin Stone (0-1, 7.88) vs. Matt Waldron (0-1, 3.86)
Sun 4.14 4p: James Paxton (3-0, 1.64) vs. Yu Darvish (0-1, 3.86)

The Dodgers and Padres go back at it, after splitting two games in Korea to kick off the season. Since then, the Padres are off to a more tepid start, but they did take a series from the Cubs (albeit, playing at home), which is something the Dodgers couldn't do at Wrigley last week.

Jake Cronenworth is batting .304 with a .883 OPS, and Jurickson Profar is batting .333 with a 1.012 OPS. But their stars Fernando Tatis (batting .263), Xander Bogaerts (.237), and Manny Machado (.220) haven't come to life yet...though I expect them to bring their A-games to Chavez Ravine.

Saturday is Brusdar Graterol Bobblehead night, and the Dodgers' PR team is so excited, they referenced the wrong opponent on the ad (the Nationals come unto town Monday 4/15):

Graterol is on the 60-day IL with shoulder inflammation, so we won't see him in this homestand anyway.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Ippei, Ippei Shame Feds say Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter Ippei Mizuhara stole $16M Ohtani’s Former Interpreter Is Said to Be Negotiating a Guilty Plea

Ippei Mizuhara may have taken one of the sweetest jobs ever and pissed it all away gambling.

$16M in gambling debts? Probably not likely to get that amount deferred.

Story is still evolving. I hope that Shohei Ohtani is truly in the dark on this, but it sure seems insane that someone could pilfer that amount of funds from you without your knowledge.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Post-Game 15 Thread: The Bottom of the Lineup Abyss

Use this tool to see Chris Taylor's batting average.


The Dodgers dropped the final game of the series in Minneapolis solely because the bottom of the lineup is absolute rubbish. James Outman, who broke out for his first two homers of the year in the first two gmes, did get a hit today, raising his average to .186. But Kiké Hernandez was 1-for-4 with a K in the six hole; Miguel Rojas (also with two HR on the year) was 0-for-2 with a K for a .278 average; and Austin Barnes was 0-for-3 at the bottom of the order, with 2 Ks and what was almost a game-ending GIDP (Dodgers challenged and won, but Mookie Betts popped out to end the game).

The Dodgers went 1-for-7 with RISP, and that included a late-game pinch-hitting appearance from Chris Taylor, batting .037 (1 hit in 27 AB this year), who promptly struck out. Taylor used to take a lot of walks to partially offset his diminished batting skill the last two years, but these days he is striking out over 50% of the time (14 Ks in 27 AB). All those off-season attempts of Taylor trying to level out his swing (rather than uppercut it) do not seem to be paying off.

Bobby Miller was servicable through four innings and 73 pitches, yielding five hits and 2 ER (3 BB and 4 Ks). Alex Vesia gave up another HR to Edouard Julien, his second of the day, which ended up being the game-winning run. Michael Grove had 4 Ks in 2.1 IP and Joe Kelly had a scoreless eighth inning.

But we should have done better this series; we should have swept. We get a day off tomorrow before hosting the Padres at home this weekend.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Games 13-15: April 8-10 @ Twins

Mon 4.8 4.40p: James Paxton (1-0, 0.00) vs. Bailey Ober (0-1, 54.00)
Tue 4.9 4.40p: Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 3.18) vs. Louie Varland (0-1, 6.75)
Wed 4.10 10.10a: Bobby Miller (1-1. 5.87) vs. Chris Paddack (0-0, 4.50)

The last time the Dodgers were at Target Field, it was April 2022 and the Dodgers took both games en route to a 4-0 record against the Twins that season. Last year wasn't quite as good, with the Dodgers hosting Minnesota at home, winning two of three.

But those games weren't off the back of a miserable day at Wrigley Field, where Sunday's persistent rain and persistent Dodgers fielding errors led to a 8-1 thumping in the rubber match vs. the Cubs. Beaten, bruised, and cold, the Dodgers arrive in Minnesota a more fragile team.

Max Muncy was out of the lineup on Sunday in Chicago, and the abyss at the bottom of our lineup got even deeper:

  • Kike Hernandez, 0-for-4 with 3 Ks; now batting .182;
  • Chris Taylor, 0-for-3 with a K, now batting .048;
  • Gavin Lux, 0-for-3 with a K, now batting .156;
  • Miguel Rojas, 0-for-3 with a K, surprisingly batting .313.

To be fair, Sunday's top of the order wasn't much better, with a second-straight 0-for game by Mookie Betts, and an 0-for-4 outing by four-hole Will Smith. (Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-4 with a double and triple, and an RBI; Fredie Freeman went 1-for-3). But with Muncy out of the lineup, the automatic outs start coming early and often for the Dodgers, and honestly it's something we can't afford if we want to succeed this season.

Let's get cracking, Robert van Scoyoc!

Friday, April 05, 2024

Games 10-12 Thread: April 5-7 @ Cubs

Bellinger, back with the Cubs in 2024 for some kung fu fighting.

Fri 4.5 11.20a: Bobby Miller vs. Kyle Hendricks
Sat 4.6 1p: Yoshinobu Yamamoto vs. Jordan Wicks
Sun 4.7 11.20a: Gavin Stone vs. Shota Imanaga

The Cubs may have already lost ace Jordan Steele to injury, but they've still got some formidable arms, including Sunday starter Imanaga, aka "the Throwing Philosopher", who struck out nine in his MLB debut on April 1.

Of course, we've got our own Japanese superstar pitcher (who starts on Saturday), who has had mixed results in his two outings to date.

And it's another reunion with Cody Bellinger, who is back with the Cubs after signing a three-year, $80M deal with annual opt-outs. I liked Bellinger pre-shoulder injury, and though I was happy to see him return to form last year after two miserable post-WS years with the Dodgers, we've got plenty of ~.200 batters at the bottom of our current lineup with which to deal already (James Outman, Gavin Lux, Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor--not to mention Jason Heyward, who is on the 10-day IL).

And look at that, we've got three of those awful hitters (Outman .120 BA / .387 OPS; Taylor .091 / .424; Lux .200 / .499) in the 7-8-9 spots for Friday's game! Surely at least one of those guys has to break out, right?

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Post-Game 9 Thread: Ohtani Slugs His First Dodger HR

The moment.


Shohei Ohtani finally broke out of his home run slump--the longest of his career apparently (but only by a game)--by CRUSHING a home run to right that sounded so amazing off the bat, the pavilion lights started flashing well before the ball even reached the fans in the crowd:

We ended up needing that insurance run after the Giants' Jorge Soler hit a home run in the eighth to make it close, but Dinelson Lamet secured the save with a scoreless, 2-K ninth, and the Dodgers earned the sweep.

Dodgers also got a solid start from Tyler Glasnow (6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB and 7 Ks), as well as some small ball off the bat of Will Smith (RBI double to score Ohtani from first) and Kike Hernandez (RBI single to score Smith in the same inning). And Miguel Rojas hit his second home run of the year, which is absolutely crazy. Gavin Lux is clearly dealing with some confidence issues, but in the meantime, it's good to know we might have options.

Sax was at the game and I have to admit, I wasn't on the edge of my seat for that seventh-inning Ohtani AB, partially because Ohtani's offense to date hasn't been other-worldly (.270 BA, .749 OPS). But man, it was electric from the moment it left the bat. I can't wait to see more of this from Ohtani in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Game 9 Thread: April 3 vs. Giants, 7p

Tyler Glasnow, just hanging out around Dodger Stadium.

Tyler Glasnow vs. Kyle Harrison.

Kyle Harrison is the Giants' new pitching prospect, with a 2-1 career record and 3.98 ERA across 8 games. The 22-year-old debuted in August last year, and supposedly neutralizes lefty batters with a hard slurve from a low three-quarters arm slot.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers--who, to be fair, have played more games than most teams so far this season--are turning out to be pretty potent offensively:

  • Team batting average: 4th (.293), behind AZ, ATL, and PIT
  • Team OPS: 3rd (.863), behind ATL, AZ
  • Batting average: Mookie Betts second at .500 (NYY Anthony Volpe at .529)
  • Home runs: Betts first (5); Teoscar Hernandez second (4); eight others tied at 3
  • RBI: Betts first (11)
  • Runs: Betts first (14), T Herndandez second (9)
  • Slugging: Betts first (1.167)
  • OPS: Betts first (1.772)
  • Hits: Betts first (15); Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and SD Luis Campusano tied for second (12)
  • AB: Ohtani first (33). But wait, that must mean...
  • BB: Betts first (8)

I'm not sure if I'll be able to see this majesty high up in the reserve deck tonight, but I'll be there, for my first Dodgers game in 2024! Let's get that SWEEP!

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Post-Game 8 Thread: Dodgers Break Webb


I can't promise I can always put up a PGT anymore, but tonight's win in a bullpen game merited some digital ink. Not only did the Dodgers outflank the Giants' late call on the starting pitching (as they announced Logan Webb's start very late), but the Dodgers were bold enough to proceed with a bullpen game (Ryan Brasier opened with a scoreless inning, followed by a servicabel Ryan Yarbrough 4.1 IP (4 ER and 7Ks, but got the job done and earned the win). And the Dodgers still won.

Giants ace Logan Webb lasted only 3.2 IP and 96 pitches, yielding 5 ER that included another home run from non-player-of-the-week Mookie Betts, his fifth HR on the year. Freddie Freeman had a three-hit game with an RBI, and even the bottom of the lineup (James Outman, Gavin Lux, and Kike Hernandez) each got a hit, lifting their averages to .120, .200, and .182! Wow, that's still pretty bad.

Not as bad as Will Smith (0-for-4 with 2 Ks) or Shohei Ohtani (0-for-3 with a K), but who's counting? We'll take the series victory and remain in first place by a game over the Diamondbacks.

Sax is at the game tomorrow, so I'll put a new Game Thread up in the morning!

Dodgers Have 11 HR and 11 Correct HR Calls in 2024

"Follow me to freedom!"

Here's the Dodgers' 2024 HR statistics so far (through seven games played):

  • Mookie Betts: 4
  • Teoscar Hernandez: 4
  • Freddie Freeman: 1
  • Max Muncy: 1
  • Miguel Rojas: 1

Rojas even being on that list is insane, especially since Shohel Ohtani is not yet on that list. The Dodgers' 11 HR ranks first in the NL (the Padres have 10 on the year).

But what's even more insane is that all 11 home runs have been appropriately announced by the Dodgers' radio team while in flight, what with Charley Steiner sidelined with compound fractures in his back. Steiner, who usually does play by play with Rick Monday, often calls routine fly balls as home runs and vice versa, before their ultimate outcome. As a fan listening on radio, it's maddening.

That said, get well soon, Charley!

Monday, April 01, 2024

Mookie Betts Robbed Of NL Player of the Week

Unbelievable! This has to be an April Fool's joke, right?

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of the Diamondbacks was just announced as the 2024 season's first NL Player of the Week. This, despite Gurriel being outperformed by Mookie Betts on every statistical category!

Here's the stats:

Gurriel: 8-for-17, 3 HR, .471 BA, 6 R, 10 RBI, OPS+ 315
Betts: 11-for-22, 4 HR, .500 BA, 9 R, 10 RBI, OPS+ 344

Another horrible call from MLB.

Games 7-9 Thread: April 1-3 vs. Giants

Blake Snell, brimming with enthusiasm over joining the Giants.

Monday 4/1: James Paxton vs. Keaton Winn
Tuesday 4/2: Tyler Glasnow TBD vs. TBD Logan Webb
Wednesday 4/3: Bobby Miller Tyler Glasnow vs. TBD Kyle Harrison
All games, 7p

With the Giants' off-season excising of Gabe Kapler and the decision to move on from shortstop stalwart Brandon Crawford, San Francisco finally took the opportunity to re-tool their lineup this off-season...and went nuts. Six years, $113M to Korean Baseball Organization star Jung-Hoo Lee; three years, $54M (and opt-outs!) to 3B Matt Chapman, and two-years, $62M (also with opt-outs!) to 2023 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.

So far, Farhan Zaidi's moves have paid off. The Giants are 2-2 including Chapman's two-HR performance to earn the Giants' first win, followed by Lee's first MLB home run in Saturday's win over the Padres. (The Giants were spanked by the Padres, 13-4, on Sunday.)

Speaking of which, guess what other Asian star does not have a home run yet this year? (Shohei Ohtani, who is also batting .269 with a .656 OPS, to Lee's .286 BA / .868 OPS.)

Dodger foil Blake Snell will likely get one of the two "TBD" starts in this series. In the regular season, Snell is 2-2 with a 2.59 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers, but we'll always have this.

So there's a lot of reasons to bring the hateHateHATE to this series, but here's another one: thanks to this stupid balanced schedule, this is one of only two series the Giants will play in Los Angeles this year. So bring your vitriol.

UPDATE 4/2 11.38a: Tyler Glasnow's start shifted to Wednesday, so there's a TBD for today's game. Giants named their starters for Tuesday and Wednesday--and neither start is slated for Snell.

UPDATE 4/3 8.50a: Game Thread for Game 9 is here.

Dodgers Need A New Font Guy

The Dodgers' 2024 website is sporting some seriously bad fonts. They've already introduced the washed-out colors and neo-gothic fonts in other announcements (which looked horrible, like this one).

But now they're sneaking in a new, all-lowercase rendition in the upper left of their website:

What's with the squished descenders on the lowercase g? And why are we tiptoeing around our team name with lowercase letters, just because it might be trendy? (Note that none of those examples have truncated or squished descenders, by the way.)

The Dodgers just spent a billion dollars on new hires. They can spend a little more to get a quality graphic designer.