Friday, May 31, 2024

Games 59-61 Thread: May 31-June 2 vs. Rockies

Fri 5.31 7p: Buehler vs. Hudson
Sat 6.1 7p: Yamamoto vs. Quantrill
Sun 6.2 1p: Stone vs. Gomber

Before we start celebrating prematurely over the sweep of the Mets on the road, let's remind ourselves that the Mets aren't very good, notably their bullpen, with one of the culprits designated for assignment after his glove-throwing, ejection-catalyzed meltdown. But Francisco Lindor is batting .211 with a .651 OPS in the leadoff spot; Pete Alonso is batting .231 with a .761 OPS; and Starling Marte looks like he can't cover the ground in right field anymore.

The Dodgers rolled to victory Wednesday and won each game of Tuesday's doubleheader by three runs (the first win coming in extra innings). But again, this is the Mets, who are now 22-33, 16 games out of first place in their division. Everyone take a breath.

Will Smith, taking a breath on Wednesday (when he hit two HR)

And remember, we were just swept in Cincinnati prior to the Mets series--and this was to a last-place NL Central team.

This series, again, won't be much of a test; the Rockies are 20-35 and 14.5 games behind the Dodgers, sitting in last place in the NL West. I'm not going to this shortened homestand. We should be in good shape, right?

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Scoreboard Watching (May 30, 2024): Diamondbacks @ Mets, 4p

Yeah, this post is just an excuse to put up this photo, of when the Mets were testing out their new scoreboard (the largest in MLB), last March.

AZ Gallen (5-4, 3.12) vs. NYM Scott (0-2, 3.97)

The only NL West game of relevance today is Snakes @ Mets. The Mets held a post-game team meeting yesterday, after getting swept by the Dodgers in ignominious fashion. We'll see if it helps them rally against the Diamondbacks, who are a sleeper playoff team despite being in fourth place, five games below .500 (and 9.5 games behind the Dodgers).

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Games 56-58 Thread: May 27-29 @ Mets

Tues 5.28 1p: Glasnow vs. Megill
Tues 5.28 TBD: Stone vs. Quintana
Wed 5.29 1p: Paxton vs. Peterson

Quick Game Thread today after that bender of a Memorial Day weekend. I had too much whisky! But while we were enjoying sunny skies here in Los Angeles on Monday, the Dodgers were getting rained out in Queens and now have to squish in a double-header on Tuesday.

Let's hope the extra day off, mulling over getting swept in Cincinnati over the weekend, gives the offense some time to figure out how to rebound against a struggling Mets squad. I'm not hopeful, by the way.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Games 53-55 Thread: May 24-26 @ Reds

Welcome to Cincinnati! We will give you nightmares for weeks!

Fri 24 4.10p: Paxton (5-0, 2.84) vs. Ashcraft (3-3, 4.25)
Sat 25 4.15p: Buehler (1-1, 4.05) vs. Greene (2-2. 3.22)
Sun 26 10.40a: Yamamoto (5-1, 3.17) vs. Abbott (3-4, 2.68)

The Dodgers finished up their 13-consecutive-games stretch with a couple of meek showings vs. the Diamondbacks at home, putting a downer on a trip that had some momentum after taking three of four games from the Reds to start the homestand. But now they've got three days off in between three series (six on the road, starting tonight in Cincy; then three at home with the Rockies), so hopefully we can get back to form.

A third of the way through this season, we are 33-19 and have a 6.5 game lead over the Padres and the third best run differential in the majors (only to the Phillies, who have beaten up on sub-.500 teams for 45 of their 51 games; and the Yankees). And in the top echelon of teams that has seemed to emerge early--alongside the Phillies, Braves, Yankees, and Orioles--the Dodgers' divisional position should give us the option to continue working out kinks in the lineup (like who can hit in bottom of our batting order; or why Tyler Glasnow can be dominant some nights and lay some serious turds on others).

There's no better pace to try out some things than Cincinnati, where injuries have ravaged a team that had high expectations earlier in the year. So yeah, let's trot Chris Taylor out there for a game this weekend. Why the hell not?

I'm not stressing out by the fact we've gone 7-6 in our last 13, we have a 2-game losing streak, or the fact that we can't beat interdivisonal rivals in a series. Really, I'm not.


Monday, May 20, 2024

Games 50-52 Thread: May 20-22 vs. Diamondbacks

Mon 5.20: Yoshinobu Yamamoto 4-1, 3.21) vs. Joe Mantiply (2-1, 4.67)
Tue 5.21: Gavin Stone (4-1, 3.27) vs. Brandon Pfaadt (1-3, 4.17)
Wed 5.22: Tyler Glasnow (6-2, 2.90) vs. Ryne Nelson (2-3, 7.06)
All games 7p

James Outman, the Dodgers center fielder who finished third in last year's NL Rookie of the Year voting, was demoted to the minors this past weekend. Outman is batting .147 with an OPS of .516 (OPS+ 48), and a bWAR of -0.6, which is awful. The kid definitely has promise but he needs regular at bats, and with the return of Jason Heyward off the IL, that wasn't going to happen in the majors.

Outman is by no means the worst offender in the Dodgers bottom of the lineup, by the way--but that's another topic for another day.

But you know who's not much better than Outman? 2023 NL Rookie of the Year winner Corbin Carroll, still batting leadoff of the Diamondbacks despite similarly slumpy sophomore numbers. Carroll is batting .191 with a OPS of .552 (OPS+ 60), and a bWAR of -0.1, which is also no place for a leadoff hitter to be.

I'm hoping that both Carroll and Outman can turn it around. At least they've been on the field in 2024; the Mets' Kodai Senga, who finished second in ROY voting last year, hasn't pitched this season, sidelined by a shoulder injury. Yikes!

The Dodgers are 2-1 this year against the Diamondbacks, who are in fourth place, nine games behind the Dodgers (the .500 Padres are in second place, 7.5 GB). Arizona was predicted to do well this season, coming off their World Series run last year.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Post-Game 49 Thread: Shohei Ohtani Goes From First Dodgers Bobblehead To First Dodger Walkoff Winner

DODGERS 3, REDS 2 (10)

I went to the Thursday 5/18 Reds @ Dodgers game, the only one of the series in which the Dodgers lost to the Reds. Sure, SoSG AC and I got our bobbleheads, which was fortunate as they ran out of them an hour before game time! But it was not fun to watch a lineup ending with Kike Hernandez, Gavin Lux, Chris Taylor, James Outman, and Austin Barnes go a collective 2-for-17 with 7 Ks, basically ceding two-thirds of the nine innings with offensive ineptitude. We didn't stick around to see the Reds tack on the final three runs in the 7-2 loss (nor did we see the Dodgers' only two runs in the bottom of the ninth), but we did leave with bobbleheads in hand.

But Shohei Ohtani was just lying in wait, apparently. Ohtani had a two-run HR in the Friday 7-3 victory, on the evening after the city of Los Angeles declared the day Shohei Ohtani Day. Not a bad Friday!

And then Ohtani capped the weekend off in dramatic fashion, hitting the walkoff single in the tenth inning to give the Dodgers the 3-2 victory and win the series:

"The fans stayed, and Shohei delivered," said Dodger commentator Eric Karros. And Karros was right--the Dodgers set the tenth up well, after Jason Heyward got robbed with a deplorable strike three call in the bottom of the ninth (so Heyward started the tenth as the ghostrunner on second), and then Will Smith subbed out the light-hitting Austin Barnes to earn a walk. Ohtani came up with two out in the bottom of the tenth, and took his 1-2 pitch into right field to win the game.

Dodgers pitching also deserves a lot of credit, notching 11 Ks, including four on Elly De La Cruz alone. The beat goes on, with Arizona coming into town for three starting tomorrow.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Games 46-49 Thread: May 16-19 vs. Reds

I'm getting this bad boy tonight! And apparently, there's a randomly assorted grey uniform variant (~4.25%)

Thu May 16 7p: Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 2.53) vs. Brent Suter (0-0, 3.86)
Fri May 17 7p: James Paxton (5-0, 2.58) vs. Frankie Montas (2-3, 4.20)
Sat May 18 6p: Walker Buehler (0-1, 7.36) vs. Graham Ashcraft (3-2, 4.12)
Sun May 19 1p: TBD Landon Knack (1-1, 2.81) vs. Hunter Greene (2-2, 3.27)

Things were rolling against the Giants earlier this week with two good wins, however the series unfortunately culminated in our meek 4-1 loss last night, with plenty of wasted opportunities throughout. Blame the bottom five in the lineup again: Max Muncy, Teoscar Hernandez, Gavin Lux, Andy Pages, and James (Automatic) Outman, who went a combined 0-for-18 with 7 Ks, to thoroughly squash any potential rally we tried to muster.

The healthy division lead gives us time to figure out who else outside the Big Four is going to hit. I had high hopes for Muncy and Lux, both of whom have picked up their defensive play, but Muncy has fallen back to a .223 BA / .798 OPS (still an OPS+ of 125, shockingly) and Lux a .194 BA / .525 OPS (OPS+ 50). And then there's Automatic Outman, batting .151 with an OPS of .530 (OPS+ 51).

I'm excited to go to the Stadium tonight and pick up the Shohei Ohtani bobblehead. And I've got an outside shot at going to the Sunday game, featuring Notre Dame Sherman Oaks High School's Hunter Greene.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Games 43-45 Thread: May 13-15 @ Giants

Mon 5.13 6.45p: Gavin Stone (3-1, 3.55) vs. Jordan Hicks (3-1, 2.30)
Tues 5.14 6.45p: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4-1, 2.79) vs. Keaton Winn (3-5, 5.63)
Wed 5.15 6.45p: TBD vs Logan Webb (3-4, 3.38)

After dropping yet another series to the Padres, who really have our number this year (losing five of eight games played), we sulk up to San Francisco to play a team that might be Giants? I mean, San Francisco made a lot of moves this off-season (including the late signing of Blake Snell), but still finds themselves eight games back and four games below .500, fourth place in the NL West.

But with Shohei Ohtani experiencing back pain (he left the Saturday game early, and didn't play Sunday), and no starter named for Wednesday...I don't know. Don't...let's start?

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Post-Game 41 Thread: Teoscar Hernandez Grand Slam Gives Padres Fan Instant Headache


I don't have much to say about this great shutout victory over the Padres at Petco Park tonight, except that watching this Padres fan react to Teoscar Hernandez' sixth-inning grand slam is great comedy:

The Dodgers wasted a ton of opportunities throughout the game, but James Paxton pitched another great game to pick up his fifth win and keep the Padres off the scoreboard. The Dodgers also had a number of solid defensive plays all over the lineup (Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, James Outman, and Mookie Betts), which was also notable becuase none of those guys got a hit tonight (save Lux, who went 1-for-3). Freddie Freeman also had a solo HR in the first.

Rubber match tomorrow!

Friday, May 10, 2024

Games 40-42 Thread: May 10-12 @ Padres

Remember this?

Fri 5.10 6.40p: Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 2.70) vs. Michael King (3-3, 4.29)
Sat 5.11 5.40p: James Paxton (4-0, 3.06) vs. Matt Waldron (1-4, 5.82)
Sun 5.12 1p: Walker Buehler (0-0. 6.75) vs Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.94)

2022 was not a good postseason for the Dodgers (losing the NLDS to San Diego)--and 2023 (getting swept in the NLDS by the Diamondbacks) wasn't any better. In both years, the Dodgers won the NL West by healthy margins (22 games and 16 games), and it didn't matter, with the team unable to even advance past its first playoff round.

So here we are, again well ahead in the NL West, but into the Friar's pan. We avoid seeing Dylan Cease (who just struck out 12 Cubs in seven innings on Wednesday), but we are still facing a guy who has already beaten us this year (King, who beat us in Korea game #2), not to mention old friend Darvish.

San Diego should be pumped to get their season in gear. The Dodgers walk in with a seven-game win streak.

What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Scoreboard Watching: May 9, 2024

With the Dodgers idle today, there are two games of interest for NL West fans:

  • Diamondbacks at Reds (10a): Cecconi vs. Greene
  • Giants at Rockies (12n): Winn vs. Quantrill

The Dodgers lead the NL West at 26-13, 6.5 games ahead of the .500 Padres (who host us this weekend). Arizona is eight games back; San Francisco, 8.5 games back; Colorado, 16.5 GB.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Post-Game 38 Thread: Yoshi Pitches A Gem

I know! We should team up! Come on! Hop on my back!”
—Yoshi, Super Mario Galaxy 2 (quote from mariowiki)


The Dodgers once again spotted the Marlins some early scoring, just like last night--playing with them like a spider plays with a fly caught in a web. But even with Jazz Chisholm's first-pitch solo HR off of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Dodgers laid in wait and then sprung to life in the bottom of the first, charged by a Max Muncy grand slam that put the Dodgers up 4-1 through one.

The Dodgers again posted a four-run inning in the third, punctuated by a two-run homer by Gavin Lux (scoring Teoscar Hernandez), which was Lux's first HR since 2022 (since Lux missed all of 2023 with the ACL injury).

But it was Yoshinobu Yamamoto who was the hero tonight, coasting through eight innings of two-run ball (he gave up a solo HR to Bryan De La Cruz in the sixth), with 97 pitches, 5 H, 0 BB and 5 Ks. JP Feyereisen closed the Marlins out in the ninth. Tyler Glasnow went eight full innings against the Mets on April 21, but I think that's the only other eight-inning start for the Dodgers this year. Yamamoto has really found a groove since his auspicious start in Seoul, and with Joe Kelly on the 15-day IL now, it's appreciated!

12n game tomorrow, so let's start drinking early! And as a reminder, the GT is here.

At-Game 37 Recap: Buehler Back; Four Home Runs; Microscopic Food Fare (May 6, 2024)


May The Sixth Be With You!

The Dodgers, looking to bring in crowds after their showdown sweep over the Braves this past weekend, shifted Star Wars Night @ Dodger Stadium to May 6, rather than the traditional May 4. Fun was still had by all, and in particular, Dodger fans who got a chance to see Walker Buehler take the mound for the first time in two years.

Here's Buehler's introduction from the public address announcer, which was pretty cool to hear:

But then came the reality: a 25-pitch first inning that yielded two runs for the Marlins. To say he wasn't sharp was an understatement--but to be fair, Buehler AND the rest of the Dodgers didn't give up a walk, all game. Not to mention, the Dodgers hit all the necessary milestones to win the crowd some free food: stolen base (ampm free hot dog and 12 oz coke), seven strikeouts (Jack in the Box free Jumbo Jack), and six runs scored (McDonald's free 6-piece Chicken McNuggets). (I think the free CPK pizza deal ended after last season.)

More on the Dodgers food situation later.

Luckily for the Dodgers, we have Shohei Ohtani, whose first-inning HR (following a Mookie Betts leadoff walk) immediately tied the score, with none out in the first. I was fortunate to get this video (yes, that's me and SoSG AC screaming):

Freddie Freeman followed with a first-inning HR of his own, so it was 3-2. The Marlins then tied it in the second on a Nick Gordon solo HR. Then in the bottom of the second, after Gavin Lux worked a walk, James Outman came to the plate. I jokingly said to SoSG AC that Outman was going to pull an Ohtani of his own and hit a two-run HR. Which, amazingly, he did. We were both cracking up that I had called that.

The Dodgers added one more with a solo poke HR from Teoscar Hernandez, who apparently has seven of his eight HR on the year at Dodger Stadium. Solid performances from Ryan Yarbrough, Blake Treinen, and Alex Vesia gave us the 6-3 victory and our fifth win in a row (we are undefeated in May 2024 so far).

The Star Wars Night theming was pretty good, including a Dejarik board for the hat shuffle, a pre-game trivia contest, and abundant crowd shots of fellow nerds in the crowd. (Anthony Keides of the Red Hots and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 were also at the game.)

The return of onions at Dodger Stadium: possibly the only fiscally positive addition to the Stadium this season

On the downside: the Dodger Stadium food fare has really sunk to new depths of both quantity (small) and pricing (large). They got rid of the chicken sandwich place that I liked from last year (the Nashville spicy chicken sandwich was great), and instead the new Japanese place has a chicken katsu sandwich which is a total ripoff. Not only is the chicken wafer-thin like a smushed McDonald's hash brown patty (breaded of course), the small piece of white "bread" for the sandwich (and I use that liberally, as it's little more than the size of a Triscuit cracker) is pathetically microscopic:

I'm already shelling out $16.50 for a beer at the Stadium. If the food is also going to be both skimpy in portion size and exorbitant in price, I'm going to bring in my own food in the future. Very disappointing from a food front! Thankfully, I've got free food to eat today all over town.

Fix the food and GO DODGERS!

Monday, May 06, 2024

Games 37-39 Thread: May 6-8 vs. Marlins

Mon 5.6 7p: Walker Buehler (0-0, -.--) vs. Roddery Muñoz (1-0, 2.45)
Tue 5.7 7p: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-1, 2.91) vs. Edward Cabrera (1-1, 6.05)
Wed 5.8 12n: Gavin Stone (2-1, 4.06) vs. Ryan Weathers (2-30, 4.54)

Hot off a surprising sweep of the Braves, the Dodgers welcome back Walker Buehler tonight after a 23-month absence and a long recovery. Buehler's recent minor-league starts have been promising, but the game has changed since his last stint, wronte the LAT's Jack Harris, not to mention the advent of the pitch clock which will ratchet up the pressure even more.

I'll be at the Stadium tonight, along with SoSG AC, to watch this one.

Welcome back, Walker Buehler!

Friday, May 03, 2024

Games 34-36 Thread: May 3-5 vs. Braves

Interesting that the Dodgers went with 1B Freddie Freeman here...hmmmmmmmm

Fri 5.3 7p: Gavin Stone (2-1, 4.68) vs. Charlie Morton (2-0, 3.60)
Sat 5.4 6p: Tyler Glasnow (5-1, 2.72) vs. Bryce Elder (1-0, 1.50)
Sun 5.5 1p: James Paxton (3-0, 3.51) vs. Max Fried (2-0, 4.02)

Wow, what a monumental divisional showdown here early in the season (and just after the four-game Yankees @ Orioles series, with Baltimore taking three of four at home to move into first place in the AL East)! These two teams have been divisional powers in epic struggle for at least the last five years, but also threading back all the way to 1969, when the Braves were inexplicably rivals in the NL West. The Braves actualy won five NL West titles, but never won the World Series from those finishes.

This year, the Dodgers are 20-13, 4.5 games up on the Padres and Giants, with a run differntial of +49. But the 2024 Braves are an even better 20-9 on the year, a half-game up on Philly, with a run differential of +48.

Surely, when these two titans meet this weekend, something's got to give.

This series won't be everything; after all, the Dodgers will still play a three-game series in Atlanta in September. But it certainly will be high-stakes at Chavez Ravine this weekend. I'm out of pocket for most of the weekend, but will try and weigh in with pithy sarcasm from afar!

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Post-Game 33 Thread: Dodgers B-Players Beat Bee Team

When the beekeeper wins, we all win.


After a dispiriting game Tuesday, with the Dodgers dropping a 4-3 decision in extras after a two-hour delay on the start time due to a swarm of bees, it was the Dodgers who got the last laugh in the series, winning tonight's rubber match (which started on time and was pest-free), 8-0.

Diamondbacks ace Jordan Montgomery was slated to start the Tuesday game, but the Snakes' bee delay shifted his start to Wednesday against Yoshinobu Yamamoto. That shift wasn't good for Montgomery, who lasted only 3.0 IP and gave up 6 ER, including an onslaught second inning where eight Dodgers tacked on five runs: two on a Andy Pages HR; one on an Austin Barnes double, and two more on a 2-RBI Mookie Betts single.

No, that wasn't a typo: the bottom five in our lineup actually showed up today, with each person scoring a run today (actually, the entire Dodgers lineup each scored a run, save leadoff hitter Mookie Betts). The bottom five looked like this:

5: K Hernandez: 0-for-2 with 3 BB, 1 K
6: Pages: 1-for-5 with 3 Ks but a 2-run HR
7: Rojas: 2-for-4 with an RBI and a BB
8: Taylor: 1-for-2 with an RBI and 2 BB
9: Barnes: 1-for-4 with an RBI and 1 K

Yamamoto had a great outing: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB and 5 Ks. The Dodgers' staff notched 7 Ks, so free Jumbo Jacks will be distributed tomorrow!

The Dodgers, following a difficult homestand, win all three series and go 7-2 on this roadtrip. Day off tomorrow, then a big series at home vs. the Braves this weekend!