Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Dodgers (Page 4 of 69)

Gonsolin? May? Urías?
How about all of the above?

Photo: Jon SooHoo

If Walker Blister Buehler makes it through his Thursday start without a hitch, you can safely assume that he and Clayton Kershaw will start the Dodgers’ first two postseason games next week. Kershaw has earned the Game 1 start based on his 2020 performance, but by pitching Friday, he would actually be a slot behind Buelher in the rotation. The Dodgers have the following options: 

Option 1

  • Game 1 (Wednesday, September 30): Buehler on five days’ rest
  • Game 2 (Thursday, October 1): Kershaw on five days’ rest

Option 2

  • Game 1 (Wednesday, September 30): Kershaw on four days’ rest
  • Game 2 (Thursday, October 1): Buehler on six days’ rest

Given that the Dodgers could have gone with Kershaw on Thursday and Buehler on Friday this week, it would appear that they might actually be leaning toward Option 1. Again, this depends on Buehler’s Thursday start. 

But that’s not actually the subject of this post. Rather, it’s to tackle the question of how the Dodgers would approach their third postseason game, whether it’s an elimination game of the best-of-three opening round (gulp*) on Friday, October 2 or the opening game of the best-of-five National League Division Series — a potential matchup with the Padres — on Tuesday, October 6. 

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Duke Snider holds a major NL record that no one talks about

Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak is one of the most hallowed records in baseball history, even though most fans today weren’t alive to see him play. 

But we live in an era with a greater appreciation for getting on base by any means necessary. So while an all-time on-base streak hasn’t built up the cachet of DiMaggio’s 56, it’s worth calling out who holds that record.

In the American League, the titan of touching first is Ted Williams, who reached base 84 straight games in 1949. In fact, Williams owns two of the top three streaks, with his 73-game streak in 1941-42 coming just behind the 74-gamer by DiMaggio that includes his hitting streak.  

In the National League, this underrated record is held by none other than Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider of the Dodgers, who reached base in 58 consecutive games from May 13 through July 11, 1954.

Snider broke a record of 56 consecutive games held by two fellow Hall of Famers — Roger Bresnahan (1904) and Snider’s future Dodger teammate Arky Vaughan (1936).

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Previewing the Dodgers’
2020 postseason roster

Photo: Jon SooHoo

Because MLB rosters will remain at 28 players for the postseason, there shouldn’t be too much drama for the Dodgers in determining theirs — but that’s not to say there won’t be any. Let’s take a look …

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Baseball fans, are you ready for the tiebreakers?

A totem of things gone wrong. (Photo by Jon Weisman at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, July 14, 2019.)

In an ongoing Twitter thread, I have been tracking the potential 2020 National League postseason matchups on a nightly basis. Remember — this year, eight teams from each league will make the playoffs, which will open with best-of-three series that aren’t quite sudden death but close enough.

The three division winners are seeded No. 1-3 no matter what, followed next by the three second-place teams, then finally by the teams with the next-best records, regardless of division. By some margin the best first-place and second-place teams in the NL, the Dodgers (No. 1) and the Padres (No. 4) have been locked into their seeds for quite some time. But the other six seeds have been flopping teams like fish on a sidewalk.

In announcing this format for 2020, MLB made it clear there will be no tiebreaker games, instead setting out a set of tiebreaker rules. On the final night of August, we got a glimpse of just how crazy things could get. 

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Dodger issues against LHP should solve themselves

See full chart at Baseball-Reference.com.

If you’re worried that the Dodgers haven’t been hitting left-handed pitching this season, my advice is … don’t worry.

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With a dominant bullpen, Dodgers’ postseason salvation could be 28-man rosters

Photos: Jon SooHoo

Last week, I wrote about how the 2020 Dodgers are talented, but October is scarier than ever. Now, let me balance it out with some good news about this particular postseason that could really play into the Dodgers’ favor. 

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An epic Dodgers collapse Phillies comeback, 30 years ago today

On August 21, 1990, I went to a baseball game with a friend. And I stayed for about seven innings, and then we left early. 

I don’t think we thought twice about it. It was a weeknight. We had jobs. 

And the Dodgers were winning, 11-1. 

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The Dodgers are talented, but October is scarier than ever

Photo: Jon SooHoo

Flying high with a seven-game winning streak, the 18-7 Dodgers have the best record in major-league baseball and in a 162-game season would be on pace for 116 victories. 

Thanks to this year’s shortened, 60-game campaign and the expanded playoff format that will invite eight teams from each league to the postseason, the Dodgers will need to finish with only about 30 victories to clinch an entry into October. It’s quite possible they’ll do that by Labor Day. 

For the rest of September, they’ll be playing for an eight consecutive National League West title and a high seeding in the playoffs. Both will be more ceremonial than ever. 

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Pandemic baseball is upon us

Dodger Stadium, during Monday’s exhibition game (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

I don’t know if there was anything I liked about working for the Dodgers more than the freedom to roam around the empty stadium. And so as wrong as it feels for there to be ballgames without fans, there’s something that makes me feel wistful about the idea of watching a game there without a crowd. 

Jon SooHoo’s latest photographic gem, above, captures my feelings probably as well as anything I could write. But with the 2020 MLB season somehow about to begin, I thought I would share some not entirely random thoughts … 

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There is no moral imperative for baseball

Dodger Stadium, November 2016 (Jon Weisman)

The United States is fighting for its life and soul. How badly do we need to see a curveball?

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Sheltered, Part 6: There used to be a ballclub right here

Dodger Stadium, September 2015 (Photo: Jon Weisman)

I remember the Dodgers.

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Thoughts I shouldn’t be having on a coronavirus Monday

Remnants of a tree, Calabasas, February 1. One person I showed this photo to asked, “Who is that?”

In some ways, there’s nothing better than being awake in the middle of the night. It’s only a shame you have to pay the price later in the day. 

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. It wasn’t because of these thoughts, but as the next hour passed, it seemed like as good a time as any to get them out of my system. 

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Corey Seager, a slider and the Dodgers’ October bubble

Carrie Giordano/Los Angeles Dodgers

It was drowned out by the Howie Kendrick grand slam, by Juan Soto teeing off on the fattest pitch of Clayton Kershaw’s career, by Anthony Rendon taking a golf swing at a Kershaw pitch near his shins.

It was smothered by a National League Division Series Game 5 that tore the Dodgers and their fans apart.

But before NLDS Game 5, there was Game 2. And in Game 2, there was one inning, arguably one pitch, that speaks as much to the Dodgers’ Job-like journey through the Octobers of the past seven seasons as any other.

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Andre Ethier had the most to lose from the Astros’ scandal, but he is far from bitter

Andre Ethier with his family at his Dodger Stadium retirement ceremony in 2018.
(Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

For most players on the 2017 Dodgers, the sign-stealing scandal perpetrated by the Houston Astros jeopardized a tremendous chance for Los Angeles to win the World Series. 

For Andre Ethier, it was his last chance.

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The Astros deserve harsher punishment, but beanballs are not the answer

“I would lean toward yes,” Stripling said. “In the right time and in the right place. Maybe I give up two runs the inning before and I got some anger going. Who knows? But yeah, it would certainly be on my mind.”

* * * 

No active Astro player has been punished for the sign-stealing scandal, and that’s wrong. Something should happen, right? Even the kinds of cheating that baseball holds in a warm place in its heart, like scuffing a baseball, get sanctioned when the details come out in the open. 

Understandably, into that vaccum, calls for frontier justice have increased, as you can see from the Ross Stripling quote above. If Stripling, one of the most cerebral players in the game, is thinking an eye for an eye, you can imagine what a large cross-section of ballplayers are pondering — not to mention aggrieved fans out for blood.

As much as the impulse is understandable, this can’t happen.

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