Giants come to town
In the most important series of the season so far, the San Francisco Giants come to town for three games, starting tonight. The Dodgers have won five of six and have a 3 ½-game lead over the Giants. It’s time to make a statement and show the Giants that the division belongs to the Dodgers. They must win two of three, at least. Anything less will fill the Giants with confidence. Times reporter Kevin Baxter has a good look at the two teams here. Here are the pitching matchups:
Tonight: Jake Peavy (4-6, 4.21 ERA in 2015; 14-3, 2.30 lifetime vs. L.A.) vs. Brett Anderson (8-8, 3.36 in 2015; 1-4, 4.91 lifetime vs. S.F.)
Tuesday: Madison Bumgarner (16-6, 2.97; 13-5, 2.34) vs. Zack Greinke (14-3, 1.61; 6-0, 2.28)
Wednesday: Mike Leake (9-6, 3.53; 2-3, 5.35) vs. Clayton Kershaw (11-6, 2.24; 14-7, 1.63)
Tuesday’s matchup looks pretty amazing. Now watch that game end up 11-10.
In case you were in a dark cave and missed it, Vin Scully announced on Friday that he would be returning next season, his 67th as the voice of the Dodgers. Scully turns 88 in November. The announcement was made during the second inning of the game against the Cubs in a video featuring Magic Johnson and Jimmy Kimmel. You can watch the video here. This is great news for Dodgers fans, as Scully is the best broadcaster in baseball history and still a pleasure to listen to. Then, on Saturday, he said that next season will probably be his last, which brings up the elephant in the room:
TV or not TV?
For most of us in Southern California, we don’t get to hear Vin Scully broadcast Dodgers games. We get him for three innings on the radio, and that’s it, since most of us still can’t watch them on TV.
I get a lot of emails after each newsletter, and a majority of them will include at least one angry line toward the Dodgers and blaming them for the whole thing. The entire, complicated nuances of the current TV impasse is too lengthy to get into in this newsletter, but you can read about it here and here and here.
It’s unfair to lay all of the blame at the feet of the Dodgers. Time Warner Cable and the satellite/cable providers who aren’t showing the Dodgers deserve most, if not all, of the blame. But here’s what the Dodgers aren’t realizing: The fans look to the team to explain what is going on, but the Dodgers never really say anything about it to the fans. There is a giant communications blackout, and if the Dodgers truly believe they shouldn’t be blamed for this, they should state their case to the fans. Instead, nothing. If I were Dodgers ownership, I would be handing out fliers at every home game explaining the situation. I would have Magic Johnson, still one of the most beloved figures in L.A. sports, in as many ads on as many TV and radio stations as possible, explaining everything. I would make him the face of this campaign, just as they made him the face of the Scully announcement.
But I want to hear from you. I have set up a poll asking you who you blame for the current impasse: Time Warner Cable, the cable/satellite providers, the Dodgers or all three equally. Go here to vote, and let’s see what you really think. Also, email me your thoughts on what you are expecting from the Dodgers in this situation, and what advice you would give them. I will run select responses in a future newsletter.
Can someone explain
Why does Don Mattingly have the guys hitting around .220 (Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley) at the top of the lineup, and the guy who has hit around .300 all season (Hernandez) at the bottom of the lineup?
Ask Ross Porter
Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will be answering select reader questions for the rest of the season. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on to him. Here’s his latest response:
Gary Saldutti: Obviously you can’t replace Vin Scully. Who would you replace him with? Two of my favorites are Drew Goodman of the Rockies and Ken Korach of the A’s. What other announcers should be considered?
Ross: First of all, Vin’s successor is automatically placed in an impossible position. I have always used the example of Gene Bartow replacing John Wooden at UCLA. Comparisons will be inevitable, and the next person who assumes the No. 1 spot in the Dodgers, broadcast will be vilified unmercifully. That human being will be aware of the disparaging comments he will receive from day one. He must determine whether he can weather the criticism, which will last a long time. Is the enviable opportunity of taking over the Dodgers job from the best baseball announcer ever worth accepting? How tough is his skin? I would never have wanted to succeed Vin.
This week in Dodgers history
Sept. 1, 1890: The Brooklyn Bridegrooms win all three games against the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in the first tripleheader. The Bridegrooms are later renamed the Dodgers, and the Alleghenys are later renamed the Pirates.
Sept. 2, 1969: Willie Davis sets the franchise record by extending his hitting streak to 30 consecutive games, surpassing Zack Wheat’s mark of 29 set in 1916.
Sept. 5, 1955: Don Newcombe hits his seventh homer of the season, establishing a National League record for home runs by a pitcher in a season, in an 11-4 win over the Phillies.
Sept. 6, 1996: Just four months after having surgery for throat cancer, Brett Butler returns to the Dodgers and scores the winning run in a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Got a lot of email after the no-hitter Sunday. I know it’s two no-hitters in nine days, but sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher. Jake Arrieta pitched a great game. Besides, the Dodgers won the World Series in 1981 and 1988, and were no-hit each season. Maybe this means they will win the World Series twice this season.