We're born again, there's new grass on the field

One of the myths of the game is that Robinson was chosen by Rickey because of his forbearance, his ability to absorb slurs without hitting back.
To anyone who knew him, the notion of Jackie Robinson turning the other cheek, putting up with insults, was laughable. I have never been able to find one veteran chronicler of the early Robinson days who remembers Jackie being anything but truculent and unbending in the face of slurs and insults.
Jackie made sure you treated him as a man. He didn’t suffer fools gladly. … He was as deeply suspicious of the flatterers as he was the bigots.
 Jackie wore no man’s collar. Ever. Long before Rosa Parks, he had refused to move to the back of the bus—in the Army. He was court-martialed. He was acquitted.
I remember once, in a kind of confidential exchange I had with him, I was brash enough to suggest incautiously, “But, Jackie, on the whole, wasn’t there less bigotry and intolerance out there than you expected?”
Jackie fixed me with a glare.
"There shouldn’t have been any,” he said sternly.
You never argued with Jackie Robinson. He made America live up to its promises. [x]

One of the myths of the game is that Robinson was chosen by Rickey because of his forbearance, his ability to absorb slurs without hitting back.

To anyone who knew him, the notion of Jackie Robinson turning the other cheek, putting up with insults, was laughable. I have never been able to find one veteran chronicler of the early Robinson days who remembers Jackie being anything but truculent and unbending in the face of slurs and insults.

Jackie made sure you treated him as a man. He didn’t suffer fools gladly. … He was as deeply suspicious of the flatterers as he was the bigots.

Jackie wore no man’s collar. Ever. Long before Rosa Parks, he had refused to move to the back of the bus—in the Army. He was court-martialed. He was acquitted.

I remember once, in a kind of confidential exchange I had with him, I was brash enough to suggest incautiously, “But, Jackie, on the whole, wasn’t there less bigotry and intolerance out there than you expected?”

Jackie fixed me with a glare.

"There shouldn’t have been any,” he said sternly.

You never argued with Jackie Robinson. He made America live up to its promises. [x]

Dodgers ruin Jackie Robinson Day

Final score: Los Angeles Dodgers, 2 @ San Francisco Giants, 3 (F/12)

This game sucked. It was six hours of suck. From Josh Beckett’s 5-inning high wire act (where he somehow managed to not give up a run), to Chris Withrow surrendering the one-run lead in the 6th (with a bit of help from the Dodger defense, mind you), to Yasiel Puig’s one-out triple going to waste in the 8th, to Kenley Jansen getting BABIP’d and blowing another save (and seriously, the man’s BABIP is .556 right now, that’s going to even out, this trend of more than half of the balls hit off of him falling in for hits is entirely unsustainable and WILL NOT CONTINUE), to Juan Uribe’s extra-inning leadoff single getting erased on a bunt turned into a double play, to Jamey Wright’s frightening 10th inning (and his considerably less tense 11th inning), to Paco Rodriguez not existing in the bullpen because he was optioned while Brandon League lives to see another day, to Brandon League losing the game in the bottom of the 12th inning BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DID (although Uribe booting a potential double play ball didn’t help matters)

this game was a mess and it wasn’t fun and it was even less fun because it was against the STUPID GIANTS.

Tomorrow, it’s Paul Maholm and Ryan Vogelsong, 7:15 PM.

As you’ve probably heard, the Empire State Building is lit up in Dodger blue in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. Here’s a poor-quality iPhone photo.

As you’ve probably heard, the Empire State Building is lit up in Dodger blue in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. Here’s a poor-quality iPhone photo.

Dodgers sweep Dbacks, have won more games against the Dbacks than the Dbacks have won all season

Final score: Los Angeles Dodgers, 8 @ Arizona Diamondbacks, 6

After two excellent starts, Dan Haren was really fighting it in his outing today. His control was just not there. So for him to get 5 2/3 innings of 3-run baseball out of it is a feat in and of itself. Haren gave up 9 hits and a walk, striking out 5. One of those hits was a home run by Eric Chavez.

Fortunately for Haren, Trevor Cahill was even worse. Cahill made it through 4 full innings and faced two in the top of the 5th before being lifted, allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks; for all his struggles, he did pick up 8 strikeouts. He allowed two home runs, an absolute blast by Matt Kemp and a two-run shot by Adrian Gonzalez (making it four straight games with an AGon dinger).

Randall Delgado replaced Cahill, but the two runners Cahill left on base scored under Delgado’s watch. One of those runs was scored by Dee Gordon (1-for-3 today with a pair of walks), who stole second before Delgado even threw a pitch; he stole a total of four bases in the game.

Paco Rodriguez entered in relief of Haren with runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the 6th, and he got the Dodgers out of the inning without even throwing a pitch, picking Chris Owings off at first.

After Juan Uribe provided some insurance with a solo home run, Paco faced one batter in the bottom of the 7th and gave up a hit. Jamey Wright then took his place, and proceeded to allow a single and a dinger to make it a two-run game.

J.P. Howell hit a batter in the bottom of the 8th before striking out Gerardo Parra, and Chris Perez finished off the frame by K’ing Aaron Hill and retiring Paul Goldschmidt. Kenley Jansen handled the bottom of the 9th, delivering a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts.

After this off day, it’ll be 13 games until the next one! The first of those games is Tuesday in San Francisco. Josh Beckett will face Tim Lincecum, a 7:15 PM start time.

Dodgers seize sole possession of first place! (Shhh I know it’s only April 12)

Final score: Los Angeles Dodgers, 8 @ Arizona Diamondbacks, 5

In Zack Greinke’s third start of the season, he was once again effective, if not particularly efficient. After retiring a batter in the top of the 6th, his night was done at 103 pitches, with a line of 1 ER (coming on an A.J. Pollock pinch-hit home run), 8 H, 8 K and 0 BB. Still, when Greinke got into trouble, he did a very good job maneuvering his way out of it. He struck out both Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado with a runner on third to get out of the first inning. With runners on second and third in the bottom of the 3rd, Greinke had a 3-0 count on Goldschmidt, then worked it to 3-2 before getting Goldy to pop out. With runners on the corners in the bottom of the 5th, Greinke threw a nasty 70 MPH curveball to strike out Miguel Montero. So even if he wasn’t lights out, he should be given credit for toughing out some sticky situations.

His opposing starter, Wade Miley, was not so lucky. He gave up 5 earned runs through 5 innings, the first coming in the top of the 2nd on an RBI double by Juan Uribe that knocked in Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke (Van Slyke had hit a long double). Gonzalez launched his second dinger of the series in the top of the 3rd for another pair of runs. Yasiel Puig knocked in another run in the top of the 4th following a Justin Turner double.

Perhaps the weirdest and most entertaining part of tonight’s game was the fact that Drew Butera reached base three times, twice via base hit and once via walk. Two of those times, he came in to score; in the top of the 6th, he came in on what was ruled an error by Martin Prado (though could easily have been ruled a hit for Matt Kemp), and in the top of the 8th, he scored on on a bases-loaded walk issued to Hanley Ramirez. The eighth and final Dodger run came in the top of the 9th, when Juan Uribe doubled and eventually scored on an Andre Ethier force out.

The Dodger bullpen performed about as expected. Paco Rodriguez got the remaining two outs in the bottom of the 6th, giving up a hit but stranding the runner. Chris Withrow labored a bit in the 7th but still managed to strike out the side (in addition to walking a batter). Paul Maholm hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and gave up a single for one run.

A 6-run lead for the Dodgers was determined safe enough to bring Brandon League in. He gave up a single, hit a batter, issued a walk and was charged with three runs on a sacrifice fly and a double by Trumbo.

That was quite enough of League. While the Dodgers wanted to avoid using Kenley Jansen tonight if possible, the diminished lead was deemed cause for bringing the closer in. He struck out Gerardo Parra on 4 pitches.

The Dodgers go for the sweep tomorrow, with Dan Haren facing Trevor Cahill at 1:10 PM.

Ryu’s brilliance backed up by Hanley and AGon’s bats

Final score: Los Angeles Dodgers, 6 @ Arizona Diamondbacks, 0

I don’t think anyone was too worried about Hyun-Jin Ryu following his nightmare outing against the Giants, but his start tonight ought to have allayed any fears that might have caused. Ryu handled the Diamondbacks lineup with ease, pitching 7 shutout innings and allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk (plus a looong fly ball out by Paul Goldschmidt that’s probably worth mentioning) while striking out 8.

Brandon McCarthy pitched about as long as Ryu did (he started the 8th inning before being lifted) and threw fewer pitches, but he had a much rougher go of things. It started when he gave up a two-out base hit to Hanley Ramirez in the top of the 1st before Adrian Gonzalez came to the plate and delivered a two-run shot.

Gonzalez wasn’t done driving in runs. With Yasiel Puig on third and Hanley Ramirez on second in the top of the 3rd, Gonzalez singled in both runners to make it 4-0 Dodgers.

Puig doubled in the top of the 8th, then scored on Hanley Ramirez’s third hit of the night (also a double). Then, for the third time, Ramirez came in to score on a Gonzalez hit, making it 6-0 Dodgers.

Jamey Wright took care of the remaining frames for the Dodgers, striking out the side in order in the bottom of the 8th and facing the minimum in the bottom of the 9th (he walked one, but got a double play to end it). The Dodgers are now 3-0 versus Arizona this year.

Also worth noting: Dee Gordon went 2-for-4 with a stolen base. While he’s certainly not going to bat .405 all season, this is certainly great for the Dodgers, especially with second base being such a huge question mark at the start of the season.

However, there’s still a lot more baseball to be played between these two clubs. Tomorrow, it’s Zack Greinke vs. Wade Miley, a 5:10 PM start time.

Baseball is a weird, wonderful (sometimes horrible, but mostly wonderful) game

Final score: Detroit Tigers, 7 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 6 (F/10)

Vin Scully said it best—doesn’t he always, though?—when he said “Boy, there was a lot going on tonight.” Indeed, there was a LOT going on in tonight’s game, a 10-inning, five-plus hour push-against-shove between the Tigers and the Dodgers.

There were home runs—a three-run dinger to put the Tigers on top in the 3rd inning; a solo shot by Adrian Gonzalez to start a 9th-inning comeback; and a 10-inning blast by Victor Martinez to put the Tigers back on top for good (and to officially establish Martinez’s dominance over Kenley Jansen). There was a suicide squeeze that saw Josh Beckett bunt Juan Uribe home from third. There was a LOT of sloppy play from both sides. There were a total of 12 pitchers in the game, 6 from each side.

I don’t even know how much it’s worth delving further into specifics, besides perhaps mentioning that Josh Beckett, despite remaining in the game for nearly two hours, only made it 4 innings. He had a line of 5 R (4 ER), 5 H, 1 BB and 5 K; he threw 85 pitches (and was on a pitch limit of about 90). That the Dodgers were able to hang in there despite Beckett’s shaky return from the DL is something, at least.

It was a long game that felt excruciating at times and thrilling at others. But if there’s anything I got from it, it’s that I’d love to see these two teams match up again this year—and not just because that’d mean that the Dodgers were in the World Series.

I’d be more upset about there being another off day if the Dodgers’ pitching wasn’t in such a state of chaos right now, but they probably need it. Friday, they’ll be in Arizona, with Hyun-Jin Ryu as the likely starter against Brandon McCarthy. Game time is 6:40 PM.

Dodgers have their first walk-off win of 2014

Final score: Detroit Tigers, 2 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 (F/10)

Dee Gordon was the first Dodger batter to face last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer. Dee Gordon took Max Scherzer deep, just the third home run of Gordon’s career. That’s a thing that happened.

Austin Jackson quickly returned the favor with a home run off of Dan Haren in the top of the 2nd. After that, Haren settled down nicely. Through 6 innings, Haren allowed 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4.

Scherzer did a pretty good job holding the Dodgers, but the Dodgers got one more off of him in the bottom of the 7th. It started when he walked Matt Kemp. Juan Uribe then doubled, sending Kemp to third base; Kemp then scored on a Justin Turner sac fly.

Chris Withrow once again looked excellent, needing just 11 pitches in his scoreless frame (after his 10-pitch inning on Sunday). Chris Perez walked the leadoff batter, but erased that with a double play ball.

With a one-run lead, Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the top of the 9th. He gave up a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler, then got Don Kelly to ground out. With one out, Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate, giving us one of the most exciting batter vs. pitcher matchups possible. Kenley threw 6 pitches to Cabrera, coming in at 98 or 99 MPH on each before striking him out.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers still needed an out, and a base hit by Victor Martinez scored Kinsler before they could get it. Martinez would eventually make the third out trying to steal second.

The Dodgers went down in order in the bottom of the 9th, and so the two teams headed to extra innings. J.P. Howell took care of the 10th with a clean frame, picking up a K in the process.

I’ll admit it, when Chone Figgins came up to pinch hit in the bottom of the 10th, I wasn’t happy about it. I still don’t know if it was the best move, but credit where credit is due—he had a good at bat and drew a walk. For some reason, Dee Gordon tried to bunt, and he popped it in the air for an out. Carl Crawford then stepped to the plate against Phil Coke and lined a ball to left field. Had Rajai Davis not misplayed it, it’s possible Figgins would’ve had to stop at third, or that there could’ve been a play at the plate; instead, the ball went to the wall and Figgins scored without a problem.

I say with as little bias as possible that that was a very exciting game between two of baseball’s teams and it would be a lot of fun to see them face each other in October.

…but first, they face each other again tomorrow. The brief, two-game series wraps up tomorrow with Anibal Sanchez on the mound for Detroit and, likely, Josh Beckett throwing for the Dodgers. Game time is 7:10 PM.

mlboffseason:

Vin Scully’s call of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run

Kemp and Hanley hit DINGERS, Dodger pitchers STRIKE OUT A LOT OF GUYS

Final score: San Francisco Giants, 2 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 6

Zack Greinke started off very strongly, allowing no runs through his first 5 innings of work and picking up 8 K’s. After doubling in the bottom of the 5th, it seemed Greinke was maybe running out of gas in the 6th when he allowed solo home runs to Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence. Still, for the most part, it was a very encouraging performance—it simply can’t be said enough that if the Dodgers are going to be without Kershaw for a while, having a guy like Greinke to step into the #1 slot is a pretty decent plan B.

The Dodger bats were there to back Greinke up, and how. Both Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez hit their first and second home runs of the season. Ramirez also doubled, one of three Dodger two-baggers on the night (Adrian Gonzalez and Greinke had the others).

Chris Withrow looked excellent in relief, throwing 10 pitches and picking up 3 strikeouts (if not for that one ball, he would’ve had an immaculate inning). J.P. Howell gave up a hit but recorded a strikeout in his 2/3 IP, and Chris Perez finished the 8th for him with a strikeout of Buster Posey. Kenley Jansen gave up one hit in the 9th inning on his way to striking out the side, making it a total of 16 K’s for the Dodgers’ staff.

Another off day for the Dodgers tomorrow as they await the arrival of the Detroit Tigers. Tuesday, it’s a pitcher TBD against last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer. Game time is 7:10 PM.