The Dodgers are poised on the precipice of a winning record for the first time since April.
The Wednesday Takeaways
With 30 teams in the major leagues, there are 435 possible matchups, and—since there are no ties in baseball—870 possible results. Entering play on Wednesday night, 869 of those outcomes had, at some point in history, been recorded. But the Pirates had never beaten the Athletics. They had played 11 times, including twice earlier this week, and the A’s had won each one.
Finally, in their 12th crack at the green and gold since 2002, the Buccos came out on top. Clint Hurdle’s club, which—now just 28 wins shy of the franchise’s first winning season in two decades—is well on its way to a more significant bit of history, rode the left shoulder of Francisco Liriano to a 5-0 shutout in the series finale.
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Batters don't swing enough against Skip Schumaker.
"Of course for Philadelphia, I mean they're not fooling around even though they have 16 runs. Every base hit, that's food on the table. You think Ruiz doesn't have the idea right now as if it's the big at bat in the World Series? He sees a couple of ribbies out there." -- Vin Scully
Breaking down the 2013 interleague schedule for all 30 teams. What teams are forced to deviate from their regular roster/lineup construction for the longest stretch of the year?
With the Astros finally moved into the American League, we have a very different interleague schedule this year. Not only does it mean that there is now at least one interleague series happening each day of the season, from April to October, it also means that the "rivalry weekends" that were the highlights of the interleague schedule fifteen years ago have been re-shaped. Additionally, the newly balanced divisions mean that, outside of the rivalry games, all teams in a given division can play the exact same teams as their divisional opponents. No longer do the schedule makers have to worry about a six-team division matching up with a four-team division.
So how did the schedule makers do? Did the schedule turn out as balanced as can be? Were they able to ensure that teams from any one division would have the same opponents as their division-mates? Were all clubs given the same number of interleague matches or did some lucky squad or two end up a series short? One thing to remember here is that, with interleague games happening all year long instead of on two or three specific weekends, clubs are now on unequal footing when it comes to setting their rosters for the change in league rules. If one team, for example, only ever has to worry about forcing their pitchers to hit one weekend a month, they are probably in a better situation than the club forced to suddenly remove their all-star DH for nine straight games. National League clubs playing in American League ballparks will have similar problems in trying to add a DH for extended periods of time.
The public face of the Dodgers now rests with Stan Kasten as their president and co-owner. On Monday we caught up with him at the Winter Meetings and asked him about his new position in LA; how the ownership group was assembled; what Magic Johnson brings to the table, and; how that massive TV deal factors into what the Dodgers do, not only now, but years to come.
Few recent club sales have altered the landscape in Major League Baseball as quickly as that of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whether it was the unprecedented purchase price of $2.15 billion, the flurry of trades that including taking on over $163 million in contract dollars as part of the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox that included Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, or the media rights deal that the club is on the cusp of completing that is reported to be between $6-$7 billion, the Dodgers have become a juggernaut. The public face of the Dodgers now rests with Stan Kasten as their president and co-owner. On Monday we caught up with him at the Winter Meetings and asked him about his new position in LA; how the ownership group was assembled; what Magic Johnson brings to the table, and; how that massive TV deal factors into what the Dodgers do, not only now, but years to come.
The Dodgers' 2013 payroll is already around $200 million. Is the Dodgers' 2013 roster a good roster?
You know all about the money. The Dodgers’ new ownership group has taken on the ungodly sum of $260 million in contracts from the Red Sox, and $400 million in total salary obligations (including acquisitions and re-signings). These figures are wholly abstract; they’re so vast that our brains can’t even process them. Us normal folk have no frame of reference.
There’s no question that the moves Colletti and company have made improve the team in the short term. Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez are massive upgrades over Dee Gordon and James Loney. Shane Victorino is better than the three-headed left-field monster of Tony Gwynn, Jr., Juan Rivera, and Bobby Abreu. In a tight National League West race, these late additions might be enough to put the Dodgers over the top. And once a team reaches the playoffs, we all know that just about anything can happen.
The Dodgers have spiraled out of control since late May, and with seemingly no plan for offense, it's a three-team race in the wild West.
Do you realize how bad the National League West has been since May 27? This is an arbitrary date reflecting my desire to cast the division in its worst possible light, so probably not. But consider what the standings looked like at the start of that day: