Happy Birthday To Me, Bullpen Day in Chicago


So if you can’t already tell by now, today is my birthday. So what am I getting on my birthday from the Dodgers? Am I getting a Clayton Kershaw start? An exciting Zack Greinke game? Ryu? Could I at least get a token Stephen Fife start on my birthday? No, of course not. Instead I’m getting 39-year old middle reliever Jamey Wright, and a bullpen game in Chicago. Happy birthday to me.

Dodgers Lineup @ Chicago

Gordon 2B

Puig CF

Gonzalez 1B

Kemp RF

Hanley SS

Crawford LF

Uribe 3B

Ellis C

Wright P

Jamey Wright-5-4 vs. Jacob Turner-5-10

On the bright side, manager Don Mattingly’s dreams are finally being realized today. The bullpen game he’s been talking about for years gets to happen. Remember how Joe Torre used to talk about it often? Whenever the Dodgers were besieged by injuries to the pitching staff, Torre would always talk about the possibility of having a bullpen day. It came close to happening a few times, but never did to my recollection. If I’m wrong please let me know with a comment. Maybe it did happen and I just blocked it out of my mind. Selective memory can help erase things you don’t want to relive.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mattingly has the same love for watching mediocre aging middle relievers as his predecessor. Now that fantasy has become a reality. Wonderful Donnie, have a day. The Dodgers have already announced that Dan Haren will start Monday against the Giants. Hyun-jin Ryu is still sidelined because of a sore left shoulder.

Oh man this is going to be bad. I was all for starting Dan Haren on Monday against the Giants. But I don’t like this whole bullpen day thing. First of all the bullpen has already been taxed enough on this road trip. Why not just let Carlos Frias start? I know he got hammered in Colorado, but it was Coors Field. I mean obviously you can’t let him pitch against the Giants. You can’t risk it against the Giants, but you can versus the Cubs. Just don’t let him give up eight runs in the first inning. Watch him carefully, and be ready to hook him if he starts to get lit up.

But noooooooooooooooooo it’s gotta be a bullpen game. Reach for the stars here Mattingly. The last time Wright started a game was back in 2007 when he was with the Rangers. He actually started a game for the Rays last season, but I’m not sure I can count that since he pitched just an inning and two thirds. Remember, we use the term “Start” loosely here. Wright can’t pitch more than two innings anyways, so I expect to see Frias in at some point today. We’ll probably see some of Kevin Correia as well.

This year Wright is 5-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 59 games. He has one save and whiffed 50 in 67 frames. He’s been serviceable this season, but using him to start a game? Probably not a good idea.

Wright has pitched well against the Cubs in his career. He is 8-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts against the Cubs. In 109 innings he’s posted 68 strikeouts and 50 walks. He’s pitched well at Wrigley field as well. He’s posted a 5-4 record, and a 3.19 ERA in 12 games at Chicago.

These current Cub’s youngsters are only 4 for 20 versus Wright. Here’s their numbers against the embattled right hander.

Luis Valbuena440000001.
John Baker330000001.
Welington Castillo310000020.000.667.000.66700100
Arismendy Alcantara220000002.
Starlin Castro2220000001.0001.0001.0002.00000000
Chris Coghlan221000000.500.500.5001.00000000
Ryan Kalish220000000.
Junior Lake221000000.500.500.5001.00000000
Javier Baez110000001.
Anthony Rizzo110000000.

The Cubs will counter with Jacob Turner. The former first round pick, is 23-years old, and from St. Charles Missouri. This year he is 1-3 with a 6.93 ERA in four starts for Chicago. Turner used to pitch for the Marlins, so the Dodgers have seen him before. Overall Turner is 5-10 with a 6.20 ERA in 26 starts. Turner is primarily a three pitch guy. He has a sinking fastball he usually throws from 90-93, a slider, and a curve. He also can mix in a changeup as well. He’s supposed to be a ground ball guy, so let’s see if that plays out like that today.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers saw Turner twice this year. Turner faced the Dodgers back on May 3, and the 13 when he was with the Fish. He was hit hard and lost once and got a no-decision in the other game. Hopefully the Dodgers can score a lot of runs today. Turner is 0-1 with an 8.16 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers. The Dodgers are batting .462 (24 for 52) against him. Check out the numbers below.

Hanley Ramirez992100301.222.222.333.55600001
Adrian Gonzalez873200210.429.500.7141.21400000
Dee Gordon664100100.667.667.8331.50000000
Yasiel Puig652001311.400.5001.0001.50000000
Carl Crawford551000100.
Andre Ethier542000010.500.600.5001.10000000
Matt Kemp553100102.600.600.8001.40000000
Juan Uribe554000100.800.800.8001.60000001
Tim Federowicz3110000201.0001.0001.0002.00000200
Drew Butera220000000.
Justin Turner221000000.500.500.5001.00000000
Darwin Barney1110001001.0001.0001.0002.00000000

We owe some thanks to the Padres for beating the Giants two nights in a row. Last night the Padres beat them again thanks to a dominating performance from Andrew Cashner. Tonight Ryan Vogelsong will take on Ian Kennedy in that series finale at Petco Park. I feel dirty saying that, but as long as they keep beating the Giants, I’ll keep thanking them. Then once the season is over I will continue to hate them. Please beat the Giants again San Diego, then go screw yourselves.

As for the Dodgers, this is not only their series finale against the Cubs, but also their final road game of the 2014 season. After today, there is just six games left during the regular season. The Dodger’s magic number is a Juan Uribe 5 to clinch the division, and the boys in blue are 3.5 games ahead of the Giants in the NL West. After the game the Dodgers fly home to begin the final home stand of the season. They’ll kick it off with a huge three game series against the Giants that is sure to decide the NL West.

Dee Gordon has a 13 game hitting streak. During his steak he is batting .364 (24 for 66) with 17 runs scored.

Prediction: Gordon gets a hit and extends his hitting streak to 14 games. He also steals a base, and scores two runs.

Check out the Dodger’s series and road finale against the Cubs at 11:20 AM, and then head back over here for our recap of the game. Let’s shave that magic number down.

A win would be a great birthday present for me. Is there any way the Dodgers can make this happen?

Game Time – 11:20 AM

Go Blue!