Dodgers and D-backs prepare for first DH in L.A. since 1999

Getty Images
0 Comments

It never rains in California, or so it is said, which means that Tuesday’s doubleheader between the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers is a rarity for Dodger Stadium.

It will be the ballpark’s first “scheduled” doubleheader since Sept. 17, 1987, when the Dodgers opposed the Cincinnati Reds. That one came about so the Dodgers could leave an open date on Sept. 16 for a visit from Pope John Paul II.

The last makeup-game doubleheader at Dodger Stadium was on July 22, 1999, against the Colorado Rockies, but two games in one day at the third-oldest major league ballpark in baseball is rare as a wide-open 405 freeway.

Injuries to Dodgers left-handers Andrew Heaney (shoulder) and Clayton Kershaw (back) have left the club scrambling with its rotation. Los Angeles gave right-hander Michael Grove his first major league start Saturday and didn’t confirm its doubleheader starters until after beating the Diamondbacks 5-4 on Monday.

Expected to start Game 1 is right-hander Ryan Pepiot (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who made his own major league debut at Pittsburgh on Wednesday and pitched three scoreless innings despite allowing five walks.

Dodgers left-hander Tyler Anderson (3-0, 4.40 ERA) is expected to start Game 2. In 14 career appearances (12 starts) against the Diamondbacks, Anderson is 3-3 with a 5.96 ERA.

The Diamondbacks are expected to start left-hander Tyler Gilbert (0-1, 3.91 ERA) in the first game and have right-hander Merrill Kelly (3-1, 1.71) take the second game.

Gilbert, who has made just 11 career appearances, pitched in his only two major league games of the season in April. One of them was a three-inning relief appearance against the Dodgers on April 25, when he gave up one run on two hits.

Kelly is 0-5 with a 4.57 ERA in eight lifetime starts against Los Angeles. He lost to the Dodgers in the April 25 game, when Gilbert took over for him after Kelly gave up three runs in six innings.

In the opener of the four-game series on Monday, the Diamondbacks scored the first two runs, one on a home run from Christian Walker, before the Dodgers rallied for five consecutive runs, two on a homer from Chris Taylor.

Arizona made it close on a two-run home run in the ninth inning from David Peralta before Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel finished off his sixth save in six chances.

The Diamondbacks were without shortstop Nick Ahmed, who was placed on the injured list for undisclosed reasons. He missed two weeks at the start of the season due to shoulder soreness.

“His shoulder is feeling fine,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said, according to the Arizona Republic. “He has been managing (the shoulder) and he’s been doing a really good job of being open and honest with me and the medical team and letting us know when he needs a little bit of a break. Those things are hard to manage.”

The Dodgers also won the opener during an April series at Arizona, but the Diamondbacks came back to win the final two games of the set.

“Just getting that first win of the series (is big),” Taylor said on the SportsNet L.A. broadcast. “They have been playing really good baseball. Obviously, they beat us at their place when they took two of three. To get the first one and to get the momentum on our side was big.”

Brown hired as general manager of Houston Astros

astros general manager
Logan Riely/Getty Images
1 Comment

HOUSTON — In joining the World Series champion Houston Astros, new general manager Dana Brown’s goal is to keep the team at the top of the league.

“I’m coming to a winning team and a big part of what I want to do is sustain the winning long term,” he said. “We want to continue to build, continue to sign good players, continue to develop players and continue the winning success.”

Brown was hired by the Astros on Thursday, replacing James Click, who was not given a new contract and parted ways with the Astros just days after they won the World Series.

Brown spent the last four seasons as the vice president of scouting for the Atlanta Braves.

“He is very analytic savvy,” Astros’ owner Jim Crane said. “He’s a great talent evaluator based upon what we’ve seen at the Braves, seasoned at player acquisitions, seasoned at player development and retention. They were often able to extend some of their player contracts… he’s got great people skills, excellent communicator and, last but not least, he’s a baseball player and knows baseball in and out and we were very impressed with that.”

The 55-year-old Brown becomes the only Black general manager in the majors and joins manager Dusty Baker to form just the second pairing of a Black manager and general manager in MLB history. The first was general manager Ken Williams and manager Jerry Manuel with the White Sox.

Brown said he interviewed for GM jobs with the Mets and Mariners in the past and that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told him to stay positive and that his time to be a general manager would come.

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “We understand that there are a lot of qualified African Americans in the game that know baseball and that could be a big part of an organization and leading organization in baseball operations. So at the end of the day, I think it’s good for our sport to have diversity and I’m really excited for this opportunity.”

Crane was asked about having the league’s only Black general manager.

“Certainly, we are very focused on diversity with the Astros,” he said. “It’s a plus, but the guy’s extremely qualified and he’ll do a great job. It’s nice to see a man like Dana get the job and he earned the job. He’s got the qualifications. He’s ready to go.”

Brown doesn’t have a lot of connections to the Astros, but does have some ties. He played baseball at Seton Hall with Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who spent his entire career with the Astros and serves as special assistant to the general manager. He played against fellow Hall of Famer and special assistant to the general manager Jeff Bagwell in the Cape Cod league during a short minor league career.

Brown said he spoke to both of them before taking the job and also chatted with Baker, whom he’s know for some time.

“Dusty is old school, he cuts it straight and I like it,” Brown said. “And so that means I can cut it straight with him.”

Brown worked for the Blue Jays from 2010-18 as a special assistant to the general manager. From 2001-09 he worked as director of scouting for the Nationals/Expos. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent eight years as their area scouting supervisor and East coast cross checker.

Click had served as Houston’s general manager since joining the team before the 2020 season from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brown, who has been part of drafting a number of big-name players like Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and last season’s National League rookie of the year Michael Harris, is ready to show Crane that bringing him to Houston was the right choice.

“Baseball is all I know, it’s my entire life,” he said. “So I want to empty myself into this city, the Astro fans and let Jim Crane know that he made a special pick.”