LOS ANGELES CA - JULY 19: Rafael Furcal #15 the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants on July 19 2010 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Sure, tonight's game between the Dodgers and Giants features a great pitching matchup, with Clayton Kershaw facing off against Tim Lincecum, but that's not important right now. What is important is that today is the 41st anniversary of two memorable events, as reminded via the Giants official Twitter feed:
July 20, 1969-Gaylord Perry hit his 1st ML HR off Dodgers’ Claude Osteen, 25 minutes after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.
The legend surrounding that home run is a classic baseball story, one that most likely isn't true, but still great nonetheless. From the 1984 book Strike Two by umpire Ron Luciano, via Snopes.com:
Pitchers may not remember every home run they give up, but they certainly remember every one they hit. Usually this requires only a very short memory.
Gaylord Perry's first major league home run was a historic one. He was with Alvin Dark's San Francisco Giants in 1968. "I was taking batting practice one afternoon and I was just hitting line drives, I mean line drives. Harry Jupiter, a sportswriter, was watching me and said to Alvin, 'You know, that guy has some power.'
"Alvin laughed. 'Let me tell you something,' he said. There'll be a man on the moon before he hits a home run.'
Lest you believe space travel is required before the Dodgers win again, I offer this:
- In 37 career home starts, Kershaw has allowed more than three runs just three times
- In both career starts against the Giants at Dodger Stadium, Kershaw has allowed one run in seven innings. He struck out nine this April, and 13 last April.
- Rafael Furcal
Here are the stats for Furcal in his last 162 games, dating back to June 9, 2009: 204 hits, 115 runs, 37 doubles, 10 triples, 14 home runs, 72 RBI, .304/.366/.452.
Or Tim Lincecum could be dominant, collect three hits and three RBI again, and the Giants could win.
Either way, it should be a good game.
UPDATE: Before the game, the Dodgers placed Manny Ramirez on the disabled list, but rather than call up another outfielder they activated Brad Ausmus from the disabled list to replace Manny on the roster. The Dodger bench now consists of Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard, Garret Anderson, Ausmus, and A.J. Ellis. Yikes.
Even worse, the injury to Manny is worse than originally feared, per Evan Drellich of MLB.com:
Joe Torre calls strain "significant." Said it would be 3 weeks out for Manny Ramirez.
Get your guesses in for Xeifrank's game simulation here.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.