Phil Bickford pitched on his 27th birthday on Sunday, joining a rare club of Dodgers this season.
It looked like Bickford might have had his candles blown out, allowing a three-run home run in the third inning, his one inning of work against the Cubs. But as you might have noticed, the Dodgers, who trailed 5-0 and 8-3, rallied to win and finish off the sweep. Los Angeles took the lead with a six-run bottom of the third, which made Bickford the pitcher of record.
In other words, Bickford allowed three runs on his birthday, but still got the win. Happy birthday, indeed.
The only other two Dodgers to play on their birthdays this season were Yency Almonte (June 4) and Trea Turner (June 30).
The Dodgers were off on the birthdays of Alex Vesia (April 11) and Edwin Ríos (April 21).
Others who were active on their birthdays but did not play were Garrett Cleavinger (April 23), Tony Gonsolin (May 14, two days before his next start), and Craig Kimbrel (May 24). Andrew Heaney (June 5) and Blake Treinen (June 30) were on the injured list.
If we expand the universe to include minor league games for folks who appeared in the majors, we still only have five Dodgers birthday participants this season.
Dodgers birthday games in 2022
|Zach McKinstry*||Apr 29||0-1, 2 BB, RBI, SF|
|Yency Almonte||Jun 4||1 IP, 2 K|
|Justin Bruihl*||Jun 26||2 IP, 1 H, 2 K|
|Trea Turner||Jun 30||0-4, 2 K|
|Phil Bickford||Jul 10||1 IP, 3 R, 3 K|
The next opportunity for a Dodger to play in their birthday comes Wednesday, for Cody Bellinger in St. Louis against right-hander Adam Wainwright.
Another All-Star, starting outfielder Mookie Betts, recounted to Juan Toribio at MLB.com how when in Boston David Price gave him advice on how to to become a Jordan Brand athlete. “It’s crazy, man, because when I see something that I want, it becomes a motivation, you know?” Betts told Toribio. “When DP told me you have to earn it, as weird as it sounds, that became a motivation for me, even though it was just to be able to go to Jordan Brand.”
Up next for Andrew Heaney, who is on the injured list for a second time this season with left shoulder inflammation, is expected to pitch a simulated game Tuesday in St. Louis, which would be followed by a four-inning outing in a minor league rehab assignment, per J.P. Hoornstra of Southern California News Group.
Juan Soto, the Nationals superstar who was named a National League All-Star on Sunday, talked with Andrew Golden of the Washington Post about seeing his former teammate, Trea Turner: “We’re going to have fun. That guy’s really fun ... I hope we’re going to have a good time there and try to convince him to come back. We’ll see.”
David Laurila’s Sunday notes column at FanGraphs is always an enjoyable read, and among the gems in this week’s edition was that Hall of Fame Brooklyn outfielder Zack Wheat had nine hits in 13 at-bats against Lou North.
Matthew Roberson at the New York Daily News asked a number of major league players how much baseball they watched in their free time. The answers varied, including this wind-down strategy from Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins: “Typically after a night game I just put on mind-numbing television. ... Cartoons or something. I watch anime. Attack on Titan is a really good one.”
Twenty-year-old Roki Sasaki is the best pitcher in Japan, having thrown a perfect game in April, then following it up with eight perfect innings in his next time out, getting removed with another perfect game still intact. Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Julia Mio Inuma at the Washington Post write about Sasaki possibly being a catalyst to change what they describe as the “brutal, win-at-all-costs teenage baseball training culture” in Japan.