The Dodgers’ offensive woes continued into the second week of the 1963 season, only this time with their first homestand of the year. But by the end of the week the bats came alive, and a doubleheader sweep in Sunday tipped the scales into a winning week against the Cubs and Astros, the same teams they played in Week 1.
It took until the seventh inning of the 10th game of the season, but when Frank Howard hit a two-run shot that provided the only runs of the Friday’s game against Houston, the Dodgers finally had their first home run of the season. It came in LA’s 369th plate appearance.
That gave the Dodgers five total runs in their first four games of the week, including just three runs in three games against the Cubs. Amazingly, Los Angeles won two of those contests.
“It’s too early to say the Dodgers won’t make a run for the pennant,” wrote George Lederer in the Press-Telegram, “But one run isn’t going to be enough, they learned after Thursday for the third successive evening.”
The Dodgers ended the week 7-6, a game and a half behind San Francisco in the National League, but also tied for fourth place.
Batter of the week
Though Frank Howard’s home run was hit in a night game Friday, an Associated Press game report said, “Howard disclosed he will start wearing glasses during day games because eye doctors found he was nearsighted. He wore them during batting practice Friday. Manager Walt Alston, breaking into a grin for one of the few times since the club started its home stand, dryly said, ‘Maybe Howard can hit a thousand if he wears glasses.’”
Howard in the two day games against Houston, on Saturday and Sunday, had four hits in seven at-bats with a double, three runs scored, two RBI, and a pair of walks. On the week, Howard had 13 hits in 26 at-bats.
Pitcher of the week
Sandy Koufax on Friday avenged the previous Sunday’s loss in Houston by striking out 14 Colt .45s in a shutout win at Dodger Stadium. He struck out double digits for the second time in three starts this season, and for the 42nd time in his career.
“It was a funny thing,” Koufax told the Pasadena Independent after the game, “but I was really wild warming up for this game. Then I when I got on the mound and started throwing for keeps, I seemed to get a rhythm going. And it never left me. That’s what I have to have in my pitching, and I had it tonight.”
Koufax now has 10 career games with at least 14 strikeouts, second-most in major league history, only two behind A’s and Browns left-hander Rube Waddell in the first decade of the century.
Week 2 results
28 runs scored (4.00 per game)
24 runs allowed (3.43 per game)
.570 pythagorean win percentage
Year to date
43 runs scored (3.31 per game)
36 runs allowed (2.77 per game)
.581 pythagorean win percentage (8-5)
On Wednesday, Bob Miller and Cubs left-hander Dick Ellsworth matched zeroes through nine innings, but consecutive two-out singles in the 10th inning by Lee Walls, Howard, and Moose Skowron gave the Dodgers their first walk-off win of the week.
The second came Sunday, when the Dodgers trailed 5-2 after three innings in the second game of a doubleheader against Houston, then started chipping away. Ron Fairly doubled and scored, then hit a two-run home run earlier in the game. In the ninth, Fairley hit a bases-loaded single with two outs off George Brunet to secure a winning week for Los Angeles.
- Tuesday, Apr. 16: Cubs 2, Dodgers 1 (12 innings)
- Wednesday, Apr. 17: Dodgers 1, Cubs 0 (10 innings)
- Thursday, Apr. 18: Cubs 5, Dodgers 1
- Friday, Apr. 19: Dodgers 2, Colt .45s 0
- Saturday, Apr. 20: Colt .45s 9, Dodgers 6
- Sunday, Apr. 21: Game 1 — Dodgers 11, Colt .45s 3
- Sunday, Apr. 21: Game 2 — Dodgers 6, Colt .45s 5
1963 Week 2 batting
1963 Week 2 pitching
The week ahead
The Dodgers remain in Los Angeles for week two of their homestand, running the Pete Whisenant gauntlet as Milwaukee and Cincinnati make their way to Dodger Stadium for two-game series, followed by a three-game weekend set against St. Louis.