Daily Distractions: About the 1924 Brooklyn Robins.

If the Dodgers win today, they will equal the longest road winning streak in franchise history, set when the 1924 Brooklyn Robins won 12 straight on the road from Aug. 25-Sept. 6. At 89 years old, the record has stood long enough to escape even Vin Scully’s memory.

So here are some things you might not have known about the 1924 Brooklyn Robins:

They finished the year 92-62, 1 ½ games behind the New York Giants for the NL pennant, after coming back from 13 games out on Aug. 9.

They were managed by Wilbert Robinson, who bore a suspicious resemblance to Wilford Brimley and gave the team its nickname, the “Robins.”

The road winning streak was established during the first game of a doubleheader on Sept. 6, 1924 as right-hander Bill Doak hurled a two-hit shutout over the Boston Braves and right fielder Tommy Griffith drove in the only run with a triple in the 1-0 victory. The game came in the middle of a 25-9 run by the Robins to finish the season.

Zack Wheat hit .375 that season, the third-highest single-season batting average in franchise history. Wheat still isn’t recognized anywhere in Dodger Stadium.

Some bullet points to tide you through the weekend:

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Dodgers 7, Cubs 6: Postgame thoughts.

Monday’s game, the third of spring training for the Dodgers, began at 1:06 p.m. The Dodgers’ second batter stepped into the batter’s box 18 minutes later.

That’s because the Dodgers’ first batter, Dee Gordon, led off the bottom of the first inning with a 17-pitch at-bat against Chicago Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva. (Gordon struck out looking.) In the top of the first, Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley allowed hits to the first four batters he faced and surrendered two runs. It had the makings of a long game from the outset and it was: Three hours, 25 minutes total.

The afternoon was probably more memorable if Vin Scully was narrating it — which he was, if you had a radio Monday.

Some less colorful takeaways:

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Spring training preview: Relief pitchers.

Brandon LeagueToday begins our daily countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training on Tuesday with a position-by-position breakdown of the Dodgers’ roster. We begin with the bullpen.

I didn’t include Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly on this list, even though one or more of them could wind up pitching out of the ‘pen. Even without them, this is a solid unit on paper with ample depth. The closer situation is fairly clear, but the Dodgers enter the season with more viable options for the ninth inning than they’ve had in recent seasons.

There are a few injury concerns facing this unit, but none are severe. With one exception, the Dodgers’ bullpen should start the season healthy, capable of becoming one of the best in the National League.

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Guerrier active, Wall down, Gordon to 60-day DL.

Right-hander Matt Guerrier was activated from the 60-day disabled list Thursday, ending a DL stay that began on April 19. He’s eligible to pitch tonight after missing 118 games with tendinitis in his right elbow.

In five rehabilitation outings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Guerrier allowed three hits and two runs in five innings. He pitched a scoreless inning Monday for the Quakes. In seven appearances spanning 6 2/3 innings in May, Guerrier allowed two runs.

To make room for Guerrier on the active roster, Josh Wall was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. The right hander was 1-0 with an 11.57 ERA in three games.

To make room for Guerrier on the 40-man roster, Dee Gordon was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Gordon, who hasn’t played since tearing a ligament in his right thumb July 5, will be eligible to return on Sept. 3.

Ted Lilly’s next rehab start is in jeopardy; Billingsley’s outlook hazy.

Ted Lilly and Matt Guerrier were scheduled to continue their rehab assignments by pitching tomorrow and Wednesday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Lilly’s outing is in jeopardy, however, after manager Don Mattingly said the left-handed pitcher “didn’t look real good” after a workout Sunday morning.

“I’m thinking Teddy’s not going to make his start,” Mattingly said. “He felt something … I think in his back or something.”

Lilly’s rehabilitation has been up and down. Initially bothered by elbow stiffness, he didn’t face live hitters in a game between May 23 and a July 29 rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. After a brief setback, Lilly tossed one inning for the Quakes on Aug. 14 and two more innings two days later.

He hasn’t faced live hitting since, so if Lilly is able to return to the Dodgers before the end of the season, it will be out of the bullpen.
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Injury updates on Guerrier, Rivera.

A couple notes and quotes that won’t make it to print in their entirety …

Matt Guerrier was in the Dodger clubhouse but out of uniform Tuesday night after an MRI earlier in the day revealed no ligament damage in his right elbow. He was diagnosed with tendinitis and placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19.

“For a little bit I thought I was getting back into it, so I pitched through it hoping it would get better,” he said.

By the end of spring training, he added, the injury “was really minor at that point. I was hoping it would work its way out. It didn’t.”

Guerrier confirmed that he would have been available to pitch in an emergency situation Monday night against the Atlanta Braves. But with his recovery period from each outing taking longer than expected, Guerrier agreed it was best to rest.

“You start to put other guys in tough positions in the ‘pen when every day after I pitch I need a day off,” he said.

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Brewers 9, Dodgers 4; Dodgers 6, Cubs 3.

Tempers flared in a loss to the Brewers in Glendale, and the Dodgers rapped out 11 hits to beat the Cubs in Mesa, in the team’s final day of split-squad action in spring training.

Both benches were warned in the sixth inning of a 9-4 loss to Milwaukee after Dodgers starter Chris Capuano threw a pitch behind Ryan Braun. That followed a series of hit batters –one (Norichika Aoki) by Capuano and two (Jerry Hairston Jr. and Juan Rivera) by Milwaukee pitchers earlier in the game.

That was the end of the drama, however, and the Brewers scored eight runs over the final three innings to erase a 4-2 deficit.

Capuano allowed two hits, one (earned) run on a solo shot by Braun, walked one and struck out seven in six innings. His Cactus League ERA stands at 2.75. Matt Guerrier relieved him in the seventh inning and gave up a 3-run home run to the first batter he faced, Brooks Conrad, in his first game since March 11.

Guerrier was actually pitching his third game in five days, including minor-league games, and afterward declared himself free of any back pain and healthy to start the season.

“As far as I am concerned, (the injury) was over a week ago,” he said.

The Brewers’ Carlos Gomez hit a three-run home run off losing pitcher Jamey Wright in the seventh inning. Todd Coffey gave up three hits and four runs — none earned, thanks to a Jake Lemmerman error –in two-thirds of an inning. His spring ERA ballooned to 7.71.

Andre Ethier doubled and homered in four at-bats, giving him 15 extra-base hits among his 18 this spring.
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Dodgers 4, White Sox 3.

Jerry Sands‘ walk-off single drove in pinch-runner Elian Herrera in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Dodgers (11-8-4) to the win before 5,816 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Sands’ single was just his sixth hit in 38 Cactus League at-bats, and it came at a critical time as the roster is trimmed in advance of opening day.

“I’ve been feeling pretty brutal just trying to work on some things,” Sands said. “Changes here and there, just trying to get comfortable now after making some changes, all kinds of stuff. Just trying to get rhythm and timing after making changes is the hardest thing.

With two strikes against him, Sands lined a single into left field that Kosuke Fukudome could not field cleanly, allowing Herrera to score easily from second base. It was only the sixth hit by the Dodgers all afternoon, as starter Chad Billingsley allowed 11 hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work.

All of those hits were singles, however, and Chicago left nine runners on base. Billingsley also walked two and struck out five.

Dee Gordon stole two bases, giving him a major league-leading 10 this spring. Andre Ethier‘s fifth-inning double was his eighth, tying him for the major league lead with a pair of luminaries, Lorenzo Cain and Matt Carpenter.

A few more notes:

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Dodgers 5, Cubs 0.

Ted Lilly (1-1) threw three shutout innings and a four-run second inning lifted the Dodgers to their second shutout victory in three days before an announced crowd of 10,380 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Lilly allowed one hit, a single, and walked one in his second appearance of the spring.

“I treated this game more like a regular-season game. The only pitch I didn’t throw much or well is my slider,” Lilly said, adding that the slider was “ineffective” against his former team.

The Dodgers needed only seven hits. Two came off the bat of Trent Oeltjen, including a hustle double on a routine grounder up the middle that made Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd look lazy. Matt Guerrier, Todd Coffey, Mike MacDougal, John Grabow, Alberto Castillo and Will Savage all threw scoreless innings out of the bullpen. None has allowed a run so far this spring.

Guerrier made it interesting by loading the bases in the fourth inning on three walks, but he got out of his own jam. After the game, manager Don Mattingly had nothing but praise for Guerrier: “Last year [the movement on his pitches] looked more side to side. This year it’s late,” Mattingly said.

As for the team’s 4-1-2 Cactus League record?

“Last year I’m saying that they don’t really matter and we’re losing,” the manager said, “and it’s the same this year.”

A few more notes:
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