Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World Series Game 2 Thread: Pumpkins vs. Crowns, 5p

Yordano Ventura (who cares) vs. Jake Peavy (who cares).

Enjoy, you masochists!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

World Series Game 1 Thread: NL West 2nd Place Finishers @ AL Central 2nd Place Finishers, 5p


James Shields (0-0, -.--) vs. Ashley Madison (0-0, -.--)

Whatever.

Really, how are Dodger fans supposed to be motivated to watch the third Giants World Series appearance in five years? What, are we supposed to cheer for the team in blue with the inept manager because it feels familiar? I guess. Not really that strong a motivator, given how we know in our heart of hearts that the baseball gods hate us, hate joy of any kind, and will OF COURSE allow the Giants to squash the feel-good story of the Royals.

At least if we don't watch, the streak of abysmal ratings for the Giants in the World Series will continue. There is a slight possibility there will be an uptick in ratings due to people tuning in to see if the Royals can go 12-0, but that would be immediately snuffed out by a Game 1 loss.

So yeah, we're still bitter. Maybe we'll hate-watch. Maybe we'll tune in to see if the "Ned Yost, Super Genius" story continues. Or maybe we'll just watch every Simpsons episode ever. I think I'll watch this one first:


Friday, October 17, 2014

Forgotten Los Angeles Stadiums


To get your mind off of this awful World Series matchup, CurbedLA had a nice piece on old, forgotten Los Angeles stadiums.  I didn't know that we had the first Wrigley Field! Hat tip to Mrs. Cora for finding this.

(cries)




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Walking Ned


Well, holy crap.



Ramona's got the full scoop HERE.

To recap: Andrew Friedman is the new President of Baseball Operations. He can hire a new GM. Ned falls up, to become Stan's...something. Donnie likely staying.

More later, after our heads are done exploding.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ryu Noodles Around

Hyun-Jin Ryu's now-legendary Ottogi Noodle commercial, featuring "lookalikes" of some of his Dodger teammates, has been making the rounds EVERYWHERE in the Dodger community. It's only fitting we preserve it here at SoSG as well.


The video is hilariously bizarre and deserving of all the attention. In addition to the video, friend-of-SoSG Sarah Wexler uncovered a link to some amazing behind-the-scenes photos of the commercial shoot. These photos reveal that both a Puig lookalike and a Uribe lookalike were hired for the shoot, but not used in the final commercial.
Hopefully, we'll see these two in an extended version soon. Though, there was word on Twitter that Uribe would be flying to Korea to appear in another commercial with his best buddy Ryu. That better not have been a joke.

I feel like this commercial and semi-baseless rumors about front office firings are the two things keeping Dodger fans afloat right now.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fan Ad-preciation Day

From today's LA Times' sports section:

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Post NLDS Game 4 Thread: There Is No God

CARDINALS 3, DODGERS 2

There is no god. Because even the most psychotically perverse deity would not have allowed what befell Clayton Kershaw in the seventh inning in Game 4. Stoked by a lead again (2-0), and cruising to a one-hitter over the Cardinals, Kershaw inexplicably gave up a three-run HR to unlikely rotund hero Matt Adams. This time, unlike in Game 1, Kershaw wasn't just trying to overpower the Cardinals with fastballs. But this time, it was a hanging curveball which unraveled the Dodgers, and ultimately eliminated us from the 2014 postseason.

Brutal.

How inexplicable was this? So crazy, that ESPN's statistics department couldn't even add correctly:

Clearly, in giving 108%, Kershaw was short 2%.

Kershaw, obviously crestfallen and befuddled, admirably faced stupid questions from an insipid St. Louis press corps, and soldiered through post-game interviews with class and dignity that I suppose could only be expected from The Best Pitcher In Baseball:

"The season ended and I'm a big part of the reason why," Kershaw said. "It doesn't matter how I pitched. It's bad deja vu all over again. I felt we had a really good chance to win. I'm thankful we got here and hope to be back."

Looking at the photos of Kershaw walking off the mound in the seventh inning, my heart aches. He doesn't deserve this. And we Dodger fans don't deserve this either, what with the NL West-winning Dodgers going home, while the second-place retread Giants advancing to the NLCS, in a series where I don't want either team to win (in fact, I hope it goes seven games of 99 innings each, all of which with microscopic television ratings).

Manager Don Mattingly? Yeah, he deserves the vitriol, again doing a fine job managing the team through six innings, but finding himself at a loss beyond that. Mattingly also spent the morning getting crucified on Twitter for benching Yasiel Puig in favor of Andre Ethier (who went 0-for-2 with two walks, but was picked off third base to end the sixth inning in Puigian fashion, failing to dive back to the bag after considering coming home on a shallow passed ball). Ethier's performance was not worth the substitution. And Mattingly did end up putting Puig in later in Game 4, as a pinch runner of all things, which also makes no sense.

Dan Haren never entered the NLDS, even in relief. Not sure why we were saving him.

Ned Colletti sure as heck should be under consideration for blame, being allowed to play with the highest payroll in baseball, but neglecting to fortify a bullpen beyond a closer.

And there are fingers to be pointed at some of the members of the team. Hanley Ramirez, if he had any defensive skills, could have leapt for that second single that preceded the Adams HR. It would have been a double play had he caught it. Dee Gordon and Juan Uribe, both of whom were impressive this regular season, neglected to show up at the plate for most of this series.

But Kershaw, at the center of the storm? I've lost faith in everything at this point. But not him.

We'll get 'em next year, Clayton. We just have to clean some house around you first.

Now please excuse me, as I go get my Orioles and Royals gear on.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

NLDS Game 4 Thread: Oct. 7 @ Cards, 2p


Bracing for oblivion.

Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 10.80) vs. Shelby Miller (0-0, -.--)

*sigh* So, it comes down to this. The entire Dodgers season rests in the hands of Clayton Kershaw, the undisputed "Best Pitcher in Baseball Who Also Gets Knocked Around Inexplicably by the Cardinals in October"™. We stand one Cardinals win and one Giants win away from the most insufferable NLCS since the last one the Dodgers weren't in (which, coincidentally, featured the same two teams...barf). Times are grim.

But...somehow...there is hope.

Dad has hope...

Trusted SoSG associate Todd has hope...

Do the rest of us dare have hope? For me, the true crushing blow came in Game 1. I've been more or less numb since then. At his point, why not have hope? At the very least, let's have this damn thing decided in OUR house. Everything has come too easy for the Cards. Everything has gone their way. Make them work for it. And for Vin's sake, DON'T THROW STRIKES TO CARPENTER!

Oh, and somebody lock the bullpen gate.

GO KERSH!!! GO BLUE!!! GO...GET A DRINK*!!!

UPDATE: WELP.



*If you're somewhere you can drink at 2pm on a Tuesday.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Post-NLDS Game 3 Thread: Whatever Pitching Decision Don Mattingly Makes, It Is Inevitably Wrong

CARDINALS 3, DODGERS 1

At this stage, it's getting ridiculous. Mattingly leaves Clayton Kershaw in for Game 1, when the Cardinals are teeing off his fastball and Kershaw doesn't seem to want to throw anything else, even shaking Mattingly off the mound in the process. Wrong answer. And then in Game 1, he signals for Pedro Baez, who had entered a game with baserunners in only three of his 20 2014 appearances. Also, wrong answer. Then, for Game 2, Mattingly pulls Zack Greinke after seven shutout innings in Game 2, going to J.P. Howell. Wrong answer.

And tonight, Mattingly has Hyun-Jin Ryu plugging along through six solid innings and a 1-1 game, going this time to Scott Elbert, who had struck out both batters he faced in Game 1. Sure thing, right? Nope, wrong answer again; Elbert gives up a leadoff double to Yadier Molina, and then a home run to biblical scholar Kolten Wong, to put the Cards up 3-1 and put the Dodgers down 2-1 in the series. Arguably, Elbert was the wisest choice yet, given Ryu was at 94 pitches coming back from shoulder issues; Scott Van Slyke pinch-hit in the top of the seventh for Ryu, with none on and two out, and grounded to short. But in Mattingly's hands, in this NLDS, the Elbert decision could only go incredibly awry. Which it did.

Sure, we had a chance in the ninth inning with consecutive singles and one out off of Trevor Rosenthal. Cardinals manager Mike Metheny calmly came out when Rosenthal was down 2-0 in the count to Juan Uribe, delayed the game while calling for the grounds crew to apply a drying agent ("drying agent"? sort of like Lana Kane in Archer?) to the mound, and allowed his closer to catch his breath. Rosenthal then got Uribe and A.J. Ellis to fly out to right field, and end the game.

Mattingly has made regrettable pitching decisions in each of the three NLDS games. Metheny, on the other hand, has seemed to slow the game down when his team looks unwieldy. This contrast cannot be underlined more, as it's swinging the series.

You look up and down the two lineups, and with the exception of Matt Carpenter's torrid run and Juan Uribe's lack of jazz hands this series, we should be ahead in this series, not down 2-1. I'd like to think that, with Kershaw starting Game 4 and Greinke starting a possible Game 5, we have a shot at winning this series in five games.

That is, if baseball games were six innings long. At a full nine innings? We're bound to choose the wrong answer, again. That was easy.

NLDS Game 3 Thread: Oct. 6 @ Cardinals, 6p

So much this.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-7, 3.38) vs. John Lackey (14-10, 3.82).

The series shifts to Busch Stadium, home of those Best Fans in Baseball. The Dodgers turn to Ryu, coming off of three weeks of rest for an irritated shoulder. Mattingly has said that Dan Haren is waiting in the wings should Ryu falter early, which would almost certainly trigger Kershaw on three days' rest for Game 4. So in other words: I just want to tell you good luck, Hyun-Jin. We're all counting on you.

Offensively, well, just look at the picture above. The Dodgers have piled on 24 hits in two games so far, A.J. is 5 for 8, and only Uribe has yet to contribute at the plate. And as we noted earlier, this Dodger team is a bunch of road warriors, for whatever reason. I know regular-season success hasn't been much of a postseason predictor (hello, Angels), so it's time for the Dodgers to change the narrative. I don't know exactly what that means, but it feels like it needed to be said. GO BLUE!

Sharp Dressed Men

Matt Kemp Is A Player.

I love the outfit that NLDS Game 2 hero Matt Kemp wore to the post-game press conference.

It's chill, man. Kemp has got this NLDS thing under control.

Mind Games

Through two games, the Cardinals have been pretty effective at getting into Yasiel Puig's head, to distract him:

ST. LOUIS -- Asked how an opponent should best deal with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, one scout said, "Get into his head."

The Cardinals seem to have the same game plan in the best-of-five National League Division Series that resumes Monday with the teams tied at one win apiece.

The Dodgers' must-see outfielder already has had two dustups with the Cardinals involving catcher Yadier Molina. That has been followed by strikeouts in Puig's last five at-bats.

It's easy to connect the dots with Puig, who plays with unbridled emotion and flair to the delight of fans. But opponents get irritated with his antics and the Cardinals seem intent on irritating Puig right back. Irritated players can lose their cool and make big mistakes. The Dodgers can see where this is going. [...]

"A day off like today is the time we all talk to Yasiel, tell him to take a step back, think about what has happened, that they're doing this to get to you," Mattingly said.

"This is where you want to simplify it," he added. "Just play baseball, get a good pitch to hit, hit it hard. When we talk about preparation, we are asking to be prepared for the big moment, to program it in your mind. The mind is a computer and you program it. You're ready to handle the noise here [at Busch Stadium], you're ready for the big moment, to hit the right pitch, throw to the right base, play the scoreboard, all because you've prepared mentally.

"Last year's [playoff experience] should help him, the All-Star Game, too. Those are emotional times, but it's still baseball. Bring it back to the simple things."

My guess is that the St. Louis fans are going to razz Puig early and often. And I have this feeling that Puig rises to the occasion, starting tonight. No more mind games, and no more headcase. Let's do this.

MLB Conspiracy Theorists, Take Note

From the LA Times, the Dodgers' Game 2 broke television records:

Ratings record

The Dodgers' Game 2 victory over the Cardinals was the most-watched and highest-rated program in the history of MLB Network. The telecast drew 1.8 million viewers and a 1.7 coverage rating, according to Major League Baseball. The viewership peaked at 2.2 million viewers from 9:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. PDT.

Meanwhile, guess which two World Series have the lowest overall ratings of all time? That's right, 2010 and 2012, when no one cared (nor watched).

Take note, MLB.

Game 3 (And A Bit More): NLDS ZIPS Preview

I found this late, but Jim Bowden and Dan Szymborski at ESPN.com did a preview of the Dodgers-Cardinals NLDS series before it started. Their simulations on the starting pitching matchup gave Game 1 to the Dodgers (wrong!) and Game 2 to the Dodgers (correct!). Here's what they predict for Game 3, not to mention their other ratings and scenario-based predictions for the series outcome (link insider only):

Game 3 starters: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. John Lackey. Ryu hasn't pitched since Sept. 12 because of a shoulder injury but was cleared to start Game 3 after successfully throwing a simulated game Wednesday. The lefty's two primary assets are his ability to hit the corners and his deadly down-and-away changeup that he uses most often against right-handed hitters. ... The Cardinals traded for Lackey in large part because of his playoff experience and success. Simply put, the Cardinals are hoping that Lackey pitches as well for them as he did last year against them in the World Series. Lackey finished the season with two strong starts against the Reds and Cubs, which no doubt helped him earn the Game 3 start. Between his postseason experience and Ryu's three-week layoff, the edge goes to St. Louis here. Edge: Cardinals.

Lineup: The Dodgers have a significant advantage here. Not only do they have a balanced and complete lineup, but all the key options are healthy again. Plus, they're hot, particularly Matt Kemp, who was the NL player of the month for September and looks like the hitter who was second in the NL MVP voting in 2011. ... The Cardinals were 29th in the majors in home runs and 28th in the league in stolen bases. The Cardinals need to win this series with pitching and defense, because they won't out-hit the Dodgers. Edge: Dodgers.

Bullpen: The Dodgers have the advantage at closer with Kenley Jansen, who is coming off another stellar season. The Cardinals, however, have a much deeper bullpen, including many different looks in terms of arm angles, repertoire and release points. Closer Trevor Rosenthal has a 98-99 mph fastball with a devastating changeup and an underrated curveball, Pat Neshek was one of the league's best eighth-inning relievers with his low three-quarters arm angle, Seth Maness has one of the best sinkers in the league, Randy Choate can still get lefties out and Carlos Martinez is another flamethrower. Sam Freeman came on late and also could be a factor. The rest of the Dodgers' right-handed bullpen have the names, including Brian Wilson to Chris Perez, but they have had a lot of inconsistency in terms of stuff and results this season. They are, however, strong from the left side with J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez. The Dodgers have the advantage in the ninth, but the Cardinals have the overall better bullpen. Edge: Cardinals.

Team defense: The Cardinals led the National League in runs saved and are an improved defensive team from last year. Matt Carpenter has more range than David Freese did last year, Jhonny Peralta makes routine plays better than Pete Kozma did, while both Matt Adams and Jon Jay are better than they were a year ago. The Cardinals had the fourth-fewest errors in the NL, and using the exaggerated defensive shift almost three times more than they did in 2013 has helped them. The Dodgers have an above-average defense on the right side of the infield, but they're below-average on the left side. The Dodgers' outfield has above-average range, and while Yasiel Puig is not a pure center fielder, he makes up for it with a passion to get to every ball and a rifle of an arm. The Cardinals have the best defensive catcher in baseball in Yadier Molina, but don't underestimate A.J. Ellis, who is one of the best catchers in the majors at calling a game. Edge: Cardinals.

Bowden's series prediction: Dodgers just have too much for the Cardinals; they win in five games. [...]

  • Game 3 in St. Louis (Ryu vs. Lackey): Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2. The Cardinals have a 54.1 percent chance of winning this home game.
  • Game 4 in St. Louis, if necessary (Dan Haren vs. Shelby Miller): Cardinals 5, Dodgers 4. The Cardinals have a healthy 62.8 percent chance of winning.
  • Game 5 in Los Angeles, if necessary (Wainwright vs. Kershaw): Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1. Just like in Game 1, the Dodgers have a 66.4 percent chance of winning.

Series recap: The Dodgers-Cardinals matchup projects as the most even pairing of the four divisional series entering Game 1. Adam Wainwright is a terrific pitcher, but there's literally nobody in the playoffs who's in Clayton Kershaw's class this year. The home team is favored by the projections in every game -- Hyun-Jin Ryu isn't the pitcher he was in 2013 and Dan Haren really pitches like a fourth starter -- but Kershaw and an extra home game are enough to give the Dodgers a slight edge.

ZiPS' series result percentages:

  • Dodgers in 3: 15.5 percent
  • Dodgers in 4: 15.3 percent
  • Dodgers in 5: 25.7 percent
  • Cardinals in 3: 13.0 percent
  • Cardinals in 4: 21.6 percent
  • Cardinals in 5: 9.0 percent

Overall series odds: Dodgers 56.5 percent, Cardinals 43.5 percent.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Cardinals So Confident, Already Taking Day Off

No workout for St. Louis on the eve of NLDS Game 3:

ST. LOUIS -- After flying through the night and touching down in St. Louis around 6 a.m. CT on Sunday, most Cardinals players and staff members stayed away from Busch Stadium on the team's off-day.

While it is customary for teams to hold a workout on non-game days during a postseason series, manager Mike Matheny urged everyone to stay home, sleep and re-energize before Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Monday (8 or 8:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1). The only obligations the club had on the off-day was to make Matheny and Game 3 starter John Lackey available during afternoon news conferences.

"Hopefully they're getting a good sleep today and getting ready for tomorrow," Matheny said. "Put that [Game 2 loss] behind us and realize we've got a couple of great games here at home and watch our fan base here get excited about us being back here."

Still pending confirmation to the rumor that Don Mattingly is having his team run stadium steps on Monday.

Scoreboard Watching: ALDS Game Thread (October 5, 2014)

Big As (not the Athletics, though), and Os, today.

Sorry this is so late! I'm emotionally wrought after our first two games.

Orioles are already playing against the Tigers in the early game. Orioles up 2-0, bottom 7, in Detroit. Baltimore is up 2-0 in the series, so Detroit needs a comeback here to stay alive.

Later tonight, Angels @ Kansas City. C.J. Wilson (13-10, 4.51) vs. James Shields (14-8, 3.21). Kansas City is crazily hot and the Angels need a win on the road to keep going.

You Guys Had Better Be Right

Especially you, Jim Bowden, David Schoenfield, and Jayson Stark.

screenshot taken from ESPN.com

Post-NLDS Game 2 Thread: Rekemption

DODGERS 3, CARDINALS 2

Matt Kemp and Zack Greinke gave us permission to exhale on Saturday night, injecting the Dodgers with a burst of hope by preventing a repeat of a catastrophic Game 1. For Kemp, who hit what would be the game-winning home run in the eighth inning, it was a triumphant high point following two years of rehab and rebuilding after his fateful collision with the Coors Field outfield wall in 2012.

Greinke performed masterfully, settling the frayed nerves of a pitching staff that surrendered 10 runs in Game 1. He pitched seven shutout innings, striking out seven and going 2 for 3 at the plate with a run scored in the third. A.J. stayed hot by starting the inning with a double, followed by a single by Greinke. Dee hit an RBI grounder and Greinke moved to second thanks to Mattingly's successful challenge of Kolten Wong's misplay. After a Puig strikeout (he went 0 for 4), AGon knocked Greinke in.

And that was it until the eighth, when Mattingly replaced Greinke with J.P. Howell, having already gotten lucky by extending Greinke through the seventh. Howell promptly gave up a single then a home run to that motherfucker Matt Carpenter, the score was tied, and Dodger fans were reliving the nightmare.

But Kemp rewrote the ending on the fourth pitch from Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek, Kenley came in for a much-needed 1-2-3 save, and this series is tied 1-1.

Breathe. In. Out. Game 3 is Monday in St. Louis and the Dodgers have a 49-32 road record this year. Breathe. In. Out.