Thursday, May 31, 2007

Giants Trade Mr. Meltdown for Messenger

Giants trade Benitez to Marlins (

Game 53 Thread: May 31 @ Nationals, 4.05p

Dodgers start Mark Hendrickson, LHP (2-2, 3.62) vs. Micah Bowie, LHP (1-2, 3.91).

Dodgers: 31-21 (1st place NL West, 0.5 GA, W3)
Nationals: 21-32 (5th/last place NL East, 13.0 GB, L2)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Hendrickson dug himself a hole early against the Cubs on Saturday, allowing back-to-back homers to Aramis Ramirez and Mark DeRosain the second inning. His seven home runs allowed leads Dodgers pitchers. The Cubs scored two more in the fourth on four soft hits. Hendrickson is winless in his past four starts with a 6.86 ERA.

Nationals: Bowie will face the Dodgers for the third time in his career. On Friday, Bowie pitched five innings and gave up two runs on four hits against the Cardinals. Bowie was able to pick up his first win as a starter since Sept. 23, 1999, when he was with the Cubs. It was his first overall victory since 2002, when he was a member of the Athletics.


  • The Dodgers' streak of 21 straight scoreless innings will likely come to a "Screech"-ing halt tonight (get it? Shout out to the Nationals' mascot!) with Lurch on the hill for the Blue. As pitching will be under fire (Dmitri Young is 5-for-8 with a homer career vs. Hendrickson), we will likely need another five- or ten-run outburst to collect the sweep, before catching the late flight to Pittsburgh for the four-game series at PNC Park. A cursory review (and I may be wrong on this!) says we are 24-3 this year when the Dodgers score first.
  • 10 games over .500 is pretty darn impressive, as the Dodgers attained this milestone for the first time this season.
  • Update 12.51p: is already hedging its bets against Lurch, with the headline for today's game preview: "Tough act to follow for Hendrickson in finale". Way to keep the expectations low...

UPDATE, 2.47p:

From T-Jax, the lineup:

SS Furcal
CF Pierre
1B Nomar
2B Kent
LF Gonzo
C Martin
3B LaRoche
RF Ethier
LH Hendrickson

A-Rod and "The More You Know"

From the New York Daily News (hat tip, Baseball Musings), some more great comedy about A-Rod's recent date with a Toronto stripper:

In New York, A-Rod used to be a regular at the VIP Club, where he always asked for a dancer who performs under the stage name Monique.

Monique is 5-feet-5 with brown hair and brown eyes and has a well-toned, muscular figure, a pal said.

When the stripper jumped over to the Hustler Club, Rodriguez started going there to see her perform and buy sexy lap dances, a source said. He even took her out for a pricey shopping spree at the Versace store on Fifth Ave., the source said.

...which provoked this comment from "mikeski" over at Baseball Musings:

I didn't realize that you had to specify that you want sexy lap dances.

The More You Know.

You know, they should do a NBC PSA on this topic on Saturday mornings. Good idea! (They may also want to do a PSA on how a $252M salary should probably give one the financial flexibility to have strippers come to one's room, saving one from the embarrassment of the paparazzi pictures. Hypothetically speaking, of course.)

As A-Rod said to the Blue Jays yesterday, "HA!"


Hi, Orel here. Just had to add this tidbit from Deadspin:

Meanwhile, the Daily News, scooped on the "story" yesterday, more than makes up for it today, with an extended piece just full of drippy goodness. ("A petite stripper at the Hustler Club said A-Rod 'likes the she-male, muscular type. They brought me up to the champagne room one time. I spun around once and that was it. I'm not his type.'" We have to tell you, folks: "A-Rod likes the she-male, muscular type" might be the best sentence an American newspaper has printed since "Holy Shit! Man Walks On Fucking Moon!")

Blue (Home) Plate Special

From "Teammates tell why Martin's special" by Ken Rosenthal at

[Russell] Martin has played in 47 of the Dodgers' 52 games this season, tied with the Marlins' Miguel Olivo for the most among major-league catchers. After joining the Dodgers on May 5 of last season, he caught 117 games, second in the majors during that span to the A's Jason Kendall, who caught 118.

Dodgers outfielder Luis Gonzalez, who joined the team after leaving the Diamondbacks as a free agent last off-season, recalls playing an extra-inning game against the Dodgers last season and seeing Martin back behind the plate the next day.

"Most catchers would have taken the day off," Gonzalez says. "I remember going to the plate. I go, "Hey, you don't get a day off?" And he goes, "I don't like days off." Right there, I just kind of admired the fact that this guy wants to play. He's a Canadian kid. I swear, I think he plays with that hockey mentality."

Adds Dodgers third base coach Rich Donnelly, "I don't know where he gets the energy. Catchers aren't supposed to have that much energy. Usually a catcher who catches five days in a row will get a little tired. This guy here, as soon as he puts that equipment on, he's energized again.

"(Manager) Grady (Little) talks to him a lot. Usually when a manager talks to a guy a lot, he's trying to get him to play a little harder. But when Grady talks to him, it's, "When I give you a day off in 10 days, is that OK?"

SoSG hearts Russell Martin! VOIX POUR LE RUSSELL!


I'd write about a comparable baseball tie-in, but I can't think of any as mind numbingly awful as the Dunkin' Donuts / Mets crossover. Special prize to anyone who can sit through all 3:40!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Schmidt Shuts Down Cucamonga Quakes

Good news on Jason Schmidt's rehab start for the Inland Empire 66ers today, as Schmidt picthed six innings of shutout ball:

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jason Schmidt worked six shutout innings Wednesday in a rehabilitation assignment for the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League.

The 34-year-old right-hander, sidelined since the middle of April with shoulder inflammation, allowed two hits while walking one and striking out seven in the 66ers' 2-1 victory over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. The game was scoreless when Schmidt left.

Schmidt, who signed a three-year, $47 million contract during the offseason, threw 71 pitches -- 51 for strikes. He is 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA in three starts this year.

Tony Jackson's ITD blog posted that Schmidt's velocity was still down from last year, topping out at 92. This is still a concern:

The only question is whether he is ready to return now.

"I think there is some possibility, but it's too premature for us to say that strongly," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who was at the game in San Bernardino along with trainer Stan Conte. "But I wouldn't rule it out, either." Schmidt pitched six shoutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out seven. But his velocity, which was noticeably down even before he went onto the disabled list April 17 with bursitis in his shoulder, still wasn't where it historically has been. His 71 pitches consistently fell between 88-91 mph and topped out at 92.

Not that anyone is terribly alarmed by that.

"You can pitch and be successful at 88-91," Colletti said. "He can command four pitches. He might have to change the eye level and change the bat speed. But it's not like he has always been a power pitcher who lives and dies with one pitch." Schmidt will throw a side session on Friday, probably with the major-league team in Pittsburgh, after which there should be a much clearer picture of what happens next. He could make another start for Inland Empire, or he could make another start with a higher Dodgers affiliate, or he could return to the Dodgers' starting rotation sometime in the next week.

Manager Grady Little seemed to dismiss that notion. "I think he'll have to build up to a certain point before he takes the rubber for us," Little said. "That is just my personal opinion, but we'll talk about it."

Stay tuned.

Game 52 Thread: May 30 @ Nationals, 4.05p

Dodgers start Derek Lowe, RHP (4-5, 3.64) vs. Mike Bacsik, LHP (1-0, 1.98).

Dodgers: 30-21 (1st place NL West, 0.5 GA, W2)
Nationals: 21-31 (5th/last place NL East, 13.0 GB, L1)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Lowe pitched one of his better games of the season, allowing one run over six innings, but the bullpen squandered a four-run lead and cost him a deserved victory. His three walks swelled his pitch count and contributed to an early departure after having thrown two complete games in his previous three starts.

Nationals: Bacsik is making a case to the Nationals, the same team that cut him last spring, to keep him around in 2007. After allowing no runs in his first start, the lefty battled for a win against Cincinnati on Thursday, going 7 2/3 frames while giving up three runs on seven hits. It was his first win the Majors since 2004.


  • Who are these guys? Yesterday's 10-run outburst marked the fourth time this year that the usually moribund offense opened up for double-digit runs. To be fair, all four 10-run games have come against last-place teams (Cincinnati, San Francisco, and Washington), with the exception of Pittsburgh, who is five games under .500. The point is, these are games we're supposed to win, and having Brad Penny on the mound, Juan Pierre with a career day, and Luis Gonzalez with a home run definitely help. Now if we can just get Jeff Kent to stop swinging at the first pitch, we might surpass 10 runs.
  • 18,483 fans turned out to RFK last night to see the Dodgers, which marks the lowest attendance this year to see the Dodgers (home and away), save the series with the Florida Marlins. When it looks empty and cavernous on the highlight reels, you can understand why. Let's hope they can get better crowds next year when they open up their new Nationals Ballpark, which does look sweet. In the meantime, props to the Nats for their tagline "Pledge Your Allegiance," though it is awful difficult to do so when your team is 13 games out in May. It might help their attendance if their promotional schedule didn't reek of lameness, with bobbleheads of past US Presidents (including "Tom" Jefferson, since apparently we are on an informal basis) rather than Nationals players. Matt Chico and Nook Logan must be pretty bummed out.

We May Not Have a Power Bat, But At Least We've Got a Closer

Witness the rancor from Giants fans in the San Francisco Comical, lamenting the two balks and one monumental blown save last night by their closer, Armando Benitez, versus the Mets. Some of the highlights:

It is arrogant to allow Benitez to continue in the closer roll [sic] and the Giants should make every attempt to off him to anyplace that they can get something for him.

Let's be clear, o educated Giant fan: Benitez may be continuing with the dinner rolls, but I'm not sure what "closer roll" to which you are referring.

Blownitez...what else can you expect? It's not the blown saves, closers blow saves, it's the "never his fault" attitude and lack of intensity in big game situations. Most guys try a little harder against their former team...not our Blownitez.

"Blownitez"--now that's a good one.

What can be said? The Giants are a sad excuse for a professional baseball team. What do they have? Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Noah Lowry, Barry Zito, Benji Molina and that's about it. Bonds? Not hardly - a $15 million dollar part-time player, who's batting under .200 for the month of May. Let him go chase Aaron and rest his 43 year old legs some where else. Aurilia? Nope - when was the last time he got a hit that mattered? Feliz? Not in this lifetime. Durham? Come on - yet another injury. Winn? Just about due for another prolonged slump. Relief pitchers? Not much in the cupboard there. Be honest - what thoughts go through your mind on those rare occasions that a reliever enters the game with the Giants in front? Benitez? This guy not only needs to go - he has to go - eat his contract and get rid of him - release him if that's the only alternative. The face of the this is Lincecum, Cain, Lowry, and Zito - that's it.

Actually, I like Lincecum from what I've seen so far, and Cain definitely has promise. SF overpaid for Zito, but to be fair at least he is pitching now unlike Schmidt. And you know what I think of Bonds.

Kobe, It could be worse...

Dear Kobe - While things look pretty bad for you right now (selling out your teammates, adopted city, and the management who gave you millions), it could always get worse! Like A-Rod, your adulterous affair could be splashed all over the newspapers, talk radio and the internet...oh wait, er .... I guess that already happened? Okay, Okay, I was wrong ... it probably can't get much worse, you selfish, immature, ungrateful, egocentric jerk. It's not the name on the back of the jersey that matters, it's the name on the front. Hope you like Memphis. Get the f*ck out. With love, Pedro.

Lakers Falling Apart

Bryant asks for trade, says Buss masterminded trading O'Neal (

Buss also booked for driving with BAC of 0.08 or higher (AP/

Vote For Russell! Voix Pour Le Russell!

For once, I agree with the propaganda posting that is Inside the Dodgers (MLB). Russell Martin deserves to go to the 2007 All-Star Game. And we need to get him there.

Here are the results of All-Star Game voting, as of 5/29/07 (first release of votes):

  • 1. Lo Duca, P., Mets, 339,527
  • 2. McCann, B., Braves, 288,491
  • 3. Estrada, J., Brewers, 255,884
  • 4. Martin, R., Dodgers, 198,914

Now, I'm not a Paulie-hater. But we gotta get Russell up to fill that 90K-vote gap to at least slot in at second place. For pete's sake, that guy is throwing himself over fences for our team (see the last two paragraphs in the story). The least we can do is vote him in.

Voix Pour Le Russell is now the #2 campaign of SoSG, right behind FREE JAMES LONEY (would that sound as good in French?)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Erin Andrews Pulls Hidden Kiss Trick on Frustrated Cameraman


ESPN reporter Erin Andrews showed up on the Shea scoreboard Kiss Cam. She obliged, kissing her hand and planting it on her cameraman's cheek.

To Erin Andrews: That was cold. To the cameraman: Well, bribing the Kiss Cam operator didn't work. Any more bright ideas?


A play-by-play description from The 10 Spot Blog By Pete McEntegart at

The camera seems to find ESPN's Erin Andrews even when she's not on the air. Shea's KissCam zeroed in on her and a male co-worker during one between-inning break, but Ms. Andrews wasn't having it. She kissed her palm and placed it on his cheek. That wasn't enough for the co-worker, who playfully moved in for a smooch on the cheek while Andrews wriggled like a fish. Who says you get a better view at home?

Post-Game 51 Thread: Slappy Has A Field Day (Dodgers 10, Nationals 0)

One game after a miserable 0-for-4 performance with four fly outs (albeit also with the winning RBI through a HBP), Juan "Slappy" Pierre busted out an uncommon whupping stick to lead the Dodgers to victory over the Nationals, 10-0. Brad Penny's 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball helped--he lowered his ERA to 2.06, trailing only Jake Peavy in the National League--but Pierre was on fire today, going 4-for-5 day that included FOUR extra base hits. Pierre had only 5 doubles and 1 triple all season, but added three doubles and a triple tonight--and would have had a couple of the doubles turn into triples had he not abutted Penny lumbering around the bases in front of him.

Since we ripped Pierre yesterday for his awful line, it's only fair to recount his at bats tonight:

  • First inning, triple to deep right. Scores run on Garciaparra single.
  • Third inning, double to right center, scoring Abreu. Picked off second base.
  • Fifth inning, double to deep right, advancing Penny to third.
  • Seventh inning, double to left, advancing Penny to third. Scores on Garciaparra's fielders choice + error by 3B Zimmerman.
  • Eighth inning, fly out to center with a man on second.

4 H (3 2B, 1 3B), 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB, .286 BA. Not too shabby from the man with the puffy kneecap...

In other news:

  • Brad Penny's 2-for-2 night has him batting .273, almost 100 points ahead of Wilson Betemit.
  • Luis Gonzalez' three-run HR gives him six HRs on the year.
  • The Dodgers' six-run seventh inning probably made the Morongo Casino folks very nervous, given their "seven runs in the seventh" giveaway. The Dodgers fell one scant run short of an award for some lucky fan.

Armando Benitez Balked Twice in One Inning

...including balking in the tying run.

Game 51 Thread: May 29 @ Nationals, 4.05p

Dodgers start Brad Penny, RHP (6-1, 2.26) vs. Jason Simontacchi, RHP (2-2, 4.37).

Dodgers: 29-21 (T-1st place NL West (with SD), W1)
Nationals: 21-30 (5th place NL East, 12.0 GB, W1)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Penny picked up his sixth win of the season Wednesday against the Brewers, allowing just three hits while striking out four over seven innings for the win. The victory ties him for second in the NL, with eight others -- including teammate Randy Wolf -- and his 2.26 ERA ranks third in the Majors. Penny is 11-5 with a 2.33 ERA in 18 career starts against the Nationals.

Nationals: Simontacchi allowed just one run over 5 1/3 innings in Washington's 12-7 win over the Reds on Wednesday at Cincinnati. The win was his first on the road as a starter since June 18, 2003, for St. Louis at Milwaukee. The three walks he allowed to the Reds were a season high. His fifth start of the season will be just the second appearance of his career against Los Angeles.

UPDATE, 3.55p:

From T-Jax, the lineup:

CF Pierre -- .343 lifetime avg. vs. Nats
SS Furcal -- 14gm hit streak
1B Nomar
2B Kent
LF Gonzo
C Martin -- one of six ML catchers batting .300 or better
RF Ethier
3B Abreu
RH Penny


From "Love Letter to the L.A. Dodgers" by Kate Sullivan at the LA Weekly:

My biggest problem is actually with Dodgers fans. As beautiful as they may look from the parking lot, they are an absolute mess up close. Firstly, stadium staff need to shoot on sight anyone with a beach ball. Fans trying to start a wave should be forced to watch the remainder of the game in their underpants. Fans trying to perform a wave during tense late-innings moments should be lined up and tickled by the bullpen, then banished for the remainder of the season. Fans trying to start a chant that includes the word “suck” should be lightly beaten about the head and shoulders, and reminded that a truly great team doesn’t need to insult anyone else.

Except for that tickling part. Other than that we're cool.

(Thanks to SoSG commenter nelsondyer for the tip.)


Some commentary on the LA Weekly story about Scott Boras from Lion in Oil.

Pierre to Augment Uniform

Taking a page from Barry Bonds' book, Juan Pierre hopes to further augment his RBI totals by wearing a puffy kneepad on his left knee, starting with tonight's game against the Nationals.

Hey, whatever it takes, man.

Schmidt to Get Kicks with (Route) 66ers

From, Jason Schmidt will do a rehab start with the Inland Empire 66ers on Wednesday. This preempts a simulated game Schmidt was going to throw while traveling with the team to Washington, D.C. From a Dodger fan's perspective, this is either incredibly uplifting or incredibly frightening, or possibly a little bit of both.

WASHINGTON -- Because he's further along in his recovery from right shoulder problems than the club had previously indicated -- or because the need for his return to the starting rotation is now more pressing -- disabled pitcher Jason Schmidt's upcoming simulated game has been scrapped and he will proceed to a Minor League rehabilitation assignment with Class A Inland Empire, starting Wednesday.

Schmidt, disabled since April 15 with shoulder bursitis that robbed him of velocity, had an impressive bullpen simulated game May 20 in Anaheim and a bullpen session Tuesday at Dodger Stadium in which he threw harder than at any time as a Dodger.

He was scheduled to throw a simulated game against live hitters on Friday, but that was cancelled because he had the flu. He threw about 50 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday and manager Grady Little said Schmidt would make the trip to Washington and throw a simulated game during the week.

Instead, club officials announced Monday that Schmidt would pitch in San Bernardino on Wednesday against Rancho Cucamonga, in a game that begins at 11 a.m. PT. He will be accompanied by team trainer Stan Conte, who was Schmidt's trainer with the San Francisco Giants until both came to the Dodgers this year. Conte has not skipped any other Dodgers trip this year. No other explanation was given for the change in plans.

I think I'll have this sinking feeling in my stomach until Wednesday afternoon...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Post-Game 50 Thread: How Can Pierre Go 0-for-4 and Still Win The Game? (Dodgers 2, Cubs 1 (11))

A disgruntled (and justifably so) Cubs fan alerted me to Juan Pierre's line in the Sunday Dodgers-Cubs game, in which Pierre won the game in the bottom of the 11th with his bases-loaded hit-by-pitch (on the knee). To be fair, the ball looked like it bounced and then hit his knee, so Pierre's little quasi-kneel into the ball wasn't entirely lame. But it is funny that Pierre was the game winner after a line like this:

First inning, fly out to left.
Fourth inning, fly out to center.
Sixth inning, man on first, fly out to right.
Ninth inning, fly out to right.
11th inning, bases loaded, HBP. Ramon Martinez scores.

0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 LOB, 1 RBI (GW RBI).

I'm sure this was the kind of revenge Pierre was dreaming about inflicting on his former team. Dodgers 2, Cubs 1.

Barry Opts Not To Share, Instead Takes Bats and Goes Home

Barry Bonds has announced that all the mementos from his home run chase will be stockpiled with him, and potentially not offered to Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame. Said Barry, "I'm not worried about the Hall. I take care of me."

NEW YORK -- As Barry Bonds nears his record 756th home run, he's stockpiling quite a collection of souvenirs -- bats, balls, helmets and spikes, pieces of baseball history perfectly suited for the Hall of Fame. Whether he'll donate any of them to Cooperstown, however, is in doubt.

"I'm not worried about the Hall," the San Francisco slugger said during a recent homer drought. "I take care of me."

No wonder those at the museum are getting concerned, especially with Bonds only 10 homers shy of breaking Hank Aaron's career mark.

"There's uncertainty," Hall vice president Jeff Idelson acknowledged.

Around 35,000 artifacts are shown and stored at the shrine, and about a dozen pertain to Bonds.

There is a bat from his rookie year and cleats from him becoming the first player in the 400-homer/400-steal club. Unsolicited, he sent the bat and ball from his 2,000th hit. A batting practice bat from the 2002 World Series was the last thing Bonds provided.

"Doesn't everybody have the right to decide to do it or not do it?" he said last week.

The most prized items, the ones that fans would really want to see, are missing.

Two comments. First, it's not like he is hoarding them for a Barry Bonds Museum, since no one would attend. So it's clear that he's only doing this to sell the items down the line. His avarice knows no bounds.

Second, its is hilariously ironic that Bonds adds fuel to the movement to keep Bonds out of the Hall of Fame. Irrespective of his achievements on the field, if he doesn't want any of his stuff commemorated in the Hall, why should he be admitted to the Hall in the first place?

We're a Society Now?

From Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune:

Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is a member of the Free James Loney Society.

"He shouldn't be in Triple-A," Gonzalez said. "He should be traded or called up and given a chance to play every day."

When the Dodgers returned first baseman Loney to Triple-A to start this season, it raised the old development question: How much time in Triple-A does a prospect need? The answer, of course, is that it depends on the individual.

(Thanks to Dodger Thoughts poster "underdog" for the tip!)

Boffo vs. Da' Bums Week Four - Booty Time*

* The Dodgers Win! * The Dodgers Win!

Thanks to the pity and benevolence of the Delino, the Dodgers won a special handicapped match over Pirates 3 (not unlike how the late Andre the Giant used to battle multiple foes simultaneously). Though the Dodgers rallied valiantly for their (asterisk) weekend victory, the real reason they won rests firmly on Jack Sparrow's limp shoulders. Maybe America got sick of too many trilogies while Red Heat languishes sequel-less. After Shrek and Spidey, a $120 million weekend just seems a little ordinary, especially to a studio that spent $300 mill producing a three hour pirate flick.

Weekend Top movie Wkend gross ($MM) Dodgers’ runs scored Runs x 3.5 multiplier Wkend winner
May 4-6 SpiderMan3 $148.0 0,4,6 (10) $35.5 Spidey
May 11-13 SpiderMan3 $60 2,7,10 (19) $66.5 Dodgers
May 18-20 Shrek3 $122 1,2,1 (4) $14 Shrek
May 25* Pirates3 *$43 9,2,2(13) $45.5 *Dodgers

Good to see that Jack Sparrow doesn't got anything on Jeff Kent's still powerful bat.

The movie itself is surprisingly good, especially after the tedium and macro economic level complexity of Dead Man's Chest. Johnny Depp is still the buccaneer equivalent of a schmuck with a lampshade on his head, which he somehow pulls off BRILLIANTLY. Keira Knightley is much less annoying this go around and stays focused on what she's good at - being hot. The skeleton of Keith Richards shows up briefly, almost making up for 25 years of mediocre Stones albums. My one-time drinking buddy Geoffrey Rush adds some much needed Pirate accuracy, and Chow Yun-Fat is perfect in a role that Mickey Rooney would have played in the 60s. If you have three hours to kill (and if you're an avid baseball fan, then you know you do), Pirates 3 is not a bad way to stay indoors during a beautiful LA weekend. And with hangings, prostitutes, stabbings, and a man breaking off his frost-bitten toe, it's perfect family entertainment.

Combining a Newspaper's Two Best Sections

From 6-4-2:

Very enjoyable stuff. Keep it up, Rob!

Memorial Day - A Third of the Season Benchmark

Now that we're about to turn the calendar to June, I thought it might be a worthy exercise to take a look at the Dodgers' body of work through the first 50 games of the season. With the caveat that 50 games is still a relatively small sample, here's what the Boys in Blue have done thus far:
  1. Record. Presently, the Dodgers are 29-21, having scored 218 runs, while giving up 200. Based on Bill James' Pythagorean formula, that would roughly equate to a record of 27-23, so the Dodgers have outperformed what would normally be expected. Interestingly enough, the Dodgers have had several games thus far where they laid the wood on the opponent - a particularly satisfying result when the opponent is a hated rival. Of course, these things tend to even out over the course of a season (see, e.g., the recent series sweep by the Angels where the Dodgers were outscored 19-4). Even so, the Dodgers would appear to be fortunate to have banked a couple of wins beyond what would normally be expected. Interestingly enough, the Dodgers have a record of 20-3 when scoring 5 runs a game or more.
  2. Hitting. The Dodgers have been paced by Old Man Kent (.287/.369/.509), Russell Martin (.307/.387/.452), and, surprisingly, Older Man Luis Gonzalez (.275/.373/.419). Now, the sooner the Dodgers get past this silly "2 leadoff hitter" setup with Furcal and Pierre, the better off the Dodgers will be. The real issue will be how many times we have to watch Pierre feebly ground out and not-so-feebly kill rallies.
  3. Pitching. Of course, the other half of the equation is run prevention (while the Dodgers have allowed 200 runs thus far, the Padres, for example, have allowed a stingy 167). While the Penny (VORP of 21.9), Wolf (14.3) Lowe (9.5) troika has been solid thus far, the Hendrickson and Tomko experiences have been like that infamous brown acid at Woodstock. An equally pleasant surprise has been the Game Over v. 2.0 combination of Broxton and Saito. Let's give a proper tip of the LA cap to Trader Neddie and Grady for entrusting the back end of the bullpen to these two relatively cheap assets, rather than feel the need to rush out and buy a "Capital C on the Cape" Closer.
Part of the beauty of the baseball season stems from the long grind of the 162 game season. Buried within the data of innings pitched and plate appearances are 0 for 30 slumps or leads blown by the bullpen. At least we have some things worth watching. . .

AvB 8: Circus Rained Out; Bush Quick to Respond

Before the 2006 season, when then-Dodger Edwin Jackson took his Circus of Hanging Curveballs (known in Canada as 'Suck du Soleil') to Tampa Bay, he apparently didn't change his m.o.: suck early, and suck often. In the 16 months since, Jackson (0-6, 7.78 ERA) has aggressively established himself as the worst starter on both the Devil Rays and the Abes, and is a big reason why thusfar Abes vs Babes has been All Babes, No Abes.

So when Jackson's Week 8 start was rained out, allowing the Devil Rays to skip his turn in the rotation, it looked to be good news for the Abes. However, two other Abes starters - Milwaukee's Dave Bush and Oakland's Joe Kennedy - quickly stepped up to assume Jackson's role, each giving up 7 ERs in their respective starts.

This all meant another loss in Week 8 for the Abes, a week that nobody seemed to want to win - in fact, neither team notched a win. The Babes' Carl Crawford becomes the first 2-time recipient of the Player of the Week award with a solid but relatively modest week (0.571, 0HR, 4RBI, 1SB).

After a brief whiff of victory in Week 5, it looks like the Abes are back to their losing ways. They trail the Babes in cumulative Stat Categories 7-1 and Weeks Won 5-1-1. For the Abes' sake, let's hope someone named Pujols or Santana enters the '08 presidential race soon.

Here're the Scoreboards:

Week 8 Only:
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.263 0.283
Runs 20 17
HRs 2 3
RBIs 11 19
SBs 1 3
ERA 8.62 3.77
Wins 0 0
Saves 0 0
Ks 7 29
Total 1 6
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.251 0.268
Runs 187 164
HRs 26 32
RBIs 145 155
SBs 14 28
ERA 4.80 3.87
Wins 6 13
Saves 0 0
Ks 174 222
Total 1 7

And here are the full details on both the Abes' and Babes' pitchers:

Abes Pitchers:
Player President Team ERA Wins Saves Ks
Randy Johnson Andrew ARI 4.54 2 0 47
Tyler Johnson Andrew STL 1.08 0 0 11
Jim Johnson Andrew BAL 9.00 0 0 1
Joe Kennedy John F OAK 3.62 1 0 21
Edwin Jackson Andrew TB 7.78 0 0 31
CJ Wilson Woodrow TEX 2.16 0 0 17
Dave Bush George MIL 6.13 3 0 46
TOTAL 4.80 6 0 174

Babes Pitchers:
Player Maxim Girl Team ERA Wins Saves Ks
Trever Miller Sienna HOU 5.65 0 0 16
Wade Miller Sienna CHC 10.54 0 0 6
Andrew Miller Sienna DET 0.00 1 0 2
Justin Miller Sienna FLA 1.93 0 0 6
Jason Miller Sienna MIN 0.00 0 0 1
Joe Smith Kim NYM 1.25 1 0 25
Matt Smith Kim PHI 11.25 0 0 1
Anibal Sanchez Roselyn FLA 4.80 2 0 14
Jonathon Sanchez Roselyn SF 5.52 1 0 21
Ted Lilly Avangeline PHI 3.20 4 0 56
Heath Bell Katherine SD 1.20 0 0 34
Byung-Hyun Kim Yunjin FLA 7.02 2 0 11
Juan Cruz Penelope ARI 2.35 2 0 19
Sean Green Eva SEA 2.70 0 0 10
TOTAL 3.87 13 0 222

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Whatever Happened to That RF of Ours Last Year?

Well, he did get a key single on Sunday for the Red Sox. But overall, wrote Murray Chass in today's NY Times, JD Drew has been Coco Crisp-like in Boston:

Drew Is Struggling

Given their two-month record, best in the major leagues, the Boston Red Sox cannot be faulted for making too many mistakes. But unless J. D. Drew turns around his season soon, he will become this year’s Coco Crisp.

Needing to replace Johnny Damon in center field last year, the Red Sox thought they had found a suitable substitute in Crisp. But Crisp turned out not to be the same player he was for Cleveland the previous two years, when he batted .297 and .300 and had on-base percentages of .344 and .345. With Boston he hit .264 and had a .317 on-base percentage.

The Red Sox blamed Crisp’s poor performance on a finger injury he sustained in the first week of the season. But he has incurred no finger injury this season, and he began yesterday hitting .242 with a .308 on-base percentage.

Drew began yesterday with a .230 batting average and a .341 on-base percentage. But where Crisp’s production was creeping up, Drew’s was plunging. For the month of May, Drew had a .167 batting average and a .296 on-base percentage.

“He’s a good player,” Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein said. “He’s not hitting right now. He’s in a slump. It’ll come.”

Did the Red Sox expect more from Drew early in the season?

“He was real hot for a few weeks of the season,” Epstein said. “He’s been fighting a slump since. It’s just a matter of time. You don’t give up on guys who have good track records and are going to hit.”

And to whom you gave a $75 million contract.

If it is any consolation, Drew has been healthy. In his eight-year career he has never played as many as 110 games in successive seasons. He played 146 games for the Dodgers last season and played in 41 of Boston’s first 47 games this season.

By the way, Andre Ethier (whose pinch-hit home run gave the Dodgers the chance to beat the Cubs in extras Sunday) is batting .280 with 4 HR and 23 RBI this season. Drew is batting .234 and has 2 HR and 15 RBI so far. We do miss Drew's power bat, but maybe not as much as we thought we did.

Game 50 Thread: May 27 vs. Cubs, 1.10p

Dodgers start Randy Wolf, LHP (6-3, 3.75) vs. Rich Hill, LHP (4-4, 3.38).

Dodgers: 28-21 (T-1st place NL West, L1)
Cubs: 22-25 (2nd place NL Central, 5.0 GB, W1)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Wolf became the club's first six-game winner and exceeded his victory total for last season by beating the first-place Brewers, avenging an opening-week loss in Milwaukee. Wolf scattered only three hits over seven innings and both runs he allowed reached base via walks. He's 2-5 lifetime against the Cubs.

Cubs: Hill needs to turn the calendar, and quick. In April, the lefty was 3-1 with a 1.77 ERA. This month, he's 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA. In his last start against the Padres, Hill struck out eight but also gave up five runs on six hits and two walks -- and four of those hits were home runs. At least they were solo shots. It's just a matter of better location.

From Inside the Dodgers, the lineup:

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Martin, C
Kent, 2B
Saenz, 1B
Gonzo, LF
LaRoche, 3B
Clark, RF
Wolf, P

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Game 49 Thread: May 26 vs. Cubs, 12.55p

Dodgers start Mark Hendrickson, LHP (2-1, 3.22) vs. Carlos Zambrano, RHP (4-4, 5.61).

Dodgers: 28-20 (1st place NL West, 1.0 GA, W3)
Cubs: 21-25 (2nd place NL Central, 6.0 GB, L1)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Hendrickson didn't pitch as badly as it sounds, with five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but it was bad enough for his first loss of the season. He was done in by a three-run sixth inning, although only one of four consecutive hits was squarely struck. Nonetheless, after stepping in for Jason Schmidt with four starts in which he allowed no more than one earned run, he's been charged with seven over his past two starts.

Cubs: Zambrano is coming off a loss against the White Sox, yielding seven runs on six hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings. He seems to have his mechanics straightened out. Now, he needs to work on concentration.


  • Last night's victory came gift-wrapped by the Cubs in the eighth, after they pounded the Dodgers' bullpen for seven runs in the seventh. Grady Little's premature pull of Derek Lowe after six innings, pinch hitting Wilson Betemit in the bottom of the sixth (who walked, but did not contribute to scoring), led to a parade of Dodger relievers who got crushed in the seventh. After Joe Beimel, Yhency Brazoban, and Jonathan Broxton each gave up runs (1, 3, and 2 ER, (dis)respectively), we needed Rudy Seanez to stop the bleeding. A lucky outburst of four runs in the eighth--capped by former Cub Juan Pierre's sacrifice fly for the game-winning run--gave Takashi Saito a chance to come in and close the door. All in all, a crazy game, but one that we were lucky to walk away from with a win.
  • Today's game is the nationally televised game on Fox. Zambrano has been off this year and rumors are swirling that he may be hurt. Mark "Lurch" Hendrickson, on the other hand, has no rumors swirling around to deflect criticism of his performance. He's just bad. Let's hope he rises his NBA frame to the challenge this afternoon.
  • Make sure you wear the sunscreen today. It's gonna be hot.

UPDATE, 12.54p:

From Tony Jackson, the lineup:

Rafael Furcal is out with right knee stiffness. Doesn't sound serious. Here is the new lineup

CF Pierre
2B Abreu
1B Nomar
C Martin
LF Gonzo
3B Betemit
RF Ethier
SS Martinez
LH Hendrickson

Best Game Recap Ever

From 6-4-2 (click on comic for larger version):

Nice work, Rob!

Post-Game 48 Thread: Parking Still Ain't Easy (Dodgers 9, Cubs 8)

Dear Bill Plaschke:

Cubs fans travel. And they're everywhere. Which explains why last night's game, though far from a sellout at a 46,011 attendance, was full of energy on both sides as the stadium was pretty crowded with Cubs and Dodgers jerseys. And the atmosphere was great at the stadium, the teams scored a lot of runs to keep the crowd happy, and the evening was another beautiful one at the Ravine.

And then comes trying to exit the parking lot. Disaster. Parking lot attendants in the inner ring (we were in Lot G, directly behind the scoreboards) could not effectively merge cars from the lot into the inner ring, causing havoc for pedestrians and cars. It took 20 minutes to exit the stadium through the Golden State Freeway gate--not even the gate we would have liked to have used, but the nearest and ONLY option under the new McCourt system--despite the fact that the gate was far closer to us than the Sunset Gate through which we entered.

Once outside the stadium, navigating back leftward toward Echo Park was treacherous, and the traffic down Scott Avenue (now that the Scott Gate is opened for exiting on weekends as well) was bumper to bumper for another 10-15 minutes, before we could turn left on Echo Park.

Bill, you should get yourself out to one of the remaining two weekend games to experience this for yourself. The new system is on par with prior years. And it costs $5 more this year. That math doesn't add up.


  • 1 wins the hat shuffle.
  • Coca-Cola fan wins the trivia question.
  • Somebody stop the Universal marketing department before they submit the crowd to another painfully easy movie-related question ("In Jurassic Park, what were they cloning: dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, or [something else equally ludicrous that I can't remember]?"). It's insulting, and worse to watch Nomar have to read the stupid question in the first place.
  • Blue wins the dot race.
  • Five beers consumed, one dog. Plus nachos, two bags of peanuts, one bag of pumpkin seeds (brought in), and a handful of sunflower seeds (also brought in).

Friday, May 25, 2007

Teixeira Trade Talk

MLB Trade Rumors on the potential availability of Mark Teixeira via trade:

The Dodgers I see as a strong player. James Loney plus one of their top-rated starting pitching prospects and it's a done deal. I'm not sure Nomar can handle third base these days, but I don't see that problem preventing a trade.

Hey, when we said FREE JAMES LONEY, we didn't mean it like that. Although Loney is from Texas....

Also, a MLBTR blurb on Eric Gagne as another Ranger trade candidate.

Game 48 Thread: May 25 vs. Cubs, 7.40p

Dodgers start Derek Lowe, RHP (4-5, 3.84) vs. Ted Lilly, LHP (4-2, 2.69).

Dodgers: 27-20 (1st place NL West, 1.0 GA, W2)
Cubs: 21-24 (2nd place NL Central, 6.0 GB, W1)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Lowe suffered through an unlucky three-run fifth inning against the Angels in his most recent start. All five hits that inning were ground balls, three not leaving the infield, but it was enough to beat him. He leads the league in complete games, but both were losses as his club scored one run total on his behalf. He struck out six without a walk.

Cubs: Lilly hung on long enough for the win in his last start against the White Sox. The lefty gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out six. Lilly leads the National League in strikeout/walk ratio, fanning 54 while walking just 10. His start was pushed back because the Cubs didn't want to have their three lefty starters going back to back to back.


  • The series win over Milwaukee wasn't exactly dominating (one 3-2 victory, one 5-1 victory largely driven by a one-inning outburst), but we'll take it. So now we host the sub-.500 Cubbies, starting tonight with Lowe on the mound. Given Saturday we get the nationally televised game with Lurch on the mound, a win tonight from D-Lowe is the only way we will feel any shred of pride before America watches a whupping. Tonight is a critical game.
  • The Cubs lead the all-time head-to-head series, 1,005-1,004. And when Dodger fans' memories of 1988 seem ancient (they are), just compare that with Cubs' fans memories of 1908. Mr. Kurtz! The horror, the horror!
  • And tonight, SoSG will again be at the game, field level, third base side. You'll recognize us by the shirt we're wearing (trust us). Stop by and say hi!

UPDATE, 5.26p:

From Inside the Dodgers, the lineup:

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Nomar, 1B
Kent, 2B
Martin, C
Gonzo, LF
Abreu, 3B
Ethier, RF
Lowe, P

Happy Star Wars Day

Via Ain't It Cool News comes this sweet Vader tribute:

Nomar Under the Magnifying Glass

Our very own Alex Cora tipped us off to this article on, analyzing a small pin that Nomar wears on his left wristband.

Sure enough, it does look like a winged cherub or sprite, just like Nickerson said (or, if you squint a little, it resembles a miniature version of the Prometheus sculpture at New York's Rockefeller Center). By fairly remarkable coincidence, a winged cherub pin just happens to be what Manny Ramirez was wearing back on Opening Day of 2006, a bit of "Manny being Manny" accessorization that has never been satisfactorily explained. But now Manny's pin resonates in a whole new way: Could it have been a shout-out to his departed teammate Nomar? Or, given Manny's well-documented penchant for "borrowing" his teammates' gear (described in some detail here), maybe he was wearing one of Nomar's old pins?

Nope, and nope. Readers Justine DeCotis and George Ferrandi tipped Uni Watch wise to the real story: Nomar and Manny are wearing guardian angel pins. "They're the kind of things they carry on the counter at religious goods stores," explains Ferrandi (who ought to know, since she runs a religious statuary restoration business).... Hmmm, do players on the Angels wear guardian angels too?

If Nomar is protected by guardian angels, then why can't he play third base without fear of injury? After all, that move would FREE JAMES LONEY, right?

Boffo vs. Da' Bums Week Four Preview - Break Out the TEES!

After the Dodger got its (base)balls handed to them by Shrek and the first week of Spider-Man, the Delino has opted for this weekened to be a special handicapped match. Not that the Cubs pitchers pose that much of a threat. Carlos Zambrano is two un-quality starts from becoming that rare commodity in baseball - an overpaid pitcher. Though he showed some signs of life last week, let's hope the chunky hurler keeps the Dodgers bats busy. Rich Hill is some young pitcher who nobody except his mother knows about, so I'll assume the Dodgers will put up zeros against him. Then there's Ted Lilly, who provided the only recorded fight in all of Canada last season. He's been amazing this season, as if he doesn't know he's a .500 lifetime hurler. One or two swings of the bat, and the Dodgers can easily remind him.

No, the reason for breaking out the Tee's this weekend is answered in two words. Jack Sparrow!

Pirates 3 is opening, and by Tuesday, expect god to ask the producers for a loan. Given, the film has gotten panned. But that did not stop Shrek or Spider-Man for making money web over fist. So for the only time this summer, I (the Delino) will throw many an asterisk into the Boffo standings and compare the Dodgers weekend run tally to the most profitable single day for Pirates 3. That still poses a challenge for both sides. Prediction: On one sea leg, Pirates still takes the box office booty.

Sidebar: I was at the video store, trying to rent Pirates 2, when I mistakenly took home the considerably pornier "Pirates" (pictured above). It took me three lesbian scenes to realize I had rented the wrong film. Not unlike when back in the 1990s, I had a small party and my friend brought over Fatal Instinct (the Basic Instinct parody, we thought). Three full watchings later, we returned it for a refund.

Juan Pierre: Number 15 and Rising

While at the airport flipping through the pretty charts and graphs in USA Today, I came across a "Fewest Pitches Seen per Plate Appearance" Leaderboard. Somewhat surprisingly, the top two spots belonged to the Milwaukee Brewers. Johnny Estrada on average sees only 2.99 pitches per plate appearance!?! A floor lamp placed in the batter's box would average more. Think about it.

Fewest Pitches Seen/PA, thru May 20
Rank Player Team Pitches/PA
1 Johnny Estrada MIL 2.99
2 Kevin Mench MIL 3.05
3 Jason Tyner MIN 3.07
4 Pablo Ozuna CWS 3.11
5 Paul Bako BAL 3.13
6 Jay Payton BAL 3.13
7 Kenji Johjima SEA 3.15
8 Matt Diaz ATL 3.15
9 Corey Patterson BAL 3.15
10 Moises Alou NYM 3.19
11 Juan Castro CIN 3.20
12 Mike Sweeney KC 3.23
13 Aaron Miles STL 3.26
14 Jay Gibbons BAL 3.27
15 Juan Pierre LAD 3.27

But at least Estrada never bats leadoff. The free swinging Juan Pierre, on the other hand, was the top Dodger on the list at #15 overall. Seeing 14 other names ahead of him clearly motivated Pierre, as he promptly went out and made 4 outs on 9 pitches the night the list was published.

In case you're wondering, the only other Dodger in the top 50 was Jeff Kent at #45 with 3.47 pitches/PA. The only Dodger in the top 50 Most Pitches Seen per Plate Appearance was Wilson Betemit (#23 with 4.23 pitches/PA). Here are the complete lists.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sorry, If It Involves the Dodgers, We Have to Mention It

Via Deadspin comes...well, see for yourself (SFW).

Baseball Quote of the Day

While the world waits with bated breath for Mr. Sax's response to the pro-right wing... I mean pro-parking article in today's LA Times, the Delino presents the unofficial baseball movie quote of the day. Everybody knows Crash Davis's "I believe" speech from Bull Durham, but this quote sums up baseball even better (without making your wives wish they married a Kevin Costner.)

CRASH - You know what the difference is between hitting .250 and hitting .300? I got it figured out. (beat) Twenty-five hits a year in 500 at bats is 50 points. Okay? There's 6 months in a season, that's about 25 weeks -- you get one extra flare a week -- just one -- a gork, a ground ball with eyes, a dying quail -- just one more dying quail a week and you're in Yankee Stadium!

Mr. Loney - keep this quote in mind while sitting at .260. (Although Bobby Abreu can attest, .300 is no longer a requirement to be in pinstripes.)

Plaschke Praises Parking, Following Wafer-Thin "Investigative" Reporting

Frank McCourt must have naked pictures of Bill Plaschke. (And if that were true, one might actually feel bad for McCourt.)

That is the only way to explain Plaschke's valentine to Frank McCourt in today's LA Times, which uses incredibly shoddy reporting to support his conclusion that Dodger Stadium parking is "better than ever." Even by the nadir that is Bill Plaschke standards, this article was horrible. His haste to canonize Frank McCourt as the savior of Dodger parking is clearly based on flimsy data including a small sample size and misuse of statistics. But let's cut to the chase: first, the knighting of McCourt:

I had never before experienced such parking efficiency at the stadium. Judging from the way many fans happily honked their horns as they sped off into the night, I wasn't the only one.

The wait will be longer on weekends. It will always be tougher on opening day and in the postseason. But twice in two games as a fan this season, I have had zero parking stress, and although it doesn't make for a colorful story, it's becoming a consistent one.

Nobody wants to say it, so I suppose I will.

The parking lot at Dodger Stadium is not only working again, but it's better than ever.

Nobody wants to admit it, so I guess I should.

Frank McCourt has survived the biggest single public relations nightmare of his tenure with 65-mph colors.

Now, I don't know what color "65-mph" is, but I do know the red of a rear brakelight when I see it--and having personally attended five games this year (of a possible 24 home games), I have seen plenty of red from both the brakelights of cars and the faces of motorists. Three of the times, the parking was backed up, the attendants were clueless, and the traffic flow was awful. Two of the other times, the parking was smooth, due largely to the fact that it was a low-attendance game.

Plaschke has been to fewer than 10% of the home games, yet has enough data to call the parking system a "success." I bet he predicted Portland's 5% odds were going to win the NBA Draft Lottery, too.

Plaschke's second fatal flaw in logic comes from his first-person recap of his experience at Tuesday night's game:

A couple of hours later, certain that the pre-game quickness was a fluke, I squeezed through the packed concourses with the 33,552 fans moments after the last pitch.

Did you catch that? Yes, it's easy to miss this one since ALL of Plaschke's articles succumb to the cheap journalistic ploy of a first-person account, often signalled by a hallmark one-sentence-per-paragraph structure that lulls the reader into a dreamlike trance. If it feels airy as you chew on his words, it may be because his paragraphs are wafer-thin, and most of the space in his articles is actually blank space caused by frequent carriage returns.

But once one snaps oneself out of the trance and wipes the drool off one's face, it's easy to realize that Plaschke is confusing the box score attendance with in-seat attendance. And as any Dodger fan knows, there is a big difference between the two numbers. 33K tickets sold probably translates to an event attendance of 20-25K people, tops--or much less than half of Dodger Stadium's actual attendance. The fact of the matter is, the parking lots were likely less than half-full.

And from this, Plaschke wants to crown Frank McCourt king? Traffic is supposed to be easy when no one is at the stadium, Bill! Any reporter worth his salt could tell you that a Tuesday night game against the Brewers is not going to draw a decent crowd.

What's next for Plaschke? An article about how there's no wait for Disneyland's Splash Mountain on a rainy day in February? How LAX security lines are a breeze at 3am? How the Sizzler all-you-can-eat buffet is stacked with options at 4pm? His hard-hitting, insightful journalism knows no bounds, so I can hardly wait for his next valentine.

In the interim, those of us who do get out to Dodger Stadium more frequently know that the new parking system gets mixed reviews at best. The legions of attendants to help direct traffic flow are an improvement, particularly as they've gotten more empowered and knowledgable. However, the crawl up to the left for general admission through the Sunset Gate can be an arduous trek for those arriving at game time on the weekends. And underpinning all of this has to be the fact that parking costs $15 this year, up from $10--a fact mysteriously unmentioned in Plaschke's "Ode To A Frankie McCourt." Frankly, for a 50% price increase, I'd expect the parking to be better, and certainly better than it is today.

Make no mistake: The jury is still out. Even if Plaschke is clearly in (the pocket of Frank McCourt).

Juan Pierre Makes Jayson Stark's Top 10 Overrated List

From "Most overrated -- from Zito to Suppan" by Jayson Stark at

NO. 4 -- Juan Pierre

Speed guys aren't automatically overrated. (See Reyes, Jose for more details.) But for years now, we've been getting way too worked up about players whose mere ability to bring their legs with them to first base can make a pitcher want to call his therapist between pitches.

And that brings us to Pierre, a fellow so likable, it pains me to put him on this list. How can you not like a guy who loves baseball so much, he beats the grounds crew to the ballpark?

But I've been listening to GMs (mostly American League GMs) gripe for so long that Pierre is as overrated as any player in baseball, I'm finally ready to concede.

It was easier to argue the other side in 2003, the year Pierre and the Marlins won the World Series. That year, Pierre walked 55 times, struck out only 35 times, got 204 hits, reached base more than any leadoff man in baseball and led the league in steals.

But leadoff hitters with .303 on-base percentages, who are on pace to walk 31 times in 748 trips to the plate -- i.e., the Juan Pierre presently playing out the first season of his five-year, $44 million contract with the Dodgers -- they're overrated. When Pierre reaches first in the late innings of a close game, he's still a game-changer. But think how much more often he would reach first if he actually walked three times a week instead of once.

Upper Deck Trying to Buy Topps

Upper Deck, Eisner group both seeking to buy Topps (AP/

Just in Case We Didn't Post This Before

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tomko Out, Kuo In

From Diamond Leung:

Brett Tomko will officially pitch out of the bullpen beginning Friday, and Hong-Chih Kuo is the favorite to start on June 2 in Pittsburgh. Grady Little hinted that Tomko did not take his demotion particularly well, and Tomko walked past waiting reporters in the clubhouse. You can follow Kuo's start in Las Vegas here.

Why Kuo and not Chad Billingsley?

Game 47 Thread: May 23 vs. Brewers, 7.10p

Dodgers start Brad Penny, RHP (5-1, 2.54) vs. Chris Capuano, LHP (5-2, 3.72).

Dodgers: 26-20 (1st place NL West, 0.5 GA, W1)
Brewers: 28-18 (1st place NL Central, 6.5 GA, L1)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: He suffered his first loss of the year and it was a doozy, charged with eight runs in five-plus innings that nearly doubled his ERA from 1.39 to 2.54. He was competitive until the sixth inning, when the first five batters had base hits and chased him from the game. Penny did not face the Brewers when the Dodgers opened the season in Milwaukee, and he?s 2-2 with a 5.85 ERA in six career games against them.

Brewers: After going 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his first seven starts, Capuano is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA in his last two outings. He surrendered seven hits for the second straight outing on Friday against the Twins, when he walked four batters and was tagged with six runs in 5 1/3 innings. Five of those runs scored in the third inning, when Twins rallied with three walks and two hits, including a Torii Hunter grand slam, all with two outs. He has a 2.61 ERA in seven career games against the Dodgers.


  • Dodgers win! Dodgers win! (Or to quote SoSG commenter Damon, "so this is what a win feels like.") And if the Dodgers win again tonight, they will have taken three of their past four series—although after that brutal Angels series, it will have hardly felt so. Brad Penny gives us as good a chance as any to win, so all that remains to be seen is if any bats besides Russell Martin's can produce.

From Inside the Dodgers, tonight's lineup:

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Nomar, 1B
Kent, 2B
Martin, C
Gonzo, LF
LaRoche, 3B
Ethier, RF
Penny, P

Baseball for 1,500 Fans (Indians 10, Bisons 9)

Astute SoSG readers may have noticed an absence of posts from Steve Sax of late. (Really astute readers are celebrating the lack of Sax, but that's another story.) Sax has been traveling, but logs in from the road with a report from Buffalo, NY, home of the Buffalo Bisons, AAA-Indians.

Last night's game at Dunn Tire Park saw a spunky Buffalo Bisons squad almost rally from a 10-4 deficit, before coming up just short 10-9 and losing to the Indianapolis Indians (AAA-Pirates). Yes, it's a little confusing to see the triple-A team from the Indians lose to another triple-A team called the Indians. With both sides related to offensive team names, it was only fitting that the offense led the day with 19 total runs scored.

But was even more curious was the low, low turnout at the stadium: 6,855 tickets sold, but only 1,500 fans in attendance. In a way, it was a perfect reflection of the sad state of Buffalo, a proud city that used to be a center of industry (apparently, there was a time when Buffalo was the second-most populous city in the US), but is now filled with beautiful but empty downtown buildings.

So too was Dunn Tire Park a shell of a facility. The park itself is in great shape, well painted and maintained, and built with wide concourses, a nice big outfield television screen, and good sightlines. But with no one in the stadium, it almost seemed cavernous in its abandoned state. Goofy conehead-wearing beer vendors traipsed up and down the aisles desperate for business. No ushers appeared in the stands. And there were no lines at the concession stands, which was convenient but sad.

Buster the Bison comes out intermittently to throw t-shirts to the crowd, but aside from his hdeously oversized head, there was little else to distract one from the game. Down 10-6 in the bottom of the seventh, three runs were scored by Ryan Mulher, (bases-loaded single scores one), a bases-loaded walk, and then a run-scoring GIDP by journeyman Trent Durrington.

The rally ended in the next at-bat, when Franklin Gutierrez, who I seem to recall may have been a Dodger at some point, struck out on a foul tip to end his 19-game hitting streak (he went 0-for-5). Holding up the runner at third earlier in the inning on the base hit seemed costly at the time, but in the end it wouldn't have made a difference. Rich Donnelly, take note.

$7 got a ticket right behind home plate, four rows up on the field level, under a beautiful cloudless evening, with a post-game fireworks show complementing plenty of fireworks during the game. I even got on the big screen (they must have recognized Steve Sax--or maybe it was the fact that I was probably the only non-regular in the crowd, and almost the only one with a collared shirt).

A large banner in left proudly displays cumulative Bisons attendance, since 1877, at just over 3 million--what the Dodgers take in a year's time. Sure, it was a sad comparison. But there weren't any parking jams exiting the stadium, either. Anyway, for one night, I was proud to add one more digit to the Bisons' attendance ranks.

Welcome Back, Yhency!

From Diamond Leung:

Reliever Chin-hui Tsao will go on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, and making his return from Tommy John surgery will be former closer Yhency Brazoban, who was called up from Class AAA Las Vegas.

Trolley Dodger Shares Wisdom

From The Trolley Dodger, some things to remember as we complain about our first-place team (posted yesterday):

Top 9 Trolley Dodger Reasons Why You Should Remember To Breathe.

1. Your failure to understand the logic of or not knowing the full story behind Dodger front office decisions does not mean there is no logic or reason behind those decisions.

2. It doesn’t matter if you have a subscription to Baseball America, obsessively monitor the news feeds, refresh the forums every 5 minutes, and Read Every Blog: you don’t know everything, and there is always more to the story than the public knows.

3. Does this mean the Dodger front office is always right? Absolutely not. But then, neither are you.

4. The Dodgers are hovering in first place in a dogfight division. We are likely to fall out of first place. If we do, we are likely to get back into first place. Jumping off a cliff in the interim is a bad idea — what are you, Cub fans?

5. Choosing dependable vets (yes, even dependably mediocre) over untested kids at the beginning of the season is insurance, not veteran deference, and definitely not willful obstinacy.

6. If our outfield on opening day was, say, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Jason Repko, we’d be one injury or slump away from the 2005 season. You remember 2005, right?

7. The Dodgers do not, as one poster opined today, have the second worst front office in baseball behind only the Rockies. Ask a Colorado fan how it is with a really bad front office and get back to me.

8. The Yankees will not trade A-Rod for Brett Tomko, Wilson Betemit, and every other Dodger player you hate.

9. It’s May 22nd, and it’s a beautiful day outside.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Original Running Man

While reading through my cousin's copy of The Sabr Baseball List & Record Book (not on the toilet, I swear), the Delino came across the unusual tale of Herb Washington safely nestled under the revered "More Career Games Played than Plate Appearances by Non-Pitchers since 1900." From 1974-1975, Mr. Washington appeared in 105 games and had (in my best Animal House Dean voice) ZERO POINT ZERO plate appearances. Turns out, the speedy Washington got DRAFTED in two sports, despite the fact that he never actually proved himself in either. From some dude on tripod:

A superb all-around athlete, Washington suited up for the Spartans' football team as a wide receiver in 1971 and 1972. Although he caught only one pass for 41 yards, the Baltimore Colts drafted the speedster in the 12th round of the 1973 draft. Washington, however, never pursued a career in pro football.

Meanwhile in Oakland, the Athletics had just captured their second consecutive World Series title, and owner Charlie Finley was, apparently, bored. Finley, who came up with several wacky ideas such as using an orange baseball, decided his team needed a "designated runner"; a player whose sole purpose is to pinch run and steal bases.

Herb Washington, even though he had not played baseball since his junior year in high school, fit the bill. Two weeks before the 1974 season, Finley signed the track star and placed him on the 25 man roster.

Fortunately, Mr. Washington left his mark on California baseball folklore during the 1974's World Series.

After winning Game 1, the A's were down 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th with one out in Game 2 when Washington was inserted to pinch run for Joe Rudi, who was on first base. Washington, however, was quickly picked off by Dodgers' reliever Mike Marshall who then struck out Angel Managual to end the game. Oakland went on to win the Series in five games, but Washington's pick off lives on in World Series infamy.

Guess his trading card, which features neither glove nor bat, tips you off to his one special skill. I for one respect a player who wears only one hat, and can play the game with no arms (which would make for some interesting slides). Maybe it's only a matter of time before Ben Johnson gets a second doped-up career going.