Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Game 106 Thread: July 31 vs. Giants, 7.10p

Dodgers start Brad Penny, RHP (13-1, 2.51) vs. Noah Lowry, LHP (11-7, 3.40).

Dodgers: 57-48 (T-1st place NL West, L2)
Giants: 45-58 (5th and last place NL West, 11.0 GB, L1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Penny left his last start with stomach cramps -- suffered while legging out an infield single -- but he thought the Coors Field altitude was a contributing factor and said he could have continued. And he wanted to, as Penny continued his personal mastery over the Rockies. This year, however, Penny seems to have mastered the entire league. He's on an eight-game win streak.

Bonds and the Old Folks Sideshow: Lowry is always at his best in AT&T Park, and he blazed through another home start in his last appearance against the Braves. After a 13-inning game, Lowry needed to go deep, and he did, lasting eight innings and giving up just one earned run in the first inning. Lowry coaxed the Braves into 11 groundouts and induced three double plays. It was his 100th Major League appearance, and Lowry picked up his 11th win, which tied him for most wins by a left-hander in the National League. Lowry has faced Los Angeles three times this season and emerged with a 1-2 record and 4.40 ERA.


  • Penny is taking the mound hurt, which is more than can be said for many of the other starters in the Dodger rotation. Let's hope that he can muscle is way through a solid start, and the bats can give him enough run support so we can make Prime Rib out of Lowry.
  • The Dodgers have lost 7 of the last 10, and tonight hope to rebound against the worst team in the National League West.
  • You know, there's supposedly something else important about this game, but I seem to have forgotten what that was. Maybe I can find a reference to this someplace else in the press (and as I write this, Pedro Gomez of ESPN has crashed onto my computer monitor to update me on Bonds' stretching rituals). But hey, if you're going to the game tonight, make sure to bring your baseballs and boo like hell!

Padres Fire Merv Rettenmund; Joe Lefebvre, Alan Cockrell Update Their Resumes

Hot on the heels of the Dodgers firing hitting coach Eddie Murray last month and the Diamondbacks firing their hitting coach, Kevin Seitzer, the Padres have fired their hitting coach, Merv Rettenmund:

The San Diego Padres fired Merv Rettenmund as their hitting coach Tuesday and hired Wally Joyner to replace him.

This is the second straight season the Padres changed hitting coaches in midseason. They fired Dave Magadan on June 15, 2006, and replaced him with the popular Rettenmund. The Padres have one of the weakest offenses in the NL.

Rettenmund was also the Padres' hitting coach from 1991-99.

Keith Law, Proct(or)ologist

ESPN's Keith Law says that Scott Proctor's addition to the Dodgers may be a wash, but losing Betemit will put more urgency on considering Dodger prospect Andy LaRoche: (insider only)

Scott Proctor was Joe Torre's go-to guy in 2006, a dubious distinction because it carries with it a very high workload -- 83 games and over 100 innings of work. He already showed signs of fatigue down the stretch last year; his fastball was still solid at 93-97 mph, but it went from having little movement to having no movement, and he couldn't keep his front shoulder closed through his delivery.

Those issues haven't resolved themselves this year, and Proctor's peripherals have all gotten worse, including a near-doubling of his walk rate and a big spike in his home run rate. The switch in leagues should help him, but Dodger Stadium is a good home run park, which might cancel the former out. This does open up a small hole in the Yankees' bullpen, although Joba Chamberlain could come up to fill those missing innings if the Yankees don't fill the hole via trade.

Betemit was once one of the top prospects in the minors, but inconsistent playing time and a long swing have held him back. He may not hit for much average due to his trouble making contact, but he has good power for a third baseman, good hands, and a well above-average arm. His work ethic has also been a question mark, and his on-field effort level is inconsistent.

For the Yanks, he slots in as a solid backup infielder in case there's an injury, but his playing time will be very limited given who he's behind. He's not exactly a good insurance policy if Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract, but he's a capable reserve. For the Dodgers, this needs to be followed by the recall of Andy LaRoche, the best third base option in their organization. LaRoche is unathletic and just an average glove, but he can rake and gives them an on-base threat in a lineup that already has a number of them. If LaRoche gets the full-time job and plays to his potential, the Dodgers will have by far the best offense in their division.

Jon Weisman, for the record, is equally guarded on this trade. It is curious to me to see Dodger Stadium mentioned as a home run park, though I suppose the changes in the foul territory due to all of McCourt's added seats has made it less pitcher-friendly. But if Proctor is just another reliever who gives up jacks (as he has been with the Yankees), then don't we already have that in Rudy Seanez?

How Many Dodgers Can You Fit on the Red Sox?

JD Drew, Julio Lugo,... and now Eric Gagne?

The Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers have agreed in principle to a trade involving Eric Gagne, and the Red Sox are now negotiating with the former Cy Young winner to get him to accept the trade.

The Rangers are set to receive prospects in the deal. Boston is not on Gagne's approved list of 12 teams to which he can be traded.

After missing much of the past two years with injuries, Gagne has returned to form this season, with 16 saves in 17 chances and a 2.16 ERA.

By the way, fitting Gagne on the team is no small feat. He looks like he's picked up a couple of stones eating good Texan food...

Dodgers Rumored To Covet Troy Percival

From Jayson Stark's Market Report (insider only), could the Dodgers be looking to swipe a former cross-town stud?

For a guy who was so officially retired, he threw out the first pitch on opening day in L.A. of Anaheim, Percival sure has pitched well since the Cardinals signed him (3.07 ERA, .212 opponent average, 15 whiffs in 14 2/3 IP). But here's a development even more surprising: The Cardinals have been offering him around over the last 24 hours. And there have been rumblings Tuesday that the Dodgers were actively exploring bringing Percival back to Southern California -- in this case, Los Angeles of Los Angeles -- for a mid-level prospect. Could be a name to watch as the deadline approaches.

This one also smells like key prospects would be lost. I'm queasy.

The Conflagration That Is Scott Proctor

ESPN just updated its Betemit-for-Proctor article and added this juicy tidbit, for those of you who aren't familiar with Scott Proctor:

Proctor developed into one of Torre's favorite relievers last season, going 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA in an AL-high 83 games. It was the second-most appearances by a pitcher in club history.

The excitable right-hander is 2-5 with a 3.81 ERA and four blown saves in 52 games this year. He finished off a rough June by burning some of his equipment on the field at Yankee Stadium after a loss to Oakland, and has a 2.84 ERA in July.

I'm going to reference a joke I hadn't thought about since "Vince Coleman Fireworks Night," (see near the end of the entry for reference) in saying that I can see the Proctor promotional tie-in now. "Burn Your Equipment Night" sounds great--with a special guest appearance from Rick Monday, who could reprise his famous role by swooping in to grab the combustible items! It's a promotional bonanza!

The groundskeeping crew had better be ready.

Betemit Gone; Prospects to Follow?

Trader Ned has already sent Wilson Betemit away for Scott Proctor. But now, ESPN.com reports that the Dodgers are chasing Joe Blanton of the A's (insider only, so no link). The cost, though, would be much worse than a seldom-used third baseman with a ~.200 BA:

Jul 30 - The Athletics engaged in serious negotiations with the Dodgers on Monday about pitcher Joe Blanton, a 26-year-old right-hander who would help fill in the injury-ravaged L.A. rotation if the deal is completed, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney report.

However, according to one baseball man who spoke with both sides, the Dodgers thought Oakland's asking price was too steep and moved on. Nevertheless, the teams are still talking, and there were indications Monday the deal wasn't totally dead.

The Dodgers are believed to have initiated the discussions, and the two teams talked about a package of three frontline prospects for Blanton. Blanton makes just $380,000 this year, and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.

If any of our key prospects are sent away for anything less than a quality starting pitcher, I'm gonna go nuts (and even then, I might still go nuts, given how much future upside we've got in Loney, Kemp, Ethier, Broxton, LaRoche, Hu, etc.). Getting Proctor aleady demonstrates that Colletti is trying to patch our gaping holes in the rotation using scotch tape and a piece of cloth. But since Colletti is no MacGyver, it seems ridiculous to leverage the future just to get a small bandaid that can't even try to staunch the bleeding.

Three hours to go before the Dodgers as you know them could disappear...

UPDATE: From the ESPN chat (more insider goodness!), here's what the ESPN talking heads have to say about the Dodgers:

Matt (Texas): Any chance of the A's trading Blanton to the dodgers, or the Dodgers making a run at Arroyo? Thanks Mr. Keri!

[Page 2 Pundit] Jonah Keri: (10:49 AM ET): Matt, the latest I've heard is that the Dodgers aren't willing to offer any MLB-ready or nearly ready SP in return for Blanton, so the A's have cooled on the idea a bit. You have to figure they're after apackage similar to the danny Haren-Kiko Calero-Daric Barton for Mark Mulder deal, which has proven to be one of the biggest steals of the decade. And don't forget, Blanton is younger and much cheaper than Mulder was at the time of that deal. So I don't blame the A's for aiming high (I also don't blame the Dodgers for not wanting to give up someone like Billingsley).

Patrick(Denver, CO): Mr. Morgan, Do you think the Dodgers need to make any significant moves? I am interested to hear your opinion.

Joe Morgan: (11:17 AM ET): They need some more offense, and like everyone else, they could use another starter, but that's the nature of the game right now. Starting pitching and one more bat would obviously help them a lot, but what would you have to give up to get that one impact player?

Jason (Ventura, CA): Why would the Dodgers trade a mildly promising, young 3B (which is the position at which they are most lacking) for a decent, yet unspectacular middle reliever? Couldn't they have just promoted internally (Meloan, Greg Miller) and held on to a potential impact bat in Betemit?

Rob Neyer: (12:49 PM ET): Perhaps, except you're forgetting the Dodgers still have Andy LaRoche, who's going to be a fine major league third baseman. I generally don't think trading young hitters for middle-aged middle relievers is a good idea, but Betemit's not exactly a good bet for stardom.

Just Who Is Running The Show at Chavez Ravine?

One of the best parts about a Baseball Prospectus subscription is getting to read "Will's Mill" - - Will Carroll & friends' rumor mill which is published the week before the trade deadline. The Mill is a fun way to catch a glimpse into the cellphone & crackberry-powered world of MLB front offices. Of course, sometimes, the Mill can reveal some less-than-pleasant truths. Like in this morning's article (subscription required):

  • The Dodgers haven't been able to do much of anything [with regards to making a trade for Octavio Dotel] because of arguments about who's untouchable and who isn't withinin [sic] that organization.
  • Are the Dodgers really so "injury ravaged", as one report put it, that they have to trade for a starter? Yes, Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf are out, and yes, Derek Lowe and Brad Penny have recent injuries that raise some concern. But "ravaged" seems a bit strong for a team that seemingly planned for this kind of depth. Remember that Brad Penny was on the market this spring since the team was worried about his stamina and stockpiled guys like Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko to back things up. With Chad Billingsley, D.J. Houlton, and Eric Stults all there, I'm not sure that giving up the prospects it will take to get even a fifth starter in this thin market is going to bring them much better than what they have on hand. The reports that Joe Blanton is being discussed are interesting, since he'd be instantly the best starter available, meaning that the Dodgers will have to bid high to make sure other teams aren't knocking down Billy Beane's door.

Betemit for Proctor

From "Yankees to get infielder Betemit from L.A. for reliever Proctor" (ESPN.com):

The Dodgers and Yankees have agreed in principle on a trade that would send reliever Scott Proctor to the Dodgers for infielder Wilson Betemit, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

The Dodgers, who have a 5.61 bullpen ERA since the All-Star break, have been in on a number of trade discussions involving relievers but zeroed in on Proctor over the last 24 hours.

The Yankees view Betemit as another first-base/DH/bench option for this year, and a potential third-base replacement for Alex Rodriguez next year.

Betemit is batting .231 with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs this season off the Dodgers' bench. Proctor is 2-5 with a 3.81 ERA in 54 1/3 innings out of the Yankees' bullpen.

Bad trade. One of our few power threats for a headcase reliever? A band-aid solution at best that will make little difference in the post-season, if there is a post-season for the Dodgers.

Following the Head - Prologue

Despite several deadlines, lack of sleep, and the constant temptation of both The Two Coreys and Scott Baio is 45 and Single, I have decided to make next week about one thing only - witnessing baseball history at its most tainted. In the next four days, I am prepared to go to FOUR games in a row... a first for me. Most likely a last too. I've already got my tix for Tuesday night and Friday. True, my seats are layers of crappy and my budget will barely survive the eight dollar beers, four dollar malts, and generous one dollar tips. But it's something I can tell my kids about many years from now - "You see that inhuman skull in the Smithsonian? That used to belong to one of the most exciting players in the 90s, who one day transformed into The Juggernaut."

Most of us (except for SoSG contributors) don't really get to write history. But occasionally, we are lucky enough to watch it unfold. Such is the case with the long strange trip that is Barry Bonds. Not sure if I will boo, cheer, throw my half-eaten malt onto the field... or just sit back and watch the frenzy of 50,000 fans.

Then again, fate may decide to play a nasty trick on me, causing Bonds to hit 755 and 756 on Saturday while I'm watching Gulliver's Travels at the Actor's Theater in LA.

To me, the three-camera sitcom never recovered after Cheers left the air (though How I Met Your Mother is totally legit), and the modern slugger was never the same after Mike Schmidt retired. Since I can't go back to watch Michael Jack's crushing balls all over Veteran's Stadium, 755* and 756* will just have to fill the void. Until it's Stray-Rod's turn to make history*!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Abes vs Babes 16: Mötley Crüz

Different week, different rules, same result. The Abes, who have now lost 7 in a row, can take solace in the fact that the 2000 Yankees, 2005 White Sox, and 2006 Cardinals - all World Series Champions - also endured 7 game losing streaks. But a 7 game losing streak embedded in a 162 game season is a lot more tolerable than in a 25 game season.

In anycase, this week's Babes victory was due - literally - to an unlikely and diverse pair of Cruzes. Just-called-up-from-minors outfielder Nelson Cruz slugged 1.286 with 2HR and 5RBI to earn Player of the Week, while little-used middle reliever Juan Cruz picked up a win on only 2.1 IP. Without these two, the Abes actually would have won the week.

The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.262 0.235
Runs 17 17
HRs 5 6
RBIs 23 27
SBs 1 3
ERA 5.40 3.42
Wins 2 5
Saves 0 0
Ks 12 34
Total 1 6
Normalized by AB/IP:
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.262 0.235
Runs 15 17
HRs 4 6
RBIs 20 37
SBs 1 3
ERA 5.40 3.42
Wins 6 5
Saves 0 0
Ks 34 34
Total 2 5

The Babes lead the Abes 12-2-2

Throw the Ball Back...Kind Of

How will Dodger fans react to Barry Bonds hitting home runs 755 and 756 (and probably 757 through 760, since Brett Tomko and Mark Hendrickson are pitching) in Los Angeles? There seem to be three schools of thought:

  • (1) loud booing, disgraceful alcohol-fueled displays (the most likely scenario)
  • (2) the Silent Treatment (which would be awesome, but good luck with that)
  • (3) Throw the Ball Back! (simultaneously awesome and stupid)

But! there's a modified version of option (3) that takes the "stupid" out, allowing some undoubtedly deserving fan to say f' you to Barry while still affording them the privilege of paying a luxury tax greater than the value of their car: Throw a DIFFERENT ball back.

Shock the announcers at ESPN, who will have probably interrupted the State of the Union address to bring us Barry Watch 2007, into thinking someone just threw away (maybe) $500,000 in order to make a statement. Then say "Just kidding!" and get Sotheby's on line one!


Wonder what the Dodgers' official stance is? Diamond Leung informs us:

"Our plan in the event of a home run is to acknowledge the home run's significance on DodgerVision and allow Barry to tip his cap and be acknowledged by the crowd." - Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch on the Dodgers' plans for if Bonds hits 755 and 756.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

With Bonds on the Precipice of History, Dodgers Re-Sign Chan Ho Park for Homestand

With Giant slugger Barry Bonds one swing away from tying the all-time MLB home run record, and the Giants rolling into town Tuesday for a three-game series at Dodger Stadium, Dodger GM Ned Colletti ran out to beat the trade deadline and re-sign former Dodger Chan Ho Park. Park holds the distinction of being in a select group of five players who have given up the most total home runs (8) to Bonds along his 754-HR journey-turned-dirge.

"Bringing Chan Ho back to Dodger Stadium to serve up a meatball to Bonds guarantees that the record will be set in Los Angeles," said Colletti, still beaming over the brilliance of the trade. "Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, and John Smoltz weren't available, and Terry Mulholland was unable to be located, so Chan Ho made the most sense for us to sign."

Park pitched for the Dodgers from 1994-2001 and amassed a record of 80-54. Since being signed by the Rangers in 2002, he has also pitched for the Padres and Mets, adding 33 more wins and 34 more losses to his career totals.

Park gave up HR #350 to Bonds in 1997, and teammates mentioned that he lamented also giving up #501 in April 2001 having been beaten to the #500 milestone one day earlier by Terry Adams. Park also gave up two home runs to Bonds in one game in October 2001.

Park, who was let go by the Mets on June 4, is 0-1 in one appearance, in which he gave up 7 ER in four innings, including two home runs. "This is exactly the kind of BP pitching that we are looking to see in our home series against the Giants," Colletti said.

The Mets were responsible for the remainder of his $600K salary until the Dodgers agreed to match the amount in full for the honor of bringing Park back to Los Angeles. "I figure I can make that $600K back over this homestand alone," said Dodger owner and parking guru Frank McCourt, "by jacking up parking fees to $25 for the series. 50,000 fans for each of three games assumes 25K cars per game, totaling 75K cars. At an extra $10 per car, I've got enough to cover Chan Ho's full salary--and that's not even accounting for the increased beer prices for this homestand." McCourt then erupted into a maniacal "Bwah ha ha ha ha!" laugh and walked away rubbing the skin of his palms together.

Dodger pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was unavailable for comment as he was getting inebriated after hearing news of the move. Grady Little was rumored to be salivating over the prospect of leaving Park in at least one game for too long, but also could not be reached for comment.

For the record, this post is completely concocted. I don't think SoSG has gotten to the point where it is looked to for breaking news, but just in case, we wanted to make it clear that this report isn't true. Yet.

Home Run Title

I'm not sure what the rest of my brothers think, but this Son of Steve Garvey hopes that Barry Bonds DOES NOT set the record today in San Francisco and DOES next week against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. That way (hopefully) a venomous reaction on the part of the Dodger faithful will be on video for all time...

Game 105 Thread: July 29 @ Rockies, 12.05p

Dodgers start Chad Billingsley, RHP (7-0, 3.38) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (0-0, 3.75).

Dodgers: 57-47 (T-1st place NL West, L1)
Rockies: 52-51 (4th place NL West, 5.5 GB, W1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: With a weary bullpen down to a third-string closer, Billingsley came up with the game of his young career. He went the distance with a five-hitter, resting the bullpen and exhibiting command of off-speed pitches as well as his fastball. A finger blister that had bothered him reacted well to a change in between-starts workouts. He made 107 pitches, fewer than he needed in only five innings against Philadelphia in his previous start.

Rockies: Jimenez hasn't been known for his efficiency. In fact, when he was called up last week from Triple-A Colorado Springs, the one concern was that he wouldn't eat up enough innings. But Jimenez pitched an efficient seven innings -- 91 pitches, 59 for strikes -- in his second start Tuesday against the Padres. After giving up a three-run homer to Mike Cameron in the first, he held the Padres scoreless and allowed only two hits through the next six innings.


  • W-L-W-L-L-W-L-W-L-L-W-L. That's the Dodgers' record after sweeping the Giants after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the Padres are 3-7 in their last 10 and the Diamondbacks have won 8 straight to surge into a first-place tie.
  • Everybody seems to have pitching woes. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have each lost a pitcher expected to be a major contributor this season (Jason Schmidt and Randy Johnson), and the Padres have just placed Chris Young on the DL.
  • With the trade deadline looming, let's hope Ned Colletti doesn't trade any of the kids in a last-minute panic move. It'll all be tilting at windmills because an AL team is going to win the World Series this year.

In Progress - Worst Start EVER

Delino has returned from ComicCon, a nerdier man than ever. Waking up this morning with Iron Man still dancing in my head, I turned on MLB.com for the first time in days, only to witness the worst starting pitching performance these eyes have ever seen.

Jason Jennings

8 Hits

11 Runs

11 Earned Runs

3 BB

2 HR

As I write this, he finally got pulled from the game. So add 0.2 Innings to that impressive line.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Game 104 Thread: July 28 @ Rockies, 5.05p

Okay, let's try this again:

Dodgers start Brett Tomko, RHP (2-7, 5.42) vs. Jeff Francis, LHP (10-5, 4.22).

Dodgers: 57-46 (1st place NL West, 0.5 GA, W1)
Rockies: 51-51 (4th place NL West, 5.5 GB, L1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Tomko has stepped up twice with the staff under siege, allowing one earned run in five innings to the Giants, then no earned runs in six innings to the Mets while filling in for the injured Randy Wolf. He took a cut fastball out of mothballs, and it has made a huge difference in Tomko's ability to keep hitters off balance and induce ground balls.

Rockies: Francis has struggled with his fastball command the last month, but his curveball has been effective. That was the case on Monday against the Padres. Francis went six innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits, including two home runs. It was the third time in his past four starts he's given up five or more runs.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Free Keep James Loney

From Tony Jackson's blog:

Hey TJ, do you think you could follow up on this?

"The Dodgers remain the wild card in the Teixeira sweepstakes. They proposed first baseman James Loney, outfielder Andre Ethier and Class AAA right-hander John Meloan for Teixeira and right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit, according to one source.

However, the fragile state of the Dodgers' rotation could force them to focus solely on pitching, and the Rangers are insisting that they include Class A left-hander Clayton Kershaw, a Dallas native, in a Teixeira deal."


please tell thats not true. Posted by: npurcell

There is NO WAY the Dodgers proposed that deal. NO WAY. Posted by: tony jackson

I would hope not. Teixeira is a 1.5-year rental (Scott Boras client). Oh, and Loney is doing quite fine at a fraction of the price.


Bad news for Derek Lowe, according to Ken Gurnick at Dodgers.com:

Lowe does not have a strained groin, but, according to a club official, he has "irritation in the left hip," and that's never good for a pitcher. In fact, that was the original diagnosis for pitchers Jason Isringhausen of the Cardinals last year and Justin Duchscherer of the Oakland A's this year, and both ultimately required arthroscopic hip surgery.

Ned, resist the urge to trade the kids for a starter! KEEP JAMES LONEY!

Game 104 Thread: July 27 @ Rockies, 6.05p

Dodgers start Brett Tomko, RHP (2-7, 5.42) vs. Josh Fogg, RHP (5-6, 4.84).

Dodgers: 57-46 (1st place NL West, 1.5 GA, W1)
Rockies: 51-51 (4th place NL West, 5.5 GB, L1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Tomko has stepped up twice with the staff under siege, allowing one earned run in five innings to the Giants, then no earned runs in six innings to the Mets while filling in for the injured Randy Wolf. He took a cut fastball out of mothballs, and it has made a huge difference in Tomko's ability to keep hitters off balance and induce ground balls.

Rockies: Fogg pitched six scoreless innings last Sunday, but did not get a decision as Colorado was blanked by the Nationals. He struck out one batter and walked three, and said that he was able to get outs in key situations. Fogg thew only 79 pitches because of a pinch-hitting situation that arose and looked fresh down to his last outs.

From Inside the Dodgers, the lineup:

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Loney, 1B
Kent, 2B (five career homers off Fogg, tied for his most against any pitcher)
Gonzo, LF
Nomar, 3B
Ethier, RF
Lieberthal, C
Tomko, P

UPDATE, 6.14p:

Diamond Leung reports an official 45-minute rain delay.

UPDATE, 7.23p:

From AP/ESPN.com:

DENVER (AP) -- The game between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night was postponed due to weather.

It will be made up when the Dodgers return to Coors Field in September. The exact date is still to be determined.

The two teams play a three-game series Sept. 18-20. Both teams have an off day on Sept. 17.

The pitching staff rejoices!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Giants Schadenfreude

No, not Fahrvergnügen. Schadenfreude. Witness SI.com's piece, headlined "Foggy bottom: With or without Bonds, Giants are simply a bad team"

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy has so much power, it's almost comical. His Giants are in last place in the NL West, yet with seven small words spoken in his slow drawl, he can take the air out of the entire room:

"Barry won't be in the lineup tonight."

And with that, 98 percent of the sporting world ceased to care about the third game of the Giants-Braves four-game set. Because without Barry Bonds -- stuck on career home run No. 753 for the sixth straight game -- the Giants are exposed for what they are: a bad team.

On days Bonds plays, the world hangs on every pitch. On days he doesn't, the electricity is sucked out of the foggy air like a deflating hot-air balloon. What's left is a team with the third-worst record in baseball at 42-57, 12½ games behind the division-leading Dodgers.

With Bonds in the lineup, the Giants are an unremarkable 36-44. Without him, they're just as bad at 6-13. They're 25th or worse in the majors in virtually every offensive category, including home runs, total bases, RBIs and slugging percentage -- and that includes Bonds' offensive output.

There's more fun and games, just follow the link above.

Jon Weisman recently posted a very balanced, thoughtful, and mature retrospective on the McCourt era of the Dodgers, which, at this stage, we could never do. As you know we at SoSG think Team McCourt has shown us a C+ performance at best, from parking mishaps to poorly-timed firings to fleece blankets with the wrong championship dates. (Rob over at 6-4-2 shares our distaste for the punch-and-hide owner, as he had to bite his tongue during the McCourt Q&A session). But admittedly, it's hard to knock the fact that Frankie took time out to meet with avid Dodger fans last week, and at least receive some questions, particularly when considering the disastrous organization that Sabean has built (eroded?) up north. Dodger fans should be thankful, at the very least, that we have the lesser of two evils.

But we can always hope for more, I assume. Bring us back a World Championship, and I'll be a bit more positive.

Math + Baseball + Rifts in the Time/Space Continuum = Happy SoSG

We Sons of Steve Garvey love math. I'm talking, 5-on-the-AP-Calculus Test love (and yes, it was Calc BC, not that wussy Calc AB test). We're scribbling equations and thema all over our windows a la John Nash as we write this blogpost. In fact, we may be some of the few who break into smiles when presented with questions like "what's the fewest number of minutes it would take for four guys to all cross a bridge, traveling no more than two people at a time, collectively wielding only one flashlight (which is required for any bridge-crossing team), assuming the guys can cross the bridge at speeds of one, two, five, and ten minutes each?" We really, really love math.

And we love baseball. This should be obvious by now.

And we love rifts in the time/space continuum. We've posted about rifts before. Twice.

So imagine our delight when we read about how Alex Rodriguez' HR Wednesday night off of Gil Meche was A-Rod's HR #499--but could also be #500:

On Friday, Rodriguez's 32nd birthday, he will be on deck when the Yankees resume a suspended game against the Orioles in the eighth inning. If he homers in the completion of the suspended game, it would count as being hit on June 28, when the contest began. That would make be home run No. 493 - and his homer off Gil Meche on Wednesday night would become No. 500.

A-Rod would surpass Jimmie Foxx (32 years, 338 days) as the youngest player to reach 500 homers and would be the 22nd to reach the mark.

How cool would that be if Meche, victim #499, suddenly became historic victim #500. I guess we'll find out tomorrow evening. I just hope it doesn't conflict with any reruns of Spike's ST:DS9, or my Tivo may explode.

Game 103 Thread: July 26 @ Rockies, 6.05p

Dodgers start Brad Penny, RHP (12-1, 2.42) vs. Rodrigo Lopez, RHP (5-3, 4.46).

Dodgers: 56-46 (1st place NL West, 1.0 GA, L2)
Rockies: 51-50 (4th place NL West, 4.5 GB, W1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Penny wasn't at his best Saturday afternoon against the Mets, allowing four runs on six hits, including a two-run homer to David Wright. However, the righty produced a gutsy performance, managing 6 1/3 innings and throwing 111 pitches. His velocity and breaking ball were solid, but he didn't have the command that has made him one of the toughest pitchers in the Majors. In his first start against the Rockies, on April 11, Penny allowed just two hits and no runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Rockies: Lopez was tagged with a loss after a six-inning, three-run outing against Washington on Saturday. He displayed impressive command of his pitches and has now had two consecutive starts in which he's taken a shutout into the sixth inning. The Rockies didn't score any runs, though, taking away any opportunity he might have had to get a victory. Because of scheduling, his past two starts have been on seven days' rest, but he will return to his normal schedule for this one.


We're reeling right now after dropping the series to the Astros, which one never would have expected after Chad Billingsley goes out there in game one to pitch his first career complete game. Despite that great performance, questionable lineup decisions and late calls to the bullpen (Grady's favorite non-move) had us leave Houston with lethargic offense, depleted bullpen, and injured starter (Derek Lowe). Luckily, now that we're in Colorado, spirits have potential to be better--we laugh every time we see this picture of a strung-out Rodrigo Lopez!

Bonds Deflects Steroid Allegations by Wisely Pointing Toward Another Disproportionately Sized Man

Remember back in grade school, when the teacher's back was turned, and people would pass notes or a frog or some other illicit item? And when the teacher was about to turn back around, how you would throw the item to someone else, sticking them with the contraband, in an attempt to deflect culpability?

Well that's exactly Barry Bonds' new strategy, as he tries to deflect continued steroid usage allegations by pointing at another suspected user, Bob Costas.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A day after Barry Bonds called him a "little midget man who knows (nothing) about baseball," broadcaster Bob Costas said he wasn't upset with the San Francisco Giants slugger and responded with a jab of his own.

"As anyone can plainly see, I'm 5-6 1/2 and a strapping 150, and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally," Costas said Thursday in a telephone interview.

On this week's edition of HBO's "Costas Now," commissioner Bud Selig, Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and chemist Patrick Arnold discussed Bonds, his pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record and suspicions that Bonds has used steroids. Schilling and Arnold said they believed Bonds had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds viewed at least part of the show before Wednesday's game against Atlanta.

"I've actually always had a pretty cordial relationship with Barry," Costas said. "I have no ill feelings toward him personally. I regard him as one of the greatest players of all time who got an inauthentic boost and then became a superhuman player. I wish him no ill whatsoever."

Costas said he understood why Bonds might have denigrated him.

"He's under tremendous scrutiny and some pressure. It's no big deal," Costas said. "This is a consequence of doing your job, and I've never tried to do my job in any case with the intention of calling attention to myself. I think if people watch the program, they can judge for themselves."

Told before Thursday's series finale that Costas claimed he came by his physique naturally, Bonds responded, "How do you know?" before going on to say he didn't care.

Brilliant move, Barry, to try and move your cloud of suspicion over to a 5'6" man. How do we know Costas isn't juicing, indeed? Didn't he used to wear an eye patch once, and now he doesn't? Hmmmmm....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SOMMEIL POUR LE RUSSELL! (Or, Alyssa Milano Must Be Stopped)

Faithful Sons of Steve Garvey readers know that since the All-Star Break, Alyssa Milano has been linked to Dodger All-Star catcher Russell Martin. And this, my friends, is a very, very bad thing.

Consider the evidence: Including tonight's 2-1 loss to the Astros, our second-straight loss to a team 15 games below .500, Russell Martin's offensive statistics have fallen off the face of the earth:

Pre-Alyssa (4/2 - 7/8) Post-Alyssa (7/13 – 7/25)
G 89 12
AB 307 50
H 94 13
2B 20 3
3B 2 0
HR 11 0
RBI 60 6
BA .306 .260
OPS .866 .659

Look at that drop in batting average, now down by almost 50 points. Look at that OPS, now down by over two hundred points. With Russell Martin in the three slot, this means (a) fewer RBI for four-slot Jeff Kent; as well as (b) more opportunities for opponents to pitch to two-slot Juan Pierre (that's a joke, of course; they're pitching to Slappy no matter what).

Which is why it's time for SoSG to announce its newest campaign, SOMMEIL POUR LE RUSSELL! That's right, hot off the heels of our successful FREE JAMES LONEY campaign, SoSG is moving to a new campaign that aims to stop Martin from freefalling any further.

Look, we like Alyssa Milano. We like her blog. We like her clothing line. And we love the fact that she's a Dodger fan. So we're not necessarily saying the two of them should split up (even though we should add that when Milano was 22 years old, Martin was 12. Ewwww.). We're not asking Milano to curb her well-documented baseball-player-chasing ways. And we're not asking her to stop coming to the Dodger games (for Pete's sake, it's not like we're watching the frickin' hat shuffle between innings).

But is it too much for us to ask Alyssa to let Russell catch some shut-eye at night and rest up? Martin is arguably the most important cog of this team and we can't afford him any more tired than he already is. Go ahead and touch 'em all, Alyssa, just do it before 10pm at night, okay?

We need Russell Martin's bat back in the lineup, if we're going to have any shot at seeing the playoffs. SOMMEIL POUR LE RUSSELL!

At Least It Wasn't Shawn Green's Answer

Via Defamer comes this entry from Dot Dead Diary:

I went to last night's Giants game to see Barry Bonds hit a home run or two. A failed mission. Between innings, the scoreboard had a quiz. Who is first baseman Ryan Klesko's favorite actor: A) Tom Hanks, B) Mel Gibson, or C) Jim Carrey? Then on came a video of Mr. Klesko in which he declared for B. The entire episode was sponsored by Hebrew National Kosher Hot Dogs.

Game 102 Thread: July 25 @ Astros, 5.05p

Dodgers start Derek Lowe, RHP (8-9, 3.48) vs. Matt Albers, RHP (2-4, 5.76).

Dodgers: 56-45 (1st place NL West, 1.0 GA, L1)
Astros: 43-57 (4th place NL Central, 13.0 GB, W1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Lowe had his worst outing of the season on Thursday against the Mets, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits in just three innings of work. Lowe, winless since June 22, made 41 pitches in the first inning and finished with 81 pitches, his shortest outing of the season. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Lowe will be well rested for this one, pitching on six days' rest. He is 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in four career starts against the Astros.

Astros: Albers will make a spot start in place of Roy Oswalt, who will miss a start with soreness in his upper chest. Albers, whom the Astros still envision as a future starter, is 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA over 14 games this year. In his latest big league stint, the right-hander has allowed five earned runs over 11 1/3 innings for a 3.97 ERA.

Hendrickson, The Immortal

Truebluela just posted the funniest Mark Hendrickson post I'd seen in a while (and there are many candidates). Bravo, Andrew, and thanks for the research (and fine writeup):

After going 0 for 2 yesterday, Mark Hendrickson is now 0 for 40 at the plate as a Dodger. With those two outs, Hendrickson is on his way to making history.

Hendrickson is now only one out away for tying the NL record for "most at bats on a team without ever getting a hit". The current leader is Randy Tate, who went 0 for 41 during his tenure with the Mets.

The major league record is a bit further away, but still reachable. Hendrickson can become number two all time if he goes 0 for 42 and matches Ed Rakow's batting record with the Tigers. The All Time record is held by Karl Drews who went an incredible 0 for 54 for the St. Louis Browns from 1948-1949.

If Hendrickson makes six or seven more starts, and flails away each time, he could be the all time leader in a non-height based stat. Since I believe that our God is a fair and just one, we'll then never see Mark Hendrickson again. I may hate Hendrickson with the fire of a thousand suns, but denying him his chance at history would simply be cruel.

Knowing Lurch's luck, he will get one more AB in his next start, then get walked once and hit once before leaving the game, and then get traded to the Blue Jays.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Game 101 Thread: July 24 @ Astros, 5.05p

Dodgers start Mark Hendrickson, LHP (4-5, 4.54) vs. Jason Jennings, RHP (1-6, 4.76).

Dodgers: 56-44 (1st place NL West, 2.0 GA, W1)
Astros: 42-57 (T-4th place NL Central, 13.0 GB, L1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Pitching on two days' rest after a earning the win in a two-inning relief appearance, Hendrickson's start against the Phillies on July 17 did not go well. He was charged with seven runs on 11 hits in three-plus innings, which not only cost the Dodgers the game, but put an additional strain on an already taxed bullpen.

Astros: Jennings was ineffective in his last outing on July 18, allowing seven runs on eight hits over five innings in a loss to the Nationals. Jennings' biggest downfall was his walks -- all four batters who drew free passes ended up scoring. Jennings has won only once this year, and that was more than a month ago. Since defeating the Angels on June 19, Jennings has lost five games in a row.

Oh! I Thought You Said "Boinks Pour Le Russell"

Via Deadspin, Us Magazine is reporting that Dodger blogger Alyssa Milano is now chasing Dodger catcher Russell Martin as her next conquest on her long list of baseball players. And Russell isn't letting a ten-year age difference get in the way, Mrs. Robinson:

TV-star Alyssa Milano is looking to catch an all-star: Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.

The Charmed actress, 34, flirted with Martin, 24, at the all-star game on July 11, and was overheard telling a friend she thought the catcher was cute. In a blog entry about the meeting, Milano sarcastically wrote:

"Okay, yeah, so I finally met Russell Martin. No big deal. And yeah, I was cool. Yup. And I didn’t have sweaty palms. Nope. I didn’t get star struck. Nope. I wasn’t even weak in the knees. Nope. My upper lip did NOT start sweating nor did I get blotchy and break out in hives. Phew. Thank God not one of those embarrassing things happened. I was cool as a cucumber. No big deal."

This weekend, Milano, who has been previously linked to pitchers Barry Zito, Carl Pavano and Brad Penny, played it cool in her dugout seats as the Dodgers hosted the New York Mets, but an eyewitness tells Usmagazine.com "she was smiling a lot." Meanwhile Martin is said to have rushed off the diamond after the game to text Milano in the stands.

Wow, is that the kind of action to which Dodger bloggers can aspire? Maybe that's the equivalent of a Son of Steve Garvey flirting with Jenni Finch? Gotta keep blogging then.

photos: LAN /Retna Ltd.; John Medina/WireImage.com

Poll: What's in a Name?, Part II

If you missed the original Dodger Anagram Poll, you can still cast your vote. If you've been counting the days 'til the next one, well, you should be at about 34 by now.

But reset the counter, because Part II has arrived:

Which is your favorite anagram?
Milton Bradley = Notably Milder
Then again, nobody's thrown a water bottle at him lately.
Eric Gagne = Ginger Ace
175 saves, 1 Cy Young, and 2,483 trips to the DL in 9 year career.
Mike Scoscia = Ciao! Kiss Mice
Defects to Disney, wins World Series. Bastard.
Sons of Garvey = Vegans for Soy!
So that's the reason beer leads Dodger Dogs 33-8.
Lindsay Lohan = Lady Sin, An%l Ho
Back on the booze, back in the news. Couldn't leave her out.
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Why Does Bud Selig Think He's The Story?

I don't much like Barry Bonds, and I don't think I'll be celebrating his eventual 755th and 756th home runs, no matter how much disruptive airtime ESPN devotes to each and every one of his at bats. At this stage, as I've written prior, I've resigned myself to the inevitability that he will break the record. And I have to laugh at the media circus that surrounds this chase, largely because even at its relatively subdued pace, it is still both unpalatable and tiresome from my perspective.

But I have to get fired up over Bud Selig, who for the last two weeks has tried on multiple occasions to place himself front and center as the key storyline in the final days of the all-time home run total chase. Will he show up when the Giants get to his backyard, Milwaukee? (Yes.) Will he be there for game two of the series? (No. Oh wait, Yes!) Will he be there for night one of the Giants' homestand? (No.)

And today's article, will he be at tonight's game? (Yes.) And what's more, Selig is insisting upon taking as much of the limelight as possible, even spouting off to the press about his impending attendance as if he thinks he's Lindsay Lohan:

"Out of respect for the tradition of this game, the magnitude of the record, and the fact that all citizens in this country are innocent until proven guilty, I will attend Barry Bonds' next games to observe his potential tying and breaking of the home run record, subject to my commitments to the Hall of Fame this weekend. I will make an additional statement when the record is tied," Selig said.

Stop the presses! Selig will make an additional statement soon! What ever will he say? I am breathless with anticipation! The suspense! Is! Killing! Me!!!

Geez, Bud, stop trying to hog the spotlight with your shruggy little shoulders. Leave the spotlight to the man with the swollen head and shrunken testicles, who may be detestable as a personality but at the very least deserves his 15 minutes of fame when he breaks the record. And then, let him and the story and the press coverage disappear.

Hey Bud, while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall deals with employees engaged in dogfighting, and NBA Commissioner David Stern deals with game-fixing referees, the best move for you is to keep your head down and away from public announcements declaring your proximity to criminals. The few people who are watching this story aren't watching to see what you'll do next; they are watching to see what Barry does next. So shut the heck up, already.

"You sir, are an American hero."

Via Deadspin comes "How to block ESPN Motion (that obnoxious video that automatically plays whenever you visit ESPN.com)*" from Hello World:

• First, you need to be using Firefox. Please, if you’re using a PC… just use Firefox. I’m willing to entertain arguments for Safari, but to be using Microsoft Internet Explorer at this point is just… wrong. Objectively wrong. Don’t do it.

• Next, install the Adblock extension (which you should really be using anyway). Adblock, well, blocks ads online. It comes with a huge list of automatically-blocked ads, which is neat, but the great thing about it is that you can manually add other ads to the list. Like, I don’t know… the ESPN Motion video that starts whenever you visit ESPN.com.

• Next (after you restart Firefox to activate the Adblock extension), click on “Tools” in the menu bar. Then click on “Add-ons.”

• Highlight Adblock and click on the “Options” button.

• In the “New Filter” box, enter this: http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/fpp/*

• Click “Done.”

And that’s it. No more stupid videos advertising “Who’s Now” or WNBA broadcasts or Steven A. Smith’s newest show, “Spittin’ Mad With Steven A. (Brought to You by Cheetos)”. Enjoy.

* ESPN, you really need to find a way to turn this off by default. Everyone hates it. Most of us visit your site from work, you know? We can’t have this nonsense.

NBA Betting Probe Weighs on Commissioner Stern; Teenage Slang Symptoms Apparent

This Tim Donaghy betting investigation has truly rocked the foundation of the NBA's integrity, and now it looks like NBA Commissioner David Stern is showing the effects of the FBI's probe and the relentless media coverage. Stern, usually polished and articulate, had this to say at a recent press conference (and though not technically incorrect, it still is pretty funny):

"I also understand [Donaghy] is the only referee alleged to have bet on NBA games and disclosed confidential information to others," Stern said, adding "Let me make it clear that's my current understanding."

"If that understanding changes tomorrow, I will so inform everybody," he added later.

No way! Commissioner Stern so did not go there! He is so busted! Peace out.

Monday, July 23, 2007

And If Woody Had Gone to the Police, This Would Never Have Happened

Buried in the latest Barry Bonds steroids and tax evasion debacle stories was this great quote from Bonds mistress Kimberly Bell, who at 37 will be the centerpiece of an article discussing her relationship with Bonds in the November issue of Playboy. Those readers excited to see a 37 year old in Playboy will also be delighted to see her accompanying nude pictorial.

But wait, here's that great quote:

Bell said the photo shoot boosted her confidence. She declined to say how much Playboy was paying her.

"If I had more self-esteem when I was younger," she said, "I wouldn't have been caught up with such a rotten man."

You know, if Barry had a little less self-esteem, his head might not have grown to Andre the Giant-like disproportions. (And if he took a little less of that cream and clear stuff, too.)

Post-Game 100 Thread: Scoreboard Watching--So We Ain't The Only Team with Bullpen Issues

In Monday's late game, following Chad Billingsley's masterful performance today, the Rockies put up an five-run eighth inning to ruin Greg Maddux's bid for his eighth win and kibosh the Padres, 7-5. Scott Linebrink picked up the blown save and the loss on 4 ER in 0.2 IP, including a three-run HR to Matt Holliday. Cla Meredith, still in search of that last consonant for his first name, gave up another ER on a two-run HR by Brad Hawpe.

With the Padres' loss, the Dodgers move two games up in the NL West with a scant 62 games to play.

But hey, enough about the flailing Friars. Let's talk Dodger baseball. Tonight's 10-2 win was incredibly impressive and a nice shot in the arm for:

  • Chad Billingsley, who pitched his first career complete game and almost got his first career shutout, if not for a ninth-inning two-out ball that took a zippy bounce past James Loney for a single (it wasn't ruled an error). The next batter hit a home run to break the shutout, but Billingsley settled to finish the game after that. Billingsley's pitch count was microscopically low through at least six innings (then I went out to my car, so I missed an inning there) and he ended up with 109 pitches, or four less than he made in five innings vs. the Phillies in his last start. Wow. That is exactly what a tired bullpen needed. Billingsley's complete game was the fourth by the Dodgers this year; Derek Lowe has all of the other three but all of those resulted in losses.
  • Nomar Garciaparra, who saw his batting average get a shot in the arm, after he went 3-for-5 with singles in the fourth, seventh, and ninth innings. He had one RBI by singling home Luis Gonzalez from second (not an easy task), and was at the plate when a wild pitch scored Jeff Kent from third. Kent, btw, went 4-for-4 with two doubles; not a bad day either.
  • James Loney, whose shot in the arm came literally, as he was plunked by a pitch early in the game and did not score that inning. Loney came up in the ninth and crushed a ball to right for a three-run HR, so I guess he's okay.

In other news, at one point in the radio broadcast, there was about five seconds of dead air that lasted between pitches. Rick Monday mentioned the 1-2 count, then all one heard was the crowd, then one heard the pitch pop in the catcher's glove and he mentioned the new count. What kind of broadcasting is this? Aren't there two guys (Rick and Jerry Reuss) in the booth? What are they doing, playing chess during the game? In a game like this after a deflating series loss to the Mets, there was plenty of positive stuff about which to talk. Yet our guys spent the airtime meditating.

Tell me why I don't like Mondays, indeed.

Game 100 Thread: June 23 @ Astros, 5.05p

Dodgers start Chad Billingsley, RHP (6-0, 3.56) vs. Chris Sampson, RHP (7-6, 4.15).

Dodgers: 55-44 (1st place NL West, 1.0 GA, L1)
Astros: 42-56 (4th place NL Central, 13.0 GB, W1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Billingsley recently had a flashback to 2006, when he ran up his pitch counts in short starts that taxed the bullpen. That's exactly what happened in his most recent start against the Phillies, when he needed 113 pitches to get through only five innings, even though the bullpen had been abused the previous night. Billingsley escaped with a no-decision, but injuries have made him the third starter by default and the club needs more than five innings from him.

Astros: Sampson pitched convincingly in his last outing, holding the Nationals to two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 4-2 win. He yielded two solo homers but recorded 14 groundball outs and was typically efficient. Sampson has pitched at least six innings in 11 of his past 12 outings, but he's exceeded the 100-pitch mark only three times this year.

AvB 15: No Excuses

Coaching greatness has always been defined by the ability to make adjustments. Whether it's Bill Belichick adjusting his QB protection schemes, Mike Krzyzewski adjusting his defensive coverages, or Jim Tracy adjusting his package, the great ones know how to right a lilting ship. And with the Abes' ship lilting big-time, it's time to make an adjustment.

First, Week 15 results (stats include the post ASG half-week):

Week 15 Only:
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.263 0.245
Runs 24 36
HRs 6 7
RBIs 32 16
SBs 0 11
ERA 3.55 3.15
Wins 3 6
Saves 0 0
Ks 29 59
Total 2 6
AB's 236 216
IP's 71.1 33
The Babes Lead the Abes 11-2-2

Another Abes beating at the hands of the Babes and Player of the Week Freddy Sanchez (3HR's and 9 runs scored). But a closer look at the AB and IP stats included above reveals a big reason why. While the Abes have a slight advantage in AB's, the Babes have had more than twice as many IPs than the Abes.

Not to make any excuses for the Abes, but unlike regular fantasy leagues which allow only one player from each position to accumulate stats, in Abes vs Babes all stats from all players are counted. With 7 of the 9 categories being 'counting' stats, the Babes have just had more opportunities to put up stats. So from next week onward, all counting stats will be normalized by the number of AB's or IP's by each team. Hey, nobody said AvB would nail it right out of the gate...

Our Sympathies to the Coolbaugh Family

Rob has already picked this story up, but I was really saddened to read the story that Tulsa Drillers first base coach Mike Coolbaugh was killed after being hit in the head by a line drive while standing in the first-base coach's box.

I was fortunate enough to have attended a Tulsa Drillers home game a couple of years ago. Tulsa is the Rockies' Double-A affiliate and plays in this field that seems to be smack in the middle of town; right field overlooks a big-box retailer (which I think was Target but I might be wrong), and parking at Drillers Stadium requires one to cross a horse racing track in order to park on the infield. I had a morning meeting the following day with Wal-Mart, which is always a weird experience, so the game was the highlight of my overnight trip.

I remember getting a seat right behind home plate for something like $6 and watching six innings next to a guy who was heckling the opposing picture for his high stirrups. The pitcher was at first annoyed, but then started laughing at the heckles as well (which never got crude or coarse, and were mostly funny), and the whole episode served as a reminder on how intimate minor-league ball truly is.

I also remember balls being laced into the crowd all over the place, and though most of the seats were unoccupied so no one was hurt, I can see how it could be quite dangerous for a first-base coach who would have no time to react to a line drive. It's scary how close you feel to the action at a minor-league game.

Our thoughts go out to the Coolbaugh family and to the Drillers' organization.

Hu? Dotel!

From Ken Rosenthal at FOXSports.com:

Dodgers: Front-runners for Dotel

The Dodgers are the front-runners for Royals closer Octavio Dotel — and the team's urgency could be increasing due to the uncertainty over closer Takashi Saito, who has missed the past four games with shoulder discomfort.

In return for Dotel, the Royals want a position player who is close to the majors. Dodgers Class AAA second baseman Tony Abreu likely is out of reach, but Class AAA shortstop Chin-Lung Hu could be a possibility.

Hu's hitting, while much-improved, remains a question. But if the Royals moved him to second base, Hu and shortstop Tony Pena Jr. would form one of the best middle-infield defenses in the game.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"Who's Never"

The staff at SoSG's displeasure with ESPN's braindead "Who's Now" has been sufficiently aired out.

"Who Cares?"

"Who Gives a S--T."

I've avoided this show all summer, but a severe bout of laziness kept me from reaching the remote in time. While I'm glad to know the stars of "Chuck Bangs Larry" view Derek Jeter as more relevant than Reggie Bush, I wonder what else I could have learned with those three minutes. In fact, the Boneless Teriyaki Wing KFC ad had more news value than all of Sportscenter.

So I proudly present an equally irrelevant contest for this baseball season - "Who's Never." Since rapper TI won't do my theme music, I present this song.

I'll leave it to the readers of SoSG to determine each week's winner (or every other week... or most likely, this is a one and out). Tonight, we've got one for the ages. NICK PUNTO. Currently, Mr. A Rod is likely to hit 107 RBIs by the 100th game of the season. It's taken Mr. Punto six years, two teams, and almost 500 games to reach this same plateau. Not many every day players can keep their job with a .214 average. His defense might keep the Twins bucks roaring in, but one wonders how long a sub-pitcher hitter will stay out of Rochester.

No conversation of "Who's Never" is complete without... RYAN LEAF.

Our friends at Wikipedia sum up Mr. Leaf thusly - In the third game of the season, Leaf completed one of fifteen passes for 4 yards and fumbled three times in a loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was benched after throwing two touchdown passes and thirteen interceptions in nine games, and replaced by quarterback Craig Whelihan. After ten games, Leaf had thrown two more interceptions, passing for a total of 1,289 yards, with a 45.3 percent completion rate and a paltry quarterback rating of 39. Along the way, he destroyed the hopes and dreams of everyone in San Diego (which I guess is a positive).

Next time on "Who's Never" - Seventh Ranked baseball dud J.D. Drew vs. Fourth Ranked XFL star "He Hate Me."

Game 99 Thread: July 22 vs. Mets, 1.10p

Dodgers start Eric Stults, LHP (0-1, 5.06) vs. Orlando Hernandez, RHP (6-4, 2.96).

Dodgers: 55-43 (1st place NL West, 1.0 GA, W1)
Mets: 54-43 (1st place NL East, 2.5 GA, L1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Stults has worked out of the bullpen since being called up July 4, and has been solid, despite a tough outing his last appearance against the Phillies on Tuesday. Stults gave up two homers to Ryan Howard and surrendered four runs on eight hits in just three innings of relief. Prior to that game, Stults had allowed just two runs on eight hits over 7 2/3 frames. Stults uses his changeup and slider as his out pitch and sets batters up with a mid-80s fastball.

Mets: El Duque has won successive starts for the first time this season, earning wins over the Reds and Padres. He allowed two doubles by Adrian Gonzalez and two walks, one intentional, and defeated the Padres on Tuesday for the third time in four career starts. His pitches lacked precision but had movement. He struck out four batters and threw 95 pitches.


Stults was one of the three current Dodger players I was fortunate enough to meet yesterday (standing here with Sweet Lou Johnson). He was nice and polite and answered tons of questions from an adoring crowd. This Son wishes him a lot of luck today!

The Best Dodger Experience Ever (Teaser)

Thanks to my amazing brother, I had the best Dodger Stadium experience of my life yesterday. Bar none. I will have memories for a lifetime.

Too much to write about this morning as I am still riding the buzz, but let me leave this picture as a teaser for a future Dodger blog post...check out the signature in the upper left of my t-shirt!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Game 98 Thread: July 21 vs. Mets, 12.55p

Dodgers start Brad Penny, RHP (11-1, 2.33) vs. Jorge Sosa, RHP (7-4, 3.84).

Dodgers: 54-43 (T-1st place NL West, L2)
Mets: 54-42 (1st place NL East, 3.5 GA, W2)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: There was no sign of the finger blister when Penny returned from the All-Star Game to throttle the Phillies, allowing one run on four hits over seven innings. He finished with a flourish, striking out the last four batters he faced and seven of the last 10. Penny lost his first three starts after the 2006 All-Star break. Penny is 4-10 with a 5.82 lifetime against the Mets.

Mets: In his first start since his assignment to the disabled list ended, Sosa pitched well enough to win but didn't. He allowed five hits and two walks and had four strikeouts in six innings, showing no lingering effects of the hamstring pull that put him on the DL. Sosa was battered by the Dodgers in Los Angeles on June 13, yielding six earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Game 97 Thread: July 20 vs. Mets, 7.40p

Dodgers start Brett Tomko, RHP (2-7, 5.88) vs. Oliver Perez, LHP (8-6, 3.13).

Dodgers: 54-42 (T-1st place NL West, L1)
Mets: 53-42 (1st place NL East, 2.5 GA, W1)

From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Tomko stepped up with the staff under siege, allowing one earned run in five innings to the Giants on Sunday, winning for the first time since May 9. Filling in for the injured Randy Wolf, Tomko kept the ball in the park, even when Barry Bonds was up. It was a huge effort after spending two unhappy months in the bullpen. Tomko is 4-7 with a 5.62 ERA lifetime against the Mets and this game will be at home, where the fans have been tough on him.

Mets: Coming back from the 15-day disabled list for his first start in July, Perez pitched six solid innings on Sunday. The lower back stiffness that put him on the DL in late June did not show signs of resurgence against the Reds, as the left-hander recorded first win since June 15 against the Yankees. Perez held the Reds to two runs off six hits -- including a 460-foot solo home run blast to Adam Dunn in the fourth -- striking out six and walking three in the Mets' victory.

From Inside the Dodgers, tonight's lineup:

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Martin, C
Kent, 2B
Gonzo, LF
Nomar, 3B
Loney, 1B
Kemp, RF
Tomko, P

Given that the only thing Nomar has going for him is his BA with RISP, wouldn't it make sense to move him down in the batting order and move Kemp up?

Roadtrip Stop #2: Tantalized in Tampa Bay

Stop #2 on this year’s SoSG Baseball Road Trip was in Tampa Bay, for the New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Devil Rays (July 14, 2007).

Of course, it’s not a road trip without a little color on how we got there from stop #1. And leave it to SoSG’s own Delino DeShields to provide some of that color, courtesy of a patch of his leg which unfortunately escaped his sunblock lathering. One afternoon on the beaches of Miami later, the result was tragic, especially since all we had to wear all weekend was shorts. Luckily, stripes are in this season.

For any of you who attempt this cross-Florida trek from Miami to Tampa, courtesy of Interstate 75, know this: there is NOTHING to see on Alligator Alley. Nothing. In fact, there was a stretch of highway in which there wasn’t a gas station at which to stop, or a restaurant at which to get food, or even any semblance of civilization. Needless to say, in our hungover state, we should have heeded Delino’s earlier warning that “this might be the last Denny’s we’ll see for a while.” But we scoffed at DeShields, and forged onward, only to be struck by hunger pains and a dire need for grease to counteract the concoction in our unsettled stomachs.

Behold, when we finally came upon a Waffle House, it was like finding the oasis in the middle of the desert, and we could barely keep ourselves from cutting across the divided highway to get there in a straight shot. Waffle House isn’t known for its expansive menu, but what they do serve was certain to be covered in the grease that I so needed. Here’s my meal, the Grilled Texas Chop Steak Plate (note the grits, with coagulated butter, on the side).

Given our famished state prior to the House o’ Waffles, we topped off the full meals by going next store to a drive-through pizza and buffalo wings restaurant, to share an order of 20 wings and celery sticks. Gotta eat your vegetables!

But back to the baseball trip. Three hours later, we came upon The Giant Askew Yarmulke, Tropicana Field.

I confess that this was my second trip to the Juice Bowl, as I had been here three years ago on a business trip. For my three colleagues, this was uncharted water. And there’s nothing that says “baseball” like an all-enclosed, unretractrible roof dome! So we hustled over to Lee Roy Selmon’s for some fine ribs for dinner, before heading back to the stadium.

Imagine our surprise to find out, during our drive to the stadium, that Saturday’s game was sold out. This was only the sixth sell-out in Tampa Bay’s ten years of existence, so it was pretty amazing for the Devil Rays’ organization, but it spelled bad news for two reasons: (1) the crowd would likely be 90% Yankees fans (it was); and (2) it would be difficult for us to scalp tickets outside (it sorta was). There was no hope for the first issue, but for the second issue we were lucky to have Delino score us four seats, “right behind the Yankees’ dugout” (sorta), for a minimal upcharge over face. We were in our seats in the first inning.

Tropicana Field is much nicer when it’s full (relative to my earlier visit to the stadium).

However it is still beset by a crazy ceiling structure, complete with catwalks all over the place—some of which are in play, according to the wacky groundrules:

And if you think the ceiling looks bad, check out the field. The Rays’ website proudly announces ”Tropicana Field is the only Major League park to feature an artificial surface and all-dirt base paths. It features natural-looking FieldTurf.” As you can see, the FieldTurf (re-installed before this season, no less) looks like fur on a dog:

But picking on the Rays is like shooting fish in a barrel. So instead of griping, Sax here will take the unusual stance of looking at the good side:

  • It was great to be in an air-conditioned space, admittedly. Even though I hate domes, it was better than sweating to death the night before in Miami.
  • There were many, many between-innings promotions, one of which was “Spot the Cow” by Chick Fil-A or something like that, in which a fan has 30 seconds to swing a camera through a crowd and identify a man in a cow suit standing somewhere in the stadium. I have to think that this promotion is rigged, for if the contestant were to focus in on to identify an overweight person, there might be hell to pay.
  • Another in-game promotion was “Ray’s Anatomy,” involving a quiz question to a third-grader that referenced an enzyme or something like that. The kid got it wrong (unlike any Dodger Stadium Coca-Cola contestant I’ve ever seen), but the Ryan Seacrest wannabe announcer (A. Martinez has job security in LA) awarded him the prize anyway, further contributing to the erosion of our country’s intellectual fiber.
  • It was Festival Latino night, complete with Rays Maracas for the first 10,000 fans. There is nothing that strikes fear in opponents like the sound of 10,000 maracas rattling (especially when the din of 38,000 people talking ends up carrying more volume) (crap, I’m getting sarcastic again). Of course, our ticket-scalping escapade left us far from maraca-ness, but allowed us to see Dodger Rafael Furcal [Dominican Republic] get mentioned on the ribbon scoreboard (after his sacrifice fly won the 12-inning game vs. the Giants, in a rare instance in which a west-coast game result preceded an east-coast game result.

Unfortunately for me, two of the three of my road trip colleagues, and about a dozen other fans in the stadium, the Yank-Me’s won 6-4, despite the fact that the Rays had a 3-0 lead after one inning. We didn’t get to see much action on the Kane’s Furniture strikeout meter, but it sure made me proud of our CPK meter back home.

And you can only imagine what we thought we read when, in an inebriated state, we saw this message on the ribbon scoreboard:

I will say, I appreciate the fact that the Rays are trying to make the best of what they’ve got in a bizarre facility (which one vendor told me holds the record for the largest crowd to see an indoor hockey game, but I don’t know if this is true). Given the bones that they’ve got, the only major qualm I had came from a quick visit out to the concourse area, where I found this mural painted on a wall:

And why, again, wound Jackie Robinson be sliding into third against a Devil Ray player (I can only assume that is Wade Boggs)? And why is Jackie in black and white? At least he’s beating the throw, I suppose.

Overall, this second visit to the Trop’ was a much better experience than my last one, despite being surrounded by Yankee fans. The Devil Rays have made some upgrades to a questionable facility, but they are clearly trying to improve their fans’ experience (e.g., adding the stingray tank in center field) and managed to handle an unusual sell-out crowd rather well. Perhaps my thoughts are colored too fondly by the fact that a pretty woman handed me a ticket for a Free Small Fry from Checkers Restaurants on the way out the door, or perhaps it’s because I really, really like air-conditioned environments.

And you’ll have to ask Delino about the other key highlight (deliberately omitted from my recap)…

Roadtrip Stop #1 - The Dark Underbelly of Miami!

Back in 2004, a leaner Delino journeyed with Steve Sax on a baseball road trip that spanned from Philadelphia to Chicago, leaving a wake of booze, beef, and broads (I think one girl talked to us). This time around, we smartly avoided lesser parks like Wrigley and PNC to witness the league's hottest clubs - The Nationals! The Pirates! The Devil Rays! The Marlins! Describing the trip was often greeted with mocking - "You're purposely going to Tropicana Field?" "Do you even know what the F%&^ baseball is?" But as Edward Albee once said "Sometimes you go a long distance out of the way to come back a short distance correctly." In other words, after seeing the desolate Marlin land, Dodgers Stadium feels like Mecca!

The chaos began on our red eye flight to FLL, as I was stuck on a window seat next to the two biggest drunks this side of David Hasselhoff. Apparently, AirTran only cuts you off after you pick fights with an entire row. One of the borrachos next to me wore a gold Z around his neck and mentioned a dozen times that he had a limo waiting. His more portly friend struggled mightily with even the simplest task - plugging in headphones, asking for a soda two seconds after the plane took off, and repeatedly hitting the woman in front of him in the head. It all added up to the funniest flight I've ever seen, and NO SLEEP.

After finally passing out, I went down to the other ocean for my favorite tropical pastime - massive sunburns. A week later, I still look like a pink zebra.

I'm all about finding bargains at games, and consider my self a friend of the scalper (which doesn't exist for the Marlins). Dolphin Stadium reminded me of the sets in Baseketball... except those stadiums were filled. It's a shame that the Miami/Ft Lauderdale crowd chose the JLo/Crocketts/Tubbs/Grand Theft Auto nightlife over their own World Champion Marlins. The game turned out to be one of those little league battles where everyone and their mother got a hit. Dontrelle "Beetlejuice" Willis could have pitched underhanded with more success. One of the few real Marlin fans sat next to us, lamenting how hard it is to be the only person in the city who knows they have a team. I had a Gyro, which seemed like a smart move to make in a Florida ballpark. The Marlins began to rally, but two runs by the Nationals in the seventh marked our early exit for South Beach nightlife (featuring a bar where the staff caused THREE major spills and breaks in twenty minutes). And the rest of our Miami night will have to remain a secret, until SoSG gets new sponsors.