Just your typical 9-2 DP:
photos by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers
Random rantings and ravings about the Los Angeles Dodgers, written by a small consortium of rabid Dodger fans. With occasional comments on baseball, entertainment, pop culture, and life in general.
photos by Nam Y. Huh/AP
...at least while he replaces Eric Stults, who has hitched a ride to the disabled list. From Ken Gurnick's blog:
The Dodgers Sunday placed Saturday's starting pitcher, Eric Stults, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb and recalled right-handed reliever Travis Schlichting from Double-A Chattanooga.
Eric Milton (1-0, 3.00) vs. Sean Marshall (3-3, 3.70).
COMMENTS: Forget yesterday's loss. Forget Friday's loss. And forget Sean Marshall. Remember 17 games over .500. Remember the Giants losing yesterday and Jim Tracy's gift to the Dodgers: two consecutive wins over the Padres. And remember Eric Milton's first win.
Sure, the Dodgers are a little beat up right now. Eric Stults is pitching with a sore thumb. Casey Blake is nursing another strained hammy. Rafael Furcal is being handled with kid gloves. But a win today would give the team some momentum when they return home and welcome back Hiroki Kuroda against the Diamondbacks.
So remember to forget and don't forget to remember. Go (Dodger) Blue!
From "Crazy Cubbies still searching for that run" by Ken Rosenthal at FOXSports.com:
Here it is, my saddest, best scoop of the season: The Gatorade machine in the Cubs' dugout at Wrigley Field is about to go on waivers.
"We'll get it out of there in a couple of days," a high-ranking Cubs executive said Thursday, nodding toward the most abused piece of equipment in Chicago since the voting booth. [...]
Still, outsiders who took note of Ted Lilly's ejection, [Ryan] Dempster's eruption and [Carlos] Zambrano's all-time meltdown within a span of three days might view the Cubs as too volatile to win the highly competitive NL Central.
As one scout said, referring to the periodic outbursts of Zambrano and outfielder Milton Bradley, "When Lou [Piniella] has the third-worst temper on the team, you know you're in trouble."
(Emphasis mine.) ESPN is broadcasting the Dodgers-Cubs game this evening; let's hope the national audience sees a Cubs team that's more crazy than commanding.
The Dodgers are shut out for the first time this season as the bats and arms both have a rare off-day. The Dodgers are now in a position to lose three straight, also for the the first time this season. Not all firsts are good things. Let's hope somebody wakes up for tomorrow's game and we can salvage a split.
Eric Stults (4-1, 4.29) vs. Ryan Dempster (3-3, 4.99).
COMMENTS: The Curse of Marisa Miller: It's on. You don't get to make bodily contact, however fleeting, with a Victoria's Secret/Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and not pay the price. And today the crows come home to roost. Whatever that means. You've been warned, Ryan Dempster.
top photo by Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune
As a Dodger fan, being a Gloomy Gus buzzkill Debbie Downer killjoy comes naturally. In that half-empty spirit, this post was originally intended to be about how the team is due for an extended losing streak.
When the Dodgers reached a 20-8 record earlier this month, I thought, where have we seen this before? Then Manny got suspended, and karmic retribution was served.
Only, not. When Manny's absence didn't throw the team into a tailspin, I got even more suspicious. With the Dodgers' painful eight straight losses from last August lingering in my mind like the Mini Sirloin Burger jingle, I waited. And waited.
And when the losing streak still didn't materialize—the Dodgers haven't yet lost three in a row—I decided to get rational. I needed numbers. Fortunately, there are good minds out there who have expended countless Star Trek tapes and Hot Pockets to calculate if a team is good or just lucky:
Pythagoras then envisioned the entirety of Ken Burns' Baseball documentary, having been in a coma for weeks. Upon awakening, the philosopher devised a formula that would calculate the hypotenuse of a triangle as well as happenstance within a diamond.
Dodgers' Pythagorean W-L: 33-16*
Dodgers' actual W-L: 34-15
Verdict: So far, so good.
Dodgers' RPI: .548
Dodgers' actual winning percentage: .694
Verdict: Whoa. Am I comparing apples to apples?
Dodgers' first-order W-L: 33.1-15.9
Dodgers' second-order W-L: 32.2-16.8
Dodgers' third-order W-L: 30.6-18.4
Dodgers' actual W-L: 34-15
Of course, all these numbers, good, bad or otherwise, guarantee nothing. The Dodgers could start a losing streak any day now; maybe it's already begun. I guess I should leave the prognostications to Nostry, and guarantee the one thing I have control over: I'll enjoy the winning while it lasts.
*All stats as of Friday morning.
With a name like that, how could this not happen? From "Mets trade Castro to White Sox" (AP/SI.com):
The New York Mets avoided a tricky situation Friday night when they traded backup catcher Ramon Castro and cash to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Lance Broadway.
No word on whether Broadway will have to give up his career as an adult film actor.
Chad Billingsley was effective over seven innings today, escaping multiple jams using his nasty slider. Matt Kemp ended the Dodgers' power drought with a seventh-inning home run, but former Dodger (it's always a former Dodger) Koyie Hill responded with a homer of his own in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs then cobbled together just enough singles to take a one-run lead.
photo by Nam Y. Huh/AP
The Rockies dismissed manager Clint Hurdle and replaced him with bench coach Jim Tracy on Friday. An official announcement will be made later Friday.
The last straw for the Rockies was being swept at home in a three-game series by the Dodgers, with the Rockies being outscored by a combined 31-13. At 18-28, the club is a season-worst 10 games below .500, last in the NL West, and trailing the first-place Dodgers by 14 games.
How soon until we start seeing T-shirts that read DODGERS: THE LAST STRAW?
And a welcome back to the managerial ranks to Jim Tracy. Did he persevere after being fired by the Dodgers? He did.
Or should I say, What's Reed Johnson Eating? Following the lead of SoSG reader Mr LA Sports Fan, who said in yesterday's Game Thread (at 6:15p), "Is there a rat trying to enter [Reed] Johnson's chin?", we did a little bit of investigative reporting on the sentient being hanging off the bottom of Reed Johnson's chin (screenshot from mlb gameday). From far range, Johnson's picture looks like this:
But look closer, and increase the resolution ever so delicately, and you see this:
Indeed, it looks like Johnson is in the middle of his rodent-swallowing trick! Yeech. Nice eagle eye, Mr. LA SF!
From Ken Gurnick at Dodgers.com:
Hiroki Kuroda will return to the Dodgers' starting rotation Monday night for the opener of a nine-game homestand, manager Joe Torre announced before Friday's game with the Cubs. [...]
Torre said he hasn't decided who will be removed from the rotation to make room for Kuroda, but it will be one of two left-handers -- Eric Stults or Eric Milton -- who are scheduled to start the Saturday and Sunday night games against the Cubs this weekend. [...]
Whichever one comes out of the rotation figures to go into the bullpen and replace Will Ohman as the second left-handed reliever after rookie Brent Leach.
Kuroda didn't impress in his rehab, but the Dodgers obviously liked what they saw from him. After all, we know this isn't a rush job, having waited nearly two months for Kuroda's return. The good news is Kuroda will be facing the struggling Diamondbacks, who are scheduled to start Billy Buckner against him. A solid performance by Kuroda would go a long way to alleviating the Dodgers' pitching pressures.
Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times has been talking to the Dodgers brass about Manny Ramirez's All-Star chances, and he's getting varying opinions:
As amusing (and distracting) as Manny in the All-Star Game would be, Torre is the voice of reason on this issue. But fans and reason don't always go together. Will the Manny circus continue?
Chad Billingsley (6-2, 2.82) vs. Ted Lilly (5-4, 3.77).
The Dodgers have three walk-off walks this season, on April 15, May 1 and May 23. An odd, but encouraging, trend.
However, the Mets have done the Dodgers one better: They have had four video-reviewed home runs upheld or changed in their favor (in addition to an opponent's potential home run ruled a foul):
So is Citi Field really a pinball machine disguised as a baseball stadium? One of the stadium's features is "Pepsi Porch," a Tiger Stadium-inspired seating section overhanging right field.
My friend Bob, a Mets fan who recently made his first visit to Citi Field, was wondering if an "unusually extended frozen rope" home run could be hit under Pepsi Porch. Who knew the section's first role in a video review would involve its facade and not its underbelly?
The Mets have gotten the right calls and had a little luck as well. The Dodgers have had some luck of their own. Mark July 7-9 on your calendar, because that's when the Dodgers visit Citi Field. Who knows, maybe we'll see a video-reviewed walk-off home run.
Citi Field photo: Bonifacio/News; Tiger Stadium photo: John Moist/ballparkdigest.com
Fine piece of gambling done by Joe Torre tonight, when he opts to leave Ramon Troncoso in the game to bat for himself in the top of the ninth inning, with two RISP, two out, and a one-run lead. Tron-Tron strikes out on four pitches, stranding Casey Blake at third and Matt Kemp at second.
Bottom of the ninth, and Troncoso lets Milton Bradley and Derrek Lee reach on singles, then Reed Johnson sacrifices them over. IBB to Geovany Soto means that Troncoso has to face Bobby Scales (who hit a home run in the eighth to halve the Dodgers' lead) and then Cubs wunderkind Jake Fox. Troncoso suddenly hits Beast Mode of his own, striking out both Scales and Fox on nine total pitches. DODGERS WIN!
And SoSG reader NicJ gets credit for "The Fox and the Mound" as the tension ran thick during the final out on the original Game Thread! Game 2, tomorrow at 11.20a--wake up early, kiddies!
UPDATED 9.56p with a slightly less heinous hack job on the image.
Randy Wolf (2-1, 3.02) vs. Randy Wells (0-1, 1.50).
COMMENTS: Let's go for more of those good memories, shall we? The Dodgers open up four games at the Friendly Confines but will miss Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano, who went apeshit yesterday after a call at the plate went the Pirates' way. Instead, Round 1 of Dodgers / Cubs features Wells, whose debut this year already includes three strong starts and a miniscule ERA, versus our king of no decisions Wolf (whose seven no-decisions is tied for the major-league lead).
Will Wells go-Far? I still wouldn't bank on it against a Dodgers offense that had 31 runs over three games at Coors Field; despite the fact that LA didn't deposit any HRs in the three games, they still were able to cash in a lot of runs playing small ball. Let's hope for more returns today.
This just in: Carlos Zambrano hates Gatorade!
Zambrano had another meltdown yesterday, and it received the Milton Bradley Angry Seal of Approval:
"That was pretty impressive," Chicago's Milton Bradley said of Zambrano's animated antics. "That was on a Bradley level." [...]
Zambrano threw a wild pitch on an 0-1 count, and [the Pirates' Nyjer] Morgan scampered home.
Cubs catcher Geovany Soto flipped the ball to Zambrano, covering at the plate, but Morgan appeared to sneak his left hand in1. [Umpire Mark] Carlson called Morgan safe, but Zambrano disagreed2. The pitcher and umpire went nose to nose, and they briefly bumped. Carlson tossed Zambrano3, and Zambrano did the same4, signaling that the umpire was ejected.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild ran onto the field, but too late. Zambrano hurled the baseball into left-center field, and then threw his glove5 as he stalked off the field.
"I was kind of disappointed," Chicago's Reed Johnson said of Zambrano's heave to the outfield. "I thought it was going to go up into the stands, but the wind was blowing in today."
In the dugout, Zambrano vented his frustration on a Gatorade vessel6. Again.
By the way, the Cubs still won. The Dodgers are at Wrigley Field today but will miss Zambrano, after avoiding Johan Santana with the Mets last week. The Dodgers are playing well, but sometimes luck is a factor when you're 18 games over .500.
Zambrano won't appeal 6-game penalty (ESPN.com)
photos 1-3 & 5 by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; photo 4 by Charles Rex Arbogast/AP; photo 6 from Big League Stew
Careful, Mike! You're becoming:
Earlier Mystifying Mike content at SoSG: Curious Kitty and the Missing Pornstache at Citi Field
Earlier hair-of-Dodger-stars-of-the-90's content at SoSG: What the Hell, EK?
From "Eric Gagne would welcome a return to the Dodgers" by Bill Shaikin at LA Times:
Eric Gagne, who will pitch for an independent team in Quebec this summer in the hope of resurrecting a career that has faded since he left the Dodgers three years ago, said he would welcome an opportunity to rejoin the Dodgers this season.
"I'd love to," Gagne said. "I always loved L.A." [...]
His baseball roots are with the Dodgers, and he said he follows the team closely.
"It's the first score I look at," he said. "It's unbelievable how they're playing. I didn't expect that while Manny [Ramirez] is gone."
Although this is as non-newsworthy as you can get—NEWSFLASH: Person seeking job would like job!—the possibility of Gagne in the Dodgers bullpen still intrigues. But this is what Vin Scully would call us fans watching with our hearts and not our eyes. After all, weren't we saying the same thing about Pedro Martinez a few months back? Let's get Kuroda and Manny back first. Then we'll worry about filling holes.
When is a tie not a tie?
When the series is 2-3 (though it's not).
Nice. In good news, I suppose it's predetermined that the Lakers will win this game, which is great for the Most Valuable Puppets campaign.
James Loney's bases-clearing double in the seventh inning seemed like gravy at the time, but the Dodgers needed them as the Rockies scored three times in the ninth to bring the winning runs to the plate. Beast Mode stays hot (3-for-5 with 2 RBIs) and Clayton Kershaw evens his record at 3-3. Jonathan Broxton threw a season-high 38 pitches to end the game in arduous, but successful, fashion. On to Chicago!
From "Manny to prepare for Dodgers in minors" (AP/ESPN.com):
Suspended outfielder Manny Ramirez will be sent to the minor leagues for a week to 10 days as part of a rehabilitation assignment prior to rejoining the Los Angeles Dodgers. [...]
Manager Joe Torre said before the Dodgers' game against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday that Ramirez has been doing conditioning work on his own in California but may soon go to the team's spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz., to work out.
While the Dodgers are still developing a plan for his return, Torre said Ramirez would need some time in the minors to get ready to return to Los Angeles. [...]
Torre said he hasn't spoken with Ramirez in recent days but the team knows he has been working hard on his own to stay in shape. The manager also said he's looking forward to Ramirez going to the Dodgers' spring facility to get more baseball-specific work.
While the article isn't specific, we would assume Manny would spend his time in the minors at Triple-A Albuquerque. Get ready for a media circus, Isotopes!