Saturday, July 31, 2010

Post-Fest 104 Thread: Misery Loves Company


The mortifying Giants comeback victory was thankfully anesthetized by great company at SoSG Fest 2010. More later, as I've gotta get back to drinking.

Game 104 Thread: July 31 @ Giants, 1p

Chad Billingsley (9-5, 4.00) vs. Barry Zito (8-6, 3.49).

COMMENTS: For those who think Chad Billingsley lacks heart: He volunteered to pitch today. On three days' rest. And given that he's the Dodgers' best pitcher not named Kershaw, his timing couldn't have been better. As for the rest of the team...was last night's ninth-inning outburst a sign of things to come, or an offensive aberration?

More than just the bats will have to rise from the dead for the Dodgers to avoid raising the white flag soon. They also have to reduce their errors, both of the mental and box-score variety. And they have to stay healthy — we'll see if James Loney, hit on the right hand by a Jonathan Sanchez pitch last night, makes the starting lineup today.

The trading deadline is right about gametime, so Scott Podsednik may have some new teammates by the time this one starts. Oh, and if you espy a bunch of Dodger fans watching the game at an undisclosed public location, eating and drinking and furiously posting clever Game Thread comments on their handheld devices, that's just SoSG Fest 2010. Cheers!

UPDATE: Dodgers Acquire Lilly, Theriot For DeWitt (MLBTR)

Dodgers also send minor leaguers Brett "Son of Tim" Wallach and Kyle Smit to the Cubs.

White Sox Wanted Manny, But Colletti Declined

After listening to ESPN 710 AM radio yesterday afternoon and hearing most callers favoring getting rid of Manny Ramirez, I was surprised to read this morning that Ned Colletti rejected an offer from the White Sox--until I realized the White Sox's offer included sticking the Dodgers with most of the bill:

Leave it to the White Sox to try to pull off a deadline shocker.

The White Sox, frustrated by their inability to land Adam Dunn, made a recent run at Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, but their overtures were rejected, major-league sources say.

The inquiry from the White Sox on Ramirez came shortly after the Dodgers acquired Royals outfielder Scott Podsednik on Wednesday night.

The White Sox wanted the Dodgers to pay all but $1 million of the approximately $6.7 million remaining on Ramirez's contract and did not offer a player in return, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

“Not happening,” the source said.

Ramirez, currently on the disabled list with a right-calf strain, is on a rehabilitation assignment. He would need to waive his full no-trade clause for any deal. [...]

Ramirez also could be a trade candidate in August; he almost certainly would clear waivers due to his $20 million salary.

I've got my valentine to Manny Ramirez queued up in case he does get pitched from the Dodgers in the next 30 days, but I'll wait to post that until we find out if he's leaving the team. Admittedly, he isn't doing much this year besides spending a lot of time on the DL. But given the team's offensive woes, it seems a little odd to be getting rid of a potentially potent bat in the lineup (especially for nothing in return).

Lilly Talks Still Looming

With today's trade deadline around the corner, I woke up this morning hoping that the Ted-Lilly-and-Ryan-Theriot-to-Dodgers rumors were just the product of a bad hangover from yesterday. Alas, they are still out there, as per Tony Jackson:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Although any further trading-deadline activity by the Los Angeles Dodgers apparently will be pushed to the final hours Saturday, a major league source confirmed Friday the club is engaged in talks with the Chicago Cubs about a possible deal that would bring veteran left-hander Ted Lilly back to the team that originally drafted him in the 23rd round in 1996.

The source said the teams have discussed two versions of a possible trade involving Lilly: one that involves only Lilly and another that also involves Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers along with Lilly.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and senior writer Jayson Stark have reported that Lilly is likely to be traded by the deadline. [...]

While it has been widely reported Dodgers owner Frank McCourt would be willing to add an additional $2 million to $3 million to the team's $83 million payroll -- the Dodgers already added $700,000 by taking on Podsednik -- Lilly is owed about $4.3 million for the rest of this final season of a four-year, $40 million contract. The Cubs would have to pick up a large portion of that commitment for the Dodgers to add Lilly.

Lilly, 34, has reached double figures in wins each of the past seven seasons, but he is just 3-8 this year despite a 3.69 ERA. That is due largely to a lack of run support, a problem that might not get significantly better if Lilly is traded to the Dodgers, a team that entered Friday night's game with the San Francisco Giants having scored exactly two runs in each of its past four games and having scored more than three runs in only three of its 14 games since the All-Star break. [...]

Theriot has about $867,000 left on his $2.6 million contract for this season, which he was forced to accept after losing an arbitration hearing last winter. Unlike Lilly, who is a potential free agent at season's end, Theriot won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.

Ken Rosenthal over at Fox Sports says that the Dodgers are also considering the Pirates' Paul Maholm if they can't land Lilly. Well, at least this gives us something to talk about at today's SoSG Fest 2010...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Game 103 Thread: July 30 @ Giants, 7p

Carlos Monasterios (3-2, 3.30) vs. Tim Lincecum (10-4, 3.12).

COMMENTS: How did it come to this? The Dodgers, clinging to their NL West lives, starting a crucial series in San Francisco with a fifth starter who's recovering from a foul ball to the head. The bullpen, already stretched thin from last night's disheartening loss in San Diego. The offense, not having scored more than three runs in a win in the last 14 games. Oh, and Lincecum starting for the Giants. Can we rough up Timmeh two games in a row? Will Dusty tell him to wash his hair? The Game Thread will reveal all.


You enter this room and immediately notice something different.

It's completely dark. Apparently, no light of any color is being emitted from any wall, ceiling, or floor. The room is still very cold, like the others, but you have no idea what else it contains. "It's dark in here," Jasmine observes.

You fumble for your matches, and in the dark manage to light one. You look around. Sure enough, all the walls are pitch black. There don't appear to be any letters etched in any of them. There is however firewood in the middle of the room, as with the other rooms. There are also two doors out, each situated a bit awkwardly:

  • The first straddles the ceiling and the East wall
  • The other door is actually in the corner, where the South wall, ceiling, and East wall converge.

You are sure you've stumbled upon a special room, where answers must lie. With the lit match still burning in your hand, you bend down and light the firewood. The word "Cancer" appears.

Jotting it down as you did the other words, you hear Jasmine again: "Hey! Look what I found!" You see her reach down and pick up a scrap of paper. She hands it to you - it reads:

Three twists you have, now think them through
Among three axes you may choose
If in three twists the walls align
A secret message shall be thine

But first explore this maze of rooms
Within each one bright colors loom
Except this one where 'Cancer' burns
This one can't shine nor twist nor turn

And wait - before your first such twist
Read the floor**, I must insist
Then don't perform your second twist
If still the south wall's** words are missed

And right before twist number three
The east wall's** wisdom I would heed
Then when you're done with all three turns
Read the words that burn, burn, burn

Read West to East*, then High to Low
Then South to North, and then you'll know
Where and when to go, my friend
To find your father once again.

Whoa. You're not sure what this all means. Three 'twists'? You feel as if your journey has been full of twists. "What should we do?" you ask Jasmine.

"Well, it says to make sure we explore the maze first. Let's make sure we hit all rooms before trying to figure out what to do next."

Jasmine is making sense. You are truly excited at the specific reference to your father. You must be on the right path! You better do as the note says. Which door do you take?:

*Note: Bolded portion corrected from earlier incorrect text "East to West."
**Hint #3 (11:25am): by 'floor', 'south wall', and 'east wall' don't mean the floor/walls of the individual room. It refers to the floor/walls of the entire structure


Upon entering the room, you notice it has the following walls:

  • The south wall is a blue window with a big "7" in the middle.
  • The east wall is a yellow window with a "P".

You strike a match to check out the fire-word in the fire-wood, and it is: "Death". The room then explodes and you are dead. Start over


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a green window
  • The east wall is a red window with the letter "H"
  • The floor is a white window etched with the letter "T"

The word in the fire is "Evil"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a yellow window
  • The floor is a green window etched with the letter "C"

The word in the fire is "Sympathy"

Strangely, there are no exits. I guess you have to start over.


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a yellow window
  • The west wall is an icy orange window"
  • The floor is a green window etched with the letter "O"

The word in the fire is "Laziness"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a green window
  • The east wall is a red window and has a big letter "E"

The word in the fire is "Spite"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is an orange window

The word in the fire is "Honor"

And there are no exits. Start over


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a orange window
  • The west wall is a white window

You light up the firewood and see the word "Nausea"

And there is one way out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a white window
  • The east wall is an orange window
  • The ceiling is a blue window

The word in the fire is "Inspiration"

And there are two ways out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a white window
  • The ceiling is a blue window

The word in the fire is "Apathy"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The north wall is a white window
  • The west wall is a red window and has a big letter "O"
  • The ceiling is a blue window

The word in the fire is "Anger"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The east wall is a yellow tinted window etched with the letter "A"
  • The floor is a red window and has a big letter "E".

The word in the fire is "Happiness"

And there are three exits:


This room is filled with green light coming from the floor, which is a huge green window etched with the letter "M."

The word in the fire is "Love"

And there are two exits:


This room has the following walls:

  • The west wall is an orange tinted window
  • The floor is a green window and has a big letter "T"

The word in the fire is "Earnestness"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The east wall is a yellow tinted window etched with the letter "T"

Again, you're shivering so you whip out your matches and light up the firewood in the room, and see the word "Shame"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room has a soothing white light, as a white window has been installed in place of the west wall.

The fire you light contains the word "Intellect"

And there are three doors out:


Boom! You're dead

But as you die, you notice the following about the room's walls:

  • The east wall is an orange window
  • The ceiling is a blue window

And as you gasp for your last breath, you're also able to ignite the firewood and see the word "Destruction"


Blue is the vibe in this room, because all light emanates from the ceiling, which is a big blue-tinted window

The room's word is "Nastiness"

And there is one door leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The west wall is a red tinted window etched with the letter "B"
  • The ceiling is a big blue icy skylight

Upon creating a fire, you see the word "Regret" appear.

And there are two doors leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The south wall is a blue tinted window etched with the letter "1" (ok fine, its technically a number)
  • The east wall, which is comprised of a yellow tinted window with the letter "O".
  • The floor, which is a red window and has a big letter "E".

The fire-word "Indulgence"

And there are two doors leading out:


This room has the following walls:

  • The south wall is a white tinted window etched with the letter "T"
  • The floor is a green window and has a big letter "E".

The word in the fire is "Opulance"

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:


This room is filled with an orangish-green light, emanating from the following walls:

  • The south wall, which is fitted with a white tinted window etched with the letter "A"
  • The west wall, which is comprised of an orange tinted window.
  • The floor, which is a green window and has a big letter "M".

To loosen the ice-doors and warm up the room, you light up the firewood and see the word "Terror."

And lastly, there is but one door leading out:

Rosenthal Rumor: Lilly and Theriot?

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted this morning that the Dodgers are not only after Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly, but 2B/SS Ryan Theriot as well. I'm assuming this means we would give up Blake DeWitt (with which I'm fine) but I hope no one else.

Why we'd want Theriot, whose OPS+ has been under 100 all four years since his rookie year, is beyond me (and DeWitt's OPS+ this year is exactly 100). Bring on the parade of sub-par acquisitions, Ned!


This room has a reddish-greenish-yellow color, caused by the following sources of light:

  • South wall is a red tinted window with the letter "B" etched in it.
  • The east wall is a green window.
  • The ceiling is a yellow window.

You light up the firewood and see the word "Creativity"

Strangely, there is no path leading out. I guess you have to start over.


This room has a really funky hue to it, caused by the following sources of light:

  • South wall is a yellow tinted window with the letter "M" etched in it.
  • The west wall is a blue window with the letter "E"
  • The ceiling is an orange window.

As usual, the room is freezing so you light up the firewood. The word "Elation" appears.

And lastly, there is one door leading out:


This room has a greenish-light orange glow. The walls are as follows:

  • South wall is a yellow tinted window with the letter "T" etched in it.
  • The ceiling is an orange window.

The word burning in the firewood "Optimism"

And lastly, there are two paths leading out:


You stumble into the next room, and this one's got an overpowering red hue to it. Looking around, you see this is because the South wall is fitted with a red tinted ice-window, which serves as the room's sole light source. Furthermore, in the middle of the window, there is etched a huge "2".

On the floor of the room there's more firewood. This time you know what to do. You light it on fire, and see the following word appear amongst the flames:


Again, you and Jasmine aren't sure what to do with this, but decide to file it away in your collective bear brains.

Strangely, the door you entered through seems to have disappeared. Scanning the room, you see a hatch leading up into the ceiling. It seems to be your only exit.

Note: The numeric title of this post, as well as all other similar posts that are part of this puzzle, is irrelevant to the solving of the puzzle. They are merely used in its construction

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Post-Game 102 Thread: Holy Shit, Batman

Argh! So here I am, trapped between a rock and a hard place in the ninth inning of a tie ballgame against the evil Fortunate Friar. He's getting away, roughly about six full steps ahead of me, with the possibility of it increasing to seven full steps. If I can utility belt...

There, I got it. So there are two weapons on my utility belt left unused, primed, and ready for action. One is a potent magnum which can be unreliable at times but still packs a powerful punch. The other is a toy capgun with no useful value whatsoever, an item which I had actually tried to take off my belt altogether, but somehow it has stuck around without rationale for the last four months, continuing to suck wind in a toxic, nuclear-implosion type of way. Which one should I use to try and catch my enemy, who is on the precipice of slipping out of my grasp once and for all?

...I guess I'll choose the unreliable capgun, and just hope for the best. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. ... ... seems that the Fortunate Friar is just...walking off?


Game 102 Thread: July 29 @ Padres, 3:30p

Vicente Padilla (4-3, 3.41) vs. Mat Latos (11-4, 2.48).

COMMENTS: 3:30? Who the hell starts a game at 3:30? The Dodgers find themselves back where they started, here we go 'round again. Come on, do it again. 6.0 games out, while the Giants remain 2.5 back. Can Battletoad pitch the Blue to a series win? New Dodger Scott Dergan probably won't join the team in time to start, so it'll be up to the ice-cold bats to scratch together a few runs. Giants this weekend, so things don't get much easier.

Dodgers Advised To Look Toward 2011

Along with the Red Sox and Mets, the Dodgers are advised by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus to start gearing up for 2011 rather than trying to make a run in 2010 (link is insider only):

Los Angeles Dodgers: Harder to jump two teams than one

Should they sell? The postseason odds here are worse than Boston's -- the Dodgers have a 20 percent shot of October baseball right now. The San Diego Padres are not a fluke, and the San Francisco Giants are seeing their playoff odds surge as well. It looks increasingly likely that True Blue would have to jump two teams.

What could they trade? Manny Ramirez isn't coming back in 2011 and costs way too much for a deadline deal, but what about one of those Aug. 31 trades that still has him postseason-eligible? His contract should pass through waivers fairly easily, and a desperate team that thinks a motivated Manny is a good Manny might give up a little something for the one-month rental. If the team really wanted to rebuild, Hiroki Kuroda has some no-trade protection but would be an attractive starter option for many teams, as could Vicente Padilla.

What do they need? Nearly everything. What was once a player development machine has seen the gears start to grind a bit, especially when it comes to position players. There are no legitimate catchers anywhere in the system -- and they need to find some fixes at the corners for a departing Ramirez and an aging Casey Blake. Those fixes do not appear to currently be in the system; Jerry Sands has been the breakout minor leaguer of this organization in 2010, but his best position is likely first base.

I know I would have felt a lot differently had we taken the first two games against the Padres (rather than dropping one yesterday evening), but the continued dormancy of our bats has me starting to agree with sentiments like this. The starting pitching the last week has been outstanding, but I'm feeling more and more like 2010 is not going to be our year, especially with Roy Oswalt apparently heading to Philly to further augment a much stronger NL contender.

(Of course, if we can win this afternoon in San Diego, I'll probably feel like we can make a run.)

Vin Scully, on Perfect Emotion

Vin Scully, from last night's telecast:

He was thirty-six years old and he had trouble with alcohol, but on this day in 1991, he earned the nickname "El Presidente." We're talking about Dennis Martinez, from Nicaragua. He pitched a perfect game against the Dodgers.

There were seventeen ground balls, he struck out five, there were two foul ball outs, and three fly balls to the outfield. El Presidente indeed.

Let's go back to this one.

Oh and one the count.

I think the moment I will treasure — there are so many ball players who are pretty blasé, some will show some emotion after a big win — but for Dennis Martinez, it was incredible.

Considering his battles with alcohol and everything else, when he pitched that perfect game, he sat in the visiting dugout at Dodger Stadium and cried his heart out. It was quite a sight.

Wanna Be Startin' CF

First 20,000 fans at Dodger Stadium on Friday, August 6 get this poster.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dodgers Download iPodsednik

Dodgers Acquire Scott Podsednik (MLBTR)

Not sure why Ned Colletti chose to trade a catching prospect, given Russell Martin's struggles. Here's the alphabet soup lowdown: MSTI and MoKM hate it; DT hopes the price isn't too high. TBLA breaks down what it means for the Dodgers.

UPDATE: The Dodgers have filled the crucial position of husband-of-Playboy-centerfold left vacant since the departure of Brett Tomko. Good job, Ned! (Thanks to rbnlaw for the heads-up!)

Game 101 Thread: July 28 @ Padres, 7p

Hiroki Kuroda (8-8, 3.48) vs. Clayton Richard (7-5, 3.57).

COMMENTS: If you combined Clayton Kershaw and J.R. Richard, would you get Clayton Richard? I hope not, because that would be one bad mofo of a pitcher. Anyhoo, of the Dodgers' remaining 62 games, 12 are against the Padres. That's almost a 20 percent chance of Friarly activity during any given Dodgers game. But we're 5-1 against the Pads so far this season, so let the streak continue!

photo by Darryl Norenberg/

SoSG's Accidental Time Travel Experiments Underway...

This morning the Sons were cruising around in the company Delorean, jumped into the backyard hot tub, and started knocking back Chernobly. And, as some of you have noticed, strange things have ensued. Based on the sidebar latest comments, it seems we've been transported back to May 3, 2008 (and the Top Commenters list suddenly seems a bit gender-biased).

Not sure what's going on. But until we figure it out, you may as well reminisce about how Loney had 6 RBI on the way to the Dodgers' 8th straight victory that night.

And about how Erin returned from feeding her neighbor's cat at 6:22pm.

Trade Deadline Anxieties

ESPN the Magazine has a column called "MLB Player X" that is written by anonymouse MLB All-Star. In his latest column (insider only; from the July 26 2010 issue), Player X talks about the trade deadline and the effects on individual and team performance...and references that "team chemistry" thing that people tende to reference so much:

Keeping the team together and focused when all the gossip begins to fly can be tricky. My job as a veteran is to rally everyone to make sure we all play together. I know that sounds hokey, but it's really true. If someone has put his individual interests ahead of what's best for the collective, he'll hear about it. From me. As long as you come to the clubhouse every day, I'll play for you. But I will also expect you to play for me. That's how winners go about their business, even when winning isn't the easiest thing to do.

When a guy does get traded, you might not even see him before he goes. The first time that happened, I was in shock. A couple of buddies I'd come up with were sent packing, and the reality hit me like a Mack truck. A big part of my life was going to be out of my control for a long time. I've been around long enough now to understand it's going to happen to me; it's just a matter of when. [...]

Soon enough, though, a new teammate shows up in the old one's place, and you have to integrate him into the group as fast as possible. You can't sit around and sulk. It's sort of like losing the family pet. Everybody has a long face until the new dog shows up. I hear a lot of commentators say chemistry in team sports is overblown, that guys don't need to like each other to play well. I couldn't disagree more. The closer you are to the dude next to you, the harder you may run to break up that double play. If you're having fun together, you refuse to let your teammates down. Similarly, a me-first guy might be too busy thinking about hearing his name on the trade winds to chase a ball into the stands. Anxiety will affect performance, if you let it.

I've never played professional baseball. But at the same time, I wake up every morning and think about "being traded" from my job for a new talent--and that fear is enough to keep me driving (or at least has been for most of my working life). What if someone buys my company or if management changes; would I still be employed? I don't think that sort of professional-level anxiety negatively impacts my ability to be a good team player. In fact, I think it makes me a better contributor, one that is more willing to chase that ball into the stands. Maybe that's not the same in baseball.

Kershaw's Future Continues To Look Bright

From (insider only), a qualitative and statistical appreciation for Clayton Kershaw's improving presence on the mound:

We're dreaming on the kind of numbers Clayton Kershaw can put up at his peak, and he continues to make strides forward in his third big league season. He ranked 24th in our Player Rater among starting pitchers last season, and has moved into the top 15 this year, thanks to ranking in the top 10 in the National League in wins (10), ERA (2.96), and strikeouts (138 in 130 2/3 innings.) Of course, he's also fourth in the league in walks.

Still, the trends continue to be encouraging for the 22-year-old southpaw. His strikeout rate continues to hold steady at more than 9.5 batters per nine innings, while his walk rate, which is remains higher than you would like, has dropped from 4.8 batters per nine to 3.9 this season, and it's starting to help him address the criticism that he doesn't go deep into games often enough, running his pitch count up too early. His innings pitched per start has increased in each of his seasons in the majors, and is at 6.2 this season.

"I think I'm just doing a better job of throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters and making them earn their way on base more," Kershaw said. "It makes everything a lot easier. Sometimes it's just a rhythm thing and a comfort thing on the mound, and sometimes I lose the feel. I just don't throw a lot of strikes at times. I know I walk a lot of guys and it's something I have to work on, and everybody asks me, 'Why do you do that?' and I don't know. If I knew, I wouldn't do it. It's just the way it is sometimes."

Kershaw is actually a bit of a changed pitcher this year, as he uses his slider a lot more and trusts it more against right-handed batters, which keeps him from nibbling as much. Although scouts have always raved about the big break on his curveball, it's become more of a chase pitch outside of the zone. The slider is a good breaking ball he can use to throw strikes, yet still be an effective pitch, playing off his 92-94 mph fastball. He has a changeup that he's largely relegated to his back pocket because of the way his feel for a slider (a pitch he rarely threw as a rookie) has progressed.

"The curve is always going to be there," Kershaw said. "My slider doesn't have as big a break, so it's easier to throw for a strike at times. Sometimes when I get behind in counts and don't want to go with a fastball, it's an easier pitch to flip up there for a strike and get back in the count. My curve breaks so much that sometimes it's hard to control. The slider's been working a little better right now, so I've stuck with it."

Obviously, Kershaw and his fantasy owners still would like to see the walk rate cut even more, especially as his stuff is good enough that he can continue to be just as effective working in the strike zone more often. Although Kershaw generally repeats his delivery pretty well, he could still use a touch more consistency in that regard, which could help limit the free passes even further. At times he's not finishing his delivery as well as he should, cutting his body off instead of staying through the pitch, which causes his fastball to wander. That said, there have been some incremental improvements, and I have no reason not to expect more of them. Have I mentioned he's still just 22?

One other thing to mention is Kershaw's homer rate, which continues to be miniscule. He allowed just 0.4 homers per nine innings last season, and is at 0.5 this year. A deeper look at the numbers will show what appears to be fortunate luck in terms of his homers-per-fly-ball ratio, which is less than 5 percent for the second straight season. (The average is around 11.5 percent.)

According to Baseball Info Solutions, Kershaw ranked first in the major leagues in lowest-homers-per-fly-ball percentage last year among qualified starters, and ranks sixth this season. (Six other starters have ranked in the top 20 in each of the past two seasons: Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Matt Cain.) Such a low level is still a little unsustainable, but my guess is he has a good chance to at least stay better than average. It's one of the reasons Kershaw's elevated walk totals haven't come back to haunt him as much as you might think.

What also helps is that Kershaw induces a lot of poor contact with the quality of his arsenal, ranking in the top 10 among qualified starters in infield fly ball percentage in each of the past two seasons. He's getting a good amount of weak "can of corn" flies and infield pop-ups. Ideally, we're hoping for a few fewer base runners going forward to help blunt any ERA hit caused by a few more balls leaving the yard.

Obviously, Kershaw is very good now as evidenced by his top-15 standing among starters in the Player Rater, but there is the sense that we may not have seen his best season yet, which is even better news for his keeper and dynasty owners.

Forget the fantasy owners. I'm more stoked he's a Dodger. Keep up the great work, Minotaur!

photo: Chris Williams/Icon SMI

New PCS Rankings!

UBragg widens his lead thanks to both his win in yesterday's puzzle and the succubus. There's also some counterintuitive upward movement from non-solvers (and even some non-participators), again thanks to the succubus. She really mixes things up.

As always, please double-check:

(720 possible points)

PCS Tour
Mr Customer
Mr F
Keven C
Josh S
J Steve
Dusty Baker

Others receiving votes: greg finley 195, quadsevens 190, matt 172, llcooll 162, mlasf 152, curious gene 139, dunkhawk 116, nicholas 110, dusto magnifico 102, steve dittmore 99, danielle 75, lauro 73, berkowit28 70, loney fan 62, rbnlaw 62, wicks 54, bryan 50, mishap 50, erin 30, karina 30, fred's brim 22, midnight drive 10.

SoSG Fest 2010 Is This Saturday!

Four days remain to SoSG Fest 2010. Those of you who already have confirmed invitations should know the specific event details already, but for those of you looking to watch a Dodger game on television (against the arch-rival Giants, no less) among your snarkiest of SoSG friends, with subsidized food and grog--please check out the rules and send us an email!

And thanks to Mr. Customer Mr. LA Sports Fan for this fine logo!

Hope to see you all there!

Delino's Delightful Weekend of Conflicted Loyalties and Uber-Nerds

For the astute reader, and even the not so astute reader (I'm looking at you "Todd"), the Double D's allegiances have come in question before.

A hybrid of Philly suburbs (aka Delaware), New York bloodline, and a decade in Los Angeles, this intrepid blogger has often sided with the enemy. Rooting for the Giants against the Eagles in the Vet, and living to tell the tale. Hooting and hollering when the Flyers come to Anaheim. Screaming out for a rare Sixers victory while sitting next to the Clippers' FAN. But when two of my beloved teams come face to face, then I have to look deep in my soul. Like at the Forum, when Penn basketball spanked the Trojans (with the late, great John Ritter in attendance). Or this past weekend.

I've got one simple rule when I wear my METS gear to Dodger Stadium - never sit above the Loge. Up in the Reserve, where the air is thinner, the people aren't looking for homeruns. They're looking for VENGEANCE. So with Field seats in hand, I attended two different pathetic Mets losses with an ace up my sleeve. My two-year-old!

I'll give the Dodgers faithful credit: when you're carrying a two year old, you seldom get called the C, F, MF, T, CS, or L Word. (Besides, I think this Mets team is too pathetic for derision.)

Thursday- Bidding will start at $40 for my newest possession!

(Thanks to my son for being young enough to get a copy - kid's finally pulling his weight!). We tried to also get a Matt Kemp, but it was stuck under an umbrella-ella-ella.

For a boy who's not even been around 800 days, DD II is really into his baseball. It's a word he says about 100 times a day, and on Thursday he constantly cheered "Go Go Mets," "David Wright," and the occasional "Baba Booey."

It's been fun watching my little man turn into a complete baseball addict. His favorite book ever? A tie between "Let's Go Dodgers," "Let's Go Mets" and...

Sharing a hot dog, screaming out together at bad calls, rocking out to the seventh inning stretch - I think I finally get all those Crosby, Stills and Nash songs.

Enough with the Toy Story 3-inspired whimsy. Back to the "game." Perhaps even more perplexing than the Mets lack of run support was the polarizing behavior of the Stadium staff. The man at the ticket booth gave us two field seats for well under face, right next to the Mets perpetually tired bullpen. What a mensch!

Later on, while we stood next to the bullpen so my son can learn about ELMER DESSENS, I got yelled at by an usher to sit down. Despite the fact that ZERO people were behind me. Literally, the last ten rows were completely empty. When I tried to plead my case, the usher was having none of it. Forcing me to jokingly rat on a five year old who ran over to look at the bullpen. Joke was on me - the usher instantly made that kid sit down too. And the poor child glared at me with a "Why Me" look?

Friday and Saturday - Only one place on Earth makes me feel like Leo DiCaprio and Wilt Chamberlain rolled up in one. Comic-Con! The highlights - Flynn's Arcade from Tron...

... and continuing my photo collection of "Hanging with Stormtroopers."

Sunday - Viva Los Dodgers day. Which apparently means NOTHING. No special announcements. No giveaways. In fact, they even closed Comacho's Taco shack, which just felt like a slap on Viva day. At least Anson Williams was there, to provide solace with the world's fastest, least adventurous performances of the Star Spangled Banner and G-d Bless America.

Another day, another lack of Mets run support. At least this time, my wife and some other Mets sympathizers were there. Meaning I could drink some beer. Things were looking up, until I tried to get ketchup on my hot dog...

Oh, the humanity. Things took an even darker turner when I watched as the seventh inning ended while I was but one spot away from getting more beer. They wouldn't even sell me Dipping Dots! Meaning I had to watch the Mets blow another one without even the smallest of buzz to take the edge off.

At least long-time SoSG reader "Todd" had his nutritional needs met.

Photo courtesy of Todd. Sort of. I took it off his Facebook.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend of time spent with my favorite little man and hanging with the other DD crowd (Dungeons and Dragons).

Though I'm worried that my son's beginning to test his old man. Today at school, one of the hooligan kids kept saying "Go Dodgers." And now, that's all I'm hearing from him.

Which I suppose is fine - next to the Mets, they're my guys! Just have to teach him that if Grandma DeShields, born in Brooklyn, suspects his shifting allegiances, she might knock a zero off his birthday check.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finally, That Big Trade Deadline Move We've Been Anticipating

That's right, Juan Castro is back with the Dodgers:

The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed veteran utility man Juan Castro, who played for them all of last season, to a minor league contract less than two weeks after he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Although both Oscar Suarez, Castro's Phoenix-based agent, and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said there were no guarantees written into the deal, it stands to reason Castro probably will be one of the minor league players the Dodgers will promote for the September roster expansion.

Castro, 38, signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Phillies last winter after appearing in 57 games for the Dodgers last season, batting .277. Suarez said the Dodgers came calling within minutes of Castro's release by the Phillies and said signing with them made sense for Castro, who was originally signed by the club out of Mexico in 1991, spent his first five major league seasons with the Dodgers before being traded to Cincinnati in April 2000 and aspires to work for the Dodgers in some capacity after his playing career ends.

Castro presently is working out at the Dodgers' spring training facility, [and] will join Triple-A Albuquerque when the Isotopes open their next homestand on Aug. 4 against Sacramento.

Hear that, Dodger fans? Ned Colletti came calling within minutes of Castro's release! We're working the phones! Viva Cuba!

tangentially related photo courtesy UK Daily Mail

Post-Game 100 Thread: Ethier Ill, Chad Simply Sick

Guess what the score of tonight's game was. No really, just guess. Give up?


Bills continued his hot streak, holding the Pads to three hits and no runs over six solid innings. The Dodger bats continued their cold streak, eking out two hits in the first six innings. But they managed to load the bases in the seventh, and Ethier, originally benched because of a tummy ache, came through with a two-RBI single.

Kuo came in for two innings and all he did was strike out five. Brox closed it out, striking out — guess who? — Matt Stairs to end it. Giants beat the Fish, and close to 2.5 behind the Padres. Dodgers five back. It's a start!

Game 100 Thread: July 27 @ Padres, 7p

Chad Billingsley (8-5, 4.22) vs. Jon Garland (9-6, 3.61).

99 games seems to be the right amount of time to assess where we're headed, as we enter the final two months of the season. Last year, we were 62-37, in first place up eight games. The year before, we were 49-50 and tied for first. Both years, we went on to win the division outright and won our first round of the playoffs. This year, we're 53-46--roughly splitting the difference--but our third place standing six games out of first doesn't feel like we're going to make a playoff run. But with a three-game series on tap in San Diego, if this postseason run is going to happen for us, it's going to have to start here.

Bills is coming off his first complete game in two seasons, while former Dodger Garland is coming off a five-inning no decision to the Braves, which included a four-run third inning. Our offense was impotent against the Mets at home--scoring only seven runs in four games (one of which took extra innings), but we strangely eked out three wins despite being outscored in the series. The Padres, as strange as it sounds, will not just [oaken]fold over here, so we'd better we come out of a day off ready to rock. Ready, steady, go!

Assorted Ex-Dodger Trade Rumors's Trade Deadline rumors is heating up as we enter the last four days. And while the Dodgers haven't really been mentioned (except peripherally in the Roy Oswalt and Ted Lilly discussions), there are a couple of ex-Dodgers rumored to be moving:

  • Edwin Jackson: Steve Gilbert of reports that the D-Backs are not done dealing yet and will listen to offers on Edwin Jackson, who will be a free agent after the 2011 season. One of those offers may be from the nation's capital. ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney tweeted Monday that the Nats have made progress in their effort to trade prospects for Jackson, the architect of an eight-walk no-hitter.

    There had been speculation on a three-team deal involving the White Sox and Nationals, but Gilbert said there had been no such discussions as of Monday afternoon. Gilbert adds that the D-backs would still like to move catcher Chris Snyder and reliever Chad Qualls and would not be opposes to trading first baseman Adam LaRoche.

  • Chan Ho Park: The Yankees are trying to unload veteran reliever Chan Ho Park, reports's Jayson Stark. The Yankees will likely get little back for a reliever who has allowed seven home runs in just 32.1 innings. The 37-year-old is earning $1.2 million this year.
  • Jayson Werth: Rumors began to fly Monday afternoon that the Phillies and Padres had agreed on a deal that would land Werth in San Diego, but's Jayson Stark reports via Twitter that the two clubs have not agreed to a deal, citing one source as saying "not true...had discussions...not close."

Oh, My. No More Pie.

And we're not talking about Felix, the Chicago Cub pariah. No, this time it's Chris Coghlan of the Marlins who suffered an injury during a post-game celebration; Coghlan was injured giving a pie to the face of teammate Wes Helms:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Coghlan is the latest player to become seriously injured while celebrating.

The Florida Marlins left fielder is headed for the disabled list with a torn meniscus in his left knee and could need surgery.

The reigning NL Rookie of the Year's injury was revealed in an MRI Monday. He was hurt while delivering a pie in the face to teammate Wes Helms following the pinch-hitter's bases-loaded single in the 11th inning of a 5-4 win over Atlanta on Sunday. There will be no more such celebratory antics by Florida, manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

"It's very humbling when the game is taken away and you don't realize it because you play every day," Coghlan said. "If you ever get injured you want to do it while you're out there competing, not when you're celebrating. Emotions get the best of you, you're excited. There's nothing wrong with that but be a little smarter when you're celebrating a win."

If Coghlan needs surgery, he said he would likely be sidelined six to eight weeks. Coghlan was batting .268 with five home runs and 28 RBIs.

He was replaced in the lineup for Monday night's 4-3 win at San Francisco by Emilio Bonifacio. The Marlins planned to call up outfielder Logan Morrison from Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday. [...]

This is a big blow for the surging Marlins, who with a 4-3 win at San Francisco on Monday night moved over .500 for the first time since June 3. Florida has won eight of 10.

"It's tough to swallow," Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco said. "He's a very important part of this team. All we can do is hope for a speedy recovery. It's just unfortunate something like that happens after your spirits are so high. It's an unfortunate freak accident that happens."

At least the Marlins beat the Giants with that victory. Too bad for Coghland, who pulled a Kendry Morales move right in the thick of an upswing.

For those of you without kids, here's the headline reference.

Off-Day Puzzle #9: Solution

Last time you thought about Jeff Shaw - the answer to yesterday's puzzle - was when? I couldn't remember either.

The first step is to solve the Eric Gagne sliding unscramble puzzle in the 35 moves, as follows:

But looking at the result, the letters still make no sense. And what's the deal with the poem?

That's the second step. Taking the cue from the poem's line "Track his footsteps to the light," you must keep a record of the letters traversed in solving the unscramble puzzle:


Then, from the poem's final line and using google and/or wikipedia to research the sequence of the alphabet, take "one last step to the right" by advancing each letter one (with 'Z' wrapping around to 'A'), and get:


The great Eric Karros' Dodger career spanned from 1991 to 2002. The Dodger closers' saves during that period stack up as follows:

Like a double-overtime NBA game, Jeff Shaw edges out Todd Worrell, 129-127.

Congratulations to UBragg, drewdez, Mr Customer, Jason, and Golem.

Updated rankings to be posted soon. Next puzzle Monday, Aug 9, 7am!

Tuesday Notes, Visiting SD Edition

Monday, July 26, 2010

One More James Loney Walkoff HR Photo (Now With 100% Less Dry Humping)

photo: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Off-Day Puzzle #9: Welcome to the Jumble

Some of you puzzlers are better with the word puzzles. Some are better with the visual puzzles. Here's one with both!

Unscramble the image of Eric Gagne below in 35 moves or fewer. Then, well, solve the puzzle:

When you're in a close fought fight,
In for the save comes a brave knight,
Track his footsteps to the light,
Then take one last step to the right.

Hint #1 (1:06pm PT): It's about the journey, not the destination.

Hint #2 (5:15pm PT): The step referenced in the 4th line of the poem is different than the steps referenced in the 3rd line.

Puzzle Rules: The answer to the puzzle is a current or former Dodger (Eric Gagne is not the answer). Comment freely in the thread, but if you have the solution, please don't give it away to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:

  • Email us with the first and last name of the Dodger player who is the answer, along with your reasoning (answers arrived at via luck or the wrong reasoning, even if correct, count for participation credit only). And please include your screen name somewhere in the email; and
  • Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt. I may not be able to reply to your original email promptly, so please be patient and check back on the comment thread for the latest news; I may confirm correct answers there.

You have until midnight PT tonight to submit your answer. Solution will be posted tomorrow. Good luck!

*New to SoSG's PCS Puzzle Series? Here's how it works. Join the fun, all are welcome!

Throwdown of Love

Thanks to Chad at Memories of Kevin Malone for capturing the magnificence that is a post-walkoff celebratory tackle/bearhug from Matt Kemp. Think James Loney will press charges?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thanks, Mom

I was out of town so I have my mom to thank for attending Tuesday night's game, which despite the crushing 7-5 loss to the Giants also resulted in Sax picking up a highly-coveted James Loney bobblehead. The VHTF bobblehead is now in hand and MOMC.

Thanks, Mom!

Post-Game 99 Thread: Just Enough Offense To Win


Clayton Kershaw, cognizant of a burnt-out bullpen behind him, goes eight strong shutout innings (7 H, 3 Ks) and Kenley Jansen tacks on two Ks in the ninth for the save. Russell Martin doubled in the game's only run in the eighth as the offense looked as lifeless as a day game crowd baking in the sun. But hey, three of four over the Mets before a critical series in San Diego? I'll take it.

A Headline That Sums It All Up

Evan Drellich of runs with the headline, "LA unsure where to go to fill roster", which sort of sums up how the Dodgers look one week from the trade deadline and just over two months short of the end of the 2010 season.

We're in third place, six games back of the Padres (with a crucial series in San Diego starting Tuesday), and manager Joe Torre has basically thrown up his hands in desperation given the lack of options that the Dodgers have at ANY level.

Meanwhile, no moves from Ned Colletti. Can we raise the white flag any higher?

Oh, and the piece ends with this gem:

Torre has been beholden to [roster spot waster Garret] Anderson more for his presence and intangibles than his on-field contribution. He's batting .186.

Actually, Anderson is now batting .181 after yesterday's 0-for-4 with a walk performance. But the PRESENCE he shows in batting 0-for-4: now that is indeed irreplacable. And intangible. And insignificant.

Game 99 Thread: July 25 vs. Mets, 1p

Touched by a Bison.

Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 3.15) vs. R.A. Dickey (6-4, 2.73 ERA).

COMMENTS: Who is R.A. Dickey? Short answer: He's the Mets' Charlie Haeger. Long answer: Read this article — it contains the phrase "missing the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow."

Who is Clayton Kershaw? Just the latest Dodgers starter, who will hopefully continue/improve upon these preceding performances:

  • 7/21 Chad Billingsley: CGSO
  • 7/22 Hiroki Kuroda: 8.0 scoreless
  • 7/23 Vicente Padilla: 7.0 IP, 1 ER
  • 7/24 Carlos Monasterios: 5.0 scoreless

Now if the offense can only score more than two runs during regulation, Kershaw might actually get a chance at a victory. Has James Loney's walkoff energy infused the Dodger bats? Or will the Dodgers end up eating a knuckle sandwich?

photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Post-Game 98 Thread: Suck That, All You "James Loney Does Not Have Power" Haters

DODGERS 3, METS 2 (13)

King James Loney rescues the Dodgers in the bottom of the 13th with one out, launching a solo blast to the right-field pavilion, as if those fans didn't have enough to eat. The Dodgers wasted men at the corners and none out in the bottom of the 12th, which seemed like a pretty bad omen. But scoreless frames from Kenley Jansen (1 IP), Hong-Chih Kuo (1), Jonathan Broxton (2), Jeff Weaver (2), and God forbid George Sherrill (1--and the win!) stymied the Mets and kept giving our sputtering offense chances to win. Many, many chances. And finally, Loney made the most of one.

One Week to SoSG Fest 2010!

We still have a couple of slots left for SoSG Fest 2010, on July 31 2010 at 1p. Remember to send your email following these rules!

And thanks to Stacey and Mike for the new logo--more logo options to come!

Game 98 Thread: July 24 vs. Mets, 1p

Carlos Monasterios (3-2, 3.61) vs. Mike Pelfrey (10-5, 4.01).

COMMENTS: Pressure's on, Carlosterios. The classic Dodger formula of great starting pitching and barely-there offense has yielded two wins in their past three games. Unfortunately, according to, Monasterios' ERA "as a reliever is almost four runs lower" than his ERA as a starter, so this could be a lopsided affair if the Dodgers' bats don't emerge from deep freeze. (You thaw what I did there?)

Saturday Notes Alright (For Fighting)

photo by AC/SoSG

Friday, July 23, 2010

Post-Game 97 Thread: Bullpain


Back to six back. Johan & Vicente were both brilliant tonight, and the Mets led 2-1 heading into the 8th. Then the Dodgers bullpen — Weaver, McDonald, Taschner, Schlichting — went to work, turning four walks (one intentional) and a WP into four runs on a Jason Bay double. Eric Stephen tweets this: "#Dodgers relief pitchers since All-Star break (9 games): 21 walks, 8 strikeouts." Yeah, expect Trader Ned to turn more prospects into relief pitchers soon.

Game 97 Thread: July 23 vs. Mets, 7p

Vicente Padilla (4-2, 3.65) vs. Johan Santana (7-5, 2.87).

COMMENTS: Two 2-0 wins does not a six-game losing slump erase, but it's a start. The Dodgers face a far greater test tonight in Santana, who lifetime against them is 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA. That's right, 0.44. However, Padilla has a 0.87 ERA in his last three starts, so it's like going to junior prom — don't expect a lot of scoring.