Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Post-Game 133 Thread: The Future Of This Organization


Carlos Monasterios may indeed be the future of this organization (as we mentioned earlier, so trumpets Mr. LA SF), but he unfortunately wasn't the August 31 2010 of this organization, as Monasterios gave up 5 ER over 2.0 IP across a short 40-pitch stint. He left in the third inning having not recorded an out and leaving two on, and Ramon Troncoso promptly left a meatball for Ryan Howard, hungry for a home run after a 13-game drought, to place over the centerfield wall for the Phils' second three-run HR of the game. Sigh.

Free James Loney got a two-run HR of his own in the sixth to bring the Dodgers within two, but Jonathan Broxton, entering the game with the bases juiced in the seventh and two out, pitches two 94-mph fastballs out of the zone so Carlos Ruiz could establish timing--only to follow with a 93-mph fastball in the zone that Ruiz bangs to left for a two-RBI single. 8-4, game set match.

Kenley Jansen pinch hit in the fifth for Troncoso and got a hit, so there's that. That makes him about 800 points ahead of Mark Sweeney.

Game 133 Thread: August 31 vs. Phillies, 7p

Carlos Monasterios (3-4, 3.54) vs. Kyle Kendrick (8-7, 4.64).

COMMENTS: CARLOS MONASTERIOS IS THE FUTURE OF THIS ORGANIZATION, Mr. LA Sports Fan likes to trumpet, but what is Monasterios' true future with the Dodgers? The club has juggled him between the bullpen and starting rotation all season — more out of necessity than indecision. Yet modern baseball thinking suggests that players, especially young pitchers, thrive in defined roles. Monasterios has done everything asked of him as a rookie; will the Dodgers give him some definition in 2011?

Tues. Notes, Last Day of August Edition

Monday, August 30, 2010

Post-Game 132 Thread: Hiroki Kuroda, Beacon Of Light


Hiroki Kuroda went out there on the mound tonight and took all of the voluminous MSM coverage of Manny Ramirez' departure and the Dodgers' 2010 season hara-kiri, and kicked all of it squarely in the nuts. Seven and a third innings of magnificent no-hit ball, and 7.2 IP of one-hit, 7 K ball, bested Philly ace Roy Halladay and sent the Phillies back to their Best Western hotel scoreless and wanting.

And how about that Rod Barajas? In his first game in his hometown park in a Dodgers uniform, he calls a great game for Kuroda (but should have called for the beanball against Shane Victorino, who broke up the no-no), hits a run-scoring double play ball for the second run of the game, and then hits a home run off of Halladay to put the Dodgers up 3-0. We never looked back.

Way to go, Hiroki. And for all you MSM who are going to keep saying Manny was/is a cancer and the Dodgers will be unfertile into 2030: let me join our gun, Hiroki Kuroda by saying: GO TO HELL.

photo: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Delino Sr = SoSG's Nostradamus

Like most of us, the Delino had his issues with the most exciting Dodger since Gagne's salad days.

Back in February, the Delino wrote about how Manny claimed his days in LA were numbered. I responded sympathetically.

Some of you responded with bloggy venom and rage.

Boo! Let Manny be Manny, and let's hope we get a good full productive season on him. Enough needless (and sometimes unfair) piling on by others.

Yeah Boo Hiss! It really took you two whole days to come up with that post?

Yeah, chalk this one up as "couldn't possibly care any less, and what's the all the fuss about?" If our dreadlocked friend wants to spend his twilight years cashing Hank Steinbrenner's or Tom Hick's Checks, more power to him.

So, how do we feel now?

Still, the meshugana will be missed. Even if he's a pain in the tuchas, the man brings excitement and commerce everywhere he goes.

Thankfully, there's lots of great sponsorship opportunities in Chicago too.

Vaya con dios, Manny. Don't let the door hit you on the ass. Don't hump the Honda. And don't forget to bring your number one fan.

Game 132 Thread: August 30 vs. Phillies, 7p

Hiroki Kuroda (9-11, 3.56) vs. Roy Halladay (16-9, 2.22).

COMMENTS: Halladay! Celebrate! We-are-going-to-get-our-ass-kicked. The Dodgers came through on the Weisman-mandated four-game win streak, and now they're clean out of winnin' for the season. Just in time for the McCourts' divorce trial! Does this team have its timing down or what?

UPDATE from Sax 4:58p: Looks like Ken Levine of Dodger Talk has taken over dodgers.com! How else to explain comedic headlines like this:

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!

SoSG Gets Hit #1,500,000

Sometime over this past weekend (full of Manny-discarding angst and corroded-postseason-plans vitriol), we crossed the threshold to 1,500,000 hits. And despite the awful news elsewise in the weekend, you know us Sons well by now; we're a compassionate type who tend to get all misty-eyed and self-contemplative on anniversaries such as these.

This time, I just want to say, on behalf of the other Sons of Steve Garvey:


This has been perhaps the most trying year for the Sons of Sons of Steve Garvey, and not just because the Dodgers' performance this season has had a lot of heartbreak (and heartburn). A number of us Sons have had rough patches at work, as well as ridiculously absurd travel schedules, plus the occasional mid-life or family-based crisis that tends to occur around this stage in life. It's nothing life-threatening or utterly overwhelming. But it has made it harder than ever for us to publish with regularity, and our decreased volume of posts this season demonstrate just that. It's not that we don't love writing; I know I for one still love sitting down with my laptop and hacking away on a GameThread, a sarcastic barb, a metaphorical construct, or even a random thing I saw on the web someplace else. However, there has been less time this year to get those free moments to write--despite efforts to carve out time wherever one can.

But there's one thing I've also learned this year: hanging out with one's sarcastic, hilarious, and witty friends sure dullens some of those sharp pains of a depressing baseball season. As much as I'm able to put into the blog, I feel like I'm getting tenfold in return from all of your comments and zingers and puns and tweet-bashes. So thank you for coming by and for contributing and for helping make this such a great community.

I'm also very proud that we were able to break down the fourth wall and buy some of our readers some well-deserved beers this year. For those of you who missed out, we're hoping to catch you for the next round!

So, raise a glass to the next 1.5M hits--and again, THANK YOU.

Happy Monday, Everybody!!!

Let's see what's going on in Dodgertown today!

  • Our best offensive weapon, Manny Ramirez, has been summarily dumped to the White Sox...for NOTHING in return, except for cash relief (which will do nothing but line the pockets of ownership). The Dodgers may be $4M richer, but the fans have nothing to show for it. And who benefits from this influx of cash? Well, ownership is unclear, since...
  • The Frank McCourt vs. Jamie McCourt trial begins today in Los Angeles Superior Court. I'm so disgusted, I don't know which side I want to win; I just want them to take their bickering away from the Dodgers altogether. But why focus on off-the-field woes, when one can fix one's gaze upon...
  • The Philadelphia Phillies, who come to town today ready to add another chapter of ignominious defeat after rallying from an eight-run deficit in two innings against us earlier this year. Let alone the shadow of consecutive NLCS whuppings by the Phillies, which has turned once-confident closer Jonathan Broxton into a shell of himself, rocking back and forth and babbling in a corner. And what's even worse,...
  • ...If one of the few practical and commendable goals left this year is to make sure the Giants don't make the playoffs, the only way to help achieve that goal is to make sure we let the Phillies win. The Giants are 1.5 GB in the WC, and with their upcoming series against the still-viable-and-unlike-the-Dodgers-not-dumping-sluggers Rockies, they will face a hungry opponent. We can help make sure the Giants sit at home this October as well, by rolling over and playing dead against the Phillies starting tonight.

Happy Times, everybody!

Au Revoir, Manuel Aristides Onelcida

Manny's gone. Although it isn't unreasonable to be upset about his lousy last AB as a Dodger (and the head-scratching aspect of Manny it represents), it's disingenuous to think he should have changed his character when he came to supposedly laid-back L.A.

We knew what we were getting. And what we got was an amazing 2008, a tainted but still productive 2009, and a waste of a 2010. All for only $45 million.

Here's Dusty's take:

I remember where I was when I learned that the Dodgers had acquired Manny. I was in my office at work when a good friend called to tell me the news. He never calls me during work hours. This was big news, indeed. I immediately ran to the offices of a few colleagues I knew would also be happy to hear the news. I was like a kid running to tell my parents that I'd gotten an A on a report.

MANNY WANTS TO PLAY FOR THE DODGERS. I kept repeating that to myself. It really stoked my True Blue blood. The fact that a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest hitters of the modern era wanted to come play at Chavez Ravine just blew me away. It's been awhile since we had that caliber of hitter, so maybe I was just easily excited.

One of the things that Manny did when he arrived was immediately to make the young payers around him better. The transformation was almost instantaneous. In a physical sense, the presence of one of the most feared hitters in baseball meant that other players like Kemp and Ethier and Loney would see more good pitches to hit. But Manny also brought an intangible to the Yard. He brought confidence and veteran knowledge, as well as a work ethic that was both serious in terms of his craft but loose in terms of his approach. In short, he was the anti-Jeff Kent, and it was badly needed in the dugout. The addition of Casey Blake just a day or two before also helped bring some veteran presence to the team. The chemistry took hold and we took the NL West.

The crowds took to Manny right away. I was there on his second night in Los Angeles as a Dodger. I saw his first home run as a Dodger that night. Crowd went wild. I went wild. The love affair had begun. Though there have been great players and great moments in recent Dodger history (e.g., 4+1 game), and we'd been blessed with terrific young talent that makes up the core of our future, when Manny arrived, there hadn't been a buzz in Chavez Ravine like that since Gagne and Game Over. We needed him. And he needed us, to be sure.

I was also there on BobbleSlam night. It was the damndest thing I ever saw during a baseball game (only incorrect grammar could give this sentence the emphasis it needs). I will never forget where I was sitting or the volume of the crowd after Manny stood in -- nary a practice swing taken -- and smacked that homer into Mannywood.

I was at the Yard the night Manny missed his first game after the PED suspension, and I was there the first night he came back -- wearing #99 t-shirt. As I stood in line the night he returned, I was interviewed by a local reporter who tried to press me to say something negative about Manny. Don't toy with me, dying media.

Manny, we'll miss you. We'll miss your bat. We'll miss your goofiness. We'll miss your tortured answers to inane media questions. We'll miss your dreadlocks. We'll miss your Bee Eye Pee Tickess adverts. We'll miss the number 99. We'll miss your clutch heroics as well as the times you couldn't deliver but temporarily brought hope that you could. We'll miss your being the only player we list by first name when we post the lineups in the Sons of Steve Garvey game thread. Mostly, we'll miss how your being a part of the team drove Simers and Plaschke completely insane.

Thanks, Dusty! SoSG readers, what do you think? Take the poll and leave a comment!

Manny's gone! How do you feel?
Thank you and godspeed!
Don't let the door hit your sorry ass on your way out!
Don't care!
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Manny Ramirez Reportedly Off To The White Sox

ESPN.com's Tony Jackson is reporting that Manny Ramirez is indeed off to the White Sox, and the White Sox will either pick up all $3.8M remaining on his 2010 salary, or part with a prospect for a bit of cash relief. (On the eve of the McCourt trial's beginning, I can guess which option will be chosen.)

Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez is headed to the Chicago White Sox on Monday in what is looking like a straight waiver claim, a league source with knowledge of the situation said Sunday on condition of anonymity.

The source said there was still some chance the two clubs will work out a trade that presumably would involve one from a list of a handful of prospects going from the White Sox to the Dodgers, a development that probably would mean the Dodgers would pay some percentage of the $3.825 million remaining on Ramirez's two-year, $45 million contract, depending on the quality of the prospect.

Another league source, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Dodgers' preference at this point is to simply allow Ramirez to go to the White Sox as a waiver claim, in which case the White Sox would be responsible for the entire $3.825 million. The Dodgers have had that option available to them ever since the White Sox secured waiver rights to Ramirez on Friday. [...]

Ramirez didn't start any of his final four games with the Dodgers. He pinch hit in the top of the sixth inning of Sunday's 10-5 loss to the Rockies but was ejected from the game after one pitch when he argued a called strike that appeared to be a few inches off the outside corner. That apparently was his final act in a Dodgers uniform.

Ramirez is batting .311 this season with eight homers and 40 RBIs, but has played in just 66 games due to injuries.

More on this tomorrow. I'm working on some puzzles, to keep my mind off this sad stuff.

More Hard-Hitting News from the USA Today

I once described the USA Today as perfect for travelers on Ambien, and others who just never learned how to read. But after stumbling upon this SHOCKING headline (during my own sleep-addled travels), I now think most USA Today "read"-ers would otherwise just be staring at a wall.

Game 131 Thread: August 29 @ Rox, 12p

Ted Lilly (5-0, 1.83) vs. Jason Hammel (8-7, 4.35).

Checking Up With Delino DeShields' Offspring

One more ripping from ESPN the Magazine: in their August 23 issue they profiled four players from different sports who are "on the verge of breaking big". Baseball's case study was none other than Delino DeShields Jr.:

Delino DeShields Jr., 18

Pedigree:Delino DeShields, former second baseman and National League triples leader

Production: As a senior, the 5'9", 175-pound speedster hit .415 and stole 29 bases.

Prospects: Drafted eighth overall by the Houston Astros, Junior will shift from centerfield (his high school position) to second base (his father's domain).

Good luck, DD Jr! We're keeping an eye out for you!

Brother, Can Thou Spare a FF Tip?

Once again, the Delino's chasing that dragon called Fantasy Football. After promising to cut it down this time around, I find myself in three leagues and staring at a draft TODAY.

I've done well in the past, even winning one league thanks to a late round pick up of Antonio Bryant (and getting points per reception). But after my travails with a mostly inherited fantasy baseball team...

I just don't trust myself.

So anyone with mob or bookie connections or any insider knowledge, speculations, or paranoid theories, pass them along. And I promise to share a percentage of my winnings.

Please note: Promise not binding

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Game 130 Thread: August 28 @ Rox, 5p

Chad Billingsley (10-7, 3.70) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (7-9, 3.98).

COMMENTS: Four-game win streak, tie with the Rockies for fourth place in the NL Wild Card hunt, and a dramatic victory last night. I'd like to feel more confident about this resurgent Dodgers team. However, Billingsley, who delayed his start one day due to an issue with his right calf, will be pitching in Coors Field, not exactly the most hospitable place for shaky pitchers. That doesn't exactly build up my confidence level much, even if we are facing Chacin (1-2 vs. the Dodgers this year).

At least I can take solace in the fact that Dinger is probably having some leg issues, too. That's gotta be a groin pull. (Dusty, this one's for you!)

As If Losing To The Dodgers Wasn't Bad Enough

Yovani Gallardo was barely out of his orange jumpsuit on Thursday night, having just pitched and gotten the loss against the Dodgers, before he was robbed at gunpoint in Milwaukee. Yikes.

Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo and clubhouse attendant Alex Sanchez were robbed at gunpoint early Friday, hours after Milwaukee's ace pitched in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It was a scary moment for me, obviously for me and Alex, and those are tough situations," Gallardo said Friday afternoon, about 14 hours after the robbery occurred. "Things like that happen in every city, anywhere you go and it's just unfortunate that it happened to me and him."

Gallardo did not take any questions after briefly discussing the incident outside the team clubhouse before the start of the Brewers' three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"Just going out there, getting a bite to eat before heading home, trying to stay out of trouble, and unfortunately trouble finds us," he said. "Nobody was seriously hurt and we're all OK. Both of us are fine. That was the main thing." [...]

WTMJ-AM said that an armed man approached the two in a supermarket parking lot demanding money and jewelry, and that Sanchez was hit in the head but not seriously injured.

Milwaukee police were investigating but didn't have a suspect. Spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz confirmed that two men were robbed at an address that corresponds with a grocery store but wouldn't identify the men.

She said the suspect struck one victim with a gun and fled.

Gallardo signed a $30.1 million, five-year contract extension earlier this year. He's 11-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 25 starts and was chosen to his first All-Star Game this season.

He's struggled recently, losing 7-1 to the Dodgers on Thursday. It was the fourth straight start in which Gallardo has allowed at least four runs.

I like how the Associated Press story takes an understandably scary moment for this young man and turns it into a commentary about his last four starts. It then went over and poured salt on his lawn and kicked his dog in the nuts.

Manny Seemed Lonely, So Ted Lilly Also Placed On Waivers

Ned Colletti is wisely bracing himself for a fire sale:

DENVER -- Ted Lilly is the latest Dodgers player to be placed on waivers by the club, according to FOX Sports.

The team is believed to have placed on waivers virtually all of its upcoming free agents to provide flexibility should management decide that a postseason berth is not realistic and it's time to plan for 2011.

Lilly is 5-0 since being acquired from the Cubs before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Dodgers' upcoming free agents are Brad Ausmus, Rod Barajas, Ronnie Belliard, Octavio Dotel, Jay Gibbons, Reed Johnson, Hiroki Kuroda, Lilly, Manny Ramirez, Scott Podsednik and Jeff Weaver.

The way I see it, why not? Again, I think jumping three or four more teams with 33 to play is a little ambitious. And if Colletti can get Paul Konerko for Ramirez? And Mark Buehrle for Ted Lilly? That would be pretty cool.

Yeah, right.

Hosting Dodgers in Training

ESPN the Magazine's Patrick Cain did a piece on Gay Robinson, who hosts players from the Dodgers' Rookie-Advanced affiliate Ogden (Utah) Raptors. For the last five years, the Robinsons have invited players to live out of three spare rooms in their empty next, totaling 27 players in total.

It was a quick piece, but I found this part interesting:

It's for the love of the game.

"To be a host you just need to tell the team and have the room. Of course, they check to see if conditions are suitable. We provide food, shelter and a washer and dryer. In return, the team gives us two season tickets per player. But it doesn't cost much to house them. They mostly eat chicken and rice, so even when we had six guys, our grocery bill increased only maybe $200.

Season tickets for the Raptors top out at $300/seat; so, $600 for having four random teenagers living in one's house for six months seems like a pretty small stipend. I love the Dodgers, but I don't know if I could run a boarding house for $600. Thoughts?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Post-Game 129 Thread: It's A Trap!


It seems like it's been a long time since we've seen a Dodger team with resiliency, one that could come back in the late innings to win a tough game--in this case, a great pitchers' duel between Ubaldo Jimenez (who takes the loss to go to 17-5) and Clayton Kershaw (ND; six innings of five-hit, 6 K ball with only 1 ER given up to a solo Todd Helton HR). But the Dodgers, after being frustrated by scattered hits and GIDPs through seven, came out in the eighth with a Scott Podsednik single, a Ryan Theriot walk, and a Andre Ethier game-tying double to chase Jimenez.

Matt Belisle came in and got Matt Kemp to ground to short but then IBBd James Loney, setting Casey Blake up for a magnificent grand slam, the fifth of his career, which put the Dodgers up 5-1. Kemp added an RBI single in the ninth, and Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless seventh and got two out in the eighth before Hong-Chih Kuo entered to shut down Helton with a K, and then pitched a solid 1-2-3 ninth for the save.

So why is this a trap? With the win, the Dodgers move into a tie for fourth place in the Wild Card (along with the Rockies). And the Giants are losing 6-0 to the Diamondbacks in the ninth, so the Dodgers could be only four games off the pace when the dust settles. Which means Ned Colletti is probably popping Xanax like mentos, wondering if he should push the self-destruct button and dish Manny Ramirez, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, and even tonight's hero Casey Blake in the hopes of getting something upon which we can build for the future. But this win and the narrowing gap means we're stuck--unfortunately.

I still think we're too far back for this to be reasonable. So onward, toward the supposedly shieldless and half-constructed Death Star, we proceed...

Game 129 Thread: August 27 @ Rox, 6p

Clayton Kershaw (11-8, 3.07) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (17-4, 2.66).

[Sax here.] For all of Clayton's awesomeness, Accuscore (in todaysWSJ) predicts we will lose 4.8 runs to 3. They're so bearish on us that we don't even merit a fractional run. So will the boys in blue (with a three-game win streak) defeat the Rox and halt their four-game win streak? Manny's 2010 fate (likely) hangs in the balance!

Putting A Brewers Sweep In Perspective

The Dodgers' sweep of the Brewers puts us five games back in the NL Wild Card race with 34 games to play. There are four teams ahead of us and the top two teams in the Wild Card chase have gone 4-6 over their last ten (SF and Philadelphia). If we win the series in Colorado, we will move up to fourth place in the WC chase--and we could possibly be a half-game out of third place (if we sweep and the Cardinals get swept).

It could happen.

But it probably won't.

Look, the Brewers are now nine games under .500 and have a losing record at home (and a horrific record in day games, like Thursday's game). The Dodgers have a full head of steam, but are coming into Coors Field against a Rockies team that has won four in a row (sweeping the Braves), including a crazy comeback from nine runs down on Wednesday. The Rockies are 41-20 at home this year. And they're throwing ace Ubaldo Jimenez, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jason Hammel against Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and a big fat TBA logo (as of Thursday night).

The Dodgers' sweep is admirable and worthy of commendation. But this, my dear friends, is called a tease. I know, we've referenced this before, but we thought it was worthy of reminder as we go into this series with our divisional rival, lest you get all excited because you think you're getting this:

...when in reality you're really about to get something like this:

Isn't that the equivalent of a cold shower, no?

Hayden Panettiere picture from this blog; scary unclothed rollerblading guy from this site

UPDATE 12:07p: Why am I going through all of this bubble-bursting fun? Because the White Sox have been awarded the claim on Manny Ramirez, and they have until Tuesday at 10:30a to work out a deal:

The White Sox now have until Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. ET to complete a trade. However, the Dodgers are five games out in the NL wild-card race, so they are in no rush to move quickly to get a deal done. And Ramirez would have to waive his no-trade clause and approve any move.

The Dodgers have the option of pulling Ramirez back and keeping him, working out a trade with the White Sox, or just let him go via the waiver claim. The Dodgers could pick up some of Ramirez's money to work out a trade with the White Sox, or they could let Ramirez go and leave the White Sox responsible for all of his remaining contract.

Kinda puts it all into perspective, right? (And suddenly, this weekend series in Colorado got a lot more important.) Go get us some prospects, Ned. Don't be fooled by the mirage.

Scully's Gibson HR Call, Set To RBI Baseball

Via Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew and the original (as far as I know) source, Roberto from VSIMH, here's the mashup with a happy pixelated ending:

I know that other Dodgers blogs have already posted on this, but (a) it's sweet, (b) I'm a big RBI Baseball fan, and (c) we Sons want to have record of this on our "archive" (the blog) as well. When I looked at this earlier in the week, it had ~600 views; it already has >6600 today. Nice work!

Buster Breaks Down The Manny Waiver Madness

Buster Olney suggested that the White Sox just might be crazy enough to claim Manny off the waiver wire (link insider only):

1. If Manny Ramirez is not claimed by any National League team or the worst teams in the American League prior to the Friday afternoon deadline, then the White Sox will have their shot at him. And if they claimed Ramirez, they might be on the hook for $4.4 million for a player who, in the last 58 days, has two hits in 12 at-bats, with three strikeouts.

The White Sox are interested in the rest of his resume, of course, with the 2,500-plus career hits and 1.000 OPS (precisely) and the many times when pitchers couldn't sneak a ball past him in a big spot.

But suffice to say that few other teams, if any, would even think about paying that kind of price for 4½ weeks of a 38-year-old outfielder. "They're out of their minds if they take on that whole contract," said one high-ranking executive.

Remember, the White Sox have a habit of making deals that others view as crazy. Nobody else in baseball would've taken on the rest of Jake Peavy's contract in the summer of 2009, partly because of the injury risk, and that one hasn't worked out. On the other hand: Nobody else placed a claim on Alex Rios last season, with $60 million remaining on his contract, and Rios has had a solid first full season for Chicago, lowering his hands in his swing and mashing 17 homers, with a .288 batting average. That deal, in which the White Sox gave up nothing but the waiver fee, has worked out well.

Part of the risk/reward equation that others can't figure for the White Sox is the fact that they're 3½ games behind the Twins at a time when their bullpen is decimated. They would be taking on the Ramirez contract at a time when it appears they might not have the weapons around him to get it done; landing Ramirez now could be like moving some pricey furniture into a burning house.

But the White Sox might also want to claim Ramirez knowing that a) they want him, and b) if he clears waivers and is available to any other team, they simply do not have as much to offer in trade as the Tampa Bay Rays, another team that covets the slugger. If the White Sox place a claim, they would eliminate any other competition for Ramirez.

There is no question about one important fact: Ramirez would have every reason to be motivated and stay on the field for his next team, because he will be playing for a 2011 contract. If he stinks in the last month, the few offers he gets will probably be incentive-laden, and if he has a great September, he could get something in the range of $5 million.

Because as the back of his baseball card says, he's still Manny Ramirez."

Five more days to the waiver wire deadline (the day after the McCourt divorce case begins; how fitting), though the deadline for putting a claim on a player is today.

Presenting: The Alex Cora 2010 Watch

Credit Matt Meyers of ESPN the Magazine a couple of issues ago for catching this nugget about a former Dodger and current Son of Steve Garvey:

Alex Cora

2011 Option: $2M

It vests if... he plays in 80 games

Didn't the Mets realize that Luis Castillo is unable to stay healthy? Apparently not. They've been forced to use Cora far more often than a 34-year-old with a .270 OBP [Sax's note: it's now .265] deserves, and it looks like they'll be stuck with him again in 2011.

Guess the Mets are subscribers to ESPN the Magazine as well, as Cora had appeared in 62 games through the team's 106th game (August 2), putting him on pace for just under 95 games across the full season. Since August 2, however, Cora has sat--and the Mets have now played 127 games, putting Cora on a pace for 79.1 games. Ouch. Looks like that $2M is going to be out of reach...

I'm sure Alex's brother Joey is looking at this and saying, "Whoa."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Post-Game 128 Thread: Collins Finally Gets To Call A Sweep


The Collins Curse is over (maybe?)! The Dodgers get their first non-NL West road sweep since June 2008, sweeping the sub-.500 Brewers. A 1-1 tie quickly got out of hand starting with a one-run fifth inning (Scott Podsednik single scores Brad Ausmus), a two-run sixth inning (with two outs, Free James Loney walks and Casey Blake powers a HR), and a three-run seventh inning (Kenley Jansen walks, which led to Ryan Theriot and Reed Johnson RBI singles, as well as a wild pitch while Matt Kemp was at the plate getting prepared to strike out).

Carlos Monasterios had a short 4.1 IP (2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, HR given up to Prince Fielder in the fourth), but a rested bullpen allowed Ronald Belisario, George Sherrill, Jansen, Octavio Dotel, and Jeff Weaver to all come in for scoreless, no-hit performances (Jansen gave up a walk but struck out four in 2.0 IP; Dotel struck out the side in the eighth). (Monasterios' two hits given up were, obviously, the Brewers' only two hits in the game.)

Separately, this PGT allows you to scoreboard watch the Diamondbacks at Padres game, which just started (Snakes lead 1-0 in the second). Go D’backs!

Game 128 Thread: August 26 @ Brewers, 11a

Carlos Monasterios (3-4, 3.63) vs. Yovani Gallardo (11-5, 3.28).

COMMENTS: EK, this one's for you.

[Orel here.] Hold your breath, folks: The Dodgers are in position for their first series sweep since 1932. What's that — it's actually since the end of June? Whatever, same diff. But it'll be a hard-earned win; Munosterios has been yo-yoing back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation, while Yovani Gabba Gabba will apparently be wearing an orange jumpsuit under his uniform. Yo-yos versus jumpsuits. Is that what this season has come to?

Oh yeah, and there's this (courtesy of SoSG stalwart Josh S):

Tomorrow is the real test of the Collins Curse. If they win, it will be the first non-NL-West road sweep since 6/19/08.

So here we go! Morning baseball, everybody!

(That main paragraph brought to you by Dalwhinnie 15-year-old Scotch.)

"Manny's Gonna Have Suitors"

Get out your handkerchiefs now, because every pundit thinks Manny Ramirez is as good as gone to the AL:

MILWAUKEE -- Manny Ramirez, who was in left field and batted third against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night, might have been playing his final game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez is expected to be out of the lineup for Thursday's matinee between the two clubs, and there is a strong chance he could be traded to the Chicago White Sox.

The Dodgers placed Ramirez on waivers Wednesday, sources tell ESPN.com.

The two clubs already are discussing a possible trade involving Ramirez despite the fact the veteran left fielder won't clear waivers until Friday, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. Although the Dodgers can't officially trade Ramirez to the White Sox, or to any other team, until the waiver process is complete, the teams are engaged in talks in anticipation that either the White Sox will secure a waiver claim on Ramirez or Ramirez will clear waivers.

MLB teams have until Friday afternoon to put in a claim on Ramirez. National League teams will have the first chance to claim Ramirez. Waiver rules require that he pass through all NL clubs first before AL teams have an opportunity to put in a claim.

And so it is. Well, I suppose in your potential last game as a Dodger, 2-for-2 with two doubles, a run and RBI, is pretty damn good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Post-Game 127 Thread: Dodgers Conquer The Wolf


I just got home from drinking. What more do you expect for a PGT? We have a shot at a sweep tomorrow!!!

Game 127 Thread: August 25 @ Brewers, 5p

Hiroki Kuroda (8-11, 3.48) vs. Randy Wolf (10-9, 4.67).

COMMENTS: So how is that move to the Brewers working out for you, Mr. Wolf? You were 11-7 with the Dodgers and a 3.23 ERA with a 122 ERA+. Now your ERA+ is 84, which would be the worst mark of your career. Your team is 4.5 games worse than the Dodgers and 13 GB the division leader (the Dodgers are only 12 GB the Padres). So how are you feeling now, huh Randy? (Besides the additional $19M coming to you over the next two years, that is.)

Ah, it's hard for me to bag on Randy, given his 20-13 record across two seasons. But I still want Hiro to get back to an even W-L record, so let's hope new Dodger Rod Barajas is batting fourth, fifth, and sixth in today's lineup.

photo from R Baly's first Dodgers blog! We're positively retro here at SoSG!

Kuroda Also Mentioned As Potential Waiver Wire Bait

The Yankees refuted rumors that they are not chasing Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda:

TORONTO -- General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that even though the pitching-depleted New York Yankees are engaged in a bitter division battle with the Tampa Bay Rays, he does not anticipate going outside the organization for help before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline.[…]

He also refuted media reports that the Yankees were planning to acquire Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers' Japanese righty who is rumored to have been placed on waivers by the Dodgers.

"I haven't thought about him. I don't even know if he's on waivers yet," Cashman said. "Besides, I'd be hard-pressed to find a pitcher on the waiver wire who can pitch better for us than Dustin Moseley has."

Kuroda, 25, is 8-11 with a 3.48 ERA for the fading Dodgers this year. He is owed $2.7 million in salary, an amount the Yankees can easily absorb, and will be a free agent this winter. But in order for the Yankees to get him, he would have to be passed on by every other team, including the Rays and Boston Red Sox, both of whom would have an interest in blocking him from going to the Yankees.

On Stuck Baseballs At Miller Park

SoSG Orel and I visited Miller Park for its inaugural season in 2001. I can’t recall the actual game we attended, but it was the last leg of a Cleveland-Detroit-Milwaukee baseball road trip (which I believe took place over a weekend; points to anyone who is able to verify the dates where that trip might have worked). SoSG EK was with us for the first two legs of the trip but had to skip out before Miller Park, leaving Orel and I to shoulder EK’s expected bratwurst consumption levels ourselves (I think I ate four bratwursts during that game).

I remember getting there really early and walking around the park, and at the souvenir store that I believe is in right field, they were putting together a wall of baseballs for which fans could purchase a baseball for $75, sign the ball however you’d like, and then they would permanently affix it to the wall for all time.

Now, Orel and I had a great time at Miller Park. It’s a beautiful stadium, with great sightlines and incredible beer and bratwursts, and Brewers fans were very hospitable and friendly. During the later innings of the game, flush with appreciation for the park and the fans’ kindness, I was compelled to buy a ball and “leave our mark” at Miller Park. Orel was close to being convinced, too, and we debated this investment for four innings.

Finally, we realized the cold truth that even if we bought the ball, we would likely never come back to see it in place. Which made the investment ridiculous, of course. (What’s more, we were going to draw a Dodgers logo on the ball so I assume the ball’s placement in the wall, if anywhere, was going to be pretty much out of the main lines of sight.)

So, we passed on the investment and skipped on our chance to leave our mark at Miller Park.

That said, I’m glad Matt Kemp’s home run ball made its mark at Miller Park yesterday. (Even though it ended up being a batting practice ball that wasn’t even hit by him.)

Frank McCourt Respectfully Suggests An Alternative Reality To Jamie's Latest Allegation

Unlike Carla Hall’s one-sided LAT piece on August 24, Bill Shaikin got opinions from Frank McCourt’s side in his piece today. And surprise surprise, Frank McCourt says that Jamie’s contentions last week about the tampered documents (which claim that Frank is the sole owner of the Dodgers) aren’t, in fact, accurate--and what's more, Frank's got two guys to help him make his point:

Frank McCourt argues the discrepancy reflects a drafting error that was later corrected to reflect the interest of both sides in protecting the couple's homes from creditors should the business assets falter.

He plans to call as witnesses Corey Busch and Robert Leib, members of the transition team that worked with the McCourts before the Dodgers' purchase was finalized in 2004. Busch and Leib each are expected to testify that Jamie insisted the Dodgers be put in Frank's name to insulate her from exposure if the McCourts could not reverse the team's financial losses.

Five days to impact. Brace yourselves.

P&A #27, Anyone?

It's been a while since the SoSG readers have teamed up to solve an issue of P&A magazine, so I'll throw it out there in case any of you are interested (besides Mr. Customer and myself). SoSG has placed in the top ten twice before (issues #22 and 23), but this time ubragg is out and I'm only available late on Saturday...so who else of you are in?

Details how to buy the issue when it releases Saturday August 28 at 10a 7a PT are here; it costs $4.95 for the issue and one can pay via paypal (though one does not need a paypal account).

Comment in the thread if you're interested in joining a team!

Everybody Covets Manny

The Chicago White Sox are interested in adding Manny Ramirez to their team, even though Ramirez isn’t on the waiver wire.

The Dodgers had not placed Manny Ramirez on waivers as of late Tuesday, baseball sources told The Times, but the Chicago White Sox reportedly plan to claim the 38-year-old slugger if he does land on the waiver wire.

Club officials aren't permitted to discuss which players are placed on waivers, but the report on FoxSports.com that the White Sox were interested — attributed to an unidentified source — revved up the discussion about whether Ramirez would finish his season with a team other than the Dodgers.

"Can he help us? I don't know because he hasn't played in the big leagues in a while," White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters in Chicago. Ramirez recently returned from his third stint on the disabled list this season.

Even so, "he's a presence in the lineup," Guillen said. "Manny is a tremendous hitter."

ESPN.com says that Manny could go on waivers as early as next week:

The Dodgers most likely will put Ramirez on waivers Tuesday or Wednesday in hopes of ridding themselves of an unproductive player who no longer can play the outfield sufficiently in the National League. Ramirez, 38, has been on the disabled list three times in 2010.

"I don't think that it's anything different than what goes on in July. All the rumors that fly around in July about trade possibilities," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "You know I can't talk about what's going on, but just the attitude, I don't see any concern, first off in his game. ... You really are bred to deal with distractions. It's our job, and so, I don't see it affecting him at this point."

Oh yeah, and the White Sox aren’t the only ones who want Manny. The Tampa Rays have guarded interest, as well. And I bet there are other teams interested in Manny Ramirez, whom we should consider trading if we can get some value for him (rather than let him go at season’s end for nothing).

While we’re at it, discussing wanting players not yet available, I would like to add that I’d like a double-scoop chocolate ice cream cone, a pool with waterslide, and a pony.

Updated PCS Rankings!

Here are the new rankings (as puzzle creator, Mr C has been awarded the average of his last 6 puzzles (with the grand slam pro-rated down to 100 points), which is 70). No movement in the top 6. As always, please double-check:

(720 possible points)

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

Others receiving votes: Quadsevens 152, MLASF 112, rbnlaw 112, Greg Finley 110, Matt 95, Curious Gene 89, Danielle 75, LLCoolL 60, DunkHawk 56, Mishap 50, Dusto Magnifico 42, Fred's Brim 22, Berkowit28 20, Steve Dittmore 20, Erin 20, Karina 20, Loney Fan 12, Nicholas 10, Matthew Johnson 10.

Next puzzle 7am, Monday, Sept 13!

Fight the Power

We got this email from Ben Covette of Blue Rising:

I'm writing to inform you that there is a movement afoot to rally at the courthouse on August 30th.

We floated the idea Monday on facebook and people have responded adamantly. Artwork has been composed, people are planning on skipping work and someone is even driving down from Berkeley.

It would be really helpful to the cause if you could let your readers know that this is happening and encourage them to attend. For one moment McCourt should be forced to hear and see our outrage. Potential future owners should be able to see what a strong and vivacious fanbase we are despite our reputation as a lazy and blasé one.

I've been a Dodger fan all my life, my father moved with them from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Tommy shaped my perspective on what it means to be true blue. And what it means now is to stand up and be heard and let McCourt know that we are too knowledgeable and passionate to let him continue to abuse and desecrate the Dodger Way.

Ownership is part of the team but this owner is out for himself, Dodgers don't run from championships but he did.

Please stand with us! August 30th, Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Post-Game 126 Thread: Welcome To The Dodgers, Rod Barajas


Rod Barajas joins the Dodgers and has three hits, including two doubles and a sixth-inning home run that sounded something like this:

This one.
Hit well.
Deep left center.
It's got a chance, it's GONE!
Welcome to the Dodgers, Rod Barajas!

(Eric Collins is not quite a poet, that's for sure.) Matt Kemp had the Dodgers' other two RBI with a two-run jack to center that scored James Loney (1-for-4). And when I say "jack", I mean "ball becomes lodged in the centerfield scoreboard of Miller Park":

That is not a renegade pixel.
UPDATE: Josh S. tells us that isn't a Matt Kemp HR ball, either! (see the comments)

Ted Lilly went a servicable 6.1 IP (7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks), and Hong-Chih Kuo survived a shaky ninth inning that involved a single and a comebacker which Kuo airmailed to Kemp (failing to account for the diminutive Jamey Carroll--it's a trap!) to put two on with one out.

Whatever; with Barajas providing production from the catcher's spot, things suddenly look rosier with only 36 left to play (7 GB in the WC, pending outcome of the Philly-Houston game). And, his output saves me from going to some sophomoric "Dodgers Trim Bush" headline. Whoops, I just did!

Kemp HR ball photo: Morry Gash / AP

Game 126 Thread: August 24 @ Brewers, 5p

Ted Lilly (7-8, 3.23) vs. Dave Bush (6-10, 4.63).

COMMENTS: Losing two of three to the Reds made me a little salty, so forgive my bad mood whine again. It's just that, particularly since the All-Star Break, we've been swallowed up by the little things, while we've waited for some of the people that we love to come back from the DL. At least we're starting Ted Lilly, 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA since joining the Dodgers, who has been everything zen--and more. Now if we could only talk to Manny about those chemicals. (Between us.)

36 games left in the season? Don't let the, days go by.

Dodgers Seek More Chemistry; Re-Up With Isotopes

Vin Scully will be back in 2011, and now it looks like the Albuquerque Isotopes are staying in the Dodger family for a while, too:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers and Albuquerque Isotopes have extended their partnership through the 2012 season.

The teams made the announcement Monday.

Last season marked the Dodgers' return to affiliation with Albuquerque after an eight-year break. The Albuquerque Dukes were the Triple-A affiliate of the Dodgers from 1972 to 2000. Albuquerque was home to the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate from 1965 to 1971.

Elin Nordegren Is Officially On The Market Again

Great news, gents! From ESPN, Elin Nordegren is now free and on the prowl:

Tiger Woods and his Swedish-born wife officially divorced Monday, nine months after his middle-of-the night car crash outside their home set off shocking revelations that the world's most famous athlete had been cheating on her through multiple affairs.

"We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future," Woods and Elin Nordegren said in a joint statement released by their lawyers.

And as per Yahoo! Sports:

No terms were released. Elin likely will receive a nine-figure sum, although probably less than the eye-popping $750 million that some reports predicted. In exchange, she almost certainly has agreed to a non-disclosure clause that prohibits comments, interviews, books and any other detailing of Tiger’s personal life.

Beautiful, single, and now $750M richer? Please call me, Elin. (310) SAX-SOSG.

photo #1: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Off-Day Puzzle #11: Solution

Seasons come and seasons go, but Ronald Perranoski remains in our consciousness. He is the answer to yesterday's puzzle.

Here are the clue answers:

Reading down the diagonal from top left to bottom right will reveal the puzzle solution.

Congratulations to UBragg, Dusty Baker, Jason, Josh S, Keven C, Quad, Rbnlaw, and J Steve. And a big thank you to Mr C for, quite frankly, a pretty incredible crossword puzzle. I don't know how one goes about making something like that. But then again, thanks to Mr C, I didn't need to know how.

Updated rankings to post soon. Next Puzzle Monday, Sept 13, 7am. See you there!

Score One For Jamie McCourt's Publicists

One week from the start of the McCourt divorce case, and Jamie McCourt's publicists are on the offensive. And one if the earliest to be ensnared is Carla Hall of the LA Times, who writes Tuesday's column one piece about the McCourt "love story gone off the base paths"--yet only gets quotes from Jamie, making the whole piece a pathetically biased valentine piece:

Crazy about sports, they would drive to Baltimore to watch the younger of her two brothers play Little League.

"They were incredibly in love," said Barbara Crocker, a Georgetown classmate and Jamie's close friend since childhood. "I can't remember a time when they weren't together."

There was, however, a period of skittishness. In college and later, when Jamie was in law school at the University of Maryland, she repeatedly broke up and reconciled with Frank, because her Jewish parents were mortified that she was dating a Gentile. Frank was raised Catholic.

Eventually, love trumped her parents' disapproval. Jamie moved to New York to practice corporate law, and in 1979, they were married by a rabbi in their co-op — without her parents' blessing. Frank's family attended and so did Jamie's two brothers.

Even now, she laughs when she remembers how Frank was late for the ceremony — and he was arriving from the bedroom.

Her parents long ago reconciled with the couple. The McCourts' four sons, now ages 20 to 28, were raised Jewish.

"I always tell my father, 'You were right, I shouldn't have married him — but you had the wrong reasons,'" she said with a rueful chuckle as she sat in the office of one of her lawyers, Bert Fields. (Frank, 57, declined to be interviewed for this article.)

Considering the story only contains quotes attributable to Jamie or her friends, it is unsurpring we learn of Jamie's love and dedication to Frank their sons and their family; we also learn of Jamie's educational pedigree and competitive athletic fire. Frank, unquoted for this piece, does not come across nearly as well.

Nice going, LAT. How about next time, if you're going to run a one-sided piece, you just sell the same space as an advertisement? (After all, you've already given up sectional front pages to Universal Studios' King Kong; why not make some extra coin if you're going to have Hall write such a puff piece?)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scoreboard Watching: August 23 NL WC Games of Note

On this Dodgers off-day, the most important other MLB game is Reds @ Giants, 7p first pitch. Edinson Volquez (3-1, 4.98) takes the mound against Matt Cain (9-10, 3.11). Accuscore published in the WSJ today said the Giants should win 6.2 runs to 4; Giants fans are chilling their chardonnay glasses as I write this.

The Giants trail NL Wild Card leader Philadelphia by two games, sharing the second-place WC slot with the Cardinals. The Cards play the Pirates (Lohse vs. Ohlendorf) and the Phillies host the Astros (Blanton vs. Myers), with both games starting at 4p PT, so the Giants will know how their competitors are doing as they take the field.

Let’s go, Reds!

Manny May Be Moving, Says Buster Olney

Buster Olney mentioned that expectations abound that Manny Ramirez will be moved before the Aug 31 waiver deadline:

The expectation around baseball is that outfielder Manny Ramirez will be placed on waivers early this week, according to baseball sources.

The Los Angeles Dodgers could have put Ramirez on waivers on Monday but would not do so, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports. Monday was the first day the Dodgers could have taken that action because it was the first business day after the outfielder came off the disabled list.

But baseball sources say there remains a high probability that unless Ramirez exercises his no-trade clause, he will be with another team by Aug. 31 -- the deadline for postseason roster eligibility.

The structure of Ramirez's contract might make him more attractive to teams interested in the slugger. Any team that made a move for Ramirez would owe him a prorated portion of his $20 million salary. However, about three-quarters of his salary is deferred.

I suppose I'd better take a picture of that Manny Ramirez "This Is My Town" billboard I've seen in the city. It might not be there much longer.

Off-Day Puzzle #11: Mr C's Puzzle

Welcome puzzlers, to cave emptorem proprietor Mr C's 2nd guest Puzzle - earned via his top-2 finish in the PCS mid-season standings. With no further ado, here's the puzzle:

(click images to enlarge)

Watch the comments for any hints from Mr C. Good Luck!

Puzzle Rules: The answer to the puzzle is a current or former Dodger. 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 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!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Game 125 Thread: August 22 vs. Reds, 1p

Clayton Kershaw (11-7, 3.03) vs. Bronson Arroyo (13-7, 3.87).

COMMENTS: Sure, there's a game today, but what's really on our minds is Vin Scully's announcement that he will be back next year. Every year, every game with Vinny at the helm is a gift. And I (Sax, pitching in here with a late edit) selfishly am stoked to have my kids listen to Vinny next year--further extending four generations of Saxes who have followed games and even fallen asleep listening to Vinny's dulcet tones. Welcome back, Vin!

Also: Dodgers acquire catcher Rod Barajas (Dodger Thoughts)