Saturday, June 30, 2012

Post-Game 79 Thread: Fuck Off, June!


June ends with a whimper. Scoreless inning streak back up to...

July HAS to be better, right?



A Ray of Hope

From "Dodgers' Matt Kemp to return July 13" by Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times:

Matt Kemp said Saturday that he intends to return to the Dodgers lineup July 13 against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium, the first game after the All-Star break.

"I'll be ready," Kemp said.

Kemp has played in only two of the Dodgers' last 45 games because of a strained left hamstring.

He is planning to go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment in the coming week. The assignment could start as early as Tuesday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. He is expecting to miss the All-Star gamebut will take part in the Home Run Derby on July 9.

"I'm doing it," Kemp said of the derby.

Bullpen catcher Rob Flippo will pitch to Kemp in the home run-hitting exhibition, in which Kemp will captain the National League team.

Kemp is expected to take part in a team workout at Dodger Stadium on July 12, the final day of the All-Star break.

Welcome to the longest two weeks of the season. How many games out of first will the Dodgers be on July 13?

First Look: Sandy Koufax Bobblehead

Game 79 Thread: June 30 vs. Mets, 4p

Nathan Eovaldi (0-4, 4.04) vs Johan Santana (5-4, 3.00).

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Carlos Lee Busy Deciding James Loney's Fate

Astros' Carlos Lee is deciding whether to accept a trade to the Dodgers (Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports)



Friday, June 29, 2012

Post-Game 78 Thread: Roy Orbison Edition


Dodgers lose again, embarrassingly. Too much said already.

Game 78 Thread: June 29 vs. Mets, 7pm


Mets' good pitcher (11-1) vs. Harang (Mediocre-Sucks)

Enough said.


Come for the Pot Roast. Stay for the Garvey.

If you like loose slots, hard bingo, prime rib and our Dad, then THE PINES has got a deal for you.

Steve Garvey and Lobster Hollandaise - a better match man has yet to create.

Do Bingo and MMA really need different seating charts?

To be honest, this depressed me more than going 1-9 (though the Mets winning eased the sting).

Dad, if you need the money, we've made almost $20 in ad revenues over the past two years alone. Please don't let this food-filled appearance turn into Mark Hamill's dinner theater Guys and Dolls.

Keith Law Doesn't Like The Lipstick On This Puig

Keith Law over at ESPN references Goldie Hawn movies when describing how the Dodgers went overboard signing Yasiel Puig (insider only):

The most surprising news in the baseball world today is that the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year deal worth $42 million.

Puig's contract is the largest ever given to a Cuban free agent.This would be the most money ever given to a Cuban defector, surpassing the four-year, $36 million deal Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes received in February. It's also much more -- both in terms of overall dollars and average annual value -- than the nine-year, $30 million contract the Chicago Cubs gave to outfielder Jorge Soler earlier this month.

The impetus for these enormous deals seems to be the impending international spending cap, which will kick in this summer and will allow teams to spend just $2.9 million on international free agents from July 2 to July 1, 2013. This cap stands to affect Cuban players more than those from other countries, as we've seen, with three eight-figure deals given to Cuban players in the past eight months.

The cap also will make it much harder for a big-money team to swoop in and blow away the competition with an outrageous offer, which is what the Dodgers are doing here.

Based on what I've heard about Puig, this is a bizarre overreaction to the upcoming international spending cap, and a huge bet that, despite a stiff swing and less athletic body than Soler, Puig's bat is good enough to justify an investment of this size. I've also heard that Puig was badly out of shape in his recent workouts in Mexico, and that his throwing arm is not as strong since it was last seen in games. And unlike Soler or Cespedes, Puig barely has played in games outside of Cuba, so major league scouts have not had much of an opportunity to evaluate him properly.

I'm not sure what other team was willing to offer Puig anything close to what L.A. did. The Dodgers' peace dividend won't matter if they squander it on deals like this and the Andre Ethier extension.

Yikes, and Law takes a swipe at Ethier on the way out! Must be a Giants fan.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Post-Game 77 Thread: Bad Girlfriend


Look, I know that this girl that I'm dating isn't exactly a perfect match. We've gone on 39 dates now. We've taken weekend trips up to the Bay Area and even ventured behind the Orange Curtain. And tonight, I even took her back home.

But the truth is, she only put out on one of those 39 dates. I mean, it took 33 straight dates before I even had a CHANCE of scoring with her.

But that one time: man, it was awesome, almost euphoric. I remember it well. First I got to second base. After that, I got to third base. I crossed home plate--if you know what I mean (wink wink!)--two times that evening. I know, right? Crazy. Man, that was a beautiful moment in time.

But sure, it got pretty dark right after that. In fact, if I think about the rest of the time in its entirety, it was a pretty dry spell. Actually, REALLY dry. For 38 of those 39 dates.

But really, it's going to turn around soon. I know I'm going to get lucky again soon. I'm a winner, right? I mean, maybe not a first-place winner, but even second place gets some scoring once in a while, right?


Game 77 Thread: June 28 vs. Mets, 7pm

Chris Capuano (9-2, 2.60) vs. Chris Young (1-1, 3.42), sponsored by Ruth's Chris Steak House!

When does still being in first place feel like hitting rock bottom? When you're the Los Angeles Dodgers! Let's recap:
  • Shut out three straight times by the hated Giants.
  • Lost only other good hitter to potentially serious injury.
  • Disastrous 1-8 road trip that saw the Dodgers score a total of 13 runs, four fewer than the Mets scored LAST NIGHT ALONE.
  • Equipment truck broke down on the way out of Frisco.
  • Juan Uribe, Dodger, is still a thing that exists.
Not all hope is lost, however:
  • The Dodgers are still technically in first place, but they have to share the catbird seat with the Gnats. Imagine a seat that had to support both Uribe and Sandoval!
  • Chris Capuano has been, uh, pretty damn good...but he's being asked to halt a 4-game losing streak for the second time in under a week. Ugh.
  • Chris Young has been not so hot against the Dodgers in the past, going 2-5 with a 4.02 ERA. Plus, he's a friggin' giant in the physical sense, and it will feel good to knock around a giant.
  • Tonight is Eric Karros Bobblehead Night, so maybe the home run leader will remind them that the ball can actually fly all the way over the fence. (Though, I'd settle for over the second baseman's head at this point.)
Five years ago, the Dodgers ended a similar three-game constipation streak by getting the runs. Pass the Ex-Lax!

Dodgers Sign Cuban Yasiel Puig: $42M/7 Years

You know, I think I like these new owners. BUT CAN HE PLAY FIRST BASE?

UPDATE: From "Deal with Cuban Yasiel Puig shows Dodgers are operating like a big-market franchise again" by Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

After years of marginal involvement in the Latin American market, the Dodgers were aggressive in their pursuit of Puig. Assistant general manager Logan White spent several days in Mexico City, where he not only scouted Puig, but took him to dinner. In reviewing videos of Puig and watching his recent batting practice, the Dodgers see him as a player with five tools, all of which could translate in the major leagues.

The agent, Torres, said of Puig, "He's a very nice kid. Very friendly. Very smart. Great smile. He told me, 'I don't care about the money. I want to play.' "

To that end, Torres said, Puig chose the Dodgers in spite of at least one better offer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Post-Game 76 Thread: Let Us Count the Ways

GIANTS 3, DODGERS 0 which the Dodgers lost today:

1. The Dodgers lost Andre Ethier to a strained left oblique. If Ethier goes on the DL and Matt Kemp doesn't return soon — like, right after the All-Star break — then it's sellin' time.

2. The Dodgers lost in their attempt to avoid being Tim Lincecum's rebound team. This was only Lincecum's third win, and his first in which the Giants didn't give up a run.

3. The Dodgers lost the game. Which seems like more of an afterthought right now.

4. The Dodgers lost the series by getting swept. The Giants outscored them 13-0. That's right, it was a scoreless sweep.

5. The Dodgers lost sole possession of first place and it looks like they'll lose it altogether...soon.

6. The Dodgers have lost 8 of their last 9. Up next are the Mets, who beat the Cubs 17-1 today. Who's up for more futility?

Game 76 Thread: June 27 @ Giants, 12:45p

Chad Billingsley (4-6, 4.15) vs. Tim Lincecum (2-8, 6.07).

Is this the end of the Dodgers' first-half glory? His Thighness, the consistently inconsistent Bills, will fight to keep the Dodgers in sole possession of first place, while the consistently bad Timmeh will do his best to hold the Dodger bats to their fastidious vow of silence in the Bay Area. We miss ya, Matty!

photo from

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Post-Game 75 Thread: Lots More O's


The above bowl of Os looks a lot like the Dodgers of late, now that they have extended their scoreless inning streak to 21 consecutive innings. Clayton Kershaw gave up two measley runs in the fourth, but that held up thanks to overall incompetence led off by Dee Gordon (0-for-3) and Elian Herrera (0-for-4) at the top of the lineup. Dodgers' lead down to one game. Cereal killer.

Game 75 Thread: June 26 @ giants, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.73) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (6-3, 2.41).

The Dodgers' NL West lead hasn't been this bite-size (a two-game lead) since way back on April 13. So is it fair to say it's crunch time for our boys in blue? Even without our best bat, we've managed to play .500 ball in June (11-11), so that just means that the Giants have played .590 ball (13-9). Not a big difference, percentage-wise; but still, with the Dodgers looking this soggy offensively (now plating only 13 runs in our last seven games, during which we've been outscored by 20 runs), it's entirely possible that we could flake again tonight.

Vogelsong has gone at least six innings in all 13 of his starts this year; Kershaw, who has been a bit off from his Cy Young performance last year, hasn't had a start yet this year filled with a line of O's. I'm hoping Clayton has saved a special K (or 11) for the Giants tonight. Anyway, enough talk; let's pour the milk.

Pulse Check: NL 1B XBH

Among National League first basemen with 200+ ABs (11 total), James Loney ranks tied for last in XBH, with 15. (Expanding this to the whole MLB and Loney is tied for 19th out of 22.) Stats as of Monday June 25.

Uribe's Woes Due To Little League-Level Issues

In a article that also discussed Matt Kemp's All-Star Game availability as "in limbo", Dodger manager Don Mattingly also diagnosed the problems afflicting Juan Uribe's hopeless swing. According to Mattingly, even a seven-year-old could have figured this out:

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly held a tutoring session at the batting cage with struggling third baseman Juan Uribe during early batting practice Monday.

The mechanical flaw Mattingly targeted will be familiar to any Little Leaguer.

"He needs to keep his butt underneath him and the bat in the strike zone," said Mattingly. "His head gets in front and the bat drags behind. He's got to try to get that drag out of there."

Uribe, a former Giant, missed nearly a month with an arthritic left wrist, returning June 11. He's hitting .225 with one homer and 12 RBIs in 36 games on the season, and the Dodgers are known to be looking for corner infielders because neither Uribe nor first baseman James Loney are producing as hoped.

The problem is, that's a lot of butt for Uribe to manage. And if it hasn't happened in over a year and a half, why the heck do we think it's going to change now?

$13 Premium Gets You A Dodger Stadium Ticket And Bleeding Eardrums

Why pay $10 for an Infield Reserve (value) ticket, when you can spend $23 and get kicked in the balls get a Nickelback album? That's right, the Dodgers opted to join forces with arguably the worst band of all time in order to try and sell more tickets. Good luck with that:

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers and Grammy Award-winning rock band Linkin Park will offer a ticket package, a first-of-its-kind for the Dodgers and Linkin Park, that includes a game ticket (June 29 vs. NYM, 7:10 p.m.) and a digital copy of the band’s fifth studio album “LIVING THINGS” out on June 26 on Machine Shop Recordings/Warner Bros.

The $23 package includes an Infield Reserve ticket and upon purchase, fans will receive a redemption code and a digital copy of “LIVING THINGS” will be available for redemption starting on June 26. [...] Friday Night Fireworks will be set to a Linkin Park soundtrack that night as part of the partnership.

I'm going to the game on the 30th. Thank God.

Kemp, NL All-Star Game Leader, Unlikely To Play ASG

Matt Kemp looks like a scratch for the July 10 All-Star Game in Kansas City, despite leading the NL in votes:

The Los Angeles Dodgers have all but ruled out injured slugger Matt Kemp for next month's All-Star game in Kansas City.

"It's a long shot at this point because he's not healthy," general manager Ned Colletti said Monday before the opener of a three-game series at San Francisco.

The slugging center fielder is still recovering from a strained left hamstring that landed him on the disabled list for a second time this season May 31. The 2011 NL MVP runner-up first missed time from May 14-29.

Manager Don Mattingly is supportive if Kemp wants to participate in the Home Run Derby, as Los Angeles' medical staff has given him the go-ahead to do so.

Kemp said last week in Oakland he had discussed the Midsummer Classic with Mattingly and wants to make sure he is fully healthy for the second half with NL West-leading Los Angeles.

"You wouldn't expect anything else out of anybody else," Colletti said of Kemp's team-first focus. "We're talking about All-Star games and things like that, it's tough for us to look into the future when we don't even have a rehab game scheduled."

hopes Kemp might begin a rehab assignment before the break, but the thinking is the Dodgers will want Kemp to return to playing big league games before clearing him to play in the All-Star game -- and there isn't much time left for him to do both.

"I think he feels the same way," Mattingly said. "He's not ready to play yet."

Ideally, Kemp would play in five or six minor league games first. He leads the National League in votes, with his total at 3,322,009 in baseball's latest count. New NL numbers will be released Tuesday.

I want Kemp to play in the All-Star Game. But I want him playing in the Dodgers' lineup even more.

Get well soon, Matty!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Post-Game 74 Thread: That Sucked Ass


Nathan Eovaldi gave up seven fucking runs in his first two fucking innings of work and fucking Barry Zito held the Dodgers to three fucking hits over seven fucking innings, and in the sixth inning fucking Zito buzzed Dee Gordon, who had the fucking audacity to steal a base during Barry's precious fucking little gem of a performance, and then fucking Zito fucking plunked Andre Ethier on the shoulder, but did Don Mattingly fucking order any fucking retaliation? He did not. But the Dodgers still have the best fucking record in the National League! Not for fucking long if we keep fucking playing like this.

Game 74 Thread: June 25 @ Giants, 7.15p

Nathan Eovaldi (0-3, 2.35) vs. Barry Zito (5-5, 4.35).

Barry Zito is the bomb.

There was obviously a lot of pressure on this poor troubled soul when Zito signed his seven-year, $126M deal with the Giants back in 2007. And despite his 48-66 record to date, he has come through huge this year for the Giants, catalyzed by a shutout victory in his first start of the 2012 season. In between relaxing meditation sessions by the Golden Gate bridge with only a guitar as his companion, Zito has powered his way to a 5-5 record, blemished but a tad by his last three starts and their accompanying collective 10.60 ERA.

But fear not, true believers. Even when his gargantuan contract expires in 2014 (assuming the Giants pick up his one-year option, of course!), Zito will be just fine setting up shop on a corner of the Tenderloin district, strumming some of his self-penned tunes for tips.

Zito goes up against a Dodger pitcher who has had some flashes of brilliance this year ( has a video touting his promise). However, Eovaldi not only sports a winless record of his own; he hasn't pitched in a game all season in which the Dodgers won (they are 0-5 in his five starts). The Dodgers come into AT&T Park with a scant three-game lead in the NL West, having lost consecutive series to Oakland and the Angels on the road. The Dodgers have scored only 13 runs in their last six games.

Zito, this one's in the bag, man! What could possibly go wrong?

Pulse Check: Dodgers GIDP

As of this morning, James Loney ranks ninth in the National League for number of GIDPs, with nine. To be fair, Loney has more IBBs (6) than anyone else in the top ten. He also has the third-fewest XBH of anyone in top 10 GIDPers.

Juan Rivera and A.J. Ellis are tied for 15th on the GIDP list, with seven.

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Jamie Moyer Is Without A Job

All right, I confess I just wanted to use that picture. But in case you're interested in reading about a 49-year-old pitcher, the former Rockie and Phillie (among others) is out of work:

Moyer, if you'll recall, started the season with the Colorado Rockies and was soon designated for assignment after going 2-5. He then signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. A clause in that contract required the Orioles to either promote Moyer to the big league club or release him after three starts at AAA-Norfolk. Moyer recently completed his third start and the Orioles asked if he would be interested in making a fourth. He declined and requested his release. [...]

Baltimore was actually hoping he would stick around for another start so they could call him up when they actually needed him, but nothing was guaranteed. That sounds an awful lot like a guy who thinks he's got more options elsewhere. And, hey, he did pitch to a 1.69 ERA with Norfolk. But let's not delude ourselves, that might have been a selling point for Moyer were he younger, but he is not and AAA Norfolk is not the AL East.

Don't get any ideas, Ned.

photo: Rodrigo Buendia, AFP/Getty Images

Dodgers Announce Latest Star Wars T-Shirt

A Lifting Victory

Look, I know the Dodgers have to sack up here, but Gwynn's efforts seem a little much.

Thanks to SoSG stringer "Mickey Hatcher" for finding this picture on Yahoo Sports. This shot was from Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Angels.

photo: Chris Carlson / AP

Dilbeck Throws Down On Juan Uribe

"Is that the Shake Shack I see out in left field? Hmm."

The LAT's Steve Dilbeck came to the same conclusion that many of us did last year (potentially immediately after his three-year, $21M signing before the 2011 season): Juan Uribe is horrible. And Dilbeck says Uribe (and his .225, sub-Loney batting average) needs to sit.

Juan Uribe sat and watched Sunday, which should become more a regular feature for the Dodgers.

Uribe has never really hit in the 1½ years he’s been with Los Angeles, but he’s been at a new low since coming off the disabled list.

In the 11 games since he’s returned from a sore wrist, he’s hitting .161 (5 for 31) with a .188 on-base percentage and a .258 slugging percentage.

Even Manager Don Mattingly, who would typically insist Uribe was hitting the ball well when the numbers indicated otherwise, now seems to be facing reality since Uribe's return.

“He hasn’t looked very good,” Mattingly said. “I watch him in BP and he’s working on the right things, he’s working [on hitting the ball] the other way. But he hasn’t looked very good since he’s come back, though.

“For me, just too much pull. I was looking at a little bit of video today on him, and he’s just kind of pulling out of there.”

Yet as badly as Uribe has been, his numbers aren't far off from last season (.204/.264/.293). And the Dodgers, as much as they would like — and need — for Uribe to provide them with some semblance of power, it’s getting to the point where they have to admit he is a failed signing.

That’s not easy to do, considering that the Dodgers are paying him $8 million this year, owe him $7 million next season and need power.

But with Mattingly scrambling to find ways to keep Elian Herrera in the lineup and Mark Ellis on the mend, Uribe starting the game on the bench as he did Sunday against the Angels should be the more common order of the day.

I'm in favor of the move. We've already got Matt Kemp out, Andre Ethier in a bit of a funk, Dee Gordon trying to reverse a negative trajectory, and James Loney serving as a black hole. Uribe, whose hitting peaked at .286 on April 23, has to go. I'm glad to hear that Mattingly has come to his senses on this.

Now, James, the microscope is pointed squarely at you.

photo from US Presswire / May 6, 2011 @ Citi Field

Miller Park Juggernaut Steamrolls To Victory

I wasn't very happy when Miller Park took out Dodger Stadium in ESPN's Battle of the Ballparks (a single-elimination tournament run by public opinion votes). But I was thrilled to see that in the finals, Miller Park took out Big Phone Park up north:

Our Battle of the Ballparks Bracket is complete, and the upset winner over Camden Yards, Fenway, Wrigley, PNC, AT&T and all the others is Milwaukee's Miller Park. Well, it's an upset winner based on its No. 24 seed. It's not such an upset winner if you've been following the votes over the past week.

That's because the passionate fans of baseball's smallest market overcame the odds by getting out the vote for their favorite stadium. While other fans might have taken their matchups for granted, the Wisconsin electorate was so energized you would have thought we tried to end collective bargaining for beer vendors. Perhaps that's a lesson for the rest of us.

Miller Park's victory is an upset, but it is hardly the equivalent of Adam Sandler winning an Oscar. That would have been the case had Tropicana Field won, but not Miller Park. While it was obviously seeded low, as I've pointed out over the years, almost all the newer stadiums are great places to watch a game. The difference between, say, the 10th-best stadium and the 24th isn't a lot, and often just a matter of personal preference (or tax burden).

No one writes sonnets to Miller Park or refers to it as a lyrical little bandbox, but Milwaukee fans showed that they love their stadium just as much as Red Sox fans love Fenway or Giants fans love AT&T Park. The rest of the nation too often ignores them (though definitely not the commissioner) but Brewers fans love meeting with friends for the greatest tailgate parties in baseball, then going inside to watch their team while savoring bratwursts with stadium sauce or stadium mustard (my favorite), reassured they won't need umbrellas if it's raining (or snowing) but should pack sunscreen in case it's sunny.

So there you have it. Miller Park, the "finest ballpark in the nation". Cheeseheads of the world united, apparently.

How To Prevent Sign Stealing In Baseball

The wristband of South Carolina catcher Grayson Greiner.

Saw this great article from last Friday's WSJ on how collegiate teams are ditching body signals for a football-emulating system, including wristbands with codes:

College baseball coaches have one of the most outlandish job requirements in sports: They must be extraordinarily familiar with their own faces. It is by touching their ears, noses and chins at a dizzying speed that they covertly communicate to the catcher whether the next pitch should be a fastball, curveball or changeup.

These signs, which are also used in the big leagues, are some of baseball's oldest and most charmingly analog quirks. But over the last five years, college baseball has become the incubator for a new approach that has some of the sport's many traditionalists fired up.

Hundreds of teams at all levels of college baseball, including five of the last six College World Series champions, have ditched body signals altogether in favor of a system in which the coach flashes or yells a series of numbers. The catcher decodes the sequence by looking at a chart tucked into a wristband—the kind football quarterbacks have worn since 1965—and then relays the information to the pitcher the way he always has.

Coaches say this scheme isn't just faster and more efficient. It's also pick-proof: Wannabe spies in the other dugout can't steal these signs. The method allows for many combinations that can mean many different pitches, and after the coach calls a string of numbers and the catcher deciphers the code on his grid, that sequence won't be used again for the rest of the game and maybe even the rest of the season. By printing out new cheat sheets as often as every game, teams aren't even vulnerable if an old copy falls into enemy hands.

"When I see teams charting us, I just think, 'Holy smokes, really?'" said Oregon State assistant coach Pat Bailey, whose Beavers won national titles in 2006 and 2007 with this tactic. "It's just a waste of time." [...]

Since yelling out random numbers doesn't exactly seem to jibe with our national pastime, Bancroft said he's considered another idea. Instead of shouting 1-2-3, for example, coaches could indicate a position on a wristband's grid by touching their caps, wrists and belts, just as they used to. "Now you're almost making it three times harder," Bancroft said.

Utah coach Bill Kinneberg tried the numbers-based system in a 2005 game against UCLA. "They had two or three guys writing numbers down," he said, "and by the seventh inning, I saw one of them flip his clipboard up in frustration."

I can see MLB managers with a penchant for micromanaging (Jim Tracy, perhaps?) getting all over this trend. South Carolina lost its opening game of the CWS finals yesterday, for what it's worth.

photo: AP

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Post-Game 73 Thread: Dodgers Suck, But Giants Suck Worse


The Dodgers had five hits through the first two innings but could only muster two runs; their 2-0 lead promptly evaporated in the bottom of the second inning on a Peter Bourjos two-run HR. The Angels struck back for one run, we countered off an Adam Kennedy sacrifice, and then on we went deadlocked into the seventh inning.

Aaron Harang gave way to Josh Lindblom, whose last outing had him give up a walk-off HR in Oakland. Lindblom got Mike Trout to ground out and Alberto Callaspo to K, but then ceded a 10-pitch walk to Albert Pujols and subsequently crumbled, hitting the next batter and giving up two more singles to put the Dodgers down 5-3. Game over.

James Loney saw three pitches in his first three at bats and went 0-for-3 with a GIDP and 5 LOB. His ABs ended two innings. It was like the abyss of where Dodger rallies go to die.

But wait, all is not lost! Right before our final out, we got this news:


The A's Derek Norris knocked a walkoff three-run home run on a 3-2, two-out count that turned a Giants 2-1 lead into a A's victory. It was Norris' first career HR. The Dodgers are limping and sad but they travel into San Francisco with a three-game lead in the NL West, guaranteeing we will leave the Bay Area in first place. Hopefully, we'll be there alone.

Game 73 Thread: June 24 @ Angels, 12:30p

Aaron Harang (5-4, 3.76) vs. Garrett Richards (2-0, 0.86).

The good news is that Aaron Harang identified a mechanical flaw after giving up a career-high eight walks in his last start, in Oakland.

The bad news is that he was working on his car at the time. So while fixing the leak in the exhaust manifold of his 1968 bitchin' Camaro has done wonders for his ride, we're still left to wonder how he'll fare against an Angels lineup that is finding its groove.

The Dodger bats, who scored a relatively explosive three runs yesterday, will be further tested by Garrett Richards, who was called up after Jered Weaver had gone on the DL, and stayed up when Jerome Williams went down. Dodger bats and new pitchers: usually a pretty bad combo. Let's hope we can fix that today.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Post-Game 72 Thread: Kissing Your Sister


Well, this one counts in the win column, but that's about it. We feel like making party, but it just doesn't have that make party feeling. In fact, it feels more like kissing your sister.

Nonetheless, we'll take it! We'll take anything we can get. Except Kevin Youkilis, I sure hope.

Chris Capuano continues to dominate, raising his season record to 9-2 and maintaining a stellar 2.60 ERA. All Star Game, anybody? On the offensive side, Dee Gordon, who hadn't had a hit since last Sunday's walk-off single to beat the White Sox, tripled, singled, stole a base, and scored twice. Non-bunting works -- who knew?

Tomorrow we move to the rubber game. Dodgers seek to even up the season series in the final game  the matchup for the 2012 season. All in a day's work, folks. Now let's all get out there and enjoy a Saturday night propelled by the spirit of victory. And by other spirits we may pay premium price for at swank bars.

Game 72 Thread: June 23 @ Angels, 4pm

"Earvin, Santana. Santana, Earvin."

Chris Capuano (8-2, 2.71) vs. Ervin Santana (4-7, 5.16)

Ugh. Last night was so depressing, we almost forgot to post today's Game Thread.

The Dodger bats finally woke up...for all of two innings before rolling over and hitting the snooze button. Meanwhile, Chad Billingsley and Jamey Wright teamed up to gift-wrap 8 runs and clinch a losing Interleague record.

Let's just get this over with. Save us, Cap!

EDIT: Hopefully, the Dodgers can win one for Roberto Baly of Vin Scully is My Homeboy. Roberto is in a bad, bad way and needs all the positive vibes he can get. We're pulling for you, Roberto!

Photo: Sacramento Bee

Friday, June 22, 2012

Post-Game 71 Thread: Chad Coughs It Up


The evening started out so promisingly: within eight pitches, the Dodgers had scored more runs (three) than they had scored in three games in Oakland (two). After an inning and a half, the Dodgers were leading 5-0. And Tim Lincecum was struggling in the first inning against the A's, giving up three runs.

But this is the Kemp-less Dodgers of June, and Chad Billingsley coughed up six runs, all earned, over five innings. The Angels tacked on two more off of Jamey Wright. Oh, and the Giants rallied in the ninth to beat the A's.

The Dodgers have lost four straight and their lead in the NL West is down to three games. It hasn't been this tight since April 19. Oh, and the Dodgers travel to San Francisco next. Are we sure Matt Kemp is the only missing piece here?

Game 71 Thread: June 21 @ Angels, 7:00p

Chad Billingsley (4-5, 3.75 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (4-7, 3.97 ERA)

What better way is there to recover from a tough series than to match up against your cross-town rivals? You know, the ones we haven't won a series against since 2009. After losing two of three games at home, surely THIS will be the time that the stars align in our favor! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

In other news, I've been playing this slot machine for 27 hours straight, but it is DUE!

Image: Mad (defacement by Stubbs)

Back To That Bunting Thing

The Dodgers' collective bunt fails, mostly at the hands of Dee Gordon, are gnawing at me like a flesh-eating bacteria. So reading Jim Peltz's game recap piece today in the LAT was more salt on the open wound:

But it was the Dodgers' batters who slumped badly again Thursday afternoon as the team suffered its fifth loss in seven games. Key lapses on bunt plays in the ninth inning also hurt.

"We didn't do enough to win any of these games," Manager Don Mattingly said of the Oakland trip. "We didn't put them in danger at any point in the series."

After Ryan Cook took over for [Oakland pitcher Travis] Blackley in the ninth inning, Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor drew a leadoff walk. Dee Gordon, looking to sacrifice Treanor to second base, fouled off two bunt attempts and then bunted in fair ground to third baseman Brandon Inge.

The bunt was hard enough that Inge was able to force Treanor out at second base. Then Gordon was caught trying to steal second base by catcher Derek Norris, who was making his big league debut, and Elian Herrera struck out.

Mattingly said the bunt was taken off after Gordon had two strikes on him. "I don't know if he didn't see it or ... I'll talk to him later," Mattingly said.

Told that the bunt sign had been waved off, Gordon said, "I actually didn't know that. But I put down a good bunt and they made a good play."

Dee, in what universe is a bunt to the third baseman that gets the lead runner out at second a "good bunt"? What are you talking about? Are we even talking about the same game here?

Can someone on the Dodgers staff make Dee Gordon do laps every time he bunts? Or maybe make him eat a box of Krispy Kreme donuts? I can't believe he's in denial.

Top MLB Playoff Performances: Dodgers, Garvey Mentioned

ESPN has another one of its crazy subjective lists, the top 25 single-game performances in MLB history. Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers, in 1965's Game 7, grabbed #7 on the list:

7. Sandy Koufax, Dodgers: 1965 World Series, Game 7

9.0 IP, 3H, 0R, 3 BB, 10 Ks
Result: Dodgers 2, Twins 0
Series: Los Angeles Dodgers win in 7

He was pitching on just two days' rest, but then, so was his counterpart on the Twins, Jim Kaat. He'd already lost a game in this World Series, but then, so had Kaat, who matched up with him in Game 2 (a 5-1 Minnesota victory) and Game 5 (a 7-0 Dodgers win). But Koufax had one disadvantage in Game 7 that Kaat didn't have to work through: arthritis. In other games through his too-short (12 years) career, Koufax might have been more dominant, more effective, than he was in this one -- including a then-record 15-strikeout dazzler in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series against the Yankees. But this performance stands out as perhaps his most glorious moment, as he battled through the sore arm and the fatigue to keep the Twins scoreless in a complete-game, 10-strikeout, 2-0 shutout. He still had the remarkable fastball at the end, striking out Earl Battey and Bob Allison to end the game.

But guess who else made the list? Our own father, Steve Garvey, tied for 15 in the 1984 NLCS, Game 4:

15. (tie) Steve Garvey, Padres: 1984 NLCS, Game 4

5 AB, 4 H, 1 R, 5 RBI
Result: Padres 7, Cubs 5
Series: San Diego wins in 5

Lee Smith, one of the most imposing relievers in the game, on the mound for the Cubs. Tony Gwynn, who'd singled, on first. Bottom of the ninth in a 5-5 game. Garvey at the plate. A stage set for drama. And Garvey delivered it. His home run to right-center won the game for the Padres and kept them alive in the five-game championship series. (They won the next game, too, to advance to the World Series.) The home run was Garvey's fourth hit of the game, adding to a double and pair of singles, and it gave him five RBIs.

Steve Sax On His Day Off

Got an email from a PR firm, on what Steve Sax was up to last week:

On Thursday in West Sacramento, former LA Dodger second baseman and 1982 Rookie of the Year Steve Sax went to work at the River City Car Wash and helped change one lucky fan’s oil. It was all part of the Mobil Super Go the Distance Minor League Baseball Tour which is making at stop at Raley Field in Sacramento June 14-16.

So now we've got photographic proof that Steve Sax uses synthetics.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Post-Game 70 Thread: That is All


Game 70 Thread: June 21 @ A's, 12:30p

Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.86) vs. Travis Blackley (1-2, 4.60).

Here it is, Clayton: your chance to salvage one in Oakland and even out the Dodgers' interleague record, which stands at 5-6. The Dodgers head to Anaheim next for another three with the Angels, so a little momentum would be nice, no?

Speaking of the A's, this blew my mind: according to Ken Gurnick, Rickey Henderson "has no official role with the A's but suits up and hangs out as he chooses." Didn't the Dodgers run into this issue with Manny Mota? Anyway, I love that Rickey loves the game so much and/or has nothing better to do.

For The Love Of God, Dee Gordon, Stop Bunting

I want to like Dee Gordon. I know he's young, he's prone to make defensive errors. I know that his incredible speed only works if he reaches base, which hopefully will come in time--as of last night, Gordon's OBP was the worst of any regular Dodgers starter, and that's even including Juan Uribe (.287 vs. Gordon's .282 (and even about fifty points lower than James Loney's OBP)).

I'm hopeful Dee Gordon will grow up, will get on base more regularly, and dazzle us with his speed on the basepaths.

But Dee Gordon has got to stop bunting.

Going into last night's game (in which he bunt grounded out again with the bases empty, fooling no one), Gordon had 246 ABs this season. He was 4-for-19, or .211 BA, when he tried to bunt. That makes him 53-for-227, or .233, when he's not bunting.

Gordon is not only a crappy bunter (the one I saw in Wednesday's game was served up on a platter to A's catcher Kurt Suzuki), but he hasn't polished the Rafael-Furcal-like play to show bunt, draw the infield in, and then slap the ball over the third baseman. That would be cool.

Gordon's effortless ground outs are, however, not cool.

Please, Dee, STOP BUNTING.

A Bloody Good Time

Angels vs. Dodgers Booster Clubs Blood Drive (Red Cross)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Post-Game 69 Thread: Ho, Milone

A's 4, DODGERS 1

Tommy Milone owned the weak Dodger bats tonight, finishing with a complete-game three-hitter. At one point Milone retired 14 straight, and the Dodgers only scored because A's right fielder Josh Reddick couldn't hold on to Juan Uribe's shallow liner in the second inning, allowing Juan Rivera to score. That was Nate Eovaldi's token run to play with for the night.

Time of game: a brisk 2:21, so at least it was over quick. The Angels are handling the Giants, so it looks like the Dodgers' lead will stay at 4.5 games. And, as NicJ points out, "Well on the bright side we don't get a 'best record in baseball' tweet after this loss."

Game 69 Thread: June 20 @ Athletics, 7pm

Perhaps a reassessment of our initial strategy is in order.

Nathan Eovaldi (0-2, 1.82 ERA) vs. Tommy Milone (6-5, 4.48 ERA)

The Dodgers face off against yet another middle-of-the-road A's pitcher (who may or may not have a hot wife) who fares much better at home than on the road. Sending Eovaldi to the mound portends a low scoring game again tonight, so let's hope that a second try at this scenario will yield better results.

Meanwhile, the expectation is that the Dodgers new ownership will be big spenders at the trade deadline. With a list of potential targets that includes Carlos Lee, Carlos Quentin, Kevin Youkilis, and Justin Morneau, I hope that we don't end up swapping the remainder of our already-depleted minor league talent for a veritable who's-who of the walking wounded.

To all the Dodgers, whether you be in the batter's box or in the front office: let's show a little discretion out there, ok?

Meanwhile, On Earth-2...

Deadspin: Here's the Rays' 1979 "Throwback" Jersey

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Milwaukee Brewers About To Trump Dodgers Again

As if getting swept by the Brewers at home earlier this season wasn't enough, it looks like the Brewers are going to stick it to the Dodgers again less than a month later. In ESPN's elimination-tournament "Battle of the Ballparks, Dodger Stadium goes up against Miller Park, and with 47K votes tallied, Miller Park holds a 54%-46% edge.

I've got nothing against Miller Park (which SoSG Orel and I have attended once, and SoSG AC has attended multiple times). I love their bratwurst and their fans are friendly. However, the hackneyed cliche accompanying the Dodger/Miller vote is annoying:

After turning 50 in April, the home of Magic and magic games is matched up against the biggest upset victor from Round 1. Milwaukee is home to the best tailgating in baseball, while Chavez Ravine is home to the most taillights you see leaving in the seventh inning.

Cheeseheads of the world are definitely uniting, according to earlier in the article:

Well, the first round is over, and here are some quick thoughts:

Either there was a huge "get out the vote" tailgate rally in Milwaukee or the Rally Monkey fell down on the job, because Angels Stadium got whipped by Miller Park in the round's bracket-busting upset. Congrats, Brewers fans, but shame on you, Angels fans! Like Albert Pujols, you got off to a slow start. And unlike Albert, you won't be able to overcome it with a strong second half.

Admittedly, there ain't much to do in Milwaukee over the summer, so they're probably voting early and often. If you want to try and counter the wave and let justice prevail, here's the link for the second round. (Sorry to trump tonight's PGT, but I'm not sure when this vote closes.)

Post-Game 68 Thread: Blacklisted by McCarthy

Senator McCarthy shows what the Dodgers had up their butts all night.


Facing McCarthy seems like as good a chance as any to keep that winning record, though, as he has missed his last two starts with nagging shoulder pain. (Of course, it could also mean he'll bounce back and throw a one-hitter.)

Well, it ended up being 2 hits over 7 innings, but with how punchless the Dodger offense was tonight, it might was well have been a no-no. (Oh, and they made two errors, too. Whee!) They finally got a look in the 9th, but James Loney promptly snuffed that out with a GIDP.

Dodgers drop back to .500 in Interleague, and are clinging to a 4 1/2 game lead over the Giants, who are currently losing to the Angels. So, there's that.

Oh, and Brandon? your wife's not all that hot.

Game 68 Thread: June 19 @ Superfluous Apostrophes, 7pm


Aaron Harang (5-3, 3.59) vs. Brandon "Hot Wife" McCarthy (5-3, 2.79)

Oh, is it still Interleague? Damn, I was hoping we could get out while we were still above .500. Facing McCarthy seems like as good a chance as any to keep that winning record, though, as he has missed his last two starts with nagging shoulder pain. (Of course, it could also mean he'll bounce back and throw a one-hitter.)

And did I mention he has a hot wife?

Aaron Harang (who may also have a hot wife, but Google is lacking in evidence), is looking to continue a solid June, in which he's 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA.

The Angels don't seem to want to help us out, so let's kick some A and keep ourselves on top in the West.

Photos: and SI.