Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Post-Game 105 Thread: Second Place


Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang both had surprisingly good starts to this season, seemingly competing with each other in comparing high-quality starts. Capuano echoed Harang tonight, except this time it was following his teammate by digging an early hole (again, a Paul Goldschmidt first-inning HR was the early dagger) followed by another lapse later (a three-run HR in the sixth, when Cap couldn't figure out how to get the third out).

Hanley Ramirez, dangerous on the road for us, has not registered a hit yet at home. Matt Kemp went 2-for-4 and Mark Ellis had a solo shot in the first. But if the Dodgers' strategy for staying in first place is to depend upon Giants victories, we may want to recall that they're playing the Mets, who suck. So into second we drop, with the Snakes now only 2.5 GB us for third place. Help me Obi-Shane, you're our only hope!

Bay Area News

I was up in enemy territory last weekend and was curious to see how local news covered the Dodgers' victory on the first game of the series.  Pretty quick.

MLB's Sweatshops Working Overtime

From the MLB.com website this evening, 6.22p PT:

Wow. That was fast.

Game 105 Thread: July 31 vs. D'backs, 7p

Chris Capuano (10-6, 3.13) vs. Wade Miley (11-6, 3.11).

The Dodgers are clinging onto a share of first place (thanks to a string of well-timed losses from the Giants), while the Diamondbacks are quickly closing the gap (now 3.5 GB). So tonight's question is, what sort of impact will the self-pleasuring Kirk Gibson Bobblehead Figure have on tonight's game?

Will it be a talisman for the team that made Gibson immortal, commemorating the time when improbable impossibilities became realities? Or will it be an inspiration for the team that Gibson currently helms? Stay tuned, true believers!

Jon Soo Hoo Brings Us Victorino's (And Others') Spring Training Photos from 2004

Does Kemp look like he's 12 or what?

There are more on Soo Hoo's site. Check them out here.

Photos: Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2012

Okay, Let's Do This One More Time Then Get Behind The Guy

Dodgers Crush Dempster Deal; Rangers Dive Right In

Crushed dumpster, get it?

Ryan Dempster will not be a Dodger, after the Dodgers held firm and refused to trade pitching prospect Allen Webster. So the Rangers picked Ryan up:

The Texas Rangers acquired Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster just before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline for two players, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

Source confirm the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out of Dempster talks when the Cubs refused to budge on the inclusion of Allen Webster in the deal. The Dodgers remained adamant they would not trade their second-best pitching prospect for a two- month rental.

The Dodgers were Dempster's top choice, but Dempster told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine shortly before the deadline that he would approve a trade to the Rangers or New York Yankees.

photo swiped from this flickr account

Farewell, Leon Landry

The Dodgers traded Leon Landry yesterday. In 2010 sportswriter Pete Volk wrote this piece on Landry for us, which we're reprinting here:


By Pete Volk – maryland.scout.com

In high school I decided, as many kids do who love sports but are about as athletic as a tortoise, to pursue a career in sports journalism. Luckily, a friend of a friend knew the editor of a local free monthly paper, and they were in need of a local sports guy. My first assignment was to cover the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, a local summer baseball team that played in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League.

The CRSCBL, besides being a mouthful, is a collegiate wood-bat summer league that has talented players from all over the country congregate in the DC area to try and prove to scouts that they are, in fact, hot shit. Past alumni include John Maine and ex-Dodger great Steve Schmoll.

One player that I got to see play three times and who was incredibly impressive was Leon Landry, of LSU, and now of the Dodgers. When you looked at Landry, and then looked at the bunch of kids from local community colleges that were playing against him (sorry, Thunderbolts), it was clear who looked like a baseball player. Landry is built similarly to Delwyn Young (anyone remember what he did to JD Closser at home plate a few years back?) and played kind of like the CRSCBL version of Matt Kemp – the kid has power, speed, smarts, and more speed.

The best example of Landry's skill came in the 2008 All-Star game in Bethesda, Md. From the Takoma Voice on July 23rd:

In the eighth inning, Leon Landry showcased his defensive mastery in center field. Braves' left fielder Joe Charron hit a line drive into the left field gap on what looked like a sure extra base hit. Landry ran a full sprint and dove the full extension of his body to his right, catching the ball in his outstretched glove to the awe and amazement of the crowd.

"I was just thinking 'Get to it'," Landry said. "You know, it was hit hard and I'm the center fielder, I've got to patrol the thing. I mean, it's the All-Star Game and I wanted to kind of spark it up a little bit, go out and make a nice diving catch."

After the game, I had a few players on my notepad to interview, Landry being one of them. As the rare reporter who was actually younger than the college kids he was interviewing, most of the players would just brush me off or give me curt answers. With the first two players I tried to talk to that day, that is exactly what happened. As I approached Landry, I was expecting a similar result, as he was socializing with other players on the All-Star teams and had already been interviewed by various media outlets. To my surprise, when I asked for a minute of his time, Landry excused himself from the fellow players, asked my name, and ended up being a really cool guy who took time to talk to me about the catch he made and his experiences both in the league and at the All-Star game. At the end of the interview, he remembered my name, and thanked me for my time.

Naturally, when I saw the Dodgers picked him in the draft, I was extremely happy, both for the team I love that picked up another great talent, and for a talented and grounded player who gets to play for the best franchise in the world.

Congrats, Leon.

Welcome to the Dodgers, Shane Victorino

"Moth goes where?"

photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Matt Kemp And His Amazing Increase In WAR

I knew that Matt Kemp's 2011 season was a breakout one. Until I read this piece by David Schoenfield, however, I didn't realize it was the best year-to-year jumps ever:

Mark Simon and I teased this on the Baseball Today podcast, so here it is. Tom from Melbourne, Fla., writes in:

I have a slew of answers for Friday's ridiculous question regarding greatest difference in WAR in consecutive years. For the analysis, I wrote a program to search player profiles and career stats on Baseball-Reference.com for every major league player in history. Here are the results.

Largest one-year increase in WAR for batters (min 350 PA in each year): A total of 30 players have had increases in WAR of greater than 6.0 in a year. The largest one-year increase was by Rickey Henderson from his rookie season in 1979 (-1.0 WAR) to his sophomore season in 1980 (8.7 WAR), a difference of +9.7 WAR. The top-10 list includes several Hall of Famers (Henderson, Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt), two active players (Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton), a guy called "Nails" (Lenny Dykstra, of course), and two guys who had a standout season (Bret Boone, Tommy Harper). Boone went from a WAR of 0.0 in 2000 to an MVP-esque WAR of 8.5 in 2001.

OK, this is Dave again. I'll run Tom's lists with some of my own commentary.

Rickey Henderson
1979 to 1980
-1.0 to 8.7
+9.7 WAR
Matt Kemp
2010 to 2011
-1.4 to 7.8
+9.2 WAR
Lenny Dykstra
1989 to 1990
-0.3 to 8.8
+9.1 WAR
Bret Boone
2000 to 2001
0.0 to 8.5
+8.5 WAR
Eddie Collins
1908 to 1909
1.2 to 9.4
+8.2 WAR
Josh Hamilton
2009 to 2010
0.4 to 8.4
+8.0 WAR
Babe Ruth
1925 to 1926
3.2 to 11.1
+7.9 WAR
Mike Schmidt
1973 to 1974
1.7 to 9.5
+7.8 WAR
Babe Ruth
1922 to 1923
6.0 to 13.7
+7.7 WAR
Tommy Harper
1969 to 1970
-0.1 to 7.2
+7.3 WAR

Pretty frickin' awesome breakout year for Kemp; in fact, the second-best of all time, from a WAR differential perspective.

2012 Trade Deadline Open Thread

We know you're scared.

We all are.

Let it all out here.

Update 9:00am - Yup. Tim Brown has Victorino coming back to LA for Lindblom and Ethan Martin.

Update 9:30am  - Hunter Pence to the Giants is still a strong possibility a done deal still a big maybe back on, per Jon Heyman's "sources" Andrew Baggarly Hank Schulman.

Update 1:10pm - Dempster goes to the Rangers, instead, per pretty much everyone on twitter.

Womens Soccer GameThread: France vs. Colombia (9:15a PT)

SoSG dream girl Laure Boulleau (who didn't play in France's last match against Korea) takes the field for the last game in Group G First Round play. Colombia hasn't scored a goal this Olympics, so hopefully Laure and friends can get a decisive win and advance to the quarterfinals August 3. Gamecast here.

Go, Laure!

At-Game Recap: Sweeping Through San Francisco (July 29, 2012)

Had a great time up at AT&T Park this weekend, specifically Sunday, when the Dodgers put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep and consecutive game shutout, restoring the Dodgers back to first place in the NL West with a 4-0 victory. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and despite the city's attempts to thwart my arrival (thank you, SF Marathon street closures), I was able to make it to Pete's Tavern beforehand, and then the game itself.

The pictures don't do this game justice. Sure, the Dodgers won 4-0, and sure, there were a ton of Dodger fans in the crowd who could enjoy this victory with me. But there were also two special guest stars who met me at the Phone Booth on Saturday: long-time SoSG reader fanerman (a.k.a. Mr F),...as well as someone who holds a special place in all SoSG readers' hearts:


I can't get the jump thingy to work properly right now, so I'm going to have to show all these pictures in one mongo-crazy post. Sorry about this.

First off, let me start by saying AT&T Park is, admittedly, a beautiful stadium. Even a stalwart Dodger fan can recognize this. On a warm day, the stadium gets a slight breeze from the ocean. The view of the bay is picturesque. The sightlines to home plate are pretty good, with the seats angled such that you don't have to crane your neck to watch the action.

And we had seats up on the View Level (read: high, high up), but down below the concourse in a section that had only four rows, so it was pretty intimate and calm.

Despite the city's attempts to thwart my on-time arrival (thank you, SF Marathon street closures), I was able to get there in time to have a couple of drinks at Pete's Tavern (across the street from the ballpark) prior to the game. There was a guy in a Kershaw t-shirt here as well, and the bar was jumping prior to the game.

Heading up the ramp to our seats.

American virgins get their own seating area.

Okay, so we were a little bit late.

And finally, at our seats. Not too bad, though I couldn't argue balls and strikes from up here.

Our view of the scoreboard. Mark Ellis has never been this large.

I like this tradition, which I first noticed at Petco Park a couple of years ago, of not letting people down to their seats until after an AB. It makes sense. I'd like to see Dodger Stadium pick up this custom...but then you'd need ushers at every aisle, which may be a problem.

We hung out for a couple of innings, but by then the kids were antsy and it was time to go to the Coca-Cola Fan Lot, which is a nice distraction for families who don't want to depress themselves watching a substandard home team play baseball. Of course, I needed sustenance along the way, so I picked up a hot dog:

Sauerkraut available at the condiment stand. Nice touch!

One of many Dodger fans I saw on Sunday. I am not one for sloppy seconds, so I didn't answer the question.

By the time I arrived at the great Coke bottle in the sky, my kids were ready to slide. Here are some shots from the area where the kids emerge:

The top of the shorter slides...

...the view up the galley...

...and down the hatch...

...and out the exit.

The only bummer about this was that the Dodgers put on their first runs of the afternoon while I was tending to the exits, trying to make sure my munchkins didn't emerge and get lost in the crowd. It's a little chaotic since you can't really tell when your kids have entered or how long the queue is up top.

I heard the Dodgers put on their first run when Hanley Ramirez grounded into a force out but avoided the double play, allowing Juan Rivera to score from third. The Giants crowd let off a big cheer which was followed by a depressing sigh; the sigh was echoed moments later when Marco Scutaro biffed an infield fly in the sun, which led to yet another sigh when Luis Cruz doubled in the second run of the day.

Of course, I couldn't see much of this action from where I was, which was a bummer. But oh, well. After a couple of go-rounds, we continued onward toward right field, stopping at the cable car for some more photos (not posted here).

Kayaks in McCovey Cove.

Line for the womens bathroom: loooooong. Welcome to Russia.

Walking around the main concourse, I have to say, Giants fans were pretty civil all in all. I ate a Chicago Dog along the railing by McCovey Cove and there were no incidents. But then, there were a lot of Dodger fans around; in fact, it was fun to walk by and high five a random Dodger fan as we coasted to victory.

Bored pigeons, waiting to attack the scraps in the eighth inning (good luck fighting off Pablo Sandoval, guys).

The monitors on the concourse seemed better than those at Dodger Stadium. However the images kept fritzing out and would pixelate and stall. Too bad NoCal doesn't know much about tech so they could fix this issue.

As we made it back up to the 300 level, I figured I'd buzz fanerman and see if he was up for a stadium connection. Sure enough, he was ready. I bought him a beer and it was great to see Smonk again.

Remember, Smonk was awarded to fanerman in a contest that took almost a full year to play out. When fanerman finally won, it was like an era of SoSG had passed. He was a worthy contestant and deserved his spoils.

So it was great to hang out with fanerman through the remainder of the game and enjoy the sun, make wisecracks about Juan Uribe, and regale in the stories of fanerman's clever strategems which defeated Mr. LA Sports Czar down the stretch. I had no idea how thoughtful fanerman's Smonkstakes gambits were. He really needs to write a book on this stuff: "The Art of Smonk War". (Smonk, by the way, is not to be confused with Smock, Mr. LA Sports Czar's prize for winning Assassins' Circle 2011.)

Don't worry, Smonk had been lathered in SPF60 stuff (at least, I hope that's what that slick substance was).

After Hanley Ramirez extinguished the Giants' flame, we took the long walk down the ramps toward the exits. And it was slow going, not only because of the crowds but because Giants fans walked with their heads bent down:

Bumper-to-bumper traffic on the ramps in SF.

More traffic.

You can't make this out too well, but the archway as you exit says, "The Giants and AT&T Thank You." For rolling over and playing dead, ceding first place and a sweep? No, thank YOU!

Free at last! Free at last!

This was a wonderful game to see in person (I'm sure Saturday's 10-0 drubbing was great as well). Here's hoping this roadtrip (and series) signals a more positive trajectory for the Dodgers from here on out!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dodgers Be League-Eared

Okay, that headline was horrible, I admit. But MLB Trade Rumors is saying this evening that the Dodgers have picked up Brandon League from the Mariners for Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom.

League, 29, is owed approximately $1.85MM for the rest of the season before becoming a free agent this winter. He's pitched to a 3.63 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings this year, plus his usual sky-high ground ball rate is down to just 46.9%. The Dodgers have lost Matt Guerrier and Todd Coffey to injury this season, so League will add some late-inning depth.

Landry, 22, is hitting .328/.358/.559 with eight homers and 15 triples in 376 plate appearances for Los Angeles' High Class-A affiliate this season while spending most of his time in center field. Bawcom, a 23-year-old right-hander, owns a 2.03 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 48 2/3 relief innings split between Single-A and Double-A this year. Neither player ranked among the team's top 30 prospects in Baseball America's Prospect Handbook before the season.

photo: Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Image

Post-Game 104 Thread: Harang-O-Tagged


Aaron Harang gave up a three-run bomb to Paul Goldschmidt in the first, followed by a grand slam to Chris Johnson in the fifth, and that was all she wrote. Harang's line: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Not exactly the kind of night that says we want to hold onto first place now that we've clawed back to grab it on Sunday.

Matt Kemp went 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, but he can't do it alone. Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez went 0-for-4 tonight with 4 LOB and a K. (Clearly, this acquisition is not working out.) The Dodgers were 1-for-12 with RISP.

The Giants are battling back from another Sergio Romo debacle (seven batters seen, 4 ER, 0.2 IP, one two-run HR) and have tied it in the bottom of the ninth. We'll see if that first-place feeling was ephemeral.

UPDATE 12:10a: Mets score two in the top of the tenth off Hairston's second HR of the game. Giants get one back in the bottom of the tenth but drop the game, their fifth straight loss. Still a tie for first in the NL West, but the Snakes are only 3.5GB.

#ISeeYou Continues To Blow Up

The Dodgers are taking Hanley Ramirez Mania to the next level, running a twitter contest yesterday centered around LA's newest trendy handsignal:

Send us your best #ISeeYou photo for a chance to win two tickets to @HanleyRamirez's home debut tonight. Use #ISeeYou: pic.twitter.com/E7wVfCcH

Love the dogs!

Game 104 Thread: July 30 vs. D-backs, 7p

Aaron Harang (7-5, 3.39) vs. Trevor Cahill (8-9, 3.86).

First place feels pretty good, no? Sweeping the Giants in their own stadium, outscoring them 19-3 over the three games, and watching Hanley Ramirez spark the lineup, all made for a wonderful weekend for Dodger fans. The first place blue ribbons match our outfits!

But lurking just round the bend (obscured by the Giants' Pablo Sandoval) are the Diamondbacks, last year's NL West winner and only 4.5 games behind us and the Giants. Tonight starts a three game series before an off-day, while the Giants host the LOLMets for four (in which they'll miss R.A. Dickey, unfortunately). So we're going to have to take this series if for nothing else than to defend multiple flanks.

No, not "flank steaks", Juan Uribe. Calm down.

UPDATE 4:54p: SoSG Stubbs will be there in the Loge section tonight! Post a comment if you're there and need accomplices for your heroic ventures at the Stadium.

Dempster Getting Closer, Again?

Is that a dumpster getting closer?

Word's breaking that the momentum to get Ryan Dempster to the Dodgers has picked up steam, as the Cubs' leverage dwindles with both the player, and the clock, working against them:

Still hoping to add a starting pitcher, the Dodgers continue to engage the Cubs in discussions for Ryan Dempster and indications are that those talks are gaining momentum, according to CBSSports.com sources.

The fact that the Cubs have yet to deal remains one of the biggest surprises with Tuesday's non-waivers trade deadline now barely more than 24 hours away, and after declining the trade to the Braves, Dempster could in the end get his wish and be on the way to Los Angeles.

The Cubs initially wanted Zach Lee, a top prospect deemed off limits by the Dodgers, who also nixed a Cubs request for right-hander Allen Webster. And the Dodgers initially appeared more interested in Cubs right-hander Matt Garza than in Dempster.

But a couple of things have changed. Chicago clearly lost leverage when Dempster nixed the Braves deal. And Garza became less attractive after his latest start had to be pushed back to later this week when an MRI exam revealed a "trace" of fluid in his right triceps. Garza had complained of cramping in his right forearm.

So now we might not have to give up Zach Lee? Cool.

UPDATE 3:41p: Buster Olney says Dempster in mirror is not as close as it appears. "[T]here hasn't been any recent dialogue between LAD/Cubs." Hmm, because that's not what ESPN Chicago reporter Bruce Levine just wrote. Maybe you two guys should IM each other over the ESPN intranet and work things out.

Cliff Lee? Or Not?

Olney says yes (link insider only):

The Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams mentioned as possibilities for left-hander Cliff Lee by ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden Monday. Bowden tweeted that the club could build a package around pitching prospects Zach Lee and Allen Webster.

The Phillies, however, seem determined to find a fix or two in their everyday lineup in any significant trades they make this month. They have been reportedly on the search for a long-term answer at third base, and the Dodgers don't appear to have that, so the Phillies would have to place the clearing of payroll and overall package value ahead of addresssing direct needs for the Dodgers to fit.

Lee's salary could be an obstacle for clubs interested, even the Dodgers and their new deep-pocketed ownership. The Phillies could, conceivably, offer to pay a portion of Lee's remaining salary but it's unclear as to whether or not the Phillies would be willing to commit to such a concept, and if so, to what extent.

Ken Rosenthal, on the other hand, says no:

Source: #Dodgers not in on Lee. Remaining dollars - $90M-plus for 3-plus seasons - too big even for them. #Yankees out for same reason.

So there you have it.

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Just Over One Day To Deadline

And here's the rumors swirling this morning, courtesy MLB Trade Rumors.com:

The Dodgers, interested in even more power at the corners, may be in the hunt for Justin Morneau, acc. to Jon Heyman:

At least the Dodgers, Blue Jays and Giants appear to have some interest in Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, who is making a nice comeback this year.

The Dodgers are looking at a multitude of offensive options, perhaps as many as 10. Toronto always has liked the native Canadian. And the Giants have issues at first base, though interestingly they seem more focused on their outfield at the moment.

The Twins seem to have more appetite to trade Morneau than Josh Willingham or Denard Span. Morneau has about $19 million left on his contract through next year.

James Loney is showing a bit of life over there at first, going 7-for-18 (.389) with one double and two RBI in the last seven days. That said, he's batting .257 on the year with a .647 OPS. Morneau is batting .260 on the year with a .780 OPS (down from his career .846 OPS).

Meanwhile, up north, the Giants are looking for another outfielder, according to Buster Olney, who says "it would be a shocker" if they didn't pick one up. Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence are the names being knocked around.

The histrionic Victorino seems to be a perfect match for the Giants, from Dodger fans' perspective. Not that we'd be throwing at anyone's head or anything.

And finally, the Giants are going after reliever Brandon League, but we're inquiring as well (hopefully if for nothing more than to drive the price up).

Good Morning. We're In First Place Again.

Marco Scutaro, gifting the Dodgers another run on Sunday.

Here's your morning reading:

LAT's Dylan Hernandez: The Dodgers' sweep in SF feels like a turning point:

SAN FRANCISCO — It was only three games, and more than two months remain in the regular season.

But the Dodgers' three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants, which concluded Sunday with Clayton Kershaw's five-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory at AT&T Park, felt significant.

These wins felt like statements. They felt as if they might have changed the course of the season.

The Dodgers won seven games on a 10-game trip that included visits to New York and St. Louis, but gained something far more significant than three games in the National League West standings, which now show them in a virtual first-place tie with the Giants.

They added Hanley Ramirez.

Ramirez has altered the Dodgers' previously non-threatening offense, providing it with a third dangerous bat in the middle of the order to complement Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.

The 3-4-5 spots in the lineup — or 2-3-4, depending on how Manager Don Mattingly decides to align his three All-Star-caliber hitters — has become an understandable source of concern for opposing pitchers. Mattingly believes the stress of facing Kemp, Ethier and Ramirez in succession results in a wavering of concentration when pitching to the players behind them.

"When you have to really, really work to get through those guys, you have to concentrate more," Mattingly said. "It's just natural you let down a little bit. You can only make so many good pitches. So the guys that are down benefit."

Having been there, I can definitely say that it did indeed feel like a turning point. The Giants are on their heels and their fans could feel it. Marco Scutaro's lost infield popup, which led to the Dodgers' second run of the day, let out a sigh from the stadium so audible that it felt like everyone had been punched in the gut at the same time.

Look, there's still a lot of time in this season. But this was a big series sweep, no doubt.

So echoes Hankie Schulman of the SF Comical (an unabashed Dodgers hater):

With Hanley Ramirez giving his new team a jolt of electricity and the Dodgers throwing consecutive shutouts in San Francisco for the first time, a neutral observer must conclude that they are now the team to beat.

Giants players are not neutral observers, of course.

When Angel Pagan was asked about the Giants' frustration level, he replied, "Why frustration? We just lost three games. We're still tied for first place. There are a lot of ballgames left. We've got to turn the page, then just play with a better attitude, I guess."

Pagan is right. Two months is a lot of baseball to play and momentum can be fickle, as this year's division race has shown.

However, the Dodgers have to feel good about their chances now that they are winning, have a big new bat and know their new owners still have money burning holes in their pockets as Tuesday's trade deadline approaches.

On the other side, Giants general manager Brian Sabean is trying to lower expectations of a move as significant as the Ramirez deal, partly because of the paucity of available hitters, partly because he has little payroll wiggle room. Instead, he is trying to fill holes incrementally.

Again, there's a lot of time. The Giants could still make a big move (word broke yesterday evening that the Giants had locked up Hunter Pence from the Phillies, but nothing has been confirmed) before the deadline. We'll see.

photo: Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images

Who's Up for More Softball?

M. Brown from theLFP.com is at it again, planning another Dodger Blogger Softball Tournament for Saturday, September 29, at Big League Dreams in West Covina.

Loyal readers will recall that the SoSG softball crew in February played valiantly until the end and drained many beers throughout. It should be no different in September if we can rally enough players to field a team.

So: indicate your potential interest in the comments and let's see if we can whip together another merry band!

(P.S.: The Rockies are at Dodger Stadium that day — time TBD.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Post-Game 103 Thread: Tie See You!

Everybody's doing it!


In a complete reversal of the last (horrific) trip to San Francisco, the Dodgers complete a three-game SWEEP(!!!) of the Giants, to climb back into (a tie for) first place in the NL West.

Clayton Kershaw was masterful, pitching a complete game shutout. It was, as Vin noted several times during the telecast, the first time the Dodgers have shut out the Gnats in back-to-back games in SF since the teams moved west.

Today wasn't as much of the Hanley Show as the last two days, but it's clear he's rubbing off on the rest of the lineup. Everybody threw up the above gesture when they got on base!

Luis Cruz continued his attempt to de-Gordon the Dodgers with a double, 2 RBI, and some dazzling glove work. A.J. Ellis had the most A.J. Ellis game possible, walking four times.

Dodgers finish the road trip 7-3 (which is flippin' AMAZING after some of those games in St. Louis), and, perhaps more importantly, Sax evens the Sons' road record at 1-1.

Home tomorrow against the D-Backs. We've got first place back, boys. Let's keep it for good this time.

Game 103 Thread: July 29 @ Giants, 1p

Clayton Kershaw (7-6, 3.14) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (8-4, 2.26).

The Hanley Ramirez Dodgers era has started with a bang, and we're seeing just as clearly now, too. The addition of another potent bat to the lineup, augmenting the offensive powerhouses of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and James Loney (ha! just wanted to see if you were awake there), has made all the difference in the last two games, in which we've outscored the Giants 15-3.

Today gives the Dodgers a chance at a sweep of the Giants, a 7-3 road trip, and a move back into first place. All we need is Kershaw (coming off his worst start of the year, a 8 ER disaster in St. Louis) to beat Vogelsong (who hasn't lost at home since May 3 and sports a 1.41 ERA at home). No pressure, Minotaur!

Oh, and I'll be there today, wearing a Dodgers hat and t-shirt. Post if you'll be there and want to grab a beer! Go Dodgers!

photo: Tony "Funky Cold" Medina / Getty Images North America, July 27, 2012

McCourt Transplants Hair Stylist Funding In Settlement

Frank McCourt has one less debt outstanding, now that he and Jamie have settled $20K in outstanding debts to their hair stylists:

LOS ANGELES -- The former full-time hairdresser of Frank and Jamie McCourt has settled a lawsuit he filed against the former Los Angeles Dodgers owners for back pay he was allegedly owed, according to a celebrity news website.

The hairdresser, Dave Mackey, worked on a retainer for the now divorced couple back in 2008 and 2009 at a rate of $300 per day, TMZ.com reported.

Mackey had alleged in the lawsuit he filed last year the McCourts had failed to pay him for a two-month period and owed him $20,900, TMZ.com reported.

Mackey has now reportedly settled the claim with the McCourts and will receive his $20,900 in back pay. Mackey, this week, also filed court papers to dismiss his civil suit, TMZ.com reported.

$20K for hair styling. In Frank's case, that's like $100 a hair!

I'm Scarred Now After Seeing Todd Coffey's Scar

Just, damn...
Coffey in his "better" days, and his post-Tommy John surgery elbow

No thanks at all to Coffey for tweeting this hideous picture, or to Big League Stew for making me aware of it.

Images: Getty Images; @toddcoffey60

This Offensive Power Thing Is New To Us Dodger Fans, Too

The San Francisco Comical can't believe yesterday's 10-0 stomping. And in the wake of our signing of Hanley Ramirez, and the Giants' countermove of signing Marco Scutaro, Giants fans are still reeling...and looking to us with offensive envy:

Not that the Giants harbored anything close to a run-scoring machine of late, but Pablo Sandoval's injury has made the lineup especially dull and punchless. Chad Billingsley had an effortless cruise in Saturday's 10-0 win, allowing four hits in 7 1/3 innings, and on that rare instance of a Giants runner in scoring position, the excitement vanished like sunshine on the coast.

Shift now to the Dodgers' clubhouse, where the Hanley Ramirez trade has changed everything: the mood, the postseason hopes, the level of fear from the opposition. Matt Kemp, after taking a dandy Barry Zito curveball for a strike in the first inning, got a fastball on the next pitch and drilled it into the left-field bleachers. Kemp wound up adding three more hits, and when he and Ramirez hammered consecutive RBI doubles in the seventh, it illustrated exactly why this club looks so different.

"That deal," manager Don Mattingly marveled, "it's like getting another Matt Kemp. Somebody who can fly, who has great power - not the same player, but that type of hitter."

As Kemp put it, "That dude can still hit, man. That's a pretty swing. Dangerous. He's definitely going to help us win some games, as you can see."

Marco Scutaro is going to help the Giants - interesting that he was essentially handed the third-base job until further notice - but he's strictly a handyman. Ramirez, when properly motivated (and why wouldn't he be right now?), is a difference-maker. Sullen and injury-ridden the past 2 1/2 years, Ramirez has given the Dodgers every reason to believe he can revive the talent and energy that made him such an unstoppable force in 2009.

So it's L.A. with the newfound power, and San Francisco with superior pitching. The Dodgers, already pleased with their staff, figure to acquire another starting pitcher by Tuesday's trade deadline - and if that happens, what's Sabean's next move?

Being up here this weekend, it was odd to see the Dodgers show some power, after having seen such a dearth of it during June, in particular our scoreless series up here last go-round. But on Friday night, the breaking news of Scutaro left the post-game show crew simply non-plussed; and then on Saturday, the shots of an emptied stadium late in the game were stark.

After losing three of four in St. Louis, I certainly didn't think the Dodgers would win the series, let alone have a chance to sweep. Hanley Ramirez has been huge, but the impact has spread to everyone in the lineup. And now, this power thing is going to take some getting used to.

Here at home, the LAT's Dylan Hernandez talks about Matt Kemp's resurgence and Chad Billingsley's brilliance, and Ben Bolch chimes in on Hanley Ramirez' catalysis. It's a good trio of articles to read this morning, in order to get pumped up for today's game.

Factoid from ESPN: Dodgers beat Giants 10-0. That's tied for 4th-biggest shutout of Giants since teams moved west in 1958, biggest since pair of 11-0 wins in 1997.

photo of Ramirez running through Tim Wallach's stop sign to score at home around a contact-shirking Buster Posey: Tony Medina / Getty Images / July 28, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Post-Game 102 Thread: You Tha Man!

No, You Tha Man!

Matt Kemp (4-for-5 today) and Hanley Ramirez combine for 6 hits and 7 RBI backed by Chad Billingsley's strong outing (7.1 innings, 4 hits, 2 K, 0 ER). This HanRam thing - yeah, probably will go down as a good idea. Dodgers move to within one game of the Pumpkins with the win.

Break out those goggles, folks, and perpetuate that meme.

Two out of three at Hated Ones with the chance for a sweep in the Bay tomorrow. SoSG Sax will be at the Yard; will Mr. F? Stay tuned to find out! Vogelsong vs. Kershaw.

This HYPGT will also serve as your watching-and-rooting-against-Anaheim-later-tonight GT.