Monday, April 30, 2012

Post-Game 23 Thread: Rockie Road

Tonight's offensive highlight.


AP photo

Game 23 Thread: April 30 @ Rockies, 5.40p

Aaron Harang (1-1, 5.16) vs. Juan Nicasio (1-0, 4.76).

The Dodgers are off to a torrid start (5.5 games ahead of the fourth-place Rockies (one of three teams hovering around .500)). And there's nothing like Coors Field to see if we can further amplify our offensive stats. Right now, Matt Kemp leads the majors with 11 HR (if he hits three today, he can tie the April HR record set by Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007)); Andre Ethier and Kemp share the NL RBI lead with 24; and Kemp has the NL lead with 23 runs scored. Coors Field, offensive multiplier, awaits.

Nicasio is young; this is the second season for the 26-year-old, and he's 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers (2 games, 10.2 IP, 9 ER). And, he has a Star Wars-related tie, too: the California town which bears his name has George Lucas as a resident. And, his name is an anagram for Scan Ouija In. So I will...and the board says we're going to win tonight's game. Count it.

Matt Kemp's OPS is 1.382; the next highest OPS is from Josh Hamilton, far away at 1.182. Kemp's OPS+ is 293. Unbelievable.

PCS Season V: Initial Rankings

Here it is, the first ranking of the year! Ubragg is right there in his familiar spot atop the leader board, with last year's Rookie of the Year BCCSweet and the former commish within striking distance. For those who fell into the also-ran bracket, remember this: The 3 Puzzles and 300 potential points up for grabs in the next 4 weeks can make up a lot of ground in the standings, and very quickly.

(100 possible points)
Puzzler PCS
Tour Points
1 n/a Ubragg 100
T-2 n/a BCCSweet 50
T-2 n/a Eric Karros 50
T-4 n/a MLASC 10
T-4 n/a Spank 10
T-4 n/a QuadSevens 10
T-4 n/a Alex 10
T-4 n/a SteveK 10

Next puzzle: Thursday, May 3, 7:00am!

Javy Guerra And The Snuggie Curse

Over his last three appareances, Dodger closer Javy Guerra has not been the same. But the signs, the true signs of things amiss, go back much further than that.

Sure, Javy's first blown save of the year came on April 17 in Milwaukee, ending his streak of sterling appearances (five saves and a win in six appearances). Then Guerra put together two more saves on April 19 and 20 to put most fears to rest.

But over the last three appearances, Javy has been a mess. First, on April 24, he entered with the game tied 3-3 against the Braves, only to give up the game-winning run. The following night was even worse, when he gave up five straight hits to the Braves and three earned runs and, worst of all, took a comebacker in the jaw in the loss. Finally, in a wild one Saturday night against the Nationals, Guerra gave up another earned run and allows two runs total, in a game we were extremely lucky to tie in the ninth, let alone win in the tenth. In all the post-game revelry, the state of Guerra was forgotten.

However, intrepid Dodger fans know what's really going on: Javy Guerra is afflicted with the Snuggie Curse.

Go ahead and laugh, sure. Guerra should be "naturally balanced" with all that logo treatment plastered on him, right? However, the facts of this case reveal the truth.

First, let's go back and look at the Snuggie-related timeline:

Now let's correlate those dates with those of Guerra's downfall. Remember, the signs of Guerra's fraying started with his first blown save on April 17, five days after his television spot debuted. Then, once the actual Dodger Snuggie promotion happened, all hell broke loose: blown saves, errant pitches, comebackers to the head. Ever since Javy got into that backwards robe thingy, he's been cursed.

Oh yes, this is the Snuggie Curse, all right. Plain and simple.

And really, the Dodgers should have known better. What, you haven't heard of the Snuggie Curse?

Remember when Weezer went all Snuggie-licious on us? That was in November 2009. One short month later, the Weezer tour bus crashed on the interstate, leaving frontman Rivers Cuomo with three cracked ribs (among other injuries) and causing the cancellation of their tour. The Snuggie is to blame. What else could it be?

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Dodgers have a more prominent case study. Remember which Dodger hawked a Dodgers Snuggie last year in a similar television spot? None other than James Loney. Oh sure, we thought it was humorous too, at first. But this was before Loney went on to have a putrid first half in 2011, not breaking the .250 batting average mark until June 12 (Loney finished decently strong to end the year with a .288 average). It took Loney almost three months to wear off the curse last year (no details as to whether Loney was sleeping in his snuggie during this past offseason, either).

We won't be able to wait three months for Guerra to get back to fighting form. That's why we're calling on you, the SoSG readers, to help break this Snuggie Curse and save Javy Guerra from a horrible first half.

If any of you have a 2012 Dodgers Snuggie that you'd be willing to sacrifice to the baseball gods, send us pictures or video, proving your sacrifice. We'll publicize the results. Then, and only then, will the Javy Guerra we know and love return.

Somewhere under that sleeved fleece canopy lies the heart and soul of a true closer. We need to band together to break the Snuggie Curse, pull that good man back out from under that tent, and into the blue light.

Not that we're conspiracy theorists, but for earlier SoSG curse content, here's The Dane Cook Dodgers Curse; The Wheaties Fuel Curse (Part 1, 2, and 3; and The Eric Collins Curse 2009 and 2010. Nah, we're not paranoid. Nosiree.

That's My Ticket: Supersizing Stuff For Sports Fans (And A Special SoSG Contest)

This is not an advertisement. Rather, this is the result of an email conversation I've had with a sports memorabilia company called That's My Ticket. And there's a contest at the end of this post, so keep reading!

Remember about a month and a half ago, when I posted on how beautiful the Dodgers' Opening Day ticket was this year? And how the fact that they did the ticket up on glossy plastic rather than just perforated cardstock, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium, for Opening Day 2012?

Well, our little SoSG post was picked up on the wire by a company called That's My Ticket, which makes "Mega Tickets": high-quality large reproductions of ticket stubs, enlarged to 500%, and printed directly onto high-end canvas. All the production work from the printing to the stretch-mounting is done in Massachusetts. They've been around for a little over five years now, and have amassed a pretty deep library of historic tickets (World Series, All-Star Games, etc.), and can also make personalized one-of-a-kind products (which basically run about $80 each).

Keith Gentili, VP of Sales at That's My Ticket, read our blogpost and agreed that the 2012 Dodgers Opening Day ticket was indeed awesome. So he asked if I could send over a high-quality scan of the item, in exchange for a Mega Ticket of my own.

The end result of the That's My Ticket process is truly beautiful. They matched the color, they even changed some of the key identifying details; it really ended up looking great. The canvas is affixed to a sturdy wood frame. And I was impressed with how the item came shipped: plastic corner protectors on the canvas, carefully sent in a large box. It's a work of art.

I have to admit, I had stumbled upon That's My Ticket years ago, and always had to laugh at the poor model holding up the tickets as if she was of Lilliputian stature (she also didn't look all that happy to be holding up a ticket, for what it's worth). Now that I've actually seen a Mega Ticket, however, I'm smiling--but rather than laughing at a stock photo, I'm smiling at how cool my opening day ticket looks, super-sized.

That's My Ticket also offers Mini-Mega Tickets, which are blown up 200% and only cost $20 each; they're dessigned more for autographs. And if you go poking around their site, That's My Ticket offers a bunch of other items, including ticket frames and other photo-album type memorabilia. It's worth a look!

So here we go with the contest part. Keith was kind enough to enclose some goodies in the shipment, and we'd like to raffle one off to the fine readers of SoSG. We'd like to give away a Dodgers 8x8 Ticket and Photo Scrapbook. It features a design with historic Dodgers game tickets; includes 20 standard 8x8 scrapbook pages (additional pages can be added); and can be personalized with your own photo on the front cover. It's officially licensed by MLB (comes with a hologram sticker on the back).

And it can be yours...if you make a comment on this post by 6p on Monday, April 30. We'll raffle off the item to the eligible names based on an outcome of one of this week's Dodger games.

Good luck! And to Keith Gentili, thank you and That's My Ticket for your generosity so we can run this contest!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Post-Game 22 Thread: BroomSucka


Well, lads and lasses, our Boys in Blue came through with the win today and, thusly, the sweep over the previously red-hot Nationals. We've now swept three teams already this season. We're a league best 16-6, our best start since 1981.

Fans of great pitching loved this game, while the rest of us napped. Dodgers move to ten games over .500 and the Sons-attended games record moves to 7-0. Good work out there today, Nomo-san! James Loney provided today's only offense (!!! - how many times has that ever been said?) today, so the game ball goes to him. MVP and Ethier are merely reloading to get ready for the upcoming road trip. Excellent outing from Chris Capuano today; another 15 starts like that and I might start giving him mild praise.

Oh yeah, this Bryce Harper guy played again today. He went 1-3 and made an amazing catch off the wall in deep left-center. Glad to see him debut at Dodger Stadium, but glad that he didn't do any major damage to us. The media wanted that to happen so badly.

On to Colorado, and let's win there!

Game 22 Thread: April 29 vs. Nationals, 1p

Chris Capuano (2-0), 3.52 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (2-0 1.52 ERA)

The Dodgers won a series against a good team! They survived Stephen Strasburg! They weathered the media circus around Bryce Harper's debut! Kemp totally Kemped! What's left? Oh, only going for the sweep against Gio Gonzalez, a guy who some consider the Nats' ace. (Wait? We still haven't faced their ace?!!!)

Oh, and one more little thing: Today marks the last game of the Frank McCourt era. (Barring any courtroom shenanigans.) How apropos that there's a party in the parking lot.


I'll be on the field level with Mrs. Nomo and Nomo Jr. Drop a comment in the GT if you want to say hi.

At-Game Recap: April 28 vs. Nationals

Is Matt Kemp carrying this team? Yes.

@TheRealMattKemp gives some love to his @dodger27mom.

Bryce Harper takes the field for the first time as a major leaguer.

Stephen Strasburg's first pitch of the night.

Alcohol may have been involved.

More photos after the jump!

Still In Awe

What an amazing night at the Yard!

Tonight those of us in attendance got to see the best player in baseball hit a walk-off home run to deep center on a night that featured everything. Young Stephen Strasburg had a strong night, as did our own Chad Billingsley, a pitcher's duel that we all expected and looked forward to. And we got to see Bryce Harper make his major league debut, which was somewhat memorable considering his late-game RBI double and strong throw from LF to almost nail Jerry Hairston, Jr. at the plate. At least the lad wears his stockings the way they were meant to be worn.

But Matt Kemp. Wow. As I stood there and watched, joining so many others who hadn't left the Yard yet, I saw Matty drop behind in the count on a called then a swinging strike. But even then I told myself that, Kobe-like, Matt could work his magic at any given moment despite pressure and adversity. The fact that he then yanked the 1-2 pitch 429 feet was impressive and powerful, then, but not surprising. I remember standing there thinking that this guy is so good, he can hit one out seemingly at will. And he did.

As I mentioned in the PGT, the Dodgers in-game production folks did a great job afterward in that they didn't immediately queue Randy Newman's "I Love LA." Instead, they let the crowd chant "MVP! MVP!" repeatedly for quite some time first. So many people were still there, and we relished the moment. It was truly an emotional experience with the crowd chanting and Matt reaching through the netting behind home plate to touch his mother's hand.

Let's cherish these moments while we have them. Dodgers move to the best record in the National League and go for a sweep of the Nats during a day game tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'll be back to earth before then. Nomo, I think you're scheduled to be out there so let's keep the Sons' unbeaten record up, ok?

Dusty, out.

UPDATE: Saw an interview with Bryce Harper, who was asked about not making his debut at home. He had some very classy things to say about Dodger Stadium and what a great, historic place it is, and so he was fine with it. Well said, young Harper!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Post-Game 21 Thread: Moonshots

Bryce Harper's first major league hit, getting spoiled by a moonshot from some random dude.

Bryce Harper's debut, getting spoiled by a moonshot from the best damn player in baseball.


THAT...was the wildest game since the 4+1 game. I still can't breathe. Dodgers go for the sweep tomorrow, in a game that in NO WAY will be able to top this one.

UPDATE (Sax 4/29 10.29a): Noticed that the video highlight is cropped differently as to avoid the moonshot shot. Here's Deadspin's take. Here's another video:

Photos: Molly Knight / Getty Images

Big D and the Mouse

Tonight's bobblehead giveaway, via SoSG Dusty Baker:

Maury looks a tad angry.

Game 21 Thread: April 28 vs. Nats, 6p

Chad Billingsley (2-1, 3.04) vs. Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 1.08).

Rev up the hype machine! Sons Dusty, Sax and yours truly and reader John G will be in the house to check out the major-league debut of the first pick of the 2010 draft, 19-year old Bryce Harper. Mr. Eyeblack, who signed a five-year, $9.9-million contract, is the most hyped prospect since, well, starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The 23-year-old Strasburg, the first pick of the 2009 draft, signed a four-year, $15.1 contract and has already undergone Tommy John surgery in his young career. Is he back on track for greatness? Will Harper live up to the hype? The Dodgers will find out tonight.

Reviewing Publishing: The Bryce Harper Call Lens

Pundits over at ESPN are saying that the Nationals' call-up of Bryce Harper tonight may have been premature (link insider only). First, Keith Law:

Forgive me if I'm picturing Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo making the call to Syracuse to recall Bryce Harper while sitting in his chair and staring down the barrel of a gun held by the team's VP of sales.

Harper has hit a combined .254/.330/.388, including a .174/.216/.275 line against lefties, across two levels above low-A (he also recorded four walks and 19 strikeouts against left-handed pitching in Double-A and Triple-A), and while his performance against right-handers at those levels is more than adequate for a player who's as old as your typical college freshman, it doesn't give us any reason to expect immediate success in the majors.

Harper made a lot of progress over the course of 2011, but in the Arizona Fall League his weakness against off-speed stuff was still evident, even if it was less than it was the year before. We have no evidence, statistical or otherwise, this spring to indicate that he's made those adjustments enough to be ready to produce in the majors. He will eventually do so -- of this I have little doubt -- but he had shown that Triple-A was a sufficient challenge for him, and there's no reason to recall him until he succeeds at that level.

This looks to me like a panic move, a reaction to modest attendance figures for the Nats despite their hot start this year, rather than a well thought-out developmental plan, as we've seen the club employ for most of its other prospects. Contrast their adamant statements about keeping Stephen Strasburg on an innings limit in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery with this seemingly unplanned promotion before Harper can even reach 90 at-bats in Triple-A.

And here's Dan Szymborski (also insider only):

Harper's professional debut went as well as could be expected as he hit .318/.423/.554 for the Hagerstown Suns. That's full-season A-ball, but it's still just A-ball and his performance for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, a .256/.329/.395 line in 147 PA, was mostly impressive because of his extremely young age. Harper's performance for Syracuse this year, a .250/.333/.375 line in the early going, at least suggests -- with all the caveats of small sample sizes -- that he's not at the point right now where he's terrorizing Triple-A pitchers.

Spring training statistics are notoriously hard to use, but in this particular case, with such limited data available, it's at least worth noting that his spring performance -- a .690 OPS in 28 at-bats with 11 strikeouts -- doesn't actually scream that he's ready now. The ZiPS projection system loves Harper in 2014 and beyond and sees him developing into a major star, but for 2012, it only seems him as a .238/.317/.405 hitter, which isn't out of line with his performances in the high minors so far.

Even if Harper's only a .700 OPS hitter or right now, that's probably better than Roger Bernardina or Rick Ankiel, but given his hype, inevitably some people will think of it as a major disappointment. That would be a mistake as lots of players that have been promoted aggressively struggle initially -- in fact, one could argue that a little dose of adversity could be a good thing for a player with such effortless talent.

Mike Trout was promoted aggressively as well and after a solid, but slightly underwhelming debut, is hitting .400 for Salt Lake and his star shines just as brightly. Andruw Jones and Cesar Cedeno both improved rapidly after mixed reviews in the majors, both star outfielders that debuted at 19. Justin Upton hit .221/.283/.364 at 19, but was still a legitimate MVP candidate by 23. Another outfielder you may have heard of, one Willie Howard Mays, started his major league career going 1-for-26 and he turned out to be OK.

The Nats will give Harper plenty of playing time -- they're not going to call him up to sit on the bench -- but what we're going to be seeing in the next weeks is probably going to be the appetizer, not the main course. Whether a Washington Nationals fan, a Harper fantasy owner, or just a plain ol' fan of baseball, enjoy his debut, but temper your expectations.

Whatever. I'm still very excited to see Harper's debut tonight. And I do hope he loses in his major league debut. Go Dodgers!

Stay on Target...

From "Dodgers sale on track to close Monday" by Bill Shaikin at the LA Times:

When the Dodgers take the field Monday night, they should be under new ownership.

The sale of the Dodgers is expected to close as scheduled on Monday, according to three people familiar with the process.

Friday marked the deadline for parties to object to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court order approving the sale from Frank McCourt to Guggenheim Baseball, a group led by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson. No objections were filed.

Who's going to join us in a toast Monday night?

Congratulations To Loyal SoSG Reader Fred's Brim!

Today, we send best wishes for a wonderful wedding and many years of wedded bliss to Fred's Brim and his new bride, Mrs. Brim. Remember: Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something BLUE!

Here's to you! Sons of Steve Garvey raises its collective glass in your honor. Except me; I'm drinking straight out of the bottle.

ps- Real men check in on the Game Thread during their wedding.

The wedding party

Fred's Brim will be wearing this, which was passed down by his grandmother

Friday, April 27, 2012

Post-Game 20 Thread: Squeaker

"Never eat Cheetos before a big start."

"The left hook and the right cross, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier." —Vin Scully


The Dodgers struck first tonight, with Matt Kemp singling and Andre Ethier homering in the first inning. Don Mattingly rode Clayton Kershaw, leaving him in for eight innings and 113 pitches. Kershaw's only blip was allowing a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche in the sixth; he left in the eighth with a 3-2 lead.

Two plays at the end of the game show how close it was: Tony Gwynn Jr. was thrown out at the plate to end the eighth, and Kenley Jansen, in to close for Javy Guerra, missed giving up a game-tying homer to Danny Espinosa by inches.

Back on track at 14-6. Strasburg and Harper tomorrow!

photos by Harry How/Getty Images

Game 20 Thread: April 27 vs. Nationals, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 1.61) vs. Ross Detwiler (2-0, 0.56).

You thought those Braves were pesky. Now we face the NL-leading Washington Nationals, another team that Jayson Stark thinks is "real". The Nationals are 14-4 and lead the Braves by two games (we lead the Giants by three).

And tonight is the matchup that everyone wanted: Kershaw vs....Detwiler? Wait a minute, what about that Strasburg guy? Detwiler is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers (lifetime), but that microscopic ERA this year reflects a sub-1.00 WHIP and only 1 ER given up this year (a solo shot by Ryan Ludwick that happened to be a grand slam, but only the HR was earned). Let's see if we can repel these Nats, get back in the win column, avoid our first three-game losing streak of the year, and squash Washington's lineup like bugs.

First Look: Mike Scioscia Bobblehead

Kemp Vs. Hamilton: Kemp With A Slight Edge

In the latest "Triple Play" column, three ESPN pundits give Matt Kemp the edge over Josh Hamilton:

1. Who's better right now: Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp?

Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick),
Gotta go with Kemp here. Hamilton is in an incredible zone, but it's hard to argue with a .924 slugging percentage and a 1.437 OPS. Kemp recently joined Tony Armas of the 1981 Oakland A's as the second player to capture consecutive Player of the Week awards to start a season. Plus, he's doing it in a tougher hitter's ballpark, with a less formidable supporting cast. He's the man right now.

Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
Kemp is putting up video-game numbers in a lineup bereft of other big threats, in a severe pitcher's park, and he frequently visits Petco and AT&T Park. Hamilton, while finally solving his "day-game vision" issue through drops and shades, benefits from a potent lineup in a hitter's park and plays fewer in-division road games in pitcher's parks. Edge to Kemp.

Matt Meyers (@mtmeyers),
While I think Kemp is the better overall player, what Hamilton is doing right now is remarkable. According to FanGraphs, he is swinging at 60.7 percent of pitches, which is most in the majors, and hitting .400 with power (8 homers) in the process. It just goes to show how locked in he is that he can be that aggressive and still hit the ball with such authority. That kind of combo of hacking and power can't last forever, but Hamilton is something special to watch at the plate right now.

Saturday's Game Just Got Even More Intriguing

UPDATE 2:59p (Sax): ESPN story.

Jayson Stark: Dodgers For Real (In The Unreal NL West)

Jayson Stark's latest ESPN column says the Dodgers are for real...with a caveat:

Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 13-6, opponent average vs. pitching staff: .217

They went 9-1 in their first 10 games. They went 12-3 in their first 15. Something wild and crazy always happens in the NL West. And it's tempting to conclude that this year's wild and crazy development is this team.

But even though the Dodgers are more games over .500 than they've been in a year and a half, and Kemp is on pace to hit 85 homers and win the octuple crown, the rest of the sport is in wait-and-see mode.

"They've played most of their games against San Diego, Pittsburgh and Houston," one NL executive said. "So you tell me how real this is."

"They spent the first two weeks of the season in Southern California, playing some really bad teams," said an NL scout. "And that's a nice way to get some momentum going. But in the long run, I don't think their rotation's that deep beyond [Clayton] Kershaw. And their lineup's not that deep. You're going to start to see pitchers pitching around Kemp and [Andre] Ethier, and there's not much support around them."

But we need to remember something, said another NL executive: The Dodgers don't play in the NL East or AL East. They play in an exceptionally winnable division. So we'll let him read the verdict: "REAL -- because they play in the NL West."

PCS 5.1 Solution

Yesterday's puzzle required you to get literally outside the box. Though aesthetically similar to last year's kick-off puzzle, the mechanic on this one was a little different. In the original text, the spaces were omitted. When the word breaks get added back in and the shorter half of each line pushed into the margin, the letters that fell outside of the puzzle grid looked like this:
Read left-to-right and descending, the message reads "Dr. Jobe's Patient": Tommy John!

Congratulations to solvers ubragg, BCCSweet, and EK! Initial rankings will be published shortly. Next puzzle, Thursday May 3, 7am.

Star Wars Hologram Outtake

Randomness from SoSG Alex Cora earlier this week:

Thursday, April 26, 2012


A bit of hilarity over at ESPNLA, via Jon Weisman's Twitter:

Yes, that's a genuine caption. It's all in good fun now, but it won't be as funny if that's still Loney's home run total in September.

Scoreboard Watching: Giants @ Reds (April 26)

We're idle today, and I know you're idle at work, so why not keep tabs on Giants @ Reds, currently in progress. Ryan Vogelsong vs. Homer Bailey. And the Reds are already up 2-0 at the end of three!

PCS 5.1: Juuuuust A Bit Outside!

Puzzle Rules: The solution to the puzzle is a former Dodger who is well-known for a particular event. 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:
  • Send us an Email with "PCS" somewhere in the subject line, containing the first and last name of the players, along with your reasoning. Submitted answers without the reasoning, or those submitted with the incorrect reasoning, will count for participation only, even if the answer itself is correct. And please include your screen name somewhere in the email; and
  • Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt. We 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; we may confirm correct answers there.
You have until midnight PT tonight to submit your answer. Answer will be posted tomorrow morning. Good luck!

Hint #1: The title contains a clue to the "modified state" referenced in the original text.

Hint #2: You need to put something back that was taken out.

Hint #3: Seeimageabove.Whatiswrongwiththesesentences?

Hint #4: A digital calculator will not help you with this puzzle, but maybe you'd have better luck solving it on an abacus.
Not familiar with SoSG's off-day puzzle competition? Read up here and join the fun!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Post-Game 19 Thread: Ouch!

On a night when Matt Kemp hit one of the coolest home runs of all time, framed by the Spring rain, the Dodgers get their parade rained on.

With one out in the 9th, Javy Guerra took a liner off the bat of Brian McCann (that likely would have led to a game-ending DP) to the side of the jaw. Javy shook it off and stayed in the game, but proceeded to give up three straight hits and three runs. Dodgers drop the final game (and the series), 4-2.

Off day tomorrow, giving Javy time to put his brain back in his head, then the Nats come to town on Friday.

Game 19 Thread: April 25 vs. Braves, 7p

Ted Lilly (2-0, 0.69) vs. Brandon Beachy (2-1, 0.47).

The Dodgers look to get back to their winning ways at home against Beachy, who held the Diamondbacks scoreless over 7 1/3 innings in his last start. If Lilly expects to win, he won't be able to walk six like he did in his last start, against the Astros. Offensively, let's hope the Dodgers tighten up their game on the basepaths. But hey, at least they're getting on base.

Matt Kemp, Monster

Anthony Castrovince listed 10 things that we've learned so far in the 2012 MLB season, and thing learned #3 is that Matt Kemp is indeed one potent individual:

3. Matt Kemp is a monster. Kemp warned us this was coming when he told reporters they had "created a monster" after he finished second in the National League MVP Award balloting last year, but even Kemp must be a little amazed at what he's accomplished in the early going (.460 average, .514 on-base percentage, .952 slugging percentage, nine homers and 22 RBIs -- all league leads).

But Kemp better slow down with the power pace and start swiping some bags if he wants to reach his goal of 50 homers and 50 stolen bases. As it is, he's in line for about 90 homers and 10 stolen bases. Either way, that's pretty monstrous. And Kemp is one reason -- a big one -- why the surprising Dodgers have vaulted themselves into first place in the NL West with a 13-4 record.

You tell 'em, Anthony! If you don't start stealing bases at a quicker clip, Matt, you'll be sorry! (Or maybe, calling out a bison is not the smartest move?)

PCS Season V Reminder

Check your calendars, puzzlers. PCS Season V drops tomorrow!

Wait, no. That's not right.
A quick housekeeping note: When you send in your responses this season, please include "PCS" somewhere in the subject line for sorting purposes.

Photo borrowed from here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Post-Game 18 Thread: A Javy Burden



It was tied 3-3 in the ninth when Martin Prado fought off three fouls from Javy Guerra, then ripped an RBI-triple that Matt Kemp couldn't glove at the wall. Dodgers fall to 13-5. Rubber game tomorrow!

photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Game 18 Thread: April 24 vs. Braves, 7p

It's Snuggie Night!

Aaron Harang (1-1, 5.40) vs. Mike Minor (2-1, 3.10).

Minor's on a roll, having allowed one unearned run to the Brewers over 7 1/3 innings, then following that by holding the Diamondbacks (sans Upton and Young) to two runs over eight innings. The NL-best 13-4 Dodgers counter with Harang, who anchored the Dodgers' sole win in Milwaukee last week.

But all eyes will be on the Dodger bats, which cranked out 15 hits against the Braves last night. Will Andre Ethier and James Loney continue their hot streaks against a lefty? Will Loney even start? (UPDATE: No.) Will Juan Uribe's tender wrist actually force him to continue making contact? Can Dee Gordon and Ajellis keep getting on base? Will SoSG readers Alex and Bryan send us pictures of themselves in a Dodgers sleeved blanket? The tension is killing me!

Look Who's Front and Center in MLB's All-Star Campaign

Speaking of which, Voix Pour le Bison here!

Matt Kemp Doin' Work

From @jillpainter:

Matt Kemp in a hard hat during the Dodgers' Habitat for Humanity event today.

UPDATE: From @Dodgers:

At-Game Recap: April 23 vs. Braves

Sure, fans at Safeco Field saw a perfect game this weekend, but 26,376 of us at Dodger Stadium saw Juan Uribe go 4 for 4 last night. Which is the rarer feat? Only time will tell.

Thanks again to my ticket pimp Sax for setting me up with some great seats*. Mrs. Orel and I attended a game so exciting the fellow next to us actually tripped and fell one row down (only his dignity was injured).

On to the pix!

The sight that greets you as you approach the Reserve Level.

We want this on a T-shirt!

2012 concession prices, Part 1 (click to enlarge). Although I saw a stand charging $13.25 for a large premium beer. Egads!

2012 concession prices, Part 2.

Mr. Jetpack Hot Chocolate Vendor. He even carries a can of whipped cream! (I did not spot any marshmallows, however.)

Rancho Ardiendo!

* Sax recounts the procuring of said tickets thusly: "Last year, the AAA had a 'Triple of the Game' promotion where you would get free tickets to a future Dodgers game should someone hit a triple that day. Except by the time I had gotten to the booth, Tony Gwynn Jr. had already hit a triple. Basically the AAA was giving away free tickets, so I signed up. And in the offseason, I got a voucher good for one of six dates (none of which were promotion nights). So I got these tickets against the Braves for freeeeeee."

photos by SoSG Orel