Friday, May 31, 2013

Post-Game 53 Thread: In Extras, Dodgers Thwart Rox, League


With one out in the tenth, Luis Cruz hit a comebacker hard off the leg of Rafael Betancourt to score Carl Crawford from third and give the Dodgers a 6-5 lead. Juan Uribe (2-for-4, 2 RBI, SB for pete's sake) followed with a single to center, scoring Skip Schumaker from second, and the Dodgers took a 7-5 lead. Ronald Belisario earned the save with three quick outs in the bottom of the tenth.

Just how did we get to the tenth inning in the first place, you might ask? None other than Brandon League, blowing a two-run lead in the ninth by serving up a HR to PH Todd Helton (batting .227), to tie the game at 5. League went on to "earn" the win along with his third BS of the year.

Don Mattingly didn't have much with which to play tonight, batting Ramon Frickin' Hernandez cleanup (2-for-5, raising his average to .200). We are lucky to sneak away with a win tonight, despite the Rockies' and Brandon League's best efforts.

Getting robbed tonight was Clayton Kershaw (7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB and 5 Ks). But don't take my word for it: check out what said (screenshot below):

That's right, the Clayton Kershaw was probably pretty pissed that the bullpen blew. Sadly, it wasn't a whole new blew.

Game 53 Thread: May 31 @ Rockies, 5:40p

Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 1.68 ERA) vs. Jon Garland (3-6, 5.53 ERA)

Always look on the bright side of life, folks.

At least our beloved team doesn't have a lame purple, dotted anthropomorphized triceratops mascot named Dinger. Plus, Dinger is clearly a child molester:
At least Kershaw is pitching, and we'll have our 1-2-3 pitchers for the Rockies road trip. (Although he is a disappointing 3-3, 5.91 ERA lifetime in 10 starts there.)

At least we have guys who can do this:

At least the Dodger blogosphere has reasoned writers who can break down the inure/replacement scenarios. MSTI:  How Many Dodgers Are Headed to Colorado?

At least we have a great stadium to come home to after the current road trip. Thanks to @bigleaguestew for letting us to contribute to the Ballpark Roadmap Project!
And of course, at least we have Vin. Though apparently Vin has some tendonitis in one of his hands, according to @ScottMCBS. Must have been from marking down all those Kemp strikeouts on his scorecard in May. Get well soon, Vin! (And Matty!)

Here's to low surly factors, success in Denver, and turning the corner in June!

Vin Scully, on Dog Hero Ted Lilly

Vin Scully, from last night's telecast:

Ted Lilly's wife, Natasha, has her Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science at Cal Poly, and then she got her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Davis. We bring that up to give you an insight into Ted Lilly, who is very quiet, very soft-spoken, very serious, and a very good competitor.

They were out with their dog, a Lab, and the Lab was attacked by a pit bull. And Lilly went after the pit bull, which is not exactly a nice thing to do, pried the jaws of the pit bull open to release his Lab. Got his hand cut up a little bit, but the big thing was he saved the Lab. Right thumb was torn.

So he is that kind of a guy. Quiet, peaceful, but deadly determined.

We were talking before about the career of an Albert Pujols. I mean, Ted Lilly was drafted in 1996.

Fastball, unintentionally fouled back....

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Post-Game 52 Thread: Vargas Dominates


On a night that Ted Lilly had a mostly semi-decent ok passable game, Angels pitcher Jason Vargas was able to stifle the Dodgers Noffense after an early, shaky start. There were multiple strange plays in the Dodgers infield that made watching an exasperating experience: little nubbers that pitchers muffed; easy plays that the defense nonetheless struggled with; a weakly-fielded deep fly in right that exposed Kemp's absence and Ethier's playing out of position; and pitchers who should have let hit balls alone.

Crawdaddy had a brilliant catch in LF, to be fair to the Dodgers defense, leaving a giant skidmark across the LF foul line. So don't sleep on that Web Gem tonight.

Improbably, weak-hitting "DH" Ramon Hernandez had a home run to keep it close. Overall, this one mostly resembled a double or triple A game if the team didn't have their names on the backs of their shirts. This evened the season series at 2-2. We live to fight another day.

Off to Colorado, boys and girls! At least that stadium has a small outfield so not having a true CF won't Mater. Oh wait, sorry, that pun was from last night.

UPDATE: I'd be remiss if I didn't give props to the GT MVP comment from Cliff Beefpile, as follows and I quote:
"With that little sphincter-esque "halo" at the top of the A, it's like even their logo says 'assholes'. The skidmarks just verify that."

Game 52 Thread: May 30 vs. Angels, 7p

Ted Lilly (0-1, 4.05 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (4-3, 3.43 ERA)

Oh jesus. It's Lilly tonight. We'll have to rely on him to to bring us the improbable series win. Lilly faces Jason Vargas, who has gone 4-0 in his last five starts with a 2.25 ERA. It just doesn't seem like a fair fight, does it?

Last night, the Dodger bats broke out too little, too late, but hopefully that will provide some momentum coming into tonight's game. A-Gon and Hairston have a good record facing Vargas, so we'll look to them to turn up big.

In injury news, Matt Kemp (hamstring; swing; pride) is not due to have his MRI until this afternoon, so we can assume he will definitely be out of the lineup today. Looking like Schumaker in CF unless there's a longer term injury to Kemp, then we hear the Puig/Pederson conversation amplified. On a positive note, HanRam is about to begin his rehab assignment and doesn't look too far away from a return.

The recently-floundering Gnats are playing the A's right now. It would be nice to gain some ground on them. In fact, let's get this thread going early and use it for some scoreboard watching/Gnats hating.

UPDATE: Kemp to the 15-day DL to get his groove back.

UPDATE II: AJEllis has an oblique issue and is held out, hoping not to have to go on the DL. T-Fed called up and into action.

Keep watching this space for updates as the inexplicable injuries keep piling up.

Here, Puiggy Puiggy?

The 4-3 loss to the Angels wasn't the worst part of last night's game. Rather, it was Matt Kemp pulling himself out of the game late due to a strained hamstring:

The Dodgers held their breath Wednesday night. They weren’t sure what else to do.

All they knew for certain was, Matt Kemp injured his right hamstring. Kemp and hamstring equaled nothing but bad news last year.

And although this is the other leg, and they won’t know the severity of his injury until after an MRI scheduled for Thursday, they knew it was bad news. They just weren’t certain how bad.

Dodgers vice president of medical services, Stan Conte, told Mattingly it was a mild strain. Still…

“I guess I shouldn’t say it, but anytime you hear the dreaded hamstring word, usually it lasts a little bit,” Mattingly said. “But Stan was saying it was mild. Hopefully Matt caught himself before he got it good.”

That was hopefully the good news for the Dodgers. Kemp injured the hamstring in the seventh inning Wednesday night chasing a Mike Trout double into the right-field cap.

So if Kemp is out for a while, who might play left field? Hmmm...

If Kemp was only going to be out a few days, they could try to get by with Skip Schumaker for a while, or even Andre Ethier.

“We wouldn’t try to play Shoe out there every day,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “If it’s a couple-day thing, then we can get through.”

But if Kemp lands on the DL, the Dodgers need someone who can play center field every day, and he’s not on the 25-man roster. And probably not the 40-man.

At triple-A Albuquerque, the center field choices are not exactly appealing: Matt Angle (.298 batting, .440 slugging), Tony Gwynn Jr. (.288, .360) and Elian Herrera (.304, .403). And none are on the 40-man roster.

At double-A Chattanooga, there is the heralded Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson.

Puig has all the intrigue, the Cuban man-child who tore it up this spring (.517 batting, .828, 22, slugging) and became a camp sensation. But Puig has played only two games in center for Chattanooga, and the Dodgers are concerned about his maturity.

Lets get through the MRI first (join the Sue Falsone club, Matt!). Then we'll see if we start calling "suey".

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Post-Game 51 Thread: Tower of Terror Edition


This one went 20,000 leagues under from the beginning. Capuano was far from dominant, the Noffense was in fine form, Weaver returned to pretty solid form, our defense was shaky, Kemp swung like he was blindfolded, and the Dodgers went softly into the Orange County night almost tied it up in the ninth with home runs from Gonzo and Van Slyke. But it didn't Mater.

Hakuna matata, my ass. All we can do at this point is drink up me 'earties, yo ho!

Game 51 Thread: May 29 vs. Angels, 7p

Chris Capuano (1-3, 5.60 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (0-1, 4.91 ERA)

The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles take their California adventure on the road to a decidedly different city and county, with a two-game set beginning tonight in Anaheim, California. Fresh off a two-game home minnie-sweep of the Angels, the team has to feel good about their chances for building a little momentum, though Angel Stadium hasn't always proven to be the happiest place on earth for Dodger success. Weaver of course is coming off an elbow injury (after landing goofy on a play) that has kept him out for much of the season, and one would have to be in fantasyland to think he could just bounce right back from something like that. Nor, however, will we really know what to expect from Capuano; we've seen some great moments with Mr. Capuano but he faces an uphill battle against a team that can put up some big thunder offense.

Speaking of injuries, Kemp was hit in the elbow/forearm with a pitch yesterday, which may give Mattingly ariel excuse to sit him for a day without the threat the kind of clubhouse drama we've seen recently that seems more like Toontown. We'll have to see how Mattingly tinkers with the lineup as a result.

It autry be a good one.

Uribe May Be Surprisingly Tasty Lately, But Hardly Appetizing

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here with the Juan Uribe accolades. Yes, he's rounding up to a robust (for him) six-game hitting streak (the eight hits Uribe has gotten over these six games amount to over a third of the total hits Uribe has had all year). Complemented with a lack of playing time, Uribe has seen his batting average increase from .231 to .280.

But as we consider Uribe in thankfully his final year of his three-year, $21M deal, characterizing this as "all smiles" seems as excessive as Uribe's waistline:

Uribe was the target of ridicule the last two years. Over his anemic hitting, his roundish physique and $21-million contract. Not to mention guessing when the Dodgers would finally cut bait.

Yet here he is, not only surviving but actually playing pretty well -- even fantastic compared with expectations.

Uribe, 33, is batting a respectable .278, a dramatic improvement over his .199 average with the Dodgers the last two seasons. He has a .404 slugging percentage, or 142 percentage points higher than he averaged for the Dodgers the last two seasons. And he has a .389 on-base percentage (15 walks in 95 plate appearances), a whopping 100 points higher. If he maintains that, it would be a career-high by 76 points.

Juan Uribe, our very own round mound of rebound.

Uribe's latest week of eating up opposing pitching shouldn't be cause for parades. It's unsustainable. He's hitting 30 points above his career batting average, not to mention almost eighty points above tha pathetic Mendoza-Line levels he's floated the last two years as a Dodger.

Uribe happens to be connecting despite having an increasingly violent and frighteningly spastic swing, as he flails and "buffets" the air. It is great that Uribe happens to be connecting, sure. For now. But Uribe clearly lacks a disciplined approach to the plate and yes, that is a quality double entendre, thank you very much.

Just because Uribe happens to be a better alternative, today, relative to the woeful (but possibly rebounding of late) Luis Cruz, does not make Uribe a viable option at third. Certainly not for a team that aspires for greatness beyond just girth. If the media keeps writing Uribe valentines, Ned Colletti might go sign him up for five more years. Snap out of it!

Photo: Lawrence K. Ho

Matt Kemp Deserves Our Support

Before signing his big contract and assuming leadership of the Dodgers clubhouse, Matt Kemp was a bit of an enigma. There was little doubt about his talent defensively or offensively, and once he started laying off those sliders down and away and started mashing the ball, he looked like the first Dodgers threat since Manny Ramirez.

There were whispers of a potential sulking, pouty attitude, particularly when Larry Bowa tried to use tough love to get under Kemp's skin. There were times when Kemp appeared aloof, perhaps foolhardy when taking routes to fly balls, or even starstruck, when his good looks and superstar girlfriend appeared to distract Kemp from focusing on the field.

But since signing that eight-year, $160M deal last year, Kemp has shown newfound leadership and poise alongside his fire for the game. He may be criticized for giving his all in the outfield, but he's not pulling careless maneuvers a la Bryce Harper. His dating life with, or without, Rihanna, has not dominated the press like it once did.

And more than that, he has shown maturity when dealing with the adversity of this season--with his offensive numbers possibly tempered by his continued recovery from injury (Kemp has not yet attributed his slow start to his shoulder recovery)--dealing with his weakened powers with understandable concern, but still calm:

A day after striking out four times, Matt Kemp was dropped to the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ lineup.

Kemp understood Manager Don Mattingly’s decision.

“He’s got to do what he’s got to do,” Kemp said. “I don’t disagree with him for moving me down. I’ve been giving away a lot of at-bats. I really haven’t been helping my team too much.”

This will mark the first time Kemp has hit anywhere other than third or fourth since Sept. 27, 2010.

“I can’t be mad at him for moving me to fifth,” Kemp said. “Fifth ain’t bad. There are some RBIs in the five hole too.”

Mattingly said he was hoping to take pressure off Kemp.

Adrian Gonzalez will bat third and Andre Ethier fourth.

“Hopefully, I can get it going in the five hole,” Kemp said. “Shoot, I’ll try any hole – one hole, two hole, three hole, five hole, six hole, seven hole, eight hole, nine hole.”

Mattingly said he also envisions batting Kemp second or fifth, depending on the matchup.

Kemp’s sense of humor appeared to still be intact, as he cracked several jokes about his inability to hit.

“I can’t let this get me down,” Kemp said. “Baseball is not an easy sport. I think we’ve all struggled. I’ve had some conversations with some future Hall of Fame baseball players and they’ve been through the same things I’m going through at this moment. All of them told me the same thing: that I can hit and you have to believe you can hit and it will come back.”

Kudos to Kemp for approaching this lineup change professionally, and for Mattingly for handling Kemp with apparently the right touch, in a difficult situation. After all, it's not like Kemp doesn't hear the boos:

"I'm taking a beating from the fans," admits Kemp, and that was before he struck out four more times. "It's disappointing to get booed by our own fans, even shocking.

"Maybe the fans are disappointed in me for not performing," he says, and I let him know there is no maybe about it.

"I would never boo one of my favorite players or someone on my team," Kemp says. "As a true fan I would stick with him in the bad times as well as the good." [...]

Kemp ran into a Colorado wall last season, underwent shoulder surgery and now swings hard. But he pulls back at the very end because his shoulder lacks flexibility. It makes him vulnerable to low and outside pitches.

Kemp hates, and that's not a strong enough word for it, to say anything that might suggest he's making excuses for his lousy play.

"I'm the one swinging at the bad pitches," he says. "I don't want to talk about my shoulder."

But the fact is he's two months into the season and he has just been cleared medically to start lifting weights. And it might be months more before Kemp is swinging like Kemp again.

"It doesn't matter," says Kemp. "Kobe finds a way [when he's hurt] and I have to find a way to help us win."

The booing, though, is threatening to become a drag on his confidence as if he needs another mountain to climb.

"As much as superstar athletes don't say a lot about failure, every athlete is scared of failing," says Kemp. "It's not doubt, it's just human nature."

If Dodgers fans want to cheer a winner, Kemp may be as important to the cause as any player on the team, they might want to stop tearing into Kemp while he finds himself again.

And leave the booing to the columnists.

Well, not THIS "columnist". Matt, we are still supporting you 1000000%. We know you are playing through pain, even if you won't admit it, and we hope to see you recapture your potential, which we've seen and loved. I think you can do it. And even if I'm getting frustrated, I won't boo you at games, either.

We're there for you, Matt Kemp. Get well soon, as we sure as hell need you.

Real Madrid Coming To Dodger Stadium

It has been well-chronicled over the last six years that SoSG readership's fandom extends well beyond the Dodgers, and soccer has always been a frequent topic of conversation. So I expect all you SoSG fans to show up this August, Real Madrid comes to Dodger Stadium:

Dodger Stadium will stage a soccer doubleheader on Aug. 3 that will include European giants Real Madrid and Juventus, according to a person familiar with the plans who was not authorized to discuss them publicly.

The games will be the first soccer matches played at Dodger Stadium.

Everton of the English Premier League and the Galaxy of Major League Soccer will be the two other teams taking part in the event.

An official announcement is expected Wednesday.

On the day of the games, the Dodgers will be playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Real Madrid had a tough year this year in La Liga, ceding an early and insurmountable lead to rival Barcelona, the eventual winner. This will still be one hell of a fun game, however.

Men of Reason

Nope, shoulder looks good here.

A win like last night's always helps, but the boobirds have been out at Dodger Stadium for a while now...which is why a couple of perspective-straightening articles are in order.

I greatly enjoyed Jon Weisman discovering particles of grit where there seemed to be none, and Chad Moriyama provides valuable insight into why Matt Kemp can't just start hitting dingers at the drop of a hat.

Despite a rough May, the Dodgers are in the shallowest hole of all six last-place teams. So hurray for small victories. If things get better this season, we may want to revisit these articles.

TiqIQ's job is to find the best deals and sellers out there on the market, and for Los Angeles Dodgers tickets, check out GoTickets.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Post-Game 50 Thread: Ryu Simply Super


Wow. Simply wow. Hyun-Jin Ryu dominated the Angels tonight, going the distance and shutting out the Angels, allowing only two hits while striking out seven on 113 pitches. He doubled for good measure, but the offensive hero was — whaaaaa? — Luis Cruz, who crushed a two-run home run off old friend Joe Blanton in the fifth.

It's a super night all around, with the Kings advancing to the Western Conference Finals by beating the Sharks and the Dodgers completing the two-game (hey, we'll take it) sweep over Anaheim.

Next up: uh, the Angels again. The Dodgers travel down the freeway for another two-game set. So maybe they just guaranteed the split tonight? Nah, sweep sounds better.

Game 50 Thread: May 28 vs. Angels, 7p

Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-2, 3.30) vs Joe Blanton (1-7, 6.19).

In the concluding game of this two-game series (which continues tomorrow in Anaheim for two more games; WTF, MLB schedulers?!), the Dodgers look for a series sweep of sorts. Fresh off their biggest come-from-behind victory this season (five runs), the Dodgers face the Angels' version of Josh Beckett: Joe Blanton, who just lucked into his first win of the season last outing, against Kansas City.

Can the Dodgers beat Bizarro Beckett? Possibly, if Adrian Gonzalez (9-for-11 in his last three games, with 7 RBI, 6 R and 2 HR) can bat third, fourth, and fifth in the lineup. Other than that, even with Dee Gordon down in the minors, it may be another error-filled (for us), high-scoring (for them, and maybe even us) evening.

This GT is late, by the way, courtesy of gogo inflight, which is slower than fucking molasses in January.  My apologies; blogging from the plane. Sorry about that (and I do hope the SoSG accounting crew reimburses this expense...).

Dodgers tickets

A Little Misdirection Around The Dodgers' Magic?

Tonight's Dodgers game features a stadium giveaway with the Magic T-shirt shown above (t-shirt presented by State Farm). Pretty cool logo, honoring one of our team's new owners, with his name in the Dodgers' logo script.

Except, where might I have seen this design before?

Oh yeah, on a guy who regularly sits near me at the Stadium, who also had a similar idea about a year ago.

Look, I don't know copyright law, so I have no idea if the Dodgers pulled some sleight of hand and swiped the idea from; or even if was even able to do that shirt design in the first place. I doubt has made a lot of money on it.

But throw the guy a bone, will you? I'm sure he'll be at tonight's game. Maybe you can give him an extra t-shirt?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Post-Game 49 Thread: Playing Possum Edition


By all appearances, Dodgers were dead in the road today. But dammit we won, improbably! Three errors, down 6-1, us being us, and somehow we pulled this thing out.

Matt Libs
Today, the Dodgers had 13 solid hits, but despite Kemp's terrible 0-5 choke at the plate, League didn't eat the ball in his ninth inning save. The pitching from Greinke started off poorly, but then it got even shittier. So Mattingly called the bullpen for Belli, who came in and didn't necessarily suck as usual. The Dodgers ending up winning the game by one run in the 7th inning thanks to Jerry Hairston.

Mattingly said that Ethier needed the day off to rest, but we all know it was really because Ethier is a prima donna little bitch who can't hit lefties. All we can do is try again tomorrow versus the Lost Angels of Orange County, but with Uribe on the team, we can never be assured of a win.

Game 49 Thread: May 27 vs. Angels, 5p

Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.48) vs. C.J. Wilson (4-3, 3.39)

Happy Memorial Day!

Image: LAT

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Post-Game 48 Thread: Holy Crap, We Started Kershaw and Lost


Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBI, and Kershaw himself went 1 for 3 and scored a run, but he gave up an uncharacteristic four earned over seven innings. Of course our bullpen is always good for a run or two for our opponents, and in the end the Cards' small lead was, once again, insurmountable.

UPDATE: Hey, it's a note from BJ Killeen!

Here: let me write the PGT for today:

Matt Libs

Today, _______________, got a bunch of solid hits, but _____________ choked and _________ the ball in the _________ inning. The pitching from Kershaw started off poorly, but then it ______________. So Mattingly called the bullpen for ___________, who came in and ____________ the game as usual. The Dodgers ending up losing to the _____________ by ____________ runs in the _________ inning.

Mattingly said that __________ needed the day off to rest, but we all know it was really because of _____________. All we can do is try again tomorrow versus the _________, but with _________ pitching, we can never be assured of a win.

Game 48 Thread: May 26 vs. Cardinals, 1p

Shelby Miller (5-3, 1.74 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 1.35 ERA)

Amazingly, Dodgers have a chance to take the series with a win today. Because in LA sports nothing is ever easy, the speculation about Mattingly's future, the club house vibe with Ethier and Kemp (Kemp especially after being double switched yesterday, causing him visible consternation) continues to play out publicly.

Nonetheless, we should cherish these moments, because it's the last time for the next 24 hours that the team won't be wearing those hideous digi-camo, Padres-on-home game-Sunday-looking caps that they'll break out tomorrow for Memorial Day against that Orange County team.

Interesting note: Dodgers last six games have produced a loss, a win, a loss, a win, a loss, and a win. Here's to breaking that streak today.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Post-Game 47 Thread: Holy Crap, We Started Ted Lilly And Still Beat The Cardinals


Adrian Gonzalez singlehandedly won the game tonight, going 3-for-3 with 3 RBI and a solo HR. on national television. Wow, I'll take it.

Game 47 Thread: May 25 vs. Cardinals, 4p

It's Jaime Jarrin Bobblehead Day at Dodger Stadium!

Ted Lilly (0-1, 5.63) vs. John Gast (2-0, 4.76).

It's an odd 4 p.m. Saturday start time at Dodger Stadium to accommodate the Fox broadcast. Now the rest of the country can share in our misery!

Gast — not that one — was called up from the minors to sub for the injured Jake Westbrook. Since the Dodgers haven't seen him before, expect a CGSHO.

Oh, and we gotta win today for a chance at the Eye on Baseball Heavyweight Championship belt. No pressure, boys.

Kemp Shouldering Big Burden

I was taking a dump this morning and reading the LA Times sports section (one often leads to the other), and noted a piece regarding Matt Kemp's lingering shoulder issues, post-surgery. I guess we all knew there would be complications after this type of surgery, but Matt is young and great and gives cleats to sick kids and stuff, and he was ready for Spring Training, so I think many of us just glossed over the fact that many baseball players who have gone through the same surgery have experienced lingering issues for a long time afterward. Clearly, Kemp is in that category at this point. And even more evidently, it's getting to him.
Kemp's frustration was obvious during early batting practice Friday when stormed out of the cage, snapped a bat over his knee and stomped into the clubhouse, where he declined to blame his struggles on his shoulder.
The article goes into detail about how Kemp can't extend at the end of his swing, and the type of spin he needs to be getting on the ball, and so forth. The power: gone. Not sure what the solution is, other than time, something the Dodgers are quickly running out of.

Perhaps SoSG softball team should look into this excuse for a lack of offense/power at the next softball tournament. I want to see SoSG AC break a bat over his knee.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Post-Game 46 Thread: Jobbed


I actually didn't get to see much of this game. Turns out I didn't miss much. Three hits. Two errors. No runs. Terrible starting pitching. The one moment I did tune in, A.J. Ellis looked like he was dead on the ground after eating a spear from Jon Jay. Swell.

So, on a day where everyone and their mom assured us that Donnie isn't getting fired, we're left looking at a team that still has something very, very wrong with it. (And I'm left pulling for Ted Lilly to win an imaginary wrestling belt.)

National TV tomorrow? That should be fun.

Game 46 Thread: May 24 vs. Cardinals, 7p

"Y2C" Chris Capuano (1-2, 4.84) vs. Lance "Jerry" Lynn (6-1, 3.27)

Drama! Infighting! Losing records! Bullpen implosions! Firing rumors! None of that matters now as we've reached the most critical point of the entire season: The Dodgers get a shot at the Eye On Baseball Heavyweight Championship!

What the hell am I going on about? Allow Dayn Perry, co-creator of the title, explain:

Since the concept of championship belts is cool in boxing, MMA and sports entertainment (aka pro wrestling), the Eye on Baseball team has decided to create a Heavyweight Championship belt for the 2013 season.

As the defending World Series champions, the Giants entered the season with the strap. From there, here are our rules.

1. A team must win a series from the champion to take the belt. One game isn't going to cut it, considering it's a 162-game season and teams all view the season in terms of series.

2. If the belt-holder splits a series (two- or four-game series), it retains. Much like on a draw in boxing or a count-out situation in pro wrestling, you don't get the belt unless you actually beat the champion. A tie isn't good enough.

3. If, at the end of the regular season, the belt-holder does not make the playoffs -- and due to the dynamics of this thing, that scenario is entirely plausible -- said team will be stripped of the title for not qualifying for the postseason. Then the winner of the playoffs -- the World Series -- takes the belt and the title into the offseason.

This is actually the Dodgers' second shot at the EOB belt. They failed to take it from the Giants in the opening series of the season, despite Clayton "1-2-3 Inning Kid" Kershaw hitting his finisher early in the match.

I've been tracking this all season*, and the Cardinals have dominated. (See calendar in the above link.) It's time for the Dodgers to take out the (Free)Birds and go on a Bruno Sammartino-esque run with the belt. They can't win the belt tonight, but taking the first fall will help, knowing that "The Million Dollar Bust" Ted Lilliase is tagging back in tomorrow.

*Yes, I'm weird. There's so little else to get excited about this season, so cut me some slack.

Dodgers tickets

Dilbeck: Blame Ned Colletti

Look, it's a thin bench!

Trying to weave the narrative around the Dodgers' imploding 2013 season, Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times cites the thin bench strength as a primary liability:

General Manager Ned Colletti loves those scrappy, versatile types, which would explain a roster that was set up to have Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston Jr. as its primary backups.

Except that with injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez missing most of the season so far and Luis Cruz proving worthless offensively, bench guys and players who were supposed to be in the minors are having to start.

Neither Dee Gordon (.167) nor Justin Sellers (.191) have hit a lick trying to replace Ramirez. Gordon is currently in an 0-for-22 slump. If he’s going to hit worse than Sellers (now hitting .314 at triple-A Albuquerque), they might as well send Gordon back down and return to Sellers, who at least has the superior glove.

Mattingly has been forced to play Punto almost every day, and fortunately for him, he’s responded better (.330, .418 on-base percentage) than they had right to hope. After a slow start, Schumaker has hit .357 in his last 12 games.

But when Punto and/or Schumaker are in the game, that leaves Cruz (.096), Uribe (.229) and/or Gordon the bench. There’s nothing there to pick from. And then there’s catcher Ramon Hernandez, who snapped an 0-for-17 skid with two hits Wednesday (including a homer).

Scott Van Slyke now at least gives them a hint of power on the bench, but that’s it. Impressive it ain’t.

Cruz, Gordon and Hernandez shouldn’t be on a team with championship aspirations, but that is your last-place Dodgers bench.

I'd agree, arguing that Gordon, Sellers, Cruz, Uribe, and Hernandez don't have any place on a major league roster, not with the way they've been playing this year. We can be patient for the subset of those that might still be maturing. But that maturing time shouldn't be done on my major-league-priced ticket.

As The Don Mattingly Turns

The extra off-day also gave the media time to speculate on whether Don Mattingly is done as Dodger manager. For one thing, Mattingly came out with plenty of barbs in pre-game interviews in Milwaukee:

If the Dodgers’ owners have not already decided to fire Don Mattingly, the manager all but fired himself on Wednesday.

In his latest and sharpest comments distancing himself from the organization, Mattingly appeared to criticize the Dodgers’ free-spending ways. Mattingly has pointed enough fingers at players and the front office over the past few days that he must either suspect his days are numbered — or he already knows that they are.

When Mattingly spoke with reporters in Milwaukee on Wednesday, as the manager of a last-place team with the highest payroll in baseball history, he said this: “It’s not just all, ‘Let’s go put an All-Star team out there and play games, and the team with the All-Star team wins.’ … All grit and no talent is not going to get you there, and all talent and no grit is not going to get you there. There’s got to be a mixture of both.”

If the owners recall what Mattingly said in spring training, they might wonder why the manager should not take the fall for failing to produce that mixture. In March, Mattingly had said the Dodgers should consider firing him if the team did not make the playoffs.

“If we don’t win, and we’re healthy, they really should look at it,” Mattingly said then. “This team has a lot of talent. My job, and my coaches’ job, is to get them to play the game right. If we can’t get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice.”

The Dodgers are not healthy, of course, but the only significant injury among position players is the one to shortstop Hanley Ramirez. The Dodgers have scored fewer runs than any team in the major leagues except the Miami Marlins.

Mattingly benched outfielder Andre Ethier on Wednesday, explaining the decision thusly: “For me, today, I’m putting out my lineup that I feel is going to be the most competitive and going to compete the hardest.”

That is two “I,” one “my” and one “me” in an industry that emphasizes “us” and “we.” Players and the front office notice those words.

In stark contrast, this is how Mattingly explained the weekend decision to demote catcher Tim Federowicz rather than clear a roster spot by cutting either infielder Luis Cruz or catcher Ramon Hernandez: “That was the move that the organization thought was the best.”

And, as the Dodgers’ bullpen lost all three games last weekend in Atlanta, Mattingly appeared to point out how the front office stashed surplus starters in the bullpen, forcing the team to cut veteran relievers who might have been useful

“We had guys get away early who seemed to fit,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly also publicly critiqued shortstop Dee Gordon and pitcher Kenley Jansen on the current trip.

But after flying back to Los Angeles for this weekend series, Mattingly was supposedly safe in his role:

Don Mattingly will be managing the Dodgers on Friday when they open a three-game series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals, according to two people familiar with the team’s plans.

Before the last-place Dodgers’ 9-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, Mattingly made comments critical of his players, in particular Andre Ethier, inciting rampant media speculation that he could be managing his last game.

Mattingly said he wasn’t worried that he could be fired on the Dodgers’ day off on Thursday.

“Do I feel worried?” Mattingly said. “No, not really. Should I be?”

He laughed.

There's nothing funny about being in last place. I hope things will turnaround. Seriously.

Andre Ethier And The Microwave Death Stare

gif image uploaded direct from Blogger post editor

Three days old, but still some funny stuff. Here's a GIF, via Deadspin via The Big Lead via 1000 Steps, of Andre Ethier acting like a tough guy to home plate umpire Dan Bellino.

This of course was the last we saw of Andre Ethier in Milwaukee, as coach Don Mattingly benched Ethier before the Wednesday series-ending game, despite the fact that it would have been a favorable matchup for Ethier.

Mattingly has almost always defended his players since becoming the Dodgers' manager more than two years ago. But in explaining why Ethier was out of the lineup Wednesday, Mattingly said, "I'm trying to put the club out there that I feel is going to fight."

Ethier, who is in the first year of a five-year, $85-million contract extension he signed last season, is batting .264 with four home runs and 15 runs batted in.

The Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball history at $230 million, but Mattingly sounded as if he was still searching for a mix of players who had as much tenacity as talent.

"It's not just all, 'Let's go put an All-Star team out there and play games and the team with the All-Star team wins,' " Mattingly said. "It's trying to find that balance of a team that's got a little grit and a little fight. All grit and no talent is not going to get you there, and all talent and no grit is not going to get you there. There's got to be a mixture of both."

Ethier, on the other hand, took the high road:

Yet after the game, when presented with Mattingly’s comments, Ethier responded just as you would hope. Even-keeled, disagreeing with his manager’s assessment and mostly disappointed Mattingly had not shared his thoughts personally before discussing them with the media.

“If he has something like that to point out, I'm going to take a look at it and address it,” Ethier said.

Pretty much an ideal response.

Naturally, Ethier hardly agreed he did not compete hard and fight every day.

“I take offense to that,” he said. “I work hard. Whether I'm going good or going bad, I work just as hard, both sides. Obviously, when things are going bad, I'm trying even harder to figure out how to make things go right.”

Mattingly has never questioned Ethier’s work ethic. His concern seems more of his having a competitive spirit at the plate, at grinding out each at-bat, at a refusal to give in to any pitcher or pitch.

When he’s on, Ethier has the prettiest swing on the team. But when he misses, it can look almost lazy, as if he mentally checked out. Part of it is simply body language, though part could be Mattingly’s apparent suspicion Ethier is batting with less than an edge.

Yet Ethier (.264, four homers, 15 RBI, .405 slugging) is hardly the only Dodger struggling or sometimes seeming to be less than totally focused.

I don't know if Ethier's slump is caused by his effort level or overall streakiness. But everybody's on edge here at Dodgertown. This upcoming series with the Cardinals will be telling.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scoreboard Watching: May 23, 2013

This is how the PNC Park scoreboard looked, with the Cubs in town, on a PRIOR occassion.

There are NO games relevant to the NL West "race" today.

However, there's an early game (9:30a PT) which can help determine whether the Dodgers can maintain their position as the 11th-best team in the National League. Former Dodger and current Cub Edwin Jackson (1-6, 5.76) goes up against Pittsburgh's Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.78). The Cubs have lost their first two games of the series, at PNC Park, but are hoping to ascend past Milwaukee in the NL Central, where both the Cubs and Brewers both sit in last place.

All four other games today are American League games; the Angels duel Kansas City at 5p PT. The Angels serve up their edition of Josh Beckett: Joe Blanton (0-7, 6.62), against KC's Ervin Santana (3-3, 2.77). If the Angels win, they would edge ahead of the Dodgers based on winning percentage. That's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Post-Game 45 Thread: Ryu Are You (Oooh, Ooh; Oooh Ooh)


With Clayton Kershaw (worst run support in the NL) looking on enviously, the Dodgers supported Hyun-Jin Ryu with an amazing seven runs of support, tacking on two more in the ninth inning just for good measure. Ryu did his part: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB and 4 Ks over 109 pitches.

But the offensive support was so laughable, even 53-year-old Ramon Hernandez got a home run (Hernandez went 2-for-3). Brewers starter Wily Peralta was gone by the second inning (1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER), and the Dodgers rolled to a series victory.

Other Dodgers offensive highlights, which are typically so rare so we will call out:

  • Carl Crawford, 2-for-4 with 2 R and 2 RBI;
  • Matt Kemp, 2-for-4 with 1 R and 1 RBI;
  • Scott Van Slyke, 2-for-4 with 1 R and 2 RBI;
  • Nick Punto, 2-for-4 with 1 R and 1 RBI.

Not so good: Adrian Gonzalez, 0-for-5 with an RBI. Gonzalez had a tough series at Miller Park, going 1-for-13 with that single RBI; he was 2-for-23 on the roadtrip. Ronald Belisario also had a shaky two outs in the eighth, and League wasn't exactly automatic in the ninth, even with a seven-run lead (Nick Punto's fielding error didn't help any).

But a win is a win; the Dodgers vault to a scant 6.5 GB division leaders Arizona and SF. Thanks, Ryu!

Game 45 Thread: May 22 @ Brewers, 10a

Ned Colletti's card.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2, 3.42) vs. Wile E. Peralta (3-4, 5.94).

Peralta already beat the Dodgers in April, limiting them to three runs over six innings (which actually qualifies as an offensive explosion). If he's to win, Ryu will undoubtedly have to help his own cause. After all, Kershaw went 1 for 3 in Game 1 and Greinke went 2 for 3 yesterday. And Donnie's job might just hang in the balance.

Dodgers tickets

2013 Dodgers: Into Darkness

Remember when Zack Greinke won a start last week, and everyone started going crazy that this was the start of the Dodgers' turnaround? And how everyone beat up on ol' Sax here for pleading for sanity?

And how the Dodgers went out and responded to that "season-changing win" by getting swept in Atlanta?

Look, we've lost one of two to the lowly Brewers, and are on the verge of losing the series and ending up with a 1-5 road trip. Maybe we win one today, and it becomes a 2-4 road trip. Whoop de frickin' doo.

We're still falling Into Darkness. I still think we khan do it. But I'm tribbled by believing our current state is going to magically reverse trajectory.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Post-Game 44 Thread: A Whole New Snooze

Wake me when something changes....


Zack Greinke struggled tonight, allowing five runs in four innings. On the other hand, he went 2 for 3 with an RBI, becoming the latest Dodger pitcher to realize he's gotta help his own cause. The Dodgers were again atrocious with men on base, stranding 11. AGon, Kemp and Ethier went a combined 3 for 12.

So it's another step backwards after yesterday's step forward. Forward (Kershaw), back, back, back, back (everybody else). That seat getting toasty, Donnie?

Game 44 Thread: May 21 @ Brewers, 5p

Zack Greinke (2-0, 1.62) vs. Ham Burgers (1-2, 6.58)

Ham Burgers? Who names their kid Ham Burgers?

(I mean other than Juan Uribe.)

Anyway, we need a whopper of a win. We know Greinke is a threat on the mound, but I also like Zack in the box. Maybe Big Mac finally got through to rest of the offense. Other fast food puns!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Post-Game 43 Thread: Kershaw Rolls, Kemp Goes Deep

gif image uploaded direct from Blogger post editor

Nice to see that swing again, Matt.


Clayton Kershaw was masterful: CG 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 107 pitches in a 3-1 victory. Kershaw almost got through the last three innings without a baserunner, save an error from the always volatileDee Gordon (0-for-4 with 2 Ks, 3 LOB, and an error tonight).

But the awesome highlight was watching Matt Kemp knock his second HR of the year, a no-doubt-about-it shot to the stands in deep left center. (Andre Ethier also knocked a solo HR of his own, along with an RBI triple, before ridiculously getting thrown out of the game for arguing an inning-ending pitch call at the plate.) The Dodgers went 0-for-6 with RISP, but the Brewers were 0-for-3 with RISP so we won.

Dodgers snap a three-game losing streak and win the opening game of the series for the first time in May (actually, the first time since April 26; against the Brewers).

Yes, we just beat the second-worst team in the NL, forcing our ace to pitch a complete game, while failing to convert any runner in scoring position. And we're damn proud of it.

Dodgers tickets

Game 43 Thread: May 20 @ Brewers, 5p

Yeah, that's about how well things are going for both teams.

Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 1.42) vs. Yovanni Gallardo (3-3, 4.50)

When we last saw the Brew Crew, Kershaw was shutting them out over 8 IP, with 12 strikeouts. Since then, the Brewers have gone 5-14 and the Dodgers have gone 5-13. Both teams stand at 17-25 and are the cellar dwellers of their respective divisions. (I bet the Brewers miss the Astros right now.)

So, is there anything worth watching in this matchup of dreadful teams? Of course, and it's the same thing that's been worth watching all season: Clayton F'ing Kershaw. Every one of his starts is appointment television now, as it should be.

I guess it's also worth watching to see if this game has any impact on the Don Mattingly rumor mill. He's still employed...for now.

First Look: Don Sutton Bobblehead

'70s-tastic! Get it June 6th.

I'll be at that game. I'm looking forward to getting this one.

Image via @Dodgers

Steve Lyons, on Ump Shows

Steve Lyons, from yesterday's telecast:

So in 1985, my rookie season, Jerry Neudecker's behind home plate with his pillow*.

And he called a pitch that was about chin high for a strike on me.

And I said, "Gee, Jerry, I can't swing at that pitch. There's no way I can even hit that pitch!"

And he looked at me and he said, "Son, you don't tell me that pitch was high. You ask me if that pitch was high." [...]

I said, "All right, Jerry, was the pitch high?"

He said, "Yep."

*According to Baseball Reference, "Neudecker is best remembered for being the last umpire to use a balloon (outside) chest protector."

Done Mattingly?

Didja hear? Lots of Dodgers are on the hot seat, and people in the know have plenty to say about it:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Post-Game 42 Thread: We're Forked

"Stick a fork in the 2013 Dodgers. They are dead."
—Eric Stephen, True Blue LA


The box score (and recent history) tell it all: The Dodgers only had three hits today, yet led 2-1 going into the eighth inning, when Kenley Jansen and Brandon League combined to allow four runs.

Who can we blame for this one? How about ourselves for actually believing things would be different this year?

Game 42 Thread: May 19 @ Barves, 10:30a

Matt Magill (0-0, 6.92) vs. Mike Minor (5-2, 2.75).

After yesterday's dispiriting loss, and the dispiriting loss the day before that, in what has been a most dispiriting season, we get to today's game, which will almost certainly be another dispiriting loss for the last-place Dodgers that will complete the first-place Barves' dispiriting sweep.

Each team is starting a pitcher with the initials MM, but only Atlanta's MM belongs in the majors right now. Minor is fresh off a win over the gritty Diamondbacks, while the Dodgers have yet to win a game started by Magill. (Sometimes it seems they have yet to win a game started by anyone.)

For the tattered bullpen's sake, let's hope Magill can eat a few innings today, because this road trip continues tomorrow in Milwaukee.

So: crappy team, yet we keep pulling for them. That's dispirit!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Touch of Class from Jason Heyward

At the depth of our pain of being burned by HRs the past two games, the best we can do is look for little bits of sunshine in otherwise dark days.

Here's something you don't see a lot these days in sport, at least during a game. After Matt Kemp robbed Jason Heyward of what looked to be a HR with an amazing, well-timed catch, Heyward rounded second base and looked to Kemp in the outfield to pay his sportsmanlike respect for the feat.

Hat tip to Kemp for the web gem catch, and to Heyward for his class.

Now, back to being surly and feeling the hate.

Post-Game 41 Thread: Lose-Lose


Can't blame this one on Donnie. Chris Capuano was stellar, allowing one earned run over 7.1 innings. In the 8th, Donnie went to Kenley Jansen, who promptly served up back-to-back dingers. And when your offense scores one run a game, ya gonna lose (again).

And this just in: Atlanta's still not Miami!

Game 41 Thread: May 18 @ Barves, 4p

If it wasn't for that Medlen kid....

Chris Capuano (1-2, 6.60) vs. Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.44).

Do the Dodgers possess road toughness? After getting whacked by Justin Upton and his MLB-leading 14th home run (and a granny at that), the team turns to Capuano, fresh off his first win of the season — over Miami. Atlanta ain't Miami. Will Cap notice the difference?

League Still Closer; Jansen Called Upon For Toughest Hitters, However

When it comes to which reliever he trusts with the game on the line, Don Mattingly is splitting hairs:

Don Mattingly has adjusted his late-inning bullpen use recently by deploying Kenley Jansen to face the hitters posing the greatest threat, no matter the inning.

"I don't like a committee of guys, that's always unsettling, like every day is a tryout, and that's not the environment I want for my pitchers," said Mattingly. "I want them to know I'm confident in them and trust them. It's not like you give up a run and you're out.

"But the way it's been going is the best way to do it. Kenley gets the tougher part of the order, and there's a chance of anybody in the ninth. We don't have Mariano [Rivera]. You see teams changing all the time in the last inning or two."

But Mattingly said that doesn't mean "closer" Brandon League has necessarily lost his job.

"Brandon never scares me," Mattingly said. "He always comes back with a clean slate. It's a new day. He said he likes the ball more often, he needs to keep pitching."

On the other hand, League scares the hell out of me, clean slate or not. He could certainly pitch with frequency earlier in the game, or even in another league. But Jansen definitely deserves yet another shot at the closer role--which is exactly what I think Mattingly is signalling, anyway.

What an artful Dodger!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Post-Game 40 Thread: Upton Hurl

Upton busts out.

Barves 8, Dodgers 5

Scott Van Slyke out-homered Justin Upton tonight, 2-1. The problem was, Upton had about eleventy men on base when he hit his.

How else was this game disappointing? Well, Ryu was shaky. The defense was all over the place. The bullpen couldn't hold the lead. Kemp, Gonzalez, Gordon, and Ethier (who didn't start) went a combined 0 for 14.

Dodgers lose their sixth straight series opener, and I learned to not talk shit to Chipper Jones.

Photo: SI

Game 40 Thread: May 17 @ Barves, 4:30p

Larry's just now getting around to seeing Ted?

Hyn-Jin Ryu (4-2, 3.40) vs. Paul Maholm (4-4, 3.94)

Tough talk from the comfort of your animal print retirement sofa, Larry. Allow me to introduce you to one Hyun-Jin Ryu. You may not know this, but he's the most reliable Dodger pitcher not named Kershaw at this moment (at least until we're sure Greinke's 100%). I don't expect you to do much stat-licking while you're doing whatever it is you're doing in retirement, Larry, but Ryu's in the top 20 in K/9, the top 25 in FIP, and the top 50 in ERA.

Plus, he can do cool levitation shit like this:

Oh, and Larry? It's cute that you think Beckett is still a threat.

Ryu pic:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scoreboard Watching (May 16, 2013)

The Coors Field scoreboard is huge, but Juan Uribe still doesn't fit.

The Dodgers might even be able to make up some ground even on a day where Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, or Hyun-Jin Ryu isn't starting. Maybe.

Giants at Rockies pits Matt Cain (2-2, 5.04) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (3-2, 2.70). First pitch, 5:40p.

Nationals at Padres has Stephen Strasburg (1-5, 3.10) vs. Edinson Volquez (3-3, 5.15). First pitch, 7:10p.

Diamondbacks are idle; they kick off a three-game series with the Marlins tomorrow, at about the same time we go against the Braves.

Off-Day Distraction: Baseball Card Vandals

This concept is so simple, yet so BRILLIANT. I wish I had thought of it. The geniuses behind Baseball Card Vandals (slightly NSFW: wiener doodles like this one on Bill Russell) take baseball cards and deface them with a Sharpie (no Photoshop used at all) to create hilarious new works of art. (Like when you used to deface your Pee-Chee folders in school. Did I just date myself?)

But don't take my word for it. Click! Go! Laugh your ass off.

H/T to the podcast "Get Up On This", where I first heard of BCV.

Greinke Earns Last-Place Dodgers One Win; Press Goes Crazy

Look, I was there last night to see Zack Greinke lead the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Nationals, earning a series victory (and our fourth win in the last five games). That was cool and all, I agree.

But it's funny to read the press today and see the coverage that this is going to turn around the entire season. First, Mark Saxon from

Greinke didn't consider it anything out of the ordinary. In fact, he said he felt he could have pitched two weeks ago, or barely over two weeks after the doctor cut him open, fixed his bone and sewed him back together. It's not as if Greinke doesn't deserve some credit for getting back so quickly, three weeks ahead of schedule. He went about his business in a quiet, grimly determined manner while he was out.

Now, this could be just the jumping-off point.

"I think he'll get stronger and stronger as he goes," Mattingly said. "It's pretty amazing what this guy was able to do tonight."

The Dodgers didn't go 10-19 in Greinke's absence because he wasn't pitching every fifth day. At most, his outings would have gotten them another couple of wins. They'd still be under .500, still be digging to get back to contention.

But Wednesday felt like a mile marker for this Dodgers season. Greinke's return means the Dodgers have, essentially, their Opening Day roster once again. If they continue to flounder, they won't be able to say it's because they're hurt. So, let the evaluation period begin.

Greinke said he started feeling a bit of soreness in the area of his collarbone after an awkward swing in the second inning, but he recovered well enough to stroke an RBI single to right. He said he was nearing exhaustion as his pitch count got into the 70s in the fifth inning, but he got a second wind in the sixth.

In other words, this could just be the trailer for what he can do for the Dodgers' rotation. The movie is still in pre-production, but if Clayton Kershaw, Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu get on a collective roll, it could -- despite early appearances -- have a happy ending.

"We start to see the vision," Mattingly said.

Hmm. Well, maybe I couldn't see the entire "vision," as my view from the third-base seats was obscured by Juan Uribe (both literally as well as figuratively, Uribe going 0-for-3 with a GIDP). And without Hanley Ramirez in the lineup, Dee Gordon continued to try to bunt his way onto base, unsuccessfully (Gordon went 0-for-4). And Scott Van Slyke performed valiantly in left field to rest Carl Crawford, who came in for a sacrifice fly RBI PH.

But okay, maybe this is indeed the start of a turnaround. So echoes Lyle Lyle the Crocodile Spencer of

Zack Greinke came back on Wednesday night, well ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken collarbone, and looked like $147 million in a 3-1 decision over the Nationals at Dodger Stadium.

Back sooner than logic suggested, Greinke was good on the mound across 5 1/3 innings and handy with the bat. His opposite-field single cashed in the second run against Ross Detwiler in the second inning after Matt Kemp had doubled and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's two-out single to jump-start Greinke in the first.

"It looked like a textbook win -- the Dodger way to play the game," Carl Crawford, the new left fielder and leadoff catalyst, said in the afterglow.

That's four happy endings in the past five games for manager Don Mattingly and his troupe as they head off to Atlanta and Milwaukee looking to keep a good thing going. That eight-game losing streak is in the rearview mirror, receding in the distance along with the April 11 brawl in San Diego that took Greinke out of the equation for a month.

"Winning definitely helps," Greinke said when asked about the need for a positive chemistry to develop within a club that has not played anywhere close to expectations. "The fact we have a bunch of new guys helps, too. If a team's been together five or six years, it's not as big a deal."

With Clayton Kershaw in front of him and Hyun-Jin Ryu behind him in the rotation, Greinke gives the Dodgers a fair chance to sweep a series, any series.

We must be going to a three-man rotation now, right?

Look, we're still 5.5 GB the Giants, with only the Marlins, Mets, Brewers, and Cubs behind us in the NL. I am excited for Greinke's return and hope that this is a turning point, but I wouldn't start cutting the confetti for that tickertape parade just yet.

photo: AP/Reed Saxon

Can't Argue With This

Thanks to BJ Killeen for sending this in....

Good Job, Dodger Fans!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Post-Game 39 Thread: Greinke a Diamond in the Rough


Zack Greinke helped ring in his first game back from the DL with an impressive 5 1/3 innings, earning the win and helping the Dodgers to take the series victory 2-1. While not flawless (5 runs, 1 ER, 1 HR), Greinke contributed to every facet of the win, knocking a single and an RBI early on that no doubt had a lots of butts puckered in the Dodgers front office.

Matt Kemp stretched his hitting streak to 14 games, and the Noffense was able to scrape together enough runs to come away with the win. Interestingly, Kenley Jansen was brought in to pitch the 8th inning and League the 9th, while last night Mattingly went to Jansen in the 9th.

Overall a very engaging series with the Nationals to bring us to 5.5 games back in the division and 5 games under .500.

Game 39 Thread: May 15 vs. Nationals, 7p

Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.59) vs. Ross Detweiler (2-3, 2.53)

Zack is back from his attack! It's only been a month since his collarbone went kapowski! That's nuts! Of course, he's limited to pretty much being a pitching machine, but I'd trust that pitching machine more than Josh Beckett at this point. (Beckett, btw, heads to the DL with general suckiness a strained groin to make room for Greinke.)

Can Zack go long, or will he need to be saved by the Beli? Maybe Matt Kemp, who has seen his powers screech to halt, will finally break out the long ball?

I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so scared!

Dodgers tickets

Dodgers to Sign Jonathan Sanchez

Ned hard at work.


For the record, me, two weeks ago: