Sunday, June 30, 2013

Post-Game 81 Thread: Puig Stays Hot; Dominguez a Scorcher

Stephen Fife: Hot. After throwing 7 shutout innings, he gets the win to move to 3-2 and stake a claim to be the legit #4 or #5 starter we need.

Puig: En fuego. Goes 4-5, a HR short of hitting for the cycle. Finishes June (minus the first two days of the month) .436/.467/.713. Had 44 hits in his first calendar month, second in MLB history behind some dude named Joe DiMaggio (48). Beats Steve Sax's rookie record for hits in debut month.

Jose Dominguez: Bringing the heat. In his MLB debut, threw 1-2-3 inning in relief. Dominguez threw 10 fastballs in his first MLB inning: 2 at 101 MPH, 1 at 100 MPH, 6 at 99 MPH, 1 at 97 MPH (thanks to Bill Shaikin for this info).

Dodger fans: Smokin'. With 42,405 today we pass the 2 million mark in attendance, first in MLB.

Way to finish June strong, lads. Last week we were 9.5 games out of first. After today's win, we're 4 games out. One game at a time...

Game 81 Thread: June 30 vs. Phillies, 1p

Stephen Fife (2-2, 3.41 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (7-4, 3.46)

One is reminded of Buster Poindexter today: hot hot hot. The day game today should be miserably hot with the temperatures expected to reach well over a hundred. Feels like it's 145 already. And Hanley Ramirez; since coming back from the DL, he's hot hot hot, including dropping a 3-run bomb last night estimated at 441 feet and seeming to get a hit every time he's up.

You know who else is hot hot hot? The new pre-game ceremonies co-host at Dodger Stadium.

So grab a few cold ones, find some shade, tune in with Vin, and settle in for today's game that could mean a series win before heading off to take on the Rockies.

Unnamed onfield co-host photo courtesy SoSG Orel

At-Game Recap: Walking Off Over the Phillies, June 29

Thanks to the generosity of Sax (tickets) and Dusty (Stone IPA), last night at the park was a win to remember.

Get your kicks....

First pitch.

Puig singles.

Hanley with the three-run bomb off Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee!


"Hey, do these things come off?"

Brute 66 on deck.

A.J. stabs 'em in the heart.

Left: hopes dashed. Right: Hanley smash!

Shredder Ethier!

"Thanks for saving my ass!"

"Mine too!"

"Made up for that bad catch, didn't I?"

"All in a day's work."

"Seriously, guys, do these things come off?"

Dodgers Fantasy Baseball Midseason Update

Halfway through the season Eric Karabell of ESPN has some thoughts about whom to buy and sell, and how he speculates Carl Crawford will be moved (link insider only):

Buy low: Matt Kemp and Zack Greinke are the obvious choices, but I must admit, I don't expect big things. Keep owning them, of course, but I wouldn't trade a top-20 hitter or pitcher for either one. See if you can still get Hanley Ramirez from someone waiting for his next DL stint.

Sell high: Well, unless you think this new awesome Cuban outfielder is going to hit .400 all season, see what Yasiel Puig is worth on the open market. I will admit his minor league days are obviously over. Try to move Carl Crawford; I bet the Dodgers will try to.

Stat to watch: The walk rate for Puig is worth a look, and check the strikeout rate for lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. It went way down in May after a stellar April, and that doesn't bode well for the second half.

I was wrong: To think anything Dee Gordon was doing at Triple-A would translate to the bigs. Things could change, of course, but I'm skeptical now. And while there was never a debate Kenley Jansen was better than Brandon League, the latter's performance was really disappointing. What, Kevin Gregg can thrive and League can't?

I was right: To go nowhere near Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett. Should have said no to Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano as well.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Post-Game 80 Thread: HANLEY SMASH!



Hanley Ramirez is a destroyer of baseballs. In the first inning, he hit an absolute BOMB of a three-run home run that landed on the Dodgers Live anchor desk in center field.

Unfortunately, that was it for the Dodgers offense for the next eight innings, as they couldn't string anything together (including blowing a bases-loaded, no-outs situation) to support Hyun-Jin Ryu. Thankfully, Ryu was more than solid, only surrendering two home runs to Chase Utley over his seven innings of work. Paco, Belli, and J.P. Howell combined for a scoreless eighth.

Then, in the top of the ninth, some stuff happened, but it's all forgotten, because...

In the bottom of the ninth, Hanley got his third hit of the night, a supersonic jet single. Kemp struck out looking in a terrible at bat. Ethier walked. Finally, A.J. Ellis, who GIDP'd in that aforementioned bases-loaded situation, stroked a walk-off single to right to score Hanley. (See Hanley's victory roar above.)

Dodgers move to five back in the division no one wants to win, and have a chance to take the series from the Phils tomorrow.


Game 80 Thread: June 29 vs. Phillies, 7p

About Last Night Edition

Cliff Lee (9-2, 2.51 ERA) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3, 2.85)

Well, that happened. The Phillies offense ripped through a succession of Dodger pitchers like Spanky through a cooler of Steel Reserve tall boys, leaving us all hung over and asking what happened last night. But because today is another day, like an embarrassing one-night stand we take the walk of shame down to Chavez Ravine, try to clear the cobwebs, and get one back.

Dodgers have two choices: come out strong like last night never happened, or go for the hair of the dog that bit them. Cliff Lee is 7-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his last 10 starts. Ryu is winless in four starts this month. Strong chance this team hits the Bloody Marys early, starts checking Facebook to make sure no embarrassing photos from the night before were posted, and tries to figure out which bar they left their Visa card.

How can one game removed from being on a six-game win streak feel so bad? On the bright side, there's always Skip Schumaker, who was the only Dodger pitcher last night not to give up a run. Read that last sentence a few times to yourself and let it soak in.

Dodgers tickets

photo: Jonathan Hsieh

Scoreboard Watching: June 29, 2013

Braves' scoreboard at Turner Field

Now that the NL West is a little bit of a race again, let's lay out what we've got this afternoon, preceding our game against the Phillies tonight:

  • Diamondbacks at Braves, 1p: Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.21) vs. Tim Hudson (4-7, 4.10).
  • Giants at Rockies, 1p: Matt Cain (5-4, 4.54) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (8-4, 3.19).
  • Padres at Marlins, 4p: Eric Stults (6-5, 3.20) vs. Jacob Turner (1-0. 1.97).

NL West Standings as of this morning:

  • Arizona
  • San Diego, 2.5 GB
  • Colorado, 3.0 GB
  • San Francisco, 4.0 GB
  • Los Angeles, 6.0 GB

Andre Ethier, On The Clock

Despite some pretty decent play in left field the past couple of games, plus a slight improvement in his batting average (at .256) and his OPS (now back over .800), Andre Ethier is still speculated to be the one without a chair when the music stops, which will occur when Carl Crawford returns from injury (any day now) (link insider only):

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford is nearing a rehab assignment, reports, with the speedster testing his hamstring by running curves at the club's spring training facility in Arizona. Once he's ready for activation, the Dodgers will have some choices to make. Andre Ethier is now the left fielder with rookie Yasiel Puig claiming right field. Matt Kemp is back from the disabled list and handling center, as usual. Crawford is a left fielder by trade and figures to reclaim his job once he's healthy. That could leave Ethier as the odd-man out.

Of course, skipper Don Mattingly could work with four outfielders, giving them rest and using them off the bench on their off days. Ethier, a lefty hitter, is batting just .256/.334/.380 for the season and has been dominated by left-handed starters. Crawford is also a left-handed hitter, however, so there's no chance to put together a traditional platoon scenario.

Since it seems insane to think the club will take Puig out of the lineup for more than the occasional day to rest and Kemp is the lone true option in center -- other than Puig -- there really don't appear to be too many options for the team. Ethier and Crawford either share left field, or the one that is hitting plays and the other is used as a reserve.

It's also conceivable that Ethier is shopped around the league, but his contract and lack of performance make that a tough task for GM Ned Colletti. Ethier is owed $70 million guaranteed after the 2013 season.

photo: Ray Stubblebine, Reuters

Former Dodger Justin Miller, Dead at 35

Former Dodgers pitcher Justin Miller was found dead in Florida:

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Justin Miller, a pitcher for four teams during a major league career that spanned seven seasons, has been found dead. He was 35.

Miller's death was confirmed Friday by his agent, Matt Sosnick. Miller's body was found Wednesday night, but the cause of death hadn't been released by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Miller pitched for the Blue Jays, Marlins, Giants and Dodgers from 2002 to 2010. He had a career record of 24-14 in 216 games.

Miller appeared in 19 games for the Dodgers in 2010, with a 0-0 record and 24 IP.

At-Game Photos: Beating The Phillies (June 27, 2013)

Photos and commentary by Scott Killeen. Thanks as always, Scott!

"Same level as Vin."

"Puig thanked Big Mac after the game, obviously for teaching him how to hit a down and out slider."

One Year Ago Today: Keith Law Pans The Puig Signing

Flashback! Remember Keith Law, who said this about the Dodgers' seven-year, $42M signing of Yasiel Puig:

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

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

Well, at least he was right about Ethier; I'll give him that.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Post-Game 79 Thread: Avalanche


The Dodgers had five hits in tonight's game, including a sweet PH RBI double by Scott Van Slyke, which scored Yasiel Puig from first.

The Phillies scored a wee bit more runs than the Dodgers.

So, the win streak is over at six games. Tomorrow is another day.

Game 79 Thread: June 28 vs. Phillies, 7p

Lannan / Cap

Chris Capuano (2-4, 4.09) vs. John Lannan (0-2, 5.84).

Imagine we'd win seven
It's easy if you try
Full week with no losses
Largely due to this guy
Imagine ending this month...sitting in fourth place!
I, I, I

Imagine beating the Phillies
(which has been hard to do)
No Halladay to start games
We might even steal a few
Imagine all the Dodgers...finally scoring some runs

You may say I'm a dreamer
Or an optimistic Son
On this GT, please join us
And we'll watch Capuano win one

Dodgers tickets

Pacific Grim

Yasiel Puig bounces off the outfield wall in the seventh inning of last night's game. He stayed in the game.

May 13: Bryce Harper does the same. He's been on the disabled list since June 2.

Caption Contest!

GRIT! The Musical!

At-Game Recap: Pounded @ Petco (June 21, 2013)

June 21, SoSG Alex Cora and I went down to San Diego's Petco Park to witness the pre-winning-streak Dodgers roll over and play dead against the Padres. It was a horrible game to watch first-hand, what with Elian Herrera's misadventures in left field, complemented by the Dodgers getting the leadoff runner on almost every inning but only plating two runs, not to mention seeing Clayton Kershaw uncharacteristically struggle.

But the good part was that Petco Park is a pretty nice stadium, and there are always plenty of Dodger fans around with which to chat. I love the way the seats are gently angled towards home plate (we were up the third base line, sort of behind the visitors' dugout). I love the center field park and playground area. And I love that the Petco Park aisle attendants don't let people walk down the aisle during an at bat.

This wasn't my first visit to Petco Park, but there were new things that I hadn't tried, including clam chowder in a cup (from Anthony's, no less!), and a fried shrimp sandwich. Here are some shots from the fun day (despite the crappy outcome of the game):

The band behind the center-field batter's eye was playing Eagle Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight." Brandon League should have been paying attention.

Lots of Dodgers fans near our seats!

Uribe does the splits. Insert joke here.

Elian Herrera took time out to sign autographs, which was great. This probably came at the cost of fielding practice, however, which he ended up needing.

Hanley Ramirez came out to say hi, and plywood board man emerged from the depths.

Crowds are flocking.

Puig dwarfs Herrea during the national anthem.

Way up top, a Dodgers blanket!

Milton Bradley was in the crowd (I'm not entirely sure that was Bradley, however).

Red skies at night above center field.

A wine tasting spot on the park premises! Great idea!

League Relegated To Less Stressful Situations

The Dodgers said yesterday that, coming off of his last disastrous appearance (and perhaps Don Mattingly's epiphany on bullpen selections), Brandon League will only be used in low-leverage, low-stress situations:

"We're going to try to get him back and start piecing him back together," Mattingly said Wednesday. "We're going to put him in some situations that are a little less stressful. He was our closer at the beginning of the year. We know he's got the stuff."

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Chuck Crim watched video with League on Wednesday afternoon, trying to diagnose the source of the right-hander's troubles.

"Mechanically, they're showing him some things that he was able to do last year that is not the same this year," Mattingly said. "Hopefully, he can put some positive outings together and get some confidence back."

"Piece him back together?" Well, after suffering through League's 30 appearances and NL-leading 4 blown saves (to be fair, he shares that blown save lead with Ronald Belisario, not to mention Jeremy Affeldt of the Giants as well as two Diamondback pitchers), it's clear that League doesn't have the right stuff. League's K/9 ratio of 4.1 is worse than any other year save his rookie year (and less than half of his ratio last year, when he snagged the 3-year, $22.5M deal from Ned Colletti).

I'm not hopeful League can get his head screwed on straight given low-stress performances; maybe a stint in the minors makes more sense? In any event, however, I'm glad Mattingly, who in May said he was sticking behind League, only to change his mind and say League is out as closer, only to bring him back Tuesday for another white-knuckle save situation. Donnie may change his mind again tomorrow, but at least for now, we're on the right path.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Post-Game 78 Thread: Pettibone, Remixed


Early on, it certainly looked like Phillies starter Jonathan "Shep" Pettibone was going to be Behind the Wheel. Pettibone, notorious for a shaky first 25 pitches, allowed the first five Dodgers in the bottom of the first inning to reach base: Skip Schumaker walk; Yasiel Puig ground force out; Adrian Gonzalez single to right (Puig takes third); Matt Kemp RBI double; Andre Ethier two-RBI double. Dodgers 3, Phillies 0.

But the Phillies are scrappy, and this game wasn't going to be easy for Dodger starter Zack Greinke; it was in fact a Hard Day. Greinke yielded a solo shot to Domonic Brown in the top of the second, then let the Phillies come back and tie it in the fifth. Greinke then yielded another solo HR to Chase Utley in the seventh inning, Greinke's last (7.0 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 1 BB and 5 Ks). Phillies 4, Dodgers 3.

But for Dodgers fans with True Faith, the new-look gritty Dodger team wasn't going to go down quietly. Puig had a clutch two-out, bases-loaded single to left in the bottom of the seventh, scoring AJ Ellis and Uribe. And then in the eighth, Kemp added an insurance run by singling to left, stealing second and third during an AJ Ellis AB; Ellis sacrificed Kemp home. Dodgers 6, Phillies 4.

Kenley Jansen allowed a two-out single to Ben Revere, then fought Utley through a long AB for the final out and the save. Dodgers' streak extends to six in a row, and we remain six back of Arizona (who also won tonight). Keep on dancing, remix fans!

Game 78 Thread: June 27 vs. Phillies, 7p

Zack Greinke (4-2, 3.79) vs. Herman Q. Pettibone IV, Esq. (3-3, 4.14).

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am Herman Q. Pettibone IV of Pettibone Estates. It comes to my attention that my great-grandnephew, one Jonathan H. Pettibone, will be pitching the base ball today on behalf of the city of Philadelphia. Of course, in my day the association was known as the Philadelphia Athletics; a bevy of scoundrels, they.

"And if you thought 'Phillies' was redundant and somewhat vulgar, look at the opposing association: the 'Dodgers,' apparently named after the riff-raff which used to slink and skulk out of the way of Brooklyn's trolleys. How, if you'll pardon the play on words, pedestrian.

"Well, here's wishing for a gentlemanly contest between both base ball associations. May the snootiest team prevail!"

First Look(?): Hideo Nomo No-Hitter Bobblehead

From @Dodgers:
First peek at the Hideo Nomo No-Hitter Bobblehead (August 10). Full look is on one of our social media channels

I haven't found the full pic yet. I'll update the post when I do.

The blocked-out face is TOTALLY a tribute to the Sons, right? Right?

No ego here.

UPDATE: Ah, it's on Vine*.

UPDATE 2: A better look. (h/t Ernest Reyes)

*Link isn't to Vine because Vine is weird about linking/embedding. Whatever.

Second image via

Dodgers Going Fishing For Nolasco?

Maybe that four-outfielders issue won't last much longer, not if rumors are true that the Dodgers may be eying the Marlins' pitcher Ricky Nolasco for a trade:

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are deep into trade talks with the Miami Marlins about pitcher Ricky Nolasco, a source confirmed Wednesday.

Nolasco, 30, is 4-7 with a 3.68 ERA for the 27-50 Marlins. The Southern California native is set to become a free agent after the season. The Marlins reportedly are looking to deal him well before the July 31 trade deadline.

"There have been interesting discussions. Hard to know if anything's close right now," the source said.

A move for Nolasco would not mean the Dodgers are fixated on adding players that could help them only this season.

The Dodgers are, in fact, approaching the trade deadline with a two-pronged approach, the source said. They are looking to add -- preferably, one starting pitcher and one reliever -- before July 31, but they have also talked about dealing a veteran to add prospects that could help them beyond 2013. [...]

Outfielder Andre Ethier is the veteran Dodger most frequently mentioned in trade rumors. The Dodgers are willing to carry Ethier as a fourth outfielder for the remainder of the season as insurance for Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp, who have spent most of the past two seasons on the disabled list.

Beyond that, trading him could become a major priority.

But ESPN's Jim Bowden thinks the Dodgers could get Nolasco without trading away Ethier, just by once again raiding the farm system (link insider only):

With Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun Jin-Ryu, the Dodgers may have the best top three in the majors. If they are able to trade for Nolasco, with the run support this lineup can give him, it could end up being an historic last-to-first story at Chavez Ravine this year.

The Dodgers have had 15 key players on the disabled list this year. With most of them finally healthy, we’re starting to see the team we expected out of spring training. With Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez hitting their strides, this is potentially the best lineup in the division. If the Dodgers figure out the back of the rotation, bullpen and third base, they could be primed for a great second-half story.

The Dodgers have enough pitching depth in their system to deal right-handers Ross Stripling and Chris Withrow, two young pitchers who should develop into contributing major league arms for the Marlins.

Stripling has a 92-94 mph fastball with some sink, but his best pitch is a 12-to-6 curve. He's striking out more than a man per inning at Double-A. Withrow, 24, was a first-rounder in 2007 who never lived up to his potential, but he could still end up as a decent back-end starter or quality reliever.

Trade proposal: Nolasco for Stripling and Withrow

Somehow, I smell yet another three-year deal for at least $21M in the works from Ned Colletti. We have a tendency to sign older players at their peaks, just like Nolasco, who is having his second-best season ever so far (from an ERA perspective), in his eighth year of major league service. I'm guessing we're chasing him for a big contract. Because those have worked out so well.

photo: Mark Serota, Getty Images