Thursday, July 31, 2014

Post-Game 109 Thread: Six (Million) Dollar Win


After one eats a Carl's Jr. "$6.00 Burger," the bathroom may need to be swept like the Dodgers just swept the Barves, which they did for the first time at Chavez Ravine since 1990 on their way to winning their sixth game in a row. Clayton Kershaw had a gutty complete game performance (his second straight), scattering nine hits and only allowing one run, while getting into some pockets of trouble along the way (Braves went 1-for-4 with RISP). Kid K only allowed a cheapie run in the ninth inning (a call so close at first that it led to an official review that elongated the game by about five minutes, before he got Evan Gattis to hit into a force at second for the final out). He moves to 13-2 on the season with a Major League-leading 1.71 ERA.

A-Gon and Puig went 2-3 each to provide the needed offense (Puig hit his 13th home run); it wasn't the offensive burst we've seen recently from the whole lineup, but as a wise man once said, we'll take it.

A lot of trades went down today, and the Dodgers were not a part of any of them. SoSG editorial board is okay with that, as no one thinks we should over pay for players, especially if they're just rentals. The same way SoSG editorial board would never over pay for a burger that ended up being just a rental, so to speak.

[Tag team on the PGT with SoSG Sax]

Game 109 Thread: July 31 vs. Braves, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (12-2, 1.78) vs, Julio Teheran (10-6, 2.71).

Knowing that our meme is driving the Dodgers' longest win streak this year, we Sons are gonna keep flippin' burger references here at the mother site.

Enter: The Clayton Burger.

The Clayton Burger comes from Clayton, Washington. And according to one blogger's recap of the contents, it's pretty easy to see that the Clayton Burger's list of ingredients looks an awful lot like our 2014 Dodgers roster:

  • 2 meat
  • 2 bacon strips
  • 1 hot dog (yup on the burger)
  • 1 cheese
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • relish
  • onion pickle *
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • Sesame seed bun

I will leave it to you to determine which player is which (but Dee Gordon is one of the bacon strips, just to get you started).

If you continue with said blogpost, you get a couple of pictures of the Clayton Burger, some shots of a scary bathroom, and some news on the local sex offenders. More appetizing, however, will be the game served up by our own Clayton (Kershaw) this evening, as he goes for the sweep of the Braves, as well as the Dodgers' sixth straight victory, right on the heels of an exuberant extra-inning victory.

Can we make like the 2013 NLDS, and dispatch the Braves from Chavez Ravine with a loss? After Clayton finishes grilling the Braves, let's see if they are indeed well done.

Sax's note: it is unclear whether this refers to an "onion pickle", or if these are indeed two separate items. Also, credit to SoSG Dusty Baker for "researching" tonight's GT theme.

Colletti Takes Two Slots of Top 10 "Worst MLB Contracts"

To be fair, the Rangers (Prince Fielder #1, and Shin-Soo Choo #5) and the Yankees (Alex Rodriguez #8, and CC Sabathia #9) also have two slots on the list. But the Dodgers are called out on two of Ned Colletti's deals: Matt Kemp (#7) and Carl Crawford (#10) (link insider only):

7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers (minus-$63 million)

We talked a lot about Kemp last week, so there's no need to rehash the tale of Kemp's decline from superstar center fielder to Josh Willingham. Kemp can still contribute to a major league team, but if the Dodgers are expecting anything in return, they will have to eat a serious chunk of his remaining deal. 10. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers (minus-$57 million)

There might be a team willing to pay $60 million or so for an injury-prone fourth outfielder. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, that team is most likely the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although there's at least a chance that another team is highly optimistic on Matt Kemp's remaining upside and gives him an aggressive valuation, it's very unlikely that anyone would do the same for Crawford.

Good times.

Why Even Talking About Trading Matt Kemp Is Ridiculous

Michael Baumann tried to write a long-form piece over at Grantland that came out as medium form. Still, in talking about the trade deadline, how perverse the MLB salary dump discussions are:

Money is a huge consideration in sports, and since it would be naive to ignore its impact on team-building and player movement, I don’t begrudge fans for being aware of its impact on the quality of their team. However you came to love your chosen team, you want it to do well, and because money buys players and players produce wins, you want your team to spend its resources wisely.

The problem is, that’s how Matt Kemp, an OK player who isn’t as good as he was three years ago, gets talked about in trade gossip like he’s an outstanding debt. That’s how Philadelphians have turned on Ryan Howard, a lifelong Phillie, model citizen, and cornerstone of the best era in franchise history, and how they’ve begun treating anyone who suggests that Howard’s life might be frustrating right now the way the people of Salem treated John Proctor. That’s how Twins fans think the inexplicable things they think about Joe Mauer. Money is the resource that determines everything else, and that resource is finite, and fans are invested in their team winning. So, they don’t want an inordinate amount of that resource tied up in someone like Kemp, who’s not producing as much as his salary would suggest, or in someone like Howard, who isn’t producing anything at all.

That’s the story and that’s largely the national mind-set, because it’s easy to view players as the problematic end of baseball’s money issue, since they play a child’s sport for more coin than most of us could credibly imagine making. It’s also a lie, or at the very least a delusion that owners and their allies are in no hurry to disabuse us of.

I still don't like sentences that end in prepositions. But jettisoning Matt Kemp at the deadline would be a greater transgression.

'I Pray That I'll Be Allowed to Come Back'

How many press conferences end with applause? Check out the whole thing here.

Andre Ethier, Team Player

It's a minor point.

But when I looked at the wrap of the game last night, it was pretty cool to see Andre Ethier--who had one plate appearance in three games in San Francisco, and didn't play a lick last night--front and center congratulating Matt Kemp on his game-winning hit.

Ethier PH last night, his first appearance against the Braves in this series, and was 0-for-1 with 3 LOB.

He can't be happy with the outcome or the lack of ABs.

This is a two-time All-Star relegated to the bench in a crowded outfield not of his own making. Andre Ethier is a largely quiet and private guy (save the whole foodie blog thing) who has kept a relatively low profile, despite having a penchant for walk-off hits himself. He had to be going through self-esteem and doubt issues as he has ridden the pine late this month.

And yet, there's Andre, up and ready to congratulate his teammate...and competition for playing time. And it appears to be sincere.

Pretty good work, Ethier. Thanks for being a team player.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Post-Game 108 Thread: Bison Burgers, WIth All The Extras


My god, we should be talking about trading Matt Kemp every frickin' day. With Kemp's name swirling around (hopefully unfounded) rumors, the Bison went out and singlehandedly lifted the Dodgers to a second victory over the Braves, 3-2.

Kemp singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning, when Justin Turner led off the inning with a single to center, and then advanced on a wild pitch by David Hale. Kemp, who had already hit a solo HR in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1, and then scored a second run in the eighth off a Juan Uribe single, calmly stroked a 3-2 pitch into left field to drive home Turner and win the game.

Kemp now has three HR in the past two games (6-for-8 with 6 RBI), and looks completely dialed in (and possibly even, finally, healthy). Yippings from Kemp's agent notwithstanding, it is awesome to see Kemp energized, pumped up to support the team, yelling, screaming, jumping with clenched fists in euphoria--THIS is the Matt Kemp I love seeing.

Welcome back, Bison.

And don't be going anywhere.

Meanwhile, Zack Greinke had a quiet 13-K evening (8.0 IP) which was spoiled from a win by Kenley Jansen allowing a Justin Upton HR in the ninth (only Jansen's fourth blown save of the year), but hey--it happens. When you're rolling, extra-inning walkoff wins also happen. Especially with a stampeding Bison on one's side. Yippee ki yay!

Mo' Lester Talk

From Tuesday:'s Jayson Stark says Jon Lester joining the Dodgers is unlikely:

With every day, every Red Sox loss, every rumor, the odds increase that Jon Lester is going to be wearing a different uniform by this weekend. But which uniform? That's a question with more potential answers than you might think.

So after kicking around this topic with executives whose teams aren't involved in this particular derby, we'd include these clubs as potential candidates to match up with the Red Sox for Lester:

Los Angeles Dodgers:

They're in on everybody. And they'd clearly love to add a starting pitcher this dominating. But a Matt Kemp-for-Lester deal isn't going to happen. And if the Dodgers balked at trading elite prospects like Joc Pederson and Corey Seager for David Price (whom they'd control through next year and might be able to sign long-term), would it really make sense for them to pay that price tag for a rent-an-ace? "They've been so consistent about not trading those guys," said one exec, "it's hard for me to believe they'd do that for Lester."

This afternoon, it seems the Orioles and Red Sox were close to terms, but it fizzled out (link via

The Orioles and Red Sox, engaged in talks on Lester this afternoon, no longer appear to be a trade fit, according to people briefed on the discussions.

Though the teams were "definitely" talking, as one source put it, a deal was never close. The reason? The Orioles, who just received news that top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey will miss the rest of the year with an elbow injury, did not want to meet Boston's reasonable asking price by giving up additional top prospects for Lester.

It is unclear if talks could be revived before the Thursday 4pm deadline.

So we wait.

Game 108 Thread: July 30 vs. Braves, 7p

Zack Greinke (12-6, 2.74) vs. (7-8, 3.44).

Personally, I'm more of an In-N-Out fan. But if we can take our win streak to a season-high five, guys, then I'd be pretty satiated indeed (at least, for one night). Luckily for us, having survived a turn at Josh Beckett's start last night, we are bypassing the abyss that is Dan Haren to instead go right to Zack Greinke. Thank you, scheduling gods!

Factoids from the AP preview:

  • Los Angeles (60-47) captured Tuesday's series opener 8-4 over the Braves to become the first NL team to reach 60 wins. It did so two games faster than a season ago when at this point in the season it had won 26 of 32.
  • Yasiel Puig went 4 for 5 to improve his career numbers against Atlanta, including last season's NL division series, to 20 for 38 (.526) with at least a hit in all nine contests.
  • Matt Kemp went 3 for 4 with two home runs to make him 9 for 15 during the winning streak. The right fielder is batting .397 over his last 17 games to boost his season average to .282. He hasn't had it higher than that since finishing 2012 at .303.
  • Adrian Gonzalez also collected three hits and is batting .400 in 10 games since the All-Star break.

That first point is pretty awkwardly written. Don't me blame.

Alex Wood gave up 4 ER over 5 IP in his last outing, a loss to the Padres.

But enough about the game. The three-hour lead time between this post and tonight's first pitch should give us a chance to discuss and debate what toppings we would choose at Five Guys (my local one is near Beverly and La Brea, fwiw). I think I'll have lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, and a dash of A1 steak sauce. And a win tonight, please.

Barney Sings "I Can't Hit, .233; I'm Now In Your Family"

In using the word "fortified" like Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, the Dodgers claim they have "fortified" their infield with the acquisition of Cubs' infielder Darwin Barney:

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers acquired middle infielder Darwin Barney and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs on Monday for a player to be named or cash.

Barney provides additional infield depth, particularly at shortstop, where Miguel Rojas has been the backup and late-inning replacement for starter Hanley Ramirez.

Los Angeles' interest in Barney preceded the weekend meltdown by Erisbel Arruebarrena, the $25 million Cuban signing who precipitated a bench-clearing incident while on injury rehab with Triple-A Albuquerque. Arruebarrena, who has two cameo callups with the Dodgers this year, was optioned to Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday.

Yeah, the Arruebarrena incident wasn't good. But Darwin Barney, whose career OPS+ of 70 is worse than a guy in a big purple dinosaur costume? That's not much better.

Yet, even as of yesterday, the Dodgers were busy preparing for Barney's arrival. Better send him right to the batting cages, stat.

UPDATE 5:51p PT: The PTBNL is Jonathan Martinez, RHP Class-A:

According to, "The 20-year-old was enjoying a strong season at Class A in the Midwest League, having pitched to a 3.47 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 106 innings. He did not rank among the Dodgers’ top 30 prospects, per Baseball America."

Dodgers Might Get Aced Out By...Bucs?

Besides Primanti sandwiches, I didn't think Pittsburgh had much on us in Los Angeles. But according to Yahoo Sports, the Pirates might be quicker to the punch snagging Jon Lester before the trade deadline:

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a fast-emerging dark horse in the Jon Lester sweepstakes, joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in pursuit of the Boston ace as the Red Sox decide whether to trade him before Thursday's deadline, major league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Pittsburgh, two games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central and a half-game behind three teams competing for the two wild-card spots, boasts one of the best farm systems in the game and could use it to fortify its run at a second straight postseason spot. And one name at the center of the talks, according to sources, is switch-hitting prospect Josh Bell.

The Red Sox continue to ask for an exceedingly high return considering Lester will be a free agent this offseason, sources said, targeting multiple high-end prospects in exchange for what amounts to a rental. The price is prohibitive, particularly with other aces, such as Tampa Bay’s David Price and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, nominally available, not to mention the strong perception that Boston must deal Lester now because it has no intentions of re-signing him in the offseason.

Bell, 21, is the sort of prospect around whom a deal could be made. He hit .335/.384/.502 at Class-A Bradenton before a recent promotion to Double-A. The Pirates signed him for $5 million after selecting him in the second round of the 2011 draft.

The Dodgers’ potential centerpieces are considered even more higher end: pitcher Julio Urias, outfielder Joc Pederson or shortstop Corey Seager. While the Dodgers are not insistent on adding a pitcher to a rotation that already includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett and Dan Haren, the ability to use their vast financial resources and deep farm system to upgrade is indeed alluring, sources said.

Lester was scratched from today's start; according to MLB Trade Rumors, there are four other teams in the hunt.

If the cost of a Lester rental is one of those three prospects (and's Mark Saxon says Pederson is not in the mix), I hope we pass. (For what it's worth, the Phillies are asking for the same three prospects in any negotiations for Cole Hamels. Nervous time!

How the Dodgers Announced Vin Scully's Return in 2015

Post-Game 107 Thread: Matt Kemp Would Indeed Like Fries With That

Kemp is walking on air.


Matt Kemp is either not listening to the noise about trade talks. Or maybe he is? Either way, Kemp powered the Dodgers to a series-opening victory against the Braves, knocking a two-run HR in the second inning off of ex-Dodger Aaron Harang, and then another two-run HR in the seventh off of Anthony Varvaro, who took the loss. The latter broke open a back and forth game that was settled in a 4-4 tie; Carl Crawford (1-for-3 with 2 RBI and a run) started the scoring that inning by grounding to second, scoring Yasiel Puig, but then Kemp's HR to center scored Adrian Gonzalez and made the score 7-4.

The Dodgers tacked on another run in the eighth when Adrian Gonzalez (3-for-5 with 2 RBI and 2 runs) doubled in Dee Gordon from second.

The other offensive power in the Dodgers lineup was Yasiel Puig, who went 4-for-5 with 2 runs, but massively failed in the seventh inning by striking out only a home run away from the cycle. Clearly, Puig needs more practice, certainly if he wants to improve his team-leading batting average from .317. Said Harang, "I made some bad pitches over the middle of the plate that he could hit." Uh, yeah.

Josh Beckett was once again not great, lasting only 4.1 IP and giving up 9 H and 4 ER, with 4 BB and 2 Ks. But Jamey Wright, Brandon League (who got the win), J.P. Howell, and Kenley Jansen combined for a scoreless 4.2 innings to preserve the win. Dodgers move to three games up on the Giants, who lost again.

UPDATE: And holy smokes, how could I forget this? The Dodgers just won four games in a row for the first time all year! In honor of this feat, a picture of an In-N-Out 4x4:

Kemp photo: Jae C. Hong / AP

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Game 107 Thread: July 29 vs Barves, 7p

Kung Fu Panda

Josh Beckett (6-5, 2.52) vs. Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.31)

If there's anything that SoSG has done over the years, it's beat a dead horse using memes and superstition. You wouldn't have it any other way. Thus, we'll look to continue the burger-themed GT what brung us on our current successful run.

By way of getting shellacked by the Pie Rats yesterday, Gnats are 2 games back and looking like they're fading fast, having lost five games in a row, with little hope to ketchup. They mustard been crazy to think Dan Uggla was the person to solve their defensive problems.

The pitching from the front three Dodger starters has been nothing short of epic, but the Noffense is always a threat to rear its head, so this home stand will be an important test. We're counting on Big Mac to help the Dodger hitters with the second part of that.

Either way, landing in Dodger fans' Happy Meals tonight will be a classic give-away:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Possible Breakthrough in Dodger Cable Broadcast Mess

Look I'm not going to fake the funk and provide some sort of deep analysis based on what is just being reported, mainly because a) I'm lazy b) I've had a couple of margaritas c) I'm not steeped in cable economics. But this sounds positive and is hopefully something to get excited about. So I'm just going to quote Dodgers' Jon Weisman in full with all credit to him for breaking it down in the last hour.
Dodgers support binding arbitration to solve distribution of SportsNet LA
By Jon Weisman

On behalf of the Dodgers, team president and CEO Stan Kasten spoke tonight in favor of a proposal from a group of six California-based members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Brad Sherman, calling for binding arbitration between Time Warner Cable and potential carriers that would enable immediate distribution of 24-hour Dodger channel SportsNet LA to all available homes in Southern California.

Time Warner Cable also said it would submit to binding arbitration with potential distributors of SportsNet LA (including DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Dish Network and Verizon Fios), effectively taking the negotiations out of Time Warner Cable’s hands.

“This, if it were agreed upon, would end this blackout right away, today, and we would be on the air literally tomorrow night in the entire area, ” Kasten said at a Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission event at Dodger Stadium this evening. “I want to thank Congressman Sherman and his colleagues for their diligent work and their concern for Dodger fans everywhere. I think it’s a very useful and productive step that he made.”

“We’ve heard a lot of things on both sides of this equation,” Kasten added. “This is a way to cut through all that. We’ll let an arbitrator decide who’s right and who’s wrong, and we can move on. And we don’t need to wait for the outcome of the arbitration. Once both sides agree to submit, we can turn the games on right away and they can figure out the price later.”

Kasten’s words followed an affirmative response from Time Warner Cable earlier in the evening to the proposal from the Sherman group.

“We are willing to enter into binding arbitration with DirecTV, and we appreciate the Congressman’s concern for Dodger fans,” Time Warner Cable’s statement read. “We prefer to reach agreements through private business negotiations, but given the current circumstance, we are willing to agree to binding arbitration and to allow DirecTV customers to watch the Dodgers games while the arbitration is concluded.”

Earlier this evening, a letter sent to the chairman/CEOs of DirecTV and Time Warner Cable by U.S. representatives Sherman, Janice Hahn, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Alan Lowenthal, Grace Napolitano and Karen Bass was released, outlining the proposal. It followed a recent letter from eight members of Congress, led by Tony Cardenas, that asked the FCC to mediate the gap between TWC and potential distributors.

“While such mediation would be helpful, it would not be binding or certain to resolve the dispute,” Sherman’s group wrote. “Now, on behalf of Dodgers fans throughout Southern California, we urge that Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and all other TV providers enter into binding arbitration, so that a neutral third party can determine the right price and terms for the Dodgers network. This will be a fair and fast way to return programming to consumers.

“Additionally, as you enter into the arbitration process, fans should no longer be left in the dark. We are requesting that SportsNet LA be made available immediately to all fans, beginning with tomorrow night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The arbitration would determine the amount payable for games aired both before and after the arbitration is complete.”

MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, among the speakers at the LASEC event, said that he spoke about tonight’s news with MLB commissioner Bud Selig and said “we’re in complete agreement that this is a very positive development.”
Could be something, kids. Fingers crossed. Boobs exposed and burgers on the griddle.

Kudos to Broom-Wielding Fans at AT&T Park

SoSG Dusty and I agree: It takes a certain type of ballsy individual to bring a broom to an opposing team's ballpark, let alone the stadium of your biggest rivals. So we salute you, Mr. Blue-Broom-Carrying Dodger Fan in San Francisco. You represent where others fear to tread.

Outfield Might Prevent LA Price Shopping

Speculation still abounds that David Price is headed toward Los Angeles. And although Doug Wachter at thinks the Cardinals and Braves are probably bigger contending suitors, he did mention the Dodgers as a potential destination:

Price is the most prominent name rumored to be on the move, and with his track record the former Cy Young winner is likely to command a massive return if the Rays do decide to deal their ace. Price's strikeout rate this season is easily a career best, and he is also limiting the free pass more effectively than ever before. Price is inducing grounders at a lower rate than he has in the past, instead relying on his outfield to convert additional fly balls into outs. Everything about Price's stats suggests a career year, except for his results, which have been negatively impacted by Tampa's uncharacteristically poor defense. The Rays have totaled minus-26 runs saved, which would be the worst total for the franchise since they put up an MLB-worst minus-81 runs saved total in 2007. [...]

Los Angeles Dodgers: The final NL contender for Price's services is the financial juggernaut in Southern California, who may be looking to turn Zack Greinke into the most overqualified third starter in the history of our national pastime. While the Dodgers certainly have the money and the blue-chip prospects to get a deal done, Price's declining ground-ball rate could be a concern. While the Dodgers may have four outfielders on big contracts, none of those four has shown an ability to play center field to a level acceptable for one of the top teams in the league. Matt Kemp, in particular, has been the worst defender in baseball over the past five seasons, costing the Dodgers an MLB-worst 84 runs as compared to average defense while serving as their regular center fielder.

Wow, so our outfield defensive woes actually might supersede picking up a key starter? Interesting shift of perspective.

Scoreboard Watching: July 28, 2014

Man mistaken for Jason Lane

Two baseball games of interest today:

San Diego @ Atlanta: Jason Lane (0-0, 0.00) vs. Ervin Santana (9-6, 3.87). Jason Lane, a former outfielder who last played in 2007, is taking the mound due to an injury to Ian Kennedy. He will be the oldest pitcher in seven years to make his first major league start, at 37 years old and 218 days. This game also has relevance because if it can extend to a ton of extra innings, Atlanta would have a pretty late plane flight into Los Angeles; the Braves start a three-game series with us on Tuesday. First pitch, 9.10a.

Pittsburgh @ San Francisco: Vance Worley (3-1, 3.10) vs. Ashley Bumgarner (12-7, 3.19). Pirates look for their seventh win in 10 games since the All-Star break; San Francisco has lost 19 of 25 at home, where Bumgarner is 4-5 with a 5.22 ERA (10 starts). The Giants are 1.5 games behind the Dodgers following a demoralizing, nationally-televised sweep at home. Honestly, I don't know how one comes back from that. First pitch, 7p.

Or, if you don't want to watch baseball, there's LA Galaxy @ Seattle Sounders, 7p. The two most successful MLS clubs meet for the first time this season; LA leads the all-time series 8-6-4, but are sixth in this year's standings with 27 points (Seattle leads the West, with 38 points).

On Keeping Kemp

Lots of rumors swirling about Matt Kemp being traded, potentially to the Red Sox. However, Mark Saxon tries to quell the noise:

The only impetus for trading Matt Kemp at the moment is to free up whatever money the Dodgers could and to alleviate whatever rift exists between him and the coaching staff. The outfield situation is as good as it has been all season. Kemp has looked comfortable playing right field, his original position, and he has been productive at the plate. In his past 16 games, he is batting .370. He's now batting .277 on the season with an above-average .775 OPS.

I for one am in favor of keeping Kemp this year.

Vin Scully, on Paying the Price

We don't get TWC at SoSG Worldwide Headquarters, so we apologize for the lack of new Vin transcriptions this season. But we've dipped into the archives (OK, last year's games) to bring you some fresh transcriptions we haven't run yet.

Vin Scully, from the sixth inning of the Mets-Dodgers game on August 13, 2013:

We've told it before, but it still bears repetition as to how it used to be fifty years ago.

Always brought to mind the New York Giants and Bill Voiselle. And Mel Ott was so tired of seeing oh-and-two hits and oh-and-two home runs, he was going to fine any pitcher five hundred dollars if he gave up a base hit or a home run oh and two.

And five hundred bucks in the forties was a lot of money. And Bill Voiselle gave up a home run to Vernal "Nippy" Jones on an oh-and-two pitch.

Jones running around the bases and all Voiselle could think of, That cost me five hundred dollars.

Took his anger out by picking up the rosin bag and throwing it at Jones as he rounded second base.

But I mean it was serious stuff, back then.

It's like the old story about striking out. In the old days, the hitters felt almost disgraced if they struck out. Today, oh!

Do you know during his fifty-six-game hitting streak, Joe DiMaggio — how many times do you think he struck out in fifty-six games?

Well, he struck out five times. Five times. That's nothing in this day and age.

Two and two the count to Marlon Byrd....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Speaking Of Burgers: Dodgers Apparently "Have Chips" To Deal

See, we've been talking about burgers a lot lately, right? And places like the UK and Australia, for example, call french fries "chips". Get it?

Anyway, the Dodgers say that we're open to dealing at the trade deadline, but we "won't be forced":

The priority area of concern for general manager Ned Colletti isn't trading an outfielder but acquiring a starter and reliever, and no deal is imminent. Of course, no deal was imminent three days before the July 31 Deadline of 2008. So if Manny Ramirez can fall into your lap and turn around a season, anything is possible.

But supply and demand indicates that the Dodgers might do nothing more in the next few days than add to their bench depth. Infielder Darwin Barney, for instance, is available.

"We may not do anything," Colletti said on Saturday. "I think we have the players here that can win."

That would explain why manager Don Mattingly, earlier in the week, seemed to lower the bar on expectations when asked about the need for an acquisition.

"For me, I'll take my club right now," Mattingly said. "Sometimes you make a move to show you're trying to win. We know we're trying to win. I can't sit here and say I have to have anything."

Mattingly gets briefed on the trade talks that, for now, have the Dodgers convinced there are too many teams looking for pitching and too few teams selling it. And three confirmed sellers are division neighbors San Diego, Colorado and Arizona. There's no better way for an executive to get dismissed than to help the Dodgers beat them, so any deal with those clubs would extract a heavy price.

The price the Dodgers still aren't willing to pay is any of their top three prospects -- Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias. To land a difference-maker like David Price, Jon Lester or Cole Hamels, it would take two of them. That's even less likely, considering ownership's commitment to restoring in-house development.

"Based on what I know of who can be acquired, I don't see us doing anything that's going to tear apart our farm system," Colletti said.

That's right, we won't be forced by another club to make a stupid trade-deadlilne move. No sir, Ned Colletti can make unimpactful trade deadline deals for starters like Octavio Dotel all by himself.

Post-Game 106 Thread: Burger Time!


You would always hate to drop the last game of a three-game series, when said last game is on national television (versus the first two games, in which the Dodgers outscored the Giants by 12 runs to regain possession of first place in the NL West). With ESPN pundits like Buster Olney pontificating from the sidelines, this game held relevance even though the Dodgers had already secured the series. In fact, the Giants (and ESPN) would have liked nothing more than the narrative of newly acquired Jake Peavy, serving as the white knight to save the orange and black.

Alas, the power of Dodger burgers was just too much for the Giants to resist. The Dodgers went in-n-out of the Bay Area storming away, sweeping the Giants out of first place, and, more importantly, showing some offensive power that demonstrated well-sequenced barrages of hits in each of the three games.

Today's breakthrough game in the fifth inning, when (after trading runs with the Giants for three frames), the Dodgers broke the game open on the back of Oyster Pubes' defensive missteps. First, Dee Gordon Kd for what should have been the second out, but reached first safely on the wild pitch. Yasiel Puig then walked and both runners advanced on another Peavy WP. Adrian Gonzalez than fanned for the second out, but the ball squirted free from Pubes yet again, and instead of checking Gordon back at third, Pubes threw to first, allowing the fleet-footed Gordon to charge home ahead of a Peavy tag for the tying run.

With Peavy rattled and Pubes in another world, Hanley Ramirez singled to center to score Puig; Carl Crawford tripled to right to score Ramirez from first; and Matt Kemp had a shot at prolonging the barrage but flied out to right (Kemp went 2-for-3 tonight, with two singles and a walk; and aside from that AB, looked pretty good from the plate tonight). A 2-1 Giants lead turned into a 4-2 Dodgers lead, and though Oyster Pubes hit a solo HR in the bottom of that frame, that concluded the game's scoring.

Hyun-Jin Ryu wasn't spectacular tonight, but he was fine, going 6.0 IP with 6 H and 3 ER (7 Ks and 1 BB). J.P. Howell gave up a leadoff single but escaped the inning with only five total pitches: Brian Wilson walked one but had a scoreless eighth with one K; and Kenley Jansen dutifully struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the victory. Dodgers are now 1.5 games up (having entered the weekend 1.5 games back) and are tied with the Brewers for the second-best record in baseball (behind Washington).

Jake Peavy drops to 1-10 on the year, and is 0-1 as a Giant. Dan Uggla, the Giants' other recent pickup, went 0-for-3 with 2 Ks and is batting .152 on the year. Uggla, a three-time All-Star, was batting .162 with a miniscule OPS+ of 33. He is now 0-for-8 as a Giant. And he does not get fries with that order.

Game 106 Thread: July 27 @ Giants, 5p

Our In-N-Out superstition continues — we're going with the 100x100 for the series sweep and first place today.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.39) vs. Jake Peavy (1-9, 4.72).

Jake Peavy is 14-2 lifetime against the Dodgers, BUT he's only faced them three times in the past six years, AND his record in those three games is 1-2 (he lost twice in 2009, his last year with the Padres; the one win came last year with the Red Sox). As you can see from his record this year, at age 33 he's losing the form that made him a Cy Young winner in 2007.

BUT he's an ex-Padres wearing a Giants uniform starting a game that will decide which team will keep/take first place in the NL West, so...there's no telling.

All Puig has done in his two games in center field is go 5 for 10 with two RBI and three runs, so it's safe to say he'll be starting there again today. "I like 5 runs and 10 hits. Whatever lineup they can throw out there to do that is great," Kershaw said after last night's win, so don't look for Donnie to try anything radical with the lineup.

Tonight's game is on ESPN, so the city of Los Angeles can finally join the rest of the nation in watching the Dodgers. Let's show them what a first-place team looks like.

photo from @whatupwilly!

Really, LA Times?

Why Do These Exist?


And purchase one here, if you dare.

Rox Misspell 15K Jerseys On Tulowitzki Jersey Night; Dinger Unscathed

If one fires Dinger (who is clearly behind this atrocity, with his jealousy of Troy Tulowitzki's star widely known), one can afford a proofreader.

The Colorado Rockies gave out 15,000 replica jerseys honoring All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Saturday night, but the back of them read "Tulowizki" instead -- minus the second "T."

The Rockies said they discovered the misspelling at some point, but instead of disappointing those looking forward to receiving the jersey, the team said in a statement that it decided to hand them out anyway.

"Is there something wrong with it?" fan Jordan Deuschleman asked, according to the Associated Press. "I didn't notice with the name being so long."

The Rockies plan to remake the jersey with the correct spelling later in the year, and fans can exchange Saturday night's for the new one at the stadium or at one of the team stores.

Fans who exchange the jersey also will get a free ticket to a future 2014 or '15 game.

"Many of the fans got here early. Took the shirt and left. They recognized it was a collector's item," usher Leon Thomas told the AP. "There were only so many handed out. They were gone fast."

What an insult. Tulo to even consider.

photo: AP / David Zalubowski

Saxon Waxes Well On Kershaw

It's gotta be tough to do a daily sportsbeat these days, but Mark Saxon turned in a nice piece yesterday, by positioning Kershaw's business-like two-hitter Saturday, to a lesson in team leadership:

But the Dodgers are a pitching-first team, and Dodgers pitching is a Kershaw-first phenomenon. He could pitch well in a phone booth, but put him on the mound at a cool, breezy bayside stadium with big outfield gaps, and the other team's hitters might as well close their eyes and swing as hard as they can. Maybe they'll get lucky. Nothing else seems to be working. Kershaw has a 0.69 ERA at AT&T Park.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has noticed other teams' approaches to Kershaw and, at times, Greinke: Swing early when they are trying to get ahead, avoid deep counts where their devastating off-speed comes into play, and perhaps score early in the game and hope your pitchers can do the rest.

"When you do that and you don't [score], you end up with a low pitch count, and you end up getting a full dose of our guys," Mattingly said. "I can't say it's a bad plan, but it's a dangerous one."

The Giants got a full dose of Kershaw on Saturday evening: nine scoreless innings in which they mustered three baserunners. It was absolute domination and you could argue in good faith that it was his fourth-best outing this season. There was that near-perfect no-hitter on June 18, perhaps the best-pitched game in history; the eight scoreless at Coors Field; the 11-strikeout game against San Diego.

This one, of course, carried the most import, slipping the Dodgers quietly back into first place in the NL West.

And all along, Kershaw has operated with a relentless edge that the Dodgers, when they're at their most coldly efficient, seem to emulate. Teams have been throwing inside to Ramirez relentlessly lately. In the game in which Ramirez was hit twice by pitches in St. Louis, Kershaw stuck a fastball under Matt Holliday's numbers. It wasn't personal, just business.

Somebody asked Kershaw how much "fun" he has been having during the run he is on. He leads the majors with a 1.76 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP and a .503 opponents OPS.

"It's fun to win. It's not fun to lose," he said. "It's pretty much a start-to-start thing for me. I'm happy right now and, if I lose the next one, I won't be. That's pretty much how it goes."

There may be a bit of a leadership void on this team that Kershaw has stepped into. Puig is in only his second full season and still has lapses in judgment. Ramirez has trouble staying healthy and can have a brooding presence in the clubhouse. Matt Kemp has taken his unhappiness with his position switch public through his agent, never a way to win points with teammates. Adrian Gonzalez is having a down year and Juan Uribe has never been an elite player.

But every fifth day, the Dodgers look like the team nobody wants to face and everyone should want to play for.

It's one of Saxon's better daily posts over at ESPN. Nice work, Mark! Now if we can just get you to stop ending your sentences with prepositions, you'd be a journalist to cheer for.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Post-Game 105 Thread: Dodgers Drink Giants' Milkshake


Did you know In-N-Out serves milkshakes? It's true; they're delicious. Clayton Kershaw was delicious tonight, pitching a complete-game two-hit shutout against the Giants. He used 113 pitches and struck out seven, and runs his all-important win-loss record to 12-2.

The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings but still managed to capitalize on the Giants' pitching. Hanley had a two-out RBI in the fourth, Uribe had an RBI single in the fifth, Crawford and Uribe had RBIs in the sixth, and AGon added a seventh-inning RBI. If only one more Dodger had knocked a run in, we could say Five Guys had RBIs.

Tonight's win gives the Dodgers their first series win against the Giants since 1963 this season and vaults the Boys in Blue into first place by half a game. It's Ryu vs. the newly-acquired Peavy tomorrow for the whole bag of fries!

Game 105 Thread: July 26 @ Giants, 6p

Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.92) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.99)

We've tried boobs. Might as well try burgers.

Dodgers will hope to double down on their emphatic win last night, and the odds are good for doing so with the #1 pitcher in baseball taking on a struggling Vogelsong. As SoSG Sax reported earlier today, it seems as though Puig is becoming more entrenched in center field, which may be part of the secret menu to help provide the stability that hasn't truly been there all season, really shake things up, in time for the stretch run. Only a half game separates these two teams, and this series remains critical, almost taking on a playoff atmosphere. Please lettuce take this one today!

Where the hell did Dan Uggla come from? I know, the Barves cut him, but I had pretty much thought his career was fried. Now he's an every day starter for a contending NL West team. To top it all off, we have to hear Vin tell us at least several more times that "Uggla" is Swedish for "owl."

Programming note: Don't forget the six o'clock hour start time, not the usual seven, for this one.

This Puig-In-Center-Field Thing May Have Legs

We saw Yasiel Puig start in center for the first time this year, and it looks like this move, unlike other Dodgers before Puig who have not fared well in center, might have some legs (get it?!):

After moving Matt Kemp out of the position in May because they were unsatisfied with his defense, and tiring of the lack of speed from the next two players they tried there, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke, the Dodgers have decided to make Yasiel Puig their center fielder.

Puig returned from a hand injury and started in center for Friday night's opener of a crucial three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. He had only four chances in center. Three of them were routine, but he ran down a Buster Posey warning-track drive to left-center in the ninth that might have eluded the Dodgers' other center-field candidates.

He also tied a franchise record with three triples and added a double and two RBIs as the Dodgers moved within a half-game of National League West-leading San Francisco by beating the Giants 8-1. The last player with three triples in a game was Denard Span for Minnesota in 2010.

"I just want to be on the field helping my team win," Puig said after the game. "Whatever position they ask me to play, I'm going to do my best. I do prefer center field a little bit, because I can run more."

Three days earlier, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he hadn't tried Puig in center yet because he plays "out of control most of the time" and "he scares the other outfielders."

Mattingly said he and the coaches sat down with Puig on Friday and stressed the importance of communicating with the other outfielders. Puig started six games in center last year but hadn't started there all season until Friday.

"We feel, with our combination of guys, this may be our best chance in center field," Mattingly said. "It could be a day, it could be a week, it could be forever -- or as long as he plays. We don't really know, but we know he's physically capable of handling the spot."

Article goes on to say that Matt Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, continues to be a salty dog about Kemp in right. Enough yapping, Dave.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Post-Game 104 Thread: Puig Serves Up Triple Triple; Dodgers Go Animal Style on Giants


The Dodgers, rested from their day off yesterday, began tonight's game with some sparks, with Yasiel Puig tripling and Adrian Gonzalez knocking him in for the 1-0 lead. Little did we know what this would augur.

The fifth inning is where the Dodgers opened up the can of whup-ass, mostly on Tim Lincecum:

  • Zack Greinke with a one-out single.
  • Dee Gordon RBI triple to center. 2-0 Dodgers.
  • Puig RBI triple to center. 3-0 Dodgers.
  • A-Gon RBI single to right. 4-0 Dodgers.
  • Hanley Ramirez single to left; Lincecum chased after 4.1 IP.
  • With Juan Gutierrez pitching, Carl Crawford lines to first for the second out.
  • Matt Kemp with a 2-RBI triple to right. 6-0 Dodgers.
  • Juan Uribe flies to left, to end the inning. 6-0 Dodgers.

That's right, a three-triple inning for the Dodgers. And in fact, Puig himself had an incredible three-triple night: a triple triple. Puig went 4-for-5 with 2 runs and 2 RBI--11 TB (three triples and a double)--in his first career start in center field. Maybe that's a good spot for him?

The Dodgers had 15 hits tonight, with no HR. A.J. Ellis, Carl Crawford, and Juan Uribe each went 0-for-5. Speaking of lame performances, Paul Maholm is still trainwreckian, giving up three hits and a walk in the ninth inning, and allowing the Giants to get on the board.

And our starter, Zack Greinke? Just another 10-K evening, 7.0 scoreless innings pitched, with only one walk. In fact, Greinke recorded the Dodgers' fourth all-time 4-K inning, when (in the third inning), Greinke Kd Hector Sanchez swinging, Tim Lincecum looking, and Hunter Pence swinging but the ball escaped Ellis and Pence reached first safely; so, Greinke struck out Gregor Blanco who was thrown out at first for the fourth and final out. Great night for Zack and Puig, and for the start to this three-game series!

credit to SoSG Nomo for the PGT photo idea! Thanks, Gnomes!

Game 104 Thread: July 25 @ Giants, 7p

Zack Greinke (11-6, 2.90) vs. Tim Lincecum (9-6, 3.65).

"There's never any controversy or distractions around a Bochy team. They just play hardball," writes Richard Justice at Look, we get it. The Giants have chemistry, magic bat-splintering googly-eyed aliens, and Chardonnay. They turn fool's gold into MelkyScutaroHudson. They are the Littlest $154-Million-Payroll Team That Could.

That would make the Dodgers the bad guys, and tonight the bad guys are starting Greinke in the type of game they are paying him $147 million to win. Not give-his-team-a-chance win, but terminate-with-extreme-prejudice win. Zack will be with the services of a hobbled Hanley Ramirez, thanks to the plunk-happy Cardinals pitching staff, and Yasiel Puig will be able to don his Superman tights tonight. The bullpen? Stuck on Krypton.

Greinke-Kershaw-Ryu. It's the best the Dodgers have to offer against the grittiest team in the NL West. Let's keep it clean, and no hits below the Belt!

In Focus with Vin Scully

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kemp's Doing Great! (Caveat Emptor) trumpeted yesterday that players' coach Don Mattingly was awful impressed with Matt Kemp's two-game record in right field. Hmm:

PITTSBURGH -- Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez missed another start Tuesday night nursing left hand injuries, so manager Don Mattingly had Matt Kemp back in right field and Justin Turner at shortstop.

Kemp, in fact, impressed Mattingly so much with his natural play in right field Monday night that Mattingly said he is considering trying Puig in center field.

The reason center field is an issue is that Mattingly took that job from Kemp, who hasn't regained his center-field form after ankle and shoulder injuries. Mattingly has started Puig in center on rare occasions, but hasn't been at ease with it, opting more for Andre Ethier or Scott Van Slyke.

"Pretty much because he's out of control most of the time," Mattingly said of Puig's unbridled aggressiveness. "I don't mean that in a bad way. But for a tweener that both guys can catch, nobody wants to get hit at full speed. You have to have communication and you have to have trust. Yasiel doesn't give up on balls and I think guys know that. Scott said [there was] one ball he could have caught, but he knew Puig wasn't going to stop."

As for Kemp, Mattingly said he wasn't completely surprised that the outfielder would take to right field, even after a five-year absence from the position at which he broke in.

"He always said he felt better in right than in left," Mattingly said. "It looked like it last night."

Wow, that's a pretty solid endorsement from a manager who was just recently questioning Kemp's defensive range, judgment, and ability in the outfield scant months ago.

Oh...wait a second. has the Matt Kemp trade outlook; I get it now. (link insider only):

The Los Angeles Dodgers have maintained a crowded outfield for some time, and there are always plenty of teams looking for a quick fix to their lineup. As such, Kemp's name has come up often over the past two years as a possible acquisition for production-hungry teams such as the Seattle Mariners.

But consider this a word of warning: No matter who's in the hunt, acquiring Kemp would be regrettable.

A crowded outfield

While the Dodgers have demonstrated that they are not particularly troubled by a high payroll, they have a surplus of outfielders. Yasiel Puig is one of baseball's young superstars, a player who seems to up his game every time a baseball writer complains about his conduct. Joc Pederson, one of the top prospects in baseball, is hitting .327/.452/.582 for Albuquerque and is the Dodgers' only outfield candidate with any business playing center field.

If we look at Puig and Pederson as keepers, that leaves Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford for the last open outfield spot. Those players are currently guaranteed $244 million in salary. Even for the cash-flush Dodgers, moving at least one of them would be prudent.

Ethier and the always-overachieving Scott Van Slyke make for an ideal platoon. Also, neither Ethier nor Crawford has significant trade value, which leaves Kemp as the most realistic trade candidate.

A fallen star

Thinking of Kemp as a high-upside addition at this point requires one to have been in deep hibernation or abroad without Internet access since the middle of 2012. Over the past two seasons, Kemp has hit .269/.329/.411 with 14 homers in 641 plate appearances for a 109 OPS+, numbers that aren't remotely close to his monster .324/.399/.586 line in 2011.

While a 109 OPS+ is still quite useful from a center fielder, Kemp has enough business being in center field at this point in his career as I do in a swimsuit competition.

Several years ago, it appeared Kemp would maintain a below-average yet acceptable level of defensive play in center. While defensive numbers are volatile and different measures sometimes don't match up, there's a good deal of consensus regarding Kemp's defensive performance. The numbers from the gang at Baseball Info Solutions have Kemp's defense in center field at 18 runs worse than average over 88 starts going back to the start of 2013. And that might be generous; ultimate zone rating puts the figure at a hair under 25 runs worse than average over the same period.

What's even more concerning is that Kemp doesn't even play solid defense in left. BIS and UZR have Kemp's defensive performance this season as a left fielder -- in fewer than 400 innings -- at minus-11 and minus-9 runs, respectively. The loss of Kemp's speed is reflected in the numbers. While baseball doesn't hold a combine with measured 40-yard dashes like the NFL does, it does have measures that approximate speed, with Bill James' speed score taking into account stolen base rate, triple rate and other things that reflect a player's in-game speed. In 2009, Kemp's speed score of 7.0 was 10th in the majors (leading were Michael Bourn, Jacoby Ellsbury and Elvis Andrus). In 2014, his speed score is 4.0, 77th in the majors, just below Seth Smith and just above Edwin Encarnacion. Neither of those players is known for having blazing speed.

The defensive numbers aren't a mirage; they simply reflect the real-world consequences of losing a great deal of one's burst.

A heavy weight

While there are a number of teams that may be willing to take on Kemp, the obvious issue that we haven't directly addressed is that doing so would also involve taking on his contract. With roughly $114 million guaranteed through 2019, the Dodgers likely would have trouble trading Kemp without eating a hefty portion of his contract. To get an idea of what Kemp's performance is likely to be worth to a team over the next 5 1/3 seasons, I ran his ZiPS projection (to the right). It ain't pretty. In fact, it's perhaps even more frightening than my involvement in that theoretical swimsuit pageant.

Though ZiPS projects Kemp to hit better than he has over the past year and a half, it predicts just 8.2 WAR from him over the remainder of the contract. His projected value for next season checks in at $5.7 million, and with a 5 percent yearly salary growth, his actual value for the course of his contract is right around $51 million. That is, of course, a much smaller number than the $114 million he's owed.

If a general manager decides he likes Kemp more than the evil supercomputer and its algorithms do, then maybe Kemp is worth $70-80 million, which would mean the Dodgers would need to be willing to eat $30-40 million. None of this factors in on-the-field compensation for losing Kemp; if the Dodgers want actual prospects in return, they would likely have to throw in even more cash.

I don't want to see Dan Szymborski in a swimsuit competition. However, I do still hold out hope that Kemp is just playing injured and he will regain his form. Wishful thinking?

Vin Scully, on BYO Musical Instrument Night at Ebbets Field

We don't get TWC at SoSG Worldwide Headquarters, so we apologize for the lack of new Vin transcriptions this season. But we've dipped into the archives (OK, last year's games) to bring you some fresh transcriptions we haven't run yet.

Vin Scully, from the sixth inning of the Mets-Dodgers game on August 13, 2013:

It was memorable to have a chance of working in Ebbets Field. It was a delightful place.

On this day in 1951, for several years, the Dodgers had a group of fans who had musical instruments. They didn't play 'em well, but they had instruments. They were called the Dodgers Sym-phony.

Well, the local labor union decided the Dodgers had to pay this group, this motley group of players. Pay them. And of course they weren't going to do that.

So we'll tell you what happened, but we don't want to miss a pitch down here. And we'll get back to Ebbets Field after this.

So the Dodgers decided, Well, we're certainly not going to pay a bunch of fellows who are kidding around with musical instruments. So let's send 'em off, and we'll have a night dedicated to amateur musicians.

And if you bring an instrument, you don't have to know how to play it. But if you bring the instrument to the ballpark, you can come on in.

And several thousand people came with every imaginable thing that you can imagine. Violins and saxophones, harmonicas, trumpets. And you can imagine the noise was like nothing you have ever heard anywhere — and I wouldn't wish you to hear the noise anywhere.

One man drove up, tongue in cheek, I'm sure, with a flatbed truck and a piano. Said, "Can I come in?"

And they said, "If you can move the piano, you can come in."

Fly ball, Schumaker is out there, one away.

Well that was Music Depreciation Night at Ebbets Field back in 1951.

And the batter, Daniel Murphy, who singled to left, flied to center....

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Post-Game 103 Thread: Haren, Eaten Up


After becoming deluded into thinking otherwise, thanks to Josh Beckett's no-hitter, coupled with an impressive 4-0 start to the season by Dan Haren...I thought we might have a full rotation. But Beckett proved yesterday over his ephemeral 3.2 IP that he is not reliable, and Dan Haren came out today and evidenced why his promising season start was just a mirage.

The back of the Dodgers' order is a train wreck. And even worse, with each crash, we have to suffer through Paul Maholm!

Haren gave up five runs in the first two innings, and though he stretched out to a somewhat-less-implausible 5.0 IP (in which he apparently retired the last 10 batters faced), Haren fell to 0-4 with a 9.47 ERA for July. The good news is, Haren presumably has one more start this month to get him to a double-digit ERA, as July's not over yet!

Haren is so bad (how bad is he?), even Don Mattingly might be coming to his senses, saying: "He's gotten us in a bit of a hole in the last couple of games but now is not the right time to talk about his future." No shit!

Meanwhile, the offense only consisted of a double from both Miguel Rojas (who was promptly doubled off of 2B) and Dee Gordon; two hits from Juan Uribe; and a hit from PH Justin Turner, who came around to score the Dodgers' solitary run.

So we continue our 2-4 road trip with a day off, before our last roadtrip stop in San Francisco, with a chance to be 5.5 games behind by the time we leave (we are currently two games back but SF plays one more with Philly Thursday). Whoop de frickin' doo!

Game 103 Thread: July 23 @ Pirates, 4p

Dan Haren (8-7, 4.30) vs. Francisco Liriano (1-7, 4.43)

Well, who's ready for the inevitable gut punch today? Will it be a fast-regressing Haren allowing multiple home runs and getting bounced in the 4th? Will it be the Noffense? Will it be our zombie bullpen walking in three runs? Will it be because we can't field a full squad after having so many of our players hit and hurt? Will every Dodger batter swing at the first pitch? Will Dodger outfielders switch positions between Pirate at-bats?

These questions and others persist. Yes, as many have pointed out the team still has as many wins as any other team in the NL, but one gets the sense this could start going south quickly, especially with a tough away San Francisco stand due up next.

Also, word is that there may be thunderstorms in the Pittsburgh area this evening, so we'll monitor to see if they can get the game in. In the case it is delayed, please use this space to grouse.

Post-Game 102 Thread: Pirates Plunder Dodgers


It was almost a game. Pirates had two solo shots in the second; Dodgers return with two runs in the top of the third (Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier RBI). Pirates get two more runs in the bottom of the third; A.J. Ellis knocks in two in the top of the sixth.

but with A.J. Ellis on second and one out, the Dodgers keep Paul Maholm (who took over for Josh Beckett in the fourth) to bat. Maholm Ks, and Dee Gordon flies out. And then immediately afterward, Maholm gives up two leadoff singles, is replaced by Jamey Wright, but the floodgates are open and the Pirates score four runs.

The Dodgers come back to make it 8-6, in the top of the seventh, with a two-run A-Gon shot. And we get one more back on a solo Scott Van Slyke shot in the eighth to make it 8-7.

And then Don Mattingly gets his second ill-fated idea of the night, to go to Chris Perez in the bottom of the eighth. Perez gets one out and then delivers four straight walks; Brandon League tries to relieve Perez and gives up two straight singles. 12-7 is the score through eight, and that's all she wrote.

Mattingly tried very, very hard to go with the freezing cold hand tonight, depending on Maholm and Perez to...screw things up. What a missed opportunity.

At-Game Recap: Dodgers in Sydney (Part 6)

Here's another post in the series recapping the Dodgers' historic trip to Sydney, Australia, for 2014 MLB Opening Day.

Going into the tunnels underneath the big scoreboard, heading from the Noble and Bradman Stands toward the O'Reilly Stand.

Would you believe, instead of dot racing,...sailboat racing?

Back in the original seats. Wish I could remember what was on the scoreboard at this time, as it's kinda blurry (the scoreboard, as well as my memory).

Game over! Dodgers win!

Diamondbacks sulk off the field in defeat!

More soon!

Earlier: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Game 102 Thread: July 22 @ Pirates, 4p

Baling wire. Not shown: spit.

Josh Beckett (6-5, 2.26) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 3.38).

The Pirates' offense, undoubtedly frustrated after seven innings of extended-rest Ryu, today face a fresh-off-the-DL Beckett, who is currently being held together with spit and baling wire. "I feel like as long as I'm not messing up my mechanics and I feel like I can get people out, I'm just going to ride it out until the end of the year," he said. It's not exactly Mel Gibson's speech in Braveheart, but as long as Beckett can keep filling that number-four slot, we'll take it.

Another Cuban On The Dodgers' Horizon?

In the first rumor ESPN has posted about the Dodgers since spring training this year, says that the Dodgers might be interested in Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo (link insider only):

Seattle may be the front-runner to land 27-year-old Cuban outfielder, Rusney Castillo.

Bob Dutton of The News Tribune reported Friday that "some rival scouts suggest the Mariners, who seek a right-handed bat, are among the leading contenders to sign Castillo. ..."

The speedy line-drive hitter will have a showcase in Miami on Saturday and, per Dutton, is also being pursued by the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins. Dutton also reports that U.S. government recently cleared Castillo, making him eligible to sign immediately with any club.

Yasiel Puig, Alex Guerrero, up, Rusney Castillo? Because we could always use another outfielder, right?

Kemp: Right In, Rather Than Left Out

Matt Kemp started Monday's game in right field, and to his credit (unlike Kemp's agent), Kemp was saying all the right things prior to the game:

“I’m just happy to be in the lineup,” Kemp said to The Times’ Dylan Hernandez in Pittsburgh.

“It’s just another position to play.”

It seems clear, however, the Dodgers are determined to let Kemp know they very much do not envision him a center fielder. The easy thing Monday would have been to send Andre Ethier back home to right and start Kemp in center; Carl Crawford is starting in left.

Center is the more glamorous, demanding position and where Kemp still sees himself, even if the Dodgers have seen enough of him making poor jumps and routes on balls up the middle.

Sunday in St. Louis he made another bad jump on one ball, starting back on a drive in front of him and letting it drop for a hit, but then making a terrific diving stop of another on his next ball. If possible, he sometimes seems almost awkwardly athletic.

But with Puig out, tonight Kemp slides over to right. Kemp is hitting only .229 (11 for 48) this month but had two hits Sunday. And, as ever, the hope remains he can approximate his offensive form of 2011.

I don't think it's necessarily clear that the Dodgers don't want Kemp in center field. I think they're just trying everyone in this crowded outfield out a bit, before making decisions that they'll have to make sooner or later. At least Kemp has his head in the game and is saying the right things.

At-Game Recap: Dodgers in Sydney (Part 5)

Okay, let's shake it up here from my last four entries in this series (links to which are conveniently posted along the bottom), and instead post some videos. Sure, they're short, but they're videos nonetheless!

First, here's a quick video of Clayton Kershaw doing some warm-up throws:

Next, here's the tail end of Scott Van Slyke's two-run HR (scoring Adrian Gonzalez), which ultimately proved to be the difference in the 3-1 final score (yes, that's me screaming like a madman on the audio):

Finally, along with clay from California, two teams from America, and plenty of tradition: MLB also brought the wave over to the Sydney Cricket Ground:

Man, that was embarrassing; of all the things we could have left in the US, we tried to export the wave. Maybe it was a one-way ticket! In any event, even with the wave, this was a very fun game to watch from these awesome seats. I am indebted to my friend for these awesome Dodgers memories.

More soon!

Earlier: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Post-Game 101 Thread: Rested Ryu Bumps Bucs


Coming off a week of rest, Hyun-Jin Ryu went 7.0 IP yielding only 5 H and 2 ER, striking out 5 and walking 1, to earn the win. The Dodgers won even with Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez sidelined, who were spending their time videobombing Dodgers reporter Alanna Rizzo. In their absence, the top of the lineup stepped up:

  • Dee Gordon, 2-for-5 with a run and his 45th stolen base;
  • Justin Turner, 2-for-5 with two runs, a double, and 2 RBI;
  • Adrian Gonzalez, 3-for-3 with a double and a RBI;
  • Matt Kemp, 1-for-4 with a double and a RBI.

Juan Uribe also went 2-for-5 from the seven-hole. Andre Ethier went 0-for-5 but had a groundout RBI in the third.

Giants won so we remain in a tie for first with 61 games left. And I didn't watch any of this game, so unfortunately that's all I got!

cropped image swiped from here

Monday, July 21, 2014

Game 101 Thread: July 21 @ Pirates, 4p

Where they took Hanley after last night's game.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-5, 3.44) vs. Edinson Volquez (8-6, 3.65).

Today's theme is injuries. As in, how many more can the already-fragile Dodger lineup take? Thanks to the handiwork of the Cardinals' pitching staff, both Puig and Hanley are questionable for today's game. Three of our five starting pitchers have spent time on the DL, as well as our catcher and third baseman. It's enough to make a general manager wonder if he should sign more players under the age of 30.

Old friend Volquez is having himself a dandy little run right now. According to STATS LLC/ESPN, he "has given up one run or none while going at least six innings in three of his last four home starts. The right-hander also has posted an 0.90 ERA while winning his last four starts overall."

So the 52-46 Pirates, in third place and only 1.5 games back of our buddies the Cards, could present quite a problem for the Dodgers during this nine-game road trip. Let's see if Ryu can channel his inner Kershaw and give the boys a chance to win.

Kemp Key For Dodgers' Second-Half Run

David Schoenfield says what we all are thinking: if Matt Kemp can rise to form and make some more highlight-reel plays in left, or center, or wherever he plays, the Dodgers should be in very good shape:

OK, we're already a couple of days into the second half of the season, which actually begins well past the actual halfway point of the season, but here are the key players to watch for each National League team. [...]

Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp

Kemp began the second half with his agent Dave Stewart proclaiming that Kemp just wants to play every day and "his hope at some point is to get back to center." That's not going to happen, as the Dodgers finally realized Kemp's bad routes lead to too many bad plays in the outfield (he had the worst Defensive Runs Saved total in the majors in the first half at any position). So that means Kemp will have to hit -- and play left field. He had a solid June, hitting .317/.375/.525. The Dodgers will happily take that at this point.

Keep up the good work, Matt!

ESPN's Bowden Suggests A Trade So Crazy, Even Colletti Would Laugh

Three prime Dodgers prospects for Cole Hamels (link insider only)? Not likely...

Philadelphia Phillies-Los Angeles Dodgers

Phillies receive: CF Joc Pederson, LHP Julio Urias and INF Alex Guerrero

Dodgers receive: LHP Cole Hamels

Hamels has a limited no-trade clause that includes 21 teams he cannot be dealt to. However, he has pre-approved eight teams, and the Dodgers are believed to be on that short list. Imagine a Dodgers rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, Hamels, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett (when he returns). Hamels, 30, has proven to be a good postseason pitcher and boasts a 7-4 record with a 3.09 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 13 playoff starts. He would immediately make the Dodgers the World Series favorites.

The Phillies, meanwhile, are in desperate need of a rebuild, and Pederson would be a major step in the right direction. He'd immediately become their best prospect, and many believe he's major league-ready. He could take over any of the three outfield positions. Pederson currently sports a .319/.437/.568 line at Triple-A, with 11 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs, 42 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.

Urias, 17, would become the Phillies' best pitching prospect. He would need a good three or four years of development before he can help the team, but he has plenty of upside. Alex Guerrero missed time earlier this season after teammate Miguel Olivo bit off part of his ear, but he's back now and is sporting a .376/.417/.735 line at Triple-A. He could play second base or shortstop if Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins were traded. He could also be used as a trade piece, as teams such as the Orioles, Blue Jays, A's and Giants could all use an upgrade.

This would certainly be an unpopular deal for the Phillies to make, but the rebuilding process needs to begin sooner rather than later.

Well the other thing is, this would certainly be an unpopular deal for the Dodgers to make! After all, two of the three of these prospects were on the aforementioned Top 50 Prospects list. Let's hope Ned Colletti doesn't do anything foolish.

Okay, maybe let's just hope Colletti doesn't do anything THIS foolish.

Three Dodgers in Keith Law's Top 50 MLB Prospects

Here's the relevant Dodgers who made the Top 50 Prospects list, from's Keith Law (link insider only):

5. Corey Seager, 3B | Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 20 | Current Level: High A (Rancho Cucamonga)

Preseason Ranking: 18

Seager had some trouble in the Cal League late last summer after a promotion from low-A, but the Dodgers got him to firm up his front side and stay balanced through contact so he wouldn't overrotate and become too pull-oriented. That change was fortuitous: Seager has destroyed high-A all year, at his hitter-friendly home park and away from it, with 54 extra-base hits through 80 games. He's not going to stay at shortstop, but he'll be the Dodgers' third baseman for six solid years once he gets to the majors at some point next year.

17. Julio Urias, LHP | Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 17 | Current Level: High A (Rancho Cucamonga)

Preseason Ranking: 14

Ranking the 17-year-old 17th was a coincidence, I swear -- he's just this good, up to 95 consistently with an above-average to plus curveball and average or better changeup, deception in the delivery, lots of torque from his hip rotation, and shocking command for his age. We all should hope the Mexican-born Urias stays healthy as he navigates his late teens. The Dodgers are being extremely cautious with him, so he might not see the majors until 2016 or later.

22. Joc Pederson, CF | Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 22 | Current Level: Triple-A (Albuquerque)

Preseason Ranking: 41

Pederson should be the center fielder in L.A. right now, but the Blue Man Group has run a series of corner outfielders out there rather than call up Pederson -- who isn't quite as good as his Albuquerque-inflated line might indicate, but would definitely give the Dodgers a boost on defense and in OBP. He still needs work against left-handed pitching, mostly picking up spin, but he's not getting much of that experience in the PCL anyway.

The Giants do not have one player on the Top 50 list.