Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Frame of the Game - Play / Off (UPDATED)

I'd hashtag #playoffs, but I'm still not entirely sure what the F that means. All I know is... IT. WAS. AN. AMAZING GAME. Capped off by an even GREATER SCREEN GRAB.

Oakland's Rookie Hazing?

Forget it, Jake. It's Cougar Town.

R.I.P. George "Shotgun" Shuba

From a Dodgers press release:


Brooklyn Dodger George "Shotgun" Shuba passed away at the age of 89 at his home in Youngstown, OH.

It was George who extended his hand, "A Handshake for the Century", in offering congratulations near home plate to Jackie Robinson, his Montreal Royals teammate, who hit a home run on Opening Day 1946 at Roosevelt City in Jersey City. Robinson, the African-American infielder, was breaking the sport's color barrier that afternoon.

Photographers captured a smiling Robinson shaking hands with Shuba after Robinson's three-run home run in the third inning against Jersey City pitcher Warren Sandell.

Shuba's nickname was born after someone compared his line drives to the sound of buckshot. Shuba compiled a lifetime .259 batting average in 355 games with Brooklyn from 1948-55 with 24 home runs and 125 RBI. He was the first National League pinch-hitter to hit a home run in World Series history, connecting against the Yankees in 1953.

Shuba returned to Dodger Stadium in 2005 when the club staged a 50th anniversary celebration of the team's first and only championship in Brooklyn. Twelve of the 13 living members attended: Shuba, Carl Erskine, Roger Craig, Bob Borkowski, Don Newcombe, Johnny Podres, Clem Labine, Sandy Koufax, Ed Roebuck, Don Zimmer, Tommy Lasorda and Duke Snider (the only player not present was Billy Loes).

Shuba is survived by his wife, Kathryn, his son, Michael, daughters Marlene and Marykay and his sister, Helen.

Funeral services are pending.

Earlier at SoSG: George "Shotgun" Shuba

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Game 162 Thread: Sept. 28 vs. Rockies, 1p

Zack Greinke (16-8, 2.74) vs. Christian Bergman (3-4, 5.29)

Didn't we just beat this asshole?

Well, ladies, gentlemen, and Delino, today is it: the last day of the regular season [(cries) cc: Mr. F]. Which means Greinke is only scheduled to go 4-5 innings max, ailing players like HanRam and Dee will have the day off, and you will see a lot of people you had forgotten about -- or tried to forget about -- and/or can't spell their name, playing out the game given that it is as devoid of meaning as an Adam Sandler movie.

However, there will be some levity on the day; as tradition dictates, players take on the roles of managers and coaches which is always good for some snark in this space. Juan Uribe will manage and Kershaw will be the pitching coach. Rumor has it that Ryu will be the bullpen coach if they can work out the language barrier. Fun times.

SoSG Nomo will make a rare appearance at the Yard, so hunt him down and buy him adult beverages. Team Killeen will be there as well in some bourgeois seats. SoSG Dusty is a late scratch but will be tracking the game nonetheless.

There's also some meaningful ball being played around the league so be sure to follow that, too.  Let's get this meaningless win and the series sweep to end the regular season on a winning note to carry the mojo through to the playoffs, which begin Friday, October 3.

Post-Game 161 Thread: Grand Larson-y


In the extra-inning game no one wanted to see, the Dodgers ended up beating the Rockies when Scott Van Slyke stoked a one-out single in the bottom of the twelfth inning, and then advanced to second when Tim Federowicz was HBP, and then stole third (hence the headline), and the scored on a Franklin Morales wild pitch that carried to the backstop. Hoping for the wild pitch to win the game: just the way Donnie likes to draw it up.

Carlos Frias tossed scoreless frames in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth innings for his first major league win. There probably was some other action in this game, including an Adrian Gonzalez HR, but I was busy so I didn't see anything except that fateful bottom of the twelfth. Dan Haren went five innings and allowed two runs and five hits, which is probably good enough for the postseason roster in Mattingly's book.

Dee Gordon had right hip irritation and left the game early, and the ever brittle Hanley Ramirez had a wicked foul ball that hit him on the knee (during his AB), but aside from that I don't think anyone got injured, thankfully.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Game 161 Thread: Sept. 27 vs. Rockies, 6p

Dan Haren (13-11, 4.03) vs. Eddie Butler (1-1, 5.56)

Today features the Dodgers' second to last game, which is completely meaningless. This would have been the best time to trot out a starting-pitching-by-committee strategy, but we had to employ that against the Cubs last Sunday when something was still on the line. Haren isn't likely to figure more than several innings in order to save him from himself  for playoff duty.

It seems like just yesterday we were bitching about the opening games being in Australia and the fact the we weren't able to watch the games on TV. And really, what's changed? (Tepid thanks to TWC for throwing us a belated 6-game viewing bone.)

Let's get through this one hopefully with a win, if not let's keep it close and respectable, and avoid injuries. I'll be out there today so hit me up if you want to buy me my second to the last beers of the season. Tomorrow, at least a couple of us Sons will also be there so hit us up if you want to buy us the last beers of the season.*

*The regular season I mean. We still expect free beer throughout the playoffs.

Diamondbacks Hit Reset Button; Move Dodger Associates In And Out

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on over in Arizona. Most recently, Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell were let go from the Diamondbacks coaching staff:

PHOENIX -- Just days from the end of an awful season, the Arizona Diamondbacks fired manager Kirk Gibson.

The firing was announced Friday, 15 minutes before a news conference to introduce new Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart.

"It was my trigger to pull," chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.

Bench coach Alan Trammell also was dismissed but will stay on to manage the final three games, a weekend series against St. Louis. The Diamondbacks lost the first game 7-6 in 10 innings Friday night.

"We just decided that being fresh, starting fresh with not just the upstairs leadership team but downstairs, is more consistent with what we are doing as an organization," La Russa said at the news conference.

And you read that right, the new GM of the Diamondbacks is Dave Stewart, the former agent of Dodger CF Matt Kemp:

Matt Kemp needs a new agent after Dave Stewart, his current (or previous) one, was hired as general manager and vice president of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

Stewart will be bringing along De Jon Watson, the Dodgers’ vice president of player development, as his senior vice president of baseball operations.

Both will report to Tony La Russa, the team’s new chief baseball officer, completing a major front-office revamping for the last-place Diamondbacks.

According to Forbes magazine, Stewart will over his agent duties to his business colleague, Dave Henderson.

Bummer to lose De Jon Watson from our front office, though.

Post-Game 160 Thread: Dodgers Keep On Clinchiness


With the Dodgers' third straight win, coupled with the Giants' 4-1 loss to the Padres, the Dodgers clinched the NL West by even more than last game. In fact, one might call the team's six-run sixth inning the most clinchiness move of all, what with 11 batters coming to the plate and incredibly opportunistic baserunning by Scott Van Slyke (who took second on his RBI single on a throwing error, as well as came around to score a second run (on the same play) on a bloop Justin Turner infield single) and station-to-station, smart play by Juan Uribe and Darwin Barney. How much more clinchy this team can get in its last two regular-season games, I don't know.

(But I do think now would be a good time to rest more starters than Matt Kemp and A.J. Ellis, right? Think about it, Donnie.)

In other news, St. Louis needed a comeback, extra-inning victory to keep ahead of Pittsburgh in the NL Central. The disaster scenario we want to avoid is Pittsburgh and St. Louis finishing with identical records, as this would make the two teams square off in a one-game playoff before the loser meets Madison Bumgarner and the Giants (strategically, the Cards and Pirates might not throw their respective #1 starters, but who knows). A St. Louis win + Pittsburgh loss tomorrow would settle things (and, force the Giants to play at Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are 51-30; if St. Louis wins, San Francisco has the head-to-head advantage so the game would be at Phone Park).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Game 160 Thread: Sept. 26 vs. Rockies, 7p

Roberto Hernandez (8-11, 4.08) vs. Jordan Lyles (7-3, 4.15).

Division champs! It's got a nice ring to it, but there's small chance the Dodgers could still be playing meaningful baseball this weekend. While the they've secured home-field advantage in the NLDS (against either the Cardinals or Pirates), the Dodgers are two sweeps away from owning the best record in the NL. That is, if the Dodgers sweep the Rox and the Nationals get swept by the Marlins. Unlikely, so in the meanwhile just enjoy some baseball to get you warmed up for the postseason.

UPDATE: Nats beat the Marlins in Game 1 of today's doubleheader, ensuring at least a tie for the best record in the NL (they own the tiebreaker by having gone 4-2 against the Dodgers this season).


photo via Reddit

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Question Of Mojo

Okay, fearless SoSGers, I have a question.

Tonight the Giants host the Rockies in a meaningless game, with Andrew Cashner going up against Yusmeiro Petit. This was the same matchup in Petco Park last week, when Cashner owned the Giants through eight and came away with the 3-2 victory.

I have a chance to go to tonight's game. I don't get to see a lot of baseball games live anymore, so I am kind of interested in going to this game.

Now, I didn't want to go to the game if there was a chance that I would get to see the Giants clinch the Wild Card at home. But, by virtue of Milwaukee's 5-3 loss to the Reds this morning, the Giants have already backed into the Wild Card spot. So there is nothing to play for tonight, except pride (more so for the Padres).

And look, the Giants are far from done here. It's clear that their two recent World Series wins evidence that the baseball gods have shined upon San Francisco recently. If they get over the one-game hump, there's a very good probability that we would meet the Giants in the playoffs again. And remember, we were only 10-9 against them this season: hardly a dominant ratio. So I am still worried about the Giants, so long as they have a single breath of life in them.

From a mojo perspective, is this okay for a diehard Dodger fan to attend this game? Or should I stay home and not risk angering the baseball gods?

Dodgers Win, Even If Chemistry Isn't Obviously Evident

Let's see where the Dodgers end up this postseason, but Mark Saxon of ESPN.com notes that the Dodgers don't exactly have full team chemistry (bubble machine antics notwithstanding, I suppose):

The Los Angeles Dodgers earned something of a reputation this season as a talented bunch of players with the salaries and egos to match, a team assembled with the power of the dollar from all corners of the world and plucked from the rosters of other organizations. Throughout the season, at various points, discontent crept into their clubhouse. There were rumblings that infighting was common and unity was always a question mark.

In short, the same storyline that ushered them into the 2013 season -- did they have team chemistry? -- lingered all season. But as usual with teams like this, winning produces chemistry, not the other way around. And if you noticed, the Dodgers always seemed to be having the most fun in the vicinity of the field, when they were bobbing en masse in the dugout celebrating home runs with their bubble machine or, after they clinched their second straight National League West title with a 9-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, with their vigorous celebration in the clubhouse.

They may not have had dinner together often, they may not attend each others' weddings, their kids' baptisms or bar mitzvahs, but they win games together. Which do you think their fans would rather have? Which do you think their owners, who are paying them collectively more than $240 million, would rather have?

"I've been on teams where every single guy gets along great, and when you get on the field, you don't know how to win," Adrian Gonzalez said. "We've got the right group of guys, we've got the right mix and we're professional guys."

Hanley Ramirez stated it more bluntly, more emotionally: "We're one team. We love each other. We win together, we lose together."

There are some nice insights on Matt Kemp's burgeoning leadership, Andre Ethier's quiet (and understandable) sulking, and Hanley Ramirez' boycott given his lack-of-extension situation. It's worth a read.

Let's Soak This Division Title In

Major League Baseball Standings, as of June 8, 2014:

The Giants were 43-21. The Dodgers were in second place, 33-31, 10 games back.

From there, the Dodgers went 58-37, or .610 ball. Along the way, we hadn't had a win steak of more than 6 games all year (though we hadn't lost more than three in a row (while the Giants lost as many as six in a row, twice). Meanwhile, the Giants went 42-52, or .447 ball.

And that's why we won the West.

I'm not sure if this was a monumental collapse by the Giants, or more a strong run by the Dodgers. Or both.


The Cardinals' loss yesterday guarantees the Dodgers will have home-field advantage for the NLDS, according to the LAT:

The victory, coupled with a loss by the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals, guaranteed the Dodgers home-field advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs.

"It's the first step," Kershaw said. "We know that."

That means Kershaw's next start will be Oct. 3, when the Dodgers open the NL division series at Dodger Stadium."


ESPN.com's David Schoenfield notes that the Dodgers' offense is coming alive at the right time. It's a great piece (especially the insight on HanRam's swing) so I will let you revel in most of it:

1. Matt Kemp looks like 2011 Matt Kemp. Last postseason, Kemp was watching from the dugout with crutches. Now, he'll enter October as one of baseball's hottest sluggers, with a .303/.360/.589 line and 16 home runs in the second half. He's sixth in the majors in wOBA since the All-Star break -- only Buster Posey and Victor Martinez are high among guys on playoff teams -- and third in home runs.

2. Hanley Ramirez is swinging the bat well. It's all about health for Ramirez, but he's also worked to lower a leg kick that got too high early in the season. Hitting coach Mark McGwire has worked with him to lower the leg to go back to something more like his approach in 2009, when he won the batting title. Ramirez has hit .357 in September -- granted, with no home runs -- but he's spraying the ball all over the field. Remember, last year's NLCS might have turned out differently if Ramirez hadn't been injured in Game 1 (he didn't play the second game after suffering a hairline fracture in his rib and struggled in the series, hitting .133).

3. Adrian Gonzalez leads the majors in RBIs. OK, RBIs are overrated, but Gonzalez has performed his best with runners in scoring position, hitting .330/.389/.546. Like Kemp, he's also hit better in the second half: .308/.362/.530 compared to .251/.309/.429 in the first half.

4. Yasiel Puig looks to be over his slump. I still think the sudden loss of power was a result of his hip injury, but he hit his 16th home run on Wednesday, lining an 0-2 sinker from Tim Hudson out to right field. After going homerless in June and August and hitting just two in July, he has three in nine games. Puig should also benefit from having gone through last year's postseason, in which he seemed a little too hyped up and emotional, taking every strikeout like it was the end of the world. He hit .227 with 10 K's in the NLCS, but look for him to do a better job of getting on base in front of Gonzalez and Kemp.

5. Carl Crawford is hitting. This might be the biggest surprise, since Crawford hasn't really hit much since leaving Tampa Bay. But he's hitting .324/.367/.458 in the second half and .433 in September and turned Andre Ethier into the forgotten man in the Dodgers outfield. He's even running a little more, with 22 steals, his most since 2010.

6. Better depth than 2013. Between Juan Uribe (.311 overall and .378/.403/.554 in September), Dee Gordon and Justin Turner, the Dodgers have better infield options than in 2013, when Nick Punto and Mark Ellis had to play. Gordon had the hot start and made the All-Star team, but it will be interesting to see how Don Mattingly works Turner into the lineup considering his .333/.397/.482 line and .374 batting average in the second half. Plus, you have Scott Van Slyke to start in left field versus left-handers or coming off the bench as a pinch hitter. And Ethier becomes the most expensive $15 million pinch hitter in the game.

OK, the lineup isn't perfect. A.J. Ellis and Drew Butera haven't provided much offense from the catcher slot. Another small secret weapon: Greinke, Kershaw and Dan Haren are all pretty good hitters for pitchers, so they have a chance for some offense from their pitchers.

There are concerns in the rotation once you get past Kershaw and Greinke, and Kershaw will have to prove he's a big-game pitcher after getting shelled in that season-ending Game 6 loss to the Cardinals last year. Plus, the middle relief is a concern, the defense isn't great and Mattingly's postseason tactics last year were questionable.

But this looks like a lineup that will score some runs in the postseason, and the Dodgers do have the best pitcher in the game. We'll see how that sauce tastes in a few weeks.

I'm guessing the sauce isn't going to be weak sauce, that's for sure.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Post-Game 159 Thread: Dodgers Win 2014 NL West


A little shaky early on, when the Dodgers were down 1-0 to the Giants through four and a half. But Clayton Kershaw was just letting the tension rise, for dramatic effect. His first career triple tied the game at one, and then the Dodgers opened four-run cans of whup-ass in both the sixth (catalyzed by a Yasiel Puig solo HR) and the eighth (a 33-minute torture session for the Giants, who watched Juan Uribe single home two RBI, not to mention reliever Juan Gutierrez walk a run in).

At 5-1, the game was out of reach. At 9-1, it was an official drubbing, in our final game with the Giants this season, securing the series victory 10-9.

Dodgers win the NL West, for the second-straight year. Clayton Kershaw wins the MLB ERA title for the fourth consecutive year, the first player to ever do so (Kershaw went off the field in the eighth inning to a full stadium chanting "M V P"!). Puig added a great defensive highlight nailing Gregor Blanco, who tried to stretch from first to third on a single, and was summarily gunned down by Puig for his MLB-leading 14th outfield assist.

Oh, and Buster Olney and his suit were innocent bystanders when Kershaw was dunked by the gatorade cooler, during post-game interviews. Nice.

And now we play for playoff positioning...though we really could use the time to recuperate a bit. Rest up, Dodgers (starting with an off-day tomorrow)! You deserve it.

photo: Jeff Gross, Getty Images

Game 159 Thread: Sept. 24 vs. Giants, 7p

Why this card has two extra corner markings, I'm not sure

Clayton Kershaw (20-3, 1.80) vs. Tim Hudson (9-12, 3.52).

There are rumors buzzing that Tim Hudson, coming off of three straight losses and wielding the highest ERA (9.92) this month among any pitcher with 15+ innings, will be replaced at the last second with Tim Lincecum. It won't matter. Clayton Kershaw is positioned to have the Dodgers clinch the 2014 NL West tonight, and if there's ever a time to deal an ace, it's now.

How great would it be to have the Dodgers celebrate at home in front of their arch-rival? How fitting would it be to have our franchise face, en route to his third Cy Young Award and possibly a NL MVP award, earn the clinching victory? How premature are all of these visions, now that we've just evidenced that aces are far from infallible?

Who knows. Look, there's a chance that the Giants could be celebrating this evening as well, if the Brewers lose in Cincinnati, thereby giving San Francisco a back-door entrance to the Wild Card. Perhaps we'll have a joint party involving both teams!

No cake for parties 3 and 4? I'm confused again

On second thought, this just looks way too confusing. Let's just focus on getting our party set, okay?

Puig: Perfectly Poised, Or Perilously Primed?

It's funny, reading the post-game analyses of last night's victory and early-inning dust-up.

Mark Saxon of ESPN.com says Yasiel Puig stayed cool under fire:

Yasiel Puig had been hit in the left foot by an 88 mph Madison Bumgarner cutter. The two had a history, or at least four months' worth of bruised egos to nurse. Bumgarner doesn't like the way Puig celebrates home runs. Puig doesn't like the way Bumgarner yells at guys who celebrate homes runs in ways the pitcher doesn't like.

So, on Tuesday, after he got hit, Puig glared over his shoulder as he sat in the dirt, Bumgarner yelled, "What are you looking at?" and all of a sudden Bumgarner's throwing his glove, Puig's yelling and lunging, players are jogging onto the field from all angles and the umpires are issuing warnings.

Bad timing for the Dodgers. Whether you think Bumgarner overreacted, Puig overreacted or everybody reacted exactly as they should have, the last thing the Dodgers need is ejections, suspensions and ... well, who cares about fines? That's why Matt Kemp, suddenly showing leadership, was one of the first people to get between Puig and Bumgarner. That's why Don Mattingly grabbed Puig as quickly as he could get to him and began talking straight into his ear, no interpreter needed.

"Do you think I understood?" Puig joked in Spanish later.

Apparently, he did. He took his base with no further incident, he played the rest of the game peacefully -- as did Bumgarner and everybody else -- and the Dodgers channeled their emotions appropriately into a 4-2 win against the San Francisco Giants that pushed them to the brink of their second straight NL West title. Sometimes good things happen when you take a deep breath. The Dodgers feel pretty good about their chances of getting it done Wednesday, too, and why wouldn't they? They're sending Clayton Kershaw to the mound. [...]

That's why Mattingly got to Puig so quickly. There's too much at stake -- for both teams -- to risk somebody getting hurt in a brawl or some kind of chaos leading somewhere nobody needs to go right now. Yes, it's Giants-Dodgers, so you can expect a little hostility. But if they play good baseball for the next week or so, imagine Giants-Dodgers in the playoffs. Wouldn't that be fun? The teams could meet in the second round.

"The best way to respond, really, is to play baseball. Do it with your bat, do it with your glove," was how Mattingly paraphrased the message. "I want to keep him in the game. I don't want him to get real emotional. I want him playing baseball. I needed him in the game today."

It wasn't their emotions as much as their professionalism that seemed to carry the Dodgers to the big win on Tuesday. Justin Turner did what he always does with results he rarely gets. He had tough at-bats. A couple of them happened to end in a ball clearing the left-field fence. Zack Greinke tends to be brutally honest, which means he sometimes advises Mattingly to take him out of games if he's feeling tired after the 100-pitch mark. Tuesday, he said he felt great and advised Mattingly to leave him in the game for the eighth, which worked out great because the Dodgers' bullpen was gassed and Greinke cruised through the inning.

The last two times Greinke threw at batters in games that turned to brawls, he ended up with a broken collarbone one time and suspensions to three of his teammates on the other occasion. Again, not the right timing for that kind of stuff. Greinke said neither the big-game atmosphere nor the simmering first-inning testosterone contributed to his good results over eight innings, during which the only blemish was Bumgarner's two-run home run.

"Any time I try to do more than I'm capable of, it backfires. I just try to do the normal stuff, not try to get too over-amped," Greinke said. "I don't think extra emotion would matter in a series like this. Everyone's already excited. Maybe if it was the middle of the summer -- just another game and you're fighting to get your energy up."

There is one Dodger besides Puig, however, who seems to thrive when emotions are running hot. Just a few minutes after everybody went back to their dugouts, Kemp sent a soaring blast over the center-field wall and Puig scored in front of him. A week earlier, Kemp had been seen yelling at Puig for not taking an extra base in Colorado.

Mattingly called Kemp the Dodgers' "emotional leader." A year ago, they didn't have that heading into the playoffs. Now, Puig and Kemp can keep each other company while everybody else calmly goes about their business.

Meanwhile, the LAT's Bill Plaschke looks at the half-empty glass and sees Puig as a timebomb:

One of the Dodgers' biggest postseason worries showed up Tuesday night, clearing benches, raising tempers, risking everything.

As long as Yasiel Puig continues to struggle with his emotions, the Dodgers will awkwardly struggle to dodge their flames.

The tempestuous outfielder allowed San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner to get into his head by hitting his foot Tuesday night in a first-inning plunking incident that nearly started a brawl. The Dodgers wound up with a 4-2 victory that pushed them to within one game of clinching their second consecutive National League West title, but the message from that early messy moment is one that could dog the Dodgers deep into October.

Puig cannot be the sort of cornerstone this team craves until he begins leading with his head instead of his heart. As much as the Dodgers value him, they still can't really trust him, and that scares the heck out of them.

Hmm. I guess that glass really is emptier than I thought, right? Or maybe Plaschke forgot about the Kemp HR.

Post-Game 158 Thread: As Good As It Gets


The Giants tried everything tonight to stave off the Dodgers. They threw their snot-rocketing ace, Ashley Madison Bumgarner. They got chippy, with Ashley throwing inside on Yasiel Puig after ceding a leadoff HR to Justin Turner (Ashley started yipping while Puig was still down; Puig took umbrage; benches cleared to make sure that said umbrage was not returned to Ashley--no punches were thrown). And they battled back, taking advantage of Zack Greinke's momentary lapse (in an otherwise outstanding night) to hit a surprise two-run HR in the third inning, to make it a white-knuckle, 3-2 game.

But that lapse was as far as the Giants got in their feeble attempt to lower the level to a brawl. The Dodgers rose above a snotty ace and infantile behavior, not only turning the other cheek and refraining from doing anything stupid, but also taking care of business on the field. Thanks to the help of a number of key heroes, we beat the Giants handily and soundly, and the magic number is now 1 to win the division, with four games to go for us (three against the Rockies, and five games to go for San Francisco (four against the Padres after tomorrow). Nine possible outcomes, and only one has to go our way to win it all.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's talk about today's heroes:

  • Zack Greinke, who aside from the HR had one hell of a game: 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB and 5 Ks. The 118-pitch evening was a bit much to ask, but Greinke proved why he's a better ace than the Giants' best gun tonight;
  • Matt Kemp, whose first-inning, two-run HR to score the HBP Puig not only shut the Giants up, but proved to be the factor in our offense...that is, along with...
  • Justin Turner, who set the game off with fireworks in the first inning with a leadoff HR, then gave the Dodgers some breathing room in the eighth inning with another solo Jack, this time with one out, to put the Dodgers up 4-2;
  • Darwin Barney. Who? Yes, Barney was key, not so much for a PH performance that resulted in a ground out, but for a wonderful snag of a Joe Panik grounder at second base to get the first out in the ninth. This out was artful--Barney actually wipes his hand dry on his uniform before throwing Panik out at first--but it was also critical, as it helped calm Kenley Jansen, who allowed a Oyster Pubes single but earned his 44th save.

  • And finally, Bruce Bochy, whom I often consider a great manager, but tonight confused me when he let Ashley Madison hit in the eighth inning. The Giants were down by only one run, and letting Ashley bat instead of putting in any one of 10,000 bench PH options seemed odd; Greinke struck out Ashley, who then was sent back out for the bottom of the eighth, only to have Turner take him yard again and extend the lead to two runs, and end Ashley's day. Ashley had 116 pitches on his own, and lasted only 7.1 IP; not sure why they didn't PH for him in the eighth.

Tonight was a great, great victory for the Dodgers, who probably weren't expected to beat the Giants on this evening. Instead, it's down to the series finale tomorrow, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the good guys, and a shot at clinching. I Kinnear the Giants fans' heartbeats racing already, as the Dodgers continue their Hunt for the divisional title. Winning tonight's game was probably...as good as it gets.

Go Dodgers!

Ashley Madison graffiti photo taken from a pylon on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, September 23, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Game 158 Thread: Sept. 23 vs. Giants, 7p

Zack Greinke (15-8, 2.76) vs. Ashley Madison (18-9, 2.91)

In Ashley Madison's last start against the Dodgers, the Giants scored nine runs, and the Dodgers zero. In Zack Greinke's last start against the Giants, the Dodgers scored seventeen runs, and the Giants zero. With the two facing each other tonight, you figure something's gotta give.

The Dodgers have to win both of the next two games to clinch the West without help from another team. They're not going to get it done with Dee, Puig, AGon, and Kemp putting up oh-fers. They're not going to get it done with sloppy defense*. And they're definitely not going to get it done by leaving Kevin Correia out there Diane on the mound. If any of that happens again, this series won't mean Jack.

*Except for that Puig throw. OH LAWD, THAT PUIG THROW. Let's watch it again!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Post-Game 157 Thread: Missed Opportunities


Kevin Correia sucks. That much is clear.

But the only reason why we had to see Kevin Correia in the first place is because we wasted an opportunity in the 11th inning when Matt Kemp GIDPd, and then another in the 12th inning when Juan Uribe GIDPd. You bring in Kevin Correia, after walking a tightrope with Brandon League for two innings, and you are playing not only with fire but also with gasoline and lighter fluid and a bunch of other flammable items that would terrify me otherwise. Maybe Donnie had no other moves; maybe he just loves playing Russian Roulette to begin with. What a fucking disaster.

The worst part was, in watching this game, I saw Dodger after Dodger swing for the fences in extra innings, instead of trying to score like we scored all game--getting some runners on base and trying to move them over on the occasional XBH. And as a result, we looked idiotic flying out to Hunter Pence and such. Whatever.

Lead shrinks to three and a half; magic number sticks at 3. The Giants are still alive. They outhit us 12 to 4, and we had three errors to boot, so we didn't deserve to win this game. But damn, we should have won. We should be embarrassed.

Game 157 Thread: Sept. 22 vs. Giants, 7p

Dan Haren (13-11, 4.14) vs. Jake Peavy (7-13, 3.82).

It's the final countdown! One last homestand to the 2014 season!

And this is the last series we'll have this year with the Giants. And the season series is currently tied 8-8.

If we play our cards right, we'll get a chance to celebrate clinching the division at home, in front of the Giants. All we would need to do is win two of the next three games (which would also award us the season series victory, if my math is right).

Helping our cause will be the absence of center fielder Angel Pagan, out with an inflamed nerve in the lower back, and someone who absolutely kills us when he's in the lineup. Left fielder Michael Morse is also probably out for this series with injury, but all I got were dots and dashes from him.

I also should add that I'm watching today's game from enemy territory (wearing Dodgers shirt and cap). The last Dodgers/Giants game I watched was among friends and family (other Sons).  This time, it won't be so friendly. Let's see what happens.

Good luck, Danny boy!

Dodgers Dream Foundation 5K

In order to work off all of those calories from delicious Dodger dogs and nachos, I started to run a couple of years ago.  Over the past year, I have started to enter in races and when the Dodger Dream Foundation opened the inaugural Dodgers 5K, I was one of the first to sign up (the first 1000 received a reserve ticket to selected games).  The day finally came and this past Sunday I strapped on my running shoes, sneaked past SOSG security, and joined about 3,204 Dodger fans to run around Dodger stadium.

For their first race, the organization was fairly smooth.  Race packet pick up was well organized and there was some serious "swag to be had."  I picked up my Dodgers tech dry fit shirt, bib, timing chip and an AJ Ellis Bobblehead.  Apparently the people that picked up their packet the day before also received a Dodger backpack.  Already the day was a success!  The Dodger legends present were Al Ferrara, Dennis Powell, Derrel Thomas and Tim Leary.  The grand marshal was Carmelita Jeter, the fastest woman in the world and London gold medalist in the 100m dash.  I was lucky to take a picture with her and her medal before the race. SO COOL.  

They seemed to have the START/FINISH banner reversed, but this was right before the race

Ferrara, Powell, Thomas, and Leary

For you runners out there, the course was a little difficult at the start.  Beginning in centerfield behind lot G, we ran counterclockwise around the inner circle - which meant straight uphill to start it off.  Then we looped into the reserve parking lot on the left, came back out and down the other side of the inner loop.  The rest of the race were switchbacks along the outer parking lots that looped around to the finish. For my sixth race of my "career" I finished in the top 10 for my age group.  Not bad, but consider that BOTH a 11 AND 12 year old girl absolutely CRUSHED my time, not much to write home about.  Seriously check it our for yourself http://www.geminitiming.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/dodgers_overall_14.htm
But the important part was that I finished!  And the Dodger legends and volunteers were handing out the medals at the finish line.  After the race we were able to warm down along the warning track of Dodger stadium so I took some pictures.  
Retired numbers

Dodger Dugout

Panorama shot from centerfield
Oh how I wanted to jump the wall and sit down after that race

The sponsors that I saw were KIND bars, Coconut water (am I the only one that thinks coconut water tastes like feet?), Powerbar, and Avita water.  The medal is totally awesome as you can see from the pictures below.  It is fairly large and heavy and the colors make it pop.  After the race, I ran into the Dodger Dream Foundation coordinator and told her how great the event was organized.  We talked about how they are planning to expand this event (as the Giants have THREE races in Scottsdale, San Jose and San Francisco) and possibly a 10K next year.  If they do, I will be sure to sign up!  If there are runners or walkers out there that are thinking about it, strap on your running shoes and start training for next year. You won't be disappointed.  GO BLUE!

Dodger Swag

Probably my favorite medal of my small but growing collection

Polls Like This Scare The Crap Out Of Me

Screenshot taken from ESPN.com's Sportsnation poll, Sunday Sept 21, 11.43p PT.

HanRam, The Soda Can

Found this funny reference about Hanley Ramirez in a Buster Olney "Ten Burning Questions" column from Friday (link insider only):

4. What is Hanley Ramirez?

He’s like a soda can that has been kicked down a road for five months, with dents all over him and all kinds of physical ailments that seem to have hurt his defense, especially. But the Dodgers are still better with him in the lineup, and after missing Wednesday’s game with an elbow strain, he was back on the field Thursday, pitching in a couple of hits and runs.

As someone who knows Ramirez’s situation explained the other day: We are far beyond the time when he can be healthy in the postseason. It’s only a question of how much he can help.

Look, we've got ailments all over this lineup, and it seems like our whole postseason chances are being held together with bailing-wire tendons and duct-taped muscles. Hanley Ramirez is one piece of the puzzle. But I hope we can clinch early enough to get him, and some others, some rest.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Post-Game 156 Thread: Three Is A Magic Number


When this video gets to the second verse ("A man and a woman had a little baby; yes they did, they had three in the family; and that's a magic number"), I feel the good vibrations of the seventies warm me up all over.

Which is probably how Don Mattingly and the Dodgers felt, having survived "Bullpen Day" at Wrigley Field, starting Jamey Wright for two innings, then letting Carlos Frias take a turn, before parading in Chris Perez (who got the win, retiring four batters), Paco Rodriguez, Pedro Baez, and Kenley Jansen. Wright only lasted two innings and gave up three hits and 1 ER. Frias was a bit shakier (3.0 IP, 3 H and 3 ER), but nowhere near his last outing; plus he got out of a fifth-inning jam with the tying run on second by pulling off a big strikeout of Chris Valaika (Frias was actually seen on camera pumping himself up before the fateful pitch). Scattering only five Cubs runs over the course of the day, the Dodgers were able to actually survive throwing a spaghetti-like bullpen arms against the wall, just to see which ones could stick long enough to register 27 outs.

And that of course was due to the offensive heroics of the rest of the lineup, who seemed to take to the challenge by rising up. Yasiel Puig was 2-for-5 with 4 runs scored; Adrian Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI; and Matt Kemp was 4-for-5 with a run and 4 RBI, two of which came on a third-inning HR to right field. Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-4, Carl Crawford went 2-for-5, A.J. Ellis got when 1-for-5 to raise his average (don't get me started). In fact, the only 0-fer in the starting lineup was Dee Gordon (0-for-5). All in all, a pretty good day with the bats: 16 hits in total in the victory.

What's more, the Padres took to their camouflage outfits and completed the sweep of the Giants, dropping Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants 8-2. According to MLB.com, "in eight games since their euphoric 9-0 rout of Los Angeles on Sept. 12, the Giants are batting .201 (52-for-259) with 14 runs scored. They've mustered two runs in five of those games and have been shut out twice."

So the Dodgers' magic number for winning the NL West is now three. And serendipitously enough, the Giants' magic number for securing a wild card spot (over Milwaukee; the Pirates are tied with the Giants for the two wild card spots) is also three. So three truly is a magic number.

Hat tip to Dusty for referencing this song (I think!) in the GT. I didn't see it until afterward, but it appears we're on the same wavelength. As Sons should be, I suppose.

Game 156 Thread: Sept. 21 @ Cubs, 11.20a

Jamey Wright (5-4, 4.30) vs. Jacob Turner (5-10, 6.20).

Saturday we choked the party.
Giants lost because they're sorry.

Sunday, please don't crumble once again.
Cause it really ain't much fun
When the bullpen gives up runs
And we won't enjoy the weekend with a split

I've been stranded with a blank tv
(Thanks to the hacks at TWC)
Even had to listen to Charley for the games
But I'm going to take a shit
On Security Benefit
If I have to hear that fucking commercial with the grandpa and the kid one more goddamn time

Today, it's Wright.
(Donnie is crazy.)
But Wright just may be the lunatic we're looking for.
Just try to last
And don't throw BP
You may be old, but that's okay; you're Jamey Wright.


Not sure how I feel about this. #Dodgertober? Uh, okay.

(Who am I kidding, I know I'll buy one.)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Post-Game 155 Thread: Dodgers Choke, But Giants Fall Too


How does one reward Adrian Gonzalez for two home runs, putting him ahead of all others in the major leagues for RBI (with 111)? Certainly not by collapsing up and down the bullpen (thanks to another ineffective start by Roberto Hernandez), most notably by J.P. Howell (0.2 IP, 4 ER) and Brian Wilson (0.2 IP, 2 ER). A 6-1 lead evaporated in the seventh and eighth innings in Wrigley Field, and the Dodgers lost a chance to gain ground on the Giants.

On the positive side, however, there was this Yasiel Puig highlight:

So that was pretty cool. Cooler than the bullpen.

Meanwhile, we found out later tonight that the Giants fell short in their ninth-inning rally, falling 3-2 to the Padres. So the lead stretches back to 3.5 games, and the magic number diminishes to 5 with seven to play (eight to play for Giants). Let's take the finale tomorrow and worry about the rest back at home.

Rookie Hazing Continues

Joc Pederson does a Starbucks run in Chicago — in full uniform.

photo from Pederson's Instagram

That sucked in so many ways

And then I had to make it down all these steps after all you can drink and eat. 

Tough loss.  Especially if you're wearing dodgers gear in chi town.   

This might help. 



All you can eaaaatttttttt.......all you can drink.... Trouble breathing.   

Not beaten up yet.  But getting there 

Greetings From Wrigley

Actually I'm at a rooftop bar across from Wrigley.  All you can drink and eat.  

This might be my last broadcast

Game 155 Thread: Sept. 20 vs. Cubs, 10a

Roberto Hernandez (8-11, 4.06) vs. Felix Doubront (2-1, 1.50).

Is it me, or are these games getting earlier and earlier? As the Dodgers go to the third game of this series, let's hope that the Wrigley Field's confines can continue to be just as friendly for the visiting team as they were in the first two games. Not hoping for much given the Dodgers throw Roberto Hernandez, 0-2 in his last three starts, supported by a bullpen which had to put in an uncharacteristic amount of work yesterday in early relief for Clayton Kershaw. Doubront has apparently impressed in his three starts since joining the rotation August 30. But look, if this one goes bad, you can just hit snooze, turn off Fox (that's right, you will actually be able to see today's game!), and go back to bed.

Dodgers' magic number:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Post-Game 154 Thread: Postseason Bound!


I was over at Dodger Stadium this afternoon, and despite the fact that the game was on televisions in the Top of the Park store, and the fact that I wrote the Game Thread for this game, I totally spaced out that it was a live broadcast of today's game. Maybe it was the fact that I don't normally get Time Warner Sportsnet broadcasts. Maybe it was the fact that the Dodgers had a ridiculous 14-3 lead at the time (to which either Nomar or Orel mentioned that the Cubs needed at least a touchdown to narrow the gap). Or maybe the thought of A.J. Ellis having two HR in a single game seemed totally preposterous.

When I finally got done perusing Dodgers items for purchase (more on this in a later post!), I realized that it was today's game, a pummeling at Wrigley Field at the hands of A.J. Ellis (two two-run HRs, in the first and third innings), Matt Kemp (a three-run HR in the first), and Yasiel Puig (a three-run HR in the sixth). With a six-run inning in both the first and sixth innings, the Dodgers cruised to victory on offensive power, which was fortunate as Clayton Kershaw battled control to eke out five innings (7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB and 9 Ks) and barely earn his major-league-leading 20th win of the season. Congratulations, Clayton; you've lifted the team so many times this year, it's the least they could do to lift you up for once.

With the Pirates' comeback victory over the Brewers, catalyzed by former Dodger Russell Martin's eighth-inning, three-run HR off of former Dodger Jonathan Broxton, the Dodgers have clinched a berth in the playoffs. (At this point, I think we want Milwaukee to start winning, in the hopes that they steal a wild-card spot from the Giants.)

More importantly, with the Giants' defeat to the Padres tonight, led by Tim Hudson allowing four runs in the first inning, the magic number for the division diminishes to 6 with eight games to play (nine games to play for the Giants). Favorable outcomes in only six of those 17 opportunities means the Dodgers win the West. Keep it coming, boys!

Game 154 Thread: Sept. 19 @ Cubs, 11.30a

Clayton Kershaw (19-3, 1.70) vs. Edwin Jackson (6-14, 6.09).

If the Dodgers can just focus in their last nine games, they've got a shot at locking the playoffs by the end of today, and the division as soon as...hmm, I guess the home series with the Giants early next week (magic number is 2 for the playoffs and 8 for the NL West title). Let's start by watching to see if Clayton Kershaw can earn his 20th win, for only the second time in his career (2011, Kershaw's first All-Star year). The Giants don't start their series with the Padres until later in the day, so wouldn't it be great if we could extend our lead back to three games before they take the field? All we need is some...focus.


NLCS Home Game 3.

Go big or go home.

More to the point, go big or stay home during earlier playoff games.

And are people really confused by "Print at Home?"


Chances for D.D not looking so hot... 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Post-Game 153 Thread: Good Dodgers!

Happy-sided Two-Face!


The Dodgers flew to Chicago last night, but they opted not to show up until the seventh inning. Down 4-1 thanks to an uncharacteristically off Zack Greinke (5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB and 5 Ks), the Dodgers decided to break out the whupping sticks and not lose to a sub-.500 team.

Hanley Ramirez started off with a one-out single; Carl Crawford followed with a single; Juan Uribe reached on a force out that scored HanRam. But the floodgates opened when Andre Ethier, PH for A.J. Ellis, hit a double to left-center that scored Crawford (and probably should have scored Uribe, who went to third), to make it 4-3. Justin Turner grounded out to third, scoring Uribe and tying the game. And then Dee Gordon doubled in Ethier (5-4 LA), and Yasiel Puig singled Gordon in. 6-4 Dodgers, thanks to a five-run seventh inning.

The Dodgers added a run in the eighth (Drew Butera with a bases-loaded walk), and in the ninth (Matt Kemp with a sacrifice fly to left field). The Dodgers may have showed up late, but they won the game and picked up a half-game on the idle Giants, to extend the lead to 2.5 games with nine to play (ten for San Francisco). Let's hope the good side of the Dodgers' duplicitous nature continues to turn up.

Game 153 Thread: Sept. 18 @ Cubs, 5p

"Changing your pillowcase helps prevent acne."

Zack Greinke (15-8, 2.64) vs. Tsuyoshi Wada (4-3, 3.34).

Two-faced? These Dodgers? They're 40-35 at home and 46-31 on the road. They score 17 runs one day, then give up 16 another day. With the exception of the consistently good (Kershaw and AGon) and consistently bad (Perez), the team is riddled (Riddlered?) with schizo performers: Good/Bad Haren. Developing/Immature Puig. Injured/Healthy Kemp. Terrible/Serviceable League. Hence, we have no idea which Dodgers team will show up today in Chicago, even with the Giants winning with sphincter-tightening regularity. Roll those dice!

Dodgers Triple-A Leaves Albuquerque for Oklahoma City

Peter Guber gets a team of his own!

LOS ANGELES -- The owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement to buy a stake in the Oklahoma City RedHawks, and the team will change its Triple-A affiliation to Oklahoma City next year.

The deal marks the end of the Dodgers' minor league presence in Albuquerque after 44 years. The Dodgers will continue to play in the Pacific Coast League while moving to their American Northern Division and playing at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

The agreement announced Wednesday is part of a partnership in which Peter Guber will be executive chairman and managing director of the RedHawks, and partners Paul Schaeffer and Larry Freedman will manage the company's operations.

The trio has held similar roles as principals with Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC. Magic Johnson was a founding partner with MBP in the Dayton Dragons franchise of the Midwest League, which was recently sold.

MBP bought the Oklahoma City franchise at the end of the 2010 season. It had been affiliated with the Houston Astros.

According to Dodgers.com, Los Angeles also signed an agreement Wednesday with the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League through the 2016 season and will move its Double-A team from Chattanooga, Tenn. I've actually been to a Tulsa Drillers game, so I'm cracking up here. Should have saved that blue hat.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Post-Game 152 Thread: Missed It By That Much


Making another entry in the annals of soul-destroying, confidence-eroding, early-career disastrous showings (see: Pederson, Joc), Don Mattingly made sure Carlos Frias was not only torched, but his ashes were smoldering and blown into the wind, before removing him from today's game. Mattingly let Frias struggle through 11 batters and six earned runs (which ballooned to 8 ER thanks to reliever Scott Elbert), inflating Frias' ERA to 6.58 and ruining any hope of self-confidence this young guy had. Way to go, Donnie!

With .116 batter Tim Federowicz behind the plate today (0-for-4), it wasn't like we were poised for victory. Darwin Barney and Miguel Rojas, both of whom also started today's game, eked out two late-game RBI. But it still sucks to lose such a close game.

Giants won, albeit barely, but as expected given Madison Bumgarner's start. So the lead is two games, with 10 to play. The Dodgers start a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs. Get ready for a 1-3 showing.

Game 152 Thread: Sept. 17 @ Rockies, 12n

Not Taye Diggs; Carlos Frias

Carlos Frias (0-0, 3.91) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (13-11, 4.28).

In tonight's performance, the role of Hyun-Jin Ryu will be played by Carlos Frias. Who is not rotund, nor is he Korean.

But it should make for a a pretty good show--Frias held the Nationals scoreless over six innings, a highlight in that otherwise regrettable game--so long as Frias doesn't let the perils of run-happy Coors Field crush the life in his soul. To paraphrase the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Frias, last; Frias, last; (we will) thank God almighty (if) we (can make) Frias last." Didn't know MLK was a Dodger fan, but I'll go with it.

The Giants and Diamondbacks play their game early as well (12:30p, first pitch), but with Madison Bumgarner on the mound for San Francisco, I'm guessing we'll have to win to keep the NL West lead at 3.

SoSG Fest 2014 - At Last, The Story Can Be Told

We came. We saw. We conquered.

Beer was drank.
Grub was eaten.
Money wasn't paid by this person (who do I owe, btw?)
Beer was drank.
Getting together the SoSG crew is like a family reunion you crash of a much more level-headed family than your own. Flame wars are put aside for the greater good.

As SoSG continues to morph

... one thing brings us all back together. THE BOYS IN BLUE. And free food and drinks (seriously, did I skip out on a check? I do that sometimes.)
Please note: to protect the identities of our Sons and loyal athletic supporters, no heads were captured by this roving photog.

REAL DELINO stands guard to keep the ruffians, free loaders and SoSG Lasorda out. 

Some men and a lady.

This guy

That Guy

Ooo... Look at me.  I've got some foreign shirt.  (Ed Note: SOSG Sax did change into Dodgers gear, but continued wearing his kilt)

I don't know what the F this game is... or why it took half of the SoSG contingency to play it.  The line between the Fest and D&D got perilously thin. 


Three of the Original Sons crammed into the PhotoBooth. 

Hot ticket item at the Dodgers Chachki Exchange:  ARMLESS MATTINGLY.  

Everyone went home a winner.  Except those who didn't get anything. 

Cruel, cruel irony.  A Cardinals Tattoo in the Cracker Jack box.   And why is it so hard to find the peanuts in those boxes.  When I was a young lad, Cracker Jack meant more than just popcorn.  It meant you'd get peanuts.  Oh so many peanuts.  Why do these things change?  How does Arnold get turned into frikkin Colin Farrell in the Total Recall remake...  I digress. 

The biggest winner of all.  SOSG Orel.  With TWO signed DELINO cards. 

There was much rejoicing as Kershaw picked up his 19th and SOSG Fest proved to be a stirring success! 

There was a celebratory bubble just a second before I took this photo.

As SoSG lumbers into its 43rd season, we want to thank our loyal readers, the Dodgers organization, our Moms, the former SoSG Sons who are still stuck behind enemy lines and, of course, Jason Grabowski.

Here's to more Fests. More Threads. And maybe some day, the return of Dodgers Baseball to our actual f'ing televisions. #ineedmydodgers