Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Post-Game 79 Thread: Dodgers Wash Hands Of Monday's Debacle


If cleanliness is next to godliness, then the Dodgers' extra-inning victory tonight was...still pretty mortal, but a win nonetheless. Credit Howie Kendrick (4-for-5), not only for getting the Dodgers back in the game with a game-tying RBI single in the seventh, as well as the go-ahead solo HR in the 10th. The Dodgers added two more with a 2-RBI Yasmani Grandal double; Grandal also had a two-run HR in the second to give the Dodgers a short-lived 2-0 lead. (I suppose that makes Grandal more of the hero than Kendrick; work with me here.)

Carlos Frias avoided the food poisoning that ailed his colleague...and went only one more inning than Mike Bolsinger last night, giving up three more runs than Gastro Boy. He also gave up three more earned runs than Bolsinger, as well. But this time, Juan Nicasio, Pedro Baez, and Joel Peralta all had scoreless efforts; and though Kenley Jansen gave up an earned run in the tenth (from Paul Goldschmidt, who absolutely owns us), the Dodgers prevailed.

The Giants lost in Miami (Dee Gordon had an inside-the-park HR!), so the lead extends back to 1.5 games.

Game 79 Thread: June 30 @ D'backs, 6:30p

Carlos Frias (5-5, 4.31) vs. Rubby De La Rosa (6-3, 4.69)

Don't let what happened to Mike Bolsinger happen again! Always wash your hands before preparing Curly Fries.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Game 78 Thread: June 29 @ D'backs, 6.30p

Mike Bolsigner (4-2, 2.95) vs. Allen Webster (1-1, 6.46).

Admittedly, when thinking about today's opposing starter and subsequent GT theme, I didn't look this one up. And since I'm a little fuzzy on all these 80's sitcoms, I did check the lyrics, though. And when I saw "You made me leap without taking a look" was rhymed with "You reeled me right in line, sinker, and hook", I have to admit I got a little depressed at how awkward that lyric reads. How about we repurpose this to, "We just can't wait to face this new stinker* / Fastball and change; not much of a sinker"? Then came you!

Anyway, the Dodgers, having just won their first series in their last four attempts, and having played 17 games in a row, square off against the Diamondbacks on the road. Meanwhile, the Giants, only one game behind the Dodgers, get their second day off in that same 17-day span, which is also their fourth day off this month. Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis? Oh dammit, I think I got that all mixed up.

Note: (*) Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2008 (18th round)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Post-Game 77 Thread: Greinke Finally Prevails

"My God, they're not going to give me run support, yet again. And why the hell is that Callaspo guy batting seventh again, Donnie? I can't take this crap."


Once again burdened with the albatross of anemic Dodgers offense, Zack Greinke pitched into the eighth inning and won the rubber match for us against Miami, 2-0. His outstanding performance was again necessary, as the Dodgers' only real run came off a seventh-inning Adrian Gonzalez double (his 23rd, and 48th RBI), scoring Howie Kendrick from first. Kendrick got an RBI of his own in the fifth, but it was kind of a gift as a grounder to second with men at the corners scored Jimmy Rollins from third, but should have been an inning-ending double play if not for Adeiny Hechavarria's botched throw to first (Kendrick was safe as Justin Bour was dragged off the bag).

Rollins went 1-for-4 and is at .211. Call the fireworks brigade.

Greinke went 7.2 IP and gave up no ER, 6 Ks and 1 BB, to lower his ERA to 1.58. Says ESPN in its Sunday Power Rankings article:

2. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers: Greinke didn’t ask to be a show room display for the importance of run support, but finally, he got a win for the first time in 10 starts, beating the Marlins in Miami by a score of 2-0. Overall, Greinke is getting 3.75 runs per game in support on the season, but that’s counting a lot of scoring that happened in his first six starts, when he got his first five wins. Greinke has gotten just 2.6 runs per game over the past 10 turns (counting Sunday), and just seven runs total in his past five. Greinke’s scoreless streak is now at 20⅔ IP; can you blame a guy for doing whatever it took to get one measly win?

So now Greinke is 6-2, but he should be at least 9-2, even with the sporadic support from the lineup. That’s because the Dodgers’ pen also hasn’t done him many favors, costing him three wins. That trio of victories taken away from Greinke’s season tally is not the most in the National League -- Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs and Julio Teheran of the Braves have both seen five wins slip away thanks to pen implosions -- but you’d be forgiven if you thought that if it wasn’t for bad luck, Greinke wouldn’t have any. Even without those wins, Greinke should at least have the honor of following Max Scherzer in the All-Star Game.

Off to Arizona for three, starting Monday.

photo: AP / J Pat Carter

The Road to 30***: D'Lyin's Long Strange Trip to Every Baseball Park

And all roads must come to an end.

Except for the James Bond series.

And the never-hotter career of Andy Dick.

I couldn’t tell you the first day I went to a baseball park. Sometime in 1980/81 when the Phillies were rocking a lineup including Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Quick Draw Tug McGraw and “Mister .160” John Vukovich.

On July 5, 2015, I will have officially been to every major league ballpark*** And unlike the finale of The Sopranos, I know how this ends. In Arlington, Texas next to a friend who refuses to be named.
For the next chunk of days, I’ll be doing a retrospective of my long strange journey from young Carlton Fisk fan to ol’ dirty bastard obsessed with the Mets, Dodgers and the early work of Shannon Tweed.

I didn’t take notes at every park or have a Sax-like OCD-level tradition with each game. So you’ve been warned: some of these memories might be slightly tainted, exaggerated or flat-out wrong.

1.Veterans Stadium / Citizens Bank Park

The place where it all began, a stadium that should have resulted in my untimely demise as a Mets and NY Giants sympathizer. Thankfully, the angriest, nastiest fans in the biz (and I say that with all peace and love) are also the drunkest. As long as I made it to the seventh inning or third quarter, I was home free with only the faint smell of thrown beers and other questionable liquids. Veterans Stadium was the ultimate old school dump… replaced by one of those perfectly legit new stadiums that seemed to take/steal its design from Camden Yard.

The Vet was also the location of my first concert: Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers, a show which came FREE with a ticket to the game.

(For comparison's sake, the Dodgers recently had Robin Thicke perform before a game. And that right there is Philly vs LA in a nutshell.)

The Vet's parking lot (shared by the Spectrum back in the day) also provided my first contact high outside a Phil Collins show. Just as significantly, the Vet was the first (and, to date, last) time a stranger looked at my privates while at the urinals and felt the need to comment on it/them.

Yeah, Vet stadium was a dump that lent itself to fights, harassment and the occasional gawking leers at my genitals.... But it was our dump.

And now there’s Citizen Bank Park… a home-run hitter's fantasy. Complete with bars and restaurants across the street… as opposed to the toothless fellas who used to sell year old pretzels in paper bags. I’m all for progress, and Citizens Bank is a very nice park… but Philly’s not supposed to have nice things. It’s like watching your slobby cousin drive a new BMW. Part of the reason you loved him is he made you feel better about yourself when he owned a VW bug that smelled of French fries. Baseball grew up, getting bigger, roidier and prettier... and so did Philadelphia sports arenas.

Allow me to wax nostalgic for the old days of Philly sports while calling my shrink about that bathroom experience.

***Like fu-k I’m going back to Miami for their new park.

Their fans don’t even go, so S my Bs Miami.

Game 77 Thread: June 28 @ Marlins, 10a

Focus, Zack, focus.

Zack Greinke (5-2, 1.70) vs. Jose Urena (1-3, 4.34).

Zack is Mr. Consistency, having gone at least six innings in all 15 of his starts this season. The Dodger bats, let's just say they could use some more consistency. Let's also forget yesterday's defense and win this freakin' series.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Game 76 Thread: June 27 @ Marlins, 1p

"Today's a great day for a ballgame. Also, why am I in Texas?"

Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 3.33) vs. Tom Koehler (5-4, 3.76).

Funny thing about the win stat: It's practically useless, but we still want our guys to rack 'em up. With Giancarlo Stanton headed to the DL and the Dodger bats loving the Miami heat, now's the time. Go Blue!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Game 75 Thread: June 26 @ Marlins, 4p

Brett Anderson may be pitching but there's no raining on this parade!

Brett Anderson (3-4, 3.29) vs. Justin Nicolino (1-0, 0.00).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Addressing Dodger Holes

Jason Martinez of ESPN.com indicated the Jimmy Rollins hole can be filled, but our starting pitcher rotation is the bigger vulnerability (link insider only):

Los Angeles Dodgers
39-33 record (NL West leader)
Trade target: Cole Hamels, LHP

The Dodgers have fared quite well in the pitching department despite losing starters Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder surgery) for the season. Of course, that's helped by Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke making two out of every five starts.

But don't let the success of the rotation mislead you into believing that struggling shortstop Jimmy Rollins is this team's biggest problem. Top prospect Corey Seager, currently getting his feet wet in Triple-A, will be the starting shortstop if Rollins doesn't get on track soon. That's a simple solution should the team conclude that the 36-year-old doesn't have enough left in the tank.

But what happens when guys like Mike Bolsinger (5.32 ERA over his past four starts) and Carlos Frias (10 ER in 10 2/3 innings over his past two starts) come back down to earth, which they're already showing signs of doing? And what if Brett Anderson gets hurt? His 14 starts are the most he has made in a season since 2010.

They'll need more than Brandon Beachy, who recently began a rehab assignment and is trying to come back from his second Tommy John surgery, if they want to avoid falling victim to another late-season Giants run.

With Joc Pederson now established as a key part of this Dodgers' team and Seager in line to be the team's starting shortstop very soon, the team might have a difficult time putting together a package to land Hamels. But if they were willing to include Julio Urias, who likely would be in the Phillies' rotation in 2016 as a 19-year-old, they might be able to get something done.

Game 74 Thread: June 25 @ Cubs, 11:20a

I think it's fair to call Frias "seasoned" at this point.

Carlos Frias (4-5, 4.68) vs. Jon Lester (4-5, 3.80)

Remember all the Lester hubbub in the offseason? Could we have imagined that he'd have the exact same record as Carlos Frias on June 25? OK, so Lester has more than a slight edge in ERA, strikeouts, and probably every other stat you can think of, but WINS AND LOSSES, AM I RIGHT?

It's lunch baseball, kids, and you get a heaping helping of Curly Fries, whether you like it or not.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Game 73 Thread: June 24 @ Cubs, 5p

"Do YOU think I say 'we' and 'us' too much, Mike? Mike? Hello?"

Mike Bolsinger (4-2, 2.87) vs. Kyle Hendricks (2-3, 4.28)

Does anyone know if that team that scored 10 runs on Sunday ever got on the plane to Chicago?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Game 72 Thread: June 23 @ Cubs, 5p


Zack Greinke (5-2, 1.81) vs Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.89).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Game 71 Thread: June 22 @ Cubs, 5p

"Miss u, bae."

Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 3.29) vs. Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.68)

Both of these teams were the talk of the offseason, and both now have very similar records. The difference between the two appears to be competition, as the Dodgers are in first, but the Cubs' 37-30 record is only good enough for third.

This is the first of a four-game series, but weather MIGHT be a factor tonight. Will be be doing this game thread over tomorrow?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Game 70 Thread: June 21 vs. Giants, 5p

Happy Father's Day!

Brett Anderson (2-4, 3.43) vs. Timmeh Lincecum (7-3, 3.31)

Dodgers try to salvage one game out of the series and keep a tedious Division lead before heading out for a key series with the Cubs in Chicago. Let's send them off in a winning way and get a win for all the dads out there!

Image swiped from here. Awesome products so jump over and give them some business!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Game 69 Thread: June 20 vs. Giants, 4:15p

For luck. Also, I'm hungry.

Carlos Frias (4-4, 4.14) vs. Tim Hudson (4-6. 4.65).

Friday, June 19, 2015

Game 68 Thread: June 19 vs. Giants, 7p

Whoa! Easy, Chuck! They can't all be winners!

Mike Bolsinger (4-1, 2.25) vs. Chris Heston (6-5, 3.76)

Which Chris Heston will we get tonight: The one who no-hit the Mets (with THREE hit-by-pitch, mind you), or the one who only lasted five innings against the Diamondbacks?

Which Dodgers offense will we get tonight: The hot-hitting sluggers from April/early-May or the anemic lineup that, by some miracle, managed to eke out a win without registering an RBI last night?

Which Sons of Steve Garvey will we get tonight: The drunk ones, or the really, REALLY drunk ones?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Post-Game 67 Thread: Walkoff Balk

Not your average walkoff.


Whole lotta goose eggs in that box score. If the Dodgers and their ice-cold bats were going to win tonight, something different had to happen. After all, they left men stranded everywhere all night. But Greinke pitched flawlessly and the Dodgers found themselves in a scoreless tie with two out and Kiké Hernandez on third in the ninth. Hernandez juked, Rangers pitcher Keone Kela flinched, and the balkoff win was in the books.

The Dodgers' three-game losing streak ends in the most ignominious of ways, but (everybody together now) we'll take it.

Game 67 Thread: June 18 vs. Rangers, 7p

Zack Greinke (5-2, 1.95) vs. Anthony Ranaudo (0-1, 32.40)

Look, if the slumping Dodgers' offense can't break out against a guy with a THIRTY-TWO POINT FOUR-OH ERA, then they've officially Ranaudo excuses.

How about not getting swept, Dodgers? Deal?

Which NL West Team Do You Root For?

Here's what I got.

Make sure you fill out the mlb.com quiz, "can we guess which NL West team you root for", and see if you generate the same answer!

(I'm also a Brewers and Braves fan, apparently.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Game 66 Thread: June 17 vs. Rangers, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 3.21) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (3-2, 3.03).

How to hype an upcoming game, exhibit 426. MLB.com game preview:

• Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins has a .444 career average (8-for-18) with one home run against Rodriguez.

Rollins is batting .198 (46-for-232) all year.

I'll take the under. (Prove me wrong, J-Roll!)

One More Thing On That Amazing Pederson Catch

Look, I agree, Joc's game-saving catch in the ninth inning last weekend was indeed incredible. But I have to laugh when reading shoddy journalism like this mlb.com recap from Lyle Spencer:

Like the incomparable Willie Mays, the eternal gold standard for center fielders, Pederson has the knack of anticipating where a ball is going to land and turning and sprinting to that location. It is something his father taught him when he was a kid, Joc said.

If Willie Mays is incomparable, then why the heck are you comparing him to Joc Pederson?!

Spencer goes on to make sure we are not, in fact, comparing this catch to any of Mays' catches:

In the grand scheme, there likely never will be a catch to match the one Mays made in the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds in New York, stealing extra bases from Vic Wertz with an over-the-shoulder stab with his back to home plate. The park was as big as Yellowstone, and Mays seemingly ran forever to get there and glove it.

Pederson, running full tilt off the crack of the bat, made it to the spot about 40 feet from the 396 sign in right-center and met the wall leading with his head.

So that's clear. Incomparably so.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Game 65 Thread: June 16 @ Rangers, 5p

Brett Anderson (2-4, 3.57) vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 0.42).

Chi Chi is known for being tough and fierce, but Dodger fans in particular should be particularly interested in this opponent's start:

Gonzalez enters the game with a 2-1 record and 0.42 ERA in three career starts. His latest start against the Athletics was his first loss, but he went seven innings and allowed only one run.

Since Fernando Valenzuela posted a 0.33 ERA through his first three outings in 1981, the only other pitcher with a lower ERA than Gonzalez through his first three starts and at least 20 innings pitched is Pat Combs, who had a 0.41 ERA through three outings for the Phillies in 1989, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Wait a minute, Chi Chi is channeling our own Dodger legend?! Say it ain't so! Can we put up a fight?

Maybe it's about time that we grow up a bit and quit the histrionics, and focus instead on scoring some damn runs.

Baseball World Heavyweight Championship Update for 6/16/15

(Sorry. It's been a while. Stuff happens.)

When we last saw the Baseball World Heavyweight Title (which, for those of you just joining us, imagines the World Series Championship as a wrestling belt defended throughout the regular season), it was in the hands of of the big stinky Giants. However, their second reign of 2015 was cut short by a band of Pirates from the mean streets of Pittsburgh, PA. The Pirates defeated the Giants in an epic sweep June 1-3, to capture the coveted strap.

Before I could even put their logo plates on the belt*, though, the Pirates were upended by their NL Central rivals, the Brewers, on June 9. The Brewers, using one of their most famous assets, showered the Bucs with an epic beer bath and stole the title.

The Brewers survived a challenge from first-time contenders the Nationals, but have already dropped the first fall to the Kansas City Royals. If the champs lose today or tomorrow, the belt will head to the American League for the first time this season. (This will also make things difficult for the Dodgers, as they seek to regain the title.)

Here is the title history to date:

Current Champion: Milwaukee Brewers

1) San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
6 days
(vs. AZ)
2) San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
13 days
(vs. CHC, COL)
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
25 days
4) San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
13 days
3 (vs. COL, MIL, ATL)
5) Pittsburgh Pirates
San Francisco Giants
7 days
1 (vs. ATL)
6) Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates
8 days
1 (vs. WAS)

Speaking of the Dodgers...

The last update also introduced you to the SoSG World Championship, a title that I can fully impose my Dodgers bias on. After two successful title defenses, against the Padres and the Braves, the Dodgers shockingly lost the SoSG World Championship to the hated St. Louis Cardinals...

...or so they thought. In light of this morning's news of the FBI investigating the Cardinals for hacking the Astros' player information database, the championship committee has stripped the Cardinals of the SoSG Championship and returned it to the Dodgers. The two series that the Cardinals won have been stricken from the record, and the team has been banned from all shots at BOTH CHAMPIONSHIP BELTS for the rest of 2015. (This is also bad news for the Rockies and Marlins, who would technically have been SoSG title holders, had this grave injustice not occurred.) Sorry, Cardinals, but that's...best for business.

The title history below reflects the Cardinals' ban:

Current Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers

1) Los Angeles Dodgers
Awarded by SoSG
26 days
(vs. SD, ATL, COL, AZ, SD)

The Dodgers aren't out of the woods yet, despite having their belt returned to them today. They are already down one fall in a four-game series with the Texas Rangers. They will need to win two games to retain the belt...

...unless I don't feel like handing it over.


*UPDATE (3:56pm): It turns out I did indeed update the belt for the Pirates, and then forgot all about it! So, for posterity, here is the BWHT with the Pirates' side plates. Thanks again for beating the Giants, lads!

The Dodgers' Mighty Pen

Grantland's weekly baseball team "power ranking" equivalent, "The 30", focuses on strikeouts this week. And in the top tier, the Dodgers (the overall #2 team to the Cardinals) receive in-depth review from Jonah Keri, who analyzes the bullpen's improved strikeout rate:

Bullpen Bullets

The Dodgers turn to a high-strikeout bullpen in the hopes of avoiding another October disappointment.

3. Kansas City Royals (34-25, plus-45, LW: 4)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (37-26, plus-60, LW: 2)
1. St. Louis Cardinals (41-21, plus-68, LW: 1)

As I wrote last week, it’s not fair to blame all of the 2014 Dodgers’ playoff failures on Don Mattingly — or Clayton Kershaw, for that matter. By allowing even the best starting pitchers to get the help they need when the game’s on the line, a loaded bullpen can make any manager look brilliant, but last year’s Dodgers didn’t have anything close to a loaded pen. Really, they didn’t have any consistently reliable options beyond closer Kenley Jansen. This year, though, the Dodgers do have that kind of strength and depth in their relief corps, and while they’re one of the elite teams in the majors, that improved pen bodes well for their postseason chances.

So far in 2015, Dodgers relievers have struck out more batters than any other bullpen in the National League — and more than any team in baseball, save for the Astros — flashing a 26.9 percent K rate. That’s up sharply from last year’s relief crew, who fanned 22.3 percent of the batters they faced, good for just 16th in MLB. A bit of that uptick is because of Jansen, who’s been absolutely spectacular since returning from an early-season injury, punching out 20 batters while allowing just four hits and no walks in 11 innings. But most of it is thanks to a group of no-names who’ve come up big in L.A., showcasing both the Dodgers’ scouting and player development chops, in addition to the franchise’s savvy in the trade market.

The best homegrown results come from two Dominican Republic signees. Yimi Garcia was signed back in 2009 and made his 10-inning debut with the Dodgers in 2014. This year, the 24-year-old right-hander has become a key part of the pen, making 29 appearances and striking out 38 batters in 26 innings. While Garcia has given up five homers already, the Dodgers can’t have too many complaints for a pitcher making the league minimum and just getting his feet wet. Then there’s Pedro Baez, who’s currently on the disabled list but has arguably been the club’s best reliever this year aside from Jansen. Signed in 2007, Baez has fanned 22 batters and allowed just three walks and one homer in 15.1 innings this season.

Meanwhile, the bullpen’s offseason imports are a diverse and eclectic group. Let’s take a look at the three who are averaging at least one strikeout per inning:

• Juan Nicasio, a 28-year-old righty, spent his entire pro career with the Rockies (mostly as a starter) before coming to L.A. in November for marginal outfield prospect Noel Cuevas. Nicasio’s command has wavered at times this year, as evidenced by his 13 walks in 26 innings, but he has helped to offset that with 29 strikeouts. A fastball-slider pitcher like Garcia, Nicasio has generated whiffs on 16 percent of the sliders he’s thrown.

• Adam Liberatore, a 28-year-old lefty, was drafted in the 21st round by the Rays back in 2010 when Andrew Friedman was running the show in Tampa Bay. One of Friedman’s first moves as Dodgers president of baseball ops was to grab the southpaw, seemingly as a throw-in on a four-player trade that brought Joel Peralta to Los Angeles last November. Instead, Liberatore, who has notched 20 K’s and allowed just 16 baserunners in 18.2 innings, has been the biggest catch of the four players involved in the deal.

• Chris Hatcher came to the Dodgers via the seven-player deal that shipped Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami in December. The 30-year-old righty with an ugly 6.38 ERA hasn’t been as effective as his fellow bullpen acquisitions, but Hatcher has mostly been victimized by bad batted-ball luck. He’s struck out 19 batters and allowed just one home run in 18.1 innings of work, so expect that ERA to drop substantially as regression starts to work in his favor.

All of these relievers have established limited track records for success, but in what figures to be a fruitful trade market for relief pitchers (Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Rodriguez, lots of setup men, and maybe even Aroldis Chapman), the Dodgers could still look to upgrade. If they do, though, it would be more of a want than a need — especially compared to the barren bullpen they carried last year. Whether they make any changes to the pen, the Dodgers will need stars like Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, and Joc Pederson to come through if they’re to finally get past the Cardinals come the postseason. But to break their 27-year World Series drought, they’ll likely need all of that plus strong support from a bullpen that finally looks like it might be capable of providing it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Post-Game 64 Thread: Adrian Gonzalez Should Not Be A DH


Not sure what the hell Don Mattingly was thinking here, but putting in Adrian Gonzalez as a DH (in order to wedge Alberto Callaspo into the lineup, for some bizarre reason) was absolutely not the right move.

Gonzalez is a career .293/.365/.501 batter. He's .295/.369/.506 as a 1B, where he has played in roughly 95% of his plate appearances. As a DH, Gonzalez is a woeful .248/.285/.418--all numbers which stand to further degrade after today's 0-for-4, 4 LOB, 1 GIDP play. Why Mattingly thought this was a good idea for Gonzalez at DH is beyond me.

But wait, a NL team uses the DH to sneak in another potent bat, right? So into the lineup went Callaspo--batting ninth with his .224 average, no less. Callaspo went 0-for-1 with 2 walks and a K, but had the almost-TOOTBLAN moment of failing to tag up from second and advance to third, on a long fly ball over Shin-Soo Choo's head (which Choo misplayed but finally caught). The Dodgers went from no outs to one out in the top of the sixth in a still scoreless game; Gonzalez did his aforementioned GIDP, and then the Rangers came out in the bottom of the sixth and bloodied Carlos Frias and Adam Liberatore for their four runs.

Why wasn't Alex Guerrero playing? Guerrero's OWAR is +0.9. Callaspo's OWAR is -0.3, which is the absolute worst on the whole Dodger team (i.e., below Mike Bolsinger's -0.2--and he's a pitcher).


The Dodgers got one back in the top of the eighth on a leadoff Yasmani Grandal HR.

Andre Ethier grounded into two double plays, which is only three fewer than the Giants had all game yesterday.

Game 64 Thread: June 15 @ Rangers, 5p

Carlos Frias (4-3, 3.86) vs. Yovani Gallardo (5-6, 3.45).

The above film shows how things can quickly turn bad for a shaky Gallardo start. Things should be interesting for the Dodgers, who haven't lost an interleague game this year (the Rangers are 1-1 interleague), and we face former Brewer Gallardo, who is 2-4 with a 5.23 ERA against us lifetime but has not seen us since he joined Texas this year.

The Dodgers had a tough time getting off the ground after the San Diego series, despite Sunday's late- and extra-inning heroics. Can we launch better from the plate at the Ballpark at Arlington Globe Life Park (what the hell is that?)?

Post-Game 63 Thread: A-Gon's Back, But Joc Is Incredible

A-Gon's back.


All the talk is about Joc Pederson's amazing catch in center field in the bottom of the ninth inning, saving the game for the Dodgers and allowing the extra inning frames to even happen. And rightfully so; the catch was INCREDIBLE (and you need to see it; if all goes well it is embedded below, along with Charley Steiner, Orel Hershiser, and even Rick Monday calling the play.).

But let's skip past the early-inning foreplay (including an Andre Ethier solo HR in the seventh, and a Adrian Gonzalez RBI double (Gonzalez took third on the throw) in the eighth), and move right on from that Pederson highlight to extra innings. Firstly, Josh Ravin, ladies and gentlemen: two innings of pretty good work, the first of which was extended when the Padres whined about Enrique Hernandez not really touching second on a 3-6-3 double play. Ravin went ahead and struck out Derek Norris and Cory Spangenberg to close the inning with Matt Kemp in scoring position. Ravin goes to 2-0 after today's game.

In the top of the 12th, Alberto Callapso had a one-out double to right over the head of Matt Kemp; Hernandez and Pederson walked; and the stage was set for Alex Guerrero, whom Don Mattingly just said was better as a pinch-hitter than starting 3B (relative to Justin Turner). Guerrero...lined to Kemp in right, and because it was a short line out, Callaspo could not score from third (Callaspo was nabbed by Kemp in the third inning with a putout at the plate).

Up came Gonzalez, who has been has been slumping since his torrid April. Gonzalez singled to center, scoring Callaspo and Hernandez. 4-2 Dodgers, and Kenley Jansen earned his ninth save in the 12th.

Coupled with the Giants' 4-0 loss and sweepage by the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers open up a 3.5 game lead in the West. Get set for a Texas Two-Step (two @ Arlington, followed by two @ home), starting tomorrow!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Game 63 Thread: June 14 @ Padres, 1p

Mike Bolsinger (4-1, 2.08) vs. James Shields (7-0, 3.79).

My god, it's this guy, again? According to the mlb.com preview, Shields is 1-1 against us, which makes no sense against a 7-0 record. Turns out Shields didn't factor into the decision in our Opening Day comeback win; he did beat us May 24 however in a 11-3 loss. So it's a double rubber match of sorts; let's hope we see some broken Shields today.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Game 62 Thread: June 13 @ Padres, 7p

Back to the classics.

Zack Greinke (5-1, 1.92) vs. Ian Kennedy (3-5, 6.48).

Darwin Barney DFAd

Need to make room for Ronald Torreyes, so Darwin Barney got slapped down. Fare thee well, Darwin Barney:

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers on Friday acquired infielder Ronald Torreyes from Toronto for cash considerations and made room for him by designating infielder Darwin Barney for assignment.

Torreyes was optioned to Double-A Tulsa.

The moves come in conjunction with the promotion of Cuban infielder Hector Olivera from Tulsa to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Torreyes, 22, has a .299 career batting average with 18 home runs and 231 RBIs in 537 Minor League games over six seasons with the Reds (2010-11), Cubs (2012-13), Astros (2013-15) and Blue Jays (2015) organizations.

Post-Game 61 Thread: A Messy Victory


Clayton Kershaw got plunked in the lower back on a Justin Upton line drive with two out in the first inning. Kershaw continued on to strike out 11 over 6.2 IP and yielding only 1 ER (a unexpected HR from Clint Barmes in the seventh) against 3 BB. But we fought on.

Wil Myers then reached on a stupid fricking infield pop fly, which saw Justin Turner crash into Yimi Garcia (who relieved Kershaw) and the ball drop while Alberto Callaspo looked on like an idiot. (Turner had moved from first to third after Adrian Gonzalez, who had GIDP'd with rancho ardiendo in the top of the seventh, was ejected for (correctly) arguing shitty strike zone calls.) And then Derek Norris hit a HR to put the Padres in front 3-2 and ruin Kershaw's night.

Ugliness abounded, but at least the Dodgers pulled it together for the victory. Howie Kendrick led off the eighth with a double, advancing to third on a Matt Kemp throwing error. Justin Turner singled Kendrick home, and then later that inning, PH Alex Guerrero came through again with a line drive to center, scoring Andre Ethier (who had reached on a single and advanced on an AJ Ellis walk). LA led 4-3; Chris Hatcher and Adam Liberatore held the eighth and Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth for the victory.

Gonzalez and Ellis both had RBI earlier in the game.

Meanwhile, up north, Chase Anderson outdueled Ashley Madison and the Diamondbacks won 1-0 in SF. The Giants were no-hit through six; Bumgarner gave up 9 hits over 8 innings, and the Giants lost their sixth straight home game, to drop 2.5 games back of the Dodgers. It's messy. But I like it.

photo: Getty Images

Friday, June 12, 2015

Game 61 Thread: June 12 @ Padres, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 3.36) vs Odrisamer Despaigne (3-4, 4.72).

Odrisamer Despaigne? I'm getting desperado migraines just thinking about tonight's game. There were a lot of concerns earlier on this season, but everyone is now calling Clayton Kershaw restored, having gone three starts and 22 innings while allowing only two runs. I suppose that was just a misdiagnosed reaper. Meanwhile, the young 28-year-old Despaigne is 0-2 in two starts with a 5.84 ERA against the Dodgers, so allow me some preordained ageisms and predict that this pitching matchup should work in our favor (even though the Dodgers are just 10-15 on the road).

At-Game Recap: 2015 Blogger Night, Part Deux

My view for the evening. Not bad at all.

After a year off in 2014, the Dodgers reinstated Blogger Night with a special 2-night affair on June 8th and 10th, 2015. The team continued their streak of being incredibly generous to this here site by allowing us to split our four invitations and attend both nights. SoSG Alex Cora and Franklin Stubbs attended the first night (read AC's recap here, if you haven't already) and I attended Wednesday night's festivities. (SoSG Dusty was sadly and unavoidably detained.)

This was a different experience from past Blogger Nights I have attended, but still a very enjoyable event. The evening kicked off with a presentation in the Hall of Fame conference room on the Club level. It's always interesting to see areas of the ballpark that the general public does not have access to. The presentation was two-fold: To introduce us to the extensive lineup of summer promotions and to show off some of Dodger Stadium's new culinary options for 2015. In attendance from the Dodgers front office were Steve Brener from Public Relations, VP of Ticket Sales David Siegel, VP of Marketing and Broadcasting Erik Braverman, Director of Advertising and Promotions Shelley Wagner, Director of Digital and Print Content (and Godfather of Dodger Bloggers) Jon Weisman, Social Media Coordinator Matthew Mesa, Marketing and Broadcasting Coordinator Claire Miller, and Assistant Director of Public Relations (and Blogger Night mainstay) Yvonne Carrasco.

Siegel started off by walking us through the very strong lineup of upcoming Dodgers promotions and giveaway items. He mentioned always wanting to give the fans "added value" for their ticket dollar. He promised that the fireworks show after the July 4th game will be the "best fireworks show in Los Angeles." That game will have a 4pm start, and Siegel indicated that there will be entertainment for the fans in the downtime between the end of the game and the 8:45 (or 9pm) start of the fireworks show. There was a huge assortment of the upcoming giveaway items laid out in the conference room, ranging from beach bags to barbecue tongs to hampers(!) to, of course, bobbleheads. The prize piece, in my opinion, was this absolutely gorgeous Sandy Koufax perfect game bobblehead, which will be given away August 13th.

Here are a few of the other items coming later this year.

Dodger Headphones. Siegel said (jokingly?) that they got special permission to make them look Beats by Dre-ish.

Father's Day BBQ Set. I'm guessing this will be a post-game giveaway. (Also, unless I misheard, the Father's Day Catch returns this year.)

A great-looking Maury Wills bobblehead, though the angle of the slide is perplexing. Is he sliding *back* to first?

Also on display (but my camera failed me) were the Juan Uribe Bobblehead (which appeared to be staring at me the whole time, making me sad), a new Yasiel Puig bobblehead, where he's making a diving catch, and the rest of the Cy Young pin collection. Also mentioned, but not on display, was a new Vin Scully bobblehead.

The second part of the presentation revolved around Levy Restaurants' new food options at the stadium. (AC covered this pretty well in his post, but we did get a couple of items that the Monday group did not.) Unfortunately, head chef Jason Tingley was not available this evening, and I did not get the names of the people who talked to us about the food. I enjoyed everything I got to taste (everything tastes better when it's free, but I would actually pay for all this stuff). The wings and sweet corn nachos AC mentioned were indeed great. I also sampled a full slice of the pepperoni pizza from Lasorda's Trattoria, which I found surprisingly great. Far better than standard stadium or theme park pizza. I washed it all down with my first taste of a Dodger Stadium michelada, which I didn't think I was going to like, but I really, really did. The most, let's say, "interesting" option of the night was a "concept" that the chefs are working on for the Extreme Loaded Dogs stand, the Pop Fly Dog.

It's a hot dog with "beer cheese" and popcorn, on a pretzel bun. I'm going to be brutally honest here. This one is a miss, at least in its current incarnation. The pretzel bun isn't pretzel-y enough, the popcorn doesn't really add anything except the sensation that you spilled other food on your food, and the beer cheese, while actually quite delicious, is visually off-putting (to put it politely). I get that the current stadium food climate calls for attempts to out-weird one another, but this one needs more time on the drawing board.

Here are a few more photos of the food items. I am still cursing myself for not partaking in the gelato cookie sandwiches from Lasorda's.

L.A. Street Dog, St. Louis Dog (with brisket) and the Pop Fly.

The presentation wrapped up there, and there was a brief time to mingle (which I kind of missed out on, due to continuing to eat and take pictures) before moving on to watch the game. All of us in attendance were given tickets on the Club level (a first for me, other than having been in a suite before) and wristbands that gave us unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages from the Club level concession stand. (Wait, what's a non-alcoholic beverage?) I took FULL advantage of the free food. I'm still full two days later.

I kind of fell in love with the Club level Wednesday night. It's a great, intimate environment with a really good view and a full bar. Plus, its proximity to the Dodgers' offices make for fun people-watching. I spied Andrew Friedman milling about a few times during the night, but never worked up the nerve to bother him. I did work up the nerve to talk to Molly Knight and Lana Berry, though, so that was cool. Two of the nicest people you'd want to meet at a game, those two.

All in all, it was a spectacular evening, accentuated by the late-inning drama and walk-off heroics. Yes, it wasn't quite the same as past blogger nights (less socializing amongst the bloggers in attendance), and David Siegel was transparent (his word) enough to tell us that the team sees bloggers and social media people as promotional assets, but it was still special to be included in this great event. Thank you so much to the Dodgers front office for always being so kind to us Sons.

A Voice For Donnie

Pretty good piece over at the Bill-Simmons-less Grantland about Don Mattingly, and how he has endured through front office chaos and how he has either navigated deftly (or survived barely) through choppy clubhouse waters. Some of the good parts:

Yet nearly five years after that double-mound-visit snafu, Mattingly is still in Dodger blue. He’s survived two playoff misses, two heartbreaking playoff exits, and constant speculation and criticism. He’s made it through one of the most controversial ownership changes in sports history, one of the most tumultuous clubhouses in recent memory, and a front-office shake-up that seemed destined to cost him his job.

Mattingly has gone from being one of the most maligned leaders in sports to the third-longest-tenured manager in the National League. His Dodgers are in first place in the NL West and poised to mount another playoff run. And he has the front office’s support: “Incredibly favorable from my standpoint, what kind of person he is, what kind of communicator,” says Andrew Friedman, who left the Rays in October to become the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations. “We had a really good back-and-forth and working relationship almost immediately.”

Mattingly may not be a gifted tactician, but he also may not need to be. With expectations in L.A. as high as ever, Donnie Baseball has shed light on the evolving role of the modern manager by being able to survive, if not thrive. [...]

[W]hile [GM Andrew] Friedman is known as a numbers guy, he’s also always emphasized clubhouse harmony, something that he, new GM Farhan Zaidi, and other members of the front office would soon realize the 2014 Dodgers completely lacked. With Kemp, Ethier, Puig, and Crawford all on the roster, squabbling broke out over playing time, with Mattingly hinting at players’ selfishness after an early-June loss dropped the team to eight games behind the then-front-running Giants. Mattingly now speaks candidly of that unit’s “lack of professionalism.”

Molly Knight, a writer who spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons embedded with the Dodgers and will soon release a behind-the-scenes book, The Best Team Money Can Buy, put the team’s dysfunction in stronger terms.

“I wasn’t around for those 1970s A’s teams, but I can’t imagine they were much worse than the 2014 Dodgers,” Knight says. “It was a disaster, a shitshow. [Mattingly] had to make sure guys didn’t kill each other and keep all of that out of the media. He had to deal with Yasiel Puig, who’s phenomenally talented, sells tickets … and he’s a basket case. He flouts all the rules, skips BP, shows up late. What do you do? Bench him and watch your team lose? Or not punish him and piss off 24 other guys?”

Puig has caused fewer stirs than usual this season because he’s missed time while nursing a hamstring injury. But he’ll presumably remain a managerial challenge once he returns.

“It’s not easy managing that, figuring it out,” Knight says. “They weren’t going to win the World Series with that bullpen, with no center fielder, and the worst defensive shortstop in the league. It takes a really steady manager’s personality just to get as far as they went last year. He did as well as he could have done.”

I eagerly await Knight's book and some insight as to how bad it was in the clubhouse last year. Donnie remains far from a managerial genius in my mind (enough with the double switches and mercurial lineups!), but I could be convinced that his ability to connect with players has helped him manage during difficult times.

"Calm seas never made a skilled mariner," as the saying goes. With a more stable front office and arguably greater lineup depth, let's see if those experiences pay off for the Dodgers, as well as for Donnie.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Scoreboard Watching: June 11, 2015

I suppose this is more "scoreboard watched" given the time of posting, but the Mets finally decided to win a game against San Francisco, taking the final game of the series 5-4. The Mets are in first place with a 32-29 record, a half-game ahead of the Nationals, which is a shocker--just as Michael Cuddyer's walkoff single was in the bottom of the ninth inning to take the game from Sergio Romo, who suffered his third loss of the year.

With the Giants loss, the Dodgers have a 1.5-game lead in the NL West going into the weekend. We play @ San Diego; the Giants are at Birdshit Park hosting the Diamondbacks.

Elsewhere in the NL West, the Padres beat the Braves 6-4 in 11 innings, in Atlanta. Tempers were hot today after San Diego lost Tuesday's series opener, punctuated by a five-run inning which included Andrelton Simmons sliding hard into Padres catcher Derek Norris for the fifth run (which tied the game). Yesterday, Padre Tyson Ross threw behind Simmons; today, Julio Teheran had a 1-2 count on Matt Kemp and hit him on the shoulder, clearing the benches (no punches thrown). Kemp did not look happy.

Anyway, it's always nice to wake up and see the divisional lead expand, so we'll take it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Game 60 Thread: June 10 vs. Snakes, 7p

Brett Anderson (2-4, 3.29) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 4.88).

Tonight is Nomo and Dusty's turn to sample the Dodger delicacies that AC wrote about earlier. Who's hungry?

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Game 59 Thread: June 9 vs. Snakes, 7p

Joc on Joc!

Carlos Frias (4-3, 4.25) vs. Robbie Ray (1-0, 0.82).

Blue Plate Special: Dodger Stadium

Last night the Dodger organization was kind enough to allow some of us bloggers to come and try some new food items and speak about the upcoming promotions.  First I would like to thank David Siegel, the VP of Ticket Sales, and his team for coordinating this wonderful event.  In addition, the Senior VP of Planning and Development, Janet Marie Smith was there to speak to the improvements of the stadium (the WiFi rocks!).  Then executive chef Jason Tingley and his staff delighted the taste buds with culinary ballpark fare.  As you know, I like to try the food items at the stadium, so this was right up my alley.  And in preparation for the event, I made the sacrifice and worked out and fasted for 8 hours as to prepare the stomach for the festivities.  

First up, the nachos and corn.  Yum.  this was probably my favorite item.  Sometimes, I just don't want the cheese all gooped on the chips.  And this solves the problem, especially with the extra spiced corn on top.  A home run in my book.  This can be found at the La Taqueria stands.
Next up, the famous nacho with carne asada in a Dodger helmet.  This is enormous, probably enough for one family (or one Uribe - what too soon?).  I have had this one before, and it will definitely fill you up.  I could go with more chips though, although where to put them would be a difficult decision.  This one gets a stand up double.
Next, we have one of the extreme loaded dogs with flaming hot Cheetos.  Wow, this one is crazy.  I actually didn't taste this one, since my ulcer was acting up already.  It looked (and I heard from someone else) like this one was pretty spicy.  I'll stick to the frito dog.  This one gets an intentional walk.
The next one was the corn on a stick that they sell at Think Blue BBQ.  Since I didn't want corn all over my face when I spoke with the Dodger representatives, I again passed.  I have heard great things though.  Maybe a little less mayo if anything.  This one gets a passed ball.
Here are three of the many extreme loaded dogs, of which I tried the top right one.  Yum.  This one was great, meat on meat.  Carne asada on the Dodger Dog topped with onion rings.   I liked the crunch with the dog (like the frito dog), so this one gets a triple, with an error, so you get to plate the run.
Finally, the BBQ chicken wings.  Another winner.  Sweet and messy with plenty of meat on the bone.  As long as you have enough napkins, this was great.  The meat fell off the bone nicely with just the right amount of sauce as to not overpower the taste buds.  This is a ground rule double with the bases loaded.
I also got to try the food in the stadium as well.  I got the beef brisket that I thought had too much sauce thus overpowering the flavors.  Also, if they could have toasted the bun it would have been nice.  I popped out in my book.
And for dessert, the good old Cool-A-Coo.  Simple.  Chocolate crunch with a oatmeal cookie and sweet vanilla ice cream.  For some reason, to me they taste a little different than the old school ones, but I can't put my finger on it exactly.  In any case, a solid dessert and I rate as a double off the wall.
So there you have it, Dodger fans.  Some great menu items for your curious culinary pleasure.  There was also a pepperoni pizza that was good.  In addition, Chef Tingley said that there was a surprise combination pizza in the works!  Stay tuned!!!