In a season full of expectations and a new era of Dodger baseball there has been a lot of umm Drama around the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you looked at the roster you’d think this team would be in first place in the NL West by the All-Star break right? Right now as of today the Dodgers find themselves 2.5 Games out of first place which is being held by the Arizona Diamondbacks and are 4.5 Games back of the Wild Card. They also have a record of 47-47. So you might be wondering what on earth happened? Let me answer your question with this: A LOT! The start of the 2013 Season seemed very promising after opening day but from then on things kind’ve sent south. Losing games due to lack of offensive and defensive production, Bullpen issues, Mismanagement of the team, and Injuries were the main issues that hurt the Dodgers in the first half of the season. It seemed like an ever lasting nightmare from April to Mid June. It got to the point where the Dodgers found themselves below .500 and 9.5 games out of 1st place in the NL West. Come Late June things took a turn for the better. Lets break down the 1st half of the Dodgers 2013 season.
Injuries: Dodgers kept getting hit with Injuries left and right. From the begining of the season and on the Dodgers have struggled to keep healthy and that has hurt the Dodgers from producing. Think of it like this, Pretty much majority of the Dodgers roster has been on the DL at some point. Hanley, Kemp, Crawford, Aj Ellis, Scott Van Slyke. The group that took the hardest hit when it comes to injuries has to be Pitching. At the start of the season the Dodgers had Starting Pitchers like there was no tomorrow but with injuries that number quickly fell. Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett will miss the season which hurt the 4 and 5 pitching spot before the Nolasco trade, Zack Greinke broke his collar-bone in the bench clearing fight with Carlos Quentin and the San Diego Padres, and Fife/Capuano missing time as well. Last season the Dodgers injuries cost them and this season it has hurt them at the start.
Lack of production and bad play: Outside of injuries the lack of production was another thing that killed the Dodgers. Whenever there were runners in scoring position it seems as if the Dodgers failed capitalize on the chance given. Yes we all understand about the injuries and pitching but there’s no excuse for the Dodgers not getting runs when the chance is there. Leaving men on base, below average with RISP, It just doesn’t add up with a Line up like this. This season Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier who are usually key factors have really under produced and many Dodger fans aren’t happy about it. Lack of bench production hasn’t been all that great either and defensively the team just hard to watch. Overall it was just bad baseball.
Pitching issues and Bullpen Problems: Where can I start? Well lets put this out there the 1-2-3 Starting pitching slot was not an issue at all. We kind’ve got that but when it comes to the 4-5 spot and bullpen….thats a different story. The Dodgers came into the season with a loaded starting pitching staff and a bullpen that was one of the best in the NL last season. As the season went it was the complete opposite of that. Chad Billingsley went down to an ongoing arm injury that required Tommy John Surgery, Josh Beckett was winless during the season after he had an amazing Spring Training. A nerve injury forced him to have surgery and miss the season as well. As for Ted Lilly? He continues to struggle with injuries and had multiple rehab stints and continues to have a set back. Steven Fife tends to have solid outings and has potental but Chris Capuano has been very inconsistent and has given up a lot of hits in his outings. The bullpen on the other hand as really been an issue for the most part of the season. Josh Wall who is no longer with the team has really not helped and struggled before being sent down and later traded in the Ricky Nolasco deal. Ronald Belisario has hurt the Dodgers and come in only to give up hits and runs. His ERA has sky rocketed as the season went but seems to get the hang of things towards the break. Brandon League on the other hand as took a complete turn south. After closing games last season and showing that he can be a solid reliever League has blown saves left and right. Many of us kept wondering why Mattingly sending him out to close games but finally he got it together and had Jansen as closer. Jansen out of the two is a no brainer right there to have as closer. The Dodgers also brought up guys like Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez who can really throw the ball in the high 90′s. Paco Rodriguez and JP Howell also have had solid outings and can also get the team out of innings as well so things won’t be all doom and gloom for the pen from the looks of it. As far as Starting pitching? The Ricky Nolasco deal solidified their Number 4 starting pitching but still the 5 spot is the big question mark.
Puigmania- Something uplifting here that really took Los Angeles and the Baseball world by storm. Yasiel Puig. They hype started up when he played in rookie leagues and Single A but it was Spring Training where many started to hop on the bandwagon after posting impressive numbers but due to the lack of room for him on the 25 man roster Puig, As expected my many scouts, was sent to Double A Chattanooga for more development. Once the injuries hit the Dodgers Yasiel Puig was called up to the Dodgers and from there everything played itself out. Puig lived up to the hype he generated batting above .400 while playing and exciting fans around baseball. Before All-Star Break he had many write his name in on the All-Star ballot and came in 2nd in the Last Chance vote. Yeah he didn’t make the All-Star game but his presence provided a spark for the Dodgers that helped them make up ground in the NL West.
From 9.5 to 2.5: By June 21st the Dodgers found themselves 9.5 games back of the NL West and pretty much left for dead by many but when June 22nd hit things changed. The Dodgers would go on and hit a streak that would really shape up the NL West for them. Winning 17-22 Games from June 22nd to July 14th. The Dodgers ended up gaining ground on the Padres, Giants, and Rockies in that stretch of games. Now that Los Angeles find themselves in a great position come All-Star break it’ll be interesting to see what they can do in the 2nd half of the season.
For many Southern California natives its a dream to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Only few get the chance to do so. Come tomorrow one of them will get that chance to live their dream. Saturday the Dodgers and Marlins completed a trade that sent RHP Ricky Nolasco to Los Angeles for 3 Prospects in Steven Ames, Angel Sanchez, and Josh Wall. The Marlins has Nolasco on the trade block since early June and it was rumored that the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres were one of the many teams that were interested in trading for him. For Nolasco this is a dream come true to play for the team he grew up cheering for and watching.
For the Dodgers this was a no brainer to make the trade for Nolasco and the price wasn’t steep at all. Los Angeles has lost numerous Starting Pitchers to injury and is struggling with the 4-5 rotation of starting pitching. Nolasco right now is currently pitching 5-8 with a 3.85 but as shown before a change of scenery can really change things (Hanley was batting .247 with Miami before being traded to L.A.). This Tuesday Ricky Nolasco will make his Dodger debut in the middle of the Dodgers hot streak.
Nolasco’s dream has came true and now it’s time for him to step up and help this Dodger team continue it’s push for the NL West. We all know this isn’t the last move the Dodgers will make to improve the team but this could be the start of the Dodgers getting really active in the market like last season. For now Ricky Nolasco will have the chance to help this Dodger team and fill a void that was left by injuries. Ricky Nolasco Welcome to the Dodgers
The Dodgers have not gotten off to the start many of us would imagine. At the moment are 7-8 which is a game below .500 which record wise you can work with. Well if you’ve seen the Dodgers play then you’d feel like it’s a lot worse than that. Los Angeles have really been struggling with their bats and bullpen. It’s really frustrating to watch and it’s an ongoing thing. In the series against the Diamondbacks and Padres (in LA) The Dodgers have been having issues hitting with RISP (Runners In Scoring Position) and Pitching (Mainly Bullpen). The Dodgers will be in Baltimore for the weekend series against the Orioles and the chance for them to get their act together is out there with the DH rule in effect. As of now we just want to know what is going on with the Dodgers. Why are they struggling so much? Who is to blame for such struggles with the team? Is this an easy fix and what can be done about it? Well let me tell you this in advance. The answer is not Trading Ethie or Kemp, Brining up Puig, or Firing Don Mattingly.
Offensive Struggles: Yes the Dodgers are facing the same problem they did last season. Leaving men on base, failing to score runs, even getting on base at times. Currently the Dodgers 28th in the MLB in Batting Average with RISP (.171). How the way I look at it is based on the line up Mattingly puts out there. You have Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis who have done a good job getting on base. Then you have Matt Kemp who is having a slow start to the season. Just when you think Kemp will knock the runs in he either grounds into a double play or flies out to the point where the runners can’t advance. It’s not just Kemp that is doing it but all over the line up. The Dodgers can not keep this issue if they want to win games. They have good hitters we all know this but whether they’re in the right place in the line up or not. I think Mattingly should move some players around and see if it works to affect because what they have currently isn’t working and that showed the last two series.
Bullpen issues: Oh where do I start with this one? It looks as if the Box of Pain have made is return and adding more fuel to the fire than helping put it away. The Dodgers Bullpen have been a serious issue right now with all the hits and runs being given up. The Dodgers bullpen have an ERA of 4.02 (15 in MLB). While that’s middle of the pack it seems a lot worse when watching. The last series against the Padres the Dodgers pitching had a bad series overall in what many would like to say a “Throw away series”. Not much can really be done with the bullpen at this point but they have to help the Dodgers stay in position to win ball games.
I still think the Dodgers will get things in order. Thursday the Dodgers got a day off as they traveled to Baltimore. Hopefully this game they can play better and keep themselves at a respectable position. Yes it is early Dodger fans but you have to remember that April games are important as well so there has to come a point where they must get it together. Right now the Dodgers on the pitching end are hurting with Zack Greinke out till June and Chris Capuano on the 15 DL but batting/Position wise Hanley Ramirez is making his return really soon. Hopefully he could provide the help the Dodger offense need. At 7-8 the Dodgers can turn it around with two good series on the road trip So anything could happen. It’s early but Dodgers MUST get things flowing here.
So usually I talk baseball on here but after the article I read today I couldn’t keep myself from talking about this issue. In an article Deadspin.com put out today there were Dodger fans sitting in the seats behind home plate at yesterday’s game. Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick apparently did not like what he saw and made the notion of giving the group an ultimatum. They could change seats and keep their Dodger gear on or wear Diamondbacks gear and stay in those seats. The Dodger fans stayed in their seats and changed their gear. Now this whole story from the start to the end just flat out upsets me. I didn’t know you couldn’t sit in certain seats without wearing the home team’s gear. I mean if you payed that type of money to sit there then you should have a right to wear whatever as long as it wasn’t offensive am I right?
Reading the article I found out that there is a Policy amoung those seats. The Diamondbacks ask opposing fans to refrain from wearing the opposing team’s gear when perchasing those seats due to high visability. So you mean to tell me that someone who is a fan of the opposing team can spend $3,000 for those seats behind home plate yet they can’t support the opposing wearing their gear? I understand that the stadium have a policy that has to be followed but that is completely wrong. If I spent that much of my hard earned money to sit there and I am not offending anyone with what I am wearing then why should it matter if I am on TV and behind the dugout sporting the opposing team’s gear? We know the Dodgers and Diamondbacks meet in Arizona mostly Dodger fans are in the Stadium. It’s not the opposing team’s fault that attendence isn’t that great in Arizona. The group spend $3,000 just to sit there with all the benifits that’s given along with the Policy that’s in place at other ballparks. If asking the opposing team’s fan to refrain from wearing their gear to support that team and FORCING them to wear Diamondbacks gear is seriously horrible and dumb. As an owner Ken Kendrick should have other things to worry about than what opposing team fans are wearing behind home plate.
Another beef I have is the group of Dodger fans behind those seats. I understand they were the victims of the whole ordeal but why would you just flat out willingly change gear just to keep those seats? You did the good thing by refusing to move from those seats but to change gear just to stay there? I hope that’s just something to use when they get a lawyer and challenge that policy. Honestly I believe they should NOT have moved or agreed to change into Diamondback shirts just to make the Owner happy and abbide by the policy. I understand those are $3,000 seats but at the same time you are being forced to do something that at any other ball park you wouldn’t have to do. I will not call out their fandom (Yet) until action, or lack there of, is taken.
Ken Kendrick and the Diamondbacks should have that policy changed. As a MLB Owner theres more important things to handle than worry about what the opposing team’s fans wearing their gear in $3,000 seats. That’s money in your pockets anyway so why should it matter? Worried about the image or reputation of the attendence at the games? That’s already out due to the attendence at Diamondback games and the attendence of their last playoff apperence. There are many Dodger fans who live in Arizona or make the trip to see the Dodgers play. If they or ANY teams fan base spent that much to see and support their team then why should it be an issue? Ken Kendrick and the Diamondbacks need to have things evaulated if that’s a main worry of theirs.
This week’s post is going to be something very very special. Baseball headlines shifted to the L.A./OC Area thanks to the Dodgers and Angels making big moves in the off-season. Kristen, who runs a great blog http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/ as well as a very good friend to this blog and I have decided to come together to bring you the I-5 Bias “Hot Stove Edition”. Between the A’s winning the AL West, Giants winning the WS (Yuck!) as well as the Angels and Dodgers making huge splashes in the off season California Baseball has been something else. Kristen and I have set a side 6 questions that you may have been asking as of late and wanted answered. Well we got them right here for you so without further or due. I-5 Bias!!
1- Which of your team’s offseason moves do you think was the strongest?
Matt says: As important Pitching was this off-season I’m not going to say it was Zach Greinke or Ryu. I think the strongest was Mark McGwire as the Dodgers hitting coach. The Dodgers had issues with getting hits and runs in games and that hurt the Dodgers playoff chances. Look at what Mark did as hitting coach with the Cardinals. They were pretty much in the top ten in Runs, Batting Avg, and OPB. For a Dodger Team with Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford that’s going to be huge help for them.
Kristen says: I imagine everyone is expecting me to say Josh Hamilton here. Hamilton was a huge signing and should be a boon to the team, combining with Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo to make the Angels offense a formidable one indeed (at least on paper – I am very careful about how excited I allow myself to get before the teams actually take the field when, as any longtime baseball fan can tell you, anything can happen). However, I actually think the Angels strongest move was the most recent – the trade for Jason Vargas. As a player, Hamilton is definitely on another level than Vargas and will probably contribute more to the team directly. But trading for Vargas set the rest of the Angels roster in ways that will benefit the entire team and make Hamilton’s talents that much more effective. In addition to providing another reliable, workhorse arm to a starting rotation that needed exactly that, the Kendrys Morales for Vargas trade ensured that the Angels do not have to make less advantageous trades to get said arm. They no longer have to worry about trading the more versatile slugger Mark Trumbo, whose bat has the potential to be more explosive in the lineup with Hamilton. They no longer have to worry about trading Peter Bourjos, who can instead be the gold glove caliber centerfield anchor between Hamilton and Trout in what should be a truly scary Angels outfield — oh, and having Bourjos and Trout tear up the base paths together won’t hurt either.
2- What, If anything, do you think your team still needs to do?
Matt says: I still think the Dodgers need to address the Bullpen and bench. Dodgers lack a LHP out the pen. Scott Elbert is still out, Paco Rodriguez isn’t really ready for a full stent like that, and missed the chance at resigning Randy Choate. The only thing the Dodgers did for the bullpen was resign Brandon League. They have Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang out there on the trade block so maybe they trade them for Bullpen help. Bench wise I believe the Dodgers have to address getting a 4th Outfielder because lets be honest Yasnel Puig isn’t really ready quite yet. They traded for Skip Shoemaker which help but a 1st/3rd Baseman off the bench along with a 4th Outfield will really help.
Kristen says: Well, if we were asking these questions earlier in the week, I would have said that the Angels need another starting pitcher in bold, italicized, all caps, 24 point font. But, thank you Santas Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno, that seems to be taken care of – see previous response. Instead I’m going to enter complete fairy tale land here (Well, it is Christmas after all — might as well wish big!) and say that I think the Angels need to move Vernon Wells, even if it means eating almost all of that huge contract. Nothing against Wells himself — he has been a smiling example of good attitude, trying hard to improve at the plate and gracefully moving wherever the team asked him to, including the bench. But this acquisition just hasn’t work out, and that’s putting it mildly. I would love it if any of the, quite frankly, trade porn rumors surrounding one team or another showing interest in Wells worked out…even if the deal is for practically nothing! The Angels would seriously benefit from having the room on the 25-man roster and I think Wells himself would benefit from the chances offered by that supposed panacea, the change of scenery.
3- Now that we know what you want your team to do, what do you think they will do? Any trade/move/signing predictions?
Matt says: I think the Dodgers will end up Trading Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano along with Dee Gordon for a Left Hand Arm out the bullpen. Theres been rumors about Andre Ethier being traded but I don’t see that happening at all. As far as signings go I believe the Dodgers will look into the Market for a Outfielder or Corner position player off the bench but at the same time I think they’re done.
Kristen says: I think that, with the Vargas trade, the Angels are pretty much done. I suppose that you might hear about a smaller move here or there – one lesser known bullpen pitcher or non-top minor league prospect for another, but other than that they’re done making deals for the offseason. Although, if Jerry Dipoto chooses to see this as a challenge — because of course the Angels read my blog – and moves Vernon Wells just to spite my prediction, I certainly wouldn’t mind being wrong.
4- There has been A LOT of money being spent in LA/OC these days. A LOT OF IT! Does the Payroll of the teams or amount being spent worry you at all?
Matt says: To be honest yest it does. With the amount of money being put into the Dodgers I would hope winning comes with it. You can’t buy wins or world series and playing Yankee ball can only work when done right. I fear of the Dodgers being like the Red Soxs. All the money being spent and no playoff apperance or anything. Not only that but the fear of Contracts back loading up to where the Dodgers can’t do anything in the future but the Dodgers said they have deep pockets and a new 2 Billion dollar TV deal is coming in soon so we shall see what happens but I can’t say it doesn’t worry me or isn’t in the back of my mind. Everyone tries to play Yankee Ball but the only way that works is if you get the players that fit and generate wins.
Kristen says: Absolutely. Spending this much money should scare anyone. Every player, no matter how talented, is a risk. No one wants to see it happen but any player has the potential to age, slump, lose their swing/pitching location/etc., fail to mesh with a given team and (God forbid) get injured. And when you’ve spent outrageous sums of money acquiring that player, the end result of any such occurrence is devastating because suddenly you’re priced out of just eating that paycheck one way or another to move the player off your roster. And if this happens on several such deals? Yeah, say hello to a nice block of ever-so-much-fun-for-the-whole-team-family “rebuilding” seasons. No. Thank. You!
Here’s the thing though – I think that more and more teams are going to need to come to terms with this level of spending as we go on. Teams are wisely locking up their talent before they hit free agency with greater frequency, leaving smaller free agency pools for teams in a buying mode to fight over. Nothing against Zack Greinke — he’s one hell of a pitcher and I wish the Angels had been able to keep him – but do you really think he would have garnered this impressive a contact if the Giants, Phillies and Angels had allowed Matt Cain, Cole Hammels and Jered Weaver to hit the free agency market in 2013 as scheduled? And Greinke is just the latest example of this phenomenon. And, of course, when quality players are making those kinds of dollars you know that marquee players will command even more from their current team or on the FA market (Holy Staggering Albert Pujols Contract, Batman!!). The end result is that, while the Dodgers and Angels may seem to be leading the charge at the moment, more and more teams will be joining in that charge out of necessity over the next several seasons – as a trend this is both kind of exciting and very scary
5- The MLBN analysts seem to think that the Dodgers and Angels offseason moves are all about one upping each other. Do you think there is any truth to this? How do you feel about that?
Matt says: You know that’s an interesting question. I honestly don’t think it’s one upping at all and theres two reasons for that. 1- The Dodgers and Angels are filling needs that prevented them from making the playoffs. Thing was it just so happen the Angels signed Hamilton in the heat of the Dodgers making serious moves. 2- The Angels turned out to be the mystery team that was after Hamilton and got him just like last year with Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson So they’ve done this before. People predicted the Dodgers having money to throw at Free Agents before Off-Season. I don’t believe it’s one upping at all but It has caught the attention of the National Media so I like the westcoast attention the Baseball Media is giving.
Kristen says: To quote Annie Savoy, “Baseball may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth, and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it’s also a job.” Or, from the owners’ perspectives it’s also a business. I’m sure Arte Moreno and Magic Johnson and partners do consider things like Los Angeles/Orange County market share when they’re making decisions about advertising, overall ballpark experience and the price of parking, beer, etc. But I highly doubt that this thinking extends to personnel decisions. Competitive teams that win games and reach the Postseason make fans happy and draw them to the ballpark. In order to do that, it’s far more important to be competitive within one’s own division than with an interleague rival as I’m sure all owners and GMs involved are well aware. I can see why the timing of some of the Angels and Dodgers free agency signings lead to the comments in question on MLBN, but I think that both the signings and their timing had little to do with Freeway Series rivalry. Yes, the Angels wanted Zack Greinke and so did the Dodgers. But at least half a dozen other teams also seriously wanted Greinke. He was the best free agent starting pitcher on the market this season. Once the Dodgers signed Greinke, I’m not surprised that the Hamilton signing followed so quickly on its heels. Suddenly the Angels had a lot less pokers in the big money free agents fire and could just concentrate their efforts on Hamilton.
6- Now on to something really important – the annual LA/OC billboard war. Which team do you think will have the most/best billboards plastered all over town?
Matt says: Hahaha It was a year ago when the Angels had billboards all over LA/OC until the Dodgers got new owners. I believe it’ll be fairly even. In the OC you have Albert Pujols, Jarred Weaver, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout where in LA you have Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Adrian Gonzalez. I believe the Dodgers will have them posted all over L.A. knowing Magic and his promoting of the Dodger brand and the Angels will do a lot of marking themselves as well. It’ll be interesting to see.
Kristen says: *snerk* The “billboard wars” always make me smile and laugh. I take the 605 freeway to work. Most seasons that freeway is littered with Dodgers billboards heading south and Angels billboards heading north as if both teams were making a concerted effort to convert their rival fan base. Honestly, the arrival of the billboards is one of my favorite So Cal signs of spring. Last season at the height of all of the Frank McCourt ick in L.A., the Angels rather dominated the local billboard space and, as much as I like seeing red everywhere I look, it just wasn’t nearly as much fun as when it’s a “battle.” (Yes, mine is a long and boring commute and I take my simple pleasures where I can. Why do you ask?) However, between Arte Moreno (who made his fortune in advertising and billboards, don’cha know) and Magic Johnson (who also seems to have an admirable grasp of the importance of good marketing) I am sure both that teams will being trying to convert us all once again this season – looking forward to it, in fact!
The Dodgers right now find themselves in a race for the Postseason. Something that All Dodger fans been wanting. A chance to once again compete for the World Series, something that’s been missing since 1988. We usually hear about the Yankees, Red Soxs issues, Rangers, Braves, or the hated Giants and Angels but here’s my question. What about us? The Dodgers may have a roller coaster ride going along the way but the point being that the Dodgers still have a shot at reaching the postseason baring some epic collapse (We pray that they don’t.) But the question remains the same. Can the Boys in Blue Do it?
Dodgers made moves to help the offense out by acquiring Hanley Ramirez from Miami and then grabbing lead off guy Shane Victorino from Philadelphia and while they tried to make a push a starting pitching (Putting a claim on Cliff Lee) they did show that they weren’t playing around and that they want to win right now. Yes August is shaky so far but it looks as if the Dodgers are starting to put it all together and with a critical series against the Braves and Giants coming up getting it together is really really needed at this time. We often said/Heard Starting Pitching is needed to win, our Bullpen is killing us, Too inconsistent which cam be true but if the Dodgers get it together and stay healthy then this team can make noise. Now in my honest of honest opinions I believe the Dodgers can do it because this team have shown what it can do. Why not us? Dodgers can be just as good even though they don’t show it sometimes. It’s not be being a homer or anything but I believe that the Dodgers can do it this year.
Can the Dodgers do it? I think so and I know all of Los Angeles think so and so far it’s been a story. Going from having horrible owners, 3rd place finishes, More news off the field than on it, Angels talk to having a shot at Postseason, new owners, making moves to win now and so on. The ultimate goal is a World Series. Winning the NL West will be good but Settling for that isn’t enough. Let’s Bring Home A World Series! Back to where it belongs, Dodgertown!!
As Spring Training goes through and Opening Day approaches We’ll take a look into the different areas from Pitching, Outfield, Infield, and So on. Today we start off our Spring Preview with Starting Pitching. Last year the Dodgers Starting pitching had very few bright spots. Clayton Kershaw had an outstanding 2011 Season going 21-5 pitching 2.28 but outside of Kershaw the Dodgers had big issues. Hiroki Kuroda couldn’t get run support, Chad Billingsley mid game imposlion, and Ted Lilly’s Home Run Give aways Starting piching was something that harmed them. Not to mention the Injury to Ruby De La Rosa that ended his season. Towards the end Young players like Nathan Eovaldi and Dana Eveland stepped up to play a big role for the Dodgers 2011 Ended with a bright future. Come up towards the 2012 Season Dodgers will have two brand new pitchers in the starting rotation after losing Kuroda via Free-Agency and Eveland via Trade. Signings include Aaron Harang (Padres 2011) and Chris Capuano (Mets). A Key to the Dodgers success is going to have to lay with the Starting Pitching.
Questions to be answered: Theres two questions to really be asked about the Starting pitching. One: Will Kershaw continue his Cy Young Pitching performance? To be honest Kershaw has been improving every season and last year winning Cy Young was huge. No doubt come 2012 He won’t disapoint and find more ways to continue his dominace on the mound. Two: Will others Step up? This is the Question that others will be asking and I think we will see come spring and early on in the season. Will Ted Lilly and Billingsley Snap out of it to provide the help the Dodgers need? They’re going to have to in order to take pressue off the Dodgers offense. If Billingsley plays without the Midgame Meltdowns and Lilly stop giving up Home Runs constantley then the Dodgers will be in Good shape.
New Players playing a role: Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano will have a lot of expections from some Dodger fans. Not many people were happy with the signings of the two so if they don’t live up to expectations not only will they ask for their heads but further ask for the head of Ned Coletti which I’ll explain later. Harang isn’t that bad of a pitcher, Coming from San Deigo where he went 14-7 but pitched a 3.64 ERA.. Capuano on the other hand wasn’t the best of signings out there looking at his stats. 11–12 4.55 ERA with the Mets last year. As I always say its a Brand new season but having one of the two step up to help wouldn’t hurt the Dodgers at all.
What to watch for this Spring:The thing to look out for this spring is the performace of the younger Pitchers in Nate Eovaldi and others from the Minors. It will be interesting to see how the future of the Dodgers starting pitching pan out and what we can look forward to. Zach Lee who is a highly talented Pitcher from LSU that was making some noise within the Dodger Minor League teams and may be a player who could be pitching in the Spring. Also the new signings of Harang and Capuano giving us a glemps of what could help or hurt the Dodgers.
Overall the Dodgers Starting Pitching was a concern and until someone outside of Clayton Kershaw can give us a reson to not worry it could be that way but Spring Training is a time to give them a chance to fix whats needed before Opening Day in San Deigo. This is more of a wait and see type of thing. So many things can emerge that can give this starting pitching staff life or take it away. We can All Say this. We know what to expect from an Indiviual Cy Young Award Winner but World Series Teams need more than One Pitcher to help them out.
Next Spring Preview: Bullpen Pitching.
From the early part of June to now I’ve always been having this arguement with people about the MVP award. Weather its Basketball Baseball Hockey etc there’s always an argument about the award. This is something that’s talked about every year and It catches my attention a lot. When the MVP is awarded to a player it’s always given to a player on a contending team. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the guy did deserve it but it always goes to someone from a team that’s in the playoffs. This year the Dodgers have a player that’s absolutely killing it in Baseball named Matt Kemp but basically everyone knows his chances at MVP is slim because of the Dodgers performance and record. I find that unfair that Kemp may not win cause the Dodgers maybe out of it. Now I’m not saying this because Kemp is on the Dodgers or because it’s the Dodgers. I don’t believe any player who puts up numbers like that should be penalized at a chance to win the MVP award because of team performance. I usually get the “It also goes to the player who’s more valuable to the team.” Well guys who do things like that ARE valuable to their team.
You see awards like Cy Young go to pitchers who aren’t even on play-off teams. Or pitchers with GOOD ERA Stats but a losing record (Felix Hernandez for example). Why can’t MVP awards go to players that aren’t on contending teams? While I was watching the Dodgers/Padres game last night KCAL asked viewers if the MVP award should always go to a player on a contending team. 89% of those viewers said No. MVP is an Individual award just like Gold Glove and Cy Young so why should a team performance penalize a candidate? Lets open it up here for players who aren’t on contending teams after all it is an Individual award and they have put up the numbers and had the performance to be a candidate after all. I’ll leave it up to you to discus or vote on the Poll but I think MVP shouldn’t always go to a player on a contending team.
As Im sure everyone heard the news by now that Rafael Furcal was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a Double A outfielder yesterday. Furcal approved the trade and is now in St. Louis today. As everyone or Some of you know Furcal gave it his all during his 6 years in LA. When healthy Furcal was a guy who gave LA that edge. Yes he may have been on the DL and all but Im telling you when healthy he was that guy that made me say wow. While there are those of you out there that may say Furcal was useless because of him being on the DL I want you to really open your eyes and see what he’s done. Good things for LA in his 6 years here and gave it his all every game. Never took a play off or anything.
My favorite Furcal moment when he was a Dodger was this season in SF in April where he along with Kershaw and Kemp put on a Show to wow us Dodger fans there and Upset Giants fans in the Stadium. Yes he broke his thumb that game it was amazing to see what he was doing. Furcal is gone to STL which means no more dancing to Chambonea at Dodger Stadium (Ok I attemped and Failed) but I do wish him luck in St Louis. A guy who was a really nice person and was one of the Fan Favorites here in Los Angeles. Locker room faveroite as well. Furcal will get to play his old team the Dodgers Aug 22nd 23rd and 24th in St Louis for those who want to know so Im looking foward to that game.
Furcal thank you for giving it your all as a Dodger and Good Luck in St Louis!!
Trade deadline is always a crazy time in Sports with so many trades that happen. Through out the past few weeks Dodgers starting pitcher Hedki Kuroda have been involved in so many trade talks to contenders like the Yankees, Red Soxs, and Rangers. Last two starts people were saying that it would be his Last Start as a Dodger. Well today Kuroda informed the Dodgers that he will not Wave his No Trade Clause and will remain a Dodger for the rest of the season. While some people loved it I also saw that some people had an issue with that. Some are disapointed because they felt Kuroda is blocking the Dodgers from building for the future and I happen to have an issue with that saying.
Hediki Kuroda haven’t had the best of seasons this year. 6-13 3.11 ERA but some of the Dodger pitchers haven’t had a good year either. Kuroda in my opinion would have more wins than 6 if he can get the run support he needs. The last two games Kuroda has pitched very well but like most of his losses the Dodgers offense goes silent for the night. His last win was in Anaheim July 1st where he Shut out the Angels with his pitching. Behind the Dodgers offense which was on that night.
Yes while Kuroda would’ve brought prospects he wants to stay a Dodger and had a No trade clause in his contract. Shouldn’t bash him for that nor be disapointed. We all want to see the Dodgers get back to winning. But being disapointed in a player for using his no trade isn’t really the way. Thats just my thinking