Results tagged ‘ Chad Billingsley ’
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.
First off let me go ahead and say that Baseball is back you guys and it feels great to see the regular season in full swing. Being back in Dodger Stadium to see the Dodgers in action was great to see. How I missed waiting for 7:10 to roll around and hear Vin Scully start off the broadcast with “It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!”. The Dodgers opened up with the hated San Fransisco Giants. This was bound to be an interesting series either way. The Dodgers were eliminated from playoff contention by the hands of the Giants last season. Since then the Dodgers have spent money to improve pitching in order to contend. Spring Training we saw good individual performances from players like Luis Cruz, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Josh Beckett. Opening Day was a historic one for the books. From Sandy Koufax throwing out the first pitch to Magic Johnson being there to see his team take on the Giants. Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain had a pitchers duel up until the bottom of the 8th inning when Clayton Kershaw nailed his first career Home Run to give the Dodgers the lead. After that it was all Dodgers from there as they scored 3 more runs in that same inning. Dodgers got a 4-0n victory on Opening Day over the Giants giving Kershaw a complete game shut out. Kershaw was also the first player since 1953 to throw a shut out and hit a Home Run in a opener (Bob Lemon, Cleveland Indians). After that it seemed like the magic was all gone and the Giants showed why they’re the defending World Series Champions defeating the Dodgers the next two games. Yeah the opening series wasn’t something we expected at all especially losing to the Giants.
Looking back at this series I saw a few things that caught my eye. Starting off with the good Carl Crawford had a great series. Opening Day and last night Crawford was getting on base weather it was via hit or drawing a walk, He got on base. Clayton Kershaw obviously had a great game on Opening Day with his historic game. Mark Ellis also started off good as well which shows that him and Crawford can put this team in good position to score some runs. The defense from the Infield on Opening Day also showed tons of potential and had a good outing last night as well.
As for the bad there was a good amount to point out. Matt Kemp has struggled batting this whole series going 0 of his last 10 at bats. Even though it’s early that is not good. Especially when you have runners in scoring position that can break open a game. Hyun Jin Ryu made his major league debut Tuesday night but gave up 8 hits in a 3-0 loss. You can say it was pitching and a number of errors that night but with Ryu he is still transitioning into the MLB. Last night was also very bad with the Dodgers being 1-13 with RISP dispite Lincecum giving up a career high of 8 walks. The Dodgers look to be swinging for the fences instead of getting the base hits that are needed to get runs in. Josh Beckett also was up and down last night giving up two Home runs.
Theres alot the Dodgers can take from the first series of the season. It’s only the begining 3 games so theres no need to panic at all. If anything the Dodgers are trying to get it all together right now and they will In my opinion. Beckett and Ryu will have everything settled down, Kemp, Ethier, and Gonzalez will find there grove, Injured players such as Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley are on the way back, and Don Mattingly will have a set line up. Yes it always sucks to lose to San Fransisco but it’s the begining. Let the Media and everyone else overhype issues. The Dodgers will be fine folks.
And we’re here. The final part to our 2013 Dodgers spring preview will not focus on positions or players but the whole look at the Franchise. Hopefully the guide has given you an outlook on each position and answered some questions that you asked. Or maybe brought new questions to you regarding the 2013 Dodgers. This Off-Season the Dodgers took time fill the needs in order to not only make playoffs but win the NL West and contend for a World Series. They loaded up on pitching with the signings of Zack Grenkie, Hyun Jin Ryu, and J.P. Howell as well as re-signing Brandon League. They also hired Mark McGuire as batting coach to help improve the batting, An issue that the Dodgers had last season. Los Angeles done a lot in the off-season and it shows that they want to win the whole thing. Will they do it though? That’s something we all want to know. Before we drive right into the final take a few question and answers that should help. Now about a few weeks ago I asked some fans on twitter and Facebook what questions they had about this Dodgers team.
From @LAno1sportsfan via Twitter- Will Luis Cruz will play 3rd base for the rest of the season or do the Dodgers eventually make a move for a 3rd Baseman at some point?- Well to be honest it really depends on Cruz really. You have to look at it like this…If Cruz can repeat what he did last season and what he’s doing during Spring Training then yes he’s going to be there but once he struggles OR has an injury that keeps him out or something then most likely. I don’t think they’ll trade for one if Cruz struggles because look at who they have on the bench that can play that position but that’s what I see.
From Victoria Nunez who asks If Crawford isn’t ready by Opening Day, who will take up left field- That has been a question we’ve been asking since the end of the season really. My mind keeps shifting because a part of me think Crawford will be ready and another don’t see him ready till mid April maybe first week of May. Anyways if Carl Crawford isn’t ready then I believe Skip Schumaker will take his place. It’s a tough toss-up because you have Jerry Hariston there as well as Alex Castellanos but I really see Schumaker there come opening day but don’t be surprised if Mattingly platoons at Left till Crawford comes back.
@KingBilly via Twitter- Besides Kershaw and Greinke, what other starter do you see having a good/great season ?- I really believe Josh Beckett will have a good season. Many don’t think about Beckett as much but he did have a solid season when he was traded to Los Angeles. I think that along with him being in the NL (A Pitchers League), Pitching at Dodgers Stadium (Pitchers park), as well as a change of scenery will really help him out. Beckett won’t put up Cy Young numbers like that but he will be a solid Number 3 and that’ll be enough to help the Dodgers win.
@Dodgersrules1 via Twitter- are the dodgers going to trade harang or chris capuano- Right now with all the injuries It’s probably not wise to trade either at this point but I do see them getting traded. Eventually I do see both getting traded but at the right price. Depends on who needs Starting Pitching and everything.
Now that all the questions are out the way lets hit the home stretch. With everything the Dodgers did in the off-season and last summer, Is it enough for the Dodgers to win the NL West? If you look at the NL West it’s really bound to be interesting. The hated San Fransisco Giants brings back everyone (Pretty much) and Arizona spending on pitching nothing will come easy for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has some questions with the health of players and positioning especially at Left Field. I believe it comes down to if this team can be consistent and healthy enough to win the division. On paper they’re contenders but can this team keep it together to win the NL West and more? I think they will based on what I’ve seen during spring training and the World Baseball Classic. ultimately it will come down to pitching and that’s what will carry this Dodger team to a NL West title.
Not only is there questions with the team but there’s questions with the Manager as well. Many people question if Don Mattingly is the right guy for the job. Don Mattingly have been the Dodgers manager since 2011, When the Dodgers were going through its worst times with the franchise. Mattingly has gotten his team through the worst of things and the next year came close to leading this team to the Playoffs. I believe the Dodgers front office will wait and see what he’ll do with this team before deciding if they should sign him back to manage this team. I do believe he can be the right guy but he will have to gel all this talent together. He has the staff and players so there’s no more excuses for Mattingly not to succeed with this team.
So there you have it. We made it through the Spring preview. We broke down the positions, answered the questions, and took a look at a few things with the team. With all of that out the way we can now let the team go out on the field for their 2013 campaign and answer everything for us. On to Opening Day We Go!!!
It’s about that time again folks! With Pitchers and Catchers reporting next week that means Baseball is in good sight. It’s been a long offseason for many teams. Some were really busy making moves to better their team or make it worse. Some were quiet. Many players were on the move this offseason as well, Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels (Texas fans are mad at that) Zack Greinke made a move down the I-5 to Los Angeles, Torri Hunter went to Detroit, So much happened. The Dodgers were really busy making moves to move towards the ultimate goal. Win A World Series. As we kick off our Dodgers 2013 Season Preview we’ll start off with what the Dodgers needed, Pitching. Starting with Starting pitching.
2012 Review: At the start of last season the Dodgers starting pitching was filled with a lot of question marks. However once the season was underway the Dodgers starting pitching surprised everyone. With the exception of Kershaw the rest of the Dodgers Starting pitchers were really stepping up. Chad Billingsley was playing up to his All-Star form, Chris Capuano was pitching like a Number 2, Ted Lilly was also pitching great as well. As the season went Injuries started to come and hit the Dodgers. Ted Lilly was sidelined for the season due to Injury and Chad Billingsley went back to melting down in late innings before he was struck by injury twice in the season. Chris Capuano declined in the second half of the season and Aaron Harang couldn’t get it together. Kershaw played well but towards the end was hit with a hip injury and caused him to miss a few games towards the end. Los Angeles brought up Nathan Eovauldi and Stephen Fife to start a few games while players were injured and played well. Eovauldi was traded in the Hanley deal towards the deadline. Dodgers also traded for Joe Blanton whose time in L.A. wasn’t the best of things and made a run at Cliff Lee and also acquired Josh Beckett who was solid in L.A.. All and all the Dodgers didn’t make playoffs but you can say the Starting Pitching got them in position to make such a run but fell off as the season went. Dodgers starting pitching at the end managed to go 56-56 with a 3.41 ERA (3rd Best in MLB). As to note Clayton Kershaw finished second in the Cy Young Award voting.
Offseason Moves: Going into the Offseason the Dodgers were going to have money to spend and they spent on gaining pitching help. Los Angeles was looking for solid Number 2 behind Kershaw and everyone knew who was out there. Come winter meetings Zack Greinke had talks with the Dodgers but Los Angeles wanted to try to trade for a pitcher. That ment Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang would be in a deal to make a trade. While a trade for a number 2 pitcher didn’t happen the Dodgers did make moves to grab what they needed and more.
Zack Greinke- From the start of the offseason many executives had Greinke going to the Dodgers stating that they could throw whatever money at him. This was the Number one Pitching Free Agent on the market and many thought the Dodgers and Angels would go after him. Well Anaheim made a few moves to take themselves out and in came Texas who gave the Dodgers a good bidding run until the Dodgers and Greinke both agreed on a $147 Million dollar deal. Largest for a Right Hand Pitcher. In 2012 with the Brewers/Angels Greinke went 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 200 Strikeouts. Zack was traded from the Brewers to the Angels before the 2012 Trade deadline.
Hyun Jin Ryu- Stan Kasten talked about wanting to have the Dodgers make an impact in the international market like they used to. We all know Yasinel Puig was the first guy the signed but Hyun Jin Ryu was a player that really stood out in my opinion. When then Dodgers won the bidding to negotiate with the Korean Left Hander they got right to it to try to sign Ryu but as time went it was looking less and less likely that the Dodgers would get him. On the last day of the 30 day deadline (Nov 9th to Dec 9th) the Dodgers signed Hyun Jin Ryu to a 6 year $36 Million Dollar deal. Many Dodger fans will be impressed at his career stats in the KBO (Korean Dodger Baseball Organization). In his career with the Hanwah Eagles Ryu went 98-52 with a career ERA of 2.80 and 1,238. That’s very impressive no matter where you are pitching. Many scouts say his change-up is his best pitch and a legit out pitch at MLB level.
3 Questions to be answered: 1) The health of Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly- With So many questions regardless of the moves, It’s hard to pick 3 questions but I’ll start with this Billingsley and Lilly. Chad Billingsley has issues with melting down in late innings but tend to show flashes of his All-Star form. Chad Billingsley was sent to the DL after he injured himself towards the All-Star break, When he came off Billingsley was pitching really good until going back on the DL for a partial UCL tear and sidelined him for the season. Ted Lilly on the other hand was hurt early on in the season (May 24th) and was placed on the DL. Lilly did make a rehab start but suffered a set back that sidelined him for the season. The big question for these two is the health progressing towards the 2013 Season. We’re hearing that Chad Billingsley isn’t feeling any pain at all while throwing and that Ted Lilly is pitching some as well so that’s some good news on that but how far are they from actually pitching a full game or anything remains to be seen.
2)Will a Starting Pitcher be Traded?- This was a question in the offseason that many were asking. The speculation was that someone not named Clayton Kershaw in the rotation would be traded. Well here we are as of February 7th and we still a lot of Starting pitching. Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano are on the Trade block, That much we do know but whether they’ll remain there or not is something we won’t know. If I had to guess I do believe the Dodgers will trade either Capuano or Harang (Maybe both) during Spring training. It’s good to have a lot of starting pitchers but if you can made a deal to help the team in any way then by all means go for it.
3) Will Zack Greinke live up to expectations?- In my opinion I believe Zack Greinke will have the most to prove this season. He was the most sought after pitcher on the market during the off-season and the Dodgers signed him to a $147 Million Dollar deal. The number 2 Ace behind 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw Greinke have some expectations this coming season and eyes will be on him. What makes things helpful for Zack is that he’s playing in a Pitchers league, in Dodger Stadium which is a pitcher’s park, and has a Lineup that you can say is stacked. You can see in his attitude that Greinke is a guy who lets his pitching talk for him so you can say that’s a positive right there. As long as he help the Dodgers get into a position to win with his pitching then he will be alright.
Who to watch for: Josh Beckett- Out of many Starting Pitchers on the Dodgers there’s plenty to keep an eye out for, One of them being Josh Beckett. Beckett came over in the huge Dodgers/Red Sox deal over the summer and provided a solid outing through his time in Los Angeles. Josh Beckett as noted is a very solid pitcher but needed a change of scenery after things went south in Boston. This season Beckett will have a Spring Training with L.A. to really get going and I believe that is good for him to work with AJ Ellis and Rick Honeycutt as well.
Hyun Jin Ryu- I list Ryu because he is the one pitcher who I believe many have no clue about. The Dodgers pitching coaches will have all of spring training to work with the Korean Lefty and see what he is made of. While he is an Unknown he will be pitcher to watch for, Just to see where in the rotation he will be. One thing for sure is that many can’t wait to see what he can do.
Clayton Kershaw- I put Clayton on here not because he’s unknown or anything like that but because one he is coming off of hip surgery and two will that bother him? Clayton missed some games due to a hip issue and from what you could say might have hurt his Cy Young Award chances. despite all of that Clayton Kershaw STILL lead the NL in almost every pitching statistical category. Impressive huh? We will know what effects the surgery will have on Clayton but this guy continues to get better and better every single season and it shows too. Cy Young in 2013? We have to see how he does.
Overview: Over all the Dodgers have TONS of starting pitching going into Spring Training. This was an area where the Dodgers spent the most money on during the offseason. While the Dodgers tackled the needs and spent the money there’s still A lot of questions that has to be answered in this area.
On Deck in the Season Preview: Dodgers Bullpen
We are 30 Days Away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting, Almost a month before the first Spring Training Game against the White Soxs, and 78 Days until Opening Day. A lot can happen between that time and that has been proven before. This off-season the Dodgers managed to go on a spending spree to try to improve the team. Stan Kasten and Ned Colleti got together and signed the likes of Zack Greinke and Hyun Jin Ryu as well as trade for guys to help on the bench such as Skip Shoemaker. Off the field the Dodgers have been busy getting Dodger Stadium redone to not only improve fan experance but improve the Stadium for the players and modernize the 51 year old stadium as well. As we aproach the 2013 Season there are still questions that loom over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Regardless of the amount of talent and spending the Dodgers did there’s still some things that many are uncertain with. Let’s see what questions suround the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Will Zack Greinke live up to expectations in L.A?
I think this is the key question many were asking once the Dodgers signed Greinke. Yes the Dodgers did pay a lot for Greinke and we understand that but in this case Dodgers had Greinke on their list and was willing to pay whatever for him so lets clear that up. Theres going to be a lot of things expected from Grenike and with him being the #1 Pitching Free Agent there’s going to be pressure on him for a fact. To be honest I for one am not worried about Greinke at Dodger Stadium but when the Dodgers go out on the road is something that I will keep a good eye on. I think if he can stay consistent and healthy then watch out MLB.
How will Hyun Jin Ryu adjust to the Major Leagues?
Lets be real here we know International players have to adjust to the style of Major league pitching and play and Ryu is no different. After a dominant career in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) Hyun Jin Ryu signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and if you look at his highlights you along with myself would be very excited to see him pitch. The one good thing about this is that no one in the Majors has seen Ryu pitch but MLB runs longer for pitchers which is something Ryu does know and is preparing for. I do believe Ryu will be a treat to watch but also is very unknown to many fans in the U.S. I think as the season progresses we will know more about him on the field.
Will Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford be the same coming off Injuries?
A concern with the Dodgers last season and something that hampered the team was Injuries. Chad Billingsley came off a stent on the DL when the second half of the 2012 season hit and was really pitching well until he suffered a partially torn right elbow ligament which sidelined him for the rest of the season. Matt Kemp was also bothered with injuries throughout the season and that affected his play through the season. Suffering from Hamstring injuries that sidelined him until the All-Star break and then tearing his right labrum and a frayed shoulder-blade which really affected him through the season. While Carl Crawford didn’t suit up with the Dodgers last season he also was injured and had to have Tommy John surgery which sidelined him for the season as a Red Sox. The health of those three have been closely watched since the end of the season and from the sounds of it progress is being made with Kemp and Billingsley. Kemp is swinging the bat again and working with McGwire in Arizona, Experiencing no pain while Billingsley has went fourth with is throwing program and from what is being said he’s sound confident which is also good to hear. While nothing is out on Crawford they expect him to be the Opening Day Starter at Left Field. My main concern at the moment for these guys is game speed. Yes they’ll have Spring Training to get it together but will they be at game speed and game condition once the season hits? Last thing everyone wants is for Kemp, Billingsley, and Crawford to struggle because that’s never a good thing to see. The key for their success as players is going to be Good health and confidence and If they can do that then watch out.
If Carl Crawford Isn’t Ready Who Starts at Left Field?
This was the talk at the end of last season and the answers was all over the place. In the event of Crawford not being able to play come the start of the season then who will start at his position? There were tons of players thrown into the discussion and some weren’t bad ideas while others were ehhh I don’t know. One Idea was to sign back Shane Victorino but there were two problems with that. 1) Shane wanted to be a starter and was not going to sign with the Dodgers to be a bench player once Crawford returned plus I questioned if he even wanted to be a Dodger and 2) he signed with the Red Soxs for a ridiculous amount of money so he’s officially out the picture. A few players also thrown out there was Juan Rivera which isn’t a bad idea but wasn’t the same player he was when he was traded to the Dodgers and Tony Gwynn Jr who was with the Dodgers until L.A. designated him for Assignment to Albuquerque. Yasiel Puig is a name plenty of Dodger fans put out there and while he is on the 40 man roster and has been Killing it in the Minors I question if he is indeed ready for MLB ball. He hit a major slump in winter ball but seems to be picking it back up. We have to see how he does at Spring Training to really judge if he is truly ready.
Will Luis Cruz repeat his 2012 Season
Luis Cruz was fantastic and was quite the surprise in the 2012 season. Cruz really became a popular player in Los Angeles and a key player as well earning the everyday 3rd Base spot. This season Mattingley said that the plan will be for Cruz to be starting 3rd baseman come Opening Day and why not? How the way he played Last season he should but whether he will make the same impact is a good question. Cruz will be playing with Team Mexico in the World baseball Classic so he will miss part of Spring training with the Dodgers for that. We’ve seen Juan Rivera who had a good impact on the team some what struggle the next season along with Dee Gordon and that is one thing that is in the back of some minds but with Cruz he has the work ethic to be better and help this team so it’s something to keep an eye out.
Is Andre Ethier on his way out of Los Angeles?
Andre Either has had his name in many trade rumors in the off-season and while the word is that the Dodgers are listening to offers they have not indicated that they will trade Ethier. Andre Ethier signed a 5 year $85 Million Contract extention during the season which raises eyebrows on why the Dodgers would trade him. Yes the knock has been that he can’t hit off left-handed pitchers and we all understand that but wouldn’t it be fair to wait and see how he does with Crawford AND Kemp in the outfield with him? There has been the rumor of him being traded to Seattle then signing Michael Bourn but that remains to be seen at the moment. I honestly think if Ethier struggles come the trade deadline then the Dodgers will likely look into Trading Ethier away but with his contract there isn’t many teams who will be willing to take him. I see the Dodgers holding on to Andre because as of right now it’s the right and smart thing to do.
Will The Dodger Stadium Renovations Be Done In Time?
I think this is another major question but it takes place with the stadium. If you have seen pictures of Dodger Stadium being redone or have been to the stadium then you can’t help but to worry about the Stadium being done in time for Opening Day. Stan Kasten made note that it will be ready by March 29th when the Dodgers take the field for their exhibition game against the Angels. Dodger Stadium was in need of renovations and that wasn’t a mystery at all if you visited there. After the 2012 Season the renovations start to modernize the 51 Year old Stadium but the worry is if it will be done and ready in time. It’s currently January right now and Dodger Stadium has to be ready by March for the season but in the event of it NOT being ready then there has been plans in place for the Dodgers to play at the L.A. Coliseum or Angel Stadium. I don’t believe that the Dodgers will have to play else where for their games and that the stadium will indeed be ready by March. They’ve already moved the Dodgertown Classic where USC and UCLA play at Dodger Stadium due to renovations so that’s already one event down. Yes A lot has to be done and it is a concern about getting it done in time but workers are working hard to get the upgrades done and it will be worth it.
Will Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez Have A Better Season L.A.?
Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez had up and down season in L.A. after they were aquired. With Adrian playing in the World baseball classic and Hanley in Winter Leagues I expect those two to improve. Another advantage is that Mark McGwire is the hitting coach and based on what he did for the Cardnials I can see him really doing what he can to help Hanley and Adrian improve. Weather it will work or or not is something we will have to wait and see. If Adrian Gonzalez can hit lights out and if Hanley can hit like his 2009 Batting Champion self then the Dodgers will really be a dangerous team hitting wise.
It’s back to work for the Boys in Blue now that the All-Star Break is over it’s time to resume where the Dodgers left off. The 1st half of the season started great with the Dodgers having the best record in MLB and a good lead in the NL West only to take a turn for the worse when the Injuries began to stock pile, offense disappeared, and a slump happened. The Dodgers went into the break finding themselves a half game over the Giants and the Diamondbacks not too far off also the Dodgers find themselves 7 games over .500. Makes you say yikes the Slump did a lot of damage. However there’s help with Matt Kemp Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis Back in the line up the offense will have less pressure off. While there’s some solutions theres also plenty of questions to be answered that plague the Dodgers.
One question that many will ask is the Trade Deadline and what the Dodgers will do. The Dodgers need to address starting pitching help, LHP help, and add another bat to the corner position to help the Dodgers. We’ve heard so much about the Dodgers intrest with the Cubs on getting Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster which is a sign but with teams like the Brewers and Phillies being possible sellers it could be something if Cole Hammels or Zack Grenkee is available. Dodgers will likely have to give up prospects but to get players like that the Dodgers have to be cautious on the asking prices of these teams. Likely the Cubs and Brewers will not have high asking prices. As far as a bat the Dodgers have been real aggressive on trying to land a bat and missed twice. Missed out on Kevin Youkillis to the White Sox and Carlos Lee Vetoed a trade to LA only to land in Miami. The Dodgers could be aggressive again for a bat again but weather they strike gold or not is a question. It’s obvious this team wants to win THIS YEAR. A bat to the 1st and 3rd Base position looks to be a area as Juan Uribe and James Loney have been under performing at this point to make a solid contribution to help but the emergence of Eillian Herrara has been huge to the LF 3rd base position.
Another issue is the health and performance of the Dodgers again. The Injuries played a huge part in the wheels falling off in that slump that cost them that huge lead. What scares me personally is will key players stay healthy? Injuries happen but on slaught of injuries will be very bad to The Dodgers in the dog days. The performance of certain Dodgers will also be in mind like starting pitchers Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw. Will they be able to get it together to make a big run into September October? Billingsley’s meltdowns has been really bad in games and Kershaw hasn’t played like his usual Cy Young self. If they can pull through the the Dodgers will be dangerous. Another is the team itself. Will they bring it together to once again be the team that had the MLB talking? It all starts with the team but there’s no doubt Management and Mattingley will have this team ready to do battle.
All in All the Dodgers are in first place and will resume the season to keep that lead. But it won’t be easy. They start off with San Diego at home then go into a series at Dodger stadium with the Phillies. The same team that they swept in Philadelphia. After that a road trip in New York with the Mets then travel to ST Louis to play the Cardinals then conclude the road trip in San Fran against the hated giants in what could be a pivotal series in the NL West so the Dodgers have their work cut out. The 2nd Half is under way and the Boys in Blue have work to do.
Your Los Angeles Dodgers are 29-13 which is a MLB Best, 1st Place in the NL West, Playing really good baseball with Matt Kemp, Jerry Hariston, Juan Rivera, Mark Ellis, and Juan Uribe. The Dodgers are getting all types of production from everyone this season at this point. The Dodgers even Swept the Defending World Series Champion St Louis Cardinals with a dangerous line up. Yet the Dodgers still have not received any National media attention. It seems like no matter what obstacles the Dodgers over come it gets little to no notice. Why is that? It’s beyond me but whatever it is I don’t like it but at the same time I do. Last year the Dodgers were in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. Bankruptcy, Frank McCourt Draining the franchise, Losing, Brain Stow beatings. It seems like the Dodgers and it’s fan base couldn’t get a break. Come winter meetings the Dodgers only big move was Extending Matt Kemps contract while another team in Anaheim was making big moves signing Abert Pujols and CJ Wilson. Came the start of the Season Dodgers had new Owners in Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, and Mark Walter and great display of baseball but national recognition hasn’t been all that.
Sometimes not having that National spotlight on you isn’t always a bad thing if you think of it. Right now the Dodgers have the best record in the MLB but is also staying quiet. As you see teams with the most pressure are usually teams like the Yankees, Red Soxs, or even now the Rangers where if one minor thing can become big news for you. The Dodgers having a big media spotlight just adds pressure to them to win. With the Starting Pitching playing well, Bullpen getting it together, and Everyone stepping up for the Dodgers it seems like things are going pretty well. So not having that national exposure isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to the play on the field. Just as good as it is to fly under the radar comes that respect.
As of now the Dodgers may have the top spot on a lot of Power Rankings but there’s others who talk more about other teams more than the Dodgers. How is it that Collin Cowheard can go on his show as with a straight face say the Cardinals are the best team in the MLB. The Dodgers swept the Cardinals in a competitive series but a Sweep is a Sweep. I’ve also heard many say the Texas Rangers are the best team which you can argue but comes this argument on why the Dodgers don’t get that recognition is the Schedule. Dodgers have played teams like San Deigo, Pittsburgh, Houston, Cubs, Rockies. Well let me kill the arguement that it’s hard to beat teams the way the Dodgers do in Baseball regardless of the teams and not to mention the Dodgers have hung around in games vs Atlanta and was robbed in two straight games vs Milwalkee. Not only that but Swept the Washington nationals and St Louis Cardinals as well as come back from a 6-1 defecit on the Road against Arizona to continue a 6 game winning streak without Matt Kemp. Want to talk about other stuff? the Bullpen is getting better and the Starting Pitching staff like Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, Clayton Kershaw (Defending Cy Young Award winner), and at times Chad Billingsley playing very very well. So the Dodgers should have that notice from the media that the Dodgers are something special. Now its not how you start but how you finish and the Dodgers have to keep this good play up once June July and September October hit.
As long as the Dodgers keep winning then all is well but most Dodger fans have to be some what frustrated that they’re being OVERLOOKED by the national baseball media. Does it bother me? Some what but the Dodgers are 30-13. As long as they complete the season in October with a World Series back in Los Angeles then Im fine and happy. Dodgers playing great baseball and I love it how they’re doing it!!
What a memoriable Week it’s been for the Dodgers and it’s fans. After going 3-1 in San Diego the Dodgers came back home to a much hyped crowd at Dodger Stadium to play the Pittsburgh Pirates. I was able to get myself to all three games in the series and I have to say it’s truely amazing to see the Dodgers in person no matter what. Opening Day at Dodger Stadium was the Day everyone was looking forward to and in front of a packed Stadium. I couldn’t catch the festivites due to the traffic getting to Dodger Stadium but was able to see the Game where Clayton Kershaw took the mound and pitched really good game. The highlight of the game had to be Andre Ethier’s Home run to go on top and win the game ON HIS BIRTHDAY!! and the Festivites before (Even though I couldn’t catch them). The celebration of Dodgers Stadium 50th Anniversary was something very special to All Dodger fans. Those in the Stadium and those who couldn’t make it it was special. Not only was it the First game at Dodger Stadium but it was the a chance to reflect on the history of moments that has happened at Dodger Stadium and reflect on Past Dodgers and appriciate the Tradition and What being a Dodger fan is all about.
The Second night the threat of rain couldn’t stop some of those to make their way to the Stadium and see the Dodgers and even in the Cold the Boys in blue and Billingsley play couldn’t cool of the Dodgers and they rolled through Pittsburgh in this game. The Pirates looked very out matched and the Dodgers showed what they could do. Even though there was less of a crowd than Opening Day the Dodgers still played and fed off that energy. And How could I forget!! Clayton Kershaw recieved his Cy Young that night and what a epic night after having a Monster 2011 Year. The fans also got the
The Final Night once again faced a threat of rain which was a cause for another low attendance but still Didn’t Stop Dodgers from doing their thing. Los Angeles was able to hold off the Pirates and complete the sweep 3-2 Improving the Record to 6-1. Solid controbutions by the Dodgers have helped this team really step their game up and get off to a great start and even though the Pirates made it interesting late Dodgers Pitching was able to help them out in this game to hold them off completing the Sweep. With this sweep the Dodgers are off to their first 6-1 Start since 1981…..That was the year they won the World Series. Now weather it’ll have the same results is something we ALL hope for but now it’s early in the Season with the Padres coming to Los Angeles for another series with the Dodgers.
This week was something that Many Dodger fans including myself will never forget this week at all. The Dodgers are also on a roll but will they keep it up? Lets hope but after this week Dodger fans should be very excited for whats to come for the rest of the season! Keep it going Dodgers and Dodger fans keep up the support and come see your Boys in Blue
As Spring Training comes to a close and Opening Day approaches It’s time that we take a look into the Dodgers Spring Training. Filled with some good play, bad play, Bad weather, Hot weather, Ties, magical ownerships The Dodgers wrapping up Spring Training in Arizona before heading to Anaheim to play the Angels in the Freeway Series. The Dodgers went on to have a 14-13 Record in Spring Training with a few ties. Watching the games that we’re televised on TV I would have to say there were somethings that have impressed me and some that didn’t impress me but all in all Spring Training have given us a taste of whats to come. Lets go ahead and Recap Spring Training in Arizona.
Who Impressed-There were a few Players this Spring that really impressed me. One who stood out the most was Andre Ethier and Dee Gordon. Ethier who is coming off Knee Surgery and a not so good 2011 Season managed to Play this spring with many questions that appears to be answered for right now. Ethier played like the Ethier that we all know and is showing the potential for a monster season. Dee Gordon exploded into the Major League scene with his amazing speed but his issue has been hitting at the Major League Level. During Spring Training Leading off Dee has been able to hit into the Gaps and Successful bunting by taking advantage of his speed. Stealing Bases as well has been a huge success this spring as well. Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp have also showed how they can look to improve on their Monster Season from 2011. Any worry so far of them disapointing have not shown so far. Juan Rivera, Nathian Eovaldi, and Kenley Jansen have also pitched in with stellar showings as well which give Dodger fans something to look forward too.
Who Disapointed- While some impressed there have been a few that really disapointed me this Spring Training. Juan Uribe who had a disapointing 2011 Season had a lot to prove to people. During the Spring Uribe really have not shown that things will get better for the season. Uribe who is on the Opening Day Line up will have to produce this season. Another set of players that have disapointed me have been Chad Billingsley and Ted Lily. Billingsley who has been in the All-Star game a very good pitcher has found himself imploading in the middle of games giving up runs and beat up by batters. During the Spring it seemed like we were getting a repeat of the 2011 Season as Billingsley went through his mid game breakdowns that would hurt the team. Ted Lily also had issues with pitching last season giving up multipul home runs in games which really put the Dodgers in a bad position as well. In the Spring Ted Lily had also had the same isssue as well as getting bases stolen off of him. Lily is starting the Season on the DL due to Neck stiffness issues which sidelined him for the rest of Spring training.
One Year under Mattingley’s Belt- Last Season Don Mattingley did a pretty good job managing the team dispite off the field issues with the Franchise ownership. Keeping the teams focus on the field play good ball has been one heck of an effort by Mattingley. This season he will look to apply somethings that he learned from last season and apply it to become even better. The potential is really briht for Mattingley to become a very Good Manager. The players respect and play hard for him and the Fans love him.
Big heart Factor- I can’t count how many times this team has been down late in games and stormed back to either take the lead or tie the game. The Dodgers have showed that other teams that games aren’t over until the final out and have stormed back a few times thanks to late game heroics. This team can fight and weather they apply it to the Season. If so then they can really be something when down in games.
Storyline of Spring Training- One way or another The Dodgers Ownership situation would dominate the headlines and most of the time it wasn’t positive. This Time It was Magical. April 27th would be a day where the Los Angeles Dodgers would open another new chapter in Dodger Baseball. Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Mark Wither and co Were approved by MLB and Former Owner Frank McCourt as they bought the Dodgers for 2.15 Billion. The new Ownership group was a sign and start of whats to be a Bright future for Dodger Baseball and the City of Los Angeles as they look to restore the luster back into one of Baseballs most historic franchises. This is something all Dodger fans can really low towards as this is the start of a brand new and Magical Era in Not only Dodgers baseball but MLB it’s self.