Results tagged ‘ MLB ’
Well we are at the end of the regular season which means it’s time for another edition of I-5 Bias. For those are are new to this allow for me to explain. Kristen , who runs a great blog called This Is A Very Simple Game and a huge Angels fan, and myself will answer 7 questions about the Dodgers, Angels, and other Baseball related issues. Out here we don’t call it westcoast bias but its I-5 Bias!
The Dodgers and the Angels both had abysmal starts to their seasons. But by the end of June, the Dodgers started to turn things completely around. What are your thoughts on the Dodgers comeback/why do you think they were able to turn their season around?
Matt says: It’s amazing to think about what the Dodgers did. At the begining a lot of things were going completely wrong. Injuries, Leaving runners on base, Errors, Mismanagement, I mean whatever you thought of it happened with the Dodgers. When they went on that run It was unbelieveable run and took first place, There was a feeling that this team could do something special. How they were able to turn it around? Honestly there was a number of things. Everyone started to trust one another, In an Interview before the Blue Jays Series Adrian Gonzalez and AJ Ellis said that everyone on that team started to trust each other. Taking a few pitches and not over do things knowing the next guy behing them. Anotheher was the pitching started to get better. If you look at the Dodgers Statisiticly pitching it started with their top two starting pitchers in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. In the 2nd half both are a world better with low ERA’s and great win-loss records so there was no doubt that they would get it together. The rest of the staff on the other hand really went on to shock me. Ricky Nolasco was really getting it together, Hyun Jin Ryu continued his success, and the Bullpen as a whole managed to get better and the addition of Brian Wilson made it better as well. Let’s also not forget about Yasiel Puig! I think he was the huge spark that the Dodgers needed with his play.
Kristen says: I think it was as close to a perfect storm of good as a team can get – things started clicking for the Dodgers when Yasiel Puig debuted right as key players started coming off the DL. This is, perhaps, an oversimplified explanation for a pretty epic comeback, but that’s all I’ve got and, really, it’s no worse than Vin’s Magic Castle explanation.
And what are your thoughts on the Angels continually frustrating season/why do you think they weren’t able to turn their season around?
Kristen says: Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it. Trust me, I watched something like 145 of 162. Seriously. There are a lot of things that went wrong – injuries, veterans failing to perform, an on again/off again offense – but I think that the worst thing, the truly irreparable nail in the coffin, was pitching. This is a team that had relied on stellar pitching for the last string of seasons and they went into 2013 without a true starting rotation and no improvements to speak of in a shaky bullpen. Then injuries and aging arms made the pitching situation even worse and the powers that be failed to make any moves that constituted so much as a legitimate patch before the trade deadline – not that they really had a lot of funds to make such a thing possible by that point in the season.
Matt says: The Angels were a team I thought would also get it together in the 2nd half of the season. They had the offensive fire power, Pujols, Trout, and Kendrick was doing their thing, Josh Hamilton was starting to come around but ultimately the Angels couldn’t get it done. You had the injury to Albert that put himout for the rest of the season and inconsistant play it just wasn’t good all around. I think what hurt the Angels was the inconsistant ball play. The inability to really put something together to make a run hurt them. In the AL West you can’t afford to lose series against the A’s and Rangers and expect to make up ground. Droping games against Seattle and Houston didn’t help at all either. I believe the Angels needed to get it together consistantly and didn’t.
With postseason baseball coming for the Dodgers what is their biggest strength and weakness? How far do you think they can go?
Matt says: Their biggest strength will be pitching. I always preach that pitching will win you championships. Look at the Giants in 2010-2012 and look at the Phillies 2008-2009. Both had a great pitching staff that lifted them to World Series appaerances/Championships. That’s what the Dodgers needed and they tackled it well the Dodgers pitching staff is getting it done at the right time and when it’s really needed. Kershaw and Greinke in game one and two is scary enough and the bullpen has been lights out. As far as their weakness I do believe it’s their health. Dodgers for some reason have this issue with staying healthy and that tend to hurt them a lot. Right now L.A. have Matt Kemp out for the season with a ankle injury and the status of Andre Ethier is really up in the air right now. This team must stay healthy in order to really make an impact. I do believe the Dodgers can go far. It’s going to be difficult because they have a lot of good teams to pan up against and will be on the road. I think the Dodgers can make it to the World Series due to their pitching and talent.
Kristen says: I think pitching is the Dodgers biggest strength and an on again, off again offense is potentially their biggest liability. They sure aren’t hitting right now but even the last few games leading up to the postseason aren’t always an indication of play come October. If the Dodgers start hitting again, they could go pretty far.
What, if anything, do you think the season fallout will be in the Angels organization? Is there anything this team can do to get back on track for 2014?
Kristen says: I feel like Sadusky in National Treasure, “Someone’s got to go to prison, Ben.” I don’t know or even really want to predict who is going to leave but it’s certain that someone, and probably several someones, will. There are rumors flying far and wide about Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia. On the one hand, if you take injuries out of the equation, Jerry Dipoto is responsible for the pitching situation – he dismantled the old starting rotation to build this one. One the other hand, Scioscia has managed four teams that failed to make the post season in a row, two of them with losing records…and don’t think we haven’t noticed that this is the first season Arte Moreno has failed to respond to questions over Sosh’s future with with instant unwavering support. So is it one or both of these guys or will it be a massive player shift? Or, D, some of all of the above? Personally, I’d like the fallout to be enough player movement to get an actual starting rotation going into 2014 without throwing all babies out with the bathwater to accomplish it. But I learned a long time again that I don’t think like a team owner, especially not this team owner, so I doubt it will be that.
Matt says: I don’t think much will happen in the Angels Organization really but ig I had to pick I do believe the Angels will let go Jerry Dipoto. He has made splash signings with Albert Puljos, CJ Wilson, and Josh Hamilton but really nothing much has come out of it. He also failed to get the Angels true help which was to upgrade the pitching staff. I do believe that there is something that this team can do to turn it around in 2014 and that’s to get pitching help. They have the offensive firepower and enough of it but now is the time to really lock down on pitching if they want to make an impact in the AL West.
After winning the NL West the Dodgers came out of their clubhouse and celebrated in the Diamondbacks pool in the outfield. This was controversial and commentators have expressed differing opinions on the matter. What is your take on the celebration?
Matt says: Well I maybe in the majority that actaully don’t have an issue with this. I honestly think the Diamondbacks and media are making a huge deal out of it than we are or the Dodgers. If anything it started with them saying that the Dodgers couldn’t comeback out to celebrate which puzzles me. It was all done when everyone was out of the stadium and Los Angeles didn’t mean any harm over it at all. I understand the sportsmanship and classiness of celebrating but lets not forget when the Dbacks clinched they went swiming in their pool in 2011. It’s really no issue at all really and I think it’s bigger deal to Arizona than anyone else.
Kristen says: On the one hand, I think the DBacks telling the Dodgers not to come back out of the Clubhouse to celebrate on their field was out of line and contrary to baseball tradition. So, if the Dodgers had just come out of the Clubhouse and celebrated on the field, I wouldn’t have any objections. But come on Dodgers, you can’t tell me that a large part of your motivation to celebrate specifically by jumping in the DBacks’ pool wasn’t sticking it to a division rival with whom you have bad blood and have brawled this season, knowing that such an action would really piss them off. While that is certainly an understandable, human motivation it isn’t exactly a classy one. So, do I think the Dodgers are evil? No. But they sure aren’t winning any kudos for sportsmanship this season. Of course, did they actually set out to? Probably not.
So, baseball fan boys and girls, what does the 2013 season have to teach us about pre-season media hype?
Kristen says: Well, both the Dodgers and the Angels were heavily hyped to go all the way. The Angels…yeah, ‘nuff said. *sigh* While the Dodgers have made it to the post season in style for sure…but with significant help from guys who weren’t even on the team when the predictions were made. Look, an MLB season is too long and complicated to ever listen to the preseason predictions with anything more than the kind of interest a diehard baseball fan shows any MLB news when there are no live games on yet and a ‘that’s nice’.
Matt says: I think it taught us something very valuable. Baseball isn’t played on paper. If you were to tell me the Giants, Angels, Nationals and Blue Jays wouldn’t even come close to playoff contention then I would think you’re crazy. This season basically showed us a lot when it comes to pre-season media hype. The Dodgers and Angels got off to bad starts but the Dodgers managed to get it together in the second half of the season and the Angels struggled which was disapointing to see. I think we will all be more careful when we take a look at things in the pre-season but this was another example of how anything can happen in baseball.
Get to Know Your Bloggers Bonus Question: Do you have any favorite memories and moments from the MLB Postseason?
Matt says: Well I do have a few memories and moments from the MLB Postseason. The Dodgers sweeping the Cardnials in 2009 is one that sticksout because St Louis was a heavy favorite and it really shocked a lot of us when the Dodgers swept them out of the playoffs. Another was the Cardinals/Rangers World Series. It was sad to see Texas lose it when they had two chances at winning it but amazing to see the Cards win it thanks to David Freese heroics but I think my favorite has to be the Red Sox and Yankees 2004 Series where the Yankees were up 3-0 in the series and was bound to win the series only for the Sox to pulloff an amazing comeback to win the ALCS which was crazy to see. I hope to see some this postseason as well that we can talk about for years to come.
Kristen says: You all know what I’m going to say here, right? ‘Erstad says he’s got it. Erstad makes the catch!’…except, favorite memory though that was, I wasn’t strictly back to being a baseball fan in 2002. I was a bitter, bitter lady over the strike, and I’d been raised a Dodgers fan, after all. No, I wouldn’t come back to baseball until I fell head over heels in love with the Angels about three seasons after the 2002 series. Sad, but true. But I do remember when they won. My grandfather was a lifelong Angels fan going back to the Minor League PCL days, but he passed away in 1990 and missed the team’s truly good years. It’s maudlin, but I remember catching the end of game 7 on TV and wishing that somehow he knew, as you do.
Now, with my odd mixed fan base baseball background, I also have vivid warm fuzzies over 1988, and that first Saturday game, building the Lego castle of the weekend all along the den floor with my sister while we watched the World Series. Memories of Vin Scully’s, ‘And look who’s coming up…’ and just knowing who I was going to see when I put down the Legos and looked up at the screen, because Kirk Gibson was my hero, so of course he would come in at just the right moment to win the game like it was some sort of fairy tale.
Ah childhood! But I guess that’s part of why I really get into doing this whole I-5 Bias thing, even when my team blows so many goats for the season that they actually made me momentarily happy the regular season has ended. Oh well, here’s looking forward to 2014 and hopefully less drama and more editions of I-5 Bias where I get to brag about my guys. Cheers!
It’s been 4 years since the Dodgers last made their postseason appearance. In 2009 the Dodgers were once again the NL West Champions, One of the favorites to win the whole thing. Dodgers started the 09 playoffs against Cardinals in the NL Divisional Series. Dodgers managed to sweep St Louis 3-0 to advance to the NL Championship Series where they ran into the Philadelphia Phillies, The same Phillies team that knocked them out of the playoffs and went on to defeat Tampa Bay to win the World Series. The hope around Dodgertown was to beat the Phillies and advance to the World Series. Dodgers couldn’t pull it off as the Phillies eliminated the Dodgers in 5 games in the NLCS. Ever since then things has been a roller coaster for the Dodgers. Now 4 years later the Dodgers find themselves back in the MLB Postseason and as Division champs. I have to say that this season was a crazy one. Who would’ve thought that the Dodgers would come from last place where they were 9.5 games out and left for done to NL West Division Champs? Who would’ve thought that the Dodgers would go on an amazing run from July 22nd to now and catch the baseball world’s attention? If you predicted all of that then please make sure you go to Vegas. The fans of this team should be happy and excited for this moment coming. The day after the Dodgers clinched playoff tickets went on sale instantly sold out minutes after. The excitement is running high in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Dodgers organization from the front office to the players have overcome a lot and worked day and night to put a contending team. If anything I do believe the credit goes to Mr. Stan Kasten as he has done a lot to help this team and franchise. A team that was bankrupted, depleted in the farm system, and missing talent that would’ve taken a while to fix Kasten done in 2 years. Now just cause I’m putting this out here doesn’t mean I think their job is done but lets take the time to look at what Mr Kasten along with ownership and Ned Colleti has done with this team. Another thing I pointed out earlier was the excitement for the playoffs by Dodger fans. Playoffs tickets selling like crazy and fans scrambling for tickets, more gear, anything to prepare them for the postseason. You can sense the feeling that the Dodger fans can feel that this could be the year the Dodgers do something special and win the World Series, Something that hasn’t been done since 1988.
The job isn’t done as this is only the beginning. the Dodgers are healthy and playing good ball at the right time. Now that the Dodgers clinched they can get core guys healthy and keep them fresh while certain players audition for a spot on the playoff roster. Fans are excited and postseason is around the corner. Prepare yourself for…..
Lately I haven’t updated my blog due to other stuff I wanted to take care off but with the Dodgers issues I couldn’t keep it in much longer. As many of you guys know the Dodgers are currently in last place in the NL West right now. Not the start we all expected. Many are saying it’s still early but you have to keep in mind that every game from here on counts. My issue with the Dodgers right now is inconsistency from all ends. Hitting with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP), Managing, and Bullpen. For this post I wasnt to touch on Bullpen because right now it seems to be the thing that is bothering this team right now along with any fans. From what was a nightmare two seasons ago is a nightmare now.
What is going on Bullpen? Why are you adding fuel to the fire? Last season the Dodger bullpen was one of the best in the NL. Right now they don’t even look anywhere close to it. Guys like Matt Gueirrer and Ronald Belisario are giving up hits left and right while Brandon League is blowing saves or giving up a ton of runs before making the save. It does get frustrating and annoying to watch time after time. In a formula of a winning and contending ball club you must have good pitching from Starting Pitching down to the bullpen. The Dodgers bullpen at this moment is not doing its justice. Right now the Dodgers bullpen is 12th in the NL with a 4.41 ERA. Opposing batters are also hitting .263 against the Dodger bullpen. That is not good boys and something has to be done. Something has to be done about this.
Now what is it that can be done you ask? Well let me first say this. I have no clue because there’s no such thing as an instant fix to a problem. With the closer situation you have to put Kenley Jansen in there. He has proven that consistently he can make saves. Yes he tends to go to the same pitch that batters will pick up on but he can get the job done. Middle Inning relievers is where you have t take a gamble there but you can’t keep counting on Belisario and Gueirrer to break out of it. You got Paco Rodriguez and JP Howell there that you can throw in and can get the job done. You can’t trade for bullpen help at this moment and you have injuries to players like Shawn Tolleson and Scott Elbert so you have to work with what you have at the moment. I honestly believe this was something the Dodgers should’ve addressed in the off-season along with Starting pitching. The NL West is a tight race and NOBODY is really out of it but the Dodgers aren’t helping themselves. It’s time for the Dodgers to shake up the bullpen because what they’re going with now is not working.
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.
Last night the Dodgers defeated the Padres 3-2 thanks to Juan Uribe’s home run in the 8th Inning. While the Dodgers managed to grab the win their victory was overshadowed by what took place in the 6th inning. The Dodgers were up 2-1 with Greinke pitching and Carlos Quentin at bat. If you saw the game or watched the video above then you have a good idea where it went from there. Greinke threw a pitch where it hit Carlos Quentin. Quentin charged the mound and from there it went. Benches cleared and tempers flared as things really got heated between the Dodgers and Padres. Matt Kemp came from center field to charge into the pile to protect his pitcher. After a few minutes things kind of settled down on the field. Zack Greinke was taken off the field due to injury from a hit he took from Carlos Quentin but things picked up once again when Jerry Harriston Jr charged towards the Padres dugout. Things were really heating up between the two teams. Lets go ahead and fast forward to after the game. The Dodgers win 3-2 but many are awaiting the update on Zack Greinke. Vin Scully gives those who are watching at home the update that Zack Greinke had a fractured Left Collarbone in the scrum.
On my twitter account many fellow Dodger fans were upset about the whole thing with Carlos Quentin and it’s safe to say he has become public enemy #1 in Dodgertown. I saw some say that Greinke was at fault here. Many different opinions about it last night and today. Well here’s my take on it. I fail to see how Zack was in the wrong for the whole thing. Carlos Quentin claims the whole thing was not an accident by Grenkie and many San Diego media outlets along with others agreed. Two things they fail to realise was that it was a one run game (2-1) and it was the bottom of the 6th inning. Another thing people don’t realise is that Quentin gets hit by pitches a lot. Not cause pitchers don’t like him but because he crowds the plate when batting so why charge the mound now when you’ve been hit so many times from crowding the plate. I get Greinkie and Quentin have had history before but honestly was Zack waiting 4 years just to hit him again? That don’t make sense at all. Quentin makes a great point, All of this could have been avoided. It could have if he just took his base in a calm manner like before.
Now what about Jerry Harriston and Matt Kemp? We know Harriston wasn’t happy and charged towards the Padres dugout because a player from the Padres was joking about Greinke’s injury. That really made Harriston upset and he let them know how upset he was. Kemp on the other hand was ejected along with Harriston. Why was Matt ejected was beyond me. We saw him charge from the outfield to the pile but who wasn’t in that pile??? Apparently Kemp may have bumped an umpire through the whole thing and that was the cause for the ejection. He also was saying a few things as well. After the game Kemp and Quentin had a few words for each other outside of the stadium where they were both held back by teammates and police. Kemp told Quentin “We’ll see B***h”.
It’s unclear whether Kemp, Harriston, and Quentin will be suspended for their actions Thursday night. MLB was looking into it today and Matt Kemp is in today’s line-up for their game against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. We know none of the Dodgers players and fans are happy about this. Don Mattingly was obviously upset and called for Quentin to be suspended until Greinke can play again. I honestly agree with Don Mattingly because it was uncalled for and a bonehead move that got a player injured. These two teams play on Monday at Dodger Stadium so things could get interesting. Right now I just hope the Dodgers focus is on Arizona this weekend and not looking forward to Monday.
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.
Throughout Spring Training there’s been a lot of stories and players that has impressed but as of right now nobody is lighting it up like Yasiel Puig. Many scouts who have followed Puig made note that he has power and speed but was raw and needed more coaching. While playing for the Arizona Rookie League and Class A Rancho Cucamonga Puig batted .354 in 82 At Bats hitting 5 Home Runs and 15 RBI’s. This spring many Dodger fans didn’t really know what to expect from the 22 Year Old Outfielder. Yasiel have impressed many players, fans, and coaches with his play. I was even impressed how the way he played. Don Mattingly compared him to Bo Jackson with his speed and power and for a player built like that who can blame him. During Spring Training Puig is batting .547 with 3 Home Runs, 11 RBI’s, and an On Base Percentage (OBP) of .527. Right now he have a lot of people talking about a spot on the 25 man roster. Now should he have a spot on the 25 man roster? That is a great question and something that should be looked at.
The Dodgers already have 3 outfielders that will play every day. Carl Crawford at Left, Matt Kemp in Center, and Andre Ethier in Right but it’s a fourth outfielder that the Dodgers could use. I’ve always stressed that a bat off the bench could help. Los Angeles have two utility players in Schumaker and Harriston Jr. I don’t think anyone trust Uribe and with Hanley out for 8 weeks that opens up a spot. Likely Ellian Herrera will get called up come opening day but why not look into bringing Yasiel Puig? With him playing the way he is Puig is doing everything he can to get on the roster and having him come in as the 4th outfielder off the bench would be ideal but there will be a time that he will become day to day. Right now some see Puig challenging Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier for one of their spots and that can’t be any further from the truth. As good as Puig is Crawford and Ethier have their positions locked unless otherwise.
It’s up in the air right now weather if Puig will make the Opening Day Roster or not. With Hanley out for 8 weeks that brings the possibility of him being called up come April 1st and I can see it happening. If not then the likely place will be Double A Chattanooga to have more At Bats and coaching. What do I think of Puig? I honestly think he’s ready for the MLB. Based off what I have seen this kid can flat out play but the issue has been room on the roster. The Dodgers have proven players on the initial roster and they can’t have too many outfielders on the team. Puig will be called up this season and pending on others things will start for the Dodgers but this year isn’t that year in my opinion. In the end Puig should have a spot on the 25 man roster but if there’s no room then it won’t hurt for him to be in Double A.
On March 27th It would have been exactly one year when Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt. A group led by Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, and Mark Walter did something that many Dodger fans wanted to happen and that’s take the Dodgers from Frank McCourt. One year later the Dodgers are n much better shape than it was under the old owner. Instead of waiting till the 27th to talk about this I figured I go ahead and make this post to look at what the Dodger ownership has done in one year. As many remember the Dodger Franchise was under such uncertainty. Frank and Jamie McCourt going through a nasty divorce that really hurt the franchise, Dodgers going bankrupt due to the owner taking the money for his personal whatever it was, Half empty stadium due to fans boycotting McCourt, Everything was just a complete mess. A historic franchise hitting rock bottom due to one man and failed duties has an owner. Come the off-season after the 2011 Season the hot topic wasn’t only Free Agency but the bidding for the Dodgers. While the Dodgers couldn’t make any noise in the Off-Season with signings many believed that once they got a new owner Los Angeles was going to be the “Yankees” of the west (Hate that). The fate of a Franchise rest in the hands of the MLB as they had the final say on who will take control of the Dodgers and the Stadium.
Come the night of March 27th everything changed. News had broken that Magic Johnson and his group had won bidding for the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium. Many fans rejoiced as not only someone bought the Dodgers but a man familiar with the city and passion Los Angeles has with this team. Magic, Stan Kasten, and Mark Walter all talked about how they were committed to restoring Dodger pride. Many were saying that it would take a while before the Dodgers get to where they should due to the damage left by McCourt but it’s all worth it. This group was bound to make the Los Angeles Dodgers a First Class Franchise that would win for years to come.
In a span of one year Dodgers ownership have really brought this franchise a long ways back than expected. The Dodgers have the players to contend once they acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Zack Greinke, and Josh Beckett stating that money wouldn’t be an issue for players to win right now. They’re also getting back to the International market with signings of Hyun Jin Ryu (Korea) and Yasiel Puig (Cuba) as well as restocking the Minor League system for the future. Off the field Dodger Stadium is undergoing much-needed renovations to make the 51 Year Old stadium state of the art. They’re also doing more get in touch with the fans which was a major key that the Dodgers missed under the old ownership. Players are greeting fans at the gates as they enter the Stadium, Fan Fest’s being held for fans to further get in touch with this franchise, as well as Dodger legends roaming all over the place in the Stadium. As if that wasn’t enough the Dodgers struck a deal with Time Warner to get their own Channel. You can say that the Dodgers came a long way from where they were in 2010 and 2011. This franchise is really going up and the future can’t be any brighter for this team right now. I for one am happy that Ownership is keeping their word to bring this Franchise back and the icing on the cake would be a World Series Title come October.
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