Results tagged ‘ NL ’
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…..
Well folks we are here! The annual Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels. Two teams down the I-5 from each other clashing in what is now a 4 game home and home series. 2 in LA and 2 in Anaheim. If you are unfamiliar with how I-5 Bias works allow me to walk you through. A good Friend to the Blog Kristen, who is a huge Angels fan and runs a great blog called This Is A Very Simple Game (http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/), and I go through a set of questions talking about Dodger/Angel baseball. Without further or due we bring you I-5 Bias!!
1) So, the 2013 Dodgers and Angels. Hmmm…how can I put this delicately? What the hell happened??
Matt: Well with the Dodgers I am still trying to figure out what is going on. This season hasn’t been the start we all expected for them. To be fair Injuries has hit the Dodgers pretty good but that’s no excuse. Between issues with batting with RISP, Bullpen meltdowns, and mismanagement in games the Dodgers have found themselves in a good hole.
Kristen Says: While I love SABR and all of the increased attention even the average fan pays to statistics and analysis these days, the drawback is that no one is satisfied until they have a specific, detailed answer to performance questions these days and, I’m sorry, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. I mean, if there were a specific, detailed answer to the question of the Angels slower than molasses in a blizzard start to the season, don’t you think the problem would have been quickly solvable? In a nutshell, I think this was a perfect storm for the Angels. Heading into the season, player transactions were very tightly concentrated on beefing up the offense, and very much at the expense of the quality of the Angels starting rotation while virtually ignoring the bullpen. I was already queasy over the idea of assuming the offense would always pick up the pitching and then Murphy’s Law struck with a vengeance with a series of injuries taking out the only ace in the Angels pitching staff, turning the starting rotation and bullpen into personnel revolving doors, removing key set up pieces from the lineup and hampering the starts of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton – severely, in the case of Pujols. Does that fully explain the Angels start? Perhaps not for everyone, but when you throw in the added pressure of not living up to sky high expectations as each new calamity occurred, it explains things for me…not that I’ve been obsessing over this since Opening Day or anything…*whistles innocently*
2) Be honest. Do you think the Dodgers/Angels’ issues are fixable? How fixable? And what would it take at this point for you as a fan to call the season a success?
Matt: Yes I do believe it is but that’s up to the Manager. Switch up the line up to where it’s more effective to get runs, Make better bullpen decisions and not put the same guys who keep blowing the game in. As far as what will make this season successful? Winning and getting back to the Playoffs is what will save this season. At the start all the expectations were going to be on but missing the playoffs after spending on the Starting Pitching and making changes will be a disapointment. They have to get it in gear ASAP.
Kristen says: Well, don’t look now but the Angels offense is back online, the pitchers are performing well enough and then some, and the guys have quite a nice little winning streak going on heading into the Freeway Series. And the cherry on top? Ace Jered Weaver is coming off the DL and scheduled to pitch on Wednesday…the game I have tickets for. Score! If this level of play continues, then I will count the Angels season a success, no matter what the standings say at the end. It’s not that I don’t care about making the playoffs, I very much do. And I’m not counting the Angels out at all. If they keep playing like this, anything is possible especially with two wild card opportunities. No, I’m just acknowledging the fact that when a team digs themselves this deep of a hole to start the season, they are no longer fully in control of their own destiny – final standings are as much a matter of the other teams having off days as your team having good ones, something that we as baseball fans know you can hope for all you want but never, ever count on.
3) There have been talk/rumors of Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia possibly getting fired. Do you believe it’s time for them to go or should they even take blame?
Matt: I’m going to be straight up with Mattingly. From the looks of this he isn’t the right fit for the Dodgers. He has mismanaged games on his part and at times shows lack of fire but as of late he is starting to pick up that fire and take action. Benching Ethier and Kemp as well as calling out the team is a start right there. Now should he take blame. Yes but not ALL of it. Blame has to go around to everyone on their part. Mattingly has messed up on his part and it’s going to cost him his job at some point.
Kristen says: Nope. Never. You will not see me calling for Sosh’s head over this. Not going to happen. I may cringe over his bullpen management from time to time…er…all the time and yes, there have been and will always be instances of mismanagement. But I really think that as fans we have a tendency to point to the handful of mismanaged plays and ignore the rest of the game. Besides, injuries aren’t the manager’s fault. Personnel changes are not the manager’s fault. And somehow, despite all of the setbacks, the Angels are climbing back into this race and I think that that speaks volumes for the players’ grit, of course, but also for Sosh’s ability to keep them together even through the rough times.
4) One more uncomfortable question: What do you think about emergency/closed door team meetings — players only or otherwise? Are they ever effective or do they just feed the drama?
Matt: You know about those meetings I actually really like them. You have time to really air out whatever issues their are and talk about what you have to do as a team to get it going in the right direction. The Media will always make it more than what it needs to be but they are an effective way to talk as a team to get things going in a positive spin.
Kristen says: I think that, like any other tool, closed door meetings can be useful at times, useless at others and downright detrimental at others. I think a team meeting certainly can turn things around and, when such things become necessary, I do love it when the players show enough passion, initiative and team spirit to take ownership and have their own meeting. Here’s the thing though. Back in the day, fans would never hear about a closed door meeting or certainly not about every closed door meeting. Now we hear about every single one, often as they’re happening. Frequently we even hear what was said at the meetings – pretty contrary to the point of ‘closed door’ don’t you think? This is the part I don’t think it healthy. It adds to the drama and it also leads to the tail wagging the dog. When things start to go downhill, everyone expects a closed door meeting creating external pressure for the meeting to happen, rather than the meeting just occurring or not occurring naturally in keeping with the rhythms and chemistry of that particular team.
5) With the new schedule and league realignment, rivalry matchups including the Freeway Series have shrunk from 6 games to 4 for the season. Do you like this development or is it messing too much with tradition, albeit a relatively recent tradition?
Matt: Well I ALWAYS have enjoyed the freeways series. To be honest I don’t have an issue with the series being 4 games because you have 2 in LA then right then another 2 in Anaheim. So more of a 4 game series home and home. I know this will eventually end up being a Opening Day match up soon with the realignment so 4 games isn’t bad. Though I did like the 6 game format.
Kristen: I love the Freeway Series and the rivalry fan energy that both surrounds it at the ballparks and spills over into our work and social lives for a few days. I’m really going to miss that lasting for two full series and, to be honest, a shorter more compacted Freeway Series cuts into my ability to attend one game at each stadium, a mini-tradition Seth and I have enjoyed for a few years. But, at the same time, I get the necessity of trimming down the rivalry matchups under the new schedule. I also understand how awkward and underwhelming two series’ worth of rivalry matchups were under the old schedule for teams/fan bases who had no natural rival and were stuck with 6 games against an, in essence, MLB manufactured and assigned rival. So, while I’m disappointed for Angels and Dodgers fans, I get that this was the best course of action.
6) Make your predictions now. Which team will win the Freeway Series and with what record?
Matt: With what I have seen from the Dodgers they for some reason can’t get it together. Against St Louis they were shut out where they didn’t even show up and Yesterday where errors took them out of the game. This series starts off with Greinke and Ryu so it’s not pitching that I am worried about but the lack of offense. With that said I see this series going 2-2. Dodgers taking one in LA and one in Anaheim but with the Dodgers I really don’t know what to expect out of them at times especially with a hot Angels team coming into Dodger Stadium.
Kristen says: The Angels are hot right now and, since the start of interleague play, have owned the NL, including the Dodgers. I predict the Angels will win 3 out 4.
Meet the Bloggers Bonus Question: Do you enjoy the Freeway Series and, if so, what is your first/best Freeway Series memory?
Matt: Theres so many favorite memories and moments from this series. I enjoy the Freeway Series because it’s two teams that’s close to each other clashing. As far as my favorite/best Freeway Series memory wellll theres so many that I can’t pin point on one. Mine would have to be my first trip to Angels Stadium in 2009. The night before Juan Rivera (Angels player at the time) hit a walk off Home Run. This night Jarred and Jeff Weaver pitched against each other. The Dodgers won that night but what made it memorible was that it was my Very First Freeway Series that I witnessed (The First of Many).
Kristen says: I can’t pick out one specific, favorite memory – there are just too many! But the thing I love the most about the Freeway Series and the warm, fuzzy sense of family tradition I get from it. Growing up, my family primarily rooted for the Dodgers, but the Angels were Grandpa’s team, so I always knew both teams and loved watching them play each other. And, coming from such a Freeway family, as it were, my parents always took my sister and I to at least one Freeway Series game. There was no interleague play when I was a child so the Freeway Series was a pre-season exhibition. This meant that the Freeway Series was frequently my first live baseball game after the long winter without, adding to the specialness of t occasion.
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.
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
Yesterday morning the Dodgers made the official announcement that they have hired Mark McGwire as the hitting coach. Something that has been rumored since last Friday has now come to light yesterday. Ok he may not be on the field anymore but this is a big thing to have Mark McGwire come in and help a Dodger team who struggled to bring in runs let alone score runs or get on base. The Cardinals, Where he formaly played, had good success under him batting .269 (1st in NL), Had a OBP of .337 (1st in NL) and scored 2,263 runs (2nd in NL) so there is success right there. The Dodgers who struggled in all those things will finally have a hitting coach that can get the bats going and make them a big threat offensively. A lot of people are happy for this being done and we assume things will go right but Is this really going to help? I for one say yes he can and will help the Dodgers.
Last season many people wanted to know what the issue was with the offense. We got that Kemp was hurt along with Mark Ellis and had a team filled with the Isatopes but once they got healthy they still struggled with batting thats adding Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez. Having a guy who was barley batting .22o as pinch hitter in his playing career will not do it’s justice in my eyes and apperently I wasn’t the only one. Many felt Hansen was a problem so he has another position in the franchise leaving Mark Mcgwire to get the job. As I stated the Cardinals had some very good numbers in the NL with McGwire as their hitting coach so you can only imagine what this team will do come next season with the line up of Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Luis Cruz, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and so on. Yeah we know his history as a player and what not but him as a coach is just what the doctor ordered.
I believe there will be good results from this hiring and the Dodgers can be the dangerous team with the bat that they’re expected to be so be ready to see a lot of McGwire jerseys at Dodger Stadium. Will he make an Impact? Yes he will but that’s just my thinking and based off stats that the previous team he coached. Once Spring Training and the Season starts we’ll have our answer.
It took me a few days. Ok close to TWO weeks to really digest things and do this post. Like Almost every Dodgers fan im STILL bitter about our boys not getting into the postseason. While those who watched were Sad, Mad, Shocked, Etc the Team that Eliminated us from contention The Hated San Francisco Giants Celebrated in the visiting clubhouse enjoying the moment that they knocked the Dodgers away from the playoffs. Thats the thing of Baseball many say but to me it’s more of why. We were so close to making it and it didn’t happen. The Front Office did what they could to help and the Manager could only do so much but the Play couldn’t do it and at the time it was maybe Too little too late. So as I sit here see the Postseason I could only think why couldn’t it be the Dodgers? I’ll watch a little but won’t root for a team. Won’t make me any less of a fan but because what would’ve been that I refuse to really get over at this moment.
So the season Had ended for the Dodgers and the blue print for next season is being made. The Front Office making plans about what to improve on to finish the job, Players such as Luis Cruz and Dee Gordon are playing winter baseball to improve, Matt Kemp and AJ Ellis who were hurt have had surgeries to repair and look as if they will recover in time for Spring Training. Many things will be in order for the Dodgers on the field. Also the return’s of Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley will be a big help and with Carl Crawford coming off Tommy John things will get interesting in Dodgertown. Also with a Off-Season with the new owners means deeper pockets for Free agency where in the last two years the Dodgers were handicaped due to Frank McCourt and a low payroll. This Winter meeting the Dodgers can go out and Address the issues that this team need answered such as pitching and that’s always a positive thing. We’ll also get to see what Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Rameriez, Josh Beckett, and Luis Cruz can do in a full year with the Dodgers. With Cruz playing Winter ball and Adrian working to improve his swing to name the few it’s a real positive sign to see that players are willing to improve to do their part to help this team.
Not only will the Dodgers improve on the field but off the field as well as Dodger Stadium will under-go much needed renovations. Stan Kasten said that he wants to keep the same look to Dodger Stadium but make it more State of the Art with more stuff to better fan experiance. WI-FI has been said to be added to the Stadium by opening day next season. He’s looking to add more resturants, bars, Kid Areas as well as adding a State of the Art Dodger Store soon. Yes Dodger Stadium will look the same but will have a better look inside so Changes will be made. Ticket pricing as well is looking as if they’ll drop for the upcoming season. I’m a season ticket holder as some may not know and when I got a call about the 2013 Season tickets (Yes I AM renewing) They said that theres a price break for my section ranging from $9-$11 per ticket. That’s the only indication a can really give at the moment because I’m not 100% sure myself but it looks hopeful for many Fans. Hopefully the Dodgers work on better Transit for fans as well as other stuff and I know for a fact that Kasten will without a doubt do that to help the fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and give us the best that we deserve.
The ending to the Dodgers Season was a nightmare but unlike us the Dodgers refuse to let it linger and are getting right to work to make this a first class Organization and reach the goal of not only making the playoffs and Winning the NL West but Winning a Championship. The Dodgers future is bright. Yes we didn’t make it this year after a hot start but let that be fuel to the players fire to get in next year. The Dodgers front office is commited, the Players are commited, But Are you the Fans committed? The Future is bright for the Dodgers and we’re going along for the ride.
It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!!! Everyone knows that line when Dodger games come on and no one says it better than Vin Scully. For 62 Seasons Vin Scully has been with the Dodgers franchise and has gone no where since then. From Brooklyn to Los Angeles he’s stuck through thick and thin. He’s already had a legendary career and next season that career will continue to be in the press box of Dodger stadium. As it was noted Vin Scully will return for his 63rd season with the Dodgers and I couldn’t be any more happier to type this. I usually share my Baseball talk but this is bigger than baseball in my eyes. A man who’s been with the Dodgers for pretty much his whole career is simply amazing to words I can’t even speak of. As a Dodger fan growing up whenever you couldn’t make it to the Stadium or on West coast Road trips you heard the voice of Vin Scully and his stories that he told in-between pitches. Even telling us about the player playing.
Growing up as a Dodger fan you always heard the voice of Vin Scully which is truly an amazing thing that we should all be thankful for. In the future most of us will be telling stories about Vin Scully and how we heard/watched games with him broadcasting. I honestly believe theres no one better in baseball than Vin Scully. Truly the best ever and I’m glad that we will get him back next year to call his 63rd Season.
Last night the Dodgers were swept by the San Francisco Giants. Typing that sentence left a bad taste in my mouth. In the 3 games against the Giants the Dodgers struggled offensively with the bats and also saw Joe Blanton and Chris Capuano implode. Overall it was a struggle. It’s funny how the Dodgers are struggling at home yet do so well on the Road. As I stated in an earlier blog i said the Dodgers can get into the post season and while I still believe that my frustration for this team is at an all time high. Maybe because we lost the lead to the Giants, maybe because The Dodgers were swept by them, Maybe because The Dodgers showed lack of fight lack of urgency in the series, Maybe all of the above but the fact remains I’m frustrated along with other Dodger fans.
The Dodgers after having a great road trip went up 1/2 Game in the NL West and coming home with a chance to add on against the Giants who had No Melky Cabrera due to a 50 Game suspension testing for PED’s. Instead of taking advantage the Dodgers got swept and how they got swept was where I had a problem and still do. I get that there 37 games left and anything can happen in baseball I completely understand that but let’s get something straight here this series was a chance to do damage coming off the road trip. Let’s not forget that this is also the second time the Dodgers had an opportunity in an important series at home after the break and failed to take advantage (Arizona series after sweeping the giants in SF). We all want this team to win but on the field it looks as if they really don’t want it. You can talk about it but you have to want it every game and every chance You get! The Dodgers have to look themselves and at each other and say Do We Want This?! If they do then go out and do it and not just talk about it. I can’t sit here and sugar coat anything the Dodgers flat out blew it and we’re not happy with that nor the play on the field in that series. I’m really tired of having other teams Do our work when the Dodgers had a chance to do it Themselves.
Again I have lost 0 faith in the Dodgers and I still believe they can make the Playoffs and do more but this blowing opportunities has got to stop. I’m upset the Dodgers played like they did and against the Giants of all teams. If they want to do damage then Starting tomorrow the have to turn it around because with the Diamondbacks coming to LA again and a September trip to SF the Dodgers must prove that they want it and it starts against Miami. Mission October isn’t over but that series did hurt Los Angeles.
The Dodgers right now find themselves in a race for the Postseason. Something that All Dodger fans been wanting. A chance to once again compete for the World Series, something that’s been missing since 1988. We usually hear about the Yankees, Red Soxs issues, Rangers, Braves, or the hated Giants and Angels but here’s my question. What about us? The Dodgers may have a roller coaster ride going along the way but the point being that the Dodgers still have a shot at reaching the postseason baring some epic collapse (We pray that they don’t.) But the question remains the same. Can the Boys in Blue Do it?
Dodgers made moves to help the offense out by acquiring Hanley Ramirez from Miami and then grabbing lead off guy Shane Victorino from Philadelphia and while they tried to make a push a starting pitching (Putting a claim on Cliff Lee) they did show that they weren’t playing around and that they want to win right now. Yes August is shaky so far but it looks as if the Dodgers are starting to put it all together and with a critical series against the Braves and Giants coming up getting it together is really really needed at this time. We often said/Heard Starting Pitching is needed to win, our Bullpen is killing us, Too inconsistent which cam be true but if the Dodgers get it together and stay healthy then this team can make noise. Now in my honest of honest opinions I believe the Dodgers can do it because this team have shown what it can do. Why not us? Dodgers can be just as good even though they don’t show it sometimes. It’s not be being a homer or anything but I believe that the Dodgers can do it this year.
Can the Dodgers do it? I think so and I know all of Los Angeles think so and so far it’s been a story. Going from having horrible owners, 3rd place finishes, More news off the field than on it, Angels talk to having a shot at Postseason, new owners, making moves to win now and so on. The ultimate goal is a World Series. Winning the NL West will be good but Settling for that isn’t enough. Let’s Bring Home A World Series! Back to where it belongs, Dodgertown!!