Monday, June 30, 2008

Lackey too much as Dodgers fall

At the end of the day, the good news was that the Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Anaheim Angels.

The bad news was that they had a golden opportunity for a sweep by allowing 1 run and loading the bases in the 9th, but could not get the big hit they needed. The Angels scored in the 2nd inning, and that was enough to take the game, 1-0.

Taking 2 of 3 from a team with the 2nd best record in the Majors is actually a very good accomplishment. To give up only 1 run in 3 games - not too shabby at all. Which is the fact that they did not get the sweep makes it seem even more absurd. But, that's the Dodgers' offense for ya. No surprise there.

Derek Lowe posted his 7th great start in the past 8 games, though his record for his efforts is a measly 3-4. I can't even imagine how frustrating that must be for him. He pitches his guts out, but gets absolutely jack crap for run support. Ridiculous. The bright side is that with injuries to Brad Penny and Hiroki Kuorda, his great pitching could not have come at a better time.

As for the offense... uh, 3 hits, 3 walks, and 9 K's. In other words, another day at the office. And then there's the Juan Pierre injury. He stole 2nd in the 6th inning, yet left the game clutching his left leg. And this from a guy who is almost never hurt. That can't be good. Just add him to the list of the walking wounded I guess. Lousy hitter or not, he's a huge threat on the bases, so let's hope he's ok.

The 9th inning got interesting as John Lackey was going for the complete game shutout. He got Luis Maza to fly out, then gave up a single to Delwyn Young. Andre Ethier then struck out, and it looked like another feable inning. But, Russell Martin worked a walk, and in a 1-run game, Mike Scioscia had to make a change. In came Francisco Rodriguez, one of the top closers in the game.

K Rod started things off by uncorking a wild pitch that sent Young to 3rd, and a single away from tying the game. Jeff Kent was the perfect guy up in this situation, and he too worked a walk. With the bases loaded and 2 down, James Loney could not come through as he grounded out to 2nd to end the game. Can't say I'm too surprised by that, as getting any sort of hit, much less a game-winner off of an All-Star closer, just wasn't going to happen. Sorry for being pessimistic, but I have plenty of reasons to be.

As I said in the beginning, I'll happily take 2 of 3 from these guys and move on. They now go to Houston for 4, and the Astros just took 2 of 3 from the Boston Red Sox, no easy feat at all. Eric Stults goes today, opposed by Roy Oswalt. Oswalt had a horrible start to the season, but has since settled down in the month of June.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A no-hitter... and a win???

Leave it to the Dodgers to come up with this one.

Despite not getting one damn hit the whole game, the Dodgers found a way to beat the Anaheim Angels on Saturday night, 1-0. It was as bizarre as it sounds.

Both Chad Billingsley and Jered Weaver were straight up dealing, with the only difference being that Weaver didn't even allow a hit. Bills finished with 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. Weaver K'd 6 in 6 innings, as both men showed why they are 2 of the best young hurlers in the game.

The game was scoreless until the 5th, when things got crazy. Matt Kemp led off with a little squibber near the mound. Weaver had to make a clean play, but couldn't pick it up in time, and Kemp was safe. After originally scoring the play a hit, it was reversed to an error.

With Blake DeWitt up next, Kemp took off for 2nd and made it as the ball sailed into center field. He then went to 3rd with nobody out. DeWitt then lifted a sac-fly RBI to right, and the only run of the game came around to score. Keep in mind that no actual hits were recorded. Weird.

Weaver was rolling through the Dodgers, but the problem was that his team was losing. In the 7th, the Dodgers should have put the inning away on a double play, but Angel Berroa (who still sucks now more than ever) threw the ball into the dugout. Weaver was due up next, but Mike Scioscia pinch-hit Chone Figgins for him with 2 down, who then grounded out to short. It was a questionable decision at the time, but you can't blame Scioscia for trying to get the run in.

Jose Arredondo then entered in the bottom of the 7th and pitched 2 hitless innings. The problem for the Angels was that Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito were great for the 2nd night in a row, and the game ended with a strikeout of Reggie Willits.

0 hits, 1 run, 1 win. Wow.

The call on Kemp's grounder could have gone either way, but it was the right call. The guys on Baseball Tonight were talking about it at length last night, and one good point was brought up: imagine if Weaver ended up pitching the whole game and was up 5-0, yet the only hit allowed with the one by Kemp. There would be an outrage right now, and he's right. In the end, the official scorekeeper made the right call.

It's still pretty embarrassing that the Dodgers became the 5th team in BASEBALL HISTORY to win without getting a hit, but at 4 games under .500 and still struggling to find their stride, they'll take it. Pretty sad, but true.

The Dodgers will look to do the unthinkable today... by recording at least 1 hit. Oh, and by sweeping the Angels when Derek Lowe gets the ball. He'll be opposed by John Lackey, who's been awesome yet again this season. It'll be a tough win, but a huge step in the right direction if they can get it. We shall see...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ethier and Park team up for win

Well it's about freakin' time I wrote about a big win by the Dodgers that involved the offense doing something other than the usual nothing.

Russell Martin started the scoring in the 1st and Andre Ethier added a pinch-hit, 3-run shot in the 7th to carry the Dodgers in the first game of the final Freeway Series of the year, 6-0. I thought 1 homer was impressive enough, but 2??? Now that's just crazy!!!

Much like Eric Stults a couple of days ago, Chan Ho Park made a spot start and was simply brilliant. He went 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. I laughed for a long time when I saw the Dodgers resigned him before the season, but my oh my was I wrong. His ERA is now at 2.52, and he's clearly been one of the team's top players. He deserves boat loads of credit for his results.

After Martin's homer in the 1st, there was no scoring until the 5th. Matt Kemp singled to start the inning, and an error by Eric Aybar put Kemp on 3rd and Martin on 2nd. Jeff Kent hit a sac-fly to score Kemp, and James Loney laced an RBI single to get the score to 3-0.

The great thing about Ethier's homer was that it came with 2 outs. Martin and Kent singled to start the inning, but the next 2 guys couldn't get on. It would have followed in Dodgers' tradition to strand both runners, but Ethier picked a great time to hit his 7th of the year.

Juan Pierre went 2-5 with 2 stolen bases. He hasn't taken a walk since June 6, which goes to show that if he didn't hack away at everything, he can be such a threat on the bases. Russell Martin went 2-3, raising his AVG to .312, which will most likely give him an All-Star game nod.

Brian Falkenborg pitched a scoreless 7th, and Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito K'd all 6 men they faced to close the game out. On the whole, everything went right.

The Dodgers now need to take this momentum and win this series. They already dropped 2 of 3 to both the Indians and White Sox, so they have to step up at some point. Chad Billingsley will look to even his record at 7 up by facing Jared Weaver.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back to the future for LA

I just knew that right after the Dodgers got done scoring an offensive explosion of 5 runs yesterday, the gas would be completely out of the tank. No way in the world they could go back-to-back days with such Herculean efforts of scoring more runs. Once again, I was right.

The Dodgers were listless, pathetic, and embarrassing YET AGAIN as the were blanked by the Chicago White Sox, 2-0. Even though the pitching only allowed 7 hits, 1 extra-base hit, and stranded 11 men on base to end innings, none of it mattered. Not when the offense is composed of players that could barely hit around .300 in Little League.

The 1st inning started off with promise, as Juan Pierre singled and stole 2nd. Matt Kemp then walked, and they each stole a base with 1 down. So it was 1 down and 2 runners in scoring position. The result? James Loney and Andy LaRoche did jack crap with their at-bats. Shocking.

Clayton Kerhaw got the start, and he probably should have given up more than 2 runs. He walked 4, which is something he really needs to straighten out. He's playing with fire if he keeps being this wild. He was yanked in the 5th inning for newly called up Brian Falkenborg, who thankfully got a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning and keep the game close.

Actually, the game wasn't close. While the scoreboard said this: White Sox - 2, Dodgers - 0, it may as well have said this: White Sox - 12, Dodgers - 0. 4 hits and 4 walks. No stolen bases after the 1st inning. 1 extra-base hit. And that, my friends, is it. Just when you think they can't possibly get any worse, they do.

I just continue to be completely amazed by how lousy these clowns really are. They have the perfect opportunity to take control of a terrible division, and they're the ones making it look bad each game. They just continue to dig a bigger hole for themselves each day.

And can we please end this Angel Berroa experiment? My God, this guy is ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. 0-3 today with 3 men left on. Boots a ground ball. Gives the team NOTHING to help them win. And I can't possibly stress the NOTHING part enough. He's 9-47, which translates into a blistering .180. What a joke. 1 double and ZERO RBI'S!!!! How is that possible? Please just dump this guy and move on.

There's nothing more I'd like to write about than a big win where the team scores bunches of runs, but that's just not going to happen. Seriously, I can't even recall the last time I wrote about a game where the Dodgers hit a big home run or had a late comeback to win. Nope, not these Dodgers.

The Angels come to town next, and the Dodgers get to see Joe Saunders, Jared Weaver, and John Lackey. Grrrrreeeeaaaaaat. Chan Ho Park starts tomorrow, which will probably be his last before being sent down to the bullpen. I say play him in the outfield and have him hit cleanup. It's not like he'll do any worse than the losers in there now.

Oh, I forgot to mention that a certain Dodger did become a league leader in a certain category today. That's right... James Loney hit into his 17th double play, tops in the Majors.

Stults comes up huge

Eric Stults was the man on Wednesday night, pitching a complete game, 4-hit shutout over the Chicago White Sox, 5-0. It was his first career complete game in only 9 Major League starts.

Stults' biggest threat came right at the start of the game, when Jermaine Dye and A.J. Pierzynski singled for runners on the corners with 2 outs. Nick Swisher then flied out to center, that took care of that. The Dodgers responded with 2 runs of their own when Juan Pierre singled to lead off, stole 2nd, went to 3rd on a wild throw, and scored on Andre Ethier's single. After another error let Jeff Kent reach and Ethier to go to 3rd, Russell Martin came through again with an RBI single and 2-run lead.

There really wasn't a whole lot of action other than the 4th, when the Dodgers posted a 3 spot. The inning again started on a single and stolen base, this time by James Loney. After Matt Kemp walked, Blake DeWitt busted out a 2-run double. Stults then hit a sac-fly RBI to push the game to 5-0, where it would stay.

Stutls certainly didn't overpower anyone, as he only had 3 K's, but his stuff was still great. His worst inning was the 1st where 2 men had singles, and he only gave up 2 more the rest of the way. Only 1 walk and no extra base hits allowed all game. Not bad for a guy that was pretty much forgotten about to start the year. Boy, does he sure seem like a better option than Brad Penny right now. Of course, he'll have to keep putting up blanks to stay in the rotation, because it's not like Penny will get demoted.

The offense did better than the night before, but that's not saying a whole lot. What they did do well is hit 2 doubles, a sac bunt, a sac fly, and steal 3 bases. They still left 4 men in scoring position with 2 outs, and surprise!... Pierre had 2 of them. Still, since they almost refuse to hit home runs, it's good to see their running game working.

Today's game will be in the afternoon, as the Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw to the mound, STILL looking for his 1st win of the year, minors or majors. The White Sox counter with John Danks, another guy with a good ERA. It sure would be nice to get this one today considering the Angels are coming to town next, and uh... let's just say the Dodgers are somewhat lost against them. So ya, a win today would be ideal.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Putrid effort sinks the Dodgers

Mark Buehrle went through the Dodgers like a lawn mower cutting grass, and the White Sox easily took the first of a 3-game set, 6-1. The game lasted only 2 hours and 5 minutes, as Buehrle lived up to his reputation of working fast.

Derek Lowe was the Dodgers' starter, and he wasn't all that bad, but like every other pitcher on that team, he got zero offensive support. He gave up single runs in both the 1st and 2nd, but settled down after that. Down 2-1 heading into the 8th, he ran out of gas, giving up a 2-run shot to Jermaine Dye that led to a 4 run inning.

As soon as Dye hit that homer to get the score to 4-1, you may as well had sent everybody home and called it a night. It's not like the Dodgers would actually play up to their contracts and put together a late rally, right? Nope, God forbid that were to happen for once. A 3 run lead on the Dodgers is as close to a guaranteed win for the other team as there is.

How did the Dodgers' hitters do last night? Juan Pierre: horrendous. Jeff Kent: deplorable. Matt Kemp: atrocious. Angel Berroa: embarrassing. In fact, pick your negative words and that sums up this team quite nicely. Worst offense in the league, by far.

What makes these games even more frustrating is that the second they get down, it's not like they're going to come back. Watching them is so boring. It's comparable to watching soccer or golf. Booooooorrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiing.

I know Buehrle is a pretty decent pitcher, but not that good. But this is the Dodgers we're talking about, and they have the uncanny ability to make any pitcher look like Cy Young material. I pitch in a slow-pitch softball league, and I bet I could make the Dodgers look bad. It wouldn't be hard.

Eric Stults gets the call tonight, and he had a solid start last Thursday in Cincinnati. Hopefully he can hold the White Sox to negative runs over the whole game. That's right, I'm hoping to see the Dodgers take tonight's game by a score of 0 to -2.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Another mailbag has been posted, and the topics are Chan Ho Park winning Comeback Player of the Year, how this youth movement compares to ones in the past, how the starting rotation rates, why Cory Wade gets little attention, and why Hong-Chih Kuo isn't a starter.

Here you are.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Big start just enough for Dodgers to hold on

A 2-run double by James Loney and 2-run homer by Russell Martin led to a quick 4-0 lead in the 1st inning, and the Dodgers barely held on to beat the Cleveland Indians, 4-3. The win avoids a 3-game sweep.

It was good to see the Dodgers jump right on Indians pitcher Paul Byrd, who must have seemed like a slow-pitch softball pitcher after seeing Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia the previous 2 games. Juan Pierre singled, and Matt Kemp hit a ground rule double to put both men on. Loney then hit a double to score both. Martin, hitting cleanup again, stroked his 7th homer of the year, and before you knew it, it was 4-0.

You would think that a big start to the game like that would mean the offense would be locked in the rest of the game. Ah... perhaps you forgot these are the Dodgers we're talking about?! They went down in order the next 3 innings before finally getting 2 singles to start the 5th. But a double play ball by Kemp and a flyout by Loney took care of that. Those are the Dodgers we know and love!

Chad Billingsley picked up his 6th win of the year, but he's had better days. It must be nice to finally get a win when not having his best stuff. For once the offense picked him up (though, to be fair, it wasn't by much). He ended at 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. The big inning came in the 3rd when Grady Sizemore led off with a single, and 8 hitters went to the plate in a 3 run inning. 2 men were left on base when Kelly Shoppach struck out to end the inning.

That would be it for the scoring the rest of the game, mostly because the Dodgers' bullpen was fantastic. Hong-Chih Kuo, Joe Beimel, Jonathan Broxton, and Takashi Saito combined for 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 K. It was good to see Broxton and Saito get back to their old ways of shutting down the opposition in the 8th and 9th. That's more like it.

Monday is an off day, then the Chicago White Sox come into town for 3. They're currently leading the AL Central, though the Minnesota Twins are right on their heals. Derek Lowe goes in the first game, and he's been Good Lowe lately. They really need him to keep that up, as well as maybe throw in 3 hits and 4 RBI. The offense sure could use it.

Scott Proctor really sucks

At least he realizes it. Here's what he had to say after his latest outing:

"I'm not talking about that. There is nothing (wrong), and I'm tired of people making excuses and saying I'm hurt. My job is to get outs, and I'm (expletive) pathetic. It's embarrassing to know this team battled like that all day and I pitched like that. It's (expletive) stupid."

For good measure, he then added:

"I'm embarrassed for myself in front of my teammates."

Thats pretty much sums up what all Dodger fans are thinking after this last game. Tied 1-1 going into the 11th inning, the Cleveland Indians score a whopping 6 runs to take the game, 7-2. It was another creative loss for the Dodgers, who seem to be full of different ways to lose.

Needless to say, it was an absolutely embarrassing performance yet again. Two days in a row they've gone to extra innings and simply choke when the game is on the line. Ridiculous. They get another strong starting pitching performance, yet the offense sucks, and the bullpen implodes. This crap happens all the time.

The lone offensive highlight came from a solo shot that barely got over the left field wall in the 6th by Matt Kemp to tie the game at 1. How did the Indians get their run? On an absolutely mammoth home run to right by C.C. Sabathia. I think that ball is still traveling somewhere. Wow.

Other than that, Chan Ho Park was great in his spot start, which I would assume will earn him more starts. He went 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. After that, Hong-Chih Kuo came on and was his usual, dominant self, not giving up a hit in 2 innings while striking out 3. Not that any of it mattered because the offense, like they ALWAYS do, gave them no chance to actually pick up the win. God forbid they put some runs on the board and look like a Major League team. Nope, that's just asking way too much.

After Joe Beimel pitched a scoreless 8th, Jonathan Broxton put up a 0 in the 9th (though he gave up 2 hits, because getting 3 straight outs just wouldn't be the ideal thing to do anymore). Cory Wade pitched a scoreless 10th, but after pitching 2 innings the night before, I would think his tank was on E. He let the first 2 hitters reach, and Proctor came on. Then the onslaught was on.

With Arizona leading the NL West with only a 39-36 record, and the rest of the division horrible, the Dodgers just continue to blow opportunity after opportunity to take command. Their offense is a complete embarrassment, and it's pretty sad that they have to rely on Rafael Furcal that much just to score runs. Their big free agent signing, Andruw Jones, likes Twinkies more than baseball and is on the DL, not that it matters.

I cannot wait for the day the Dodgers have an offense that is enjoyable to watch. It won't happen this year, but someday it might. They'll just continue to underachieve and find all sorts of ways to hand games to the other teams. Pathetic.

Chad Billingsley takes the ball today, and he'll probably have a great start, only to come away with a no-decision or loss because the offense sucks out loud. It they even want to think about having a good homestand, they need to win today and quit playing like a bunch of little pansies.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nope... probably not a turning point

Just when the Dodgers show a lot of fight in coming back from a late, 4-run deficit, they remind you why they are not one of the top teams in the league.

Despite being dominated by Cliff Lee for most of the game, the Dodgers tied the game in the 9th and had a chance to win with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Unfortunately, Andy LaRoche flied out to deep center, and the Indians added 2 in the 10th off of Takashi Saito to take the win, 6-4. For both teams, it was a frustrating last couple of innings.

Lee came into the game one of the top pitchers in all of baseball, and he sure showed why. With the exception of a leadoff single by Juan Pierre, the Dodgers never threatened against him. Get this - out of his 104 pitches, 76 were for strikes. That's remarkable accuracy. I know the Dodgers can't hit, but Lee really is that good. I'll give credit where credit is due.

Things got tight in the 8th inning, however, as Lee was wearing down. Here's the key to beating the Indians: get to their bullpen. Man, they are really bad. Some of their ERA's are simply atrocious. Anyway, down 4-0, Matt Kemp singled with 1 down, and came around to score on Jeff Kent's RBI double off of Rafael Betancourt. Rafael Perez then came in, but James Loney greeted him with an RBI single, and it was 4-2 heading into the last inning.

Cory Wade pitched his 2nd straight scoreless inning (and he's been fantastic, by the way), and the Dodgers were set to face Indians' "closer" Joe Borowski. I say "closer" because he is absolutely deplorable. He might be the worst one in the league. His fastball tops at 88, and none of his pitches have that much bite. I can't believe the Indians still let this guy finish off games. No wonder my Indians friend I was watching the game with looked like he wanted to crawl into a hole when the bullpen came in.

Angel Berroa singled (for once) and Russell Martin doubled him to 3rd. Pierre then unloaded on a single... to the pitcher to go down 4-3. After a Pierre steal and intentional walk to Kemp, Kent grounded out, but scored the run to tie the game at 4. Loney was given a free pass, but with the bases loaded, LaRoche could not come through. In other words, he fits in quite nicely with the rest of the team of failing to drive in runs.

Saito was called upon to hold the score at 4 to start the 10th, and failed miserably. His pitches were all over the place, and he looked like crap. He still could have gotten out of it after a home-to-third double play ball got them to 2 outs, but Jhonny Peralta doubled to right to score 2. Andre Ethier almost got to it, but couldn't. It was one of those plays where I couldn't help but get the feeling that if the Dodgers were playing well, that ball would have been caught. But they're not, so it wasn't.

Like I said before, both teams have plenty of reasons to feel frustrated about how the game closed, but at least the Indians can say they won. The Dodgers just cannot come up with that big hit they so desperately need. Same old story all year long.

Chan Ho Park fills in for the DL'd Hiroki Kuroda today against C.C. Sabathia. It's another Fox game, but of course the Red Sox are also on, so they get the TV coverage in New York. Enjoy it for those of you out West.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Have the Dodgers reached a turning point?

After completing another sweep of the Cincinnati Reds (and taking 7 of 8 games from them this season), the Dodgers may have finally started on the path of playing winning baseball.

These past 3 games have been very encouraging for the Dodgers, as they won by a combined score of 16-6. They had quality starting pitching and timely hitting in each game. It's been awhile since they've felt this good about themselves, and even though they were only playing the lowly Reds, to play this well is a great sign.

Eric Stults received the call up from Triple-A and was great. He finished at 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Until the 7th inning, he had given up no runs on 5 hits, and was cruising along. In the 7th, things unraveled a bit, but an error by Jeff Kent early in the inning didn't help things out. With 1 run in and 2 on, Scott Proctor came in and struck out Paul Janish, but then surrendered a walk and a bunt single for a run.

Joe Beimel then came in and struck out Jay Bruce, who was then ejected for arguing. With 2 down, Jonathan Broxton came in and came close to imploding again. A single, wild pitch, and intentional walk to Adam Dunn (who apparently does not impress the Toronto Blue Jays) loaded the bases. With only a 2-run cushion, Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a fielder's choice to end the threat.

Taking the 7th inning out, it was all Dodgers. And they did it because their young guns produced. Matt Kemp: 2-5, R, 3 RBI, HR, 2B. Andre Ethier: 2-5, RBI. James Loney: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B. Russell Martin also played well, but he always does. Blake DeWitt added a run scored and a stolen base.

Here's the bottom line - for the Dodgers to even think about getting a playoff berth, the young players I just mentioned have to be more productive. These last 3 games they have been. Now they have to do it much more consistently. Games like this are a perfect example of why the Dodgers organization is so high on them and reluctant to give them up. The Rockies and Diamondbacks won with young players last year, now it's the Dodgers' turn.

A great pitching matchup is on tap for tonight, as Clayton Kershaw battles Cliff Lee. Kershaw is the star of the future, and Lee has had a tremendous season that should land him a starting nod in the All-Star game. This will be fun to watch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lowe posts 6th straight great start for win

Aided by the unusually hot-hitting offense, Derek Lowe pitched another fantastic game as the Dodgers got the win over the Cincinnati Reds, 6-1. It's their 2nd win in a row after dropping 5 before that.

After enduring a rough stretch in early May in which he was bombed every start, Lowe has really turned things around lately. So in other words, Good Lowe has returned. The great thing about this start was that he was pitching on only 4 days rest, thanks to Hiroki Kuroda getting sent back to LA for tests on his ailing shoulder. The results was an 85 pitch night in which he finished at 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Like Billingsley the night before, it's the huge start the Dodgers absolutely needed.

Bronson Arroyo was the Reds' starter, and boy, has he bottomed out. It seemed like not too long ago where he was pitching like an All-Star, now he has an ERA in the 5's. Maybe too many innings has finally caught up to him. Anyway, Juan Pierre led off the game with a single, went to 2nd on a hit-and-run, went to 3rd on a fielder's choice, then scored on a wild pitch. That's a Pierre-like run, and they'll gladly take it.

The next run came in the 2nd when Matt Kemp started the inning with a single up the middle. He stole 2nd, though to be fair, the Reds' catcher David Ross didn't do himself any favors by double clutching the throw, then the ball was dropped anyway at 2nd, and Kemp still would have been out if not for that. Oh well, the Dodgers deserve some sort of break. Andre Ethier's single brought him home, and it was 2-0.

Edwin Encarnacion homered in the bottom of the 2nd to cut the lead to 2-1. After that, it was James Loney time. He started in the 4th with a solo shot, his 6th of the year and first since, well... forever (ok, May 21). In the 6th, Blake DeWitt lead off with a double, but the next 2 hitters struck out. Loney picked him up with an RBI double for a 4-1 lead.

Pierre closed out the scoring in the 7th with a huge triple to score Ethier and Angel Berroa to go up 6-1. Pierre had a good night, with 2 hits and 2 RBI and a run scored. Loney did the same, and Ethier had 3 hits. Overall, there were 9 hits, but 5 of them were for extra bases.

As good as Lowe was, Hong-Chih Kuo continued his amazing transformation to the bullpen by blanking the Reds over 2.2 IP. He ran into a bit of trouble when he entered in the 6th, giving up a single and double with 1 down, but put down Adam Dunn swinging and Encarnacion grounding out. On the night, he had 4 K's, giving him 47 in 40.1 IP. That's really good.

The Dodgers have taken the first 2 in this series, so why not get greedy and go for it all? That's exactly what they'll aim to do tomorrow afternoon. Eric Stults will make his first start of the season, filling in for the injured Brad Penny. Winning won't be easy, as the Reds will send in Aaron Harang, who is their staff ace. He's only 3-9 this year, but a 4.10 ERA suggests that he hasn't gotten much help. He pitched really well against the Red Sox in his last start, so he's much better than his record would indicate. It'll be an interesting game.

Penny and Kuroda banged up

The news just gets better all the time for the Dodgers.

Brad Penny was placed on the 15-day DL with inflammation in the bursa sac and mild tendinitis in his right shoulder. Joe Torre says he will be out no more than 2 weeks, so the injury is not at all serious. With the way he's been pitching this year (atrocious, for those of you not in the know), some R&R is not a bad thing at all.

Hiroki Kuroda is also feeling some aches and pains, as he will miss today's start (Wednesday) in Cincinnati. He claims to have felt discomfort in his right shoulder all season long, yet only recently disclosed this to Torre. That's not too surprising to hear since he's been way up and down lately. Bombed one day, terrific the next, then bombed again. Overall, he's been solid, so I hope he's fine.

With the injuries, a good amount of shuffling has been done with the rotation. Eric Stults got the call up from Triple-A Las Vegas and will start on Thursday against the Reds. Derek Lowe goes today, and Clayton Kershaw will go on Friday at home against the Cleveland Indians.

If Kuroda is unable to return for his next start, then I would think either Chan Ho Park or Hong-Chih Kuo will get a spot start. My money would be on Park because Kuo is locked in at being a long reliever.

Billingsley breaks the losing streak

I'm glad at least one athlete from the city of Los Angeles showed up to play hard and win last night.

That's exactly what Chad Billingsley did, as he was dominant in a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. His final line was 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. He carried a shutout into the 7th before running into some trouble. Fortunately for him, Joe Beimel came in with the bases loaded and only surrendered 1 run to preserve the lead.

It's obvious how poorly the offense has been performing lately, or all year for that matter, and last night was really no different. They did score single runs in the 3rd and 4th on RBI doubles by Juan Pierre and Russell Martin. Later in the game, Jeff Kent hit a double of his own to push the lead to 3-1.

The pitching is what deserves most of the credit for this one. It seems like it's been forever since the Jonathan Broxton-Takashi Saito combination shut down the opposition in the 8th and 9th. Broxton did walk 2, which is never a good sign, but got out of trouble. Saito was great, K'ing 2, including Ken Griffey Jr. pinch-hitting.

To be perfectly honest with all of you, this win was only a small consolation for last night's debacle, a.k.a. the Lakers-Celtics game. I simply cannot believe how big of pansies the Lakers looked like. It's one thing to lose, and another thing altogether to just get blown out of the water while feebly trying all game. Inexcusable. And it just plain pisses me off.

Maybe I'm just more upset that now my sole attention will have to be paid to the Dodgers, who haven't exactly been lighting the world on fire this season. With the way the Diamondbacks have been tanking, the NL West is still a toss-up. I'll keep hope alive.

With the injuries to Brad Penny and Hiroki Kuroda, the rotation is a mess. Derek Lowe will be moved up a day and make the start tonight. Just like Bill's last night, they really need Lowe to be at the top of his game.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rain is Dodgers worst enemy

Clayton Kershaw pitched through the first 4 innings by giving up no runs on only 2 hits. At 65 pitches, he had plenty left in the tank to try and lift the Dodgers to avoid a sweep.

And then the rain came, and it turned out to be the worst possible thing to happen.

Not wanting their young gun to rev it up again after a 47 minute delay, Chan Ho Park was given the ball and was unmercifully bombed for 5 runs on 8 hits in 1.1 IP. Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge hit consecutive shots to open the 6th that eventually chased Park. As good as he's been out of the 'pen this year, he was horrible today, which is exactly what the Dodgers could not afford.

The offense was lifeless as usual through 8 innings, but to their credit, they really made a run in the 9th. Blake DeWitt singled to open the inning, and Russell Martin hit one out to go down 5-2. James Loney singled, and the Tigers' closer Todd Jones then came in. Matt Kemp singled to put 2 men on. After an Andre Ethier flyout for 1 down, Jeff Kent pinch-hit and singled home Loney to cut the lead to 2. Delwyn Young then pinch-hit but flied out for 2 down. A wild pitch scored Kemp and put Kent on 2nd, and it was only a 1 run game.

Juan Pierre had a chance to be a hero and tie the game. Do you think he got the job done? Ya... I didn't think so either. A lazy pop out to center ended the game.

It would have been nice to have seen Kershaw get his 1st career win, but the offense and the rain would not cooperate. Simply put, the Dodgers are just plain horrible right now and probably couldn't beat their own minor league teams. If they hit the ball, they can't pitch. If they get strong pitching, they can't hit. Or they can't hit or pitch. Pick your case and that's how it's been going. Joe Torre has got to wonder what in the world he got himself into.

After taking Monday off to travel, the Dodgers will be in Cincinnati Tuesday. Chad Billingsley gets the start in the first game. The Reds pretty much stink too, and were just slapped around by the Red Sox today. It's a battle to see which team sucks worse than the other.

At least the offense woke up

That's the only positive from this last game against the Detroit Tigers. On a day where the offense did their best to break the slump, Brad Penny was miserable. The Tigers took the win, 12-7.

It was a bit of a different look at the plate, with Blake DeWitt hitting 2nd, James Loney cleanup, and Matt Kemp 7th (Delwyn Young DH'd and hit 8th). For one day at least, it worked. Kemp hit an infield single to score Loney in the 2nd for a 1-0 lead. The 4th brought more runs on an Andre Ethier ground rule double to score Jeff Kent and Loney, and a single by Young for a 4-1 lead.

And then came the bottom of the 4th, and boy did the wheels fall off the bus for Brad Penny.

Saying before the game that he had discomfort in his throwing shoulder but wanted to gut it out anyway, the Tigers just teed off on him. Homers by Miguel Cabrera and Marcus Thames, and back-to-back triples by the 1-2 hitters of Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco gave the Tigers a 6 spot and a 7-4 edge.

Still, it was a pretty close game... right up until the next inning where the Tigers scored 3 more with lots of help from Angel Berroa's throwing error. So not only is he giving runs to the other team, but he's hitting a blistering .167 since he's come. Yes, Ned Colletti, this guy is really making a difference (for the other team).

I'll give credit to Ethier for at least trying to make it look like a close game, as he homered in the 6th. Juan Pierre hit an RBI groundout to cut it to 10-7. That's as close as it would get for LA, as the Tigers tacked on 2 more to close the game out.

So it pretty much figures - the day the offense comes alive, the pitching and defense is horrible. I've got to believe that there's something physically wrong with Penny. I know he's been atrocious, but you simply can't go from 2 straight All-Star game appearances to looking this bad without something funny going on. A trip to the DL would probably be for the better.

While the offense did much better, Pierre did not. We're slowly but surely seeing the Pierre of old, as his OBP is now at .336 after hovering in the .360 range in May. He hasn't taken a walk since June 6, which is pretty hard to do considering he's a leadoff hitter. Maybe DeWitt should get a crack at that spot. I don't know... just trying to think of something.

Clayton Kershaw will look for his first win of the year today. Maybe he's the guy to stop the red-hot offense of the Tigers. Who knows.

Friday, June 13, 2008

23 innings of no runs

Just when you thought the Dodgers' offense couldn't possibly get any worse, they do.

The scoreless streak is now at a whopping 23 innings as the Detroit Tigers dismantled them tonight, 5-0. I doubt the Tigers even needed to do so much as stretch to prepare for this one. That's how abysmal the Dodgers are these days.

Derek Lowe pitches his ass off again, but it doesn't matter. He goes 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, and he wasn't even close to getting the win. Nope, not when your offense is a complete disgrace and embarrassment to the league. It's another horrendous performance from the worst offensive team in baseball... by far.

I absolutely cannot wait for the day the Dodgers are fun to watch. And by fun I don't even necessarily mean win. Every damn game is the same old crap - weak, pitiful offense, while the pitching breaks their backs trying to carry the team, to no avail. These losers are harder to watch than soccer.

A grand total of 4 baserunners were on today. FOUR FREAKIN' RUNNERS. I honestly think Little Leaguers could do better. In fact, I know they can.

The bottom line is this team has no heart, no passion, and no desire to be a winning ballclub. They may talk like they do, but any team that hasn't scored 1 time in the last 23 innings is obviously just blowing smoke. They suck.

Brad Penny takes the mound Saturday afternoon, and it really doesn't matter whether or not he pitches well. The offense will inevitably let him down anyway. Eddie Bonine makes his first career start for the Tigers. So basically, it'll be his first career win.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Padres wipe the floor with the Dodgers

Spotted a 5-0 lead in the 1st, Jake Peavy made sure that the game would essentially be over early. And, quite easily, he did.

Hiroki Kuroda was bombed, and Peavy just completely overwhelmed the Dodgers (again) as the Padres just slapped them silly, 9-0. It was pretty much an embarrassingly bad effort from the Dodgers, who dropped 2 of 3 after winning on Monday. And the beat goes on.

I knew the second I saw that Peavy would be coming off the DL to start Thursday, I could pretty much scratch off the game as a big, fat L. Oh lucky me, I was right! Want to know just how dominating he is against LA? In 20 career starts, he's 11-1 with a 2.31 ERA and 127 K's in 132.1 IP. They are by far his favorite matchup, and it's not even close.

Still, it would have been nice to at least make some sort of ballgame out of this. But Kuroda had absolutely nothing to give, a complete 180 from his last start against the Cubs, in which he was terrific. Right from the start, Brian Giles hit a 3-run bomb and Adrian Gonzalez added a solo shot as well. Kuroda only lasted 2.1 innings, giving up 6 runs.

As for the offense... ugh... I don't know why I even waste time talking about these clowns, but I guess I have to considering this is a Dodgers website. James Loney was 2-4, and that was it for highlights. 5 total hits and 0 walks. That's just downright ridiculous. They should be ashamed of themselves, they really should.

Good thing Chan Ho Park and Hong-Chih Kuo are pitching lights out. Actually, I'm shocked Kuo actually gave up a run, but he still K'd 5. Together, they went 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K. Thank God for them. Scott Proctor, on the other hand, continues to stink up the place, as he gave up 2 more runs in 1 inning of work. With an ERA of 5.72, I've got to think his job is in jeopardy, especially if Yhency Brazoban comes back solid.

At 4 games under .500 and looking a whole lot worse than that, the Dodgers are now off to Detroit for interleague play with the Tigers. It's a good pitching matchup between Derek Lowe and Armando Galarraga, who has been one of the few positives for the Tigers this year. Both teams need to make a statement by taking this series and starting to play better ball.

Should Kemp stay or go?

An interesting article was posted today by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal concerning a never-ending question for the Dodgers: should they hold on to their young stars or trade them for help right now? The biggest name being tossed around is Matt Kemp, who is someone the Dodgers have refused to part with in the past, but are now seemingly more open to at least exploring possibilities of trades.

While the Dodgers are full of other players team would want (Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw, James Loney, Andy LaRoche), Kemp is the one that the Dodgers would part with while bringing in the most in return. He has 5-tool ability, but at 23, has been lamented for his lack of quality decision making during games.

Here are a list of suggested players that could be traded in some sort of deal for Kemp:
  • Jason Bay, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates - He's still not past the age of 30, and has seemed to regain his power stroke at 14 HR after hitting only 21 last year. His contract would be affordable, at $5.75 million this year and $7.5 million next year. Plus, the Pirates would probably need to throw in something else to get the deal done, such as a pitcher.
  • Magglio Ordonez, OF, Detroit Tigers - At 34, he'd be harder to deal for. While his power number are always there when healthy (28 and 139 last year), his contract is hard to work out. Also, he has a limited no-trade clause, but I would think he wouldn't block a trade to the Dodgers. For the Tigers to pull this off, it would take them eating a chunk of his contract and additional players.
  • Matt Holliday, OF, Colorado Rockies - Last year's runner-up NL MVP, he's only 28. Like most Rockies' players, he mashes the ball at home, yet isn't nearly as productive on the road. Still, he's full of talent and is a very intriguing player to look into.
  • Adam Dunn, OF, Cincinnati Reds - This would be more of a rent for the rest of the season. The story on him is always the same - high power, good OBP, but high K's as well. He's also pretty lousy defensively and has a high price tag at $13 million, so a deal for him appears unlikely.

I'll play the role of GM for the time being. I'd immediately throw the names of Dunn and Ordonez out the window, because of price tag and age. Bay is about the only reason to watch the Pirates, so I like him. I don't think it's fair to totally dismiss Holliday as only a Coors Field-like player simply because I think he's a very good player no matter where he is.

All in all, I have to admit that I'm open to the possibility of acquiring either Bay or Holliday. I know Kemp is young, has all sorts of talent, is a player for the future, yada yada yada. But you know what? This is the Los Angeles Dodgers we're talking about. I'm sick of always saying how their young guys will develop. They play WAY TOO MANY GAMES where they look completely lifeless and pathetic at the plate. I'm sick of it. They have a deep pitching staff and bullpen, yet it doesn't matter because the offense is weak. At some point, they have got to go after someone in his prime who has continually proved he can put up numbers.

Bay and Holliday both fit that description.

If the right deal is there, I say pull the trigger.

Kemp's suspension reduced to 2 games

Matt Kemp's appeal for his 4-game suspension for fighting the Rockies' Yorvit Torrealba was reduced to 2 games today. As a result, he will immediately begin serving it today in San Diego and tomorrow in Detriot.

With Kemp out and Andruw Jones still healing, I would guess that Delwyn Young will see more at-bats the next 2 days. Juan Pierre will most likely play center, and Andre Ethier can play either corner spot. Young would seem like the natural replacement, especially considering that he's a switch hitter.

Your basic pathetic offensive effort

Andy LaRoche returned to the Dodgers' lineup and rewarded Joe Torre's confidence with a solo homer to left in the 4th. It was a good sign for a guy still considered to be one of their top prospects.

But, in typical Dodger-like fashion, the rest of the team was absolutely helpless as Randy Wolf shut them down for a 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. The game only took a little over 2 hours to complete.

Chad Billingsley was the starter for the Dodgers, and he really didn't have his best stuff. He surrendered the first homer to Edgar Gonzalez of his career in the 1st. One inning later, Khalil Greene took him deep. The older Gonzalez, Adrian, got in on the act in the 3rd with an RBI single. It was 3-0 Padres after 3, which may as well be a 10 run lead against the Dodgers.

Bills will have better days, but for whatever reason, the Padres seemed to have his number last night. He only struck out 3, which is pretty low and shows that he wasn't fooling anyone. In fact, it's his lowest K output since April 8 in Arizona, where he only lasted 2.1 innings. I felt that last night was a game they really needed to have, but he just couldn't do it.

Of course, God forbid the offense actually back him up for a change. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll continue to say it throughout the year: they are simply incapable of putting up runs on a consistent basis. Watching the game, I just knew from the get-go that it would be a long night at the plate (well, a short night, considering how easily they went down). They are really hard to watch when they play like that.

5 hits, 1 walk, and 9 K's. Wow, just plain pathetic.

Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound today, and he was awesome in his last start against the Cubs, going the distance for the win. The bad news is that Jake Peavy returns from the DL today, so the Dodgers can only hope he's rusty. That's about the only chance they have of winning.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Padres gift wrap win for Dodgers

Down 2-1 entering the 7th, the Dodgers were able to take advantage of some tough lights in the outfield of Petco Park, and cruise to a victory over the San Diego Padres, 7-2.

It was quite the interesting future Hall of Famer/young phenom matchup of Greg Maddux vs. Clayton Kershaw. Both men ended up pitching well, though neither factored in the decision. Still, it was great to see both the past and the future in one game.

The Dodgers struck first when Russell Martin singled home Juan Pierre in the 1st for a 1-0 lead. Martin, hitting in the cleanup spot, had another fantastic game last night, as he finished 3-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB. How in the world this guy is only 5th in the All-Star game voting for catchers is beyond me. That's a bigger joke than the officiating in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Come on people, he should be the starter! Get cracking!

Ok that rant is now over. The Padres scored the next 2 on an Adrian Gonzalez RBI single and a wild pitch to score Kevin Kouzmanoff. Other than that (and 4 walks), Kershaw seemed in control. Well, maybe the word "control" shouldn't be used, considering that's what has been getting him into trouble. But, it was a nice start for him, especially since the Pads were hot and riding a 5-game winning streak. It's a step in the right direction.

The 7th is when the adventure started. Both Brian Giles and Justin Huber were unable to find fly balls in the lights, and the Dodgers were handed gift base runners. Martin had added 2 more RBI's on a single to score Pierre and Andre Ethier. Matt Kemp beat out a slow roller to short that scored both Jeff Kent and the hustling Martin, who should be the All-Star starter (have I mentioned that yet?) The game was pretty much over after that.

2 more runs were tacked on in the 9th when Kemp hit an RBI fielder's choice, and Martin scored on a Gonzalez error. All in all, while it's good to see the Dodgers hustling to make things happen on the bases, the Padres just self-destructed. That's probably why they've been playing so poorly this year. With as weak a hitting team as they have, they simply cannot afford to give away outs like that. Pretty much just like the Dodgers, actually.

With 1 win under their belts, the Dodgers will send Chad Billingsley to the mound tonight against Randy Wolf, who's pitched well this year. Jake Peavy is scheduled to return on Thursday, and he's an absolute Dodger-killer. Getting another win tonight would be ideal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Here's the latest edition of the mailbag. The questions are about where last year's first round pick Chris Withrow is, when Yu Darvish will jump to the Majors, if the Dodgers will trade for a power bat, and where both Blake DeWitt and Andy LaRoche fit in once they're both up.

Happy reading.

Hu sent down, LaRoche will get the call

Chin-lung Hu was given plenty of opportunities to prove that he's a Major League-caliber player. Unfortunately for him, his bat never caught up to his glove.

Hu was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas in a move that was not unexpected once Angel Berroa was acquired last week. Defensively, he was great. But at the plate, he often looked lost with a .159 AVG and .221 OBP. On a team whose offense struggles enough as it is, they simply cannot afford to have someone playing so much with number that pathetic. He still has a great future, so if he can figure things out in the minors, look out for him next year.

The move will mean the likely call up of Andy LaRoche, who was all set to become the starting 3rd baseman had it not been for a torn thumb ligament in Spring Training. With the emergence of Blake DeWitt, LaRoche has been playing multiple infield positions in Vegas to better prepare himself to be a utility player in LA. His bat will be a breath of fresh air, as he has potential to hit for power that the Dodgers desperately lack.

Once Rafael Furcal is back from his injury (hopefully next week), Berroa will likely become a utility player as well.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ken Rosenthal tidbits

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has an article up looking at various happenings around baseball. Here's some of the Dodger-related notes:

* Team officials are growing tired of the young players not making smart decisions during close game situations. Most notably, Matt Kemp has been described as great one second, and clueless the next. Even Russell Martin has been accused of "flattening out." Blake DeWitt, on the other hand, has been praised for his smarts.

The question remains on how to handle such a large group of young players. Does management just let them play it out and learn? Does someone get sent down to the minors to send a message? Either way, the return of Rafael Furcal will help, and even Andruw Jones, who is another strong veteran presence.

* The team has 3 choices with Brad Penny: 1) Exercise his $8.75 million option for 2009. 2) Buy him out for $2 million at the end of the year. 3) Trade him before the July 31 deadline.

* Derek Lowe will be a free agent after this year, but a return to Boston does not appear imminent. He could play for either New York team, who will have plenty of openings in their rotations. His sinker could be a perfect fit for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Or, being a native of Dearborn, Michigan, the Tigers are an option.

* Dodgers' bench coach Bob Schaefer is very happy to be coaching Angel Berroa again. Berroa was described as being totally devastated to get sent to Double-A a year after winning the AL Rookie of the Year. But, a scout describes his recent play as flat and uninspired. His best bet would be to stay on as a utility man once Furcal is back.

Bats go silent in split with Cubs

After pounding out 2 home runs en route to a 7-3 victory yesterday, the Dodgers could only gather 4 hits and 1 run in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The good news is that with as poorly as the Dodgers have been playing lately, they did split this series with the Cubs at 2 apiece.

I'm having trouble trying to figure out if Brad Penny's start was good or not. On one hand, giving up 3 runs in 6 innings is good for him, but on the other, he still came up short. Mark DeRosa tagged him for a solo shot in the 1st off a pitch that floated right over the middle of the plate. The other 2 were scored in the 5th, and all because he allowed a leadoff double to Alfonso Soriano. DeRosa again hit an RBI, and Aramis Ramirez doubled down the left field line for another.

Other than that, Penny's start I guess was pretty good. He did have 5 K's, which is a good sign. Only 3 walks in 6 innings, I think I'll take that. With the exception of the 5th, it's not like he was hit around. I talked the other day abound how the rest of the starters have picked it up lately, and he needed to as well. In his last 2 starts, he's given up 5 runs in 12 innings, but for 2 losses. He's doing his part, but only 1 run of support total has made him look that much worse. Hopefully he's figuring things out.

There's really not a whole lot else to talk about because it was your basic, paint by the numbers Dodger baseball game: good pitching from both teams, but just a little more hitting from the other end. Juan Pierre lead off the game with a single and scored, and ended up 2-4 with a stolen base. That's about it for offensive stars. It was that boring.

The Dodgers get on off day Monday, which they haven't had in like 10 years. They then go to San Diego, who have been awful this year, right up until last series when they swept the Mets in 4. The Padres have now won 5 straight at home, so all of a sudden, this is a big series. The Dodgers were absolutely horrendous on their last road trip (1-6 in Chicago and New York), so they've got to step up and play better these next 9 games (Detroit and Cincinnati next). Clayton Kershaw will aim for his 1st Big League win on Tuesday against future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. That'll be a fun game to watch.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kemp and Martin power Dodgers past Cubs

Russell Martin hit a 2-run homer in the 6th, and Matt Kemp blasted a 3-run shot to center in the 7th to lead the Dodgers past the Chicago Cubs, 7-3. All 7 of the Dodgers' runs came in those 2 innings. After dropping Thursday's game, they have now won 2 in a row and have a chance to take the series today against the best team in baseball.

The bats were doing their usual big pile of nothing until the 6th. Jeff Kent legged out an infield single, which is very encouraging considering he's 40 but still playing like he's half his age. Russell Martin then connected on his 5th of the year off of ace Carlos Zambrano to tie the score at 2.

The 7th is when the flood gates were opened. Juan Pierre singled and stole 2nd, then scored on Andre Ethier's infield single in which Aramis Ramirez threw away. Martin had his 3rd RBI of the game on a single to score Ethier. James Loney singled to right, and Kemp crushed his 5th homer to give the Dodgers a cushion.

Derek Lowe gave up single runs in innings 5-7, but still finished with 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. That's 4 straight starts where he's gone at least 7 innings, given up 3 or less runs, and hasn't walked more than 2. His control is... well, under control, which is a problem when he's putting up lousy outings. His ERA has been lowered from 5.34 to 4.15. With Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda pitching very well, it's good that 3 of the 5 are doing their share to win. Clayton Kershaw still needs time but has done decently, and Brad Penny has basically sucked.

Zambrano was shutting down the Dodgers until he lost all control later in the game. And speaking of losing control, try checking out highlights of him trashing a couple of Gatorade coolers in the dugout. I can appreciate his will to win, but he's still 8-2 with a 3.01 ERA. I'm not sure I'd be so frustrated with numbers like that.

Another person who needs to be commended is Martin. It took him a good portion of April to get going, but now that he has, he's again showing why he's the best catcher in the National League. Entering May he was hitting .292, and now he's up to .316. He's patient enough to take a walk, can hit for decent power, and hasn't struck out more than twice in a game since May 1. All of that in addition to logging a lot of innings behind the plate, and it's no wonder why he's adored by Dodger fans. He's the complete package.

I didn't think there was a chance in Hell I'd be saying this after Thursday's game, but the Dodgers have a chance to take 3 of 4 in this series when Brad Penny takes the ball today. It's the ESPN Sunday Night game for the second week in a row, and it also presents a dilemma for LA fans considering the Lakers are in Game 2 of the Finals. Obviously the Finals is more important, but keep those clickers handy (or get 2 TV's, like me). Penny pitched pretty well last start against the Rockies, but he hasn't won since May 2. Maybe tonight is his time.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Angel Berroa acquired by Dodgers

The Dodgers made good on their promise to add infield depth by trading for Angel Berroa of the Kansas City Royals for Single-A shortstop Juan Rivera. He was once upon a time the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year, so his career has pretty much sputtered since then.

Barroa was spending the season in Triple-A Omaha, hitting .291 with 10 HR and 27 RBI. Man, those numbers would earn him an All-Star berth with the Dodgers! The $3.5 million left on his deal will be picked up by the Dodgers, who would rather pay the money than trade away a prospect. It's probably the right thing to do.

The arrival for Berroa most likely means the demotion of Chin-lung Hu. Hu's glove is really good, but his hitting is atrocious. He's hitting a meager .165 with 7 RBI in 103 AB's. With the offense pretty much on life support as it is, even his sharp glove is not enough to keep him up. I still think he's one of the top prospects they have, so maybe he can get caught up offensively to be a threat in the future. Imagine Furcal at SS and Hu at 2B for next year. That's a great defensive combo.

Berroa is expected to receive the call up for Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs.

4-hit, complete game shutout for Kuroda

I went to the Dodgers-Mets Sunday Night Baseball game this past week thinking that I'd see a pitcher's duel between Hiroki Kuroda and Johan Santana. Unfortunately for me, only Santana obliged.

Last night, however, Kuroda was the total package. With the Dodgers needing a huge start, he delivered, giving up only 4 hits and striking out 11 in a complete game blanking of the Chicago Cubs, 3-0. It's by far the best start of any Dodger pitcher this season.

Of course, it's always good to have a bit of a lead when you're on the mound, and the Dodgers were able to get 1 on the board in the 1st. With Delwyn Young getting the start in right field instead of Andre Ethier facing the lefty Sean Gallagher, he walked with 1 down. Jeff Kent, whose bat has been heating up as of late, hit a long double that bounced off the center field wall, scoring Young for the 1-0 lead.

In the 4th, the Dodgers put the first 3 men on base on a walk to James Loney and singles by Matt Kemp and Blake DeWitt. Loney scored on an RBI groundout by Danny Ardoin, starting in place of the resting Russell Martin. The last run came in the 6th when Ardoin executed a perfect suicide squeeze to again score Loney. It's that type of small ball execution that the Dodgers desperately need to win.

As I said before, Kuroda was terrific in every way. The biggest threat he faced was in the 4th when Ryan Theriot singled to lead off and Derek Lee hit an infield single after that, with Theriot going to 3rd on an error by Loney. Aramis Ramirez then struck out, and Kosuke Fukudome grounded into a double play. That sounds like your basic Dodgers offensive inning, so it's nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change.

It's a good thing Kuroda's pitch count wasn't too high heading into the 9th. After watching Takashi Saito give up the lead the previous night, I'm not sure Dodger fans would be too receptive of him. Kuroda finished the night very strong, K'ing Alfonso Soriano and Theriot. It's his 3rd win of the season and his ERA now stands at 3.49.

2 more big games are on tap for this weekend, and it's a great matchup today of Carlos Zambrano, who's been fantastic all year, against Derek Lowe, who's really turned it on as of late. It's a FOX game, but not in my neck of the woods where the Red Sox get the exposure. Oh well. Enjoy it for those of you that can see it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Jeff Kent tried, but the Dodgers are still terrible

It's nice to know at least SOMEBODY in the Dodgers' lineup looks like he wants to win.

Jeff Kent hit 2 home runs, but as usual, it wasn't enough to get a W, as the Chicago Cubs scored a run in the 9th off of Takashi Saito to claim a 5-4 victory. That makes 9 losses in the last 11 games for the lifeless, punchless Dodgers.

If there's a silver lining, it's that the Cubs were up 4-0 in the 5th, but the Dodgers battled back to even the score. It all started when Chin-lung Hu tripled to score Blake DeWitt. Yes, I did just say that. Mark Sweeney then pinch-hit for Chad Billingsley and singled home Hu. Yes, I did just say that too. Not exactly the 2 guys I would pick to spark a rally considering they're about 4-278 this year.

The 6th brought the Dodgers even closer as Kent hit his 1st homer of the night to cut the lead to 4-3. The 8th is when Kent hit his 2nd one, this time off of Bob Howry. It would have been nice to have actual runners on base when this happened, but let's not get carried away here! That would be a whole other miracle story if that were to happen.

Billingsley wasn't at his sharpest like he has been lately, going 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. The strikeouts were still there, but his control overall wasn't. It's pretty much the problem that has plagued him his whole, brief career. Cory Wade and Scott Proctor combined for 3 innings and were great. Wade has a 1.45 ERA, so his spot seems to be safe. I saw him in person during the Sunday Night game against the Mets, and he blew them away. He's a solid weapon.

The same cannot be said right now of Takashi Saito. He has a 2.19 ERA, which looks good, but it just hasn't been as dominating as he's been in the past. You get the feeling that the wheels are about to fall off of the bus. I hope not because I still like him, but I don't know anymore. He's gotta figure it out for them to win.

Last night, though, he struggled. Ryan Theriot started things off with a leadoff double in the 9th. Derek Lee struck out, but Aramis Ramirez was beaned on a close play. Kosuke Fukudome hit a grounder that was placed perfectly through the right side to score the winning run.

The Dodgers had James Loney lead off with a double, then load the bases, but couldn't score. Matt Kemp went down swinging to end the game. A typical end to a typical weak Dodger effort.

Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound tonight, fresh off his pounding against the Mets. He's better than what he showed on Sunday, so he needs a big outing tonight. It's not like the offense will give him a lift, so pitching a perfect game would be nice. Of course the score would be 0-0 before the Cubs eventually win in the 10th.

Just call me Mr. Positive!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Some pics from the 6/1 Dodgers-Mets game

Kemp slapped with 4-game suspension

Major League Baseball announced today that Matt Kemp will be suspended 4 games for his role in starting a fight with Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Torrealba was hit with a 3-game suspension.

I would think Kemp would appeal, especially considering the Dodgers are about to open a 4-game set against the Chicago Cubs, who just happen to own the best record in baseball. Considering that he's one of the rare guys who's actually hitting, he probably should appeal.

I have a couple of thoughts on this. The first is about the fight itself. I gotta be honest on this one - I think Kemp overreacted. I know that if the situation were reversed, I would think the initial shove was pretty cheap. He was probably just pissed that he struck out and they were getting blanked by a bad team, so he lost his cool. Nothing Torrealba did in my mind was worthy of flipping out like that.

With that said, my second thought is that 4 games is too much. 3 is more realistic. It's not like they were throwing haymakers at each other - it was just shoving and wrestling around. I've seen much worse. So, I would think the suspension may get cut down a game.

When Kemp eventually does sit, Delwyn Young will probably be the one to benefit the most, as he can play outfield and switch hit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

1 run in 2 games. Wow.

So much for getting back momentum after a big Monday win.

The Dodgers continued to show their incompetence by losing to the Colorado Rockies today, 2-1. Combine that with a 3-0 loss the night before, and the Rockies took 2 of 3 in this series. The Dodgers woes just won't go away.

Today was pretty much your blueprint Dodgers game. Good pitching, but weak hitting. And by weak I should say "none." 6 hits and 1 walk is all they could gather, as well as 7 K's. There's really not a whole lot else to say about this game other than, "They sucked."

The big blow was Jeff Baker's 2-run homer in the 2nd. Geez, a 2-run shot against the Dodgers is like a 7-run homer against normal teams. You would think the Rockies just sucked the life right out of Dodger Stadium, which they pretty much did. When the Dodgers can't even get 1 extra base hit or stolen base, it's no wonder why they went down as easily as paper in a fire. Just pathetic.

Clayton Kershaw pitched slightly over 100 in 5 innings, but still only gave up 2 runs. He did walk 4, which is something he'll straighten out over time. The 5 K's were nice. Aaron Cook may as well have been a combination of Cy Young, Walter Johnson, and Nolan Ryan today by completely dominating anybody in a white jersey. Brain Fuentes got the save with a perfect 9th. He probably only threw fastballs the whole time. No need to mess around when the other team sucks so bad.

And what do you know, the beatdowns just keep on coming. The Chicago Cubs are in town for the next 4. You know, that team with the best record in baseball. Ya, them. Splitting with them would be a minor miracle. Their best chance will have to come Thursday night when Chad Billingsley gets the call, but he is facing Ryan Dempster, who's been fantastic this year.

Sigh... I don't even know what else to say.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Playing the Rockies = no more slump

Quite a difference going from Johan Santana to Greg Reynolds.

Facing a struggling team with a lousy starting pitcher was just what the Dodgers needed to somewhat forget about their recent road trip. The Dodgers put up 5 runs in the first 3 innings en route to an 8-2 shellacking of the Colorado Rockies on Monday night. The Rockies have now dropped 8 straight.

I guess I need to put in perspective just how bad I thought the Dodgers were. They're still a .500 team, but the Rockies are just plain sad this year. World Series one year, the cellar the next. Amazing. They were an average team at the start of last year then turned it on, and they are going to have to do that and then some if they even want to contend this year.

But hey, my blog is about the Dodgers, so let's focus on them. More specifically, Derek Lowe, who has turned in his 3rd straight great start, and this time he actually got the win! After getting the first 2 batters out, he then gave up 3 straight singles for a run, but then got Ian Stewart to line out with 2 men on. From then on, it was cruise control as he finished at 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Good Lowe is back (for now).

The bats wasted little time in scoring, as Matt Kemp continued his hot play with a double with 1 down in the 1st. After going to 3rd on a wild pitch, he scored on Andre Ethier's groundout. Jeff Kent, who has definitely struggled this year, hit a solo shot into left for a 2-1 lead.

Lowe and Juan Pierre added RBI's in the 3rd, and Ethier launched one to right for his 5th homer in the 5th inning for a 6-1 lead. 2 more runs were chipped on in the 8th when Kemp hit one out, and Danny Ardoin, playing for Russell Martin, singled in James Loney. 8 runs in 1 night - didn't think I'd see that again!

It's good to see the Dodgers not only score early, but actually keep the scoring up as the game went on. Lowe had an ERA of 5.34 after getting rocked in Anaheim on May 18, but he's not at 4.17. That roller coaster ride continues. Now if Brad Penny ever gets on track, then the starting staff will finally look well-rounded.

I said the other day that the Dodgers need to at least take 2, and tonight they get their chance as Penny goes up against Jeff Francis. 2 of the better pitchers in the National League last year are just horrible this year, so they'll both be looking for a rebound.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Who's hot, who's not: May

The month of May certainly saw it's share of ups and downs, as the Dodgers never could figure what type of team they are. They'd win a few to build up hope, then drop the next few. Thanks to some bad play in the rest of the division, they managed to hold onto 2nd place in the NL West. Trust me, not because they played so great, but more because the rest didn't.

Who's hot?


Blake Dewitt: .322 AVG, .379 OBP, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 14 R, 2 2B
Russell Martin: .356 AVG, .425 OBP, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 12 R, 4 2B, 3 SB
Juan Pierre: .286 AVG, .350 OBP, 9 RBI, 19 R, 3 2B, 15 SB


Chad Billingsley: 3-2, 38.0 IP, 1.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 31 K, 17 BB
Hong-Chih Kuo: 3-0, 16.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 18 K, 1 BB
Hiroki Kuroda: 1-2. 37.2 IP, 2.87 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 21 K, 13 BB
Chan Ho Park: 1-1, 18.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 12 K, 7 BB
Takashi Saito: 2-0, 5 SV, 12.1 IP, 1.46 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 15 K, 4 BB

Who's not?


Chin-lung Hu: .143 AVG, .182 OBP, 3 RBI, 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B
Andruw Jones: .178 AVG, .255 OBP, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 3 2B, 16 K
Jeff Kent: .203 AVG, .247 OBP, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R, 1 3B
Luis Maza: .257 AVG, .297 OBP, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R
Mark Sweeney: .077 AVG, .194 OBP, 2 RBI, 1 R

Who's not?


Jonathan Broxton: 1-2, 12.0 IP, 7.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 15 K, 3 BB
Derek Lowe: 0-4, 35.1 IP, 6.11 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 27 K, 14 BB
Brad Penny: 1-4, 32.2 IP, 8.82 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 18 K, 17 BB
Scott Proctor: 0-0, 10.1 IP, 6.10 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 15 K, 8 BB

Team record: 13-15

The road trip from Hell is over

What's worse than watching the Dodgers on TV?

Watching them live. At least on TV you can turn the channel.

Despite scoring a run before Johan Santana recorded an out, the Dodgers looked lost yet again as they were defeated by the New York Mets, 6-1. The Dodgers dropped this 4-game series 3-1 and finished their Chicago/New York road trip at 1-6.

The 1st inning looked promising enough when Juan Pierre lead off and hit a double off of David Wright's glove and into left. Matt Kemp then lined a single to center, and just like that, the Dodgers had themselves a lead against a true ace. How did Kemp celebrate this great achievement? By getting picked off of 1st base, of course!

It didn't help that both Jeff Kent and James Loney struck out. Kemp has loads of talent, but he has got to be the dumbest base runner on Earth. It's scary just how bad he is. He should have been gunned out at 2nd during Saturday's game, but Jose Reyes misplayed a hop. Kemp was 3-4, but getting picked off was definitely the turning point of the game in my mind.

Hiroki Kuroda will have better days, but last night he was miserable. Reyes, who got a hit in each game, singled and stole 2nd. David Wright, who had 7 hits, 5 runs, and 6 RBI, singled him home to quickly tie the score. After retiring the order in the 2nd, Reyes struck once again in the 3rd, doubling with 1 out. Wright hit another RBI-single for a 2-1 lead.

Needing to make big pitches to keep the game close, Kuroda struggled mightily. Carlos Beltran hit a no-doubter to right to get the score 4-1 Mets. Trust me, that ball was absolutely creamed. Ryan Church marked his comeback night with a 2-run shot to right as well, and I knew the game was long over. I was right.

I remember saying for a little while at the start of the game that the Dodgers had a good approach to Santana. Through the first 3 innings, they had 3 hits and 2 walks, which isn't bad against someone like him. But, only 1 run was pushed across thanks to more untimely hitting. It's the same old story for the Dodgers - look competitive early, then crumple late. From what I recall, Santana was around 50 pitches through 3, which would mean he might not last out of the 6th. But the second the Mets went ahead, it was cruise control for him.

I'll look for the silver lining, and Hong-Chih Kuo qualifies. He pitched 4.1 innings in relief, giving up no runs on 3 hits and 2 K's. He's been awesome this year. Cory Wade K'd 2 in a scoreless 8th, but the game had long since been settled.

The biggest difference between these 2 teams is that when each team gets runners on, the Mets believe they can drive home runs, while the Dodgers do not. 5 of the Mets runs were with 2 outs. A perfect example was in the 8th when Pierre walked and Kemp singled with 2 down, chasing Santana. After Jeff Kent was hit by a Joe Smith pitch to load the bases, Scott Schoeneweis was brought in to face James Loney. It was a great time to show the world that the Dodgers can be a capable offensive team, by battling back late from a big deficit.

But, Loney grounded out to short on a 3-1 pitch, adding to the humiliation. The Dodgers simply are incapable of getting a big, power hit when they most need it. That's just the sad truth.

This upcoming series is a big one against the Colorado Rockies. As much as I think the Dodgers are struggling, the Rockies are STRUG - GUL - LING. They are a pathetic 20-37, thanks to some horrendous pitching and injuries on offense (Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday). It's amazing how much they have tanked. Derek Lowe gets the start, and he's coming off 2 strong ones. He didn't get wins in either one, but that's the Dodgers for ya. They need to take at least 2 in this 3-game series since the Cubs come into town next for 4.