30, 2005 -
Dodgers 6, Rockies 2
returning, Dodgers rebounding?
you're a Windex product tester trying to prove that the competing
brand isn't as good, streakiness is not something you want. (Jesus,
that's lame.) If you're a Dodger fan, though, streakiness is something
you've got to learn to deal with. After tanking badly the past week,
the Dodgers have now won two in a row, beating the Rockies on Friday,
6-3, and on Saturday, 6-2. They didn't exactly beat the hell out
of Colorado, though, only knocking out a total of eleven hits in
the two games. Ten walks contributed to the Dodger runs on Friday,
and a big fifth inning error on Saturday opened the floodgates.
Facing a team as crappy as the Rockiesa team with four rookies
in the starting lineupthe Dodgers goddamn well better win.
Saturday night, Brad Penny made his first appearance at Dodger Stadium
since last August. He threw 95 pitches, gave up four singles and
a walk, and didn't grab his arm in pain even once. Meanwhile, the
clubhouse staff is busily at work reassembling Wilson Alvarez's
trough in preparation for the big lefty's return. Alvarez figure
to rejoin the team either Sunday or Monday, meaning three things:
(1) someone will have to be sent down, (2) that someone figures
to be Buddy Carlyle, and (3) we'll have more occasions for fat jokes.
27, 2005 -
Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 3
one-eighty in record time
was Fleece Blanket Night at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, so at least
fans could keep warm while watching the Dodgers fall out of first
place. Either that, or they could strangle themselves with the blanket.
Before suffocating on the fleece, though, fans would learn thataccording
to design woven into the blanketthe Dodgers won world championships
in 1962 and 1966. Glad to see that Frank McCourt and Friends are
in touch with Dodger history. Don't be surprised by other upcoming
promotions such as Bobby Thompson Pin Night, Jack Clark Bobblehead
Day, and Beach Towel Day (commemorating the Dodgers' three consecutive
world championships from 1992-1994). Aware of the blanket error,
the Dodgers handed them out anyway along with a certificate for
a blanket with the correct years. Who knows when fans will actually
get those blankets, but one thing that's becoming increasingly obvious
is that the 2005 Dodgers will never find themselves on one. The
Dodgers have now lost six of seven since their 12-2 start, and now
sit a half game behind the Diamondbacks. Christ that was quick.
No Dodger team in recent memory has gone from excellence to feces-eating
in a shorter period of time. On Wednesday, once again, you could
thank a couple former Dodgers for the loss. Koyie Hill (who the
Dodgers dealt for Steve Finley) scored the tying run in the 7th
inning when Craig Counsell (who, as we all know, did nothing as
a Dodger in '99) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Earlier
in the game Counsell caught a foul pop-up just before somersaulting
over the wall into the box seats. Unfortunately, he didn't have
to be carried off the field in a stretcher. In even sadder news,
Paul Shuey has announced his retirement. Shuey, who missed the entire
2004 season with the Dodgers because of injuries, decided to call
it quits after making an appearance for the Indians' Double-A team
on Monday. So much for our dream of a Shuey/Schmoll duo.
26, 2005 -
Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2
than a week ago, the Dodgers were five games in first place. Tonight,
after losing 3-2, they lead the Diamondbacks by a half game. It's
early in the season, but Tuesday's game was a big one. A win would
have stretched their lead in the West to 2-1/2 games and given the
Dodgers two wins in their last three games. A loss would have cut
their lead to just a half game and made it five losses in their
last six games. Thanks in large part to Shawn Green, a loss is what
they got. Green homered, doubled, and made a diving catch (yes,
a diving catch) in the 6th inning to keep his stupid snake logo-wearing
team a run up on the Dodgers. After the game Green admitted that
it's extra sweet to beat his old team. Too bad the prick didn't
have any of that passion when he was wearing blue. Maybe if the
Dodgers had played the Blue Jays more often, Green would have acted
like he had a pulse and hit the ball out of the infield occasionally.
No worries, thoughit's not as if the Dodgers paid Green $61,728
to beat them on Tuesday. Oh, wait... yes it is. When Green threw
his batting gloves in the stands after his home run, it would have
been beautiful to see them get thrown back at his face. Why? Because
he's a Diamondback. You want a pair of Craig Counsell's socks? Alex
Cintron's belt? Quinton McCracken's sliding pants? Exactly. Unfortunately
for the Dodgers, though, their problems extend far beyond Shawn
Green. Once again, they fell behind early in the game (thanks to
Scott Erickson hanging a 32-mph curveball), and failed to hit in
sync all night long. In typical Dodger fashion, Hee Seop Choi had
the first 4-hit game of his career, but came up empty with two guys
on in the ninth inning. Dodger fans will soon learn that nothing
good can come from a "HEE-SEOP-CHOI" chant... especially
when it sounds more like "WE-STOP-BOYS."
24, 2005 -
Dodgers 8, Rockies 6
two cents: Penny should have sat
Dodgers snapped their losing streak on Sunday, coming back from
a 5-3 deficit to beat the Rockies, 8-6. Milton Bradley went 4-for-5,
Norihiro Nakamura and Jason Phillips had key late-inning doubles,
and Yhency Brazoban notched his fifth save. The story, though, was
the return of Brad Penny. Looking more and more like a buffalo,
Penny made 87 pitches, giving up four runs in five inningsa
successful outing for a guy who hasn't pitched in a major league
game in seven months. But let's go back to last season for a minute.
being acquired at the trading deadling in the Paul Lo Duca deal,
Penny made an outstanding Dodger debut, giving up just two hits
over eight innings. In his next start, he faced just three batters
before leaving the game with a biceps injury. That was August 8th.
The Dodgers shut him down for a couple weeks, but badly wanted him
to return for the stretch run. On August 26th, Penny played catch
for five minutes. He said he felt no pain, but did notice "a
slight amount" of restriction in his arm movement and lingering
numbness in the forearm. A few weeks later, the Dodgers took Penny
off the DL and started him against the Padres. Three innings later,
Penny was clutching his arm and screaming in pain. He was done.
A "rare nerve injury", the doctors termed it. Even Dr.
Frank Jobe, who's been in medicine since the early 1800's, was baffled.
only have I never seen something like this," Jobe said at the
time, "but it is so rare that there isn't even any literature
on it." Flash forward to spring training. Penny began to take
baby steps, throwing off a mound for the first time in late February.
With the Dodgers bringing him along slowly, he pitched to Dodger
hitters (well, guys like Grabowski) for the first time on March
22nd. He then pitched in a couple simulated games, made a start
for Single-A Vero Beach, and finally a start for Triple-A Las Vegas
on April 18th.
months of rehab, the Dodgers announced that Penny would start on
Sunday against Coloradothat is, if the conditions were good.
it's cold and the weather is bad, we won't start him," Jim
Tracy said on Saturday. Well, at game time on Sunday, it was 46
degrees. (We're not meteorologists, but we're pretty sure that's
cold.) By the fourth inning, it was raining. (Again, not meteorologists,
but that's generally considered bad weather.) So what the hell happened
to the Dodgers' decision that Penny wouldn't start under those conditions?
"I've waited a long time and I wanted to pitch," Penny
said. Well, terrific, gotta do whatever Brad says. The Dodgers wait
seven months for Penny to pitch, and can't hold him back one more
day? Truly stupid. "It
was cold, it was hard to get loose," Penny said. Yeah, no shityou
had some freakish nerve injury and it's 46 freakin' degrees. Here's
a question: Where the hell were the Dodger coaches when Penny was
having trouble getting loose? Probably in the goddamn clubhouse
in front of the heater. If you're a coach and you've got a pitcher
(potentially your ace) making his first start in 7 months, wouldn't
you want to play it safe? With all that he's been through, wouldn't
you want to do anything and everything possible to reduce the chances
of him re-injuring his arm? Just a thought. The fact that Penny
survived doesn't make the decision right.
23, 2005 -
Rockies 8, Dodgers 6
L.A. shitwreck: sixteen stranded
Jose Valentin should consider himself lucky. Hit on the left hand
by a pitch in the eighth inning Saturday, Valentin wasn't around
to watch the Dodgers leave the bases loaded in the eighth and
ninth. Just for kicks, they did it in the fifth inning, too. All
told, the Dodgers stranded 16 runnersone short of the franchise
record. With twelve hits, seven walks, and three guys hit by a pitch,
the Dodgers had ample opportunity to overcome an early 7-0 deficit.
Of course, they didn't have to be down by seven in the first place.
Colorado or not, you don't leave a pitcher in the game to get hammered
like Odalis Perez got hammered on Saturday... well, unless you're
Jim Tracy. The couple of come-from-behind wins the Dodgers' notched
earlier in April may have seemed great on the surface, but they
obviously convinced Tracy that his guys were capable of doing it
every night. Now, there's never a reason to panic. A reliever gives
up a 3-run homer to the first guy he faces (Tuesday)? No worries,
leave him out there to walk two guys, hit another with a pitch,
and then serve up a bases-clearing double. A starting pitcher gives
up 4 runs in the first couple innings (Friday)? No sweat, leave
him out there to give up 4 more runs. A guy gets knocked around
for 4 runs in the first inning (Saturday)? No big deal, just watch
him give up three more runs in the second. It's not particularly
difficult to manage a team that's leading by five, six, seven runs
which is what was happening the first couple weeks of the season.
When your starting pitcher is going nine innings, it doesn't take
a genius to run a team. It's when you're down by a few runsas
the Dodgers have been latelythat managing becomes a little
tougher. And when the going gets tough, Tracy hasn't a clue.
the Dodger bullpen was on the short side Saturday (with Elmer Dessens
down and D.J. Houlton being held out to potentially start Sunday).
Still, you can't just throw away games, regardless of how early
in the season it may be. Of course, it wasn't Tracy's fault that
the Dodgers left 16 guys on base. Obviously, it was Tim Wallach's
22, 2005 -
Rockies 9, Dodgers 1
how quickly things sour
When the Dodgers go bad, they sure don't waste any time. A minute
ago they had the best record in baseball. Their pitching staff was
unhittable. Their offense was unbelievable. And the excitement,
for once, was tangible. Suddenly, though, they can't pitch, can't
hit, and can't beat the goddamn Colorado Rockies (who entered Friday's
game with the second worst record in baseball). With their 9-1 defeat
Friday, the Dodgers have lost two in a rowthe same number
of losses they had in their first fourteen games. We won't say "I
told you so," but we did. The last two days are why it was
so difficult to actually enjoy the last two weeks. Sure, you might
be lying on a white, sandy beach, soaking up the sun, but if you
know there's a tsunami coming, how relaxed are you really going
to be? Well, the tsunami has hit. The Dodgers have scored a total
of two runs the last two nights, and have gone 0-for-11 with runners
in scoring position. On Friday, the Dodgers left nine guys on base.
Their pitching has been just as bad. A day after Scott Erickson
got bombed by the Padres, it was Jeff Weaver's turn. Weaver, who
is becomming quite consistent in his inconsistency, got torn apart
for eight runs on thirteen hits.
Not to worry, thoughif the pattern holds, he'll pitch a no-hitter
next Wednesday against Arizona. Of course, the Dodgers will be in
third place by then... mainly because they've got a manager who
leaves his pitcher in the game to give up thirteen hits.
21, 2005 -
Padres 6, Dodgers 1
Just when we'd commissioned a huge Ricky Ledee mural at the Dodger
Blues penthouse offices overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Dodgers
fell to the Padres, 6-1. The party is over. The jig is up. Time
has expired. The end has come. Sadly, the grim reaper has entered
the Dodger dugout (although a few of the players mistook him for
Otis Nixon). After winning eight games in a row and taking fans
on an unexpected little journey to a place called Winsville (just
south of Rancho Cucamonga), the Dodgers made very little noise against
Adam Eaton and now drop to a depressing 12-3 on the season. Sure,
they still have the best record in baseball, still have scored the
most runs per game, still have a four game lead in the West... but
what the F have they done for us lately? On Thursday, they did nothing.
Drew, Kent, Bradley, and Valentin combined to go 1-for-13, and Scott
Erickson looked every bit his age, getting knocked around for five
runs. The second Dave Roberts singled to lead off the game for the
Padres, you had to know where this one was headed. By the 9th inning,
Jim Tracy was feeling the loss, and like a baby who doesn't get
his bottle, had a temper tantrum on the field. Tracy eventually
got the boot, and headed back to the clubhouse to figure out how
to get Jason Grabowski more at-bats. Put on your face masks and
watch for debristhe implosion has begun.
20, 2005 -
Dodgers 3, Army 1
The sun rose. There was traffic on the 405 freeway. Michael Jackson
touched a boy. And oh, yeah... the Dodgers won. What's new? Winning
for the 12th time in 14 games on Wednesday night, the Dodgers have
become very good at doing two things: (1) never giving up, and (2)
badly, badly fooling fans into thinking that they're never going
to lose again. We know that #2 is true because we're fooled.
We admit it. We'd like to say something like, "They may be
winning now, but you've got to prepare yourself for the day when
they begin to tank," but right now we can't even bring ourselves
to write it. While we know deep down that they're not this good,
maybe good has nothing to do with it. After all, the 1988 Dodgers
weren't good. For Christ's sake, their shortstop hit .199. The team
sucked. But they won. Sure, it's a little early to compare the 2005
Dodgers with the 1988 Dodgers, but you can't exactly compare them
to the 1927 Yankees either. The fact is, they're starting the season
better than any team in L.A. Dodgers' history. And not only are
they winning, butdare we saythey're exciting to watch.
Milton Bradley can smash a little blind girl over the head with
a bat for all we careas long as he keeps hitting the ball,
taunting opposing fans, and prancing in the dugout like he's been
doing lately, it's all good. Actually, Bradley's bunt attempt with
the game tied in the 8th inning Wednesday was no less impressive
than any of his recent home runs. Ah, Wednesday. The game didn't
start off particularly well, with Norihiro Nakamura a little confused
about what it takes to make an out, but things began to look up
later in the game, as they seem to do this season. Derek Lowe didn't
allow a run after the first, and the camouflaged Padres entered
the eighth holding onto a 1-0 lead. J.D. Drew then gave Ryan Klesko
a little lesson on how to hit the ball out of Petco, crushing his
second homer of the season to left field. With the game still tied
in the 10th, Jose Valentin came through again, tripling in two and
giving the Dodgers the eventual 3-1 win. The Padres can wear all
the camouflage they want, but there's no hiding the fact that they'll
be out of contention by June... nor the fact that Dennys Reyes is
still a big fatty.
19, 2005 -
Dodgers 8, Brewers 6
it all just a dream?
Forgive us, but we're having the weirdest dream. We dreamt that
the baseball season started and the Dodgers didn't have names on
the back of their uniforms. That was bizarre, but as the dream went
on, it got even weirder. After losing the first game of the season,
the Dodgers started hitting. And not just getting a hit here and
a hit therethey actually started hitting in sync. And hustling.
It sounds far-fetched, we know, but the dream started to get really
vivid. Number 3 was getting like two or three hits a game, and number
23 and 36 pitched complete game shutouts. Then, every time someone
would hit a home run, number 21 copied him. Number 12 played flawless
second base, and number 9 (who wasn't even in the dream a couple
weeks ago) had three RBIs in a game. Even number 5 hit a home run.
It was all so peculiar. Then the dream just got plain ridiculous.
The Dodgers fell behind by 6 runs early in a game. They inched back,
and by the ninth, they were only down by one. Number 33 led off
with a single, and two outs later he was at second base. Up came
number 3, who punched one to left. Number 33 rounded third and slid
beautifully at the plate, and the gameonce seemingly out-of-reachwas
tied. An inning later, it was number 21 again, crushing one to center
and giving the Dodgers a 2-run lead. As if it couldn't get any stranger,
number 38 didn't come out of the bullpen to close the gameinstead
it was some dude who looked like Forrest Whitaker. But he did it.
And the Dodgers won their seventh straight. And Jim Tracy didn't
interview himself after the game. And it only costs $3 dollars to
park at Dodger Stadium. And the new Pope bleeds blue. It's been
an incredible dream. Please don't wake us.
18, 2005 -
Dodgers 7, Brewers 3
scared of hotel, but not Brewers
It's amazing the stories that fans get treated to when the Dodgers
are winning. When there's no complaining to be had, no mistakes
to dwell on, and no goat to be crucified, what do reporters do?
Write about ghosts. The Dodgers, it seems, stay at a haunted hotel
when they're in Milwaukeethe 112-year-old Pfister Hotel, to
be precise. Legend has itand how we've never heard about this
is beyond usthat Adrian Beltre once claimed that a ghost tickled
his toes while he was sleeping at the Pfister. (He calls it a ghost,
we call it Andy Ashby, but whatever.) Eric Gagne calls the hotel
"scary," but let's be seriouswhat ghost is going
to fuck with Gagne? If anything is freaky, it's the way the Dodgers
have been playing. The Dodgers flew into Milwuakee as the hottest
team in baseball, and on Monday, the Brewers fanned the flames.
Milwaukee failed to get a hit off Odalis Perez until the 7th inning,
and by then the Dodgers had a 4-0 lead. Back-to-back homers are
quickly becoming the norm, Jason Repko and Milton Bradley combining
for Monday's pair. Bradley went yard again later in the game, giving
him twelve RBIs for the season. With the win, the Dodgers have matched
their best start since 1981, when half of the current Dodgers were
still crapping in their diapers. Still, it's only 12 gamesand
they haven't exactly been facing the Tim Hudson's of the league.
If the Dodgers went 10-2 in the middle of the season, nobody would
be making a huge deal about it. But if you want to start nominating
Jim Tracy for Manager of the Year, knock yourself out.
17, 2005 -
Dodgers 6, Padres 0
deal: Dodgers sweep Padres
Like a janitor cleaning up after a meeting of obssesive compulsive
housewives, it was an easy sweep for the Dodgers this weekend. Eighteen
runs, six homers, two shutouts... and only about a dozen beachballs
on the field. After a horrendous start a week ago, Jeff Weaver gave
up just five hits on Sunday, shutting the Padres down for the second
time in three games. Also for the second time in three games, Jeff
Kent and Milton Bradley went back-to-back. Later in the game, Paul
Bako and Cesar Izturis went back-to-back in the dugout... and it
turns out Bako is taller. But back to Weaver, who struck out seven
while walking only one. If his performance wasn't satisfying enough,
Dodger fans could peek at the scoreboard and see that Kevin Brown,
making his first start of the season, had been shelled by the Orioles.
Brown, of course, was dealt for Weaver before the 2004 season and
has been a bitter disappointment for the Yankees. On Sunday, that
deal looked better than ever:
9 IP, 7 K, 0 ER
Brown: 6 IP, 3 K, 6 ER
Evans, take a bow. (OK, that's long enough. Remember, you did
trade for Daryle Ward.)
16, 2005 -
Dodgers 8, Padres 3
all smiles for now
Dodgers won for the 8th time in their first 10 games Saturday night,
making this their best start since 1983coincidentally the
same year that Scott Erickson last pitched. Erickson pitched six
innings Saturday, yielding just two hits to the Padres and working
out of a couple jams. Jason Phillips didn't quite match David Ross's's's
2-homer performance of Friday, but he did go 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
J.D. Drew knocked in his first run as a Dodger, Ricky Ledee hit
his first home run, and Norihiro Nakamura made his first error.
A lot of firsts lately, which makes sense considering that half
the team is new. What doesn't make sense is how the Dodgers have
the best record in baseball. You definitely can't judge a team after
10 games, and we can safely say that the Dodgers are not actually
this good... but are they not as bad as we thought? After all, they're
doing all this without half their pitching staff, without a regular
first baseman, and without much help from the $55 million dollar
man (who's batting .135... although Paul DePodesta would certainly
point out that he's walked eight times). The Dodgers' real test,
of course, will come when they start playing teams outside the divisionteams
with pitching. Nonetheless, what can you do but get excited, right?
If only we knew who the hell these guys were.
15, 2005 -
Brooklyn 4, Padres 0
real throwback: a complete game
honor of Jackie Robinson's first game in the major leagues (58 years
ago), the Dodgers wore throwback Brooklyn jerseys and caps on Friday
night. While the uniforms evoked memories of Dodger teams of the
50's (at least for those whose memories stretch back before the
days of Jeff Treadway), it was Derke Lowe's pitching performance
that was the real throwback. Lowecoming off an injury-shortened
start on Sundaypitched the second shutout of his career, silencing
the Padres on just three hits. Complete games have essentially become
a thing of the past, and seeing one these days is as rare as a J.D.
Drew RBI (of which the $55 million outfielder has none). Lowe also
knocked in half the Dodgers runsthe others coming on back-to-back
shots by Jeff Kent and Milton Bradley. Even more impressive than
Bradley's homer to dead center, though, was his all-out hustle after
grounding to third in the eighth inning. A guy shouldn't have to
be commended for playing hard, but it's still nice to seeespecially
when his team is up by 4 runs late in the game. (Truth be told,
Milton still scares us, so we have to say positive things about
him occasionally.) Of course there's no shortage of praise when
it comes to Jackie Robinson. For us, though, one thing stands out.
Sure, he broke the color barrier, but as a Dodger fan you've got
to love him for another reason: he retired from baseball rather
than accept a trade to the Giants.
13, 2005 -
Dodgers 4, Giants 1
finally hits one out
took him 36 games, but Hee (Seop Choi) finally did it on Wednesday,
hitting his first home run as a Dodger... though it was about as
convincing as a blind guy's description of a college orgy. Choi
found the shortest park of the park and one of the shortest walls
in baseballand cleared the fence by about half an inch. If
a few people in the right field corner had exhaled, the ball would
have fallen short. Nonetheless, his streak of futility is over.
Well, we won't go that far, but at least he's got more home runs
than Steve Schmoll. Choi's shot was followed two batters later by
Jeff Kent's second home run of the year, and the Dodgers went on
to beat San Francisco 4-1, completing a 2-game sweep of the black
and orange. Odalis Perez threw six strong innings, and four Dodger
relievers kept the Giants quiet for the final few innings. Even
Gabor II Paul Bako got into the act, doubling in a run in the fourth
inning. The Dodgers are off on Thursday, and then open a 3-game
series against San Diego. Derek Lowe, who starts for the Dodgers
on Friday, figures to spend the off day watching the Yankees/Red
Sox game and searching for his Dodger jersey, which he could have
sworn was somewhere in his trunk.
12, 2005 -
Dodgers 9, Giants 8
an opening act, it's a Giant bomb
you'd feel for a guy like Jason Ellison. A young outfielder, charging
a ball in left field, hoping to cut down the tying run at the plate
with two outs in the 9th inning... only the ball gets by him and
rolls to the wall. As he chases it down, three runs score. His team,
once up by five runs, loses the game to its bitter rival. You'd
feel bad for a guy like that... if he wasn't wearing a Giants uniform.
But he was wearing a Giants uniform... which makes his heartbreak
a little less tear-jerking and a little more... oh, say, orgasmic.
Opening Day wins are, without a doubt, great. Opening Day wins against
the Giants are better. Opening Day wins against the Giants after
being down by three runs in the 9th inning against their prized
closer are to be cherished like a weekend in Hawaii with Jessica
Alba and a wireless internet connection. It was the third late-inning
come-from-behind win of the year for the Dodgerswho somehow
lead the major leagues in runs per game. Obviously aided by shoddy
San Francisco defense, the Dodgers overcame Jeff Weaver's ineffectiveness,
Jim Tracy's cluelessness, and seemingly a dozen blown opportunities.
Weaver gave up five runs in the first inning, and probably should
have been gone in the second after he gave up his eighth hit of
the game. Tracy, however, must have been mesmerized by the Dodgers'
brand new dugout, and he left Weaver in for two more innings. Only
after Weaver gave up his third consecutive hit in the fourth (a
3-run homer to Pedro Feliz), did Tracy wake up and pull him from
the game. Just like last year, the Dodgers won on Tuesday despite
Jim Tracy, not because of him. As a manager, you've got to know
when a pitcher doesn't have it. Somehow, however, Tracy was the
last one in the ballpark to figure it out. Sure, the bullpen was
used for 6 innings on Sunday, but they all had a day off on Monday...
and, um, it's their friggin' job. Speaking of jobs, Jayson Werth
may be out of one when (and if) he returns from the DL. His y-less
teammate Jason Repko continued to impress on Tuesday, hitting his
second home run of the year and making a couple nice plays in left.
Well, Repko may have impressed some people, but not Jeff Weaver,
who reacted to the kid's home run by sitting in the dugout and picking
his nose. (Yes, Jeff, the cameras are watching you... although they
didn't happen to catch you washing your hands.)
10, 2005 -
Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 4
can't withstand Counsell's Lowe blow
Let's get one thing straight: we've always hated Craig Counsell.
That rat-faced little punk used to burn the Dodgers, and then of
course played like crap when he was in blue for half a season. On
Sunday, the scrawny spaz boy was at it again, this time lining a
ball off Derek Lowe's elbow in the 5th inning. Lowe stumbled over
to the foul line before collapsing in painsuddenly realizing
that he might not be able to make his planned trip to Boston to
pick up his precious World Series ring. Frankly, Jose Valentin should
have caught the deflection and doubled up Quinton McCracken at second,
but maybe he was distracted by his pitcher getting smoked in the
arm. While Lowe's elbow turned out only to be bruised, we'd still
like to put a piece of cheese on a rat trap in the Arizona clubhouse
and watch a metal bar snap across Counsell's neck. Wouldn't be a
tragedy if a couple of the Dodger relievers also happened to get
caught in the trap. Kelly Wunsch gave up a home run to Shawn Green
and Duaner Sanchez gave up the eventual game-winner in the 8th after
Jason Repko's first major league home run tied the game at four.
The Dodgers, of course, blew a huge scoring chance in the 6th after
Jason Phillips' bases-loaded walk with nobody out brought up Hee
Seop Choi and Milton Bradley. Choi hit a weak little pop-up to short
and Bradley (who apparently didn't start the game because he was
tired from having to use his legs on Saturday) grounded into an
inning-ending double play. The good news is that J.D. got a couple
hits and won't set the major league record by going 0-for-545.
9, 2005 -
Dodgers 12, Diamondbacks 10
hot in AZ, but Drew still cold
By the time Steve Schmoll had notched his first spastic save on
Saturday night, the game was four hours long. Scott Erickson had
allowed four home runs. Jeff Kent had knocked in five runs. Yhency
Brazoban had blown his first save (but then got his shit together
the next inning and struck out Troy Glaus and Shawn Green with the
bases loaded). Milton Bradley had made a game-saving catch (and
then ran off the field like someone had freed mice in his pants).
Giovanni Carrara had given up 2 earned runs in just a third of an
inning (raising his ERA to a healthy 40.50). The Diamondbacks had
knocked out 18 hits (only to lose). And J.D. Drew had, well, gone
0-for-5 (extending his hitless streak to 22 at-bats). The last time
a Dodger started a season with more hitless at-bats was in 1991
when Jose Gonzalez went 0-for-28 and was then traded to Pittsburgh
for Mitch Webster. Drew should take little solace in the fact that
Webster retired ten years agothe Dodgers could easily deal
him to Pittsburgh for David Ross. Nonetheless, the Dodgers have
shown surprising late-inning life the last couple days. Friday,
it was Jose Valentin's 9th inning pinch-hit home run that sealed
the deal for the Dodgers. Saturday, it was just plain craziness.
Nothing like a couple of unlikely comebacks to bring a team together...
or to fool fans into a false sense of hope.
7, 2005 -
Dodgers 6, Giants 0
can walk, too
The Dodgers shut out the Giants on Thursday night, 6-0, but more
importantly, the streak is still alive. Jose Valentin made an errant
throw in the ninth inning, keeping him on pace for a major league
record 162 errorswhich would just break Cleveland Indians'
shortstop John Gochnaur's record of 95, set in 1903. (Coincidentally,
Paul DePodesta made Gochnaur an offer just before picking up Valentin.)
Thursday's error, of course, meant little, and Valentin reached
base four times just by standing there with the bat on his shoulder.
Jeff Weaver pitched a great eight innings, and Jeff Kent knocked
out three hits amid the chorus of boos from his adoring fans in
San Francisco. It was a cool and breezy night in San Francisco,
made far more windy by the Hee Seop Choi's flailing bat. Choi struck
out three more times Thursday, meaning he's stuck out 24 times in
just 7 at-bats this season. After batting second on Opening Day,
Choi was dropped six spots in the batting order, hitting eighth
against Brett Tomko. The Dodgers might have to find a way to lengthen
their lineup just to have some place to keep dropping Choi.
6, 2005 -
Dodgers 10, Giants 4
ejected, Dodgers resurrected
Well, Jose Valentin made another error on Wednesday, putting him
on pace for 162 this season. Yeah, fine, he also hit a 3-run homer,
tripled in a run, and singled. While it was a big win for the Dodgers
(coming on the heels of their little Opening Day collapse), it's
sure as hell wasn't free of embarrassment. Cesar Izturis missed
third base in the sixth inning (depriving Jason Repko of his first
major league RBI), Jason Grabowski lost his glove over the left
field wall in a spastic attempt to jump for a home run ball (looking
like a little girl who just lost her kitty), and Yhency Brazoban
got hammered in the 9th inning (inspiring tons of confidence in
his closing skills). The highlight of the game, of course, came
in the fifth inning when Eric Gagneon the 15-day DLwas
ejected by home plate umpire Bill Hohn for heckling him from the
dugout. After Odalis Perez's low pitch to Deivi Cruz was called
a ball, Hohn pointed at the dugout and booted Gagne. Thrilled to
be able to relax in the clubhouse for the final 4 innings, Gagne
left the dugout with a big smile on his face. It was a beautiful
move, actually. He shows that he's got his teammate's back, he lets
out some agression, and he gets a laugh out of it. Pure entertainment.
Let's hope it's a daily occurrence while he's on the DL... with
a little variety, of course. Thursday he can toss a puck at a Giants'
fan, Friday he can toss a puck at a Diamondbacks' fan, and Saturday
he can he can run over Shawn Green with a pickup truck.
5, 2005 -
Giants 4, Dodgers 2
The fact that Cesar Izturis began the season on Tuesday with a leadoff
home run was shocking. The fact that the Dodgers struck out 11 times
and made two costly errors wasn't quite so shocking. Nor was it
a surprise that the first errorwhich came with two on and
two out in the seventh inningwas committed by Jose Valentin.
Adrian Beltre, God rest his soul, would have easily made the play.
Hell, the Pope could have made the play. (Yeah, sure, God rest his
soul, too.) An inning later, Giovanni Carrara (looking fit as ever)
lumbered off the mound to pick up a bunt and proceeded to throw
it down the right field line. Probably didn't help that Jeff Kent,
suddenly playing first base, didn't know whether to charge the bunt
or run in the dugout and cry. We all got a taste of this in spring
training, and obviously hoped that the guys would step it up come
the regular season, but so much for that. On a positive note, Hee
Seop Choi struck out only twice.
Steve Schmoll's mom is ready
opening day. Normally, that aaaaah is one of relief and joy
(as in, "Aaaaaah, I can't believe the season is finally
here... I'm so happy). Today, though, the aaaaah is one of
dread and despair (as in, "AAAAAAAH, I can't believe
the season is here... and the Dodgers still don't have a catcher
who can hit over .230"). Just for the record, they also don't
have a first baseman who can make contact, a third baseman who can
field, or a radio announcer who doesn't drive listeners to drink.
Gasoline. A little early to be this pessimistic? Well, the early
bird gets the worm. And as Richard Feynman once said, "You
can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but
when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about
the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing --
that's what counts." Who the fuck knows what that means, but
the point is this: you can never prepare too early for disappointment
and failure... especially if you're a Dodger fan (or if you're building
a Mars rover). The fact is, despite our generally shitty attitude,
we're usually excited about Opening Day. Somewhere in the disaster
that is the Dodger roster, there's usually a glimmer of hope. Usually
a ray of light. Usually a player's name you recognize. While we'd
love to get behind Paul DePodesta, it's a little tough considering
that Steve Schmoll made the team after pitching four innings
in spring training. Things might not be as bad as they seem,
but then again, they could very well be worse. The Dodgers are counting
on Brad Penny to be healthy by the end of the month (which is like
counting on your 3-year-old amputee daughter to dial 9-1-1 after
you slip on the kitchen floor and smash your head on the 12-pack
of Coors you just stole from 7-Eleven), they're counting on Jayson
Werth's arm to heal (which is like counting on that same daughter
not to drink the beer after you smash it open), and they're counting
on Eric Gagne to rebound from injury to become the awesome slob
he's been the past three seasons (which is like counting on the
police to not discover that you're keeping your daughter's severed
arm in the freezer underneath a box of 4-year-old popsicles). If
you're naive enough to count on all of that happening, more power
to you. But if you really must get excited about Opening Day, go
ahead, but at least keep your Paul Bako autographed David Ross card
LAA LAA land indeed
all began a few years ago when the Dodgers opened the door and let
Mike Scioscia walk away. The Angels quickly sntached him up and
gave him the job that Fox wouldn't: manager. Soon, a bunch of Dodgers
were coaching with the Angels. Mickey Hatcher, Alfredo Griffin,
Ron Roenicke. Fast forward a few years. Arte Moreno decides that
his Angels don't actually play in Orange County and names them the
Los Angeles Angels. Soon after, they sign Steve Finley away from
the Dodgers, stealing the man who clinched the Dodgers' first playoff
appearance in eight years. Then they make a trade with Washington
to get an Izturis of their own. Moreno then goes for the throat,
putting up billboards throughout L.A. dubbing it as the City of
Angels. For the last month, Dodger fans have had to adjust to the
sight of LAA on scoreboards and web sites. This weekend, the assault
continuedthis time on the field. If the Freeway Series was
a round in the Battle for L.A., someone forgot to tell the Dodgers
that the bell was rung. So they got their bell rung. For the second
time in three years, the Dodgers were swept. Does it say anything
about the Dodger team? Probably. Is it embarrassing? Yeah. Have
we been infected with the Jim Tracy Interview Syndrome? Apparently.
The Dodgers end Spring Training with a record of 13-15, which wouldn't
be a big deal if the team looked good on paper. But they look like
shit on paper. Even without their recent injuries, they've got more
holes than a dart board. First base... third base... catcher. It's
not good. It's not good at all. The biggest problem might be their
infield defense, which has taken a considerable hit since last season.
That fact became painfully obvious this weekend when the Dodgers
made seven errors. Unless they plan on scoring a ton (which, even
they'll admit, they don't), they'd best learn to catch and throw.
Either that, or they can watch the city slowly ripped out from under
their little blue shoes. LAA, LAA, LAughable.
wasn't an April Fool's joke, so consider it a glimpse of what's
to come. The Dodgers blew a 2-run lead in the seventh inning Friday
night, handing the Anaheim Angels seven runs en route to
an 8-3 Anaheim Angels victory. Paul Bako (whose only asset,
as we all know, is his defense) made two errors in the inning, and
Norihiro Nakamura added one to show that he belongs on the team.
Just as well, though, because the Dodgers don't have a closer anymore.
Eric Gagne, who spent most of the spring nursing a bad knee, has
been put on the DL with a sprained ligament in his elbow. While
the Dodgers may downplay the effect his knee injury might have had
on his pitching mechanics, it's a pretty good bet that the arm injury
is related. Would have been nice if they figured all this out a
week ago, but April 1st is better than May 1st... or May 2nd, but
that just goes without saying. The loss of Gagne means the addition
of yet another unknown minor leaguer to the Dodgers bullpen. Kelly
Wunsch and D.J. Houlton already figured to make the club, and with
Gagne down, there's a spot for Ryan Rupe (oh joy), Buddy Carlyle
(oh great), or Steve Schmoll (oh jesus). If not for the lack of
strippers and slot machines, the Dodger bullpen would look remarkably
like Las Vegas. Off the field, the news isn't much better. The Dodgers
announced a front office restructuring on Friday, necessitated by
the firing of chief marketing officer Lon Rosen (who joined the
organization only 8 months ago) and vice president of communications
Gary Miereanu (who's also been with the team less than a year).
Must be a friggin' joy to work for the McCourts, who obviously prefer
to blame the organization's communication problems on their employees
rather than taking any responsibility themselves (although Rosen
did seem like a real asshole). Frank McCourt cites phone
calls not being returned as an example of these communication problems.
But wasn't it Jamie McCourt who didn't return T.J. Simers phone
call for three months? Well, now there'll be another McCourt ignoring
phone calls. As part of the restructuring, Frank and Jamie's 23-year-old
son Drew becomes director of marketing. His marketing qualifications?
Well, rumor has it he's spent extensive time in Ralphs and Vons.