you, say Padres
It's a lot easier to write one of these articles when we can call
out one guy and blame him for a terrible loss, but in the Dodgers'
6-5 loss to the Padres on Sunday, who can't we call out?
For eight innings, despite only six Dodger hits, things were going
great. The Dodgers had a 5-0 lead, and were three outs away from
giving Derek Lowe his second win of the season. Three outs away
from a rare sweep of the Padres at Petco Park. Three outs away from
going above .500 for the first time this season.
however, a guy named Lance Carter entered the game. Thirty seconds
later, the bases were loaded. Enter Danys Baez, who had notched
saves in the Dodgers previous five victories. Only Sunday, Baez
apparently had too many fish tacos during the game. Mark Bellhorn
greeted Baez with a single. Then Baez lost his eyesight, walking
Khalil Greene (a .200 hitter) and Eric Young (hitting .182). Watching
a relief pitcher walk in a run is one of the most infuriating things
a fan can experience. Watching him do it twice in a row was enough
to make us puke up our lunch, scoop it up with a paper towel, lick
the paper towel, and barf it up again. (By the way, we saved the
paper towel for Baez. He should be getting it in the mail tomorrow.)
With the bases still loaded, Josh Barfield (with a whopping five
RBIs this year) and Geoff Blum (who hadn't knocked in anyone) both
hit sacrifice flies, and suddenly the game was tied. A five run
ninth inning lead against an offensively inept teamgone. Baez
was mercifully pulled, and Tim Hamulack came in to strike out Doug
Mirabelli. Ten minutes later, however, Hamulack fell apart, walking
Brian Giles and Mike Piazzathe bullpen's fourth and fifth
walks of the previous inning and a third. A base hit by Mark Bellhorn
then ended it, and the Dodgers walked off the field in shock. They
can call it shock, but when your bullpen consists of Danys Baez
and five guys who shouldn't even be pitching for the goddamn Devil
Rays, we call it just the beginning.
let's not forget that Jeff Kent went 0-5 and is now batting .183,
Rafael Furcal went 1-5 and is now batting .198, and J.D. Drew went
0-5, ending his hitting streak, ending his on-base streak, and ending
any chance of us ever writing anything good about him ever again.
hits fence, doesn't crumble
J.D. Drew hit the wall in right field in the 4th inning on Saturday
night, we figured that was it. He'd come out of the game with a
concussion, be diagnosed with a broken neck, and go on the 620-day
DL. Surprisingly, he actually picked up the ball and threw it to
his cutoff man, holding Mark Bellhorn to a triple. Apparently intrigued
by the fact that he could survive physical contact, Drew hit the
fence again an inning later. With two out and a man on in the fifth,
Drew caught up with a Brian Giles' drive to the gap, snagging it
as he rolled against the outfield fence. This time, we were sure
he'd go down. He'd catch the ball, flip it to Kenny Lofton, and
then collapse in a fetal position, clutching his dislocated shoulder.
Amazingly, Drew didn't fall down in pain. Instead, he ran toward
the dugout. He's got to go down before he gets to the infield,
we figured. But he didn't. He's got to have internal injuries,
we figured. But he didn't. He's got to come out of the game just
as a precaution, we figured. But he didn't. In fact, Drew drove
in the tying run in the sixth inning. Drew has now hit in 11 straight,
has reached base in all 20 games that he's played in this year,
andmost impressivelydoesn't have a scratch on him. While
we all know that it'll eventually catch up to him in a big way (possibly
getting crushed by a falling scoreboard), the Dodgers are surely
enjoying his freakish health for the moment.
Howe killed in car accident
Steve Howe, the former Dodger reliever better known for his addiction
to coke than throwing smoke, died on Friday morning when his pickup
truck flipped over in Coachella, California. He was 48. Howe notched
17 saves in 1980, breaking Joe Black's club rookie record for saves,
and posted a 2.65 ERA, good enough to win Rookie of the Year honors.
Howe pitched four more years for the Dodgers, putting up great numbers
from '81-'83. After getting released in '85, Howe went on to pitch
for the Twins, Rangers, and Yankees. He leaves behind a wife and
mean no disrespect by this, but Howe's tragic death was a predictable
end to a difficult life. Clearly there was more to Steve Howe than
what we all know (witnessed by the some of the words spoken today
by former teammates and coaches), but unfortunately what most of
us know are his troubles. The troubles he had during his baseball
career continued once he was out of the game, and you really couldn't
be shocked to hear Friday's news. Saddened, yes... a little freaked
out by it, sure... but shocked, not completely. There's no indication
that Howe was anything but overly tired as he was returning to Southern
California from a business trip to Arizona, but regardless, his
life was never short of drama. After all, this is a guy who was
arrested at JFK when a loaded .357 Magnum was found in his suitcase.
A guy who was kicked off of a high school girls softball team as
a volunteer coach in Whitefish, Montana for his drug abuse. A guy
who, just last year, was critically injured in a motorcycle accident
and charged with drunk driving. Howe's problems are well chronicled,
and while we don't have enough space or desire to recount them all
here, we'll just say this: we wouldn't be surprised if three weeks
from now Major League Baseball reinstates him.
We wanted to write a couple good things about Howe, but when we
Googled "steve howe dodgers," and saw that the second
listing was our own 'Dodger Douchebags' page, we threw in the towel.
So much for compassion.)
#2: Since we seem to be getting emails telling us that it's wrong
to make fun of a guy who was killed in a car crash, let's review
what we wrote, and if you still think we're making fun of him, you
can go to hell. First, we wrote that he died. Then we mentioned
some of his baseball accomplishments. Then we mentioned that considering
the problems and drama in his life, his tragic death wasn't a surprise.
Then we listed a few of his post-career troubles. Then we made a
sarcastic reference to major league baseball's ridiculous pattern
of reinstating him. Then we pointed out the humor in how our own
cynicism came back to bite us. So where, exactly, did we make fun
of Steve Howe?)
why his name isn't Ohouston
Dodgers may have a losing record, but they're getting cocky. Having
overcome ninth inning deficits the previous two nights in Houston,
the Dodgers probably felt that their chances were good again on
Wednesday. Only problem is they were down by six runs by the time
the ninth inning came around. They posted three, but lost to the
Astros, 8-5. The way Odalis Perez pitched, the Dodgers never had
much chance. Perez, who freakishly began the season 3-0, got whacked
back to Earth by Houston. The Astros pounded Perez for 11 hits in
just over four innings, beating him for the fourth time in his career.
have no idea what it is," said Perez, who has a 12.91 ERA against
Houston. "I don't know what happens with the Astros. It's nothing
about the field. And it's not the umpires. They called a good game.
It's nothing that I know that I'm doing when I pitch against them."
Perez later confided in Dodger Blues, telling us his theory. "It's
the bitches in the stands," he said. "All those chicks
in cowboy hats. We don't have cowboy hats in the Dominican. Come
to think of it, man, I've never seen a cowboy hat outside of Texas."
future Hall-of-Famer Wandy Rodriguez struck out six over seven innings,
limiting the Dodgers to just five hits. None of those hits belonged
to Nomar Garciaparra. After hitting his grand slam on Monday, Nomar
is 0-for-9 and has stranded about 15 guys on base... although to
be fair, three of those guys actually killed themselves after having
to watch Nomar go Rainman with his batting gloves. So he really
only stranded 12.
that's five hours you'll never get back
four hours and forty-eight minutes, there's a lot you could have
done. You could have flown from L.A. to New York. You could have
watched Gone With the Wind and two episodes of Mr. Belvedere.
You could have impregnated your girlfriend, taken a nap, and
brought her to the doctor for an abortion. Instead, you spent four
hours and forty-eight minutes watching the Dodgers lose to the Astros,
4-3, in fourteen innings. If you didn't, here's what you missed:
Navarro throwing a ball down the right field line, allowing a
run to score.
Navarro failing to get in front of a pitch in the dirt, allowing
a run to score.
Lofton raising his average from .233 to .306.
Garciaparra going 0-for-6 and putting an end to Monday's euphoria.
issuing four or five intentional walks per inning.
Furcal botching a routine grounder in the 12th.
Perez having to put down his cheeseburger to suddenly pinch-hit
with the bases loaded in the 14th inning.
Osoria booting a little dribbler up the first base linebut
recovering to get the out.
Carter booting a little dribbler up the first base linebut
recovering to get the out.
Little calling for three consecutive pitchouts, essentially walking
Lance Berkman to force the winning run to second base for Morgan
Ensberg, the Astros' hottest hitter?
Little calling for Kenny Lofton to steal second, opening a base
for the Astros to intentionally walk J.D. Drew (the Dodgers hottest
hitter) to get to Jeff Kent (the Dodgers coldest hitter)?
Lofton showing that while his legs are thirty-eight years old,
his arm is fifty-eight.
is grand for Nomar
Grady Little is a genius after all. Concerned about the recent health
of half the guys on his team, Little decided before the season that
he'd give the old men frequent off days. So far, you can't argue
with the results. Kenny Lofton has triples in his last two games,
J.D. Drew has homered in three of his last four games, and Nomar
Garciaparrafresh off a Sunday afternoon naphit a ninth
inning grand slam on Monday night to lift the Dodgers to a comeback
win over Houston. Garciaparra's slam came on a 97-mph Brad Lidge
fastball, coincidentally the same speed at which everyone in Minute
Maid Park exited seconds later. Lidge made the mistake of thinking
of walking Jeff Kent prior to Nomar, clearly under the impression
that Kent can still hit. (Joke's on him.) For the first seven innings
Monday, the joke was on the Dodgers, who failed to get a hit off
Andy Pettite. With one swing, however, Drew broke Pettite's no-hit
bid and tied the gamealbeit briefly. An inning later Takashi
Saito gave up a bomb to Fatty Berkman, and the Dodgers were down
once again... setting the stage for Nomar's first big Dodger moment.
While it's only been two games, Nomar seems to be swinging a good
bat... which means one of three things: (1) It's someone else's
bat, (2) He's primed to win Comeback Player of the Year, or (3)
He's about to break his knee. Whatever the reason, you can bet Little
won't play him for the next four days.
Jerry Morales have saved the flag?
two protestors ran onto the field at Dodger Stadium on April 25,
1967, intent on setting fire to an American flag, there were two
things that they didn't know. First, they didn't know how to light
a match in the wind. And second, they didn't know that thirty years
later, they'd still be hatednot for burning the flag, but
for giving Rick Monday the notorierty that eventually led him into
the Los Angeles Dodgers' broadcasting booth. In April of 1976, Monday
was in his fifth season with the Cubs. It turned out to be his best
season, and having endeared himself to Los Angeles by saving the
goddamn flag, the Dodgers traded for him after the year. He went
on to play eight seasons with the Dodgers, and of course hit that
big home run in the '81 NLCS. When Monday retired after getting
released by the Dodgers in '84, Dodger fans had no idea that he'd
begin haunting them nine years laternot by spooking them with
his droopy face, but by NEVER GIVING LISTENERS THE GODDAMN SCORE.
Regarding that faithful moment thirty years ago, we ask just one
question: Couldn't Jerry Morales, the right fielder for the Cubs,
have beat Monday to the punch?
Monday was honored before the game Sunday, and then threw out the
first pitch. The Dodgers should have let him stay on the field and
start the game at first base. Instead, Olmedo Saenz did, and quickly
botched an inning-ending grounder, allowing Arizona to take an early
lead. Things got even better for the Dodgers in the bottom of the
first, when with two on and one out, J.D. Drew became the first
sucker in a decade to fall for the "fake to third, throw to
first" move. Just when it looked as if Drew had run the Dodgers
out of the inning, though, hits by Saenz, Bill Mueller, and Ricky
Ledee gave the Dodgers an early 4-1 lead. Drew later homered, and
the Dodgers went on to win, 6-4. Sitting Sunday's game out was Nomar
Garciaparra, who apparently needed to rest after playing one game.
Never before have the Dodgers had a bigger group of girls. Nomar...
Drew... Lofton... It really wouldn't be a surprise if the Dodgers
removed the urinals from the locker room.
least Green still blows
With Jae Seo facing the Diamondbacks' Miguel Batista on Saturday
night, we expected a few things: (1) That Vin Scully would talk
incessantly about how Batista is a poet, (2) That Jae Seo wouldn't
last through the fourth inning, and (3) That Shawn Green would bite
the Dodgers in the ass with a huge base hit. Well, we were two for
three. Sure enough, Scully spoke of Batista's poetry. And sure enough,
Jae Seo couldn't get out of the fourth. Shawn Green, however, went
0-for-4, striking out three times, each time with a couple guys
on base. While Dodger fans may lament the team's loss, at least
there's a little satisfaction in knowing that Green is batting .214
this year with just one home run. (Of course now that we say this,
he'll three home runs on Sunday.) Green is a nice guy and everything,
but there's something about him that just makes us want to squirt
barbecue sauce in his face and smash him over the head with a frying
pan. Don't know what it is.
other big news, Mr. Mia Hamm made his debut for the Dodgers on Saturday
and, to the best of our knowledge, didn't tear his groin, strain
his Achilles, or do any harm to his ovaries. In fact, he went 2-for-4,
and could have easily gone 4-for-4. He made two scoops at first,
but also failed to snare a ball that ended up skipping past him
in the 4th inning, allowing the Diamondbacks' fifth (and deciding)
run to score. As expected, Nomar also spent valuable minutes fidgeting
with his batting gloves. Any coincidence that Nomar's first game
lasted three hours and ten minutes?
Wheaties for Repko
by the loss of his spring roommate Cody Ross, Jason Repko gathered
up the strength on Tuesday to chat online with all seven of his
fans. Among the interesting bits of information to emerge from Repko's
chat session was the revelation that his favorite food is cereal.
Repko told fans that Lucky Charms is his cereal of choice, but after
watching him on Wednesday night, it's clear he's been on a Wheaties
binge. Repko homered in the second inning off Chicago pitcher Sean
Marshall, and thenin a disastrous eighth inning for the Dodgersair
mailed a throw to the plate. Actually, air mail would imply that
the ball landed, when in fact it's traveling over Palm Desert at
the moment. Repko plays hard, you've got to give him that. But like
a piece of meat from Arby's, he's still a little raw. His eighth
inning overthrow allowed the go-ahead run into scoring position,
and a batter later the Cubs had taken the lead. (It would have been
nice to see Jose Cruz throw the friggin' ball home instead of trying
to fool the umpire into thinking he made the catch, but after seeing
Repko's throw, Cruz was probably a little leary of hitting a fan
in the upper deck.) Meanwhile, it was more of the same for the Dodgers.
Their offense sputtered through the first five innings, getting
only two hits, and the Cubs stole three bases. Danys Baez blew his
first save, and Sandy Alomar left the game with what was diagnosed
as a 40-year-old leg. Kenny Lofton, however, got a base hit and
raised his average to .158. Things are looking up!
explodes for two runs
Realizing that he's due for a season-ending injury any day now,
J.D. Drew decided to make the most of the moment on Tuesday night.
Drew drove in both Dodger runs, including the winning run with two
outs in the ninth, and the Dodgers overwhelmed the Cubs, 2-1. A
day after being utterly mystified by Greg Maddux, the Dodgers didn't
look much better on Tuesday. As Dodger fans slowly decomposed in
their seats, Carlos Zambrano and three Chicago relievers limited
the Dodgers to five hits over the first eight and two-thirds innings.
It wasn't until Kenny Lofton's walk and stolen base in the ninth
that fans had reason to pick out their eye boogers and watch the
Dodgers may have eked out a win Tuesday, but it's not looking good,
folks. They've scored 7 runs in their last 5 games, and don't appear
to be particularly motivatedwhich is shocking considering
that their manager set his sights on a 7-7 start. Leadoff hitter
Rafael Furcal is hitting .228, Lofton is hitting .091, and James
Loney and Dioner Navarro are battling it out at .200. The Dodgers
were worried enough that they called a "hitters-only"
meeting before Tuesday's game. Rumor has it no one showed up.
bunny hits Dodgers with goose eggs
we've been told, is the Christian celebration of the Resurrection
of Christ. On Sunday, the Dodgers' really could have used Christ's
bat. (Rumor has it he once hit .313 at Double-A.) Unfortunately,
the Dodgers were without Christ, and were shut out by San Francisco,
2-0. The Dodgers managed just three hits, and embarrassing baserunning
by Cody Ross killed a Dodger rally in the sixth. Three days removed
from being the hero in Pittsburgh, Ross was caught rounding third
on a grounder up the middle. Of course, while we're assigning blame,
let's not forget about Jae Seo, who balked in a run after making
a pick off attempt at first basewith no one covering the bag.
the Dodgers' timing is out of whack. While their pitching struggled
the first two weeks of the season, the team led the majors in hitting.
Now that the pitching has settled down, the Dodgers aren't hitting.
Three runs a game would have bought the Dodgers a sweep of the Giants.
Instead, they scored just a total of four runs this weekend and
were lucky to come away with a single victory. The Dodgers were
1-for-21 with runners in scoring position during the series, and
seem to have adoped a new policy of swining at the first pitch regardless
of how many bounces it takes on its way to the plate.
game wasn't without excitement, however. In the seventh inning,
former Giant Jeff Kent was plunked in the head with a Brad Hennessey
pitch. Seeing stars and believing he was a circus performer, Kent
was removed from the game and taken to the hospital. Things got
better an inning later when Tim Hamulack (you know... the pitcher
on the Dodgers... no, not one of the Asian guys) immediately nailed
Barry Bonds on the elbow. While there's a chance that Hamulack wasn't
intentionally throwing at Barry, we'd really like to believe that
he wasand that he was aiming for his nuts. Unfortunately,
the ball hit Bonds on his elbow armor, which would take a shotgun
Did you hear that, Hamulack? A shotgun. Wink, wink.
win, Bonds still alive
fans in the left field pavilion at Dodger Stadium aren't quite as
skilled at smuggling in syringes, batteries, and shotguns as they
are beachballs. Two games into the Dodgers/Giants series, Bonds
has yet to be pelted with anything, yet to be attacked by a crackhead,
and yet to be evacuated by helicopter. It seems that while hatred
of Bonds is high, no one is interested in spending Easter in jail.
For a few innings on Saturday night, however, it appeared that being
in Dodger Stadium might be worse than being in prison. With two
guys on and nobody out in the first inning, Rafael Furcal forgot
how to play baseball and was doubled off second on a line drive
to right. Five minutes later, Steve Finley singled home Ray Durham
and the Giants were off to an early lead. The tide soon turned,
however, and the Dodgers put up single runs in the third and fourth,
taking advantage of Jason Schmidt's wildness. With seven solid innings
from Odalis Perez, an insurance run in the eighth, and a nice play
by James Loney in the ninth, the Dodgers hung on to beat San Francisco,
3-1. More importantly, Barry Bonds didn't get any closer to Babe
Ruth on the Dodgers' turf. Hopefully he'll have diarrhea on Sunday
and have to stay at the hotel.
of diarrhea, Yhency Brazoban learned on Friday that he can spend
the next nine months on the toilet... or wherever the hell else
he wants to be. There's definitely one place he won't be: in the
Dodger bullpen. Pitching to Jeromy Burnitz on Thursday, Brazoban
said he felt something pop. Thinking it was just the Southern California
real estate bubble, he continued to pitch. As it turned out, it
was a ligament in his elbow. Brazoban will undergo Tommy John surgery
and figures to be out of commission for at least a year. That's
good news for Cody Ross, who gets to remain on the Dodger roster
now that there's room for Kenny Lofton. It's also good news for
the rest of the league, since the Dodgers now have just two guys
in the bullpen with any experience, yet they've got six outfielders.
gift from Cody
We don't know when Ned Colletti's birthday is, but Cody Ross gave
the Dodgers GM a huge present on Thursday. Ross, likely to be traded
when Kenny Lofton comes off the DL in the next few day, hit two
home runs and knocked in seven as the Dodgers beat up on the Pirates,
13-5. Ross is out of minor league options, meaning he'd have to
pass through waivers if the Dodgers were to send him to the minors.
Instead, given his sudden value, Colletti might actually be able
to trade Ross and get more than a pair of socks in return for him.
In the fifth inning on Thursday, Ross hit a go-ahead grand slam.
In the sixth, he hit a three-run homer. By the seventh, Colletti
should have been on the phone. Ross may have knocked in seven runs
in a span of a half hour Thursday, but if the Dodgers were to keep
him, we guarantee it would take him another three months to drive
in his next seven. Trade him. Trade him now.
other interesting notes on Thursday's game:
Franquelis Osoria pitched an inning, allowed a run, and lowered
Furcal went 1-for-4, raising his average.
Kent went 1-for-5, dropping his average below Jae Seo's.
Burnitz (who homered again on Thursday) would be a future Hall-of-Famer
if he only hit against Dodger pitching.
turns out that it's actually possible for Dodger pitchers to hold
Tracy is still a putz.
turns PNC into launching pad
Making his first start as a Dodger on Tuesday, Jae Seo didn't disappointhe
did exactly what you'd expect from a fifth starter. Seo gave up
five earned runs over five innings, and the Dodgers blew an early
lead to lose, 7-6. "The guy didn't really have overpowering
stuff," Pirates Ryan Doumit said of Seo. After he's in the
league a little longer, maybe Doumit will learn not to insult a
pitcher he's just homered off of. And after Seo is with the Dodgers
a little longer, maybe he'll learn how to keep the ball in the park.
Doumit's home run was one of three hit off of Seo. Not to be outdone,
Lance Carter (looking more like Jimmy Carter) gave up a bomb on
his very first pitch, blowing the Dodgers' one-run lead. The Dodgers
have blown leads in each of their four losses, so this figures to
be an enjoyable season. Maybe Cesar Izturis can come back as a relief
although it went for naught, the Dodgers finally displayed some
power. Bill Mueller hit two home runs, and Ricky Ledeea last
minute substitution for Jose Cruzhit one of his own. Cruz
came down with "flu-like" symptoms before the game, obviously
nauseous after realizing that Jae Seo was starting for the Dodgers.
Here's another reason to be nauseous: In 88 at-bats against the
Dodgers since his underwhelming stint with the team in '03, Jeromy
Burnitz has hit 10 home runs (including one in the first inning
Tuesday) and knocked in twenty-one. If he hits for the cycle on
Wednesday, we fly to Pittsburgh and set fire to that yellow bridge.
the Pitts for Tracy
Jim Tracy thought he'd be going to a better place. Pittsburgh, he
probably figured, would never be expected to win. The standards
would be low, the pressure nonexistent, and the microscope trained
not on himself, but rather on organisms in the Allegheny River.
If he left a pitcher in a game for all eternity, who would notice?
If he played the lefty/lefty game all night, who would care? If
he conducted Q&A sessions with himself, who'd be listening?
Tracy couldn't wait to take control of the Pirates' ship, it seemed.
A week into the season, however, that ship is taking on waterand
quickly. After the Dodgers knocked off the Pirates in their home
opener Monday, Tracy's team is 1-7. There was even a smattering
of boos at PNC Park on Monday (although, to be fair, most of it
was coming from Manny Mota's mouth). To add insult to injury, the
loss didn't come at the hands of the new Dodgersit came at
the hands of Tracy's Dodgers. Jason Repko homered and tripled, Olmedo
Saenz homered, and Odalis Perez gave up just a run over five plus
innings. Of course, things haven't changed that much: Jeromy Burnitz
had two run-scoring hits for Pittsburgh, raising his average against
his former team to something like .800. That's okay, thoughhe
still looks like a moon.
split in Philly
their first double-header in almost three years, the Dodgers earned
a split with the Phillies on Sunday, losing the first game (6-3)
and winning the second (6-2). While breaking even isn't particularly
exciting, you've got to consider it a success that they played 18
innings without injury. The biggest thing hurting, however, is the
Dodgers bullpen. Yhency Brazoban couldn't hold the Dodgers' 3-2
lead in the seventh inning, and Tim Hamulack gave up a walk-off
homer to Bobby Abreu in the ninth. Hamulack might have been distracted
by a botched balk call during Abreu's at-bat, or more likey, just
blows. Only Takashi Saitomaking his major league debut at
the tender age of thirty-sevenappeared in control in game
one, inducing an inning-ending double-play in the eighth inning.
With their six runs in the second game, the Dodgers have scored
thirty-seven in their first six gamesa healthy amount for
a team that stuggled offensively last season. On the bullpen, however,
the jury is still out.
Monday the Dodgers face the Pirates in their home opener. Here's
guessing that Pittsburgh fans are behind Jim Tracy for a solid six
innings... until Grady Little brings in lefty Hamulack and Tracy
sends Ian Snell up to the plate to pinch-hit for Sean Casey. Will
we enjoy watching Jim Tracy get booed in his new city? Perhaps.
Will we then watch every goddamn channel in hopes that we catch
a postgame interview with him? Absoultely.
has surgery, begins to resemble Dreifort
A day after being put on the disabled list, Eric Gagne had surgery
on Friday to remove a sensory nerve in his elbow. Doctors claim
the surgery was significantly less intensive than what was first
suspected on Thursday night, and suggested that Gagne could be pitching
again in six to eight weeks. If that happens, and Gagne quickly
returns to form, we'll gladly eat our words calling for his retirement.
Somehow, however, we don't see that happening. And frankly, isn't
6-8 weeks a little quick? We're certainly not doctors, but after
all the problems he's had, how 'bout playing it safe? It seems like
once a week you hear about a guy coming back too soon from an injury,
only to worsen his condition. And in this case, removing the nerve
will allow Gagne to pitch without pain, but there's a little side-effect:
forearm numbness. Nerves, it seems, exist for a reason. It's great
that Dr. Frank Jobe is optimistic, but let's face it, the doc is
old. Wasn't he in his mid-50's when he performed the original Tommy
John surgery in 1974? That would make him about 97 now. The guy
shouldn't be driving a car, let alone slicing elbows. If nothing
else, though, at least Gagne has a bunch of old scars to direct
Jobe to the right spot.
he can't save himself
Gagne is done, and we'd like to take this opportunity to pat ourselves
on the back. Two days ago, when Gagne suddenly decided to give up
his appeal of last year's suspension, we knew the end was near.
"His arm is dead and he's hoping that two days of antidepressants
and ice cream will bring it back to life," we wrote. Well,
all the pills and butter pecan apparently weren't enough. Thursday
afternoon it was announced that Gagne will undergo surgery on his
elbow for the second time in a year, this time to remove the nerve
that was repositioned by shitty doctors last June. There's no timetable
for his return, but it's pretty safe to say he'll be back as soon
as a new arm grows out of his shoulder.
saddest part of the whole thing is that the Dodgers are probably
better off without himat least in the condition that he was
in this spring. With his velocity down, Gagne talked about how he
was "going to have to learn how to pitch." Well, we don't
want Gagne to learn how to pitch. The Eric Gagne that wowed fans
from 2002-2004 didn't pitch. He threw 97-mph beebees, occasionally
dropped in a nasty curve, andmore than anything else had
tremendous confidence in himself. He got off knowing that he could
blow hitters away, and fans rode that confidence through some otherwise
mediocre seasons. There's no reason for Eric Gagne to have more
surgery and return a year later as a middle reliever who's depressed
that he can't strike out a number 8 hitter. Whether he'd be pitching
in L.A. or somewhere else, that would ruin the legacy that he spent
three years creating. It's time for him to wash his goatee, pack
his bags, and call it a day.
to introduce injury-proof uniforms
are 25 guys on the Dodgers' roster. Three games into the season,
23 of them have been injured. Only Tim Hamulack and Brett Tomko
have escaped injury, but that's just because they've yet to play.
During Wednesday night's 9-8 loss to the Braves, five Dodgers were
added to the waiting list in the trainer's room. Jeff Kent left
the game with a bruised tricep (after being hit), Olmedo Saenz left
the game with an injured back (translation: he was hungry), Jason
Repko was hit in the hand with a pitch (because he didn't move out
of the way), James Loney took a line drive off his wrist (immediately
screaming like a little girl), and Rafael Furcal bashed shins with
Andruw Jones (no, not a black thing). In addition, an usher stubbed
his toe and a hot dog vendor fell off the Reserved level and was
trampled by the USC marching band. In an effort to stem this rash
of injuries, Dodger trainers have designed protective uniforms equipped
with airbags set to deploy in the event of any physical contactwhether
it be with a ball, an opposing player, or a herpetic fan.
a few things are becoming increasingly clear. First, Odalis Perez
will never become a better pitcher. Each season he says 'this
is the year', and then he proceeds to blow a 5-run lead. Second,
Franquelis Osoria doesn't belong in the major leagues, regardless
of how good a spring training he had. And third, Boston fans were
completely justified in their criticism of Grady Little's managerial
style (and by 'style' we mean 'retarded excuse for strategy'). Ok,
it may be a bit early to jump all over the guy, but too bad, we'll
do it anyway. When you've got a tie game in the eighth inning, and
a rookie reliever on the mound, you've got to have someone warming
up behind him. Period. You don't wait until he gets in trouble,
you don't wait until the go-ahead run is in scoring position, and
you don't wait until Rick Honeycutt has to slap you across the face
with an issue of House and Farm Magazine. When every run
is precious, you can't just sit back and look at the pretty mountains
in the distance. By the time Tim Hamulack got up in the pen, there
wasn't enough time for him to get warm, and Ryan Langerhans made
the Dodgers pay, driving in the eventual winning run with a double
to right. Not fun to witness... unless of course you're Derek Lowe,
in which case you're not watching the game because your ADD kicked
in and you're back in the clubhouse making a snack.
gets his feet wet, arms too
If the Dodgers had it their way, the sun would be shining, Nomar
Garciaparra would be the first baseman, and Eric Gagne would be
standing on the mound in the ninth. All didn't go according to plan
on Tuesday, but the Dodgers came away with a 5-4 win over the Braves.
With the groundskeepers getting more action than most of the guys
Ned Colletti signed over the winter, the Dodgers scored early and
actually made it stand up. A home run from the most durable guy
on the team, J.D. Drew, gave the Dodgers a quick 2-0 lead, and James
Loney's walk was cashed in later in the first. After much fanfare,
Loney made his major league debut, drawing a walk from John Smoltz.
Mariano Duncan congratulated Loney at first base with a lollipop
and Grady Little later promised him a trip to Chuck E. Cheese after
the game. The 21-year-old played well, getting a base hit in his
second at-bat and making a couple nice scoops at first. And with
nine innings under his belt, Loney is now the Dodgers' most successful
first-round draft pick since 1994.
Eric Gagne decided to begin serving his two-game suspension that
dates back to a game last season when he yelled French obscenities
at an umpire while on the disabled list. Gagne says he decided to
drop his appeal because the Dodgers have twelve guys on the pitching
staff at the moment, but we all know the sad truth: his arm is dead
and he's hoping that two days of antidepressants and ice cream will
bring it back to life. Danys Baez filled in on Tuesday, and while
his physical appearance is a little too tidy for a closer, it was
Game Over nonetheless.
this bit of exciting news for the nine fans who braved the drizzle
on Tuesday: the Dodgers are rewarding you by giving you a free Reserved
level ticket for one of two crappy mid-week games that are undersold
in May. The McCourts are the best!
'bout a root canal with that enema?
anyone for basketball? After Monday's opener, Dodger fans could
certainly use the distraction. Hell, even before Monday's
opener they could have used a distraction. First, the Dodgers announced
that Nomar Garciaparra wouldn't be in the starting lineupand
would likely go on the DL. Then, following in Nomar's footsteps,
the singer who was to sing the National Anthem bailed out. And finally,
just before game time, hundreds of doves were released into the
skysimultaneously with a blast of fireworks. Before the feathers
were scooped off the field, the Braves had scored four runs in the
first inning. Before the game was over, they had scored eleven.
began falling in the seventh inning, but unfortunately it wasn't
enough to wash away the memory of the first inning. Marcus Giles
began the game with a base hit. With one out the fun really began,
as Jeff Kent booted a double-play ball, Jason Repko bobbled a line
drive (and then overthrew the cutoff man), and Derek Lowe grooved
one to Adam LaRoche. Braves 4, Dodgers in trouble. Ten minutes into
the game and we'd already seen enough to know we can safely plan
our vacations for October.
innings later, Derek Lowe thought it would be a good time to try
out his favorite pitching technique: starting guys with a mediocre
fastball right down the middle. Tim Hudson: base hit. Chipper Jones:
base hit. Andruw Jones: home run. Note to Lowe: next time you want
to tell people about your pitching patterns, tell your kids, not
reporters. Note to Grady Little: If you're at all interested in
silencing those who doubt your managerial style, you might want
to consider pulling a guy when he's getting shelled. (Witness Bobby
Cox, who pulled Tim Hudson in the fifth after he gave up four runs.)
Nonetheless, we thank Grady for making our "Days until Grady
Little leaves Derek Lowe in too long" countdown a success.
what's a Dodger loss without a little false hope? As the Braves
extended their lead, the Dodgers inched back. Four runs in the fifth,
three in the eighth, two in the ninth. The Dodgers knocked out seventeen
hits (three more than they had in the entire last half of the '05
season), but left thirteen guys on base. It seemed that Olmedo Saenz
stranded most of themstriking out three times before driving
in two in the eighth. Ultimately, however, the Dodgers came up a
run short. The nausea, the heartburn, the hair loss... it could
only mean one thing: Dodger Baseball is back.
for Nomar, only about 15 million people are muttering under their
breaths, told you so. Ned Colletti might have been smiling
today in that luxury booth of his, but we guarantee that his shorts
were packed with poop. With Lofton down and now Nomar, Colletti's
plan is crumbling before his eyes. If anyone in the vicinity of
Dodger stadium needs to build a wall, stop by Colletti's office
because he's shitting bricks. While people joke about the fragility
of the Dodgers' roster, no onenot even usthought that
the injuries would come so soon. We figured May, maybe early June.
But Jesus ChristApril 3rd? Give it a week and J.D. Drew's
son might be in the starting lineup.
here we go again
the Dodgers take the field on Monday afternoon without Kenny Lofton,
it won't be much of a disappointmentmainly because we keep
forgetting that Lofton is on the team. To his credit, however, Lofton
has quickly learned what it means to wear Dodger blue: it means
straining your calf muscle before Opening Day. In joining Cesar
Izturis and Jayson Werth on the disabled list, Lofton has kindly
given Dodger fans a glimpse of what likely lies ahead.
paper the Dodgers are clearly a better team than they were at the
start of last season, but if that paper happens to be a medical
chart, there's a legitimate cause for concern. It's really not a
matter of whether these old guys will break a hip or two,
it's a matter of when. And when they do, the depth of the
Dodgers roster will be tested. Thankfully, guys like Joel Guzman,
Chad Billingsley, and James Loney are much closer to being able
to provide that depth than they were a year ago. (Dan Evans and
Paul DePodesta are long gone, but each deserves credit for getting
the Dodgers' minor league system up to par once again. Of course,
any credit they deserve for that feat is overshadowed by their love
for guys like Terry Mulholland and Hee Seop Choiwho, incidentally,
was put on the disabled list over the weekend by the Red Sox).
Colletti was obviously well aware of the state of the farm system
when he assembled a roster full of guys in their late 30's, and
while the hope is that his former Giants stay healthy, there's a
certain amount of comfort in knowing who's at Triple-A. It's a strange
feeling, as the Dodgers haven't really had a good crop of prospects
since the mid 90's when the foursome of Karros, Piazza, Mondesi,
and Hollandsworth emerged from the minor leagues. Still, you can't
get too excited about a prospect until he turns into more than just
a prospect. After all, Wilton Guerrero, Billy Ashley, Angel Pena,
and Karim Garcia were once prospects. Now, the four work at Target.
Dodgers have made wholesale changes over the winter, but with those
changes come new questions: Will Nomar fit in at first base without
struggling at plate? Will players get shitfaced at Sandy Alomar's
50th birthday party? Will Jae Seo get along with Jeff Kent? Will
Olmedo Saenz steal Lance Carter's lunch? Will J.D. Drew avoid contracting
the bird flu? There are a lot of unknowns, but at least Dodger fans
can find comfort in one thing while they're watching Tim Hudson
blank the Dodgers: Cody Ross made the team.
minute Eric Gagne became a closer, there went his hygiene. His hair
grew nappy, his goatee unkempt, his hat ridden with mildew. We're
not healthcare professionals, but we've always known that the dude
is just plain dirty. On Friday, a doctor finally agreed. Gagne arrived
at the ballpark complaining of pain in his left ear and Dodger trainers
sent him to a specialist (not because they couldn't diagnose the
problem, but because they didn't want to touch his filthy ear).
After returning to the stadium later in the day, Gagne confirmed
the problem: "My ears were nasty." The Dodger closer was
diagnosed with an inner ear infection, and outer ear infection,
and dirty fingernails. The doctor's recommendation: some antibiotics
and an occasional shower.
the doctor couldn't do anything for Gagne's arm. Pitching one inning
on Friday night against the Angels, Gagne gave up a leadoff home
run, a double, and walked a batter. It could very well turn out
that Ned Colletti's biggest move this offseason wasn't the signing
of Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, or Bill Mueller. His biggest
move might have been trading for Danys Baez (provided that Chuck
Tiffany and Edwin Jackson don't turn into Cy Young winners). While
Baez has never been a dominant closer, he's no Jeff Shaw eithermeaning
that as an alternative to Gagne, he's not a bad option. Of course,
it remains to be seen how often Gagne will be able to pitch and
how effective he'll be. One thing, however, is clear: it's not Game
Over anymore. Once a God, Eric Gagne has turned into a mere mortal...
a mere mortal with lots of ear wax.