Off-Season: Day 1

September 30, 2011

In what already seems like an eternity since the last game for the Dodgers, news off the wire made this day a little bit better. Seeming like a good start to the off-season for our beloved Dodgers, Devaris-Strange Gordon, otherwise known as Flash, won ROTM for the month of September Thursday morning, after going .372 with a .398 OBP, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 21 runs scored to go along with 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He might not be the slickest on the field with the glove, but he’ll get there, and barring any acquisition, (Reyes ??), seems to be the incumbent to start the season as our SS.

In other news, its Playoff Time, and although many of us consider this season a disappointment, in the end, we did better than any of us ever could of expected. Our starting 2B, 3B, SS, LF, RF, and closer weren’t with the team for more than half the season, and yet, we finished a respectable 3 games over .500. Now, I’m not trying to gain pity for the lack of productivity from certain players, but, for the most part we got what we wanted outta the season. No G’Nats, and no RedSux in the playoffs, although the mere fact that there was no destruction of Philly kinda made this Dodger fan kinda bummed. The rebounding of Matt Kemp, and the arrival of ACE Kersh. We found out that our minors have some talent, and in the end, that even Ned could mess up at the Trade Deadline.

ps- On a side note related, what Jose Reyes did the other day was the worst thing I have ever seen. To take yourself out of a game after a BUNT of all things, just so you could win a stupid trophy shows just how weak and heartless he is. Everyone is quick to point out Ted Williams and his double header on the last day that jumped his avg from .399 to .406, but what about just the integrity of the game. Jose Reyes is a punk, nothing more than scum, and proved that he is all hardware, no guts. He went above the team, and said fuck it, I’m getting mines. To him, another injury that takes him out for another season or two I hope. I mean, how could he even be considered when he missed so many games. He lost some 120 PA and still won. At least Braun, who was also hurt this season, gutted it out for the whole game. And then Kemp, who didn’t take a game off, yet will be penalized for it. Baseball Writers of America will say that Reyes won the batting title, but we all know who really did. Kemp ma boy, you did mighty fine this season.

Prediction Time:

Rays v. Rangers

Did you guys happen to see the finale of the season. Not only did the Rays beat the Yuppies in stunning fashion, but they did it with guts, luck, and talent. An exhausted and exposed bullpen for the Yanks means that the Rays know who they have and how to beat them, and get into their heads. Now why does this matter for the Rays v. Rangers, simply because the Rays are working off of the underdog title, adrenaline, and the hate of the RedSux behind them. Combine that with their stadium dimensions and amazing pitching, and I have to give it to the Rays on winning this one.

Yuppies v. Tigers

Verlander will demolish the Yanks. Cano, Teixera, Gardner, Swisher will have horrible stats throughout 1st round, and will ultimately signal the end of Mariano Rivera and Posada, leaving Jeter all alone as the lone holdover from the Yuppie glory days. Verlander, Jackson, Avila, Martinez, Valverde, Young will do more than defeat the Yups, they will do it in 5.

D’Backs v. Brewers

If there was ever a time for Vin to call a series’ in which Gibson is a part of, this one has to be it. The complete favorite of the two is Brewers, and with good reason. Braun, Fielder, Gayardo, Marcum, Greinke, McGahee, Lucroy, and Axford can beat the D’Backs if they get ahead of them early and often. This D’Backs team is resilient, gutsy, and can beat you if your not careful. If the pitchers stay on their game, and they play the way they have played, it’s not hard to see the D’Backs making it out of the 1st round.

Phillies v. Cards

UGH. What can we say other than ESPN’s dream match up to open up the playoffs. Anything Philly these days is quickly blown outta proportion by ESPN and their East Coast bias, and yet, the other team winning, would still make most Dodger fans stomach churn in disgust. In a perfect world, they would all become injured and filler teams would be assigned from a random draw, but it can’t be that way. So out of the two, I’m going to hope, beg and pray that the Cards take care of Philly once and for all, so they could get off their high-horse and get back to sucking at Hockey. What can best be assumed is that my hope is that the Cards put a royal ass whooping on them, and Flying Crying Hawaiian breaks his fucking arm. Sorry people, still hate Philly more than Cards, Yanks etc.

(It’s more of G’Nats, Philly, Cards, Yanks, Reds in that order)

2nd Round

Rays v. Tigers

Dunno why, but it seems that the deeper the Rays get, the better they become. The Tigers have the better overall record, but will it really be that much of a difference when the opposing pitcher is shutting you down. Against the world I shall face, as I chose the Rays in a Game 7 for the ages.

D’Backs v. Cards

Will Raffy be good to go or will he get injured again. Will Holliday hit like his contract reflects, will Pujols carry this team. Will Berkman look like the Berkman of years past. Too many ifs, and not enough pitching behind Garcia, Carpenter, and Lohse, who seems like the best of the rest. Arizona has Kennedy, Hud, Saunders, Collmenter, etc. Only way Cards win is if they get to the D’Backs bullpen. In the end though, I’m going to have to give it to Gibson and his staff.

WS

Rays v. D’Backs

Who would of thunk it. The two teams that nobody picks to win it this season. Hmn, maybe I’m stretching my mind too far, but this is an underdog season, and what would make it better than a team that wasn’t supposed to make it to the playoffs, and a team that 2 seasons ago lost 100 games. Add in two managers who will probably win MOTY and you got a great contest. Not many will tune in, because it doesn’t have Phillies v. Yankees, or Brewers v. Tigers, but really, do we want to see teams that bought their way to the playoffs, or teams that grinded it out to the final. This one is going to a Game 7, and will be won by none other than Longoria on a walk- off.

It’s what’s best for baseball, and for the game.

Tell me what you think of my predictions.

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Wait ’til next year!

September 29, 2011

The Brooklyn Dodgers spent much of their existence playing “bridesmaids”  to the other teams in New York and the league. They put together strings of successful seasons, only to come up short each year in the playoffs. Dodger fans sustained themselves with the mantra, “Wait ’til next year.”  The LA Dodgers are continuing that tradition.

This year has been one of the most interesting with the collapse in May and June leading to a massive deficit by July only to come back strong in the last two months.  Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw had monster years with each of them having a great shot of winning the MVP and Cy Young Award respectively.  We got some great pitching by guys that started the year in Double A.

If the Dodgers can re-sign Hiroki Kuroda, they have a chance of being very competitive next year.  It should be a fun hot stove league this fall and winter.

The greatest deal we can hope for is the sale of the Dodgers and the exit of Frank McCourt but it looks like that will not happen until sometime late in 2012 at the earliest.  So we will be in limbo for another spring and summer.  Ned Colletti said he is open to signing an impact bat to a big contract in the hopes of satisfying a disgruntled fan base.  That might make us a little more gruntled, but we won’t be hugely gruntled until McCourt is gone.

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I would like to thank all of you who have viewed this blog, commented and posted threads here.  It has been fun to read and be part of the conversations of a very dedicated group of Dodger fans.  The ITD/OTD community have made watching the Dodgers much more enjoyable.  Even though we are spread out all over the country, our love of the team has brought us together in a friendly atmosphere.

I started this blog to give us a place to meet after the new posts on Inside the Dodgers became few and far between.  Unlike Josh, I was not above posting some nonsense for the sake of having a new post every day.  But some of that nonsense was fun to  create; the main idea was to give us a place to talk to each other, not to be the fountainhead of new Dodger information.  There are about a dozen very good web sites that provide that type of news.

OTD is unlike most other blogs in that most of the regular readers have full editing privileges and can create posts.  Thanks to yunghitters89, dodgereric, enchantedbeaver and JhallWally for your contributions.  I will not be creating new posts daily during the off season.  I welcome each of you to take advantage of the opportunity to create a post whenever the urge strikes you.  If you see your name on the Author Grid at the right, you can create a post.  If you don’t see your name there, leave a message here and I will add you to the list.  Look at the “How to create a post” link at the bottom right for guidelines on making your contribution.

Thanks again to all of you.  You have made this a fun year to be a Dodger fan. 🙂

This Day in Dodgers History

September 29th

1951     At Philadelphia’s Shibe Park, Don Newcombe becomes the first black to win twenty games in a season. In a must win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, blanking the Phillies, 5-0.

1959     At L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batter make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.

1976     Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’, compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club winning seven pennants and four world championships.

1979     Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.

2000     Gary Sheffield ties Duke Snider’s 1956 mark for the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record with his career best 43rd round tripper helping Los Angeles to defeat the Padres, 3-0.


Down to the Wire

September 28, 2011

In another of one of those “there is no excuse for that” kind of games, the Dodgers took us on a roller coaster of emotions ride last night, losing in ten innings 7-6 after leading 6-1 going into the bottom of the 10th with two outs and the bases empty.  It was one of those losses where I am completely fed up, want to shut off the laptop, and put some mindless drivel on the DVR.  Alas, there are deadlines to meet and another OTD post must be published.

Prince Fielder decided to have his first three home run game yesterday, tying Matt Kemp for the league lead.  Hopefully, Kemp will reciprocate and come up with a couple of his own today.  Accomplishing that difficult, but not impossible feat, would put Kemp in the elusive 40/40 club and make him number two behind Tommy Davis for the most RBIs in a season by a Los Angeles Dodger.

Ted Lilly is on the mound tonight for the last game of the season.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 28, 1997 – With his 40th home runs, catcher Mike Piazza sets a single season Los Angeles Dodger record. Duke Snider holds the franchise record slugging 43 round-trippers for Brooklyn in 1956.


Another Winning Season

September 27, 2011

The Dodgers won their 81st game last night ensuring another winning season after spending most of the year far below the .500 mark.  The team’s surge during the last two months has brought the Dodgers into the top half of all MLB teams, which may not be a good thing according to Josh Suchon of Dodger Talk: “…A team that signs a Type A free agent in the off-season -– you know, like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder –- has to forfeit a first-round draft pick.  But if that teams finishes in the second half of all Major League Baseball teams, then it falls to a second-round pick. So if you finish with one of the top 15 records and sign a Type A, there goes your first-round pick…”

Matt Kemp’s 38th home run sparked a 4-2 win over the D’backs and brought Kemp within two of the 40/40 club with two games to play.  His quest for the lead in the batting average is all but over as he is now down by 10 points.  He still has a strong chance for the MVP award despite not winning the triple crown.  With three more RBIs, Kemp will be in second place behind Tommy Davis for the most RBIs by a Los Angeles Dodger.  With 123, he trails Mike Piazza and Shawn Green who have 124 and 125 RBIs respectively.

Tonight could be the end of the line in Los Angeles for Dodgers veteran Hiroki Kuroda.  Kuroda, who pitched in Japan for 11 seasons before coming to the Dodgers, has yet to decide whether he’ll return to Los Angeles or pitch in Japan next season.   “At this moment, I really don’t know,” Kuroda said. “I might stay here, I might go to Japan. It’s 50-50.”

This Day in Dodgers History

September 27, 1961 – Sandy Koufax breaks the National League mark for strikeouts in a season, surpassing Christy Mathewson’s mark of 267 established in 1903. Unlike the turmoil caused by commissioner Ford Frick’s edict of having to hit 61 homers by the 154th game in the extended 162-game schedule to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record, little is made that Dodgers southpaw’s 268th punch-out occurs in the 151st game of the season, compared to the 142-game sked played early in the century.

Sandy Koufax breaks the National League mark for strikeouts in a season, surpassing Christy Mathewson’s mark of 267 established in 1903. Unlike the turmoil caused by commissioner Ford Frick’s edict of having to hit 61 homers by the 154th game in the extended 162-game schedule to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record, little is made that Dodgers southpaw’s 268th punch-out occurs in the 151st game of the season, compared to the 142-game sked played early in the century.

Attendance is Down..Oh Whattt!!!!!

September 26, 2011

For what seemed like the inevitable, the Angels confirmed that they had outdone the Dodgers in a noticeable statistical category this season: Attendance. With the Angels supassing 3 million tickets sold for the 9th straight season, they easily outdrew the Dodgers for the first time, well ever. Supplant that with the fact that when the Dodgers played the Angels in the Interleague Freeway series, alot of Dodger fans could be seen at Angel Stadium, thus adding to their toatals. Furthermore, it was quite obvious to anyone that it would and probably should of happened.

What cannot be overstated however, is how disparaging and misguiding those figures are that teams give, as attendance and tickets sold are two completely different things. To anyone who went to a Dodger game this season, at home, it felt deserted. You could actually count out the people in the stands, and the so called 29,000 people in attendance must of been all buying food, in the bathrooms, or in their cars because there was no one really there. Or, for the fact of being comical, most where in hiding or wearing seat camouflage.

In reality, baseball was down all across the league, and yet, the Dodgers really outdid themselves and went above and beyond in offering historically low discounts for the mere fact of having people in the stands. Annoint the title of stupidity to Bud Selig for changing the way attendance was given, and annoint the title of insane to Frank McCourt for trying to inflate his numbers, when everyone could plainly see that the number given didn’t come close to the truth.

In fact, having barely reached the ACTUAL 2 mil people this season would seem like a blessing for the team, and yet, it comes as a bit dissapointing to know that it took the Angels this long to outdraw the Dodgers, even in a down season. So, with all due respect, who’s to say that they did any better.? I mean, the people were actually there in the stands, but then again, alot of people might of been hidding, or people just being counted as a ticket, rather than a person.

This Day In Dodgers History

September 26, 1988

Completing the first step in what would be an improbable run to a World Championship, the Dodgers clinch the National League Western Division title with a 3-2 victory over the Padres at San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium.

Los Angeles becomes the first N.L. club to win four division titles in the 1980s as it heads for a Championship Series showdown with the New York Mets, who took 10 of 11 games from the Dodgers during the regular season.

Mickey Hatcher proves to be the hero in the clincher, snapping a 2-2 tie and giving the Dodgers the lead for good with a run-scoring single in the eighth inning. Hatcher, normally a reserve, got the start in left field that night for Kirk Gibson, who was sidelined with a sore left hamstring.

The Dodgers also did it with strong performances out of the bullpen. Alejandro Pena pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Fernando Valenzuela for the victory and Jay Howell notched his 21stsave.

Although they were considered underdogs against the Mets, the Dodgers managed to defeat New York in seven games before advancing to the World Series against the Oakland Athletics. The Dodgers again were considered underdogs against the Athletics, but won the franchise’s sixth World Championship in five games.

September 26, 1981:
Fireballer Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros fires his record fifth no-hitter, blanking the Dodgers 5-0 at the Astrodome in Houston.


Dodgers go to Arizona for the last series

September 26, 2011

Clayton Kershaw may have clinched the pitching triple crown barring an out of order appearance by Ian Kennedy in the next three games.  He finished the season first in Wins (tied), ERA and strikeouts.  His record puts him in strong contention for the Cy Young Award.  However, it is not an absolute lock.  He trails the Phillie’s Halladay and/or Lee in several other stats including WAR for pitchers, Bases On Balls per 9 IP, complete games and shutouts.

One area where Kershaw is head and heals above his peers is his commitment to an orphanage for vulnerable children in Lusaka, Zambia.  He promised to donate $100 for every strikeout he pitched this year.  Finishing with 248, Clayton will donate $24,800 out of his $5oo,ooo salary, almost 5% of his check before taxes and other deductions.  It is like Hiroki Kuroda making a $595,200 donation.  This is one of the best stories of the year.

Matt Kemp did not make much progress in his quest for the Triple Crown.  Entering today’s game, Kemp is tied with Albert Pujols for the league lead in homers with 37, he leads the league in RBIs with 120, and his batting average of .324 is third in the league, seven points behind Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun.   Kemp needs to go 7 for 14 in his last three games to raise his average to .32836 and three home runs to reach the elusive 40/40 club.  If Ryan Braun goes 2 for 14 in his last games, he will finish just below Kemp at .32807.

Dana Eveland, who will probably be pitching his last game as a Dodger, goes up against Daniel Hudson tonight.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 26, 1997 – In a 10-4 win over the Rockies, Dodger catcher Mike Piazza hits the longest home run in the history of Coors Field. The 28-year old backstop’s sixth-inning blast travels 496 feet and hits the left center field billboard between the scoreboard and Rock pile.


Clayton’s Last Stand

September 25, 2011

With Ian Kennedy winning his 21st game last night, Clayton Kershaw needs a good outing today to match him in wins.  If he can manage another great start, it will be hard for the voters for the Cy Young award to pick anybody else.

Let’s hope that the Dodgers play the “A” team today and do everything they can to help Kershaw win.

The game today starts at 1 PM which should help Matt Kemp a bit in his quest for 40 home runs.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 25, 1974 – In the first-of-its-kind operation, Dr. Frank Jobe transplants a tendon from Tommy John’s right wrist to the Dodger pitcher’s left elbow. The ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, which will become commonplace surgical procedure better known as Tommy John surgery, enables the right-hander to win an additional 164 games games, more than half of his career total of 288 victories.