Welcome Back Stephen Strasburg / The Mind of Mattingly

Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals fireballing phenom, will make his season debut today against the Dodgers.  Last year, Strasburg went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA before undergoing the Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in September.  He was on a rehab assignment by August, going 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA in six games.  Tuesday’s start, against Ted Lilly, will be Strasburg’s first big league game since Aug. 21, 2010.

If Strasburg can pick up where he left off, last year he routinely posted a close to triple digit fastball and a wicked curve, the currently struggling Dodger offense will face quite a challenge.

Lilly, who had a 2.35 ERA in August after a mediocre June and July, is looking for his first three-game winning streak of the season.


Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly wants more offense for 2012.  Mattingly says the team needs to boost its offensive production, but that could deplete the team’s pitching, one of its few strong points.

More from Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:

…Don Mattingly said that if he had to decide between the Dodgers‘ adding a quality bat or a quality arm over the winter, he would take the bat.  “A solid bat is something we’ve got to have or we’ll right back to where we were,” Mattingly said.  By that, he means before their mid-July acquisition of Juan Rivera, who has helped transform the Dodgers’ offense from abysmal to respectable.  “It tells you what one bat can do to your lineup,” Mattingly said.

But at what cost?  With the Dodgers in bankruptcy and their ownership situation in limbo, adding offense could force them to subtract pitching.  Starting pitching has been about the only part of the organization that hasn’t appeared compromised by its financial troubles.

Anchored by Cy Young Award candidate Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ rotation has the third-lowest earned-run average in the National League behind the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants.  The Dodgers were designed this way. They went into spring training with six established starters — Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla, who was sent to the bullpen.

When Garland and Padilla went down because of season-ending injuries, they called up top prospect Rubby De La Rosa, who was armed with a 100-mph fastball. When De La Rosa was lost to an elbow operation, they replaced him with another top prospect, Nathan Eovaldi.  “Every time we walk out there, you feel like you have a starter who’s going to keep you in the game and give you a chance to win,” Mattingly said…

This Day in Dodgers History

September 6, 1981 – With his seventh blanking, Dodger lefty Fernando Valenzuela ties the major league rookie record for shutouts beating the Cardinal, 5-0.


200 Responses to Welcome Back Stephen Strasburg / The Mind of Mattingly

  1. trublu4ever says:

    Hiroki gave up 4 dingers yesterday…I’m frightened to think of how many Lilly will serve up today. Maybe, idiot Donnie will a lineup out there today who may be able to score some runs. I honestly think he is in way over his head but, I supposed the power that be love him.

    I see Donnie wants more power…duh! So, we may have to give up some pitching to get it….except for Kersh, Billz (because of his contract), and perhaps Javy, Jansen and Rubby, when he recovers, I’d get rid of all the rest.

  2. I see Barajas wants to come back next year.


    I thought that was a foregone conclusion already since he had his hot couple of weeks in August. Ned’ll probably sign him for three years as the “big bat.”

  3. Hi OTD
    I hope Strasburg, needs a little time and the Dodgers can take advantage of it. Lilly’s on a roll, hoping he stays on it.
    I’ve been having trouble with my cable system, so I’m not sure when I’ll be back.

  4. 32and53fan says:

    It looks like we won’t get a chance to see Strasburg. The forecast is for rain continuing through the day and night. Bummer.

    • 32and53fan says:

      The hourly forecast indicates they may be able to start the game with maybe a thunderstorm around 8PM EST. I hope so. I want to get a look at Strasburg.

      • 32and53fan says:

        This forecast states there is a 100% chance of precipitation. The question is where, when and how much? The other question is if the Nationals will take a chance running Strasburg out there in wet conditions.

        Here’s a quote from Nationals manager Davey Johnson from federalbaseball.com: The forecast calls for rain all day and night. “If he warms up and it rains,” Johnson said, “We’ll probably have to do it another day. If there’s any delay, it’s something you don’t want whether it was Strasburg or any other pitcher, any kind of rain delay, he’s done. So hopefully, we’ll have no rain, he’ll get his work in and we can move on.”

    • selltheteam says:

      Thanks for adding the link. Looking at the hourly forecast, thunderstorms are supposed to roll through about 8:00 pm EDT. But perhaps they could start before that, then lay out the tarps, and finish up afterwards. It will be touch and go.

  5. selltheteam says:

    Saturday night I was still holding out on a small sliver of hope that the Bums could somehow get into the playoffs. Yunghitters89 gave us the required ingredients for how that could happen. He, being more realistic than I, knew that it just couldn’t happen.

    After losing the last two games, especially the Kershaw loss thanks to Miles’ error, we obviously are not playing in October. So what’s left? Lots. Sweep the Giants and push past them into second place. If not, just play the spoiler and keep the Giants out of second place.

    Then there’s the lower odds of awards for Kershaw and Kemp. Then, perhaps, even lower odds of Kemp getting into the 40/40 club. Why anyone pitches to him is the big question, given the inept offense of any Dodger without the number 27 on his back.

  6. grizzy says:

    At this point,unfortunately, I’d say the odds are against Kershaw.
    Lee’s numbers are very good lately and his supporting cast is chipping in. Several more starts will tell the tale.

  7. 32and53fan says:

    Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is about to talk about Stephen Strasburg and the weather on MLB TV.

    • 32and53fan says:

      He said if today’s game is rained out or if Strasburg doesn’t pitch, he will pitch in a doubleheader tomorrow. He didn’t say what would happen if tomorrow is rained out too.

    • JhallWally says:

      Wow!! Good article. Pretty much sums up what most of us have been saying here for the last couple of years and longer in Neds’ case. Thanks for the link Crash!!

      Systemic Incompetence really hits the nail on the head.

  8. trublu4ever says:

    Federowicz called up, wearing #31

  9. selltheteam says:


    Gordon ss
    Loney 1b
    Kemp cf
    Rivera lf
    Ethier rf
    Miles 3b
    Barajas c
    Sellers 2b
    Lilly 1

  10. 32and53fan says:

    I added the Dylan Hernandez (LA Times Dodgers beat writer) Twitter Feed to the sidebar. He is a prolific tweeter.

    His latest tweet: It has stopped raining at Nationals Park. Tarp is off the infield. 1 minute ago

    • JhallWally says:

      Very nice!! Thanks 32!! You’re doing a great job with this blog. Too bad Josh and Ned don’t have your insight.

      • trublu4ever says:

        Too bad there are still a few at ITD who think we are traitors. They don’t realize what a great blog this is and how much fun have here.

      • 32and53fan says:

        The ITD blog has an agenda… to sell tickets and merchandise and feed sanitized information about the team. Putting Twitter feeds from the beat writers on ITD wouldn’t fly since the Dodgers Communications department can not control what is tweeted there. Of course I have to give them props for not censoring some of the anti-management comments that we have placed there in the last couple of years.

        OTD is by Dodger fans for Dodger fans. Everyone is welcome to participate and make suggestions to improve it. I am a little surprised that more people have not used the editing capabilities. Maybe that is just as well. A lot of damage could be done very quickly using a computer, even if it is only because of a mistake.

        I don’t know why some people feel that they would be disloyal to the Dodgers by posting on this blog. It is clear that Mr. Rawitch is focused on using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter for his marketing communications. I wonder when he is going to add Google+ to the list? All I did was create a place for us to chat.

  11. JhallWally says:

    Hey Tru, we came pretty close to Systemic Incompetence a few months ago when we were going with Unacceptably Pathetic Futility.

    Intellectual Impotence is also a good description for NedPlug and DilDon.

  12. trublu4ever says:

    I’m reading Sands & Ely were called up too…won’t that push Eugenio4ever right off the bench!

    • JhallWally says:

      Cool!! They need to just plug in all the young’uns and let’em play. We’ve got nothing to lose at this point. Ned should have traded Carroll to Atlanta and let him have a go off it in the playoffs no matter what they were offering. Just as a professional(which we know Ned isn’t) courtesy and so he doesn’t sit for nothing while they look at Gordo, Sellers, and Mitchell.

  13. selltheteam says:

    Dodgers also called up Jer-ry Sands and John Ely today.

  14. JhallWally says:

    In answer to 32’s thread from yesterday, I think the best move that we could make would be to fire Nedoofus. It is the one move that would make the team instantly much better. Regardless of the ownership.

  15. trublu4ever says:

    Damn…game is starting on time.

  16. I absolutely can’t stand Mitchell and can’t see any reason for him to be on the team in the first place, but even I’ll agree that he should be playing third a good portion of this month just to see if he has anything at all worth keeping on the 40-man.

    Miles has fast decended from his apex (as has Carroll) which is why “super-subs” shouldn’t be used as everyday players. The fact that there wasn’t a viable full-time player in the minors or that a trade wasn’t made to fill the hole is yet another indictment of Ned’s ability as GM.

  17. trublu4ever says:

    Damn, not already!

  18. vl4eccjr says:

    This HP ump blows!

  19. trublu4ever says:

    Good grief, Ted! How many damn pitches are you going to throw just to get out of the 1st inning?!

  20. 3 of those so-called balls to Gomes were perfect strikes on Gameday. What’s up with all of these unpires?

  21. Gonna be a short game for Lilly if all they’re calling strikes are the fat ducks he throws up there waist high.

  22. trublu4ever says:

    To quote Jhall….( | )~~~~ Pffffft

  23. Just think ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got Lilly for 2 MORE YEARS.

    Lilly’s strictly back of the rotation fodder getting paid like a #2. Ned strikes yet again with letting one month of goodness translate into three years of crap.

    And for the life of me, why in hell would you pay a 7th inning man $12M for three years?

  24. Think you can throw all that “feel good” two weeks out the window. Reality has caught back up with these guys.

  25. One friggin hit. The guy had an ERA of 3.5+ in rehab, and we can manage but one friggin hit off him.

    Another thing that really pisses me off is, if you’re going to evaluate young talent, then throw them all in and see how they do. That means Mitchell, Sands and Federwhatever/Ellis. Then I can accept that they go back to 10-12 games under .500 because it at least had a purpose. But like everything else, they half-ass it. What purpose does it serve to play Barajas, Rivera and Miles?

  26. 77 pitches in three innings. THAT’S quality with a capital KW.

    E is not in a good mood and could actually be a might bit irritated.

  27. vl4eccjr says:

    I wonder what Strasburg’s pitch count limit is tonight?
    Lilly will be lucky to make 5 innings. . .

  28. You all realize that during the course of his contract, Lilly will be getting paid much more than $1M per win.

  29. trublu4ever says:

    One of the Nationals’ sponsors is Cox Wireless 🙂

  30. vl4eccjr says:

    Now that Stras is done, I’m hoping they can generate some offense against their bullpen.
    I know. Wish in one hand, and grunt in the other. RIGHT!!!

  31. Thank God Donnie-boy didn’t have James bunt here.

  32. trublu4ever says:

    Way to go Dre!

  33. vl4eccjr says:

    WTG DRE!!!
    New ball game!

  34. Wha’ hoppen? Those other guys showed up again.

  35. trublu4ever says:

    Damn…not a DP!

  36. Oh crap! That’s Grrrrr-rear!

  37. Nellyjune says:

    Yeah Matt and Dre 🙂

    • Hi Nelly – how are you doing? How’s school?

      • Nellyjune says:

        I am doing great!! We are learning to deal with no kids in house as Michael is starting his 2nd week of college/baseball in Aptos and Mariya is on her 2nd year of living and going to school in So-Cal. School is going really well. I have another great class this year so far (knock on wood)!! 🙂 I hope all is well with you Sparkleplenty!!!

  38. Yup. Sure hope to see Barajass back again next year.

  39. trublu4ever says:

    Rain delay!

  40. JhallWally says:

    Wow, I step out for an hour and you guys switched teams on me. Nice job Andre and Matt. I like players that drive in runs and don’t open their mouths.

  41. JhallWally says:

    Rain delay!! So gang, who would you bring back next year?

    • Loney. He’s somewhat earned his way back on the team, and when you’re not going to go out and get Fielder or Puhols (whom honestly I think would just be another pair of money pits), all that’s left is to upgrade via trade, and that ain’t Ned’s forte. Besides that, we need a C, LF & 3B worse than 1B.

      Rivera as a role player with a little pop if he’ll sign for $1.5-2M for one year.

      Miles. He can pretty much play all over the infield and he’s younger than Carroll. ONLY though if it doesn’t keep Sellers off the team.

      That’s it. I can’t see a need for this team to be getting older. That’s part of the problem. That’s always been the problem. This team needs to get younger with upside.

      Gwynn has had a pretty nice year for him, but he should be a luxury that a really good ballclub can carry, not your go to guy when an OF goes down for any length of time.

      Uribe – gone. Barajas – gone. MacDonald – gone. Brox – gone. Kuo – gone. Ely – gone. Carroll – gone. Oeltjen – gone. Lilly – gone. Kuroda – gone. Mitchell – gone. And Velez GONE GONE GONE.

    • Nellyjune says:

      Kind of like the movie “Logan’s Run”, Keep all the players 30 and under, and everybody else needs to escape and find a new home or die (not really, but for the movie’s sake – lol!!). It’s always been about the kids, and I would like for one year for the GM to follow thru and see what happens if you just let the kids play.

  42. vl4eccjr says:

    Well that delay was shorter than expected.

  43. trublu4ever says:


  44. trublu4ever says:

    Holy shit…Barajas comes through!

  45. vl4eccjr says:

    WTG ROD!!! He wants to stay. Let him. For I year.

  46. And of course Barajas – love that guy!! LMAO!!!

  47. trublu4ever says:

    Way to go McDooDoo. Put the lead-off man on!

  48. trublu4ever says:

    TATTOO is ON my team for sure!

  49. trublu4ever says:


  50. vl4eccjr says:

    No surprise! What is it, Eugeni-O for 30 now? What a waste of bench space!!

  51. OK, I just woke up to the fact that Velez PH again. WTF!!!!!!! All these call-ups and you still play Velez? J-C why? Do you expect him to be an integral part of next year’s team. UFA!!!!!

  52. trublu4ever says:


  53. Nellyjune says:

    I am catching up on my bankruptcy court reading. Are you aware that a creditor committee is asking approval to hire financial advisors at a fee of 1.25 million dollars plus $125,000 per month. And of course, the Dodgers are responsible for the payments if it’s approved. Maybe we should just sign a baseball team full of attorneys and financial advisors instead. Maybe we can get a two-for-one deal 🙂

  54. Nellyjune says:

    Yeah Dre!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  55. JhallWally says:

    WTG Andre!! Good to see him finally put on the big girl panties!!!

  56. And this is why I don’t like Javy as the closer. He just ain’t got the stuff.

  57. trublu4ever says:

    Woo-Hoo..way to go!

  58. Nellyjune says:

    Well, that was a nice game 🙂

  59. A great unexpected win! Excellent!!!

  60. trublu4ever says:

    Dbacks got blown out! Gnats winning but a long way to go.

  61. One thing I will give Javy is I like his composure out there. Brox would’ve come unglued in that situation.

    • JhallWally says:

      No doubt. I certainly don’t miss Broxton. I like the idea of Javy setting up for Jansen next year.

      Well, 21 games to go and we need to go 12-9 to finish at .500. I still believe we can do it. But not if Dildon puts out lineups like yesterdays.

      • Nellyjune says:

        Very doable indeed!!!

      • They’ll go as far as the kids in the pen will take them next year. No way they go out and get an established closer, so it’ll be up to Javy and Kenley.

        I expect Elbert to be back next year because he’s ours and he’s cheap. I fully expect MacDougal to be back because Ned will be all impressed by his ERA. Guerrier we’re stuck with. Hawksworth I suspect will get a shot at making the team. Lindblom will also get a shot.

        Kuo they won’t offer arbitration to, though I can see them then trying to sign him for a lot less. Some other team will offer more money though so he’ll be gone. Troncoso’s already toast. Ely’s just holding a spot on the 40-man until someone better comes along, which should be any minute now.

        Then of course we’ll get Ned’s rejects, which are always an amusing lot, that is until they make the team.

      • 32and53fan says:

        Broxton just does not have the fire in the belly and the focus to be a closer. In a preview of tomorrow’s thread, he reminds me of Casey, the robot pitcher from the Twilight Zone who has absolutely unhittable stuff but is ruled ineligible because he does not have a heart. Once his creator gives him a heart, he feels compassion for the hitters and can no longer perform.

        Casey: The thing is, Mr. McGarry, I just couldn’t strike those poor fellows out. I didn’t have it in me to do that. Hurt their feelings. I felt compassion.
        Dr. Stillman: That’s it. He’s got compassion. See how he smiles? Give a man a heart, Mr. McGarry, particularly someone like Casey, who hasn’t been around long enough to understand competitiveness or drive or ego. That’s what happens.
        Casey: I’m sorry, Mr. McGarry. I just can’t hurt fellow’s careers. Dr. Stillman thinks I should go into social work.
        Dr. Stillman: That’s right.
        Casey: I want to help people. Goodbye.

  62. Nellyjune says:

    The sad thing is this whole game will be talked about in terms of how Strasberg did, and not how the Dodgers won this game.

    • 32and53fan says:

      Well, Strasburg did pretty good. But the Dodgers did even better. A come from behind victory is always sweet. Guerra did make me a little nervous when the tying run was at the plate in the ninth inning. But he came through with a couple of 95 mph high fastballs for strikeouts.

      • Nellyjune says:

        Yes, Strausberg did do well. I hope he does well overall….just not against the Dodgers – lol!!! It’s okay, the Yankees will be the headlines again, seeing how their game against Baltimore just got underway not too long ago.

  63. vl4eccjr says:

    Sellers leaping catch made #3 on the Sportscenter top 10!

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