Dodgers: The Mile High Club

April 30, 2012

Following a weekend sweep of the National League East leading (now tied with Atlanta) Washington Nationals, the Dodgers arrived in Denver ready to take on the 4th place Colorado Rockies.

Dodgers lineup: (Dodger Twitter Feed Edition)

  1. @skinnyswag9 SS
  2. M Ellis 2B
  3. @TheRealMattKemp CF
  4. Ethier RF
  5. @jamesloney_7 1B
  6. Uribe 3B
  7. Gwynn LF
  8. @AJEllis17 C
  9. Harang P

Tonight, Matt Kemp has a chance to pad his franchise record April home run record of 11.  Pull those balls out of the humidor and watch them fly.


Washington Nationals Series Finale

April 29, 2012

Last night’s game was one of the best games in years.  A great pitching duel between Strasburg and Billingsley had the score tied after seven innings.  After Josh Lindblom pitched another perfect eighth inning, Scott Elbert and Javy Guerra combined to give the Nationals a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning.  The Dodgers battled back to a 3-3 tie after nine innings thanks to three wild pitches, the third coming on what would have been a game ending Dee Gordon strike out.

Matt Kemp came up in the bottom of the tenth inning and ended the game with a monster walk off homer, his fifth of his career.

Today, Chris Capuano hopes to repeat his last performance where he went seven innings allowing only one run.


Saturday Night Fever

April 28, 2012

Stephen Strasburg takes to the mound tonight for the Nats promising to bring some heat to the Dodgers on a cool spring night. With the best ERA in the league, Washington pitching will continue to provide a challenge for the Dodgers, who besides Kemp and Ethier, have a poor hitting team.  Strasburg is 2-0 on the season with a 1.08 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Chad Billingsley will be pitching for the Dodgers this evening starting at 6:10 PM.  Chad’s last two outings were very good.  He only allowed one earned run in 14 and 1/3 innings (0.63 ERA) while striking out 15.

Tonight will be the major league debut of Bryce Harper, the phenom who already signed a 5-year contract worth $9.9 million.  Harper was selected by the Nationals with the first overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. He stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 225 lbs.  Harper won the 2010 Golden Spikes Award, awarded annually to the best amateur baseball player.  I don’t know if Stan Kasten had anything to do with Washington acquiring Strasburg and Harper during his tenure as the Nationals president, but if he did, I hope he can repeat that success with the Dodgers.

If you like pitching duels, this should be a good game.

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Gordon SS
  2. Gwynn LF
  3. Kemp CF
  4. Ethier RF
  5. Hairston 2B
  6. Loney 1B
  7. Uribe 3B
  8. AJ Ellis C
  9. Billingsley P

Good luck Dodgers.  You will probably need it tonight.  So will the Nationals.


Two forward, one back

April 25, 2012

Juan Rivera tweaked his hammy but Mattingly does not think he will need to go on the DL. Scott Van Slyke will have to wait a little longer for his cup of coffee.

Matt Kemp missed a catch he usually makes and committed another couple of baserunning blunders. Most people don’t think he is regressing to his 2010 level but he might be a little overaggressive on the bases. Tim Wallich and Don Mattingly mentioned that they want aggressive baseball, but that with no one out, that is not the time to try to stretch an extra base. Kemp has made tremendous progress since 2010 but his body occasionally still works faster than his brain. Chalk it up to a few more lessons learned.

Dodgers lineup:
Gordon 6, M Ellis 4, Kemp 8, Ethier 9, Loney 3, Hairston 5, Gwynn 7, AJ Ellis 2, Lilly 1


Juan lucky night

April 24, 2012

Juan Uribe threw his bat out and connected with balls that somehow landed for hits. His 4 for 4 performance raised his batting average from .211 to .286 in one game.

Dodger Sleeved Blanket Night by Natural Balance PetFoods. If anyone saw the commercial for this, you might agree that it is just butt ugly. It is suitable for use only in a darkened room.

Dodgers lineup:
Gordon 6, Ellis 4, Kemp 8, Rivera 3, Ethier 9, Hairston 7, Uribe 5, Ellis 2, Harang 1

Let’s hope Harang has another good night.


Feeling Groovy

April 23, 2012

Despite the 3-3 record on the road trip, the Dodgers are 12-4 and still in first place. It is easy to look at the team and say that beyond Kemp and Ethier, the batting has been pretty anemic. With a blog full of glass half empty comments, at least one of us has seen the glass as half full.

This post is dedicated to OBF. Joe spent a rainy Sunday with his daughter in Long Island City and missed the game. His cheerful comment that it is better to suffer a horrible loss when you are in first place led to the title of this post. Feeling Groovy AKA The 59th St. Bridge song ties into Joe’s neck of the woods since the east end of the bridge comes into LIC, Queens.

So in words of Paul Simon, we Dodger fans can say, for now at least, “Life I love you, all is groovy.”


Getaway day in Houston

April 22, 2012

The Dodgers continue their amazing start today by trying to sweep the Astros.  Yesterday James Loney joined the party with a solo homer and raised his batting average to the Mendoza line.  Matt Kemp also homered to bring his total to 9 in 15 games.

For a little fun with numbers, I created a small spreadsheet that you can access at http://bit.ly/JjcQ70, that shines some light on Kemp’s performance so far.  The data came from the MLB statistics at http://atmlb.com/I5u9Y0.  Kemp’s 9 home runs and 22 RBIs project to a 162 game total of 97 and 238 respectively.  That will never happen but it is fun to plug in the numbers and look at the results.

I added Bill James’ runs created formula and got very interesting results.

Matt’s RC is 30.8 after 15 games. That is 2.054 runs created per game.
Andre Ethier has an RC of 12.2 and a RCG of 0.813 and Juan Rivera shows up at 5 and 0.359.

You can play with the spreadsheet online or download it to your computer using the File menu.

Clayton Kershaw fanned 9 and picked up his first victory to go along with his 1.61 ERA.

Go for the sweep!