Freeway Series Starts Tonight

June 11, 2012

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The Dodgers host the Angels in the first Freeway Series of 2012.  The Angels will make the 31 mile trek to Los Angeles in hopes of extending their winning streak of two games.  Out of the 86 regular season games between the two clubs, the Angels have won 50 for a winning percentage of .581, a continuing thorn in the side for the Dodgers.

Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu are just two of a long list of players who have been a member of both teams.  That list includes Hall of Famers Don Sutton, Hoyt Wilhelm, Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray and Rickey Henderson.  In addition to Dodger fan favorite Mike Scioscia, former Dodgers Gene Mauch, Dick Williams, and Norm Sherry have managed the Angels.

Dodger team wins leader Chris Capuano will take the mound tonight.  Juan Uribe was returned to the team today and IF/OF Alex Castellanos was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan

Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan

Dodgers Monday Lineup

  1. Gordon SS
  2. Herrera 3B
  3. Ethier RF
  4. Abreu LF
  5. Hairston 2B
  6. Loney 1B
  7. AJ Ellis C
  8. Gwynn CF
  9. Capuano P
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Before 32 and 53…

November 4, 2011

…there was 14.

One of my first memories of the Dodgers was listening to the 1959 World Series with my brother.  Larry Sherry generated a lot of excitement because of his excellent performances coming out of the bullpen which contributed greatly to the Dodgers winning the World Championship.  For position players however, my favorite was Gil Hodges, who proudly wore uniform number 14.  I enjoyed reading the yearbooks that touted his Brooklyn background both on the field and at home.  Along with Duke Snider, Hodges provided much of the power during the 1950’s and his 1001 RBIs were the most for any player in that decade apart from Snider.   He hit 30 or more home runs every season from 1950 to 1954 and over 100 RBIs every year from 1949 to 1955.  He won three Gold Gloves as the Dodger’s first baseman.  On October 10, 1961, I was sad when the New York Mets selected Hodges in the National League Expansion Draft.  He was warmly received as a hometown favorite upon his return to New York.

Here is some news out of Cooperstown, NY as reported by ESPN.com:

Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Ron Santo and Luis Tiant are among 10 candidates for the baseball Hall of Fame who will be on the Veterans Committee ballot next month.

Former players Ken Boyer, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Allie Reynolds as well as former Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi and former Athletics owner Charlie Finley also will be on the Golden Era ballot, which will be voted on by the 16-member committee on Dec. 5 at the winter meetings in Dallas.

This year’s committee will consider candidates from the so-called “Golden Era,” from 1947-72.

An eight-time All-Star, Hodges helped the Dodgers win seven pennants and two World Series, then managed the New York Mets to their first World Series title in 1969. His 63.4 percent vote on his final BBWAA ballot in 1983 is the highest percentage for a player who didn’t enter the Hall in a later year.

Those voting on their Hall of Fame chances include Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tom Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton and Billy Williams, executives Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gene Michael and Al Rosen (retired) and veteran reporters Dick Kaegel, Jack O’Connell and Dave Van Dyck.

Candidates must receive votes on 75 percent of the ballot to be elected. Those elected will be inducted on July 22 along with any players voted in by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Jan. 9.

The last few years have seen an up-swell in support for Hodges to be voted into the Hall of Fame.  Hopefully the veterans committee will do what the BBWAA failed to accomplish and honor this great Dodger.


Looking through blue colored glasses

October 22, 2011

Until the last couple of years due to the McCourt meltdown, we Dodger fans have always tended to look at our team as one of the premiere teams in MLB history.  Despite the fact that a Dodger almost never appeared on one of the daily recap shows depicting the best plays of the day, we seemed to think our players were somehow more gifted than those of other teams.  And overall, there may have been some merit to that type of thinking.  But in the past few years, we looked at our young core as something really special.  This year, it turns out that Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw actually delivered on that promise.  But the others really have not risen above the rest of the MLB pack.

That brings me to the concern that Oldbrooklynfan has about the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series.  A few years back, I remember Vin Scully remarking that over the entire history of both teams, they were actually tied in wins against each other.  I don’t know how much that has changed since and I am not anal enough to spend the time to look it up.  The point is, as Mr. Pierre has pointed out, is that both the Cards and Dodgers have won 22 pennants but the Cardinals have won 10 championships to the Dodgers 6.

Our heroes include Zack Wheat, Dazzy Vance,  Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Don Sutton and many others.  Currently, Kemp and Kershaw are star players for LA.

If we bled Cardinal red instead of Dodger blue, we could point out that history has not ignored the St. Louis team with players such as
Rogers Hornsby, Jim Bottomley, Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Bruce Sutter, Ozzie Smith, among others.  Now days, they have Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman providing the power.

Both of these teams have a long and glorious history in the National League.  As Dodger fans, we look to the farm teams and hope that our prospects will pan out.  But in many years, our minor leagues have only provided a few pitchers.  I can’t remember that last power hitter other than Kemp that has made a big splash.  We Dodger fans like to think with our heart and not our head.  Looking around the league, many teams have brought up premiere hitters who are now performing well in the MLB and are featured on the web gems on a regular basis.

Maybe thinking with our hearts is not a bad thing.  Like Danny Kaye sang, “They may be bums but they’re my bums.”


We found out

September 15, 2011

On Tuesday night, Gerardo Parra hit a home run, then paused before running the bases just a little too long to suit the Dodgers.  The home run followed a previous at bat by Parra in which he had to duck an errant throw from Hong-Chih Kuo.   A.J. Ellis yelled “You’re better than that.” to Parra after his showboat antics when he crossed the plate.  Clayton Kershaw went ballistic in the dugout and traded shouts with D’backs pitcher Daniel Hudson, who at some point asked Kershaw what he would do about the situation.  “You’ll find out!  You’ll find out!”, came the heated reply from Kershaw, well within earshot of hundreds of fans, players, coaches and umpires.

Last night, leading in the 6th inning 2-0, Kershaw threw a pitch several inches inside to Parra, nicking him on his elbow.  Home plate umpire Bill Welke immediately ejected Clayton from the game.  While Rod Barajas and Kershaw were arguing about that decision in disbelief, Don Mattingly emerged from the dugout just about as angry as he has been this season and argued the case.  Soon however, he crossed a line and was also tossed from the game.  It was highly unusual that Kershaw was thrown out of the game since there were no prior warnings given.

Rookie pitcher Josh Lindblom hurriedly warmed up then took over the pitching duties, determined to hold the lead for Kershaw.  Lindblom made 29 pitches while striking out five batters in two innings.  He was removed for pinch hitter Trent Oeltjen in the bottom of the 7th inning.  Nathan Eovaldi and Kenley Jansen followed with solid performances and the Dodgers won 3-2.

Despite his ejection, Kershaw improved his standing in the race for the Cy Young Award by winning his 19th game and throwing five shutout innings and striking out five.  Welke’s poor judgement robbed Kershaw of the chance to pitch more scoreless innings and build up his strikeout total, further improving his Cy Young chances.

Tony Jackson has more on this event and the reactions from Kershaw, Mattingly and umpiring chief, Tim Tschida in his column.

Today’s probable starters are Dana Eveland, 2-0, 0.60 ERA going against the Pirate’s Ross Ohlendorf, 0-2, 8.03 ERA.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 15, 1978 – In front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, Don Sutton throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. With tonight’s attendance, Los Angeles becomes the first team to draw three million fans at home in major league history.


I’m too tired…

August 20, 2011

…to write this post.  Talk amongst yourselves.

This Day in Dodgers History

August 20, 1974 – In a 18-8 rout of the Cubs, the Dodgers collect 24 hits and set a club record with 48 total bases including Davey Lopes’ three home runs, double and single. The Dodger second baseman’s 15 total bases is the most ever for a leadoff hitter.

August 20, 1978 – At Shea Stadium, Dodger Blue becomes black and blue as pitcher Don Sutton and first baseman Steve Garvey begin fighting in the clubhouse prior to their 5-4 victory over the Mets.


Loney Getting Lonely on Bench

August 5, 2011

With the emergence of Juan Rivera, who has the second highest batting average on the team, James Loney has been starting a lot of games on the bench.  Once a steady hitter who averaged 90 RBI’s the last three years, Loney has struggled in the last month batting .176 and driving in 5 runs.

Loney’s future in LA is at risk according to Tony Jackson of ESPN/LA.

“…Loney is making $4.875 million this year, and he has one more winter of arbitration eligibility. Simple logic would suggest that the Dodgers won’t go there with him this year, that if he doesn’t agree to a salary for 2012 far below the roughly $5.5 million he would stand to make through arbitration, they will simply bid him adieu. …”

LA Times writer Dylan Hernandez says that Loney must play in order to prove himself.

“…They have a decision to make, and I want it easy on them to bring me back,” Loney said. “But I have to play well; I have to play up to my talent level.”

First, he has to play, period. …”

MLB.com Dodger beat writer Ken Gurnick has a story pointing to a telling offseason for James Loney.

“James Loney is having his worst season after a bad second half last year, and he’s not even the everyday first baseman anymore, manager Don Mattingly saying Loney will continue to share time with Juan Rivera when Rivera isn’t playing left field.

All of that means Loney is at the top of the list of likely non-tender candidates come December, as the Dodgers are unlikely to pay him a raise from the $4.875 million he receives this year. …”

All of this negative attention does not bode well for Loney.  We can hope that he will turn it around but it looks like the Dodgers may not tender him a contract this fall unless he agrees to a pay cut.

This Day in Dodgers History

On August 5, 1979 – In an 8-1 win over the Giants, Dodger right-hander Don Sutton becomes the team’s all-time strikeout leader with his 2,487th career strikeout.