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.

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.


When Will Our Next ROTY Come?

September 10, 2011

It’s obviously a weird subject to touch upon, but in all seriousness, when will our next ROTY come?

It’s been almost 15 years since the last Dodger rookie put it upon himself to rise above the competition and play at a level worth rewarding.

These 16 players below have not only represented the Los Angeles Dodgers within my lifetime, but have also done so throughout the Brooklyn and golden years of this team.

1. Todd Hollandsworth

2. Raul Mondesi

3. Mike Piazza

4. Hideo Nomo

5. Eric Karros

6. Rick Sutcliffe

7. Steve Howe

8. Fernando Valenzuela

9. Steve Sax

10. Ted Sizemore

11. Jim Lefebvre

12. Frank Howard

13. Jim Gilliam

14. Joe Black

15. Don Newcombe

16. Jackie Robinson

These players have represented this franchise, and even when there was no Dodger player named as ROTY, there was always one player in consideration who wore Dodgers across his chest. But what happened.? Obviously, those days are gone, but why.?

I do so believe that the lack of minor league recruiting talent has diminished to the sense that we’ve underspent on signing Draft picks whom could make a difference. Think about this?

Since 2004, the first season that Frank McCourt was officially entrusted as the brain-trust of this team, this team has drafted notables such as:

-Blake Dewitt

-Scott Elbert

-Jamie Hoffman

-Javy Guerra

-Luke Hochevar

-Ivan DeJesus

-Josh Bell

-Jonathan Meloan

-Brent Leach

-Trayvon Robinson

-Scott Van Slyke

-Chase D’Arnaud

-Clayton Kershaw

-Bryan Morris

-Preston Mattingly

-Chris Withrow

-James Adkins

-Andrew Lambo

-Ethan Martin

-Josh Lindblom

-Kyle Russell

-Dee Gordon

-Cole St. Clair

-Nate Eovaldi

-Allen Webster

-Aaron Miller

-Garrett Gould

-Brett Wallach

-J.T. Wise

-Austin King

-Zach Lee

-Shawn Tolleson

-Devon Ethier

-Cody Martin

-Chris Reed

-Alex Santana

-Ryan O’Sullivan

Out of all these drafts, only six players are currently in the majors with this team, while most have yet to break through due to their slow development. Many have been traded, such as I count 10 who are no longer with this organization.

At what point are we going to stop signing pitchers whom furthermore have yet to produce more than Clayton Kershaw, who was rushed and made to learn on the fly. When are we going to sign talent whom we could use now and in the future. When are we going to tap into the Asian, Latin, and African continent for players.

I do not speak for many, but for the lack of money, we have diminished the talent level in the minors, and thus, what once in a while ago was deemed as a common thing, is now foreign to us. Who will finally break through and capture this now unattainable trophy. We have a probable Cy Young and MVP within our ranks today, and to think that we could someday have a 3rd piece of hardware to add to that in a ROTY, it would signal the overturn of an organization that as of now is in turmoil, and will continue to be in turmoil while this ownership group, and to reiterate this brain-trust is finally put out to pasture and shot down in the spirit of all that is decent and holy. Sorta to put it outta it’s misery.

This Day In Los Angeles Baseball History

September 10, 2008 – With a 4-2 victory over the visiting Yankees, the Angels clinch the division flag on the earliest date in the history of the American League West. The Halos, the first club this season to secure a post-season spot, have finished in first place four times in the past five seasons.

(If you know anything of interest that happened in Dodgers history, go ahead and post a comment.)