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.


What is the truth about the Ethier situation?

August 29, 2011

Ever since T.J. Simers wrote his article about Andre Ethier, there has been a firestorm of controversy in the media, in the team and in the blogosphere.  Ethier said: “Other than going into the training room every day and saying my knee hurts,” Ethier says, “and having six-inch needles stuck into it to make it feel better, I’ve told them my mechanics are messed up because of my knee. They know.  “But they’ve told me, ‘Grin and bear it.'”  Ned Colletti hinted that Ethier may be faking an injury: “What am I supposed to be concerned about?” General Manager Ned Colletti says. “That he has those numbers [since the All-Star break], that he’s hurt or contends he’s hurt?”

In Tony Jackson’s article, Ethier backtracked when he talked about the condition of his knee: “Ethier himself told us there was no real change, that he was still free to play through the injury if he chose and that he, and not Mattingly, had been the one who had chosen to play through it all season.”

At the end of spring training, Ethier had this to say: ”

“My salary is increasing each year. I would say the likeliness of me being here beyond this year, it’s not just my decision. … I have been kind of lucky to be in one spot in baseball for as long as I have been, for six years now. That is a long time to be in one city playing for one team. There is no inclination now other than to go out and play this year and see what we’ve got.

“If I don’t play well, we have seen them non-tender guys here. If you do play well, sometimes they don’t offer those guys arbitration because their salaries are too high.”

The obvious message Ethier was trying to get across that day was that he wasn’t feeling that the Dodgers were committed to him. Fast forward to this weekend, to another Ethier firestorm that on its face was completely unrelated to that first one, and it now sounds as though Ethier might not be all that committed to them, either.”

Steve Dilbeck reported in his L.A. Times blog “that by Sunday afternoon, a certain disconnect had developed between what Ethier told Simers and what he said before the game. This came after he met with Colletti and Mattingly in the manager’s office, and then was quickly ushered into the training room by team doctor Neal ElAttrache for another examination.”

More disturbing were the comments by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who felt that his personal integrity had been challenged:

“I got kind of blindsided by that,” Mattingly said. “To me, the way I read it is, Dre’s been telling us he can’t play and we just said, ‘You’re playing anyway.’ That definitely isn’t the case.

“For me, that takes a shot at my integrity. … I would never do that. I would rather lose my job that put a guy out there who might hurt himself.”

In the official Dodgers MLB site, Ken Gurnick said that Ethier backed off the comments he made in Simers article: “His pointed comments in the column ignited a controversy that indicted club decision makers and infuriated teammates. But Ethier backpeddled an hour before game time, agreeing with the club that he never told officials he was too injured to play. ”

Mattingly declined to speculate on whether Ethier’s comments in the article were motivated by contractual desires or to serve as an excuse for the outfielder’s second-half slump. Instead, Mattingly said if Ethier needs surgery now, “he’s better off to get it now.”

All of this speculation about Andre Ethier has caused quite a stir.  Who knows who to believe?  Only time will tell how all of this will play out.

This Day in Dodgers History

August 29, 1948 – In St. Louis, Jackie Robinson hits for the cycle, drives in two runs, scores three times and steals a base helping the Dodgers to beat the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park, 12-7.

Wait ’til next year

August 26, 2011

Those famous words were the Dodgers motto for years when they were still in Brooklyn.  It seemed that the Dodgers were always the bridesmaid, but never the bride.  Of course that all changed with the magical 1955 season.

Tony Jackson has an article that outlines what the Dodgers need to do for the remainder of 2011.

Over at the Los Angeles Times blog, Steve Dilbeck has lots of links for your Dodgers browsing pleasure.

This Day in Dodgers History

August 26, 1939 – At Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, NBC televises the first major league game in history on experimental station W2XBS. The Dodgers and Reds split a doubleheader.

Ned Colletti – Cub GM?

August 21, 2011

Could the Cubs lure Ned Colletti back to Chicago?  Tony Jackson speculates about that tantalizing possibility.

Not too many plays are as exciting or as rare as an inside-the-park home run.  Our Aussie with the winning smile accomplished just that yesterday.  The Dodgers battled the Rockies only to lose 7-6 in the 13th inning.

This Day in Dodgers History

August 21, 1975 – The Reuschel brothers of the Cubs join forces to blank the Dodgers, 6-0. Rick goes 6 1-3 innings and Paul finishes the game for the first shutout thrown by siblings.

Welcome Nathan Eovaldi

August 6, 2011

It looks like Tony Jackson’s tweet from last Tuesday has come true… sort of.  Jackson predicted that Nate Eovaldi would start next Tuesday.  He will have his major league debut today instead.  More from Tony about Eovaldi on his blog, ESPN/LA.

I did not know much about Eovaldi until I read an introductory post about him on Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.  MSTI relayed a scouting report by Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally that included these notes:

  • Excellent size; Eovaldi looked closer to 210 lbs. than his listed weight of 195
  • Well-proportioned frame; Size through the quads and shoulders; Athletic pitcher’s frame
  • Fluid delivery with good pacing; Generates easy velocity
  • High 3/4 arm slot; Limits movement on his fastball
  • 94-96 MPH 4-seam fastball
  • 4-seamer lacked movement; Worked pitch in-and-out effectively
  • Maintained velocity throughout the start; Still touching 95 MPH in the 5th
  • 91-92 MPH 2-seam fastball; Some arm side run
  • 84 MPH slider; Best breaking ball; Used as out pitch
  • Pitch featured late cut; Depth improved throughout the course of the game
  • 78 MPH curveball; Threw sparingly; One CB was thrown behind RHH to backstop; Below average offering
  • 83-84 MPH Changeup; Threw sparingly; Slowed arm action

From a velocity standpoint, Eovaldi nearly matched Rubby De La Rosa pitch-for-pitch. As impressive as that statement is, Eovaldi’s fastball lacked the movement to make the offering elite. Add to this a plethora of breaking pitches in need of further refinement, and Eovaldi is on his way, but not ready for Los Angeles yet. As one of the youngest pitchers in the Southern League, he has plenty of time to improve and become more than a fastball/slider pitcher.

Welcome to the show Nate.

This Day in Dodgers History

On August  6, 1981 –  The players approved a split-season format necessitated by seven-week strike. The Yankees, A’s, Phillies and Dodgers are declared the first-half champions and will be automatically qualified for the divisional series.

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.

Kershaw is Pitching like Koufax

July 20, 2011

Clayton Kershaw pitched 8 shutout innings Wednesday, getting 12 strikeouts and retiring 25 out of 29 batters as the Dodgers defeated the Giants 1-0.  Tim Lincecum also pitched good allowing only a 7th inning solo home run by Dioner Navarro.  This reminds me of the Dodgers teams of the early 1960’s that depended on great pitching and had to scratch for runs.

From May 1, 1961 until June 1, 1966, Sandy Koufax pitched ten games in which the final score was Dodgers 1, other team 0.  All games were complete game shutouts except for one in which Sandy got a little help from Ron Perranoski.

Time will tell whether Kershaw will continue to put up those kind of numbers, but at the same stage of their careers, Kershaw is way ahead of where Koufax was at the same age.

Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax

Colletti Cans Coach

Ned Colletti fired Dodger Hitting Coach Jeff Pentland following Tuesday’s game.  He cited a lack of focus by the team’s struggling offense as reported by Tony Jackson in his ESPN Los Angeles blog.  Colletti said he wanted to send a message to the players.  I’m afraid that the only message he has succeeded in sending was for a player to get out of LA as soon as they hit free agency.

After Wednesday’s 1-0 victory in which the Dodgers were 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position on the first day new Hitting Coach Dave Hansen was in charge, Jackson tweeted:

A Dodgers position player who shall go nameless, as we entered clubhouse after game: `Well, that change of hitting coaches worked out well.’”

Way to help the team morale, Ned.