Results tagged ‘ Los Angeles Dodgers ’
Clayton Kershaw will be a favorite for the NL Cy Young, and he was on the losing end of a miserable outing on Friday night in Game 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals. For a guy that had a FIP below 2.50 for September and at 2.20 for the second half and had struck out more than 40% of the lefties he faced in 2013, you regularly expect excellence out of him, and rightly so, I believe. Maybe the innings caught up with him. Maybe it was one of those days where he was off his game and he faced a team that was ready for the punishing like they always seem to be against Matt Cain of our beloved Giants. Whatever it was, it didn’t feel right.
I hold Kershaw in the highest of lights for pitchers, considering him the best pitcher in all of baseball. I love watching him dominate when he’s doing his work, I’m even a little awestruck when he’s on against the Giants, or even just having a slightly bad day and only going seven innings and striking out five. Really it is no wonder there were rumors of him getting big money before the regular season started. His fastball sits around 92-93 with pretty great command, his slider gives you a different look of a good pitch, and his curveball is straight out of baseball heaven with the numbers to prove it. That repertoire can go up with the best of them, and has been successful, too.
When the Cardinals went up 1-0, 2-0 in Game 6, that was exciting. It could be all Michael Wacha needed, I thought and wondered, and the wasn’t necessarily a game that was out of reach, even for the bats of the Dodgers. Then the Cardinals went up 4-0, and even though it was only the third inning, I worried that this game was over before a third of it had been completed. Kershaw had thrown 81 pitches through three, there was no way he’d be able to go six. The Cards would eventually double the score plus one, and within that time Kershaw was pulled, a couple relievers used, and then it was over. If only the game had stayed closer, and Kershaw hadn’t been lit up, then this would have been a bowing out I would not have felt so odd over, but in the end, would I rather have this 9-0, STL NL Champions in 6, than possibly start the game over and see if the game could be closer?
Now my attention turns to rooting for the American League, because nobody wants to see the Cardinals win besides people connected with the team and their fans (really, what sort of “best fans” call themselves “best fans in baseball?”). I do wonder if the media will do another sketch featuring a Red Bird defending the trophy against a team with a payroll $30-$40 million more than themselves. Sure, it’s not around $100 million more like the Dodgers were compared to the Cards payroll, but doesn’t every team that lacks have the farm depth to make a team have to do some buying to field a competitive team?
Game 6 of the ALCS between the Tigers and the Red Sox is tonight at 5PM on FOX.
Some people will have rankings once the field narrows down to ten. I am hardly ever in the mood to blog during the weekdays for various reasons, and so since I feel like writing right now, now is as good of a time as any to give you my list of how I’ll root for the Winning Eleven. My list might differ from yours, and it may not even make sense to you, but that’s OK.
“It’d be good for them” Division
1. Pittsburgh Pirates — No playoffs and no winning season since 1992? How do you not root for that if you’re not a fan from a team within the NL Central?
2. Oakland Athletics — I have developed a soft spot for the team across the Bay, even though I don’t live there to listen to A’s fans. A’s fans coming back around to troll Giants fans would be the worst part of the Athletics winning. Possibility of speeding up ruling on a new stadium a naive thought in my head.
3. Tampa Bay Rays — A combination of youth, a former Long Beach State Dirtbag in Evan Longoria, and a manager I enjoy listening to make this a team I support at nearly all times.
4. Cleveland Indians — They normally lose a lot, and maybe the public can say to MLB, “Hey, that logo is kinda racist.” That they’ve turned things around to go from dark horse candidate to first Wild Card spot is a great story to me.
“I ain’t even mad” Division
5. Detroit Tigers — I’ve interacted with some twitter folk that are Tigers fans and they’re good people. I would be happy for them. Justin Verlander seems like a nice guy and Jim Leyland is a lovable grandpa.
6. Texas Rangers — This is a pity spot. I’ll leave it at that.
7. Boston Red Sox — I’ve put them here because I’ve forgotten what Red Sox fans are like when the Red Sox win. My memory is pretty poor.
8. Cincinnati Reds — The idea of Mat Latos winning after his history with the Padres and his outside-of-game antics against the Giants just leave a bad taste in my mouth. Billy Hamilton running wild on the world will be fun to watch.
9. St. Louis Cardinals — An incredibly talented team, I am tired of them winning and tired of their fans claiming to be the “Best Fans in Baseball.” Nobody likes people like that, especially when that’s pretty difficult to accurately measure.
10. Atlanta Braves — The Chop, the newfound policy of policing the game with their made-up rules on admiring home runs make plenty of players on this team and their fans that support all that easy to despise.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy that’s also an obnoxious, disrespectful Giants fan” Division
11. Los Angeles Dodgers — There are some players on the LA team I like, but it’s still the Dodgers. That they have oodles of money is one thing, I mean you have to spend your money wisely, can’t just spend it on anybody. Still. Boo Dodgers.
That #10 and #11 on my list square off early guarantee one gets knocked out, but one could still do some big things. Hopefully that’s not something I have to worry about, and the bottom four teams find themselves knocked out of the Postseason before the trophy is hoisted.
Once the Dodgers went on their fiery streak of August (and then some), it was only a matter of time. Outside of Dodger fans, are there many people that are pleased that a Dodger team lined with greenbacks has made the postseason? Probably not, but it is what it is, and congratulations to the Dodgers and their dedicated fans that have watched the games. Ratings will skyrocket as Yasiel Puig bat flips, Clayton Kershaw impregnates human beings with his pitching, and Juan Uribe and Brian Wilson get numerous close-ups as Champions of both Black and Orange and Dodger Blue. This will be painful to watch for many NL West fans, and many Giants fans, but baseball fans will know that despite a large contingent of bandwagoners joining the baseball world for 2013, there is a potential for growth in the game.
The population of Los Angeles County is close to 9.9 million people. Think about that number compared to the city you live in. Granted, a lot of those people might be primarily football fans or basketball fans if they are even any sort of sports fans, but with success brings in supporters. Don’t like it? Welcome to Life. The Dodgers haven’t seen a playoff birth since 2009, and on the cusp of their rivals parading down Market Street twice in that time period, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people looking for a solid excuse to love their nearby Dodgers. Four years have passed, and that can bring about a new wave of fans: kids that didn’t care as much four years ago now have a greater cognitive capacity to analyze the game and put events into context. People also have a ton of ways to express themselves on social media, because everybody wants to share what they’re feeling and to be acknowledged for their thoughts.
Might this wave of Dodger success lead to a great crop of future Fangraphs, Beyond the Box Score, or Baseball Prospectus writers, or future baseball scouts? Who knows, but it could, and with the millions of people that can get involved with the Dodgers as fans of team, I’m optimistic there will be at least one or two that will not just put their heart into the playoffs, but also their heads. Furthermore, should they be exposed to guys on (or formerly on) the beat, well respected Dodger bloggers, or scouts that happen to be Dodger fans — and that’s just on Twitter — fans could be helped to becoming smarter fans, and heck, maybe even baseball fans in the process.
I’m an optimist more than is good for me, but there is some good that can come out of this. I just want a larger number of smart baseball fans to listen to, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask with what’s being provided.
The Dodgers haven’t clinched a playoff berth for the 2013 Postseason, but barring a collapse of unimagineable excellence and happiness, their 8.5 game lead of the Diamondbacks will be enough, and they will hold either a #1, 2, or 3 seed going into the NLDS. Ten teams in total will make the playoffs, with small sample sizes and incredible hot/cold streaks and probably unlikely heroes and goats will rule the day as a new team has multiple champagne celebrations leading their city to plan a parade unlike any other for their beloved team. The Dodgers hope to be that team, as does every other team going into the regular season, and the lucky ten that go into the postseason obviously realize that anything can happen there.
No, not that, stop thinking about that.
My wife will text me if we’re apart that the Dodgers are winning and leave it at it. She knows it pains me even a little bit to read those words. If we’re together, she will be happy that she is seeing them be successful. She doesn’t rub it in my face. She’s a good fan. I will admit that it is nice to watch a team play an exciting brand of baseball like the Dodgers have been playing recently. That kind of exciting baseball is what creates baseball fans, and more fans of baseball gives us the possibility to have another large handful of smart baseball fans that can make the way we think about the game a little more informed and rational. Coming back from that tangent, if my wife texts me, I will tell her I expect the Dodgers to lose in the playoffs. Why? Because the playoffs are a crapshoot. If you asked the ESPN experts or MLB Network experts to always pick the winner of a postseason and they were right, we’d always listen to them and would be their mouthpiece wherever we go. Maybe it doesn’t take postseason prediction success for us to be said mouthpiece, but Giants fans especially are not foolish enough to believe the predictions being put to paper will be what actually goes down.
The Dodgers will lose in the Postseason, and there will be much rejoicing.
Are their chances at winning better than other teams? Sure. Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu leading the charge with that lineup behind their pitchers? That is most certainly the Danger Zone. The Dodgers will not be immune to losing a playoff series. They will face a team that makes it past them. It will happen.
These are the things I tell myself when I see the Dodgers doing well. This is how I can watch them. This is how I am able to sleep at night.
Just your average Tuesday night in LA between NL West rivals, and I guess you could say this all started when Ian Kennedy had a pitch hit Yasiel Puig in the nose. Zack Greinke would later hit Miguel Montero in the back and the benches would empty to nothing more than some words and some slowing down of the game. Then Ian Kennedy decided it was his turn to take matters into his own hands by throwing back at Greinke, whom would not start in the 8th inning… a curious move by Don Mattingly, to say the least.
You’ll see Miguel Montero below not really doing any loud shouting with Greinke, which shifts the focus more to Ian Kennedy.
Speaking of Kennedy, he’s just gonna casually walk outta here
Look for #31 and how he just kinda disappears while the Dodgers look for his head
Puig had some words
Ronald Belisario would get his swings in
Diamondbacks coach Turner Ward got some action with the banister of the camera well near the visitors dugout
And a close up for the coach
Something about road apples
Poor Matt Williams, just listening to McGwire vent
Here’s Williams getting Don Mattingly out of there.
Kirk Gibson would be ejected since there were warnings issued, and Joe Paterson would hit Mark Ellis later in the game, although nothing in terms of brawls or ejections happened. The lesson to be had here is Ian Kennedy could have really hurt Zack Greinke, and if Greinke’s aim isn’t slick, he could have hurt Miguel Montero. This is not something that is good in baseball. It will grab the headlines, generate site hits, but happy will I be when the day comes that I don’t blog about this anymore.
As someone that’s been looking for work for over a year in the educational industry without much success, expanding my options has become a consideration, and after seeing some tweets from the Dodgers and LA Times about a networking event at Dodger Stadium, I thought it would be good to give the event a shot, and maybe give me a shot at a job. The event was to open two hours before the game started, and I made sure to arrive before that time. The fact that the parking gates did not open until two hours before game time provided a small inconvenience, but since the ticket gates didn’t even open until I was able to walk from my car to the loge level gate in LF, no regrets of “I should have parked on the streets” were had by me. That would have been a painfully long walk in a shirt and tie anyway.
Once I got in to the event, I had choices from different employers in the sports industry to choose from — the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Stubhub Center (formerly Home Depot Center where the LA Galaxy play), LA Galaxy, Clippers, LA Sparks, LA Kings, LA Live, UCLA, and the Rose Bowl. Every organization had one or two representatives for the aspiring entry-level cold callers to speak with, and the lines for the most popular organizations turned into lines you might see at a bigger amusement park. I was lucky I was able to speak with the Dodgers early, since they would have the longest line of all the organizations at the event despite three people serving up the same speech to three people at a time. After speaking with the Dodgers, it turned into a game of “which line is shortest” and I was able to speak with all the organizations I wanted to, which was good for me to get my face seen by those clubs. I doubt anybody that arrived more than a half hour after the event started had the chance to cover as much ground as the people that arrived when the gates opened.
The space for the event was cramped, and in speaking with the main contact for the networking gig, I was informed that the Fire Marshall ruled that the original size for the event was not acceptable and the parameters would have to be downsized. I don’t know the dimensions of every nook and cranny of the stadium, but cramping a couple hundred people into a space did not make much sense to me, and I cannot imagine that decision did not make the event organizers very happy. With the turnout there was, hopefully the organization will be able to get more clubs to come in, and they will be granted a bigger area to hold an event that would likely continue to bring in a couple hundred applicants every time.
On to the game — and this will be a quick recap — since Carlos Quentin would be out of the lineup, this turned in to the night of Yasiel Puig. The cheers for him were the loudest of any Dodger that night, his at bats made the stadium stand still — beach balls were down in number, nobody even thought of starting the wave — balls that were taken garnered applause, while strikes taken were met with “ooooh” or an unsettling mumble. Heck, there was one section of Dodger Stadium that was standing for Puig’s very first at bat. You know the story by now, Puig did not disappoint the faithful that showed up, including a fantastic throw from the warning track in RF for a double play to Adrian Gonzalez that ended the game.
A pretty good night at Chavez Ravine for me, getting to speak with a lot of nice people (both inside and outside of the event), and for those that followed me on Twitter last night, you know I got to have a pretty good view of the game for a little bit as well. I think I’ve fallen in love with a spot I’d get to watch a professional game from… and to make that spot happen more often, I’m gonna have to get some work.
Matt Kemp is having a rough season, and even if you haven’t watched him this season you might be able to see it on the spreadsheets. -1.0 fWAR is 3rd worst of all 171 qualified hitters, his wRC+ (77) is tied with Yunel Escobar and just below Yuniesky Betancourt (who has come back down to the earth his abilities live on). His .277 wOBA is 151st. To give you an idea of what he did in his should’ve-been-MVP season in 2010, he had an 8.4 fWAR, 168 wRC+, and a .413 wOBA. That’s the Matt Kemp we’ve come to expect, but a crash in Colorado last year has changed things and Kemp’s shoulder flexibility has become limited. Dodger fans have turned on their star and are making it rain with the boos, and Kemp has made it known that he’s not all that thrilled with it:
“It felt like I was in AT&T Park…I’m taking a beating from the fans…It’s disappointing to get booed by our own fans, even shocking.”
Chad Moriyama has been the leader of the charge against booing Kemp/their own players, and his timeline has basically been that recently since there’s been so much booing lately. I applaud his efforts, because as you judged by the article title, I agree with his stance on the matter. I will echo what he has said before in this sentence: fans have the right to do and say what they want, but booing your own player is stupid. I don’t understand why those booing expect an under-performer to either all of a sudden recover their past abilities or inspire them to work harder for their team. Kemp has a huge contract, for sure, and he is expected to be a star, but what will booing accomplish, besides letting out your frustrations? (Clearly, I also care not for those frustrations being exhibited in a “boo.”)
Nobody should be kidding themselves that this is a new thing only happening between the Dodgers and Kemp, I mean, you could tune to the ALCS last year for games at Yankee Stadium and tell me what you hear.
Booing your own player for their not performing to your expectations is ridiculous. It’s a tradition that will live on, I know. There are other ways to express frustration, though the message will be slower to reach those that make the decisions, although its not like the journalists that cover baseball are blind to things like that. It wouldn’t hurt the fans to think about the reason for a player’s lack of success and start calling for change. Until then, those fans just look like people that will say whatever comes to their minds first, not thinking about the consequences or rationale of whatever it is they say and/or are about to say. Who really listens to the opinions of those people anyway?
Just trying to ignore the defensive mishaps in this Giants game I’m watching when:
LHP Jonathan Sanchez looks like he’s zeroing in on a deal with the Dodgers. May need a few starts in minors before call up.
— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) May 14, 2013
Jonathan Sanchez could be a Dodger. Soon. While this may make you laugh at the Dodgers, what if Dirty finds everything that’s been lost for so long? What if he figures it out and stops walking people? What if he
…I mean he could
…well, alright. Best of luck, Dirty. How bad could it actually get.
I’ve been mostly quiet on the internet today due to some computer gaming, a habit that’s been developing this week, but will probably die out next week because I’ll start to be busying myself with other, more career-minded business. The world moves on, and the lineups were posted for tonight’s game, with the Dodgers noting Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis were injured, but available tonight, and not in the starting lineup. Then Adrian Gonzalez get scratched from the lineup with neck pain, but unfortunately the Dodgers are allowed to replace him. Therefore, the lineup for the visiting Dodgers look like this:
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 4, 2013
Meanwhile, in the Champions corner, Barry Zito and company lookalike this:
Tonight’s #SFGiants lineup: Pagan cf, Scutaro 2b, Sandoval 3b, Posey c, Pence rf, Arias ss, Torres lf, Belt 1b, Zito p
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 3, 2013
Also important to note that the Giants finally sent down the very much offensively-struggling Hector Sanchez, and called up the doing-well-in-Fresno Francisco Peguero. Jeremy Affeldt also was taken off the disabled list today. You might be aware that tonight is Metallica Night at AT&T Park, and while Brandon Belt‘s mug with a wig has been floating around the tubes, a Panda picture surfaced:
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 4, 2013
Game time is 7:15PM PST, and should be a good challenge against Kershaw. I won’t remind you how it went last time they saw him.
The Dodgers come to San Francisco this weekend for a three-game series against the Giants where there will be a license plate frame giveaway to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday, and a Sergio Romo Gnome on Sunday to the first 30,000. The matchups tell us this is whom we should expect to see on the bump this weekend:
Raise your hand if you thought of Zito, Vogelsong, and Cain, Zito would have the best ERA going into May of the three. The stock on Zito was pretty high going into this regular season, but not so much that you thought he’d outdo them by almost double. As Giants fans, you know what you’re going to get out of Zito, Vogey, and Cainer, but do you know what you’re getting out of Kershaw (yes), Lilly (lol), and Ryu (did you know the media guide now says to say his name as “Roo”)?
Kershaw has been harassing the Giants since 2008. How much harassing? Let this table show you:
I miss when Clayton Kershaw wasn’t a starter, because even though I’m sure he’d shut down the Giants 1-2 innings at a time, at least he wouldn’t be doing it 6-9 innings at a time as a starter, which he kinda does these days. He averages at least 7.0 IP in every start against the Giants in his career. That’s insane. I’m not sure I’ll get to watch Friday’s game, and I’m not sure it’d make me that happy to anyway. But it is Barry Zito. Somehow, he has done some crazy things lately, and do you wanna be the one that bets against crazy?
Here’s Kershaw’s pitch usage for this year
Ted Lilly… hasn’t been good. He was tolerable in 2012, but so far, nothing to report. The Rockies teed off on him in his last start, and unless he gets ruled out due to injury, this is who I’ll get to see pitch for the Dodgers in person on Saturday.
Low velocity everything, so Lilly does not have that big of a margin for error, and as you can guess, he’s not been pitching within that margin, and so he’s been getting hit. The Dodgers are probably happy they have a day off tonight and a Kershaw start tomorrow so the bullpen will be well rested for Saturday’s game.
Hyun-jin Ryu is still the new guy on the block, but he’s actually ahead of Clayton Kershaw in terms of percentage of strikeouts, which doesn’t really make anybody who’s an opponent feel better about facing him, but at least the Giants have seen him once before. It was that ten hit game, and maybe there were some first-game jitters for Ryu, but he’s certainly not the reliever we thought he’d be at worst, and definitely looks like he belongs in the Dodgers rotation.
Opponents are still getting used to his four pitches, and I’ll admit I’m still getting used to what he’s putting out there despite having the TV on to the Dodgers whenever they’re on down here in sunny Southern California. Always seem to hear from pitching veterans though that a good fastball-changeup combo will do you good, and hey, throw in a third pitch in his slider that’s major league average, and there’s a starter for you, gosh darnit.
All series with the Dodgers are always spirited, but if you make your way to the yard, make sure you play nice!