Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time to Put This One Deep in the Memory Banks and Move On

It’s never ideal to leave for a difficult road trip coming off a loss, but maybe the defeat to the Yankees tonight isn’t quite as disastrous as we are thinking at this moment.

Hiroki Kuroda matched former teammate Clayton Kershaw pitch for pitch, tossing 7 innings of shutout ball against the Dodgers. (photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo)

The Dodgers play in Chicago at 5 PM PST.  They probably get into Chicago at around 5:30 AM PST the earliest.  It’s going to be a short night for them already.  The situation could have been much worse for them had the Dodgers-Yankees gone into extra frames.  On top of that, they would have burned up a few more pitchers as well.

Now I'm not saying it was preferable that they lost, only that the way things turned out may be best in the long run for this 4 game Chicago series.  Now the Dodgers arrive in Chicago where they'll have all day to rest up for game number one, and they have a well rested Kenley Jansen, JP Howell, and Chris Withrow all available to help out in the pen.

It was a tough loss, and something that the team isn’t accustomed to lately, especially coughing up the game in the last inning, but this isn’t the end of the world.  The Dodgers finished a 4-2 homestand.  They started it 0.5 games out of first place and finish it with a 2.5 game lead.  Everyone should be happy with that.

So welcome to the dog days of August.  It’s never  ideal to head into the midwest at this time of year as Chicago in August can be blisteringly hot and humid, but the forecast calls for 77 degrees at game time with a relatively tame 48% humidity.  It could be a lot worse.

The Cubs are coming off losing a series to the lowly Brewers.  After that they head into St. Louis who is reeling after ceding first place in the Central to Pittsburgh, who just swept them at home.  The next eight should be very interesting.

They've Got to Stand Pat

In a Year Where the Dodgers arrive at the trade deadline date in first place with a 3.5 game lead they need to make a loud noise and let the baseball world know that they are a force BY STANDING PAT.  That's right, don't make any moves at all.  Ned Colletti can speak volumes by holding firm with the roster he has in place.  Though it would be foolish to expect the winning ways to continue at an .825 clip, this Dodger team is strong enough to win the whole enchilada.

The Outfield
With a foursome of Crawford, Kemp, Puig and Ethier, the Dodgers probably have the best outfield foursome in baseball.  Three of the four are seriously lacking in their normal production, but look where they are.  On top of that, things are looking up.  It wouldn't be surprising for Crawford, Kemp and Ethier to improve their production in the final stretch.

These guys have yet to hit on all cylinders and what if they get hot when it matters, around mid to late September?  These guys could really mash in post season play.  

The Infield
Adrian Gonzalez is the Dodgers most consistent hitter on the club.  A quiet leader.  He has power, he drives in runs and he is skilled in situational hitting.  With the exception of Hanley Ramirez, there is no other hitter in the Dodger lineup that you’d want at the plate than Gonzalez when runners are in scoring position.

Mark Ellis is about as steady a player as you’ll find.  A defensive guru at the second sack.  Grounders to the right side of the infield are practically automatic outs.  Mark is that player that knows the fundamentals and rarely makes a mistake.   He takes his lunch pail to work everyday and he's dedicated.   Lately he has been hitting extremely well too.  This guy is one of the unsung leaders on the team and last night's win was a key example of that.

Hanley Ramirez at shortstop is easily the best position player on the team.  His lightning quick bat is spanking the ball to all areas of the field.  His power has resurged, his batting average is where it was when he was winning a batting title four years ago.  Hanley is the player that he was pre-shoulder surgery 2010.  If he can stay healthy, the Dodgers are going to win a lot of games.

Juan Uribe, the Dodger third baseman has resurrected his career this year.  His hitting approach is different as he has bought into Mark McGwire’s philosophy.  It’s a drastic change from his entire career raising his on base percentage a full 85 points higher than last year.

Summary, no moves needed in the infield Ned.  Move on.

AJ Ellis is consistent and steady.  Offensively he isn’t spectacular, but you know he’ll make a pitcher work to get him out.  He isn’t cheated out there and he’s not afraid to hit with two strikes.  Then he'll bang out that common clutch hit.  On top of that bat he’s throwing out would be base stealers at an astonimical rate.  Back up catcher Tim Federowicz is more than adequate as a second stringer.

The Starting staff
Without going into details it is fairly easy to say that Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu and Nolasco are a solid 1 through 4.  Capuano or Fife are respectable as a number 5 starter.  Waiting in the wings at Albuquerque is a Jonathan Sanchez who has pitched well of late.  (Though he may walk away from the organization if not moved to the Major League roster).  It is unbelievable how much injury the staff has endured this season and yet they still are formidable.  There is enough starting pitching to win the whole thing.

The Bullpen
This is a group that is pitching well with defined roles.  With the addition of Brian Wilson, I see no room for a trade addition.  Jansen, Belisario, Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow, J.P. Howell and even Brandon League lately.  They’re all pitching lights out baseball.  Then  there’s Tolleson due back before the end of the year and Mr. 102 MPH Jose Dominguez on the D.L.  There's not much room for anyone else.  Which leaves pitchers like Guerra and Moylan at Albuquerque.

The Bench
Utility guys Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston Jr. aren't world beaters, but they are certainly serviceable.  All are capable of making spot starts and as of late, Schumaker has been hitting over .400 the last month.  Scott Van Slyke provides some power and a mighty throwing arm off the bench too, (when he'w with the big club).  In September Dee Gordon will be available to help as a Herb Washington type designated runner.  

Deadline looms
All the trade deadline talk that involves rumors of players coming over to the Dodgers don’t make sense.  Chase Utley?  To replace a team leader like Ellis and disrupt team chemistry?  No way.  Cliff Lee?  He’s got experience and all but he’s injured at present and he’s not having a real great year out there, plus, there's a lot of money owed to him.  That’s not an ideal situation to take on that type of investment for a pitcher that could be near the end of his career.  Joe Nathan for Ethier rumors?  That make no sense.  The Dodgers have more closer options than just Jansen and dispatching Ethier isn’t a good idea because the Dodgers have rarely had three healthy outfielders all season.  

Often rumors are simply the wonks coming up with a topic of conversation for a piece.  Sometimes they are planted by competitors to run up prices.  Colletti has made his moves already, acquiring Marmol and foreign signee slot money, getting Nolasco and the signing of Wilson yesterday.  There's no more need for acquisitions.  Anything done beyond this point would not be prudent.  Let's all hope that Colletti is reading things the same way.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Do They Do This?

They wanted to ridicule Dodger fans so bad.  You know the production director of the Yankee telecast on their YES network wanted to show the almighty Yankee nation that Dodger fans leave early.  It is so entertaining showing New Yorkers how soft west coast fans are, but it wasn’t to be.
(All images captured in this post: YES Network)
“Some heading home,” said Yankee announcer Michael Kay in the top  of the ninth inning in a 2-2 deadlock.  “Most hanging around for a real entertaining game.”

Uh, yeah.  Not a lot of cars leaving the parking lot there. I think I see three tail lights and about 25,000 cars parked there. 

So the Yankee announcers wisely left it at that and there was no more immediate comment on the crowds leaving.  And guess what? I bet in the Bronx, there would probably be just as many fans if not more, heading for the exits in such a game there.
So were they going to let it go there?  Not on your life.  With one out in the bottom of the 9th, Kay starts talking about the tenseness of this tight game:
“This has been a top step of the dugout sort of game.  We’ve been tied since the top of the 4th.  I don’t think anyone in the bleachers has left their seat.  The left field bleachers and the right field bleachers are still full.”
Suddenly a light bulb goes on in the Production Director’s head, “Hey, let’s show the parking lot again.  You know there are fools out there leaving the game early,” he thinks.  "After all this is Los Angeles."  

“Camera 7, Parking lot shot!  Now!”

And from the announcers:  Silence.  Nothing.  Crickets.

What could they say?  Oh, I suppose they could say something about how none of the 52,000 plus were going to leave this one early.  But no, that wouldn’t be good television for their homer audience.  You can’t say anything positive about Dodger fans.
Thank goodness there wasn’t a beach ball thrown on the field during the game.  We would have never heard the end of it.  Oh wait, there's one more game tomorrow.


What a team!  This never gets old.  3 1/2 game lead and counting!

Do you realize that as Dodger fans we have only experienced one loss in the past 17 days?  I don't know about you all, but I have been sleeping real good this month.

Monday, July 29, 2013

When Will it End?

With the Dodgers playing at an .812 clip the last thirty two games, the end has to come sometime.  Doesn't it?  A question that many are asking is, "when will it end?"  There has never been a team that has sustained such a winning percentage for a prolonged period.

A quick glance at the upcoming schedule seems to indicate that the hot streak could continue for another week at least.

The Yankees come to town and they are a slumping ball club. They have a 4-6 record since the All Star break, falling 7 1/2 games off the AL East lead.  Though Derek Jeter has returned to the lineup, the circus surrounding the Alex Rodriguez situation has been a definite distraction to team.  Tampa Bay and Boston have created some distance from the Yankees, who must turn things around quickly if they have any post season aspirations.  

Derek Jeter last appeared at Dodger Stadium in 2010.(photo by Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated)

The Yankees are another an injury plagued team.  Remember when the pundits raved about how the Yankees had been able to overcome injuries, (Texeira, Jeter, ARod, Granderson),  and maintain in contention while the Dodgers had not?  My how the tables have turned in 33 days.

With Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw slated to pitch the two remaining games in this homestand against the Yanks, the Dodgers chances to take the series look good.

Chicago's Wrigley Field

The Dodgers then take off for Chicago to face the 4th place Cubs in a 4 game Wrigley set.  The Cubs have just completed a 3 game sweep at San Francisco, but they are hardly a team to fear, having been shut out by 5th place Milwaukee this evening.  They are in full "sale mode" as the trade deadline approaches having already unloaded starting ace, Matt Garza, and their biggest offensive power threat, Alfonso Soriano, in trades for prospects.  The Cubs are 14 1/2 games out of first place and have essentially given up on the season.

What will follow on the road trip are 4 games against the Cardinals, owners of the best record in the National League before returning home to face the A.L. East first place Tampa Bay Rays.  Once again, the Dodgers will face a true challenge, just as they did this weekend facing a talented Cincinnati team, (that lost again tonight to San Diego).  

Lately the Dodgers have made a habit of disposing of good teams and sending them into a losing tailspin, (Washington, Toronto, and Cincinnati come to mind).  Will they be able to do the same with St. Louis and Tampa Bay?  If so, this team is definitely possessed. 

One last point of importance that should be noted is that the Dodgers embark on 16 consecutive days of games without a day off.  Their midwest swing will be undoubtedly played in scorching heat and near 100% humidity.  It'll be a physical challenge against some strong ball clubs like St. Louis.  It would be foolish to expect that the Dodger maintain a .800+ clip with the serious challenges ahead.  But taking 9 games of the upcoming 16 is realistic and should be considered a success if it comes to pass.

Once again, they commence another tough stretch of this 162 game marathon.  Don't miss any of it, 'cuz this thing is going to get even more interesting. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dusty's Blunders...Remember Them

This may not be a good time to mention it since the Dodgers are on their greatest regular season run in decades, but please remember this series the next time Dusty Baker’s name surfaces as a candidate to be the manager of the Dodgers.  We know Mattingly isn’t going anywhere after this run, but say something weird happened and the Yankees fired Joe Girardi this off-season.  You know that Mattingly could possibly be gone to the Bronx.

Every time there is a managerial opening with the Dodgers, the name Dusty Baker surfaces as a possible candidate.  That name tugs at the heartstrings of old Dodger fans that consider Baker to be one of their favorite Dodger players from a glorious time period.  He was undoubtedly a great Dodger and a clutch player in his day.

And as a manager, he’s considered a players guy and one that is respectful towards veterans.  He has won everywhere he has managed, but for the life of me, I don’t know how.  His strategic moves on the field leave a lot to be desired in my opinion.  He’s a manager that will never embarrass his players.  His players respect him as a former player and not only a manager but a friend and confidant.  Maybe that’s why he has had some level of success everywhere.  The thing is, fans in San Francisco, Chicago and now Cincinnati are convinced that their teams would have had greater success without him.

There was 2002 when his Giants were within six outs of a World Series title.  Dusty mismanaged his pitching and his bullpen coughed up that game and eventually the series.  There was 2003 with the Cubs, the Bartman game and the resulting loss to the Marlins when Baker left Mark Prior out there to die when he was rattled and shell shocked.  There was 2012 when Baker’s Reds had three opportunities at home to eliminate the Giants, and failed to do so, game after game after game.

When his name surfaces again for the Dodger job, and it will (whenever that may be), I want you to remember those past failures and specifically this series to fully understand why he should never manage the Dodgers.

Dusty’s a by the book skipper with his pitching decisions.  Nothing fancy, he just simply has guys in certain roles and he he rarely deviates from that.  Aroldis Chapman is his closer, and he will only use him in save situations.  In today’s game, the 11th inning with Puig, AGon and Hanley coming up, it was a key inning in which it would have been wise to bring the fireballing lefty in, but since it wasn’t a save situation, Dusty stuck with Partch.  It was the perfect opportunity to use his best reliever against the heart of the Dodger lineup, but to Dusty, Chapman gets saves and this wasn't a save situation.  Partch was left out there and Puig made him pay.

Fan posts at RedReporter.com were quite graphic with regards to Dusty’s decision about his relief pitcher selection.  Here’s a few posts from that site: (the profane posts have been left out). 

“Dusty can’t bring him in in a tie game on the road.  Not until everyone else’s arm has fallen off, anyway.”

“He’s completely wasting his (Chapman’s) value.”

“He’s pitched one inning in the last nine days.”

Baker started Derrick Robinson over Choo against Capuano today.  Much to the consternation of the Red’s fan base.

“I loath weak hitting fast guys almost as much as Dusty loves them.”

“Dusty’s lineup today might score negative runs.”

Then there was the squeeze play attempt.  In a 0-0 game, with a man on third and one out in the 7th, Baker attempted a failed squeeze attempt that was fouled off.  It put his hitter (Robinson) in an 0-2 whole and he bounced into a force play at home the very next pitch as Mesoraco broke for home on contact.

Devin Mesoraco is tagged out after being cut down in an attempt to score from third. (photo by Reed Saxon/AP)

“Why are they trying the suicide squeeze with the SLOWEST GUY IN THE LINEUP ON THIRD?”

“Are we the stupidest base-running team of all-time?”

So there you have it.  Dusty isn’t that popular in Cincinnati where a lot of second-guessing is going on with his managerial decisions.  Again, I must add.  Baker himself is aware of the criticisms, and he even mentioned them, stating in a 2011 interview about his time with the Cubs: “My time with them really hurt my reputation.  Ever since then, all of a sudden, ‘I don’t know how to manage. I don’t know how to handle pitchers.  I don’t like young players.’...They don’t even have a clue about it.  I never heard that in San Francisco.”

Maybe Dusty didn’t hear it in San Francisco, but I certainly did.  Every single day from Giant fans who were happy to see him leave and disappointed that he didn’t end up with Los Angeles.  They knew his managerial blunders first hand, and were hoping he’d be making them in Dodger blue.  The day that option is available to Dodger management, they need to simply say “no, thank you.”


Oh, I almost forgot.  What a finish today!  Puig's first walk off homer.  Hopefully the first of many that we'll see over the coming years.

First Walk off homer in Puig's career. (photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today)

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Schumaker watches his 5th inning homer. (photo by Reed Saxon/AP)

Before I wrote that silly piece on unbuttoned shirts earlier this morning, I started prepping an article with this title: “Dodger unsung hero for 2013, Skip Schumaker”

Little did I know that I would have looked real good had I posted the Schumaker piece before tonight’s game, and not after it.  

After going 2 for 4 and driving in the eventual winning run with a 409 foot homer to straight away center field and scoring two of the Dodgers four runs on the night, Schumaker has truly emerged as one of those guys that has played a key role in the Dodger turn-around this season.  In the month of July alone, while hitting much of the time in the leadoff role, Skip is hitting .405 with 2 homers, 6 RBI, 8 runs scored.  He has raised his average to .270 which is quite an accomplishment considering that he started off the year awfully and was hitting a Luis Cruz-like .135 as late as May 8th.
Before I wrote that silly piece on unbuttoned shirts earlier this morning, I prepped an article with this title: “Dodger unsung hero for 2014, Skip Schumaker”

Little did I know that I would have looked real good had I posted the Schumaker piece before tonight’s game, and not after it.  After going 2 for 4 and driving in the winning runs with a 409 foot homer to straight away center field and scoring two of the Dodgers four runs on the night, Schumaker has truly emerged as one of those guys that has played a key role in the Dodger turn-around this season.  In the month of July alone, Schumaker, who has mainly hit in the leadoff role is hitting .405 with 2 homers, 6 RBI, 8 runs scored.  He has raised his average to .270 which is quite an accomplishment considering that he started off the year awfully and was hitting a Luis Cruz like .135 as late as May 8th.

Interesting how numbers work.  Skip has since doubled his batting average of .135 over 52 games since that terrible start.  His versatility to cover all outfield positions has proved valuable.  I’m not a real big fan of his defensive abilities at second base, but that’s probably because we are so spoiled watching Mark Ellis play the position so flawlessly. 

Entering the game as a pinch runner, Schumaker scored the winning run on a wild pitch on June 7th against Atlanta. (photo by Alex Gallardo/AP)

Schumaker is that grinder you want on your team as a utility guy.  A hustling player that gives it everything he's got.  He plays a leadership role off the bench, something that isn't easy to accomplish from that vantage point.   If you need to move the runner over or work a count deep, Skip's your man.  When the brushback war with the D-Backs broke out, Schumaker took up a team defensive role and was very much involved in the scuffle, not as an instigator, but as someone protecting his teammates.  In the end, he received a 2 game suspension, protecting his team.

This is a player that puts in his time.  Works hard, and understands his role with the ball club.  He'll get the occasional start, or he'll enter the game late as a defensive replacement or as a pinch hitter and he performs.  Then he gets plugged into the leadoff role for Carl Crawford and a game like tonight happened.   I wouldn't be surprised to see his average approaching .300 by season's end.

So on a night when all eyes were on the Korean showdown between Shoo and Ryu, it was Skip that grabbed the spotlight, and his clutch performance played a major role in the win.

(Ryu did his part too with 7 innings pitched and giving up only 1 run).


It turned out to be another perfect night for the Dodgers as the National League West rivals faltered in all their contests. 

The Diamondbacks were hammered by the last place Padres 13-2, falling to 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers.  

The Giants lost to the Cubs 1-0, as they failed to score in both the eighth and ninth innings after loading the bases with less than two outs.  The shocked AT&T Park crowd watched Kevin Gregg induce a double play ball to Tony Abreu to close out that game.  The Giants are now nine games back of the Dodgers, one percentage point behind the Padres to put the defending World Champions in LAST PLACE. 

The Rockies lost to Milwaukee at home 7-5 after waiting for nearly two hours through a rain delay to play the bottom half of the 9th inning.  They were retired in order when play resumed.

The standings are as follows:

Dodgers    54-48
D-Backs    54-50   1.5
Rockies     50-55   6.0
Padres       47-58   9.0
Giants       48-57   9.0

The Latest Fashion Trend

Baseball has it’s fashion swag, probably more than any other sport.   It can be trendy and fashionable.  Sometimes we cringe at the newest modes and other times we can find them as cool as all get out.  The latest craze from the Dodger dugout comes straight from the hottest hitter in the game, so who can argue with Hanley Ramirez, ‘cuz it’s working.

Welcome to the unbuttoned look, Hanley-style.

I get it.  It's something new.  It's different.  It's got flair and I could see it catching on.  As long as the team is winning, he could put his shirt on backwards for all I care.  And at least he has a shirt underneath.  I can see this trend catching on, especially as the winning continues.

We’ve seen them all.

From the cap with the straight brim, ( a ridiculous look, in my opinion)

To the sideways cap fresh out of a gangsta video.

To the pants worn low that are actually tucked under the shoe.

The fads come and go, but this latest Hanley one may have brought on a winning trend.  Who can argue with 24-6 out of the last thirty games.  As late as last year, Hanley went with the buttoned up look.  

But but not now.  Be watching for the unbuttoned look to lower itself to the navel, especially if he keeps hitting as he does.

And the trend is catching on.  Puig...



Hey, even the skipper is going along with it...

Call them the Unbuttoned Bunch.  Or maybe the Beloved Unbuttoned Bums.  Whatever it is, if it works, keep unbuttoning.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

That's a Good Cincinnati Ball Club

Mat Latos is always a tough.  Fact is he's one difficult starting pitcher to face.  That's a tough assignment for any team, especially after a short night and early morning arrival.  The Dodgers didn't look too lethargic, but after seeing them average 8+ runs per game over the past week, Dodger fans have been a bit spoiled, expecting a massive offensive output each night.

So the post all star break winning streak is over, but the confidence that most have in this team hasn't dissipated, even after ceding a game in the standings to Arizona.  Kershaw toes the rubber in tomorrow's action, and that makes many feel a lot better.

Aroldis Chapman's fastball sat between 98 and 103 MPH tonight (photo:Getty Images)

Yasiel Puig continues to impress and a showdown between the Dodger rookie and fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman in the 9th would have been quite memorable, but it wasn't to be as the fireballing Red left-hander retired Carl Crawford on a scorching line out to left field with two men on base.  Pitch tracker recorded that last pitch to Crawford at 103 MPH.

Cincinnati has quite the formidable pitching staff and the Dodgers have their hands full for the next few days.  Their good mojo could quickly disappear with a loss tomorrow, so a win in Kershaw's start is really important for the Dodger's momentum to continue.

Zack Greinke took the loss , his first in 7 starts after 5 consecutive wins.  His stuff was decent and he made that mistake to Jay Bruce, a hanging curve that was deposited into the first row of the left field pavilion.  Sometimes the "W" doesn't come even when a pitcher has his pitches working for the most part.  Greinke mentioned on the post game interview that the Cincinnati first five hitters are "probably the best in the league," and there isn't a lot of room for error.  Essentially that was what happened to him tonight, he needed to pitch near perfect baseball to chalk up the win.

Red's shortstop Cesar Izturis turns a 4-6-3 double play in the 4th inning of last night's action (Getty Images)

This may have been a pre-view of post season play for the Dodgers.  Dusty Baker's club is good, in fact, they're real good, and they're playing their best ball of the season during this west coast swing.  The scary thought is that there are two ball clubs in the Central Division with even better records than the Reds.

So the boys get a good night's rest, adjust from the jet lag and go out there tomorrow with their ace on the mound against two time no-hit artist Homer Bailey.  Everything is set up for a positive result on Friday.  We'll see if all goes according to plan.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The 2013 draft class, 1/3 of the way through their first semester...A report card

The 2013 first year player draft selections in the Dodger organization have had more than a month of action in the minors so far.  Several of the top tier picks seem to be performing admirably.  There are a few lower level picks that are tearing things up as well.  Provided is my assessment of some of their performances thus far for several of the 2013 draft class.

Right handed flame thrower Chris Anderson, the Dodgers no.1 pick (18th overall) a Minnesota native out of Jacksonville University  has made 6 starts a Single A Great Lakes.  He sports a 1.96 ERA over 23 innings pitched.   As expected, he’s chalking up strikeouts, with 26, (1.13 per inning).  He has won his last two starts and his innings are being stretched out a bit as he pitched six strong ones in his latest start, a 7-1 win over Clinton.  (Grade:  A-)

The second Dodger pick in this year’s draft, LHP Tom Windle out of the University of Minnesota, also started his professional career at Single A Great Lakes.  He has started five games and tallied a 1-0 record with a 1.89 ERA.  Windle has been stretched out into the 5thinning of his last two starts and he picked up his first professional win last Thursday.  (Grade:  B+)

Brandon Dixon is off to a rough start in his professional career. (photo byDanielle McGrew, The Saginaw News)

The one other Great Lakes Loon from the 2013 draft class is 3rd round pick, Brandon Dixon, a third baseman out of the University of Arizona.  Dixon is having his struggles as he started up three rungs on the minor league ladder at this level.  He’s played in 28 games at third and already has 13 errors.  Through 111 At bats he’s hitting .225 with a .259 OBP, 1 homer and 12 RBI.  The organization saw fit to start him at a level above the Pioneer league, which is hitting rich and definitely would have been a fairer start for the 21 year old college grad, but there had to be a reason for the start at this high level.  It’s a tough going for the Murrieta, CA native so far. (Grade:  D)

Compare Dixon’s struggles to another Dodger pick that plays third base.  Adam Law, out of BYU, was selected in the 12th round and assigned to the Arizona League where he’s tearing things up.  Law leads the league in Hits (37), Runs (24), and stolen bases (13).  He is hitting .356  with an on base % of .443 (both rank him  3rd in the league).  The son of Vance Law (former White Sox) and grandson of Vernon Law, (ex-Pirate ace and Cy Young Award winner),  Adam is probably due for a move up to the Pioneer League as his maturity as a 23-year old  surpasses the level of this league.    He is a versatile player that has logged innings in all three outfield positions, 3B and SS.   His future might be in the majors, possibly a bench guy that can cover a lot of positions.   He’s a player with leadership qualities and manager Jody Reed is penciling him somewhere in the lineup every day.  The only thing lacking from his performance so far is a home run, though  his slugging % isn’t bad and it is reported that he does have some sock from his college days.   (Grade:  A-) 

Brandon Trinkwon makes the play for Ogden in action against Helena. (photo by Brian Nicholson)

Brandon Trinkwon, a shortstop out of UC Santa Barbara, was assigned to Ogden of the Pioneer League and he has started out with a flair.  Hitting .364 (third in the league) through the first 24 games, he has rapped out 3 homers and driven in 20 runs.  His .406 on base percentage ranks 7th in the league.  Covering the shortstop position on the rock hard infields of the region, he has only made three errors.  Probably most impressive is Trinkwon’s clutch hitting as he’s batting .407 with runners in scoring position.  This left hand hitting sleek shortstop may be a player to watch in the future.  Brandon is 21 years old. (Grade:  A)

Cody Bellinger was the Dodgers  4th round pick, an 18-year old first baseman out of Chandler, Arizona.  The kid is still growing and it is believed that after he fills out and physically matures, he could be a power hitting left handed threat.  He has started at the Arizona League and is showing some good signs, but he’s struggling too.  The transition to professional ball can be difficult for a kid fresh out of high school.  He’s hitting .198 through 25 games and 86 Abs.  On the bright side, he works counts and has 17 walks, with a .337 OBP.  He has 1 homer and 17 RBI.  The good thing is that there is time to let the kid mature.  (Grade:  C)

J.D. Underwood, the son of former Phillie Tom Underwood, is a RHP that the Dodgers selected 5th in the draft from Palm Beach State College.  He has logged innings at both Arizona and Ogden with mixed results.  Only on the mound for 15 frames thus far, Underwood dominated at Arizona and got rocked in the elevated Utah air.  Despite his high ERA of 10.13 at Ogden, he is striking out hitters with 22 Ks over 15 innings ( 1.47 rate).  (Grade: incomplete, too early to tell)

Jose DeLeon is the other starting pitcher from this draft class that has started at least 5 games.  De Leon was a deep draft pick, from the 23rd round, out of Puerto Rico.  In Arizona making his professional debut he's done remarkably well, 1-2, 23.2 IP and a 2.66 ERA. (Grade: B-)

Others of note:
8th round catcher, Kyle Farmer at Ogden.  Batting .318 with a .378 OBP in 66 ABs.  Three homers and 13 RBI.  

Hank Yates, a 9th round pick, outfielder playing at Ogden.  He's batting .309 with a , 407 OBP.   Two homers and 14 RBIs.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Earlier in the year I expressed my frustration with the Dodgers and related the following story.

It was May 11th and a practical joker at work anonymously sent me a double sealed envelope marked as confidential.  This isn't real unusual at my place of work, as confidential correspondence is often sent in sealed envelopes in law enforcement circles.  It could have been some safe combination changes or perhaps a file on a case that pertained to me.  Instead, what I got was the National League standings at the moment.

 The message at the bottom then mocked me with the inscription in Caps: "THIS IS WHAT $240 MILLION GETS YOU."

In that post I wrote: "I long for the day that the earth returns to it’s proper axis and the Dodgers are back where they belong in first place.  This is brutal!  And I can't even address it 'cuz it was sent anonymously."

Well folks, that day has arrived.  I woke up this morning and looked out at the churning San Francisco fog and it's a beautiful thing.   There is misery here.  AT&T Park will reluctantly place the Dodger flag above all other western division foes.   In my mind, the birds are signing, and it's a warm summer day in Los Angeles.

That Giant fan who sent me the anonymous note will not have the guts to show their face.  I assume the note was sent anonymously because he feared that this day would come and a serious calling out would be in order.

But I wouldn't have done that would I?  I would have been respectful and and approached him with dignity and in a consoling nature.  And then I would have subtly told him, "In you FACE my man!  Go suck on your World Series trophy!"


Just a few bullet points before I head off to the world of the work force.  It's a good day in Dodgerland when:

*Ryu has a non-quality start and still walks away with the win.

(photo by Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
*Skip Schumacher homers.

*Matt Kemp sits out with an injury and the absence his hot bat isn't even noticed.

*Yasiel Puig crashes into a wall making another spectacular catch and he walks away unscathed.

*The entire NL West (with the exception of San Diego), takes home a loss on the day.

*Andre Ethier emerges as the second hottest hitter on the team.

(photo by Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
*A combination of Ethier, Crawford, Hanley, & AJ combine to go 11 for 22 with 7 RBI and 8 runs scored.

*The Dodgers score a season high 14 runs.

*The ball club completes the rare feat of a dominating win in an AL Park.

*The team collects 16 hits and has 1.000 OPS on the day.

*(and last but not least) The Dodgers stand alone in first place, the first time this season.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

9-2 Win Over Nats, Insert Expletive Here ~> "_____"!

Want to know how you ruin a 3-game sweep of the Nats and winning string of 20 out of 25 games?    Here's how.

Wow,  I could write a ton of stuff about the happenings in today's game, but I've got to go to work on this Sunday afternoon.  I'll just say this.  Matt Kemp had a great come back going 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs.  His injury in the 9th could have been avoided had he simply ran hard on the play from the get go.  No, I don't blame Mattingly for not pulling him from the game.  Kemp is a major leaguer and he should know how to properly run the bases without injuring himself.  

Regardless of how the 9-2 Dodger win ended.  It's nice to be in first place, if not just for a few hours as all depends on the Giants-D-Backs outcome.  Preliminary reports out of the Dodger clubhouse state that Kemp has a sprained ankle and he will not receive x-rays, nor will he be placed on the disabled list again.  Let's hope the reports are accurate because the Dodgers could really benefit from a Kemp bat like the one seen today.

Dodgers Appear as Front-Runners in Acquiring Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

"MLB.com's Peter Gammons was told that the Dodgers are prepared to offer Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez a contract in the 5-year, $50 million range, which is expected to be enough to sign him.  'Word is Dodgers will go five years, close to $50 million,' a general manager told Gammons.  'If so, he'll be a Dodger.'  Gonzalez, a 26-year -old right-hander, left Cuba earlier this year and was declared a free agent by MLB on Monday.  He's expected to be nearly major league-ready but seems unlikely to make an impact this season.  The Braves, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins and Marlins have also been connected to him."
July 21 - 8:50 AM

Source: Rotoworld.com

The word is out and it appears the Dodgers are front runners in the Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez sweepstakes.  This makes perfect sense as the Los Angeles front office seems to be taking the tactic that 1) International signings are the way to go and 2) when a deal only costs money, something the organization has, then that is the prudent path to take.

With regard to the first point, veteran Cuban asylees are not subject to MLBs slotting restrictions and penalties for paying above their slot amounts.  Essentially that means that international Cuban asylee signings are the way to go and can prove to be lucrative moves.  

Gonzalez has a proven track record in international competition and in the Cuban Serie Nacional, their nation's premier baseball league.  As it was with Yasiel Puig, Gonzalez was banished from playing the last few years due to his attempted defections from the island.  In the end, that may be beneficial to the team that signs him as he has less wear and tear on his arm.  His last stats posted from three years ago show a 2.13 ERA with 6.99/K's per 9.  His fastball sits at 93 MPH with an occasional 95.  He is known to throw an assortment of pitches aside from his fastball that include a forkball (that has cutter type movement), a changeup and curve.  

(photo by Kim Klement/US Presswire)

Gonzalez is mentioned in some quarters as already being major league ready and Colletti is quoted as late as yesterday as stating that the Dodgers will not attempt to acquire another starter from a major league team.  This probably means that he thinks he may believe he has a deal with Gonzalez, who is represented by the same agent as Puig.

With the Dodgers now in place with 6 starters, (as Fife and Capuano cover the 5th spot), Gonzalez may not pitch in the majors this year.  But injuries have seemed to be a norm this season for the Dodgers.  It would be surprising to not see Gonzalez make his MLB debut in 2013 if signed by the Dodgers,  He may prove to be quite valuable during the pennant stretch while facing division foes unfamiliar with his stuff during the crucial games in September.