Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Friday, July 19, 2013

Offensive Pop and the Bullpen Chalk up the Dodgers First Second Half Win

A steamy night, and a couple of dingers, combined with stellar pitching from both starters and relievers got the Dodgers off to a winning note following the all star break.  Homers by Hanley Ramirez in the 3rd and Andre Ethier in the 9th led the Dodgers to a clutch 3-2 win in the Nation's capital over the Nationals.  Once again they are over the .500 mark with a 48-47 record.
Hanley Ramirez circles the bases after hitting his 9th homer of the season in the 3rd inning of tonight's action. (photo by Pablo Martinez Mosivais/AP)

Ricky Nolasco worked in and out trouble during his 5 1/3 innings of work.  Again the Dodger relief corps shut down the opposition.  Jose Dominguez, Paco Rodriguez, Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen toed the rubber for the Dodger bullpen.  While Belisario (4-5) faced the fewest number of hitters and threw only two pitches, it was the Venezuelan sinkerballer that picked up his 4th win.  

Andre Ethier led off the ninth with a homer into the right field seats off of Rafael Soriano.  Ethier is now three for three off the Washington reliever and his homer couldn't have come at a more crucial time as the Dodger hitters had failed to reach base for 15 straight hitters.  Ethier has picked up his offensive numbers the last few weeks, raising his average from .225 up to .269 in the past month.  Few have recognized his defensive contributions too, as he has moved into center field to spell Matt Kemp and handled the position competently.

Much talk over the past few weeks has been about Ramirez and Puig, but Ethier's contributions shouldn't be ignored.  He's not tearing things up, but he has been steady.  Ethier is the one outfielder that has remained injury free this season, and now he seems to be warming up as the pennant stretch begins.


Photos that were revealed  on twitter today showed Nationals Park as being somewhat disfigured in center field for the start for the second half of play.  A Paul McCartney concert took place there and as a result, some of the outfield grass was damaged and is showing some brown spots.  Center field was the location of the stage where tons of equipment was in place for a July 12 show.

Yes, there are some noticeable discolored areas, but could it be any worse than Oakland, San Francisco, or San Diego after the Raiders, 49ers or Chargers would rip up the playing surface as little as 24 hours before some games were played?
We are enjoying an age where pristine playing surfaces are demanded in the game.  Back in the 70s and 80s and somewhat in the 90s multi-purpose stadiums were really in vogue as penny pinching owners cared little about playing surface conditions and were quick to accept the additional revenue produced by multiple sports in venues, even if the configuration for seating wasn’t adequate and the playing surfaces were subpar.
Today, we see the occasional concert in baseball venues but the days of football/baseball venues are gone, (with the exception of Oakland).  Remember when it was the norm to see the football grid lines and yard markers showing their linear patters in the middle of the baseball diamond?  I remember watching Mike Piazza and Eric Karros fooling around in the mid-90s at Candlestick, running mock football plays and breaking out of three point stances as they ran posts, outs and fly patterns in the Candlestick outfield along the faded chalked football lines while pre-game batting practice was taking place.
Then there was Dodger Stadium in its inaugural season when the grass wasn’t quite green enough on opening day.  O’Malley had a solution, and that was painting the grass green.  At least in Nationals Park, the brown patches that aren’t aesthetically pleasing aren’t getting spray painted and the grass remains in places and isn’t torn to shreds as so many fields were after football games.  I imagine that discolored areas of the D.C. field will get a lot of grounds crew TLC and tons of water in the next few days and it’ll come back to its original green glory.
One last thing about playing surfaces.  I can’t help but remember a comment made by Andy Van Slyke, (Scott’s dad),  about a specific playing surface in the 90s.  As a Pirate, Van Slyke dove for a catch and came up with a jersey full of disgusting tobacco juice.  It was a game against Philadelphia and Lenny Dykstra was roaming the center field area for the opposing Phillies.

“Playing centerfield after Dykstra is out there was like playing the field in a toxic waste dump,” he said.  I’d imagine that a guy like Dykstra could do similar damage as what the McCartney concert did to Nationals Park.

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