Tag Archives: Dodgers

Road Trippin on NBA.com

I checked out some random basketball team’s site to see the hype over whatever new player(s) they acquire. One thing lead to another….. And next thing you know, I’m checking out every team’s site to see what they’re offering at this juncture of the offseason. Time to depart….

I had to get out of Sacramento, where they’re resorting to an image of Lebron, D-Wade, and Bosh. I was hoping for some more hype about Demarcus Cousins, or maybe even more Tyreke. Instead, they’re trying to get people to sign up and buy the “Lebron Quarter Season” package…..

SACRAMENTO KINGS

First stop will be the Golden State Warriors. Naturally, the main billboard is “Warriors Acquire David Lee,” and I’ve got to admit the interview with Lee sort of made me a believer. The trade seemed a little lopsided, but once I remembered they’ll still have Curry, Monta, and Biedrins playing with Lee, I’ll be alright.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

I guess it’s better that they take the high road and not even acknowledge it, but the Lakers were the one team I was hoping would have something up about Miami. Something like a big graphic saying “We Still Have Kobe” with five championship trophies behind him. Instead it’s business as usual…. Oh yeah, the Clippers are here too. Ah, seems as though they’ve picked up Ryan Gomes and Randy Foye. *yawn*

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

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Time to head east on the 10 and see how Phoenix is holding up without Amare. They have a nice Thank You on there for him, but it’s okay because We locked up Channing Frye for five years!!!”

PHOENIX SUNS

Not much going on in San Antonio (as usual), Houston, or New Orleans, so we’ll veer north toward Dallas and Oklahoma City. Dallas is, not surprisingly, all about keeping Dirk. Only problem is, didn’t they already? Someone update the site! Meanwhile, in OKC, there’s an Anti-Lebron being born. Kevin Durant basically proposed to the Thunder franchise and the state of Oklahoma. The honeymoon is in full force….

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The MLB Playoffs on TBS!

TBS PostseasonThe MLB Divisional Series was kicked off today, and the most exciting game TBS has covered so far was the last game of the regular season. Not to say if your a Philly (won 5-1) or Yankee (won 7-2) fan it wasn’t a good day, but it just wasn’t all that exciting for the rest of us. The Dodgers game is the only one that’s been interesting so far. The Dodgers are currently up 3-2 going into the bottom of the 5th and are surprisingly ripping Carpenter. So this game could be promising! Watching the playoffs and the amazing last game of the regular season it has made me realize I just don’t enjoy any announcer combos baseball has to offer. Maybe they’re dumbing it down too much for the people who don’t know what’s going on, but I rarely hear anything remotely insightful. Maybe they use the sideline reporters too much, I think Craig Sager always scares me a little the first time I see him everynight. He gives me that hide your kids because I don’t know about this guy vibe, but at least we don’t have to hear them more than five or six times a game. One thing I’m a HUGE fan of TBS for having, is the pitch-by-pitch K zone up they throw in the corner for every batter. It almost makes up for the weak announcing crews that are scared to make anyone sound like a bad person. I’d love to hear them call guys out, and stop playing the soft story line. We need some more Charles Barkley’s on the air!

You can vote for more than one combo of announcers if you really think they are equally good… Is that even possible?


Can the Giants Win the NL Wild Card? Hmmm…

We all know the Giants’ strength, pitching, and we all know their weakness, hitting.  Pretty straightforward, right?  The question is, which will prevail as SF heads down the stretch in a tight race for the National League Wild Card berth.  At the start of this post, the Giants and Colorado Rockies were tied for the Wild Card spot.  However, by the time we’re done here, it looks as though the Rockies will have a one game advantage.  Though, since the Giants have been the frontrunners for a long stretch prior to this, many have posed the question whether they can hang on or not.  Typically, when you’re nine games over .500, you’re talking about winning the division.  But the Dodgers don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, so Giants’ fans are left focusing on the Wild Card.

Tim Lincecum appears to be getting more and more unhittable with each start.  Matt Cain has always showed potential, but lacked run support.  This year, though, he’s finally turned the corner, and the offense has seemingly turned it with him – for his starts at least.  Problem is, after that you’re looking at Randy Johnson, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez.  Johnson may only get worse as the year goes on.  He’s currently sideline with a strained left shoulder, which doesn’t bode well for a pitcher in his 40s.  He’s already slated to be out longer than originally anticipated, so we won’t see the Big Unit until next month at the earliest.  Despite throwing the first no-hitter in 30+ years for the Giants, SF fans will be the first to say they don’t exactly go in expecting a W when Sanchez is on the mound.  He’s had his moments, and he looked great when he put those moments together for 9 full innings 10 days ago.  Tonight, he went 6 innings giving up 3 earned runs.  That is even considered a great game for him.  Then there’s Barry Zito.  I don’t want to kick a guy while he’s down, so I’m going to refrain from talking about Zito for the rest of his career presumably.

On the offensive side, Pablo Sandoval is having a well-documented breakout year, but when you look down the rest of the order, it looks very Athletic-like, numbers-wise.  It’s not like there’s really any veteran players who are due to break out any time soon either.  The offense is, and most likely, will be anemic for the remainder of the year.  Therefore, it seems logical that they need to trade for a bat.  They have two young pitchers who could net the offensive help they need, but the front office seems pretty locked in on Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, so they don’t appear to be going anywhere.

I think the only move that makes sense would be to acquire one more veteran pitcher who can turn it on down the stretch.  It’s often assumed that the Giants have two guaranteed wins each time through the rotation: Lincecum and Cain.  Problem is, they almost have three guaranteed losses each round with Zito, Sanchez, and Johnson fill-in, Ryan Sadowski.  I know what you’re saying. “Sadowski has a 1.00 ERA!”  But, go look at Vin Mazzaro’s stats.  Tell me their first three starts don’t look identical, and then look at what Mazzaro’s done since then.  Ok? Ok.

Basically, the Giants will be LUCKY to play .500 ball the rest of the way.  I project them winning 7 of every 15 games, and quite frankly, that won’t be enough.  BUT, they are locked in a playoff race, and at this point in the season, that’s all a team can ask for.


Doin Work MLB Power Rankings

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The first Doin Work MLB Power Rankings! Sure there may be a few surprises in here, but where else can you see a westcoast biased rankings!?! I would think it should be a little refreshing after always hearing an East Coast point of view! ChadBillingsleyFeel free to rip the placement of any of the teams, but this is our rundown of the league through 6/18.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – They have the best record in the league, with Juan Pierre leading the team in average after Manny’s suspension. The team hasn’t been hitting as well the last couple of weeks, but their pitching is the real story, as they lead the majors with a 3.59 ERA and are holding opponents to a league low .235 BA.

2. Boston Red Sox – The much maligned Boston squad has surged of late to become the second team to 40 wins.  They’ve ridden the success of the best home record in the majors (23-8), as well as the best record against their division (20-8).  We all know about their success against the Yankees this year, but what some might not know is they’ve struggled against the AL West (5-10).  Only the Orioles have a worse record.

3. Texas Rangers – Somehow the Rangers and manager Ron Washington have figured out ways to win in Texas. Will it will last through the t1_ronwashingtondog days of August when pitchers usually start getting blown up in Arlington? We will see. Everyone knows their offense will hit, but can Millwood and Feldman keep rolling the way they have?

4. Anaheim Angels – This might be a little high, but the Angels have the longest current win streak in the majors.  They’re also a proven contender whose main concern in the early going was injuries.  They were without John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, and Ervin Santana but managed to stay afloat.  Now, all three are back and the Angels look poised to reclaim control of the AL West.  Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver have combined for a 14-6 record.  If Lackey and Santana can regain their form, this team could be dangerous.

5. Philadelphia Phillies – They are (36-28) with a 3 game lead in their division, but they have struggled at home (13-18), which has knocked the reining champs down a few spots in the rankings. The placement of Ibanez on the DL probably won’t hurt them as much as their bullpen has this year as they rank 26th in pitching. They’ve made up for the pitching woes with the fifth most runs scored and the 3rd most HR’s in the league.

6. Milwakee Brewers – They seem to be back on track, winning their last 3 at Cleveland in a series that saw them put up 30 runs.  They gave up 25, which could be reason to be alarmed, but they came away with the W each time.  Assuming they’ve bounced back from the previous stretch where they lost 6 of 7, Milwaukee should remain atop an NL Central that is very winnable.  They currently have, by far, the best intra-divisional record at 21-10. Prince Fielder, who leads the majors in RBI, heads up an explosive offense.  Their fate will lie with their rotation.  Yovani Gallardo is pitching like an all-star, but Suppan, Looper, Bush, and Parra will need to pick their game up to help the Brewers win the Central.

7. New York Yankees – Since A-Rod came back from the DL, Teixeira is on a tear with 15 homers and 38 RBI’s since June 9th. The Bronx bombers still have question marks on the pitching side as they are currently ranked 26th in ERA. The main question is whether the new ballpark is evening out their superior batting lineup, as they give up nearly as many runs as they score in the new version of Arlington. So far they have fared well at their new home (21-13), and have gotten lucky at times as well (Castillo comes to mind). They are only 3 games back of Boston in a very tough AL East division.

8. Toronto Blue Jays – They’ve proved they’re for real this year, especially on the offensive side.  If everything goes according to plan, they should finish 3rd in the AL East!  The only question mark for the Blue Jays has been their pitching, and that just got a lot more complicated with the loss of Roy Halladay.

9. St. Louis Cardinals – Big Albert has been on a tear lately slugging 10 homers with 21 RBI’s over the last month which has helped them stay albert-pujols-klutho2within a game of the division leading Brewers. St. Louis boasts the sixth best era in the league (3.47), which has been a key in their success. Carpenter has been stellar since coming off the DL giving up a total of 9 runs in 41 innings.

10. Tampa Bay Rays – Tampa has been strong lately going 12-5 over their last 17. They are currently 3 games over .500 for the first time this season. They are determined to show that last year wasn’t a fluke, and have added to the congestion atop the AL East. They currently are +72 in run differential which is the highest in the league, so you have to figure sooner or later they are going to go on a good stretch in the win column.

11. Colorado Rockies – They have been as hot as any team in baseball, since they fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracey they’ve gone a solid 14-4 since the switch. Their early season schedule was one of the toughest in baseball, which is why I think they struggled out of the gate. Their recent power surge has raised them to 8th in runs scored and they are now tied for 8th in HR’s in the MLB.

12. Detroit Tigers – Granderson and Inge are leading the charge as the Tigers look to be what everyone thought they would be last year. I would’ve put them higher but they have lost four in a row including two to lowly Pittsburgh.

13. New York Mets – This is just about the area in the rankings where the contenders segue into the pretenders.  The Mets are still in the upper echelon of MLB teams, but have yet to show they can put together a full season.  Luis Castillo’s game losing drop seemed an awful lot like September foreshadowing though!

14. San Francisco Giants – The offense has been bad, as expected, but they’ve managed to stay above .500 for some time now, thanks in large part to Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who are likely to keep up their pace.  Anywhere above .500 should keep the Giants in the wild card race.

15. Cincinatti Reds –  They’ve managed to stay afloat despite injuries to Edinson Volquez, Edwin Encarnacion, and I guess Joey Votto.  Add to that poor starts to the season by Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings.  If the Reds can get healthy, even they could make a run at the division.

16. Chicago Cubs – Currently sitting in 4th place, but only 4 games back of the first place Brewers.  The Cubs need to figure out two things if they’re going to make any noise this season: how to win on the road and how to win in their division.

17. Minnesota  Twins – The Twins have been extremely inconsistent thus far, but they always end up finding a way to win.  At 34-34, they are still Justin-Morneau_2very much in the wild card picture, but they’ll need the team to click altogether to make a run at the postseason.  Their pitching won’t dominate, but  it’ll keep them close and games will be winnable with Mauer and Morneau leading the way at the plate.

18. Chicago White Sox – It appears that the starting pitching has turned the corner with many great outings lately, led by Jose Contreras only giving up 3 hits in his last two starts (16 IP).  The offense will have to pick it up soon if they are going to contend.

19. Florida Marlins – Ten different pitchers have started games for the Marlins this year.  However, Josh Johnson has been the only one to prove he belongs. They’ve made attempts to get back to .500 but can’t quite get there.

20. Seattle Mariners – The M’s started the season making some people believe they would be a contender in the West, but since the hot start they have struggled and look about the same as the last few seasons lackluster performances.

21. Atlanta Braves – They haven’t been consistent and don’t look to be taking the NL East anytime soon, with a few good teams now residing in their division. Chipper needs to break out of his slump for them to make any kind of a move.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh isn’t in last in their division for once. Somehow they have kept it going after trading away a top player (McClouth) for MORE prospects. I guess they’re just stockpiling them for something good to come along. Their pitching has kept them in games as they are currently ranked 13th overall in ERA.

23. Oakland A’s – A win against the Dodgers bumped them up a spot, but they have looked awful in the field and at the plate. Not the recipe for success for any team. Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera seem to be battling it out for the biggest bust on the team.

24. Cleveland Indians – Like many teams at the bottom of the rankings and standings, breaks just don’t come their way. They look good for a week and terrible the next week. Their pitching has been awful this year which, makes it hard for any team to compete. They are ranked last in ERA.

25. Houston Astros – Tejada is the only bright spot on the team being sUMLQLP22nd in the NL in BA, and first in doubles (23). As we get closer to the All-Star break it looks as though we’ll see what players they are going to trade away. I saw the Vegas odds on a Houston firesale at 2/1.

26a. San Diego Padres – Not much to say here, except Adrian Gonzalez’s NL home run lead was just taken from him by Pujols. They had a ten game winning streak, but came crashing back to earth by losing 11 out of 17 after the winning streak.

26b. Arizona Diamondbacks – At least the weather’s nice there, and they have Danny Haren. It was basically a matchup of Gonzalez and Haren to take the coveted 26a spot! As close to a tie as you’ll see on a power rankings!

28. Baltimore Orioles – Being in the toughest division in baseball they have shown everyone how to struggle. They have been outscored by opponents by 56 runs. It’s the largest run differential in the league. Oh and Matt Wienters has arrived if you didn’t know, oh you did, cool.

29. Kansas City Royals – They probably don’t deserve to be this low, but they haven’t shown anything that would make any fan of them care what their rank is. They have some pitching as they lead the league in complete games (8).

30. Washington Nationals – They are 2nd to last in pitching and 20th in hitting. They need to sign Strasberg and get him on the mound this year for them to move out of the cellar. They’re on pace to lose over 100 games.


Manny for Homecoming King

Let the debate begin:  Should Manny Ramirez represent the Dodgers and Major League Baseball in the 2009 All-Star game?

Who needs a hat??

Who needs a hat??

No one can deny the talent Manny possesses, and the fact that he is a true All-Star of the game of Baseball.   Few know of the work ethic he has established to maintain his legendary hand-eye coordination and balance  in the batters box.  He brings joy to so many with his antics and boyish love of the game.  Even the critics have to laugh at the strange plays that develope more frequently around him than any other leftfielder in recent memory.  Rarely do you see one outfielder go out of his way to get involved in a relay throw from another outfielder, or high-five fans at the wall in the middle of a double play.  Rarely?  How bout never.  That’s just “Manny being Manny”, a prime example of the forgiveness he’s afforded.

And through all of the good times, there seems to be a strong continued support for Manny even now after a 50-game suspension for breaking the leaugue’s banned substance policy.  No matter the broken hearts and the embarassing deconstruction of his own Section in Dodger Stadium, there is still an overriding majority of fans who support his cause.  None of this is more evident than the fact that he trails Carlos Beltran for the third outfielder in All-Star voting by less than 35,000 votes as of today.  

Manager Joe Torre expressed his position, saying he didn’t think Manny should take part if voted in.  He also obliged that Manny would probably feel the same way at this point.  So why does Manny continue to receive so many votes from his fans?  It’s for the same reason Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds were such polarizing athletes in the media and in the fan’s homes:  Persona.  While Bonds and McGwire shunned the media and presented a holier-than-thou attitude for most of their careers (ok, McGwire lightened up a tiny bit at the end), Manny has always been the exact opposite. 

In front of fans and the media, he has always played the role of an average Joe who happens to have an exceptional talent.  Manny is jovial, he’s carefree, he’s so damn talented, and the fact of the matter is fans have and always will appreciate Manny.  They continue to ignore the contract disputes and the back talk he’s become famous for while airing his disputes in the media.  If nothing else, Manny is this: Popular.  And let’s not forget the All-Star ballot is a popularity contest won over and over again by good players in big markets.  The player with the better first half does not always win, and in no case (outside of farewell tours for retirees) will this be more evident than in 2009.

Manny being voted in this year will make for more fodder than journalists will be able to keep up with, and we are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.  As a fan of Baseball and spectacle, Thank You Manny Ramirez for creating this ongoing debate for months to follow.

Manny completes a triple play, but gets credit for only two outs.

Manny completes a triple play, but gets credit for only two outs.