What so proudly we hailed

Pretty glorious night all around. The five Weismans didn’t get out the door until 6 p.m., but we were in our seats by the start of the second inning, saw a svelte, 144-minute 4-1 Dodger victory punctuated by five strikeouts of the final six Cincinnati batters, took in one of the best fireworks shows at Dodger Stadium in years (a perk of new ownership?) and were out of the stadium and back at home less than four hours after we had left. It’s 10:15 p.m. as I start typing this, and the kids are tucked away in their beds.

So sure, we only heard the Dodgers’ three-run first inning on the car radio, which started with four consecutive hits at the top of the order, meaning that we only witnessed two Dodger base knocks after we arrived. And sure, Dee Gordon let the air out of his 30th stolen base of the year by dislocating his thumb. But otherwise, like I said, glorious and svelte.

Assuming Gordon goes on the disabled list, as Ken Gurnick points out is likely in the above-linked story, your starting shortstop for the next two or three weeks is probably Luis Cruz, who went 2 for 3 with a walk to raise his three-game on-base percentage to .400. That will please those who had grown tired of Gordon, but the Roadrunner had upped his OBP in his past 12 games to .346 while stealing 10 bases in 11 attempts. Aside from the two errors against the Mets, you started to see improvement in Gordon if you were open to it, so it seems a shame to lose him now.

Certainly, this is nothing new for the Dodgers, and the epilogue to the Gordon saga is that when he went out with his injury in the eighth inning, it was Mark Ellis pinch-running for him in his first action since May 18. Ellis will ideally return quickly to his form of the season’s first six weeks, when he had a .373 OBP and flawless defense.

With the Giants losing again to Washington shortly after I finished my morning cereal, Los Angeles is back in first place, and five regular-season games from now, heading toward the July 31 trading deadline, could have a 2-3-4 in the lineup of Ellis, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Hard to worry about the situation at shortstop when you can fantasize about that. (And yes, you just saw me getting excited about Mark Ellis.)

Just to wrap up the night, Aaron Harang allowed only four baserunners and a run in seven innings, one of his best outings of the year, before Ronald Belisario struck out the side in the eighth  (lowering his ERA to 0.99) and Kenley Jansen fanned two in a perfect ninth to end it. After Reds star Joey Votto doubled in the first inning, he, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce combined to go 0 for 10 against Dodger pitching.

  • Anonymous

    Beli and Jansen at the moment are untouchable

  • Anonymous

    Once Ethier, Kemp and Ellis are playing regularly, with Cruz at SS, it looks like Herrera is left to play 3B.  That doesn’t sound bad, particularly given our current situation.  Of course we need Mattingly to agree on that.  Can Ellis bat leadoff, or would that fall on Herrera?

    Congrats on finally getting a decent fireworks show :)

  • Anonymous

    Way to go Harang.  Take that any day of the week.

  • Anonymous

    why oh why do base stealers INSIST on sliding headfirst. I know it has been going on for more than a generation, but that had ugly written all over it. Dee actually could have busted up his left thumb as well the way he pushed into the 3B foot.  

    • Anonymous

      It’s probably six of one, half dozen of the other…. Before head first sliding became popular, base runners had more foot and leg injuries. Personally, and not being an active player, I think head-first is probably safer in the long run. A good, stiff sliding mitt would probably eliminate most hand injuries. Catchers certainly aren’t ashamed to wear protective equipment.

  • Anonymous

    Sliding headfirst is suicidal, in terms of your career. Am I correct that Rickey Henderson popularized it? Whatever happened to the hook slide and fadeaway?

    • Anonymous

      They are alive and well, they are seen quite often.

  • Anonymous

    I will use Cruz as leadoff, MEllis in the 2nd spot.  AJEllis have to de dropped to 8th.  Rememmber he is a catcher and he is beginning to get tired and is a long season, halfway to go…

  • Anonymous

    Medical studies have shown that sliding headfirst is actually a bit safer than sliding in feet first. While you can hurt your hands, and possibly your neck if it really goes wrong (as with an ASU player recently), that’s about it. Feet first sliding more frequently leads to traumatic injuries to ankles and knees that can take a long time to heal.

    • Anonymous

      your on to something BTimmer, although what happened to me while sliding the traditional way was a dislocated left shoulder of all things…

      • Anonymous

        Since I last checked medical literature on this topic, another researcher said feet first slides were more dangerous, then another said head first, then another said it was different for men and women. So I gave up looking.

  • Anonymous

    For those who are interested in who the Dodgers are actually considering trading for – rather than speculation by armchair wannabes – check out the latest from Gurnick:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120704&content_id=34462302

    Scroll down to the heading “Deadline has Dodgers ramping up scouting efforts” (that refers to scouting other teams for players to trade for, not scouting for prospects).  Sounds like we’re trying to trade for really good players, not league-average players, thank goodness!  I hate to think how much we’ll have to give up, but if you can land a top-caliber player, it can be worth it.  (Also thank goodness we’re now in a position where we can absorb payroll as part of the deal, presumably giving up less in players.)

    • Anonymous

      OK, I’ll take Corey Hart…. Ramirez too old, too expensive…

      • Anonymous

        I’m hoping we might only be looking for a couple of years stopgap at third base until the Seager kid is ready, in which case Ramirez would fit the bill nicely. And payroll isn’t as big a concern now as in the past.

        I noticed they mentioned Hamels but not Greinke, and I’m not sure why.

  • Anonymous

    Next year’s realignment is going to affect the schedule of all the teams in MLB, not just those of the affected divisions (AL West, NL Central).  Looking at the Dodgers, I assume we will still play 15 interleague games, and 18 games against each of the other teams in the division.  In the past, the remaining 75 games were split among 11 teams in the other NL divisions, and we played 6 games (home-and-away game series of three games each) against most of them, 7-9 games against a few of them.  Starting next year, those remaining 75 games will instead be split among 10 teams, so there will be more season series of 7-9 games rather than only 6.  I’m guessing that means a lot more four-game series than in past seasons.  I don’t know whether this means there will also be more season series of 9 games (presumably three 3-game series) like we did with Houston last year.

    • Anonymous

       You’re making an awful lot of assumptions there. I would think that the necessity for an interleague game to be played somewhere virtually every night of the year (with an odd number of teams in each league that’s a giarantee if the season isn’t to be shortened by 12 games or so) may well mean more interleague games than now and a consequent reduction of intra=league – maybe even intra-division – games.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I’m making assumptions, but what you say is not true.  Every year since 2001, there have been 252 interleague games per year.  That’s more than enough to have one interleague series going on on any given day, occasionally more, without increasing the number of interleague games overall. They will just be spread out over the entire season, rather than playing them all in a concentrated period of a few weeks.

  • Anonymous

    So you missed the Dodgers actually hitting and scoring runs, aside from that insurance run in the 8th. Too bad – it was fun while it lasted. Let’s trust it will return in a couple of weeks.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       An insurance run with no hits, even!

  • foul tip

    After Lee’s trade to Miami it came out that his approval wasn’t needed because the Marlins were not listed in his limited no-trade-to clause.  (Apparently the Dodgers were….)

    So apparently he was outta there, like it or not.  Maybe he can rename his spread “Lonely Cattle Ranch.”

    There was speculation a reason he wouldn’t come to LA was CA income tax, which TX doesn’t have.  Nor FL.  But the restricted team list makes more sense to me.

    Wonder if he now wishes he’d come to LA?  Likely best he didn’t as he didn’t appear to be much if any upgrade.

  • foul tip

    Don’t know that this adds much, but another look at 1B options.  Some outdated and well-known stuff with a bit of new and a few different names.

    Seems to go on premise 1B is biggest need.  I think 3B is at least as big.

    http://mlb.si.com/2012/07/02/dodgers-seek-a-fix-at-first/?sct=mlb_bf2_a4

    Excerpt:  “but even as his salary has increased, general manager Ned Colletti has remained committed to him to the point of absurdity” Yet, to be fair, Ned hasn’t had exactly a free hand or major resources…which also could be a good thing…

    Just a couple lines past think is a link to the excellent analysis of Loney’s swing by Chad M. which made the rounds late last season, I think. 

    What is it they say?  That was then. This is now.  Let’s hope he keeps picking it up like lately.

    • Anonymous

      >> Seems to go on premise 1B is biggest need.  I think 3B is at least as big.

      I agree, on both counts.  Which makes it ironic that the first guy they name was primarily a third baseman until very recently.  :) Unfortunately, Encarnacion is in the same category as Ryan Dempster, guys whose 2012 is way, way better than anything they’ve done previously, with the risk of reverting to their personal mean in the future.

      • Anonymous

        in both 2011 and this season, more than half of his games have been at DH

        • Anonymous

          Yup – just like I said.  Over 600 games (all but three) at third base for 2005-2010, and last year he played more games at third than at first, yet the article evaluates him as a first baseman even though 2012 is the first year where he’s played more first than third and last year was the first year where he’s had any significant playing time elsewhere.

          • Anonymous

            I wasn’t contradicting you, merely posting a fact.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT