Thanks – we needed that

I’m not going to say that Dodger fans needed this one, this 7-4 victory today over Baltimore, because for one thing, it seemed unlikely following Chad Billingsley’s latest health calamity that “this one” was going to come. Certainly, after replacement starter Stephen Fife gave up three runs in a 35-pitch first inning, “this one” seemed very unlikely to wander the Dodgers’ way.

Even I, after my funereal post Saturday, had my own set of Washington Generals jokes at the ready in the early innings. “You don’t see the Washington Generals’ fans having trouble holding it together, do you?” Such a great, great line. How I savored the thousands of retweets and acknowledgments of superiority it would engender. Yet I held off, because I didn’t want to have egg on my face if the Dodgers surrendered their three-run deficit as easily as they surrendered a three-run lead the previous morning.

And sure enough, it happened. Baltimore’s pitching fell apart in a four-run Dodger fifth, Los Angeles added insurance runs in the seventh and ninth, and Fife, J.P. Howell, Matt Guerrier, Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen and Brandon League combined to shut out the Orioles over the final six innings. Just like that, the zephyr (to use a Vin Scully favorite) was every so gently at our backs, and the Dodgers had won.

We might not have needed it, but if only for a day, it sure was a relief.

Special praise is due to Mark Ellis, who drove in the Dodgers’ first three runs with a sacrifice fly and a two-run single, and also made a superb defensive play ranging far to his right with the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the eighth. For a No. 2 hitter, Ellis has a disappointing two walks all season, but he is batting .311, including .435 (10 for 23) with runners on base, and playing his usual steady defense.

Matt Kemp struck out with the bases loaded and two out in the third, but followed that with hits in three consecutive at-bats, showing a ton of seventh-inning hustle in stealing second and then scoring on an A.J. Ellis single, capped by a nifty slide at home. Though still homerless, Kemp went 8 for 22 (.364) with a walk this past week.

Every little bit helps.

  • Anonymous

    I never wondered, but so that’s who that was. Thanks, we needed that.

  • David Williamson

    It does help that Jake Arietta isn’t that good. I will say Kemp deserves some credit for stealing two bases against Wieters this weekend, as the Orioles catcher has caught 7 of 9 non-Kemp baserunners on the year.

  • foul tip

    Good for some smiles dept. , maybe even a few belly laughs. Many here can relate–

    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/45045154/

  • foul tip

    DM was concerned about starting 3 lefties back to back. But, if the Mets still struggle against them like they used to, it could work out well. Can’t really call it strategy, since there wasn’t much choice.

    Odds are at least one of those lefties will get a win, the usual one. And for Ryu, let’s hope. For Lilly, let’s pray.

  • Anonymous

    Just back from six days off the grid in Vancouver. Did I miss anything?

    Oh.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    That win along with the coming around of Kemp has made today’s off-day and our immediate future look brighter…It would be nice to see our offense get consistent where they can pick up our pitching now

  • Anonymous

    Matthew slide yesterday and the energy he showed was awesome!
    Plus his final hit was a rocket up the middle, solid wood on that swing. Hopefully he has found his hitting stroke.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Any news on Billz elbow?

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

      His MRI is scheduled for Tuesday.

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        I won’t lie, I am nervous. I like and feel for Chad too, if anything more serious is wrong. And as a Dodger fan, with Greinke out for two months, having Bills out for extended time will really hurt.

  • Anonymous

    Trading the Juan Pierre-impersonation of Matt Kemp for the real thing should start to pay dividends soon.

    • Anonymous

      DT Flashback Moment —– >>>> “Pierres-ville”


      I miss Juan Pierre.

      I miss his “Beast Mode” t-shirt he wore under his uni….
      I miss the way he always threw the ball to his neighboring outfielder when catching the 3rd out….
      I miss the ‘affinity’ that most “DTers” had for him and all comments related to him…
      I miss his high sturrups….
      I miss the way his helmet used to look too big for his little head….
      Ahhhh…

      Wherever you are little guy, this one’s for you, Juan Pierre! :-)

      • Anonymous

        Juan’s biggest flaw was in being born left-handed. If he were a righty and played shortstop or second-base (and had the arm for it…), his skill-set would have made him a much coveted player. If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, what a swell Christmas it would be. I have a lot of respect for Juan for what he was… World Series Rings, million $ contracts… he doesn’t need to apologize to anyone.

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

          Your point about Pierre explains why Gordon should not be moved to CF. He has to try to make it as a shortstop, otherwise you’re killing his value.

          • Anonymous

            Even as a 2B, Pierre didn’t hit well enough to merit being on a major league roster. With his lack of power, he had to be able to get on base more than once every 4 at bats.

            Being born left-handed is never a flaw. If he had been right-handed, he wouldn’t have had as much success as he did. His numbers against lefties are even more atrocious than against righties. If he were right-handed, it’s safe to assume his numbers against righties would be just as awful. There are many more righties than lefties, so his overall average would be much lower.

            Gordon will stand or fall based on whether he can get on base 4 out of 10 times. If he does that, it doesn’t matter where he plays–2nd, short, or CF. The Dodgers have a pretty good CF right now, and a decent backup in Crawford. So 2b or SS seem the most logical place. If only Jackie Robinson were around today, he could play his natural position.

  • Anonymous

    Yes….much, much needed victory.


    I’ve held off on being too critical this season for a good many reasons.


    I just know that the day I come in here and ‘go off on some intense, overly-critical rant….devoid of any statistical perspective, and laden with incorrect names and dates’….. You know, like I used to… then this club will make a chump out of me and go on a huge winning streak.


    I will just ask a couple of questions today…
    1. What’s the latest on Capuano? … He was a pro. He took the ‘pen assignment in stride.

    2. Bills to the DL? … who were all those people saying we needed to purge the staff?
    3. Any aftermath (clubhouse grumblings) about Lilly’s attitude towards his “assignment?”

  • Anonymous

    If Caston hired me to replace Colletti, this is what I would do…DFA Uribe. We’d also have to DFA Cruz before sending him to Albuquerque. Making Sellers an Isotope would be a lot quicker. Bring up Gordon and Castellanos. Gordon is the shortstop, at least until he convinces me he’ll never improve. I’ll hedge my bet by having him learn to play center field to relieve Kemp as needed. Punto and Hairston play third until Hanley returns. Punto relieves Ellis as necessary, Hairston and Castellanos replace Crawford and Ethier against tough left-handers. I would try to replace Schumacher with a better middle infielder. Next off-season I’d try to move Ethier (because his contract makes him more trade-able than Crawford and Kemp), preferably for a good shortstop. (Real motive: Open a position for Puig.)

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      I’d do many things differently, but just to comment on one of your points, not sure why you’d take Crawford out when facing a lefty.

      Crawford so far this year against lefties:
      .474 .565 .789 1.354

      And actually Ethier is hitting slightly better against lefties so far, but his overall numbers are just bad right now.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Great stuff on twitter about Matt Kemp, Jon. Pretty spot-on. Hope everyone sees it. Thankfully most of the Dodger fans I know personally are not among those questioning him in any way–though we all share a frustration and disappointment that he’s not there yet. These things take time and when he’s fully back I’ll be cheering loudly.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      Completely agree. Also, if anybody seriously wanted to trade Kemp this would not be a good time to do so. I have no interest in the Dodgers trading him, but you’d think they’d do it when his value was higher. Though the catch to that is if his value is higher you should have no desire to trade him.

      Anyways I love the level headed analysis we get from Jon and the people who frequent this site.

  • Jason R

    Jon, thought you might find this interesting (and/or amusing): “I’m convinced that the Dodgers should trade manager Don Mattingly to the Angels for manager Mike Scioscia”

    http://www.laobserved.com/intell/2013/04/sports_beat_-_april_21_2013.php

    • Anonymous

      As if the Anaheimers would take him…

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        I don’t want Scioscia for that matter.

  • Anonymous

    I think we should expect Bills will need TJ surgery, and be relieved if it’s anything less. Still, he could have had it done some time ago.

  • Anonymous

    I hope that Adrian continues to bat third. Just that change alone should bring in more runs with Crawford and M. Ellis being superb table setters.

  • http://twitter.com/mixdr077 mixdr077

    Jon,

    I know I’ve told you this before, but I just wanted to say that I think you are an absolutely brilliant writer, and I appreciate the efforts you have put forth over the years. You have a way of expressing my sentiments although you are much more eloquent than I. I wish I gave two hoots or a tinkers damn about the entertainment industry just so that I would be more apt to devour more of your prose. Keep it up boss…keep it up.

    Maybe not the best place to ask, but how’s the family? I genuinely enjoyed reading about them over the years. My wife and I just found out that we are going to have another baby! One more Dodger fan to add to the world (lucky number 6!)

    Anyhow….go blue!

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

      Thanks! Family is doing pretty well. Congrats on the new baby!!

  • foul tip

    Couldn’t follow the game Fife pitched the other day, so a question–

    First, background…in ST there was a story that the team let Fife go back to a stretching regimen that he used in college, and the result was added velocity the team hadn’t seen before….95 or 96, even.

    “Fife has said that the Dodgers Minor League staff allowed him to return
    to his college pregame routine, which included some unconventional
    stretching exercises that his previous organization, the Boston Red Sox,
    made him ditch.”

    Long way to ask a short question: did he hit those numbers last time out?

    If interested, second item down in this ST roundup:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130321&content_id=43093774&notebook_id=43099032&vkey=notebook_la&c_id=la

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

    NPUT