The legendary Ernie Harwell, the former Dodger and longtime Tiger broadcaster, passed away today at age 92. He was scheduled to be awarded the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting by Fordham University on Wednesday.
The Dodgers officially placed Rafael Furcal on the disabled list and chose to call up Nick Green instead of Chin-Lung Hu to take his place on the roster, according to their daily press notes. Furcal will be eligible to come off the DL on May 13. Cory Wade was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Green on the 40-man roster.
John Ely is expected to start Thursday for the Dodgers, but is James McDonald ready to reclaim his roster spot? McDonald, who entered the season as a potential member of the starting rotation, is back from his fingernail-induced hiatus and takes a 3.57 ERA into his start today for Albuquerque against Memphis at 5:05 p.m.
McDonald has 16 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings for the Isotopes, but has allowed 25 baserunners despite his five innings of no-hit ball last week. On the other hand, outside of the one-inning start that sent him to the DL, McDonald has allowed four runs and 20 baserunners in 16 2/3 innings (2.16 ERA). The 25-year-old’s career major-league ERA is 3.65.
My wife gave me the most extraordinary anniversary present. It was a 96-page, hardcover photo album (with accompanying text) celebrating our courtship and first 10 years of marriage and nearly eight years as parents. For a guy who finds self-pity less than a hop, skip and jump away, it was like being handed my very own “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The words she wrote were obviously sentimental and loving, but they didn’t hide the struggles we’ve had or the disappointments we have encountered. Sometimes we make bad choices; sometimes we aren’t good enough. Sometimes we do everything right, but it just isn’t meant to be. Marriage isn’t one World Series championship after another, and within it there are frustrations large and small.
But in the most mundane moments can come the most diabolically precious memories.
When I paged through that photo album and saw so many dagger-to-my-heart images piled on top of each other, I was staggered. And it was amazing how many of them occurred on the most uneventful days, days that had no meaning other than bringing smiles to our faces then, and now, and in the future. It’s a book of tear-dropped happiness, not a book of triumphs.
When we’re up against it, when the dreams and peace of mind are deferred, we have to remind ourselves (some days I’m better than this than others) that the little things add up. It isn’t done fairly, and the calculus isn’t comprehensible. But we have to remember. I have to remember. Otherwise, when the time comes, I’ll go straight into missing them without having appreciated them.
With Roberts, the question always comes up about why he was traded by the Dodgers. The Dodgers entered the 2004 stretch run with an overload of outfielders: Steve Finley, Jayson Werth, Milton Bradley, Juan Encarnacion and Shawn Green. Dodger general manager Paul DePodesta basically did Roberts a favor by sending him somewhere where he wouldn’t be buried on the bench, but DePodesta was quoted later as saying it was a trade he truly regretted.
Roberts’ last season was in 2008, and he now works for the Padres as a special assistant.
Elsewhere, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has posted the most in-depth feature in my memory on all-time Dodger Thoughts favorite Pedro Guerrero. Guerrero dug quite a hole for himself off the field, so it’s nice to see some hopeful news about him.
Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Xavier Paul congratulates Andre Ethier for the first of two home runs Sunday.
The third edition of Dodgers Cogs and Dogs was the hardest, in large part because now the injured players have become a bit more relevant than Brad Ausmus. The absences of Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal and Vicente Padilla, among others, complicated matters and made me revisit what exactly I was ranking. The answer: most valuable Dodgers this season to date, though if a little “what have you done for me lately” creeps in here and there, you’ll have to forgive me.
I also factored in what a player’s responsibility has been, which is why, for example, Carlos Monasterios’ sizzling ERA doesn’t place him higher.
Anyway, it’s all in good fun, at least until you get near the bottom …
The magnificent Andre Ethier is the Dodger cover boy these days, a fact you’ll see reflected in Monday’s edition of Dodger Cogs and Dogs. Either homered in his third straight game – homered twice today, in fact – and has an OPS this year of 1.161. But in a quick post summing up today’s 9-3 romp over Pittsburgh, a big tip of the hat must go to two others.
Hiroki Kuroda cruised for eight innings, allowing one run on a walk, four singles and a double over 98 pitches to lower his 2010 ERA to 2.08. Meanwhile, Blake DeWitt had his first career four-hit game, capped by a two-run double that lifted his season on-base percentage over .400 and his OPS to .767.
Kuroda seemed well-positioned to give the Dodgers their first complete game of the season, but Joe Torre brought in George Sherrill to close it out – leading to the day’s one sour moment. Sherrill allowed two runs on three hits and a walk and was bailed out by Ronald Belisario, who got the final out to end the game.
Either had an RBI single in addition to his two-run homer in the fifth and solo shot in the eighth. Matt Kemp singled, doubled, walked, scored three runs and made a diving catch in center. (He was also caught stealing for the sixth time this year on a close play). Ronnie Belliard made a great over-the-shoulder catch while playing third base. James Loney had a double and two singles to raise his home batting average to .500 (19 for 38), and reserves Xavier Paul and Jamey Carroll each had two hits.
The Dodgers are now 7-3 at home, 4-11 on the road.
Saturday at Albuquerque, Isotopes starter Josh Lindblom held Round Rock to one run over four innings, then gave up five hits in a four-run fifth. Lindblom allowed 10 hits in all while striking out seven, all in 94 pitches. Albuquerque lost, 12-7.
While Jon Link gave up another two runs at Albuquerque, Justin Miller pitched a shutout sixth and has an ERA of 2.13 with 13 strikeouts and 13 baserunners in 12 2/3 innings.
Chris Withrow allowed one earned run over six innings in Chattanooga’s 4-2 loss to Tennessee. Withrow allowed three hits and three walks while striking out six. Afer giving up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in his previous outing, Withrow lowered his ERA to 7.04.
Trayvon Robinson, who has been struggling this season at AA, had his second two-hit game (single and triple) in a row for the Lookouts to raise his OPS to .747.
Inland Empire outfielder Kyle Russell also singled and tripled in the ’66ers 8-5 defeat. Russell is on-basing .431 and slugging .598 in 102 plate appearances, with 25 strikeouts. Russell will be 24 in June.
Blake Smith, a 2009 second-round pick, hit two homers for Great Lakes in an 8-6 win. Brett Wallach alllowed four runs in his poorest start of the season, his ERA rising to 2.81.
Update: Joe Torre told reporters today that he did not expect Vicente Padilla back before June. Thursday’s starter has not been decided. Torre added that Manny Ramirez and Jeff Weaver will begin rehab assignments Tuesday in San Bernadino.
Carlos Monasterios allowed three baserunners in each of the first two innings, but just one run.
Fluke or find? Carlos Monasterios continues to make the question an intriguing one.
From a town called Obscurity come the man who continues to make it across the tightrope when the Dodgers need him to, Monasterios this time pitching four innings of one-run ball – while also keying a game-changing three-run third inning with his first career hit – in the Dodgers’ 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh tonight.
Andrew McCutchen can only watch Andre Ethier’s third-inning drive go beyond his reach.
Working with a 75-pitch limit, Monasterios didn’t avoid trouble, giving up three hits (including a first-inning Andrew McCutchen home run) and a walk while hitting two batters in the first two innings, but he held strong in adversity. And in his final two innings, he retired six of seven batters.
In the bottom of the third, Monasterios and Russell Martin singled ahead of Andre Ethier’s three-run homer that gave the Dodgers a lead they didn’t come close to surrendering.
Ramon Ortiz succeeded Monasterios and was even more impressive, striking out five in three innings while allowing two baserunners, and Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a perfect eighth. I haven’t gotten to the Ramon Troncoso story yet, but inexplicably the righty pitched a one-hit ninth in his 16th appearance in 24 games – a 108-game pace. Yeah, this is worth exploring.
In the meantime, the Dodger bullpen, counting the nine innings tonight, has allowed one run in its past 14 2/3 innings.
Ethier and James Loney each added two doubles, and Reed Johnson had a double and a single.
Andrew Lambo, ranked No. 3 among Dodger prospects in the 2010 Maple Street Press Dodger annual, was suspended for 50 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The violation was for a second positive test for a “drug of abuse,” rather than a performance-enhancing substance, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com, who adds more details.
Lambo, a 21-year-old in his second season playing for AA Chatanooga this year, had an on-base percentage of .390 and slugging percentage of .566 (the latter fifth-best in the Southern League). He transferred from Reseda’s Cleveland High School to Newbury Park High School because of a marijuana-related incident.
I’m just getting back into the swing of things after my anniversary sojourn. Tonight’s game is basically all hands on deck for the bullpen, started by reliever Carlos Monasterios. Ramon Ortiz figures to get some action assuming Monasterios doesn’t last five innings, although Charlie Haeger, whose Dodger future is an open question and whose next start has not been officially scheduled, could also get a call before the front end of the relief corps gets into it. It would be nice if Dodger manager Joe Torre was willing to use a key reliever early in the game, if necessary, to keep it close.
It’s an interesting test for Monasterios, but Dodger fans do need to keep expectations in line. (After the past week, I suspect that won’t be a problem.)
Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has the lowdown on Ned Colletti’s critical comments of the Dodgers’ play. (Dodgers Blog has Kemp’s response.) I’ll agree with Colletti that Matt Kemp’s basestealing and defense have been a disappointment that we’d all like to see corrected, but if you’re going to start throwing out pointed comments about the effect of his new contract, you might at least balance it with the fact his hitting has been MVP-caliber. The Dodgers are not losing because of Matt Kemp.
Jackson adds, as many of you might already have suspected, that Charlie Haeger’s roster spot is in jeopardy after another unsatisfactory outing. Not sure what move the Dodgers would make, but Saturday might bring a decision.
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On April 29, 2000, I stood at one end of a room and a woman walked toward me from the other end of the room. And then we made vows, and we walked out of that room together, married. I’m not sure what’s more amazing – that it ever happened, or all that has come in the nine years and 364 days since. It feels unreal. It’s been very real – family life can be bliss and it can be hard. But thinking about it feels unreal. It’s a ride I don’t want to get off.
So I’m off to celebrate – you’ll next see me here Friday or Saturday. There will game chats, so stick around and think good thoughts about the Dodgers, when you can.
James Loney can’t believe tonight’s strike three call against him – nor the downward slide of the Dodger season.
So far in 2010, these Dodgers have been something – as in, it’s always something.
With their 10-5 loss to the Mets in the second game of today’s doubleheader, the Dodgers now have the worst record in the National League – tied at 8-12 with Atlanta and Pittsburgh, which won the season-opening series between the two teams.
Not for lack of effort, the team has simply found a way to lose. The Dodgers aren’t loafing, but they’re not executing – not enough of them for long enough. You could say there were turning points today, if you could also say there are turning points when you’re sitting in a dunk booth.
I don’t think the Dodgers take the field defeated, but they’ve left me feeling that way. Lately, wins feel like aberrations.
They get bad breaks – the lowdown called strike three on James Loney with the bases loaded and two out in the top of the fourth tonight made the Dodger first baseman angrier than most of you have probably ever seen. But everyone gets bad breaks.
They get hurt – three Dodgers to the disabled list in the past week, and now Rafael Furcal’s health is back in doubt, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. You can’t win if you can’t stay healthy.
They’re out of sync – pitching, defense and hitting almost never working at once.
Wednesday marks the end of a nine-game roadtrip that has already yielded six losses. We’ll see if home cooking this weekend helps fix things; we’ll see if the Dodgers are getting their bad fortune out of the way early. Time and potential are on the Dodgers’ side. The question is whether reality is.