Jul 15

Home, home on the strange

One time during my junior year in college, I failed to set the parking brake on my Scirocco, and it rolled into the middle of an alley. I got a knock at my door saying that a policeman was giving me a ticket.

Don Mattingly had that moment where he made two trips to the mound at once, costing the Dodgers a relief pitcher.

I’m sure we’ve all had such a brain cramp, more times than we’d care to admit, and now Kenley Jansen has had one as well – allowing a steal of home and topping that with a throwing error that left the Dodgers, one strike away from victory, with a 7-6 loss to the Padres.

The defeat came on a night in which the recently recovered trio of Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier each reached base three times, with Ethier (four RBI) hitting a two-run home run that seemed to be a game-winner in the sixth inning.

Chad Moriyama looks at all the things that went wrong on that single play. Not to be forgotten is that the Dodgers also allowed a run-of-the-mill unearned point in the first inning.

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Wanted to send along belated best wishes to Javy Guerra, who is in Mexico tending to his father, who suffered a heart attack. Guerra pitched Friday with the knowledge that his father was stricken. He has now taken literal and metaphorical line drives to the jaw this year, not to mention surgery on his knee, and it’s pretty impressive how he’s handled it.

And congrats to Josh Wall for his promotion to the big leagues. Wall’s Albuquerque stats aren’t impressive except for his 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings, so I’m not sure how much we’ll see him during this initial stint, but I will certainly look forward to it.

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  • The Dodgers have had more games with extra-base hits than you might expect, notes David Pinto of Baseball Musings. Only five times this year have they gone extra-base-hitless, and that includes a no-hitter against them.
  • The Dodgers had their annual night for independent bloggers. Ron Cervenka of Think Blue L.A. offers a recap.
  • Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation passed along a 26-minute 1946 Pacific Coast League promotional film.
  • Minor-league basethief extraordinaire Billy Hamilton was the subject of a nice profile by Steve Dilbeck of the Times.
  • Newly released documentary “Ballplayer: Pelotero,” about two teenagers in the Dominican Republic with big-league aspirations, is getting largely positive reviews according to Metacritic.
  • One-time Baseball Toaster star Bob Timmermann has toed his way back into blogging with The Portable Griddle.
Aug 17

Kershaw LXXVI: Kershawnna Karenina

Manny Ramirez is alive! He took batting practice at Dodger Stadium tonight and is close to a rehab assignment. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com has details.

Rafael Furcal felt tightness and will be held back from starting a rehab assignment for at least a couple more days.

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Question: Are the Rockies more disappointing than the Dodgers this season, less or the same?

Related: Bob Timmermann explores “The Dodgers in 2010: The Year of Crabbiness” at L.A. Observed’s Native Intelligence.

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Elsewhere …

  • Zach Lee is expected to make an appearance at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, the team said.
  • Lou Gehrig might not have had Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), reports Alan Schwarz in a fascinating New York Times article.
  • Josh Wilker has a fine piece about Mickey Rivers today at Cardboard Gods.
  • Remember Brent Mayne, he of the last Dodger catching tandem that couldn’t hit straight before this one? Mayne has a blog and an interesting post about ballplayers as social misfits. (via Hardball Talk).
  • If it’s an upset that the Padres are in first place and the Dodgers are in fourth, it’s another upset that the Dodgers had a more satisfying 2010 draft than the Padres did. Paul DePodesta tells the story of what happened to leave San Diego’s front office disappointed at It Might Be Dangerous … You Go First.
  • Claudio Vargas has been granted his release by Albuquerque, the Isotopes said.
  • Former Dodger prospect Andrew Lambo has had his second setback of 2010 — a shoulder injury, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Sweet-hitting pitcher Micah Owings, whose career ERA and slugging percentage each start with the number five, has been designated for assignment by Cincinnati.
Apr 13

Kershaw LIII: Kershawme Opener


John Cordes/Icon SMI
Andre Ethier blasted two homers and drove in four runs in the Dodgers’ home opener a year ago today.

They were overshadowed by Orlando Hudson producing the first Dodger cycle in 39 years, but there were plenty of heroes that made last year’s Dodger opener a laugher in the best kind of way for the fans. Every Dodger starter had at least one hit, Andre Ethier homered twice, Chad Billingsley scattered four singles and a double over seven innings while striking out 11 – heck, even Will Ohman pitched a shutout inning. All against the Giants. The good times rolled on through April’s record streak of consecutive home victories to start a season.

Things are a bit cloudier a year later, with the Dodgers 3 1/2 games behind the Giants in the National League West before the home crowd has even seen a regular-season pitch. But Monday’s gray skies have cleared up, just as Albert Peterson predicted. Let’s go have some fun!

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  • Joe Torre-managed teams have won 12 consecutive home openers, notes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. Stephen has more Dodger home opener details here.
  • In the comments of that thread, BHSportsGuy lists the 15 Dodger pitchers credited with a win since Clayton Kershaw’s last on July 18.
  • Via Twitter, Stephen points to a nice feature by Tom Krasovic on Dick Enberg, reborn as a Padres play-by-play announcer. Related: Rob Neyer of ESPN.com heard Enberg say that he tried to write a screenplay about legendary spy/catcher Moe Berg.
  • Memories of Kevin Malone took a close look at the Dodger defense.
  • Padres pitcher Chris Young went on the disabled list, where he’ll find Arizona catcher Miguel Montero and might soon be joined by Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Juan Castro is the Phillies’ current replacement for Rollins.
  • Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods gets some nice Huffington Post exposure in writing about the anniversary of Mark Fidrych’s death and the connection with his childhood.
  • Blue Heaven passes along a March 6, 1948 letter from Branch Rickey to Walter O’Malley (written from Spring Training at Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic) calling for a trade of Eddie Stanky “even if we were getting nothing for him at all,” to create  an opening in the Brooklyn infield. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Stanky was traded within 24 hours with a player to be named later to the Boston Braves for a player to be named later, Bama Rowell, Ray Sanders and $40,000. (A month later, the Dodgers completed the trade by selling Sanders back to Boston for $60,000.)
  • Four-hit nights for Dodger minor leaguers on Monday: Xavier Paul had three singles and a homer for Albuquerque, Dee Gordon had three doubles, a single and an error for Chattanooga and Jerry Sands had two doubles and two singles for Great Lakes. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus writes that after an 0-for-6 start in AA, Gordon has six hits (including four doubles) in his past seven at-bats.
  • Isotopes reliever Brent Leach is having a Sherrill of a time in his first two games of the year.
  • Matt Hiserman, son of Times assistant sports editor Mike Hiserman and a college pitcher for the University of San Francisco, has come back inside of two months from a liner to the head that landed him in intensive care for four days, writes Eric Sondheimer of the Times.
  • The crackdown on Dodger Stadium pregame tailgating was scheduled to begin at dawn in Elysian Park, according to Zach Behrens of LAist (via L.A. Observed, which also points to a David Kipen piece talking about the origins of the Dodgers’ “LA” logo.).
  • How much of a difference does payroll make in baseball? Tom Tango writes at TMI: “If you spend at the league average (Payroll Index = 100 percent), your chance of making the playoffs is 27 percent. If you spend at double the league average (Payroll Index = 200 percent), your chances are 77 percent. And if you spend at half the league average, your chances dwindle to almost 0.”
  • Bob Timmermann wrote movingly about his grandmother, Ella Kimberling, for L.A. Observed’s Native Intelligence.
  • Quick entertainment notes from my day job: 1) Definitive details on Conan O’Brien’s move to TBS, 2) DirecTV will broadcast all five seasons of “The Wire” commercial-free, 3) Three major new hits (“The Good Wife,” “Modern Family” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” premiered within 25 hours of each other.
  • Leaving you with this: Brian Akin of Dear (Tommy) John Letters is thinking of hanging up his blog if he has to hang up his spikes. While I certainly hope he signs with another team, reading his latest post will serve as a reminder that no matter what, he should keep writing.
Mar 12

Dodger Stadium-Union Station shuttle service returns

Former Griddle blogger Bob Timmermann passes along the news that bus service between Union Station and Dodger Stadium has been restored, according to Zach Behrens of  LAist, thanks to a $300,000 grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Timmermann, who just completed work on his presidential biography blog One Through Forty-Two or Forty-Three, gets a fine introduction for his new post as a contributor to L.A. Observed from the site’s main man, Kevin Roderick.

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UCLA baseball is off to a 10-0 start, and Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com looks at the two pitchers who have played a big role:  Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. To attend UCLA, Cole turned down the Yankees after being drafted in the 2008 first round out of Orange Lutheran High School.

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Here’s Ramona Shelburne’s postgame report from Taiwan for ESPNLosAngeles.com.