Believe it or not, the Dodgers’ two shutout losses over the past three games was not the worst offensive performance by a 2009 National League Championship Series participant. Philadelphia has been shut out for three straight games (by the Mets) and in four of their past five. Check out the linescores at Beerleaguer: In 46 of their past 47 innings, Philadelphia has come up empty.
If I’m being perfectly honest, with every day that passed since my release, two things became more and more clear to me:
The likelihood of a team taking a chance on me started low and diminished with time.
I wasn’t missing the game as much as I had anticipated.
I definitely miss my teammates and I miss the camaraderie. But I think the best part about playing baseball was having that clearly defined goal in your sights and pursuing it relentlessly. The good news is, I started to realize that I can find that elsewhere. Any disappointment I’m feeling is not because I no longer get to play baseball, it’s because I didn’t achieve my goal of pitching in the Major Leagues. And since I have no regrets about the way I chased that goal, this disappointment has been a surprisingly easy pill to swallow.
Ethan Martin threw a three-hit shutout with two walks and eight strikeouts for Inland Empire against Bakersfield on Thursday. After an early May slump, Martin has allowed one run over his past 15 innings. Matt Wallach had three of the 66ers’ seven hits.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
To get you in the right spirit, here’s this: Dodger minor leaguer Brian Akin writes a great post about being a lowly minor-leaguer in a big-league Spring Training game at Dear (Tommy) John Letters.
But wait, there’s more:
Burt Hooton’s wife Ginger told Dodger Thoughts commenter Hollywood Joe in an e-mail that Hooton has a clean bill of health after battling lymphoma.
Fifty years ago today, the talk at Spring Training was about whether Gil Hodges would move to third base to make room for Frank Howard at first base, notes Keith Thursby of the Daily Mirror. (That, and the fact that Elvis Presley was coming home from the Army and resuming his relationship with 16-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu.) Hodges started five games at third and 41 at first in 1960 — but Howard spent the majority of the year in right field, and Norm Larker was the most frequent first baseman.
“Eric (Stults) knows he’s certainly capable of pitching at this level,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre told Steve Dilbeck of Dodgers Blog. “He’s pitched playoff games for this ball club, he’s done well for us. The only thing is the consistency of it, and I think that’s what he’s trying to corral right now. … We’re certainly taking a long look at what he has to offer.”
Despite beginning the year with 15 of their first 21 games on the road, the Dodgers have one of the easiest schedules to open the season, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com, thanks to 10 games against the Pirates and Nationals. I think I’d argue that for the Dodgers to have all those road games in April — all on the East Coast — still makes it a challenging opening month for the team.
Hong-Chih Kuo is profiled at the Times by Dylan Hernandez, who focuses on the latest of Kuo’s many comebacks. A really nice piece.
Clayton Kershaw is analyzed by guest poster Tripon at True Blue L.A. using a relatively new statistic, true Earned Run Average.
Although you’d think it goes without saying that it wasn’t all about offense when it comes to steroid use, this post by Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk reminds us that pitchers used steroids too. Former Dodger Matt Herges talks about how he thinks steroids helped him.
Davey Lopes’ effect as a coach on team baserunning is explored by Bill Baer in a guest column for Baseball Prospectus.
Catcher Ronny Paulino, whose ejection prompted the argument that led to former Dodger Jose Offerman’s lifetime ban from the Dominican Winter League, told his version of what happened to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (via Baseball Think Factory).
Something for both Cal and Stanford fans: Mike Montgomery is the first men’s basketball coach to win Pac-10 titles with two different schools, writes Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News. Wilner suggests that Montgomery is the fourth-greatest coach in the conference (and its predecessors) since the 1950s, behind John Wooden, Pete Newell and Lute Olson.