Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

The resurrection of John Ely

One-time breath of fresh air John Ely is quietly having a stellar 2012, posting a 3.22 ERA in Triple-A Albuquerque with 9.7 strikeouts and 1.8 walks per nine innings. You just don’t see those stats with the Isotopes very often. James Bailey of Baseball America has more on the Pacific Coast League All-Star.

“It took a couple of years of getting my head beat off the wall a little bit in this league to try to figure it out a little bit,” Ely told Bailey. “The PCL can get to you, man. Ask anybody out here. It’s a tough league to pitch in with the travel and the ballparks and the matter that you’ve got some pretty darn good hitters in this league. I think I underestimated it a little and I probably didn’t take it quite as seriously as I should have.”

“A lot of it has to do with staying ahead and basically just throwing my best pitches when I have to throw them,” Ely added. “You know, making pitches when you need to and realizing, ‘OK, this is what I want to do with this pitch right now.’ ”

Though the Dodgers’ rumored trade-market pursuits include starting pitching, Ely would certainly seem to have some renewed value – either as a stopgap starter if the Dodgers still end up needing one, or as a trade chip.

* * *

  • Andre Ethier played in rehabiliation games Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to join Matt Kemp in tonight’s Dodger starting lineup, writes Alex Angert of
  • Ronald Belisario’s certainly got the right to go home to Venezuela during the All-Star break, but somehow it isn’t surprising that his return to the States was delayed, according to Ken Gurnick of (pictured, right, with Ned Colletti). However, Belisario is expected to arrive for tonight’s game.
  • Yasiel Puig’s arrival in Arizona is documented by Jesse Sanchez of
  • Kemp will be featured on the next edition of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, premiering Tuesday.
  • A midseason review of the Isotopes is provided by Christopher Jackson of Albuquerque Baseball Examiner.
  • It’s a quirk to say the least, but Zach Greinke of Milwaukee tonight will become the first pitcher since 1917 to start three consecutive games, notes David Pinto of Baseball Musings. He faces James McDonald of Pittsburgh.


Trade rumors, 2003


It’s official: Kemp, Ethier return


  1. Anonymous

    Faber started both ends of a September doubleheader for the White Sox and got knocked out early in each game forcing the other starters to relieve. The next day, the White Sox manager, Pants Rowland, turned to Faber again, presumably because he had the most rest and he scattered 16 hits for 6 runs in a complete game win for the White Sox over the Browns.

    In 1908, Walter Johnson started three straight games for Washington at New York. He threw a shutout on Friday, Saturday, no game on Sunday, and threw another shutout in the first game of a doubleheader on Monday.

    And at the end of the 1908, in a heated 4-team AL pennant race, Ed Walsh of Chicago started both ends of a doubleheader against the Red Sox, winning both. After a day off, the White Sox traveled to Cleveland. Cleveland was 1/2 game back of 1st place Detroit and the White Sox were 1 1/2 games back.

    Walsh pitched a complete game 4 hitter giving up just 1 run while striking out 15. However, Cleveland starter Addie Joss tossed a perfect game and Cleveland won 1-0.

    When the 1908 season ended, Detroit was 90-63. Cleveland was 90-64. Under the rules at the time, rainouts weren’t made up.

    That rule was changed.

    • That explains all the hand-wringing in the sabermetric universe in 1909 when a 21-year-old Johnson went 13-25 and his ERA soared nearly 50% to 2.22.

      • Anonymous

        The 09 Senators went 42-110. They had issues.

        But a 2.22 ERA that year didn’t do much. The AL leader was at 1.39. The league ERA was 2.47.
        From 1910 through 1919, Johnson had an ERA under 2, NINE times.

        • Anonymous

          The Big Train was amazing.  It’s rare when there’s someone who’s not just an ace, but he’s so much better than anyone else in the game, it’s astounding.  That’s what Walter was like, for most of his career.

      • Anonymous

        You would make VODF happy with this, but he hasn’t been around in a couple of days.

  2. Anonymous

    Why was Greinke pulled after two batters in his July 7 start?  

  3. Anonymous

    Anybody else here headed to blogger night tonight?

  4. Anonymous

    I might have enjoyed some footage of Puig actually undertaking, you know, baseball activities.

    • The only footage released thus far is the grainy videotape from two years ago in Cuba, which only shows him doing wondrous things. He’s like this mythological figure, like the Jersey Devil or the Loch Ness Monster…

  5. Ivan Dejuss & Ely most be in a  package for a trade.  Either one has got any love from Donnie or Ned. 

    • Anonymous

      That should bring back a Uribe-quality player. 

  6. The conversation below between Jon and Timmer focuses on a player who has fascinated me since I was a kid, Walter Johnson. If you’ve seen old films of him, he was almost a submariner, with an easy motion that looked effortless. In the great book, The Glory of Their Times, player after player talks about how fast Johnson was, how you couldn’t see the ball, etc. And certainly his statistical record, playing with mostly incredibly crappy teams, is absolutely fantastic. But I wonder…how hard did he, and other pitchers of the day, like Christy Mathewson, really throw? Players used big heavy bats back then and just tried to chip at the ball. The ball was also often misshapen and dark brown, because they almost never threw them out. Also, it was wound looser and didn’t travel as far. There are some things we will never know…but every time I see film of Walter Johnson and that low slinging delivery, I wonder…90 MPH? Slower? Faster? Anyway…just passing the time on a Friday morning….

    • Anonymous

      During his time, Johnson was timed by a munitions lab as throwing at 91 MPH. How accurate that was is unclear.

      It’s likely Johnson could have dialed it up much faster when he needed to. The tendency of pitchers back in those days was to throw easy until you got into trouble. This was the philosophy espoused by Christy Mathewson in his classic “Pitching in a Pinch.”

    • I share a good amount of your fascination with Johnson – thanks to my dad’s interest in him. 

      • Anonymous

        As I posted above, the Big Train was amazing.  It’s rare when there’s someone who’s not just an ace, but he’s so much better than anyone else in the game, it’s astounding.  That’s what Walter was like, for most of his career.  For most of this time he was also supported by an absolutely dreadful Washington Senators team, but still managed to pitch them to a World Series championship late in his career.

      • Anonymous

        Johnson lived in a house right around the corner from mine in the Mount Pleasant section of DC.  He is said to have often packed up the neighborhood kids in his car and taken them to the game with him.

  7. Off all the utility infielders I seen only Ivan Dejuss looks like the guy could start on any other MLB team other then the dodgers.  They seems to love Herrera, then Cruz for so reason. I read Herrera is 5/61.  WoW Donnie and Ned lets starts the best 25.

    • Anonymous

      >> WoW Donnie and Ned lets starts the best 25.

      The reason they were given a chance was obvious to everyone watching at the time; the regulars were injured. And they have taken great advantage of the opportunity given to them.

      >> They seems to love Herrera, then Cruz for so reason.

      Sounds like you may have missed the first half of the season.  Before the current stretch (in which Herrera is 9 for 61, not 5 for 61), he was 32 for 105, with a batting average of .305 and an OPS of .797.  He’s also played six (yes, six) different positions in the field, and done pretty well at all of them.  Darn good indeed!

      As for Cruz, he’s currently hitting .318 with an OPS of .885.  If he had enough at bats to qualify, either number would make him the best hitting shortstop in all of major league baseball this season. Yes, better than any everyday shortstop this year.

      Both of them have earned their fans and then some.  It’s not for no reason (or for SO reason, LOL!). Maybe you weren’t watching baseball before the All-Star break…?

      • Herrera, despite making an immediate impact when he finally got the promotion after nine years in the Minor Leagues, has been passed by Cruz. Herrera, batting .305 as recently as June 17, is 9-for-64 (.141) since.
        That guy will be sent down this weekend according to my sources, Donnie now has sourced on Herrrera

    • Anonymous

      From what I’ve seen, DeJesus is the most overmatched of the three.  This is not to say the other two are long term major leaguers, only that I would still take Herrerra and Cruz over DeJesus.

      • Anonymous

        I agree with you, dale.  And given the amount of playing time IDJJ got during his callup, I think Donnie agrees too!

  8. The dog days of summer, pitchers throw harder and true hitters hit harder.  The fist 1/2 players will be exposed in the 2nd half because the schedule was much easier. A guy 5/61 just doesn’t turn it up again, the scouts by other teams and the video have found weakness. 
     This is not 1988 again, that team got lucky by pitching and bullpens that were not used the same

    • Anonymous

      See my comment above.  Sounds like you weren’t paying attention during the first half of the season, since you clearly have no idea what actually happened and your quoted stats are wrong.  Maybe you were out of the country?

  9. Anonymous

    Underdog and I saw a memorable start by Ely two years ago at The Phone Booth To Be Named Latter, in which he beat Gnatt Cain on a two-run single by Loney if I recall correctly.

  10. Anonymous

    Given ABQ’s elevation and reputation as a hitter’s ballpark, it’s even more surprising that some of Ely’s stats this year are much better at home (5-1, ERA 2.68) than away (3-5, ERA 3.81), although his WHIP is similar.

  11. Anonymous

    Who would have thought first place after half a season with this group.  Makes me excited for the second half. 

  12. Anonymous

    >> Zach Greinke of Milwaukee tonight will become the first pitcher since 1917 to start three consecutive games

    I still don’t understand why we’re not considering him as a trade target, as well as Hamels.

    • Anonymous

      I’m with you. I think a high-impact starter should be goal #1, not a marginal offensive upgrade (Headley, A. Ramirez, et al).

  13. Anonymous


  14. Anonymous

    What do you guys think of getting Victorino to help the top of the lineup and give us some help in that third outfield position?

    • Anonymous

      Colletti has said he isn’t interested in making a deal for Victorino. His contract expires at the end of the year and he wants five more years from the Phillies.

      The Phillies wish him well.

      • Anonymous

         Unlike more than a few Dodgers and fans.

    • Anonymous

      No thanks.

  15. foul tip

    “Zach Greinke of Milwaukee tonight will become the first pitcher since 1917 to start three consecutive games. ‘

    OK, what am I missing?

    • Anonymous

      He started/starts the Brewers’ 84th, 85th, and 86th games of the season.  He was ejected after two batters in the 84th game, he started the next day in their 85th game, and he starts tonight in their 86th game after four days of rest for the All-Star break.

      • Anonymous

        It was a stupid ejection from the first base umpire

        • It was also a stupid spike of the ball from Greinke.

          • Anonymous

            I guess so

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, Greinke can be faulted for letting his competive fire get the best of him – it was a mistake on his part to spike the ball. But the ump’s mistake in ejecting him far outweighed Greinke’s transgression. The ball was not spiked in the umps direction – the ump grossly overreacted – he could have simply fined Greinke for the spike – completely uncalled for to eject him and overinsert himself into game unnecesarily. The umps ego was too big for his own – and the game’s – good.

          • I’m sorry but I just think that both guys egos were a little too big in that situation. Maybe he shouldn’t have been ejected but one close call at first in the first inning is really reason to slam a ball into the dirt? He looked like a child.

    • Anonymous

      Started Saturday, kicked out after two batters. Started Sunday, didn’t pitch particularly well. Four day break. Makes start on regular rest.

      • foul tip

         Ah, so, grasshopper….

        Not take 3 consecutive turns in regular rotation as I first read it.

        I hate it when that happens.

  16. foul tip

    I’ve thought for a while there’s a good chance Ely will be traded as part of some deal.

    As I get it the Dodgers have a long-standing preference for power pitchers.  Which Ely is not.

    Accordingly, they might have traded away a young Greg Maddux.  Who Ely is not.

    • Anonymous

      I think he deserves another shot in the majors, whether it’s with the Dodgers or someone else.  He’s still young, too (26).

  17. My impression of Ely during his first couple of MLB tours was that he was a real strike-thrower with average stuff and maybe below-average velocity…and maybe not enough speed differentiation to make his fastball look quicker. I wasn’t impressed. That’s why I’m intrigued by his amazing K-to-Walk ratio in Triple A this year. Has something changed? Maybe a cutter, maybe a changeup? In any event, it would seem that he deserves a callup…or else why do you have a minor league system?

    • Anonymous

      He is surely the next in line if someone else gets injured

    • Anonymous

      This article ( leads me to believe that Ely’s just become a savvy AAA veteran with good command who has the knowhow to dominate young and impatient minor leaguers with his below average stuff. 

      • Anonymous

        You mean like Cap does in the Show?

        • Anonymous

          Capuano is a lefty and his pitches have better movement. 

          • foul tip

            Isn’t the change the out pitch for both?  Hitters have a lot of trouble with Cap’s.

            Was a change Ely’s best pitch during his first successful run after being called up?

            Not arguing Ely’s is as good.  Curious if it might be good enough to be a #4/5?

      • foul tip

         Clicking link gets me a 404…??

        • Anonymous

          Delete the bracket at the end. But the relevant point is the article says Ely didn’t add anything to his repertoire. Ely just got better at pitch sequencing and using his command to stay ahead of the batter.

  18. Oh boy!  Andre the platoon guy is back…and may be hitting the
    traditional manager’s traditional cleanup, in spite of overwhelming
    proof he shouldn’t be in the lineup at all against lefties (and should not have
    been signed for $85 million, as a “platoon” guy with average defensive
    skills).  Lifetime 3 for 23 versus Richards.  Cleanup.  Whoopee…

    • Anonymous

      Does this mean the lineup is posted yet?

      • Anonymous

        Hairston LF
        Ellis 2B
        Kemp CF
        Ethier RF
        Rivera 1B
        Ellis C
        URIBE 3B
        Cruz SS
        Kershaw P

        • Anonymous

          I can see the second half is going to involve a lot of platooning.  Gwynn, Abreu and Loney will likely see righties, with this group seeing lefties (unless we finally dump Uribe).  Herrera and AVS got sent down I assume?

    • Anonymous

      As regards being in the line-up, isn’t the option basically Loney.

  19. foul tip

    From Christopher Jackson’s Isotope recap, linked by Jon:

    “Josh Fields (.346, 8 HR, 48 RBI) has started 49 games at third base. The
    veteran has been a consistent hitter all season, though without the
    power he has shown in years past. His defense has been solid,
    particularly his throwing.”

    Only reference I’ve seen to solid defense.  Hadn’t seen before that it was bad.  Hadn’t seen anything

    In light of this–even given that he hasn’t shown as much power as expected–I see no reason why he shouldn’t be called up and given a shot, at least between now and trade deadline.  He might be a pleasant surprise. 

    Really now.  Could he do worse than Uribekennedyblackhole now at 3B?

    • Anonymous

      I doubt anybody could do worse than Uribekennedy. I do understand that Fields has a weak defensive record.

      • Anonymous

        Uribe and Kennedy aren’t even the worst performers on the team so far this season. Loney and Rivera have done worse. Dee has been almost a full win worse than Uribe. SVS and Castellanos, too, have been awful. So yes, as difficult as it may be to believe, Fields definitely could be worse than Uribe/Kennedy.

        • Anonymous

          Loney and Rivera are light years ahead of Uribe, even if you put them at a position they’ve never played before. In regards to utter uselessness, Uribe’s in a class of his own.

  20. Anonymous

    Having started after a nearly four-hour rain delay at Wrigley, the Cubbies lead the Snakes (Dodgers’ main division rival) 2-1 after 4-1/2.

    • Anonymous

      the Gnats aren’t our main division rivals anymore?

      • Anonymous

         Snakes are far more dangerous than Gnats, which are merely annoying.

        • Anonymous

          I agree that the Gnats are more annoying and need to be swatted away like, well gnats, but they’ll be there until September when a good month of their solid pitching can get them over the hump like it did in the playoffs a few years ago, when they were not much different than they are now (although Lincecum certainly was different).

          • Anonymous

            Realistic Gnatfans – admittedly a minority – can appreciate that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  21. Anonymous

    I’d rather see Hairston at 3rd and Herrera in LF.

    • Anonymous

       I’d rather see Uribe in SF, where he belongs.

  22. Anonymous

    Is there a game tonight?

  23. D’oh! Kennedy is still here…

    How long are they gonna wait to say who got sent down?

    • Anonymous

      Maybe he’s saying his goodbyes, and that’s why it’s such a beautiful day.  Zing!

      • Anonymous

        I believe Van Slyke and Tolleson were sent back to Albuquerque.

  24. so whats going on.  who are ethier and kemp replacing?

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