I Blame Manny

For three innings, Kershaw confounded Brewers hitters and breezed through the order without giving up a hit. But his control faltered in the fourth, and the Brewers took advantage.

I blame Manny.

I don’t blame him for popping out to right field in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. I don’t. It was a stupid moment in its own right, especially in contrast to the way Juan Pierre played his at-bat in the ninth inning. Heck, the way Blake, Kemp, Loney, Hudson, Furcal and Ethier played their at-bats in the ninth inning. All played team baseball. All got the small hit, the sacrifice, the HBP that allowed the Dodgers to score three times in the bottom of the ninth. Manny got up there and starts swinging for the fences. It would have all been well and dandy had he smashed it out of the park, and then I would have felt a little less confident in this post but this was already formulated in the fourth inning.

I blame Manny.

Not for the aforementioned ninth-inning at-bat. I blame him for lackluster defense in left field.

I sat in left field last night for the game and witnessed it firsthand. He lacks hustle. He lacks attention. It was apparent in the fourth inning in a way that still irks me. Clayton Kershaw had pitched a decent three innings to that point, walking 2 batters but allowing no hits.

A ball was hit into the left field area. Let’s just say that Rafael Furcal made it closer to catching that ball that Manny did.

Enter: implosion.

As my brother said at the time, “Manny killed Kershaw’s spirit.” He can be a little melodramatic when it comes to no-hitters, but I think he was dead-on.

He may not have killed Kershaw’s spirit, but I am more than certain that not only would Juan Pierre have gotten a better read on that ball, he would have hustled to try to make the play.

I think it says a lot when the team behind you is…umm…actually behind you.

This is not about steroids. I’m leaving my opinion out of this discussion. I would wholeheartedly cheer for someone who came back from any situation and worked hard, but this is a little ridiculous. I guess Bill Plaschke was right.

When you’re playing next to a guy like Kemp who routinely puts his body on the line to make plays and behind Orlando Hudson who makes the extraordinary look ordinary in a year when he’s coming back from a wrist injury, you really need to step it up.

Step it up. Or sit down. I know people get excited when Manny comes to the plate. And his theatrics are well-documented and applauded, but on a team with a core nucleus under the age of 27, the example needs to be a whole lot better from a “team leader.”

Tom Goodwin, Matt Kemp & Just What I Needed

Super long day. And I’ll stop there.

I started this blog post with Tom Goodwin because he was the answer to the trivia question I answered to win tickets to tonight’s game. After a serious comedy of errors, we made it out there. And were absolutely delighted with our seats. Thank you so much to VIPTICKETS for your Twitter trivia contest!

Perfect, perfect night....

Perfect, perfect night....

And of course, Matt Kemp’s game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th was pretty awesome so he gets kudos for the night too. I’m sorry it didn’t go 22 innings like someone wanted, but we can certainly try again.

And I’ll get to all the talk about kidneys tomorrow…..after some sleep.

Dodgers 3 (41-22), Texas 1 ~ June 13

Once the lights came on, the Dodgers’ offense started to hit. And Matt Kemp, stuck in the bottom of the order and not thrilled about it, led the way.

After delay, Kemp powers Dodgers’ win | dodgers.com: News

I wondered (out loud, of course) the other day what Kemp had done to be put in the seventh spot. Tanaya and I had a pretty lengthy discussion about it.

I’m just going on years of having some of the not-so-strong hitters batting in the 7th and 8th spots. You know, the ones that struggle to reach the Mendoza line, who hit 2 or 3 homeruns a year and who render the bottom of the lineup relatively useless (sorry!).

All of a sudden, Matt Kemp with his .300+ batting average and pre-season claims that he will be a 40-40, man this season are slotted at the bottom of the order. As always, who am I to question Joe Torre? It seems to be working thus far. It’s just one of those things that makes me wonder what the player’s reaction will be? Will he actually care? Then, I read this and see that yes, Kemp, is not thrilled about the situation but appears to be making the best of it even as he sinks even lower to the ninth spot with the American League requirement for a designated hitter.

At the same time, I look over the lineup and really where would he go? I don’t really think he’s a number 2 hitter. And the 3-6 slots are filled by guys who have been playing solidly.

Still, the most troubling stat form yesterday’s game is the 0-11 team batting with runners in scoring position.

Total side note: Pitching stats just get better and better! I love how they now note “Blown Save” next to the win or loss of the incoming pitcher.

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Dodgers vs. Lakers

Yup, you read that correctly.

I’m a Laker fan. I don’t follow the Lakers as I do the Dodgers (at least not in the last 10 years), but that speaks more to my genuine love for the game of baseball. It also speaks to my brain because baseball is almost easier for me to keep up with as it is every single day, rather than played in some complicated manner that is difficult for me to remember.

I had planned to go watch Clayton Kershaw pitch, but somewhere around noon I remembered….the Lakers. Ooops. The good things is that the NBA Finals coincide with June baseball so it isn’t such an awful situation to miss baseball.

Steamroll. That was the outcome of the Laker game.

And my fear for the Dodgers came true. I have this fear that the Phillies are going to become a “thing” for the Dodgers. By the time I caught up with the Dodgers, Hamels had faced one more than the minimum. In the bottom of the eighth. Enter “the thing.”

From all commentary, it appears that Kershaw pitched well. Two runs in 5 1/3 innings is not horrible. It’s the pitch count, and I’m sorry to keep saying that. One hundred five pitches in 5 1/3 innnings. I sometimes wonder if he’s trying to blow out his arm before the age of 23. I think he has amazing velocity and amazing control when he’s in the zone, but it’s all those other times that I cringe. Not so much because he’s losing, but as I can see the damage this could do to a young pitcher.

A lot of the talk on the post-game show was about the offense. And while being shutout is not indicative of a great offense, I’m not really worried. I feel that the Dodgers have played “small” ball. Not to harp on Juan Pierre, but he’s done a great job getting on base and moving himself over. Hudson and Kemp both have averages over .300. I don’t really think there’s much more that could be asked for.

Not to mention, the Dodgers are 18 games over .500 and leading the Giants by eight games. It’s a Dodger fan’s dream.

And….Go Lakers!

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Randomosity

I’ve picked up “The Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga,” and I’m almost certain that it’s going to do me in. It’s funny but I can already feel the effects. Soreness and some actual muscle forming.

I also picked up Kathy Smith’s Weightlifting exercise thing. Another brutal workout. It kind of makes me think that perhaps I just enjoy pain. (Not really.)

I’ve made a pledge to myself to get in two workouts a day. Don’t know how long I’m intending to keep that up, but it’s been five days so far.

The overzealous working out is an attempt to cut back on caffeine. It’s failing miserably because I don’t like headaches.

I’ve started crocheting. It’s really my attempt to make myself get away from this gosh-darn computer for some time. I realize that I’m probably going to develop arthritis because of it.

I’ve launched another blog that is totally unrelated to this one.

I walked 2.7 miles round trip today. It was part of my exercise for the day, but also a lot of fun. I like walking around in my own little world.

I realllllllly, really miss being a teacher. Like it hurts.

I love baseball. I know that’s a given. But I really love the game. It makes me super happy. I realized that again last night when I was driving home from a game.

My dreams last night about a certain person were totally unnerving. I thought perhaps something not so great was going to happen today, but it didn’t. And the day is almost over, so that’s good news.

I fell in love with Rahm Emanuel today. For real. Political crushes. Wow. That’s a first. (Ok, not really, but it sounds weird to say I have a crush on the President of the United States. There’s just something inherently wrong with that sentence.)

I had one of those moments the other day when I had to stop and catch my breath. I actually watched Barack Obama be inaugurated as President of the United States. I still can’t verbalize how utterly amazing that was.

Juan Pierre. Write him in. 71 times. Seriously.

I feel bad for Clayton Kershaw. I really do. I could have told you in spring training that he was not ready. So, to punish him for what probably every one knew, is just not a good idea.

I have text stalkers. I don’t care if people read this. It’s not funny. Not in the least. So, if I don’t respond to you, it’s probably because I’m trying to ignore other people.

My wall looks funny without all the post-its.

I found this fabulous way of doing fan-fiction through Facebook. I was mesmerized for awhile, but I have let it slip.

June Gloom has hit with a vengeance. It’s not fun. Not at all.

And yet….I still have awaken every morning thinking something good was going to happen. And it has without fail….

Dodger Things

I had that grand idea at the beginning of the season to write about each and every game. I’m sure that lasted about 2009060206004186996283 weeks or so. It’s hard to do without fresh material. Getting information from other sources just isn’t as much fun as it would be to be on the field asking actual questions. That’s not really the point of this blog though.

I enjoy Monday night games. Baseball fans. Lots and lots of baseball fans. The ability to meet someone who inevitably saw Sandy Koufax pitch or knows who Juan Marichal is or remembers Wilton Guerrero will be sitting next to you. Pleasant conversation will ensue, and really that’s what baseball is all about.

We met a very nice couple last night who is actually considering celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary at the All-Star game (talk about a dream marriage!). They were both quite charming, and we loved the company and the stories.

We learned that the gentleman has celebrated most of his birthdays at Dodger Stadium (same for me!). And that he considers Kevin Brown to be one of those momentous signings that should have never happened. Carlos Perez. Jorge Piedra. Dusty Baker. All of these came up in conversation. He had the same opinion about Jeff Kent that I do, which was equally nice!

The Dodgers didn’t win last night. They made an effort in the bottom of the ninth, but came up just a bit short. You can’t really blame them considering they played in Chicago the night before and most of the starters were out there. We actually felt quite bad for Russell Martin. You could just see that he was totally out of it.

The good news is that Hiroki Kuroda came back and pitching a strong game. Without the use of Clayton Kershaw, I think he wil get to pitch on Thursday (or so I hear).

I also learned last night that my dear best friend would throw Kershaw under the bus for Kemp. That’s ok. I probably would too if push came to shove. Also, nice to learn last night that Kemp is not yet a multimillionaire.

And the best thing I learned last night? Kemp is not represented by Scott Boras. Nope. Dave Stewart. So, he might actually spend his career as a Dodger….

Dodgers (6-3) 5, Giants 4 [April 15, 2009]

I learned a couple of things today: (a) box scores don’t appear instantly. I’m sitting here 30 seconds after the end of the game repeatedly clicking refresh expecting the box score to pop up. I suppose that’s why they usually appear in the morning paper and (b) it’s game 9 of the 2009 baseball season and I am sorry to report that I was pacing in my living room. This is going to either be a really great or really awful season!

As to the actual game,

  • I feel bad that Kershaw didn’t get the win. He still needs to reduce his pitch count by about 10 pitches per inning in my opinion, but he ended the night with 7 innings pitched, 1 earned run and 13 strikeouts. Even better, his ERA is now a fabulous 1.50. (Cue Koufax references.)
  • Matt Kemp has a nine game hitting streak. I’ve mentioned it now twice, and he hasn’t been jinxed! (I’m surprised that my outpouring of support for both Kemp and Kershaw hasn’t caused some sort of catastrophe. I just need to keep reminding myself not to buy t-shirts.)
  • I’m still very concerned about the 12 runners left in scoring position and the 1 for 7 batting with runners on base. It’s no wonder that the winning run was walked in. Sigh.
  • Back to Kershaw. He only faced one more than the minimum hitter for 7 innings. Totally loving it!!

Last thing…I just heard that the last time two Dodgers had back-to-back pitchers with strikeouts in double digits was Kevin Brown and Chan Ho Park.

Oh…one more thing…Kershaw, at 21, is the youngest pitcher to hit that mark in LA Dodger history. Prior to him? Sandy Koufax at 19 years old. (Re-cue the Koufax comparisons.)

April 15 Box

April 15 Box