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….

Arizona 9, Dodgers (2-3) 4

picture-11This was probably the most disheartening of the losses thus far. I know it’s April, blah, blah, blah. It’s just not fun to see a pitching line score that ends with a 19.29 ERA. That line comes with the news that Hiroki Kuroda is on the disabled list and won’t be pitching today.

I really do think that Kershaw and McDonald will settle into a rhythm. I’m sure it will be sooner than it will feel. It’s just frustrating because I really feel like the Dodgers didn’t do much to help out their pitching staff during the offseason. Someone said after the game that the hitters should give the pitchers more support. While that is true, I think we also need pitchers that can work with a one-run lead, at least until the 5th or 6th inning.

As I’ve said before, during the preseason and a couple of days ago, the thing that scares me most about young pitchers is that lack of experience usually translates into a mental meltdown. It’s really not pretty to watch. Again, it’s one of those things that as they continue to work together, Russell Martin can help with. Until then, let’s just hope that these rookie growing pains don’t go longer that mid-May.

Dodgers (1-0) 4, Padres 1

(The other thing that you should know about me is that I absolutely love box scores. I like the mess of numbers that paint an entire baseball game in a compact space. So, along with green grass, Dodgers, the new GameDay, I also love that I now get to peruse box scores every morning. Good bye world politics, baseball is back! Just kidding.)

A few notes about yesterday’s game:

  1. I was happy to see how well Kuroda pitched. I wasn’t nervous about him in particular, but it the pitching staff as a whole. I think he set a good tone.
  2. It gave me goosebumps to watch the highlights of Jonathan Broxton reaching 100 mph on the radar gun. Not only overpowering the hitter, but with pretty amazing precision for day one of the season. (I prefer power pitching to power hitting any day of the week.)
  3. Kemp’s diving catch was another opening day treat!
  4. I really like that all of this was accomplished without Manny getting a hit and with Loney and Kemp batting in the 6 & 7 spots. We just might have something going this year.

Is it too early to get excited? Nah. Especially when you can see this……

April 6, 2009

Opening Day Pitcher: The Saga Begins

Chad Billingsley has already thrown seven bullpen sessions this year. Jason Schmidt has tossed almost as many.

Monday, Hiroki Kuroda threw his first.

via Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda says his shoulder is pain-free – Los Angeles Times.

So, it seems that Joe Torre has narrowed it down to Kuroda and Billingsley. In my previous post, I talked about the fun that the battle for the Opening Day spot is during spring training.

That was somewhat of a lie. You can ask my brother because we used to argue about this year after year.

I consider the Opening Day spot to be somewhat a distinction of honor. So, I would lobby for the players who had been with the team the longest or had an especially phenomenal previous season.

That being said, I’m putting my early support behind Chad Billingsley. His 16-10 performance last year is enough for me. He also has Hiroki Kuroda‘s ERA beat by about 60-points.

Plus, I think we have a good opportunity this year to depend on “the kids.” It would be a good start to let the 24-year-old pitcher get the Opening Day start.

It would be a great tribute to the time I fell in love with the Dodgers. Of the nights that I would stay up until my mom came home from her night shift, and I would read to her the notes I had taken about the minor league games of the day. She had to suffer through stories of Adrian Beltre (long before he made it to the majors), Adam Riggs, Jeff Kubenka and on and on….

But, I digress.

I think a team that is hopefully going to rely on Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and James Loney, putting stake into Billingsley would be a great step in the right direction.