We made it through the rain – Josh Rawitch

Despite the loss last night, it was great to hear the crowd as vocal as it was. A few of us were saying in the press box that we’re amazed at how many fans waited out the rain and stuck around to see an incredible pitcher’s duel. And, I’m glad that we decided to reward those fans with free tickets to another Dodger game for their loyalty.

I’m also really glad that this blog is starting to get a lot more comments and insightful posts from fans. Our intention from the start has been to have a direct connect to our fans and so far, it seems as though it’s working.

I agree with one of the comments that I’m hopeful this blog "doesn’t just become a place to gripe." Debate is a huge part of baseball, so please do as much of that as you want and in the meantime, I’ll do my best to answer some of the questions that are posed.

Please know that anytime I answer a baseball-related question, I am not speaking on behalf of Grady or Ned, but that I am trying to explain some of the things that they have already told the media. Roy Smith, who posts here from time to time, can answer a lot of the baseball questions and is far more suited to do so, given his playing career and years in baseball ops.

But, in response to what Grady is trying to do with the outfield and rotation, hopefully this provides a little clarity. With the rotation, he seems to be pretty set on Lowe, Penny, Perez, Tomko and Seo, unless performance dictates a change. In the event that we have an off day that will allow him to use Lowe on his regular four days rest and use Penny, Perez and Tomko a little more regularly, he might be inclined to skip Seo. But anytime we have five games in five days, you can probably expect to see those five guys out there, barring any changes.

With the outfield, Grady has taken a very smart approach to trying to maximize the potential of all the guys out there. J.D. Drew will be in the lineup almost every day, but Grady is also trying to make sure that we don’t wreck him physically, as he has endured some injury problems in the past. In center field, the hope has been to let Kenny Lofton play somewhere around 100 games, with Jason Repko filling in against lefties and whenever Kenny needs a day off. Jason’s hot start has probably earned him a few more looks, but only time will tell whether Grady uses his more often or not.

In left field, Jose Cruz and Repko will get the bulk of the starts, with Cody Ross filling in every once in a while in left or right field. Ricky Ledee will mostly be used as a pinch-hitter, with spot starts to keep him fresh.

In regards to Cesar Izturis, the only thing that matters right now is getting him healthy. The thought of him playing the outfield was raised as a way to get him in the lineup on a regular basis once he’s back and playing. I don’t believe anyone is planning on taking a Gold Glove shorstop and making him an everyday outfielder. But if he could become something like a Chone Figgins, who can play almost anywhere on the field on any given day, think about what an incredible asset that would be the team. If Kent needed a day off, Izzy could play second. If Nomar needed a day off, Kent could move to first with Izzy at second. If Furcal needed a day off, Izzy could play short and possibly even third if Mueller needed a day off. And, if he can learn to play the outfield, he could probably see time five to seven days a week, somewhere in the lineup. But right now, the only important thing is that he gets healthy, as there are tons of things that can happen between now and then.

Finally, I truly don’t believe that Grady is playing Cruz or Lofton to keep them happy, as it was suggested. Every day, he looks at the opposing pitcher, the batter’s history against that pitcher and that type of pitcher, the weather conditions, the type of ballpark we’re playing in, the physical conditions of all the players and the number of days in a row that each guy has played before formulating the lineup he thinks will have the best chance to win that day.  He’s not in the business of making players happy – he’s in the business of winning.

Cody and Jason have both impressed a lot of people lately and from a personal standpoint, I hope both guys succeed because they’re two of the nicest guys on the club. But you can’t ignore the long histories of Lofton or Cruz just because Cody had seven RBI in a game or Jason has impressed in the early going. It’s a huge puzzle with lots of pieces and Grady tries to make them all fit every day he and his coaches put together a lineup.

7 Comments

Great post Josh. More than any of us should expect. Took care of a number of inquiries in one shot. I expect a number of us have played fantasy baseball. Even at age 65 I do and with nothing on the line and every MLB player available in the draft, it is very difficult to do all things well because of injuries, poor seasons,other unforseen circumstances, etc. It must be infinitely more difficult in real life because of a limited roster from which to choose and still have all those circumstances we see in fantasy baseball. Just hope the Dodger faithful will be a bit patient and allow a number of things to fall into place. I expect we could have seasoned relievers at the expense of the farm system. Certainly don’t want to see that happen. Can’t wait for those prospects to become Dodgers. In the meantime the Dodgers have too much talent in the outfield and that may well lead to a transaction involving experienced relief help.

I think it’s safe to say that the comments section is essentially “outside the Dodgers” and sometimes we just want to get a word in edgewise. It would obvously be more appropriate to reframe inquiries as such.

Anyway, it’s nice to know that Izturis’ elbow surgery went so well that he apparently can throw from the outfield.

One thing I think we all want to know is, is Brad Penny OK?

And out of curiousity, what was Grady Little suggesting when he said he wanted to start 7-7? Was he worried about all the injuries, or did he just want to get an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the club in regular season situations?

Josh, Great response and thanks for the post.

I do agree that Little wants to win. Repko and Ross are both hitting extremely well and have such a great upside. I know Cruz and Lofton have the experience, but both are clearly on the downside of their careers. Lofton has had a great career and could still benefit the team in certain situations, but he is in his 16th season. Cruz had great seasons in 00 and 01 with Toronto, but the last four seasons his average season has been .247 19 hr 66rbi. I think both Repko and Ross could provide at least as good as numbers and will continue to improve given the chance to play everyday. It is also apparent that at least one of the outfielders is going to be delt. I hear about Ross, but do you believe Cruz would bring a better pitcher in return and also save a prospect by not dealing Ross.

Josh, I agree Ross will fill in good in the outfield off and on but he needs more bats to make him more valuable to the Dodgers. He is young and a good investment for futures years as a Dodger. Do you think he will start more than Cruz? Paul Subia

If Little knows Ross’s history he must know that when hes hot he will hit 4-5-6 HR’s in a row – please explain why he is not in – do we want to loose! One run difference last night – Ross could of been the difference. Pitch hitting is great but he needs to be in that line up!

Josh I don’t know if you’re sugar coating the Izzy situation BUT reading what you said made me feel a little better. My friends & I are HUGE Izzy fans & didn’t like how his sutation was being handle. The way you explained it made me feel better.

Ps I still think Izzy can take most Short Stops to school when it comes to diffence.

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