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.