Trying to stay positive

Yeah, I know. It’s not easy during times like this. Losing seven out of eight is never easy, but it’s going to happen to almost every team at some point during the year. That’s not to say people around here aren’t bummed right now and searching for solutions, but at least they’re trying to keep it humorous.

Take for instance, my return to the office this morning. Taped to my office door was a sign that said, "We come back, Josh."  I was told I already had all the Ls, so there were none left for the sign.

Not to be outdone, I also received a letter from "Paul Tagliabue" that read:

Dear Josh,

Have you ever considered the National Football League? One win per week and you’ll have a Super Bowl ring!!

OK, so these made me chuckle and the culprit, Mark Langill, certainly knows how to keep things light. At the end of the day, our office is just like any of yours. What makes it special are the people we work with, both upstairs and downstairs.

So keep your heads up. I refuse to say "it’s early" but it’s definitely not too late for a turnaround. There’s still two months left and as bad as the trip went, if you go 1-7 and only lose one game in the standings, there’s reason to remain positive.

27 Comments

Josh…..good point on only losing one game in the standings. The NL West is struggling all around. I hope Ned is able to work some magic before the end of the month to inject some life into the club. Let’s slap the Cards around this weekend.

Go Dodgers!!

i agree with you josh. Its important to stay positive. Im confident that we’ll be fine.

Could part of the problem be that less than 1/2 the team that started the season is currently on the 25 man roster including only 4 pitchers: Baez, Perez, Lowe and Penny. Only 8 of the position players are still on the roster and that includes Alomar who has had 14 at bats in 2 months and Ledee who just got back. other than that only furcal, martinez, saenz, cruz, drew and lofton are still here for a total of 12 of the 25. This much turn over will cause problems with any team.

Just remind yourself how much better off we are than last year. There’s been SO many good rookies coming up to help when the injuries set you back. I’m annoyed with some performances but won’t point fingers… I believe in this team and know that this is just a slump.

One suggestion to pass along which I’ve seen some fans mention. I know it’s hard right now, but the dugout looks so quiet when it comes to the guys rooting for each other — I’d love to see a little more cheering for one another, pounding each others’ backs, getting each other fired up, like when Bills came off his first win (booyah!) I keep seeing poker faces.

At Dodger stadium we can help get the guys stoked with 50,000 fans cheering. Bottle that up and take it with you on the road!

Variables in the Dodgers’ success:
1) Brett Tomko in the bullpen

2) Derek Lowe’s comfort level on the mound

3) Mark Hendrickson

4) Chad Billingsley continuing to get better each time out

5) JD Drew’s power bat

6) Jason Repko

7) Jeff Kent’s power bat

8) Nomar hitting with RISP

9) Who plays center field

10) Danys Baez

11) Rafael Furcal’s defense

12) Aaron Sele pitching at home vs. away

Over the past trip, (4) and (11) were relatively positive aspects. Furcal has actually been quite effective lately.

The X-factors are Tomko and Repko. If they can pull out decent performances, that would be even better than making a blockbuster trade. Repko, after all, had all but secured a starting spot when he got injured.

As for things that will get better, that would be the rotation. Sele is always dominant at Dodger Stadium because he uses the mound to his advantage – look at his home away splits, his ERA drops to 1.65 when he’s in Dodger Stadium. Lowe is also bound to come around. His sinker is working, but he just needs to be able to trust his catcher, leading me to think Martin will call his next game. Hendrickson is probably not as bad as we’ve seen him, but he’s not beating out Jae Seo by a whole lot.

I have a lot of confidence in (4), (7), and (8), but I wonder why Drew’s in such a homer drought. He’s a consistent type of hitter, which makes me wonder if he’s playing hurt.

As for (9) and (10), those are concerns. Kenny Lofton is an extra leadoff man, which is nice if Furcal is out, but his defense in center is not too great. Repko might or might not be better defensively, and he should practice his throwing so he doesn’t hit someone in the upper deck (or he should be brought in to pitch to Bonds). Danys Baez also has a tendency to implode, and I worry every time he’s on the mound.

“At Dodger stadium we can help get the guys stoked with 50,000 fans cheering. Bottle that up and take it with you on the road!”

Milton Bradley is gone, too, so it’s ok to bottle things up.

“Kenny Lofton is an extra leadoff man, which is nice if Furcal is out, but his defense in center is not too great.”

Huh? Which Kenny Lofton are YOU looking at?

Josh… only losing one game in the standings only reminds me of a wasted opportunity. These are the types of attitudes that seperate the winners from the losers.

In the words of that great philosopher L.P. Berra: “It ain’t over until it’s over.”

Josh,
I feel that this is not the time to crack jokes. The only joke I am laughing at is the way the Dodgers play after the All-star break. I know Grady is not the kind of guy to talk bad about his players and their offense, or lack of, but at least toss a cooler or throw a bat… DO SOMETHING!

i love the positive attitude!!!! seriously it could be so much worse and to still be right in the middle of the hunt….now let’s get some W’s at home.

So what’s the sense of team chemistry after the road trip or in general? is it better than the last few years? how do all these guys get along? it is a fun clubhouse or more on the serious side? who’s the biggest joker?

Have to agree with : kssparkuhl@cableone.net here. Saying “oh well, only lost a game in the standings” instead of “Oy, we could have HAD this division, been clear in first place by a game or so, if only we won some games, maybe broke even!” is the attitude that turns the Dodgers into a middle-to-low-end-of-the-pack, also-ran team.

I’ve been on team sports, once you start cracking jokes like that, the feeling that filters in is that it is OK to be losing. What is needed is a good shot of cold water in the face to wake people up and remind them to play their best every day.

What do the 2004 Los Angeles Dodgers, 2005 Chicago White Sox, and the 2006 Los Angeles Dodgers all have in common ? They all had stretches in which they lost seven out of eight. Losing streaks happen to every ballclub – good or bad . The Dodgers are the best team in the NL West and barring an explosion of injuries, they will be on top at the end of the year.

In Brad Penny’s start last week against the Cards, Little mentioned giving Pujols the Bonds treatment. Apparently that was ineffective, as Pujols was 4 for 5 (entire game) with 3 RBI against Penny. Today, I read that Pujols owns Penny, hitting over .400 against him with two homers. Is Penny so confident in his ability to pitch to Pujols that he wouldn’t walk him? Please pitch around him today Penny! Pray for a productive homestand…….

I wonder how nonchalant Mr. McCourt is about the performance of his $100 million yearly investment. I would certainly question whether I was getting my money’s worth and I would be looking at the people I’ve intrusted to handle that investment. Colletti may have had a good baseball background, but I don’t think he was in the driver’s seat in his assistant position. Only thing I can see so far is one good trade to get Ethier on the ballclub. Otherwise, where’s the payback on the other trades and the signings that he has made. You would think that if he knew Mueller’s background and had a real medical examination made, somebody would have anticipated that he could have knee problems and would become an investment write-off. He made a good deal for Nomar, because the timing was right, and there were few organizations willing to take a chance on him. Furcal was not a good signing, because the Braves knew he wasn’t worth that kind of money and passed on the chance to match Colletti. There was no reason to extend Kent for an additional year except for the sake of nurturing his ego. I don’t know of any other $100 million payroll team that is performing so poorly, and you can’t excuse Colletti entirely for putting this team together. With his track record I’m not holding my breath waiting for him to come up with an answer by way of trade – can only hope that he doesn’t give away our prospects for some fancied short term solution. As for Little, the reason that he was out of managing for a while after his Red Sox firing is becoming more apparent every day.

Here’s the Kenny Lofton I’m looking at.

He gets on base more than Furcal, with better splits with the bases empty. Not a lot of power, but gets on, and has an excellent stolen base percentage (94% to Furcal’s 74%). His splits against left-handers, though, would suggest that he would be best suited to be a platoon player at this point, splitting time with him and Cruz if it must be done.

As for his defense, he’s the kind of guy that uses his speed to get him to the ball. He doesn’t get good jumps, and he’s taken some bad paths to the ball, especially recently. He also has the weakest arm in the Dodger outfield.

Here goes my take?

Trade Lowe for Beltre, no money exchange.

Izzy and O. Perez to the Cubs for Maddux, I might get yelled at for this one sorry.

Cruz Jr., T.Hall and mid level prospect pitcher or W. Aybar with cash for Soriano. Sounds too good to be true, but I think can be done.

Aside from Ethier, Nomar, and maybe Lofton Ned’s moves have ******. We are stuck with Furcal because he’s being paid twice what he’s worth. And how can you have a guy leading off that strikes out more than they walk. The lead off man should take lots off pitches and let his team mates see what the guys got. Giving Kent the extension may or may not be a mistake. Depends on how he comes back after this injury. I fully expect Kent to be at 1st next year which would probably be the best place for him. Nomar is going to want to much money and is still older and injury prone. I’m hoping Ned doesn’t panic and make another bonehead move like the Seo and Hendrickson deals.

Ahh builder, use Izzy to unload Perez. I like it. Actually if we could get all those trades we’d be looking pretty good.

Alot of comments here about trades…

First of all, there is no marquee pitcher available. Willis and Zito WILL NOT be traded. Ok, maybe they will, but Ned would literally have to give up THE FARM – 3-5 Kemp/Either/Martin type’s. I sincerely hope this does not happen. The best we can hope for is a Livan Hernandez or Freddy Garcia. And we already have Livan Lite in Odalis. Maddux is not the answer, his ERA is over 5 since his hot (something like 5-1) start. Its not worth giving up good players/prospects for any pitcher on the market. If we are to win the division and make noise in the playoffs our pitching is going to be answered by the guys we have now. Penny is our horse, and hopefully he can learn how to pitch to Pujols because the rest of the Cards lineup shouldn’t scare anyone. D.Lowe always pitches horribly in July but comes back in August and September, so we shouldn’t think about trading him unless we are ready to pack it in. Billingsly looks like a bonafide 3rd starter, and if the combination of Sele-Hendrickson-Perez-Tomko could give us .500 between them in their starts, we’d be looking pretty. If we acquire any pitching it should be in the bullpen.

Offensively we have been challanged over the last 7 games, and with a mediocre pitching staff not looking to get too much better, I think a bat would be huge. Our guys will be Soriano or Hillenbrand. Izturis will likely see the door, which is unfortunate but we’re stuck with Raffy and his contract so bye bye to the gold glover. For Soriano its going to take at least Guzeman (who im willing to see go, and Nats GM Bowden apparently likes alot) and Izturis and probably a lower tear prospect as well. He’s the best player out there, and apparantly Bowden’s first offer was Soriano for Billingsly, Kemp and Martin. I hope Ned hung up on his greedy @**. There’s no way we swing Cruz (too old) Hall and Aybar for Soriano. Guzeman, Aybar and Hall would be more like it…which I would pull the trigger on. As for Hillenbrand, his value has to be down there after his antics…he’s not worth a top MLB ready prospect or an Izturis at the moment. Maybe a Delwyn Young for Hillenbrand move makes some senese.

Please do not trade the following players/prospects – Kemp, Loney, LaRoche, Elbert, Either, Repko.

There is no sense in selling our future to win a bad division now and lose in the first round to the Cardinals, again.

californiaautorebuilder,

If we are all going to criticize GMs past and present (rightfully so in many cases) we have to also acknowledge that not signing Beltre was a FANTASTIC move. He got greedy after one huge year -after ******* for 6- inked a fat deal, and has resumed ******* (250 games played since traded .255 BA, 26HR, 180K, .311 OBP at the bargain basement price of $12.9M.year???). Believe it or not- his #s this year are significantly worse than JD Drew. Why would we trade Lowe for him after 4-5 bad starts?

drj,

My point on Lowe, it’s not cause of his last starts, he’s just someone we can trade to get someone else back. Think about it we upgrade defensively at 3rd. And maybe get some more offensive production at the position. And add some protection to the lineup we already have. Just think back didn’t he look comfortable being back at his old stomping grounds.

Beltre is not an upgrade defensively at 3rd over Izturis. Sorry. Also, clearly Beltre doesn’t exactly screm “production”. And at the cost of our #2 starter…yikes Im glad you’re not the GM.

“Beltre is not an upgrade defensively at 3rd over Izturis. Sorry. Also, clearly Beltre doesn’t exactly screm “production”. And at the cost of our #2 starter…yikes Im glad you’re not the GM.”

Agreed…

Pats… I’d take Kenny Lofton in Center Field, with his OBP and speed potential any day.

For those looking to add Soriano, remember that he is a free agent at the end of the season. Do you just want to rent him for two months, or are there broader implications to negotiate with him on a multi-year contract. In either case, the Nationals shouldn’t require too much in return for their remaining two month contract. Hillenbrand could be an interesting situation, since he has played both 3rd and 1st base while batting around .300 with moderate power. Under the circumstances of a forced trade, he shouldn’t require us to give up too much to the Blue Jays. What kind of an addition he might be in our clubhouse is another consideration.

kssparkhul… you do realize that Kenny Lofton’s OBP is only .2 better than Rafael Furcal’s and would undoubtedly be lower if he were forced to play every day. And speed potential? Are we talking about a prospect or a 39-year old?

Trading for Beltre is a joke !!! We’re hungry for pitching and you want to trade Lowe ????? and for a 250 hitter, your nuts !!! I have to agree with Charlie, glade you don’t hold the gun !!
Get the streak going guys !!!

Go Dodgers !!!

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