August 2006

No No-No – Mark Langill

So Greg Maddux leaves a rain-delayed game with a no-hitter after six innings and relief pitcher Joe Beimel allows a leadoff single to right field by Scott Hatteberg.

The only game I can recall having similar circumstances was at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 1988. Cardinals’ left-hander John Tudor, coming off the disabled list, left the game after six hitless innings. Reliever Scott Terry allowed a leadoff single to right field by Kirk Gibson in the seventh inning. It was the only hit of the game as Terry pitched the final three innings of a 9-0 victory.

After the game, Tudor was asked about leaving the game in the middle of a no-hitter. The veteran said he was on a strict pitch count and trying to stick around for a no-hitter never entered his mind. Tudor was later traded to the Dodgers that summer in exchange for outfielder Pedro Guerrero.

Waiting For History – Mark Langill

With Greg Maddux trapped in "no-hit limbo" thanks to the rain in Cincinnati, here are a few notes to ponder while wondering whether the veteran right-hander will get a chance to make history in his Dodger debut:

50 YEARS AGO: The only pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first season with the Dodgers was right-hander Sal Maglie at age 39 on Sept. 25, 1956 against the St. Louis Cardinals at Ebbets Field. Maglie began that season with the Cleveland Indians and he was acquired via waivers on May 15. Maglie went 13-5 with Brooklyn as the Dodgers won the National League pennant by one game over the Milwaukee Braves. It was the only no-hitter of Maglie’s career.

WITNESS TO HISTORY: When Jerry Reuss pitched his no-hitter on June 27, 1980 at San Francisco, Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax was in a Dodger uniform that night. Koufax was a minor league instructor at the time and he joined the players and coaches at the pitcher’s mound when Reuss recorded the final out of the 8-0 victory at Candlestick Park. It was the only no-hitter of Reuss’ career, which spanned from 1969-90. Watching Maddux’s Dodger debut tonight is Reuss, a member of the Dodgers’ radio broadcasting team. Other witnesses with no-hitters to their credit include Dodger right-hander Derek Lowe (with Boston vs.Tampa Bay, 4-27-02) and Reds’ starting pitcher Eric Milton (with Minnesota vs. Anaheim, 9-11-99).

Lineup and Repko

First off, here’s today’s lineup.

Furcal, SS

Lugo, 2B

Drew, RF

Saenz, 1B

Ethier, LF

Betemit, 3B (good to see Dodger Thoughts taking the Pearl Jam reference a step further)

Martin, C

Repko, CF

Maddux, P

I, for one, can’t wait to watch Maddux in a Dodger uniform tonight. It’ll be even more exciting when he throws at Dodger Stadium, which we expect will be on Tuesday, but TV will have to cut it for tonight.

To answer some of the questions out there: Yes, Nomar is with the team in Cincinnati, as is Bill Mueller. Nothing is really new on Mueller’s knee, Gagne’s back or Brazoban’s elbow. We’re hopeful that all three will be ready to go by Spring Training or shortly thereafter, but there’s just no telling. Brazoban’s Tommy John usually takes a year to come back from, so he’s more likely to be ready after the start of the season. Bill Mueller is still trying to find a surgical procedure that will allow him to play on his knee, which still flares up everytime he does anything overly strenuous to it.

Finally, I know there’s been a lot of talk about Repko and what his role will be and while I can’t speak for Grady, I can say that when Jason came back, Grady said he’d use him similar to how he used him at the beginning of the year which was primarily against left-handers. Hence why he’s in the lineup tonight (the fact that Kenny is 1-for-19 against Eric Milton certainly helped, too).

But, given that Kenny is batting .294 overall and has been very steady offensively all year, despite his occasional defensive issues, it would be hard to justify pulling him from the lineup altogether. He’s one of only four guys in baseball with a stolen base percentage at 89 percent or better (joining Ichiro, Jeter and the Reds’ Brandon Philliops) and he’s a veteran leader for a group of young players. I’m one of Jason Repko’s biggest supporters, but I also think that part of why he hit so well before getting hurt was that Grady was putting him out there primarily against lefties (.346 average vs. LHP, .278 vs. righties). Kenny, on the other hand, has been much better against righties with a .308 mark, compared to .224 against southpaws.

Finally, a happy 60th birthday goes out to Dodger third base coach Rich Donnelly. Let’s hope his present is a chance to wave his arm a lot tonight.

Today's game

The same lineup two days in a row!

Furcal, SS (batting .305 since May first and up to .281 on the year)

Lofton, CF (two steals shy of Maury Wills for 17th place all-time)

Lugo, 2B

Drew, RF

Ethier, LF

Betemit, 3B (can’t find a Betemit…sorry, bad one)

Martin, C

Loney, 1B (first career three-hit game yesterday)

Penny, P

Today's game

Prior to today’s game, we designated Jose Cruz Jr. for assignment to make room on the roster for Maddux and Lugo. In regards to all the questions about whether or not Kent or Nomar are hurt more seriously than previously thought, the answer is no. While we can’t predict when they will come back, it’s certainly our hope that Nomar will be activated when he’s eligible on 8/9 while Jeff has started swinging a bat lightly and probably isn’t that far off, either. But, as I think most people would agree, during this time of year we can’t afford to wait a week or 10 days or we might fall farther behind the pack. And as Ned said yesterday, there’s no guarantees that someone else won’t get hurt while these guys are getting healthy. We’ve certainly had that kind of bad luck to date.

Anyway, here’s today’s lineup with trade analysis in the post below it:

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Lugo, 2B

Drew, RF

Ethier, LF

Betemit, 3B

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Sele, P

Trade coverage

There was obviously a ton of coverage of yesterday’s trades, both locally and nationally. I think Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times hit the nail on the head with his analysis of the trade while Kevin Modesti of the Daily News makes a very intriguing claim: that Maddux will be the greatest player that has ever worn a Dodger uniform. I’d love to hear fans debate that one, as a case can be made in agreement or for several other players.

Steve Bisheff of the Orange County Register thinks that Ned did the right thing. FoxSports.com’s Dayn Perry breaks down all the trades, giving the Dodgers seemingly good marks for their moves. USA Today’s Mel Antonen thinks the Dodgers got better while Jon Weisman has his own strong analysis on DodgerThoughts, as always. (Who am I kidding? I’m sure you’ve read his long before you’ll read this).

There was tons of coverage coming out of Chicago and Tampa Bay, too. I could probably spend several hours reading all the stories but at the end of the day, here’s the only thing I know: there’s not a person out there who knows how these will turn out on the field for us or the opposing teams — not Ned, Kim, Roy, Bill LaJoie, you, me or any of the baseball gods. That’s probably the most fun part about trades in baseball or any sport, for that matter. We can debate them until we’re Dodger blue in the face, but we probably won’t know how these really turned out for a couple of years. Personally, I’m glad we made the moves we did, as I think we improved ourselves in the short-term while not hurting ourselves too much in the long-run.

I’m actually not on this road trip, so lineups may be a little later than usual and sometimes I won’t be able to post them at all, but please be patient.

It’s August, and that’s meant good thing for the Dodgers over the past few years. Since 2002, Los Angeles is 66-46 in August, the third-best mark in the National League behind the Cardinals and Braves. Let’s hope that stays the same…

And for anyone who doesn’t think the Dodgers can come back from a five-game deficit with two months to go, check out the 1983 club that erased a 6.5-game deficit in the same amount of time with a 20-10 month of August. In fact, four guys who were on that team will be at Great American Ball Park tonight – Rick Monday, Jerry Reuss, Rick Honeycutt and Fernando Valenzuela. (Honeycutt actually joined the team on Aug. 19 of that season).

I know many people will argue that they didn’t have multiple teams to surpass in the standings but remember, there wasn’t a wild card back then, either.

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