June 2007

Leaving Canada

A nice win tonight and glad to see Russ come through in front of his friends and family. Lots of contributors to the victory, which is the way it should be.

We just got through customs and are on the plane, about to take off. For those who missed it the last time I posted it, be sure to read up on our hotel in Tampa Bay. It case be described in one word: haunted.

Lineup

The Schmidt update is just about everywhere you look online, so no real need to add much here. If there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s that the surgeon felt very good about that fact that he was able to repair everything that he saw and is confident that Schmidt can return to the power pitcher he was before the injuries. We certainly wish him well in his recovery.

Clayton Kershaw will be playing in the Futures Game, it was announced today. That takes place the Sunday before the All-Star Game up in SF. Stan Conte was also named to the NL training staff and there’s still work to be done in voting our players into the starting lineup. If you look at it realistically, we could potentially have five All-Stars: Martin, Penny, Lowe, Saito and Kent. Of course, it never actually works that way, but Lowe has pitched well enough to go there but his record hasn’t reflected that. Saito has been nearly unhittable all season long and Jeff might trail Utley in most offensive categories, but it’s not out of the question that he could return to San Fran as a backup at second base.

Oh, and I’ve been named to the NL PR staff for the All-Star Game. OK, so maybe I wasn’t so much named as volunteered, but I’ll be up north for the Midsummer Classic, too.

Here’s the lineup for tonight. Hopefully I can find some time to post more later tonight.

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C (keep voting)

Anderson, DH

Ethier, RF

Abreu, 3B

Billingsley, P

Tonight's game

A quick post from the clubhouse, as I’ve got to get Russell to an SI photo shoot here in Skydome/Rogers Centre.

And while you’re voting for Russell and the rest of the Dodgers, check out the new video spots promoting the All-Star Game. I’m sure you’ll see these all over TV in the next few week if you haven’t already seen it over the weekend.

Also, Brady Clark has cleared waivers and is now a free agent.

Lineup for today is:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzalez, LF

Martin, C

Saenz, DH

Betemit, 3B

Ethier, RF

Kuo, P

Schmidt and Brazoban

By now, chances are you’ve read that Jason Schmidt will undergo arthroscopic surgery to his right shoulder tomorrow night, which is obviously a disappointing piece of news on an otherwise enjoyable night in Toronto. We obviously tried the conservative approach with rehab and rest but it hasn’t worked, so they’re going to look inside the shoulder and see if they find anything wrong. We certainly wish him the best in a speedy recovery.

The same holds true for Yhency Brazoban, whose diagnosis is more clear. He has a torn labrum and will require surgery on Friday. Stan Conte wants to wait until they do the surgery to offer a real prognosis, but this is certainly not what we wanted to hear, given how well is elbow responded to the Tommy John surgery last year.

Both of these pieces of news come on a night when the team is pounding the Jays with 10 runs, including a homer from Russell Martin in his return to Canada, three hits and four RBI from Gonzalez, and tons of hitting up and down the lineup. Russell was clearly overwhelmed by the support he’s received to jump him up to first place in the All-Star balloting and the requests to speak with him have increased exponentially. We had a press conference for him today that was attended by about 30 reporters, including seven TV cameras. Safe to say he’s huge out here.

That’s good, too, because the Mets have started their own campaign to get Lo Duca into the All-Star Game as the starter. It’s East Coast vs. West Coast and as some of you remember, it seemed like Cesar Izturis had made the All-Star Game a couple years ago, only to be upset in the final couple of days by St. Louis. Most of you have voted, but maybe your friends haven’t who are baseball fans. Keep it going!

Lineup

Here’s the lineup. Hoping for an update shortly on Schmidt and others.

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Garciaparra, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Anderson, DH

Abreu, 3B

Ethier, RF

Penny, P

Talking Tommy…

Chance to chat with Tommy Lasorda today at 2 p.m. PT…hope you’ll join in.

And as I posted in the comments of the last entry, there will be no further warnings regarding bad language or quasi-bad language on the site (@#&!). Going forward, anyone who can’t find a way to express themselves without language like this will be locked out of posting on any MLB site by MLB.com. Thanks for understanding.

Off to Canada, eh?

Heading to the airport shortly for our flight to Toronto.

With Schmidt’s shoulder still a little unknown, he is going to see a doctor today in Los Angeles and will not make the trip to Toronto with us. Instead, he’s going to go on the disabled list and Marlon Anderson will be activated before tomorrow’s game.

Hope to have more when we land or early tomorrow…it’ll be busy up there, with all of Canada seemingly requesting to speak with Russell tomorrow.

Happy Father's Day

A Happy Father’s Day goes out to my father and the dads of everyone in the front office and Dodger organization. Hope you’ll make it down here today for the game and stick around to play catch with Dad down on the field at Dodger Stadium. It’s certainly an important game today with a chance to take the series from the Angels.

Also, thank you to bluebleeder for the music suggestion…I’ll definitely pass it along to those in charge of in-game entertainment.

As I was driving in, I thought of something interesting to debate during today’s thread. When is the "right" time to give a guy a day off?

I actually think this might be one of the toughest things a manager decides throughout the season. If a guy is on a hot streak and tearing the cover off the ball, you don’t want to take him out of the lineup but you run the risk of people thinking that he’s overworked. But if you take him out of the lineup and he starts to slump, suddenly it’s your fault for knocking him off course?

On the flip side, if a guy is struggling offensively, you try to find a day to let him clear his head and get back on track, but there are many who believe that you can’t get back on track sitting on the bench so you play him and you’re criticized for not seeing that a guy is struggling.

I don’t believe there’s a perfect answer because each player is different in their swings, their age, the status of any nagging injuries they’re dealing with, their personalities and the position they play. Those are just a few of the factors that I’m sure all managers consider, not to mention which arm the opposing pitcher throws with and the batter’s history against that pitcher. But it’s definitely something that clearly stirs debate on this blog and other outlets on a daily basis and is certainly one of the more interesting parts of a game that is played every day like baseball.

Here’s today’s lineup, followed by some notes:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Betemit, 3B

Kemp, RF

Lieberthal, C

Wolf, P

PACKED HOUSE – The three-game series against the Angels sold out and yesterday’s paid attendance of 56,000 equaled the single-game Dodger Stadium regular season record. L.A. leads the NL in attendance with an average of 45,692, more than 1,000 fans higher than the second-best team, New York.

CHAT WITH TOMMY – Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman and Hall of Famer Manager Tommy Lasorda will host a live web chat on Tuesday at 2 p.m. PT on dodgers.com, becoming the 11th Dodger player, coach or executive to host a chat with the fans in 2007. 

CALIFORNIA BASEBALL – One record that has a chance to go down this year is the combined winning percentage of the Dodgers and Angels. They current hold a combined 82-55 mark (.599), which would surpass the 2002 season in which the two teams were 191-133 (.590).              Source: Baseball Prospectus

BILLS KILLS – Dodger reliever Chad Billingsley worked 2.0 scoreless innings yesterday and has now worked 12.0 consecutive scoreless innings (seven games). Since April 29, Billingsley is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA (3 ER/24.1 IP) and 30 strikeouts in 15 outings and his four wins overall are tied for the fourth most in the NL by a relief pitcher.

WALKING IN L.A. – Wilson Betemit drew his 24th walk yesterday in just his 137th plate appearance, which is one every 5.7 times to the plate. Dodger third basemen have a combined 36 walks, more than any team in the NL and tied with the Yankees for the most in baseball. 

HONOR THY FATHER – According to home run historian David Vincent, Joe DiMaggio holds the record for most homers on Father’s Day with 12, but a pair of former Dodgers are also on the all-time Father’s Day home run list. Eric Karros went deep eight times on Father’s Day during his 13-year career and Kirk Gibson hit seven round-trippers in honor of his dad. Today, Dodger players, coaches, managers, trainers and groundskeepers will show their support for Father’s Day and try to raise awareness for early detection of prostate cancer by wearing blue wristbands during the game.

Today on FOX

It’s a regional FOX game today and plenty of good things in store. Highlights from yesterday’s All-Star rally, where Russell and Brad Penny both showed up to thank the fans, footage of Russell’s dad playing the anthem on his saxophone last year and Joe Beimel reading off the lineup, which will be:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Loney, 1B

Gonzo, LF

Vote for Martin, C

Betemit, 3B

Abreu, 2B

Ethier, RF

Schmidt, P

Here are some notes on the day:

ON TOP OF THINGS – The Dodgers have 39 victories, the most wins in the National League. They are a season-high 11 games over .500 for the second time this season. Los Angeles has tied its season high with four consecutive victories and have won five of its last seven games. Los Angeles is 26-4 when scoring first this season, the best winning percentage in the Majors (.867) and 16-7 in one-run games, the best winning percentage in all of baseball (.697).

PACKED HOUSE – The entire three-game series against the Angels is sold out and last night’s paid attendance of 56,000 equaled the single-game Dodger Stadium regular season record. Los Angeles leads the National League in attendance with an average crowd of 45,389.

IF AT FIRST – The Dodgers moved back into first place last night and have spent 54 days of the season atop the NL West. They have been in second place on nine days, third place for 10 days, fourth place for two days and even spent one day in the cellar – April 3, which was the second day of the season.

BIG, BAD BIRTHDAY BOY – Jonathan Broxton is celebrating his 23rd birthday today. Broxton registered his 17th hold of the season last night, tying him for the Major League lead in that category with Scot Shields and Derrick Turnbow.

HOMERING FOR A CAUSE – Tommy Lasorda, Grady Little, Nomar Garciaparra and Luis Gonzalez, along with players and coaches from the 29 other Major League organizations have teamed up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, to help “Keep Dad in the Game.”  As part of the 2007 Prostate Cancer Foundation Home Run Challenge, each time a Major League player goes deep during 60 select games throughout Father’s Day week, pledges will be made and money will be raised for prostate cancer research, a disease that one in every six men will be diagnosed with during his lifetime.

FATHER’S DAY CATCH – Tomorrow, the Dodgers will host the fourth annual Father’s Day catch, presented by Macy’s, where fans are invited to play catch with their parents in the outfield at Dodger Stadium following the homestand finale. For more information, fans can visit dodgers.com/events.

TWO OF A KIND – The Dodgers have won 96 consecutive home games when leading after eight innings, the longest active streak in baseball. Much of that is due to Takashi Saito, who is one of only two Major Leaguers in history to convert 43 of their first 46 save appearances, joining Eric Gagné, who converted 44 of his first 47 save opportunities in 2002 before blowing his fourth chance.

STRIKEOUT KINGS – Dodger pitchers have struck out 10 or more batters 20 times this season, the most in the Majors. Last night the team fanned 14 batters, led by a career-high 11 from Derek Lowe. The team has fanned 521 batters overall, the most in the NL.

Lineup

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Betemit, 3B

Kemp, RF

Lowe, P

Info on Pepe’s punchout is below.

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