September 2007

The latest

You guys actually crack me up…don’t worry, no one’s mad at you, especially not me. The lineups have been late this week because I’m not with the team right now. As you’ve seen throughout the year, I split the the 80 road games with our assistant PR director so when I’m not there, it takes a little longer to get them online, but I’m certainly not holding it against anyone just because I’ve been criticized this week. It comes with this job and I accept that.

I should, however, clarify one thing in the comments of the blog and that is that I have never worked for the Giants, nor am I a Giants fan. It seems kind of silly to have to explain myself given that I’ve been working for the Dodgers since I was 18 years old (with the exception of two years in the middle) but I was born and raised in LA and have been coming to Dodger Stadium since I was five years old. I’m as big of a Dodger fan as the rest of you, but I obviously get the benefit of hearing why we do the things that we do directly from those making decisions so it’s a little easier for me to understand it.  It’s no easier when we lose, I guarantee that. I take these losses as hard as you all do.

For one season in 2002, I covered the Giants for MLB.com just like the guy who covered for the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, etc. I’m no more of a Giants fan than Ken Gurnick, Tony Jackson, Diamond Leung, Al Balderas, Kevin Baxter or any of our other media members are Dodger fans. The job I had is an impartial one and that’s why I continue to try to make it clear that I have no problem with DodgerTalk’s host or callers criticizing the team (or me, for that matter). The only reason I moved up North was because my girlfriend at the time (now wife) was living up there so I figured it was an easy way for us to live in the same city. It seems to have worked out perfectly for us, but I can tell you that I have never drawn a paycheck from the Giants (MLB pays those who work for the league’s site).

For that matter, I don’t think that just because people like Ned or Stan Conte did work for the Giants at one time, means that they are secretly sabotaging the team and remain Giants fans. I can assure you that you would be hard pressed to find two people working harder or more diligently towards bringing the Dodgers a championship than those two – whether or not you agree with what they or the rest of the team does.

Here’s today’s lineup:

Pierre, CF

Abreu, SS

Loney, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

LaRoche, 3B

Lowe, P

Today's lineup

Pierre, CF

Kemp, RF

Loney, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Nomar, 3B

Abreu SS,

Penny, P

Game 2

I’m actually not in Denver which is why it’s taking a little longer to get the information to you all. Here’s the lineup for Game 2

Pierre, CF

Abreu, 2B

Kemp, RF

Gonzo, LF

Nomar, 3B

Loney, 1B

Martinez, SS

Lieberthal, C

Wells, P

First of two in Denver

Thanks to everyone for their comments yesterday. Here's the lineup for the first game at Coors Field today.
Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Kemp, RF
Kent, 2B
Loney, 1B
Martin, C
LaRoche, 3B
Ethier, LF
Billingsley, P

DodgerTalk

Several of you mentioned the DodgerTalk program from yesterday and asked me to explain what happened so here goes:

For many years, DodgerTalk has been hosted by various people who either travel with the team or serve as a broadcaster and can provide an inside perspective on what goes on from day to day. This year, KFWB chose to change the show and to my knowledge, the host of DodgerTalk has not spoken with Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti, Grady Little or a single player or coach yet this season despite repeated offers from the organization to do so.

The only thing I’ve ever expected of any DodgerTalk host is that they present both sides of every argument rather than just let fans rail away (or praise) a decision, player, executive, etc. 

Fair, balanced and informed reporting is all we are asking for. 

So please continue to give your feedback here, both positive and negative. We pride ourselves on being one of the very few organizations in baseball that has this sort of forum for you to express your opinions and then know that people at the team are listening to what you have to say and taking it into consideration when decisions are made.

Viva Mexico

What are the odds that of the 13 pitchers from Mexico currently playing in Major League Baseball that two would be facing off in the same game and that it would happen on Mexican Independence Day? That’s what’s happening in the "biggest game of the year," which is basically every game from now until the end of the season.

The team is now actually ahead of last year’s pace by one game, but the only thing that matters is the standings and though we were half a game up in the division through 148 games last year, a better record this year still finds the team trailing by 3 1/2 in the NL West.

A little research yesterday by Retrosheet’s Dave Smith found the following:

Rafael Furcal has stolen eight bases in his last four games, just the 39th time that has been accomplished in baseball over the last 50 years. Furcal is just the second Dodger to accomplish that feat since the team moved to Los Angeles, as Maury Wills swiped eight bases in four games three different times in his career. 

And a little research this morning by the Dodgers’ PR Department found the following:

James Loney is hitting .571 (12-for-21) over his last five games while driving in 14 runs in his last nine contests. He is hitting .449 (35-for-78) with runners in scoring position and .426 in the month of September (23-for-54).

Andre Ethier hit his career-high 12th homer yesterday and over the last three months (since June 16), he is batting .315 (68-for-216).

Matt Kemp is batting .337 this season, the seventh-highest average in baseball and second-best in the National League behind Cincinnati’s Norris Hopper (.340) among players with at least 250 plate appearances.

Here’s the lineup for the homestand finale:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Loney, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF (the "hunch" worked out yesterday)

LaRoche, 3B

Ethier, RF

Lieberthal, C

Loaiza, P

Saturday in the park

Hard to believe that a year ago today, we had the exact same record but were 1.5 games ahead in the NL West. Obviously things change from year to year but we finished out the season with 10 wins in the final 15 games to reach the playoffs. If the Dodgers play .667 baseball through season’s end, do you think they’ll get into the playoffs?

Nice to see Nomar have a big game last night…he’s back in there again today and as Grady said after the game, hopefully he’ll pick the right time to get hot.

Another thing someone brought up during last night’s game is that since the trade deadline, the Dodgers have added three pitchers from outside the organization – David Wells, Esteban Loaiza and Scott Proctor – and the trio has combined to go 7-1 with a 4.27 ERA (28 ER/59.0 IP). Though 4.27 doesn’t exactly make you jump for joy, the NL’s ERA right now is 4.41 so that gives you some context.

Also pointed out to me recently is that Chad Billingsley is now doing a blog. I talked to him about it yesterday and he said he’s going to update it a couple times a week, so keep throwing questions at him. He’s a really nice kid and I probably don’t have to tell any of you how talented he is on the field.

And while I’m sending links to enjoy, I got this one yesterday, too. Maybe we can get our guys to do something like this. Suffice to say, it makes you understand why Rick Monday and Jerry Reuss seem to have a good connection for the 40 or so games they do for KFWB.

Here’s the lineup for today

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Loney, 1B

Gonzo, LF

Nomar, 3B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Abreu, 2B

Lowe, P

Today's lineup

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Loney, 1B

Kent, 2B

Nomar, 3B

Martin, C

Kemp, RF

Ethier, LF

Penny, P

Down the Stretch They Come…

David Wells, James Loney and the rest of the team came up big yesterday, putting the Dodgers in a pretty good spot heading into the weekend against the D’backs. While we’d obviously prefer to be in first place, there’s still optimism here that the team can get into the postseason and once that happens, you never know.

Also, hopefully this article will put to rest the endless calls for Grady’s demise in the comments of this blog. I have to say that I agree with everything Bill Plaschke wrote here and there’s a million more reasons why there should be no question who manages the team next year. Driving home last night, I actually thought about how difficult it has been to keep a team in contention all year given the injuries to Schmidt and Wolf and the unfulfilled expectations of many of the players this year. While you can agree or disagree with Grady’s lineups or in-game moves (and everyone is entitled to their opinions), I have the benefit of watching him every day and whether or not we go to the postseason, he’s done a heck of a job keeping the ship afloat, so to speak.

On that note, I also would like to post one last warning to anyone who continues to go overboard with their comments here. We simply will not tolerate the angry personal attacks that a very small number of you have chosen to post and going forward, if I see them again, that person will have their account blocked from posting on the site. As I’ve said repeatedly, you are allowed to disagree with anything and everything that you think the team is doing, but saying that anyone should be "burned at the stake on the field" or other such vicious statements is unacceptable. Period. Save that stuff for kindgergarten. Make your point (using facts) and move on. This has become a great online community and I hope that it will remain that way.

Also, I was very glad to see an old friend and mentor, Dan Evans, granted an interview for the GM opening in Houston. It reminded me that I meant to send out this link when the story came out earlier this week but I got sidetracked. It’s a story by the Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice about Kim Ng and it hits the nail on the head. The fact that Kim isn’t a self-promoter has certainly hurt her public perception over the years but there isn’t a more qualified Assistant General Manager in the game when you consider what she’s done over the past 10 years. While it would be a huge loss for the Dodgers if she were to get a GM job, she most certainly deserves one given her track record and experience.

And finally, for those of you looking for some fun this evening, come on down to the stadium. We’ll be celebrating Tommy Lasorda’s upcoming 80th birthday and there are still a couple thousand tickets remaining. He posted a blog today about it, so check that out if you can’t come down and see the celebration for yourself.

Pretty Big Game

A win today and we’re 1 1/2 games out of the Wild Card…a loss and it’s 3 1/2.

Once again, a big game that finds David Wells on the mound…here’s the lineup:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Loney, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Kemp, RF

Abreu, 3B

Wells, P

UPDATE: For those who keep wondering, yes, it is Andy LaRoche’s bad back that continues to keep him out of the lineup. Grady told the media before the game today that while he’s able to swing, they want to make sure he’s able to field ground balls without pain/problems before he is back in there.

Also, Derek Lowe appears to be ready to go for Saturday’s game. He played catch today without incident.

And finally, Jason Schmidt saw the doctor in Los Angeles today and was in the clubhouse during batting practice and before the game. He remains optimistic, as does the team, about his chances for complete recovery next season. He hasn’t started throwing yet but obviously there are still five months before we break camp in Vero Beach.

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