Nightcap

Kuroda and Kershaw have both looked good so far in the nightcap and LaRoche hit an absolute bomb early on.

It’s been a busy day at Dodgertown, as Frank McCourt got a chance to talk to the media this morning and cover a number of key topics. Then, the team headed to Viera and got a win in the split squad.

We’re all crazy busy around here getting ready for the China trip, which keeps everyone on their toes. Lots of last minute things that have to get sent in when you’re visiting a communist country. In fact, I’m not even certain I’ll be able to blog from there, but we’re trying to find out what restrictions there will be, if any, while we’re in Beijing.

Starting tomorrow night (Wednesday) through Monday night, KABC will host a special half hour edition of DodgerTalk from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. PT, so be sure to tune in for the latest from Vero Beach.

And finally, in case you haven’t seen the promotional schedule, fans can vote again for which player will be portrayed in the final bobblehead giveaway, so jump online and do so before Opening Day.

81 Comments

Top 1: Nationals Batting: Hiroki Kuroda Pitching:
Felipe Lopez grounds to Kent at second

Ronnie Belliard doubles to right center

Elijah Dukes on a full count strikes out looking

Alex Escobar grounds to Loney at first

0 Runs 1 Hit 1 LOB End of 1/2 inning No Score

Bottom 1: Dodgers Batting: Jason Bergmann Pitching:

Juan Pierre doubles to the left centerfield gap landing in front of the wall

Russell Martin walks on four pitches

James Loney flies to center

Jeff Kent pops to first

Matt Kemp fouls to right

0 Runs 1 Hit 2 LOB End of 1 No Score

Top 2: Nationals Batting: Kuroda Pitching:

Kory Casto walks

Humberto Cota on a full count walks, Casto to second

Ryan Langerhans forces Cota (Loney to Hu), Casto to third

Justin Maxwell 5-4-3 Double Play

0 Runs 0 Runs 1 LOB End of 1 1/2 No Score

Bottom 2: Dodgers Batting: Bergmann Pitching:

Andy LaRoche hits a MONSTER HOME RUN to left field, 1-0 Dodgers (cleared the palm trees in left)

Jason Repko strikes out swinging

George Lombard HOMERS to deep center field (another bomb, both HR’s well over 400 feet), 2-0 Dodgers

Hu flies out to center

Pierre bunts out to third

2 Runs on 2 Massive Hits 0 LOB End of 2 2-0 Dodgers

Top 3: Nationals Pitching: Clayton Kershaw Pitching:

Luis Antonio Jimenez homers to center, 2-1 Dodgers

Lopez strikes out looking

Belliard singles to right off the glove of Kent

Dukes doubles off the glove of LaRoche, Belliard to third

Escobar hit by the pitch, bases loaded

Casto strikes out swinging

Cota strikes out looking on a wicked curveball

1 Run 3 Hits 3 LOB End of 2 1/2 2-1 Dodgers

Bottom 3: Dodgers Pitching:

Martin grounds to second

Loney doubles down the right field line and goes to third when Dukes misplays the ball

Kent grounds to the pitcher

Kemp grounds to short

0 Runs 1 Hit 1 LOB End of 3 2-1 Dodgers

Top 4: Nationals Batting: Jonathan Broxton Pitching:

Langerhans strikes out looking on a full count

Maxwell grounds to Broxton

Jimenez flies to Pierre in left

0 Runs 0 Hits 0 LOB End of 3 1/2 2-1 Dodgers

Bottom 4: Dodgers Batting: Charlie Manning Pitching:

LaRoche flies to center

Repko strikes out swinging

Lombard grounds to second

0 Runs 0 Hits 0 LOB End of 4 2-1 Dodgers

Top 5: Nationals Batting: Scott Proctor Pitching:

Lopez homers to center, 2-2 Tie

Belliard doubles off the glove of Kemp running down a ball near the line

Dukes walks on a full count, Belliard caught stealing third

Escobar grounds to Martin, Dukes to second

Casto flies to Repko in center

1 Run 2 Hits 1 LOB End of 4 1/2 2-2 Tie

Bottom 5: Dodgers Batting: Manning Pitching:

Hu doubles to the gap

Pierre sacrifice bunts Hu to third

Martin sacrifice flies to deep left center, just missed a HR, Hu scores, 3-2 Dodgers

Loney strikes out swinging

1 Run 1 Hit 0 LOB End of 5 3-2 Dodgers

What happened to Miller pitching yesterday and McDonald pitching this morning?

Top 6: Nationals Batting: Joe Beimel Pitching:
Cota singles to left

Langerhans strikes out swinging

Maxwell flies to Repko in center

Jimenez homers to deep center, Cota scores 4-3 Nationals (this lefty has taken two left handers deep tonight), 4-3 Nationals

Lopez grounds to Loney

2 Runs 2 Hits 0 LOB End of 5 1/2 4-3 Nationals

Bottom 6: Dodgers Batting: Dennis Tankersley Pitching:
Ramon Martinez grounds to second, first pitch

Matt Kemp grounds to the pitcher, first pitch

Andy LaRoche singles to left, worked the count

Repko forces LaRoche, first pitch (sense a pattern)

0 Runs 1 Hit 1 LOB End of 6 4-3 Nationals

Hey gang. Looks like Proctor and Beimel had a rough way to go tonight. Roach with a homer, that’s nice.

Top 7: Nationals Batting: Yhency Brazoban Pitching: Gabriel Gutierrez catching:
Belliard grounds to short

Dukes strikes out swinging

Escobar strikes out swinging

0 Runs 0 Hits 0 LOB End of 6 1/2 4-3 Nationals

Yhency is legit wild-card for us this year..

Way to go Brazoban!! Be nice to have him in the pen if he’s healthy.

Thanks Josh for the promo schedule, but no Beach towel? No Viva Los Dodgers event?

I am waiting for my flight to Vegas and then Friday night is off to Florida! -Emma

Bottom 7: Dodgers Batting: Tankersley Pitching
Lombard strikes out looking

Hu grounds to second

Pierre singles to left center

Gabriel Gutierrez flies to right

0 Runs 1 Hit 1 LOB End of 7 4-3 Nationals

Emma-Have a great trip. Which games are you going to. We got the 3 game miniplan so we are going the 9th, 11th, & 12th.

Top 8: Nationals Batting: Greg Miller Pitching:
Casto walks on four pitches

Moeller 3-6-3 Double Play

Langerhans flies to left

0 Runs 0 Hits 0 LOB End of 7 1/2 4-3 Nationals

Bottom 8: Dodgers Batting: Mike Bacsik Pitching:
Xavier Paul singles

Martinez singles to right, Paul to second

Tiffee forces Paul on a sac bunt attempt, Martinez to second

(Brian Sanches relieves Bacsik)

LaRoche 4-6-3 double play

0 Runs 2 Hits 1 LOB End of 8 4-3 Nationals

My 2 pet peeves:

#1. Not getting the runners over with RISP.

#2 1st pitch swinging. Take a pitch and see what the pitcher has to offer.

During the season you work the pitcher & the count and your teamates get to see more pitches and get their timing down. Also the pitcher tires and his command and speed declines. Then you get to the bully and in a 3-4 game series you get them tired and worked.

During spring training maybe the batters are trying to work on things, so it isn’t as important but with the Dodgers record with RISP last year they need to be working on this!!

& during Spring Training there is a new pitcher every inning so why not take a pitch and see what he has to offer.

Maybe they should take BP with RISP and work on getting them around. Hitting to the right, etc,…

Sorry to always rant on this topic but it is so important & it went on all last year. I almost had my remote go through my TV screen!! I like smart baseball. It is great to have talent but talent is better served with smarts.

I totally agree dc.

I’m with you DC.

Working deep into the count and making productive outs is fundamental baseball and leads to winning close games the majority of the time.

Top 9: Nationals Batting: Fernando De La Cruz Pitching:
Maxwell doubles

Jimenez grounds to second, Maxwell to third

Lopez forces Maxwell at home (Martinez to Guiterrez, infield was in)

Lopez to second on a wild pitch

Willie Harris flies to left

0 Runs 1 Hit 1 LOB End of 8 1/2 4-3 Nationals

Sad that some of the worst offenders in swinging at the first pitch are our vets.

Excatly jhall. & didn’t Torre say with the division there would be many close games where a run or 2 would be the difference?!!

I a positive guy. I know it’s spring training but it just seems that it just continues!

This is why guys like Webb and Haren and other better than average pitchers will have no trouble going deep into the game against us.

I always liked the summary of the baseball season that I read somewhere. You are going to win 61 games and you are going to lose 61 games pretty much no matter what. It is what you do with those other 40 games that determines your success. Teams that play good defense and execute the fundamentals consistantly, win the majority of those 40 games. Not rocket science or brain surgery my friends.

Enchanted-It is sad. Escpecially since they should be mentoring the rooks.

E=mc2

JP = ****

(that one was just for you jhall!)

I think we all agree there is value to working the count and making a pitcher work, especially early in a game but I recall a conversation I had with Rick Monday some years ago when I attended Dodger fantasy camp. We were talking about this and he said that a hitter has to be ready to hit “his pitch” and he may only get that pitche once in a game. What happens if that pitche is the first in the at bat? I agree there are situations that almost demand taking a pitch such as facing a pitcher that has walked the previous two batters and seems to be having trouble finding the strike zone.

However, if a hitter hits a home run on the first pitch of the at-bat, do we criticize him for not working the count? We certainly do if he pops out.

I will agree that some hitters are much better at “working” the count than others. The really good hitters are the ones who can not only hit their pitch when and if it comes but also hit the pitcher’s pitch.

I will also agree that there are some hitters, such as Nomar, who seem overly agressive. However, up until last year he seemed to do alright hitting that way.

Enchanted, Thanks.
Should be JP=cRaP3(cubed) LOL

Bottom 9: Dodgers Batting: Sanches Pitching:
Repko pops to second

Lombard flies to right

Hu on a full count reaches on an error by Jimenez

John-Ford Griffin lines to center

0 Runs 0 Hits 1 LOB

Nationals

4 9 1

Dodgers

3 9 0

WP: Charlie Manning

LP: Joe Beimel

SV: Brian Sanches

Time of the Game: 2:39

Cubed; no power, bad defense, low OBP.

I really think that Torre will help with this stuff.

Someone mentioned that if we do have Pierre on the team starting, they liked him batting 1 and Furcal 2. I also felt this way last year and mentioned it the other day. But I remember that during S/T 2007 Grady was thinking of doing this but Furcal didn’t want it to happen. Furcal stated he was a leadoff hitter. & that’s the way it stayed.

Furcal seems okay with it now.

Same thing with Martin. He didn’t want to take days off (& Grady probably wanted to ride his horse) & told Grady he was good to go.

Torre has communicated with Martin and told him he will have a day off a week. Martin was receptive to this.

I just think that Torre is good for this team as a leader.

Torre is running the team and not visa versa!

Well at least LaRoche and Ethier showed up on the radar today.

Yep DC, last year it felt like the clowns were running the circus most of the time.

Hey, again, many thanks Alex!

True lb, but I think we’re talking more situational hitting. How many times have we seen RISP and the pitcher really struggling with his control only to have Nomar or Kent or JP or whomever hack away at the first pitch and make out without advancing the runners. Its like most of them have no clue as to the situation or what they’re trying to do.

Easler, and while he’s there, Mattingly, had better start working them hard on this or we will have a repeat of last year – the last 20 years.

I’ll have play by play of tomorrow’s game against the Mets at 10 a.m. Brad Penny vs. Johan Santana, well at least for two innings. Thursday’s game is on ESPN, no play by play for that. I’ll will have PBP for Friday’s game. Both games this weekend are locally televised, no PBP. Thanks for all the kind words. Dinner time and poll results.

Maybe JP has a new nickname jhall!

Alex – you rock!!

ibirken: Totally agree. I’ve heard that as well. Sometimes you only get that 1 pitch. It just seems that with the Dodgers they seem to think that every 1st pitch is that pitch.

I don’t mind swinging at the 1st pitch on occassion, but it seems like they ALL want to hack!

Also when you are going to bat with RISP you’ve got to be thinking about getting those runners over & in. Not look for that 1 pitch. To often last year I saw late in the game down by a run, runners @1st & 3rd, 1 out and 1st pitch grounders back to the mound.

Thanks again Alex! The anticipation of your updates is addicting!!!

http://www2.sgvtribune.com/sports/ci_8443901

Courtesy of Jungar. A must read.

Enchanted-Excatly what I was talking about.

dcollins, I agree it sometimes seem as if that first pitch is the one. We hear a lot about situational hitting and moving runners. I think it is safe to say the Dodgers could certainly improve at this.

JP=cRaP3
c=crummy OBP

R=rag arm

a=and

P=powerless

Between 1998 and 2003 Nomar was a great run producing hitter no matter how you sliced. Those just happen to be prime time suspicion years for all ballplayers !!

Good to see all the post from both threads. I just caught up. Great to see Ethier do well…

A scout behind home plate said Kershaw’s fastball registered 93-97 mph on his radar gun.

drinkinmerc
do you ever check out the ebbets field flannels site? Those old uniforms are very cool. The Hollywood Stars were my favorites back then. Used to go to Gilmore Field with my dad, so I’m partial to the PCL uniforms, but the ones from Cuba are also very good.

Don’t forget to vote for JUAN PIERRE for the bobblehead give away. Voted for him I mean.

Sorry Ed and Joey, we ain’t makin’ this stuff up.

Kershaw showed that he can pitch out of a jam even if he creates it himself. Brazoban sounded like his old, old self, way, way back (not his last old self)on the audio, as I had no video of the 2nd game. *****I’d say we had a lot of action today. Plenty of fire works from Ethier, Nomo, LaRoche and his highness my name sake Pierre. Great show guys the battle is on. *****Although Kuo’s irritation in the back of his elbow, doesn’t look good,(even if Conte says it’s not serious) because he always seems hurt, maybe Loaiza 2 ST innings against the National Expos is a good sign– I hope. Lindsey is something like Saenz, Keep the fast ball away from him or else he’ll powder it.

OK jhall, how long did it take you to dream up what the acronym **** stood for?

With your inspiration and a couple of Bud Lights under the belt, about 2 minutes.

I thought he was terrific. He gives up a home run to the first hitter and he’s got a little smile on his face as if to say, well, OK. He never backed off. The kid’s got a lot—aside from his stuff—he’s got a lot going on there,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “You have to love his stuff, sure. Curveball, changeup, fastball. But it’s what he does with it more so than what it is, for me.”

Well I (and I’m sure a couple others) got a good chuckle out of it.

With Ethier’s game today, I think we may have gotten a convert from the dark side in randy. Let me be the first to welcome you randy!! – we’re really not that bad over here :)

I will give JP his due again today though – he is battling for that spot with a couple hits.

OBP watch:

JP .294 NG .385

AE .389 AL .467

Juan Vaderre: “I’m your father Enchanted”. LOL

I hate to bring this up but I probably will until it’s over with. On this celebraton of the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers coming to Los Angeles. Which to me is bettersweet because I’m one of the people they left behind. Everything is fine and I join in the celebration, except for one thing. They’ve been in Dodgertown, Vero Beach for 60 years but they are only celebrating the last 50. Hey! Guys like Ralph Branca, Roger Craig, Carl Erskine, Don Zimmer and others who come to the Fantasy camp every year are still with us, god bless them. How about given them a salute.

how bout pierre…great game today!

pierre for left!

New Plaschke article on JP…must…look… away.

Something to think about moving forward. In over 1000 baseball games, Furcal has hit 2nd only 35 times.

Oops, to be more precise, 35 games. 141 ab for over 4000 at leadoff.

You all wanna f with that?

(don’t answer that)

Which is why, to begin with, we didn’t need another leadoff hitter.

I can’t bring myself to read the plaschke article. It’s like we are pretty much making a name for ourselves, I am sure he gets stuff from Josh

“The bloggers who brutalize Pierre unite”

jspelk you think they will?

will what?

unite? we already have. there are those who see the truth and those who don’t.

try pierre at leadoff

its basically one big sob story about how wonderful pierre is and how us mean fans who don’t appreciate his “old school” game pick on him all the time for no reason.

i guess they will bat him leadoff its what the ST lineup has been so far. But who knows? It doesn’t really matter… If Furcal doesn’t have a huge bounce back another season with those two at the top isn’ going to do us much good.

********!!!!

8ullsh*t!!

Ok so if we are to believe the rumors this winter—that we were trying to dump Pierre but were unsucessfull—it makes everything that much more hilarious, because they acknowledge he blows but will prop him up like he’s f’n willy mays out there anyways.

That my friend is the ludicrousy of it all.

Joe Torre had an OPS+ of 171 in 1971.

100 is average. Juan Pierre was 75 last year.

He knows.

Yep Jungar, I agree. However, this is more about Ned’s vanity than Joe’s judgement. Unacceptable!!!!!!!!!

frustrating. my faith is in torre to let in play out..

Hands could be tied. Unfortunate. I don’t believe logic applies to this situation anymore. Too bad because the franchise and the fans deserve more.

You can comment on Tony Jackson’s Juan Pierre article on the Daily News website. Intelligent, critically reasoned argument encouraged – no need to be yahoos.
http://www.dailynews.com/dodgers/ci_8443901

In case you missed it, Frank McCourt on Tuesday:

“We could have acquired any player that was available, but it would have cost us. We have to balance that with keeping the nucleus in play and it would have been disrupted. In [Hiroki] Kuroda and [Andruw] Jones, we got what we needed in the offseason and kept all the kids. They are growing up before our eyes. It seems this year the kids understand better what it takes to win. I don’t think our fans want us to trade the kids to win. They want us to stay the course.”

http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080304&content_id=2404645&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

Let me emphasize those last two sentences:

I DON’T THINK THE FANS WANT US TO TRADE THE KIDS TO WIN. THEY WANT US TO STAY THE COURSE.

Bill Plaschke is a m0r0n and Sam Zell is making the LA Times irrelevant. I hope the Dodger brass pay no attention to him.

*** The following conversation occurred only as I read the article. The text attributed to Plaschke is directly quoted from his Juan Pierre article. ***

Bill Plaschke: He batted .308 after the All-Star break [last year], three points higher than his average during Florida’s 2003 world championship year.

Old Fogey: So he was good all year in 2003 instead of completely reeking for half a season last year.

BP: He finished with 41 runs batted in, the same as in the championship year.

OF: As if Pierre’s RBIs are important, but I’ll humor you. He batted leadoff 148 times for the Marlins, 2nd 13 times. Last year he hit 2nd 123 times, leadoff 31 times and a handful of times 7th. Shouldn’t he have had MORE RBIs not hitting after the pitcher so much more often?

BP: He scored four fewer runs (96), stole one fewer base (64), and, with the exception of a lack of plate discipline amid a lousy offense, he performed just as he did in Florida.

OF: No, he got on base a lot less, so the Dodgers must have driven him in a lot more. His OBP in 2003 was .361, 30 points higher than last season. Dodger #4 hitters were very good (.293 .365 .506 .871) and #3 hitters after Nomar was dumped were outstanding:

Martin- .306 .376 .465 .841

Kemp- .398 .411 .610 1.021

Loney- 377 .419 .551 .970

total PAs 387.

Nomar in 279 PAs- .277 .315 .335 .650.

JP did have five less caught stealings, a good thing.

BP: In the end, Juan Pierre did exactly what Juan Pierre does.

OF: Well, the same crummy stuff he did in 06 and 05 when the Cubs and Marlins, respectively, grew tired of him. He clearly got on base a lot more, presenting his teammates many more scoring opportunities, in 03 and 04 with his OBPs of .361 and .374.

BP: Placing Pierre’s weak arm under the spotlight — and, in fact, putting his whole game at risk — was the injury to Furcal.

The Dodgers shortstop couldn’t reach many shallow center-field balls that shortstops usually reach.

OF: No one has been complaining about JP’s range or the plays he’s charging.

BP: He also couldn’t move Pierre along the bases as a good No. 2 hitter should do.

OF: Hard to do when Furcal led off 130 times! And hit second only eight!

BP: Without a rangy shortstop, Pierre was playing a center field that was twice as big.

OF: No, that was because Luis Gonzales was in LF. Really, no one is complaining about his range; that is a plus. Besides, how did that make him worse?

BP: Without a productive No. 2 hitter, Pierre was a sports car stuck on a pot-holed road.

OF: No, without an ability to get himself base by adopting a batting style that better matches his one “plus-plus” skill, speed (see Brett Butler or Bill North), Pierre is a sports car spinning his own wheels in the mud.

=============================

Really, I want to like JP the player, I really do. He IS a PROFESSIONAL. He takes the game seriously and he has a great work ethic. He’s even funny (did you see the line he threw Diamond Leung?). But he is simply not one of the three best choices the Dodgers have to play the OF this year.

And did I mention that Plaschke is a m0r0n?

Well according to Plaschke, in the Times this morning, JP is our starting LF’er!! Whoopee!! JP says that he is playing with a chip on his shoulder, I guess that explains why he can’t throw. Andre Ethier came into spring training with absolutely no chance of making the starting line-up. He was in a situation where he was going to have to absolutely blow management away with a MONSTER spring and when you’re playing as sporadically as these guys do in the spring, it’s not going to happen. I really like this team, minus JP, and I believe that it’s going to take Joe Torre a couple of regular season games where Pierre gives up the extra base on a single to realize that Andre Ethier is the man for the job. Well, we can just hope!!!

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