September 2009

Road finale in San Diego

Lots of Dodger fans were here last night hoping to see a celebration. Here’s hoping we’ve got a lot in the house tonight and we can finish this thing off before we head home.

Don’t forget that on Friday back home, we’re near a sell out for the celebration of Tommy’s 60th anniversary. The first 50,000 fans will get replica Hall of Fame plaques and there’s even seats still available in My Town: Italy, where Tommy is going to pay a visit on top of the Italian food and the limited edition t-shirts.

Lineup is pretty standard, but it looks like Andre dropped toward the back end, as he’s had a pretty rough road trip. And Casey Blake gets another day off to get his hamstring where it needs to be for the postseason.

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Loretta, 3B

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Garland, P

A little postseason history lesson

After qualifying for the playoffs, the Dodgers are still aiming to capture consecutive National League West titles for the first since 1977 and 1978. Tommy Lasorda and Joe Torre are the only two managers to lead Los Angeles to the playoffs in their first two seasons piloting the Dodgers. Lasorda and Gabby Street (1930-31 Cardinals) are the only N.L. managers to win pennants in their first two seasons as manager.

This is also the first time the Dodgers have reached the playoffs four times in a six-year span since the Brooklyn Dodgers reached the World Series four times in a five-year span from 1952-56. The “playoff” losses in 1946, 1951, 1962 and 1980 are considered part of the regular season as tiebreakers, thus don’t count as a postseason appearance.

The only Brooklyn manager to come close to reaching the playoffs in his first two full seasons was Burt Shotton, who replaced Leo Durocher during the 1948 season and finished in third place. In 1949, Shotton’s Dodgers won the 1949 National League pennant and nearly repeated in 1950, missing a chance to force a playoff with the Phillies by losing at home against Philadelphia on the final day of the regular season.

Brooklyn’s Ned Hanlon won consecutive N.L. pennants in his first two seasons as Dodger manager in 1899 and 1900, but the World Series didn’t begin until 1903.

– Mark Langill

Hoping for a clinch…

Well, that was weird. Can’t say I’ve ever seen what we saw late yesterday in that situation, but that’s why sports in general and baseball in particular are so unique.

Of course, that loss will mean a heck of a lot more if we somehow don’t manage to win anothe game this year and the Rockies win out, but I’m still feeling pretty good about our chances to win the division. It would be nice to do it today before we head home.

Meanwhile, I know I’ve been slower at posting lineups this year than in the past, but keep in mind that we’re posting them almost immediately on our Twitter account. Quite often, I’m not near a laptop and can’t blog at the moment, but I send it out via email to our front office and it gets tweeted from there. Of course, today is an exception because of how early the game is on the West Coast, but generally speaking you can find it there.

Here’s the lineup in case you don’t have it yet:

Pierre, LF (Manny with some hamstring tightness)

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Loretta, 3B (Blake back in LA to make sure his hammy is ok and Belliard with the groin issue from yesterday)

Ausmus (ties Benito Santiago today for eighth all-time in games played by a catcher)

Castro, SS (routine day off for Furcal)

Kuroda, P

Magical mystery

It’s already been a busy morning, as everyone is trying to figure out what our “magic number” is…

Technically, since the term magic number refers to a formula, it remains two, but in reality, if we win today’s game, we will have clinched a tie for the division and based on head-to-head, we would therefore win the NL West. So, we would celebrate with champagne spraying and the whole nine yards.

If we lose, who knows what we’ll do. So let’s hope that doesn’t happen. We might wait around in the clubhouse and see what happens to the Rockies, but we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

One thing is certain – we’re going to the playoffs for the third time in four years and fourth time in six years and no other NL team can say they’ve done that. That’s a pretty impressive record no matter how you look at it. And the last time we went to the postseason three out of four years was in the early to mid 60s, so this is something to celebrate.

Here’s the lineup:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Belliard, 3B

Martin, C

Hudson, 2B

Kershaw, P

Underway and on top

Somehow, we got this game underway despite the threat of rain. That’s not to say we’ll make it all the way through, but it’s looking like we might. And Manny drove in the first run of the game with a first-inning double.

Casey Blake was a late scratch because Joe doesn’t want to risk his hamstring tightness on wet grass…otherwise, just another day in Pittsburgh.

Here’s the lineup:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Manny, LF

Kemp, RF

Belliard, 3B

Loretta, 2B

Martin, C

Hudson, 2B

Wolf, P

G-20

It’s been a long time since I simply forgot to post on a given day, so my apologies. Just got busy yesterday in Washington. We’re now in Pittsburgh after a late arrival and lots of extra security from the G-20 Summit going on down the road.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers can practically hold their own G-20 Summit, as we have eight different countries represented on our current roster and 22 different countries that have produced a Dodger player over the years. Pretty cool.

As I’m sure you all know, the Magic number is down to 1, so if we win tonight, we’re in the playoffs for the third time in four years and fourth time in six years. No other National League team can make that claim. Of course, the magic number is four to clinch the division, which is the next goal after making the playoffs, but we all know that our real goal is to play all the way through October and into November.

I’ll post lineups later today from the park…

Walter Reed visit

Today we had the good fortune to visit Walter Reed Medical Center and there’s really no great way to put this experience into words.

The guys who came with us were Ned Colletti, Rick Monday, Andre Ethier, Jeff Weaver, Blake DeWitt, Rick Honeycutt, Larry Bowa, Tim wallach, and clubhouse manager Mitch Poole and to a man, we came away floored by the sacrifice these people make to protect our freedom. As Rick Monday said on the way home, it puts an 0-for-4 in a whole new light.

What surprised most of us was that each of the soldiers seemed ready to go back to Afghanistan or Iraq as soon as he recovered and we’re talking about people who have lost limbs, not to mention the mental toll this must take on them.

We also met Cami McCormick, who is a reporter for CBS radio and who could often be heard on KNX 1070 in LA. She had done nine tours covering wars and finally, she said, her luck ran out after an IED exploded underneath her vehicle. Yet just like the soldiers, her attitude was incredible. As someone who deals with media members every day in my current job, this also seems to put what we all do in perspective.

I’m sure I could go on and on but there’s really only so much that words can convey about the experience. All we can really say is thanks to any of you who have served our country or who are currently serving. Perhaps we have servicemen and women overseas reading Inside the Dodgers and please know that we truly, truly appreciate all that you do.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Belliard, 3B

Ethier, RF

Ramirez, LF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Hudson, 2B

Billingsley, P

Busy day in the nation's capital

Spent the morning at the Smithsonian, where Tommy Lasorda had his portrait put in the National Gallery. I guess that’s when you know you’ve made it, though I’m guessing Tommy probably knew that before.

He’s going to do a live web chat in about 45 minutes for those who read this as soon as I post, so please check it out.

From there, we headed to the White House for a tour and got to see some cool spots, including the White House media briefing room where you always see the Press Secretary give his briefings. Photos weren’t really allowed on the tour but there will be one group shot in today’s SooHoo gallery.

Here’s tonight’s lineup against the Nats:

Furcal, SS

Ethier, RF

Manny, LF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Blake, 3B

Belliard, 2B

Martin, C

Kuroda, P

Sold out Sunday

It’s been a sold out weekend here at the stadium and after yesterday’s victory, there are some good vibes from the fans. Let’s keep ‘em rolling. Looks like Joe isn’t going to mess with yesterday’s lineup after the results they produced.

Furcal, SS

Ethier, RF

Manny, LF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Blake, 3B

Belliard, 2B

Martin, C

Wolf, P

100,000 fans

Pretty cool that our facebook page has topped 100,000 fans. Are you one of them? We should be in the millions if you think about how many people out there bleed Dodger blue.

Out on the field today, Kershaw through a simulated game and Joe Torre told the media he’ll throw a bullpen on Sunday. According to Joe, he looked good and if he comes out of the bullpen session well, he’ll pitch out of the bullpen in Washington, then take it from there. Chad Billingsley will start Wednesday in Washington and could be used tonight out of the ‘pen, if we needed.

Also, Steve Lyons weighs in on Jonathan Broxton over at Psychollingy.

Meanwhile, the regulars are back in! Glad I could stir up some debate yesterday and that we won while resting the regular crew…

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Manny, LF

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Loney, 1B

Hudson, 2B

Padilla, P

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