Saturday, June 30, 2007

Game 80: Padres 7, Dodgers 6

Well, I had a happy birthday anyway, but the Dodgers couldn't pull this one out for me. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of one Mr. Hong Chih Kuo, who had his third consecutive awful start. After the game, when reporters mentioned this to Grady Little, Little's response was, "We can count."

The Dodgers knew this was an important game, given how crowded it is at the top of the NL West. And they showed a little fight, which was nice to see. But they just couldn't dig out of the hole that Kuo had so kindly dug for them.

It started off like a good pitching matchup, and the Dodgers went into the top of the fourth with a 2-1 lead. The Dodgers had already stolen four bases off of Chris Young, on their way to five stolen bases in the game. He was not sharp, but the Dodgers couldn't quite take full advantage of that fact. And so, in the top of the fourth, Kuo just completely fell apart. Here are the details of his demise: double, single (run scores), runner advances on Loney's throwing error, single, home run (three runs score), walk, sacrifice, infield single.

Then Seanez came in to replace Kuo, and immediately gave up a hit that scored a run, then a fielder's choice that scored another run. 7-2, Padres. Seanez got out of it, but the damage was done.

The Padres wouldn't score another run, thanks to three scoreless innings by Hendrickson and one each by Beimel and Tsao (back from the DL, and activated Friday). The Dodgers had a few chances over the next few innings, but couldn't push a run across. It's too bad, because when they finally did get something going, they only ended up one run shy of a full comeback.

It didn't start until the eighth inning, which was right after I had a conversation with my girlfriend about whether we should be getting home to check on the dog (the game took a long time). We stayed, and I'm glad, because it got pretty exciting. Martin led off the eighth with a double, then Kent singled. The Padres brought in their third pitcher of the night, Ring, and he got Gonzalez to ground out. Runners at second and third. Nomar reached on a little nibbler up the third base line, which scored Martin. Then Loney hit a single that scored Kent.

The Padres brought in another pitcher, Linebrink. He threw a wild pitch, which moved Nomar to third and Loney to second. Matt Kemp grounded out, scoring Nomar. 7-5, Padres. Betemit came in to hit for Beimel, then flied out to left. But the Dodgers showed something in that inning, and they had us believing in some ninth inning magic.

One thing about Nomar: it's awful to see him struggling the way he is. He had a few hits last night, sure, but they were all singles. There's no more power. But the great thing about being at a game is seeing the support he gets from the fans. They know he's struggling, but every time he comes to the plate, especially in crucial situations like last night, you can actually feel the entire stadium pulling for him. There are a few boos, of course, but mostly there is just support. It's like you can hear all their thoughts. This is it. This is when he snaps out of it and becomes the Nomar we know.

No one recognizes the guy who has been coming to the plate lately, and it's getting pretty sad. But there's still hope out there at Chavez Ravine, and I like to see it. You can call it the naivete of the fans, who should know better than to cheer so loudly for a guy who doesn't do anything, but I don't see it that way. They want him back. And they'll cheer as loudly as they can until they can make that happen.

In the ninth, Furcal led off with a double off Hoffman. Pierre came up and grounded out, moving Furcal to third. Then Martin grounded out to third, and scored Furcal. Two outs, but now it was a one-run game. Jeff Kent came to the plate and hit a line drive double to center. And then it was up to Gonzalez. And...he fouled out on the second pitch from Hoffman, and the inning was over.

Yeah, it was a huge letdown. But it was fun watching them try. And from the beginning of this game, there was a crazy atmosphere at the stadium. It was really great. I hate when announcers say "this is a playoff atmosphere," but there's no other way to describe what was going on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. As soon as I got there, I was reminded why I will never get bored going to baseball games.


Pierre Watch: 3-5, 1 RBI, 1 run scored, 3 stolen bases. Pierre was, frankly, pretty awesome in this game. It's like he understood the importance, and he was doing everything he could to get on base and make things happen. He stole two of his three bases in the first inning.

Player of the Game: Juan Pierre. Weird, right? Had to do it. Honorable mention to Nomar for getting the bat on the ball and going 3-4 with 1 RBI and a run scored.

Record: 45-35 (one game behind the Padres in the West)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Seriously?

Mark Cuban Sues Don Nelson

Is Mark Cuban really this much of a sore loser, or is there something more to this story? I mean, how could Don Nelson still be under contract in Dallas, but be coaching for Golden State? Anyone know anything about this? These questions need answers.

Game 79: Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 5

This was a much better outcome than Wednesday night's, and the final score shows it to be a lot closer than it should have been. But that's Brett Tomko for you.

I was convinced we were headed for disaster when, once again, Randy Wolf had a tough time getting out of the first inning. Here's some advice for Randy: learn a new tune. We've all heard this one before. But, thanks to some great defense from Furcal, Wolf was able to get out of the inning without giving up a run, and it was mostly smooth sailing from there.

This was Randy Johnson's first start after being on the DL with that back problem, and the Dodgers did not give him a warm welcome. Instead, Russell Martin took an 0-2 fast ball and launched a 430 foot home run in the first inning, scoring two. The Dodgers scored two more in the third, and that was it for Randy Johnson. They pulled him after only three innings. He claims he was just rusty, but I don't know. He was throwing a lot of strikes, but just couldn't put guys away. Four runs is a lot, but it's not necessarily a deal breaker, so I was surprised to see him go.

Randy Wolf pitched pretty well after that first inning, and left the game in the seventh inning, after walking a guy and giving up a hit. Tomko came in (and I bet Wolf wasn't too happy to see that) and immediately let both of Wolf's runners score. Then he got out of that inning. He would allow two more runs to score in the ninth before Grady had to go get Saito. Saito got two more outs without letting Tomko's two runners score (see how it's done, Brett?) and the game was over. Series win for the Dodgers, and the end of a ten game road trip (they finished 6-4).

The Dodgers got sixteen hits in this game, and scored a lot of runs. I like it when that happens, especially against Randy Johnson. Loney, Kemp and Abreu all got hits, and even Kent had a big night (3-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored). Fun for everyone.

Now it's on to the Padres, and a big series. The Dodgers, Padres and Diamondbacks will probably be playing musical chairs at the top of the West until it's all over, so every series they play against each other becomes that much more important. That's why it was nice to see the Dodgers take three of four against those pesky Diamondbacks. The Padres will be tough, no question. Friday it's Kuo versus Young, so the Dodgers have their work cut out for them. But I'll be there, wearing my new mesh cap that they'll give me when I walk into the stadium, and celebrating my 27th birthday (ugh). I would like to celebrate with a win, Dodgers. Is that too much to ask?

Also, not to early to start looking forward to Saturday's matchup. Peavy vs. Penny. Awesome.


Pierre Watch: 2-6, 2 runs scored.

Player of the Game: Russell Martin. A lot of guys qualify, but his home run in the first inning set the tone, and helped to knock out Randy Johnson early. Martin finished 3-6 with 2 RBI and three runs scored.

Record: 45-34

Game 78: Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 0

Remember a while back when I told you that Derek Lowe would be testing the free agent market after this season? I'm starting to believe it's games like this one that are leading him to make the decision. Once again, Lowe gave the Dodgers a good start, and once again they couldn't score him a run.

I don't have a lot to say about this one, especially since another game has already been played (I had a busy day, sorry). The Dodgers left a ton of men on base, Derek Lowe was good, and the Dodgers lost. It was Webb vs. Lowe, which figured to be a low-scoring affair. Neither pitcher was showing his "A" game, but they both found a way to be productive anyway. Webb just got the better deal in the end.


Pierre Watch: 0-4, 1 BB.

Player of the Game: Derek Lowe. A small consolation for him, I know, since he should be getting more wins instead. Here's his line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks

Record: 44-34

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Game 77: Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5

This was Chad Billingsley's second start of the season, and it went about as well as his first start. Which is to say, not well at all. He gave up all five Diamondback runs in his four innings of work, on four hits and three walks. The Dodgers tied it at 2-2, and he let the Diamondbacks take the lead. The Dodgers pulled ahead 5-3, and Billingsley erased that lead and made it five all.

Luckily for him, the Dodgers' offense was up to the task, at least for those first four innings. After that, neither team was able to get much of anything going. The Dodger bullpen held strong, as did the Diamondbacks'.

The Dodgers got 60% of their offense from James Loney on Tuesday. The man is an animal. He finished a triple short of the cycle, with three RBI. And this was on his first night starting at first base. It was a bit of a surprise, since we had heard he wouldn't start there until Friday.

I'll give credit to Chad Billingsley for one thing: he did give himself the 5-3 by hitting a two-run double. Of course, he gave that lead back. But, still. You know I love a hitting pitcher.

The big man of the night, though, has to be Tony Abreu. Pinch-hitting for Jonathan Broxton in the top of the ninth, Abreu laced his first career home run into the left field bleachers. It was the eventual game winner. As Vin said, it was definitely the last thing anyone expected from Abreu, but it was a great surprise.

Derek Lowe on Wednesday. The Dodgers actually have a chance to win this series.


Pierre Watch: 1-5, 1 SB (OBP down to .305)

Player of the Game: Tony Abreu (1-1, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 run scored)

Record: 44-33

Strange Doings

When I was in Phoenix in May, I went to see a Diamondbacks' game. They were playing the Astros, and we had decent seats along the third base line. At game time, the temperature outside was probably around 95 (it's a dry heat), so my group assumed the roof had probably been closed all day, and would remain that way for the game. It didn't matter to us. 95 isn't terrible in Phoenix, and it was only getting cooler since this was a night game.

We got to the game to find the roof open, which was fine. But then we sat in our seats and realized that the brilliant minds who operate Chase Field had also decided to turn on the air conditioning. None of my group had brought a jacket because we didn't think we would need one. As a result, we were all freezing. The air was blowing directly on us, and the temperature in our section was probably about 55. We complained to guest services, and they looked at us like we were crazy. Several people around us also expressed their displeasure, but it didn't matter. We were doomed to suffer.

Now, on Monday night's game in Arizona, Vin Scully was broadcasting from Chase Field. During the game, he started to talk about how weird it was that the roof was open and the air conditioning was on. I was so excited to hear this mentioned somewhere, and I waited impatiently for Vin to tell me what he thought. He said he had figured out why the Diamondbacks would do this. "This is just their way of helping to fight global warming," he said.

See, the Diamondbacks just want to help cool down the outdoors, too. Kind of like when you left the front door open in the summertime and you mother said, "We're not air conditioning the neighborhood!" Anyway, boring story, but it bothered the hell out of us, and I was very happy that Vin noticed the weirdness, too.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 06/28/2007 12:30:39 PM

I forwarded this on to Al Gore and he is pissed.
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 06/29/2007 12:28:27 AM

Not a boring story, a great story. I wonder what environmentally minded folk think about this gross misuse of energy, I can't even contemplate how much it would take to ac a MLB ballpark let alone one that had its roof open.

On a similar note. RCA Dome officials in Indianapolis set the cooling system (which has to be on to keep the roof inflated) to be at 72 during the coin toss. When they decided to build a new stadium in the parking lot they didn't account for the 40000 people who now have to walk a mile and a half (instead of 200 yards) in 95 degree heat with 95% humidity and then climb 140 stairs to get to section 321, row 11, seat 7 and 8. It gets pretty warm by the end of the first quarter. beer sales went up, though.
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AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/29/2007 12:34:50 AM

I consider myself pretty environmentally minded, which is one of the main reasons I complained. I was uncomfortable in the cold, sure, but I just couldn't believe what a waste it was to air condition a giant stadium. I kept meaning to write an email to stadium operations, but I never did. I suppose it's not too late, especially since this obviously wasn't a one time occurrence.
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AUTHOR: Buck Rampage
DATE: 06/29/2007 11:58:31 AM

I've never heard of having to take a coat to a baseball game because of AC. Ya, because of weather but not man-made forces. That sounded like when you go to a movie theater. You always know you should take a coat but never do and then freeze your ass off the whole movie.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Game 76: Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 1

It started off a little weird, with the Dodgers getting some runs on some bad plays by the Diamondbacks, but it ended up a bit of a rout. And with it, the Dodgers move to one-half game out of first place in the division.

Arizona struck first, in the fourth inning. With two outs, Jackson (who entered the game batting .400 against Penny) hit a single, then Chris Young doubled him home. But that's all they would get, as Penny shut them down the rest of the way.

In the sixth, Brad decided it was time to help his own cause. So, he led off the inning and hit his second double of the year. Furcal hit a ball that traveled maybe forty feet, but there was no play, and the Dodgers had runners at first and third. Juan Pierre came up and hit a ground ball that was a sure double play, but Stephen Drew booted it, and everyone was safe. Nomar and Kent flied out, then Gonzalez hit a two-run single to give the Dodgers the lead. Russell Martin worked a 3-2 count, and then just crushed a two-run triple to center field. 4-1, Dodgers.

Wilson Betemit homered in the eighth to make it 5-1. Then, with two men on in the ninth, James Loney came into pinch-hit for Brad Penny. Loney must have been extra-buoyed by the knowledge that he'll be starting first base from now on, because he, like Russell, absolutely hammered a ball to center field. Another triple, and two runs scored. The man can hit. Let's not be too hasty about trading away a talent for the so-called "power hitters" who are on the market, okay Dodgers?

Penny went eight innings for the first time this season, and secured his tenth victory. He's now 10-1 with a 2.04 ERA. The Dodgers got eight runs on nine hits, and left four men on base. That's the same number they left on base in the previous game, and two fewer hits than they had in that game. And yet they scored five more runs. See how much more fun it is when they get productive hits?

Pierre Watch: 1-5, 2 RBI. It's lame that he got one of those RBI, considering he essentially grounded into a double play. It wasn't even hit hard, but Drew blew it.

Player of the Game: Brad Penny. He could the player of the game in almost any game he pitched this year. But this was a big one, and he came through. His line: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks. And he went 1-2 with a run scored.

Record: 43-33


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 06/26/2007 03:28:52 PM

You may want to start making banners that say, "Penny don't throw as hard as you can at the All-Star Game so you don't flame out in the Second Half like last season!!!"

A little long but it gets the point across, no?
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AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/26/2007 05:04:23 PM

It's long, but I'll just bring 24 of my closest friends, and we'll each put one word on a sign.

The hard part will be getting into Dodger Stadium, where they don't allow signs at all.
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AUTHOR: Dad
DATE: 06/26/2007 06:06:59 PM

what 'bout global warming and the air conditioning?
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AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/26/2007 07:05:38 PM

Good point, Dad. I'll address that subject in my next post.
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AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 06/27/2007 08:57:17 AM

You are also totally missing out on the "One is the Loney-ist Number" signs too!

I completely believe that Loney should go by Jim instead of James. Sounds more professional.
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Monday, June 25, 2007

Game 75: Devil Rays 9, Dodgers 4

Man, this team can be so frustrating. After Saturday's game, one blog writer said that it was encouraging to see the Dodgers get so many men on base, only to come up empty. I disagreed with that then, and I disagree with it even more after Sunday's loss. In that Saturday game, they left fifteen men on base and only scored three runs. On Sunday, they left four men on base and scored four runs. Neither is preferable, because of course you'd like to see the team get guys on base and move them across the plate. It's not fun to watch a team load the bases three times and come up empty, and it's not fun to watch them get nothing accomplished. Either way, it means the Dodgers aren't hitting when it matters.

And that was the story for Sunday. Kuo went 5.1 and gave up three runs, and then the bullpen collapsed. The only offense the Dodgers had until the ninth inning was a two-run shot by Gonzo, which landed in that pool the Devil Rays have in center field. You know, the one with all the rays in it. Apparently, it's the first ball to ever land there. That seems strange, but whatever.

The Dodger bullpen went 2.2 innings and gave up six runs. But it's not fair to attribute that to the bullpen, since the real problems were Rudy Seanez and Joe Beimel. Seanez let one of Kuo's runners score when Leiberthal just plain dropped the ball after tagging the guy out at home (he really blew it), and then Seanez couldn't properly apply the tag after a wild pitch to the next batter. That scored the fourth run.

But, oh, Joe Beimel was waiting in the wings. And all he did was allow five runs on four hits without recording an out. That is one amazing way to raise your ERA.

The Dodgers have a hard enough time climbing out of a one-run deficit, so when it became a seven-run deficit, they were screwed. Loney hit a home run to make it a little better, but not much. The report out today, though, says he might be getting more playing time, with Nomar possibly moving to first to make room. I love Nomar, but the man is not getting it done this year. It might be time for some new blood.

Big, big series with the Diamondbacks starts tonight. The Dodgers are currently in third place in the division, 1.5 behind the Diamondbacks. A four-game sweep would be great, but a split is all I'm hoping for. Penny goes tonight. That should help.

Pierre Watch: 2-4 (I don't even remember him being in this game, which, for Juan, is probably a good thing)

Player of the Game: James Loney. 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 run scored. I love this kid.

Record: 42-33


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 06/25/2007 11:14:36 PM

Welcome back to the hot corner Nomar...
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AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/25/2007 11:19:51 PM

If the rumors are correct, we'll see Loney and Nomar at the corners for the first game of the Padres' series this weekend. That first game, Friday, is my birthday and also the first game of my recently acquired twelve-game pack.

And it's mesh cap night!

Oh, the excitement.
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Game 74: Devil Rays 4, Dodgers

The Dodgers left fifteen men on base in this game. They had the bases loaded with nobody out in the seventh inning, and couldn't score a run. They had chance after chance, but never managed to take the lead in the game. The Devil Rays capitalized on a few bad pitches by Randy Wolf and they won.

Randy Wolf. I just don't know what to say about him. They showed a stat that said that in the first inning, teams are hittin something like .330 against him. After the first, that drops to .205. Explain that one to me. He's a veteran. He's not a new kid who should still be nervous when he starts. And yet it's the same story almost every outing: struggle to get out of the first, then buckle down and pitch well. Sometimes the Dodgers can overcome his mistakes, and sometimes they can't. Saturday was one of the times when they couldn't.

Wolf gave up two runs in the first, then settled down and gave up a run in the fifth, and then the killer run in the seventh. The Dodgers were down 3-0 going into the seventh, but they managed to score three runs to tie the game and give themselves new life. Randy Wolf came back out for the seventh, and immediately gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. 4-3, Devil Rays. The end.

But the real story was the complete lack of ability the Dodgers had in scoring any runs, especially after Scott Kazmir left and they were facing what might be the worst bullpen in baseball (I don't know the stats, but they've got to be close). The Dodgers were 5-14 with runners in scoring position, with the biggest chance coming in the seventh, right after the Devil Rays took the lead.

If you want to know the reasons to be disappointed with the Dodgers this season, look no further than this game. It exemplified all of them, clear as day. Decent pitching (though Wolf should probably be classified as "bad" in this one) combined with zero clutch hitting. The bats need to wake up. I read a rumor that the Dodgers might want to get Mark Buehrle (I don't know why) from the White Sox, but that it would probably cost three of the young guys we have (Kemp, Loney, Abreu, Broxton, Billingsley). Anyone can take Abreu, as far as I'm concerned, but if the Dodgers trade away any one of those other guys, I'll be so angry. The trade deadline can't come soon enough this year. I get nervous every time I think about it.

Russell Martin stole his 13th base of the season, breaking the Los Angeles' Dodgers record for steals by a catcher. He's on pace to steal about 29, so he'll likely obliterate the franchise record, which stands at 18.

Pierre Watch: 1-4, 1 RBI. A little bit better score today, because he actually drove in a run, which few Dodgers did on Saturday.

Player of the Game: James Loney (2-4, 1 BB, 1 run scored, robbed of a base hit early in the game)

Record: 42-32

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Game 73: Dodgers 6, Devil Rays 3

In the two starts before Friday's, Derek Lowe had gotten a total of two runs in support. He lost one of those games 1-0, and one the other 2-1. On Friday, he finally got a little help from his friends, and the Dodgers were able to beat the Devil Rays in the first game of this final interleague series of the year. Lowe moved to 8-6 on the season, and his ERA stands at 3.14.

The Dodgers got a few runs on their own, and took a run off a mistake made by the Devil Ray defense. In the second, Gonzalez hit a home run, followed by a double by James Loney. Matt Kemp hit a long fly ball to center, and Loney advanced to third. He came into third sliding, as the ball from the outfielder sailed over the third baseman's head. Loney scored on the error. In the fifth, both Furcal and Pierre managed to get on base, and Martin singled them both home to make it 4-0 Dodgers.

Lowe gave up a few hits in the fifth, and allowed two runs to score. Carl Crawford hit a triple that missed being a home run by about six inches. In the seventh, Delmon Young hit a home run to dead center, to make it 4-3. But that was all the Rays would get, as Seanez, Beimel and Saito came in to finish them off.

Randy Wolf is up on Saturday. The Devil Rays have a good lineup, and Wolf has been struggling. He can pitch better than he has been recently, and this is a team he should be able to beat. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.


Pierre Watch: 1-5, 1 run scored. Here's a fun fact: now that Miguel Tejada's consecutive game streak has ended, guess which active player has the longest streak? That's right. Mr. Juan D'Vaughn Pierre, with a whopping 345 games. That gives him no extra points in my book, though.

Player of the Game: Russell Martin (2-4, 2 RBI, 1 SB) A few guys contributed in this one, but Martin got his 12th stolen base of the season. That ties him for the Los Angeles Dodgers' record for steals by a catcher (franchise record is 18, which he could probably beat). So that's cool.

Record: 42-31

Friday, June 22, 2007

Corrections

Apparently, the "Probable Pitchers" portion of dodgers.com is incorrect when it says that Penny will start on Sunday versus Tampa Bay. Instead, Grady is holding Penny for the Diamondbacks' series, which makes sense. So, Kuo will be going on Sunday. Awesome.



Also, I'm an idiot when it comes to figuring out the Dodgers' interleague record this year. They are currently 4-8, with these three games against Tampa Bay left to play. Somehow I forgot three games this season. Probably because of that stinky record. So, the best they can hope for is 7-8.

Wow

Coach, 40, Weds 16- Year Old Student





COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Buck Rampage
DATE: 06/23/2007 12:33:20 PM

"I don't care to look at anyone other than him. He is the apple of my eye, I've never felt this way for someone, but I just don't want to lose him because of my parents' power trips."

Have you ever heard any 16 year old use the phrase "apple of my eye" in any serious circumstances? I haven't and that's the first clue that this girl is messed up besides marrying an old dude.
-----

Game 72: Dodgers 8, Blue Jays 4

Baseball is a funny sport, huh? This series featured two blowouts (10-1, 12-1), one from each side, and then Thursday's game was a bit a pitcher's duel. For a while, anyway.

Chad Billingsley got the start for the Dodgers, and he wasn't bad, and he wasn't great. Before the game, we were told he would only have a pitch count of about 60, so when he needed 32 pitches to get through the second, we knew he wasn't long for the game. I don't really know how to analyze pitchers well, but according to the commentators, he was trying to hit spots on the corners and not quite getting them. So, he ended up allowing two hits and walking three guys over 3.2 innings. His one big mistake came in the second, when, after striking out Frank Thomas, Billingsley walked Zaun (a ten-pitch at-bat) and then gave up a line drive homer to Aaron Hill.

Hendrickson came in and actually did a nice job. Jeff Kent hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to tie the game. In the bottom of the inning, Matt Stairs led off with a double to deep center. The thing about it was, there is no reason that Juan Pierre should not have caught the ball. He stopped near the warning track and turned around like he was going to watch the ball go over the fence. Instead, it bounced low on the wall, and Pierre played the bounce. But in the time he stood there waiting for it to fall, he could easily, easily have gotten into position to actually catch it.

After a flyout, Stairs advanced to third, and then a Zaun sac fly scored the go-ahead run for Toronto. In other words, Hendrickson actually got three fly ball outs in the inning, but they resulted in a run because of the ineptitude of the Dodgers' center fielder.

Marcum came out of the game after getting the lead, and Downs came in for Toronto. Kemp pinch-hit for Ethier and got a single (making yet another case for why Kemp should be getting more playing time), but no one could get him home. Hendrickson came out after one out in the seventh, and Seanez finished the inning.

And then came the eighth. I was actually in Baskin Robbins when this inning happened, getting myself a little two scoop action. I heard Juan Pierre ground out to the pitcher, and then got out of the car. This is what followed that out: single by Nomar, double by Kent, then Toronto intentionally walked Gonzalez. Martin came to the plate and hit a double down the right field line, scoring two to put the Dodgers ahead for good. Saenz came up and single, scoring Gonzalez. Surprisingly, for the second time this season, Randy Wolf came in to pinch run. Then Kemp doubled to center, scoring another run.

The Blue Jays brought in a new pitcher, who gave up single to Abreu and Furcal, scoring two more. Then Juan Pierre, who was the first out of the inning, came up and was also the second out. It made me wonder if, during some ridiculously one-sided inning, some guy has ever made all three outs. Nomar then lined out, and the inning was over. But, the Dodgers had scored six, and were now leading 8-3.

This was quite an unusual game for the Dodgers, who, coming into the game, were 3-27 when trailing after the sixth inning. I thought for sure that Juan Pierre had cost them the game when he blew it on that Matt Stairs' double. But the team showed a little heart and got the job done. And now they actually have a chance to finish interleague this season with a .500 record. That means they have to sweep the Devil Rays, and that's a possibility. Lowe and Penny are both pitching, so that gives the Dodgers a chance in two of three. Scott Kazmir is the Devil Rays' pitcher for Saturday, and I guess he can be tough. Wolf is going against him, so we'll see.


Pierre Watch: 1-5, 1 run scored

Player of the Game: This is a tough one, since mostly everyone contributed in that eighth inning, but I'm giving it to Russell Martin for the go-ahead double. He ended up 1-5 with 2 RBI.

Record: 41-31

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Game 71: Blue Jays 12, Dodgers 1

Good lord. What a difference a day makes. The Dodgers creamed the Blue Jays on Tuesday, and then the Blue Jays returned the favor by just obliterating the Dodgers on Wednesday.

I was wrong in an earlier post when I said that Lowe would be starting the game. I don't know what I was thinking. In fact, Kuo was the start (maybe I was confused because the names rhyme). Obviously, I would have much preferred Lowe.

Kuo got through the first just fine. Then things just completely fell apart in the worst way in the second inning. I'll tell you about the inning the best way I know how in these situations, which is with a list. Here's how it looked: double, single, single (run scored), walk, single (run scored), strikeout, double (two runs scored), foul out, walk, grand slam homer. 8-0, Blue Jays.

Awesome. Grady Little once again showed a proclivity for not understanding when to pull a pitcher. I don't get on him about this often (if it all), but this was pretty damn obvious. The dude gave up four hits and two runs, then got one out, then let two more runs score on the fifth hit of the inning. And Frank Thomas walks up with the bases loaded, and you let him hit? Absurd. I'm sorry Grady, but that was ridiculous. I don't care if you don't have someone ready yet. Go to the mound, stall, whatever. Get Kuo out of there. He had nothing, and we could all see it.

The Blue Jays would add four more runs off Brett Tomko, who came in to pitch 3.1 innings. He's not such a good pitcher, it turns out.

The Dodgers did nothing. Absolutely nothing. They somehow had six hits, but that's only because Andre Ethier had three of them, including a home run for the only RBI of the game for his side. It was horrible to watch. And the bullpen was overworked, meaning Chad Billingsley better be ready to perform a miracle today and go six or seven. I don't want to see Tomko or Hendrickson in the game. If Billingsley gives up eight runs in an inning, I won't be mad at Grady this time for not pulling the guy. The Dodgers do not have another off day until the All-Star break (20 games in 20 days) and I'd rather they not limp into that break.

And, of course, just as I expected, the news came that Jason Schmidt's surgery was season ending. So, depending on how Billingsley does today, the Dodgers have two good pitchers (Penny and Lowe), one adequate one who could be good if he could find his stuff again (Wolf), one terribly inconsistent guy (Kuo) and one unknown. That really inspires confidence.


Pierre Watch: 0-4

Player of the Game: Andre Ethier (3-3, 1 RBI)

Record: 40-31

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Game 70: Dodgers 10, Blue Jays 1

I don't know what got into the Dodgers on Tuesday, but I sure did enjoy watching it. The Dodgers managed to beat Toronto's McGowan for the second time in less than two weeks. But this one was not such a close affair.

The Dodgers pounded McGowan for eight hits and six runs in just 1.2 innings, and then added four more runs against the bullpen. It was nice to see those bats swinging and actually making solid contact. Everyone but Furcal and Ethier had a hit. The rest had two, except for Abreu (who needs to stop taking lessons from Nomar; stop swinging at the first pitch, Tony).

Brad Penny was great yet again, securing his ninth win of the season (9-1) and dropping his ERA to 2.12. He struck out five and walked one. His only earned run came because of a fly ball that Juan Pierre got to but couldn't catch (sound familiar?), which gave Troy Glaus a double. Glaus came into score on a Matt Stairs' single.

And speaking of Juan Pierre. I don't know what got into him on Tuesday. Perhaps it was the motivation he received from being added to Jack Cobra's fantasy team recently. I don't know what it was, but the player he was on Tuesday (ignoring the poor play in center) was exactly what he should be every night. In the first, he hit a double, advanced to second on a Nomar single, then scored on a Jeff Kent single. In the second, he walked, then stole second. On the next pitch, he stole third. He then scored on a Nomar single. In the fourth, he singled, stole second, and scored on a Gonzalez double. Unreal.

Marlon Anderson started the game for the Dodgers, up from Triple-A for the first time in a while, taking up the roster spot provided by Jason Schmidt. Anderson was in on the party, going 2-4 with 2 RBI.

This was a nice start to the road trip, and with Lowe on the mound tonight, the Dodgers at least have a fighting chance to put together a two-game winning streak. These are the last six games of interleague play, and right now the Dodgers are 2-5 against the American League. Even if they sweep the series against Toronto and Tampa Bay, they'll still be just 7-5 against the AL. I'm hoping for 6-6, because I think they can win tonight against the Blue Jays, maybe win on Thursday in Billingsley's first start of the year, and then take two of three against Tampa. A sweep of both these teams is too much to ask. Not that I wouldn't like to see it. I think a fourteen-hit game should at least remind the Dodgers that they have the ability to score some runs.


Pierre Watch: 2-4, 3 runs scored, 3 stolen bases, 1 BB

Player of the Game: Luis Gonzalez (3-4, 4 RBI, 1 run scored; sorry, I can't pick Pierre just yet. He has to show me a litle more)

Record: 40-30 (one of only eight teams in the majors with at least 40 wins, and currently sitting 1.5 games behind San Diego in the west, and tied for the wild card)


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 06/20/2007 01:05:30 PM

I've won the Regular Season Title three years in a row, so Pierre knows what's on the line. He's sitting on my bench for the moment, but with some production he could push his way into some meaningful playing time. I gave him a little pep talk and now he's ready to go. You need a Pierre-o-meter for this site, that would be cool.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Flash Dance

I'm watching the Yankees/Rockies game right now (that 2-1 offensive explosion that Depressed Fan spoke of), and I'm reminded of something I think every person in attendance at a baseball game (or any sporting event) should know.

Unless you are standing in the on-deck circle to take a picture of a batter at the plate, you do not need your flash. Your flash will give you, at best, six feet of light (and more like three feet, in reality).

The networks love to show those wide shots of all the flashbulbs going off when a particular hitter is up to bat, or a particular pitcher goes into his windup. The difference between those shots with a flash and those shots without is simple: those using the flash get a wonderfully illuminated shot of the back of the guy in the row in front of them.

I suppose it looks cool to see them all going off at once, but I don't think most people are using them for that reason. They just don't realize the flash is unnecessary and often counter productive to what they're trying to do. Unless you wanted a picture of that guy's bald spot. Let's all try to remember that.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 06/20/2007 11:22:47 AM

You are just full of good information. I always use the flash when taking pictures of my nieces (they are 5 and almost 2) and the pictures are always horrible. All I ever get is them going down the slide with what looks like a cosmic explosion of light.
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/20/2007 11:42:30 AM

Well, I can't guarantee that your surely adorable nieces are not followed around by cosmic explosions of light.

But I'm willing to bet it's the flash. Assuming you're standing more than three to six feet away from them.
-----

Dodger News

Important developments:

  • Jason Schmidt will have shoulder surgery. Remember when I said I doubted he would make another start this year? That prediction doesn't look so crazy now, does it?

  • Chad Billingsley will start in Schmidt's place. I like this call a whole lot, and I'm very surprised the Dodgers made it. Good for them.

  • Marlon Anderson is back up with the team, presumably filling the roster spot left open by Schmidt.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Game 69: Angels 10, Dodgers 4

Oh, right. I have to write about this game.

Randy Wolf struggled again. Somehow he's managed two wins in his last four starts, despite having a 6.86 ERA in those games. He just hasn't looked like the guy who had a 4-1 record in May, with a 1.08 ERA. I don't know what the deal is, but somebody better figure it out.

The offense couldn't manage anything against Escobar, though they did get a leadoff home run from Furcal (his first of the year). They somehow got eleven hits before it was all over, but it didn't mean anything. Loney got hurt because he was in playing right field, where he doesn't need to be. And that was that.

Wolf only gave up four of those ten runs, and the bullpen combined for four innings and six runs (five attributed to Tomko and Seanez). Tough to make a bullpen work that much, though, so I'm not mad at them.

Garciaparra showed signs of life, and now the Dodgers are going on the road, where has been much better for some reason. We'll see what happens there.

Long road trip against the Blue Jays, Devil Rays and the Diamondbacks, and then they come home to play the Padres (on my birthday!). The Blue Jays and Devil Rays aren't killing anyone this season, but the Dodgers aren't either. If they can't hit at least a few of those American League pitchers, I don't know what to tell them. We'll see where they stand after these next ten games. At least Penny starts the first game against the Blue Jays.

I just got a twelve game mini plan today, so for at least twelve more home games, I'll be in section 47, row K. Stop on by and say hello.

I hope I didn't just pay to watch the Dodgers fight for last place.


Pierre Watch: 1-5

Player of the Game: Nomar Garciaparra (3-4, 3 RBI)

Record: 39-30

Grades

The big off-season acquisitions for the Dodgers were Jason Schmidt, Luis Gonzalez and Juan Pierre. Together, their salaries total $30,360,545 of the Dodgers' $108,704,524 payroll. That's roughly 28%.

And what have the Dodgers gotten for the money? Well, it was announced on Monday that Jason Schmidt is going back on the DL with a shoulder problem, two days after his terrible start against the Angels (after which he insisted his shoulder was fine). I'm 99% convinced that we will not see Schmidt make another quality start for the Dodgers this season, if he makes any starts at all.

This forces the Dodgers to use either Tomko or Hendrickson as starters again, or perhaps Billingsley. But Billingsley's longest outing this season is only three innings, and though most think he's likely a future starter, I'm not sure they're willing to make the future happen today. So, Tomko or Hendrickson, who together are 3-8 with a 5.05 ERA. Yikes. The Dodgers aren't going to be shopping for more pitching at the trade deadline, because every rumor tells us that they will be looking to get Jermaine Dye (ugh) or Scott Rolen (double ugh) to add some power to the lineup. So, we'll have to deal with a decent four-man rotation (assuming Wolf figures his shit out) and expect to lose at least every fifth game.

I'd like to see them at least give Billingsley a shot, but who knows if that will happen. And if it does, we lose a very solid set-up guy in the bullpen. Tomko can be decent while working just one inning a game, so hopefully he'll stay that way. Hendrickson, I don't know. He's just been pretty disappointing lately.

Giants' fans are probably elated to have Schmidt struggle so much with the Dodgers. I don't blame them. Colletti should have known better. Wasn't it pretty much widely known that Schmidt's velocity was on the decline last year?

Colletti's Grade on Schmidt: D



Okay, onto Luis Gonzalez. The Diamondbacks cut him loose, even though he was willing to renegotiate his contract and take less money if they kept him around. They didn't want him, even though their fans loved him and he holds pretty much every major offensive franchise record.

The Dodgers signed him to a one-year contract worth $7,156,599. He struggled early, but has been getting a few hits lately, and his average is at .284, with a .371 OBS, and .467 SLG. It's not great, but the dude is 39 years old and is certainly in one of the last years of his career, so I guess these numbers are sort of expected. He keeps moving up the all-time doubles list, so he's motivated to at least get a few extra-base hits this season.

But, he can't run very fast in the outfield. And he can't throw either. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, both of whom can throw the ball well and have incredible range. And they play occasionally, but it's apparently more important to not offend a veteran than it is to win ball games. So, we stick with guys who are on the decline, instead of fielding a very young and pretty impressive team. I would be surprised to see Colletti sign Gonzo again next year, but I really hope it doesn't come to that.

Colletti's Grade on Gonzalez: C+



And now onto my favorite, the Dodgers' starting center fielder for the next five years, Mr. Juan D'Vaughn Pierre. My distaste for this gentleman and his "style" of play has been widely documented all over this blog. He is just plain no good, for any team. And I don't understand the need to sign him to such a long contract. This season, his on-base percentage is .310. This is from a man who is used to hitting lead-off, but has been placed in the second spot with the Dodgers because he can't get on base. But he's still batting second. You try figuring that out.

This season, Pierre's has shown no ability to get into any sort of a groove. At all. His OBP went up to .339 for May, but in June it's back down to .321. His batting average has hovered in the .275-.280 range, which is shocking to me. And he leads the team in hits, which is even more ridiculously shocking. I don't remember when he had any of these team-leading hits, but somehow he is also second on the team in runs scored. These numbers are confusing, since we all know Pierre sucks, but I think they're just more of an example of the poor offense the Dodgers' have had
this year, and not any sort of commendation for Juan Pierre.

Pierre can't play defense at all, even though he is fast. He's made fewer mistakes in the last few games (I think), but he's still very awkward out there. This isn't a new position for him, right? He's done it before? But he still takes strange routes to balls, and then can't catch the ball even when he gets to it. And he has possibly the weakest throwing arm ever. It's worse than Johnny Damon's. He can't get the ball to the edge of the infield dirt without it bouncing first. It's not a good thing, especially when Gonzalez is out there with him. Possibly the worst outfield in baseball. But just try and think of it with Kemp and Ethier out there. So much nicer.

Colletti's Grade on Pierre: D-




Ned Colletti has shown his desire to sign veterans and keep them playing even when they suck (exhibits A and B: Garciaparra and Kent), so despite a strong farm system filled with guys who are ready to prove themselves, we're stuck with the older guys who actually don't seem to care all that much when they suck. And this leads to Grady playing Loney out of position in right field, where he ends up very nearly being seriously injured.

When a team has the best farm system in baseball, it makes the most sense to use it and field a nice, impressive, young team. But the Dodgers won't do that, at least not anytime this season. They've shown a willingness to play the young guys occasionally, but it's hard for these guys to only play a game or two a week. It doesn't help them get better, and it certainly does nothing for the team.

I like Garciaparra, but I would really like to see him at least look like he's trying. Same goes for Kent. But in the next six weeks, there's a good chance Colletti will sign another guy who is too old and already past his prime, which will take up one more roster spot that a future Dodger could be holding. Kemp, Loney and Ethier, given the chance, could provide the power the Dodgers are looking for. And it wouldn't require signing an old guy to a half-season contract, and then watching him become a free agent after the season.

I think most Dodger fans would be happy to see the team do something to help itself, and filling the roster with veterans does not seem to be the way to go. Pierre isn't old, but he's bad. And Schmidt and Gonzalez didn't really help at all. Garciaparra and Kent are struggling. In order to get a Dye or a Rolen (or whoever else they think is available), the Dodgers would almost assuredly have to give up a Kemp or a Loney, or both, and it's just not worth it.

I can see those guys going off somewhere else to be starters, having fantastic careers, and then resigning with the Dodgers when Ned Colletti (or Ned Colletti, Jr. or whatever) thinks, "I like the look of that 38-year old right fielder with a .250 batting average. Why does his name sound so familiar?"


UPDATE: Check out www.firejoemorgan.com, since today they happened to put up a little column about J.P., too. It's worth the read.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Game 68: Angels 3, Dodgers 0

Jason Schmidt had another rough outing, going 4.2 innings, and giving up three runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out two. It was hardly dominating, but he was working through stuff until two outs in the fifth. Then he allowed five consecutive Angels to reach base, and gave up a big two-run single to Reggie Willits, which chased Schmidt from the game. Seanez came up and gave up a ground ball that should have been an out, but with Furcal running to cover second because the runner was moving (I don't know why he bothered, with two outs), the hole was open and the runner on second was able to score easily. 3-0, Angels.

With many teams in the majors, a three-run deficit is not so hard to overcome. But for the Dodgers, it might as well be a fifteen-run lead, the way the offense has been producing this season. Up until that fifth inning, Jered Weaver for the Angels was constantly pitching out of trouble. The Dodgers left baserunner after baserunner stranded, missing golden opportunities to take an early lead. And after the Angels got the lead, the chances pretty much disappeared.

I don't know what to do about this offense. They fired Eddie Murray, which I don't think will really solve anything, even if I do love Bill Mueller and hopes he gets to stay on as hitting coach for a while. I guess firing Murray was an attempt at a shake-up, but it's not doing much so far.

The Angels suffered a couple of losses in the game, with Garret Anderson getting injured (again) while making a routine catch in the outfield. In the seventh, Martin tried to pick off Casey Kotchmann at second, and the ball hit Kotchmann square on the helmet. He was very woozy, and left the game with a concussion. The look on his face was sort of equivalent to how the Dodgers' hitters have been looking at the plate these days.

Randy Wolf goes to the mound on Sunday. He struggles early, and the Angels are big on scoring runs early in the game. They can take advantage of his completely inability to get out of the first inning easily. Kelvim Escobar (7-3, 2.89) is up for the Angels. He just struck out fourteen against Cincinnati in his last start, and it's not like the Dodgers are any better offensively than the Reds. Could be a long day.


Pierre Watch: 1-3, 1 BB Apparently, Pierre leads the Dodgers with hits at 77, which is ten more than Furcal has; he is also second in runs scored. If that doesn't tell you something about this Dodger offense, I don't know what does.

Player of the Game: Dodger Bullpen (4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks; they held the Angels down, giving the Dodgers plenty of chances to come back)

Record: 39-29

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Game 67: Dodgers 2, Angels 1

Derek Lowe still didn't get much run support in this one, but the Dodgers managed to eke out just enough to get him the win in another fine pitching performance. Lowe has already said that he intends to test the free agency market at the end of the season, and if he keeps pitching like this, I don't think the Dodgers can afford to lose him.

It was quite the pitcher's duel the entire game, with neither side managing much of anything against the starters until the sixth. Ervin Santana was on the hill for the Angels, and in the sixth inning, Furcal hit a bunt single, Pierre hit a single, Nomar flied out, and Kent was hit by a pitch. Bases loaded, one out. Gonzalez came up and hit a double that scored Furcal and Pierre, and that was it.

Meanwhile, Derek Lowe spent his night making Angels' hitters look just plain silly. He had eleven strikeouts, which was a career high for him. The Dodgers' pitching staff has twenty games so far this year with ten or more strikeouts, good enough to lead the majors in that category. In the seventh, Guerrero hit a ball down the right field line. Matt Kemp took sort of a weird route, and probably should have made the catch. Instead, it went as a ground rule double. Gary Matthews struck out, then Casey Kotchmann hit a single to score Guerrero. But then Lowe shut the door, and got the next two outs.

Broxton pitched a flawless eighth, striking out two, and then Saito came in for the ninth. Cabrera struck out looking, Guerrero flied out, and then Saito just had bad luck with two infield singles to put the tying run in scoring position. But, he got Anderson to ground out to shortstop to end the game and secure his 19th save of the season.

This is an important series for Dodger fans, and some baseball pundits are looking at it as a possible World Series preview (I don't know about that, but we'll see). The Dodgers have Jason Schmidt going today, and we just have to pray that he finds some speed on his fastball again. Otherwise, it could be a long day.


Pierre Watch: 1-4, 1 run scored

Player of the Game: Derek Lowe (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks)

Record: 39-28

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maybe the Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Read

Seagulls


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Brian
DATE: 06/14/2007 11:10:57 PM

Obviously, you never read this.
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/14/2007 11:16:23 PM

Ha ha.
-----

Me

Since the Dodgers have the day off today, I thought I'd take the opportunity to quickly tell you a little about myself. 66 games into the season seems like the perfect time.

I am 26 years old. My birthday is June 29, though, so I will soon be 27. I have one brother and one sister. My sister, Noelle, will be 25 the day before I turn 27. She lives in St. Louis and works for the restaurant Red Robin as a manager (soon to be in some sort of corporate position). My brother, Matt, turns 24 this summer. He is a Marine who served one tour of duty in Iraq in 2005. He is currently in Virginia, where he is in special ops training.

I grew up all over the country. My father was a test pilot in the Air Force, now for Boeing (those are my parents next to a plane at Test Pilot School). My mother worked for NASA when I was younger and then spent some time raising her kids, before working at various other companies, most recently Boeing. She's one of the most awesome women you could have the privilege of meeting. And pretty, too (even in those shades in the photo).

Here is a list of where I have lived, in order, in my almost 27 years: Arizona, New Mexico, England, Idaho, Florida, Ohio, California, back to Idaho/Colorado/Virginia (those three combined for a total of less than a year of my life), back to Florida, back to California, back to Florida. Then I turned eighteen. I moved to New York to go to college (NYU), and my parents moved to St. Louis. They moved to Arizona the year I graduated from college, and I lived there for about six months before moving to California, where I have been for the last five years. My parents moved back to St. Louis for three years, then they moved to Seattle two months ago.

I consider Niceville, Florida (yes, that's the real name; it's right outside of Eglin Air Force Base), my hometown, since I officially lived there three times in my life and my best friends are from there as well. But I haven't been back in almost six years.

I don't really know what I would call my profession at this point. I went to film school at NYU, and I've worked in Los Angeles as a production assistant for film and television (check out my imdb page if you want to see my credits). I'm disillusioned with that stuff, though, so I'm in a bit of a holding pattern. I want to be a writer, so I'm figuring that out right now.

I have a girlfriend named Christine and a dog named Jack, who is a girl (that photo is why we had to rescue her from the Pasadena Humane Society, which I think you can understand). You could call it domestic bliss, and you wouldn't be wrong.

You'll notice that I never spent time living on the east coast (except for the brief stint in Virginia). If you've been reading my blog, you know that, besides being a Dodger fan, I'm also a diehard Red Sox fan. And now you're probably wondering why. Well, when my dad was ten years old and living in Idaho (where he grew up), he became a Red Sox fan. Idaho doesn't have a baseball team, and the Mariners, who are now the closest team, didn't exist yet. So it made sense that he could just pick any team. He chose the Sox, and so I grew up loving what my father loved.

I didn't become a Dodger fan when I first moved to Los Angeles. I didn't hate them, but I just didn't care. But soon it became obvious that there's a big appeal to living close to a team and being able to go see games. I had never had that opportunity before in my life. Even when I lived in California for four years as a child, I lived at Edwards Air Force Base (where the shuttle used to land and where the USAF Test Pilot School is). It's at least a two hour drive to Los Angeles from there. I went to a few Los Angeles Kings' games (my soccer coach liked to take us), but that's about it.

Anyway, I started to follow the Dodgers a couple of years ago, and I liked them. I found it pretty easy to just jump into being a fan later in life. It does not mean that I stop liking the Red Sox. In fact, if there is a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series ever, I will put all my Dodgers' stuff in a trashcan and take it to a friend's house. Until then, though, I can love both teams almost equally.

I'll watch almost any two teams play baseball, though I obviously have my favorites. But I am a baseball fan, so I like to watch the game in any capacity. As for other sports--I like to watch professional football, and if you forced me, I'd say I root for the Colts, because I like Peyton Manning, but I don't really care too much. I hate the Patriots (go figure) and a couple of other teams. But I don't really watch a lot of football these days. I am a Spurs' fan, as I've noted. I hate the Lakers, which is hard, since I live in Los Angeles. And I used to watch hockey, but I got over that. I just can't get into it anymore.

That's me in a nutshell. Any questions?


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Brian
DATE: 06/14/2007 04:18:25 PM

Nice to get to know you, Erin. My dad was stationed at Edwards back in the early 50's.
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AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 06/15/2007 10:22:15 PM

Billy Buckner lives in Idaho.
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This Guy Is Trouble

Dukes Allegedly Impregnates Seventeen-Year Old

Jackasses

I'm all for having a good time at a baseball game, obviously. It's an outdoor event (in most markets), and there's a crowd and a sporting event and teams to cheer for or root against. These are situations that demand that you have fun. Sometimes they demand yelling and screaming.

The problem is when a few people decide that the game is there only for their enjoyment, and they make sure to take as much pleasure as they can, even if it is at the expense of others around them. If you were sitting in section 308 (or any section nearby, or maybe even far away, for that matter) of the All You Can Eat Pavilion last night, you know what I'm talking about.

I was sitting directly in front of a group of five or six guys who took it upon themselves to the be "funny" guys of the section. They decided that meant they would not stop yelling once for any period of time. I'm not kidding when I say I don't think there was ten second of silence the entire time (with the exception of the three times they got up to get more food). They thought they were hilarious, while I was under the impression that they learned their routine at the Robin Williams School of Comedy. You know, where the motto is, "keep talking non-stop, and you're bound to say something funny once or twice."

They put out such gems as "Open your eyes, Helen Keller" and "Paul Lo-Loser." Then they would laugh uproariously and repeat the joke several times, making it less and less funny each time. That's hard to do when something is not funny to begin with anyway, but they found a way.

And it wasn't as if they were just saying these things to themselves. No. They were screaming at the top of their lungs, and I left the game with my ears ringing as a result (I promise there is no exaggeration there). They yelled when they wanted to make fun of players, but they also yelled while having conversations amongst themselves. It seemed that they were in such need of attention that we all had to know exactly every thought that came into their heads.

They cursed quite a bit (which is always annoying to me, since baseball games are generally regarded as family atmospheres) and there was some racism there, too. One guy yelled at Shawn Green, "Hey, isn't it Yom Kippur or something?" Yikes. At least one of his friends had the decency to quietly say, "Don't say that." Still.

What a way to ruin a good night at the ballpark. I'm probably not making it sound as bad as it was, but these guys almost ruined the night completely. I know we've all sat next to guys like them, but it had been a while for me. They helped to make sure that I won't be sitting in the pavilion section again (it's always rowdy out there, but this was just insane).

I'm not trying to police people in a public setting, though I'm sure I could get some flack from people who think I am. Free speech is great, and I love it. But respect is kind of cool, too. And these guys didn't have any of that for anyone else around them.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 06/15/2007 10:25:32 PM

Well it looks like the Dodgers play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim again. They're having their best start in franchise history.
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Game 66: Dodgers 9, Mets 1

A good night for the Dodgers, for sure. A sweep of the Mets (or any team, really) feels pretty good, especially heading into a weekend series that sees the dreaded Angels come to town. I had problems enjoying the game completely, thanks to some jackasses sitting behind me, but I'll put my issues with them in a separate post.

For now, the game. I expected a pitcher's duel, and I got just that. Well, for the first four innings anyway. Brad Penny gave up one run in the first inning, and then shut the door the rest of the way. He went seven innings, gave up one run on seven hits, and struck out seven. That man should go right now and play a slot machine. He moved to 8-1 on the season, and dropped his ERA to 2.18 (take out that eight-run anomaly against the Angels, and that ERA is 1.48). He's given up eight runs in eight games (52.1 innings) at home, good for a 1.38 home ERA. You could be looking at the starting All-Star pitcher (though I guess Jake Peavy, with his 1.82 ERA and 8-1 record, might have something to say about that).

The point is, Brad Penny is rocking it. And apparently, Penny thought Shawn Green was trying to prevent him from pitching well last night. After the third inning, Penny walked off the mound toward Shawn Green, and got on him for allegedly tipping off hitters to pitch location when he was on second base. Penny says it happened, Shawn Green denies it. If Green was doing it, it sure didn't work out well for the Mets.

For the first four innings, Jorge Sosa was cruising along. Then the Dodgers pushed through three in the fifth inning, thanks to a Wilson Betemit home run (his second in as many games), an infield single by Matt Kemp, a sac bunt by Brad Penny, a triple by Furcal, and a single by Pierre (who then ruined everything by getting out thrown out while trying to stretch it to a double).

The Dodgers scored three more in the bottom of the sixth with three hits and a Nomar stolen base. They added another in the seventh (after the second triple of the night from Furcal), and then James Loney, in to replace Nomar in the eighth, hit a two-run shot in his only at-bat of the game.

Overall, the Dodgers had thirteen hits, after getting ten on Tuesday night. The offense was killing on Thursday, and it had better continue into this series with the Angels. They swept the Dodgers at Angel Stadium, so payback better be the biggest bitch ever this time around. The Angels are hot, but the Dodgers should have a little confidence coming off this win. They'll have Lowe, Schmidt and Wolf going against Santana, Weaver and Escobar. No predictions from me.


Pierre Watch: 2-4 (1 RBI, no runs scored, thrown out trying to get to second on a single)

Player(s) of the Game: The Young Guns-- in this case, Abreu, Betemit, Kemp and Loney (three of them call-ups from AAA this season). They went 8-14 with 6 RBI and 6 runs scored.

Record: 38-28 (first three-game winning streak this month)


P.S. If you took the over on my Dodger Dog consumption, congratulations! I managed to cram in three (the last half of the third was tough) and then took a large bite of a fourth. That counts, as far as I'm concerned. Call it 3.2 Dodger Dogs.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Mike
DATE: 06/14/2007 05:13:53 PM

Excellent job with the Dodger dogs, Erin! I knew you could do it!

I put three dimes on you hitting the over. I'll send you a cut.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Game 65: Dodgers 4, Mets 1

A series win? Finally. And the possibility for a sweep at a game I am attending is sweeter still. I know the Mets were slumping before they came in to meet the Dodgers, but I still like the way the boys have been playing anyway. And tonight was quite a game, and historic, too.

Hong-Chih Kuo got the start and he was great. He struggled slightly in the third, and gave up a run, but he was solid from there, and eventually went seven innings before handing the ball to Broxton and Saito. Kuo gave up one run on five hits, with one walk and four strikeouts. Dodger pitching retired the last ten consecutive Mets' hitters in the game. The Mets only managed those five hits, and also committed two errors (though all four Dodger runs were earned).

But Kuo really showed his stuff in the second inning. After a groundout by Russell Martin, Wilson Betemit (who started at third tonight) hit a home run to center on an 0-1 pitch. Matt Kemp (who started in right) followed with a home run to left on the first pitch he saw. Keep in mind that these were the guys hitting seventh and eighth. So, Kuo came up to the plate. And, on the first pitch he saw, he hit a shot into the right field pavilion. The best part about it (and the part that Vin Scully kept going back to and laughing over) was Kuo's awesome bat flip as soon as he hit the ball. He looked like a major league hitter all of the sudden, and the Dodger dugout was really enjoying that.

I mentioned that the game was historic, and that was because of Kuo's homer. When he hit it, he became the first Taiwanese player to hit a home run in Major League Baseball. Pretty impressive. Of course, there have only been four Taiwanese players in the league total (three of whom have played for the Dodgers, and one, Tsao, who is at Triple-A Vegas right now), but still. It's a nice record to have.

Matt Kemp got an infield single to score Gonzalez for the fourth run, and that was all the Dodgers would need. Broxton and Saito pitched perfect innings, and all was well at Dodger Stadium.

Brad Penny goes up against Jorge Sosa tomorrow. Just looking at their respective records (7-1 and 6-1), it looks to be a pitching battle. It will be my first time sitting in the All You Can Eat Pavilion. I'm not going crazy with it, but it should be interesting to watch people gorge themselves.


Pierre Watch: 2-4 (including a triple; making some improvements there, Juan. Keep it up.)

Player of the Game: Hong-Chih Kuo (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks; 1 HR, 1 RBI)

Record: 37-28


P.S. I'm putting the over/under on Dodger Dogs I consume on Wednesday night at three. Anyone placing any bets?


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Mike
DATE: 06/13/2007 03:44:53 AM

I'm going to take the over. I know you can do it!!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mr. Wizard's World

Remember when Nickelodeon used to be awesome? If you're around my age (almost 27) and were allowed to watch at least some television as a child, I really hope you were watching you some Nickelodeon. You know, before it turned into all this 'tween bullshit. I don't even know what they air anymore, but it sure isn't You Can't Do That On Television, Double Dare, or the awesome Today's Special.

The point is, if you watched, you probably caught some Mr. Wizard.

So, take a moment of silence to remember a legend.

Television's 'Mr. Wizard' dies at 89

Game 64: Dodgers 5, Mets 3

I was so happy about this win that I completely forgot to write about until right now, when the second game of the Mets/Dodgers series is starting. Oops.

Here are the reasons for me to be happy: Wolf struggled in the first again, but slowly settled down, and eventually made it through six, only giving up three runs. And the Dodgers managed to get him the win. Juan Pierre walked twice (and had one hit) in the game. The first time, he stole second and then scored the first Dodgers' run. See what happens when you get on base, Pierre?

But the biggest reason to be happy is that the Dodgers fought back from a 3-0 deficit against a first place team. They only managed five hits, but they were able to score five runs with those hits (and a few walks) and they got the win. They got three runs in the bottom of the fourth, and then scored two more (thanks in part to a big error by Paul LoDuca) in the bottom of the sixth, to allow Wolf to exit the game in the lead.

Luis Gonzalez had two doubles, bringing his career total to 561 and moving him into 19th place. With the second double, he passed Eddie Murray, who is now the Dodgers' hitting coach. Good night for Gonzo.

The young gun James Loney stepped up big on Monday night, hitting the double in the sixth that drove in the go-ahead run.

A nice, solid win, and a great start to a series I think is fairly important to the Dodgers. I'll be at the final game on Wednesday night, and I'd definitely like to see the Dodgers have the chance for the sweep that night.

Kuo just got through the first inning without trouble. So far so good.


Pierre Watch: 1-2, 2 BB, 1 run scored (good game, but how about we make that something you do every night, okay?)

Player of the Game: James Loney (1-4 with one crucial, go-ahead, eventual game-winning RBI)


Record: 36-28

Monday, June 11, 2007

Now We're Talking

Maybe I have more readers than I thought I did.

Martin Jumps to Top of All-Star Ballot


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Mike
DATE: 06/11/2007 09:08:48 PM

Nice Job!

Remember kids -- one person can make a difference!
-----

AUTHOR: Brian
DATE: 06/11/2007 11:53:59 PM

Juan Pierre has 2 walks!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is going on? God, I hope the Dodgers win this game for Wolf. Horrible fantasy week for me.

Game 63: Blue Jays 11, Dodgers 5

After winning on a walk-off home run on Friday night, and only losing 1-0 on Saturday night, the Dodgers looked like they were ready to at least compete and stay in the hunt in the NL West.

But a six-run loss makes the 1-0 loss look more pathetic, and the 4-3 win look like luck. And after losing two of three from the Blue Jays, the only consolation the Dodgers have is that the D-Backs lost two of three to the Red Sox and the Padres were swept by the Mariners. So now the NL West is crowded at the top, with San Diego and Arizona tied for first, and the Dodgers sitting 1.5 games back.

Jason Schmidt started the game, and that should have been a good thing. He's still fresh off the DL, but his performance last week in San Diego left Dodger fans thinking maybe he was on top of his game again. The Blue Jays are a decent offense, but Schmidt should have been able to handle them. But he didn't. On Sunday, the Blue Jays took the rubber game. This after losing two of three to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays

I only caught the first inning and a half of this one, because I had to go see Girl In A Coma perform again (have you checked them out yet? Do it!). The first inning was a struggle for both pitchers, and they each gave up two runs. The good thing for Halladay is that he settled down. The bad news is that Schmidt did not.

Schmidt lasted four innings. He gave up six runs on nine hits, walking two and striking out three. Hendrickson came in to relieve for three innings, and gave up three more runs on five hits. He did manage five strikeouts, but that hardly mattered. It was a thrashing, plain and simple.

Grady was really trying to shake up the lineup Sunday, and though one game can't really be a barometer for such a thing, I wouldn't call this a screaming success. The infield, from left to right, was Wilson Betemit, Rafael Furcal, Tony Abreu and James Loney. In the outfield, Luis Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Russell Martin was behind the plate. With the exception of Gonzalez (and maybe Furcal), this was quite the look at the Dodger future.

Betemit was 1-3 with two walks; Abreu was 0-5 with a run scored; Loney was 1-4 with an RBI; Ethier was 0-2; Matt Kemp went 2-3; Russell Martin was 1-2 with a run scored. Overall, 5-19 with 1 RBI and two runs scored. Not great, but not terrible.

Next up, the Mets. I have no predictions or thoughts on this, because I really don't know which Dodger team will show up. Maybe they'll finally hit, and maybe they won't. Wolf is pitching, so look for some struggles in the first inning. If his starts in June are any indication, the struggles will continue and the Dodgers will lose. If he settles down, it could be at least a fight. There, I made some predictions and gave some thoughts.


Pierre Watch: 0-2 (Pierre started the game, but Matt Kemp came in for him in the fifth inning)

After Pierre couldn't keep the ball in the air on the way to the cut-off man (it rolled to Furcal), Vin Scully said, "This is one of the problems you have when you have an outfielder who can't throw." Amen.

Player of the Game: Luis Gonzalez (2-4, 3 RBI, 1 run scored)

Record: 35-28 (remember just a few days ago when they were eleven over .500? Me neither)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Game 62: Blue Jays 1, Dodgers 0

Could someone please get Derek Lowe some run support? The man has now pitched three complete games this season, but he has been the losing pitcher in every one. Come on now, Dodgers. Hit the ball!

It's not as though they didn't have chances to give Lowe his first complete game win. In fact, they had many chances. In the sixth inning, Derek Lowe led off with a single, followed by a single by Furcal. Two on, nobody out. Tony Abreu came up and fouled out to left, Nomar fouled out to first, then Jeff Kent reached on an infield single. Bases loaded, two outs. Luis Gonzalez came up and fouled out to third. Two on with nobody out, and all three outs come on foul pop-ups. Some quality baseball there Dodgers. How about a sac bunt or something? Your "power" hitters obviously can't get the job done.

They had another chance. In the seventh inning, with two outs, Pierre hit a single, then Lowe hit a ball that traveled maybe fifty feet, dying on the grass. Furcal came up, and he got an infield single. Then Abreu grounded out to end the inning.

Then, again, another chance in the bottom of the eighth. After Nomar fouled out again, Derek Lowe worked a walk. Brady Clark came in to run for him, and he stole second. Gonzalez and Martin both grounded out, and Clark was left standing on second base.

Toronto's only offense came on another Matt Stairs home run with two outs in the sixth inning.

Matt Kemp, called up from Triple-A, started his first game with the Dodgers since April, and went 0-4. I don't know if he's staying or what. Maybe it's just a threat from Grady, trying to get these guys to hit the ball. It didn't work.

Of the nine games the Dodgers have played so far in June, seven of them have been decided by one run. The Dodgers are 4-3 in those games. That's a winning record, just barely, but it's not good. They need to stop making these games so close. Your pitching is keeping you alive, Dodgers, but as Derek Lowe has proven several times now, pitching can't do everything.


Pierre Watch: 2-3 (Grady moved him down to 8th in the batting order; you think that will make him hit the ball more? Me neither.)

Player of the Game: Derek Lowe (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks)

Record: 35-27

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Game 61: Dodgers 4, Blue Jays 3

This was a great game, plain and simple. It would have been better if the Dodgers had won it in regulation, but who doesn't like a walk-off home run?

The story of this one was pitching. Specifically, pitching from Brad Penny and Toronto's McGowan. Penny went 7.2 innings and gave up one run, letting Broxton (I cringed when he came in) get the final out of the eighth. McGowan made it through 6.1 innings without allowing a run, and then gave up a double to Kent and a home run to Gonzalez, which put the Dodgers ahead 2-1. McGowan stayed in to finish the seventh, and then turned it over to the bullpen.

Saito was back, after several games off for a strained hamstring. The first batter, Matt Stairs, greeted Saito with a game-tying home run that just hooked inside the right field foul pole. Saito got the next out, then walked a guy, and then got a double play. Understandable shakiness, but he had a 26-save streak going, so it's sad to see that end.

Beimel came in for the tenth, and gave up a run, putting the Blue Jays up 3-2. Since this is not really a comeback team (I suppose if they get a few more comebacks, I can stop saying that), it wasn't looking so good.

Tony Abreu led off the inning and worked a walk. I wondered aloud whether they would call on Abreu to try to steal to get into scoring position. My girlfriend said, "He doesn't need to steal, because Olmedo is going to hit a home run." Sure enough, Olmedo Saenz came in to pinch-hit for Beimel, and he knocked an 0-1 pitch into center field for the game-winning home run.

Vin Scully summed it up better than I ever could when he said, "They call him Tomato, and he sure canned that one."

Awesome.

Pierre Watch: 1-4 (bunted and stole a base in the first inning, but that's all he would do. OBP=.297)

Player of the Game: Olmedo Saenz (1-1, 2 RBI)

Record: 35-26

Friday, June 08, 2007

Game 60: Padres 6, Dodgers 5

And I here I thought Kuo would be the biggest problem the Dodgers would have in this game.

The Dodgers' bats came alive last night, at least for one inning, and they did it against Jake Peavy. In the seventh inning, with the score tied 1-1, the Dodgers managed three runs (with two outs, even) to make it 4-1 game. Gonzo hit a solo homer in the eighth to pad the lead a bit. Broxton was coming in for the ninth. Game over, right?

Wrong. As I mentioned in my previous post, coming into Thursday night's game, Broxton had given up eight runs in his last five innings of work. That's good for a 14.4 ERA over those games, if you're counting. Well, after Thursday, his ERA over his last six games is 21.18 (don't tell me if I'm wrong, because those numbers sound about as bad as Broxton pitched, so it works). He raised his overall ERA to 4.15, but more importantly,


HE GAVE UP FIVE RUNS IN THE NINTH INNING TO A DIVISION RIVAL, AND THE DODGERS LOST.


Good god almighty. No words can describe what that inning was like. Broxton faced nine batters and managed to record only one out before finally WALKING in the winning run. Here's what led up to that: infield single, E-3, single, infield single (run scores), ground rule double (two runs score), intentional walk to load the bases, single (run scores), strikeout.

Okay, that strikeout was the first out. But the game is now tied and the bases are loaded. So what does Broxton do? He gets Branyan to a 3-2, and then throws the fourth ball. Game over.

Just before that walk, KCAL 9 got a shot of the crowd. One guy was cheering, then turned to his friend and clearly said, "Holy crap." Word.

Kuo struggled some, but got through six innings of one-run baseball, allowing only three hits, walking four, and striking out eight. He deserved better for gutting this one out, but Broxton couldn't do it for him.

Billingsley and Beimel, it should be noted, combine for two innings of solid, scoreless bullpen relief.

And the hits actually came against a very tough pitcher (albeit when his pitch count was high and his manager really should have taken him out). What a frustrating, unbelievable loss.

Mercifully, Juan Pierre had the night off, so he couldn't make things any worse. I think he was in as a defensive replacement (ha!) in the ninth.

Now the Dodgers sit 2.5 games back of the Padres, and are in third place in the division. They have the Blue Jays and the Mets coming up on the homestand. Frankly, I don't like their chances against either team. But maybe if they win one, some of my anger about this game will subside. Then again, maybe not.


Player of the Game: Rafael Furcal (2-5, 3RBI)

Record: 34-26

Jonathan Broxton Sucks

Given his recent starts (eight runs in his last five innings of work, not including tonight's five-run nightmare), you have to wonder why Grady decided to go with Broxton as the closer with Saito out.

There are other options. The other two Bs, for example: Beimel and Billingsley. Think about it Grady.

More later. I'm too pissed to write.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Game 59: Padres 5, Dodgers 2

I think there's a strong chance that the Padres will sweep the Dodgers tonight, especially since it's Jake Peavy going against Kuo. And I think that this series is proving that, at least as long as the Dodgers keep hitting the way they have, the Padres are the better team. I think the Dodgers actually lead the Padres in hitting so far this season, and the Padres' pitching staff is only slightly better, but during the last two games, it has sure looked like the Padres just plain want to win more than the Dodgers do.

Randy Wolf started the game and, as is his norm, he struggled in the first inning. He got out of it unscathed, but unfortunately for his team, he struggled for the rest of his start, giving up two runs in the second, and then five runs in the third. He was looking for his fifth straight victory, but he didn't even come close.

The Dodgers could manage virtually nothing against Maddux and the Padres' bullpen, and the game ended 5-2. Nothing exciting or shocking happened in the game; it was just a loss. And the better team won. No real game analysis necessary. Oh, but you may have heard that Trevor Hoffman got his 500th save.

I don't really want to see a sweep, but Peavy has been phenomenal this year, and it seems an unlikely game for the Dodgers' bats to wake up. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so.

Pierre Watch: 1-4 (I can't even manage sarcasm right now. You suck, Pierre. You suck when you're in leadoff, like you were tonight, and you suck when you bat second. You're batting only about 15 points better than Derek Lowe and Brad Penny, and they're both right behind you in OBP, too. Just quit. Fake an injury or a family emergency. I don't care. Put us out of our misery. Please.)


Player of the Game: Jeff Kent (3-4, scored both runs; maybe he's snapping out of it)

Record: 34-25


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 06/07/2007 11:58:57 PM
Erin, I worry about your health. Pierre never gets hurt and he certainly doesn't lie.....
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/08/2007 12:02:33 AM

I suppose he'll never get hurt, since it's impossible to get hurt when you do absolutely nothing.

He has the night off tonight. I've been trying to figure out why exactly he's in need of a break. I think it's Grady's subtle way of agreeing that Pierre sucks.
-----

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Game 58: Padres 1, Dodgers 0

There might be nothing more painful than a one-run loss. Especially when the winning team scores that one run in the bottom of the eighth inning. All that struggle for nothing. And it just gets worse when the loss comes to a division rival, who has now taken a half game lead.

I watched the first six innings of this game, and then I had to leave to go see a show. The band was Girl In A Coma, and I know you want to check them out. Click on their name to go to the web page, or click here to watch a good video. Then you can go to iTunes or the Blackheart Records site (that's Joan Jett's record company) to buy the album. Just give them a shot. For me.

Anyway, Jason Schmidt came back tonight, and he was great. If this is what we can expect for the rest of the season, I'll take it. He allowed one hit in six innings, walking three and striking out four. A 1-0 loss is bad enough, but let's also look at the fact that the Padres only managed two hits all night, but the second one drove in the game-winning run (a runner who was on base because Seanez hit him with the pitch). Seanez only gave up three runs in ten appearances in May, and this was his first in three appearances in June. He's been great lately, so it sucks that giving up one hit means he has his first loss of the year.

The Dodgers could only put together five hits, and only had three men in scoring position the whole game. Not a good way to start off a big series, but I guess losing 1-0 means it was pretty evenly matched. And seeing Jason Schmidt perform the way he did was very important to this team this season. That said, we need to at least get one win this series. And it will probably have to be on Wednesday, since Jake Peavy pitches Thursday.


Pierre Watch: 0-4, 3 men left on base (he did it! Tonight Juan Pierre's OBP dropped below .300, to .298! Way to go, Colletti!)

Note to Juan Pierre--please stop acting so vehemently angry every time you pop out. You know why? Because that drama loses meaning when you pop out every time you come to the plate.

Player of the Game: Jason Schmidt (6IP, 1H, 3BB, 4Ks)


Record: 34-24

Game 57: Dodgers 6, Pirates 5

I feel like every time I watch a potential no-hitter, it ends up with the pitcher giving up consecutive hits, a home run or two, and then maybe getting out of the inning if he's lucky (that's assuming, of course, that he doesn't actually get the no-hitter). And then you look at his line later, and you're like, "What's the big deal about this pitching performance? He gave up four runs."

And that is exactly the case with Derek Lowe on Monday. He threw six scoreless innings, with the only real threat a ball up the middle, which was stopped by Rafael Furcal on a really great play. Abreu had two errors in the fifth, which resulted in two baserunners, but a double play got rid of one of them, and the other guy was left on base.

But after a fairly long top of the seventh, which had the Dodgers scoring three runs, Lowe came back and kind of fell apart. He gave up three runs in the inning, and this is how that happened: walk, single, fielder's choice (one run scored), another fielder's choice, an error by Furcal (which would have ended the inning), two-run home run, ground out. 5-3, Dodgers.

So it was fun while it lasted. I blame the long wait at the top of the inning, but it was just such an abrupt shift from total domination to suckiness. Lowe came back in the eighth and got two outs, and then gave up a solo home run to make it 5-4, and way too interesting for my taste. Beimel came in and got the last out of the inning.

Now, Saito has a strained hamstring. He's not on the DL, but he wasn't available for Tuesday's game (and maybe not for the upcoming Padres series, sadly). So, Broxton was the man for the ninth. Broxton has been great all season, with only a couple of hiccups here and there. I think maybe he was thinking too much about it being the ninth inning, and didn't pitch the way he would have if it were the eighth and he was just trying to get the ball to Saito.

Whatever the case, it was scary. Russell Martin had hit an insurance home run in the eighth (his fourth in his last five starts), and that turned out to be a run the Dodgers would desperately need. Broxton gave up a single, a double and a walk, and one earned run, before finally getting the last out. If Saito is going to be out for a while, Broxton better figure his stuff out. The Padres' hitters won't be any easier than the Pirates' guys.

Jason Schmidt makes his (hopefully) triumphant return tonight against the Padres. It's been almost two months since his last start, so my fingers are crossed. If he has a shaky first inning, which is likely after such a long layoff, I hope he can figure it out and get back to his form. Please be okay, Schmidt. I can't handle another Hendrickson and/or Tomko start.

Pierre Watch: 1-3 (you guys, in the first inning, Pierre did something I've almost never seen him do this year. He bunted the ball down the first base line, and I swear to god, he got on base! I know! I couldn't believe it either. And then, Jeff Kent hit a double, and Juan Pierre scored a run! No, I'm serious! OBP holding steady at .303)

Steve Lyons, after a ball that Juan Pierre should have caught: "I think that ball might have fooled Juan Pierre a little bit."

Gee, you think so, Steve? I'm pretty sure that if someone walked up and placed the ball in Pierre's glove, he would still miss it. Any of you watching these games, do you ever get the feeling you're watching a Little Leaguer who accidentally wandered onto the wrong field? And then Ned Colletti was like, "Well he's here. I guess we should just sign him to a contract and let him play."



Player of the Game: Derek Lowe (7.2 IP, 3H, 4ER, 1BB, 6 Ks)

Record: 34-23 (eleven games over .500 for the first time this season)