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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
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Out There in the Fields: Part 1
2005-04-18 09:02
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Testing out what might become a recurring feature on Dodger Thoughts...

Because my focus on the home team often keeps me from knowing much of what's going on in the rest of the baseball world, and because you all are so knowledgeable, I'm inviting each of you to post an interesting fact about a team other than the Dodgers in the comments below. Look at it as sort of our own Sunday notes column. Only it's on Monday. Only I had the idea on Sunday. So really, there's no problem, is there?

We'll see how it goes, but by staying in touch with the Dodgers' competition, "Out There in the Fields" might help us become even more informed about the Dodgers themselves.

Comments
2005-04-18 10:27:55
1.   Sam DC
Washington Nationals reliever Antonio Osuna has now pitched in four games, and must trail (or is it lead? - see my question at the end of the thread below) the league with a fan friendly ERA of 42.43.
2005-04-18 10:47:21
2.   Eric L
I just checked the standings over at ESPN. Did you know that the Orioles are 8-4 and in first place in the east?

Even more surprising, Brian Roberts is their offensive leader in just about every category. He already has 5 HRs this year, matching his career high in 2003.

2005-04-18 11:03:04
3.   Eric Enders
I keep pretty good track of the A's. Their bullpen is much improved this year, with Huston Street especially turning a lot of heads. He pitched 2 scoreless innings for the win last night. It appears to be a foregone conclusion that the A's will trade Dotel before the trading deadline and make Street their closer. It's more a matter of when than if.
2005-04-18 11:08:17
4.   blue horseshoe
Willie Randolph avoided being burned at the stake by some brilliant pitching performances & late inning heroics. Kaz Ishii threw 7ip shutout ball against Clemens & Aaron Heilman had a 9ip 1 hitter (on a ball that didn't reach the second baseman) vs Josh Beckett. Mets are now 6-6 without the benefit of Cameron or Floyd.

Meanwhile, A-Rod is turning on the spit.

2005-04-18 11:13:36
5.   Jacob L
I happened to be in Phoenix over the weekend, where I caught quite a bit of the 'backs/Nats series on either t.v. or radio.

In a nutshell, the 'back bullpen was horrendous. Close games busted open late by Washington. Brian Bruney and Mike Koplove in particular were spotted near the scene of the crime.

Thought occurred to me that if the statistically inclined fan wants to crow about the Dodgers start, then they'll also have to eat some crow regarding the Bowden- built Nationals. At least so far. I mean, is Vinny Castilla that good? Is RFK really Coors east?

2005-04-18 11:19:58
6.   Ben P
I can report that I went to my first Nationals game yesterday and I enjoyed it immensely. RFK is old and cheesy -- in that "60's spaceship" architectural way -- but the seats feel close to the action and the field itself looks to be in excellent shape. The Nats unveiled their new mascot at the game, Screech the Eagle, though unfortunately it looks a lot more like a chicken or a duck than an eagle.

The team itself is perfect for this situation, full of scrappy guys and guys in need of a new start (i.e. Jose Guillen). Vinny Castilla definitely got the loudest ovations. Their starting pitching is respectable and their defense is excellent, though I think Frank Robinson needs to make several changes in the starting lineup. He has Wilkerson leading off, Guzman batting second and Vidro third. I would flip Wilkerson and Vidro, drop Guzman permanently to the 8-hole and bat Nick Johnson second. I don't think they can stay near the top of such a tough division, but they're good enough to keep the fans interested and to be a thorn in the side of the established NL East teams.

2005-04-18 11:32:38
7.   Matt Conroy
All of the talk here in Yankeeland is about King George's little explosion over the weekend after the Yanks got swept by the surprising O's. The starting pitching has been shaky and a lot of Yanks fans are starting to get on ARod for his lack of hitting with men on base. Kevin Brown is even more persona non grata than before.

There is also some talk about the new Yankee Stadium plans, which are set to be unveiled in May if all goes well. There's a link to the Daily News story over at Bronx Banter. I'm happy that they are planning to add a Metro North commuter rail station as part of the transportation improvements. That will keep me from having to take the train to Grand Central, then the subway up to the Bronx. I am an avid Yankee hater, but it is a great setting for baseball. Shea, on the other hand, is a dump.

2005-04-18 11:35:53
8.   Dr Love
Local team/team I grew up with is the Phils...

Brett Myers looked to be every bit of the stereotypical million dollar arm/ten cent head pitcher, and last year apparently got into some heated conversations with then-pitching coach Joe Kerrigan. Myers wanted to pitch his way, and well, he was trash. But now with Kerrigan gone, Myers, through 3 games, is 1-0 in 20.1 innings with an ERA of 0.44. Maybe the kid was right after all.

2005-04-18 11:40:07
9.   Matt Conroy
Dr Love, just picked Myers up for my fantasy team. Hope I don't come to regret it. He does have nasty stuff.
2005-04-18 11:40:31
10.   Bob Timmermann
The last time there was a vacancy in the papacy was 1978. And of course the Dodgers went to the World Series that year!

Prior to that, the last vacancy was in 1963....

And Pope John XIII started his pontificate in ... 1958, so there goes that theory.

In baseball news, the Angels lost 2 of 3 this weekend. I think they play around Southern California some where.

2005-04-18 11:47:16
11.   Sam DC
Bob -- I'm moving this up from the thread below so you don't miss it. (Have edited a little.)

Question: This sentence is from a Yankees doom and gloom piece that's up on mlb.com: "The offense is batting just .207 with runners in scoring position, and the team ranks last in the American League in runners left on base with 106." Is it correct to say that they rank "last" with 106 LOB, or would it be more accurate to say that they rank "first"? After all, with some "bad news" statistics, it is common to say that the worst of the worst "leads the league" (e.g., strikeouts).

Genuinely asking here; I can see both sides.

2005-04-18 11:47:22
12.   jelmendorf
Frightening stat of the day: While the Dodgers are leading the league in runs per game at 6.64, the Giants are within spitting distance and that's without Barry Bonds. Pitching should also be a concern. The Giant ERA is ugly at 5.40, but their Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is actually better than the Dodgers, at 4.36 to 4.51.

The only good news is that at least some of their offensive damage came at Coors. Still, even without Coors, they'd be second in the NL in runs per game, and have topped 9 runs three times in their 8 non-Coors games.

2005-04-18 11:54:47
13.   molokai
Shocking as it might seem to DT readers but there is also this new fangled American League and since no one seems to give a whit about them, I'll take a shot and write about the worse sports franchise next to our own Clippers. Like the Clippers, things are looking brighter for the Tampa Bay Devilrays. While the Major League team is still going to finish last in the AL East this year, they have some of the brightest young studs in baseball and like the Clippers who signed Brand/Maggette to show that they are serious about the future, the DevilRays signed Carl Crawford to a long term deal. With the hot, Jorge Cantu (Cantu CanDo) the team has gotten off to a decent start. The position players are solid with legitimate all - star candidates in Huff and Crawford but the staring pitching is still very weak. By the end of 05, we should be seeing BJ Upton and Delmon Young helping the Major League club. By 06 Kazmir and Neiman might be able to propel the team into a drive for respectability.
1st Base- Tavis Lee - Place holder for Huff, until D Young shows up and moves Huff to 1st base.
2nd Base - Jorge Cantu - One of my favorites. In any other city, he would be the talk of the town with his start. He'll settle down but his power is for real.
SS - Lugo - was considered a placeholder for BJ Upton but Upton has now had 8 errors in 7 games in AAA and it appears increasingly likely that he will shift to 3b. Lugo on the other hand is a very decent SS.
3b - Alex Gonzalez - Yikes, bad idea
C - Toby Hall - another place they need to upgrade
LF - Carl Crawford - maybe one of the best young players in baseball.
CF - Alex Sanchez is there for now but the spot belongs to Rocco Baldelli when he returns this summer. One of the great names in baseball, he also has great talent.
RF - Huff - will move to 1st probably by 2006 when Delmon Young takes his spot. Huff is a line drive machine and can play 3b, 1st, or the LF/RF. Would have made a great Dodger.
DH - Josh Phelphs - Oodles of power. Should provide adequate DH for now and the future.

Best Young Prospects:
Delmon Young - Most pundits are him rated as the number 1 or 2 prospect. Some of you may have seem him play his high school ball in Camarillo.
BJ Upton- not sure where he's going to end up playing but his bat will make sure he's somewhere in the lineup. Very Jeter like with lots of speed, good but not great power, decent plate discipline.
Wes Bankston- Extra part in case they trade Huff or Baldelli, can play 1st or OF.
Scott Kamzir - probably in the bigs one year to soon but no one questions that the Devil Rays for the 1st team in their career fleeced the Mets much like the Clippers fleeced the Bulls when they took Elton Brand off their hands 3 years ago.
Jeff Neiman - Best pitcher in the draft last year. Should be ready as soon as 2006.
Chad Orvella-Remember the name.

2005-04-18 11:55:11
14.   Bob Timmermann
I don't think saying ranking "first" or "last" is wrong as much as its unclear. If someone said "The Yankees have left more runners on base than anyone else" then the point is made.

There are some negative stats for pitchers which are always listed with the guy who gives up the most walks, hits, or home runs as the "leader".

2005-04-18 11:56:33
15.   Bob Timmermann
Clint Barmes of Colorado has 4 home runs.

And I believe his last name is pronounced "Bar-Mess".

I also recommend Oliva Trattoria on Van Nuys and Moorpark.

2005-04-18 12:00:05
16.   Dr Love
Dr Love, just picked Myers up for my fantasy team. Hope I don't come to regret it. He does have nasty stuff.

He's got the ability, but I'm not convinced he can keep it up in the long run, or this team. It'll score runs, but the starting pitching is bland and the bullpen, save for Wagner (no pun intended), is woeful.

Oh, and Mike Hampton is back. If you go back to the second half of last season as your starting point, he's an ace again. And Danny Kolb is making my prediction that the Braves will be shopping for a new closer in July look good so far.

2005-04-18 12:08:01
17.   jelmendorf
Re: #5. Not sure we need to eat whatever crow Jim Bowden is serving just yet. True, they are 8-4, but they've actually scored 4 fewer runs than they've allowed, which means they should be 6-6. And while it's true that Vinny Castilla is tearing the cover off the ball, Bowden's other signing, Cristian Guzman is not doing quite so well. His equivalent average is, well, it's not good--.000.

You're right, of course, that small sample size should preclude the sabermetrically inclined (and hopefully all of us) from crowing too much about the 9-2 start.

2005-04-18 12:13:32
18.   Matt Conroy
And Danny Kolb is making my prediction that the Braves will be shopping for a new closer in July look good so far.

They won't be the only NL East team looking for a closer. I reckon the Mets will look to move Looper into the set-up man role.

2005-04-18 12:15:10
19.   Jeromy
Adrian Beltre is hitting a paltry .238, going 2 for 18 against the White Sox, and he recently came out of a game with a sore back. Seattle media has been quick to minimize the injury and slow start. They explain that he is "adjusting to the new league". He's quoted as saying he's not comfortable yet. I'd like to have Beltre back, but wow, if he regresses terribly, won't DePodesta look good!
2005-04-18 12:17:33
20.   Dr Love
They won't be the only NL East team looking for a closer. I reckon the Mets will look to move Looper into the set-up man role.

Maybe, but I'd wage that the decision to do so would be from a handful of bad games, unlike (what I think will happen with Kolb) a slew of them.

Of course, shortly after the Braves do aquire another closer is when Mazzone's tutiledge will fully click with Kolb and he'll rebound and give the Braves a nasty 1-2 punch in the 8th and 9th!

2005-04-18 12:19:32
21.   Matt Conroy
Speaking of the ChiSox, former Dodger Paul Konerko already has 6 dingers this season (but he is only hitting .233).
2005-04-18 13:11:09
22.   DepoBall
I've been living in San Jose since '95 and during the Malone/Murdoch years began following the A's (the National-league local alternative being unacceptable). An interesting fact about Oakland is the publicity recently for AthleticsNation.com - a great A's blogsite. There's been a NYTimes article and a feature on Sunday's pre-game telecast. While the AN publicity may just indicate '15 minutes of fame' the instigation behind it is the unique connection to the A's organization that blez has developed. His site sports exclusive content including extended interviews with Billy Beane explaining the rationale behind the Hudson/Mulder trades and interviews with many players. This kind of interaction with a blog indicates a willingness by the A's mgt to get straight to the fanbase to 'win the hearts and minds' of ticket-buyers who are concerned about the team's direction.

Sounds like something the Dodgers could use given their terrible public relations performance thus far under McCourt.

What strikes me is that of the various Dodger blogs out there it seems like this site should somehow have the same connection to Depodesta et al.

I realize LA isn't a small-market and that a huge chunk of its fanbase doesn't post while it watches the game, but a connection to the elite dodger-related blog would go a long way to getting a better spin out there with the hardcore faithful.

maybe jon should start flogging a t-shirt :)

2005-04-18 13:28:36
23.   Matt Conroy
Well, Jon did have his exclusive interview with Depo recently, which was ace.
2005-04-18 13:32:13
24.   dzzrtRatt
With the exception of Todd Jones and Matt Perisho, everyone on the Florida Marlin pitching staff has an ERA below 2.70.
2005-04-18 13:42:00
25.   Dr Love
With the exception of Todd Jones and Matt Perisho, everyone on the Florida Marlin pitching staff has an ERA below 2.70.

Which, ironically, is Todd Jones' IQ.

The Marlin's starters have been filthy. They can't keep up this pace forever, I think Lieter will wear down as the year goes on and someone's going to get hurt. Dontrelle Willis is, so far, back, and even though I don't care for that team, he sure is fun to watch.

2005-04-18 13:42:19
26.   DepoBall
re: 23 - you're right. that was a great interview; better than any of the conventional press he's received since he made his first controversial trade without being 'rah-rah' at all. I just meant i hope the Dodgers recognize that and keep it coming as it could help their image-problem
2005-04-18 13:47:46
27.   Dr Love
On the subject of blogs and interviews... anyone see the Nick Swisher interview at AN? Hilarious, perhaps the most enjoyable player interview I've read (not the best, the most enjoyable).

It would be cool if Jon could land an interview with a Dodger.

2005-04-18 14:34:30
28.   Matt Conroy
I liked the AN Barry Zito interview too. Gotta be the only guy in the bigs who listens to Nick Drake and Elliott Smith on his iPod.
2005-04-18 14:34:51
29.   Bob Timmermann
I'm waiting for Jon's podcast of his interview with Buddy Carlyle or Steve Schmoll.
2005-04-18 14:52:18
30.   Adam M
So far, the Mariners' Ryan Franklin is pitching like a poor man's Derek Lowe, winning through getting playable balls hit - one 89-pitch CG (I believe an SO), another hard-luck loss to [Mark Buehrle], who pitched a CGSO of his own; Franklin gave up 4 H in 8IP, but two of them were fair souvenirs off the bat of Konerko (Dodger connection #1). Given his prior performance, this has raised talk of a potential deal with The Man Downstairs. But it might not be surprising given how reliant he is on defense and how the M's have upgraded their D at several positions over last year's regulars (by my count, 3B (Dodger connection #2), LF, and C defense are all improved; you could argue CF, SS and 1B as well).

Franklin is also the name of Gob Bluth's ventriloquist puppet. That is your Dodger Thoughts Bonus Point for the day.

2005-04-18 15:16:59
31.   Fletch
Tonight I will attend the Stros-Braves. Clemens-Hudson.

The Astros stubbed their toe on the road, going 1-5 in NY & Cincy. Clemens and Pettite got no run support and Duckworth wasted the Astros 5 runs yesterday. Adam Everett could be the worst lead-off hitter in history, with his batting average hovering around the weight of 9th grade boys. However rookie WIllie Taveras is doing well in the 8th spot and likely will be the team's leadoff hitter of the future.

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