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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

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
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

I Don't Know, Third Base
2006-05-11 15:28
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

With Bill Mueller nearly hitless in May and Willy Aybar coming up hot from Las Vegas and knocking a ninth-inning pinch-hit RBI single today, some naturally will wonder if Aybar should be in the lineup.

It's a fair debate - at least, I don't expect unanimity. The key is to have the debate on the right terms. It should be whether on an average day, Aybar is better than Mueller. It should not be whether Aybar is better at his best than Mueller is at his worst.

Yes, Aybar can go out there and hit better than .050. So can Mueller.

Baseball is not automatic. Baseball is constant adjustments. A .300-hitting baseball player doesn't hit .300 all season. He has .400 streaks, and .300 streaks, and .200 streaks, and .100 streaks and everything up, down and in between.

Sometimes players go in the tank, and sometimes players are ready to take the world by storm. We need to step back and have perspective.

I like Aybar. I'd like to see him play. I don't see harm in giving Mueller a day off. But I honestly don't know who will be the better hitter going forward. I don't think it's clear. I just know that Aybar has really come on over the past nine months, and that Mueller is someone who has made successful adjustments his whole career.

* * *

Eric Gagne feels good, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

I'm rooting for Gagne, but I no longer ascribe any meaning to his self-diagnoses.

In happy theory, though, the return of Gagne and the apparent maturation of Jonathan Broxton could really make the Dodger bullpen look a lot better. Gagne is tentatively scheduled to start a rehabilitation assignment in Las Vegas in two weeks, Gurnick writes.

* * *

Today's loss was a shame, but it feels different than the losses of last week, when the wheels were flying every which way off the Winnebago. This loss feels more like a flat tire - just fix it and move on.

I'm unman enough to admit that I usually call AAA for that. Given the number of Las Vegas 51s now on the Dodger roster, I guess the Dodgers have already done the same.

Comments (166)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-05-11 15:34:46
1.   Inside Baseball
OT but I needed this after today's game:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-pirates-testytracy&prov=ap&type=lgns

2006-05-11 15:44:11
2.   Marty
"We want to let him have an opportunity where he feels like there's a little more room around him to sort some things out," Tracy said.

Tracy never slumps.

2006-05-11 15:45:49
3.   Underbruin
"And I don't give a darn!"

"Oh, that's our shortstop."

2006-05-11 15:47:50
4.   Uncle Miltie
Wilber needs to play and should bat 2nd.

I'm glad Fookie is finally coming out his slump. He's starting to rack up the extra base hits. Along with his walks, he may set a career high in OPS this year.

2006-05-11 15:48:18
5.   regfairfield
It's odd that when Jose Hernandez was OPSing .930, he wasn't allowed to play, yet now he gets to squeeze out Craig Wilson and Ryan Doumit when he's hitting .150.

Oh, and I think Jason Bay 6th speaks for itself.

2006-05-11 15:49:23
6.   Vishal
does the determination really need to be made about "who will be the better hitter going forward"? they're both on the roster; why not go with the hot hand while mueller is obviously slumping both offensively and defensively? aybar should at least get a few starts.
2006-05-11 15:49:51
7.   fanerman
Jason Bay still has an .845 OPS. That oughta count for something for most people. Most people.
2006-05-11 15:50:18
8.   Bob Timmermann
My father told me to always call AAA to fix a flat tire. He said "That's why you're paying dues and they'll do it faster and you won't get killed on the freeway."
2006-05-11 15:58:14
9.   Underbruin
8 - But the spectacle, Bob. The spectacle.
2006-05-11 15:58:51
10.   underdog
We're all entitled to some measure of skepticism about Gagne's self-diagnosis, as you say, but I really had a good feeling after reading that piece about his progress today. I am trusting him when he says he feels better than he has in a long time and jazzed to play again. I could be in for a crushing disappointment of course, but I don't think so. With Gagne, even at 85% of his once unhittable self, at the top, it will, as Little said, push people back a step each, Baez sets up, Broxton's looking good, Saito's mostly good, etc, and push someone out who shouldn't be on the Dodgers at all right now. I will be more excited about this season when he comes back, too, just because I enjoy seeing him pitch. (and my fingers, and nerves, will be crossed.)
2006-05-11 15:59:57
11.   bigcpa
I used AAA 4 times last year and got a letter from them saying I'd be charge for any future roadside calls before my next renewal. Who knew?!
2006-05-11 16:00:19
12.   joekings
I'm worried about Furcal, his defense anyways, I know his bat is more important but he's looking shakier every day.
2006-05-11 16:00:39
13.   underdog
Re: That Tracy piece - I chuckled at this, "Tracy also defended his decision to keep giving regular playing time to others who have not produced..." before a wave of deja vu overcame me.
2006-05-11 16:02:06
14.   Bob Timmermann
Most of my AAA calls have been for dead batteries. I've had a flat tire three times while driving. Once I changed it with my dad. It took us a long time. Hence the lecture about calling AAA.
2006-05-11 16:02:25
15.   Fallout
8 Bob Timmermann

You don't realize how messy changing a tire is until you have to do it wearing a suit with a white shirt and tie. I had to do that once coming home from work in Century City to Simi Valley.

2006-05-11 16:02:31
16.   Marty
I've been dutifully shelling out my dues to AAA for years and have never used them. I'm sure if I ever stop my subscription my car will explode.
2006-05-11 16:07:40
17.   Jon Weisman
10 - Would it be fair to say that Gagne at about 85 percent of his former self is roughly akin to Baez?

The warning that comes with me leaving my lights on in my current car has probably saved me a number of AAA calls. In my Scirocco (1985-2002), those lights got left on too many times. Though I did get a totally righteous set of jumper cables.

2006-05-11 16:09:15
18.   Curtis Lowe
Changing a tire is as easy as loosening 5 things then tightening 5 things.
2006-05-11 16:10:41
19.   underdog
I was thinking 85 percent of Gagne is still better than Baez, but maybe not. Perhaps we can devise some sort of mathematical-cum-biological testing apparatus that gauges what percentage of maximum talent each is operating under. ;-) Or perhaps it's all immeasurable gut feelings. Mostly, I just look forward to having him back. I think Baez will be a solid set up guy.
2006-05-11 16:11:03
20.   Dark Horse
17-That analogy seems correct to me, Jon.

Then again, I'd rather have two Baezes than a Hamulack or an Osoria.

2006-05-11 16:11:21
21.   Jon Weisman
18 - I don't trust jacks.

(Time for Bob to throw in a "24" reference.)

2006-05-11 16:13:43
22.   Jon Weisman
19 - I'm always thrilled when Gagne's on the mound. I'll just be nervous, too.
2006-05-11 16:14:49
23.   Marty
It's impossible to leave the lights on with my car (2000 Maxima). That's probably my favorite feature.

My previous car was a 4x4 truck. The first weekend I had it I took a trip to Arizona. I left the lights on all day and wore out the battery. When I tried to jump it, I fried the computer which caused it to stall whenever you took your foot off the gas. Since it was a holiday weekend there were no dealers open so I had to drive it all the way home without taking my foot off the gas. When I had to come to a stop, I'd throw it in neutral and keep gunning the accelerator.

2006-05-11 16:16:34
24.   T Money
Man. the blithering idiocy of Jim Tracy sure seems a lot funnier now that's he not with the Dodgers.
2006-05-11 16:16:53
25.   Jon Weisman
I once drove from Westwood to my then-Woodland Hills home at night with a horn that would not stop honking. That was special.
2006-05-11 16:17:53
26.   Humma Kavula
21 One of the very scariest moments of my life was when my car rolled off a jack as I was changing a tire. Never again.
2006-05-11 16:19:10
27.   Marty
I had one friend who seemed to make a habit of abandoning cars when they broke down. Sometimes they were burning.
2006-05-11 16:19:45
28.   Curtis Lowe
25- hehe

The alarm system on my camaro used to be very inconsistent. I went to the bank one time and ended up getting locked in my own car with the alarm blaring. There was nothing I could do for at least 15minutes. The Bank teller came outside and stared at me as did many passerbys. The alarm finally had mercy and I then went into the bank to deposit a check only to have to goto the same teller who did not approve of my obnoxious alarm.

2006-05-11 16:20:16
29.   Jon Weisman
Anyone else looking forward to Marty's upcoming autobiography/cookbook?
2006-05-11 16:21:25
30.   Bob Timmermann
I went out to get coffee.

Jack Bauer just looks at coffee and it gets him wired.

Then he shoots it.

2006-05-11 16:22:21
31.   underdog
I'll be nervous about Gagne's return, too, picturing his arm literally flying off with the ball still clasped in the hand as he tries to throw in the upper 90s. But hopefully that's really a worst case scenario. Y'know, I've been watching too many zombie movies this year.

I finally parted ways with my '84 Prelude, which was bought when I lived in LA (stupidly, I fell in love with a used car with no air conditioning, in LA), but despite it's other problems by some miracle it never got a flat in the 7 years I owned it. My bicycle is another story...

2006-05-11 16:29:49
32.   Underbruin
17 - I don't know if I agree that .85Gagne = Baez.

Dodger Math: http://dodgermath.com/?p=337

WXRL through May 3rd (a week old, but I don't have access to the PECOTA stats on Baseball Prospectus) has Baez at the second-worst WXRL on the team out of the relievers. "Keep in mind that WXRL isn't a strict measure of pitcher peformance, but a measure of how well a pitcher has performed in important situations...

So far, Baez has allowed two earned runs in 14.2 innings, but he has also allowed three unearned runs (which came due to an error that he committed, and, even worse, has allowed seven of his 11 inherited runners to score."

So while Baez has pitched fine in non-pressure situations, he has been at his worst exactly when the team needs him to be at his best. In other words, the absolute worst possible quality in a closer. Gagne never seemed to have that trouble under pressure. There is of course a claim that, much like "clutch hitting," being able to pitch in pressure situations is relatively mythical, but I would argue that it becomes a more valid issue when discussing the role of the "closer" as, effectively, that is why you have him on the team, is to be able to pitch well in short but pressure-filled segments.

2006-05-11 16:30:46
33.   Vishal
[31] man, if that's not a worst-case scenario, i don't know what is. unless he's pitching it to bonds, and bonds hits the ball AND the arm over the fence for home run #756, and then someone detonates a nuclear bomb and dodger stadium is vaporized. i suppose that would be worse.
2006-05-11 16:30:50
34.   Marty
30 That sounds similar to the top 100 facts about Chuck Norris:

http://4q.cc/index.php?pid=top100&person=chuck

2006-05-11 16:31:34
35.   Underbruin
Hmm... I should clarify that in 32 the only statements from Dodger Math are those in quotes - everything else is mine (I realized it could be read as everything under the link being a longform quote with poor formatting).
2006-05-11 16:32:20
36.   Fallout
25 Jon Weisman

That sounds special. Was that in your Saab?

2006-05-11 16:33:43
37.   Underbruin
34 - There are also the top 100 facts about Jack Bauer:

http://www.notrly.com/jackbauer/index.php?topthirty

And of course, the anti-Chuck Norris facts:

http://www.pointsincase.com/anti_chuck_facts.htm

Example: "If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris, you may not realize how much he's actually aged."

2006-05-11 16:35:06
38.   Jon Weisman
36 - No, my Scirocco.

Here's a quick history of booing.

http://www.slate.com/id/2141597/?nav=tap3

2006-05-11 16:37:42
39.   Fallout
Would that be 85% of Gagne at 97 mph = 82.5
or 85% of his recent 91 mph fastball = 77 mph ?
2006-05-11 16:37:46
40.   Berkeley Doug
31 All I could think about while reading that was Dave Dravecky; frightening.

OT - For those of you with a Bay Area connection, specifically Berkeley, the famed Cody's bookstore on Telegraph Ave. is closing later this year.

2006-05-11 16:41:59
41.   Vishal
[40] i heard. that's a bloody shame. :/
2006-05-11 16:43:45
42.   Bob Timmermann
40
Is it closing before August?
2006-05-11 16:45:17
43.   autumnlanding
the day i started driving my dad took me in front of the house and taught me how to change a tire on the driveway. then he gave me a platnium AAA membership card and told me never to do what he just taught me and to call them if i ever got busted up.

where are you gonna put aybar? i dunno, third base?? nice title

the real key is going to see if the dodgers can win tomorrow. what i really mean is, lets not forget that there are certain etheral factors that the dodgerdemons cast down on us that could have us losing the next 2 or 3 in a row and then how good does our 5 game streak look? the dodgers need to pick back up and get another streak going.

2006-05-11 16:45:20
44.   trainwreck
This site is a must see.

http://tinyurl.com/esq7f

2006-05-11 16:45:49
45.   Berkeley Doug
42
It is set to close on July 10. If Cody's can't survive, it doesn't leave me with much hope about the other independent bookstores around here.
2006-05-11 16:45:54
46.   Berkeley Doug
42
It is set to close on July 10. If Cody's can't survive, it doesn't leave me with much hope about the other independent bookstores around here.
2006-05-11 16:45:54
47.   Berkeley Doug
42
It is set to close on July 10. If Cody's can't survive, it doesn't leave me with much hope about the other independent bookstores around here.
2006-05-11 16:46:31
48.   Berkeley Doug
Triple post for added emphasis. :)
2006-05-11 16:47:27
49.   Bob Timmermann
It looks like I won't be going to Cody's before it closes then.
2006-05-11 16:48:16
50.   Berkeley Doug
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/05/10/MNGAQIOVET1.DTL&hw=cody&sn=002&sc=975
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-05-11 16:49:19
51.   Xeifrank
40. My favorite memory about Berekeley was the homeless guy (beggar) who stood in front of the market on University Avenue and when one nice lady offered him some fruit she had just bought he had the sacks to ask her if it was "organic" fruit. When she said yes it was (as is most produce sold in Berkeley), he said no thanks. About 20 minutes later I saw someone give him some leftover Thai food. He made a point of letting the guy know he loved Thai food. I guess the moral of the story is that beggars CAN be choosers. vr, Xei
2006-05-11 16:49:34
52.   Berkeley Doug
49
There is another Cody's on the trendy Fourth Street shopping corridor in Berkeley and they also just opened a big Cody's in SF.
2006-05-11 16:52:17
53.   Berkeley Doug
51

Whenver I have leftover food after eating in a restaurant, I try to give it to a homeless person (which in Berkeley are everywhere) and I'm surprised on how picky homeless people can soemtimes be when it comes to free food.

2006-05-11 16:52:26
54.   underdog
There's a new Cody's right near where I work in downtown SF that is really nice but not nearly as big as the Berkeley one. So at least there still is Cody's, but not the same has having the original flagship store. Sad.

It reminds me of when (and this is why I've been adamantly anti-Border's since) a few years ago when my favorite bookstore since childhood - the Earthling in Santa Barbara - had to close a year or 2 after a Border's moved in literally a block away (and a Barnes and Noble, too). Bastards.

If you're going to buy books online, buy from Powell's books (based in Oregon) or similar indie booksellers.

2006-05-11 16:53:49
55.   Xeifrank
52. SF, that reminds me of the night I got stuck in downtown SF watching a professional tennis tournament that went well past midnight. When my roomate and I walked to the BART station we were surprised to find a wall of bars in front of the entrance. If you want an interesting night, try spending it outside in downtown SF. The homeless come out like snails in my backyard. We had two guys ask us if we wanted to buy drugs, another two guys ask (luckily not demand) for money. And the Cops kicked us out of the 24 hour Carls Jr., because we didn't order anything (it was drizzling outside). Fun stuff. College was great. vr, Xei
2006-05-11 16:55:36
56.   Berkeley Doug
54

Powell's is an amazing bookstore; I would highly recommend a visit whenenver anyone is in Portland. My favorite indie bookstore is Tattered Cover in Denver.

Underdog - You must work a few blocks from me; I'm at 2nd and Market.

2006-05-11 16:58:15
57.   Midwest Blue
44 Well, I'm lucky I picked up Cole Hamels in my FBB league. That "devouring other teams with fireballs from his eyes" could come in handy.
2006-05-11 17:00:57
58.   Bob Timmermann
RIP, Floyd Patterson.
2006-05-11 17:04:01
59.   Xeifrank
If you want to experience a good AAA moment then try driving in San Francisco. Eventually it will happen to you. I've done it all, including driving down the wrong way of a one way street and driving down a street that only electric buses use. You have to make 6 right turns, drive through three tunnels just to get two streets over. I just barely know my way around... so then there was the one time that I was driving with my girlfriend (at that time) and low and behold there was a huge gay pride parade and they had a detour. Oh great, my chances of getting lost just tripled. The detour took me to some wierd left turn stoplight that was blinking yellow and blinking red, never green. I figured I'd go on the blinking yellow. In my haste to make the U-Turn I clipped the curb and blew out the back left tire. I quickly had to manuever my car out of the way from on coming traffic over to the right and up on to the side walk in front of where all the piers are. That was the least fun tire I ever had to change.
vr, Xei
2006-05-11 17:05:32
60.   FirstMohican
OK, I know the AAA talk is mostly in jest, but check this out: Metro Freeway Service Patrol, Free Roadside Assistance for Stranded Motorists.

If you break down, get a flat etc. on any state highway you can get assistance. My advice for someone with a flat on surface streets? Look for an on ramp. It's a joint project between CHP, Caltrans and - watchout Mr. Timmerman - the MTA.

Check out:
http://www.mta.net/projects_programs/fsp/fsp.htm

2006-05-11 17:05:37
61.   Xeifrank
57. Did Yahoo add him yet? I blew a mid level waiver priority on Howie Kendrick (thud!). vr, Xei
2006-05-11 17:06:47
62.   Sam DC
Me wife will be much sad about Cody's. She had a Cody's shirt when I met her that I stole, which in the odd way of things, she really liked.

Frank Robinson hates Ryan Church. Tonight, wanting to give Soriano the night off after his 0-5 (4Ks) last night, OF Daryle Ward gets the start over Church in LF.

With the Nationals' bullpen woes (another small implosion last night), I wonder what it would take to get Church for LF. Tim Hamulack and a low-grade prospect? Of course, new Nationals ownership to contend with, so hard to tell.

2006-05-11 17:11:50
63.   Berkeley Doug
60

I actually always enjoy driving in big cities (e.g. SF, Manhattan). I figure unless you hit someone while driving you'll never get pulled over for speeding, etc.

2006-05-11 17:22:25
64.   natepurcell
Matt Kemp was in a 0-6 slump and i was starting to get worried there. But he just smacked a homerun for his 6th of the year so i can stop worrying now.
2006-05-11 17:28:25
65.   natepurcell
hahah this is so funny. Rick Sutcliffe being drunk on padres radio.

http://images.gaslampball.com/images/admin/sutcliffe.mp3

2006-05-11 17:32:00
66.   underdog
56 Not too far! Except I'm in a much less desirable area off Market, just south, near Civic Center. Feh. But pretty close to Powell.
2006-05-11 17:45:37
67.   GoBears
47 I was never much of a Cody's fan. Moe's was my Mecca.

Speaking of which, does anyone know of any decent used book stores in West LA? The Bay Area and San Diego are full of them, but I have not found any good ones around here for

1. Academic texts
2. Just regular novels.

It's been all art books, or Christian books, or other specialty stuff.

Thanks.

2006-05-11 17:47:42
68.   D4P
64
But now he's in a 1-7 slump...
2006-05-11 17:48:34
69.   underdog
Try finding a good bookstore in most parts of Orange County, while you're at it. Last time I was there, I could find nary a one. I assume people do read in Orange County? When I was staying in Dana Point one time I was so desperate I went into a supermarket just to buy a magazine, as if that were my salvation. Sad.
2006-05-11 18:23:27
70.   MartinBillingsley31
What are the chances the dodgers outfield next year is drew, guzman, kemp?

The dodgers need to get to the point of building around prospects, i'm tired of them having bad contracts (perez) and old veterans that are pretty much worthless (lofton).

How about signing nomar later on (if he stays healthy) to a 3 year deal, he's from southern california, he might sign a lesser kind of deal to play where he's from.

2006-05-11 18:28:13
71.   Uncle Miltie
65- haha I was just going to post this
http://tinyurl.com/oee24

He sounds more high than drunk. I guess it's kind of sad since he used to be an alcoholic (I think)

2006-05-11 18:29:24
72.   Bob Timmermann
65
It was Padres TV.

http://griddle.baseballtoaster.com/archives/372626.html

2006-05-11 18:30:20
73.   Inside Baseball
67 Wilshire Books is pretty good. (3018 Wilshire Blvd). West LA is not really the mecca of used books, but Wilshire Books is decent. I don't think there are too many textbooks but you'll find some good novels there.

When I wax philosophical about my time in Berkeley, I think first of the Mexican food. La Fiesta, Zona Rosa...thank God for Gilberts down here.

2006-05-11 18:35:35
74.   Bob Timmermann
"Old friend" David Ross drops a perfect throw to home from Austin Kearns that would have doubled up Damian Jackson to end the game.

1-1 Nats vs. Reds in the 9th.

2006-05-11 18:36:57
75.   Sam DC
Your DC correspondent here. Nationals down 1-0 going into the top of the ninth in Cincy. Then we get the magical single (by OF Ward), SB, Olney to the right side, Sac fly tying run. Somewhere, Joe Morgan is choking back muted tears of joy.
2006-05-11 18:39:26
76.   Sam DC
74 Your DC correspondent is somewhat hampered by not being able to see the DC ballclub play.
2006-05-11 18:41:59
77.   Bob Timmermann
I'm watching the Reds broadcast.

Runner on third with one out and Freel hits a fly ball to left and Church gets and ....

Phillips holds on at third.

2006-05-11 18:44:28
78.   Sam DC
And Frank Robinson has apparently pulled off the rare but wonderful double switch, bringing in both Church and Cordero at the exact same time and getting them into the most useful batting order slots!
2006-05-11 18:44:48
79.   Bob Timmermann
Encarnacion batting with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, and he flies out and there's free baseball in Cincinnati!
2006-05-11 18:52:13
80.   King of the Hobos
Jonathan Meloan is healthy and made his debut today. Struck out the side in a perfect first inning.
2006-05-11 18:57:47
81.   Sam DC
Chad Cordero Ks Ken Griffy Jr. to start the bottom of the 10th in Cincy. Dunn's spot is now up, but he was switched out for a pitcher innings ago, so the Reds send Quinton McCracken (formerly a Timmermann fave from AZ??)

No homers tonight so far; just read from the Capitol Punishment guy that there have only been 8 homerless games in the history of this park.

2006-05-11 18:59:30
82.   Linkmeister
I had never heard of Cole Hamels until today. Am I just out of touch, or has he been a well-kept secret? I thought Sydd Finch had retired.
2006-05-11 19:01:53
83.   Sam DC
Does walking Quinton McKracken in extra innings call forth any variant of the Grabowski Principle?
2006-05-11 19:03:32
84.   Bob Timmermann
McCracken stole second while Kearns struck out. But McCracken lost track of the outs and came in standing and ran past second. But he was safe the first time and Vidro was complaining to the ump. Then McCracken jumped back on to second base.
2006-05-11 19:03:51
85.   King of the Hobos
McCracken just overran second on a steal attempt rather than sliding, and managed to get back to the bag before he was tagged. He effectively avoided two tags, and failed to do any sliding
2006-05-11 19:19:50
86.   Sam DC
Nationals score two in the top of the 11th. Then at 3-1 with a runner on second, they bring in Livan to pinch hit, and he singles home the runner.

I would have mentioned this sooner but had some wicked DT server errors.

2006-05-11 19:20:24
87.   Bob Timmermann
Everything seems to have spontaneously healed.
2006-05-11 19:24:29
88.   natepurcell
guzman with another walk in his first PA tonight.
2006-05-11 19:27:53
89.   King of the Hobos
82 More like a well-injured secret. He could be the best pitchign prospect in the minors, but he has a Drew-like injury record

Jonathan Melon's final line: 2 IP, no baserunners, 5 strike outs. Nice start, hopefully he can build up arm strength and become a nice starting prospect

2006-05-11 19:31:55
90.   Bob Timmermann
81

And it wasn't a homerless game in Cincinnati. But Freel giveth and Freel taketh away.

2006-05-11 19:34:07
91.   natepurcell
re meloan

I agree that he should start in the minors but he projects to the pen in the bigs. 5Ks in 2IP and no hits and no bbs certainly is a good sign that he is over his injury and his stuff is strong.

he has a very nice 1-2 punch fb/knuckle curve combo (i saw him pitcha couple of times at U of Arizona), and he is a beast on the mound. He is huge but not fat huge, just broad chested and strong.

2006-05-11 19:42:16
92.   Sam DC
Game far far from over in Cincy. 4-2 Nationals. Reds up, 1 out, 2 on, Griffey up.
2006-05-11 19:42:34
93.   Bob Timmermann
2 on, 1 out in the 11th for the Reds, Griffey up. Nats about to bring in their third pitcher.

Only out in the inning came when Freel got caught off second after his double.

2006-05-11 19:43:56
94.   Sam DC
Robinson's pulling of Rauch after two batters fairly unpopular in the natosphere at the moment. Felix Rodrigues having walked his batter,we now have Joey Eischen pitching to Ken Griffey Jr. . . .
2006-05-11 19:43:59
95.   King of the Hobos
Edwin Encarnacion just lined a ball foul off his third base coach. It's situationss like that where I realize that I agree completely with Vin, the base coaches really need to wear helmets. The ball didn't hit his head, but it was enough to knock him down, so I'm guessing it wouldn't have felt good had it hit his head
2006-05-11 19:44:45
96.   Bob Timmermann
Reds win 5-4.
2006-05-11 19:44:59
97.   King of the Hobos
Now it's over. Reds win off a Griffey homer
2006-05-11 19:45:57
98.   Sam DC
Oh. My. God.

I'm sure Bob will already have explained.

2006-05-11 19:48:15
99.   King of the Hobos
Robinson seems to dislike Church and Gigantor way too much. We really need to convince Bowden to give them to us before the new owners hire a competent GM
2006-05-11 19:48:27
100.   Bob Timmermann
Well, when you're turning to Joey Eischen to save the game, you can't be expecting a good outcome.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-05-11 19:48:46
101.   Sam DC
No slight intended King.

Sample comment from Nationals' game chat"

"672. Lets go wilding. Ed"

2006-05-11 19:51:49
102.   Bob Timmermann
The Yankees are going to be shopping for outfielder as Matsui broke his wrist tonight and will require surgery. He might not be playing again. I can't imagine the Yankees are going to go with both Cabrera and Crosby in the outfield. Or more of Bernie Williams.
2006-05-11 19:53:40
103.   Sam DC
Some return to service for Jr.
2006-05-11 19:56:34
104.   King of the Hobos
102 Too bad they probably won't trade Philip Hughes for Jose Cruz. Maybe if Colletti asks really nicely...
2006-05-11 19:56:54
105.   Bob Timmermann
Best record in the NL now belongs to the Reds after the Mets lost the shortest possible game to the Phils 2-0 in 4 1/2 innings.

Meanwhile, the Yankees and Red Sox are still playing. They are heading for hour #4 and they are just in the top of the ninth.

2006-05-11 20:05:20
106.   D4P
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Tracy, appearing to grow testy with ongoing criticism of his personnel moves, will keep playing slumping outfielder Jeromy Burnitz and argues his ability to make moves is being adversely affected by injuries.

Tracy planned to make a significant lineup change before Thursday afternoon's game against Arizona was rained out by dropping Jason Bay from No. 3 to No. 6 in the batting order. But Tracy kept the weak-hitting Burnitz fifth in the order despite a 2-for-32 slump that has cut his average to .185.

Tracy also defended his decision to keep giving regular playing time to others who have not produced during the Pirates' 10-25 start -- including utility man Jose Hernandez -- by saying he has few options.

http://tinyurl.com/s2wws

2006-05-11 20:07:49
107.   Bob Timmermann
No offense, but I think that's our fifth link to that story.
2006-05-11 20:21:07
108.   D4P
107
Oops, sorry.
2006-05-11 20:23:47
109.   Andrew Shimmin
I've never called AAA for a flat change (I'm a big fan of Fix-A-Flat, but have weilded the jack and socket wrench a couple of times). I've never called for a dead battery, either; I'm an expert clutch popper. But I lock my keys in the car once or twice a year. If I'm anywhere near a dry cleaner, I can usually jimmy it open with a wire coat hanger, but not always. This is my secret shame.
2006-05-11 20:25:56
110.   T Money
With Matsui down, I wonder which overhyped Yankee prospect will get sent to Minnesota in exchange for Torii Hunter. And would Damon willingly move over to one of the corner positions to accomodate a better defensive center fielder?

There's such an obvious joke to be made about Matsui's broken wrist and his well-publicized love of pornography, but this is a family board, and I'm staying away from it.

2006-05-11 20:26:32
111.   Steve
The Van Slyke blog got Tracy back in January -- the rest of them are kind of playing catch up.
2006-05-11 20:28:20
112.   Sam DC
Capitol Punishment has a pretty hefty rant up already about Frank Robinson. I'd quote a bit, but then I'd feel pretty hypocritical after my language schoolmarming from earlier in the day.

http://tinyurl.com/s5yny

2006-05-11 20:30:40
113.   Steve
It's Robby-ball!
2006-05-11 20:38:25
114.   das411
Ahhh ColeHamelsFacts.com is most certainly an instant classic. Mike C, are you listening?

110 - Isn't that SHINJO you're thinking of?

Wouldn't surprise me at all if the NYY go after Jayson Stark MVP Shannon Stewart instead of Hunter...just my $.02...

2006-05-11 20:38:51
115.   dsfan
I'm very pro-Aybar but believe you stick with Mueller.

Unless my hunch is correct: Bill Mueller, I believe, is playing hurt -- not just "sore" but hurt in a way that hinders performance. His "sore" knee appears to be affecting his throwing, perhaps his hitting. I've see a lot of him, and he's not quite moving like he normally does.

Prediction: Mueller goes on the DL within a month.

2006-05-11 20:43:06
116.   T Money
114

Nope, I'm thinking of Hideki...

http://tinyurl.com/f9adb

2006-05-11 20:50:06
117.   dsfan
I'll say this again: The LAD need to keep Cesar Izturas (unless, say, Boston is willing to overpay, and I like that Lajoie/Jauss should have a clue about Boston's talent and methods).

If Izturis is healthy, he's the best defensive SS on this team, a nice insurance to have.

I fully understand that Furcal's offense is a nice bonus when he's playing SS like he can -- but I go back to my comments this winter, that Rafael Furcal will be in CF by the end of this contract. He might deserve to be there sooner. So far, his defense for the LAD has been subpar. That's not at all surprising. Maybe he shapes up, but he's got multiple obstacles that appear chronic.

Just to be clear: Furcal can still outproduce most SSs in the NL, largely because of his leadoff skill set. But it'd be silly to jettison Izturis and I highly doubt Furcal ever gives the defensive value that Izturis did in 2004.

2006-05-11 20:58:05
118.   thinkingblue
How is Furcal gonna be an outfielder? We have Ehtier, Guzman, Drew for 4 more years, Repko, and Kemp.

But I do agree that Mueller looks like he's playing hurt.

2006-05-11 21:13:36
119.   Andrew Shimmin
117- If every other position were solid, I could see the point in keeping Izzy as a steller back-up. But the value of having the best replacement parts is less than the value of having average replacement parts and good everyday parts.
2006-05-11 21:14:25
120.   dsfan
118 --

Furcal's best position down the road is CF -- unless he can't read a flyball, which certainly could be the case. Of course he'd have to buy into it, which is a big, big if.
My big point there is that Izturis should be kept. The Furcal yellow and red flags to which I referred in the offseason are still there. I doubt they go away.

As for the other guys:

Ethier is more of a LF than a CF. Guzman is a corner OF or 1B (I like him long-term at 1B more than I do Loney. I also believe he's a pretty good trade candidate down the road. And it's no crime if Guzman spends most of 2007 in Triple-A, after a callup this Sept.)

Drew certainly could be an everyday CF, but he seems pretty set in RF. I know he says that RF is harder on the knee, but I believe overall CF would be harder on his body.

Repko is a fourth OF.

Kemp is OK in CF but probably ends up in LF or RF -- and we're still probably talking late 2008 or 2008 for him.

2006-05-11 21:20:20
121.   Kayaker7
Just read the Tracy article. For him to moan that he has little options makes me remember last season, when his options were so limited at first base that he started Myrow and Phillips. Uh huh.
2006-05-11 21:24:40
122.   dsfan
Regarding Izturis: The next two months will tell a few things. Usually, TJohn guys have 2-3 setbacks. He might not be truly ready until August. This is a new one for SSs. And what are the odds of Furcal/Kent/Nomar staying healthy?

Admittedly, I'm more pro-Izturis than most people here. I have no illusions of him being the offensive player Furcal has been and should be. But I believe Wallach's bottom-hand strengthening paid off in 2004. Izturis became a tougher out (people rightly say Tracy over-exposed him in the No. 1 spot, but as important, Tracy wore him out in 2004 -- SS/leadoff is exhausting. Go back and check out how little rest he got). I think Izturis' offense improvement carried over into 2005. Until the hammy gave way in early June, the OPS was over .800. He obviously loses value at 2B, but the LAD shouldn't shut the door there.

This pitching staff will need help with run-suppression. A healthy Izturis could still be the best defender, by far, in this infield.

2006-05-11 21:27:26
123.   Berkeley Doug
Bob may know the answer to this, but didn't Matsui have a 1,000 + game consecutive game streak going in Japan before he started playing for NY, where he has played in every game?
2006-05-11 21:33:11
124.   Bob Timmermann
Matsui was at 1250 in Japan and 518 in the U.S. (and some games in Toronto too!)
2006-05-11 21:33:40
125.   thinkingblue
122.

The point is, we don't really have much more room in our outfield, 3 people can't be "LF/RF ers"

2006-05-11 21:33:48
126.   Bob Timmermann
I just happened to be reading the article when I saw 123.
2006-05-11 21:38:23
127.   Berkeley Doug
I wonder if he would be #4 in the worldwide history in baseball behind Cal, the Japanese player who had the Japanese record, and Gehrig.
2006-05-11 21:41:26
128.   regfairfield
The main problem with putting Furcal and Izturis in the same lineup is it throws yet another banjo hitting middle infielder into the lineup. Furcal is a good hitter for a shortstop, but is still a worse than the league average. While replacing Lofton isn't a problem, putting him in the spot where I'd really like to see Carlos Lee or Jose Guillen makes matters much worse.
2006-05-11 21:41:44
129.   dsfan
125

Just for fun in 2008:

LF Kemp
CF Furcal
RF Drew
fourth OF -- Ethier (realistically, you could get him 300 ABs)
fifth OF -- Repko

1B Guzman

2006-05-11 21:41:49
130.   Eric L
people rightly say Tracy over-exposed him in the No. 1 spot, but as important, Tracy wore him out in 2004 -- SS/leadoff is exhausting. Go back and check out how little rest he got).

What do you expect Tracy to do? It's not like he had a plethora of options. He was trying to do make that group the best they could be.

Besides, he (Tracy) played the game.

* please don't jump on me. I tried to make a funny based on Tracy's comments in Pittsburgh today.

2006-05-11 21:43:33
131.   Bob Timmermann
That would be Ripken, Kinugasa, Gehrig, Matsui.

A player in Mexico, Geraldo Sanchez, had a streak of 1418 games ended when he couldn't get a flight to his game because planes were grounded in the city he was in because of forest fires.

2006-05-11 21:46:48
132.   Bob Timmermann
Ducks win! Ducks win! Ducks win!

Will the LA Times dare send Plaschke or Adande to peak in at a game? Do either of them know the names of at least three playes on the team?

2006-05-11 21:48:00
133.   Steve
Jefe, would you say that I have a plethora of pinatas?

A what?

A plethora.

Oh yes, El Guapo, you have a plethora.

Jefe, what is a plethora?

Why, El Guapo?

Well, you just told me that I had a plethora, and I would just like to know if you know what it means to have a plethora. I would not like to think that someone would tell someone else he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a plethora.

2006-05-11 22:07:01
134.   dsfan
130

Actually, I've given Tracy solid marks for the bulk of his tenure. He mostly did an excellent job in 2004.

As for his use Izturis in 2004, I aggree the options weren't great to rest Izturis -- but I recall a few times that I thought he could've rested him in some lopsided games. Another thing he could have done a bit more: Piggyback a travel day with a planned off day. A few of those can really pay off.

One thing Little is doing very well is finding as much rest as possible for his veterans and keeping the bench involved as much as possible.

In 2005, Izturis was rushed back after the hamstring injury was first repored -- and it got worse. I'm not blaming Tracy for that one -- just another example of dubious injury management by the LAD.

2006-05-11 22:54:31
135.   natepurcell
I'm not a fan of putting raffy in the outfield so izturis can play ss. We dont need two light hitting shortstops in the lineup.

Does anyone else- analysts, commentators, bloggers, espn guys, anyone else are as clear PRO-CF furcal as Dsfan?

2006-05-11 22:56:25
136.   Steve
Who cares where he plays if he hits .220? Conversely, if he hits .300, who cares where he plays?
2006-05-11 22:58:44
137.   natepurcell
tomrrow, Sickels is taking my advice and is going to do a prospect smackdown: matt kemp vs hunter pence.

this is going to be a brutal war. I am fully expecting both participents to coming out swinging, trading knockout blows after knockout blows.

2006-05-11 23:00:55
138.   Steve
What's "wrong" with LaRoche, nate? Anything to worry about or is this just one month in a long career?
2006-05-11 23:08:59
139.   natepurcell
I think laroche is getting a little unlucky and being pitched around a little bit. The power is a big concerning right now though, but he has a 18:23 k:bb ratio in 126ABs so he is walking a ton and not striking out that much at all.

his BABIP is .274 which is kind of low.

if he is still hitting this bad after 250ABs or so, then you should start to worry.

2006-05-11 23:10:09
140.   Eric L
nate..

I assume that you saw the minor league splits thing at BTF today right?

As for other issues, I'm not sold on a guy with a .295 career OBP moving Furcal off of his natural position. Considering that Furcal is more than adequate with the glove, Izzy doesn't get to move him anywhere.

Besides, I don't even think that Izzy will end up deserving more ABs than a guy like Ethier.

2006-05-11 23:12:56
141.   natepurcell
140

yes i saw that. thats really awesome.

2006-05-11 23:19:26
142.   Steve
So basically the same thing that's wrong with Jason Bay? Well, at least Mike Edwards isn't blocking him anymore.
2006-05-11 23:19:52
143.   Steve
Of course, with Tracy, one never knows about Jason Bay.
2006-05-11 23:20:10
144.   scareduck
I'm rooting for Gagne, but I no longer ascribe any meaning to his self-diagnoses.

Especially now that he can't feel it when his ulnar collateral ligament pops.

2006-05-11 23:26:19
145.   the OZ
144 Then I guess we don't have to worry about him pitching through pain anymore :)
2006-05-11 23:29:46
146.   natepurcell
I'm looking at Kemps splits and they are almost all identical.

home: 333/403/551
road; 361/435/623

LHP: 364/462/709
RHP: 333/383/493

2006-05-11 23:34:10
147.   dsfan
Nate,

Just to be clear, I'm not saying Furcal to CF this year (later in the contract). And like I said, Izturis is likely to have a setback or two on the comeback trail. I'm certainly not saying you just hand Izturis the SS job this year. But I think he can help there and at 2B this year.

And no, I don't think anywhere else -- blogs, ESPN, newspaper -- has anyone been talking about Furcal to CF. As you know, I was saying it this past winter, partly because I believed his SS play was subject to fairly rapid decline. So far, I'd give him a C-minus for his play at SS.

2006-05-11 23:35:21
148.   dsfan
Nate, interesting stuff on Kemp. Where do you dig up the splits?
2006-05-11 23:40:12
149.   natepurcell
http://www.brewcrewball.com/special/milb+splits

this guy is making the ultimate minor league reference site. its awesome. splits galore!

2006-05-11 23:54:35
150.   OaklandAs
When Furcal is healthy, he is a very good defensive SS. In 2005, I think he was the best in the NL, but injuries have slowed him down, both offensively and defensively this year. Izturis also had injury problems last year, and his defense in 2005 was much worse than his Gold Glove winning performance of 2004. Let's see if he comes back to his 2004 level before moving Furcal anywhere. Izturis needs to be a Gold Glove caliber fielder to justify being a starter, and he didn't do that in 2005.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-05-12 00:05:51
151.   Bob Timmermann
I put a link to the minor league splits database on the Griddle sidebar.
2006-05-12 02:26:14
152.   thinkblue0
I really wish someone could explain all this Izturis love to me. I'm not ragging on the guy, I don't dislike him per se, but I simply don't understand the people who want him in the lineup. Is he really any different than like, Royce Clayton or Alex Gonzalez?

There's NO WAY we should move Furcal from his position in the first place. Not to mention, Izturis being in the lineup takes AB's away from guys who can actually hit. Izzy can't hit, I'd much rather have Furcal plus whoever-is-in-center field as opposed to Furcal and Izzy. While he's good defensively, he's not THAT much better than a lot of other guys in the league...I view Izzy as I do a guy like JT Snow...a late inning defensive replacement.

On a side note, I read tonight that the Nats new ownership may be open to trading Johnson and Guillen. Johnson is a guy I've wanted here since he was on the Yankees...I'd still love to have him even if it meant moving Nomar to the OF. Guillen could also be a really nice addition in LF. Having some combo of Drew, Kent, Nomar, Guillen in the middle of the order would be really nice...probalby won't happen, but I can hope right?

2006-05-12 06:00:39
153.   Sam DC
152 Where'd you read that about the Nationals?
2006-05-12 07:13:53
154.   dodgerprofiles
Speaking of "I Don't Know" playing third base, check out my profile of Billy Grabarkewitz who played a little 3B for the Dodgers over 30 years ago.

http://dodgerprofiles.blogspot.com

Because of his surname, Billy G must have been the original "I Don't Know" third baseman.

2006-05-12 07:43:03
155.   Gen3Blue
I don't know third.
Hu's on second.(although he's not hitting yet at Jax.

I weigh in as an Izturis fan. I think 2004 is representative of what he can do healthy.
I fear the kind of trade we might lose him in with this outfit, if we don't keep him till he can somehow prove himself. I also know you can't hold all the marbles forever.
I know Iz is a better fielder than Furc, but it probably isn't as bad as it looks right now. I think Furc's just going through a little "thing" since hitting LA.

2006-05-12 07:47:47
156.   Gen3Blue
Wierdness----Furcal threw an incredible rope from deep in the hole to get an out just a game or two before last night.Do you think he is having a bit of a mental throwing problem, or God forbid, hurt or set back his arm on that throw?
2006-05-12 08:31:26
157.   ToyCannon
154
Billy hit a home run and Don Sutton pitched a shutout in a 1-0 victory on my 1st visit to Dodger Stadium.
2006-05-12 08:33:10
158.   Sam DC
Here's an idea. Write an article about whether groundball pitchers are all they're cracked up to be. http://tinyurl.com/mwjkt

Interesting read, but he sort of neglects the canon . . .

2006-05-12 08:37:14
159.   ToyCannon
As Furcal heals he will show why he is considered such a great defensive and offensive SS. By August we will be very happy to have Rafy.

I like what DSFAN says but I see no valid arguement for moving Furcal off his position. If he ever does move to CF it will be much later in his career not during his 3 year stint with the Dodgers.

After watching Mueller run, he appears to be hurt and I hope he's not hiding an injury from management. It should be obvious to Little that Mueller is not moving as freely as he was early in the year. When you have an option like Aybar, you rest or DL the hurt player and play the hot player. I'm not advocating Aybar taking Mueller's spot in the lineup, just let him play until Mueller heals. Was it just me or didn't Aybar look much bigger this year?

2006-05-12 09:12:53
160.   Blu2
(157) Billy Grabarkewitz had a remarkable string of hitting homeruns on Sunday. But the other 6 days got him out of baseball...
2006-05-12 09:28:09
161.   gcrl
there was some discussion a couple days ago of vin's calls in game 6/86 and game 1/88. page 2 has a relevant article - see numbers 10 and 11 for a limited transcript.

http://tinyurl.com/nl7at

2006-05-12 09:39:03
162.   blue22
155 - I think 2004 is representative of what he can do healthy.

That's sort of the problem, isn't it?

A .711 OPS and overrated defense (rate2 of 94) in a good year?

Furcal's horrendous start has yielded an OPS of .642.

2006-05-12 09:44:46
163.   underdog
So, is Bonds going to start all three games this weekend, including the day game tomorrow? (The one I'm attending...)

Be interesting to see how he does against Penny tonight - have a feeling, given the past, he may tee off on him tonight. Hopefully Penny pitches well overall.

2006-05-12 09:46:24
164.   blue22
He has intimated that he will play every game in the homestand, though if he knocks two out tonight, I bet he takes tomorrow off.
2006-05-12 12:11:12
165.   thinkblue0
153-

mlbtraderumors.com

2006-05-12 14:43:54
166.   Vishal
[158] that one pretty much says the same thing as jon's recent si.com article, but in a less flowery way.

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