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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
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Sigh of the Times
2006-06-07 09:15
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Eric Gagne looked more relaxed to me for most of the ninth inning Tuesday than he did in his first 2006 appearance Friday. His arm seemed to have an easier motion and his landing seemed less ginger. But by the time he made his final pitch, people were noticing him grimacing - and that he could or would not extend his pitching arm to shake congratulatory hands.

Then we find out from Ken Gurnick at MLB.com that Gagne is still not 100 percent.

Gagne struck out Carlos Delgado on a 2-2 fastball that had some life leading off the ninth. But on an 89-mph fastball to David Wright, Gagne appeared to experience discomfort as he bounced off the mound. He went on to strike out Wright on a changeup.

Endy Chavez flied out on a first-pitch changeup to end the game, but when catcher Russell Martin went out for a handshake, Gagne extended his glove and not his pitching hand. Gagne emerged from the trainer's room 30 minutes after the game still in his uniform.

Throughout his recovery, Gagne has spoken confidently that the surgery solved a problem that also resulted in an operation last summer. He had not mentioned soreness during the most recent recovery.

Although Gagne's discomfort was apparent, he continued to pitch, and nobody from the dugout went to the mound. He twice hit 92 mph with his fastball, but more often was around 89. Afterward, clubhouse comments were carefully worded.

Let Gagne heal.

* * *

Last year, it was two blasts from the past - Antonio Perez and Jayson Werth - kicking Pedro Martinez to the curb. This year, it was a blast from the future, Matt Kemp. Amazing.

I don't know when Kemp will see his next fastball, but it should be none too soon if you're an opposing pitcher.

You can't bench this guy. Not yet. I like Andre Ethier, and Kenny Lofton does his thing, but you cannot bench Matt Kemp right now.

Update: "[The pitch to Kemp] was the best pitch I made all game," Martinez told Newsday. "He caught me there. He ambushed me."

* * *

For those who are interested, I have a new article on Variety discussing whether television comedies that are improvised deserve more recognition for their writing.

Few will storm the Emmy barricades so that improvised comedies like HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm""Curb Your Enthusiasm" can win awards for writing. But is it time they did?

Even though these shows aren't written in the traditional way, they do get written. Every word. As conversations with the principals illustrate, it's just a different process:

Story outlines go straight to the set. Actors come up with most of their own dialogue -- they just use their mouths instead of typing. Scripts materialize in a de facto sense, after footage is edited with the same consideration for story, wit and character as a writer revising a script on paper.

So if the show is getting written, does it really matter how? ...

Comments
2006-06-07 09:39:46
1.   D4P
I like Andre Ethier, and Kenny Lofton does his thing, but you cannot bench Matt Kemp right now.

Those 3 aren't really mutually exclusive, are they? I mean, once you have Drew and Kemp in the lineup, it seems like there's room for either Ethier or Lofton at that point. Personally, I'd like to see Grittle try

Ethier LF
Drew CF
Kemp RF

But for some reason, managers can't accept the possibility of Drew playing CF. He's not a great CF, but he's not terrible either.

2006-06-07 09:45:06
2.   gpellamjr
Jon, I just get the terrible feeling that Grittle will continue to bench Kemp and Ethier regularly. I think they should both play every day. Let Lofton play on Drew's scheduled off days.

1 Drew can't be any worse in CF than Lofton, can he?

2006-06-07 09:51:37
3.   jasonungar05
maybe the title of your post should be

"Curb Your Enthusiasm"

Good to be back, I have been gone on vacation since the dodgers turned it around (May 5). I came back but then I stayed away during the winning streak in order not to jinx it. Then was out of town again.

Gotta love Kemp. He is a cross between Willy Mcgee and Dave Winfield!

2006-06-07 09:56:01
4.   Improbable88
3 - Nope. Lofton probably has a range advantage, but when you factor in that the man cannot throw, Drew is just as viable an option.

As long as Lofton's average stays above, say, .280 or so, Grady won't take him out for the rooks.

Is Lofton tradable?

2006-06-07 09:56:29
5.   JoeyP
Drew is actually alot better in CF than Lofton is.

I think the OF situation has 3 certainties
Kemp in CF.
Drew in RF.
Cruz in LF vs LHP.

So that leaves who to play in LF vs RHP.
Ethier/Lofton it doesnt really matter. I'd personally go with Ethier but if they want to start Lofton thats fine. Ethier can still be a Left Handed bat off the bench, which the Dodgers dont really have.

I cant think of the last 21yr old to come up and hit for the power that Kemp has. Maybe Miguel Cabrera, although I think Miggy was 20 when he was promoted.

2006-06-07 10:02:39
6.   GoBears
Not sure what the RF or ZR numbers say, but my observation of Drew in CF last year is that he's very good - certainly better than Lofton at 39.

Kemp is very fast - I'm sure he'd be fine in CF too.

But Lofton, for now, is defying age offensively. I'd have bet heavily against him sitting on a .330 average in June. I still expect that to plummet, but for now, he's certainly not holding the offense back.

2006-06-07 10:04:42
7.   jasonungar05
From what I have been watching, I think Lofton's playing time is just fine. He is a spark out there. I know he is flawed but I think he is an important part of our offense. 32 runs scored in 40 games played with a .327 avg/ .380+ OBP is solid. 12 out of 13 steals to boot! I think a solid 2 hitter who understands how to hit in that slot is really important. I can't complain about Lofton even though I really wasn't that happy that we signed him.
2006-06-07 10:26:28
8.   Bob Timmermann
If the Dodgers win tonight and the Reds and Diamondbacks do as well, the top three teams in the NL will all have the same record.
2006-06-07 10:46:21
9.   underdog
So what do you do when people like Repko and Ledee are ready to come back? Originally I thought, well, Kemp may do well, or at least okay, but then he'll get sent down to AAA (which is still a bump up from where he was) and that'll be fine. But he's been so lights out it's hard to imagine now. Then it's hard to imagine sending Ethier down, too. Repko's obviously going to stay - when he's healthy. Ledee, would they DFA him? He's valuable off the bench. Cruz? Can they trade him to anyone? I'm not anti-Cruz but his days appear numbered.

These are not bad problems to have, mind you, and there's still awhile before these guys are all ready to come back, but still... will be interesting.

2006-06-07 10:53:13
10.   D4P
9
Well, Guzman can and should be the first to be sent down. And if you're gonna waive Choi and Ross, you might as well waive Ledee.
2006-06-07 10:54:47
11.   underdog
Yeah, I didn't even mention Guzman because I figured it was obvious he'd be first to go - but most likely when Kent comes back, right? Ledee does have value as a veteran lefty pinch hitter and such, too, which is why I wasn't making any assumptions but yeah, if the youth movement's in full swing, either he or Cruz could be gone.
2006-06-07 10:55:52
12.   ddger
Does anyone know what minor leaguers salaries are? Is there difference in their salary depending on where they play at AAA or AA or A?
2006-06-07 10:57:44
13.   JoeyP
I actually think Repko will be sent down to AAA when he's healthy.

Mainly bc Ethier bats left handed and they need his bat coming off the bench. If Ledee gets healthy, I think he'll take Ethier's spot as lefty pinch hitter off the bench mainly bc he has that dreaded "veteran" status.

Right now: Drew, Kemp, Lofton, Cruz, Ethier
Everyone healthy: Drew, Kemp, Lofton, Cruz, Ledee

I cant see them dealing Cruz bc he's probably the best all around defensive OF'er they have (since Drew only plays RF), and his niche as a guy that kills lefties.

Repko had a good first month, but he did that last year and really ended up not being very good for the whole year. I dont think he has the track record to warrant just giving him back his previous spot. I think the only way he gets an OF spot back is if someone gets hurt or they deal Lofton.

2006-06-07 11:00:23
14.   blue22
Keeping either Cruz or Ledee may be dependent on which of the rookies hang around. If Ethier stays over Kemp, Cruz may hang around (being a primarily RH-bat). If Kemp forces his way onto the roster, maybe Ledee stays as a LH-complement to Kemp.
2006-06-07 11:07:03
15.   JoeyP
Willy Aybar has a current 12 game hitting streak. He also has hit in 19 of 20.

Aybar's 12 game hitting streak is the longest for any Dodger this year I believe.

2006-06-07 11:10:19
16.   bhsportsguy
Its early to speculate on what the Dodgers will do with their outfield since there is no indication of when Repko or Ledee will be back, neither of them are even close to start basic conditioning let alone baseball related activities. And given Ledee's injury history, I think he could be out all year.

For all you Logan White fans, he has a chat at 3:00 p.m. PDT on Dodgers.com and he will be a guest on tomorrow's Fantasy Focus on XM Radio at 9:00 a.m.

2006-06-07 11:23:55
17.   thinkblue0
I don't want to be overly pessimistic, but why do I get the feeling that we're about to get a Gagne "Eric Gagne has gone on the DL" announcement soon.

Obviously in pain, then he never mentioned it....ugh. I hope it doesn't happen but I just have a bad feeling that it's going to.

2006-06-07 11:26:21
18.   Greg S
My 2¢ on Gagne... He may very well have injured himself again or be in pain. However, if you think back to some of his past outings, he gets very intense and REALLY gets irritated when he doesn't get a strike call he thinks he deserves. He starts muttering as he's going into a stretch (which he did last night) and sometimes appears to still be agiated after getting the final out (even if he has stuck out the side). I have seen this from him many times before and that's how I read what I saw last night. I could be totally wrong.
2006-06-07 11:29:53
19.   FirstMohican
18 - And his apparent hesitance to extend his pitching arm after the game?
2006-06-07 11:33:19
20.   thinkblue0
He starts muttering as he's going into a stretch (which he did last night) and sometimes appears to still be agiated after getting the final out (even if he has stuck out the side). I have seen this from him many times before and that's how I read what I saw last night.

I definitely see what you're saying..but last night wasn't agitation, it was a man who was definitely flinching at the pain in his arm.

2006-06-07 11:33:31
21.   Jon Weisman
15 - What's the record for most consecutive games with exactly one hit? Aybar has 12 hits in his 12-game streak (and 16 games with exactly one hit in his last 17 games).

For the year:

0 hits: 3 games (1 AB, 1 AB, 3 AB)
1 hit: 20 games
2 hits: 2 games

Leaving out walks and HBP, of course.

2006-06-07 11:37:34
22.   Bob Timmermann
What's receiving greater scrutiny in the world today?

1) Wayne Rooney's MRI of his foot
2) Eric Gagne's facial expressions from last night

2006-06-07 11:42:00
23.   GoBears
21. Good question. And it underscores for me the meaninglessness of hitting streaks. I'd really like to see DiMaggio's record broken by some banjo hitter who hits .250-.260 during the streak, to show how silly it is to revere flukes. It's a shame to me that DiMaggio is best known for something dumb like this, and not for what a terrific player he was. Same goes for Hank Aaron, who is mostly remembered for a single record, although at least in that case, 755 HRs is a sign of greatness, not a footnote to it.
2006-06-07 11:45:26
24.   Bob Timmermann
During DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, the most consecutive games he had with just one hit was six. 35 of his 56 games had just one hit.
2006-06-07 11:45:51
25.   bhsportsguy
Quick plug to Espn.com's page 2, Bill Simmons wrote a nice column about four words no Red Sox fan ever thought he'd write, "Nomar homers off Pedro."

He opens up his column by saying anytime you have Pedro facing Derek Lowe, Nomar, Grady in a NL game, 3000 miles from Fenway on 6/6/06, he has to be there.

http://tinyurl.com/nvpfx

2006-06-07 11:55:15
26.   Daniel Zappala
Interesting analysis of Hochevar over on Baseball Analysts:

http://tinyurl.com/peaol

Remove defense from the equation, and Hochevar's ERA slips to 3.69, without his park and schedule, just 3.97. Suddenly the Dodgers unwavering offer doesn't look so bad, does it?

2006-06-07 11:56:50
27.   GoBears
24. Yeah, I realize Joe D actually hit well during his streak, but to me, the important thing is that he hit well, not that he was lucky enough to avoid any 0-fers for two months.
2006-06-07 11:56:55
28.   thinkblue0
25-

also gave really high marks to Dodger Stadium...people always say I'm biased since I'm an LA fan, but I honestly can't think of a more beautiful place to see a ballgame....and that includes Yankee Stadium and Fenway.

2006-06-07 12:03:21
29.   DougS
16 I agree that Ledee's return should not be taken for granted. Remember, he's got a torn groin muscle. That's got to be just as awful an injury for a baseball player as a hockey player, because lower body strength is so important to just about everything you do.

He was in some serious pain when he got hurt. Made me curl up in a ball just watching it on TV.

2006-06-07 12:04:05
30.   Bob Timmermann
Bill Simmons thinks Dodger Stadium is on the "outskirts" of Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is pretty much all outskirts. But wouldn't the "outskirts" of L.A. be a place like San Pedro or Sylmar? It's not like once you drive past Dodger Stadium, you end up in a desert wasteland and vultures start circling over your head. Although I suppose Cypress Park can get nasty.

2006-06-07 12:26:47
31.   dianagramr
21

I forgot which team/player was involved (an announcer mentioned it on the air during a broadcast a couple nights ago) that one player had a 22-game hit streak years ago, and had exactly 1 hit in each of those games.

I think it might have been a Met or an Oriole (too many games to watch on cable) :-)

Retrosheet to the rescue?

2006-06-07 12:41:49
32.   ToyCannon
I'm not sure why were worried about the OF situation when as someone mentioned it will be at least 4 weeks before Repko will be ready for the big time again after 3 weeks of DL time and a minimum of one week rehabbing in Vegas. I don't expect Ledee to surface for a long time and by that time the games will have given us the answers.
2006-06-07 12:42:19
33.   Daniel Zappala
I saw that too Bob. I think he meant the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles.
2006-06-07 12:46:16
34.   Scanman33
31-Dante Bichette, whose average actually went down during the streak.
2006-06-07 13:25:41
35.   gibsonhobbs88
In regards to the outfield, let's let it play out over the next few weeks! The kids overall have been outstanding but we will see their character when they get their first taste of adversity (major league slump) and how they react to it. Also, the infield situation could get interesting when Mueller and Izturis are ready. Aybar has played well, will he get sent down as well, you will have Ramon Martinez, Izzie and Saenz as infielders on your bench along with the two extra outfielders and one catcher. Ned Coletti may have some sleepless nights ahead! As far as Gagne goes, I was at the game last night, so I didn't see the facial expressions as I was down the left field line a little bit, but hearing these comments scare me. With a healthy Gagne we could take control of this division, without him, its a crapshoot! He sure threw Wright a knee-buckling curve ball on the first pitch. I hope for all Dodgerdom sakes, he did not reinjure that touchy right arm again. Finally, the Dodger future looks bright if these kids performances are any indication. Keep your fingers crossed regarding Gagne!
2006-06-07 13:30:55
36.   Jon Weisman
In my post, I was only talking about the outfield situation today. I agree that it's silly to worry about what happens down the road, with so much uncertainty.

(I have to admit a chuckle at 35, which cautions us to let the outfield situation play out over the next few weeks - then proceeds directly into infield speculation.)

The next big decision appears to be regarding Navarro, because he's about to start his rehab assignment.

2006-06-07 13:37:04
37.   Greg S
36- I would assume the only decision is whether to bench him, send him down or trade him. Martin's stats might only be slightly better but I think anyone with eyes can see that he has contributed more to this team and is likely to continue to do so.
2006-06-07 13:39:22
38.   al bundy
the outskirts of Los Angeles = Riverside, Valencia, Anaheim...
2006-06-07 13:43:07
39.   coachbean
Just a dream...
Repko, Olmedo, Werth, Robles, and Izzy to Pittsburgh for Jason Bay

I know Pittburgh management wouldn't go for it, but Tracy would love to have those guys, and it would clear up a bunch of unneccessary question marks on the Dodger roster. Heck we wouldn't even need to get Bay in return Craig Wilson or Ryan Doumit would be fine.

2006-06-07 13:47:37
40.   al bundy
FL goes up on the Giants 6 to 1 on a 3 run hr by Uggia, knocking out Wright
2006-06-07 13:53:40
41.   Jon Weisman
36 - That's all I meant. Martin will start.
2006-06-07 14:14:15
42.   s choir
I like the current management of the outfield. It's important to let everyone play a few days a week so that they all stay sharp. I wouldn't send Kemp back down, but I don't see a problem with him taking 2-3 days off a week.

Also, it's important to have effective reserve players for pinch-hitting and those long extra-inning games.

2006-06-07 14:18:02
43.   al bundy
Rex, the color analyst for the Angels, just had perhaps one of the greatest ever insights into the game of baseball. "A solo homerun isn't going to hurt you as much as a 3 shot." I'm going to reflect on that wisdom for quite some time.
2006-06-07 14:27:20
44.   gibsonhobbs88
36 - I'm glad I can amuse you. I was referring to the fact that per prior comments, Repko and Ledee are not near to coming back yet while Mueller and Izturiz along with Navarro that you mentioned are much more immediate concerns as they could be ready in 10 days to two weeks. The current outfield setup right now is producing with everyone getting a day off here and there, so that is why I am not concerned with the outfield speculation until the time draws near. Kent is the first one due back and I suspect like other readers that Guzman (since he is rarely been used) would be the first one sent back down. Oh well! Back to the grindstone!
Go Blue! I hope ODP bounces back with a strong game tonight and we can ding Glavine enough to get a win!
2006-06-07 14:30:35
45.   sanchez101
39. throw in Gagne, they might do it. It wouldnt make any sense for Pittsburgh, but hey, this is the org. that signing Jeremy Burnitz.
2006-06-07 14:37:53
46.   Jon Weisman
44 - Yeah, you're right about Izturis. Kent replaces Guzman, but who does Izturis replace? But Mueller is still a ways off.
2006-06-07 14:44:11
47.   ToyCannon
44
As Jon said Mueller is a long way off. He is having lots of trouble with fluid buildup in his knee because of previous surgeries on that leg. I'd be shocked to see him before the all-star game and when he comes back he may not have a starting job unless he shows he's 100% which I find very doubtfull.
2006-06-07 14:57:41
48.   Jacob L
I liked the Bill Simmons column linked in 25. I just sent him a long, rambling comment that there are a bunch of LA angles to the story that he missed. Pedro as our Babe Ruth, and Nomar putting it back together in his home town. FWIW.
2006-06-07 14:58:07
49.   gibsonhobbs88
I stand corrected regarding Mueller, I hadn't seen much written about his injury status on the fantasy websites. The Pirates certainly wouldn't trade for several players that are DL'd right now in Repko and Werth(Werth is so far off the Dodger radar screen, he's disappeared. Trading Izzy and Robles and Saenz for maybe Craig Wilson or one of the Pirates young hurlers like Snell or Maholm might be worth a look. You can forget getting a Bay or a Duke, you would have to give up a whole bunch more to get one of them.
2006-06-07 16:10:19
50.   Gagne55
Trade Jose Cruz for Eric Duncan. Trade Izturis for a quality prospect or two. Combine those with Delwyn Young and James Loney to make a pool of talent to go after Barry Zito and maybe somebody like Scott Shields.

Really people having five productive outfielders (like now) is a good thing. Lofton needs regular rest and Drew needs occasional rest. Ethier sits against lefties. The line-up just doesn't wear out.

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