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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

Get Me Home to the Babysitter on Time
2007-05-01 23:20
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Olmedo Saenz beat the Diamondbacks and my 11 p.m. curfew with his game-winning pinch-hit single tonight. Well struck, Olmedo!

He saved the Dodger bullpen from a potential nightmare, and he did it even with Jeff Kent running on the pitch. Well focused, Olmedo!

Livan Hernandez looked like he would throw 200 pitches tonight, but the biggest disappointment when he was taken out was that we didn't get to see him break the 50 mile-per-hour barrier. The scoreboard put one of his pitches at 52 and another at 51 - leaving me wondering if time would reverse course if he threw anything slower.

I think what we may be witnessing in Juan Pierre is the outfield version of Steve Sax throwing disease. I don't know that this is true, but I think it's in his head. I think he's lost any sense of how to play a fly ball hit in front of him - I think he's lost all confidence. And his footwork is so bad on balls hit to the side of or behind him, it's hard to imagine it was always so.

Andre Ethier cost the Dodgers two bases and ultimately the tying run with his ill-fated dive for an eighth-inning drive by Eric Byrnes (who might have had an inside-the-park home run if Orlando Hudson had not been on deck), but Ethier has been on such a good run defensively for the Dodgers lately, it's hard to hold it against him.

Meanwhile, Byrnes showed the Dodgers the advantage of a speedy left fielder by running to catch two sinking, bases-loaded drives by Pierre, in the second and sixth innings.

Several are passing along the news that with a perfect inning tonight, Chin-hui (lower-case "h") Tsao has retired 21 consecutive batters. This season, he has faced 30 batters and allowed one hit and two walks.

Russell Martin hit into a double play with two runners on. I was caught off guard.

Everyone's asking what the Dodgers are going to do about Wilson Betemit, but I don't hear anyone asking what's wrong with Betemit. Even if you aren't high on his potential, clearly he has always been better than this. Forget about what power he might someday have - where is any of his power? If we knew what was going on, we might have a more informed discussion about where he should go.

Meanwhile, people who have been hestitating are welcome to join me off the Wilson Valdez bandwagon. Valdez is 1 for his last 19 - he can obviously do better than that, but I think he's lost the pixie dust.

I don't want to jinx anything, but I've been to four games this year and there have been fewer beachballs around than in my memory. Their absence has been a pleasure.

Rafael Furcal has reached base 15 times in his past 39 plate appearances (.385).

An impromptu invitation yielded a ballgame outing with Eric Neel of ESPN.com, Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts, Dodger Thoughts commenters Suffering Bruin and GoBears and me. It was like a great online conversation, only with holograms representing each of us, and each of the holograms were actually flesh and blood. The line of the night was when someone suggested that a certain hitter owned former Dodger Jeff Weaver, GoBears said everyone's got a timeshare.

I said something funny too - Suffering Bruin will verify this - but neither of us can remember what it was.

Comments (160)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-01 23:58:33
1.   StolenMonkey86
First post!
2007-05-01 23:59:46
2.   StolenMonkey86
Reading the comments reminded me of when I saw this on TV:

http://tinyurl.com/25fxj3

Glad that the story in the end was Olmedo and the fastball.

2007-05-02 00:02:33
3.   Jeromy
I just watched the game on DVR, not looking at the scores, fast-forwarding through the commercials (A very satisfying way to watch the game by the way), and it was a unique experience for me because I was able to see that the game was 3:18 minutes long each time I zipped by a commercial. So, I had the pleasure of knowing the Dodgers would win in the bottom of the 9th when the clock was at 3:08 to start the inning. I just didn't know how they would do it.
2007-05-02 00:02:50
4.   natepurcell
Said Little: "You can see how he gets his 200 hits a year. He's also going to make 500 outs." Hitting more groundballs "would give him a better shot at getting 250 hits."

lol.

2007-05-02 00:04:00
5.   Dodgers49
From the previous thread:

407. How about the fact that Tsao has now retired the last 21 batters he's faced? I assume he shouldn't be packing his bags for Vegas anytime soon.

The way decisions are made around here that is not necessarily a safe assumption. :-) Remember, Tsao has options and Seanez does not. Stranger things have happened. :-)

2007-05-02 00:06:46
6.   Bob Timmermann
4
If Juan Pierre gets 250 hits, Lloyd Waner's 198 singles in a season record for the NL is going down.

Well, actually that's just the "since 1900" record. Willie Keeler had over 200 in season.

If Juan Pierre were Willie Keeler, we'd all be happy.

2007-05-02 00:25:04
7.   Andrew Shimmin
Does yip(p)s take one P or two?
2007-05-02 00:45:12
8.   bhsportsguy
Darn, I was there too.

I have been thinking the same thing about Pierre, he just seems to be really uncomfortable in the field.

Having watched Penny pitch a lot last year, the biggest change that I saw tonight was that he was getting the first pitch over for a strike (I was counting but I stopped at 8 in a row) Most of time it was called strikes, not a lot of swings and misses.

The D-Backs hit only 2-3 balls hard off him all night and nothing close to an extra base hit. When he walked guys, it really appeared that at ball 3, he was going to go ahead and put them on.

But he still threw hard and from about the 4th inning, threw mostly fastballs.

Last year, it appeared that the strategy against Penny was to wait him out until you hit one of his fastballs. This year, when he gets ahead in the count, he doesn't necessarily throw the 95 mph fastball, but his off-speed stuff that was getting guys to hit grounders, pop-ups etc.

He still got high pitch counts because he walked guys and also rarely did any D-Back swing at the first pitch.

I am not sure that this version of Penny is going to be effective in the long run but he certainly kept the D-Backs off balance tonight.

Thank god for Olmedo because I felt for sure that Lowe would lost the game in the 10th.

One other note, you can now listen to the game at the Stadium and not have any delays.

2007-05-02 00:48:06
9.   s choir
(LAT'd by accident in the previous thread)
Let me preface this by saying that I was one of the minority who defended the Pierre signing. I just want to give my two cents on Pierre's first month as a Dodger.

Pierre doesn't seem to be seeing the ball well off the bat. He looks a lot like Lofton out there. I remember Bradley having problems like this when he was playing center for LA as well. Perhaps it's just a Dodger Stadium thing... but I don't see opposing CFers having the same problems. Hopefully he'll adjust and start making plays, but if he doesn't, the Dodgers aren't going anywhere.

I am, however, satisfied with the way Pierre has been performing offensively. He's been getting on base consistently enough ever since breaking out of his season-opening slump. In his past ten games coming into tonight, his OBP was .354. His stolen base rate for the season is at 80%. Pierre seems to be coming up a lot with two outs and the bases loaded and coming up short, but so has the entire team. And today he would have come through in the clutch but for a spectacular defensive play by Byrnes.

I think the Dodgers had a successful first month of 2007. Part of their success is owed to Pierre; the failures they encountered can also partly be blamed on Pierre. There is no player on the team that did not play poorly at one time or another in April. Even Russell Martin has had his bad days.

As I'm sure is true for most of the people at Dodger Thoughts, I live and die with the Dodgers. With the stakes so high, it infuriates me to watch a crucial, two-out flyball glance off of Pierre's glove for an RBI double (for example). But then after another excruciating hour the game is over, and I look at the box score and check out who's pitching tomorrow and examine the standings, and I gain some perspective. After all, it's May 1st, the Dodgers are in first place, and as Nancy Bea Hefley would remind us, the sun'll come out tomorrow.

2007-05-02 01:03:22
10.   s choir
re Betemit:

I think his struggles are a result of a changed batting stance. He rests his bat horizontally on his shoulder and then comes down through the zone with virtually no windup. I think this stance has allowed him to start his swing later, which is probably the reason he's displayed such a great eye.

But it's clear that he is not able to consistently shift his weight during this swing to drive the ball. I don't think this is a strength issue. It's more of a timing issue. That said, I think the Dodgers should continue playing him for the next couple of weeks to see if he can fix the issue and break out, but if by a third of the way through the season he is still a disaster at the plate, other options (the best being moving Nomar to 3rd) should be implemented.

2007-05-02 01:04:41
11.   bhsportsguy
Last 4 wins have been the Dodgers last at-bat.

1. 4/21 - Walk-off Slammy
2. 4/27 - Score 4 off Hoffman
3. 4/29 - Brady makes Grady smile
4. 5/1 - Tomato Time

One other thing, Mark Hendrickson will try to get the first win by a starter since 4/20.

2007-05-02 01:55:05
12.   Andrew Shimmin
Pierre's OBP over the last seven games (including his one for three, tonight) is identical to his season OBP: .303. I expect he'll better that, but it's not satisfactory, so far. Using the LD%/100+.12, his BABIP is dead on at .302, so, by that measure, he's not been unlucky. He's never had a LD%, over a full season, as low as his current one, though.

Every fielder has bad days, and Lofton had more than his share, last year. But Pierre has looked worse, over an insufficient sample, than Lofton did, by my memory. His rate2 is 105 and his FRAA is 1, so, either it's that he just looks awful, or those fielding metrics aren't very good, or both. Pierre has looked as bad as Furcal did at the beginning of last season, so, maybe that's reassuring.

2007-05-02 02:18:27
13.   Andrew Shimmin
His RC/27 is 3.58, half a point worse than he's ever put up over a full season. His EQA is .243, more than ten points worse than either of his last two disappointing seasons. Pierre is not a good player, offensively. But I think it's unlikely he's as bad as he's been. But I've already said that.

His Zone Rating is right in line with what it was last year, when it was the best in the NL. He has the tenth highest Range Factor of MLB CFs. I don't know of a place to get UZR or UZR clone numbers, during the season, since it looks like Hardball Times isn't doing that, or not yet. He's undeniably looked like garbage out there, and often. I think Eric Enders was the one who said it was hard to believe he'd ever played the game before. Maybe our eyes are fooling us?

2007-05-02 07:08:06
14.   Disabled List
1 "First post!" comments are almost as annoying as beachballs.
2007-05-02 07:32:57
15.   Bumsrap
I like beach balls
2007-05-02 07:33:18
16.   Benaiah
13 - I think Pierre gets to a lot of high fly balls out of his zone. It looks like he calls the RF and LF off a lot, and these balls would artificially inflate his Zone Rating. He has been atrocious going forward and backwards though.
2007-05-02 07:35:36
17.   DXMachina
It was like a great online conversation, only with holograms representing each of us, and each of the holograms were actually flesh and blood.

I've had that experience with folks from another board I post at. We called it "posting 3-D".

2007-05-02 07:36:30
18.   Bumsrap
9 Hopefully he'll (Pierre) adjust and start making plays, but if he doesn't, the Dodgers aren't going anywhere

But they are in first place, so that is Okay isn't it?

2007-05-02 07:36:43
19.   Bob Timmermann
I punctured a beachball with a pen for the first time on Monday.

Then some kids picked up the rubber shell and started batting that around.

Gosh darned kids!

2007-05-02 07:38:01
20.   DXMachina
16 I think Pierre gets to a lot of high fly balls out of his zone.

Given who's usually playing next to him in left, this is probably a good thing.

2007-05-02 07:38:54
21.   Bumsrap
My guess, which is probably obvious, is that Valdez will be optioned to AAA and Brazabon will be brought up.

As of yesterday, the Mets Wright now has one more homerun than Betemit. Zimmerman has only one or two more.

2007-05-02 07:44:32
22.   Bumsrap
It looks like the Dodgers will go to 12 pitchers and if it is Valdez that makes rooom for #12, who will make room for Kemp when he is brought up?

I think it will be Anderson.

2007-05-02 07:45:21
23.   Benaiah
20 - Pierre's fielding percentage is deceiving, his glove is as shaky as LuGo's. With runners on I certainly don't want him catching balls that Ethier could get to, Ethier has one of the best arms in the league (according to a Hard Ball Times study) Pierre has the worst.
2007-05-02 07:46:46
24.   Bumsrap
19 I punctured a beachball with a pen for the first time on Monday

Was that you in the straw hat everybody was booing?

2007-05-02 07:55:20
25.   Greg Brock
Oh man, puncturing Dodger Stadium beach balls is one of the great joys in life. I highly recommend it.

You do, however, get booed mercilessly for a good ten seconds. But that's kind of cool, too.

2007-05-02 07:55:22
26.   DXMachina
23 True. I was talking about mostly about left, but I guess we take the bad with the good.
2007-05-02 07:56:15
27.   regfairfield
12 FRAA is a terrible stat for determining fielding skill in a small sample size. At this point, all that could mean is that the Dodgers have had an unusually high amount of balls hit to center. Zone rating does take this into account, but Pierre's is pretty high at .915. No fielding stat has any predictive value after one month, but as startling as this seems, Pierre has been catching the balls that have been hit to him.
2007-05-02 07:57:29
28.   regfairfield
25 I prefer grabbing the ball, pointing over the edge of the section, then batting it down there.

I'm going to get shot one of these days.

2007-05-02 08:04:15
29.   Jon Weisman
22 - The Dodgers are already low on lefties off the bench as it is.
2007-05-02 08:13:42
30.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
With the state of the bullpen after Sunday's marathon game, it made absolutely no sense to pinch-hit for a cruising Brad Penny on only 95 pitches in the 6th inning. Penny's a decent hitter... certainly he could have moved the runners along or even driven in a run as well. And if he made an out, so what?

Why is 100 the "magic number"? I mean really... break it down: 100 pitches over 9 innings is 11 per inning. Is THAT really possible? Could a pitcher do that AND put a complete game under his belt? Yes, but it's VERY unlikely, and this is telling when trying to find the whereabouts of all the complete games of the past. Where did they go? To the statisticians, that's where. Somewhere, somehow, someone came up with "100 pitches" as being a "cut off" point... I want to know when and why... because Penny deserved to keep pitching last night. The bullpen needed it most and with the way Penny was throwing, perhaps we wouldn't even have had to mention Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre in the same sentence.

Drysdale and Koufax and whomever else has pitched a complete game in the past, more than likely has thrown more than 100 pitches in doing so. This is why I'm saying: "Somewhere, Don Drysdale is rolling in his grave..." at the thought of pitchers being removed so early in baseball games in this day and age.

Anyone care to enlighten me?

2007-05-02 08:22:01
31.   Frip
It's not necessary to destroy someone's beach ball. I prefer licking it, coughing on it, or rubbing it on my crotch. No one touches is after that. Problem solved without resorting to destructive behavior.
2007-05-02 08:22:51
32.   Disabled List
30 One theory is that old-timers like Koufax and Drysdale got to pitch to little .200-hitting middle infielders, and therefore didn't have to bear down and expend as much energy. They could just play catch with the catcher and save their hard stuff for the bigger threats in the opposing lineup. With even shortstops these days capable of hitting 3-run bombs, pitchers have to be at 100% the entire way.

I don't necessarily agree or disagree with this theory, but there you go.

2007-05-02 08:24:51
33.   Xeifrank
What's the record, and perhaps our baseball historian would know for most consecutive batters retired by a pitcher. I would think a starter who threw a perfect game and a decent second game would hold the record, but who knows.
vr, Xei
2007-05-02 08:26:11
34.   Benaiah
30 - Pitching injuries often occur over 100 pitches, that is why people are careful to keep pitch counts low. More work needs to be done on the subject, but I don't have a problem with keeping pitch counts low.
2007-05-02 08:28:50
35.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
34 - Yeah??? Show me the facts. Where are your numbers coming from?
2007-05-02 08:29:11
36.   Greg Brock
30 There has been some work at Prospectus (and probably elswehere) about the Pitcher Abuse Point (PAP), and the effects, both long and short term, of consistently going over 100 pitches. BP's threshold was actually higher than 100 (something like 115 or 120 IIRC), but that extra bit of work hurts the starter over his next few starts, and increases chances for injury.

The article may be free at Prospectus by now...It's pretty old.

2007-05-02 08:29:29
37.   Westernmost in Flavor
6
Could we then call him Juee Juan Pierre?
2007-05-02 08:30:41
38.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
There are many, many more 220 to 300 game winners from the 60's 70's and 80's than anyone will ever see from today's pitchers. Their bodies adjusted to the workload and in my humble opinion this is why I feel pitchers of today get hurt more often. They're just getting warmed up by the 4th or 5th innings and then get yanked an inning or so later, or whenever they hit this 100 pitch count that seems to have mysteriously become the end-all gospel within the circles of pitching philosophy. It needs to change... at least let a guy pitch through the 7th or 8th innings. Especially if he's throwing the baseball with command like Brad Penny was last night...
2007-05-02 08:31:04
39.   Greg Brock
Found it. Here's part of the conclusion:

How significant is the effect we've identified? Assuming a fairly abusive usage pattern across a staff, a team's starting rotation could suffer a season-wide decline of about 2%. Considering the effect on both the innings pitched (putting more strain on the bullpen) and extra runs allowed by the starting pitchers, this might amount to perhaps 20-25 runs over the course of a season, which would be expected to be about 2 to 2.5 games in the standings. That's comparable to the difference in value between Tim Hudson and, say, Kevin Tapani or Todd Ritchie in 2000. That's a trade worth making.

2007-05-02 08:36:00
40.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
36 - You hit the nail on the head! "Consistently" When a guy is throwing well, everyone can see it. If a guy isn't doing so well, then perhaps it's time to pinch hit for him. I just think it to be foolish to think of this number as an absolute with each and every start... or even last night in not letting Chin-hui Tsao pitch two innings in relief. Why was it necessary to get Broxton up? Tsao could have easily gotten to the ninth for Saito. The philosophy concerns me...
2007-05-02 08:41:30
41.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
39 - There's got to be a way to merge the two philosophies. The way Penny was throwing last night, 115 pitches wouldn't have mattered. The point is not to do this on a "consistent" basis... but only when one is showing they can handle the extra work. The pitchers of the past who worked harder still enjoyed long, prosperous careers... the pitching philosophy of today can be more subjective in these types of situations.

And really, with the conditioning of todays' players, shouldn't they be able to handle the workloads better? There's THAT argument too...

2007-05-02 08:44:25
42.   Greg Brock
40 I don't have a problem with going to 110 pitches once in a while, but as a general rule it's good to keep pitch counts down. Not just for injury...Pitchers just aren't very good when they've gone over 100 pitches.

The Dodgers also have an outstanding bullpen with Tsao, Broxton, and Saito. Beimel is a decent LOOGY. Billingsley should relieve, but he's no slouch either.

2007-05-02 08:45:44
43.   Bumsrap
29 True before Kemp is brought up but when he plays that automatically puts a lefty on the bench that would replace Anderson.
2007-05-02 08:47:02
44.   Gen3Blue
Excellent bit Jon. The observations you and the DT boys made(including Sportsguy), give a feel for what's going on with the players and at the stadium that east coaster D fans just can't seem to get elsewhere.

I'm among those who think Pierre's confidence is gone and have suggested he ran into a storm of criticism of his game(mostly fair) that he didn't expect in the euphoria over his contract. If a few things would go right for him it might restore him to his usual level.

I'm disappointed the guys at Las Vegas aren't hitting much yet(ex Abrue) but it's to early to worry much.

2007-05-02 08:48:32
45.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
42 - I guess my point is that last night was the perfect situation to rest the bullpen some. Penny looked like he could have gone two more innings... heck, he only threw 8 pitches in the 6th. It was nonsense to throw Broxton when Tsao was already warm and in command of his pitches... and Broxton could have used an extra day with today's early starting time.
2007-05-02 08:49:06
46.   D4P
If a few things would go right for him it might restore him to his usual level

Just a few things going right for him is his usual level

2007-05-02 08:50:55
47.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
42 - 'Splain LOOGY please?
2007-05-02 08:51:09
48.   KBL
I was watching it on tv last night, and I am surprised no one was thrown out of the game last night. The home plate umpire had one of the most inconsistent strike zones I had ever seen, and consistency is all that really matters. If you want to call the outside pitch a strike, then do it all night long...but don't change your mind one pitch after another. Great, now I jinxed myself for the Little League Game I am umping tonight.
2007-05-02 08:52:38
49.   Westernmost in Flavor
47
L eft-handed O ne O ut G u y
2007-05-02 08:53:10
50.   Greg Brock
47 Lefty One Out Guy. Lefty that comes in to face another lefty, no matter how good the hitter is, because a lefty pitcher is ALWAYS supposed to come in against a lefty batter.

Always. Lefty/Lefty. Playing the percentages.

PERCENTAGES!

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-02 08:53:24
51.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
cool... I like it...
2007-05-02 08:53:45
52.   Bumsrap
Bigbie is continuing to knock on the door, playing CF last night, and now hitting well over .400

If the Dodgers were to field their best tean today it would have Bigbie in LF, Kemp in CF, Ethier in RF, Loney at 1b, and Nomar at 3b.

It is as if Lucy put this team together and Desi is saying you got some 'explaining' to do.

2007-05-02 08:54:23
53.   Benaiah
38 - Two active pitchers have more wins than anyone from the 60,70 and 80s (Maddux and Clemons) and another one is poised to join the 300 club this year (Glavine) and one more has an outside shot in the next couple years (Randy Johnson). Only 6 pitchers from the 60s, 70s and 80s made this milestone (though I guess you could marginally include all four active pitchers as "from the 80s). Win totals are down significantly, from the early 1900s, but not down all that much from the 60s and 70s.

This is due to longer careers instead of more wins in a shorter period of time. Koufax had 25+ wins three times, but only had six good years, compared to Maddux who only had 20 twice, but has had an above average ERA+ for 19 years.

2007-05-02 08:57:15
54.   Westernmost in Flavor
Interesting note: Beimel has not had a one out appearance this year. He did face only one batter (LaRoche) on 4/22 but also picked off Jason Bay to get credited with 2/3 of an inning.
2007-05-02 09:01:16
55.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
I guess "situational left-hander" is passe'?
2007-05-02 09:04:06
56.   Bob Timmermann
Situational left-handers aren't all LOOGYs.

The archetypal LOOGY is Jesse Orosco. Others include Rick Honeycutt, Tony Fossas, and Mike Holtz.

2007-05-02 09:12:07
57.   Gen3Blue
I've read the stuff at Prospectus (and maybe Baseball Analysts and HB times) about pitch counts vs. effectiveness-injury, and the Stats look pretty sound. I'm still uncomfortable with the modern use of pitchers and think there may be more changes to come. It wouldn't surprise me if there is a subset of pitchers that that actually thrive on abuse-- but how do you tell?

Along these lines, I'm afraid we may regret the day Lincecum went to SF, although I can't remember if we had a shot at him first. We do seem to have an aversion to small righties (remember a guy named Pedro).
However, I'm very happy with Kershaw, so no real regrets.

2007-05-02 09:13:57
58.   Greg Brock
52 I don't know that Bigbie would, or should, play over Gonzo, but it's certainly not outrageous. Bigbie was once a pretty good player.

Furcal
Loney
Martin
Kent
Kemp
Garciaparra
Gonzo
Ethier

That would be my ideal lineup

2007-05-02 09:18:17
59.   regfairfield
57 We did. Lincecum went 10th overall and we took Kershaw 7th.
2007-05-02 09:20:58
60.   underdog
57 I regret that the Giants got Lincecum, too, even if I'm happy with Kershaw. (Couldn't Lincecum have gone to the Royals or something instead?) Not sure I get his connection with your first paragraph though? Are small righties traditionally more apt to pitch longer/have higher pitch counts?

58 Yeah, Bigbie's now closer to .500 than .400; even though it is the PCL it's still pretty impressive. I wonder what they'll do with him when his deadline approaches... Honestly I don't mind having Gonzo or Pierre but having both of them right now continues to kill me. At least Gonzo's given some power. I'm not totally convinced Bigbie would be any more than a lefty version of Clark at this point, but wouldn't mind seeing him get a chance. But there's no room for he and Kemp together, alas.

2007-05-02 09:22:47
61.   Jon Weisman
DDiI -

You can rail all you want against this era of reduced pitch counts, but there is little doubt that given the realities that presented themselves in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Dodgers had a better chance of winning with Nomar Garciaparra batting and Tsao and Broxton pitching the next two innings than with Penny doing it all by himself. Maybe pitchers today are babied (I happen to think it's a good thing) but even if it's not a good thing, it doesn't change the fact that Brad Penny was not going to be as good last night after 100 pitches as Tsao and Broxton were likely to be and didn't have as good a chance of helping get a run across as Garciaparra.

2007-05-02 09:25:16
62.   underdog
9 I didn't realize how bad they've actually been with the bases loaded - in part because they've had some good clutch hitting prior to this past week - until I saw the LA Times piece on last night's game. "their batting average with the bases loaded is .067"

Yipes. Especially painful to swallow after watching a little of the Giants-Rockies game last night in which both teams ripped off bases loaded extra base hits. Of course, the pitching in that game was much worse than it was in the Dodger game, but still.

2007-05-02 09:26:02
63.   Doctor
If Pierre is playing with a lack of confidence its probably at least partially due to fan and media scrutiny, criticism, and pressure.

If Pierre plays worse as a result (which hurts the team), why as fans do we keep scrutinizing ? Seems to me that such behavior can only be rationalized as voicing ones opinion initially, then when its repeated over and over it becomes nothing but destructive to the team and therefore not in the interest of the fans.

Does the need for the few to "be right" about Pierre, outweigh the needs of the many who want to win and see Pierre and the Dodgers succeed?

At the very least.... it's annoying, maybe it's just me.

2007-05-02 09:30:41
64.   D4P
How much confidence does it take to slap a few balls through the infield? If the low end of Pierre's confidence doesn't even allow him to achieve such a minimal accomplishment, he doesn't belong in the major leagues, much less in a starting role with a big contract.
2007-05-02 09:33:46
65.   old dodger fan
Do you think Pierre posts here?
2007-05-02 09:34:36
66.   kevinarno
Not to harp, but I'm just wondering what the floor on Juan Pierre's productivity is before management considers -- just considers -- that the Dodgers might be able to win more baseball games by having Russell Martin bat second rather than a guy whose OBP is 30 points lower than the league average and who has an IsoP number somewhere between Royce Clayton's and R.B. Ginsberg's.

As a side note -- and with no snideness intended -- approximately how many runs would that be [moving Martin to 2nd and Pierre to 6th/7th/8th]? Does anyone know how to formulate that model? Paging SABR...

ka

2007-05-02 09:35:32
67.   ToyCannon
There is nothing impressive about what Bigbie is doing in the PCL. If an ex starting major league player is not destroying the kids then he's already done. Bigbie is what he is which is a useful 4th outfielder who could really help a team like the A's right now but his performance in the PCL changes nothing. He better then Gonzo in the field and they are probably equal offensively but then Gonzo rarely gets hurt enough to lose playing time and Bigbie rarely is healthy enough to keep/earn a starting gig. He was even hurt in Vegas and just came back.
2007-05-02 09:37:45
68.   Gen3Blue
60 Only connection is some people feel small hard throwers are prone to breakdown, and this seems to land harder on righties
2007-05-02 09:39:33
69.   Jacob L
I sincerely want Pierre to succeed, but if my all my hope and pixie dust were worth a damn, I'd be playing centerfield for the Dodgers.
2007-05-02 09:40:15
70.   Jon Weisman
63 - He's not getting booed at the ballpark when he's introduced. As for the media, they've been fairly generous, considering what's been going on. I don't know what more you can ask.
2007-05-02 09:41:58
71.   underdog
68 Ah, thanks.

67 Yah, that's basically what I meant above re: Bigbie - I see him as a potentially solid 4th OFer. We have a lot of 4th OFers on a team (not counting the injured Jason Repko), and that he is better than Gonzo in the field but not necessarily an improvement at the plate. What I hope is to have Kemp back and that he gets some starts with Ethier, not in place of him, to rest Gonzo (or, god forbid, Pierre). Or maybe we could get something for trading Bigbie to someone else...

2007-05-02 09:45:29
72.   kevinarno
Doctor:

63 -- I hear you, and appreciate the sentiment. From what I understand, Juan Pierre is one of the 10 nicest guys in baseball. But for me, I guess, the hopefulness and faith that a guy will perform is counterweighted by all the reality-based empiricism that implies that Juan Pierre, while being a gritty ballplayer who gives it his all, can't field terribly well, can't throw, can't get on base, can't hit for any discernable power and, quite frankly, can't help the Los Angeles Dodgers win baseball games. As someone who sits in the stadium over 50 times a year, that final concern tops the list for me.

ka

2007-05-02 09:48:45
73.   Doctor
70,

Oh (I don't make it out to California often), so the mood voiced often here isn't being expressed in the mainstream? That's good.

2007-05-02 09:51:02
74.   Jon Weisman
73 - It's not the mainstream, although I think there is a definite impatience with Pierre. But I guess if you're referencing my initial post, I think his confidence problems are self-induced, rather than media/fan-induced. He doesn't need to be told that he's not been playing well out there.
2007-05-02 09:52:29
75.   fiddlestick
63-- Does Pierre even realized he's being scrutinized since he's always at the ballpark working on his game?
2007-05-02 10:02:24
76.   ToyCannon
70
The mood expressed by DT posters is rarely in step with the mainstream. The only opinion I think that the media, the majority of Dodger fans, and DT posters share is the crush on Russel Martin.
2007-05-02 10:09:44
77.   old dodger fan
In fairness to Pierre let me say that in the first 12 games his BA was .180. Since then he has played in 15 games as follows:

BA .348
OB% .386
SLG .409
OPS .795
SB 8
CS 2

Maybe he should not be batting second but he is not killing us with his bat.

2007-05-02 10:11:01
78.   Bob Timmermann
At Monday's game, Juan Pierre was cheered when his name was announced with the same amount of gusto as most players. I think Nomar gets the loudest cheers. Russell Martin was off Monday.
2007-05-02 10:19:40
79.   still bevens
I think a lot of fans really like Pierre. Im super paranoid that he might edge out Martin for fan bobblehead night honors.
2007-05-02 10:20:39
80.   Branch Rickey
I spoke to Alyssa Milano last night. Told her I liked her blog and she was very nice and seemed sweet and didn't mace me.
2007-05-02 10:21:48
81.   natepurcell
80

was she showing off her new clothing line?

2007-05-02 10:21:57
82.   Humma Kavula
78 I can also attest that Pierre's name was cheered at Monday's game. I sat quietly.

When the announcer called Betemit's name, however, there did seem to be many sitting on their hands. He was not booed, but the cheers were quieter.

2007-05-02 10:23:33
83.   Branch Rickey
81 As I remember it in my head, she was not wearing clothes. But I could be wrong about that.
2007-05-02 10:24:48
84.   Jon Weisman
83 - I think she'll have the mace ready next time :)
2007-05-02 10:26:52
85.   still bevens
Does she sit in the dugout club area or just field level? I think the only celebs I know who regularly sit in the dugout club are Robert Wuhl and Larry King.
2007-05-02 10:29:43
86.   Branch Rickey
Someone mentioned that Byrnes made a great play on Pierre's line to left last night but the fact is, he was badly out of position. The Padres played Pierre extremely short in left and way over towards the line. If Pierre is going to hit it hard, that's where it's going. That's where Byrnes should have been standing. It's just one more frustration about JP that he can't overcome this shift on him. Most teams are giving him the entire right field line and if he could just pull one pitch over first base, it would be an automatic triple.
2007-05-02 10:29:50
87.   Bob Timmermann
85
I have to disagree with the contention that Robert Wuhl is a celebrity, but I am someone who really hated "Arliss."
2007-05-02 10:31:14
88.   Branch Rickey
85. Yes, dugout boxes. And funny, both Wuhl and King were there last night. Steve Perry seems to be there a lot too. I only get those seats a few times per year.
2007-05-02 10:35:00
89.   bhsportsguy
79 I believe Russell Martin already won that prize.

For Jon, Suffering Bruin, Branch, and anyone else there last night, what do you think of our shiny new Penny?

2007-05-02 10:36:16
90.   still bevens
I give Steve Perry the credit for the 4+1 game as they showed him on the big screen a couple innings before the miracle. Don't stop believing, indeed.

The only other celebs I've had multiple sightings of are the Batemans (Jason and Justine) but I think they sit in standard field seats and not the boxes.

2007-05-02 10:43:23
91.   Westernmost in Flavor
80
Isn't she incredibly thin!? That was my most lasting impression of her when I saw her in the Dugout Club last year. Well, that and her semi-see-through pants.
2007-05-02 10:45:28
92.   Xeifrank
66. One of the sabermetric type websites/blogs has a lineup generator where you plug in the OBP and SLG of each player and it comes up with the most efficient lineup. A simple move such as batting Martin second and moving Pierre down to 8th (or something along those lines) would have a very minimal effect on a game by game basis, but over the course of a 162 game season you might gain a couple of runs. More important than lineup order is picking the best 8 hitters to play along with taking defense into account by whichever flawed method of your liking. Most managers like to stagger their left handed and right handed batters in their lineup, to keep a left or right handed specialist from having an advantage vs more than one hitter in a row. vr, Xei
2007-05-02 10:46:00
93.   delias man
71 - Is it possible we can just forget Repko exists? He is going the way of the Werth, and i still challenge his worthiness of an MLB roster spot. Why is everyone in love with this guy with a career .232 BA??
2007-05-02 10:46:19
94.   Branch Rickey
91. My girlfriend used the word "scrawny" but petit was more what came to my mind. She is indeed a little one.
2007-05-02 10:46:51
95.   ToyCannon
89
Isn't it the same Penny we saw last year before the all-star game?
2007-05-02 10:47:37
96.   Branch Rickey
90- I had those seats for the 4+1 game so give me credit too! By the way, during the game last night, I walked into the eating area there and McCourt was sitting there with a couple of others and was friendly and made eye contact with anybody walking by. This is how I have always seen him and I believe him to be very accessible to the fans Sure, those seats are insanely expensive but they are still fans and if you ever are around him, I would say don't be shy to talk to him.
2007-05-02 10:48:32
97.   Xeifrank
Game starts in 90 minutes if I'm not mistaken. Any word on today's lineups? Or guesses on who might be sitting vs the lefty?
vr, Xei
2007-05-02 10:48:42
98.   bhsportsguy
Today someone might throw something at him but I saw Rob Schneider at a Dodger/Giant game with full Giant gear on. This was in the field section.

Before he became Mayor of Los Angeles and got to sit next to McCourts, I saw a then just lost the Mayor's race, Antonio Villagarosa with his family, sitting in the Loge level behind home plate. Since I had met him prior to his elected life, we exchanged greetings.

2007-05-02 10:49:33
99.   Jon Weisman
Gonzalez and Kent expected to sit today, I heard last night.
2007-05-02 10:50:06
100.   still bevens
95 Hes a different Penny if you ask me. Far more in command of his breaking pitches, cutting down on trying to blow people away with 95+ heat and generating alot of fouls and surplus pitches. Hes inducing alot more ground balls and getting out of jams with double plays. Hes also cut down on his strikeouts alot, much to the chagrin of my fantasy team.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-05-02 10:50:30
101.   regfairfield
95 I liked that Penny better, he had a strikeout rate over four.
2007-05-02 10:50:41
102.   bhsportsguy
95 I don't think so, this one doesn't try to throw the ball through the backstop on every pitch.

Did anyone else notice that the D-Backs rarely swung on the first few pitches as if the game plan for Penny is to get him to build up a pitch count.

2007-05-02 10:51:28
103.   LA Native
Either Valdez or Betemit is going to be gone soon. Not sure which one. I hate to give up on Betemit and I know he has no options, but how much longer can we wait for his swing to reappear. I'd give him a couple of weeks.

I am getting into the Nomar to third camp, although I sincerely doubt it will happen.
As far as the lineup discussed in #58, I would happen to agree (although I would tinker with the order a bit). That is a better lineup than we are fielding day in and day out, and the defense really isn't any worse, assuming Nomar hasn't lost all ability to play on the left side of the infield.

Strange that this lineup requires no trades. It just would take quite a bit of guts to implement, and I'm not sure we have that at the top w/o a major losing streak taking place to facilitate it.

2007-05-02 10:51:35
104.   bhsportsguy
101 That is why I have to believe this is a deliberate strategy by Penny and Martin because he appears to throw as hard as did last year.
2007-05-02 10:53:31
105.   Branch Rickey
89- Difference from 2nd half of last year is that he is now pounding the strike zone. Still shows flashes of bad Penny like when he gets two quick outs and then walks a guy - two inning in a row. He sometimes overthrows (got it up to 95 a couple of times last night) but now it's usually only when he's going for a strikeout.
2007-05-02 10:54:37
106.   Humma Kavula
It's easy for me to get on board with the lineup in 58, but it's extraordinarily difficult to imagine Pierre getting benched.
2007-05-02 10:56:08
107.   Westernmost in Flavor
85
I've seen Eliza Dushku there. And I've seen Shia LaBeouf there and on the suite level a number of times.
2007-05-02 10:57:32
108.   regfairfield
Problem is that no pitcher can have sustained success with a strikeout rate under four. (Chein-Ming Wang is a fluke and he should decline this year).

When Lowe is going well, he has a strikeout rate around six and he keeps the walks down. Even if Penny becomes a ground ball specialist, he's going to need a strikeout to walk ratio well above what he's doing now.

He's also getting out of way too many jams with double plays. Even the best ground ball guys only induce double plays one out of five times. Penny's at one out of three right now. Combine all of this with an amazingly low line drive rate, and Penny is due for a collapse at some point this season.

2007-05-02 10:58:38
109.   natepurcell
I've seen Eliza Dushku there.

i wonder if shes only there when penny starts.

2007-05-02 10:59:47
110.   Westernmost in Flavor
I don't remember if it was a Penny start but it would make sense
2007-05-02 11:01:01
111.   Humma Kavula
108 I'm convinced... Question -- what do you mean by "collapse?" What level do you believe he'll settle in at?
2007-05-02 11:02:44
112.   dzzrtRatt
107 I haven't been in the dugout club for a few years, but when I was able to go, I saw John Cusack and John C. McGinley.

Many years ago, before they had a dugout club, I sat near home plate behind Norm Crosby. For those too young, Crosby's entire act was based on pretending he was a guy with a great vocabulary who consistently used words incorrectly.

2007-05-02 11:05:49
113.   regfairfield
111 I don't know how accurate this is, but right now his DIPS ERA is 6.27, even with the home run rate of 0.
2007-05-02 11:06:14
114.   Westernmost in Flavor
112
Were those in the Mike Brito section? I heard those seats below the field level were truly awful because the view of every fly ball got blocked by the roof.
2007-05-02 11:07:11
115.   Humma Kavula
113 Yikes.
2007-05-02 11:08:12
116.   regfairfield
113 Whoa, that wasn't right, it's 4.00. If we adjust for a slightly higher home run rate (.47/9) it jumps to 4.71.
2007-05-02 11:08:35
117.   Jon Weisman
112 - The fact that you have to explain Norm Crosby just makes me sad.
2007-05-02 11:09:26
118.   Xeifrank
Via iTD: vr, Xei

Here's the lineup:

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Nomar, 1B
Kent, 2B
Martin, C
Betemit, 3B
Ethier, RF
Clark, LF
Hendrickson, P

2007-05-02 11:09:39
119.   Inside Baseball
99 Kent's in there.

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Nomar, 1B
Kent, 2B
Martin, C
Betemit, 3B
Ethier, RF
Clark, LF
Hendrickson, P

2007-05-02 11:10:14
120.   Bob Timmermann
112
I know funny. And Norm Crosby was funny.

But he was no Jan Murray.

And Jan Murray was no Jackie Vernon.

2007-05-02 11:12:36
121.   Humma Kavula
116 Well, that's not good, but it's not a disaster.

Question -- if the HR rate goes up, is it likely that the K rate will go up as well? Is there any correllation between the two?

2007-05-02 11:15:41
122.   ToyCannon
116
I'm with you, his XERA is 4.02, this Penny is a mirage built on good luck.
2007-05-02 11:17:35
123.   ToyCannon
If we keep claiming that this will be the game that Betemit breaks out do we get credit when it actually happens?
2007-05-02 11:18:51
124.   regfairfield
121 I don't know off the top off my head. I don't think there's any long term correlation, it would depend on what adjustments Penny makes.
2007-05-02 11:19:49
125.   Jon Weisman
If he breaks out today, does Grady Little become the new hitting coach?

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_5797567

2007-05-02 11:20:10
126.   Jon Weisman
125 - was directed at 123, and "he" is Betemit.
2007-05-02 11:21:30
127.   bhsportsguy
I saw John Byner last night on Letterman, there is a good reason why impressionists no longer appear on television. When your act includes doing Ed Sullivan introducing Joe Cocker singing songs from "Wicked", that play wells at Dinner theaters (are there dinner theaters out there anymore?) but not on national television.
2007-05-02 11:21:58
128.   Benaiah
121 - From what I understand K's are correlated with FBs which are correlated with home runs. However, that is kind of a general look at a specific pitcher. Chris Carpenter and Brandon Webb get both k's and GBs, so obviously it is possible.
2007-05-02 11:25:40
129.   scooplew
Doug Davis, Arizona's starting pitcher today, has struck out 114 times in 233 career at bats. It would have been fun to see his circular disc in the old spinner All Star Baseball board game.
2007-05-02 11:26:00
130.   Humma Kavula
124 & 128 - Thanks.
2007-05-02 11:26:36
131.   Westernmost in Flavor
127
Don't tell that to Frank Caliendo
2007-05-02 11:27:16
132.   Xeifrank
FWIW, Dodgers A-Level pitcher Francisco Felix pitched 6 innings, giving up one hit, striking out 5 and walking one batter and has not allowed an earned run over his last 14 innings pitched. vr, Xei
2007-05-02 11:27:58
133.   Jon Weisman
129 - Good one.
2007-05-02 11:29:13
134.   Xeifrank
Today's NL West favorites to win are the Giants, Padres and Dodgers (in that order).
vr, Xei
2007-05-02 11:32:09
135.   jasonungar07
"I know he will get 200 hits for us"

Little on Pierre.

it just drives me crazy.

2007-05-02 11:32:58
136.   Jon Weisman
135 - Why did you only take the first half of his quote?
2007-05-02 11:35:10
137.   Humma Kavula
135 I've been thinking a lot about that quote (the version that appeared in the Times).

Here's the thing -- isn't it the first time that Dodger brass have acknowledged that Pierre will make 500 outs and that's a problem? Sure, Little goes on to suggest that he could make an adjustment and get 250 hits, which is kinda ridiculous, but maybe the way it was phrased represents a subtle shift in how they look at Pierre.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'm reading way too much into it.

2007-05-02 11:41:17
138.   Bob Timmermann
133
In my All-Star Baseball set, Jim Nash had the biggest strikeout sections aka "10"
2007-05-02 11:42:43
139.   Bob Timmermann
Someone makes new discs for All-Star Baseball
http://www.angelfire.com/oh5/kahnnection/
2007-05-02 11:42:59
140.   bhsportsguy
132 He is a 23 year old pitching against guys in their first or second year of pro ball. Not to diminish but that is comparable to guys like Bigbie and Mitch Jones tearing up AAA.
2007-05-02 11:45:35
141.   Humma Kavula
141 Do not be dissing Mitch Jones. Mitch Jones in center!
2007-05-02 11:48:00
142.   D4P
I have to disagree with the contention that Robert Wuhl is a celebrity, but I am someone who really hated "Arliss."

Did Robert Wuhl play the Arliss character? I never watched that show, but I often caught the very end of it right before Cheap Seats. I hated the little bit of it that I saw.

2007-05-02 11:48:54
143.   Benaiah
137 - Since Grady is such a funny guy and Juan Pierre made two fly ball outs yesterday* with the bases loaded, I wonder if it is just a joke. Still it is nice to hear the truth from someone in a position to make a change.

*The article was probably written before those outs.

2007-05-02 11:49:45
144.   jasonungar07
Why? Well it was a little bit of follow up from my post yesterday where I mentioned that it drives me nuts that the dodgers are selling 200 hits so hard. On Diamondvision, in the press and on the radio. It's all I hear; Pierre is good cause he will get 200 hits. When OBP is more important for the type of player he is.

Also I didnt think the rest of the quote added much relevance but I might be wrong. Here it is..

"We know the kid is going to get 200 hits for us. They're going to come in bunches. Sometimes those 450 at-bats he doesn't get hits are going to come in bunches."

2007-05-02 11:49:58
145.   Bob Timmermann
Doug Davis was 1 for 64 in 2004 with 43 Ks. But in 2005, he had 10 hits including 3 doubles and a triple.
Then he slipped back to 3 for 65 last year.
2007-05-02 11:50:02
146.   Jon Weisman
138 - Ralph Garr's "4" is etched in my mind.
2007-05-02 11:50:03
147.   Westernmost in Flavor
142
So you're the one person that watched Cheap Seats
2007-05-02 11:50:42
148.   Jon Weisman
Game thread is open.
2007-05-02 11:51:59
149.   bhsportsguy
142 He played him, does the voiceovers and probably swept out the studio after shooting.

"Arliss" may already be known as the launching pad for Sandra Oh rather than the star vehicle for Wuhl.

I did like Wuhl as the reporter in "Batman." I have not seen "Cobb" so I cannot discuss the differences in his portrayal of another writer.

2007-05-02 11:52:05
150.   Benaiah
144 - I thought this was the quote you were refering to: "You can see how he gets his 200 hits a year. He's also going to make 500 outs." Hitting more groundballs "would give him a better shot at getting 250 hits."
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-05-02 11:53:18
151.   D4P
So you're the one person that watched Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats was hil-arious. I still haven't watched the Cheap Seats Finale-athon, which aired in November. I've got it on tape, but can't get myself to watch it.

2007-05-02 11:53:35
152.   Bob Timmermann
146
Did Ralph Garr fly out a lot?
2007-05-02 11:55:39
153.   Jon Weisman
152 - Isn't "4" singles?
2007-05-02 11:56:10
154.   Daniel Zappala
141 Amen!
2007-05-02 11:56:53
155.   Jon Weisman
144 - It should drive you less crazy that Little is conscious of how many outs Pierre makes.
2007-05-02 12:02:02
156.   ToyCannon
140
Don't mean to be contrary but it really isn't the same at all. The guys you mentioned have been playing professional ball for years while this is only Felix's 2nd year in professional baseball with less then 100 innings. He should only be in A ball right now.
2007-05-02 12:04:15
157.   ToyCannon
145
Is Betemit entering Doug Davis territory? As we enter May, 3b prospects continue to clog up the struggling queue.
2007-05-02 12:10:47
158.   DXMachina
152 - Nope. You're thinking of either 7 or 13. Probably 13. It seemed like some years they gave a lot of the players a really large 13 at the expense of their 7.
2007-05-02 12:12:56
159.   scareduck
Jon -- I can assure you from watching the Cubs last year that Pierre's centerfield misadventures are not some temporary malaise.
2007-05-02 14:18:27
160.   skybluestoday
Saenz!

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