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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

The Unit
2008-07-07 11:05
by Jon Weisman

When the Dodgers got off to a 22-4 start in 1977, Sports Illustrated sent Larry Keith to see why they were so up. A fella by the name of Ron Cey had a lot to do with it.

Among other things, though, there was this detail about playing the Dodger starting eight as a unit throughout Spring Training, which I don't recall ever hearing about.

Lasorda insists the daily lineup card explains everything. "They're winning because they're outstanding," he says. "I'm not surprised by our success at all." Lasorda does admit he may have expedited matters some by working his eight regulars — Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Smith, Cey, Steve Garvey, Monday, Baker and Yeager — as a unit all through spring training. Before the preseason schedule began, Lasorda kept them on their own private practice field, where they got plenty of extra batting practice and could train, he says, like heavyweights preparing for a championship fight. He started the eight in the first intrasquad game and again in the exhibition opener. All spring he played them together and rested them together; they became a single body with eight equal parts. When it was suggested last week that the Mets might want to break the unit up by trading slugger Dave Kingman for Baker, Lasorda replied, "If I have any say, the answer will be no. And I do have the say."

I still suspect the talent thing had more to do with the Dodgers' success, but the anecdote adds to my nostalgia for that team.

Comments (111)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-07-07 11:15:47
1.   bhsportsguy
I recall it only because I recall this article.
2008-07-07 11:17:47
2.   Bob Timmermann
I never recall the Dodgers seriously considering trying to acquire Dave Kingman.

That would have been a disaster.

2008-07-07 11:18:57
3.   bhsportsguy
2 Tommy, what do you think about us acquiring Dave Kingman?
2008-07-07 11:20:31
4.   Eric Stephen
For a second, I thought this post would be about a division rival who got career win #289 yesterday.
2008-07-07 11:21:17
5.   Jon Weisman
I recall the Dodger starting eight used to do their pregame jog from the left-field line to center field together. I think Tommy started that. But I wasn't aware it was part of a larger program.
2008-07-07 11:21:40
6.   dzzrtRatt
It would have changed the course of sports journalism history if Kingman had become a Dodger.

Night after night, some scribe would have asked Lasorda his opinion of Kingman's performance, and...

2008-07-07 11:22:30
7.   Bob Timmermann
Although I would like to see a modern day meeting between Kingman and Simers.

I'd buy a ticket to watch that.

2008-07-07 11:24:44
8.   Marty
But they couldn't beat the damn Yankees.
2008-07-07 11:24:56
9.   Eric Enders
It would probably end the same way the Jim Rome-Jim Everett meeting did.
2008-07-07 11:25:14
10.   Marty
Kingman would have had a rat with Simers' name on it.
2008-07-07 11:26:25
11.   underdog
Yep, Tommy Lasorda would've been one long Rule 1 violation if Kingman's Performance had become a part of the Dodgers under his watch. Tres amusing to think.


Hey, according to the Boston Herald (and MLB Trade Rumors), the Red Sox are still looking for an heir to Jason Varitek; apparently the Sox have inquired about catching prospects. The Rangers are considered to have the game's largest surplus at the position.

Since people had mentioned Lucas May in previous thread discussing a Jack Wilson trade, would the Red Sox be interested in May? (Not Santana!) And who do they have the Dodgers might be interested in (not Julio Lugo!)

2008-07-07 11:26:40
12.   gibsonhobbs88
1 - This was kind of my point from the prior thread. When talking about Ethier, I had only meant it in the sense that his bad month could have been partially attributed to his being in the lineup 1 or 2 days then out 2 days then in and out depending on the opposing pitcher. I was just commenting on Torre saying "For some reason, our no.2 hitter got into a groove." I'm just saying it's easier to get into a rhythm or a groove and stay hot when you are getting consistent at bats, that's all. I know all hitters go through their peaks and valleys, it's just easier to stay in a good groove when you get to play evryday, that is why it was aggravating early in the season when Ethier was going real well that he stopped getting the playing time when he was still smoking the ball. When he was coling his hide on the bench for 6 games out of 8 in one stretch is when is bat started to cool off.
2008-07-07 11:27:06
13.   bhsportsguy
Jeff Francoeur got to spend the weekend in AA, he has been recalled today.
2008-07-07 11:27:28
14.   underdog
I should've read the last, oh, 7 posts here, before posting my first sentence above. Ah well.
2008-07-07 11:28:10
15.   Marty
13 I had no idea he had a drinking problem
2008-07-07 11:28:40
16.   Eric Stephen
The Dodgers most common lineup was used 51 times in 1977. For comparison, the most common lineup in 2007 was used 14 times.

In 2005, the most common was used just 7 times.

2008-07-07 11:28:54
17.   Alex41592
13 - And he's not happy with the Braves right now.

2008-07-07 11:29:30
18.   Eric Enders
11 The Red Sox are unlikely to want to make the third-best catcher in the Dodgers organization their catcher of the future. They might be interested in Santana, though.

But I suspect they'll probably be dealing with the Rangers. Those two teams have already made one major deal in the last year. And you gotta love the marketing possibilities of Boston having a catcher named MaxRam.

2008-07-07 11:30:19
19.   underdog
Jeff Francoeur has been recalled from his minor league demotion for the Braves in time to play vs. Dodgers tonight. Whether or not he worked out whatever his issues were remains to be seen, but hopefully it won't be seen the next few days.
2008-07-07 11:31:19
20.   gibsonhobbs88
12-This article from 77 I mean- Your best 8 players getting the lion's share of the playing time. That 77 team was phenomenal only the Damn Yankees got in their way of a title. Still a great team!!
2008-07-07 11:31:22
21.   Eric Enders
Jacksonville cuts the deficit to 3-1 thanks to a butcher boy single by Kershaw.
2008-07-07 11:31:48
22.   underdog
18 They don't have to know he's third best catcher; he can appear to be the second best after Martin. Shhhh! Don't tell them.

But you're probably right that a Rangers-Sox trade would be more likely.

19 I need to get a faster server or something.

{{slinks back to work}}

2008-07-07 11:31:57
23.   Bob Hendley
12 - I don't believe that Torre actually ever said that. But, your point well taken.
2008-07-07 11:32:17
24.   BlueCrew Bruin
Random question here: Does anyone know at what age kids are required to have a ticket for a Dodger game? Thanks in advance.
2008-07-07 11:33:06
25.   bhsportsguy
12 Then how do explain Matt Kemp's bad month.

I believe there is a tendency at times by some to downplay what managements says but I tend to at least try to meet it halfway. Loney is beginning to go the other way more, his key double to left in yesterday's game was not a lob shot down the line but a soundly hit ball to left.

And Ethier was primarily sitting against lefties, on this trip he faced mostly righties outside of Zito and one of the Houston pitchers.

Again, I don't want to disregard the playing everyday element and perhaps it works for Ethier in particular but there lots of examples on the Dodgers where just getting your name in the lineup guarantees consistent performance for both young and old.

2008-07-07 11:34:31
26.   fanerman
12 23 Yeah I'm confused...
2008-07-07 11:34:46
27.   Eric Enders
24 3 and under are free as long as they don't use a seat.
2008-07-07 11:35:45
28.   BlueCrew Bruin
27 Cool, thanks a lot.
2008-07-07 11:35:48
29.   Xeifrank
Matt Kemp has a BABIP of .383. Last year it was .417. These are very high numbers. Last years total was buoyed by an infield hit rate of 16.3. This year his infield hit rate is down to 7.1%, but his LD% is an astonishing 25.7% (17.5% last year). Kemp's strikeout rate is 29.6% (6th-highest in NL) this year which is very high. If he were to cut down on his strikeouts, he would be an even more special player than many already think he is.
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 11:37:07
30.   Linkmeister
fanerman @ #180 in the previous thread, there is a Dodger Thoughts Flickr Group:

2008-07-07 11:38:22
31.   Eric Stephen
To complete the Braves roster news:

Franceour, SS Brent Lillibridge, RP Vladimir Nuñez called up; IF Omar Infante, P Jeff Bennett, and RP Manny Acosta all to the DL.

2008-07-07 11:39:55
32.   Bob Hendley
26 - Jason was teasing. My favorite line from the Day that Disco Died": "No teasing"?
2008-07-07 11:40:29
33.   JoeyP
I'm not sure how anyone could state its bad for a player to get consistent ABs.

At the very least, you get a larger sample and then can make conclusions on how well the player really is.

2008-07-07 11:40:55
34.   fanerman
30 Thanks Linkmeister.
2008-07-07 11:40:56
35.   Eric Enders
Kershaw cruised through the next three innings after his bad one. He's now gone 5 IP, 2 ER, and is still losing 3-1.
2008-07-07 11:41:54
36.   bhsportsguy
33 Did I say that? All I said is that it must be very specifc for Ethier because it certainly doesn't work in every case.
2008-07-07 11:43:56
37.   dzzrtRatt
My brother, let's call him BrisbaneRatt, lives outside of SF and roots hard for the Giants. His children stage hangings in effigy for Dodgers. He watched the weekend series and here is what he said:

"Why are the Dodgers so determined to trade Kemp? He looks like he could be a superstar....very scary to have him batting leadoff. The Dodgers definitely have a good lineup. Frankly, a reflection I would have from the weekend is that this team is seriously underachieving. They should be playing much better than their record. I guess the second thought would be that they should run away with it in the second half. Maybe the starting pitching is a little eh. Stults pitched well, though. That Chinese guy in the bullpen had a lot to do with LA taking the series...he is a very tough pitcher. It's like he comes in and puts some sort of chemical retardent on the Giants.

"What I was saying about the Giants is that their season has been the opposite of what everyone thinks about this team. The offense has been decent, actually. They don't have any boppers, but when they have Lewis, Winn, Durham, Molina, Rowand, Bowker, Burriss, Castillo and Aurilia all going, they can score some runs, and in a very exciting fashion. True, it may not be showing promise "for the future," since it is mostly vets; but Lewis and Burriss (ss) and maybe Bowker have probably proven themselves as everyday players. So, that's three, plus Rowand and I'd hang on to Molina until he just can't do it anymore.

"And, the bullpen has been unreliable...some very good performances, but overall, only slightly better than last year's disaster. So, they are shuffling in a bunch of new guys from the minors. I tell you, it kills Giants fans to see that Joe Nathan was selected to the AL Allstar team for about the 4th or 5th time."

Yeah. Joe Nathan. It's good for Ned to keep his mind focused on Joe Nathan when he thinks about this or any other trading deadline.

2008-07-07 11:45:33
38.   JoeyP
And Ethier was primarily sitting against lefties, on this trip he faced mostly righties outside of Zito and one of the Houston pitchers.

He faced 3 lefties out of the 7 games played:

Zito, Jonathan Sanchez, and Wandy Rodriguez.

2008-07-07 11:46:50
39.   fanerman
Chemical Retardant... so that's G/K's secret.
2008-07-07 11:48:06
40.   Xeifrank
>> It's like he comes in and puts some sort of chemical retardent on the Giants.

That's a great description. He's been doing it to the whole league. The Dodgers have a very formidable late inning bullpen (if used correctly) in Beimel/Guo/Broxton/Saito.
vr, Xei

2008-07-07 11:50:49
41.   Eric Enders
I reject the Ethier argument.

Basically, my standard is this: If it's an argument I would reject as silly if used on behalf of Juan Pierre, then I can't very well accept the argument on behalf of other players. If someone were arguing that the reason Juan Pierre stinks is because he wasn't getting regular playing time, I'd laugh in their face.

I think it's random fluctuation. The fact that two things happen at the same time (Ethier starts playing/Ethier starts hitting) does not necessarily mean it's cause and effect.

Since coming to the major leagues, the month when Ethier started the fewest games was July 2007. That was also the best month of his career, with a .383/.471/.550 line.

The month in which Ethier started the second-fewest games was June 2006. In that month he batted .344/.368/.453.

2008-07-07 11:52:38
42.   underdog
I'm still not convinced the Dodgers are "determined to trade Matt Kemp" as much as that other teams always ask about him. I got the sense that he was pretty near untouchable. But obviously there's still a perception out there...

But nice write-up from Brother Ratt.

2008-07-07 11:53:15
43.   Eric Stephen
So, it comes down to: Ethier should play every day because he's good; not Ethier should play every day so he can be good/better.
2008-07-07 11:55:06
44.   Bob Hendley
42 - Wouldn't that be "Itchy Brother"?
2008-07-07 11:55:33
45.   Eric Enders
The Dodgers have definitely gone out of their way to give the impression that they're determined to trade Kemp. That could be because they are determined to trade Kemp, but my suspicion is that they're really doing it to light a fire under Kemp, that spreading these rumors is their idea of a motivational tool.
2008-07-07 11:55:37
46.   JoeyP
Did I say that? All I said is that it must be very specifc for Ethier because it certainly doesn't work in every case

I think it "works" in every case. If you give a player consistent Abs, you'll find out much sooner what kind of player he is rather than later. Blake Dewitt has been given rather consistent ABs. We have a very good understanding of how good of player he is right now--> unfortunately isnt very good.

Now is the time to give those consistent Abs to LaRoche.

Ethier, it could be argued, needs consistent ABs too because the team really doesnt know exactly what type of player he is. Is he a 3, or really a 3.5?

At any rate, the club is certainly benefitting from his getting ABs over Pierre.

2008-07-07 11:55:48
47.   fanerman
41 I always thought the argument for Pierre is that his game is only worthwhile is if he's out there every single day. Not that he gets better by playing every single day. But then again, I never understood the argument (or tried very hard to).
2008-07-07 11:55:51
48.   Eric Enders
43 Exactly.
2008-07-07 11:56:14
49.   bhsportsguy
41 Eric said it better than me but that is basically my argument.
2008-07-07 11:58:40
50.   Bob Timmermann
Off topic:
The TV market with the highest overnight Nielsen rating for the Wimbledon men's final was in St. Louis.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-07-07 11:58:50
51.   Eric Enders
Final line on Kershaw: 6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K.
2008-07-07 12:00:08
52.   JoeyP
So, it comes down to: Ethier should play every day because he's good; not Ethier should play every day so he can be good/better.

I dont agree with the 2nd part. If this were true, then young players would never be able to break into the lineup consistently because they'd have no history of "being good".

The only way to prove your good is to play everyday and perform. Thats exactly why you play your young players over PVL, with the hope they'll prove their worth and get better.

2008-07-07 12:01:07
53.   bhsportsguy
46 But what if he's just going through that period when the league has adjusted?

If this was one of the chosen ones, many here would be saying to let it play out, don't rush to conclusions.

If you want to use the argument that LaRoche is better and he should play, well then unfortunately for Andy, he is going to do something like Ryan Howard did a few years ago and have just insane games that overwhelm people.

Now, how he does that in the limited amount of games he plays in will be difficult but fate has dealt him that hand, DeWitt right now is the chip leader, not saying Andy has to go all in but he better hope to get some good cards.

2008-07-07 12:01:09
54.   Xeifrank
52. I think it should be both, but mostly part one.
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 12:02:38
55.   Eric Enders
52 "young players would never be able to break into the lineup consistently because they'd have no history of "being good"."

But they do have a history of being good. A long one, usually. Which is exactly why they're in the majors in the first place.

2008-07-07 12:05:59
56.   dzzrtRatt
47 I wonder if it's occuring to Pierre's fans in the Dodger brass and the media how much better the Dodgers are playing now without Pierre, despite the continued absence of Furcal?

I wish nothing but the best for Pierre's knee and other body parts. But I dread his return, and more than that I dread how the resumption of mediocre play after he returns is going to be blamed on everyone but him and the manager who insists on playing him.

I'm going to hope that the reason Torre got so attached to Pierre was his attitude, and that in the current period, he's seeing a comparable attitude from the players who would have to sit if Pierre was reinstalled in the lineup. More games like Sunday's could change this team's destiny.

2008-07-07 12:10:56
57.   bhsportsguy
56 One week or one month will not change anyone's mind on this topic. Sorry to be such a wet blanket on this but I don't see it.
2008-07-07 12:11:39
58.   cargill06
just bored, killing time...

here are the dodger's ops' the last 28 days

loney .988
kemp .714
ethier .864
young .650
martin .847
kent .827
maza .483
berroa .503
laroche .681
dewitt .388
pierre .577

so if nomar and andruw jones can come back play a decent amount of games give us a .700+ OPS, the line-up looks pretty good. even better if joe stops platooning laroche and makes him the everyday 3b, right now dewitt is killing our offense.

2008-07-07 12:12:08
59.   madmac
does the fact that Jack Wilson is a local guy who still lives in Thousand Oaks add to anyone interest in having him on the Dodgers. Sometimes that can really boost a guy into an extra gear for a semi short period of time, say half a season.
2008-07-07 12:12:32
60.   dzzrtRatt
DeWitt's attitude is what keeps him in the lineup.

I think I've got a piece of Torre figured out. Grady Little played people because of some misguided idea of trying to be fair to everyone and to keep players like LuGo from getting too grouchy and contaminating the clubhouse.

Torre plays people because he or his coaches observe that they have the "right attitude," exemplified by how closely they listen to them and emulate the behavior of players Joe favors. On the positive side, it's pretty easy to go from Joe's doghouse to his living room. DeWitt figured it out from day one, as did Pierre. I think Kemp is starting to get it, and I hope the same can be said for LaRoche.

The "I consult the stats and play the best players, considering the matchups" style of managing has not been seen in the history of LA Dodger baseball. If it ever did, what the hell would that be like?

2008-07-07 12:13:38
61.   Bob Hendley
56 - How this plays out will depend upon how long they keep wheeling Druw out there. The other issue would be JP's order in the line-up when he does play.
2008-07-07 12:15:34
62.   Eric Enders
BP's Christina Kahrl on the third base situation:
"It's complicated enough that the team has its warm fuzzy for Blake DeWitt, but if you asked them in November or January or in the abstract who should play third base in a choice between DeWitt and Andy LaRoche, the answer should have never changed: LaRoche. While injury and a hot streak by DeWitt might have briefly muddled that particular picture, that answer still has to be the same. Nothing has changed in terms of the relevant skills of the players involved, but sentiment's getting in the way of what should be a relatively cold-blooded and sensible management decision."
2008-07-07 12:16:43
63.   dzzrtRatt
57 But wouldn't going, say, 20-10 during that stretch cause Torre to think twice about his crackpot idea that Pierre should start over Kemp or Ethier? If they play .500 then there's no argument to be made. But what if they play their best ball of the season, proving Pierre's everyday lineup presence is not the advantage Torre thinks it is?
2008-07-07 12:17:03
64.   fanerman
56 57 I'm inclined to agree with bhsportsguy here, but I'm also hoping that just by winning in the near future, we can avoid making a silly trade, especially if we can still win while not at full strength as our starting LF is injured...
2008-07-07 12:17:29
65.   LogikReader

Amusing quote, if not a rule 1 violation. I thought Jim Tracy might have set lineups based on stats, but it might have been more about "how did player x do against such and such pitcher?" with small sample sizes.

Or I could be wrong altogether.

2008-07-07 12:17:42
66.   blue22
60 - Kemp plays every single day, and was even slotted immediately in CF post-Andruw despite the presence of Juan Pierre. And despite of how well he "fits" there, Torre didn't hesitate putting him in the lead-off spot.

If Joe doesn't like Kemp (or hasn't, at any point in the year), I certainly don't see how that has manifested itself on the playing field.

2008-07-07 12:18:40
67.   Eric Enders
59 "does the fact that Jack Wilson is a local guy who still lives in Thousand Oaks add to anyone interest in having him on the Dodgers. Sometimes that can really boost a guy into an extra gear for a semi short period of time, say half a season."

I'm going to throw this into the myth/superstition category unless someone can show otherwise. You'll find some anecdotal examples, but for every example you name I can name a counter-example like Darryl Strawberry or Mike Lieberthal.

Baseball players are either good or not good, and I don't think that changes based on whether they're playing in their hometown.

2008-07-07 12:22:38
68.   madmac
67 right, I was going to add that sometime the opposite is true, but left that off. Still, even if output was the same, would him being a local guy make it more appealing?
2008-07-07 12:23:01
69.   Bob Timmermann
If every baseball player played better in his hometown, there would be lots of World Series won by the Dodgers, Angels, DBacks, Rays, and Marlins.
2008-07-07 12:24:35
70.   bhsportsguy
62 Of course, Christina (not a Ned fan in any way shape or form) thought the Berroa deal was okay based upon the low cost and risk and thinks that the Dodgers can survive within but going for someone like Jack Wilson or Jhonny Peralta would not be a bad deal.
2008-07-07 12:25:02
71.   Eric Stephen
Right now my favorite Dodgers are from Ohio, Montreal, Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. I guess if two players were of equal value, I'd prefer the local guy, but other than that it doesn't matter to me.
2008-07-07 12:25:12
72.   madmac
I did say sometimes and over a short period. Not everyone and not all the time.
2008-07-07 12:25:18
73.   PHilldodger
67 Correct on the hometown thing. There are so many major leaguers from Southern California, you're likely to find a lengthy list of guys who did well and poorly upon "going back" to LAA, LAD or San Diego.
As for Wilson, himself, I'm not against getting him if the Dodgers give up nothing of consequence on the MLB roster, if it doesn't mean that Nomar automatically starts every game at third despite what his performance might dictat, and if the Dodgers are willing to eat the money Wilson is owed next year to find a better shortstop.
2008-07-07 12:26:00
74.   Jon Weisman
57 - What's your explanation for Pierre not starting when the season began? Just Torre trying to show who's boss?
2008-07-07 12:26:13
75.   bhsportsguy
63 The Dodgers had their hot streak in 2006 with Julio Lugo in the lineup and that didn't lessen the feelings of those who wanted him to sit on the bench.
2008-07-07 12:28:02
76.   Scanman33
31-Wow...a Vladimir Nunez blast from the past.
2008-07-07 12:28:39
77.   CodyS
Matt Kemp is Rickey Henderson through 6 games of leading off. .280/.419/.440 with 3 SB and 4 runs scored. That "fits" pretty nicely.
2008-07-07 12:28:46
78.   bhsportsguy
74 Initially, he wanted to get the streak out of the way. But it never was like Pierre sat for 4-5 days at a time. It was 3 guys playing 2 spots.
2008-07-07 12:29:04
79.   Bob Timmermann
When the Dodgers first came to L.A., they liked to play up the local angle on players. Guys like Drysdale and the Sherry brothers fit the bill.

However, most people in L.A. aren't from L.A. They don't care too much about hometown heroes. Who knows who they are anyway? Do people know now which Dodgers are from Southern California? (Kent, Garciaparra, Young, and Falkenborg are the locals. But Falkenborg was just born out here and lives in Washington. And Kent lives in Texas. Which leaves Nomar and Pee Wee.) The Dodgers are definitely not like teams like the Reds, who are quite keen on having a local hero.

The local guy angle is really only a factor if you're trying to draw fans. But few markets have fans that care where the players are from. They just want to have good players.

2008-07-07 12:37:57
80.   Eric Enders
Kershaw is off the hook as the Suns score the tying run on a bases loaded walk by Juan Gonzalez.
2008-07-07 12:45:39
81.   bhsportsguy
79 That said, if he is playing tonight, he will get the biggest cheers (we know who will get booed)?
2008-07-07 12:53:03
82.   Eric Stephen
Master of the walk-off Gabe Gross due up 5th in the 9th for the Rays, down 3-2 to KC.
2008-07-07 12:54:10
83.   Bob Timmermann
Gabe Gross is hoping to pull off the unlikely double of getting playoff bonuses from both the Brewers and Rays.
2008-07-07 12:56:41
84.   Bob Timmermann
xeifrank rejoices!
2008-07-07 12:57:16
85.   Alex41592
Carlos Pena homers off Soria 3-3 Bot 9.
2008-07-07 12:57:27
86.   Xeifrank
84. woo-hoo!!!!
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 12:58:50
87.   Eric Stephen
Bob, has Noah sullied your taste for all things Joakim? Or does the KC cloer escape your wrath?
2008-07-07 13:01:53
88.   KG16
53 - I concur.

DeWitt is going to get some time to see if he can come out of his slump - as well he (or any other young player) should.

While I've been a booster of DeWitt's, I'm also looking forward to seeing what LaRoche can do. I don't want to see either of them short changed.

2008-07-07 13:02:00
89.   Eric Stephen
or "closer".
2008-07-07 13:02:20
90.   Gilberto Reyes
That 1977 SI article brings back a lot of good memories of my youth. I was 12 years old and I remember the Dodgers rivalry with the Big Red Machine being bigger than any other. The verbal wars between Tommy and Sparky added to the fire. I hated the Reds and used to trade away all my Cincinnati baseball cards. Kind of funny how I was giving away future hall of fame type player cards like Bench, Rose, and Morgan for a Lance Rautzhan.
2008-07-07 13:02:51
91.   Xeifrank
Free baseball in Tampa Bay.
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 13:03:24
92.   Alex41592
Free baseball in Tampa as Gabe Gross K's with a runner on second.
2008-07-07 13:04:13
93.   Xeifrank
87. I don't think Joakim and Noah in the same sentence makes it past Bob's filter. You will have to use the secret code words or pig-latin for him to answer.
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 13:04:32
94.   Neal Pollack
I also fear the return of Pierre, particularly if Jones stays on the active roster and Torre insists on playing DeWitt over LaRoche. The only way that could work is if DeWitt becomes, essentially, our utility infielder and Pierre starts in Jones' place, batting eighth where he can't really hurt us.

But Torre isn't that dumb, is he? How could he possibly justify batting Pierre leadoff over Kemp?

2008-07-07 13:06:54
95.   Xeifrank
94. 1st, 8th or 9th, there is no place to hide a bad hitter. It hurts pretty much the same no matter where they bat. I'm not saying that Pierre is a bad hitter, I will let the math speak for itself. :)
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 13:07:02
96.   Alex41592
From Diamond:

The flavor of the day in trade talks seems to be Indians third baseman Casey Blake, according to I bring this up because on a day yesterday when it was learned the Dodgers lost out on acquiring Cleveland ace C.C. Sabathia, Joe Torre had this to say before the game about trade talks: "I don't think there's going to be a franchise guy available to you at this juncture...When you see Cleveland struggling, and you know there's going to be free agents, that seems to be the hot club to talk to." Blake is a free agent at season's end.

The Dodgers are need of infield help since Nomar Garciaparra isn't expected to be able to play every day. Torre, who will give Garciaparra days off, had a nice quote on that situation as well.

"It's sort of a prophylactic measure," he said. "You like that one, huh? It fits him. It's trying to be safe."

2008-07-07 13:10:22
97.   Xeifrank
Leverage index is off the chart in Tampa Bay right now. vr, Xei
2008-07-07 13:10:34
98.   Alex41592
John Buck hits the pole 6-3 Royals Top 10.
2008-07-07 13:10:55
99.   Xeifrank
uh-oh, 3 run homer off the foul pole.
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 13:11:43
100.   Alex41592
Back to Back Aviles 7-3.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-07-07 13:12:20
101.   Xeifrank
100. Well, if you are going to lose, you mind as well go out in style. :) Off to NY.
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 13:17:54
102.   Gilberto Reyes
100 ESPN currently has Tampa on top of it's latest Power Rankings with this comment...

"Dan Wheeler (1.82 ERA) hasn't allowed a home run in his last 18 appearances, spanning 16 1/3 innings pitched."

Well he just allowed two back-to-back bombs to cost them today's ballgame!

2008-07-07 13:18:55
103.   Eric Stephen
Gabe Gross can only bat in the 10th down one with the bases loaded.
2008-07-07 13:19:47
104.   Xeifrank
102. haha! The Rays miss Troy Percival and his BABIP against of .197.
vr, Xei
2008-07-07 13:25:00
105.   fiddlestick
Has anyone made Broxton aware that he comes either perilously close to balking or actually balks on every pitch he throws? He pretty much comes set twice, once high, then lower on every pitch.

It would be horrible for a "gotcha" call to happen at a crucial point in a game.
2008-07-07 13:28:20
106.   Jon Weisman
2008-07-07 13:29:36
107.   ToyCannon
Grant Balfour has been very good for the Rays and has made the absence of Troy easier to handle. I've followed him for years and just when I figured he was toast he resurfaces and gives a huge lift the Rays.
2008-07-07 13:29:47
108.   bablue

I find it really perplexing that people keep supporting playing Dewitt. He's had 271 PA to show what he's got, and he's shown he's not ready. One little spot of the season excepted, he's been awful. Not to mention Laroche has shown in the minors that he is a MUCH better player. In a tight race for the division we can't afford to let Dewitt keep hurting us, as that could cost us our season. Dewitt had his chance, now please let it be Andy's turn and let Dewitt develop in the minors.

2008-07-07 14:01:12
109.   Howard Fox
Torre is easy to read. He "falls in love" with a player, and that player plays...good bad or indifferent...until Torre falls out of love. Then that player sits.

He loves AJones, so he plays and bats 5th. When Torre was with the Yankees, he fell out of love with ARod and he batted 8th.

That is how he manages, not much more scientific than that.

2008-07-07 15:51:44
110.   Eric Ferrari
FYI to all... on ESPN radio 710, Mason and Ireland are discussing the worst signing in LA history. To no surprise, Jason Schmidt and Andruw Jones are leading the way. This segment on ESPN radio is brought to you by Ned Colletti.
2008-07-07 15:54:43
111.   Eric Ferrari
People absolutely love LaRoche on this blog more than anywhere else ? What has he done to earn all of your collective admiration ? Just a question.....

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