Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Dodger Thoughts

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

09  08  07 
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

Disaster or Stroke of Genius?
2008-07-20 06:52
by Jon Weisman

Ever since I heard journeyman Jason Johnson would be starting for the Dodgers in Colorado on Tuesday, I've been wondering is there could be a hidden reason why the team's umpteenth best pitcher would be handed the ball at this stage of the season.

Would Clayton Kershaw, James McDonald or Jonathan Meloan be better? Would Brad Penny, who had a pain-free 40 pitches the other day, be a more valuable addition to the roster even if throwing for only a couple of innings?

Here are some Devil's Advocate (or Angel's Advocate, if you prefer) points on JJJ's behalf: 3.82 ERA, 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.28 groundout-airout ratio this season in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League. By comparison, Eric Stults, whom I've backed as a legitimate 2008 option and who will start at Colorado on Monday, had this resume: 3.59 ERA, 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings, 1.04 GB-air ratio.

McDonald has had a fine season in AA Jacksonville, including a nearly 9.0 K/9, but his groundout ratio is 0.69. Given that you probably don't want him making his first major-league start in Colorado, it makes sense to pass on him at least for this start. Similar issues affect Meloan.

A good case can be made for Kershaw. I'd be up to see what he could do. But I'm not heartbroken over waiting. If Johnson gets bombed, we might see Kershaw, who hasn't allowed an earned run in his past two starts for the Suns, real soon.

And of course, you could just start the game with Hong-Chih Kuo, whose qualifications I shouldn't have to detail at this point.

In any case, the best strategy might be something radical that I'd not normally endorse. Instead of activating Mark Sweeney (which is pretty much plan Z in any good strategy anyway), the Dodgers could use their bullpen depth as a strength and throw the entire staff at the Rockies. Play matchups. Tell your pitchers not to hold back on their stuff in the hopes of coaxing an extra inning out.

In other words, whether or not JJJ is the right choice, lighten his burden as much as possible. The pitcher that gets sent down to make room for Mark Sweeney will actually be more valuable next week.

Update: Good guy alert - Johnson is one, according to Ken Gurnick of "He pitches with an insulin pump, is a true role model to countless diabetics and a tireless charity worker."

2008-07-20 07:01:49
1.   Ken Noe
Johnson is a veteran and he's "been there," while the others are seen as needing to come along slowly. Hu's problems and DeWitt's slide might reinforce that fear of bringing people up too soon. Or it could be that they don't want Kershaw to pitch in Denver. Anyway, I'm okay with it for now. The question to me was Jones' pinch-hit--what a weak bench, and Sweeney will help none. Maybe instead of pursuing Jack Wilson or CC, Ned should have considered Clark or Stairs. He probably assumes he'll have Kemp or Ethier on the bench when JP returns.
2008-07-20 07:03:41
2.   D4P
Greg Norman has bogeyed the first 3 holes, and now trails Harrington by one.
2008-07-20 07:43:47
3.   Bob Timmermann
I think Clark or Stairs would expect to get occasional starts and not just pinch hit.

And the Dodgers don't have an opening at first base. Loney has shown that he doesn't need a caddy. And Stairs is an outfielder.

2008-07-20 07:45:17
4.   D4P
And Clark isn't very good any more.
2008-07-20 07:49:08
5.   Bob Timmermann
If you want to get all technical about it ...

Actually, Clark just started one game in the field this year. And it lasted 22 innings.

2008-07-20 07:55:15
6.   timm
Why are they taking a chance on messing with the pitching (their strength) to bring back a guy that has done nothing but collect a check?
2008-07-20 08:00:55
7.   Jon Weisman
Kerwin Danley update:

2008-07-20 08:22:16
8.   Paul Scott
You didn't give us enough time to rant about Torre being an idiot. I think you need to repost the previous thread. ;)
2008-07-20 08:23:20
9.   Jon Weisman
2008-07-20 08:23:33
10.   Bumsrap
The Dodgers bench is short because they use three closers: Broxton, Maya, and Berroa.
2008-07-20 08:23:43
11.   Jon Weisman
8 - You had an entire week!
2008-07-20 08:51:55
12.   Ken Noe
3 4 Sweeney was also getting occasional starts at first earlier in the year and may again. And while Clark isn't the Tony of old, he's Babe Ruth next to Sweeney.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.