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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
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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Price's Postseason: What Might Have Been for Kershaw and the Dodgers
2008-10-20 20:41
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Two scenarios, not the same but not so different...

Tampa Bay rookie David Price, 23 years old with 15 innings of major-league experience, faces J.D. Drew while trying to protect a two-run lead in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. Drew goes down on a 1-2 pitch that looked outside. (Was it an unchecked swing?) Price closes out the game. A nation celebrates Rays manager Joe's confidence in the kid.

Los Angeles rookie Clayton Kershaw, 20 years old with 109 2/3 innings of major-league experience, faces Ryan Howard while trying to protect a one-run lead in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. Howard walks on a 3-2 pitch that seems to capture a chunk of the strike zone. Kershaw gives up a single and a sacrifice and is pulled. A nation mocks Dodger manager Joe's confidence in the kid.

Whatmighthavebeens are the devil's plaything, and I would start with Rafael Furcal's error in NLCS Game 1 anyway. But if Kershaw gets that strike-three call on Howard ... I sigh just thinking about it.

Comments (55)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-10-20 20:48:16
1.   Bob Timmermann
And Cory Wade is the younger, black version of Dan Wheeler.
2008-10-20 20:54:25
2.   Bob Timmermann
This thread is officially on John Greenleaf Whittier watch also.
2008-10-20 21:00:22
3.   underdog
October, Month of a Thousand Sighs.

--

Speaking of sighs, just caught last night's Mad Men.

That Greg, I don't like the cut of his jib.

But good for you, Peggy, way to get a new office.

2008-10-20 21:01:41
4.   underdog
(Yes, those were two unrelated plot threads.)

Another chilling, but great episode.

2008-10-20 21:11:37
5.   Branch Rickey
Thanks for mentioning Duncan being inducted into the Dominican Hall of Fame. That's great for him. He's a good guy and an important part of the team. As the only coach fluent in Spanish and one of only two coaches who could identify Andre Ethier by sight before this year, he played an especially important part this year in helping Torre and co. learn the team. He's also quick to take on any fight verbal or otherwise to make sure our players don't have to.
2008-10-20 21:22:35
6.   JRSarno
Hey, it is what it is. What bothers me are little blurb columns on ESPN.com, to wit: "The Dodgers' once-perfect bullpen collapsed in Game 4, and it all began when Joe Torre went to rookie Clayton Kershaw." Did he have a stellar outing? No. Was it his fault entirely? No. I, for one, can get illogically critical of the Dodgers as a result of my unbridled love for the organization, but Clayton has a lot of great years in front of him. I'm proud to have him on our team.
2008-10-20 21:40:48
7.   fracule
5 Don't mean to take away from your nice tribute, but has Manny Mota left the team? You called Duncan the only Spanish speaking coach, that's why I ask.
2008-10-20 21:43:11
8.   bhsportsguy
7 Mota is not an "official" coach in the sense that he is not allowed on the bench during games and cannot wear his uniform once the game starts.
2008-10-20 21:44:50
9.   fracule
8 Ahh. Gracias.
2008-10-20 21:45:49
10.   PDH5204
Jon, it was an "unchecked swing". The umpire pointed at Drew rather shortly after ringing him up [no need for the 3B ump on that one].

As regards the comparison, first, it's a 1.93 ERA and 0.93 WHIP versus a 4.26 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The former may be skewed by small sample size, but it's still more reassuring than the latter. More important is the game circumstance. Kershaw comes in with the whole pen still intact. When Price came in, it was either Price or EJax or Miller, or Kazmir [as he was down in the pen]. It wasn't going to be Miller, since even with small sample size, JD's 3 for 6 with a HR doesn't inspire much confidence. EJax doesn't give the L v. L thing and that's almost beside the point, what with JD's 6 for 14 against EJax. Kaz was there for emergency purposes and, apparently, bases loaded with two gone in the 8th isn't an emergency. In other words, I understand why Joe spoke of having confidence in his man, but the truth is simply that Price was all that was left for the occasion.

The intriguing aspect here, well, if one buys into the need to have a "classic" or "true" closer, the Rays don't have one. So maybe now Price closes during the WS since he's the closest thing the Rays have to a "classic" or "true" closer.

2008-10-20 22:02:48
11.   LogikReader
I don't know Jon. I feel like the Phillies really got a lot of breaks the entire series. Is it just me? I also feel like all those breaks are going to catch up with them at once. We'll have to wait until Game 1 to find out.
2008-10-20 22:17:14
12.   Bob Hendley
That ump had a strike zone that took Lowe a while to adjust to, but he started nailing it in the fifth. Tough situation, ump-wise, to bring Clayton into, IMO.
2008-10-20 22:23:10
13.   68elcamino427
Dodgers hitters had some raked line drives go right at 2b and 3b defenders in the last two games.

Are umpires created to drive people crazy?
Especially the ones like Angel Hernandez and Gary Darling?

2008-10-20 23:07:37
14.   Linkmeister
Meh. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride. I'd like to have seen 60% of the runners we left in scoring position cross the plate; that way we might not have seen the situation Kershaw was faced with. Our cleanup guys were 3 - 27 for the series.
2008-10-20 23:27:39
15.   Giant Hater
I've only ever posted here once or twice but I've been an avid reader of this site for a number of years and tonight I feel compelled to contribute something. Being an avid fan of the Dodgers yet living in SF, I really don't find many Dodger fans to talk to about the team. And after this series loss against the Phillies, I've had to endure not only from the media but Giant fan everywhere proclaiming how much better the Phillies are than the Dodgers. And I couldn't disagree more.

I know this is a simplistic analysis but stats aside I think these generalities are true. This Philly team in my belief has a critical weakness and that is their SP. Outside of Hamels, their SP is nothing to write home about. It was the Dodger inability to punish their pitching in games 2,3 and 5 that cost them this series. I would even go as far to say that parts of their relief pitching is overrated. There is a reason J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre were tendered at points are floated around the league. Mix in some astounding luck(a pitcher with 3 hits and rbis in a game/closer giving up a 1st hr in home park since 06) coupled with some awful mistakes by the dodgers and you have a 5 game NLCS. I think it also went somewhat unnoticed how the Dodgers pitching I think by and large effectively contained the Phillies main batting order from doing significant damage throughout the series. Make no mistake, the Dodgers were a better, more complete team. And I fully expect that the Rays are going to expose the Phillies in this World Series. They should destroy Myers, Moyer and Blanton. If not I'll be as disgusted as when the Cardinals won in 06. Go Doger Rays!

Many thanks to jon and everyone here on this site who continue to provide some of the best baseball conversation and articles on the web. Truly the readership here is among the most informed, educated and thought provoking group of baseball geeks I've seen.

2008-10-21 00:00:58
16.   LoneStar7
sigh is an understatement, but hey i still consider this a fun and exciting season..I'm excited for the future though, the dodgers, bruins, and kings all seem to be building a very solid group of young players in their respective sports, and the lakers should be contenders to win it all...while nothing would mean more to me than just once seeing the boys in blue get back to world series, still a pretty fun time for LA sports enthusiasts
2008-10-21 00:07:33
17.   El Lay Dave
236 from the last topic:

ToyCannon, did Amir Mahn and I not pick the Rays?

http://www.truebluela.com/2008/10/2/626865/postseason-contest-grid#comments

(Note to the DT faithful: I picked the Rays over the Dodgers as the anti-jinx.)

2008-10-21 02:48:00
18.   Dodgers49
Dodgers Mailbag:

Is Manny worth any price?

How is Jason Schmidt throwing and feeling these days?

Will Juan Pierre be traded?

I've been reading that Larry Bowa might return to coach third base for the Yankees.

http://tinyurl.com/5fby6f

2008-10-21 06:49:02
19.   timm
Just read that the Dodgers did not pick up Angel Berroa"s option?
2008-10-21 07:58:34
20.   Frip
5 That was a funny post. I'm not sure why.

As for the fighthing, I wouldn't say Duncan takes on fights "so the players don't have to." It's more like he's just a hot head. And I think it causes more problems in those situations. Heck, Torre had ENOUGH problems getting the whole team to calm down when they cleared the benches in the Philly game. Then all the sudden (if you saw it) he has to try and corral Duncan and Bowa TOO! Ha! I mean...

2008-10-21 08:27:20
21.   ToyCannon
17
You are correct, my cylinders are not firing in the correct sequence at the moment.

On that note I expect big contributions from Schmidt and Jones in 2009:)

2008-10-21 08:59:02
22.   CajunDodger
21
I read today that Jones will be asking for a trade (atlantabraves.com) and that the Braves are a possible destination. Is he drunk? He OWES it to the Dodgers to put his head down, get in shape, and play a decent center field for us next year.

I wonder if there has ever been a case where a player has been non-tendered while still being owed $22 million. Russ Ortiz is the worst that I can think of, but I think he was owed only $21 million.

2008-10-21 09:21:48
23.   Kevin Lewis
22

I can understand Pierre asking for a trade. He was signed to be the starting CF, and he gave us what he has. Then we signed another CF, so I would want to go somewhere else too.

But Jones? I mean he just didn't show up to play.

2008-10-21 09:22:12
24.   fanerman
22 If we can trade him without having to pay his salary, I'd be for that.
2008-10-21 09:30:14
25.   Frip
I can see why Jones and Pierre would want to leave. I don't begrudge them that. It's been a depressing place for them, especially for Jones.
2008-10-21 09:30:15
26.   Eric Stephen
22
This is only a technicality, but Andruw's remaining salary is "only" $15m. The remainder is part of a signing bonus spread out over a few years. I think of the remaining salary as what another team would owe Andruw if somehow he were traded straight up.

Ortiz had close to $20m left on his contract when dumped in June 2006.

2008-10-21 09:32:22
27.   Tripon
For Andruw Jones, it was a situation of his own making. If he didn't want to play for the Dodgers, he should have directed his agent, Scott Boras to tell him that he wanted to stay with the Braves.
2008-10-21 09:38:15
28.   Frip
27 Except he couldn't see into the future, since he's just a man.
2008-10-21 09:39:08
29.   Eric Stephen
24
I'm at the other end of the spectrum. The $15m owed to Jones is dead money, a sunk cost. If the Dodgers can trade Andruw without having to pay all of his salary, I'd be for that.
2008-10-21 09:46:16
30.   ToyCannon
Jones came in heavy but he has played heavy before. What I think bothered him was how quick the fans gave up on him. Remember he had been the golden child in Atlanta since he hit two home runs in the world series at the age of 19. He may never have been booed in his life and probably had no idea how to handle the adversity of the situation.

He may never be able to perform for the Dodgers but I still think this man has plenty of baseball left in him.

2008-10-21 09:46:36
31.   fanerman
29 Well I wouldn't call that the other end of the spectrum.
2008-10-21 09:47:28
32.   Ken Noe
It's hard to imagine getting much of anything for Jones except space on the roster. Any real return at all should elevate Ned to GM of the Year consideration. Pierre, however, can bring something decent from an interested team, depending on the Dodgers money-flow situation.
2008-10-21 09:48:22
33.   ToyCannon
27
Another case of Boras getting top dollar but not taking of his client needs which really should be his ultimate goal. It will be very interesting to see how Boras handles this situation.
2008-10-21 09:48:47
34.   bluegold
Manny single-handedly saved Colletti's job. Not only do we have to deal with Manny being gone next year, we are stuck with Colletti.

He needs to erase the bad taste of Jones/Schmidt/Pierre with some brilliant offseason moves. But Colletti and brilliant don't belong in the same sentence.

2008-10-21 09:56:15
35.   ToyCannon
34
But Manny was brilliant so give him that. For years the RedSox have tried to move Manny at the deadline because of his shenanigans but no one could pull it off until Ned did. Ned not only pulled off the deal he pulled it off under some serious salary constraints in that we could not take on salary. It was brilliant and you are right it probably saved his job.
2008-10-21 09:59:33
36.   bluegold
35. Are you sure it wasn't more of Manny falling into Colletti's lap, rather than anything brilliant that he did?
2008-10-21 10:01:07
37.   Disabled List
30 I actually thought the Dodger fans were uncharacteristically patient and generous with Andruw. Whenever he got a hit, he got a big cheer, and I didn't think it was sarcastic cheering. I think most fans were frustrated with him, but felt genuinely bad for him at the same time.

But Jones never came around and started hitting, so yeah, eventually they turned on him.

2008-10-21 10:08:00
38.   OhioBlues12
I think it is hard to fault the fans here. When Jones was marketed as the big bat that we needed and then shows up out of shape, that was a terrible first impression. He probably would've been given more rope by the fans if he were at least hitting the ball hard but finding outs. The fact that we wasn't even touching the ball in almost every AB grew tiresome very quickly.
2008-10-21 10:10:20
39.   ToyCannon
37
Maybe we went to different games or it was where I was sitting but it seemed to me he was being booed almost from the onset.

36
No one falls in your lap when you have multiple teams involved in a deal. He had his work cut out to make it happen and he made it happen. It was a huge gamble at the time he made the deal. Manny was not exactly inspiring confidence in the other 27 GM's to go after him. Who knew he was faking his knee problems or if not faking that he would play through the pain like he did for us.

2008-10-21 10:12:20
40.   El Lay Dave
30 33 If Jones thought the Dodger fans - often portrayed as soft and dispassionate - were tough on him and the situation is intolerable, I shudder to think how he would have handled showing up in that shape and putting up that performance in someplace like, say, Philadelphia.

It's hard to be sympathetic to Andruw; he got a big contract coming off a subpar year and he needed to stage a least a little bit of a rebound. Instead, he looked fat, which L.A. fans perceived as uncaring (and isn't perception everything in this town?), and all we got were occasional flashes of his CF abilities and scant traces of his HR power.

2008-10-21 10:13:13
41.   ToyCannon
38
I'm not blaming the fans, they had every right to boo his performance. Just saying he never had it happen before.
2008-10-21 10:14:38
42.   El Lay Dave
39 Everytime I watch Manny run, particularly in the OF, I can believe his knees are sore. More reason for him to head back to the DH league.
2008-10-21 10:15:01
43.   OhioBlues12
41 - True. It was obvious from some of the dumb comments he made in response to the jeers.
2008-10-21 10:15:17
44.   kinbote
I still think Pierre & cash for Luis Castillo is a definite possibility. The Mets absolutely hate Castillo and we "need" a 2b. We'd likely have to pay the $9 mil in difference, but that's the only kind of deal I see happening for Pierre or Jones.
2008-10-21 10:16:55
45.   Bob Hendley
19 - Apart from Wade, ol' Sr. Snipes Sr. was the one Dodger who exceeded my expectations during the season. Hats off and adios.
2008-10-21 10:16:56
46.   ToyCannon
40
But we know the current crop of Dodger fans are anything but soft and dispassionate. I find it hard to believe that fans in other cities are any worse then the current group that insult the opposing teams from the loge and pavilions. I've sat near fans who spent the whole game yelling at the left fielder totally oblivious to what is going on baseball wise and only concerned with being heard and noticed.
2008-10-21 10:17:26
47.   El Lay Dave
41 Surely he must have received significant criticism in Atlanta last season; he had to be asked a lot of tough questions at least: .222 / .311 / .413 and with only his rookie season having less HR.
2008-10-21 10:20:37
48.   OhioBlues12
44 - I disagree. Both can be dealt this offseason. Pierre in exchange for another player with a large contract in a position of need for us. Jones and all of his salary for another player in a position of need. We are going to pay most or all of those contracts, we have to move past that and look for players that we can use and are not redundant like Pierre and Jones.
2008-10-21 10:21:45
49.   ToyCannon
42
He's 37 and been playing professional baseball for 20 years, I expect anyone with the same history to have sore knees. When he wanted out of his contract he used the knee as an out. When he wanted to create a new contract he played on his knees. If we give Manny a 3 year deal because that is all that any sane GM would offer, how does anyone think he will start acting at age 39 when he wants an extension and doesn't see it happening with the team he's currently employed with. I would love to see Manny at age 37/38 playing LF for the Dodgers, I totally fear what Manny and his mental state would be at age 39 in the last year of a deal he was probably not happy to sign in the first place since envisions a 5 or 6 year deal.
2008-10-21 10:24:02
50.   ToyCannon
47
He was an icon in Atlanta and they had enough history with him that they didn't boo his hard times in 2007. At least my brother tells me so.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-10-21 10:24:31
51.   bhsportsguy
47 I think the combination of salary and apparent lack of effort by Jones resulted in probably the most extreme conduct by Dodger fans that I ever seen in 30+ years of going to games.
2008-10-21 10:26:54
52.   El Lay Dave
46 ... only concerned with being heard and noticed. People in Los Angeles? Whoda thunk it? Yes, the boor factor seems to be up.

I wonder if the overly gorged fans in portion of the RF pavillion near CF gave Jones the business? Irony?

2008-10-21 10:27:14
53.   Jon Weisman
NPUT
2008-10-21 10:27:22
54.   bhsportsguy
48 Problem with Pierre's deal is that he has 3 more years.

Also, despite what Pierre wants, I do think that to some extent, both Torre and the front office don't mind him being a really expensive fourth outfielder.

In other words, they will not trade him just to get another player with a similar contract.

2008-10-21 13:25:05
55.   ishXdavid
6

I recall a 23 year-old lefty coming out of the bullpen and surrendering a 2-run lead on a 3-run HR by a light-hitting Adam Kennedy in an elmination game of the ALCS. The southpaw was Johan Santana.

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