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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Looking Up at the Team Down South
2005-05-20 09:09
by Jon Weisman

If Dodger Thoughts were bigger, perhaps some of my March and April quotes demeaning the Padres' chances of winning the National League West would have appeared on their mythical bulletin board, and I would be to blame for their run to first place.

In any case, San Diego has surged atop the West, taking a half-game lead over Arizona and a 2 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers by beating up some of the top teams from the Central and East divisions. Overall, the Padres have overcome their 10-11 start against the West by going 15-5 against teams from the other two divisions.

The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are as close as they are because they have good records against the West that mitigate their mediocre performance against the Central and East.

Team vs.	West	Central	East
Padres	10-11	9-5	6-0
D'backs	18-8	5-5	2-4
Dodgers	14-8	5-4	3-6
Giants	11-13	7-6	1-2
Rockies	8-21	0-0	4-5
Which is more relevant? The Padres' success in their more recent games outside the division, or their struggle against the teams they are competing with directly for the division title?

Next week, to essentially close the second month of the season, the Padres and Dodgers each play six games on the road at Arizona and San Francisco. By the end of those series, the division won't be won, but we'll know if there's a clear favorite in the National League West or if it's going to be a game of leapfrog for a bit longer.

I'm still no fan of the San Diego offense, but the Padres' bullpen is strong once again, and Adam Eaton (3.35 ERA) and recent callup Tim Stauffer (3.46) have elevated the starting pitching behind Jake Peavy (2.57), who tries to extend San Diego's seven-game winning streak tonight against Seattle.

* * *

Eric Gagne has been back on the Dodger roster for a week, yet neither he nor Yhency Brazoban have made any appearances of real significance in that time.

While I believe that ultimately, a Dodger starting pitcher should be expected to go longer than five innings, recent trends recommend that Jim Tracy be prepared to remove a starter at the first sign of trouble after five.

The plan would go like this:

  • Starter - 5 innings
  • Wilson Alvarez/Duaner Sanchez - 2 innings every other game
  • Giovanni Carrara/Kelly Wunsch - opposite-handed pitchers to relieve Alvarez or Sanchez
  • Yhency Brazoban - 1 inning
  • Eric Gagne - 1 inning
  • D.J. Houlton - early mop-up/extra innings.

    For road games involving Scott Erickson, I would put the warning clock at four innings.

    Of course, events don't go according to plan all the time. If someone gets blown out, they get blown out. If a starter is pitching a perfect game, or has given up 4 runs but the offense behind him has scored 12, leave him in. If the game goes extra innings, it's all on Houlton. In fact, it's because games don't always go to plan that the relievers would actually get their rest. Not every reliever would be needed every day.

    But in the close games that most frequently confront the Dodgers, this plan would make the best use of the current staff and have greater potential of building its confidence and morale - by taking the pressure off each pitcher to hold a lead for an extended outing.

    After that, the Dodger pitchers can get back to being macho.

    (Certainly, I'd also be happy to see Brazoban or Gagne used as a smokejumper during those bases-loaded, no-out middle-inning moments. But for now, baby steps ...)

  • Comments (146)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2005-05-20 10:03:09
    1.   Eric Enders
    For those of us not in L.A., Extra Innings is not showing any of the three games this weekend.

    This is why I hate it whenever we play the Angels or Padres.

    2005-05-20 10:03:50
    2.   Blaine
    What about making Erickson and Alvarez one starter. Maybe we could count on them for seven innings when we needed a fifth starter. That would leave Alvarez available for one or two situational lefty batters in between starts.
    2005-05-20 10:14:40
    3.   Landonkk
    I know that this subject has been beaten to death in the past, but it always angers me this time of year..

    In a division that is likely to come down to 2 or 3 games (like last year), is it really fair that we have to play 6 with ANA (23-17, .575), and the Padres get 6 with SEA (16-24, .400) and the DBacks get 6 with DET (19-20, .487)??

    2005-05-20 10:15:23
    4.   Eric Enders
    Isn't #2 basically what we've already been doing?
    2005-05-20 10:33:03
    5.   Howard Fox
    re: #3 - your point on fairness is only valid right now...a few years back when the Angels were so-so and the Mariners were winning 110 games, the argument could be made in reverse...

    besides, the Mariners have the all time greatest third baseman in the history of the game, so they could explode at any moment...right?

    2005-05-20 10:33:51
    6.   LetsGoDodgers
    Tough time to face a hot team (8-2 on the road this month). Their offense has sputtered; take out the 5/15 game and they've averaged less than 3 runs per game. Their pitching has been very solid (3 meltdowns notwithstanding).

    Penny has had one start against the Halo's in his career and it wasn't good; Lowe has had mixed results. Erickson... let's just say I'm amazed he can make it twice through any opposing lineup.

    Washburn has had mixed results against the Dodgers albeit more bad than good. Byrd has had some successes vs. LAD. Lackey has been dominant against the cross-town rivals. On a down note, both Byrd and Lackey have been in a groove this month.

    The silver lining is no K-Rod for games 1 and 2, possibly the whole series. I'm not sure it will matter as I see a frustrating sweep on the horizon. I just hope it's not compounded by a Padres sweep of the Mariners.

    2005-05-20 10:34:01
    7.   the OZ
    Does anyone have information about our medical staff? Of course they're not to blame for players getting hurt, but it seems we've lost an awful lot of time to the DL this year. Is it possible that the med staff does a poor job of identifying and treating minor injuries, so they become more of a problem?

    Dessens' shoulder, Gagne's elbow, Werth's wrist, Perez's hamstring, Alvarez's arm, Weaver's shoulder, Odalis' shoulder - and it's only May. This list doesn't count the "impact" injuries (with the exception of Werth's slow-healing wrist), either.

    My point is not to lay any blame to the Dodgers med staff - certainly, there's some bad luck in play here and I don't have nearly enough knowledge or information to judge their performance. However, given the struggles we've had keeping key people healthy, the question of "is the med staff ineffective?" may be worth an investigation.

    2005-05-20 10:34:31
    8.   Howard Fox
    further on my point, look at the end of this season, others in our division have a tough second to last weekend while we host the Pirates...
    2005-05-20 10:41:47
    9.   JT Dutch
    ... As for the Weaver situation -- I think Jim Tracy has many weaknesses as a manager, and we would be better served replacing him -- but I think Tracy shouldn't be the scapegoat for Weaver's collapse in the 6th on Wednesday. I expect these starters to at least go 6; perhaps Tracy is trying to get these pitchers to show a little grit, and work through some jams and some tough situations. If Weaver continues to insist that his shoulder is OK, then what's the problem? Either he's lying, or maybe -- to borrow a line from Dick Williams -- perhaps this is a case of "when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and the not-so-tough (like Weaver and Ortiz) decide to spit the bit".

    The Dodgers have four quality starting pitchers, a quality setup man and closer, and by all evidence thus far, a quality offense and defense. They have a chance to do something special THIS SEASON, and they need Jeff Weaver to be a part of this. They can't afford to keep losing three-game series at home because their starting pitchers are making a habit of quitting on them. If they are injured, as is the case now with Perez, then they can rest and work the problem. If not, then they need to what the team requires.

    As a pitcher, there's going to be days where you can't seem to buy a strikeout. There's going to be days where you can't get ahead in the count to 90% of the hitters you face. Those are the days where you have to buckle down and limit the damage. Be a competitor. Stay focused; keep your head in the damn game. Keep the ball in the ballpark, at least; give your defense a chance to get the outs you need. If I'm Jim Colborn, I'm out there every inning during a game like Wednesday, continually hounding Weaver and getting him back on track until he's convinced me that he's ready. Carlton Fisk used to do that to Bill Lee all the time, until Lee got sick of him -- but Lee would also be ready to keep his mind on the game.

    It's time to get this ship right before they completely squander everything they did in the first 14 games. I still believe this team is clearly the best in the NL West. It's high time their pitching staff pulled their heads out of those small tunnels they are residing in and pitch the way I (and other Dodger fans) have SEEN them pitch. The series with the Angels would be a good time to start on the right road.

    2005-05-20 10:50:11
    10.   Bob Timmermann
    One thing that might help the Dodgers this weekend is that they will be facing the Angels hitters, who have never seen a pitch that wasn't bad enough to consider swinging at.

    In the same number of games (40) the Dodgers have drawn 49 more walks than the Angels. Or just about 1.2 more per game. And the Dodgers have 41 more runs too.

    Mike Scioscia would not say there is any corollary between the two figures.

    The Angels are 35 out of 49 on steals, about 70% while the Dodgers are just 14 of 22, about 64%.

    Don't forget the Dodgers secret weapon of HBPs. 25 of them!

    Frankie Rodriguez will miss tonight's game and maybe longer. If the Dodgers can get to the Angels relievers who are not named Donnelly or Shields, I would be optimistic.

    2005-05-20 10:52:17
    11.   Landonkk
    That doesn't matter though because each NL West team plays a home and away series with the Pirates so it evens out. Interleague "rival" games are the only ones that don't. You are right that over a 10 year span it will all even out, but that doesn't change the fact that this year we have a tougher schedule. On that same note - the DBacks have to play the White Sox while we get to skip them. Good for us, but in the fight for a fair and balanced schedule, you can't have it with interleague play. Plus, who wants to play with the DH? Ever?
    2005-05-20 10:53:46
    12.   Jon Weisman
    I'm not looking to make Tracy a sole scapegoat - just pointing something out. I expect the starters to go seven, but ultimately this expectation is meaningless. Billy Martin would have expected them to go nine. Doesn't matter. If Weaver faltering in the fifth, as he was, then one should be prepared to pull him if the trouble is continuing in the next inning.

    Yes, Delgado and Cabrera are great hitters, and there's no shame in allowing them a HR. Moreover, the pitch Weaver threw to Delgado was practically unhittable - fading down-and-away, as I remember it.

    But the question is, given everything that had been going up to that point, and with an off day Thursday, were there better options available than Weaver? Did a fresh reliever give the Dodgers a better chance of escaping the inning - not a certainty, but a better chance? The answer seems to be yes.

    Grit and buckling down are all fine things, but is it so bad if sometimes a guy just needs a reliever's shoulder to lean on before he falls over, rather than being carried out of the game after the fall?

    2005-05-20 10:54:42
    13.   Howard Fox
    re: #9 -

    are the Dodgers as bad as the last 26 games, I don't think so...

    are they as good as the first 14 games, I also don't think so....

    are they clearly the class of the West, I don't think so there either...

    the Dodgers are to me a better than average team that, to be successful must be firing on all cylinders...they did that last year, but so far it isn't happening this year, and with all the injuries, it may not this year...

    2005-05-20 10:55:26
    14.   LetsGoDodgers
    RE: #7

    You forgot to blame the med staff for Valentin's torn ACL...

    2005-05-20 10:57:21
    15.   Bob Timmermann
    The Dodgers do play Chicago. In Chicago from June 17-19. The Dodgers miss Cleveland.
    2005-05-20 10:58:14
    16.   Howard Fox
    re: #11 - when the schedules are made up, you don't know who will have up years and who will have down years...

    is it fair that the Devil Rays played the Yankees when they were in a tailspin rather than when they won 10 in a row...its the luck of the draw...

    2005-05-20 10:59:08
    17.   gvette

    Werth had three hits last night, raising his average to .323 and driving in his first three RBI of the season


    Still no extra base hits, and he has more K's(13) than hits (10)

    2005-05-20 11:00:13
    18.   Howard Fox
    re: Werth, from what I have read, he still has soreness in his wrist after games
    2005-05-20 11:00:28
    19.   Bob Timmermann
    Oh, and the DBacks play all five teams in the AL Central. That's because Detroit is their "rival".

    Just like Seattle is San Diego's "rival".

    The Rockies are the odd team out in the NL West and get 3 interleague series at home (Chicago, Detroit, and KC) and 2 on the road (Cleveland and Baltimore)

    2005-05-20 11:02:08
    20.   the OZ
    14 -

    You forgot to read the sentence "Of course they're [the Med staff] not to blame for players getting hurt..."

    I'm not blaming the med staff for Valentin''s torn ACL - which is why I noted that we've had some sudden "impact" injuries - Valentin's knee, Izturis' ankle, Werth's wrist (at least initially - letting him hit off a tee may or may not have made things worse). Maybe the sentence was awkwardly worded, implying that maybe they were. Of course, this was not my intention.

    I'm not blaming the med staff for anything. Read more carefully in the future.


    2005-05-20 11:02:47
    21.   Steve
    I don't think that the pitch to Delgado was sinking. I think it was supposed to, but it looked up to me. Which is the time when Jeff Weaver becomes useless as a pitcher, when he starts leaving pitches up that shouldn't be up.

    Delgado had four homeruns coming into the Dodgers series. He's a decent hitter for a 33 year old with back problems, but I think that Colborn and Weaver are participating in some good old fashioned spin doctoring when they rave about how good that pitch was. Because it wasn't.

    2005-05-20 11:03:38
    22.   Eric Enders
    "the Dodgers are to me a better than average team that, to be successful must be firing on all cylinders...they did that last year, but so far it isn't happening this year, and with all the injuries, it may not this year..."

    Well, it's worth noting that through 40 games, last year's Dodgers were 22-18. Through 40 games, this year's Dodgers are also 22-18.

    If I recall, our best starting pitcher was hurt for 2 months last year, and our best hitter was plagued with a nagging injury all year. We still managed to "fire on all cylinders"...

    As some sappy country song about the Dodgers ( once said, "on the other side of memory's fence, the grass is always green." I think Howard may be suffering from this phenomenon.

    2005-05-20 11:04:53
    23.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
    "For those of us not in L.A., Extra Innings is not showing any of the three games this weekend."

    Making this one of the few times in a season I must reply up's radio package. Which means it's a weekend of Steiner and Monday. Eww.

    2005-05-20 11:05:52
    24.   Eric Enders
    The pitch to Delgado was sinking and was a pretty darn good pitch.

    The pitch to Cabrera was simply awful, however.

    2005-05-20 11:05:54
    25.   Howard Fox
    re: #20...yes Mr Oz, we will read more carefully in the future, sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused you
    2005-05-20 11:06:57
    26.   Howard Fox
    re: #22 - please give me a second while my vision clears and my head stops spinning
    2005-05-20 11:07:15
    27.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
    "Werth, from what I have read, he still has soreness in his wrist after games "

    At what point do the Dodgers put Werth out of their plans? It's dangerous for a team to wait... wait... wait... for an expected key part to return from an injury.

    2005-05-20 11:07:52
    28.   Steve
    Sinking from where? He hit it at his waist.
    2005-05-20 11:08:49
    29.   Steve
    What kind of pitch was the pitch to Easley? :)
    2005-05-20 11:08:51
    30.   Howard Fox
    I think what he meant was a sinking feeling
    2005-05-20 11:14:31
    31.   Eric Enders
    I'm already looking at Werth the way Giants look at Bonds -- if he plays this year, it'll be a bonus. But I don't really expect him to.

    I also think Oz posed a fair question about the medical staff. As Jon's pointed out before, there has been a consistent pattern over the last 3 years of either (a) badly underestimating the severity of injuries, or (b) willfully misleading the public regarding the true nature of said injuries.

    I'm not sure whether (a) or (b) is true, but one of them HAS to be. The Cubs medical staff has also displayed the same pattern, and they've been much more harshly criticized for it than the Dodgers have.

    2005-05-20 11:15:39
    32.   Howard Fox
    I don't pay much attention to whatever the medical staff says anymore...I just assume that whatever they say, add a month to the rehab time...
    2005-05-20 11:16:19
    33.   LetsGoDodgers
    My point is not to lay any blame to the Dodgers med staff

    However, given the struggles we've had keeping key people healthy, the question of "is the med staff ineffective?" may be worth an investigation.


    Why would you recommend investigating someone if you don't think they are to blame?

    2005-05-20 11:17:13
    34.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
    In late '03, I sent Jon the following letter. Still applies...

    "I'd like to register a complaint against the Dodger training staff. (I believe you have made similar comments.) Doesn't it seem to you that an above-average number of medical controversies seem to befall our boys in blue? Green's shoulder, McGriff's groin, Perez's finger, Beltre's appendix, the various - and expensive - disabilities of Brown and Dreifort.

    Somewhere, within the nexus of players-trainers-coaches, is a dysfunction. Does Jim Tracy throw his top players on the field, no matter how poor their health? (Wow - imagine quiet ol' Jim, acting like Bear Bryant.) Is Stan Johnston's crew simply bad, misdiagnosing injuries? Budget cutbacks in the trainer's office? (Think "Major League," with the jury-rigged whirlpool. Also, Marge Schott's 14-year reich in Cincinnati had penny-wise pound-foolish training staff; remember the scandal over Eric Davis' lacerated kidney in the 1990 World Series?)

    Is there mistrust between the players and Johnston, where they'd rather lie? The first man I'd like to testify on this topic is Odalis Perez.

    Johnston, going off the media guide, is an organizational soldier, but behind the lines, if I may stretch the metaphor. He started with the Great Falls team in 1985 and has worked his way up the chain: Bakersfield, Albuquerque and assistant in The Show. I'm not going to lay everything at Johnston's feet - who knows what's happening behind closed doors. But this is a matter that needs to be addressed in the offseason. Will Dan Evans do it? This is his second year as Johnston's boss, so he should have formed an opinion by now. If the team is sold, with the new owners even look in that direction, or will they be too busy hiring architects and contractors so they can cram housing into Chavez Ravine, or lobbying for a downtown stadium? Good organizations are proactive about the health of their players - end of story."

    2005-05-20 11:17:44
    35.   Howard Fox
    I think this is a job for Congress.
    2005-05-20 11:18:48
    36.   JT Dutch

    Jon, I know you're not making Tracy the only scapegoat. A lot of others were, though. Hey, his in-game mistakes cause me to yell at him through my TV screen a lot. But in this case, I find it hard to blame him as much as I blame Weaver.

    I know that Delgado hit a good pitch; I should have quantified that. And that leads to my point, in a way: he was still able to make good pitches, but seemed to throw up his hands and quit after he gave up that homer. Apparently, he even said "'bout time" when he got pulled, and that's the LAST thing I want to hear from my pitcher.

    There have been an avalanche of homers hit against the Dodgers in the past several games, and most of them have been poor pitches from pitchers who looked to be throwing in the towel. I suppose I'm just frustrated, as a lot here are ... I'm going to the game tonight, and I'm excited to be there; there's a lot of pride and bragging rights among many of those I know. All I'm looking for is the Dodgers to play to their ability, and make a good fight out of this.

    I've been a fan of this team for a long time, as you have; I'm not giving up on them. Those that are getting on Tracy have very valid points; I'll go so far as to say that if the Dodgers win the division this season, they will do it largely in spite of Tracy's ineptitude. I just feel that the Dodger pitching staff is better than this, and that this is a prime example of why they are underachieving.

    2005-05-20 11:21:03
    37.   ElysianPark62
    I agree with the proposal about yanking starters after five. I wonder if Tracy is still operating on the notion that Gagne is still not himself, so he has to be slow with the hook.

    I am concerned about SD but I don't think they'll run away with it. Bochy is not a very good manager, and their line-up is packed with injury-prone players.

    On another note, one could say that SD's 10-0 record against FL, Atl., and St.L. is a very bad sign. However, they played those three teams in the midst of a very good streak. I sincerely think that if the Dodgers had played those three teams in the midst of THEIR early streak, they would've fared much better.

    When you're that hot, as both LA was and SD is now, you can beat any opponent. Conversely, when you're struggling, you have trouble with just about anybody.

    My prediction for tonight: three HR's in four innings by Erickson. If he pitches five innings, then make that 4 HR's.

    2005-05-20 11:21:49
    38.   the OZ
    33 - To determine whether there's a pattern of mismanagement. If we don't know for sure (and I certainly don't), it would be nice to find out. If they're doing fine and players get hurt because they're unlucky, then fine. If they are being poorly diagnosed and treated, then maybe a change should be made, either to medical policy or medical personnel.
    2005-05-20 11:22:59
    39.   Jon Weisman

    "Ultimately, one wants to give the benefit of the doubt to the Dodger coaching and medical staff, although their denial of injury reality with such players Hideo Nomo and Shawn Green in the past calls for some scrutiny. On the other hand, Adrian Beltre thrived in 2004 on his bum extremities.

    "Personally, I have faith that Gagne will be fine this season. But I've learned over time that just because a Dodger tells the media that everything is okay doesn't mean that it is."

    2005-05-20 11:27:26
    40.   Howard Fox
    I also am a long time Dodger fan, thru thick and thin...

    My suspicion is we are bordering on thin right now, but that doesn't stop me from root, root, rooting for the Dodgers...

    the responsibility for the lineup, for the condition of the players, for recovery from injuries, for most of what we complain about should rightly fall at the feet of Tracy...after all, he is the manager, he picks his staff, supposedly...if conditioning coaches or trainers or whomever is not performing to the proper level, he needs to be the one to answer for it...

    back to a previous point, the 22-18 record this year is a lot different than the 22-18 last year...our fundamentals are bad this year and that has caused a lot of the in-game failures this year...poor fundamentals compound themselves as the year progresses...

    it's kind of like when the drain in the bathrub doesn't seal, no matter what you do, there is always some of it leaking away...that is what our poor fundamentals are doing to us right now...

    2005-05-20 11:32:47
    41.   Steve
    Yeah, I'll take the under tonight.

    37 -- that may be true, but it is hard to see how that makes any sense, unless Tracy is excited to see Gagne come in to a lot of 8-2 games.

    36 -- As one of whom you speak, in my case personally, I have completely given up on our pitching staff. So to criticize them for giving up homeruns on bad pitches is, for me, like criticizing a zebra for having stripes. It's who they are. It's what they do. Sure, they deserve blame for it, but it's Tracy who has to take that mess and add value to it and maximize our chances despite it. And as you appear to agree, he's doing a lousy job of it. So you can divide the "blame" in any portion you want, but the fact remains that Jim Tracy is giving us less of a chance to win games than otherwise. And that's not acceptable at any level.

    Count me among those who don't believe Weaver shouted "bout time," (I went back on the TiVo when it came up here, and saw him shout something, but don't think it was that), but even if he did, it was "bout time," so I'm not sure what the problem would be.

    2005-05-20 11:34:48
    42.   Steve
    40 -- and I also think our 22-18 is different this year, but I would put most of the difference on our lousier pitching which is trending even lousier with Tracy providing enough rope with which to hang ourselves every single game.
    2005-05-20 11:35:45
    43.   Eric Enders
    our fundamentals are bad this year and that has caused a lot of the in-game failures this year...poor fundamentals compound themselves as the year progresses...

    Well, those bad fundamentals still enabled us to post the same record, so it must follow that there are some things the v.2005 Dodgers do better than last year's version, right?

    Or are you saying that teams with bad fundamentals, even winning ones, are all destined to become losers before the end of the season? That sounds like filler from a rejected Joe Morgan column.

    I don't mean to be confrontational, Howard; I really am trying (futilely) to understand where you're coming from.

    2005-05-20 11:36:59
    44.   mcrawford
    #16 - the fact that the toughness of the schedule is the "luck of the draw" is exactly what is stupid about these schedules. Everyone should play a fair schedule. Which to me means dumping the stupid interleague play.

    I agree with #37, SD won't run away with it. I have Padre fans telling me that they are going to win 105 games, since they have the best pitching in the NL. Give me a break.

    And I agree with the idea of pulling pitchers earlier. Isn't that why we are carrying a bazillion pitchers? But I don't get all the Tracy haters. Have you always hated him, or is it just recently, with his pitcher handling? Personally, I've never had huge feelings about him one way or the other. He seems to do some things well, like get everyone involved and move people around for good matchups (caveats abound, but you know what I mean).

    2005-05-20 11:43:41
    45.   Howard Fox
    where I am coming from is that last year we did the little things right almost all year, were never a terrific team, but we good consistently

    while this year we do the little things wrong, and my fear is we are a lot closer to the 10-16 team than the 12-2 team...

    I hope I am wrong...but I go to a lot of games, probably 65-70 a year, and there are things you don't see on TV or in the box scores that are indicaters of a team not being prepared or well schooled

    2005-05-20 11:44:10
    46.   mcrawford
    #41 - do you think that the Dodgers' pitchers give up more homeruns than other staffs? I think they are about average. They've given up 44, which puts them 10th in the league, which is not horrible. It's in the middle somewhere.
    2005-05-20 11:49:35
    47.   Eric Enders
    "I go to a lot of games, probably 65-70 a year, and there are things you don't see on TV or in the box scores that are indicaters of a team not being prepared or well schooled."

    Just for kicks, Howard, care to share an example or two of those things I can't tell from watching on TV?

    Also, your claim that we "were good consistently" last year is undermined by the fact that by this time in 2004 we'd already had an 8-game losing streak, far worse than anything that's gone on this year. My contention is still, Howard, that you are choosing to remember only the good things about 2004 while forgetting the bad ones -- and for the 2005 team, vice versa.

    2005-05-20 11:50:35
    48.   Howard Fox
    yeah well, you may be right...
    2005-05-20 11:54:04
    49.   JT Dutch

    "So to criticize them for giving up homeruns on bad pitches is, for me, like criticizing a zebra for having stripes. It's who they are. It's what they do."

    It's been a recent phenomenon, though.

    Dodgers' pitching, 1st 34 games:

    301 IP, 30 HR allowed

    Dodgers' pitching, last 6 games:

    54 IP, 14 HR allowed

    2005-05-20 11:57:02
    50.   Eric Enders
    So in other words, it's very possibly a sample size issue.
    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2005-05-20 11:57:16
    51.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
    OT: We've lost our first farmhands to steroids!
    ¶ NEW YORK (AP) _ Los Angeles pitchers Heath Totten and Tom Farmer and Arizona pitcher Chad Scarbery were suspended for 15 games Friday for violating baseball's minor league steroids policy.
    ¶ There have been 66 players penalized under the minor league program and five players suspended under the major league policy.
    ¶ Totten, Farmer and Scarbery are all right-handers and have spent their entire careers in the minors.
    ¶ Totten, 26, was 5-2 with a 4.97 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Las Vegas. Farmer, 25, was 1-1 with a 14.58 ERA in 15 games for Las Vegas.
    2005-05-20 12:04:12
    52.   Eric Enders
    We had already lost Jon Weber before, although that was a 10-game suspension IIRC.

    Not sure why the penalty was bumped up to 15 games from 10; Weber, Totten, and Farmer all failed their tests under the same minor league steroid policy.

    2005-05-20 12:05:02
    53.   Bob Timmermann
    The Red Sox really never did "the little things" right last year and they did OK for themselves. They just put a bunch of guys on base and got some good starting pitching.

    Unless you subscribe to the theory that the Red Sox won solely because Dave Roberts stole a base and Orlando Cabrera fielded the shortstop better than Nomar Garciaparra.

    The problem isn't "little things", which I'm not sure what those things consist, but rather "big things". Like having starting pitchers who don't give up lots and lots of home runs.

    The two top teams in MLB history in LOB are the 1976 Reds, who went 102-60, and the 1941 Browns, who went 70-84.

    I'm guessing that the Dodgers record will be somewhere in between those two.

    2005-05-20 12:09:22
    54.   Eric Enders
    To follow up on Bob's point, it's GOOD to leave a lot of runners on base. That means you're actually GETTING a lot of of runners on base, which is the main point. Generally, teams don't differ too much in the percentage of baserunners that end up scoring. If you get lots of guys on base, you will both score lots of runs and have lots of LOB. And be a winning team.

    This is the same reason that having a high GIDP rate as a team is not necessarily bad. It's a direct function of having lots of guys on base. This is why the infielders who lead the league in DPs almost always play for crappy teams; those lousy pitchers are putting more guys on first.

    2005-05-20 12:11:54
    55.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
    "This is why the infielders who lead the league in DPs almost always play for crappy teams"
    Call this the Glenn Hubbard Effect.
    2005-05-20 12:12:03
    56.   Fearing Blue
    #41: I have completely given up on our pitching staff. So to criticize them for giving up homeruns on bad pitches is, for me, like criticizing a zebra for having stripes

    I concur.

    I will clarify that it's starting pitching that I'm concerned with. All the talk last year about Quality Starts and how Weaver should have been considered for the Cy Young last year got to Tracy's head. Our starters outperformed expectations last year, and are underperforming so far this year. In the end it's a group of guys who are slightly better than league average.

    Does it make me mad when our pitchers don't perform? Absolutely, but I don't think it's because of focus, chemistry, or heart and soul. It's because they're not as good as we'd all like them to be.

    2005-05-20 12:12:27
    57.   Bob Timmermann
    I believe the two lowest GIDP totals in the majors belong to the LAA and the A's (I'm a vowel mood).

    Both of these teams have impotent offenses. Although I think one of them will become more potent after drinking Dr. Erickson's Bat Feel Good Now Potion.

    2005-05-20 12:16:08
    58.   Fearing Blue
    #52: Since Totten and Farmer were not on the 40-man roster, they would have been penalized under the minor league testing rules. Could Weber have been on the 40-man roster when he was caught?
    2005-05-20 12:17:28
    59.   Eric Enders
    If Bob was really in a vowel mood, the last graf of #57 would read:

    "o o ee ea ae ioe oee. Aou I i oe o e i eoe oe oe ae ii Eio' a ee oo o oio."

    2005-05-20 12:18:55
    60.   Eric Enders
    "Could Weber have been on the 40-man roster when he was caught?"

    No, he wasn't. That's why the discrepancy is so puzzling to me.

    Maybe there's a different penalty if you fail an in-season test vs an off-season one.

    2005-05-20 12:21:04
    61.   Steve
    Or it's very possibly a bad pitching issue:

    12th in the NL in ERA

    13th in the NL in BA against (you can keep your DIPS -- the opposition is hitting ropes)

    12th in the NL in SLG against (so you can definitely keep your DIPS)

    10th in the NL in OBP against

    12th in the NL in OPS against

    9th in the NL in DIPS ERA (virtually tied with Arizona for 10th)

    Tied 4th (with Colorado!) in Total Bases Allowed

    3rd in Hits Allowed

    2nd in the National League in RUN SUPPORT (ahead of Colorado and behind only St. Louis)

    Of course, you can play the sample size game all you want -- though it wasn't the pitching that helped us start 12-2 (the Giants home opener, the Arizona series, etc.), but we have the sample size we have -- it's one quarter of the season, and our pitchers are not very good. Furthermore, Perez is injured, Penny is supposedly not injured but not convincing me, Weaver's top fastball is 87, and Erickson is Erickson. I'm comfortable with the Tiger/stripes assertion, and would like to see Jim Tracy recognize reality and deal with it for what it is, and not what he would wish it to be.

    2005-05-20 12:23:29
    62.   Jon Weisman
    I thought Weber was with Sacramento when he tested positive, for what it's worth.
    2005-05-20 12:23:48
    63.   Steve
    The Dodgers are 10th in the Majors in HR allowed, tied with Colorado. That's bad, right?
    2005-05-20 12:24:21
    64.   Fearing Blue
    Has anyone used MLB.TV? I'm considering signing up, but I was hoping to get some feedback first.
    2005-05-20 12:30:24
    65.   Steve
    64 -- have a cable modem. With DSL, I only got a slideshow for the one game I ordered last year.
    2005-05-20 12:33:43
    66.   dzzrtRatt
    What about our starters' emotional makeup? I see Weaver and Lowe as having the tools, but as being constantly undone by their childish overreactions to adversity. Weaver's homer to Delgado was just a case of a good hitter hitting a good pitch. But it undid Weaver emotionally. Same with Lowe on the bad umpire call in St. Louis. These guys need a mantra for when bad things happen to good pitchers.

    Erickson is a guy who looks like he's waiting for the defense to give him an alibi. Perez seems to be maturing, but for a long time was a big baby, and still is sometimes. Penny's tough, and his problems might be more due to overcoming rust. If he avoids getting hurt again, I am optimistic about him.

    The pen is a different story. Gagne is a fierce take-no-prisoners warrior, and once he shakes off the rust, he'll be fine. Yhency is impressively poised for a kid. Alvarez is Buddha-like in his calm. He's been through everything already. Carrara more or less the same.

    The starting rotation needs to see the same shrink who cured Milton Bradley. Whoever that guy is, he's a genius.

    2005-05-20 12:37:12
    67.   Howard Fox
    with MLB.TV, make sure you are out of market for the teams you want to see
    2005-05-20 12:42:00
    68.   franklin
    a hard habit to break...

    Tracy has been spoiled by the consistency of the staff from pitch 61-105 during the past three seasons and the early hook gathered dust. He's learning to tame a new beast this season.

    OPS against Dodger pitchers

    pitch# 2005 '04 '03 '02
    61-075 .768 .712 .645 .621
    76-090 .897 .777 .738 .731
    91-105 .898 .773 .674 .553

    2005-05-20 12:43:03
    69.   Fearing Blue
    #66: It's hard for me to separate "mental breakdown" from "physical breakdown". Neither Lowe or Weaver throw very hard, and Weaver seems to throw even softer recently. They both rely heavily on the sharp movement of their sinker. If they tire, and their pitches stop moving, you've basically got a pitcher throwing batting practice fastballs.
    2005-05-20 12:45:28
    70.   Eric Enders
    "I thought Weber was with Sacramento when he tested positive, for what it's worth."

    Mmm, that's a good point. I know he's never been on the Dodgers' 40-man, but it's just barely possible he could have been on Oakland's.

    2005-05-20 12:45:51
    71.   bigcpa
    Re #61
    I posted this in another thread yesterday but you gotta look at the pitching splits. Our starters are 11th in opp. OPS vs. 13th last year. The bullpen is 25th vs. 3rd last year. 35% of the bullpen innings have come from Schmoll, DJ and Carlyle with a 8-ish combined ERA.

    So count me as a glass half full guy. Craig Counsell has a .422 OBP. The "other guys" should be on the next elevator down.

    2005-05-20 12:46:50
    72.   Howard Fox
    I thought that slower pitches, breaking balls, sinkers, whatever, moved more when the pitcher was not as "strong"...maybe I'm wrong

    I think it is a case of emotions getting the best of was a no brainer (no pun intended) that Weaver would fall apart after Delgado's homer

    2005-05-20 12:48:57
    73.   Eric Enders
    IMO, this whole business of reading pitchers' minds and making judgments about their mental fitness is a lot of hooey. I suspect all pitchers get as upset as Weaver, Lowe, and Perez when things go badly; most pitchers just make more of an effort to hide it.
    2005-05-20 12:51:32
    74.   Steve
    68 -- wow

    71 -- wow -- of course, our starters last year included Ishii and Nomo at this time -- maybe starting pitching is just mediocre and frustrating everywhere.

    69, 72 -- I would allow for a combination of the two. Particularly for Weaver.

    2005-05-20 12:51:55
    75.   Howard Fox
    it's ok for them to get upset, otherwise they wouldn't be competitors...but they have to suck it up when the next batter steps in...
    2005-05-20 12:57:07
    76.   Steve
    Announcing my new Master's thesis topic in philosophy:

    "Finding Meaning In Damian Easley's Home Run: Does Anything Explain The Unexplainable?"

    2005-05-20 12:58:37
    77.   Eric Enders
    75 -- I agree, Howard, that they've got to suck it up when the next batter steps in. I have yet to see any evidence that they don't.

    I think it's a problem of guys trying to pitch with nothing left in the tank, not a problem of mental midgetry.

    2005-05-20 13:04:29
    78.   Howard Fox
    evidence that they don't? you must have missed Weaver's performances...I'd like to be the batter who is up next after something bad happens to Weaver...
    2005-05-20 13:05:56
    79.   mcrawford
    And I never understood why it's so horrible if a player shows frustration or emotion on the field. People always criticize Weaver as a head case because he'll make some motions or roll his eyes or whatever. Maybe he's a head case, but because he shows emotion? Come on. I like when guys show emotion on the field, good and bad. They're not automatons.

    Anybody know which team has given up the most home runs in a season? Does Cincinnati have a shot at that record this year?

    2005-05-20 13:06:44
    80.   Howard Fox
    with Weaver, he is good for grooving a pitch or three every time out...when it happens to someone who can hit it out, he loses it...when it happens to someone who can't, he goes 8 or 9 strong innings...

    Weaver even loses his composure when in a tough situation he doesn't get a call he thinks he should from an umpire

    2005-05-20 13:09:39
    81.   Howard Fox
    re: #79 - emotion and competitiveness are good things, losing focus when all doesn't go your way is not
    2005-05-20 13:10:21
    82.   Eric Enders
    Well, Howard, I guess I can't understand the leap from:

    "Jeff Weaver gives up home run" to
    "Jeff Weaver has a mental problem."

    In order for me to even suggest something like that, I'd have to see a lot more evidence for it than I've seen. Making judgments of someone's mental stability based solely on their body language and the quality of their on-field performance is not, IMO, a particularly wise or productive thing to do.

    Not everything that goes wrong on the baseball field can be explained by mental or moral failing. Sometimes, the other guy is just better.

    2005-05-20 13:12:02
    83.   Marty
    Jon, will you be posting the poll results on the game thread?
    2005-05-20 13:13:31
    84.   Howard Fox
    mental problem? who said anything about a mental problem...I am saying it is a question of self control and focus on the situation at hand...

    the reason Gagne and other great relievers, and for that matter other great pitchers, are so good, is that the last batter who got a hit or hit a home's yesterday's news...

    with Weaver, it just gnaws at him and distracts him

    2005-05-20 13:19:55
    85.   Bob Timmermann
    Let's go through Weaver's games this year to see what has happened.

    Start #1 4/7 at SF, 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, so he never had trouble to overcome
    Start #2 4/12 vs SF, trouble starts immediately as 10 Giants come up and 5 score in the first inning. Weaver leaves in the fourth after giving up a single to Vizquel, an HBP to snow, and a 3-run bomb to Feliz
    Start #3 4/17 vs SD, Weaver throws a CG shutout.
    Start #4 4/22 at COL, Weaver gets hit consistenly all game by the Rockies and gives up 13 hits and 8 runs in just 4 innings
    Start #5 4/27 vs ARI, Weaver nurses a 3-2 lead into the 7th. He gives up singles to the first two hitters. He gets an out when Nakamura makes a nice player to throw a runner out at the plate. Then he walks Clark. Then he hits Counsell to force in the tying run. (Meanwhile, people scream TAKE HIM OUT). After the HBP, Weaver leaves and eventually Wunsch gives up a 2-run single to Gonzalez.
    Start #6 5/3 vs WAS, Weaver gives up single runs in the 2nd and 3rd, but the Dodgers tie the game in the 4th and go ahead in the 5th. Weaver leaves after walking the leadoff hitter in the 7th. Dodgers win 4-2.
    Start #7 5/8 at CIN, Weaver falls behind on homers by Eric Milton and Ken Griffey, but Weaver helps himself with an RBI double and behind Jason Phillips slam the Dodgers ease to a 9-3 win.
    Start #8 5/13 vs ATL, Weaver takes 2-0 lead into the 8th. With one out: single, double, K, walk. Then KABOOM, LaRoche grand slam. Weaver leaves for Wunsch. Dodgers win anyway 7-4
    Start #9 5/18 vs FLA, Dodgers take 2-1 lead into 6th. Lo Duca singles, Delgado homers, Cabrera homers. Weaver gets two outs. Easley homers, then Gonzalez doubles. Finally Weaver is relieved by Sanchez.

    Starts 5, 8, and 9 indicate to me that Weaver stayed in too long and lost his stuff. But in his other losses, Weaver just got hit early and often.

    2005-05-20 13:22:59
    86.   Howard Fox
    like I said, Weaver is terrific
    2005-05-20 13:25:19
    87.   Bob Timmermann
    What I'm thinking is that Weaver is not a head case, but rather an arm case. He just isn't pitching well enough.
    2005-05-20 13:25:44
    88.   GoBears
    I agree with Enders in this mini-debate with Howard. But I also think you guys are talking past each other a bit. If Howard were to preface every sentence about Weaver with "it appears to me that..." then Eric's point that appearances can be deceptive - that the interpretation is subjective, not objective, and that while Howard MIGHT be exactly right about Weaver, we have no way to really know (to paraphrase) would make much more sense.

    Personally, I think that these pitcher meltdowns, especially Weaver's, are the result of declining stuff (out of gas), and not loss of concentration or focus. I think this because before each meltdown, esp. with Weaver and Erickson, you can see that the pitches that DO make it to the catcher have less movement, less velocity, and look (as someone put it) like batting-practice fastballs. On TV anyway (I brought this up a couple days ago), you can see this, and think, "uh oh... bad sign." I wonder if that's as visible from the dugout.

    2005-05-20 13:26:08
    89.   Howard Fox
    compounded by taking an opposing hitter's hit personally
    2005-05-20 13:27:48
    90.   Howard Fox
    re #88: it's visible from the loge section, I certainly hope it is visible from the dugout
    2005-05-20 13:32:10
    91.   Howard Fox
    also re #88: if Erickson's wife wasn't cute he wouldn't even be there...just kidding Eric
    2005-05-20 13:35:32
    92.   Marty
    So our starters are pretty much like this:
    Perez - dead arm
    Weaver - dead head
    Erickson - dead man walking
    Lowe - dying
    Penny - still some life there
    2005-05-20 13:37:07
    93.   Howard Fox
    re #92 - and your problem with the Grateful Dead is what, exactly?
    2005-05-20 13:59:43
    94.   franklin
    The wags are an article today, Phil Rogers proposed the Chicago clubs as being good matches with the Dodgers to trade from pitching strengths. Anyone ready for a Kerry Wood for Eric Gagne swap?
    2005-05-20 14:01:26
    95.   GoBears
    94: Geez, I hope not. I'm worried that a combination of bad luck and Dusty Baker may have ruined Kerry Wood. He's not the guy he started out to be.
    2005-05-20 14:01:48
    96.   franklin
    and if you really want to spend a worthwhile ten minutes, Eric Neel has a spot on the Freeway Series.
    2005-05-20 14:06:53
    97.   Eric Enders
    Over/under on victories remaining in Kerry Wood's career: 30.

    No, thanks.

    2005-05-20 14:07:09
    98.   Jon Weisman
    83 - No, I'll make a separate thread.
    2005-05-20 14:19:24
    99.   JSN
    Zambrano please.
    2005-05-20 14:36:27
    100.   LetsGoDodgers
    What is the point of having a 7-man bullpen when you expect starters 1-4 to go deep into the game, outcome aside?

    I'm hoping that sooner or later DePo swaps out a reliever for a position player to deepen the bench. It's not like Tracy has faith in all 7 of these relievers and it's hard to win when you don't use your 25-man roster to the max.

    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2005-05-20 14:39:05
    101.   LetsGoDodgers
    I would be suspect of any Cub pitcher. Dusty Baker makes Tommy Lasorda look like Tony LaRussa.

    This thread has been dominated by our injured pitchers. Why on Earth would we want another pitcher with an injury history like Kerry Wood???

    2005-05-20 14:41:53
    102.   Howard Fox
    re #101 - why? that's easy...more sauce for the goose....
    2005-05-20 14:42:05
    103.   Eric Enders
    How much would the Astros demand for giving the Dodgers the right to send Houlton to the minors? Any chance they might just accept a cash payment, and we could put a more useful player on the roster?
    2005-05-20 14:49:09
    104.   JSN
    From the Tracy chat:
    5:41 pm With both Brazoban and Gagne in the bullpen do you forsee ever using one of them (like Brazoban) in more creative ways such as getting out of a mid game jam situation? Then you still have Gagne for the 9th?

    That's a possibility as we go along. I think what is important right now is that with the return of Gagne, Brazoban has been moved to a different part of the game already. We don't want to juggle him around too much, too quickly, and create uncertainty in his mind as to exactly the area of the game that he must be prepared for. As we get deeper into the season and you get to crunch time, the possibility of Yhency coming in to put down an inning is one that you would consider. But, at this early juncture in the season, having moved him already once, we need to take some time to allow him to settle into his role."

    Not from the Tracy chat:
    Have I considered what you are asking? Yes. I have thought about it. Will i be that proactive in implementing such a good idea? Absolutely not at this juncture. Will I keep it in mind for the future? Perhaps.

    2005-05-20 14:50:49
    105.   Eric Enders
    That answer in 104 is actually, IMO, an incredibly good answer to that question. I would have expected something more evasive.
    2005-05-20 14:53:35
    106.   JSN
    I agree I think it was a good answer and shows he might have something like that in mind down the road. I was just joking around.
    2005-05-20 14:57:11
    107.   gvette
    Tracy may actually be right about Brazoban needing to adjust.(Can't believe I actually wrote that.) Yhency wasn't exactly lights out his first time out as the 8th inning setup guy on Tuesday night.
    2005-05-20 14:58:29
    108.   Jon Weisman
    It's arguably a good answer. One could counter-argue that since Yhency hasn't settled in his role yet, why not move him around before he gets settled. That way, he's only unsettled once. Can't Yhency be prepared to enter the game in the sixth or in the eighth?

    But, at least it might happen ni the future.

    2005-05-20 14:59:03
    109.   regfairfield
    I like how he compeletly evaded the question about Hee Seop.
    2005-05-20 15:05:10
    110.   GoBears
    104-108: This "role" stuff drives me nuts. What it comes down to is that the two best relievers (setup guy and closer) really get the easiest relief assignments - starting innings with no one on. And the worst relievers come in at the most difficult times, inheriting runners, such that even a single hit is a disaster. Put another way, perhaps the closer shouldn't be the best guy in the pen, especially given how cheap most "saves" are. I know this isn't a new idea, but before it was only closers. Now it's setup guys too. And when your LOOGY(s) are actually decent pitchers, they're way underused as well. Someone bring me LaRussa's head on a pike!
    2005-05-20 15:06:47
    111.   GoBears
    109: Didn't see it. Can you reproduce it for us here, or provide a link? Thanx
    2005-05-20 15:09:29
    112.   regfairfield
    The chat:

    4:45 pm Topic: Los Angeles Dodgers baseball

    5:02 pm Thanks for logging on to today's chat. Please keep submitting your questions.

    5:08 pm Thanks for joining today's chat. Please keep submitting your questions.

    5:17 pm Thank you for logging on to today's chat. Please keep submitting your questions.

    5:30 pm Thanks for participating in today's chat. The chat will begin in a few minutes. Please keep submitting your questions.

    5:32 pm Can you give an update on Jason Werth's rehab?

    5:33 pm He is progressing. We have been encouraged over the past few days with the progress he is making offensively. He's gotten some hits as of late, including three last night, and we've heard less of him talking about pain and/or discomfort that he had been experiencing earlier. We are continuing to keep an eye on it and we're hopeful that in the not too distant future, we'll be talking about the possibility of activating him.

    5:33 pm With the injury to Jose Valentin, what is your plan for 3rd base? Do you plan to start Antonio Perez there (when he's re-activated) or are you confident in the skills of Oscar Robles and Mike Edwards?

    5:35 pm When will Edwin Jackson be called back to the Majors, and what role will he play when he is?

    5:36 pm Good afternoon Mr. Tracy! Who has been the biggest surprise of the season so far?

    5:38 pm What's your game on beating the Angels this series?

    5:41 pm With both Brazoban and Gagne in the bullpen do you forsee ever using one of them (like Brazoban) in more creative ways such as getting out of a mid game jam situation? Then you still have Gagne for the 9th?

    5:43 pm I just want to say that I think you are doing a great job and thank you

    5:43 pm Thank you very much. I appreciate your support, as I have greatly appreciated the support of the fans of Los Angeles during the course of my 4 1/2 years as manager of the club.

    5:44 pm Milton Bradley has mentioned in the past that you're like a father to him. How have you two developed such a great working relationship after he came over to the dodgers as the man a manager could love to hate?

    5:46 pm How do you feel about Scott Erickson's contributions to starting pitching?

    5:47 pm His performance thus far has had its ups and downs. I think the other thing that you have to keep in mind is the irregularity in which he has worked with a number of days off in between starts. You take that into consideration. He's had some very good starts, most recently his start Sunday against the Braves. Rather than focus on one guy, we need to look at the situation as a whole here of late and that collectively, we have not pitched very well.

    5:47 pm All of the work invested in Hee Seop Choi is definately beginning to pay off offensively. How do you plan to work on, or how are you already attempting to smooth out his mechanical defense?

    5:49 pm Do you have any clubhouse rules ?

    5:50 pm I don't overwhelm my players with rules, but I have a few things that I don't ask, I expect. For five years, we've never had a problem with that. If you look at the success we've had, it's become a very neat place for people to come to.

    5:51 pm Do you have any superstitions with regard to baseball?

    5:52 pm I don't believe in superstition. They're bad luck (that was actually Jim Colborn, who just walked into my office).

    5:52 pm As a ball player yourself, who did you idolize growing up during or before your playing days?

    5:54 pm What do you know about Willy Ayabar? Is he going to be a good third baseman? What's his game and when will he be ready?

    5:56 pm What has been your most rememberable moment as the Dodgers skipper?

    5:57 pm October 2, 2004. When we began in 2001, one of the dreams that we had in managing in his organization was to get it back to the point where it had realized a championship of some sort under my tenure. However, it's not the final hurdle that I'm looking forward to going over as the manager of this team. What we left short was a National League championship and an opportunity to play in the World Series.

    5:57 pm Last question here guys...

    5:58 pm As the season goes on who do you perceive as the greatest competition in the NL West and why?

    5:59 pm I think the San Diego Padres are a team that is going to be around for the majority of the season. The Arizona Diamondbacks have made vast improvements from a year ago. They have improved offensively, they have improved defensively which has helped bring Brandon Webb back to his success as a rookie and is going to help enhance their team. I really feel that it could virtually end up being a three- to four-team race throughout much of the season.

    5:59 pm We've got to go prepare for tonight's game, but thank you all for taking part in this. I enjoyed it quite a bit and look forward to seeing you all at Dodger Stadium this season.

    Software © 2005 Prospero Technologies LLC. All rights reserved.

    2005-05-20 15:20:27
    113.   bigcpa
    Kind of a strange format there:


    2005-05-20 15:22:10
    114.   Jon Weisman
    Regfairfield -

    Next time, just provide a link. That's way too much of someone else's property to publish here. Thanks.

    2005-05-20 15:24:21
    115.   regfairfield
    Sorry about that, the reason I did it was because a link didn't actually exist.
    2005-05-20 15:33:55
    116.   Jon Weisman
    Oh. Well, you should still excerpt. Just for future reference.
    2005-05-20 15:36:07
    117.   regfairfield
    Will do. I actually didn't think think it would be that long, but, here we are.
    2005-05-20 15:38:00
    118.   Howard Fox
    maybe it's just me, but aren't relievers (or for that matter all pitchers) supposed to come in and get the hitters out? do they try less hard in the 7th or 8th inning than in the 9th? are the hitters trying harder in the 9th than in the 8th?

    I just don't get the whole "adjustment" to pitching in a different inning theory

    2005-05-20 15:38:51
    119.   GoBears
    Getting back to the point of it, tho, it looks like Tracy just ignored 75% of the questions. I wonder why they even do thess things - his answers weren't the least bit enlightening. Even the good question about Werth was answered with "we hope to look into thinking about possibly activating him in the future, maybe." OK, that's not a direct quote, but that's a fair summary, I think. Sheesh.
    2005-05-20 15:39:35
    120.   GoBears
    118: I'm with you, Howard.
    2005-05-20 15:40:11
    121.   Howard Fox
    to pursue that line of thought, if our biggest problems occur in the 6th or 7th innings, why not pitch Brazoban in the 6th and Gagne in the 7th...stupid, I know, but it just doesn't make sense to me...

    an 8th inning specialist? I don't get it

    2005-05-20 15:41:57
    122.   Howard Fox
    maybe have Gagne start every game and strike out the side in the first inning to demoralize them, then we can coast from there...
    2005-05-20 15:43:05
    123.   Howard Fox
    now you got me thinking...Brazoban was lights out in the 9th...and he got rocked in the 8th...maybe he is only good in odd numbered innings...
    2005-05-20 15:47:40
    124.   Eric Enders
    "do they try less hard in the 7th or 8th inning than in the 9th? are the hitters trying harder in the 9th than in the 8th?

    I just don't get the whole "adjustment" to pitching in a different inning theory"

    It's mostly just that it violates the work routine pitchers have become comfortable with. Sort of like if you were asked to start working graveyard shift at work. Theoretically you should be able to do the job just as well, but it would probably take a little while to adjust to it.

    That said, I do think too much is made of it. Pitchers should be able to adjust to whatever the needs of the team are.

    2005-05-20 15:47:57
    125.   Steve
    I learned in first year property that something has to actually exist to become property and subject to property law.

    I'm not sure if that qualifies. Like Simers.

    2005-05-20 15:49:05
    126.   Howard Fox
    I can hear Tracy now, talking to Colborn...we need to replace "x"...can't bring in Ghamer, it's an even numbered inning, can't bring in Carrera, it's the 2nd Wednesday of the month...get Schmoll up, he is lights out on the 2nd Wednesday with 2 outs in the 6th, a runner on 2nd and deuces wild...
    2005-05-20 15:50:43
    127.   Howard Fox
    Colborn to Tracy: Schmoll is in Las Vegas

    Tracy to Colborn: since when?

    2005-05-20 16:02:46
    128.   GoBears
    124: Eric, I think your analogy is an overreach. I'd say it's more like being asked to take your coffee break at 2 instead of 2:30 (or vice versa).

    Now, I can see that it might be counterproductive to leave too much uncertainty as to length of use. If a guy is sometimes brought in to face one batter, and other times to pitch 3 innings, well, that will effect preparation and how hard a guy will go to the first batter(s). But what's wrong with a "smokejumper" job description, for multiple guys, even? You'll come in when we need you, most likely no earlier than the 5th, and no later than the 8th. Be ready.

    2005-05-20 16:05:23
    129.   Howard Fox
    not only will it effect preparation, but it will also affect preparation...sorry, couldn't help myself...

    the 3 inning reference is to the Padre game last year when Tracy had Gagne go 3 innings???

    2005-05-20 16:07:43
    130.   Howard Fox
    okay, now it's time for me to give all of you a's off to the game...must be in the front row...
    2005-05-20 16:08:04
    131.   GoBears
    D'oh! Thanks for that, Howard. I absolutely know the difference between effect and affect. Brain fart.

    No, I wasn't thinking of Gagne specifically. More generally about middle-innings guys. 3 innings is unlikely unless the starter leaves early, but the point was that "roles" should be defined in terms of length of stint, not inning.

    2005-05-20 16:09:45
    132.   Howard Fox
    I know, just giving you grief, that's all...
    2005-05-20 16:11:15
    133.   GoBears
    I deserved it. I don't mind at all.
    2005-05-20 16:15:01
    134.   mcrawford
    Probably, in his chat, questions were coming too quickly for Tracy to answer them all. Usually, like I've seen on ESPN's chats, they have a moderator behind-the-scenes or something who only posts the questions that are going to be answered. So by the end of the chat, most questions start off,
    "Heyyyy, pleeeezzz take my question, for a homey back in your hometown who grew up with your sister-in-law!!!!"

    Looks like they didn't do that this time.

    2005-05-20 16:22:38
    135.   mcrawford
    The Dodgers have the 2nd best offense in the league, based on Runs/G. I did not know this. has a bunch of stats and graphs up. Fun stuff too look at.
    2005-05-20 16:25:49
    136.   socalcardfan
    I see the Reds have designated D'Angelo Jimenez for assignment. How fast can you say "Adios, Oscar?"

    D'Angelo is a guy who could fill in for Izturas and Kent. In fact, he might be an upgrade at third. I wonder what's the deal there.

    2005-05-20 16:29:21
    137.   Eric Enders
    Jimenez has been a discipline problem with every team he's ever played for. But then, so had Bradley...
    2005-05-20 16:34:53
    138.   GoBears
    Jimenez was one of the Yankees' super-hyped prospects. Many thought he'd be better than Soriano (mostly, I think, because Fonzie was and is completely without discipline at the plate). But Jimenez has never been able to hold down a steady job. If a AAAA player is a guy between leagues, Jimenez seems a guy between roles. Not good enough to start every day, but good enough to be frustrated with riding pine. All that said, if he's not too expensive, I'd take him over Robles.
    2005-05-20 16:37:48
    139.   the OZ
    Jiminez's contract status after being DFAd -

    1 year/$2.87M, with a tad over 4 years of service time. So, whoever claimed him would be responsible a the pro-rated portion of the $2.87M and would have control of him after the season.

    2005 line: .229/.319/.295/.615 in 105 AB
    career line: .267/.350/.382/.732 in about 2000 AB
    Only full season: .270/.364/.394/.758, 563 AB (2004)

    I'm not proposing that the Dodgers should or shouldn't make a waiver claim, I'm just trying to bring some information on board. Is it correct to assume that about 20 other teams would need to pass on him before a hypothetical Dodger waiver claim would be completed?

    2005-05-20 16:39:55
    140.   Eric Enders
    About 8 or 9 other teams would have to pass on him first... it goes in inverse order of record, but all NL teams get a shot before any AL teams do.
    2005-05-20 16:50:32
    141.   gvette
    Suddenly the market for questionable infielders is flooded.

    Besides Jimenez being available,the Phillies have now released Dodger legend, and DT trivia answer Jose Offerman!

    2005-05-20 16:54:56
    142.   Bob Timmermann
    Jose Offerman would be almost, but not quite, entirely useless on the Dodgers.
    2005-05-20 17:05:31
    143.   Marty
    The only thing I would use Offerman for would be to drag the infield.
    2005-05-20 17:07:44
    144.   gvette
    But Marty, could you trust Offerman to hold on to the rake all the way around the infield?
    2005-05-20 17:08:20
    145.   Marty
    I meant for Offerman to BE the rake
    2005-05-20 17:17:55
    146.   Jon Weisman
    LOL, 143-145.

    Mr. RDGC, you're on.

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