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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
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2006-09-08 07:00
by Jon Weisman

Jack Curry of the New York Times tries to offer perspective on the crazy team from Los Angeles:

Andre Ethier is comfortable being uncomfortable, so he is comfortable playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ethier said he stayed motivated by not letting himself feel that he was in a firm position. So these unpredictable Dodgers are the perfect team for the rookie outfielder.

In this quirky season, the Dodgers have spent two weeks as the worst team in the major leagues and even longer as the premier team in baseball. Sometimes, the Dodgers scare the opposition. Sometimes, they scare themselves. ...

True enough, though Curry later uses the word "listless" to describe the Dodgers' performance in a 7-0 loss Thursday, the same word that popped up in the game thread comments here. So, I'll reiterate my postgame counterpoint:

I can't imagine the Dodgers lacked for motivation on a team or individual level. The team is also just one day removed from a comeback victory. Calling them listless or a team that gave up because it fell behind doesn't stand to scrutiny.

The Mets, the best team in the league, got the big hits tonight, while the Dodgers got several baserunners but did not make the key plays they needed. I watched the game and saw players (including Jeff Kent) diving, running hard, a bit overeager at the plate and jittery in the outfield, but anything but listless.

I don't understand the rush to question the effort of a first place team in a close race, a team whose members still have much to prove, either as rookies or as vets trying to retain playing time.

In other words, "listless" is misused a synonym for a poor performance. The Dodgers simply flailed.

With Hong-Chih Kuo making his first major league start tonight, the Dodgers should be anything but listless again. Whether they will win is another matter.

* * *

People in New York (or at least Ben Shpigel of the New York Times) love ex-Dodger Jose Valentin:

Any lineup featuring Jose Reyes at the top and Jose Valentin batting eighth is bound to wreak havoc. ... (Dodger manager Grady) Little had a prime seat to watch Valentin blast a 425-foot home run and drive in another run, reinforcing his status as the league's most dangerous No. 8 hitter.

This has been brewing for a while. Previously on Dodger Thoughts, from June 8, 2006:

Though Dodger third baseman Bill Mueller got off to a better start in April than last year's free agent signee at the position, Jose Valentin, it looks as if Mueller is going to end up having a similar season. Like Valentin, Mueller was sidelined early on by a knee injury, and his recovery is not going well.

"Mueller's knee is not responding well to May 15 surgery," Ken Gurnick of said, "and he will seek a second opinion from Vail orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Steadman. Mueller has had three operations on the right knee."

Valentin, meanwhile, is having a little bit of a rebound at age 36, playing second base for the New York Mets. It's nothing spectacular, but presumably it's what former Dodger general manager Paul DePodesta had in mind when he signed Valentin to be the 2005 stopgap at third.

Valentin, 2005: 184 PA, .598 OPS, .232 EQA, -6.9 VORP, $3,500,000
Mueller, 2006: 126 PA, .759 OPS, .266 EQA, 1.6 VORP, $4,250,000 (2006), $5,250,000 (2007-08)
Valentin, 2006: 103 PA, .838 OPS, .273 EQA, 6.4 VORP, $912,500

I never got comfortable with the Valentin signing, whereas I saw some potential (to go with some health risk) in picking up Mueller when it happened. Furthermore, Mueller still has a chance to pull things together by the end of the year (though I don't think anyone knows when we'll see him next), and Valentin still has plenty of time to let things fall apart.

But in the end, Mueller's principal value to the Dodgers might just be what he did for them just for the season's opening couple of weeks, and maybe, what he might provide on the trade market. Maybe he'll contribute in the stretch run of 2006. Maybe he'll follow Valentin into a resurgence - in Los Angeles even, if for some reason Willy Aybar, Joel Guzman or Andy LaRoche don't prevent it.

Otherwise, on-the-field memories of Mueller in a Dodger uniform might be as few as those of Valentin.

Obviously, the last paragraph of that post turned out to be correct, but the paragraph before it was all too optimistic.

Comments (151)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-09-08 07:30:12
1.   Eric Enders
Valentin's at .344/.511/.855, so I guess he is the best #8 hitter in the league. Martin's .359/.442/.801 is not too shabby, though -- he does have the higher OBP.

I don't know if it came across on TV, but Ethier looked really awful on the inside the park home run that people seem to have blamed Matt Kemp for. Andre didn't leave his position to back up until the ball literally hit the wall. I don't know if he thought it was gone, or if he just thought Kemp had it in his hip pocket. But if Ethier plays his position correctly, that's a triple or maybe even a double.

2006-09-08 07:43:38
2.   uke
Good observation, but a moot point it seems. I mean 6-0 versus 7-0?
2006-09-08 07:46:36
3.   Eric Enders
2006-09-08 08:05:36
4.   Sam DC
I'm booking these guys now to play at my son's wedding. Should be about 20-30 years away. Perfect.

2006-09-08 08:21:18
5.   Eric Enders
Tooling around on BB-Ref, I just noticed that the A's setup man has quite an interesting middle name.

2006-09-08 08:28:05
6.   ToyCannon
Brad Penny was highlighted by BaseballHQ and it wasn't pretty:
Fading Penny blasted again at Shea...Brad Penny (RHP, LAD) went into his Thursday night start with a 1-7 record and 6.25 ERA at Shea Stadium. Things didn't turn out any differently this time, as Penny gave up seven runs and failed to finish the sixth inning for the fourth consecutive game. The latter suggests that there is more at play here than simply Penny's Shea Stadium phobia and the Mets' powerful offense on this particular night, though it's not reflected by his YTD BPIs.

Year IP ERA xERA H% S% Ctl Dom Cmd BPV
==== === ==== ==== === === === === === ===
2004 143 3.15 3.67 29% 77% 2.8 7.0 2.5 77
2005 175 3.91 3.59 31% 72% 2.1 6.3 3.0 74
2006 165 3.97 3.30 31% 71% 2.6 6.6 2.6 70
Last 31 26 6.84 4.19 36% 58% 4.1 6.8 1.7 56

Penny's overall numbers are solid, and he's reached a career high 15 wins to date thanks in part recently to some good run support. But his most recent month suggests that a combination of bad fortune – as indicated by the inflated H%, deflated S%, and ERA-xERA disparity – poor Ctl, and inconsistent command have resulted in a bottom line performance slippage. Penny's slide is further reflected in his PQS log since mid-July.

Penny PQS Log 7/16 thru 9/7
=== =======================
4 X X
3 X X X X X
2 X X X
0 X

Penny has tossed only two PQS-DOMs during an eleven game period and gone past the sixth inning just twice during a period in which he has posted a 6.46 ERA

2006-09-08 08:32:43
7.   Eric Enders
"But his most recent month suggests that a combination of bad fortune – as indicated by the inflated H%, deflated S%, and ERA-xERA disparity – poor Ctl, and inconsistent command have resulted in aAC bottom line performance slippage."

A great reminder of what separates Bill James from many (maybe most) statistical analysts. He writes in English.

2006-09-08 08:55:51
8.   Sam DC
Well, I see over at Deadspin that Bob is starting to sell off his 2004 Dodgers memorabilia.
2006-09-08 09:07:56
9.   Eric Enders
8 The line about DNA was great, but deeply disturbing.
2006-09-08 09:09:18
10.   goblue1
Couldn't disagree more. I gave up after the 6th inning so i didn't see Kents dive etc... but i did watch long enough to see the same thing i saw when we went to StLu, or really whenever the teams gets down and gets in the loosing mode. No spark, no fight, sporadic effort. If anyone has the stat id love to know- have we EVER come back from a 3 run lead ? Im not sure we have this year. That's bad coaching/motivation. I suspect the team is fantasizing about their next day off in Grittles layed back/cush "restology" style. Had to endure the Mets announcers yesterday (which is another story) but they were flabbergasted at the lack of effort from the get go. Frucal grounds out, jogs to first. They concluded he must be hurt. Maybe he is. Kemp loafing on a pop up- dude, you should be at second base by the time that lands.... that's baseball- ESPECIALLY when youre 21 and trying to make the team in September. Getting beat- that I can handle. The way we wilt in the face of adversity? Embarrassing. How can a "1st place team" throw in the towel when we get behind so quickly (don't really count a 1 run comeback VS a MIL team that had lost 10 in a row when we came to town much of a rally cry). Ive never seen such a soft team. I suspect Maybe the team will be so excited and relaxed about Monday off that they will win one this weekend, but I wouldn't bet on it.
2006-09-08 09:17:31
11.   Eric Enders
10 "have we EVER come back from a 3 run lead ? Im not sure we have this year. That's bad coaching/motivation."

No, it's lack of home run hitting. Three-run homers are generally how teams come back when far behind.

I find the attitude in 10 unfathomable. Not every loss can be explained away with hokum about psychological factors and lack of fire. Sometimes the other team just plays better.

2006-09-08 09:24:24
12.   Bob Timmermann
In the third game of the year against the Braves, the Dodgers rallied from a 3-run deficit to tie the Braves.

And then lost 9-8.

The Dodgers had several rallies from 3-run deficits last season. That helped a lot.

2006-09-08 09:26:02
13.   Bob Timmermann
Here's how the Yankees came back from 5-1 down in the 8th against the Royals to score 10 runs
J. Gobble relieved L. Hudson
- A. Rodriguez singled to center
- J. Posada homered to deep right center, A. Rodriguez scored
- R. Cano singled to left
- M. Cabrera walked, R. Cano to second
- B. Williams hit for A. Guiel
- S. Dohmann relieved J. Gobble
- B. Williams walked, R. Cano to third, M. Cabrera to second
- A. Sisco relieved S. Dohmann
- J. Damon singled to center, R. Cano and M. Cabrera scored, B. Williams to second
- D. Jeter struck out swinging
- B. Abreu doubled to deep center, J. Damon and B. Williams scored
- J. Giambi grounded out to second, B. Abreu to third
- A. Rodriguez walked
- A. Burgos relieved A. Sisco
- J. Posada singled to shallow center, B. Abreu scored, A. Rodriguez to third
- R. Cano homered to deep right, J. Posada and A. Rodriguez scored
- M. Cabrera flied out to left center
2006-09-08 09:28:00
14.   goblue1

So were leading the NL in hitting and 3rd or 4th in runs scored, but home runs are the only way to come back when we get behind? Thats hokum!


Hear ya about last year- that was a totally different story, injuries devastated the team- its amazing to reflect on some of the August lineups..... Jason Philips hitting cleanup? I think Robles was our best hitter.

2006-09-08 09:29:56
15.   blue22
11 - Sometimes the other team just plays better.

Especially when said other team is better. New York looks unstoppable with Pedro and Glavine on the mound.

I still like LA's chances against them, especially in a 7-game series, but LA simply has to do some damage against the latter part of NY's rotation, starting tonight.

Last night's game was very frustrating to watch, but I think we've all seen this team enough this year to expect another hot streak before the season is done.

2006-09-08 09:31:38
16.   Bob Timmermann
It's a lot easier to come from behind when you get one swing that produces 2-3 runs than hoping you can get 4-5 swings to do the same thing.
2006-09-08 09:31:57
17.   blue22
15 - Pedro and Glavine on the mound

Hmm, how about Pedro or Glavine...both of them on the mound could get crowded.

2006-09-08 09:33:52
18.   Bob Timmermann
But when you have simultaneous pitches coming from a lefty and a righty, it's really hard to pick up the ball.
2006-09-08 09:34:42
19.   fanerman
But that's a lot of passed balls if you have just one catcher.
2006-09-08 09:35:11
20.   Gen3Blue
I must admit I have been a bit of a crank about the losing psychology that seems to afflict the Dodgers, especially during these losing streaks. But I don't want to be confused with anyone calling the D's listless or lacking motivation. I don't believe that at all. My argument is more similar to someone trying too hard and therefore failing.
My argument, which I may have overstated, is that the D's seem to easily fall into feeling like losers, which seems to make you more likely to lose. It doesn't imply any lack of effort. This all makes it tough on the team when their starters often blow the first two inning. A good counter example is the Mets. They obviously feel like winners at the moment( and all season)and this makes them more likely to win.
I don't blame the players or know the solution.
2006-09-08 09:35:23
21.   goblue1
My point isn't that home runs are not a good way to score runs in baseball.

By the way that Yankee inning had A LOT more than 2 bombs in it….. try working the count and getting base runners!

2006-09-08 09:36:43
22.   Bob Timmermann
Or try facing Kansas City's relievers.
2006-09-08 09:37:33
23.   blue22
19 - LoDuca could handle it. Just ask Plaschke. Or Jim Tracy.

He'd handle both pitches, then throw out both ends of a double steal.

2006-09-08 09:39:46
24.   Bob Timmermann
I posted the link yesterday, but in case you missed it, earlier Plaschke said that he would give Floyd Landis a ride on his bicycles handlebards on the Harbor Freeway during rush hour if Marion Jones's "B" sample came back negative.
2006-09-08 09:40:56
25.   Bob Timmermann
Plaschke realized his goof today:
2006-09-08 09:42:40
26.   Jacob L
Maybe when the Dodgers fall behind they get impatient and start trying to hit home runs, something they're distinctly not good at.

What struck me about your post Jon, is that a few months ago Aybar and Guzman were long-term options at third. Its nice to have options. Of course, having Betemit around is not so bad.

2006-09-08 09:44:03
27.   Jacob L
25 Plaschke standard column lead number 3b:

The ____ that you hear is a _____.

2006-09-08 09:48:09
28.   confucius
17 18 Or a really cool ink blot.
2006-09-08 09:57:19
29.   uke
15 I think this four game set is a good indication of how a 7 game set would go down. I understand Lowe won't pitch in this series, and the playoffs are a different atmosphere, but if this isn't close to urgent I don't know what is. And the offense barely even fizzled last night. that can't be a good sign.
2006-09-08 09:58:31
30.   still bevens
26 I've noticed the Dodgers tend to hack at certain inopportune times, especially when theyre down. Might just be my selective memory, but theres certain ABs by Kent, Nomar and Ethier that infuriate me with a. their lack of patience and b. ability to let the opposing pitcher blow through an inning with 10 or fewer pitches. Honorable mentions to Furcal and Lofton go here, but theyre not our teams 'best hitters' so it doesnt bug me as much.
2006-09-08 09:58:38
31.   Bob Timmermann
In a Retrosheet study by Dave Smith of over 12,000 games, over 56% of all games were won by a team that took the lead and never trailed.

Teams that lead after 1 inning, win 70% of the time.

2006-09-08 10:02:56
32.   Gagne55
I think the team tends to get down on itself when it gives up runs early.

30 I'm with you. Kent, Nomar, and Ethier all have a knack for popping up the first pitch. The worst is when the opposing pitcher walks the bases loaded then Kent or Nomar comes up and it's a first pitch pop-up, often on a pitch out of the zone. I'm like "Dude, the guy just walked the bases loaded. What're you swingin' at the first pitch for?"

2006-09-08 10:03:00
33.   regfairfield
31 And teams when 100% of the time when they're ahead after the last inning.

29 I don't see how this is really urgent. These games are close to meaningless for the Mets, and the only way Philadelphia gets within striking distance is if they sweep the Marlins and we get swept.

If the Dodgers even manage to split, they've done their job. Even winning one of four is acceptable right now.

2006-09-08 10:04:34
34.   Gagne55
BTW, didn't Ramon Ortiz have a 3 pitch inning against the Dodgers this year? Who batted in that inning?
2006-09-08 10:05:41
35.   Gagne55
33 I think the number of wins that would be conseidered acceptable is however many games the Padres win this weekend.
2006-09-08 10:07:16
36.   dzzrtRatt
"Listless" isn't necessarily a moral judgement. It also could be a result of fatigue -- mental and physical.

The Dodgers' poor play on the road is a clue that this team's stamina can be affected by things like the hassles of traveling, unfamiliar hotel rooms, unfamiliar girlfriends, unfamiliar locker room facilities.

Their streakiness is a sign that they get down on themselves, or on their teammates, after a couple losses, or even a couple bad innings. I sense that the veterans on the team are especially guilty of this. They have the stat in 31 tattooed on their brains. So when Penny or Hendrickson or Sele allow a few runs in the first two innings, they subconsciously give up. Whereas when Lowe or Billingsley have started their games strong recently, the Dodgers as a team seem to toughen up, even when they're facing a good pitcher.

2006-09-08 10:09:18
37.   Gagne55
Yes. The Dodgers atrocious road record does seem indicative of a mentally soft team.
2006-09-08 10:14:06
38.   uke
33 one of four is acceptable? It obviously isn't urgent for the Mets, yet they still crush us. There is plenty of baseball to be played yes, but we've all seen how this ends up going down. I would also like to think that they would want to win the NL West, and not just land the wild card spot (so that we can play the Mets). I would say this is a more important series than trying to win just one.
2006-09-08 10:15:25
39.   natepurcell
i just turned on espn and they just finished doing an interview with martin and ethier on cold pizza.
2006-09-08 10:15:53
40.   blue22
36 - Their streakiness is a sign that they get down on themselves, or on their teammates, after a couple losses, or even a couple bad innings.

I think it's a sign of a deeply flawed team, on both sides of the ball. The starting pitching is inconsistent, and the offense relies on stringing together multiple hits to score.

Of course, when the pitching is on, and the offense is clicking, they look like the best team in the league. I fully expect to see that team again before the season's up. Hopefully it won't be too late.

2006-09-08 10:17:04
41.   goblue1
36- I mean these are grown well paid professionals, If they miss thier pillows and wives cooking that's just too bad....I couldn't believe the fuss they made about loud teenagers at their hotel last week (of maybe the week before). The team, its record when behind, etc... reflect on the manager, soft. Plus, fatigue? This is the most rested/babied team in history. Most of the 'vets play 4-5 games/week.

Curry is right. He has the luxury of being a New Yorker and calling it like he sees it instead of worrying about peoples feelings.

2006-09-08 10:19:03
42.   regfairfield
35 I've nicknamed the Padres "safety net" at this point.

When the Dodgers were coming from behind last year, who was providing the fire? Jason Phillips? Oscar Robles? Hee Seops exciting cheers from the bench?

2006-09-08 10:19:25
43.   Sam DC
Rob Neyer is a buddhist, or a metahpysicist, or something like that:

Todd (Sioux Falls, South Dakota): Hey Rob, What are your thoughts on the imminent return of Francisco Liriano for the Twins. Will Liriano's return give the Twins the final edge in their nail-biter race with the White Sox?

Rob Neyer: (12:15 PM ET ) The Twins already have a slight edge, based on the remaining schedule. A healthy Liriano would give them another slight edge. But these edges are balanced, to some degree, by all the random events that will happen between now and the last pitch of the season.

2006-09-08 10:25:25
44.   blue22
42 - Nope, you left one very important guy out.

Hint: He's now providing fire in Pittsburgh.

2006-09-08 10:27:28
45.   regfairfield
44 You're right, Pittsburgh is number two in the NL in fire this year, up from number 12 last year. Mmeanwhile, the Dodgers have dropped from 3rd all the way to 14th.

DePo just didn't get the intangibles.

2006-09-08 10:27:34
46.   Sam DC
Rob Neyer also just told me that Ryan Howard is older than Albert Pujols. I had not realized that.
2006-09-08 10:30:44
47.   Humma Kavula
25 Plaschke is still an idiot, but his admitting that he was an idiot in this particular circumstance shows some humility.

That said, I did notice that he fell on an old rhetorical trick: "Some would point out x, but not I." Yeah, and Brutus is an honorable man.

2006-09-08 10:48:50
48.   Xeifrank
Good luck to the Dodgers tonight. I hope Guo pitches well and isn't too wild. Mr Kuo/Guo who is from Taiwan uses the Wade-Giles system for spelling his name with western letters. More popular is the Pinyin system which spells it Guo. The name is actually pronounced with a 'G' sound and not a 'K' sound (Gwo - with a long o). Would be nice if the Dodger announcers were taught how to properly pronounce it before his start tonight. It's not like it's a 20 consonant Russian name or a 20 bowel french name.
vr, Xei
2006-09-08 10:50:24
49.   Telemachos
...a 20 bowel french name.

Freudian slip? :)

Go G(u)o! (Yes, that pun is bad, but I'm bored at work).

2006-09-08 10:58:55
50.   uke
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-09-08 11:04:15
51.   Bob Timmermann

The only people who will say "Guo" tonight and Xeifrank and I.

ESPN pronounced Kuo's name as "Guo" during the WBC, but that was how his name was written on the official phonetic pronunciation guide that the WBC put out.

Even Jeff Brantley got it right!

Even Jeff Brantley!

(It bears repeating!)

2006-09-08 11:08:34
52.   Marty
But if we start calling him Guo, we have to stop referring to him as Kuofax.
2006-09-08 11:20:59
53.   regfairfield
51 It's times like these I'm glad I don't have a podcast.
2006-09-08 11:30:10
54.   Bob Timmermann
Fun for L.A. area residents:

Tip from L.A. Observed. If you don't get KCET, this won't be of much interest.

2006-09-08 11:36:20
55.   blue22
Getting drunk watching PBS. Bob, you wild man.
2006-09-08 11:39:02
56.   Marty
I saw Huell Howser at Phillipe's one day. He's a large man.
2006-09-08 11:41:07
57.   GoBears
I think the psychological factor at work here is called projection. To say that the team looks listless or that they give up or whatever likely tells us much more about the observer than the observed. We know, as blue-blooded fans, that most teams, and especially teams that lack HR power are not likely to come back, so we give up when they fall behind. We then project our pessimism onto every failed at bat, or bad defensive play.
2006-09-08 11:42:07
58.   ToyCannon
A deeply flawed team in 1st place in Sept and in the catbird seat for the wildcard. I'll take it and be happy about it.
2006-09-08 11:42:17
59.   GoBears
36 is precisely the sort of unfounded speculation that Jon's post warns about:

Their streakiness is a sign that they get down on themselves, or on their teammates, after a couple losses, or even a couple bad innings.

Wha-huh? Not it isn't. Streakiness happens. Just like a fair coin can come up heads 7 times in a row then tails 8 times is row a little later, short-term streaks are possible no matter what the makeup of the team.

And as another Jon post a couple days ago articulated quite well, players of good-not-great ability will be inconsistent. They won't stink all the time, and they won't succeed all the time. Teams full of such players will sometimes click together and win big, sometimes flail together and lose big, and sometimes get a mix, and play close games.

Finally, over and above native talent, it's worth looking at where these players are relative to their peaks. My understanding is that young and old players are more inconsistent. How many Dodgers are in their peak years? Furcal, Penny (weird), maybe Lugo geez, is that it? Everyone else is young (Martin, Ethier, Betemit, Kemp, Repko) or past their prime (Nomar, Kent, Saenz, Lofton, Lowe, Tomko, Sele, even Drew). Not a lot of career years to be expected from such a collection, and probably more than average inconsistency from each, and by extension, from the team.

I sense that the veterans on the team are especially guilty of this.

You sense this? I think you mean to say that you hypothesize this, but such a hypothesis has to come from a theory about human behavior (not from nowhere) and it must be subject to empirical testing. How would we know if this statement is true or false? It's one possible interpretation of what's happening, but how would we know if it's the right one?

2006-09-08 11:43:14
60.   regfairfield
56 Wow, is that a French Dip? Amazing!
2006-09-08 11:44:57
61.   Marty
60 Exactly
2006-09-08 11:47:17
62.   Bob Timmermann
So, there's gravy on the French Dip? Wowwwwwww.........
2006-09-08 11:48:30
63.   GoBears
58. ToyCannon
A deeply flawed team in 1st place in Sept and in the catbird seat for the wildcard. I'll take it and be happy about it.

I agree completely.

How many games did most folks expect the Dodgers to win this year? Mid-80s? That's probably still right, and the fact that they've been streaky along the way, rather than alternating wins and losses, is alternately exciting and depressing, but it's not the least bit surprising or important. In fact, given that baseball has multi-game series against each opponent, streaks are almost built in - you beat the bad teams, and lose to the good ones, and any time you happen to do the opposite (e.g. lose to Milwaukee, beat the Mets), it gets tacked on to expected wins/losses to become a winning/losing streak.

2006-09-08 11:48:46
64.   blue22
58 - "Deeply flawed" with respect to being put into the class of a great team or legitimate contender (not "deeply flawed" like the Cubs or Pirates are). Inconsistent starting pitching and inconsistent offense.

I still fully expect the Dodgers to make the playoffs, because I'm not convinced they will play this way the rest of the season. They'll get white hot again, and squeeze into the playoffs. LA just has to hope that it's the "good team" that goes into the playoffs and not the "bad team".

2006-09-08 11:50:26
65.   Bob Timmermann
Aren't most of the NL contenders deeply flawed?

1. The Cardinals have very suspect pitching if the starter isn't named Chris Carpenter. And they have replaced Jim Edmonds with Preston Wilson.

2. We know about the Dodgers

3. The Padres are hoping that they can get by with Geoff Blum and Manny Alexander playing short. And Russell Branyan playing third.

4. The Phillies have a bullpen that fails to inspire confidence.

5. The Marlins are very young and not all that deep.

6. The Giants are very old.

Even the Mets have issue with their starting pitcher. If Pedro Martinez doesn't come back healthy, the starters are not overly imposing.

In the NL, the key to success is to not be as deeply flawed as the next guy.

2006-09-08 11:50:30
66.   regfairfield
I think my favorite Huell Howser moment is when he was at some kind of vegetarian festival and after he ate about 10 dishes, he came to yet another one and excaliamed "Wow, this dish doesn't have meat in it either?!"
2006-09-08 11:56:35
67.   Robert Daeley
Is this "deeply flawed" in the spirit of Yankee fans who deem the team deeply flawed if they haven't won the World Series?
2006-09-08 12:03:17
68.   adamclyde
65 "In the NL, the key to success is to not be as deeply flawed as the next guy. "

good point. the NL is like politics...

2006-09-08 12:12:07
69.   adamclyde
on the point about guessing or judging someone's motiviation or effort. I agree with the folks that you just can't surmise that people have given up because they didn't perform well. We don't know the reason.

Hoewver, I don't think that precludes the overall performance to be accurately termed "listless". It's probably just semantics, I guess, and I don't consider myself a genius when it comes to this stuff, but the overall performance last night felt very listless - as in, not very exciting or energetic or whatever. Not that the individual effort of each player wasn't 100% what they could have given... just that the result of generating no real scoring threats or exciting performances seemed... well... listless. Maybe it is the wrong word, but one that describes how it felt for me at the game last night.

But that doesn't mean drew or kent or kemp or anyone else wasn't trying their absolute hardest. Does that make sense?

I'm going to the game again tonight... let's hope for a better result!

2006-09-08 12:20:53
70.   gpellamjr
69 For instance, I thought Kemp was playing very hard. He may not have made the right decisions, but that is to be expected. But he ran out all the fly balls. The one play that got on the nerves of everyboyd, though, was his not running out the fly ball that the NY SS dropped.

The ranting of the NY announcers, though, was, in my opinion, mostly posturing for the NY fans. They realize that the NY fans must be starting to perceived LA as the biggest threat in the NL, so they want to emphasize the bad.

2006-09-08 12:21:00
71.   JoeyP
I'll take it and be happy about it.

Not me.
If you add 20mils to a payroll, and give up Navarro/Guzman in one season for stop gaps, you better make the playoffs. If you dont, its a complete failure.

2006-09-08 12:22:30
72.   gpellamjr
70 On second thought, maybe I don't want to speak for every boyd, but I'm sure a lot of boyds were upset.
2006-09-08 12:25:34
73.   regfairfield
I wonder what the odds of taking an extra base by running out a popup are versus the odds of getting a hustle related injury.
2006-09-08 12:25:55
74.   ToyCannon
Did Huell ever get on MTV's celebrity death match?
Wow, my arm is missing
Wow, I just dropkicked your head into the crowd

and so on.

Wow, I would have loved to see that.

I actually like Huell but Wow; he sure could use a thesaurus.

This message has a 1.6 grade level rating so the kids back in school should have no problem understanding it as they peruse DT bored to tears while their classmates take 5 minutes to finish a 10 word sentence.

2006-09-08 12:27:41
75.   JoeyP
After watching the replay of Reyes' home run, I think that even if Kemp plays back off the wall and fields it cleanly...That Reyes still scores. He was between 2nd and 3rd when the ball hit off the wall. I dont think there's anything Kemp could have done.

That was probably the first real 'clean' inside the park home run that I've ever seen.

2006-09-08 12:30:21
76.   Terry A
72 - Thank you for clearing that up, because I was just on the phone with L.M Boyd, and while he admitted to being "somewhat nonplussed" by Kemp's mistake, he was not necessarily upset.

He also noted that an average of 12 adults die each year from eating crayons.

2006-09-08 12:30:23
77.   goblue1
Im not a shrink or a philosopher like some here, heck I didn't even take psychology in college. But did play baseball when I was a kid and having watch sports on Television ive seen athletes running- heck, Ive actually seen a person run live, so I do know what running looks like, even if from a very shallow perspective of simple eyesight. Neither Furcal or Kemp were doing it at times last night in what really is a very very important game for the Dodgers. There is just no excuse for that. Does that have in impact on how the team plays? I think it does. Heck, what happens in the WS last year if the most hated AJ Prezinski doesn't run to first on the K in the dirt. Very possible ChiSOX don't win it.
2006-09-08 12:31:59
78.   still bevens
That Reyes, he fast.

I think a symptom of the game last night was a bunch of bad breaks. I listened to it mostly and I got the impression that we were getting contact, just hitting the ball directly at people. And the Mets are, in fact, a better team so we're bound to lose games in the series. We lost last night, lets win tonight.

2006-09-08 12:32:05
79.   Bob Timmermann
I thought I saw Andre Ethier with a grocery list during the game. And I think Russell Martin had a list of tourist attractions to see.

The team was not listless.

2006-09-08 12:32:22
80.   uke
Ha, everything with him is "Wow...", or "Would you look at that...", "I can't believe that..." He's supposedly a total prick.
2006-09-08 12:34:10
81.   popup
I would say that bad pitching and bad defense will make any team look listless. Turn around Derek Lowe's gem the other night with a couple of bad defensive plays and a few of Derek's pitches being hit over the fence and I am sure people would be saying that the Dodgers were listless in that game.

I know it is too late in the season to do this, but I would like to see Eithier in center.

Stan from Tacoma

2006-09-08 12:34:14
82.   ToyCannon
Other then pitchers and players with leg problems there is never an excuse not to run out every ball as though it was a hit. I've seen to many professional players misplay the simplest play. This is just an opinion and is not supported by any BP related statistical study.
2006-09-08 12:34:45
83.   regfairfield
77 It's also very possible they hit a home run in the next inning and win anyway.
2006-09-08 12:38:18
84.   uke
Still, I said it last night...The game last night reminded me way too much of the last series with the Padres, where pitchers were kicking the ball to other infielders for outs, and every well hit ball was right at Khalil Green's stupid looking haircut.
2006-09-08 12:41:34
85.   gibsonhobbs88
64 - Yes, they are flawed, but flaws that could be corrected in the offseason as far as the inconsistent starting pitching. As far as the offense, since they don't hit a lot of homers, they are susceptible to offensive droughts when you are asking the guys to string 2 or more hits in an inning to score runs and are at the mercy of balls being caught and fielded by excellent athletes on the other side of the field. In the first half of the game last night, the few balls that were roped off Dodger bats ended up in an infielders or outfielder's glove, I stopped watching after the 6th when the game got away.
Their young hitters with more experience will get better and eventually you'll see better power numbers from a few of the new players, Kemp, Betemit, LaRoche. Ethier is really a line drive gap hitter that has enough power occasionally to drive one out, a 15-25 HR guy tops!! I have feared this road trip would be the Dodgers "Waterloo" coming down the home stretch followed by next weekend's four game war with the Friars. If they can survive by Monday the 18th and are still within a game or two of the Padres, I think they can still be all right.
2006-09-08 12:42:58
86.   ToyCannon
I always found it easier to deal with what did actually happen rather then what could have happened. AJ did hustle, it led to a run, which led to a victory. Fairly simple. It was an important play.
2006-09-08 12:43:05
87.   Sam DC
Howdy uke -- fyi, no profanity at this site, including mildish profanity or words/abbreviations that stand in for same. There are a few other low key guidelines at the bottom of the sidebar as well.


2006-09-08 12:43:52
88.   Jacob L
80 I've also heard that.

By far the best Huell episode was the one in which he went on the window washing rig of the Library Tower. Too many good moments to list.
2006-09-08 12:44:39
89.   popup
82 I agree.

Stan from Tacoma

2006-09-08 12:44:40
90.   regfairfield
86 I'm not saying it's not, I'm just disagreeing with the assessment that they probably would have lost.
2006-09-08 12:50:51
91.   ToyCannon
Lots of pressure on Kuo tonight.
1st major league start
1st start in NY
Team needs a win
Offense is in a slump so he can't expect many runs
Going against the best offense in the NL if not baseball
Smack dab in the middle of tight pennant race where every game is important.

Wow, this should be exciting

2006-09-08 12:51:05
92.   JoeyP
Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Kent, 2B

Anderson, LF

Betemit, 3B

Martin, C

Kuo, P

Good news- No Lugo.
Bad news- Anderson replaces Ethier.

2006-09-08 12:57:51
93.   goblue1
84- love it!

Rayes, up by 6 barells head first into home on a play not all that close. That team has a magic # of like 3 and the game doesn't matter... why does he do it? B/c he is playing his guts out all the time- and he doesn't want his manager to rip him in the dugout.

2006-09-08 13:00:34
94.   dzzrtRatt
66 I feel righteously rebuked and will vow to sin no more! No more untested hypotheses from this quarter!

However, I think it stretches statheadedness a little further than can be justified to declare that all perceived "streakiness" is purely a product of random chance like the proverbial coin that comes up heads 7 times in a row.

I think there have been debates here before as to whether things like "he's pressing" or "he's down on himself" are valid observations. I'm in the camp that says that if a ballplayer perceives it to be true about himself, that deserves to be factored into one's analysis.

There are some teams that fall behind, and then fight their way back to at least even the score. There are others that fall behind and apparently think the game's been decided. The Dodgers, for all their sterling qualities, appear to be the latter. I don't know why. Maybe it's not even true. But it is truthy.

2006-09-08 13:01:27
95.   ToyCannon
Good time for Ethier to get a day off. Last 7 games he's hitting 190/414/238. Seems like he's been playing everyday for quite a while. Let the kid rest, he's never played games in Sept before. After all the talk about our lack of power, tonight would be a good time for Drew, Kent, and Betemit to go deep. Let's hope Marlon Dumb Luck Anderson can also contribute.
2006-09-08 13:03:35
96.   bearlurker
92, Thanks for posting. Rookie question: where do you get the lineup so early in the day? Thanks.
2006-09-08 13:03:46
97.   regfairfield
92 Is there any reason why Anderson is playing and not Loney?

94 On an individual basis, streakiness is definately a factor, there are times when you just see the ball better. I know someone is going to call me out for this, but if you play the game, you know this is true. I think on a team wide basis, however, its more rooted in chance.

2006-09-08 13:04:13
98.   regfairfield
95 That's a pretty impressive on base.
2006-09-08 13:04:56
99.   regfairfield
95 Also, dumb luck was annointed as a nickname, not as a given middle name :).
2006-09-08 13:05:00
100.   Telemachos
I think the Dodgers left 14 runners in scoring position last night (if not that exact number, something close).

A couple of key hits early and it would've been a very different game. As I said last night, there are games where everything seems to go against you, and there are games where everything goes your way. Last night was one of the former.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-09-08 13:05:24
101.   ToyCannon
Bob is reporting that Izzy(Card Closer) may be done for the season. News just keeps getting better for whoever gets to play the Card's in the 1st series. Not that Izzy was doing real well but this moves Looper in the closer role and takes him out of the setup role which should have some negative ramifications on the bullpen.
2006-09-08 13:06:47
102.   GoBears
I think there have been debates here before as to whether things like "he's pressing" or "he's down on himself" are valid observations. I'm in the camp that says that if a ballplayer perceives it to be true about himself, that deserves to be factored into one's analysis.

I don't question that players can get down on themselves, or press, or get angry and let it affect their performance. What I do question is whether we as fans can read their minds, or even correctly interpret their body language. I don't know that you were wrong - I just don't think we could ever know if you were right or wrong. Oodles of survey research show that people can't even be trusted to interpret their OWN actions correctly, let alone those of others.

2006-09-08 13:08:13
103.   bearlurker
I actually think the Cards will be harder to beat with Izzy out. They've been doing other teams a favor by throwing him out there. Looper and Wainright have been more effective.
2006-09-08 13:08:24
104.   GoBears
Let's hope Marlon Dumb Luck Anderson can also contribute.

Good one. Recalling an earlier discussion about David Wells, perhaps they have a future together in a buddy-cop show:

"Dumb Luck and Dump Truck."

2006-09-08 13:08:47
105.   JoeyP
that all perceived "streakiness" is purely a product of random chance

I dont think its random chance.
The Dodgers tend to lose to the good teams this year, and beat the ones that they are better than. When they play the good teams in bunches (Pads/Cards for 10 games after the All-Star Break), they look bad. With this upcoming stretch (8/11 vs Mets/Pads), I'm sure the same appearances will likely resonate, that of a 'listless' team. I'm sure when they play the Cubs/Pirates/Rocks/Dbax later this month, they'll appear to be 'hot' again, when in reality they'll just be playing easier competition.

There are others that fall behind and apparently think the game's been decided. The Dodgers, for all their sterling qualities, appear to be the latter. I don't know why.

The Dodgers dont hit home runs. That is why it 'appears' as if they never come back, bc in reality they dont have the resources to come back from large deficits.

2006-09-08 13:10:47
106.   Marty
76 Nice L.M. Boyd reference. I haven't thought about him in 20 years.
2006-09-08 13:11:25
107.   JoeyP
Wainright is going to close for the Cardinals. He's alot better than Isringhausen, who has blown like 10 saves this year and given up more than 10 homers.

Lossing Issy is addition by subtraction for the Cards, although it might hurt their middle relief some by not having Wainright to use.

2006-09-08 13:11:59
108.   Bob Timmermann

I'm getting all misty-eyed. Somebody read my post before dropping the link here!

ToyCannon has made my day. At 2 pm, I'm going to go to lunch. But I'm going to run out my lunch break!

2006-09-08 13:18:07
109.   Sam DC
Here's some thinking outside the box score.

2006-09-08 13:19:16
110.   JoeyP
Marlon Anderson might be playing tonite bc he's the only Dodger thats had any at bats against John Maine.

Anderson went 1-4. His hit was a double and he drew a walk.

Maine's only had 1 real bad game, and has thrown quite a few good ones. His main problem appears to be home runs. He's allowed 12 in 68ip.

2006-09-08 13:28:30
111.   Bob Timmermann
So I will ask again

Who would be a better pitcher Sunday?




2006-09-08 13:30:23
112.   Terry A
106 Thank you. And Mr. Boyd said it's actually been 21 years and 4 months since you thought of him.

How he knows these things is beyond me...

2006-09-08 13:30:46
113.   Sam DC
You eat quickly.
2006-09-08 13:31:57
114.   Xeifrank
Julio Lugo says he is interested in playing for the Mets. The sooner the better if you ask me. vr, Xei
2006-09-08 13:37:08
115.   Bob Timmermann
It's not 2 pm yet.
2006-09-08 13:38:22
116.   Sam DC
Ah, now I see what you were saying.
2006-09-08 13:38:38
117.   ToyCannon
The Card's might be better with Wainwight closing as he can't be worse then Izzy was doing but the middle relief will take a hit without him there. Since the Cardinal rotation is not exactly pitching alot of innings middle relief has been important to them. You gain one place but lose in another and the bottom line is that the relief depth takes another hit so I don't see this as addition by subtraction.
2006-09-08 13:40:38
118.   ToyCannon
Every free agent says the same thing whenever they visit a city. A reporter asks if they would be interested and only an idiot would reply in the negative. I would also love to see him in a Met uniform since we would get their number one pick not a sandwich pick though with their record that would be as close as you could get to a sandwich pick.
2006-09-08 13:41:58
119.   50 years a Dodger Fan
Why not Kemp instead of Anderson?
2006-09-08 13:44:25
120.   Bob Timmermann
I remember last year when the Reds were in L.A., Rich Aurilila was making a push to have the Dodgers acquire him.
2006-09-08 13:45:30
121.   King of the Hobos
114 Lugo would quickly become an all star much like Valentin. The Mets could become quite successful using our underachieving utility men as second basemen and our catchers, assuming they were sent to Florida first.
2006-09-08 13:46:06
122.   Bob Timmermann

Wasn't Kemp portrayed as the villain earlier in this thread and the source from where all problems flowed last night?

2006-09-08 13:46:51
123.   King of the Hobos
119 Kemp's not left handed. However, Anderson's veteran-ness gets him the start over Loney and Young.
2006-09-08 13:47:08
124.   GoBears
Lugo has been doing his part to help the Mets maintain the best record in the league ever since he came to the NL.
2006-09-08 13:49:51
125.   regfairfield
122 Stop living in the past, Bob.
2006-09-08 13:50:45
126.   Bob Timmermann
I get my lunch break scheduled at 2 pm, because I have shown the ability to have my appetite wait out early lunch breaks and be able to feast off the less crowded late lunch facilities.
2006-09-08 13:54:03
127.   Telemachos
Snarkiness aside, I think Anderson starting comes down to a simple fact: Grady likes to work in a start for everyone on the bench, sooner or later. Since Ethier doesn't usually take a day off, why not give Anderson the spot start? Loney will likewise get in the lineup shortly, I expect.
2006-09-08 13:54:13
128.   Sam DC
I think that should be the first sentence of your novel.
2006-09-08 13:54:21
129.   Bob Timmermann
I'm not edgy enough I guess. I still hang on to the past.

I was just thinking back to 10:30 am. Man that was a good moment in time. I was reading the 1929 Wall Street Journal then.

2006-09-08 14:10:56
130.   Zak
111 I think it should be TBD, not TBA. From what I've heard, Little has not D'ed yet, so it should be TBD. However, if it has already been D'ed but not A'ed, then it should be TBA... I just haven't heard about a final D.
2006-09-08 14:11:48
131.   Penarol1916
126. In my office, everyone wants to leave for lunch at 1 or 2, it seems that they eat themselves into such a stupor that they can't possibly stay productive all afternoon if they have to eat at the ungodly hour of 11 or 12.
2006-09-08 14:21:47
132.   popup
TBA.....Maybe the Dodgers could swing a deal with the Nationals and pick up Astacio, that way the starter could be designated as to be Astacio.

Stan from Tacoma

2006-09-08 14:22:05
133.   ToyCannon
Lunch is my downfall. If I eat lunch I'm like a zombie for an hour or so, so I only eat lunch when working at home as taking a nap at a clients site does not go over well.

Anyone here from Vancouver Island?

2006-09-08 14:22:07
134.   fanerman
Back when I had an internship (and an 8-5 workday), I usually had lunch around 1 just because when I was done, there would only be 3 hours of work left instead of 4. That was the only reason.
2006-09-08 14:34:29
135.   Sam DC
Would anyone know how to find or figure out if there even exists a recording of the performance described in this blurb from wikipedia:

"On Thursday, September 20, the New York Philharmonic performed a memorial concert of the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem in Avery Fisher Hall. The concert was led off by the national anthem, and on the stage was a flag which appeared on stage during all Philharmonic World War II concerts. All proceeds went to disaster relief. At the request of the Philharmonic director, all applause was held, and the audience filed out in silence."

2006-09-08 14:34:50
136.   Zak
132 The Nats would have to trade him to Tampa Bay first so the Dodgers can then send some prospects there for Astacio. Of course, that would mean for the pitcher TBA (to be Astacio), the Dodgers would have to deal with TBD (Tampa Bay Devil Rays).
2006-09-08 14:44:25
137.   bigcpa
Learned something I didn't know at BPro today- farm update. 22 yr old Rule 5 LHP Alberto Bastardo! chalked up 138 k's in 125ip at Columbus and Vero. We could use that Bastardo in the 2007 pen. Also 2004 draftee Cory Dunlap put up a .435 OBP at Vero and looks like a nice 3 true outcomes, OBP Jesus type.
2006-09-08 14:47:16
138.   King of the Hobos
Rosenthal mentions that the Dodgers are actively searching for a pitcher, despite the fact that any acquired pitcher would not appear on the playoff roster. Does Ned really think there is any pitcher available that serves as an upgrade to Hendrickson/Sele/Kuo/Stults? Especially considering that pitcher would only have a few starts. An Astacio deal might not be out of the realm of possibility.
2006-09-08 14:49:07
139.   natepurcell
Colletti fiddles around too much.
2006-09-08 14:50:22
140.   natepurcell
from rosenthal

The consensus around baseball is that Zito will land with either one of the New York teams or the Dodgers as a free agent.The Padres, though, will try to lure the A's left-hander back to his hometown of San Diego, major-league sources tell

14 million a yr for zito doesnt entice me.

2006-09-08 14:54:23
141.   Sam DC
I'm sure Ramon "Almost Threw A No Hitter" Ortiz is available.
2006-09-08 15:01:31
142.   Bluebleeder87

great point

2006-09-08 15:03:10
143.   blue22
140 - It's the length (at least 5 years) that scares me more than the annual salary.

I'd give Schmidt $14M if he was willing to accept only 3 years.

2006-09-08 15:08:07
144.   Bluebleeder87

i think we have a good record against Pedro, & even Glavine, i'm not sure though.

2006-09-08 15:10:33
145.   Bluebleeder87

he's our Basterdo though, let's get that clear.

2006-09-08 15:12:57
146.   Bluebleeder87

Schmidt for 3 years i'm cool with.

2006-09-08 15:13:48
147.   Telemachos
143 It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
2006-09-08 15:16:19
148.   blue22
I'm all about the Furcal-approach on salary negotiation now. Bigger money, shorter years.

Not sure that works with the older guys though, as I'm sure it was a more compelling argument to Furcal (hitting free agency again at age 30, and making more dough in the short term).

2006-09-08 15:17:09
149.   Bluebleeder87
i wanna tell Jon that i'll be a bit more sible (sp?) today, yesterday i was posting as i was thinking today will be the thought full bluebleeder.
2006-09-08 15:18:37
150.   Bluebleeder87

i like Nomar type contracts

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-09-08 15:20:17
151.   Marty
Back in the day, all self-respecting newspapermen had drinks for lunch. I have no idea how I managed that now.

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