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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
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11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Almost All Hands on Deck
2006-09-27 08:53
by Jon Weisman

Five games to go, and every one of them may count for the Dodgers. While we wait to see whether the right side of the Dodger infield will tear every muscle in its collective body, there's some debate about how the Dodgers should be handling their starting rotation for these final days.

Dodger manager Grady Little has chosen to go with Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Hong-Chih Kuo over the next three games, with Greg Maddux and Lowe coming back on three days' rest Saturday and Sunday if necessary. Some are questioning whether Chad Billingsley's turn in the rotation should be preserved instead of rushing Maddux and Lowe back, and others are wondering whether it shouldn't be Penny, if anyone, who gets bypassed.

Billingsley had a fairly magnificent August, with a 1.50 ERA and 25 strikeouts against 12 walks in 30 innings. He then missed most of September with an oblique injury. That injury allowed him to rest his arm - he's at 157 innings for the year including his minor league totals - and after a rocky return, Billingsley threw five passable innings last Thursday, allowing nine baserunners but only two runs - basically, a July outing for him.

Meanwhile, Penny has struggled mightily in four of his past five starts and six of his past eight. Lowe, currently the ace of the staff, had a terrible July, so the idea that Penny can turn it around isn't far-fetched. But it isn't near-fetched, either.

In the end, I don't know how much confidence I have in either Penny or Billingsley to pitch in Colorado on Thursday afternoon, and I don't see a decided advantage in either one. My hunch is that something's physically wrong with Penny, and that might be enough to make me go with Billingsley. Basically, I would put Penny up against the wall and threaten him with a winter without hunting if he is concealing any physical ailment. If he passed that test, however, I think I'd let him take the hill.

As for the larger question of whether it's prudent for Lowe and Maddux can go on three days' rest, I find myself surprisingly at ease with it. Though I'm normally against sending anything less than full-rested pitcher out there, there has been a decent amount of evidence that Lowe and Maddux aren't bothered by the occasional quick return. Lowe seems particularly resilient. Maddux seems more bothered by how many pitches he throws in a game than how much time he has between starts.

"I don't get as sore as I used to (after starts) so it should be easy," Maddux told Bill Plunkett of the Register. "I don't throw hard enough to get sore anymore."

Certainly, Maddux may be good for no more than five innings Sunday - and in fact, after Lowe's start tonight (if not including it), I would expect the Dodger bullpen might throw as many as four innings a game. So the mission for Dodger pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, above all else, is to figure out how to get Billingsley in the mental state to come out of the bullpen ready to throw strikes. Though he won't start another game in 2006 with the playoffs on the line, Billingsley could still be critical to the Dodgers' postseason dreams.

Comments (151)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-09-27 09:35:31
1.   KG16
I think Lowe's ability to come back quickly may stem from his time as a closer.

Besides that, given that it's the end of the season, short rest doesn't bother me - if things go badly, they have a few months to rest.

2006-09-27 09:36:26
2.   bearlurker
I was making the argument that Bills should start and Penny be skipped, but then my friend pointed out that Penny has dominated Colorado this year (small sample size, but it convinced me).

I like Maddux and Lowe going on three days' rest.

The tougher question will be a one game playoff and the playoff rotation, depending on how the rest of this week pans out.

I much prefer a rested Bills to Penny on three days' rest for a one game playoff.

And in a five game series, I would argue that our best rotation would be Lowe, Maddux, and Kuo, with no Bills or Penny at all.

2006-09-27 09:41:14
3.   Marty
I'd let Penny start with Bills warming up at the first sign of trouble. Grady has to have a quick hook.
2006-09-27 09:53:44
4.   regfairfield
I don't think anything's really wrong with Penny. He was fortunate with home runs in the first half, and he was walking far less than he usually does.

In the second half, Penny is actually striking more people out, his home run/outfield fly rate has regressed to the mean, and he's walking people along the lines of his career rate. Alsom his BABIP has shot up greatly, he's allowed almost as much hits in 79 innings post all star break than he did in 103 innings before hand.

What's interesting is that Penny's ground ball to fly ball ratio is actually much better in the second half. Penny was living a slightly charmed life in the beginning of the season, and while he's been slightly worse in the second half, it shouldn't have been nearly this bad.

2006-09-27 10:03:13
5.   Jon Weisman
4 - Good points. I knew Penny was getting some good fortune in the first half, and assumed he was getting a little unlucky in the second half, but didn't realize that in some ways he was pitching better in the second half. Baseball is so capricious.

The question is, is the expectation for what Penny will do Thursday higher than what Billingsley will do? The answer may be yes, if the peripherals indicate that Billingsley has been living a bit of a charmed life.

2006-09-27 10:03:44
6.   Jacob L
I know virtually nothing about pitching mechanics or strain or torque or anything.

What I do know is that Lowe's delivery looks pretty unique to me, in that he releases the ball when his arm is pretty far forward compared to most pitchers. That would seem to account for his heavy sinker, and I wonder if its a also a style that puts less strain on his body. You certainly can't argue with his durability.

I'd be interested to hear from other commenters that might actually know what they're talking about.

2006-09-27 10:09:45
7.   Gagne55
Lowe is a soft tossing sinkerball pitcher with a rubber arm. Thats why he has the ability to start on short rest/ throw over 110 pitches in a start/ relieve between starts. Not that he can do all three at once, but he has the capability of all three of those.
2006-09-27 10:12:56
8.   Gagne55
BTW, if the Dodgers clinch a playoff spot before the last day of the season, I'm assuming Billingsley would start and Lowe would be the game 1 starter in the playoffs?
2006-09-27 10:19:57
9.   Jon Weisman
8 - I assume so. Or at least, I assume the second part. The Sunday start could go to anyone.
2006-09-27 10:21:15
10.   ssjames
8 In that situation I would make Stults the starter and have Bills ready to go in the bully in the playoffs. Why waste Bills in that situation? In fact I might even have Hendrickson start just to make sure we have no expectations of winning the game so there would be no let down going into the playoffs, and if we won the game by some miracle we would know the gods on our side.
2006-09-27 10:24:06
11.   Bob Timmermann
I would agree with 10. If the Dodgers were fortunate to have clinched by Monday, only pitchers not on the postseason roster would see any work.
2006-09-27 10:24:46
12.   CharlieBrown
(4) Good points. Penny's peripherals look solid, he just gives up more hits than he should. Apparently, BABIP might be the culprit.

Has anyone ever noticed how straight Penny's fastball is? Apologies if this has been pointed out before, but I couldn't help but compare Penny to Jake Peavy when they started the other night. Peavy's ball was dipping and swerving all over the place, for better or worse, and Penny's had no movement. Perhaps this is why Penny gives up so many foul balls.

Are people picking up on this? Penny throws very hard, but it's straight. I hadn't really focused on that until recently. Derek Lowe, to give another contrast, always has his sinker moving, and only gets hurt when he hangs one.

Penny, to my untrained eye, also seems to have very violent mechanics, and it seems to take a lot of effort for him to make pitches.

So what can you say? Maybe something is wrong with his mechanics, but I have never heard the announcers mention why his pitches lack movement.

2006-09-27 10:38:29
13.   PadreJeremy
Madduxs performance in Colorado last night is one for the ages, especially the way the Rockies have been hitting lately.

Simply clutch to do that when you are fighting for a playoff spot

Youll understand when you watch the next two Dodgers pitchers perform in Colorado just how vital this win was and how good Maddux is.

Heres to a Dodgers/Padres NLCS.

2006-09-27 10:42:34
14.   bhsportsguy
It would be nice if the Dodgers could finish things up by late Saturday afternoon, then UCLA's stunning offensive play-calling will have Bob and my full attention at the Rose Bowl.
2006-09-27 10:48:36
15.   regfairfield
13 Three runs in six innings is one for the ages? Keep in mind that Coors is actually a pitchers park now. Maddux simply did what he usually does.

As for the Penny/Billingsly conundrum, I say go with Penny. Both can be good or bad, but at least Penny doesn't have a chance to walk six guys.

2006-09-27 10:49:41
16.   Bob Timmermann
If there's a playoff Monday, I will be very, very, very, very, very, very (x10) upset.

I will be stuck in a training session that will last nearly all day.

2006-09-27 10:55:10
17.   Eric Enders
The fact that Penny is still throwing 95-96 makes it difficult for me to believe he has any kind of physical ailment. He does, however, seem to have lost whatever breaking pitch he once possessed. (Not that that's a big deal in Coors Field, where breaking pitches don't break anyway.) It seems that starting with the All-Star game, Penny has just been trying to blow fastballs by everybody instead of actually pitching.

That said, I still think Penny is the right pick to start since he appears to be Colorado's version of Harry Coveleski. (Gratuitious joke that only Bob will get...) Also, I think Billingsley has been quite lucky thus far in that so few of his baserunners have scored, and Coors is a poor place to pray for that luck to continue, humidor or no.

Anyway, it's an interesting statement about our pitching staff that the starter we trust the least is a toss-up between
1) The guy who started the All-Star Game
2) The guy who has lowest ERA in the league after the all-star break.

2006-09-27 10:56:28
18.   Monterey Chris
Bob, I hope that you learn much in your training session. I still have the day blocked off on my calendar.

Another interesting scenario: what if the Dodgers have the Wild Card wrapped up on Friday but still have shot at winning the NL West (which does seem to be quite a long shot at this point). Do we still go with starters on short rest to try to win the west, or do we take the wild card and go into the playoffs well rested?

2006-09-27 10:57:10
19.   Benaiah
17 - Perhaps it says more about the league. I hope that Philly goes into some sort of tailspin now, because I think we are going to need Lowe a couple of times in the first series (should we get there).
2006-09-27 10:58:15
20.   Benaiah
18 - I say rest up. It might be tougher in the middle games anyway, since I might rather face the Mets than the Astros.
2006-09-27 10:58:22
21.   Eric Enders
17 Actually, Billingsley no longer has the best ERA after the All-Star break... he's slipped to fourth best in MLB, just behind behind Sanchez, Suppan and Clemens.

Johan Santana is fifth.

2006-09-27 10:59:09
22.   MMSMikey
If the dodgers earn a wild card birth, do you think grady will consider starting kuo against the mets? I think he should.
2006-09-27 11:01:08
23.   Daniel Zappala
Bob, I can text message updates to your cell phone if you want.
2006-09-27 11:02:09
24.   Benaiah
22 - Maybe. Kou has been very good, and he did shut down the Mets, plus Grady seems to value past performance against certain matchups. If it was me, he would be my game 1 and 5 starter against the Mets.
2006-09-27 11:02:22
25.   MMSMikey
i think it would almost be like lasorda starting dave goltz (penny) in 1980 against the astros instead of fernando (kuo).
2006-09-27 11:03:06
26.   Sam DC
Bob -- In light of the confusion in yesterday's thread, you can always consider rescheduling your 10/2 training due to events occuring on Yom Kippur.

No one necessarily needs to know those events involve baseball, not schul.

2006-09-27 11:03:43
27.   Sam DC
Tom Boswell just starting on online chat at One would expect he'd be in high dudgeon this time of year.
2006-09-27 11:04:55
28.   Bob Timmermann
Thanks, that's been arranged already. I would think that any tiebreaker between the Dodgers and Phillies probably wouldn't start until 4 pm PT. I can't imagine that MLB would expect the Dodgers to fly cross country for a day game. The last two tiebreakers (SF at Chicago, Mets at Cincinnati) were night games. I would assume TBS would want a night game anyway.
2006-09-27 11:06:22
29.   Griffon64
Penny's actual delivery seems smooth and almost lazy to me, but his ramrod-straight fastball has been frustrating me since I first saw it. If only he had a bit of movement anywhere on that thing, he would be an ace.

I read in some newspaper that Penny has a stiff back. I really feel that both Bills and Penny, or both Penny and somebody else, should prepare for Thursday, and Penny comes out as soon as there's trouble. We have a few ( iffy ) starters to spare, which may be better than Penny throwing away leads and gifting runs to the opposition.

However so, though, tonight's game is what matters. Blink and all is lost.

2006-09-27 11:08:00
30.   MMSMikey
LOL, "ramrod straight fastball"
2006-09-27 11:11:44
31.   Bob Timmermann
But I have nothing to atone for. And I'll be hungry!

And I didn't reserve seats at the synagogue for the service.

2006-09-27 11:13:04
32.   Penarol1916
26. Wasn't that an episode of Saved by the Bell?
2006-09-27 11:15:05
33.   Eric Enders
22 I don't think the question at this point is whether Kuo starts against the Mets. The question is whether we try to arrange the rotation so that he starts TWICE against the Mets.

I don't think people really realize the extent to which the Mets are helpless against left-handers. It's so extreme that we ought to give serious consideration to starting Stults against them too.

The Mets' team OPS against lefties is .739, 26th out of the 30 teams, ahead of only Baltimore, St Louis, Seattle and the Cubs. (Their OPS against righties is 7th best out of 30.) Almost all of the Mets' players, even the switch hitters, fare much worse against lefties. And the problem has gotten worse as the season has gone on -- witness their recent domination by Pittsburgh's lefty pitching staff.

2006-09-27 11:20:40
34.   MMSMikey
wow, i hope grady just doesnt go with the guys because they have experience. and im tired of hearing kevin kennedy talk about brad penny beating the yankees in the world series twice. this is a different year, different pitch different everything.
2006-09-27 11:22:06
35.   MMSMikey
jon was saying how penny is on odalis perez level right now, and we all remember what he did for us in the division series 2 years ago.
2006-09-27 11:23:32
36.   50 years a Dodger Fan
33 But not Hendrickson, I don't care if he throws with both hands.
2006-09-27 11:24:02
37.   regfairfield
35 I don't believe Jon actually said that.
2006-09-27 11:24:44
38.   NPB
Pitchers used to go on three days' rest all the time. If Derek Lowe can't do it, then he's not worth the money we're paying him, but we all know he can do it. Same with Maddux.

Kuo seemed unfazed by what we ordinary mortals know as pressure.

Though I'd prefer to run the table, we probably will lose one of the five remaining games. Might as well be at Penny's hands. He's a serviceable villain for our scorn.

2006-09-27 11:26:05
39.   MMSMikey
After another poor Penny start, we learn little more than, "Well, that was another poor Penny start" - punctuated by Bill Plaschke of the Times going off on Penny's character deficiencies. Is that all we get? Penny was due to slide a little from his outstanding first half, but now he's in Odalis Perez territory. It's excessive. What's the story?
2006-09-27 11:29:19
40.   Benaiah
38 - I think the if the devil was offered me a 4-1 finish, but no possibility at 5-0 I would take it. It is no certainty that losing Penny's game will make us with the other ones, but losing Penny's game would make it far more certain that we would need to win the other games. I think that if Penny loaded the bases with no outs in the first, I would put Billz in. That is how short my hook would be, he wouldn't even have to give up runs to get yanked.
2006-09-27 11:29:49
41.   Jack Fimple

My mother is Jewish but the only time I ever went to temple was on Rosh Hashanah in 1978, which happended to fall on the same day of the Yankees-BoSox Bucky Dent play-off game. I really wanted to watch the game so I told my mother that I should stay home from school that day to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and she agreed! I was forced to go to temple later that day, but it was worth it.

Bob, you have from now until Monday to convince your co-workers that you are Jewish.

2006-09-27 11:31:44
42.   dianagramr

... perhaps a note from "Epstein's mother" would do the trick

(no ... not Theo Epstein's mom)

2006-09-27 11:32:35
43.   philmc78
Bottom line: Penny's stuff just isn't fooling anyone right now. He may be striking out more people in the second half, but at what cost? How many times will he get two strikes on guys and they end up fouling off four or five pitches before Penny finally walks them, gives up a base hit or strikes them out. Kuo has proved quite a bit since coming up and pitching in the rotation. That, of course, means he's getting guys out.

At this point, I'm thinking the rotation against the Mets would look like 1: Lowe, game 2: Kuo, game 3: Maddux, game 4: Lowe, game 5: Kuo. Send Penny and Bills to the bullpen and see if they can be effective from there.

2006-09-27 11:33:27
44.   Bob Timmermann
That's going to take a lot of doing. At least one very important thing was taken care of back in 1965. There's only so much I would give to the cause.
2006-09-27 11:34:40
45.   MMSMikey
a lot will be said after pennys start tomorrow, so we'll see.
2006-09-27 11:34:56
46.   MMSMikey
september and october are about results.
2006-09-27 11:36:09
47.   StolenMonkey86
Billingsley out of the bullpen will show us once and for all if he's just plain lucky or if he's just a good pitcher with runners on. He might be the mid-innings fireman.
2006-09-27 11:36:47
48.   Benaiah
44 - Geez you are lucky, I had just gotten on the phone with a mohl and he said that late in life bris were frowned upon, especially on late notice.
2006-09-27 11:37:10
49.   StolenMonkey86
47 - once and for all, unless of course you scream "sample size"
2006-09-27 11:38:29
50.   Eric Enders
47 He certainly has the potential to be a temporary middle innings fireman, which is definitely something we need right now.

But trial by fire in the playoffs? YOu think Grady would pitch him in the 7th with a 3-2 lead?

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-09-27 11:38:59
51.   Jon Weisman
I think "sample size" and screaming may be more appropriate for Bob and Benaiah 's conversation.
2006-09-27 11:39:40
52.   natepurcell
i can live with billingsley being our smoke jumper.

its at least better then tomko.

2006-09-27 11:40:20
53.   Eric Enders
38 The problem with accepting Penny as our one loss in the five games is: the way things usually go, we will probably lose at least one other game in which our starter pitches well but we fail to hit.
2006-09-27 11:41:03
54.   Eric Enders
By the way, 53 was my official entry in the "Worst Constructed Sentence in the History of Mankind" sweepstakes.
2006-09-27 11:45:25
55.   philmc78
52 - I agree 100 percent. It would definitely be a risk to use Bills in a high-pressure situation out of the bullpen, but what are our other choices? Tomko? Dessens? If nothing else, Bills would benefit from the experience and would be able to help the Dodgers in the future. Bills, unlike Tomko and Dessens, will be a major piece in the Dodgers' long-term project.
2006-09-27 11:49:18
56.   MMSMikey
55 - how could you not figure dessens and tomko into the long term plans? those guys have 2 of the biggest gas cans in the league.
2006-09-27 11:51:29
57.   Bob Timmermann
I read that the Dodgers are moving one of their A level affiliates from Columbus, GA to Midland, MI.

My Michigander brother said he would not go to Midland unless he were guaranteed a large sum of cash. I checked on a a map. Midland is not near anything. Unless you think Saginaw is something. And I'm no Lefty Frizelle.

This then brings up the question: Which Midland would you rather live in: the one in Michigan or the one in Texas?

2006-09-27 11:51:37
58.   philmc78
The sad part is that Dessens is still a nice upgrade over Odalis Perez.
2006-09-27 11:55:11
59.   Jon Weisman
I covered the 1991 NCAA Division II softball championships in Midland. CSUN competed. Anna Getherall was the shortstop, I think. That's the only name I remember.

I believe I mentioned on how long it took me to hitchhike from Saginaw in one of the stories. I think it was four days.

2006-09-27 11:56:36
60.   Eric Enders
57 I hear it takes four days to hitchhike from Saginaw to the NJ Turnpike.

The Midland in Michigan is the one you want. I've never been there, know nothing about it, but having been to Midland, Texas, trust me -- the Michigan Midland is far preferable.

I might choose Midland TX over some cities, though. Fallujah and Sarajevo come to mind.

2006-09-27 11:57:23
61.   Eric Enders
Jon beats me to the reference. And by over a minute, no less!
2006-09-27 11:58:11
62.   Eric Enders
Jon, you wouldn't be wearing a gabardine suit right now, by any chance?
2006-09-27 11:58:42
63.   overkill94
I've always figured Jon was some sort of spy
2006-09-27 12:03:08
64.   Linkmeister
59-63 I call multiple copyright violations. You all remember how ticked JoeD was at Paul Simon, don't you?
2006-09-27 12:15:35
65.   Sam DC
somewhere else: Any first reactions to the T.O. story this morning?

Tom Boswell: No.

"First reactions" to serious things like this are a sign of ingrained (journalistic) irresponsibility. Our culture is full of this tendency. Have an opinion first, then get the facts later __if ever. I bet talk radio is FULL of people right now who are loaded with flashy opinions, have never met Owens and are bereft of any shred of insight.

2006-09-27 12:17:17
66.   regfairfield
65 I learned this morning that Colin Cowherd is a well versed pyschologist.
2006-09-27 12:22:03
67.   D4P
Evidently, Keith Olbermann (of Sportscenter fame) has received an envelope containing a death threat and white powder, which turned out to be soap.

Anyone who has watched Keith's "Countdown" program on MSNBC can probably understand why some folks would be upset with him.

2006-09-27 12:24:21
68.   underdog
67 ...and why some would think he's great.

Maybe the sender just thought he smelled bad?

Meanwhile, I'm upset because my landlord had two tickets to Saturday's game here in SF and I can't go because it's both a friend's 40th bday and my mom and stepdad are in town so I have double plans. Sigh... but actually it's probably just as well because I think I'm an in-person jinx so I'm probably better off just watching it later on TV.

2006-09-27 12:25:11
69.   D4P
...and why some would think he's great

Yes, that too...

2006-09-27 12:31:47
70.   MollyKnight
Are the Astros seriously going to take the Central? Like, for serious? Yowzers.
2006-09-27 12:33:26
71.   Eric Enders
Over at BP today, Nate Silver takes a look at all the playoff starting rotations and ranks them from best to worst. He rates the Dodgers 7th out of 10 contenders, with the following comment:

"Chad Billingsley is a 1.2 IP, six-run disaster waiting to happen, but apart from that this group is solid. Not that the Dodgers have too many alternatives to Billingsley, unless they want to do something creative like a tandem start involving Jonathan Broxton. A three-man rotation is probably out of the question, with an aging Greg Maddux and fragile Brad Penny in the group."

A very poorly researched piece, to say the least, considering he's apparently not even aware of the existence of the guy who's got a decent shot at being our #1 starter against the Mets.

2006-09-27 12:35:45
72.   50 years a Dodger Fan
Let's see now: You have a brother in St. Louis. And another in Michigan. Any others? Do they all look like you ala Jonathon Quayle Higgins? Is there a story here?
2006-09-27 12:42:24
73.   bhsportsguy
BTW, any comments on the story that Mr. Drew likes L.A. or specifically Pasadena (Bob, do you see him as someone who would leave up in the hills near Altadena or in the enclaves near Cal Tech, San Marino) and that he does not foresee exercising his option.
2006-09-27 12:43:14
74.   Bob Timmermann
Jon can decide if any of my brothers look like me. He's met one of them.
2006-09-27 12:43:54
75.   Bob Timmermann
JD Drew strikes me as a guy who lives near the Rose Bowl.

The west side of the Rose Bowl.

2006-09-27 12:45:08
76.   bhsportsguy
Based on what they have seen, I wonder if the Padres somehow hope the Cards hang on because the Astros set to start Oswalt in Game 1 and Clemens in game 3 in Houston if they somehow pull off this miracle.

And even though Lidge is down, the Astro's pen is much better than the Cards.

2006-09-27 12:46:53
77.   bhsportsguy
75 I always get confused whenever I go there but is that the area off the (2) just north of where the (2) and the (210) meet.
2006-09-27 12:48:13
78.   bhsportsguy
77 If it is, those are some nice houses up there (you can look down and see Brookside Golf Course) and I have some friends who live there, I always get lost driving there myself.
2006-09-27 12:48:17
79.   Bob Timmermann
Not known if this was mentioned, but Bonds has said he will play against the Dodgers on Friday and possibly for part of the game on Sunday, but he wants to rest his elbow.

I think he should be very cautious with his elbow. Very cautious.

Jason Schmidt's last start is up in the air too because of his back problems.

2006-09-27 12:49:17
80.   Bob Timmermann
The houses along Linda Vista are the really nice ones.

Their purchase prices contain a couple of commas.

2006-09-27 12:49:47
81.   bhsportsguy
79 Kuo could let a ball slip during his first at-bat.
2006-09-27 12:50:38
82.   Jon Weisman
72 - I think Bob looks more like his brother Tom than I look like my brother. That should answer all your questions.
2006-09-27 12:51:55
83.   bhsportsguy
80 But where is the nearest Starbucks?

Los Angeles Magazine puts out the best neighborholds in L.A. article every year, I remember one year their chart showed for each neighborhood how many Starbucks are within a certain distance. There were some on the westside that had 3.

2006-09-27 12:52:35
84.   Bob Timmermann
There are 4 Starbucks within five blocks of my home in South Pasadena.
2006-09-27 12:53:35
85.   bhsportsguy
82 His parents named one of their sons Tom Timmerman, I guess that's not so bad, if his middle name begins with N, so much the better.
2006-09-27 12:53:44
86.   bearlurker
57 I spent about eight weeks in Midland, MI on business. The winters aren't bad by Michigan standards. Nice people. Pretty boring place, but a nice place to raise a family. Detroit and Ann Arbor are about three hours away.
2006-09-27 12:55:32
87.   Bob Timmermann
My parents didn't name any children Tom Timmerman.

My brother's middle name does not start with an N.

The middle initials of my four brothers are: G, J, J, and V.

2006-09-27 12:57:16
88.   Penarol1916
86. I think you just made the case for Midland, MI over Midland, TX.
2006-09-27 12:57:20
89.   Bob Timmermann
Being three hours from Detroit is not far enough away.
2006-09-27 13:03:13
90.   Linkmeister
89 I dunno. I have a friend who took a job with an Aussie software startup back in the '80s which set up its US HQ in Ann Arbor. Pete was a die-hard Niners fan when he left here, but converted to Lions and Tigers fandom while there.

Which reminds me I should call him and let him exult over the Tigers' resurgence this year.

2006-09-27 13:03:20
91.   bhsportsguy
T.O. says he had an allergic reaction and did not attempt suicide nor is he depressed.
2006-09-27 13:18:51
92.   bearlurker
92 Detroit's a pit but the suburbs are nice.

My biggest complaint about MI is the cuisine, such as the insistence on putting gross imitation cheese on just about everything.

2006-09-27 13:22:33
93.   underdog
I think the Dodgers should start Peter Billingsley this weekend. He's got a Daisy Hot Air Rifle for an arm, I hear.
2006-09-27 13:24:28
94.   bhsportsguy
Bob, any thoughts on the closing of Rick's Drive In in Pasadena, I have to say that I have never been to Rick's Drive In nor Pie N' Burger though I have been to the Crocodile Cafe way too many times. And I miss Goldstein's in Old Pasadena.
2006-09-27 13:25:44
95.   Eric Enders
93 He's on the DL with a lacerated tongue. He claims he ran over it while washing his truck, but witnesses have reported seeing him in the vicinity of a frozen telephone pole.
2006-09-27 13:26:11
96.   Bob Timmermann
When the LA Times ran a story about the closing of Rick's Drive In, my first thought was "There was a place called Rick's Drive In?"

Pie N' Burger is OK.

I like the Crocodile Cafe, although it is a bit pricey.

2006-09-27 13:28:13
97.   Bob Timmermann
I think he's really out with an eye injury.
2006-09-27 13:33:34
98.   bhsportsguy
94 That's what I thought too, I thought it was the place on Arroyo that you see as you drive North after exiting the freeway but it is on Walnut.
2006-09-27 13:44:34
99.   underdog
95 Better than the fate of the tongue-stuck Scott Schwartz, who went on to do porn films for awhile. And now "Screech" is following in his footsteps, apparently, but I digress. Or regress.
2006-09-27 13:47:26
100.   dianagramr

I pinch??? No pinch no pinch ....

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-09-27 13:59:03
101.   Benaiah
Inside the Dodgers points out that if Lowe wins tonight the Dodgers will have their first pair of 16 game winners since 1988. Obviously I like the symbolism, though I would like to point out that has to point out that in 1988 Orel Hershiser had 23 wins and Tim Leary had 17, so they didn't scrape in like Lowe and the wooden nickel.
2006-09-27 14:11:58
102.   Bluebleeder87

agreed, i really don't like Bills as a bullpen guy, simply because of his lack of control, hope i'm wrong.

2006-09-27 14:13:10
103.   Bluebleeder87

cool storie Jon.

2006-09-27 14:17:07
104.   bigcpa
Question for discussion... would you rather be an 86-87 win team backing into the WC or an 86-87 win team eliminated and promising big improvements for next year? To me the Angels are embarking on their makeover a year late because they couldn't "breakup a winner." So my concern is we make the postseason and end up with Nomar, Lofton and Marlon Anderson starting on opening day. Obviously it's too early for hot stove talk, but I'm thinking in our mega-market you can only sell real upgrades when you miss the playoffs.
2006-09-27 14:18:35
105.   Bob Timmermann
John Lackey says the Angels have to bring back Kennedy and Erstad to be successful next year.

So, there you go...

2006-09-27 14:26:46
106.   Benaiah
104 - In general I agree with you, however, as Kenny Williams has shown with the White Sox, you can make changes, provided they make sense. If Flanders gets a good starter and or a power hitter, but in the process lets creaky Nomar and Lofton hit the road... I think people will buy that. At least until those free agents get hit on the wrist with fastballs and their flimsy injury prone bones break, as the general manager should have expected.
2006-09-27 14:27:07
107.   bigcpa
105 I sat through all the FSN Angel postgame eulogies last night and found it odd that our team is just as flawed yet we're getting all the "gutty veteran" stories while they're getting the "time to fix it" stories.
2006-09-27 14:28:39
108.   overkill94
104 Nomar's the only one I'm worried about being given a big contract to please the fans. Lofton has always been known as simply a 1-year contract and while Anderson will still be under contract, he'll still be looked at as a 5th outfielder / top LH PH off the bench.

Ethier shouldn't have much to worry about for next year. I think what he showed through mid-August was enough to let management know what he can do. Many times they've talked about his being a rookie making it hard for this last month and a half.

2006-09-27 14:32:04
109.   Bluebleeder87

my sisters tell me the food over there is not good at all, & shopping for clothes is a totall disaster, expensive/no good.

2006-09-27 14:39:15
110.   Eric Enders
Didn't the Dodgers get Eddie Murray and Willie Randolph right after winning the World Series?
2006-09-27 14:39:22
111.   bhsportsguy
107 First off, I will be surprised to see them make any big changes because if Aramis Ramirez does not opt out, none of the available free agents make sense for them, they don't need starting pitcher or a corner outfielder.

Second, Ned came from the Giants, who for better or worse, always retool. We need a starter, some more bullpen guys to toss in the mix, we will probably have battles for outfield and the corner infield spots. Some of these holes will have guys like Ethier, Kemp, Loney, Betemit involved, while others will be filled with free agents or trades.

I think the Angels in a unique place because aside from Jered Weaver and maybe Joe Saunders, you can't just pencil in any of their young players aside from Kendrick for next year, they learned nothing from Dallas or Casey Kotchman, you know you are in trouble when Jose Molina gets more than his share of catching starts, does Figgins have a position and should they be having Darin Erstad and Adam Kennedy days this weekend too.

2006-09-27 14:40:13
112.   bigcpa
108 I'm still scarred by the 86 win treadmill under Malone/Evans where we kept getting a fresh coat makeup instead of the requisite surgery.
2006-09-27 14:40:54
113.   Eric Enders
111 Why does Figgins need a position, exactly? Almost by definition, he's more valuable when he doesn't have a permanent position.
2006-09-27 14:42:56
114.   Bluebleeder87
should they be having Darin Erstad and Adam Kennedy days this weekend too.

i love there competetive fire, i know it dosn't mean much to alot of folks but it does to me.

2006-09-27 14:43:11
115.   bhsportsguy
110 You are correct sir, though Gibby had a injury plagued season and Orel went 15-15
2006-09-27 14:45:35
116.   dzzrtRatt
107 Well, considering the Angels have two more wins than the Dodgers do, I'm not so sure a wholesale teardown is required. They need a guy who can hit homeruns and protect Vlad in the lineup. They need to develop a lineup that doesn't have Chone Figgins or Darin Erstad in it every day, and where Garrett Anderson never has to play the outfield. That's about it.

I know I speak for almost nobody who reads Dodger Thoughts that I think they made a mistake getting rid of Troy Glaus, and had too much faith in their up and coming players.

Adam Kennedy is a fine player, and I think they ought to consider re-signing him, as long as he doesn't demand a no-trade contract. Kendrick can play first or third.

I know the Angels' prospects often get included with the Dodgers as a top farm system. They've had great luck with pitchers, but they've had mixed luck with position players. Their mistake has been to over-rely on those rookie position players making it.

2006-09-27 14:53:48
117.   ssjames
107 I think that a large part of the reason that we are being praised while the Angels are being tarred and feathered is that we play in the NL which looks to continue to be the weaker league for the foreseeable future.

The AL East will always have the Yanks and BoSox trying to outspend each other.

The AL Central is probably the best division in baseball, with the Twins, Indians, White Sox and Tigers all loaded with young talent for years to come.

The AL Central has Oakland and Billy Beane who continually keeps them in the hunt.

What does the NL have? The Mets, the fading Braves legacy, the upcoming Dodgers, D-Backs, Marlins and Brewers. Other than that the cupboard is bare.

The Cards, Pods, Stros and Giants are all old and figure to get worse. The Pirates, Nats, Cubs, Rockies and Reds are all perrenial also rans.

The differences in Leagues makes a huge difference if you are planning for the future.

2006-09-27 14:59:26
118.   Bluebleeder87
ssjames there are so many counter points to you're "point" i'll just leave it at that.
2006-09-27 15:01:19
119.   underdog
Why do I have the bad feeling the Giants are saving all their remaining strength for this weekend's series? It's like their playoffs or something. I have faith in the boys in blue to get up for the occasion but confess to being a tad nervous.
2006-09-27 15:02:00
120.   Eric Enders
Yeah, I really have to disagree big time with 117. If anything, the NL West will be the best division for the foreseeable future.
2006-09-27 15:02:30
121.   underdog
Pitch around him:

B. Hawpe COL Career vs D. Lowe
3 HR, .563 AVG, 7 RBI (16 At Bats)

2006-09-27 15:02:51
122.   Eric Enders
A barbaric Hawpe, that.
2006-09-27 15:04:57
123.   bigcpa
117 I completely agree with your first paragraph as far as the media goes. I just think that's a lousy basis to evaluate your own talent... i.e. because the division sucks we can afford to trot out Darin Erstad again for 600 pa's. I would like to be built for 95 wins regardless of what the field is doing. I don't know how that translates into who stays/goes, but I hate to see external factors interfere with the best path. That said if you break attendance records with 86 wins then you have to tread pretty lightly.
2006-09-27 15:05:49
124.   underdog
Well, I think the AL is stronger than the NL at the top right now - meaning the top teams in the AL are better overall than the top teams in the NL, and most scouts and GMs agree with that . But if you look at the rest of the respective leagues, there's a lot of up and coming teams in the NL, and certainly a lot of parity, while in the AL, there are a few really bad teams. Or at least, after the top, I don't think one league is really that much stronger than the other. And the last two sentences in SS's argument seem particularly dismissive to me..

"The Cards, Pods, Stros and Giants are all old and figure to get worse." Maybe true with the Cards, and the Giants, though they do have some good young players mixed in, but the Padres and Astros both have some good young players and are both making a strong playoff run.

2006-09-27 15:07:13
125.   bigcpa
117 ... for clarification I agree with 120 regarding the coming years.
2006-09-27 15:07:47
126.   Bill Crain
116 protect Vlad in the lineup

By that I hope you don't mean that the Angels need someone good to follow Vlad in the lineup to insure he gets better pitches to hit. The concept of lineup "protection" is one that Bill James spent years debunking over and over again. It's now well-settled that replacing the guy who hits after you predictably affects one of your stats and one only: intentional walks. If the Angels need a complement to Guerrero in the offence, what they really need is OBP.

2006-09-27 15:12:15
127.   bhsportsguy
123 I would consider a lineup that features only four players that were on the 40 man roster last year, pretty much a teardown from the previous year. The first 3 players in today's lineup were free agent signees and the last two before the pitcher's spot were products of in-season trades.

So those deals have resulted in an improvement of 12 games so far, do I foresee another turnover like this year as we enter 2007, probably not but it would not surprise to find some guys not on the 40 man roster today, starting for the Dodgers next year.

2006-09-27 15:16:06
128.   Bob Timmermann
Your starters at RFK tonight
Rollins SS
Victorino CF
Utley 2B
Howard 1B
Conine RF
Coste C
Dellucci LF
Nunez 3B
Hamels P

Castro 2B
Lopez SS
Soriano LF
Zimmerman 3B
Vidro 1B
Harper C
Logan CF
Church RF
Astacio P

2006-09-27 15:17:06
129.   ssjames
I was writing 117 largely from the perspective of the general media. I do agree that NL West will be the best division in a couple of years, it won't be in 2007 and probably 2008, but from then on it looks likely.

But the problem is that San Fran and San Diego look to sink like rocks at the same the Dodgers, D-Backs and Rocks have their best players coming into their prime. At the moment, I still favor the NL Central for the next couple of years. And as for the rest of the NL, I don't see a whole lot there, and I don't really see it coming either. You can disagree, but point me to another young and upcoming team, except for the Marlins who will just keep blowing stuff up. The Brewers maybe, but how long will their older more expensive players be there while the kids grow.

Plus every offseason most talent migrates to AL and not the other way around. That is just the trend. Could it change? Yes, but why would it? When the Yanks, Sox, Blue Jays and Angels keep spending stupid money on players that aren't real difference makers?

2006-09-27 15:21:03
130.   Bob Timmermann
Arizona beat the Giants, 6-3.
Moises Alou stole home during the game.
2006-09-27 15:22:40
131.   Bluebleeder87
one note on Mcpherson the dude is really talented but thinks way to much when he's on the plate, like one of my coaches told me see ball hit ball/don't think react! it's that easy. i swear that changed me completely.
2006-09-27 15:25:22
132.   underdog
It is true thatthe question with the Marlins is not their young talent, which rivals any team's , but their blockheaded owner, who rivals any team's when it comes to stupidity. So as long as Loria's there, it's hard to expect a long and lasting legacy but he'll probably at least wait until they become playoff and WS calibre before blowing them up.

Not sure how strong the farm systems are for the once mighty AL East, for that matter - the Yanks trade away most of their talent, ditto the Red Sox, the Orioles haven't done much of anything smart, the Blue Jays have a knack for screwing things up, too and then you have the Devil Rays, whom we're all intimately familiar with, loads of young talent. But never seems to gel - maybe next year. So that'd ordinarily be my pick for a division on the downswing, but so much money spent there, I can't really imagine it completely.

2006-09-27 15:25:53
133.   RELX
I love talking hot stove, even if dinner is still in the oven!

I think we can "safely" say that the Dodger opening day line-up in 2007 will contain:

Kent, 2B
Furcal, SS
Martin, C
Ethier, LF

The rest is a little more up in the air. Is it Nomar or Loney at first, or a combination of the two if Nomar is willing to sign another one-year deal (doubtful). Do we give Betemit another chance to play 3B everyday, or does the team think he is nothing more than a utility player? Will LaRoche be ready?

As far as the OF, does Drew opt-out? If he doesn't, it will be Ethier and Drew at the corners, and either Kemp or some unknown player in CF.

The rotation will most likely be Billingsley, Kuo, Lowe and Penny, with the fifth starter either being Maddux, or a free agent--Zito? The bullpen will probably start out as Gagne, Saito, Broxton, Beimel, Tomko, and whoever else, with Saito moving into the closer spot if Gagne is done.

The main thing that Ned and Co. have to decide is if they are willing to bank on the improvement of young players like Ethier, Kemp, Martin, Betemit, Loney, Bills, Kuo and Broxton to carry this team into 90-100 win territory, or do they decide to trade some combination of Loney, Ethier and Kemp for a proven starter/power hitter?

2006-09-27 15:31:48
134.   Bluebleeder87
or do they decide to trade some combination of Loney, Ethier and Kemp for a proven starter/power hitter?

i wouldn't do that if i were the Dodgers, speacialy with Loney & Ethier those guys have proven they can adjust.

2006-09-27 15:31:52
135.   Sam DC
122 Nice point, O Captain, my Captain.

I'll miss the first four innings or so of the Nats/Phils tonight.


2006-09-27 15:32:40
136.   bigcpa
129 Scanning the NL there's no shortage of good offenses. Last year 3 teams scored 800 runs- this year it looks like 5 will. Meanwhile 6 NL teams have team era's under 4.50. Last year 13 did.
2006-09-27 15:41:48
137.   ssjames
136 I agree it is obvious that offense is definitely up in NL, just look at our team this year compared with the last decade. But when you compare the leagues, pitching and offense combined, especially during interleague play, it really isn't very close imo.
2006-09-27 15:42:03
138.   50 years a Dodger Fan
I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel on what direction Colletti goes in but if I were the GM, here's what I'd try to do:
1. Sign Soriano if the price is bearable.
2. Sign Ramirez or try to trade into A-Rod or Cabrera from Florida. I wouldn't count on LaRoche being ready to go next year...
3. If I don't get Soriano, then I'd try to get a CenterFielder, maybe Byrnes, maybe another year of Lofton with the understanding that he is a part time player and pinch hitter.
4. Get whatever decent pitching I could get...
I wonder if Jeff Kent could play third????
2006-09-27 15:43:19
139.   Jon Weisman
The expanding stretch run chat thread is open.
2006-09-27 15:43:34
140.   das411
ssjames is obviously not a big fan of the Phillies Thoughts segments we've had here the last few nights!

I've said it before and I'll say it again though, it's a looooong offseason and there is only so much material JWtPK can come up with every day. Enjoy this last week (?) of games while you can!

2006-09-27 15:43:47
141.   dzzrtRatt
Are Ethier or Kemp scheduled to play any winter ball? I feel like Ethier needs to go find a league where he can hit .360 to get his confidence back.

Either that or hit a game-winning home run in the playoffs.

2006-09-27 15:44:59
142.   Marty
I've lived in the Pasadena area nearly 50 years and have never eaten at Ricks. Pie n Burger is one of my favorite burgers, but it's getting a little pricey.

I picture J.D. Drew in southern (not South) Pasadena. Somewhere around the Huntington Ritz Carlton.

2006-09-27 15:45:46
143.   Dark Horse
122-Yes, it's a Walt Whitman joke!

I love this place.

2006-09-27 15:47:03
144.   Bluebleeder87

Ethier needs non of that, Ethier just needs to be in shape for 162 games.IMO.

2006-09-27 15:47:56
145.   50 years a Dodger Fan
141 Seems I remember a story from a week or so ago that Ethier said Martin was going to spend the winter with him in Phoenix and lift weights. Loney and Kemp have signed on for winter ball somewhere. I'd like to see Ethier play ball somewhere and concentrate on Centerfield.
2006-09-27 15:49:06
146.   overkill94
133 I think we almost have to trade some of our young talent, but we need talent that's still fairly young (less than 30) in return. Loney, Laroche, Kemp, Betemit, and Ethier are all ready for the majors, but I'd rather not have them all out there at the same time. Betemit and Ethier have both hurt their trade value this month, but I still have faith that both will be able to adjust to the extra at-bats next year.

This leaves Loney, Laroche, and Kemp as possible trade bait. Kemp is someone I'd rather hold onto because he seems to have the most upside of any of our young hitters. Laroche is also a potential superstar with his great bat and glove. Loney would be the logical trade candidate, especially since 1B is easy to replace, but I'm not sure how much we could get in return.

My plan would be to trade Ethier and a decent prospect (Abreu maybe) to the Marlins for Scott Olsen (I know I've said this a thousand times) assuming they're interested. Put Kent at 1B, Betemit at 2B, and Laroche at 3B to start the year. If Kent gets hurt, simply plug Loney in and hope for the best. Instead of spending big money on a starting pitcher, use that money to sign Soriano to get some true power in the line-up, leaving you with:

1. Furcal - SS
2. Martin - C
3. Drew - RF
4. Kent - 1B
5. Soriano - LF
6. Kemp - CF
7. Betemit - 2B
8. Laroche - 3B

SP - Lowe, Penny, Billingsley, Kuo, and Olsen

If Laroche adjusts well, he can switch places with Betemit. Of course, this all depends on him being recovered from his shoulder surgery by spring training.

2006-09-27 15:51:53
147.   50 years a Dodger Fan
146 If anybody gets traded, I nominate Betemit. When's the last time the Braves traded a real good player away?
2006-09-27 15:54:32
148.   Jon Weisman
147 - Doyle Alexander?
2006-09-27 16:02:12
149.   50 years a Dodger Fan
148 Odalis Perez was OK for awhile. I'm just saying they're a pretty sharp organization and usually when they trade someone, you don't expect to ever see that person in the Hall Of Fame...Actually I see that trade as in our favor: Aybar and Betemit are a wash but we stuck them with Baez.
2006-09-27 16:08:25
150.   thinkingblue

Wow, there's some outside the box thinking.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-09-27 16:24:42
151.   blue22
147 - Jason Schmidt turned out ok.

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