Thursday, May 07, 2009

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13 is the wait....14.....wait.....

Dodgers break the major league record for most consecutive wins to start a season. Tomorrow night they go for the Dodger record for the longest winning streak, period. This is now becoming bizarre, almost surreal. This focus on the teams we are beating fails to take into account that no other team has ever done this, so who cares how good the teams we are beating are. I have gone over every angle on that one.

Perhaps the most ominous aspect of this winning streak, or hot streak, is that of all the teams we have passed on the way to this record, history does not hold our ultimate end in good stead. None of the teams won the world series and virtually all of them fell apart in second half. It is way, way too early to see this as a portent of the entire year. Still, the fact that we have begun to seriously separate ourselves from our division is very positive. All of this without Kuroda no less.

Health is the key. Health and good fortune. If Manny stays healthy, all else will take care of itself. It makes me wonder why the Dodger brass waited so fucking long to sign his ass. Frankly, they should wrap him up for three more years right now and get this distraction over with, because at the All Star break its gonna come up again and again.

Heading over to the park with Jamie Bozian Thursday night to get me my TRANZIZTUH RADIO!

14 is the luckiest number.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Response to sub .500 argument for Dodgers early success.

Good teams beat the teams they should beat. This is not a fait accompli by any means. In the game of Baseball, one can well make the case that beating teams you should is possibly more difficult than beating better teams. You cannot take out of the equation the psychological element of motivation, grind, days off, let downs, etc...especially when playing a sport where you play every day. Any team is susceptible to being defeated by any team in Baseball on any given night. There is a reason why only two teams in history have this many consecutive home wins to begin a season.

In addition, the starting pitching the Dodgers have faced and beaten is eye opening: Jake Peavy (twice), Chris Young (faced twice, beaten once), Barry Zito (1 and 1 which could have been two), Matt Cain, Cook and Jimenez (twice each), Lincecum (loss) and the numerous "never seen before" pitchers that the Dodgers of the past have succumbed to. Add to that the fact that our starters have averaged less then six innings a start, we have been without our number two in Kuroda (or arguably our number one), have lacked production from Raffy, Loney, and Martin...sure, sub .500 teams are just that, but as mentioned above, they haven't always been sub .500 this season.

Whatever happens on the road against the east, or here against the east or elite central, does not take away from the extraordinary accomplishment of this ballclub. Is this really our fattening up on weak sisters, or is this really about how powerful the Dodgers are at home? The record here in LA since the All Star break speaks volumes.

Home cookin' mystique.

Two and counting.

by Ken Gurnick for MLB.Com

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers played at home Monday night. You know what that means.

A 7-2 victory over Arizona ran their home win streak at the start of the season to 11, setting a National League record. They also tied the 2003 Kansas City Royals for the second-longest in history, one shy of the MLB record set by Detroit in 1911. They are 34-9 at home since last year's All-Star break and 29-7 since Manny Ramirez came aboard.

The Dodgers now have the best record in baseball at 19-8, their best start to this point since 1983, the largest current lead in baseball at 5 1/2 games, the organization's largest lead since 2004 and they are 11 games above .500 for the first time since 2007.

They've won five straight, six of seven and are 17-5 since starting the season 2-3.

The only disclaimer: The Dodgers haven't played a team that currently has a record above .500. Not a one. That includes a stunning 18-6 record against the NL West and 3-1 against Arizona.

Not even hitting into their first triple play in 18 years could slow the roll, the Dodgers overcoming that and a pair of double plays with back-to-back homers on consecutive Doug Davis pitches in the first inning by Ramirez and Andre Ethier. Ramirez, coming off a one-day freshening, added an RBI double, a sacrifice fly, a double-play grounder and took a pitch in the backside.

Eric Stults, who didn't make it out of the third inning in his previous start and might have been pitching to keep his job in this one, contained the Diamondbacks to two runs in 5 2/3 innings and now is 3-1 as the rotation replacement for injured Opening Day starter Hiroki Kuroda, whose return date is still unknown.

"Obviously, after a rough one, it's always good to get back out there," Stults said. "I'd like to work deeper in the game, but it's just good to get a victory and keep the streak alive."

The 29-year-old Stults said he didn't come into this game worried about job security.

"For me, I just want to have a quality start," he said. "As far as what management does, I can't control that. I just have to be ready to pitch every fifth day. You start to think about too many other things, that's when bad things happen."

Manager Joe Torre said Stults showed the aggressiveness that was lacking in San Francisco last week. Stults said he even mixed in a cut fastball he worked on in his bullpen session, a pitch he shelved because it had little effect while he pitched predominantly in the desert air of Las Vegas the past three years.

"That was a good outing for him," said Torre. "I thought he mixed his pitches well. He threw inside to right-handed hitters, in off the plate. That's necessary with the changeup he has."

Stults was followed by Ronald Belisario, Guillermo Mota, Cory Wade and Jonathan Broxton, and the group allowed only one hit over the final 3 1/3 innings. Broxton struck out two and now has 23 strikeouts and only two hits allowed in 13 innings with a 0.69 ERA.

Torre said his concern over a letdown after sweeping the four-game series with San Diego was not realized.

"The thing I'm proud about was we had a very tough series with close games against San Diego and we came in like that didn't happen," he said. "We played with a lot of energy and a lot of resolve. This club didn't come in thinking it was an automatic win."

Of course, playing at home, that's been the outcome so far this season.

The triple play was a second-inning hit-and-run with Russell Martin on second, Matt Kemp on first and Casey Blake lining to shortstop Josh Wilson, who flipped to second baseman Felipe Lopez to double off Martin, with Lopez throwing to first baseman Conor Jackson to erase Kemp.

It was the first triple play the Dodgers have hit into since Aug. 4, 1991, against Houston, when Alfredo Griffin hit into one at the Astrodome. It also was the first at Dodger Stadium since 1998, when Colorado's Kurt Abbott hit into one.

"At least it means you've got guys on base with no outs, and usually good things happen," said Stults.

Ramirez, Ethier and Kemp each had two hits, Kemp also scoring twice with two stolen bases. One was third base, when he decoyed Arizona catcher Chris Snyder by intentionally wandering off second base to draw a throw behind him, then sprinting to third.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Who can make a rainbow?

Taken from cell phone of TV by moi.

The O'Dog lovingly greeting La Poquita nina at the Ravine.

Jeff Kent who?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Is it live or is it Memorex?

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres today at Chavez Ravine to go to 10 and 0 at home to start the 2009 season. They now hold the all time mark for any Dodger team in either New York or Los Angeles for win to start a season and have tied three other teams who also hold that mark: the 1983 Atlanta Braves (ironically helmed by current Dodger skipper Joe Torre), The 1970 Chicago Cubs, and the 1918 New York Giants. The Major League record for consecutive home wins to start a season is 12 held by the Detroit Tigers of 19...something or other. The Dodgers are now three wins away from accomplishing this feat. They must go through Doug Davis and Max "afterburner" Scherzer of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday and Tuesday respectively, and then whomever the Washington Nationals throw at them on Wednesday night. Trying to push the Dodgers over the threshold will be Eric Stults, who couldn't get out of the second inning in his last start against the Giants in San Francisco, Jeff Weaver on Tuesday night, who hasn't had a Major League start in over a year and half, and finally Clayton "the kid" Kershaw on Wednesday. If the Dodgers accomplish this feat, expectations will most likely be extremely high for them to not only win the west but to go very deep in the playoffs. However, expectations can be daunting: none of those three teams mentioned even made it to the playoffs.

A case can very easily be made that the Dodgers are feasting on sub .500 teams who can't produce runs of any kind. True. But don't forget about the pitching in the NL West. The Dodgers have already seen Jake Peavy twice, Chris Young twice, Barry Zito twice, Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Dan Haren, Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook twice, and some other starters they have never seen before. The accomplishment of ten and 0 is valid, if for no other reason than that.

The Dodgers may have accomplished something even more impressive today. They swept the San Diego Padres for the first time in a four game series in their history, not just at home but on the road. The Padres already accomplished that feat in 1983. Yep, you got it, the same year Joe Torre helmed the Atlanta Braves to that ten and 0 start.


Mannys being Mannys.

The city of Los Angeles can now boast of having two Manny's as their native sons. Dominican superstar Manny Ramirez must now be joined by Filipino superstar boxer Manny Pacquiao, who trains at Freddy Roach's Wild Card gym in Hollywood California. Pacquiao quelled any possible question about his pound for pound status tonight with a two round total destruction of Manchester England's blue moon son Ricky "the Hitman" Hatton. From the moment the bell rang for round one, it was a total mismatch. Ironically, my friend Alex and I both gave Hatton a pretty solid chance at the upset tonight, along with my friend Michael's brother in law Ladonne. All of us are very informed boxing fans and all three of us look like idiots. Paradoxically, it was my friend Alex's wife Roberta who knew the moment this fight was signed that Hatton would be toast. Funny how those who don't know often know more than those of us who think we know (say what?). Any way you look at it, Pac Man must now be placed in the discussion of the greatest of all time. Whether you agree with the judge's decisions in the Juan Manuel Marquez fights (many still think JMM won BOTH fights...I believe Manny won both), the fact is that he has beaten Marco Antonio Barrera twice (destroyed him in fight 1), is 2 and 1 against Terrible' Morales (with a wipe out in fight three), 2 and 0 over Marquez, arguably the other greatest fighter in the world, crushed De La Hoya and massacred Hatton. Thank God the fight ended when it did tonight because if Hatton had a better chin he would be dead from the accumulation of bombs to the head and body. It looks like his next big fight will be either Pretty Boy Floyd if Floyd, who announced his comeback earlier today in Vegas, defeats Juan Manuel Marquez in July, not necessarily a fait accomplis by any means.

In other news.....Dodgers are now 9 and 0 at home to tie the 1946 Brooklyn Bums for the best home start in franchise history. Tomorrow they go for the record...ho hum.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Dodgers walk the walk against Jake Peavy, 1 to 0

Russell Martin barely held up on Ball Four to walk in the winning run in the ninth inning against an unhittable Jake Peavy at the Ravine tonight. It is the second walk off walk by the Dodgers this season, the only team in the league to do that. The Dodgers are now 8 and 0 at home, tying the best record in Dodgers history to start a year. Tomorrow night they attempt to go for the record set by Brooklyn in 1947. Clayton Kershaw matched Peavy pitch for pitch and Will Ohman and Jonathan Stud Boy Broxton shut the door on a heavily overmatched Padres offense. While Kershaw struck out a career high 13 Giants on the last homestand, tonight's performance was actually more impressive. He didn't budge against a team that only struck out twice against him and had the ball in play all night long. Kershaw got out of a series of jams and proved that he has the mentality to gut it out. This was a very big win for the team and cements them as a team that can find ways to beat you no matter the situation. They are also the only team left unbeaten at home.

Keep on Trucking Blue.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fleece Blanket Bingo

Dodgers bats defeat Padres 8 to 5 at the Ravine.

After J Mac self destructed, the resurrection of Jeff Weaver began. The youthful blond surfer locks replaced by a veteran snarl, Weaver worked both sides of the plate for four innings, keeping the Friars and A Gonz quiet. Little O'hman came in and gave up the double to Gonz putting the Pads ahead briefly but the Blue's offense is just to potent. Homers by Orlando Hudson and a Ruthian shot by ManRam electrified the fans and lifted the stadium off the ground and propelling the team to its seventh consecutive win at home to remain undefeated as April, the cruelest month, was very generous to Angelenos.

We'll see what Kershaw has tonight against Peavy.

Our pitching blows.