I Know, It’s Only Three Games… But I Like It, Like It, Yes I Do…

So, what happened to those Dodgers that I once knew?  The one’s who would lay down, not score, and just downright break our hearts?

Well, they got kidnapped!  We seemed to have gotten this new team, and they even have some fight in them.  This new team has also been pretty fun to watch, coming out of the gates and taking 2 out of 3 from their divisional rivals.  Really, this is just what the doctor ordered.  We all know the Dodgers badly needed to take at least two out of three from Arizona, instead of risking falling even further, and they came pretty damn close to doing the latter.  Yet this team showed for the first time this year some fight in them.  Anyone who’s watched the Dodgers this year knows that once they get down by a couple of runs, it’s over.

But on Friday, they came back to erase a 6-3 deficit and win 8-7 after a James Loney HR in the 11th inning, and almost came back on Saturday, turning a 3-0 game into a 3-2 game in the 9th.  While they lost, it was encouraging to watch them put up some kind of rally.  Then, of course, there is today.  After getting utterly dominated by Brandon Webb for 8 innings, the Dodgers went into the 9th trailing 4-1.  Up until the time Matt Kemp came up again with 2 outs, the game seemed like a carbon copy of the previous game.

However, this time, instead of flying out on the first pitch, Kemp put up easily his best at-bat this season.  Hell, maybe the best at-bat of his career.  Instead of going up there, aggressive, trying to hit the ball out of the park, he just went up there and showed great patience and wasn’t trying to do much.  It paid off, with a shot to the gap to tie the game.  Then, of course, the monstrous triple by Ethier to put the Dodgers on top.  Best inning by far this season and primarily done by the kids.  In Kemp’s case, I really hope that at-bat can be a turning point with him and that is also plays a hand in his development.  Perhaps we’re already seeing The Mattingly Effect, but, in any event, well done, Mattie.  And by the way, the person he drove in on that double?  Why, newest Dodger, Pablo Ozuna! In order to get him, the Dodgers had to DFA Luis Maza.  Not much to say on that, except, why does Ned continue to sign the same no-hit infielders thinking that something will eventually stick?  On a team that needs offense?

But back to the game.  The kids played a huge role in the 9th, but despite our kiddie love here at MSTI (in the non-Michael Jackson way, of course), there was some contributions from a certain veteran.

How about Nomar?  After being MIA (Hamm?) for the past two years, he is hitting the ball better than he has in two years.  Of course we know what he did on Friday with the 2 HR game, but he has been on an utter terror.  Since being back, Nomar is hitting .316/.366/.632 with a .998 OPS and 3 HR’s.  What I particularly like is the .632 SLG%.  Even during the rare moments he did hit last year, he was nothing more than a singles hitter, however, his stroke seems to be returning.  He’s hitting doubles and showing a power stroke that, again, we haven’t seen in two years.  All botched rundowns aside, I no longer want to jam icepicks in my ears whenever he comes up to the plate.  So, welcome back, Nomar!

And even better…  We can listen to “Low Rider” again… and LIKE IT!!

Another good moment today was watching Andy LaRoche get a pinch hit single in the 9th to keep the inning going and make the game 4-3.  And speaking of LaRoche, Joe Torre spoke about the whole DeWitt/LaRoche thing, this morning.

Courtesy Diamond Leung:

“It’s not affecting his defense. And he’s going to give you an honest at-bat.”

An “honest” at-bat?  What the hell does that mean?  What’s a dishonest at-bat?  And, O.K., maybe it’s not affecting his defense, but the team’s greatest need is offense.  We need that; he hasn’t provided that in two months.

Torre said he was going by “feel” in choosing DeWitt to play the majority of the time.

Hear that, folks?  That guy that the Dodgers pay $4 million dollars a year to make wise baseball decisions?  He makes them based on feel and other subjective measures.  This is how our manager makes roster decisions.  Our starting third baseman is starting because Joe Torre has a feeling, a feeling deep inside, oh yeah, while praising Mark Sweeney and his sub-.100 average because of “swing paths” and “body language.”

Really, I’m waiting for the next article to come out something like this:

Torre said he was going by his magic 8 ball in choosing DeWitt to play the majority of the time, while telephone calls to Miss Cleo suggested that he should always start Andruw Jones.

Back to real quotes:

“It probably worked against LaRoche that I’ve seen so much of DeWitt,” Torre said. “It’s not anything against LaRoche. Blake is filling the bill, so to speak.”

Let me get this straight…  a guy with a 79 OPS+ is “filling the bill” because he’s able to do only half of his job well?  By the logic, Andruw Jones hasn’t been terrible at center field, this year.  Yet does anyone think he’s earned his playing time?  Nooooo.  I’d be most curious how DeWitt’s atrocious offense over the past two months has been filling the bill on a team that, oh, I don’t know… desperately NEEDS offense?!

Utter stupid and he gets more Grady by the minute.  I’m sure Torre has plenty of baseball wisdom, but the game is passing him by.  And, again, when we covered the entire DeWitt/LaRoche thing last week, we do like DeWitt.  We’re fans.  But you’d swear the media thinks he’s 40 with some of the undeserved praise he’s been getting, lately.  Well deserved in April and May… not so much in June and July.

Now on to Andruw Jones.  Here was some information regarding why he was pulled out in the 5th inning of Friday’s game and why he didn’t play Saturday.  Despite my initial hopes of him finally getting benched (I was going to throw a party!), turns out, it was just “flu-like” symptoms.  Despite me thinking he was getting benched, Andruw was still gracious to talk to the media about his crapulence:

Andruw Jones was out of the lineup because of stomach problems that forced him out of Friday night’s game in the fifth inning. “I’ve had to go to the bathroom quite a few times,” Jones said.

Thank you, Andruw, for confirming our thoughts: you truly are stinking up the joint.

So, now it’s on to Colorado while the Diamondbacks go to Chicago.  Hopefully we can get out of it alive and also bury the Rockies, who seem to be playing a little better lately.  So, how about we finally take sole possession of 1st place?  Sound good?  Perhaps third time’s a charm?

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

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