Dodgers @ D’Backs July 10, 2013: The Road to .500

chasefieldI should probably focus on the importance of tonight’s game as the Dodgers finish up a series against first-place Arizona, and I will. But I have to be honest here and admit that there’s no way I can simply skip over what happened in San Francisco today. Not only did the Giants got swept by the Mets (!), they got shut down by former San Francisco prospect Zack Wheeler while Matt Cain left after 0.2 inning. Oh, and Chad Gaudin is apparently a giant scumbag. Or a Giant scumbag. Whichever.

I’m not going to celebrate what appears to be an injury to Cain, because that would be pretty lousy of us to do. And I know that this hubris is going to come back to bite us tenfold someday, and that Jeff Francoeur is probably going to hit .340 for the next two months. But I also know that watching the Giants suffer, well, it’s simply delicious. STRONG APPROVE.

Dodgers
D-backs
2B
M.Elis
CF
Pollock
RF
Puig
2B
Hill
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
LF
Ross
C
A.Ellis
3B
Prado
CF
Ethier
C
Nieves
LF
Van Slyke
LF
Parra
3B
Punto
SS
Pennington
P
Ryu
P
Skaggs

Anyway, with that out of the way, there’s a game to be played, and Scott Van Slyke gives Carl Crawford a rest against lefty Tyler Skaggs. It’s also important to note that the last time the Dodgers had as many wins as losses, it was way back on April 30. Behind six innings and 12 strikeouts from Hyun-jin Ryu and a homer from Hanley Ramirez in his first start of the season (and one of just two complete games he’d manage between thumb and hamstring injuries), the Dodgers beat Colorado 6-2 to even their record at 13-13.

The next day, Josh Beckett was awful as the Dodgers lost to the Rockies, their first of eight consecutive losses. They haven’t been back at .500 since, a span of more than two months. Tonight, thanks to a streak of 13 wins in 16 games, the Dodgers finally have a chance to even their record at 45-45. If they do, they’ll not only be out of the red, they’ll have swept Arizona to pull within 1.5 games of first place, with a non-zero chance of being in first by the break if the lowly Milwaukee Brewers can manage to give the Dodgers some help as they finish out their first half against the Diamondbacks.

Finally, not a day goes by without Yasiel Puig being in the news for something or other, so let’s lightning round it. 1) Puig is behind Freddie Freeman for the final spot on the All-Star team. Honestly, I don’t really care about this one way or the other. He’ll probably end up getting added anyway when other guys get hurt. 2) The “oh, won’t somebody please think of the children!” lobby is back again with a report that Puig snubbed Arizona’s Luis Gonzalez before Monday’s game. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Puig had not the faintest clue in the world who Gonzalez even was, so I can’t say this bothers me that much, though I’ll admit it wouldn’t have killed him to make some small talk. 3) Jay-Z wants to represent Puig and is pushing hard to steal him away from his current representation. Uh, sure, whatever. I’m sure nothing bad could possibly come from that.

Fri 10/11Sat 10/12Sun 10/13Mon 10/14Tues 10/15Wed 10/16Thurs 10/17
RR. Belisario9105
LJ.P. Howell152026
RK. Jansen51626
RC. Marmol26
RB. Wilson281411
RC. Withrow2544
RE. Volquez
3067 comments
BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

ESPN's Jared Cross has Kershaw ranked NINTH in MLB for "stuff" ... interesting.

Lobo
Lobo

Does anyone know offhand if the Medicare and SS rates that are taken out of your paycheck are Federally set or set by the individual states?

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

So I see this "Jay-Z" news, that he wants to represent Puig, and my stomach drops.  But, then I remind myself to breath and that Puig is signed for a while, so what's the wost that can happen?  But if Puig changes his name to "P-Jaz" or something like that, I'm gonna be really disappointed.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

so league and skippy are the only bullpenises that didn't throw yesterday. time for cap to help us out. 

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

Ill give Don credit for using Kenley in the 13th inning even though it was not a save situation. Better than seeing League out there.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

Did Puig hurt anybody's feelings last night? 

FreeDK
FreeDK

Oh man the Dbag fans must be pssst, probably calling all those Dodger fans in AZ illegals n stuff.......

Dang88
Dang88

I feel like every team we beat goes to the excuse "They are hot right now" like they already expected to lose.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

this is the last day of the vote puig thing, right? i'm close to unfollowing the dodgers account. 

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

Last night was exactly the kind of game we would NOT have won two months ago, so another good sign.  That said, Collmenter, wow, poor guy.  Gibson left him in there to pitch a full game. Alllmost felt bad for him.

Lobo
Lobo

Can someone explain to me Chad Moriyama's "game, blouses" thing he says after a win?

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

9. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

"Stuff" projection: 7.9 K/9, 38 percent ground balls, 5.4 percent popups, 3.75 ERA

Our "stuff" projection underrates Kershaw's greatness, most importantly by ignoring his pitch locations and sequences. It's also blind to Kershaw's ability to control the running game, something that he does as well as any pitcher in the game. There's plenty of stuff for our model to like, however, starting with a 93 mph four-seam fastball. The pitch has outstanding, nearly vertical, movement and, like Harvey's fastball, should lead to both strikeouts and popouts.

Our model incorrectly expects Kershaw to be an extreme fly ball pitcher, similar in batted ball distribution to Marco Estrada, but Kershaw actually gets a high rate of ground balls from his fastball despite its notable rise. While Harvey works his fastball up in the zone, Kershaw works toward the sides of the plate -- inside against right-handed batters and outside against left-handed batters.

Lobo
Lobo

@BlueMarvin Doesn't mean much.  Stuff just refers to how good his pitches actually are.  Pitchers with great "stuff" often fail because they lack control, command, or the intelligence to know when to throw what pitch

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@BlueMarvin I agree. It's a good thing they fired their manager and got someone new in the dugout to inspire the team.

JessePool
JessePool

From one of the funniest comedy skits in history

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

@Mike Petriello @BlueMarvin Well I do get your point Mike, and being fair, your point is probably absolutely right.  That said, I could make a laundry list of complaints about Mattingly earlier in the year that would mostly center around him moving so many people in and out of lineups that almost nobody outside Gonzalez could get settled.  That plus running certain guys out there too many times, trying to be a players' manager at the expense of reason.  And of course, why was it apparent to some schmuck like me in spring that Uribe was a different hitter, and it took Done two months to discover it?  I'd have understood if we had a good starting 3B.

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

@Disgruntled Goat  @TellMyWifeISaidHello Unfortunately he didn't look "very very good" last night, he honestly looked awful.  Missed a catch -- was a tough one but he should have had it -- and was lost at the plate.  Just one game, but I've kinda been expecting a "big slump" because this game humbles even the very best.  We'll see.

Lobo
Lobo

@Disgruntled Goat  @TellMyWifeISaidHello I think what we're about to see is roughly a 2 week regression period from Puig, where he only hits like .250.  But after that, I think he'll make the necessary adjustsments and start hitting at his true talent level of about .290-.300 with power

Lobo
Lobo

@Dang88(Never Stopped Loving Matt Kemp) @Lobo That's what they hope but that's not necessarily the case.  Particularly not here because there are so many reasons to show that this isn't just a team that's hot, this is a team that is actually good now

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

@Mike Petriello @BlueMarvin That definitely did not help, and I know Mattingly was trying to create good matches on a day to day basis with guys who were not the guys he wanted to start, in many cases.  His situation sucked, and as I've always said, I really LIKE the guy a lot so I'm glad it's working for him now.  So I get all that, but think he was slow to adapt in a number of areas.  I have very few complains with what he's been doing with his mostly healthy team now.  I wanted Uribe last night at the start, which hurt us when we had two RISP and 1 out opps with Punto up, but who knows maybe Uribe was tired and Don saw something I couldn't.  And at least he DID adapt eventually, Tracy would have stuck to his plan no matter how bad it worked out, the most stubborn manager I've ever yelled at through my TV.  :)

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

@Mike Petriello @BlueMarvin Well it's just a theory of mine, I could be completely wrong, I'm just a fan.  But there is truth that the Dodgers were an awful, awful defensive team for those first two months, and it didn't stack up with the guys on the field who shouldn't have been THAT bad based on their histories.  My though then was that Donnie kept "resting" guys, changing their positions, so they couldn't get any consistent playing time.  Punto, Schu, Hairston, Cruz, Ellis, Crawford even, all playing one day, not the next.  When I played baseball, timing came from repetition, and there is timing involved in defense as well as offense.  So just a theory, but I think it contributed to guys player below their expected defensive abilities -- and couldn't ave helped their swings either.

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@BlueMarvin @Mike Petriello that's interesting to me, actually. I agree that there's a lot of valid points to complain about Mattingly with, but "moving people around in the lineup" doesn't even register for me.

Lobo
Lobo

@BlueMarvin @Mike Petriello You can't expect Donnie to have really given Uribe a chance out of ST because he was legitimately THAT terrible in 2011 and 2012.  That he's done this well this year is no small miracle