Mommy's Alright, Daddy's Alright, They Just Seem A Little Weird

*delete* *delete* *delete* *delete* *delete*.

Oh, hello there. Excuse for me just one second.

*delete* *delete* *delete* *slam head into desk* *delete*

Okay, fresh piece of blog paper. All that deleting up overnowcdcover.jpgthere? Well, that was me just finishing up a nice post about the Dodgers’ playoff hopes. That would be me¬†running through some stats of what it would take for the Dodgers to catch the Padres, how many games each could win and lose, etc. etc. This was based on the Dodgers split with Colorado today. Because, up 4 with Broxton and Super Saito, that’s what it was going to be.

Well, if blowing this on home runs off of two fantastic pitchers who DO NOT GIVE UP HOME RUNS isn’t enough of a sign¬†for us, I don’t know what is.

September 18, 2006, was the 4+1 game that will live on forever in Dodger annals.

September 18, 2007, was the death knell to this season.

Sorry, folks. It’s over. Done. Finished. The motherfucking plane has crashed into the motherfucking mountain. Even a few weeks ago when I was pretty down on our chances, I’d never really given up hope. But now? Forget it. Time to go home. Time to stop living and dying every night on this team. Time to take a breather and reflect on what’s been working and what hasn’t been working. And this shit? Just ain’t working.

Oh, we’ll still be posting here. Don’t you worry about that. Hopefully my next post will be a little more composed and less rambling than this. Consider this just the stream-of-conciousness of a tormented Dodger fan who’s realized that for the 20th season in a row, he’s poured his heart into a collection of guys who just can’t get the job done.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Mama Always Told Me Lineups Were Like A Box Of Choc… lates: You Never Know What You're Gonna Get!

So after a 15-3 bitch slapping of the Phillies last night with the best lineup of the year, Tim Donaghy’s partner in crime, Grady Little, came right back out to intimidate the Phillies – you know, the team the Dodgers are battling with for the Wild Card – with this lineup…

1. Furcal – SS
2. Pierre – CF
3. Kemp – RF
4. Kent – 2B

Now that’s a good start, right? I mean, Kemp has been on fire lately, Kent’s doing well, hell, even Pierre has had a great August. So, yay, he’s finally going to stick with the good hitters, right?! Well…

5. Hillenbrand – 1B
6. Martin – C
7. Gonzalez – LF
8. Martinez – 3B
9. Thunder Thighs – P

Must I even explain the obvious? Do I REALLY have to say why Shea Hillenbrand does not deserve to be hitting above Russell Martin? Or why Ramon Martinez and Luis Gonzalez do not deserve to be in the lineup at all? Or why Loney and Ethier have to sit yet again? All we needed was Olmedo Saenz hitting clean up to complete this abortion.

And, yes, before everyone starts e-mailing me, I realize that Ramon Martinez had a key 2-run single that helped win today’s game. Very good. He and Gonzo still have no business in the lineup over Ethier and Loney (as Martinez out of the lineup brings Hillenbrand back to third).

But how does Little defend himself on this one? Take it away, Grady!

On playing Ramon Martinez:

“Martinez has an unusual stat,” said Little. “He has the same number of RBIs as hits [20]. You don’t see that very often. It’s an amazing stat.”

Yeah, it is a weird stat. A fluky stat, but weird. Wanna know another stat? O.K., here’s one. Did you know that those 22 hits also came in like 115 at-bats to give him a .191/.248/.217 line? Wanna see some other cool stats, Grady? I got a few on Gonzo too! Sure, they’re not quite the fluky stats that help get people into the lineup, but, dude, just check these out, THESE ARE WHAT I CALL STATISTICS!!

Luis Gonzalez Since The All-Star Break:

.233/.277/.301

Oh, I got more!

Andre Ethier Since The All-Star Break:

.337/.417/.571

Yet Gonzo still gets to start. Hmmmmm…

On second guessers:

“A lot of people are capable of playing Nintendo baseball,” he said. “When you play fantasy baseball or on a computer, rarely do you take into account a missed umpire’s call or a tweaked hamstring.”

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go pay a visit to my Father – who’s probably never heard of fantasy baseball – and then my Grandfather, who’s never even touched a computer. Why, you ask? Because I need to tell them that since they also second guess Grady, that they are a bunch of fantasy baseball, Nintendo loving ninnies who are full of shit and that their opinions are worthless, as they obviously do not pay attention to umpire calls or player injuries. After all, it is ancient baseball secret that paying attention to missed umpire calls and tweaked hamstrings are what makes a great manager, right? If that’s the case, Stan Conte: you’re hired!

That quote is seriously one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard by a manager… and after dealing with five years of Jim Tracy I’ve heard some real doozies. At least he’d be so redundant I couldn’t make out what he was saying. But this? This is “Baseball Tonight”-like stupid.

Here’s a clue for you, jackass: just what the hell do you think we’re watching when the game is on? Do you think when I say “It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!” at 7 P.M. every night, we then just go run to our Sega Genesis and completely avoid what goes on during the game? Also, I’d love to hear the correlation between tweaked hamstrings and missed umpire calls (which you are so passionate about) with putting together sane lineups and good in-game managerial strategy.

Perhaps Bill James could write a new “Baseball Abstract” detailing this finding. I got it, he could come up with a new statistic: MUCATH (Missed Umpire Calls And Tweaked Hamstrings). Just picture the next time you’re getting into an argument with your friends over who is a good manager. It could go something like this…

Person 1: Say, you know, that Grady Little is a really shitty manager. He gives playing time to washed up vets and the better hitters have to fight for playing time.

Person 2: Obviously you do not pay attention to the game, as you play your “Virtual Baseball 1995″. Did you not see Grady’s MUCATH last night? Dude, it’s why we won! In fact, this year, Grady has contributed to his team’s success with a +22 MUCATH. He has such an insane MUCATH that he leads all NL managers in MUCATH… he is MOY material if not for his MUCATH alone, you fool.

“People only know part of it. There’s a reason why we do what we do.”

Really? So let me give you the benefit of the doubt for just this one second. So, because we haven’t taken into account a possible tweaked hamstring, is that why Ethier – the team’s hottest hitter since July – still has to fight for playing time? Did he tweak something last night that made Gonzo just HAVE to start in place of him? Because, you see, when Andre later came into the game today as a defensive replacement, he didn’t really look hurt. Oh well… it must have been a missed umpire’s call that kept him out.

But, you know, Grady, I’m glad you are showing a concern with player injuries because when me and my fellow fantasy nerds took a break to go grab our “Pong” game, we did notice a few things with injuries. For instance, we did notice Rafael Furcal still playing every day on one good ankle, we saw Jeff Kent playing on a bad hamstring, Matt Kemp hobbling around, and we still see Russell Martin running a little gimpy still. Speaking of Russell Martin…

I’m sure someone as cognizant as you has taken into account how much he’s been run into the ground, right, Grady? Surely for all these factors that you take into consideration – which we’re not capable of doing – that’s why Mike Lieberthal has only 12 starts this year and only TWO starts in the past FIVE weeks, right? Is that why he didn’t get to at least start one game during the Philadelphia series, his old team? Is that why Russell Martin has 73 of the 74 RBI’s generated from the catcher’s position this year?

Yes, Grady, you are right, there is a reason why you do what you do.

Because you’re a fucking idiot.

Now I have to cut this article short, as it’s almost 5:30 P.M. and it’s time for me to play “Baseball” on my Intellivision.

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

I've Got To Admit, It's Getting Better, A Little Better All The Time… (It can't get no worse…)

Well, well, well, after three weeks of sucking harder than a gay porno, the Dodgers have actually played some good baseball the past three games and not only have they played well during that stretch, they’ve… they’ve… WON!!

But, believe it or not, that’s not the shocker of all during these past three games. Look at this pitching line…

7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K.

Now if I told you this is Brad Penny, you would say: “Vin, of course, that’s our ace.” But it’s not him. Nor is it Derek Lowe who did pitch great the previous game. Nope, it wasn’t even Billingsley. Then you would say: “Was it Bret…” and before you even finished that sentence, I would slip you a Lithium to bring you back to reality and then tell you that line belongs to…

Eric Stults. Yes. Eric fucking Stults.

After last night’s starter was unknown for most of the week, Stults was handed the ball and stepped up big time to overcome the Rockies and the abortion of a lineup that Grady Little sent out there (actually, the fact that lineup scored six runs might be as shocking as Stults’ performance, now that I think about it…). In fact, according to myself in the broadcast last night, that was the first time THIS WHOLE SEASON that a Dodger starter has allowed fewer than three hits through seven innings. To also show how dominant he was, not only did he strike out four consecutive batters twice during the game, but he also retired the side in order during six of his seven innings. Oh yeah, did I mention that he also hit a double and scored a run?

In other words: totally awesome. So what does this mean?

At this point of the season, there’s no reason not to keep him in the rotation. With the rumors that the Dodgers are in the hunt for David Wells, if that were true, then he should be signed to replace Tomko, while Stults continue to replace Lurch in the rotation. But there’s something intriguing about Stults that has gone unnoticed. While he is primarily remembered for his big start against the Mets last year, let’s look at how half of the Met killing duo (the other being Hong-Chih Kuo) has done in EVERY start – not counting relief appearances – as a Dodger and you just might be surprised…

2006:

September 10th vs. Mets = 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

October 1st vs. Giants = 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

2007:

July 22nd vs. Mets = 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

August 17th vs. Rockies = 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

While it’s an incredibly small sample size, he hasn’t had one truly bad start when he’s been handed the ball, as evidenced by his career 2.70 ERA in the starting role. Am I saying that Eric Stults is the team savior? No, he also has a lifetime .203 BABIP as a starter, so he has had some luck and the law of averages will probably increase that 2.70 ERA a bit, but there’s no reason to believe that, based on these performances, he couldn’t at least provide some much needed competency and well… non-suckiness to the back end of the rotation, something the Dodgers have lacked since the injury to Randy Wolf (yeah, remember him?).

Last night notwithstanding, Stults does not have overpowering stuff by any means (his fastball tops out at around 88-89 MPH, or Jason Schmidt territory), but he has shown to have good command and can mix his pitches up well enough to keep hitters off balance. He’s kind of in the Tom Glavine mold, just without the Hall Of Fame career, the 300 wins, World Series ring, Cy Young awards, etc., etc. But Stults has done well in his limited time here and the numbers, and current situation, dictate that he at least deserves the chance to keep his job in the rotation until he proves otherwise. And guess who the Dodgers just happen to be playing in the next five days? Yup, that’s right… the New York Mets.

And, hey, if he can’t pitch:

Eric Stults’ career hitting statistics:

.417/.417/.500/ 135 OPS+

Expect Stults to be shipped back to Las Vegas.

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg