Memorial Day Fun Times

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. In years past, a loss like yesterday’s would have killed me, seeing a winnable game slip away as Chad Billingsley faltered and the bullpen imploded. But now? Just a blip on the radar, as the Dodgers still have four more wins than anyone in baseball and lead the division by a comfortable 7.5 games. The Padres have indeed shockingly won nine in a row, but can we really get ourselves all worked up thinking they’re for real? No way. Besides, as SOSG so astutely pointed out, Padres victories might actually be good for the Dodgers. Let’s take a quick jaunt around the interwebs for some fun facts before returning to your regularly-scheduled day of overindulgence and outdoor activities.

militaryfirstpitch.jpg* Now here’s a tradition we should bring back.
Last year on this day, Inside the Dodgers posted some Memorial Day Dodger stats, including noting,

The Dodgers played 58 doubleheaders on Memorial Day from 1890-1957 (68 seasons) and have three in Los Angeles. The last was 1980 in Cincinnati.

We all know it’ll never happen, but wouldn’t you love to see that? After honoring our servicemen, what is Memorial Day if not barbeque and baseball? The more of each the better, I say.

* Now here’s a tradition we should definitely not bring back. Last year on this day, Inside the Dodgers, after posting the aforementioned holiday note, put up the lineup for that day’s game against the Cubs. It included Jeff Kent hitting cleanup (in the midst of challenging for the title of “Worst cleanup hitter season ever”), the corpse of Mark Sweeney hitting fifth, and Luis Maza eighth. Needless to say, the Dodgers only scored one run and saddled Billingsley with a loss, despite going six innings and allowing two runs. Remember, that was the lineup just one year ago. My, how things have changed.

* Today’s going to be a good day. The current members of the Dodgers roster, as a group, have had great success against Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa in the past, combining for a line of .344/.398/.598 with 4 homers in 108 plate appearances. Blake, Kemp, and Loney lead the way, as each have homered against him and have career OPS’s over 1.000. The only guy who really hasn’t had success is Andre Ethier, who’s just 1 for 7 with 2 K’s, but I’m sure he’ll play anyway if his toe is okay.  

* Cory Wade’s deal with the devil may have expired. After a second ugly performance in a row yesterday, you don’t need me to tell you he’s not been himself this year, but here’s part of the reason…

BABIP – League Average, 2008-09: .264
BABIP – Cory Wade, RHP, LA, 2008: .227 
BABIP – Cory Wade, RHP, LA, 2008: .363

Wade has gone from being absurdly lucky in 2008 to completely unlucky in 2009 – nearly a 140 point rise in batting average on balls in play. There’s more to it than that, of course, because his K/9 rate is down (6.43 to 4.91) and his BB/9 rate is way up (1.89 to 3.68), and that’s two metrics that are headed in the wrong direction. However, that BABIP has to come back down to average at some point, and his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, an alternative way of calculating ERA, defined as a stat which “helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded”) is actually lower than last year (3.78 to 3.28).

Cory definitely needs to get a handle on those free passes, but otherwise, things are not nearly as bad as they may seem with him. Besides, don’t let that “actual” ERA of 6.14 fool you; every single run he’s given up this year has come in just four appearances, meaning that he’s had eleven scoreless outings.

* In case you want to know why Hong-Chih Kuo keeps hurting his arm… Driveline Mechanics takes a look into his wonky mechanics, complete with animations. It’s an interesting read, even if you may need an actual PhD to understand paragraphs like this:

Kuo takes his throwing arm laterally behind his body quite a bit – better known as “reverse rotation.” When he returns it to the throwing side, it causes a serious case of forearm flyout, which causes his olecranon process to slam into its fossa and do serious injury to the elbow.

* You know you’re a big leaguer when: You have to feel good for Jamie Hoffmann, having his first major league hit being a home run (in front of his family, no less) and then later adding an RBI double. As Vin mentioned, he’s been named the best defensive outfielder in the Dodger system by Baseball America for four years running, so while he’s not going to be a star, you think that maybe he’s got a chance to contribute at the big league level. But there’s one thing we know for sure: he’s already got a group of people devoted to pointing out how much he sucks. I’m not even sure what to make of this; the “Jamie Hoffmann Sucks forum” has been up since at least April of 2008, which would be about 13 months before most Dodger fans even knew he existed. Should he be flattered? Offended? Confused? A combination of all three?

That’s Right, Thirteen Pitchers

If you’ve been a reader of this site for any length of time, you’ve likely heard me complain about the recent trend of twelve-man pitching staffs, especially in the National League. For most staffs, the 12th man doesn’t get enough work to justify his position – and it’s that sort of roster composition that gets you in a situation where you’ve only got one backup outfielder. (Whether or not that backup outfielder is both a lousy hitter and a horrifying fielder is another matter entirely.)

Well, guess what! According to DodgerThoughts, a bad situation has gotten worse:

The Dodgers purchased the contract of Jeff Weaver and activated Cory Wade, while optioning Blake DeWitt to the minors. Doug Mientkiewicz was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. That’s right, those of you afraid of burning out the bullpen* — at this moment, the Dodgers have a 13-man pitching staff.

 I haven’t seen this confirmed anywhere else, and Jon didn’t source the report, but he’s reliable so we’ll go with it. This is in addition to Scott Elbert being optioned out after last night’s game, which was expected. Let’s go with this one thing at a time:

weaverphotoshoot.jpgWelcome back, Jeff Weaver! No surprise here, but I’m actually pretty happy to see this. I always liked Weaver when he was here in 2004-05, and while he was probably never as good as I remember him being, there’s something to be said for 444 innings of almost exactly league-average pitching in those years. Considering how bad the 2005 squad was – remember, that squad gave 58 starts to DJ Houlton, Odalis Perez, Scott Erickson, Elmer Dessens, Derek Thompson, and Wilson Valdez - he practically looked like Tim Lincecum, so it’s easy to see where the fond remembrances come from. Weaver’s been pretty effective in AAA so far, holding opponents to a .208 BA while putting up a 12/2 K/BB rate, so he deserves it. He’ll apparently start in the bullpen, but seeing how Eric Stults has been treated in the past every time he has one bad start, I’d say the chances of Weaver taking that Thursday start are approximately 1,000,000%.

Good to see you, Cory Wade! It’s no secret that the Dodgers could use a jolt in the 8th inning, and Wade supposedly has had no issues with his return from shoulder soreness. This isn’t the first time this has happened, though; so maybe let’s hold off on the back-to-back usage of him for a while, okay, Joe?

Tennesseeya later, Scott Elbert! Okay, I kind of want to kick my own ass for that joke. Nothing wrong with this either; Elbert’s got loads of talent, but he needs to pitch more regularly than he was going to in LA. 3 homers and 10 hits allowed in 6.1 innings isn’t getting the job done with the big boys.

Thanks for stopping by, Blake DeWitt! It’s about time! I really haven’t understood what’s going on with DeWitt so far this year. The big concern was that he wouldn’t get enough playing time if he made the club over Juan Castro as the main backup infielder; I argued that he’d be just fine because he could start at second, short, and third. Except that Orlando Hudson (who I thought would get some time off to protect the wrist) hasn’t missed a game yet, so DeWitt was sent down to get playing time. Then when he was brought back up when Eyechart got hurt, he really didn’t get any playing time because Castro was still around. Really, it never made any sense to have brought him back up in the first place.

Welcome to the weakest bench in the league! Your bench currently consists of Brad Ausmus, Mark Loretta, Juan Castro, and Juan Pierre. In a word: yikes. Loretta’s just fine (hitting .444), but otherwise you’ve got three zeroes at the plate and no solid defensive outfielder. I mean, I get that the everyday lineup is more solid than most and doesn’t require a whole lot of replacement but… this is bad. And with the starting pitching, other than Billingsley, not going that deep into games, the need for pinch hitting and double switching is increased. You’d rather have six guys on the bench, but only four? Not good.

Did we really need thirteen pitchers? In a word, no. As the chart Jon put up shows, the bullpen isn’t getting killed. Will Ohman’s thrown 23 pitches in the last week, and he’s been solid. Hong-Chih Kuo’s only thrown 31 pitches in the last week, and while I know he’s been working out his issues, he looked good in a scoreless inning last night. Looking down that list, only Ronald Belisario looks like he might need to be dialed back a bit.

So, what next? Thirteen pitchers isn’t a sustainable roster model; it just can’t be. My money is fully on Eric Stults losing his roster spot in the next few days for a position player. What’s odd, though, is why he’s not losing his spot right now. After starting last night, he’s not going to be available for the next few days anyway, so if he’s the one to go, why not just farm him out right now rather than letting him eat up a roster spot? As for who’s coming up, let’s just hope it’s not DeWitt again – that didn’t make any sense the first time. No, you need an outfielder, one you can use for defense. Which leaves you with two choices: the AAA outfielder who’s doing awesome but who you might not want to sit on the bench in the bigs, Xavier Paul (1.101 OPS), or the one who’s doing lousy but you’re not too worried about hurting his development, Jason Repko (.803 OPS).

Cory Wade’s Tragic Shoulder

87toppscorywade.jpgTony Jackson’s right
– I hadn’t really noticed he hadn’t pitched in nearly a week. So off to the DL he goes, with Scott Elbert coming up to take his place:

It’s a recurrence of the same shoulder issue he dealt with last season and in spring training, nothing major. He says it went away completely for a while, but it flared up again after his most recent outing last Saturday night at Arizona, and it has been so crazy this week that no one seemed to have noticed that he hadn’t pitched since then. Cory said it just kept getting worse after that, but that he is optimistic that a little rest will be sufficient to get rid of the issue. The move is backdated to Sunday, which means he is eligible to return on April 27 and stands a good chance of doing so. He’ll go to Camelback Ranch on Monday, when the team leaves for Houston, and pitch in a couple of extended spring training games there to get himself right.

Wade’s pitched in four games this season, and has been great in three of them (three scoreless outings of an inning apiece, allowing two hits) and awful in one (three hits and two runs in 1/3 of an inning). The poor outing was the only one that came on a back-to-back appearance, and since this is apparently the same shoulder issue that bothered him last season and in spring, you have to wonder: should we be treating him as the right-handed Hong-Chih Kuo? I’d rather live with an effective Wade who’s not available as often as everyone else than no Wade at all. Some guys just aren’t built for the constant workload, and you have to wonder if Wade falls under that category.

The good news is that when Wade missed time in August last season with the same problem, he was fantastic when he returned: 1.45 ERA and a .382 OPS (!!) in 18.2 innings over 15 appearances. So let’s hope we see the same thing this time.

Oh, and today’s game, as you likely know, is on FOX, but it’s hardly a case of putting our best foot forward; we already knew Furcal and Martin were sitting, but now Casey Blake is too. So the end of the lineup is DeWitt (6th/3B), Ausmus (7th/C), and Castro (8th/SS), leading into Billingsley at 9. Not exactly Ethier/Kemp/Blake, is it? That said, if they can still pull this one out with that bottom of the lineup, you know we’ve really got something good going.

This Is Why This Team Might Be So Dangerous

Future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez and All-Star Russell Martin, arguably the team’s two most potent hitters, combined to go 0-6 with two walks. How many Dodger teams would have seen their chances of victory completely disappear if their top two hitters didn’t contribute, especially with Dodger-killer Jake Peavy on the mound? Just the thought of lineups that included Cesar Izturis, Dave Roberts, and Juan Pierre every day makes my eyes bleed.

But not this team, on this night, and one has to hope that this is a sign for the rest of the season. Tonight, we saw how strong this lineup is going to be 1-8 – there’s no weak links here. Well, except for Casey Blake, who struck out three times in going 0-4. But that can’t keep up, right? Right?

Tonight’s not a night for focusing on the bad, so let’s look at the good:

Matt Kemp is going to be a monster. What’s more impressive? The blast he hit out to dead center vs. Peavy, or the diving catch in the 6th inning that prevented the ensuing rally from getting any worse? For some reason, people seem to think that Kemp can’t handle center, but we’ve always said that his inexperience was the cause of any issues out there. Besides for the homer, Kemp only struck out once against one of the best pitchers in baseball – and drew a walk, too. Remember when we had Pierre or Andruw Jones in center? Yeah, me neither.

wadepumpsfist.jpgCory Wade has balls of steel.
After Kuroda began to falter in the 6th, Wade entered with the bases loaded and a two-run lead, with Kevin Kouzmanoff at the plate. If the Padres were going to have a prayer, this was going to be it, and after rumors of arm soreness this spring, it wasn’t hard to question Wade here. Kouzmanoff grounded weakly back to Wade, and that was really that for the Padres offense. That’s exactly the kind of situation that could have spiraled out of control for the Dodgers in previous years, and Wade locking it down may have been the biggest moment of the game. 

James Loney is going to be better than last year. Not that he was bad last year, but somewhat underwhelming. 2009′s looking better already! In addition to some nice defensive plays, Loney led the way with three hits, the most important of which was his first. With the bases loaded and two outs, Loney came up with Peavy on the ropes. You don’t get a whole lot of opportunities against a guy like that, and you can’t squander them when they happen – especially with the history of TOTAL FAIL LA’s had against Peavy. Loney pokes a 2-RBI single to left field, and the Dodgers never trailed.

No more questioning Jonathan Broxton as closer. Did you see that 9th inning? I almost felt bad for the Padres. Well, almost, because screw them. But Broxton comes in throwing absolute gas. I know you can’t ever trust the TV gun, but when that’s saying 99s and 100s, then he’s still throwing at least 96 or 97, and that’s plenty good enough. Strikeout, popout, strikeout, and the game was done. I think we’re all going to enjoy watching the Bull this year. 

One down, 161 to go!’s 2008 In Review: Relief Pitchers

87toppstakashisaitoWelcome to day… err, I don’t really know at this point, but welcome to another day of MSTI’s 2008 Season In Review.  I apologize for the delay.  You see, we are in our pre-hot stove period, but, you see, it’s me.  My outside life isn’t particularly conducive to baseball articles and so if there’s usually a gap between posts, it’s probably me not being able to get to the article I said I would.  Let’s call it: “Vin Being Vin,” if you will.  Yeah… I like that.  So before MSTI lands at LAX to beat me with a club screaming: “Friday!  You promised me this would be up by Friday, you bastard!” let’s get into the always fun world of relief pitchers…
Takashi Saito = B+
(4-4 , 2.49 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
O.K., we might as well get it out of the way and just say it: Takashi Saito had, by far, his worst year as a Dodger.  The numbers show his worst W/L record, his highest ever ERA, WHIP, and the lowest number of K’s.  What a loser, right?
Well, no.
Now, yes, it’s true: he wasn’t quite the same awesome Saito that he was in 2007, but still, he was very good in the time he pitched in 2008.  I think in these instances, it really shows how spoiled Dodger fans are when it comes to closers: we went from arguably the most reliable closer in MLB history to a guy who isn’t that far behind in terms of being automatic (and, yes, I know I skipped Danys Baez… but he’s long repressed in my mind).  In fact, in his mid-season review, MSTI said something similar:

As for this year, there’s been some sentiment around the Internets that he’s lost it, and I for the life of me just can’t see why. He’s really had two lousy games all season, and his ERA+ is still a fantastic 201. Is it because he’s not as dominating as last year, when he had a better season than future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera has ever had? Sure, he hasn’t, but he’s still been a pretty damned effective closer, and if he’s DL’d or worse, there’s no question this team’s in trouble without him.

So let’s take a gander at the numbers: in 2008, while he wasn’t Saito 2007, he still managed to put up a 171 ERA+, and have a very good WHIP, at 1.19 (Brad Lidge had a WHIP of 1.22 this year).  His K/9 was actually better this year going from 10.91 in 2007 to 11.49 in 2008.  In other words, there was still plenty to like about Saito, this year.
However, there were obvious declines.  His BB/9 ratio went from 1.82 in 2007 to a 3.06 this year.  To get a little geeky, let’s take a look at a stat called pLI.  This is called Player’s Leverage Index.  Now what do we mean when we talk about leverage index?  Well, that’s talking about the importance a certain situation has on a game, and it’s determined by variables such as outs, inning, number of runners on base, the score, etc., etc.  So when we talk about Player’s Leverage Index, this is to show the average leverage index a player had throughout the season in games.  So in 2007, Saito’s best year, his pLI was 1.80.  In 2008, it was a bit lower, at 1.63. The interesting thing to note is that Saito also did seem to suffer a bit of bad luck this year: his BABIP went from .213 in 2007 to a whopping .350. The league average is usually somewhere between .290-.300.
At the end of the day, though, it’s hard to really get the greatest look at Saito’s year simply due to the fact that he was injured quite soon in the year.  When he was healthy he was still a very good closer: again, not the top 5 he was before, but still quite capable and enough to earn a B+.  What I do especially commend him for was making an attempt to come back.  When he went down, it was looking quite possible that he was going to have to undergo Tommy John surgery, but he fought and came back at the end of the year.  Unfortunately for him and the club, other than a few good moments, he wasn’t quite the same as we saw in the NLDS.  And while the Dodgers were still successful in 2008, he was definitely missed.
Going into 2009, I do see Saito coming back and at least giving it one more shot.  Hopefully he can return to form so we can rekindle the lovely Broxton/Saito combo in the 8th and 9th.
87toppsjonathanbroxton1Jonathan Broxton = B-
(3-5, 3.13 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
Now it’s interesting to see how Jonathan Broxton has gradually become a bit of a lightening rod amongst the Dodger faithful.  In one circle, you have the group who argues: “That Broxton is a wimp!  He can’t handle the pressure as a closer!” and then the group who argues quite the contrary.
It is an intriguing case.  No doubt Broxton is incredibly talented and gifted with the tools he has: a 97 MPH fastball with a wicked slider.  Can’t go wrong with that.  When he is on, he is literally untouchable and my condolences if you have to face him on those nights.  On the other hand, he can drive you insane.
Nonetheless, since Broxton was primarily a closer this season, that’s what I want to focus on.
As a closer, Broxton filled in admirably for the injured Saito.  However, admirably is about as far as I’ll go.  Now this isn’t to say that Broxton was this horrible closer.  He wasn’t and many, many teams would be happy to have him as their closer.  But let’s face it: despite saving most of his opportunites (14 out of 22), he did make it an adventure in the games he did save.  Out of his 14 saves this year, only 6 of them came without allowing a runner on base.  This was also showcased in his walk totals where he walked 2 more batters this year than in 2007 (27 to 25 BB), despite having pitched 13 less innings.  In fact, his BB/9 ratio jumped considerably, going from 2.74 in 2007 to 3.52 in 2008.  To his credit, we also saw an increase in K/9 going from 10.87 to 11.48.  Still, the walks killed him many times this year and, in order to be successful consistently, those have to come down.  What also hurt Broxton were the two absolutely horrific months he had; in May, where he gave up 10 ER’s to give him a 7.50 that month and then a horrific August, giving up 7 ER’s to the tune of an ERA of 5.11.
But there is still plenty to like about Broxton; as mentioned, we saw an increase in K/9, but he still managed to have a 136 ERA+, a respectable 3.13 ERA and a fine WHIP of 1.17.  Another thing we have to remember, and it’s hard to remember when we’re on our toes in the 9th inning: even though he’s the longest tenured Dodger (damn, that’s weird to say) he’s just barely 24.  These growing pains will happen and it will be an adventerous road at times.  This isn’t to excuse him when he does screw up, but it is to say that if we’re getting this type of production from a 24 year old kid, then I do look optimistically at how he’ll perform as he gets older and gets more experience.  Also, I think arguably the biggest problem with Broxton is that he can rely way too much on his fastball and, once he does that, all they have to do is sit on it and it will go a long way (see Stairs, Matt 2008 NLCS).  Once Broxton can get more of a handle on his stuff, then watch out.
87toppsjoebeimelJoe Beimel = B-
(5-1, 2.44 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
See Joe Beimel’s pose in that picture where he’s pointing his finger?  Little known fact: turns out during one game this year, beloved fan TroyFromWestVirginia ran on the field naked, but with a smile, towards Beimel screaming “I love you, Beimel Baby!” and so that’s actually Joe saying: “Oh My God, can you believe this?  Security, get him out of here, now!  Help!”
O.K., so maybe not.  But you’re probably wondering: for a guy who went 5-1, with a 2.02 ERA, why the hell are you giving him a B-?  You might say: “Vin, are you high?”  While the answer to that question will remain undisclosed, it is important to note that his W/L record and ERA is a tad deceiving.
So, O.K., his W/L record and ERA was good.  In fact, during the first half, he was awesome.  MSTI in his first half review:

Joe Beimel (3-0, 1.61) (A)
You know what they say about middle relievers; they’re so up-and-down from year to year that it’s a mistake to ever depend on them. Except for the third year in a row, Joe Beimel’s been incredibly reliable out of the Dodgers bullpen. His ERA is a little deceiving; while he’s clearly doing a good job of not letting guys score, his WHIP is from 1.29 to 1.42 this year. Still, 5 earned runs at the All-Star break is pretty impressive.

Well said, MSTI.  He really was something during the first half, wasn’t he?  But the second half?  Not quite as much.  After having a stellar first half, he put up a 4.76 ERA in July and 4.32 in August.  To Beimel’s credit, he rebounded well in September (0.90 ERA), but his WHIP bumped from 1.29 last year to 1.44 this year, and while his K/9 ratio went from 5.21 to 5.88, BB/9 ratio went up from 3.21 to 3.86.
Actually, the Kamenetzky Brothers over at the L.A. Times had an interesting take regarding some of the reasons for Beimel’s decline in the second half:

Beimel surrendered seven earned runs over fourteen July/August innings, allowed many an inherited runner to score and bumped his 2007 walk total despite a decrease in frames.  In my opinion, the innings drop may have accounted for the production following suit.  Joe Torre often shifted Beimel’s role from “seventh inning mainstay” to “one batter-and-out lefty,” a transition I think Beimel never adjusted to, and was often a waste of his services.

I would agree.  Nonetheless, Beimel hasn’t done anything to show that he doesn’t deserve the spot in 2009 and here’s to more of the 2006-2007 Beimel.
87toppscorywadeCory Wade = A+
(2-1, 2.27 ERA, 0.92 WHIP)
Yeah… who the hell is Cory Wade?
Well, I’ll tell you who he is.  Cory Wade in 2008 was the pitching equivalent of Blake DeWitt: in other words, like DeWitt, Wade came out of nowhere from double-A and became a fixture with the team.  Of course, there were some differences: unlike DeWitt, Wade was stellar throughout the entire year and, unlike the popularity DeWitt achieved, Wade was truly the definition of the unsung hero.
In 55 appearances this year, which translates into 71.3 innings, Wade put up a good 2.27 ERA with an even better WHIP of 0.92.  The great thing about Wade this season is that, as the season went on, he got better.  Throughout the first half, his ERA was 2.56, and topped that with a 1.93 ERA in the second half, spurred by great months in August (2.16 ERA) and September (1.08 ERA).  In fact, that’s what was so impressive about him, this year.  I don’t remember a period where he ever really truly sucked and went all Proctor on us.  The worst month he had in 2008 was July, where he had a 3.52 ERA and gave up 6 ER in 15 IP.  Not great, but not horrific.  He was also arguably our best reliever in 2008 ranking second in VORP only to Hong Chih Kuo with 22.9.  Cory was definitely our most reliable, being able to give us a good couple of innings at a time, if need be.  In other words: he was this year’s Scott Proctor, much to the delight of Joe Torre, who went to Wade very often.
Overall, though, a hell of a debut for a 25 year old kid who wasn’t expected to do much of anything, much less become a fixture in the bullpen and hopefully for the years to come.  He has great stuff and, in particular, quite the nice curveball.  Nice year.
Wade to go, Cory!

87toppsscottproctor1Scott Proctor = D-
(2-0, 6.05 ERA, 1.68 WHIP)
So Joe Torre finally did it; he finally got Scott Proctor’s arm to fall off midway through the year, having to be DL’d for a large chunk of the year.  But, in ways, I feel like I should thank Joe because there was no way to spin Proctor’s year up to that point: he was horrific.  Bad.  Abominable.  Aretha Franklin in a bright yellow teddy bad.  (in British accent) Absolutely dreary!  The Official 2008 Dodgers’ Bullpen Representative For Crapulence… little children would cry and scream “No, Mommy, no!!!!” when hearing the name “Proctor”… O.K., so maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit.  I don’t recall him being a representative for anything.
Nonetheless, 2008 is a year Scott Proctor would like to forget.  Proctor began April with a 5.14 ERA.  O.K., so just a rough month; he’ll get better right away.  Well, in May he shot back with a 6.10 ERA.  O.K., so a little concern, but you know what?  June will be good!
Scott Proctor’s June statistics: 11.05 ERA, 7.1 IP, 9 ER’s.
O.K., so maybe not?
But his arm decided to say “you know, Scotty, we need some time apart” and he was out for two months.  However, to Proctor’s credit, and the only thing that barely keeps him in D range and prevents him from getting F’d is the fact that he was at least respectable when he came back in September, putting up a 2.57 ERA and walking only 2 to striking out 10, but, alas for him, a playoff spot wasn’t to be.
While he gets a D- for his performance this year, there is no need to fret: he did come in runner up to Brad Penny for the Biggest Douche Of The Universe Award.  How could we forget this…

LOS ANGELES – For the past month, Scott Proctor insisted that his arm was not hurting. After being told he was going to be optioned to Class AAA Las Vegas on Wednesday, he changed his tune and said he has been pitching in pain.
[. . . ]
After being repeatedly asked by Torre if an injury led to his rough stretch, Proctor told him his right elbow has hurt for nearly six weeks.
“There is still no excuse. I don’t care how bad you’re hurting, you still have to go out and pitch,” Proctor said. “I don’t like the way this thing looks right now. Right now all I care about is the respect of my teammates and coaches.

As opposed to… oh, I don’t know, winning games?!  Way to put the team first, jackass.
87toppsramontroncosoRamon Troncoso = C
(1-1, 4.26 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
Wow… Ramon Troncoso!  Doesn’t reading this part of the review just fill you with excitement?!


O.K., I thought so.  Still, Troncoso was another rookie inserted into the bullpen in 2008, although not quite the story Cory Wade was.  But, nonetheless, Troncoso didn’t Falkenborg himself either, going from a less than stellar 4.91 ERA in the first half to a respectable 3.81 in the second half, sparked by a good August where he sported a good 2.57 ERA.  His ERA+ was 100 even and that about sums it up; average and servicable for the role he played throughout the season.  For a person in his rookie year, not bad; here’s to an improvement in 2009, but otherwise; not really much to say about the big Tronny.

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg