After ten days or so in which it became really, really difficult to write this blog every day due to the overwhelming depression at watching the Dodgers flail around on the field… there is a lot going on today. So let’s get to it.
* Manny Ramirez is a beast. No better way to help your team out of an eight-game losing streak than putting two balls out of the yard yourself. Over the last week, Manny is hitting an even .500 (15-30) with 7 extra base hits, including three homers. But Bill Shaikin still isn’t happy. After his article a few days ago that seemed to imply that Juan Pierre should be back in the starting lineup (and kudos to Torre for saying that wasn’t going to happen), Shaikin goes back to Boston to dredge up bad feelings about Manny’s unhappy divorce with the Red Sox. Didn’t we get enough of these stories when the trade happened? And aren’t there more important things to be focusing on right now like, oh, I don’t know, a huge series against the division leaders?
* Is anyone still saying Chad Billingsley isn’t an ace? After blowing it on Friday, this was a game the Dodgers absolutely had to have. Billingsley simply out-dueled Dan Haren, giving up just 2 runs in 7 innings. Fortunately Manny and the bats showed up, because lately 2 runs over 7 innings has still been good for a loss. Let’s not forget to mention Hong-Chih Kuo, as well, who blew away the D-Backs to the tune of 5 strikeouts in 6 batters. The man has simply been dominating all year long, and he really helped keep the rest of the bullpen fresh for tonight’s rubber game.
* Enjoy being the 4th starter in Kansas City, Chan Ho. Chan Ho Park tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he’d prefer to be a starter next year than a reliever and would leave LA if that were the only way he could start – although he does add that he would relieve in Los Angeles next year, saying “I’m willing to sacrifice for this team.” Is there a team out there desperate enough to sign him to be a part of their rotation? Before this year, he hadn’t even been league-average (and I’m being charitiable by not saying “dreadfully horrible”) since 2001, which not so coincidentally is the last season he was with the Dodgers. Hey, Chan Ho? You’ve had 11 seasons in which you’ve gotten into more than 10 games. In 6 of those, your ERA+ has been over 100, and all 6 have been with the Dodgers. Why leave just to be a starter?
* Get ready to see the dugout get crowded. Tony Jackson has the likely callups once rosters expand. No real surprises here, but we’ll get into this further once they actually happen.
The list of players the Dodgers plan to activate or call up from the minors on Monday just keeps getting longer. It now includes Jones, Scott Proctor, Chin-lung Hu, A.J. Ellis, Delwyn Young, James McDonald, Eric Stults and Clayton Kershaw. There could be others.
* Neither Danys Baez nor Lance Carter have thrown a pitch this season anywhere. Want a real depressing read? ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has the story of Edwin Jackson and how he’s blossomed into an effective starter for Tampa Bay this season. So, you’re saying it’s a bad idea to give up on a 22-year old with talent? The hell you say! Here’s the takehome quote that will make you want to claw your eyes out:
Now Jackson and the Rays have been rewarded, with a solid starter who will likely be a weapon in the postseason.
On the list of comparables on Jackson’s baseball-reference.com page, by the way? Roy Halladay. Fantastic.
* Fun from Gotham! Over at MLBtraderumors, they’re already talking about the Yankees’ offseason plans. Why do we care? Because one of the articles linked to is that of Joel Sherman’s from the New York Post – and you might be interested in this paragraph:
ROBINSON CANO - If he is the second baseman next year, fine, he still has the capability to be both a batting champ and Gold Glove. But the Yanks should investigate his market in the way Tampa did in turning a high-end young hitter (Delmon Young) into a young front-of-the-rotation starter (Matt Garza) last offseason. Cano for Zach Greinke, Chad Billingsley or Matt Cain anyone?
Before you freak out, remember, this is just a reporter speculating, and there’s nothing from either side to back this idea up. But let’s just bite this one in the ass right here and say, there is absolutely no way on earth that Chad Billingsley ought to be dealt for anyone who’s not Albert Pujols. Don’t get me wrong, the Dodgers are going to have a gaping hole at 2B this offseason and I would love to fill it with Robinson Cano, as I said the last time his name came up around here. But absolutely not for a 23-year-old who’s already among the best pitchers in baseball. If not for his rough start to the year (thanks, crazy rain delay decisions!), his ERA would be under 3.00, which would be absolutely fantastic. So, Joel? Yeah, thanks but… well, get a clue.
* And the most horrifying thing for last… I had every intention of making fun of Arizona for this story from Ken Rosenthal:
The Diamondbacks are the favorites to acquire Blue Jays shortstop David Eckstein, forcing the Angels to consider other options, major-league sources say.
Eckstein, 33, is almost certain to be traded before the deadline for setting postseason rosters at midnight Sunday. While talks are fluid, the Jays currently are more inclined to trade with the D-backs, sources say.
Trust me, it was going to be good. There were going to plenty of references to “magical pixie” David Eckstein, and I was certainly going to reference this post we made a few months ago on him, where I said, amongst other things,
For a GM who loves veterans like Colletti does, you don’t think he’d love to add his “grittiness” or “hustle” or whatever euphemism you want to use for “short, modestly talented white guy”? Of course he would.
Yeah, it was going to be good. Arizona adding David Eckstein – there’s your answer! Except that then I saw this from Baseball Prospectus…
The Red Sox, Dodgers, and Rays also reportedly have interest in Eckstein.
Sweet Jesus. The end times may truly be upon us.
(Update: The D-Backs have indeed acquired Eckstein today. Crisis averted. I now expect to see him hit 9 home runs in 9 at-bats against LA the rest of the year.)
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness