This Keeps Getting Better and Better

025-01054fd.jpgSince I last discussed the increasingly bizarre infield situation, things had seemed to clear up a little bit. Tony Abreu, who’s been playing more and looking good this week, would start at 3B, and Chin-Lung Hu would fill in at 2B for a few days until Jeff Kent was ready. Not the optimal situation, but these guys would be starters on plenty of teams, so to have them be our last resorts isn’t the end of the world.

All is well. What? 

Tony Jackson, fill us in:

Tony Abreu to begin the season on the DL

He felt something in his right groin after one of his at-bats against the Brewers on Tuesday. The move can be backdated to Wednesday, which means he won’t be eligible to play until April 11 against the Padres. Not sure what it means for third base except that Blake DeWitt now might actually, truly be a candidate for the opening-day roster. That would mean a whole lot of other things, too, mostly that his calendar would be moved up a year so that he would run out of options a year earlier, would become eligible for arbitration a year earlier, etc., because as of right now, he doesn’t even have to be added to the 40-man roster until next winter. If he is added to the opening-day roster, all of that changes. If you assume Rudy Seanez was released to make room on the 40-man for Chan Ho Park, then this probably means another spot will have to be cleared to make room for DeWitt.

Ugh. This is simply unbelievable – who loses the top three on their depth chart in one position in one spring training? How many times can I keep making Spinal Tap drummer jokes? Now paging Esteban German… but not Inge, Crede, Giles, or Helms.

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

Well, At Least Things Can't Get Any Worse

brox.jpgSure, it’s embarrassing to come out and lose 3 games in 2 days when winning at least 2 of those 3 was an absolute neccessity to keep hopes alive, but now we can look forward to the offseason and…

…what?

Uh-oh.

Jonathan Broxton revealed to reporters Wednesday night that his pitching arm is “sore,” verbal confirmation of what opposing bats have been hinting at for weeks.

“I’m a little sore, nothing to make a big deal about,” said Broxton, whose fastball continues to be clocked consistently at 97 mph. “It ain’t super-sore where it affects me. I can tell it’s September, I can tell with my location. I’m hanging some balls. I’ve made a lot of appearances and stuff. Sometimes it’s [a loss of] velocity, a lot of times it’s location. My velocity is still there, but I’m missing location. I’ve got to be able to get the ball down and not in the center of plate. I’ve got to throw it on the corners.”

Oh, good. Just what we needed to hear. It doesn’t take stats to show that Broxton hasn’t been the same lately.. but here they are anyway.

July: 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 0 HR allowed
August: 1.13 ERA, 16 IP, 1 HR allowed
September: 9.00 ERA, 8 IP, 4 HR allowed

That’s right – the man who went nearly 5 months before giving up his first homer of the season has now given up 4 in his last 8 innings pitched, and as he even admits, is hanging sliders left and right. So is he hurt? Is his sore arm an indicator of something worse? I’m no doctor, so that’s not for me to say. But this is for me to say:

Grady. Shut the kid down. I don’t care what the mathematical chances are of this team making the playoffs – not that you care about math and stats anyway – it’s not happening. You’re about to get swept in Colorado. You’re in 5th place in the Wild Card hunt. If this team is going anywhere next year, it’s going to need Broxton in the pen and not on the operating table. Besides, he’s not helping you right now anyway.

Do the right thing. No more Broxton in 2007. It’s not worth it.

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

The Bums Will Never Win

Nothing is f*%ked? Nothing is f*%ked?!?! The god damn plane has crashed into the mountain!!

And there you have the first two of hopefully countless Big Lebowski references on this blog.
Hey, remember those heady times of 11 days ago? The Blue had just finished taking two out of three from Philadelphia to get to 13 games over .500, the high-water mark for the season thus far. All-Star Brad Penny had moved to 11-1. The bats were coming alive, putting up 40 runs in winning 5 of the 6 games since the break. The rotation looked like it might just need tweaking, with Penny & Lowe being fantastic, Billingsley showing promise, and Wolf seeming to be just around the corner from returning. The bullpen was humming along like clockwork. Hell, even Juan Pierre was playing well! Seemed that all the Dodgers would need to do was to add a decent reliever before the deadline and hold on to those prospects as tight as possible.
Uh, yeah. About that.
Just a week and a half later, you might say things have changed. Since July 19 vs. the Mets (when Lowe gave up 10 runs in 3 innings), LA has gone 3-7 in losing series vs. the Mets, @ Houston, and @ Colorado. Penny and Lowe hurt themselves in consecutive games. Takashi Saito missed 8 games with a sore neck and shouder. Meanwhile, Arizona came out of nowhere to win 8 of 11 in the same period to pull into a tie for first. With San Diego only one-half game out and even Colorado within three and a half, this is officially a four-horse race. With the trade deadline looming, conditions are ripe for management to press the panic button and trade some of the kids for a pile of magic beans. And by ‘magic beans’, I of course mean ‘broken-down, overrated, overpaid veterans.’
What the hell is going on here? Let’s focus on the rotation. The latest update from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times says that Lowe has “irritation in the joint of his left hip.” Meanwhile, Penny has “had a strain in the lower right part of his abdominal muscle for his last couple of starts. The Dodgers’ initial diagnosis of a cramp was made by Penny himself.” As for Wolf, Tony Jackson of the Daily News reports “Still no date set for Randy Wolf’s next rehab outing because he still has stiffness in his shoulder. Grady admitted that it can be termed a setback. No telling when this guy is going to be back.”
So the current rotation has five flawed pitchers:
-Two veterans who’ve been great but who may not be able to answer the bell (Lowe, Penny);
-One talented but maddeningly inconsistent youngster who can somehow sandwich a complete-game five hit gem directly between two starts in which he used 110+ pitches to not get past 5 innings (Billingsley);
-Two mediocre veterans who suffer from the severe afflictions of being Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko (Hendrickson, Tomko).
If either Lowe or Penny are forced to be DL’d – hell, even if they’re not – where are the reinforcements supposed to come from? Wolf clearly cannot be counted upon. Eric Stults was nice the other day, but he’s hardly a high-quality item. Outside the organization? Hah! Not only are there barely any starters available, they’re no upgrade on what’s here and they’ll cost a fortune in terms of young prospects. Seriously, who’s out there? Jason Jennings? He sure helped his case by throwing out what may be one of the worst starts in MLB history today (0.2 IP, 11 ER on 8 hits and 3 BB). Livian Hernandez? Gave up 8 runs in 4 IP today, not that the D-backs would send a starter to a division rival.
Looks like we’re stuck with what we see today. At least, I hope. If I wake up and see that Kemp and Loney are on their way to Chicago for Jose Contreras, then this blog might be short-lived – I hear they don’t give you much internet access in maximum security prisons.

The Bums Will Never Win

Nothing is f*%ked? Nothing is f*%ked?!?! The god damn plane has crashed into the mountain!!

And there you have the first two of hopefully countless Big Lebowski references on this blog.

Hey, remember those heady times of 11 days ago? The Blue had just finished taking two out of three from Philadelphia to get to 13 games over .500, the high-water mark for the season thus far. All-Star Brad Penny had moved to 11-1. The bats were coming alive, putting up 40 runs in winning 5 of the 6 games since the break. The rotation looked like it might just need tweaking, with Penny & Lowe being fantastic, Billingsley showing promise, and Wolf seeming to be just around the corner from returning. The bullpen was humming along like clockwork. Hell, even Juan Pierre was playing well! Seemed that all the Dodgers would need to do was to add a decent reliever before the deadline and hold on to those prospects as tight as possible.

Uh, yeah. About that.

Just a week and a half later, you might say things have changed. Since July 19 vs. the Mets (when Lowe gave up 10 runs in 3 innings), LA has gone 3-7 in losing series vs. the Mets, @ Houston, and @ Colorado. Penny and Lowe hurt themselves in consecutive games. Takashi Saito missed 8 games with a sore neck and shouder. Meanwhile, Arizona came out of nowhere to win 8 of 11 in the same period to pull into a tie for first. With San Diego only one-half game out and even Colorado within three and a half, this is officially a four-horse race. With the trade deadline looming, conditions are ripe for management to press the panic button and trade some of the kids for a pile of magic beans. And by ‘magic beans’, I of course mean ‘broken-down, overrated, overpaid veterans.’

What the hell is going on here? Let’s focus on the rotation. The latest update from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times says that Lowe has “irritation in the joint of his left hip.” Meanwhile, Penny has “had a strain in the lower right part of his abdominal muscle for his last couple of starts. The Dodgers’ initial diagnosis of a cramp was made by Penny himself.” As for Wolf, Tony Jackson of the Daily News reports “Still no date set for Randy Wolf’s next rehab outing because he still has stiffness in his shoulder. Grady admitted that it can be termed a setback. No telling when this guy is going to be back.”

So the current rotation has five flawed pitchers:

-Two veterans who’ve been great but who may not be able to answer the bell (Lowe, Penny);
-One talented but maddeningly inconsistent youngster who can somehow sandwich a complete-game five hit gem directly between two starts in which he used 110+ pitches to not get past 5 innings (Billingsley);
-Two mediocre veterans who suffer from the severe afflictions of being Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko (Hendrickson, Tomko).

If either Lowe or Penny are forced to be DL’d – hell, even if they’re not – where are the reinforcements supposed to come from? Wolf clearly cannot be counted upon. Eric Stults was nice the other day, but he’s hardly a high-quality item. Outside the organization? Hah! Not only are there barely any starters available, they’re no upgrade on what’s here and they’ll cost a fortune in terms of young prospects. Seriously, who’s out there? Jason Jennings? He sure helped his case by throwing out what may be one of the worst starts in MLB history today (0.2 IP, 11 ER on 8 hits and 3 BB). Livian Hernandez? Gave up 8 runs in 4 IP today, not that the D-backs would send a starter to a division rival.

Looks like we’re stuck with what we see today. At least, I hope. If I wake up and see that Kemp and Loney are on their way to Chicago for Jose Contreras, then this blog might be short-lived – I hear they don’t give you much internet access in maximum security prisons.

Brad Penny Just Hurt Himself

Breaking news: Moments ago, Brad Penny just doubled over in pain after trying to run out an infield grounder and had to leave the game. This, of course, comes just one day after Derek Lowe aggravated a groin muscle running out an infield grounder.

As of yet, there’s no updates on either pitcher (Penny, of course, just went down 5 minutes ago). But without jumping to conclusions, it certainly doesn’t look impossible that both of them could miss a start. With Schmidt and Kuo out for the year, and Wolf still on the DL, that would make the rotation:

Billingsley
Tomko
Lurch
uh.. Stults?
and.. Houlton?

At right: the Dodgers season.