Categorized | Mark Timmons

03-15-08 – The Full Report

img_2062.JPGMy wife, son and I spent that day at Dodgertown on Friday and I spent the afternoon on Thursday at the Astros game.  I have seen a lot of interesting things and have a lot to report.  First of all, this team looks like it is a ship without a captain.  Joe Torre is gone and Tommy (as much as I like him) is just a figurehead at this juncture of his life.   Bowa and Schaeffer and Honeycutt are running the team and none of the players know who is in charge.  No blame – just the way it is.  I am confident it will change when Torre returns.  I am going to give you the TOP 10 THINGS that I think are relevant to Dodger Fans.

  1. Yency Brazabon is too fat and pitched himself off the team on Friday with a 3-Run HR and now has a 14.73 ERA!  Mike Myers is also toast with a 10+ ERA.  Tony Jackson had this to say about Brazoban:   “Somebody has thrown a wrench into Yhency Brazoban’s heartwarming story of perseverance. A lot of somebodies: The six who have gotten hits off him in his four appearances this spring. The seven who have scored. The three who have walked. The one who reached base this week on a dribbler to the left of the mound because Brazoban’s girth prevented him from bending over to pick up the ball.  Brazoban, the fireballing reliever who spent almost all of the past two seasons fighting his way back from major surgeries on his elbow and shoulder, now appears to be fighting himself. As a result, he’s fighting for an opening-day roster spot that once seemed guaranteed.”
  2. Blake DeWitt may be ready to play 3B in the Majors, not that he’s a finished product by any means, but his talent and grit are obvious.  He has a 50-50 chance to break with the team (in my opinion).  Going 3-4 on Thursday didn’t hurt…  Tony Jackson of THE DAILY NEWS quoted Larry Bowa as saying this about DeWitt: “He is swinging the bat good, no question. Other guys are getting opportunities and not doing anything about it. He is getting an opportunity and showing that he is legit. Nobody can complain about not getting a chance here. Everybody is getting a chance, because we have some guys hurt and some people in China.”
  3. Delwyn Young IS a butcher at 2B – I retract my retraction!  The only time he should be playing 2B is if every other available infielder is abducted by aliens.  Also, he is not “seizing the day” when a golden opportunity is presented to make the team.  Dodger brass wanted him to make the team and he is not capitalizing on  that opportunity, although his bat has awaoke a bit.   Tony Jackson quoted Larry Bowa as saying: “Young isn’t an everyday player, but he has to get better than what he is doing, I know that. He isn’t swinging the bat, and he isn’t making plays. You have to do one or the other.”   After going 2-4 on Friday, Young is hitting just .167 and I doubt he will be back in the IF.
  4. I still think Ethier is “soft.”  His hits seldom affect the final score!
  5. Esteban Loaiza pitched 5 strong innings Friday, and probably will be our #5 starter, but it’s close between Loaiza and Chan Ho Park who pitched 5 innings of 1 hit ball in China – he walked 1 and struck out 3 and still has a 0.00 ERA!  Kuo pitched 2 scoreless innings and unless injured has made the staff.
  6. Sweeney was 2-3 on Thursday and was 1-3 on Friday after returning from a knee injury.  He looks ready.
  7. Clayton Kershaw pitched well again on Thursday.  I sat in the front row by the Dodgers bullpen and if I leaned over, I could have touched him.  He was warming up right in front of me and after observing him for 6 innings, I can tell you that he is a very level-headed respectful young man who has talent oozing out his pores!  He got into some trouble in his 1st inning by walking a batter, but with one out he induced a perfect double play ball which Luis Maza promptly booted.  The next batter hit a screaming line drive to Blake Dewitt who caught it and tagged the runner on 2B.   After he pitched the first inning, he told Honeycutt that he was rushing and then just slowed down his delivery.  Let’s not forget that he only has about 4 innings logged against the big boys, so he’s nervous, but I will tell you this – THE DODGERS CANNOT KEEP THIS GUY DOWN FOR MORE THAN HALF A SEASON.
  8. Schmidt has pain in his shoulder which Conte says he is just going to have to pitch through.  He says it’s a normal part of the rehab process, accorting to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.  Time will tell.
  9. Ivan DeJesus, Jr. is a real prospect!  He can play anywhere in the IF, in my opinion.  He is going to need another season or two in the minors, however.  I think he’ll be in Jacksonville this year.
  10. Loney looks bigger, stringer and broader.
  • Tommy Lasorda has officially re-named Chad Billingsley, the “PIT BULL” according to his blog
  • By the way, the Dodgers and Padres tied 3-3 in China with John Lindsey and Lucas May getting 2 hits each and George Lombard hitting a HR.

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About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

13 Responses to “03-15-08 – The Full Report”

  1. Bob Di Scala says:

    Mark,

    Chan Ho is right there with Loaiza. I was reading today that he is using a change up with a grip taught to him by Trevor Hoffman during Chan Ho’s Padres days. After several yrs of throwing it on the sidelines, he’s finally getting comfortable using it in a game. Maybe the added pitch has made Chan Ho the more effective pitcher we are seeing this spring. Imagine him adding a Trevor Hoffman-like Change? I’m rooting for both these guys. Actually I’m a huge fan of Kuo as well. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. I don’t think Chan Ho will go to Las Vegas. He probably figures if he doesn’t make the Dodgers staff, he can be a major leaguer on somebody else’s staff.

  2. mark says:

    Bob,

    I think Chan Ho will make the team, probably in the pen, unless he just totally impolodes. I believe he now has 12 or 13 innings without an earned run.

  3. Paul says:

    Thanks Bob, good reports.

    We must have crossed paths this week. I was also at the Thursday game against Houston.

    One thing you “missed” in the report: Kershaw’s awesome pickoff move to first!

  4. mark says:

    That was an “excellent” move. He’s also a “cat” off the mound – very agile!

  5. Dave Regan says:

    Ethier’s hits don’t affect the final score? Guess his four RBI today didn’t mean anything, but Pierre’s .186 spring average is much better for the team. Please explain.

  6. original dodgerman says:

    Hey Dave, I was thinking the same thing, in fact, here is the info pulled from the Dodgers.com site:

    Dodgers at the plate: Andre Ethier went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. He hit a two-run home run off Odalis Perez in the top of the fourth inning and had a two-run single in the sixth inning off Eude Brito. Rafael Furcal also had a two-run single off Brito in the sixth.

    So much for that theory on “soft hitter” who’s at bats do not affect the outcome of a game. Yeah, MM, I know it is ST but I just don’t see what you’re seeing with Ethier, when I have seen him he has been a pretty tough competitor and his bats do affect the outcome of the game. I’ll keep watching (or smoking) what you are, to see if I come up with a different opinion. To date, I have to say Ethier is a winner and a clutch player (both at bat and in the field).

  7. mark says:

    I obviously wrote that before todays’ game and I give Ethier his props when he deserves it and he does deserve it, especially after today. I think he should our starting LF if he keeps up his hitting at this level, but he DID NOT do that his first two years.

    Don’t show me stats like how he hit with runners in scoring position – I watched nearly every game the last 2 years and Ethier is not a guy who usually got the clutch hit. Some? Yes. Many? No!

    Let me illustrate: If a guy comes up to bat with RISP three times and gets a hit one of those times, he has a .333 average with RISP (pterry good), but what if the one where he got the hit, his team was ahead by 4 runs or behind by 4 runs, and the others were times when a hit would have put his team ahead or tied the game?

    Andre Either is usually the guy who gets a HR when you are ahead 6-2 or a 2-run double when you are behind 6-1. He hasn’t got the big hit often in his young career – that’s why I call him soft. Privately ask Dodger players who they want up when the game is on the line and he’s way down on the list! I also don’t relish Pierre up in those situations.

    I will grant you that he is young and could change all that, and maybe is changing all that – I hope he is! I’d like him to be a clutch hitter, but in his first two years he wasn’t, especially in September, when the pressure was greatest.

    He has looked much better this Spring and is leading the team in HR – he has to be our LF. I am not an Ethier hater – I just am telling you that in the past his hitting in the clutch was soft.

    I hear the Cubs are looking for a CF – Pierre was there once. Could there be a deal here?

  8. Dave Regan says:

    Mark –

    Ethier last year with runners on: .286/.368/.468. Close and late he was even better: .279/.367/.544.

    Pierre last year with runners on: .301/.339/.352. Close and late he was a brutal .209/.245/.242.

    I’m not sure what games you were watching, but there’s simply no basis for thinking Pierre is more clutch than Ethier.

  9. Mark says:

    Re-read what I wrote.

    I know the numbers, but numbers lie!

    Name me big hits he got to win games.

    Then do the same with Loney, Kemp or Martin.

    Loney and Martin have been especially clutch even though the figures don’t say so.

    One stat I used to like was Game Winning RBI.

    It could be a little mis-leading at times, but for the most part, it was what it was.

  10. Badger says:

    Like has been said before, it’s the numbers on the stat sheet that inflate the numbers on the contract.

    Pierre makes $9 mil a year for some reason.

    Ethier can flat out hit, and he plays an above average outfield. The guy only has 843 at bats in the bigs, and he has done quite well with them. He will get better. And the fact that he doesn’t yet qualify for the inflated contract numbers tells me he is an extremely valuable commodity. If not to us, then to some team out there.

    After considerable thought and reflection on the topic of who best suits our needs in left field, I still don’t have a favorite. If Furcal plays the entire year, I really like the top of our order with Pierre/Furcal there. That one two punch will, in my opinion, be the best 1-2 tandem in the league. I predict they will both score 100.

    If it’s Ethier, then I guess Martin goes in the 2 hole and I am not really in favor of that. I don’t want my catcher running that much. If looked at from a pure baseball perspective, Ethier might actually make a decent 2 hole hitter. He hits from the left side, (always good in the 2 hole) he likes fastballs and would see a lot of them with Furcal on first, he has a good OBP, can hit .300 and do so with power, has decent speed – sounds like a good formula to me.

    Anyway, this is actually a good problem to have. I anxiously await Fred’s decision on this.

  11. Dave Regan says:

    We were talking Ethier v. Pierre, not Loney and Martin. I recall a big homer against the Rockies from Ethier last year, but I don’t feel like going through each box score. Game winning RBI was a useless stat (a guy could get one for driving in the first run of a 14-0 win), that’s why it was done away with as an official stat years ago. The best clutch metric I’ve see is one developed by Hardball Times. “Clutch” includes AVG with RISP, factors in home runs with runners on, etc. For 2007, clutch ratings for selected Dodgers:

    Martin: -2.7 – love Martin of course, but overall last year (I know he got a few big hits), he wasn’t as “clutch” as he was the year before even.

    Pierre: -6.8

    Ethier: 1.2

    Loney: 9.1 – now THAT is clutch

    Ok, I know this is probably a pointless argument, as Pierre is probably the most divisive player in Dodger history (though I venture to say he has far more detractors than supporters and rightfully so).

    According to Tony Jackson, it sounds like management is finally considering making Ethier the full-time starter, though I personally don’t see that happening.

  12. Badger says:

    Excellent points Dave. Let me say though that using those “clutch” stats would be important for my middle of the order guys. The guys at the top, Pierre if he is there, are there to score runs. I think Furcal/Pierre, followed by Loney, Kent, Kemp, Jones, Martin – would score a ton of runs.

    Who hits two if it’s Ethier in left?

    I have said all along that, given the investment we have in Pierre, we will use Ethier to land another arm. I still say Oakland is a likely trading partner.

    I could be wrong. It’s been known to happen.

  13. mark says:

    Like I have said, I like Ethier better in this years lineup.

    This is the lineup I like the best due to L/R Power Balance

    1. Furcal SS
    2. Martin C
    3. Kemp RF
    4. Loney 1B
    5. Jones CF
    6. Kent 2B
    7. Ethier LF
    8. Nomar 3B

    That said, Juan Pierre is not the chump most people think.

    I got Andre’s autograph today!

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