Categorized | Mark Timmons

Are Your Reading This, Joe?

camelbackranch-2009-020We really need to talk, because it doesn’t matter if Manny wants to hit third, the Dodgers will be better served if he hits fourth and here’s why:

  • It’s a given that Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson will be our 1,2 hitters;
  • It’s also quite likely that Russell Martin and Andre Ethier will have higher on-base percentages than Furcal or Hudson;
  • You saw Manny get walked twice intentionally on Friday - and he might as well get used to it, but if  Ethier hits behind Manny and Martin hits in from of him, I believe that  pitchers will be fored to pitch to him more often;
  • I also believe that Matt Kemp will be a 30-30 guy (not 40-40 yet), but that his batting average will drop.  I expect him to hit .270 or so with 30 HR and 30 SB from the #7 spot!

This is your lineup, Joe:

  1. Furcal  SS
  2. Hudson  2B
  3. Martin  C
  4. Manny  LF
  5. Ethier  RF
  6. Loney  1B
  7. Kemp  CF
  8. Blake  3B

That’s the ticket, Joe.  Pay attention!

Friday’s Game Notes:

  • Delwyn Young won the game on a pinch hit in the 9th (nice shot in the gap) – he’s at .320;
  • Cory Wade retired all three hitters he faced and says he felt good;
  • McDonald pitched 2 scoreless but was wild with 4 BB;
  • Mota was again “lights out” and now has a spring ERA of  1.50; and
  • Jeff Weaver is working his way onto the roster.

Today, my “FINAL FIVE” are

  1. Schmidt
  2. Weaver
  3. Hu
  4. Young
  5. DeWitt

About Mark Timmons

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

37 Responses to “Are Your Reading This, Joe?”

  1. Blue Haze says:

    Saw the game yesterday (first 4 innings that is) and I think Manny should stay at #3. In the first inning, Ethier hit a solid single following Manny. Moving Manny isn’t necessary as long as he has a consistent hitter batting behind him. At first, yes, they will be walking Manny, but if Andre or someone else can put enough fear into the opposition, they will have no choice but to pitch to Manny. To me Andre is the perfect guy, he bats left (following Manny’s RH at bat), he is a selective hitter and will also take a walk and he seems to come up with numerous clutch hits (no, he is not a soft hitter by any stretch of the imagination, unless you happen to be on crack). Manny may get pitched around for the first month, but a solid performance from Ethier and Manny will no longer be pitched around. Bury Bonds didn’t have that luxury when he last played, the Giants had no one that could protect him, thus he was walked numerous times each game.
    Here’s one more reason to keep Manny third, that’s where he likes to hit. “Where does a bear sleep? Anywhere he wants to.” If Manny likes to bat third, then he should bat third. If Manny likes music in the clubhouse, crank up the volume. No reason to shove the Manny-mobile into “PARK”, keep that vehicle in 6th gear (yeah I drive a sports car) and mash down on the peddle.

    ON the mound, I hope Bills was trying out a new pitch, otherwise his location is in serious need. He grooved two fast balls down the middle that immediately were sent back over the outfield fence. I think Badger may even have been able to foul off both of those pitches (just having fun with ya, not an end to the truce), that’s how bad they were.

  2. Badger says:

    I am sure I could still foul off pitches against these guys. Just look for a certain pitch in a certain area and go for it. My hands are still quick enough to get around on a change and drive it all the way to the backstop.

    I keep going over this lineup situation and I vacillate between getting Manny up right away and hitting him 4th taking the chance he will come up in the second inning with the bases empty. There are so many ways to do this, and all of them are good. As long as Hudson and Furcal are ok, and Loney is selective, there will be more occasions that Manny is up in the 1st inning with someone on base than not. At least that is how I look at it. The lineup mark posted is RR LL in the middle and I would prefer LR LR. Loney in the three hole, Manny, then Ethier and Kemp, Martin and Blake. The bottom is R heavy, but with some pop, and the top is LR all the way to the 6 hole.

    But, no matter how you stack it up, I like the look of it. Having Manny in the middle changes everything and gives us many options, all of which are good.

  3. Voldomer says:

    Bat Manny third to keep him happy and make sure he’s up in the first inning, then bat the pitcher eighth to allow three hitters up before Manny in subsequent innings.

    Furcal S
    Hudson S
    Manny R
    Ethier L
    Kemp R
    Loney L
    Martin R
    P ?
    Blake R

    Blake says he hit ninth in Cleveland, so he won’t care. As for Martin and Kemp, I trust Martin more at the plate, but I just don’t like the idea of depending so much on a catcher for offense. The Dodgers have overdone that in recent years (Piazza, Lo Duca, now Martin), and it makes it too difficult to rest the catcher. Bat Martin seventh (or even ninth) so that it doesn’t hurt the flow of the offense whenever Ausmus plays; anything Martin adds offensively becomes a bonus, not a must-have. When Pierre plays, he bats ninth instead and becomes a double leadoff hitter with Furcal.

  4. lawdog says:

    None of you guys were history majors, I’ll bet. Manny should bat 3rd because you want to get him up in the first inning with runners on. Ethier has to bat second–in front of Manny. When he hit there last season he hit, what, .500 for about 3 weeks and started belting bombs all over the yard. Ethier is a deadly fastball hitter. Put him in front of Manny and he’s going to hit .75 points higher for the season than if he hits anywhere you can pitch around him. Martin or Loney hit behind Manny because they are the best pure hitters on the team behind Manny. You will not get them chasing breaking balls in the dirt for strike 3 that often.

    Bat O-Rod in front of Manny and he’ll be a better hitter than if he bats elsewhere. But O-Rod is no Andre Ethier when you’re looking for a #2 hitter behind Manny. Furcal-Ethier-Manny-Martin/Loney is a front order made in heaven.

    Bat Manny 3rd behind Ethier and you’ll see us score lots of crooked numbers in the first. Bat him fourth and you’ll see us go 3 innings and out (3 innings with zippo bang runs) a lot because Manny will be leading off the second more times than not after we’ve gone 3 and out in the first..

  5. ken says:

    Mark – Back to 11 pitchers?

    Minus McDonald – I would put McDonald at AAA so he is ready to pitch 7 innings if/when Schmidt goes back on the DL or flames out.

    Add Schmidt, Weaver, and either Milton or Stultz.

    I would bat Loney 3rd only if he had some speed and did not hit into so many DPs.

    Furcal – Needs to be an OBP man this year not HRs
    Hudson – Maturity does not need Manny behind him
    Martin – Only if he is content to be just a gap hitter
    Manny – Doing what Manny does
    Either – Needs to handle the pressure
    Blake – Split the K twins
    Loney – RBI or DP
    Kemp – Clear the bases, K or start a new rally

    Bench Add Hu, Young and Castro, bring up DeWitt if/when Castro crashes.

    Waive Ardoin, Garate and Stults

  6. lawdog says:

    Furcal

    Ethier

    Manny

    Loney

    Martin

    O-Rod

    Kemp

    Casey at the Blake

    There’s your Championship line up! Notice how it’s balanced left-right-left-right until you get to our over aged over paid third baseman at the only place we can hide his geezing butt–8th in the lineup.

  7. lawdog says:

    Forget Schmidt. He’s been throwing fatballs down “hit me” lane. Unless he makes adjustments to the fact he no longer can bring fastballs at 95+ and blow batters into Griffith Park, he’s going to be worse than meat–make him bologna.

    Pedro has made the adjustment and is a finesse pitcher with command as well as a 93 mph fastball he can put in the proverbial dixie cup. If McDonald isn’t going to get it together to be #5, we better go get Pedro while he wants to play for us.

    Schmidt will be doing his best for the club if he pitches mop up long relief.

  8. Bill Russell says:

    Furcal
    Hudson
    Ethier
    Manny
    Loney
    Kemp
    Martin
    Blake

    Manny will still hit in the first inning if these 3 are hitting ahead of him. They won’t tend to walk Manny if one or two runners are on base. Loney proved last year that he can hit behind Manny. I agree with Ken up until he posted his lineup. I don’t like Martin catching and hitting 3rd. If Russell was playing anyother position I may agree with him at the top somewhere.

    8)

  9. Bill Russell says:

    Harold, thanks for correcting my crumby spelling yesterday. Now I must corrent you about one thing. Baseball cards in the bicycle spokes wasn’t a fifty’s thing it was in the sixties. I would also toss them into a baseball hat, not the wall. Tossing cards into a baseball hat helped me win many dishes at the local carnival doing the coin toss.

    After think about Ken’s lineup more, I decided to change my mind about Martin. Here’s my new and improved version.

    Furcal
    Hudson
    Ethier
    Ramirez
    Loney
    Martin
    Kemp
    Blake

  10. ken says:

    It is great new that the Dodgers have so many good players that a line up is difficult to prepare.

    Ned go and get some more pitching.

  11. lawdog says:

    So what does Manny have to show for the entire spring? One hit and two walks! That’s all! What a bum! Can we trade him for a low grade prospect while he still has some value? :shock:

  12. Roger says:

    Line-up time, is it?

    A few years ago, LaRussa started using the pitcher in the #8 slot. It seems to have been working for him.

    After the 1st inning, the batting order is totally changed — and that leadoff slot is gone.

    Sooooo — I like having some speed hitting 9th, or last in the order. That way, when the #9 hitter comes up, gets on — now with Furcal and Husdon coming up, there is not some pitcher or slow Casey Blake in front of them.

    Maybe Martin should hit 9th. That would rest him more in a game — but give him a key place in hitting before Furcal, Hudson, then Manny.

    What it means is about 120-140 less plate appearances a year. OK, but in Martin’s interests, he might be fresher toward the end of the season.

    And — it would drive the other managers crazy seeing him up before Furcal. And in many cases, as the innings move around, Martin might then be the new lead-off hitter, with the pitcher’s slot being a possible 3rd out.

  13. Harold says:

    Bill – might have been sixties for you. For me the fifties when I was living where I am now on the east coast of Canada. I went to Edmonton in the late fifties and returned to Lunenburg in the mid sixties to begin teaching. I had no cards in Edmonton. They just didn’t seem to be available there. Maybe as a teenager I outgrew them. In any event the thought of a good card in the spokes is not a fond memory now.

    GO DODGERS!!

  14. Badger says:

    Like I said, all lineups are good.

    I’ll take Bill’s, flip Martin and Kemp. Loney and Etiher are both .300 LH hitters, but Etiher has a little more speed. I still have a problem with putting offensive pressure on Martin. Let him worry about getting this pitching staff working. As was mentioned, anything he does offensively is a bonus. I see him at .285 with a .360 OBP. That will work in the 7 hole for me.

    We used to throw cards against the wall, like throwing coins. Whoever’s was closest got the card. The idea of course was to stand the card against the wall, facing out.

  15. Bill Russell says:

    I never did the wall toss with my baseball cards. I might have been able to win some cards if I knew about that idea.

    Martins impressive hitting in the WBC tells me he will be a force to be reckoned with this year. However like Badger and many before have pointed out, the less pressure offensively the better. Russell needs to get his pitching staff in order and worry about holding the base runners this year. Maybe it would be a good idea to play him at 3rd once a week with Assmuff becoming a personal catcher for someone on the staff. I hate the idea of Assmuff hitting but the idea of Russell getting some rest is very appealing.
    I can’t wait to get this thing going this year. I’m starting to warmup to the idea of Pedro coming on board. Schmidt can take the setup role when healthy. I have tickets for opening day. That’s the best game to see every year. Peace. :mrgreen:

  16. Mark Timmons says:

    OK, now that you have all weighed in, I will tell you why I think Manny needs to hit #4.

    1. It is a given that Furcal and Hudson will hit 1,2, partly because they are the 2 fastest starters. Either isn’t going to hit in the #2 hole with Hudson on the team;

    2. Either tore up the league last September hitting AHEAD of Manny, since he can’t hit #2, don’t put the pressue on him and hit hit behind Manny, hit him AHEAD of Manny in the #3 hole;

    3. The Dodgers led all of baseball last you in scoring in the first inning (most of it without Manny), so that is not an issue. Even if it were, the odds are that one or more would get on base if we led off the game with Raffy, O-Dog and Dre’ before Manny came to bat.

    4. You’ve got your “punch and judy hitters at 1,2 and if Manny hist 3rd, he pretects maybe the guy behind him, but if he hits 4th, he protects Either on 3rd and whoever hits 5th. You can flip Loney, Martin and Kemp into the 5th spot depending upon whether a LH or RH is on the mound, and/or who is hot.

    5. Also, I like more speed in the #3 spot and Ethier has good speed – Manny is below average. Your cleanup hitter is not supposed to be fast – he just cleans the bases!

    There is obviously no right answer, but to say that we need Manny to hit in the 1st inning doesn’t ring true beacuse we were the best in baseball without him and Raffy last year. With Raffy leading off and Hudson and Ethier seeing more fastballs, we should be among the best again. I believe Manny at cleanup makes the most sense.

  17. lawdog says:

    What you say makes sense Mover, provided Furcal or O-Rod get on. That’s going to happen about 1/3 of the time. The rest of the time it will be Ethier with nobody on and not nearly as well protected by Manny on deck. If you can fool him with a change or slider away you don’t have to face Manny. Ethier will be up with the pitcher having to pitch to Manny whether Ethier gets on or not if you bat them 2nd and 3rd. This way, if Furcal gets on it’s big inning time with Ethier seeing fastballs down broadway. If Furcal is out, Ethier still sees fastballs down broadway.

    The problem with Furcal and O-Rod is they are both capable lead off men. Furcal hits well enough you cpuld put O-Rod in the leadoff spot and move Raffy down–but you want Manny 3rd and Ethier @#2.

    Trust me! :eek:

  18. Mark Timmons says:

    We led all of baseball in scoring in the first inning… and that’s all you have to worry about.

  19. Mark Timmons says:

    … but Joe’s probably going to do what you want.

  20. Badger says:

    I agree with mover on this one. Furcal, O, and Ethier – one or more is going to get on most of the time. Ethier hit second last year because he was our best option there. He could still do it, but we don’t need him there now. He will get some pitches to hit with Manny coming up behind him, and, he knows what to do with them.

    Having said that, I think you could pull names out of a hat with this lineup and we would score a lot of runs.

    For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am thinking our hitting is way ahead of our pitching. Don’t know what to make of that.

  21. lawdog says:

    I’m not the only expert who feels Manny should bat 3rd behind Ethier with Loney or Martin behind Manny. Note the following snippet from Rotoworld:

    “Manny Ramirez, who had Thursday off because of hamstring tightness, started Friday and went 1-for-1 with two walks as the Dodgers split-squad edged a Rangers split-squad 4-3.
    It was his spring debut. If today’s game was any indication — and it likely was — Ramirez will begin the season batting third behind Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson. It wouldn’t seem to be the best situation for him. Besides Ramirez, we’d say Andre Ethier and Russell Martin project to have the best OBPs on the Dodgers, and those two will be batting lower in the order. Ethier figures to hit cleanup, with Martin in the sixth spot between James Loney and Matt Kemp.” :cool:

  22. Mark Timmons says:

    You all probably know that I coach my son’s 4th Grade Basketball team. We were 7-0 when I went to Camelback Ranch, but they lost their first game while I was gone. We won again on Thursday night to make our record 8-1 and today we played the 2nd place team who was 7-2. A the end of the third quarter, we were behind by 9 points. I pulled to team to the side and kneeled down with them in a semi-circle around me and I said “Guys, we are going to win this game in the forth quarter because we are going to hold them scoreless and we are going to get the points back one at a time.” Then I showed them how to “pound the ground” with you palm indicating door-slamming defense.

    Well, we won the regular season championship with a 9-1 record, and got a bye in the first round of the tournament which starts Monday. Oh, what happened?

    In the forth period the score was 13-0 in our favor – we won by 4!

    YOU GOTTA’ BELIEVE!

  23. Mark Timmons says:

    Here’s the other thing and remember who told you this:

    Russell Martin will hot over .300 with over a .400 OB% – he may have to hit 3rd against LH!

  24. lawdog says:

    You have to sort of read between the lines on that quote from Roto-World. It’s actually a little scrambled–inferring that Ethier should bat in front of Manny and then jumping to the fact that it appears he’ll be batting fourth. Author must have been distracted at the end of his thought there.

  25. SpokaneBob says:

    lots of good ideas here.

    Here is my preference.

    Furcal
    Odog
    Ethier
    Manny
    Loney
    Kemp
    Martin
    Blake

    Manny will get up in the 1st more often than not. Knowing that letting any of the first three guys reach base will bring Manny up will put a lot of presure on the pitcher.

    Kemp and Martin are interchangeable IMO

    I think hitting Ethier in front of Manny is a no brainer, based on last year and having Odog changes the line up from 08.

    Bill, I never would have wasted a baseball card on my bike in the fifties, unless it was one of those no name guys who seem to inhabit every pack of baseball cards. I grew up in Highland Park near Dodger Stadium and we used playing cards, attached with a clothes pin. Sometimes we would attach a baloon instead of a card. The baloon gave a much deeper motorcycle sound, but didn’t last as long as the cards.

    Some posts about Ted Williams on the last thread. I got to go to the second all star game at the Coloseum in 1959 and the highlight for me was when Williams came into the game to play leftfield. When he took his position the fans in the left field bleachers (where I was sitting)gave him a standing O and Ted turned, took off his cap and waved to the fans. When it comes to being an a$$hole, I don’t think Williams can be compared to A$$hole hall of famers like Gary Sheffield, Barry Bonds or many of the latter day millionairs who followed him. And just for the record, when Williams was in combat he flew fighters, not Boomers.

  26. SpokaneBob says:

    sorry….Bombers.

  27. Bill Russell says:

    So Bob we agree, You would have used the HU card in your bicycle spokes if he played in the fifties.
    We also agree on the batting order in 2009. Nice job. Great mines think alike…… :mrgreen:

  28. Voldomer says:

    Destiny’s . . . fourth grade hoops team? ;-)

  29. Bill Russell says:

    We need an edit button badly or I need to proof read my posts prior to posting. 8)

  30. Blue Haze says:

    Okay I hate to ruin everyone’s parade buttttttt…

    I am concerned about Hudson and his wrist holding up. If you read the article about it, it sounds pretty iffy at best. He said he has to catch the ball differently (extreme soft hands approach) just so he can catch the ball without pain. He may not be around long, this issue is one that I think Joe has thought about and it is a big reason why DeWitt and Loretta are going to be on the opening day roster. Hudson is only a incorrect catch or tag of the runner away from being out of the lineup. Thus you may very well see Ethier get a lot of bats from the 2 hole.

  31. Blue Haze says:

    Damn no edit button, that should read “rain on everyone’s parade”

  32. ken says:

    Deciding on the 40 man roster is sometimes difficult for nonobjective reasons

    Stults pitching with heavy heart
    Dodgers lefty competing to be fifth starter after mother’s death

    http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090314&content_id=3987050&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

    I hope the Dodgers have class and go the extra mile with him and not make a decision until April.

    My opinion is that the Dodgers should try to go with 3 long relievers and save Mota, Kuo, Wade, and Broxton to only pitch in the 8th and 9th innings.

  33. mark says:

    Eric still lives in a tiny little town in Indiana. Here’s the full obituary:

    Obituary 2/2/09
    Monday, 02 February 2009

    Kathleen “Kathy” S. Stults
    Kathleen “Kathy” S. Stults
    June 26, 1949 — Jan. 30, 2009
    ARGOS — Kathleen “Kathy” S. Stults, 59 of Gumwood Road, Argos, Ind. died Friday, Jan. 30, 2009 at 3:20 a.m. at Memorial Hospital of South Bend, following a three-year illness.
    Kathy was born June 26, 1949 in Argos, to William H. and Donna Belle M. (Stouder) Blackford and went on to livedall of her life in the Argos and Marshall County community.
    She and David L. Stults were married Oct. 8, 1967 in Tippecanoe, Ind. She was a branch manager at 1st Source Bank, (Argos branch). She had worked at the bank for 35 years.
    She was a member of the Tippecanoe Community Church, Tippecanoe, Ind.; served on the Advisory Board for Walnut Township; was active with the “Old Gold Club” and the Green-Walnut Buyers Group; was active with Green-Walnut Young Farmers 4-H club. She was a graduate of Argos High School class of 1967, and she then attended the Career Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
    She is survived by her husband, David L. Stults of Argos, Ind.; three children: David L. Stults Jr. and wife Jennifer of Argos, Ind.; Gayla R. Burger and husband Mark of Bremen, Ind. and Eric W. Stults and wife Stephanie of Middlebury, Ind.: six grandchildren: Samantha and Jessica Stults of Argos; Blake and Haley Burger of Bremen and Madeline and Luke Stults of Middlebury, Ind.: her mother, Donna Belle Blackford of Argos, Ind.; a sister, Colleen Halter and husband Barry of Rolling Prairie, Ind.; four brothers: Joe Blackford and wife Pam of Hebron, Ind., Steve Blackford and wife Kathy of Tippecanoe, Ind., Ken Blackford and wife Tina of Tippecanoe, Ind. and Bill Blackford and wife Lisa of Bowie, Md.; three sister-in-laws: Janet (Alan) Robinson of Chattanooga, Tenn., Judy (Kevin) Miller of Akron, Ind., Sharlene “Shar” (Tom) Coahran of Rochester, Ind. and one brother-in-law, William “Bill” (Lisa) Stults of Argos.
    SShe was preceded in death by her father, William H. Blackford and son, Greg A. Stults, April 19, 1974.
    Friends may visit with the family Monday Feb. 2, 2009 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Tippecanoe Community Church, 2940 18-B Road, Tippecanoe, Ind. and one hour prior to the funeral services
    Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday Feb. 3, 2009 at the church with Rev. Randy McElveen, Rev. Ken Todd and Rev. Alan Robinson presiding.
    Burial will follow at Tippecanoe Cemetery, Tippecanoe, Ind.
    Memorial contributions may be made to the “Old Gold Club” Attn: Mr. Medich; 500 Yearick Ave., Argos, IN 46501; the Tippecanoe Community Church, 2940 18-B Road, Tippecanoe, IN 46570; to Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Northern Indiana Affiliate, 227 South Main Street, Suite 101 • South Bend, IN 46601.
    Electronic condolences my be sent to the family at: memorials@earl-grossmanfuneral.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
    Arrangements have been entrusted with the Earl-Grossman Funeral Home, Argos.

  34. Badger says:

    Every player on this team is one play away from the DL.

    But I see your point. Cross your fingers. Hudson is a great addition to this lineup – if he is in it of course.

    Sorry to hear about Mrs. Stults. 59 is too young.

    ken, I think we have two long relievers in Weaver and Schmidt. I just don’t have the confidence in either of them to start 30 and pitch 180 innings. But, 4 innings a piece 30 times a year?

    I haven’t read the new posts on the Dodgers pitching staff being the “strength” of the team, so I should reserve comment until I do. I’ll just say now I have my doubts about that.

  35. nick marchese says:

    You need a right handed bat behind manny, especially if you are facing a lefty, otherwise manny will get nothing to hit!

    Furcal
    Hudson
    Ethier
    Ramirez
    Martin/Kemp
    Loney
    Kemp/Martin
    Blake
    P

  36. OK boys, here it is:

    The LaRussa lineup is genius and needs to be implemented on this year’s team and here is why.

    When you have to stereotypical leadoff guys (ala Furcal/Pierre & now Furcal/Hudson) and you bat them 1-2, they clog the base paths. If Furcal is on ahead of O-dog then O-dog needs to wait for Furcal to go before he can. This equates to wasted opportunities. It happened with Pierre behind Furcal (and Pierre is a MUCH better base stealer than Furcal) and it was SO frustrating to watch Pierre have to stand there because Furcal was in front of him. No knock on Furcal but he is not the base stealer he used to be. Doesn’t mean he should not still bat leadoff though!

    It means that you bat your second leadoff guy 9th, because yes, the lineup is completely different after the first inning!

    Furcal
    Ethier
    Manny
    Loney
    Kemp
    Martin
    Blake
    Pitcher
    Hudson

    Ethier hits in front of Manny because he will hit a TON with Manny on deck, its been proven END OF STORY. Getting Ethier more at bats is a good thing too. And Manny needs as many at bats as possible for this team, END OF STORY, he bats 3rd.

    Ok, so no need for anymore discussions on this as I have clearly laid out the best lineup and reasoning behind it. Unless of course you wish to praise my thinking. ;-)

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