Categorized | Mark Timmons

June 1, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog

June 1, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog

Dodgers head home with a series split and a 5-2 trip – Oh, and an opposing manager’s stuffed head to hang above the fireplace. The Dodgers swept Clint Hurdle right out of a job. Sorry about the inconsistency of posts the past few days. Figured I would let Mark take center stage while he was in  Chicago, and I hope he enjoyed the trip. Tonight was a pretty typical Dodgers win, a whole bunch of singles in the first inning to put them out to a 5-0 lead. Matt Kemp later homered to make it 6-0, just the 36th home run of the season for the boys, who began the day 25th in the majors in that category. So how do they have the runaway best record in baseball, and an 8 1/2-game lead in the division, while hitting so few dingers? It’s all about the OBP. Dodgers entered the day at .370, best in the majors. At the risk of sounding too Moneyball-ish, this might be the single most important offensive statistic in baseball, because every time a batter gets on base, it means he DOESN’T make an out. And as long as you don’t make three outs, you can keep scoring runs all night.

Andre Ethier Warming Up - www.LAdodgerTalk.com

Andre Ethier Warming Up - www.LAdodgerTalk.com

In case you hadn’t heard, Eric Stults went on the DL today with that left thumb thing he has been battling. They called up Travis Schlichting from Double-A Chattanooga, where he was pretty much lights-out, giving up one earned run in 13 2/3 innings over nine relief appearances. This guy is a great story, used to be an infielder in the Rays’ and Angels’ systems, converted to pitching when that didn’t work out and ended up in independent ball two years ago with the Kansas City T-Bones, before the Dodgers signed him two winters ago. He pitched so well at Jacksonville last season that he was added to the 40-man last winter. Spent most of spring training dealing with a back issue and didn’t get much done there, but he’s in the big leagues now, so that’s all that matters. Good guy, too, so root for him.

As for Stults, Torre told the reporters before the game (I get a transcript) that it shouldn’t be longer than 15 days, but he didn’t pitch for 10 days after it first happened, and that clearly wasn’t enough.

I did catch Jon Miller/Joe Morgan/Steve Phillips doling out a small bit of misinformation during tonight’s broadcast. Actually, it was just Miller, and it wasn’t anything major — at least not as major as during last year’s ESPN radio broacast of the World Series, when he was talking about Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and referred to him as “Michael Jack Shi … er, Michael Jack Schmidt.” Anyway, all he said tonight was that two managers had already been fired in the N.L. West this season and that both of them were fired right after the Dodgers left town. Well, unless the Diamondbacks fired Bob Melvin after the first week of the season (they didn’t), that wasn’t true, because the boys haven’t been to PHX since April 10-12.

And if you’ll pardon the rant, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball is great for fans at, but unless you’re lucky enough to get one at home (the Dodgers rarely do), they’re almost always bad for the teams — and the scribes who cover them. Sundays are supposed to be day games, getaway games, so the team can fly home immediately afterward and the writers can have a nice, relaxing dinner somewhere before flying back early the next morning. Not so when you play on Sunday night. If the Dodgers really hustle, they can get off the ground by midnight Chicago time. It’s about a 4 1/2-hour flight back to L.A., so factor in the two-hour time change, and they should land around 2:30 a.m. By the time everybody gets home and gets to bed, it’s around 4. And did I mention there is a game tomorrow night? As for me, this was one of the trips I had booked before I was laid off by that, ummmmm, newspaper. My flight out of Chicago was at 5:50 a.m.

38 Responses to “June 1, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog”

  1. lawdog says:

    What kind of stuff does Travis have Tony? What pitches does he throw and which ones are effective? Thanks for any light you can throw on the subject.

  2. Ken says:

    After hearing before the game that he was heading to the bullpen, Sean Marshall was lit up for eight runs — seven earned — in 4 1/3 innings by the Dodgers on Sunday night.

    Way to go, Lou. Maybe when you give Marshall the ball for his next relief appearance, you can tell him his dog died. RotoWorld

  3. Ken says:

    If the Dodgers play .500 ball in June they will still be on pace for 100 wins. I will not be surprised if Torre adjusts the pitching roles as players come and go from the DL and the minors, and maybe a DFA'd in June. So the month of June may be interesting.

  4. Buddy says:

    ESPN reported on the broadcast that Kershaw will be moved to the bullpen to reduce his innings. Smart move. He shouldn't pitch more than 175 innings or so.

  5. Mark_Timmons says:

    This move will help him in two ways: (1) less wear on his young arm and; (2) he'll feel inclined to quit nibbling and throw strikes because he's only in for 1-3 innings. I think he'll be back and forth for a while.

    I like it.

  6. Badger says:

    It's a good move, but, I am not really happy that it has to be made. If the kid threw strikes, he could get 30 starts at 6 ip each and be around 175 innings, and not have a starters schedule interrupted by bullpen work. I know why they are doing it, but I don't like it.

    Those of you who know me know that I have been preaching OBP for years. Don't make outs, fill up the bases and pressure is continually applied. I like to see opposing pitchers in the stretch.

    Broxton is a beast. Looks to me like Bellisario and Troncoso are solidifying themselves in the 7th and 8th. Wonder how long it will be before they have arm issues.

    Manager's stuffed head over the fireplace? Ech. The Rockies are just another example of knee jerking, but, it's what happens in this game. Wasn't that long ago the Rockies were very good. Hurdle and Melvin are both good baseball men.

  7. Badger says:

    comment "too long" again.

    I am not the least bit concerned about "lack of power". It's just now becoming summer, the air will get lighter and all our guys HR numbers will improve. Besides, we are scoring runs, who cares how that gets done. The Dodger players are doing a lot of things well right now.

    I hope Kuroda can go 7 strong tonight, as the Dodgers could be a tired bunch. At least we aren't facing Haren. Billy Buckner? Interesting. He has a 7 ERA, so, of all the guys to face after a couple hours of sleep, I suppose he would be the one on that staff to pick.

    I had a family of javelina's visit my yard last night. They dug it up pretty good and left deposits everywhere. Wild pigs. You can't live with them and you can't shoot them.

  8. Bill_Russell says:

    I for one am disappointed in the news of Kershaw to the pen. I understand some of the reasons but we need this kid to develop into a starter before the playoffs in 2009. We were beat last year in the Playoffs because of our pitching and developing Clayton into a very good starter could only help our chances this year. What are the plans? Have him skip every other start? or he's just assigned to the pen to save his arm? Hasn't other young pitchers ever made it to the big leagues before? Aren't the other young pitchers in the minor leagues prior to making the Majors, pitching every 5-6 days? Do the Dodgers have another pitcher up Ned's sleeve?

    Bills, Wolf, Kuroda, Milton, Stults. Oh that's right, Stults has a thumb issue. Weaver?
    I was hoping that once Kuroda returned , our starting staff could get back to normal. Now it's bring one in and move one out. I hope Joe and Honeycup know what they are doing…………
    Fight on………….

  9. I Miss the 51's says:

    I was under the impression Kershaw was going to be in the bullpen just for Kuroda's start. Hiroki is only supposed to pitch 85 to 90 pitches. Kershaw was going to pitch only if Kuroda had issues today… If he didn't pitch he would start on Thursday, if he did pitch, he'd start on Saturday.

  10. I Miss the 51's says:

    Here's the link….

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090531&

    ESPN Sunday Night baseball obviously has no idea what they're talking about. Like Joe Morgan having a hissy fit about Manny and his minor league assignment before he gets reinstated. He whines and complains about Manny being able to play in the minors while he's still suspended.

  11. Roger Dodger says:

    Following the Dodgers, seeing their strengths and weaknesses — I have concluded that Baseball is not as strong, team wise, as in the recent past.

    The Dodgers do not have good strong starters. But guys that might be good one game, and get knocked around in another. OK, we accept that . . . Very few go past 5 or 6 inning for a start. But that is basically true on most teams. Another way to say it is, that after a pitcher goes around the batting order twice — the hitting team gets to them.

    Yet, other teams are even worse. So, the Dodgers lead in pitching in the majors. Or, close to it.

    Hitting. If the guys get their four or five base hits in the first inning (because the other team's pitching is so shaky) they jump out — and win a game. When the Dodgers have someone put 4 or 5 runs on them, most times (I recall) they guys cannot make it back. No power. Almost last in HRs in the majors. But the Dodgers believe they can continue to win with base hits as opposed to the bomb.

  12. Roger Dodger says:

    (continue)

    Bottom line. The quality of players has declined today — across the major leagues. But we do not notice it, because it is so wide spread.

    It seems that maybe some teams have figured themselves out, and are now pulling themselves up to more consistent winning: the Yankees, Phillies, Tigers, Brewers, Red Birds, Rangers, etc.

    Maybe as the season now is in June moving to July, teams will begin to work out some trades, especially teams that know they are out of the race — and have some overpriced players and/or future free agents — and want to do some reloading now.

  13. Buddy says:

    The worst thing that Morgan said last night was calling Juan Pierre a great defensive player. I almost spilled my drink.

  14. Ken says:

    If OBP is so important then why isn't Furcal hitting 8th?

  15. DRomo says:

    BRuss, you are totally right on this one. I understand what they are doing (saving innings) with Kershaw, but when do the kid gloves come off? This team is built to win NOW. If he is slowed down for a while in June, OK. But come August or Sept. the kid better be taking the ball every 5th day.

    I am happy we continue to win, but I get the feeling this team isn't ready for the playoffs as it is constructed. We lack pitching! Real pitching. We have a long way to go so I am not panicked but I keep thinking in a short series our rotation would be Bills, Kuroda, & Wolf? Maybe we get by with that but I wish we had 1 more horse!

  16. Roger Dodger says:

    DRomo — you are saying that the Dodgers do not have one or two stoppers ???

    That is what the post season is all about. No more, "He was tired from the season," " He needs more experiece," "He has problems with some teams," "He slept in the wrong position last night," "He is not a pressure picture (Mark would say, ""He is soft"")"

  17. chucky says:

    http://www.firenedcollettinow.com/2009/03/prospec

    here is a link to Fire Ned Colletti that reviews schlichting's stuff

    good reading.

  18. Ken says:

    NL GPA Offensive Stats by postion with more than 125 PAs

    Martin 4th .260
    Loney 11th .256
    Hudson 2nd .307
    Blake 3rd .317
    Furcal 10th .219
    Pierre 2nd .328
    Kemp 5th .295
    Either 5th .273

    3-4 potential All Stars?

  19. Ken says:

    Tony

    I really miss your pre game news!

    Mark

    What exactly is your definition of "Soft" and is it objective based upon quantifiable data? For instance based upon BA/RISP if Ethier is soft (.232) then Furcal is Liquid (.186). If based upon "Clutch" then Ethier is second worst at -2.8 and Furcal is the worst Dodger at -2.9.

  20. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Regarding Schlichting, this is from Baseball America's 2009 Prospect Handbook, where Schlichting is rated as the Dodgers' #14 prospect.

    "Tall and strong, Schlichting throws 90-94 mph with heavy armside, bat-breaking sink from a three-quarters arm slot. He complements his fastball with an 84-86 mph slider that can have tilt and bite. His slider lacks consistency and his fastball lacks command. For a converted player, especially, he is aggressive and confident on the mound. He went to the Arizona Fall League to accelerate his development as a pitcher and work on adding depth to his slider and picked up the first three saves of his career. He's intriguing as a potential future closer though he most likely fits into a middle relief role."

  21. Mark_Timmons says:

    Miguel will be at the game tonight and keeping us updated.

    Ken,

    My definition of "soft" is a guy who gets doubles, RBI's and HR when the team is way ahead or way behind which helps his stats, but doesn't deliver when the game is on the line.

    I agree on Furcal too! He has been killing us. Call up DeWitt to play SS!

  22. mark says:

    This is something the Dodgers will do as much as possible.

  23. Bill_Russell says:

    Didn't Furcal get two hits last night? Or was it when the game wasn't on the line? Leave Furcal where he is and you will be happy in the long run. Free Furcal

  24. I Miss the 51's says:

    Kershaw is not going to the bullpen. long term…only for tonight ( maybe).. here's a passage from the Gurnick article today….

    "Kershaw originally was scheduled to start on Monday, but will be pushed back to Thursday instead, assuming he is not used much Monday. The Dodgers chose to push Kershaw back to Thursday so Randy Wolf and Chad Billingsley will remain on their regular five-day cycles and start Tuesday and Wednesday nights, respectively."

  25. I Miss the 51's says:

    Doesn't seem like he's going to the bullpen to me.

    • Ken says:

      The Sodgers have a lot of off days in June and some one is going to miss around 4 starts. Possibly that will be Kershaw so that he will have the innings left in the bank to pitch in October

  26. Bill_Russell says:

    Thanks 51, I thought that was an odd thing to do. The kid just needs more experience and he could prove to be the Key for the Dodgers post season success. Yes I am already counting on post season.

    Kershaw has that Louisanna magic you just don't find too often. You Know- BlewByU

  27. Roger Dodger says:

    Hey Mark, we are dealing with language here . . . "soft" is not a baseball term.

    Hitting in the "clutch" is. Clutch player. My father use to call it a "money player."

    Many of us have problems with "soft" — which you mean, someone hitting in the 8th inning with the Dodgers winning 11 to 2 and hits a home run ————— but hitting a "little ground ball to the second baseman" with the bases loaded and the Dodgers down 4 to 5 in the ninth.

    One is piling it on when it does not count, and the other not pull through in the clutch when it is needed.

  28. lawdog says:

    DeWitt had two hits yesterday, a double and a triple. He was instrumental in the outcome of the game.

  29. Voldomer says:

    Tony, here's two more reasons to dislike ESPN games:

    1. One of the commentators (Steve Phillips?) was going on and on about how the Dodgers must find a veteran starter to slide in between Bills and Kershaw for the playoffs. I can understand him overlooking Kuroda due to his injury, but I didn't know that Randy Wolf was such an unknown. I know these guys have a challenging situation in that they are calling games for teams they do not cover regularly, but I am repeatedly amazed at things "national" broadcasters say that clearly are incorrect or uninformed. Do beat reporters have much contact with these guys? Surely they get the same game notes, rosters, etc., from the teams that y'all do. Tons of information can just be taken from the team website anyway. Am I expecting too much, or do some of these folks just not work very hard at preparing for these broadcasts?

    2. Someone above referenced the great Joe Morgan, who must have used the word "suspended" 100 times in his rant about Manny's rehab assignment. Of all the excellent announcers out there, how does Morgan keep this gig? Jon Miller is fine. Steve Phillips (except for above) is fine. Morgan just rants about things; finally Phillips called him out on the suspension thing last night. If you don't like the policy, fine. But it is what it is, agreed upon by the union and the league, and it is not an exclusion for Manny.

    I watch this network as little as possible. I have to think that the MLB and NFL networks are (or will be) taking a serious bite out of ESPN's audience.

  30. OscarP says:

    Speaking of Moneyball, what is Paul Depodesta up to now?

  31. Ken says:

    In a week the Dodgers will need only 12 pitchers and I thnk that they should consider bringing up either DeWitt or Luna

    Does anyone know the real status of Vargas? I have asked Mark 3 times and received no response.

  32. Mark_Timmons says:

    Vargas is dead!

    They buried him.

    He kept saying he wasn't dead,

    But you know how relievers lie!

    Answer: I don't have a clue!

  33. Mark_Timmons says:

    Maybe Miguel can find out!

  34. Mark_Timmons says:

    Comments Closed!

    Post up top!

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