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May 23, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog

May 23, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog

Wasted opportunities, intentional and otherwise

Just read Dylan Hernandez’s game story on the L.A. Times website, which included the following bit of wisdom from Orlando Hudson:

“We had 50 guys in scoring position,” Orlando Hudson muttered as he raced past reporters on his way to the showers.

claytonkershaw509Far be it from me to ever question my colleagues, but as a reporter who was about a thousand miles away from this game — I’m spending the night in Cripple Creek, Colo., with my mom, aunt and cousin — I have to wonder if any of those reporters bothered to ask Hudson or manager Joe Torre why in the world Hudson, a hot hitter who earlier in the game had extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, had chosen to attack one of those runner-in-scoring position situations by BUNTING THAT RUNNER FROM SECOND TO THIRD. That was in the seventh inning, with the game still tied, and Rafael Furcal had just led off with a double.

I went on record, ad nauseum in fact, on that other blog I used to do about my absolute contempt for the sacrifice bunt when it is utilized with anyone other than the pitcher at the plate. This is almost almost always¬†a stupid play that is counterproductive and, even when successfully executed, usually plays into the other team’s hands because you are PUTTING THE OTHER TEAM ONE OUT CLOSER TO GETTING OUT OF THE JAM. Rather that getting Furcal on third with one out — where he was eventually stranded because the Dodgers had only two outs left to work with and burned them pretty quickly — wouldn’t it have been interesting to see what would have happened that inning if the O-Dog had swung away? What if he had singled, scoring Furcal with the go-ahead run and putting himself on base, still with nobody out? What if he had doubled, scoring Furcal and putting himself in scoring position, still with nobody out? What if he had hit a two-run HR?

In fairness to Joe Torre, he has been a breath of fresh air in his season-plus managing the Dodgers because he mostly avoids this tactic — no doubt a remnant of the dozen seasons he spent managing in the American League, where it is almost never used. And again, I wasn’t there to inquire as to whether Hudson did this on his own or whether Larry Bowa was relaying a sign from the bench. But whatever the reason, I’m sure the Angels appreciated the favor.

42 Responses to “May 23, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog”

  1. I, unfortunately, was there…multiply YOUR frustration two or three times for every mile between Colorado and LA! It was actually painful…I was with friends visiting from Ohio–their first Dodgers game. Thankfully, the hot dogs, garlic fries and Coronas saved the night. The fireworks were pretty good too.
    Early in the night I had told the fans in red around me that we don't allow 'Rally Monkeys' in Dodger Stadium. Three monkeys were passed to me as "Don't stop believing" was playing…ugh.
    It's funny, cause the whole "Angels-Dodgers" thing used to totally excite me.
    Alas, we will be there again tonight…we'll definitely start with Coronas.

  2. Badger says:

    I understand your frustration, but an argument could be made that it is easier to score from 3rd with less than 2 outs than it is from second. The idea is "to move the runner to third" by hitting behind him – right? Then all you need is a fly ball – correct?

    The Dodgers were 1 for 14 WRISP. That is the reason they lost.

    Blake and Martin had 12 LOB between them. That won't get it done.

    Like I said earlier this morning, if Kershaw can get through 7 on 97 pitches (instead of 5) we hold them to 1 run in 9 and have a shot at winning that game.

    A lot went wrong last night. Yeah, maybe the bunt was questionable, but there was a fast runner standing on 3rd with less than 2 outs, which is a highly favorable position, and the Dogs folded like a cheap sheet.

    1 for 14?

  3. Roger Dodger says:

    Interesting game to say the least. If seems for games and games now, the Dodgers win those kind of games. We were use to it. Somehow, I kept waiting for one or two of the Dodgers to bang on the ball and win the thing.

    Then those Angel gloves got in the way. Hunter, who might have become a Dodgers just awhile ago when he was looking for a new home and place to play — put the stop to a couple of long fly balls to the warning track and the top of the wall. Maybe we are just use to seeing outfielders miss those shots.

    Looking at the chart: the Dodgers left 26 runners on base. Martin led with stranding 7 runners, the Loney and Blake with 5 LOB. Gee that is 17 LOB for those three guys alone.

    Pinch-hitters were zip for two. More like last year than this year.

    Clayton really hung in there last night. Only 4 hits in his 5 innings, but he really had to work at it with 97 pitches and so many in the first inning.

  4. Roger Dodger says:

    ((( I had typed 310 words, and the window came up and said it was toooooo long, so I cut out the rest below ))))

    Wade just ran out of gas. Mota looked good. Leach did what he usually does, gives up a hit, and strikes out someone. Belisario still scares me. I like him when it is 8 to 1 Dodgers, and no one on base. But put him in a close or tie game with a runner or two on, and I only look with one eye to his next pitches. He just does not know where the ball is going. Neither does Martin.

    The game had a play-off feel to it. The fans were in to the game. But the Extra Innings feed was the Angel announcers. How hard it is to listen to those cheerleaders they use behind the mics.

    My biggest vision left with me from the game — was Hudson bouncing out to the pitcher with runners on . . . 2nd and 3rd I believe. He is usually been the go to guy.

  5. HUhlman says:

    I have always liked the sacrifice bunt and complain often that we did not move a runner from first to second and ended up in a double play or a K with a runner still on first, and then not scoring on a subsequent single. However, it seems to me the best way to advance Raffy to third from second is to hit the ball to the right side, which could result in a hit. The fact that Joe bunts seldomly, other than with pitchers, is puzzling in this situation. It seems like it might be the only bunt to get a runner to third this season, unless a pitcher was bunting.

  6. Mark_Timmons says:

    I know that Joe wants to show his confidence in Martin, Furcal and Ethier, but I believe he needs to change things up – move Martin to #2 and Ethier to 7th, while hitting Raffy 8th. Move Blake to 6th and let Kemp and Loney flip in the cleanup spot.

    What we are seeing from Kershaw is what we saw from C-Bill a couple of years ago: too many pitches, but he's not missing by much – he'll get it down.

  7. Jaydizzel says:

    the dodgers need to play small ball!!!!!!! I see this in to many close games, take a lesson from a real dodger coach from the other team! Why are we using so many pitchers. This is not the first time nor the last most of the time we get luck. I don’t know the stat, but I would like to know who leads the league with runners on.

  8. Badger says:

    I can't sign in – the "password" I have always used evidently isn't the right one. Maybe you could email me and let me know what my own password is.

    I am getting used to this forum, but, it's just a little new school for me. That is my problem, not anyone else's. I have trouble keeping up with the speed of advancing technology. I am an opinionated fossil.

    I do agree with HUhlman about how to get the runner to third. Unless you see a real opportunity to bunt for a base hit, you move the guy by hitting behind him, not by bunting.

  9. Buddy says:

    I couldn't agree more with you Tony on that sac bunt. Hudson is the best hitter on the team and wasting an out to move a runner over was absolutely ludicrous.

  10. lawdog says:

    I like the idea of being able to view all the posts in order of date and time by accessing the thread at one spot. Otherwise I don't think I'll ever see all the posts on days I don't check in several times, morning and afternoon. That said, having the comments about a specific article follow the article makes it easier to understand the point(s) being made. I don't suppose you could do both. I find myself checking the "comments" section to see what's recently been said and catch up with articles as the comments take me there. That doe lead to missed articles and comments thereupon if I'm late getting back on a heavy posting day.

  11. lawdog says:

    Dodgers have interest in Peavy

    According to Diamond Lueng,

    "Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told Dan Patrick today that the Dodgers have discussed Jake Peavy with the Padres a few times, most recently about a month ago. After talking with Padres GM Kevin Towers, it doesn’t appear the two teams are a match.

    “He told me that if we’re going to make a deal with the Dodgers, we’re going to make you guys pay like nobody else,” Colletti said.

    The asking price? Colletti said at one point it was three players on their 25-man roster plus a “strong prospect.”

    Anybody want to guess who those three players and strong prospect are? Maybe Tony can enlighten us.

    • Kevin Towers' comments, that's old news, I twittered about it yesterday morning and linked to the interview. :-) I believe that Colletti was referring to discussions from the off season in regards to our interest in Peavy. And its pretty obvious, even without Towers' comments, that the Pads would make us suffer if they gave us Peavy,.

      FYI, Twitter feed is in our sidebar. Check it out for quick updates from time to time. Diamond is a great Twitterer too, I follow alot of his stuff, as well as MLBtraderumors.

      Also, "recent comments" will always be prominently displayed in the sidebar as well.

  12. Badger says:

    Doesn't matter who the three are, three Major Leaguers a top prospect and $52,000,000 is too much to pay – PERIOD!

    We are ok for now. We do not need to knee jerk here. Take a breath and wait to see what might happen as we approach the deadline. Maybe we have enough right here already to get this job done. Kuroda is throwing again, Weaver/Milton/Estes seem to be throwing ok, I would throw them out there before I did the Padres any favors.

    Here is something that we must consider – Kevin Towers. If he is involved in a deal with Jed Collectti he will smoke him like a Vegas Robaina.

  13. Ken says:

    Lucas May is out for more than the month of May.

    More than the sac bunt this new strategy of no Dodger is allowed to steal, they can only participate in a hit and run is sickening.

    Too many of the dodger players have a batting swing that is toooooooooooooo long. It is ok against bad pitchers, marginal against good pitchers and will never work in the World Series. Their swings are broke and need to be fixed – From a World Series perspective. Maybe the coaches will settle for NLCS. With a long swing you have to start swinging when you see the direction of the pitch but are too far committed before determining the type of pitch which is why so many of the Dodgers have their own unique HUGE hole in their swings. Martin will never be able to hit a pitch down and in. And this problem is made worse with the stubborn desire to pull every pitch. that includes Mr. Gournd Ball Double Play.

  14. Badger says:

    That's pretty harsh Ken, considering the Dodgers are still second in the league in hitting, first in runs and amazingly, lead all of baseball in OBP.

    Yeah, some of these guys look like deer in the headlights at times, but, overall – so far so good.

    It's a long season. Will they still be at the top offensively in September?

    • Ken says:

      And who have they palyed??

      Great Stats against weak teams are not refelective of future good performances in the World Series.

      • I think that the Dodgers are also leading the league in runners stranded in scoring position (or on base period). Which is even more amazing because they also lead in all of those other offensive categories. If they just start to come through even a tad more when runners are on they would have an even more astronomical number of runs scored!

        I can understand why lots of you are worried, even though our team has the best record in baseball. And even though we have battled many games and won some close ones, there are small things that we are doing wrong that better teams will exploit.

        I also agree with someone's comment in an earlier post that we will hit a rough patch during this season at some point and that is when we will really see what this team is about and what their real character is.

  15. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Tony,

    Absolutely agree with your take on Hudson bunting in that situation. I was thinking the same thing when it happened. At the very least, Hudson should have been trying to hit the ball to the right side to advance the runner, and possibly get a hit. Also, with the 3, 4 and 5 hitters following Furcal's double, the Dodgers need to have been playing for more than a single run.

    My comments were too long. See my next post for a continuation.

  16. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Continuation of my previous post follows.

    If a lack of confidence in Ethier during his slump has anything to do with the decsion, then he need not be hitting 4th at the current time. Ethier's first at bat looked like all the others he's been taking lately. Trying to pull everything, and ending up rolling ove a ptich tailing to the outside corner. However, his 11 pitch at bat following Hudson looked more like the old Ethier. He was staying on the ball and attempting to hit it where it was pitched, resulting in consistent contact until he drew the walk. I'm hoping that's a precursor to a return to the habits that brought him success prior to the slump. And if his slump has anything to do with Manny, it's not about the quality of the pitches he's been seeing, but rather his approach in hitting those pitches. Perhaps he's felt a need to supply more power in the absence of Manny, hence trying to pull everything. After all, he was hitting behind Manny, NOT in front of him. Nothing should have changed, but it did.

  17. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I included what follows in my original post, but found that I had to split it into 3 posts. This is post #3.

    By the way Tony, out of curiosity I occasionally visit that "other blog" (guessing you do also), and find it comforting to see that participation is virtually down to zero. If anything, that's a testament to the loyalty you engendered, something your former employer has yet been unable to reproduce.

  18. Mark_Timmons says:

    I think I have resolved the issue of posts being cut off. It was set to cut off at 10 lines. I changed it to 20 lines and if we need more, just let me know.

    Do you like this style better than the one were using? The posts are in order of date, not "magazine style."

    If you sign in, you should be able to edit now.

  19. Ken says:

    Andrew Jones the new first baseman for the Rangers. His stats are better than Loney's. Can the Dodgers hire the Rangers batting coach?

    I think that I will type my comments in Word and then cut and paste before submitting so I will have any disappearing text.

  20. Mark_Timmons says:

    Jamarillo is the best in the business, but Jones only has 69 AB's because the Rangers don't want to "expose" him. It will be interesting to see what happens. if he starts playing more.

  21. lawdog says:

    Andruw has the longest and slowest swing in baseball. His presence in the on deck circle is eye candy for any struggling starter out on the mound–and not because he has "a queer eye for the next hitter guy."

  22. lawdog says:

    I'm not sure what all this board can now do. I'm sure I haven't begun to scratch the surface but anyway, I now like it! Before it was merely confusin' to an old goat like me.

  23. jerry says:

    to bad wade is not the same pitcher he was last yr.. it would have been light out. the ball is just not moving ..from inside back over the plate.. it just stays inside.. .if honeycut is suppose to be the pitching coach…why can he fix the guy s control problems. and kershaw is a every other outing pitcher.

  24. Badger says:

    Ken – who have they played?

    OK, point taken, most of what they have done has been against the weak West, but they did recently take 2 out of 3 from the World Champions and then swept the Mets, who are by the way the best hitting team in MLB.

    And you already have them in the World Series? Wow. Confidence. I like it. Though I have a 1,000 push-up bet with Mark they won't make it that far. That's one I will gladly pay.

    I believe, and have said so many times, that this is a good offensive club. As long as everybody stays healthy, and out of the dog house, we should be able to score runs. I think Mattingly has done a remarkable job. And, I think we might even get better. Most of these guys have their best years in front of them.

    • Ken says:

      I said they will not make the World Series but they should with good coaching that tells them how to overcome their childish stubborn ways.

      Appearantly they all go skeet shooting all off season long because their subconscious tells them PULL PULL PULL and watch the Ball hit the ground

  25. Badger says:

    too long again, was asked to split it up. Guess some of us are just too long winded:

    Andruw Jones? This is an ex-Dodger I really don't care about. What a waste of money on a guy who had no respect for the Dodgers or for himself. He can fall off the planet as far as I am concerned. Dru – tub o' goo – and goo' riddance.

    About Ethier, I think you have it right Brooklyn. He has been trying to do much after we lost Manny. If he stays within himself, and I believe he will, he will start hitting again. I don't worry about him. Like I have said, I am not that concerned about our offense. We will have slumps, team and individual, but I think at the end of the year we should be fine.

  26. Voldomer says:

    OK, I'll be the odd man out. I liked the bunt move, and it should have resulted in a run and thus the lead. Players kept chocking with RISP, so Torre rolled the dice. It didn't work, of course, but it should have, and at least he tried something. It was late in the game, and one run would have been huge at that point. Also, it was nice to see the Dodgers execute a bunt play after all the Angels' failures in that regard.

  27. Badger says:

    I tried to make that point earlier Voldy, it went over like a bad rash.

    Lakers back-ups look lost out there. Vujecich is going to be out of a job soon.

  28. Mark_Timmons says:

    Well, I haven't weighed in on the subject, but in the situtaion we were in, it made no sense to have our best hitter bunt, but it also made no sense that Andre Ethier was hitting behind him, so what do I know?

  29. Mark_Timmons says:

    Tonight's Lineup:

    1. Pierre, LF

    2. Furcal, SS

    3. Hudson, 2B

    4. Ethier, RF

    5. Martin, C

    6. Loney, 1B

    7. Kemp, CF

    8. Blake, 3B

    9. Wolf, P

    I think Joe read my earlier post and is just trying to spite me. He is either a genius or an idiot!

  30. Mark_Timmons says:

    From Josh Rawitch on Joe Torre's pregame media session:

    On Kuroda: He'll go two more times and we'll look at him all the way back on that first homestand the beginning of the month. He may pitch in Albuquerque at some point. I'm not sure.

    On Schmidt: we can see the finish line, but its still going to be awhile.

    On Blake: I'm comfortable with Casey hitting 8th. He knows how to hit there.
    He never said a word to me about where he hits. I don't sense its an issue for him.

    On Mota: Mota was much better last night. They had him swinging his leg better. He's working at it.

    On Weaver: Weaver still not available tonight. We are going to hold off on Milton's bullpen until later in the game just in case we need him. If you see Milton throwing in the late innings it's his bullpen, he's not warming up.

    Furcal and Martin will rest tomorrow.

  31. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Concerning Wade, I'm not sure it's his stuff as much as it's been his control. Last year he was a strike throwing machine, but not so lately. His biggest problem last night was falling behind. Wade has never had the kind of stuff that allows for him to consistently pitch behind in the count. His shoulder might also be a factor. If the bursitis in his shoulder has become a chronic problem, then perhaps it will have to addressed surgically. But I'm not a doctor, so forget that last statement.

    I noticed above that I committed several typos that went unnoticed when I proofread my stuff. This of course brings me back to my earlier suggestion for a preview button. As one given to verbiage, the limit on the length of posts is a problem. But I'll muddle through.

  32. Mark_Timmons says:

    I just increased the line limit from 20 lines to 50 lines, so that should help and you can just use the edit button to correct typos. If you have problems with that, let me know.

  33. MrMagoo says:

    Am I crazy or has anyone ever seen Matt hit a curveball?

  34. Mark_Timmons says:

    Matt can hit MY curveball…

  35. Mark_Timmons says:

    Jason Schmidt lasted only 2.2 innings while giving up 5 hits and 2 ER tonight in AAA.

  36. Ken says:

    Schmidt left when hit in the head by a batted ball

  37. Mark_Timmons says:

    I told you that Ethier and Martin were pretty good! I knew it all along!
    ;)

  38. Badger says:

    There are a lot of crows that live in my neighborhood. I cannot eat them because I have been a vegetarian for 38 years. I think it can be said with conviction that Blake will not end the year with a .294 batting average, but with equal conviction I can say to this point I have been wrong about him.

    It's a long year, but, I sure hope he has found a home in our 8 hole.

    What edit button?

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