Categorized | Mark Timmons

A hero here, a hero there, everywhere a hero

A hero here, a hero there, everywhere a hero

June 7, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog – OK, that guy some of you are so fond of calling Mr. Softee, or whatever, came up big again, his second walkoff hit in less than 24 hours. But Ethier’s heroics aside, don’t overlook Cory Wade. He might have been the real hero of this one. He went six-up, six-downa against the Phillies in the 11th and 12th, all with his characteristic attacking of the strike zone, a trademark of Cory’s since he was in the low minors. Chad Durbin also went six-up, six-down after entering with two outs in the 10th, but Ethier was the seventh batter he faced. Wade never had to face a seventh batter.

Lauren Conrad and Brad Ausmus - Look at his Smile - Compliments of Dodgers.com

Lauren Conrad and Brad Ausmus - Look at the Smile - Compliments of Dodgers.com

Also, don’t lose sight of the fact that Hiroki Kuroda had an outstanding day, shutting out one of the league’s most dangerous lineups on two hits over six innings. I know that seems like a long time ago, and it was, but it also was a big part of this Dodgers victory. And once again, Ramon Troncoso came up big, as well, pitching around a one-out double by Chase Utley in the eighth to deliver two scoreless innings.

By the way, did anyone catch plate umpire Mike Winters, who was miked for Fox, dropping that F-bomb on Matt Kemp when Matty argued that called third strike to end the 10th? My GUESS, and this is only a guess because the sound coming from Matty was muffled (he wasn’t miked), but it’s possibly that Matty said, “Are you f—ing kidding me?” Because what I KNOW I heard Winters say was, “I’m not f—ing kidding.”

And just for the record, I was at an actual gym last night, burning actual calories. I have only been to The Gym, that little establishment down the street, one time. That was the night I went there with what I thought was an airtight plan: I would have dinner with Brewers PR guy Mike Vassallo, one of my closest friends in the game, and then have a couple of after-dinner drinks with Mark and Roger Dodger. Well, right around the time Mikey and I put in our orders, the story broke that Manny was close to an agreement with the Dodgers. I got up and left the table about 15 times over the next hour, stuffing occasional bites of pizza into my mouth in the brief spans of time in between all those calls. After Mikey and I finished eating (we had barely spoken), we paid the check, and I told Mark and Roger Dodger, who were sitting in the bar area, that I wouldn’t be able to stick around like we had planned. I think they understood. Once again, I HAVEN’T BEEN BACK SINCE.

Dodgers go to 39-19, a season-high 20 games above .500. Giants losing 2-0 in the fifth at the Fish. Also, this clinches the season series for the boys against the world champs. Dodgers have now won four of six from the Phillies, with tomorrow night’s game the last meeting of the year … or at least until October.

96 Responses to “A hero here, a hero there, everywhere a hero”

  1. Voldomer says:

    Soft? Yes, I seem to remember someone using that label for Ethier. Now, who was it . . .? ;-)

  2. Mark_Timmons says:

    OK, I can take it. I am the only one who called him Mr. Softee and he sure made me eat crow the last two days.

    Iike it.

    I love it.

    I want some more of it!

  3. Michael says:

    "that's his sixth walk-off in the last two seasons, more than anyone else in baseball." – Josh from Inside the Dodgers

  4. SpokaneBob says:

    Thanks to Fox, we got the Twins and Mariners instead of the two teams with the best records in the National League. I would think Lawdog got the same.

    Tony, we share the same last name. You may be a long lost cousin. :)

    Great to see Andre getting back in the grove.

  5. BillRussell says:

    What can we do with Russell Martin? A few days off in a row might be the answer. What can you say about Raffy coming off the bench to tie the game after his counterpart almost lost it for us. What was Castro thinking by getting picked off 2nd base?
    It's nice seeing Mark eat that dish of crow, try a little seasoning with it, the feathers will go down easier.

  6. DRomo says:

    Mark has a short memory he will call Ethier soft in about a week if he doesn't hit 2 homers a day. Yet he will love LaRoche forever. Seriously Mark I think that ship has sailed. But Martin…ouch… he is brutal right now. I say he needs some serious time off. He should worry about being a defensive catcher as he does his hair. He should worry about making contact & not swinging out of his ass as much as he does his facial hair. Quite frankly the guy is a mess right now. Mental mistakes are unacceptable. His at bat in the 9th with runners on 1st and 2nd was pathetic!

    He can do better and we should expect better.

  7. mark says:

    Martin is the new Mr. Softee!

  8. lawdog says:

    Yeah Bob, I was "blacked out" just like you.

    I guess Fox didn't bring the game to our homes because the M's were an alternate for their game of the week for the rest of the world (Dogs vs, Phils).

    MLB extra innings didn't carry it over here either since Fox had it I guess. For the life of me I can't figure out how MLB Extra Innings decides to drop which teams from coverage on any given night (or day) but I do get to see about 85% of the Dodger games. I was reduced to sitting in front of a blank computer screen watching Gameday bring me the game with it's funky little illustrations.

    I could still see that towering shot by Mr. SofTee go thundering over the center field fence in my mind's eye. Wait until SofTee gets the chance to hit in front of Manny again in July.

  9. Blue Haze says:

    The headline should read:

    Mr. Softie makes Mark hard

  10. mark says:

    Andre Ethier – he's our man

    Hero of Dodger Nation

    For his adventures just be sure

    To stay tuned to this station!

  11. RT of D.C. says:

    Is Ausmus that girl's father?

    Edwin Jackson anyone? and to the Angels!! Hit that , Rexie.

  12. CaptainLoose says:

    I think Martin, just like Ethier, will be fine. It's still the first week of June, all players and all teams go through ups and downs. Give Russell a little time to get it together. It's not like he is hitting .220. Last year in July he hit .266 with a .355 OBP and in August he hit .233. Right now he is hitting .251 with a .361 OBP. Yes, his strike-outs are up a bit, but, I am not going to worry about him. He will come around.

    Kemp got called out on a close pitch that I thought was outside. He is being schooled not to chase breaking balls, but, in a situation like that he needs to protect the plate. He is long enough to reach out there and either foul that off or stroke it to right. But, you cannot let the ump take the bat out of your hand. In two other at bats he came close to extra bases. Tough 0fer for him.

    We know how you really feel about Ethier Mark. You have been clear on it for a long time now. I feel the same way about Blake. The difference of course is, both Blake and Ethier will do what they always do, only Ethier is young and getting better at it and Blake is, well, not.

  13. CaptainLoose says:

    (continued – again too long)

    I thought Werth caught that ball. And, if you ask him, given another shot at it he would. Great clutch hit by Furcal.

    We are finding ways to win. It's ugly at times, but, who cares. I'll take 'em.

  14. Roger Dodger says:

    Mark, Russell Martin is way beyond "Mr. Softee" playing. He has become more of the out man in tough situations. We all want him to grow up, play within himself. Stop trying to be something he is not.

    Overall, he has lost concentration behind the plate. O-lay some pitches that go for wild pitches against the pitcher. He has thrown more balls into center field than the entire league. He cannot bunt when it is called for. BUT — he does have that HARD-UPPER CUT SWING down pat. He is swinging as hard as The Babe-Ted-Klu-Frank-Mickey-Duke-Albert all rolled into one — when he should be looking at David Eckstein as a model. He just needs to learn (at this late date in his career) to move runners along, singles all over the park, bunt in the right situation, and stop trying to hit his first HR of the season.

    Ausmus needs to see some more playing time.

    So there is Clutch, softee, and now "Martinize" playing.

    • PenosCabell says:

      Roger Dodger – I couldn't agree more. We'll never see the Russell Martin we saw two seasons ago. He needs to realize he is a contact hitter. Yes, David Eckstein should be the guy he hits like, not The Babe. And Joe Torre batting him fourth doesn't help him. In fact it's making the situation worse.

  15. CaptainLoose says:

    Russell Martin should be looking at David Eckstein as a model?

  16. lawdog says:

    Maybe Martin should look at the Lucas May model if he wants a little good old fashioned fear motivation.

  17. CaptainLoose says:

    Look, Russell Martin needs to be Russell Martin. He is a decent hitter that is trying to do something that is not in his best interest. Mattingly must be able to see this if I can. Hitters sometimes get into bad habits, and it looks to me like Martin is trying to pull everything. The remedy for that is to start going the other way and hitting line drives back through the box. It is amazing when you try to do that and the line drives find the left field gap. That remedy has been around since Babe Ruth was a minnow.

    Another thing, why didn't Martin bunt last night? It was a bunt situation and he should have attempted it until he had two strikes on him. Everybody should be able to lay one down, you do it every single day in batting practice since Little League.

    Martin needs to relax and let the game come to him. I am confident Mattingly will get this thing worked out.

  18. Ken says:

    Pierre – Rest him once a week in June (Thank you MLB June schedule)
    Furcal – Rest him twice a week in June
    Hudson – Rest him every other day this month until he reaches the Mendoza line for June
    Loney – He is hot again
    Blake – Rest him twice a week in June
    Either – He is hot again
    Kemp – At least 2 of those pitches that were called strikes were balls. His results are much better than remembered
    Martin – Bat him 8th – His reaction time is SO SLOW – Rest him twice a week
    Bring up another infielder for June

    Torre played the regulars TOO much in May and he had better rest them in June or the Dodgers will pull a DBack collapse

  19. BillRussell says:

    Here's my best Andy Rooney impersonation
    Why are players getting so tired these days playing 3 hours a day, 6 days a week? 50% of that time is sitting on the bench while they are batting. And the other half, excluding catchers and pitchers, are standing in the field waiting for someone to hit them a ball. It's not like they are running up and down the court for 48 minutes like in the NBA. There's a lot of travel involved but a MLB baseball players should know about this when they sign up. They take time to suit up each day and go over scouting reports on the opposing pitching staff. They shag balls before the game and a few minutes of batting practice each day. Most of us would die for they're schedule. Doesn't postal workers pretty much have the same schedule? Why are Professional Athletes being pampered so much these days? Maybe they need time to spend their money.

  20. DRomo says:

    Martin is better than what he is showing right now. His at bats are just horrible.I am no hitting coach but , dude. His swings are way too big! He pulls off pitches and looks like he is trying to hit everything to Pasadena.

    When you are struggling you should look the other way. Or focus on going back up the middle with everything. Martin came up yesterday with runners at 1st & 2nd and no outs.. He made a weak attempt at a sac bunt and then had a perfect chance to goo the other way and at least move the runners over. He was getting fastballs and sliders away (perfect opposite field stuff) and was trying to yank one! WTF!! That shows me his head wasn't in it or he was trying too hard to the heroe instead of a team player. He needs to get right soon.

    Martin is one of my favorite players but he has NO BUSINESS on the All-Star team this year. Maybe this reality check will do him good.

  21. mark says:

    1. Russell Martin certainly is not hitting like he is capable. That is obvious! I may even call him Mr. Softee.

    2. I constantly hear that our pitching staff needs help with starters and relievers – THAT'S WHAT MOST OF YOU SAY!

    3. But we have the lowest ERA in all of baseball. ALL OF BASEBALL! 3.57!!!!

    4. By everyones own admission, we have pitchers who cannot throw strikes and the stats bear that out – we have the most Wild Pitches in baseball!

    5. We have the fewest passed balls.

    6. Russ Martin has the LOWEST Catchers' ERA in baseball! 3.33

    7. Brad Ausmus CERA is 5.03.

    8. Martin has allowed 28 SB and caught 15. Benji Molina has allowed 41 SB and caught 11.

  22. mark says:

    9.. Andre Ethier's value to the team is his hitting. Even if Russ Martin does not hit, he is agruably the best catchers in baseball!

    10. Martin has been in more games than any other catcher.

    11. Sit Russ Martin and we lose!

    12. No matter how he hits, you have to respect Russ Martin – he is the best defensive and signal calling catcher in ALL of baseball.

    13. Maybe Tony can give more insight, but I know that pitches love to pitch to Russ Martin.

    I rest my case!

  23. Mark_Timmons says:

    Romo,

    There will be at least 2 catchers on the All-Star Team. Look over the stats and you will see there are not many who are more deserving. I would think he would get more credit for his CERA and defense.

  24. Mark_Timmons says:

    A week ago, Andre Ethier looked even worse than Martin, now he's on fire.

    Give it time.

  25. DRomo says:

    Martin is a very good defensive catcher in spite of his lack of mechanics. He does not field the ball technically correct. He gets by on raw talent. (You are not supposed to back hand balls behind the plate for example). He is VERY good. Yadier Molina is a excellent defensive catcher. Brian McCann is pretty solid too. I put Martin right up there with them and maybe better when you factor both hitting and defense. But Mark if you go on defense ALONE, Russ has a tendency to get lazy and I think Molina is a much better pure defensive catcher.

    The difference between Martin & Ethier is when Ethier struggles at the plate his defense is still top notch.

    This year Martin should stay home. McCann and Molina should be All Stars. Especially with the game being in St. Louis. Martin could use the rest and the ego check.

  26. DRomo says:

    I love MArtins game. I love him on our team. I just have no patience for mental mistakes. He is better than this. He will turn it around but like you have said before Mark, I have to speak the truth!

  27. lawdog says:

    I think we are witnessing the gradual erosion in skills, premature though it might well be, of what used to be the best catcher in baseball. In years past, Martin would start strong and then fade slowly after the All Star break. The guy you loved to see coming up with runners on in May makes you want to cover your eyes in July. It's getting so I hate to see him come up now in clutch situations the same way Mark used to hate seeing Ethier come up in similar situations.

    For whatever reason, Martin didn't jump out to a .350 average in May like we're used to seeing. He started fairly well and started fading at about .285. He is now mediocre at best with the bat–plummeting below .250. I predict that unless he is rested and moved out of key batting slots, he'll be Mendoza material by the middle of August.

    You expect to see catchers peak when the are young and then fade much faster than an ordinary position player. But Martin has faded way too fast. Like he's gone from age 25 to 35 in 3 years. I don't know why this is happening but it is.

    Rumor has it that amphetemines have been more of a problem for the players than 'roids ever were and the players are not being tested for it. I can imagine that the rumor is most likely true. Having to play almost every day for six months and spend half the time flying your butt all over the US every 3rd or 4th day would be exhausting. Come late July and August, ups before game time and downs to sleep would be an easy pattern to fall into for aging players–or players with particularly exhausting positions like catcher. Trouble with speed is that while it enhances performance in the short run, it isn't long before it adversely effects what you're doing although you feel good doing it.

    I'm thinking our man Martin might be exhibiting signs of using speed or Ritalin. His rocky start this year just has him going to the greenie jar early this year and thus, no peak before the fade while he furiously plays on.

    I'm probably going to get lynched for suggesting it, but maybe we've already seen Martin's best days with the bat and we might want to trade him if he'll fetch someone like Peavy. We've got several guys in the minors who are looking good with bat and glove who are listed as catchers. Maybe we need to consider throwing Martin into a package with some surplus minor league all stars to fetch the ace which would complete our staff. The trend he's shown would indicate that might be the smartest move we can make.

    In the meantime, for the sake of all that's holy Joe–stop batting Russell Martin in the cleanup slot. Move him to 7th or 8th in the line up so he can relax. Buy him a script for Xanax and let the wonders of modern medicine do their job!

  28. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    "No matter how he hits, you have to respect Russ Martin – he is the best defensive and signal calling catcher in ALL of baseball."

    I hope the above wasn't a serious remark. It's not anywhere near reality. Without examining closely the defensive stats for every catcher in the game, the catcher that comes to mind as being the best defensively is Yadier Molina. Here are his stats vs. Martin:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/molin

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/marti

    In fact, Molina is even an offensive plus. His hitting over the past few years has shown significant improvement over the player who hit .216 in 2006. He hardly ever strikes out, and has a 48% success rate throwing out runners for his CAREER. Martin may have more upside offensively, but it could be easily argued that Molina is the better overall package. Theyre even about the same age, with Molina being 7 months older.

  29. Roger Dodger says:

    As has been pointed out, Torre has patience with players, and is doing that with Martn. Maybe he figures rather than punishing him to #8 in the order — to slap him out of it by having him hit higher.

    Years ago, some team had a great catcher, that was just a .250 hitter or below. Same with SS's. Then Ripken, Jeter, A-Rod, Bench and Pizza came long and people expected even those positions to hit HR, RBIs, Average, and be the great SS or Catcher. With Russell, we are presently getting neither.

    So let us see just how Torre will handle him now.

    Badger, I mentioned David Eckstein as a model — in that the Eckster . . . gets more out of his abilities than just about anyone in baseball today. Martin has many abilities, but is not getting what he should of of what he has.

    Say Mark, your long list of Martin's abilities above — are you saying he is just about your favorite player???

  30. Mark_Timmons says:

    Hey,

    Does anyone here comprehend English? You are telling me how bad Martin is, his mechanics are bad and yet he has the best CERA in all of baseball and it is 2 Runs Per Game below Ausmus!

    Hello, talk about ignoring the facts….

    Roger,

    Andre Ethier is my favorite player.

    Billy,

    5 PB? Smeone better tell MLB because Russ only has 1.

    Hello,

    Are you guys the same guys who malign our pitching staff and then the catcher who catches the staff you say needs help has them with the best ERA in baseball?

  31. Mark_Timmons says:

    Lawdog,

    Catchers get beat up and it's a tough position to play. Look at Soto, he was the All-Star C last year an is now hitting .211 with 13 RBI.

    You guys are way off base about Martin!

  32. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I posted not too many minutes ago regarding Mark's statement that Russell Martin was the best defensive catcher in "ALL" of baseball. That post seems to have disappeared (at least, I can't find it). I offered the following comparison stats from baseball-reference.com.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/molin

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/marti

    I argued that Molina could rationally be considered the better complete package behind the plate. He has thrown out 48% of would be base stealers in his CAREER, and has improved vastly as a hitter since hitting .216 in 2006. In fact, he hardly ever strikes out.

  33. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    (continued)

    If, as lawdog suggests, Martin could be traded for real value (it doesn't have to be Peavy), then it should be considered. A.J. Ellis is untested above the AAA level, and PCL hitting stats are always suspect. However, he appears to be a disciplined hitter (.430 OBP in 2008, and .451 OBP so far this year), and he can definitely throw. He threw out 43% of basestealers last year, and 30% so far this year. I also saw him cut down a couple of runners in a game during spring training. He certainly has the arm.

    If the value returned for Martin were significant, I wouldn't hesitate to play Ellis everyday, backed up by Ausmus. By no means am I suggesting that Ellis alone replacing Martin is an even swap. However, I am suggesting that it could work if the player (or players) returned in the deal for Martin, in tandem with Ellis, made this a better overall team.

  34. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    (further contnued)

    Is it just me, the new Windows Explorer 8, or is it this website? Scrolling in this comment box, is to say the least, erratic. When I scroll to the bottom of the box it suddenly pulls me back up to the top. At times, no only does the text in the box move, but occasionally so does the entire webpage, for no apparent reason. Suffice to say, these erratic movements make proof reading my remarks more than a little difficult (impossible, is a better choice of words). As I've noted before, a preview button would be welcome.

  35. Mark_Timmons says:

    You know, I suugested that we might trade Martin, but just look at our staff ERA and his CERA – IT IS AMAZING!

    On backhanding a ball: I'd like to see ANY catcher move fast enough on a 97 MPH fastball to do anything except backhand it!

  36. Mark_Timmons says:

    My God, EVERYDAY I read on this blog how bad our pitching is and WE ARE #1 in all of baseball in ERA with 3.57 and when our backup catcher plays our team ERA is 5.02 and Martin is a bum?

    You guys are crazy if you think that!

  37. lawdog says:

    I recognize that it's the toughest position to play and I recognize Martin as having been one of the best both offensively and defensively. I only suggested we might want to consider trading him now because it appears to me that over the last two years anyway his skills have been in a gradual state of decline. I suggested we consider trading him now if we're going to ever consider it at all because I think his value is going to continue to decline in the future.

    I suggested the possible use of stimulants only because it is widespread in the league, there is n o testing going on for them and Martin skills have historically faded as the season progressed. I notice now that when he hits he swings harder than ever and he has yet to hit a home run and has an average in free fall under .260 in June. The hard swings and unusual offensive failures for him make me wonder if maybe he is using.

    Anyway, I wouldn't have considered trading him for anything short of the second coming of Bob Gibson until recently. NOw, of the "Fab 4", he's the one I'd consider trading first because right now he is a very good defensive catcher and mediocre hitter who has been an all star in all the years he's played in the past. His value will never be higher and he will never be more easily replaced.

    Still, I don't trade him unless it's for Peavey or comparable #1 pitcher who's not about to be a free agent or have his arm fall off. Hopefully he'll get some rest, regroup and come back to his all star batting again. Do we want him if he's hitting .220 and we could trade him for a stud pitcher?

  38. Ken says:

    BR

    Idealistically you are correct, but baseball players are generally the most out of shape "athletes" in any sport except bowling. To me a rest day includes an off day. If they need a day off they should not be allowed to play golf.

    Mark
    Martin needs more days off or am I the only person who sees him recetly react to the location of the pitch much much later than the batter?

  39. BruinFBBB says:

    So you want to trade a slumping all-star catcher and hand over the reigns to an unproven AAA catcher for a team trying to win the world series?

    That is as insane as benching Furcal…

    The Dodgers need to both of those guys to get going if they want to do some serious damage in the playoffs and benching and/or trading them is not going to make that happen…

  40. Mark_Timmons says:

    Did I mention that Russ Martin has the best Catchers' ERA in all of baseball?

    WE must have a staff of All-Stars right?

  41. lawdog says:

    A slump is one thing. But when it's been going on for the better part of two seasons it's really much more than a slump. It's a pattern of diminishing skills. Fading abilities. Or possibly, the use of recreational pharmacuticals?

  42. lawdog says:

    The other thing to consider:

    We're about to get into big money to retain the services of Martin. This might be the best time to decide whether we're going to fish or cut bait with him while most teams looking for a catcher will still think of him as a rising young star that's been in a little slump. Maximize his value. Trade him for Carlos Santana and a young stud pitcher about to emerge from the minors. ;)

  43. Mark_Timmons says:

    Now, since you are all say how bad Martin is doing, and how great Ethier is, let's look at their 3 year splits:

    Bases Loaded – Ethier .333 (.417 OB%) Martin (.390/.423 OB%) – Martin wins

    Runners On – Ethier .218 (.328 OB%) Martin .295 (.390 OB%) – Martin wins

    Runners in Scoring Position – Ethier .233 (.359 OB%) Martin .283 (.398 OB%) – Martin Wins

    Scoring Position with 2 Outs – Ethier .206 (.341 OB%) Martin .281 (.409 OB%) – Martin Wins

    WANT MORE?

  44. Mark_Timmons says:

    Errosion of skills?

    HA!

  45. CaptainLoose says:

    Martin a two year slump? I am not aware of that. He has a career .281 avg.. Last year he hit .280. Where's the two year slump? He is only 26, won't reach his prime for another year or so, and look what he has accomplished.

    I am telling you guys, he just needs to relax and stop trying to jack everything. Get a good pitch to hit, keep your bat behind your hands and drive it back through the box. A couple of hits like this, the confidence comes back and he does what he does. He is not a HR hitter and will never have a .900 OPS. He is what he is – a great defensive catcher and a decent hitter with a good OBP. I'll take him any freakin' day.

    I think somebody is confusing passed balls with wild pitches. In the few games I have seen our pitchers are working each side of the plate in the dirt with regularity. Those are tough pitches to catch.

    How come ldawg can make those long posts and the rest of us have to break ours up?

  46. BruinFBBB says:

    Skills don't diminish at the age of 26. Period.

    So think of something else. Call it injuries that we don't know about, call it other team's adjusting and Russ not being able to counter-adjust, call it a slump, call if fatigue, call it concentrating on defense, call it off the field distractions….it could be any number of a billion things…

    But its not diminishing skills @ age 26…

    • BruinFBBB says:

      Mark is right = b/c the fact is, with the catching position, (and with the other hitters on the team), the Dodgers don't depend on Russ to score runs..

      It would certainly be great if he was more productive offensively, but if he handles the pitching staff the way he has been, the rest is gravy…

  47. Mark_Timmons says:

    I knew that my feeble mind remembered Martin driving in MORE clutch runs and it turns out I was right!

  48. Mark_Timmons says:

    Ken,

    You say that Martin moves slowly, but his running is fine. He is stealing bases, etc. Do yiu think it has anything to do with the fact that we have a bunch of guys who throw 95-100 MPH who don't have great control? It's hard to move that quickly when you are expecting a low pitch and it is high. Romo said that Martin backhands balls and that is true because no one can move that quickly on a 98 MPH fastball in the dirt, but I still think Martin blocks pitches as good, probably better than anyone in baseball.

    And, no one has addressed my contention that our MLB Leading ERA is partly due to Russell Martin…

  49. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I must be missing something. Twice, comments that I wrote comparing Martin to Yadier Molina did not post. Maybe those comments were too long and I missed the message telling so. I posted stats from baseball-reference.com (I'm too busy right now to re-post the links, but they can be had at baseball-reference.com), and argued that Molina is clearly the better defensive catcher (has thrown out 48% of baserunners in his CAREER), and quite improved offensively since his .216 in 2006. Strikes out very little. Overall, he might be the better package behind the plate.

    I

  50. Mark_Timmons says:

    Now, for those who want to extoll Ethier over Martin this year, lets' consider their hitting in situations in 2009:

    Runners On – Ethier .218 (.328 OB%) Martin .247 (.364 OB%) – Martin Better

    Bases Loaded – Ethier .333 (.417 OB%) Martin .250 (333 OB%) – Ethier Better

    RISP – Ethier .233 (.359 OB%) Martin .258 (.395 OB%) – Martin Better

    RISP (2 Out) – Ethier .206 (.341 OB%) Martin .219 (.390 OB%) – Martin Better

    So, using the same analysis, Martin beats Ethier is 3 out of 4 categories, so Ethier has erroding skills too?

  51. Mark_Timmons says:

    Shouldn't Ethier be batting 8th before Martin using that rationale?

  52. Mark_Timmons says:

    The fact of the matter is that Martin and Ethier have both went through some tough times this year, but I think that both will be OK. By year end, I expect Ethier to be at .300 and Martin to be at .285.

    Today, my point is: RUSS MARTIN IS THE LEADER OF THIS PITCHING STAFF!

  53. DRomo says:

    Mark, __I think you are getting way too offended. You pride yourself in "calling it like it is" well what happened. Can't we do the same? Many folks are saying Martin is slipping a little. I wouldn't go as far as to accuse him of taking drugs or doing anything illegal but he is not the player he was RIGHT NOW. He may indeed improve, I hope he does. ____The CERA is a slanted stat anyway. Anybody who saw the last couple games & the rash of "wild pitches" knows that Martin could have kept half of those balls in front of him with proper positioning. Sure the stats will put it on the pitcher and the times Martin has backhanded balls in the dirt will never show up in the stat book some of you live by. Yesterdays "wild pitches" came when the ball went through Martin's legs…he only went down to 1 knee and didn't get his butt down to keep the ball out front.____Mark, Martin is no doubt tired and is getting beat up. We may be hyper-critical because he is our All Star. But If you look a little closer you'll see he has let down a little. Plenty of experts see it & plenty of us see it too.

  54. Mark_Timmons says:

    Romo,

    I am not offended. I just think you don't realize how hard it is to block a 96 MPH fastball in the low and away and in the dirt, especially when you are expecting it high and inside. WE WALK MORE BATTERS THAN ANY TEAM IN BASEBALL, so it seems logical that we would have more wild pitches.

    No player is perfect and I am sure he is beat up, but again, how do you position yourself for the wildness our staff of hard throwers brings?

  55. Mark_Timmons says:

    Romo,

    I am not offended. I just think you don't realize how hard it is to block a 96 MPH fastball that is low and away and in the dirt, especially when you are expecting it high and inside. WE WALK MORE BATTERS THAN ANY TEAM IN BASEBALL, so it seems logical that we would have more wild pitches.

    No player is perfect and I am sure he is beat up, but again, how do you position yourself for the wildness our staff of hard throwers brings?

  56. Mark_Timmons says:

    OK, here's more:

    Martin has caught the most innings, has the most total chances, most put outs, most assists, most double plays, 1 Passed Ball, 2 Errors and we complained about his throwing last year which was 24%, so he raised it to 35% this year.

    I know some people like to say CERA is slanted, but no one has adequately explained how it is to me (except that they can't prove what they want to prove).

    Again, those of you who have "Slammed" our pitching, why not give Martin some props?

  57. Mark_Timmons says:

    Tonights Lineup:

    1. Pierre, LF
    2. Hudson, 2B
    3. Ethier, RF
    4. Blake, 3B
    5. Loney, 1B
    6. Kemp, CF
    7. Furcal, SS
    8. Ausmus, C
    9. Wolf, P

    I like this lineup – everyoneis hitting in the right spot (for now).

    Let's not forget how BIG Raffy's HR was last night!

  58. lawdog says:

    All of the fab 4 are streaky hitters. Catch stats when one of them is in a slump and you'll get a result that makes them look worse than they really are overall. Loney, Ethier and Kemp pull out of their streaks and lift their averages again so all appears right with the world again for them

    Martin isn't like that. Over the years I've watched him he comes out like gangbusters in the spring tearing the cover off the ball. Then as the season wears on he goes into a "rest of the season slump" sometime after the all star break. Every year the slump starts sooner and he winds up with a lower overall average than the year before. This is the first season he didn't start the season on fire and he's started his season ending fade in late May. He's done tuckered out. The pattern is the same year after year. This year he started fading at about .280 and is already down around .250. Years past he starts his fade hitting around .320 and ends up around .280? That sounds about right without going to look at the stats. This year his fade should take him down to about .210 to .220. That's Mendoza City with no home runs to boot.

    Ellis is a year older than Martin and though he's no power threat he hit .320 at AAA last season and he's hitting .325 this year. He's sort of a pre-'roid LoDuca. He's ready now. If someone is going to give him a chance this is the time to do it. He's just wasting his life in the minors. His knees only have so many squats in them–just like Martin's.

  59. Mark_Timmons says:

    I think Ellis will be a good backup catcher. Not sure he is a MLB starter, but you never know. He is good.

    I would say that past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Martin is having hitting issues right now, but like Ethier, a few good AB's and he's out of it.

  60. lawdog says:

    I think you can trust your gut to a large extent when you watch a team almost every game over the course of a few consecutive seasons. I used to get a feeling of anticipation when Martin came up with runners in scoring position. No more. Now I'm sure he's going to hit into the inning ending double play or strike out. My gut feelings as I'm watching the game usually prove to be right. When Ethier was struggling I'd cover my eyes when he came to hit. When he hit in front of Manny last year I knew in my gut he'd get that big hit.

    Until recently I'd get that "all is lost" feeling when Ethier would come up. Turns out he was in a slump. Last two years I'd get that "all is lost" feeling once Martin would go into his "rest of the season fade"

    This year, I've already got that rest of the season fade feel for Martin, and that ain't good! It's harder for a catcher to pull out of a slump once their exhausted and beaten down from playing so many games. How many times have you seen Martin come out of a slump after June? It ain't gonna happen unless he gets some real rest and strengthens his endurance.

    I think if we're going to keep him long term we should look for another position for him. When a catcher's endurance starts going south, it's likely only going to continue getting worse as time passes unless he changes his lifestyle to increase his strength and endurance levels.

  61. lawdog says:

    Badger–the longer post limits only come with a clean life style and a showing of proper respect for that Great Big Dodger in the Sky.

  62. Voldomer says:

    I think both sides have good points here–Martin clearly is struggling at the plate, but defensively he is doing the job. Nobody expected the pitching to be anywhere near this good, and Martin has to get some credit for that, as does Ausmus. So must Honeycutt. I'm not sure the sample size of Ausmus' games is enough to base much on his CERA, but Martin's is. I think it would do a world of good, though, for Martin to get even more time off. Also, why not slide him to 3B occasionally with Blake hurting (unless, of course, the powers that be think that contributed to throwing problems last year)?

    That said, Martin CANNOT be traded during the season. His defense and stability for the pitchers are too important. This isn't 2006–with the current team, his offense is just a bonus.

    Mark makes a good point about the wildness of the pitchers. Also, I suspect the team ERA would be much, much worse without the defensive gems Hudson and Kemp seem to pull off nightly.

    With Furcal batting lower in the lineup today, why not just put him 9th like Torre did for a while with Pierre?

  63. BillRussell says:

    Here's my best Andy Rooney impersonation
    Why are players getting so tired these days playing 3 hours a day, 6 days a week? 50% of that time is sitting on the bench while they are batting. And the other half, excluding catchers and pitchers, are standing in the field waiting for someone to hit them a ball. It's not like they are running up and down the court for 48 minutes like in the NBA. There's a lot of travel involved but a MLB baseball player should know about this when they sign up. They take time to suit up each day and go over scouting reports on the opposing pitching staff. They shag balls before the game and a few minutes of batting practice each day. Most of us would die for they're schedule. Doesn't postal workers pretty much have the same schedule? Why are Professional Athletes being pampered so much these days? Maybe they need time to spend their money.

  64. BruinFBBB says:

    Its a really good thing that the Dodgers have the best record in baseball and a comfortable division lead. This affords them the luxury of letting Russ work it out.

    Did I mention that the Dodgers have the best record in baseball and a comfortable division lead? This is not the time to panic and drastically alter the club based on the "trends" of a guy that has been in the majors for four years…

  65. Ken says:

    Mark

    Martin – Women weaken legs – What part of his legs are weak these days? Yes those parts that are used for you know what.

    When Martin calls for a breaking pitch and the pitch is thrown directly at him, before it breaks, HE DOES NOT begin to move his feet until the ball breaks. Where is his MIND? See above!

  66. BillRussell says:

    Mark, you're sliding off the track now. Ethier is rock hard now and Martin needs some time off, not a trip to the Allstar game. Defense? He had a hand in 5 passed balls that set a club record the other night. Not all his fault but he could have prevented some. The announcers yesterday stated that he make a lazy attemp on another passed ball. He's trying to pull everything and I would have to assume that Mattingly has tried working with him since this problem didn't just pop up yesterday. Because of his passed Allstar appearances, maybe he's not so easy to work with right now. I've heard that about him. If he doesn't play we don't win? Ausmus can play defense, that's why we was brought in I thought. Ausmus was to help Russell become a better defensive catcher.

  67. Mark_Timmons says:

    For whatever reason, this is a bad hitting year for catchers. Check this out:

    Varitek .247
    Castro .235
    Snyder .234
    Laird .234
    Iannetta .231
    Kendall .216
    Navarro .206
    Zaun .205
    Sota .204
    Shoppach .202
    Blanco .197

    We ain't go no stinkin' problems with our catchers!

  68. Ken says:

    I agree a great lineup today

    Yes the Dodgers need another infielder, see above, and 12 pitchers during the rest of June where they have 4 days off the rest of June plus July 2nd.

  69. Mark_Timmons says:

    Ken,

    If women are his problem, that will wear off…

    In about 40 years!

  70. Ken says:

    Maybe Chewing tabacco relieves the symptoms of ADD and now that he quit the chew he can only think of one think at a time.

  71. lawdog says:

    Mitchell Jones just whacked his 18th home run in the first inning of the AAA Isotopes game. He's hit one every night for the last 3 or 4 nights and raised his average about 20 points in the last month to .282.

    But he's 29 years old. It's a shame. He's ready to come up and be a home run machine, but he's never going to break into our line up. He deserves to be traded so he doesn't just spin his wheels in his prime years as a minor leaguer.

  72. Ken says:

    Maybe the Dodgers should draft a Catholic Catcher who has taken a vow of celibacy. Was Pizza ever tired?

    Mark

    The Dodgers are 6-2 when Ausmus starts. Too bad he had to catch McDonald and Stults on their off days to create a meaningless stat like CERA. Martin is not calling the pitches, Torre is.

    You should enter the "Biggest Fan" Part 4 contest so that you can be on the advertsing signs in LA. Hope Frank doesn't have to rent any boards from that Angel guy. All of the people who have blogs should be allowed to enter the contest.

  73. Mark_Timmons says:

    Did I ever mention that I own the following URL?

    http://www.LAlakerTalk.com

  74. Mark_Timmons says:

    Did I ever mention that I own the following URL?

    http://www.LAlakerTalk.com

  75. Mark_Timmons says:

    The Phillies and the Dodgers both has leadoff SS who are "underperforming."

  76. Ken says:

    DeWitt did not play on Fri or Sat. Maybe he was to be recalled and the Dodgers just had to decide which pitcher to move.

    The Dodgers have their own Bastardo pitcher 3.08 at Inland Empire

    The Padres have used all of their relievers through the 14th against the DBacks

    Kemp Sun glasses???

  77. Mark_Timmons says:

    Kemp does not like sunglasses for some reason…

    I know he lost that ball in the sun.

  78. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    As much as I like Matt Kemp, and as much talent as he has, it drives me crazy when he wears his sunglasses on the top of the bill of his cap. Well, today he took it a step furhter, not wearing sunglasses at all. Where I ask, is the Dodgers coaching staff?

  79. Mark_Timmons says:

    Ken,

    I don't put much stock in Ausmus CERA, because it's a small sampling, but Martins' 3.33 CERA has to be noticed. He has caught more pitches than anyone in baseball.

    By my count, 9 of our 12 pitchers can hit 95 or higher. Thems some power arms!

  80. Mark_Timmons says:

    Andy LaRoche .301

    Casey Blake .286

    Badger, you are looking good!

    • Michael says:

      This may be a little late, but Joe finally has it correct. Furcal in the 7 hole and the catcher hitting 8th. Martin would rip it up hitting 8th. Can hardly believe Andy La. Good for him. Andre is up for the trifecta. Little Joe is unbearable. Have no fear [Underdog is here], this IS our year. You need to :} Out!

  81. CaptainLoose says:

    "Runners in Scoring Position – Ethier .233 (.359 OB%)"

    Mark, where are you getting your stats? No wonder you have been down on Ethier. Those numbers are way off.

    His three year splits WRISP – .304 .390 OBP .886 OPS

    Last year as a 26 year old WRISP – .328 .426 OBP and .967 OPS

    Oh, wait, now I see. Instead of using last year, and his 3 year splits, you are using this year up until the first week of June.

    I'll bet I could search and find a month in Albert Pujols career that would make him look soft as a box of Krispy Kremes.

    Like I have been trying to tell you for years now, Ethier is money. He is just now coming into his most productive years and he is ours. I don't trade him for anybody – and that includes the $52,000,000 man.

  82. Mark_Timmons says:

    Badger,

    Here is where I got it :
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?play

    I went back and the stats I posted first were right on Martin (3 year splits) but were just 2009 on Ethier. Here's Ethier's 3 year splits:

    Bases Loaded: .233 (.316 OB%) – Martin was .390 & .423 – Martin Still Wins

    Runners On: .294 (.368 OB%) – Martin was .295 and .390 – Martin Still Wins

    RISP: .304 (.390 OB%) – Martin was .283 and .398 so Ethier Wins (but not by much)

    RISP (2 out): .258 (.404 OB%) Martin was .281 and .409, so Martin Still wins.

    Now I am going to give you ACTUAL RBI's in the following situations:

    Bases Loaded: Ethier 23 Martin 49

    Runners On: Ethier 170 Martin 197

    RISP: Ethier 151 Martin 164

    RISP (2 Out): Ethier 58 Martin 62

    Want More?

  83. Mark_Timmons says:

    I knew in the 6th that Wolf should come out…

    3 Runs Later Torre Figures it out!

  84. Mark_Timmons says:

    What a block on Bryant by the Turk!

  85. Mark_Timmons says:

    Eric Milton has went on the DL with a strained back and Blake DeWitt as recalled. Looks like Stults will be back in the rotation soon.

    DeWitt is insurance for Blakes' hammy…

  86. Mark_Timmons says:

    Book it!

    Lakers Win!

  87. CaptainLoose says:

    Kobe was fouled twice on that play – slap on the forearm by Lewis, and body contact by Howard.

    Lakers in 6. Shoot, maybe 5. I think Orlando should win 1 in Florida – shouldn't they?

    Howard is the best I have ever seen at moving screens. Kobe was off tonight, and still they win.

    Hope you get back to exercise quickly mover. I have been doing a lot of hiking, and some lifting, but it gets harder to stay with it after so many years. I am really slowing down.

    Wasn't the Dogs night. They looked flat.

  88. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I'm still trying to figure out this Blake/LaRoche thing. Is anyone complaining that we included LaRoche in the deal for Manny?

    It was actually the Blake deal that upset me. He could have been had w/o surrendering Carlos Santana if the Dodgers had been willing to pick up the remaining $2 million on his contract last year. Teams give larger bonuses to untested amateurs, whereas Santana was a young professional perfoming at a high level.

    I also don't understand Mark's argument that 96 mph fastballs in the dirt are difficult to handle. No kidding. But Martin is a big league catcher, and they're supposed to be able to handle those pitches most of the time. I'm more than a little certain that they would have been handled by Yadier Molina, who is definitely a better defensive catcher than Martin, and a much improved hitter. Watching Martin lately, it's clear that he has on more than a few occasions attempted to backhand some of those pitches, which is clearly the wrong technique, and a sign of either laziness or fatigue.

  89. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    (continued)

    I like Russell Martin, and there is no way I would trade him just for the sake of trading him. However, if the right deal came along that significantly strengthened the team in one or more areas, I would definitely consider such a deal. I won't go so far as to mention the players I would want to acquire, because the possiblilites are endless. Also, it would also depend on what other players were included in the deal, assuming it was some sort of package.

  90. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Maybe a deal for Martin could include Pierre in the package, with the acquiring team picking up the bulk of Pierre's contract. I refuse to be sucked in by Pierre's performance over the past month. While he's capable of hitting .400 for several weeks, he also capable of hitting .200 for several more. Martin or no Martin, the Dodgers should be looking to deal Pierre while he still has value.

  91. CaptainLoose says:

    Yes I am looking good Mark. Thanks. I have been getting some sun and exercising regularly.

    I choose not to look at a small window of work, rather what the players have done in the past and where they are in their careers. We have some young guys whose best years are in front of them. Martin, Ethier, Kemp and Loney are going to get better. In my world it is silly to look at a few weeks of work and think it means anything. I still say at the end of the year, all of these guys, including Russell Martin will have good numbers. Blake will do what he always does, but maybe not as many innings because his legs are older. If Furcal is actually healthy, I see him hitting .280. Hudson is a lifetime .284 hitter and in this lineup I think he will do better. When Manny gets back, I see this team taking off.

  92. Mark_Timmons says:

    Badger,

    I wish I could exercise. 15 more days until I go under the knife – new hip.

    1-1/2 Hr surgery.

    3 days in hospital

    2 weeks on crutches

    8 weeks rehab

    30 year joint

    Back to leaping tall buildings in a single bound!

  93. Mark_Timmons says:

    I have seen Martin look really bad when Belisario pitches. usually a catcher has an idea of where the ball is going to be, but since Belisario has no clue, I'm sure Martin doesn't either. I am not sure anyone can catch a pitch that they call to be high and inside and it's low and away… and 96 MPH with late movement. Molina is an excellent defensive catcher, but I don't believe he can get that ball without backhanding it either, unless he has an "S" on his chest!

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