Categorized | Mark Timmons

Double Steal

Double Steal

We got 2 for 1.  At least that’s what it looks like to me.  Not only did we get Manny Ramirez back (who looked like he han’t played for about 50 games), but it appears that he brought Rafael Furcal back with him.  What a great deal.  I mentioned that this was a possibility yesterday.  If Raffy hasn’t been hurt, then all he has to do is change his mindset (easier said than done).  But sometimes, an event like Manny’s return can help you develop a new mindset.  Manny didn’t hit, but the Dodgers felt his effects in the lineup.  Vin Scully keeps calling to Manny Ramirez-34have Andre hit 3rd (“he knocks the ball lopsided from the 3-spot when he sees fastballs ahead of Manny”), and says that when he hits behind Manny “he just another player (i.e., “he’s soft!”).”  I too have been calling for that.  Then we might get a 3 for 1 steal.  MEMO TO JOE:  Put Andre at #3 and Manny at #4 – you will double your pleasure!

Great Mannyism:  “We humans, we make mistakes…dere was only one man that was perfect, and dey keel him, so…that’s how I look at life.”  (stolen from Kensai @memoriesofkevinmalone.com)

Bill Plaschke of the LA Times writes:

The entire night was reminiscent of the constant scene around the San Francisco Giants several years ago.

A player was bigger than the game. A drug issue elicited more responses than the score. The buzz was initially interesting and fun, but later bulky and onerous.

On a night when Manny Ramirez was supposed to return as a shamed drug cheat, he actually created a stir befitting the greatest home run hitter in baseball history.

All you Dodgers fans who secretly coveted Barry Bonds?

You got him!

Rants & Raves

  • Russell Martin had 2 hits and 2 RBI, but the hits were more of the “seeing-eye” variety, which makes up for a game earlier in the week where he was robbed of a couple of hits on sharply hit balls.  Hopefully he can build on this.
  • It’s still April for Kuroda – give him time.
  • Our pen continues to shine.
  • We remain locked in a First Place tie with the Giants for the best ERA at 3.55.
  • Lincecum and Cain are the best 1,2 in the league right now, but after that, the Giants rotation gets “iffy.”  Randy Johnson is 44 and I would be amazed if he makes it through the season.  His ERA is 4.70 and he is not the power pitcher he once was.  Barry Zito has had a few good games, but for the most part has been marginal, at best.  His ERA is 4.84.  Their fifth starter is Sanchez who is 2-8 with a 5.30 ERA.  They have a few good arms in the pen, but I believe we are currently as good as they are – actually better!  Our depth is better.  I would argue that beyond Cain and Lincecum, none of their starters could crack our rotation.
  • Our #8 hitter is better than your #8 hitter. Matt Kemp is projected to hit .303 with 20 HR, 88 RBI, 22 Doubles, 10 Triples and 39 SB’s.  We must have one hell of a lineup!
  • The only thing keeping Dee Gordon at Low A is his defense.  He has about 600 errors, but is hitting .315 (.374 OB%)  with 42 SB’s after going 4-6 last night.  As I have mentioned before, he is raw, but incredibly talented.  Watch him grow over the next 1.5 years.  My question is “Will Raffy be a starter the last year of his contract?”

About Mark Timmons

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

48 Responses to “Double Steal”

  1. Badger says:

    I didn’t say I would send Kershaw down Mark. I said he would have started the year in AA or AAA with the intent to work on his pitches and get command. I said it over and over again. If it were up to me he would be here now, or soon, with having had to prove he could throw strikes, his arm ready for the rest of the regular season and a long post-season.

    Bills is averaging 6.6 per start and 110 pitches per start. Yes, that is not efficient and no, I would not send him down. He is 24, Kershaw is 21. I don’t know why the Dodger pitchers have so much trouble with control but I think the organization should address it. We have two pitchers that could both win 18-20 games if they could throw strikes. They are stopping themselves and there is really no excuse for it. This is the Big Leagues. By now you should be able to throw all your pitches for strikes. Hell I could throw strikes when I was pitcing at age 54 these guys should be able to do it.

    As for Manny hitting clean-up, I don’t think that is what he wants. Typically you have your best overall hitter in the three hole. Manny is our best hitter. Ethier would be fine in the two hole, but what would we do with Hudson? Ethier is just going to have to adjust, or be dropped in the order. We don’t really have a clean-up hitter. Kemp is the closest thing we have to one, and for some strange reason he is hitting 8th. I still don’t like that one, but, it’s Joe’s team.

    Right now, I would take Cain and Lincecum over Bills and Kuroda in a short series. And the Giant hitters are surprising the heck out of me. They are making some noise up there.

  2. Blue Haze says:

    Some rumors circulating in SF, that if the Giants keep winning, Bury Bonds could be invited in for a stretch run. Not my idea, but many radio show callers are pushing it. I don’t see it happening.

    It is logical that Manny should bat 4th and let the kid bat in front of him. Torre is no fool, he will assess the situation and make the switch if it helps the team. Besides, what the hell can Manny really say to him, if there were ever a time that a manger doesn’t have to kiss some star’s ass, it is now. Manny owes Joe, not the other way around.

    Looking forward: Manny won’t be opting out of his contract at the end of the season, who is going to pay him more, at this point in his “clean living” at bats?

  3. Blue Haze says:

    One more, Manny will get his first hit of this comeback in today’s game, book it! After what he didn’t do last night, the Padre pitchers will come right after him, which will prove to be a mistake, book it, Dano! (Jack Lord — Hawaii 5-0)

  4. Badger says:

    I would wait for a while before I make the judgment on whether Manny returns. If he finishes this year like he did last, there will be teams lining up for him. Catch 22 – if he hits well, we could win it all. If he hits well, we could lose him.

    I have mixed feelings about Manny at clean-up. I want him up in the first inning of every game. I also want him up with men on base. He would be our best clean-up guy, but he is also our best 3 hole guy. Whover hits behind him must be selective and ready to hit the pitchers best stuff because he is sure to get it.

  5. Mark Timmons says:

    I haven’t seen the stats, but according to Vin, Andre is incredible at #3 when Manny is behind him. I think Manny can hit anwhere, so why have a .330 hitter at #3 and a .260 hitter at #4, when you might have two .330 hitters if you flip-flopped them?

    Insofar as having him up in the first inning – if you have the real Raffy (which we saw last night), O-Dog and the Incredible Andre at #3, the odds are Manny will hit, and hit with runner(s) on base.

  6. Mark Timmons says:

    Here’s an interesting site – Cy Young Predictor.

    Lincecum is #2, Cain is #3, Billingsley is #5.

    Guess who is #1?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/features/cy

    Could it happen?

  7. Badger says:

    Haren is better than Bills, why is he so far down the list? Frankly, so is Josh Johnson.

    Broxton is the most effective pitcher on the list. The guy is a beast.

    I can’t argue with your logic on Manny batting 4th Mark. Makes perfect sense to me.

  8. Badger says:

    Mark, I noticed at the bottom of that piece the Angels are the Number 1 franchise in all of sports.

    Congratulations Arte. You have done it right. Now, get rid of the L.A. handle.

  9. Blue Haze says:

    Maybe since Manny took so much time off, we can petition the commissioner to have him bat twice in the order, then he could be our best #3 and #4 batter.

    Vinny must ahve mentioned the Ethier at #3 position at least once or twice every time Ethier came to the plate. Ethier just needs some Manny Fairy Dust sprinkled behind him and he will get another player of the month. Then Ethier will only be quasi-soft (that’s for you Markie boy, glad to hear you are recovering well and quickly. I am facing some decisions this week on lower back surgery. The price of glory on the diamonds and grid-irons).

  10. mark says:

    I took a walk today with just a cane – 12 days post-op, but I will tell you that it is hard,and was very hard. I have been off the pain medication for 5 days. That way my body tells me when to slow up.

    Roger,

    mmmmmm… Good cookies!

  11. Mark Timmons says:

    Blue Haze,

    About 14 years ago, they wanted to do back surgery on me. A friend advied me to get a book called “Your Aching Back.” He is a surgeon and after reading the book, I decided upon a difficult set of rehabilitation exercises. Four months later, the apin was gone – to return maybe onece a year for a few days. If I do the exercises, it stays away

    I understand there is an updated version and it is here:

    http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/Augustus-A-White/Your-Aching-Back-A-Doctor-s-Guide/0671710001.html

    I don’t know if it applies to you or maybe you have already seen it, but it was an eye-opener for me.

  12. Roger says:

    Mark said: “it’s insane to send a guy that good back down so that he can learn better control.”

    Here is my take on the pitching situation. Most Dodger fans want Kershaw to win every game, be the new Sandy, and cruise into the Hall of Fame in some 20-25 years.

    Now the take: The Dodgers should not have to be counting on a 20 recently turned 21 year old to be a key pitcher on the staff.

    He should be a nice addtion at maybe #5. He is still learning to move from throwing to pitching. He is not there yet. So we fans put up with two bad innings, two good one, one so-so inning, he is gone by the 6th inning with 100 pitches.

    To say it another way — the Dodgers should have a better 1-4 ahead of him. C-Bills is the #1. Kuroda, I guess is the #2, but he has been injured and not done much, #3 would be Wolf – but to my eyes he seems so hit-able and is a weak #3 to be counted on. That leaves Milton as #4 and most baseball fans do not even know he is on the Dodgers roster. [ finally, that leave Clayton to be #5 in the real world. ]

    I could buy: #1 Billingsley, #2 a better pitcher, #3 a better pitcher, #4 Wolf, and #5 Kershaw. Milton in the pen or with some other club, or at home watching it on TV.

    In other words, Ned and his staff are two starting pitchers short. WHY ???

  13. Roger says:

    Now on Hudson hitting second.

    Last night he was 0 for 5 with 3 Ks. His average is down to .289.

    I think because the baseball world was watching just what he did at the beginning of the year, with signing so late being a FA –

    they saw him do the Cycle in his first game at Dodger Stadium.

    April he hit .337. He WAS noticed.

    May he hit .328. Folks continued to notice.

    But then in June he dropped to .222. Going 22 for 99.

    So far in July he is 0 for 8 or .000.

    In his last 6 game he is 1 for 26. 1 for 26. With 0 runs scored.

    Maybe he needs to rest a bit. Maybe his wrist / hand is having some problems. Maybe he is . . . Maybe he should be dropped in the order, but right now Hudson is an automatic out.

    He will come out of it, but boy, when the #2 hitter in the line-up is hitting so poorly, it hurts the order.

  14. Roger says:

    On Frucal. When Manny went down for the count, I believe that Pierre hit in the leadoff spot most of those 50 games. That pushed Furcal to #2.

    Maybe Furcal does not like #2. Maybe he rather like #1, and responded last night because of that.

    Batting order does not bother some hitters — it does bother others.

    Joe will have to figure it out.

  15. Badger says:

    Good points Roger. It would be nice to just settle on a batting order so everyone on the team knows what his role is. This is what happens on most winning teams. Of course, there are always adjustments, and situations where things could be switched up. I am not one for dropping people up and down in and out because of slumps. All players have them and sometimes you just have to ride them out. It seemed like the Dodgers were in a slump in June, but somehow (pitching is my guess) they hung in there and maintained their lead.

    Ideally the lineup is as it was last night. I have no problem with Ethier hitting in front of Manny and you all know I thought last year he was as good a #2 as we had on the team (3 year splits .307, .378 with a .903 OPS) He is LH, he hits .300, he drives the ball into the gap and as long as he is selective, he gets on base at a very good rate. But, with the addition of Hudson, Ethier looks better in the middle of the lineup.

    You know, Joe has a lot of options with this team. I am sure he will figure this out.

  16. Bill Russell says:

    I agree with Rogers take on Furcal. Free swingers don’t like to worry about taking pitches and giving the runner a chance to steal. Or burdened with bunting someone over. Raffy looks for comfortable in the leadoff spot. I hope his hitting continues because we need that spark plug at the top. As far as Kershaw goes, I believe he’s here to stay now. Control and trusting his stuff are the only two issues he needs to work on now. When he’s throwing strikes, he’s very good. If he develops for the post season, we all benefit. Even if he can only go 6 innings, our pen has been great this year. Even Mota is surprising me.
    The pitching rotation for the post season is still a little weak in my opinion. Bills, Kuroda, Wolf and Kershaw. If we can find a strong #1 or #2 , Wolf or Kershaw, depending on who’s doing the best at the end of the year can fill out the 4th spot if needed with the other going to the pen.

    Great game last night. I was really happy to see Manny back and the positive effect his has on the team.

  17. Bill Russell says:

    I miss the edit button.

  18. lawdog says:

    Could you guys feel the electricity Manny brought to the game yesterday? He didn’t produce much, but he stimulated all the other Dodger starters to reach that higher level. It’s going to be a cake walk the rest of the way if our pitching holds up.

    Vin said it well last night. Ethier needs to be hitting #2 in the lineup. When he hits in front of Manny, his average is 100 points higher. I’ve been saying this for a while but you guys all call me an asshole for holding on to that thought.

    Thank you Vin.

  19. Badger says:

    I never called you that ldog. I agree with you. Furcal, Ethier, Manny, Loney, Kemp is a run scoring top of the order. Personally I would try that for a while with Hudson in the 8 hole. Hudson may not like it, but, he could be very productive there. Heck, I might try Blake at 7, pitcher at 8 and Hudson at 9. At the end of the game, that is an even better 9 to 5.

    Yep, Kershaw is here to stay. Hopefully, he figures out what is best for him (strikes) before his arm falls off.

  20. Bill Russell says:

    Hudson is too great of a hitter to move him down to #8. His plays on defense makes it difficult to remove him for rest. Playing the Padres should be the best time to rest him before the Met Series.

    The same thing may be happening to Hudson as we was saying about Furcal. He may be burdened by taking pitches and worrying about moving over runners. I would go with this lineup

    Furcal
    Kemp
    Hudson
    Manny
    Ethier
    Blake
    Loney
    Martin
    Pitcher

    Or flip flop Kemp and Martin depending on who’s hot.

  21. Badger says:

    Hudson hit .220 in June and is 0 for July and you want to move him into the 3 hole? He’s a good hitter, not a great hitter, and he is in a slump. Many were very anxious to move others around when they were slumping, why not Hudson?

    Kemp second? Interesting. I don’t like rh hitters in the two hole for many baseball reasons and I especially don’t want a free swinging home run hitting right hander there. That’s just me. You can line ‘em up any way you want.

  22. Bill Russell says:

    It really doesn’t matter how you line them up with the exception of Manny or Furcal. We have a really good offensive team this year. I don’t know CB, you may be right.

  23. Bill Russell says:

    Now might be a good time to try Manny in the four hole while he’s shaking off the rust.

  24. Badger says:

    Pick names out of a hat with this group and they could still win. Right through the lineup we have good hitters. Your lead-off hitter leads off once. It could be that next inning your clean-up hitter leads off and the inning after that your lead-off hitter is batting clean-up. Everybody hits and everybody scores.

    Hopefully we get back to the 5.6 runs per game we were averaging when Manny left.

  25. Roger says:

    On Blake — in the last 18 ABs he has 1 hit. We need this guy and Hudson to both break of of these slumps.

    A bit prior to Blake’s slump, he hit in 20 of 18 straight games, so the 1 for 18 now leaves a big hole.

  26. Mark Timmons says:

    I think Hudson was trying too hard to be a #3 hitter. With his speed and baserunning ability, not to mention his .357 OB% (which is at its’ low), he is perfect for the #2 hole. With Raffy and O-Dog 1,2 you start the game with two switch-hitters, with great speed (which puts heat on the pitchers). Andre does not have the speed to hit #2, when you have faster guys with higher OB% than him (O-Dog, Kemp and Martin are all faster and have better OB%).

    See, I get on Andre because I think he should be a lot better. If you think he should hit #2, you evidently don’t think as highly of him as I do. If Andre hits #3 and Manny hits #4, I think Andre becomes a .310 hitter who will hit 35 HR and drive in 120. That’s what I think.

    Martin nd Kemp, and Blake have had success at the bottom of the lineup. Don’t mess it up. Just switch Manny and Andre!

  27. Badger says:

    The reason I like him there are his numbers in the 2 hole:

    (3 year splits .307, .378 OBP with a .903 OPS)

    Hudson would never do that. I too like Hudson in that position – when he is actually hitting. He hasn’t been. Switch hitters batting second don’t mean much to me as I like the left hander there, especially one with the above numbers and a good slg. %. Runner on first, (Manny on deck) lots of fastballs with a big hole on the right side, pitcher in stretch, catcher’s vision blocked by lh batter….. all strategic baseball stuff I learned years ago.

    I also think Ethier sees himself as a middle of the order guy. Fine. Put up your two hole numbers in the middle and I will agree with you.

  28. mark says:

    Martin hitting 2nd.

    O-Dog out

  29. Badger says:

    Everybody hitting the ball hard so far. Only 1 run, but I think the pads pitcher is really lucky.

    This lineup will work.

  30. Dr. No says:

    Whopping cough is good for some people

  31. Badger says:

    I think I see another no decision in Wolf’s future. Everything we are hitting is finding a glove.

  32. Michael says:

    Lucky me, I have the game today on Fox. Just wanted to chime in with a Happy 4th of July to everyone.Dodger baseball, dodger dogs and apple pie; doesn’t get more American than that.Oh yeah, Mark slipped in a “the Incredible Andre Ethier” on some of his most avid defenders without nary a notice. :}

  33. Earl says:

    Either should hit 4th in home games and Loney hit 4th in away games

  34. mark says:

    Not a bad idea, Earl.

  35. Joseph says:

    what the hell was Torre thinking pulling Manny in a 1 run game in the 7th inning. Hasn’t Manny had enough rest, not only does he need more at bats, but its a close game and he’s our best hitter! Jesus, he is our best hitter due up third in the inning and instead we get a bunt from the 3 hole. Awful dumb baseball, playing for 1 run when were losing by 2 on the road. It has been statistically proven that when you bunt with 2 runners on with no outs most of the time you are only going to score one run and that is exactly what happened.

  36. Mark Timmons says:

    Joseph,

    Rumor has it that Manny’s hamstring is tight and

    o-Dog’s wrist is aching.

  37. Badger says:

    Bellasario got in trouble with the belt high fastball down the middle for ball 1. Came back with the same exact pitch for balls 2 and 3 – then lost the lead-off hitter. After that, he was shaken. Don’t know what the ump wanted on those three pitches. Ump also made the cardinal umpire sin of signaling to his partners in the middle of a delivery. Not a good day for the blue.

    Ethier, Blake, not clutch.

    And Ethier made some bonehead plays in right field. Threw to the wrong base and didn’t back up first on Blake’s throwing error.

    Happy 4th everyone. Off to a bar-b-que. Got veggie burgers ready to grill. Life is good here in the Sedona.

  38. Steve says:

    Jeez the Ds should just carry 10 pitchers if that is all they ever use.

  39. Steve says:

    Gameday had the first 4 pitches as strikes by Belisario

  40. Roger says:

    Saw Manny’s HR, and till about the 5th innings.

    Then, he hosted a 4th Party, for 36 folks. I looked in for a second at the 9th innings. Thought, boy we must be playing the 27 Yankees, and Lou must have hit one.

    So Bell-A-Sorry-oh, was throwing batting practice.

  41. DRomo says:

    I gotta be honest I missed the game today(I was busy) but it seems like the team had a bit of a hangover from the Manny-circus. Nice to see him go yard though, the guy can plain hit. Lets take the series tomorrow, maybe give Manny the day off. 2 days in a row should help ease him back. I hope the team is ready for the chaos that is NYC!!

    On a pesonal note: I became a dad again this morning. The Mrs.& I welcomed in a new beautiful, HEALTHY baby girl just after 9 AM. The world has a new Dodgerfan & born on the Fourth of July!

    Enjoy your holiday fellas! God Bless America!!

  42. Michael says:

    Sorry that you missed the game DRomo, but you have a very good reason. Congrats to you and the misses, love baby girls. Manny was ripping the ball today, I think his timing is back. Monday is an off day so I expect him to be mashing tommorow unless he really hurt his hammy on a bang bang play at first base. Happy 4th to you and yours.

  43. Bill Russell says:

    Congrats Mr Romo. Everyone will celebrate her birthday every year. Glad to hear shes healthy…..

  44. Badger says:

    Congrats Romey. You have been through this before so, you already know you won’t be sleeping all night for the next few years.

    Yeah Steve, Bellasario’s pitches were all right there. Belt high right into the glove and Martin was set up middle in and middle out. Neither he or Martin knew what to do or where to throw it and walked the guy. It all fell apart after that.

    You know, that was just one of those games. Close calls all went the Pads way, line drives up the middle turned into double plays, other line drives finding gloves – and there was Wolf’s bunt in front of the plate that I swear was foul, the ump was completely screened (another blunder – get the 90) and bang bang, double play end of threat – it just wasn’t meant to be. All teams have games like this.

    It was a beautiful evening here, perfect temp with some thunderheads over the red rocks creating a super sunset. Great bar-b-que with a cream cheese pie for dessert. mmmmmm pie. If not for the game, this day would have been perfect.

  45. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Congratulations DRomo on the birth of your healthy baby girl. You had more important things on your mind, so you’re excused for missing the game.

    I too missed the game, at least the telecast. As always, I was blacked out of the big FOX game on both Extra Innings and MLB.TV (where I at least was able to get the radio broadcast). I hate when the Dodgers play day games on Saturday (unless it’s against an eastern team appearing on FOX in NY).

    Regarding Ethier hitting in front of Manny. If memory serves me correct, Andre was hitting over .300 when Manny was suspended, and had been hitting 4th behind Manny prior to that.

    That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see him hitting 3rd in front of Manny. However, I also recall that Matt Kemp hit .342 in 2007, and spent a lot of time hitting 3rd. Also, having Kemp’s speed near the top of the order is a definite plus. Knowing that Manny is behind him could make Kemp a more patient hitter, and of course, there would be all those fastballs asking to be hammered. Who knows, he might get so good that pitchers would pitch around him to get to Manny.

    I don’t think Furcal’s lack of hitting has anything to do with him hitting 2nd. He wasn’t hitting earlier in the year when he was leading off prior to Manny’s suspension. In fact, when Pierre first replaced Manny, he didn’t hit at the top of the order.

    Here’s a potential lineup with Kemp hitting third:

    Furcal
    Hudson
    Kemp
    Manny
    Ethier
    Martin (to break up the two lefthanded hitters)
    Loney
    Blake

  46. Roger says:

    DRomo, thanks for sharing with us about your new baby girl. Question, can you tell if she is a lefty or righty (in baseball I mean)???

    I have an interest in her progress on the diamond in the future. Some years ago, I coached in the Air Force, the best softball players (from all around the world) on the AF team, to the Interservice (AF, Army, Navy, etc.) annual championship. Have a gold metal hanging on my wall. And one year I took a combined team of the best in the AF, Army, and Navy to the Nation Championship.

    Let me tell you, in some practice games, they beat some men’s teams. This team was not a women’s team — but a real players team. All of them were stars.

    And now, I believe that some lucky women get scholarships to college if they are good enough.

    Blessing on you, your wife, and family.

  47. DRomo says:

    Thanks fellas!

  48. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I left this out of my previous post.

    I was not happy with the use of Troncoso today. It seems like he works almost everyday.

    When he came into the game the Dodgers were down two runs, and he had pitched the night before. Weaver, Milton and even Claudio Vargas (none of whom appeared the night before) were, to the best of my knowledge, all available.

    At the very least, after finishing up for Belisario in the 7th, Troncoso should NOT have been asked to come out for the 8th.

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