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The Key Word is “Don’t Panic”

The Key Word is “Don’t Panic”

OK, it’s two words, but as much as we would like to have Roy Halladay, we won’t sell the farm, won’t trade Kershaw, Bilingsley or Kemp, and we won’t make any dope-fiend moves.  Since June 16th, the best pitcher in all of baseball has been Clayton Kershaw with an 0.64 ERA.  Not Haren, not Linecum, not Cain, not Santana, not Halladay – Clayton Kershaw!  Eventhough Billingsley has been on a 6-game skid, he has already established himself as a top pitcher and he will right that ship, as he demonstrated last night.  He pitched well for the time he was out there and was efficient with his pitch count.   He did get too many “up in the zone” and too many in the dirt (but that’s something he does anyway).  Randy Wolf continues to be solid (next to Billingsley, he has the most innings on the staff), which leaves Kuroda and manramthe #5 spot in the rotation as question marks.  By the way, Billingsley is 5th in innings pitched and Wolf is 9th – As maligned as the Dodger starters have been, ONLY COLORADO HAS TWO PITCHERS IN THE TOP TEN IN THE NL IN INNINGS PITCHED.  Now, it seems that everyone think that if the Phillies get Halladay, they become the favorites.  I am here to say “that ain’t necessiarily so!”  Let’s compare the Phillies and Dodgers rotations and see how they stack up.

Pitcher

Dodgers

Phillies

#1

Billingsley – 3.76

Hamels – 4.72

#2

Kershaw – 2.95

Blanton – 4.24

#3

Kuroda – 4.73

Happ – 2.70

#4

Wolf – 3.45

Moyer – 5.76

#5

Schmidt – 5.20

Park – 5.20

Closer

Broxton – 2.89

Lidge 7.20

Toronto is probably going to insist that the Phillies throw in Happ, so I still think we look a lot better.  Our pen is much better and we have a real closer – the Phillies don’t!  Our starting staf is considerably better than the Phillies.  Vold has suggested that Broxton could be art of a deal for Halladay and that is a possibility.  Then we could trade for Sherrill or Cordero or whoever…  Ethier could be a possibility if they include Wells, but I think Toronto would have to pay a substantial part of Vernon’s salary and I don’t see that happening.  They owe him a ton.  Personally, I think the Dodgers are serious about getting Halladay, but they won’t give up the players I mentioned, and Dee Gordon is also untouchable (IMHO).

DODGER NOTES:

  • The Dodgers are now employing video in all their minor league parks and are charting every pitch (speed and type), swing and catch.  Say what you want about McCourt, but the Dodgers are taking full advantage of the information age.
  • I am convinced that the play that Russ Martin made on a wild pitch on a strikeout to get the runner at 1B and save a run could not have been made by ANY other catcher in baseball.
  • When Manny came to bat last night, I was watching the game in my home office (“mancave”), as the fans cheered I walked up stairs where my wife was watching TV in the family room.  I called my son down and said” here comes Manny to hit a Granny!  Watch this!  He’s going to hit the  first pitch out because he knows the pitcher wants to get ahead of him.”  Go crazy, folks!  Go Crazy!  We did!
  • Manny now has 21 Grand Slams – the all time record is 23 by Lou Gehrig.

Here’s how Jon Weisman of DodgerThoughts described Manny’s Grand Slam:

This was Kirk Gibson without the limp, without the crust, without the stakes, without the Eck, without the 3-2 count, without the utter improbability. In other words, it wasn’t Kirk Gibson.

But whoa, was it ever Manny Ramirez.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning and the score tied at 2, Ramirez replaced Mark Loretta in the on-deck circle, waited out a pitching change, stepped in, saw 726 inches of a meat fastball and swung a sonic boom.

Ramirez plugged the erstwhile Big Red Machine into a light socket; he dropped them in a bath with a toaster. His grand slam, the 21st of his career, brought the fans to their feet and popped them like champagne corks, and turned the tight game into a 6-2 Festivus for the rest of us.

But holy cow, what an entrance and exit. This was definitely a grand slam that required the Spanish practice of exclamation points on both sides. That blast went out so fast and so epically, it almost turned back time, Superman-style. (Which some Time Warner cable users would have appreciated.)

Jon and I have the same writing style.  Well, except for the fact that he’s a real writer and except for the fact that I can’t write – other than that, we’re pretty much the same…

About Mark Timmons

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

35 Responses to “The Key Word is “Don’t Panic””

  1. Harold says:

    Jon did write that well. I think he has been listening to Vin. You write “good” Mark, to the point, and never opinionated.

    It is a mystery to me how many folks feel we are playing with smoke and mirrors. I can tell them Manny showed the smoke part last night. I don’t know what the mirrors are. When we see our pitching struggles, at times, we tend to forget all other teams have them too. As of right now we again have the best ERA in MLB. ERA might not be the best determinant of success but it sure beats having the worst. I also think folks forget we can hit a bit too. Our power totals are picking up along with a league leading BA.

    This eastern swing is significant in its timing and for the teams we play. We face Johnson Friday evening with the Marlins, play the Cardinals and the Braves. The Braves are playing very well now and have good pitching. Will be a good test for us. Maybe we can convince my east coast comrades that we are for real.

    You are right – Halladay if reasonable, but not at all costs. I know prospects are only prospects but what do we think our infield will look like in three years? I think there is a good possibility Ned will acquire a good SP and won’t bankrupt the system or upset the chemistry on the team. JP in Toronto sounds cool but I expect he is under some pressure to get things moving. Toronto needs a big time overhaul.

    GO DODGERS!!

  2. Bill Russell says:

    I was there last night. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up as well as everyone in the park. The fans stood up as they anounced Manny’s name and continued standing while the pitching change was made. Chants of Manny Manny Manny echoed through the stadium. I have never felt more excitement then what I felt last night. It was amazing to watch and feel that moment. This is going to be a very special year…….

  3. Roger says:

    When Manny stood at the plate, I woke my wife up (central time) to watch. I said to myself, will he take the first pitch to see what this guy’s got or be swinging. I wasn’t sure. As the pitch was coming I thought he would take one, since he was probably a bit cold.

    As the pitch came to the plate, it looked low. I thought he would take it — then he swung . . . rest of story.

    That hit, that out come will lift the Dodgers for weeks maybe the rest of the season.

    As I remember, the hitters following look terrible. As Vinny would say, “Little ground balls to the second baseman.”

    Nice win.

    Oh, Broxton as saved this team in many ways the past two seasons. He is un-touchable IMHHO. I do not want to start loosing games in the 9th innings. There are not many others in MLB that can or are as effective as Broxton.

  4. Badger says:

    This already is a special year. I hope you are right Bill, and the excitement continues deep into the playoffs.

    If the guys in our pen who keep going on and off can all stay healthy until October, I really like our chances. Other than Bills, I see nobody on the starting staff that is a 200+ pitcher. Wolf hasn’t done it since 2003, Kuroda hasn’t done it, and won’t, Bills did it last year, barely, and Kershaw is just a kid. I think he did a cautious 170 last year. It’s not like we have a staff of plow horses that never spend time in the barn. Who knows, maybe this is the year that all of them finish standing, but, I think it’s important to pay attention to history.

    Agree about that play by Martin. Amazing. Maybe Molina, but nobody else makes that play.

    If the Phils throw in Haap, they are giving up a good starter to get a better one. That creates a hole and is exaclty what I don’t want to do. Haap is 7-0 with a sub 3 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Maybe they already know how they are going to patch it, figure they are going to run away with the East and won’t need 5 starters in post season. I still say with that lineup, and Halladay, Hamels and Blanton they will be favored. That’s a guess of course. Personally, I think the Phils are looking at adding Lee. He is far more affordable than Halladay.

    Ethier looks pretty good when he is streaking. I think having Manny back is very good for him.

  5. Roger says:

    Badger, it is like having Ruth and Gehrig back to back.

  6. Roger says:

    Gee, look at this lineup:

    1927 NY Yankees starting batting lineup

    CF Earle Combs .356, 6 HR, 64 RBI, 231 H

    SS Mark Koenig .285, 3 HR, 62 RBI

    RF Babe Ruth .356, 60 HR, 164 RBI

    1B Lou Gehrig .373, 47 HR, 175 RBI

    LF Bob Meusel .337, 8 HR, 103 RBI, 47 2B

    2B Tony Lazzeri .309, 18 HR, 102 RBI

    3B Joe Dugan .269, 2 HR, 43 RBI

    C Pat Collins .275, 7 HR, 36 RBI

  7. DRomo says:

    You know I had a feeling you would be there BRuss! The bobblehead is the perfect bait. I am super jealous knowing how everytime you look at that bobblehead you will remember that moment. Thats cool.

    As for not panicing: I know we shouldn’t panic but we need to do something to improve this ballclub. Say what you want about Phillys current makeup and stats. But if you put us head to head Hammels vs. Bills game 1… I don’t like our chances. If they get Halladay, then game 2 might look bleak as well even if Kershaw throws a gem.

    You know Mark I am not saying we need Halladay or bust. I am saying we need to stay ahead of our competition. If a pitcher can be had and improves our chances at winning THIS YEAR. We must act and take advantage of the great opportunity we have right now.

  8. SpokaneBob says:

    Last night was FANtastic!

    If it were a movie, no one would believe it.

    and he hit it into Mannywood.

    There is a long way to go and a lot could happen, but I don’t know how anyone could ask for more than we have gotten so far.

    Mark, please stop trying to trade Ethier. I would do nothing that might change the chemistry of this team.

    Enjoy the day off guys.

  9. Badger says:

    I still say if we don’t get Halladay or Lee, and the Phils/Cards do, it decreases our chances. Like Romey just said, we need to stay ahead of our competition. Looks to me like that is the World Champion (already thumped us in a play-off series) Phils, the Cards and the Cubs. Things of course could change, but you gotta know that all those teams GM’s are looking ahead at a series with the best the team in the league and how to go about beating them. Both the Phils and the Cards know that with Halladay, they maybe could beat the Dodgers. Without him, or worse for them if we get him, we could smoke them in the play-offs.

    I am waiting to see what it is that Fred pulls out of his keister.

  10. jaydizel says:

    How does it feel that we’re getting Doc Halladay!
    It’s going to happen. Who’s going to be trade???! I ahve no clue, but I hear his coming.

  11. DRomo says:

    Last night was really exciting, it was a cool moment at Dodger Stadium but lets not get carried away. I heard Patrick O’Neil say this was “one of the greatest moment in Dodger history.” Really?

    A grand slam against the horrible Reds to break a 2-2 tie in the 6th inning (or whatever it was)in July is up there with Steve Finley’s walk off to win the division against the Giants or Kirk Gibson’s walk off in the World Series against a HOF closer? Is it as good as the 4 back to back HRs & Nomar’s blast against the Padres when we were fighting for the division with the Pads? Koufax’s perfect game? Even game 3 against the Cubs last year? I was jumping off the couch last night but I still didn’t think it compared to the others.

    I was very excited and would have been even more so if I was in the stadium but, DUDE have a little perspective here. It was not “one of the greatest moment in Dodger history”.

  12. Mark Timmons says:

    SpokeBob,

    I don’t want to trade Ethier, but I might trade him or maybe Martin (that would be a tough one) to get Halladay.

  13. Badger says:

    So, Pierre goes to center and Kemp to right? Eh, I don’t know about that.

    Windblown, Fat Elbert, MickeyD, It’sOver-Withrow (ok, that was a stretch) – DeWitt, Bell, Lambo, Abreu. Take two from the first group and two from the second and who knows, take some cash, a coach, 4 box seats to all the play-off games, a PTBNL and away we go.

  14. Roger says:

    jaydizel says:
    July 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM
    How does it feel that we’re getting Doc Halladay!
    It’s going to happen. Who’s going to be trade???! I ahve no clue, but “I hear his coming.”
    —————————-
    Now, jaydizel, I am interested in this “hearing.”

    Is this on the TV or radio? Is this on some web board? Is this a little kid down the block? Is his a dream you had last night? Are these voices in your head? Is this by a palm reader (and if so, who’s palm were they reading?).

    Please, let us in — on the “hearing.”

  15. Roger says:

    Last night. Some day, soon, Vinny will have some final thoughts to offer over his career as the voice of the Dodgers.

    Part of that might be, “25 of My Favorite Moments in Dodgers History that I Witnessed.”

    [ ok, it might be 50, and he could write a book, giving each "moment" two or three pages to right up the story, a picture or even two, and maybe the box score. With the box, it might be 5 pages for each. So that is 5 X 50, plus 15 page intro, index == 270 pages ] He would sell mucho number. Autrograph sesessions. Wow.

    Anyway, last night would in in those 50 moments. He even said that was the biggest respone in 20 years. Probably a throw back to Gibson.

  16. lawdog says:

    Wyatt Earp made the announcement from the OK Corral.

  17. Bill Russell says:

    The question of the day is, Has anyone ever hit a grand slam on their bobblehead night before? Has anyone ever hit a pitch hit grand slam on their bobblehead night before?

  18. Bill Russell says:

    Rome’s, I know you don’t feel like it was much of an important event last night but if you were there you would have a whole different opinion. That part will be writen in the Manny Ramirez story someday. Remember the infield pop fly that Ruth hit and he rounded the bases before it dropped for a Homerun? I bet the people attending that game didn’t think too much about that one either. Pitch hitting on your bobblehead head with a swollen hand and hitting the first pitch into Mannywood for a Grand Slam is very special. I think it’s now part of Dodger history. The Chats of Manny must have echoed through LA last night all the way from the Stadium.

  19. lawdog says:

    My kid pitched a whiffleball that accidentally smacked into his friends bobblehead of Barry Bonds, knocking it off the shelf and it hit the floor with a grand slamming noise which broke it. We all clapped and laughed except his friend who cried and cried. But we all knew that later on he thought it was a good joke on him too. Thereafter Barry’s head bobbled without a body. He looked better for the change.

  20. DRomo says:

    BRuss,
    I was not putting you down or your excitment for being there. I have witnessed less cool things at the stadium that still pump me up when I think of them. Last night was a very very cool moment for Manny’s legacy and for the Dodgers. We should talk about this for a long time. I wished I was there!! But is it up there with the greatest moments in “Dodger History” I don’t think so. I know you were at game 3 against the Cubbies last year, isn’t that more historically significant? Last night may have been cooler but…Maybe it’s just my opinion.

    By the way. The Ruth hitting a ball so high he scored before it landed story, never happened It was just in the lame John Goodman movie. However Muhammad Ali was so fast he once turned the light switch off and was in bed before it even got dark :)

  21. Mark Timmons says:

    Roger,

    Maybe it was the voices in his head…

  22. Voldomer says:

    I agree that to compare the SIGNIFICANCE of Manny’s slam to the standings/championship significance of Gibby or Finley’s homers is a bit extreme, but on the other hand something can be a “great moment” without necessarily having THAT kind of significance. Would most fans, for example, consider the night Ripken broke the consecutive games steak a “great moment”? It did nothing for the standings, but no doubt it gave O’s fans a major rush.

    I think last night has to be considered a great moment because of the thrill it gave everyone. I say it is more like seeing someone hit for the cycle or pith a no-hitter. Nothing about it made or broke the season for the Dodgers. On the bright side, though, we weren’t subjected to another of Plasche’s anti-Manny rants today either! That has to be worth something.

    Several have compared Manny’s exploit to the 4+1 game, which did have playoff implications. Even with that one, though, the Dodgers promptly lost the next two games–at home–to the Pirates–before rebounding.

  23. Badger says:

    It was definitely a great moment for Manny and for all fans who were there. But I agree that it should not be mentioned in the same sentence as Gibson’s HR or Finley’s HR or Vinny saying this over the radio:

    “Ground ball back of second, Mantilla over, up with it, throws low and wildly – Hodges scores, we go to Chicago!” Great moment in Dodger history. We all remember where we were when that came over our Admiral radios.

    Or, maybe not.

    It was a game in July against the Reds. Do it again in October and I am on board.

  24. DRomo says:

    I am not putting down last nights HR. It was a cool thing. I stayed up watching MLB network and Sportscenter twice just to see it over and over again!

    How about Mark Burhle! Holy crap this guy is good for a guy nobody knows outside of Chicago. Dude has two no-no’s one is a perfect game. He has a ring and was a stud in the ’05 playoffs yet before today isn’t really mentioned much as a great pitcher in the AL. I guess if it isn’t the Yankees or Boston it didn’t happen. Oh well

  25. Bill Russell says:

    Gibby’s HR ranks all time greatest for me personally. Last night has the same excitement of the game three win against the Cubs last year. I was at both. Just me. I guess you had to be there.

  26. Bill Russell says:

    So Ruth’s called shot was for the movie also not real? What about the three homeruns on the last game of his career were he walked off the field and throw his hat down? Did the midget really run for him after he reached first? Did he hang his manager over the back of the train? I have to quit watching the movies I guess.

  27. Bill Russell says:

    Finley’s HR didn’t do it for me. I guess because I don’t consider him a real Dodger. 1/2 season on the team and he shows up for opening day 2008 as a Dodger old timer.

  28. lawdog says:

    Gibson’s hr ranks near the very top of Dodger hits. But the Mannysalami is right up there next to it. It might not have won a playoff game, but it sure won last night’s games. And how often does that happen with a grand salami on your night when you’re hurt on the wrist and can only pinch hit?

    That man is so strong I don’t know what ever possessed him to think he needed steroids.

  29. Bill Russell says:

    Thanks for having my back Lawdog, I thought I was going crazy for a minute. I felt like pit bulls were tugging at my pant legs. Maybe you did really have to be there.

  30. Badger says:

    I didn’t see it, only read about it, and didn’t even see it on highlights. It was a mid-season game against a crap team. We are how many games ahead right now?

    Yeah, had I been there I am sure I would feel differently about it. But, I wasn’t and it wasn’t a play-off or pennant drive game so, way to go Manny!

    and that’s all I have to say about that.

  31. Bill Russell says:

    I guess Loretta could have hit and we could have lost the game against a crap team. I know Manny will be disappointed that you don’t consider it something special. I know I did and 55,999 other people + Lawdog did. That’s all that counts in my book.

  32. Mark Timmons says:

    Everybody acts like the Reds are a “crap” team, and while they are not an elite team, they are 6 games under .500, better than the D-Backs, Padres, Nationals and Pirates and have the same record as the Mets. They aren’t exactly “crap.” Now the Nats are CRAP!

  33. Roger says:

    The trade rumors are heating up. When one club and then another club makes important moves for their teams — panic buttons will be pushed around both leagues — thinking they have to catch up.

    Colorado wants a reliever. Cardinals want a pitcher and a stick to protect the big guy. Etc.

    http://www.prosportsdaily.com/mlb/mlb-rumors.html

    http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2009/07/23/groundwork-being-laid-for-angels-dodgers-to-get-pitchers/

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/new_york_yankees/

  34. Badger says:

    Like I said, for those who were there – hooray! For Manny on bobblehead night – yippee! It was a magical moment for those 55,000. Millions saw Gigson’s home run and it is played over and over again on Dodger highlight reels. The question was not whether it was an exciting moment, it obbiously was, the question was, will it go down in Dodger history as one of the most exciting moments ever? I doubt it.

    For the rest of us, nice going Manny! Dodger history?????

    News flash 6 games below .500 ain’t good mover.

    Yep, everybody is scouting everybody else and many teams are interested in Halladay. The A’s? Now why would he ok that? He is going to a contender or he is going to wait.

  35. lawdog says:

    When Gibby hit his hr I was watching the game with my son. When Gibson was announced everyone else in the house came in to watch it. Everyone went nuts when he hit it out.

    Last night I was watching the game and getting drowsy. Ruth was already sleeping but suddenly woke up and asked me what was happening. I told her Manny was coming up to pinch hit with a badly bruised wrist with the bags loaded. I told her the bruise was serious enough he could only pinch hit on “his night”. She sat up and asked what’s he going to do? I said, watch him jerk the first pitch out on a line drive to left on a low rope so hard you could hang clothes on it.

    She asked how he could do that with a badly bruised wrist and implied I didn’t know my ass from a hot rock. I said he’ll hit it like that because he knows they think his wrist will be impaired slightly and if they pitch him low and away with a fastball that has good late movement it’s likely he’ll ground it to short for a dp if he hits the ball at all.

    She said why won’t that work tonight? I said, because he’s looking for that pitch and he might be the best hitter to ever play.

    Then it happened and we both started screaming like school kids. We watched the rest of the game and then she made me go back and play the shot over again 3 times.

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