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Tiger Misses The Cut…

Tiger Misses The Cut…

and Chad Billingsley blows up.  It just happens in sports.  A guy who normally excels gets smoked.  Assuming that Billingsley isn’t hurt, he just needs to study film and see if he’s “tipping” his pitches.  Last night was disappointing, but it’s just a game (or six, during which his ERA is 6.65)) where Bilingsley just hasn’t been himself.  I’m confident he will turn it around 180 degrees.  It wasn’t like he was just missing.  The Astros just hammered everything he was throwing towards the plate.  They could have teed-off on him with a 5-iron.  The Dodger fans booed him, and rightfully so.  I feel that the pitching coach bears a strong responsibility for these kinds of issues.  Kuroda and Billingsley are both suffering from the same malady.  I am afraid that Honey is with us the rest of the year, but next year?  Stay tuned.  Before you go crazy about this, remember that the Dodgers have won 13 of Billingsley’s 20 starts this year.  He’s young, but he is a horse.   Compared to all the aces on other teams, he’s at the age where many of them began to pitch up to their potential.  Roy Halladay came up at age 21, but it took him until age 25 until he “got it.”  Don’t forget that C-Bill is 24.  He’ll mature, he’ll get tougher.  Kershaw, Billingsley and Lindblom will win a lot of games for us.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. 

Today, it’s up to our new ace, Clayton Kershaw, to keep us from our first three-game losing streak of the season.  Cbill9 The Sporting News had this quote from Clayton when asked about comparisons to Sandy Koufax:  “Mr. Koufax is one of the best left-handed pitchers ever, so to be mentioned with him is a huge compliment, a huge honor.  But at the same time, I am not taking it to heart too much.  I still have  a lot more Cy Youngs to win and no-hitters to pitch before I get put in that category.”  You gotta’ love that kid. 

My Top 30 Dodger Prospects (mid-season):

1. Andrew Lambo OF/1B

2. Josh Lindblom RHP

3. Scott Elbert LHP

4. Josh Bell 3B

5. James McDonald RHP

6. Dee Gordon SS

7. Ethan Martin RHP

8. Chris Withrow RHP

9. Nathan Eovaldi RHP

10. Brent Leach LHP

11. Ivan DeJesus SS/2B

12. Victor Garate LHP

13. Kyle Russell OF

14. Steve Johnson RHP

15. Jamie Hoffmann OF

16. Travis Schlichting RHP

17. Tim Sexton RHP

18. Jon Michael Redding RHP

19. Justin Miller RHP

20. Xavier Paul OF

21. Lucas May C

22. Jaime Pedroza 2B

23. Trayvon Robinson OF

24. Javy Guerra RHP

25. Tony Delmonico C

26. Cole St. Clair LHP

27. Pedro Baez 3B

28. Steve Caseres 1B

29. Scott Van Slyke OF

30. Matt Sartor RHP

About Mark Timmons

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

27 Responses to “Tiger Misses The Cut…”

  1. Badger says:

    Tipping pitches? If it were only that easy. That’s a quick fix and whatever is wrong with him has gone on too long for it to be that simple.

    Something is wrong. And it isn’t “cowardice” as someone said. That’s goofy. He has been a stud up until his last few starts. We need someone to figure out what is wrong and it won’t be a shrink or a voodoo priest that will be needed.

    Didn’t matter last night anyway. We got shut down by a real staff ace. Complete game on 105 pitches. That’s how it’s done folks.

  2. DRomo says:

    Bills is soft. He is yet to step up against a playoff caliber lineup. Why is it that I predicted he would get shelled? Believe me I am am not that smart. He has been showing us his inabilities for the last few years. He dominates bad teams and even then needs about 110 pitches to get through 6-7 innings.

    The quote you have here today Mark only speaks to my point. Kershaw and Bills are nice kids. Polite and decent young men with great heads on their shoulders. But we want pitchers who compete. I want a guy with a mean streak that gets 2 strikes on a guy and finishes the job. Not using another 4 pitches to get a strikeout.

    Iwould have thought these guys would have learned from Maddux last year that even if you pitch to contact it is better than wasting 20 pitches an inning and getting a couple of Ks.

    You may be happy with a staff full of nice kids but I want a staff of winners. If we face the Padres in the playoffs I will be comfortable with Chad.

  3. Roger says:

    Saw this in the local newspaper this morning:

    “Rule 5 pick thriving in Astros organization”

    By Zachary Levine – Express-News CORPUS CHRISTI — Stuck in a bad situation last year in High-A ball with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Astros outfield prospect Drew Locke knew there was a way out.

    He would be eligible to be plucked away in the Rule 5 draft in the ensuing offseason, a fact not lost on him or the staff of the Inland Empire 66ers.

    “Our coaches were always telling us, ‘You’re not just playing for our organization; you’re playing for everyone,’” said Locke from his new home park in Corpus Christi. “So I had that in mind all year: Just have a good year, and hopefully people see it.”

    He had a good year, hitting .311 with 11 home runs and 85 RBIs in 470 at-bats. And in this December’s draft, he was scooped up by the Astros to play in Double-A where he is once again pounding the baseball.

    The 26-year-old Boston College product, in his first year at this level, entered Friday hitting .313 with a .364 on-base percentage and a .470 slugging percentage. He leads the Texas League with 80 runs batted in, a dozen clear of the field.

    “I don’t think we had anybody in the system last year from AA down, who’s put up the numbers that he’s got,” Hooks second-year manager Luis Pujols said.

    Locke has above-average patience at the plate and doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of strikeouts, but he’s tapered off a bit as the season has progressed. He followed OPS figures of 1.199 and .908 in April and May, respectively, with a .628 June and a .570 July.

    “I hit a little tough patch these couple weeks,” Locke said. “Part of it’s having some bad luck hitting it right at guys, and part of it’s taking some bad swings. But it will come back. I was getting all the breaks early in the season, so it’s bound to come around.”

    The Missions will head to Corpus Christi for a series with the Hooks on July 28 and the Hooks visit Wolff Stadium the first week of August.

    Last year in the California League, Locke was repeating High-A ball and playing mostly at first base — he’d spent the rest of his career as a corner outfielder.

    “Part of it was numbers,” Locke said. “And part of it was that they seem like they were more into smaller quicker speedy guys in the outfield. So they thought I was better suited for first base the way they see things.”

    Opportunity for the 6-1, 205-pounder came in the form of a transaction that didn’t make the slightest ripple in the sea of sports news.

    John Kosciak, the Dodgers scout who had scouted Locke at Boston College, took a job in the Astros system and spoke highly of Locke before the Rule 5 draft.

    “As we talked over the course of the winter, his name always came up,” said Ricky Bennett, the Astros’ assistant general manager and director of player development.

    So the Astros selected Locke in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. The player was eligible because he had spent five years in the Dodgers system without being added to the 40-man roster.

    The questions that remain with Locke halfway through his first season in the organization are his age and his defense. It remains to be seen whether these aspects of his game will improve now that he’s out of the crowded Dodgers system.

    He plays left and right field with no clear favorite and made a couple nice running plays in left for the Hooks on Thursday night, but he is still a work in progress as he returns to his natural position.

    His bat, though, is what made him a Texas League All-Star this year and what the Astros hope will eventually get him to Houston.

  4. Roger says:

    Not trying to pile on here, after the Dodgers two losses in a row…

    But Ned needs to make some moveS to sure up this team. The sky is not falling, but it is getting cloudy.

    I just went back and counted the first two months of the season against the N.L. West.

    S.D. 6 – 2
    Ariz 4 – 1
    S.F. 5 – 4
    Col. 8 – 1

    Totals: 23 – 8

    If those 31 games would have gone more like 18 – 13 (or even 17 – 14) — this race would be much closer. That 8 – 1 drumbing against the Rockies in those first 9 games has made a big difference. Not sure this team can do that again.

  5. Badger says:

    That is very strong opinion Romey, but I am not at all certain where you get your information.

    From what I have read, the 24 year old Billingsley has done fairly well against most clubs, but certainly not all. The only teams this year hitting him all that well are Houston and the Angels. His three year splits show the only teams with significant numbers against him are San Francisco and Colorado. Other teams against which he only has a few innings I didn’t even look at. He doesn’t like Coors field, who does, but at Dodger Stadium he has a 3.58 ERA and .251 BAA. Not bad for a 24 year old.

    His overall body of work is very good for a man who is as young as he is. Here, look for youself.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?playerId=6476&type=pitching&year=2009

    I am with Mark on this one. This kid has #1 stuff, but something is buggin’ him. I am not saying it’s an injury, I am just saying something ain’t right.

  6. Badger says:

    I just read that Halladay has a 6.75 ERA against the Reds and 6.00 against Florida. And the Mets are hitting him at a .333 clip.

    Seattle is hitting .429 against Oswalt and he has a 5.79 ERA against them.

    Soft bums both of them. Who would want them in a Dodger uniform?

  7. Badger says:

    Sorry, Oswalt actually has a 5.79 ERA against the Phils. His ERA against Seattle is only 4.77.

    edit

  8. Ken says:

    Honey is slowly erasing the Maddux Message

    The Dodger breakaway (Hare) is fading and the Peloton (tortoise)is catching them. Anyone who read Aesop as a child should have expected this.

    Wait until Lindblom (Little D) arrives and starts beaning batters. Kershaw and Bills will be watching.

  9. Ken says:

    Mark

    Do you have the official word on Schmidt yet?

    I assume that since Stults pitched last night that Schimidt will pitch on Monday, which appears to be his activate or release date.

  10. Mark Timmons says:

    Ken,

    No official word, but it seems the only thing to do…

  11. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I guess this is the end for Chad Billingsley. Forget what he’s done the last several years, forget the progress he’s made. He’s finished, he’s done, it’s over.

    OK, now let’s get serious. There’s a reason why we’re always hearing that it’s a long season. And that’s because it’s true. Billingsley is going through a rough patch in a long season, and unless there is something seriously wrong that we know nothing about, it will likely pass. He’s still a young pitcher with top of the rotation stuff (I prefer “top of the rotation” to “ace”), and if anything, he will learn from these tribulations, and in the long run it will probably make him a better pitcher.

    I’ve never liked it when managers skip the 5th spot in the rotation when a team has a day off, which is something that Torre does regularly. I’ve always felt that during a long season, starters in the rotation benefit from an occasional extra day or two of rest, which I believe enables them to maintain their stamina as the season progresses. If anything, I think Billingsley, although he may deny it, is suffering from fatigue, and could use an extra day or two off before his next start. It also doesn’t help that he’s still a work in progress who generally throws a lot of pitches, although his early exit last night help cut that number.

    Since the Dodgers will be using a 5th starter on Monday (and Mark might be right that it will be Schmidt), I would suggest that instead of having Billingsley make his next scheduled start against the Reds on 7/22, that that start should be given to Elbert, giving Billingsley an extra two days off between starts, since 7/23 is a day off. Doing that would also give an extra day to the rest of the rotation, who could probably also use it.

    Giving a start to Elbert might also prove beneficial. He’s looked a lot better lately, and appears to be making more frequent use of his swing and miss breaking stuff. It might be interesting to see what he can do in a start where he can better pace himself, and use a greater variety of pitches, as opposed to the times he comes in for a single inning of relief, where he tends to throw fastball after predictable fastball.

    It seems that some people conveniently remember Billingsley’s meltdown against the Phillies during the NLCS, but somehow forget that he did a nice job shutting down a strong Cubs lineup during the NLDS. Billingsley, like Kershaw still has lots of room for growth. Neither is a finished product, and some of you need to remember that.

  12. SpokaneBob says:

    As Vinny said last night, pitchers have slumps just like hitters do. Bills will be a strenth in our rotation for a long time and will get better, as Mark predictred.

    Mark, whats your take on when Lindblom will be able to help the big club? Could he be the anwser to our serch for a set up guy or even a starter?

  13. Mark Timmons says:

    SpokeBob,

    I believe Lindblom could help the club in the pen RIGHT NOW!

    His body is perfect for a starter, but a year in the pen wouldn’t hurt.

    He could be a closer too.

    I see him as a solid #3 starter.

  14. Roger says:

    Mark, do you see Lindblom as a #3, because you have (in your mind) Kershaw (soon) and #1, and C-Bills as #2?

    That smacks of loading the gun before the guy really arrives.

    Therefore, I will go on the limb, and say:

    Lindblom #1, Kershaw #2, and C-Bills #3

  15. Bill Russell says:

    Will the three in a row loss streak be snaped tonight? Or can our new Ace Kershaw put us through?
    Look I agree that it looks like Bills is going through a rough patch, maybe he’s got some personal issues going on, maybe he’s tired, maybe he’s got a slight muscle pull, maybe is arm is tired. Only Chad and maybe the coaches know for sure. With that being said, would it hurt to pursue another top of the rotation guy. NO, as long as we don’t give up too much in return. Ned is starting to prove to me that he has a brain so let’s see how this plays out.

    Kershaw has improved in each of his last 4-5 outings so I’m banking on a win tonight. I’m hoping for all of the regular guys back in the starting lineup today. We don’t need to give Raffy, Blake, Hudson, Loney, Martin, Kemp, Manny or Ethier a day off today.
    Go Blue

  16. Bill Russell says:

    EDIT BUTTON PLEASE

  17. DRomo says:

    Badger,
    I get my information from watching games. I doubt there is a stat for this but next time Bills pitches watch how fast he gets 2 strikes. That is great. Then Watch how many foul balls he gives up before he eventually strikes a guy out or walks him. The biggest problem is he can’t command his “out” pitch. So he may give us 6-7 innings but have a thousand pitches or he gives in and gets crushed.

    That is what I see! I am not saying I know it all but I did predict that this would happen before his start yesterday. It is his mental toughness that I question.

    Brooklyn Dodger, I didn’t forget his performance in the NLDS. But I do remember it was against an overly aggressive Cubs lineup. That is where Bills is at his best. Now match him against a selective bunch or good hitters (i.e. last night) he gets hammered.

    He has value. And I strongly believe we NEED an ace if we want to win this year. We do not have one even if you guys try and convince yourselves. Bills & Kershaw may be in a few years, but the league will be better also. Our time is now. One of these kids will bring us an ace (Halladay, is the best out there) I say do it.

    You are getting better or you are getting worse. What direction do you want to go in?

  18. DRomo says:

    One more thing about Bills and his inability to close out a hitter. Roger Clemens used to say after so many foul balls he would let a hitter have a hittable pitch that he couldn’t do much with just to save energy. (Pitching to contact).

    If Chad can learn that he will be a better pitcher

  19. Ken says:

    BD

    An interesting idea that might actually help Bills & the Dodgers, especially since the dodgers now have at least 4 long relievers in the pen.

  20. Mark Timmons says:

    Since Halladay came back from his groin injury, he has had mixed success. He has a lot of innings on that arm and we will probably have to extend him. Halladay is better than Billingsley today, but he might not be next year and if we trade Billingsley or Kershaw, we are still a starter short. It makes no sense to do that.

    I have published the stats before, so I won’t belabor it, but C-Bill and Kershaw are very young and learning on the job. Not many pitchers their ages are even pitching in the majors. Billingsley has won 45 games in the majors at age 24. It took Halladay until age 26 to do so.

    Halladay has a 3.47 ERA for his career. Billingsley has a 3.42 ERA for his career.

    You know, Toronto would probably trade Billingsley for Halladay, but I don’t believe anyone else would. When it’s over and done, Chad Billingsley may win more games than Doc. He’s only 24! Did anyone else on this board get any smarter after age 24?

    Roger,

    I’d love to see Lindblom be #1, because we would have one incredible rotation.

  21. DRomo says:

    I get that the kid is young Mark. But what I am saying is if we want to win this year, we need an ace. It would be a trade off. Sure we would be sorry in 2011 or 2012…but we may have a pennant hanging in the Ravine with 2009 written on it. To me this is a big decision for a team that hasn’t won anything in 21 years.

    For the last 21 years haven’t we said ” Just wait til this kid is here and wait til that kid is here” Well they are here now. We have a cast of vets around them and it is time to S*#T or get off the pot. Our best shot to go to the World Series is this year. Don’t you want to do all you can to win it! Nevermind next year.
    THIS IS NEXT YEAR! :)

  22. Badger says:

    Trading away pitching to get pitching seems counterproductive to me, unless of course you are trading AA or High A prospects. I would do that because we will have more of those quickly. I don’t trade Billingsley and I don’t trade Kershaw. 7 of our top 10 prospects are pitchers, use a few of them. If the Jays say nay, move on to someone else.

    Heck, between Elbert, Windblown, Knucklehead, Weaver and McDonald we may have enough innings right here to get the job done.

    Bills didn’t get soft that quickly. And the idea that he is a coward seems a bit harsh. I don’t know what is going on, maybe it’s just a confidence problem, maybe his girlfriend dumped him, who knows. As long as it’s not an injury, I suspect he will get it back very soon.

    Good take Brooklyn. I have often said in the summer if teams can do it, they should go with a 6 man rotation. Every one of those guys, especially our 100+ 6 inning guys, could use a day off now and again. Torre has the reputation of wearing guys out. At least the story goes that way. Maybe somebody with the want to can document the fact that Joe burns ‘em up.

  23. Blue Haze says:

    Rivera is still going pretty strong in NY, I think he recorded his 24th save this season. I don’t know if he has blown many games however. So Torre didn’t burn him up.

    Billingsley has lost his groove and he is going to have to struggle through it, better now than in late August to early Sept. He will get his sea legs back soon.

    Boy, did I miss the call last night on Oswalt, he destroyed us.

  24. Michael says:

    The contrast between last nights starters say it all. When Roy O gets 2 strikes on a guy he goes for the kill, when C Bills gets ahead he throws 3 balls until he HAS to throw another meatball. He’s young and should have more confidence in his stuff but quite often gets that deer in the headlights look. Anyone know who calls the pitches? I don’t think Martin does. Is it Joe or his hopefully soon to be ex pitching coach? I think a catcher should call the game but maybe that is just a memory of things past. We’ll really test our mettle tonight and see what we are made of. P.S.Bills should watch some film of DD knocking a few batters down.

  25. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Josh Lindblom is no doubt a good prospect, but there is nothing in his performances this year at AA and AAA that screams for him to be brought up. And what makes anyone think he wouldn’t experience the same growing pains we’ve seen with Billingsley and Kershaw? If spring training was a strong indicator of success, then Wilson Valdez should have been a star with the Dodgers in 2007. And there was that outfielder (his name escapes me), who also lit it up during the spring of 2007, who I think, is no longer playing. Here are Lindblom’s stats so far this year:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=lindbl001jos

    Actually bad performances in the spring don’t tell us much either. If memory serves me correct, Brent Leach, who’s currently doing commendable work for the Dodgers, was bombed during the spring.

    Trading Bills or Kershaw for Halladay would be insane. Halladay, no doubt is one of the better pitchers in the game, but he has absolutely no experience in the postseason. He’s a control, pitch to contact type pitcher who gives up a lot of hits. In other words, he doesn’t fit the profile of a guy likely to blow through good lineups in the postseason. In fact, if the Dodgers did manage to get to the WS, Halladay would be no mystery to any team he faced.

    Also, I’m not willing to sacrifice our future for a chance to win THIS YEAR. That’s a gamble I prefer not to take, since, in fact, getting Halladay doesn’t guarantee anything. I prefer to build a team that I think can be a perennial winner. I don’t want to repeat 1988 again, winning one year and waiting another 20 or more (when I may be dead) for a repeat performance.

    Getting our young players to the big leagues was an accomplishment. Allowing them to mature and develop into big league winners takes a little more time. Some of you are worried that once Manny is gone it will be all downhill. I like to think that the development of Kemp, Ethier, Loney, etc., and other additions, will more than make up for his departure, either after this season or next.

  26. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I clicked the submit button a few minutes ago, but my comments didn’t appear. So I’m doing it again. Sorry, if they end up appearing twice. Here they are, again:

    Josh Lindblom is no doubt a good prospect, but there is nothing in his performances this year at AA and AAA that screams for him to be brought up. And what makes anyone think he wouldn’t experience the same growing pains we’ve seen with Billingsley and Kershaw? If spring training was a strong indicator of success, then Wilson Valdez should have been a star with the Dodgers in 2007. And there was that outfielder (his name escapes me), who also lit it up during the spring of 2007, who I think, is no longer playing. Here are Lindblom’s stats so far this year:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=lindbl001jos

    Actually bad performances in the spring don’t tell us much either. If memory serves me correct, Brent Leach, who’s currently doing commendable work for the Dodgers, was bombed during the spring.

    Trading Bills or Kershaw for Halladay would be insane. Halladay, no doubt is one of the better pitchers in the game, but he has absolutely no experience in the postseason. He’s a control, pitch to contact type pitcher who gives up a lot of hits. In other words, he doesn’t fit the profile of a guy likely to blow through good lineups in the postseason. In fact, if the Dodgers did manage to get to the WS, Halladay would be no mystery to any team he faced.

    Also, I’m not willing to sacrifice our future for a chance to win THIS YEAR. That’s a gamble I prefer not to take, since, in fact, getting Halladay doesn’t guarantee anything. I prefer to build a team that I think can be a perennial winner. I don’t want to repeat 1988 again, winning one year and waiting another 20 or more (when I may be dead) for a repeat performance.

    Getting our young players to the big leagues was an accomplishment. Allowing them to mature and develop into big league winners takes a little more time. Some of you are worried that once Manny is gone it will be all downhill. I like to think that the development of Kemp, Ethier, Loney, etc., and other additions, will more than make up for his departure, either after this season or next.

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