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Wasted Opportunities – At Bat & On The Mound

Wasted Opportunities – At Bat & On The Mound

The Dodgers had 11 hits but, 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position coupled with 4 twin-killings doomed the dodgers.  We hit, but not when we needed to.  Wasted opportunities was the games’ byline, and finally it was sad to see the wasted opportunity that was James McDonald.   After James McDonald was re-called from AAA on June 20th, Joe Torre refused to use him but on occasion.  He pitched 3 innings in June and so far has 8 innings in July.   When James came up last September he was full of confidence and showed how effective he can be in relief.  Personally, I don;t think he’ll be a good starter in the majors, but he has “closers’ stuff, with a 97-98 MPH fastball with “late movement.”  However, he looks like a “deer-in-abreuthe-headlights” on the mound.  He may as well go back to AAA along with Leach (who needs to pitch more).  Recall Elbert (who was looking good in relief), Wade and Lindblom, who closed for AAA last night and got a 2 inning save.  While you are at it DFA Schmidt and recall Stults who pitched 6 innings last night for the win.

Here’s the pitching box for Albuquerque:

Stults (W, 4-1) 6.0 5 2 2 3 1 0 4.00
Wade (H, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4.50
Lindblom (S, 1) 2.0 2 0 0 1 1 0 3.24

Don’t look now, but here comes Tony Abreu.  We all knew he could hit and now he’s healthy.  He went 5-5 last night at AAA with 3 doubles and 3 RBI.  He is hitting .348 and OPSing 1.026 and has 29 RBI in 27 games.   There has to be a spot for a guy like that.    I know Mark Loretta is a versatile guy who is a great teammate, but Abrue is a switch-hitter who can play all over and is a stone-cold hitter.  Think about it!  He’s 25 now…

It’s time for Chad Billingsley and step up to keep us from a 3-game skid for the first time this year.  Last week, Clayton did it.  Now it’s up to Billingsley.  Step it up Chad.  Get your head right!  Tonight is a key game for Chad and the Dodgers.

Hey, have you seen how Delwyn Young has been doing lately?  He’s playing 2B and OF and hitting .319 with a .383 OB%.  Good for him – he was a good guy!

About Mark Timmons

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

77 Responses to “Wasted Opportunities – At Bat & On The Mound”

  1. Roger says:

    This is not the time to talk about McDonald and his confidence. That was for last winter and in Spring Training.

    Moving into August and Ned does not have 11 solid and effective pitchers on his roster.

    It is pretty sad that so many hours each week now, they are looking for Kershaw to being a stopper and the Ace of the staff. He is a kid learning how to pitch. Some days on, other days off.

    Billingsley should be the Ace, but is still working on that.

    I give Ned a “C-” at the highest for his building a pitching staff for this year.

    Do not give me stats on just where the Dodgers stand in the league. That does not cut it.

    Last night the Cardinals knew just how to handle the Dodgers — they were and probably are the better team. Now with Holliday, they are tough.

    Dodgers need to step up the heat, play baseball, and show us and the league that they are the team to beat. Rather than getting beat up.

  2. Blue Haze says:

    I noticed that Mr. Softie became Mr. NL Player of the Week, again.

  3. DRomo says:

    I am hoping for tyhe best with Bills tonight against the Cards. I just lack confidence in him. I hope all of you watch tonight how many pitches he makes after strike 2. He nibbles and nibbles and tries to get to cute with hitters. To me that is why he walks so many guys. He has a tendency to just give in and that is when he gets knocked around the yard. In his best starts he goes right after hitters and racks up strikeouts, unfortunately it is lesser teams and over aggressive hitters. Tonight he will really be in for it if he doesn’t man-up! I have my doubts.

    Mark, Thanks for letting us know about Abreu! I feel better about our 2B situation with him getting his stuff together. O-Dog has proved he can go down at any minute. Abreu could be a nice replacment if need be.

  4. Roger says:

    Come September, must have Abreu on the major league roster for the run and after.

    I get a little itchie when Kemp, Ethier, and Manny start, and Pierre pinch hits early or mid way in a game. That leaves no official outfielders left in case of injury, extra innings, etc.

    I know that Casey can go out there, say in left field. Loney has a bit of time in that experiment they tried in the minors, Castro probably stand out there…but only carrying 4 outfielders makes it tought — especially in extra inning games.

  5. DRomo says:

    Good point Roger about extra outfielders. When Dougie Ment…you know who I mean gets back, he can play a little corner outfield.

    Does anyone know the status of Xavier Paul?

  6. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    McDonald simply doesn’t get enough consistent work. Almost impossible to make any firm judgments in his case. The 97-98 thing isn’t normal with him. He usually tops out at 94-95. Great change and curve, but again, without consistent work he’s not likely to get comfortable, and is less likely to be effective.

    I’m baffled why Torre doesn’t use Leach more often against righthanded hitters. His change fades away from righthanded hitters, and is practically unusable against lefties. He’s simply more effective against righties. Also, by constantly using him against lefties Torre is keeping him from using his best pitch, the change-up. If Kuo is really back, he’s probably the best bet, for now, against lefthanded hitters.

    Talking about being baffled, I still can’t fathom why Torre insists upon hitting Kemp in the 8th slot. I still think he would fit perfectly into the third spot in front of Manny, but as things stand now, I’ll be happy to have him hitting 5th. Casey Blake is morphing back into himself, a .260 – .270 hitter with 20-25 HR power. Plus he has no speed, and helps clog the bases when he gets on. The Dodgers played their best ball earlier this year when Blake was hitting 8th. Move him down, and move Kemp up. Not only will Kemp get better pitches to hit, but he will better be able to utilize his speed higher up in the lineup.

  7. Mark Timmons says:

    Xavier Paul is several weeks away. The staph infection in his leg is OK, but then he sprained his ankle and that set him back.

  8. Mark Timmons says:

    Casey Blake is what he is – a .260-.270 hitter with 20-25 HR power.

    He’s a nice piece, but I think Kemp needs to go to #3, Manny #4 and Ethier #5.

    Do it Joe!

  9. Ken says:


    Good facts, pretty good conclusions.

    Stults pitched 6 so Schimdt will pitch again. I would bring up Stults and expect 3-4 innings out of him on 4 days rest. Try Schimdt at long relief – once through the line up and gone.

    Loretta was used poorly by HARE and should be traded to a team that can use his talents.

    McDonald is another bad product of Torre’s alleged player motivation skills. His subconscious uses too much from his Dad.

    Elbert is now clearly better than Leach.

    The Indians appear to be rebuilding once again – Fire Sale? NOT

    Blake’s swing is once again too long, his timing hitch is too long, he has played too long without appropriate rest and is now long in the tooth. Platoon the Guy and bat him 8th.

    Can Abreu also play 3B? If so he can play every day and rest each of the 3 old infielders every 3 days.

    Bat Kemp 3rd.

  10. Mark Timmons says:

    Abreu is playing 2B, 3B and SS

  11. DRomo says:

    I remember Abreu was very frustrating to watch but showed great promise. He won’t get steady playing time here if Raffy and O-Dog stay healthy (and I hope they do!). However he is 25 now. Are we going to try and extend O-Dog this coming off season? If we are then Abreu must be traded. Why wait until he is 27-28 to give him a shot? If DeJesus can come back healthy he is the SS/2B of the future. Along with maybe Pedroza?

    I am just looking for most attractive prospects I can see us using as chips.

  12. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    A perfect example of why Kemp shouldn’t hit 8th came last night. I forget exactly what inning it was, but Kemp came to the plate with runners on first and second and two outs. He saw breaking balls almost exclusively, designed to get him to fish. Well Kemp didn’t go fishing and walked to load the bases. Suffice to say, the hitter the Cardinals wanted to see, the pitcher Randy Wolf, was the next to hit. Inning over, rally squelched. How many ribbies would Matt Kemp have if he wasn’t pitched around regularly?

  13. t says:

    McDonald does NOT have a 97 MPH fastball. ESPN had him at 95 on average which was very suspect. I then went to see him pitch on the Dodgers broadcast and his fastball was being read at 88-90 which is more McDonald-like. His FB out of the pen last year was a tick or two higher (around 92-93) but to say that McDonald has a 97-98 MPH fastball is insane

  14. Mark Timmons says:


    Maybe you think McDonald doesn’t have a 97 MPH fastball, but I have seen it at 97-98 on several occasions. Gameday has him at 97 MPH twice last night. Look it up! ESPN said it and Gameday said it. I’ll take their word for it.

    As a starter he was 92-94, but as a reliever he is 96-98.

    I don’t make this stuff up. I have no reason to. I only report it.

  15. lawdog says:

    McDonald was throwing his fastball at 97-98 mph last night. If you weren’t watching, that’s okay. But he was hitting the gun at 97-98 mph.

    That’s a fact!

  16. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    97-98 is rare for McDonald. He generally tops out at about 94-95, and perhaps occasionally hits 96. That of course doesn’t mean he can’t hit 97-98, which he did last night. Actually, what’s really important isn’t so much the velocity, but the movement and location. And it’s location where I believe he’s been lacking. Same can be said of his other offerings. Having said that, whatever his location problems, it may well be that hitting his spots may just be the function of his getting enough repetitions, which really hasn’t happened this year. His location may be fine when he’s pitching in the minors, because when he’s there he gets consistent work. The Dodgers have to decide whether he’s going to get that consistent work with them, in the minors, or with another team. It’s simply a matter of what they feel he’s capable of doing, and when he’s capable of doing it.

    The same could probably be said for Elbert and Leach, both of whom I believe have the talent to be successful in the big leagues. Sometimes it’s just a matter of opportunity.

  17. Roger says:

    Heard a Cardinal fan on the radio, calling in to Home Plate on this afternoon — crying about the Cardinals. He said that the only pitcher on thate team who can get anyone out, was Carpenter. That the Red Birds would fall to pieces unless they got some more pitchers.

  18. Mark Timmons says:

    That seems seems to be the mantra of every fan of any team.

    WHAT IF:

    If you were Ned and could be guaranteed to win the World Series THIS year, but then finish last in 2010 to 2015, would you do it?

  19. Mark Timmons says:

    Well, if we have a game tonight, here is the lineup:

    1. Rafael Furcal, SS
    2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
    3. Manny Ramirez, LF
    4. Andre Ethier, RF
    5. Casey Blake, 3B
    6. James Loney, 1B
    7. Russell Martin, C
    8. Matt Kemp, CF
    9. Chad Billingsley, P

    I’ll give it to Joe, he sure is hard-headed!

  20. Mark Timmons says:

    Logan White, Aug 9, 2007:

    “McDoanld has always had a heck of a feel for pitching,” White said. “He throws anywhere from 88-93 (mph), but he has a really good downhill plane to the hitters, good movement, a good curveball and an outstanding changeup.

    Ken Gurnick, Jan. 29, 2009:’s Ken Gurnick reports Los Angeles Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said the team intends to use SP James McDonald in the bullpen to get his feet wet like they did with SP Chad Billingsley in 2007. McDonald’s fastball gained 5 mph when the team used him in relief late last year.


  21. Ken says:

    Sherrill is not worth giving up Bell who is the only hope to replace the Old Man

  22. Bill Russell says:

    There’s no DeWitt fans around any longer I guess.

  23. John Doe says:

    No comment.

  24. John Doe says:

    Don’t even think about it.

  25. Bill Russell says:

    Boy oh Boy that John Doe sure does talk alot.

  26. John Doe says:

    Lets change the subject. Does everyone on the Cards have a porn star stash?

  27. Bill Russell says:

    Ludwick sure does look like Forrest Gump to me.

  28. Bill Russell says:

    DRomo is finally wrong. Billingsley looks good tonight. I knew sooner or later he would be wrong about something.

  29. Roger says:

    Right now I need more out of Casey Blake. He is playing like player about to retire and just waiting to pick up his last check, before checking out.

    In the month of July (and it is almost over) he is 16 for 73 which is about .220 for the month, with 1 HR.

    An . . . Manny has not be hitting of late.

    No matter what the younger hitters do — these to guys have to get it going.

    These next few series: St. Louis, Atlanta, Giants, Arizona, St. Louis again, Cubs, Rockies == total of 30 games. I am wondering if the Dodgers can even play .500 ball.

    If the Giants keep it going, they just might be . . .

  30. Bill Russell says:

    Having a catcher like Molina is a major plus. He just about shuts down the running game. Furcal just took second on a strike out by Hudson but It was a hard pitch to throw someone out on.

  31. Bill Russell says:

    Softy can’t get good wood…….. grounds out to first

  32. Mark Timmons says:

    Kemp needs to be hitting ahead of Manny…

  33. Bill Russell says:

    Gump breaks the tie.

  34. DRomo says:

    here comes the melt down. It was a good outing but Bills is soft. When will this guy grow a set. 5 walks? Quit being so damn cute and pitch like you know you can!

  35. Bill Russell says:

    Say Bye Bye to the last team not to lose 3 straight.

  36. Mark Timmons says:

    I am watching the Cards feed and the Cards announcers said that Billingsley should have been out of the inning with the strikeout of Pujols and the throw out at 2B. When asked what he would have thought if the Ump has called that a strike, both said “I would have no problem with that – it was a strike.”

    Sure, after that Bills has been rattled, but here’s were a GOOD manager protects his player. Torre should have went crazy and been ejected. That would have galvanized Bills. This is not bad pitching. It’s bad managing. I guarantee that if the shoe were on the other foot, LaRussa would have been ejected.

    Torre knows nothing about protecting his young players and if you blame Bills, you are nuts!

  37. Mark Timmons says:

    Torre is an idiot!

  38. Roger says:

    The Dodger might have the best record for a few more days (Yankees are about to pass the boys) — but the Dodgers have come down to life.

    The Cardinals are the better team.

    C-Bills was great for awhile. Nice try, again. Heck, he could have had 15 wins by now. Kershaw will pass him soon. I said that a couple of weeks ago.

    So what have we learned since the All-Star Game???

  39. DRomo says:

    Pack your damn bags you softy. Do we want to win in the playoffs this year? Sure our offense failed tonight but melting down yet again (like I predicted!) is unacceptable!

    I am flip flopping again. Trade Bills now for a pitcher you isn’t scared of his own shadow. Cleveland is already in California (Anaheim) can Lee pick up a Dodger uni and meet us in the ATL

  40. DRomo says:

    Quit making excuses for Bills Mark. The guy is a sissy and need so work himself out of jams. Wild pitch? Walks? Open the flood gates? Another typical Billingsley start against a good team! His crown jewel was a start against a struggling SF team early this year. Since then the guy reverted back to the wuss that showed up against the Phills last Oct!

  41. Mark Timmons says:

    Before any runs scored, if that was Wainwright on the mound, LaRussa would have went crazy and getten ejected. That’s why LaRussa takes pitchers and makes them great – he shows he believes in them.

    Don’t blame this on Billingsley. Blame this on Torre.

  42. Mark Timmons says:

    You are obviously watching a differet channel, Romo. That was a horrible call and a good manager stands up for his player.

    It’s BS to blame Bills. A 25 year old kid needs some support. He got Zilch.

    You are just starting at your bottom line (Bills is no good) and working backwards.


  43. Mark Timmons says:


    You would manager that like Torre?

    I lost all respect for Joe Torre tonight!

  44. Mark Timmons says:

    We have NO manager!

  45. DRomo says:

    Excuses excuses! Blame Torre?What was Torres pitch cout tonight? Bills is a wuss. And I was right! Can I get some credit, Mark?

    If Bills needs Torre to throw a fit to get motivated, I have no use for him.

  46. Mark Timmons says:

    Do you remember in the playoffs last year? The pitching coach and Manual came out to talk to Cole Hamels several times. Manual didn’t get ejected but he jawed with the unps a couple of times about Hamels. Younger players need support. Joe knows nothing about that. When the score was 0-0 and the strikeout was not called and thus the runner was not out at 2B, Torre should have went nuts on the ump. Let me tell you, as a guy who has played several sports (not very good), when your coach or manager puts his ass on the line, you feel unbeatable. Joe Torre has no clue…

  47. Mark Timmons says:

    If a manager doesn’t make a difference, why have a manager?

    Oh wait, we don’t!

  48. DRomo says:

    No SUPPORT? did you see Bills against the Phillies last year? Talk about no support!

    You are going to get bad calls that is part of the game. So is that an excuse to leave pitches over the plate? I am sure Halladay, Beckett, Hershiser, Clemens all melted down when they got a bad call right.

    You know Mark, I coached Little League befor and I had a few parents that would say how great their kids were even when they were making a ton of mistakes. You are sounding just like them!

  49. Mark Timmons says:


    You are wrong!

    Not right!

    Youb have no clue!

  50. DRomo says:

    bottom line if he is in the big leagues and needs Daddy to hold his hand he isn’t ready

  51. DRomo says:

    if I am so wrong why did I call Bills last 2 melt downs? How many times do I need to call my shot?

  52. Mark Timmons says:

    Bills sucked against the Phils last year, but players need support and Martin was trying to give it. Did you see what he was saying to the Ump. He was looking away, but the Cards announcers were reading his lips.

    A young pitcher needs support. Have you ever seen Torre give it?

    I am done.

    Listen to the experts tomorrow!

  53. Mark Timmons says:

    Eliminate the managers.

    We don’t need them according to your theory!

  54. DRomo says:

    Bills got scared against the Phillies last year. And when they were throwing at our guys (at Mannys head & at Martin) Bills folded like a cheap suit! It was over and his teamates knew it. He didn’t have the guts to retaliate. That is a fact, it took Kuroda to get his guys back. So when you talk about support…think it through!

    Answer this Mark. Did I not predict Billingsley melting down the last 2 times?

  55. Mark Timmons says:

    Little League is a different game. In 6 or 7 years of coaching basketball, footballl and baseball, I have never agrued with a ref or ump. For one thing, you want to teach the kids respect. But, when a kid gets a bad call like that, it is easy for them to get down on themselves, lose focus and the like. That’s what makes Tony LaRussa a great manager and why Joe Torre was fired by the Cards so that Tony could take over!

  56. DRomo says:

    the mananger isnt there to whine and cry. Mental toughness and pride should have got Bills through the inning. He has neither

  57. Mark Timmons says:

    Answer: There should have been no melt down if Torre had done what LaRussa would do, so if you predicted it, it’s becauser you know we have an idiot as a manager.

  58. Mark Timmons says:

    I disagree. That;s why LaRussa is the best in baseball.

  59. DRomo says:

    Why does Torre have more rings? Scoreboard!

  60. DRomo says:

    so Torre should have thrown a fit against the Astros? our argument is falling apart

  61. Mark Timmons says:

    Charlie Manual is #3 on the Ejection List and the Phils playoff runs was preceeded by Manual getting ejected.

    Torre has more rings because he is a diplomat with older players. Look at the age of the players on the Yanks. You are not comparing apples to apples. Torre can manage vets, not youngsters.

  62. Mark Timmons says:

    Tell me all the young pitchers Torre managed for the Yanks when he won all the rings?

    A $200 mil payroll didn’t hurt…

  63. DRomo says:

    So you are saying I must have known that Bills was going to get bad calls? I said Bills tries to get cute and walks people then gives in and gets beat up. How did I know that Mark? At least give me credit for being right. I didn’t give fancy stats, I simply said excactly thepattern I see against good lineups. Guess what I was right. You can dwell on bad calls but that happens!! Just like you tell the kids you can’t control that stay in the game and do what you have to do.Bills is an All Star. He should pitch like one. He lacks “it” between the ears

  64. Mark Timmons says:

    Bills was pitching an excellent game tonight until an obvious 3rd strike was called a ball. That shook him. He needed support. Maybe at 30, he wouldn’t but young guys do. Joe didn’t do it.

    An ejection would have inspired Billingsley and the whole team.

  65. Mark Timmons says:

    Name a kid that wouldn’t react badly in that case.

    Bills righted the ship tonight. He walked 2 batters until that point. Wainwright was not as good, but we couldn’t capatialize. But, damnit a good manager has his players backs. Bills didn’t have his teammates back last year (and I hope he’s learned), but Joe needs his players backs and he doesn’t have them.

    This was a big game. Joe could have tried to change the outcome. I doubt the local writers will criticize him , however.

  66. DRomo says:

    Geez! If he needs to be coddled then by definition isn’t he fragile minded?

    Did a young Andy Petite need Daddy to go out there every inning to assure him?

    As for LaRussa: Has any 1 manager benefited more from the steroid era?

  67. DRomo says:

    Damn it can I get a little credit for predicting Bills would fold when the going got tough?

  68. DRomo says:

    So I didn’t predict this melt down? Again can someone else get some credit here? Typical Mark.

    Why don’t we blame Torre when Ethier folds? You are ridiculous tonight. Watching the Cards feed where they think LaRussa walks on water do you expect them to NOT fire shots at Torre? I just wouldn’t ecpect you to be so easily influenced

  69. Ken says:

    Bills is a wuss and Torre is a COMPLETE MORON. He has not been a good manager for 8 years. He is living off of his reputation.

    Congrats Mark you finally see how bad Torre is!!!

    Tha Cards will win the Central and blow out the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs.

    Torre has no ability to judge a pitcher. He ahould have let Vargas finish the 8th and Leach should have been sent down instead of Elbert weeks ago.

  70. Mark Timmons says:


    I think Bills needs to get tougher, but Damn, the manager should help him.

  71. Ken says:

    Loretta is better than Leach!!!

    July ERA Schimdt 7.88 – Bills 7.52 so show some intellectual consistency when ragging Schimdt

  72. Bill Russell says:

    Torre looks retired , Bills Melted and I’m not so sure that was a strike against Pujols but this was a great exchange in here tonight. If only the Dodger Offense could get this kind of energy going. This is the negitive part of a team with little power. Two hits in most innings but 0 runs on the board.

  73. Bill Russell says:

    9 hits and 0 runs????? We out hit the Cards tonight and lost 10-0

  74. Mark Timmons says:

    The Cards announcers BOTH said it was a strike.

    Then Martin got the runner at 2B.

    Now, Bills was rattled (but how many young pitchers might be as well?), which is why Torre should have came out… and got tossed.

    I guarantee LaRussa would have…

  75. Mark Timmons says:

    Trade for all older players, because Torre cannot relate.


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