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This Team is Built for the Playoffs

This Team is Built for the Playoffs

It’s good that we have a nice lead, because we might stumble a little down the stretch, but did it ever occur to you, that with the extra days of rest in the playoffs,  this team is built for martin22just such an occasion?  As it stands right now, Clayton Kershaw would probably start game #1 of a playoff series followed by Kuroda and Billingsley.  Randy Wolf would probably work out of the pen, where he is exceptionally tough on LH hitters.  We would drop the 5th starter and have a pen of Kuo, McDonald, Troncoso, Belisario, Mota, Sherrill and Broxton (Wade, Weaver and Elbert would also be options if anyone was hurt).  In the playoffs, it becomes a different game.  The pen can be used much more because of the additional rest days.  Now, if we can just get to the finish line without having any arms fall off…  Speaking of arms falling off, Ken Gurnick of writes about the possibility of just that, and says that Kuo is not just game-to-game, he’s pitch-to-pitch!

I believe we will also shine offensively in the playoffs.  We have some vets who are role players who can step up at the right time, with Manny at the top of that list.  However, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have matured immensely and James Loney is always dangerous in the clutch.  Raffy can play the game and is dangerous in a short series, even if his numbers are down for the year.  O-Dog just needs to stay on the field and Casey Blake will be Casey Blake, which bring me to Russell Martin.  He is having a down year, but is many respects, this Dodger team is rapidly becoming “Russ Martin’s” team.  How can it become your team when you are having a down year offensively?  Respect from your teammates, that’s how!  Dylan Hernandez of The LA Times writes an insightful article about Russell Martin.  No comment by me is necessary.

“I know people say his offense isn’t where it’s supposed to be, but his impact on the defensive side has been larger than what it would be on the offensive side even if he had his best year,” says 40-year-old backup catcher Brad Ausmus, who was signed in part to mentor Martin.

Ausmus calls Martin the most athletic catcher he has ever seen and, like Torre and Mattingly, sees him as a potential .300 hitter. He says that his clubhouse wrestling matches with Martin have him convinced that Martin — 5 feet 10, 210 pounds — hasn’t lost his strength.

Rants & Raves

  • Adrian Beltre defied the odds and came back 5 weeks after shoulder surgery, but THIS give a whole new meaning to foul ball.  Ouch!
  • It’s a big series for us this weekend, but also for the Rockies who play the Marlins, who are 3 games behind them in the Wild Card.  Root for the Marlins!
  • Someone asked about a knuckleballer pitching both games of a doubleheader.  The last time it happend was with Wilbur Wood of the White Sox.  From 1971 to 1974 Wood threw 85 complete games and threw over 300 innings each season, including a high of 376 2/3 innings in 1972 when he went 24-17.  Wood might best be remembered for being perhaps the last pitcher to throw both ends of a double-header, a feat he accomplished twice in 1973.   The first began with the completion of a suspended game but the second was a true double-header against the New York Yankees in which he started and lost both games.
  • Kershaw & Haren tonight!

Minor League Recap – 8/13/09  by Jared at
Albuquerque did not play
Chattanooga lost 5-3

Andrew Lambo – 1 for 4, 2B, RBI, K (.263 BA)
Lucas May – 1 for 3, RBI, HBP (.293 BA)
Inland Empire did not play
Great Lakes won 6-4

Dee Gordon – 3 for 4, 2B, 3 RBI, R, SB, CS (.300 BA)
Kyle Russell – 0 for 3, BB, 2 K’s (.270 BA)
Mario Songco – 0 for 4 (.155 BA)
Alfredo Silverio – 1 for 3, R, BB, 2 K’s (.284 BA)
Jerry Sands – 1 for 3, 2B, R, K (.194 BA)

Cole St Clair – 1 IP, 0 Hits, 0 R, BB, 2 K’s (3.18 ERA)
Ogden won 10-1

BCG – 2 for 5, 2B, HR (12), 3 RBI, R, K, HBP (.337 BA)
Nick Akins – 1 for 4, R, 2 BB, K (.250 BA)
Kyle Orr – 2 for 5, 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 K’s (.239 BA)
JT Wise – 1 for 5, 2B, RBI, K, E (.273 BA)

Javier Solano – 2 IP, Hit, ER, BB, 3 K’s (3.60 ERA)
AZL did not play
Player of the day – Dee Gordon, SS

Today’s effort doubled Dee’s hit total over the past 10 games. He’s been slumping in August, batting just .204, possibly seeing the long grind of a full season test his endurance. He also stole his 63rd base, which places him among the minor league leaders. Gordon’s season has been an undeniable success, and while he still needs to polish certain aspects of his game, the sky’s the limit for Flash Jr.

About Mark Timmons

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

52 Responses to “This Team is Built for the Playoffs”

  1. Bill Russell says:

    Nice post Mr. Mark but where were you yesterday during the turtle and hare discussion? Thanks for the info on Wilbur Wood throwing both ends of a double hitter.

    I wonder if Martin and Ausmus got in some work yesterday with Haeger? Hopefully Camelback was poppin with BP and bullpen sessions and the boys weren’t just laying around.

    I’ll have to read Lawdogs report to see whats going on with Stults and if he’s coming back to plug the 5 hole. Hopefully LD has something to say about it. One last thought on the knuckleballer. If he gives up a base hit or walks a batter, I am assuming that baserunners would run wild on that kind of pitcher. Does anyone care to comment on holding runners or guessing when to pitch out with Haeger and if he can hold a runner?

    Well I shouldn’t be bored tonight with Kershaw and Haren on the bump. We have had pretty good luck against Haren over the last few yesrs so I’m hoping it continues. All’s well in Dodgertown for now. Peace

  2. Darth says:

    Now for this coming week in Dodger Baseball. I will re-reiterate once again this group of starting pitchers currently screams for 3 long relievers until Bills is proven to be healthy. I would send Troncoso to AAA to rest and bring up Elbert or Stults. Oh Geez they can’t be brought back unless someone gets hurt. Not until the 23rd for Elbert or the 26th for Stults. What kind of GMing planning is this. The only other starter on the 40 man that can be a long reliever is Jesus Castillo who has regressed this year. Guess Haeger will have to pitch at least 3 innings in back to back games against STL next week. Look for a DL to happen soon.

  3. T says:

    I have to really disagree with you on this one. Our team is built more for the long season than a short playoff series. Elite pitching plays an even bigger importance in the playoffs. The Phils have Lee and Hames. The Cards have Carp and Wainwright. The Giants have Lincecum and Cain. We have Billingsley and Kershaw. Both guys are capable but Bills has struggled mightily after a hot start and Kershaw is still prone to outings where he throws 100 pitches in 3 innings. It’s not a good thing when a 21 year old who has never pitched a full season of MLB baseball is your ace. We also don’t have a solid bat off the bench. Matt Stairs killed us last year. We need a guy that can come off the bench and get a hit in a key situation. Mark Loretta doesn’t have it anymore. Maybe Mientkiewicz if he ever comes back.

    Our pen is pretty solid though if Kuo stays healthy and Bellisario and Troncoso perform like they did in the first half of the year.

  4. Mark Timmons says:


    1. Kershaw has been the hottest pitcher in baseball for the past 2 months;

    2. If “Bills has struggled mightily” then Hamels has struggled off the charts – check out his year. It sucks.

    3. By playoff time, I think Kuroda and Bills will be OK (Hamels may also), but our pen will be the difference. No one else has all the arms we do, and two soild closers.

    4. We have already showed that our bullpen by committe could match Lincecum.

    • T says:

      1. Kershaw is not an ace just yet. An ace doesn’t throw 100 pitches through 5 or 6 innings. He has the talent and is developing faster than I thought but he shouldn’t be relied on as an ace just yet (Kershaw is also getting lit up tonight as I am writing this)

      2. Yes, both Bills and Hamels have struggled so far this year. Hamels more so than Bills but you can’t discount Hamels based on his regular season. He was an absolute stud last year in the playoffs while Billingsley struggled. Bills may have the better regular season but I’d trust Hamels much more in the playoffs.

      3. What makes you think that??? You can’t just say that “Kuroda and Bills will be OK” and make it seem like it’s an absolute. I do agree that Kuroda and Bills will be better soon. Both have shown improvement recently but you can’t just believe that both will be fine come playoff time just because you want to believe it.

      4. So you’re hoping for Weaver, McDonald, Kuo, etc to do it again vs the best pitcher in the NL? I really wish that I had your optimism.

  5. Badger says:

    I am not sold on this being a team built for the play-offs. If everyone is healthy, and we have home field then yeah, I suppose I am on board.

    Kershaw – the good news is, he is on pace for about 188 innings this year. That would be the most he has ever pitched and would not include (hopefully) several starts in post season. The bad news is, he is averaging 5.72 innings per start. If our pen is in good shape for the play-offs, then we might be ok. Two questions for me – will he be able to go 7-8 in October if he is pressed hard down the stretch and…. will our pen hold together until late October.

    And then there is Billingsley. Is he going to be ok? If so, I think he will prove better in the play-offs than he was last year. The only basis for that is he is now experienced.

    Frankly, I still think by October we might be forced to outscore everyone in shoot outs.

    And look out for the Rockies.

  6. lawdog says:

    Once a player has been called u and is sent back down, I believe they have to stay down for at least 10 days before they can be called back up unless someone gets hurt and goes on the DL. This rule is necessary to keep teams from parking starters at AAA and rotate them up to the big club when it’s time for their start. In the interim, someone like Abreu could paly and get rotated down for the one start, or pitchers themselves could rotate up and down and you could circumvent the 28 man active roster that way.

    Stultz will probably rotate up when he’s eligible. I’d rather see Elbert start a game myself. He has better stuff than Stultz if not as much experience.

    I don’t think Torre will give Haeger a chance to throw even one pitch before sending him back down. I really think Torre has a screw loose–he’s totally nutso–when it comes to handling pitchers. He’s not going to let Haeger pitch because he’s young and throws a trick pitch. Nevermind the trick pitch is basically as unhittable as a 103 mph fastball with movment and Haeger throws the best dancer Charlie Hough, the master of the knuckler, has ever seen.

    On top of being able to throw the dancer for a strike whenever he needs to, Haeger, like Wilber Wood and Joe Niekro, has other “stuff”–namely an “average” fastball and breaking ball he used to throw exclusively early in his career before he discovered the finger-tip ball. His fastball doesn’t hit 87 very often, but he’s faster than Schmidt–and that 86 mph heater looks like 106 after you’ve watched 58 mph dancers pitch after pitch. Haeger pitches backwards–his fastball is his change of speed pitch. This is extremely rare because if you pushoff with your legs whjen throwing a knuckler, it will roll off your fingers and hang there like a batting pracxtice pitch for a little leaguer. You have to flex it up there with just the fingertips in motion. Haegler is curt from the same cloth as Wilber Wod and Joe Niekro–both of whom won more than 20 games in at least 1 season. Betteer knuckler than those two. And better stuff other than the knuckler as well as the knuckler itself than Hough, Wilhelm, Candiotti and that fellow up in Boston who made the All Star game with just the oine pitch.

    Torre is a coward and a moron. If he’d give this kid a chance, like Tommy did with the young Fernando and his trick pitch–the screwball–we might be set at the #3 spot behind Billed and Kurveshaw for years to come.

    But mark my words. The SOB won’t do it. Haegler will be sent down so some unknown veteran can come up and get his ass handed to him after 3 innings each time out.

  7. lawdog says:

    My opinion of Torre took a dive into the darkness when he screwed over Elbert last weekend. Promising him a start and then scratching him and sending him packing to Albertquacky only to pass him over the next time a pitcher is being called up shows absoltely no class. What happened to Elbert shouldn’t happen to a dog.

    And I like Haeger.

    Torre doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s that simple. I don’t think he knows his ass from a hot rock when it comes to the pitching. I think that Bigelow substance went straight to his head and is worse than ‘roids. It’s causing dementia arrogancia–in spades!

  8. Mark Timmons says:


    Joe Torre is not the person who sends players down or recalls them. That would be Ned’s job!

    Joe just plays who he wants.

    Now, I will tell you that what you see in the stands and on TV is entirely different from what actually happens on the field and in the clubhouse.

    I saw Charlie Haeger this spring and was not impressed, but that’s just me.

    Joe saw what I saw and probably feels the same way.

    Have you ever seen Charlie in person?

    • Ken says:

      Ned might sign the papers but the decision is made based upon group input, and with heated discussions??? Joe would swallow a tea bag if he was not allowed to provide significant input regarding those decisions. I would like to be a fly on the wall during those meetings!

  9. Badger says:

    Mark, if Joe asks Fred to bring him up a pitcher, you think he would be refused?

    Come on, get real. If Joe wants something regarding players, he will get it.

  10. i think martin is like la duca.. good the first yr then slowly on the down side. just in his hitting… but his arm in my oppinion is just average..he is good at throwing to third and first but not to the overall.jerry

  11. Mark Timmons says:


    Uisng your reasoning, why was Haeger called up and not used? Are you implying Torre asked for him or not?

    Did Joe just want Charlie so that he could not pitch him?

  12. Mark Timmons says:

    Like Ken said, it is a group thing. There are about 8 people involved, Joe being one. Maybe 7 wanted Haeger and Joe didn’t. Maybe that’s why he’s not pitching.

    I think it’s more likely that Martin and Ausmus have not caught a knuckleballer and the old catcher is not excited about them doing it in a pennant race.

  13. Mark Timmons says:

    .. and for the record, Elbert was sent down becausre he pitched 2 innings that Sunday and would not have been available to pitch. I believe that ANY good MLB manager would do anything to win the game at hand, instead of holding Elbert out so that he could start later.

    I am sure Elbert was disappointed, but I can’t blame Joe. He was just trying to win the Instant game.

  14. lawdog says:

    Elbert pitched 17 pitches on Friday. No more strenuous than the workout he probably would have completed had his number been called. And why did he call Elbert when he had several fresh arms, including a couple of proven lefties if he intended to pitch Elbert on Sunday. On top of that you have him bringing in Kuo undercircumstances where 53,000 fans are watching him warm up when he pitched the night before and he has Sherill and Leach–two very servicable lefties available to him. This when it’s common knowledge Kuo should never pitch two days back to back asn his 4 elbow surgeries make his future questionable pitch to pitch, not game to game.

    Torre’s conduct in handling pitchers makes it apparant to me that he’s either preoocupied–thinking about other things–like which yacht to buy with his next Bigelow endorsement contract, or else he’s dumber than the proverbial sack of hammers.

  15. lawdog says:

    That’s no more strenuous than the bullpen workout he probably would have completed had his number not been called.

  16. lawdog says:

    Who would you rather have on your team, Kurveshaw or Lececum ? Kind of like a Koufax or Maricial question, eh?

  17. Bill Russell says:

    I just want to know about the turtle and the hare? Wow, look what I missed so far today. Great discussions. Where’s our new friend Kay and what are her thoughts on this matter?

  18. lawdog says:

    August 14, 2009
    Dodgers to announce signing of highly regarded draft pick Garrett Gould, sources say
    August 14, 2009 | 11:15 am
    Since I’m pretty adamant with my skepticism toward unsourced reports, feel free to apply the same standard to this one. Although I can’t offer on-the-record confirmation, I have gotten reliable indications that the Dodgers plan to announce the signing of second-round draft pick Garrett Gould today.

    Gould, Kansas’ high school baseball player of the year, was a first-round pitcher who fell to the 65th pick overall because of bonus demands that were expected to exceed $1 million. Gould had a scholarship to Wichita State as a bargaining chip, and his signing is a welcome sign of investment in high-caliber draft picks after some hit-and-miss moments on that front in the last couple of years.

    Here’s some Gould video from Baseball Factory. Earlier this summer, the Dodgers signed their top 2009 draftee, Aaron Miller.

    Update: The Dodgers have confirmed the signing in their press notes today.

  19. Mark Timmons says:


    Actually, Elbert only threw 13 pitches, BUT he also threw whatever pitches he threw in the bullpen and then whatever he threw warming up. I don’t know if he could have pitched, but I can tell you they are very cautious with Elbert, due to his 07 arm surgery. Now, they realize Kuo’s arm can fall off at any time…

    You also said: “And why did he call Elbert when he had several fresh arms, including a couple of proven lefties if he intended to pitch Elbert on Sunday.”

    Here’s the answer: Leach wasn’t available, he was in ALBQ and Sherrill pitched earlier in the game.

    Totally different that what you just stated!

  20. lawdog says:

    P.S. I plagurized that snippet about Garrett Gould from a regular blogger with his own blog that was posted at the LA Dodgers page. I don’t want people to think I have direct connections to inside sources who would risk their jobs to give me the straight poop. Only Mover is that distinguished in the Dodger/blogger world.

  21. Mark Timmons says:

    Look, I question some things Torre does too, but Joe does have lot more info than you or I. Sometimes there are lots of things that don’t meet the eye or that we don’t know.

  22. lawdog says:

    Jon Weisman is the source for the Garrett Gould signing.

    Sometimes there are lots of things that don’t meet the eye or that we don’t know, and sometimes a person in a position of power isn’t competent, is destroying young arms and the confidence of the future pitchers of the team.

    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that Joe is ruining the pen and the youngsters. He treats the pitchers he wants to use like Rivera and ignores all the others. To say he’s myopic is an understatement.

  23. Michael says:

    Believe me, Joe is trying to win it all. It would be the “Coup de Gras” for him to win the Championship in the New Yankee Stadium. Just think when you’ve aged another 20 years how stubborn you and I will be. If he only had a real pitching coach, but then again he probably wouldn’t listen to him either. I’m getting antsy [hope the team is also], lets play some ball. Missing person alert out on a character named Roger Dodger?

  24. Badger says:

    “Did Joe just want Charlie so that he could not pitch him?”

    I don’t know. Ask Joe. He’s the one in charge of on-field decisions.

    Gould is a great signing. I thought for sure he was bound for Wichita State.

    I finally get to see the Dogs on the tube tonight. I look forward to it. Over/under has Haren going 7 innings, Kershaw going 6. Any takers?

    • Michael says:

      Yeah, I get FS Ar up here in Utah so I don’t need to watch on my computer[which will be blacked out.] I’m assuming you watch most of the games on the MLB package online. If so I just discovered something this week. All season I have been going to MLB dot com and clicking on the icon to get the game. Sometimes, in fact alot of the time I have been getting the opposing teams feed. Just found this week if you go to Dodgers dot com and click on the TV icon, you have the option to receive the Dodgers feed.

  25. Blue Haze says:

    Lincecum looks pretty damn good to me and has a Cy Young in his trunk and Kershaw is still up and coming. Both seem to be coming into their own (Lincecum is even a better pitcher this season than last). So at this point, you have to take Lincecum.

    Ken is Darth!

  26. Blue Haze says:

    Actually Ken is Garth (rimshot)

    • Ken says:

      garth (g?rth)
      n. A grassy quadrangle surrounded by cloisters.
      Archaic. A yard, garden, or paddock.

  27. Kay in L.A. says:

    Hi Bill. My thought is “Let’s play ball!”
    Even though lawdog gives me laffs, I still need my Dodger game.
    I don’t have many complaints about the players or manager; happy we are in contention.

    These are better times than we’ve seen in too many years.

  28. Ken says:

    I just want to know about the turtle and the hare?

    Look the Turtle is batting in front of the Hare/Bison again tonight! I am not sure that Torre understand Aesoph yet.

  29. Ken says:

    Frank just paid about $1 mil for Garrett Gould so that must be why he could not afford the olds geezers, Pedro, Smoltz, et al. Why not just bring him up? haha

    This coming Monday and Tuesday could both be bullpen days. If Bills blows up or can not pitch then Haeger may pitch on the 17th, which is his regular rotation day, unless he pitched a simulated game yesterday and then he may pitch on Tuesday and weaver might go on Monday. The garth plot thickens.

    I will be watching whomever pitches on Tuesday from behind home plate!

  30. Blue Haze says:

    correction: nerd

  31. GoNzO says:

    LOL BH! Garth!

    “That is a babe. She makes me feel kinda funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class.” Garth

  32. Ken says:

    Law Dog

    This is the perfect game for Haeger to come in and relieve for 4 innings

  33. Badger says:

    Not a good start for Kershaw – or Russell Martin. He misplayed two pitches in the dirt, both times with a man on third. You gotta get in front of those pitches and he didn’t.

    4 down against Haren? Not good. And Kershaw already with a high pitch count. Get ready Charlie.

  34. Blue Haze says:

    Party on Wayne! Party on Garth!

  35. Bill Russell says:

    Kemp goes yard, O-dog singles. Come on Blue

  36. Bill Russell says:

    Tonight is the sleepover on the field at Dodger Stadium. Watch the game on the Big screen and then watch Field of Dreams before cuddling up around the 3rd base bag for the night. I figured Michael might fly in for this big event or maybe Ken or Kay might be in attendance. I would but my back can’t take anything but my soft bed. Bases are drunk. Come on Martin…..

  37. Badger says:

    Who filled out this lineup card?


  38. Ken says:

    Have you ever thought about how appropriate the names of baseball teams are for both the players and their fans? LA Dodgers, SD Padres, Modesto Nuts.

  39. Badger says:

    So, who had the under on Kershaw?

    That’s right, nobody.

    When that kid starts locating, he will win 20 and strike out 200. But, not this year.

  40. Ken says:

    A better lineup

    Martin 1-16 hitting 2nd

  41. Ken says:

    Haren obviously threw at Kemp he should have been thrown out when he hit Ethier.

  42. Ken says:

    At least bring in Haeger to throw at someone

  43. Badger says:

    Looks like no ump saw the two up an ins to Kemp.

    Who had Haren and the over? Yeah, nobody.

    When the tying run at the plate in the 9th with two outs is Mark Loretta – head for the parking lot.

    We didn’t lose any ground and we can still get two out of three from these guys, they just aren’t that good.

  44. Bill Russell says:

    How could Haeger hit anyone? With a 79 mph fastball? That would be a funny site……

  45. Badger says:

    Not much being said about last night’s game.

    Not much to be said I suppose.

    How about this – in match-ups with our best against the league’s best, are we even 50-50?

    I think ldawg said Haeger’s fastball was 86. And I suspect both Ausmus and Martin are catching him in bullpen sessions since he has been up so I see no reason not to give him a start, and soon. He was a AAA All Star so he has nothing more to prove down there. We need starters, so, what are we waiting for?


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