Categorized | Mark Timmons

Checks & Bills

Checks & Bills

DougM-LorettaIt’s tempting to only write about Chad Billingsley’s meltdown in the 5th inning, but really, what lost the game for us was again a lack of hitting.   Andre Ethier had 3 hits and the rest of the team didn’t show up.  We do have a new LH pinch hitter: Doug Mientkiewicz.  With Jim Thome on the roster is it possible that we will keep both for postseason play?  I doubt it!   The Dodgers have been in a malaise for a while, except for and occasional outburst.  I am not panicking at this point because I would rather get hot LATE!  The Cards are white hot -it’s doubtful they can stay that way.  The same thing happened to the Rox.  Hopefully we will get HOT at the right time.

Which brings me back to C-Bill.  He was pitching a perfect game through four innings, then a one-out double (it broke up his perfect game), and then he pitches out of the stretch – BANG first pitch HR!  Is that the inside book on C-Bill?  When he goes to the stretch does he automatically come in with a fastball strike?  Maybe he shouldn’t pitch out of the stretch and maybe he shouldn’t throw a fastball strike on the first pitch after a base-runner gets on.  Of the first 12 batters he faced, he had 9 first pitch strikes (8 were fastballs).  They were sitting on that pitch and that was the game.  The other two runs were of the ticky-tack variety.  If Blake were at 3B, both might not have scored.  Belliard is not a third-baseman! 

Chad Bilingsley is an elite pitcher who is in a bad rut.  I think that when he gets to the 5th or 6th inning he starts thinking about making sure nothing goes wrong, which is negative thinking (you get what you believe).  He needs to change Three things:

  1. Focus on what is going right and BELIEVE he is going to get the next 3 batters out!
  2. Change up that pitching pattern (of his 9 first-ball strikes, 8 were fastballs-they were waiting on that after the 4th inning) and either don’t throw a first-ball strike or throw a different pitch; and
  3. Stay in the windup if he is more comfortable.

I think his problems are THAT simple and THAT fixable!  I look for him to be in “beast-mode”  in the playoffs.

RANTS & RAVES

  • Where are Don Mattingly and Jeff Pentland?   They need to fix this offense RIGHT ABOUT NOW!  Come on geniuses, do your thing!
  • Bad Penny openly says that he is now a Dodger Hater - RIGHT BACK AT YOU BRAD!  Maybe Padilla will put a ball in your ear and then pound that empty head of yours on the mound!  Good riddance to bad rubbish! 
  • X. Paul is back and was 3-3 last night at AAA – I guess Paul is part of the reason Hoffman was let go.
  • Josh Lindblom has been stellar in relief at ALBQ – last night he had 2 IP/0 H/0 BB and 4 K’s!
  • A 9 inning shutout by Jon Garland would be just what the doctor ordered tonight.  I am confident we can score at least 1 run!

Minor League Recap – 9/02/09 by Jared of http://thinkbluela.blogspot.com/
Albuquerque lost 4-2

Xavier Paul – 3 for 3, OF Assist (.360 BA)
Chin Lung Hu – 0 for 4, 2 K’s (.292 BA)
Blake DeWitt – 1 for 4, K (.258 BA)

Josh Lindblom – 2 IP, 0 Hits, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K’s (2.61 ERA)

http://tinyurl.com/no63cn
Chattanooga did not play
Inland Empire lost 10-4

Scott Van Slyke – 2 for 4, HR (23), 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 K’s (.297 BA)
Steven Caseres – 1 for 3, 2 K’s, HBP (.262 BA)
Preston Mattingly – 0 for 4, 2 K’s, CS (.230 BA)

Justin Miller – 5.1 IP, 7 Hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, K (7.42 ERA)

http://tinyurl.com/nt3dda
Great Lakes lost 5-4

Dee Gordon – 1 for 4, R, BB, 2 SB (.303 BA)
Kyle Russell – 1 for 2, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, K, E (.275 BA)
Jerry Sands – 0 for 2, RBI, BB, K (.211 BA)
Alfredo Silverio – 2 for 4 (.276 BA)

Aaron Miller – 3 IP, 7 Hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K’s (2.08 ERA)

http://tinyurl.com/nnwnou
Ogden won 7-1

BCG – 1 for 4, HR (15), 3 RBI, R (.325 BA)
Angelo Songco – 0 for 4, 2 K’s (.322 BA)
Clay Calfee – 1 for 3, 2B, 2 R, BB, 2 K’s (.372 BA)
JT Wise – 3 for 4, HR (6), 2 RBI, R (.320 BA)
Nick Akins – 1 for 3, RBI (.269 BA)

Allen Webster – 6 IP, 5 Hits, R (0 ER), BB, 4 K’s (0.96 ERA)

http://tinyurl.com/makmop
Player of the day – Allen Webster, RHP

Allen Webster has been the biggest surprise in the Dodgers’ system this season. A relatively unknown 18th round pick out of a North Carolina last year, Webster showed potential to miss bats but also spent a lot of time missing the strike zone altogether. Allen’s weakness seems to have become a strength; after walking 17 batters in 18.1 innings in 2008, he’s walked just 16 in 66.1 innings this year, including only 2 free passes in Ogden. He’s also struck out more than a batter an inning, induced 1.75 groundballs for every flyout and allowed 0 home runs. He should join a very promising Great Lakes rotation next spring.

About Mark Timmons

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

42 Responses to “Checks & Bills”

  1. Badger says:

    The Dodger hitters were hitting from behind in the count all night. At one point, Scherzer had thrown first pitch strike one to 20 out of 23 hitters. And his stuff was much better than Billingsley. We got outpitched big time last night.

    One of the goals of every baseball team’s offense is to get the opposing starting pitcher in the stretch. It was stressed by both my high school and college coaches and was talked about in many clinics I attended as a coach. Get somebody on base. Another thing is to have that somebody draw throws over. Get a one way lead. You have to make the pitcher think something is on – steal, hit and run, whatever – and the chances are much greater he will start the next sequence with a fastball. As a hitter be ready for it.

    Last night the Dodgers did very little with first pitch fastballs. But then, Scherzer has a wicked change-up he throws for strikes too. He looks much better than Billingsley to me. At least he did last night.

    Manny is getting beat with the fastball. I can’t believe it, but it is true. Even when he knows it’s coming he is late on it. He is the guy on our team that needs to look into the “bat glove” and a lighter, maple bat. I’m telling you, he needs to make adjustments or he is not going to be any help in this stretch.

    Thome or Mintcaveitch? Really? You aren’t serious. Doug got a hit last night, but it was nothing more than a well placed wounded duck.

    Penny. Go figure. I say that’s the last 8 inning game he pitches in his career.

    Paul. Is he the one hitter we have left in our minor league system?

    • Kay in L.A. says:

      Badger, what is your theory behind Manny using a lighter bat rather than a heavier one. I read recently the sluggers of old used heavier bats. These lighter ones break all the time….

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    Badger,

    I know we have to keep Thome, but could Mintcaveitch also be an option? He’s a gamer…

    Of course, if he can’t throw he can’t play because you can’t carry two guys who can’t play defense.

  3. Blue Haze says:

    Gonzo, did you get any of that lightning and thunder storm on Monday night/Tuesday Morning? It was an amazing show in Blythe, was wondering if you got washed away.

    Brad Penny, what an idiot blowhard.

    Belliard ain’t the fix all that Torre believes him to be.

    C-Bills is becoming our new mental midget.

    Ethier really is the stud that most of us recognized long ago.

    I think the Dodgers may find a way to scrub the option for Manny next year. The Dodgers definitely were sold something under false pretenses (yeah I know, I know, you don’t need to point out the reasons they won’t be able to void his contract, so save your fingers).

  4. Bill Russell says:

    I watched the interview with C Bills after the game yesterday and he is visably a mess. His confedence is gone and he’s hanging on by a very thin thread. I don’t believe there’s enough time for all the kings horses and all the kings men to glue him together again before the post season begins. He looked great for the first four innings yesterday but fall apart faster Humpty falling off the wall. As for now, he’s got to be considered middle relief in the post season. I was questioning the Jon Garland pickup a few days ago but now it’s all coming into focus. With Kuroda still a question mark and Bills a shattered mess, He may be a big part of our post season run. Post season I say, if the bats don’t come alive soon, it will be a very quick 3 game experience in 2009. It just baffles me on how everyone can slump at the same time. Excluding Softy.

    Badgers right, Scherzer did have good stuff. But the rest of the league figures out during their second at bat if not before, that he throws a fastball down the middle on the very first pitch. Every pitcher that faces the Dodgers becomes an Ace for the day. I hate to sound like I lost my best friend but it should feels like it.

  5. Bill Russell says:

    sure not should

  6. Badger says:

    Borass wrote the contract so you can bet there was protection in it for discovery of PED use.

    Belliard is what it he is. A .250 hitter that connects occasionally. I still say Abreu could do all of what Belliard is doing. In fact he will – over in Arizona.

    Ooops. Looks like Manny already uses maple.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=3540538&type=story

    OK, then he needs a lighter one. He is behind and popping up too many plated fastballs. Last night, Scherzer went right after him. Here, it’s 97 mph, hit it if you think you can. He couldn’t.

    Do we have post season room for all the bench guys we have suddenly accumulated? No, we don’t. Somebody gotta go.

  7. SteveM says:

    Hey peeps! Here’s the deal – The Dodgers are still in first so just remember the world isn’t ending, yet.

    1st, Manny just isn’t hitting very intelligently right now – he’s trying too hard to pull and kill every pitch he swings at. His approach has always been to go with the pitch: up-the-middle or the other way. I’m not seeing this right now. Maybe the “juice” is all in his head. I hope Thome has a positive effect on Manny, it looked like he was getting a good hold of Manny’s ear during last night’s game.

    As hot as Kemp and Ethier are right now, We need both Manny and Furcal (HUGE disappointment!) to finish strong.

    2nd, Bills wasn’t as bad as the stats might show. He continued to make good pitches after he got dinged with the 2-run HR, his only REAL bad pitch. His pitch selection could have been better, I think R.Martin should take a little blame for that too, but I don’t think he panicked as much as he just ran into bad luck. Furcal wasn’t very helpful either.

    Keep in mind, and I know I’m a broken record, Bills is only 25! He’s still a pup. He’s 2-3 years from his prime and we need to be patient with him – and Kershaw too for that matter.

    I have spoken.

  8. Ken says:

    Does not matter what the pitching does if there is no hitting. Doesn’t matter what the hitters do against poor and average pitchers. In the playoffs it is all about can you hit our Ace. If the Dodgers do not take a new approach they will be swept in the first round by the following:

    The following teams Ace’s ERAs in the NL:

    STL – #1 & 3
    SF #2 & 4
    PHI – #5 & 7
    ATL – #8 & 15

    Its all about Pitching Baby and can you beat my 2 pair of ACEs!!!

  9. Badger says:

    “what Major League Baseball needs to do is invest in paying for better wood, which would raise the cost of the bats.

    What is the difference in cost between a maple and ash bat?

    The difference is around $15-$20. Louisville maple bats are currently sold for an average of $65 each, while ash sells for $48.”

    Are you kidding me? I paid more than twice that for my DeMarini.

    Manny Ramirez makes about $150K every night. He should be able to afford a thousand old growth Zambian maple bats, harvested at midnight on an October full moon, turned in a temple by a Taoist monk and blessed by the Pope.

    No excuse for “inferior wood” in the big leagues.

  10. Ty says:

    Bills has the talent to be an elite pitcher but calling him an elite pitcher now is ridiculous. He was good last year and he’s been above average for the most part this year but he isn’t elite. Elite guys are Halladay, Haren, Johan, etc. Bills MAY be elite one day but he is merely above average right now.

    Why blame Mattingly? He may not be doing a great job but it’s the players who are to blame. Why does one blame Mattingly for Loney, Martin and Furcal’s struggles but praise the Kemp and Ethier for hitting well? Does Mattingly get any credit for those two or is he only blamed for the struggling players? Blame the players

    • Kay in L.A. says:

      Blame the players: what a concept. I like it.
      I’m tempted though to say the agents have ruined the players.

      If you’re grown up enough to play in the big leagues, then you’re grown up. You’re being paid big bucks so do your job.

  11. Mark Timmons says:

    Ty said:

    “Bills has the talent to be an elite pitcher but calling him an elite pitcher now is ridiculous. He was good last year and he’s been above average for the most part this year but he isn’t elite. Elite guys are Halladay, Haren, Johan, etc. Bills MAY be elite one day but he is merely above average right now.”

    Let me understand this. Since Bills has pitched poorly since the All-Star Break he is no longer an elite pitcher, or he was never an elite pitcher?

    Look at these stats between the 2008 and 2009 All-Star Breaks:

    Billingsley 16-6 3.19 ERA

    Halladay 19-8 2.87 ERA

    Santana 18-7 2.64 ERA

    Haren 17-8 3.10 ERA

    Billingsley’s not an elite pitcher because he has a 5.00 ERA since the All-Star Break? Haren has a 4.50 ERA since then. Haren had a 4.01 ERA after the All-Star Break in 2008. Billingsley was 30-19 as a starter in his first 2 full seasons, with a sub 3.40 ERA and he’s not an elite pitcher?

    Is he not an elite pitcher because he doesn’t typically pitch as deep into games? Maybe, but Haren only pitche 16 more innings than C-Bill last year.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but the stats don’t support your position.

    And, Bils is the youngest by far!

    • Ty says:

      Would you trust Bills in a big game? Stats don’t always tell the truth. Are you trying to tell me that Halladay and Billingsley are almost equal as pitchers right now? Why don’t you take your eyes off of the stats page and watch a game or two.

  12. Blue Haze says:

    Ty, it is the nature of fans to complain about the bad things and not even hardly notice or give a shout out for the good things done by one’s team. I don’t prescribe to that style but many feel it is their duty, privilege and right to bitch and moan. If you are around long enough in here, you will notice that when the team is going well or great, posts are lacking. However, when things are going poorly, the posts increase significantly. It is called the “what have you done for me lately” syndrome coupled with the “hey you get paid to play well, thus I will only comment if you don’t play well” syndrome.

    Ken, you are right on, the playoffs are a battle of “pitching aces”, we don’t stack up well in that department (at least in the regular season). It is not that the Dodgers lack talent, the problem is young, inexperienced pitchers that are sometimes “ace quality” and at other times “AA to AAA quality” pitchers. At that point (playoff games), those young guys must get incredibly hot otherwise they will fare very poorly in the playoffs. I think we witnessed both sides of the coin in last years playoffs, versus the cubs we had aces, against the phillies we had AA performances, not to mention a bunch of young guys that didn’t know how to respond to a true playoff battle (C-Bills being a pussy and not being a tough ass, the greatest note).

    Kay, it isn’t just the agents that have ruined the players, it really is just symptomatic of the culture in general. Spoiled brats have always been a problem, we just happen to have an entire society of spoiled, self-serving, a-holes, the professional athletes just also happen to make a lot of money being dipshits. It is only going to get worse I am afraid.

    Tonight it is Dodger baseball and BBQ dove breasts, rice and cerveza for dinner, now if the Dodgers will cooperate and win, it will be a perfect evening.

  13. bluetrain says:

    ” Belliard is not a third-baseman! ” I believe this to be only too true, and not a very good 2B either. Can somebody factualize(new word)this interpretation. thanks

  14. lawdog says:

    I don’t care what you call him: Ace all the way down to bust. What matters is how he’s been pitching lately–and lately he hasn’t been able to get to the 6th inning without losing it, giving up crooked numbers until he gets his ass pulled. This has been going on for many moons now. He was ”
    aces” in the early going this year but now, ask yourself, do you really think he can beat the best pitchers on the teams we are likely to face in the post season? If he can’t beat the Hartford Weaky Pee Wees (like right now) how can you expect him to beat the really good , highly confident pitchers who he’ll have to face?

    Bills will pitch us right out of the playoffs like he did last year if he doesn’t turn his game around. He’s throwing too many fastballs, and face it, he loses control of it too many times in tough spots.

    Bills will probably be our long reliever if he doesn’t turn it around pronto! What has he done for us lately?

    Can anyone tell me what kid of stuff Garland has and why some project him in the post season lineup instead of Padilla? Padilla is being left off post season roster altogether by the so called experts. Can Garland throw 97 mph, a great cutter/sinker, slider, splitter and a 12-8 curve at two speeds? Padilla seems like a lock for one of the 3 starter spots–and the so called experts don’t even have him on the 28 player active roster.

  15. bluetrain says:

    neither Padilla or Garland are even locks to make the playoff roster, let alone be starters.

  16. DRomo says:

    And by the way, I do know he is “young” but he is in his 3rd season. It is time to take the training wheels off. He should be noticably better this year and he is NOT! In fact when he goes south this year he REALLY GOES SOUTH.

  17. DRomo says:

    I hate goofy stats like “who had the best records between last years all-star game and this years” That doesn’t even make sense because teams change over the off season. It is a classic example of manipulating facts.

    I remember hearing the Dodgers had the best record over the last 100 games when it was in May or June or something like that and all I thought was “Oh yeah where are their rings?” You can pad your stas in garbage time but how you perform when your team needs you is what is important. I throw Bills off the roster and tell him to grow a set and try again next year….in Toronto!!!

  18. Blue Haze says:

    Stats are way overblown because of the manipulations that are made to make the results “work” for someone’s argument.

  19. Ken says:

    “Its the Hitting, ……”

    Seriously, the real problem with the Dodgers is the lack of Productive hitting which can be measured fairly acurrately over a long priod of time with the Stat BARISP

    2009 Currently active position players

    Eyechart .500
    Pierre .333
    Ausmus .333
    Loney .300 Including when he is not hitting a slow roller to 2nd
    Kemp .299
    Manny .292 And Dropping Fast
    Loretta .283
    Hudson .273
    Ethier .258
    Castro .250
    Martin .231
    Blake .230 And Dropping Fast
    Furcal .217
    Belliard N/A
    Ellis N/A
    Tomey N/A

    And the true Clutch Player can be determined as one whose batting average is higher when there are RISP as compared to their overall batting skill rating of GPA. The Dodgers have only 2 starters with that resulting Stat – Hudson (.007) and Loney (.043), 3 if you count Pierre (.056).

  20. Badger says:

    bluetrain, about Belliard….. I got nothin’.

    I don’t consider Billingsley an ace. I guess it might just depend on your definition, but for me, an ace is the guy who lifts and carries the pitching staff. An ace is a guy you can count on to stop a losing streak or continue a winning streak. Win or lose, I think you should be able to count on 7 innings from your ace. Looking at the Dodgers staff, I really don’t see an ace. I see potential though.

    ldawg, Garland is a seviceable number 3 or 4. He will eat up innings and end the season with near 200 of them, a 4.5 ERA and 1.4 WHIP. He could help, but you had better hit behind him because he won’t likely shut anybody down.

    If the Dodgers don’t start hitting it won’t matter who they throw out there.

  21. Illini Dodger says:

    I agree with Mark’s post. It’s not the pitching–it’s the incredible lack of an offense that will kill us in the playoffs. Yes, CBills is struggling a bit. He gave up 3 earned runs, and didn’t pitch a complete game shutout, but our bullpen makes up for our lack of starters going deep into games. If we score 5 runs per game, we’ll win 80% of the time….or so it seems to me.

    I hate to say it, because it’s bad for my blood pressure, but we need a couple of walk-off, come from behind wins to ignite some passion and fun in this team. They look bored.

  22. Illini Dodger says:

    I like to see guys look disgusted when they make an out. Where’s the emotion in this team. Furcal almost looks happy after he makes an out. I understand that they’re professionals, but c’mon every other team seems to enjoy winning.

  23. Kay in L.A. says:

    I wish I knew how boring it is to be so rich, all I have to do is show up at the ballpark, fail to hit in a clutch situation and I still get my pay.

  24. Ken says:

    Mark

    Bills has a problem

    We are not convinced that Honeyctutt is the person to solve the problem

  25. Mark Timmons says:

    Ty and everyone,

    I agree that stats don’t tell the tale and I do watch the games more than I watch the stats. I had to look up the stats, but I did know that Bills had gettien better every year, until about half way through the season. Cole Hamels, who is a similar pitcher struggled all year until a couple of starts ago, but people weren’t ragging on him like they are on Bills. I still say that Bills is an elite pitcher…

    going through a bad streak. I can only hope he gets past it soon.

  26. Bill Russell says:

    I hate to say it but its not the pitching, it’s not the offense because it’s both. When we match up against Carpeter and Wainwright or Cain and Lincecum we can’t give up 5 runs. If we give up 2 runs it had better be an extra inning game to give us a chance at winning. Kershaw is the closest thing that we have to a pitcher we can throw at Lee or Hamels. Wolf may go 5-6 innings and give up 3 runs on a good day to a playoff club. That’s probably not going to cut it. Billingsley will pitch 4 great innings and then get lite up like my father on New Years Eve.

    Let’s be honest in here. If we’re not scoring 5-6 runs a game, we can’t win in the playoffs. Unless, the 1988 magic reappears in 2009 make vacation plans for October. I’m still a Dodger fan but the light is getting dim on the 2009 World Series hopes. The Door has been opened tonight to grab back one game in the standings if the bats can come alive against a bottom of the barrel pitcher. Lets try not to make this guy an ACE tonight.

  27. Mark Timmons says:

    Cheer up, Billy.

    It’s about to get better!

  28. Badger says:

    Bill’s right.

    Seems to me it wasn’t that long ago that somebody in here took Bills and Kershaw over Carpenter and Wainwright. Not as long as the Dodgers hit like they have been.

    There’s Garland. His ERA and WHIP after one inning as a Dodger – 9.0 and 2.

    It’ll get better.

    • A Shot of Haeger says:

      That was me. I still think they’ll both turn it around. But if we don’t hit, we aren’t going to beat anyone

  29. Bill Russell says:

    Was that Cy Young pitching the 1st inning against us?

  30. Ken says:

    Somebody was right when they said that when things get better nobody posts…

    But for all of those that think that nobody should ever say anything bad about the Dodger players – Don’t ever listen to Vinny or the guys on the Dodger pregame show because they certainly do in their own style.

    Garland is now the Ace of the staff (Just like Haeger was for a week) and Bills is now the number 6, number 6, number 6 starter on this staff. Bills to the bullpen as a long reliever. You can count on him for a great 2-4 innings every outing.

  31. Bill Russell says:

    No posts tomorrow because we won tonight. Also any stats on which inning Bills falls apart? We could pitch him long relief except for the 5 or 6 innings. Can he pitch the 4 inning and then play right field until the 7th? Just a thought…

  32. Bill Russell says:

    We really didn’t beatup a bottom of the barrel pitcher tonight but we got the win. Manny, Loney and Blake at least are showing signs of life. Garland settled down and pitched a pretty good game. We knocked another game off the schedule and now looking at the very hot SD Padres team tomorrow. Can we get our offensive MOJO back this weekend? Stay tuned…..

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