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Why Can’t the Ortiz’s Stick To The Script?

Why Can’t the Ortiz’s Stick To The Script?

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had this all figured out.  Stults was our #5 and Belisario, Kuo, Elbert, Elbert, Gagne, McDonald, Zerpa and Wade were all in thebullpen picture.

Fast Forward two weeks and Eric Stults is still a leading candidate (and has pitched very well in the starting role), but most of the above names are no longer candidates to be on the opening day roster.   It’s possible Kuo and Belisario could make the team, but time is running out because Kuo could be on the DL and Belisario could be on the “Felony Stupid List” for not showing up  on time.  James McDonald is “on-the-bubble” and could easily be sent to AAA as well.  Josh Lindblom has an outside chance, but I think the Dodgers would like to send him to AAA to see if he can cut it as a starter all season.  It’s a “given” that he will be an outstanding reliever, but some in the organization think he has the stuff to be a soild #3 Starter.

Armando Zerpa was sent back to Boston.  Eric Gagne was sent to Minor League Camp and Cory Wade is sporting a sore wing, but Ramon Ortiz has been the surprise of the spring.  He used to be a guy who tried to blow every pitch past the hitters at 95 MPH, but has now learned some new tricks.  In fact he has pitched 9 innings this Spring and allowed 5 hits while striking out 11 and only walking 2.  It has been reported that he developed a nasty new pitch in Japan in 2008.

Russ Ortiz is also pitching well with 5 scoreless innings so far (that’s a small sampling – let’s see what he does in his next start), and these two guys are screwing up my projections. I still don’t think it’s likely that Russ makes the team, but Ramon has the stuff to be the Dodgers #5. Eric Stults has his hands full.  A few weeks ago, I said there would be a big surprise.  So far, it has been Ramon Ortiz.  Jon Weisman makes good points about the “Ortiz Tease”, as he calls it.

NEXT YEAR FOR XAVIER PAUL

X. Paul has no chance to make the team this year, unless someone gets injured.  As of right now, Doug Mientkiewicz AND Garrett Anderson could BOTH make the team – You can’t have too many bats.  Xavier won’t like it, but he could benefit from a full season at AAA and the become the Dodgers LF in 2011.  Most people think he’s a 4th OF, but he could be a very serviceable LF in the future.  Good Speed, Decent Power, Excellent Glove, Cannon Arm.  Watch him!

WHO BATS #2?

I really am not invested emotionally as to who hits #2.  There is no RIGHT answer.  You typically only bat 2nd one time a game, but if Matt Kemp is the second batter, I think the Dodgers will score more runs in the first inning.  Also, while he is a good baserunner, Blake DeWitt has average speed (at best) – I like him lower in the order because of the speed issue.  Russ Martin is faster than DeWitt!  It’s an argument for which I can play both sides, but these’s just one thing to consider:  If you are an opposing manager, and knew you were going to have to face 4 batters in the first inning, which 4 would you rather face:

  1. Furcal
  2. Kemp
  3. Ethier
  4. Ramirez

OR

  1. Furcal
  2. DeWitt
  3. Kemp
  4. Ethier

It’s an EASY answer, no explanation necessary!

GET WITH..ROW IT!

By all accounts Chris Withrow looked outstanding in his 1 inning of work.  He struck out the side and displayed a 92-95 MPH fastball with a lot of late movement.  He’ll see time in the Majors as soon as next season!  Like Clayton Kershaw, he’s not going to need a lot of time in the minors.

CUTS THAT COUNT:

Travis Schlichting,  Brent Leach and Ivan De Jesus Jr. were all sent to minor league camp.  Both pitchers could be part of the “AAA Shuttle” this year.  DeJesus will be a nice utilityman, as early as next season.  He does not possess enough speed to hit high in the order, not enough power to hit above #7 and not enough range to be an everyday SS.  He has a good bat, but his lack of other skills makes him a sub, in my opinion.

RUMBLINGS

  • Scouts are more than amazed at Dee Gordon’s speed.  He can nearly beat out a routine groundball to 2B!   The fielder has to execute perfectly every time or he’s on.  He may skip High A ball and go to AA.  It will depend upon his maturity level.
  • Scott Van Slyke looks like a player, but then again, so does Preston Mattingly.  2010 is a make or break season for both.
  • “Boy, do those Dodgers have arms!”  A comment frequently heard among opposing scouts and officials.
  • Jamie McCourt wants to be President of the United States (no thanks) – Bill Shaikin of The LA Times
  • Must Read:  Steve Dilbeck of The LA Times on Casey Blake (the one you don’t see)
  • Tony Jackson’s Mailbag

GAME NOT OVER?

According to Ken Gurnick, Eric Gagne texted this upon his demotion to the Minors:

“I’m on my way back,” he wrote. “I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. But I’m gonna go down there and work my butt off and be ready if they need help!! Long season.”

We’ll see….

FIVE DAYS UNTIL CAMELBACK RANCH!

About Mark Timmons

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

8 Responses to “Why Can’t the Ortiz’s Stick To The Script?”

  1. Scoop says:

    Just when the other thread was getting interesting, it’s shut down.

    steevo said “we should be fine if our OBP is up there” – or something close to that. I agree. That was the most overlooked stat for years, but the sabremetric dudes have changed that. I was using that stat when I coached 30 years ago. Don’t make an out, fill up the bases, and something good will happen. And I also agree with your lineup. As I said, stack the middle of this order any way you want. From what I have seen on the projection sites, most of the experts think Manny will get back up over .300 and have a better OBP than the other guys, and if that is the case I would like to see him hitting 3rd – it guarantees a guy with a .400 OBP gets up in the first inning. Furcal won’t do that – and whoever we have hitting second won’t do it either. Ethier, Loney and Kemp just haven’t done that – yet. Kemp is too much of a free swinger to have a .400 OBP and Ethier puts the ball in play what he swings at – usually – so I don’t see him at .400 either. All of this remains to be seen. It could be that Manny is just another .290 with 25 HR power without steriods. But, he has always been a .400 OB guy.

    It might be a good idea to see how our left handed hitters fare against lh pitching before we make too big a deal about this lefty/righty thing. Ethier, as we all know, has been terrible against lh pitching, and if he ever is to be a super star he needs to improve that. But Loney isn’t bad – his three year splits has him a .274 with .345 OPB – and he improved a bit last year going .274 with .368 OBP. I suspect he will be even better this year. And as long as that is the difference between the two, I agree that Loney is a good choice to be #3 hitter.

    As for the who hits two, I think the point was missed Mark. Yes, technically you only hit second once, but if that is your theory, why don’t you put Blake there? The point is to create a lineup that gives you the best opportunity to score runs often. I don’t think I need to tell you that most teams want OBP guys with speed at the top of the order and the two hole is usually occupied by an ODog type hitter.

    And, as was stated a long time ago by somebody here, Paul should go to AAA and get 5 at bats a night. Sitting him on the bench here is just stupid. His fate was sealed when Johnson was signed. The other bench guys are bunch of Loretta’s in my book. The Dodgers need to keep their starters in as much as possible to compete in the West.

    And who knows who the #5 will be. I have a feeling that face will change several times over the year. In fact, it would not surprise me if the Dodgers only have 2 starters with 30+ starts. The starting pitching is, IMHO, the achilles heel of this team.

    And can we please drop the “negative” nonsense. Just because someone gives an opinion that isn’t colored blue doesn’t mean they are being negative.

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    I’m positive that was negative!
    ;)

  3. steevo17 says:

    We seem to be in agreement here Scoop, OBP is much more important than speed when it comes to producing runs.

    In the immortal words of somebody I can’t recall (hehe), “The only base you can’t steal is 1st base.”, unquote. Blake DeWitt has an OBP of .500, he’s getting on base right now half of the times he steps up to the plate…sweet. Of course he’s not going to maintain that type of pace through the whole season, but if he’s still hot on opening day, I want him getting on base ahead of Kemp, Ethier and Manny as often as possible.

    My thinking in having Kemp batting 3rd is simply he will improve his OBP because he will improve his game in total. Manny should be able to maintain a high OBP because he’s a professional hitter and in doing so will provide Loney and Blake with many run producing opportunities. My lineup would take all this into consideration…emphasis on “MY”. But I repeat Scoops statement in that the actual order isn’t important, with Kemp, Ethier and Manny in the middle(in whatever order) we should score plenty of runs.

    In breaking news…Cory Wade will undergo exploratory surgery and in my opinion is a long shot to ever return. Arm troubles at his tender age (26) are never good news. I consider this a career ender, although my fingers are crossed for him.

    BIG 2010 WILL BE A DODGER YEAR…LA Dodger Talk is the best, keep it up guys.

  4. Scoop says:

    DeWitt is facing early spring pitching. In 6 seasons in the minor leagues, 2555 at bats and has a .277 avg. and .337 OBP. 6 seasons – and that is all he has done? That ain’t exactly first round draft pick numbers folks. Now, maybe in this past off season he has figured it out – hey, stranger things have happened. But honestly, I think a Plan B had better be ready and if it’s Kemp…… I say again – ain’t ideal but, that’s what the GM has put together so….. it is what it is. The Dodgers keep finding other guys to have available other than DeWitt, first Blake, then Hudson, so, I wonder how much faith they actually have in him.

    And another Dodger bites the dust. What is it in the water out there that makes Dodgers fall apart?

  5. chucky says:

    It has always been Dodger policy to get big arms and blow them away via overuse, then they get Torre who loves to blow arms away.

    In war there will always be casualties.

    I have given up trying to figure out what the final roster will be. All I can see is 11 locked fielders and 8 locked pitchers. That leaves 6 open spots.

    Let the race begin.

    I will be at Camelback this weekend too (on Sunday)

    go blue

  6. JDavis says:

    If Xavier Paul makes the team next year I can’t see him playing LF that’s Ethiers spot Ethier plays weak D

  7. kem says:

    LD – Last Post – TB LA = True Blue LA

    Ortiz – I have had a hunch for a few days that Ramon will make a good swing man for the Dodgers and will succeed the entire season, while Russ would once again pitch ok for a few weeks and then stink up the yard for the rest of the year.

    Mark – Agreed re Paul; Pitchers – nice analysis

    Joe Torre – He should personally pay the disability insurance policy premiums for all of the Dodger relief pitchers out of his managerial salary.

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