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This Could Be The Start of Something Good

This Could Be The Start of Something Good

No – I’m not referring to last night’s game!  I talking about Brad Ausmus.  Due to back surgery for a bad disc, it is my opinion that in all probability, Brad Ausmus has played his last game.  At 41, why would he want to come back for a short season?

Our Next Skipper?

I can’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind to come back and play one final year of softball at age 56 with a new titanium and stainless steel hip, but after further review, I said no.    Brad is a smart (as in very smart) guy and he will figure it out.  I’m sure he will probably be with the team after the surgery is completed, at least part time.  But, I’ll cut to the chase.  Brad is “Manager Material”.  He will be a manager… and soon.  Are the Dodgers committed to Joe and Donnie Baseball, or could this be the start of something good?

At any rate, Brad had a great year in 2009, but I don’t see it happening again at his age.  AJ Ellis, who is not the “Rocket Scientist” that Brad is, will assume the role of backup to NL All-Star Catcher Russell Martin (yes, you heard right).  AJ is an all-around good guy and great teammate, and will also be an asset to the team.  Now he gets to show if he can really hit on the major league level.

At any rate, we all wish Brad a speedy recovery and maybe, just maybe… we’ll see him in Dodger Blue in another capacity.  Dave Duncan (who is the best pitching coach on the planet) is a former catcher…

RANTS & RAVES:

  • Matt Kemp may still be the Silver Slugger, but he won;t win the Gold Glove the way he’s playing CF
  • The Ortiz Twins are making the decision easy as to who to keep when Kuo and Belisario return.  We could see a roster move today.  Russ Ortiz was hitting 90 on the gun, but his pitches didn’t appear to have much movement and when it went to Gameday to check the break, it was painfull obvious that his stuff was “flat.”  That means that we all could hit him.  Sorry Russ, but you are toast!
  • Blame our pitching for last night’s debacle, but when you get 19 hits you should score more than 7 runs!  6 for 18 with RISP won’t cut it.  This team still doesn’t have the proper hitting “mindset.”
  • Chad Billingsley’s arm slot was different last night.  Surely Honeycutt saw that too.
  • Carlos Monasterios is finding out big league hitters are a little tougher than A ball hitters.  Can he last the season?  I am starting to doubt it.
  • 6 of the Dodgers 9 starters have on-base percentages of over .390!
  • You are going to see some Monster Offensive Numbers by the Dodger Outfielders this year.
  • It’s up to Hiroki to right the ship again.
  • Since Ortiz was the last pitcher because Weaver was unavailable (his arm fell off after pitching 6 out of 7 days), could we have seen James Loney on the mound for the 12th inning?  I’ll bet we see him there someday…
  • Oh, and don’t panic!

About Mark Timmons

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

22 Responses to “This Could Be The Start of Something Good”

  1. Scoop/or Badger/or Rory says:

    Like I mentioned on the other thread, it appears to me there is another league directive to increase the offense by decreasing the size of the strike zone. It was ridiculous last night, and one of the reasons the last two games have gone 4 hours. I want an investigation into this, so Mark, have your people call the league office and get an answer.

    You are correct about Bills. Something isn’t right. His velocity is down and he is missing his spots, though he really got squeezed last night. Several times, when behind in the count, he tubed fastballs – and you just can’t do that in the Major Leagues.

    The middle of our offense is downright scary.

    The dbacks have lost their starting catcher and their ace is still not close to coming back. Good news for the rest of the division, bad news for dback fans. They have a very good club, but you it would be difficult to overcome those setbacks. The Giants and the Rockies both look good. Just like I predicted. We’ll see if they all can keep it going.

    19 hits. We used 8 pitchers. That is a tough loss.

    And now we get Haren. Time to cowboy up Hiroki.

  2. lawdog says:

    Hmmm. Not sure if I did the right thing posting the follow up to “mea culpa” on the last thread. Now that this one has opened no one is likely to see it. So I’ll repost it here now. Sorry to be repetative, but I feel terrible for melting down like I did and i want to make sure everyone at least receives my apology. I don’t apologize for the arguments I made, mind you, just the rude and childish way I made them. For those who missed it, here it is:

    Thank you all for your kindness and kind words. Wreaking havoc like I did is something that normally is not in my nature. Call me stupid, an idiot, intellectually weak, felony stupid–I usually just smile and dish a little of it back or ignore it altogether.

    After 23 years in the courtroom stuff like that was like water off a duck’s back for the most part. But percocet changed all that.

    In May when the bottom two wisdom teeth are removed I will beg of the oxycontin and have them give me hydrocodone instead and I shouldn’t turn into Mr. Hyde.

    The throbbing has stopped this morning so I’ll see how long I can get by without resorting to the happy pills that turn me into a screaming paranoid. I can’t believe there are people who pay ridiculous amounts of money to buy this stuff on the street and make themselves crazy. I just don’t see the big attraction.

    I should have given everyone a heads up before hand, but I’ve never had a bad experience with the dentist in the past and didn’t see this coming. I wish I’d had Ken’s oral surgeon.

    It wasn’t until I was in the waiting room that I noticed from his diplomas and such dressing up his wall that he’d spend many years as a Marine Corp dentist. Then I noticed the howling of the patients in front of me as he worked on them. The little bastard even jumped on a table to get a better angle with his fancy pliers. I could see it in his eyes–he had a thing about inflicting pain, especially on an old hippy type like myself. I immediately wished I’d gone somewhere else or at least opted for more than just nitrous oxide to tolerate the process.

    It’s a bummer that we went down in flames again last night. I had little hope when the ball was given to Ortiz in the 11th but what can you do when yu’ve gone through so many pitchers in so few days? Our pen ain’t what it was last year. It’s thin, overworked and unbalanced when it comes to age. Too much experience–i;e, too many geezers with marginal stuff and too few youngsters who can strike out 3 in a row when the bases are loaded and nobody is out relying just on their stuff. Hoefully that will change soon, but hey, it’s not even May!

    I loved seeing Haeger come in and pitch a shutout inning in relief with the game on the line between starts. Makes me think someone is actually listening to me in Dodgerland as I suggested they do just that while in my Oxycontin haze on the Times blog right after Charlie’s last start.

    The knuckleball puts so little stress on the arm Haeger could probably make relief appearances twice between each start and it would help him keep the dancer grooved as well as help our desperate bullpen situation. Torre was even smart enough to pitch him before Broxton which virtually assured that Broxton would make mince meat out of the Sakes when he got his turn. Let’s hope Torre has the guts to keep doing this.

    Oh, and Sherrill failed to get over 89 mph last night. I watched each pitch like the world series hung in the balance (and he didn’t throw that many pitches in any event.) If Game Day said he hit 90 or 91, their gun is definitely not calibrated the same as the MLB Extra Innings gun–not that it matters one whit.

  3. Mark Timmons says:

    You are correct, Lawdog.

    Gameday had Sherrill at 88-89, but his speed varied greatly. The separation in MPH and location is what makes him effective. I guess that’s what makes ANY pitcher effective.

    Badger,

    On Bills: I have seen him be very effective at 93, but he sometimes hit 95. He didn’t last night. I don’t know if that’s a sign or a symbol.

  4. Scoop/or Badger/or Rory says:

    And Sherrill looked like a gazelle on that slow roller to his left. A pregnant gazelle at the San Diego zoo. The man moves like he has snow shoes on. But, he got out of the inning. I think he should be fine after a month on Weight Watchers.

    I am on the Haeger mobile, but I just don’t think Torre wants to use him all that much. Last night he was only in there as the 6th out of 8 pitchers used.

    Our pen could be a strength if it could be used properly. But, when your starters are as weak as ours, the pen is going to get thin. We need some 7 inning starts. And, how about a complete game every month or so? We need a Valenzuela on our team! Fernando started 424 games in his career, completed 113, and 31 of them were shutouts! How about some of that out of these guys? We need some Hirokimania action tonight – complete game shutout. Give the pen the night off for crying out loud. Show some pride in your work.

  5. Roger Dodger says:

    Lawdog, best to you. We older dogs must be careful for what we take, what we eat, what we drink, and where we go. Thinks are different after we reach 50 !!

    Kemp looks terrible in CF on the difficult plays, but at the wall and coming in. Maybe too much on the winter circuit. That ball last night went he broke back and then came in and must missed in in shallow center — wow did he cover a lot of ground. Where was Furcal? Giving directions??

    After 8 games the Dodgers are tied with San Diego for last place in the NL West. What I have learned now is: this starting pitching will not get it done in 2010. Not signing or trading for a real starting pitcher really hurts. If that were done — that would take the pressure off Clayton and Chad.

    This is a McCourt major mistake. I am not talking about a elite starter, just a proven guy, that can stay past 4 or 5 innings and eat up innings. Lowe was like that. So, McCourt saves the money — and the Dodger have and most likely will continue to struggle. Can we say .500 might be a good season.

    Martin has really turned it around. I like his play this season. Furcal has turned it up. Most of the others are hitting now. It is just that the pitching lets in toooooo many runs.

  6. Ken says:

    Mark – Is there a cost for adding a vote tabulator to your website? Can we have an ongoing lottery, free hat for the winner, regarding who will be the coaching scapegoat for this debacle?

    Honeycutt – Does he see anything?

    Ausmus – Great! (Hopefully Pitching) coach material.

    RISP – 6 for 18 is good. The Pitching sucks!

    Kemp – Are you thinking about the great distractor while standing alone on the field?

    Ortiz Brothers – Opening the front gates is not what the General meant when he said hold down the fort. You Traitors!

    Start Belly and Carroll today and all 8 starters will all have a BA over .323!

    Carlos – You should have attached a bungy cord before you tried to make such a big jump.

    Weaver – Over and inappropriately used.

    Mark – Will you be our virtual Lexapro?

    WAR LawDog!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    This pitching staff would be challenged by a good high school staff. This offense can put up 6-8 runs every game, but the pitching will give that up and more. A LONG year ahead of us. Standings, I see SF – COLORADO – our Dodgers & D’backs fighting it out for 3 & 4, followed by Padres. In Brooklyn we used to see, “wait ’til next year”.

  8. Jim D says:

    (Sorry I forgot to put my name above)
    This pitching staff would be challenged by a good high school staff. This offense can put up 6-8 runs every game, but the pitching will give that up and more. A LONG year ahead of us. Standings, I see SF – COLORADO – our Dodgers & D’backs fighting it out for 3 & 4, followed by Padres. In Brooklyn we used to see, “wait ’til next year”.

  9. Bill Russell says:

    As Scoop or Badger or Rory or (Scoop or Badger or Rory) says, Give the pen a night off.

  10. Mark Timmons says:

    Aside from the Ortiz’s and Monasterios, the pitching staff hasn’t changed that much. The Ortiz’s are effectively done, to be replaced by Kuo and Beliasrio and Monasterios is likely to depart as well. Lindblom or McDonald could take his place.

    Do not forget that the Dodgers had the best ERA in baseball last year and have always been near the top. That will continue even though they currently are 27th in Team ERA at 5.53. It was 3.41 last year and there is no reason it won’t be under 4.00 again this year.

    Don’t panic – this will change.

  11. Jared Massey says:

    The Dodgers really need 7+ innings from Kuroda tonight.

  12. DRomo says:

    Does anyone else see Billingsley as a reliver in a few years? The guy can go through any lineup ONCE!!

    I don’t want to hear about his arm slot, his cramps, bad leg, bad knee, or his “youth” anymore. Maybe the guys don’t score him enough runs? ….Oh wait….
    Stop the excuses. It is time to take the training wheels off.

    Why couldn’t he be a reliever or closer? Gagne was good 1 time through the order when he was Billingsleys age. That is where he is headed. God knows we need the help in the pen. The biggest question is does Chad have the guts? I doubt that too.

    Or maybe keep him on a strict 100 pitch count, that ought to get Chad through 3 innings!!

    If we are thinking Bella-SORRY-o & Kuo will make the difference, we are in deeper trouble. The non-DUI guy is on borrowed tme with his arm and the DUI guy is no lock to shut down anyone. I want to see Lindblom. Then again maybe it’s best he stay down until Joe retires, I’d hate to see him abused and join the heap with Corey Wade and Scott Proctor.

    This season may turn around but with out pitching we are in for a long long summer.

  13. A Shot of Haeger says:

    I give Billingsley until the end of this season to show improvement..then I’m open to anything. Kershaw..the end of next season to show improvement…then same as Billingsley…

    Until then, I stay silent about what he should or could be other than a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers

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  15. DRomo says:

    I hear you Haeger. I am just tired of the excuses and sorry performances. I’ll back off until the end of the year….or at least until his next start. LOL

  16. Roger Dodger says:

    I believe it takes some time, for a pitcher to become a #1 or #2 starter in the major leagues these days. It is not easy.

    The Dodgers gave up on Jackson, now he has surfaced with the D-Backs.

    I have said over and over again here, that the Dodgers SHOULD NOT BE COUNTING ON KERSHAW AND BILLINGSLEY as the #1 and #2 starters on this staff, this year. They should have signed or traded for an arm that is mature (not old), just established.

    Both of these guys have great stuff, but they do not have command and control for 6 or 7 or 8 innings — we have seen this start after start.

    And as long as the Dodgers keep it this way, and they one or both stumble — we will call for them to be traded. OK, who is there after them? No one.

    Best fix this train wreck that has happened, or the Padres will look better than the Dodgers.

    One cannot put the blame on hitting averages: Belliard .538, Martin .389, Manny .385, Ethier .381, Johnson .357, Kemp .351, Blake .333, Carroll .333, Furcal .324. OK – Loney is gumming up the work hitting only .256 and many of his outs coming at key situations. ALSO, the DeWitt experiment at 2nd base, for now he is down to .200 sigh 4 singles in 20 AB with 2 RBIs.

  17. Scoop/or Badger/or Rory says:

    Well, I won’t come in here and say I told you so, because actually I said Bills was the only guy on this staff that had a chance at 200 innings. At this rate, he too is a sub 200 inning pitcher. And that will certainly be the case if he is forced to throw 92 mph fastballs right down the middle. He needs to get the corners and the knees called (and nobody was getting them last night) and he needs to up his velocity to 95 or he is in trouble.

    OK Hiroki, show us why we agreed to pay you over $35,000,000.

  18. Scoop/or Badger/or Rory says:

    and……

    just checked the league stats – we are second in MLB in BA and 3rd in runs scored (right behind the Dbacks)

    Pitching – 27th in ERA and 27th in WHIP. Dead last in saves.

    So, yeah, you could say it’s the pitching.

  19. Mark Timmons says:

    Roger,

    Look at DeWitt’s OB%.

    It’s a fine .429!

  20. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    For now Billingsley probably has to stay in the rotation. However, the suggestion that he might be better off in the bullpen has entered my mind in the past. I believe it was 2007 when he was used for a period of time out of the pen, and I remember him being lights out, hitting 97 on the gun. It could be, that much like McDonald, and other pitchers I’ve seen, that his velocity increases when he doesn’t have to pace himself. And Billingsley has often had a tendency to have a bad inning or two somewhere between the 4th and 6th innings. Maybe he loses focus as the game wears on, in which case he might be better off coming in for an inning or two, especially since his stuff appears to become more electric when he knows he doesn’t have to pace himself. I could see Billingsley being a dynamite set-up guy for Broxton, with the ability to close when necessary.

    As for Monaterios, I’ve already gone on record as loving his change-up. The problem is, can the Dodgers afford to carry a young, inexperienced pitcher for the entire year? Probably not. However, if I were the Dodgers I would be making every effort to work a deal for this guy, because I ulimately think he’s going to be a very good pitcher. Maybe even one of those starting pitchers we’re looking for. For now, however, it’s probably unfair to expect much from him, especially since he’s being used so infrequently. If he was an established veteran we’d be saying he just needs some work to find his rhythm. As an inexperienced youngster he gets no rope.

    I’m not saying that Monasterios is ever going to be Johan Santana, but there is at least a parallel. Santana was a young pitcher in 2000 (actually younger than Monaterios) when he spent a full year with Minnesota as a Rule 5 pick, posting not very impressive numbers. 2-3 record, 6.49 ERA, 102 hits allowed in 86 innings. In those 86 innings he also gave up 11 HRs, and walked 54 with 64 K’s. Teams hit .302 against him. But there was one major difference between him and Monaterios. The Twins were not a contender that year, and could afford to carry him. Unless Monasterios turns things around, the Dodgers don’t have that luxury.

  21. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Mark is absolutely correct about DeWitt. His job is to get on base, and he is. Also, his .200 represents being 4 for 20. Coming into last nights game he was 4 for 15, or .267. Did he suddenly become a horrible hitter because he went 0 for 5 last night? Averages at this time of year can move up or down very quickly. If DeWitt had one more hit this year he would be hitting .250, and two more hits would have gotten him up to .300.

    I love Matt Kemp, but he is still not the player he’s going to be in the not too distant future. His at bat in the 10th inning last night had me pulling my hair out of my head. With Furcal on first and no one out, he swung at a 2-0 pitch that was clearly out of the strike zone. If the count goes to 3-0, he probably walks, with Ethier coming up next. If not, chances are good that he would have ultimately seen a cripple down the heart of the plate. He can be exasperating, but he is going to be VERRRRRRRRRRRY GOOD. His outfield play is still a work in progress, but like everything else in his game, it will get better.

    If Belisario and Kuo return in the next week or so, the bullpen should be noticeably better.

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