Categorized | Mark Timmons

Try and Think This Through

Try and Think This Through

As I mentioned yesterday, the national pundits are falling in love with the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Giants.  Few prognosticators are picking the Dodgers, but you should like that because the prognosticators are usually wrong anyway.  Who picked Butler and Duke to be in the NCAA Finals? Not one of those shills did!  The Dodgers have made the playoffs 4 out of the last 6 years and have reached the NL Championship Series two years in a row, and yet some Dodger fans are lamenting how bad the Dodgers are and that they will be lucky to win 81 games.  I have heard it all before and it means less now than it did.  I can’t predict how many games the Dodgers will win this year, but I will tell you it will be North of 90!    Maybe 95 again.

Jon Weisman gives it to cranky Dodger Fan in a post yesterday on ESPN/LosAngeles entitled “Don’t Be Jonesing For Failure”:

Case in point: Entering the third inning of today’s game, Billingsley had a 1.84 ERA this exhibition season. It didn’t mean much to me, because no Spring Training stats mean much to me. You can bet that it also didn’t mean much to those who have complained about Billingsley since last fall. But when Billingsley ran into trouble and gave up six runs in the third inning, suddenly across the Internet and Twitter you could find people shouting out about the latest proof of how awful he is.

Yep, that’s what they do, Jon.  By the way, read the entire article and then think it through.

I have blasted Jon Broxton in the past, mostly because he needs a change up to go with his heater.  His problems are pitch selection.  I used to blast Andre Ethier for being “soft” – getting soft hits, but he changed all that.  It wasn’t that I stopped blasting him for being soft – he stopped being soft. Was he soft?  Yes he was!   Is he now?  No way!  It’s a maturation process for these young players, but I will call them out when necessary (or I feel it necessary).  I have called out Brox, because he should be unhittable… if he could just master than change.  If I were him, I’d stay up all night, every night figuring that puppy out.

Which bring me to two issues:  Spring Training and Chad Billingsley.

Fact:  To Russ Martin, James Loney, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Vicente Padilla, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ramon Tronscoso, George Sherrill, Jon Broxton, Brad Ausmus, Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll Spring Training meant little because they all had guaranteed spots on the team.   That means that 18 of the 25 roster spots were taken by players who are just intent on getting out of Spring Training healthy.  As early as March 22nd, Joe Torre said they were bored.  So, don’t read much into Chad Billingsley’s great spring… or the grand slam he gave up either.  Don’t ready anything into Raffy’s poor bating average.  Forget the spring – it doesn’t mean much to these guys.  They have a mission and that ‘s to get back to the NL Championship and win it!  That’s what they are focused on and if you want to judge this book by it’s cover, well you would be dead wrong!   These guys are determined to atone for the last two “failures” in the NLCS – yes, they see them as “failures” and they are bent of succeeding.  Hang on for the ride!

P.S.  It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the final roster spot taken up by Cory Wade.

About Mark Timmons

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

9 Responses to “Try and Think This Through”

  1. Scoop says:

    Mark, as I have been trying to tell you for weeks now, the reason the pundits are saying what they are is because they look at each team without blue glasses on. The Rockies, Giants and Dbacks are all very good teams. If Webb is out, I think the will likely eliminate the Dbacks, but the other two teams are solid. I know you don’t like to admit it, but there are a lot of question marks around the Dodgers right now. We are not as good to start this year as we were to start last year. That’s just a fact. I too think we have a very good starting lineup, but the starting pitching is suspect and the depth is questionable. Torre still doesn’t know what the heck is going on, but he will the best he can under these circumstances.

    Oh, it’s going to be a ride all right.

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    Every team has question marks. Let’s look at a few:

    Colorado:
    1. Street and Francis are on the DL, will they return and be effective?
    2. Can Todd Helton stay healthy for a season?
    3. Can Troy Tulowitzki put two good years back-to-back. He had a good year in 2007, bad year in 2008, good year in 2009. What will 2010 bring?
    4. Is Cliff Barmes any better than Blake DeWitt?
    5. Is Ian Stewart any better than Casey Balke?
    6. Aside from Hawpe, the outfielders are talented and unproven on the major league level. Can they play?
    7. Can their starters keep improving or will some regress?
    8. Their bullpen looks shakey, can they step up?

    Giants
    1. Their starters throw lots of innings, will they stay healthy?
    2. Can they hit enough to win?
    3. Will their AWFUL (HORRIBLE, maybe) defense improve?
    4. Will Renteria contiune his decline in the field and with the bat?
    5. Is Zito’s 6.35 spring ERA more of what he is all about?
    6. Can they win with their best 3B in the outfield, their best 1B at 3B and Aubrey Huff at 1B?
    7. Which Sanchez’s will show up (one is injured)?

    D-Backs
    1. Will Webb be a factor or Jason Schmidt?
    2. Which Edwin Jackson will the Backs have – the one who had a 2.52 ERA before the All-Star Break or a 5.07 ERA after?
    3. The D-backs will have a rotation of Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Rodrigo Lopez and who else?
    4. Will the Backs be healthy?
    5. Will Young continue his decline or improve?
    6. Will they have enough pitching?
    7. Do they have a real closer on the team?

    I think the Dodgers have questions like all of the other teams, but I you stack up our lineup against each team, we look pretty good.

  3. Mark Timmons says:

    Scoop,

    Maybe it’s the lack of blue glasses that makes their predictions so often wrong.

  4. Ken says:

    I saw a set of 5 year old triplets on tv yesterday who had picked Bulter to make it to the Final 2.

    I will stick with my prediction of 86 wins and the Wild Card all year long.

    Go Ned. Keep negotiating all night with Ortiz for a $3,000 salary reduction. After all that is 5 hours of attorney time.

    Is Joe Torre having problems motivating his player? That is allegedly his major strength.

    In elementary school the kids receive both effort and achievement grades. In some years those grades are very different, even for athletes. (For those who are just critical, and not

    10 second earthquake

  5. Mark Timmons says:

    Is Bills a question mark?

    NO!

    Consider this:

    Bills got started in late 2006 and posted a 3.16 ERA after the All-Star Break.

    In 2007, he had a 3.62 ERA before the break and a 3.12 ERA after.

    In 2008, he had a 3.25 ERA before the break and a 2.99 afterwards.

    In 2009, he had a 3.38 ERA before the break and a 5.20 ERA afterwards.

    It is well documented that he broke his leg that winter, wasn’t in as good of shape then and as a result pulled a hammy after the break.

    On MLB TV today Tom Verducci broke down his motion the later part of last year and compared it to now. You can see what happened to him as a result of the injuries.

    There is no question about Chad Billingsley. He probably should be starting tomorrow.

  6. SpokaneBob says:

    I may be wrong about this but I think the Panda is going to experience something called the sophmore jinks. He did not have a good spring and there is going to be alot of presure on him if the giants don’t score runs.

  7. Scoop says:

    Sensitive aren’t we. I am just saying not everybody sees the Dodgers as the best team in the West. And, I can see why they don’t.

    I hope you are right about Sandoval Bob, but my feeling is he is one of the best natural hitters in the game. I think he will only get better.

    7.2 Ken. Yoiks. So Cal might be on the move hey?

  8. Roger Dodger says:

    Mark, on your questions on other teams above — you omitted questions on the Dodgers (that most of us know), but you should include them here.

    I saw just a part of the MLB Network predictions today — but the Dodgers of Los Angeles were not even mentioned. Some picked the Rockies to play and even win the World Series.

    Mark and I saw Billingsley working in spring training in a minor league game against the Indians — he was working on several pitches. He gave up two HRs in that session. But remember, he was working on some pitches.

    Saturday he was working again on some pitches — and the Angels lit him up for 6 runs (all eared) on 6 hits in 2.2 innings. But remember, he was working on some pitches. His ERA for the spring is about 5.

    Will someone tell this guy — it is game day on Monday, he is supposed to be ready. No more working on pitches. Do not blow them away — just pitch the game and win.

  9. Mark Timmons says:

    Roger,

    I didn’t list the Dodgers question marks because several people have already listed them ad nauseum here.

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