Categorized | Mark Timmons

A Twist of Positive

OK, I have been very negative about this team for quite some time and while I have been spot on, there is reason for hope.  The only thing that worries me is that Ned will make one of his dope-fiend moves and mess it up.  I mean, why does he keep Cruz on the team other than Cruz must have photos of Ned with sheep or something?  Don’t try and pull the wool over my eyes.

Yesterday, I saw a typical Dodger game in the first game of the doubleheader with the Yankees.  The Dodgers out-hit the Yankees but scored fewer runs, played shabby defense and blew the game.   In the second game, you saw an entirely different team.  Pitching was excellent, defense was solid and hitting was clutch.  Will the real Dodger team stand up?

Here’s the reason for me to believe:  Hanley Ramirez is two seasons removed from shoulder surgery and he looks to be BACK.  His bat speed and follow through looks like the old Hanley and lest we forget, he was one of the best hitters in all of baseball at one time.  His shoulder surgery evidently robbed him of his hitting ability for a time, but he appears to be back with a vengeance.  Hanley Ramirez, when healthy, is an MVP-Type Hitter.  This should give us a road-map for Matt Kemp’s return.  To suggest that Kemp go to the minors is absurd.  He is just going to have to play through this.  He may have to hit in the #6 spot this year and he may be another year regaining his stroke, but shoulder surgery is a tough thing for a hitter.  Adrian Gonzalez has been through it an has concluded that he will not have the power he used to have.  I think that is a cop-out – with stretching, yoga and strengthening exercises, I think he can recover his power as well, but probably not under this training staff.

Puig is the same guy I saw in the Spring – I still cannot understand to this day how the Dodgers could send him down after Spring Training.  It doesn’t pass the “eye test.”  Even Ray Charles can see his talent and I’ll say it again – talent trumps experience.  With Y.P. we are seeing a once-in-a-lifetime player.  Barring injury, this guy will be in the HOF.  He’s a cross between Roberto Clemente and Bo Jackson.  What fun he is to watch!  I hear it was entirely Logan White’s decision to sign him.  With Ramirez and Puig we have the makings of an offensive juggernaut!  In my opinion, Ramirez should hit #3, Gonzo #4 and Puig #5.   R-L-R.

The odd man out will still be Andre Ethier.  The best thing that can happen is for him to get hotter and hotter to enhance his trade value.  A real third-baseman or a second baseman would be nice… or a SS.

Dodger Notes:

  • Zach Lee got lit up last night – 4 IP/8 Hits/ 6 ER – You already know I don’t have high hopes for him… a #5 maybe?
  • On the other hand, Corey Seager is OPS’ing .800 at Great Lakes with only 3 Errors.  He has 3 errors in about the same time Dee Gordon has 11 errors.  It looks more and more like he’s  the SS of the future.  It would be really cool if the Dodgers could pry his brother, Kyle from the Seattle Mariners for a package of Zach Lee, Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier, plus $30 million cash.  Just thinkin….


About Mark Timmons

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

42 Responses to “A Twist of Positive”

  1. Mark Sweeney says:

    Cruz will stay on the team for the remainder of this year, he’s Puig’s buddy and even Sned isn’t going to break that relationship up. Count on it.

    The longer the Dodgers hang onto Ethier that more his trade value goes down. Count on it.

    The more Puig hits, the likelihood that Sned sends him back to the minors once Kemp returns, LOL. (I hope that’s not true but Sned is capable of anything).

    Kemp does have injury issues, however his problems aren’t just related to his shoulder injury. He still has a problem between his ears. It’s pretty obvious, he not only has struggled at the bat but also in the field, misjudging the ball, dropping the ball, etc. His struggles at the bat have gotten into his head and it is affecting everything he does, meaning his head isn’t into the game. Some guys will have a struggle in one part of the game and will pick up the rest of their game to make up for it. Others will struggle in a part of their game and let it infect the rest of their game. Kemp is a guy in the latter category, I’ve played sports with both types of players. Count on it.

    • Dave says:

      Agree sweeney, i always said theres short memory doers and long memory what the hell!!!! its very easy in this game to over think something when you might not have ever had a bad streak per say injuries, or just a bad luck streak , just a bigger obstacle ya gotta work threw play the game dont analyze play !!!!and hopefully your all the wiser its just the game !!!! focus focus , puig plays with reckless abandon doesnt no any better , yet !!! raw and fearless that goes a long way but the game forces respect time is the equilizer !!!

  2. AnewBlueDay says:

    Mark, I received a text message from Kuroda last night — he wanted to beat the Dodgers yesterday — to get back at YOU for writing that piece about him when he left the Dodgers.

  3. AnewBlueDay says:

    Just took a look at JP Howell’s stats for his last 10 games – going back to May 24.

    13.1 innings of work. 11 Ks. 3 BB. 4 ERs. ERA of 2.70, with a 1-0 record picking up that win. Really, that is not bad. And of the 4 earned runs, 2 were in yesterday’s game.

    League is a different story for the same time frame.
    9.2 innings. 5 Ks. 3 BB. 6 ERs. ERA of 5.59, yet was 2-1 getting very lucky.

    Also, Belisario:
    8.1 innings. 6 Ks. 2 BB. 8 ERs. ERA of 8.64, and was 1-1.

    Guerrier now:
    8.1 innigs. 11 Ks. 1 walk. 3 ERs. ERA of 3.24 and was 1-1.

    10.1 innings. 14 Ks. ZERO walks. 1 ER and a 0.87 ERA. no wins or losses.

    7 innings. 8 Ks. 4 walks. 3 ERs and a 3.86 ERA with no wins or losses.

  4. Quasimodo says:

    Biogenesis scandal suspensions or trade deadline, which comes 1st? I’m gonna guess suspensions 1st. It’ll be a can of worms to be opened when any newly traded players get suspended. Either way its got to have an effect on trade minded GM’s on both ends.

  5. Bobbie17 says:

    It’s pretty simple. When the starting pitching is good, it’s easier to win. I can’t help but think that the Yankees weren’t as motivated in game 2 after winning game 1. Especially on a getaway day. But any win is a good win for this team. Tonight they will have their hands full. Marquis owned Yas last time–about the only time that has happened. Fife???? San Diego doesn’t like our team, and they are at home. To get game one will be huge.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Seager hasn’t played the better part of a month with a hammy issue so don’t get too excited about only having 3 errors. I’ve seen him play live and I see why he projects as a 3B. I’m not saying he can’t play SS, but he is a big kid. I was impressed with his hand speed at the plate.

  7. Mark_Timmons says:

    Seager has played in 36 games, while Gordon has played in 44 games. Seager has been back for about a week from a few days on the DL.

    He is big, but so is Hanley and Cal Ripkin. While he may not have the range of some SS he is sure handed and doesn\’t mess up throws, like Dee. His build is a lot like Hanleys\’

  8. SpokaneBob says:

    It’s not over until it’s over. Baseball is a funny game where ANYTHING can happen. It has been a hard year so far for Dodger fans. I have not given up and still feel we have the capabilities to have a great second half. King George, Gene Autry and others have proved you cannot win by just spending big on free agents. It seems we are making that point over again. But I don’t blame the owners for trying to improve the team as fast as possible by their big spending moves, in fact I applaud it. It may or may not work this year but I know they will continue to improve the team until it does work. The important thing is what we are doing is coupled with a long term plan to build from within through player development and international signings. As hard as this year has been, the make up of this team is stronger than any Dodger team in recent years and it will only get better. As has been pointed out we have yet to field our planned starting line up. I am looking forward to a strong second half and believe we still have the capabilities to reach the post season. If our regulars are healthy and the offense even close to its potential, I feel we have 3 starters who could make us very hard to beat in a short post season series. I look for us to make a move at the deadline and for the crap that we have gone through so far to be balanced out by the opposite happening in the second half. As hard as it has been it is where we end up that counts. So just hang in there and hope for the best.

  9. Gonzo says:

    MSweeny I think you are spot on about Kemp. I also think that since he can’t hit right now he has moped and it has affected all aspects of his game. I too remember playing with guys like that. I have hope Kemp will figure out that he can help the team with great defense until his swing comes back.

    The SEA trade sounds interesting Mark. I think the Dodger’s would have to add another 10-15 mill. Remember LA is trading from a position of weakness.

  10. Mark_Timmons says:

    I have it on very, very good authority that Matt Kemp is a positive force in the clubhouse and like Hanley two years ago, he is having trouble with with his swing feeling natural. Scar tissue and healing is sometimes more difficult on more muscular people. I have heard nothing to indicate that Kemp is still not the hardest working guy on the team who is held in very high esteem by his teammates. Hanley had problems, Adrian has problems, why wouldn\’t Matt also have problems?

    I see a guy who is frustrated, but whose teammates are with him. I don\’t see moping and everyone close to the team says the same. I do think he is pressing. Being moved to #6 will help him relax hopefully.

    • Badger says:

      While it’s understandable that Kemp’s power be missing, he is still making huge mistakes at the plate and giving away at bats. That is the biggest difference between what he is going through now, and what Adrian Gonzalez went through after his surgery. Gonzalez lost power, but he was still a very good hitter. I think it’s because he is smarter than Kemp.

      We have gone over and over the reasons why Puig was sent down. He needed 4+ at bats every day. He wasn’t going to get them with 3 All Stars already in this outfield. You want him play every day when Crawford and Kemp get back? You need to make a move.

      The reason we gave away the first game yesterday was a bonehead named Belisario. The second game he was left tied up in the showers and we won easy.

      fwiw, I have no problem with Kemp playing a few games on rehab assignment. Might as well see if he feels right in game situations. They may do it your way, but considering how tender he has been all year…. wouldn’t hurt to ease him into it. No pressure on him in the minors.

  11. SpokaneBob says:

    I expect Yasiel will be added to the allstar roster, but I wrote him in and voted 35 times.

  12. SpokaneBob says:

    Funny and sad, Cruz is our candidate for 3rd base on the allstar ballot.

  13. Quasimodo says:

    I don’t want any Dodgers playin in the allstar game. Too afraid of another DL stint.

  14. Mark Sweeney says:

    Maybe in the clubhouse that’s been true Mark, but you’ve seen and I’ve seen it on the field. He isn’t playing very well at the bat and it is affecting him in the field. While I didn’t describe it as moping but I did point out his play is being affected. An injured player that is struggling starts thinking too much and it hinders their play. The thoughts can range from “I better not do this or that cause it may hurt or aggravate this or that (tentative play or not playing naturally)” to “Man, I’ve got to make this or that happen (pressing as we call it)”. I see that happening with Matt, so it really is between his ears and the injury was the initial start of the proverbial snowball.

    Funny, sports cause injuries, just the nature of the beast, some guys can play through them and even excel, some might say over-coming injury causes them to focus more sharply (see Kobe), other guys can’t fight thru it and excel, some might say the injury makes them lose focus (probably what Kemp is showing). It just comes down to their mental make-up and past experiences.

    Matt is probably one of those guys that really needs to be 100% to excel. Last year he got injured early and he was really hindered the rest of the year. That being said the Dodgers probably be wise to shut him down for the year and let him come back 100% for next year.

  15. Rob says:

    Mark I like the idea of kemp hitting 6th and taking the pressure off but will Donnie have the know how to put him there? The dodgers have one walk off win this year on a pass ball so comeback and heart is something this team lacks. Remember it wasn’t to long ago when both eithier and kemp were both clutch in those situations. The players are like the fans and just waiting for the next injury or big error in the game.

  16. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Of course Kemp’s performance this year was affected by his shoulder. And I’m sure it has affected his mindset. But he is anything but a head case. He is, however, human, and it’s natural for him to feel the pressure to perform up to the standard expected of him, even if he is physically unable, to perform at that level (through no fault of his own). No matter how hard you try, sometimes it’s just impossible to will performance out of a body simply not up to it.

    But Mark put it best, and I have no words to improve on what he said. So there Mark, despite your occasional reservations about your writing, you’re really pretty darn good. Whoever criticized your spelling deserves to be pilloried.

    And Sweeney said: “It just comes down to their mental make-up and past experiences.” And did you ever consider the nature of the injury, and that all injuries are not created equal. Let’s not forget that when Kemp’s shoulder was repaired, they found more damage than was anticipated. Could it be that no matter how hard he tries, no matter how positive his mental state, that for now Kemp may simply not be capable of performing at the level we’ve come to expect, simply because his body won’t allow him to do anything else. As for Kemp’s defense. Let’s get it crystal clear that Matt Kemp has never been a gold glove caliber center fielder. The gold gloves he won, like is so often the case, were won by his bat. Matt Kemp does a good job in center field, but he is best suited to a corner outfield spot. With Puig around, moving Kemp out of center field becomes more problematical, so he will probably have to remain there for the forseeable future. But let’s just understand, that he never was and probably never will be, a great center fielder.

    As for Puig going down to Chattanooga at the beginning of the year, I agree with Badger. And who’s to say that the time he spent there didn’t contribute to his baseball experience and education. Maybe playing at that level for a while contributed to his performance since coming up. Let’s not forget that prior to being signed by the Dodgers he hadn’t played baseball for about a year, and just played at the rookie and A levels last year, a total of 82 ABs. And after recovering during the offseason from elbow surgery to clean out a staph infection, he went down to Puerto Rico, and I believe hit .232. It was an extremely reasonable decision to send him down. And let’s also understand, that unless he’s from another planet, Puig is not likely to keep up his current pace. I can see the talent, and I expect that he’s going to be very good (even better) in the long run. However, he’s likely to hit a bump or two in the road along a the way.

    • Quasimodo says:

      Hmmm, one of the best catches I’ve ever seen was by Kemp. The “are you kidding me” catch we all saw. It wasn’t only his bat that got him ranked as #1 player in MLB. At any rate Kemp is just too good to remain in his slump physical, mental or whatever. About the reasoning with Puig’s needing minor league experience I can’t agree with. I’ll say it wasn’t better for him and it wasn’t better for the Dodgers. Sure, I heard the reasons, and they made sense on one side of the coin, but that’s not the side of the coin that came up. All the ‘I told you so’s’ mean squat at this point because we’re at the future without a time machine.

      • Badger says:

        It doesn’t do any good to say “I told you so”. The reasons he was sent down are solid. Those who have the 20/20 hindsight are saying they would have benched Ethier in favor of a guy who tore it up in ST but had virtually NO experience in baseball in the U.S. 982 at bats in A ball) . That just doesn’t make much baseball sense, and you can bet it would have caused some clubhouse chaos because Andre Ethier would not have put up with it.

        And now he is here, and is hitting about 160 points higher than he will be hitting by the end of the year. I am happy about that. He is fun to watch. But when Crawford and Kemp get back, and they will, we have a problem to deal with.

  17. Badger says:

    Matt Kemp is only 28 years old. He won’t be 29 until late September. It’s not like he is 35 and done. There is no good reason why he shouldn’t heal up and have at least 5 more very good years, and possibly 7-8 productive years in front of him.

    We have all seen a lot of games this year. The reason he is hitting .250 is not because of his lack of power, but rather, quite obviously in my opinion, his lack of proper pitch selection and his overswinging. He has gotten into some pretty bad habits up there, including going back to swinging at pitches no where near the strike zone. He is giving away too many at bats. I can’t believe Mac doesn’t have him straightened out on that. Watch how Gonzalez approaches an at bat. He is the consummate professional hitter in my book. You just don’t see wild swings at pitches 6″ off the plate when he is up there. Matt needs to do that when he gets back. There is no legitimate reason why he can’t help the team by providing quality at bats. He is 6’4″ tall and about 220 pounds when he is in shape. I watched him put on a show at batting practice by launching several towering fly balls well over the center field fence at Camelback. These were all traveling about 440′. The power will return. In the mean time, be a professional dammit. If they don’t throw strikes, take the walk! Eventually they will pitch to you. When they do, hit line drives. Some will find the gap, others will be singles, but get on base and score runs.

    I have not in any way given up on Matt Kemp. I don’t know what Mark means by “not the hardest worker on the team”. Maybe he isn’t, I have no idea. But I think he cares. And I think the team should be patient with him.

  18. Rob says:

    You are right on the money badger with kemp. He is pressing way to much and is swinging at horrible pitches. When a pitcher watches tape they see those bad swings and pitch to his weakness. Once he stops swinging at bad pitches his BA with go up 50 points.

  19. Quasimodo says:

    I’ll be happy happy with 4 outfielders, though they may not be. But now, as then, see the benefits of having 4 OFer’s. Yes I’m able to also see how they might be disgruntled with that situation. It just made sense. I wanted 4 outfielders and I wasn’t alone. I still want 4 OFer’s.

  20. Idaho al says:

    Ned has sent Withrow to the minors and brought up Herrera. I have nothing against Herrera, but what about Cruz. Cruz should be sent down. I do not think any team will pick up Cruz. I thought Withrow really looked good in relief.
    Stupid!!!! stupid!!! You certainly cannot trust Belisario or League out of the bull pen. Ned has to go.

  21. AnewBlueDay says:

    I put out a plan for the four outfielders a few weeks back and some of you like the concept.

    Showing how to use them, fill in later in games, and pinch hitting — and the rest of a day or two off a week — all helps and works together.

  22. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    No doubt Kemp has made some great catches. And no doubt, he is a good center fielder. But there are better. And yes, his best spot would be on a corner. I considered him to be a perfect right fielder, but with Puig around we have two perfect right fielders. But since we have Crawford, and no other center fielder on the team, Kemp stays in center.

    Could be that Mattingly was right, and that Kemp got into bad habits when he played hurt at the end of last year. Whatever the case, Badger’s analysis is spot on. Kemp just needs to calm down, stop fishing for pitches out of the strike zone, and zero in on hitting the ball up the middle and to right and right center. When he does that is when he hits best. And if he hits the ball, some will find the gaps, and others will go out. And if pitchers continue to throw him junk, he needs to be satisfied just to get on base, be it with a hit or walk. And if Puig and Hanley continue to hit, and Crawford hits when he comes back, it won’t be long before pitchers are hesitant to let Kemp get on base, in which case he’ll begin to see better pitches to hit.

    If Withrow continues to pitch well, he will be back. The team was carrying 13 pitchers, and Withrow pitched two innings yesterday. Because he has options, Withrow probably made the best sense. But if Belisario continues his decine, he could become expendable. Also, with Magill likely to be recalled for Sunday, more moves are probably in the works. Who knows, maybe Herrera will stay and Cruz will be let go. The possibilities are endless.

  23. AnewBlueDay says:

    Ah, just found the weakness of Puig. The slider on the outside lower part of the plate.

    Marquis has his number. After the HR in the first inning on a ball over the middle . . .

    Marquis figured him out. All teams will know by morning. Throw Puig a ball, then a slider that breaks over the outside of the plate going away.

    This is known as the Matt Kemp disease. Want to hit so bad, just itching to drive the ball . . . then the ball just breaks away at that last second and — surprise it is not there any more.

    This has send a lot of players wanting to stick in the majors, home.

    Now left handers will have to figure something else out, breaking the other way . . .

  24. Rob says:

    It wouldn’t be a dodgers game without a key error causing runs!

    • Badger says:

      Really, what’s a Dodgers game without an unearned run or two.

      If Puig does have a hole, they will find it.

      I have no idea what the reason behind the Withrow move actually is, but what Brooklyn just said makes some sense. All I see is a bullpen that is really shaky and we have a kid that can throw 97 and has proven he can get people out. I keep him and send Belisario, his 4.78 ERA, his negative WAR, his .370 BABIP and his 1.75 WHIP anywhere. Lose him. He is a head case that can’t be trusted anymore. It’s time to tighten this team up, and guys like Cruz and Belisario have overstayed their welcome.

      Fife has earned another stripe. Corporal Fife.

      So far 0 for 4 WRISP.

  25. my boy blue says:

    here comes the bullpen

  26. Rob says:

    Our pen sucks ass!!

  27. my boy blue says:

    No way we even attempt to make a run even after we are healthy with this mess of a pen

  28. jerry says:

    bull pen done it again..why are they not doing something.

  29. Quasimodo says:

    Against Bumgarner, pitching over 75% for strikes, Dodgers weren’t swinging. Against Marquis, pitching over 75% for balls, Dodgers swing at hardly any strikes but swing at garbage.

  30. Watford Dodger says:

    Out hit opposition again.

    Bullpen hopeless again.

    Lost again.

  31. jerry says:

    seem like it the 8th and 9th inning we loose the ball games..

  32. Rob says:

    A new negative!!

  33. Badger says:

    11 hits, 2 walks and 0 for 6 WRISP.

    A bullpen that continues as a group to blow leads.

    A team that consistently finds ways to lose.

    The make-up of this team is on Jed.

    What to do?

    Keep playing until July 31st and trust Jed will make the right move?

    Why do I have little confidence in that plan.

    And Miami wins again. I sure hope this is the end of that run.

  34. Dave says:

    Agree badger, my take on kemp , talented yes , but his understanding of himself has flaws , he struggles in the self management area , personally im not that big on him , hes just the kinda guy if everythings going good, getting the accolades those things are important to him , hes by all means not a dirtbag grinder he likes the hype , well its time to be a professional show yourself whats really in the tank ! i just dont think hes built between the ears in that department and it shows ! a little more grind for the team ! the game always forces respect !

  35. Dave says:

    also with kemp he said hed offer a 1000 bucs for every home run before the allstar game for oklahoma disaster relief, well hes from there and theres others that have offered 100 times that much , the gester to me was classless just my take it didnt add up ! its about him !! thats my gut and its how he presents it !!!! step up to the plate and get after it !!!!


  1. [...] along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more. Jay Bruce made the tw more… A Twist of Positive – 06/20/2013 OK, I have been very negative about this team for quite some [...]

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