Lots of Dodger fans complained about the teams lackluster Spring Training performance.  Some even said “you can’t just turn it on and off.

Well, they just did!  Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t think the D-Bags are a very good team and I couldn’t be happier about it (apologies to Josh Rawitch).

It was a long day for me – I woke up at 4 AM to watch the rain-delay until the game started and I stayed up until 1:30 AM (this is all EDT) to watch the second game.  And… this was after spending 3 days in Orlando at a Conference (which means late nite partying) – funny, 60 is the new 40 for me!

But, I digress.  What a couple of great games, except for Dee Gordon’s lapses at 2B and Yasiel Puig’s dope-fiend base running… oh and that pen implosion at the end! But the Dodgers hung on for the sweep.   I am convinced that Dee Gordon will NEVER be an infielder.  Oh, he will oooohhhh and awwwweeee you at times, but he’s just not that guy.  He belongs in CF, where he can run down anything.  If he proves that he can get on base, then the Dodgers have a duo of outfielders they can trade along with a duo of starting pitchers.  But, that’s to be determined. I would love an outfield of Kemp in LF, Gordon in CF and Puig in RF.

What’s the last thing a stupid redneck says before he dies?  “Hey, yo’all watch this!”  That’s how I feel about Yasiel Puig right about now.  What a talent!  What a moron!

Here’s my take on this team:

  • The Dodgers would be felony stupid to bat Gordon 8th or 9th!  If he can’t get on base – he can’t play.  His defense is awful.  But if he can hit and get on base, he has to lead off because the Dodgers are a different team with him at the top of the order.  It’s his bat that will get him in the lineup, not his glove.
  • The Dodger starters will be awesome this year.  Ryu looks ready to take his game to the next level.  Haren should be solid.  Greinke and Kershaw will contend for the Cy Young and Beckett, Billingsley or Maholm should fill the 5 spot very nicely.  Can you say BEST ROTATION IN BASEBALL?
  • BTW, Bills will be back by May 1st.
  • Is it just my imagination or does Adrian Gonzalez look a little faster on the bases?  I could swear he was a freakin’ gazelle last night.
  • Look for Matt Kemp to return to MVP level right away.
  • Juan Uribe will make everyone forget about wanting a new third baseman.
  • Goodbye Mike Baxter – I’d rather have Pederson, but he’s not on the 40 man roster and doesn’t have to be until November, so Baxter will likely stay until Kemp returns is a few days.
  • Chone Figgins is getting on base and giving the Dodgers a lot of flexibility.  If he can keep it up, the Dodgers bench will be fine.
  • If I were FedEx – I’d want to kill myself… sending me down for Butera?  Drew must have pictures of Ned and Magic’s Johnson.

spring-sale

  1. Badger says:

    Feel the same about Gordon’s defense in the infield. Agree if he can continue to get on base….. IF. He’s the guy to lead off but he has to do it at .333+. I’m pulling for him.

    I guess Chone fits for now. When Guerrero arrives, and he will, Chone is gone. Turner is the guy the Dodgers want in that role.

    Mattingly’s press conference comments sum up that game for me.

    Puig. An enormous talent with very poor judgment. I think he’s a good kid with good intentions. He continues to make poor decisions. In many ways he’s still a teenager.

    I still say we will win this thing with pitching. It’s our brand.

  2. Bob says:

    Adrian leads the MLB in stolen bases so his back must be better now. This is really going to be a year of unexpected events.

    Radio works better at night, reminds me of when I was a kid listening to close games involving Koufax and Drysdale. Screw the McCourt TV Network. Did he trade his parking lot for control of the inept TV coverage rights? Hopefully I will be able to watch Dodger games before the next “season” of 24.

    Uribe, Gordon, Puig and Ethier looked good at the plate last night, but all did not look good everywhere.

    THe relievers were mainly inept last night however the real problem was they all knew that they were pitching in the wrong innings and that Matty has no idea how to use a bullpen when you consider that there were two long releivers in the bullpen and only one was used as a Loggy against one batter. Hey Donnie – MAHOLM IS A LONG RELIEVER AN SO IS ROSIN. Felony Stupid.

    Better RSIP alwys means higher probability to win.

    Baxter should learn to love AAA.

    The Dodgers are the best team in MLB by 2 games and it isn’t even April 1st yet.

    Old man Ellis should bat 8th every game that he plays.

    2 wins but they still look rusty.

    On the bright side if I was FedEx I should know that the reason that I am in AAA is to play 5-6 days a week so if Ellis gets hurt I will be the starter because Butera is a backup and FedEX is a young potential starter who needs to play everyday to improve his skills. Mental tests often suck.

    I predict that the Dodgers will be undefeated for a week. Happy Happy.

    Spell check is gone (Using AOL) and all comments were blocked out yesterday (When using AOL)

  3. Badger says:

    AOL? Is that still alive.

    Agree with your analysis. We were sloppy but the talent level difference between these two teams was evident. If it goes right for the dbacks they are a .500 club. Our biggest competition in the division will be ourselves. If we don’t lose too many to the DL, and are able to polish up our fundamentals, we will win the West.

  4. Miguel says:

    Yea, absolutely LOVE the media storm Mattingly has already started. Looks like he’s feeling empowered now that he’s got his extension and isn’t afraid to push back! This feels like the Mattingly who threw everyone under the bus in his end of season press conference! Only time will tell how that plays out.

    But I’ll tell you this, the Dodgers have alot more veterans than they do young bucks and the veterans will back Mattingly because they too hate Puig’s BS.

    As for FedEx, didn’t you guys understand that the move was procedural with Butera? FedEx will be back with on the roster for the start of the season. We didn’t want to expose Butera and lost him, if that were going to happen, this early. So don’t shed any tears for FedEx.

    • Spur says:

      Absolutely right with the Butera move. But if they don’t start getting some hitting out of the catcher spot, they should bring Olivo up to be backup and keep Fedex and Butera in the minors. Having said that, I do believe, Ellis will start hitting because the catchers were doing so much to get pitchers ready for Australia that they, them selves, had insufficient spring. On the outfielders: Timmons is smoking that bad 70′s weed as usual. Ethier is the best centerfielder, keep Crawford on the bench if Kemp can come back for LF. And Gordon is OK for now. Everyone knows Guerrero will be there long term. Why should they put him out there to do a half baked (baked should be spelled with an a) job when they can shape him into a descent second baseman at AAA?

  5. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Definitely sloppy. Mark if you were watching in EDT and watched the game to it’s finish, then you were up until about 2:00 am. Game was just over 4 hours long. I was dozing off near the end, and actually missed Trumbo’s HR, but opened my eyes to see the replay and the last out.

    Can’t agree about the mis-management of the pen. Donnie was simply aware that there weren’t any games that count until next Sunday, and with a 7-0 lead probably felt safe that he could get by by giving everyone an inning. Guess he wasn’t clairvoyant enough to see the walks coming. Had Ryu’s pitch count been lower (he threw 87 pitches in 5 innings) he probably would have continued for another inning or two.

    Miguel is right about Butera/Fedex.

    Puig? We’re probably going to have to live with his lapses for a while, but ultimately I believe those lapses will come less and less frequent. It’s part of the growth of a young player, and as I’ve said before, it should not be surprising that we see some occasional regression.

    Baxter will not open the season with the Dodgers. Guess that Mattingly was stuck on the platoon thing for this series, and I can see both sides of the argument on that one.

    My partner uses AOL. Why? I have no clue. Maybe he likes the “you’ve got mail” thing. And he’s also a technological moron.

    I’m not so sure that Gordon can’t play the infield. The line drive he dropped was a fluke. Catching the ball has never been a part of his fielding problems. Making the long throws from shortstop has been. If he can adjust and make the throws from 2B, I see no reason why he can’t become a good, if not excellent, second baseman. He certainly has superior range. And the GIF link at Dodgers Digest clearly shows that Gordon was ready to take a throw from Hanley, and only continued going across the bag when he realized that Hanley wasn’t going to feed him the ball. That play was a total Hanley brain freeze.

    http://dodgersdigest.com/

    As for Gordon ultimately ending up in CF if he hits, I guess that’s possible. But really, with all his speed, I don’t know how good an outfielder Gordon is. Also, I’d be careful about making judgments about Gordon’s fielding at 2B. I’ve always been a Yankee hater, but I do remember that Graig Nettles was once considered a butcher at 3B. But he worked endless hours on his defense, and we know how that turned out. And although I can’t think of any others right now, I do believe there are further examples of players who’ve done a complete 180 in their fielding with just plain focus and hard work. Some things just take time and effort.

    I haven’t given a lot of thought to how good or bad the DBacks are. Trumbo looked horrible in LF in the first game, and I know he strikes out a lot. But he does supply 30+ power, and together with Paul Goldschmidt gives the DBacks some serious power in the middle of their lineup. And that kid Pollock in CF could turn out to be a pretty good player. But again, I’m not completely sold on the DBacks, and don’t think that there’s all that much serious competition in the rest of the division. And if everyone is healthy, the Dodgers probably far out-class everyone else. After all, we won this series, and Hanley was mostly quiet.

    Maybe Billingsley will be back May 1st. But my best guess is that the Dodgers will want to send him out for an extended minor league rehab assignment. Also, with a decision on Seth Rosin still looming, maybe keeping Billingsley in a rehab assignment gives the Dodgers more time to work out a deal for him, if they’re so inclined. And if Billingley comes back, where does he fit in? Fifth spot in the rotation (over Beckett/Maholm) or in the pen? It could be that the Dodgers will withhold a final judgment until things sort themselves out.

    I hope Matt Kemp returns to MVP caliber right away. But I wouldn’t bet the house on it. He might show flashes occasionally, but it could take time for it to all come back on a consistent basis. And I’m not fully convinced that the Dodgers won’t send him out for an extended rehab before bringing him back. Up until now they’ve won without him, and it’s possible that the Dodgers will take a calculated risk that they can continue to do so, and look to be more cautious in their approach.

  6. Roger Dodger says:

    One of the D-Backs best moments was their final reliever == Addison Reed. This new guy for them is lights out. They got him from the White Sox. A strikeout pitcher to say the least.

    3 Ks in the 9th for Reed. And those final 3 strikes to Puig — he swung at the breeze of those pitches.

    Do not be tied or down a run and try to come back on this guy. Overpowering.

    His brief major league career shows 141 Ks in 134 innings.

    His minor league shows 155 Ks in 108 innings.

  7. Quasimodo says:

    I was seeing game via pitch grid. If the grid was correct the umps were squeezing pitchers of both teams.

    Brook, every bit of it was worth reading.

    I’ve read by many here and elsewhere that weren’t very enthusiastic with the games starting down under. I hope with the way it played out those feel different. I thought of it as great diplomacy from MLB and Dodgers likely made many new fans. I’m sure all the Dodgers will back at this very fondly.

  8. grumpy3b says:

    “…Is it just my imagination or does Adrian Gonzalez look a little faster on the bases? I could swear he was a freakin’ gazelle last night…”

    naw it’s an optical delusion due to the coriolis effect…same reason water swirls down the toilet in the “wrong” direction.

    FYI, I’ve been saying that about Gordon since he first came up…put him at LO or bust. If he could cover SS better then 8th would be OK but there are too many guys who can cover 2nd and get on base a little bit.

    And thanks for that image…photos of Magic & Ned…gawds I hope it’s not together (already gonna have nightmares there, but the image Ned w/o his implanted lawn on his cranium are even scarier. Let him keep his Soprano’s coiffe instead.

  9. Badger says:

    I don’t necessarily dislike sending teams to Australia. I don’t see why they would start the season there. That makes NO sense to me. To have games count that early on a different continent is bizarro world.

    Well said grumpy.

  10. Roger Dodger says:

    I have NOT looked at this, but . . .

    I bet that the Dodgers will or have, offered to Australia TV folks, to carry their Dodger Network for a low fee, for a year. So homes or business could pick it up for, say, $80 for the year. See all the Dodger games . . .

    . . . by that, obtaining thousands of thousands of fans from there. Some might even go to L.A. for a special vacation of Southern CA. Some travel companies could offer special trips for games and sight seeing stuff.

    Big business idea here.

  11. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I’m all for the Dodgers starting the season down under, as long as they go 2-0. If they go 0-2, I’m against it.

    I think I figured out why both were DBacks home games. Looked at the schedule, and noticed that the Dodgers play the DBacks 19 times this year, and that 10 of the 19 are Arizona home games, including the two in Australia. Therefore, to mitigate their advantage of having the extra home game, two of them were at least in a park that’s really not their home. I guess that makes sense.

  12. jerry says:

    IF I DONT GET TO WATCH IT ON TV…THEN I SURE WILL NOT GO TO THE GAME…LIKE I SAID ..I AM A DODGER FAN…AND GREW UP WITH CARL ERSKINE..BUT I WILL NOT BE HELD HOSTAGE…SO THE PLAYER CAN MAKE MORE MONEY..THIS GAME IS MEANT FOR ALL CLASS OF PEOPLE ..NOT JUST THE ONE WHO CAN AFFORD IT..

  13. Badger says:

    Well jerry, the best deal for watching appears to be mlbtv at 130 dollars for the year. That’s my choice. I’m not going to any games this year. I get your frustration. The older I get the less patient I am with all of this. News just gets more nuts every year. We are polluting ourselves out of existence, world leaders all have their heads up their asses and the dumbing down of America is an absolute success so we won’t stop any of it. The Dodgers are about all I got left to hold onto. That uniform takes me back to a time of innocence. I’ll gladly pay the $130 and let the wealthy pay $150, or whatever it is now, for a ticket. Go Blue.

  14. Bobbie17 says:

    I’m going to be the odd man out on this one. I saw the highlights only, but I noticed the kind of energy that the Dodgers showed last year during those 50 games. A big part of that energy creation is still the same guy–Puig. My take on the overrun of first with Gordon at third is that he was trying to get Gordon to score on the hot box play. Gordon for some reason held up. For me, it was aggressive base running. I don’t remember the game situation, but the Dodgers had a small lead, I think. Gordon should have tried to score. Puig could have made it work and a run could have scored if the 3d base coach and Gordon were on the same page with Puig. That was a great hot box. It must have lasted 20 seconds. Gordon didn’t even try to draw a throw. I know this is not smart baseball, but it is tough baseball, and it takes the game to the other team. The second baseman would have had to make perfect throw to get Gordon at the plate. Instead, there was no play there, and Puig looked like a fool. Mattingly now has his pants in a knot—-again. What a weenie. He should be giving Puig about half of his contract. By the way, neither team looked particularly sharp, especially the Dbacks. Their starting pitching is a mess. Ours, so far, looks good.

  15. Badger says:

    The hit box play? “not smart baseball”. No kidding. In fact it’s dumb baseball. That has less than a 50% chance in Pony League. Puig has to knock that crap off.

    Hopefully the veterans can get through to him.

  16. Roger Dodger says:

    As discussed by others, FedEx needs to play every day for awhile to get his young game in order. If Aj Ellis is injured or needs a week or so off, then FedEx comes back and is in playing shape.

    But taking a AAA type player, and sitting them on the bench for weeks on end and only starting them one game a week — he will just not mature at all that way.

    So, I agree, let him play in AAA for awhile, but ready to bring back if needed.

  17. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I recall thinking that maybe Gordon should try to score, but also noticed that the DBacks infielders kept on looking over to 3B. In fact, it’s because they were looking over to 3B that Puig almost got back to 1B under the tag (and would have if he had slid under it, since he was tagged on the helmet). I don’t believe that Gordon was ever able to get too far off of 3B, and that if he did he might have been thrown out. And consider that there were no outs, and if Puig had stayed put, there would have been runners on first and third with Hanley, Agon and Ethier due up. All in all, it was just a bad play by Puig. Aggressiveness is nice, but not stupid aggressiveness.

    • Badger says:

      That get caught in a rundown play is not smart. We went over that in a few coaches clinics I attended. You should never do it on purpose but we went over how to handle it, both offensively and defensively. Theoretically the middle infielder drives the player back to first base and only makes one throw – either to the bag or to home if the runner breaks. dbacks made too many throws. Gordon was smart to stay put. You’re basically giving them an out. Give them the one at first.

      Agree about Torrealba. I think he’s toast.

      A lot of days to heal. Ryu with a split toe nail from slamming on the breaks at third. Super glue it. I’ve done it before. It works.

  18. Artieboy says:

    Haren and Maholm look grea on paper….on paper. The same was said about Harang and Capuano. And the guys who should fill those roles are still on the DL. But this year Bills and Beckett are coming back from injury as opposed to going down to injury. Just having one of those two healthy is vital. Otherwise it’s last year all over again. Who will be this year’s Ricky Nolasco?

  19. Yantie says:

    this looks like a wonderful areptmant.i hope that you’ll post the photos from hamish bowles’ paris areptmant, featured in “world of interiors,” as i am anticipating them with bated breath.

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