Sutton: Because that’s where the defaced money is.
The outspoken Sutton—who came up with the Dodgers in 1966 and pitched with them for 16 of his 23 seasons—has his own opinion about everything.
He said in an interview last week that he hates pitch counts.
“I say it with a laugh in my voice when I broadcast: ‘That’s 100 pitches. On the next one, he’s going to turn into a troll.’ At 101, you just disappear. Poof, you’re gone,” Sutton said.
...MLB.com: Did you cheat?
Sutton: No, I never got caught cheating.
MLB.com: About the Hall of Fame vote, what do you think about it as we move forward? Do you think that after a period of time some of these guys [who played in the “Steroid Era”] should get in? Or if you played in that era, it’s going to be hard to get in.
Sutton: I think it’s going to be hard to get in. I think you’re going to be hit with fallout and I think you’re going to be guilty by association. It’s going to be interesting to see the opinion of some of your younger peers, who have not been so actively involved in it, how their opinion changes. But when you get down to it, what I think is irrelevant. It’s like talking about clouds. I can do nothing to influence.
Manager Don Mattingly benched Andre Ethier for the Dodgers’ series finale at Miller Park on Wednesday, saying he did so because he wanted to field a lineup “that’s going to fight and compete the whole day.”
Asked if he was trying to send a message to Ethier, Mattingly replied, “We’re last place in the National League West. Last year, at this point, we’re playing a lineup that basically has nobody in it, that fights and competes and battles you every day for every inch of the field. We talk about it as an organization. We’ve got to find the club with talent that will fight and compete like the club that doesn’t have that talent. If there’s going to be a message sent, it’s going to be over a period of time.”
Mattingly wouldn’t say if Ethier is now a part-time player.
“For me, today, I’m putting out my lineup that I feel is going to be the most competitive and going to compete the hardest,” he said.
Asked if Ethier is no longer a player he automatically writes into the lineup every day, Mattingly said, “Well, he wasn’t today.”
Does Mattingly think Ethier won’t fight?
“I can’t really say that,” he said. “I don’t really want to say that, but we’ve got to compete.”
Asked if he was dissatisfied with Ethier’s toughness and mental approach, Mattingly said, “I want to put a club out there that I think for the long range that you can trust, that’s going to fight and compete the whole day.”
Gutting the new manager has never been easier, thanks to the ax effect!
The Dodgers were swept over their weekend in Atlanta, getting outscored, 16-8. Their bullpen allowed 12 of the runs. And Mattingly’s postgame quotes were the equivalent of bad body language, the thoughts of a manager who doesn’t know how to snap his team out of it.
Watching Sunday’s meltdown on television, I thought, “Mattingly might be gone tomorrow.” And then I got a text from a rival scout, one who has no particular insight into the Dodgers, but is attuned — like so many in the sport — to the game’s day-to-day rhythms.
“Making the call — Donnie Ballgame will get the axe tomorrow,” the scout said.
When I asked the scout why he thought that, he replied, “Gut feeling. The way they’ve been losing.”
The scout continued, “He’s a laid-back manager with a laid-back veteran club. Great dude, but they need some energy. Some fire. Some change with that payroll. Not his fault, but you can’t fire 25 players.”
At this point, who can disagree?
Yes, things can change quickly, starting Monday night in Milwaukee, the next stop on this trip. The Dodgers will start his three best pitchers — Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu — against the struggling Brewers.
My guess is that Mattingly gets this series, and if things don’t go better, that’s it. The Dodgers are off Thursday, then begin a five-game homestand against the Cardinals and Angels. You can look it up — managerial changes often occur on off-days before a homestand.
Scioscia has been in Anaheim for 14 years and won a World Series title and five division championships.
But everything has a shelf life, and as he oversees yet another season of Angels underachievement, it’s probably only a matter of time before Moreno decides it’s time to bring in a new manager.
But don’t mistake a change in the dugout with heaping all the blame on one person.
It’s not Scioscia’s fault the Angels drastically downgraded their pitching staff. He isn’t responsible for Albert Pujols not being the same player he was with the Cardinals or Josh Hamilton being so spooked by the bright lights of Downtown Disney he’s hitting .214 with 44 strikeouts going into Wednesday.
Scioscia just happens to be in the most vulnerable position if Moreno decides to shake things up.
If so, the Dodgers should pounce on the chance to bring him back to Los Angeles.
Nothing against Mattingly, a good guy caught in a complicated situation in which his team continues to underachieve. And the new ownership group shelling out more than $239 million in payroll can’t be happy.
Mattingly is in a more precarious spot than Scioscia, his minimal ties to the organization and nonexistent track record of success working against him.
Now in his third year as the Dodgers manager, he’s done little to prove he’s anything more than a place-holder for the next guy.
I get it that 130-pitch games aren’t commonplace anymore. There were only four last season (two by Justin Verlander, one each by Johan Santana and Edinson Volquez)—- and, no, Santana didn’t fall apart immediately after that game. You probably don’t want to make 130-pitch starts a regular occurrence or stretch out a pitcher in a blowout game.
Kershaw was aware of the situation, saying that after that first inning his main focus was getting his pitch count back in line. Which he did.
In this day where 100 pitches are the norm, 110 pitches the sign of a workhorse and 120 pitches a Herculean effort, 130 pitches does seem scary. Maybe the Dodgers would be wise to give Kershaw a fifth day of rest before his next start, just to be as conservative as possible. Heck, Sandy Koufax had at least 64 starts of 130-plus pitches in his career, including a 205-pitch game in 1961. He went on to win five consecutive ERA titles and three Cy Young Awards after that season.
(Yes, and did have to retire at age 30.)
But one isn’t the same as 64 and 132 isn’t the same as 205.
Kershaw will be fine.
It’s the rest of the Dodgers you should be worried about.
The Repko is gone
but he’s not forgotten
This is the story
of a 71 OPS+ (rotten)
Jason Repko lost something in the offseason. He knew it. He felt it.
An outfielder for 14 seasons in professional baseball, including seven seasons spent in the majors, he lost the desire to be on the field every single day.
But he still wanted to feel that way. That’s the thing. He wanted to feel that fire again. So even when no organization offered him an invitation to spring training, he felt like he needed to try the Atlantic League. A friend, Brett Tomko, phoned in the offseason, and they played together for York. Repko thought that would help.
Give it some time, he kept telling himself.
Almost a month into the season, Repko knew he had a decision to make.
“I came here hoping to get that feeling back in my heart ... but I had a hard time getting that desire to be here every day,” Repko said Monday, a day after retiring from playing baseball.
...He batted .253 in 24 games and didn’t miss a single one. Even after telling Mason he would retire, he showed up for optional batting practice. He made a sliding catch in the outfield. He threw out a runner at home. He shook his head on strike calls that he believed didn’t go over the plate. And this was all in the last week of his career. The majors weren’t calling him back. Still, he had to go all out.
Before he came to York, he explained why he crashed into walls instead of letting up and allowing the ball to drop—even though he knew catching the ball might mean he would be injured. He had to put everything he had into baseball. He was the answer to that old rock-and-roll refrain, it’s better to burn out than fade away. When that desire was gone, he felt like he too had to leave.
Guillen is an excellent manager. His teams consistently win more games than their talent level suggests they should (plus-19 in Pythagorean standings over his eight years with the White Sox). It’s easy to picture him getting a bump out of the Dodgers or Angels, should changes be made.
But will he get a chance?
Restoring his reputation will be a huge battle for Guillen. He might not be ready to get back in the dugout if the information I got Friday was correct.
Guillen says he wants to manage again but appears quite comfortable sitting home and being paid $2.5 million a year by the Marlins’ Jeffrey Loria, who fired him one year into his four-year deal. I tried unsuccessfully to reach Ozzie but was told by someone close to him that he wants to manage again only if there’s more in it for him than what he’s already making.
It wasn’t put this way, but what’s being said is this: Guillen wants a raise after losing 93 games with the Marlins.
Guillen is only 49. He could have another 20 years left in baseball. But first he has to get another job, and that won’t be easy, especially if he isn’t putting his ego aside for the chance to wear No. 13 in another uniform.
11 13-20 5/09 Blue, pan up from lid of ball cap End of manager
Exactly how much rope does the Dodgers’ skipper have left? Probably not the best choice of words there, because whatever you think of the way Don Mattingly is going about his business, any and all rope is best locked away safe and sound.
Rope, sharp objects, plugged-in radios near bathtubs, adjacent medicine cabinets, tall buildings, you name it. Not for Mattingly, necessarily, but for the inconsolable fan, because things have gone from bad to worse for the Boys in Blue.
...I’ll keep saying injuries and their treatment are an organizational issue and I’ll continue to repeat that health is the number one responsibility of a manager; any manager. This “he said he was fine” and last night’s “I don’t know” go hand in hand. And it says plenty to me about Don Mattingly.
For years at Dodger Stadium, following the final out, the public address announcer would bellow the phrase, “the scoreboard totals are correct” and then proceed to relay them, concluding with “drive safely on your way home.” Well, baseball’s standings are correct. The Dodgers are 13-19, a game and a half behind the fourth place San Diego Padres and rank as the division’s worst team.
Two National League clubs have weaker marks. The Chicago Cubs are 13-20. The Miami Marlins are 10-24 and play three in L.A. over the weekend. Maybe the Dodgers win behind Kersh tonight, sweep the awful Fish and put together a fine rest of the season.
It could happen and I hope it does. But if things keep going the way they are, with three or four more losses between now and Sunday, I’m afraid I’ll have jumped from that fence. No doubt the fans below will break my fall.
“Garvey was a huge run producer nevertheless.” Fixed/Neutered.
In the seven-year stretch from his MVP season of 1974 through 1980, it could be argued that there wasn’t a better hitter in baseball than Garvey. No one had more hits during that period… not Rose, not Rod Carew, and not George Brett. Only Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame slugger Mike Schmidt had more RBIs (732 to 730), and as far as first basemen are concerned, only Carew (another Hall of Famer) comes close to Garvey’s offensive statistics. But even Carew lags way behind in run production. So how is it that all of these guys have made it to Cooperstown, yet Garvey is still without a plaque?
Defensively, Garvey’s résumé gets even better. He is currently ranked seventh in history in fielding percentage as a first baseman—but at the time he retired, he was ranked first in that category. When Kevin Youkilis (1B) and Placido Polanco (2B) each finished the 2007 season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, they joined Garvey as the only three infielders in baseball history to achieve the feat while playing over 1,000 innings in the field. Garvey won four Gold Gloves during his career, though he finished in the top three in fielding during 11 of his 14 full seasons in the Majors. He also led the league in putouts six times and his career total of 19,004 ranks him 12th all time.
Garvey was on the Hall of Fame ballot for the full 15 years, but he was never able to eclipse the 50 percent mark in voter support. It’s perplexing. This guy was a postseason beast, the best player at his position for nearly a decade, and possibly even the best position player in baseball for a stretch of six or seven years. It doesn’t make sense. I expect that the Veterans Committee will acknowledge Garvey’s career at some point in the not-so-distant future—perhaps even later this year, when they announce the 2014 veteran inductions.
Sure, now my “Cyril Delevanti and The Mensal Line Nine” fantasy team finds out.
Adrian Gonzalez emerged as one of the finest power hitters in baseball during his final four seasons with the San Diego Padres.
He hit 30 home runs every year — and 40 one year — while playing in cavernous Petco Park.
His days as that kind of power hitter are gone.
That is not a whisper from an anonymous scout. That is the word from Gonzalez himself, who says he has been unable to recover the swing that made him an elite power hitter.
“I can still hit home runs,” Gonzalez said. “That is not going to be an issue. The full power is not the same.”
Gonzalez, 30, said he altered his swing when he injured his shoulder in 2010, his final season in San Diego. He had surgery after that season, then was traded to the Boston Red Sox.
“Last year, I tried to go back to the swing I had before I got hurt,” he said. “I tried it for the whole first half, with horrible results.”
...He said he is most effective now with a flatter swing that generates more line drives, rather than an upward swing that produces more power. He is not a singles hitter by any means — he hit a career-high 47 doubles last season — but he says he is a better hitter against left-handed pitching and with runners in scoring position.
Gonzalez said he figures to lose about five to 10 home runs per season.
“I was a .280 hitter,” he said. “Now I’m more of a .300 hitter.”
Our guess is that legendary Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda isn’t into that whole “Gangnam Style” thing.
Check out the expression on the 85-year-old Lasorda’s face when PSY popped out Tuesday night to entertain the crowd at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. The hall of fame manager does not seem impressed. The video is here.
Curt Flood, a career .293 hitter but never known for his power, slugged two home runs against Dodgers ace Sandy Koufax. Both were historic.
The first was a leadoff shot that sparked a rare feat. The second was significant because it was the last home run hit against Koufax.
On April 26, 2013, Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran, the first two batters in the Cardinals’ order, hit consecutive home runs in the first inning against the Pirates’ Jonathan Sanchez. Boxscore They are the first pair to lead off a game for the Cardinals with home runs since Tony Womack and Reggie Sanders did it against the Rockies’ Denny Stark in April 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Boxscore
Before that, the last pair of Cardinals who led off with back-to-back home runs in the first inning were Flood and Gene Freese _ against Koufax.
...It would be the last homer hit against Koufax, who would retire after the season. (Koufax yielded 204 home runs in 12 big-league seasons, plus two in the 1963 World Series.)
Still, Koufax was in control. In the ninth, he struck out the first two batters, Lou Brock and Jerry Buchek. Next up was Flood. He doubled to center, keeping alive the Cardinals’ hopes.
“I got a little tired near the end and made a mistake with Flood,” Koufax said to United Press International. “Imagine, after eight or nine years in the league, I still don’t know how to pitch to Flood.”
(Flood hit .296 [32-for-108] in his career against Koufax.)
A couple of weeks before her ex-husband agreed to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jamie McCourt reached a divorce settlement that gave her $131 million tax-free and several luxurious homes.
Now she says her decision was a huge mistake.
The team’s former CEO is seeking to have the agreement thrown out, saying she was misled about the value of the Dodgers that was later sold for $2 billion. A judge will hear closing arguments Wednesday in a bench trial that could reset an argument made during the former couple’s divorce battle: Was Frank McCourt sole owner of the Dodgers?
Carl Crawford admits he began to have doubts – about ever hitting .300 again, ever smiling again, maybe even playing baseball much longer.
“I don’t think I smiled in two years,” the Dodgers outfielder tells USA TODAY Sports of his time on a troubled team in Boston.
“I was just frowning, I started growing grey hairs on my face from the stress and everything for two years straight,” he says, stroking the stubble on his chin and grinning—as much about how he feels as about a hot start that included multiple hits in eight of his first 13 games and a current .314 batting average.
That’s a long way from his Boston start – seven hits in his first 55 at-bats – that was every bit as stunning as the team’s 2-10 beginning in 2011.
“It’s been awhile since I had this feeling, no doubt,” he says. “Since 2010 with the Rays. It feels good just to feel like my old self again. I’m enjoying every day of it, I’ll tell you that.”
...“I try not to even think about my days in Boston anymore,” says Crawford, who’s back from ligament replacement surgery on his left (throwing) elbow. “It’s still just such a nightmare. Every time I think about it, I cringe.”
Padres CEO and Team President Tom Garfinkel spoke with season ticket holders last Friday, less than 48 hours after the Zack Greinke/ Carlos Quentin incident that resulted in Greinke breaking his collarbone. Yahoo Sports obtained audio of Garfinkel’s talk. Garfinkel was of the belief that Greinke was throwing at Quentin intentionally, and explained-away it being a 2-1 game and a 3-2 count by comparing Zack Greinke to Raymond Babbitt.
“Zack Greinke is a different kind of guy. Anybody seen Rain Man? [crowd laughs] He is a very smart guy. He has Social Anxiety Disorder. He doesn’t interact well with his team, he doesn’t interact with his teammates.”
Garfinkle probably recognized that he had crossed some sort of line there. Later in the same talk, he added, ”This is my opinion, and I can’t say this publicly. Well, this is public, we are in the Trust Tree here.”
This video has been on YouTube for almost two years, but we’ve only just discovered it. And we are very glad that we did, because this may be the best way we’ve ever seen a baseball player handle a heckler.
Thanks to Paul Dylan for transcribing “this beautiful moment in Vin’s call”...
“We often talk about Chad Billingsley, saying that he pitches ‘with the Sword of Damocles over his head.’ That’s an old Greek legend.
The ruler was Dionysus, and he had a guy in the courtier - in the court – who would always talk about how great the ruler had it.
So finally, the ruler said, ‘Ok. I’ll tell you how great it is.’ - the pitch is high, ball two - and he had a big dinner for Damocles and there at the head of the table was the chair and the beautiful table set up. Damocles sat down and directly above his head was a huge sword and it was tied by one horse hair.
Damocles got the idea. 2-2 pitch on the way is fouled back.
So, of course, any time anybody’s pitching in a somewhat precarious position, I guess it applies: The Sword of Damocles.
And, with Chad Billingsley, with that touchy arm, any time he goes to the mound that’s exactly who he is: Damocles of the Dodgers.
Amarista at second, Maybin at first. This’ll be the seventh pitch to Eric Stults. Chad ready, checks, right-hander deals.
High fly ball to deep center…Kemp going back…a-way back…this one is over the wall!
Eric Stults hits it out over the centerfield fence and it’s the Padres on the scoreboard leading, three to nothing.”
Robinson’s story has resonated with me for almost as long as I’ve been watching baseball. I first learned about him during the 1978 World Series, when I was eight years old. My father asked me if I knew who the first black player in the majors was. I thought for a moment and took a wild guess, figuring the answer might be in front of me: “Dusty Baker?” I was already color-blind when it came to my baseball heroes; Davey Lopes was my first favorite Dodger, and I couldn’t help but develop a soft spot for the outsized personality of Reggie Jackson, even though he wore the enemy pinstripes.
Dad set me straight regarding Robinson’s pioneering role, but it was my Brooklyn-born paternal grandfather, Bernard Jaffe (1908-2000), who held the larger store of stories about Robinson’s skill, courage and grace, and he shared those with me over the years while teaching my brother and me the game’s fundamentals as well as its history. I remember him recounting an appropriately sanitized version of Dodger manager Durocher’s reaction to the infamous petition circulated by Dixie Walker among Robinson’s less enlightened teammates.
Baseball America has the story of the second player the Dodgers signed from the Negro Leagues:
Within weeks of Robinson becoming the first African-American player in modern baseball history to sign in Organized Baseball in the fall of 1945, lanky New Orleans native John Wright became the second. A righthander with a solid array of pitches who had a decade of success in the Negro Leagues, Wright also signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, with both Robinson and Wright set to report to Dodgers spring training in Florida for the 1946 season.
...Aside from the obvious question of what happened to Wright, in the intervening years historians have also debated why exactly the Dodgers signed him. Did the trailblazing organization view him as a legitimate prospect, or was Wright simply viewed as a companion for Robinson, who was clearly Rickey’s chosen one to make history?
“It sounds kind of small-minded, but I would think they probably have the legal right to do that, especially if they let people know in advance that that’s the rule,” said Paul Bender, a professor of law at Arizona State.
“I hate to say that. I don’t like them doing that. And it’s conceivable if it’s treated as a city, state or county stadium that the rule would be different. But with what kind of clothes people wear, usually people who run the stadium are thought to have the right do that as long as they say in advance that those are the rules.”