Friday, June 27, 2003
Got this letter from Terry yesterday:
I noticed your reference to Jesse Orosco in today's blog entry, and it made me curious to see how the pitchers Dan Evans has parted with have fared. With the possible exception of (the deal involving) Ricardo Rodriguez, who should get an "incomplete" for his first full season with the Indians, Evans appears to have done a nice job of "knowing when to fold 'em."
I fretted when he bid adieu to Chan Ho, but it was apparently the right move. Same for Baldwin, Adams, Daal, et al. I'm not sure how Matt Herges is doing, nor even which team is his home these days. (San Diego?)
Of course, one might argue that with Baldwin, Mulholland and Trombley, it was Evans' fault that they were Dodgers in the first place. (In Evans' partial defense, at least Baldwin was, um, serviceable as a starter and cheap in terms of prospects.)
And for what it's worth, I believe Evans will eventually grab an economy model acquisition (in terms of prospect costs) like Rafael Palmeiro or Roberto Alomar instead of the luxury class selections like Mike Lowell. In a few days, Jeremy Giambi might end up on the bench (and on the Red Sox' nickel) as well.
This doesn't directly deal with the issues Terry raises, but it does give me an excuse to put together a list I've been meaning to put together: Just how are recent ex-Dodgers doing in 2003? The intention of this first attempt at a boxed chart is to include all ex-Dodgers since Dan Evans officially became General Manager on October 3, 2001.
(MLEQA is a player's major-league equivalent average, as calculated by Baseball Prospectus - .260 being the average average.)
|Gary Sheffield||Atlanta||Perez/Jordan/Brown trade||309
|Eric Karros||Chicago||T.Hundley/C. Hermansen trade||169
|Dave Hansen||San Diego||Unsigned||90
|Mark Grudzielanek||Chicago||T.Hundley/C. Hermansen trade||305
|Luke Allen||Col. Springs (AAA)||Jason Romano trade||275
|Jorge Nunez||Charlotte (AAA)||G. Mota/W. Ruan trade||207
|Hiram Bocachica||Detroit||T. Farmer/J. Frasor trade||22
|Matt Herges||San Diego||G. Mota/W. Ruan trade||37.2
|Terry Mulholland||Cleveland||Paul Shuey trade||43
|Ricardo Rodriguez||Cleveland||Paul Shuey trade||80
|Chan Ho Park||Texas||Unsigned||29.2
|Jesse Orosco||San Diego||Unsigned||21
|Ben Diggins||Milwaukee||T. Houston/B. Mallette trade||24
|Luke Prokopec||Cincinnati||C. Izturis/P. Quantrill trade||0
|Eric Junge||Scranton (AAA)||Omar Daal trade||47
|Lance Caraccioli||Buffalo (AAA)||Jolbert Cabrera trade||43.2
|Chad Ricketts||Nashville (AAA)||C. Izturis/P. Quantrill trade||3.2
|Francisco Cruceta||Akron (AA)||Paul Shuey trade||75
|Christian Bridenbaugh||Not found||Dave Roberts trade||----
|Jesus Cordero||Not found||Omar Daal trade||----
|Nial Hughes||Not found||Dave Roberts trade||----
So, whom do you miss?
On the offensive side, well, you miss Sheffield's bat if not his attitude. Looking at things this season, had Sheffield never previously been a Dodger, you would probably trade Brian Jordan and Odalis Perez for him. But I still don't regret the trade that happened - Sheffield just made it harder to enjoy the team, and Perez may yield quality for years.
Reboulet and Houston are contributing in small parts, but I doubt anyone misses them. Grissom has done great. Karros has done well in Chicago, but since the Dodger offensive weakness is against right-handed pitching, I'd still rather have even the aging McGriff. Grudzielanek, as you can see, is really not having that wondrous a season. Jolbert Cabrera is filling his role just fine. Hansen is someone you might miss a lot, actually.
On the mound, there's very little to regret losing. Mainly, it still looks like the Dodgers gave up too much for Paul Shuey. Even though Shuey is having an outstanding year, the Dodgers gave up a lot of potential to shore up an area where they are now Marianas Trench deep. If I were the Dodgers, I'd strongly consider moving Shuey with his value high to get some prospects back.
Beyond that, though, there were some great trades in acquiring Guillermo Mota/Wilkin Ruan, Paul Quantrill/Cesar Izturis, and Dave Roberts.
(I don't know why there is so much space in between the charts. Can anyone help me with that?)
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Test - Hoping to put the messy charts of days gone by behind me.
||Column 1||Column 2||Column 3|
|Row 2||Data 1.1||Data 1.2
|Row 3||Data 2.1
||Data 2.2||Data 2.3|
In the Dallas Morning News, an interesting article on Alex Rodriguez and the value of his contract points out that:
The contract will actually be paid over 20 years, not 10. Because $54 million is deferred, a Wall Street Journal estimate valued the contract at about $165 million, rather than $252 million.
If the Journal did the math correctly, the future Hall-of-Famer might actually be something of a bargain. Thanks to Jim Baker of ESPN.com for pointing out the story.
I'd like to take this opportunity to once again point out that the Dodgers were one pick away from drafting Rodriguez in 1993.
One Flew Over the Dodger's Nest
Staying one step ahead of the men in the white coats...
The Dodgers have all the hitting they need.
Oh, crap - they're on me. Kick it into gear, man.
Against left-handed pitching! Against left-handed pitching!
They don't look appeased. Make your case.
.283 average, .342 OBP, .448 slugging, .789 OPS against southpaws.
They're not saying anything. But why are they circling around me?
The Dodgers' OPS against lefties is seventh in the league.
They're scratching their heads. They're flummoxed.
OPSeses vs. lefties
Mike Kinkade: 1.308
Brian Jordan: 1.131
Ron Coomer: .987
Shawn Green: .823
Paul Lo Duca: .816
Alex Cora: .808
Adrian Beltre: .772
Jolbert Cabrera: .759
Dave Roberts: .717
Cesar Izturis: .643
Fred McGriff: .561
Uh oh - they think I've gone bi-polar. Why did I have to mention McGriff? Think fast.
Kinkade plays first instead of McGriff. If Jordan's injured, you can even play Coomer at first with Kinkade in left.
No questioning that logic. I must be sane. Now, go for true enlightenment.
Cora should start against lefties, Cabrera against righties.
Cora should start against lefties, Cabrera against righties.
And ... scene.
The point of this little play has been to dramatize the revelation I had Wednesday night in watching the Dodgers improve to 15-4 against left-handed starters.
1a) Against lefties, Lo Duca, Green, Jordan, Kinkade and Beltre can put the bat on the ball.
1b) Against lefties, though it's a small sample, Cora is hitting decently.
1c) Against lefties, the Dodgers don't need to sacrifice defense at second base for the offensive boost of a Cabrera.
2a) Against righties, only three players have OPSeses over .700: Cabrera, Lo Duca and McGriff. Green is at .699.
2b) Against righties, Cabrera hits better than he does against lefties: .893 vs. .759.
2c) Against righties, the Dodgers do need to sacrifice at second base for the offensive boost of a Cabrera.
It's counterintuitive, but the Dodgers should consider playing Cabrera and Cora against same-sided pitchers.
And a minimum, if the Dodgers pursue a trade, they'd better make sure that whomever they acquire can rake righties.
Wednesday's game brought two of the funniest moments of the season. After Green and, of course, Kinkade were hit by pitches (Kinkade has 10 HBP this season in 107 plate appearances) Green jokingly pantomimed a threat to former teammate Marquis Grissom that the Dodgers were going to retaliate against him. Standing at second base, Green did a full windup and pitch, then went into a stance and smacked himself in the helmet. I know Green hasn't brought us much to smile about this year - for that matter, he hardly seems to smile himself - but that was truly amusing.
An inning later, Giants pitcher Damian Moss was called for a balk by Tuesday night's Dodger antagonist, Angel Hernandez. The cameras immediately cut to Felipe Alou and Odalis Perez in their respective dugouts - both were laughing and shaking their heads, scoffily. Angel, we won't soon forget ye.
That's Not All from Angel
In the second inning, Hernandez called strikes on two ball-three pitches that looked very high, in Lo Duca's case, and outside, in Rich Aurilia's case. It occurred to me how much the Dodgers must benefit from a wide strike zone. Obviously, the Dodger pitchers will take it - but since the Dodger hitters are hacking anyway (29th in MLB in walks), I bet it hardly hurts them at all.
While the Dodgers play the Angels and the Giants play the A's this weekend, red-hot Arizona plays Detroit. Don't be surprised if you wake up Monday morning to see this:
San Francisco 47-33 --
Los Angeles 47-33 --
Arizona 44-36 3 GB
Ex-Dodger Jesse Orosco's ERA has ballooned to 8.57 in San Diego. Orosco, now 46, still strikes out hitters - he has 20 in 21 innings. However, he has faced too many right-handed batters as part of the struggling Padres' staff - nearly half of his total batters faced. Righties are basing .510 against him; lefties are only at .308.
Is This What Happened to Daryle Ward on Tuesday?
Perhaps he has a sweet tooth.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Pack mentality: The Times, Daily News and Orange County Register all led today with the news that Jim Tracy might rotate Alex Cora, Cesar Izturis and Joe Thurston in a middle infield by committee.
Ron Coomer, who homered Monday, told Ken Gurnick that he would not accept an assignment to the minor leagues, but would instead ask for his release, and that if no other major league team showed interest, he would retire. There remains no room for him on the Dodger roster, so unless Adrian Beltre gets hurt in the next four weeks, March is essentially an extravagant paid spa workout for Coomer.
The Dodgers batted lefty Shawn Green third, lefty Fred McGriff fourth and righty Brian Jordan fifth Monday. Even though McGriff is an appreciably better hitter against righties than Jordan, I think it would be a mistake not to alternate lefty-righty-lefty in the regular season – unless Tracy is willing to be very liberal in pinch-hitting for McGriff when a left-handed reliever comes in.
This isn’t a Dodger note, but it’s something that you’d think would happen to the Dodgers. Monday, Angels pitcher Jarrod Washburn injured his shoulder in a collision during a fielding drill. He collided with another pitcher: Brendan Donnelly. What kind of drill puts two pitchers anywhere near each other?
An Uphill Start
Eleven of the Dodgers’ first 14 games are on the road.
Ten of the Dodgers’ first 14 games are against Arizona and San Francisco.
Three games against Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, four games against Barry Bonds.
What would be a reasonable start for this team?
The season opens with a three-game series at Arizona, beginning with games against Johnson and Schilling. Avoiding a sweep would be nice.
Four games at San Diego follow. San Diego has a promising young rotation, but a questionable lineup. At minimum, you want a split. We’ll set the target, though, at taking three out of four.
Then, we go up to Los Angeles for a whopping three-game homestand. The good news here is that at most, the Dodgers will face Schilling on home Opening Day, but Johnson will have pitched his second game in Colorado the previous weekend. The Dodgers need two out of three here.
Finally, up to San Francisco for four in the April cold. Since we’re holding out for three out of four in San Diego, we’ll settle for a split against the Giants.
Follow that path, and the Dodgers begin a tough season-opening stretch – a stretch with no off days – at 8-6.
During that same period, Arizona and San Francisco each have 1) at least one series against the Milwaukee Doormats, and 2) at least one off day , which means they have better chances to get off to fast starts. In fact, San Francisco opens the season with San Diego-Milwaukee-San Diego – it’s not hard to imagine the Giants running off to 8-1 by the time they meet the Dodgers, and 10-3 afterward, even if they only split with L.A.
Arizona has a series with Colorado as well, so don’t be surprised if the Diamondbacks start out around 8-4.
Of course, things won’t go by the numbers. The point is, just playing .500 ball and holding third place after the first two weeks would amount to a decent start by the Dodgers. Anything more would be gravy and reason to celebrate.
By the way, the Dodgers end the season on the road in San Francisco as well.
When should the Dodgers fatten up? From May 16 through June 5, the Dodgers play three games against Florida, six games each against Colorado and Milwaukee, and three games against Kansas City – 18 games total, 12 at home.
One other scheduling note:
May 23, 2002: Dodgers at Milwaukee. Shawn Green goes 6 for 6 with four home runs.
May 23, 2003: Dodgers at Milwaukee.
Putting the Proper Weight on OBP
OPS is a convenient barometer of batter performance, but those who have delved further have determined that the OBP deserves more weight than slugging percentage. David Pinto of Baseball Musings went to the trouble of calculating a weighted OPS for every major league regular. Bringing up the rear: Cesar Izturis.
Of course, you can still go to Baseball Prospectus for even more finely-tuned stats.
Oh, the Calamity
Dodgers at San Francisco, 2003
Runs: Giants 15, Dodgers 10
Wins: Giants 5, Dodgers 0
As Vinny kept saying, Tuesday was a bad night - and that included Vinny constantly referring to Daryle Ward by his father's first name, Gary. More about that later.
First, to get the headline out of the way, again, don't take the 0-5 record in one-run games at Candlestick as a sign that the Dodgers are a weaker team than the Giants. Take it as a sign that these two teams are as evenly matched as a coin toss, but the coin has landed on heads five times in a row.
Admittedly, the coin has landed very hard.
Until Tuesday, the costliest baserunning mistake by the Dodgers had been in the eighth inning of the May 10 game at Montreal, when Adrian Beltre got picked off second base with two on and none out in a 6-5 loss.
Like Beltre, Daryle Ward's mistake Tuesday has to be mitigated by the fact that his clutch base hit enabled the mistake. But there's one thing that should be emphasized. The replays showed that, as Jolbert Cabrera ran past second to third on Ward's one-out, ninth-inning single, Ward braked just off first base. Then, only after the throw came in from Jose Cruz, did Ward start to run to second.
It wasn't that Ward made a wide turn, as the beat writers reported this morning. This ballplayer, with one career stolen base in 458 games, thought that he was going to time the play and dash 89 feet from a near-dead stop to second base while the ball was in the infield. In other words, it was even more inexplicable than it appeared.
Beltre's subsequent game-ending groundout with the tying run on third base thus provided an epilogue on a night of frustration.
For the first time in my life, I predicted a balk. Mind you, I can explain the infield fly rule in French, but I still can't for the life of me understand what is a balk and what isn't. My sense is that balks are like cartoons in the New Yorker as depicted on Seinfeld - people, including umpires and cartoon editors, just sort of guess at them. (Just to be clear, I think the cartoons in the New Yorker are very clever and comprehensible.)
Anyway, though I certainly don't think the balk call is made consistently, there was something about the extra attention that Odalis Perez was paying to Ray Durham on first base in the sixth inning, a sort of desperation to keep Durham in place, that I felt that something bad was going to happen. And it did.
Was it the right call? Beats me. I watched the replays, and I've seen pickoff moves by other pitchers that are far more deceptive. I think it's like anything else in sports - if you have a reputation for doing something well, you get a lot more leeway from the officials. But it doesn't mean that this time, the call wasn't right.
I didn't spend any more of the inning questioning the call. Rather, I pondered whether baseball would be a better game with a no-leadoffs rule. A runner could only go once the pitch has been thrown. That would eliminate the balk rule and pickoff throws to first - neither of which represents the game at its best.
A no-leadoff rule would cut down on stolen bases and taking an extra base, increase double plays, and therefore cut down on offense. If that's a problem for you - and it certainly would be for the Dodgers - you could make one other change - reducing the distance between the bases to 85 feet. I know, I'm rearranging Stonehenge here, but I thought it an interesting notion. Please feel free to point out other pitfalls.
Meanwhile, there's no use in complicating a balk by giving up a home run. On the other hand, it might be time to admit that Marquis Grissom has a lot more baseball left in him than I or most people thought.
Coming off OPS seasons in 1998-2000 of .686, .735 and .639, Grissom came to the Dodgers in a trade for a rundown Devon White. Grissom then contributed a .654 in his first season in Los Angeles, and it was clear he was done.
Except that in a platoon role in 2002, Grissom did a nice job - OPSing .831. He OPSed .971 against lefties, and even beat his overall numbers of the past four seasons by OPSing .742 against righties. Still, he was a spare part, and not someone to whom you give seven figures of salary.
Well, in 2003, Grissom is back at .839 overall - and that's as an everyday player. His OPS against righties is .736 - not ideal, but for the second year in a row, at a level you simply wouldn't have thought possible. He's absolutely crushing lefties: 1.128.
And against the Dodgers, he's just been a killer.
April 10: Solo home run in the fourth inning of a 2-1 victory.
April 13: Two-out double in the 12th inning, then scored winning run in a 5-4 victory.
June 25: Game-winning two-run home run in a 2-1 victory.
Against the Dodgers this season, Grissom has become Jim Eisenreich: in 40 plate appearances, a .989 OPS and four home runs.
For his part, Perez had allowed home runs in 10 of his past 13 starts.
Of course, blaming Perez for this loss would be in poor taste. Jason Schmidt dominated the Dodgers again, allowing no earned runs. His game score was 83, and he has now pitched two of the three best games against the Dodgers this season and three of the top 10.
And now, there's been a Jack Clark sighting. Hoping for a turnaround from the Dodger offense, hitting coach Jack Clark told Brian Dohn of the Daily News that "there's three or four guys in there capable of having a half like a (Carlos) Delgado."
Delgado has 23 home runs and 81 RBI to date. It is unlikely that any Dodger will finish the entire season with numbers matching those, much less in combination with a .441 on-base percentage.
Dohn goes on to write:
Clark's reputation throughout the organization is that of a hard worker who always uses positive energy, and he continues that. He said he is wearing the hats of a batting coach and a psychologist. Sometimes he emphasizes fundamentals and mechanics in the batting cage, and other times Clark sits and speaks with players about life.
Okay, so now we know Clark's philosophy. That's good. That's step one. Step two, then, is understanding that this philosophy is not working. Step three is trying something different. There may be no solution - we don't know. What we do know is that the current approach does not work. No need to prolong using it.
What will the effect be if Brian Jordan's aggravated knee keeps him out of the lineup for any long stretch? Such an absence will put HBP kings Mike Kinkade or Cabrera in left field. In half the plate appearances, Cabrera has more extra-base hits this season than Jordan. Perhaps Cabrera playing more left field and less second base will take some of the pressure burdening Alex Cora - though that's a desperado's hope. In any case, I don't presume that the offense will regress that much without Jordan - there just isn't that far to fall.
Or, perhaps, Dan Evans will decide to pull the trigger on a trade.
To wrap things up, let's deal with Vinny. Honestly, until Ward's baserunning mistake, nothing was more painful last night then Vin referring to Ward as Gary. Then, for Vin to make the same blunder in describing Ward's blunder, that was about all one could take. As is written in the introduction to Ian Fleming's Goldfinger:
Once is happenstance.
Twice is coincidence.
The third time, it's enemy action.
Not that I'm wishing to unleash James Bond on Vinny, but something had to be done. Vin Scully has never struck me as a man of great ego, but rather as someone all too willing to correct his mistakes - as long as he's made aware of them. Someone on the broadcast production team had the responsibility of getting into Vinny's ear and telling him about the Gary problem.
All in all, Tuesday could have been a great night for the Dodgers - just like the other four nights in San Francisco. Tonight, the Dodgers flip the coin again.
(Now that you've read this, you have to go over to Dodger Blues.com. No one expresses Dodger frustration better.)
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
The Wild Card Reveals Who We Are
In your mind, if you're a fan of the Dodgers, what's at stake each time your team plays the Giants this week?
In my mind, it's the playoff berth that comes with winning the National League West title. And that's a very specific choice of words.
It's not the division title alone that's important. Yes, it's fine to win one - it's a nice statistic, like a Kevin Brown winning an ERA title - especially if you haven't won a title in quite some time. But your overall goal remains winning the World Series, and missing out on the division title doesn't preclude that.
However, the wild card isn't what you're going after either. Here in June, there are eight National League teams over .500 and within six games of each other in the wild-card standings. The wild-card prize is like the inheritance you might get from that rich aunt you don't really know, depending on her mood swings. It's just not something you count on today.
No, it's all about the playoff berth that comes with a division title.
What this means is that while the wild card has diluted the importance of how a divisional race ends, it hasn't diluted the importance of that race while it's in progress.
If you're within shouting distance of a division title - and that still includes every team over .500 right now - the divisional race is the one that probably concerns you the most. Because in that race, you have the fewest teams to beat, and you will face those teams more often head-to-head.
That latter reason is why the Philadelphia Phillies, who are 8 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves but only 3 1/2-games behind the NL wild-card leading Dodgers, still must have the NL East race on their minds. The Phillies play the Braves 10 more times this year; they play the Dodgers three more times. One could argue that they actually have more control of their destiny in the NL East.
Meanwhile, a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates is closer in the standings to the NL Central-leading Cubs than the NL wild-card leading Dodgers, all the more reason for such a team to be preoccupied with the divisional race.
In a sense, the wild card serves no purpose for most of the regular season. One of the arguments for having a wild card is that it keeps more teams (and their fans) thinking that they are still alive for a playoff spot. But of the 30 teams in major league baseball today, really only three teams - Anaheim, Florida and the New York Mets - need the wild card to kindle their hopes. (And even a fan of the Marlins and Mets could question whether or not keeping their hopes alive is a good thing.) The rest are so far out of contention, not even the wild card can help.
By August, will more teams join those three? Quite possibly, if another division leader separates itself from the pack. However, it's also possible that the only major change in the standings in the next two months will bring Atlanta back to earth, meaning that even the Marlins and even the Mets would then be within range of an amazing divisional comeback.
Until September, because so much can change before the final month of the season, the wild card is irrelevant.
Once September arrives, the wild card can have its most positive effect - by manufacturing a race between good second- or third-place teams who live in a division with a runaway leader. However, as you know, the wild card also brings risks to September - as in a case when two teams within the same division are unchallenged as the best two teams in the league. Then, the wild card has eliminated the best race of the season.
Now, back to my original question: In your mind, what's at stake right now each time the Dodgers play the Giants?
Right now, we've got an honest-to-goodness pennant race - where every game counts and where we can fret over every loss. The existence of the wild card is of little consolation to a Dodger fan, even though the Dodgers are currently the wild-card leaders, because that position of "Wild-Card Leader" is so ephemeral.
But what would you rather have in September?
1) The Dodgers and Giants battling for the NL West crown, with no wild card consolation prize available?
2) The Dodgers and Giants battling for the NL West crown, with the wild card assured for one of the teams.
3) The Dodgers and Giants battling for the NL West crown, and at the same time, battling with teams outside the division for the wild card.
As the Angels have shown, winning a World Series takes the sting out of losing a divisional race. The playoffs bring their own excitement, which you can't ignore. So as a fan of the Dodgers, yes, believe it or not, not knowing whether the Dodgers would beat the Giants, I would sell my soul and wish for Option 2. The playoff berth is what matters.
The playoff berth gives you a chance to be a champion. The legacy of being champion trumps that of being a finalist exponentially. Baseball's greatness is in the bounty of its intermediate events, its hits, walks, triples and balks - that help you measure achievement. But as far as goals go, as far as ambitions go, the only one a baseball team has is winning the World Series. Winning the World Series is truly forever. Throughout the 1950s, the Dodgers were great, but it's the championship of 1955 that resonates throughout the country.
No matter how many teams there are, getting into the playoffs is like a minor-leaguer getting called to the Show. It's why an NCAA basketball team celebrates winning the 64th spot in March Madness and the right to be annihilated by Duke. It gives you your shot at glory. It's the only means to the ultimate end.
It takes a special kind of person to root for a close pennant race that involves his team. It puts your shot at glory on the line. It risks long-term satisfaction for short-term thrills. Imagine yourself a Dodger fan in August 1951. Would you have rooted for the Giants to make it a race? If so, you are probably one of a kind.
Fifty-two years later, it might feel different. But put yourself in the moments as August 1951 became October 1951. As a Dodger fan, wouldn't you rather have made the playoffs as a wild-card team, rendering an historic pennant chase meanlingless?
Enjoy these June games between the Giants and the Dodgers, which combine the best of all possible worlds - two division leaders battling for the pennant, no qualifications, no guaranteed consolation prizes. Treat these games like September games. Right now, the chance to win the World Series is on the line. In three months, it may still be on the line. But on the other hand, you might find yourself in September with a wild-card berth at minimum in hand, just killing time until October.
Either way, the playoff-bound fan will still be happy. And that's sort of sad. The wild card increases a fan's chance in September to feel glory in October. It caters to selfish needs and desires. Selfishness is a fact of life; selfishness is real. No argument there. I just think that in a better world, we wouldn't have the wild card as an annual reminder that we are selfish people.
Sunday, June 22, 2003
Fast Five From the Weekend
1) Until Sunday, the Dodgers had scored four runs or more in seven of their past eight games. That was a first for 2003.
It actually surpised me to find that the team had, twice, scored four runs or more six times in an eight-game stretch. (I hope that's not too confusing a sentence to read.)
Overall, the Dodgers have scored four or more runs 36 times in 74 games this season. They are 30-6 in those games.
2) Jose Mota did a nifty job as the commentator on Fox's Saturday telecast of the Dodger-Angel game. In contrast to every other Fox announcer that I've heard, he made thoughtful points in a conversational manner, as opposed to irrelevant or obvious points in a huckster manner. (Example: play-by-play man Thom Brennaman saying in the same broadvast that Jaime Jarrin is the nicest person in baseball. Why not just say that Jarrin is nice. Why so many things have to be sold with such hyperbole by Fox?)
Other than occasionally talking too fast, Mota really impressed me. I hope we see more of him and I hope that Fox doesn't give him the wrong kind of notes.
3) Have you ever noticed how often Eric Gagne doubles over? He doesn't do it out of pain or agony - he just does it, to catch his breath I guess or something. It used to scare me until I started seeing it all the time.
4) Dave Ross struck out three times Sunday, but his promise continues. In those three at-bats, he saw 18 pitches. In the first two at-bats, he blasted three enormous foul balls that together traveled about 1,000 feet. He then worked the count to 3-2 before striking out. He may be no All-Star, but he deserves playing time on this team.
5) There was a funny question on the Dodger Stadium scoreboard's Ask the Dodgers feature. Six-year-old Samson asked, "How do you hit a foul ball?" Four Dodgers gave entertaining if perplexed replies.