Tag Archives: Dan Haren

Throwback Thursday… Drei’s Ballpark Adventures… Safeco Field, 9/2/2009

Before we move forward Drei’s Throwback Thursday Ballpark Adventure’s, lets briefly look back on the moves the Dodgers have made in the last 24 hours that have sparked many discussions throughout L.A., acquiring Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick and pitcher Brandon McCarthy while in the process trading away Dan Haren and speedster Dee Gordon to the Marlins. 

Of course, the biggest of them all was the trade that sent Matt Kemp to the Padres a $30 million of his salary for catcher’s Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and pitching prospect Zach Eflin. It is belived that the Dodgers are still in the running for one time Phillies ace Cole Hammels.

In briefly analyzing the trades, though his offensive numbers have declined in recent years, defensively Rollins provides a better glove than what Hanley Ramirez could.

The speed of Dee Gordon will be missed at the top of the lineup but Howie Kendrick, though not the speedster Dee is, provides a solid glove at the right side of the infield with better offensive numbers.

Then of course is the big trade of Matt Kemp. It was bound to happen. That’s baseball. That’s business. Players come and go. However to trade one of your biggest hitters who had a huge 2nd half and was finally starting to hit his stride again, to trade him to a division rival ? Let’s see how this plays out when our boys face the Friars 19 times in 2005. OK, that’s it for my brief analysis of the moves made in the last 24 hours. More from me later. 

BISON_DREI Thanks for the memories Matt…

Now, for Drei’s Throwback Thursday Ballpark Adventures, and today, we venture back to 2009, Safeco Field and the Emerald City…

Safeco Field, 9/2/2009

SEATTLE_POSTCARD

Prior to Safeco Field , the Seattle Mariners would call The King Dome home from 1977 to the middle of the 199 season. Not much excitement would occur in The King Dome during most of it’s history. That would change in the summer of ’95 , the summer which many in the Pacific Northwest believe saved the Mariners…

SEATTLE_KINGDOME98 Center Field view of The King Dome, November, 1998, during an auto convention. This “awe inspiring” view was taken at a spot  Ken Griffey Jr. stood during many summers in the 90s…

SEATTLE_SAFECOFIELDHPENTRANCE Home plate entrance

SAFECOFIELD_CHANDALIER BATS2 Inside the home plate entrance, rising above the fans entering the grand entrance, a chandelier in the display of swinging bats 

SAFECOFIELD_CHANDALIER BATS The chandelier up close

SAFECOFIELD View behind home plate. In the distance, Century Link Field, the site where the King Dome once stood…

Of the 4 MLB parks with retractable roofs, not counting the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Safeco Field ranks as my favorite. With a retractable roof to protect the fans from the elements, the roof acts more as an umbrella than anything else, making it possible for fans to experience a ballgame while allowing some of natures elements to breeze in, thus maintaining an outdoor feel. The roof is not really used much during the season as much of the rainy season is during the winter and spring.  It’s still is a good idea to bring a light sweater especially if attending an evening game

Safeco is viewed by many as a retro yard, a notion I totally disagree with, as with many of today’s post Camden Yards era parks. While many of today’s yards may have followed Camden Yards model to revive nostalgic features of ballpark cathedrals from years past, I just have a hard time viewing a yard with a retractable roof as retro, a term which really I feel is overused with much of today’s parks. The only feature in Safeco that I could say has a retro feel is the home plate entrance. Having said that, Safeco Field is still quite a yard to take in a game. I also like how Safeco blends in with the local surroundings, which at one time consisted of various warehouses. The area around Safeco Field is known by the locals as SoDo, South of Downtown. You may have heard of SoDo in the early 2000s from the M’s rally cry SoDo Mojo. 

SAFECOFIELD_UPPER LEVEL RF VIEW From the upper reaches in Right Field

SAFECOFIELD_LF SIGN AND SPACE NEEDLE Off to the distance is Seattle’s trademark landmark, The Space Needle

SAFECOFIELD_BULLPENPREGAME Pregame huddle over by the M’s bullpen. That chain link fence has since been removed…

SAFECOFIELD_DREI IN CF 2008 Kicking it out in the center field standing room area during a prior visit in ’08. If you don’t mind standing it’s a great place to watch the game up close in the outfield. You are practically there by the fence. Some of the most sociable and knowledgeable fans hang out there.  From what I’ve been told the SRO viewing area in CF is also a “Meet Market” especially during the weekends…

SAFECOFIELD_HISTORY OF BASEBALL EXHIBIT Some hardball history from the Pacific Northwest…

SAFECOFIELD_SEA PILOTS More Seattle baseball tributes

SAFECOFIELD_TRIBUTE TO JUNIOR Of course they pay tribute to Ken Griffey Jr. After all, he had a huge role in building Safeco…

SAFECOFIELD_TRIBUTE TO JUNIOR 2

SAFECOFIELD_9 2 2009 VS ANGELS King Felix get’s the start for the M’s…

SAFECOFIELD_LINESCORE The Halo’s would eventually be shut out on this day… This scoreboard has since been replaced with a huge video board…

SAFECOFIELD_FINALSCORE

SAFECOFIELD_POSTGAME WITH DREI Another yard off the list. Safeco was the last MLB park to open in the 90s, and to this day she’s holding up well…

SAFECOFIELD_HOLE IN THE GLOVE That must have been one screaming line drive…

SAFECOFIELD_DREI IN THE GLOVE Hey, let’s meet up by the Hole in the Glove …

SAFECOFIELD_95MURAL I wonder if this mural celebrating the ’95 NLDS triumph over the Yankees is still there…

SAFECOFIELD_NIGHTIME OUTSIDE LF ENTRANCE

SAFECOFIELD_LFENTRANCE 2

So those are my reflections on my trip to Safeco, August 2009. To any M’s fan who may be reading this, what’s changed since my last visit ?

Also worth a look…

SEATTLE_UNDER THE RETRACTABLE ROOF ON THE TRACKS The retractable roof, when opened, slides above these railroad tracks. King Street Station, where local commuter and Amtrak trains are serviced, is a stones throw away from the yard. So should you be arriving to The Emerald City by rail, chances are you will be arriving (or departing) beneath Safeco Field’s roof, perhaps during game action as well. Train conductor’s have been known to toot their horns during the game’s, adding to the charm of the game…

9th Inning, Around The Emerald City…

From Hops to Beans..

Former beer factory of Raineer Beer, now housing Tully's Coffee ( There's another coffee brew in Seattle ? )
Former beer factory of Raineer Beer, now housing Tully’s Coffee ( There’s another coffee brew in Seattle ? )
The onetime Raineer Brewery is now home to Tully's ( And from what I gather, some artsy lofts as well...)
The onetime Raineer Brewery is now home to Tully’s ( And from what I gather, some artsy lofts as well…)

Views from the tracks…

Pike Market and Beechers…

SoDo Art…

Last but not least…

Extra Innings…

Drei’s Holiday Tale, Featuring The Mariner Moose and Kid Marly Marlz

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Given the time of year, Drei thought it’d be nice to pay a visit to his good pal up in the Pacific Northwest, the Mariner Moose ! You know Moose, Santa could always use another assistant to help Rudy lead Santa’s sleigh. Hey, how ’bout giving Drei  a ride back to L.A. ?
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Upon arriving back to L.A., a heavy cold front with lots of unexpected snow would descend upon the hills of Chavez Ravine. Fortunately for The Moose, Kid Marly Marlz is here to keep him nice and warm. Awe, The Moose and The Kid are bonding once again. Perhaps The Moose can cheer you up after hearing the news of your favorite Dodger heading down I-5. The Kid and the Moose have really developed a deep bond for each other…. ( BTW Kid, don’t let you’re actual big bro know that I was at a Starbucks… )

Time to Walk Us off, Chuck…

Today’s Holiday Classic, from Chuck Berry…

 

 

Beyond The Ballpark… L.A.’s Sights and Sounds

Before we go Beyond The Ballpark, here’s some off-season briefs going on around The Ravine, as the Dodgers offer a $15.3 M qualifying offer to Hanley Ramirez  .  Hanley has until the 10th of this month to accept his 2015 offer, or test the free agent market.  Though Hanley did have a reasonable post-season, his bat was still somewhat in question during the season and was a late inning defensive replacement often down the stretch.  Also, Dan Haren has opted to exercise his $10M option to return in 2015 so should he be able to maintain his momentum from the 2nd half of last season, the Dodgers should have a solid rotation up to the 4th spot.  Aside from the obvious needs in the bullpen, the Dodgers should also be looking to acquire a 5th starter as well, with Josh Beckett retiring and the Dodgers buying out Chad Billingsley’s $14M 2015 option for $3 million .  

Need Help Finding a Place to Vote ?

Perhaps this tool located below will help you find your polling place for tomorrow’s midterm election, where voter turnout is traditionally much lower than the presidential elections .  It is expected that half of the 18 million registered voters here in California will show up at the polls tomorrow.

 

Sights and Sounds, From Franklin Hills to Mid-City to the SGV

As we all know by now, Drei here know’s nothing of an off-season.  Drei here likes to seek as much from this city we and the Boys in Blue call home, L.A. .   So, what sights and sounds does Drei bring you today ? First up, we venture through the Franklin Hills district on a nice Saturday evening walk to the site of the first Walt Disney animation studios, where Josh here gives a brief documentary of the history behind Walt’s first studio.  Also, if you happen to venture down south to San Diego and have a vesting interest what sights SD has to offer, check out Cool San Diego Sights to see what sights and activities are happening in the 619…

 

In the mood for a little ska ?  Check out this clip from the JDozer and his band Red Sun, who hail from the 626 out in San Gabriel.   The audio is a bit off, but Drei here think’s you’ll enjoy the beats that Jason has for you. This was from a recent performance over at Cheers in San Gabriel.   After listening to his beats, you may be asking yourself… WHAT HAPPENED ?

 

And from L.A.’s Mid City, DJ Reno Sparkz shares with us some of his Funk Hip-Hop lyrics as the resident DJ/MC goes SPARKING THA GREENLAND.  From Reno… ” PEEP THIZ, PEEP IT LOUD “

So these are just some of the Sights and Sounds throughout L.A. that Drei here has in store for you.  What type of  Sights and Sounds from local Indie talent and artists does Drei have for you next,  as Drei tries to keep active and busy during the off-season ?  Stay tuned… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE…

 

Magic Number Fun Facts…3

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-21-21-09-47-1.png Steve Sax

Steve Sax, also know to many as Saxie, would don the Dodger Blue from 1981-88 .  During his 8 seasons with the Dodgers, Sax would be the last of 4 consecutive Dodgers Rookie of the Year winners from 1979-82.  Sax would be nominated to the All-Star game as a Dodger in 1982, ’83 and ’86.  A solid fixture at 2nd base, Sax of course will always be remembered for his defensive misfortunes in 1983, the season he committed 30 errors.  Pedro Guerrero, not exactly a handiest 3rd baseman either before returning to left field, once said ” First I pray to God that nobody hits the ball to me.  Then I pray to God that no one hits the ball to Steve Sax ”  

Other Dodgers to Wear Number 3

Willie Davis

Alex Cora

Cesar Izturis

and currently…

CARL CRAWFORD Carl Crawford

Down Memory Lane With Dre, 2004

Of all Dodgers/Giants games I’ve attended in over 30 years, this of course is without a doubt my most memorable.  With the slam by Steve Finley, the Dodgers would win their first division title in 9 years , and their first in a non-strike season since 1988.  

FERNIE On this day, 1986, Fernando Valenzuela would win his 20th game, beating the Houston Astros at the Astrodome 9-2, becoming the first Mexican born pitcher to win 20 games in the bigs.  Thank you Dodgers-LowDown !!!  For all your Dodger fun facts and Dodger related news, follow the Dodgers-LowDown on their facebook page.  Tell them Drei here sent you !!!  

DLD_9222014 Round 1 of 3 begins tonight, with Dan Haren taking on Jake Peavy at The Ravine.  The Dodgers are coming off a 4 game series against the Cubs in which they took 3 of 4, with the bullpen by committee doing just enough yesterday as the offense lifted the Blue over the Cubs 8-5.  Haren, who was originally slated to start yesterday, was held back so that he could start tonight’s huge game against the hated ones as the Blue looks to move one step closer to clinching another NL West title.  The Giants come into Dodger Stadium limping, having been swept over the weekend in San Diego by the Padres.

wpid-img_20140916_222740.jpg Just a reminder, the Dodgers want a Blue Out for these 3 games against the hated ones !!!  Time for a DODGER BLUE OUT !!!   

 

Sitting Pretty Atop The West

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With today’s 6-4 win over the slumping Braves, the Dodgers finish off their 7 game road trip with a 4-3 mark.  The Dodgers grabbed an early 5-0 lead before nearly letting the Braves come back as they would narrow it down to a one run lead at 5-4 as Brian Wilson’s 8th inning struggles continues .

Adrian Gonzalez would provide an insurance run in the 9th with his 3rd RBI of the game,  doubling home Dee Gordon, who reached base 4 times and would cross the dish 4 times as well.

Liking The Back End m

3 of the 4 wins came from back end starters Dan Haren and Roberto Hernandez with the 3rd coming from newly acquired Kevin Coreia. Thst is now 2 straight starts by both Haren and Hernandez where each starter has allowed 2 runs or less through 6 plus innings. That is what you like to see from the back end of any rotation . Hopefully Haren has withstood his mid-season swoon. I’m also starting to think we got a really good bargain in the Hernandez trade with Philadelphia.

Don’t Worry Baby ?

The words uttered by Brian WIlson. “Everything will turn out all right…” . Who is Dre fooling ? I know you’re, ok, most of you north of 35 years of age, know those words are from Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. With another outing like the one today, I am really starting to have my doubts about the one-time feared one. ” Well its been building up inside of me for, oh I don’t know how long ?… Don’t Worry Baby. Everything will turn out allright….” . Or we can only hope …

Throwback Thursday

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Escaped the Ted unscathed. Not a single tomahawk could get in Dre’s way …

Turning Out The Halo….Smoke and Bubbles

ryu_angels With yesterday’s 7-0 win over the Angels in Anaheim, for the first time since 2006 the Dodgers take the season series against the Angels, winning 3 of 4 including both games at Angel Stadium.

All four starters in the series, Greinke, Kershaw, Haren and Ryu worked 7 innings or more in each game, giving the bullpen some much needed rest. Jansen would work in games 2 and 3, earning a save in game 3.

During the 4 game series, 2 games we’re decided handily while 2 we’re decided by one run, both won by the Dodgers. Perhaps the biggest win in the series had to be Dan Haren’s win in Anaheim . After losing 5 straight decisions in which he carried an E.R.A. over 10, Dan Haren pitched what was without a doubt his most clutch performance of the season . This came after the Angels had scored a total of 8 runs off Haren and Kershaw in the 2 games at Dodger Stadium.

Puig Giving Lessons

In the Monday night loss to the Angels, during the 8th inning Albert Pujols taught Yasiel Puig a hard and deserved lesson when he tagged up from first base after Puig casually made a one handed catch of an outfield fly without paying attention to his presence. Hopefully, Puig has learned his lesson there, and yes folks, with such talent like his, come the growing pains. However, Puig would return the favor in Anaheim in more ways than one…

So, I guess you could say it was Puig and the Dodgers giving the the Halos a thing or two to learn about them as well

Blowing Some Smoke over Bubbles ?

BubbleMachine1 By now, you’ve all become accustomed to seeing home run and victory celebrations with what has now become the infamous bubble machine. Apparently, MLB is enforcing a ban on the bubble machine for no apparent reason. Silly isn’t it. I always thought baseball was a kids game and in this game a kids game played by grown men having fun playing, what’s that? A KIDS GAME !!!!

So last night in Angel Stadium, I took it upon myself to spread some of those celebratory bubbles among the Dodger Blue Faithful who we’re out in full force at Angel Stadium…

Bubbles_Dre Thank You @DodgerDisciples , who you can follow on instagram

Even this grown kid couldn’t help himself…

kid_bubbles Yup, for those who have followed my posts the entire time, it’s Kid Marly Marlz once again ….

As I was going around my sections in the 9th inning blowing away, it wasn’t so much the Dodger fans who we’re enjoying our bubble party. Even the little ones, dressed in their Angel red attire, we’re having the time of their lives with their parents, some who asked for me to blow the bubbles to their little Angels. Yeah, kids of all ages, and on this evening, Blue and Red, all as one, having fun at a kids game blowing bubbles . Did I mention that this was a kids game and kids all ages we’re having fun with the presence of bubbles while at , what ? A kid’s game ? So to the front office of MLB and Joe Torre, who seems to be losing his legacy these days among Dodger fans, LIGHTEN UP !!! QUIT BLOWING SMOKE ON OUR BUBBLES !!!

BubbleMachine2 What’s wrong with grown men acting like kids playing a kids game ?

Have you enjoyed my blogs ? When you get a chance, you will also want to check out Dodgers Blue Heaven for other Dodger related items and interests.

Looking to Take The Freeway Series

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Dan Haren did more than what we could have expected last night,  turning in without a doubt his most clutch performance of the season , pitching 7 1/3 innings and allowing only 1 run in the Dodgers 2-1 win over the Halos in Anaheim.   Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the mound tonight as the Blue is I’m position to take 3 of 4 from their neighbors down I-5.  In the last the games,  Dodger starters have pitched 21 1/3 innings,  giving the bullpen some much needed rest.

Blowing Bubbles to Blowing Smoke

Check out @latimes’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/latimes/status/497273312025018368

So MLB wants to ban the Dodgers use of the now popular bubble machine.   The one you’ve seen each time a Dodger homers.   What will they ban next, excessive cheering ?  This sends like a lot of smoke blowing out of headquarters if you ask me…

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Keep the bubbles flowing boys ….

Dre’s Baseball Themed Filled Birthday

Yesterday was a special day for me as Dre here has turned the Big 4-0 ! To celebrate, of course my big day would have to have a Dodger Blue theme, right ? To start off the day, the lil’ bro and I did the Dodger Stadium tour , which starts off in the Top Deck. TopDeck View from the Top Deck before the tour. Gotta love that view !

The tour would take us through the Vin Scully Press Box, a luxury suite, the Lexus dugout club, where the World Series trophy’s as well as other individual Dodger awards are on display.

ScullyPressBox

PressBoxView

PressBoxView2 Press Box Views .

NancyBea'sOrgan Where our stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley tickle’s the ivory’s. Every now and then she can come up with something clever, especially if a San Francisco Giant pitcher is being taken out and she serenades him with Do You Know The Way to San Jose …

fansanddisplays

OldVisitorsClubhouse Inside the former visiting teams clubhouse.

View_VisitorsDugout View from the visiting team dugout on the 1st base side

BehindLALogo

Daniel_dugout The little bro Daniel haming it up in the Dodger dugout…

LookingOutFromTheDugout

CallingTheBullpen Making a call to the bullpen…
2013KershawCyYoung A fourth straight Cy Young should be here at season’s end for Clayton Kershaw…

GoldGloves_DreBison Gold Gloves for Dre and The Bison

Dre_88trophy Posing next to the 1988 World Series trophy. 26 years. Is this the year we end the drought ?

DanielandDre_Logo Me and the lil’ bro

Overall this was a very informative and thorough tour from our tour guide Ralph, who did a great job sharing not only information about Dodger Stadium, he also shared with us numerous historical moments and well and was very much involved with the fan experience. So if you should have a significant other ,a loved one or another dear friend or relative who is a huge baseball fan, this is a highly recommended gift. ( It is not often I use the words Highly Recommeneded )

Also…

If you get a chance, Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game is on display at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo on 100 Central Avenue, across the street from the Little Tokyo Gold Line Station .

Jackie

Nomo

Other exhibits from the Japanese American National Museum …

JANM

JANM2

Oh Yeah, you all know the day would not be complete without taking in the game…

sibs Chilling with the sibs and a future brother in law. With the Dodgers and Angels battling it out last night and both teams in playoff contention, the crowd certainly was electric, with our Boys In Blue coming out on top . Every baseball fan should have at least one baseball themed day of celebration for their birthday at least once in their lifetime, right ?

Series Shifts Down I-5

HAREN After splitting the first two at Chavez Ravine, the series shifts down to Angel Stadium. Dan Haren, who has been struggling, will take the mound for The Blue. With Kershaw and Greinke having gone 7 innings the last two nights, the bullpen should be well rested and could be needed for another long stretch. The Dodgers currently hold a 2.5 game lead on the Giants in the NL West while the Halos are currently 2 back of the A’s for the AL West.

World Series Preview ?

After losing 2 of 3 to the Cubbies this past weekend, the Dodgers begin the start of a home and home series with our neighbors down I-5 in what could be a possible World Series preview. The first two against the Angels will be here at Dodger Stadium tonight and tomorrow with games 3 and 4 moving to Angel Stadium. Zack Greinke takes the hill for The Blue tonight in his attempt to get The Blue back on the winning track. The Angels currently have the 2nd best record in baseball but also sport the 2nd best record in their division behind the Oakland A’s. It is a strong possibility that baseball’s 2nd best team could very well end up playing in the 1 game American League Wild Card playoff so yes, this is a big series for both teams as every game from this point on is huge with each team battling for the Western Division title against their Bay Area rivals. I expect a playoff type atmosphere these next 4 games. This also marks the latest in the season that both teams will be playing each other and with both teams in must win situations from here on out, this series should make for some pretty good drama.

Greinke_0804

Congratulations Matt

KeMVP

Let the numbers speak for themselves. He’s BAAAAAAAACK !!! Hopefully he’s here to stay . As i’ve said all along, this is still your team Matt. As Matt goes, so goes The Blue.

And The Awards Keep On Coming…

Kershaw07mvp What more can be said about Mr Cy K ?

Dre’s POV

The two losses over the weekend to the Cubbies, games in which Haren and Beckett pitched, only confirmed our worst fears. Haren, well, we all know the obvious with him. Beckett, as good as he was during the 1st half, my fear for him even prior to the all-star break was that he would not be able to survive the entire season. Not so much because of his current hip situation, which is not helping either, but let’s face it. When was the last time Beckett has pitched an entire season ? Beckett has admitted himself he is no longer an 8 inning pitcher. At this point, the feeling here is that Beckett is running on fumes. The bullpen pitched 15 innings this weekend, 10 of those coming from the 5th inning on in games that , yup, Haren and Beckett pitched. That, my friends, is an average of 5 innings a game from the bullpen. We can’t be having that on a regular basis if they are to make a serious run deep into October. Yes, the back end of our rotation needs some help folks.

Oh Yeah I, Tell You Something…

With Sir Paul McCartney coming to the Ravine this Sunday evening, I leave you with this Beatles concert clip from 1964…

Dre’s Stadium Bytes, Throwback Thursday

With the Dodgers set to do battle with the Cardinals in St. Louis this weekend, today we pull out one of Dre’s infamous ” Stadium Bytes “, where Dre here tries to do some play by play with his iphone among other things captured inside the walls of Chavez Ravine. Lately, it seems like most of my attempts of play by play have been with Kid Marlz, aka MDario83. Never a dull moment kid !

Drei_Marls_LA

The clip, which will be featured shortly, was 3 weeks ago on 626 night, 6/26/2014. 626 is the area code of the San Gabriel Valley where I grew up. Andre Ethier is at the plate against the Cardinals Adam Wainwright in a scoreless tie. Adam Wainwright has been making some news this week for the Cardinals , be it getting the starting nod over Kershaw in the all-star game, or having his quote on grooving a pitch to Derek Jeter taken out of context . We also cover on this Thursday evening, Throwback Thursday, which we talk about old times, and of course, a throwback to Game 2 of the 2009 NLDS, where we would focus on , of course, Andre Ethier and Adam Wainwright. ( Social media has sure changed the way we view certain things. How did Thursday end up being the official “throwback” day. How did area codes aligned with dates on the calendar become linked as special days ? ) In Game 2 of the ’09 NLDS, Ethier would have a ket at bat against Wainwright, and after the game, Wainwright would give his thoughts on Dodger fans waving white rally towels in the now famous ” Matt Holliday ” game. Wainwright sure isn’t afraid to give his opinions…

Drei+n+Kid+Marlz%2C+626+Night+at+The+Ravine%2C+Part+1 from Good_Drei on Vimeo.

So how does Dre fare in this at-bat against Adam ?

626+Night+at+The+Ravine+With+Drei+n+Marlz%2C+Part+2 from Andre Ojeda on Vimeo.

Back On The Diamond

The Dodgers open the 2nd half tomorrow night in a 3 game set against the Cardinals in St. Louis . Dan Haren takes the mound for The Blue as they look to get things off to the right start in the 2nd half. Lance Lynn will toe the rubber for the Cardinals. The last time these two teams met the Dodgers took 3 of 4 from the Red Birds. Since then, the Red Birds have gained 6 1/2 games in the NL Central standings and are only 1 game off the pace for the top spot behind the Brewers. Both teams started off slowly but a recent surge by these two have put them back in the heat of their divisional races. These two could very well end up playing each other again come October.

Highlights from the 1st Half…

What highlight’s await us come the 2nd half ? GO DODGERS !!!

Looking Back…Looking Ahead

Dodgers All-Star Bits

Did you all enjoy last night’s all-star game ?  Our boys that represented made quite an impression last night, particularly Kershaw and Greinke, striking out a combined 3 batters on only 21 pitches during their 2 innings.

Dee Gordon also made his presence felt scoring on a 2 out double by Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers and making a fine defensive play in the 6th inning.

Yasiel Puig was not so fortunate last night, striking out 3 times in his first all-star appearance, tying 11 players for the  record for most times to strike out in an all-star game.  However, Puig is in some fine company, as Lou Gherig, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Johnny Bench, Albert Belle and Craig Biggio have also achieved this dubious feat.  Hey, even the great one’s have their bad days…

Other All-Star Bits

Congratulations to the Angels Mike Trout on being named the 2014 All-Star MVP .  At 22 years of age, Trout is the second youngest player to win all-star game MVP behind Ken Griffey Jr. in 1992.

Tip of the Cap 

Thank You Derek Jeter for 19 memorable seasons.  Last night marked the final time the Yankee captain would participate in an All-Star game, marking the 13th time he would play in the mid-summer classic.  

jeter

Last All-Star Thought

The all-star game should not determine home field advantage for the World Series.  I have felt that way since the inception of the rule in 2003 regardless of which league comes out the winner…

Looking Back at the 1st Half

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES kershaw_nohitter

The first half of the season, which seems like the longest 1st half in recent memory given the season officially started in Australia on March 22nd, was filled once again with it’s highs and lows, highlighted of course by the no-hitters thrown by Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw.

Like last season, the Dodgers did not exactly start the season off fast out of the gate, falling behind as much as 9.5 games in the standings behind the Giants. However, the Dodgers, like last season, have rebounded to finish the 1st half strong and will head into the 2nd half not only in 1st place in the NL West but also with the National League’s best record.

Why Dre is Happy ?

What else can you say about Kershaw and Greinke, perhaps the best 1-2 starting combo in the game right now ?

Dee Gordon has proved to everyone that he is now our everyday starting 2nd baseman. Gordon looks more confident in his play this season with both the bat and glove and it is certainly showing .

A strong finish to the 1st half has our Boys in position to reclaim the NL West.

Dre’s Concerns

The back end of our rotation. Dan Haren can be on or off, but his recent lack of velocity could be a factor as to why he has given up 20 home runs. Josh Beckett, at this point a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, has not pitched a full season in 2 seasons and concern over his recent hip condition has raised some other concerns as to how much further into the season he can pitch. Whether he does come back, my concern for Josh is if he can keep up his 1st half performance.

Which Brian Wilson will we see in the 2nd half ? Brian blamed the lack of a prolonged spring training to his early season stint on the DL, but since his return has still struggled to return to his late season form of last season. Can Brandon League continue his resurgence into the 2nd half ? JP Howell has quietly done his part in getting the ball to Jansen, who hasn’t quite been as dominant, but still is one of the league leaders in saves. I look for another strong 2nd half finish from our closer.

Productivity from the offense. The reason the Dodgers are where they are right now ? You know it. Starting pitching. However, even the best starting 5 could use some needed run support. How will the outfield situation pan out ? Will a trade be in store for the Blue ?

This is Still Matt’s Team

Yup. That’s right. I said it. This is still Matt Kemp’s team to lead. That is if he want’s to be that leader. Do I expect a rebirth of the Matt Kemp of 2011 ? No. What I want to see from Matt Kemp, present day, 2014 ? I want to see him take control of the clubhouse and be that vocal leader every team should have. I don’t necessarily mean showing anger when he is in a slump. Puig is still to young and ripe for that role. Kemp, the longest tenured Dodger alongside Andre Ethier, needs to show that this is still his team . As Matt goes, so goes the Blue. Hopefully, into another deep run into October…

Looking Back at My Pre-Season Picks

American League

Overall, my forecast have been on and off . In the AL East, Tampa struggled early but has climbed to within 9.5 games of the lead. A recent run has Detroit standing 6.5 games ahead in the AL Central, the largest lead of any division leader heading into the 2nd half. Wholesale changes could be in order for the Rangers, 21 games under .500 and 21 games out. I stated that 2 managers could be on the hot seat in the AL West, the two being Ron Washington and Mike Scioscia. It’s safe to say that one is off the hot seat. The other ? Do the Rangers reward Washington for the past 5 seasons and honor his contract extension through 2015 ?

So, where do I call an audible ? In the AL East, I’m going to stick with the Rays, even with the fact they sit 9.5 back and have 4 other teams to get past. Should the Rays still be in contention by the end of this month, perhaps all talks of David Price in another uniform will die down.

In the AL Central, I picked Detroit and will stick with that. In the AL West, this is where I call an audible, and a huge audible too. This is where I picked the Rangers to reclaim the AL West. As I said, that’s where I call my audible. The AL West could possible have 3 teams in post-season play. 2 of them could very well be a serious threat into October. My call ? Oakland wins it’s 3rd straight AL West title, with the Angels and Mariners as the wild cards. If Seattle can find some offensive support down the stretch, they may be a serious October contender.

Playoff Picks. Wild Card Angels over the Mariners , ALDS Tigers over the Angels, A’s over Tampa. ALCS Oakland showed they want it now with the acquisition of Samardzija and Hammel. I’m still sticking with my pre-season AL Champ pick. Detroit. Detroit over Oakland, 3 years in a row. This could be a developing rivalry, right Justin Verlander ?

National League

Here is where my accuracy is somewhat on target. In the NL East I said it would be a 2 team race between the Nationals and Braves and as of now both stand tied atop their division . After struggling early in the season, the Cardinals have made up 6.5 games in the standings within the last 2 weeks and sit 1 game behind the Brewers atop the NL Central. 3.5 games separate the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds and Pirates in the NL Central. It is possible 3 teams in this division see post-season play again this season. Who could be the one left out of the dance ?

And finally. The NL West . In spite of the fact the Dodgers were the overwhelming favorites to repeat as NL West Champions, I still felt the division would not be a runaway. The Giants started out hot but have fizzled as of late. The Dodgers, in spite of some offensively challenged numbers, head into the 2nd half with not only the lead atop the NL West but with the National Leagues best record and are still the favorites to come out on top in the NL West. The Giants will continue to challenge The Blue, but lack of a serious offensive threat and depth will derail them in the end.

As for my other pre-season NL picks, Dre call’s no audible here. For the Wild Cards, i’m sticking with the Pirates over the Braves. For the NLDS , the Cardinals over the Nationals, and the Dodgers over the Pirates, setting up a rematch of last year’s NLCS between the Dodgers and Cardinals, in which I have our Boys in Blue coming out on top.

Want more coverage of our Boys in Blue ? Follow theDodgers Low Down for all things Dodger Blue. This should be an exciting 2nd half. GO DODGERS !!!

drei_ben_nye1 In front of City Hall, NYE 2013 with Benny P. This is gonna be our year !!!!