Tag Archives: Dee Gordon

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…

 

 

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The Ride That Ended All Too Soon

KERSHAW_ADAMS Just like that, the ride was over…

What Drei Said Before The Series…

 ” The Boys in Blue head to the post-season on a roll, having won 8 of their last 10.  Everything seems to be clicking at this moment for the Blue.  If their is one concern I have heading into the post-season, it is the status of our bullpen .  It is no secret that our bullpen has been inconsistent, particularly our middle relievers.  The status of Hyun-Jin Ryu is a minor concern for me but in a Best of 5 the Dodgers may be able to get away with a 3 man rotation of Kershaw, Greinke and Haren. “

As I was looking back on my pre-season NL Picks ,  it was both my fear and hope that the Dodgers could survive on a 3 man rotation.  Hyun-Jin Ryu did make it back on the hill and pitched an admirable 6 innings in game 3.  However, Dan Haren, who after a mid-season slump, finished strong but was nowhere to be seen in the post-season.

” St. Louis has had a long history of post-season success and like it or not , are one of only two teams to have success against Kershaw .  However, Kershaw just seems to get better each year ( Is that even possible ) , having won his 4th straight ERA title en route to a possible MVP season.  In a short 5 game series, anything can happen.  Will Game 1 between two game tested battlers between Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw set the tone ?  Runs will probably be at a premium here.  However, with a deeper lineup and most everyone coming back healthy, I gotta like our chances to advance … “

Why St. Louis has had continued success against our Cy Young Award winner is beyond anyone’s guess.  Aside from Game 1, runs we’re at a premium, however, even with the momentum of a strong finish and a healthy lineup, the Dodgers, sans Matt Kemp’s solo shot in Game 2, just could not come up with the timely hits, and the Dodger playoff blues against St. Louis continues . 

“Dodger Blues in Mizzou… 

1985 NLCS  0-3, Lost in 6 games

2004 NLDS 0-2, Lost in 4

2009 NLDS 1-0, Won in 3

2013 NLCS 0-3, Lost in 6

That, my friends, adds up to an overall mark of 1-8 in the post-season in The Show Me State.  Now on the positive side.  The Dodgers had MLB’s best road record this season at 49-32, so being in a hostile environment will should not phase them.  One of these stats has to give.  Let’s all hope for the latter.”

Make that, 1-10, dating back to 1985, when they  Meet In St. Louis during post-season …

“Does Hyun-Jin Ryu feel no effects of his recent injury and pitch deep into the game through at least 7 ?  How much confidence does Mattingly have in his bullpen ?”

I think by now you guys know the answer to that last question .

Plenty of Blame to Go Around

So now is the time everyone starts playing the blame game.  Truth be told, there is enough blame to be passed around .  Was this a successful season ?  It would be hard to say it was a total fail with 94 wins and a 2nd consecutive NL West Title in the books.  Compete success ?  Hardly.  When $240 million is spent on player salary, it’s expected by everyone that the season would go well beyond 166 games ( Yes folks, that’s 162 and the 4 playoff games that ended before we all had a chance to blink ) .  So today, we can only wonder, how and why did it all end so quickly ?

Much of the blame will go down to two things.  Don Mattingly, and the bullpen.  OK, 3 things.  Let’s add GM Ned Coletti’s inability to acquire a setup man that may have been the difference between me writing my post post-season post, or giving my insight to the NLCS.  It will be easy to point the finger at Don Mattingly as well, it seems as if that has been a yearly tradition around these parts.  Truth is, he was only playing the hand he was dealt.  Also, who could have seen our soon to be 3 time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw coming apart at the seems in the 7th inning, not once, but twice ?  Want some other daunting numbers ?  Clayton Kershaw is the first Dodgers pitcher to lose 4 consecutive post-season games , bringing his all-time  post-season record to 1-5.  Those 4 consecutive post-season losses ? You guessed it.  All to the St. Louis Cardinals.  So Cy K isn’t quite clutch in October.  YET ( Yes folks, I did that in all CAPS for a reason ) . 

As for Mattingly’s decision making ?  The only glaring one I really could question is using Scott Elbert in the 7th inning of Game 3 .  Nothing against Scotty, but he had only pitched a little over 4 innings in the bigs all season while practically rehabbing all season.  In one of the most crucial moments of the season with a trip to the NLCS in the balance, and we go with a setup man who has pitched , again, a mere 4 plus innings.  On the flip side, that just tells you how much confidence Donnie has in that bullpen.  $240 million spent yet the only one reliable down the stretch was our closer, Kenley Jansen, who mad a mere 1 appearance this post-season.

At this moment, rumors are flying.  The big one of course, is the status of GM Ned Coletti .  Will he be around at this time next week ?  Also, who stays and who goes ?  Do the Dodgers retool at shortstop and let Hanley test the free-agent waters ?  Brian Wilson has already indicated he will $9.5 million player option for 2015Why wouldn’t he ?  With his 2-4 , 4.66 ERA stat lines, it would be hard for him to test the open market. 

So now begins the descent into a long L.A. Winter.  One that won’t be so dry this time around.  L.A. and it’s proud Dodgers fans are thirsty for a championship.  It’s been 26 years now.  Ronald Reagan was on his last term the last time a World Championship was celebrated around The Ravine.  Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy was the chart topper.  Yes, it’s been that long folks.  For those of you born after 1988, I feel your pain. 

I will stop short of calling this 2014 season a disappointment.  It had it’s moments.  It gave us 2 no hitters from Josh Beckett and of course Clayton Kershaw .  This past season also gave us the emergence of Dee Gordon.  This season also gave us the resurgence of Matt Kemp, who I believe will come back stronger next season.  I’ll even go so far as to say 30/30 could come back, provided he stays healthy, and that could be a big question.  We also saw Adrian Gonzalez lead the NL in RBI’s.  There was plenty of highlights to remember in this past 2014 season.  Unfortunately, none coming in a double digit day in October. 

wpid-img_6757157709345.jpeg A bit early for this Thank You card don’t you all think ? 

I do want to thank you the readers for your continued following of Good Dre in L.A. .  I always do my best to provide you with as much of my Dodger knowledge as well as other fun and at times light-hearted posts from my perspective.  I also want to give a shout-out to the Dodgers-lowdown as well for their tireless work and for helping me reach out to you the readers. 

So our off-season begins now.  That does not mean I will stop posting.  Just not as often.  I also do plan on posting other topics non-baseball related at well in a feature I will be calling, Beyond The Yard .  Hopefully, you will all continue to follow my posts and of course I will also be giving some off-season thoughts as well.  It was a memorable 2014 season, especially for me on a personal not.  Unfortunately, this joyride of a season ended all to sudden, and Just Like That… It’s Over

wpid-img_17082643137116.jpeg Hey Dre, Drei says it’s been a fun 9 season’s seeing you in the Dodger Blue !  Does Drei see Dre back in 2015 ?

 

Magic Number Fun Facts…9

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-15-22-35-05.png Tonight, we turn our Magic Number Fun Fact toward Juan Pierre. Juan would don the Dodger Blue for 3 seasons from 2007 to 2009.   In his time wearing the Blue, Juan would move between center and left field.  In 2007, he would play in all 162 game , leading the league with 164 singles as well as finishing 2nd in the NL with 64 stolen bases.  From 2008 to 2009, Pierre’s playing time would somewhat diminish with the ill-fated addition of Andruw Jones and later the arrival of Manny Ramirez.  During Ramirez’s 50 game suspension in 2009, Juan Pierre would fill in nicely for Manny until his return from his suspension, reducing his role once again as a backup player.  Not once did Juan Pierre ever make such a fuss and for his hard work and humble dedication, he would win over  the hearts of many a Dodger fan.  

2095052302_df7a5a9259_o Camera Day, 2007.  Juan Pierre was more than a fan favorite…

With the magic number at 9, Sunday is the earliest The Blue can clinch the NL West.  The Dodgers currently are clinging to a 2 game lead over the Giants.

Other Dodgers Who Wore Number 9

Wally Moon

Greg Brock

Mickey Hatcher

Marquis Grissom

And of course…

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V COLORADO ROCKIES Thats a lot of speed in that number 9 jersey between Juan Piere and Dee Gordon…

OKLAHOMA !!!!

Earlier today , it was announced that the Dodgers Route of Champions will be making some off-season detours , moving their Triple A operation from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City, as well as their Double A operation from Chattanooga to Tulsa, separating the two upper class minor league affiliates by only approximately 100 miles.  Taking over the Dodgers in Albuquerque will be the Colorado Rockies, with the Minnesota Twins taking over operation in Chatanooga  .  Minor League affiliations change all the time for various reasons and though the Dodgers have had an outstanding relationship over the years with Albuquerque and the natives, the move makes perfect sense .  The Dodgers will be closer toward sea level altitudes, giving a more realistic outlook on potential prospects, and the Rockies, well,  with Albuquerque’s altitude, Isotopes Park is a perfect fit for them as well.

HOMER_JOSH Road trip to OKC next year Josh ?  Heck, let’s bring Homer…

HOMER_DREI Upon receiving today’s news the Dodgers Triple A affiliation will now be in OKC, Homer… ” DOH !!! “.  It’s OK Homer, we know you’ll always be loyal to The Blue…

One Big Happy Family ?

By now, you’ve all heard the fuss that occurred Monday evening between Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig .  Guess what folks, stuff like this happens all the time.  We may not hear about it as often as some of you would like, but stuff like this has been going on before even this writer was born, as Don Mattingly would point out the 1972 A’s as a good example .  As I have even pointed out in the past, team chemistry issues are nothing new  .

Putting a Hold on The Bubbles

As Yasiel Puig ended his homerless drought in last night’s defeat, and with Darwin Barney blasting a solo shot in today’s back to back drubbing from the Rockies , you may have noticed that there was no Foam Party to be found .  As much fun as the foam party has been, ( trust me, i’ve really enjoyed them ) , the fact the party was put on mute during the late innings of back to back beat-downs has convinced me that while bubbles are all fun and games, there’s still some games that need to be won as The Blue head into October.  If the bubbles had been flowing , I could only assume that many of you out there would be questioning their priorities, of all things.  To be honest with you, I probably would too.  So now, we head to Chi Town with 4 against the Cubbies.  Hopefully, the bubbles will be back flowing again…

Extra Innings with Kid N Drei

BUBBLES1 With the Blue trailing big earlier today, Drei thought it’d be a good idea to take Kid Marly Marlz to the park.  In spite of the 16-2 trouncing from the Rockies, Marlz still wanted to throw a Foam Party…

BUBBLES2  Hey kid !  The Foam Party is only for home runs and wins.  Hey Kid…

BUBBLES3 KID !!!!!    Ah, nevermind.  Who’s Drei to take away Kid Marlz Foam Party at the little kids park…  

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Number Fun Facts…11

MANNYMOTA A quiet face of the franchise over the years, Manny Mota has been an integral part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as a player from 1969-1982, as a player/coach in 1980-82, and as a full time coach until 2013 though he would remain with the organization.  In 1979, Manny Mota would become the all-time leader in pinch hits, a record he would hold with 150 until recently broken by Mark Sweeney and Lenny Harris.  Mota was also an NL all-star selection in 1973 .

I Need to Concentrate ….

Perhaps you all remember this scene from Airplane, where Manny Mota is referenced…

Better Late Then Never ?

Earlier today, Time Warner Cable announced a deal that will have local independent TV station KDOC to simulcast the remaining 6 games throughout the southland , enabling all fans to catch our Boys in Blue on the tube, regardless of their cable situation.  Is this enough to make the fans forgive and forget ?  I highly doubt it.  Hey, how about extending the good-will into next season and working out a deal with the local indie to televise at least 50 games so fans not so fortunate, you know, the 70%, can watch their favorite Boys in Blue in action ?  

Watered Down Game Plan ?

During Saturday’s 17-0 beatdown of the hated ones, in the home half of the 1st, as Buster Posey singled to right and a bubble blowing Matt Kemp would gun down Angel Pagan by a good 25 feet, our favorite narrator Vin Scully made this astute observation of the Giants grounds crew over the years, going all the way back to 1962 at Candlestick Park in an attempt to slow down Maury Wills , perhaps trying the same tactic to slow down Dee Gordon.  As you will see on the replay , they may have slowed their own game plan down…. 

No Time to Let Down

After dropping the first of 3 to the hated ones, the Dodgers more than came back strong, putting a good old fashion whooping on the hated ones on a record setting Saturday evening , 17-0, all but taking away any momentum the Giants may have felt they had , then coming back on Sunday behind a 9 strikeout performance by Clayton Kershaw en route to his 19th win.  Matt Kemp, who also had a huge weekend, would supply the big blow with a run run shot to give Kershaw an insurmountable 4-1 lead, leaving AT&T Park with a 3 game lead in the NL West with 13 to play.  

I felt prior to the series that even with the rotation aligned to Mattingly’s favor, it would be hard to replicate the 3 game sweep the Dodgers pulled against the hated ones back in July because the Giants we’re a different team this time around, having won 7 in a row at their home yard and their bats coming around.  I felt if the Dodgers could take 2 of 3 up north, they would put themselves in prime position to take the NL West.  With 13 games left, 10 against the Cubs and Rockies, on paper, the Dodgers should have this division wrapped up.  But as we all know, the baseball gods do have a way of playing evil tricks this time of year, for the Dodgers will be playing teams with nothing to lose at this point.  Having said that,  this is no time for the Dodgers to take their foot off the pedal , and they are very well aware of that going into this important 3 game series at Colorado.  They finished their first task up north, they’re now in the drivers seat to take the NL West for the 2nd year in a row.  All that’s left now is the finish line to October.  

More Pre-October Awards For Kid K

KERSHAW_POW Need we say more ?

Magic Number Fun Facts….13

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Hopefully the sight of Hanley Ramirez hands raised up toward the Dodger Blue skies will be a familiar one come late October.  In last nights 17-0 drubbing of the Giants at AT&T Park, Hanley would drive in 2 on 4 hits.  Hopefully this is the start of big things for Hanley as we head down toward the seasons final two weeks.

Other Dodgers to Wear 13

Ralph Branca
Alex Cora

Outguessing Ouselves Our We ?

During the home half of the first inning last night, with one out Buster Posey would single to right and Angel Pagan, who had been at second base was waved home only to be thrown out by Matt Kemp by a good 25 feet.  As always, our favorite narrator of the game, Vin Scully, would point out that over the years the Giants have been known to water down their infield more so than any other team.  Old school Dodger fans may recall when the Giants tried that in 1962 to slow down Maury Wills and that they may have tried that to slow Dee Gordon down.  After Pagan had been thrown out by a bubble blowing Matt Kemp, Scully made notice of Pagan possibly not getting enough traction as he rounded the bases.  To the halloween colored ones… Outguessing yourself a bit ?

Extra Innings

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OK, Kid.  After last nights 17-0 win, you can throw a FOAM PARTY today.  Just be nice and let let the other kids play too …

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 …

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 !!!!