Tag Archives: Matt Kemp

Welcome Back to Tinsletown Matt…Home to Some of Baseball’s Most Passionate Fans and Yearly Attendance Leaders (In Case You Forgot)

kemp Kickin’ it with Matt, Santa Monica, February 2011

Hello there ol’ pal ! It’s been over a year since you last set foot inside The Ravine. The last time you set foot you we’re wearing a different shade of blue for the folks down I-5. Before we could see you again, you we’re sent packing to Georgia. As your path took you south, you, in the face of some, threw shade at us laid-back folks of Southern California from the 213 to the 619. Sure, growing up in Oklahoma and being a Braves fan as a kid would be cause for you to be excited to don the tomahawk. But what exactly do you mean when you say you “never really played in a baseball town before”? It certainly isn’t for lack of support. After all, we continue to lead the majors in attendance year in and year out. 

We’re we just “too Hollywood” for you? It’s easy to see how you would feel that way considering that you too had embraced the Hollywood lifestyle, according to your Players Tribune piece, “Hello, Atlanta”.

“In so many ways, I got sidetracked from what I loved most about playing the game of baseball — having fun. I let a big contract, the Hollywood lifestyle, injuries and bad relationships tarnish the reputation I had worked so hard to establish. Sadly, I gained a reputation for being selfish, lazy and a bad teammate. While I may not agree with all the criticism I received in the past few years —and while I believe that a lot of it was unmerited — I take full responsibility for my shortcomings. And I promise you, Atlanta: Those days are gone.”

In all fairness, you’re hardly the first or will be the last professional athlete to get caught up with all that Hollywood and L.A. has to offer. I’m also happy to see that Atlanta has seen most of the old Matt Kemp, sans the defensive liabilities. But fans can have very little patience, let alone empathy, for athletes who are paid millions of dollars and fail to meet expectations. To Joe Fan, someone of Matt Kemp should play beyond the distractions a city like L.A. can offer. 

But back to being a baseball town. What really makes for a baseball town? If attendance figures are a big component than L.A. would certainly more than qualify, especially given the vast entertainment and recreational options we have. Anyone familiar with the layout of the greater L.A. area can certainly tell you going out let alone to a Dodger game is hardly a breeze. Also, to say that the days of lazy Matt Kemp are gone, perhaps you are implying what fans may have perceived of you from 2013-14?

Even the Padres during many a down year in 2016 outdrew the Braves at the gate, ranking near the middle of the pack. From the 213 to the 619 it really comes as no surprise during the Braves recent visit to Petco Park, the reception for Matt Kemp from both the Friar Faithful and the local media was anything but cordial

I really hope Matt Kemp continues to produce. After starting out hot his average has dipped below .300. He is still on pace to 25-30 home runs along with 90 plus RBIs. 

Sure, there was a time we all had a love/hate relationship with the former Beast Mode. His should have been MVP season of 2011 seems but a distant memory to many a blue clad fan. I never really had an issue with Matt Kemp in the few times I’ve crossed paths with him. Does he say much? No. But he’s not asked to be a motivational speaker.  When healthy he certainly could be clutch. Remember the 8th inning home run in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS? 

While the dream of Beast Mode carrying The Blue toward October Glory may be over, I still wish Matt all the success in the world. As for the type of reception the fans from this so-called baseball town of ours gives you? I don’t expect any drama. If any drama is to happen, it’s more likely to come through some 9th inning fireworks. (Haven’t we seen that a lot lately?)

Extra Innings…Throwing Back Thursday With Kid Marley Marlz

Marlz_ElysianHills

Yes Kid, Ol’ Bison will be back at The Ravine for four this weekend. Hey, 11 in a row for The Blue. They’re just cruising by the competition, you know…Like Cruising Music…

Advertisements

A Wild Wild Finish…It’s Just The Beginning…

Leading Off…

Still talking about that wild finish from what Vin called, The Wild Horse ? Baseball is a crazy game isn’t it ?…It’s no stretch when they say it’s a game of inches. If Nationals SS Danny Espinoza is shaded a couple more inches to his left that hard ground ball Puig hits up the middle gives this game a different ending huh ? A couple more inches to his left and Espinoza forgoes the dive toward the ball and instead of a mob at the plate a possible game ending 6-4-3 ends a 4 game losing streak for the NL East leading Nats and they’re the ones walking the post game victory line. Instead, the Nationals are now on a 5 game skid while the Dodgers are currently on a 6 game streak as well as winning 8 of their last 10.

A game of inches this great game is. For every line drive that finds a glove, a routine grounder finds a hole…It happens…That’s the law of averages…That’s baseball…No big deal right ? Puig keeps the rally going…Now we get runners on 1st and 2nd…Until that ground ball hit that was inches from Espinoza’s glove found more than just a hole…

 

yasiel-puig-walk-off-nationals-dodgers Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

 Nationals Center Fielder Michael Taylor, doing a bat flip ( Not that kind… ) after 1 of 5 times he would strike out ( AP Photo: Chris Carlson )

Striking out 5 times was not even the worst part of Taylor’s night. On a night the Dodgers would honor the current Nationals skipper with his own bobblehead, the frantic finish that couldn’t have been scripted by even the most acclaimed Hollywood writer…Michale Taylor’s performance Wednesday night could perhaps be the worst performance ever by a single MLB player.

My fandom for Dodger baseball and the game started in 1980. Dusty Baker was roaming the outfield for The Blue. I’m not so sure if I’ve seen a performance that was worse than what Taylor displayed Wednesday night. And yet, even with that performance, we all would trade in our bad day’s at the office for his…In a heartbeat. 

img_20160623_164222.jpgDusty Baker Bobblehead…I tend to think this looks more like Pedro Guerrero (Photo: Marly Rivera, ESPN)

Around The NL West…

The Dodgers have won 6 in a row, 8 of their last 10. Unfortunately, the Giants have been hot themselves, winning 11 of their last 12, including a just concluded 6-1 road trip. In that span, the Dodgers have gained a mere half game in the standings, finding themselves 6 back. At 41-33, only 4 other teams currently have more wins than The Boys in Blue. Not bad considering the inconsistencies our offense has endured as well as our health issues among the starting 5…

While the Rockies continue to hang around, while Zack Greinke has recovered from a slow start and another solid season from Paul Goldschmidt, the off-season expectations have not panned out for The Snakes. The Padres continue to look up at the rest of the division and may want to unload some pieces before the August 1st non-waiver deadline. I said before the season that Matt Kemp would be on the trading block and I still believe that. Known for his 2nd half of the season finishes, Kemp has actually had some decent offensive numbers to this point, going yard 15 times with 54 RBIs, ranking 4th in the NL with a modest .268 average. 

Because Kemp has been a defensive liability, something we would not have thought of in 2011, an AL team would be a good fit for him for the stretch run ( Yes folks, I’m thinking Matt as a DH, with some occasional starts in the OF). Perhaps the Astros, who have played some good ball lately, would be a good fit for Matt, especially at hitter friendly Minute Maid Park ?

Now back to The Blue. At 6 games back, the NL West race is far from over. The current 6 game wining streak, 4 of which found them pulling it off from the 8th inning on, should hopefully carry the momentum as they embark on a 7 game road trip that begins in Pittsburgh. 

As we all know, The Blue still needs reinforcements both offensively and among the backend of the starting 5. The latest talk has The Blue looking at both Sonny Gray and Julio Teheran to solidify the rotation.

On The Road…PNC Park, Pittsburgh PA

Dre_PNCPark One of 17 of the current 30 MLB parks i’ve visited, September 2005

One of my favorite parks I’ve had the chance to visit. A visit to PNC is definitely worth the hype… If you can, walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge on your way to the game. The late Pirate legend has a statue outside the left field gate that every baseball fan should view…

Dre_PirateParrot Kicking’ it with The Pirate Parrot. ” Your Bucs we’re not help against the Jints this week ! ” 

9th Inning…BELIEVE

wpid-picsart_10-10-08.25.43.jpg

A 6 game deficit in June is nothing….The Dog Days of Summer is only beginning folks…

 

Notes on a Scorecard…@San Diego…Uh, Make That Drei’s Tales From a Scorecard, 5/22/2016

Leading Off…From The Park…The Park at the Park…

screenshot_2016-05-26-15-01-49-1.pngSunday Morning….All is calm and serene for now… It’s a nice day to take The Kid to the park…

wp-1464411811513.jpeg All is still nice and calm at the park. With the day just beginning, Kid Marley Marlz has plenty of energy to blow some bubbles… ( Is that an old Matt Kemp shirt he’s sporting…backwards ? )

wp-1464413829125.jpeg

Looks like Marley ain’t the only kid having fun at the park…You know, he is a big kid…A Big Kid at Heart… Drei will just leave him alone with the other kids for now…Drei will just check out the action inside…The Park…That other Park… We’ll check back with Kid later…

Drei’s Tales…Tales From a Scorecard…

20160529_162015.jpg

 

Pregame…

Gametime…Dodgers vs. Padres…Innings 1-11

For the Dodgers…

20160527_220940.jpg

For the Padres…

20160527_221134.jpg

When I decided to bring back Notes on a Scorecard I wanted to share my style of scorekeeping from games I attend. Having watched the game long enough, whatever comes out should be no surprise. But hey, when you got 17 innings worth of notes, those notes can easily become a tale…Drei’s Tale…That’s baseball, right ?

Innings 1-4

Not much happening with the bats between the Friars and Dodgers. Kenta Maeda, who had been on a recent struggle, has struck out 5 through 4. Looks like he’s ready to snap out of his first MLB funk, right ?

Home 5th

picsart_05-29-07.19.08.jpg

Uh, not quite. Kenta would run into a wall in the home 5th, facing 8 batters, giving up a 2 out single to their pitcher Colin Rea, and finally this bases clearing triple to Wil Myers, which may have ended the inning if Puig takes a better route on this pop ? This won’t be the last time we talk about our favorite Cuban Missile…

With the Blue now trailing by 4 heading to the top 6th, Drei here is starting to feel just a bit uneasy. The Blue have lost the first 2 games of this series in walk-off fashion. The Blue are on the verge of getting swept. The Blue entered the game losing 5 of their last 6. The slide started the previous Sunday. Who was there ? Of course, your’s truly, as evidenced from the first of Drei’s Notes on a Scorecard

Top 6

Kenta Maeda, after a flawless first 4 innings, is pulled from the game for a pinch hitter. Kike Hernandez starts off the inning with a walk. Is this the beginning of a rally ?

Our rookie SS Corey Seager would finally put the Blue on the board with this RBI single. Last time I did NOAS Corey had himself 2 4 baggers. The Blue would score 3 in this inning and they too would  send 8 batters to the dish, chasing Colin Rea. The Blue now finds themselves down only a run. 

Howie Kendrick, looking for his first hit of the game, is a victim of robbery, thanks to this great play by Wil Myers…

Howie, a victim of some thievery, is now 0 for 3 to this point. Looks like his stat line won’t be much today…

picsart_05-29-07.42.34.jpg

 

 

 

Top 7, Dodgers Still Trailing 4-3

That’s until Justin Turner, pitching for Pedro Baez, after turning in a scoreless 6th. does this…

With that solo jack, we have a new ballgame !!!  Can we actually pull this off ? All  tied up at 4, heading to the top 8th… Hey Howie ?  Howie gonna do this Howie ?

Howie Kendrick, 2 innings prior a victim of robbery, picks a fine time to blast his first 4 bagger of the season, giving The Blue their first lead of the game. 

Home 8th, Dodgers Now Up 5-4

4 outs away from salvaging the final game of the 3 game set, Kenley Jansen comes in on a double switch, taking over Trayce Thompson’s spot in the 5 spot. Enter Carl Crawford in Left Field in the 9 spot. OK, runner on first, two outs, Melvin Upton Jr. at the dish for The Friars. Two nights prior Jansen would blow his first game of the season thanks to Upton’s 2 run walk-off blast. Jansen, called upon again for a 4 out save… You certainly don’t think lightning will strike twice…

Did I mention that baseball can be such a maddening game ?

picsart_05-29-08.13.10.jpg

picsart_05-29-08.21.39.jpg

My notes through 8. I you can’t fully read my notes, I totally understand. You know what folks, we’re now at that point where you realize hey, I’m keeping score in an NL ballpark. And through 8, we’re just getting started…

Top 9, All Tied a 5…

After leading off with a single, Puig would advance to 2nd on a wild pitch. However, A.J. Ellis would fail to move him over. Or was it really on A.J. ?

wp-1464581290933.jpeg

While the card may show a 5-3 putout, that really should have been a Sac Bunt. Puig should be at 3rd. Now you may be saying that Puig scores on Carl Crawford’s fly ball to center, but then again, if Puig is at 3rd with only one out and first base open, is CC being pitched to ? Nonetheless…PUIG !!!!! WHAT WE’RE YOU THINKING !!!!  WE’RE YOU EVEN THINKING ? !!!! 

After an eventless home 9th, to extras we go. I think Drei better check up on Kid Marley Marlz out at Park at the Park to see how he’s holding up…

 Kid Marlz, playing some ball with the lil’ kids, trying to stretch his double into a triple, is nailed at 3rd by the lil’ kids… Drei couldn’t be any happier to make the call…YOU’RE OUT KID !!!

IMG_20140905_194505

” IS THAT RIGHT DREI ? “

11th Inning…Padres 90 Feet From a Sweep

After a quiet 10th from both teams, The Friars threaten in the home 11th and are primed for the sweep as they appear to put runners on the corners with no outs, if not for this bizarre play…

In spite of Melvin Upton’s base running gaffe, the winning run is still only 90 feet away. However after 4 intentional wide one’s Adam Liberatore is able to pitch himself out of a jam. More free baseball. Time to get some new scorecards. While I’m at it, I’ll head to the park and check on Kid Marlz…

KID_SLEEPING

It’s been a long day…Kid Marley Marlz looks beat (And yet the Kid has the nerve to call Drei,  Viejo…LOL)… Oh well…Back to the ballgame…

Innings 12-17…New Scorecards…A Clean Slate

With some new cards in hand, it’s time to re-do the lineup cards…

 

Nothing dramatic would happen in innings 12-13, however, with day slowly turning into night, the lights are turned on in the top of the 13th. Rules state that if lights are turned on, they must be turned on in the top half of the inning. Also in the top half of the 13th, Dodger middle reliever J.P. Howell would make a rare plate appearance. That’s what happens in an NL Park when a game goes this late and you’ve run out of position players to pinch hit…

20160530_154630-2-1.jpg

Innings 14-16…Can the Blue Close This Out ?

The Dodgers would present themselves a golden opportunity in the top half of the 14th, loading the bases with no out, only to have Carl Crawford do this… On the first pitch…To a pitcher with an E.R.A over 9…

Crawford, who started the day on the bench yet still had 5 at-bats, would all but kill off a potential winning rally as the Blue would come up empty handed. Opinions from many a Dodger fan about Carl Crawford could be heard throughout the yard…We’ll just say they we’re just that…Opinions…

15th Inning, Opportunity Strikes Again…

20160530_154958-1.jpg

The Blue would once again present themselves an opportunity to dent the scoreboard. The top half of the 15th would also see the appearance of…CLAYTON KERSHAW ! Yup, Kid K would make an appearance as a pinch hitter for J.P. Howell. It was nothing dramatic however as he was in for the purpose of moving the runners over. Makes sense. Use a starting pitcher that’s used to handling the lumber to move the runners 90 feet. Gotta love these extra inning strategic moves that mostly if not only occur in an NL park.

 Kershaw would manage to move Howie Kendrick over from 2nd to 3rd on a groundout. Heck, Kershaw would even steal 2nd. All that would go for naught. The top half of the 15th did have some minor drama to end Padres 3rd baseman Yangervis Solarte had to battle the mound on this inning ending pop…

With the Padres not doing much with the bat themselves, Yasiel Puig would lead off the 16th inning. Chance for Puig to atone for his base running gaffe in the 9th. What does he do on the first pitch? HE BUNTS ! POPS UP TO THE PITCHER ! WHAT WE’RE YOU THINKING ! (Didn’t I say that 6 innings ago?) In spite of this, the Blue would still put runners on 1st and 2nd but fail once again to bring home the go-ahead run…

20160530_154636.jpg

The Dodgers would load the bases once again and with one out, Puig, in spite a 2 for 6 performance at the plate, would be in the hot seat for much of the afternoon. Can Puig finally do something in the clutch that doesn’t result in a Dodger or their fans shaking their head once again?

HEY ! Puig finally comes through in the clutch !!!! THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT !!!

The Blue would tack on 2 more runs to widen their lead to an “insurmountable” 4 runs. Ross Stripling, the Dodgers 9th pitcher of the day, would pitch his 3rd and final inning. With the game approaching half past 7 and most of the fans already home for dinner, this would happen…

After the sprinklers we’re inadvertently turned on, no doubt on timers, Ross Stripling, in his third inning of relief, would finally shut this down…

After 5 hours and 50 minutes, The Blue would finally prevail, 9-5.

Postgame Notes…

  • A combined 16 pitchers we’re used
  • 127 total at bats

For the Dodgers…

  • The Dodger bullpen would pitch a combined 12 innings, allowing only 1 run
  • P. Howell and Ross Stripling would pitch 3 scoreless innings each
  • Chase Utley would have the most AB’s for the game, going 3 for 9
  • Carl Crawford, inserted in the 8th inning, would wind up with 5 AB’s.
  • Adrian Gonzalez, 1 for 7 officially, however, was walked intentionally twice late in the game
  • Howie Kendrick with a huge game, going 4 for 8, slugging his first HR of the season, 12 total bases and 2 runs scored
  • In spite of his gaffes, Puig would have a great day at the plate as well, going 3 for 7, including the go ahead 2 run RBI single in the 17th.

For the Padres

  • Luis Perdomo would pitch 5 innings of relief before running out of gas in the 17th, allowing 4 runs during that frame
  • Melvin Upton Jr. already with a huge series, went 3 for 7 with a 2 out RBI triple off Kenley Jansen that would tie the score at 5.
  • Former Dodger Matt Kemp would have a long day at the plate, going 0 for 7 with 3 Ks

Also, on a personal note, that was my 6th overall extra innings game at Petco Park. My record in extras, 5-1. The 17 innings tied my personal high from April 29th, 2007, at…You guessed it…Petco Park…That afternoon/evening I would come down with a case of Baseball Fever

This was, no doubt, A Hard Days Night…

The Final Line Scores…

For the Dodgers…

20160530_154923-1.jpg

For the Padres…

20160530_155035-1.jpg

I think it’s time to give Kid the good news…

picsart_1418794556977-1.jpg

Drei: WE WON KID !!! WE WON !!!

KID: It’s Christmas already Drei ? Daaaaaaang, that was a long game…

wp-1464411884024.gif

Hey Kid, I know you’re still a big Matt Kemp fan, but it’s time some certain special…YOU…Gets YOU a new shirt…A Puig shirt? Because like YOU…Puig is a Kid at Heart, who, like YOU… finds a way to drive Drei up a wall… Like YOU…Never a dull moment with…YOU

Hey, Christmas did not come early now did it…

“Is that right, Drei ?”

So there you have it. Notes on a Scorecard…Tales From a Scorecard. Exhausting is only one way to describe how this day went. Did I cover everything? Probably not. But hey, the scorecards are here for you to look at and make out your own tale.  Oh yeah, since then, the Blue has won 7 of their last 9. In the end though, this tale had a happy ending….

Extra Innings…

An appropriate title to finish this tale…

20160522_131018.jpg It was fun seeing you again Matt…

20160522_125459.jpg Gotta pay my respects to Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn…

20140831_191800.jpg

You know Kid, as much as Drei loves a good ending, Drei will be just as happy if this win comes after 9, you know, Save the Drama

‘Til The Next Episode…

 

 

 

 

 

Drei’s Notes on a Scorecard, 5/22/2016

Drei’s scorecard notes…5/22/2016…Dodgers 9 Padres 5 (17)

Where do I begin ? If you we’re fortunate enough to have been there yesterday as I was, no doubt you’ll understand that it’s going to take more than a few notes to recap these cards. So instead, coming later, I will present Drei’s Tales from a Scorecard… 

In the meantime, here’s 17 facts from yesterday’s 17 innings that saw 127 official at-bats, among other facts and stats. Yasiel Puig would have a huge role in yesterday’s win, in more ways than one. For now, i’ll just focus on this one…

On a personal note, in all the year’s i’ve attended Dodgers/Padres games at Petco this would be my 5th extra inning game. My record in extras down south ? 4-1. 3 of those games I we’re with family or friends. Prior to yesterday, I went solo on one of those occasions, April 29th, 2007. How many innings ? Of course, 17 innings, tying a personal record. The starters that day? Derek Lowe and David Wells. Final Score, Dodgers 5 Padres 4. The winning pitcher that afternoon ? Chad Billingsley. That afternoon, I Came Down With Baseball Fever

4/29/2007…

 

Back to the Future, 5/22/2016…

20160522_130215.jpg Turning Petco Blue…

20160522_142536.jpgMy view from the 3rd Base Field Level seats…

20160522_131018.jpgKickin’ it with an old pal of ours… I’d say it was more than time well spent…

9th Inning… Paying Respect to a Legend

20160522_125401.jpg

With Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn

 

10 Years a Good Dre…Matt Kemp

picsart_04-29-09.22.57.jpg Drei and Bison, Santa Monica, February 2011

Today, Drei here features Matt Kemp. The onetime fan favorite that now calls Petco Park home, Matt would don the Dodger Blue for 9 seasons from 2006-14. Affectionately known as The Bison, Matt Kemp would put up some formidable numbers, with 2011 being his best season in Dodger Blue. From 2011-12 Matt would deliver 5 walk-off home runs, 3 of which I had the joy of being there…

4/17/2011 vs St. Louis

4 days later, in extras against the Braves…

1 year later, late April 2012, spoiling Bryce Harper’s debut…

Matt would struggle in 2013-14 battling injuries as well but would have a strong 2nd half in 2014, highlighted by this huge home run in the 8th inning of Game 2 of the NLDS, giving the Dodgers their lone win of the series…

That would be Matt Kemp’s last big hit wearing the Dodger Blue, as he would be traded in the off-season to the Padres. After a slow start to the 2015 season, Matt would once again finish with a strong 2nd half, and is off to a good start to the 2016 season, batting .283 with 7 home runs, including this big shot in the 8th inning of Friday’s game against his former mates at The Ravine…(OUCH !!!!)

Here are some of my shots of The Bison in the Dodger Blue…

Drei’s Thoughts…

LLLLLL… That’s right. 6 straight L’s, with no offense is sight, leading to a 12-13 month of April. Fortunately, it’s only
April…Fortunately, the rest of the NL West is also struggling…

screenshot_2016-04-30-21-56-07-1.png This, is why we love baseball. Lose 6 in a row, it’s just a bad week. An NFL team loses 6 in a row, they’re attention goes toward the draft…

Extra Innings…A SUN-DAY, FUN-DRE TALE FROM THE PARK…KID N DREI’S…SUN-DAY, FUN-DRE TALE…

Well, Drei can’t blame Kid for staying loyal to Matt Kemp…EVEN IF THE BISON IS KILLING US IN THIS SERIES KID !!!…Even if he now calls San Diego his home…( At least until July 31st, if Drei’s pre-season words are true to form…

wp-1458705297044.gif  Kid Marley Marlz or Daddy Mack ? Never to old for some Fun at The Park…OK Kid, KEEP THE BUBBLES FLOWING ! Looks like you make those other kids wanna…JUMP JUMP !!!!

 

10 Years a Good Dre…HAPPY BORN-DRE, DRE…

picsart_01-16-08.57.27.jpg

It’s been 10 Years a Good Dre on my end…It’s also been 10 Years since Dre first donned the Dodger Blue, making him the longest tenured Dodger of any current player donning the Dodger Blue…Today, Dre celebrates his 34th BORN-DRE…Here’s some pics of Dre over the years…

ANDRE ETHIER Camera Day, 2006…Young Dre…A Rookie named Dre…

 2008, Universal Citiwalk

DODGERS_DRE MANNY 2009Dre and Manny

2009

2010

dreispics773 Dre and Matty, sporting the throwback threads…

2011

So those are some of my pics of Dre over the years. I’ve been more distant from the field the last few seasons but hopefully I can snap some more when Dre comes back in June…Dre has certainly done his part over the years when it comes to sending the visitors for a Walk Off The Ravine…

And all the way back to Anaheim…

dre_dre Off-season caravan, L.A. River cleanup, February 2011…HAPPY BORN-DRE, DRE !!!! Let’s get you another win today over the hated ones and hopefully without the Dre-Matics of yesterday’s game…LOL

 

 

 

Drei’s 2016 N.L. Forecast

Leading Off…

Here’s what Drei had to say heading into last season…

“Since Don Mattingly took over the managerial reins in 2011, the Dodgers have improved their win total by an average of 4 games. Should that trend continue into this season, the Blue Crew should finish with 98 wins, and yet, he seems to be on the hot seat every season…It’s been 27 years now. There are enough Dodger fans out there young enough asking what was it like to have experienced a World Series victory.”

Don Mattingly guided The Blue to their 3rd consecutive division title with 92 wins, yet the hot seat never cooled, sending to a much cooler summer climate, Miami. It’s been 28 years now, and Dodgers fans of all generations are growing somewhat impatient for that October experience…

N.L. East

Two of baseball’s best pitching staffs just may reside here in the NL East. The Mets return the bulk of their starting rotation that led them to their first World Series appearance since 2000 and with Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndegaard and Steve Matz ready to take on a full season, this team could be primed for another WS run. The Nationals, last year’s favorites among many of the experts to win the WS, still posses a pretty potent all-around lineup to compliment their strong rotation, anchored by Stephen Strasburg. Injuries and the lack of team unity played key roles in the Nats late season meltdown, costing Matt Williams his job.   The lineup will once again count on Bryce Harper to put up some big numbers along Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and their newest addition Daniel Murphy. It is hoped that proven skipper Dusty Baker will be able to keep this team completely focused. Dealing with players with adverse personalities is nothing new for Dusty. Let’s not forget he managed both Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent for several seasons. The Braves and Phillies, once the class of this division, could are in serious rebuild mode and could both potentially lose over 100 games…

N.L. Central

The Cubs made some key off-season moves, including the additions of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist to an already dangerous lineup. Much of the attention will be focused on their pitching, considered to be one of the deepest with the top 3 in the rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey. Many are picking the Cubs to not only go deep into October but to also win that big Fall Prize that has eluded them the last 108 years. This could just be their year…

The Pirates, post-season participants for 3 consecutive seasons, will be highly competitive again this season even the the loss of A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ from their rotation. The rotation still has a top 1-2 tandem between Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano. The lineup is still anchored by Andrew McCutchen, and his supporting cast with Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco is pretty dynamic themselves. It may be a stretch to pick the Bucs to finish atop the Central, but a 4th consecutive post-season appearance is not out of the question. Now if they could just find a way to avoid that dreaded wild card game. The Pirates, riding their most successive run since 1990-92, may have 3 consecutive post-season appearances under their belt but two consecutive one and done’s may unfairly have Clint Hurdle in the hot seat should the Bucs fail to make a deep October run…

The Cardinals, owners of last years best record in baseball, lost starter John Lackey to the rival Cubs and will be without Lance Lynn for the season. If Adam Wainwright can remain healthy throughout the season, along with Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, both who are still young, and the addition of Mike Leake, there’s no reason the Cardinals should not be able to compete in what could be baseball’s best division for the second consecutive season. If Matt Adams and Matt Holliday can rebound from injury plagued seasons, this lineup, along with Matt Carpenter at the top, could quietly be one of the leagues best.

N.L. West

I’m not going to lie. Though I do truly believe the Dodgers will win the West for the 4th consecutive season, I am mostly going with my heart. But hey, most so-called experts rarely ever get their predictions on the mark, right ?

Much has been made of the off-season moves within the division and it is expected to be a 3 team race between the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks. The two big additions to the rivals was the addition of Johnny Cueto to the Giants, and of course the addition of Zack Greinke away from the Blue over to the DBacks, who we’re among the league leaders in offense last season. 

Spring Training has not entirely been so kind to the Dodgers, who already are beset by some health issues in the back end of the rotation. The good news, in spite of our early season worries, not every Dodger got hurt during Spring TrainingThe top 3, led by Kid K with Scott Kazmir and off-season addition Kenta Maeda, will give the Blue a formidable front end of the rotation. My concerns however are how will Maeda, coming off a solid spring,  hold up in his first big league season… Can Kazmir stay healthy and retain his 2015 form ? Can Alex Wood bounce back from his 2nd half swoon and prove to be a legitimate 4th starter ? Hyun-Jin Ryu, who missed all of last season, is expected to give the rotation a boost if he should return by mid-May at the earliest.

The outfield, even with the loss of Andre Ethier until at least June, is still pretty deep, however these questions loom…Will Puig finally display a full season of his potential ? Can Joc Pederson cut down on his strikeouts and improve upon his on base percentage ? Can Carl Crawford stay healthy enough until Andre returns ? It’s expected that Crawford and Scott Van Slyke will be platooning in left field. The infield will be a good combo of experience and youth. This lineup has the potential to put up some big numbers and could have 3 30 plus home run boppers in Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig. If Puig can give us a 20/20 season, and Joc can hit somewhere in the .270’s our offense should be allright. 

So everyone expects a 3 team race here in the NL West. The Rockies and Padres are not expected to do much and there have been talks that the Friars are looking to unload some of their key acquisitions from last year, including Matt Kemp. If the Padres are out of contention by July, I see Kemp, who in typical fashion had a strong finish last season, heading to one of two possible sleepers, Seattle or Miami ( Yeah, Kemp reunited with Mattingly, playing with Dee Gordon, and Barry Bonds as his hitting coach. Hmmm )

NL Wild Card

Cubs over the Cards. Again, after this one-game elimination game is over, talks and debates will resume over an expanded WC series… 

NLDS

Cubs over the Pirates. The Pirates will finally be playing in an actual playoff series, only to be disappointed once again by everyone’s pre-season favorites. Does an appearance past the WC keep Hurdle off the hot seat ?

Dodgers over the Mets. In another closely contested series, this time, it’s OUR Boys in Blue who prevails 

NLCS

In a battle of two teams who have 97 years combined without a World Series appearance, someone finally ends their drought. Why not us ? Dodgers over the Cubs

As I’ve admitted, my pick of our Blue going all the way is for all intents and purposes, from the heart. The Blue is expected to contend once again this season. They may be banged up right now, but hey, no team goes through a full 162 game season without some dings and scratches, right ? 

World Series… A Battle of Blue

It’s been 27 years. In that time, we’ve endured 2 Bush’s, and we may be on our way toward a 2nd Clinton…. Oh yeah, it would be great if we can give Good Ol’ Vin a Grand Sendoff, right ?

9th Inning…A Tale From The Park…With KID N DREI…

20140831_164815.jpg Because Kid Marley Marlz has all that ” Kid Like ” energy during the off-season, Drei needs to take him to the park…

20140831_164829.jpg ” HEY KID ! When are we gonna come up with that Dodger song ? ” Kid Marley Marlz may call me Dre Beats, but it’s The Kid who spits out The Beats and the Everyday Blessings, while Drei, well, Drei just tells The Tales.  Hey Kid ! When our we gonna do that Dodger song ?… ‘Til The Next Episode…Close us out KID !!!

Everyday Blessings… Kid Marley Marlz