Tag Archives: National League

Drei’s 2017 National League Forecast

Leading Off…What Drei Said Last Year

NL East…

“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… It is hoped that proven skipper Dusty Baker will be able to keep this team completely focused…”

In his first season as the Nationals skip, Dusty Baker restored some order in leading the Nats back to the post-season, to be eliminated in 5 games by The Blue. While Dusty may be one of the finest managers of the game, going back to the 2002 World Series his teams have lost 9 straight post-season series clinchers. He can say what he wants about some of Dave Roberts moves in Game 5, fact of the matter is, once again, he was simply out-managed when it counted.

NL Central…

“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…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.”

Much of what was said here and by the pundits came to full fruition last year for the North Siders, ending a 108 year drought without a World Series title. The Cubs, even with the loss of Dexter Fowler, are once again primed for another deep post season run.

NL West…

“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…in spite of our early season worries, not every Dodger got hurt during Spring Training. The 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…”

Once again, the Dodgers are being picked by many to win another NL West crown. This would mark their 5th consecutive division title. During this stretch, only the St. Louis Cardinals have more regular season wins than The Blue. 

Last year, Drei said The Blue would win 91 games…Check. Drei also said the Dodgers would meet the Cubs in the NLCS…Check. Drei said the Blue would take down the Blue Jays in the Fall Classic. Oh how Drei wishes he could trade in the first two for a better final result…

Here We Go…

East…

The Nats and Mets should once again be the class of the division, with both featuring some of the games deepest rotations. Miami, even with the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez, still has a lot of young talent and could be the divisions sleeper. Atlanta and Philly should also see continued improvement from last season. 

Central…

Much of the Cubs roster, minus Dexter Fowler, remains intact as they are once again expected to make a deep run in October. St. Louis, though without any true impact players, came within one game of a post-season spot. A mad run by the Giants in the final week including a 3 game sweep of The Blue in the final weekend would undo the Red Birds post-season hopes. The Bucs can’t really be considered a post-season sleeper. Should they avoid any prolonged injuries they still have a formidable pitching staff that can carry them into October. 

West…

Last year, Dave Roberts managed to will the Dodgers to the NLCS in spite of the numerous injuries to the rotation. While it is expected to be a 2 division race between the Dodgers and Giants once again, Colorado may not be too far behind and may even be not only the division’s but the leagues sleeper as well. If the Rockies highly touted young arms can maintain their composure in hitter friendly Coors Field, the Rockies just may make a legitimate run at the post season…

NL Wild Card

Giants over the Mets

NLDS

Cubs over the Giants. 

Like last year, this will be a tight series that this time will go the full 5 games

Dodgers over the Nationals. 

This could also go the full 5 again. Dusty Baker could also throw shade at Dave Roberts after being out-managed again…

So, in virtually a repeat of what happened last year in the Senior Circuit to this point…

NLCS

This time around, it’s the Boys in Blue…Dodger Blue, that is, that ends a World Series appearance drought. 29 years may not be as long as 71 years, but for a generation or two of Dodger fans born from 1989 on, it’s time…

And finally…

World Series

Dodgers over Blue Jays in 6. I had these two last year, both came within a combined 5 games of making your truly look the part of a genius. Why change? 

Some of Drei’s concerns…

  • The health of our rotation. Last year, the rotation was literally a mash unit. 
  • Can Kenta Maeda endure a full season this time around
  • Can Corey Seager avoid a sophomore jinx?
  • How much will the Dodger depend on the bullpen
  • How much does Adrian Gonzalez still have left
  • Will Puig’s potential finally be fully realized. Will he be on his best behavior between now and October/November ?
  • Does Andre, the longest tenured Dodger, finally get his World Series ring? 
  • Will Andre still be wearing Dodger Blue in October?

ITS TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL !!!

 

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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

 

 

When I’m 64

top 100 badge.jpeg MLBcomblogs recently released their 2015 Top 100 fan mlb.com blogs. For the 2nd time in 3 years, my blog has made the list. ( I really should say 3rd year in a row but last year’s stats weren’t released, mlb.com/blogs ! LOL ) At number 64, my page has jumped an enormous 32 spots from my number 96 ranking in 2013 ! As always, I thank you,the readers, the baseball fans, the Dodgers fans for stopping by. A lot of passion also goes behind doing this blog. Also, a shoutout to other fellow Dodger bloggers who made the Top 100 list as well with their rankings…

Top 100 Dodger Fan Blogs…

12. Dodger Blue World

54. cat loves the dodgers

91. Dodger Familia Thoughts

And of course, your’s truly…

64. It’s Always A Good Dre in L.A.

I have had this blog up now for 10 years, starting in December 2005 with 2006 being it’s first official season. In that time, the Dodgers have made the playoffs 6 times, winning 5 NL West titles with 3 trips to the NLCS. All that waits is that really big prize awarded deep in to late October/early November…

I’ve written and posted about countless thoughts both of the Dodgers and stuff away from The Ravine in many ways, shapes and forms. In the 10 years i’ve done this now, especially the last 3 years, my readership has really grown. There have been various changes as well. Of course, in 2005 there were not as many outlets to share my work. Today, 2016, it seems there are countless outlets, thanks to, of course, the growing amount of social media networks.

Only one active Dodger remains from that 2006 team…ANDRE ETHIER Yup, you guessed it ! Dre Day !!! Dodger fans, remember those nameless jerseys ? There’s Kenny Lofton and Nomar…

Will Andre continue to don the Dodger Blue ? It seems that we can never avoid the topic of whether Dre stays or goes, no matter how much we weight the pros and cons of Andre’s continued presence in the Blue. It won’t be long before he becomes a 10-5 player, Andre is owed $18 million in 2016, $17.5 next season, not exactly the price teams up for potential trades are willing to take on for an outfielder turning 34 in April. One thing Andre has shown throughout is career in the Dodger Blue is durability. Could Andre be a Dodger for life ?

 

Hey Kid !

During the last 2 years posting, i’ve received plenty of help here talent wise in many many ways, including visually…

Marlz_Urban Lights

 and lyrically, from some, “Kid”…Kid Marley Marlz, Marlon B…Always calling Drei here, VIEJO !… His talent goes beyond just skills…Street Skillz…(As usual, no off-season for The Kid…

 

Hey Kid ! Your Gluten Free Sounds got enough tracks to fill an entire album !

With Marlon B’s talents, Kid Marley Marlz and yours truly, Dodger Drei, Kid N Drei have been more than happy to bring you tale’s from and beyond…The Ravine. Hey Kid, Drei here knows when you ain’t calling Drei, VIEJO, you’re also calling Drei, Drei Beats…

DRE_BEATS

But you know what kid ? Though them beats may bear my name (LOL), it’s you with the beats. Drei here just tell’s the stories. But hey, it’s what makes Kid N Drei work, Kid’s beats, Drei’s tales… How much more tale’s do Kid N Drei have ahead ? Well, Drei here says Kid’s got a lot more ahead of him and well, when it comes to making this tale work, often times, it takes a collaborative effort in ways, shapes and forms only those involved would know. Like you once told me, ” We make magic together…”, to which your “Broham” says, THANKS KID…

Kid N Drei_ 88 Ring Good Times Kid ! Hey Kid, since you always enjoy calling Drei, VIEJO, perhaps 2016 is the year you ACTUALLY experience a World Series Championship…

9th Inning…DH Coming to the NL ?

Not anytime soon, according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. As a fan, i’ve enjoyed the small things about the NL games. I’ve enjoyed them for the 35 plus year’s i’ve watched the game. Why fix it now ? Fans still flock to the games right ? The lack of the DH doesn’t seem to affect fans interest inside The Ravine as it still features the most active turnstiles year in year out. If Drei has his way, Drei says, keep the DH away from the NL. The game hasn’t suffered. Keep it in the AL if you must, but I’ve been fine without it the last 30 plus years, I’ll be ok without it for many more years to come…So, Dodger fans, for those of you who still enjoy the intricate strategies still in existence in an NL park such as our beloved Ravine, you can breathe a sigh of relief, and still enjoy the sight of one of these moments every now and then (Who says pitchers cant hit ?)

Extra Innings… Walking Off With Dre

In the 10 years I’ve had this blog up…In the 10 seasons Dre has donned The Blue, Dre has had many a clutch moment, earning him the moniker, Mr. Clutch. Many a times, Dre has sent the visiting 9 walking off…

And most recently, 8/2/2015, against the Halos…

Dodgers_Ethier Walk Off More Mr. Clutch moments left ahead in the Dodger Blue for Mr. Clutch ? (Photo, Jon SooHoo)

picsart_01-16-08.57.27.jpg

 

Wishing Vin a Full Recovery…Looking Back at the Regular Season…IT’S PLAYOFF TIME !!!

Before we start off, by now most of you are aware that our beloved legendary broadcaster Vin Scully underwent a medical procedure and on the advice of his doctorswill not be returning to the booth throughout the playoffs . Vin is expected back in 2016, which will be his 67th with the Blue. Rest up Vinny. We all look forward to your return in 2016 !!!

From our rivals…

And this lovable lion…

vin Wishing you a speedy recovery Vin…

Leading Off… 

KID_SLEEPING Oh yeah. Another fun regular season…162 games worth… Another fun regular season has sure worn out Kid Marley Marlz. The Kid looks beat. We’ll check back with him later…

Looking Back at Drei’s Pre-Season Picks…

In the American League Drei here said that only one team would finish with over 90 wins. I stand corrected. Two teams finished with over 90 wins. 

What Drei said…

“If there was ever a case for parity ( a word we’ll be hearing throughout the season ) in one division, the AL East makes a case. There certainly won’t be a lack of offensive firepower in this division. The Red Sox could have the strongest team all-around in the division….The Blue Jays and Orioles will also be in the heat of the race, anchored by their offenses.  However, both starting 5’s carry starters whose ERA’s last season was over 4 runs a game….”

“The Royals we’re carried for much of last season by their pitching, particularly their bullpen. However the loss of James Shields could be the difference between the Royals making another October run….”

“Somebody in the Junior Circuit has to win 90 games, right ? The AL’s two best teams could very well be here in the west, setting up a potential ALDS showdown between these two. The Mariners and Angels are among the vast favorites to represent the AL in The Fall Classic.”

As we saw this season, the junior circuit was anything but predictable, and for the second year in a row, my AL West picks we’re way off the strike zone. Angels fans, you may not want me to pick your team to win the division next year if last year’s AL West pick to win the division and this years pick are any indication…

In the National League Drei did manage to predict one division winner correctly. I’ll let you all guess who …

What Drei said…

“One word to describe the starting 5 for the Nats… SCARY….This team is still pretty deep talent wise and should run away the the NL East…The Marlins, notorious bean counters of the past, have made some off-season noise by signing Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension….This is a young team on the rise, but still behind the Nats when it comes to depth and talent. especially in the starting rotation, Jose Fernandez is expected to return to the rotation in June…The Mets are making slow strides to respectability, but there is something to say about a rotation who’s Opening Day ( Bartolo Colon ) starter will be 42 in May.”

“The Cards are the overwhelming favorite to win their 3rd straight NL Central crown. However, there is always that one team that puts a wrench to what the bookends have to say. The Bucs have played the Cards well the last couple season, why not Pittsburgh ?…n Back to the Future 2, the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. Well, it’s 2015, and we’re still waiting for flying cars… All kidding aside, the Cubs could be another sleeper in the National League with the addition of Jon Lester to their rotation…”

“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…The Padres may be the divisions most improved ball club, and the additions of Kemp, Justin Upton, and the addition of James Shields to an already highly regarded pitching staff led by Tyson Ross, could have the Friars in contention for a spot in October…Having won the World Series now in 3 of the past 5 seasons, it seems the Giants still can’t convince the “experts” that they are contenders. When looking at their lineup, you could see why they still have their doubters.”

For the first time in franchise history, The Blue will be in post-season play for the 3rd consecutive season. As said before the season, it seems the seat gets hotter and hotter. Is iWorld Series or Bust for manager Don Mattingly ?

Drei’s Thoughts Heading Into the NLCS

Both the Mets and Dodgers have very formidable pitching staffs. The question for the Blue once again will be whether anyone not named Zack or Clayton can carry the club. The Mets seem to have a deeper starting rotation than the Dodgers, however, their offense tailed off toward the end of the season, losing 5 of 6 to close out the season including a 3 game sweep at the hands of the lowly Phillies. 

The Mets had a slight edge over The Blue in the regular season. This is expected to be a low-scoring series. Dodgers in 4

9th Inning…

WAKE UP KID !!!
  WAKE UP KID !!! The Playoffs are here !!!!

Leave it to Drei to WAKE THE KID !!!  ‘Til the next episode…From Kid N Drei…

LETS GO DODGERS !!!!

Drei’s 2015 NL Forecast

With Opening Day 3 days away, here are Drei’s NL Division Picks…

NL East

One word to describe the starting 5 for the Nats… SCARY. Stephen Strassburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez. That’s a hitters nightmare. The main concern in the nations capital will be the health of the lineup. with their key players, Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman playing in 100 games or less in 2014. This team is still pretty deep talent wise and should run away the the NL East…

The Marlins, notorious bean counters of the past, have made some off-season noise by signing Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension. Their young outfield of Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich is being looked at by some as the best in baseball. This is a young team on the rise, but still behind the Nats when it comes to depth and talent. especially in the starting rotation, Jose Fernandez is expected to return to the rotation in June…

The Mets are making slow strides to respectability, but there is something to say about a rotation who’s Opening Day ( Bartolo Colon ) starter will be 42 in May. 

The Braves and Phillies, once the class of the NL East, have reversed roles with the Nats and Fish. The loss of Evan Gattis and Justin Upton wont help an already struggling Braves offense. The Phillies are a far cry from their run of 2007-11. How Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, names that could work well if every year was 2008,  are still wearing the peppermint pinstripes can only speak of other teams reluctance to deal with GM Ruben Amaro

NL Central

After going 21 consecutive seasons without a winning record, the Bucs have made it to the playoffs in 2 straight. After suffering through a long stretch of futility, one could not blame a Bucs fan for raising expectations.  Their outfield trio of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, led by Andrew McCutchen boast an highly talented outfield. Gerrit Cole looks to take over the role of the ace. The Cards are the overwhelming favorite to win their 3rd straight NL Central crown. However, there is always that one team that puts a wrench to what the bookends have to say. The Bucs have played the Cards well the last couple season, why not Pittsburgh ?

The Cards are poised to make another post-season run for the 5th consecutive season. The fact that the Red Birds biggest run producer, Matt Holliday, was 10 RBI’s short of the century mark speaks says a lot about the pitching, led again by veteran ace Adam Wainwright.

In Back to the Future 2, the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. Well, it’s 2015, and we’re still waiting for flying cars… All kidding aside, the Cubs could be another sleeper in the National League with the addition of Jon Lester to their rotation…

Both the Brewers and Reds have too many holes in their pitching to seriously contend. The Brewers, at one point in 2014 the NL’s best team, suffered a major meltdown down the stretch and while still backed by a potent offense led by Ryan Braun, will need the pitchers to step up if they are to contend once again in the Central…

And Finally…

The NL West

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…

Much was made of the Dodgers off-season moves, unloading Matt Kemp, Dee Gordon, and Hanley Ramirez and in return getting Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal. The outfield could be loaded once again, but with Kemp gone the real estate should not be as crowded. Joc Pederson has had a huge spring and many are tabbing him as the projected starter in center field. Andre Ethier has stated he would like to start, but his salary and lack of production the last 2 seasons has been an issue throughout the league. Could there be a platoon in left field between Dre and Carl Crawford ? Is this the year Yasiel Puig shows that he truly belongs to the big stage ? 

The rotation, anchored by the 1-2 punch of Kershaw and Greinke, will once again be a huge strength. The question among the pitching will be the bullpen and their ability to get the ball to closer Kenley Jansen, a major factor to their first round exit last year…

The Padres may be the divisions most improved ball club, and the additions of Kemp, Justin Upton, and the addition of James Shields to an already highly regarded pitching staff led by Tyson Ross, could have the Friars in contention for a spot in October…

Having won the World Series now in 3 of the past 5 seasons, it seems the Giants still can’t convince the “experts” that they are contenders. When looking at their lineup, you could see why they still have their doubters. However, given their recent history and their rotation, anchored by big game Madison Bumgarner, as much as the truth hurts Dodger fans, you still cannot count the Giants out of the race. It will be interesting to see though how the loss of Pablo Sandoval affects their lineup…

Drei’s NL Playoff Forecast

Wild Card

Cards over the Padres… I’m really starting to like the one game, winner take all Wild Card format

NLDS

The Cardinals have a recent history of breaking hearts in October, but this time, Washington proves too much for the Red Birds to handle. Nats over Cards

The Bucs are going to be improved once again, and with their 3rd straight playoff appearance, Bucs fans will be partying like it’s 1992. However, the end result won’t be as drastic. The series will be close though, but don’t expect Adrian Gonzalez to reprise the roll of Sid Bream. Dodgers over the Bucs

NLCS

This really has the makings of a low scoring affair that could very well go the full 7. If the bookends have their way, all excitement will be focused on the nations capital, with Kershaw and Strassburg toing the hill. After all, the nations capitol could use some much needed positive excitement right ? Dodgers over the Nationals. This time, Kershaw comes through in the clutch….

And now, for Drei’s World Series pick ( I’m sure you know where this is going…)

World Series

At this time last season, these we’re my World Series picks i’m sticking with it. Many feel the Dodgers are an improved team from last year, while the American League seems to be up for grabs. Then again, with so much parity ( There’s that word again folks ) in baseball this season, there really is no clear cut favorite to win it all, though the Dodgers and Nationals appear to be the favorites, while some believe this to be the Mariners year. The Tigers are not looked upon by many to even win their division, however, they still do return enough of their offensive firepower to be able to contend and with practically every team in the American League playing on an even field ( At least it seems that way ), Motown should see some more October baseball.

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. My sister, born in 1989 and soon to bring in a new Dodger fan to our family, reminds me every year of the fact she is one year removed of the Dodgers winning one in her lifetime. For the third year in a row now, Drei says it’s time… Dodgers over the Tigers

1988 1988 Fun Facts… Reagan’s last term… Bobby McFerrin’s ” Don’t Worry Be Happy” tops the charts…The Iran-Iraq war would come to an end… The Cosby Show had the #1 spot on the Nielsen Ratings for the third straight year, back when Bill Cosby, ah, nevermind…

Extra Innings…

Legendary Dodger Stadium peanut vendor Roger Owens, prior to the Dodgers final exhibition game before the Angels…

It’s time to add another ring… LETS 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.  

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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

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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 !!!!

Sunday Adventures With Mini Puig 6/8/2014

This weeks theme, The Stanley Cup… Go Kings Go !!!

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Earlier this week, our Mini Puig cruised the streets from Inglewood to DTLA, seeing all kinds of support for the Kings,  playing in their second Stanley Cup Finals in 3 seasons.   Before he ventures the streets,  Mini Puig makes a quick stop at Randys Donuts,  where they too are showing their support for the Kings.

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After a couple of donuts Mini Puig sends to be a happy camper.   Hopefully those donuts don’t show him down during upcoming games…..

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Moving right along Mini Puig makes a stop at the one time home of the Kings,  The Fabulous Forum.   The Kings would call this place home from 1967-1999, appearing in one Stanley Cup final.

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Moving right along,  Mini Puig has now found his way toward Staples Center,  taking his place alongside The Great One.   ” Hey Wayne,  maybe someday they will have a statue in my honor at Dodger Stadium ”

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Oh yeah !  Lord Stanley’s Cup.   Two more wins and that cup comes back to L.A. ! GO KINGS GO !!!   Puig still believes he will help The Blue bring home a trophy of a different sorts.   One that has eluded them since 1988.  It’s going to be a tough climb again this year,  With The Blue currently 9.5 games behind the Giants.   But hey, they overcame their 30-42 stay last season , due in large part to Big Puig’s arrival, along with 42-8 run, which would be asking a lot again.  

A Look At The Standings

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For all the talk of the Dodgers struggles,  lost amongst all this talk is the fact the Dodgers have the 3rd most wins in the NLCS along with the Braves and Cardinals,  two teams the Dodgers faces in last year’s playoffs.   The Pirates,  who have struggled on the road this season,  are starting to warm up.  When all is said and done,  at this point,  With exception of the Giants and Brewers, there is a lot of parity in the senior circuit, including all 5 NL playoff participants,  2 who see themselves south of the .500 mark .  As I said earlier,  expecting another 42-8 run would be asking too much.   Putting together a string of wins,  certainly this team is more than capable.

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Not exactly a lineup that instills far is it ?  See the tweet from the Dodger fan below the lineup….

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The Dodgers with Kershaw on the mound as they try to take 2 of 3 at Coors Field.  Away from Dodger Stadium, where the Blue is 13-19, the Blue have actually held their own,  spring a 19-12 record away from The Ravine.   After today,  the Dodgers travel to Cincinnati for a four game set with the Reds before returning home Friday night against the DBacks .