Tag Archives: Washington Nationals

Does History Repeat Itself…Like 1981 ?

If this series against the Nats has taught us one thing, it’s that regular season success does not translate to post-season success. Going into the series, in the eyes of many, including your’s truly the Blue we’re the runaway favorites to take down the Nats. The Blue had taken 5 of 6 in the regular season against the Nats and the Nats came into this series a battered team, minus Stephen Strasburg. 

Like 1981, when these two met and the Nats we’re the Montreal Expos, it is coming down to a decisive Game 5. 

Like 1981, the Dodgers staved off elimination in Game 4 thanks to Tuesday’s exhilarating 6-5 win at The Ravine

 

Like 1981, when some future manager named Dusty Baker was controlling left field for The Blue, some young Mexican kid could be thrust into the spotlight on the road under intense circumstances with every pitch being watched ever so closely…

FERNIE

Rockies Dodgers Baseball
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Los Angeles, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Like 1981, it could very well come down to a clutch 9th inning hit from some left-handed hitting former ASU Sun Devil right fielder who wore the number 16…

1981, BLUE MONDAY, AND THE MONTREAL EXPOS

Drei’s Thoughts…

With Rich Hill scheduled to match Max Scherzer, Like 1981, Game 5, this has the makings of a low-scoring game. Both Hill and Scherzer we’re victims of key home runs in their previous defeats. 

Beating Scherzer a second time is going to be tough and if The Blue can create scoring opportunities they cannot be leaving runner in scoring position as they have been prone to in this series. 

If the game is close as is anticipated, the bullpens will be huge. As with any deciding game, all pitchers including starters can be called upon at anytime. 

It just could very well come down to that one hit late in the game…

As Drei here write’s this “script”, it just may come down to one number 16 to come off the bench and deliver, just like another 16 did 35 years ago… ( I will be more than happy if we can do this without the…Dre-Matics…)

Just like 1981…

Drei says Dodgers 2 Expos, ahem Nationals 1

Just like 1981…

ethier Hey Dre, is 16 a Magic Number that comes through…LIKE 1981 

(To Be Continued…From The Nations Capitol…)

 

 

 

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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…

 

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

 

 

Baseball Beyond The Nations Captitol…Retracing It’s Roots to Montreal

It’s been 10 years now since MLB has returned to the nations capitol. With the Dodgers and Nationals battling each other this weekend in the nations capitol, many are saying that this could be a playoff preview. Should these two teams cross paths in the post-season, it would not be the first time. Prior to big league ball returning to the nations capitol as the Washington Nationals, their history could be traced back to 1969 during their days as the Montreal Expos. In 1981, the Dodgers and Expos would battle it out in an epic best of 5 NLCS that went the full 5. It would be the Expos only post-season appearance and thanks to Rick Monday’s home run in the top 9th that would give the Blue a 2-1 lead and eventual victory en route to a World Series triumph over the Yankees, citizens of Montreal still refer to Game 5 of the 1981 NLCS, played ironically on a Monday, as  Blue Monday.

Drei_RickMonday With the man who gave me one of my first happiest moments as a Dodger fan…

The Expos had some pretty decent players during it’s heyday, from Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Wallach, Tim Raines. In 1994, a young pitcher, Pedro Martinez acquired in a trade during the off-season, Dodger fans…  would be a part of a team, also featuring Larry Walker, a team that many felt would win that season’s World Series. Unfortunately, as their record stood at 74-40, baseball came to a halt, and the season never resumed.  Many to this day feel the Strike of ’94 not only killed the Expos chance at winning a World Series, it killed the Montreal Expos, if not an immediate death.

After the 2004 season, MLB relocated the Expos to DC. It was often said by those in the MLB office and among the Expos brass that Montreal was not a baseball town due in large part to sparse attendance. I’m not so sure. It also did not help matters that the Expos, for many years, we’re  having stadium issues, playing their home games in what many called an ashtray, Olympic Stadium.

Prior to the Expos becoming a MLB franchise in 1969, Montreal already had a proud history of baseball with the Montreal Royals serving as the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league affiliate. Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, two of baseball’s most influential figures, would make their way up to the big show through Montreal.

Clemente_MontrealRoyals Young Jackie, as a member of the Montreal Royals, the AAA affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers

Today, there is talk that the city of city of Montreal is ready for baseball to return. Attendance at recent exhibition games in Montreal could be a glimpse of hope that big league baseball is ready to return to Montreal. Who knows ? Perhaps the day will come when our beloved Boys in Blue will continue to some day provide more happy moments from The City of Saints. ( On a personal note, perhaps I can hear the bilingual version of Oh Canada echoing through Chavez Ravine once again on a yearly basis…) .

Dre’s Friday Bits and Bytes, 5/16/2014

Tonight’s happenings in the world of L.A. Sports…

greinke Zack Greinke takes the hill for the Blue as they take on the Arizona Diamondback for the 4th time this season as the Blue looks to build upon their 7-1 mark against the Snakes as they embark on a 10 game road trip. After finishing 3-4 on their current homestand against the Giants and Marlins, the Blue will also look to improve upon their 13-7 road record . Also…

That’s right ! GO KINGS GO as the Kings and Ducks battle it out in Anaheim tonight in Game 7 of the NHL Western Conference semis with as the Kings look to return to the Windy City for a rematch of last years Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks . There is certainly no shortage of sporting events for L.A. sports fans tonight…

Early Concerns ?

With the Dodgers currently 5 games behind the Giants, this certainly was not the start the Dodgers and the fans had hoped for. However, we must remind ourselves that this is a long season and that there is certainly more than enough time to get back in the race. Whether we should expect a repeat of last seasons 40-8 run, well, that may be asking much to repeat that feat. Here’s some numbers to look at…

Prior to and after last seasons summer run where they went 40-8, the Dodgers had a combined record of 52-64. Going into tonight’s action , aside from their 7-1 record against the DBacks, they would be as of right now 15-19 against the rest of the Majors, including a 3-7 record against the Giants. So we do know how good this team can really be. We also know too that this team can be really streaky as well. Believe it or not, the Dodgers are actually in better shape at this time then they we’re at this time last year. So yes, it is a little to early for us, including this fan here, to be pushing the panic button right away. A little tweak here and there and in no time we got ourselves a pennant race.

Also, some other numbers to chew on around the bigs

The Cardinals and Nationals, 2 other clubs expected to win their respective NL divisions, are also off to pedestrian starts as they too also sit only 2 games above .500 . In the AL East, the defending champion Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, the two expected to finish atop the AL East, are both struggling as well with a combined 38-44 record as those 2 as of right now occupy the bottom half of the AL East. 3 of the 4 teams mentioned here we’re last years LCS participants, with the Red Sox winning it all. We certainly don’t expect these teams to continue to struggle, do we ?

Dre’s Scorecard Notes, Tuesday 5/13/2014 vs. Marlins

dodgersfish In my latest of my in-game scorecard notes, we feature this past Tuesday night’s game against the Marlins…

marlinscard Josh Beckett continues to impress after sitting out virtually all of last season, pitching 6 1/3 innings against his former club, striking out 4 and allowing only 1 run. Would Beckett finally get some run support ?

dodgerscard Josh Beckett finally get’s those runs as the Blue would score 5 times in the home 6th, started off by a 2 run double by Hanley Ramirez. The Dodgers would also tack on runs in the 7th and 8th, as they would pull away from the Marlins. This is the 2nd game in a row I would attend that the Dodgers would score in the 6th-8th en route to a win and , Josh Beckett’s first win since 2012.

HanRam getting the scoring started for the Blue in the 6th

Beckett’s strong start

Best of luck to Marlins pitching sensation Jose Fernandez , who underwent successful Tommy John surgery. Here’s to a full recovery and a long career ahead of you .

Dre’s Bytes….Celebrating a Birthday, OK, a Belated Birthday, at The Old Ballgame

IT’S BACK !!! Dre’s ballgame bytes !!! Doin’ it again this season and tonight, we got El Viejo Brandoreno here…

Tuesday Night at The Ravine, 5/13/2014 from Good_Drei on Vimeo.

And later on that evening, with the Dodgers comfortably up in the 8th, as we mess around somewhere inside of Dodger Stadiums hallowed halls…

Somewhere Inside The Ravine from Good_Drei on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoyed your night out at the park celebrating your belated birthday against the Marlins….Marlon !!!

More of Dre’s bytes to come…TO BE CONTINUED. Happy Friday everyone !!! LET’S GO DODGERS !!! GO KINGS GO !!!!

Tuesday’s Happenings, 5/6/20014, and a Tribute To Derek Jeter

Kershaw_Nats Welcome Back Kershaw ! In his first start since the season opener down under, Kershaw throws 7 shutout innings while striking out 9 as the Dodgers behind 14 hits take the 2nd of 3 in Washington, defeating the Nationals 8-3 .

Down I-5

With the Yankees doing battle against the Angels until tomorrow night, barring a post-season matchup against the Halos or even a Fall Classic showdown with, well…. this will mark the final appearance in the southland for future Yankee Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Even if you hate the sight of pinstripes, you got to give it up for the legend. 19 seasons all in the same uniform, 16 playoff appearances, 13 all-star appearances, 5 time World Champion, AL Rookie of the Year in 1996, 5 time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winner, 2000 World Series MVP. Yeah, we can go on. Derek Jeter, the game is going to miss you. Much respect from Erick Aybar, who coincidentally dons the number 2 in honor of Jeter, Mike Trout, who, growing up in nearby Millville N.J., idolized the Yankee captain, and baseball fans, from Dodger Blue to Angel Red to the future HOFer.

Jeter_Dodgerstadium View from the Top Deck after Jeter strikes out, June 2010

To this day I still say fan interference on Jeffrey Maier !!!

Jeter_yankeestadium Thanks for the memories Derek !!!

Old-Timers Lineups Set

For the 2nd straight year the Dodgers will be featuring an old-timers game this time featuring Dodgers from the last 5 decades. Here’s the list of Dodgers participants for this years game. On a side note, for me personally, I know i’m getting old when I’ve seen 21 of the 24 participants don the Dodger Blue at one time or another. Being that the Dodgers are playing the Giants this weekend I would have loved to see a battle of past Dodgers and Giants even for laughs. Speaking of, 4 of the participants, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith, Darryl Strawberry, and Steve Finley, donned both the dreaded Halloween colors and the Dodger Blue at one time or another. Speaking of Steve Finley, perhaps you may remember this from 10 years ago….

Dre’s Thoughts 5/5/2014, HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO !!!

Putting It All On The Line

Can we all put to rest all the talk about Yasiel Puig not being a team player ? He may not have succeeded in making this game-saving catch, but I think he may have won more hearts over among Dodger fans with this outstanding effort. The Cuban Missile may still be a work in progress, but let’s not question his heart and effort.

Also…

josefernandez Marlins sensation ace Jose Fernandez, last years NL Rookie of the Year, checking up on Puig after the game.

FELIZ CINCO DE MAYO !!!

Dodger fans, where you may be celebrating today, perhaps you may have this tune ingrained in your heads…

Probably the most played song among Dodger fans today.

Also…

Cinco_Dog How ’bout this Dodger fan showing some spirit on this Cinco de Mayo !!!

Team L.A.

Kings_Dodgers Tonight is another busy night for our locals, with the Dodgers beginning a 3 game series in DC against the Nationals tonight, with Zack Greinke taking the hill for the Blue as he looks to go 6-0 on the season. Let’s also not forget the Kings, who look to take a commanding 2 games to none lead in their NHL Western Conference showdown against the Ducks in Anaheim. We also can’t forget the Clippers as the begin their 2nd round Best of 7 NBA Western Conference showdown tonight in OKC as they take on the Thunder. This should also be another intriguing match up as well with Chris Paul and UCLA’s own Russell Westbrook showcasing the spotlight for their teams.

HAPPY CINCO EVERYONE !!! No shortage of games for L.A. fans on this Monday night !!!