Tag Archives: Dodgers

Fear The Blue

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan describes his show as being ” a story about a man who transforms himself from Mr. Chips into Scarface.” For those of you who haven’t seen Breaking Bad (what is wrong with you? Watch it now!) it is the story of a meek and mild mannered chemistry teacher named Walter White who, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, decides to use his science knowledge to cook meth.

Somewhere between the beginning and the end, Walter White becomes bad. Like really, really, bad. All at once you realize this sad sack of a man, this humble school teacher is the main villain of the show and you’re not quite sure when that happened.

Enter the Los Angeles Dodgers. They started the season in average fashion. Literally. They were a .500 ball club during the month of April winning 13 games and losing 13 games. They were worse the next month posting 10-17 record, which is on par with the Houston Astros. The awful, awful Astros. They were also average in the month of June. A smidgen better but still basically average.

But July? July was the month they put it all together. The Los Angeles Dodgers achieved a National League best 19-7 record. It looked like Mr. Chips was becoming Scarface right before our eyes.  There was no stopping them now. The Dodgers were (and still are) on a roll. They have won, wait for it…41 of their last 50 games. That is so ridiculous and incredible I’m nearly prompted to invent a word but I have too much respect for both myself and the english language.

This start, as it always does and should in baseball, with pitching.

Pitching 

I hope that it’s no secret at this point that Dodger’s ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball. It’s not even close to debatable. Kershaw’s ERA (earned run average) is an astoundingly low 1.80, which is the lowest in the MLB. This year he’s making a strong case for a second Cy Young award to add to his trophy case. His low ERA combined with his league best WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) 0.85, is solid proof that if you are a batter facing Clayton Kershaw, the odds are very greatly against you hitting the ball, much less getting on base. Clayton’s 4-seam fastball is the nail in the coffin for most batters.

Zack Greinke is my favorite pitcher, and not just because he’s a top 15 pitcher. He’s my favorite because he’s tough. Zack Greinke will never back down from a fight.  Which he clearly demonstrated when a pitch got a way from him and hit Carlos Quentin of the Padres earlier this season. An enraged Quentin, charged the mound, and in the ensuing tangle caused Greinke’s collar bone to fracture. Zack Greinke did not back down. Which wasn’t great for the team at the time since they missed they way he retired batters and dominated games with his  fastball. However, the Dodgers have back their 2.81 ERA man , and he’s got 12 wins for the team.

How do you spell underrated? You spell it Hyun-Jin Ryu. How do you pronounce it? Don’t ask me that. What I do know is that the young pitcher from Korea, Hyun-Jin has a 95 mph fastball that has location to back up it’s speed. That 2.85 ERA is no joke either.  The man can pitch and when he does, the Dodgers roll.

Batting

There’s nothing scarier than a well rounded team thus, the scariest thing about the Dodgers is that they can pitch and hit. The Dodger’s team batting average is .268 and their on base percentage is .331, making them top 5 in both statistical categories. They are also 15th in the MLB in RBIs (runs batted in) with 496 so far this season. This makes them a nightmare to pitch against despite the fact that they don’t hit a lot of home runs,  because they are always generating points.

If the Dodgers could be reduced down to one man on the team, that man would be Andre Ethier. He’s the prototypical 2013 Dodger. He’s got 45 RBIs this season, gets on base pretty frequently with an OBS of .361 (which is a Dodger season high) and he’s batting .288, so by all accounts a good season. Ethier is extremely consistent. He’s as rock solid as they come and in fact, has been his entire career.

Adrian Gonzalez celebrates the winning run. (Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill)

Adrian Gonzalez in his first season as a Dodger has been the team’s most reliable offensive threat. He’s batting .299, making him one of the best hitters in the league right now. His patience at the plate is on of the key reasons for this. Gonzalez, to be blunt, just knows when to swing. He’s used his knack for making contact with the ball to get players in scoring position home. He’s got 78 RBIs tying him for 16th in the league. The Dodgers received Gonzalez last year in a trade with the Red Sox in an attempt to win right away. I’d say it worked out just fine.

There are rookies and then there are super rookies. You know the guys; RG3, Lebron James, and Mike Trout. Athletic freaks of nature that are incredibly good at what they do. So, I present for you consideration, Yasiel Puig.  On June 2nd the Dodgers called up their 22 year old rookie from their double-A team, the Chattanooga Lookouts. In just 70 games Puig is looking like a star. He’s already got 12 home runs this season, he bats .346 and is a quality outfielder. Already. Very rarely does this guy look like a rookie.

Matt Kemp deserves a mention. He got injured July 21st and should return sometime in September according to Manager Don Mattingly. Kemp was having another solid season for the Dodgers. Matt Kemp’s return may complicate a few things for the Dodgers though. With Kemp they have to find a way for 4 outfielders to play, but there are only 3 outfield positions. With Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford playing at the level that they are, Don Mattingly will have to figure out what to do with this team.

Are the Dodgers the best team? The Braves might have something to say about that. There’s no denying it though. The Dodgers are baseball’s hottest team. Los Angeles can hit with the best of them and, pitch better than the best of them. They’re dangerous title contenders, and are not to be taken lightly. Watch your back Atlanta. Scarface has arrived.

 

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Daily Rain 5-15-12: Lakers rocked by Thunder, LA Dodgers Lose Matt Kemp are they in trouble?

The Oklahoma City Thunder Destroy The Los Angeles Lakers

The Thunder shot an other-worldly  53% from the field on a night that would see them rout the Lakers 119-90. The Thunder great shooting night came on multiple pick and roll plays that the Lakers seemed unable to defend. All players for the Thunder have ability to knock down jumpers including their big men. They had many open shots created the dribble penetration Russell Westbrook

Serge Ibaka was a help defender that was also able to recover and hassle Pau Gasol. The Lakers stopped going to Bynum and Gasol in the mid-second quarter. The Lakers opted to trust their guard play over their size advantage down low. The first quarter was the only competitive quarter of the game and that was the quarter in which Bynum and Gasol were most involved.

The Sixers Edge Out the Celtics

In Philadelphia’s 82-81 victory over Boston the main discussion seems to be wether or not Kevin Garnett’s screen at the end of the game was really a foul. I think it was and I think it should have been called. He stuck his elbow out and stepped into the screen.

You be the judge.

However, anytime a team leaves a game in jeopardy, especially to the point where one call can mean the decision between victory or defeat, they deserve the result they get. The Celtics did and they deserved that loss. Paul Pierce scored 7 points. Igoudala played great defense Pierce is an NBA star and 7 points on 2 of 9 shooting is not near good enough to beat the Philadelphia 76ers consistently.

The Dodgers Lose Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp has been placed on 15 day DL because of a hamstring injury. Is it possible for the Dodgers to keep rolling without him. Kemp is the best player in the National League. He has 29 runs and 12 homers as well as a batting average of .726, so there’s no doubt that his offensive production is going to be missed. With that said I don’t think the Dodgers are in trouble. Andre Ethier may be able to hold down the fort offensively, he’s batting .361 with 8 runs so far this season. He doesn’t have to be Kemp he just has to continue to produce.

The Dodgers have a capable pitching rotation. Clayton Kershaw is one of the best in the game and Chad Billingsley is a winner as well.

 

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Friday Fast Forward: A Look into the weekend of sports. (Baseball,Boxing, and UFC)

I’ve gotta try something new here. Lots of things happen every weekend and it seems like I don’t get to touch on all of them. This weekend is particularly busy. The MLB is going to have it’s Independence Day weekend of baseball, David Haye is going to fight VVladimir Klitschko, and Urijah Faber takes on Dominick Cruz in the main card of UFC 132.

A Look At The Weekend in Baseball.

An interesting pitching duel is going down this weekend when the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the their rivals the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the first game of that series. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw against Angels ace Jered Weaver. The Dodgers aren’t exactly having a season to remember, but this is rivalry worth watching. Whenever pitchers of this level get together I find it pretty difficult to miss.

The Yankees won the first game of the Subway series against their rivals the Mets on Friday, but this series is far from over. The Yankees are a scoring machine, but the Mets have been playing extremely well as of late. The Mets have won 6 of their last 8 games. Jason Bay has been on a tear and Jose Reyes continues to be a beast. The Yankees will look to score a lot runs as they boast the most potent offense in the major leagues with a league high 5.33 runs per game this season.

The Cleveland Indians would like to win another game against the Cincinnati Reds to prove that they’re not falling back to earth. They’ve lost 4 out of their last 7 games but have won back to back games as of late. Offensively the Indians have been able to rely on DH Travis Hafner who has been hitting .336 on the season. The Reds can match that fire power of course with their very own Joey Votto. This series will be pretty interesting in how it plays out.

In Boxing

Heavyweight fighters David Haye and VVladimir Klitschko go into the ring Saturday night in Hamburg, Germany on HBO. Right now the once proud heavyweight division of boxing is in shambles. There’s no parity in it. There’s nobody who can capture enough interest and have the ability to take out either of the Klitschko’s. David Haye has other plans. He feels that he’s got the skill set psychologically and physically to take VVladimir down. I sure hope so because if Haye were to win, it would be good for boxing. VVladimir is of course a tough opponent. He’s bigger than Haye, he’s got a longer reach, and he’s more experienced. I think this fight will certainly end in a knockout for someone. David Haye is the underdog, but he’s more athletic and faster than Klitschko is. Furthermore if Haye can keep the fight close he gives himself a chance to use his own strength to land some clean shots on VVladimir. This is going to be one of the more exciting heavyweight fights in a long time, especially since all the excitement tends to be in the welterweight, middleweight, and super middleweight divisions.

UFC 132

Also on Saturday night is another fight taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the bantamweight title on the line Urijah Faber will take on Dominick Cruz to become the division’s champ. This is Cruz’s UFC debut, he last fought in December in the WEC. Faber and Cruz don’t particularly like one another as they look to add another chapter to this rivalry.

Wanderlei Silva takes on Chris Leben as the second fight on the card. Silva and Leben are guaranteed to give us a great show. These two men want to knock each other out. They’re strong and each has an extremely good chin, but Silva looks terrifying right now. He’s in extremely good shape and his power looks the same as it ever was.

Notables:

It’s not a sporting event per se but, I’ll also be keeping an eye on the first weekend of the NBA lockout. Wether or not there will be any decertification of the NBAPA and if the players are willing to go along that route.

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