NL West Figures To Be Only Dodgers & Giants For Years to Come

The five teams than comprise the National League West have in recent years fallen into two categories, with the Dodgers and Giants in one, and the Rockies, Padres and Diamondbacks in the other. Either the Dodgers or Giants have won the division title in five of the last six seasons, and one of them will win it again this year.

Colorado has never won the division, but did have one shinning year in 2007, when they exploded over the last few weeks of the season and as the wild card, got to the World Series, where they lost Continue reading

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Hit Batters, Comebacks, and Extra Innings – the Dodgers or the Angels?

The Angels started the second half by playing 28 innings in their first two games, splitting the two with Seattle. Today, in the rubber game of the series, the Angels were down 5-4 going into the ninth inning, but Albert Pujols doubled in Mike Trout to tie then game. After a double play took momentum away from the Angels and it looked like their rally was over, and a third straight extra innings game was in the offing, Grant Green, playing shortstop for the first time ever in the major leagues and filling in for the injured Erick Aybar, grounded a single into left, to drive in the winning run,

The game thus became the Angels’ major-league-leading thirtieth come-from-behind win of the season. Continue reading

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Third Angels’ Deal: They’ve Moved From Frieri Alley to Huston Street

Possessing the major league’s second best record, the Los Angeles Angels appeared to have almost everything a solid title contender needs: Consistent and clutch hitting, and with power, solid defense, a smart, experienced and decisive manager with a quality coaching staff behind him, and vastly improved and now solid starting pitching. What was glaringly missing, however, was a dependable bullpen, led by a reliable closer.

As the season progressed, this weakness became more and more apparent, and after several unsettling losses, Continue reading

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Dodgers’ Outfield Logjam and Trade Talk Distracts From Second Half Start

The Dodgers may have the best record in the National League as the second half of the season begins, but, that is a bit illusory. In fact, while they are 54-43 overall, they are only 15-20 against teams with records over .500 and at 1-2 with the one team they have played that currently is right at .500, Cleveland. This is a pretty important point, as they begin the second half by playing 26 of their first 29 games against teams above .500.

After a slow start, the Dodgers came on strong to roar past the Giants, who had looked like the NL West’s team to beat over the season’s first two months. Continue reading

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The 2014 Lakers: A Team of Power Forwards

As teams across the NBA are signing draft choices and free agents, and are piecing together rosters for the upcoming 2014-2015 season, in Los Angeles, Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the team’s brain trust have seeming undertaken a new concept in assembling a team: It looks like they are trying to build an entire team of power forwards. Continue reading

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The 2014 All-Star Game: LA Wins and Loses

Well, the 2014 All-Star game is history, and hopefully Los Angeles partisans won’t have to put up with too much more of the yankee love-fest for their retiring shortstop. The idea of millionaire stars parading around the county for a full season, soliciting adulation and excessive gifts, rather than going quietly off into the sunset, is nauseating. The greatest of stars used to play a final season, then announce they are done, not say “I’ll play one more year if you mortgage your house to buy me gifts and kiss my feet!”

Anyway, the star of the game was Mike Trout, who at 22 has Continue reading

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Signing Back-Ups: Good for Clippers, Disaster for Lakers

I’ve written before about what a great job the Clippers have done in signing key backups this free-agent season. Now, the Lakers have also gone after a few backup players, in one deal and in re-signing players from last season’s roster. Unfortunately, while the Clippers have a star-studded group of starters and the right subs can mean a longer playoff season and maybe even a title, the Lakers have a single top line starter (who will be attempting to come back from two major injuries) and rather than obtain starting-caliber players, have only managed to sign second-tier backups who do not figure to impact the starting rotation or actually contribute much to winning games.

The lone veteran newcomer, so far, is Jeremy Lin, Continue reading

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National League Cy Young Award Lunacy

I was watching ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” last night, featuring the expert opinions of former major leaguers Eduardo Perez and Dallas Braden.

Perez was a journeyman first baseman-third baseman and sometimes outfielder who stuck around the majors for 13 seasons, despite a career average of .247. Braden pitched in the majors for parts of five seasons, all with Oakland, compiling a 26-36 won-lost record, but somehow, incredibly, one of those wins, in 2011, was a perfect game. Both fellows have pleasant personalities and occasionally add a salient comment Continue reading

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Kershaw’s Streak Ends at 41, But He Still Pitched a Gem

In 1968, Dodgers’ great Don Drysdale, who a year earlier became the unquestioned ace of the Dodgers’ pitching staff with the retirement of Sandy Koufax, pitched an astonishing 58 consecutive scoreless innings, only to have another Dodgers’ pitcher, Orel Hershiser, break the record 20 years later, by a single inning. Now, 26 years after that accomplishment, Clayton Kershaw, making his mark as perhaps baseball’s best since Koufax, came into tonight’s game with his own streak of 36 consecutive scoreless innings, and he was to extend that to 41 before Chase Headley hit a fifth-inning home run to end the streak. Nevertheless, Kershaw pitched a complete game three-hitter, giving up no additional runs and striking out eleven, on the way to his eleventh win of the season despite having spent five weeks of the season on the disabled list. Continue reading

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Angels’ Hit Milestone – Can They Keep it Going?

On April 11, 1961, the Los Angeles Angels played their first-ever major league game, with opening day starter Eli Grba pitching a complete game, as the club defeated the Baltimore Orioles and Milt Pappas by a score of 7-2. They lost their second ever game, and thus began their existence with at .500 with a record of 1-1. They then lost their next game, for a 1-2 record. Since that time, they have played 8,541 more games, and today, after their 5-2 win last night over the Toronto Blue Jays, for the first time since splitting their first two games, the franchise is back to .500, having now won 4,272 games and having lost 4,272 games. A victory tonight would give the franchise an overall winning record for the second time ever, and for the first time since the day they won their very first game, 53 years ago. Continue reading

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Clippers Fill Biggest Need in Big Way

A few days after signing Specer Hawes, at which time I wrote then the teams’ biggest remaining need was a solid back-up point guard, the Clippers have made another great move in signing Jordan Farmar to a two-year deal. The now twice former Laker who reports were wanted to stay where he was, was the victim of that team’s pipe dream pursuit of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, and they ignored Farmar and let him slip away, to the Clippers’ great pleasure.

Farmar replaces another former Bruin, Darren Collison, who had followed him as Continue reading

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