Downtrodden Philadelphia Teams Stockpiling Talent

For years the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers were the laughingstock of the league, with its record-breaking losing records, culminating with an amazing 10-72 for the 2015-20156 season. But they put that mediocrity to good use with the NBA’s system of rewarding the worst run, most pathetic franchises, and now the 76ers have a group of super-talented young stars to be that could take the team to challenging for a league title very soon. The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in recent times have been a good but not great team, with some years better than others and with a recent low point coming just the season before last, when they had a down turn in performance at several skill positions. They quickly remedied all of that with the drafting of last year’s number one quarterback prospect and in bringing


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in established talent at both the running back and wide receiver positions. And then there are the Phillies.

After winning the National League East five consecutive years, the combination of aging stars and little in the way of minor league talent that could be transitioned to, lead to five consecutive losing records, including a 99-loss season in 2015. But the Phillies have rejuvenated their farm system, and combined with a couple of excellent trades, now appear to be on the verge of emerging as a new power in the league. Continue reading

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Have the Dodgers Regained the “Spark”?

Bringing in questionable players from losing teams, treating September as Spring Training 2.0 for the post season, and a lethargy prompted by just too big a lead over all those other inferior teams lead the Dodgers to a previously unthinkable losing streak where pitching was sub-par and the offense non-existent, but now just maybe the tide has turned back, and maybe the spark has returned. A four game winning streak, the last two against the National League’s second best team, can be extended by another game later today, and if the Dodgers can do that defeating a solid starter in Stephen Strasburg after wins against

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the likes of the slumping Johnny Cueto, followed by Matt Moore, Edwin Jackson and A.J. Cole, it will actually mean something.

But is the lineup scheduled for tonight’s game the right way to approach a game against Strasburg? What in the world has Curtis Granderson done in the last month to earn a spot in the Dodgers’ lineup, and similar questions have to be asked about yasmani grandal who CLEARLY is the inferior catcher, both defensively and offensively, to Austin Barnes, who seems to have earned the first starting spot over the past couple of months. Continue reading

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Washington to Throw Dodgers a Bone Tonight

After the Whirling Darvish did well Wednesday night (see how long that lasts – remember who he pitched against in that game), the Dodgers go into Washington tonight with a two-game winning streak. Yea, both wins against the Giants. The Dodgers will start the slumping lefty Alex Wood, who is desperately trying to hold on to not just a starting job, but a place on the post season roster. Wood will have his hands full tonight, facing the National’s powerful virtually all right-hand-hitting lineup.

The Dodgers’ starting staff, top-heavy with lefties, will quite possibly face this issue in the post season, certainly if the Nationals’ two disabled lefty-hitting stars Bryce Harper and


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Adam Eaton are still unable to play. As of now, the Whirling Darvish figures to be the only righty starter that the Dodgers will use in the post season, though there is always hope that Kenta Maeda will be part of the rotation.

Despite the odds being against Wood doing well tonight, the Dodgers do get a real break as far as Nationals’ starters go. Continue reading

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Darvish Gets to End Dodgers’ Winning Streak at One

After last night’s resounding thrashing of the San Francisco Giants that ended the team’s 11-game losing streak, the Dodgers take a solid one-game winning streak into tonight’s game, which will feature Giants’ lefty Matt Moore (5-13, 5.31 ERA) facing off against the totally overmatched Whirling Darvish and his own personal three-game losing streak, and who has lost eight of his last ten decisions, and whose National League record since coming to the Dodgers stands at 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA. Since his 2-0 start and 1.50 ERA in early August, Darvish has since allowed 16 earned runs in his last 18-1/3 innings for an impressive 7.85 ERA and unheard of, record-shattering 2.35 WHIP.

Just how big was last night’s win? After losing that 11 in a row and knowing that the Whirling Darvish would be on the mound tonight, stopping the losing streak with Clayton


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Kershaw on the mound was vital, ending the fear of the streak reaching 13 by midnight tonight, baring yet another rainstorm and rain delay. Instead, that elusive magic number has been cut, sliced all the way down to eight, given Arizona’s loss last night to Colorado, their fourth loss in their last five games. Also, the Dodgers’ win and the D’Back’s loss clinched a post season spot for the Dodgers, whether they want it or not. Continue reading

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Dodgers’ Skid Worst Since 1992

And in 1992, the Dodgers lost 99 games.

Offensively, defensively and strategically, the LA Dodgers made every mistake in the baseball book last night as they lost their ninth straight game, the team’s longest losing streak since 1992, and the first such streak including only home games in more than 30 years. Yesterday morning I wrote about “The Whirling Darvish and the Sinking Dodgers” and seemingly everything I wrote, and more, came about later in the day during the game.

While the article focused primarily on the Whirling Darvish, other items I mentioned that were specifically relevant in the game included the following:

I mentioned starter Alex Wood having gone 3-2 with an ERA of 5.12 since July 15. After last night’s outing in which he allowed five earned runs on eight hits and three walks in


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five innings pitched, his post-July 15 record now stands at 3-3 with an ERA of 5.44. All of the runs charged to Wood were earned, but the fourth run should have been unearned. And that brings us to Yasmani Grandal. Continue reading

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The Whirling Darvish and the Sinking Dodgers

Can I say “I told you so?” Leading the Dodgers’ EPIC COLLAPSE is the staggeringly overrated savior that the Dodgers’ acquired virtually seconds before the trade deadline, a trade that will go down in Dodgers’ history as one of the epic mistakes the team has ever made, not quite Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields or Mike Piazza for a pile of crap, but given the significance and the hype and the track record and expertise of the guy now pulling the strings, a monumental error.

I previously wrote about the trade and won’t go into those specifics again, but the fact of the matter is, having given up real talent for Yu Darvish, hereinafter “the Whirling Darvish”, a pitcher epically overrated, and to attach such monumental reliance on his


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stepping into the number two (or even number one depending on the health of Clayton Kershaw) starting slot, was pure folly.

For the record, the Whirling Darvish has now compiled a three-year record of 25-24 with an ERA of 3.63 – marks of a true superstar, number one starter, right? But as a member of the Dodgers’ rotation his ERA is 5.34, but since his fine beginning going seven shutout innings on August 4 against the hapless New York Mets (62-79, 11th in the league in batting, 11th in the league in hits, 11th in the league in batters struck out) his Dodgers’ record reads as follows: 1 Win, 3 Losses, 6.94 ERA and 1.84 WHIP, Continue reading

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If It Ain’t Broke….. Don’t Mess Around

Losers of four in a row and six of their last ten games, it seems that there has been something missing, a spark that pervasively infected the Dodgers that made a dream become a reality, where every game was a win, even if they were losing seven to nothing in the 8th inning. Fans felt it and the players sure seemed to as well.

But that seems to be gone now, and I’m being asked “What happened? What’s wrong with the Dodgers?”

My answer is, no, it’s not the long season evening out, no, it’s not injuries – they’ve


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weathered that storm all season long, no, it’s messing with a good thing by bringing in new players from other teams, from teams that only know how to LOSE.

Look at the records of the teams that Yu Darvish, Curtis Granderson, Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani left behind and you see a combined won loss record 45 games under .500 and a losing mentality that these players have brought to the Dodgers.

I criticized the awful trade for Darvish when it was made Continue reading

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Are the Angels a Playoff Team?

With the Dodgers in the midst of a season for the ages, it’s been awfully easy to overlook the Angels, who most people wrote off for 2017, figuring their only battle would be to avoid the American League West cellar. With what looked like a pretty decent offense and an excellent as always and actually much improved defense, it was the state of the pitching staff that seemed to be the one giant elephant on the field of dreams. Those pitching prognostications were correct, and reality was even worse, with a starting staff going into the season riddled by serious injuries and a likelihood that substantial starts and innings would have to be taken by journeymen and never-weres. That reality has proven even gloomier when some of those who were healthy and counted on at the season’s start were themselves then injured, necessitating the addition of several untried and likely not-yet-ready (if ever) fill ins.

And then only a few weeks into the season, the worst possible event that could happen happened, an injury to Mike Trout, keeping him off the field for several weeks. But


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amazing things have happened since, and today, in early August, two-thirds into the 2017 season, the Angels are smack-dab in the heat of the AL Wild Card race. And that with a starting staff whose three top members over the past several weeks have been Parker Bridwell, Alex Meyer and JC Ramirez, and with former wash-out starter Bud Norris as the closer.

Will wonders never cease? Continue reading

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Hit, Hit, Homer – the Tony Cingrani Story

Batter Up! Single
Batter Up! Single
Batter Up! After a Wild Pitch, HOME RUN!

The Tony Cingrani Story, in a nutshell.

I have great problems with the awful trade that brought tonight’s starter Yu Darvish to the Dodgers, but Darvish does have a measure of ability and a reputation that lead many “experts” to consider him a top level performer. Not so with Cingrani, who granted can throw hard (mid 90s and up) but who is NOT a major league quality pitcher, period.

His record since 2014 including his home runs allowed per nine innings:

SeasonWLWHIPERAHR/9 In
2014281.544.553.26
2015031.685.670.81
2016251.444.140.71
2017001.406.293.70

He came to the Dodgers having allowed nine home runs in 23-1/3 inning pitched this season and with a 5.40 ERA. He made his Dodgers’ debut last evening, coming into the game with a 7-1 lead to pitch the ninth inning. Hit – Hit – Wild Pitch – Home Run, and suddenly it was a 7-4 game. He did then get three outs, but not until seeing the game get unnecessarily close, and his ERA go from 5.40 to 6.29.

WHY would Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers trade for this guy? Why do they think he can 1) Pitch in the major leagues, and 2) Pitch for the best team in the major leagues? Continue reading

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