Next Two Games Critical For Dodgers’ Starters

Clayton Kershaw pitched another excellent game last night, but was within six outs of his second consecutive loss when Justin Turner hit an eighth-inning, two run home run to turn around a one-runt deficit to a one-run win. The Dodgers expect to see Kershaw pitch eight solid innings, allowing three hits, one run, and striking out ten, as he did last night. But, what should the Dodgers expect tonight from Dan Haren and tomorrow from Zack Greinke? Continue reading

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Angels and Matt Shoemaker Step It Up and Keep It Going

A day after losing ace Garrett Richards for the rest of this season and likely a big chunk of next, the Angels got a sparkling performance from their now number two starter, rookie Matt Shoemaker, as the team shutout Boston 2-0 to sweep the four game series at Fenway. The Angels extended their American League West lead over Oakland to two full games behind Shoemaker, who did not allow the Red Sox a hit until two out in the seventh inning. Mike Morin and Jason Grilli followed Shoemaker, and between them they allowed only one hit, a seventh-inning double to Will Middlebrooks off Shoemaker. Continue reading

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Critical Moment for MLB’s Best Team, the LA Angels

In a season that has seen the America League West leading Los Angeles Angels use only six different starting pitchers through their first 125 games, they have established themselves as the best team in baseball and are currently on a three game win streak, having also won eight of their last ten. Now possessing a one-and-one-half lead over the media darling Oakland A’s, the prior “best team in baseball”, the team is now facing an unexpected and unwanted crossroads – how to carry on without their pitching ace? Continue reading

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Baseball Note of the Day – August 20, 2014

The empty uniform non-manager Don Mattingly announced this afternoon that Zack Greinke will have his start Thursday pushed back to Saturday, with Clayton Kershaw and Dan Haren each having their starts pushed up one day.

Due to the off day earlier this week, each of them will still be pitching on regular rest.

Mattingly further indicated that Greinke should be able to remain in the rotation and not join the ever-expanding Dodgers’ disabled list.

Like I wrote this morning, there is no viable candidate to replace Greinke in the rotation. Should two extra days not be enough, expect yet another bottom-tier starter to be plucked off someone’s roster,

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More Concern for Dodgers’ Starters

With Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett on the disabled list, with Dan Haren’s inconsistency worrisome, and with Ned Colletti having already scoured the ranks of available third-tier starters, today’s news that, due to elbow soreness, Zack Greinke may miss his next scheduled start, previously set for tomorrow night, is a big blow to the Dodgers. Anytime you hear “elbow soreness”, like a few days ago with Tyler Skaggs, and seemingly with about one major league pitcher per week, you have to fear the dreaded Tommy John surgery, and its resultant year-plus on the shelf. Continue reading

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Frugal Brewers Too Much For the Best Team Money Can Buy

The Los Angeles Dodgers pay their players more than any team has ever paid a roster of players, and it has pretty well paid off this season, with, as of a couple of days ago, the Dodgers compiling the National League’s best record and as they continued to increase their sizable lead over the second place Giants. But then the frugal Brewers, with a roster that costs their owners much less than one-half of what Guggenheim Baseball Management pays guys with “Dodgers” on their shirt fronts ($103 million compared to $235 million), came to town. Milwaukee began the season like a cannon shot, quickly going to the top of the Central Division, and for much of the season they were the team with the league’s best record. The highly touted Cardinals, Pirates and Reds have been playing catch-up all year, and just when it looks like the Brewers are falling back to the pack, they get hot. That was never more evident than over the last two days Continue reading

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The Best Team in Baseball Falls To Second Place

Since day one of the 2014 baseball season, pundits across the sports world have been in virtual agreement that, no question, the best team in baseball is the Oakland Athletics. Despite starting the season with two of their top starters, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, facing season-ending surgery, the staff was still regarded as, top to bottom, baseball’s deepest and best, and all management did after that was go out and acquire three additional starters, including one of the game’s very best in Jon Lester, a solid middle of the rotation guy in Jeff Samardzija, and one disappointment in Jason Hammel. Few teams can send out a one-two-three of starters than can compare with Lester, Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray. Their bullpen in solid and deep, and they have a shut-down closer Continue reading

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Baseball Note of the Day – August 15, 2014

Hyun-Jin Ryu had the MRI of his strained gluteus, and, of course, it was worse than the Dodgers and the empty uniform non manager Don Mattingly initially let on, and he is joining Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez, Paul Maholm, Chris Perez, Paco Rodriguez and a few others, on the disabled list. This of course means that Kevin Correia, as I said yesterday, will be in the starting rotation for awhile. Ryu’s spot on the roster will be filled by a relief pitcher. They will NOT bring up Justin Germano, a 32-year-old right hander who the Dodgers acquired today from the Texas Rangers for not a player to be named later, but rather for future considerations. Germano has spent the season in AAA, compiling a 4-13 record.

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Looking at the Albuquerque roster, it’s anybody’s guess who will be called up. A couple of weeks ago when the team was on the lookout for an additional starter, I speculated that Chris Reed might be brought up from AA, but has now made two starts for Albuquerque and he is 0-2 with an ERA over 11.

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Baseball Note of the Day – August 14, 2014

After much speculation as to whether or not a small rogue group of powerful owners would have enough power and leverage to get the votes for their guy, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, things fell into place for Bug Selig’s anointed successor, Rob Manfred, and today he was elected to be the next Commissioner of Baseball.

Manfred, a Harvard-educated lawyer who once clerked for Senior United States District Judge Joseph L. Tauro who over a career spanning 42 years on the bench became most well known as the trial judge who first held the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, first rose to prominence as outside counsel for major league baseball owners during the infamous strike of 1994-5. I’m sure that has ingratiated him to the players who expect to see a fair-minded commissioner who respects and protects the players’ interests no less than those of the owners. We shall see.

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The Up-and-Down Status of Dodgers’ Pitching

Despite the Dodgers increasing lead over the Giants in the the NL West Division and despite having the league’s best record, the Dodgers’ starting staff is really in a strange position right now. On one hand, Clayton Kershaw is the dominant pitcher in major league baseball and solidifying himself not just as the odds on Cy Young winner again, but also as the leader in the National League’s MVP race. But then, there is the rest of the staff.

Zack Greinke has lost four of his last five decisions and in his last two games, losses to the Angels and Brewers, gave up nine runs, seven of them earned, in 13 innings. Hyun-Jin Ryu Continue reading

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Baseball Note of the Day – August 10, 2014

It took 19 innings and six-and-one-half hours of playing time, but the Angels beat the Red Sox early this morning, 5-4, on Albert Pujols’ 22d home run of the season, off of Brandon Workman.

Garrett Richards pitched another great game, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but the first two unearned runs charged to him this season, thanks to errors by Erick Aybar and Howie Kendricks, turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit in the seventh.

Starter Matt Shoemaker, the ninth Angels’ pitcher of the game, was pressed into duty after the bullpen was depleted and was credited with the win, his 10th of the season.

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Dodgers Are Panicking in Search For Pitching Help

A dozen years ago, the San Francisco brought up a 22-year-old San Diego native and Cal Poly San Louis Obispo grad, named Kevin Correia. Correia started some, relieved some, and with a 3-1 won-lost record and ERA of 3.66, showed glimpses of a potentially decent major league pitcher. Over the next two years, however, he did not advance much, still starting and relieving, but both for the Giants and in the minors.Then, in 2006 and 2007, he was used primarily out of the Giants’ bullpen, and developed into a reliable fellow. The end of 2007, though, saw his return to the rotation, where he was to spend most of 2008. That, however, did not work out too well. After compiling decent 3.49 and 3.45 ERAs the prior two seasons, 2008 saw his ERA balloon to 6.05, Continue reading

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