Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Matt Kemp

Sort of live-blogging (watching the Dodgers-Giants on DVR delay):

– What a ridiculous, unnecessarily aggressive slide by Eugenio Velez. Matt Kemp’s throw was high, and Velez clearly saw Russell Martin had his back to him. There was no chance of a play at the plate, so to knock down Martin — while he was airborne, no less — was stupidly aggresive.

– Pablo Sandoval needs to SHUT UP. A little irritated that y0u get pitched inside mere moments after your teammate pulls a bonehead move? Get over it, and get off the cheeseburger diet.

– Edgar Renteria … seriously? You, of all people, getting in anyone’s face? Get back on the bench where you belong.

– Kudos to Long Beach’s finest James McDonald for protecting his catcher, and to Brad Ausmus for saving Renteria from a dose of “O, Canada!”

Advertisements

The Good: Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Andre Ethier all had a great series against the Padres. Eric Stults getting another chance to start.

The Bad: Russell Martin, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, and Orlando Hudson didn’t. Hiroki Kuroda getting injured.

The Ugly: Good grief! I know young pitchers struggle with their control, but to see Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, and James McDonald do what they did three games in a row was excruciating. Granted, I figure Billingsley will get it going sooner or later. But as for Kershaw and McDonald? Not the greatest way to start the season.

At some point, both of these guys simply need to trust their ability to pitch and not worry so much. McDonald’s body language belied that of a confident pitcher. He was fidgety, and his mechanics appeared off after he loaded the bases the first time. At some point, you wish Brad Ausmus would’ve gone out there to tell him to slow down, go back to a windup, and just pitch. After all, isn’t his handling of pitchers the reason the Dodgers went with him and not Danny Ardoin as a backup catcher?

It was nice to be able to actually see all of this week’s games, less the the two we missed while on the road. I love it when DirecTV offers a free preview of MLB Extra Innings, and I love it even more when they don’t block you from recording any of the preview games, as they did last year.

Things to look forward to — or should I say, eventual eBay purchases?

How about a Russell Martin MacFarlane figure, and a Manny Ramirez bobblehead.

martin

mannyEven though Manny’s been here less than a year, and probably won’t be here longer than a year and a half, clearly he would get his own bobblehead — not just from the Dodgers but from the Albuquerque Isotopes as well. But Casey Blake? Really, the Dodgers marketing department thought better of giving Blake a bobblehead before, I don’t know, Billingsley, Kemp, Ethier, or Broxton?

Finally, thoughts and prayers to the Adenhart family and the Anaheim Angels. What made that particular tragedy strike particularly close to home was the fact that I had traveled that particular intersection (where Adenhart’s vehicle was struck) many, many times at that same hour, and I still have family in the area that do as well.

Hundreds, if not thousands (sadly) of people die yearly at the hands of such wildly irresponsible drivers such as Andrew Gallo, and we never hear about it. It’s sad and unfortunate that it takes a (semi) celebrity to die for us to even consider talking about the senselessness of not only drunk driving, but a legal system powerless to do anything more than slap a repeat offender on the wrist — which ultimately, what license suspension amounts to.

How ought we fix it? I don’t know, but I wish it didn’t require innocent people dying for the issue to come to the forefront.

A little late, but just a quick shout-out to a couple of very generous bloggers out there.

First off, from Night Owl Cards

214scans

Greg the Night Owl sent me a trio of 06 Updates that’ll get me that much closer to finishing my set. I need just a handful more, which is more than I had realized prior to checking on it. He also sent me a few random Dodgers, after I’d sent him a few random Raul Mondesi cards. Beltre, Nomo, and Kemp go in the Dodger binder, and the rest go into the giant box of Dodger fun. Thanks Greg!

piazzabrown

These cards I won as the consolation prize from the group break over at Old School Breaks. My pre-selected teams bore no fruit, so I was the lucky winner of this box, which was the boxloader from one of the boxes he broke.

boxscorebox

It kinda makes me chuckle to think of surly old Kevin Brown in front of glittery star. Silly as it may be, that card’s going into the Dodger binder. And speaking of Dodgers, here’s nine more from the woulda, shoulda, coulda been Dodgers file.

214scans2

Yes, even Sandy Alomar Jr. was once a Dodger. Juan Marichal was also in this set, but I can’t stomach the fact that he ever wore a Dodger uniform.

This quad GU was also inclded in the box.

boxscore

Given the news of the last week, it’s kind of well, I don’t know. ARod and Robbie Alomar on here, and the headlines weren’t friendly to them last week.

Thanks again Night Owl and Old School Breaks!

These three beauties were among the many other surprises left by my postman this afternoon.

2005 Prime Patches Hideo Nomo

nomo_pp

This card is so awesome, so beautiful, so much better than any other GU card of Nomo that I currently have. It took a long time to finally hammer out a deal to acquire this, but it’s now mine.

2006 SP Authentic By the Letter Chad Billingsley

billingsley

For some reason, I can never find Chad Billingsley BTL patches at a reasonable price on eBay. So when the opportunity came to divest myself of a totally unwanted gold refractor autograph in exchange for these cards and others, I had to capitalize!

For what it’s worth, I doubt I’ll be finding Matt Kemp’s 08 SPa BTL patches at any better of a rate. I did manage, however, to acquire “LAROCHE,” with most of them costing less than 10 dollars.

2006 SPx Rookie Signatures Chad  Billingsley

billingsley_spx

Add another autograph card to my collection. Only James Loney, Clayton Kershaw, and Blake DeWitt remain of the Dodgers’ young stars that I don’t have an autograph card.

Fellow Dodger fans, I know exactly how you feel!

I can’t say that I’ve ever thought highly of Derek Lowe, his brilliant signing notwithstanding. As dependable as he’s been the four years he’s been here, there’s just something about the guy that I just don’t like. Nonetheless, he’s been arguably the Dodgers’ best free-agent signing of recent note. He signed a four-year, $32 million deal after being unceremoniously jettisoned by the 2004 WS Champion Red Sox — this after pitching well in the clinching games of the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series.

Former GM Paul DePodesta was 100% right about Lowe — this groundball specialist would thrive at Dodger Stadium, and even signed him to a very modest contract to boot.

Lots to love about Lowe, statistically speaking. Outside the lines, he’s been a grade-A scumbag. He divorced the mother of his children, whom he left behind on the east coast, so that he could continue his affair with former FSN West reporter Carolyn Hughes, and bemoaned (along with Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez) management’s choice to hold on to the “kids” in 2007 in lieu of trading them away for a trade-deadline rental.

Haven’t heard much of Lowe this year, which incidentally, is a contract year for him. Either he’s happy that so many of his 2004 Red Sox teammates are now Dodgers (Nomar, Manny, advisor to the GM Bill Mueller), or he knows he needs to keep his trap shut and avoid controversy considering he’s old (2009 will be his 36-year-old season) and probably still wants another multi-year deal.

That said, given the Dodgers’ offensive malaise — whole lot of change Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake did for the team — it’s surprising that he was so forgiving of the their inability to score recently. After yesterday’s loss to the 39 games under .500 Nationals, Lowe had this to say:

“I think, in this game, trying harder normally doesn’t get you anywhere, and I think that’s such a hard thing to fight,” he said. “You can’t give 110 percent. I think that’s where we are. There’s no lack of preparation, there’s no such thing as guys not trying. I think, as a collective group, sometimes you’ve got to try less to get more.

Knowing how quick everyone involved with the Dodgers has been willing to betray and blame Ethier/Kemp/Loney/Martin … I mean, their teammates for everything under the sun, it’s a little refreshing to hear Lowe not blame anyone.

In the end though, blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Ned Colletti. There’s a reason why the Dodgers are a singles-hitting team that relies heavily on a high BABIP, and will be in for epic failure when their BABIP falls as it has recently. That reason is Ned Colletti. Ned spent $57 million on Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Nomar, Jason Schmidt, and Rafael Furcal. The only one of that bunch that’s doing anything remotely productive is Andruw, and that’s solely because he’s been banished to Triple-A and not wasting a roster spot. (Okay, neither are Furcal and Schmidt).

Pierre and Nomar (not to mention Mark Sweeney, Pablo Ozuna, and Angel Berroa) continue to soak up valuable playing time, thus further delaying the advancement of players such as Delwyn Young, Chin-Lung Hu, and Ivan DeJesus — players who may actual be useful for the Dodgers.

Rather than use the money (or their minor leaguers) to acquire useful players such as Manny, or Adam Dunn, whom the Reds essentially gave away, the Dodgers waste their “stock” on retreads such as Casey Blake and Greg Maddux.

And then they cobble together a roster that has no punch aside from Kemp, Ethier, and Manny. So is it any surprise that a singles-hitting team can’t do anything other than hit singles?

Mr. Grumpy, as related to T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times:

“Scully is making the same point everyone else is making,” I said. “He says the stats indicate you are having success hitting behind Ramirez — tell me that isn’t the case.”

“I’m 40. You don’t get better when you are 40.”

What Kent is getting at is that just about everyone, the erstwhile Vin Scully included, is suggesting that Kent’s resurgence over the last three weeks has been solely the result of hitting in the 3-hole ahead of Manny. The idea is that pitchers have been serving Kent a steady diet of fastballs, because Manny is waiting in the on-deck circle.

The problem with that logic? What reasonable pitcher is going to extend the effort to put Kent on base? Wouldn’t giving Kent pitches to hit mean that he’s far more likely to get on base, and you know, present an RBI opportunity for Manny?

Furthermore, the idea of “batter protection” is largely false. Take a look at the links provided here. There isn’t conclusive data to suggest that a good hitter batting behind you increases the likelihood you’ll see better pitches. In fact, the opposite is much truer. The pitcher is far more likely to extend his effort to get the preceding batter out in order not to provide the “protecting” hitter with an RBI opportunity. It’s completely illogical to suggest that Kent is all of a sudden seeing a steady diet of fastballs now that he has Manny to “protect” him.

What is logical is to suggest that Kent was due, and he’s finally producing at the most opportune time — with an even bigger hitter behind him and two big hitters (Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier) in front of him. Just prior to the Manny deal, Kent had been smoking the ball, but was finding fielders’ gloves instead of the holes. I don’t have splits showing this exact time period, but if you’ll look here, you’ll see that Kent’s BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and LD% (line drive percentage), indicators of how “lucky” or “unlucky” a hitter is — Kent was extremely unlucky prior to the trade — have come come closer to Kent’s career norms.

So for once, I agree with Jeff Kent. His resurgence has nothing to do with Manny. And anyone watching the Dodgers had to know that Kent was starting to warm up long before Manny was in the picture. But don’t count on ESPN, the LA Times, or anyone else to bother looking into that.

But Kent was dead wrong when he said this of Vin Scully:

“Vin Scully talks too much,” Kent said.

“We all love you, Vin,” Kent added with a mischievous grin, “but you still talk too much.”

Vin might have been wrong about Kent and Manny’s “protection,” but I’ll take Vin’s play-by-play a million times before I willfully listen to any of the other hacks out there.

Case in point — yesterday’s TBS broadcast of the Dodgers/Brewers game was presumably a national broadcast, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from the excitement in Chip Caray’s voice when the Brewers mounted their 9th inning rally.

I mean really, look at them! Who doesn’t want to see this sort of thing? Who says the Dodger rookies are a bunch of me-first jerkfaces? What did YOU do today, Mr. Grumpy Second Baseman?

On a serious note, today’s game was historic — it was the first game in which a Dodger hit a HR on both the first and last pitch of the game.

It was frustrating losing the two games in San Francisco last weekend, as well as last night’s against the Brewers. Had the Dodgers not blown late leads in those three games, today’s win would’ve capped an 11-game win streak. They would’ve been 67-57, three games ahead of Arizona. Oh, to what could’ve been.

Since July 31

Andre Ethier: 2 plate appearances, 1 hit, 1 walk.

Juan Pierre: 13 plate appearances, 4 hits, 0 walks.

On the year:

Andre Ethier: .781 OPS, 11 HR, 46 RBI

Juan Pierre: .644 OPS, .298 OBP as a leadoff hitter.

“To me, Juan certainly deserves the right to play.”

“When [Rafael] Furcal went down, he’s meant so much to the club. He brings another dimension, his basestealing ability. He gives a professional at-bat on a regular basis. He’s done it [leading off] longer than Matt. He’s willing to take pitches.”

– Joe Torre

Matt Kemp, as a leadoff hitter: .402 OBP, .931 OPS

Pitches per plate appearance: Kemp 3.75, Pierre 3.75, Ethier 4.17

That’s a whole lot of funny math going on Joe Torre’s head. Either that, or he’s completely full of crap, and is head over heels in love with Juan Pierre, much to the team’s detriment. What’s the point of keeping one of your best outfielders if you’re not going to play him?

An independent arbitrator reduced Kemp’s four-game suspension to two. Meanwhile, the four-million-dollar man trotted out this lineup today….

CF Pierre
LF Young
RF Ethier
C Martin
1B Loney
3B DeWitt
SS Berroa
2B Maza
P Kuroda

Yes, that’s a 7-8-9-1 of Berroa-Maza-Kuroda-Pierre. Against Jake Peavy. Because you know, Peavy needs all the help he can get. In a game when the Dodgers have neither Matt Kemp nor Jeff Kent, THAT is the lineup they’re running out. Wasn’t the whole point of having Andy LaRoche play 2B was so that he could relieve Kent?

I suppose I could mention that the aforementioned foursome are now 1-for-8 so far in the game that they’re trailing 6-0, but that would be beside the point. Besides, Pierre has one of the game’s only hits so far against Peavy (the other a double by Loney).