First Two Giants Series May Predict Season Series

If the first two Giants series’ of the season are any indicator it’s that these two teams are going to play each other tough all year long.

  1. March 31 – Dodgers won 2-1
  2. April 1 – Dodgers won 4-3
  3. April 2 – Dodgers lose 0-10
  4. April 3 – Dodgers win 7-5
  5. April 11 – Dodgers win 6-1
  6. April 12 – Dodgers lose 4-5
  7. April 13 – Dodgers lose 3-4

In the first 7 games there have been 4 games decided by 1 run and a 5th decided by 2 runs. The Dodgers were blown out 0-10 once and the Giants shut down 6-1 another.

In 1 run games miscues and errors can play a very important role. Aggressive base running is also important. In the first series these two things worked to the Dodgers advantage. In the second series the Dodgers weren’t quite as aggressive and the Giants weren’t making as many mistakes.

The last 2 seasons the Dodgers dominated the Giants early on in the year. Last year the Giants got the better of the Dodgers in the second half though. It’s always pretty exciting for the fans and the rivalry when these two teams keep their games close. After the first 7 games against each other the Dodgers and Giants sit tied in the division with 6 wins and 6 losses overall.

Broxton’s Early Success Has Not Come Easy

Broxton has recorded 5 saves in 5 opportunities to capture all 5 Dodger wins this year. His 5th save last night was special in that it was his 2nd save of that day. So far Broxton has gotten the job done but only once did he retire the side without complications.

Broxton has so far been asked to record 13 outs but has faced 18 batters to do so. He’s allowed 2 runs to score on 2 home runs but neither one mattered except to the critics. Overall he’s allowed 4 hits, walked 4 and has just 1 strikeout.

Save 1 – March 31, 2011 – @LAD: 9th inning, 0 out, No base runners

  • Buster Posey – 2 pitches – Ground out
  • Pat Burrell – 4 pitches- Home run
  • Miguel Tejada – 3 pitches – Ground out
  • Brandon Belt – 8 pitches – Lined out, 3rd out

Average Speed: Speed: 94.06 MPH, Max: 99 MPH, Min: 89 MPH

Save 2 – April 1, 2011 – @LAD: 9th inning, 0 out, No base runners

  • Mark DeRosa – 3 pitches – Strikeout
  • Andres Torres – 2 pitches – Fly out
  • Freddy Sanchez – 4 pitches Pop out, 3rd out

Average Speed: Speed: 92.17 MPH, Max: 96 MPH, Min: 89 MPH

Save 3 – April 3, 2011 – @LAD: 9th inning, 0 out, No base runners

  • Aaron Rowand – 5 pitches – Home run
  • Andres Torres – 6 pitches – Ground out
  • Freddy Sanchez – 4 pitches – Single to Ethier
  • Aubrey Huff – 1 pitch – Ground out
  • Buster Posey – 3 pitches – Ground out, 3rd out

Average Speed: 94.00 MPH, Max: 96 MPH, Min: 87 MPH

Save 4 – April 9, 2011 – @SD: 11th inning, 0 out, No base runners

  • Nick Hundley – 5 pitches – Single to Gwinn
  • Chris Denorfia – 4 pitches – Grounds into double play
  • Will Venable – 4 pitches – Walk
  • Jason Bartlett – 3 pitches – Ground out, 3rd out

Average Speed: 93.25 MPH, Max: 96 MPH, Min: 86 MPH

Save 5 – April 9, 2011 – @SD: 9th inning, 2 out, Runner on 1st and 2nd

  • Chris Denorfia – 7 pitches – Walk to load bases
  • Cameron Maybin – 4 pitches – Fielders Choice, 3rd out

Average Speed: 93.36 MPH, Max: 96 MPH, Min: 87 MPH

This is not the kind of success that will silence his doubters but it’s at least not failure and I think the fan base is still holding it’s collective breath. I’ve always believed Broxton should be the closer but I can’t deny being nervous when I see him brought in like last night with runners on base even with 2 outs.

Hopefully Broxton’s success will continue but with a lot more strikeouts than walks. It would also make me feel better if the Dodgers didn’t need him to close every game they win. Blame the offense for that.

And We’re Back…

The 2011 season starts tonight. I’m not going to go over the top with predictions like the popular Dodgers writers have all done this week. Instead of a prediction list I will have a small list of hopes:

  1. I hope Furcal stays healthy. A speedy, confident Furcal is a good Furcal.
  2. I hope Broxton regains his form and confidence. He can dominate opposing batters.
  3. I hope Rod Barajas and Juan Uribe continue what they started in spring. Lots of homers. Lots of RBI.
  4. I hope fans give Loney credit for what he does do for the team instead of what he doesn’t do. He still may not hit for power this year but he drives in runs.
  5. I hope Kemp and Ethier both hit for power and drive in runs like we know they should.

If most of my hopes are met then it should be a pretty good year for the Dodgers. Questions remain in the bullpen and with the offense. Most fans assume the starting rotation is deep enough to take care of itself. Defense probably won’t be stellar but it won’t matter as much if the offense helps out.

Go Dodgers. Let’s have a strong first month of the season starting tonight against the Giants.

2011 Caribbean Series Offers Taste Of Things To Come

Over the last few years I’ve started following the Caribbean Series as a way to get some early in the year baseball. I always root for Mexico in the series as well as in the World Baseball Classic. I have no particular loyalty or heritage concerning Mexico but they’re the team I back any time I see them playing. I think it started with the first WBC when they had a handful of current or former Dodger players. Either way this year I backed a winner as Mexico took the series with 4 wins and 2 losses.

Now I want more. Spring training in February! That phrase is driving my wife nuts. I keep repeating it. Maybe even in my sleep. Pitchers and catchers report soon. I love it when the pictures from spring camp and workouts start to appear on the Dodgers website and we get our first look at current and future Dodgers.

I’m excited about this season but I’m also cautiously optimistic. I think we may be looking at another season where pitching will sometimes get frustrated by lack of hitting but hopefully we’ll see consistency out of Kemp, Ethier, and Loney and we won’t see Furcal or Blake showing their age this year.

We’re getting 15 inch drifts of snow over in Arkansas this morning. Bring on the Spring.

Season Finally All The Way Over

Dodgers fans had to not only suffer through one of the worst LA Dodgers seasons ever and an early exit to miss the playoffs, but then an extra long playoff season watching the Giants come up big every time they needed to. Am I upset the Giants won? Not really. One good thing about not living on the West Coast anymore is I never meet true Giants fans. Over the years I’ve become much more happy watching the Giants lose than I become sad watching them win. It helps when things like this happen.

I made bold predictions this season. Around the half I predicted the Giants who were 7 games out were done and the Dodgers who were nearly even with the Padres would continue to roll over the NLW and win the division for the 3rd time straight. When you’re wrong you’re wrong I guess, right? Oh well.

I had a dream the other night that Spring Training had arrived and it only felt like a few days had passed between the season. My wife was mad of course. She enjoys this break from me constantly talking about the Dodgers. Lucky for her it was just a dream. Dodgers fans have 4 more months to wait and watch.

It looks like the Dodgers will spend more money this next season but whether it matters won’t be clear until we see what kind of season the young kids have. Mediocre results from Kemp, Ethier, Loney, and Broxton really hurt the Dodgers. But hey, they’re not kids anymore. Maybe next year will be different.

Dodgers Have Played Themselves Out of the Wildcard Race, But Now Is the Division Back In Play?

The Phillies season series was very important for LA but they lost 5 of 7 anyway. The Dodgers have essentially played themselves out of the wildcard race because of it.

Things aren’t so good right now though for the NLW leading Padres. They have lost 8 in a row. It seems weird to say it but the Dodgers actually have a better chance of winning the division now than the wildcard.

Things to consider:

  1. The Dodgers have dominated the division this year 31-18 and 23 of their 27 games are gainst the NLW. There is a good chance the Dodgers can do well in September against the division.
  2. The Dodgers can make up ground easier if they can manage to beat the teams above them. They play the Padres 6 more times, the Giants 5, and the Rockies 6.
  3. The Rockies and Padres barely have a winning record against the division. The Giants have a losing record. There is a good chance the Giants, Padres and Rockies will split their matchups in September making it easier for the Dodgers to gain ground.
  4. When not playing the Padres, Giants and Rockies from here on out, the Dodgers will be playing the D-backs and the Astros. The Dodgers will really need to whip up on these weaker teams to catch up.

Hey, it could happen, right?

Don’t get me wrong. The Dodgers are unlikely to win the division at this point. That being said, it’s interesting to think about given how LA has dominated the division this year and how the rest of the teams are essentially break-even over that same span.

No, it’s not looking too good for the 2010 Dodgers, but you never know what can happen.

Dodgers Sweep Brewers, Edge Up Some More In Standings

The Dodgers completed the sweep of the Brewers to gain a half game over the Giants who were not playing today. The Rockies were off as well but the Phillies and Cardinals both lost. The Dodgers sit back 5 games behind the Giants.

Here are the relevant match ups this weekend:

  • Dodgers @ Rockies – Dodgers need to take 2 of 3.
  • D-backs @ Giants – Giants look to cash in on the D-backs problems.
  • Phillies @ Padres – Padres will hopefully take care of business.
  • Cardinals @ Nationals – Nationals looking to play spoiler from here on out.

Hopefully the Padres take care of the Phillies this weekend and the D-backs find a way to win against the Giants. It’s strange after pulling for LA to win the division all season long to now be rooting for the Padres. That’s baseball though I guess.

The Dodgers just have to keep on playing good baseball and hope the Giants, Philles, Cardinals and Rockies do not. Simple, right? Right.

Dodgers Trying To Stay Alive In Wildcard Race

With the division essentially out of reach with just 35 games left the Dodgers are fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive by way of the Wild Card. All it’s taken for me to feel better about the season is two close wins in a row against the Brewers this week. Still, the truth is that the Dodgers have a long hard road to climb and four teams to pass on the way if they hope to make this season count for anything.

Right now LA is 5.5 games behind the Phillies and Giants while the Cardinals and Rockies are in the running ahead of LA as well. If the Dodgers can somehow close the gap to 3 or 4 games by the end of August I’ll feel really good against their chances in September where they play the vast majority against the West.

The Dodgers have just 8 of their remaining 35 games outside of the division and 4 of those are against the struggling Astros. Three of the 8 are in the remaining days of August including 2 against the Phillies. Even after recent struggles LA is still 29-16 on the year against the division.

Here is the breakdown of the 35 remaining games by team:

  • Brewers: 1 game
  • Rockies: 9 games
  • Phillies: 3 games
  • Giants: 6 games
  • Padres: 6 games
  • Astros: 4 games
  • D-backs: 6 games

15 of the 35 games are against the Rockies and the D-backs whom the Dodgers have not lost a series to this year in 7 combined chances. Add that to the 4 with the Astros and the Dodgers seem to have the upper hand in the remaining schedule. If they can avoid getting beat up by the Padres and the Giants they may just remain contenders until the last week of the season.

The Dodgers have no room to breath and they can’t afford to miss a beat from here on out but it’s not yet time to call this season over. LA can make a statement by sweeping the Brewers tomorrow afternoon and take some momentum into Colorado for the weekend.

Dodgers Have Narrow Window To Turn Around Season

The Dodgers haven’t played that well this year but they have been successful at home and very successful inside the division. Now three straight NLW series losses have put the Dodgers dangerously close to a short season and an long winter break.

April was a bad month. May was a lot better. June was mediocre. July was another bad month. In August and September the Dodgers need to play like it’s May again. They’ve made 3 trades this week to help them accomplish that.

The Dodgers gained Scott Podsednik to play the outfield in Manny’s absence and center field as well when needed. They traded Blake DeWitt for Ted Lilly to shore up the pitching rotation and Ryan Theriot to play 2nd in place of DeWitt. They traded James MacDonald for Octavio Dotel‎ to shore up the bullpen.

Will it matter? I guess we’ll see. I know the Dodgers can still close the gap with so many games left but in my mind I’ve already started accepting the idea that the results of this Dodger season may very well have been decided because of July.

At the All-star break the Dodgers were 2 games out and I predicted they would win the division. Had I known they would finish July by going 5-11 after that break I would hardly have made such a bold prediction. LA sits 7 games back in the NLW behind the Padres and Giants. They also now sit 5.5 games back in the Wildcard behind Giants, Phillies, and the Reds. The Dodgers have 58 games to try and turn things around.

Dodgers Still Flailing But Things Could Be Looking Up

The Dodgers lost their 3rd in a row inside the division. This is a division where the Dodgers hadn’t even lost 3 games to any 1 team in over 30 games but now can’t seem to catch any breaks. The offense is still struggling and broke out late for 5 runs but still lost 5-6. That may be good news for the Dodgers who have been averaging a hair over 2 runs a game since the All-star break. They may be on their way out of that funk.

The Dodgers keep getting pretty good or even great starting pitching and most nights the bullpen does OK. The trouble is they don’t support the pitching with good hitting. The Dodgers have 5 wins in the last 10 games and all 5 have been shutouts. If LA figures the only way they can win is to keep the other team at zero then this season is coming to an abrupt end.

I felt better that every time the Dodgers had played poorly outside the division they would return to the division and clean up their act. Not so anymore apparently. After dropping 2 of 3 in the Padres series to fall back 7 in the division race they now have dropped the 1st of the Giants series to fall back to 4.5 in the wildcard race. Neither spot is where they want to be right now.

The Giants loss secured a losing record for the month of July. It all just keep slipping away day after day but there’s technically still time if the Dodgers can figure out their offense. Hopefully they can finish July with a win and August will be a little better for LA.

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