Archive for the ‘Los Angeles Dodgers’ Category

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Roy Halladay returned to Toronto, just for one night, to deliver the first pitch before the Jays’ home opener on Friday. The smitten crowd showered the former Jays ace with a rousing, heartfelt ovation as he rushed out to the mound, acknowledged the roars, tipped his cap to the visiting Yankees, and threw a cutter to Mark Buehrle, the ceremonial catcher and Halladay’s opposite number for many a beat writer’s dream – the two hour pitchers duel.

It was sort of surreal to watch from a distance, in the auxiliary press box furiously trying to find highlights of this monster home run Giancarlo Stanton pounded at nearly the same moment as the speakers boomed Halladay’s name in Toronto. The Blue Jays best player for a decade then did what he always did – he wasted no time. To blink was to miss it, a hacky analog for his brilliant career.

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres

People don’t like Brian Wilson. Baseball fans are straight up put off by Brian Wilson’s whole…thing. His shtick or his persona or the cut of his jib; whatever it is, it is unpopular with a large swath of the baseball watching public.

This widespread antipathy towards Brian Wilson thirsts for comeuppance and, in the 8th inning of the lid-lifter in San Diego, got exactly what they wanted.

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MLB: Texas Rangers-Press Conference

“For 150 years, ‘clubhouse chemistry’ has been impossible to quantify,” the article Chemistry 162 in the latest ESPN The Magazine begins. If you’ve read anything on sports analytics, you know what this means: the impossible to quantify has finally been quantified, and you, the reader, are one of the lucky people to receive this wisdom from on high.

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Does a surgeon belong in baseball Hall of Fame? Does a man who never set foot on the field and never filled out a lineup card or engineered a big trade deserve enshrinement in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown?

As far as people who changed the face of baseball, you could look long and hard without turning up a single soul whose actions more directed changed the face of baseball. Doctor Frank Jobe, who died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 88, is that rare innovator. Dr. Jobe pioneered, developed, and disseminated the revolutionary ligament transfer surgery best known as “Tommy John surgery”, named after his first successful patient. This terrific 30-for-30 short tells their story.

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers-Workout

There was a time, not too terribly long ago, that Josh Beckett was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Full stop. He was an incredibly sought-after high school pitcher in Texas, selected with the second overall pick of the 1999 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins.

Beckett raced to the big leagues, famously leading his Marlins to the 2003 World Series title with some unbelievable playoff performances. Traded to Boston after the 2005 season, Beckett performed nearly the same feat, leading the Red Sox to the 2007 World Series. He was named MVP of the 2003 World Series and of the 2007 ALCS, where Boston outlasted Cleveland in a seven game series, with Beckett turning in two dominant starts.

That Josh Becket, the one who sat at 95 mph with his fastball and used a devastating curveball and cutter to retire both righties and lefties, is gone. In his place is a question mark. The Josh Beckett ready to compete for the Dodgers fifth starter job before striking out in the free agent world is a far cry from the big game stud of a decade ago.

The Dodgers could certainly use tangible contributions from Josh Beckett in 2014. Is there a chance they the big righty produces for the Dodgers during the upcoming season?

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Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers don’t have too many holes in their lineup. We might quibble over the actual value and production that Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford might provide, but even without Matt Kemp in their lineup the Dodgers are able to put together a pretty nice batting order.

It came out this week that manager Don Mattingly could use Yasiel Puig as his everyday leadoff hitter, a move that…well it’s a move that just sort of makes sense. Which is weird, coming from Mattingly.

Considering all the Dodgers weapons, is putting Puig at the top of the order the best use of these toys. It’s the Dodgers and another First World Problem but it it worth a look.

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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Update! Right on cue, the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw agreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension with an opt-out option after five years – the highest annual average value contract in baseball history.

It doesn’t matter how much money your cable deal is worth or how much equity your billion dollar franchise earns each year – $300 million is a lot of money. For one baseball player, that is an unbelievable amount of money on one contract.

If that contract stretches into the range of ten or twelve years, it is understandable if even the gun slingingest general manager blanches at the thought. For a pitcher? Heart attack territory.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the eye of the storm right now. They have the money and they have the desire and, most importantly, they have the player. The Dodgers stand poised to ink Clayton Kershaw to a record-setting deal – a deal that could smash previously held standards for dollar amounts, term, everything. As easy as it might be to question the wisdom of a such a contract given orthodox thinking on the volatile nature of pitchers, one niggling thought stays in the back of my mind: if Clayton Kershaw isn’t good enough to throw conventional wisdom out the window, then who is?

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