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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Capitol Punishment: Nationals 10, Dodgers 4

There's something ironically perfect about a former Angel limiting the Dodgers to three earned runs over seven. I'm not eager to see the Dodgers tank as much as I enjoy watching professional annoyances like T.J. Simers get a case of whiplash as the team he declares to be the division winner (with less than a third of the season's games in the books) goes to Washington and loses a series to a second-division team.

The Dodgers fell prey to Jae Seo's nominal inconsistency, but the "nominal" just tells you how little was expected from the fifth starter. The gaping holes in the rotation presently filled by Aaron Sele and Bret Tomko will eventually have to be filled with somebody once they return to their recent and/or career norms. If you need to wonder what could possibly go wrong, that's as good a place to start as any. Today's less-than-stellar outing by Odalis — a plausible candidate to return to the rotation — ought to give anybody pause for the second half.

Finally, an annoyance: here's an exchange between the Dodgers telecasters in today's game. The scene: the Dodgers have the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, the score 9-4, and Russ Martin, who has been hot but has yet to hit a home run, is at bat with two out.

Charlie Steiner: A hard-throwing right-hander by the name of Santiago Ramirez making his third appearance for the Nationals, in two innings he's given up a run and three base hits. Ha! It would be interesting if Russell Martin can connect.

Steve Lyons: Well, you know, this is one of those things that I've talked a lot about this. Some people disagree with the philosophy, but I always feel like if you're gonna hit a home run, it either needs to tie or put you ahead. I would love to see a double in the gap, and my reason for that is you're gonna score two or three runs, and you're gonna keep the defense in the stretch, and you're gonna keep guys on base, keep pressure. If you hit a home run right now, you're still down by a run and you sort of have to start your rally all over again.

Steiner: That's like me presenting you with a million dollars in brand new bills, and you're complaining that the serial numbers are out of sequence.

Lyons: inaudible Not really. I mean, do you understand what I'm saying?

Steiner: I understand what you're saying.

Lyons: I want one more base hit and then a home run.

Steiner: Picky, picky, picky, picky ...

Martin hits a ball deep to left-centerfield, but Marlon Byrd runs it down with a beautiful sliding catch to end the inning.

And of course, a grand slam would have brought the Dodgers to within one.

Ergo, Steve Lyons has no clue whatsoever about how to play baseball. Of course you want the grand slam, because anything can happen to a batted ball in play. It's a rare day when a piece of idiocy on the air is so blatently stupid that it even fails to pass by Charlie Steiner's dulled sensibilities, but ... the Dodgers can't get back to Chavez Ravine and Vin Scully fast enough.

Does everyone else sense a bias strong bias against the Dodgers and for the Angels in Rob's writing? He seems to be anxious to see the Dodgers unravel. Fortunately for them, they have one of the top rated minor league pitchers in Billingsley, who will probably fill in quite nicely if Seo or Tomko falters. Also, Martin does have one homerun, for what it's worth. Apparently he doesn't watch their games closely enough. Oh well, at least he's providing news on the minors.
Shh... Don't upset Mr. Scareduck, or he might take his marbles and go home.
All joking aside, you might want to check out the Motivation and Manifesto before you continue any further with that line of argument.
No, an Angel bias is a fair charge; I distrust the vacillating McCourts and their "off with his/her head!" behavior every time something goes wrong; they're as cuddly as a cactus, to steal a line from the Grinch, and as two-faced as Janus. As an ex-Giant, I'm none-too-fond of Colletti, but he's done a reasonable job of assuaging the panicky Frank McCourt's wishes and assembling a team that could plausibly contend for a division title.

Another part of the problem is the ongoing hype machine about the Dodgers' prospects; guys like Edwin Jackson, Franklin Gutierrez, Reggie Abercrombie, Joe Thurston, and James Loney turn into pumpkins when exposed to major league pitching (or hitting), yet the Angels' prospects -- here I'm thinking of John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez -- are getting it done at the highest level. All that said, the current crop seems to be yielding some useful players; catcher Russ Martin being the best to date, but Jonathan Broxton seems to be coming around as well. The Dodgers wasted opportunities in the 90's, and I've been tapping my foot impatiently ever since.
Rob -
I wasn't intending to say that an Angels bias isn't there. I was only pointing out to anon that you've pretty much explained the reasons why it is. Given that, accusing you of being non-neutral is like saying like saying (beg your forgiveness fro the reference) "GWB is the the greatest president of the 21st Century." It's technically correct, but not particularly revealing.

In any case, hopefully the farm will continue (begin?) to yield useful players at the ML level via development or trade. I'm hoping for the former, because I don't trust Ned's desire for veterans.
Why does everyone assume that Coletti will have the exact same philosophy as Sabean regarding the farm system and sticking with older veterans? Granted, he has acquired several of them to bridge the gap to the future, but they haven't been shy about calling rookies up and giving them a shot. Many made the same assumptions about DePo because of his moneyball background. He allowed Logan White to continue with his course. Aggravating when people assume such things.
Obviously, we'll know more after the 2006 draft. The Dodgers have three first-round picks.

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