Apr 282013

The Milwaukee Brewers spoiled the debut of rookie Matt Magill and Carlos Gomez got a little bit of redemption in the process after being the goat of the previous nights game where he misplayed a fly ball he lost in the sky that fell for a double that ended up costing his team a victory.

Magill was visibly nervous in his debut, which was evident early on. He started the game off by issuing a walk to leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki. He was able to get Carlos Gomez to swing and miss for his first career strikeout and got Ryan Braun to fly out to deep center. After standing on first for a couple of batters, the speedy Aoki was able to get a good read on Magill and stole second base off him to move into scoring position. Yunieski Betancourt hit a single, advancing Aoki to third base for Rickie Weeks. Magill got out of the jam, however, when he got Weeks to hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing Betancourt out at second base.

Wily Peralta took the hill for the Brewers and shut down the Dodgers 1-2-3 to start off the game. Crawford struck out swinging, A.J. Ellis grounded out to shortstop and Andre Ethier flied out to center field in a quick inning for the Dodgers offense.

Magill had a much better second inning. It started out by striking out Maldanado. He then got Blake Lailli and Alex Gonzalez to each fly out to deep center to record his first perfect inning in the majors.

Matt Kemp continued his lackluster season thus far by grounding out to short stop to lead off the Dodgers’ half of the second. Skip Schumacher then grounded out to second base for the second out of the inning. Jerry Hairston, Jr. followed that up with a two-out double to center field, breathing a little life into the Dodgers’. Unfortunately, Luis Cruz couldn’t capitalize and flied out to shallow right field to end the inning.

Peralta struck out swinging to start off the third for the Brewers, but Aoki followed that up be drawing a walk. Gomez, who was the player of the week last week, hit a shallow single to shallow right, advancing Aoki to second base. Ryan Braun reached on a fielder’s choice that netted zero outs for the Dodgers, as both runners were safe advancing. With Aoki on third, Gomez on second and Braun on first, Betancourt singled to shallow shallow center field, plating Aoki for the first run of the game. Weeks followed that up by hitting into a fielder’s choice that got Betancourt out at second, but allowed Gomez to score in the process to extend their early lead to 2-0. Magill struck out Maldanado swinging to end the inning.

Juan Uribe led off the bottom of the third inning by singling to shallow left-center field, which brought up Magill for his first major league at-bat. He did what was expected of him and sacrificed Uribe over to second base. Uribe then advanced to third base on a wild pitch by the pitcher, which allowed Ellis to knock him in with a bloop single to shallow right center field, cutting the deficit in half. Ethier grounded out to third base to end the inning, but the dodgers were on the board and only down  by a run.

Magill had another perfect 1-2-3 inning in the fourth when he struck out Lailli and Gonzalez before getting Peralta to ground out to first base to end a rather quick inning.

Kemp led off the Dodgers’ half of the inning with a single to shallow center field and then proceeded to show that he can still be a threat on the base paths by stealing second base. Schumacher hit a grounder to shortstop but Gonzalez made a bad throw, allowing Schumacher to reach first safely and then advance to second on the miscue, while Kemp ran around third to score the tying run. With no outs and the go-ahead run in scoring position, the Dodgers looked primed to have a big inning. However, Hairston was unable to advance the runner by grounding out to shortstop and Cruz flied out to left-center field for the second out of the inning. In a move that rarely happens at Blue Heaven on Earth, Juan Uribe was intentionally walked to face Magill. The move worked and Magill hit a weak grounder to third base for the final out of the inning.

Magill came out for the fifth inning with a renewed vigor and a new game, tied at two apiece. He got Aoki to ground out to shortstop before Gomez got on board with a single. But Magill was able to get Braun to fly out to right field and got Betancourt to fly out to right-center to end the inning.

Peralta had a three up, three down inning in the bottom of the fifth, getting Crawford to fly out to deep center field, Ellis to hit a comebacker that he successfully tossed to first base, and getting Ethier to fly out to left field to end the inning in a rather quick fashion.

Magill retaliated with another 1-2-3 inning of his own. He got Weeks to ground out to shortstop, Maldanado to fly out to right-center field and Lailli to ground out to shortstop.

Kemp led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a bloop single to shallow right and Schumacher followed that up with a bloop single of his own to left-center field, advancing Kemp to second base. Hairston flied out to center field, but it was deep enough to allow Kemp to tag on the play and advance to third base. Cruz then grounded out to second base, but it still scored Kemp for a 3-2 lead. Juan Uribe came up to bat, and predictably grounded out to end the inning.

Gonzalez led off the top of the seventh by grounding out to third base and then Magill got Jean Segura, who was pinch hitting for Peralta, to strike out looking. Paco Rodriguez then came on to relieve Magill but Aoki hit a bunt single to second baseman Schumacher, who committed a fielding error on top of that, allowing Aoki to advance to second base. Matt Guerrier then came in to relieve Rodriguez and served up a two run home run to Gomez and spoiling Magill’s debut. He then walked Braun, but Braun decided to try and steal and Ellis nailed him at second for the final out of the inning, but the damage had been done and the Dodgers’ lead had turned into a trailing 4-3.

Tom Gorzelanny relieved Peralta in the bottom of the seventh and pitched a perfect frame. He got Gonzalez to ground out to first, Crawford to line out to second base and Ellis to line out to center field.

Guerrier stayed in the game to start the top of the eighth and got Betancourt to pop out to third to start the inning. Weeks then hit a single off of him to center field and then Guerrier served up a second two-run home run, this time to Maldonado. Now down 6-3, Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly went back to his bullpen and brought out J.P. Howell, who struck out Lailli and got Gonzalez to ground out to second base to end the inning.

Former closer and current set up man, John Axford got the call by the Brewers for the eighth inning and Ethier welcomed him to the game by hitting a solo shot to right field, cutting their deficit to 6-4. Axford regrouped, however, and retired the next three batters, in order. Kemp grounded out to third base, Schumacher grounded out to shortstop and Hairston struck out swinging.

Khris Davis was announced as the pinch hitter for Axford and the Dodgers responded with bringing in Josh Wall to relieve Howell. The Brewers then decided to call on Logan Schafer to pinch hit for pinch hitter Davis. The series of moves worked, and Schafer singled to shortstop to start off the inning. Aoki sacrificed Schafer over to second before Gomez struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. Wall gave four free passes to Braun and got Betancourt to ground into a fielders choice at third base.

Jim Henderson came in to relieve Axford and preserve the win for the Brewers. He got Cruz to pop out to first base for the first out of the inning before walking Punto. Gonzalez popped out to shallow center field for the second out. Punto realized he could make it to second freely as the Brewers weren’t going to throw down to second with such a large lead, so Punto took the free base. Crawford hit a grounder to third base, but Betancourt couldn’t field it properly and Crawford reached first safely on the error and Punto advanced to third as well. Crawford then stole second base to put the potential tying runs in scoring position, but Ellis grounded out to shortstop to end the game.

After the game, Gomez explained how he was able to hit the two-run shot off of Guerrier and chalked it up to being familiar with him and his tendencies, as he has played with and against Guerrier and had an idea of what pitch was coming in the seventh inning.

”I saw the first pitch he threw me was out of the zone,” Gomez said. ”I knew that he was going to try to throw me a curve on the inside. I was just going to stay back and wait for the moment to drop the head on the ball and that’s what happened.”

Overall, Magill pitched six and two-thirds strong innings, struck out seven Brewers and retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. Unfortunately for him,  that final out of the seventh inning was the one that the Dodgers couldn’t get quickly enough.

”We still would have gone to Guerrier at that point,” Mattingly said. ”We knew he (Magill) had gone further than we talked about and we weren’t going to put him in that position.”

Magill was the ninth starting pitcher the Dodgers have used in their first 23 games this season. The last time they used nine or more pitchers in their first 23 games of the season was in 1945.

 04/28/2013  Posted by at 7:57 pm Dodgers Rumors No Responses »
Apr 282013

Josh Beckett went into Friday nights game winless on the year and pitched a pretty  good game, allowing just three runs over five and one-third innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, who scattered seven hits against him, including a pair of home runs by Ryan Brain and Yuniesky Betancourt. In the end, he didn’t get the decision, but for the first time all season, the Dodgers recorded the win in a game he started. Hopefully this is something for the team, and Beckett, to build on.

The Brewers looked like they wanted to jump out early against Beckett when lead off hitter Norichika Aoki drew a walk, but a rare base running gaffe, negated that free base. After Jean Segura flied out to right field, Braun stepped up to the plate and hit a fly ball to right field. The Dodgers’ infielders Mark Ellis and Justin Sellers duped Aoki into thinking it was a ground ball, confusing him long enough for Ethier to catch the fly ball in right field and fire it to Adrian Gonzalez at first base to end the inning on a double play and getting Beckett off the hook for the lead off walk, to give the Dodgers two on, with two outs. Or, as the legendary Vin Scully likes to say, “deuces wild”. Andre Ethier stepped up to the plate and hit a single to shallow left-center field, knocking in Ellis and advancing Kemp to third base and putting the Dodgers ahead early 1-0. A.J. Ellis flied out to left-center field for the final out of the inning.

Carl Crawford flied out to deep center to start off the bottom of the first for the Dodgers, but Mark Ellis followed that up by singling to left field. Brewers’ rookie pitcher Hiram Burgos got Adrian Gonzalez to hit a ground ball to his counterpart, Alex Gonzalez, for the second out of the inning, but it was enough to advance Ellis to second base. Matt Kemp drew a walk, bringing Andre Ethier up to the plate. He singled to shallow left-center field, but it was enough to score Ellis from second and allow Kemp to advance to third and put the Dodgers on the board with an early 1-0 lead. A.J. Ellis hit a fly ball to left-center field for the final out of the inning.

Josh Beckett threw a perfect frame in the top of the second inning. First, he got Jonathan Lucroy to strike out looking. Rickie Weeks flied out to right field for the second out of the inning and Carlos Gomez flied out to right field to end the inning.

Burgos matched Beckett in the bottom of the second. He got Juan Uribe to line out to third base and Justin Sellers flied out to left field. This brought up Beckett’s spot in the lineup and he promptly flied out to center field to end the inning.

Betancourt led off the third inning by flying out to left field, Gonzalez flied out to center and then Burgos struck out swinging to complete another perfect inning for Beckett, who faced the minimum amount of Brewers through the first round of the lineup.

Crawford led off the bottom of the third with his second home run of the season, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 2-0. Burgos retired the next three Dodger batters, in order, to limit the damages. Mark Ellis grounded out to shortstop, Gonzalez flied out to left field and Kemp hit a warning track fly ball to center field that was brought in for the final out of the inning.

Aoki grounded out to shortstop to start off the fourth inning and Segura struck out swinging for the second out of the inning and the tenth Brewer in a row retired by Beckett. Braun ended that streak and the shutout by hittng a two-out home run to deep right field for Milwaukee’s first hit of the day, and cutting the lead in half to 2-1. Lucroy followed that up with a single to center field before Beckett walked Weeks prolonging the inning. With two on and two outs and the Brewers trying to tie the game up, Gomez stepped up to the plate. After working the count, he grounded out to shortstop for final out and getting Beckett out of an early jam.

Ethier led off the Dodgers’ half of the fourth by striking out looking and A.J. Ellis followed that up by flying out to right field. Juan Uribe managed to draw a walk, but Justin Sellers hit a grounder to shortstop, who flipped the ball to second base to force the slow Uribe for an easy third out to end the inning.

Beckett lobbed a home run pitch to Betancourt to lead off the fifth inning, allowing the Brewers to tie the game at two apiece. Gonzalez followed that up with a single to shallow left field. Burgos sacrificed Gonzalez to second for the first out of the inning. With the potential go-ahead runner in scoring position, the Brewers had the top of their order due up. Aoki grounded out to second, advancing Gonzalez 90 feet away from scoring. Segura then hit a bloop single to shallow right field to plate Gonzalez, giving the Brewers their first lead of the day, 3-2. Segura then stole second base, but Braun struck out swinging, letting Beckett off the hook once again.

The Dodgers led off the bottom of the fifth with Beckett, who promptly struck out swinging before Burgos hit Crawford with a pitch. Ellis grounded out to the pitcher, but it was enough for the speedy Crawford to advance to second base. Gonzalez doubled to shallow right field, scoring Crawford. Matt Kemp grounded out to end the inning, but the damage was done and the Dodgers tied the game.

Nick Punto took over second base duties for Ellis to start off the sixth inning because of what appeared to be a groin injury he suffered in his previous at-bat. In a somewhat surprising move, Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly left Beckett in, who promptly gave up a lead off single to shallow center field to Lucroy. He struck out Weeks but then gave up another single to Gomez, who hit a bloop single to left field. Mattingly then went to the bullpen and brought in Matt Guerrier who induced to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Dodgers barely gave a whimper in their half of the inning with Ethier leading it off with a pop out to left center field, A.J. Ellis striking out with his bat on his shoulder and Uribe flying out to deep right field.

Gonzalez led off the the top of the seventh for the Brewers by singling to left center fielder and the Brewers, sensing a chance to capitalize, brought in Logan Schafer to pinch hit for Burgos. The Dodgers responded by making their own change, calling on Paco Rodriguez to relieve Guerrier. Schafer sacrificed Gonzalez over to second base and Aoki singled to shallow center field. Kemp committed his fourth error of the season on the play when he overran the ball. This allowed the speedy Aoki to circle around to third base on the play. The Dodgers then made another move, this time a double switch. Mattingly brought in Belisario to relieve Rodriguez and put Jerry Hairston, Jr. in at third to replace Uribe. Aoki got caught stealing when Segura messed up a suicide squeeze. Belisario threw him out at home with ease. Segura then proceeded to strike out looking, ending the threat.
With a potential win under the belt of Burgos, the Brewers went to their bullpen for the bottom of the seventh. They called on Burke Baldenhop to come in on relief. He gave up a lead off single to Justin Sellers, who blooped the ball into shallow right field. Hairston sacrificed Sellers over to second to put the potential tying run in scoring position for Crawford. The Brewers called upon Michael Gonzalez to face Crawford and he was able to get Crawford to fly out to center field for the second out of the inning. That brought up Nick Punto for his first at-bat of the game and he worked the count and drew a walk on four straight pitches to keep the Dodgers’ chances alive. The next batter was Gonzalez, who ripped a double to deep center field, plating both Sellers and Punto, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 lead. With first base open, and the lead evaporated they chose to intentionally walk Kemp to face Ethier. Gonzalez was able to get Ethier to fly out center field, to end the bleeding.
The top of the eighth started out with Hairston committing his first  error of the season, allowing Braun to reach first base safely. Lucroy then lined out to shortstop and Weeks struck out whiffing for the first two outs of the inning. Gomez then hit a grounder to third base, but Hairston was unable to field the ball cleanly, allowing him to reach first on his second error of the game and the season. Belisario was able to keep focus thorough all of this and after each error he was sure to pat Hairston on the butt and let him know not to worry about it. Sure enough, Belisario had the needed composure to work through the errors and he struck Betancourt out to end the inning.
Brandon Kintzler took over for Gonzalez to start the bottom of the eighth and almost immediately got A.J. Ellis to hit a comebacker to him, where he tossed the ball to first base for the first out of the inning. Luis “Cochito” Cruz got the call to pinch hit for Belisario and the fans at Blue Heaven on Earth showed their love for him by chanting his name, even though he has been mired in a slump to start the season. He must have felt that love and he came through for the fans by belting a single to left-center field. Sellers followed that up with a double to left field, and Cruz advanced to third base, to give the Dodgers a couple of runners in scoring position with just one out. Hairston came up to bat, hoping to make up for his two error inning. He grounded out to third base, but was able to plate Cruz in the process and moving Sellers over to third. Crawford was the next batter and blooped a single into shallow left field to knock Sellers in for another run. Punto popped out to shallow left to end the inning, but the damage was done. The Dodgers added two insurance runs and led 7-4.The Dodgers’ closer Brandon League took things over for Belisario in the top of the ninth with Cruz staying in the game at third base. League gave up a quick single to Gonzalez to center field. Blake Lalli got the call to pinch hit for Kintzler. League threw a wild pitch, allowing Gonzalez to advance to second base. But he regrouped and got Lalli to strike out swinging and then induced Aoki to hit a ground out to third base, advancing Gonzalez to third in the process. Segura singled to the pitcher, allowing Gonzalez to score. In a rush, League committed a fielding error, which allowed Segura to advance to second ont he play. With a runner on second, Braun stepped up to the plate representing the potential tying run for the Brewers. League dug in and got Braun to ground out sharply to first base, to end the game and record the seventh save of the year for League.After the game, Beckett was in a position he enjoyed better then that last three starts. He may not have gotten the “W”, but the Dodgers did.”It’s just nice to be standing here talking to you guys after a win,” Beckett said. ”I don’t really care who gets the win. That’s something I haven’t gotten a chance to do yet this year. I left a couple of pitches up, but the bats came alive there towards the end and the guys rallied.”Adrian Gonzalez spoke highly of Beckett in a post game interview. ”He’s throwing the ball great and he’s kept us in games,” Gonzalez said. ”We just haven’t been able to get those extra runs to get him a W.”


 04/28/2013  Posted by at 6:39 pm Dodgers Rumors No Responses »
Apr 232013

It’s official, Chad Billingsley will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will be performing the surgery at Kerlan-Jobe in Los Angeles. Honestly, I’m pissed. How does this situation even happen? The coaches and even Billingsley himself took no responsibility. I’m sure you remember when Billingsley was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last year. He opted to try to rehab the injury with plasma injections rather than having surgery, which will now cost him the entire 2013 season. Billingsley will probably have to miss the first couple months of 2014 as well.

Here comes the I told you so…back on February 1st I wrote “Today, Ken Gurnick provided an update on Billingsley, who is reportedly feeling “absolutely great.” Everything has progressed as planned with no setbacks. Updating yesterday’s post, it’s quite possible that Billingsley makes an appearance during Spring Training. My expectations will not be very high for Billingsley in 2013. I don’t see how you can fully recover from a partially torn elbow ligament without having Tommy John surgery. I fully expect Billingsley to start out well but miss some time, perhaps even having to shut it down and have surgery at some point.”

Billingsley, I am sure, is feeling like an idiot right now, and he should, because he is.

Billingsley opened this season on the disabled list, but it was for a bruised right index finger he sustained while bunting in Spring Training. He will finish the 2013 season with 1-0 record with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings over two starts.

Billingsley is scheduled to earn $12MM next year, then there is a $14 million club option for 2015 or a $3 million buyout. Top all that off with the fact Billingsley now has zero trade value, and will until he proves he is healthy. The Dodgers would be wise to move on and now count on him moving forward.

Stephen Fife started Sunday in place of Billingsley against the Orioles and allowed three runs in the first inning, however, he bounced back and made it through 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and a walk. He will likely get the next couple of starts until Chris Capuano comes off of the DL with his strained calf issue. Of course, Zack Greinke remains out indefinitely with his broken collarbone, and won’t see him until the middle of June at the earliest.

I wouldn’t mind seeing what Zach Lee or Chris Reed can do at this point.

 04/23/2013  Posted by at 7:33 pm Dodgers Injury Reports, Dodgers News 11 Responses »
Apr 162013

After a disappointing loss last night on Jackie Robinson night, the Dodgers will look to get things back on track in game two of the three game series with the San Diego Padres. This will be the Dodgers’ first look at what life will be like for the next couple months without Zack Greinke in their rotation.

That starting pitching depth is looking pretty good now, right? After being one of the most heavily shopped players of the off-season, Chris Capuano started the 2013 season in the bullpen. The 2012 12-game winner now gets a crack to re-establish himself as a starter. Win-win for the Dodgers really. Capuano will fill in nicely I’m sure, plus he will hopefully boost his value just in time to get traded when Greinke comes back.

Capuano has had two phenomenal appearances in relief in 2013. Interestingly enough, both came against the Padres. He put up a total of 2-2/3 innings of work, while only giving up two hits and no runs, including four punch-outs. Let’s hope we see more of the same as the Dodgers try to avoid the seasons first three-game losing streak.

Tonight should be a fun night at the ballpark as the Dodgers will celebrate Taiwanese culture, and host Taiwan Night. Many festivities will be held on the field before first pitch, including a ceremony for the Taiwanese lantern in lot G of the parking lot.

Dodgers Starting Lineup

Carl Crawford, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Juan Uribe, 3B
Justin Sellers, SS
Chris Capuano, P

Padres Staring Lineup

Chris Denorfia, RF
Everth Cabrera, SS
Yonder Alsonso, 1B
Jesus Guzman, LF
Jedd Gyorko, 3B
Nick Hundley, C
Cameron Maybin, CF
Alexi Amarista, 2B
Jason Marquis, P

Still looking for Dodgers tickets? It’s not too late to grab your tickets for tonight’s game. Also don’t forget tomorrow night is the Hello Kitty Fleece Blanket giveaway, as the Dodgers finish up with the San Diego Padres. Then the Dodgers head to Baltimore for their first inter-league series of the season. Go blue!

 04/16/2013  Posted by at 5:08 pm Dodgers News 3 Responses »
Apr 162013

Yesterday Ken Gurnick reported that the Dodgers were at an impasse with southpaw Ted Lilly after the 14-year veteran refused a minor league assignment Saturday. The Dodgers now must activate him, designate him for assignment, release him, or trade him.

Gurnick passed on these comments from manager Don Mattingly;

“We laid out a plan and Teddy doesn’t want to be part of the plan. It’s out of my hands. We didn’t feel he was ready to pitch at the Major League level. For me, it’s a baseball decision. It’s nothing personal in any way, shape or form. We’re giving him our baseball thoughts, what we think is best for him and the team.”

It’s worth noting that Mattingly did say using Lilly in relief is a possibility, though it appears that Dodgers and Ted Lilly don’t seem to be thrilled with the scenario. I couldn’t agree more. Sort of a slap in the face to Lilly, no? I can’t really see how Lilly helps the Dodgers much in the bullpen. Seriously, what a mess.

Late yesterday afternoon Lilly agreed to make another minor league rehab start according to Gurnick. So as originally scheduled Lilly will start today for Triple-A Albuquerque. The question now is, will Ted Lilly make another rehab start after today? Or will the Dodgers activate him? This all but looks to be the Dodgers trying to buy some more time before making a decision. Perhaps a sell low trade is in the works. It’s going to be tough for the Dodgers to get a lot of value with Lilly right now, especially at age 37, and a $12MM salary. McCourt still haunts the Ned Colletti and the Dodgers, sigh. Tough break for Colletti, as he certainly has his work cut out for him with Lilly.

 04/16/2013  Posted by at 3:52 pm Dodgers News, Dodgers Rumors No Responses »