No, it’s not a post about money …
With today’s post there will be no foaming at the mouth, no rants or the brilliant analysis you usually find on ITHBOTB. Nope, today I’m just going to celebrate a wonderful Sunday at a billiard with two of my five kids.
The twins (Nick and Sam) and I made the hour drive south to Municipal Stadium in San Jose to soak up the sunshine and watch the California League (Advanced A) match-up between the Dodgers’ affiliate, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the San Jose Giants … affiliate of, well, you know.
Even though the Bad Guys won we had a great time at the funky old ballpark digging the Minor League vibe. It may not be one of baseball’s cathedrals but it is definitely a nice little chapel and a great place to celebrate Father’s Day.
Seems Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal had a rather heated exchange in the middle of the sixth inning last night. Heated = Passion … that can be a very good thing.
We’ve seen the numbers and they’re otherworldly. We’ve watched him for years now and there is no denying this man is a singular talent. So far in 2016 he is literally carrying this team. Anyone who begrudges Mr. Kershaw the title of MVP is just not paying attention.
In the midst of what, at least so far, has been a very disappointing season in Dodgertown, last night’s loss to the D-Backs was especially painful for many Dodger fans. Never mind the Boys in Blue fell six games behind the stinking Giants in the standings, it was the name of the winning pitcher in the box score that was especially grating.
Yes, that Zack Greinke, the one who pitched three spectacular seasons in L.A. only to opt-out of a very rich contract in order to sign an even richer one with division rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This perceived “failure” by the Dodger front office to re-sign one of the game’s top pitchers has been nothing less than rabidly controversial among fans of the team. It has also resulted in an overwhelming demand for Andrew Friedman voodoo dolls (Amazon is working overtime to keep up with the orders) and the appearance of Farhan Zaidi effigies hanging from lampposts along Vin Scully Avenue. The natives are, indeed, restless.
Now, I happen to be among those who think it was prudent for the Dodgers to allow Greinke to bolt for the desert, after all, he’s not exactly going to pitch them into the postseason this year, is he? Besides, over the long haul, let’s see how hamstrung the D-Backs are as they cope with becoming competitive again with an aging quarter of a billion dollar albatross hanging around their neck. They’re not L.A., they can’t absorb the financial blunders that the Dodgers seem to be able to make without batting an eye (or batting anything else for that matter).
Still, it was tough to watch Zack pitch against us. But, let’s be honest, with the way the Dodgers are hitting even Jake Peavy looks like a Cy Young contender.
Injuries, Slumps and the Proverbial “Panic Button”
It’s no secret the offense is struggling and I can’t help but feel sorry for the Whiz Kids in the front office taking heat for the team’s mediocre performance. Come on, you couldn’t predict the usually consistent bats of guys like A-Gone, Turner, Howie and Kiké would suddenly evaporate like a Dasani on the surface of the sun, could you? Now, we might have guessed the likes of Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, A.J. and various platooners would bite big ones, but what are you gonna do? Somebody has to catch. When the 79 year old second-baseman, Chase Utley, is among your best hitters at somewhere around .260, you’ve really gotta stretch the facts to fit your optimism. Unfortunately, that’s where we are.
So, what’s the solution? Better hitters, right? How about we get a healthy Andre Ethier back in the lineup? Wait, there’s no such thing as a healthy Andre Ethier. Dré is healing slowly from a freakish fractured tibia and his return is uncertain. Some have even expressed concern that his career might be in danger. That’s the frightening reality of the seriousness of his injury.
So, that outfield “glut” is no longer a concern is it? Crawford is gone. Alex Guerrero is gone. Van Slyke is trying to play his way back from injury. Puig is … Puig? Yasiel is a guy I love to root for, but he is NOT adjusting to the way the rest of the league pitches to him. He is disposed of consistently by the same pattern of pitches he sees at-bat after at-bat. I love him, but not enough to carry him as a sub .250 hitter who still runs the bases like a Jerry Lewis impersonator on meth.
So, what to do? What to do?
Trades? It’s possible, but this front office prizes “prospects” to an almost irrational degree. To trade for any kind of impact bat it will take parting with some of that vaunted young depth. Is that one reason Julio Urias is in the rotation? Is he being showcased? Seems implausible but what if Tampa Bay (where Friedman has history) could be persuaded to part with Evan Longoria? They would have to be intrigued by acquiring a future ace for a player that they haven’t won with in awhile anyway. Throw in another prospect or two and you might see some action. Longoria is only 29 and would assure the Dodgers production at the hot corner for years. He’d look pretty good hitting behind Corey Seager, wouldn’t he? If you keep Turner, he could go back to that Super Utility Role where he excelled. He can play second, third, short or the outfield. Or even bring some value on the trade market.
Perhaps Ryan Braun could be available. We know the Giants are kicking the tires on him and we don’t want to see his bat in San Francisco, do we? Might be able to get the Brewers to take Puig and prospects for him. He’d be a more reliable middle of the order bat than we currently possess. Smoothing to think about, ain’t it?
As I sit in my lair here on the corner of 3rd and Channel I can still detect the smell of soggy garlic fries in the chill morning air. The echo of the Giants Fan’s giddy chortles and “Beat L.A.” mantra wafts past my window as I gaze forlornly at The Bay. Although my heart is broken, I still have some things to say to the Orange & Black Scourge that are my
(obnoxious) neighbors. Mainly, my message is; not so fast you Posey Poseurs! You may have gotten the two of three and, sure, we leave McCovey Cove five games back, but you should keep in mind:
- All three games were decided by one run. Nobody “dominated” anybody.
- Neither team is displaying any offense but the Dodgers came into AT&T with only two players hitting over .250 so far in June (Seager and Trayce Thompson). As evidence of the depths of our current batting woes, Jake Peavy, yes, THAT Jake Peavy, the one with the ERA bigger than Lasorda’s waist size, actually shut Dem Bums out for six innings. If that’s not proof of a major slump I can’t imagine what is.
- The game the Jints “stole,” game two of the series, was a fluke. It counts in the standings but that was LUCK, pure and simple. A-Gone goes yard in extra innings and that should have been that. But, no, the Giants benefit from the very rare Kenley Jansen blown save. It just doesn’t happen very often and the fact that it did happen Saturday night is just a testament to the Baseball Gods continued willingness to shine their warm light on the Bochy’s Boys sorry butts. Things like that have a way of evening out over the course of a season. You’ll get yours, you cretinous lot of Halloween colored rabble!
- The separation of the two teams in the standings is pretty much thanks to the win-streak the Giants put together those two weeks they played the Padres every day.
That 13 of 15 stretch has been bookended by very mediocre play. You know at some point this season the Dodgers will ride a similar streak or two and you’ll be right back to gearing up for that all important series against the Rockies. I mean, I haven’t checked the schedule but the Giants can’t possibly have any more games against the Padres, can they?
- We can beat Johnny Cueto. We can beat Jeff Smegma Jar. We have beaten MadBum. The fact we make Jake Peavy look like a major league pitcher is one of those random ripples in the
fabric of the cosmos that cannot be rationally explained. You Jints, on the other hand, will not beat Clayton Kershaw. Never again. I promise.
- The rest of the division should fear Julio Urias. In Sunday’s game three of the series he was masterful. Personally, I was surprised to see the kid take the mound in the 6th when his pitch count was over 80. A base hit and a home run should not have cost him a win when his team is up against Peavy and the Giants’ unspectacular bullpen. Julio can now join the ranks of the Dodgers Official Starters Who Pitch Without Run Support. What should worry the Giants is the lefty is getting better with every major league inning he pitches. He has wicked stuff and just needs to learn to use it. He is, after all, only 19. He’ll look even better if Ryu an
d McCarthy get back next month as they’re on track to do.
Well, this marks the last time I’ll see the Dodgers in my backyard until the end of September. Hopefully, I’ll get to celebrate in the stands at AT&T once again. If not, well, my open dislike for the Giants and their fans will only grow more steadfast in the face of adversity. Go Blue!!!