19 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: The Fruits of Victory and a Dip in the Pool

Big Rob's take:

My fellow Dodger fans, I am at a loss for words. After years of suffering under the heel of the heel McCourt, we have been delivered from the hands of Pharaoh.

Today, the Dodger went ahead in the third when Hanley Ramirez hit a three run homerun. In the other half of the third, the D’Backs (whose name should be the Apaches) came back with six runs off Nolasco. The beast Goldschmidt drove in two that inning. The Dodgers mounted a comeback lead by Hanley and AJ Ellis. The final was 8-7 and the West was theirs. It was a pleasure to hear the Great Vin Scully commenting on the victory after the last out was recorded.

The Dodgers went into the club house to celebrate and a short time later, they ran out onto the field and jumped into the Diamondback (Apache) pool:

Miguel Montero and Gibby were probably steamed (editor's note: "F*** 'em - serves those headhunters right."). I’m sure this will not be the last time we will hear about this antic. Rabid Dodger fan Tolete commented that the Dodgers had probably urinated in the pool. I’m sure we will get a report tomorrow regarding the pool’s PH level. 

I hope this does not bring on The Curse of the Chase Field Pool.

The Dodgers have been shaky the last ten games. They should use the remaining games to rest some of the gimpy starters. It would be nice to have the best record in the National League but it would be better to go into the playoff with everyone healthy.

(Editor's note: the team with the best record in the NL has not won the WS since the Atlanta Braves pulled it off in 1995 - 18 years ago! Big Rob is right. Rest. Rest. Rest.)

17 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: Ice Cold

Big Rob on the Dodgers' recent struggles:

Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched a complete game 2 hitter last night. What a pitching performance! Only one problem, one of the two hits was a home run to Goldschmidt after he had given up his only walk of the game. That guy Goldschmidt should be caged.

The Dodgers have now lost four straight and can’t hit in the clutch to save their lives. Last night they couldn’t hit at all. They had four hits. The usually reliable Gonzalez has looked terrible. I hope they clinch the west soon so Gonzalez can have about a week off.

The Dodgers' great play after the All-Star game and the poor teams of the National League West will make them the division champs. After that, things don’t look promising. If they were going into the playoffs tomorrow, I would bet on three and out. The Dodgers have reverted back to the team we saw in May.

It appears that Hanley Ramirez is the key to this team. Hanley is out with a bad back and hamstring. They need to get this guy back healthy before the playoffs. Matt Kemp was activated yesterday. He came in to pinch hit and struck out. I think Kemp is just going to gum up the works. He should have taken the rest of the year off.


You've got a point, Big Rob. The team is playing arctic-level ball at the moment. Now -- is this just the natural regression that undoubtedly comes after a monumental stretch of play like the one earlier or have the wheels really begun to come off?

The benefit of having pretty much wrapped up the division is that we can send out the B-squads and rest the weary. A.J. Ellis looks gassed and I'd like to see Butera and Federowicz get more time behind the plate so that A.J. is fully rested for the postseason.

The optimal playoff lineup will not include Punto, Schumaker, and Chili Buss. If the team limps in these final few weeks -- I'm okay with that, as long as the limp heals before October 1. Kemp has these two weeks to audition for the postseason. He can't be allowed to play hurt and negatively affect the rest of the club. But it's hard to argue that he wouldn't help the team as long as he proves he's healthy enough to contribute.

The silver lining here is that Ryu pitched well and that no one else got hurt. The 9th inning decision to bunt Uribe would have made me furious in June but doesn't bother me so much now that the season is wrapped up. Hopefully Donnie will learn his lesson.

Finally, the most interesting topic that no one seems to be talking about is the finite number of spots on the playoff roster versus the multitude of active ballplayers on the current roster. The Dodgers clubhouse currently hosts 36 players. Who will make the postseason bullpen? Do you let Marmol, Wilson, League, and Volquez on the roster? Do you leave off Chris Withrow? How about the bench situation? Punto, Hairston, Schumaker, Young, and Kemp can't all be on the postseason squad. And Michael Young CANNOT start ahead of Uribe under any circumstance.

The final weeks of the season will be fascinating to watch in some ways and an absolute bore in others. September always has this saddening effect on me with football overtaking everyone's attention and the race for the postseason taking a back seat. Teams like the Mariners, Angels, Padres, Mets, and Twins play out the rest of their purgatorial schedules with no real hope of anything (except a higher draft pick.) Hopefully we get a few nice races for the Wild Cards and some neat moments like the Longoria walk-off two seasons ago or the Pirates clinching the division for the first time since my 20 year-old brother was in diapers. Either way, the Boys of Summer have come and gone and the Ghosts of early Autumn are here to stay until the postseason begins.

10 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: Uribe Smokes the D'Backs

My dad, Big Rob, is on the Uribe beat...


After the 2010 season Juan Uribe signed a three year $21 million dollar contract with the Dodgers. Uribe played like a first class bum for two years. Now, in the final year of his contract Uribe is playing very well, especially in the field, and he is hitting .279.

Last night, Uribe had four hits including three home runs. He drove in four runs. Ramirez, Gonzalez and Ethier also hit home runs. The Dodgers crushed the D’Backs 8-1. Ricky Nolasco pitched 6.1 strong innings and allowed only one unearned run.

Uribe’s 2010 signing was destined to go on the heap of uber bad deals dreamed up by good ole Ned Colletti. (Jason Schmidt three years, $47 million, Juan Pierre five year, $44 million, and Andruw Jones two year, $36 million). How Colletti survived these debacles is beyond me. The worst in my opinion was Schmidt. A blind man could have seen there was something wrong with him.

If the Dodgers win the World Series, the Uribe signing will be forgiven. I just hope Ned does not lose his brain and offer Uribe another three-year contract.

Notes: I really dislike the name Diamondbacks. I think the team ownership realizes that it’s a dumb name for a ball club. Evidence of this is how they have cut the name down to D’Backs. The team should have been named either the Phoenix Firebirds which was the name of the triple A club or Arizona Apaches with the head of a screaming Geronimo as the mascot. I prefer Apaches, political correctness be damned.


Thanks, Big Rob. Note that the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the management... I actually like that they're the D'Backs if only for this low-hanging fruit:

09 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: Red Broom Sweeps Dodgers

Big Rob's here to lament Los Angeles' recent string of losses.

The Dodgers went to Cincy on Friday to play their final three games against foes outside the Western Division. The Dodger bullpen lost all three games, each game by one run.

The wild card teams in the National League will most certainly come out of the Central Division. This means the Dodgers will play one of three teams: St. Louis, Pittsburgh, or Cincy. They better hope it’s the Pirates.

The Dodgers are struggling with the bats again. They had one game in Denver that they hit the ball hard but since then they have gone flat. They managed only 7 runs in the three games with the Reds. They are still committing little league running blunders of which none can be blamed on The Cuban Rocket.

Kershaw pitched yesterday and though it is not obvious in the box score, he struggled. He hit three batters and gave up two solo homers. The thing about Kershaw is that when he does not have his best stuff, he is still better than most pitchers. He only gave up two runs and really battled. He gave his team a chance to win.

The bullpen is struggling. All of a sudden, Paco Rodriguez can’t get anyone out and Belisario, who lost two of the games, looks like the Ronald from the first half.

The Dodgers are fortunate to be in the weakest division in baseball. Though they lost four games in a row, they have managed to shave two games off the magic number thanks to the D’Backs’ poor play.

Dodgers Notes: Matt Kemp was sent to Rancho Cucamonga of the California League for a rehab assignment. He went 0-18. He was then sent to the Arizona Instructional League where he reinjured his hamstring. Kemp should be placed in a plastic bubble for the rest of the year.

A few weeks ago we learned that Dodgers fans would be spared from having to listen to Steiner, Monday, Psycho, and Collins full-time in 2014 when the Great Vin Scully announced he would return for the 2014 season. The Great Vin Scully has also been selected to be the Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade. I may have to get up early New Year’s Day to hear his opening remarks.


Thanks, Big Rob!

28 August 2013

Big Rob's Take: Philadelphia Trip. Also, Dodger Train Beginning to Slow?

Big Rob's take on recent Dodgerly events, as well as our trip to Philadelphia:


August 28, 2013

I was away from my typewriter and could not write for the Curse of the Pizza last week. I traveled to DC to confer with the editor and chief.

The Chief and I traveled to Philadelphia on August 18, 2013, to see the boys in blue. Due to all the toll booths, I thought we might run out of money before reaching the stadium.

Citizen Bank Park is a beautiful stadium. It is the best stadium I have ever been in. An hour and a half before the game, the concourses and restaurant areas in the ballpark fill with people. The smoke and smells of items being grilled travel through the insides of the stadium, tempting you to get a cheese steak, BBQ or frank.

The chief and I were excited at the prospect of extra baseball. The game was tied in the ninth. Prior to the game we took on ballast in the form of a Pat’s cheese steak. We were ready to go 18.

But Hanley made two errors in the ninth and dashed our hopes for extra innings. Ever since that loss the boys have not been quite as dominant. Don’t get me wrong, they are playing well, but the express has slowed. Our trip to Philly was not a total loss; we comforted ourselves with a very good pizza after the game.

Last night was Rick Monday bobble head at the stadium. The figure has Mo in a Cub’s uniform saving the American flag from two hippies who had run onto the field with the intent of burning it. This incident happened during the 1976 season, the bicentennial year. I was a young kid in 76. I remember seeing the photo of Mo saving the flag in one of the local papers. In those days, the only home games that were televised were playoff games. Fortunately someone was filming the incident and there is a video record.

A recording of the Great Vin Scully calling the play also exists. Vin can be heard saying “I think that guy was going to burn the American flag, can you believe that?” Rick Monday a former Marine made the greatest play of his career that day.

Last night Kershaw was on the mound. He managed to lower his ERA but still lost the game. Same old story, they did not hit for him.

As I type the boys in blue are beating the Cubbies 4-0.


And they ended up winning the game thanks to a solid pitching performance by Ricky Nolasco and home runs from Messrs.  Ethier and Ramirez

The trek to Philadelphia was my second trip to that city and, likewise, my second foray into Citizen's Bank Park. Big Rob is quite correct -- the place is a fantastic venue and a great place to watch a ballgame. As much as I love the charm of Dodger Stadium, I hope that our new owners take it upon themselves to renovate the place in a way similar to the "Next 50" plan proposed during the McCourt years. The typical ballpark experience in stadiums around the country has vastly improved over the past twenty-five years. It's time for the Ravine to catch up.

14 August 2013

Big Rob's Take: Dodgers Slay All Before Them

My dad, Big Rob, back with more thoughts on the indestructible Dodgers:


Last night the Dodgers faced off against a very good pitcher, Matt Harvey of the Mets. Harvey has the second best ERA in the National League. The Dodger lineup, sans Ethier and Ramirez, eventually wore him down and the team won 4-2. Hyun-Jin Ryu is now 12-3 with an ERA under 3.

The Great Vin Scully use to say, “hitting gets the headlines and pitching gets the job done.” In baseball, truer words have never been spoken. The other Los Angeles team who plays in Anaheim should take note. Much has been said about the hitting of the Cuban Rocket, Hanley, and Gonzalez but the reason for the Dodgers' success lies in the pitching staff. They are untouchable right now. We have to hold our breath tonight though because Capuano is pitching.

I was watching one of games this past weekend and they showed a panoramic view of the stadium from the upper deck behind home plate. The stadium was full. A year ago they would show the stands and it looked like a Marlins game. Last night they sold 46,000 tickets. I thought the damage done by the Beantown Carpetbagger and the thugs beating poor fans into comas was irreversible. A great deal of praise and thanks is owed to the new Dodger management.

Do you remember when, during the McCourt era, our best off-season signing was Jamey Carroll? McCourt is very, very bad man who should be turned into a jack-in-the-box.

12 August 2013

Big Rob's Take: Dodgers Steamroll Rays

Big Rob's take:

A very good Tampa Rays team came to the ravine this weekend. The Dodgers made short work of them.

On Friday, due to some bad defense and Chris Capuano, the Dodgers were down early 6-0. I was dead tired and thinking it was a lost cause, went to bed. I tried listening to the game while in bed but Steiner put me to sleep like the sandman. Next morning, I got up early for a walk and soon learned that they had scored four in the ninth and won. It appears that these Dodgers can do nothing wrong.

The Dodgers are now 17 games above .500 with a 7.5 game league over Arizona and they are beginning to run away in the west. Someone should check the toilet in Donny Baseball’s office to see if his stools are golden too. It seems that only the shaky defense can stop the Dodgers.

Yesterday I tuned in the watch Kershaw and hoped they would hit for him. Turns out Kershaw would only need the two runs he drove in to win. Kershaw breezed through the game with the exception of the 5th inning when he allowed a run on two hits. Dee Gordon tried his best to help the Rays by committing three errors but try as he might, Kershaw would shut down Gordon the rally starter.

Puig Dolt Notes: In the first game Puig made back to back wild throws from the outfield to home plate, twice missing the cutoff man and allowed the runner to advance. Later in the dugout, Adrian Gonzalez could be seen giving Puig a tongue lashing. In last night’s game, Puig missed the squeeze sign. He also must have missed Tim Wallach, the 3rd base coach, whispering in his ear that the squeeze was on.


Thanks, Big Rob!