31 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers/Yanks Game 1

Dodgers Squeak by Yanks

Another well pitched game last night, by both sides. The Dodgers prevailed in the 9th on an M. Ellis base-hit. The Great Vin Scully was telling old time Yankee/ Dodger stories all night. It was heaven. What will become of us when the Great One retires?

Before the game, I heard that the Dodgers had signed Brian Wilson. I was hoping it was the Beach Boy but soon learned it was the former Giant weirdo closer. Don’t we have enough with Puig? This brings me to one of my pet peeves about many ball players. Most business professionals go to work well dressed and groomed.  Ball players, on the other hand, wear ropes and plastic necklaces around their necks. They are often unshaven. They wear their jerseys unbuttoned and many look like cons on parole.

(Ed. note: I think players with personalty are a fun novelty and make the game more interesting.)

Several years ago they began wearing long pants, the sox and stirrups no longer visible, the hems of the pants resting on the shoes, the gangster/criminal style of wearing pants. Of course this is a result of the criminal element of the country joining the mainstream in the form of music video and the tradition of the youth emulating celebrities.

Maybe if the players on the field didn’t look like riff raff, there would be less riff raff and the stands.

(Ed. note: I respectfully disagree with this assertion. Long pants are nothing new and are not indicative nor reflective of criminal undertones.)

29 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers/Reds

Big Rob is back with his thoughts...

Dodgers Take Three of Four from Reds

The Dodgers won in dramatic fashion yesterday. The Cuban Rocket hit a walk off home run in the 11th. I did not get a chance to watch the game but I imagine the Great Vin Scully must have been thrilled with the pitching duel. The Red’s Cingrani gave up only one hit in seven innings. Copuano and the pen were great.

There has been a lot of talk on social media about the Cuban Rocket and his antics. I will just say this, Puig is a jackass but he is our jackass.

This series with the Reds was a big test for the re-born Dodgers. Washington and Toronto were two teams that were struggling but the Reds came into town with a full head of steam. The Dodgers faced
excellent pitching and prevailed.

Today is a day off for the Blue. Dodgers face the Yanks on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Yanks are a
shadow of their former selves.

Ethier’s poor clutch hitting.

Puig   188 AB 23 RBI

Uribe  214  30

AJ Ellis 250  32

M.Ellis  268 33

Ethier   351 AB 36 RBI

Ethier will be the odd man out next year.

(Ed. Note: We at Curse of the Piazza do not endorse using RBIs as a meaningful statistic - but Ethier may very well be the odd man out, though with the injury history of both Crawford and Kemp he might prove to be a valuable piece to keep in the fold. The emergence of OF prospect Joc Pederson could throw more chaos into the mix but the problem of "which above-average OF should I play out of the 5 on the team?" is a great problem to have. -RMM)

Thanks, Big Rob!

25 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers' Sweep of Jays

Dodgers Steamroll Jays

Dodgers played their last game of a three game series in Toronto yesterday. Early on in the game they were back to their old ways again. Jays' starting pitcher, Esmil Rogers repeatedly allowed two runners to get on base with no outs but the Dodgers could not push them over. Hanley Ramirez, who had been en fuego, was not hitting. The Dodgers tied the game in the 9th and blue (not sp) up in the 10th, scoring 5 runs on homeruns by M. Ellis and the Cuban Rocket. Ethier also drove in two runs in the inning.

Ever since I began picking on Ethier, he has been driving in runs. I wonder who I should pick on next.

Ricky Nolasco pitched good enough to win. It is clear that Capuano is the weak link of the rotation. He is either very good or very bad with no middle ground.

Word has it the Dodgers arrived home a couple of hours ago. It’s 730am pacific as I write. No rest for the weary.

The Dodgers play a very good Reds team tonight at the Ravine. Can’t wait to hear The Great Vin Scully’s take on the Dodger Juggernaut.

Notes: Yesterday during the pre-game show, Steiner announced that Kemp had been placed on the DL AGAIN with a bad ankle, God's punishment for not hustling...

Thanks, Big Rob!

24 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers/Jays

Guest Blogger Big Rob is back for more...


Two days ago, through the magic of DVR, I was able to watch almost the entire Dodgers / Jays game after work. I had to be careful not to listen to any news report on the car radio.

The game reminded me of an Albuquerque Isotopes game.  Almost every ball hit seemed to have afterburners on. I finally had to go to sleep in the bottom of the eighth.  They were up by ten and I figured it was Brandon League time.

I was furious at the beginning of the game. Psycho and Collins were talking about the injury to Kemp. If there is one thing that burns me up is a player who does not respect the game enough to play it correctly. He did not hustle and because of this, he got hurt.

The extra man in the game two days ago was Shumaker, not exactly a terror with the bat. Yes, I know, he hit one out. But that’s beside the point.

I made an observation yesterday. Ethier has some type of mental block which makes him incapable of driving in runs. He came up twice with no one on and doubled each time. The only way you can score a run with Ethier hitting is if he hits into a double play which he did. Donny Baseball should put him in the leadoff spot.

On a side note, Psycho and Collins are terrible. I know we have been spoiled by the Great Vin Scully but they are bad. I didn’t think Ross Porter was so bad and though Big D was not a sportscaster by trade, I liked the insider’s view he brought to broadcast. Monday was OK but just barely. Monday has now fallen in with the bad habits and bad broadcasting of Steiner. It not just that Vin is so great -- just listen to some of the other broadcasters. I don’t want to see anyone lose their jobs but they are terrible. Maybe they can both be given jobs on the pre and post-game shows instead...


Donny Baseball? I don’t know.

Yesterday, the Dodgers had their most impressive come-from-behind victory this year.

They were down 8-3 to the Blue Jays late in the game. Their bats overwhelmed a very good Blue Jays bullpen and won the game 10-9. Jenson tried to give the game back in the 9th but he just couldn’t do it.

You guys are probably saying, “That guy was just badmouthing Ethier and saying he does not drive in runs." Well, if I have room in this column, I will badmouth him some more.

Maybe it just me and perhaps success will prove me wrong but I am not convinced with Donny Baseball as a manager. In the first half, the team couldn’t score to save its life. Donny was not very proactive. I saw several opportunities to squeeze runs over. Many times in the first half I saw runners at third and a weak hitter at the plate (ie. Punto and the rest of the team with the exception of Gonzalez) and never once did Donny squeeze.

The night before last, A.J. Ellis had the best game of his life driving in 5 runs. What does Donny do? He sits him. Ellis had a day off in D.C. he did not need the rest and if you must rest him, DH him.

Donny seems to be in love with Punto. Punto tries hard and always hustles but he is a lifetime .247 hitter. He is hitting .242 this year. Uribe is finally hitting. He is a very good fielder on a poor fielding team. Good ole Donny rests Uribe every other day. Why? He has been resting for two years. The bench had to play a lot the first half due to injuries. They have played too much. Let the bench sit now Donny.

The only one Donny does not sit is Gonzalez. Maybe because they are both first basemen and realistically he can’t afford to sit him but he could DH for one or two games. I am not going to blame the Marmol debacle on Donny Baseball. Marmol was probably forced on him by Colletti. Why, when we already have League?

Colletti should have been fired after signing Jason Schmidt.

One final observation, a missile is a guided weapon. It carries an on-board guidance system. A brain if you will. The term Cuban Missile is much too generous to describe Puig. I think he should be called the Cuban Rocket. A rocket is an unguided weapon with no guidance system. No brain if you will.  (Ed. note: Ouch.)


Thanks, Big Rob!

23 July 2013

Big Rob's Take: From 'wait till next year' to 'who would have thunk it?'

Today, COTP's guest columnist Big Rob (my dad), shares his own Dodgerly bewilderment and glee:

Greeting long suffering Dodger fans,

It’s been some time since my last guest column. You remember: the one in which I was excited about the new baseball season and the Yankees west.

The first two months of the season, the Dodgers tore my heart out and stabbed it with a dagger.  I was beginning to sing, "Wait Till Next Year."

When they brought up Puig (aka The Cuban Missile [ed. note: they need to rename the RF Field section the Bay of Puigs]) my thoughts were, "the guy is exciting like a wild horse but they are still losing."

He was a distraction like a cruise missile fired at an empty tent.  It took a few games but the energy this wild guy brought became contagious (not to mention Ramirez coming back from the DL breathing fire).

The Dodgers were in first place for about three hours two days ago (ed. note: they're now alone in first place) Not bad for a team that was in last place just a month ago. I have to be honest and point out that every team in the west stinks.

I had the pleasure of watching the Dodgers sweep the Nats this weekend. Kemp came back from the DL and went 3-4 with a homerun but late in the game he reverted to his base running bonehead ways. He did not hustle while running from third to home. When he realized he had to hustle he twisted his ankle while stepping on the plate and the catcher’s shoe.

What’s a matter Matty, they aint paying you enough? Is Puig’s base running bone headedness contagious?

I am cautiously optimistic and hoping this will be the year we lift the curse. Even the curse of the Bambino was lifted.   If the Dodgers can manage a playoff spot, there is no telling how far the starting pitching can take them.


Thanks, Big Rob!

22 July 2013

Most Consecutive Seasons Having Only One All-Star

Did this research tonight after wondering if the current Astros have a chance to break the record for most consecutive seasons sending the bare minimum amount of players to the All-Star game. Apparently not -- or at least, not any time soon:

Longest Consecutive Streak of Having Only One All-Star 
(per team, minimum 5 years)

Brewers: 10 (89-98)
Mariners: 10 (77-86)*
Twins: 10 (78-87)
Senators/Rangers: 10 (61-68)* +
Padres: 9 (68-77)*
Tigers: 9 (95-03)
Royals: 9 (04-12)
Expos: 9 (69-77)*
Devil Rays: 8 (00-07)
Blue Jays: 7 (77-83)*
Mets: 7 (62-67)* +
Pirates: 7 (49-55)**
Orioles: 6 (06-11)
Phillies: 6 (68-73)
White Sox: 5 (76-80)
Athletics: 5 (05-09)
Reds: 5 (05-09)

+There were two All-Star games in 1961/62 and the Senators sent one player to each in both years. The Mets were formed a year later in 1962 and sent one man (Richie Ashburn) to each game in that year.

*Streak begins in expansion year
**Particularly amazing considering there were only like 8 teams in the National League at the time

Some things to take away... 

First, expansion teams have tended to struggle in catching up to the rest of the pack, though none of the four most recent additions -- the (Devil) Rays, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Marlins -- sport long streaks from their outset. This is because the D'Backs stumbled onto Randy Johnson in 1999, the Devil Rays managed to snag Jose Canseco the same year, the Rockies sported the mid-90s Blake Street Bombers, and the Marlins managed two all-stars (Bobby Bonilla, Brian Harvey) in their first season. Expansion was probably an easier racket in 1993 than it was in 1961.

Second, it's much harder to sport a ton of All-Stars these days than it was in, say, 1940. This is because there are 15 teams in each league today as opposed to 8 back then. As I mentioned above, this makes the Pirates' 1949-55 stretch of All-Star singularity quite impressive (or depressive -- whatever). The National League only featured eight teams during that seven year period but the Pirates were so bad (or unpopular -- probably both) that they only sent one man to the Midsummer Classic in each of those seasons. 

I should make a note that All-Star squads in 1949 sported only 25 roster spots per league. In 2013, the American League named 41 All-Stars, though six of those were injury replacements. 
Thirty-five All-Stars for a 15-team league equals 2.33 All-Stars per team. 
Twenty-five all-stars for an 8-team league equals 3.12 All-Stars per team. 
Even 41 All-Stars, if we count the injured parties, comes out to 2.73 All-Stars per team. 

Basically, the 1949-1955 Pirates, who (surprise, surprise, Pirates fans) never put up a winning season, really sucked.

One final housekeeping note: there are plenty of teams like the Nats/Expos and Twins that had multiple 5-year stretches of only one all-star. I didn't want to clutter up my list though so I just took each franchise's longest.

Big Rob will have a post tomorrow.