Thursday, October 22, 2015

Donnie Was Better With His Cheesy Mustache

Donnie in his Yankee porn-stache days
Donnie is O-U-T

In the wake of Don Mattingly’s ouster as the Dodger’s manager (finally!), I keep thinking about how he will never match the success of his ‘70s porn-star-mustache-playing days with the Yankees. He was arguably one of the greatest players of his generation, but that is not the case in his managerial career. If he can’t take a $300 million dollar team past the first round of the playoffs, he certainly won’t be able to propel a small-market team like the Miami Marlins (one team he is rumored to be a managerial candidate) to any sort of greatness. His laid-back style was popular with the players, but didn’t serve to motivate them to the highest level on the field. His inability to make even standard in-game strategical moves was staggering. My replacement choice would be Dodger fan favorite and seasoned manager, Dusty Baker. We’ll see…

Now that the dust has settled…

It took me a few days to get over that horrible Game 5 loss to the Mets. Like most Dodger losses this season, the starting pitcher did his job well, and the Dodger offense froze on too many occasions. An experienced manager who knows how to manufacture runs and not just wait for the big homer (never came) will help the offense achieve a higher level of play that is crucial to playoff success. Re-signing Zack Greinke to whatever he wants is also a top priority. Adding another top-notch pitcher to slide into the Number 3 slot in the rotation is key. We will be lucky if Hyun-Jin Ryu makes it back from arm surgery, and Brett Anderson won’t repeat his injury-free season. Obviously, the bullpen needs a re-tool. The young studs on the team must be complimented with some vets, but not the Jimmy Rollins over-the-hill kind. The $$ is there, no excuses.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Why Ron Darling Really Hates The Dodgers

Yes, I hate the Dodgers!
TBS Commentator Has A Vested Interest
I just couldn’t stand it anymore; I had to know WHY Ron Darling has it out for the Dodgers. Sure he is a former Met, and like with so many former player announcers, old ties make for an obvious and annoying bias. But there is more. Long-time Dodger fans remember Game 7 of the NLCS against the Mets in 1988: Orel Hershiser pitched a dominant shutout to vault the Dodgers to the World Series. But most probably don’t recall the Mets pitcher who blew the game. Y ep, it was our boy , Ronnie! He gave up 6 runs and didn’t even make it through the 2nd inning. The 27-year hunt for redemption that Darling brings to the booth is both pathetic (you are retired!) and unprofessional. Give the Dodgers their props for rallying hard to bring these two teams to another winner- takes-all game. Or don’t, and give me a reason to swear at you during the game. It’s fun.

How The Dodgers Will Take Game 5.

Three words: Home. Field. Advantage. This and Dodger Cy Young Award candidate, Zack Greinke, are why the Dodgers will take Game 5 against the Mets and advance to the NLCS. As good as Clayton Kershaw throws and competes, one could argue that Greinke is the pitcher the Dodgers want on the mound for the winner-takes-all game. And Greinke’s miniscule ERA and 19 wins this season are just part of the reason. I don’t think there is a pitcher in MLB right now that is calmer or smarter than Greinke. Nothing bothers him, not a home run hit off of him, not an error by a teammate behind him, not a raucous stadium. Nothing. The guy is just cool. His baseball I.Q. is also off the charts. His game preparation is insane—besides watching film he also keeps his own notes on every at-bat every player has ever had against him! He uses this information and player tendencies to really, and I mean really, mess with a hitter’s mind. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and with a bit of timely hitting, the Dodgers will win it.
I'm a total jerk, no two ways about it

Mets’ Daniel Murphy Annoys Me and Other Random NLDS Thoughts

  • Mets fans probably think 2B Daniel Murphy’s constant chatter with the ump is cute. I don’t. Neither does Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis. 
  • Please, Mattingly, don’t play Carl Crawford in Game 5 just because of the old lefty vs righty deal. He is D-O-N-E. 
  • Bartolo Colon’s belly makes me laugh. Did he really get suspended for PEDs a few years ago? 
  • I hate the Tigers for trading Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets. He scares me. 
  • The Dodgers really owe the Cubs for vanquishing the Cardinals. Mattingly and Co. really did not want to go down that road again. 
  • If the Dodgers make it to the NLCS, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny won’t be around to order a broken rib to the Dodgers’ best player like he did in 2013. That guy plays dirty. Good riddance. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Donnie Baseball: You're Freakin' Killin' Me!

Donnie can't hide behind his shades
More Baddingly Moves

As the Dodgers face elimination tonight in Game 4 of the NLDS, I can’t help it—I want to slap manager Don Mattingly silly. His in-game “strategy” continues to confound L.A. fans. Going back to Game 1, he let an obviously spent Clayton Kershaw (game time temperature was 100 degrees) stay in the game, behind 1-0 in the 7th inning, until he walked the bases loaded. Then he brought in Pedro Baez, arguably the worst reliever in their bullpen in that type of situation. While his stats look decent from afar, up close, Mattingly KNOWS that batters have around a .330 batting average against Baez on his first batter of an inning. Of course David Wright lines a two-run single, effectively ending the Dodgers chances. In Game 3 he not only inserted dead-legged, weak-armed, no- hits-left-in-his bat Jimmy Rollins into the lineup, but also batted him second. WTF, Donnie!

Dodgers in 5.

Yes, I know that Kershaw is going on short rest tonight, and that has not usually boded well for him in the past, but I believe that he will come up big in tonight’s game. He will finally get the monkey off his back and win a huge postseason game for the Dodgers. Losing streaks only last so long for great players, and Kershaw is one of those types. The matchup is also favorable for Kershaw and the Dodgers, as Stephen Matz, the lefty going for the Mets, is coming off of a back problem, and the rookie is starting only his seventh game. Matz will either succumb to his creaky back or the weight of a stadium full of playoff starved Mets fans. Kershaw will thrive and carry his team. Also on the Dodgers side is that their big bats are awakening—finally. Gonzalez and Henricks both homered in the loss yesterday, and Justin Turner continues to scorch the ball. I think Kershaw will go 6 strong innings, followed by 1 nail-biting inning from Chris Hatcher, and 2 from closer Kenley Jansen because it’s now or never. Then it’s Grienke pitching in Game 5 and onto the LCS.

Ugly Uniforms And Other Random NLDS Thoughts
  • Mets donning minor league uniforms
    Pinstripe pants and a solid jersey is a good look…if you are playing in Double A. 
  • Noah Syndergaard’s big eye (or little one, depending on how you look at it) kind of freaks me out. Not trying to be mean. Just sayin’. 
  • I love hearing Mets fans chanting “we want Utley.” Not gonna happen unless they go back to L.A. Haha! 
  • Mets pitchers Noah Synergaard and Jacob deGrom should have a man-bun-off. 
  • I love that the Cardinals are down 2 -1 to the Cubs. I still think St. Louis will win though. Sorry Cubbies. 
  • Sorry Ernie Johnson, but MLB is not your thang. You are better hanging at halftime with the Chuckster. 
  • Ron Darling needs to dial back his Met-ness. I can’t stand his bias. I really want the Dodgers to wipe that stupid smirk off of his face. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Let’s Talk NLDS Play-Offs: Mets vs. Dodgers

Old Jimmy tries to get his swing on
Rookie vs. Old Vet?

A manager can’t fool around or take many chances in postseason baseball, especially when it comes to a key position like shortstop. But what should Dodgers manager, Don Mattingly, do about his Corey Seager vs. Jimmy Rollins “problem”? Seager has hit the cover off the ball in the 27 games he has played since being called up to the show (.337 batting average, 4 home runs, 17 runs batted in); he has also played solid in the field. However, Rollins, though he played his worst professional season this year (.224 batting average, 8 home runs, 41 runs batted in), and has at times looked like a grandpa in the field, has 15 years on his side (including a world series title). 

Corey Seager ripping the cover off one
In other words, Jimmy won’t rattle, but does he have any big flies left in his bat? Who would you pencil into the lineup? I would go for hot-hitting Seager for the first two games at home, and if he falters, bring in Rollins in New York.

Yasiel Puig in better days
To Puig Or Not To Puig?

Another big question for Don Mattingly and the Dodger brain trust is whether or not to include right fielder, Yasiel Puig, on the playoff roster. There appears to be an opening for a right-handed hitter since Scott Van Slyke's sore wrist is not ready for primetime, but is reinstating Puig a good idea? Many of his teammates have privately shared that he is not a positive force in the clubhouse, and he is more likely to blow out of one of his two messed up hammys again than he is to help the team win. Sounds harsh, I know, especially because I really like Puig, despite his shaky reputation in the league. He loves to play the game and plays hard, but this is a throwaway season for him. The best thing at this point is to support his teammates from the bench, get healthy, and work his butt of all winter long to come back strong next season and prove everybody wrong. I can't believe I am saying this, but I think the Dodgers should fill that last outfield spot with vanilla-flavored, Chris Heisey. Oh, man. That is sad. Sorry, Chris--prove me wrong. Please.

Who ya gonna call?
Dodger Bullpen Makes me Need a Diaper Change

I am descending into potty humor with this one, but I know I am not alone when I admit that every time I see Don Mattingly signal for a pitching change, I feel like I do after eating a bad burrito. Aside from closer Kenley Jansen, who is having another stellar season, the bullpen has been pretty atrocious most of the year. I will say that some of the guys are showing improvement lately, but on the whole, these guys just can't seem to hold a lead or keep things close. It's pretty evident that if the Dodgers fail to make a big splash this postseason, the bullpen will probably be the main cause. Kershaw and Greinke will probably be light’s out, but they will need other guys to hold it down for the eighth and ninth and maybe even the seventh, given how many innings Mattingly has left them out there during the regular season. Chris Hatcher and Pedro Baez make me the most nervous when they take the mound. How about you?

So...Mets Or Dodgers? Who Do You Pick?

I am going with the Dodgers in 4 games. Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke should take care of Games 1 and 2 at home, as they have proved their dominance all season. The Dodgers won't be able to fight jetlag in Game 3 and will lose to Mets ace, Matt Harvey. Kershaw will take the ball on short rest for Game 4 and wrap things up. If not, the Dodgers can count on their other standout, Grienke, to continue his amazing season in Game 5 at Dodgers Stadium.