Friday, October 9, 2009

Beating Cardinals: The Dodger Way

Let's talk about it! What a game! Again the odds were stacked against the Dodgers facing yet another Cy Young candidate from St. Louis on Thursday. Still the Dodgers found a way to win with a 21-year-old lefty named Clayton Kershaw, disciplined plate appearance from the entire team and the genius work of Joe Torre. Oh, and the timely help of former Dodger killer Matt Holliday, the hired gun who turned on his own outfit as mercenaries tend to do from time to time. What does this mean for the Dodgers....

First, it means anything is possible with this club. Beating back-to-back Cy-Young caliber pitchers proves there is no duo that the boys in blue can't handle in the playoffs. Clutch plays and epic performances have come from almost every Dodger player (except Manny) in the past two games and the confidence the team has in itself must be off the charts.

Second, Joe Torre is a genius and a perfect match for this team. Giving Kershaw (21 years old) the start, calling for Broxton in the 8th, and sending up Mark Loretta were all moves that proved his managing acumen. More importantly, JoTo&Co have changed the teams attitude and gotten the most out of every player on the roster.

Third, St. Louis is done. What I saw as a better hitting SF Giants team (Cy Young duo with inconsistent line-up) simply doesn't have enough weapons to beat LA. What advantage does St. Louis really have at this point?

Fourth, the Dodgers acquisitions were huge. Belliard and Sherill have been stand-out players for the Dodgers. Many baseball "experts" believed the Dodgers needed a big ticket pitcher like Lee or Halladay to be a contender. Few recognized the Sherill acquisition as being valuable.

Fifth, the Dodgers team is RIDICULOUS. Looking into our dugout yesterday I was simply blown away by this team. Torre, Mattingly, Bowa, Duncan, Ausmus, Martin, Belliard, Blake, Furcal, Hudson, Loney, Loretta, Thome, Ethier, Kemp, Pierre, Manny, Broxton, Weaver, Billingsley, Garland, Kershaw, Padilla, Wolf, Belisario, Kuo, Sherrill, Troncoso, etc. etc. Veteran Gold Gloves, MVP's, All-Stars, World Series Championships, HR kings and so on were hoping to pinch hit while the Dodgers young guns played like champions. I'll bet that there is no award in baseball that someone on this Dodger team hasn't received or will receive in the future. It's almost too much. Hell, we even have two Hall of Fame announcers calling every game.

Despite all of this the Dodgers remain an underdog to beat the Cardinals in Game 3. What? How can this be? The Cards don't have another Cy Young candidate to start, haven't scored more than three runs a game and have Lady Luck working against them. This is the lot of the Dodgers it seems, second class since Brooklyn. Counted out, written off or simply ignored. Remarkably, the underdog reputation continues today despite the Dodger tradition of success against all odds.

So count us out again and expect the Dodgers to loose. We welcome it because we are up to the challenge and love our tradition of doing the impossible...

Holiday (Celebrate)

Holiday Celebrate
Holiday Celebrate


If we took a holiday
Took some time to celebrate
Just one day out of life
It would be, it would be so nice

Everybody spread the word
We`re gonna have a celebration
All across the world
In every nation
It`s time for the good times
Forget about the bad times, oh yeah
One day to come together
To release the pressure
We need a holiday


You can turn this world around
And bring back all of those happy days
Put your troubles down
It`s time to celebrate
Let love shine
And we will find
A way to come together
And make things better
We need a holiday


Holiday Celebrate
Holiday Celebrate


Holiday Celebrate
Holiday Celebrate

Holiday, Celebration
Come together in every nation

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals - 2009 NLDS Preview

It's time for dodger baseball!! Playoff baseball to be exact. So get ready LA, because this year the Dod's mean business. The excitement that Angelinos have enjoyed with the Lakers, USC, UCLA, and yes even our brothers under the command of Dodger legend Mike Scioscia the Angels has made it's way up the 10 Freeway from Staples Center to Chavez Ravine. It is the excitement that can only come from being a contender. The city is hungry for another Championship, it's in the air or smog as the case may be here. Smog Snog whatever... Dodger fans have waited for a team of this caliber for a long time and now, after one of the best seasons in decades, it is time for the boys to put the team from Brooklyn back in their rightful position atop the Major Leagues. Winning a game or even a series doesn't matter this year like it did last year. This time around our coach has a tan, our young kids aren't just potential and we sure as hell won't be afraid to throw inside on when needed! Lookout Philli hurlers....

This year is all about the World Series and the dream match-ups that would lie in store for baseball fans. Joe vs. NY, Manny/Torre back at Fenway or just a good ol' fashion freeway fight vs. Scioscia's Angels. But first there are a couple of other match-ups to worry about. Namely the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Carpenter, a Wainwright and the best player in the game... Albert Pujols. On paper, the Cardy-nals present a pretty convincing case as a top contender for the title this year. The Dodgers by comparison, simply do not offer the same evidence (even with their leading record) and as such are Vegas underdogs in their own house in Game 1 of the NLDS. To these mainstream minds, the Dodgers don't have the pitching or the experience or enough star players not named Manny on their roster. To the Doddie faith, we've heard it all before and enjoy being unknown to the outsiders who write us off. Last years NLDS proved the Dodgers dominance as they dispatched the much heralded Chicago Cubs who couldn't even pry a single game away from the Dodgers. And if they gained confidence from the Cubs series, they also learned volumes about competition in the fall and what it's going to take to get the Dodgers to a Championship level of play from their defeat at the hands of the eventual World Champion Phillies.

When playing to the best of their ability the Dodgers (in my humble and totally unbiased opinion) are the best team in the country. An extremely balanced team, they have some of the best young talent playing in the MLB today, speed on the bases and in the field, solid power hitting, gold glove caliber infielders (Loney/Hudson) and outfielders (Kemp/Ethier), All-Star pitchers (Broxton/Billingsly), strong leadership, etc. etc. The question has never been about whether or not our guys were talented or capable enough, instead the question has always been about consistency. With a 95 win season and back to back Division titles, it seems fair to suggest that the consistency issue isn't really an issue for the Dodgers who manage to stay effective in the midst of consternation. This is the result of making Bigalow Green Tea a part of your diet and making Joe Torre & Friends the manager of the Dodgers. Truly a match made in heaven, together Torre and his team have transformed the club with the help of a very talented General Manager and of course Manny. With this team anything is possible, even the Series.

So at 6:37 tonight, I really don't care if the ESPN's brainiacs and their stat databases don't know what to expect from some of the Dods... I'm hearing, "waaaaa the pitching staff is a liability" while the team is admittedly void of an identifiable ace the Dodgers have starters that can be electric, the strongest bullpen around, and talented lefties and righties to fit the need. E.g. Cardinals don't like lefties so we have two hot south paws who I'm certain STL isn't taking for granted. I have faith in Joe Torre, Rick Honey, Larry Bowa, Donny Baseball, and even Brad Ausmus (who looked damn good as a skipper) and expect those men to manage the club effectively and put the Dodgers into the next round.

The Dodger Lineup is a playoff caliber list of talent that gives JoTo & Co. plenty of options. The Dod's, who led the league in batting average and on-base percentage, have plenty of speed, can hit the long ball and have a lot of extra innings/walk-off experience and heroics. Mostly thanks to Andre Ethier, who I'm expecting big things from tonight and for the rest of the month. The speed of Furcal, Pierre, Kemp, and pinch runner Jason Repko in the dugout make manufacturing runs an option throughout the game. The power hitting (done at DODGER STADIUM PEOPLE) is just FINE. Put Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake and new starter Ronnie Belliard in a hitters park and it's not even a question, this team can hit home runs. Add the hit factory that is Loney and Pierre along with Brad Ausmus, Jim Thome, and Mark Loretta to name a few and you almost start thinking "Olmedo Seanz, who?!" "Almost" being the operative word here as the Killer Tomato was simply awesome. Oh, and tha Dod's have the most prolific post-season hitter in baseball history just itching to punk your team, that is if you decide to pitch to Manny Ramirez.

"X" factors for the Dodgers Offense are:
  1. FIRST INNING PRODUCTION - Get a couple in the first and the Cards will fall.
  2. Matt Kemp/#2 hole - Assuming (and this is a sizeable assumption) that Raphael Furcal is producing at the top of the order, having Kemps offensive arsenal (SB's, extra bases, HR's, avg., etc.) to drive in Furcal and set up Ethier and Manny makes me pity whoever has to navigate that first half of the line-up every other inning.
  3. DOUBLE PLAYS - Too many of these and the Dodgers will be in big trouble against the Cards pitching staff. Getting through the starting pitchers is going to be a big part of the Dodger strategy, hitting into double plays helps their pitchers get off the field and of course counts for TWO OUTS, which in the playoffs are extremely valuable, duh!?
  4. Get Carpenter & Wainwright out of the game as early as possible. As the great one once said, "The best offense is NOT batting against Carpenter/Wainwright"
Easy Peezzzy, right boys? Oh we may want to walk Pujols anytime he is in the batters box and I do mean anytime. Let the Cards take their chances with the rest of their lineup and we should beat em after nine.
So for Dodger faithful wondering how the blue crew were going to take down the Cards, hopefully you have a little more confidence going into tonight's showdown at Dodger Stadium. With a win tonight we'll be on track for a nice looking fall. So, "Let's go Dodgers" and "Let's go L.A.!!!"

"It's time for Dodger Baseball!" The "Dodger Baseball" that wins championships. Indeed, it is high time for "Dodger Baseball" and a World Series Los Angeles Dodgers team!