Why you don’t understand the Dodgers, Red Sox deal

Adrian GonzalezThe Los Angeles Dodgers still have every reason to believe that they can catch the San Francisco Giants and make the playoffs, despite pulling into the final month of the season four and half games back in the National League West. The 2012 season for the Dodgers is not about making the playoffs, it’s about making a statement. The mammoth trade with the floundering, sputtering, why-aren’t-we-winning-a-championship-every-year Boston Red Sox was a warning shot for the rest of the league: the Dodgers have the money to buy anyone for any price and are hell-bent on being a perennial World Series contender.

Sports analysts and writers looked at the contracts and the players involved, Crawford, Beckett, Gonzalez, someone named Nick Punto, and immediately tore the Dodgers front office apart for over spending for one superstar, Gonzalez, while acquiring two highly overpaid players in Crawford and Beckett whose best days may be behind them. News flash sports pundits: THE DODGERS DO NOT CARE IF BECKETT AND CRAWFORD ARE GARBAGE BECAUSE MONEY DOES NOT MATTER ANYMORE.

The trade was a salary dump for Boston and a fantastic deal by the Dodgers for several reasons:

Reason #1: Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez provides the Dodgers with Gold Glove defense and Silver Slugger offense, not to mention he’s finished in the top twenty for league MVP each of the last five years. He’s a major upgrade over James Loney and unlike Los Angeles’ other lefty slugger, Andre Ethier, he can hit left-handed pitching. Yes, his decreasing power numbers over the last three years are a bit of a concern, but his RBI has consistently been north of a 100 and that’s what the Dodgers need him for, to create offense when Kemp, Ethier, and Hanley, can’t.

Gonzo pulls down a healthy $21M a year, but it will be well worth it for ownership from a baseball standpoint, as well as an economic one due to a Mexican star’s marketability in Los Angeles. Team president Stan Kasten and majority owner Mark Walter know that the soon-to-be four billion dollar cable deal(courtesy of Fox Sports), coupled with merchandise revenue from their newly minted Mexican superstar, will pay for the purchasing of the Dodgers and their player contracts for years to come. Tell me, how’d that last Mexican superstar do on the Dodgers? That Fernando Valenzuela guy? Oh yea, he set the whole city on fire, mobilized the Hispanic fan-base, and won two championships with the Blue Crew. Thanks Red Sox, we’ll take Beckett and Crawford too!

Reason #2: Money doesn’t matter

When the Guggenheim ownership group purchased the Dodgers franchise for $2.2B, the question was if they would still have money to field a competitive team. I think that question has been answered in standard long-essay format with a slew of big name, big wallet deals: Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and they even made a run at Cliff Lee. When luxury tax collecting time comes, Walter will casually chuckle and gather some pocket change to send to Bud Selig as compensation for his creation of a multi-billion dollar baseball juggernaut.

General Manager Ned Colletti and Kasten have made it very clear that the Dodgers do not have a budget, nor are under any pressure from the new ownership group to turn a profit until Year Eleven or so. Kasten and Walter have repeated that this purchase was not about making money just yet, first they need to recast the Dodgers as the “West Coast Yankees”, win a couple titles, and then worry about their profit margin. The Dodgers always set attendance records and this year should be no different, excited and hopeful Dodger faithful have already begun flooding the seats once more. The product that the franchise is providing will only get better in the coming years as the blockbuster deals and some wins, keep coming.

The Guggenheim Partners have over $125B in assets so I doubt they are too concerned about spending half of a billion on three players. Not to mention that investing in a sports franchise like the Dodgers is a fairly safe bet in these turbulent economic times, where sports franchises only increase in value (just ask Frank McCourt).

Reason #3: Red Sox fan base pressure > Los Angeles fan base pressure

Playing in Los Angeles is much different from playing in Boston. Every game, every clubhouse issue, and every piece of fried chicken consumed, are not put under the microscope by Southland media types. At Chavez Ravine, fans happily show up in the third inning and typically leave in the seventh, regardless of the score.

Nobody is expecting Beckett to win a Cy Young nor Crawford the MVP, they just need to contribute on a consistent basis along the lines of a Jeff Kent or a Brad Penny. Boston needed the two to play up to their contracts, the Dodgers don’t. The only pressure is on Gonzo to be his MVP-caliber self and, as he proved with the San Diego Padres, he’s more than comfortable playing baseball in Southern California.

With these thoughts in mind, Beckett and Crawford will play a much more relaxed brand of baseball, as they did for their respective Florida teams, before the Boston days. Playing in the pressure cooker that is Boston takes a certain type of player, but anyone can play for a team that has only won two playoff series in the last twenty years. Put on the bleach-white jersey, play hard, and the fans will embrace you.

The moves that were made this season set the tone for years to come and has put the rest of the league on notice: the Dodgers will take your overpaid stars,throw them into their kiddie-pool of a fan base, and let it ride. The Red Sox trade was not a win now move, it was a let’s make a run at it this September, and we’ll work out the kinks next season. More moves will be made this winter by a general manager and team president who possess a bottomless checking account, a carefree ownership group, and an ecstatic fanbase. Making the playoffs this year would be a positive step, but not a necessary one for the Blue Crew. Winning their first pennant and World Series since 1988 in this decade however, will be more than needed.

Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Tuesday September 4th

The Royals boast the days best fantasy option, while the Bronx Bombers are set up for more failure.

Value plays:

Billy Butler – The Royals may not be in the playoff race, but that shouldn’t slow down Butler, who has crushed Matt Harrison over his career. He has recorded a hit in two-thirds of his at bats, with one-quarter of them going for extra base hits. The DH’s 1.000 slugging percentage has me on board, as does the fact that he hits 23 points higher in Kansas City. Harrison had been on a role before being lit up by the Rays (12 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 homers in 5.1 innings pitched) last week, a frightening fact when you consider that his poor starts have come in bunches. A power hitter with a .300+ average against a pitcher he has dominated should be rostered in every daily fantasy baseball game, as the past is due to repeat itself tonight in KC.

LA Dodgers – They face off against a pitcher in Eric Stults who went unbeaten (4-0 with a 2.02 ERA) in August, but has yet to face a lineup as potent as the Dodgers. I like the depth of the Dodgers to wear down Stults, who has not struck out more than 5 batters in any start this year. Without the ability to K his way through jams and without the aid of his spacious home park, Stults’ hot streak could very well to an end tonight in LA. Hanley Ramirez, the only current Dodger to have more than 1 hit against Stults, should be the leader of the charge, but acquisitions Adrian Gonzalez and Shane Victoriano should also produce in a big way. Throw Matt Kemp and a very underrated Andre Ethier, and you’ve got yourself the making of a long night for the Padres. Read more…

 

This week in sports: What you missed

If you were out doing something important with your life, here’s what you missed this week in sports:

  • The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they are constructing a statue outside of Staples Center for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  No word yet on when the statue of Kobe Bryant yelling at Smush Parker and the jersey retirement of Cedric Ceballos will be made, but Mark Madsen, Slava Medvedenko (I spelled that right the first time! I’m a nerd.) and Luke Walton did get permission to re-enter Staples Center after a ban of terrible white players was instituted by Jeannie Buss.
  • The NFL resumed contract negotiations with the locked out referees on Friday.  As the NFL and the Ref’s were walking to the negotiation table, the replacement refs called pass interference, holding, traveling, dropped third strike, and made up a rule of ‘Illegal Biceps” when referee Ed Hochuli made an appearance.
  • The Boston Red Sox agreed to a trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers that saved the Sox a quarter of a billion dollars.  Beckett celebrated by sprinting (yes, this is the first time he’s sprinted since 2007) to the nearest Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and chugged a 40 oz of Mickey’s.  Carl Crawford celebrated by getting Tommy John Surgery (no punch line there), and Adrian Gonzalez celebrated by being allowed to speak Spanish for the first time since he was a San Diego Padre.
  • At the tender age of 30, Andy Roddick is retiring from competitive tennis after the U.S. Open.  Roddick, now old and decrepit, leaves the game a beaten man with only 20 million dollars in career earnings, and he must go home to this.  Retirement is tough for everyone, and I, for one, feel absolutely terrible for him. Read more…

Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Friday August 31st

Chipper Jones is a valueable playWe’ve got a handful of studs that need to be avoided tonight, while the ageless Chipper Jones and the new look Dodgers should appear on many rosters.

Value plays:

LA Dodgers – This prediction takes a little bit of faith, but follow me through this logic. The team as a whole is batting .267 against Trevor Cahill, not exactly the type of domination that is typically promoted here. But there big bats (Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andre Ethier) are all batting at least 19 points higher than that. The Diamondbacks starter has never faced this lineup with all 4 of those players batting in succession, worrying me that he will not be able to navigate his way through the middle of this order more than once tonight. Daily fantasy baseball owners need to recognize that this quartet is elite and capable of producing runs regardless if the rest of their lineup has had success against a given pitcher. I’ll role with great hitters who will treat every game as a must win and feel great about my chances in daily fantasy baseball games.

Chipper Jones – Somebody forgot to tell Chipper that once a player hits 40 years old, he isn’t supposed to be producing on a playoff contender. He is batting over .300 while anchoring the middle third of the Braves lineup, and is Atlanta’s best hitter against Roy Halladay. Jones owns a .326 batting average against the Phillies ace with 60% of his hits going for extra bases. Unlike most matchups with Doc Halladay, Jones has support behind him in the lineup, as 7 of his teammates have homered against him and the Braves hold a .310 team batting average against Halladay. Atlanta has a deceivingly deep lineup, and I think they give Halladay all kinds of problems tonight, and continue to lead the NL wild card race. Read more…

The Dodgers epically punt the NL West

Andre Ethier

Source: LA Times

When your oldest and most hated rival comes to your city for a three-game series in late August, you expect your team to understand the gravity of the situation. You do not expect to get swept in embarrassing fashion and go from being a half game up, to two and half down. Fricken’ Dodgers.

Yes Dodger faithful, it’s that time of year again. Those waning summer months where all of a sudden your greatest asset, starting pitching, comes apart at the seams and amplifies the issues that come with having an offense more anemic than Lindsay Lohan. The Dodgers won their two previous series against the Braves and Pirates by averaging six runs per game and minimizing their pitching mistakes, neither of these characteristics carried over to the Giants series.

Make no mistake, Madison Bumgarner and Cain are superb starting pitchers, but only hanging a single run on an all-of-the-sudden mediocre Tim Lincecum is inexcusable. How can a team average six runs a game for a week, and then put up six total runs in three games against their most hated rival?

Don Mattingly does a great job of engaging his players, most notably Kemp and Hanley, but there just seemed to be no fight in the Dodgers when it mattered the most these past three days. The Giants scored in the first inning all three games and the Dodgers would cooley, calmly, and with all of their Los Angeles swagger, roll over. Playoff teams do not rollover, pennant teams do not roll over, and championship teams, most certainly, do not roll over. Just ask the St. Louis Cardinals and David Freese.

September is not the time to finally decrypt your team’s identity and get motivated to take the division title. The lack of urgency during the Giants series, Kemp’s recent slump, and the fact that Joe Blanton is considered a viable starter in the rotation are massive red flags for a Dodger team entering the home stretch.

So sit back, relax, and quietly suffer as the Los Angeles Dodgers squander another great first half of the season with a lackluster encore down the stretch, I know I will.

Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Wednesday August 22nd

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must StartsThere are value options all over the diamond in a jam packed Wednesday, including a duo looking to take down one of the games best pitchers.

Value plays:

Andre Ethier and James Loney – Don’t let a matchup with a Cy Young candidate scare you away, as both Dodgershas owned Matt Cain over their careers. The Dodgers slugging right fielder has a career .480 batting average against the Giants ace, and by batting between Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, he figures to plenty of pitches to hit. Loney also holds an impressive batting average (.364) but has done more damage with his hits (38% have gone for extra bases). At first glance, it would be easy to avoid all LA players tonight in daily fantasy baseball games, but if the past repeats itself, that would be a very poor move.

Philadelphia Phillies – For one day you need to overlook the awful season put forth by the Phillies offense, and strongly consider a number of their hitters in your daily fantasy baseball lineup. As a team, the Phillies are batting .333 against Bronson Arroyo, with their big bats doing most of the damage. Juan Pierre, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Placido Polanco. That’s not the projected batting order, it’s a list of starters that are batting at least .353 against the Reds righty. The Phillies may have burned you at various points this season, but in a daily format, you need to think twice about over looking a team that has a .530 slugging percentage against the projected starter. Read more…

MLB best bets of the day: August 16, 2012

matt kemp dodgers

Texas Rangers at NY Yankees 1:05 PM Holland vs Nova

The first game of the day is between two pitchers who have had their share of success and failures this season. This one won’t be easy going for the pitching as it features the top two hitting teams to date and while the Rangers haven’t been living up to that lately, that can all change with on bad Ivan Nova outing.

After a 3-2 Yankees victory yesterday my hope is this game will be a bit more exciting, but I don’t expect it to get too wild. While both of these pitchers’ ERA’s are much closer to 5.00 than 4.00, I suspect they will be able to right the ship today and hold the offenses to less-than-average runs scored. That said, the Yankees have a .322 team average when facing Holland and rank fourth in the league in runs scored when facing lefties.

Picks: Yankees -125 and Under 10 (-115)

LA Dodgers at Pittsburgh 4:05 PM Blanton vs Burnett

The Pirates will send out their only semblance of an “ace” today, in hopes that A.J. Burnett can prevent a Dodgers sweep. I certainly respect what A.J. has done so far this season, as I don’t believe anyone could have predicted that he would have anywhere close to the numbers that he currently possesses. However, after getting pounded by the Padres at home last week, I think Burnett’s and the Pirates’ magical year may be coming to an end. Read more here…

Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Wednesday August 15th

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must StartsPotential is great, but it doesn’t pay the fantasy bills. Look at studs who have been getting it done to continue their pace, while popular young talents continue to struggle.

Value plays:

Hanley Ramirez – I love what I have seen from Ramirez since he was traded, and I love every part of his matchup against Wandy Rodriguez tonight. The SS/3B holds a .409 batting average and a .773 slugging percentage against the newest Bucco with 44.4% of his hits going for extra base hits. Rodriguez has only recorded 1 win in the last 2 months and has surrendered at least 3 runs in each of his last 6 starts. The Dodgers offense is a deep one, and I expect Rodriguez to struggle when he faces the lineup a second or third time. Look for the Dodgers to score some runs with Ramirez in the center of the action.

Alex Rios – He may not be the “biggest” name on the South side of Chicago, but he is having the best season. The Blue Jays have struggled when Ricky Romero takes the bump (they have lost 8 of his last 9 starts) and Rios has thrived against the inconsistent lefty. Rios is batting .357 against Romero for his career with 0 strikeouts. The White Sox outfielder has a higher OBP and more stolen bases on the road this season, giving him the potential of a great all around night at the ballpark. With two high powered offenses, runs will not be at a premium, making the White Sox best hitter a hot commodity. Read more here…

MLB Best Bets of the Day: July 28, 2012

Aaron Harang Dodgers

The Houston Astros tried their darnedest to get us a perfect day yesterday but fell just one run short. That’s right, if you can believe it, they blew another save opportunity and lost the game. Xavier Cedeno was credited with the blown save (1), but Rhiner Cruz did most of the legwork giving up two earned while failing to record an out. Cruz did allow us to hit the over (8 ½) but didn’t quite get us to where we needed to be for the Pirates to cover the 1 ½ runs we were giving.

The St Louis Cardinals won easily thus giving us my gimme pick, and Chris Sale and the White Sox were able to hold off the Rangers to get us a W with our value pick of the day (+120). With a full schedule of games being played today I’ll try to weed out the losers and pick some winners.

Pittsburgh at Houston 7:05 PM Rodriguez vs Galarraga

We’re going to keep the momentum going after a 3-1 day by sticking to our guns – betting Houston Astros’ games. Armando Galarraga is making his 2012 debut and he’ll be facing ex-Astros pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez. Galarraga will be bringing his 4.69 career ERA to the table and while that doesn’t seem as high as one might think, he’s finished the last three seasons with a 5.64, 4.49, and 5.91 ERA, respectively.  Read More…

MLB Power Rankings: Week 13

Power Rankings
Current Team Previous
TEX MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 1 Texas Rangers N/A
The best team in baseball has won 8 of its last 10 games, and has just 1 starting position player with an OPS+ below 100.
NYY MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 2 New York Yankees N/A
Andy Pettite continues to impress this season. He has a 3.29 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 54.2 innings so far this season.
LAA MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 3 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim N/A
 Since starting off 6-14, the Angels have gone 34-19. The addition of Ernesto Frieri has helped greatly as he has struck out 26 in just 20.2 innings without allowing a run. Despite spending the first 20 games of the season in the minors, Mike Trout now leads the American League in WAR. He is on pace to post the highest single season WAR total by a rookie position player since Dick Allen in 1964
WAS MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 4 Washington Nationals N/A
Bryce Harper leads all Nationals position players in wins above replacement so far this season.
CIN MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 5 Cincinatti Reds N/A
Joey Votto, who leads baseball in OPS+ and WAR among other categories, is possibly the best player on the planet right now. While Votto has taken over the offense, Johnny Cueto has been leading the rotation. His 187 ERA+ ranks 4th in the National League.
LAD MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 6 Los Angeles Dodgers N/A
The Dodgers who once held a commanding lead in the NL West, have lost 7 of their last 10 games and are just 3 games ahead of the Giants in second place. The loss of Matt Kemp and an offense that ranks 20th in baseball in runs scored have been their downfall. The offense will have to pick it up if they want to win games, but I think LA may have finally come back to reality.
TB MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 7 Tampa Bay Rays N/A
The delayed return of Evan Longoria has definitely hurt the Rays, but they’re still just 3.5 games back in the AL East. Matt Joyce has replaced Longoria as the team’s catalyst for now, as he is hitting .279/.387/.512.
SF MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 8 San Francisco Giants N/A
Bruce Bochy spent most of the first part of the season playing Brandon Belt sporadically, when he probably should have been the starting 1st baseman. In his past 14 games since earning the starting job, Belt has hit .348 with 4 home runs, 12 RBIs, and 8 walks.
STL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 9 St. Louis Cardinals N/A
Despite having the 2nd best run differential in baseball, the Cardinals are just 3 games over .500. Adam Wainwright has finally started to return to form. In his past 3 starts, he has pitched 21 innings, striking out 21, while allowing just 5 runs.
BOS MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 10 Boston Red Sox N/A
The Red Sox, winners of 8 of their last 10, seem to have found a nice little groove. The Red Sox don’t have a single starting pitcher with an ERA below 4.00, so pitching will be the key if they want to reach the postseason.
CHW MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 11 Chicago White Sox N/A
 This weekend, the White Sox acquired Kevin Youkilis in a trade with the Red Sox. The trade is a huge upgrade for the White Sox who have had their 3rd basemen combine to hit .167/.244/.221 with just 1 home run this season
BAL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 12 Baltimore Orioles N/A
 In Jason Hammel’s last 2 starts, he has combined to pitch 17 innings, striking out 18, allowing just 6 hits and no earned runs.
NYM MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 13 New York Mets N/A
 While RA Dickey has been dominating the majors with his knuckleball, Johan Santana has quietly been having an all star caliber season of his own. He is striking out a batter per inning and his ERA sits at exactly 3.00. He has won 4 of his last 5 starts and has allowed more than 4 runs just once this season.
PIT MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 14 Pittsburgh Pirates N/A
The Pirates offense has been pretty much dormant all season, but since June 16th, they have scored 45 runs in just 8 games. The offense has been sparked by Pedro Alvarez who has hit .444 with 5 home runs and 10 RBIs during the streak.
ATL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 15 Atlanta Braves N/A
 After missing part of last season, Tommy Hanson leads the majors with 15 starts this season and he appears to be back to his pre-injury form.
TOR MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 16 Toronto Blue Jays N/A
 The Blue Jays are the only team in the majors with 2 players that have hit 20 or more home runs so far this season in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
CLE MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 17 Cleveland Indians N/A
The Indians are only a half game back from the White Sox for first place in the AL Central, despite having a negative run differential. While the offense has been strong, it is important to note that the Indians rank 28th in the majors in ERA and don’t have a single player in their starting rotation with an ERA+ above 96.
ARI MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 18 Arizona Diamondbacks N/A
The D-backs are 6-4 in their last 10 games and have finally gotten above .500 for the first time since May 4th. They have outscored their opponents by 28 runs since June 14th and are slowly creeping up on the 1st place Dodgers.
DET MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 19 Detroit Tigers N/A
The Tigers have suffered through injuries and rotation problems that have really set them back so far this season. Their offense is extremely potent, but they may have the worst defensive team in all of baseball. According to Baseball Reference WAR, the Tigers defense has cost them over 3 wins so far this season.
PHI MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 20 Philadelphia Phillies N/A
The Defending NL East champs currently sit 8.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The veteran laden team has really struggled this season. One exception being Carlos Ruiz, who is enjoying a nice breakout season as he leads all catchers in wins above replacement.
OAK MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 21 Oakland Athletics N/A
Oakland has been on a bit of a run lately, going 7-3 in their last 10 games. Brandon McCarthy and rookie Jarrod Parker have been leading the rotation, while Josh Reddick is enjoying a career year offensively.
MIL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 22 Milwaukee Brewers N/A
Ryan Braun is on pace to match his monstrous 2011 campaign. He is projected to hit .319/.399/.612 with 45 home runs and 29 steals. Zack Grienke is also on pace for a CY Young caliber season as he has been worth nearly 3 wins already this season.
KC MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 23 Kansas City Royals N/A
Disappointing seasons from both Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur, as well as injuries to the pitching staff, have really hampered this team. Despite their poor play this season, they are just 6 games back in an underwhelming AL Central, so a 2nd half surge could potentially push them into October.
SEA MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 24 Seattle Mariners N/A
The Mariners have just 2 position players with an OPS+ of 100 or better in Michael Saunders and Kyle Seager. Felix Hernandez is the only starting pitcher with an ERA+ above 100. The Mariners have a bright future on the horizon, but time will tell if some of their current young big leaguers can make the necessary adjustments to be a part of the Mariners long term plan.
MIA MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 25 Miami Marlins N/A
Heath Bell started the year by allowing 15 runs in his first 14 appearances, blowing 4 saves. Since then, he has allowed just 3 runs in 14.2 innings, converting all 10 of his save opportunities. The Marlins are 20-3 in games he has pitched in since the start of May.
HOU MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 26 Houston Astros N/A
According to Elias, Dallas Keuchel is the first player to throw a complete game in his 1st or 2nd career start since Clay Buchholz threw a complete game no-hitter in his 2nd career start on 9/1/2007.
COL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 27 Colorado Rockies N/A
The Rockies have the worst ERA in the majors this season, and a 4 man rotation of fly ball pitchers in Coors field is probably the worst idea since the invention of saves.
MIN MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 28 Minnesota Twins N/A
Since starting off 18-32, the Twins have essentially been playing .500 baseball since the start of June. They were fueled by Trevor Plouffe who hit 9 home runs in the first 12 games of June, but since then, Plouffe has hit just 1 in his last 8 games.
CHC MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 29 Chicago Cubs N/A
In their last 3 games alone, the Cubs have been outscored 23-6. The good news is that Alfonso Soriano is quietly enjoying somewhat of a comeback year. He is on pace to post his highest WAR since 2008.
SD MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 30 San Diego Padres N/A
Chase Headley is playing great, but that’s pretty much the only positive for this struggling team. They rank last in the majors in runs scored and have been outscored by their opponents 40-24 in their last 8 games. The Padres have won just 4 series all year, and two of those were against the Rockies and Mariners.

Tommy Lasorda in hospital after suffering a heart attack

tommy-lasordaAccording to TMZ.com, Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda is currently in a New York hospital after suffering a heart attack Monday.

Lasorda, now 84-years-old was representing the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB draft which started yesterday in New York.

Sources told TMZ,  the heart attack was “mild” and Tommy is expected to be ok — and the plan is for him to be released tomorrow.

TMZ further stated, people at the draft began to suspect something was wrong today when Tommy was not present to announce the Dodgers’ draft picks..

Tommy appeared just fine yesterday, signing autographs at a media gathering and eating at an Italian restaurant … even singing with an accordion player.

Per Wikipedia, Tommy Lasorda was named “Vice-President” of the Dodgers upon his retirement from managing in 1996. On June 22, 1998 he became the Dodgers interim General Manager upon the mid-season firing of Fred Claire. He resigned as General Manager after the season and was appointed as “Senior Vice-President” of the Dodgers. After the sale of the team to Frank McCourt, Lasorda took on his current position of “Special Advisor to the Chairman” where his responsibilities include “scouting, evaluating and teaching minor league players, acting as an advisor and ambassador for the Dodgers’ international affiliations, and representing the franchise at more than 100 speaking engagements and appearances to various charities, private groups and military personnel each year.”

Dodgers will make playoffs without question, if….

The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their torrid start with a sweep of the talented Washington Nationals on Sunday and are tied only with the Texas Rangers for the best record in the majors (16-6).

Hot starts in Chavez Ravine are not uncommon. The Los Angeles Dodger teams of the last decade have posted some of the best Aprils and Mays in franchise history, only to succumb to reality down the stretch. Strong pitching and suspect hitting have always been the Dodgers calling card.

Between the twenty-one championship-less seasons of 1990-2011, the Dodgers have finished in the major’s top ten for team earned run average (ERA) a staggering nineteen times while in the same period finishing in top ten for team runs scored in the major’s only twice.

The 2012 season has begun with the Dodgers once again in the top ten for team ERA (8th) and outside the top ten for the majors in runs scored (16th). This season will be different, if the Dodgers can keep their run productivity towards the middle of the pack, their elite pitching will carry them to a playoff berth without question. Outfielder Matt Kemp has been on fire and last year he proved that he could carry a sub-par offense to success. If highly regarding team president Stan Kasten and general manager Ned Coletti can concoct a midseason trade for another bat to add to Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, look for Los Angeles to make a run at the championship.

With the McCourt era still fresh in their minds, Dodger fans have quickly been reminded that the Blue Crew does indeed have playoff talent that has now been backed with the financial stability of a responsible ownership group. The Dodgers success has returned, and its fans with it.

Eric Eulau is a MLB writer for the Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted @EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com

Don’t believe the hype surrounding the 2012 Dodgers

Aaron Harang Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are off to a magical start to the 2012 MLB season.  At 7-1, the boys in blue have the best record in the Majors with a game and a half lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.  They are also off to their best start since 1981, but are they for real?

[polldaddy poll=”6136778″]

Despite their quick pace, Los Angeles fans shouldn’t plan on hosting a World Series game at Chavez Ravine anytime soon.  In the marathon that is the MLB season, echoes from the starter pistol can still be heard.  In layman’s terms, the season is still very young and to go along with that, the Dodgers have yet to face a formidable opponent this season.

On Friday against the San Diego Padres, Aaron Harang set a Dodgers record by striking out nine consecutive Padre batters.   The game would eventually be tied at eight a piece going into the bottom of the 9th.  That’s when Padres pitching gave up four walks and surrendered the go ahead and game’s final run.

Four of the Dodgers’ wins this season have come against those same Padres.  The other three were courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Neither of those two teams are going anywhere anytime soon.  Last season the Padres and the Pirates combined record was 141-181 making the Dodgers quick start in 2012 an aberration that has been mistaken for early success.

Look for the Dodgers’ hot start to continue as over the next couple of games they will continue to take advantage of an inferior Padres team.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth