September 2008 - Los Angeles Dodgers Wiretap
Braves Want Lowe This Winter
The Braves will be looking to fortify their pitching rotation this winter and could have their eye on Derek Lowe. "Improve our starting pitching ? that?s our No. 1 priority," General Manager Frank Wren said Monday. Recently, Atlanta has had scouts following the Dodgers around scouting Lowe, who will become a free agent at season's end.
Cubs/Dodgers NLDS Preview
The Chicago Cubs enter the postseason in the unfamiliar position of National League favorites. With the quality of both their starting pitching and bullpen, combined with the variety of ways in which they can score runs, the Cubs can make an impressive claim as the most complete team in all of baseball. But Manny Ramirez has provided a spark for the Dodgers that hasn't been seen by their franchise since Orel Hershiser. Catcher: Geovany Soto has an .868 OPS compared to .781 for Russell Martin. Soto faded a little bit, but Martin has been one of the only Dodgers to not hit better with Manny. Edge: Cubs First Base: James Loney's slugging was down over 100 points from 2007 this season, and he was especially brutal in September, hitting .209/.229/.297. Derrek Lee still isn't the MVP candidate of 2005 when he slugged .662, but he's still a solid middle of the order threat. Edge: Cubs Second Base: Jeff Kent will be relegated to pinch hitting duties, and Blake DeWitt will be sent out in his stead. He has been particularly effective of late, hitting for an OPS of .872 in September. Mark DeRosa has had a career year with his .481 slugging percentage being the best to date. He has been even better down the stretch and is a significantly better hitter at Wrigley (.918) than he is on the road (.795)even though he has hit three homers in 37 at bats at Dodger Stadium. Edge: Cubs Shortstop: Ryan Theriot has a .307 batting average but is slugging just .359. He's a situational hitter in the two hole that facilitates the real difference makers. Angel Berroa is barely a passable hitter, and unless Rafael Furcal can play like he was before he got hurt, this position of weakness for the Cubs still gives them a nice edge. Edge: Cubs Third Base: Casey Blake has hit 10 homers in Dodger Blue, but his .773 OPS since the trade is more than 100 points off Aramis Ramirez's .898. Ramirez also is hitting extremely well leading into the postseason, with a 1.389 OPS over his past nine games. Edge: Cubs Left Field: The edge enjoyed by the Cubs in the infield can be almost entirely wiped out by the presence of Manny Ramirez in the middle of the Dodgers' lineup. Depending on how the Cubs decide to pitch to Manny, he can have a level of impact not only during his own at bats but also with those of the players around him that we haven't seen in the postseason since 2002 when Barry Bonds carried a very ordinary Giants' lineup. He is hitting .396/.489/.743 during his 229 trips to the plate with the Dodgers. Alfonso Soriano, with the exception of the Seattle series in 2001 and Minnesota series in 2003, has had very modest success in the postseason, hitting .225/.279/.319 in 160 at bats. Edge: Dodgers Center Field: Jim Edmonds has been an entirely different player since joining the Cubs, having his best OBP (.369) and SLG (.568) pretty much since 2004 when he finished 5th in MVP voting. He has 13 postseason homers in 220 at bats and generally has been a consistent and clutch performer in October. But Matt Kemp is a young talent that can really have his first signature performance in this series, especially in Game 2 against Ted Lilly. Kemp is a significantly better hitter against southpaws, hitting for an OPS of .989 compared to .725 against righties. Edge: Dodgers Right Field: Kosuke Fukudome had a .738 OPS in his first season in the States, which is far from ideal for a corner outfielder. He's hit just .217/.314/.326 in the second half, and the .915 OPS of April might as well count for a whole different season because he is not even close to being that kind of hitter right now. Andre Ethier took another step forward as a pure hitter while also increasing his power numbers, hitting 20 homers with 38 doubles and five triples and getting his slugging percentage up to .510. He has been helped significantly by Ramirez as he's hitting .335/.409/.583 in the second half. Edge: Dodgers Bench: The Dodgers practically have a whole other team on the bench in Furcal, Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra, nd Juan Pierre. It might be a bench better suited for 2003 than 2008, but they all have a ton of postseason experience and can be counted on to be productive at bats. Beyond Reed Johnson, the depth of the Cubs' pinch hitters might as well be Carlos Zambrano, who has a 1.000 OPS since the break. What are the odds Zambrano DH's the games he doesn't start if the Cubs make the World Series? Edge: Dodgers Starting Pitching: Ryan Dempster and his one inning of postseason experience will start Game 1 at Wrigley Field. For all that's been written about trying to protect Carlos Zambrano from his own intensity, it better be more about who has the better stuff than that because in a short series, whomever gets that second start in Game 5 is of great significance. Dempster had a 2.52 ERA after the break compared to 5.80 for Zambrano and that's of course including the no hitter. He hasn't been healthy, and he's been erratic. If Manny Ramirez is one of the keys to this series (which he is), then how has he faced against Dempster compared to Zambrano? Dempster has given up a double in his lone plate appearance while Zambrano has retired Manny in all three at bats, two of them being strikeouts. Derek Lowe will start for the Dodgers in Game 1. He finished 2008 with a 3.24 ERA and a dominant 0.59 ERA over 30.1 innings in September. Outside of a horrible May, Lowe has been consistently superb and he has an impressive 3.34 ERA over his 67.1 playoff innings. Zambrano threw a no hitter against Houston in Milwaukee, and then in his next start he only got five outs and allowed eight earned runs to the Cardinals. His inconsistency makes him unpredictable, but when he's on, he's one of the most dangerous pitchers in the game. He also is a better pitcher at Wrigley while Ted Lilly had a 4.50 ERA at home and 3.89 on the road. Chad Billingsley had an excellent, albeit under-appreciated, season throwing 200+ innings while having an ERA of 3.14 and striking out 201. He has a 2.99 ERA in the second half even though he's lost some of his strike out stuff. Rich Harden will start Game 3 and he's been the Cubs' most dominant starter since his arrival, with a 1.77 ERA and 18 more strikeouts than innings pitched. He had a 2.65 ERA in September, but if an ERA in the mid-2's is a weak month then that shows how dominant he can be. He has never faced the Dodgers but has given up three hits in 11 at bats to Manny, all homers. Hiroki Kuroda had a 3.73 ERA this season and was even better in August and September. His stuff is far from dominant, but he should at least keep Game 3 close if Harden is on. He pitched a complete game shutout against the Cubs earlier this season. Even though Lilly has been a better pitcher on the road this season, he has a career ERA of 14.40 at Dodger Stadium. The sample size is a small five innings of work, but it's a troublesome stat that could be in the back of his emotional (remember the glove throw in Arizona?) head. However, Lilly has been excellent of late, throwing no-hitters through six in each of his past two starts. Lowe could be brought back in Game 4 on short rest, or the Dodgers could go with Greg Maddux or Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs have a clear edge on paper, but with a few breaks here and there the Dodgers can narrow that. Edge: Cubs Bullpen: The Cubs clearly have more talent in the bullpen with the trio of Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Marmol, and Kerry Wood, but they had a 6.02 ERA over 80.2 innings during the month of September and a 5.85 ERA during July. The dominance of the relievers during May (2.18) and August (2.79) were not duplicated throughout the season and their 4.10 ERA is good for 16th in baseball. The Dodgers, however, had the third best relief crew in the game with a 3.33 ERA over 519.2 innings. They've been incredibly consistent even if Jonathan Broxton is explosive for better or worse. Takashi Saito isn't healthy, but he's pitching again. Additionally, while Corey Wade didn't play football at Notre Dame, his 2.27 ERA is slightly better than Samardzija's 2.28. But that late inning trio will shorten the game in ways which will make difficulty for the Dodgers to rally and win. Edge: Even Series Prediction: Cubs in 4
Manny's Impact Could Boost Dodgers' Revenues $15 Million
In accounting for revenue increases in ticket sales, parking, food, drink and merchandise, Manny Ramirez generated an estimated $7.6 million for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers' average attendance jumped by 4,288 after Ramirez was acquired. The Dodgers also sold 14,000 Ramirez T-shirts at $29 each, 6,000 dreadlocks at $25 each and 500 authentic jerseys at $280 each. That's another $700,000 in revenue, strictly from stadium sales. By the estimate of two sources within the organization, neither of which was authorized to discuss club finances publicly, the Dodgers could reap as much as $15 million from Ramirez this season.
Giants' Lincecum Impressive In Final Start
Giants' ace Tim Lincecum matched his career-high with 13 strikeouts to finish with a major league best 265, and gave Cy Young Award voters an impressive final start to think about in San Francisco?s 3-1 victory over the Dodgers on Sunday, reported by the Associated Press.
Torre Names Lowe Starter In NLDS Opener
Dodgers' Manager Joe Torre has named Derek Lowe the starter for the first game of their NLDS series. Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda will follow, and Greg Maddux could be a candidate down the line, as well. "A lot of those decisions are made as the series goes on," said Torre, who plans to carry 11 pitchers. "It also depends who we use." Los Angeles won't know who they are playing until the Wild Card battle between the Mets and Brewers is decided.
Maddux Earns 355th Career Victory
Blake DeWitt hit a homer and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, veteran pitcher Greg Maddux earned his 355th career victory, and the Dodgers beat the rival Giants 2-1 on Saturday night in San Francisco, according to an Associated Press report.
M's Hint They Could Hire Female GM
Mariners' President Chuck Armstrong said his team is vetting a wide range of GM candidates, pointedly leaving open the possibility of Seattle hiring the first female GM in major league history, according to an Associated Press report on Friday. Highly regarded Dodgers' Assistant GM Kim Ng is considered an option.
Penny Disappears From Dodgers
The locker of Brad Penny was empty Thursday, and Penny himself was nowhere to be seen. The Dodgers' opening-day starter, Penny was placed on the 60-day disabled list Wednesday to open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Furcal. Penny is ineligible for postseason play. Torre said he had no idea about Penny's whereabouts. "I didn't get a chance to say hello or goodbye," Torre said. "He was here yesterday and he disappeared. I didn't ask him to leave."
Penny Done For Season
The Dodgers placed Brad Penny on the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday, which will end his season, according to Los Angeles Times. They placed him the 60-day DL to create a roster spot for shortstop Rafael Furcal. Penny, who can buy out the $9.25-million option on his contract for next season for $2 million, could be done in Los Angeles.
Manny Leads Dodgers To Share Of NL West Title
Manny Ramirez homered, and the surging Dodgers beat the Padres 12-4 Wednesday night to clinch a tie for their first NL West title in four years, according to a ESPN.com report.
Andruw Jones Getting Personal Trainer And Nutritionist
Andruw Jones' off-season training regimen will be overseen by a personal trainer and nutritionist hired by the Dodgers.
Dodgers Vague About Re-Signing Manny
Frank McCourt was vague about the future of Manny Ramirez and Ned Colletti in Los Angeles.
Manny: 'I Feel Like A Baby'
Dodgers' outfielder Manny Ramirez has played in 48 consecutive games but says that he isn't the least bit tired.
Hints At Racial Profiling After Traffic Stop Of Dodgers And Pirate
Four members of the Dodgers and Pirates had their SUV searched.
Torre: Manny Won't Win NL MVP
Dodgers manager Joe Torre values the production of Manny Ramirez, but doesn't think the outfielder will win the National League MVP.
Torre Allows Manny His Music
Dodgers' Manager Joe Torre doesn't mind that loud music has been played almost every day in the clubhouse for the last two weeks.
Andruw Jones' Season Over With Dodgers
Andruw Jones' season with the Dodgers is officially over after the team placed him on the 60-day disabled list.
Manny Enters Top-20 Of RealGM's Player Rankings
Manny Ramirez is in the top-20 of our rankings, but is he really an MVP candidate?
Manny Powers Dodgers To Wider Lead
Manny Ramirez hit two home runs on Wednesday to help the Dodgers beat the Padres, 7-2, giving Los Angeles a 3 1/2 game lead over Arizona in the NL West race.
Furcal Could Return Next Week
Rafael Furcal, who has been out for four months because of a back injury, participated in a simulated game on Monday.
Penny Could Return To Dodgers Soon
Brad Penny could return to the Dodgers by the end of the week after throwing a 30-pitch simulated game on Monday.
Vin Scully Will Call Games In 2009
Legendary Dodgers' broadcaster Vin Scully will call games for the team in 2009, his 60th season with the club.
Andruw Has Written Off 2008
Dodgers' outfielder Andruw Jones appears to have written off his season as he doesn't expect to return to the field.
Maddux Ties Clemens, Wins No. 354
Greg Maddux recorded victory No. 354 on Monday against the Padres, tying Roger Clemens on the all-time win list.
Kent To Have Knee Surgery
Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent will have surgery on his left knee Tuesday to repair torn cartilage, but his season is not necessarily over.
Dodgers Deny Webb His 20th Win
Brandon Webb was denied his 20th win of the season on Sunday night when the Dodgers knocked him around during an 8-1 victory.