The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Dodgers’

Let the intentional walking begin

Posted by keithosaunders on April 2, 2017

Baseball games are really going to fly by now.  Forget the fact that every single close play at first base warrants a three minutes review, intentional walks are now automatic!  Now that’s progress.

This year, rather than a normal baseball prediction post, I’m going to present a baseball soulful (wishful thinking) prediction post.

In the NL East the Mets, flush with pitching, Cespedes, and just enough hitting, will dominate and cruise to their third ever World Series victory.

In the NL Central the Cubs will revert to form and miss the playoffs – the first of 110 more years without a championship. The Pittsburgh Pirates will win the division with the Brewers taking the wild card.

In the NL West, having lost track of whether or not they’re supposed to win in an odd year, the Giants will begin 166 straight years of last place finishes.  The Dodgers will win the west, losing to the Mets in the NLCS.

Moving along to the junior circuit, in the AL West we have my dark horse prediction:  My East Bay homies, the Oakland As will shock the world!  You read it here first.

In the AL Central the Detroit Tigers will win the division, as well as the pennant before losing to the Mets in a 6 game World Series.

In the Al East the Yankees will go 6-156.  The Bluejays will win the division and Joey Batista will set an MLB record with double digit bat flips.  Baltimore gets the wild card.

There you have it:  Major League Baseball according to Keitho.

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The retirement tour

Posted by keithosaunders on September 29, 2016

These days when superstar athletes retire they have to go on a tour, meaning the road team felates them with video tributes and while showering them with gifts.  Why these millionairs need gifts is beyond me, but that’s the way it goes in the corporate world of MLB.

Yesterday someone on my Facebook feed bragged that he was going to David Ortiz’s final game at Yankee Stadium.  Suffice it to say that I just about threw up in my mouth.  Who cares?!  He’s the enemy!  (…of Crankee fans, that is.  I always loved it when he would destroy them his P.E.D.-enhaced home runs.)

Do you think Harmon Killabrew went on a retirement tour?  Bob Gibson?  Ernie Banks?  No!  They retired like men – they played their final game and got the hell out.

Sandy Koufax pitched the entire 1966 season in pain, along the way compiling a 27-9 record with 1.79 ERA.  He started 41 games and pitched 323 innings.  He started one World Series game which he lost, mostly due to six Dodger errors.  (three by Willie Davis in the same inning!)  Then he retired.  No tour!

Lifelong Giant, Juan Marichal, inexplicably ended his career on the Dodgers.  He started two games, was lit up in both, and retired.  No Tour. Get out.

The Dodgers, when I was growing up in the 70s, had a streak of signing superstars near, or at the end of their run.  They had Dick Allen in 1971, Frank Robinson in 1972, Jim Wynn in 1974 & ’75, and Boog Powell in 1977.  I can remember going to a game and seeing Powell his a 340 foot single off of the right field wall.

So there you have it.  For God’s sake can these players just retire with dignity?  Leave the circus for Ringling brothers.

Image result for boog powell dodgers

 

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100: The magical number

Posted by keithosaunders on April 9, 2016

In baseball there is a number that is so sacred and  profound that no pitcher may exceed it.  Regardless of his size, endurance, and mental makeup a pitcher must exit a game after his hundredth pitch or risk a career ending injury.  Never mind that history is full of pitchers such as Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, and Steve Carlton who inexplicably managed to have two decade plus careers flaunting the magic number, so it has been said, so it must be done.

Baseball has become a joyless, corporate, soulless, dickless, hell hole of a sport, managed by pussies and run by pencil pushing geeks who wouldn’t know Don Drysdale from Don Knotts.

Last night the Dodger rookie pitcher, Ross Stripling, was removed from a game in the 8th inning in which he was ahead 2-0 and throwing a no hitter.  Had he been allowed to flaunt science and stay in the game he could possibly have been the first pitcher to throw a no hitter since 1892.  Saber metrics won the day, as it does 95% of the time, and out came Chris Hatcher, bringing with him his customary can of lighter fluid.  Bink, blank, blunk, three pitches later the game was tied courtesy of a cantaloupe served to Giants catcher, Trevor Brown.

The Dodgers are a simpering, gutless team that deserves to lose. It’s no coincidence that they haven’t won since Tommy Lasorda years.   Lasorda was a manager who knew how to ride a hot pitcher. In 1988 he pitched Orel Hershiser with abandon, allowing him to pitch complete games and often using him on short rest — hell, he even used him out of the bullpen against the Mets in the playoffs.

In 1981 when Fernando Valenzuela was a rookie, Lasorda pitched him into the ground, letting him work late into games, well over 100 pitches. Some people think that Fernando’s career was shortened by this overuse, but you know what? WHO CARES?! The Dodgers won a World Series. RIDE HIM.

You take your rookie pitcher out of a game in which he is throwing a no hitter? That’s losing baseball. Ask the Nationals and gimp Strasberg.

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Post mortum

Posted by keithosaunders on November 2, 2015

The Mets lost the 2015 World Series and they did it in their inimitable style — in gut wrenching and embarrassing fashion.  After an improbable, some might say, miraculous season and playoffs, they came crashing back to earth in a World Series that saw them blow three late-inning leads,including two saves.

Their offense went awol, reverting back to pre-Cespedes quality, and their defense was putrid. I would go so far as to say that this was the worst World Series lineup I have ever seen.  The only one that comes close is the 1988 Dodgers, but that team won!

Yoenis Cespedes was playing hurt, his bat non-existent, but his defense was piss-poor and half the time it appeared as if his head was not in the game.  His bass-running gaffe which ended game 4 was inexcusable.  I was a huge Cespedes fan and it’s obvious that without him the Mets do not make the playoffs, but after watching his World Series error-riddled performance I question his baseball IQ.

It’s not only Cespedes.  Daniel Murphy, who carried the Mets through the NLDS and NLCS, reverted to being Daniel Murphy, slumping horribly and fielding like a little leaguer.  It will be interesting to see which team overpays for him during the offseason.

Nevertheless, I thought Terry Collins had a good Series.  I appreciate the fact that he sticks with his starters longer than most managers.  Matt Harvey, who I killed before the playoffs, pitched an absolute gem through 8 innings of game 5 and he (rightfully) lobbied to stay in the game for the 9th.  How could you take him out?  He was untouchable.  Jeurys Familia had been anything but lights out this past week and it was far from a given that he would have retired the side.  This idea that there has to be 7th, 8th, and 9th inning specialists is garbage.  GARBAGE.  I have no respect for anyone who would second guess Collins for having left Harvey in.  Zero.  If Lucas Duda makes a decent throw to the plate the Mets win the game.

And so it continues.  Even after a World Series appearance I cannot escape the embarrassment of rooting for this team. They couldn’t just lose normally — they had to do it in Keystone Cops fashion.  It’s as if they’re still paying off a deal with the devil they made in 1986. Written in small print in the contract:  Drink up, do as much coke as you want, stay out all night, get into brawls –  I’ll see that you win.  But be warned! Your team will be doomed to lose in embarrassing fashion for the next hundred years. 

A playoff upset to the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers, the Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla era of the early 90s, the subway Series loss to the hated Yankees, Yadier Molina’s game 7 NLCS homerun, the epic division collapses of 2007 and 2008, and the garbage years of 2009-2014.

What to do?  I’ll sleep this one off, lose myself in some football, and by the time February rolls around hope will spring eternal.  Despite the doom and gloom of this post, the future does look bright for this team.  If only they can get out of their own way.

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Match point

Posted by keithosaunders on October 15, 2015

This is the 3rd playoff series between the Mets and the Dodgers.  The first, in 1988, featured Orel Hershiser pitching a complete game gem in the 7th and deciding game.  Who can forget Mike Scioscia’s shocking, game-tying home run off of Dwight Gooden in game 4; a game the Mets lost in 12 innings. (Kirk Gibson’s 12th inning home run was the difference)

In 2006, which was the last time the Mets were in the post season, they swept the Dodgers in the NLDS.  There are two players, one from each roster, that are playing in this current series.  They are Andre Ethier and David Wright.  That 2006 Dodger squad included veterans Kenny Lofton, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, and Nomar Garciaparra.  The Mets had a more youthful lineup, featuring Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and the aforementioned Wright.  Their roster also included veterans Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd. That Mets team would go on to lose a heartbreaking NLCS to the St Louis Cardinals and the next two years they would suffer gut wrenching late-season collapses.

This brings us to tonight’s series-deciding epic matchup between another veteran Dodgers team and an upstart young Mets club. Jacob deGrom versus Zack Greinke.  If deGrom falters manager Terry Collins will use Noah Syndergaard and even Matt Harvey. (Scott Boras be damned)  I imagine big Bartolo will be on hand as well –  anything it takes to get to the one pitcher that matters the most: Jeurys Familia. For if he is in the game that’s a good sign that the Mets have a lead and what was once unthinkable — a trip to the NLCS — may yet come to pass.

Let’s go METS!!!

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It’s go time

Posted by keithosaunders on October 13, 2015

If you had told me on April 6th when the Mets opened In Washington against the Nationals, that on October 13th they would be playing a playoff game against the Dodgers that could propel them to the NLCS, I would have laughed in your face. But here they are, poised for success in this most improbable season that turned on a dime with the July 31st acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes.

Matt Harvey was mediocre last night versus the feckless Dodgers, but when you’re facing third-rate starters such as Brett Anderson and your lineup possesses gamers like Curtis Granderson and the aforementioned Cespedes, it doesn’t much matter. The Dodgers [probably wisely] sat Chase Utley, but at this stage of his career he is not an impact player unless you count chippy slides.

As for Harvey, I don’t blame him for not being sharp, what with nearly a two week layoff.  In this era of pitch counts and coddling it is unrealistic to expect your ‘ace’ starter to have any kind of rhythm in his biggest start of the year. I wonder what Juan Marichal and Bob Gibson think of today’s crop of tin-men. Hopefully, if the Mets move on, Harvey will be stronger in the NLCS.  They will need him against a frothing-at-the-mouth, too young to be scared Cubs lineup. (yes I have written the Cardinals off)

In the meantime the Mets have a game to win.  Rookie Steven Matz and his sore back will face Clayton Kershaw, who will be starting on three days of rest. The realist in me wants to believe that the pressure of pitching in a closeout game in hostile Citi Field will be too much for Kershaw, who thus far in his storied career has been a playoff washout.  The fatalist in me, however, hears a voice buried deep inside of my head saying, ‘He’s due.  He’s due.’

This is it, Mets.  FINISH THEM.

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The slide

Posted by keithosaunders on October 12, 2015

LIsten, the Mets did not lose Saturday night’s NLDS game against the Dodgers because of Chase Utley’s chippy slide. They lost it because they couldn’t score more than two runs against Zack Greinke.  As much as I hate to admit it Utley did nothing wrong.  He went into second base hard, as he was trained to do; as ballplayers have doing for over a century.  I’m more upset that the umps did not rule him out since he came nowhere near to touching second base.  Once again replay fails us. What’s the point of having it if not to decide plays like these?

And memo to Terry Collins:  Throw the sabermetrics away.  You had no business taking Bartolo Colon out of the game after a botched double play.  This may be a stretch, but big Bartolo has pitched a few years — I think he can get a lefty out. Leave your broken down chess pieces in the bullpen until you get into real trouble.

That being said, this series is the Mets to lose.  They got what they wanted out of their trip to Los Angeles — they stole a game from Clayton Kershaw.  Now it’s time for Matt Harvey to back up his cocky demeanor.  Harvey against Brett Anderson is a mismatch.  If the Mets bats are quiet we need to see Harvey go deep into this game and silence an anemic, underachieving Dodgers lineup. That means pitch count be damned. Is Harvey a ballplayer or a corporate interest?  A gamer or a faceless drone? A hero or a bum?

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Terry Collins mans up

Posted by keithosaunders on October 10, 2015

At last a manager showed some guts and sticks with his ace rather than adhere to the one-size-fits-all pitch count of 100. Terry Collins’ decision to allow Jacob deGrom to hit in the 7th inning with one out and men on 1st and 2nd paid off in spades.  The Mets came away with a 3-1 victory in LA against erstwhile ace and longtime playoff underachiever, Clayton Kershaw.  DeGrom, who had thrown 102 pitches, laid down a picture perfect bunt, nearly beating it out, setting the table for gamer David Wright.

Out came Mattingly to remind us that this is indeed the era of pussy baseball. He pulled his ace, the big bad, unbeatable (or so I have been told by Dodgers fans the past two weeks) Kershaw to bring in Pedro Baez, because we all know only righties can get other righties out.  Baez got behind in the count and at 3-2 grooved a fast ball which Wright banged into center for a 2 run double.  Ballgame.

By taking Kershaw out Mattingly undermined his ace’s confidence.  Do you have an ace or not?  If the answer is yes then has to be able to work out of tough spots in big games I don’t care how many pitches he has thrown.  it’s go time!  What’s the good of having an ace if he can’t pitch through late innings bases loaded situations? This is what you work for all season long. It comes down to who do you want to pitch to Wright:  Your Cy Young winning pitcher who had been untouchable all year long, or Pedro straight-down-the-middle-fast-ball Baez.

If I was Terry Collins I would name Matt Harvey today’s starter.  Here’s your chance to drive a stake through the heart of the Dodgers and take a 2-0 lead in games back to New York.  Then you have Syndergaard pitching at home where he is much more effective than the road.  You would always have DeGrom for a game five, or if you’re man enough, a game four.  If Scott Boras responded with as a much of a peep I would ban him from Citi Field.  What’s the worst that can happen?  The Mets miss out on the chance to sign a non-gamer pitcher for 30 million a year.  Boo hoo.

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Pussy baseball

Posted by keithosaunders on October 9, 2015

Why can’t the Mets do anything right?  Here they are in the playoffs for the first time in 9 years and what should be a joyous occasion has turned into a comedy of errors spurred on by greedy agents and a modern day, me-first style player.

Why isn’t Matt Harvey starting game one?  Is he your ace or not?  By the time they get to him in game three, after facing Dodgers aces Kershaw and Greinke in Chavez Ravine, the Mets may well be in a 2-0 hole.  How sharp can you expect Harvey to be after what will have been nearly a two week layoff?  I question Harvey’s heart and I question the Mets brain trust. Furthermore, because Harvey is not starting one of the games at Dodger Stadium the Mets will have Syndergaard pitching on the road where he’s been terrible. (He’s dominant at Citi Field.)

What are they saving Harvey for?  So that they can pay him 20 million dollars a year three years from now when they’ll no longer be a contender.  Then watch him blow his rotator cuff and you’re stuck with a Pedro Martinez/Johan Santana situation.

Nice job.

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Vic Davillio, Manny Mota, and my marching band days.

Posted by keithosaunders on September 29, 2015

In 1978 I was a senior at Van Nuys high school. Somehow my girlfriend, who played the flute, convinced me to join the marching band as a glockenspiel player. It was going to be an easy gig. I was the only glock player in the band so every week I’d line up at the 50, march straight out into the middle of the field where I would march in place as the rest of the band did dipsy doodles around me. Sweet.

So I figured, what’s the harm of it? I’ll go to a few rehearsals after school, see some football games and when the smoke clears I’ll be doing the horizontal mambo.

Well I’ll tell you what the harm of it is: You run the risk of missing one of the great Dodger playoff games of all time!

In 1977 the Dodgers were in the playoffs for the first time in 3 years. (before that they had last been to the post season in 1966) This was the Garvey/Cey/Lopes Dodger team beginning to come into its own and there was a lot of excitement in Los Angeles at that time.

On October 7th the Dodgers played one of the most exciting and improbable playoff games against the Philadelphia Phillies. Was I glued to our black and white Panasonic TV living and dying on every pitch? No. I was standing on the 50 yard line in some road football stadium in South Central LA playing glock. (Why did they schedule that team? Grant High was only 3 miles away, for crying out loud)

So the game: Burt Hooten, who threw a knuckle-curve and was known as a control specialist, started for the Dodgers. Things were going well for him until the 3rd inning when he imploded. He got a couple of bad calls from the home plate ump and the bases were loaded. All of a sudden the Phillies fans, not known for their good cheer, came alive and Hooten was visibly shaken. He proceeded to walk the next three hitters starting with Larry Christenson, the opposing pitcher. Three bases loaded walks in a row! I’d bet my eye teeth that’s a playoff record that still stands.

The game was 5-3 in going to the top of the 9th. The Dodgers had two outs and nobody on and seemed destined to go down 2-1 in the best of 5 playoff when…

“Pinch hitting of the Dodgers, number 33…Vic Davillio.”

Vic Davillio! We’re talking journeyman Vic Davillio. The Vic Davillio who was born in 1936, came up in 1963, played 17 years in the bigs and enjoyed collecting a pay check signed by Mr. O’Malley for services rendered sitting on the bench and enjoying a ballgame. (he had 75 at bats that year)

So what did he do, you ask? He beat out a perfectly executed drag bunt. A bunt! I can picture LaSorda in the dugout: “WAKE UP MOTA. SOMEBODY WAKE UP MOTA!”

Manny Mota, also at the tail end of his career, was a pinch hitter extraordinaire. He hit a booming double of the wall which Greg Luzinski couldn’t handle, scoring Davillio. Now it was the Phillies turn to implode with errant throws, wild pitches, bad calls by the umps. The Dodgers came away with a 6-5 victory.

And until yesterday, I had missed it.

Go to 20:10 to see Hooten walk the ballpark and melt down. Then skip ahead to 1:52 to watch Davillio and Mota win the game.

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