Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pitching Musical Chairs Continue - Wall Down, Guerra Up - And Other Dodgers News

Josh Wall has been absolutely shelled this year.  He had a good rookie campaign last season in limited play, but took some big lumps this season coming out of the pen.  As a result, the Dodgers have decided to send him back to Albuquerque, and have brought up Javy Guerra.  Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today recalled right-handed pitcher Javy Guerra (#48) from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned right-hander Josh Wall to Albuquerque. Guerra, 27, has been in a starting role for the Isotopes this season and has gone 0-2 with a 4.02 ERA in four starts, last pitching on Friday and allowing four runs (two earned) in 5.0 innings (85 pitches). Guerra made three scoreless appearances for the Dodgers during Spring Training before being optioned on March 17, allowing just two hits in 2.2 innings. In two Major League seasons (2011-12), Guerra has gone 4-5 with 29 saves in 36 opportunities and a 2.45 ERA in 92 games with the Dodgers. 
Wall went 0-1 with an 18.00 ERA (14 ER/7.0 IP) in six appearances since his recall on April 15.
Guerra has been starting games in Albuquerque, so he will have a different role with the Dodgers.  I think it's likely he'll be doing some long relief for the team.  After a run of bad games, I suspect this is an especially needed role.
(pic credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2012)

The Dodgers also passed along some daily notes.  Below are some pertinent items:
LEFT IS RIGHT: The Dodgers hope to get back on track tonight against a left-handed starter with the team posting a combined .293 batting average against lefties:
Highest Team Batting Avg. vs. Left-handers
1. Milwaukee Brewers                    .293
2. Los Angeles Dodgers                  .293
3. Kansas City Royals                     .290
4. Detroit Tigers                              .285
5. Cincinnati Reds                           .285

  • Several Los Angeles hitters rank among the league’s best this season against left-handers, including Mark Ellis (.417, T-5th), Adrian Gonzalez (.385, 10th), A.J. Ellis (.350, 15th) and Matt Kemp (.345, 16th).
  • Kemp (10-for-23, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI), Gonzalez (10-for-28, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI) and Freddy Sanchez tie for the most all-time hits (10) against tonight’s Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa.

A TWEET FEAT: For each strikeout this year, Head & Shoulders will donate $1 to MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program as a part of their “Season of Whiff” campaign. Fans can raise more money for the Los Angeles RBI program through the “Season of the Whiff” campaign by tweeting “#Whiff @Dodgers.” The team with the most #whiff tweets at the end of each month of the regular season will win $10,000 for their RBI program. With just one day remaining in April, the Dodgers are in the running for the most #whiff tweets, among MLB teams, so keep tweeting!
HOME COOKING: Carl Crawford went 1-for-3 last night and continues to rank among the National League leaders with a .388 batting average (19-for-49) at home. Crawford has hit safely in 10 of 13 games at Dodger Stadium with seven multi-hit games.
COLORADO CRUSHERS: Matt Kemp is tied with Adrian Beltre for the most homers against Colorado by an active player with 24 home runs, joining Adrian Gonzalez (16 HR, T-5th) on that leaderboard. The duo also ranks among the top run producers against the Rockies:
RBI vs. Colorado, Active Players
1. Adrian Beltre                      94
2. Matt Kemp                         81
3. James Loney                       75
4. Adrian Gonzalez                  71
5. Albert Pujols                       65
10. Andre Ethier                      55
  • Overall, Gonzalez ranks ninth in the NL with a .333 batting average, while ranking among the league leaders in on-base percentage (.404, 9th), hits (30, T-8th), doubles (7, T-10th) and multi-hit games (9, T-9th). Gonzalez also ranks sixth in the NL with a .455 mark with runners in scoring position (10-for-22).
  • #VOTE BLUE: In-stadium All-Star balloting is underway for this year’s Midsummer Classic, which takes place on July 16 at Citi Field in New York. Fans are encouraged to punch paper ballots at home games through June 7 and visit Dodgers.com to cast votes online through July 4 at 8:59 p.m. PT. 
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WooHoo! Kings Playoffs Start Tonight - I'm Happy as a Pig in !!!!

The nicest thing about being a Kings fan this time around is that it becomes a nice diversion from the horrible play the Dodgers have been giving fans so far this season.  For the next several weeks (hopefully!) much of my sports fanaticism is likely to be focused on the ice.

As you may know, today is the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the reigning champions look to defend their crown against the St. Louis Blues tonight.  Like last year, the Kings find themselves without home-ice advantage, and underdogs (if you follow the betting lines).

If you are wondering what the schedule is for the Kings, below is a rundown for the first 4 games (this was originally provided by official team blogger Jon Rosen at LA Kings Insider):
Game 1 – Tuesday, April 30 Pregame: Prime Ticket, 4:30 pm
Broadcast: Prime Ticket, CNBC, CBC, 5:00 pm
Post-Game: None
Game 2 – Thursday, May 2 Pregame: None
Broadcast: CNBC, CBC, 6:30 pm
Post-Game: FOX Sports West, 10:30 pm
Game 3 – Saturday, May 4 Pregame: FOX Sports West, 6:30 pm
Broadcast: FOX Sports West, NBC Sports Network, CBC, 7:00 pm
Post-Game: FOX Sports West, 9:30 pm
Game 4 – Monday, May 6 Pregame: FOX Sports West, 6:30 pm
Broadcast: FOX Sports West, NBC Sports Network, CBC, 7:00 pm
Post-Game: FOX Sports West, 9:30 pm
-all times Pacific

As for a little history, the Kings swept the Blues in last years playoff run, so I figure they'll be looking for some payback.  The Blues are a very good team, and are arguably the one team that plays most like the Kings.  It'll be like watching a carbon copy of the Kings on the ice tonight.  Still, the Kings have aptly handled the Blues over the past couple of years, and I see no reason to expect anything different this time around.

Do I expect the Kings to sweep again?

No, I don't think it's reasonable to expect that.  I do believe, though that the Kings will control the tempo of play and the boards.  I believe the Blues will come out hitting and skating quickly just like last year, but will fail to garner much traction against a team that has learned to weather such storms.  My prediction is that the Kings will take the series in 6 games.

Go Kings Go!


BTW, just so I can say this wasn't just a Kings only post, I wanted to pass along the final prices for the three remaining Dodgers' themed hockey jersey's the team wore during a pregame skate last week.  My original post on the auction is here.  The Anze Kopitar jersey sold for $2,075.00.  The Jonathan Quick jersey sold for $1,725.00.  The Dustin Brown jersey sold for $2,325.00.

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Blog Kiosk: 4/30/2013

We can now see Hanley Ramirez, who is ready to play.  It's his bobblehead night tonight, and I suspect he'll be returning to the lineup today.  Pic via twitter @Dodgers.
  • Just to pass along info that I'm sure you already know, Clayton Kershaw has been placed on the bereavement list.  Don't ask me why.  As far as I'm concerned, it's personal business.  In a likewise move, this allows the Dodgers to reinstate Hanley Ramirez from the DL without having to send anyone to the minors- just yet.
  • In news that makes me laugh because I fail to see why it's news.  The Dodgers sent along a press release to let us bloggers/reporters know that the Korean pop sensation PSY will be at the Dodger game today to watch Hyun-Jin Ryu pitch.
  • "Day after arrest, Puig homers, hits walk-off single," via Austin Laymance at MLB.com.
  • Matthew Reichbach at Yahoo writes, "Juan Uribe Is the Los Angeles Dodgers' Best Option for 3B."
  • Nick Green at the Daily Breeze writes about the popularity of bobbleheads in Southern California.  He even highlights a LA area hobby shop that specializes in bobbleheads.
Yet they also are incredibly popular among collectors, akin to a 21st century version of the baseball card before that market became saturated and collapsed.

And Southern California, as it turns out, is arguably the bobblehead epicenter.
  • We might need to convert Skip Schumaker into a reliever.  He came into last nights game to give our pitchers a rest and shut the Rockies down.  Eric Stephen at True Blue LA notes that he is now the Dodgers ERA leader.
  • To make matters worse, Lilly (who started yesterday's game) has back tightness, via Mark Saxon at ESPN.
The Dodgers are accustomed to carefully monitoring the 37-year-old pitcher's health on a start-by-start basis, so in a way this is nothing new. Lilly had felt a bit of tightness in his back after his previous start in New York last week and it returned in the first inning of Monday night's 12-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, in which Lilly got hit around for three innings. 
I too, however, am entitled to my opinion—and my opinion is that Broussard is a moron. On a day when the first openly gay active American athlete (from a team sport) courageously comes out of the closet, Broussard reacts by … giving us a lecture on homosexuality and sinfulness? Really? Not a lecture on courage, or guts, or what surely must have been a tough decision—but sinfulness? Really?
  • Susan Lulgjuraj at Beckett visited the collection of Dick Perez (maker of the Donruss Diamond Kings cards) Baseball paintings in a New York exhibit and shares a bunch of pics.
  • Talk about taking things personally.  In Japan, a batter asked and was granted a timeout while the pitcher was in the midst of pitching and the pitcher made a wild inadvertent (or was it) throw.  Check out a gif and video at Bob's Blitz.

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