August 22, 2014

Post-Game Comments from Torre, Billingsley, Ellis and Blake

Here’s the feedback after tonight’s 6-0 loss to the Padres (particularly good stuff from Casey Blake).  Additionally, earlier this evening, the Dodgers were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Joe Torre

On Clayton Richard’s complete game shutout:

“It just looked so easy for him.  We didn’t do a whole lot of damage.  We just couldn’t get anything going.  Up until that last inning, we didn’t really have a threat.  You have to give him credit, he works fast, he’s very aggressive in the strike zone and he certainly pitched well tonight.”

On being eliminated from the playoffs:

“We didn’t play well enough to be in a pennant race.  We thought in the first half that we would be able to contend.  Unfortunately the second half started off badly and we never really recovered from it.”

On Billingsley’s performance:

“It just didn’t look like he had command.  He’s been pitching so well, his stuff looked good, but he just wasn’t able to locate.  It sounds simple, and that’s probably a simple explanation, but as I said, I thought his stiff was good, but he just didn’t get the ball where he wanted to.  Plus we put pressure on him.  We don’t score, they score a couple of runs and you try and be perfect.  I think a lot of the pitchers have had to deal with a lot of that this year.”

Chad Billingsley

On his performance in tonight’s game:

“I just didn’t get the job done today.  I was battling those two innings and couldn’t find a way to get out of it.  I’ve just got to get ready for the next start.”

A.J. Ellis

On Chad Billingsley’s performance:

“They capitalized when we put their runners on base.  The walk or a hit by pitch, they capitalized on it.  When he was ahead in the count and throwing strikes, he was dominant as he normally is, putting guys away.  When you put guys on base it makes it that much harder on you.”

Casey Blake

On being officially eliminated from the playoffs:

“In order to be a championship team, obviously you’ve got to be playing well, but you’ve got to have a lot of things go your way.  It seems like neither of those happened for us.  Injuries didn’t help anything: Losing Manny, losing [Furcal], Padilla, just go down the line.  Andre for an extended period of time.  I was out five games and that really killed us [laughter].  Every team goes through adversity like that.  It’s disappointing.  You feel like a failure.  We’re not embarrassed, it’s just really disappointing for all the expectations and hope you have.  You make it to the playoffs a couple of years in a row and you just expect to do it.  When it doesn’t happen, it’s really, really tough to take.”

The Balk-Off, Circa 2010

Last night’s win by balk was by far the strangest of the year for the Dodgers, and also supplied a nearly endless supply of puns (a balk in the park, a balk-off hit, “I wouldn’t balk at that Dodgers victory,” etc.), rivaled only by the humor of the Elymania Twitter craze.

First off, here’s Casey “The Beard” Blake describing the unusual play on the Dodgers’ post-game television show:

I was trying to make something happen.  That’s the first time it’s ever worked for me.  Usually guys don’t pay attention to me…I’m not really going anywhere right there.  But I said, hey, we got two outs and I might as well try something, and took a couple hard steps and sometimes it works.  The ninth inning, two outs, I’m sure there were some nerves on the mound, or some emotion, and so I just thought I’d try it and it worked one time.”

The balk-off win also inspired some great stories from across the web.  Here are a couple of my favorites from last night and this morning:

- Tony Jackson at ESPN Los Angeles looks at the umpiring coincidence between last night’s balk-off win for the Dodgers and their last one in 1989

- As usual, Eric at True Blue LA offers up the stats behind the balk-off

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo / LA Dodgers 2010

Ely & The Beard

Sounds like a sitcom, doesn’t it?  Today’s game played like a television show, with a consistent story line (the Dodgers winning 12 of their last 13 games), a little drama (a rocky 1st inning by John Ely) and one of the team’s heroes giving the fans a happy ending (Jonathan Broxton delivering his third consecutive save).

And today, we also learned that John Ely is, indeed, human.  After pitching to 89 consecutive batters without giving up a walk, the 24 year-old starter finally succumbed, walking one batter in a rough first inning before rebounding and putting together another quality start against the Detroit Tigers.  In the end, the kid pitched through just over six innings, giving up eight hits, to go along with the one walk and three strikeouts.  His ERA for the season stands at 3.41.  Not bad for a kid who never pitched above Double A in his career.

Casey Blake continued his torrid hitting as of late, going 3 for 4, including a solo bomb.  Matt Kemp also went deep, DeWitt trippled (he leads the club with three) driving in two, with Loney and Manny contributing RBI to the cause.

Things started to get a little dicey after Torre gave Ely a quick hook in the 6th inning.  Kuo was in a bit of a jam with the bases loaded in the 6th, but rebounded with a fantastic throw to end the inning.  In the 8th, Troncoso simply looked worn out and needed Weaver to help keep the damage to a minimum.  Broxton also went threw a few struggles in the 9th, but closed the door with two strikeouts (swinging and looking, respectively) to record what was his third consecutive save – not bad when you consider how slow the season started for Brox.

In my opinion, one of the plays of the game was a diving stop made by Casey Blake to save a sure single.  Throwing from his knees, The Beard had a fantastic throw to second to record a critical out and give Broxton some much needed breathing room.

All in all, a solid win by the Dodgers.  For the majority of the game, the Dodgers looked very, very solid, combining great offense, solid defense and quality starting pitching.  The club goes for the sweep against the Tigers on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PT with the Dodgers’ most consistent starter, Hiroki Kuroda (5-1, 2.87 ERA), taking on Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.93 ERA).

It’s All About Ethier (and Blake), Baby!

Lots of news about Andre Ethier as the Dodgers go for their 10th consecutive win at Chavez Ravine tonight against the San Diego Padres (Russ Ortiz vs. Jon Garland).

First up, it was Andre Ethier Bobblehead Night last night!  The first 50,000 fans picked up one of the little guys, and Andre was even cool enough to sign a few autographs for the fans.  Roberto over at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy says that scalpers were outside the stadium asking fans if they wanted to sell their Ethier figurines.  Apparently the going rate was $40.  Crazy!  Here’s the schedule for the remainder of the Dodger Bobblehead Nights…and judging from the traffic numbers, this is a huge deal for many of you!

Next up for Ethier was filming an ESPN Sportscenter commercial this morning.  Josh Rawitch tweeted out this photo of ‘Dre in action, and notes in his blog that the Dodgers Media Network is going to have some behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot up sometime soon, which is cool.  Here a few other notes for the Ethierholics out there:

Well, he’s got an upcoming action figure night (July 8), a poster (Aug. 20) and a few other big time media requests we’ve gotten for him. We’re going to try to bang out most of these while he’s hurt because unfortunately, he can’t play at the moment. But, hopefully he’ll be back soon and by then, who knows, maybe the Dodgers will be on a 23-game winning streak…

Also, on an unrelated note, how great was it to see a newly scruffy Casey Blake come up huge last night, going 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a homer?  As Steve Dilbeck notes, Blake broke a 2 for22 skid with last night’s effort.  THE BEARD IS BACK!  Looking for my “In Beard We Trust” shirt as we speak so I can wear it to the game tonight.

Finally, I can’t recommend the blog Dodger Divorce enough for all things depressing when it comes to the McCourt v. McCourt legal action.  Josh has a great post up about the latest shady legal maneuverings and breaks it down for the common fan.  A must read every time something happens in the courtroom involving the team.

Looking forward to my first game of the season at Chavez Ravine as a regular fan tonight.  Hope to post a few updates and pics throughout the game.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010 (Ethier Bobblehead); LA Dodgers 2010 (Ethier Sportscenter)

Martin and Blake Power Dodgers to 4-3 Victory over Nationals

Russell Martin continued his solid performance at the plate against the Nationals today and made it count in the 13th when he managed to deliver an RBI single with two outs on the board to lead the Dodgers past the Nationals 4-3 on Saturday.

Casey Blake did his part as well, delivering two home runs during the course of the game (the 9th time he’s accomplished this in his career) and throwing out what would have been the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 13th.

The Dodgers road record improved to a lowly 4-7 with the win and continued their streak of not losing three games in a row yet this season. Unfortunately, they have managed to lose two games in a row on three separate occasions (and only squeaked out a win today by the thinnest of margins).

Photo credit: Jon SooHoo, Los Angeles Dodgers, 2010.

Russell Martin

Casey Blake HR