October 25, 2014

A Family Affair

Jered Weaver, Angels (left) and Jeff Weaver, Dodgers (right)

Jered Weaver, Angels (left) and Jeff Weaver, Dodgers (right)

Since I’m heading to the Dodgers/Angels game on Saturday night, I figured I’d post something special about the game – the fact that Jeff Weaver will be the starting pitcher against his brother, Jered Weaver!

The dodgers.com website had some interesting tidbits and facts about brothers facing each other on the mound…

  • The last time it happened was 9/6/2002 when Andy Benes (Cardinals, the older brother) and Alan Benes (Cubs) faced off against each other…
  • The most recent brother pitching duel in Dodger history was when Ramon Martinez (Dodgers, older brother) beat Pedro Martinez (Mets) on 8/29/96.
  • This is the 8th time brothers have faced off against each other with a total of 20 brother-brother matchups taking place in MLB history.

Of course, I’m picking Jeff and the Dodgers to beat Jered and the Angels because the older sibling has won the pitching matchup the last 3 times this has happened…it’s what we call “looking at the trends”…

…then again, I don’t know if it means anything that the last 3 brother-brother pitching duels came in 1988, 1996 and 2002…do trends really work when you have 6-8 years between games like this???

Manny Offer Is In; Penny Gone

So Ned reportedly made a play for Manny, but it surely is a two-year deal for $55 million.  A nice move, but does anyone seriously think Manny is going to take that?  Not with Boras as his agent!  Good thing the Dodgers cleared some salary by buying out Penny’s contract for $2 million (not a pretty penny! sorry, couldn’t help myself…) as they’ll need that for either Ramirez or Sabathia.

On a related note, Blue Notes had an interesting post relating to comments from Steve Henson at Yahoo! Sports on the Padres’ asking price for Jake Peavy:

The Dodgers would be long shots because the Padres are loathe to help their intra-divisional neighbors to the north. It would take Clayton Kershaw or Jonathan Broxton, plus DeWitt and Ethier, just to pique the Padres’ interest.

JUST TO PIQUE THEIR INTEREST!!! Whatever…could you seriously imagine playing the Pad’s and seeing Kershaw on the mound with DeWitt and Eithier behind him?  Unbelievable.

Pitching Becomes Dodgers Offseason Priority

Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times had a great article about the upcoming offseason work that the Dodgers need to do to begin prep for the 2009 season.

Here is a small exerpt:

Twelve players from this year’s NL West championship team will be free agents, including Ramirez, pitcher Derek Lowe, shortstop Rafael Furcal, third baseman Casey Blake and second baseman Jeff Kent, who is pondering retirement. McCourt ensured a certain level of stability when he told The Times on Wednesday that Colletti would be back next season, but the front office could lose assistant general manager Kim Ng, who is a finalist for the GM vacancy in Seattle.

This seems like a staggering number in my book – I don’t know how it compares to other playoff teams, but clearly Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez (both acquired prior to the trading deadline) inflated this # a bit.

With the Dodgers not scheduled to hold their organizational meetings until later this month, the most Torre could say was that pitching would probably be their top priority.

“I still think that pitching is really something you really have to pay attention to,” Torre said. “I know we all get caught up in the offensive part of this game, but I certainly think that pitching is something that really should be front and center as far as being addressed.”

YOU THINK??? Wow, amazing that Torre could utter this after the debacle in the playoffs and seem so understated about the whole thing. Maybe he is in shock over the collapse in the NLCS, but appearing a bit more focused on pitching being priority #1 would probably make sense.

Lowe is assumed to be leaving. He has often felt underappreciated in his four seasons with the Dodgers, according to sources close to him who spoke anonymously to avoid creating tension while the team was still in the playoffs. The club never approached Lowe, 35, about a contract extension this season, though that in part was because he is represented by Scott Boras, who prefers that his clients test the market.

Another big decision in the coming weeks will concern Brad Penny, who was 16-4 in 2007 and was the opening day starter this season. But Penny was 6-9 with a 6.27 earned-run average and left the team after being put on the 60-day disabled list, which ended his year.

Penny’s contract includes a $9.25-million club option for 2009 that could be bought out for $2 million.

Torre said he recently reached out to Penny and said he wanted to have lunch with him.

“He’s been frustrated with his condition,” Torre said. “He’s a young man with a bright future, whether it’s with us or somebody else.”

Amazing that with so much riding on the Dodgers future pitching staff that there was almost a lack of courting going on with Lowe and Penny. The Manny Ramirez factor has to be tough for these guys, as they were trying to shine in order to maximize value ahead of free agency, only to see Manny grab the spotlight and never let go during his Red Sox paid tenure in L.A..

With or without Penny, the Dodgers will be forced to target a top-of-the-rotation arm if they can’t re-sign Lowe. At this point, the only sure bets for the rotation are Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw. James McDonald, who impressed as a September call-up, and damage-shouldered Jason Schmidt, who has a year left on his three-year, $47-million contract, could also be factors.

CC Sabathia, who pitched the Milwaukee Brewers into the postseason, is the top free-agent pitcher but could command a deal similar to the seven-year, $126-million contract that Barry Zito signed with San Francisco two winters ago.

A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets could also be available. A longshot could be 2007 Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, whom San Diego is attempting to shop.

Trading for Peavy would probably force Colletti to break up the Dodgers’ nucleus of young players that includes catcher Russell Martin, first baseman James Loney, and outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Colletti says he intends to keep the group intact.

Still, there are plenty of openings.

Kuroda Sidelined with Tendonitis – Park to Start Saturday

Hiroki Kuroda’s MRI revealed tendonitis in his right shoulder, resulting in the pitcher being scratched from his Saturday night start against the Indians. Kuroda’s injury means Chan Ho Park gets the nod for Saturday night, following up Eric Stults who will pitch in place of the injured Brad Penny on Friday.

The Dodgers have not said whether Kuroda will end up on the 15-day DL at this point – they could make it retroactive to June 13th, thus minimizing the time he misses on the roster if the injury is minor. However, Torre and Colletti seem determined to use releiver to manage Kuroda’s absence at this point.

At least Derek Lowe and the Dodger bats seem to be performing (albeit against the lowly Cincinnati Reds) – the boys in blue scored six runs on nine hits while Lowe went 5 1/3 innings with only one run, three hits, two walks and six strikeouts on the board.

Maybe there is hope…

A Pitching Staff Worthy of the United Nations

It’s hard to believe that the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory last night over the Reds was the first time a Japanese pitcher (Saito) had saved a game for a Japanese starter (Kuroda) in the majors.  Ken Gurnick, of course, was all over the story.  Call me crazy, but that’s pretty cool! 

One thing that I don’t think Ken noticed were the pitchers of record in the May 17th game when the Dodgers beat the Angels.  As our pal Sebastian points out over at Back Alley Media, we can all get along!:

In today’s interleague MLB game, which saw the Dodgers beat the Angels, 6-3, the Korean guy (Chan-Ho Park) started and pitched 4 strong innings, followed up by the Taiwanese guy (Hong-Chih Kuo), who pitched another strong 4 and earned the win, with the Japanese guy (Takashi Saito) closing it out in the 9th. Yes we can, in fact, all get along!  

LA Dodgers IP / H / R / ER / BB / K / HR / Season ERA
C. Park 4.0 / 3 / 2 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 0 / 2.17
H. Kuo (W, 3-1) 4.0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 2.40
T. Saito 1.0 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2.08