Off Base
"Beat L.A." My Foot

May 17, 2010, 2:55 p.m. Oh, you know what, I'll just say it. "Beat L.A." my ass!

Take that, America's finest city. You just got swept. I don't care if it is only May. Not only was this "Beat S.D." it was "Sweep S.D." So you can go right out and bite me.

And by the way, San Diegans, celebrants of no world championships in any field of sport since the beginning of time, the inane "Beat L.A." chant doesn't work. It doesn't work, so you might as well try something else. Oh wait, you did, with the oh-so-creative "Man-ny sucks" routine. You stay classy, San Diego.

Whatever. The Dodgers are winners of seven straight, have effectively re-started their season, and are one step closer to putting the Padres in their place, which is anywhere other than first. And that's no doubt fine with San Diego management, because the 2010 club wasn't built to win anyway. Winning wasn't even their intention – not really – it just kind of happened.

The plan, actually, was to employ as low a payroll as is humanly possible while trading Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell for potential future benefits. It'll be interesting to see how staying in contention, if the Pads are able to do so, affects that plan. But enough of the Padre-talk. On to what matters.

It was a thoroughly fun weekend. The Dodgers did pretty much everything right. There were two fine starting pitching performances, some excellent bullpen work, with all the plays being made and at important times, and just enough clutch hitting.

Petco Park sported an awful lot of blue clothing too, didn't it? Three days of rousing "let's go Dodgers" cries from the Los Angelinos in attendance, who even managed to upset the timing of the locals' "let's go Padres" chant enough to make it sound like "let's go Pad-gers!" Just great, L.A. fans. Ya done good, and we commend you.

I found myself rooting in my living room as loudly as I have this season. Screaming "yeah!!" at Russell Martin's ninth-inning peg Friday night, and "oh yeah!!!" at Loney's homer Saturday. High-fiving the Main Squeeze with the final out Sunday.

The Andre Ethier injury notwithstanding, I'm feeling much better about things, and am ready for the homestand. The Dodgers catch a couple of breaks this week, missing Houston's (and-hopefully-soon-to-be-Dodger) Roy Oswalt Monday-Tuesday, and missing Mat Latos for a second time Wednesday-Thursday.

Like everyone, I'm bummed about Ethier, and obviously it's a blow, but I think the way they're playing now, the Dodgers can skate by sans Andre for two weeks.

I don't have great confidence in Stan Conte's medical staff, which, it just seems like, over and over, is befuddled by a player's condition and how long he ought to be out. It's a concern, but let's try to keep a good thought.

Credit Joe Torre for pulling all the right strings over the weekend. I especially liked how he got Chad Billingsley out after his quick first out in the seventh inning Sunday. With no runner his responsibility out there to tie or lose the ball game.

It was absolutely the right call, and more importantly, Torre should be praised for righting the ship just generally. We can all learn a thing or two about patience from a baseball manager, and from Torre as much as anyone.

You can't just jettison a struggling player, let alone several, on a whim, like many a talk-show caller or Dodger blogger would have you do.

Speaking of which, if I wasn't the only writer pleased with the Jamey Carroll signing when it occurred, and confident in him when Rafael Furcal went down, I was pretty close to it. The lesson is, stats are great, we all love stats, but you have to watch a man play baseball awhile before you throw him under the bus.

And besides, Carroll's stats are fine. Just depends on which ones which ones you're looking at. And his leadoff walk, which preceded Billingsley's sacrifice and Martin's single yesterday, was huge.

Of course, Martin being in the lineup brings up another subject, and a sore one at that. I mean, he has to be. Drum roll please…

Russell Martin Day-Off-Oh-Meter: Also known as DOOM. The meter now reads, well, it's off the meter, is what it is. The consecutive game thing only goes up to 15, so it looks like I'm going to have to rebuild already.

Martin caught his 15th, 16th and 17th straight games over the weekend, and 20th out of 21, the 21st being the second game of a doubleheader. The beat goes on for the black and blue Dodger catcher.

And let's get something straight right now. It doesn't matter a lick that Martin wants to play. Good for him. He's a bleeping stud, an example, a leader of men even. But the catcher doesn't make out the lineup – at least not in unless he's a player-manager – and the last time I looked, there's no Mickey Cochrane in baseball. Not anymore.

What Martin wants, or says he wants, is of zero consequence. You hear me? Zero. Torre runs the club, and what he's doing to Martin is simply mind boggling. Unconscionable.

I imagine that the skipper had planned to rest his catcher more this year, and that the injury to Brad Ausmus caused him to rethink things, but c'mon. A.J. Ellis is capable of playing once a week. If not, there are alternatives. Giving Cal Ripken a run for his money isn't one of them…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Word Association: Quick, what comes to mind when you see the number 1.12? Right, Bob Gibson's 1968 earned run average. 1.12. The same number in the same stat currently posted by Rockies' ace Ubaldo Jimenez.

Sure, we're less than a quarter of the way through 2010, but a 1.12 simply has to be celebrated whenever possible. I've loved the number, one of many in baseball I have an affinity for, for most of my life, and there's just no way I could let it go without a mention.

Jimenez's pitching is otherworldly right now. And I believe he is that good. Not to minimize his accomplishment one iota, but Gibson did his thing in a pitching-rich era, in a year of pitching greatness (Denny McClain, 31-6, to name just one example), and in a big ballpark. I have no idea what's going on with the humidor this season, and I'm not going to claim to understand altitude science, but 1.12. 1.12. 1.12!!

I'm actually rooting for the guy. Not against the Dodgers, but I'm rooting for the guy. 1.12.

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….

 

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