Today “marks” a huge day for Mark Ellis (See what I did there? Eh? Ok, sorry, no more puns) Considering our absurd amount of injuries, I figured that everyone would like a brief little summation on all the players to see when we’ll have our Dodgers team back, healthy, and ready to make a push back to first place. Here it is:
Mark Ellis: Mark is literally one month ahead of schedule in regards to his rehab. After a May 19th collision at second base, he was hospitalized for five days, and came within six hours of losing his leg. I’m not a doctor…but that’s not typically a “let’s get back to playing baseball” type situation. That’s more of a “I’m lucky to be walking” type situation. Nonetheless though, he is not only walking, he’s playing again. Like I said before, today is a huge day for Mark. He will be making his first rehab start of a four day assignment for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Tonight, he is going to just DH. Then he will play the field the remaining three days, and rest after that. The Dodgers have targeted Mark to make his official comeback with the club (assuming all goes well with rehab games) for the Arizona series which starts this upcoming Thursday, July 5th.
Matt Kemp: Matty is also doing well and is progressing right along in his rehab. Don Mattingly came out last week and said that the Dodgers had sat down with Matt to discuss the All-Star break and whether or not he would be able to participate. The agreement that they came up with was that he would be able to compete in the Home Run Derby no matter what, but would not play Center Field in the ASG if he had not yet played a game for the Dodgers. Which is understandable. Donnie has since said that Sue Falsone and the Dodgers training staff are now working to not only allow Matt to compete in the Home Run Derby, but also manage to work that into his rehab as well.
“The plan right now is that it would be part of what he’s doing. We’re going to try to build it into the program.” Mattingly said.
Don went on to add that Matt still has another round of testing to do on his hamstring before he starts his rehab assignment, but that there is a chance he could start his rehab assignment before the All Star Break.
Andre Ethier: ‘Dre, as we all know in that dreaded Giants’ series, tweaked his left oblique in a slide to second. Good news for us all, is that it wouldn’t require a DL stint. I know that oblique’s are incredibly touchy injuries and depending on the severity, could literally take months to heal, but Don and Andre have both said it was a very minor injury, and they are just playing it safe. ‘Dre is still sore, but he says that he expects to be back in the lineup either tonight or tomorrow. Judging by the way they have played it so far, my guess would be tomorrow night, but we’ll see when the lineup card’s scratched in.
Ted Lilly: Ted’s recovery is still moving along slowly, but moving along nonetheless. Last Friday he made a big improvement and made about 15 soft throws. I know that may not sound like much, but initial reports were saying that his shoulder inflammation would cause Lilly to undergo an operation, so the fact he can make throws without it, is a huge progression. Don said that they will continue to take it slow and cautious with Lilly. Luckily for everyone, Eovaldi has done a very nice job (contrary to his win-loss record) replacing Lilly in the rotation, so we don’t have to rush anything. There has not yet been a timetable on his return.
Javy Guerra: Javy underwent right knee surgery on June 5th, and has made a very good recovery from that. He is said to possibly be ready for a rehab assignment as early as this upcoming week. He threw back-to-back bullpen sessions on Thursday and Friday and is progressing along nicely. Similarly, there is no timetable set for Javy’s return either.
My best guess would be that if everyone stays on the pace they are at, and we don’t have any setbacks, we could be looking to be full strength by the end of July, if not a week or two before. At this point, it will almost be weird to have all of our players back again. I can’t imagine the strength of our lineup with all of our players healthy, and a successful trade deadline. Only time will tell…
It’s that time again…that time where we are forced to be made sick by watching the team that turns the stomachs of Dodgers fans across the nation. Where we are forced to stare at these awful colors of black and orange. To be honest, I’ve never been fond of Halloween because of the colors. I laugh at the people that thought the Angels-Dodgers had a “hardcore” rivalry this past weekend. To them, maybe it is. To us, this is the team; these are the hated ones that will always have that special place in our hearts as the grossest team in baseball.
It’s also time to face another reality…we sucked tonight. There’s no way around it. The Dodgers are losing steam, and they need a pick-me-up. This road trip has been anything but good for us. We have now lost six of our last seven and on the border of losing the lead for the NL West. Where to point the finger? Well, in all actuality, no one in particular. These have been team losses. But ya know what? I’m going to do it anyways. I’m pointing the finger at — Ned Colletti. NOT Don Mattingly.
Ned Colletti has been ruining this Dodgers team for a lot longer than just this year, but he’s really out done himself as of late. The reason I’m not blaming Mattingly is because about a month ago, every button this guy pushed, whether we agreed with it or not at the time, was working. There was nothing but praise for him, and now that we’re in a bit of a bind, people want his head. It’s not his fault. Donnie has been an extraordinary manager ever since he got here. All of the players love him, the only problem is, he has just had nothing to work with, and that is Ned’s fault. He looks at players like Uribe and Kennedy, thinks they’re good and signs them for deals in which we are still paying for. I’m actually not even going to get into Uribe, because I literally need to take a night off from thinking about him. It just frustrates me at this point, as it does you, I’m sure. So I’ll save my negativity towards him for the bad game he’ll have tomorrow night. Unless of course, he’s not in the lineup!! Haha yeah right…I crack myself up.
Back to the game though, as well all know, Eovaldi got knocked around for the first time in 2012…hard. But weirdly enough, I have to hand it to the guy. I know he gave up 7 runs in the first two innings, and pretty much took us out of the game early, but he battled. I’d be lying if I wasn’t one of the many yelling “Get him out of there!!” in the second inning, and was slightly irritated when he came out for the third inning, but he definitely proved me wrong. Eovaldi grinded out another three strong innings, while having a span of 9 consecutive batters that he retired. On Twitter, I always point out the fact that every time that Nate had given up a homerun this year, he has followed up the next batter by striking him out. I thought this showed amazing maturity from him, and the same can be said for tonight. In a much larger scale, he showed maturity by not letting the lead get to him and falling apart (more than he already had). Was there more pressure on him being the first time pitching in the Dodgers-Giants rivalry?
Before the game, Mattingly seemed optimistic about the way Nate would handle that pressure. “If he’s going to be any good, he’s got to pitch here,” he said. “I have no real concerns. I look forward to seeing how he handles it.”
Unfortunately for us all, he didn’t seem to have handled the initial pressure very well. Although when asked about it in the locker room after game, he didn’t agree.
“It’s a great baseball atmosphere, a great rivalry, but I didn’t feel like there was extra added pressure,” said Eovaldi.
“It was a good experience for him,” Mattingly said. “He’s going to be fine. He’s not the kind of kid to get rattled. He is a work in progress.”
Dee Gordon had another great game which put him at three straight after receiving a one-on-one coaching lesson from Maury Wills. I hope, for his sake, that he can continue this hot streak and work on his defense a little more. I am one of the few that still have faith in Dee and think if he can find a way to get on base, day in and day out, he will be an incredible force to be reckoned with, especially with the arrival of Mark and Matt from the DL. Do you remember how that used to go?
1. Dee singles to get on first.
2. With Mark Ellis batting, Dee steals second.
3. Mark Ellis sacrifices, Dee moves to third.
4. Matt Kemp singles, doubles, triples, or homers in Gordon.
But for now, we deal with what we have; and that is a desperately struggling team which we all still love. Game two of this rivalry continues tomorrow with Kershaw on the mound against Ryan Vogelsong. Game is scheduled to start at 7:15 PT. Be sure to follow Dodgers Insider on Facebook and Twitter as well!
Reports are saying that Kevin Youkilis is leaving Boston by this weekend. Question is — Where is he going?
For those of you that have read anything I’ve posted before, you would know that I never liked this Youkilis trade. However, in the past 24 hours, my tune has 100% changed. I’ll tell you why.
Now Dodgers sources are saying something a little bit different than before. They are saying that they would use Youkilis to replace Uribe at third, rather than Loney at first. Now this I love. I never thought Loney was our number one problem. He is a problem, for sure, don’t get me wrong, but not our number one problem. I think Youkilis would give a slightly bigger threat in the middle of the lineup than Uribe would anywhere.
Last night was fantastic. It gave me hope of a Uribe-less future. Adam Kennedy may have only gone 0-2 with a walk, but not seeing that haggard swing that tries to blow the guts out of every ball he sees in the lineup was so refreshing. If we want to improve this team – Uribe HAS to go. No questions asked.
Now Youkilis will not be our savior. He will not come to the team and have a Manny-like impact back in 2008. We still need a big bat. I thought a perfect example of the impact he’ll have would be a Casey Blake. Someone that is in the lineup, and stays consistent with a homerun every now and again. Youkilis obviously isn’t having the year that he would have hoped, and his numbers have dropped off immensely. His batting average is .225 and his wOBA is .306. However, I think these numbers could change when he leaves Boston. Here’s why:
If you remember back in 2008, Manny’s numbers were no where near where they were compared to his career. It’s because he was practically doing it on purpose to make a point that he was unhappy in Boston. Now I’m not saying this is a case of “Youk being Youk” but it could very well be a morale problem that has his numbers down. Bobby Valentine has recently sat down and told him that his playing time is getting cut because of how well Middlebrooks is playing at third.
“He doesn’t necessarily totally agree with it and doesn’t wake up in the morning and hope that’s the case,” Valentine said. “But I think the professional person that Kevin is, he understands it,” Valentine told reporters. “Yes, I think he’s fine.”
So Youkilis definitely wants to move, and he definitely wants no part of the Red Sox anymore. So could his numbers improve with a better morale? Absolutely. And who better to help that than Donnie who is an absolute player-friendly manager.
Like I said before, Youkilis is not the only answer to our offensive problems. But he does help. If by some off chance that you still aren’t convinced that Uribe is a detriment to the team…let me help.
Back in 2010, when Uribe was signed on, Ned Colletti said this about Uribe. “He will provide more power, he has thunder in his bat.” Funny part about that is…he has no thunder in his bat. In fact, there isn’t even a storm brewing. This year he has one homerun. One. That was hit May 11th, at Coors Field. For those of you that don’t know, baseballsfly out of that stadium. Point in case…Dee Gordon also has one homerun this year…at Coors Field. See where I’m going with this? When Ned wants to give an argument about how Dee has thunder in his bat, I’ll be all ears, but until then, my argument stands.
In June, Uribe is hitting a horrendous .179 with two RBI’s, eight strikeouts and no walks. That means every 3.5 at-bats that he gets, is a strikeout. On the year, Uribe is hitting a line of .231/.278/.324.
I wanted to bring up that statistic wOBA. This stands for weighted on-base average. It’s a great stat that tells you in a little bit more precision exactly how much someone gets on base. The league average this year is .309. Just for a bit broader understanding of where a player should be, last years average was .316. So anywhere around there is average.
Youkilis’ wOBA for this year is .306. Just 3 points below the leagues average. Uribe’s is .283 — 26 points below.
I did the math for our potential lineup before (without Youkilis) and after (with Youkilis). Keep in mind the lineup will change drastically after the trade deadline with the arrival of Kemp and Ellis from the DL.
Our team’s wOBA goes from .309 (not bad, considering league average) and shoots up to .333 with Kemp, Ellis and Youkilis. Only three teams have wOBA’s better than that.
I like this trade, I think it would be a great addition, however I still think we need to add another big bat in July. We’ll see what happens. But sources are saying that talks are getting very intense with regards to Youkilis and this deal could happen anytime from as early as today, to at least the end of this weekend. So be looking out for more updates on this.
For those of you that are wondering what we’ll have to pay — not much. Boston will most likely be eating most of, if not all of, the remaining $12 Million on his contract, and the $1 Million buyout. However, with that being said, Boston is paying more of the contract in order to get a better prospect. Who that is will probably determine which team Youk goes to. As of right now, the top two teams are the Dodgers and the White Sox. Check back to see if any updates have occurred.
I’ve been sitting and reading comments from all sorts of Dodgers fan forums, and comment bars and I’ve basically learned one thing from the fans. People are already in panic mode. Now I’m not saying that everyone is in the wrong, the Dodgers very rarely lose two games in a row, and are once again on the brink of losing three games in a row for the first time this season. But here’s why I wouldn’t panic.
1. We only have one out of our originally five opening day starters off the DL.
- Hairston just came off of the disabled list last night, and he already had the sole RBI of the night. Kemp, Uribe, Rivera and Ellis are all still on the DL, and it is a huge factor. Kemp and Ellis alone were some of the biggest run producers we had on our lineup the opening month, besides Ethier.
- Kemp and Rivera are both rehabbing very well. Sue Falsone said that they were both running extremely well before Friday night’s game. They will be doing a two-game stint with AAA Albuquerque tomorrow (Sunday, the 27th) and the next day. Rivera’s stint may be extended a day or two if needed. That’s a huge bonus for the team to have that power back in the lineup. That’s 3/5 players back.
- Uribe’s wrist is doing MUCH better than anticipated. When the MRI came back negative for serious damage, Uribe replied by saying, “I’m really happy about it. I feel like it will go quick now.” The return of Uribe won’t be quite as anticipated as the others will, and not even due to performance issues, but mainly because the Dodgers have Hairston back at third who has been nothing but incredible there all year, making remarkable plays and taking good at-bats. Thats 4/5.
- Mark Ellis is the one that hurts. Ellis had been one of the many bright spots in our lineup in the early going of 2012. He was great at getting on base, and even better at sacrificing himself to get a runner over. Unfortunately, Ellis had a very serious couple of surgeries to reduce swelling in his leg which originally was suppose to be a six week recovery, after an incident with Tyler Greene at second base. Ellis has since learned that he also has some strained ligaments in his knee, and now sources say that his return will be at least two months from now.
- Long story short…we should be getting four out of our five original DL’ers back by May 29th, and Justin Sellers’ DL stint is only 15 days. We will soon be close to opening day form.
2. It is still very early, AND we haven’t lost three games in a row the entire season.
- The fact we haven’t lost three games in a row is highly impressive. Especially in the past week. Our young stars are finding a way to get the job done, without the help of major power in Matt Kemp.
- I keep hearing fans say “the no-names have stopped hitting!” “Our lead in the NL West is falling!” Even though those thoughts, I’m sure, have crossed all of our minds, I wouldn’t take them so seriously. These quote-unquote no-names we’re referring to are players that weren’t even in the major leagues a week ago. They came out of the gates sprinting, but just like any normal minor league player making the transition, it is going to take time. Them dropping off the incredible numbers they all started with isn’t the most absurd thing to happen. Plus, once our players come off the DL one at a time, they will go back to get more playing time in the minors, and help out our team in the future, when they are needed.
3. The Dodgers are still putting themselves in positions to win.
- With Sunday’s loss aside, last night the Dodgers had runners on base a lot. They also had the eighth inning, which they loaded the bases with one out. The reason this young, injury-stricken team had been doing so well was because they were the best in the league at capitalizing on situations. Every team will go through games in which they don’t make good on certain opportunities, and that has just been the Dodgers in the past couple nights. Nothing to fret over. Happens to everyone.
With all that being said, I know that dreaded “third loss in a row” is on everyone’s mind, but the way I’m looking at it is this: it is going to happen eventually. To think that a team will go the entire season without losing three games in a row is just ridiculous. So personally, I’d rather have it when half of our starters are on the DL and knowing that are replacements have been doing an incredible job up until this point.
Chad Billingsley faces Bud Norris tonight. Bills, to say the least, has been struggling in this month of May. He has only gone six innings in just two starts this entire year. His ERA for May has gone from 2.64 to 5.85. After allowing just seven walks in April, he has already allowed thirteen in May. It’s hard to know sometimes which Billingsley will show up, but I feel like if he will start to turn it around any night, itcouldbe tonight. The Astros are hitting only .209 in 67 career at-bats against Bills. Bud Norris is doing quite the opposite, by allowing only one earned run in 26 innings this month. The Astros are 8-1 when Norris starts, averaging 5.5 runs per game.
Scheduled start time is 7:10 PT.
Scott Van Slyke Knocks His First Homerun as the Dodgers Sweep Cards
What…A….Game! The young guns come up big yet again and drive in the amount of runs needed to get the win. In the seventh inning however, the runs came from a bit of an unexpected source. Scott Van Slyke, just 11 days after his MLB debut, knocks his first career homerun over the left field pavilion to put the Dodgers up 6-5. Ellian Herera, brought up last week, went 3 for 4. Tony Gwynn and Justin Sellers also attributed with hits, and Dee Gordon got on base with a pinch hit walk late in the game. The Dodgers knocked in a total of 13 hits for six runs, in their way to the series sweep of the defending World Series Champions.
The Dodgers went up early in the first inning and tacked on another in the fourth to go up 2-0. The Cards responded by scoring three in the fifth, and another two in the sixth to go up 5-2. A lot of singles led to base runners all day for the Dodgers but didn’t result in as many runs as they should have. Donnie decided to pinch hit Van Slyke to avoid the lefty-lefty matchup and it paid off with the go-ahead blast. Scott was awarded with a shaving cream pie by Matt Kemp and a water shower by Dee Gordon. (see picture to the right) A one run lead was all they would need, as Kenley Jansen came in and had a 1-2-3 inning to record his fifth save of the year. Dodgers advance to an MLB Best 27-13, and travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks. I am planning on going to the games out in Phoenix, so check back for some pictures of our Boys in Blue!
Mark Ellis – Hours Away From Losing His Leg
Newest reports say that the urgent surgery Mark Ellis had, is a lot worse than anyone had originally thought. He had a fasciotomy surgery. For those of you that haven’t heard of it (I sure hadn’t) I’ll explain it a bit without grossing anyone out too bad. The fascia is a “sheet” of connective tissue that surrounds particular groups of muscles. It binds some structures together and also allows some muscles and parts to slide over each other. The fasciotomy is a procedure where an incision is made and the fascia is cut to relieve pressure build up in your muscles. This isn’t a very common injury among athletes, and doctors say it is more common with car accident victims. Don Mattingly said he was told by team physician Neal ElAttrache that Ellis had a chance of losing his leg had he not undergone the emergency surgery. “That was scary enough, that’s serious enough,” said Mattingly, who visited Ellis in the hospital after Saturday’s game. “I didn’t realize how bad that was. Doc said last night that if that thing goes another six or seven hours, he has a chance to lose a leg.”
“He had some medication in him so he was feeling all right,” Mattingly said, laughing. “He seemed OK — as good a spirit as you can be in. It just amazes me that you go from that play to something that could have been that serious if you don’t pick it up. That’s just amazing stuff. I’m so glad these guys were on it.” “These guys” Mattingly was referring to were the team trainers and doctors. Mattingly said he first sensed the severity of the injury by the look on the face of trainer Sue Falsone when she tested Ellis’ leg Saturday afternoon — a day after the injury.
Another unfortunate detail regarding Ellis’ injury was that due to the swelling and pain that Mark was in, a full MRI could not be done. So more undiagnosed injuries could ultimately still be discovered. I will keep you posted once anything is announced. He will be hospitalized until Tuesday to allow more draining.
Get Well Soon Mark!