Last night was blogger night at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers hosted various Dodger bloggers in a suite, where Dave, Mike, and I had a chance to catch up with fellow bloggers while watching the game. I was happy to meet Roberto Baly from Vin Scully is My Homeboy for the first time. But most importantly, I finally had the chance to meet with and talk to Xeifrank in person. That was a treat.
Ned Colletti spent the better part of an hour answering questions, although there wasn't any revelation of news. In discussing John Ely, the Juan Pierre trade was broken down (Kenny Williams of the White Sox gave Colletti a short list of pitchers, of which they chose Ely and Jon Link) and Colletti mentioned specifically the Dodgers missed Pierre's clubhouse influence. I asked Colletti to compare the clubhouse influence of Pierre and Garret Anderson, who occupies the same locker next to Matt Kemp that Pierre did last year. It was an entree into a discussion of Anderson, who through an informal poll of nearly everyone outside the Dodger front office is occupying a roster spot he doesn't deserve. The way Colletti spoke of Anderson, combined with using the Xavier Paul discussion to talk about how Colletti would like minor leaguers to be "finished products" when they arrived in the majors, confirms my belief that Anderson isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Colletti mentioned interest in acquiring a pitcher or two, saying the club is considering both starters and relievers. I brought up George Sherrill and the volatility of relievers, asking Colletti how he factors in the risk of acquiring a reliever, given that their performance can fluctuate from year to year. He said the fluctuation in performance was indeed a risk, one that makes him hesitant to give large, multi-year contracts to relievers, and that in acquiring a reliever one hopes to be getting one on the upside rather than the downside of that volatility.
Colletti worked in public relations for several years, and took part in a few postseasons in the 1980s. He was in the Red Sox clubhouse with Bob Costas in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series and when Bob Stanley threw the wild pitch that tied the game Colletti turned to Costas and said, "Bob, we have to get out of here." Colletti ended up behind the plexiglass behind home plate (where the grounds crew entered) to see Mookie Wilson's "little roller up along first." Colletti was also in the Oakland dugout in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, as he was in charge of securing a player or two for the postgame interview. He worked with the Cubs in 1989 when Rick Sutcliffe was a late replacement in the All-Star Game, the last one in Anaheim. As mentioned by Vin Scully on the television broadcast, Colletti was instrumental in getting Sutcliffe's uniform from Chicago to Anaheim, as Colletti's wife flew out to deliver it. Some other Colletti highlights:
- He is a big fan of Hong-Chih Kuo, as is just about everyone in the organization, for all the injuries he has battled through to become the dominant reliever he is today
- James McDonald is making progress as a starter, although if needed later this season he could be called up as a reliever. Colletti was careful to mention "you can make a starter a reliever, but you can't make a reliever a starter."
- Josh Lindblom has lost velocity, down from 95-96 mph to about 88-89. He has checked out fine medically, but Colletti said he would like to see him get back to the 92-93 range
- Kenley Jansen is definitely an option to see major league time this season, although Colletti would like to see him walk fewer batters first
- There is no update on Scott Elbert, who is on leave from Triple A Albuquerque
I felt bad for Sweet Lou Johnson, who stopped by our suite to say hello, but was quickly overshadowed, figuratively and literally, by the Miller High Life Guy, who threw out a fist pitch and came by afterward, much to the delight of many in the suite, myself included. Ron Cey stopped by for a while, and was very personable, and took control of the remote control, changing four of the
five seven televisions in the suite to other games besides the Dodger game.
Kim Ng stopped by as well, although I regret not asking her a few questions when I had the chance. [Dennis Mannion also visited the suite, though TBLA did not speak with him outside of a greeting. - Ed.] We saw several members of the Dodgers public relations staff, led by Josh Rawitch, who put the event together and stayed to watch the game with us in the suite.
Rare Relief Feat
Last night, Jeff Weaver and Ronald Belisario combined to retire 19 of the 21 batters they faced. Weaver allowed just a walk in his 3 1/3 innings, and Belisario gave up only one hit in his three innings, throwing an amazingly economical 26 pitches. It was just the third nine-inning game since moving to Los Angeles that the Dodgers had two relievers pitch three or more innings allowing one hit or less.
June 10, 1960: Sandy Koufax allowed four runs while recording just four outs, and exited early. Ed Palmquist came in to pitch the next 3 2/3 innings, allowing just a hit and a walk, and Danny McDevitt followed by retiring all nine batters he faced. The Dodgers mounted a comeback, just like last night, but fell short, losing 4-3 to the Reds. The 24-year old Koufax fell to 1-8 on the season, and at that point in his career he was 29-35 with a 4.22 ERA in 149 career games. If blogs existed back then, I can only imagine the type of comments that cumulative performance would elicit.
April 17, 1996: The Dodgers staked Chan Ho Park to an early 4-0 lead over the Giants, but Park began the third inning by walking the first four batters. Antonio Osuna and Joey Eischen each followed with three scoreless innings, and the Dodgers pulled away to win 11-2. The lead story, however, in the Los Angeles Times was that Roger Cedeno stole second base in the ninth inning (it was ruled defensive indifference), up nine runs, which seemed to anger both clubhouses.
Tonight vs. Marlins
Vicente Padilla and Chris Volstad face off tonight in game two of the Dodgers series against the Marlins. Each one lost a game in Florida in the second series of the season, Volstad allowing three runs (two earned) in 6 1/3 innings on April 9, and Padilla allowing four runs in 4 1/3 innings the next night.
Rafael Furcal has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he has 20 hits in 38 at-bats, hitting .526/.558/.895. Furcal won the NL player of the week for last week by hitting .538 with nine runs scored in six games.
Get your guesses in for Xeifrank's game simulation here.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.