Tag Archives: Hanley Ramirez

Los Angeles Dodgers 2014 Team Preview

Yasiel Puig is the Dodgers Straw that Stirs the Drink.

Yasiel Puig is the Dodgers Straw that Stirs the Drink.

It was last season in late June and early July, and we were in Las Vegas sitting in a sportsbook at the Belagio when it hit us: why don’t we take some money out of our emergency savings, and plunk it down on the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the whole damn thing? It almost seemed too easy. The Dodgers were just starting to get on a roll but the oddsmakers really weren’t onto them just yet. A lot stood to be made if someone had the gusto to plunk down the bet.

And as a wise gambler once told us; this is exactly why you do not bet. Luckily, we talked ourselves out of it and stayed away from it. But it was maybe only because we had a marriage to worry about if things didn’t work out for the Dodgers in the postseason.

Los Angeles would soon thereafter go on a 46-10 roll. National League pitchers seemed to figure out Yasiel Puig, but not entirely. The Dodgers ran into a buzzsaw of a team in St. Louis whose rotation got hot at just the right time, and looking back that St. Louis team excelled at all the small things that the star-power Dodgers did not. Small execution, great defense, and exceptional pitching helped the Cardinals prevail.

We were happy to see the legendary Dodgers succeed. We would have been fine with them taking the title last year. It’s good for baseball when the Dodgers are good. In our opinion, they play in America’s most enchanting city, in a gem of a stadium in the sunshine, with the grandfather of baseball calling their games late-night in the Midwest all by himself.

They have an eclectic roster and a charismatic ownership group. Their GM looks like a guy who could have you whacked. There are a lot of things to love about this team heading into 2014.

Major Off-season Moves:

  • Signed Clayton Kershaw to a 7-year, $215 million dollar contract.
  • Michael Young retired.
  • Signed  Don Mattingly to an extension through 2016.
  • Signed Jamey Wright.
  • Signed Chris Perez.
  • Re-signed Juan Uribe to a 2-year, $15 million dollar contract.
  • Signed Alexander Guerrero to a 4-year, $28 million dollar contract.

And you’re damn right we’re bullish on the Dodgers. Did 2013 scare us off a little bit with the way they eroded in the NLCS? Absolutely not. We started with this team because we’re picking them to win the whole damn thing in 2014. As we have been so often in life (and sometimes not enough), we were just a year early on the Dodgers. They’re a year better, a year wiser, and they’re going to still come into your town and stomp your team and probably drink all the tequila your city has to offer this season. Click through the jump to learn more about our projected 2014 champions.

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We’re Under 30 Days to the Dodgers-Diamondbacks Opener in Australia

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Because this horrifying month is the shortest of them all, we’re down to some 28 days and a wake-up from the Major League Baseball Opening Series in Sydney Australia on March 22nd.

The opening series will be entertaining not only because it’s the first counting baseball that we’ve had since October, but it will be held at marvelous Syndey Cricket Ground.

Throw in Yasiel Puig, Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo, and Hanley Ramirez into a friggin’ cricket stadium and make them play baseball, and you’re bound to see something interesting.

There’s another thing you may not realize that will make this opener unique in it’s own way. For fans in the United States, the opener will actually take place at 4 AM Saturday morning. For fans like us, there’s a good chance we just ride out Friday evening and turn it into an all-nighter. At some point, people will need to sleep. And that’s not just because you can’t function without it. It’s because at 10 PM that Saturday evening, Vin Scully will be back on the air calling the second game of the series.

For some nutbags out there, that’s two games packed into one Saturday. Then there’s all day Sunday to recover for work on Monday.

It literally cannot get here soon enough. When I hear that jolly old man telling stories and calling the auction in the wee hours of the night that glorious March 22nd day, I’m going to be like a kid on Christmas.

When was time to ride, the Dodgers hopped on the back of the Wild Horse

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[Box Score]

[Los Angeles Times - Dodgers Now]

We told you it would be so; we told you that the Dodgers would beat Adam Wainwright in the Cardinals in game three of the NLCS. And that’s exactly what happened.

The Dodgers snapped an ugly scoreless streak by gathering a single by Adrian Gonzalez, and a huge triple from Yasiel Puig with two outs. Puig pimped it as if the ball was out. The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead and threw some big first punches against the Cardinals ace with their number three guy on the hill.

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It was obvious from the opening bell that Hyun-Jin Ryu had as good of stuff as he’s had in a long time. He was throwing 95 MPH early in the game and spotting up. He went seven shutout innings and the Cardinals didn’t really mount a threat all night long. St. Louis had four hits on the evening and don’t look now, but the Cardinals are now the team with one run in the last 18 innings.

Hanley Ramirez played with broken ribs, and he did it effectively. He had two hits including a late RBI single for an insurance run to stretch the lead to 3-0. Bigger than that was his piece of hitting that advanced Mark Ellis to third base with no one out in the inning that the Dodgers bottom of the fourth.

After Ryu exited the game, the Dodgers turned it over to their shutdown version of the pen. Brian Wilson allowed a lead off single to Jon Jay, but blew away two hitters after that to strand Jay and get out of the inning unharmed. Kenley Jansen took over in the ninth attempting to earn his first postseason save, and while he didn’t strike anyone out he was clearly overpowering in a 1-2-3 frame, giving the Dodgers their first LCS win in a number of years. Rough night in center for Jon Jay, by the way.

It’s a brand new series, and it’s good for baseball. If the Dodgers lost the game tonight, it was likely to end tomorrow night. Now the Dodgers get a crack at Lance Lynn and a chance to even this thing up. I can’t wait to watch game four tomorrow evening and see if the Dodgers have the same kind of John Wayne in them that they did tonight in the face of all odds. I thought I had the pulse of this team right, and the victory over Adam Wainwright is confirmation that it is so. This is going to be a long and bloody series.

Whose hungry for a Dodger Dog?

For the L.A. Dodgers, it’s Last Call for Drinks

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The Dodgers are in a situation where; it’s either beat Adam Wainwright or start the act of winterizing the clubhouse for the year. And they’ve done this to themselves by scoring one run in 22 innings so far in NLCS play.

It’s one of those games that looks like the Cardinals are going to win without any trouble. Hanley Ramirez has a broken rib. The Dodgers are starting Hyun-Jin Ryu, who hasn’t been effective for an extended period of time. They’re going against the giant of all big-game aces in the National League, Adam Wainwright.

And I’m telling you that as a baseball fan, if I know anything about this game at all; I know the Dodgers have the gusto and the moxy to win this game against all odds and make this a series. They’ll beat Wainwright tonight and face a more manageable task in the Cardinals game four starter (Lance Lynn).

There’s some magic this season out in Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine, and the ghosts of the past will be lurking. Don’t be surprised to see something wild late in the game tonight.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are The Real Deal

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[Box Score]

The Dodgers proved that they’re the team to beat in the National League last night, by overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to the Atlanta Braves and a rocky start by Hyun-Jin Ryu in his playoff debut to win 13-6 in the first Dodger Stadium playoff game of 2013.

Observations:

  • Julio Teheran came out throwing hard, but was leaving balls down the middle of the plate. The Dodgers did exactly what they needed to do in facing him by having quality at-bats and not panicking when they fell behind early. Teheran worked himself into a high-stress inning in the bottom of the 2nd, and with the bases loaded Ryu hit a line drive that almost got over the head of Justin Upton. The poke by the pitcher got the Dodgers on the board, and they never looked back. The next hitter up (Carl Crawford) hit a three-run home run into the right field bullpen, Dodgers lead 4-2.
  • The Braves proved to be nothing if not resilient. Ryu made a few blusters to let them back in it. He missed first base on what should have been a double play and errantly threw home on a tapper back to him. The Braves tied the game at 4-4, and then the Dodgers bats continued the outpour.
  • Yasiel Puig had three hits, line drives to left-center, center, and right field. He scored three times and drove in three runs. Here’s one of those rapier shots. In true Yasiel Puig fashion, he has six hits in his first three postseason games.
  • Hanley Ramirez is absolutely on fire. The Dodgers heart of the order is laying waste to the Atlanta pitching staff; factor in that Juan Uribe also hit a home run and that’s a pretty terrifying four bats in the middle of the Dodgers order.
  • The Dodgers really got into the Atlanta bullpen. Jordan Walden had to throw an extended workload and Alex Wood was in long-relief. That should give the Dodgers an edge today if things are close in a late situation. Conversely, the Dodgers had to use Kenley Jansen to close out the game because Atlanta mounted a min-rally in the ninth.
  • The game didn’t seem the same without Vin Scully calling it. It just didn’t feel right watching a baseball game at Dodger Stadium of such magnitude without Vincent narrating it.

The Dodgers go with Ricky Nolasco tonight and the Braves counter with Freddy Garcia. Freddy Garcia was throwing in the big leagues the year I got my driver’s license. I don’t see how Atlanta could win this game with the way the Dodgers have been swinging it, unless of course the game of baseball decides to rear it’s ugly head and they beat themselves. I bet on the over 7.5 in this one tonight at 9:30 at Chavez Ravine. It’s going to be another late night.

Los Angeles Dodgers 2013 Team Preview

Clayton Kershaw

Flat nasty.

That’s what I think of the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers as things begin. It’s not a bad thing for baseball if these guys are restored to relevancy.

It would be unrealistic to think that all of these former superstars will put together superstar seasons at the same time. However, if just a few of them manage it while the others become solid contributors, the Dodgers are going to be one tough out in the National League.

Major offseason moves:

  • Signed SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • Signed SP Zach Greinke to a 6-year, $147 million contract
  • Traded minor leaguer Jake Lemmerman to St. Louis for Skip Schumaker
  • Signed RP JP Howell
  • Signed RP Brandon League to a 3-year, $22 million contract

Of course, let’s not forget all the damn moves they made at the end of last season. They acquired a small army of misfit toys in getting Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett for basically nothing.

After the jump, we’ll take a look at the Dodgers from top to bottom.

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Hanley Ramirez’s Dodger Debut

Last night was Hanley Ramirez’s first big league game in a uniform other than the Marlins. The Dodgers lost 3-2 in extra innings in his debut. I spent the evening playing cards with my good friend (and Dodgers fan) Dave Franco from Next Level Ballplayer. He had great cards.

Ultimately, I think this proves to be a huge move for the Dodgers who appear serious once again about spending the big dollars to win. He hasn’t been great this season, but he’s still Hanley Ramirez. If he decides he wants to do this, he’s a really dangerous bat to add to the heart of the order. I look for the Dodgers to make one more move to acquire an arm and be one of the teams who sneak into the playoffs on a dangerous run.

And people will probably look back on this Ramirez trade and say the Dodgers came out on top. I think people around baseball were surprised at how little it took to acquire the former batting champion.

The Baseball Show: Introducing Tomahawk Take

Last night on The Baseball Show, Mike Rosenbaum of The Golden Sombrero and M.J. Lloyd of Off Base Percentage discussed the following topics:

-Our involvement with Tomahawk Take on the FanSided Network.

-Thoughts on the Braves shortstop situation, minor league prospects, Jason Heyward, the Jair Jurrjens rumors, and the Braves rotation for next season.

-We offer our thoughts on Derek Lowe’s departure to Cleveland.

-We talk about early hot stove off-season activity: Grady Sizemore, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Albert Pujols and many more free agents are discussed.

-We talk about the managerial possibilities around baseball: Sandy Alomar, Terry Francona, and Ryne Sandberg.

-We debate about the importance of a manager in the game of baseball today.

-Mike talks about Ozzie Guillen’s departure from the White Sox, along with thoughts on Robin Ventura.

-As always, much more is discussed.

Monday Rant: Hanley Ramirez is Sabotaging my Fantasy Squad

Hanley Ramirez is now concerned about his slump to begin the season.

“I know I’m going to get out of it,” he said. “At the end of the year, the numbers are going to be there.

“So I’ve just got to go through it right now and try to get out of it soon, get back on track.”

Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later. If you remember, I used the #3 overall pick in the draft on Hanley Ramirez. He’s burying me, along with the likes of Adam Dunn of course. But Hanley is a guy you need the production from. Especially when you leave a guy like Troy Tulowitzki on the board. Especially when I knew better, when I had talked with colleagues the week earlier and said that I know I needed to take Tulo over Hanley because something like this scared me about Hanley. Tulo seemed hungrier to me.

People want to keep preaching patience. They want to tell you that it’s early. But in  a money fantasy baseball league, teams aren’t easy to jump. You get the stats early and you take them and don’t look back. You don’t win leagues on what is supposed to happen in the future.

Right now, the numbers that Hanley has given me are meager at best. No longballs and 7 RBI’s. A .182/.299/.242 slash line in a league that counts all of those categories and walks. He’s scored four runs.

Tulo on the other hand, has provided his owner (well ahead of me in the standings) with 7 home runs, 16 RBI’s, and a .333/.430/.705 slash line. That’ll work from a shortstop.

So lets say I decide on the argument against Tulo. After all, I stupidly bought into the fact that he gets hurt; which I’m growing fairly certain this is the prime year of his that he plays in 158 games and is fine all year. The other guy I had my eye on was Ryan Braun. The only thing the Hebrew Hammer has done is go out and prove that he’s adequate competition to take home an MVP award over Tulo.

Braun has the 7 homers, 18 RBI’s, he’s stolen two bags and scored a league leading 21 runs. His slash line is gorgeous at .377/.479/.688 for the year and he hasn’t really gotten hot yet, he’s just working at the yeoman’s pace that he will probably toot along at all year.

Jeffrey Loria needs to have a wine and seafood sit-down with his shortstop and let him know that it’s time to get his shit together. Buy him another diamond pendant, kiss his ass, extend him until 2032 if you have to. Whatever it’s going to take to get this emotionally fragile player to start hitting his weight again and then some.

If I have to field one more trade offer for Hanley that amounts to a 4th tier outfielder and a 3rd starter for a last place club, I might have to shoot someone.

Monday’s are awful, and they’re even worse when your first round pick in a money league is killing you with his remedial 0 for 4 performances that amount to my team as a whole hitting around .221 collectively.

Dear Hanley, please get your shit together soon or I’m parking your ass on my bench daring you to spite me and replacing you with a slap hitter like Erick Aybar. No matter what you do for the rest of the year and the next two dreadful years after this one in which I am subjected to your moodiness and lack of hustle; I will never forgive you for April 2011, you goon.

Feeling like I’m watching a legend in the making

[Box Score]

[AJC] [Capitol Avenue Club] [Talking Chop]

I have a pretty terrible cold right now. It’s one of those things that just hangs on. No matter how much Vitamin C I pound, no matter how much sleep I get, it’s going to be like four days of misery. Once you get that through your head, a Hell-cold is not so bad.

And if there’s one positive, it also gives me a free pass to lay on the couch and watch baseball for about 6 to 8 hours uninterrupted. So yesterday when I got home, I decided I was going to watch the Braves and Marlins. Hanley Ramirez was returning from injury, it was the first time since the Marlins opener that Hanley and Mike Stanton were both in the starting lineup, and Tommy Hanson was on the bump in Atlanta. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Most of all, I’ve caught a few of Jason Heyward’s at-bats this year; and I was craving more. He’s turning on balls and at least for the time being the concerns about his wrist should be put on the backburner. He’s off to another really great start. This is the best he’s looked since about April of last year. And it could be said that he’s going to be like Ken Griffey Jr. in the fact that he’s definitely a fast-starter. I love a fast starter. There’s nothing better.

If only he was hitting in a better spot in the lineup. Rob Neyer weighs in on it yesterday:

Of course, you know as well as David Schoenfield that it really makes little difference where McLouth and Heyward bat. Granted, McLouth’s will cost the Braves a few runs over the course of the season if he stays in the No. 2 slot all season. Which he won’t. And Heyward might account for two or three more runs if he were batting third or fourth rather than sixth. But the odds against the Braves missing a playoff spot because of Fredi Gonzalez’s batting orders — as opposed to the players he actually uses — are exceptionally long.

Pretty much the way I feel. I just want to see what the guy can do getting an extra at-bat a game and producing in the middle of the lineup. But I guess I should get off my Heyward soap-box now. Officer Mclouth will eventually be pulled out of the 2-spot in favor of young J-Hey and all will be right with baseball in Hotlanta; especially if Tommy Hanson throws anywhere close to what he had last night the rest of the season.

Chipper Jones had a nice game, driving in two runner and is now one RBI shy of the 1,500 mark. Wow, what a career it’s been. The swing still looks beautiful.

Other observations from this game:

-Gabby Sanchez has absolutely nothing. I don’t think he’s going to be much of a player.
-I’m still waiting on Hanley Ramirez to get going.
-Mike Stanton has unreal power. I can’t believe he’s only 21. The guy just has it. How did he last until the 2nd round in the draft?
-Heyward’s rocket home run to dead center was impressive. There just aren’t many guys who hit line drives to that area in Atlanta. In that respect, he reminds me of Griffey a little bit.
-Chris Volstad throws a ton of hittable fastballs. I’ve seen a ton of great arms this year early on where the pitcher was ahead of the hitter in terms of coming out of spring training. Volstad didn’t give that feeling. Brian McCann also touched him up for a nice yard ball into the Braves pen.