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  . . Off Base

If the Pitchers
Would Just Hit More

The Dodgers need production from the pitchers, that’s all. I mean, has Kaz Ishii homered even once this season? Where’s the leadoff double and the spikes-high swipe of third from Kevin Brown? Wilson Alvarez needs to hit his weight already.

Hey, Mike Scioscia dropped David Eckstein to ninth, where the little guy hit .538 over four games, correcting all the world’s problems in seconds. Maybe Jim Tracy could try a rotation thing, with Shawn Green batting ninth (not eighth, ninth) for a series, then Adrian Beltre, then Alex Cora.

With Fox openly shopping the whole kit and caboodle, we’re not likely to see another All-Star break firing of manager and general manager, au deux. Too bad.

And it’s noble of Dan Evans to guard the inventory of a shop he’s not going to run next year, but he’s sounding way, way, way to much like Fred Claire right about now.

Claire was what I call a “Can’t-Do” man. “Nope, can’t trade this guy, can’t get that guy, nope, just can’t do it. Wouldn’t be prudent. Can’t, can’t, can’t. Dave Anderson’s our shortstop, don’t need Raines. Can’t.”

There are always things you can do, OK. Always. All freaking ways. The Dodgers brass needs to jettison the excuses and get to work.

Start by leaving Wilkin Ruan in center until Dave Roberts is healthy. He should’ve been up instead of that dweeb Jason Romano in the first place. Stop bringing guys back too soon, right now. No excuses.

Rest Shawn Green as if he were Barry Bonds, regardless of the opponent. Don’t wait, trade for a veteran outfielder who’s not Reggie Sanders to replace Brian Jordan.

Forget about running Paul Lo Duca into the ground and give him a day off occasionally. Either give Joe Thurston a shot or bring in a serious bat to play second base. Right now. No excuses.

Acquire a mediocre third baseman to motivate Beltre.

When you have first and second and nobody out in a 0-0 game, with a .230 hitting, middle-infielding, good bunting brother of a former Mariner second baseman at the plate, bunt like a normal person. It's not that complicated.

Grab one of those old, mechanical-armed pitching machines lying around at Vero someplace. Rig a device that slaps a guy in the face if he even thinks about saying the team is “trying to do too much” or if he swings at the first pitch in ten consecutive at bats with no thought of the situation or the location of the pitch.

Remove any mention of the “luxury-tax threshold” from the front office spell check. You’re selling the damn team for 400 million bucks. $400 million!!! You can spend half of 1% of that number on three month’s worth of talent, talent being the operative word, mind you.

Triple espressos for Jim Tracy before every game...

Good for Roberto Alomar…I guess...

Prediction: The Red Sox hang around into August, Pedro missing starts with a sore arm. The Yankees clinch the division by mid-September, with Toronto fighting the A’s for the Wild Card to the end...

Add Tribe outfielder Coco Crisp to the list of all-time great baseball names. One of the best...

Prediction: Brian Jordan re-signs with Atlanta in November. Sheffield to the Bombers by Christmas. Good for them, I guess...

One football note. Rick Neuheisel, go away. Go far far away...

Prediction: St. Louis pulls away after the break and isn’t threatened. Dusty Baker’s children are safe for another year...

I’m hitting the stadium this weekend with a gay friend of mine (not that there’s anything wrong with that,) his sister and a Filipino man named Wowie, who’s never been to a baseball game in his life. Thanks for letting me share...

Los Angeles Times’ writer Allan Malamud summed up the Dodgers outfield deficiencies in a late-eighties “Notes on a Scorecard” column nicely.

While the Dodgers needed Tim Raines, and of course, couldn’t get him, the Pope appeared for a packed Dodger Stadium Sunday service. Mud wrote: “See what happens when you put a big name in center field.”

Remember, glove conquers all....

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