Off Base
Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee

April 28 , 2008

And make it Venti. Foam optional.

Blake DeWitt had a nice little beginning. Whether it's to be of the storybook variety remains to be seen, obviously. The Wally Pipp references are already quite tired, so I'll spare you.

The point is, DeWitt is the Dodger third baseman for at least the next few days and perhaps weeks, and only good can come of it. Sometimes things work out better when a club is forced into a situation, and this is one of those times. Or at least, it very well could be.

If DeWitt can hit within twenty points of his current .253, continue to work counts, draw walks, toss in the occasional clutch hit, while playing a flawless hot corner, that's absolutely all he needs to do. Anything else is gravy, and the Dodgers will take it, thank you very much. If you've been paying even the slightest bit of attention, you know that DeWitt has looked like a ballplayer from, uh sorry, Day One.

Look, I absolutely love Nomar Garciaparra. I love him, OK. He and Mia are on the wedding invitation list. The club finishes a road trip with a day game at Arizona, so the evening affair in Pasadena is not beyond the realm.
I love Nomar, and will defend him to the day he goes back to Boston (sometime this calendar year) and beyond. He's a special player, Kirk Gibson-like special, and even if all he can do is pinch hit in September, Nomar is a guy worth having on your club in September.

But. And it's big but - we're talking Bill Madlock's butt here - but for right now, today, and for a week or two or three, the team is better off with DeWitt. Not Nomar, not Andy LaRoche. Blake DeWitt.

DeWitt does everything well. How can you not like his approach at the plate? How can you not like his third base play? He makes every single play. Every single one.

Of course, there's no reason to make any long-term decisions now. It's a long season. Nomar will be back. He'll no doubt be one play away from an injury literally at any time, but he's still capable of making a real contribution, and especially in the clutch. And who knows, if James Loney were to get hurt, Nomar's your answer to fill in. Perhaps Nomar's latest injury is a blessing, just not really all that in disguise.

DeWitt is in L.A. now. He's going to need a normal haircut. Look for at the very least Fantastic Sams this week. That, and play which is more than the Dodgers could ask for, and weren't going to get any other way than the with Nomar going down, while LaRoche and Abreu were already down.

Oh btw, props to DeWitt for having the presence to choose "Achilles Last Stand" as hit walk-to-home-plate song. Very savvy selection by the young lad.

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Standing by my Men: Yeah, yeah. You can argue, and I'm sure you will, that it's easy to stand by your man when the man is Nomar, because well, he's Nomar. So what's my excuse with Esteban Loaiza?  I like him, all right. So sue me. I've seen him pitch over the years and I like him. I understand Joe Torre's back-and-forth with his fifth starters, but until you choose someone, and actually let him pitch in a rotation, you will never get consistency out of whomever it is you choose. Not choosing makes it worse.

The problem is right here, specifically with this, now extremely overused phrase, or one just like it: "Hong-Chih Kuo was chosen over Esteban Loaiza to be on the mound again the next time the Dodgers' need a fifth starter." There you go. There's your trouble. You always need a fifth starter. Skip him periodically, but not as a matter of course.

Loaiza had a good spring and won the job. That last game in the Coliseum doesn't count, and his first start during the season was hardly representative either. If you let the man pitch, he will give you seven and eight innings, which might very well make him the only Dodger capable.

Have the scalpel for Mr. Kuo warm at all times, keep one handy for Jason Schmidt, and go with Loaiza. Just let the man pitch…

While I don't think the company line that says Clayton Kershaw needs his innings monitored and therefore can't be called up makes a hell of a lot of sense, because whether they're major or minor league innings, they're still innings, completely under the radar flies Jonathan Meloan.

The Dodgers are turning their former ace minor league reliever into a starter, and it's working. Before his last outing, Meloan had started four games for Las Vegas, with a record of 2-0, an ERA of 1.66, and a strikeouts-to-walk ratio of three to one. So maybe just maybe, the next time the Dodgers need to fill a spot start, it'll be Meloan instead of Kershaw.

And from the pertinent to nothing file, Meloan sports an interesting birthday for a man toiling in Las Vegas: 7/11/84...

Castro Oil: Let's forget the Juan Castro coming back to the Dodgers talk before it goes much further. There's zero reason for the club to bring Castro back at age 36, no matter how well he can "pick it," nor how good a "clubhouse guy" he is. I never in my wildest dreams thought Castro would stick with just a glove all these years, so my hat is off to him, but there's not a thing the man can do at this point in time that Chin-Lung Hu can't, and there are things that Hu can do that Castro can't. Like say, anything involving a bat…

Two First Names: With the addition of Cory Wade, the Dodgers bring their stable of two-first-names players to five. The others are Jeff Kent, Russell Martin, Brad Penny and Juan Pierre. Too bad they lost out on Marcus Giles…

Is it just me, or does it look like, with one too many flaps of that gum, Clint Hurdle's face is just simply going to burst right off his head? Or that's there too much face and not enough skull to wrap it around?

Investors Wanted: Dot com in the midst of year number nine, and not going away anytime soon. Invest a thimble full of capital, make major league minimum tomorrow. Inquire

Media Savvy: Talk about your strange headline. OK, subtitle, not headline, but you get the idea. From "Schmidt a sight for sore eyes with Dodgers in Cincy." Subtitle: "Jason Schmidt is not starting today at 4:10 p.m. PT vs. the Reds in the finale, Hong-Chih Kuo is, but the Dodgers ace is progressing toward a return."  Dodgers ace? Really?

From the Korea Times, about Chan Ho Park chalking up a w.

Colorado color commentator and former major leaguer Jeff Huson made several references to Rockies southpaw Mark Redman pitching to James Loney as "lefty on lefty." Feel free to continue the thought amongst yourselves...

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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