Losing to the Mets 

I want to start this post on a positive note:  I decided to give my co worker the ball I had autographed for him for his birthday in a ball case.  I wanted it to look authentic by putting a note inside the case so I wrote where the ball came from (batting practice) and whose autographs I was able to get (Kike’s and Corey’s).  

Everyone knows that I am a nervous wreck when I try to get autographs.  I die a thousand deaths, break out in hives, start shaking and get a bad stomach.  True that in this case too.  I’m still nervous about it.  Kike’s autograph is pretty much mission impossible so I was lucky to get it.  Corey’s not so much.  He is fan friendly.

I just got my new phone case in the mail and just love it.  It’s an update from my last one…note that I put one of my all time favorites Matt Kemp in a place of honor.  The others are Trayce, Charlie Culberson, Mike Bolsinger, Kike, Justin (because I can’t forget him on any phone case) and Corey.

The other phone case is clear which shows the gold pink color of my phone.

Now back to business….

It was the debut of Julio Urias, much anticipated savior of the 2016 season.  I think that everyone had placed great hopes on this 19 year old “teenager” as he is  called.

He had a reasonable debut, nothing spectacular.  He allowed a double which scored Cabrerea.  Then Lagares singled in Cespedes and Walker.  3-0.   This was just the first inning.  If it were one of the other starting pitchers, everyone would have been upset demanding that he be taken out of the game posthaste.  His pitch count already was in the 30’s in that fateful first inning.

Chase was the outstanding player of the game, interesting enough because none of us were sure how he would be treated after that controversial slide last season.  He was able to hit a sacrifice fly scoring Puig in the 3rd inning.  By then Julio was already on his way out.  The score was 1-3.  Thank you Chase.

It probably would have been better to introduce Julio to the Bigs during a quieter game.  Bringing him out in the glaring lights of New York is not a big confidence builder for him.  Why not debut the teenager in his own home field?  We Dodger fans would have loved to be part of it.  

In the 3rd inning, Julio was replaced with Chris Hatcher.  We all know that we have the good bullpen who pitches scoreless innings and then we have the bad bullpen that causes us to tear our hair out.  Unfortunately for us, it was the latter.  Hatcher facilitated a homerun by David Wright in the 4th inning.  1-4.  By then I had that feeling of dread I get when I know there will be no singing at the end of the game.

Then Joe Blanton replaced Hatcher who had given the Mets that extra run.  But Joe was no better serving up a pitch to Lagare who then hit a solo homerun. 1-5.  Each pitcher from the bullpen was worse than the one before.

The Dodgers showed their nettle by continuing to fight.  With a series of walks and singles, Gonzalez scored in the 9th inning.  2-5.  We could see the fear in the Mets’ eyes.  The Dodgers would not be stopped!!!  Here they come.  Actually….here comes Chase, the go-getter, the difference maker.  He hit a double scoring Howie, Puig, and Yaz, tying the freaking score!!!  The impossible happened.  But then it all fell through when Baez came out in the bottom of the 9th.   We always hold our collective breath when there is a pitching change and someone else comes out of the bullpen.  We have almost become used to our bullpen losing games but this one was like taking one in the gut.  Granderson hit a huge homerun breaking the tie and winning the game with a walkoff homerun.  Sometimes you feel you have absolutely nothing left.  And that was the way we felt.

I suppose all of us were anticipating too much in the debut of Julio Urias.  He is after all only 19 years old.  He is doing well in the minor leagues but we have to remember that the Bigs is a whole different ball game.  Everyone was disappointed of course.  Many were philosophical about it and said he actually did well considering.  Many were anticipating that he would continue with the team as a starter or part of the scary bullpen.  I think he should  go back to minors and think about what he learned and what he should improve on.  He has a long career ahead of him and trotting him out when he simply is not ready will not help his confidence.

The Dodgers face the Mets again on Saturday, this time our Kenta Maeda 3-3, 3.29 ERA will face Thor 5-2, 1.94 ERA.  Hopefully we can enjoy a victory this time.

Thanks for stopping by.  GO DODGERS!!!!

Here Comes the Teenager

Julio Urias makes his MLB debut today in New York against the Mets.  It is a much anticipated event.  He is only 19 years old. How he does today will determine how it plays out in the future.

I’ll be at work but I will follow the game on mlb@bat eagerly. I can’t wait to see him when they return home.

Go Julio. Go DODGERS!!

Sweeping the Reds

There is nothing more exciting and invigorating than a sweep!  Many are saying that sweeping one of the worst teams in baseball isn’t that big a deal but remember, the Dodgers seem to tank when playing the not-so-good teams..case in point the Padres over the weekend.   Getting the sweep gives the Dodgers momentum when meeting the tough teams coming up.  They will begin a 3 game series with the Mets over the weekend.
I was given the opportunity to be on the field on Wednesday, the last game of the homestand.  I’m always excited about it.  When I got up to suite level to meet the reps, I saw the Dodgers doing their drills.  The view of Dodger Stadium is breathtaking from higher up.

I’m not used to seeing batting practice from this high up.  It’s a different perspective for sure.
I zeroed in on Maeda and Kershaw 
The Dodger pitchers were doing a drill from the mound.
We were finally escorted down to the field.  My main objective was to get a picture with Kenta Maeda.  It’s not an easy task, especially since he doesn’t speak English and his translator doesn’t usually relay such messages to him.  It is impossible unless you are on the field and even then it could be difficult.  My friend Robert collects batting gloves so that was his objective.  He wanted Corey’s and had already been promised some from Ivan deJesus from the Reds.

I got a picture with Dave Roberts first.  It’s tricky getting a good picture with the shadows.  The guys are always wearing their caps so it shades their faces.  Mike Bolsinger ran by but stopped long enough to give me a big surprise hug.  I told him that I had been wearing his jersey yesterday for good luck and he said that he noticed.  He then ran out to batting practice.  His time might be limited depending on when Ryu returns.  Ryu is rehabbing already and has been making good progress.  Ross Stripling apparently was sent to minors because his pitch count is limited due to his recent Tommy John surgery.  I wondered why he was sent down and Mike brought back up.  Luis Avilan as I suspected was used to complement Mike’s limited pitch count of 80.  Mike is coming back from an oblique strain.

The view of batting practice is a little different when you are on the field.  They park us in front of the dugout.  I took the above pictures with my iPhone so the quality isn’t as good for the distant shots.

I was wearing my Trayce shirt so I of course pointed it out to him.  He stopped and asked me if I had it made and I said yes, that it was one of a kind.  He seemed pleased.  He took a picture with me and ran off quickly.  There was a family from Bakersfield on the field.  I would guess the son with them was a someone they wanted to sign when he got old enough.  They were a bit obnoxious asking every player for autographs and pictures including Kershaw whom I consider someone you leave alone.  They also bothered AJ and Adrian who usually don’t sign.  When they stopped I figured that this family was someone they wanted to treat well for some reason.  Trayce didn’t stop for them.

I never pass up an opportunity to take a pic with Corey Seager.   I was surprised how tall he is.  I’m 5′ 1″ so he must be 5’100.” He also signed a ball for me.  I was trying to get a couple of autographs for a co-worker who is celebrating a birthday.

The autograph on top is Corey’s and the bottom one is Kike’s whose autograph is a very difficult one to get.  The ball is from a recent batting practice so it has some Dodger dirt and grass stains on it.

Of course my main objective was Maeda.  His translator Will is not very friendly.  He’s very focused on doing nothing but to be Maeda’s everything.  I tried to get his attention pointing to my phone.  I finally talked to Maeda myself telling him “picture please” in Japanese.    He smiled and nodded but the family from Bakersfield of course accosted him first and made him take pictures with them.  I think it is difficult for him since he doesn’t speak English.  He looked a little bewildered but took several pictures with them.  They told me he was giving them a bat.  That’s weird since he doesn’t bat much.  I never saw a bat so maybe something had been lost in translation.  I was getting a little annoyed with them.  The only people who were on the field were Robert and I plus this family who were a little aggressive about the pictures and autographs.  I think the players were told to treat these people nicely because of the son.

I finally got the picture I wanted.  It’s a little dark so maybe in the future I can try again.  I look nervous which I definitely was.  

Robert and I went to the enemy side after that since all the Dodger players had gone into the clubhouse for a meeting.  Most of them who were taking batting practice went in through the tunnel maybe to avoid signing autographs.  Smart guys.  I didn’t mind.  You do what you gotta do.  The Reds were stretching and working out.  I don’t know any of the players on the Reds so I just watched them. Robert was promised batting gloves by Ivan deJesus, a former Dodger.  That was our goal since we had no clue who was on the team.  The only player I knew about was Joey Votto and I wasn’t even sure what he looked like.  We met a very nice family who was visiting from Goodyear AZ.  They live next door to Joey Votto and was invited by him to attend the Dodger-Reds game.  Super nice of him.
Here are K2 and K1 as they are known.  K1 is 11 and K2 is almost 9.  How exciting to be invited to a game by a MLB player!!
Here are more pictures from the enemy side.

We found out that this is Joey Votto.  He was speaking at length with someone who might have been his agent.  I guess that because the person was very long winded.  I thought it might be nice to get a picture with him.  Robert wanted a ball signed.  He finished talking to his agent and Robert accidentally misspoke and called him “Vito.”  Yikes, the players hate when you call them by the wrong name or when you call them by their number.  Joey answered with “You don’t even know who I am.”  I asked him for a picture calling him the right name.  He took a picture with me and signed Robert’s ball.

He was very nice.  I was worried because I was behind schedule.  I wanted to go up to the club and eat and we still had to go to the front gate to pick up our bobble heads.  There weren’t that many fans in the stands yet so I didn’t think they would run out.  Robert wanted to wait for those batting gloves from Ivan deJesus.  It took forever but he finally brought them over.  Unfortunately he brought some brand new black and white ones.  He had been using a nice gold, black and white pair which he didn’t give up.  We finally left the field.  I picked up my bobble head next skirting the long line and security since I had already been through another line.

I’m not sure if the bobble head looks like him.  The bobble heads seldom look like the player anyway.
I went up to the club.   I asked my friend Crystal to get my food since I thought it would be crowded.  She did a bang up job as you can see.  Nice presentation. I gobbled things down because I was behind schedule.  Most of it I had to take to the seat with me.  I ate most of the salad.  It was delicious.

My best buddies at the stadium

I hurried to my special spot by the field.  Robert had saved my place as a favor to me.  There was a back pack belonging to someone I know sitting on the step where I usually stand.  Do people think this is grade school where you can save your place by leaving your lunch box?  I stood on the other side of the gate.  I should have kicked it aside since she never came to claim it until right before the game.  I mean, really??    Yaz was already on the field.  The starting pitcher was Scott Kazmir who usually comes out of the bullpen to work out on the field.  They have been using the tunnel rather than the field lately.
Kazmir did some stretching and then went into the bullpen to warm up.
Chase as usual was the first one out to stretch.
And then Trayce.  There were two girls who were excited about him.  He never looked our way.  I’m lucky to have gotten a picture with him since he rarely comes to the side to sign.  
Joc came out next….uh yeah, hi Joc.
And then Corey who was wearing his hat perched on top of his head.  It almost looked like the cap didn’t fit.
All eyes were still on Trayce.  He thought something was funny.
Carl was signing in the dugout.  Fans were tossing balls and objects to him.
Corey likes using the stretchy bands

Time for the National Anthem
Always someone looking at me..Bob Geren this time.
A good view of Mike’s haircut and no beard look.  I think I liked him the other way.
Pre game catch with Kike and Justin
A quick check of the dugout using the spy cam.
And then Yaz and Scott made their way down the field.  Note the nail polish on Yaz’s fingernails.  Nice color.
Each was in his own world.
Corey was the only one to sign.  I see my friend Pat got his autograph.
The umpires.  They seem to be waving to the enemy crowd.  Not a good sign.
First pitch.  It was a good game for Scott.  He had 12 strikeouts and only gave up one run through 6 innings when he was taken out because of his pitch count.  Statistics show that after 90 pitches, he doesn’t do well.    It’s only the third time in his career that he has had 12 or more strikeouts.
Dan Straily, the Reds pitcher gave up 3 runs over 7 innings but was the losing pitcher even with 11 strikeouts.
There was no score until the 4th inning when Jay Bruce tripled scoring Brandon Phillips. 0-1.  We didn’t have to lament that one run very long.

Because in the bottom of the 4th inning, Joc singled Chase Utley and Justin Turner in.  2-1.

In the next inning Yaz hit a solo homerun.

The score was then 3-1 where it would remain to be the final score.  The Dodgers’ offense has come alive.

Can’t forget to mention the delicious in-seat salad.  Thank you Crystal.

Or the celebration ice cream

Look at this Corey Seager swing.  It hurts just watching.
I have to share this picture of Joey Votto since he was nice before the game.  Too bad he’s on such a bad team.
The sunset was gorgeous over Dodger Stadium
They brought in Kenley Jansen to close the game.  He loves pitching and closing.  
The dugout was excited.  Clayton is interested in EVERY game.
We were all excited anticipating a sweep.  Look at the score.  
Everyone was ready for that last pitch.
And the Dodgers had swept the Reds with the final score of the 3rd game 3-1.
A good series for the Dodgers!!!  We all went home happy.  The Dodgers will finally have a day off after 20 days.  They will meet the Mets in New York on Friday to begin a 3 game series.  It will be a difficult series.  Alex Wood will meet Jacob deGrom on Friday.  Kenta Maeda will be pitching against Thor on Saturday.  Kershaw will be matching wits with Bartolo Colon on Sunday.  It should be exciting.  Actually news just broke that they are bringing Julio  Urias up for Friday’s matchup to replace Alex Wood because of forearm tenderness.  That will mix up the lineup a little.  I hope they aren’t sending Mike back down again.
I go back to work tonight.  It was a short homestand.  They will not return home unti June 3 when they meet the Braves.  Thanks for stopping by and thank you for all your support.  Talk to you soon.

When The Baseball Gods Answered

It was Tuesday.  My favorite Mike Bolsinger was pitching and I had been praying fervently to the baseball gods that he would get a win.  It was another beautiful Southern California day.  When I arrived at the Stadium, batting practice was underway.
The Dodgers all looked upbeat because they had victories the last two outings and were hoping for another one on Tuesday.

I wore Mike Bolsinger’s personal  jersey.  It was way too big but I felt comfortable in it.  I was hoping it would bring him luck.  Funny thing…I wore it all night and didn’t even have to put a jacket on even though it had dipped to a cloudy 63 degrees.  It had kept me warm.  How did that happen?

Closer Jansen was having a discussion with manager Dave Roberts.  You can only realize how big Kenley is when he is standing by an average size person.
There was a helicopter hovering above us.  I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
Everyone was in a good mood after the win by Kershaw the night before.  It does feel good to win.  And then the game was short:  2 hours 11 minutes so everyone had plenty of rest…such a difference from the extra innings games over the weekend.
It would be uplifting for sure if the Dodgers could sweep the Reds.
I was really too nervous to stay out on the field.  I forgot to take pictures at the dugout, that’s how jittery I was.
I went up to the club to eat.  I decided I would have to eat fast and get out on the field as soon as I could so I could get my usual spot where I like to take pictures.  I also had to be there to cheer Mike on.  I wanted him to know I was there.  I had recruited my buddy Yoshiko to help me.

The food was good I think, I don’t remember.  Beef brisket, chicken sofrito, rice, squash and green bean medley.    All I could think about was Mike, winning, getting my spot in the front.  I was a little distracted.
Alicia, one of the ushers, always has a big smile for everyone.
The SportsNet crew was minus Orel Hersheiser.  They were interviewing Ned Coletti.
I was nervous still about the game.  I anxiously was waiting to see Mike.  Grandal was catching for him.
He didn’t have his usual pink drink.  
He did some stretches.
I was waiting for Mike to make an appearance.  You would think I was pitching, I was so nervous.

When I saw him finally I didn’t recognize him.  He had cut his hair and shaved his beard off.  I wonder if he did that when he was sent back down to minors after pitching the last time.  The guys seem to do drastic things like that.  I don’t know Mike without his facial hair.
The more I looked at him, the more I thought he looked different
But then he looked at me and I realized he was the same.
He kept looking my way.  I am his #1 fan and he realizes it.  I have stood by him from his very first time at Dodger Stadium.
He stretched and threw a few balls.
He looked at me several times during his workout.  Or is it my imagination working overtime?

Sorry, I think I got a little carried away with my Mike pictures but after all he is my favorite.  He went into the bullpen to finish warming up.
And then Trayce and Chase came out to warm up.
I took a few extra pictures of Trayce since he is my friend Veronica’s favorite.  I hope you like these pictures.  

Clayton was having a conversation with friends at the dugout and then signed a few balls.
Everyone’s favorite Corey came out to the field.  Is there anyone who doesn’t like Corey?
And then breakout player Joc made an appearance.  He said hi to me before he started his workout.
It was military appreciation day and all branches of the service were represented.
A little more Trayce.
Joc who seems to have matured this season and has become the difference maker in games.  I don’t think even the harshest critics can say anything negative about him anymore.
I think this time it’s the coaches that were staring at me.
They presented the colors and we sang the National Anthem.
Trayce is still having his head shaved apparently.
With all that, believe it or not, I almost missed Mike and Yaz going by as they walked to the dugout.  Yoshiko and I were his personal fan club and yelled “Mike!!”  I saw him smile broadly as he walked by.
Trayce ran back into the dugout, then Joc.  Justin left the field too.
He played catch with Kike for a while to warm up.
Then Corey left without signing autographs much to the disappointment of the fans.  This is unusual since he always signs.
I checked out the dugout while I waited anxiously for the game to start.  You can pretty much tell how the game will go in the first couple of innings.  I know Mike would be limited to an 80 pitch count limit because he just came off of DL.  I was glad to see him smiling before the game.  I get the feeling I was more stressed than he was.  I was still praying to those baseball gods.
The umpires and coaches always start out very friendly but it usually changes during the game.  No one usually sees the strike zone the same, especially me.
He looked in my direction…I think he was trying to remember where I sit.
First pitch.  A little of my anxiety was slowly going away but my stomach was still doing some flip flops.
Daniel Wright was pitching for the Reds.  He was just brought up from minors and was probably the only bright spot for the team.  His whole family: parents, sister and wife had all come to witness his debut.
It was a quality start for Mike.  The baseball gods had answered me.  The Dodgers were able to score first in the very first inning when Justin Turner singled Chase Utley in. 1-0.

The Reds catcher was unable to “catch” Utley as he raced in.  I guess I wasn’t able to catch him either on film.
Mike was able to keep the Reds scoreless until the 4th inning when Adam Duvall hit a two run homerun scoring Jay Bruce.  That was the only score for them all night.  1-2.  I was dismayed because we were behind.
But at the bottom of the 4th inning, Joc doubled in Trayce.

Sorry about the blurry picture but I was a little excited.  2-2.  The score was tied.
Later in the 4th inning, with Yaz at bat, Joc stole 3rd base inducing a throwing error by the Reds catcher and was able to score.  3-2.  It was an amazing 4th inning for Joc.
Mike Bolsinger was taken out of the game because of his pitch count; his pitching was efficient.  

In the bottom of the 6th inning, Yasiel singled scoring Trayce. 4-2.

In the same inning, Yasiel scored on a fielding error by Joey Votto.  Errors were killing the Reds chances of getting back into the game. 5-2.  The momentum changer seemed to be Joc’s 4th inning.

It was so nice to see Jennifer with her adorable daughter Sarah.  She has grown up a lot since I saw her last.  It definitely looks like she was enjoying the game.

I can’t forget the other cutie.

It was a pleasure to see Rick and his wife April again.  They have season tickets but find it difficult to get to the game because of the traffic.  1 1/2 hours from Manhattan Beach is terrible.  I always enjoy seeing them.  Please come more often!! I again forgot to take a picture of them.  I think I was stressing out over Mike.

I had to go get my ice cream when they took Mike out of the game.  I was afraid to leave because he knows where I sit and didn’t want to distract him.  
In the bottom of the 8th inning, Justin singled, scoring Howie and Chase. 7-2.
Adrian singled, scoring Corey.
The stadium was already emptying out at the top of the 9th inning.  The score pretty much guaranteed a win for the Dodgers.  I never leave when the Dodgers are ahead .
Adam Liberatore came out to finish the game.  The dugout was happy.  Where’s Mike??
This is real excitement time.  9th inning, 2 out, 2 strikes.  There is no better feeling.
Last pitch of the game.  Everyone in the dugout is serious now.
And the Dodgers win with a score of 8-2.  It was an exhilarating high scoring game for the Dodgers.  That means 1/2 price pizza at Papa Johns among other things.  But where’s Mike?
Notice who the first one out of the dugout during a victory is??  Clayton, the ultimate team player, who is just as excited for others, and cheers every feat of his team members.  We all love Clayton.
It was a satisfying victory for the Dodgers.    Justin had 3 RBI’s.  There were no Dodger home runs but the game was still high scoring for them.  It was team play…the little ball.  Mike had a quality start.  I’m happy.  Maybe they won’t dump him back into the minors.  Last year they did just that when they acquired the sorry Matt Latos, even though Mike was doing well.  I hope they remember that Mike was to be the 5th starter before he had his oblique injury.  He had proved himself in Spring Training already.  I was happy.  

I wondered why Yasiel was taken out of the game after the 6th inning.  Apparently Dave Roberts did this as a disciplinary action when he didn’t hustle from the plate.  He should have had a double but was only able to get to first base after he paused rather than running right away.  Puig took his punishment gracefully.

Wednesday the Dodgers are hoping for a sweep of the Reds.  The Reds, unfortunately for them, are on a nine game losing streak.    Scott Kazmir will start.  His last outing with the Padres resulted in 7 walks and 5 earned runs bringing his ERA to 5.23 with 3-3 record.  The Dodgers must be tired since they haven’t had a day off in 20 games.  The opposing pitcher Dan Straily however has a 2.85 ERA.  The Dodgers are 2nd behind the Giants with a 24-23 record.  They are however 4.5 games behind.  

I didn’t realize until the end of the game that my little friend Ashlyn was there with her friends.  I know that’s ice tea in her hand.

It is a short homestand, 3 games.  For some reason, I fell exhausted.  Today I’ll be on the field with Robert.  Thank you Tess.  My big objective is a picture with Kenta Maeda.   I always like being on the field because I usually get awesome pictures with the players.  I don’t usually get autographs but I might for a friend.  Since I don’t get autographs, it stresses me a little to ask.  Robert and I will probably go to the enemy side and check it out.  We both love going on the field because it gives us a different perspective.

Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate it.  GO DODGERS!!

Kershaw Does It All

It almost sounds like a stuck record when we start talking about Clayton Kershaw and how good he is.  Could it be possible that one player could make such an impact?  Kershaw does it all:  offense, defense, hitting, pitching, running.  What can’t he do?
Many of us season ticket holders came early for batting practice and this is what we saw.  Most of us didn’t expect the Dodgers to have batting practice after the two extra inning games over the weekend.
And this.  The Reds look just as tired.
The last two games with the Padres had gone into extra innings.  The one Sunday 17 innings, almost the length of two games.  The bullpen was totally exhausted.  It was no wonder that Clayton played the game a different way using ground ball outs and running bases himself.

It was nice to see Matt again.  Notice his cool Guess baseball shirt.
Joc was the only player who came out to entertain us.
Dave Roberts had a couple of pointers for him. We thought that the other person out in the field was Howie but I think it was George Lombard the first base coach.
He went over to the dark side and greeted Cincinatti with a lot of love.
More discussion and then they all went in.  Dave stopped to point to the dugout.  In other words, he would see us later there.

Scott Kazmir was nice enough to come out to the field expressly to sign autographs and take pictures with us.  I don’t miss an opportunity of course.  I’m getting a little better at selfies which is a good thing because I don’t always have my photographers with me.  After that I went up to the club.

The food was really marvelous especially the tri tip and roast turkey breast and cranberry sauce.
I came back to the field and realized there was someone else standing where I usually do to take pictures.  Don’t they know that’s my spot??

Clayton Kershaw made his way across the field a while later.  
Alanna Rizzo with SportsNet was catching up on the news
They interviewed Chase Utley who played fantastic defense Sunday during that marathon game.
Clayton started his pre game workout
AJ is Clayton’s favorite backstop.  AJ played all 17 innings on Sunday since there was no relief, Yasmani only being available for pinch hitting.
More pics of Clayton stretching.  Can I ever tire of taking pictures of this guy?  I don’t think so.
I have taken hundreds of pictures of him.
Dave Roberts has finally decided to let Trayce Thompson start.  It took a few home runs to prove the point that he should.

Corey…one of our homerun hitters.
Justin with the Dodgers booster club
More stretching with Trayce.  I’ve had requests to post more pictures of Trayce since there really aren’t that many out there in media land.
Kike did some interesting pretzel-like stretching.
Cute kid Anthony who was hoping for some autographs.  I didn’t think many would sign because they are probably tired.
Emirates Airlines had provided the giveaway neck pillows that day, appropriate for an airlines and actually functional.  Their first pitch was a little strange.
Kike still at it….the starting lineup from the other night had not changed much except that Kike started.  He has a good average against left handed pitchers.
The spycam caught Pedro Baez and Joc on the sidelines in the dugout 
National Anthem time…Ryu is looking right at me.  Luis Avilan is back again.  Happy to see..Mike Bolsinger who was brought up again to pitch on Tuesday.  I get the feeling he will be sent back down again after he pitches.  I hope not but that seems to be the way it’s going.  Ross Stripling was sent down mainly because he had pitched in the extra innings game on Sunday since Tsao had some sort of mysterious injury at the time, which means he can’t take his turn in the rotation.
It was absolutely perfect weather on Monday…a light breeze and the heat had already  dispelled.  Everyone thought it was getting cold but I loved it.  I like it much better than the relentless sun.
Trayce and Kike left
Kike played a little catch with Justin before he went into the dugout 
Corey signed for the fans as he does everyday.  He never disappoints.  He’s always nice.
The spycam detected Brett Anderson in his usual hoody and gorgeous Trayce, his head still shaved
Brett minus hoody, Brandon McCarthy having a little Hawaiian Springs water and Carl contemplating sitting for a game.
AJ and Clayton on their way back to the dugout.  I always wonder what he is thinking during that walk.
Umpires and coaches
Something caught Kershaw’s attention before the first pitch
First pitch….oops… Kershaw gave up a double to Cozart.  Uh oh.  I thought this is weird.  There goes a perfect game already.
The Reds starter Brandon Finnegan pitched a great game but he still was the loser against Kershaw who wins games in different ways.  Finnegan actually pitched a complete game as did Kershaw.  The Reds pitcher only gave up one run in the 6th but that was enough to give the Dodgers the victory.  He induced Dodger double plays but had 4 walks and only 2 strikeouts.

The only run that scored was the result of a check swing single by Adrian Gonzalez among other unusual plays.

It started with a Justin Turner walk.  There was a pick off attempt but it went into right field, the second error for Reds catcher Barnhart, allowing Justin to go to second.  Justin then was able to go to third on the check swing single by Adrian.
Howie Kendrick hit a two out ground ball which made us all groan but we realized that Justin was then able to score since there were no outs at the time. 1-0.  And that was all it took to win the game.  
My friend walked by about that time with all his wares.  He blocked the view for a while and then sold Dodger flags to the kids.  Then they blocked my view for a while.  I have to remember to thank him for that.
It was Alyssa’s birthday so Norma invited her to the game.  Lucky Alyssa and happy birthday!!  What a nice birthday present.
Clayton spent some time on the bases, hitting a single, then taking second on a wild pitch….yes, that was Kershaw the pitcher.  He then advanced to third on a slide.  The great Kershaw commented after all this. “I have to work on my slides.”  I don’t think we want him to do that too often.
During the game, there were a lot of swings, running, balls, strikes, but as in most pitchers’ duels, it was little boring.
Kershaw did not continue the streak of 10 strikeouts or more a game but as Dave Roberts pointed out, he’s not into any records, he just wants to win games.  That makes a great player.  Kershaw has always been a team player.
This game was another complete game shutout for Kershaw.  It’s become a regular thing when he pitches.  The guys look excited in the dugout.
The fans are on their feet and ready for a win.  The score board says it all!
I absolutely love taking victory pictures.
It was a nice win.  Kershaw was able to rest the bullpen pitching a complete game,  final score 1-0.  The game also was a quickie only lasting 2 hours 11 minutes.  Everyone appreciated that.  We have learned that when Kershaw pitches we have to eat fast, talk fast, do everything fast.

Try eating ice cream fast and get brain freeze.  Thank you Brandon for the treat.  I cannot thank the chefs in the baseline club enough for everything they do, especially Bud, Armando and Brandon.

On my way out I met Baseball Head.  BTW he does his own makeup.  Talk about small worlds, I had makeup done on Saturday at Second Street Beauty.  They were having their annual beauty day which is one of my favorite things to do other than baseball.  My makeup was done by Anna who happens to be his aunt.  I did not have baseball head makeup applied in case you wondered. She used to do his makeup but now he does his own.  Very nice guy.  Interesting makeup and concept.

My friends Yoshiko and Doug will be at the game today.  Excited.  He’s not sure.

Mike Bolsinger will start today.  He will face Daniel Wright of the Reds.  Ross Stripling was supposed to start but since he pitched Sunday in emergency relief, he was sent down to triple A, skipping this start.  Tsao was not available to pitch during Sunday’s game because of a right biceps injury which he is now on DL for.  Mike had been optioned after his last and only start this season a little over a week ago  but was able to come back up so soon because of Tsao’s injury.  I think Mike had done well  his one outing and should have been left in the game to get out of the inning as he had done earlier in the game  but was taken out possibly because of an 80 pitch limit after an oblique injury which had sidelined him since Spring Training.  Taking him out made his one start look not as good as it was.  A key to good pitching is to get oneself out of a bad situation.   It’s a little complicated.  My hopes are that he doesn’t get sent down again after pitching today.  Wright was also called up from triple A because Tim Adleman who was scheduled to pitch for the Reds was placed on DL for oblique strain.  So as of yesterday, no one knew who was starting for either team.

I will be wearing Mike’s spring training jersey to the game.  I will definitely be cheering him on since he is my absolute favorite Dodger.  GO MIKE and GOOD LUCK!!!

Thank you everyone for stopping by.  It is a short homestand, only 3 games.  Then the Dodgers will be on the road again and I will back to work.  GO DODGERS!!!!

Avoiding the Sweep

It was a series that seemed to go on and on forever…at least it seemed that way.  Saturday’s game went to 11 innings while Sunday’s game lasted 17.

Veronica wished she had gone to the game Sunday instead of the one on Saturday since it had a better outcome.  The game on Saturday ended up in a devastating loss for the Dodgers with a walk off walk.   Sunday’s game ended with the Dodgers pulling off a huge, much needed win in the 17th inning with a bases loaded single hit by Puig driving in two runs.  The final score on Sunday was 9-5.  However the game lasted 5 hours 47 minutes.  It essentially was almost another baseball game in length.  It was so long that Alanna Rizzo said that the sprinklers went on.

At least the Dodgers were not swept by the Padres which the Padres had been hoping to do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They are not playing the best ball lately.  However there are positives.  Our young players:  Trayce, Joc and Corey are hitting home runs.  Puig is starting to find his swing again.  Alex Wood and Scott Kazmir seem to have made adjustments.   Clayton Kershaw is having a great, record breaking season.  He will open the home stand against the Reds. Chase Utley had 11 assists during the Sunday game.

Stripling pitched in relief on Sunday after two days rest so what does that mean for the rotation?

It was a 0-0 score unti the fifth inning when Bethancourt singled scoring Upton. 0-1.  Then in the same inning, Myers hits a triple scoring Amarista,  Rea and Jay making the score 0-4.  At that point Maeda was taken out of the game; in all the Dodgers used 9 pitchers.

In the 6th inning, Corey singled scoring Kike 1-4.  The Dodgers offense came alive.  A wild pitch scored Chase Utley. 2-4.  In the same inning Adrian singled Corey in. 3-4.

In the top of the 7th inning Justin hit a solo homerun tying the game. 4-4.

In the 8th inning, Howie hit a solo homerun giving the Dodgers the lead for the first time in the game. 5-4.

Unfortunately in the 8th inning, Upton tripled scoring Myers.  Kenley had blown another save during this series.  5-5.

After that there were zeroes in all the innings until the 17th inning when Yasiel Puig singled scoring Howie and Adrian finally breaking the tie. 7-5.  Wild pitch scored Joc.  8-5.  Carl grounded out scoring Yasiel.  9-5.

It was a hard fought battle on both sides.  I expect the Dodgers to be exhausted for their game against the Reds on Monday. Poor AJ was behind the plate for 17 innings.  I wonder if they will call up Austin Barnes since Yaz has a sore ankle.

Clayton Kershaw was actually called on to pinch hit.  The game was full of surprises.  The hero of the game was Yasiel Puig. Hugs all around.

The Dodgers have a 3 game series starting on Monday at Dodger Stadium against the Cincinatti Reds.  

I think it calls for some special pep teams, including the one led by my friend pharmacist Helen.

At least one of the twins.  I think this one is Duke.

My good buddies Pat and Norma

Some of the best looking kids.

I think that makes for a winning combination.

I’ve missed the Dodgers and am glad they’re back home.  Let’s hope for some wins!

Thanks for stopping by.  GO DODGERS!!

Another Disappointing Loss

It was another disappointing loss in Petco Park as the Dodgers suffered a one walk catastrophe in the 11th inning.  I would like to thank Veronica for the fantastic pictures.  Petco is a beautiful stadium.  It seems to be carved into the cityscape of San Diego.

It was a record breaking outing for Alex Wood which was marred by this sad loss.  He was able to strike out a career-high 13 strikeouts before he was taken out and replaced by the wrecking crew known as our bullpen.

My buddy Veronica and her husband took the trip out to San Diego’s Petco Park hoping for a win.  It is a bit of a drive there, over 2 hours for her, but Dodger fans tend to be true blue no mater what happens.  The above is the starting lineup.

There was Dodger Blue everywhere.

She was able to find a nice souvenir in the gift shop. 

Batting practice.  It looks like she had some great seats.
The Padres fans have great respect for our Vin Scully as many baseball fans do.
It was a pitchers game, Alex Wood pitching a gem.  I know that when it is a pitchers’ duel, it can be boring.  I can deal with that but when the game goes to extra innings and the Dodgers can’t pull it off, it can be devastating to those of us who do stay to the end.

The Padres had scored first in the 6th inning with a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly scoring Jon Jay. 0-1.

Trayce hit a two run homerun scoring Adrian Gonzalez in the 7th inning which should have been enough to win the game.  2-1.

However when Alex Wood was taken out and Adam Liberatore sent in to relieve, Amarista hit a sacrifice fly scoring Derek Norris tying the game.  2-2.  There went Wood’s chances for winning the game.

With the score tied, the game went into extra innings.  Usually by this time, as many of you Dodger fans know, everyone is ready to go home.  And if the game is not at home and you have a long drive home, it’s even worse.  Apparently no one left as every fan hoped his team could pull it off.  You would not expect last place Padres to be the victor.  But then newly brought up reliever Chin-hui Tsao made their dreams come true by loading up the bases in the 11th inning.  Nothing can be more disappointing than  watching your team allowing  a walk off walk to win the game.  It’s already beyond sad to lose in an extra innings game but to lose in this way is truly miserable.

I have lamented the bullpen for a long time now.  I don’t like to question the decisions of the Dodger management but why was Tsao left in the game to flounder and lose the game?  There has to be something done about the bullpen.  Everyone tells me that there are little choices out there for a good reliever.  Brandon McCarthy had another setback in his rehab.  Ryu will most likely be ready in June.  Friars also will be ready to come back.  But meanwhile back at the ranch, the Dodgers are losing key games.  After allowing bases loading walks,  why keep Tsao in the game?  It was inevitable that the Dodgers could not win with him pitching.   Why wasn’t Kenley brought in to finish the game off?

Today is the final game in the series with the Padres.  It would be sad for the Dodgers to be swept by last place Padres.  Padres pitcher Colin Rea has something to prove.  He is trying to stay as the 5th starter when Cashner returns to the rotation.  Rea, 3-2, ERA 4.37, has been doing well.  Maeda, 3-3, ERA 2.87, has had a couple of rough outings.  His start was amazing but something happened and his ERA 5.82 in his last 4 starts.  

Trayce Thompson’s huge 2 run homerun should have ended in a big celebration at the end of the game but it only kept the Dodgers from being shut out.

A scary note:  Yasmani Grandal left the game limping after fouling a ball off his ankle.  X-rays were negative.  He probably will be day to day;  AJ starts on Sunday.

The Dodgers are now in 3rd place in the NL West.  They have lost 4 games in a row.  When they return to Dodger Stadium on Monday they will face last place Cincinatti Reds in a 3 game series.  

Everyone has been wondering when Julio Urias would be brought up from minors.  I doubt that will happy anytime soon.  The fact that the owners did not sign good starting pitchers has become very glaring at this point.  Kudos to them for not trading away our young kids for a temporary fix however.  I guess you can’t have it all. 

Kike’s quote on Twitter says it all on how the Dodgers are coping with the losses:  “Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”-John Wooden.

The Dodgers return on Monday…can’t wait to see you guys.  I miss them when they are on the road.   It will be a hectic 3 days with giveaways on 2 of those days, one being Adrian Gonzalez bobble head day on Tuesday, Dodgers neck pillow on Monday.  Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to be on the field to show Trayce my Trayce tee shirt.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hoping for a win today so the weekend won’t be a total loss.  GO DODGERS!!!  We love you and support you no matter what.  Thank you Veronica for the amazing pictures.  Hope to see you soon.  Dodger fans…never give up hope.  Stay TRUE BLUE!!!

Coming Soon

I have a special fun treat coming up on an upcoming blog. Since I’m not able to go to away games because work just gets in the way, one of my best friends will be my roving reporter. Thanks to Veronica and husband Christian!

Here they are with Kikè.
I’m ready for next week’s home stand  with my new shirt honoring one of my faves, Trayce.

Notice my car license slightly beat up from a freeway accident. Love Andre!!
Thank you to custom designer ZinoFresh!!

The Dodgers are falling back in the standings but they’ll catch up. The games with the Angels were a nightmare.  Last night’s with the Padres also wasn’t so good. Tonight they meet the Padres again. Veronica will be there to catch all the highlights.

Thanks everyone for checking in. GO DODGERS!!


Down the Freeway

The Dodgers pitching couldn’t hold the Angels on Wednesday night with the final score 1-8.  The games had moved down the freeway to Angel Stadium with hopes that Mike Bolsinger could snag his first win of 2016.  The Angels and Dodgers had each won one game at Dodger Stadium during the Freeway series with 2 more to go at Angels Stadium.

The hopes had been that Mike could go at least 80 pitches to rest the other starting pitchers during this 20 game stretch.  It was his first MLB outing since straining his oblique during Spring Training.  I had my fingers crossed.  There was some speculation that he might stay to help out the bullpen which can either be very good or very bad.  Unfortunately this was one night that the bullpen was very bad.  It doesn’t seem like there ever is an in between night for them.
During a week where it seemed the home runs kept coming in two’s, the bats fell silent, giving Mike no run support.  He seemed to be in jams all night but was able to get himself out of them.  He was responsible for 3 runs on 7 hits in 4 1/2 innings before he even reached his 80 pitch limit.

Angels Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and CJ Cron went 7 for 10, 3 walks and 4 RBI’s which pretty much decided the game.  Mike Trout hit a homerun in the first inning.  During this season, the first inning is the Dodgers Achilles heel.  The Dodgers managed to score a run in the 4th inning with a single by Joc scoring Corey. 1-1.  Mike Bolsinger was taken out of the game , an error was committed by Howie Kendrick resulting in a another Angel run 1-3.  The 5th inning was when the game broke loose with the Angels scoring 5 runs. 1-6.  By that time it was apparent that this would be a game where the Dodgers bats would be silent.  The bull pen was back to being very bad allowing 2 more runs in the 6th inning.  8-1.

The blame will probably be placed on Mike Bolsinger since he was the starting pitcher.  However considering the fact that this was his first game after an injury, he should not be totally blamed for the loss.  The offense was quiet.  The bullpen was unable to hold the Angels hitters.  During a week that the Dodgers offense  had been so amazing,  it once again fell silent.

Mike Trout was responsible alone for a homerun, a single and a walk with Mike pitching.

Here he is at Dodger Stadium.

A sad note….of course with Mike coming up, someone had to go down.  We all thought it would be Charlie Culberson, one of our favorites.

We’ll miss him.

The final game of the Freeway Series will be tonight at Angel Stadium with Ross Stripling for the Dodgers and Jhoulys Chacin for the Angels.  The Dodgers are now 2 1/2 games out of first place in the Western Division tied for second with the Rockies.  They will then move on to San Diego.

When the Dodgers are on the road, I am at work.  I would have liked to be at Angel Stadium to watch Mike and cheer him on  but sometimes work gets in the way.  I’m not a big fan of Angel Stadium however.  I seem to always lose my car in the parking lot.  Why aren’t the lots numbered anyway?  The ushers just don’t seem to be as nice as the ones at Dodger Stadium.  The only reason I like Angel Stadium is for the Oakley Store and I don’t need another pair of polarized sunglasses.

Thanks for stopping by.  GO DODGERS!!!

Setting Records

Every time Clayton Kershaw pitches, it seems he sets a record.  This already is a phenomenal season for him.  On Tuesday, he pitched his 6th straight game striking out 10 or more with one or no walks which is a MLB record.
It also was another short game: 2 hours and 12 minutes.  It was the last game of the home stand so we all appreciated the length of the game.  The game the night before was a horrendous 4 hours.  We all thanked Clayton.

It was another giveaway day, this time a functional Dodgers doormat shaped like home plate.  There was surprisingly few fans lined up to get in.  When I got down to the field I was pleasantly surprised to see Mike Bolsinger already with the team.  He is to be activated from DL on Wednesday to pitch against the Angels at Angel Stadium.  Since I am so adept at taking pictures of backs, here is one of Mike with catching coach Steve Yaeger.
I also noticed Kenta Maeda with his translator Will.  Will must think that this is the best job he has ever had.
I always wonder what the guys are talking about:  baseball…families…guy talk?
Of course I focused on Mike.  I have been waiting for him to be activated from DL.  We had not seen him since spring training after being sidelined with an oblique strain.

Dave Roberts was kind enough to sign for some fans.  

The guys were in a hurry to attend a meeting so they rushed by, a few saying hi.  Hi Charlie.

Everyone was in a hurry except Kenta Maeda who is always besieged by the Japanese media.  He always politely talks to all of them.  I said hi to translator Will as they rushed by.

Mike Scioscia the manager of the Angels was having a discussion with Orel Hersheiser.  He was right next to the Dodger dugout.  Dodger fan Jo kept changing from her Dodger blue to Angels red to keep everyone happy.  Mike looked our way when we called him and showed his displeasure when he noticed she was wearing Dodger blue.

Mike stopped to give me a big hug.  He rushed in right after that without signing or talking to anyone.  And then we took a selfie together.  He took the picture.   I was so excited!!  He was back.

When I went up to the club, I was still too excited to eat.  The fare was beef brisket with bourbon sauce, chicken and eggplant pasta.  
My little friend Grayson was dressed in Angel attire because he is a big fan of Mike Trout.  He was able to snag an autograph from him.  I have seen Grayson grow up from little guy to a polite young man.  I can even forgive him for wearing the enemy color.  How adorable is Grayson??
I almost missed seeing Clayton Kershaw making his way across the field.
AJ was catching Clayton.  I think Clayton feels more comfortable with his best friend catching.
And Clayton went through his usual pre game workout 

Clayton somehow seems to get better and better if that can be possible.
Everyone else came out.  All eyes on Trayce.  Trayce Thompson has been a phenomenon.  There is talk that he will be sent back to minors.  How can that be??  He should be starting.  His defense may not be the best but his offense is one of the best on the team.  He is keeping up with home runs with the others who are playing everyday.
Is it my imagination or has Justin Turner trimmed his beard?  Maybe he’s trying to look more like his chia pet.
The trio of Seager-Thompson-Pederson is lighting up the boards with home runs.  They are hitting 2 a night lately, each taking turns.
It’s extremely annoying to me that fans still are critical of Joc.  What does he have to do?  He has taken time to sign a few autographs a game which makes the fans happy.  I would rather he concentrate on the game anyway.
Justin definitely looks neater.  Uh oh, who is that in that background photobombing this picture?  A Dodger consorting with the enemy?
National Anthem
What a magnificent view!!

Kike and Justin

Joc signing a few balls
Puig loving his trainer
He saw some friends 
By now my heart is usually pounding.  Clayton’s walk across the field usually gives me goose bumps.
Yasiel signed for the fans after giving me a hug.  A two hug day for me.  Lucky me.
He has an interesting pattern shaved on his head.  Not sure what it means.
Before the game, my buddy Norma gave me some cute Dodger shoes.  I love them.
I hurried back to my seat in time for the first pitch.

Mike Trout is always booed by Dodger fans.  He was unable to even get one hit from Kershaw.
Trout got back at Clayton by nailing him on third when he was trying to run two bases from first on a Chase Utley single.  We all know that Clayton isn’t the fastest runner.  I didn’t even know that Clayton knew how to slide but the whole play was scary.  However that was distracting enough that Chase was able to hustle to 2nd base allowing him to eventually score tying the game. 1-1.  Trout dropped Turner’s foul ball enabling the run.  This was only Trout’s second catching error since Sept 2014.

Kershaw started out a little shaky but as usual was able to get it going.  In the top of the 2nd inning, The Angels scored first. 0-1.  It could have been worse but Clayton was able to get out of the jam.  The Angels had been riding on a 4 game winning streak but struck out 11 times and could never even draw a walk.  Clayton called his pitching “pretty average.”  

Jered Weaver didn’t have his best stuff.  The Dodgers were able to adjust to his lower velocity by the second time around.

Joc hit a 2 run home run in the 4th inning scoring Howie, breaking the tie. 3-1.

Time for a little prickly pear Italian ice.  I knew we would be celebrating later on.

There is always a little cutie at the game.
Corey hit a solo homerun in the 7th inning adding an insurance run.  4-1.
In the 8th inning, Joc hit his second homerun to center field making the score 5-1.  The pitcher was AJ Achter so he had hit the 2 home runs against two different pitchers.
It was the 9th inning.  Everyone was waiting to see who would close.  The team was on their feet with excitement.
Of course, it would be our closer Kenley Jansen.
The infielders and outfielders were all ready
……especially Joc.
The final score was 5-1, another stellar performance by Clayton Kershaw with all the run support he needed.  There has been a lot of buzz about the Dodgers 3 young homerun hitters:  Joc, Corey, Trayce…all roommates with Ross Stripling.  They are all taking turns hitting multiple home runs.  The Dodgers are still tied for second place, 1.5 games behind the Giants.  The Giants have a 6 game winning streak, the Rockies a 5 game winning streak.  

These are always my favorite pictures to take.  

Wednesday the Dodgers will be at Angel stadium continuing the Freeway Series in Anaheim.  My favorite Mike Bolsinger, 2.25 ERA in triple A,will be making his 2016 debut.  He will be facing Nick Tropeano 1-2, ERA 3.68.  The Dodgers will be using a 6 man pitching rotation giving them extra rest.  I wish I could be there but I will be back at work.  

It has been a long home stand but it has been good.  Baseball season is long but ever changing.  There are winning streaks, losing streaks, times when nothing seems to go right.  But we are all Dodger fans no matter what happens.  We all support our guys no matter what.  We cry, we laugh, we suffer with them.  We celebrate the wins and lament over the losses but we will always be there the next day.

Thanks for stopping by.  Special hello to my buddies Veronica and Yoshiko.  Thank you for all your encouragement.  My blog would not be possible without you.  GO DODGERS!  GO MIKE!!  


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