Veteran sportswriter Joe Reaves, who has worked in recent years for the Arizona Republic, has been hired by the Dodgers to lend his international baseball expertise to the front office. Reaves will continue to live in the Phoenix area. His new position will not include work specifically in scouting or player development, but will be more administrative in nature. His official job title has yet to be determined.
The rain has stopped, the tarp is off, and every indication is that we will have a game tonight. But it is miserably cold and windy. I’m bundled up in my leather jacket and still not that comfortable. But after all the heat we have been dealing with lately, especially on that Midwestern swing a couple of weeks ago, it’s kind of a nice change of pace. Here’s the lineup:
It has been raining ALL day long (although it just stopped), and it is supposed to continue doing so throughout the three days we are here. Rumor has it that a rainout will result in a day-night doubleheader, not a traditional twinbill like the one the Dodgers played after they got rained out once here last year. We already have one of those on the docket, for Sept. 18 in Denver, and we sure don’t need another one. … Woke up this morning (OK, it wasn’t this morning, it was 12:30, but if you saw my previous post, I had a good excuse) and looked out my 20th-floor window at the Penn campus below, and I had to wonder: Does this make me an Ivy Leaguer? At least for the next three days? Probably not. … No news so far, no roster moves, no trades, no nothing. But stay tuned.
Just to clarify, I don’t actually hate BEING here. I just hate ARRIVING here. For anyone who has ever landed at PHL, you know what I mean. I just got to my room, and it is 4:32 a.m. Because of the weather, the flight arrived at 1:45 a.m., not 11:15 p.m. Nothing anybody can do about that — and by the way, I saw the most spectacular thunderstorm just over Omaha, this thing was non-stop lightning, almost like a laser light show. FA said the pilots had just told him they had never seen anything like it before. Just about the time we were past it, it dawned on me that I should have photographed it and posted it on this blog (too late). OK, so here’s why it took me almost three hours to get from the gate to my room. First, this airport is NOTORIOUS for bags taking forever to get to the carousel. The claim area was PACKED when I got there, and this was at 2 a.m. I didn’t get my last bag until 3 a.m. Then I took the bus to Avis, where they had canceled my reservation because I was late and the Avis Preferred desk (it’s NOT a frequent renter program, anybody can be Preferred, they just have to sign up) was closed, and so I stood in line for another 45 minutes because they only had two people at the counter. Almost every flight in here was delayed at least two hours because of the weather, but apparently it never dawned on the good folks at the local Avis facility that they might want to make adjustments for that. Finally get the car at 4 a.m. Long story short, the much-anticipated stop at Jim’s Cheesesteaks has been postponed 24 hours. Staying at the Sheraton University City this time, great part of town, right across the Schuylkill River from downtown and right where Penn and Drexel bump up against each other. And hey, after tonight, the trip has nowhere to go but up. It certainly can’t get any worse. … No Dodgers news today, apparently. Had an interesting interview with Mike Lieberthal a few days ago about coming back here for the first time, and got a nice feature out of it that you can read in today’s paper (or on the web site). … Off to bed for me now. Going to try to be asleep before the sun comes up
Ramon Martinez came into the day with a .168 average. He might go down as the guy who saved the Dodgers’ season. He came up with a two-run single off Jeremy Affeldt in the bottom of the eighth after Affeldt walked Jeff Kent to load the bases. Saito then struck out three batters in a row in the ninth. Meanwhile, the D-backs lost, so the Dodgers actually gained in the standings for the first time since July 26, when they were in first place and increased their lead from one game to 1 1/2 games by beating these Rockies at Coors. Dodgers improve to 64-60 and move past the Rockies into third place, and they still trail the Pods by 2 1/2 in the wild card, with Philly and Atlanta in between. This ride ain’t over yet, folks. I’ll try to post tomorrow night, but it’ll be late. Don’t get into Philly until 11 something, and I plan to head straight for Jim’s Cheesesteaks on South Street before checking into the hotel.
Helton went yard wth a man aboard off Scott Proctor in the eighth, giving the Rox the lead and putting the Dodgers in a position where it looks like they will now have gone a full month without winning a series. That decisive inning came immediately after the bottom of the seventh when Matt Kemp came to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. Although Juan Pierre had just walked on five pitches against Ramon Ortiz, Kemp apparently thought it would be a good idea to swing at the first pitch from Ortiz. He popped it up, of course, and Matt Holliday hauled it in in shallow left, ending the inning. Dodgers are 1 for 7 w/RISP. … Rockies 3, Dodgers 2, bottom 8
He went five solid innings on three days’ rest, and although he was a little out of character — he walked five batters and struck out only three — he held the Rockies, a good-hitting club, to two hits. He only got into serious trouble once, when the Rox loaded the bases with none out in the fourth on a double and two walks, but Juan Pierre saved his bacon with a diving catch in shallow center that turned what should have been a three-run double by Brad Hawpe into a sac fly. A baserunning blunder by Todd Helton on the next play — he rounded the bag after a ball hit by Troy Tulowitzki got far enough up the middle that Furcal had no play anywhere, but Furcal alertly threw behind Helton and got him at third — got Penny almost off the hook, and Penny then got Yorvit Torrealba on a called third strike to end the threat. Beyond that, it was fairly smooth sailing, as the Dodgers look to win a series for the first time in a month. … Dodgers 2, Rockies 1, bottom 6
The short rest didn’t affect Penny in the first inning. After a leadoff walk to Kaz Matsui, he set down the next three in order to get out of the inning. … Just checked the weather for the trip, looks like rain every single day in both cities. High of 68 tomorrow in Philly, and I don’t get there until after 11, by which time it might be really chilly. But who’s complaining, especially after what we have been through the past couple of weeks with all this humidity? I just hope there aren’t a bunch of postponements and/or doubleheaders. I especially hope there isn’t a return trip to either Philly or New York for a makeup game later on. … Rockies are wearing their third different jersey in this three-game series. Today it’s the black sleeveless ones with the black shirt underneath. Come on. Remember when every team had one home jersey and one for the road? Remember when no team wore these ridiculous pajama tops? Oh, wait, the Dodgers are still like that. … Furcal just led off with a double. … Rockies 0, Dodgers 0, bottom 1
This could have been an unforgettable victory, a game that would have moved the Dodgers within 1 1/2 games of the lead in the wild card and given their fans a reason to pay attention again. It also would have assured them their first series win in a month. Instead, it was none of that, because the Dodgers ran themselves out of a 10th-inning rally, and Rockies relievers Jeremy Affeldt, Matt Herges and Manny Corpas then combined to set down the Dodgers’ final 11 batters in a row. The Rockies finally broke through with three runs in the 14th in Roberto Hernandez’s second inning of work. Dodgers slip to 63-60 and back into fourth place in the NL West, a season-worst 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading D-backs.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of days. Tried to post twice yesterday, but a computer glitch caused both of them to time out as I was trying to post them, and then tney got lost and were un-recoverable. Anyway, Matt Kemp just went deep with two outs in the first inning, welcoming Franklin Morales to the majors, but Morales set down Furcal, Pierre and Kent on ground balls. Helton just led off the second with a single up the middle off Billingsley. … By the way, Penny volunteered to pitch in three days’ rest whenever the Dodgers needed, so Grady decided to take him up on it — tomorrow. That means Penny gets to pitch against the Rockies, whom he dominates, and that he will then pitch the series opener in New York on Friday night. … Dodgers 1, Rockies 0, top 2