Postgame thoughts: Colorado Rockies 7, Dodgers 3.

This conference on the mound in the fourth inning didn’t help Josh Beckett (third from right). It merely delayed the inevitable in the Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies, a game that lasted 3 hours, 54 minutes. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

You got the sense that Josh Beckett could live with the smaller strike zone imposed by home plate umpire Larry Vanover tonight. Beckett could even live with the three runs he allowed in the first inning, maybe because he didn’t want to throw his shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, under the bus for committing an error that left him pitching out of the stretch one batter into the game.

No, there were other things happened tonight specifically, and this season in general, that Beckett has not made peace with.

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Daily Distractions: Caving to the #whiff, like the rest of MLB

There’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Krusty the Clown agreed to give away a free Krusty Burger if the United States won gold at certain events in the 1984 Olympics. When the Soviet Union boycotted the Games, Krusty stood to lose $44 million.

For some reason I was reminded of this episode when this came through my Twitter feed this morning:

CJ Wilson ad

Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson is a pitchman for Head & Shoulders’ hashtag-friendly “Season of the Whiff”.

You see, Procter & Gamble is donating $1 to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) campaign every time a Major League Baseball player strikes out this season. To raise awareness of its Head & Shoulders shampoo brand, P&G is encouraging fans to tweet the hashtag #whiff along with the hashtag of your favorite team.

According to, Head & Shoulders spent $60 million in measured media last year, so MLB’s record strikeout rate probably won’t leave the company’s executives pulling their hair out like Krusty. Which is good, since bald shampoo executives can’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of their product.

I’ll be here all week.
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Daily Distractions: Dodgers sign Mark Lowe; Hanley Ramirez hurt (briefly); NL West rumblings.

Mark Lowe

Mark Lowe is, in many ways, a typical spring training reclamation project. The 29-year-old’s fastball was once clocked at 101 mph, but now sits in the low 90s. He is a veteran of parts of seven major-league seasons and two surgeries: Elbow microfracture (2006) and back microdisectomy (2010). He’s also a Type 1 diabetic.

Now, Lowe is the newest Dodger courtesy of a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the deal, which would pay $1.5 million in base salary if Lowe makes the team.

Unlike most reclamation projects, Lowe was pitching effectively at the major-league level last season. He allowed only eight runs in his first 31 appearances for the Rangers but faded in September, allowing earned runs in four of five appearances (18.90 ERA). He was sidelined for six weeks at midseason with a strained intercostal muscle in his ribcage after throwing a career-high three innings in one game.

The right-hander is not a complete longshot to make the team, but he’ll have to prove he belongs in a crowded Dodgers bullpen. More on that later.

Some links to send you into the weekend:

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Daily Distractions: Alfredo Silverio, Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Amoros, etc.

Alfredo Silverio: Damaged goods or the one that got away?

Alfredo reports that the minor-league outfielder, scooped up by the Miami Marlins in the Rule 5 draft, seems ready to come back from a devastating car accident last year that wiped out his season and ended his tenure with the Dodger organization.

For about a week, Silverio has been working out at the Marlins’ Spring Training complex in Jupiter. He has been taking part in the team’s voluntary minicamp at Roger Dean Stadium.

On the back fields, Silverio is taking batting practice and doing some drills, while not pushing it when it comes to throwing.

“I feel back to normal,” the outfielder said.

Silverio wasn’t one of the three Dodgers prospects ranked among the majors’ top 100 by yesterday. (Those spots went to Yasiel Puig, Zach Lee and Joc Pederson.) You figure Silverio either belongs somewhere in that group or he won’t be the same player once he faces live pitching. Only time will tell.

Some links for a midweek morning:

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Rockies turn to 21-year-old Rafael Ortega.

Dodger fans looking for someone to epitomize the dire state of today’s opponent, the Colorado Rockies, have their man. Batting second and playing center field for the Rockies, is Rafael Ortega.

Here’s all you need to know about Ortega: The 21-year-old Venezuelan has never played an inning of baseball beyond the Single-A California League. He ended the season with a .284 batting average and 36 stolen bases for the Modesto Nuts. The Cal League is notorious for being a hitter’s league; the “average” batting average in the league this season was .273.

Today, he’ll make his big-league debut.

Here’s more from the Denver Post:

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Breaking: Andre Ethier is in the lineup against a left-hander.

Andre Ethier was back in the lineup Friday against a left-handed pitcher, Jeff Francis of the Colorado Rockies. This is noteworthy because Ethier was not in the lineup when the Dodgers faced Padres left-hander Clayton Richard two days ago in San Diego.

On Thursday, Don Mattingly shared his thoughts on the disparity between Ethier’s batting average against right-handers (.325) and left-handers (.214).

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Rockies 8, Dodgers 6.

The Dodgers rallied from a four-run ninth-inning deficit before losing, 8-6, to the Colorado Rockies on Saturday before an announced crowd of 12,465 at Salt River Fields. [box score]

Tim Wheeler‘s two-run, walk-off home run off Logan Bawcom — a reserve reliever from the Dodgers’ minor-league camp — ended the game.

Dodgers starter Nate Eovaldi threw three innings, allowing four hits, no walks and striking out one. His fastball reached into the mid-90s — per the in-house radar reading at Salt River Fields — in his third spring appearance.

Most impressively, Eovaldi was able to work out of some jams to preserve the shutout. He allowed a leadoff single in the second inning that led to a first-and-third, one-out bind, but struck out Wil Nieves and inducing a groundout by Guthrie to end the inning.

Eric Young and Marco Scutaro singled to lead off the third inning. Each moved up a base with one out, but Eovaldi escaped this jam, too.
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