Going to Dodger's Stadium Tomorrow Night!
It will be my first game of the new season. Last year, I made it out to six games and I think in half of them, Gagne made an appearance for the save. The crowd really loves the whole circus with the music and his beard and musty hat.
Some on sportstalk radio is saying, he may be traded later in the year because this is his final year as a "low budget" player. Since the new GM, Paul DePodesta is a student of Billy Ball, who believes you only pay big bucks for players when they are early in their careers and don't put out big contracts after the fact on declining years. Some are saying there is virtually no way Gagne will be able to repeat the last two years and so his trade value is the highest it will ever be.
On the other hand, Gagne is a rare relief pitcher with THREE good pitches: a high 90s fastball (occasionally clocked at 100 mph), a wicked curve and a change-up. Thus, some are saying, he will be able to replicate his amazing last two seasons for years to come because he doesn't always have to rely on the fastball to get people out.
Anyway, I leave all that for real sports nuts. I'm just a fan who wants to see the team do well and players get recognized for their contributions.
At lead off, Roberts has been stealing bases like crazy and has 12 which I think is tops in the MLB right now. He leads the teams in drawing walks and is hitting .279 which is an improvement over last year when he was out with injuries or playing with them.
Izturis has been a pleasant surprise batting second and making contact more than last year.
The big addition is Bradley in the three spot tied with Beltre with 15 RBI.
Green has been in the clean-up slot. Last year, he had a off year playing injured. He is looking better but still not up to 2001 and 2002 season stroking.
LoDuca is batting fifth and occasionally getting a break from the catcher's slot when Tracey plugs in David Ross. LoDuca will probably get the occasional day off from catching or shuttled into the outfield. He has been on fire batting .490
Encarnacion is sixth in the lineup. Not a real good average right now but tied for third on the team with 9 RBI.
Beltre is batting seventh and has been the biggest surprise. In years past, he seems to sleep walk offensively in the first half of the season and then starts booming in the second half. Well, he is off to a fast start, leading the team with 6 HR and 15 RBI with a .375 average.
Cora is in the eight place and is really on the team for defense. He has struggled at the plate.
Meanwhile, the pitching is nothing like last year as the staff ERA is midling at 4.21. Nomo remains the number 1 starter and is the willy veteran of the staff. The split-finger/forkball remains his best pitch. His fastball is now usually only in the high 80s and low 90s. ERA is high but he is 3-1.
The #2 starter is Perez who leads the team in K's with 22. Young guy who hopefully will return to the form we saw in 2002.
The new man on the staff is Weaver. Has good stuff but he has had a few bad innings and so his ERA is high.
The 4th man is Ishii and he remains erractic but somehow manages to win and is 2-1.
Veteran Lima looks to be the spot 5th starter after he did a good job in his opportunity.