Dodger Thoughts: Jim Tracy
Mark J. Terrill/APMr. 30-33, Matt Kemp, is now on pace for 37 homers to go with 41 steals this season.
The Dodger offense struggling to put a single run on the scoreboard? Typical game.
A six-run rally driven by two balks, a James Loney homer and a Dodger joining the 30-30 club? Not such a typical game.
The Dodgers trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but they rolled a six on the Rockies and moved directly to a 6-1 victory.
Mark J. Terrill/APJim Tracy wasn't seeing straight after two balks were called on his team in the seventh inning.
It was the Dodgers' fourth straight victory, their second in a row with a six-run inning, and their first with confirmation that Vin Scully would be back for more in 2012.
Working on a 1-0 shutout, Colorado starter Esmeril Rogers walked Andre Ethier and Aaron Miles, and Rod Barajas (after being forced to bunt for two pitches) singled to load the bases. However, the Dodgers seemed doomed – rather typically doomed, as it were - when Ethier tried to score on Jamey Carroll's fly ball to center field and was thrown out, as we'll get to continue hearing Vinny say, "from you to me."
But after pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn was intentionally walked - I'm not sure about the smarts behind that one, by the way – Miles goaded Rogers into committing a balk that moved everyone up and tied the game. And then, with runners on second and third, Justin Sellers' single drove in two more runs to give the Dodgers the lead.
A bitter Rogers was relieved by Matt Reynolds, who immediately picked off Sellers – only to have another balk called. That was all Jim Tracy could stand, and he couldn't stands no more, his determination to protest the call getting him thrown out of the game.
With the reprieve, the Dodgers doubled their fun. Loney hit his seventh home run of the season – five of them against Colorado – to make the score 5-1. And then Kemp hit his crowning-glory absolute rocket to center.
Loney, 2 for 4, is now 13 for his last 21 with a walk and 22 total bases: a .636 on-base percentage, 1.048 slugging percentage and 1.684 OPS.
Kenley Jansen made a successful return from the disabled list with a 14-pitch perfect eighth inning, and Scott Elbert took on the ninth, allowing two hits but no runs. Lilly got the win with his fourth outstanding start out of his past five, a stretch in which he has a 2.20 ERA.
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Tweets from Beto Duran of ESPN Radio:
- Vin Scully held impromptu press conference in elevator after game. By far coolest ride ever!
- Vin "winning and losing doesn't bother me, it's just love of people. Just don't know what I'd do"
- Vin on announcing return during game. "Didn't want to make big deal. Not trying to be a Brett Favre"
Fire when ready, Gridley ...
- The Dodgers re-signed Trent Oeltjen to a minor-league contract, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com (among other notes).
- Former Dodger manager Jim Tracy, now with Colorado, is recovering from a mild arrhythmia that caused him to collapse shortly after midnight Tuesday. The Associated Press has details.
- Clayton Kershaw is married! Check out the pictures at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.
- More great news: Longtime friend of Dodger Thoughts Jay Jaffe has been voted into the Baseball Writers Association of America.
- This book, A Brief History of American Sports, was co-authored by Elliott J. Gorn, whom I took "Sport in American Life" from at Stanford when he was a visiting professor 21 years ago.
- I like these Dodgers-Fritos collectibles featuring Larry Sherry and Charley Neal, showcased by Blue Heaven.
- Who are the 50 best players not in the Hall of Fame? Baseball Past & Present offers a list, based on the vote of 63 people including Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods.
- King Kaufman argues for the value of being average.
- Alex Belth of Bronx Banter has the best piece I've seen on Derek Jeter this offseason.
- Longtime Dodger Thoughts readers might recall how big a fan of Spalding Gray I've been. Stephen Soderbergh has a new documentary about the monologist/actor, writes David Ng at Culture Monster. LACMA will screen it Monday.