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The Dodgers are in the playoffs! Time to freak out!

The Dodgers are in the playoffs! I feel nauseous!
 
For any True Blue fan out there, they each know that October merely brings heartache and anxiety. Nothing more, nothing less. I kind of have to hurl right now!
 
As always, my man Que-Ese and I were commiserating about the causes for the potential ulcers likely to befall us in the coming days and (hopefully) weeks. But, like a true friends (who will never ever ever leave each other), we’ve tried to serve as the salve to one another’s Dodger blues. Below is an e-mail exchange in which we’ve both finely laid out our biggest reservations, then a rebuttal why it might not be a big deal and finally, our predictions for the series.
 
KOBEsh: The bullpen. Duh.
 
Some writers have suggested that the Dodgers only have two reliable pitchers in their bullpen, which is a disconcerting thought all on its own. However, I think that may be outshooting the truth altogether.
 
Kenley Jansen has been pretty great this season, though I wouldn’t say absolutely dominant. Sure, he’s got 101 strikeouts and allowed just 55 hits in 65 innings pitched, but he also got himself into trouble unnecessarily. With no outs, Jansen allowed a .779 OPS, as opposed to .567 and .466 on the second and third outs. In other words, he’s letting a leadoff man on at an alarming rate and then relying on his dominant stuff to make up for it. Not the type of breathing room you want to give up to a fellow division-winning team.
 
The only other “reliable” bullpen pitcher has this stat line for September: 7 games, 5.1 innings pitched, 9 hits and 2 homers allowed and a 11.81 ERA. That’s J.P. Howell, who had emerged into the team’s best 8th inning reliever.
 
Other than that, we’re looking at Brandon League (a nice 2.57 ERA, but an ugly 1.46 WHIP) Brian Wilson (a nice K%, but giving up hits and walks by the boatload), 39 year-old Jamey Wright (72 hits in 70 IP), Chris Perez (who had a nice September, but still walked 4 batters in 7 innings) and rookie Pedro Baez.
 
Yes, I’m really worried.
 
Que-Ese: Here’s why you shouldn’t fret about the bullpen:
 
Jansen is a stud. His premium pitch is a cut fastball. The thing about those, is that sometimes they get put into play. If they hit their spots, he’ll be fine.… Read more...

Boehner ‘Kicking Dirt at Umpire’: Reid

(From our main man Que-Ese, who in his civilian life posts for Bloomberg. What a freak!)
 
House Speaker John Boehner is kicking dirt at the umpire, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says.
 
The Democratic leader, never one to shy away from the occasional sports metaphor, took to the floor this morning to criticize the House’s Republican leader for his promised lawsuit against President Barack Obama.
 
Reid took the time to reminisce about the former Los Angeles Dodgers manager and Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda:
 
“He was a showman. I assume he picked some of the times to pick a fight with the umpire because he was upset with the call. But I think part of it was his idea that the team needed a little something extra… On occasion he’d get thrown out of the game.”
 
(Read the rest over at Bloomberg.com!)… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Paul Maholm’s Role

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:

Is Paul Maholm going to be on the roster?

In short, yes.

Maholm is a proven arm. He can eat up a bunch of innings (he’s almost thrown 200 IP in each of his 6 full big league seasons). He also is signed to a major league deal worth $1.5 million with a possible $5.5 million in appearance incentives. The Dodgers signed Maholm with the intention of having him as a workhorse. He doesn’t have an abundance of experience out of the bullpen, but he has signaled his willingness to pitch at any time for a contender like the Dodgers.

The question remains, what are the Dodgers going to do if they have so many arms?… Read more...

The Seattle Seahawks – Finally, They Are Who We Thought They Were

I watched every Seahawks game this year.
 
I was in Carolina for the opener and in Houston for the epic comeback that had Richard Sherman coronated as the hands-down best cornerback in the NFL.
 
At no point during the season did I watch a game where we put the entire “thing” together. The Hawks always played amazing defense (best in NFL history amazing) and occasionally put chunks of points on the board but always felt like they were just on the precipice of awesome.
 
Part of that was due to injury. The offense never had a downfield threat required to truly balance the attack with Percy Harvin spending almost the entire year nursing a hip injury. His absence did lead to the discovery of Jermaine Kearse (signed off the practice squad out of camp) and put a lot of the offense squarely on the shoulders of one big BEAST.… Read more...

Through a nail-biting postseason, why the LA Kings are still the favorites

The Los Angeles Kings are headed to the NHL Western Conference Finals for the second year in a row. This journey to the top of the West is a much different climb than the feverish ascension the team made last year en-route to winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
 
I have spent many nights staying up until the wee hours watching this team attempt to repeat as champions–a special thanks NHL for the 7:30 p.m. start times in the playoffs (sidenote: This is clearly the most mismanaged league of all the major four sports. The NBA understands that TV ratings are what make the league more money so when the Lakers are playing in the playoffs, they bump the start time up to make it slightly more convenient for fans out east. The traffic is a bitch in LA, and natives whine but they are in Staples for the 6 p.m. start. Get with it NHL, for my sake). I must say this is a completely different experience for the LA faithful.
 
The Kings have to scrap through games and series as a whole. They are losing on the road and flawless at home. For a fan base that watched last year’s pure domination throughout the playoffs, this postseason may be a bit of a nail biter.
 
Fear not, Kings fans. This team is still in position to challenge to be one of the first repeat Stanley Cup Champions since the Red Wings did it in the late 90’s. Here are the 3 things I’ve seen from the Kings this playoffs that will help lead them to hoisting the cup once again:
 
1. Jonathan Quick is still the best in the NHL between the pipes

     
  • Jonny Quick had a rough regular season. The back surgery he had after the playoffs last year slowed him down and not having access to Kings trainers during the lockout certainly did not help either. He played well enough to position the boys in black as a 4 seed this year but did not really hit his stride until April.
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Lima Lumps: Is for Dodger fans to PANIC?

Lima Lumps this week is all about one question: is it time to panic!?!?
 
The Dodgers went into their weekend in San Francisco hoping to find some sort of momentum. They left without their starting shortstop, without any real confidence in their bullpen, and without a victory.
 
Is this grand experiment of shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for marquee names worthwhile? So is it time to panic in LA?
 
The simple answer is no. It is too early to freak out. We are not even a quarter into a season with 162 games and the marginally talented NL West to compete with. The Dodgers will hopefully recover from injury, find their stride in the bullpen, and figure out how to score a runner in scoring position (.216–fact).
 
However, this is Lima Lumps. This space is meant to emphasize what shitty things the Dodgers have done this week. So without further delay, here are the reasons why we all should START PANICKING AAAAHHHH!!!!!!:… Read more...

Lima Lumps: A solid start for the LA Dodgers

(Each and every week, we’ll be running two posts: Dodger Digs and Lima Lumps. Aside from out obvious obsession with alliteration, we’ll look at the most good and bad of our beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. Here is Que-Ese’s maiden voyage into the world of the Lumps. Enjoy.)
 
While my esteemed friend and Washington DC-phobic colleague KOBEsh uses this space each week for his insightful and well thought out Dodger Digs, I plan on keeping things punchy and exciting (and mostly based on what I’m seeing with my eyes).
 
Jose Lima, the man who was once sued for spreading a particularly lumpy disease around Houston, was a starting pitcher who carried the Dodgers to a 2004 playoff victory, remarkably their first since the 1988 Kirk Gibson-led World Series team. I am naming this assortment of weekly thoughts in his honor. Though all Dodgers fans at heart hope for a return to World Series glory, we all know at some point no matter how well we are doing, the wheels will probably fall off. It is with that woeful optimism that I present Lima Lumps.… Read more...

Picking Your Brackets – GO For The Win

Last year come this time I had lots of advice to dish out. I essentially said, “hey man, do you dawg.”
 
There was lot of strategy for how to fill out your bracket and how to make your choices and ultimately, I probably got you really far in your pool and won you lots of money (right?)…
 
Either way, this year has been a crazy year in college basketball. There have been no outright champions, no dominate team to crush the rest of the competition in any conference. NBA scouts salivate at the overall level of talent for next year but there is no consensus pick leading a team towards tournament glory.
 
Which leads me to this years tournament post. I still am filling a bracket out just like the rest of you. In fact, I am in three separate pools and each one bring with it a different strategy. Hear me out while I explain the strategies behind each betting pool and maybe…just maybe follow along a little. Obviously as explained last year, at the end of the day, do you dawg? You are an expert simply because you think you are!… Read more...

MLB First Pitch is 47 Days Away: The Greatest Day in America

The greatest day in America every year is opening day of the Major League Baseball season.
 
This is fact.
 
It’s based on tenants of the US Constitution and the love that the Gods above have for our form of capitalism. Yesterday the batteries of this great game, the pitchers and catchers, reported. For me, the beauty of opening day starts when the flame-throwers show up to camp and start their arm-strength programs. With that, I can begin shaking off the winter and start looking forward to sweltering days spent hiding from the sun under my Dodgers hat while desperately trying to hydrate with cheap American brews.
 
This time of year is also when I like to do the most introspective thinking. I know it sounds like I’m about to get all touchy-feely with you, but bear with me a second. It’s this exact moment annually that I officially countdown my hopes and thoughts for that year’s Dodgers squad becomes forever etched in my mind.… Read more...

The NBA Finally Admits It Was Wrong, Wrongs Another City

Back in February of last year I wrote that the NBA NEEDS Seattle and today, almost a year later, David Stern has approved a deal that brings professional ball back to the Emerald City. The deal allows the Sacramento Kings to finish up the season in “cow-town” before moving to Key Arena in Seattle for the 2013-14 season.

Before I go into the specifics and the celebration that has already commenced across the Twitter/sports universe in Washington state, I want to point out first and foremost that this is not exactly how Seattle sports fans wanted to get a team back. Having gone through the evil leadership of the Clay ownership group, Sonics fans have an acute awareness of how shitty it feels to have your hometown team stripped out from underneath you. So a deep apology out to those in Sacramento who are hearing this news and are heartbroken to lose their only pro franchise. At least in Seattle there were the Seahawks, Mariners, and eventually the Sounders left in the wake of the ex-Thunder’s departure. This case is certainly a different story of a town leaving town.

Two big reasons why:

1. The Maloof Brothers suck – at most things

  • The Maloof brothers were an incompetent ownership group in every sense unless you are judging them on their ability to milk their franchise for any/every possible ounce of profit. They have taunted the local government in California into striking phenomenal deals that favor them (most recently this). They have bankrupted their team and though they had a strong stretch losing to Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers every year, they have zero NBA titles to show for their efforts (Editor’s note: Tim Donaghy, we’ll be sending you that yearly fruit basket shortly).
  • Their family had one serious cash cow–booze. The Maloofs have exclusive distribution rights over Corona, Coors, Guinness, Heineken, and other brews. They sold those rights in 2010 for a boatload of cash. In the middle of a recession. Come on.
  • The other ventures started by the brothers (a music company, a skateboarding contest series, a film production company) haven”t turn too much of a profit.
  • Clay Bennett was very good at a whole bunch of financial ventures. He is the Chairman of the Dorchest Capital Corporation, a hedge fund giant, and has brought in plenty of jobs and money to Oklahoma City. He made his own empire (though his in-laws are wealthy and used to have a stake in the Texas Rangers).
2. The Maloofs purchased the team with no intention to move
  • When Clay Bennett and his ownership group bought the Sonics they said all the right things about wanting to stay in Seattle. At the time they had a recently renovated Key Arena and a fan base supporting a poor on the court product. Then came talk that the team would not be profitable unless it had a brand new arena, one that needed to be financed by Seattle tax payers. The original overtures of wanting to keep the Sonics in Seattle shifted quickly, and less than five years later those hideous blue jerseys were seen for the first time in OKC. 
  • The Maloofs intended to build a champion off the bat. They purchased top notch players, drafted decently, hired solid coaches, and were legitimate contenders in the West. Their stadium (then ARCO Arena) was reviled by opposing players for its noise and intensity. They certainly were screwed on their timeline as they had to get by Shaq, Kobe, Timmy (and later, the Mavs) to get anywhere in the playoffs. Once the Maloofs got bored with their toy basketball team, it became time to start stripping it for parts and angling for profits from the c
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