20 July 2007

The Other Way

Last night's home run by Matt Kemp was the first of his I remember going the other way. I don't know, though ... did he have an opposite field home run last year? It seems to me that in general opposite field home runs have declined in the last few years after becoming rather common in the late 1990's. Even knowing Kemp's power I was surprised when his shot went over the wall, just because I don't expect to see home runs go the other way from the Dodgers.

In any case, that display of power was the highlight of an otherwise dreary evening fo the Dodgers. I feel that Kemp really gets it this time around. Last year he was called up and his pure talent carried him until the pitchers adjusted. This time it seems like he's the one who has adjusted to the pitchers. He'll continue to strike out some, and he should, because he needs to be agressive when he swings. He'll inevitably slump at some point. But I don't think he'll ever look in over his head again. I wish the Dodgers would play him every day.


What kind of expectations should one have when Brett Tomko faces a good offensive team such as the Mets?

I don't know about expectations, but my hope is that he gets lucky. The Mets are going to hit some hard grounders, and some deep, flat fly balls, even if Tomko is going relatively well. These 'tweener balls that aren't hit quite as hard as the smoked liner and not quite as soft as the lazy fly or easy hopper need to go directly at fielders. If Derek Lowe had been lucky in the first inning last night, he might have allowed no runs. The first four Mets all hit the ball medium-hard, but none were sure-fire line drive base hits. Two were hard grounders and two were deep opposite field fly balls, if I've remembered correctly. These are the kind of batted balls that will go for hits about half the time in my experience. This time 3 out of 4 of them were hits, which is maybe a little unlucky and Lowe followed it up by allowing walks and even harder hit balls. First his luck went a little sour, then his pitching went very sour. It's the sort of thing I can easily see happening to Tomko as well.


The newest Dotel rumor is that the Royals want Tony Abreu for him now. This is saner than asking for Kemp or Loney, but still a clear no-go from the Dodgers' perspective. I have a hard time seeing how Dotel substantially helps the Dodgers, since he's a reliever. How many innings would he pitch with the Dodgers, and how better would he be than the man he replaced? I can't imagine him saving more than 5 runs over his replacement. If he was a starter who could be relied upon for a 4.0 ERA, I might consider trading Abreu to get him. But a player who has a good shot at being the Dodger second baseman of the future shouldn't be traded for a reliever.

As a general rule, I'd say any player worthy of being called a "prospect" is untouchable when it comes to trading for a reliever.

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