Results tagged ‘ Chad Billingsley ’
We needed all the help we could get. I put Gibson in his rally cap in the second inning.
During the ninth, I was manically pacing around the living room wondering where it all went so horribly wrong. My chihuahua’s just watched me go back and forth. Back and forth. Forth and back. I would stop my pacing … slowly look at the screen … then quickly turn away and just start pacing again. I couldn’t bear to watch. I did peek out of the corner of my eye.
The postseason is such an odd thing. I was 16 the last time we made it this far (don’t start). Everything feels so different. Am I right? It is still your team, your boys, your uni’s, but it all feels totally different for some reason. SOOOOOO much is on the line with every pitch. And to make matters worse, you are listening to guys call the game that are not your guys. No Vin. No Charlie. No Steve. Everything just feels different.
I peeked back at the screen just in time to watch Nomar take that final hack and strike out for the final out of the game. I screamed. I got a little misty. And then … Oh, yay! Finally, a familiar face. Ah, Kevin Kennedy. Yay! Phew.
Kevin and I became friends last season. He has become somewhat of a mentor in my never-ending quest for baseball knowledge.
“EUREKA! He will tell me what went wrong,” I thought to myself as I sat back down on the couch ready to listen to Kevin’s wisdom. “Tell me Kevin. I can take it. I am all ears.”
He said something about “sequencing” and then all of a sudden the postgame show was over. Just like that. I was left to wonder. “Did he just say sequencing? What is he talking about? Why is the postgame show only 14 seconds? Wait! Come back, Kevin.”
I needed answers from Kevin and I needed them NOW. “I am just going to call and ask him what he thought of the game,” I decided.
I figured I wasn’t the only one wanting more of the postgame show. When I got him on the phone, I asked if I could record the conversation for the blog. He graciously said that I could. Below is the transcript of our conversation:
KEVIN: HI ALYSSA.
Me: That was painful. I started getting weepy when the game was over. I am miserable. I want to vomit.
KEVIN: SO SORRY MY PREDICTION DIDN’T COME TRUE. THOUGHT THEY WOULD SPLIT THERE. MY GUT DID HAVE A CONCERN THOUGH BECAUSE BILLS [CHAD BILLINGSLY] NEEDS MORE CONFIDENCE IN HIMSELF TO KEEP THE EDGE.
Me: It was painful. What do you think the difference in him was tonight compared to the Chicago series? He certainly seemed confident then.
KEVIN: IN CHICAGO, THEY WERE UP 0-1. TONIGHT THEY WERE DOWN 1-0. HE PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON HIMSELF THAT HE HAD TO BE TOO FINE WITH HIS STUFF. HIS CURVEBALL WAS HIS BEST PITCH EARLY AND HIS COMMAND OF HIS CUTTER AND FASTBALL WASN’T THERE YET. SO AS A CATCHER YOU RECOGNIZE THAT, AND GO TO THAT WHEN YOU NEED AN OUT WHILE TRYING TO STILL CULTIVATE THE FASTBALL. NURTURE IT ALONG AS YOU FEEL THE FLOW OF THE GAME. PHILS WEREN’T TOUCHING HIS OVERHAND CURVEBALL.
Me: I heard you say something about “sequencing” in the postgame show.
KEVIN: SEQUENCING IS THE CATCHER’S RESPONSIBILITY.
Me: Okay. This may seem like a stupid question, but in layman’s terms, what is Sequencing?
KEVIN: CALLING THE RIGHT PITCHES IN THE RIGHT COUNTS, AND RECOGNIZING WHO IS SITTING DEAD RED ESPECIALLY WITH RUNNERS ON BASE AND MEN IN SCORING POSITION.
Me: Sitting “dead red”? Now I feel really dumb.
KEVIN: SITTING ON THE FASTBALL. RUIZ, A .214 HITTER, FOULED BACK A 93-MPH FASTBALL ON THE FIRST PITCH. THAT IS WHAT HE WAS LOOKING FOR THE WHOLE AT-BAT WHEN HE DOUBLED IN THE FIRST RUN. BILLS SHOULD HAVE THROWN A CURVEBALL TO STRIKE HIM OUT AND END THE BOTTOM OF THE 2ND. INSTEAD MARTIN CALLED A FASTBALL AND RUIZ WAS LOOKING FOR IT. HE HITS ONLY .214 BECAUSE HE CAN’T HIT A BREAKING BALL. THEN LATER, VICTORINO ALWAYS, ALWAYS LOOKS FASTBALL NO MATTER WHAT COUNT. HE EVEN TOLD ME THAT THIS WEEK. AFTER LOOKING AWFUL ON A CURVEBALL EARLY, WITH 2 STRIKES, THEY CALLED A FASTBALL AND IT WAS UP OVER THE PLATE AND HE HIT THAT 2 RUN SINGLE TO LEFT-CENTER … THUS A 4-RUN INNING.
Me: Don’t remind me. So if a fastball isn’t where it is supposed to be, should the catcher/pitcher abandon it all together?
KEVIN: NO. YOU STILL HAVE TO THROW FASTBALL, JUST NOT IN A PUTAWAY COUNT. HIS CURVE WAS HIS PUTAWAY PITCH EARLY IN THE GAME. AND MARTIN AND BILLS DIDN’T RECOGNIZE THAT. THAT IS ALSO THE PITCHING COACH’S AND ADVANCE SCOUT’S ISSUE. THE FASTBALL MIGHT HAVE COME ALONG AS THE GAME PROGRESSED, BUT IT NEVER GOT TO THAT POINT. THE PHILLIES KNEW THAT. YOU GO WITH THE CURVEBALL WITH TWO STRIKES UNTIL THEY PROVE THEY CAN HIT IT.
Me: Was that how they shut down Howard? They seemed to be throwing him a lot of curveballs.
KEVIN: YEAH. THEY DID A GREAT JOB ON HOWARD WITH CURVES AND WENT AWAY FROM IT WITH EVERYONE ELSE.
Me: It is always so enlightening speaking with you about baseball. You made me feel better for some reason. I don’t feel like throwing up anymore.
KEVIN: GOOD. GLAD I CAN HELP. THINGS WILL GET BETTER! I REALLY BELIEVE THAT THEY WILL WIN GAME 3. IT IS NOW A MUST-WIN.
Me: Are we going to have pitching issues for the rest of the series? And by the way, between this and the election I have constant heartburn.
KEVIN: BECAUSE LOWE AND BILLS DIDN’T GO THAT DEEP, THEY CAN BOTH COME BACK ON SHORT REST FOR GAMES 4 AND 5. TAKE SOME TUMS.
Me: I love the strategy. It is an amazing game.
KEVIN: I BET YOU HAVE FUN TALKING STRATEGY WITH YOUR DAD DURING THE GAME.
Me: Oh, yes. He still teaches me new things about the game. There are always things to learn. If you were Joe, what would your strategy be going into Game 3?
KEVIN: HE JUST HAS TO MANAGE WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY AND KEEP THE MOMENTUM ON THE DODGERS SIDE. THIS TEAM IS GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN.
Me: Thank you so much for spending the time with me and answering my questions (no matter how silly they may have been).
KEVIN: YOU ARE WELCOME. RELAX. HAVE FUN THIS WEEKEND AND DON’T WORRY.
Me: Easier said than done. Thanks again.
We left the house at 6:30 on Friday. My brother (above) drove and we listened to “Home Plate” on XM Radio. We were giddy to be making the drive to the stadium for the first time in months. Giddy and giggly. My brother drove like a NY cab driver, weaving in and out of traffic. Normally this would drive me nuts but I knew he was just excited to get there.
Once there, we parked the car. We went through security where we were greeted with “welcome backs” and “how have you been’s?” As soon as we walked through the gates we noticed all the renovations on the field level at Dodger Stadium – our home away from home. Wowie! The stadium looks gorgeous. The McCourt’s have outdone themselves this off-season. Everything looks sparkly, clean and bright. There are many new vendors like – Canters Deli, Mrs. Beasley’s (love their lemon cake), Ruby’s and Camacho’s. The walkway seems to have been widened. Say what you will about Frank McCourt but I think he has done an outstanding job with maintaining and improving the stadium. I guess coming from real estate the man understands the value of property. I appreciate what he has done to better the fan experience at the park. And that’s what it is all about isn’t it? The experience. Sitting there with your family and friends enjoying an evening in the yard.
What is it about the smell of a ballpark? It smells so deliciously distinct. You know how your home has a specific smell? As soon as I unlock my front door, it is the smell that tells me I’m home. I feel the same way about the ballpark. As soon as I walk through the gates, it is the smell that tells me I’m home.
We got to the seats and got settled in… and low and behold…there he was. Joe Torre in all his glory. So yeah, I squealed like a teenage girl at a Jonas Brother’s concert. So what? He wears his hat down low and his jacket was zipped all the way up (it was chilly). All you could see was his tan nose. Tommy Lasorda was right there next to him. So exciting.
It was a good game. Billingsley looked good with 7 strikeouts in 5 innings. Sweeney, Kent and Ethier all doubled. The rooks looked solid. My brother and I made endless jokes, a la Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First” routine. I would ask, “Who’s on deck?” and he would reply “Hu”. I would follow up with “I don’t know. I asked you.” That’s never going to get old. I can see us driving everyone nuts with banter like this. Brother and sister humor. Ah, thank God for siblings.
And then there was Saturday’s exhibition game celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers moving from Brooklyn. The last game played in the Coliseum (pictured above and below) was in 1961. I was sitting next to a gentleman who used to go to those games with his dad. He was there with his son. Baseball is such a generational experience. I was there with my family. We lost but being a part of the record turnout and listening to Vin dedicate his tribute to the great Dodger fans was enough for me.
There were 115,300 fans. That was the most ever for a baseball game, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The best part of all was that it benefited a wonderful cause: ThinkCure, the Dodgers’ new official team charity, which aims to raise funds for the treatment and eventual prevention of cancer. “This record is a tribute to the passion and compassion of our fans,
with whom this event clearly struck a chord,” Frank McCourt said. “It’s a marvelous launch for ‘ThinkCure‘ and great news for our partners at City of Hope and Childrens Hospital L.A.”
Poor Loaiza. He had his hands full with the odd shape of the field. Anyone know the distance of left field? It looked like only 200 feet! Loney homered and rookie Dewitt made up for his two-out error in the second with a two run homer off Paplebon in the 9th. The fans created a massive wave. It was the biggest I have ever seen (inclusive of the players in both dugouts participating)!
It was a great weekend. Spring has sprung. You know how I know? Vin told me so. He said, “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”
P.S. How about that Opening Day win?
P.P.S. I have two words for you. Larry Freaking Bowa.