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Category: Eugenio Velez

Goodbye Eugenio Velez, the Dodgers won't be the same without you

Eugenio-velez_290Oh, it’s cryin` time again, you’re gonna leave me …

And there goes all that suspense. Guess we’ll just have to find some other oddity to capture our attention should the Dodgers continue their mediocre run next season.

The great wonder is that Eugenio Velez has departed. Not from the planet, of course, but from the Dodgers. Velez has signed a minor-league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, so at least he’s upgraded to a championship organization.

Ah, but we’ll always have 2011. Someday you can tell your grandchildren about it, who will naturally suspect the old geezer has lost it.

Velez left the Dodgers with his record 0-for-37 hitting streak intact. Most at-bats by a position player in one season without a hit in major-league history. Nothing can ever take that from us.

Of course, the suspense will continue in St. Louis should the Cardinals — like the Dodgers last season — find themselves so ravaged by injury that they need to call Velez up from the minors.

Counting the 0-for-9 he ended his 2010 season with while on the Giants, Velez has another ignoble streak going — an overall record 0-for-46 hitless streak by a position player.

Hopefully, he gets called up while the Cardinals are playing the Dodgers and slices a clean hit in his first at-bat. Eugenio Velez was our pleasant distraction.

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— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Eugenio Velez batting against the Colorado Rockies last summer. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Daily Dodger in review: The legend of Eugenio Velez

We now return to our look back at the Dodgers’ individual seasons, after a brief interruption by this little ownership news …

EUGENIO VELEZ, 29, infielder

Final 2011 stats: Ha, ha, ha -- .000 batting average (it’s true), .075 on-base percentage (two walks!), .000 slugging percentage, one RBI, zero pretty much anything else.

Eugenio-velez_325Contract status: Under team control.

The good: Comic relief. Really, I should feel guilty for continuing to poke fun at the hapless season of Velez. My wife tells me I should feel a lot of things I don’t.

The good? Well, he did score five runs. He’s reasonably fast and saw some pinch-run opportunities. Can also play the outfield. Seemed to maintain a reasonable attitude considering the crevice his season fell into.

The bad: It’s not his fault the Dodgers were so ravaged by injuries that they had to call him up. Alas, they did. And then there was his memorable year.

He went 0-for-37 on the season, setting a major league record for most at-bats by a position player without a hit. Really, you had to see it.

Not to stop there, he went without a hit in his final nine at-bats with the Giants in 2010, leaving him with a 0-for-46 streak, another record for most overall at-bats without a hit by a position player. He has one hit in his last 66 at-bats.

What’s next: The Dodgers had barely called it a season before they removed Velez from their 40-man roster. Back to the minors he goes, where he may never be heard from again. At least, you hope, by the Dodgers.

The take: You have to admit, he did bring a certain air of suspense with each at-bat as his hitless streak somehow wore on. You just knew he had to get a lucky bounce at some point. It was sort of the reverse of Andre Ethier’s 30-game hitting streak. You watched with more interest every time, waiting to see if this incredible streak would continue.

This is for a guy who in parts of four seasons with the Giants hit .256. It’s true. He has 160 career hits. You can look it up and everything.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Eugenio Velez during batting practice before a game against the Diamondbacks. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Web musings: One former GM looks at Dodgers' options

What to do, what to do?

It could be an interesting off-season for the Dodgers. Or it could prove highly uneventful.

But what should they do? Suggestions will come from everywhere, but here’s one from a former general manager who has some big ideas. Jim Bowden, former GM for the Reds and Nationals but now a commentator for ESPN, is suggesting a powerhouse trade with the Reds.

Assuming the Dodgers can’t sign Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, Bowden thinks they should package Andre Ethier and Chad Billingsley to Cincinnati and consider trading James Loney to the Indians. Probably not for Carlos Santana, though.

Also on the Web:

-- Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy, has found a story from Venezuela that has Ronald Belisario claiming he's going to save 20 games -- for Bravos de Margarita.

-- Orange County Register columnist Mark Whicker is not liking the chances of Matt Kemp to win the National League MVP.

-- ESPN/L.A.’s Jon Weisman looks back on Eugenio Velez and his amazing O-fer streak, though predicts he will someday beat the Dodgers with a double down the line.

-- Vin Scully gives a lengthy interview on the Petros and Money Show on the Dodgers’ new station, KLAC-AM (570). Even Scully said he often second-guesses himself after a broadcast: "I'll go home and say, 'I wish I hadn't said that, or I wish I had said this.' "

-- A retired judge has officially been named mediator between the Dodgers and Major League Baseball in the team's bankruptcy proceeding.

-- CBS Sports found a funny spoof of the "Moneyball" trailer at Jest.com. First the actual trailer, followed by the spoof on the Yankees having too much money.

  

 And from Jest.com:

  

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers decline options on Casey Blake, Jon Garland

Blake3
It might be hard to remember now, what with all the kids the Dodgers called up from the minors last season, but they actually began the year a fairly old club.

Older players tend to get injured more frequently than their youthful counterparts, which is pretty much what happened and led to the stampede of youth.

But on Tuesday the Dodgers got a tad younger, severing ties with two veterans when they declined options on third baseman Casey Blake and right-hander Jon Garland.

Both moves were totally expected and necessary. Both players spent the bulk of last season on the disabled list, both underwent surgery and both face uncertain futures. At least not the kind where a team is willing to guarantee Blake $6 million next year and Garland $8 million.

It cost the Dodgers $1.25 million to opt out of Blake’s contract, and $500,000 to opt out on Garland.

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That's a wrap: Dodgers complete longest season with 7-5 win

Kemp3
And that is your Dodgers’ 2011 season.

All the ownership ugliness, all the wondrous individual play of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, the lousy team start, the surprising team finish. All now done with.

The Dodgers wrapped it up Wednesday with a 7-5 victory over the Diamondbacks, completing their longest season at 82-79 -– only the second time all year they were three games above .500.

All the baseball craziness on Wednesday was left to those chasing wild-card berths. This one on a warm desert night had no significance, the Brewers winning earlier Wednesday to assure they would have homefield advantage over Arizona.

There was no stunning, final two-homer game by Kemp that enabled him to join the 40 home run, 40 stolen base club. He just settled for a final two-run homer.

Alas, Kemp ended up hitting .324 with 39 homers, 126 RBI, 114 runs and 40 stolen bases on the season. Otherwise, he just never could seem to get it going.

The homers, runs and RBI all led the league, and the 126 RBI are also the second highest total ever for a Los Angeles Dodger (Tommy Davis, 153, 1962).

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Matt Kemp takes his show on the road in Dodgers' 2-0 win

Matt-kemp_600

As the bankrupt Dodgers' 2011 season winds to an end, you have to admire its consistency. A regular Swiss watch.

On Friday there was more of what this season has consistently delivered: turmoil with ownership and Matt Kemp starring on the field.

On the same day Major League Baseball asked the Bankruptcy Court to put the Dodgers up for sale, Kemp continued his torrid finish to the season.

Kemp hit his third home run in three games, tying him with Albert Pujols for the National League lead at 37, and led the Dodgers to a 2-0 victory over the Padres in San Diego.

Kemp's hot finish has him within striking distance of winning the triple crown, something that has not been accomplished in the National League since Joe Medwick did it in 1937 for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Not a bad way for Kemp to celebrate his 27th birthday. With his mom in the crowd.

Kemp in the three triple-crown categories: first in runs batted in (119), tied for first in home runs and third in batting average (.326, behind Jose Reyes at .32948 and Ryan Braun at .32903).

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Was that a last chance to bid adieu to half the Dodgers?

Carroll3
So did you wave goodbye? Blow a few kisses, you know, just in case.

Bid a fond farewell to the nine Dodgers who can become free agents at the end of the season? The five Dodgers who are arbitration eligible and could be non-tendered? The two whom the Dodgers hold options on that they’re not expected to pick up?

That’s almost half of the 38 Dodgers currently in uniform or on the disabled list. Some will be back; some won’t. But which, and in what roles?

The free agent list: Aaron Miles, Jamey Carroll, Rod Barajas, Juan Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo and Mike MacDougal.

The arbitration five: James Loney, Tony Gwynn Jr., Eugenio Velez, Blake Hawksworth and Dana Eveland.

The options not expected to be picked up: Casey Blake and Jon Garland.

That’s a lot of moving parts. For sure, several appeared on the field at Dodger Stadium for the last time Thursday in the Dodgers’ final home game of the season.

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Dodgers get offensive in 15-1 rout of Pirates

Dodgers1_600

Really, those were your 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers. A regular offensive juggernaut. A barely containable force of human explosiveness.

The Dodgers scored early and often Sunday. They scored via home runs, singles, doubles and botched defensive plays. Scored by walking with the bases loaded, by collecting six singles in an inning.

By the time it was over, they had 23 hits and had rolled over the Pirates, 15-1, before an announced crowd of 37,802 and returned to the .500 mark at 76-76.

Every starter had at least one hit, and James Loney continued his hot streak by collecting a career-high five.

There were gaudy numbers for the Dodgers everywhere. In addition to Loney, Juan Rivera went three for four, scored three runs and drove in four; Jerry Sands went four for six and drove in four runs; and Matt Kemp went three for four with three runs, two RBIs and left the game to chants of "MVP!"

And then there was Dee Gordon collecting three hits and scoring three times.

Kemp hit his 34th home run and Sands his third.

There was so much magical hitting in the air, you almost thought Eugenio Velez might actually get into the action. Alas, he flied out, leaving him an amazing 0 for 33 this season.

The Dodgers tied their season high for runs, matching their output in a 15-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on June 27.

The winning pitcher that day was Chad Billingsley, and he was again Sunday. He will not be suing for lack of support.

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Finding reasons to appreciate the Dodgers 2011 season

Matt-kemp_600

They’re having fan appreciation day for the Dodgers on Sunday, which is curious for a couple of reasons. They still have three more games to play here and, of course, what exactly is there to appreciate in the worst season in organizational history?

That’s why we’re here to help:

  • No traffic problems getting to the game.

  • Matt Kemp played like the Matt Kemp everyone always thought was there, and not like the one who was here last season.

  • Vin Scully remained perfect, even when he wasn't. And he’s coming back.

  • Don Mattingly earned his stripes.

  • Steve Soboroff came and then went.

  • The suspense that is Eugenio Velez.

  • Buy a nose-bleed seat, walk down to the better seat of your choice.

  • Clayton Kershaw arrived as an ace.

  • Tim Federowicz shaved his mustache.

  • Young arms boded well for future.

  • No one uncovered another Vladimir Shpunt, as if that’s possible.

  • Josh Rawitch is leaving (kidding).

  • Kenley Jansen was sick.

  • Tickets available on-line for $1.85.

  • Frank McCourt disappeared from his look-at-me seat.

  • McCourt sold one of his mansions. Hurry, only seven left!

  • Teammates nicknamed heavily tatted Justin Sellers "Cell Block."

  • Dodger Dogs. Real, grilled Dodger Dogs.

  • No traffic problems leaving the game.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp gets set in the batter's box. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum deliver again; Dodgers win, 2-1

Dodgers-blog_640 There are not many things in life that can be counted upon to live up to high expectations, but apparently all Clayton Kershaw-Tim Lincecum matchups are one of them.

The two young pitching greats were matched up for the third time this season, and for the third time it proved a brilliant pitching duel. And for the third time, Kershaw came out ahead.

Lincecum, however, did not lose Friday’s game; that was left to reliever Santiago Casillo. He took over to start the ninth in a 1-1 game and almost immediately watched the Dodgers rally for a 2-1 victory.

Rod Barajas led off the ninth with a single off Casillo. Ex-Giant Eugenio Velez ran for Barajas, who was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Justin Sellers. Casillo looked unnerved. He threw a wild pitch to allow Velez to take third.

The Giants brought the infield in, and Jamey Carroll hit a bouncer to second baseman Jeff Keppinger. He fired home but was too late to get the speedy Velez.

The victory was the Dodgers’ 14th in their last 15 games, and did absolutely nothing to damage the Cy Young resume of Kershaw.

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