Alexander: For Dodgers, one victory away from ending the wait

One more victory to a World Series championship, and two chances to get it. Did you ever think the Dodgers would reach that point?

They’re there. They have a chance to turn the devastating insanity of Saturday night’s ninth inning into a footnote. They have an opportunity to end a 32-season drought, and particularly to wipe away the frustration of the last seven Octobers with teams that were good enough to win, and in some cases should have won, but didn’t.

On Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas, Tony Gonsolin will start what is expected to be a bullpen game, and before Dodger fans throw up their hands let’s recall that a bullpen game got the Dodgers to the World Series in Game 7 of the NLCS against Atlanta, although it will be hard to envision them getting another 12 outs from Julio Urias just three days after his Game 4 start against Tampa Bay. But it’s possible.

And if they need a Game 7, they will have Walker Buehler. Do you like their chances to win one of the next two?

(Yes, smart guy in the back of the room, we hear you saying it might depend on whether they can keep the bullpen phone on mute. But Dave Roberts’ moves worked over the last three innings on Sunday night, so you might want to keep that snark under wraps for the moment.)

The Dodgers’ first task Sunday was to erase the memories of Saturday night, and the Tampa Bay Rays’ two-run rally in the ninth to even the series. Three runs in the first two innings on Sunday helped. But really, there shouldn’t have been much doubt in their ability to recover from Saturday night’s ninth-inning gut punch, the end of a weird, wild and ultimately discouraging game.

“Everybody (in the clubhouse) was pretty positive,” shortstop Corey Seager said before the game. “You have to be at this point. Once you (left) the locker room, it was over with. We started preparing for today.

“… (Saturday) night was an extremely weird ending and kind of the whole play in general. It wasn’t just that last play. It was throughout the game, there were points where we could have been better.”

But this is the mantra Roberts has preached to his team all along, since he became the Dodgers’ manager in 2016, and as is often the case with a manager or coach, you can tell it sinks in when the players repeat the things he says. To those in the Dodger clubhouse, it is all about winning a baseball game today, and nothing else matters.

“It makes it easier (to shrug off adversity), but it’s not easy to do,” Roberts said. “I think that past successes or failures, things looking out, sort of bleed into kind of a player’s psyche and a team psyche. But that is a message that we believe in. And so now when you can kind of drown out all that other stuff, past and future, it does make it easier to focus on that night’s ball game.

“And (Sunday night) there were 28 players collectively focused on winning tonight. And we got it done.”

Of course, there’s always the baseball adage that momentum more often lies in the identity of that day’s starting pitcher. It has not always been a given in October that Clayton Kershaw would provide that momentum, but in facing the Rays for the second time in five days he did. His six strikeouts pushed him past Justin Verlander into No. 1 all-time for postseason strikeouts, with 207, and he left the bullpen with a two-run lead that Dustin May, Victor González and Blake Treinen took to the finish line.

Should the Dodgers pull this off, the vindication of Kershaw the postseason performer should be front and center. He came into this year with a 4.43 career postseason ERA, as well as the memories of all of those home runs surrendered in big games.

In five postseason starts this season, he is 4-1, compared to his career won-loss record of 9-11 going into these playoffs. His ERA this fall is 2.93, compared to that 4.43. His WHIP is 0.847, compared to 1.074.

A lot of that has been the result of more reasonable usage. He has not had to go on short rest, he has not been needed out of the bullpen, and Roberts said he thinks those factors have helped.

“To his credit, he will do whatever we ask,” the manager said. “And I just don’t know many pitchers who would do that. But in this situation, in this case, we’ve used him kind of more conventional (fashion). And he’s responded really well. So we’re just very lucky to have him and I couldn’t be happier that the postseason he’s had mirrors who he is as a pitcher. He deserves it and it’s great.”

Kershaw acknowledged that those moments of watching the bullpen finish his games can be difficult, not because of the relievers’ success necessarily but because sitting and watching is harder than being able to do something about it yourself.

“I was talking to some of the guys, Walker and some of the other starters,” he said. “The actual day that you pitch, you feel like you can have some say, some control of the game. But sitting there in the dugout watching the last few innings or watching a whole game, for that matter, it’s so stressful in the postseason, especially just because you care so much.”

But if the waiting was hard before, imagine what the break between Games 5 and 6 will be like, one win away.

“The off day’s gonna be hard,” he said. “It’s going to be good for us, obviously resetting our bullpen and things like that, which is huge. But sitting around one win away from a World Series is going to be hard, especially when you’ve been in the same hotel for four weeks now.

“But, you know, I think we can wait one more day and we’ll all be ready to go. Game six, I mean, for myself personally, I’m still gonna try and get ready, try and recover as best I can and be ready to pitch at any moment, just because it’s the last two games of this season.”

If he’s not needed, so much the better. Either way, whatever happens promises to be memorable.

Read more about Alexander: For Dodgers, one victory away from ending the wait This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

What COVID-19 looks like for those of us stuck in the middle class

It has been a little over seven months since the initial state lockdowns, and the focus on our Women Money and Mindset column this month is where we are now financially with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the financial news right now seems extreme and unrelatable for most of us. For example, the wealth of U.S. billionaires increased by a massive $845 billion during the pandemic. At the same time, the number of those living in poverty has grown by 8 million since May.

So, how is COVID-19 affecting those of us who are not billionaires but who are also not destitute? Most Americans (58%) still consider ourselves to be part of the shrinking middle or upper-middle-class.

Those of us in the middle understand that the economy is not just about the stock market, although we most likely have an IRA or 401(k) and may own some stocks. We probably are not at risk of being evicted or losing work permanently, but we may be concerned about our ability to collect rents or might be worried if our businesses will fully recover. We may have suffered some losses this year and wonder if there are any tax breaks available, and we may have cut back on spending because we are nervous about future cash flow.

Here are some economic indicators and rates to focus on now for those of us in the middle.

The eviction rate

Some 12% percent of California renters have no confidence they can pay October’s rent, and an estimated 30-40 million Americans may be at risk for eviction once the CDC moratorium is lifted in January. Why is this a concern if we are not renters? Individual investors own forty percent of residential rental properties. These “mom and pop” landlords will struggle to pay their mortgages, utility bills, property taxes, maintenance costs, and other property-related expenses if their tenants cannot pay rent. Their inability to pay affects the overall economy and our property values.

If you are a landlord

With property taxes due in December, now is the time to determine what to do if your tenants cannot pay the rent.

Make sure to review eviction law changes. In California, the governor recently signed the “Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020”  that prevents evictions until after Jan. 31, 2021, and includes several new provisions that impact landlords. The law also provides new accountability and transparency provisions to protect “small landlord” borrowers who request CARES-compliant forbearance.

If you own commercial rental property, the new law does not apply to you but understand that many counties and cities also place restrictions on commercial evictions, with such protections often limited to small businesses and nonprofits.  Many California sheriff’s departments have also adopted policies declaring that they will not serve writs of possession during the COVID-19 emergency.

Your choices of what to do with a non-paying tenant are limited. You can forgive or lower rent payments even as your personal bills pile up, or hold firm, proceed with the eviction and risk the prospect of losing a tenant who may not be replaced for months or even years. The best solution might make you the hero and not the evil landlord: Work with tenants to see if you can help them apply for renter’s assistance so you can get paid. There are several local and state programs available.

Moving forward, review your property insurance policy with your agent or attorney to discuss lost rent coverage and business interruption insurance, especially if you own commercial rental property.

Interest rates

With interest rates being so low, now might be the time to refinance your rental or business property if it looks like cash flow might be tight. In fact, now is an excellent time to borrow in general, especially if your income was reduced in 2020. Most borrowing would be based on your 2019 tax returns. If there is a further economic downturn, or if the fed tightens credit, the ability to borrow later may not be as easy or inexpensive.

The unemployment rate

If you are a business owner and an employer, the unemployment rate should be of interest to you because it expresses the pool of employees available for you to hire. When unemployment was only 3.9 percent in September 2019, the number of candidates available, particularly as a small employer offering limited benefits, was restricted.

Now that the unemployment rate is 11% or more, the potential pool of employees available for you to hire just tripled, and the quality of the candidates has probably improved. It might be a good time to consider increasing staff if your company is recovering or if you want to grow.

If you did not take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, PPP, then you may be eligible for payroll tax credits when you hire or re-hire employees. You can even request payment now for employer payroll taxes you have already paid since March. For more information, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.

Tax rates

If you sustained losses in 2020, it might make sense to file your 2020 taxes early in 2021 to carry back the losses to 2018 and 2019 to claim a refund of taxes paid.

If your income was reduced during 2020, it might also make sense to reduce or eliminate the payment of your fourth quarter estimated tax payments in January.

If you still need cash this year, consider taking out an early distribution on your retirement plan to cover expenses (or pay off high-interest credit cards you may have charged), avoid the 10% penalty with the Coronavirus exception, and possibly pay tax at a lower rate this year, if your income was reduced sufficiently. Talk with your financial advisor.

Make sure to book an appointment with your CPA or tax attorney before the end of the year to discuss tax and estate/gift planning opportunities if your taxable income and value of your business were reduced this year.

While we have received good news over the past few months that the stock market is recovering, companies are re-hiring, and the very rich are doing well, we also see unsettling news about lines at food pantries and businesses shuttering. The truth is we do not know what tax laws, economic policies (or federal relief efforts) are in store for us until well after the election. Until that time, pay attention to small steps you can take to secure your overall financial health.

Michelle C. Herting specializes in estate, trust and gift taxes, and business valuations. She has three offices in Southern California and is president of the Charitable Gift Planners of Inland Southern California.

Powered by WPeMatico

Whicker: Dodgers derailed by a gust of craziness in an ‘un-perfect storm’

Because baseball turned into pinball, we’re thinking more about Mookie Wilson than Mookie Betts.

Because Chris Taylor took a peek at the action and looked away from the baseball, Clayton Kershaw is pitching to tilt a world Series on Sunday, not to win it.

Because Will Smith decided to maneuver a baseball before he actually caught it, Kenley Jansen remains associated with bumps in the night instead of strike-three handshakes.

None of that fully explains the runaway train of a Game 4 on Saturday that suddenly crashed into the Bad News Bears.

The Dodgers were one strike away from taking a 3-1 lead in this World Series. Just one fewer misplay would have kept the score tied. Instead, Brett Phillips singled with two out on Jansen’s 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth, and suddenly we were all attending a night at the Improv. Whose game is it anyway? Two runs scored and made it Tampa Bay’s game, 8-7, and now the Dodgers have to win two out of three to nail down their first world championship since Ronald Reagan was President.

Baseball, there you go again.

“It was an un-perfect storm,” said Dave Roberts, the Dodgers manager, who could not stifle his frustration and anger at the moment the Jenga tower crashed down.

In 1986 Bill Buckner allowed Wilson’s grounder to roll through his legs, and the Red Sox lost a chance to win their first World Series since 1918. That was a one-car pileup. This was a chain reaction on the freeway.

The Dodgers had methodically answered every Tampa Bay comeback to get to the bottom of the ninth with a 7-6 lead. Corey Seager had picked up four hits, Joc Pederson had produced a two-run, two-out, go-ahead hit as a pinch-hitter, and Seager had floated an RBI single in the eighth to give L.A. the last lead it would presumably need.

Brusdar Graterol had bustled in and overpowered the Rays in the eighth. That summoned Jansen to pitch the ninth. That, of course, sparked a cacophonous Greek chorus of second-guessing toward Roberts, but the truth is that if Roberts messed anything up, it was his insistence on using Pedro Baez and watching him give up two go-ahead and tying home runs to left-handed hitters in consecutive innings.

The Dodgers had lifted Roberts off that hook. Jansen has been throwing well. He did on Saturday, too.

Jansen shattered enough wood on Kevin Kiermaier’s base hit to build a mousetrap. Kiermaier stood on first base with the handle in his hand and not much else. Then Jansen walked Arozarena, which isn’t ideal when he is the winning run. Still, there were two outs when Phillips comes up.

Phillips was a .202 hitter this season. He is a former Astro/Brewer/Royal who came to Tampa Bay on Aug. 27 and hadn’t had a hit since Sept. 25. He was left off the ALCS roster and would have been couch-bound in a normal year when only 25 men get dressed for the playoffs.

Folks in Lancaster might remember him as a scorching hitter for the JetHawks in 2015. But here he was just a guy who would stand on the dugout’s top step and write “Randy Good Player” on his clipboard after Arozarena would hit his daily home run in the playoffs. Later, Phillips would write, “Randy>Your Favorite Player.”

But now he was standing, unsmiling, on the bridge. Jansen’s cutter was sharp when he got to that 1-and-2 count. The 92 mph fastball that followed was straight. Phillips got a legitimate single, and then the world stopped turning.

Taylor was in center. Cody Bellinger was DH-ing because of back spasms. Taylor basically won an NLCS as a center fielder in 2018 when he dived to catch Christian Yelich’s drive in Milwaukee. He has no problem playing there.

Kiermaier was scoring, but Taylor was looking for Arozarena. The ball snow-coned in his webbing and then scooted away, and Arozarena was so excited that he hit high gear, coming around third, and … fell.

Yeah, he just went backside-over-teakettle halfway down the line, in front of coach Ozzie Timmons. But Smith didn’t know that.

Cutoff man Max Muncy made the throw, and Smith was already thinking about the sweep tag he needed to execute. The game wasn’t slowing down for him, either. He swept, and the ball bounced off his mitt as Arozarena was trying to figure out what to do. Jansen was not backing up Smith on the play. The ball rolled to the place where bad Dodger losses are stored. Arozarena went in head-first and pounded the home plate with his right hand, like a wrestling referee counting out a victim.

Phillips was one of the few who saw none of that. He had no idea what happened to Arozarena.

“All I know is that I’ve got a blazing headache right now,” Phillips said. “I just got a hit and started running and now all the boys are happy. It’s the most excited I’ve been since the day I got married.”

The Dodgers have scored 25 runs in these four games and won two of them. They keep beating up on the Rays’ best relievers. They get fine starting pitching, at least for as long as Roberts will let those starters pitch. Julio Arias had eight strikeouts in 4-2/3 innings, but he gave up two solo home runs and was gone.

“We’ll do what we always do,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “After every game, we go back and evaluate what happened. It’s going to be the same way here.”

Nothing will be the same as this.

Read more about Whicker: Dodgers derailed by a gust of craziness in an ‘un-perfect storm’ This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

5 ways your offer can stand out in a hot industrial market

Industrial real estate — those buildings geared for manufacturing and logistics warehouse providers — is on fire in Orange County!

These are typically constructed out of concrete, located on little known city streets such as Blue Gum, Coronado, Carnegie, and Capricorn, and house companies that make and ship things. But, as the term “on fire” means different things to different folks not related to our industry, I believe it’s important to offer some context.

2020 – the year of the pandemic is now nearly 80% complete. Costco has Christmas decorations in stock, and socially distanced Halloween isn’t yet a memory. What? You’ve not yet strung your lights? But, I digress.

Since January, we’ve seen 15 sales for industrial buildings greater than 50,000 square feet within the Orange County’s 34 cities. These from approximately 868 existing units in this size. Excluded from these statistics are lease transactions – another conversation. But, in 2020, suffice it to say, 15 sales, 868 buildings 50,000 sf and larger – 1.7% of the base inventory sold.

Now, how many 50,000+ sale availabilities are there? Care to hazard a guess? If you guessed five, you’d be spot on. Viewed another way – only a bit more than 1/2 of a percent (five available out of 868 existing structures) is ready to receive your offer to buy.

To add some historical perspective, during the last pause in the action – 2008-2009 – there were 22 buildings for sale (50,000+) along La Palma Avenue in East Anaheim — ALONE! My, my. Look what 10 years of robust growth have done to our stable of sale availabilities!

You may be thinking, so what? What’s caused this and how does this affect my plans to purchase in 2021?

The causes are two-fold: increased demand and the lowest borrowing rates in decades — maybe ever! If your plans include testing the sale market in 2021, please be prepared for pitiful supply, intense competition, multiple offers and lenders that scrutinize every debit.

Please don’t enter the fray unprepared for the environment that exists in today’s sales market. Sure, you can consult with your banker and get pre-qualified, which, by the way, is a MUST. Maybe now is the time to wait. After all, can this overheated frenzy last for years? Leasing for a period of time until the fever ends might work out well. If you’re adamant about buying – have you considered these things?

Your representative

Recently, we found ourselves in competition for a site. Our buyers were well qualified and motivated. But, akin to straight A+ students competing for limited grad school spots, ALL of the buyers were well qualified and motivated. We won the deal based upon a 25-year relationship we had with the seller’s broker. He knew us, trusted our word and advocated for our buyer with his seller.

Your story

In today’s sales arena, the back story is critical. We came in second last week. Second is the first loser and doesn’t pay very well in commercial real estate brokerage. Why, you may ask? We got “out-storied.” Sure, I crafted the reasoning for pursuing the building along with our track record of successful purchases with this buyer. What won the day? The neighbor. It seems he’s been trying to buy the building forever. Tough to compete.

Your differentiator

We were honored to represent a family last month in their purchase of an income property. They didn’t need financing. Proceeds were in the bank awaiting the right deal. Short due diligence and a quick close could be accomplished. Also, we were prepared to offer the asking price and no one could touch us.

Intangibles

In the previous examples – intangible factors existed – a 25-year relationship, the neighbor as the buyer and tax-deferred exchange motivated capital. If you dig deeply into why one buyer was chosen over another, in many cases an intangible is a reason. Sometimes it boils down to a gut feel. Trust those!

Other directions

What alternatives are available with a lease? Maybe a short term with an option to buy can be structured. How about adjacent states of Nevada, Arizona or Oregon? We’ve witnessed several occupants exit California in favor of a tax friendlier area. Buildings are cheaper in some of our inland markets such as Riverside and San Bernardino counties – although the gap is narrowing.

Could you shorten a contingency period? How about paying cash today and refinancing later? Factors like these can give you an advantage.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104. 

Powered by WPeMatico

Bill Cunerty, former Saddleback College coach and high school football broadcaster, dies from Parkinson’s disease


Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now


Former Saddleback College football and golf coach Bill Cunerty, who also became a beloved broadcaster of high school football games and a guru for future NFL quarterbacks, died Thursday, Oct. 22, from complications of Parkinson’s disease, his wife, Claudia, said.

Cunerty, 74, was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system in April of 2017 and had been in hospice care for more than a year, said Claudia, his wife of 51 years and caretaker during his health battle.

“He was a strong Christian,” she said. “He knew he was going to heaven.”

Cunerty’s unique connection with Orange County sports spanned more than 40 years and showcased his array of talents and passions.

The Mission Viejo resident was a state championship-winning coach in three different sports at Saddleback College. He was the football coach at Capistrano Valley and Dana Hills high schools and served as commentator for high school sports with COX 3, a cable television affiliate that covered schools from Tustin to San Clemente.

Cunerty also was a highly-regarded private quarterback coach, former president of the Southern California Golf Association and a successful high school English teacher.

“Everything he touched turned to gold,” said longtime friend Bob Janko, who met Cunerty around 1969 at North Torrance High. “He’s just an intelligent man and very personable. He kids loved playing for him.”

Cunerty arrived at North Torrance, his alma mater, to teach and coach football, Janko said. A former football and baseball player at USC, Cunerty soon began to climb the coaching rankings.

He coached North Torrance’s football program from 1969 to 1973.

Cunerty became Dana Hills’ football coach in 1975 and Capistrano Valley’s first coach two years later.

Cunerty’s staff at Capistrano Valley, Janko said, included a trio of future coaching stars for the Cougars: Dick Enright and Eric Patton in football, and Bob Zamora, who became a legendary baseball coach.

Cunerty had his most coaching success at Saddleback College. He was a longtime quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for the Gauchos and took the head coaching reins for three seasons after the retirement of the legendary Ken Swearingen.

Cunerty led the Gauchos to an undefeated season and national title in 1996. He resigned in 1998 because of heath reasons.

Cunerty survived two battles with colon cancer and two heart attacks, Claudia said.

He also coached Saddleback College’s men’s and women’s golf teams to state titles, becoming the first community college coach in California to win state titles in three different sports. He led the men’s golf team to six state crowns.

“He loved coaching and teaching,” Claudia said of her husband, a member of the state community college hall of fame.

Cunerty, a journalism major at USC, also was a fixture at the biggest high school games as a broadcaster with COX 3. Teaming with Kevin Turner and former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo, Cunerty was quick to praise players while mixing in his coaching insights, stories and humor.

His last broadcast was the O.C. all-star football game in the summer of 2017.

“He was a true community gem,” said Turner, who worked with Cunerty for 14 years. “We’re all blessed to have known him. He’s the most incredible ambassador of high school sports in Southern California.”

Sad news: Ex-Saddleback College football coach, QB guru, star broadcaster, fighter, and family man Bill Cunerty, left, has died
There was no better ambassador for O.C. High School Sports than Cunerty (partner Kevin Turner, right) #RIPCoachCunerty @ocvarsity @SteveFryer pic.twitter.com/v4OlItND5h

— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) October 24, 2020

The Orange County football community also knew Cunerty as a private quarterback guru.

He coached with West Coast Passing School for years and tutored many of the area’s best passers. From Todd Marinovich to Matt Barkley to his final protege, Nathan Manning, Cunerty — a former quarterback himself — helped many athletes.

“Such a great teacher,” said Tom Shine, one of Cunerty’s closest friends and a former football and golf coach at Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon colleges. “He just had that gift.”

Cunerty’s affable personalty, communication skills and knowledge also led him to become a trainer for quarterback prospects preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine. He worked with Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo — who faced off in the Super Bowl last season — and Andrew Luck, among others.

Cunerty’s presence also was highly-sought off the football field.

About 18 years ago, he officiated the wedding of Shine’s daughter, Jamie, to her husband Rick. Cunerty completed training to fulfill the role, Shine said.

“And he was awesome,” Shine said, “just like he did everything else.”

Cunerty is survived by his wife, daughter Kelly, son-in-law Cameron, daughter Shannon, son-in-law Ben, three grandchildren and sister Patty. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but Claudia said the family plans to stream the memorial live.

Read more about Bill Cunerty, former Saddleback College coach and high school football broadcaster, dies from Parkinson’s disease This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

High school schedules: Brea Olinda football


Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now


BREA OLINDA

Coach: Robb Perrance

League: North Hills

(Schedules subject to change)

Jan. 8 vs. Sonora at La Habra HS, 7 p.m.

Jan. 15 vs. Valencia, 7 p.m.

Jan. 22 vs. Sunny Hills at Buena Park HS, 7 p.m.

Jan. 29 vs. Fullerton, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 at Buena Park, 7 p.m.

Feb. 13 vs. Villa Park at El Modena HS, 3 p.m.

Feb. 19 vs. El Modena, 7 p.m.

Feb. 26 vs. Canyon*,  7 p.m.

March 5 vs. Esperanza* at Yorba Linda HS, 7 p.m.

March 12 vs. El Dorado*, 7 p.m.

*League game

Read more about High school schedules: Brea Olinda football This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Whicker: Brandon Lowe, as in pow, gives Rays the power surge they need

First off, it’s Brandon Lowe, rhymes with “Somehow.” For most of this playoff grind he has been trying to get a hit somehow.

He was 0 for 18 in five games against the Yankees and 4 for 26 in seven games against Houston. He was the final member of the American League champions to remove the cloak of anonymity that tends to shroud members of the Tampa Bay Rays, thanks to where they play and how relatively little they get paid and how few fans bother to see them.

Snap judgments are dangerous in baseball. Judgments over 60 games are, too, just to pick a number. Lowe piled up 14 home runs and 57 RBIs, and his OPS of .916 led the team. It was difficult to believe the Rays could win three series basically without him, but each time they did, they threw him a lifeline.

“Back in college (Maryland) I used to beat myself up pretty bad,” Lowe said. “I try not to do that anymore. I’ve learned to handle that through the years of baseball. It doesn’t matter if I go 5 for 5 with five homers or 0 for 5 with five strikeouts. Once I get home and see my wife, it flushes the day.

“But I wasn’t feeling that good. To say my mind wasn’t going in a lot of different directions, I’d be lying to you. Still, as soon as I’d start dragging my feet, someone would come along and tell me to get it going.”

Lowe was hitting in the No. 2 spot on Wednesday night, as the Rays bravely showed up at Globe Life Park after an 8-3 beating at the hands of the Dodgers on Tuesday. To get behind would be inadvisable. Leadoff man Austin Meadows popped up, and Lowe got to 3-and-1 against Tony Gonsolin and slapped a 95 mph fastball over the fence in left-center. As if he was trying to catch up on delinquent payments, Lowe came up in the fifth and hit Dustin May’s 0-and-2 slider over the same fence. That made it 3-0, and even though the Dodgers replied with homers by Corey Seager and Chris Taylor, Tampa Bay would not trail again.

The 6-4 victory evened the World Series and set up a hotel-bound off day in Arlington, Texas, rather than the cross-country charter flight from LAX to Tampa. It will not be a sleepless morning for Lowe.

“It was pure joy when I got back in the dugout,” Lowe said, referring to the ice-breaking home run. “(Manager Kevin) Cash didn’t say anything to me. I kinda liked that. He just acted like I’ve been hitting home runs for the last couple of weeks.”

There is no such thing as a typical Ray, considering how often management plays 52-card pick up with its roster. But Lowe is the type of “asset” the franchise seeks. He was a third-round pick from Maryland, a player who fought through two bad leg injuries to earn All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. Then he became the best player in the Class A Florida State League, and last year the Rays made their own singular kind of commitment to him – a six-year, $24 million contract.

It fits in with the Everyman vibe, which dovetails neatly into a we’ll-show-you mindset. Lowe was asked about what he learned from the nature of his two home runs, where the pitches came from and where he sent them, and he just shook his head.

“When you’re 5-foot-11 like me you’re not too worried about hitting home runs,” Lowe said. “I’m out there against guys throwing 99 mph two-seamers. I’m just trying to hit the ball somewhere.

“But we knew this Series wasn’t over. We only lost one game, and we knew we were coming out here with a Hall of Fame pitcher on the mound tonight.”

Whether Blake Snell actually sees the Hall without buying a ticket is unknown, but the lefty is a former Cy Young Award winner and he muffled the Dodgers with well-placed heat and a slider/curve combination that piled up eight strikeouts in the first four hitless innings.

However, Cash has a zero-tolerance policy toward his starters – i.e., he only tolerates zeroes – and the bullpen got warm when Snell walked Kiké Hernandez with two out and then Chris Taylor pounded a two-run homer. After Mookie Betts walked and Seager singled, Snell was gone without a chance for a win.

Nick Anderson came in to strike out Justin Turner, which is tough to do during October RBI situations, and the Rays added to their cushion.

Gonsolin and Dustin May, supposedly two of the Dodgers’ future starting pillars, absorbed most of the flak. Manager Dave Roberts admitted he’s pushing Gonsolin and May into “uncharted territory,”  but it’s difficult to pitch when you’re on top of a trap door.

“It’s a big ask to be quite frank,” Roberts said. “People have to adjust to certain roles. But both of them are going to have to make pitches.”

Roberts did say Julio Urias will start Game 4 after he served as the late-inning hammer in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Braves.

Those inside baseball knew this wouldn’t be a walkover series. The Rays know this is the very best place to make a name, or to clarify one.

Read more about Whicker: Brandon Lowe, as in pow, gives Rays the power surge they need This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

World Series Game 2 updates: Tony Gonsolin to start for Dodgers

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin will start Game 2 of the World Series against the Rays on Wednesday.

Gonsolin produced a short outing as the NLCS Game 7 starter on Sunday. Blake Snell will start for the Rays.

The Dodgers’ bats came alive Tuesday and provided Clayton Kershaw with support to take a 1-0 series lead against Tampa Bay.

Kershaw, the veteran left-hander, struck out eight and allowed one run over six innings in an 8-3 victory.

GAME 2

When: Tuesday, 5:08 p.m. PST

Where: Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas

TV: FOX (Ch. 11)


Complete World Series schedule | Game 1 box score |


Can’t watch the game? Follow our live updates feed below.

A Twitter List by JHWreporter

 

Read more about World Series Game 2 updates: Tony Gonsolin to start for Dodgers This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Alexander: Dodgers’ Mookie Betts delivers a Ruthian performance

If the baseball fans of New England hadn’t already been experiencing enough anguish watching Mookie Betts spearhead a postseason run in Dodger blue, Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night probably made them even sicker.

Betts became the first player in World Series history to score two runs, steal two bases and hit a home run in the same game in the Dodgers’ 8-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Betts stole second and third in the fifth, the latter the front end of a double steal with Corey Seager, and then broke for home on Max Muncy’s grounder to first with the infield in and beat Yandy Díaz’s throw home, a bit of daring that touched off a four-run inning and turned a 2-1 game into a 6-1 game. An inning later, he hit reliever Josh Fleming’s first pitch over the right field fence, a 349-foot shot that extended the lead to 7-1.

Oh, but there was also this. Betts became the first man to walk and score two bases in the same inning in a World Series game since a fellow named Babe Ruth did so for the Yankees against the New York Giants in 1921. (Fifth inning of Game 2 at the Polo Grounds, to be precise.)

First observation: How crazy a world is this when a man’s home run isn’t Ruthian but his stolen bases are?

Second observation: That encompasses two of the worst baseball transactions in Boston history in one sentence. If you know a Red Sox fan, he or she could probably use a kind word or two about now.

But it’s evident to anyone who watches the Dodgers play, and more so if you watch Betts night in and night out: This club, following that early February trade, is better equipped to win the World Series than it has been at any point in the last 32 years.

“The pressure Mookie puts on other teams is huge for us,” catcher Austin Barnes said. “We felt it before, you know, when we played (him) in the (2018) World Series. He’s bringing a different element to the game for us.”

Clayton Kershaw, who punched a hole in his own postseason narrative Tuesday night with a relentlessly efficient six innings (two hits, one run, eight strikeouts and a slider that was meh in the first inning and masterful in the last five), was asked if, when his team is playing up to its capability, anybody else could beat it.

“I mean, if we play at our best, no,” he said via Zoom. “I think we are the best team and I think our clubhouse believes that. There’s going to be certain times when we get beat, and that happens. But as a collective group, if everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing and playing the way they’re supposed to. I don’t see how that can happen.”

There are the big things Betts provides, like the home run, or the stolen bases, or the crazy good defensive plays he keeps making in right field.

And there are the little things, things that go unseen by the public but not unnoticed by his team.

Case in point: It was late when the Dodgers finished off the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series on Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, nearly 11 p.m. when the game ended and well after that when the team got back to its hotel.

A large number of players congregated in one of the outdoor spaces on the hotel grounds and, Justin Turner said Monday, “were talking baseball, talking about the series that we just went through and, you know, different situations and different plays that came up. Although I think we were trying to celebrate it a little bit, everyone’s mind just went straight back to baseball.”

Said Betts: “It definitely showed that we’re here to win, man. And just in those conversations, you can tell. You can tell. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

And that Monday, for an optional workout on the one day off between series, both buses were at full capacity.

That commitment starts with the leadership of veterans Betts and Turner. It might go all the way back to the address Betts gave in the clubhouse during the first week of spring training, when he emphasized the importance of that ring and described what kind of effort it would take to get one.

He related Tuesday night that he’d given himself one of those pep talks after he’d come in second to Mike Trout in the American League MVP race in 2016.

“I knew it was going to be tough for me to repeat that or get better,” he recalled. “And I think I told myself, ‘I just want to be consistent.’

“Watching the greats play, they’re all just really consistent. You know, they hit their home runs constantly, are driving in runs constantly, walk constantly, make good plays constantly. That’s not just one and then a long period of time before another one. You just have to be good at all aspects of the game all the time. Don’t take plays off. And I think 2016 was when I told myself, that’s what I want to do.”

This is why the Dodgers traded for him. This is why they made sure he couldn’t get away by giving him a 12-year, $365 million extension the day before this shortened season began.

It might already be the best money they’ve ever committed to. Three more victories, and there will be no doubt.

Read more about Alexander: Dodgers’ Mookie Betts delivers a Ruthian performance This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico