Tim Brown

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Tim Brown is an award-winning writer with 20 years of experience covering Major League Baseball at the Los Angeles Times, Newark Star-Ledger, Cincinnati Enquirer and Los Angeles Daily News. He studied journalism at the University of Southern California and Cal State Northridge.

  • Diamondbacks' rough start has them coiled up in cellar of NL West

    LOS ANGELES – If there were an organization that, by appearances, took personally the fresh abundances and ensuing strut of the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    They challenged the air space around Dodgers’ hitters’ ears, they drew and re-drew lines in the dirt, they retroactively announced adult swim, and they happily advanced the conversation that they, the Diamondbacks, were the willing and eager party to the commissioner’s global baseball initiative, which the Dodgers undertook with the spirit of a hemorrhaging seal dumped into Bondi Bay.

    In the NL West, which the Dodgers appear equipped to win for the next decade, the Diamondbacks would fight back with grit and intellect and enthusiasm, if not bankroll, which sounded great. In reality, the Diamondbacks’ season began on March 22, which is coming up on a month ago, and they’d won four games. (Though, to be fair, they have been close a few other times.)

    [Also: Giancarlo Stanton delivers walk-off grand slam for

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  • The A's way means being in first place yet again

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – So, the Oakland A's, the team I picked to win the AL West, were in first place in the AL West, right where I picked them, and still I thought, "Huh, the A's are good again."

    Two starting pitchers on the disabled list, murky closer situation, decent enough lineup, somewhat hazardous home working conditions, long early road trip and, yeah, they have the best record in the American League.

    Because, well, because of course they do. Because, and this is about the most A's-ish thing ever, they just spent three games hitless with runners in scoring position – 23 at-bats in all – and won all three. Because the only A's players on a leaderboard after 2 ½ weeks are Brandon Moss, who has 15 RBI and is as appreciative of his big-league experience as anyone in the game, and who a couple years ago was contemplating going home to be a fireman or something, and Alberto Callaspo, who is batting .357, a good 80 points over his career average.

    [Also: How White Sox's Chris Sale went

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  • Why MLB's catch rules are now stricter than the NFL's

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – Brandon Moss hadn't given much thought to the new emphasis on glove-to-hand transfers until he was awarded a hit on the technicality, which was great until he crossed paths with teammate Josh Donaldson, who, turned out, was going the wrong way between first and second base.

    Eventually, Moss, who watched Seattle's Dustin Ackley make a wonderful catch on a fly ball in left-center field, and Donaldson, who saw the same play, wound up together at first base.

    "What happened?" Donaldson asked Moss, who was supposed to be out, in the dugout, anywhere but at first base, because everybody in the ballpark saw Ackley catch the baseball.

    Except somewhere between his glove and his hand, between what was a clear catch and the need to heave the ball back toward the infield, Ackley lost his grip on the ball.

    So Donaldson, not having seen that part, was returning to first base, and Moss, after the initial disappointment of the catch, noted an umpire signaling he was safe, and

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  • Angels, Mets striving to succeed, but remain a pair of second fiddles

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – The New York Yankees have their weekend series against the Boston Red Sox, the start of 106 or so games this season against their rivals, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in Arizona, where seven months ago they began to acquire their reputation for not giving a rat's rear end.

    You know the payroll situations. You know how they carry themselves. You know the occasional – intended or otherwise – condescension. You know the reps.

    This is where our eyes go. To the stars. To the green. To the commotion.

    [Also: Pitchers' guide to cheating: How to do it right ]

    The Dodgers are the game's new economic powerhouse, the Yankees soothed their own ills by feathering in another half-billion dollars in free agents, and we watch for the brilliance that comes from that or the catastrophe that follows. It is provocative either way.

    Maybe they don't or won't win, but they will entertain, annoy, transfix, whatever. And then, yeah, they'll probably win anyway.

    Which brings us to this

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  • MLB Power Rankings: It's tea time for Nats

    On Bryce Harper’s cup of tea, how far umpires will take the transfer rule, and the Royals’ home run confusion:

    The rankings (records through Wednesday):

    Washington1. Washington Nationals (6-2; Previous: 3) – Like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper is, according to Scott Boras, “part of the next generation of elite brand of teas.” Sounds like Harper is positioning himself for an oolong-term contract.

    Detroit2. Detroit Tigers (5-2; Previous: 6) – Main difference so far between Brad Ausmus and Jim Leyland is fewer mustache trimmings.

    San Francisco3. San Francisco Giants (6-3; Previous: 8) – In his absence, mayor Edwin Lee says Buster Posey can be acting mayor. Returns to find everything covered in pine tar and sunflower seeds.

    Los Angeles4. Los Angeles Dodgers (6-4; Previous: 2) – Scientists identify 15 new compound emotions, such as fearfully surprised, sadly fearful and Don Mattingly exasperated.

    Oakland5. Oakland Athletics (5-3; Previous: 7) – A’s arrive to find their field flooded. Really, really don’t care to hear with what.

    Tampa Bay6. Tampa Bay

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  • Hot-hitting Josh Hamilton to miss 6-8 weeks

    A perfectly healthy, rebuilt, refocused, .462-hitting Josh Hamilton hit a perfectly harmless ground ball to shortstop Tuesday night in Seattle and now the Los Angeles Angels again are down a man.

    Hamilton is expected to have surgery in the next few days and spend the following six to eight weeks in recovery because he dove into first base and tore a ligament in his left thumb, the sort of ailment that tends to travel with a hitter for many weeks if not many months.

    He'd had a heckuva week, the kind the Angels had in mind when they invested in him $125 million over five years and left the pitching staff pretty much as it was, lived with that decision and, in part because Hamilton wasn't very good, finished in third place in the AL West.

    [Also: Miguel Cabrera vs. Kenley Jansen a reminder of what makes baseball great ]

    Even the play that killed Hamilton's first half – starting with the grounder to the left side – was emblematic of the polished hitter who'd shown up in his second camp

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  • Miguel Cabrera vs. Kenley Jansen a reminder of what makes baseball great

    LOS ANGELES – On a rather ordinary night in April, before a full ballpark, in a game between the most recent World Series semifinalists, Miguel Cabrera, the undisputed best hitter on the planet, was in the midst of a six-pitch at-bat.

    And well, well, wouldn't you know, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen had brought his A-stuff.

    One out, ninth inning, man on second. Cabrera's Detroit Tigers down a run. Nothing but fastballs coming.

    The game – the season, for these moments – narrows to a single taut thread, wound from a baseball flung at near unfathomable speeds to a bat wielded with unusually gifted hands, and a ballpark stops to lean in, and the dugout rails become overcrowded, and this is why we watch. Why we can't help but care.

    [Also: RBI Baseball '14 is here in all its simple, perfect glory ]

    For the time it takes to throw six pitches, just a few minutes inside of 3 ½ hours – Jansen and Cabrera measuring each other, their history a single plate appearance three years before, Ian

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  • The sad anniversary of an Angels pitcher lost too soon

    Nick Adenhart would be 27, maybe married, maybe be a dad. He'd have grown into a reedy body, made some more friends, had a lot more laughs.

    Janet and Jim would have their son. Duane, the step-father, would have the young man he helped raise. Henry would have his big half-brother. Jered Weaver would have his friend. Jered's son, Aden, might be named Bill or Scott or Luke and not after a guy his dad used to know. There'd be no reason for Jered to draw the initials "NA" in the dirt on the slope of the mound.

    Henry Pearson and Courtney Stewart would be grown up, too. Their phones would chime and it would be Nick from somewhere out there, saying, "Hey, it went great tonight" or "Darn, it wasn't so good, but I'll get 'em next time."

    Jon Wilhite would be chasing his own destiny without the scars or the rehab or the sadness. He would not be regarded as the survivor, not by himself or anyone else.

    The life we sometimes take for granted, that would have had a chance for Nick Adenhart.

    Five years

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  • More Dodgers drama: Matt Kemp out of the lineup, then in, after Yasiel Puig benched

    LOS ANGELES – Barely breakfast Friday morning at Dodger Stadium.

    Matt Kemp appeared to be unhappy. The legend Manny Mota shook his hand in the clubhouse, and Kemp could barely muster eye contact. He turned away. Juan Uribe wrapped him in a hug near the batting cage and Kemp shrugged. He was hardly in the mood to talk. He wasn't in the lineup, fresh off the disabled list, three guys in the outfield, but not him, and he definitely lugged an unhappy vibe.

    Don Mattingly appeared to be decisive. He'd go with the lineup that gave him the likeliest chance to win, one without Kemp for a day, like the way the Miami Heat feathered in D-Wade or some such analogy nobody quite got but, hey, he tried. This was a matchup decision, the right-hander today and a left-hander tomorrow, maybe a loyalty thing – the other three had been on the field for the better part of eight weeks – but above all the beginning of four healthy outfielders for three positions, what had once been called a luxury but at the

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  • From last season to this, Angels' problems persist

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – Mike Trout stood out at second base in the middle innings here, his uniform the color of caramel from the collar to the shins.

    He'd seen seven pitches from the 25-year-old left-hander, James Paxton, the last of which had come in at 96 or 97 mph. Trout shot it down the left-field line, like he'd expected the pitch a little down and a little in and hissing angry, and it was just a matter of getting his bat head there, what came natural. He'd turned first base with less than a thought and got low halfway to second, leaning into it already, and in a few strides was skittering headfirst into second.

    Seven or eight seconds, maybe, from bat barrel to second base, and the people applauded, as he is what so many of them had come to see. Trout didn't bother to dust himself off, but took his lead, his shoulders rolled slightly forward, the way he always looks like he's a half-step from full speed.

    With a ballgame still in the balance, Trout edged away from the bag, reading

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