Clippers just might live up to the hype

Writer Jon Weisman sent a tweet to me because he knows I’m a long-suffering Clipper fan.  It was an image that no Clipper had ever seen before. Vegas had already made the Clippers the odds on favorite to win the NBA title but this was from the East Coast. Eight different writers had picked the Clippers to win the NBA West. Against six different opponents. It made me smile and it made me nervous. I don’t like being the favorite, I’m a Clipper fan, because I’m an underdog kind of guy.  You can throw that mindset out the window when you see an image like this:
I still entered this season walking on eggshells. Expecting Kawhi to get hurt during the preseason, finding out that Paul George would need additional surgery to fix the shoulder he had operated on during the summer, Pat and Lou maybe not getting along with the two new superstars. Something to tread on the high hopes of Clipper fans. Because something always does.
But maybe not this time. Maybe this time the illusion will become reality.
I’ve decided to stop walking on my eggshells and embrace the best team they have ever had.
Let me count the ways:
  • Possibly the most annoying player in the NBA on your team in Pat Beverly. The player you love to hate, unless he’s on your team, in which case he’s the player you love the most.
  • Possibly the best postseason player in the NBA on your team in Kawhi who just might be in his prime.The best 6th man in Lou Williams who someday might see the 6th man award actually named after him. If you thought he might slow down you didn’t watch the first two games of the year.
  • If there is one player who can wrest the 6th man award away from Lou Williams it might be his teammate Montrezl Harrell.
  • The best 8th man in Mo Harkless.
  • The best 9th man in JaMychal Green
  • Are you getting the gist of this? The Clipper 2nd team will outscore the starting five of not only the Clippers but of most teams they play this season. When a game starts the Clippers starting five simply need to keep the game even because the 2nd unit will do the damage.
  • The Best Laker center in Zubak. The gift that keeps on giving was on full display last night against the Warriors. They only thing keeping him from a more dominating performance was that you can only keep Montrezl Harrell on the bench for so long.
  • The best player not yet playing in the NBA, Paul George. Every time the Clippers win, no one can use their own injured players as an excuse. The Lakers tried using the Kuzma line but were laughed out of the internet sphere. The Warriors didn’t even try using Klay being out because they knew Paul George was wearing a suit on the Clipper bench.
  • We haven’t had to see what happens in a close 4th quarter. Last year it was Lou Williams who was one of the top scorers in the 4th quarter. This year the options could be anyone on the floor in the final two minutes.  Lou Williams. Kawhi Leonard. Paul George. Montrezl Harrell if they over cover on any of those three will simply bull his way to the rim. I can’t wait to see a close game to see how it gets closed.
  • Jerry West may not be making all the decisions in the Clipper front office, and he doesn’t need to because Ballmer has built the best front office in basketball where Jerry West simply needs to give his advice.
Now that I’ve written all this I should probably do another article where I chart everything that could go wrong but I may wait until at least November before I start heading toward the negative vibe. I’m enjoying this vibe to much right now.
The Clippers don’t need to worry about Los Angeles being a Laker town, they simply need to take care of their own business, and if that turns into their first World Championship,  a whole new generation will take notice. The rest of the country already has.

LAD Double leader by Season

Corey Seager led the Dodgers in doubles in 2019 with 44 and hit his 44 doubles in only 541 plate appearances while Shawn Green hit his LAD best 49 doubles in 691 plate appearances.

The best double per plate appearance for a LAD seasonal leader is Corey Seager in 2019 at 12.3 doubles per plate appearance so I’m fairly confident in saying that if Corey hadn’t missed time in 2019 he would have broken the record and probably hit over 50 doubles.

Other Double Notes:

Wes Parker deserves special merit for his 47 doubles in 1970. Before Parker hit his 47 doubles the most any Los Angeles Dodger had hit was 31 by Willie Davis in 1966. Even after Parker hit those 47 doubles it wasn’t until Steve Sax hit 43 in 1986 that any Dodger ever crossed the 40 double threshold again.

Steve Garvey is the doubles king. Garvey led the Dodgers in doubles eight years from 1974 thru 1982 missing only 1977 when Bill Russell nudged him off the leaderboard.

Willie Davis did it six times from 1966 – 1973, missing only 1968 when Tom Haller did it, and 1970 when Wes Parker hit his 47 doubles. That 47 doubles by Wes Parker held up until Shawn Green hit his 49 doubles in 2003.

Andre Ethier led the Dodgers in doubles four years, doing it twice back to back in 2008/2009 and 2012/2013.

Raul Mondesi also led the Dodgers in doubles four times from 1994 – 1998 missing only 1995 when Eric Karros got back on top of the LAD double leaderboard.

Speaking of Karros he led the team in doubles three times 1992 (30), 1995(29), and 1999(40).

Continuing with Raul Mondesi, the player he was traded for Shawn Green, led the Dodgers in doubles three times with some hefty numbers. In 2000 he hit 44 doubles which at the time was the 2nd most doubles every hit by a LAD, a mere 31 in 2001, and the team-leading 49 in 2003.

Junior Jim Gilliam led the team in doubles in 1958 with 25 in the inaugural Los Angeles Dodger season. He would lead the team in doubles in 1961 with 26, and keeping with the trend would lead the team in doubles in 1963 with 27.

Tommie Davis led the team in doubles the first year Dodger Stadium was put into play with 27.

The lowest LAD seasonal double leader was Willie Davis with 22 in 1972 followed by Eddie Murray with 23 in 1991, and Steve Garvey with 23 in the strike-shortened season of 1981.

Multiple members of the 1981 World Championship team and 1988 World Championship team lead the team in doubles. Garvey, Russell, and Pedro Guerrero from the 1981 Championship team.  Mike Marshall, John Shelby, Kirk Gibson, and my favorite oddity Jeff Hamilton. Steve Sax and Mike Scioscia were on both teams, Sax lead the team in 1986 and Scioscia in 1987.

Names you don’t see often on LAD leaderboards, Cory Snyder in 1993 (33), Hubie Brooks in 1990 (28), John Shelby in 1987 (26), Norm Larke in 1960 (26), and Tom Haller in 1968 (27).

Player Year 2B▼ OPS+ Age PA DBL/PA
Corey Seager 2019 44 113 25 541 12.30
Chris Taylor 2018 35 109 27 604 17.26
Chris Taylor 2017 34 123 26 568 16.71
Corey Seager 2016 40 134 22 687 17.18
Adrian Gonzalez 2015 33 130 33 643 19.48
Adrian Gonzalez 2014 41 130 32 660 16.10
Andre Ethier 2013 33 121 31 553 16.76
Andre Ethier 2012 36 123 30 618 17.17
Matt Kemp 2011 33 172 26 689 20.88
James Loney 2010 41 98 26 648 15.80
Andre Ethier 2009 42 132 27 685 16.31
Andre Ethier 2008 38 132 26 596 15.68
Jeff Kent 2007 36 123 39 562 15.61
J.D. Drew 2006 34 126 30 594 17.47
Jeff Kent 2005 36 133 37 637 17.69
Adrian Beltre 2004 32 163 25 657 20.53
Shawn Green 2003 49 116 30 691 14.10
Paul Lo Duca 2002 38 99 30 632 16.63
Shawn Green 2001 31 154 28 701 22.61
Shawn Green 2000 44 116 27 714 16.23
Eric Karros 1999 40 133 31 639 15.98
Raul Mondesi 1998 26 115 27 617 23.73
Raul Mondesi 1997 42 140 26 670 15.95
Raul Mondesi 1996 40 123 25 673 16.83
Eric Karros 1995 29 145 27 620 21.38
Raul Mondesi 1994 27 123 23 454 16.81
Cory Snyder 1993 33 100 30 570 17.27
Eric Karros 1992 30 106 24 589 19.63
Eddie Murray 1991 23 105 35 639 27.78
Hubie Brooks 1990 28 102 33 618 22.07
Jeff Hamilton 1989 35 85 25 581 16.60
Kirk Gibson 1988 28 148 31 632 22.57
John Shelby 1987 26 106 29 518 19.92
Mike Scioscia 1987 26 90 28 523 20.12
Steve Sax 1986 43 137 26 704 16.37
Mike Marshall 1985 27 141 25 564 20.89
Pedro Guerrero 1984 29 131 28 594 20.48
Pedro Guerrero 1983 28 150 27 664 23.71
Steve Garvey 1982 35 101 33 660 18.86
Steve Garvey 1981 23 110 32 461 20.04
Steve Garvey 1980 27 125 31 704 26.07
Steve Garvey 1979 32 130 30 697 21.78
Steve Garvey 1978 36 138 29 689 19.14
Bill Russell 1977 28 79 28 674 24.07
Steve Garvey 1976 37 133 27 696 18.81
Steve Garvey 1975 38 134 26 704 18.53
Steve Garvey 1974 32 130 25 685 21.41
Willie Davis 1973 29 114 33 641 22.10
Willie Davis 1972 22 116 32 654 29.73
Willie Davis 1971 33 122 31 672 20.36
Wes Parker 1970 47 133 30 705 15.00
Willie Davis 1969 23 133 29 540 23.48
Wes Parker 1969 23 125 29 541 23.52
Tom Haller 1968 27 128 31 534 19.78
Willie Davis 1967 27 97 27 610 22.59
Willie Davis 1966 31 102 26 653 21.06
Ron Fairly 1965 28 115 26 654 23.36
John Roseboro 1964 24 113 31 475 19.79
Jim Gilliam 1963 27 121 34 605 22.41
Tommy Davis 1962 27 148 23 711 26.33
Jim Gilliam 1961 26 83 32 531 20.42
Norm Larker 1960 26 113 29 493 18.96
Charlie Neal 1959 30 105 28 686 22.87
Jim Gilliam 1958 25 81 29 636 25.44


Rendon and Cole aren’t coming to Los Angeles

I spent some time trying to figure out how the Dodgers could get Anthony Rendon when it dawned on me that I’m just wasting my time. The Nationals are going to the World Series and Anthony Rendon is going to stay in Washington.

Gerritt Cole is probably going to the World Series and while he may not stay in Houston, he’s not coming to the Dodgers either.

That reality will upset many fans who feel the way to solve the Dodger problems are to spend their way out of it. To be clear the Dodger problem is not winning, they do that just fine, possibly better than any Dodger team ever, the problem is not winning the last game of the season.

I don’t know how to solve that. The Dodgers tried to solve it this past winter when they inexplicably signed A.J. Pollock to be their CF for the next for years. He was supposed to be a difference-maker in October when tough lefties were thrown at the Dodgers. Pollock couldn’t even man CF for one season, much less four and by August had simply become the LF against LHP. The only reason he played against RHP in October was that Alex Verdugo ended up missing Sept and Oct. It only took three games in October before A.J. Pollock was sitting on the bench in October leaving me to wonder exactly what I wondered when they signed him, what does A.J. Pollock have that Chris Taylor does not? Not exactly how the Dodger brass expected their big signing of 2019 to play out but it wasn’t exactly unpredictable.

The other big signing was Joe Kelly who picked the wrong time to start Howie Kendrick on a roll that still hasn’t finished.

I don’t know what the Dodgers will do this winter. The team is still loaded with veterans and youth. You still have the starting lineups of Muncy/Lux/Seager/Turner/Smith/Pederson/Bellinger/Verdugo against RHP and Muncy/Lux/Seager/Turner/Smith/Verdugo/Bellinger/Pollock against LHP assuming that Lux becomes the starting everyday 2nd baseman and Verdugo an everyday OF.

When healthy, that is probably a better starting lineup than the group that won 106 games. Lux should be an improvement at 2nd, Seager should improve, Smith over a full season should give the team more than Barnes did the first three months. Having Bellinger in CF for a full season is going to help the defense. We can’t forget how good Alex Verdugo was when he was healthy. Joc was Joc, but with even more Joc Jack than ever before.

The rotation may lose Ryu and Hill but that still leaves Walker / Kershaw / Kenta / May / Urias / Stripling / Gonsolin and possibly Josiah Gray.  Going forward Walker is probably going to be the running for some Cy Young Awards. Kershaw may have found a nice level as a mid-rotation starter. Kenta is Kenta. A perfectly decent rotation piece who will head to the bullpen in Sept. I don’t know what May is, but he’s ready for his rotation piece. Ross Stripling is perfectly serviceable in a rotation. Urias should finally be ready for his spot in a rotation. Once again, I have no idea what to expect from him but it is time we find out what he is.  That is a solid rotation but probably not a rotation that you’d bet on to win the last game of the season unless one of May or Urias becomes a genuine 2nd option come October. Not a bet I’d make. Even if Rich Hill comes back for another season, the spot you can see the Dodgers trying to upgrade is the rotation.

As always, the bullpen clearly needs another big piece, maybe two.

Anyway, last year the Dodgers shocked us by trading Puig/Wood for two prospects who both blossomed.  They also shocked us by signing A.J. Pollock and you’d be hard-pressed to say that was a good deal.  Now that Cody Bellinger is the CF going forward that is a lot of money for a right-handed hitting left fielder who is probably 4th on the outfield depth chart behind Cody/Pederson/Verdugo and maybe should be fifth behind Chris Taylor.

Joe Kelly was a good signing, I’m not blaming him for the 10th inning of game 5 and for most of the summer was the best relief option in the bullpen.

Every winter over the past six years has had the same question. How do you improve a team that keeps playing in October but never long enough? Once again the Dodgers will try to answer that question, maybe this time they will get it right.


It’s complicated

Has there ever been a more complicated relationship in Los Angeles sports than what Dodger fans and future HOF Clayton Kershaw are going through right now? How many times can the Dodgers be knocking on the door only to have the guy with the biggest knockers be the one who doesn’t knock the hardest when they need it the most?

After the latest Dave Roberts enabled debacle on Wednesday Night when Clayton gave up a two-run lead in the 8th on two pitches you had Kershaw fans throwing their Kershaw jersey onto the field, and crowds erupting into Kershaw sucks. Can you imagine that? After everything Kershaw has done in this town that is what was happening. I can’t talk about what was happening on Twitter because I don’t follow that kind of Dodger fans but I understand it got twitter nasty.  His defenders will say these are lousy fans but are they? Yes, some are, but the majority are just frustrated fans acting out because once again they feel let down by the greatest Dodger of the 21st century.  I could understand the need for them to vent.

In the aftermath of all this Kershaw nonsense, this tweet showed up yesterday.

This tweet broke me as no tweet related to sports ever has. As mad as you might have been at Clayton before you saw this tweet,  you probably had tears in your eyes after you read it. I sure did.

In the past, Clayton has been stoic about his failures in October, but this time, this time he couldn’t hold back the pain. I hurt for Clayton Kershaw. His pain is our pain but damn, he also delivers pain.

It made me think of his career and how maddening it has been for me, for Dodger fans.

I love that Clayton was the most consistent greatest regular-season pitcher I ever saw.

I love that he was so dominant in the minors that while still a teenager he got his own nickname.

I love that when he made his debut for the Dodgers, my niece was visiting and staying at my house (the only time) so we got to watch his debut together.

I love that at just age 21 in 2009 he was already one of the best pitchers in baseball.

I love that on April 17th, 2009 he gave me the game that enabled me to write one of my saddest and favorite articles for TBLA. 

I hated that he would get crushed by the Phillies in the first game of the 2009 NLCS paving the way for the Phillies to win 4 games to 1.

I loved that at age 23 in 2011 he would win his first CYA, lead the league in Wins, ERA, Strikeouts, WHIP, and Hits per Nine Innings.

I loved that at age 24 in 2012 he would finish 2nd in CYA voting

I love that Clayton would give me the best opening day ever when in 2013 he broke up a 0 – 0 game with a home run and tossed a four-hit shutout.

I loved that at age 25 in 2013 he would win his 2nd CYA with a crazy 1.83 ERA

I love that in 2013, Clayton gave up just one run in nineteen innings in his first three postseason starts.

I hate that in a game the Dodgers had to win, Clayton got drubbed for seven runs in only four innings by the Cardinals in game six of the 2013 NLCS making his first three starts of that postseason a distant memory. Clayton would lose the last game the Dodgers played in 2013 and it would become a pattern.

I loved that at age 26 in 2014 Clayton would win his 3rd CYA, and also be the MVP by having one of the greatest pitching seasons in baseball history.

I hated that the best pitcher in baseball would give up eight runs in the first game of the NLDS against the Cardinals. He would also lose game four and once again pitched the last game of the year for the Dodgers.

I loved that in 2015 Clayton struck out 301 hitters. 301 hitters!!!

I loved that with the Dodgers down 2 games to 1 he beat the Met’s 3 -1 in the 2015 NLDS and for once, did not pitch and lose the last game of the Dodgers season.

I loved that in 2016 Clayton would work his way back from his back injury and be the best pitcher in baseball when he was able to pitch. Limited to only 144 9 innings he still put up an ERA of 1.80 marking the 3rd time in three years he had a sub 2.00 ERA.

I hate that in 2016, once again, Clayton pitched the last game of the Dodger season, and it was a loss and it wasn’t close.

I love that in 2017, Clayton pitched one of the best Los Angeles Dodger games in World Series history when he beat Houston 3 – 1 in game one.

I hate that five days later Clayton would pitch three shutout innings and then give up a four-run and three-run lead in back to back innings. This was the game that Clayton had to win, and if he had, all of this nonsense would be no more.

I love that Clayton signed an extension in the fall of 2018 after expecting him or the Dodgers to say good-bye.

I loved that Clayton was able to prove the naysayers wrong by having a remarkably strong season in 2019 at the age of 31 and made the most starts he’d made since 2015.

I hated how the 2019 season ended. For him. I don’t really care so much about myself anymore. At this point, I’m rooting for the players. For Clayton most of all.

Most of all I have loved that Clayton Kershaw the baseball player might even be a better person.

It is possible that much like Dan Marino and Miami that Clayton and Los Angeles simply don’t get that final celebration, and if that ends up the case, Clayton will have to accept some of the blame, but never all the blame, and so what.

Yeah, so what. 









Great beginnings sometimes end in commiserated sorrow

Is it possible to have a good time at a game that ends a team’s season?

When you go to a game by yourself you don’t have the luxury of picking who you hang out with, you get the luck of the draw.

Sometimes you get lucky and find yourself enveloped around good fun Dodger fans or loud obnoxious Dodger fans. It is a fine line between the two. When I left for the game the plan was to park at Pierce and take the Orange/Red/Gold line to Chinatown and walk but when I realized that traffic was easy peasy I decided to head for the Ravine and see if I could get there early enough to snag some decent off-street parking since I hadn’t purchased parking beforehand. I did, and instead of getting to the game around 04:30 I was there at 03:00 with nothing to do but stand in line which got me to the gate before everyone but one person. In all the years I’ve been going I’ve never been there before the gate opened unless I was covering a game for TrueBlueLA and entering with the credentialed press at the top deck.


I realized I was so early that once I got in I could either use my single ticket which was in Loge 165 or head for the drinking wells behind home plate which would give me an excellent view of the game but meant standing for about five hours. I choose the latter and found that Dodger Services had a little trick where they would save spots at the drinking wells for their friends, but since I was the 3rd person to show up I was still able to get a nice spot. To my left was Dodger Twitter Celebrity @dodgers_randi and to my right was a lady dressed not in Dodger blue but in Cub blue which easily started a conversation. She was a Cub fan and a baseball fan and was at the game simply to watch baseball. I loved this so much. So we didn’t talk Dodger baseball, we talked baseball.


That is how you pass time before a game. Before long the throng of Dodger fans the Dodger Services had saved spots showed up.  I didn’t recognize anyone from Dodger Twitter but I’m sure they were. To be honest many of the Dodger Twitter group look the same based on their avatar.  The leader of the group of mostly women and a bazillion kids noticed the Cub fan and I wondered how that would go since Dodger fans have been known to be a tad unfriendly to those who don’t sport the proper blue. She told her that since she is with them she was part of the family and was true to her words. As the game went on, the Cub fan had been fully integrated into their group. I was pretty sure a new friend had been added to the club.

To my left, a new addition had shown up, an elderly Dodger fan that Randi had saved the space for, she had as much enthusiasm as any Dodger fan in the park. She became my first high five partner when Joc almost hit a Joc Jack and collected high fives in droves from everyone around her.

As the old white male, I was just kind of watching all of this unfold. I was an active spectator for what the Dodgers were doing and simply a bemused spectator of the fan dynamics going on around me. Everyone was having fun, and while much of it was the beer, the Dodgers early lead, a big part I felt was simply the comradery that Dodger Twitter has created. I’m not part of the comradery but it is fascinating to watch it happen.

Throughout the game, Dodger Twitter folk would show up to get a selfie with @dodgers_randi and chat her up. You could tell this was a daily experience for her and she made it possible leaving her season seats in the top deck to be accessible in the loge at the drinking wells for her legion of Twitter fans. To do this she has to be there before anyone else, not an easy trick to accomplish.

Eventually, I stepped back from the table to let two young girls have a place to put their beer and food. I didn’t need the table and just by stepping back the two spaces I found a nice pole to lean back against and that was where I stayed. It was a small price to pay because I had beer bought for me by a very incessant girl which made her happy for reasons I don’t fathom.  As more beer was poured the happier the group to my right was getting. They were in full-blown party mode which you do better from the standing room only drinking spots behind the seats. If you didn’t collect half a dozen high fives for anything remotely successful by the Dodgers you weren’t trying.

Everything was going right until it wasn’t. Kershaw killed the mood but it would have taken one key clutch hit to undo the damage but the offense couldn’t do it. Instead of the anticipation of celebration, there was now dread that this was the last game of the season. Howie turned that dread into reality.  The group’s fun dynamic was gone but they just hugged each other instead of dancing. The Dodger season was over, but their friendships would endure beyond the Dodger season.

I left with the chants of Roberts Sucks and Kershaw Sucks echoing around the stadium. I could understand the frustration but I’d never vocalize it.  Once again the Dodgers had failed to win at home the sudden death game. This loss now made me 1 -3  in those games.

You can tell by age how I’ve progressed with these games.

In 1980 I was so pissed off. So so pissed off. I didn’t know 1981 was in my future and felt that was the last shot for the Garvey/Lopes/Russel/Yeager/Smith/Baker/Monday group to win a ring.  At that time I wanted that ring as much for myself as a Dodger fan as I did for the players.

In 2017 Yu Darvish made me mad and Kershaw even made me madder by how well he pitched in relief of Darvish. Where was that stuff in Game 5? I was mad for him. His legacy deserves a ring, but he had to pitch better if he wanted to get one. Two out of three doesn’t cut when you are hunting a World Series. I left that game annoyed that it was over before it even started. At least be competitive.

2019 I wasn’t mad last night, I was simply sad that it was Kershaw who couldn’t do what he needed to do. I was annoyed with Dave Roberts and feel he didn’t manage the team right, but it was still Kershaw who blew the 2-run lead in the 8th inning.  This is like 1980 for me having watched the 74, 77, and 78 teams not win a World Series. I don’t know if there is a 1981 on the horizon for Kershaw/Turner/Kenley but unlike 1980 I don’t really care enough to be mad about it.

I walked away from a sudden death loss, and I still could say, I had a great time, and none of it was related to me, but to the people around me.




Ouch, this one hurts

It isn’t that the Nationals aren’t a talented team, they are, but when you have a 3 – 1 lead in the 8th inning with your whole bullpen still at your disposal your expectations for victory are pretty damn high, so when the season goes to hell in a handbasket in a matter of seconds you feel the pain much more acutely.

The Dodgers don’t have to worry about making history by losing in the World Series three years in a row because they won’t even be showing up. Rarely has a 106 win season felt so hollow as it does right now.

I wanted to get a lousy night’s sleep before saying anything but I think any manager can take this talented team and win a Division Title, so what you want is a manager who can help the team win in October. Dave Roberts may not be that manager.

Jon Weisman posted this before the game and even as it rings true I don’t think Dave Roberts managed a very good end game last night.


When I heard everyone saying that Kershaw was going to pitch out of the bullpen I wondered why they were excited about that. Kershaw had a good to great season but he had one flaw that kept it from being a brilliant season. He really sucked at getting the first three outs just about every time he started.  When he gave up three quick runs to the Nationals in Game Two, it was no surprise to anyone who has followed his season this year. So why is he even an option out of the bullpen unless you are desperate when you have Urias who was one of the best bullpen pieces in baseball this year? Clayton gave up 10 home runs in 28 innings in the first inning as a starter. That means before he gets out three outs in any game there is a 12% chance someone is going to hit a home run. Are those the odds you want to go with in a 3 – 1 game that sends you home if you make the wrong decision when you have your whole bullpen to use and you already in the 8th inning?

Split           IP ER  ERA HR
1st inning    28.0 18 5.79 10
2nd inning    28.0  4 1.29  2
3rd inning    28.0 10 3.21  6
4th inning    28.0  9 2.89  6
5th inning    28.0  8 2.57  2
6th inning    26.0  6 2.08  2
7th inning    12.1  5 3.65  0
Innings 1-3   84.0 32 3.43 18
Innings 4-6   82.0 23 2.52 10
Innings 7-9   12.1  5 3.65  0

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/10/2019.

Joe Kelly pitched a great 9th inning. He got his three outs. For some reason, Dave Roberts felt he could get three more. He couldn’t and there are no numbers to explain why Dave Roberts felt this was a good idea. Below are the game logs for every time Joe Kelly was asked to get more than three outs during the 162 game season. He only did it once before and that was in a blow out when Dave was making sure that Joe Kelly was back on track after his horrible start.  Of the eight times, Joe Kelly was asked to get more than three outs in a game, he gave two or more runs three times. Are those the odds you want to work with in a tie game in the 10th inning when you still have most of your bullpen available?

Gtm    Date  Rslt Inngs  IP H ER
75    Jun19  W9-2  8-GF 2.0 2  0
5      Apr1  L2-4   6-7 1.2 4  4
10     Apr7 W12-6   4-6 1.2 3  2
131   Aug24  W2-1   6-7 1.2 1  0
2     Mar29  L4-5   7-8 1.1 3  2
15    Apr12  L5-8   6-7 1.1 3  1
87     Jul2  W5-4   5-6 1.1 0  0
125   Aug17  L3-4   6-7 1.1 1  0
11     Apr8  L3-4   6-6 1.0 2  1

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/10/2019.

On the plus side for Dave Roberts he tabbed Enrique Hernandez to play LF instead of Pollock or Taylor, and that paid off handsomely with Hernandez hitting a key home run.

He is also the manager who decided to use Walker in game one so that he could also pitch a game 5. He could have gone with Ryu or Kershaw. He made the right decision. Many times he has made the right decision but many times he has not and the end result right now is that the Dodgers have had a historical run but the Holy Grail of baseball continues to elude them.


I’m not one to make a ridiculous statement unless I mean to, so when noted baseball historian Bill James said I’d made one on twitter and to look up the facts, I had no choice but to look up the facts and see if I indeed had made one.

This was what Bill James tweeted:
Understanding that the post-season is largely random, the Dodgers use this everybody-does-everything policy with players playing all different positions and starters going to the bullpen, etc. It would make me uncomfortable in post-season. I want to KNOW who my guys are.

and Bill replied:

So I did.

The key here is that in the original tweet Bill said that “in postseason I want to know who my guys are” and that was what my reply was about.  The Dodgers do know what their positions are and have since Sept 3rd. While it is true that during the season Dave Roberts tinkered with his lineup, by the time the season ended he had basically two lineups for the postseason and only Max Muncy was playing two positions.

The multiple catalysts that ending this tinkering were the following:

  1. On Sept 3rd, AJ Pollock was permanently moved to LF
  2. On Sept 3rd Cody Bellinger became the defacto CF
  3. Gavin Lux was promoted from AAA to the Dodgers and became the starting 2nd baseman against all right hand pitchers
  4. David Freese rejoined the team from the disabled list and took all the at-bats against LHP at 1st base.

It wasn’t set in stone in Sept because Justin Turner was hurt most of the month, and the rosters expanded. With Turner out Max Muncy also played some 3rd which threw Cody Bellinger back to 1st base, but that was an anomaly.  When the starters are healthy, which they are for October, the lineups are set. Against RHP, Muncy will play 1st, Lux will play 2nd. Against LHP, Muncy will play 2nd, Freese will play 1st. Sometimes one of Matt Beaty or Chris Taylor will play LF instead of Pollock against RHP.

Sure the utility players move all over the place. Chris Taylor can play 2nd/ SS/RF/CF/LF, and so can Enrique. Matt Beaty can play 1st/3rd/LF. That is their role when everyone is healthy now the Lux is the starting 2nd baseman.

So below is the chart of games and the positions played by each of the normal starters that you are seeing in October. These were the regular-season games since Sept 3rd which is the date that Dave Roberts moved Cody Bellinger to CF.

Was my comment ridiculous? You tell me.

Player Position Games
Max Muncy 1st Base 10
2nd base 3
3rd Base 8
Gavin Lux 2nd Base 22
Corey Seager Shortstop 21
Justin Turner 3rd Base 7
Will Smith Catcher 15
Joc Pederson RF 20
AJ Pollock LF 17
Cody Bellinger 1B 9
CF 17
RF 1
Utility/Bench Players
Russell Martin Backup Catcher
Matt Beaty 1st/3rd/LF
Chris Taylor LF/CF/SS/2nd
Kiké Hernandez 2b/SS/LF/CF


Walker set the proper pace for game one

Dave Roberts had a good game on Thursday Night, but his best call was the most important. Dave went with Walker Buehler to start game one, and Walker didn’t disappoint, hurling the Dodgers to a 6 – 0 victory.

How good was Walker Buehler? Only eight pitchers have given up zero runs, one hit or less and had at least eight strikeouts in postseason history.

Player              Age       Date Series Gm#  Tm Opp   Rslt  IP H ER BB SO GSc
Walker Buehler   25.067 2019-10-03   NLDS   1 LAD WSN  W 6-0 6.0 1  0  3  8  75
Pedro Martinez   27.351 1999-10-11   ALDS   5 BOS CLE W 12-8 6.0 0  0  3      8
Mike Mussina     28.311 1997-10-15   ALCS   6 BAL CLE  L 0-1 8.0 1  0  2 10  88
Tom Glavine      29.217 1995-10-28     WS   6 ATL CLE  W 1-0 8.0 1  0  3  8  85
Anibal Sanchez   29.227 2013-10-12   ALCS   1 DET BOS  W 1-0 6.0 0  0  6 12  78
Moe Drabowsky    31.076 1966-10-05     WS   1 BAL LAD  W 5-2 6.2 1  0  2     11
Roy Halladay     33.145 2010-10-06   NLDS   1 PHI CIN  W 4-0 9.0 0  0  1  8  94
Roger Clemens    38.071 2000-10-14   ALCS   4 NYY SEA  W 5-0 9.0 1  0  2 15  98

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Generated 10/4/2019.

You have to hate and love that Moe Drabowsky is on this list with the greatest relief appearance in World Series history when he shut out the 1966 Dodgers getting twenty outs, giving up one hit, and struck out eleven.

Walker only went six innings before handing the ball off to Kolarek, Kenta, and Kelly. Kolarek had one job, get Juan Soto and to the surprise of most Dodger fans who have seen the LOOGY not do that job, Kolarek did his job, making a great hitter look silly. Kenta got his five outs and Joe Kelly finished up.

The offense got four walks in the first inning for a run but was sputtering with a 2 – 0 lead when Max Muncy got the biggest hit of the night a legit two run single with the bases loaded to give the Dodgers a 4  run lead and allowed Dodger fans to finally exhale.

Joc Pederson and Gavin Lux would hit solo home runs for the final 6 – 0 victory.

For Lux:

Per MLB At 21 years, 314 days old, Lux is the fourth-youngest player in MLB history to homer in his postseason debut. Only Jimmy Sebring (1903), Brian McCann (2005) and Rougned Odor (2015) were younger.

Joc Pederson brought the crowd to their feet when he crushed a foul pole home run and now has seven postseason home runs.

The home run


Here we go again

The last time the Dodgers and Nationals met in the postseason was the classic 2016 NLDS when the Dodgers had to win games four and five or face elimination. They won both, but game five didn’t come easy and is probably one of the best NLDS games in Dodger history.

In 2016 the Dodgers turned to their ace Clayton Kershaw for game one. This year, Dave Roberts could have gone with Ryu who won the NL ERA title and was pitching lights out his last few starts of 2019, they could have gone with Clayton Kershaw, the most consistent of the three starters, but they have gone with Walker Buehler and with good reason. Walker wasn’t as consistent as either Ryu or Kershaw but when he’s on, he’s the Dodgers best pitcher. The Dodger rotation had eight games with a game score of 80 or better and Walker had four of them.

Player                  Date Opp  Rslt  IP H ER BB SO GSc
Walker Buehler    2019-06-21 COL W 4-2 9.0 3  2  0 16  89
Walker Buehler    2019-08-03 SDP W 4-1 9.0 5  1  0 15  88
Hyun-Jin Ryu      2019-05-12 WSN W 6-0 8.0 1  0  1  9  88
Walker Buehler    2019-06-03 ARI W 3-1 8.0 2  1  0 11  85
Hyun-Jin Ryu      2019-05-07 ATL W 9-0 9.0 4  0  0  6  85
Clayton Kershaw   2019-08-14 MIA W 9-1 7.0 2  0  0 10  83
Kenta Maeda       2019-05-15 SDP W 2-0 6.2 3  0  0 12  80
Walker Buehler    2019-09-10 BAL W 7-3 7.0 4  0  0 11  80

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Generated 10/3/2019.

In 2016 the Dodgers gave at-bats to Adrian Gonzalez, Yazmani Grandal, Chase Utley, Josh Reddick, Howie Kendrick, Andrew Toles, Yasiel Puig, and Carlos Ruiz. As a group, they had a terrible series with only Howie doing any actual hitting.

The Dodgers basically won the series on the hitting of Joc Pederson and Justin Turner.  Seager was horrible, Gonzales was horrible, Grandal was horrible, Reddick was horrible. Puig only got five at-bats and went hitless.

Of that horrible performance group, only Seager is still on the team.

Gonzalez has been replaced with Max Muncy

Grandal has been replaced with Will Smith

Josh Reddick / Puig have basically been replaced by 2019 future MVP Cody Bellinger

AJ Pollock is here

2016 NLDS Offensive Stats:

                    Play Play Play Play Play Play Play  Play  Play Regu
Name                  AB    H   2B   HR  RBI   BA  OBP   SLG   OPS  OPS
Corey Seager          23    3    1    2    3 .130 .130  .435  .565 .877
Adrian Gonzalez       20    4    0    1    2 .200 .238  .350  .588 .784
Yasmani Grandal       16    2    0    0    0 .125 .263  .125  .388 .816
Chase Utley           16    3    0    0    2 .188 .278  .188  .465 .716
Joc Pederson          15    5    1    1    3 .333 .444  .600 1.044 .847
Josh Reddick          15    4    0    0    1 .267 .313  .267  .579 .749
Justin Turner         15    6    0    1    5 .400 .591  .733 1.324 .832
Howie Kendrick         9    3    1    0    0 .333 .400  .444  .844 .691
Andrew Toles           9    2    0    0    0 .222 .364  .222  .586 .870
Charlie Culberson      7    0    0    0    0 .000 .000  .000  .000 .697
Yasiel Puig            5    0    0    0    0 .000 .375  .000  .375 .740
Carlos Ruiz            4    2    0    1    3 .500 .500 1.250 1.750 .713

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/3/2019.

You could make a case that the 2019 Dodgers are better at every position than the 2016 team that beat the Nationals. The bench certainly is. David Freese, Chris Taylor, Russell Martin, Matt Beaty, and Kikè.

In 2016 none of the starters had a particularly good series. Kershaw had a great game one but once again ran into trouble in the 7th inning of game four. Joe Blanton and Pedro Baez were the stars out of the bullpen. Kenley had moments but also didn’t have moments.

The starters were Kershaw / Hill / Kenta / Kershaw / Hill

I have to think that Buehler / Ryu / Kershaw / Hill / Buehler is going to trump that.

The 2019 bullpen will have Kenta Maeda, Joe Kelly, Adam Kolarek, and Dustin May along with the holdovers of Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, and Julio Urias.

They could be formibile, they certainly seem better than the 2016 bullpen.

2016 NLDS Pitching Stats:

                   Play Play Play Play Play Play Play Play Play  Play
Name                ERA    W    L   SV   IP    H   ER   BB   SO  WHIP
Clayton Kershaw    5.84    1    0    1 12.1   15    8    3   19 1.459
Rich Hill          6.43    0    1    0  7.0    9    5    4   13 1.857
Kenley Jansen      6.75    0    0    2  5.1    4    4    5    9 1.688
Joe Blanton        0.00    1    0    0  5.0    1    0    1    5 0.400
Pedro Baez         0.00    0    0    0  3.2    0    0    2    1 0.545
Kenta Maeda       12.00    0    1    0  3.0    5    4    2    4 2.333
Julio Urias        0.00    1    0    0  2.0    1    0    2    1 1.500
Grant Dayton      16.20    0    0    0  1.2    5    3    2    4 4.200
Ross Stripling     0.00    0    0    0  1.2    0    0    0    2 0.000
Luis Avilan        0.00    0    0    0  1.1    2    0    0    2 1.500
Josh Fields        0.00    0    0    0  1.0    0    0    1    3 1.000
Totals             4.91    3    2    3 44.0   42   24   22   63 1.455

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/3/2019.

Dodgers rookies continue to excel

Edwin Rios is just the latest Dodger rookie to shine when given the chance for playing time. None of the five rookies that have gotten playing time have struggled, as all five of them now have an OPS > .800.

Back in the spring of 2018, Edwin Rios was having a fine spring and was in front of Max Muncy and Matt Beaty in the Dodger pecking order. Rios got hurt in April of 2018 so when the Dodgers needed a 1st/3rd they went with Max Muncy. This spring when they needed a 1st/3rd they went with Matt Beaty.  Edwin finally got his chance on June 27th and collected his first major league hit two days later on June 29th. His stay with the Dodgers was short but he had a .888 OPS when he was sent back to AAA on July 8th. Rios would hit eleven home runs in just twenty-one games before getting the call back to the Dodgers on Aug 6th. On August 14th, Edwin hit his first major league home run. He then hit his 2nd major league home become one of the few Dodgers to hit their 1st and 2nd home runs in the same game.

None of Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty, or Kyle Garlick are ranked among the Dodgers top ten prospects. The two who were are Alex Verdugo and Will Smith and they have performed like it.

If these guys are doing, can you just imagine what Gavin Lux is going to do?

Rk         Player Year Age  PA   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1      Will Smith 2019  24  85 .329 .400 .808 1.208
2      Edwin Rios 2019  25  35 .357 .486 .714 1.200
4      Matt Beaty 2019  26 176 .289 .330 .500  .830
5    Alex Verdugo 2019  23 377 .294 .342 .475  .817
6    Kyle Garlick 2019  27  48 .244 .292 .511  .803

Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/16/2019.