Dodgers addition by subtraction doesn’t seem to be adding up
On August 1st the Dodgers made a plethora of moves, bringing in a new right fielder, a starting pitcher, and two new relief pitchers. Making room for all these additions they sent Yasiel Puig to AAA, without giving fans much of a clue as to what his future with the Dodgers held. Just the fact they felt Howie Kendrick was a better choice to play left field, and that Scott Van Slyke was a better bench option said volumes about how they little they felt that Puig could help the current ball club.
It was a little amusing when Eric Stephen put out his monthly stats for July, which showed Puig having a solid offensive month in July and clearly was not a candidate to be sent to AAA based on performance. Whatever the message the Dodger front office wanted to send to Puig, it was hard for me to believe that the team as a whole was better off without him, so the only thing I could think of was that this was a classic addition by subtraction move.
On the surface, the moves seemed to have paid off as the Dodgers have gained ground on the NL West-leading Giants moving to within one game, and for a brief moment were even tied.
But make no mistake, the Dodgers aren’t gaining ground on the Giants because they are all of the sudden a cohesive machine, they are basically treading the same water as the Giants. The Dodgers are 6 – 6 in August, the Giants are now 5 – 7. No one can lay claim to laying waste to the teams they have been playing.
Before the trading deadline, the team that still had Puig on it had gone 18- 10 from the point they were eight full games behind the Giants. That is the team that made up the ground on the Giants, not the “new” team. The Dodgers are still one game back of the Giants, on August 1st they were two games back. That means they have made up one game on a team that is two games under .500 for the month.
Yet, not having Puig is not why the Dodgers are trading water, the reason is the craziest excuse for a rotation the Los Angeles have seen in many a year. I personally can’t remember a Dodger team with a rotation like this.
If any Dodger fan ever used to wonder what a Dodger rotation would look like without the best pitcher in baseball, they now have the answer, and of course, the answer is a shambles. It was in shambles on August 1st and is now in even worse shape. In the month of August, only one pitcher has managed to pitch effectively and his name is not Kenta Maeda, or Scot Kazmir, or Rich Hill, or Brandon McCarthy, or Julio Urias, his name is Ross Stripling. That is not a good thing.
The Dodger rotation has made twelve starts in August, and in those twelve starts, they have managed to get 15 outs only seven times. Five times they have taken the mound and have not gotten 15 outs. Granted three of those games were by one pitcher, Brandon McCarthy. The other by Brock Stewart and final game was by Brett Anderson.
Those who love their fangraphs don’t have to take my word for it, they can simply use the August splits for starting pitching. The Dodgers are dead last. The bullpen has had to pitch more innings in August than any bullpen in baseball.
Headed into Friday, Rich Hill was supposed to make the start. He didn’t. On Saturday Brandon McCarthy was supposed to prove to everyone that he had fixed his mechanical problems. He didn’t. On Sunday, Brett Anderson was going to prove that only three rehab games were all he needed. He didn’t. The only thing Brett Anderson proved was that he just might be the most fragile pitcher that has graced the mound in many a year. A simple ground ball ended his game. Brett had already proven that he probably could have used another rehab start given that he was down by five runs and was still pitching in the first inning. The next play proved too much for the baseball athlete as he lunged for a groundball and somehow sprained his pitching wrist. I guess some bodies are simply not meant to touch the ground without repercussions.
Three starters, three down. Luckily rookies Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, and Brock Stewart were around to pick up the fallen veterans.
With Brandon McCarthy out, and Anderson up in the air. The team now turns back to Bud Norris who just got over his own bad back. Oh, and of course the mythical Rich Hill.
Josh Reddick who replaced Puig two weeks ago got his first extra base hit today . He’s made some highlight catches and highlight bloopers. Two sun balls so far. Maybe they can platoon him when the sun is out. With a Puig if they had him up.
Puig, as expected, is crushing in AAA, but the front office knows what is best for the team and that means a Puigless Dodgers for the foreseeable future.
Addition by Subtraction so far is 6 – 6, and that probably won’t cut it if/when the Giants ever decide to play like the team that was twenty-one games over .500 on June 26th.
Maybe they never do, maybe the Dodgers can simply play .500 ball the rest of the year and still win their fourth straight division title. I wouldn’t count on it though.