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.
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.
“I love you,” said Rick Honeycutt, the pitching coach for Clayton Kershaw’s entire career. “You always give everything you’ve got. Sometimes it don’t work out.”
Kershaw burst into tears. https://t.co/DkhinPhurP
— Stephanie Apstein (@stephapstein) October 10, 2019
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Something I wrote last night:
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) October 9, 2019
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
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
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.
This seems overstated. The utility players move around, but other than Muncy who goes from 2nd to 1st the regulars have had set positions.
— Phil Gurnee (@meercatjohn) October 8, 2019
and Bill replied:
Phil, that is a really ridiculous thing to say. Look it up.
— Bill James Online (@billjamesonline) October 8, 2019
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:
- On Sept 3rd, AJ Pollock was permanently moved to LF
- On Sept 3rd Cody Bellinger became the defacto CF
- Gavin Lux was promoted from AAA to the Dodgers and became the starting 2nd baseman against all right hand pitchers
- 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.
|Max Muncy||1st Base||10|
|Gavin Lux||2nd Base||22|
|Justin Turner||3rd Base||7|
|Russell Martin||Backup Catcher|
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
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.
Rookie Gavin Lux didn’t have time to be nervous before his first career postseason plate appearance. Then he became the youngest Dodger to ever homer in the postseason. https://t.co/jRfpi4lF4z
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) October 4, 2019
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.
Joc Pederson is tied for third all-time in #Dodgers franchise history for postseason homers (7).
This is their 47th postseason series as a franchise.
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) October 4, 2019
The home run
If you missed it last night, Joc Pederson tried to literally topple a foul pole with a homer.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) October 4, 2019
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
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
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
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
Will Smith hit two more home runs last night giving him nine home runs in his first twenty-three games. To put that into perspective I looked at all the home runs for LAD catchers in their first 25 games:
Mike Piazza hit one
AJ Ellis had zero
David Ross had six
The infamous Jack Fimple had one
Mike Scioscia had zero
Paul Lo Duca had one
Russell Martin had three
Which leads me to this statement. Will Smith with nine home runs in his first 23 games had more home runs than Piazza/Lo Duca/Martin/Scioscia combined (5) in their first 25 games.
With nine home runs already, Will Smith has hit more home runs in a season by a LAD catcher than 20 other seasons.
Rk Player HR From To Age G PA 1 Mike Piazza 177 1992 1998 23-29 726 3017 2 Steve Yeager 100 1972 1985 23-36 1219 3869 3 John Roseboro 90 1958 1967 25-34 1254 4505 4 Yasmani Grandal 89 2015 2018 26-29 510 1883 5 Mike Scioscia 68 1980 1992 21-33 1441 5057 6 Russell Martin 58 2006 2019 23-36 730 2907 7 Paul Lo Duca 57 1998 2004 26-32 588 2361 8 Todd Hundley 50 1999 2003 30-34 225 822 9 A.J. Ellis 36 2008 2016 27-35 544 1922 10 Tom Haller 25 1968 1971 31-34 474 1637 11 Rod Barajas 21 2010 2011 34-35 123 409 12 David Ross 16 2002 2004 25-27 118 343 13 Norm Sherry 16 1959 1962 27-30 131 385 14 Chad Kreuter 14 2000 2002 35-37 194 613 15 Rick Dempsey 13 1988 1990 38-40 218 532 16 Charles Johnson 12 1998 1998 26-26 102 376 17 Joe Pignatano 12 1958 1960 28-30 173 435 18 Doug Camilli 11 1960 1964 23-27 163 424 19 Dioner Navarro 10 2005 2011 21-27 139 487 20 Will Smith 9 2019 2019 24-24 23 80
The whole point of this column was to highlight how bad Cody and Corey have been in August even with the Dodgers winning 80% of their games in August so far.
When I checked the August splits I was aghast that Cody had an OPS of .863. That isn’t bad, that is good and I’d need another angle, but before I could blink into that angle I also noticed that Corey and Cody are sharing the same OBP of .263 for August. And that is bad. Now I know that we are dealing with a very small sample size but that isn’t the point of this. The point of this little column is that even with Cody/Corey only getting on base about one-quarter of the times they come up, their inability to get on base has done little to stop the Dodger locomotion as the Dodgers chug their way to a plus 100 win season. The Dodgers are 8 – 2 in August in spite of Cody/Corey. That is amazing, how are the Dodgers doing that?
Starting pitching and the revived bats of Pollock, Martin, and Joc.
Most of the damage in August has come from AJ Pollock, Russell Martin, Will Smith, Justin Turner, and Joc Pederson. Each of those listed above has an OPS greater than .900 so far in August. Pollock is doing all his damage against LHP, and of course, Joc is doing all his damage against RHP.
You know who isn’t hitting in August besides Seager? Kristopher Negron and Tyler White. Negron made a big splash in late July but has only seven singles in August even while starting ten of the last twelve games. Tyler White has been unable to get it going and has only one hit which came in his 2nd at-bat. Neither is cause for concern because both were just placeholders while the Dodgers wait for Kiké, Taylor, Freese, and recently acquired Jeff Gyorko to come off the injured list.
The rotation so far in August had two rookies making the season debuts at Dodger Stadium and was still incredible. The Dodgers have made ten starts and only two have been bad. One of those bad starts was by Dustin May in his debut but……..
Player Split Year W L ERA GS IP H SO/W sOPS+ Hyun-Jin Ryu August 2019 1 0 0.00 1 7.0 5 4.00 28 Tony Gonsolin August 2019 1 0 0.00 1 6.0 2 7.00 -23 Walker Buehler August 2019 1 0 0.60 2 15.0 9 7.67 20 Clayton Kershaw August 2019 2 0 2.08 2 13.0 10 2.33 70 Dustin May August 2019 0 1 3.18 2 11.1 14 10.00 94 Kenta Maeda August 2019 1 0 4.66 2 9.2 8 10.00 48
Included in the August starts were :
- The seventh-best game score (77) by Kenta Maeda in his career
- The debut start of Tony Gonsolin who threw six dominant shutout innings
- The debut start at Dodger for Dustin May, who faltered in the 6th in his first start but bounced back for a terrific second start
- The return of Ryu from the injured list who threw just about a perfect seven innings as he continues to make his case for the 2019 CYA
- Walker Buehler putting up a game score of 88 with 15 K’s and zero walks, one of the most dominant games of 2019.
And it is just August 12th
With 120 games played and 42 left the Dodgers only have to win half their games the rest of the year to reach 100 wins for the season. On the season the Dodgers are 48 – 16 at home which equates to a robust .750 winning percentage or in real layman terms, the Dodgers are winning three out of every four games they play at home. With only seventeen home games still remaining out of the 42 games left Dodger fans won’t get to see the team very much but when they are home they will be playing the New York Yankees, BlueJays, Rockies, Giants, Tampa, and the Rockies. On the road, they get games against some of the worst teams in baseball such as Miami and Baltimore.
I’d bet on 106 wins right now.