What’s Brewing with the Dodgers?

August 8, 2014

 

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Roberto Hernandez (aka Fausto Carmona) is all set to start the first game of this weekend’s series against the Milwaukee Brewers.  This leaves us all wondering what other pitchers will Ned Colletti pick up during the “waiver/trade” month of August?  Rumor is that he is shopping for a “swing-man” that can handle both long relief and spot starts, to replace Paul Maholm.  We could also use some more starting pitching depth, in case of injury or in case Dan Haren forgets which changes he made before Wednesday’s game against the Angels.  Other than that, we definitely could use some real help in the bullpen, somebody we can slot in ahead of Brandon League and Brian Wilson.

 

 


First Quarter Extrapolations

May 13, 2014

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Lying with statistics.  We all do it, yet we all hate to be fooled by it.  It’s fun to do, yet exasperating.  Let’s see what happens when we apply it to the 2014 Dodgers:

  • Their final record will be 85-77, good enough for third place and 18 games behind the Giants.  The Giants finish the season at an incredible 103-59.
  • Adrian Gonzalez leads the Dodgers with 36 HRs and 108 RBIs.
  • Yasiel Puig finishes his sophomore season with 28 HRs and 116 RBIs.
  • Dee Gordon steals 96 bases and is caught just 12 times.
  • Zack Greinke and Dan Haren lead the pitching staff with records of 24-4 and 20-4, respectively.
  • Clayton Kershaw is only able to chip in with eight wins on the year.
  • Kenley Jansen has 48 saves, but 8 blown saves.
  • Brian Wilson finishes with an 0-8 record and 4 blown saves.
  • AJ Ellis has eight walks in 58 plate appearances.

Obviously, none of the above is going to happen.  That’s why they play the games.

Here’s looking forward to the last three quarters of the season being more successful than the first one quarter.


Recap of the Worst Game of 2014 (So Far)

April 16, 2014

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First, the good news:

  1. Juan Uribe scored both runs for the Dodgers.  He started the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning.  He later added a double and was pushed across the plate with Justin Turner’s single.  Uribe added a third hit, a single, later in the game.  Juan has been on a tear hitting-wise and has continued his stellar play defensively.  This game had me thinking that Uribe should be batting fifth, but then again, there was 2011-2012.
  2. Josh Beckett was able to survive a couple of major jams and actually pitched shutout ball for five innings despite walking five Giants.  He was definitely shaky, but much improved from his first start.  I’m actually looking forward to his third start.
  3. Matt Kemp hit his first single of the year!  Maybe this is a sign that he’s not pressing so hard, not trying to hit every ball out of the park.  Eventually, Mattingly will see the need to start Kemp in every game.  Later, Matt added a huge double, which may have been worthwhile, if only…

Now the bad news:

  1. The FedEx bunt.  It not only did not deliver, it took away a run by erasing Uribe just prior to the Matt Kemp double.  We could have seen Uribe scoring all three runs and won the game.  I can’t wait for AJ to return.  The FedEx/Butera platoon works on defense, but it sure puts a hole in the lineup.
  2. Chris Withrow let a run score on him, just after the team showed confidence in him by sending Paco to AAA rather than Withrow.  Of course, this was just the first time that he allowed a run this year, unlike…
  3. Kenley Jansen blew yet another save.  Dodger fans far and wide must be wondering just what is going on here.
  4. Andre Ethier was unable to convert a scoring opportunity directly after Yasiel Puig hit a one-out triple.  Ethier left him on third base with a strikeout, when “Not Every Day Dre” could have scored him with an ordinary fly ball.
  5. The non-appearance of Brian Wilson.  Of course, this is completely on Don Mattingly.  It looked like Mattingly was holding the Beard back for a possible save situation.  To me, it appeared that Mattingly was playing the extra innings just to lose the game when he inserted…
  6. Brandon League.  Why is he even still a Dodger?  When will Ned Colletti and Stan Kasten wake up, recognize the sunken costs and abject failure of the League contract, and designate him for assignment (DFA)?

Losing the first game of this Giants series after it had seemed we would win is especially troubling due to the fact that Paul Maholm is starting for us tonight.  That makes it doubly difficult to come out of San Francisco with a series victory.

 


Home Opener: The State of the Dodgers

April 3, 2014

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I had a few thoughts about the state of the Dodgers going into the home opener against the Giants. This will be partly a regurgitation of what we already know, but also partly a rant.

The Kershawless Pitching Rotation

Without Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu slip from #2/#3 to #1/#2, even though it doesn’t look that way in terms of the days they pitch. Rather, it looks like Ryu has moved into the #1 position, as he is about to start his third game in the sixth game for the Dodgers. But that’s really because Greinke was held back from going to Australia. Now whether he was held back by his calf injury or whether he held himself back and had a phantom injury, I will leave that for you to contemplate.

The rest of the rotation is slowly coming together. Haren looked great last night, so he slips into the #3 position. That leaves us with who can do a credible job at #4 and who can do at least semi-decent at #5 when that need arises. Maholm is slated to be the #4 man at this time, and we’ll get our first look at his abilities or inabilities to fill this role on Saturday against the hated ones. It will be some time before we need a #5 starter. With that extra time, Beckett may be available, but I for one have a nagging feeling that he may not be ready. In that case, we will likely use Fife as an emergency spot starter. Zach Lee would not likely be used until the team needs a #5 starter on a more permanent basis. By then, Billingsley may also be ready.

Bullpen

Well, Brian Wilson pretty much said that he didn’t have enough time in Spring Training to get in all the work he needed. That’s what precipitated him having to move to the DL. He’ll be back, hopefully in fifteen days. In the meantime, we need to find a new set up man for the eighth inning. The answer to that need is not immediately obvious. If it was me making the decision, I would use Paco. He was lights out last year until he got tired late in the season.

Impact of the Australia Trip

This reminds me of last year, when Hanley broke his thumb during the World Baseball Congress. Don’t mess around during Spring Training. It’s called Spring Training for a reason. This is the time to get the team ready for high level, professional, major league baseball.

The Return of Matt Kemp

The four outfielder conundrum returns. Who will be shipped off? Probably SVS, rather than Baxter. Why? (1) Options (2) Baxter is the left hander off the bench. Why does that matter if Crawford or Ethier will be on the bench? Keep Scott Van Slyke on the MLB roster. His bat is the bat we need off the bench. No more Michael Young, no more Sweeney. Get rid of Baxter, he hasn’t done a thing.

Coaching

Somebody is getting into Mattingly’s head and moving the baserunners. Look at the surprise bunt by Puig to move Crawford to third base. Look at Ethier and Hanley stealing bases. I think this is the impact of Wallach as bench coach and it is a great impact. I’d like to see more of it. This will keep the opposing pitchers off balance when we’ve got guys on base. This is the National League, you don’t sit around and wait for home runs.

Yasiel Puig

Puig is here to stay and will continue to be a force both offensively and defensively. Does he still have rough edges? You bet. How many? Well, let’s see there’s (1) baserunning mistakes, (2) doesn’t always hit the cutoff man, (3) missed a sign while batting last night. I’m sure there’s more than that. He is still a work in progress. He needs to take advice from both the coaches and his teammates. He’s getting there, but don’t expect him to be a veteran player by the end of this season. Meanwhile, right now he’s one of the most interesting hitters to watch. The others being Hanley and Matt.