Rant and Rave Friday

  • So Adrian Gonzalez is still having issues with his elbow.  How much?  We do not know.  It has sapped his power but the silver lining is that it is forcing him to go the other way and that may be a blessing in disguise.  At this stage of his career, I like him at #5 or #6, but the Dodgers currently don’t have a true cleanup hitter.  More about that later…
  • I think most of us are skeptical of what Puig is doing with 3 HR in his last 2 games, but he does have the talent to do it.  It’s always been knuckleheadedry! We all hope he can continue but down deep we are from Missouri!  SHOW US, YAS!  If he keeps it up, this is a huge deal though!  WOW!  What a game-changer (fingers-crossed)  Maybe this is the difference:  Dave Roberts said: “When Yasiel is focused and he’s like that, he’s very dangerous,” Regardless of where you put him in the order, when he’s in the batter’s box and he’s like that, he’s a very dangerous hitter.”  FOCUS!
  • Quote of the Night: “That’s the Puig that we need and the Puig that everybody hated facing years ago and we love to watch now. He was huge behind me today.” — McCarthy on Puig.  From Dodger Insider Rowan Kavner
  • I was elated with Brandon McCarthy’s outing yesterday.  I especially liked his demeanor and the pace at which he pitched.  That keeps everyone on their toes and hitters off theirs!
  • Now , the Dodgers play a better team… a real team – the Rockies, who are also 3-1. They will also get a look at another lefthander. This shall prove to be interesting. Also, it’s Ryu’s first start – 1:10 Pacific Time Start!
  • So, the Big Team won against a AAA team team yesterday and the Dodgers Top minor league teams started their seasons.  Not all ended well. In Oklahoma City the Dodgers started Trevor Oaks and then followed him with four more pitchers who continued the shutout.  In the 9th, they brought in Brandon Morrow, who a allowed a run and was saddled with the 1-0 loss.   The Dodgers had 7 hits: 3 each for Bellinger and Dickson – the rest of the team had just one. BOXSCORE
  • The Tulsa Drillers also lost – 4-1. BOXSCORE  Farmer and Fernandez each had two hits but the bats were pretty silent.
  • As I mentioned, Cody Bellinger was 3-3 with a walk and 2 doubles, with a walk – I do believe he has learned all he can at the minor league level.  I also believe the Dodgers know that and are looking to see how they can integrate him into the lineup… quite possibly in LF if Toles doesn’t cut it.
  • Rancho Cucamonga and Great Lakes were postponed.  They should hopefully play tonight.
  • Doug Padilla ESPN Staff Writer :The Dodgers outscored the Padres 27-10 in the season-opening series (four games). In last year’s season-opening series (three games), the Dodgers outscored the Padres 25-0.
  • Sergio Romo is elated to be a Dodger – well duhhhhhh.  He went from the outhouse to the penthouse.

Today’s Music

 

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don’t do game recaps or such things — lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don’t think they are the “end-all-be-all.”. This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We’d like to hear your voice.

This article has 34 Comments

  1. Great RANT Mark.
    .
    “Sometimes people come into your life just to teach you how to let go.” Is that person Puig or do we love him again?
    .
    I wonder if a person slams their bat after striking out it means that they are not as relaxed as they need to be for that at bat.
    .
    The door is open for Toles and he hasn’t yet walked through it. Will it close before he hits his way through that door?
    .
    If Toles doesn’t take advantage of his opportunity, will Thompson take advantage? I think he will get first shot so that Bellinger’s MLB clock doesn’t start before June.

    1. Bum

      It has only been three games, even Joc has not got a hit since his HR, and he is hitting back, in the order, unlike Toles.

      And that is probably why he threw his bat, and his helmet, after he struck out.

      Toles is hitting at the top of the order, and it is harder to hit up there, then in the back of the order, in the seventh and eighth position.

      And Toles has not changed his demeanor, even though, he has only gotten two hits.

      I didn’t like his at bats yesterday, but I don’t like him hitting at the top of the order.

      But it was a good sign, that he took a walk, when the bases were loaded, in yesterday’s game.

      He may have to go down, but I still think, he will be back, but it is hard to hit lead off, when you are still learning how to hit major league, pitching.

      1. MJ, you might be right about the lead off spot being one of the more difficult spots to hit. I think it depends on the player though. If a player is mostly a singles hitter that works the count, then he probably would feel more comfortable leading off than he would in more of a RBI spot. Toles doesn’t work the count and often swings at the first pitch which leads to very few walks, so he isn’t a great hitter for either the #1 or the #8 spot.
        .
        There is a crowd that fits into the 6, 7, and 8 spots right now so adding Toles there is not what is needed.
        .
        Whether Toles stays at lead off or is moved down in the lineup, he has to hit if Thompson does or there will be a switch.

        1. Bum

          That hasn’t been Toles game, and he would be an asset, even in the eighth position, if he is consistently, hitting.

          Because often the number seven, and eighth hitters, in our line up, have been much like a black hole, in the line up, in the past.

          And that crowded line up you are talking about, besides Puig, haven’t done much, since the first game, either.

          And I agree that he will have to out hit Thompson, to stay up on the major league, team.

          But with the players that the Dodgers have, most everyone except the veterans, will have to produce, to stay on the major league team.

  2. The rains hit again in northern California so the Quakes opening game in Stockton was rained out. it does not look much better for today, as it is supposed to rain all day and into tomorrow. So I did the next best thing, I watched the OKC game. The OKC Dodgers did not hit well with runners on and were shut out. Eddie Butler, who has 28 career starts for the Rockies, started for the Iowa Cubs, and he was pretty good against the Dodgers with the exception of Bellinger and O’Koyea Dickson. Bellinger was not cheated with his hits; all three were shots, including one in the gap in left center. Dickson also had three hits, and they were all solid line drive singles. The problem was that Bellinger batted second and Dickson sixth. In between Thompson, Segedin, and Verdugo were 1 for 12 and 5Ks. The Dodgers were 0-16 with a base-runner.
    .
    In the top of the 9th, the CUbs got two hits and put runners on 1st and 3rd, 2 outs, and a PH for the pitcher’s spot. Brandon Morrow throws one in the dirt, that went right between Wilson’s legs, that was called a WP. I have no idea why, as that pitch should have been blocked. It was right in front, and Wilson was slow getting to his knees to block it. To me it was a PB and not a WP, but what difference does it make because a run scored making it 1-0. In the top of the ninth, Dickson started with his 3rd single, Calhoun worked a 1-2 count to a walk, Wilson sacrificed both runners up, and Culberson was intentionally walked bringing Chris Taylor to the plate with the bases loaded and Bellinger on deck. Just stay out of the DP. Nope…hard hit ground ball to Ian Happ who quickly started a 6-4-3 DP to end the game. Taylor very nearly (very very nearly) beat out the throw…he does hustle down the line, but the ball was hit too hard, and Happ made a good (and very quick) throw to the SS covering 2B.
    .
    Defense was very good for OKC. Thompson saved Oaks in the 2nd with two outstanding catches in RF, the last with the bases loaded. Taylor, Segedin, and Bellinger all made outstanding defensive plays. Oaks battled all night…well 4 innings anyway (70 pitches). He was up with his pitches most of the night. He was able to keep the ball down in the 3rd and 4th and got 4 ground outs which happens when Oaks is on. Geltz came on in the 5th and proceeded to retire all 6 with 4 Ks. Liberatore pitched a great 7th, 3 ground balls on 4 pitches, and he was done. 13 straight Cubs retired. Rhame came on in the 8th, got the first batter, but then walked the lead off. Bellinger made a very good play on a hard hit ground ball to make the out at 1st. Happ was intentionally walked, and Rhame struck out Zagunis to end the threat.
    .
    The Dodgers had 7 hits, three by Bellinger and Dickson, and one by Segedin. Thompson and Verdugo each struck out twice in their 4 AB, with only one ball hit out of the infield. Tonight’s a new night. Wilmer Font gets the starting nod for OKC tonight against Alec Mills, a 25 year old RH out of the Royals system before being traded to the Cubs this past winter.

    1. Thanks AC. Its cool that you can catch us up on minor league games. Those games are much more interesting now that we know so many of the players.

      1. As part of the MLB Package, I pay for MiLB as well. It’s like $50 a year.

        I remember back to the Jacksonville Suns Cam that was fixed behind the plate and did not move. I watched Russell Martin, Andy LaRoche (I still can’t figure out what happened to him), James Loney, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Jon Broxton and all the rest… back in the day!

        1. I had the OKC game on MiLB TV, and the Tulsa game on Gameday on a 2nd computer. $50.00 is not much for a full year access of any minor league game you want to watch. I do plan on getting to Stockton on Sunday to see the Quakes. I am looking forward to seeing DJ Peters up close.

        2. I used to go to AFL games. Small sample size but I never liked LaRoche’s swing. He could hit a low strike but didn’t seem like he could come within 6 inches of making contact on high strikes. the guy I thought would do well was their shortstop / second baseman Tony Abreu. Tony was to me what Andy was to you Mark, apparently.
          .
          Loney, Ethier, Kemp, Abreu always seemed to have good games when I watched them in AZ.

      2. I’ll do my best to familiarize everyone for some of the lesser known kids as well, including the low draft picks most do not know. One of my favorites this year will be Brandon Montgomery, 21 year old 2B, 2016 26th round draft pick out of San Jacinto College North, the same JC as LH pitcher Devin Smelzer, 2016 5th round pick. Montgomery will begin the year in Rancho, while Smelzer will start at Great Lakes.

    2. AC

      Do you find the Dodgers even in the minors, have trouble getting clutch hits, when runners are in, scoring position?

      1. MJ, they did last night, but it was Game 1 for both OKC and Tulsa. Managers are just getting to know their players, and I am sure there will be some adjustments. I am not sure why Bellinger was batting #2 and Dickson 6th. I am sure it has to do with spreading out the lefty batters, Bellinger/Verdugo/Calhoun. Bellinger might be very very special, so he is different. But remember this was Verdugo’s and Calhoun’s 1st time in AAA, they were facing a ML pitcher, and Verdugo is still 20. They will not be facing Eddie Butler tonight.I
        .
        Tulsa not as strong this year. I am not sure they have any star prospects. Garlick and Farmer are probably their two best position players. Edwin Rios may supply some power, but he is not a 3B. Locastro’s ceiling is probably utility. Beatty will be 24, and may hit some.
        Scavuzzo probably has a ceiling as a #4 OF. I honestly do not see one of those players as a LA Dodger, except maybe Kyle Farmer. Garlick could make a ML roster, but not as a Dodger.

        1. AC

          Thanks for your report, and your opinion, because I always appreciate your opinion, like eveyone else here, does.

          And I am sorry, about the bad weather.

  3. I have driven through Missouri and Puig is showing me.
    .
    1. Looks to be in TOP shape. Has to be at least 30 pounds lighter than a couple years ago.
    2. We know from Ladodgertalk reports he has been working overtime with Turner Ward.
    3. He is signed through 2018, arb in 2019. Getting closer to contract time, which will be after his age 28 season. He wants the big contract!
    4. It was only one day, but it just looked like he has slowed the game down while batting. Looked like he had TOTAL plate coverage and was just “measuring” every pitch.
    .
    I not only enjoyed watching him bat yesterday, but his throws from the outfield. CANNON! Oh and he covers a lot of ground. Keep up the good work Yasiel.

  4. Like everyone else, I hope Puig is going to show everyone, this year.

    He is so easy to root for, when he is playing the game, like he has, in the last couple of days.

    I hope the Wild Horse will continue to hit in Colorado, and we will be able, to watch him run wild, but successfully, and make some great defensive plays.

    Before today, I wondered if it would have been better, to give Ryu his first start in LA.

    I hope Ryu and his change up, can keep the Rockies bats, in check, and keep us in the game, today.

    1. And I want to thank the Dbacks, for giving us, a three game lead on the Giants, before this road trip!

      I hope we can go at least 500, on this road trip.

      1. Actually, it’s a two game lead and the Dbacks aint giving us anything. They spanked the Midgets because it’s spring and they BELIEVE!! They could be dangerous, but I don’t think they have the pitching for the long haul.

        By the way, has anybody checked out the ERA’s for the Midget’s vaunted starting pitching? I know, I know it’s early!

        1. Boxout

          I didn’t mean to diminish the Dbacks, I only wanted to say thanks!

          But thank you, for the heads up, on the lead!

          1. Boxout

            I bet the Minow, and the Giant’s bullpen, don’t have good ERAs, at this point in the season.

        2. For all the talk about pitchers who can carry a 200IP workload, the forgotten part of the argument is the effectiveness of the pitching. I would be ecstatic for Samardzija, Matt Moore, et al to pitch 200 innings this season if they continue their 6.3+team starters ERA. I would rather have a team starter ERA of 3.95 even if it means resorting to a patchwork of different pitchers.

  5. I’m happy to see Puig starting fast but I’m not going to get too excited until I see him do this against someone who’s fastball is faster than the average changeup. I also need to see him stop doing his Matt Kemp impersonation and waving a sliders in the other batters box. I’d rather see him strike out looking occasionally on a low and away strike than swing at the slider everyone knows is coming.

  6. A couple of thoughts. First, I’m not ready to buy into Puig yet. In addition to being an easy out on low away breaking stuff, he has had a problem with high velocity fastballs. Weaver is one of the slowest guys in MLB, so I am interested in what he will do against better pitching.

    Second, the Dodgers will face a bunch of lefties coming up. Tuesday’s single game is a small sample, but I am very interested in seeing how they will do against Freeland, Anderson, Lester, Anderson and Corbin (5 of the next 8 games).

    I agree with posters who note the difficulty the Dodgers have had identifying a regular leadoff hitter. There isn’t a traditional leadoff hitter in the bunch so the Dodgers have to think outside the box if Toles can’t get it done.
    Forsyth looks like he might be one choice. I have a more radical suggestion – Cory Seager. He has a high OBP, he will get on before the likes of Turner, and he will give the opposing pitcher something to think about right away. Plus, according to SABR-types, getting your best hitters the most AB is more important than the batting order so putting your best hitter up 1st is the best way to do that.

    1. If Puig can keep it up (and I am not saying he can), I think it would benefit him if Forsythe leads off.

      This might be interesting:

      1. Forsythe 2B
      2. Puig RF
      3. Seager SS
      4. Turner 3B
      5. Gonzalez 1B
      6. Grandal C
      7. Pederson CF
      8. Toles/SVS LF

      1. If Puig can consistently elevate the ball (as Roberts and Ward have been encouraging him to do), then he will not get anything to hit in the 8 hole. He needs to be in a spot where he sees more fastballs. If he can bat behind someone who is a threat to steal and in front of someone who is a threat to drive in runs, then he will get more pitches to hit – provided he can show he is willing to stay disciplined in pitch selection/recognition.
        .
        Forsythe seems like a pretty heady baserunner, but I really wish the Dodgers had someone who could be a base stealing threat. I like what FAZ has done but it doesn’t mean I agree with all their strategies – I believe that aggressive base running still leads to winning baseball.

        1. Yes it does and the Dodgers were pretty aggressive in running. They just don’t steal a lot. Neither do the Cubs. They were 20th in MLB while the team they beat in the Series was 4th. It can work either way. I love speed, but steals are overrated.

  7. Randoms: McCarthy was very efficient; about 70 pitches. Ball-strike ratio excellent. Ryu’s assignment today couldn’t be much tougher. If he succeeds, what a boost for the rotation. giants are in last place. We’ll see about Puig. For sure, don’t bench him. I am cautiously pessimistic about him.

  8. Pederson only lefty going against the LHP Freeland today. I guess they are riding the high of Kike’ for another day. Hope Ryu is up to the high altitude challenge.

  9. I like Puig hitting 2nd, or 3rd and not bottled up on the bases by AGon or Grandal. He can handle cleanup in Coors most likely. I like Forsythe hitting leadoff with what the other options are right now but he is an ideal 2 hole hitter IF we had a true leadoff guy.

    I hate to call him Blister Boy, but jeez that didn’t take long! With Urias slated to start Monday at OKC he could slide right into that spot. I doubt the blister is healed in 10 days either. Rick asked awhile back which starter would hit the DL first and I said Hill. I’m not happy I was right.

    It was good to see Kike get a clutch double off the bench and he even stole home on a botched play on a double steal. Roberts is really good at giving everyone some playing time, but needs to spread it out in the bullpen more.

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