DON’T GET ALL HAPPY… JUST YET!

Before I get into the game, it’s good to hear that Pedro Guerrero is improving.

The Dodgers struggled against lefthanders the first two games of the season and I have never heard such wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I told you yo be patient, that this is baseball with peaks and valleys and two games meant nothing.  It’s a two-way street.  The Dodgers broke out against a lefthander yesterday, and while I am encouraged, it means nothing… just yet!  We are going to have to see a few more games before pronouncing whether or not they have improved against LH pitching.  They will have the opportunity over the next several days to do just that, starting today with one of the best in the game: Jon Lester.

It was good to see Austin Barnes get a couple of hits, even of the blowing fly ball variety.  Joc, Corey, Logan and Justin also all got at least 2 hits.  Forsythe had 3 to help bust his slump. Maeda was a little shaky but went 5 and Jansen looked like he hadn’t pitched for several days.  He will be ready for the Cubs.

As I have said before, I believe that the Dodgers will be better against LH pitching this year and I won’t repeat why.  We just have to see how that plays out.  By the end of the month, a clear pattern pattern should emerge.

Minor League Report

  • OKC BOXSCORE OKC won 12-1.  Cody Bellinger went 1-5 (2B) and saw his BA drop to a mere .412.  O’Koyea Dickson is making a case to be on the BIG TEAM as he went 4-5 and now is hitting .714.  Willie Calhoun went 3-4 while Brett Eibner went 4-4 and Jair Jurrjens went 6 innings, allowing 3 hits and 1 run.  Let’s not forget that he was once a pretty good #2 or #3 starter and he’s only 31.
  • TULSA BOXSCORE Tulsa won 8-4. Ahmed was 2-4 as was Fernandez (who has been hot).  Rios was 3-5 with a HR and Mieses also homered.
  • RC BOXSCORE   Rancho lost 2-1. DJ Peters (playing CF) got two hits as did Ibandel Isabel (6′ 4″-21-year old 1B), but that was about it. Istler was hung with the loss.
  • GREAT LAKES BOXSCORE  GL lost 10-9.  Cody Thomas was 3-5 with a HR and there were lots of other hits, but the Loons pitchers pretty much got torched.

I think that this year is a critical year for Alex Verdugo – he could become a Tony Gwynnesque player or another over-hyped prospect.  So far, he looks to be stepping it up a notch, as he is hitting .417 with a  1.212 OPS.  I have no such compunction about Cody Belligner.  He is ready and is a star in the making.  I knew it with Seager – yet are cut from the same stock.  Trayce Thompson is struggling, but Dickson and Eibner are raking, as is Willie Calhoun.  There is ZERO doubt that Willie can hit.

Today’s Music

Posted by Mark Timmons

I started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. I took a year off in 2016 and now I am back. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. I don't do game recaps or in-depth sabermetric analysis. I value sabermetrics, but leave that to people smarter than me... which is only 98% of the population. This is where you start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome!

This article has 21 Comments

  1. Can’t go wrong with Kings of Leon…
    Happy to get out of there with at least one.. I continue to believe that playing in Denver is akin to the old ‘E’ coupon ride at Disney. I knew it the first time I hit a driver there…
    It’s on to Chi Town…

  2. OK, OK, you were right, but what’s wrong with some “wailing and gnashing of the teeth” when your favorite team loses two in a row? Heck, my dentist loves it when I gnash my teeth. And yeah “peaks and valleys” is a two way street, but we want a one-way super highway, instead of a two way street, from the valley to the peak. What’s wrong with that Kemosabe?
    .
    Thanks for posting the info about the minor league hit parades. I guess if the worst happens, we got lots of choices “in house” to fix things. I am starting to warm up to Gutierrez, but I have seen O’Koyea Dickson play here in Reno, he consistently pounded the ball. Anybody know why he isn’t more highly thought of? And 6′ 5″, 27 yr old Brett Eibner, who was drafted in the second round might have finally figured a few things out.
    .
    Lastly, good to hear about Jurrjens.

    1. Boxout

      I know Eibner played college ball, with Logan.

      And I think he was up with the Royals at one time, because I heard them talk about that, on one of the broadcasts.

      He is suppose to be a good defensive player, so I guess his bat, hasn’t developed fully yet, maybe it will, this year.

      AC is our resident expert, when it comes to minor leaguers, so I will leave it, to him.

      1. Speaking of Eibner, he had a clutch 2-run HR to ice the game for OKC. He has 6 hits in 10 AB’s with 1 2B and 2HRs. Morrow got the save after Urias started and went 3.2IP, 2ER (4 BB and 5K’s). I’m with many of you. If Urias is using up innings, he might as well get them against major league hitters.

  3. Thanks again for your wise words. Most are excellent. Today, in its simple message, was an exceptional reminder to all of us.

  4. I like the minor league report and box scores on this site. Makes it easier to check out the young guys. Liberatore is good again.

  5. Appreciate the point about small sample size and not jumping to conclusions.
    .
    If we put aside the stats and the W-L record, here’s what I’ve observed about this year’s team vs last year’s team. This is just what my eyes tell me.
    .
    – Puig is in a better position to succeed this year. Not sure if the results will be different than last year, but he is definitely leaner, a few steps faster down the line, and is starting to take pitches that he used to flail at in the past. The fact that we are debating whether he can sustain this represents progress over last year.
    – Joc is also taking better swings. His batting average doesn’t suggest much right now, but he’s beaten the shift a couple times and he’s keeping his head on it. His swings are more under control than last year and he hasn’t had to sacrifice any power. Will he hit 30 HR? Not clear, but I’m happy just by how I’ve seen him improve his at bats.
    – AGON looks to be in decline. Last year, he had that historic start with 5 HR’s in 3 games. He’s also dealing with his tennis elbow. His stats so far are pretty good and he’s still Vin’s butter and egg man with RISP (esp with 2 outs), but with respect to the eye test – he doesn’t look like the power guy we’ve seen for much of his career. My expectation is that AT BEST, Roberts can keep him productive by giving him regular rest. I’m counting on SVS to step up. Either that, or Bellinger comes up and gets reps with a OF platoon + first base when AGON rests. I think he batted 6th yesterday and I’m curious if he will gradually get moved down the lineup, even against RHP. By the way, did anyone else catch the look on Adrian’s face when Puig got forced at 2b because he thought AGON’s sinking liner was caught by the outfielder in left? I know it was a tough situation for Puig, but if he had looked for the umpire’s call on the trap, he would not have cost AGON a hit. Instead Adrian gets a FC.
    – The bullpen is off to a better start this year. I am much more confident in Romo, Avilan and Dayton than I was last year in Hatcher, Baez, and JP Howell. Plus, there are others like Libertore and Oaks they can call up if needed.
    – As for the starting pitching, I am cautiously more optimistic this year over last year. Last year, I just could not get excited about Bret Anderson and Scott Kazmir. I am pulling for Ryu since he gave us two good seasons in the past and he’s good at changing speeds. I thought he looked really good in his first start (in Denver!) – hey, he gave up fewer runs than CK and Maeda and I didn’t think they pitched badly considering it was Coors field.
    – I love Corey Seager – but I’m not expecting him to surpass the stellar output from his rookie season. At the end of the year, I am certain that I will love his production, but it’s not realistic to expect him to put up MVP numbers. You can already see the league knows he jumps on first pitch fastballs. Corey will adjust but it may take some time. I hope I’m wrong and he outperforms Kris Bryant.
    – I think Toles needs to get his old swing back. I hate that he fixed something that wasn’t broke. If Trayce is feeling better, I think they should give Trayce a chance with the big club and give Toles a chance to work on things at OKC.
    – Grandal is one of the better catchers in the league. I like having him on the team, but I don’t expect him to be a high average guy – even though he’s trimmed down and worked on his right handed hitting. When I watch him play, it appears that he is not able to pick up the spin on breaking pitches. This is a problem when he’s hitting since he’s consistently getting fooled on pitches in the dirt. This is also a problem behind the plate and I think it’s why we see so many passed balls from him. I would be happy if he maintained or slightly improve his numbers from last year. I also don’t know if he’s ever going to fully be on the same page as Kershaw. They were so out of sync again last game, it led to Kershaw balking. Even if Barnes can’t figure out how to hit MLB pitching, maybe he can be the next AJ Ellis by learning Kershaw and making CK comfortable in high stress innings.
    – Gutierrez is performing as advertised. The way Orel talks about him on the broadcast, you get the sense the guy is about to succumb to injury at any second. Orel’s always talking about how FG is dealing with nagging stiffness or joint discomfort. I expect that FG will need to go on the 10-day DL soon just to deal with his ongoing aches and pains. That would be a great time to bring up O’Koyea Dickson. This kid has put in the time and the effort and he’s more than earned a shot at debuting in the MLB.
    – I like Forsythe a lot. I like his defense. I like his attitude – he answered a question about the team’s struggles against LHP by brushing it off and basically responding “of course, this team will hit LHP” I just want to see the guy pull a ball just once so I can set aside doubts about his bat speed. He’s whiffed on several 90+mph fastballs in the zone and when he does make contact, he goes the other way. If he bats at the top of the lineup, I’d like to see him hit behind a high OBP guy. That would open up the right side more for him and he has shown he can find the 3-4 hole.
    .
    With all that said, I think most on the board know full well that the team we see now at the beginning of the year is not the team we will see at the end of the season.

    1. All in all, it sounds like you’re saying the team this year is better than last year’s team. That is good. FAZ has the organization going in the right direction.
      .
      I agree this team is not the team we will see at the end of the season. That should also be good.
      .
      We all want that championship THIS year. I look at how FAZ has acquired replacement pieces for just about everyone. As an organization we look deep everywhere. Management has and is doing it’s job. Now it’s up to the players to get it done, starting tonight in Chicago. Let’s beat Lester like a rented mule!!

    2. I think Joe Davis said the umpire immediately gave the save sign on Gonzales would be hit so Puig should have stayed on second. Agon was irked at Puig for coming back to first but he let that disgust interrupt his thinking. He should have told Puig to stand on first with him just in case the review said the ball was caught. There could have been a double play if the ball was ruled caught since Puig was tagged while standing 3 feet off first. Same goes for the first base coach.
      .
      I liked all that you said K27.

      1. Bum

        You should be happy today!

        Did you say that Wood was hitting 95, in the last game he pitched in?

    3. Knight

      I didn’t like to hear he changed his swing, either.

      I took a look at his different swings, in an article in SB Nation.

      But take a look at Joc’s stats, compared to Toles stats.

      They are not that much difference.

      Joc has three more RBIs, and he got four RBIs, in that first game, on one swing.

      Joc has one more walk, but he also has, six more strike outs, then Toles.

      And Toles is hitting at the top of the order, and the closest Joc has hit was fifth, but not many times.

      I don’t mean this as a put down for Joc, I am only using Joc, as a measure.

      Toles has looked a little better lately, and it is harder, to hit at the top of the order.

      It is still early.

  6. Knights – as I read that, I found myself nodding in agreement to each point.
    That is what my eyes are telling me too.
    I’m always happy to be proved wrong, and I have to say that I’m encouraged by both Joc & Puig. They seem to be at least trying to have better ABs.
    The pen has started well too.
    I’m cool with Grandal, he is very streaky & he will come good.
    Have to agree about AGon – I wonder if Belinger will be ready by mid summer?
    I wouldn’t stress to much about the D’backs & Rockies. They are playing well but will suffer injuries & that is when our depth will come into play.

    1. I was going to argue with K27, but, uh, there wasn’t anything to argue about. Nicely done.

      Do you remember when Mark first said the Dodgers should trade Agon? That was like a firestorm and all hell broke loose. Yet, he was right on with the timing, as almost everyone can now see.

  7. Dodgers lineup vs. LHP Lester:
    Forsythe 2B
    Seager SS
    Turner 3B
    Gutierrez LF
    Puig RF
    Gonzalez 1B
    Grandal C
    Pederson CF
    Wood P

    looks like Roberts/Faz reads LA DodgerTalk

    1. Well, they actually do…

      Not just this one, but all of them…

      They have a person assigned to do that.

  8. Ok, the Cub lovefest on the ESPN broadcast is gettin’ kind of old. Who are they gonna interview next, the groundskeepers grandma who has been a lifetime Cubs fan?

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