None of This Means Anything

In 1988, the Dodgers played the Mets eleven times during the regular season… and lost ten times!  Did that mean anything?  No!  In the playoffs that year, the Dodgers took four out of seven games from the Mets to win the NL Pennant. The Mets 10-1 record against the Dodgers didn’t mean a thing! The Mets won 100 games that year.  The Oakland A’s won 104 games that same season and it didn’t mean anything!

The Dodgers had the NL MVP that year and yet they only won 94 games and to top it off they lost their MVP due to leg injuries for the rest of the playoffs… and they won it all. None of the other stuff meant anything.  Losing their MVP mean nothing.  What means something is how you finish.  What means something is the spirit of the team.  What means something is the power of the human spirit on that team at the time of the playoffs and World Series.

With one swing, in his only at bat during the World Series, Kirk Gibson broke the spirit of the Oakland A’s – and they were done! As Vin said, “In a season that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”  Jack Buck said “I don’t believe what I just saw!”  So, while all of this winning is nice – none of it means anything.  The Dodgers are building character, habits and team spirit and that might mean something, but the best team does not always win.

Intangibles are important and hard to define.  How the human spirit responds to adversity is something very difficult to see and understand, but is paramount to success.  High character players, coach staff and leadership all plays a role.  The Dodgers are now 81 and 33 for a ,711 winning percentage and I am telling you, it means nothing!  This Dodger team will likely win well over 100 games, but the final chapter is what will define them.

If they don’t win it all, it means nothing!  In  2016 the Dodgers took steps toward a Championship by going further than than the year before.  Now, a Championship is expected.  Anything else will be regarded as a failure.  Injury?  No excuses!  Bad Luck?  No excuses!  Blown call?  No excuses!  Just win baby!  That’s all that matters right now. All Dodger fans expect a World Series Trophy.  Nothing else will mean anything.

The World Series Trophy – That means Everything and it upon that that, Andrew Friedman will be judged.

Update

  • After 19 AB’s in the minors, A-Gon has 1 HR and 8 RBI and is hitting .368 with a .992 OPS. Wouldn’t it be something if he could stay healthy and return to his 2013 and 2014 form.  I don’t expect it, but it could happen.
  • Ramos is still over 1.000 OPS and Segedin is raking at OKC.
  • Mitch White went 5 innings last night, struck out 8 and allow 2 hits with ZERO runs.  He has 62 IP and allowed only 36 Hits to go with 73 K’s.  His ERA is is 2.76 , WHIP is 0.96 and the hitters have a .164 BA against him.  That is ASTOUNDING!  Since his promotion to AA his ERA is 1.59 in 4 games.  I believe he is bound to OKC soon.  He might/could get a September call-up.  He’s not a puppy – he will be 23 in December. Currently he is the Dodgers #6 prospect.  He could be #2 by season’s end.  He also has a shot at the rotation next year, but I’m not sure they want Walker Buehler integrated the same season.

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 63 Comments

  1. I think Darvish got a bit of a gift on that last pitch to Goldschmidt. I wonder if Roberts would have let him face the next batter or brought in Baez. Good post Mark. Unless we get decimated by injuries between now and the playoffs this team’s success will be depend on whether they win the last game they play this year.

    The way Wood has pitched the last couple outing reminds me of a post I made around the deadline about being concerned with him running out of gas. When Kershaw comes back I think the team should use a 6-man rotation for awhile and/or skip a start for Wood.

    1. I can see Wood getting skipped a start. When Kershaw comes back he’s going to want to be on normal rest and the team is going to want him on normal rest heading into game 1 of the playoffs so I imaging they will be keeping that in mind as they maneuver the rotation around a bit the last 48 games.

    2. Darvish has such fantastic movement on his breaking balls it’s deceiving
      . I thought it was a strike…and he had a few other really great breaking ball strikes that were called balls.

  2. It might not mean anything, but it sure is fun watching day in and day out! This is a fun regular season and I’m enjoying watching it . Here’s hoping it expands to the playoffs and a World Series win.

    1. I agree 100%. It would sting a lot to lose in the playoffs this year, but I can’t say all of this fun means nothing.

  3. I agree Mark it does not mean a thing. However, the thing that I like most about this team is their high character. FAZ has put these kinda guys on the team. Doc has cultivated the culture in the club house. Matting did none of that. I would rather go to war with the guys they have on this team, then Mattingly’s team. And war it is when play offs start.

  4. Yep one of the most high character teams I remember were Charley Finley’s A’s!!! Ya think??? Can’t forget the ‘We are Family’ Bucs… More coca in the pen than in the evidence holding in PPD!!! Or was that the Mets???
    M.T. summed it up, Just Win It Baby…

  5. I agree with you Mark, but Bluto isn’t going to be happy!

    And I do think Roberts and his coaches, deserve most of the credit, for instilling this attitude in the clubhouse.

    They are with these players, almost everyday, during the season.

    And I think Roberts, and his coaches, being younger then Mattingly and his guys, makes a difference too.

    Mattingly and his guys, didn’t bring any energy to this team, and in fact I felt Mattingly zapped the energy from this team at times, and you could see that, especially in the post season.

    Like Al, I like players that had to come out from no where, and had to prove they belong in this line up, because these type of players, don’t take what they have, for granted!

    And even Corey and Cody, who will probably be superstars, don’t take anything for granted either, even though, they are so talented, and that is rare!

    Because often, the most talented players do take things for granted, like Puig once did.

    But Puig has come a long way, this year, and Puig becoming a better team mate, has made Puig even better on the field, because he feels he belongs on this team now.

    And all of this, starts with Roberts and his coaches, and I hope this only instills the player’s confidence, in the post season!

  6. A couple of thoughts:
    1 – August bullpen performance hasn’t been good.
    28 IP 18 ER 5.79 ERA 7 HR allowed
    This is after 1/3 of the month – I know, all bullpen appearances are short and this is a small sample size, but I don’t like the trend. Last night’s game should have been a laugher and it wasn’t. Tuesday’s game should have been a win but it wasn’t.
    2 – I agree that Roberts and his crew have done a good job of having the Dodgers play together but the negative statements about Mattingly aren’t quite fair. Don’t forget, the Dodgers were in last in 2013 when they went on their 42 – 8 run – the team hadn’t quit playing for Donnie and it never did.
    3 – Winning makes everything better. There have been lots of teams that hated each other but played great. Think about the A’s of the 70’s, the Yankees of the 70’s, the Mets in the 80’s, etc.

    1. The team played well at times under Mattingly and in fairness he had Puig, Hanley, Matt and Andre to deal with – all were pretty difficult, but Donnie tried to please everyone. Doc will call you out and he will tell you were you stand. Donnie was not that direct.

      Dysfunctional teams seldom last – That’s why Boston had to lose Manny and others.

    2. Rick

      Mattingly was not responsible for that run, that was more from Hanley and Puig, then anything Mattingly did!

      In fact those two players, probably saved Mattingly’s job!

      I remember in that last post season game, when Mattingly was the manager, after Murphy hit that go ahead HR, the players in the dugout, looked like they thought this game was over, and it was only a one run lead!

      When Mattingly was the manager, the team never did anything, after the seventh inning!

      And this team in the last couple years, have been at the top of the list in baseball, for come back wins, and I credit Roberts, and his attitude, for changing this, with this team.

      And I am not even talking about the way Mattingly, was so challenged, in handling the bullpen either.

      This team more reflects Robert’s personality, and what Roberts had to do, to get to the majors, and to stay there.

      That is why really good players, don’t make good managers.

      The game is to easy for certain players, so they can’t relate as well, to every player on the roster, like someone like Roberts can.

      1. A butterfly flaps his wings in China and results with a hurricane in the Caribbean. Many factors. Where would things be at this point had not Turner and Jansen resigned? I’m pretty certain the both bring a lot of certainty to others as well as others also give to them. That term they use, “chemistry” this team’s got it and in part by luck. The most perfect things there are occur with a percentage of luck. It’s clear which team is the best right now, just hope the luck part sticks in our favor in the post season for the best team. CHEERS!!

  7. Yo Rick, I’m afraid your comments on Don Mattingly and it’s affect on our astute readers would be like peeing in the ocean to raise the tide!!! They’re hellbent…
    Yep like I said the A’s, as great a team as I’ve seen on the field and dysfunctional off…

    1. Mark

      Thanks for the up dates!

      I had heard that Agone hit one out!

      And if he is healthy enough to hit like he did last year, in the second half, he could be valuable, to this team.

      We certainly don’t have a lot of hitters in our line up, that can hit in a RBI situation like Agone can, so his bat, might be more helpful, then some think!

      And because Cody is so flexible, getting Agone’s bat in the line up, will only help this offense get better, and to stay flexible too.

  8. Championships are fantastic, but being the best team day in and day out for the duration of the big grind is nothing to blow your nose at. In the good ole days it meant more. And to this old timer it still means a lot. To say only the 2nd season matters is like admitting the media and MLB propaganda is totally right. The facts say different. To win the WS you have to get hot at the right time. To have the best record in MLB or in either the NL or AL is a much more real test of baseball success. And it’s all you can actually work and plan for. The Dodgers have a hell of a chance to take it all with their pitching,defence and clutch hitting. And if it doesn’t happen it won’t in any way diminish what they have accomplished this season.

  9. Pretty much totally disagree with the article.

    Winning the World Series is very susceptible to random events. Too disappointing if you evaluate everything on the World Series win.

    Just sustained winning is all I ask for. Season over season.

    1. Bluto

      Agone is there to hit, not to walk!

      Believe me, it is much harder to hit, then draw a walk!

      Any player that can hit, can also draw a walk.

      But any player that can draw a walk, can’t necessarily hit.

      That is why a player’s batting average, means more then you think.

      1. That makes no sense on its own. It is, perhaps, the stupidest thing I’ve read in a while.
        .
        It makes even less sense in the context of responding to my post.
        .
        First, who cares if it’s harder to hit than walk? It’s easier to catch and not try frame pitches? It’s easier to bunt and make and out than take three pitches. it’s harder to hit a HR than a single, should batters not try to hit for power?
        .
        What the hell does easier or harder have to do with anything?
        .
        If it was easier to walk than hit, why wouldn’t everyone walk? Because both a walk and a hit are better than getting out, which is the remaining option.
        .
        What is BA’s meaning then? In your opinion MJ? And why do you never address the problem I have repeatedly asked you about in regard to BA, which is that it gives NO VALUE to walks.

        1. Bluto, did anyone ever accuse you of being a gentleman? I doubt it. When Agon returns, he will get his share of walks, he always has. Many of them are intentional or nearly so. Can we try to be more considerate of each other?

          1. Doctor heal thyself.

            MJ is great. She (he?) contributes often and is appreciative when others do.

            Just because he (she?) made a silly nonsensical point on this board is neither here nor there.

            As for your response answering a question nobody asked. Thanks. Keep contributing by adding nothing but personal attacks.

        2. Bluto

          If anyone made a silly nonsensical remark, it was you!

          Why are you so worried about a veteran’s player’s OBA on a rehab assignment?

          The fact that Agone has a batting average that is 300, and has a decent slugging percentage, would be tell you more.

          But ultimately, when most veteran players are on a rehab assignment, they will know if they are ready, to come back and play, more then any stats would tell anyone.

          And stats like these won’t tell to much anyways, in such a small sample.

          1. I never said I was worried!

            I said his OBP was putrid or something like that.

            His batting average is good, and he hit a homer yesterday.

            However, is still like to know why you feel walks have no value in evaluating a hitters ability

        3. Bluto

          My point is that they give a walk the same credit, as a hit!

          And a walk is not the same as a hit, because walks don’t produce a RBI,unless the bases are loaded.

          Hits do much more then walks do, and that is why walks shouldn’t be valued like hits.

          It makes a player’s numbers better, then they really are, especially if they have to depend on way to many walks, to make their OBA look better.

          1. I will repeat my question:

            Why do you feel walks have NO value in evaluating batting skill?

            I’ll add this:
            What is more indicative of batting skill:
            A walk or a bunt?
            A walk or a bloop single hit off the end of the bat?
            A walk or a weakly hit ground ball that goes for a single?
            A walk or a lazy fly ball that manages to get a runner from first to second?

            Obviously there are other “hits” or even outa that demonstrate hitting acumen, but let’s start here.

  10. 1958-I agree with you. Sure we all want to win the World Series. If they do not win the WS, I, like you, will not dismiss what they have accomplished during the season. It never is an all or nothing accomplishment. There will always be varying degrees of accomplishment. Try to tell U. Of Washington they did not have a successful football season last year. Sure they wanted to win it all. They did finish fourth in the polls.

    1. Bluto

      Look at the two hitters on our team, that almost always try to work their counts, to pick up a walk.

      By a large margin Forsythe is almost always trying to work his count.

      Look at his numbers!

      I would say Joc would be next, and you are pretty familiar with his numbers.

      Neither one of these players, have great numbers.

      Maybe with the way these two try to work their counts, is the reason, they are not hitting any better.

      Sometimes a hitter’s first two pitches, are the best pitches that they will get.

      Bottom line, walks have nothing to do with how a player hits.

      Most good hitters, have good discipline at the plate, but they don’t always work there counts, to get walks, because they get better pitches to hit, earlier in their count, most of the time.

      Because pitchers, almost always, like to get ahead on their counts.

  11. My opinion. I believe Agon, if he comes back healthy, and is hitting, should be given the opportunity to play first base. He has earned that right. He is a veteran just like Utley. Bellinger can certainly go to the outfield. I would bet that almost every player on the team, including Bellinger, will want him playing first. He can be a DH when they play in the American League. The players have respect for the veterans who have shown them how baseball should be played.

    1. He would have to be fully healthy and mashing for me to put another plodding runner in the middle of the order with Grandal. Bellinger is a way better defensive player at 1st at this point in their careers. El Titan was an excellent defender too and is still quite good, but I don’t believe you can’t lose your spot do to injury, Right now the Dodgers have 7 athletic runners and Grandal.

      However, if Joc continues to flail away hitting nothing either Gonzalez or Ethier will force him to the bench come playoff time if the two veterans are healthy. Both would be pros-pros who can pinch hit in big spots too.
      Taylor
      Seager
      Turner
      Belly
      Ethier/Gonzo
      Forsythe
      Grandal
      Puig

      If Joc hits I wouldn’t change what’s working. My concern is more about Belly hitting the rookie wall. As much as I will hate seeing him out of the lineup, the return of Gonzalez may keep him fresh for the playoffs. Gonzalez certainly was given plenty of time to re-cooperate and he could have taken more time so I’m going to assume this is as healthy as he can get and hope for the best so that he can help them win a title and being able to move him in the off-season.

      1. Hawkeye

        I think things will work out just fine.

        I have confidence that Roberts was make the right decisions, and Agone and Ethier will work with Roberts, and do what is best for the team.

        I think Bellinger could use a little rest but he will still be in the line up, like he has all year.

    2. Al, I would rather keep Bellinger at first. He’s a stud there. That play he made last night on the deflection showed what a great 1st baseman he is and will continue to be (just ask Mark…). There is no way present-day Agon makes that play. I think Agon’s best position will be as a pitch-hitter with occasional spot starts at 1st, but management has yet to ask my opinion.

  12. Agree with much of the above.
    I’ve really enjoyed this season – game by game – the come from behind wins – the different heroes every night.
    Obviously we want to win it all but either way I’ve enjoyed the ride.

  13. I am a bit indifferent on winning the regular season only to lose the post season. What the Dodgers have accomplished thus far is beyond remarkable, and I have enjoyed the ride thus far. And yet Mark is correct, it really means nothing in the long run. The Mariner’s had a 116 game win season in 2001 and yet the one game I remember in 2001 is Game 7 of the WS, and Luis Gonzalez getting the bloop single scoring Jay Bell against the indestructible Mariano Rivera, giving the DBacks the walk off WS win. I am not a Mariner’s fan, but I got to believe that they would have been happier had they lost 10 less games, but got to the WS.

  14. Houston Mitchell of The LA TImes wrote this today:

    Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I’m wondering if the team will wait until after the regular season or after the playoffs to retire Cody Bellinger’s number.

    The Dodgers should be getting a couple of key players back soon: Clayton Kershaw and Adrian Gonzalez. What to do when they come back? Let’s take a look at possibilities.

    Kershaw, who was injured on July 23, will throw off a mound this weekend for the first time since his injury. If that goes well, he will throw a simulated game, then have a rehab start or two in the minors. He says he feels healthy, so if all goes well, he should be back around Aug. 24.

    When he returns, he gets slotted in the No. 1 spot in the rotation. The top four starters would be:

    Kershaw
    Yu Darvish
    Alex Wood
    Rich Hill

    That leaves Kenta Maeda and Hyun-jin Ryu trying for the fifth spot. Of course, the way each has been pitching (Maeda has a 2.26 ERA since June 4 and Ryu has a 2.08 ERA since June 17 and has pitched seven shutout innings in each of his last two starts), you could make an argument thst either should supplant Hill. Then again, Hill was the NL pitcher of the month in July.

    Whatever happens, the Dodger rotation should be fine. The big question will be who to leave out for the postseason. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

    That leaves Gonzalez, who hasn’t played since June 11. He is currently playing rehab games for triple-A Oklahoma City, where he is hitting .333 with no extra-base hits. What do you do when he comes back?

    Option A: You could start playing Gonzalez occasionally, giving Cody Bellinger some days off. This allows Gonzalez to slowly work his way back into the lineup and gives Bellinger some rest, since he has played almost every day since coming up at the end of April. You have to worry a little about him wearing out before the end of the season.

    Option B: You could put Gonzalez right into the lineup at first and put Bellinger in left every day, giving Gonzalez ample opportunity to show if he is 100% again. But then what do you do with Chris Taylor?

    Option C: You could put Gonzalez at first, Bellinger in left and move Taylor over to center, benching Joc Pederson.

    Option D: You could put Gonzalez at first, Bellinger in left and move Taylor to second base, benching Logan Forsythe.

    Option E: You could tell Gonzalez you don’t want to disrupt the lineup and have him start rarely and be the main pinch-hitter.

    Option F: Forsythe kills left-handed pitching (.325/.462/.494) and can’t hit righties (.195/.314/.226) while Pederson can’t hit lefties (.205/.300/.318) and does much better against righties (.232/.352/.468). So, you could put Gonzalez at first and, against left-handed starters put Bellinger in left and Taylor in center, and against right-handed starters put Bellinger in left and Taylor at second.

    And there may be some options I’m not considering.

    I’d go with Option F. Gonzalez has earned the right to prove he is back to the Gonzalez of old, and if he is even 90% of the player he was the last couple of seasons, then that is good for the team.

  15. Bravo M.T. I’m thinking F also…
    It’s surely great to be off of the Mattingly death march…
    I don’t know who said it but I’m gonna win with health, D and lil bit of Irish luck…

  16. The Dodgers should make every effort to have a better record than Houston to maintain home field throughout the playoffs which thankfully is now the format with the All Star game not determining home field in the WS. I remember the homer dome WS when every team won their home games and Minnesota prevailed. And the Az-Yankees series in 2001 which helped Az to win. Home field is big for the Dodgers as they have dominated at home all year.

    AGon and Ethier give the team a DH candidate for the games played in the AL parks as well as veteran pinch hitters who won’t be overwhelmed by the moment. I would add Utley as a pros pro for big situations. Barnes has proved useful as a PH as well. AGon does clog the bases but he thrives in RBI situations so I would not move him too far down if he’s starting, maybe 6th with Joc and Puig for example behind him or Grandal.

    What I like about this team is they are deadly with a lead and able to come from behind as well. They have All Stars that produce and get frequent contributions from many others. They play long ball very well but also work counts, take their walks and run pitch counts up. They have improved recently at playing small ball but are not really a running team. They usually win any battle of bullpens and have a stud closer.

    The biggest turning point for the teams run were both injuries: to AGon which caused Cody’s call up and to Forsythe which caused Taylor’s call up. Both were just supposed to fill in but played their way into starting gigs. Another huge surprise was Alex Wood who no one thought would pitch like he has.

    I see both Maeda and Ryu in the pen for the playoffs and both could pitch multiple innings if needed. A starter struggling usually means a middle innings guy comes in but the Dodgers could bring in a starter at any point in the game to right the ship and keep a game close and manageable for a comeback. I think we could see a 6 man rotation when Kershaw comes back or a 10 day freshener for Wood.

  17. Against lefties, Belly at 1st, Forsythe at 2nd, Kike in LF, Taylor in CF would be the slight amendment to F that would be better. They need to let Puig figure it out against lefties and stop wasting AB’s on Joc against lefties.

    1. He pitched in OKC on Wednesday. Hopefully, they’re sending him to Rancho for some games with Gonzo and Andre. I think OKC heads out on a road trip on Monday and they tend to spare the vets from that.

  18. I just wanted to say this, even though the team has been way ahead for a while now, not one player on this team, has stopped giving their best in every game they play, and that says a lot about this team!

  19. Two things:

    1. Rich Hill can play for me any day;
    2. Somebody has to get drilled next inning!

    Hopefully it’s Clayton Richard.

    You hit ours – we hit yours… only harder!

  20. I am old school when it comes to hitting players.

    Accidental or not… send the message: YOU DON’T MESS WITH US!

    It will make them think before pitching way inside!

    CONSEQUENCES!

    1. Not sure the protocol when the pitcher gets hit. Does he hit the opposing player or does it wait for the relief pitcher to take care of business

  21. “, the Dodgers bullpen isn’t outright bad, but as far as cracks in the hull go, it certainly qualifies. Watson and Cingrani have been bad this year, and Luis Avilan’s 4.22 walks per nine innings don’t inspire a lot of confidence. Pedro Baez and Josh Fields are fine, but their respective ERAs and FIPs peg them as question marks rather than answers. Fellow Beyond the Box Score-er colleague Ryan Schultz detailed how Brandon Morrow could be a relief weapon, but his health history makes him far from a guarantee. The team will benefit from adding Hyun-Jin Ryu, Maeda, and/or McCarthy to the bullpen, but none of those three guys have the kind of stuff that makes you think they can shift to the bullpen and dominate in short stints.

    As far as weaknesses go, middle relief is not the worst one to have. And this is all relative; compared to the rest of the club the bullpen doesn’t look as strong, but it’s far from a disaster. But as far as weaknesses go, this one may be the one Dodger opponents are able to exploit this October.”

    https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2017/8/11/16125246/dodgers-playoffs-predictions-matchups-weaknesses-strengths-platoon-bullpen

  22. Just got in… Where’s the retaliation from Stripling or Roberts???
    Can’t let the Madres do that, not in our house…

  23. I would think pitchers are less likely to get out of the way of a ball coming at them and therefore are more likely to get hurt while hitting. Hill is an example.
    .
    Bring on the DH.

  24. I think Hill getting hit was somewhat intentional. Not that he was a pitcher but rather than throwing away it was an intentional buzz because Hill was crowding the plate and no pitcher is happy about that happening. It had a very real threat and could of easily been far worse, so I say next chance get the stone thrower back but not head hunting. just let him know with a spot on his ass for him to ice. And HELL NO to the DH. I don’t care if the American League turns to a a divided offense and defense. National League has been around longer and it’s truer baseball.

    1. It’d of been a real shame if the .300 hitting in the 6 hole Don Drysdale was unfairly burdened more than opposing pitchers because they couldn’t hit.

  25. I thought of MJ after each of the HR’s Stripling gave up. MJ has said that our bullpen keeps giving up Hr’s lately, and 2 more bp hr’s last night cost us.

    Right now, I don’t mind. In fact, law of averages says we’re due for a bit of a struggle, and I”d rather it happen in August so that we can get pissed off at ourselves and regroup and go hard in Sept to clinch and then get ready for October.

    Morrow hasn’t failed much at all this year; I”m glad he struggled a bit the other day as well.

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