These Are the (Junkyard) Dog Days

There’s not much left for the Dodgers to play for… except maybe immortality!  Being immortalized as the best team in the history of the game could be quite and incentive.  The Dodgers are playing at  .713 clip and could eclipse the record of 116 games.  It’s a longshot and it really means nothing, but it’s withing access.  No other teams are within a dozen games of the Dodgers record.  The blue bloods will have to deliver, but it will be the role players – the junkyard dogs – who could help the team attain that immortality.

The Astros and the Cubs depth has been exposed. The Cubs remain dangerous, but after a good start, Jose Quintana has 4.50 ERA in the past 28 days and he be THAT guy – his ERA over the past year is 4.34.  He’s OK, but not the savior some thought. Jon Lester has a 6.39 ERA over the past month, including an 11.74 ERA over the past 14 days.  On the other hand, Jake Arrieta has been great the past month, with a 1.95 ERA. Kyle Hendricks has also been good since he came back from the DL.

The Nats remain dangerous, but they have pitching concerns and no real closer.  The bullpen is a ragtag group and beyond Scherzer and Gonzalez, the rotation is spotty.  They have no depth to weather a storm.  The Dodgers are built for the long haul – they have the depth and they have the best manager in baseball.  They are locked and loaded and I believe they understand, while it would be great to set the all time win record, it would not mean as much if they flame out in the playoffs.  The prime objective is JUST WIN THIS GAME!  They have to think that EVERY game and they will be fine.

Curtis Granderson will evidently play against RHP.  I doubt that he plays much against LH’ers.  The question is, should he hit leadoff against righties with Chris Taylor moving to #5?  To me, that would cause Cody to get better pitches.  Granderson has a career .356 OB% against RH pitching and as a leadoff hitter he has a .340 OB%.  I don’t know that there is a RIGHT answer, but it seems to me that this lineup might be most effective against RHP:

  1. Granderson  CF
  2. Seager  SS
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Bellinger LF
  5. Taylor  2B
  6. Gonzo 1B
  7. Puig  RF
  8. Grandal  C

That puts Logan Forsythe on the bench against LH pitching and he is hitting over .300 against them.  These things have a way of working themselves out, due to injury or lack of production, but the team’s depth is crazy.  It should be fun to watch.

Rants and Raves

  • I don’t think Kenta Maeda’s arm got tired as much as his brain got tired.  He seems to lose focus  easily! It seems to me that his limit is 5 innings – perfect for a long man in the bullpen.
  • Buehler continues to struggle in a relief role. Yesterday 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K.
  • Dennis Santana went 6 innings and allowed 5 hits and 1 Run, while striking out 10 and walking 1 at Tulsa.- He’s making my prediction of him being a reliever look bad.

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 59 Comments

  1. Off topic, but anyone who has the chance, watch the eclipse. My wife and I just witnessed it in Oregon and it was beyond incredible.

  2. Mark

    I think you may be right about Taylor being a better fifth hitter, because he is going to get a hit more often then Granderson, and Taylor is always a threat to hit an extra base hit, or a HR too.

    But I don’t understand why that would make Forsythe sit, against lefties.

    I also agree that Maeda has trouble baring down, when he has had runners on base, but he had been better lately, until the sixth inning, of yesterday’s game.

    But you still have to love the way Ryu fights, when he is out there on the mound!

  3. I really don’t think Gonzo should play much. Just a good playoff pinch hitter and give Bellinger a day off every week.

    The Cards/Pirates game in Williamsport was a huge success. Good to see MLB reach out to kids and develop the next generation of fans and put it on national TV.

    In AZ the eclipse was way over hyped. A bunch of people standing around not seeing a darn thing.

  4. Mark, I don’t get you last part about Forsythe. What does his average against lefties have to do with him sitting in your RH lineup?

  5. Mark, you are still okay with believing Dennis Santana will become a high quality reliever. He still needs that third pitch to become a starter at the MLB level. That is not to say that he will not develop his change, but right now he only throws 3 pitches with his fastball a plus, his slider a slight plus, and a minus change. I think he will be in the LAD bullpen by 2019, and will compete for a high leverage spot.

  6. Mark: Agree with everything you said. This year has certainly been a TEAM effort and with the WD-40 we have added this year seems to be the year we go all the way. Individual records are not the #1 priority for any player on our team.
    Personally I would love to see JT win the batting crown but I have my doubts that he will. He’s only hitting .265 since July 1st(39 games & 132 AB’s). Maybe he should be rested more since we are going to need him for the PS.
    I thougt about dropping Taylor to the #5 position and giving Cody more protection than he’s been given and letting Granderson lead off vs RHP with Taylor leading off vs LHP. However since we face more RHP than LHP would that disrupt our smooth run to the WS or not. IDK

    1. So, we would be back to another .230 hitter who can’t steal bases leading off. Tough choice, I would rather have Taylor hitting ahead of Seager, Turner, and Bellinger. Tough choice though.

  7. The rest of the season is interspersed with playoff caliber games including this series with the Pirates. I thought yesterday’s game vs Verlander was such a game. He said he approached it as a playoff game. Our team must play well against these teams to set the tone in the playoffs. Any team that is in playoff contention will present a good rehearsal for the Dodgers, starting tonight. I hope we don’t start packing it in.

  8. Hurry back Cody! So far Granderson does not look good batting cleanup. Cole is getting a lot of ground ball outs. Back to back HR’s put the Dodgers in an early hole.

      1. I am not positive, about 94 or so. He had a couple up to 92 today but was sitting mostly at 89-90. The offense has looked flat the past 2 days.

  9. Granderson hits a Grand Slam! I take it all back and admit Roberts knows a lot more than me about his team and making out lineups.

  10. I just take it for granted the Dodgers will come back every game. I am shocked when they don’t.

    It’s becoming commonplace!

  11. I don’t care which one of you guys buries me with his season long stats, but Baez just kills me. He is so inconsistent, it’s like watching a slow execution. No way do I want this guy in our bullpen come play off time. Bring in Morrow. Baez gives me nightmares of Hatchet. Please, PLEASE make it stop!!! What a waste of a game with Wood and Grandy. Can somebody just pull the guy?!?!

  12. Whose fault is it? Does Baez refuse to throw off speed pitches, or did Grandal just keep calling fastball after fastball. One two strike change or slider is probably all he needed to get out of that inning, on more than one occasion.

  13. Roger, I agree with you. I am not a Baez fan. He does remind me of Hatcher. I am also not a fan of Grandal anymore. He never forces Baez to pitch. He lets him throw fastballs. Baez throws a change and looks good. Never comes back to it. Also Grandal calls way to many high pitches. I like Barnes a lot more now than Grandal. I do not care what Grandal and Baez’s stats are. I do not like either one. I am upset. We had this game won. I could be mad at Roberts for leaving Baez in there too long.

  14. … and yet!

    Drum Roll…..

    Baez still has a 1.90 ERA.

    About 29 other teams would love to have him.

    Yeah, he’s not perfect!

    But 1.90? DAMN!

    1. Grandal is merely the captain of the best pitching staff in baseball… by a half run a game!

      Trade the slug!

  15. Might be time for Doc to reconsider Don Stanhouse Jr. in a pressure situation until he gets his act together.

    1. ERA is overrated for a relief pitcher. I don’t think it means nothing, but his peripheral stats show he hasn’t pitched to that ERA.

    1. At this time I will take my chances with Morrow over Baez. Three walks and a hit in the bottom of the eight with a two-run lead. Pasadena.

  16. August numbers:
    Offense – .238/.328/.435/.762
    BP – 5 – 3, 4.27, 12 HR in 52 IP

    This was against some bad quality opponents – SD, Chisox, Det, etc.
    Roberts need to re-tool.

  17. I have no problem with the Dodgers use of the high fastball. Both Grandal and Barnes call it a lot, and I like it. But Baez was having problems throwing his fastball for strikes, and he has that 1.90 ERA because of his use of offspeed pitches this year.

    Simply put, I just had a problem with the unwillingness to throw more offspeed pitches in that inning. In fact, all inning long it was all I could think about.

  18. Mark, they scored two runs on one hit. Three walks and one hit batter. Not very good baseball. I trust Morrow a lot more than Baez.

    1. Bad night, OK. He still has a 1.90 ERA. That’s not shabby.

      The stats say he has a 1.90 ERA. I’ll roll him out there anytime.

      Sometimes you get bit and don’t forget: The Dodgers aren’t going to do the same thing in the playoffs. They are setting this up!

      1. Baez doesn’t have the mental fortitude to pitch in high leverage situations, even if he is the one that makes the high leverage situation!

        1. You’re right. He’s developed better off-speed stuff yet he doesn’t have the balls to throw it. If Yasmani is calling nothing but fastballs then it’s on him. If not, Yasmani needs to get his rear out to the mound and tell Baez to grow a pair and throw an off-speed pitch when he calls for it.

        2. He is better when brought in at the start of an inning, not with a runner on base. Good for Roberts to see who he can trust in these high leverage situations now. He gave him a chance to battle out of it, and he failed this time. He has one of the top ERA’s of all relievers in the NL.

  19. What a game. This season has been unreal. I can’t believe the ump let Puig take that long draw lines in the dirt where he wanted his set up and what looked like where he wanted his front foot to land. I suggest to the next pitcher who sees Puig doing that just drill him or knock him down. You can tell he’s really working on mechanics and implementing coaching. Nice to see him get on top of a fastball for a double too. He knew he missed a cupcake on the pop out. He had has usual one great play on defense.

    It would have been nice to see a grand slam for Adrian’s 2000th hit. He did take better cuts today than yesterday. When I think of Granderson I think of strikeouts and then big hits. He’s a guy who just looks terrible at times to me and then when you least expect it he knocks one out of the park. Let’s hope he continues to be the guy who has been hitting .270+ since late May and not the guy who’s been hitting .230 since 2012. He does have a knack for big hits. I was shocked that Cole was still pitching when he gave up the granny.

    Baez and Watson were plain terrible and I have to get on Yasmani for not making Baez throw an off speed pitch a couple of different times during that inning. Baez is a 6th inning pitcher not an 8th inning pitcher. Same could be said for Watson. The moment he became the closer it Pittsburgh is when he fell apart. I sure hope Honey gets him straightened out. There are times that I despise no doubles defense especially when someone throws 100 mph like Morrow. As good as the Dodgers are at positioning their defenders, I don’t get having Turner sitting on the line with Morrow pitching. What’s the odds of a righty pulling one down the 3rd base line of off Morrow. Nice job by Morrow, Avilan, Kenley, and Ross. I thought the final out was gone when the guy hit it. Forsythe on the bench after going 3 for 3 against Cole? I’m getting a little worried about Wood’s velo dropping.

    1. Expect a DL stint for Wood before the season ends or skipping his start. Listening to Roberts tells me they’re a bit concerned about his SC joint and fatigue.

    2. Good analysis Hawkeye. I was very surprised Watson came out for the 8th and the HBP was ridiculous. Then the call for Baez when he really needs a clean inning. Both times I preferred going to Morrow and then Jansen for the save. Roberts tried something different and it backfired this time. I agree that Baez has improved his off speed stuff but does not throw it enough. He needs better command of his fastball too and gets rattled and slows down his time between pitches. That’s what makes him painful to watch sometimes. I am really happy for Puig and hope this gets his confidence going at the plate. His defense never takes a day off. Grandy is a pleasant surprise too and I remember him getting some big hits against us and hating him. I like him better doing it for us, he seems to rise to the occasion.

      1. I remember those hits and thinking how the hell did you let Curtis Granderson beat you. He’s a mistake hitter. Although the HR against Verlander wasn’t a bad pitch. It will be interesting to see who is sitting when everyone is healthy. I haven’t heard any talk of moving Taylor to 2B so that means Gonzalez, Granderson, or Puig sits against righties if Taylor is the everyday CF now.

  20. “Using Baez in any high leverage situation is a grave mistake regardless of what his ERA is. Period.” – Dodgers Digest

  21. I do not mind Grandal calling a high fastball. Not 2-3 in a row. Grandal called 2 high fastballs in a row for Jansen last night and Jansen would have nothing to do with it. Jansen’s second high fastball was at the knees. Watch Morrow pitch. His first pitch to one batter was 92 mph slider on the outside corner. His next pitch is a 99 mph fastball. I believe in changing the eye sight of a batter. However, I do not believe in throwing the same pitch in the same location 2-3 times on a row. I blame Grandal. It is his job to make a pitcher pitch. I do not believe Baez has much confidence or he is a very slow learner. Grandal always has to come to the mound a lot when Baez is pitching. I just believe Barnes does a better job of handling Baez.

  22. Watson and Cingrani need some success in the next month if the are going to help us in the play offs. Honeycutt has a job to do.

    The game last night wasted our bull pen and should not of happened. Especially when Stewart is pitching tonight. Doc should of learned something last night about Baez. Baez must start a clean inning. He cannot come in with runners on. If Baez does not have good control after a couple of batter, take him out. He cannot bail himself out. He just digs the hole deeper.

  23. I am not blaming Grandal because I have no idea what the pre-game scouting report was. It is widely known that the Dodger relievers throw high fastballs, and it is up to the pitcher to make sure that the pitch looks hittable but does not drop into the zone. I have seen Barnes call for high fastballs from Baez as well. I do think Baez should throw the slider more just to show it, but I do not have access to the scouting report. There are not too many Dodger players that I have not been supportive of, but Baez has been one since his 2014 (and 2015 and 2016) playoff meltdowns. His K/9 is way down this year, which probably indicates that the batter is laying off the high fastball out of the zone. All that being said, I remain hopeful that Baez can be a benefit in the 6th and 7th inning rather than high leverage situations. He does seem to pitch well with little pressure, and can go multiple innings if need be. Josh Fields is very much the same way. They are both necessary, but need to be used in the right situation. I too remain hopeful that Honey can get Watson back to what he used to be. Doc is going to have to keep throwing him out there in high leverage situations to build up the confidence and let him prove to the team and to himself that he belongs. It’s is not like they do not have games to experiment with. Watson has been successful as a setup reliever.
    What the Dodgers do need to work on for the next 39 games is finding that 8th inning high leverage reliever. Is it Morrow, Avilan, Stripling, Watson? Or is it one of the starters that needs to go to the pen in the playoffs? Or is it Buehler or Font? Somebody needs to step up and take the job. One of the relievers needs to become a bulldog.

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