Just a Hiccup – Nothing Terminal

Two losses in a row!  The sky is falling!  We are doomed!

Not really.  The Dodgers just have the hiccups.

They don’t have cancer or heart disease! It will all be fine.

It’s a 162 game season and there is no way you can “bring it” every day.  No way, no how!  You can try, but somedays it just ain’t there.  The last I checked, the game was played by humans and that’s just part of the “human condition.”

Sunday was Yu Darvish’s first game back and he was rusty.  That’s to be expected. Clayton Kershaw is on the DL for another 5 days.  I doubt he will be rusty.  Cody Bellinger, the NL Rookie of the Year and Dodger HR leader is on the DL, more for rest as it was for injury. Yes, Cody sprained his ankle but it was not serious – he could have been back in three days, but FAZ is looking at the big picture.

The fact of the matter is that Cody Bellinger is just 21 years old.  Last year, Cody played 137 games after playing 128 games the year before. He currently has 119 games under his belt, and with 33 plus the playoffs he could be gassed at the end, but with this 10-day vacation, he should be locked and loaded in the playoffs.  Cody is probably the most irreplaceable position players on the team… even more so that Corey Seager (not that I would want to lose Corey either).

Oh, I almost forgot Alex Wood, who is in the running for the Cy Young Award in the NL this year.  He is on the DL too and while it is likely he won’t win (It’s Clayton’s to lose),  he should be Top 5.  He may be held out another week or two as they want him in the playoffs and need to make sure his SC joint is fine and his velocity returns.  I think he will be limited to 90 pitches or less the rest of the way.  It may be September 10th before we see him again.

Of course, Andre Ethier (2 hits on Sunday) and Brandon McCarthy are still on the DL and on rehab assignments.  I really have no opinion as to what either might do.  I mean, who knows?  Will Walker Buehler get the call?  I will give you a definite maybe on that one.  I doubt that they will call up Verdugo and drop a player.  Just a hunch.  Alex will have to wait until next year.

Adrian Gonzalez had a stiff back on Sunday and even Ray Charles can see that a bad back can flare up at any time.  Maybe Chase Utley gets a week or so of rest in September.  Franklin Gutierrez?  Who knows, but he could be a weapon in the playoffs… could be!  Doc Roberts and the front office are trying to time this things so that everyone is ready for the playoffs.  Managing that is tough…

Dodger Rants and Raves

  • By the way, the Dodgers have had three (count ’em 3) one-hitters this month – a franchise record!  They haven’t been hitting, but they have been pitching. The Dodgers have a 3.13 ERA in August while being 13th in runs scored and OB% and 26th in BA.  They are opportunistic and ready to pick each other up.
  • Something tells me Joc Pederson has played his last game as a Dodger. He’s a really good guy, but it’s all about production.
  • Mike Liberatore pitched a perfect inning at RC on Sunday.  He’s on track…
  • Kay Bear Ruiz continues to rake at RC – .338 BA/.907 OPS.
  • Roberts won’t admit it, but it will be a six-man rotation down the stretch.  Maybe they keep Kershaw and Darvish on 5-days and the rest of the rotation on six days.

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 57 Comments

  1. Scherzer is going to get the Cy Young this year.

    Teams and organizations peak..as do people. The Dodgers could do no wrong a month ago. The concern, and something not even sabregeek number manipulators, FAZ or Roberts can control, is when all those planets align. Maybe the Dodgers lose a little bit of that All-Cylinders-Firing mojo heading into the last month. That’s the risk of using a double digit division lead to start another Spring Training tryouts period; maybe the team loses a little bit of that intangible focus, where everything is just working. Maybe they peaked early.

    I don’t think so. The machine they have is too good. Turner will start to rebound, they’ll get Bellinger back, Kershaw will come back at just the right time….still, the playoffs are different.

    1. I would give Scherzer a slight edge right now, but remember he is on the DL too and has been fighting neck problesm all year. I think how they pitch is September will determine the winner and Clayton wants it bad!

    2. This is 100% true, and why people shouldn’t gauge success or their happiness as fan on World Series wins.
      Stars don’t align. Pitchers with names like Madison or players named Marco get hot and crazy things happen. Bucky hits a HR.

  2. Dodger fans getting WS fever, including me. That’s that sick feeling we get when playoffs are getting near and we want that WS so bad we can taste it and we’ve had so little success in playoffs since 1988 and….well, you get it I’m sure. C’mon Dodgers!!!

  3. Management will also not stand still when they see production issues, bringing in Grandy and sending Joc down being a perfect example. As Sept plays out they team will be trying to win every day but will also be giving some players chances and watching the results. The bigger issue is being healthy and rested without losing their edge and deciding how the post season roster is constructed.

    I saw a DBacks poster say it would be good to take 1 of 3 from the Dodgers (in AZ!) and not get blown out in the other two and lose confidence if they have to face them in the playoffs, and to keep pace in the wild card race. I am sure they view it much the same in Denver.

    I am not overconfident but how do the Cubs and Nats feel? The Nats have major injury issues, especially in their rotation and the Cubs have not really hit all year. The Brewers are an ok team but I don’t think they will make the playoffs. The Dodgers would be favored and have home field in any match up in the NL and also match up well with Boston, Cleveland or Houston in a 7 game series with a great rotation, bullpen, defense, offense, power and bench plus the mind set of never being out of a close game. Am I missing something?

    1. Vegas

      That is so true, all of the good teams, do have their issues, and most of the teams, have more issues, then the Dodgers have.

      I do think the team will start hitting in this next series, not only because Cody will be back in the line up on Wednesday, but also because the players are very familiar, with all of the Dback’s pitchers.

  4. All good moves long-term, but I have to wonder a bit if the overdid it with Gonzalez coming off of the DL. I think it is correct that we don’t want to see Cody hit the same rookie wall that Seager did at the end of last season. Of course, roster spaces affects some of these decisions too especially when they’re using up a spot on a project like Cingrani. Come playoff time I would rather have a healthy Cody than Gonzalez, but the question remains could they have eased in Cody a little last week and not overdo things with Gonzalez. They can act like it is nothing, but already having to leave a game with back tightness isn’t a good sign. I know everyone is enamored with the Grandy Man, but let’s not act like he’s tearing it up. Small sample size but he’s hitting .138 so far. He’s a low average, decent OPS guy. He needs to be down in the order.

    1. The fact that A-Gon is experiencing back stiffness does not inspire confidence. Curtis Granderson is an opportunist who should hit lower in the order.

      I see the lineup like this:

      Against RHP:
      1. Taylor CF
      2. Seager SS
      3. Turner 3B
      4. Bellinger 1B
      5. Puig RF (there… I did it)
      6. Grandal C
      7. Granderson LF
      8. Utley 2B

      Against Lefties:
      1. Taylor CF
      2. Seager SS
      3. Turner 3B
      4. Bellinger 1B
      5. Barnes 2B
      6. Forsythe LF
      7. Grandal C
      8. Kike RF

      1. I’m still playing Puig against lefties for his defense. His offense against lefties has to get better doesn’t it? I’d give Grandal some rests against lefties. I like seeing Barnes in the lineup and I wouldn’t be opposed to him getting a few more games at 2B in September just to see how it looks.

        1. Turner had issues with lefties in 2016, but fixed it this year. If Yas can do that in the offseason, he’s borderline superstar!

    2. Hawkeye

      That was a big part of the problem, Grandal and Granderson don’t belong at the top of the line up.

      We just don’t have anyone, to bat in Cody’s place, in the line up.

  5. I had been w/o tv or internet for the past few days and going stir-crazy!!!! Welp, it looks like the Dodgers need my eyes on support, so friends, I’m back viewing! And I like that ‘it’s made of air”

  6. 2nd time this season for minor shoulder probs for Woody. Hmmm. Interesting. Or not, I hope.

  7. Stuff from around:
    Longerhagen makes note of Jeremy Arocho, INF, Los Angeles NL (Profile)
    Level: Rookie-level Age: 18 Org Rank: NR Top 100: NR
    Line: 5-for-5
    Arocho was committed to Maryland as an underclassman. He had academic issues late in high school, though, and altered his commitment to a junior college in Florida before being selected in the 27th round of this year’s draft and signing with the Dodgers. He has a strong, mature build, good defensive hands, and above-average bat speed from both sides of the plate but lacks the arm strength for shortstop and will require significant polish on the offensive side. He’s raw but has interesting physical traits for such a late-round pick.
    Travis Sawchik chat:
    1. He has a new article on Kenley (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/simplicity-becomes-sophistication-for-kenley-jansen/)
    2. He also had this to say about Jansen:
    I did focus on just one aspect of Jansen but the general point was this a pitcher who is more sophisticated in his approach than is publicly recognized and the following points fit to that idea: Against Sean Rodriguez, of a hesitation move. In the Rodriguez AB, he threw a strike, did a Kershaw-style bounce leg kick for strike 2, and then quick-pitched strike 3. You can see on strike 2 that Rodriguez ends up on one foot for a couple seconds and is completely off-balance.
    3. LegallyEagle: Early or safe to say Chapman’s contract with the Yankee’s is officially a bad contract?
    Travis Sawchik: I’m concerned … If Chapman continues to lose velocity while the rest of the league gains velocity he’s not going to be special and maybe not even that effective
    4. A big part of Bellinger’s improvement in K rate is that he finally adopted a separate 2 strike approach where he cuts down a bit on the power swing, improving his contact. He’s become particularly adept at using that swing to take outside pitches just to the SS side of up the middle where no one is ever playing in the shift.
    J. Sickels on Verdugo:
    Alex Verdugo – OF (Dodgers): One of the better kept secrets in the minors, Verdugo features one the better hit tools in the minors and he controls the zone extremely well. He isn’t overly toolsy per se, but he has great instincts both at the plate as well as in the field that serve him well. While he has been primarily a center fielder, his relative lack of athleticism may mean he will have to play in a corner, but he has a cannon arm so he should still provide some defensive value wherever he ends up.
    It also helps that he is currently enjoying one of his best years in the minors in 2017 and performed well enough to play in the Futures Game this year. The problem is that the Dodgers just acquired Curtis Granderson for the playoff push and Chris Taylor has played well in the outfield this season.
    Sickels on old friend Willie Calhoun:
    Willie Calhoun – 2B/OF (Rangers): One of the better bats in the minor leagues, Calhoun has a real shot to see time with the Rangers now that he is out of a crowded and frankly loaded Dodgers organization.
    Traded to the Rangers in the deal that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers, Calhoun features the rare ability to both make consistent contact as well as hit for power. He doesn’t strike out and while the walk rate leaves something to be the desired, both the power and walks should play up once he learns to better at getting his pitches rather than just letting his natural ability allow him to make contact with just about anything.
    Calhoun is not a player that will provide much defensive value and he has almost no chance of sticking in the infield long term, but the bat is good enough to play in a corner outfield spot. Rangers outfield isn’t exactly awe-inspiring and the Rangers have a chance (albeit not a great one) at a wild card spot, so Calhoun could be in play for a call-up when rosters expand.
    Baseball America has a list of 10 prospect that made a significant leap in their eyes, Keibert Ruiz made this leap.

    1. Nice stuff Bluto! You keep us up to date. I appreciate it very much and I know others do too.

      I love Buehler, but I think Kay Bear is our #1 prospect!

  8. Darvish is messing with his delivery. He said so and Roberts confirmed. Honeycutt is supervising. Sounds strange to me. It has to do with his recovery from TJ surgery. An odd time to try this out. Turner’s BA is dropping like a rock. He is the MVP of the offense. Fatigue? Sept will be a tough month with call ups, rest, looking ahead etc. We have to establish ourselves again against the Rockies and Dbacks. The series against the Nats is very important. I hope there is no September funk.

    1. Last year I think Turner was the MVP of the offense. He is certainly the team leader and the player who I most trust to hit against good pitcher, but MVP this year for me is either Taylor or Bellinger at this point.

      1. Hawkeye

        I think Bellinger is the MVP of this team, because of his run production.

        Bellinger has seemed to take up from what Agone was, for this team, when it comes to RBIs, and imported RBIs, when they are needed, especially in the later innings, of a game.

        And these last ten days has shown us, that Cody makes everyone else, on this team even better, and really how important Cody is, to this team!

        But that is what is good about this team, is that we can name a few different players, that could be, in the MVP discussion, along with Cody!

    1. The Giants dont have a lot of prospects, but maybe it would only take 2 if they took on Stanton’s salary.

      How about Alvarez, Diaz, Heredia and Estevez for Stanton and his salary? The Marlins also take McCarthy and Kazmir for salary relief next year.

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

  9. I do not see how the Giants can take on Stanton’s salary. The Giants have many problems. A couple of pitching contracts they would like to shed. A farm system that is not great.

    1. The Giants have the resources and could unload Sharks or Pence’s contract to help
      A bit. Not much in the minors.

  10. From Houston Mitchell:

    Is it time to panic yet?

    Cody Bellinger goes on the disabled list and the Dodgers lose their first series since early June. Coincidence?
    Bellinger played his last game Aug. 19, and since then the Dodgers have gone 4-4. And it is strengthening the fears of some Dodger fans who think this amazing run they have been on is a mirage and they are just going to lose in the playoffs again.

    So let’s try to calm some of those fears.

    If you are going to panic because a team went 4-4, you may as well stop following baseball because all teams are going to go 4-4 at some point in the season. But what is the root of this bump in the road?

    No Bellinger. When you remove 34 home runs from the lineup and replace it with a guy who still seems to have some back problems, the offense is going to take a hit. The offense is averaging 3.1 runs per game since Bellinger went on the DL. In the 30 games before he got hurt, the offense averaged 5.03 runs per game.

    The Dodgers are 78-23 when Bellinger plays, 13-15 when he doesn’t.

    Since Bellinger got hurt, Justin Turner is hitting .143 with one extra-base hit and two RBIs. In the 16 games before Bellinger was injured, Turner hit .288 and slugged .644 with six homers and 15 RBIs.

    So the offense is down, but there’s every reason to believe it will pick up when Bellinger returns on Wednesday. For one, he will provide Turner with some protection in the lineup. Second, Dave Roberts said that Adrian Gonzalez will go to the bench after Bellinger returns.

    I have a lot of respect for Gonzalez. He has been a very good player for a very long time. But it’s beginning to look like he should consider taking the rest of the season off and try for a comeback in 2018. He moves like a 90-year-old man. He is hitting .184/.220/.316 since coming back from the DL. And he complained of “back tightness” on Sunday. These are not good signs. Right now, I would not include him on the playoff roster.

    Gonzalez, being the excellent teammate he is, has said he will play whatever role the Dodgers need him to play the rest of this season. Bellinger has said that Gonzalez has been a tremendous help to him, saying: “I think everyone in the locker room would tell you he is one of the better teammates. He has been completely helpful to me.”

    The other concern I hear a lot is that the Dodgers really haven’t done well against potential playoff opponents this season. Is this true? Setting aside the ridiculousness of thinking that a team with a 91-38 record hasn’t beaten anyone good, let’s take a look at their record against NL teams that have a reasonable chance at making the postseason.

    vs. Arizona, 8-5
    vs. Chicago Cubs, 4-2
    vs. Colorado, 7-5
    vs. Miami, 6-1
    vs. Milwaukee, 3-3
    vs. St. Louis, 4-3
    vs. Washington, 1-2

    They are 33-21 against potential playoff teams, a .611 winning percentage, which would be 99-63 over a full season.

    So, before anyone panics, let’s get Bellinger back and see what happens. Let’s get Clayton Kershaw back and see what happens. I have no idea if this team will win the World Series.

    But I’ll happily take the 2017 Dodgers against any other team and see what happens.

  11. Funny we all think this is an important road trip with a 19 game lead but the team does not want to lose 3 in a row and are playing a good squad in AZ. The upcoming home stand is more important against the same DBacks and also the Rockies. There is not another off day until the 14th and there is a DH on Sat. Hill goes today then Ryu, Maeda, Kersh and Darvish with the only unknown being who takes the ball for the other game Sat, then back to Hill on Sun.

    It will be nice to get Cody back on Wed and let’s see how they use AGon going forward. Wood is due to be back soon, it seems there will be no rehab for him, could it be Sat? I really don’t want to see Stripling or Stewart again. Using Font requires a roster move but OKC is not in the playoffs so why not?

    I believe JT gets hot again with Cody protecting him. I would like to see Barnes get more AB’s and Grandal some more rest. Farmer should get some innings behind the plate as well. If Joc gets recalled will he sulk at his lack of playing time? If he does it’s on him as it should be about the team.

  12. Sometimes you have to make a move to prevent an arch rival from getting a player that could help them a lot in the future, who could also help you.

      1. That strategy is how the Yankees got stuck with Jose Canseco. They claimed him to block another team from getting him and Tampa said ok you can have him and his contract.

  13. The Dodgers have assigned the following position players to the Arizona Fall League: catcher Will Smith, outfielders Yusniel Diaz, DJ Peters & Matt Beaty

      1. Understand all of the position players. Excellent selections. I am okay on Spitzbarth and Sopko, undecided on Boyle…but do not understand Isaac Anderson.

  14. If the Dodgers sign Stanton, I’m telling the missus & kids that I love them dearly, but I’m emigrating to the US.

    1. Watford

      What happened to that vacation home or Holiday home?

      You can find that interview I think after this Wednesday, with Hill, on Sports Net LA.

      1. Thanks MJ – I will look out for it.
        I love Hill’s honesty.
        I don’t know why, but today for the first time, I have begun to feel uneasy about the Postseason.
        Maybe it’s the back to back defeats, or just a day off & time to reflect, but I think this time, this season, to not win the WS will feel like a bit of a letdown, especially because of the season we have had, and the knowledge that we are undoubtedly the best team in Baseball in 17.
        I remember when the Cubs won last year, Badger commenting that
        It was cool because they were the best team in 16 & therefore if it wasn’t the Dodgers, then good luck to the Cubs.
        I agree with that sentiment, but unfortunately we all know that the best team rarely wins it all (see SF in 15).
        Although we have won whe West these pads 4 years, I have not been confident of us winning it all.
        This year feels different. More expectations which come from being the Favourites. Anything less than a WS is gonna be an anticlimax.
        I just sensed a bit of apprehension today that I’ve never had before.
        This year I know it’s gonna hurt if we don’t win the last game of the season more than ever.

        1. Watford

          That is funny, because I was thinking about Kershaw and Baez today, for the same reason!

          I was wondering if Kershaw was going to finally really dominate in the post season, like he does, in the regular season.

          I was also hoping that Baez could prove me wrong, and pitch well in the post season too.

          I don’t like being the favorites either.

          But we have had a bull’s eye on our team, ever since we started dominating this year, so every team we play, do their best to beat us, so they should be pretty prepared this year, to face the competition.

          But pitching is so dominant in baseball in general, and pitching is even more dominate, in the post season.

          And we know how that has went in the past!

          I don’t want to get that sick feeling again, but let’s just hope the best!

  15. 1-Taylor…..CF

    Seager needs another day while we wait for Cody? Logan against a RHP? Grandal hitting 4th protecting JT? I like Puig hitting 5th but Yasmani in front of him? Snakes and Godley saying thank you but maybe Roberts has some stats he is using. Normally I would sit both Kike and Logan against a tough RHP but maybe they go off tonight. Lamb plays against a LHP but is hitting 7th, lineup stacked with righties.

  16. Some tidbits: Blackmon 0 for 1, down to .339, Wash has 9 hits, one by each player in the lineup, up 5 to 2 and Stanton hits #51. Rangers lead 11 to 2 over Houston, Fiers gives up 8 ER in 4 IP. Before you think the Brewers are going on a run, St Louis knocks out Garza in the 4th to lead 7-1. All teams have ups and downs but every fan in baseball would like to be in the Dodgers situation at this point in the season.

  17. 6 of the 1st 7 batters get hits and put the slumping Dodger bats in a 5-0 hole. Hill has no curve ball command and they are sitting on his 89 mph fastball.

  18. AGon with a clutch 2 out 2B gets them within 2 then Forsythe looked overmatched and K’s for the 3rd time tonight. In the 9th we should see Cory PH and maybe they can find the magic? Grandy has 3 K’s tonight as well, maybe Farmer pinch hits for him if they bring in another LHP to face him. Hawkeye, it will be nice to see Cody back tomorrow!

    1. Yes it will. I was looking forward to a real lineup but it sounds like Corey may sit a bit. Tired of watching Kike’s horrible approach against righties.

  19. That was a frustrating loss, take away the 5 in the 1st and it’s a different game. Hill is so frustrating because when he is on he dazzles but when he struggles looks very ordinary. Grandy striking out for the 4th time in the 9th was pretty frustrating too. Grandal with 3 hits and Taylor with a HR and 3 RBI looked good and Puig going deep validated him hitting 5th. AGon had a big hit too and Utley had a walk and a hit after replacing Kike. Forsythe and Kike should not start against quality RHP. Tomorrow they face a tough leftie in Ray but I’ll take my chances with another 6 runs by the Dodgers hitters.

  20. this is a perfect time to lose a few games. Play like crap for a couple weeks. Then get it out of your system. Get mad. Get revved up come Sept 10-30. Then we’ll be clicking, back on track, and ready to go come Oct 5.

    I don’t care that we’ve lost 3 in a row. I don’t care that Hill was perfectly crap in 1st inning. Belly just got his 10 days off. Seager have an elbow boo boo? Give him a week break too. This is all about being ready to “flip the switch” come Sept 15 or so.

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