Sometimes You Have to Lose Some Battles To Win A War

All over the Dodger Baseball Blogs, fans are losing their minds about the lineups Dave Roberts is rolling out there.  They are questioning his batting orders, substitutions, resting players and use of minor leaguers. Let me remind you that Dave Roberts was the NL Manager of the Year in 2016 and is the odds-on favorite to win it this year.  So, is is likely that Dave Roberts has suddenly lost his mind? Not only is it not likely, but it’s all part of the plan. I’ll explain.

Many of us felt that the Dodgers were on the cusp of making history by winning 117 games – most of all time, by surpassing the 2001 Seattle Mariners who won a whopping 116 games.  The Mariners used only 15 pitchers that year and Lou Piniella kept “the-pedal-to-the-metal” and the team responded…  even though most of the final month, they were up 14 or 15 games. It turns out they were gassed and the Yankees beat them 4-1 in the ALCS.

Dave Roberts and the Front Office don’t care about THAT record – they care about putting the team in the best position to win the World Series in 2017.  That’s all.  They are resting some guys and putting others into situations to see how that player responds to certain situations.

  • How will Fabio Castillo do in back-to-back games?
  • Can Cingrani and Watson be high leverage guys?
  • Can Granderson hit #2?
  • Can Logan Forsythe hit RHP?
  • Is Luis Avilan a high leverage guy?
  • Can Grandal and Gonzo hit in the heart of the order?
  • Can Austin Barnes hit higher in the order?
  • Is Verdugo an option and can he play CF?
  • Can Wilmer Font be a middle-reliever?

Doc is willing to lose some battles in order to assess how some new players fit into the scheme of things. He is talking his foot off the gas and playing this like it is Spring Training. Is that the right way to do it?  I don’t know, but I am sure Lou Piniella might have done things differently in 2001 if he could have done it over. It’s the right thing to do… if it works! It’s obvious that the Dodgers are coasting.  It’s almost a Spring Training-Type of Audition for the players.  In reality, some players need time to get acclimated to the big leagues, to get their timing down and the like.

Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood are trying to get re-adjusted mechanically and timing-wise.  The rookies are trying to get their sea legs and adjust to the majors, and the Dodgers have a 14 game lead.  Doc is not pushing the team right now, although he will soon start getting them ready for the war.  He’s willing to lose some battles, right now, in order to win that war.

Dave Roberts is getting some good intel on his players so that he can best pick the 25 for the playoffs.  Doc has not lost his mind and neither should we – it’s all parts of his plan and that plan is Total World Domination in 2017!

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 78 Comments

  1. I get it and agree for the most part with what you said here and what Roberts is doing. But when a rookie in his 2nd game in the bigs loads the bases with no outs in the 7th inning of a 1 run game and their best hitter is up I go to the pen. I also put the IF in DP depth and not halfway and Myers ground ball does not get through. Earlier in the 7th with 2 on and 2 out Forsythe is up against Chacin, who had owned him down by a run and Utley, Ethier and AGon on the bench ready to PH for a guy who has trouble with RHP. You know what happened. As a bettor I stopped playing the Dodgers after the Hill one hitter loss (I don’t bet against them though) and at this point they are not actually trying to win so even though I understand what the team is doing it complicates things. Az comes in riding a 10 game winning streak after sweeping the Rocks, do you think they will take it easy on the Dodgers? If they can flip a switch and turn the tables on AZ with the same 3 starters who just got lit up a few days ago I would be very pleasantly surprised. The Rockies on the other hand can be more easily beaten but the team needs to win some of these games at home for their own confidence as both winning and losing can become contagious. The Padres should have lost every game this weekend and instead took 3 of 4.

  2. The D-Backs believe they still have a chance to pass the Dodgers and are fielding a lineup with that in mind. I don’t care about seeing how “some new players fit into the scheme of things.” We were doing just fine with what we had before. We now have lose all that momentum.

  3. There’s a fine line between a slump and a free fall. Ask the Rockies. There is no way in hell Castillo makes the post-season roster. With Avilan, Cingrani, and Jansen available manage the game to win. They have a bench full of players available so there was no reason at all for Forsythe to hit into a DP. He has not used his roster wisely this weekend. It will be interesting to see if Barnes get PT at 2nd when Farmer comes up. I was the least excited about getting Granderson because he stinks. Maybe that’s all they could get but he’s a horrible hitter who runs into some HR’s if he can keep it fair.

      1. I’m saying he has to be pinch hit for in that situation with Utley, Ethier, Gonzalez, Seager, on the bench. Utley can’t start every game against righties at 2nd at his age. Taylor moving to 2nd creates another hole in the OF and there is already one in LF. If they want to see if Barnes can play there when Farmer comes up I have no issues with it but LF is a bigger problem than 2B.

        1. Hawkeye

          Thanks!

          Do you think Granderson might not be as bad, or as vulnerable, if he was hitting back, in the line up?

          Because he certainly doesn’t belong hitting at the top, of the line up.

          But remember where Roberts hit Reddick last year, when he came to the team, so I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised, where Roberts is hitting Granderson.

          I do think we miss Corey’s bat, as much as we missed Cody’s bat.

          Corey is not the same RBI guy, but he plays a very important role, in our line up too!

  4. Well Roberts is quoted”he is not taking his foot off the pedal” can Forsyth hit right handed pitching? No and he already knows that. Castillo doesn’t have a chance in hades being on post season roster. A Ilan he had last year and I could go on. I would like to see what verdugo can do. I personally don’t care about the total wins except for home field. I have played enough and coached enough to know that some of the players are going to be pissed when you don’t try to win. It just goes against best practices and I don’t think you can turn it on and off when you want. Ask the cubs? What happened to all these fresh armed pitchers who have gone 5 innings every game. Somebody said maeda is a 5 inning pitcher well I don’t blame him totally. You can’t pitch a guy 5 innings all year then expect him to go 7. I get we will win the division and we are trying to stay healthy. Why waste time on ar bats for Ethier when he hasn’t been healthy in 2 years. I like him and certainly over Bradley and has been a solid player but he has cost the dodgers 35 million for 2 years of nothing. Just move on to someone you can depend on. I just think Roberts flat out gave the padres the game today without a winning effort. That is just unprofessional and I don’t think the players will like it either. We may win the World Series and I am certainly pulling for it but respect the game.

    1. I have no problem giving Andre some AB’s. It may be a long shot but over his career he is a .300 hitter against righties. A far superior hitter than Granderson.

      As much as I like seeing someone like a Buehler come up, I’ve grown to hate September baseball.

  5. 1st, I think that most here get it – Roberts is resting some of his regulars and is seeing whether any of the new guys (deadline trades and callups) should be on the post-season roster. But many of the questions that you have posed are either not really being asked by the Dodgers (How will Fabio Castillo do in back-to-back games? – he’s not going to be on the post-season roster anyway) or have already been answered during the course of the season (Can Granderson hit #2? Can Logan Forsythe hit RHP? Can Grandal and Gonzo hit in the heart of the order? – The answers are “no”, ‘”no”, and “no to Gonzo”).

    2nd, the offense stopped working 5 or 6 weeks ago and can’t be turned on again by throwing a switch. Rather than giving the likes of Alex Verdugo lots of ABs, they should be getting guys like Turner, Grandal, etc. the ABs that they need to get started again. If they aren’t hitting on September 30, they won’t magically start again in October.

    3rd, they need to start Ryu and Maeda working in the ‘pen to see if they will be effective there as neither are likely to be in the post-season rotation.

    4th, rather than experiment with Font and Castillo in high leverage situations, they need to arrange roles for the post-season ‘pen. Assuming that Jansen has the 9th nailed down and Morrow has the 8th, do they have Baez for the 7th? Or Avilan? Or Fields (if he comes off of the DL)? It won’t be Castillo, I can tell you that.

    Finally, tell me how losing 8 of 9 help get the team ready for October?

    1. Per True Blue LA – “The Dodgers have lost eight of nine games and are 5-10 in their last 15. Before that, they had 10 losses in their previous 62 games.”

      1. Per Dodgers Insider: “In this eight-game stretch, Dodger starters have a 7.96 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, are allowing opposing batters to hit .321 and are walking 4.6 batters per nine innings.”

        1. Averages!

          Put one foot in ice water and the other in boiling water and the averages say you should be comfortable.

          Averages lie!

          😉

    2. Rick

      No one is wanting Agone to hit in the middle of the order, and that is why his power numbers, don’t matter.

      But Agone is a better bat, then Forsythe, Granderson, and some other players in this line up!

  6. I think there could be some surprises as to the makeup of the playoff roster. Forsythe continues to confound. Last year he hit .270 against LH pitching and .263 against RHP. 16 of his 20 HR were against RHP. Last year his OB% was .333. THis year it is .361, but his batting average is horrible. This year he is .290 against LHP and .197 against RHP.

    He has to play against LHP, but can’t see the field against a RHP. He should leadoff against LHP.

    I could see just one of the following players make the playoff roster: Utley, A-Gon and Ethier. I think it will be Utley because he can play 1B or 2B, pinch hit and RUN. But, I would not start Utley. He’s strictly a bench player. I would start Austin Barnes at 2B against RHP. He has reverse splits against RHP – .346 BA and a .454 OB%.

    Here’s my lineups:
    Against RHP:
    1. Barnes 2B
    2. Seager SS
    3. Turner 3B
    4. Bellinger 1B
    5. Taylor CF
    6. Puig RF
    7. Grandal C
    8. Verdugo or Granderson LF

    Against LHP:
    1. Forsythe 2B
    2. Seager SS
    3. Turner 3B
    4. Bellinger 1B
    5. Taylor CF
    6. Barnes C
    7. Puig RF
    8. Verdugo or Granderson LF

    So the 13 playoff position players are:
    1. Bellinger
    2. Forsythe
    3. Utley
    4. Barnes
    5. Farmer
    6. Turner
    7. Taylor
    8. Granderson or Verdugo
    9. Puig
    10. Kike
    11. Utley
    12. Grandal
    13. Who? A-Gon?

    It’s a numbers game. Joc, A-Gon, Andre and either Granderson or Verdugo cannot make the team. Could Segedin make it to be an additional RH bat?

    1. Agree that one of Gonzalez, Ethier and Utley should make it and that it should be Chase – he plays more positions and can run – plus he has been better this year.

      I would be Ok with Barnes getting more AB at 2B but only if Farmer makes it as a 3rd catcher. If he does then Segedin is unnecessary as an extra RH bat – and maybe Gonzalez makes it – but only as a bench bat.

      1. Joc needs AB’s. They can keep him hitting in the minors as long as there is an affiliate still playing. I noticed his original hitting guru was coaching 1st base for the Padres.

    2. I don’t think Vedugo is post season eligible so he’s out for playoff planning. Granderson should be out – great guy apparently, but very little bat. Joc isn’t showing anything – he’s so bad it appears we lost Bumsrap as well. Either is essentially an unknown but it would take a big showing for him to make it now. Segedin is not a post season player IMO so no go there.

      I would be on board with Farmer and Utley (but only once instead of twice, so I guess that for sure leaves a spot for Agon – unless he goes DL before year end). And one more spot to fill. Let’s see who steps up to take it – and it could be a pitcher as well, but not as likely.

      1. Verdugo can take the place of someone who goes on the DL… not that FAZ knows anything about the DL.
        😉

        1. Yes he can, and that’s why I stated it as playoff planning…however, you are right about FAZ and they can easily be doing some DL planning. Maybe I’ll state it this way: I don’t think Verdugo will prove himself worthy to be on the playoff roster this year anyway. Happy to be wrong about that but will be pleasantly surprised if I am.

      2. You can be on the playoff roster as long as you were IN THE ORGANIZATION before Sept 1st. You don’t have to be on the 40 man roster before Sept 1st

  7. Hartung and Nomar for a 2nd game in a row were unbearable so I put on Monday and Kennedy and synced it with my DVR. They just lit up Castillo for throwing a change up to Will Meyers.

    An interesting battle is for the two or three lefties in the pen and let me just say Ryu should not be one of them and I’m a Ryu fan. Avilan is a lock. Watson has pitched like hot garbage other than his most recent efforts. Cingrani is a project that is making progress. Then there is Paredes who looks like a real LOOGY to me but needs more opportunities to prove himself.

    Paredes is a guy that should get some opportunities. Guys like Castillo and Font served a purpose for a dbl header but shouldn’t be in high leverage situations until the division and home field is clinched.

    1. Hawkeye

      I more then agree about Paredes, he is the type of guy, that will give his all, for this opportunity, and he has not allowed a run, even in high leverage situations.

      And when Paredes first came up, Cody talked about how tough Paredes was, for Cody to hit, when he was on another team, last year.

  8. The only thing I worry about going into the playoffs is HEALTH. I’m confident that the Dodgers will do well if everyone is healthy. For the most part I agree with Mark’s take, and had been thinking much the same things before reading his post.

    And why would I want to show Arizona anyone else other than the pitchers they recently saw? It they face the Dodgers in the first round, I’d rather they face Kershaw, Wood, and Darvish after not having seen them in a long time. In fact, maybe they’ve never seen Darvish.

    By the time the playoffs roll around Seager should back at full strength, Bellinger will hopefully have his timing completely back, and maybe we get the .526 Turner of the 2015 NLDS. And I wouldn’t get too down on Granderson. He hasn’t hit much with the Dodgers, but he was hitting between .270 – .280 with the Mets after May 15th. And he has performed well in the postseason before.

    At the risk of repeating myself too often, I will remind people again that the Dodgers won their last 7 regular season games in 2006 before getting swept in the 2006 NLDS by the Mets, and the Rockies of 2007 won 21 of 22 games, including sweeps of the NLDS and NLCS, prior to getting swept themselves by the Red Sox in the WS. Playing well before the playoffs is no guarantee of anything. I just want a healthy Dodgers team entering the playoffs, and trust that this team will do all that is humanly possible to be totally prepared to play the games. I’m not worried that they have any illusions about being able to turn it on at will. This is a high character team with loads of experience, and with a no nonsense manager. When the bell rings, they will be ready. There is no guarantee that they will win, but rest assured they will be ready to play.

    1. Let’s not forget the Rockies won their playoff series so quickly that they had to sit around forever waiting for the WS begin.

      1. Hawkeye

        That is why I am always afraid, of the wild card teams.

        Because they are playing while the other teams, are sitting, and waiting.

        During this time, only the wild card teams, will continue to play baseball, like they did all year.

        While the other teams, are taken away from what they do, and how they play, during the season, when they are almost playing everyday, with not more then a days rest, most of the time.

      2. Hawkeye

        I don’t know about you, but right now, I can’t watch any of the baseball shows, because I just can only imagine, what they are saying about the Dodgers right now.

  9. From Dodgers.com, here is a great example of managerial doublespeak. Dave Roberts is quoted as saying:
    “”Regardless of who we put out there, we feel we should win,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t matter what guy is throwing, starting, I think they feel confident they should put up zeros and whoever’s in the lineup should play defense and put up at-bats.” (this in response to the questions about the game 1 starting lineup from Saturday’s doubleheader.)
    But
    “Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his club’s recent tailspin, including Saturday’s doubleheader sweep by the Padres, isn’t a sign that he’s taking the foot off the gas.”

    So – he’s playing the AAA Dodgers but it isn’t taking his foot off of the gas – he expects to win anyway.

    I know – the only times that baseball management (including GMs) lie to the press is when their lips move.

    He should just acknowledge what he is doing – it’s obvious to everyone anyway.

      1. So funny that you think you know stuff. DR doing what he can. Ride it out, either Dodgers go or not. We’ll know soon enough and by thanksgiving it’ll be history.

  10. I just looked at the standings, and we are only ten games ahead of the Nats right now, and we play them soon, in DC.

    Maybe this will motivate the players, because the home field advantage is something that we should want, to keep.

  11. I don’t think Roberts is taking his foot off the gas. He’s just using different gas than what some of you expect.

    I was listening to MLB Radio this morning and Edwardo Perez was asked about the Dodgers current losing streak that reached 1-9 in the last 10 games and he replied that in 2014, the Giants had a 1-9 streak. In 2015, the Royals twice went 2-7, and in 2016, the Cubs had a 1-9 streak. That all won the World Series.

    Perez says it is no big deal. That’s just baseball. Let me address a couple of things.

    1. FAZ has built amazing depth and that is a big part of the reason the Dodgers have the best record in baseball. Some of you say that Font and Castillo have no shot at making the playoff roster. Actually, they have a shot, but not a good one. What happens if Morrow and Baez are hurt? Ah, you didn’t think about that, did you? FAZ and Doc did!

    2. So, you pitch Wilmer and Fabio to see how they pitch – to see how they handle high leverage situations. You have to be prepared for contingencies.

    3. You pitch them to rest the bullpen. Many of you said that the pen was tired in the playoffs last year, so how can you complain when Roberts rests them so as to be fresher in the playoffs? You can’t have it both ways!

    Roberts is trying to win, even if he doesn’t have the players you think should be out there. I personally do not think it is a big deal, right about now. No one is catching the Dodgers. Now, if they are playing badly on September 25th, then I worry. Right now, it’s prepare for contingencies and rest players as much as possible while seeing if others are possibilities.

    The key words are : Don’t Panic!”

    1. I’m sorry – but if Fabian Castillo makes the Dodgers’ post-season roster, something is seriously wrong. They only have about 25 RHP ahead of him on the depth chart.

      He is a career minor leaguer – started in the minors in 2006. This year in OKC, he went 4 – 8, 4.27. 22 appearances, 16 starts, 9 HR in 91 IP, 34 BB vs 86 K, WHIP of 1.32.

      Why is he getting put in high leverage situations?

      I get that Font had a great year in AAA, but they have 3 guys (Ryu, Maeda and McCarthy) who have actual major league experience who can pitch in the long man role – same with Stripling and Stewart.

      1. Yes, if he makes it, it will mean that somethings is seriously wrong. That’s the contingency. Castillo hits 3 digits on his fasball. It averages 97. You can’t teach speed. Maybe Honey can teach him to Cutt it? Did you see what I did there? 😉

  12. From Houstom Mitchell:

    I’m not going to rant over how poorly the Dodgers have been playing lately. It seems when the offense plays well, the pitching is poor and when the pitching is great, the offense can’t hit. What’s the solution? Let’s take a look at some suggestions from experts on TV and from fans via email, with my thoughts on it.

    Suggestion: The Dodgers need to stick with one lineup and quit moving people around.

    Did you know that the Dodgers have used 122 lineups in 136 games this season? That they haven’t used any one lineup more than three times and they changed the lineup almost daily during their amazing run? Last season, the World Series champion Cubs used 130 lineups during the season. I don’t think this is the problem.

    Suggestion: Sending Joc Pederson down ruined the clubhouse chemistry and made all the young players nervous about their jobs.

    I think this says a lot more about the people who suggest it. Do you slack off at work when someone leaves or is let go? These players are paid millions of dollars. You really think they are underperforming because Pederson is gone? They go to bat thinking “Man, it’s just not the same without Joc. Whoops! Strike one! I wasn’t even ready yet! Man, Joc would usually be cheering for me after a strike like that.” And it makes the young players nervous? Which young players? Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger are suddenly worried about their job because a guy who was underperforming was sent down? What if they had traded Pederson for Justin Verlander? Wouldn’t that have had the same effect? And why didn’t Joc and his great chemistry lead the team into the World Series the last couple of seasons?

    Suggestion: Curtis Granderson should not be hitting second in the lineup.

    I agree. Granderson has six hits and 19 strikeouts in 15 games. I’d rather see just about anyone else batting second.

    Suggestion: The Dodgers need better starting pitchers, they won’t win with what they have now.

    Setting aside the fact they went 91-36 with what they have now, this is the starting pitching we have. They have led the majors in ERA almost all season. Most teams would be very happy to have Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-jin Ryu as their starters. They are pitching poorly right now (other than Kershaw). They will hopefully figure it out. I see no reason to think they won’t.

    Suggestion: The bullpen is wearing down from overuse.

    You could be right. Josh Ravin has an ERA of almost six in his last six appearances. After pitching well all season, Pedro Baez is reverting to the Pedro Baez Dodgers fans remember and fear. Josh Fields is on the disabled list. Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani don’t look like answers as left-handed setup man. Kenley Jansen is great, and it looks like Brandon Morrow will replace Baez as primary setup man. And Luis Avilan has been solid. But all of these guys have made a lot of appearances, which doesn’t even take into account the number of times they have warmed up without getting into the game. The odds are that a couple of these guys are going to hit a wall. You just have to hope they don’t hit the wall in Game 5 of the NLDS.

    And by the way, I like Eddie Paredes. He has given up one hit and no walks while striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings. He may be the left-handed pitcher the Dodgers need. I’d at least audition him over the next four weeks.

    Suggestion: Yu Darvish hasn’t been the answer and shouldn’t even be in the postseason rotation.

    Darvish is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA, a 4.67 FIP and a 1.538 WHIP. Rick Honeycutt works with him daily as they try to rebuild his throwing motion so it is more like the one he had before surgery. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think if you know you have to rebuild a guy’s motion, then perhaps he isn’t the best choice to acquire at the trade deadline. As of right now, Darvish will be starting Game 2 of the NLDS. But a lot can happen in a month.

    Suggestion: Wouldn’t it be nice to have Zack Greinke and his 16 wins on the team now?

    Well, setting aside the fact that rating judging pitchers by wins is a bit antiquated, and that Greinke would have had a different schedule with the Dodgers than Arizona, answer this: Would you rather give up Justin Turner or Jansen, because if you are going to pay Greinke $30 million a season, you aren’t going to be able to re-sign one or both of those guys before this season. You can’t just make Greinke appear from thin air and put him on the team. Roster decisions the last two seasons would be much different.

    Suggestion: Justin Turner is overrated and should be benched…. Dave Roberts is a liar and will do anything to make best friend Adrian Gonzalez happy even if it means the team plays worse…. This team was so much better when Matt Kemp was with them.

    OK, all I can say here is that some people should just stop being baseball fans.

    Am I worried and concerned over this recent slide? Yep. But, I try to keep this in mind: This is the same team that went 81-24. Sandwiched around that they went 11-20. The truth is somewhere in between those extremes.
    But, and please trust me on this, if you find yourself losing sleep over this slide, or getting angry at the team or the front office, or holding on to the losses for more than 10 minutes after a game ends, remember one very important thing: It’s just a game. Take a breath and enjoy life.

    What do the players and manager say?

    Cody Bellinger: “I’m not worried. And I know no one in this clubhouse is worried [about] what’s happened in the last week.”
    Dave Roberts: I hope fans “don’t jump off the bandwagon” based on one terrible trip. “It’s the same team. We have the same goal. We’re going to be just fine. We can’t win every game.”

    Alex Wood: “I think it’s a statistical improbability to go an entire season without getting punched in the face, at any point. We’ve been so good for so long that we have a rough patch for a week and everyone is like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on?’ It happens to everybody. The best teams in the world, this happens to. We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep playing the baseball that we’re supposed to be, and we’ll be fine.”

    Dave Roberts, again: “I can assure you this won’t break us.”

    Here’s a word of advice for the team, particularly if they lose Monday to Arizona: You might want to start showing some anger, or some passion. Because it’s not like these last 10 games have been highly competitive. You look lackadaisical out there. You look like you think you are all that and a bag of chips. Very few people are jumping off the bandwagon, but some people on the bandwagon are pointing out that one of the tires looks like it’s going to blow. A “The way we’ve been playing has been unacceptable” would be nice to hear.

    1. “Here’s a word of advice for the team, particularly if they lose Monday to Arizona: You might want to start showing some anger, or some passion. Because it’s not like these last 10 games have been highly competitive. You look lackadaisical out there. You look like you think you are all that and a bag of chips. Very few people are jumping off the bandwagon, but some people on the bandwagon are pointing out that one of the tires looks like it’s going to blow. A “The way we’ve been playing has been unacceptable” would be nice to hear.”

  13. DODGERS SELECT CONTRACT OF CHARLIE CULBERSON
    REINSTATE JOSH FIELDS FROM DL

    LOS ANGELES
    The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected the contract of infielder Charlie Culberson (#37) from Triple-A Oklahoma City and reinstated right-hander Josh Fields from the 10-day disabled list.

    Culberson, 28, will make his first stint with the big league club this season and in 108 games with Oklahoma City, he hit .250 with 13 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 32 RBI and seven stolen bases. He made a majority of his appearances at shortstop this year (97 games), but also played third base (seven games) and center field (two starts) for the OKC Dodgers.

    The Rome, Georgia native enters his fifth big league season and has a .234 career batting average with six home runs and 44 RBI in 182 games with the Giants (2012), Rockies (2013-14) and Dodgers (2016). Culberson, who appeared in 34 games and posted a .299 batting average with three doubles, one homer and seven RBI with Los Angeles in 2016, earned his place in team history with a walk-off home run in the club’s division-clinching win over the Rockies last year.

    Fields, who missed the last eight games with a lower back strain, has gone 5-0 with one save and has posted a 2.68 (14 ER/47.0 IP) in 47 relief appearances this year. He has held hitters to a .192 average, while striking out 49 batters against 14 walks in 47.0 innings.

    To create room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers transferred right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy to the 60-day disabled list (right finger blister; retroactive to July 21).


    That mean McCarthy can’t come back until September 21st. Welcome back Charlie Culberson. BTW, he’s the scrubb who hit the big shot last year.

    1. I hope that by adding a shortstop doesn’t mean Seager’s injury is more seriously than once thought.

  14. I am pretty much in agreement with you Mark. I think the first five batters should be Taylor, Seager, JT, Bellinger and Puig. If Verdugo or Granderson cannot nail down an outfield spot, then you have to move Bellinger to LF and move Agon to first. Platoon Utley and Forsythe at second. Save Utley a little this last month to make sure he is rested.

    Darvish will figure it out, Honycutt and Darvish seem to be on the same page. His arm slot is different than before the surgery. I would start Kershaw and then Hill. You cannot let Hill pitch in Arizona or Colorado. Finish off with Darvish and Wood.

    Bullpen-You have Kenley as the closer. Morrow is the most reliable and should be you 8th inning pitcher. Paredes has looked good. So has Watson and Cingrani at times. What to do with Ryu and Maeda?

    My only bitch about Roberts is he need to put these young pitchers in a position to succeed the first time they throw. After that, you need to find out what they can handle.

    1. The ‘Sports Illustrated Jinx’ caused me to explore my feelings on such and all I can come up with is curses are real until they’re not. It’s funny because it’s also human controlled. I’m a firm believer that physics rule everything but also that it’s impossible to have a full understanding of physics. There’s proof that there’s different power to different shapes and as there’s an endless amount of shapes the possibilities are endless as well. I’m pretty certain S.I.’s creator didn’t have hexes in mind when creating the rag but did or didn’t when he did. I’m trying to be funny but there’s something very serious inside considering what power be. Both Cubs ans Sox had curses until they didn’t and whatever had lifted their curses (or hadn’t) is beyond the most brilliant of minds. Me, I’m an idiot so I don’t even have a clue…….or it could be possible I’m the only one who does. So with the powers I hold I lift the S.I. Jinx from the Dodgers and cast to them a 2017 victory! God I hope I didn’t just jinx them.

  15. I know one person who isn’t in panic mode. That be Dave Roberts. He’s using rookies out of the pen because he has the option to experiment while saving the arms of the pitchers he’s most likely to use in the playoffs. And with Corey Seager being out, a spot has opened up for non-regulars in the lineup.

    I don’t know what Tony Cingrani’s role (if any) will be in the playoffs, but I liked his stuff before the Dodgers acquired him, and I’m liking what I see even better. Paredes has looked good, but I’m not yet sold on him.

    Mark and I don’t always agree, but this time I agree with most everything he’s saying.

    And as I’ve said before on several occasions, you’re never as good as you look when you’re at your best, and never as bad as you look when you’re at your worst.

    The Dodgers may win it all, and maybe they won’t. But put me among those whose glass is still half full.

    What happened Mark? No more advanced math problems to solve to post on this site? As a former math teacher, I totally object. 🙂

    1. We may not always agree, but your takes are well thought out and articulated.

      5 out of 4 people struggle with math so we removed the calculus .

      I do know that 2 + 2 = 6

  16. Dodgers fall behind early – again. Hill gives up HR to put the team behind – again.
    If they lose tonight it’s 9 of 10. Just they way they want to go into the post-season.
    Yeah – they’ll win the Division (probably) and have home field advantage (probably). But really – do you want to go into the post-season completely out of synch, having no offense and having lost the majority of games going into the playoffs?
    I know – it doesn’t matter – but it does.

  17. 2 + 2 = 6 is better than the answer I once heard from another math teacher, who when asked by a student what the answer was to a number divided by zero , said that the answer was zero. For those who don’t know, division by zero is undefined in mathematics, something a math teacher should have known. My guess is, that that math teacher would have had a problem signing on to this site before you removed the calculus.

    And thanks for the compliment. 5 out of 4 people I know wouldn’t agree with that. Seriously :).

  18. Did I mention Robbie ray might be tougher on us than greinke? Did I mention Martinez was a steal for the dbacks? While we are playing the string out Arizona is now confident they are better than us. We opened the door and they are going to be very difficult to beat in the playoffs. I believe their offense and pitching are better than ours but not at the end of the bullpen. Go Rockies!!

  19. Baez – 2 hitters, 2 HR.
    Dodger batters – 1 H, 0 R, 13 K in 6 IP.
    With all of the hitters on the Dodger bench, why did Roberts let Hill hit in the bottom of the 6th if he was coming out to start the 7th anyway?

  20. Pedro Baez sucks! I feel like all is well now that Charlie Culberson is on the big league roster. Seriously, Culberson? Granderson or JD Martinez? I know who I would rather have.

  21. Mark,
    It’s been a while since you entertained us with a music video. May I suggest Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin”?

  22. Bottom line: Taylor, Kike, Barnes and Puig 0-9 w/ K’s. Let’s not put it all on Hill who thew one bad pitch out of 87 pitches.

  23. I personally would not put Baez on the playoff roster. I have seen enough of his home run pitches. They will put him on and so they should never pitch him with the game tied or us in the lead. Most teams clinch before they celebrate. I see a certain arrogance in the way this is playing out. Roberts still in denial but he better start using our strengths until we clinch. If we had the stretch we did certainly the dbacks are capable of doing it as well. They have really good pitching and a potent offense. I don’t see anyone slowing them down if we can’t.

    1. There

      This is the only series with the Dbacks we have for the rest of the season.

      I wish they would stop throwing high fastballs to JD!

  24. Dodger pitchers give up 9 HRs so far – 3 to JD.
    Robbie Ray – 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 14 K vs Dodger batters.
    MAKE THIS STOP!

  25. I looked at dbacks schedule and it is weak. We better start winning because the y won’t lose many with the giants and padres mostly. We have the nationals there and of course the giants play us tough. We may end up regretting that padre series.

  26. Nothing is worse than excusing bad play and false hope. This Manager better get back to the basics and the lineup that crushed competition quit juggling lineup wth .20 hitters batting 1-5

  27. Roberts had spent the bullpen. They are worn out. If he is Manager of the year now is the time to prove it. The MLB record for wins is a goal to pursue. It is dangerous to let off the accelrator

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