This Losing Streak is Deliberate – Laissez-Faire at Work!

A team that went 92-41 up through September 1st and then suddenly loses 9 games in a row can’t happen unless it is done deliberately.  I have been considering this for a few days and I really believe that FAZ and Doc really want this team to peak at the end of the season. They knew the team was good, but they had no idea that they would run off such an incredible streak through September 1st.  While not “deliberately” trying to lose, they have done things with the idea of resting certain players and getting other players at bats in situations in which they may have not been effective all year.

That means letting Kike, Logan, Curtis and others hit against their “bad splits.”  It means pitching a six man rotation, which benefits no one except Kenta Maeda.  It means letting Curtis Granderson hit 2nd.  It means trying A-Gon at 1B and Andre in LF.  Many of you may think it is preposterous that the front office and manager would “manufacture” such a losing streak, but even if it is crazy, it may be crazy like a fox.  I will admit that it is dangerous messing with momentum, but the weight of carrying an incredible winning streak such as the Dodgers were on is also dangerous.

The team has taken a “mental break” and Dave Roberts has allowed it.  As a former player who has been a part of World Series win, Dave Roberts totally understands what kind of a grind a 162 game season is.  The team started off slow (12-14) and then went on one of the most incredible runs in the history of the game.  It was so incredible that Sports Illustrated proclaimed them the “Best Team Ever.”  The weight of that proclamation is too heavy to carry all season.  It is unsustainable!  So Doc Roberts, who is incredible, intuitive and intelligent, allowed and enabled the team to lose – to come back to earth, but mostly to get the weight of that 800 pound Gorilla off their backs. Now they don’t have to live up to the press billing as the best team ever.  They are back to just trying to win a World Series – no more, no less.

There has been no “Rah, Rah Meeting”… yet, but I believe that Doc is ready to put his foot back on the accelerator.  He will go back to a 5-man rotation starting today. Ryu sits this round, but if Maeda struggles in his next start, Ryu will take his spot.  Brandon McCarthy will be back, as a reliever – Doc will see if he can handle it.  The players who are not producing will sit.  The ones who deserve it will play.  Doc is not stupid – that’s why I say this losing streak was a calculated move.

Now, just to be clear, I am not accusing Dave of “throwing games.”  I am just saying that in order to give the team a mental and physical break, he has taken a laissez-faire position with the team for the past two weeks.  I suppose that could be very dangerous, because if the team spirals down the tubes, it may be hard to recover.  However, the converse is also  true.  The winning streak was unsustainable.  The front office knows this stuff too.  They understand the Financial Markets which are driven by human nature, momentum and impulse as much as anything.

I think that right about September 10th, the Laissez-Faire attitude will stop.  Dave will get the Boys of Summer together and give them a rousing pep talk and they will run out of the clubhouse like madmen, ready to take on the World. Dave Roberts knows what he is doing and he will put the pedal back to the metal right about now.  It’s time…

Alex Wood’s velocity is down again – he may have to go back to the pen where he can pitch one or two innings at a time.  Darvish did pitch better in his last outing – Kershaw, Darvish and Hill will benefit from going back on to a 5-man rotation.  A playoff rotation of Kershaw, Darvish, Hill and Maeda or Ryu is still very formidable.  The bullpen has been solid of late and even El Gasolino looked good in hsi last outing.

One last thing I want to address.  Howard Cole who writes for Forbes, wrote that Dave Roberts getting mad at Dodger fans for booing Pedro Baez was not right. First of all, Howard Cole is an excellent writer who also happens to be a dumbass if he thinks any manager worth his salt is not going to stick up for his player. Well, I’m not saying he’s dumb – he just has bad luck when it came to thinking about this subject.  Of course, Doc is going to stick up for his player at the expense of the fans… any manager is.  This is such a nothing thing to write about! Dave Roberts has faith in Pedro and the Dodgers need him in the playoffs.  Of course, Dave is going to support his player… Duhhhhh…

P.S. Dave, try this lineup today:

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



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 42 Comments

  1. Quite an interesting theory. One that will drive a few posters batty.
    Why sugarcoat the Cole comment? He does have bad luck with his thinking. And he is a dumbass. All kidding aside, many writers just like to practice sensational journalisim. Not unlike the regular media it is good for viewership/readership. It is what it is and no more. Unfortunately far too many are sucked in by far too few.

  2. Although I recognize that the team has played in recent months in a formidable way and they can still win the world series. I think your comments are more for you, like self therapy, and you can feel more relaxed about what you are seeing or you want to treat us like children who sweeten life so they do not suffer. I see what I see:
    1. If that strategy to lower the accelerator was true, I think the best date would have been in early August and not September where the risk of not recovering is higher.
    2. Kersaw, Wood, Hill, Maeda, Ryu or Darwish threw badly to lower the throttle.
    3. Billinger can be a great player, even a star, but he is really showing that he is a rookie and is not reacting well with pressure, taking bat really bad turns. Agon is old but I still prefer it in situations of important batting and is better defensive. Grandal is lost, Forsythe is lost, Pederson is lost
    4. Relievers one day do their job and another day fail. And yesterday three of the 5 races came due to Rokies’ mistakes.
    At this point the team is playing poorly. We have to recognize it and worry a bit. It’s twenty days to the end of the season and it’s time for them to regain their level or we can lose the division’s lead or lose the play off. The solution is not to believe that they are playing poorly as a strategy.
    Go Dodgers,

    1. You almost had me until you said Gonzo was better defensively. Yes, he is… if Cody has one arm and one leg. Otherwise, it’s not even close!

      1. You should see how they handle the first, how the shots pick up, how they stand and make decisions. That is the difference. I understand that Gonzo has more experience but to that I mean not to qualities but to how they handle at the moment their position

  3. You guys will be OK. EVERY team goes through at least one spell like this almost every season. That said, deliberately tinkering with a team so they lose is ludicrous.
    The Dodgers ran in to a very hot Diamondbacks team, and my Rockies are fighting for their playoff lives and are a much better team than most Dodger fans would give them credit for being.
    It figures in a year when the Rockies and Dbacks are good, the Dodgers would be great! That’s the joys of being a fan of a mid-market team that can’t just buy themselves a pennant, I guess…

    1. Agree with you Brian.
      I made a comment about Adrenaline a few days ago & I stick by it.
      You have it in spades at the moment because you NEED to win.
      The D’Backs have it too. We have exhausted ours for the minute, but it will kick back in again at some point.
      The run we were on simply couldn’t continue.
      Good luck with beating AZ in the WC game.

    2. Brian

      This has nothing to do with the Rockies.

      This is more to do with the Dodgers!

      And actually the Dodgers are the ones, who should be playing with more confidence, because these games with the Rockies the Dbacks, mean more to the Rockies and Dbacks, because they don’t have ten game lead, and the other teams below them in the standings, are winning games too, so there should be more pressure on these other teams.

  4. After watching last nights game, which was winnable, seeing the grounder go through Cody’s legs and CT3 misjudging a key fly ball, I think it’s time for Doc to have a meeting. We just aren’t focused, I think the losing streak is wearing on these guys and making them press big time. We all do our best work when things are going great, but when you have had a real tough week or two in a row at work, things get real testy. I think these guys are no different , they are human. Perfect time to start winning again, the D-Bag train has slowed down. I do trust Roberts, if anybody can reach these guys mentally, he can.

  5. Mark I think they just arrogantly decided the division is in the bag and best record and we will just experiment. Now they can’t stop the spiral because other teams are not cooperating. The dbacks suffered a bit of a meltdown last night when they refused to take Rodney out with a 5 run lead. To their credit the padres did not quit. These are professionals and you just can’t take a noncommittal approach and expect to win. The dodgers aren’t good enough to go through the motions and win. Inside Roberts has got to be thinking I would like a redo but you can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube. I disagree totally with your article but love your lineup except I would play Forsyth instead of grandal. Forsyth and Ethier were the hitting stars last night and with a nine game losing streak you have to looked for any silver lining. By the last 15 games standards they are both hot let them play lol

    1. There

      I think the Dodgers should be playing more like the Padres right now, against these teams that are still fighting in the pennant race, because the Dodgers have a big lead!

      Because these games right now, against both the Dbacks and the Rockies, mean more to these other teams, because we have a ten game lead, and these other teams, are still fighting in a pennant race!

      So our team should be playing with confidence, and without pressure, because even after all of these losses, the ball is still in this team’s, court.

  6. I stated somewhat the same in less words before Kershaw pitched and then I saw that look of stress Clayton gets when he can’t find his stuff. But that look came before he got hit so it got me thinking it came from discontent and the lackadaisical look throughout the team on the field and even more at the plate I kinda took as sign of energy ripped off poisoning. Hell, it could be discontent of putting such as plan as you (and I) suggested in action when these kids were high on making history. So if it is a plan then it better work or paradise chemistry lost and probably for good.

  7. I suspect that our host is pulling our legs (I agree with Rudy here). His point? That Roberts isn’t intentionally losing games – no manager would, so therefore, we should all just lay off the criticism.

    That won’t wash. The misguided strategms of the Braintrust and the field staff has lead to a Dodgers team that cannot buy a win. The starters can’t pitch and when they can, the offense doesn’t hit and the bullpen doesn’t hold their opponents. This isn’t a mirage.

    9 losses in a row
    14 of 15

    Something has to change.

  8. Kind of a comedy routine today, tend to agree with Theraltan that Doc would like a redo but that ship has sailed.

    DBacks found out what being overconfident brings, but it’s not the bats it’s the pitching that faltered.

    Rockies have never faced Hill and if his curve is on he may baffle them for 6 or so. Many Dodgers have hit Chatwood in the past and they are hoping for 5 out of him. The balls fly out in a day game and this may be a good day for the teams offense.

    1. Vegas

      My thoughts are the same concerning the Dbacks, and their fans, because they were starting to be a little cocky, after their team played well, for just a couple of weeks.

      And as we know, things, can change on a dime, so you better not, tempt fate!

      And our fate may change on a dime today, just like it did, when Cody and Corey went out, one after another!

      Our top five in our batting order, seemed more alive, and seemed a little better offensively last night, so that looked better.

      But Roberts needs to either move Grandal down in the order, or play Barnes, right now!

      Grandal strikes out way to much, when runners are on base, and his defense hasn’t been that good either.

  9. Yes I do think our host was having a little fun I mean the idea they would try to lose. Unfortunately they didn’t do it intentionally but they did do it. One of the things I so disliked about mattingly was there was never a sense of urgency. He would have never put kenley in early or walked the bases loaded to get the pitcher out but Roberts seemed to go for the jugular any way he could. The players like that commitment to winning. That’s why kershaw didn’t want to stay on the dl when he was ready much earlier. Players know when your first and foremost effort is not to win. Roberts said whoever is in the game we expect to win. Of course but minor leaguers or second tier players are not going to win against motivated professionals. Hopefully lessons have been learned but it didn’t appear to take when last year they let the giants in. That would have been something if the giants had beaten and/or won the World Series. Or maybe the idea was to keep the cards out who we can’t seem to beat. A victory today would go a long way in getting us jumpstarted.

  10. Should we expect Jansen to give up four or so runs his next none save appearance? He may as well as it’s seemingly gonna be a while till he gets a save situation.

  11. Dodgers have had 2 runners on in each of the 1st 3 innings and left them there. Hill is struggling with his curve ball command and is sitting 87-89 with his fastball. Not a great combination so far. They will need to go deep sooner or later to win this game.

      1. I can’t believe I came home to this garbage. Puig has two hits and 2 RBI’s in the 5hole and I have to watch Granderson play and Forsythe as well. So much for Buehler being our savior.

        1. Hawkeye

          I would too, but I would keep Ethier in the line up, over Forsythe and Granderson every time, so I guess that if my point.

        2. Hawkeye

          Ethier had two hits today too!

          And Forsythe hit into another double play, today.

          And Forsythe didn’t get one hit, and he can’t even get a ball to the warning track, most of the time.

          All he hit today, was a couple of lazy fly balls.

          And Granderson had one hit.

          And Taylor made a play today, that Joc would have never made.

          What are they saying on Dodger talk, about this.

          1. And Taylor missed a ball last night that Joc would have caught. The blame goes on the entire team that is choking right now. I’m not listening tonight. I can’t take it.

  12. Leaving a kid in with bases loaded and 1 out in a still winnable game when you have a bullpen full of experienced arms is just about mind numbing for me. A down the middle fastball to a hitter like Reynolds is like throwing a pork chop past a wolf, as Vinnie used to say. This grand slam will hurt the kid’s confidence too.

    1. Hawkeye

      You can’t compare Joc to Taylor in the outfield.

      Because all Joc has played is the outfield, and he was playing in the outfield, while he was in AAA.

      And because of all of that, it means much more, when Joc can’t catch a ball he should.

      The ball Joc couldn’t catch, didn’t have the same English on it, that the ball Taylor had trouble with, did, and Taylor hadn’t played in center, for a while.

      Because he was playing short, and that was only Taylor’s first game back in center.

      The ball hit off Kenley, had quite a bit, of English on it!

      It isn’t like he is Kike, and has specialized, in playing all these different positions.

      He had did fine in center, when he was playing there, everyday.

      And he will only get better.

      But I am sorry you are so bummed right now.

      Take care!

  13. He is fascinated with Forsyth but it doesn’t matter now as bueller just gave up the granny. Couldn’t have scored any way.

  14. We showed some life Friday and Saturday . Today’s a very dull, lifeless game.

    We need a brawl in SF to wake us up. I say Puig needs to look at Bumgarner, and let’s get things going

  15. There is something better and positive to be taken from today’s game………Dodgers have gotten better at positively sucking.

    Looks like we’re likely to be facing Cubs as the wildcard victor is probably heading to DC.

    The evidence is stacking that the loss of passion is due to clubhouse poisoning.

  16. Wow – swept again. The longest winless homestand in the history of Dodger Stadium.

    Nothing to worry about here…

  17. Before the Dodgers’ 10-game losing streak, they had a five-game losing streak, with one win in between. Before that, the Dodgers hasn’t lost more than three straight games all season. They are the only team in baseball in 2017 to drop 15 out of 16 games.

    The offense has scored just 24 runs in 10 games, hitting .197/.255/.340 during the streak entering Sunday. The pitching hasn’t been any better, with a 6.42 ERA.

    With 10 straight losses, the Dodgers have tied their franchise futility mark since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Two other times the club has lost 10 straight, doing so in 1961 and 1987.

  18. Maybe it’s time for Doc to round them up in the shower and give them the lollygagger speech. But then again it started with taken shit for granted with the Padres as far as I’m concerned. This is ridiculous. They look like a team that is beaten before they take the field. Where is the leadership right now? Leadership from the manager and leadership from the veterans. Make the playoffs or not, I question the mental toughness to win anything once they’re there. Who would have thought that 3 weeks ago?

    When they traded for Granderson, I was the one who said someone explain this to me. He sucks and he has sucked for the last 5 years. If Verdugo is so untradeable then why do we need a Granderson added to the team? If Ethier was coming back then why do we need Granderson? The answer was insurance and he’s a great clubhouse guy. Fine, it was Granderson who said “whatever you need. Hit me high in the lineup, middle of the lineup, bottom of the lineup or off the bench” like he knew he didn’t belong at the top of the lineup of a good team.

    Is there a stubbornness going on my our manager because he doesn’t want the fans dictating his lineup? I can’t understand another reason why Granderson and Forsythe are starting again in the same lineup. At least Barnes was in there somewhere. F the 6 man rotation while we are at it! Puig has 2 hits and 2 RBI’s last night, but we have to play everyone because the dugout is full of 39,ooo players and they traded for Granderson. Puig belongs in RF every day. Verdugo or Ethier belong in LF every day. Barnes should be in the lineup at catcher or 2B every day.

    Blaming stuff on Doc only goes so far. How about the vets stepping up and doing something as well This team is on the verge on the greatest meltdown ever. I would like to think they can beat the Vagiants, but I don’t know anymore. Need a music video for this site it should be “Free Falling” by Tom Petty.

    I’m going golfing tomorrow for my birthday at my favorite course in the state of Iowa, it would be nice to come home and see a win. There are a few guys on this team as well as the manger who need to grow a pair right now.

    1. You’re too late with your video request. Mark showed it a few days ago.
      Happy golfing and Happy Birthday.

    2. Hawkeye

      It is hard to not put this on Roberts, when he is continuing to play these two guys, when the team is losing so much.

      He isn’t giving the team the best line up to succeed, and if that isn’t obvious by now, I don’t know what to say!

      Forsythe hasn’t done anything all year, and because of that, he does not belong in the line up, against righties.

      And since Granderson said that, there is no excuse with him either, as well, as Joc!

      Joc didn’t earn this call up, like Puig did last year, Joc only hit about 160 at AAA, and he did that, with no real power, because he only hit one HR.

      There is no reason to play any of these three players, they are all barely hitting over the Mendoza line.

      And right now, our offense badly needs some production, and to be able to do the little things, and these type of players, are not conducive to a healthy offense.

      They instead, shut down any good production, that other players contribute, like Forsythe, who has hit into three double plays, in the last couple weeks, and stopped rally’s!

      And non of these players, are producing with any real power, either.

      What means more, the team, are these three player’sego?

      There is no excuse to even play these players, because we have better players, on the bench.

      We have two players who can play second, and Ethier and Verdugo are better options, then Granderson and Joc.

      Ethier hit one out last night, and he had two hits today.

      And Verdugo hit one out today.

      Take care and an early Happy Birthday!

      I’m a Virgo too!

      My birthday was September 5th!

  19. I have the feeling it’s the veterans who have been dealt reasons for the disgruntledness. I don’t know why I get that feeling other than their hearts seem disconnected.

  20. The Dodgers were 91-36 before losing 15 of their last 16 games. That is the worst record over a 16-game stretch for any team in MLB history that began from a perch of more than 90 wins, according to Elias.

  21. If on Opening Day, we were told that on Sept 11, we’d have the best record in baseball, a 9 game lead in our division, and 4 game lead for home field throughout the playoffs, we all would have taken that.

    Regardless of the weird path we took to now, we’re here. Let’s get this shit going vs our rival; it’ll be that much more worth it to get on the right track up there.

    1. Bobby

      That is all true!

      I think everyone would feel better, if the team played today, like they did, the night before!

      And Roberts better do what he needs to do, to help these players psyche, on the plane trip to SF!

      Because we have some very young players, that makes this team go!

      And Roberts needs play the best line up, that gives this team, the best chance to win.

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