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:
- Barnes 2B
- Seager SS
- Turner 3B
- Bellinger 1B
- Taylor CF
- Puig RF
- Ethier LF
- Grandal C