Do you remember when Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi started hoarding a bunch of “health challenged” starting pitchers? Everyone was beside themselves and complained ad nauseum about how these guys were “going to break down“, “you can’t count on them” and then “they don’t pitch deep enough into games?” The Dodger starters are still the number one staff in baseball. That worked out pretty good, didn’t it? In fact, I would bet a dollar to a donut that a bunch of other GM’s imitate that method starting this offseason. Many fans pointed to San Francisco as to ouw to build a winning pitching staff with The Shark, Cueto and Moore being acquired. That plan was scrapped long ago.
A couple of days ago, I said that the losing streak was deliberate and just to clarify, I did not say that the Dodgers were deliberately throwing games. No, they were not trying to lose, they were just auditioning players and resting players for the playoffs. They were so far ahead that the games meant nothing and so they took their foot off the accelerator and coasted while trying players in different roles. It was like Spring Training: They weren’t throwing games, but they weren’t trying to win either. Maybe they thought they would play .500 ball, but the results were disastrous. They have lost 16 out of 17 games, including 11 in a row.
Here’s the big question: What that the wrong thing to do? Most every fan will say YES! But most fans were wrong about how acquiring blind, crippled and crazy injury-prone pitchers would play out. Maybe this plays of that the Dodgers got a mental break, regrouped in time to win the playoffs and World Series… or maybe they will just crash and burn. History will be the judge. The day of reckoning is soon.
Many fans wanted FAZ fired for their choices in acquiring injury-prone pitchers. The Dodgers Front Office was openly ridiculed by a huge majority of the fanbase… only to see the Dodgers put up one of the greatest hot streaks EVER. Those injury-prone pitchers all played a part:
- Alex Wood
- Rich Hill
- Brandon McCarthy
- Scott Kazmir (OK, he didn’t)
- Kenta Maeda
- Brandon Morrow
Some of them may breakdown yet, but the depth is still there to withstand the storm.
Maybe, just maybe, this becomes the new paradigm of how to handle a team when they have an insurmountable lead. As harshly as Roberts and FAZ have been ridiculed for the losing streak (and me for even having the gall to suggest such heresy), this may be a roadmap to success… or it could lead to disaster. We don’t even have a clue. If the players understand what was going on, the loose mean nothing. I sensed a change of attitude last night, although Granderson at the top of the lineup was boneheaded!
No one knew what type of success FAZ would achieve when they signed those “injury-prone” pitchers. It didn’t make sense. That’s not how it has always been done… AND YET, IT WORKED.
Maybe this losing debacle is of the same ilk! I think Doc is starting to put his foot back on the accelerator. I get why they want Granderson in the lineup, but it’s not working with him at #1 or #2. Bat him #8 if you want him to play. According to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Doc is just about ready to settle on a regular lineup:
“We have a lot of good players we’re still evaluating,” he said. “When you have the lead that we had, you can prioritize in health and trying to keep guys sharp versus trying to win every single game. But the challenge is keeping the sharpness and, obviously, we haven’t been sharp. I expect us to turn it around with a core group. The positions we’re talking about, anyone can debate who is that right person.”
Roberts acknowledged his club’s confidence “is probably wavering a little bit.” He said he expected the last-place Giants “to bring their best” against the Dodgers.
“I’d like to think it’s cause for us to dig a little deeper to beat these guys,” he said.
I don’t think it’s a theory that this losing streak was unintentionally, intentionally created – it was! The question is: How do they recover – it is a stepping stone or stumbling block?