Two Down, Nine To Go!

Rant & Rave Sunday

  • Saturday morning I was listening to MLB Radio and the announcers were saying that the Dodgers 1-4 hitters had to have a good series, because their 5-8 hitters were “almost irrelevant.”  Yeah right!  Conventional wisdom is often wrong and never were they so wrong as last night when the Dodgers 5-8 hitters scored 7 of their 8 runs.
  • It appears that Roberts and the front office made the right decision in taking their foot off the accelerator in September and that the team is indeed able to “flip the switch” when needed.  In fact, this may be the most “ready” the team has been all season. It’s mentally exhausting to have to keep a high level of focus and intensity all season.  I think Roberts letting the team “mentally check out” and also rest players to get healthy may have been a brilliant move, not a mistake.
  • I would not be surprised if Clayton Kershaw has surgery on his back after the season.  I saw him moving gingerly in the dugout last night, like he might be a little stiff.  After the game Friday night, he admitted to being spent and essentially gave Doc Carte Blanche to take him out after the sixth inning.  Also, if your back is aching or hurt and you get tired, your back is extremely tired and weak.  I believe Clayton’s back is an issue.
  • The Dodgers are back to “let’s see who does it tonight.
  • Cody Bellinger is pressing but he will figure it out.  In the meantime, the rest of the team picks him up.
  • Logan Forsythe is finally 100% healthy and see what a difference that makes!  I now think FAZ will have him back next year.
  • Darvish is pitching tomorrow on a lot of rest.  Help or hinderance?
  • Nine more games – 1 at a time!
  • Austin Barnes will be hard to take out if he keeps hitting like this.

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 77 Comments

  1. Let’s get 7 strong innings from Darvish and finish this thing. The D-bags are still dangerous, especially at home. Don’t let them get on a roll, keep stepping on their neck.We all know the Dodgers can hit Greinke, they’ve beat him up pretty good in the past. I would leave Barnes in and let him deal the hot hand. Makes the bottom of the line up tough. Gotta get me some Puig. I know Mark, He IS a knucklehead, but if that’s how he feels comfortable playing right now, just ride that wave into shore. When he is on, like right now, we are a completely different club. Just flat out scary. Let’s do this in the desert. No game five!!!

    1. I have said that he is a knucklehead and I have also said that he has more talent than than anyone I have ever seen. He is playing at a very high level right about now. At this juncture his talent has trumped his knuckleheadery!

  2. There was some chatter in the last thread that said that Corey Seager needs to step it up, or maybe he should sit against Ray in a potential Game 5. He is 3-8 in the NLDS with 2 walks, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI’s. That’s a .500 OBP and a .750 SLG. This is a tough crowd if he has to step it up. Ray did K him twice with a walk, but JT fouled out and grounded out against him also going 0-2. Should JT sit the next time Ray pitches? On Sept 4 at Dodger Stadium, Ray struck out 14 Dodgers including CT3 and Kike’ 3 times, and Barnes and Puig twice each. Seager did not play in that game and the Dodgers lost 13-0. Should they all sit in Game 5? Robbie Ray is a very good pitcher with over 200 K’s, who will get a lot of credit when the CY votes are counted.
    .
    Sometimes it is the opposing player who outplays his Dodger counter performers, not always the Dodgers player that played poorly. I am not fond of the TBS announcers, but they were right when they said that it was unfair for lefties against Ray, and would be surprised if any lefties got a hit against him.
    .
    Clayton Kershaw gave up 4 HR’s in Game 1 to the DBacks. Should be be passed over in Game 5? Corey Seager is the best SS in the NL, and CK is still the best pitcher even with a bad back. I will take my chances with CK on the mound and Seager at SS and batting #2 if they have to go to Game 5.

    1. AC

      I am glad you posted that about Corey, because I myself, thought Corey had a very good game, in that first game, because I remembered he had three hits in that first game, and I thought he had a very good at bat, against Ray in his first at bat, against Ray, when he walked.

      And I was impressed and happy that Corey seemed like his old self, in that first game!

      I think Corey is so good, that sometimes he is taken for granted, because he doesn’t say to much either.

  3. AC-You go with your best. The only two changes I would make is Ethier in LF and Barnes catching. I would not be upset if Doc left Granderson and Grandal in the lineup. I just do not see any of the others coming out of the line up. Doc will look at the stat sheet and figure out who should play. Maybe Darvish in his short time has a favorite catcher. The bull pen should be rested and ready. Just do not bring Baez into a high leverage situation.

  4. Ethier had two hits off of Greinke last time. That may persuade him to give Andre a start. I’m not sure what Granderson’s career numbers are against Greinke.

  5. I was one of those speculating about seager and game 5. But right now I feel we are playing with house money and I was just pointing out the obvious that it is a terrible matchup for seager. If I was Roberts would you bench him? Not if you want another contract. No way is seager benched but I don’t expect the results would be much different but maybe. You have to dance with the one who brung you. But please no game 5. Maybe darvish can keep his pitch count down and give us a quality start or better. As far as kershaw well I can’t believe they would let him pitch with a bad back. Surely the ownership would not let their greatest asset pitch hurt. Due to the time off he may not have found his best form but I got to believe he is healthy. Maybe the best is yet to come.

  6. Granderson vs Greinke is 12 for 63 with 2 HR’s which is .190/.239/.397/.636
    Ethier vs Greinke is 2 for 9 with 2 BB which is .222/.364.222/.586
    Grandal vs Greinke is 7 for 28 with 2 HR’s which is .250/.276/.500/.776
    Forsythe-.167/.231/.167/.398
    Utley-.239/.259/.462/.721

    Granderson by far has the most AB’s vs Greinke. Barnes has no AB’s against him I believe. Seager, Turner, Bellinger have the best numbers.

    1. I suspect Grandal will start because no one knows Greinke better than Grandal. I would be pleasantly surprised if I were wrong.

  7. Mark

    Like I said on the previous thread, after Granderson got that big hit, and Forsythe had the offensive game he had, I thought the plan seemed to be working, so what do we all really know.

    And good on Forsythe, and Granderson, for doing good, and showing everyone, they can come through!

    Because I must admit, I was so disappointed with the way our back three hitters performed in that first game, and I made that be known, so what do I know!

    I don’t know how anyone can complain after these two games!

    But I do know it is something that Dodger fans do, because they only want the team to do even better!

    And thes last two games, have been so nice, because everything you heard or read, had the Dbacks, dominating the Dodgers!

    But most of those people, didn’t realize the Dbacks threw there top three pitchers in there rotation, in those last two series, and we threw the bottom guys in our starting pitching rotation.

    And in that last series at Dodger stadium, all the games were very close, even though it was the back of our rotation, that pitched in that last series!

    Although the game Hill started, did get out of hand, after Hill came out!

  8. It’s fun to watch a Dodgers win and I hope they win the World Series, but it’s still too soon. I have really enjoyed the batting. Excellent two wins but I think we should give their share to the Rokies who forced to use Ray. I do not see Bellingee pressed but overcome. Let’s go Dodgers

  9. How much did Seager’s elbow injury factor into what he did against Ray in September? And wasn’t Seager in a slump against everyone at that time? I’m confident that If anyone can figure things out, it’s Seager. As for Bellinger, I’m certain he can make the necessary adjustments long term. My only worry is that he’s gotten into some bad habits that he may or may not be able to fix in the short run.

    Whatever the case with both Seager and Bellinger, they are integral to the success of the Dodgers. And they both hit lefthanders as well or better than righthanders.

    I have a lot less confidence in Ethier than a lot of you. And although Granderson hasn’t performed well in recent weeks, I think he’s more of a threat to do damage with one swing of the bat.

    I prefer Barnes over Grandal, although you never know when Grandal will suddenly run into one.

    “Knuckeheadery”. If it’s not already a word, it should be.

    1. Brooklyn,

      In Ethier’s career he has always played well in Arizona. He went to school there and he lives there. He would be playing in front of friends and family. I give him a shot tonight.

      Austin needs to start behind the plate.

      1. Sentimental reasons aside, Ethier is a .303 hitter against righties for his career. The debate is do you want the better hitter in the lineup or coming off the bench while hoping if Granderson is given enough opportunities that he will run into one.

  10. 1 – Notwithstanding the naysayers, the Dodgers left 25 guys on base in 2 games. That will cost them going forward if it continues.
    2 – The Dodgers have been out-homered 6 – 1 in 2 games. The Snakes will hit some bombs but the Dodgers can’t keep giving them up at this pace.
    3 – Watson hasn’t looked good yet. I really don’t understand Roberts’ fascination with him.
    4 – Kershaw was sharp for 2 or 3 innings. Long waits on the bench during long offensive rallies may have caused him to stiffen up. His slider stopped biting and he lost 3 MPH off of his fastball.
    5 – I do like seeing Barnes out there but the Dodgers will go with what got them there.
    6 – Bellinger is trying to hit a 5 run HR with every at bat. He has to start relaxing more and let the game come to him.
    7 – Who would be crazy enough to let Seager sit the bench in the playoffs?
    8 – I love the focus of Turner and Puig.
    9 – The Dodgers’ patience at the plate is paying off. That has been the secret to their success the last 2 games. Keep it up!
    9 – Kill the D-backs tomorrow and let’s take on the Cubs or Nats!

  11. Just watching Boston v Houston.
    Makes me remember how much I love Hanley.
    His helmet spun off 3 times in one AB.
    He is raking.

    1. Watford

      They didn’t start Hanley in the first game.

      He only started playing, because that guy the Sox got from the Giants, re injured himself.

      But we all know that Hanley can hit good pitching, but so did the Cardinals!

      1. Yep – Nunez
        I watched that too!! Baseball overload!!

        Can’t believe how calm you guys seem – I’m absolutely amped here!!

        Want to finish it tonight – they will be dangerous if they get some momentum.

    1. Bluto

      I already read that article, and I don’t think that is going to happen much, anymore!

      Kershaw has also been responsible for that too, because he almost never wants to come out, either.

      But just with Roberts saying ahead of time, that Kershaw is not going to pitch on short rest this year, tells me things are going to be different, from now on.

      And I think that is smart!

      1. MJ, that is not Kershaw’s fault. It is the manager’s and pitching coach’s responsibility to know when to pull him. Every year and every game for that matter is it’s own moment and the past has nothing to do with it. There were times where Kershaw was pulled earlier and the bullpen didn’t get the out he and the team needed.

        The one thing that is consistent is 6 innings of playoff baseball isn’t the same as 6 innings of regular season baseball. Look at the struggles of Sale, Greinke, Kluber, Severino, Gray, Santana, Ray and so on this year.

        Now, Doc should have seen Kershaw wasn’t his sharpest. Hell, he probably did. They had a big league sent him out there for one more inning to throw strikes and save the majority of his pen to back Hill. Let’s not forget Kershaw hadn’t pitched for 6 days. Now there is an argument to be made that he didn’t need to save his pen with an off day coming up.

        1. Look at the Nats game. Damned if you do damned if you don’t. I remember last season Chris Russo reaming Scherzer a new one for letting Dusty take the ball from him and then losing to the Dodgers. No way in hell do I pull Scherzer with a 1 hitter.

          1. Hawkeye

            I wasn’t talking about this year.

            And as soon as Dusty did that, I knew it was over!

            And yes, I was thinking about Mad Dog , when I saw that happen!

  12. Fearless prediction:

    The game is knotted at 0-0 until the top of the sixth inning, when the Dodgers load the bases and Yasiel Puig hits a Grand Slam. In the bottom of the 9th the Diamondbacks load the bases and Jake Lamb hits what looks to be a Grand Slam as well, but Yasiel Puig scales the wall, snatching the last out to save the game.

    He immediately heads for the pool, where he pees in it and is suspended by Rob Manfred for the remainder of the playoffs. Tell me none of that couldn’t happen! 😉

  13. Greinke really falls off after 100 pitches, I doubt he goes 5 tonight. Some great at bats by Puig and Utley, only 2 balls hit hard so far, Taylor’s lead off double and Puig’s liner to center, but Grienke is having trouble putting hitters away. Darvish appears to have some good stuff tonight.

  14. Must be rookies announcing this game. Are they kidding about 3 rookies swinging at the first pitch.? When you have a pitcher having problems throwing strikes and with a high pitch count, the objective is not to stand there taking pitches, but to attack the pitches that you see in the strike zone, that you think you can drive.

  15. Love the Dodgers’ patience at the plate. (Taylor not a rookie, by the way.) But they are 0 for 5 with RISP and have let Greinke off of the hook way too many times. Snakes have too many guys who hit bombs – they may live to regret their failure with RISP.

  16. Rick, that’s exactly what I worry about. Time to start taking advantage of some oppotunities. I don ‘t want to look back in regret at all the oppotunities lost.

    1. HR Bellinger, pitch 100. HR Barnes, pitch 105. Goodnight Greinke! Probably a tough call to let Darvish hit with a runner on 3rd and 1 out. Hopefully Yu gets another inning in the books.

      1. So much for that! Hopefully hitting a guy in the helmet does not fire up the Snakes hitters. This is a huge inning for the bullpen.

  17. Cody makes 2 GG type plays to make the bullpen look good! My blood pressure settled down a bit. Now what Brooklyn said, let’s get some more!

  18. Like you always say Mark, Cody Bellinger, best defensive first baseman in the game. Certainly, there’s no one better.

    Now let’s get some runs.

  19. Dodgers 0 for 10 with RISP tonight. Dodger pitchers have had to be nearly perfect – and they have been.
    Snakes – no one in scoring position all night.

  20. Somehow they got 20 runs across the plate in the 3 games, and are the only team in the playoffs to sweep and against a team that had won 6 in a row against them. I will take the way the team is playing all day long.

  21. What a great win. Our pitching was lights out.

    One big hit, and that would’ve been a comfortable win.

    When does the NLCS start?

  22. Loved how Jansen ended Arizona’s trip with their best up as their last chance to tie. Sorry but no tie and no walkoff. Maybe next year………naaaaaawww!

  23. I don’t know about everyone else but that last AB with Jansen and Goldschmidt is what baseball is all about and Kenley came through again. THAT’S why you pay a closer $16MM/year. Great drama and very exciting and now the Dodgers get a few days off while the Nats and Cubs beat each other up for a while longer.

  24. Just seen It’s Saturday night.
    That means all our pitchers will be rested – while the Cubs or Nats potentially could be playing on Thursday night.

    Puig is having some great ABs. Utley also. Barnes has to play over Grandal.
    Unfortunately Granderson has to sit now. Give Dre a shot against RHP and Kiki against LHP.

    Wow, I’m sitting in my car at 07.00 am in a car park absolutely buzzing.
    Luckily no one about to hear me shouting when Kenley got Goldy.
    What a great start to the day.

    1. Have to go to a wedding in Indy on Saturday night. I will be tapping out to find the game. I like our chances. Good for Cody. I’m glad he’s ours for awhile. Darvish was filthy. I wouldn’t have pulled him nor would I have pulled Cingrani but it all worked out.

        1. That could be fun. I need to figure out where the wedding is in proximity to every thing. Staying with a Reds fan who hates the Cubs so much he will be rooting for the Dodgers. He lives on the south side. Not sure how long it will take me to get out of the reception without insulting the groom’s parents.

  25. I was on total pins and needles when Kenley was pitching to Goldschmidt. What a game! Darvish was a man tonight, THAT is why we got him. Just give me 6 or 7 innings of lights out Darvish in the next two series, and you can plan the parade route. Damn we look rested, tough and focused right now. Don’t really care who we play next, the first two is at home, and our starting pitching is looking real tough. Dang, we haven’t even pitching Wood yet! By the way, Maeda kicked ass in the 8th, great move by Roberts. Wow, just , Wow!!

  26. At the game last night and it was rockin n rollin!!!
    We severed the head and kept the rattle… No pool needed…
    Good for the Kid being home and all… Barnes, what a pleasure to watch that kid mature in front of us…
    Take care of the headaches today and start getting ready…
    P.S. Yep, that’s whey we got Darvish… And now it’s Buehler and ? time to shine in 2018…

  27. Bill Shaikin said it best:
    The Dodgers’ front-office strategy, summarized in one successful play: Austin Barnes homers off Zack Greinke.
    .
    Grandal for Kemp.
    Taylor for Lee.
    Kike and Barnes for Gordon.
    Hill for cotton and Montas.
    Forsythe for DeLeon.
    Brandon Morrow to a minor league deal.
    Wood and Avilan for Olivera & Paco

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