Nats or Cubs…Who Cares…Bring em On

This was a great series. Sure some can point out the RISP issues, but I contend that Zack Godley, Robbie Ray, and Zack Greinke had something to do with that. They are all good pitchers who have battled through problems all year.  The DBacks had the 3rd best ERA and 7th best WHIP in all of MLB. They have an outstanding pitching staff.  The DBacks won 93 games, tied with Boston for 5th best in all of MLB.  They were one win better than the Cubs.  And the Dodgers swept them. All year long there has been commentary about grinding out wins; junkyard dog and dirt bag mentality. That team disappeared for a three week stretch, but started to come back with about 10 games to go in the regular season, and showed full force for the NLDS.  As a team, they batted .298/.397/.462/.858 for the series.  Yes, they left a lot of RISP, but no team scored more runs per game than LAD.  The last time I checked, runs scored do not get deducted if there are RISP left on base.  Can we just revel in the fact that we just swept a very good team?

People were wondering what was wrong with Cody Bellinger. As it turns out, nothing was wrong.  As he has done all year, he adjusted (2-4, HR, and 2 RBI’s) and was the offensive and defensive star of Game 3.  Logan Forsythe came up big in the series.  People will wonder what happened to Corey, but he still hit .273/.467/.455/.921 and 2 RBI’s.  But special acknowledgement needs to go to JT, Yasiel Puig, and Austin Barnes.  Combined, they were 16-36 (2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR), 4 walks, and 12 RBI’s.  They were on base all series long.

Things are going very good when your least effective pitcher is Clayton Kershaw. Rich Hill and Yu Darvish both pitched very well in their starts, even though Hill only went 4.  It’s hard to pitch against a good offensive team with a plate umpire who has problems with curveball strikes.  No excuses; just grind out a win with your bullpen.  JD Martinez was 3-4 in Game 1, but 1-7 in Games 2 and 3.  The other big 3, Paul Goldschmidt, AJ Pollock, and David Peralta went a combined 3-33, with Goldy striking out to turn the lights out on the DBack season.  I guess FAZ should get some credit for acquiring Yu Darvish at the trade deadline.  Hill and Darvish did what they were acquired to do.  Alex Wood gets some more time to rest.  He will be needed in Game 4 in the NLCS.

For the series, except for 1 ill-advised pitch from Brandon Morrow, the bullpen was outstanding.  With the exception of that one pitch, Brandon Morrow did his best Andrew Miller impersonation…3 games, 3.2 IP.  Morrow needs to be re-signed.  Kenta Maeda was exceptional coming out of the pen.  I know he and his agent do not want to hear about it, but Maeda could be a huge staple in that bullpen for future years.  Tony Cingrani was outstanding doing what he was asked to do; get the one tough lefty out in a key situation.  What more can one say about the best closer in the game, Kenley Jansen, and his two big saves.

Both positive and negative moments are now a memory. Enjoy the moment, because a new season starts on Saturday.  The amazing NLDS will mean nothing going into the NLCS.  It makes no difference whether it is the Cubs or Nats…both will be tough.  We know CK will get the ball in Game 1.  Undoubtedly, CT3, Seager, JT, and Bellinger will be 1-4 in the lineup.  After that, we will wait and see.  I know the NLDS was just one series, and it is only one step to the ultimate goal of winning the WS, but this series reincarnated the junkyard dogs.  Now they need to stay hungry and mean for 8 more games.

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 48 Comments

  1. I did not intentionally leave out Puig in my NLCS Game 1 comments. He will be in RF, I just do not know whether he will be batting 5, 6, or 8. I think 1-4 is set, it is just after that we will have to wait and see.

  2. What a total team effort, Morrow? Maeda? This is fun…

    Here we are, the Achilles heel, the NLCS, I don’t think we have ever had 4 days off heading into this series and never a team of this caliber, bring on the Cubs, I want revenge……..

    Man, such an impressive series, starts with Roberts and everyone followed suit

    Go Dodgers

    1. Yes, it does seem in recent days that the bullpen is starting to sort itself out pivoting around Maeda and Morrow being bridges to Jansen with Fields, Cingrani and Watson spotting in and out.

  3. Definitely rooting for Wash today . I want to see a game 5 that goes for 15 innings and every bullpen guy is used and abused!

    1. Maybe it works out, but if I was a Nationals fan, I would not be feeling good sending out Tanner Roark in an elimination game against Jake Arrieta. If Strasburg can’t go on short rest, then they should have set up the rotation for Gio to start Game 1. I understand Scherzer was still a little tender, but Gio can certainly go in Game 1 and Game 4, leaving Strasburg for Game 5 on full 5 day rest.

      1. Agreed, but with today’s game postponed I would think they will bump Roark in favor of Strasburg and Gio goes game 5 if necessary, while the Dodgers sit home and watch and rest and scout. This is a huge advantage!

  4. I was a Maeda doubter but not any longer. Great Series sweep. Austin Frecken Barnes is the is the second coming of CT3. Great Team wins. I wonder if they will keep the rotation the same for the next round or go with Darvish as #2? Turner Ward has the offense firing on all cylinders again, working the counts. This is our year……………………….

  5. AC
    You are right!

    The point really is, how many runners did the Dbacks hit in, when runners were in scoring position!

    And the Dbacks didn’t have one runner in scoring position last night, until the bottom of the ninth, when Kenley was closing out that game.

    Also, when the Dodgers got runners on base last night, that is when Greinke was at his best, and that is what good pitchers do!

    And although Cody and Barnes helped Greinke out, by swinging at his first pitch, when the bases were loaded.

    They later both came back in this game, and hit a ball out, against Greinke, and they got this team, two big runs!

    This series was a full team effort, and I don’t think we can ask for more then that!

  6. Will the Dodgers have some inter-squad games this week in preparation for the game Saturday? What changes do you think will be made to the 25 man roster for this next series?

    1. I can see a simulated game this week so that Alex Wood and Ross Stripling can get in some work. Wood last pitched Sept 26, and if he is #4 starter, that will be more than 3 weeks since his last action. Stripling last pitched Oct 1. Both Wood and Stripling were running on fumes at the end of the year, so the time off was needed for them, but they do need to get back onto the mound and pitch to batters.
      .
      The only change I see would be dependent on who they play. The Cubs are left hand dominant. If Luis Avilan’s shoulder is okay, he might replace Baez or Stripling if they face the Cubs. If they face the Nats who are right hand dominant, I doubt there would be any change in the pitching. I think Granderson was acquired because of what he has done in the past against Scherzer and Arrieta, so I doubt if there will be a change of Joc for Grandy. Nothing else has changed, so I cannot see Farmer being removed from the roster.

  7. This was a fun series to watch. Everyone was doing their job. Maeda looked great out of the pen. We have a bridge in Maeda and Morrow to Jansen.. if Grandal would only swing at strikes, he would be a much better batter. Puig looked locked on. Something we do not talk about much but we have a very good defense. Bellinger may be the best defensive first baseman I have seen. Nobody got to second base until the last inning except for the homer for the Snakes. Everybody just doing their job.

  8. I woner why Baez was even put on the roster, unless he was being “saved” for blowout games. To me that was a waste of a roster spot. I think he’s gone come next year along with Joc, Granderson, Kazmir, McCarthy and a few others.
    I’d love to see Utley back for his professionalism. Did anyone see how he pointed to Kiki at 2nd base giving him a heads up to watch the fielder behind him? Or the time, while playing 2B he let a popup drop in purpose so the faster runner on 1st would be forced at 2B.

  9. Grienke said after the game that the hitters’ patience was outstanding. No swings out of the zone or even close to the zone. Leads to hitters ‘ counts etc. This strategy potentially can lead to 2 strike counts if the hitter guesses wrong. Comes down to ability to hit with 2 strikes in pitchers’ counts. So far so good.

  10. So, there are still 2 games left in the Cubs – Nats Series. The Dodgers will be very rested and their opponents are not likely to be.

    1. Not only could they be playing Wednesday AND Thursday, but if they do play Thursday, the winner would have to travel from DC to LA while the Dodgers will be home resting in their own homes knowing the series starts in LA. That would include a trip from Chicago to DC after today’s game. That’s a lot of travel in a 48 hour window.
      .
      I know on paper it looks like a mismatch between Roark and Arrieta, but I read where the Nats might actually be feeling good about the pitching match-up. Each pitcher faced their opponent one other time this season. On 8/4 Roark faced the Cubs in Chicago and went 6.1 IP, allowed 2 runs and 5 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts. On 6/27 Arrieta faced the Nats going 4 IP, allowing 6 runs on 6 hits, 6 walks, and 4 strikeouts in Washington. Arrieta is a much different pitcher (better) at home and in the 2nd half. Although Arrieta had a dismal September, albeit all on the road. I am pulling for Roark to take it back to DC.
      .
      Report from Glendale AZ, in Game 1 of the AFL, Yusniel Diaz went 2-3 with a walk and stolen base. Will Smith went 2-4 with a double, and threw out speedy Braves OF prospect Ronald Acuna. Matt Beaty went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. Isaac Anderson pitched the 8th inning allowing no runs with 2 singles and 1 strikeout.

      1. Of course Baker knows his team better than I do but if Roark loses today’s elimination game with his 13-11 record and 4.67 ERA there will be second guessing at holding back Strasburg and his 15-4 and 2.52 ERA on normal rest. Either way a game 4 helps the Dodgers but I am hoping for a game 5 and Strasburg gives them the best chance for a win. I think both teams will take an all hands on deck approach and there may be some early hooks and it’s possible Gonzales or Lester come in for relief.

  11. Joe Davis did broadcast the Red Sox and Astros games. He is a very good announcer. He may be the best in baseball right now. I do not know why he was not allowed to do the Dodger and Snakes game. Maybe because he is the Dodger broadcaster. He is so neutral. He certainly does his homework. That is more than you can say for those who did the Dodger and Snakes series.

    1. AL – I watched all of those games and Joe was excellent. He has had s great Rookie year himself.

      I read a comment somewhere that suggested that the 1st game of the NLCS would be pushed back to Sunday night now, due to the postponement of yesterday’s game?

      1. No. Game 5 will be tomorrow in DC if needed. The only way game 1 would be moved is if there are enough rain outs to push the Cubs-Nats series past Friday.

    2. Idahoal

      I thought the same thing about Joe, because the broadcasters we had, were terrible.

      They didn’t do there research and prepare for our game.

      They were saying stuff, that just wasn’t true!

      They also had a Red Sox connection, and the Dbacks manager, came from the Red Sox.

      That whole last game, they were talking about the Dbacks, on both offense, and defense.

      It was obvious, they didn’t want the Dodgers to win that series.

      I hope we don’t have Ron Darling, in that next series.

  12. You can mark me down as an Archie Bradley fan. Not only can the guy pitch, he was one of the few D-Backs players to stay in the dugout and watch the Dodgers celebrate in his house.

      1. Careful Mark, don’t want you feeling bad starting a false rumor. I wish I hadn’t started that exact one the 1st time. I really didn’t believe anyone would take it seriously.

  13. For over 65 years the Dodgers have had the best announcer in baseball and they are trying to hit 100 years straight.

    Joe Davis is already the best announcer in baseball. Orel? Ho, hum!

    1. Orel is to much of a homer, to be really good!

      Sometimes because Orel and Joe are to buddy, buddy, that can affect the broadcast too.

      I prefer Nomar over Orel, because I want to hear the truth, and Nomar has no problem saying, what is really on his mind!

        1. Hawkeye

          The only reason Nomar was boring, was because what the team was doing, at the time he was working.

        2. Hawkeye

          Nomar had to work during most of the Dodgers losing streak, and it is hard to be good, when a team is going through that!

          And Joe doesn’t have a choice, and Orel and Joe, are far to much alike!

          Orel is to big of a homer, especially for fans that are use to the professionalism , of Vinny!

          And Mad Dog didn’t give the Dodgers any credit on his show, after the Dodgers clinched!

          He just said the Dbacks, was a terrible team!

    2. I like Orel a lot. He gives a lot of insights into things I haven’t thought about before. Maybe they are old hat to others on this board, but I really appreciate them. I agree totally about Joe Davis.

  14. The pitching staff was great the entire series. They gave up several home-runs in the series but due to limiting the walks and base runners most of them were solo shots. Wasn’t sure about the bullpen usage in game 2 but outside of 1 pitch it worked. Love him or hate him Greinke battled all game and gave his team a chance. Did Darvish make himself some cash this off-season or what? I’ve been a fan of Grandal but I agree that Barnes needs to be playing.

    1. That must have been a late change to start Strasburg and I totally agree with it. They can use Gio for a possible game 5 tomorrow. Roark could come out of the pen and he has a lot of experience doing that. All hands on deck!

      1. It was a very late change. I think a lot of pressure from all over for Strasburg to go. I am pulling for Strasburg to win today.

  15. There is a good article in Dodgers Digest about Maeda today, and it talks about Maeda’s effectiveness against righties, and it might surprise some.

      1. Watford,

        I thought Maeda was on a very impressive list, because he was just under some of the top pitchers, in baseball!

        I think I rather face the Cubs, because I think the Nats have better pitching.

        1. I agree MJ – ideally Cubs win game 5 tomorrow night & are tired on Saturday after all the traveling.

    1. Watford

      I think the Cubbies fans, deserved to see that grand slam, after what happened with us, last year.

  16. Normar is always boring. Kind of captain obvious. Joe has to work to get him to say anything interesting. Orel is definitely a bit of a homer. Joe is becoming one too. Yes, Joe and Orel can blather on about non-sense at times. Nomar was boring last year too.

    Mad Dog talked about the Dodgers the second half of the show. His rant about the Nats was epic and hilarious though. I took his take on AZ being more about them being trapped under Greinke’s contract and unable to improve the team. Hey that’s okay. I dont’ need all of the attention until they win it all. He’s always been tough on Greinke BTW.

  17. I hoping for a rain out tomorrow forcing them to play on Friday which then forces them to burn Scherzer and the Cubs to burn Hendricks.

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