Just Win This Game!

The Dodgers are up 2-0 on the Cubs but it has been a tough series.  Except for 2 or 3 key plays it could just as easily be 0-2.  But that is the difference in this team… they are better, deeper and more experienced.  Think about this, last year the Dodgers relied on Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew Toles, Josh Reddick, Yasmani Grandal and Chase Utley to step up in the playoffs.  Gonzo and Toles have been injured most of the year.  Chase Utley is 39 years old, and right now is clearly a limited role player, and Yasmani Grandal is losing his grip on the starting catcher position.

When one man falls another needs to step up:

  • A-Gon injured his back – in stepped his replacement who was actually a huge upgrade over the aging Adrian;
  • Andrew Toles blew out a knee – Chris Taylor burst on the scene;
  • Utley was Chased by Logan who is on a Run (get that?);
  • Yasiel Puig took back right field with a vengeance from Josh Reddick who is doing very good in Houston (thank you very much) and ironically, may face the Dodgers in the World Series;
  • Austin Barnes has demanded playing time from Yasmani Grandal – It wasn’t “given” to him – He did it the old fashioned way:  He Earned it;
  • Yu Darvish, Tony Cingrani, Tony Watson and Brandon Morrow were not even on the team earlier this year and Kenta Maeda was a starter;
  • Alex Wood was a good reliever who became a dominant starter; and
  • Clayton Kershaw is not as dominant due to injury, I believe.  But the team has so much depth that he doesn’t have to be.

These guys have become skilled in the art of picking each other up.  Right about now, they are feeding on Yasiel Puig’s incredible talent and energy and Justin Turner is leading the charge, carrying the torch until Corey comes back next series – the World Series!  Cody Bellinger has the demeanor of a grizzled vet and Joc Pederson even showed he can bunt!  How about that?  But right here, right now, Yu Darvish just needs to take the ball and go as long as he can, then the Tony’s, Brandon, Kenta and Kenley will slam the door.

Just win the next game… that’s all they can focus on.  One game at a time.

After all, these are Destiny’s Dodgers!

 

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 52 Comments

  1. Agree with Watford, the Cubs are not done. Doc only has to look back at his own playing days knowing that a 7 game series is not over until one team wins that 4th game. In 2004, Roberts was part of that miraculous Red Sox ALCS victory over the Yankees. Down 3 games to 0, down 4-3 in the 9th inning of Game 4 with HOF Mariano Rivera on the hill for the save, and Kevin Millar leading off with a walk. Dave Roberts comes in as a PR for Millar, steals 2nd on 1st pitch, and scores on a single by Bill Mueller. Big Papi comes up in the 12th with a runner of and sends a walk off HR into RF bleachers. Boston goes on to win the ALCS and the WS. I remember it as if it were yesterday. Our home was going crazy with family & friends (even some Yankee fans if you can believe that). Doc will keep them focused. He knows how quick it can turn.

  2. That’s why you only focus on the game today. You can’t give them hope by letting them win a game. Hope is a terrible thing for your opposition. Wars have been lost because of hope. Step on their furry little necks and break them!

    1. It probably needs to be even more finite. Stay patient and focused on the next pitch. One pitch at a time.

  3. Did anybody notice Puig’s at bat against Montgomery? On the first pitch, the Wild Horse left his bat on his shoulder in a way that made it clear that he wasn’t swinging. Montgomery threw a strike and Puig stuck out his bottom lip like he was saying. “That’s all you got??” Monty obviously noticed and sent some chin music Yasiel’s way. Puig then homered on the next pitch. The TV announcers were into some other subject and didn’t pick up on this sequence. You can call it bush league, but I found it entertaining in a Cuban sort of way!

  4. The big difference this year is obviously the bullpen. Last year in the NLCS, 5 of the 8 relievers were outstanding (Jansen/Avilan/Wood/Dayton/Fields). 6.0 IP, 0 runs, 7 hits, 1 BB, 15 K. Unfortunately, the Dodgers had to pitch Blanton/Baez/Stripling for 6.0 innings. Combined in those 6 innings, they allowed 18 runs, 17 hits, 5 BB, and 7 K. Blanton was 0-2. This year, in 2 games, 6 of the 7 available relievers have pitched a total of 8 innings, allowing 1 base runner due to HBP by Kenley. They have 9 K in those 8 IP.
    .
    The other pitching difference is that in last year’s NLCS, Kenta Maeda started 2 games and Urias 1. This year, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood take the place of Maeda and Urias. That is a huge advantage over last year.
    .
    By the way, Andrew Toles (6-13) and Josh Reddick (4-11) were the two most consistent hitters in last year’s NLCS. Corey Seager (6-21) and Yasiel Puig (4-14) were the only two other hitters that hit above .250 in the series. Utley/Grandal/Kike’/Howie K/Ruiz were a combined 4-52. AGon/Joc/JT were a combined 12-62.

    1. I know pro’s dont like to move forward in the box, but the one guy who was up front and hit Hendricks was Toles.

      1. MJ, hard to say. It’s been 3 weeks since he last pitched. He is well rested, but that is not always a good thing. He will probably be cut off at 75-80 pitches. But you know me, I always think Alex will pitch well.

        1. AC

          First Thanks!

          I always trust your judgement, because I know you factor in everything you can, even when you like a player, or a pitcher!

          I like you, hope Woody has a very good game, so he can forget about what happened to him, in his previous post season appearance!

    1. Alex Avila – 3-13 – 1 DBL
      Kris Bryant – 0-3
      Wilson Contreras – 0-2
      Jason Heyward – 0-1
      Tommy LaStella – 1-2
      Leonys Martin – 1-4
      Anthony Rizzo – 1-2 – 1 DBL – 2 RBI
      Addison Russell – 0-2
      Ben Zobrist – 2-12

      Overall – 8-41, 9 BB, 18 K, .195/.340/.244/.584

  5. Asked & answered.
    Very good AC.

    Doug – I noticed that too – and that TBS missed it.
    I think Puig has got under their skin.

    Big game tonight – get on the board early and quieten the crowd.
    No Grandal please & Ethier in LF

      1. The Cubs are saying they can come back this year, like they did last year, but what they don’t understand, that this isn’t the same team, they faced last year!

    1. Roberts has said they don’t think Ethier can play a full game.
      `
      That may have changed, but Roberts hasn’t said it has.

  6. It would not surprise me if Joc is in LF. It would not surprise me if he has a good game. I think he is very stubborn and being sent down is a wake up call. Puig made it. Maybe Joc can also make it.

  7. Taylor SS
    Bellinger 1B
    Turner 3B
    Puig RF
    Ethier LF
    Utley 2B
    Barnes C
    Pederson CF
    Darvish P

    I hope we get it done tonight, do not want to inspire hope in the former champs.

    1. Agreed Watford, especially Barnes! Joc scares me but is due a long shot, make it so Joc! How about Puig clean up and Belly in the 2 hole?! Lets do it!

  8. Joc is 0 for 8 with 4 K’s against Hendricks but can play CF with Taylor sliding to SS. Ethier starts over Grandy and Utley over Forsythe and I have a feeling one of them comes up big tonight. The one big surprise was Barnes over Grandal but Barnes has hit RHP well all year and was behind the plate for Darvish’s last start and called a great game. This does not bode well for Grandal’s future with the team, maybe he gets a start tomorrow.

    1. I think it is 99.99% certain that Grandal starts tomorrow. One, Alex Wood likes throwing to Grandal, and two, with Quintana due to pitch Thursday, Barnes will start against him. He won’t start in 3 straight playoff days.

  9. I am sure Yasmani is a little put out, but he sees the score and that’s what is important. I thought he would play tonight, but I am not surprised. Barney has earned it.

  10. Normally a pitcher can pitch to any catcher. They have played all year with two catchers. However, since Darvish has come over in late July he may have a preference in that short period of time. I just believe Doc would look at it, if Darvish had a preference. I thought Grandal would start tonight.

  11. I’ll interested to see Pig’s next ab. He didn’t agree with strike 3. I hope he stays focused and doesn’t try to put one on a roof top.

  12. Crazy game so far, Ethier and Taylor both with 2 hits including a triple and 2 HR’s supplying the offense, and Darvish being pretty dominant. But the Cubs have had 2 errors, 4 walks and a WP by the bullpen alone and a passed ball on a strike 3 allowing a run to score. The strangest sequence was letting Darvish hit with bases loaded and 2 out and he walks on 4 pitches! The Cubs fans are shocked and silent tonight and Maddon pushed the wrong buttons.

  13. Anyone know Brandon Morrow’s contract situation? I’d guess he signed a 1 year deal with us?

    He will get PAID this offseason to be somebody ‘s closer. He found his calling

  14. I agree Bobby. He will make some money and he deserves it. I wish we could sign him but he needs to take the money.

      1. That would be nice. He will have an interesting free-agency. I’m not sure how the Dodgers sign him unless they unload some money. He’s going to get paid nicely by someone.

        1. Brandon Morrow has made himself several millions this post season, but those millions should be in Dodger Blue. I can see a two year guaranteed plus club option with a buyout for a third year. He is at least worth what the Dodgers paid for JP Howell after 2013. JP received a 2 year $11 million plus mutual option for a third year of $6.25 million which converts to a player option if certain game appearance levels were reached, which they did, and JP did exercise his option. That is three years for $17.25 million for a loogy.
          .
          Chronologically, Morrow will be 32/33 for 2018. But his arm does not have that many miles on it, and it was originally good enough for Seattle to pick him two spots before CK in 2006 draft. I see no reason he cannot pitch well for three more years. Strictly for comparative purposes, Morrow has pitched 828.1 innings in his ML career, while CK has 1,935 IP. Morrow routinely registers in the upper upper 90’s, and his confidence is growing with every pitch.
          .
          Just like all pitchers, Morrow is an injury risk. Morrow has had shoulder concerns with previous shoulder impingement surgery. His diabetes is controlled and should not be a consideration. Morrow is from the Bay Area, so I can see the relief pitching poor Giants going for Morrow.

  15. My only gripe about Stripling being in the game is what about tomorrow. He is a long relief man and may be needed tomorrow. Doc made great decisions this play off, but this was not one of them.

    1. Great team win tonight! Kenley was filthy to bail out Stripling. Every player on the post season roster has played now except Wood and he gets his chance to complete the sweep tomorrow. Meanwhile Houston and the Yanks are locked up in at least a 6 game series.

  16. Mad game.
    Wrigley was so quiet as we were so dominant.

    Once again the patient ABs put the Cub’s Pitchers under pressure, especially te BP – and they absolutely caved.

    Would take a colossal sea change for us not to win from here.

    Meanwhile the ALCS continues to be tight, and that’s gotta be good news.

    I know Belinger is searching for a bit of Firm with the bat, but his defensive play is stellar.

    Another good day ahead (albeit a long one!)

  17. Everyone is pitching in one way or another. Schwarber looked like he was looking for a back door slider on his HR. Good to see Dre answer. Some of the AB’s Granderson has taken away for Ethier has been head scratching, but with such a team atmosphere, no one is belly aching.

  18. Darvish’s stuff is actually more filthy than Kershaw’s. He just has less command and if he had that bulldog mentality of filling the zone, just imagine. I think being around Kershaw and Honeycutt has made a big difference for YU.

  19. I agree Darvish is a different pitcher. He works faster which helps his teammates play defense behind him. Also, it takes a confident person to make changes like Darvish has done .

  20. There is a great story on Bleacher Report by Bob Nightengale of USA Today. It is on how Turner and Jansen ended up signing with the Dodgers. If I knew how to give you the web site like some of you do, I would. It is a very heart warming story for a Dodger fan.

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