Don’t Go Down With The Ship, Doc!

Early in the year, Chase Utley was mired in  a horrible slump and fans started calling for him to retire.  Dave Roberts had faith in him and after hitting .122 in April, he bounced back by hitting .314 in May, and he has been serviceable since then.  He plays great defense, is a wonderful teammate and at 39 years of age, he just looks to be over-matched at the plate right about now.

Curtis Granderson could not jump out of a boat and hit water right now.  He looks pathetic at the plate.  He has hit Arrietta well in the past, and that’s why he was in there last night, but that should be the last time.  The fact of the matter is that since he was traded to LA, he has hit .150!  That includes the playoffs where he is hitting .067!  Oh Sixty-Seven!

Some of you are thinking or saying that the Dodgers 6 – 7 – 8 hitters hurt the Dodgers last night.  That’s partially true, but it was really the 5, 6 and 8 spots that did them in.  Andre Ethier lacks the bat speed to catch up to a good fastball (yes, I know he hit a HR and had a single the game before), but he is not close to being the player he once was. Ethier, Granderson and Utley all were totally non-productive.  At least Yasmani Grandal walked 3 times. His at-bats helped drive up Arrieta’s pitch count and get him out of the game.

Arrieta had good stuff – he was just rusty from not pitching a lot in September and walked 5. His pitches had great movement last night, so it’s no shame to only score 1 run on him and then run him after 6.1 innings.  The good news is that Wade Davis threw nearly 50 pitches (48 to be exact) and if used today, he should be impacted by that high pitch count.

Alex Wood is not the pitcher he was earlier in the year.  He use to throw his fastball 91-96 – now it’s 88 – 91.  He was sharp last night, but he used to be filthy!  The hitters know he is going to pound the zone and they are waiting.  The same with Kershaw.  Clayton is going to have to change his pattern today or they will take him deep several times as well. Who is Alex Wood – The Pre-All-Star Game Alex Wood who touched 96 MPH and put up a 1.67 ERA or the Post-All-Star Game Alex Wood who put up a 3.89 ERA?  He’s the later right about now and I suspect that he may need surgery after the season.  I think he can be successful as a reliever pitching at a lower velocity, but he can’t start in my opinion.

The thing is, the Dodgers could have won with him, even if he pitched like that – they just can’t win with him and Ethier and Granderson and Utley!  Dave Roberts is loyal to veteran guys who work hard and are high character people.  Loyalty is good, but it is overrated.  Winning is better! Going down with the ship sucks!

Last night,  Austin Barnes should have been at 2B. He has hit RH pitching very, very well this year.  Why carry Farmer as an Emergency Catcher if you aren’t going to use Barnes? Shoot, Logan Forsythe was hitting RH pitching better in September than Utley.  I rarely second-guess but I would have put Pederson in CF last night. I know Corey Seager is a big part of the Dodgers offense, but this is the lineup that should have been out there:

  1. Taylor  SS
  2. Barnes  2B
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Bellinger  1B
  5. Puig  RF
  6. Grandal  C
  7. Ethier  LF
  8. Pederson  CF

Joc Pederson looks “soft” – kind of like a Pillsbury Dough Boy Soft.  I think he needs to dedicate himself to a “body makeover” this off-season that includes diet and Crossfit-Type Training.  He needs to morph from the doughboy on the left to the one on the right. My wife even commented that he looked “soft” standing on 2B last night.  At least he is getting on base, unlike Granderson. The Dodgers need Corey back, but it won’t be this series. He can’t come back unless there is a real injury and I mean a “bone sticking out of the skin” type injury.  FAZ will not be allowed to manipulate the DL with a hangnail on Granderson’s pinky.

That said, we will likely see the same lineup we did in Game 1. Our Ace is going on normal rest and he is due for a great game.  Let’s hope it happens today.  The Cubs are a tough bunch and will fight – the Boys in Blue just have to be the junkyard dogs they have been all season. Really though, who expected a sweep?  Even if we lose today, we have two games left at home. Clayton, just end it already.  No pressure!  Just do it! The outcome of today’s game is your legacy!

Next round, Granderson and Utley have to be left off the World Series Roster.  Replace them with Seager and Locastro.

Dave Roberts:  When you do what you have always done, you get what you have always got!  Stop the insanity! It’s time to ditch Granderson and Utley.  Just win today and let’s hope the Yankees and Astros go 7! Don’t go down with the ship.  I’m throwing you a lifejacket.  Take it!

AFL

So far… But it’s early!

  • Will Smith – .444 BA/1.212 OPs
  • Yusniel Diaz – .353 BA 1.006 OPS
  • Matt Beaty – .190 BA/.465 OPS
  • DJ Peters – .154 BA/.445 OPS
  • Issac Anderson – 4 IP/0.00 ERA/1.20 WHIP
  • Andrew Sopko – 3 IP/3.00 ERA/0.67 WHIP
  • Shea Spitzbarth – 2.1 IP/10.12 ERA/1.88 WHIP
  • Michael Boyle – 2.1 IP/3.86 ERA/0.86 WHIP

 

 

 

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 53 Comments

  1. great opportiunity to Clayton to carry the team in playoff . Yesterday game was winable, sadly robers winth his lineup permits cubs to get hope, I think a key moment was in 7th when dodgers got 2 men in base al cory hit a bad ball instead of working the count and let turner batting

  2. Since signing with the Dodgers, Chase Utley is 4-40 in the post season. He is 0 for his last 24 stretching over the last 11 post season games he has appeared in. It is time for Chase to retire. He has been good for the Dodgers, and he was very instrumental in mentoring Corey Seager. However, I hope he signs with Philadelphia and retires the same day as a Phillie, and the organization and fans give him a big Chase Utley day.
    .
    The Curtis Granderson audition should come to a close. If he was going to hit anybody, it would have been Jake Arrieta, who he has hit well in the past; .313/.351/.719/1.070 in 32 AB and 35 PA. He previously had only 4K’s against Arrieta. He matched that last night. He did not come close in any of those AB’s. He has exemplary character, and that is important when the rosters expand to 40, but you cannot hide anyone on a 25 man roster during the playoffs. Like others said last night, I would rather see Joc up in those situations.
    .
    The Dodgers had 11 strikeouts and 8 of those were from Ethier/Granderson/Utley. Wade Davis’ K of Austin Barnes was an aberration for me. He threw 3 unhittable pitches that could not have been placed any better had they been generated through computer graphics. Those were Davis’ three best pitches all night, and all to one batter.
    .
    I was not disappointed in how Alex Wood pitched last night. The pitch to Contreras was bad. He has not pitched in three weeks, so his command was obviously off. Plus, I think the adrenaline/concentration he had facing Bryant and Rizzo was diminished when he faced Contreras. And if that is true, it is all on Wood. But one bad pitch should not beat you. All 4 starters gave up an early HR in their games, so he should not be singled out. I did not think the first Baez HR pitch was that bad, but his 2nd HR pitch was a great AB by Baez. He took it off his shoe tops. Hitters sometimes are just better than the pitcher on that day, on that AB. It happens for the Dodgers as well. I cannot count the number of times I watched a LAD hitter, and say “How the hell did he hit that. S#&*happens. He had 7 K’s including Rizzo, Russell, and Jay twice each. IMO he owned Rizzo last night. He got beat by Javy Baez. Baez has done this before. He was co-MVP in 2016 NLCS.
    .
    Enough about last night. The Dodgers get the RH bats back in tonight. This game must feel totally different to any playoff game Clayton Kershaw has ever started. He has pitched in his share of elimination games for the Dodgers (and succeeded once that I can remember – 2015 NLDS Game 4 against the Mets). But he has never had a chance to win a series. It’s time, CK, for you to stick a fork in this negative post season commentary, and pitch the Dodgers to the 2017 WS. All else will be forgotten. It is perfectly set up for you. You are pitching on normal rest (which you crave), and WHEN you win tonight, you will be in a position to start Game 1 of the WS, again on normal rest. Now go out and win Game 5. Don’t rely on your hitters, you can only control yourself, and that has been good enough most of the time.

  3. Wood was fine. 3 solo hr, and 1 was on a pitch that was outside the strike zone. What can you do on that one. Plus, we can’t realistically expect to sweep our way thru the playoffs. I think most of us would have guessed Dodgers in 6 this series, so we’re on track.

    Today, Kersh on the mound with a World Series berth. Jansen didn’t pitch last night. This is set up nicely. Kersh, do your job and take us home!!!

  4. Great stuff in here today. It’s time to get this done today and rest up for the World Series. Granderson/Utley and Either are bench players if we want the championship. I’m sure Doc saw what we saw last night so I expect the lineups to change. No Wade Davis today unless we get a very tired Wade Davis. Today is the Day……………………….

  5. Mark, I agree with your take. I thought it was time to get Grandal a start. However, you can’t have Ethier, Granderson, and Utley all in there together. Joc needs to play over Granderson. Granderson looks so over matched it us unreal. I know we all love this Barnes at 2nd idea, but there must be a reason the Dodgers won’t bite. I’m content with Forsythe playing good defense, drawing walks, and hitting lefties. Utley is average at best defensively. Much slower on the pivot and less range. Was Doc so confident that this thing is over that he found it necessary to get some guy AB’s?

    1. Hawkeye

      Mad Dog has not given any credit to the Dodgers, he only talked about the Dodger’s win, for 7 minutes in an hour show, that was all about the Yankees, after the Dodgers had won six straight games, in the post season!

      And to top that off, he went back to the 1977 World Series, in that same show, and that was series, that Jackson hit those three HRs against the Dodgers!

      All of this east coast bias, has been so hard to listen to, especially Ron Darling, who should never be allowed to do another game, that includes the Dodgers, because he is so unprofessional!

      1. It was the anniversary of Reggie’s HR’s. You’re going to see it every year. The Dodgers are getting plenty of coverage. Mad Dog hates the Yankees even more than the Dodgers.

  6. I think Mark is right about Kershaw being way, to predictable.

    He almost never throws anything but his fastball, when he is down on his count, and he is always around the plate, and that also makes him, even more vulnerable, to hitters.

    And ike Idahoal said the last time before Kershaw pitched, Kershaw must be very careful, when he throws his first pitches, to hitters.

    Because hitters don’t like to get down with two strikes on Kershaw, so they tend to go for his first pitches, especially if they are around the plate!

    And Kershaw likes to get ahead on hitters, so he tends to want to throw a first pitch strike, but he has to make sure the pitch, is in a very good place, or he will get hit!

    I agree with everyone’s assessment, about Granderson and Utley.

    Even Ethier, didn’t look as good last night, but that is understandable, since Granderson has been getting most of the playing time, and most of the at bats, in the outfield, instead of Ethier, and Ethier missed most of the season.

    About Chase, remember when anyone is hitting in front of Granderson, and hitting in back of Granderson, they are not going to get to many good pitches to hit, and that is why Grandal was able to walk, three times.

    And why pitch to Grandal, or Chase, when Granderson is such an easy out!

    Chase hasn’t started, or got many at bats in the post season, until the game, before last night’s game, so that may be part of his problem too.

    But this is a very important series, and a short series, so we have to go with our best line up, and that is a line up, without Chase, Granderson, and Grandal.

  7. Granderson isn’t playable at this point. I’m leaning that way with Utley as well. I would have rather had Pederson and/or Forsythe last night. I agree Kershaw needs to change up his pattern some. According to the pitch tracker I looked at he’s thrown 99 Fastballs out of 187 pitches he’s thrown this month. It also said that he’s thrown 6 2-seamers and 2 changeups. Starting batters with something besides a fastball would at least get the batters thinking about what they’re going to get versus picking a spot and waiting on a fastball.

  8. Dodger pitching was good enough to win last night. The lefty hitting matchups didn’t work. Usually I’m for em but shoulda just kept all the rightys in. They couldn’a done any worse.

    1. I mostly agree.
      `
      I think according to the numbers Granderson was a good play, but he looked so bad in those ABs that I don’t understand why he wasn’t replaced by Pederson.
      `
      I’m fine with a straight platoon Grandal and Barnes. Barnes deserves it.
      `
      Forsythe has been playing pretty well.

  9. What about Cody?
    I know he’s young & in his 1st post season, but, the 2 dingers aside, I think he’s trying too hard to hit a homer every time he steps into the Batters Box.
    He should not bat 2nd, especially in front of JT, if he’s not gonna take the pitches as they come.
    He should have walked in his 1st AB last night.
    I know he’s young, but I’d leave him batting 4th.
    Forsythe has been great in the postseason, so play him against Lefties and Righties – he is great at taking walks. Bat him 2nd.

    Good news about Seagar – we miss his bat although Taylor has played SS admirably.

    We need to finish this tonight.

  10. As for Kershaw it isn’t about predictability it’s about execution. If his slider is on he will win. If he’s over throwing and his slider is flat he will get hit.

    1. But, if the hitter is looking fastball or slider on the first pitch and he breaks out Public Enemy #1, the hitter is toast and his confidence is shattered!

      1. If I was Kershaw, I would not throw a curve, or watch any curve to Baez, because he has fast reflexes, and he digs those low pitches out, and puts them in the air.

    2. Hawkeye

      I think that is a good point too.

      Why does it seem that Kershaw never seems to have his good secondary pitches, in the post season?

  11. One thing that should help Kershaw, assuming the forecast I read is correct, is that the wind is expected to be blowing in tonight. And I agree, one of the keys for Kershaw is whether or not his slider is working.

    I too would like to see Cody a little more under control at the plate. But let’s not forget, in spite of that he blasted one out last night, and the ball he hit that ended the game was scorched.

    Although it’s dangerous to assume (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEP1acj29-Y), I will do so anyway, and assume that the Dodgers will make it to the WS. If so, and the opponent turns out to be the Yankees, I’m not so sure that Granderson and Utley, and even Ethier for that matter, would be left off the roster, given the short porch in RF in Yankee Stadium. And the Dodgers might take into account that Granderson was successful at Yankee Stadium when he played there. All that being said, it is also pretty apparent that they all now have a problem catching up with good velocity.

    Regarding Mad Dog, I haven’t listened to him in quite a while, but if memory serves, I believe he is a Giants fan. If that’s the case, then it wouldn’t be surprising if he is a bit ill-disposed towards the Dodgers. But I don’t know that for a fact.

    1. Brooklyn

      He is a Giant fan, but I still expect more from him, because he usually gives a team credit, when Credit is deserved.

      And winning six straight games in the post season, is more then what the other teams have done, up to that show I talked about, and even today!

      If I may ask, what is your thoughts about the Broadcast crew, that is calling the Dodger’s games?

      1. Largely, there has been less to critique and second guess. He said the other day to him the NL games have been less interesting. He despises the Yankees.

  12. Tonight’s clincher:
    Taylor-CF
    Turner-3B
    Bellinger-1B
    Puig-RF
    Forsythe-2B
    Hernandez-LF
    Barnes-C
    Culberson-SS
    Kershaw-P

  13. Well earlier I said we need to have an outlier get hot like gene tenace etc. I think we got that person in Kiké Hernandez!!!!!

  14. That is definitely a good thing Mark.

    MJ, I don’t have any problem with the broadcast crew. And I know you don’t care for Ron Darling, but I don’t have a problem with him, maybe because I’m used to listening to him do Met games here in NY. Also, he’s a 1000 times better than his Mets announcing sidekick Keith Hernandez.

    I also remember Darling criticizing the Mets decision to non-tender Justin Turner after the 2013 season. He nailed that one.

    1. Darling is so bad that I mute the game and listen to Steiner and Monday. I dont mind Anderson. I can listen to the Brewers broadcast he does. Not bad at all.

  15. I would have pulled Kershaw after 6. Two reasons: with the big lead no reason to stress him out any further. And secondly, with days off coming, bullpen needs a tune-up.

    WORLD SERIES BOUND!!!

    1. He can drink from the World Series trophy when they win.

      With all the accolades to Kike’, JT, CT3, Kenley, CK…let’s not forget Charlie Culberson. Before the series I said to not sell Culberson short. He was a MLB player and was very capable of having a good series. And he did both offensively and defensively. 5 for 11, two doubles and triple, key sac fly in Game 1, and you will not see a lot of better defensive plays at SS than we saw tonight. Corey will be welcomed back, but Charlie Culberson proves once again how deep this Dodger team is.

      1. Cult hero, Charlie Culberson. Give him credit. He signed a major league deal to knowingly be put tin AAA and be left off the 40-man roster.

      2. Right on AC Culberson came up big. He not only held his own but was an asset. You look back at playoff winners and theyhave players you don’t expect to step up and none were bigger than Culberson and Hernandez. Now dodgers win it all. I am from southern Illinois and I will probably never be at dodger stadium but as a lifelong fan ther,e is great excitement. My daughter and I have been on pins and needles but the dodgers have been the team we all wanted in this years playoffs. Go Dodgers!!!!!

  16. Oh my


    That was simple awesome.

    MJ – that’s the 1st time I’ve really been able to enjoy it – no nerves tonight!

    Very proud

  17. Fantastic game. Congrats to all of us who have been here all year waiting for this moment. Feels amazing, but not good enough.

    4 wins to go….

    1. Absolutely, we all deserve it too. For those who grew up in the 50-80’s the post-season was often a given. Waiting 30 years was a long time and it comes with a lot of ups and down each year for fans.

  18. Do you think Culberson has played his way onto the WS roster? I think Granderson is done so you could swap them out but hen you’ve got the lefty/righty thing and different positions.

  19. When Reggie Jackson hit his 3 home runs against the Dodgers I was thinking of the movie scene of Lou Gehrig visiting a young hospitalized boy that Gehrig promised to hit a home run for and the boy asked Gehrig to hit 2 HR’s to which Gehrig promise after expressing how tall the order would be especially in a World Series Game. Gary Cooper starred as Gehrig and I still visualize Cooper at any mention of Lou Gehrig. I wonder who’s gonna play the part of Kike when the movie is made of the event we all watched on 10/19/2017. CHEERS to you Kike Hernandez and CHEERS to Dodgers all. This team will not be denied. Four more, boys!

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