Breakthrough!

Well, Clayton Kershaw did not go 9 innings last night, but he was very dominant over 7 innings and he likely could have went at least another innng or two, but that is not how this new version of the Dodgers works.  It was obvious before the game and during the game, that Clayton was intense, but not overly amped up.  He said he treated it like any other start and I think he did.  He could have went 8 innings… maybe 9 innings, but why?  With Morrow and Jansen in the pen with several days of rest, why push it?  Maybe he will pitch deeper in game 5 (if it goes that far), but it worked.  The Dodgers won, so there’s that.  It was very hot at game time so there is that too!

Last night we again saw that the Dodgers have a plan and they work that plan.We also saw a team that would not be denied.  You can want to win.  You can have a desire to win, but do you have the will to win?  The will to win starts with a want, a desire, but that alone is not enough. Sometimes less talented teams win because they simply believe that they will win.  That belief becomes their destiny.  I believe these are Destiny’s Dodgers.  They believe and contine to impose their will on winning, no matter what.

Tonight, it’s Justin Verlander verses Rich Hill.  This should be another pitchers duel. but you never know.  This is eaxtly what FAZ had in mind when they signed Rich Hill over the winter.  It’s time to deliver on the Big Stage. Justin Verlander has been lights out since he came to Houston, but these are Destiny’s Dodgers.  They will not be denied!

Doc has said that Corey Seager will go back to his familiar #2 spot tonight. Who will catch and play 2B is the question?  I am sure Andre Ethier will be in LF.  I would roll with this lineup:

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

Utley can’t catch up to the fastball anymore – that’s my opinion. Pull up a chair… enjoy the ride.  These guys are on a mission!

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 57 Comments

  1. blah…it’s annoying when you have a long post written and it tells you your reCAPTCHA verification failed and you lose everything you wrote. What I had written was so amazingly important.

    /

    I just realize you have to wait for the captcha thing to give you a green check mark before you hit Post Comment

    1. Was gonna say that Verlander scares me. He’s the key to this series. He dominates, Houston has an advantage.

      …good job Joc! You deserve it.

  2. My favorite nugget of the post season: The Dodger bullpen has given up the fewest runs of any team this post season, including the Rockies and Twins one game.
    `
    Good stuff from FanGraphs
    `
    Longenhagen chat:
    On Mitch White being a top 100 prospect:
    I don’t. Was 90-92 for me during instructs and has had multiple injury issues dating back to college. He’s a good prospect, but probably a half grade beneath top 100 consideration.
    `
    A question on Verdugo next year:
    Is Alex Verdugo competing to be a starting outfielder next spring, or is he still looking at another year of seasoning in the minors?
    `
    Eric A Longenhagen: The former.
    `
    On Will Smith:
    The skillset reads an awful lot like Austin Barnes. Same with Wong.
    `
    FanGraphs also has a great look into Verlander and changes he’s made to encounter success:
    The pitcher that exists today has a familiar-looking slider and the same old overpowering fastball. The changeup is gone and the curve is in the back pocket, but the two primary pitches have been effective, in part probably because of whatever Verlander got mechanically polished. Everything — everything — always has to work together. Verlander has it all working, and because of his rapid turnaround, he’s in position now to pitch a team to the World Series. Everyone, in some way, has gotten their wish.

    1. I have no way of matching Logenhagen’s resources or knowledge of minor leaguers, but I find his comment on Mitch White interesting. Yes he had TJ surgery in college, but that was in 2014. His injury this year was a broken toe. Dodger pitchers throughout the organization are on a pitch count, so lack of innings should not be a negative. Whether he includes him in his top 100 should be on what he shows as a pitcher while pitching, not because of injuries.

  3. Maybe Joc in left instead of Ethier? I’m not so sure Andre can catch up to a J.V. fastball. Joc would be better defensively, as well. We will soon see. Whatever the lineup, let’s win!

  4. Is Barnes really that much better than Grandal? Is he playing because of his bat or his defensive/game calling ability? I thought Grandal was pretty stinkn’ good? Somebody help me out here?

  5. Taylor
    Seager
    Turner
    Belly
    Puig
    Joc
    Barnes
    Utley
    Hill

    I think I would have gone Forsythe but the Silver Fox is due.

    1. I like it, I think the Silver Fox is due as well, Utley is 2/6 lifetime off Verlander, lets make it 6/10!

      Joc or Ethier is a crap shoot, I’ll root for a Joc blast out of nowhere, or a walk…..

      I look for the Killer B’s (Belly/Barnes) and TnT (Taylor/Turner), to rock the house again tonight, add a little mix of Puigsanity and lets get this 2-0!!!

    2. Good lineup, I got 2 out of 3 correct. Utley has to look fastball and hope he gets one that catches too much of the plate. He cheats on the fastball these days and with 2 strikes it will be a slider. But he’s a pros pro so you never know. Joc might square one up, and Barnes hits righties well. The rest of the lineup is our best. It comes down to Hill and the Astros struggled with the breaking ball yesterday so he could shut them down, or not. The ball will be carrying with the early start time and that will be key, who can keep the fly balls in the park. Dodgers can run on McCann too.

  6. We need 5-6 innings out of Hill. The bullpen has been awesome. We need the lefhanders Bellinger, Seager, Joc, and Utley step up tonight. Right now Taylor and Turner are just frickin tough. Taylor and Seager hit into double plays, but both balls were hit hard. If we can win this game against Verlander, I am not sure anything can stop the Dodgers.

  7. I was hoping we would get a good umpire behind the plate, today.

    Because sometimes in the past, we have had an umpire behind the plate, that just couldn’t see Hill’s curves, when they crossed the strike zone.

    I just heard we are getting a hitter’s umpire tonight, so this umpire is going to have a very tight, strike zone.

    But I still think we will find a way to win this game tonight!

  8. I’m surprised to see Joc & Chase in there together.
    Chase has really looked out of sorts so far in the Post Season, and Unless I missed something, Joc went back to AAA where he couldn’t hit either, and although he had a PH, it’s a big call.

  9. You may be right Watford. I just do not think Ethier can catch up to a 93 MPH fastball anymore. So Joc is the better choice. I just think Doc wanted to start Utley one game. It may help him later on as a pinch hitter. He has not had many at bats lately. Grandal is the one that does surprise me. Doc is going to put the best catcher on the field and right now that is Barnes. Barnes is just forcing the issue. I just love it when Barnes, Taylor and Turner were utility players and they just got better and forced their way on to the field. Now look at Turner. He is an elite hitter and defensive third baseman.

  10. MJ, clearly this umpire does not have have a tight strike against the Dodgers . Earlier in the game Joc has two breaking balls outside the box called strikes, and the same happened to Bellinger on a couple of fastballs.

    But as I was writing this Joc ran into one. No one, including Verlander is unhittable. Now let’s just keep the Stros off the board.

    1. Brooklyn

      I noticed that, the guys on the MLB Channel said that, today.

      Great Job by Joc there!

      And a great job by Seager too!

  11. Run prevention focus on positioning: Tonight the Dodgers have turned 5-6-3 double plays from each side of the diamond in this game. Welcome to the new world.

    Love watching Rich Hill.

    Love it.

    A HR by a player not on the NLCS roster, and one who spent some of the 2nd half of the season in the minors.

    Depth.

  12. This is all about the little things. Dodgers unable to push across a run in the 8th. Puig coming within an inch or less of making a great catch. Bellinger just missing a walkoff by a fraction of an inch off the bat. Even the foul ground ball that Seager hit past third in the 9th was close to being a double down the line.

      1. Hawkeye

        I can’t agree more about McCarthy!

        He is not a grinder, so he can’t be depended on, in any tough situations!

        And he proved that tonight, once again!

        But I am still proud of our guys, for coming back like they did!

        And they will get back at the Astros at there place.

  13. I was thinking this when Fields was in the game, but clearly McCarthy was a bad choice. Maybe Pedro Baez should have been considered. But Mark was right, the early removal of Hill set off a bad chain of events.

    Maybe Culberson reprises what he did last year and hits a walk-off following Seager and Turner. Or something else equally good. Destiny’s Dodgers.

  14. Regroup and get a couple in Houston…
    Pulling Hill was questionable but pulling Morrow so quick was the key in Doc’s over managing…

  15. Just a great, great, great game.
    `
    Definitely can see the 2nd guessing of pulling Hill, but I thought it was the right move. I could be wrong.
    `
    Astros are good. Dodgers are good.
    `
    Baseball is great.

  16. Morrow should have been to start the 7th leaving Stripling for long relief. I let Morrow start the 7th and get 4 or 5 outs.

  17. Tough loss in a game the Dodgers could have won several times. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. But that’s baseball. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Dodgers play well on the road. No reason to think that they won’t bring it back to LA, or even win it all in Houston.

    And I was right about Culberson. Only problem was that no one got on in front of him.

    1. Brooklyn

      You forgot about the ump getting in the way, but you are right, we won’t let this one game get us off track!

      Roberts will learn from his mistake too!

  18. Hate to ask, but has the Houston monster been awoken??? Damn, they got helluva machine with 8, let alone going to 9 in Houston…

  19. Unbelievable game – seems a long time ago that Vin started the game off.

    So many “what ifs?”, but ultimately a fantastic game.

    This is gonna make things very tough now. Houston are very strong at home, and a few of their hitters just got their Mojo back.

    Verlander is gonna be tough to beat, and Keuchel will be tough in Houston.
    Gonna need to take 2 games there or face having to win both at Dodger Stadium.
    The good news is that their #3&4 starters are not nearly as good as #1&2.

    #Rollercoaster

  20. Totally agree, Mark, taking Hill out in the 4th compromised our biggest strength, the bullpen. Run him out there for one more inning, regardless of whether he allows 1 run or not, and you can line up our bullpen like we have the last few weeks. Love Kenley,, but a 2 inning save against the Astros is asking a lot. These guys are not the D-Bags or the slumping Cubs, they won over 100 games for a reason. With that said, and trying not to drink the MLB analysts Kool-Aid, I loved how we battled back and made it a game, not once, but twice! This is going to be an epic series, and I think Doc will learn from his bullpen gaffe and move on. Plenty of baseball to be played. Let’s not forget amongst the bummer of tonight that Verlander was 9-0 entering tonights game, and he left losing 3-1. We took the Stros biggest punch and came back, just keep hitting and its all good.

  21. I would also like to see the Dodgers get some hits with RISP. Can’t just depend on the long ball.

    If the Dodgers face Keuchel again, I suspect they might be a bit more patient against him than they were in the first game. I suspect he’s someone they could get to with a little familiarity.

    What worries me most is the Dodgers Achilles heel that we saw tonight. We don’t want to get too deep into the Dodgers pen. I have little confidence in Stripling, Fields, and McCarthy. I prefer Baez to any of them, especially against a team that hasn’t seen him.

  22. That was a wild and simply great game! Verlander is human, so is Jansen and Giles. The ball that hit Taylor’s cap and the one that hit the umpire both could have scored runs. I can’t blame McCarthy, he hasn’t pitched in forever and was not supposed to be out there in the 10th inning of a tie game. Roberts pushed so many buttons he probably has carpel tunnel. The home plate umpire was awful, and Seager and Turner hit the ball hard but they got caught before Culberson’s home run or they still might be playing. I question so many of the bullpen moves on the Dodger side but just have to move on. I really think the Series goes 7 after watching the fireworks tonight. Keuchel and Verlander had pretty low pitch counts, they could both go on 3 days rest, Kershaw too.

  23. By the way, Hill wasn’t taken out in the 4th, but instead didn’t come out to pitch the 5th. Bottom line is that he could have pitched another inning or maybe even two. And I’m not second guessing, because I didn’t like it at the time, mainly because of what I mentioned earlier, I.e., my total lack of confidence in Stripling, McCarthy and Fields, all of whom were more likely to get in the game if the Dodgers went to the pen too early.

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