When Your Best Is Not Good Enough

Last year, the Dodgers acquired Rich Hill and in the NLCS, it was all set for Kershaw to even the series and then Rich Hill could take the mound and do what the Dodgers acquired him for: win game seven.  Unfortunately, Clayton Kershaw surrendered 5 runs on two homers and lost the game and the game and the series. Fast forward a little over a year later and Kershaw did one better:  He gave up 6 runs to effectively snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

With your Ace up 4-0 in the 5th inning, you have to like your chances if you are a Dodger fan, except that we have seen this too many times.  Some will say that Clayton is a choke artist.  I don’t believe that for a minute. What I have been saying for quite some time is that his greatest strength is his greatest weakness.  A-Rod said the same thing in the pre-game show last night. Clayton Kershaw throws more strikes on the first pitch than anyone.  At one time, I believed that the Cardinals may have stolen the Dodgers signs, but they really didn’t need to – they knew that he wanted to get that first strike in and if he didn’t the second one would be there.

That is exactly what happened last night. Correa doubled on the second pitch and Gurriel homered on the first pitch.  They knew what was coming.  Clayton Kershaw is a very good pitcher but he is going to have to change his approach if the Dodgers are ever going to win the World Series.  We have seen this too many times and you are insane if you believe doing what you have always done will get you different results. I don’t think Clayton is insane, so he will have to figure out how to change. It may be too late this year. Many fans are afraid that Clayton will walk after 2018 if the Dodgers don’t win.  It turns out that the Dodgers may not win BECAUSE OF Clayton.

Tomorrow night, Rich Hill goes against Justin Verlander.  This is why the Astros got Verlander. Of course, some will say that the Dodgers should have traded for Verlander, but if our Ace and Darvish had done their jobs, we wouldn’t be here. The bullpen is smoked, Jansen has lost confidence and Morrow looked like a deer in the headlights.  If I had to guess what happens tomorrow, I would venture that Verlander will throw a complete game… maybe a shutout.  I don’t see the Dodgers beating him again, but I never thought I’d see 25 runs last night with two former Cy Young winners pitching.  You never know what will happen – that’s why they play the game.

You know who I am rooting for – I am just not confident!

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 85 Comments

  1. So close last night and yet we are further away. An amazing game. But I don’t hear the fat lady singing yet.

  2. I know this comment sounds like a sophomore, but the HP umpire was really horrible last night and I hope the MLB reviews his performance critically. It was not that that he called so many “out of the zone” strikes (although I couldn’t believe what I was watching) but he was terribly inconsistent…one time it’s a strike the next time it’s not.

    It seemed he would call the inside strike off the plate but then also give Kuechel the pitch on the black outside as well. I’ve seen umpires give a pitcher the inside pitch or the outside pitch, but seldom do you see an umpire give both sides thereby extending the strike zone by 6 inches or more in total.

    I couldn’t stand to watch any post game comments so I wonder if any pundits commented about this. I did read during the game a Joel Sherman (NY Times and MLB Network) tweet where he said Miller is the top MLB umpire for calling “out of the zone” pitches for strikes in the entire MLB, and sarcastically commented and that’s the guy who draws a WS opportunity.

    Not sure how MLB selects umpires for the WS but Manfred and Torre had to witness one of the worst MLB umpire performances of all time with the exception of Don Denkinger who called Jorge Orta safe at 1B in the 1985 WS.

    Dodgers lost the game because their pitching was terrible and gassed but it seems they were assisted by some awful umpiring as well.

  3. If this does not motivate MLB to adopt the electronic strike zone I don’t know what will.

    Mark, I remembered that you have always stated about CK’s lack of adjusting. Also, why didn’t Honeycutt walk over just to give CK a little break a la Astro’s pitching coach. This series should have been over and a parade being organized in LA, but like it is said, “That is why they play the game.”

    1. The umpire was terrible, but we learned that very quickly, and the players should have adjusted, and protected the plate, when they had two strikes!

      Because they already knew this umpire was a problem, so why leave the call to the umpire, instead of fouling off the pitch?

      Also why didn’t our pitchers take advantage of some of the bad areas, the umpire was calling strikes in, like the Astros pitchers, were doing?

      1. Some of those pitches were so off the plate that you can’t blame the hitters for not adjusting.

  4. Amen on the umpiring. And it wasn’t just last night. But i’ll Leave that alone for now, although I hope that Dodgers are making an issue of it with MLB quietly behind the scenes. May not do any good now, but I firmly believe that the umpires are creating an airtight argument for an electronic strike zone.

    I don’t think it’s so much that hitters can look look for Kershaw to get ahead, as it is that they can look for him to get ahead with the fastball. Kershaw does not have an electric arm. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90’s (mostly low 90’s), NOT the mid to upper 90’s. Last night it seemed that for the most part he had abandoned his curve, and was unable to throw an effective slider. Think back to that infamous 7th inning against the Cardinals. It wasn’t only that the Dodgers didn’t have a bridge to Kenley. Instead it was that Kershaw was throwing one predictable fastball after another. And I also think it is time for Kershaw to make the development of an effective changeup a priority. Cliff Lee threw strikes, but also had a devastating change to complement his other stuff.

    The Dodgers offense needs to rise to the occasion tomorrow night, and give Hill as cushion with which to work late into the game. If the Dodgers bullpen gets called on early tomorrow, that could be fatal.

    It’s probably not the time to begin thinking about this, but I wouldn’t be against the Dodgers exploring a trade of Kershaw this winter, if the result is a substantial package of young players. I have a feeling that the Dodgers wouldn’t mind getting out of the $30+ million pitching business.

    And finally, if these are truly Destiny’s Dodgers, then what reason is there to believe that this will be easy? The Cubs broke their curse last year by overcoming a 1-3 hole. Time for the Dodgers to fulfill their Destiny by overcoming a 2-3 hole following a devastating loss.

    Mark is justified for not being confident, but he is certainly not conceding this game. It’s time for the Dodgers to move a mountain.

    1. Trade Kershaw? Are you thinking beyond your emotions of last night? The vitriol would be non-stop. Remember when they traded Piazza, or even Kemp and he’s no Kershaw. How about when they simply didn’t sign Grienke to that ridiculos contract that AZ gave him. You never heard the end of it until Greinke didn’t have such a good year and the Dodgers started winning at a historic pace.

        1. Just to clarify MJ, are you implying that you would have been in favor of the Dodgers giving Greinke a 206 million dollar contract?

        2. Greinke got shelled in this post-season. Greinke also didn’t win the closeout game against the Mets.

    1. Just as you said. Let the raids begin. Everyone wants a piece of the success and thinks having a part of it will make them a success too. If FAZ is doing there job right they will continue to find other gems to replace the gems they have lost to the rest of baseball. Any year can be an anomolly and they end up in 3 rd place. Bad years happen, no matter how good a team is. I think that they will continue to asess the team and work on filling weak spots with better players.

      Just like this year, they will have a better team than the previous one. While I still hope for a WS championship they have had a great year this year. If they don’t make it this year then I look forward to a better team next year…because that is the way these guys operate and think we are finally a fortunate fan base to thave this leadership from top to bottom. And barring something unexpected, they will be fighting for another championship next year.

    1. After Kershaw gave up that three run HR, on the first pitch, our other pitchers, allowed the Astro’s hitters, to jump on five more first pitches!

      How can our other pitchers, keep on allowing, these Astro’s hitters, to come up to the plate, and jump on there first pitches, without making an adjustment?

      Kershaw is the highest paid pitcher in all of baseball, I don’t think it is asking to much,, to expect Kershaw to pitch like an ace, in important games, in the post season.

      After all, this is far the only time that Kershaw has let the team down, in a very important game, in the post season!

      I feel this game is on Kershaw, although I think Roberts should have never given Kershaw the benefit of the doubt.

      Especially with Kershaw’s, post season history, and right after he just gave up a three run HR, to tie the game!

      For those who think it is to much to expect Kershaw to carry the team, with a four run lead, just look at what Wood did, in that game, before Kershaw pitched!

      And Wood doesn’t have as many weapons to work with, as Kershaw does, and Wood is not getting paid like an ace, and really, Wood had not pitched a lot lately.

      But Wood still did everything he could, to will this team, to win that game he started, that is what I expect Kershaw to do!

      Also, I can’t believe Joc stood there, and waited to run, until the his ball was called fair, you would think someone like Joc, that is very lucky to be playing in this World Series, would hustle out of the batter’s box, every time he hit a ball!

      Maybe he would have made it to third, if he hustled out of the box, because Taylor almost lapped Joc on that next hit!

      And because Joc was so slow, Taylor wasn’t able to score from first, like he has done, many times this year!

      1. “Kershaw is the highest paid pitcher in all of baseball, I don’t think it is asking to much,, to expect Kershaw to pitch like an ace, in important games, in the post season.”
        .
        Yeah, you are probably right….Kershaw wasn’t really trying to do his best. He just got lucky in game 1 and he wasn’t as lucky this game so he didn’t really give a damn and he was just going through the motions so he could get Roberts to come out to the mound and take him out in front of a world-wide audience. He’s getting paid anyway right? I feel better now knowing that Kershaw is a bum and didn’t even try to win. Glad to find out that the Astros really aren’t a good team. We should win the next 2 games for sure now that Kershaw is out of there. Should we hope he never pitches in the post season for the Dodgers again? Thanks for getting me straightened out.

  5. The umpiring was bad for both teams last night. Same for the slick balls which resulted in bad sliders and lots of HRs.

    The single biggest thing that the Dodgers could have done differently last night was to stick with their plan and give Morrow the night off. He obviously didn’t have it and Roberts shouldn’t have put him in, but should also have pulled him sooner. He had never pitched 3 consecutive days before and had pitched in more postseason games than anyone on the team. The 4 runs that the ‘Stros scored off of him were the difference in the game.

    The other problem for the series has been Roberts’ quick hook. The bullpen has now pitched more innings than the starters and it is clearly exhausted. I get why Darvish got the hook in game 3 and Kershaw last night, but the hook after 4 innings for Hill in game 2 and Wood’s early exit in game 4 only served to tire the bullpen further. I was concerned after game 2 that lifting Hill early would cost the Dodgers. It arguably cost them both game 2 and the fatigue may have cost them last night as well.

  6. MLB forcing these slippery baseballs is unconsionable. They’re ruining the integrity of the sport. Its obvious both teams pitchers can’t throw their usual breaking balls.

  7. Though extremely frustrated by the loss, that was one incredibly exciting game last night.
    .
    There’s much to say about Kershaw’s performance (he stunk after the 3rd inning) and the rest of the pitching, and how brutally bad the ump was, but for me, the play that most stuck in my craw was the friggin bunt attempt by Kike. With a runner on second (after one of the hardest hit balls of the night by Turner), with a pitcher trying to get his feel, no outs, and we have our clean-up hitter (Clean-up hitter!!!!!!) try to lay down a sacrifice bunt, something he has only done once all year. I just have not been able to get my mind around why they would do that in that situation. The momentum shifted big time after that play .
    .
    Still not giving up hope for the boys in blue. Tuesday night should be a lot of fun. Hoping for another exciting game like last night, but with a different outcome.

  8. Roberts bats Hernandez clean-up then asks him to bunt. What an totally asinine move. Getting out-managed by a slug like Hinch is tough to fathom.

    1. Why is AJ a slug? He has a great team on the field but it was acknowledged almost universally that his bullpen was no match for the Dodgers. Seems to me he has done an incredibly good job so far with what was supposed to be their big weakness. His call to Roberts about the Guriel issue was also quite respectful and classy as well. What’s not to like about the guy other than he and they are the opponent for this WS? As little as I know about him he seems ok to me, but not a slug.

        1. I don’t know you so it’s hard to make assumptions but I doubt you really believe that. He offered to support whatever position that Darvish and Roberts wanted to take regarding the unfortunate incident, that is classy and respectful. Put yourself in his position…if Darvish and Roberts said let it be, as they did, would you then want to consider yourself “classy” and not play him, at the expense of your team and city? I don’t think so. Houston has fans that want this WS just as much as we Dodgers. Absolutely Guriel made a mistake. Many humans do, especially in the heat of the moment. Maybe you calling AJ a “slug” was a mistake, or, I don’t know, maybe it’s not that much different than what Guriel did. Either case, it makes no difference to me, or probably anyone else. But I’m glad we had the discussion anyway. Nice talk. Here’s to hoping the Dodgers play 2 fantastic games in LA.

          1. I do believe that. Roberts and Darvish do not speak for the millions of other Asians who were insulted by Gurriel’s actions. And for you to compare my calling Hinch a slug to what Gurriel did is totally absurd.

        2. Rudy

          I am with you on that!

          And when Ken Rosenthal brought up that pity story, about Gurriel, last night, later in the game, that made me sick!

          It is bad enough that the MLB, doesn’t have the guts to do the right thing.

          I didn’t want to hear anything about Gurriel, especially a pity story, of what he has went through!

          His actions spoke louder then his half baked apology!

          And the fact that the fans gave him a standing ovation, before that prior game, made me sick too!

          1. Rudy, so Roberts and Darvish don’t speak for millions of other Asians, but you do? Good to know.
            .
            In no way do I support what Gurriel did and I’m sorry that you are sick MJ. I hope both you and Rudy can get over it and enjoy the rest of the series.

          2. Rudy

            I heard in the true Japanese translation, that Darvish said, that Gurriel has no class, so he isn’t accepting as much as some think.

            It would be good karma, if Darvish was able to pitch in that seventh game, if the Dodgers can win, tomorrow night!

  9. If you take a deeper look at Clayton Kershaw’s Post-Season Record, you will see that he has a career 4.50 ERA. He has pitched 118 innings and allowed 95 hits with 35 BB and 135 K’s. His WHIP is 1.102 which is the unusual part. Greg Maddux had a 3.27 ERA in 198 innings in the Post-Season, but his WHIP was 1.242. Roger Clemens had a 1.221 WHIP in his Post-Season Career.

    Once could conclude that Clayton has simply been unlucky to a degree.

    1. Giving up homeruns in the playoffs and WS can make one look unlucky, so I don’t know what’s up with that. But otherwise, your point is right and he has seemed to not have much, if any luck on his side in the post-season.

    2. One thing you can look at; in 198 IP Maddux allowed 14 HR, in 199 IP Clemens allowed 17 HR, but in 118 IP Kershaw has allowed 18 HR. So CK has allowed 4 more HR than Maddux in 80 less innings, and 1 more HR than Clemens in 81 less innings. When Kershaw loses it, he gets hammered. He does not have the pinpoint control that Maddux had, or the overpowering stuff Clemens had. If Kershaw’s slider is MIA, he will get hit.

      1. So maybe it’s not being unlucky at all and he just gives up too many homeruns to succeed in post-season play. Although it has reached epidemic proportions in this WS on all sides.

  10. DD, take a careful look at what I wrote. I said that Didgers should “explore” a trade involving Kershaw, and not just for the sake of trading him, but for a “substantial package of young players”. And by the way I was happy when the Dodgers decided to let Greinke leave.

    Kershaw can opt out after 2018. It may well be that the Dodgers are not looking forward to paying him $35 million a year as he moves into his 30’s, especially if they can add substantially to their talent base.

    Dodgers management wants a championship now, but not at the expense of blowing up there long term plan to build a perennial winner, that has a chance at a championship year after year.

    FAZ are young guys with a long term horizon unlike some of us old guys. There’s a lot of money coming off the books after this year, and also next year. I’m very interested to see how FAZ, and Dodgers management in general utilizes that flexibility.

  11. Well Brooklyn, I did take a close look at what you were saying about the “Didgers” and Kershaw and you were pretty harsh (not necessarily somewhat deservedly) on Kersh, his performance and his pitch repitore. And then you said you wouldn’t be against them looking at a trade possibility of Kershaw.
    .
    I didn’t make up anything that you said or even argue against your point of view. I simply inquired of where you were coming from and how much angst this idea might cause. Glad you wre on board with not paying out the 206MM contract.

  12. He’s no Koufax. In the Bay Area, giants fans pull for the Astros. If they win, giants nation will be celebrating like their own team won it all. That stinks. Thanks for the bust, CK. Was it a choke? Sure smells like it.

  13. I am not in the Kershaw chokes in big games group, but he is not the same pitcher in the playoffs as he is during the season, for whatever reason. The bad games are no longer an aberration. They are piling up. The big difference in Game 5 and Game 1 was the slider. His slider was as good as it has been all year in Game 1, but disappeared in Game 5. When the slider is not working, he has to rely on his fastball which is not overpowering. No matter what, he is still an Ace, and I will believe the Dodgers will win every time he goes to the mound. But quietly I would rather have Madison Bumgarner pitch a must win game for the Dodgers (I know sacrilege).
    .
    I agree with the sentiment that the umpiring was horrid last night. But I have no objective means to quantify if it was really any different between the two teams. One thing MJ touched on that I agree with was that on 3-2 counts, the Dodger hitters were looking for walks rather than fouling off a borderline pitch. Right or wrong, they knew the umpire’s strike zone was all over the place, and they should have adjusted. The Astros did. 12 Dodgers went down on strikes, while only 6 K’s for the Astros. It would be interesting to see how many of the Dodger strikeouts were called rather than swing and miss. I will say that a couple of the inside pitches to Puig in particular were not even close, and forced him to swing at others well outside the zone. So even some of the swing and miss pitches were caused by unhittable inside pitches (at least to Puig).
    .
    The bullpen is absolutely gassed. Stripling threw 8 pitches last night, and was not hit hard by either Springer or Bregman. He also pitched well in Game 3; 1.1 IP, 0 runs 1 hit, 15 pitches. I know a lot of you have no confidence in Stripling, but he is on the roster, and he could have pitched in the 7th instead of Morrow, who needed the day off. He also could have pitched in the 9th instead of Jansen and use Jansen only in a three out save situation. Another pitcher nobody has confidence in is Brandon McCarthy, but again he is on the roster. If Morrow is going to get lit up because his arm is dragging, why cannot McCarthy get lit up? Or Josh Fields who has not pitched since Game 2? What difference does it make who gives up the runs? You knew what was going to happen with Morrow, but we might have been surprised by McCarthy or Fields.
    .
    I do not worry about confidence in the bullpen, but I do worry about who will be able to pitch. Luckily as bad as his pitches were, Morrow only threw 6 of them. But Jansen threw 33, after 14 in Game 4, 29 in Game 2, and 14 in Game 1. Morrow has thrown 57 pitches, and appeared in all 5 games, while Jansen has thrown 90 in 4 games. How many more effective pitches do they have left?
    .
    Let Hill pitch in Game 6. Hill loves to pitch in LA. In 14 games started, his ERA at home is 2.77, 1.051 WHIP, and batting against line is .179/.279/.289/.568. The one downside for him is that he does tend to issue a lot of walks at Dodger Stadium. It will be an extremely tough game against Verlander, who is great, but not perfect. Then hopefully Darvish can shut down the Astros in Game 7. I think he will have a little extra motivation. Both Wood and Kershaw should be available for relief in Game 7. Maybe Wood in Game 6 if needed.

    1. AC

      I have thought about Bumgarner too, so don’t feel bad!

      Why do you think Kershaw seems to have trouble throwing his slider, in almost every important game, in the post season?

      Even Lester doesn’t look tough, but he always seems to get the job done, in the post season.

      1. MJ,
        I wish I knew why he has problems in the post-season. Does he try too hard? I think there is a lot of truth to what Mark has been saying about his approach. I think that Kershaw is just so gifted, and perhaps his personality is not that of an Orel Hershiser or MadBum who invite the team to jump on their back and they will take them all the way. I just do not think that is his mentality. He’s just GOOD, but does not have that extra gear for the playoffs. Lester and Verlander have generally been stellar in the post-season, although they have had their hiccups as well. Lester’s largest disappointment had to be in the ALWC against the Royals where he gave up 6 runs in 7.1 IP after Oakland sent Cespedes to Boston for Lester in a deadline trade strictly with the playoffs in mind. Verlander has been virtually outstanding in 12 of his last 13 post-season appearances (12 GS). Only Game 1 of the 2012 WS against the Giants was a bust. Kershaw certainly is not the only Ace that has problems. David Price is another good example. Also, in his first taste of post-season pitching, Chris Sale was bad against the same Astros.
        .
        Maybe Game 6 of 2017 will replicate Game 1 of 2012 for Verlander and Rich Hill will pitch the game of his life.

        1. Thanks AC

          I really appreciate your well thought out, takes!

          Because I have no idea how easy or hard, it is for pitchers, to throw the pitches they know, and use, all the time.

          And even though Bumgarner has lost some of his velocity, he is still able to get good hitters out, by throwing his fastball, at the top of the strike zone, and mixing in his sliders in.

          I also know where he stands on the runner, also makes him hard to see too.

          I don’t know if you remember this, but Vinny often stressed, that Bumgarner throw his pitches much more effortlessly, then Kershaw does.

          And because of that, it takes Kershaw much more energy, to pitch a game,, then Bumgarner.

          1. AC

            I hope the same, and like Mark has said, crazier things have already happened, in this series!

            Who would think both Kershaw and Darvish would bomb, after the way they have pitched, in this post season.

  14. Why would anyone put my TYPO “Didgers” in quotation marks. Take a look at the keyboard, where the “i” is next to the “o”. And I was also typing on an iphone, which is a lot smaller than a computer keyboard.

        1. Bluto and Boxout7 aren’t here so someone has to counter-point some of the ridiculous comments, not that yours are of course. I’m not in their class or skill level at rebutting and of course I don’t think my comments are rediculous either, but yet you would wish to censor me for making my points because they are differnt than your point of view. How interesting. Most of my comments are in support of the team in blue winning and not giving up yet or making loads of excuses and of trying to get others to see a bigger, maybe even happier picture. How is all of that so bad that you can’t stand it and now resort to calling me some acronym? Besides, maybe I can get someones mind off of the loss and to look forward to a better day tomorrow. How about you?

          1. I love how you chastise Brooklyn Dodger for one innocent spelling error but neglect to spell-check yourself.

  15. I’ve been so depressed today. It feels like we lost the World Series even though we haven’t yet. I can only imagine what the flight home felt like for the Dodgers players.

    The easy thing to do is pile on Kershaw. Something changed at the 4th inning. He lost all command. He abandoned the curve ball and became a two pitch pitcher and the slider wasn’t effective. What hurt the most was not the HR’s it was the walks. Kershaw and Jansen don’t walk batters and they both walked batters and Kenley hit one. Kenley had nothing last night and he can’t use tired as an excuse in my opinion. Clayton going against the best teams in the playoffs has had good outings and bad outings. The team had won 8 out of his last 9 outings in the post-season so I was feeling good. Where was Honeycutt last night, where was Barnes to settle him back in? Was Grandal missed behind the plate last night? Kershaw sure has gotten beat coming in a lot and not working the outside part of the plate. We all were clamoring for Barnes to start, but Clayton may have missed Grandal. I don’t know. What hurt the most was that Kershaw was having a dud outing and no one to hand the ball over too. Maeda and Morrow didn’t belong on the diamond and I thought that would be the case with Maeda after game 3. McCarthy can’t be trusted to hand him the ball. Dan O’dowd made an argument that Kershaw should have been left out there because he HAD to go more with the bullpen spent. Morrow told the dugout he was ready to go, but obviously he wasn’t. Apparently, Doc won’t got back to Fields and didn’t got to Stripling in the 7th. If McCarthy isn’t really an option that was better than Kershaw struggling in the 5th he shouldn’t have been on the roster. The Astros are a fastball hitting team, the curve ball shouldn’t have been abandoned. Kershaw threw enough of them in Game 1 to keep it in the back of the mind of the Astros hitters.

    Who knows if Taylor had tagged, what would have happened afterward. Do the Dodgers still score 3 in the 9th who knows? The home plate ump was just terrible. He was bad for the Astros at times, but horrific for the Dodgers hitters. Not even counting Barnes AB, I had the home plate ump at least 8 times either ringing up the Dodgers hitters on a bad called strike 3 or putting them in a 0-2 or 1-2 count. It was a complete collapse of the pitching staff that can be traced back to games 2 and 3. The outing by Darvish as well as the bullpen usage in Game 2 carried into Game 5.

    The fact that the Dodgers hitters didn’t give up should give us hope for tomorrow, but it will be hard to get up from that one. The Dodgers crowd needs to pick them up.

    1. Hawkeye

      Your not the only one that is feeling that way!

      I have woke up in the middle of the night, and I have not been able to get back to sleep, because I have been playing in my mind, what happened in, the game last night, and I did that in that second game, that we lost, much like last night’s game!

      And the fact there has been a day off the next day, after we lost these games, makes this is even harder.

      Kershaw got two outs in the fourth inning, but he couldn’t get the last out, so it is odd he lost his command.

      About being easy to pile on Kershaw, Kershaw is being paid 35 million dollars a year, and he has not pitched well, in the most of the important games, in the post season, and especially, in elimination games.

      And last night, he was first given four runs to work with, and even
      after he blew that lead, he was given a three run lead again, and he was the one who was mainly responsible, for giving those three runs up!

      Heck it felt like Baez was pitching throughout that entire game, with all of the lead changes, mostly from HRs coming so fast, left and right!

      You should take a look at the LA Times articles and look at the comments.

      In one article they have all the great LA Dodger pitchers, that did well in the post season, and Kershaw’s era is not even close.

      And I know Kershaw has pitched more innings, but the pitchers the Dodgers had, that got the job done, did it when they were given that one chance, or a few chances.

      Kershaw has been given more chances, then any of them!

      They also have an article about Agone, and I don’t know what to think.

      I think you might understand better then me, what is going on.

      I would love to hear your take on that!

      Use the tread Mark has here, and if anything pops up, wait and then an X will show up in the top right hand corner of the add, and push that.

      It is usually about getting on the mailing list for the Dodgers, or Something about subscribing to the Times might show up, but what ever pops up, wait a good 5 seconds, and a X will evetually show up, on the top right hand corner, and you will be released to the article you were reading.

      I have been able to read the Dodger’s LA Times articles without having to subscribe, by doing that.

      1. I’m not defending his performance, but when he loses fans overreact. They hold him to a higher standard. Like I said the team had won 8 out of 9 starts. So such a dismal performance was surprising to me. I expected at least a quality start which would have been good enough. I don’t get the lack of command nor do I get the game plan. Like Jerry Hairston said, the Astros didn’t hit a single HR opposite field. They were literally stepping in the bucket to try to drive the ball over that short LF wall. Correa’s HR was cheap as was Puig’s. Clayton is 1-1 this WS with his loss being an epic stinker and his win being a brilliant outing. Darvish got shelled. Kenley has pitched poorly 3 times now. We lost a game because we couldn’t get a clutch hit. Bullpen management has been questioned. Three team losses. Two team wins. I know Avilan isn’t loved by many, but there has been a couple of times he could have been slipped into this series rather than overusing the arms they have on the roster. Not sure if he was healthy enough though.

        As for Adrian, I tend to think he’s being a bit of a prima dona, but I don’t know for sure. Sounds like the players weren’t interested in him showing up if he wasn’t going to be there for the other series.

        1. Hawkeye

          Actually for the first time, I thought Kershaw would come through, last night.

          Because he seemed to have those two good starts in a row.

          I wasn’t sure about his start in Chicago, because of the big lead he was given, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt, after what he did, in the first game in this series.

          I wasnt totally convinced we had enough runs last night with four runs, but it seemed to me, that we would score a quite a few more runs last night, since the Astros starter, was knocked out of the game.

          And with the fact we had already hit the Astros bullpen, pretty hard!

          The thing I worry about tomorrow’s game is what the team did, after they lost that other heartbreaking game.

          But part of the problem in that other game, might be just because Darvish couldn’t perform, but they didn’t have much of an offense in that game, because the runs they scored were on a grounder to the right side, and a wild pitch.

          And like you said, if we the fans feel this way right now, we could only imagine what the players were going through, on the plane ride home!

  16. Cheer up Hawkeye, we are all right there with you searching for answers and having hope that things get better for the Didgers. The Astros are a really good team and have been so all year. It has been an amazing series so far, albeit, dissappointing for LA fans. The good news…the fat lady hasn’t sung yet. My pre-season call was Didgers in 7. We still got a shot at that and I’m not giving up yet to see the boys-in-blue pull this out. I know it is a big mountain to climb but I will shout out support for them until the last out of the 2017 WS. And whichever team wins, the Didgers had a great season and it was a helluva World Series already. Happy I got to watch some of it and root, root for the Didgers.

    1. I haven’t seen that report but have heard previously that he may be headed to a front office job with the team and they would bring in a new pitching coach and he would have a bigger organizational position dedicated to pitching.

    2. I have heard that, but I do not understand why they would not have tried to retain Herges as his field replacement.
      .
      With Kapler heading off to Philadelphia, I was talking with my son today (his 42nd birthday) who thought that Bill Haselman and Shawn Wooten might go with him. Just speculation, he has not spoken with anyone about it. But you can bet that Kap will take people he is comfortable with, so we should expect more departures.
      .
      By the way, while I am very sorry to see him leave the Dodgers, I am very happy for him.

        1. I know that Billy Gasparino is an amateur scouting guru, but could he be in the discussion for Kapler’s Director of Player Development position? Gasparino turns 41 next month and is a protege of Josh Byrnes, so he has that going for him. He also has a finance background so he and Friedman have some things in common.

  17. Dodgers should have won this series in 5. Instead, we lost two very winnable games through a mixture of bad management and bad pitching. While not exactly confidence inspiring, I like our chances to win 2 in a row at home. Eventually our pitching has to regress (improve) towards the mean, and I think, that begins tomorrow.

  18. I definitely agree with the criticism of coming inside so much with the short porch in LF in that bandbox.

    1. Hawkeye

      About Greinke, I think pitching in that hitters park, has made Greinke pitch a lot more stressful innings, then he ever had to do at Dodger Stadium.

      And that is why I think he wasn’t good in the post season this year.

      But the only time anyome might say Greinke didn’t come through while he was a Dodger, in that last game in the post season, against the Mets.

      But Greinke only allowed three runs then, and one of those runs scored, because someone was not covering third base.

      Look what happened to Kershaw at Minutemade a hitter’s park, in just one game.

      Even Ryu pitched better in the post season, before he got hurt.

      Maybe Kershaw has more losses because he would probably pitch one more game in the post season, then these other pitchers.

      I don’t know how Ryu pulled off pitching so well against the Cardinals in that last post season game he started, because he was dealing with that injury then.

      1. The awkward October between the Dodgers and Adrian Gonzalez, their five-time all-star first baseman, took another turn over the weekend when manager Dave Roberts asked Gonzalez to spend the rest of the postseason as a spectator rather than a participant in pregame workouts and meetings.
        _
        Inactive for most of the regular season because of injuries, Gonzalez was not with the team for the first two rounds of the playoffs and spent part of the postseason in Italy, where he was helping his family settle into accommodations as his wife began a five-month shoe-design course. Gonzalez received permission from the Dodgers to make that trip.
        _
        He returned to Los Angeles in time for the World Series. After spending Game 1 in studio for SportsNet LA, Gonzalez was on the field in uniform before the second and third games.

        Gonzalez was not in the dugout once the games began, but his presence still rankled some Dodgers, according to people familiar with the situation. Roberts downplayed that notion, but indicated he spoke with Gonzalez on Saturday in order to avoid a distraction during the final days of the season.

        The Dodgers lost both games when Gonzalez visited beforehand.

        The Dodgers dress only their active players and a select number of players who could join the roster in the event of an injury. Roberts refers to this second group as the “taxi squad,” and said Gonzalez is not part of it. Roberts said he spoke with Gonzalez to enforce the team’s rules.

        Gonzalez, who will turn 36 in May, is owed $22.4 million in the final year of his contract, but Cody Bellinger has emerged as an all-star at first base.

        After slumping to start the season, Gonzalez agreed to go on the disabled list in May for the first time in his career in order to keep Bellinger on the big league roster.

        Gonzalez rehabbed his back for most of the summer. He finished the season with only three home runs and a career-worst .642 on-base plus slugging percentage.

        Gonzalez had hoped to make the postseason roster as a pinch hitter. When the Dodgers informed him he would not be active in the playoffs, Gonzalez requested permission to spend time in October with his family.

      2. The reason the LATimes articles are behind a firewall is that good content should cost money.
        .
        This is Mark’s blog, and he can and will do what he wants, but (SOAPBOX ALERT) I don’t think it’s proper to cut and paste articles and give them away for free.
        .
        Content is worth paying for.

        1. “The reason the LATimes articles are behind a firewall is that good content should cost money.”

          Wouldn’t that be an oxymoron then.

    1. Mark thanks!

      I wasn’t sure either, and that is why I asked Hawkeye, because he listens to a lot of Dodger talk, and he is pretty good at evaluating this stuff.

      It is obvious that it wasn’t Agone’s decision to not be on the post season roster.

    2. Mark

      You talked about Kershaw throwing his first pitch for a strike, but most of the Dodger’s pitchers in that last game, continued to do the same thing Kershaw did, and the Astros took advantage of this six times, that is ridiculous.

      1. Every pitchers wants to start ahead in the count. Thats why Kershaw was so effective Game 1. At least partially. His walks and lack of command was his undoing. These guys who haven’t had their sliders working have got killed.

        1. Hawkeye

          I read those stories about the World Series balls, being different .

          And I think that may be why some pitchers, are having trouble, throwing there sliders.

          Orel said the seam on these World Series balls, are what is different, from the balls that these pitchers, usually use, in the regular season.

          I know that about the first pitch, but they need to make a very good first pitch, in a difficult place, for a hitter to hit, that is in the strike zone, or use a different pitch, here and there, and not be so predictable.

        2. I agree with this. It wasn’t the first pitch being a strike, that caused problems. It was the first slider that did not break. When the hitters recognized that CK’s slider was MIA, they sat on the fast ball. When the command is off, all pitchers are going to go to their fastball to try to and get back their command of the #1. Even Kershaw is not good enough to get MLB hitters out consistently with only his fastball working. The slider worked great in Game 1, not so much in Game 5. Now if someone can fix his inconsistency with the slider…Maybe it’s the ball, maybe it was the long delay between innings that Smoltz referred to, maybe it is CK being too amped, maybe it is mechanical. It is all conjecture for us. But I am sure that Honey and CK are reviewing film to compare Games 1 and 5 and see if there can be a fix.

  19. Matt Beaty and Yusniel Diaz were named to the West Team for the 2017 Fall Stars Game. The 12th edition of the Fall Stars Game is being held at Salt River Fields on Saturday, Nov. 4, with first pitch set for 5:08 p.m. PT. It will be broadcast on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com.

  20. JESUS CHRIST PANSIES!!!!!

    I LOVE YOU ALL BUT EVEN MARK IS CRYING LIKE A WOMAN, WE STILL HAVE A GAME TO LOSE!

    MAN UP BOYS, WE CAME THIS FAR TO LOSE THE WORLD SERIES BEFORE IT IS OVER?!?!??!

    WELCOME BACK TO LA ASTROS, BOUT TO SEE THE REAL DEAL!!!

    GO DODGERS!!!!!

  21. Dodgers finally figure out Verlander tonight. Hill goes as far as he can then Wood comes in to get the ball to Jansen. Morton comes in for the Astros and it’s all hands on deck! This will be a great game that confounds the Astros favoring announcing crew. The Dodger Stadium crowd will be electric and have reason to cheer tonight!

  22. Wah, Wah!

    When FAZ was hired, I predicted great things for this organization and I was ridiculed… but I told you the truth as best I could. As the next couple years progressed, I continued to be ridiculed by many fans, but I told you the truth the best I could. I still have hope, but I am telling you the truth as best I can: It’s going to be tough to beat Verlander, but I will go down with the ship. I am not abandoing it!

  23. I agree with what Mark has said in the past about Kersahw. I think he gets so amped up in the postseason that he wears himself out mentally and physically in addition to batters making him work so much harder in the post season. The ‘pitch’ where he stopped during his windup worried me because I didn’t think he had confidence in his pitches at that point.

    I don’t think there is any question whether or not they’ll pick up Forsythe’s option not that there ever was in most our opinions.

  24. Confidence level of all the Dodger pitchers concerning me right now. Especially Hill and Jansen. We’ll know about Hill by about 8:30 or so.

  25. JMO but Hill’s confidence is probalbly pretty high. He likes pitching at Didgers Stadium and he already had one pretty dang good game against the Astros there. Whether he does or not, he will expect to do well tonight and his plans will include pitching longer than 4 innings.

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