I have identified ten (10) Dodger players who are most vitally important to the Dodgers winning the NL West, NLDS, NLCS and World Series. It’s not Manny Machado – he will get his. It’s an adjustment, but he will be
fine, great! It’s not Brian Dozier – if Doc lets him play everyday, he will put up MVP-type numbers the rest of this season. It’s not Clayton Kershaw – I think he will evolve, and if healthy, will lead this pitching staff. It’s not Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Yasiel Puig or Julio Urias, although all of those guys are important.
It’s also not Max Muncy. He was cooling off before the All-Star Game. He is hitting .219 in the last 30 games. .163 in the last 15 games and .150 in the last 7 games. That’s a downward spiral that is hard to understand. It looks to me that Max has been exposed. Maybe not… but that is what it looks like. I hope he hasn’t, but it does not look good to me. He had his 15 minutes of fame and it may be over… or not! Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest, opines why Muncy is floundering.
Here’s the guys who can make or break the Dodgers and my impression of what they will do.
- Justin Turner – A healthy and “locked-in” Justin Turner means so much on every level to the Dodgers: If he plays healthy and with abandon, he is the catalyst! With Corey Seager out, he is the best hitter on the team and any run in the playoffs will have to include him.
- Cody Bellinger – Some people want Cody to go back to AAA, but compare him to Max Muncy. In the last 30 games, Cody has hit .252. In the past 15 games he is at .215 and in the past 7 games he is at .250, BUT, in the same time frames, his OB% is .353, .351 and .400. Joc Pederson, whom everyone loves right now isn’t even close to Cody’s OB% in that period. I believe Cody will be a force in the lineup.
- Chris Taylor – He really is not that far off from last year – he needs to cut down his strikeouts (especially looking) and he needs to play everyday. That’s what will do the most for this team: CT3 in CF!
- Matt Kemp – Matt has not lost it. He may be dinged and in a slump, but he will be back with a vengeance. Write it down and book it. Just a slump… move on. This guy may yet be the Dodger’s MVP.
- Joc Pederson – As the #4 Outfielder in an All RH outfield, a hot Joc could make a huge difference. He can play 3 or 4 days a week and make a big impact.
- Yasmani Grandal – He doesn’t have to be the hottest hitter in the NL, like he was in July, but he has to produce down the stretch. In 2016, he was injured. In 2017, his wife was undergoing a difficult pregnancy. This year, if he ends the season with close to 30 HR and healthy, the Dodgers might win it all.
- Dylan Floro – As a Dodger, Floro has a 2.19 ERA and an 0.49 WHIP. He has pitched 12.1 innings and allowed 4 hits, 2 BB and 13 K’s. If he can keep it up, this team is bound for glory. He has been as close to “Lock-down” as you can get. Floro may be the 2018 version of Blanton and Morrow.
- Scott Alexander – He was down… way down to start the season and has been up and down a little. Alexander and Floro are the closest thing to an 8th inning guy that the Dodgers have. He needs to deliver.
- Striker Buehler – Simply put, he has to pitch like an Ace, while waiting in the wings to be the Ace.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – The Dodgers have plenty of starters, why is Ryu so important? Well, he was the Dodgers best starter when he went down and if he can come back to pitch as well as he did before his injury, it forces another starter to the bullpen. The “trickle-down effect” of that will change the whole bullpen dynamic. Wood and Ryu won’t like going to the pen, so maybe this is Doc’s skillset: Make sure they love it!
Rants & Raves
- Of course the Dodgers will try and re-sign Manny Machado, but there are so many factors to consider that I am totally focused on THIS season. They will not just hand him a blank check, however.
- Still want Kyle Bearclaw? His ERA since the All-Star Break is 23.10. He makes John Axford like like Cy Young with his microscopic 14.85 ERA. In case you haven’t figured it out, relievers are incredibly hard to predict.
- Tommy Joohn Surgery, back issues and now surgery on his hip? Can we be confident Corey Seager will play SS again? I’m not… and I’m a “Glass Half-Full Guy.”
- There’s a great article in The Athletic on Rich Hill who has had a 2.36 ERA in 50 innings since coming off the DL. He is using a sidearm and submarine delivery with great success.
- Watch Rich Hill tonight – that’s all I’m going to say.
MINOR LEAGUE RECAP by AlwaysCompete
OKC – 6-5 Loss to Reno Aces (DBacks)
Brock Stewart was breezing with a 3-0 lead for 6.2 innings allowing a pair of hits, and then as he so often does, just lost it. The next 4 batters he faced went as follows: HR, HR, single, HR, and then he was pulled. Manny Banuelos got OKC out of the 7th, but gave up two runs in the 8th to get the loss. Alex Verdugo went 3-4, while Edwin Rios, Connor Joe, and Tim Locastro all had 2 hits apiece, with Joe’s hits both being doubles.
Rancho Cucamonga – 5-3 Win over San Jose Giants
RC hit 5 solo HRs to win this game (sound familiar). Connor Wong (17), Jared Walker (12), Carlos Rincon (2), Ed Yarnall (4), and Cristian Santana (19) all hit HR’s. Ed Yarnall also added a double. Leo Crawford started and went 5.0 IP, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, with 5K. Connor Strain followed with 2.0 IP allowing 2 hits to get the win. Logan Salow and Andre Scrubb pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th to preserve the win, with Scrubb getting his 3rd save. On June 21, Scrubb was assigned to RC from Great Lakes and has pitched masterfully since. In 23.2 IP, he has allowed 3 runs (1 earned) giving him a 0.38 ERA. He has a 0.80 WHIP and 0.98 Batting Average Against. He has 28 Ks in those 23.2 IP, but his Achilles Heel is the 11 walks he has allowed. To truly become that closer prospect, he is going to have to cut down on the walks.
Great Lakes – 4-2 Loss to Lake County Captains (Indians)
Gerardo Carrillo started and went the first 5.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk. One of the 8 hits was a HR. Melvin Jimenez followed and went 1.2 IP giving up 1 run on 1 hit but 3 walks. He did have 2 K. Darien Nunez pitched the final 2.1 innings allowing 1 run (HR) on 1 hit, but did register 5 Ks. Offensively Gersel Pitre went 2-4 (2 doubles).
Pioneer League Mid-Season All Stars
Jose Chacin (Pitcher)
Jacob Amaya (SS)
Ronny Brito (SS)
Daniel Robinson (OF)