I like contrarians. They keep us thinking. Sometimes we end up supporting a player more vociferously than may be called for. Think Bums and Joc, Mark and Grandal, MJ and Toles, and of course me and Wood. Most of us have been frustrated with how this season has unfolded and have made some disparaging comments regarding FAZ or Doc, or players such as Joc, Wood, Puig, Dozier, CT3, and lately Kemp. But these last two games are very reminiscent of 2017. Good starting pitching, good relief pitching, timely hitting, overcoming defensive lapses, and knowing the game is never over for the Dodger hitters.
Puig has just come off as NL Player of the Week with his unworldly weekend against the Cardinals. CT3 comes up with a walk-off HR against arguably one of the top 5 relievers in the NL, Adam Ottavino to win Game 2 in this series. Ottavino is someone I hope FAZ targets as a FA, but that is for another story for another time. And then in Game 3 of the series, Brian Dozier, who has had a huge problem getting on base, hits a game tying double to score Kike’. A night after being robbed for the 4th time, and not being in the lineup, again, Yasiel comes to bat for Dozier and hits a pinch hit 3-run HR to eventually win the game off of Scott Oberg, another good Rockies reliever. It is kind of curious how the Rockies spent $100MM+ on relievers over the Winter, but it is two relatively unknowns, Ottavino and Oberg, that makes their bullpen strong this year.
Buehler is showing that he is quietly and quickly becoming the staff Ace and gets 12 K’s in 6.0 IP. He struck out Arenado 3 times, twice with runners in scoring position in the 1st and 3rd, and again to leadoff the 6th. His tough 1st inning jacked his pitch count up, or he might have gone more. However, right now, the bullpen can get the job done. I believe Doc is growing as well as we fans. Baez comes in to pitch to 1 batter? When has that happened? But when the revelation AKA Caleb Ferguson is available, why not go to him. And then follow up with Maeda (who is getting more and more comfortable in his new role) and Alexander, before turning over the keys to the Blue Ferrari to Kenley, who hopefully is getting back to being dominant at the right time.
I have made it known that I am not a Manny Machado advocate. I have had some BIG arguments with my two sons on him. I think the Dodgers can spend $300MM better than on him. Corey Seager is my favorite player, and until he proves that he cannot play SS, that position should be his when he returns. Yes, Seager may be able to play 2B, but if he is moved, don’t count on Seager staying when it is his turn to go FA. Seager is the type of player that a team builds around, not one that gets moved because of a new shiny toy. If there is a choice between Seager and Machado, I am in the Seager corner 100 times out of 100. That being said, I hope Machado goes off and all of the Machado advocates remind me how much better the team can be with Machado AND Seager. I am not counting on it, but I am hopeful for some humble pie.
I plan on also becoming a DBack fan this weekend, and hoping for a sweep over the Rockies, while the Dodgers continue their march to the NL West Division crown with a sweep of their own against the Pads. Hopefully this race will be all over when Mark gets back from Paradise.
I do not know what next week brings much less than next year, but I am enjoying the ride in the refurbished 2017 version of the Dodgers. They are starting to get that swag back. The dugout is jumping. The team is having fun at the right time. Maybe this is the year, that well-oiled machine wins Game 7, and I can tell the Giants fans to stick it as I wear my LOS ANGELES DODGERS WS gear around the Sacramento area.
GO BLUE – Beat the Padres.