Fan Appreciation Day

Yesterday’s game was fun and to be appreciated.  What a fan appreciation day!!!  The Dodgers score 14 and collect 16 hits.  Ryu pitched AND hit superbly.  He allows 4 hits and collects 8 strikeouts, and ZERO walks, and gets THREE hits.  Josh Fields and Julio Urias come in and shutdown the Padres for the final three innings.  It is hard to get too excited about shutting down the Padres, but they did what they were supposed to do.

 

Manny Machado got things started with a 2nd inning HR.  I know I have been hard on Machado, but it is not easy to not only change teams, but to change leagues and change time zones.  Machado’s family is on the east coast.  He is trying to get a record breaking contract and he has to be pressing with the struggling he has encountered over the last few weeks.  But he is a dangerous hitter and the Dodgers need him to be lethal the next 6 games.  He does not need to carry the team, just stay within himself.  His talent alone can be a big influence on the outcome.  Worry about next year after he rides in the Downtown LA parade that is sure to come.

 

Big day offensively for Matt Kemp, who collected his 1,000 career RBI with his 2nd inning HR.  He also had a double and single for a 3 hit/3 RBI day.  He is warming up to finish the season as he started.  His last 7 games he is batting .353/.353/.765/1.118, and his last 15 games .318/.333/.568/.901.

 

Are we seeing more of the 2017 version of CT3?  In the leadoff role, CT3 went 1-3 with 2 walks. In his last 7 games he is batting .333/.455/.500/.955 and .342/.432/.632/1.064 in his last 15 games.  Yes, he is still striking out too much, but a .432 OBP over a 15-game span is more than acceptable.  He is not an ideal leadoff player, but the Dodgers do not have one, and he is now getting on base at a far more acceptable rate.  I am guessing that he is back in the leadoff role tonight against Robbie Ray.

 

Max Muncy continues to impress.  It is no longer unexpected, but it still is striking.  Two big 2-RBI hits in his two plate appearances yesterday.  He has his OPS up to .960.  33 HRs and 72 RBIs in 457 PA.  He is not going to qualify with sufficient PA, but if he did, he would be 5th in MLB and 2nd in NL (behind Christian Yelich).

 

Then there is the tale of three LHH OFs; Joc, Verdugo, and Toles.  It is hard not to feel for Andrew Toles.  There certainly seems to be something percolating beneath the surface with his use.  He has all of 5 plate appearances since he was recalled and has unfortunately struck out 4 times.  He is a far better baseball player than he is being afforded the opportunity to showcase.  He does not need to go back to AAA and he is not able to show other teams what he can do.  Verdugo is doing better in his September audition going 6-23 with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.  His shortfall is his power, and while that is not a big deciding factor for some of us, it certainly seems to be for FAZ.  Then there is the much maligned Joc Pederson.  For the month of September, he is batting .314/.352/.686/1.038 with 5 HR’s in 54 PA.  He is striking out more often, but if he continues to hit with authority, I can stomach the K’s.

 

Austin Barnes is still an enigma.  He has never had a problem offensively, so hopefully he will begin to thaw out this last week.  Yesterday’s HR is a start.  David Freese looks to be a key RHH PH.  Brian Dozier looks absolutely lost at the plate.  The Twins (and FAZ) seemed to look away from a mediocre to poor batting average because of his power.  But he has 1 HR in his last 30 games while batting an anemic .144/.238/.233/.471.  Those numbers do not correlate into a playoff roster spot.  How does Ryu stick out his bat and collect three hits, and Dozier look inept?  It is time to put Muncy at 2B and leave him there.  If you need to put Kike’ in for defensive purposes at the end of a game, so be it.

 

The bullpen is starting to show some real backbone, and Jansen is getting back to his dominant self.  Tony Cingrani should not come in for any meaningful innings for the remainder of this year.  I think he can be a key contributor for next year, but this year he needs to sit back and watch.

 

Finally, it was absolutely heartwarming to watch Dad Utley make his final regular season plate appearance at Dodger Stadium and see the reaction of the crowd.  I hope he is like Ethier and gets one more hit in his final AB in the WS, but this time with a win for the good guys.  I would like to see him as a coach next year but being away from home so much with kids is not easy for the player, much less a coach.  The Utley’s live in Sausalito and he would be away from his immediate family for too much of the year.  I know we fans want to see Chase in a Dodger uni for many years to come, but he needs to make a decision for what makes him and his happy.

 

The Dodgers are 16-8 since 8-29, and if they keep that winning percentage through the end of the year, they will win 4 of the final 6 games they play, and hopefully that will be good enough to get them their 6th consecutive NL West title.  The Dodgers get Ray and Greinke this series.  They need to beat them both.

 

 

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 68 Comments

  1. I’m on record as NOT being a Toles supporter. He hustles, has game changing speed, has a solid arm (I remember a strong throw he made in the past), but unfortunately, in my opinion, he is a dead fastball hitter who has problems with breaking pitches (especially down and in breaking balls). I don’t ever see him as being more than a spare outfielder for the Dodgers, and maybe a starter for an under .500 team.

    As for Verdugo lacking enough power, I’m not so sure. He’s hit 11 HRs this year (OKC + LA), and I see him being a guy that will hit a lot doubles. And with maturity and more experience I can see him reaching 20-25 HRs. And even 12-18 would be acceptable if he hits like I think he can. And of course there’s the cannon that is his left arm.

    1. Brooklyn, I think every player has a chink in their armour. For Toles it is the down and in breaking ball. He rolls it to the second baseman a lot, but I think with a greater roll on a team it would be a minimal problem that he would overcome. Bellinger has a bigger hole in that same spot and if he wants to be a superstar he needs to learn to lay off that pitch. Seager is attacked in the same place by RH pitchers. Sometimes with breaking balls, sometimes with change ups. Having said all of that, Toles has been relatively healthy this year. I know he’s had some hammy issues. At one point, Doc said that they didn’t call him up because they were afraid that his hammy was nagging at him and he would be on a guy on the bench that they weren’t sure they could use. Maybe there’s more to that issue since Toles never went back on the minor league DL from then on. Through all of Joc’s ups and downs, they never went to Toles this year. So, something is up.

  2. I agree with 100% of what you said AC. I had some hopes for Cingrani to make it back, but guys like Axford, Yimi, and Cingrani shouldn’t getting anything within an 8 run lead. I kind of feel the same about Madson too.
    ~
    Verdugo is making a case for a roster spot. It definitely crossed my mind in Friday’s loss that I would have preferred to see Verdugo over Bellinger when Belli K’d pinch-hitting. The last spot on the roster will be interesting with Dozier and Utley struggling.
    ~
    There is no doubt that Manny could have had more clutch hits, but he has gotten the offense started early in quite a few games. For those who only think he can hit in Baltimore and not Dodger Stadium, he would be on pace for 35+ HR’s as a Dodger. Yes, I would like to see him bust it down the line, but I’ve often thought that about Seager too.
    ~
    Muncy, Taylor, or Kike those should be the only options at 2B right now. The Dodgers have a guy with 33 HR’s sitting a lot to play Dozier. If I see a pitcher with a big heater, Muncy can handle him. If you’re worried about his defense there both Taylor and Kike are better options than Dozier then.
    `
    It was good to see Kemp get his 1000th RBI on his birthday. I’m not one who diminishes the RBI stat. We’ve all witnessed the struggles of this team to get clutch hits at times. We all watched Adrian Gonzalez be an RBI guy even when his power was diminishing. There are certain players that you just don’t want up in a clutch situation(Yasmani, I’m talking to you) and some that come through more than others.

    1. For the first time yesterday, I legitimately wondered about giving Verdugo that last bench spot that I previously thought was between Dozier & Utley. Verdugo’s ability to get on base (it seems he starts every at-bat 2-0), run the bases, and carry himself with loads of swagger make for an exciting plate appearance late in a game. Color me intrigued.
      *
      Fields are Urias have also put themselves into the conversation for the last bullpen spot. Agree with others who say Cingrani is next year’s project.

    2. Hawkeye is right about Toles.

      If you looked at the scouting report on Toles when he came all the way up to the majors from A ball, it didn’t say he had issues with off speed stuff.

      His scouting report said, he recognizes spin, and will offer, but he is a smart hitter, because he hunts for fastballs, early in his at bats.

      It said his weakness could be change ups, like Hawkeye said.

      And like Hawkeye also said, almost every player on this team, and in the majors, especially the young players, have their own weaknesses, including Joc, even after four years, so that is not rare, by any means.

      And remember this guy has not even played two full seasons in the last four years, because he missed all of 2015, and missed most of last year.

      And he couldn’t work on his hitting much in the off season, because he was rehabbing his knee.

      And when he came back this year, he missed almost the first two months of the season, because of his hammy.

      And even though he did miss almost two months at the beginning of the season this year, he still hit 30 points higher then Verdugo against righties.

      And like I have pointed out at nauseam, he hit 80 points higher then Verdugo when runners were in scoring position this year, and his OPS was 300 points higher then Verdugo too, in these situations.

      And those were a good enough sample sizes, to make that comparison.

      If it was true that he only can hit fastballs, why did he hit 30 points higher against righties this year, then our best young hitter in AAA, and hit even better, in high leverage situations, after missing all of that time?

      That just doesn’t make sense!

      But with all the time he has missed in the last couple years, he probably needed to see a steady diet of live pitching this year, like AC once mentioned.

      And that is probably why the Dodgers wanted Toles to play everyday this year, instead of sitting on the bench, in the majors.

      And it would be normal if his pitch recognition wasn’t as sharp, after he missed all that time, but the fact he came back and hit like he did, is still impressive, especially with the way the Dodgers regard Verdugo’s hitting.

      I don’t think Toles time with the Dodgers is as bleak, as it might seem.

      Maybe the Dodgers just wanted to see what Verdugo could do this year, because they already know what Toles can do.

      And remember what everyone thought about both Joc and Grandal, after last year?

      No one thought either of those players were going to be a big part of this team, this year.

      But the Dodgers understood the stress Grandal was under, with his wife’s risky pregnancy.

      And the Dodgers put more importance into what Joc did, in the World Series.

      The Dodgers could be doing the same kind of thing with Toles, with all he has been through, in the last couple years, especially with the crowded outfield situation this year, too.

      With Cody playing a lot in center this year, and Kike getting as much playing time as he is, in the outfield, along with Taylor, there is not much room for another outfielder, on this team right now!

      Everyone should look at Toles’ numbers in 2016, and 2017, if they think differently, including in the post season, in 2016.

      Toles has not been given enough playing time this year in the majors, to assume anything about him.

      Especially these last 5 at bats he has had, in the last 23 days, since he was brought up, in September.

      And even Verdugo has not gotten enough playing time in the majors this year, to make a good judgment, either.

      He did get a lot more starts at the beginning of the year, and when he came back up for another week, after that.

      And Verdugo has had four more starts, and 4 times the amount of at bats then Toles, since they were both brought up, in September.

      But he still has not had a hundred plus at bats, like Toles had, in each of his first two years in the majors.

      And to be fair, Verdugo has not started in the majors on an everyday basis, for more then a couple weeks.

      But with all of that, I agree with Hawkeye, I would trust Verdugo more then some of our players on our major league team, in a pinch hitting situation, because he will at the least, make contact.

      I am not as sure with runners in scoring position, because of the big drop in his numbers in these high leverage situations, in AAA.

      But I do think it is a shame the Dodgers are not taken advantage of the real strength Verdugo has, which is against lefties, especially with the weakness this team has had, with lefties, at times.

      And I know it is not AC that is not valuing Verdugo as much, because of power.

      AC is just being honest about what it seems this front office seems to value more, then contact, or speed.

      And all you have to do is look at the make up of this team, and the line up, to see that this front office values power almost more, then anything else.

      And what the team does in the post season, will be the utimate measure for this team.

      Maybe the Dodgers wanted Toles to go down and play everyday to see more live pitching.

      But they understand

        1. Right or wrong, It is apparent though that the front office and/or coaching staff don’t value Toles as much as Verdugo or Joc right now.

          1. Hawkeye

            Your right, it sure looks that way right now.

            But it sure looked that way last year, about both Joc and Grandal, too.

          2. The front office doesn’t just give away talent. Joc and Puig both got chances to dig themselves out of the minors, Kemp got a chance to re-start his career. Toles will get his shot next spring training if he isn’t dealt in a deal.

  3. Sometimes saying something once is more than enough but here goes anyway–from the bottom of the previous thread; September 24, 2018 at 8:41 am
    .
    The Dodgers are pretty awesome against righties and with Kemp rested, he makes the Dodgers solid against lefties. (added this morning: Taylor is also making the lefty pitcher problem go away this month although I wish he would calm his bat down at the start of his swing)
    .
    Added again this AM–Kemp could be lethal as a pinch hitter with RISP when he does not start.
    .
    Kershaw, Buehler, Hill, and Ryu are solid playoff starters.
    .
    A team never knows how often or how many innings a reliever is needed. A player can’t be swapped out during a playoff series unless they are injured. That is the risk the Dodgers would have if Urias were on one of the playoff rosters. I don’t think they want to use him in back to back games and maybe not in more than 3 games of a 7 game series. Otherwise, he is pitching well enough to have a planet named after him. If the Dodgers wind up in a playoff series with Colorado, Jansen might not pitch in Colorado and that would further reduce the bullpen.
    .
    If Wood is left off the opening playoff roster it would be reminiscent of when Rick Sutcliffe was left off the 1981 roster after winning the 1979 ROY. Might Wood be traded after not making a playoff roster like Sutcliffe? Would Wood do as well after being traded?
    .
    “The Red Barron” led the AL with a 2.96 ERA in 1982, made his first All-Star team in 1983 and in 1984 went 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA after a June trade to the Cubs, becoming the only player ever to win a Cy Young Award after switching leagues midseason. Sutcliffe spent seven more years in Chicago, making two more All-Star teams and finishing second in the 1987 NL Cy Young Award voting for a season in which he led the league with 18 wins. After shoulder injuries shorted his last two years with the Cubs, he threw 237 1/3 innings and won 16 games for the 1992 Orioles, but that was his last gasp of effectiveness. He finished his 18-year career with 171 wins.
    .
    Dozier should not be on the playoff roster nor start any more games down the stretch.

      1. I honestly think Stripling is mostly postseason rotation insurance in case anything happens with CK/WB/RH/HJR. It makes for a tricky end of the season with him and Wood caught in the middle waiting for their roles to be finally determined. Of course if we miss out out on the playoffs, they will both have the exact same role.

          1. True, but I felt we removed him early from his last start largely because we are saving him for the playoffs. We are relying on him to be a core member of the bullpen [just look at the All-Star game as proof] and this whole starting thing is messing with that. But you are right. That start is the only thing that really matters right now.

    1. Hawkeye

      That is exactly what I am thinking.

      Have you been paying attention with what is happening in the real world, right now?

      1. Hawkeye

        I also wanted to ask you this too.

        Have you looked at the numbers the three Braves young players have put up, this year?

  4. A.C. So I’ll ask you!!! Do you really think the NL is going to the DH and an expanded roster… It seems to me that would take care of a few questions for sure…
    Lets Rock n Roll…

    1. I do not believe the NL will have the DH next year, or that there will be expanded rosters. Both MLB and Players’ Union have to agree on changes between CBA’s. I do not see the Players’ Union agreeing on anything as long as they are crying collusion. With all of the collusion talk, there is just too much animosity between the two parties. Mark is more of a believer that there will be a DH in the NL next year.

  5. The Dodgers just need to play these last 2 series 1 game at a time and win 5 of the games. It’s not about Arizona or the giants trying to knock the Dodgers out, it’s about the Dodgers just doing what they should be doing.

  6. It’s going to be tough but it’s ours for the taking. I’m expecting at least one play-in scenario taking place. It’s best to treat it all as entertainment and not get too upset if it doesn’t go our way. Clearly we have the talent to go all the way.

  7. Dozier vs. Utley
    According to Eric Stephen, since Dozier’s knee discomfort was reported by the LA Times on 9/8, Dozier has started every game against LHP and appeared in 12 of 15 games overall. Utley, by contradistinction, only had two starts.
    To me this suggests that the last spot belongs to Dozier, and Utley will not make the cut. Verdugo likely only makes it if an injury occurs. Toles can feel free to make his fall travel plans.
    *
    Last two bullpen spots
    Assuming the same 10 everyone has (four SPs + Jansen/Maeda/Alexander/Floro/Ferguson/Stripling), you have to think Baez has the inside track on one of those spots [I guess Fields might be the main competition] and Wood has the inside track on the other [with Urias, Rosscup, Cingrani candidates as well]. I don’t see any way Hudson or Axford are in the mix and Yimi can share a room with Toles wherever they choose to go.

  8. Baseball 1439 is right, one game at a time.

    Especially since we are facing Ray tonight, and possibly Bumgarner, in SF.

    And although we have always seemed to manage Greinke, he also won’t make it easy on us, either.

    The Rockies will be facing the Phillies next.

    But the Rockies are only facing one of the Phillies top two pitchers, in this next series.

    And since the these last two series for the Rockies are at Coors, that can be wild card within itself, too.

    1. Zach Eflin, Vince Velazquez, and Nick Pivetta (plus Arrieta) are very capable of pitching well (and pitching poorly). The Rockies may not have to face Aaron Nola, but the Phillies do not have to face Kyle Freeland. Tyler Anderson, German Marquez, Jon Gray, and Antonio Senzatela, are really no better than the the four Phillie pitchers. What the issue will be is how motivated will the Phillies be against a non-rival in a meaningless series for them.

  9. Rule 5 question: If a player who will be eligible for the rule 5 draft is traded before the draft are they still eligible to be drafted from their new team when the draft is held? If not the Dodgers need to trade some of these eligible guys before the draft if they aren’t being counted on being with the Dodgers next year.

    1. Yes they can be traded. The problem is that not too many trades will happen before November 20. All of the teams are getting their rosters set before the Winter Meetings to see what their needs are. Even when protected, they can also be traded up to the Rule 5 draft which is on the final day of the Winter Meetings. I still do not think it is a big problem for the Dodgers. They can protect all of the AA and A guys on the AAA roster so they are protected from the AAA Rule 5 draft (Rule 55). I do not think any of them will get picked up in the ML Rule 5 draft. There are enough Dodger FA that all four AAA guys can be protected. It will depend on who FAZ picks up on the waiver wires and have to include on the 40 man. I cannot foretell who those players may be, but they would undoubtedly be journeyman relief pitchers and more utility depth. I am not trying to be negative, that is just the type of players selected early on in the process.

  10. Let’s not give up on Andrew Toles. He can still be an excellent 4th OFer although I believe the days of him starting for us full-time are over. If traded, he needs to build up some value first. He can still be a productive MLB player.

    1. Christian Walker is 2-2 against Clayton and Goldy has not always been successful (11/43). It seems like a good time to rest Goldy and give Walker a better look. Chris Owings has had better success against Kershaw than Peralta (3/14). Owings has the second most hits (7) against Kershaw after Goldy.
      .
      Against Kershaw:
      Owings – 7-30
      Escobar 1-3
      Marte – 1-13
      Walker – 2-2
      Ahmed – 2-16
      Pollock – 3-14
      Brito – No PA against Kershaw
      Murphy – 0-3
      .
      Against Ray:
      CT3 – 7-18
      JT – 5-26
      Freese – 2-8
      Machado – 2-4
      Kike’ – 8-28
      Kemp – 7-16
      Dozier – 3-8
      Grandal – 2-7
      .
      Dodger hitters have had better success against Ray than the DBacks against Kershaw. But tonight is another night.

      1. AC

        By the way, I agree with everything you said!

        I further checked Dozier’s numbers against Ray, and his two hits, one being a HR, was in 2014.

  11. The Dbacks have hit 3 HRs off Kershaw this year, 2 in his last start, against the Dbacks.

    Kershaw pitched 7 innings, and give up 2 runs, both on HRs in that last start on September first, against the Dbacks.

    1. Colletti just said he is not going to the Giants. Some were just speculating because of the relationship with Sabean.

  12. I would think after reading Colletti’s book, that he is getting up in age to do the 24-7, 351 days a year( He said he usually got about 2 weeks off a year from the job). He seems to really like his gig on Sportsnet LA, and he likes his college class too. As much as alot of you guys rag about him, he is very talented at using his scouts and other people around him to evaluate and draft alot of young talent. Most of the young guys on our roster,, and some of the old, are all Colletti’s guys, so I would hope he doesnt go to the Dumpster Fire By The Bay. Let it burn baby.

    1. I’d rather Lasorda bat over Dozier, but Doc is doing this right lately, so watch Dozier double in a run today

  13. I understand the player’s may have bought into platoon mania in order to attempt to win it all but Bellinger and Puig and to a lesser extent Joc have to complain in the offseason. No way this continues next year? Ac, Mark, do you have thought about this or if their is any way it happens all of next year?

    Dozier over Muncy, Bellinger and Puig makes little sense in a such a big game. Anyone have a reason beyond Robert’s stubborness.

    Stadium half full, I would say 60 to 40 or 65 to 35 dodger fans, almost a home game. They just had the Diamondback team awards and it was quiet, Corbin best pitcher and Goldschmidt best player.

  14. DODGERS REINSTATE JT CHARGOIS

    LOS ANGELES
    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today reinstated right-handed pitcher JT Chargois from the 10-day disabled list.

    Chargois, 27, has made 38 relief appearances this season with Los Angeles, going 2-4 with a 3.45 ERA (12 ER/31.1 IP) and has held hitters to a .228 average, while striking out 38 against 15 walks. Chargois missed 29 games with nerve irritation after leaving the game on August 20 against the Cardinals in the fifth inning with neck discomfort.

    The Dodgers now have 40 players on the active roster.

  15. This has been the knock on Kershaw. He has often not been at his best when the game counted the most. Houston Mitchell did a column today comparing Koufax’ numbers in the post-season with Kershaw’s. There’s just no comparison. Can you imagine Kershaw doing what Koufax did in game 7 of the ’65 Series against the Twins? 2 days rest, only the fastball worked, spin a 2-hitter and win the game.

    The Rox are crushing the Phils after sweeping these same Snakes in their last series. The Dodgers have to be just as good as Colorado or they will be on the outside looking in. The game isn’t over yet but Kershaw isn’t getting it done.

  16. It seems to me that the Dodgers don’t score runs for CK. 3 runs would be a lot for Clayton to work with– just the opposite of Hill.

  17. OK now that we have the lead, a playoff bullpen needs to pitch 3 scoreless today in this big game. Let’s see what the pen is made of!

    1. Bobby

      That second run is big for Kenley, with Goldy coming up in the bottom of the ninth.

      Heck that second run, is big for us the fans, too.

  18. I think Manny’s baserunning/lack of hustle at times has been mentioned here the last week or so. I”m glad Joe and Orel are calling him out as well.

    1. Doc needs to have a little talk with him. He benched Bellinger for less.
      ~
      Stop with Dozier already. If Taylor or Kike is playing 2B, Puig probably catches the ball Kemp couldn’t get to.
      ~
      What Doc is doing is working with expanded rosters. I don’t think it works as much when they’re down to 25.

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