Not A Good Night

Last night, Dodgerrick posted an excellent clutch performance synopsis of the Dodgers 2018 season.  Yes, I wear rose colored glasses, but I am not blind.  I know that it is easy to do an autopsy on last night’s game as everything has already happened and the results are known.  But Rick was right in his estimation that last night epitomized that FanGraphs expose’. 

 

Walker Buehler pitched a tremendous 5.2 innings, but a single, walk, and double put the Dodgers tenuous 1-0 lead in the rear-view mirror.  Starting pitchers cannot be expected to pitch shutouts each time out.  It is up to the offense to do their part.

 

I am critical of the approach, not so much the execution.  Let’s consider the 3rd inning as an example.  Leadoff walk followed by a single and the #3 /#4 hitters do up.  I am not going to beat up on Max Muncy because he struck out in this inning and in another critical situation.  One cannot praise Muncy for his accomplishments in one game and then castigate him in the next because he made outs.  But Max’s 2018 success has come with shortfalls, specifically as it comes with K’s.  But what I am critical of is Max’s approach.  The Dodgers are in a tough 1-0 game early against a very pedestrian pitcher, and the approach should be to make sure that runners get moved up with nobody out.  I am not advocating that he bunt, but I would like to see Max stay within himself and at least put bat to ball and not strike out looking. 

 

Yesterday I praised Machado for putting bat to ball and driving in a runner from 3rd with less than 2 outs on a ground ball in the hole to the SS.  If runners were moved up by Muncy the batter before, Machado’s ground out probably scores a run rather than a DP.  I recognize that it is a BIG IF, but that has to be the approach, not looking at strike 3.

 

In a similar situation in the 6th for the DBacks, the first two batters are retired.  The two outs were followed by a single and walk. Nobody is barreling up on Buehler, so Peralta does not try to do too much and hits a 2-run double on a 1-1 pitch.  Great AB for Peralta.  Not the result, but his approach.  Stay within himself and make solid contact.

 

While the Dodgers 3rd inning was emblematic of the team’s poor approach, this approach came screaming back in the 9th.  CT3 hits a game tying ground rule double with nobody out and now in a 3-3 game.  Taylor is one of the fastest players on the team, and all Joc has to do is get the ball down and get CT3 to 3rd.  Sometimes the situation calls for a pull hitter to do just that and hit a ground ball to the right side to move the runner up. 

 

I am not picking on Joc, because I do not believe any batter would have done anything different.  Why would we expect a player to sacrifice themselves (not necessarily a bunt) when all that is praised is that 7 Dodgers have 20+ HRs and 10 have double digit HR’s?  The Dodgers GM has gone on record stating that the biggest problem for the team in the early going was lack of HR’s.  It sure seems like the emphasis is on HR’s and not producing runs.  And yes, I recognize that the Dodgers are at the top of the NL with runs scored, but most of those have come from big blow out games, while they lose the close games.  The Dodgers record in one run games is 22-22, but in blowouts, they are 30-9. Thus, in games with the run differential from 2-4 runs, the Dodgers record is 36-39.  Not enough timely hitting and 26 blown saves.  Take your poison.

 

I know some were critical of using Tim Locastro in a PR role for Grandal in the 7th.  I was not.  With the Dodgers ineptness with scoring from 3rd with less than two outs, Locastro has a FAR better chance of scoring on an out than does Grandal.  If Grandal gets thrown out at the plate on an infield ground out or after tagging on a fly ball, everyone would have been all over Doc for not PR for him.  It turned out that Locastro was not needed to score, but nobody knew that at the time.  If everyone knew that Kike’ was going to get a hit in that situation, Grandal would have stayed in.  The Dodgers needed a run, and Locastro gives the Dodgers a better chance to score on an out than does Grandal.

 

What is becoming curious for me is the apparent Loogy status of Scott Alexander.  He has come in to face 1 batter (LHH) the last two games.  Why?  He got them out, but why only 1 batter?  This is not a criticism, just a question.

 

We knew that the Dodgers had to win out to guarantee them the Division championship.  I still believe that has to be the thought process, so every run must be considered critical.  Move the runners up and MAKE CONTACT.

 

Stripling v Greinke will not be easy.  The Dodgers have scheduled Ryu, Kershaw, and Buehler for the weekend series against SF.  The Giants have not named their starting pitchers.  But you got to figure Andrew Suarez, MadBum, and Derek Holland will be strongly considered, with Ty Blach getting a long look.  Suarez was scheduled to pitch today, but it appears that Casey Kelly is getting the nod instead and Suarez will be held back for Friday.

 

The Phillies sure seem to have given up, so while I thought that Pivetta v Marquez would be an even matchup, I do not hold out hope for the Phillies.  MAYBE Arrieta can be good tomorrow.  The Nats have tentatively scheduled Joe Ross for Friday and Stephen Strasburg for Saturday.  I would hope that if the race was still in doubt that the Nats would march out Scherzer for Sunday’s game. 

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 71 Comments

  1. very fan next four games. Rockies seems unbeatable now. Lets see if finally dodgers play with urgency. In fact I perceive they began to play with urgency until this serie. I will like the dodgers that can win this four games

  2. AC

    All good points!

    I guess our GM missed what I thought was the biggest play in game seven, last year?

    That was after Springer lead off with a double, Beckman gave up his bat, and hit a grounder to the right side to move Springer to third.

    And what we did in the next half inning, is what this line up does most of the time, because both Cody and Corey struck out, after watching the Astros do that, in the half innng before.

    And I am not knocking Corey or Cody, because Corey was hurt, and last year was Cody’s first year in the majors, and he hardly played, in AAA.

    This line up may look successful on a computer, because of the HRs possibilities, but it lacks common sense, and some baseball knowledge.

    And like Dodger Rick has expressed often, this has been this team’s biggest issue all year!

    Because a line up made up of mostly average or below hitters with pop, are not going to get key hits often, when they have troubles just hitting 250.

    And they are going to strike out way to often too, in key situations in games.

    I hear in my mind Bobby saying, it is not over yet, because Bobby is often the voice of reason here, when everyone else goes off, on the deep end.

    And that is still true today, but like AC has mentioned, it isn’t going to be easy!

    Bobby I think it is time for the blood pressure pills again, or what ever works best, for each one of us!

  3. I didn’t have a problem with pinch running LoCastro for Grandal with him on 3rd and no outs, Barnes could handle the rest of the game. But why put in Rocky Gale to catch in the bottom of the 9th of a tie game with playoffs on the line? Maeda has never pitched to him, how well does he know the hitters or even what Maeda likes to throw? In a blow out game fine, in that situation it was mind boggling unless Barnes had an injury. Doc is so fond of over managing it really bothers me and I have to wonder if it bothers the players. Are they trying to win or just show off their ‘depth’?

    If I was Muncy, Cody, Puig, CT3, Joc or Kemp I might be wondering if I am playing for the right team that will utilize me properly based on production. If I was Kike I would love the fact I am treated like a regular with inferior production.

    If I was Maeda, Wood or Stripling I would wonder the same thing: am I on the right team? Do I really belong in the bullpen? If I was Ryu or Hill I would feel differently and they are the ones with less team control.

    Turn the page because it’s all back on tonight with just their season on the line, and hopefully they bounce back with a good effort and they have hit Greinke in the past. Stripling is unlikely to go deep so it could be a night of many pitching changes for the Blue. Is that the best approach to a crucial game on the road? I like Doc as a communicator and all that but enough of the mad scientist cooking up new formulas!

    1. Vegas, just to play devil’s advocate on Rocky Gale. Of course you are right that Gale has never caught Maeda in an actual game. He may have caught him in the bullpen, but not in a game. But does Austin Barnes get the run scoring double in the 9th instead of CT3 pinch hitting for Barnes? One other point is that Maeda has to take charge in that situation. “This is what I am going to throw”.
      .
      I absolutely concur with your points on players who may be wondering if they are on the right team because of platooning and because of being housed in the bullpen. One has to wonder why a top FA would come play for the Dodgers. Machado and Harper would not be platooned, but neither will get $300MM to $400MM contracts from the Dodgers that like their “flexibility”.

      1. Agreed, we will never know what Barnes would have done in that situation but Doc should have considered the possibility of what actually happened later when deciding to run for Grandal.

        One more thing: Alexander gets his only batter out then gets pulled for Floro who pitches to 4 batters without recording an out. Why the quick hook then turn around and let Floro flounder? I actually don’t like Doc having all these buttons to push because he just can’t help himself from pushing them.

    2. I didn’t have a problem running for Grandal. I just didn’t think Locastro needed to be burned there when he may be needed to run later for someone on first or second. I was thinking Barnes, Utley, or Toles.

    3. Over managing is right! He throws players into games as if the team has already clinched;
      You should hear the announcers for the opposing teams. They cannot figure out what he is doing.

  4. I’m very glad I didn’t watch last night’s game; I too would’ve pulled out all of my hair with all those stranded runners. I would look on gamecast off an on while I had the honor of listening to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson lecture about astrophysics and other things that my little brain couldn’t comprehend. By the end, my brain was fried!!

    I didn’t expect us to win every game. Let’s take today and win this series. The fun ride is only beginning, my online friends!!

    1. I agree that Roberts over manages.

      But I still don’t think we can blame a move, at the end of this game.

      After all, we were not the team facing Buehler last night!

      And we didn’t even face one of the Dback’s top starting pitchers last night either, and their bullpen is not exactly, menacing.

      We were 2 for 12, when runners were in scoring position last night, and the Dbacks were 2 for 9, in these situations, and once again, they did this, against Buehler.

  5. Vegas Dodger I was thinking the same thing last night about players being upset with not consistently playing. Bellinger, in particular, has to be thinking what the hell is going on here. He has made big strides in improving his approach at the plate and going where the pitch is pitched. Just with his gold glove abilities in the field he should be an everyday, no doubt, starter. Same with Muncy. He can be a liability in the field, but he would have the 5th highest OPS in all of baseball if he qualified. Think about that. If he qualified. What???

    I just checked MLB stats and the Dodgers have ten players in the top 18% of baseball in OPS. That’s crazy.
    What’s crazier is that five don’t have enough AB’s to qualify because they don’t play enough (Turner-injuries, Muncy, Peterson, Puig, and Hernandez). Sure, we are fortunate to have so many good players, but some are better and should be starting almost everyday. Just because you have players that are good and versatile in the positions they can play doesn’t mean you have to play them all the time. They are there to fill in for injured starters or to rest a starter. I truly believe that having players in and out of the lineup regardless of how they are performing just so we can make sure everyone get to play has been one of the main reasons we didn’t win the division two weeks ago.

    So our lineup with top OPS players:
    Hernandez 2B .780 OPS
    Turner 3B .956 OPS
    Machado SS .907 OPS
    Bellinger CF .813 OPS
    Kemp LF .807 OPS
    Muncy 1B .956 OPS
    Grandal C .817 OPS
    Puig RF .828 OPS
    That would leave Taylor .778 OPS and Peterson .842 OPS as backups. And, Freese with a 1.130 OPS as a Dodger.
    Great lineup and strong bench.
    Finally, Roberts has to be one of the worst game managers in baseball. It showed up sadly in the world series and has continued throughout the season. He has too many options available to him and thinks he needs to use them all…. every game. He makes moves when he shouldn’t and doesn’t make moves when he should. Truly sad.

    1. Great points! Muncy and his bat need to be in there every day and Cody and Puig are the 2 bats that teams are very careful pitching to. Manny and JT are the only 2 guys in there every day. Not that other guys shouldn’t play, ride anyone’s hot streak. But it’s time to find your playoff lineup-wait maybe this is it, mix and match all the way.

  6. The stranded runners is frustrating, but Doc (Mattingly 2.0) and his over-managing is making me pull my hair out. I get it that Floro is deadly on right handed batters. But, AJ Pollock has reverse splits, which seems to be Doc’s Kryptonite. So, hitting approach or over-managing. This has been a theme all year. Both need to change or this team ain’t going anywhere.

  7. We technically are in first but we aren’t anymore with the loss column the same with Colorado and their extra game Thursday, if we both win out, there will be a division playoff game Monday in LA, interesting couple of days coming up, we could easily win the division, easily lose the division, easily make a wild card, easily not make the playoffs

    1. This is why those Win/Playoff Probability %’s are meaningless. In going from the general to the specific, something is always lost in translation.

    2. Brewers, Cards, Cubs, Rockies and Dodgers are all playing to get in the playoffs. Five teams – four spots. One team will be left out.

  8. I can’t figure this team out. I thought we were the best team last year and that didn’t pan out. This year we have struggled but I think we have just as much chance as last year [if we get there]. Sometimes I think our biggest problem is our inconsistent offense but then I look at the numbers and we’re actually pretty good offensively. All teams have their issues; we just notice ours more because we follow them more closely. (All happy families are alike.) I do agree that Roberts’ over-management can be a problem, especially in a short series. I also acknowledge our bullpen is arguably our greatest weakness. But I too see room for improvement in defense, base-running, and overall approach.
    *
    At this point in the year, it’s all about execution. I’m proud we rallied last night. To me that’s a positive I take out of the loss. I’m also pleased we’re still ahead of STL for a postseason berth. It’s been kind of an acknowledged joke that in order to go all the way we might have to go through the Wild Card. Nothing else has worked! Pitching Kershaw on three days’ rest, out of the bullpen, having Jansen throw three innings . . . Maybe this team needs a challenge to wake it up to its potential. Let’s see how we come out tonight. It’s on.

  9. One thing I do not understand is how the Dodger Digest article rates the Dodgers starting pitchers.

    The Dodger starters are tied with Houston for the best WHIP in baseball and are .01 point behind Houston for the Starting Pitcher ERA title at 3.19 – Houston’s ERA is 3.18.

    The Dodgers’ starting pitching WHIP and ERA is much better than last year, so on that stat, I think someone is “cooking the books.” It makes no sense.

    1. Mark

      I agree, our starting pitching is much better this year.

      In fact our starting pitching is this team’s biggest strength this year, especially with a more seasoned, Buehler.

      And Ryu is also much better this year, too.

      Ryu actually has the best ERA on this team.

      But he hasn’t pitched a lot of innings because of his groin injury, earlier this year.

      If we had this same starting pitching last year, I have no doubt, we would have won it all.

    2. The Dodgers Digest article talked about “clutchness”, not ERA, WHIP, or any other stat. They use Fangraphs’ definition which is :
      Clutch = (WPA / pLI) – WPA/LI.

      You’ll have to read what Fangraphs has to say on the subject. Needless to say, Dodgers Digest is using Fangraphs’ numbers to determine that the Dodgers’ starters haven’t been clutch.

      Dodgers Digest published Part 3 of their analysis of why the Dodgers are having to fight their way into the postseason today.
      http://dodgersdigest.com/2018/09/26/how-the-dodgers-ended-up-fighting-for-a-playoff-spot-in-september-part-3/

      They analyzed the offense today. The most important portion:
      “In 2017, the Dodgers had a -0.69 clutch rating which was 13th overall, above the league-average of -1.54. The year prior, they were at +0.23. This year, the league-average is -1.14, and the Dodgers rank dead last at -7.80. Sound bad? That’s because it is. In fact, it’s almost unbelievably bad. To put this into context, the clutch statistic goes back to 1974, which means it accounts for 45 years in total. When compiling all the individual team seasons over 45 years, that comes out to 1,258 seasons. The 2018 Dodgers rank 1,255th of those 1,258. Yes, that means there have only been three teams over the last 45 years that have been less clutch than the Dodgers have been this year —— the 2016 Twins, 2005 Indians, and 2015 Reds.”

      They look at individual player stats but don’t look at the issue of approach that I mentioned yesterday and that AC talked about above. Things like this don’t happen by accident. You can try to say it’s a matter of luck, but as Branch Rickey said, “luck is the residue of design”.

      1. If you haven’t had a chance, you should read the discussion from the article. One issue highlighted; how has the approach of the Dodgers changed from last year to this. If you say that the league adjusted to the team, wouldn’t the team then modify there approach. I think the most interesting point in the article is how much the Dodgers miss Seager and his ability to hit with 2 outs.

        1. That is the point I have been making all along on Seager. His Avg with RISP and RISP with 2 outs far outpaces anyone else on the Dodgers. Many people like Machado, but Seager is the face of this team, and if it were Machado or Seager, I am going with Seager every time. If the Dodgers want Machado and expect Seager to play 2nd next year, they better get Seager to buy off on the switch. Maybe Seager is okay with it, but he has made it abundantly clear that he expects to be the Dodgers SS next year and for the long term.

          1. Never wanted Machado and I definitely don’t want him to resign with us next year.

            If he helps us win this year, that’s great… but I hope he signs with someone else in the off season.

          2. Also Corey doesn’t show ego in anything he does.

            Corey has more of a personality, like Trout has.

            Both of these guys, don’t get to high or low, when they are playing the game.

          3. Exactly… Corey is all class. He and JT are the true heart of this team… I really hope he’s able to make a full recovery and be better than ever after all of this… just like Walker.

  10. For me, Roberts has taken all the fun out of this season and turned it into one frustration after another and last night was just painful watching the team lose another game they should have won. Now it’s win these last for games, but I don’t think they will.

  11. Wow what a way to start off the posting !!!
    Daniel with “Very fan next four games”… This could be code that were going all the way!!!
    As Pitbull would say:
    “I Smell That Sticky Icky
    Who Got That Sticky Icky”
    Lets get Grienke…Peace out

    1. Tonight’s game really needs to be managed like a game 7, with them having the day off tomorrow.

      And just based on his last few starts, I don’t see Strip making it past the 4th inning tonight… I hope I’m wrong.

  12. Ya know guys, we got ourselves into this mess, it’s up to us to sack up and get it done or go home. Shorten the damn swings up with runners in scoring position like Turner and Freese, when Roberts puts you in, no matter how funky his lineup is, your a professional baseball player, be ready and get it done, it’s your job. J-hair really stressed that on Dodgertalk last night how he had to make it in the big leagues by doing the little things, bunting, moving the runner to the next base by going the other way, reading the situation when it was a good time to bunt. We either figure that out, or we are done. Roberts can’t execute for these guys, only they can.

    1. I agree with most that you write but Roberts is the one who does or doesn’t put on the bunt, steal, and hit-and-run signs.

      1. The Giants are bad this year but Bochy does a great job putting guys in motion to avoid double plays and they always seem to have a lot of good 2 strike and 2 out hitters who put the ball in play. He’s not bad with his bullpen either being a former catcher and all.

  13. I have not posted much this year, because I do not like the way the Dodgers play baseball. They do not play good fundamental baseball. They cannot steal bases, move runners over, or score on a sacrifice fly. It is either a homerun, a walk, or a strike out. They are horrible with runners in scoring position. Nothing is going to change next year because Doc will still be there.

    I cannot believe the players are happy with Doc’s lineups. Bellinger and Muncy hit left handers well and yet they do not get to play against a left-hander pitcher. I just believe you cannot get into a good rhythm when you play three out of six games. Find your eight best players and play them.

    We have no tables setters. We have eight homerun hitters in the lineup. That is why we have so many solo homeruns. I really hope Lux has a very good spring training. Then we could put Lux and Verdugo at the top of the lineup and set the table for Seager, Turner, Bellinger, Kemp and Muncey.

    My second hope is that FAZ pays some attention to the bullpen. We have players in the minor leagues that are being developed for relief pitching. I think that is great. Now bring some of those kids up and let them succeed in the bullpen. Quit trying to fill the bullpen with over the hill pitchers and has been pitchers.

    My son keeps telling me that I am old fashion. I probably am. However, good fundamental baseball still wins ballgames.

  14. Really like the lineup, L/R all the way through. I predict 3 long balls tonight, hopefully 2 with runners on. I believe Joc recently tied Davey Lopes for the most lead off HR’s in Dodger history with 7. I think the hottest bats are in there.

  15. Great 2 out hit/rbi by Belly. Great inning by Strip.

    i like the way the Dodgers play baseball, because they win, and they’ve gone to the playoffs 5 straight years, and on the verge of a 6th. It’s not always perfect. It’s often frustrating. Often we don’t play up to our talent but when we do we score 10+ runs. Go figure.

    Either way, I”ll take this team that some folks don’t like over a team we all love that doesn’t get to October.

    1. That’s sort of the point – the way they’ve played maybe they don’t get to the post-season. The team that’s supposed to be the best in the NL struggles to win 90 or their division.

  16. NOW, I will say that was a horrendous, useless at bat by CT3. Get the guy over. It’s not difficult. Moronic swing. Bad baseball.

  17. Is there anyone up in the Dodgers bullpen? As far as I’m concerned Stripling is being given too long of a leash.

  18. I’m sorry, but this team with this manager does not deserve to be in the playoffs. With all their so-called talent, they should be leading the division by 10+ games. Instead they are fighting to even make it in. Goodbye to Roberts, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I feel the same for FAZ. Bring in some real baseball minds who know how the game should be played. Even if they were to somehow win it all it wouldn’t change my mind.

    1. Hawkeye

      I wasn’t either.

      But at the least they should have kept Wood in the rotation, and had Stripling build himself up in the bullpen, to see what they had, after he was off, and coming back so late in the season.

      That way you don’t mess with the rotation, until Stripling proved he was back.

      And Wood would be there if Stripling wasn’t ready fast enough, with the season close to ending.

      One thing about Wood compared to our other starters, especially Hill, he doesn’t give up many HRs.

      Hill has given up 5 more HRs then Wood, in twenty less innings.

    2. Nor was I when it meant that Wood was the odd man out. I know many do not like Alex, but I know he would have “pitched” a whole lot better than Strip in any of his starts after replacing Wood.

      1. When you were debating Wood vs Hill, I was thinking Wood vs Stripling. It only made sense to me if The Dodgers had more cushion and it was a move to strengthen then pen for the postseason. Stripling in this park had disaster written all over it. I’ve seen it before.

        1. I actually thought that Wood would have been preferable to either Hill or Strip. Hill’s last game was good, but once again he got a lot of runs to play with.

  19. Not a fan of the 3-0 swings tonight either Greinke has nothing and they’ve let him off the hook twice swinging 3-0

  20. Well now the division isn’t entirely in the hands of the Dodgers as it’l take some cooperation of Colorado. Hopefully they cooperate greatly and start losing from here on. I don’t know how those who were thinking that Dodgers had the softer competition for the final week. And I even see San Francisco a bigger threat. There’s hope but when it rests on other teams helping it more worrisome.

  21. Really guys, can we score some friggin runs? Idahol nailed it. We have 8 home run hitters in the lineup but no table setters, for some reason we lost the mantra of 2017 to “pass the baton”. Not happening this year. Just pathetic, this is so painful to watch, like the Titanic with the band playing next to the deck chairs.

    1. Bobby – the way the Brewers are playing, that would be a terrible match up.

      This continues to be the most disappointing season since Guggs took over. Agree with all of your takes above. A team with this much talent should not be struggling to get out of this average division.

  22. Tomorrow’s game turns out to be the most important game of this season for Dodgers. That’s sad because they’re not playing in it!

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