For six straight years, the Dodgers have been NL West Champs. For three straight years they have won the NLDS and headed to the NLCS. From this point on, it’s really World Series or Bust, but this 2018 version of these Milwaukee Brewers are tough… and opportunistic. While we are at it, let’s no forget that the Atlanta Braves, even though they just burst upon the scene, they were pretty good too. They had a mix of rookies and vets who played hard and didn’t go away quietly. They will likley be better next year, but now the Dodgers must handle the Brewers in a seven game series. The approach to a seven game series is different than a five game series.
The Dodgers had a 2.06 team ERA during the NLDS, but the Brewers team ERA was 0.64 for the same period. I believe that the Dodgers can sustain an ERA under 3.00, after all they put up a 3.38 team ERA for the season. The Brewers team ERA was 3.73 and while everyone says that the Brewers Bullpen is great, their Reliever ERA is 3.47 while the Dodgers is 3.72, but this Dodger team does not include Hudson, Cingrani, Rosscup, Garcia, Paraedes and Axford who all had ERA’s over 4.00. So while Milwaukee is known for their pen, the disparity may not be as great as some think… especially if Kenley pitches like he did in Game 4.
Josh Hader is purely filthy but he has almost 85 IP and he’s going to have to pitch a lot more. Jeffress is very good too, but in a best of seven series, the starters have to pitch a lot, and the Milwaukee starters have a 3.92 ERA compared to the Dodgers’ starters who have a 3.19 ERA. By the way, the Dodgers ERA was barely behind Houston, for the MLB lead in starter ERA. The Astros had a 3.16 ERA, but the Dodgers WHIP was better.
The starting pitching is where there’s a big seperation: The Dodgers can start Ryu (1.97 ERA), Kershaw (2.73 ERA), Buehler (2.62 ERA) and Hill (3.66 ERA), or maybe Urias if you believe the rumors, while the Brewers have Chacin (3.50) as their Ace… and he did pitch very well this year, but he would be a #4 on the Dodgers. They also have Anderson (3.93 ERA). Guerra (4.09 ERA), Gonzalez (4.21 ERA), Suter (4.44 ERA), Peralta (4.25 ERA) and Miley (2.57 ERA in 80 IP). It’s not clear who will start beyond Chacin, who has really pitched way over his head (and I say that with alot of admiration). On paper, the Brewers can’t hold a candle to the Dodgers’ starting pitching.
Offensively, the teams are pretty close, but the Dodgers are demonstratably superior.
- Team BA: Dodgers .250 – Brewers .252
- OB%: Dodgers .333 – Brewers .323
- OPS: Dodgers .774 – Brewers .747
- Runs: Dodgers 804 – Brewers 754
- HR: Dodgers 235 – Brewers 218
- BB: Dodgers 647 – Brewers 537
- Strikeouts: Dodgers 1436 – Brewers 1458
- SB: Dodgers 75 – Brewers 124
However, they don’t play the game on paper. Christian Yelich is likely the NL MVP and just missed winning the Triple Crown – he is one of the best hitters in baseball. LoCain had a career year. It will be up to Yasmani to control the running game, as Cain, Yelich. Villar, Braun and Perez all had double digits in steals. Jesus Aguilar can punish a baseball (.274 BA/.352 OB%/.890 OPS/35 HR/108 RBI) as can Travis Shaw (32 HR). Mike Moustakas has been a nice pickup for the Brewers and while Ryan Braun is near the end of his career, he still has good speed and can get a big hit. Where the Dodgers really best the Brewers is on the bench – the Dodgers depth should make a big difference, but that’s why they play the game.
Another big difference is that the Brewers are the worst fielding team in the playoffs and the stats don’t tell the whole story. Their infield is pretty magginal or below average. That can become pretty big in a series like this. The Rockies just laid down and played dead for the Brewers. That won’t happen with the Dodgers. The Brewers have home field advantage, but that may favor the Dodgers even more. I could see Manny and others launching the ball outtta’ there. It simply flies in Milwaukee. I’m looking into tickets for Friday and Saturday. I’ll be in Austin and San Antonio next week, but might make a run to Milwaukee this weekend.
Will there be any roster changes? The only one that “might” occur is Ross Stripling replacing Alex Wood or Scott Alexander, but that would be one less lefty, so unless there is an injury, the roster will likely be the same. Ryan Madson showed he belonged, in fact, he may see some higher-leverage situations later in the game. Pedro Baez has been extremely good for a couple of months and Caleb Ferguson was again solid. I know I saw 97 from him and maybe a 98! There’s a rumor floating around that Julio Urias might make the roster ands start game 4. That would shock me, but he has shown he is healthy – is he ready to pitch 5 innings is all I wonder? It would mean Wood or Alexader being off the roster and Hill going to the pen. I really can’t see it….
There are many players on the roster FAZ acquired during this season, who had a big hand in this championship: Machado, Dozier, Freese, Madson, Floro and technically, Max Muncy! That’s almost 25 of the roster that has been changed during this season. I believe that 17 of the 25 players on the playoff roster were acquired by FAZ.
Department of Justice Investigation
Dodgerpatch posted the article from Fangraphs about a DOJ investigation which may involve the Dodgers. Allegedly the Dodgers compiled a “Corruption Chart” (for a lack of a better term) whereby they ranked certain employees by how corrupt they were. During that same period of time, Friedman fired three international scouting employees, presumably because they made it to the top of the chart, namely Bob Engle, Patrick Guerrero and Franklin Tavaras. However, the chart complied by someone affiliated with the Dodgers, had five individuals ranked as extremely corrupt and they only fired three. What about the other two? Also, it’s not enough to fire them, but there’s a duty to report this conduct under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and it also boarders on RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act). These guys don’t play around!
However, it would be wise not to jump to any conclusions – we don’t really know how this all started… maybe Andrew Friedman or Stan Kasten reported it, but if they didn’t, the Dodgers could be in some deep trouble. Again, all that is really known is that there is a DOJ investigation… beyond that, we have to wait and see! This may not even be the biggest of the Dodgers problem as there is allegedly infighting among the owners and Guggenheim Partners. I think that will rear it’s ugly head soon as well. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this run! It just might be epic!
Anything but a World Championship is a fail in my opinion. I think the team believes that as well!