It All Comes Down to This!

I started to write an analysis of the World Series, but what could I write that hasn’t been written and re-written?  At one time, it seemed like it was me against the world as the FAZ-Bashers were relentless, but so was I, as I understood what they were trying to do, and I bought in early.  Now, most Dodger fans are on the FAZ Bandwagon, but it’s extra sweet for me because I was a champion of FAZ long before this 2017 version of the Dodgers.  At this juncture, there’s not much to say except…

How Sweet it is!

This is what the 2017 Dodgers are playing for – The World Series.  It’s wonderful that the Dodgers won their first pennant since 1988, but it’s not enough.  They have to win four more for this year to be a resounding success… and it won’t be easy.  This Astro team is very, very good and they have Jose Altuve!   He is scary good!

Here are few  things to consider:

  • Corey Seager and Justin Turner have injury issues – We don’t know how well Corey can play and Justin Turner is battling an “unspecified” injury as he has been held out of BP and other drills.  Farhan Zaidi said that Turner is “banged up.”  How these two storylines play out remains to be seen.  Seager and Turner have been the Dodgers top performers all season and losing one or both could be a huge blow.
  • It seems that Austin Barnes has taken over as the Dodgers starting Catcher – I am a fan of both players and believe both will play in the series, but Barnes has reverse splits.  I can see Grandal being the DH at times, but it’s more likely that Corey Seager will DH in AL games.
  • Culberson has to make the roster due to uncertainty about Seager, so either Pederson, Farmer or Granderson won’t make it.  My money says that Granderson is the odd-man out!
  • I think it is essential that the Dodgers win on their home field.  If they head to Houston 1-1, it could be rough.
  • Can the bullpen keep up their Total World Domination?
  • This is a perfect series for the Dodgers to run wild on Houston’s Catchers who cannot throw me out!
  • Clayton, Here’s your opportunity to erase those bad 7th innings and flip the script!  I’m rooting for ya’.
  • With questions about Turner and Seager, it’s going to take a team effort to win this thing, but like Clayton said, this team has something he’s never seen… something special.  I don’t think they will be denied.  They see the finish line and will suck it up to win in 4 or 7 games – whatever it takes!
  • What I know is this:  It can be a total crapshoot, but it could be just as likely that a Logan Forsythe ends up as MVP over Jose Altuve.  You never know who steps up… and when!
  • Finally, it’s more of a distraction that Adrian Gonzalez is not with the team and headed to Italy than it would be if he were there.  Why go during the World Series?  Why not be with your teammates?  I’m sorry, but this is who he is.  There is no excuse.  He gets no pass.  I’m done with him!  You don’t abandon your teammates! It’s selfish and classless… no matter how they spin it.  Even if he were going for medical treatment, is it really going to make a difference if he waited a week?  There have been whispers that he was not about the right thing in Boston and even in LA.  His absence says it all for me.  In my opinion, he can never wear The Blue again.

Arizona Fall League

Matt Beaty and DJ Peters continue to struggle at .154, while Diaz and Smith are both flourishing at .400. Remember, last AFL season, Cody Bellinger raked and Alex Verdugo flopped. It turns out that Cody was ready.  Diaz and Smith are getting closer.

Other Stuff

Congratulations to Cody Bellinger for winning The Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year.  What a surprise!  NOT!


This article has 66 Comments

  1. Well this is it, and although I’m a little apprehensive, I can’t wait to get started.
    I have a feeling that home field advantage is gonna be very important.

    Good luck everyone.

  2. Nervous time kids! I”ll be at the park by 3pm today. Look for me. Ill be the Indian guy praying all night, dropping down and doing pushups to stay calm, and popping blood pressure pills every 2 innings,

  3. go Dodgers…..guys just enjoy the games, it is a party..We have a great players, a warriors,,stand by them

  4. I feel pretty confident , should be a great Series! Game 1 favors the Blue, Keuchel can be hit if they lay off pitches out of the zone. Verlander is a different animal, guys like Utley or Granderson and Ethier will not likely hit his fastball. I am curious how the final roster looks. Darvish has a big advantage over Morton or McCullers in game 3. This could be a see saw Series between 2 pretty even teams. The Dodgers have to consistently get to their bullpen. Verlander has no trouble going over 100 pitches, the rest not so much. AGon should be around for the big games, at least the ones at home, there may be something there we don’t know about. I don’t want to get to game 6 and see Verlander again. Dodgers in 5 (best case) Dodgers in 7 if they can’t figure out Verlander.

  5. The Dodgers ERA is amazing. I hope that translates to pitching domination by the Dodgers. I feel that it will by the force of the way they have put the stopper on the Snakes and Cubs, 2 strong hitting clubs. Still have that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach though.

  6. Smith is one of those kind of catchers that any offense he provides is just gravy to his outstanding defensive abilities. His good hitting in the minors is a good sign we could have an outstanding all star caliber all around great catcher soon. However if Keibert keeps raking it’s gonna be a battle. From what info I can gather Keiberts arm needs development. If he ends up being the MLB hitter everyone says he could gonna be hard keeping him out of the starting lineup.

    1. If Smith continues to hit, he will likely have to catch andf maybe Ruiz is moved to LF… or 3B?

  7. By the way, I don’t feel a WS loss would in any way diminish the great achievements the Dodgers accomplished this season. No way no how. It’s been a great season for the Dodger franchise. All though I wish the Dodgers could become a team for all Americans. The way they were when they allowed Jackie Robinson to pave the way for racial diversity in MLB and America. It just takes a voice.

  8. The Dodgers just announced that Corey Seager is on the roster and likely will start tonight.

  9. Arguably, the last four postseasons and the failures in them rest entirely on Kershaw’s shoulders. This year, he has a chance to redeem himself, postseason, on the biggest stage of his career. He has all the advantages: home field, rest, etc. No excuses for game 1. I expect him the pitch a 9 inning complete game shutout allowing about 5 hits in a 2-0 win. With about 110 pitches. Anything less should dampen the Koufax comparisons. I am tired of waiting for him to show up in the postseason. As great as he is in the regular season, his career in the mainstream will be defined by his postseason success. It will be about time for him and his team.

    1. He will likely go 6… maybe 7. This is an entirely different game now, with analytics, millions of hours of video, launch angles, remade swings, etc.

      It’s no secret that Kerhsaw has not been as good as Koufax in the playoffs, but let’s remember one thing: Sandy Koufax only pitched in 8 playoff games IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER! Clayton Kershaw has pitched in 21 playoff games in his career!

      Clayton has had a lot more exposure and almost all of the damage done to him was in the 7th inning.

      Sandy Koufax pitched in the Majors for 12 years and averaged 13.75 wins a year with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.106 WHIP.

      Clayton Kershaw has pitched in the Majors for 10 years and averages 14.4 wins a year with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.002 WHIP.

      Nothing dampens the Koufax comparisons. Old timers want to remember the 5 years at the end of Sandy’s career where he was better than anyone, maybe before or after his career. But, if you look at their whole careers, Clayton is better… just not in the playoffs…

      BTW, Dave Roberts:

      With Clayton pitching to Austin Barnes, his ERA is 3.74 and hitters are hitting .254 against him.
      With Clayton pitching to Yasmani, GRandal, his ERA is 1.91 and hitters are hitting .195 against him.

      Just sayin’!

      1. Grandal was also in AZ yesterday not working out with the team. Much smaller sample size with Barnes.

  10. Brandon McCarthy is on World Series roster. Curtis Granderson is NOT on the roster. I wonder if McCarthy is on because of the heat, or as a hedge for Wood.

    Oh how the times change stat: only TWO (2) LHP on the Astros WS roster.

    Also, great Plunkett article on the analytical departments of the Astros and Dodgers:

    “You should know there are at least a half a dozen, maybe 10 teams that are all in on analytics,” says Dodgers team president and CEO Stan Kasten. “Most of the teams in the playoffs were those kind of teams.”

    Players who come to the Dodgers from other organizations recognize the difference.

    “Just the sheer numbers as far as the bodies, the staff that is analytically-driven,” says Dodgers reliever Tony Watson who spent 6-1/2 seasons with the analytically-open Pittsburgh Pirates before joining the Dodgers this summer. “Then I later found out it’s the largest R & D in baseball. … Coming from Pittsburgh, it’s definitely bigger. That’s the focus. And it works. The numbers don’t lie.”

  11. From Ken Gurnick:

    The roster:

    Pitchers (12):Clayton Kershaw, Tony Cingrani, Yu Darvish, Josh Fields, Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow, Ross Stripling, Tony Watson, Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood.

    Catchers (2):Austin Barnes, Yasmani Grandal.

    Infielders (6):Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Charlie Culberson, Logan Forsythe, Justin Turner, Chase Utley.

    Outfielders (5):Enrique Hernandez, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor.

    The moves leave Granderson, Farmer, Luis Avilan, Pedro Baez, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brock Stewart on the traveling taxi squad (inactive but on-site if an injury replacement is needed).

  12. I like Granderson being left off and Culberson left on. Joc can play CF if Taylor moves to SS. Farmer was a luxury RH PH and Houston has almost no LHP. McCarthy must have been dealing in sim games to be added and counters their RH heavy lineup. If he starts game 4 I hope he has a Very short leash. As a long reliever he is more seasoned than Stripling if he is over the ‘yips’.

  13. This Agon thing is interesting to me. I cannot think of one reason he would not be in the dugout. There is more to this story than we know, I think. If he has abandoned the team, the players will talk after this is over.

      1. No conspiracy, Bluto. The Dodgers are in the world series and their all star doesn’t even bother to show up?!

  14. I wonder if Hill’s curveball will have the same bite in the hot, dry air that’s currently in L.A. Maybe he should pitch game 3 in Houston?

    I have noticed there is an ugly side to Gonzo that is quite different than the one he carefully presents publicly.

    Kershaw’s postseason”struggles” are unfair to him. He often pitched on 3 days rest and was clearly fatigued when he gave up runs. The Dodgers didn’t have the pitching depth they have now. He doesn’t have to carry the entire team.

  15. Kershaw does NOT have to prove anything to me. There is nothing for him to redeem. I have been critical of CK in the playoffs, but they are not all his fault. All I expect from CK is his best effort, and that has generally been good enough for a Dodger win. He needs to give everything he has for 6 innings. I do not expect him to go past 6. Why should he when the bullpen has been so effective? This will take 25 men working together, and not from Kershaw’s shoulder/back.
    The hitters need to stay patient and work the count against the Keuchel and get into that bullpen. If it is bullpen vs. bullpen, I like the Dodgers chances..
    I understand Seager for Farmer, but I was surprised by McCarthy for Granderson. I am not disappointed, just surprised. Granderson will still be a positive influence as part of the taxi squad. I would think that with the addition of McCarthy, Stripling now becomes situational and McCarthy will be the long man replacing a lefty starter. With the number of RH bats on the Stros, he should get some innings.
    It looks like I will be breaking my practice of making at least one WS game with the Dodgers since the 1963 WS ( I did not get to the 59 Series). However, my son will be at both Game 1 and 2, so the family will be represented. I saw him this weekend, and he was reminding me of all the Dodgers personnel he has played with: Gabe Kapler, Dave Roberts, George Lombard, Chase Utley, Chris Woodward, Turner Ward, and Alex Anthopoulos signed Toronto after getting his release from the Mets. He is having a tough year, so I was hoping he would get a chance to catch up with some of them, but he is not going to try. There are reasons.
    I cannot wait for 5:09 PM. Let’s get this thing going and bring home a MLB World Championship to LA.

  16. 1. Chris Taylor, CF
    2. Justin Turner, 3B
    3. Cody Bellinger, 1B
    4. Yasiel Puig, RF
    5. Enrique Hernandez, LF
    6. Corey Seager, SS
    7. Logan Forsythe, 2B
    8. Austin Barnes, C
    9. Clayton Kershaw, P

  17. 1. George Springer, CF
    2. Alex Bregman, 3B
    3. Jose Altuve, 2B
    4. Carlos Correa, SS
    5. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
    6. Brian McCann, C
    7. Marwin Gonzalez, LF
    8. Josh Reddick, RF
    9. Dallas Keuchel, P

  18. If there is a team that can take us back to miserable memories of our pitching staff falling to pieces it’s the Astros and their pesky lineup. If they start smallball and have success loading the bases my fingernails may be getting short. BUT if there’s a pitching staff that’s an answer to the pesky Astro lineup it’s the guys in dressed in blue, who also provide a pesky lineup. Watford is right, HFA is monstrous! Advantage Blue! Go DODGERS!!!!!!! Time for my meds!

  19. Same team as I had in my mind but not in that order.

    I had Seagar 2nd & Puig 8th.

    Still, that is a deep looking lineup.

  20. Bluto –
    Right on !!! But were dealing with deaf ears and torches… Anything good to say is fake news…

  21. Agone is in LA right now!

    He has spent time with the team before and after the games, once he got back from Europe.

    He is in the broadcast booth, with Orel, and everyone else tonight, and he was with the team today, until right now.

  22. Does anyone know who the man in the suit 5 seat to the right of Larry King is in the front row behind the plate? He is at almost every game that I can see on TV.

  23. I can’t recall his name, but the guy in the 5th seat to the right of Larry King is a former player agent. Just having a mental blank right now regarding his name. In fact, I think he was part of one of the groups that tried to purchase the Dodgers in 2012.

  24. During the nlds and nlcs I watched most of the games in our upstairs living room due to the start times where I live. Had to start watching the game in the basement tonight. After the wife got in bed I told our daughter to go watch tv in here room so I could watch the game in the upstairs living room. Turn tv on see the ball called a strike to Turner. Next pitch HR. I’ll be watching the rest of the games upstairs. Lol

  25. Stole this (and expanded it) from McCullough, but I think he’s 100% right:
    The Dodgers run prevention — the combination of pitching, shifting, leveraging of relievers, framing, positioning, etc. — is something to behold.

  26. Secret tonight for CK was that slider. It had great movement tonight with the exception of the one pitch that flattened out up high in the zone to Bregman. He got away with one to McCann in the 7th. He is now 3-0 in October 2017, and the Dodgers won all 4 he started. Kershaw can come back in Game 5 with full rest.
    Corey gets two hits and his one out was a shot that Bregman made a good play on. 2 more perfect innings from Morrow and Kenley. This team looks solid and confident. Let’s take Verlander tomorrow and go to Houston 2-0.

  27. Great game from Kershaw.
    I was wondering where we were gonna score off Keuchel, and along cane JT.

    I wonder what Doc will do tomorrow night?
    No Kiki for sure, but does he leave Forsythe at 2nd?

    3 more wins.

  28. Key playera clayton , Tayloy, Turner.. Taylor greats at bar, Turner a superar un playoff, Clayton almost perfecto. este es un trabajo en equipo. Seager loked very Good yo hit, but no to fielding because his back. morrow and Jensen perfects. Todas a ley gane Velsnder is them real as ir Dodgers got him. It would be great step in psiclogy way

  29. Can we stop Verlander’s run??? His last outing was something to behold…
    Patience, patience and grind…

    1. Verlander has the arm to go 100+ pitches every game, and he throws hard all game and does not nibble with breaking stuff. So he will pound the zone. Whether the Dodger hitters can be patient and risk falling behind 0-2 we will have to see. Verlander will beat hitters all day long with his high fastball. Fans can say all they want to lay off that high fastball, but it is easier said than done. That is a pitch the hitters can see all the way and think that the ball will drop back down into the zone when it reaches the plate. Hitters have a fraction of a second to commit and cannot hold up on a fastball. That is why Dodger pitchers (especially relievers) like to live to up high in the zone with fastballs. Verlander gives up a lot of HRs so enough of the fastballs do drop, but he is strong enough to keep it up and out of the zone most of the time.
      It is easier to be patient with Greinke, Hendricks, Quintana, Ray, Lester who rely on command and hitters getting themselves out. Like with Kershaw, if Verlander’s #1 is effective, his slider will become a big swing and miss pitch. Dodger hitters need to hope that the slider does not move as much as CK’s did last night. Then they can afford to be more patient. Like Kershaw, Verlander is a future HOF pitcher so there is a reason he will be tough.

      1. Great points! Getting the pitch count up is not as important as picking out a pitch to drive. The Yankees chased out of the zone, can’t do that against Verlander. Along with velocity he has the highest spin rate on his 4 seam of any starter this year (Sherzer 2nd) which makes it rise. Dodgers are one of the worst teams hitting high fastballs so they have to be careful. His slider is a real weapon if they sit fastball. I do not believe Ethier or Utley can catch up to his fastball unless they cheat early and then no chance on the slider. I am curious if Roberts plays Kike and Forsythe or maybe Joc who might square one up. Barnes vs Grandal is another choice, I would pick Barnes. I don’t have great confidence in Hill but if he gets out of the 1st inning and has command they can keep it close. This is must win territory for the Astros and they don’t hit as well on the road. I think Hill goes 5 and Verlander 7 although the long ball for both teams could change that. Darvish going in game 3 and Kershaw in game 5 gives them an edge in Houston so they can recover but beating Verlander would make a huge statement tonight.

      2. AC

        I think our players have to be disciplined enough, to lay off his high fastballs, that are not in the strike zone.

        Because most hitters are not going to square up, a high fastball, that high over the belt, that is over 95.

        He isn’t the only pitcher in the majors that does that, and he is going to make a mistake, because he is human.

        So are hitters need to be disciplined, and make him pitch in the strike zone, and foul off any good pitches he makes, and wait for him, to make a mistake.

        His fastballs tend to go up in the strike zone, not down.

        Verlander has pitched a lot of stressful innings, in the post season, so he is due to make a mistake.

        And I think our hitters are a lot more disciplined, then the young Yankee hitters are, so I think they will have better at bats.

        I hope we get a good umpire behind the plate tonight, because certain umpires have had trouble, seeing Hill’s curves.

        And we need an umpire, that is not going to give Verlander high strikes, that are out of the strike zone.

        Verlander doesn’t throw as hard as Synderguard does, so he can be hit.

        We just have to be more patient, and have good at bats!

        If we stick to that, we will be rewarded!

        We beat Robbie Ray, and we can beat Verlander too, if we have good at bats!

        1. MJ,
          I do not disagree that the hitters need to be disciplined, but my point is that it is easier to say than do. It is a pitch they see better than any other pitch, and they have a fraction of a second to commit. Ask any ML hitter and the high fastball is the pitch they like to drive…because they can see it. Now… they are ML ballplayers and recognize pitch location faster and better than we mere mortals, but to catch up to a 95+ MPH fastball, they need to pull the trigger faster than normal.
          Last night Smoltz made the argument before the game that both Kershaw and Keuchel pitch down and if the umpire gives them the low strike, it was going to be a true pitcher’s duel. The umpire gave the low strike and the pitcher’s did very well. If tonight’s umpire gives Verlander the high strike, the hitters are going to have to be more aggressive, because Verlander will live up there and then break off one of his hard sliders 0-2. There is a reason Verlander should be a first ballot HOF…he’s GOOD. Just like Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux, Verlander has earned the borderline strike call. The top of the order has to be be more patient in the first two innings to see where the umpire’s zone is, and then they can adjust. If he is not giving the high strike to JV, they can be more patient and let the ball drop more in the zone. My guess is he will get the high strike.
          The Astros are a very good fastball hitting team, and not as good with the breaking stuff. If Rich Hill’s curve is working, he could have a very good night, There is no reason for him to go more than 6.

  30. Got a feeling they are all going to be like this, down to the wire. Better strap in boys, might be a bumpy ride! We can do this, just aint gonna be pretty. Astros are good.

  31. We need a good start from Hill. He just needs to get us to the 5-6 inning. Our bull pen is well rested. So far the bull pen has been awesome. Is Seager moving up to the second position in the batting order? My guess is yes.

    1. Idahoal

      Roberts already said Corey would be hitting second today, and I think that will make a bigger difference in our offense, then most people would think.

      Because when we have our regular line up, with our first five hitters in there usual place, our offense is hard to stop!

  32. I checked another item off my bucket list last night. Went to the game and it was more exciting than the Super Bowl I went to in 2003. I can’t afford to go again this year but I wish I had the funds to do it again. 3 more wins to go…………………….

  33. That’s great Bill. Jealous of you and Bobby being there. Looked & sounded great.
    In fact, I’m not sure Bobby’s got home yet, probably still partying…

    I’m not so sure we are gonna see Wood in game 4 if we happen to lose the next two.
    I see Kershaw starting game 4 on 4 days rest if we are behind, and potentially starting a game 7 on 4 days rest, especially if, like last night, he only throws 80 pitches.
    We can also line Darvish up to start game 6 on 4 days rest if need be.
    McCarthy may be there for long relief in either case.
    I’m not sure FAZ are convinced about Wood’s health – although they will definitely let him start game 4 if we have a lead, with McCarthy in the wings just in case. If we are behind I’m not sure they start him.

    Kiki cannot get a start against RH Pitching – he has the biggest differential between hitting LH & RH Pitching of any other player in MLB.

    I play Forsythe because of his plate discipline & ability to take a walk.
    Barnes is better at blocking Hill’s Curve than Grandal, and has done well in the Post Season so far.

    LF is the question for me. I’m tempted to give Ethier a shot for one game, although Taylor in Left and Joc in CF is strong defensively.

    Pressure on Houston tonight – think
    Hill is gonna step up.

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