There Is No Fixing These Dodgers

You can’t make an alcoholic stop drinking, you can’t make a heroin addict quit shooting, you can’t make these guys clutch hitters, you can’t make the bullpen guys quit walking guys and giving up hits. You can’t fix people.  You can’t fix teams. You can’t fix these Dodgers.They have to fix themselves. Well, they may need a little coaching, but I have a couple of words of advice to FAZ and Doc:

  1. Doc, quit changing up the lineup all the time.  Let guys work their way in or work their way out.
  2. FAZ, I get you are grooming most of your best pitchers as starters, but Santana and/or Ferguson might just be what the bullpen ordered.

That’s all I will say about that.  Just take heed! I know they read this blog.  They really do.

There is a saying attributed to Ernest Holmes:

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life!

Others have said “you get what you believe” and “you become what you think about.

But, this is a baseball blog and I am not a doctor… however, I do play one on the internet.

LA Trip

I will make my annual LA Trip and be at the first two games of the Dodgers – Rockies Series May 21st and 22nd.  Hope to see you there! I am there for four (4) days, but my schedule only allows me to see two games.  However, I may go to the RC game on Wednesday, May 23rd.

Good Q & A From Ken Gurnick

Bullpen Talk

There has been a lot of talk about how the Dodgers failed to improve their bullpen last Winter, and right about now, even Ray Charles can see that. Right about now, the number one bullpen in the NL belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The major difference in the team’s pen has been Brad Boxberger who has converted 11 out of 11 saves.  He has a 1.80 ERA but a 1.33 WHIP which suggests he won’t keep up that save conversion rate, but until now, he has been very good.  Most of the bullpen improvement has came from internal improvement and maturation of existing pieces.

Boxberger was acquired by trade and Andrew Friedman was familiar with him.  He was/is an injury risk, and I get not paying Morrow $20 million, but I believe the Dodgers could have traded Jordan Sheffield for Boxberger. Sheffield is ranked higher than the prospect the D-BAGS traded for him (Curtis Taylor).

In reality, the maturation and improvement of the youngsters has created the improvement as much, or more than Boxberger, but Box has been a huge help.  The D-Bags pen is 1.50 Runs better than last year, while the Dodgers pen is 1.2 runs worse this year.  I am going to suggest that neither metric will hold. The Dodgers led the NL in bullpen ERA last year with a 3.38 ERA.  The D-Bags bullpen ERA is currently 2.19.  Totally unsustainable!  Totally!  Watch and see!

Nearer the bottom in Reliever ERA are the Colorado Rockies who spent big time on their pen… proving that you can’t buy a pen. The Indians led all of MLB in bullpen ERA last year with a 2.89.  Right now, they are 28th with a 5.51 ERA. The Cubs are better after signing Morrow, but their existing bullpen parts have stepped up big time:  Duensing and Edwards, Jr. have a combined 0.26 ERA and Strop has a 1.93 ERA.  Wanna bet they keep it up?  They won’t.

The point is: bullpens are fickle and the Dodgers pen has been awful while others have been great. They have been too good to believe, so don’t believe it either way. Other teams will get worse and the Dodgers will get better.  Bank on it, but FAZ, think about some arms ar AA or AAA who are currently starters.

By the way, ask yourselves these questions:

  1. How many team could have their closer implode in April and survive?
  2. How many teams could lose their best hitter for nearly two months and survive?
  3. How many teams could lose their Ace and survive?
  4. How many teams could lose their best starter with the best ERA and win-loss record and survive?
  5. How many teams could lose their Gold Glove RF who hit 28 HR last season and survive?
  6. How many teams could lose the best Shortstop in baseball and survive?
  7. How many teams could lose the pitcher who was anointed the TOP YOUNG LEFTY in baseball in 2017?
  8. How many teams could have ALL THAT happen and survive?

… and yet, they are not dead. They are breathing and not out of it… yet!  Some of it is just bad luck.. it happens, but it usually evens out. Give it time, my brothers and sisters.  Some players will come back, others will step up and others will pick it up.  Some may fall by the wayside. They have to heal themselves…and I believe they will. Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies…

This is a public service announcement brought to you by Brother Love:

By the way, My Buddy, Quinn was supposed to help me write this, but he got busy watching MLB.TV.  He likes it a lot!


This article has 65 Comments

  1. 1 – If you don’t like Roberts’ “different lineup every day”, you don’t like the Braintrust. He’s carrying out the mandate to use stats to alter the lineup to suit the opposing pitcher and a number of other factors. I’m more old school – a platoon or 2 is OK but find a bunch of players and play them.
    2 – Enough with a million utility players. Find some guys who are really good at something rather than guys who are so-so at a lot of things.
    3 – They were never going to make big changes this off-season. They just won 104 games and wanted to get under the luxury tax. They also assumed that everyone would play like they did last year. This was a mistake. Guys like Taylor – he had a season that was an outlier. Wood had a career year. So did Jansen (maybe). Bellinger has to adjust in his 2nd season in the league. Puig had his best season in 4 years. You can’t bank on a career year every year.
    4 – Alexander and Koehler were experiments. They haven’t worked out yet. I guess they might later. The thing is that Baez and Fields are know quantities and they planned on relying on them too much. I would try some of the arms in the minors. They couldn’t do worse. DL Cingrani. Move Baez or Fields to lower leverage situations. See if there’s someone else who can pitch.
    5 – The Dodgers aren’t “surviving”, in answer to your questions. they are 4 under .500 after 21% of the season is gone; in 4th place and 8 games out of 1st. That doesn’t sound like surviving to me. The pathetic Giants have been almost as injury prone as the Dodgers and they are 4 over .500 and 4 games ahead of the Dodgers.

  2. 1. I think we always learn and change. I think they will too. Too much left or right is not good.
    2. Agree
    3. Agree
    4. Agree
    5. Agree and Disagree

    1. I cannot find fault with 1-4. The one positive I see in #5 is that Cueto is now out for 6 weeks. He and MadBum should be back about the same time in July. MadBum maybe a little sooner. Samardzija got his tail kicked today. The Giants are going to have to stay competitive with Blach, Stratton, Suarez, and Holland. That is going to be tough. Blach can beat the Dodgers, but not so much other teams. Alen Hanson looks to be a good replacement for Panik, and Williamson is probably a good replacement for Pence. But their lack of starting pitching could come back to haunt them.
      The DBacks are another story. I do not think Goldschmidt is going to struggle all year. And Robbie Ray will be back. Bradley is becoming a weapon. I was an advocate for Boxberger last winter. But I never expected him to have the start that he is having. I believe I even mentioned that while I thought he would be a good help, I was also pushing for a fellow Trojan. I believe Rudy called me out on that. The Dodgers are going to have to play better (much better), and that has to start on Tuesday. They cannot keep splitting games with teams ahead of them. Otherwise #5 will become a reality .

  3. I agree with the premise. There are no external fixes that are available. This is going to have to be remedied by the team that FAZ has put together, and hopefully the return by Hill/Puig/Forsythe/JT will provide positive results. I have no idea when or if Kershaw will be back. The same for Urias.
    I also agree there has to be changes. The first change I would make would be to take CT3 out of the leadoff spot. It isn’t working. Puig is due back on Wednesday, and I am assuming that he will become the RF. Verdugo has to play, so I am guessing that he will be the CF, and that Kemp will be the primary LF, with Joc relieving all three. Joc has certainly earned the right for more play. If the Dodgers are going to climb back into this, then Doc has to play the three that are playing the best more than the 4th. Forget the righty lefty thing, and let the best ball player play.
    Who gets moved down will be telling. Who gets optioned when Hill comes off the DL on Tuesday? I am guessing Stewart. He needs to drop back down to continue to start “just in case”. I have always agreed with Mark that Stewart’s best option is to relieve, but for now, he just became the #6 starter. When Puig comes off DL on Wednesday, I would predict that Muncy is optioned. Locastro offers more in positions and speed. When Forsythe comes back, I am guessing that is when Locastro is optioned. And finally when JT is back, that is when Farmer is optioned unless there are other injuries. I do not believe that it is a good idea to move CT3 back and forth from SS and CF. Leave him at SS.
    One positive in Sunday’s AAA game was that Alexander actually got three outs with no baserunners, all on 3 ground ball outs. That is the Alexander the Dodgers were looking for. Can he do it again?
    One other change I would like to see is pushing the minor league players. Players like Santana, Sborz, Diaz, and Lux all deserve to be moved up a notch. Let’s see what they can do at the next level. It isn’t good for morale or confidence if they are moved back down, but they need to play to prove whether they are real prospects or not. Toronto is talking about calling up Vlad Guerrero Jr., a 19 year old currently in AA. I do not know if they will, but it is being discussed. If the Blue Jays fall out, I would guess that he would be called up for the experience. Let him play even if he does not play well. That is exactly what Houston did with Bregman, and what Boston did with Benintendi in 2016. Then they were ready when their teams were once again competitive. The Dodgers have a chance to do that with Verdugo.

    1. I have never been as high on Heredia as others are, but he just turned 19. He is awfully young and this is his 2nd year away from the Dominican. It takes some kids longer than other to get acclimated. Yadier Alvarez has not accomplished that either. The Loons are not a very good offensive team, so he cannot hide. Wills Montgomerie had a very good start tonight, but Riley Ottesen could not hold it. Hemmerich was not very effective either. If Jimenez turns it around, the Loons will have four good to very good starting pitchers with Vargas, Uceta, and Montgomerie joining Jimenez. If Marinan and/or Cooper join the Loons, they could have a very good starting rotation to take into the 2nd half. It could be 2016 all over again.

      1. do you know anything about robinson ortiz? he mentioned as a sleeper in a fangraphs chat a while back but i havent seen his name is 2018. lhp

        1. He is an 18 year old LHSP who pitched in the Dominican Summer League last year. He pitched well enough to probably make a US roster, probably in AZL. Admittedly, I do not follow the Dominican Summer League as much as others do, like Fangraphs. His DSL numbers were – 11 G/11GS, 37.1 IP, 33 hits, 5 BB’s, 35 K’s, 3.13 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .225 BAA. The DSL is a free swinging league, so it is hard to make projections on the low number of walks.
          When the DSL starts this summer, I will generally try to see who might be playing well enough to merit a look for the future. Current Great Lakes Loons pitchers that are graduates of the DSL include Jesus Vargas, Edwin Uceta, Melvin Jimenez, and Leo Crawford. When the AZL and Ogden rosters are set, there will be others.

          1. thanks. your mention of Melvin jimenez [whom I had forgotten about] made me remember him. as a general rule I try not to follow guys until they hit low A, but every year there’s a guy or two who gets good scouting reports. for the life of me I can’t remember a guy I was trying to think of: he was a Venezuelan LHP who made it to AA as a 19 y.o. and was considered a top prospect for us but he never made it. I thought it was johnny nunez but I looked him up and he was a RHP.

            do you know who i’m talking about? it wasn’t greg miller but it was a similar quick ascent followed by a sudden dive.

          2. jonathan Figueroa was the pitcher. I probably misremember several details about him but he was super-hot until he was not. low level pitching prospects are a dangerous group to get attached to.

          3. Jonathan Figueroa goes way back. He was signed by Logan White in 2002. Had a great 2002 season, and was rated #2 Dodger prospect after that season. Nothing after that. He had weight issues. Unfortunately Jonathan died way too early at 26 in November 2009, due to Lupus.

  4. Just found this site this year and thank god I did as I had become disenchanted with other Dodger sites, and the constant rhetoric about everything but baseball and my true passion our Dodgers. I have been a diehard fan since a child, only pausing for the first half of the 81 season when I sadly bought a Houston Astros trash can after they won the first half. We all know how that turned out.
    Anyway, First off thank you Mark and also AC/DC, for keeping this site predominantly about baseball and our team and devolving into other sites where commenters continually get completely off topic and team related comments get lost in the nonsensical talk.
    Also thanks Mark and AC/DC, your articles are thought prevoking, and good reads, even when I disagree. They have helped me immensely get through this frustrating season so far. I am diehard, always have been and always will be, my moods are dramatically effected by this team. The bottom line is that during the offseason I am much better person, friend, and boss. LOL The truth.

    On to baseball, this year has been a struggle to say the least. I agree with everyone above that we need to shake it up and quickly. I am just a fan and by in large feel good about what FAZ has done, but sometimes I feel like I am being sold a bill of goods. Hearing Friedman in Monterrey during Saturday’s broadcast left me a bit put off. I just wanted to feel a little more urgency, and accountability. Maybe that is just for fans, but one game away to this current display is troubling.

    The pen needs more shake up, Cingrani is not right, agree on DL, forget Fields in low leverage his stuff currently belongs in AAA immediately or maybe Houston will give us Alvarez back? Alexander or PV better choices right now, if somehow Alexander has gotten right in 10 days what a boon for the pen. Baez to low leverage absolutely.
    Hudson seems to be what his numbers of the last few years say, average to below average, keep Stewart up when Hill comes off tomorrow instead of him. I doubt that will occur because I realize we need #6 starter just in case. However that is not where he can help us the most. ( Mark has hammered this point and the numbers don’t lie.) Will Ariel Hernandez get a shot sometime soon, at least in AAA? I know he may be lighting in the bottle, but with his electric stuff, might be the Jolt this pen needs.

    Offense looks okay if our hitters can revert to close to their career norms and we can get Turner, Puig and Forsythe back by the end of next week and then jettison the 4A bunch of Muncy, Locastro and Farmer.

    I have not added much, a lot of agreeing with what has already been said, however I feel we have a run in us if we manipulate the roster and create some urgency now. Starts tomorrow, a two game sweep would be huge!!

    1. yeah, i’m not much for “must-wins” this early, but this series feels like a two-game sweep is important to get.

  5. I agrede with AC on Heredia. I am not a fan, but he’s young and you never know. Diaz and Peters look to be keepeers. Diaz is so smoooooth. Peters is Jayson Werth as has been said a million times. Then, there are Verdugo, Toles, Pederson, Kemp and Puig. This is what is called a logjam and the fact of the matter is:Chris Taylor is the best defensive CF of the bunch!

    I would not jump to the conclusion that he has regressed to the old Chris Taylor. In 2016, Ender Incaiarte hit .291, but he missed a lot of April and hit .216 in May. By the middle of June he was still in the .230’s. He ended up OK.

    If Doc believes CT3 is the leadoff guy, then I am fine with leaving there. Other than Verdugo, there aren’t many better options.

      1. Yes, he is, but I am still not sold that he will hit. Lux finally broke through – maybe he will too.

    1. I have projected Kendall to have a ceiling of a Willie Davis and a floor of… Jeren Who? So Gary Pettis is somewhere in the middle, and is a fair comparison right now. He needs to hire a Maury Wills/Brett Butler type hitting instructor and learn to make consistent contact. Bunt more. Make slap contact with 2 strikes. He has the speed to get a lot of infield hits, turn singles into doubles, and doubles into triples. Once he is on base, the hitters behind him will be seeing a lot of fastballs. He needs to be more pitch selective, as a walk could be a double for him. He just has to adapt. If he does, he could be a star. If he doesn’t, he will be a bust. It is up to him.

  6. Tonight starts a 2 game series with Arizona, not huge but6 games out will be better than 10. Hill goes tonight and he will either pitch a shutout for 5 and turn it over to the pen or go 2 or 3 innings leaving with the Dodgers behind and I have no idea which Hill will show up.
    The lineup changing as much as it does and the way the players are in than out is not the way I like to see the Dodgers play. Roberts main responsibility as the manager is to play the players that give the team the best chance to win, whether it’s the FO, Roberts, or a combination of both, that does not happen. Whatever, it’s time to change that approach
    When Puig returns why not play the following lineup every game until Forsythe and Turner return.
    Locastro 2b
    Verdugo cf
    Taylor ss
    Bellinger 1b
    Kemp lf
    Grandal c
    Puig rf
    Farmer 3b


    When Forsythe and Turner return Turner is back at 3b and send Farmer to OKC. If Locastro is playing well at 2b it won’t matter Forsythe will again start and Locastro will go back to OKC.
    One other point, if in the next 2 games the Arizona pitchers hit any of the Dodger players will Roberts please let the Dodger pitchers do the same to the Arizona hitters.I’m sure one player on the Dodgers ( Utley ) will be only too happy to point out that player.

  7. i’m starting to think we should sign Bryce harper this offseason. Stanton’s contract is 13y/$325m. I don’t see why harper wouldn’t agree to 15y/$450m.
    Kershaw can opt out if he likes but if not we still have him another couple years.
    we have enough young position players that we wouldn’t need to add anything else besides harper–maybe we could trade an OF for a 2B at some point.
    up until now I have never taken any harper-to-la toalk serious but I was just looking at his numbers and even with an unusually low batting average, his OBP & SLG% are both ridiculous. I mean, he’s barry bonds lite and only lacks the baserunning speed and elite defense of trout to be considered best player in baseball.
    I’ve never paid any attention to his being a “jerk”–he’s a true talent outlier and has probably been talked trash to his entire life. i’d talk some back too at a certain point.
    where would he play? wherever the hell he wants. kemp has been a pure bonus this year but maybe we could move him to the AL by the break or offseason. give Verdugo LF. trade puig. CF could be taylor/joc/toles.
    I don’t think the Yankees could afford him. are the angels real players?I think he’s tired of Washington. where else could he go? SF? I guess. hard for me to think of many other spots for him.
    maybe i’m just bored but dude is 25. he would only cost money. after a [potential] disaster of a 2018, he might be the only move that could truly move the needle. all-star, MVP, hall of fame. the question is is any one player on a baseball team really able to will his team to a championship. if I had to bet on anyone doing so for the next 15 years, it would probably be him.

    1. If anyone signs Harper for $450 million, they should immediately be assigned to a mental institution.

      I think that is at least, AT LEAST, $100 Million more than any other team will offer him. Probably more!

    2. He’s hasn’t won a championship with Washington, no one player can and to pay 450millon is not the way to go.

    1. Yu Darvish

      Athletically Gifted

      Physically Imposing

      Tall in Stature

      Mental Midget!

  8. FAZ got the Dodgers under the lux tax so that is a win for FAZ. All the injuries and back sliding performances would have been pretty hard to foresee. This team is what it is. If things don’t get better pretty soon might as well start gathering the forces for next season. Have prospect tryouts. Still could be surprises this year, hopefully good ones not bad ones. Had enough bad ones to last a few seasons.


    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today reinstated left-handed pitcher Rich Hill from the 10-day disabled list (left third digit inflammation) and optioned right-handed pitcher Brock Stewart to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

    Hill, 30, will make his fourth start of the season tonight against the Diamondbacks and his first start since April 14, after missing the last 18 games. He has gone 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA (10 ER/15.0 IP) and has struck out 16 batters against seven walks in three starts this year.

    Stewart, 26, last pitched on May 6 against the Padres in Monterrey, Mexico, where he gave up one hit in an inning of relief. In two relief appearances with the Dodgers this season, he has allowed one run in 2.2 innings (3.38 ERA) and has struck out three against one walk.

  10. How about this blockbuster trade? The Reds traded catcher Devin Mesoraco to the Mets for Matt Harvey. The Reds will pay all of Mesoraco’s $13.125M contract, and the Mets will pay all of Harvey’s $5.625M contract. A few years back this would have been something to talk about, but now it is meh. Both players are free agents next year, and this will be their showcase and earning time. I don’t expect much from either player.

    1. The Reds traded Grandal because they had Mesoraco and maybe this will give away one of my sources, but he said “Grandal will be better than Mesoraco.” I believed him.

  11. Look at the lineup for RC tonight:
    1. Lux 2B
    2. Puig RF
    3. Santana 1B
    4. Wong DH
    5. Kendall CF
    6. Estevez SS
    7. Bannon 3B
    8. Casey LF
    9. Bereman C


  12. Dennis Santana has pitched 6 Innings, allowed 4 hits, 1 ER 0 BB and 11 K’s. His ERA is down to 2.12 and was just pinch hit for after 83 pitches in the top of the 7th!

    FAZ, Get him to the Show next week!


  13. Why does any Dodger pitcher pitch to AJ Pollack?


    I send him to 1B… even if the bases are loaded. He is unconscious!

    1. I could care less if Rich Hill never pitched another game for the Dodgers, this guy sucks

  14. He has pretty much pitched like I thought he would in his first game back. He doesn’t have the “feel” for his curveball and when he doesn’t they kill his fastball. He needs a couple more starts.

    1. Agree 100% and that is the falt of who? should have been sent to RC for 1 or 2 starts until he got the curve where he wanted it.

  15. I’d rather watch that Rancho lineup than this big league team. Too bad the Rancho games aren’t shown on

  16. Has anyone noticed Joc’s set up in the batter box has changed? Ever since he has been doing better his confidence has increased. So when he steps in you will see he raises his bat to the pitcher with his right hand while he adjust his cup with his left. I think he may be sending a message to the pitcher.

  17. This team is what it is – painful to watch. My question is; Will FAZ have the cajonies to trade the FA’s at the deadline (I.e. Grandal, CK), or are they just going to let them walk?

    You can make a case for signing CK, but they (FA’s) all seem to opt out and go after the big money. Why can’t management do the same and maximize their return?

    1. Three questions:

      1. Should they wait until they are out of it… IF they are out of it?
      2. What do you think Grandal would bring?
      3. What do you think Clayton would bring?

      I would do it in a heartbeat… if I thought they would get a great return.

      I don’t think they would. Just my opinion…

      1. Looks like and smells like they are out of it now. Theoretically no, but, every area of the team including managing is in disarray. Can Humpty Dumpty’s parts be put back together – some of those parts are not even available.

        From what we have seen in the last few years those two would bring a huge return.

      2. I would also and I think FAZ would but like you said the return would have to be great.

  18. The key at bat for LA in the 11th was Verdugo’s. Runners on 1st and 2nd with the pitcher on deck and no one out. He had to at least move the runners over but K’d. No pinch hitters available on the bench for the pitcher, so if Verdugo made an out it would be 2 outs. Didn’t get it done. Coming into the game he was hitting .143 with RISP. Maybe not ready for prime time?

    1. With you there, that was brutal. Hill was off, guess expected due to the layoff, but he has just not been right and that includes spring training, curveball command has been abysmal. Offense did about all they could with what they currently have. Muncy, Farmer and Locastro exit stage left, not the problem just all hard to watch right now. Verdugo has a good future but the lights may be a little too bright right now, .143 with runners in scoring position and 1rbi. The pen is completely average and Mark I have to politely disagree about Kenley being back. He looks better but not still not near his form from the previous three years. Only strikeouts seem to be coming on his slider..

      Too much reliance this year on players repeating careeer years and the infirmed. Both of reared there ugly heads 20 percent of the way in. Finally, and total fandom on my part I would have liked to see a little more fire from entire bench and especially Roberts after the Souza slide. Perfect opportunity for Roberts to fire team up that inning and again in postgame but toil the high road. Wake up blue, take the bat of your shoulders, and start showing a small resemblance to the 104 win juggernaut of last year.

      On the positive side Santana and Peters look great, any chance they seee the field all in 2018? And Matt Kemp, great call
      there Mark, leading the nl in batting and 65 points better then our next best hitter.

  19. It is too early to pull the plug on Grandal and Clayton. You need to wait until they all come off the DL. If things are the same in July, I would certainly trade Grandal. We have too many young catchers coming to keep him. I would trade Hill in a heart beat. I have never liked him. In fact, I would trade him now. I would keep Clayton. Clayton may stay anyway because of health issues.

    It is very hard to watch the Dodgers. The starting pitching is not very good right now, Our relief piching is poor. The batting is horrible. In July we may need to clean house a little if we are out of it. Bring up the kids and let them play. We have outfielders and catchers in the minors. I would trade Kemp, Puig and Joc. Let Peters, Verdugo and Toles play the outfield.

  20. Why waste one more at bat on Muncy hitting .190 when you have Kiké available. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! Talked about it before but hill needed rehab start after long layoff ! Another dumb move!

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