The End is Near, Because the Pen is Here

Most of you probably don’t believe it, because the Dodger bullpen has been awful many times during this season, but it went from awful to deplorable when Daniel Hudson, Ross Stripling and Kenley Jansen went down.  Of course, Kenley was the biggest loss and there’s no way to replace him.

That will likely come to an end tonight as if Kenley is approved by his Doctors to play again.  In fact, he could be activated tonight.  Julio Urias is coming too.  The Dodgers are not rushing him,  Good grief, it’s been 15 months. The plan is for him to throw 3 innings or 45 pitches tomorrow and then see where he is at.  Don’t worry about the results – just worry that he is pain-free!  

I think we will see Julio by next Sunday. The same is true with Ross Stripling.  He should be activated next weekend. Yimi Garcia and Josh Fields are both getting close.  Axford is a couple of weeks away, but I am intrigued by his last two outings. It appears he has cleaned up a mechanical issue and is close to triple digits again.

Zac Rosscup showed no mental scars and pitched and “Immaculate Inning” Sunday to end the game.  I said yesterday that a pennant race is a bad time for pitchers like Caleb Ferguson and Dylan Floro is learn their trade, but they are being refined by fire and the learning curve may be shortened.  Even el Gasolino has looked impressive his last 4 or 5 innings, but I am not holding my breath… although I remain hopeful.

Both could be useful in the Post-Season.  Post season?  Playoffs? Playoffs?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7fjDS0jKiE

Cody Bellinger has found his groove.  JT is locked in and Manny is trying to get his stroke back.  The hitting will be fine, even if they don’t lead in hitting with RISP. They are hitting the ball on the ground and advancing runners and changing their approach with two strikes, led by one Cody Bellinger.  Remember, I also told you he would figure it out and not have to go back to AAA.

Fans have been ragging on Kike (as usual), but did you know he is hitting .303 in August with a .351 OB%?  

The Dodgers are leading the majors in stolen bases this August with 24 SB’s in 26 tried! They are running like Freaking Gazelles! They are also leading the NL in OPS for August and are tied for first with the Cubs for 1st for OPS in the NL.  They are just 2 runs behind the Braves for the NL lead in runs.

Forget their PAST run differential – all that matters is what happens from here on.  The pen is coming back together and the cream will rise to the top in the NL West! The end is near for the D-Bags and the Rocks and the Dodger’s pen is about to be back!

More on The Balk 

 Pedro Moura of The Athleticadded this about The Balk.  The fact is: The bulk of Balks aren’t called like that!

The Dodgers did not dispute movement. Manager Dave Roberts said he saw Floro’s knee buckle before he stepped off, on replay, too. Rather, they reasoned that the movement was incidental enough it should have been allowed. The rulebook says balks require the intention to deceive the baserunner, and Floro had no such intention.

“Let the players handle it and determine the outcome,” Turner said. “That’s the worst part about tonight: It was decided by an umpire.”

It feels as if every game the Dodgers have played in August has been decided late, and they mostly have been. In each of their last eight games, the Dodgers have held a lead or been locked in a tie in the seventh inning or later. In seven of those games, they have blown the lead or lost altogether, the bullpen repeatedly charged with the loss, Roberts’ decision-making repeatedly questioned.

Moura also has a great article onCaleb Fergusontoday. I highly recommend it!

The Blue Angels were awesome as usual yesterday, but the F-22 Raptor was unbelievable!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCb_XbmB_iE

This article has 74 Comments

  1. Mark noted Kike’s August batting numbers, I thought it would be interesting to see the remainder of the team’s offensive metrics:
    .
    August batting numbers, in the order of batting average:
    .
    Justin Turner – .439/.522/.789/1.312 – 67 PA
    Cody Bellinger – .431/.507/.621/1.128 – 67 PA
    Kike’ Hernandez – .303/.351/.485/.836 – 38 PA
    Yasiel Puig – .288/.315/.500/.815 – 54 PA
    Max Muncy – .250/.302/.650/.952 – 43 PA
    Brian Dozier – .250/.395/.467/.861 – 76 PA
    Manny Machado – .250/.301/.412/.713 – 73 PA
    Chris Taylor – .188/.259/.313/.572 – 54 PA
    Matt Kemp – .188/.259/.271/.530 – 54 PA
    Yasmani Grandal – .167/.273/.458/.731 – 55 PA
    Joc Pederson – .140/.208/.442/.650 – 48 PA
    Austin Barnes – .133/.381/.200/.581 – 22 PA
    .
    Two batters (JT and Belli) have OBP north of .500. And while Dozier has a very average BA, he does have an OBP of .395 as primarily the leadoff hitter. Certainly most of the OF is not pulling its weight, and those are often the middle of the order hitters, and the ones counted on driving in the RISP. The two catchers are not having a good August offensively.
    .
    Perhaps the most disheartening for me was to see Joc’s numbers. While his slugging number is okay, his OBP at .208 has to improve. I would expect both Verdugo and Toles would have better OBP than Joc, CT3, and Kemp. I would also expect Locastro to have better numbers other than slugging than CT3.
    .
    It is getting to clutch time, and the players need to show what they can produce to get more playing time in the most needed clutch month…September.

      1. I too think moving Verdugo to leadoff would have been a good move but I will say on Joc’s behalf that he was sitting a lot after getting hot and seems to have lost his groove.
        ~
        I predicted awhile back that Grandal would have a 2nd hot streak this season. He did coming out of the All-Star break. Roberts timed it well, but now it’s time to move him down the batting order.
        ~
        As for the pen the only thing that will make a difference is a healthy KJ and Maeda stepping up. Good for Rosscup yesterday but I don’t believe he belongs on a MLB 25. Yimi hasn’t been good in LA or OKC. I hope Urias continues to be pain free but I’m not counting on him. What the heck is wrong with Fields that he’s been out so long?
        ~
        Congrats to Kershaw on #150. It should have happened a long time ago with a decent pen behind him or some run support. I hope he stays a Dodger a long time and his back allows him to pass Sutton.
        ~
        Kike does not belong in the middle of the batting cleanup!

        1. I do want to clarify, I was not putting Joc individually down. I was just surprised to see his low OBP in August. I honestly did not expect that. I had to go back and triple check it. In his 48 PA, he has 6 hits and 4 walks. Of the 6 hits, 4 are HRs and 1 is a double. He has only K’d 9 times, so he is making contact. Hopefully they will begin to get through or over the infield. The Dodgers face another lefty starter tonight, but then face two RHSP, so Joc should get his AB in those two games. I hope he does well because most teams do not have as many LHSP as the Giants who will set their rotation up so it is all lefty all the time.
          .
          However, I am criticizing the OF as a group. Other than Belli (who is 50% OF) and to some degree Puig, the group is not hitting. And these are supposed to be the run producers.
          .
          Josh Fields is supposed to get one more rehab assignment and then become activated. He has been out since June 26 with shoulder inflammation. I was surprised he did not pitch in either of the doubleheader games yesterday for OKC. OKC is off today, so he will probably get an inning in tomorrow’s game.
          .
          I agree with you about Yimi. He should not be recalled this year. If he is, he should not pitch in a meaningful game.

          1. AC

            What Muncy has done in August, was surprising to me, when I looked yesterday.

            Because he had done better, then I thought.

            And he has had even less playing time, and at bats.

            And this is his first time playing almost everyday, at the major league level.

            And you know he could have easily got in his mind, after struggling for a while there, and seeing Dozier traded to the team.

            But he has better numbers in July, and August.

          2. MJ,
            .
            Max has started to pick up where he was at pre-All Star HR Derby. His July pre-HR derby numbers were .294/.419/.608/1.027. Post HR derby numbers in July were .182/.275/.409/.684. He has his OPS up over .900 in August, so he is getting back to where he was at. OFFENSIVELY, Max is not a problem. Now defensively….
            .
            Max is also a better hitter against LHP vs RHP, so we still need that LH bat against RHP, and hopefully Joc or Verdugo or Toles can provide that.

    1. AC

      I only mentioned Muncy, because he could be an easy target for some, and he also had to deal with a lot less playing time.

  2. Mark, the Blue Angels come to Jacksonville every year to the beach, that RAPTOR is insane. I was standing next to an Air Force guy watching the show, he said that thing is only allowed to run at half thrust because all the windows in most buildings would be blown out if he really hit it, amazing piece of machinery

    1. That one stall was amazingly graceful. just watching from my desktop gave my stomach butterflies. Too bad they run just a tad above my budget. Maybe someday though.- that is if there’s such thing as a next life.

  3. In six starts since the All-Star Break, Kershaw has a 1.77 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with 37 strikeouts to three walks. Not bad for a pitcher who isn’t worth resigning.

  4. In six starts since the All-Star Break, Kershaw has a 1.77 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with 37 strikeouts to three walks. Not bad for a pitcher who isn’t worth “resigning”.

  5. Funny how the stress of a 1 run lead is so different than a 5 run lead. And how it takes a certain very confident individual to thrive in that kind of stress. Guess we can all agree what a vital player Kenley Jansen is to the success or failure of the Dodgers current season. I think they even hit better when the team knows he’s in there and has their backs. Just my imagination? Probably. Kershaw is gaining command of the zone with all his pitches and it’s a wonderful thing to behold. The Dodger starters are paving the way and the BP is getting healthy, and just getting it. They’re a few games behind with head to head games coming up soon. Hope they’re up to it. Go get em Dodgers.

  6. Changed my email and user name and posts still not showing when I post them. And the verify thing comes up every time. They show up later. IDK. No big deal anyway. My posts really are more for me than adding much to the group.

  7. Since the All-Star Game, though, things have not gone well for Kemp. Standing at .310/.352/.522 when baseball took its midsummer respite, Kemp’s OPS has bled about 100 points in just a month, and he’s stalled at 1.1 WAR for the 2018 season. Neither ZiPS or Steamer are optimistic about a turnaround, projecting him to finish at 1.3 and 1.2 WAR, respetively, the primary difference between the two being playing time.

    Before Wednesday’s 2-for-4 performance, Kemp last had a multi-hit game on July 23rd and now has hits in four of his last 19 games. Overall, he’s 5-for-58 from that date with only a lone double. The result? A .086/.191/.103 line.

    1. I expect him to be productive… maybe .285, not .310, but 6-10 more HR!

      At least I hope he does.

    1. Folks, The RO unit Mark sells is one hell of a bargain if you value great tasting water! For the ice alone it’s getting. Ice is clear and longer lasting than the simple tap water. I live just a few miles downstream of Hinkley’PG&E compression plant. Barstow’ doesn’t have great tasting tap water UNLESS it’s properly filtered and Mark provides a true solution. My 2 cents.

  8. Just heard Colleti on Dodgertalk this morning and he echoed your words Mark. He believes that once a healthy Kenley comes back, along with Chicken Strip, Meada, a healthy Urias, that the Dodger bullpen could be the best in the league., I am holding my breath. Totally loved the 1st inning yesterday when they scored 5 runs without going ‘Yard. If they start that approach, along with the stolen bases, we might have something here.

          1. Colletti is brilliant and aside from that he’s a good guy. I really respected the way he treated Kenny Shulsen (R.I.P.) and Kenny’s son. I’m not saying he’s better than FAZ but Colletti’s wit is very sharp and he stocked some great talent that is often credited to FAZ. People still wrongly say Colletti would of gutted the farm where his MO doesn’t follow that at all. He worked for somebody and thus ate some sins he didn’t commit. But I’ve always stood up for him. GO DODGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          2. I know we all like to bag on ol’ Uncle Ned, so I did some research. While we all like to look at the bad contracts and hits and misses(Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre) he had, bottom line is the guy took the Dodgers to the play-offs 5 times in 9 years, and went to the NLCS 3 times. During that time he had the best winning percentage of any NL General Manager. He also had the pleasure of working in the toxic McCourt era, when he couldn’t pull the trigger to get a good player at the deadline(C.C. Sabathia in his prime) because McCourt wouldn’t allow it. He also wouldn’t trade the main prospects (Seager, Joc, Bellinger). He mentioned that the one thing he hoped when other teams kept asking for these guys, that they wouldn’t talk about a guy name Ross Stripling. He kept Stripling below the radar. So yeah, though he definitely had his faults, the guy still loves this team, and he always talks about it. Myself, I like hearing his insights on the podcasts and TV that come from an ex GM’s view that most of us don’t see or didn’t even think about, from arm location to a pitchers mental state going from a starter to the bullpen, or how he used to have his scouts follow our own minor leaguers around to see if certain guys were on time to team meetings, did they goof off alot, or how they went about their preparation for that nights game. The guy wasn’t as bad as he was made out to be.

  9. Kenley is back! I’m going tonight; taking my 9 year old nephew from Baltimore to his first ever baseball game. I’d love for Kenley to come in and close it out.

  10. Dennis Santana has been cleared to throw from the mound tomorrow. I do not know if there is enough time for him to get in any rehab before the minor league season ends in a couple of weeks. It is possible that he will continue to rehab in Arizona and then throw in the AFL, which is due to start October 9.

    1. That is great news. That means he has been throwing on flat ground for a little while. He could be ready to pitch in 3-4 weeks, but that’s a long shot. I think that this fall and winter some decisions will have to be made as to some pitchers going to the pen. Santana I think, stays as a starter… but he could be a lockdown reliver too.

  11. Mark a lot of what you say is true, but the bottom line is the Dodgers have 37 games left, and if they don’t start hitting with men in scoring position it will not end well for the Dodgers.
    The Dodgers need to take the next 3 series from St Louis, San Diego, and Texas and then take at least 3 out of 4 from Arizona. Let’s see how they play.

  12. I say with highest level of sarcasm that I’m glad we have to work Taylor and Kike in the lineup again tonight. Funny how the team’s best CF is playing LF again too. I read today that the lineup used the most this year by the Dodgers totals six times. Just let Puig serve his suspension if they’re going to keep putting these goofy lineups out there.

  13. Who goes to make room for Kenley?

    Choices:
    1. Chargois
    2. Rosscup
    3. Ferguson

    A pat on the back awaits the person who picks the right one. I pick Rosscup!

    1. Depends on if they can convince him to take another phantom trip to the DL. Isn’t he out of options? Could be Floro too.

  14. I’m a high roller… I just bet one of my best friends, who is a Cards fan, 100 pennies on tonights game (that’s the max we bet).

    Man, I could lose it all!

  15. DOZIER
    TURNER
    MACHADO- THANK THE HEAVENS!!!
    BELLINGER
    KEMP
    HERNANDEZ
    TAYLOR
    BARNES
    WOOD

    MATT CARPENTER 33 BOMBS, DONT LET THIS GUY KILL US

  16. Walk Carpenter every chance you get and within reason…
    I’m now hoping now that Kike stays with the Blue for a long time. He is now my favorite Dodger utility guy all time!!! It was Darrel Thomas (especially when he got Lasorda mumbling about his basket catches in the OF)…
    Win tonite..
    Wife n I head up about 9K above Bishop and see if we can find some trout that want to die…
    P.S. Dave Roberts jersey night Saturday!!! Be there or be Square…

    1. Darrel was one of my favorites. My coach used to make me run laps for emulating his catches in practice.

      1. My favorite was Lee Lacy in the early 70’s and he remains my favorite utility player today. He stopped being a utility player when he went to Baltimore as a 37 year old, when he was strictly an OF. As a 37 year old and 38 year old he had more than 500 PA and put up some outstanding numbers. At 39 he was not that bad. At 38, in 537 AB, Lacy batted .287/.334/.391/.725. He also only struck out 71 times. It might be nice to see if some of our 26-28 year olds could duplicate those numbers. In 5,004 career PA, Lacy K’d 657 (about 13%). Darrel played more positions, but did not hit nearly as well as Lacy.

  17. DODGERS REINSTATE KENLEY JANSEN

    LOS ANGELES
    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today reinstated right-handed pitcher Kenley Jansen from the 10-day disabled list and placed left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup on the 10-day disabled list with a left calf strain.

    Jansen, who missed the last nine games with an irregular heartbeat, has appeared in 51 games with Los Angeles this season, going 0-3 with 32 saves and posting a 2.15 ERA (13 ER/54.1 IP). The All-Star closer has also struck out 61 batters against 14 walks and has held the opposition to a .175 average. The right-hander currently ranks second in saves in the National League, while also ranking among NL relievers in WHIP (0.90, 6th), opponents’ batting average (7th), opponents’ OPS (.523, 7th) and ERA (15th).

    Rosscup, 30, has appeared in eight games for the Dodgers this season, allowing five runs over 6.2 innings (6.75 ERA) and striking out 10 against one walk.

  18. Typical Dodgers bases loaded nobody out can’t score. Bellinger off to great start no clutch bases loaded and then another poor decision at first base with a ball that should have been doziers. Gomber has held right handed batters to a .190 ave. So the brilliant Roberts sits Muncy who hits lefties better than righty’s. Since I probably won’t watch much of this game because of work tomorrow and I hate the cards. I thought I would give peterj something to talk about lol I don’t have much confidence in wood so this game could get ugly quickly.

  19. Don’t pinch hit and then wind up pulling him immediately. I’ve seen this too many times this year. Wood no zero command from the first batter of the game.

  20. The last game was a mirage. The Dodgers have been teasing us with the occasional game with hitting with RISP, few strikeouts, fewer HRs. But it’s not real. 0 for with RISP; bad situational hitting; bad managerial decisions – heck, bad lineup decisions.

    Rinse, wash, repeat.

  21. Given that Dodgers have problems hitting with RISP, then why I ask is Alex Verdugo who is hitting around .340 and who has exceptional bat to ball skills, still at OKC?

  22. Can someone tell me why Austin Barnes is in the big leagues? Two men on, no outs and Keke and Austin can’t get it done. This past weekend offensive explosion was a mirage. We are who we’ve been the last 6 weeks and in April.

    1. I want him to be better — but he literally looks like his main objective is to walk, as he knows he has no chance of squaring the ball up. I wonder what his line-drive pct is? I think I have seen him hit the ball hard maybe two times all year.

  23. 0-2 on two consective hitters, and both walk. I’d like to see a bunch more confidence when our pitchers get ahead.

    And although the foul ball was probably a bit out Cody’s reach, it still drives me crazy when I see a Dodgers fan with his hands up trying to make a catch. Just get out of the way and give Cody all the room he needs to make the catch.

  24. MJ, sorry, but I don’t have the same high opinion of Toles that you have. No doubt in my mind that Verdugo is the far superior player.

  25. So you start Barnes but pinch-hit for him in the 6th inning. Why start him then? The Dodgers will be out of position players and the game will go extra innings.

  26. New way to lose the game – another reliever fails in the 9th. It must be catching – even Jansen caught it.

  27. Guess KJ isn’t ready yet. How many games has our BP given away?

    Bobby wrote August 20, 2018 at 5:50 pm
    Kenley is back! I’m going tonight; taking my 9 year old nephew from Baltimore to his first ever baseball game. I’d love for Kenley to come in and close it out
    Unfortunately, a big let down—- maybe our hitters can still pull it our.

    1. That DL trip may be the defining moment in this season. Kenley was rolling when it happened and the bullpen fell apart almost instantaneously.
      ~
      When I see Kike, Taylor, Barnes, pitcher all lined up in a row I don’t expect much offense.

  28. Strand 14 runners. Taylor looks at two strikes and swings at a ball. His season in a nutshell. Grandal comes off the bench to K 3 times.

  29. What needs to change this offseason Mark and AC, lookin forward to that article, I have no idea. But running this .500 team again would be mistake. There are keepers but I am unsure, besides a few obvious ones, who that is???

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