No Blame Here!!

I understand the frustration in losing last night to the Padres.  But I am not going to blame this on Doc or the lineup.  The two questions I did have before the game were Kike’ and Freese in the lineup and Bellinger not.  But Kike’ and Freese were fine last night and certainly not the problem.  Kemp has been getting key hits lately, so I am not going to blame him for not getting a key hit or Puig.  JT and Machado left runners on base, but JT has been so hot lately, one off night is not going to be a problem for me.  Even Machado got a RBI in the 9th.  No, instead I am going to give credit to the 23-year-old LHSP Eric Lauer.  Lauer has pitched superbly against the Dodgers all year.  The Pads are allowed to have a good young pitcher.

In the art of second guessing, I am not sure that Stripling is the answer for the #5 SP right now.  He has not been the same since he went out with the injury.  He might be able to go 1-2 innings, but anything more seems to be pushing it.  I also do not like the changing of the order of the rotation when the team is hot.  Why move Hill and Stripling around.  Hill last pitched last Saturday.  Is a 7-day rest period really wise at this stage of the season?  It is not like Hill is a 200 IP pitcher, and needs an extra day.  Starting pitchers have a routine, and now Hill is not in his.  Again, maybe it works out for the Dodgers.  I am not trying to insinuate that it is a mistake, it is just a question for me.  My understanding was that the change was predicated on setting up for the playoffs. YOU HAVE TO GET TO THE PLAYOFFS FIRST TO SET UP THE ROTATION FOR THE PLAYOFFS.  This team seems to be putting the cart before the horse too many times this year.  Keeping the player fresh for October when there may not be an October, and now setting up the playoff rotation when there may not be a playoff. Maybe the reports about setting up for the playoff rotation were off, but it is certainly understandable with how this year is working out.

I have read a lot of blog posters this AM that are blaming the loss on Axford.  Axford is who he is, a very underwhelming average relief pitcher who can throw hard.  He is capable of a good outing, but also capable of a clunker.  I do not know why Axford was called in to pitch the 9thand not Maeda.  Maybe it is because Maeda pitched on the 16th, 18th, and 19th.  It is not the number of innings pitched, but the number of times Maeda has gotten up to warm up.  He is a starting pitcher who does not get up to warm up every night.  That is why I question why everyone seems to think that it is just normal for a starting pitcher to just go to the pen and be able to effectively go back to back games.  I did not care that both Maeda and Wood could be in the pen, but they are not the same as a top high leverage late inning reliever.  Just like the late inning high leverage reliever is not a starting pitcher.  It is a total breakup of their routine from the start of the year.  It took Maeda 2-3 relief appearances before he seemed transfixed into the relief role.  That is why I did not think there was anything wrong with Wood in his 1strelief appearance in a year and a half.  He seemed fine last night with his fastball hitting 92.  He is not sulking, he is just a starting pitcher placed in an unfamiliar role (at least this year).

The game plan was to win the next three series.  They can still win the Padre series with a win tonight and tomorrow.  The DBacks and SF do want to take the Dodgers out, but just like with the DBacks and Rockies earlier this month, LAD seems to play to their competition, and they seem very capable of rising to the occasion for those two series.  I am sure there was a psychological let down after a great Rockies series, and then a well pitched game by a 2018 Dodger nemesis (Lauer), but that is the makeup of this Dodgers team.  JT is critical and Kemp/Muncy have been magical at times, but this is Corey Seager’s team.  Now that Ethier is no longer with the team, Seager and his career .326/.413/.536/.949 batting line with RISP, and .328/.416/.522/.938 with RISP and 2 outs is the clutch that this team is missing.  It certainly is not Machado.  After all, he is no Scooter Gennett.  Maybe Machado becomes more lethal with TurnerANDSeager, but by himself, he is not the clutch bat the team is missing.

So, let’s get off the blame game train and just give the Padres and Lauer credit for last night.  And then let’s watch the Dodgers take the next two games to win the series and move in to AZ to wrap up the NL West for the 6thconsecutive year.

By the way, even with all the exercise I have been doing lately and all of the weight that I have lost, my 66-year-old heart cannot take many more of these Dodgers and Trojans games at the same time.  At least my Trojans came back to win a game, and maybe the 18-year-old freshman QB proved to himself that he belongs.

Fight On & Go Blue!!


This article has 36 Comments

  1. AC

    I am not mentioning this just because I know Wood is a favorite of yours, but I would have kept Wood in the rotation longer.

    I would have had Stripling pitch out of the pen, to build himself back up.

    Having Stripling start, and just pitch three innings at a time, or a little more, can be done out of the pen.

    And that would not effect the other starters in the starting rotation, like it has.

    And if Stripling doesn’t have enough time to get back where he once was, we would have Wood already pitching in the rotation throughout this, and as a back up for Stripling, if he can’t get back, where he was.

    I know there is not a lot of time left, but remember how Buehler pitched in that one afternoon game, when they rushed him back to soon, without a single rehab game?

    Your right that there is only a couple players on this team, we can really count on, to get key hits in high leverage situations, in games.

    And your right, Turner can’t do it all the time, even if it seems like he does.

    Because pitchers will start pitching around Turner in these situations after a while, if they have not already done that.

    Why pitch to Turner, when you have almost an entire line up of hitters, that doesn’t do well, in high leverage situations?

    After all this debate about Machado, I thought I would look at his numbers, and these numbers really stood out, when it comes to Machado.

    In 157 at bats against righties, since he has joined this team, here are his numbers against righties. 229/ 263/ 420/ 684.

    There is not a single number there, that is good!

    And remember Manny is batting third, right behind Turner.

    Machado has been really good against lefties, but we didn’t need another platoon player, on this team.

    1. I had no idea Manny was this pathetic vs righties. God was I wrong about his arrival! I predicted he’d instantly become the best player in the NL when he got here, and he’s been underwhelming.

      MJ, where did you find these numbers? I want to show them to another group of Dodger fans who I’ve been whining to about Machado’s lack of production

      1. Bobby

        I was shocked when I saw those numbers yesterday, and that is why wrote them down.

        And I checked them again this morning, just to be sure.

        Because they have the splits from when he was with the Orioles, and since he joined the Dodgers

        He did get a hit last night, so the numbers are not precise for today, but his numbers are still just as bad, even after that one hit, obviously.

        I just looked at the stats, at Dodger com.

        I was like you, I thought he would be good, too.

        Because most good hitters, will hit even if they are traded to another league, like JD Martinez.

  2. MJ, good point on Machado, for the year he is .292 and lifetime .281 against righties, must be the bright LA lights.

    I must agree with Bobby, I was of the impression this guy was going to take over, very underwhelming so far.

    Let’s hope he makes us all eat crow getting to October and in it.

  3. Nice post AC, very well stated. I would hate to keep score of last night’s game with all of the moves Doc made but this is the way they will play the rest of the way, mixing and matching. Some of this may be auditions for the final few spots and keeping everyone fresh but I agree lining up a post season rotation requires being in the post season, not the other way around. No one wants to go in as a wild card and the Brewers, Cards and Rocks are way too close to the Dodgers in W/L record to be playing around like these games are not important. The team has the tie breaker advantage against everyone but the Cards. I was hoping for some help from the Giants and Snakes yesterday but both lost close games late. Let’s reverse all of that tonight!

    1. Surprising CT3 gets the call at 2B and bats behind Grandal in the 8 hole. Manny at cleanup is a new thing too. I like Muncy in the 3 hole with Cody 5 and Puig 6 it’s a L/R alternating all the way through. I have not seen it much this year but they used it a lot last year. They should hit this pitcher, but that is should. Giants lost in the 10th, Cards up a half game for the last WC.

      1. Sitting are Kemp, keekay, dozier and freese. I am fine with all those moves. Where they bat doesn’t mean much to me. We are playing to win tonight. No more bullpen scrubs.

        1. Agreed on who is sitting tonight, I just think it’s better to have some L/R variety than full rightie or leftie lineups. I think it makes it harder on the pitcher and also the manager when he goes to the bullpen.

  4. AC, from the previous thread you stated that with all the potential vacancies on the 25 there should be no problem protecting most of the Rule 5 exposed players. I think that might not be true unless those vacancies on the current 25 are filled with prospects. If not, all the additions will replace those leaving the 40 that were on the 25. Am I still missing something?

  5. I think this is the best lineup construction that I’ve seen all year. It’s well thought out, very logical, and takes into account who’s been hitting the ball well lately.

    Was this due to some dodger fan contest? Where one lucky fan gets to pick the lineup for one game at the last home series???

    If this was actually constructed by Farhan, Dave, and company… then bravo!!! Congratulations guys… it only took until game 155 for you to start figuring this thing out ;- )

  6. It appears the Dbacks are rolling over for the Rockies, likely will not show us the same courtesy.

    We are going to need to play with a must win urgency every night or Colorado might grab this division from us. They are going to avoid the Phillies best pitcher and be playing against a team that was just eliminated in the next four after tomorrow. Their ace is going against AZ’s #4 in the finale. They lead 4 to 0 in the 5th of game 2. Also who knows what Nationals team will show up, and who will pitch for them. They are definitely going to miss Sherzer and maybe Strasburg as well. Strasburg is lined up to pitch the final day of the season but they may elect to just shut him down and his injury riddled season. Point being Robert’s and this ball club better suit up, show up and play a better brand of baseball then they did last night. Come on Blue!!

  7. Anyone watching this game? The announcers mentioning how in 1989, Hershiser threw 166 pitches in 1 game, on the last game of the year. Holy cow!

  8. Bums, with regards to the Rule 5 draft. The list of free agents that I listed (Grandal, Ryu, Dozier, Machado, Madson, Axford, Hudson, Koehler, and Utley ) will be removed from the 40 man once they are declared free agents (15 days after the end of the WS). It does not matter if they were on the 25 man, it is the 40 man that needs the protection. The 40 man roster needs to be set by 8:00 PM ET Monday, November 20. Most teams will protect 37-39 to keep spots open for FA signings, Rule 5 draft, or multiple players acquired in a trade.
    The Dodgers have 12 eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time, but 8 of them are AA or A. I do not expect to see any of those 8 players protected as I do not believe any of them can stay on a ML 25 man roster for the full year, or good enough to hide on the 25 man for a year. The only potential player that may be protected would be Drew Jackson. I can see a ML team picking him up as a super utility guy. But with Kike’, Taylor, and Locastro already on the 40 many, I do not see Jackson as a 4th. What may be more interesting is how many of the 8 will be protected on the AAA roster.
    If FAZ protects any of the eligible, it will come from Rios, Beaty, Joe, and Sborz. It is possible that all 4 will be protected, but not likely. Rios and Beaty are the same guy. And Connor Joe is a RHH version. Because of the number of FA relievers, Sborz probably gets protected, at least initially.
    The Dodgers will fill the 25 man with ML players, not just prospects. The 40 man for the Dodgers are 40 players that can play at the ML level (depth). Some will be prospects (think Santana who was protected last winter). They will sign FA or players released and not protected. If they sign someone as a FA, they need a spot on the 40 man.
    One other point, with the number of FA relief pitchers leaving this year, and probably less than 4 Rule 5 eligible prospects to be protected, I can see FAZ protecting and adding to the 40 man pitchers like Daniel Corcino and Manny Banuelos.
    I hope this makes sense.

    1. Great game tonight! They just need to take care of the team in front of them. Hill looked pretty good tonight.

      AC-thanks for the info on rule 5 draft, made it very understandable and that’s hard to do! I like Connor Joe and Beaty has some Muncy in him-nice bat average glove. Rios needs to be a DH or 1B but mad power. Banuelos had a season much like Font’s last year at AAA. Corsino is a bit like Kenley and Sborz was a high draft pick that pitched better returning to the bullpen where he primarily pitched in college. I think they traded for Jackson who has plus arm and speed, with decent bat.

      Thanks also for filling in for Mark while he enjoys Hawaii!!

  9. Sitting on the Tarmac at Faro Airport, Portugal, in a one hour delay.
    Golf for 4 days with 20 pals, but nice to wake up to some good news today.
    Watched Friday night’s disappointing defeat through very beer impaired eyes at 4am.

    So great to get back on track, with a good performance front Rich Hill, and some good hitting from Manny.
    Been reading the comments about his lack of impact since his arrival, but I think it must be very hard not to
    press too much when you are fully aware that you are meant to be the difference maker, and the biggest TD mover.
    I like him, and he seems to have gelled with his teammates, although I would like to see a bit more hustle.
    I would happily watch him in Dodger Blue for the next few years when he will be in his prime.

    Just wanted to say that I think AC’s contributions this season have really improved a site that was already good.
    You bring a very balanced and well articulated take to all things Blue.
    So cheers AC, we are lucky to have you on board.
    Thanks also to DC for his very informed Minor League coverage.

    A win tonight from Ryu would go a long way to getting us to the finishing line.

  10. A much-needed win last night and nothing less than the same for today. Arizona and the giants will be ready, both would love to be the team that knocks the Dodgers from the playoffs.

  11. M.T. – I can taste those mahi-mahi tacos right now!!
    Keep having fun..
    Watford my Man – Just seems you have too much fun!!! Keep on keeping on!!!

  12. Adam – After all that they did…
    Please give me your insight for todays game and any future thoughts??? I may have to call my book…
    Watford my Man – What does the London books say about the Blue??? Any Odds??

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