And the Magic Number is 5

The Magic Number is down to 5.  The Rockies do not look like they are going away, so the Dodgers are going to need to win this race.  I am more than fine with that.  On a night that showcased another of those all RHH lineups against a very good LHSP, the players came through when they needed to.  The team scored 7 runs with only one solo HR, so they actually had to hit with runners in scoring position to win this one.  4-16 with WRISP is not great, but it was enough last night.

 

Robbie Ray was his normal effectively wild self, throwing 100 pitches in 5 innings.  You need to get to Ray early because he gets better as the game goes on.  And when he only faces RHH, he can get into one of his grooves.  The Dodgers had him on the ropes in the 1stbut Matt Kemp was unable to get the big hit with the bases full. Ray allowed 2 hits and 1walk over the next four innings.  Fortunately, one of those hits was a David Freese HR which temporarily tied the score at 2 in the 5th.  Freese had both RBI’s against Ray.  I think he has sewn up the RHH bench role for the playoffs, if there was any doubt.

 

Puig and Muncy stayed hot in their pinch-hitting roles, but it was the Manny Machado ground out to SS Michael Ahmed in the 7ththat put the Dodgers in front to stay.  That was the key AB for me.  It proves that one does not have to get a HR or even a hit to score a run with a runner on 3rdwith less than 2 outs. MAKECONTACTand good things may happen.  I give Machado tremendous credit for that.  It is not easy to get the ball in the air against Ziegler, and Machado did not try to do too much with the pitch and made good contact in the hole.  No chance for a DP, and a run scored.  Tremendous piece of hitting against one of the best ground ball pitchers in the game.

 

Yoshihisa Hirano has been very effective against the Dodgers in 7 previous games; 5 scoreless.  He did allow a HR to Forsythe on April 2, and one to Muncy on April 30, but nothing since.  Two hits, two walks, and two wild pitches scored two runs in the decisive 9th, and a Manny Machado double scored a third.  Machado and Freese came up big last night.  Kemp had a tough night leaving the bases loaded twice, but he has come up big recently and not every night can a batter be a hero.

 

On yet another night where we are reminded that Clayton Kershaw may be good, but he is not the Clayton Kershaw most of us have followed for the past 11 years.  He is stubborn and instead of trying to pitch around Marte (who obviously had his number last night), he continued to challenge him and came up second best each time.  Triple, HR, single for 3 RBI’s against Kershaw.  Marte was 1-13 against Kershaw before last night, so Kershaw had to try to prove who was better, and he came up short.  The Dodgers need to get this Division wrapped up before next Sunday because Kershaw is due to pitch on Sunday, and as Dodgerrick pointed out, #22 has not been the Ace in must win games.  By the way, I am glad Dodgerrick is back after several games away.  He keeps most of us with “rose colored glasses” (as he likes to say) honest and always thinking.

 

Yes, Jansen gave up the HR to Pollock in the 9th, but he K’s two Dodger killers, Goldy and Descalso, before getting Peralta to end the game.  With a 4-run lead, throw strikes.  If you are around the plate, good hitters are going to get a HR every now and then.  But before Doc called on Jansen, it was Ferguson, Alexander, and Maeda that got the Dodgers to the 9thwith a lead.  It sure looks like Doc is not afraid to call on Ferguson in a high leverage situation.  He is relying on his fastball too much, so he is going to need to at least show his off-speed pitch at times.  Does not have to be for strikes, but a ML hitter can hit a 95+ MPH fastball, especially if that is all they see and can time it.  He is 22 so he is still not yet fully developed as a “pitcher”.

 

Ferguson can learn from Archie Bradley.  Bradley threw 13 pitches last night.  He sprinkled in three knuckle curves in with ten 95+ fastballs.  Bradley tried to be a SP with two pitches but has now found a home as one of the best any point in the game high leverage situation relievers.  If the DBacks actually find a closer, they can have a bullpen like last year’s Indians bullpen with Miller and Allen.

 

I am not going to be tempted into talking about next year until this season is over, but there are a lot of questions that are percolating.  What we Dodger fans need to see is a WS victory this year so next year isn’t so critical.

 

Tonight, Walker Buehler goes for the Dodgers, and the only DBacks batter to get a hit against him is Goldy who is 2-3.  He started against the DBacks on September 2, going 6.2 IP and allowing 1 run on 2 hits, 3 walks, and 9 strikeouts.  He left tied at 1 apiece.  This was the game that Matt Kemp won with a 2-run walk off double against Archie Bradley after the DBacks got the lead in the 9thon a Descalso HR.

 

RHP Matt Koch goes for the DBacks who last pitched against LAD on May 1.  He went 5.0 IP allowing 4 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 3 BB, and 3 K.  CT3 will undoubtedly be back in the leadoff role tonight and was 2-3 against him in that May 1 game.  Cody Bellinger hit a 2 run HR and Alex Verdugo had a double.  In that game, Kershaw started and left the game after 6.0 IP and the lead, only to see Adam Liberatore give up 2 runs on two singles and a triple without getting an out, and the DBacks went on to win.

 

The Dodgers just have to keep on winning, and it will not matter what the Rockies do.  I do not want the WC game, so they have to hold off the Rockies, who will not go quietly.  The Brewers are making the NL Central a race as well.  They are only 1.5 games behind the Cubs, and the Cubs and Brewers face each other on the final weekend.  Even though I do not want the WC, I do want the playoffs, so I am hopeful that the Brewers can finish off the Cardinals in the next two games.  In the race for home field between the NL West winner and Braves, the Braves get to joy to face both Thor and deGrom in the next two games.

 

GO BLUE!!!

This article has 51 Comments

  1. Actually I believe the Cubs play the Cardinals the final weekend.
    ~
    I’ve heard enough about Goldschmidt not playing last night. Where were all the complaints about AZ laying down for Colorado or the way the Phillies have quit.

  2. Great post, AC. Hard to find fault with any of it. I haven’t been one of the lineup critics but now that we’re narrowing down into the stretch run I’m wanting to see our best players out there. I understand match-ups matter but so does talent. Here are a few observations I’ve settled on:

    1. Muncy is our 2nd best batsman. You could make a case for Machado but in terms of sheer focus at the plate, I’d put Muncy below only Turner for having consistently quality at-bats. Somehow his bat needs to be in there more than it is.

    2. Puig should be playing every day. If we are going to win it all, we need his dynamism. I understand Keekay brings his own kind of energy but we need as much as we can get. When this team is spinning its wheels, guys like Puig can really jumpstart the offense. I feel the same way about Bellinger. Play the best players, not the best match-ups.

    3. We need to consider Dozier’s role. We already have 2 or 3 2b; we have Freese, Keekay, & Barnes on the bench; I know it’s unlikely we’d carry Verdugo in the playoffs but why not? The infield is covered with Turner/Machado/Taylor/Keekay/Bellinger/Muncy. If the last spot comes down to a pinch-hitter, why not go with the best one available (assuming Dozier, Utley, Verdugo are competing for the last spot).

    4. Maeda is so important to this team it’s not even funny. I swear I think he might the most pivotal player on the roster [Buehler could be 2nd].

    5. Five games left with a magic number of five. We could win the division, settle for the Wild Card, or miss out completely. If you don’t enjoy this week you’re doing it wrong!

  3. I agree with ACI really don’t want this to come down to needing a win by Kershaw on Saturday.
    I was hoping for the Phillies to split with the Rockies but the way the Rockies are playing it might mean the Dodgers will have to win all 5 of their remaining games. As I said before the Dodgers got themselves into this mess, I guess it’s only fair they get themselves without help from the other teams,
    Buehler tonight, let’s see if he has taken over the Ace roll.

    1. I think he’s due to get knocked around a bit. Can we put up some runs, play good defense, and have a lock-down performance from the pen? We’ve been spoiled with our starting pitching during this run [aside from Stripling] so it would be nice to see the other components step up and do their part. It’s asking too much to expect 7 shutout innings from him every outing.

  4. AC

    Another really good summary!

    I agree with both Mark, and you, that Kershaw shouldn’t have challenged Marte there, like he did.

    Like Mark said last night, don’t give Marte anything good to hit, even if you have to put him on base.

    And I agree with Dodger Rick’s message about Kershaw too.

    But there is also another reason we don’t want to go into SF vulnerable, besides Bumgarner and Kershaw pitching, in the last game, there.

    Although this team only hit 1 HR last night, the Dbacks bullpen helped us out quite a bit, by putting batters on base, and with those wild pitches.

    And because of all of that, we still can’t forget how reliant this team is on HRs, to provide offense.

    And in SF HRs don’t come easy especially for leftie hitters, so this is another reason to finish this as early, as we can!

    About tonight’s pitcher, I looked at his numbers, and he has reverse splits.

    Rightie hitters are hitting this pitcher Koch much better, and his ERA is also a lot better against lefties, then righties too, and it isn’t even close.

    But since Turner and Manny are in every line up all the time, that will help a lot.

    About the Rockies opponents in this current series, the Phillies.

    On MLB Channel yesterday, a baseball writer said, it looked like the Phillies were not doing much, after their post season prospects, turned the other way.

    That is why AC is right about the Rockies ability to make this harder, then we thought.

    What can you say about Muncy, except he needs to be in this line up more!

    And a big shoutout for Puig, who also had a big single last night, off the bench!

  5. From The Athletic:
    I’m going to always be chill,’ says Manny Machado, and that’s cool with the Dodgers
    By Pedro Moura Sep 25, 2018 2

    PHOENIX​ — Yoshihisa Hirano’s​ fastball fluttered​ across​ the outer,​ upper edge of​ the strike zone,​ where it met​ Manny​ Machado’s​ bat.​​ Machado held his bat in pose for several seconds, admiring what he was certain was his 38th home run of 2018. Only just before the ball bounced off Chase Field’s chain-link right-field fence did Machado shed his bat and begin to run.

    “I thought it was way out,” he said. “I thought I got it.”

    Scrambling, he safely reached an uncovered second base and settled for an RBI double, increasing the Dodgers’ ninth-inning lead to three runs. He could not reach the clubhouse before his teammates began to tease him for his effort. As the Dodgers high-fived on the field following their 7-4 win over the Diamondbacks, Matt Kemp grabbed the rosin bag behind the mound and threw it at Machado.

    Twenty minutes later, the ribbing continued. Why not get stronger? For guidance, teammates pointed him to the televisions, where successful opposite-field home runs were shown in highlight after highlight.

    “I’ll wear it,” Machado said. “I gotta hit the weight room. I get it.”

    It was not the first time Machado had committed such a miscalculation as a Dodger, as he noted. He has misjudged other drives. He regularly chooses not to run out routine grounders, burnishing a reputation that he brought with him from Baltimore.

    He does not dispute that his effort level can be perceived as lazy. He only argues that he is better this way, when calm and within himself. An occasional loss of a potential extra base is worth the risk he sees in going harder.

    “That’s my comfort zone,” Machado told The Athletic in July. “If I do something different, I might not be the same player. So, I’m going to continue to do it. I’m chill, and I’m going to always be chill.”

    For now, at least, the Dodgers will take it. Because when he hits within himself and does not expand his strike zone in search of pitches to drive, he is no worse than their second-most dangerous hitter. Justin Turner owns the indisputable lead.

    All Monday night in 95-degree Phoenix, the ball did not carry like it normally does when Chase Field’s roof is open. Two Diamondbacks’ drives appeared headed for the bleachers before they perished in the dry heat. Again working without his most imposing stuff, Clayton Kershaw completed six serviceable, unspectacular innings before giving way to the Dodgers’ increasingly stable bullpen. The Dodgers’ hitters waited out left-hander Robbie Ray for five innings. When the right-handed relievers emerged from Arizona’s bullpen, manager Dave Roberts substituted in a host of new players better suited to capitalize. Max Muncy and Yasiel Puig both did.

    “You look at the at-bats that we had with guys coming off the bench,” Roberts said, “that was the difference in the game.”

    Turner’s bat-to-ball ability made an earlier difference, when he tired out Ray over an 11-pitch, five-foul at-bat, though it ended in an out. Because, up next, David Freese received a misfired fastball over the middle and clubbed it for a game-tying homer.

    “That at-bat has to play some part in it,” Kershaw said. “It’s just natural to kind of let up after an (11-pitch) at-bat.”

    Later, Turner set up Machado’s near-homer by poking an 0-2 fastball into right field. It was a night of little things done well, and one big thing memorably flubbed.

    Because of the state of the National League, it is likely the Dodgers will need to play well for the next five games to win the West. The earliest they can now clinch a division title is Thursday, when they do not play but the Rockies do. More likely, the Dodgers must do it over the weekend in San Francisco, because the Rockies will play their six remaining games against the out-of-it Phillies and Nationals.

    Five wins and the Dodgers are in. Four wins and they’re at least in a one-game playoff, to be played Monday in LA. Three wins and … who knows?

    “We cannot approach a day looking for help,” Roberts said Monday night. “We put ourselves in a situation where we’re in the driver’s seat. There’s gonna be some scoreboard watching, that’s natural, but it’s upon us to take care of business.”

    1. I don’t care what people say, I like Machado. And I have no problem with how he plays the game. Yes, he made a mistake last night but it didn’t really hurt us and I’m pretty sure I’ve made some mistakes before too. He doesn’t have the hustle of Turner or Taylor; I’m pretty sure Verdugo worships him as his Swagger-Mentor; and he has enough talent to back it all up. We need to separate the player we are seeing now with the player who is going to sign a monster deal [likely not with us] in the offseason. He is a very very good player. I’m perfectly willing to let this postseason be the ultimate verdict on his value. (FTR, in a small sample size of 27 PAs, he has a career postseason line of .174/.240/.348.)

  6. AC, I was thinking the same thing about Ferguson last night. The heavy reliance on fastballs is likely to catch up with him over time. He is very young, so maybe it’s just a matter of continued development, maturity, and experience.

    I wonder if Machado’s failure to run out of the box last night was lack of hustle, just maybe he was totally convinced that the ball was out, and saw no need to run. Maybe it was the result of having played so many games in Camden Yards, and rest of the AL East, where that ball was likely gone. I don’t see any lack of hustle in him, and expect that he’s open to making some changes in how he approaches the game. And as much as I love Corey Seager, it’s pretty clear to me that Machado is a superior defensive shortstop, and that Seager would be able to a shift to the right side of the diamond. In fact, having a 2nd baseman with a strong arm is an asset. Strong throws from 2nd base are the difference in a lot of DP’s. If memory serves, Manny Trillo’s strong arm was a strong asset in his ability to turn the DP. And I just love the thought of having both Machado and Seager in the same lineup together with Turner, Bellinger, etc., etc., etc.

    And yes, I am definitely in favor of Verdugo occupying a spot on the playoff roster, i.e., if we get there.

    1. I do not want to get into whether Machado lacks hustle or not. What I do not like is the selective reprimand for his actions. Bellinger doesn’t hustle he sits. Puig doesn’t run out a perceived HR that turns into a long single, he sits. Machado does it…no problem, at least nothing visible. If they want to hold an internal Kangaroo Court for those who do not run on fly balls thought to be HR’s that turned into singles/doubles…that would be fine with me. Keep it internal. But if it becomes knowledgeable to the fan, then it has to be equally enforced.
      .
      Not everybody is going to hustle like Chase Utley. I get that. While I would prefer for the batter to run hard down the line on all hit balls, I am not going to lose any sleep if a player does not hustle. If you get upset with Machado, you will also be upset with Verdugo. But Doc cannot make an example of Verdugo if he does not make an example of Machado.

      1. AC

        I don’t think you are alone with this, because I don’t think most people like double standards.

        Although I know they will probably always exist, like Mark said, not to long ago.

      2. I’ve see Grandal do the same. I’ve seen Seager jog out ground balls. There is definitely a lack of consistency. I thought Bellinger being benched for not wanting to make the first out at third was BS.

  7. Seager makes $605,000 this year and has three Arb years left so is controlled by Dodgers through 2021. His agent is Boras. There is a better chance he re-signs with Dodgers if he stays at SS. It is doubtful that he signs a long-term contract to increase is salary over the next 3 years but lower his chances for the big free agent payday in 2022.
    .
    Signing Machado for 6 years would reduce the hit if Seager leaves in 2022. Lux should be the second baseman in 2020. A 2019 infield of Machado,Turner, Muncy, and Seager would be nice but it would push Bellinger to the outfield where Taylor, Verdugo, Puig, Kemp, Pederson, Toles roam.
    .
    A 2019 infield of Turner, Seager, Taylor, Bellinger would be a good one and if Taylor is the 2018 Taylor instead of the 2017 Taylor, Muncy would have a home in the infield. He might anyway if Bellinger moves to the outfield.
    .
    I will not be displeased or overjoyed in regards to Machado’s future.

  8. Besides the game in the desert tonight, I will be scoreboard watching three other games.
    .
    Phillies v Rockies – Vince Velasquez v Chad Bettis – Bettis has not started since his August 12 start against LAD. Velasquez has pitched some very good and some not very good games. Colorado is a tough place to pitch, so I would think that with the pitchers being equally matched, the Rockies would appear to be the favorite in this game.
    .
    Brewers v Cardinals – Gio Gonzalez v Austin Gomber – Gio has pitched relatively well for the Brewers since his trade and he has pennant drive experience. Gomber is still a rookie but has also pitched well of late, with the exception of his last start against LAD. I like the Brewers chances in this one.
    .
    Braves v Mets – Touki Toussaint v Noah Syndergaard – Touki Toussaint is a 22 year old rookie, and Thor is having an outstanding year. The Mets look to be clear favorites in this game.

    1. Kind of amazing how good and competitive the NL Central has been this year. Even Pittsburgh was a challenger for a while. The last five days should super-crazy there. It almost seems likely there will be some sort of a play-in before the Wild Card game.

  9. Machado’s ball should have been caught and the runner on first, Utley, was either staying close to first to tag up or abut half way to second waiting to see if the ball was going to be caught. Machado was never going to get to third regardless of hustle.

  10. Maybe Machado is just too busy being happy he is off the Orioles. The O’s are currently 60.5 games behind 1st place Boston and a mere 35 games behind the 4th place team, Toronto.

  11. Likely not worth 2 cents, but imo Machado needs to show a little more respect for the game and his teammates. Everyone else runs faster to firstbase on an actual HR then Machado does on a ball off the wall.
    Yeah he thought it was out, yeah it wouldn’t have made a difference, but still, doesn’t fit when every game, every AB counts now. Show Respect for the Game!

    1. Machado should have run right away but let’s not act like he’s the only Dodger to do this. I’ve seen Puig, Grandal, Kemp, and Turner all do it. Not to the extent that Machado did. Like AC said, some get held accountable some don’t.

  12. If the chain of command broke so completely that I were tasked with creating tonight’s starting lineup, this would be it:

    LF–Joc
    3B–Turner
    1B–Muncy
    SS–Machado
    CF–Bellinger
    RF–Puig
    C–Grandal
    2B–Taylor

    Only real hesitation is who should play 2b. It’s also tempting to give Verdugo a start in LF but this is no time for experiments.

    1. You nailed it except for CT3 with Kike getting the nod at 2B.

      Tonight’s match up of Buehler and Koch greatly favors the Blue. Tomorrow’s with Stripling against Greinke gives me pause since Ross has not been going deep at all.

      Is it just me or is the competition for playing time bringing out the best in whomever gets the nod each game? Freese was a great pickup and makes up for Dozier disappointing showing.

      1. Vegas

        I couldn’t agree with you more, about Freeze.

        Freeze was more of the type of hitter this line up needed badly.

        The last thing we didn’t need was another hitter, that doesn’t change their approach from at bat, to at bat, like Dozier.

        Having one more decent hitter in this line up, who changes their approach from at bat to at bat, or makes a huge difference on this team.

        In fact, because I do think Freeze makes that big of a difference, I looked at his numbers against righties today.

        His numbers have not been as good against righties, as lefties, since he joined this team, but we are talking about such a small sample size against righties.

        In even samples this year in about 100 plus at bats, against both lefties and righties, Freeze had pretty even splits, so he could also be used as easily, against righties too.

        He is a very good example of a hitter that doesn’t hit with as much power, but the way he handles his bat, he can make a big difference, especially in our line up.

  13. Aloha! I’m just over here representing the Blue:
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    … but I can’t get a damn game… even using Hide My Ass. I talked to MLB and the only way I can get it is on cable and the Hotel doesn’t offer it. Bummer!

    I’ve listened and watched most on Gameday. A few observations:

    1. I would not stretch out Chicken Strip – If he can pitch 2 or 3 innings, then bring in Wood and Urias and whoever. If Strip is healthy, he’s a weapon in the playoffs.
    2. I still say this team is built for the playoffs… if healthy. Wood, Strip, Maeda, Baez, Floro, Alexander, Fields, Ferguson and Jansen makes a formidable bullpen. With Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu and Hill, that makes 13 pitchers. There’s no room for Urias, and if they carry just 12 pitchers, who goes? Fields?
    3. I am not convinced Wood is healthy…. that’s something to keep and eye on.
    4. 12 Position players: Grandal, Barnes, Muncy, Hernandez, Machado, Freese, Turner, Bellinger, Puig, Taylor, Kemp and Pederson. That leaves Dozier, Utley and Verdugo off the roster… unless they go with 12 pitchers. You can’t please everybody.
    5. Tonight will show us what level of pitching mastery Buehler has… how will he adapt in the desert?
    6. Kenley is close to getting back in the groove.
    7. Who would you rather have pinch hit? Verdugo or Dozier? I’d vote Verdugo!

    I’ll be back on Saturday. My son went back today so it is just me and the wife:

      1. That’s how I watch nearly every game. Use the lovereddit and immediately close any page that pops up and i always get a decent stream.

  14. Here’s a couple of things that I find interesting on the Mariners:

    1. Dee Gordon is hitting .270 with a .291 OB% and has 30 SB and 12 CS. Sad!

    2. Mike Leake is 10-10 with a 4.10 ERA in 184 IP.

    3. King Felix has a 5.46 ERA and is behind Leake on the depth chart. Wow!

  15. Dodgers on ESPN tonight. It is live on ESPN news and follows Yankees game when it ends on ESPN main channel.

  16. Poor situational hitting and overmanaging by Robert’s story of the year. Will see if talent can carry us home and override Robert’s incompetence. This matchup game on both sides of the ball makes me want to throw up. Never lets anyone get in a groove, they all have to be waiting to be pulled at anytime, both hitters and pitchers.

  17. Tough loss and wasted Buehler’s start. Doc is a mad scientist, why is Maeda throwing to Rocky Gale there?

  18. I agree that Roberts kept Floro in there too long and I also would have loved to see Freese pinch hit for either Joc or Muncy there in the 9th. This loss isn’t on Roberts though… we were just terrible tonight with RISP.

    I’m not crazy about Strip starting tomorrow… I hope he looks better than he has in his last few outings.

  19. The last 2 games have been the Dodgers’ season in microcosm.

    9/24 – 4 for 16 RISP, only HR is a solo shot
    9/25 – 2 for 12 RISP, only HR is a solo shot

    9/24 – pen throw 3 innings and gives up a run in the 9th – it takes 4 pitchers to go 3 innings
    9/25 – pen throw 3 innings and gives up 2 runs in 3 innings including a run in the 9th – it takes 6 pitchers to throw 2+ innings

    Too many platoons, bad clutch hitting and pitching. The Dodgers should be winning – heck, they should have been winning all season. But they don’t because these may be the least clutch Dodger team I have ever watched.

    The Dodgers Digest crew are writing a 3 article series on the subject. An excerpt from Part 1:
    ” FanGraphs has a Clutch stat which identifies how much better or worse a player or team does in high leverage situations than they would have done in a context neutral environment. The starting rotation last year led the league at +2.38, well above the league-average of +0.63. This year the starters have performed much worse, sitting well below the league-average mark of +0.10. Lastly, the most relevant factor is that even with great performance from starters, poor bullpen performance will ruin potential wins, which ultimately has been the culprit more often than not.”

    “Obviously, one major factor which hasn’t been addressed, is the incredibly awful Clutch performance. Last year the Dodgers weren’t fantastic, but they were better than the league-average of -1.54. This year, they’re dead last in the league and impressively below the league-average mark of -1.14. To put this into context, the clutch statistic goes back to 1974, which means it accounts for 45 years in total. Among all Dodger seasons since 1974, the offensive clutch rating this year is the second-worst performance of all 45 of those Dodger teams. The only worse team were the 1989 Dodgers at -7.64, as they went 77-83, good for fourth in the NL West.”

    From Part 2:
    “Overall the bullpen performing worse than average in clutch situations doesn’t help anything, but even last year with a mediocre clutch rating, they were still easily a top five bullpen. Besides that, the most notable difference is the drop-off in overall performance. This has resulted in records of 22-21 in one run games and 8-7 in extra inning games this year, compared to 25-19 and 8-4 last year. Already that’s three more wins and five less losses. The bullpen totaled 97 holds and only 16 blown saves in 2017, compared to just 82 holds and 26 blown saves this year. ”

    In short, those not wearing the rose-colored specs can see that this may be the worst clutch Dodger team in history. The hitters don’t come through and either do the relievers. You can argue if it’s only a few players that you can chalk it up to bad luck or something similar, but when it’s nearly everybody, you have to consider a design flaw. Too many guys trying to hit HRs every time up, not enough contact, (too many Ks) not enough of a change in approach with RISP or with 2 outs or 2 strikes and a poorly-constructed bullpen.

    If the Dodgers don’t make the post-season or don’t progress far, after last year’s team and the expectations that we have as fans we are going to look back at 2018 as the season that could have been great but wasn’t, and demand to know why.

  20. Rick – that is a really well written post that clearly shows that we have not been imagining what we have known deep down all season.

    I can honestly see us scrambling into the WC game at this point, or worse still, missing out altogether.

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