Can The Dodgers Sweep the Braves?

Sean Newcomb is left-handed and almost no-hit the Dodgers once this year.  The other time the Dodgers faced him, they lit him up.  Which Newcomb will they face today?  Maybe it’s not which pitcher they face… maybe it’s what approach the hitters take and you will see a different approach because there will be different hitters tonight. Most likely this will be the lineup:

  • C – Grandal (You don’t take out a guy who has caught back-to-back shutouts… especially when he  is a switch-hitter)
  • 1B – Freese
  • 2B – Dozier (Here’s your chance, Brian)
  • SS –  The usual
  • 3B – The usual
  • LF – Kemp
  • CF – Taylor
  • RF – Kike

The lineup is more problematic, because you have to think like Doc, but this is likely the lineup:

  1. Taylor  CF
  2. Turner  3B
  3. Freese  1B
  4. Machado  SS
  5. Kemp  LF
  6. Kike  RF
  7. Grandal  C
  8. Dozier  2B (But Bull could lead-off – with Doc, you never know)

There’s really no right answer as to where players hit, in my opinion because, like I always say: “Bloom where you are planted.” It’s up to the hitters to hit whereever they are.  I am not a big fan of the All Righty lineup, but there are some potent and patient bats there.  They should be able to handle Newcomb.  Newcomb is often called “a horse” because he is 6′ 5″ and 255 pounds.  Good, let the Dodgers RIDE him! Make no mistake, Newcomb is a very good pitcher – he was the 15th pick in the 2014 draft (that’s how bad teams get good again) and can hit triple digits.  He has four pitches, although none as good as his fastball. 

Striker (I refuse to call him Walker) Buehler

It’s easier said than done, but to beat Newcomb, the Dodgers need to make him throw strikes and then hit THEIR pitch.  Simple to say – Hard to do! Newcomb is of the same ilk as Striker Buehler. When is he going to change his name?  I will pay for it! Walker may have been his great grandafthers name or maybe his parents were Chuck Norris fans and named him Walker after that Texas Ranger.  At any rate, baby Buehler was not born a pitcher, but he evolved and developed into one.  Walks are bad for pitchers.  Strikes are good.  Get rid of all the negative influences on the mound – Change your name to Striker.  I said I would pay for it! If you were an opposing player, who would you be more afraid of, a guy named Walker or a beast named Striker?  I rest my case! Striker Buehler goes today!

This Team is Built for the Post Season

The pitching is dramatically deeper than last year with the health of Ryu and the arrival of Striker.  That alone makes the bullpen deeper with Wood and Maeda being pushed there.  Forget the stats: that’s history, this is what counts. Pedro Baez has been unhittable, Caleb Ferguson is very solid and Dylan Floro has a superior ERA.  Ryan Madson and Scott Alexander are the mop-up guys.  Even though last years bullpen included Brandon Morrow, I think the playoff version of the 2018 Dodger bullpen is better than last years version.

The bench is much deeper, no matter if lefties or righties are hitting.  Matt Kemp, David Freeze and even Brian Dozier are dangerous, experienced hitters. However, the biggest differece in this 2018 version of the Dodgers is that they are battle-tested, they have scars and they have experience.  They are determined and galvanized to win this all. Sean Newcomb is capable of shutting them down, but Striker Buehler is also capable of the same.  Tonight’s game could very well be won by the bullpen.  It might be 0-0 going into the 7th inning.  Both of these young pitchers are destined for greatness… but I think the Dodger’s experience and determination will win out.

Other News

  • The Astros are about to finish off the Indians and the Brewers are about to do the same to the Rockies.  However, this is baseball and it ain’t over until you squeeze that final out.
  • David Price again shows he can’t be trusted in the post-season where he has a 2-9 record with a 5.28 ERA.  This is a classic case of why you should not sign aging pitchers to a long-term contract.  I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Yankees beat the Red Sox.  Again, I think the Yanks are built for the Post-Season… much like the Dodgers.



This article has 90 Comments

  1. “This team is built for the post season”
    That statement may or may not be true. If they win you seemingly are right with your conjecture, if they loose your conjecture is faulty. The facts you state to support your case are not exclusively true for the playoffs, then could also be applied to the regular season. Why has this team been so Jekyll and Hyde?

    They are playing very good right now, but still winning the same way they have all season – HR’s.

    Can they step it up against a better Milwaukee, and a much better American League team.

    1. Well, there are 12 different players on this year’s NLDS roster and I also believe that the World Series malaise hung over the team most of this year. They sleep-walked through the season, thinking they would be there at the end (almost didn’t happen… but it did happen). Most of the teams left win with the HR, especially Milwaukee and Colorado in the NL. All of the teams in the playoffs had over 200 HR, except for the Cubs and the Braves.

      I believe this team can play with anybody and they believe it too.

      1. Well so far, by their play, I also think this team is decidedly different from last year.
        That said this team has been Jekyll & Hyde. Let’s see how they perform against good pitching.

      1. To me the most interesting is the basic admission that all pitchers are using foreign substances to improve spin rate.
        It’s like gambling in Casablanca.

      2. It very well be wise to invest in a pitching machine business and engineer spin rates into such. Teams would be able to practice whichever pitcher prior to the actual game in batting cages. Just joking but where $$$$ pays the elite it’s probably in the works already.

  2. I’m seeing quite a few adds Mark. I was just wondering if your site was starting to put extra change in your pocket and you’re saying the adds shouldn’t be here. How does that happen? Seems someone is selling something that’s not theirs to sell. Please keep us posted on this situation as I’m certain you will get to the bottom of it and I find it very interesting. I followed the knee pain relief add that’s probably on all all ladodgertalk’s visitors viewing.

  3. Still think that while Manny Moe has been decent, our biggest pick up is David Freese. This guy is a gamer, I love his approach, just like Turner. I predict Freese is going to come up big as we get deeper into the play-offs. I love our bench. Who can match up with Kemp, Freese, and Dozier? I know Dozier’s average is pretty sucky, but he is a veteran guy with a lot of pop. He could be our Marwin Gonzales. Stay tuned on him. I agree Mark, we are stronger than last year, and a bit more edgy.

  4. If we play our top 8 hitters vs LHP, the staring 8 would include Barnes and Muncy with a team average of .275

  5. I read where Doc said the line-up might not be a complete right/left match-up as some might think knowing the Braves might go to the BP early. I can see a line-up for tonight’s game that looks like this:


  6. Taylor is the only player on this team, that has 2 hits against Newcomb this year, and he was the one who broke up the no hitter, too.

    I would have Kike lead off, and bat Taylor a little farther back in the line up, because Kike is not good at getting hits, when runners are in scoring position.

    And Kike excelled in the lead off position in that last series, against the Giants.

    The only player on this team who has hit a HR off Newcomb this year is Muncy, although Muncy also struck out 3 times against Newcomb, too.

    But I think Muncy should be in this line up today, and he should play more, against lefties.

    But since they usually play Freeze at first, I don’t think Muncy will be in this line up today.

    But Freeze is important for this line up, because that gives the team another hitter, that can handle the bat well, and make the right adjustments, in different situations, in games.

  7. Uribe! Uribe! Uribe! Uribe!

    It was five years ago today that the Dodgers finished off Atlanta in the NLDS, thanks to Juan Uribe’s two run home run in the 8th inning… then KJ came in to close it down in the 9th. It was a great game to be at… the stadium was shaking.

    1. Val

      So were you one of those fans that were upset, when Uribe couldn’t get the bunt down?

      (Of course, I am joking)

  8. It’s like a tale of two managers… the one who managed the first 162 games and the one who managed the last 3 games. I much prefer the one who managed the last 3 games… just not sure where he’s been all year.

    As for the lineup today… this would be my guess.
    Kike LF
    Turner 3B
    Freese 1B
    Machado SS
    Kemp LF
    Grandal C
    Taylor CF
    Dozier 2B
    Buehler P

  9. And here it is …..

    Game 3 lineup:

    Taylor LF
    Turner 3B
    Freese 1B
    Machado SS
    Kemp RF
    Bellinger CF
    Hernandez 2B
    Grandal C
    Buehler P

  10. I like the lineup overall… the only thing that makes me nervous is Kemp playing RF, he hasn’t looked comfortable out there this year. I much prefer him playing in LF if he’s going to be in the starting lineup.

    I love Kike staying at 2B though… If it ain’t broken, don’t break it!

  11. Sorry about the ads. They are a nusiance and I did not authorize them. I will see that they are gone soon…

  12. Great lineup for a close out game. Love Freese in the 3 hole behing JT. Watch out for him to come up with a dagger hit tonight. Like having Belli in there too, and riding a hot Kike doesnt hurt either. Looks like Roberts may be going with hot hands instead of match ups this series. Hope he keeps it up. I know Kemp in RF is a risk, but he is money with guys one base. Good veteran line up for an away game.

  13. See the ads, but they are a very little nuisance to put up with for all the pleasure and benifit this sight brings.

  14. I’ll admit, I’m quit stunned Milwaukee’s pitching is causing these Rockie hitters to lay down like dogs! We need to match the Brewers today and end this.

  15. I posted a guess the other day that Kike’ would start at 2B tonight. I also thought it was possible that Doc would ignore Puig’s reverse splits, and start Puig in RF, if only for his defense. I guess 1 out of 2 ain’t bad. But given that I expect Bueller to pitch well tonight, I would have gone with the defense. Maybe Doc is punishing Puig for his baserunning mistake the other day, or just wants to get Kemp into a game (I suspect it’s the latter).

  16. Glad I got a message on my phone that the game was about to start. I believe that I saw earlier that the game wasn’t supposed to start until 9:30 pm ET. Was I wrong, or was there a change?

  17. Well he’s gonna be a great pitcher but he’s gonna have some blips before he fits the #1 ace that many have declared he is. Yips galore dammit to hell. Sure hope the offense kicks this into gear and rescues the kid. Dammit!

    1. I would have liked to see him take a strike before bunting. I know that’s tough to do but with their pitcher struggling to find the zone it would be tempting to have the take on until strike 1.

  18. Aw, let the braves win one for their fans. Rich hill can be a hero tomorrow. Rotation can reset for NLcs. Interested to see bullpen use tonight. Feels like a Madson night.

    1. Hawkeye

      I was surprised by that too.

      Because in the other couple games, Roberts kept the starting line up in the game, even after a leftie was brought in.

      But we are behind in the game right now, so I guess it is different, although Freeze had perfectly even splits, before he came to the Dodgers.

      1. The even splits is why I was surprised and because they have 2 more lefties in their pen.

  19. Bueller just has to hang on, and Dodgers offense just has to rise to the occasion. Six more innings for the Dodgers to make up a 3 run deficit. All it takes is two bloops and a blast.

    1. His splitter has made the last four Dodgers look bad. Gausman has no fastball control. I hope they’re picking up on that.

  20. The Dodgers will come back and win this game.

    This is an overconfidence lesson for Striker. He needs to change his name.

  21. You’re right Mark. He lived up to his given name today. He totally forgot that you re-named him.

    1. He lost control of his emotions. Smoltz was right though. If Bellinger doesn’t boot the ball, Culberson isn’t walked.
      Smoltz showing his homerism more than Joe.

  22. I agree… definitely a learning lesson for him. As Smoltz said on the broadcast though… with the bases loaded, he should have been told by Yaz or Honeycutt to go back to the windup… I think it would have helped him out a lot.

    Also agree that they’re going to make a comeback. I’m think they’ll probably hit at least two home runs… and I’m feeling Machado and Kike tonight.

    1. I think ball one was from the windup and then he went stretch. I’ll have to look later I could be wrong.

  23. Now that is an impressive comeback. Buehler has settled down and let’s see if he can keep them at 5. Pressure is right back on Atl.

  24. As soon as the Braves manager took their starter Newcomb out, I knew we would come back and win this game.

    Because it was still early in this game, and like Hawkeye said, the Braves don’t have a good bullpen.

    And Gausman has nothing.

  25. It occurred to me earlier that Freese was replaced by Muncy, because the latter can hit lefties. And then he did.

    Now we need for Bueller to settle in, and for the Dodgers to put up runs.

    1. It was a good lesson in hitting. I replayed that swing 5 times for my son. Even if you get your front side down a smidge early, if your hands are back and last you can still hit the curve ball hard.

  26. Not very often do pitchers get a second chance after allowing 5 runs and a GS at that.
    Very impressive of the young kid getting his control back. Nice move by Roberts staying with the kid.
    The Dodger need Mr. Machado to start hitting – he looks mediocre, not looking All-Star at all.

  27. Walker Buehler showed me today he’s an ace. His stuff is totally filthy as it is (minus that 2 min span where he just lost it). But after the grand slam, 50, 000 fans screaming, he easily could have folded. But the rookie settled right back in and his back to dominating. He did not fold. He kept us in the game and the offense bailed him out by tying this. And in that 5th, after we tied it, he got them 1-2-3. The pressure is ALL on Atl now!!!

    This bodes really well for Buehler’s next start.

  28. Guess I can’t complain about CT3 because of the HR he hit earlier, but he just swung at ball 3, which could have cost the Dodgers a big inning.

    And then Freddie Freeman brings back that dumb Braves chant. Bullpen has to keep Dodgers in this game.

  29. Yeah everyone is a great secIms guesser, but no way Wood is the right play there. No way, And no one will tell me Robert’s is any better then average as an in game manager. Alexander or Ferguson should have faced Freeman. And intentionally walking Culberson shows little faith in your ace, didn’t like it but that one was probably correct. Wood was not correct.

    1. There’s no way they’re bringing in Ferguson there. It’s Alexander or Wood. I thought they were bringing in Wood because he could go multiple innings but considering he was used as a Loogy I’m surprised it wasn’t Alexander.

  30. They came all the way back… only to lose it.

    Giving a team like this life… can be very dangerous.

    Energizing to the Braves – Disheartening to LA!

  31. Terrible. The Dodgers certainly gave that one away. I thought it was ours when Muncy was 3-0. Let’s hope Hill has it tomorrow.

    1. Hawkeye

      I wouldn’t have took Buehler out that early either.

      He has better stuff then anyone in our pen.

  32. I think Murphy was at this game. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Bueller waking the pitcher with the bases loaded, Taylor swinging at ball 3 in what might have been a big inning, and finally Muncy swinging at what looked to be ball 4 with two runners on and only one out.

    And as much as I would like to see the Dodgers sign Machado, I’m getting sick of watching him swinging for the fences everytime he steps to the plate. Can’t tell me that other teams haven’t seen that and are pitching him accordingly. It’s just the opposite of what I recall seeing when he joined the Dodgers. If memory serves his first Dodger hit was a pitch that he went with to right field.

  33. Why didn’t Machado run to first on his strike out with Pederson on third. Ball went to backstop, who knows what might of happened with throw to first. What am I missing?

    1. 1st base was occupied with less than 2 outs. Batter can only run if 2 outs on dropped 3rd strike with first base occupied.

  34. I don’t think that removing Bueller had anything to do with this loss. After he left the Braves scored just one run, and the Dodgers failed to follow-up their early comeback by squandering oppotunities to get back even and take the lead.

  35. This loss shouldn’t surprise us. We came back by the home run, but once again, could’t cash in with RISP, Like AC, Mark, and a few others have posted the last 3 or 4 months, this is how FAZ built this team, it’s who we are, warts and all. Feast or famine sometimes. After Joc and JT had great at bats in the 9th, same old song and dance with the strike outs. What really bothered me was Machado’s at bat after Turners walk. He immediately got in a swinging 0-2 hole, then looked like a rookie swinging at a pitch that was about a foot outside, didn’t even try to work the count like Turner and Joc. He actually looked kind of scared up there, not calm or confident. Wouldn’t break the bank for this guy next year. Great come back, we will close it out tomorrow.

  36. Bobo, that occurred to me also. I thought maybe I was overlooking some rule that kept Machado from running. Probably would have been just a routine throw to first for an out, but like you said, there is no way to know what might have happened.

    1. Runners were on 1and 2 and both moved up on the wild pitch. If Pederson was on 3 when the pitch was made he would have scored. Since first was occupied when the pitch was made MM was automatically out. He couldn’t have run.

  37. I’m confident that the Dodgers can close it out tomorrow too, but I don’t assume anything. I’m sure that many of you recall the Odd Couple episode in which Felix Unger let us know why it’s not a good idea to assume anything.

    The Dodger website has the Braves throwing Foltynewicz tomorrow on 3 days rest. Maybe the Dodgers will light him up, but I think we all recognize that he has the stuff to shut any team down. I don’t know if 3 days rest will adversely effect him, but you never know. And although Rich Hill can be great, there are also days on which he can be awful.

  38. I personally don’t think the Dodgers can win everything without some timely hitting WRISP. They can’t change who they are overnight (HR’s or bust), but ONE hit by Machado with bases loaded wins this game.

  39. Read all the above posts – all valid.
    However, how come Bellinger gets a free pass?
    Forget the error – what about his hitting or rather lack of?
    Put him on the bench ASAP – looks totally lost

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