Flawed Memories

In 1984, a man named Kirk Bloodsworth was convicted of the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl and sentenced to death—an outcome that rested largely on the testimony of five eyewitnesses. After Bloodsworth served nine years in prison, DNA testing proved him to be innocent. Such devastating mistakes by eyewitnesses are not rare, according to a report by the Innocence Project, which is an organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. They use DNA testing to exonerate those wrongfully convicted of crimes.

Since the 1990s, when DNA testing was first introduced, Innocence Project researchers have reported that 73 percent of the 239 convictions overturned through DNA testing were based on eyewitness testimony. One third of these overturned cases rested on the testimony of two or more mistaken eyewitnesses. How could so many eyewitnesses be wrong? Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Sports fans also frequently have a short memory. All they remember is what a player did:

  • Last AB;
  • Last Game;
  • Last Week
  • Last Month;
  • Last Year.

Quite frequently, the perception of that last at bat, last game, last week, last month or last year is skewed by the fans’ memory. This is however, a Dodger baseball blog and not an article for the Innocence Project. So, we are going to focus of some misconceptions brought on by our own flawed memories.

For example, we all know about Clayton Kershaws’ struggles in the post-season. In 30 games of playoff experience, he is 9-10 with a 4.32 ERA. Then, we look at Madison Bumgarner who is 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA in the post-season and wish Kershaw could be that good. We don’t remember that in 2012, Bumgarner gave up 6 runs on 8 hits against St. Louis in 3.2 innings or know that his NLDS ERA is 4.43 or that his NLCS ERA is 4.15. All we remember is that he is 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA in the World Series.

We also don’t remember that Clayton Kershaw has had dramatically more exposure. Kershaw has logged 152 post-season innings while Bumgarmer has pitched 102 post-season innings. We forget that in his last playoff game, Mad Bum pitched 5 innings and allowed 7 hits and 3 runs while losing to the Cubs.

Now, I am not here to make excuses, but if you take away 4 innings from Clayton’s post-season record, his ERA is very much in line with his career ERA of 2.39. Most Dodger fans will say that Clayton choked in the playoffs, because those four innings (out of 152) have defined him. We all like to place blame when things don’t go according to plan, but the reality is that Clayton Kershaw is an amazing pitcher 97.6% of the time in the post-season. Those four bad innings define him in out minds, however.

Is that fair? I say “It is what it is.” Some fans are lamenting that the Dodgers signed Clayton to an extension. Actually, it’s really a one-year extension (if you take out his opt-out). Clayton has been the face of the Dodgers for ten years and even with his post-season struggles, he is the best pitcher in baseball over the past 10 years. Only a “classless” organization would let him walk. Clayton deserves to be a lifetime Dodger, so I have one thing to say to anyone who thinks signing him for another three years was a big mistake:Shut the Hell up!

Sandy Koufax’s last 5 years were arguably the best 5 years in a row by any pitcher of all time, but his career ERA is 2.76 while Clayton’s is 2.39! His exploits were legendary… especially in the World Series, where he had a 0.95 ERA. Remember, Madison Bumgarner had a 0.25 ERA in the World Series, so is he 4 times better than Koufax? Look, this is baseball and there is an element of luck involved: a 120 MPH line drive at a fielder is the same a strikeout and a bloop single off the end of the bat can win a World Series. Let’s not forget our perspective.

I fully expected Clayton to miss a season, but he’s a Dodger because of his entire body of work and you can call Guggenheim and Company “Greedy Bastards” but they have taken care of a Dodger Icon and to me that speaks volumes. Would he have opted out? Probably or not, but you can’t do that to a man like Clayton. He hasn’t taken us to the promised land… yet, but he is a Dodger and history should ratify that. Clayton should retire as a Dodger. If he is hurt and needs surgery (I hope not), he will be back. Maybe he will never be what he once was, but he will be a Dodger and that’s the most important thing.

Here’s another misconception: Kike Hernandez is not an “All or Nothing Player.Matt Kemp, Manny Machado, Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, Yasmani Grandal, Kyle Farmer, Andrew Toles, David Freese and Chase Utley all struck out at a higher rate than Kike did last year! I think the Dodgers would love to have him play all over the diamond again this year. He is the Number One Utility-man in Baseball right now in that he can play seven position and play them well. He’s in the mix at 2B, but I think CT3 wins the job due to Kike’s versatility. I look for incremental improvement by Kike again this year.

Other Spring News

  • Alex Verdugo looks to be on a mission to win the starting LF job.
  • Matt Beaty is turning some heads. You would think some teams would want him and/or Rios… maybe Joc too.
  • Austin Barnes appears to be bouncing back after a horrid season in 2018.
  • Omar Estevez is a baller!
  • Max Muncy looks capable of continuing what he started in 2018.
  • Justin Turner is the heart and soul of the Dodgers.
  • Cody Bellinger appears to have adjusted and shaken off the Sophomore Jinx.
  • Joc Pederson has struck out 8 out of 13 times and has one hit. His “all-or-nothing” play is a problem.
  • CT3 has not struck out in 11 AB’s… neither has Bellinger.
  • Brock Stewart will go back to OKC and hopefully be put on a bullpen schedule. It’s his only hope and I have been saying that for two years.
  • Alexander, Cingrani and Garcia have all looked very good.
  • Gonsolin, Santana and Ferguson all could make the bullpen…. if they weren’t slated as starters in the minors.
  • Julio Urias will definitely be on the 25-man roster at the end of Spring Training (unless he breaks a leg).
  • The only question about Alex Verdugo is where he will hit in the lineup.
  • Corey Seager played in a minor league game yesterday… He’s getting close.
  • It’s early and lots can happen…

This article has 66 Comments

  1. Taylor over Kike at 2B? This could be a case of your memory playing tricks on you, Mark. I don’t think there is anything that Taylor does better than Kike except maybe swing for the seats, most of the time. This is why he has so many doubles. Add in his SO’s and I’m not sure this adds up to a starting job. Plus, Kike is improving!

    I’ve never liked B. Stewart and am surprised he is still being talked about to make the team . So many better choices!

    I largely agree with most of your post and like your central point about memory. Personally, I’m sick and tired of talking about Kershaw, Harper, the FO, and any player traded away. I like memory dumps. They are healthy, up to a point.

    1. I think with the way the team is aligned with Bellinger in RF, Pollock in CF and Muncy at 1B that CT3 will start at 2B over Kike. The reason is that I think the Dodgers would prefer continuity at the keystone and since both Kike and CT3 are RH, they will both likely be in the lineup together. Kike can sub at every other position and I think both will get over 500 AB’s. CT3 has worked on cutting down his strikeouts and currently has none. I expect a season closer to 2017 for him than what happened in 2018.

      1. Kike is a way better defender at 2B than Taylor. Kike is equally as good batting against RHP & LHP, Taylor tends to suffer with LHP. Kike strikes out way less. OBP and OPS are better. If you want a more complete player at a position, and less platooning as the FO suggested, Kike is your man. Taylor is still a good utility man. Kike is loved by the FO. It’s a special relationship. lol

        1. Jeff, you better check your stats again, I think you’re confused. Or, are you only counting last year?

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more on Kershaw and his legacy with the Dodgers. The four poor innings you mentioned were IMO largely a result of the manager trying to stretch him to far because we lacked the bullpen talent at the time to replace him. He was going above and beyond to help the team but just couldn’t manage to be the hero that we had come to expect. The innings he had worked in those years taxed his reserves to the point of no return.
    I don’t think Joc’s problem is his “all or nothing approach” as much as he is seriously pressing because of all of the trade rumors about him and his desire to remain a Dodger. If we are going to trade him (which I disagree with) then just get it done and give him a chance to move on to a career elsewhere.
    Feel good about the talent I’ve seen from our MiLB system so far. Some can help us in the future and there are others that should interest other teams when we pursue trades or provide security when we potentially need replacements due to injury. We should be able to withstand almost all possible injury issues although I wish we had a better left side (3B, in particular) but I think Freese could carry the ball for a short term fix if needed.

    1. Rios could play 3b as could Beaty. Muncy too. 3b is fine until Seager inevitably shifts over. C. Santana & M. Vargas are essentially lottery tickets.

  3. Great post Mark.

    There is such a short time between position players report to Spring training before games are played. It is a little early to make conclusions about players after a handful of games. We don’t know what is happening off camera.

    I still like Stewart and still have some confidence in Garcia.

  4. First, I would like to respond to SC DodgerFan. Of course you are right that Mays did win a WS ring in 54. My simple brain only registered San Francisco and did not consider the NY Giants. Very good catch, and I appreciate keeping me honest.

    I never get tired of talking about Clayton Kershaw. I have already stated unequivocally that I was in full endorsement of the extension, and that Kershaw should retire a Dodger. But I also think that the FO should take his salary out of the equation, and if they go over the CBT threshold so be it, because having Kershaw as a lifetime Dodger is well worth it IMO. I am fairly confident that Kershaw’s contract is insured, so if he is injured, his salary should only be considered for CBT purposes and not contract dollars cash outflow.

    All that being said, you do not get to cherry pick his innings in the post season. His entire body of work should be considered. Good and bad. Does his bad diminish what he has accomplished as a Dodger overall? Not in my mind. But I do wish he had been more clutch in 2017 Game 5. That is the one game that will haunt me as a fan until teh Dodgers win the WS. And as I said yesterday, while that one game will not define his overall body of work for me, I recognize that nobody feels worse about Game 5 than Clayton Kershaw. Nobody feels worse about 2017 WS Game 2 than Kenley Jansen. But they both happened and it cannot be hid under the rug.

    They did not clutch up while Madison Bumgarner did. He may be a hated one, but his 2014 WS exploits were pretty special. 21 IP, 1 R, 9 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 17 K. The only run he allowed was a solo HR to Salvy Perez with 2 outs in the 7th inning with a 7-0 lead. 2-0 record with a Game 7, 5 inning save. Obviously not as special as the 1965 WS Sandy Koufax performance for us Dodger fans, but pretty special nonetheless.

    Alex Verdugo is doing everything he can to show that he belongs as the starting LF on March 28 at Dodger Stadium. There are still more than 3 weeks to go in ST, but he is having a good start. Verdugo and Matt Beaty lead the team in hits with 6. Beaty has gone to the front of the class of AAA players ready to be called up during the season.

    For the last two years I questioned why Omar Estevez was continually removed from the Top 30 prospect list when all he has done is succeed where ever he was at. As a 20 year old, he hit .278/.336/.456/.792 and led the California League with 43 doubles. He played 2.3 years below the average California League age. I know some pundits have him starting his 3rd year at RC, but there is no reason for him to go back to A+ball. He should start with Gavin Lux at AA. Maybe he turns out to be nothing more than a utility middle infielder at the ML level, but he is deserving of getting pushed.

    I have no real emotional investment in Kike’ over CT3 or vice versa. But it has not gone unnoticed that CT3 has not yet struck out after all of the teeth gnashing about his prolific K Rate (including me).

    At this point, I do not know how Yimi Garcia does not make the roster. Again I recognize that there is still more than 3 weeks of games remaining. He is still going to need to pitch in consecutive games, probably twice before a final determination is made. But he looks veeeerrrrry good so far.

    A lot to like, but I am remain concerned about the overall bullpen performance. I do not consider Gonsolin, Santana, or Ferguson as bullpen candidates at this time as they will undoubtedly begin the year at OKC in a starting role. If Ferguson gets called to LA it means that the expected relievers are not getting it done. So hopefully they all make it to LA in September and not before. I also expect Brock Stewart to be in the starting rotation at OKC as that is what is best for his perceived value. I wish Brock the best of luck, but I do not believe it will be with LAD.

    1. Amen on Estevez. Would be great to see him pushed to AA this season.

      Been impressed with his pop this spring.

  5. Mark, you have to be kidding me. No excuses, just stats…

    Kershaw has pitched in a whopping 8 post-seasons, which is a feat in and of itself.
    Out of those 8 post-seasons, he has had a game in which he’s given up 5 runs in 6 of them!
    He’s given up 7 runs in two different games!
    He’s given up multiple 5 run games in the same post-season twice!
    He’s given up at least 5 runs in 8 out of 24 starts, or 1 OUT OF EVERY 3 GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!
    Mad Bum as given up 5 runs in a post-season game once.
    There’s no way to spin this.

    As far as Kike vs CT3. Go look at the stats, CT3 is a better hitter than Kike in the last two years. Kike’s OPS 806, 729 vs Taylor’s 775 and 850. Kike has more extreme splits as well. Taylor being the full-time player is a no brainer.

    1. I said “but if you take away 4 innings from Clayton’s post-season record, his ERA is very much in line with his career ERA of 2.39.”

      I picked his 4 worst innings. Do the math. I did… and that lowered his ERA by about a point and a half… but it is what it is.

      1. You’re trying to make a misleading point that he’s not that bad when in fact, he’s been horrible. Good luck trying to find another pitcher that has had 8 post-season games where he’s given up 5 runs or more. 1/3 of his starts are horrible. 5 times, he failed to make it through the 5th inning! That is historically bad.

        1. It’s hard finding pitchers who have pitched that many innings in the playoffs so that’s a problem. Andy Pettitte is number one in innings pitched in the playoffs with 276 and he has a 3.81 ERA. He was always known a a big game pitcher.

          Kershaw is #8 All-Time in Playoff innings.

          Roger Clemens has a 3.75 ERA in the playoffs in over 190 IP.

          Justin Verlander has the same number of innings as Clayton and has a 3.19 ERA, but in 5 World Series games, he has a 5.67 ERA and is 04.

          I am not making excuses for Clayton, but some of this is just bad luck. However, it does taint his excellent body of work.

          1. Mark

            I have always liked Kike as you know, because I know Kike is not afraid to put in hard work to try to get better.

            My biggest issue with Kike, is what he does when runners are in scoring position.

            He seemed to wait to long when a runner was on third with less then two outs, to go after a pitch, although he didn’t always strike out, he usually pulled the ball to third, which is the last thing a hitter should do when a runner is on third.

            Maybe since this new hitting coach is preaching going after the first few good pitches in the strike zone, this will be different this year.

            As you know, I hated the approach most of our hitters took last year, so I am glad there will be a different approach this year.

            Kike’s biggest issue, is what got him to the big leagues in the first place, he is such a good utility player, he will probably not solely play one position.

            But we have two utility players on this team, so it will probably be who produces more Kike or Taylor, although like you, I don’t like Taylor at second either.

          2. MJ, that is why I commented on Cody Bellinger’s 3-3 day last weekend that Kike’ had a nice 2 strike approach with a runner on 3rd with less less than two outs and hit a nice sac fly. It was a good AB. Verdugo has had at least one AB where he knocked in a runner from third with less than 2 outs with a ground out. It’s early, but it is encouraging.

    2. Enough said on kershaw! For people to say he is the best pitcher in the game. I mean they don’t say that anymore but he has had a great regular season run the past 10 years. You can’t spin how disappointing he has been in the post-season. 59 your post is right on regarding kershaw!

      If the Dodgers want to pay him for all he has done in the past then so be it! However, to win a World Series don’t plan on kershaw being the number 1. For what they are paying him he needs to forget the ego and be a team player. We are going to need someone else to carry the heavy load if we are to win a World Series.

      Justin turner has been the heart and soul for awhile now. I agree with AC and Mark on Estevez. Bellinger has such talent he will be better. Seager is a big key. If he comes back healthy he is a star and a top 5 player. Taylor and kike will both play a lot. It depends on the health of seager as to where their at bats come from. Spring training means very little the regular season will determine the fate of verdugo.

      Garcia is a guy who is now on his second year from tj. He may just be getting his stuff back. I kept thinking last year he would improve but he didn’t. Maybe he is 100% now and if so he can be a very hot reliever if not overused. He has a penchant to give up the hr ball but otherwise he is capable of a big year.

      The Dodgers need to get their starting staff to the finish line healthy and playoff ready. That means buehler and urias need to come of age while hill and/or ryu need to start in la. A healthy kershaw could be placed somewhere with the least pressure. Barring significant injuries I really believe the Dodgers can get it done this year.

  6. AC – I too have been a big Omar Estevez fan since 2016. I was “Omar” when being Omar wasn’t cool. I think folks forget how young he is. His grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with two outs turned the Loons season around. This is what his manager Gil Velazquez said about the at bat.

    “I feel [Estevez] understood he needed to get a fastball to hit,” Velazquez said. “The first pitch was a fastball and the second pitch was a slider down and away. He knew [the] fastball was coming and he prepared for it. What sticks out to me is how much he wants those situations, being how young he is. Some players hit the panic button and let their emotions get the best of them. He wants to be in those situations and he’s not scared to fail in those situations.”

    I would like to see him cut down on his K’s as I would for virtually every Dodger hitter.

    1. AC

      I noticed all of that, but it is early like you have said, so I didn’t want to get over excited about it yet.

      But that is why I said, I liked the change in the approach.

      About Cody, Cody did better in these situations last year then Kike.

      But Cody did much better in these situations in his first year too.

      I already mentioned that Verdugo was doing well, before most here had.

  7. Mark, Kershaw has been the best pitcher in baseball over the last 10 years and a future HOF player, but he will be the first to tell you he has been a big disappointment in the post season, please stop with the excuses, he does not need them and only shows how your Homer mentality blinds you at times.

    Verdugo is doing what he needs to so far.
    Yimi Garcia is looking very good so far but as AC said let´s see how he does pitching 2 days in a row.
    Nice to see Kelly have a good inning after his last outing
    I think Freese is going to very valuable to the team this year.

    1. Actually, let’s do a little Mark logic and apply it to Verdugo. If you take away his two soft doubles, he’s hitting .250, all singles with 2 RBI in 16 ABs. Hardly winning the spot. Actually, compared to Kyle Garlick, he isn’t winning the spot even with those two soft doubles. Kyle has more extra base hits in less ABs with more walks as well. Hell, Estevez, Garlick and Beaty are all doing better than Verdugo with less experience. All while Verdugo is getting the most opportunity.

      1. We get it you’re a Verdugo hater, but just because your boy Joc looks lost at the plate dont denigrate Verdugo for actually making contact and making things happen, and it seems you only focus on the offense, how about Verdugo on the base paths so far, he’s been great, and in the OF with that rocket of an assist again Clev.

        1. Jim, you don’t get it. I’m not a Verdugo hater. I think he’s a 4th outfielder and I hope he proves me wrong. He’s shown flashes of brilliance coming up and has a great arm. He would be a legit RF if he had some pop, but he doesn’t. He’d be a legit CF if he had some speed, but he doesn’t. That’s my beef with him. Nothing more, nothing less. I was just making a point to Mark about taking away those soft doubles like he took away the 4 worst innings of post season pitching history for CK.

          Joc isn’t my boy either. I was rooting hard for a Harper signed without caring about Joc’s imminent trade. I’m just saying that Kike Pederson will completely outperform Verdugo with the bat. When I’m wrong, come back and tell me. I’ll be elated if he outproduces KP. But, he won’t and I’m not getting excited about 2 doubles that fell in front of the outfielders.

          1. 59, I think your point is good about Verdugo and the other OFielders competing for a job. Except, none are competing for the job because the FO has already made their decision barring some unforeseen development. I just cannot visualize Garlick, Estevez, or Beatty taking the LF position or any other OF position over Verdugo. The only snafu in Verdugo’s chance to start is the FO loves Joc and Taylor, our beloved platooners. Estevez is another platooner which we don’t need. We will see how it plays out but those minor leaguers have almost no chance to make the roster. Same for DJ Peters.

          2. 59
            You make a point on the CF and RF argument. He still is very young and still has a chance to produce a bit more power, maybe not a ton, but more. Today’s standards are ridiculous when it comes down to what is considered a good hitter, at least to me. Maybe I don’t sit in a clubhouse seat and drink with owners, but I have played and followed baseball all my life. Today they want POWER. It sells to the young crowd. Stolen Bases and base hits don’t. So Verdugo is a high-wire act. It doesn’t matter if hits fall in front or behind defenders as long as they fall.

  8. Healthy comments and debate… I love it. I don’t have time to keep with MiLB players, having said that, what I have seen of Esteves in ST, he certainly does carry himself as a gamer. He could be a junkyard dog in the making. BTW, I like the potential of DJ Peters too. What a clean up hitter he could be if he keeps developing his knowledge of the strike zone and learns to lay off bad pitches.

    1. I feel like Estevez’s profile is somewhat similar to Jeter Downs, but with perhaps a grade down on tools. He is solid but lacks a “carrying tool” as they say. But as a well-rounded player he could easily carve out a niche as a utility/bench piece. We spent $6 mil on him, but that was during the crazy spending days. If we can recoup any value from him, that would be a win. The world needs ditch-diggers too.

  9. I think Verdugo has looked good so far. He had two doubles yesterday and neither one was hit very hard. However, that is what happens when you put the bat on the ball. Almost every at bat that I have seen this ST have been good at bats. Left field is the only open position in the outfield. Pollock will be in center and Bellinger in RF. The only thing that will change is if Muncey struggles. Bat Verdugo in the 7th spot for now.

    I agree that Taylor will be our second baseman. Kike is too valuable as the super utility player. He will play 4-5 games each week. He will essentially be a starter.

    I agree with you on Kershaw. He earned that contract. He should be a Dodger for life. Kershaw is stubborn, but I think he will adjust as he gets older.

    I know we have good pitchers in our farm system. However, I am starting to see some pretty good position players. One or two could make the team as subs.

    1. I watched yesterday’s game and I have to admit i like Verdugo’s energy out there. He looks like he’s having fun. Reminds me a little of Puig, really. I’m officially on board.

  10. Last night I was re-reading a Dodgers Top 30 prospect list and as a thought exercise as I fell asleep I tried to recall all 30 names. I started with the infield and got 13, then turned to the outfield and got another 6. There were 2 LHPs and I counted 8 RHPs.

    I was frustrated when I couldn’t get the last one but I went to sleep and checked this morning. You know who I forgot? #27 on the list: Yadier Alvarez.


  11. Ride or die. Kershaw’s our guy and I’m loyal to him to the end. You can’t be a fan and then jump off when it’s convenient for you. No player has meant more to the organization than CK and I’ll accept him for what he is. By the time he finally wins one, it will be so sweet . . .

  12. Warren Spahn (1 and 1; 4.70 e.r.a.) had Lou Burdette (3 and 0; 0.67 e.r.a.) in the 1957 World Series.

  13. This Spring has included hopeful reports for Kendall and Alvarez. Yogi Berra told us that baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical. Both these guys might be playing on the Dodgers if it were the other way around.

    1. I don’t think Kendall’s problem is mental. I think his swing is jacked up. It’s basically a total rebuild but we liked the plus plus speed, great defense, & overall athleticism. I don’t mind them buying a lottery ticket every so often. He’s just not remotely on the same schedule as other prospects. We’ll have a decision to make once we need to put him on the 40 man, but for a while it’s just slowly trying to salvage the parts.

      Alvarez, OTOH, appears to be a mental case.

  14. The problem with Kershaw is that he can’t have it both ways.

    He can’t be the highest paid pitcher in baseball, and have all of these superlatives said about him, and not be expected to perform well in the post season.

    About Kershaw’s innings in the post season, they use to say it wasn’t a big enough sample size to take Kershaw’s numbers in the post season seriously, and now you are making the case he has pitched so many innings in the post season, it isn’t fair to compare Kershaw to Koufax.

    Mark like you have said many times, Kershaw has been stubborn about adjusting his approach in the post season.

    And because of that, he has not been as effective in these small series when hitters see a pitcher, especially a pitcher that starts game one, twice in two weeks.

    That explains the difference in Kershaw’s first start against the Astros, and his second start in game five.

    It gets really frustrating in the post season, watching Kershaw do the same thing every time he gets in trouble, and that is heaving fastball after fastball, to the hitters.

    I didn’t have a problem extending him, but why did we continue to pay him the highest amount per year in baseball, for a pitcher?

    Kershaw’s problems in these short post season series, may be a good reason that Kershaw probably should not be pitching game one in a short post season series, anymore.

    1. I don’t like excuses, but to be honest, I think maybe we’ve been missing some leadership from the catcher’s position. You think Molina, Posey, S. Perez let those things happen?

      1. The reason you don’t think those catchers let that happen is because they haven’t caught Kershaw in the post season. Blaming the catcher because Kershaw sucks is completely beyond stupid when the catcher is a variable and Kershaw is the constant.

        2009 NLCS Game1 – Martin
        2013 NLCS Game 6 – Ellis
        2014 NLDS Game 1 – Ellis
        2016 NLCS Game 6 – Grandal
        2017 WS Game 5 – Barnes
        2018 NLCS Game 1 – Grandal
        2018 WS Game 1 – Barnes

        That’s a lot of blame to pass around. 4 different catchers, same pitcher.

        1. Hey 59–If we ever meet in person I would love for you to say that. Until then, why don’t you just keep your mouth shut and not respond to me. I guarantee you it’s in your best interest.

          1. Oh “Palm” Dale, idle threats are unbecoming. You let me know when you’re in Huntington Beach and I’ll come by and say hi. Then you can try to shut me up. Heaven knows, I’m not going to Palmdale unless it’s against my will.

            Here’ a thought. Don’t blame the catcher for Kershaw sucking and I won’t say that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. I mean, we all have opinions, but seriously. Next you’re gonna blame his cleats?

          2. Not that I condone threats on here, but you are kind of a douche, 59. I think it’d be better for all and would keep the vibe positive – and keep the threats on your personhood to a minimum – if you’d moderate your tone.

      2. Palmdale

        I use to think it was a problem, that AJ Ellis was to close to Kershaw.

        Because AJ knew Kershaw hated it when someone went out to him, and because of that, AJ wouldn’t go straight out there, and try to slow the game down for Kershaw.

        But even with that, that is ultimately on Kershaw too.

        1. Of course it’s on him but even the most successful man needs a foil to keep him in check. Baseball is not an individual sport, nor is pitching a solitary act. It requires a catcher, a batter, a manager, and a team full of supporters. Failure is an orphan and success has a thousand fathers. Probably the only time Mussolini’s son-in-law had it right. Of course, you are rightfully entitled to your opinion 🙂

          1. Palmdale

            That is why at one time, I thought AJ might be the problem.

            In those tough series against the Cards, like you, I use to watch how well Yadi controlled his pitchers, and the game.

            And I wished on many occasions if only AJ would have gone out there sooner, to slow down the game for Kershaw, especially in those 7th innings against the Cards.

    2. MJ
      You are correct. People can’t make excuses for failure. If he would have won all of those games, he would have taken all of the praise and honors to go with it. The grand parade down main street in the open limo, but he failed the team and the city, so he has to take the failure, not the Catcher or Left Fielder. He threw pitches straight down the pipe and got rocked. sorry. He sucked in Prime Time for the most part. And the Dodgers rewarded him with Big Money

  15. Idaho made the same point that I was thinking about when I consider Verdugo. He’s going to hit the ball hard often enough, but he’s also going to get hits when he doesn’t, because more often than most, he makes consistent contact.

    I don’t disagree with Mark’s comments about Kershaw. My memory is no doubt more than a little fuzzy, but as I recall it, Kershaw more than once had problems around the 7th inning, BEFORE Kenley Jansen would have been considered. Given that the Dodgers mostly did not have a reliable bridge to Kenley, Kershaw was often allowed to stay in games from which he should have been removed, when he was clearly melting down.

    I firmly believe that a deeper bullpen may have saved Kershaw on more than one occasion.

    Probably six of one and a half dozen of the other, but I am in the camp favoring Kike’ for the everyday job at 2nd base. Thought I was seeing signs of a more balanced hitter towards the end of last season. At the very least, I think he deserves the opportunity to shed his utility-man label, and be given a chance to settle in at an everyday position. I like him better on both sides of the ball than Chris Taylor. But like I said, it’s six of one, and half a dozen of the other. So I concede that I could be totally wrong here.

    1. I feel like there’s a chance Verdugo will be a streaky hitter. There might be times he’s on base 8 out of 10 times and other times he’s a little lost. Just like every other player BTW. I do hope he doesn’t overswing. We need OBP & contact and the power will come if he allows it to.

      I mostly want him to keep his head in the game, hustle, and bring the energy he seems to have a lot of.

      I tend to side with Mark and think he could be a .300 hitter for us.

      1. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that Verdugo can be a .300 hitter in the MLB. I like his energy and attitude and I think he will be a decent hitter, but decent is in the .250-.270 range, IMO. He’s got a good arm and hustles. He is more of a contact hitter than Joc or Taylor. He’s alert and certainly has some upside, but little power. I hope he can sustain some offense as i think he will get the job in LF. I still like him leading off.

        If we really wanted power, Garlick and Beatty would be the guys to go to. Beatty has looked exceptional.

  16. I think it’s a great problem to have that we can’t seem to figure out which of the two guys to start at second base. Assuming that Roberts decides to go with one of them most of the time, he needs to be sure to start the other one at various positions at least 3-4 times a week. Otherwise whomever that turns out to be will get totally stale and not be able to perform when we need him. The nice part about CT3 and Kike is that you can rotate them around the diamond, giving them a fair amount of starts while not benching anyone else for more than a game at a time.

    1. It will probably come down to which one starts out hot, cuts down on K’s. Both will play though.

  17. It now seems likely that Kershaw won’t be ready for the beginning of the regular season [i.e., opening day]. It also seems likely that Urias will take his spot in the rotation until he returns [Stripling is better suited to the pen].

    So who benefits the most? The writing is on the wall that we’ll carry 13 pitchers, so assuming we have an open spot now with Urias moving to the rotation, who grabs the open spot?


    Those five have to be considered locks, unless we try to cash in on Baez, which seems unlikely given our concerns about depth.


    These would be my next three in, but none is a sure thing. Urias joining the rotation makes another LHP necessary, and you have to think Ferguson will be given a shot to work as a starter in AAA at least to begin the year. As good as he was, he came up earlier than his development warranted, so a small step back could help him in the long run. Floro has the most upside but he’s also a SSS case. My memory of him last year was that his stuff was filthy until it wasn’t. Garcia is looking good right now.


    No room at the inn, folks. Maybe Fields claims a spot but he’s a gas can waiting to happen.


    Good enough to make it but a victim of the numbers game. Every time I see him I see him as a future elite set-up man, the kind the Yankees seem to have 3-4 of every year.




    Patience, grasshopper. You’ll have your time.


    Maybe in September

  18. By the way Urias was clocked as high as 98mph in his start today (which was 2ip, 3k, and 1 solo hr allowed to Longoria )

  19. Our new favorite reliever Stetson Allie threw a perfect inning and struck out Posey and Longoria

    1. I hope to see him during the season at some point. You know somebody is going to get injured in the bullpen

  20. Good article on Ross Stripling in the OCR

    Here is a pull out quote
    Ross Stripling knows he could probably have a secure rotation spot in a lot of other places. “My response to that is, yeah, maybe I’d be a No. 3, 4 or 5 on a bunch of other teams. But a bunch of those teams will probably lose a bunch of games. ”

    Read the whole thing. He talks of being tired in the second half and how it affected his pitching and tipping pitches

  21. Nice article as always, but I don’t think telling your readers to “Shut the hell up” is the proper thing to do. If all you want us to do is read and not respond, how boring would that be?? Cuba or China might like that kind of readership, but I don’t think you would. But then, it doesn’t seem like most here respond much to my posts.

    1. Well I didn’t know if I agreed or disagreed so I didn’t shut up. I know one thing kershaw has had chance after chance and we still don’t have a World Series. I have read that he has had much more post season innings than others so this was a reason for some failure. I only wish koufax had more opportunities we would have won more World Series. Experience is supposed to be the best teacher.

      Maybe based on a great regular season record, a good clubhouse guy, proper work ethic, he should get paid and be a lifetime Dodger. Ok, but as far as winning a World Series let’s treat him based on playoff performance not loyalty. Everybody claims they are pining for a world champion so put your best players where they should be.

      I was there when kershaw got beat 1-0 in a playoff game vs Michael wacha and the cards. I remember when mattingly used to pitch him on short rest and leave him in games too long because there weren’t any answers in the bullpen. That was when he was younger and healthier. We do not have that kershaw now. We now have a good but not dominating kershaw who is even less in the playoffs. So, yes we owe him for abusing him. He is being paid so now let’s win a World Series. Ok, now I will shut up.

      1. If the Dodgers would have given Kershaw a decent team behind him during his prime, think of the possibilities??
        All they ever had were Kemp and Ethier. Koufax at least had Drysdale but nothing in the way of hitting.

    1. There’s those manners that Palmdale’s famous for. Nothing says “High IQ” like swearing and name calling. I bet that gets you far in life. You must be popular with the ladies too.

      1. Do you remember the scene in the Soprano’s where Janice and Richie are doing the nasty and their special thing is a revolver to her head? Some people are into that, but they are usually Made Men so I would watch your step 59. Tread carefully.

  22. Ok, 59 and Palmdale, cool your jets, your sounding like one of the SF Giants blog. We are all on the same team here. Listened to Roggin and Rodney the last few days and they had a great point. Rodney was confused that Harper took that many years knowing that in about 6 years the Phillies can tear it down and start all over and he is still stuck there. Both of those guys were relieved we didn’t do the dope fiend move to get him. And as fans, the LA Times took a readers poll of about 25,000 people. About 23% were bummed we didn’t get him, 77% were stoked we passed. Roggin had a great point, “Let’s put to bed the Dodgers are cheap. They offered 45 Million a year for 4 years, 45 Million!!! That is insane!! Do not call us anymore and say that Freidman is cheap. They made an offer for 4 years, which is their MO, so no more calls about the Dodgers being cheap.” Freidman refuses to hamstring this team with a boat anchor contract, and I am so thankful for that..

    1. All on the same team? Really Roger. I am new here. Not sure if I needed to be invited to this blog or if I just barged in but I get the feeling I am unwelcome.

  23. Mark always encourages us to agree to disagree at times, just don’t make it personal. The only thing that is unwelcome on this site is Dodger brothers going against Dodger brothers. We are all pulling for the same team, and alot of times we have differing opinions, which in my opinion is healthy, as it opens our minds up(mine included) to a different kind of thinking. With that said, let’s not roll around in the sludge like some of those other blogs, that’s why we are all here in the first place. Let’s keep it about baseball, not hateball. Welcome Hamchuck, it’s gonna be a great season. I have been a member for about 3 years running, and I love these guys, I have learned so much. You will too.

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