Tag Archives: Dodgers Nation

Dodger Nation in full panic mode……

Rarely am I the great outlier when it comes to analyzing my beloved Dodgers, but over the last week there aren’t many voices of calm, except for my own.

After winning 91 of 127 games and going an insane 53-9 over a 10-week stretch the Dodgers have hit the pavement like a hell-bent anvil.

It’s not just the losses, its how they are losing. Ugly.

The usual criticisms are being rained down upon the Boys in Blue.

  1. Not enough depth in the starting rotation
  2. Bullpen shortfalls
  3. No reliable lefty in the pen

I can’t argue any of these points. All of these facets have been downright dreadful, but there are a few elements you need to evaluate before you jump off the ship without a life preserver.

First, the Dodgers slide coincided with the Cody Bellinger going on the shelf for a bum ankle. Second, as Bellinger came back Corey Seager went on the shelf with a problematic shoulder and elbow. These two were two of the pulsing pistons driving the Dodgers in June and July. They are banged up and the team is in a scuffle, not a surprise.

Justin Turner has also cooled off considerably. Like the Dodgers playing at an .800 clip it was unrealistic to expect “Red Turn” to hit .360 all year. These three are the teeth of the Dodgers offense, with a disruption in this triumvirate there was going to be some slippage.

And how about this for analysis ? They were due for a slide.  I know the reasoning is medieval and isn’t sexy but it’s fact. Over a 162-game schedule a team will always revert to their mean. You are what you are over 162 games. Right now the Dodgers are talented, spirited team that has put themselves in a great position, that is it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I will say that there is some concern with the complete meltdown on the mound. The starting pitching needs to be better, the bullpen needs to be better. They know this, it’s not a surprise. But, I think this team is closer to the team that blistered baseball for 127 games instead of the duds we’ve seen over the last ten games.

Last point, this thing does need to get turned around in the next few weeks. The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals won a World Series losing 8 of their final 9 games and limping into the post-season. They were exception and not the rule. You can’t expect to play like a trash bin and think you can flip the switch on September 27th.

For now, I sit back and let my Dodger brethren fret. I will take a deep breath, knowing that baseball is a fickle mistress, and watch as the Boys in Blue eventually find their footing.

I hope.

 

Dodgers wasting Kershaw’s best years….

We are witnessing one of the great pitchers of our time. One of the great pitchers in the history of the game. Yet, here we sit with a team that can’t hit, has no starting pitching depth, a sieve for middle relief and a 250 million dollar payroll. Whoopeee !

I have stated numerous times that we, the fans deserve better. How about Clayton Kershaw ? He deserves better. I respect the Dodger fan who can watch the game, and accept the fate regardless of how deep the knife turns when Pedro Baez or Chris Hatcher enters the contest. Sorry, I am not wired that way.

Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and Josh Brynes have done a few things well. They have kept the kids and developed them and they didn’t over-pay Zack Greinke. Other than that I am finding it hard to see the redeeming value in their approach.

Let me play devil’s advocate here. What if Mark Walter was interviewing Friedman and mandated that the payroll be cut closer to 200 million dollars ? What if Walter told Friedman that he wouldn’t mind a few steps backward if it set up the Dodgers for decades of success by re-stocking and replenishing a decrepit minor league system under Frank McCourt ? What if Walter told Friedman, “I am paying you to rebuild the foundation of our franchise, while cutting payroll. If we win, great, if we don’t, that’s ok, as long as the foundation is built.”

Do I believe this is what transpired in his job interview ? Well, maybe. How else can you explain these moves or lack thereof ? The Dodgers have one of the most anemic offenses in baseball while banking on players that shouldn’t be banked on (Puig, Grandal,) They went on the cheap for the bullpen, turning converted catchers an infielders into relief pitchers and then act shocked and surprised when they don’t get results. They signed often-injured starting pitchers hoping to catch lightning in the ole bottle, instead they got more injuries. You “experiment” with infielders as relievers when you are rebuilding. You don’t do it when you are a piece or two from winning the pennant. I am not that smart but I called this. I wrote about it. I felt it and could see it. Why couldn’t Dodgers ownership ? I am starting to believe this was the plan. Break this team down to the sum of its parts and hope. How else can such fool-hardy decisions be rationalized ?

The saddest part of this hypothesis is the Dodgers are wasting the talents of one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of the game. Clayton Kershaw is special, but his greatness has a shelf life and that shelf life probably has three or four more years. I will concede Kershaw hasn’t helped himself in the post-season, especially in 2013 and 2014. But, if you come after Kershaw you must also be critical of a front office that devalues pitchers that get outs in the 7th and 8th innings.

Kershaw and the loyalists who Bleed Blue deserve better. I have racked my brain to rationalize the Friedman/Zaidi and Byrnes approach. The only think I can come up with is this IS the plan. Break it down to build it back up into a juggernaut. So far, not so good. The proverbial jury is still out. In the meantime I will look longingly at the Chicago Cubs and salivate.