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2023 Dodgers Have Exceeded Expectations

This spring, the Dodgers had a set pitching rotation including four veterans and one rookie. Syndergaard, Urias, Gonsolin and Kershaw, with Ryan Pepiot being the 5th man. Whoops. Pepiot went down at the end of spring. Scratch one. He was replaced by Michael Grove, who soon went down himself. Scratch two.

Gonsolin was obviously not the same pitcher he was last year and after 20 starts and 103 innings, he went down. His ERA at that point was 2.84 points higher than in 22. Scratch three. And then we would find out he needed TJ surgery.

Syndergaard never found his stride, nor did he reclaim his 100 MPH heater. He was traded to Cleveland with a 1-4 record and an ERA over 7. Dodgers got Rosario in return in what has to be one of the more lopsided trades this year. Scratch four.

Kershaw was Kersh. Pitching to a 2.61 ERA and leading the team with 12 wins. But, as has been the case several times over the last several years, he has missed significant time and made only 20 starts. Scratch five, maybe. His last two outings have not been good. But he is scheduled to start this weekend against the Mariners. So we shall see how that goes.

With May and Buehler already out for the season, the options baring a trade were thin. It fell to the kids to bail them out. Miller, Sheehan, Stone, have been good, sometimes bad, but always ready to pitch when called on.

They picked up a veteran arm, Lance Lynn at the deadline, and a bullpen arm, Joe Kelly at the same time. Neither was what most of the fan base were hoping for. They got a spot starter-reliever in Ryan Yarbrough at the same time.

The bullpen, which had been a mess and a revolving door, stabilized itself some when Ryan Brasier was picked up. Almonte, Hudson, Kelly, Cyr, Varland, Suero, and Nelson, have also been on the IL. Looks like only Kelly will make it back.

Then to add injury to insult, Julio Urias got himself arrested for the second time on a domestic violence charge and was placed on the admin leave list by the league. Scratch six. All traces of Julio have been erased by the team. His locker, bobblehead night and the murals at Dodger Stadium are all gone. It is pretty clear that he has pitched his last game in L.A. He was another one who in no way resembled the player he was last season.

New faces were added to the offense. Peralta, Heyward, Rojas, all expected to have reserve roles. Then Lux went down, and Rojas, who was playing hurt at the time, was forced into the starting SS role. Defensively, he has more than fit the bill. Lately his offense has picked up considerably.

Two rookies, Outman and Vargas, landed starting roles out of spring training. Vargas as the everyday second baseman, and Outman in CF. JD Martinez was signed to be the everyday DH.

Freddie Freeman, Betts, and Smith were the everyday starters at 1st, RF and catcher. Muncy moved from second base to third. Taylor, Barnes were the bench guys.

Now as the season winds down, the players on the roster since spring training have changed. A lot. Kike is back, Rosario and Kolten Wong are here. Two by trade and one on a minor league contract. The bullpen has had a major facelift. Vesia, Graterol, Ferguson and Phillips, are the only holdovers on the current roster. Brasier, Shelby Miller, Hurt, and Yarbrough are the new kids on the block.

The current starting four are Miller, Lynn, Kershaw, Pepiot. The openers or spot starters are Sheehan, Yarbrough and Gavin Stone. Kelly is due back maybe next week.

The bench is Wong, Barnes, Rosario, and Hernandez. Betts has been alternating between second base and right field. When a RH pitches, he is at second. Peralta, Outman and Heyward start against RHP. Betts, Outman and Taylor against LHP. With Rojas Hernandez, Rosario all rotating positions against LHP.

So, how has this team exceeded expectations? Well one reason is one of the better offensive teams in the team’s history in Los Angeles. The bullpen, after a horrid first half, turned itself around.

Players called up to fill in have done a good job doing so. The starting pitching has been just good enough. Even with a staggering 14 pitchers on the IL, their replacements have bridged the gap.

Many players spent a short time with the big league club and were released, waived or traded. Thompson, traded, Austin Winns, traded, Luke Williams, traded, Yonny Hernandez, outrighted to AAA, Jake Marisnick, currently on the IL and most likely not coming back. DeLuca, Busch and Vargas are all at AAA now.

Heyward and Peralta have both been valuable pieces of the team. Heyward is hitting .269 with 14 HR’s and 38 runs driven in. He has provided veteran leadership and mentoring for James Outman. He also has been stellar on defense.

Peralta, the Freight Train, has brought leadership, very good defense, energy on the field, and some very timely hitting to the team. While not providing as much power to the lineup as Heyward, they are both hitting .269.

Outman, he was on fire the first month of the season. He garnered rookie of the month honors in April. He then went into a slump. Many fans felt he should be sent down, but they kept him up with the big club and eventually he began to hit again. He cut down his strikeouts and by the All-Star break he turned his season around and was rookie of the month again in August. He currently has 19 homers and could join Martinez, Betts, Muncy and Freeman in the 20 or more homer club soon.

There is also a chance that for the first time since 1955, three Dodgers will drive in 100 runs. Mookie has already done that. Freeman is 7 away, and Muncy is 2. No LA Dodger team has ever had three players with 100 or more ribbies. They have had two several times.

Also, if JD and Freddie hit 4 more homers each, they will join two other Dodger teams that had four 30 HR guys. Martinez, had he not been out with injuries would have been a lock for 100 RBI’s. Even with all his missed time he has 81.

This team has performed above and beyond. Is it enough for Dodger fans??  I know how difficult it is to win the Championship. You have to win three series, 11 more games. We also know, the best team does not always win.

I believe that when the season is over, there will be fans who are disappointed if the Dodgers do not go all the way. Myself, I will be satisfied that they got as far as they did with a crippled pitching staff missing it’s best pitchers.


09-14-2023 MiLB Game Summary Reports


Midwest League East Division Championship Best 2 of 3 Series

Great Lakes Loons 3 – Fort Wayne Tin Caps (San Diego) 2

Maddux Bruns drew the start, and true to form, only got through 4.0 IP.  He threw 69 pitches (42 strikes).  He allowed 1 unearned run after a throwing error on an infield single in the 3rd to tie the score 1-1.  Overall he gave up 3 walks, and one of them came around to score on the throwing error.  Just the one hit, but did record 7 Ks.

Four relievers followed Bruns and combined to throw 5.0 innings, allowing an unearned run on 1 hit, 2 BB, and 7 K.  Down 3-2 to GL, Fort Wayne threatened in the 8th.  Jerming Rosario walked the first two batters, got a force out at 3rd on a sac bunt attempt.  Michael Hobbs relieved Rosario and struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

Hobbs retired the side in order in the 9th, striking out Griffin Doersching to end the game.

Taylor Young walked to lead off the bottom of the first, and Dalton Rushing was HBP.  Yeiner Fernandez had a productive ground out putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out.  Griffin Lockwood Powell singled home Young and a 1-0 lead.

Damon Keith homered in the 4th to put the Loons up for good at 2-1.  GL scored an insurance run in the 6th on a double by Alex Freeland and a run scoring single by Yunior Garcia.

Damon Keith was 2-4 with a HR, and Yimi Garcia was also 2-4 and the eventual winning RBI.

The Midwest League Eastern Division Championship Series is knotted at 1-1.  The deciding game will be on Friday.  At the time I am writing this, the starting pitchers have not been reported.


Box Score


California League South Division Championship Best 2 of 3 Series

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 4 – Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) 3

The Quakes jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on to a 4-3 victory to tie the California League Southern Division Championship Series at 1 game apiece.

RC scored a pair of unearned runs in the 4th.  Jake Gelof reached on an error and moved to 3B on a Jesus Galiz double.  Gelof scored on a WP and Galiz scored on a catchers error at the plate after a fly out and throw to the plate.

In the 6th, Thayron Liranzo homered and Luis Rodriguez doubled home Joe Vetrano who singled, and a 4-0 lead.

Chris Campos started and completed 4.0 scoreless innings with one hit.  He did not walk anyone and struck out 3.  Patrick Copen pitched a perfect 2.0 innings and struck out 3.

Leading 4-0, RC’s Reynaldo Yean relieved Copen and walked the first three batters in the 8th.  Livan Reinoso entered and got a ground ball for out #1 with the runners moving up to 2nd and 3rd.  Reinoso surrendered a 2-run single to bring the 66ers to within a run.

Madison Jeffrey entered the 9th for the save.  However after getting the first 2 outs, he walked the bases loaded.  Kelvin Ramirez relieved Jeffrey and got the final out for the save of the RC win.

Thayron Liranzo was 2-4 with a HR, and Luis Rodriguez was 2-4 with a double.

The deciding game will be on Friday.  At the time of composing this summary, the starting pitchers have not been announced.


Box Score


OKC Dodgers 4 – Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle) 2

Tacoma jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 5th on 2 unearned runs off RHSP Nick Frasso.  The 24 year old Frasso pitched 5.0 innings.  He allowed the two unearned runs on 3 hits, 4 walks, and 5 Ks.  He pitched with at least one runner on in all 5 innings.

The Oklahoma City Dodgers scored all four of their runs in the sixth inning as the Dodgers came from behind and took the lead in the sixth inning.  Drew Avans led off with a single and scored on a RBI double by Miguel Vargas. Jake Marisnick continued a Major League Rehab Assignment and lined a RBI double to center field allowing Vargas to score and tie the game, 2-2. The Dodgers took the lead on a RBI single into center field by Ryan Ward that brought home Marisnick and they added a fourth run when Ward scored on a wild pitch for a 4-2 lead.

Relievers John Rooney, Bryan Hudson, and Ricky Vanasco closed out the game with four scoreless innings. The trio allowed a combined two hits and recorded four strikeouts from the sixth through ninth innings. Rooney was credited with the win, while Hudson got a hold and Vanasco recorded his first Triple-A save.

Oklahoma City tied the team’s Bricktown-era record with its 86th victory of the season,  becoming just the second Oklahoma City team during the Bricktown era (since 1998) to reach 86 wins. They joined the 2015 Dodgers who finished their season 86-58.

Key Performers:

  • Drew Avans was 2-3, 1 BB, with a double (27)
  • Jake Marisnick was 2-3, with 2 doubles (2)


Box Score


Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston) 4 – Tulsa Drillers 3

The Tulsa Drillers were in a position to possibly end their losing streak on Thursday night, holding a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning. But the streak continued in one of the cruelest ways.  Tulsa is now 0-12 in September, with 3 games remaining in the season.

The Corpus Christi Hooks rallied for two runs in that eighth inning with the winning run scoring from third base on a bases-loaded strikeout that turned into passed ball, sending the Drillers to a 4-3 loss and their 12th straight defeat.

The tough loss dropped the Drillers record to 0-12 in the month of September with three games remaining in the season. The 12-game losing streak is the second longest in the 46-season history of the Drillers franchise.

After starting and pitching 4 scoreless innings, Robbie Peto allowed 2 runs (1 earned) in the 5th, before leaving with only 1 out in the 5th.

In the bottom of the 5th, Tulsa began the inning by earning two singles and an error to load the bases. Yusniel Diaz followed by working a ten-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk that forced home the Drillers first run.

Tulsa took its first lead in the series with the Hooks by scoring two runs in the sixth inning. The Drillers began the inning with two singles and an error to load the bases with no outs. Ismael Alcantara hit a soft single to right to tie the game, and a failed double play allowed Brandon Lewis to score and give the Drillers a 3-2 lead.

Tulsa’s lead held until that faithful eighth inning. Bryan Arias tied the game with his RBI single to right field. After the hit, a pair of walks loaded the bases, setting up the strikeout and passed ball that handed the Drillers the tough loss.

The Drillers defense saved three runs by recording three outs at home plate. Shortstop Austin Gauthier and Alcantara recorded outs on throws to the plate, and pitcher Ryan Sublette backed up a wild throw home and tossed it to the catcher for another out.

Sublette was charged with the two runs to score in the eighth and suffered the loss. Only one run was earned.

Gauthier exited the game in the seventh inning after injuring his hand on a double-play attempt.

Carson Taylor was the sole Driller with 2 hits.


Box Score




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I have noticed over the last few games that Michael Busch has not played. I wonder if he is hurt.


I noticed that too Bear. In reading the box scores (thank you Jeff, I still enjoy reading them) it occurred to me at this point none of that matters. Not this year anyway. Unless there is an emergency, none of those guys are coming up. We got Wong on the roster for heaven’s sake. Busch and Vargas can mail it in.

Plaschke with a very homer driven case for Mookie as MVP. The bottom line for me is Mookie has more WAR than Acuna. As I already said those awards don’t mean much to me, but I do agree with Bill on this one. We’re watching arguably the best leadoff hitter this game has ever seen.


I checked the roster, he is still listed as active, but, over the last month he is hitting under .200. Might have something to do with El Bencho.

Jeff Dominique

I wrote this a couple of days ago:

Michael Busch was removed from the game in the top of the 5th and replaced by Yonny Hernández. Michael went 1-2 while he was in the game.

There is still no report on where Busch is at. I do not think there is a pending injury at the MLB level that would put him on the taxi squad, especially since the Dodgers chose Kolten Wong over Busch so he would get more regular ABs at OKC.

There has been nothing in the OKC notes to provide any insight.


I think you’ve forgotten how good Ricky Henderson was. 81 leadoff HRs. He’s usually ranked as the best leadoff hitter ever.


I’m visiting a friend in Canon City, CO which is the home of our very own Michael “Bear” Norris. Yesterday Bear and I were able to get together for lunch and some good conversation. Bear has had an interesting life and I’m always amazed with his ability to remember details of Dodger games he attended decades ago. It’s, also, a chance to personally thank him for all the incredible and well researched articles he writes for us.

I have been satisfied with the Dodgers’ results for 2023 so far. Considering they were able to bring up and incorporate so many of their prospects and still win another division title (by a large margin) is incredible. If their starting pitching had stayed somewhat in tact throughout the season this could have been the best LA Dodger team in history and maybe the best Dodger team period. Regardless, it has been a fun season to watch. To quote Russell Crowe in Gladiator “are you not entertained?” Absolutely!
Carry on.


Thanks Ted, I really appreciate it. And their meatloaf was great. I love Mugs. Usually when I go in there for breakfast, I get the biscuits and gravy. 1/2 portion. The whole portion is huge. I will have that CD in the mail next week. 17 games left, 3 with the Mariners, 3 with Detroit, 4 with the Rockies and 7 with the Giants. It has been a surprisingly good team, and very entertaining and frustrating at the same time. But like they say, somedays you get the bear, and somedays the bear gets you.


If we are not monsters, we are food; and I could never be food.


Got that right


Yeah you could. Swim in the ocean. There you are just part of the food chain.


Ted, sent me a text when you get the chance.

RC Dodger

Good article Bear!
I agree with our sentiments regarding the Dodgers exceeding expectations when all factors are considered. Losing Lux in spring training was a big blow to the lineup that I tend to forget.
In my view he was prepared to take the next step as a major leaguer who was a former #1 prospect in the MLB. And winning the division after losing your top 8 starting pitchers to various injuries/issues is amazing.

Jeff Dominique

Michael Busch is back in the OKC lineup and had a run scoring double (24) in the 3rd.


Not sure how high of a prospect Jarrod Karros is, but he’s been great since he got bumped to A+. He had 5ip 0 runs today


I never rule out these guys who the scouts put limited ceilings on. Pitching anywhere in a rotation is a success. See Dean Kremer.


Do I have to say it?

Get him out of there!

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