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At What Point Should Fans PANIC?

Baseball is a game of streaks and slumps. It is also a game where things can turn either way on a single play. This last month, Dodger baseball for the most part has been unwatchable. They were 12-12 in June. Not what the fans expected at the beginning of spring training. They start July 1-1. Losing a series to the woeful Kansas City Royals.

What made it worse was the fact that the Royals, who as a team are at the bottom of the AL offensively, scored 18 runs over the three games and won two despite LA scoring 16 runs. And they did it by exposing what I consider to be the Dodgers biggest weakness, controlling the running game.

Also they stifled the Dodgers vaunted power by simply getting clutch hits from the bottom of their order. Granted, the Dodgers pitchers on Saturday and Sunday did not help much. Urías and Gonsolin were very pedestrian. Julio looked out of shape and rusty.

The bullpen, which did a decent job on Friday and Saturday, imploded yesterday. At least Gonzalez did. Ferguson is the only reliable left-handed arm down there.

So here we are, 6 games left before the All-Star break, 3 games back of Arizona and .5 games in front of the Giants. The trading deadline is less than a month away.

Does AF strike early like he did in 2018 getting Manny Machado right after the break, or do they wait it out? One reliever has already been moved. Chapman going to the Rangers who are making a serious run at dislodging the Astros as West division leaders in the AL.

The Dodgers biggest need is obviously starting pitching. A bullpen arm or two would not hurt, but with Hudson coming back, not as big of a need. They need something from Max Muncy who has seriously lost his mojo. They need more from Vargas if he is going to be out there every day.

James Outman, while cutting down his K’s some, has not hit a homer since May. Peralta and Heyward have definitely upped their game and both are contributing nicely. Taylor is going to be out until after the All-Star game, and what they get from him when he does come back, no one can foretell that.

Mookie and Martinez are providing the power from the right side with 41 homers between them so far. Freddie is Freddie. I am pretty sure he will get red hot again. Barnes needs to provide at least some offense when he is in there, because Smith is a vital player in that three hole and one of their better clutch hitters. Smitty is in a little slump right now.

But the starting pitching is in shambles. Gonsolin is definitely at this point, not pitching well. We can take some solace that Urías is back, but which Julio are we getting? He does not look like the pitcher he has been the last two years. Walk year jitters? Could be.

Kershaw’s shoulder is cranky, and if he goes down for any length of time, this team has serious issues. May is out until who knows when. Stone flopped in his debut and has stunk up the joint at AAA. His star has faded some.

I like Sheehan. He seems to be one of those kids who gets it. He does not get flustered out there and probably due to the injuries, will be sticking around a while. Bobby Miller’s stuff is impressive. His lack of composure when in a jam is not. But he is learning. He controls that anger, and he can be a huge difference maker.

Thor is supposed to be getting closer to a rehab assignment. His blister problem may or may not be solved. But you know the guy has a desire to get at least close to what he once was. Can he? Huge question.

No pitcher at AAA seems like they would be much help. Of course they will no doubt bring Grove back for a start or ten. His stuff is not that impressive, but he does not get flustered easily either.

Pepiot is not throwing off of a mound yet. My guess, he is not going to make it back this season. At AA (now AAA), Knack is pitching very well and might be the next whiz kid called up to see what he can do.

So, that leaves the trade route as the best way to improve the pitching staff. Myself, I would like to see them get a RH power bat off of the bench, but who is going to be available?

Arenado would fix 3rd base nicely and the Cardinals are terrible this year. But I would rather trade for Flaherty. Arenado has over 100 mil remaining on his deal, so the chances AF trades for Nolan are slim.

Goldschmidt’s name is being tossed around by some as trade bait. But he is strictly a first baseman, and we have an All-Star there. No one at this point knows who is going to be on the market.

Dreamers on many Dodger sites want Ohtani. He would definitely fix part of the pitching problem, but Ohtani is primarily a DH. So what do you do with JD? Besides, as long as the Angels are not totally out of the race in the AL West, he is not going to be traded and Moreno would never trade him to the Dodgers, Angel fans would revolt.

We will have to wait and see who is on the market come the end of July. But, if the White Sox made him available, I would target Giolito. Local boy comes home. He would immediately make the rotation that much better. But also, they need to work on holding runners better. That deficiency will get exploited in the playoffs.

 

 

07-04-2023 – MiLB Game Summary Reports

 

OKC Dodgers 7 – Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) 4

Justin Hagenman started and competed 5.0 innings, allowing only an inside the park HR.  Justin gave up a total of 5 hits, but only the one run.

OKC scored 2 in the 1st to take the lead they would never relinquish.  With 2 outs, Pat Valaika got his first OKC hit in his first OKC PA.  Ryan Ward drew a walk, and Devin Mann hit a 2 run-double.

Michael Busch hit a solo HR (9) in the 5th for a 3-1 lead.  In the 6th, OKC scored 3 unearned runs thanks to a bases loaded scoring throwing error allowing 2 and a SF for the third.

Jimmy Nelson pitched a scoreless 6th.  Gus Varland and Nick Robertson let Albuquerque back into the game with three runs allowed.  After a Steven Duggar solo HR (5) in the 8th for an insurance run, Wander Suero came in for a clean 9th inning and the save.

  • Michael Busch – 2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, double (17), HR (9)
  • Pat Valaika – 2-3, 1 run, 1 BB
  • Devin Mann – 3-4, 1 run, 2 RBI, 2 doubles (30)
  • Steven Duggar – 1-4, HR (5)

-The Dodgers have won six consecutive games for their longest winning streak since a season-best 10-game winning streak May 9-19…They improved to 56-24 overall and have the most wins in all of the Minors.

-Michael Busch went 2-for-4 with a double and home run. In his first five games since his most recent option to Triple-A, Busch is 7-for-19 with five extra-base hits, six RBI and has reached base in 14 of 24 plate appearances.

-The Dodgers hit two homers and have now homered in five straight games…Michael Busch homered for the second time in four games and he has six homers over his last 11 Triple-A games.

-The Dodgers have allowed four runs or less in seven consecutive games, in nine of their last 11 games and in 10 of the last 13 games…The pitching staff recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a fifth straight game tying their longest stretch of double-digit strikeout games this season April 18-22.

-Mann increased his league-leading doubles total to 30 on the season and the total ranks tied for the most in all of the Minors…Mann has hit safely in seven straight games (12×29), in nine of his last 10 games (15×42) and in 12 of his last 14 games (21×53)…Mann’s 43 extra-base hits this season lead the PCL.

 

Box Score

 

Tulsa Drillers 5 – Wichita Winds Surge (Minnesota) 4 – 11 innings

River Ryan started but surrendered 3 runs in his 5.0 IP.  4 singles, a pair of walks, and a WP were the reason for the three runs.

Antonio Knowles, Tanner Dodson, and Jordan Leasure followed Ryan with four scoreless innings.

The Drillers score a run in the 1st on a single, 2 walks, and a WP.  They were kept off the board until the 8th.  Austin Gauthier opened the inning with a double and José Ramos hit a game tying 2-run HR.

Both teams scored a run in the 10th.  With Imanol Vargas starting at 2B, he moved to third on a PB, and scored easily on an Eddys Leonard single for the walk off win.

  • Jorbit Vivas – 2-5
  • José Ramos – 2-4, 3 RBI, HR (16)
  • Austin Gauthier – Double (6)

 

Box Score

 

 

Great Lakes Loons 6 – Dayton Dragons (Reds) 5

Ronan Kopp pitched 3.0 innings to start the game.  He allowed 2 runs in the second on a BB, double, and single.

The Loons were held scoreless until the 6th.  Dalton Rushing singled to open the inning and scored on Yeiner Fernandez’s double.  Luis Yanel Diaz singled and Fernandez moved to 2B.  Damon Keith doubled for the 4th straight hit, and the score was tied, and runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.  With one out, Chris Newell doubled (4) both runners home, and GL took a 4-2 lead.

After Carlos De Los Santos pitched a pair of scoreless innings, Jack Dryer came on in relief in the 6th.  2 walks, WP and a single scored the tying runs.

GL went back up in the 7th on a Luis Yanel Diaz 2 run HR (5).

Benony Robles entered the 9th for the save.  With one out, he allowed a walk and 2 singles, allowing a run and putting runners on 1st and 3rd.  Robles struck out the next two batters for the save.

  • Yeiner Fernandez – 3-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI, double (11)
  • Luis Yanel Diaz – 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI, HR (5)
  • Damon Keith – 3-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, double (14)
  • Chris Newell – 1-4, 2 RBI, double (4)

 

Box Score

 

Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) 2 – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 1

The Inland Empire 66ers pulled off a come-from-behind victory on Tuesday night, grabbing a 2-1 win over the Quakes.

Down to their last strike in the ninth against Kelvin Bautista, IE’s Ronaldo Flores doubled home Jadiel Sanchez, tying the game at 1-1.

Their first batter of extras won the game for the 66ers, as Mike Peabody’s RBI single off Brandon Neeck (0-1) brought home Johan Macias to send the Quakes to their fourth straight loss.

Rancho’s lone run was an unearned run in the seventh, as Jorge Puerta doubled and scored with two outs, when Dayton Dooney’s pop-up on the infield was mishandled, making it 1-0.

Jared Karros started and allowed one hit over four scoreless, before turning it over to Roque Gutierrez, who also allowed one hit over three scoreless innings.

  • Josue De Paula had a big game for RC. He went 3-4 with a triple (2).
  • Jorge Puerta – double (12)

 

Box Score

 

 

 

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Oldbear48

Well they blew last night’s game. Sheehan was not sharp in the first and the fourth so he was gone early placing the burden on the pen. They did well until the 9th when Phillips, who should not have even been in the game blew the lead and the save and ended up with the loss. They had their chances, but most of their runs came on homers, two by Outman, one each by Betts and DeLuca. His first big league homer. They rallied in the 9th, but a couple of really horrible strike calls by the ump on Vargas nipped that in the bud. The electronic K zone cannot get here soon enough.

Jeff Dominique

DJ Reyburn should be suspended for this.

Click on the tweet and full image comes up. Maybe that is obvious for everyone else, but they are not always obvious to me. I am not much of a twitter user.

I know the above indicates that the strike three to Vargas was a run impactful call, but so was strike 2 on that same AB. Take a look at the #1 missed call which was a strike called a ball on a pitch by Gavin Stone to Henry Davis. That is strike 3 and Davis does not get the game tying single. That also forced Stone to throw more pitches and maybe take an inning away.

The three most impactful calls went against the Dodgers. At some point, somebody has to go out and defend the players that are being victimized. Dave Roberts should have blown out of the dugout and let Reyburn have it from both barrels. Would it have mattered? Not on the outcome, but it sure might on a fragile Miggy Vargas confidence.

10 of 56 called strikes that were balls? 82% accuracy? That is acceptable at any level?

Even Orel commented that Reyburn either had it out for Vargas or he was just BAD.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jeff Dominique
Badger

Wow. And less than average is ok with MLB.

This could so easily be fixed.

Scott Andes

You know I love your takes Jeff, and I don’t disagree about the ump having a bad night. But let’s stop complaining about the umps and remember that the Dodgers pitching is atrocious. Thats the reason why they lost, not because of the umpires.

There’s way too much complaining about the umpires. And not enough finger pointing at the real culprit, the lousy pitching. The staff gave up 9 runs (4 from Sheehan in 3.2 and 5 from the pen). Sometimes there are a few questionable calls, or the strike zone is iffy. That’s baseball. If the Dodgers had any kind of pitching this year and didn’t give up 6-7 runs per game then the umpiring wouldn’t matter as much.

Jeff Dominique

Scott, I do not think anyone here is giving the LAD pitching a pass. It has been atrocious this year. I think almost everyone agrees. Bear mentioned the horrible HP umpire last night. I agreed, so I thought I would look up his report card on the game and post it. Of course the umpire did not cost the team the game. I am not sure that Miguel Vargas hits a 92 MPH non-moving fast ball down center center right now. It is the pitching that needs to be improved. Can it be? Not from the LAD system this year.

But just like some players do not belong in MLB, there are umpires that do not belong as well.

Badger

It must be talked about or it won’t be fixed.

Dave

They have to go big or trade away salary to get under the tax ceiling. I don’t think they would be any better or worse if they traded Max and maybe Taylor. Replace them with Busch and Yency.
If not they need alot to seriously contend, a good starting pitcher, another strong bullpen piece, a good hitting rh 3rd base, a good gitting rh outfielder.
That’s alot, and I doubt all of that will happen. Plus they have lost May, Buehler will be an unknown and Urias.might go elsewhere and Lux is an unknown. They need to trade for next yr, pitching, 3rd base, ss and more.pitching.

Fred Vogel

I’m far from being a Bickford fan but I was surprised he didn’t pitch the ninth after Joe said that Philips, Hudson, and Brasier would be unavailable to pitch while Bickford had thrown only eight pitches in the eighth.

Jeff Dominique

I was taken aback on that as well. Bickford has already shown that he can go multiple innings and in a high leverage situation. It may not be ideal, but he has done it, and done it well. Phillips is now done for the Pittsburgh series. I know they want to ease Daniel Hudson back into it, but he has pitched in back to back games at OKC. Might it not have been a better option to bring in Hudson to close it? Even Graterol could have gone back to back instead of Phillips having to go back to back to back. This is a preview of Playoff pitching choices to come. Doc always tries to ride one big horse, and he has a penchant of calling on the wrong one at the wrong time.

The Dodgers are now down to 2 pitchers on the 40 man that can be called up before the AS Break. Bryan Hudson and Alex Vesia. None of Victor Gonzalez, Nick Robertson, nor Justin Bruihl can be recalled before the AS Break unless their is an injury.

Looks like Noah Syndergaard will need to be moved to the 60 day IL, or someone is going to need to be DFA’d in order to call up Jimmy Nelson, Landon Knack, or Mike Montgomery.

All three are a possibility.

Matt Andriese is a less likely candidate, but also an option.

Other than Syndergaard, only Shelby Miller and Clayton Kershaw are on the 15 day IL. All other players on the IL are on the 60 day (10 players).

It sure looks like there is going to need to be some 40 man paring. The trade deadline cannot come soon enough, and it just cannot be non 40-man prospects that are moved. The trades are going to need to include 40 man roster players.

Badger

It feels clear to me that multiple moves are on the horizon. Between now and August 1st more of our minor league arms will be needed to fill some rather large gaps. And Gonsolin hasn’t had his normal IL time yet. You just know it’s coming.

Maybe the West can be won with a cast of twirling young Colts, all firing misguided spinning confetti at a revolving mercurial strike zone. Could be fun. Or not.

Scott Andes

There is a reason he brought in Phillips for a third straight game. Its because he doesn’t have anyone else to use. Do you really trust Graterol? He’s blown a bunch of games this year and all the other relievers suck. Nobody is lockdown and Phillips is their best reliever. He’s their only good reliever. Hudson was good last year and we don’t know how he’ll respond coming off injury. The rest of the guys stink. Was it a bit of a stretch? Sure. Generally you don’t want any reliever pitching 3 straight nights. But in my opinion if you can’t pitch in back to back games then you don’t belong in the majors and may as well retire. This is the life of an MLB reliever. You get up, you sit back down and you never know when you’re going to get into a game.

How many pitches has he made the last 3 nights? I would have to look it up but certainly asking him to make 20 pitches is not that big of an ask and unlikely going to cause injury. Now 60 pitches over 3 nights? Maybe. He wouldn’t have to use Phillips like this if he had anyone else in that pen he could trust.

Last edited 7 months ago by Scott Andes
Oldbear48

I disagree about Graterol. He has two losses and four saves. He has given up just one run in his last five appearances. He has pitched one inning against the Pirates and not given up anything. Next to Hudson and Phillips, I trust him more than I do the rest of the staff.

Scott Andes

I’m sorry Bear, but he’s not that good. I’ll give you some stats here that worry me. He’s allowing 9.2 hits per nine innings. Almost every inning he gives up at least 1 hit. More hits than innings pitched and he doesn’t miss bats (6.6 K/9 rate). He’s not horrible, but he’s not that great. But do agree he’s pitched better over the last couple of weeks.

Badger

Whose turn was it? Whoever that is, get in there and get 3 outs. Back to back to back is inexcusable.

Bumsrap

He should be part of a trade package.

Oldbear48

That was my point and the fact that his ERA is below 2. He also has the second most saves on the team. He is a better option than most.

Jeff Dominique

Scott, again I agree with the premise that Phillips is the best they have right now. But after only 8 pitches in the 8th, might Bickford been a better choice? But since he came back from the IL, he has pitched 6.2 innings, he has not allowed a run. He has allowed 1 hit and 4 walks (3 in Colorado in one inning). He also had 9 Ks in those 6.2 IP. He is one of the better strikeout pitchers the Dodgers have in the pen. He gives up a lot as well. So maybe he blows it. Bickford pitched 2.0 innings on July 1 in KC. Then again maybe Bickford’s left elbow ballooned up between innings after being hit by a line drive. I did not hear why Bickford came out when he is a logical multi inning reliever.

I do not like second guessing, but I sure would like to ask the question as to why Phillips was brought in to mop up the debacle in KC on Sunday. Didn’t anyone think that there could be a better sacrificial lamb other than the one high leverage reliever the team can count on?

Scott Andes

Good question about the KC game. I have no idea, but I think we can give Roberts a pass this year considering how below average all of the arms are in the pen except Phillips and maybe Hudson. Otherwise it doesn’t matter what order he uses the relievers. Because they all suck. Yes Bickford has pitched better the last few games but he’s been terrible all year. Graterol gives up too many hits and doesn’t miss bats. The rest of the guys are pathetic.

Roberts can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

Bumsrap

Runner on third, two outs, ground ball hit to third baseman–a little leaguer throws home, a major leaguer throws to first. Regarding Roberts use of the bullpen, Roberts threw to home.

Last edited 7 months ago by Bumsrap
Bumsrap

I hope Friedman and Roberts are also having that conversation.

Badger

“The offense has more than held up its end of the bargain, though. At 455 runs scored through 84 games, they’re on pace for 878—31 more than their MLB-best mark of 847 in 2022. (They’re simply on pace to allow nearly 250 more runs than they did last year.)”

As I have been saying for a few months now, the offense isn’t the problem. We’re going to need all of them operating at a high RPM the rest of the way to score enough to make up for lack of pitching.

Pitching. I don’t believe it’s likely we win through to November with rookie starters carrying the load. It’s possible, especially in our Division, but not likely. There will be plenty of interest in our stable of young pitching to get help. The question I have is how much help will be needed?

Bumsrap

I don’t remember who I have seen that has more movement on their pitches than Sheehan. The Pirates had a great game plan seemingly intent on swinging at only low strikes and taking everything up.

The Pirates were able to foul off good low strikes instead of putting them weakly into play and by not offering at higher pitches they didn’t strike out on pitches just above the strike zone. Those takes and those foul balls along with the awesome movement on Sheehan’s pitches drove up the pitch count and bases on balls.

Miller also gives the Dodgers a solid pitcher when he keeps his cool. He’s an Ace when he does.

Add Giolito and the Dodgers will have three pitchers capable of being Playoff level competitors.

Kershaw very well could wind up rested and strong for the run for the Playoffs and beyond.

Urias will surprise me if he finishes strong.

Gonsolin for me is 50 50 that he will hold up for the playoff run. The fifth pitcher will be either a trade or the survivor between Gonsolin, Thor, or Stone. Getting to late August will require getting innings from Knack.

I can live that pitching but not with the defense and hitting we are getting from third base.

Bumsrap

I forgot Grove and Buehler.

It would be a lot easier to trade Muncy if Roberts were to become the GM of another team.

Last edited 7 months ago by Bumsrap
Dionysus

There is no I in Panic

Badger

Huh?

Oldbear48

Means he is not panicking I guess.

Bluto

Perhaps he is advocating we change the spelling to panyc?

Badger

Wasn’t there a second baseman named Panik. But he had an i in his name. It was a small i, not a big I, which could mean something but probably not what Dion meant.

I could live with panyc I guess, but y?

Singing the Blue

So what you’re saying is there’s no C in Panik?

Bumsrap

I think it was a play on “there is no I in team”. He is saying some are ready to panIc.

OhioDodger

Pitching and defense win championships. Run prevention. Right now our pitching is a wreck and our defense is suspect.

MLB should be embarrassed with the state of the umpiring. The means are there to fix it.

tedraymond

Nice write up Bear. I don’t see a need to panic at this point in the season. Personally, I don’t think I have ever panicked over something that happened or didn’t happen on a baseball field. Concern or anger? Absolutely. But, also, fun and excitement.

Let’s see what happens after the trade deadline. If any big changes come about from any trades then we will have to watch how those players gel with the team. Right now, health is the biggest hurdle the Dodgers face. And that’s mainly the pitching staff with especially the starters dealing with an unusual amount of injuries.

Right now the rookie starters are having their expected ups and downs. I too would like to see someone like Giolito obtained. Not just for this year, but try to resign him in 2024. He appears to be consistent in that he averages 6+ innings per start. And he is a local guy. If Kershaw gets back to having the season he is and Urias can finally get back to being Urias that could be huge in solidifying the starting staff including:

Kershaw
Urias
Giolito (hopefully)
Miller
Gonsolin/Sheehan

I’m not optimistic about Gonsolin finishing the season healthy. Obliviously, May is done for the year. Buehler, ideally, should sit out the remainder of the season and start fresh next year. If he does comes back it should be as a one inning, high leverage, reliver. There is no way that with the current health of the starting staff they can be expected to get the team to the postseason and have success.

Any trades for RH bat that many are wanting I say use the prospects to get pitching. And more pitching! As Badger commented above we are in good shape offensively. Perfect? No. But, who is? Muncy (the round mound of the three outcome) isn’t going anywhere except hitting lower in the lineup. Move up Peralta and Heyward. And, maybe JO33! Awesome to see Outman’s fantastic HR display last night. He has been slowly getting back on track with the bat.

Bottom line is that there’s a lot of games to be played. The Dodgers are only 2.5 games behind Arizona and are still the #4 team in the NL. With their offense where would the team be if the team wasn’t getting an LA Dodger worst pitching from their staff?

Carry On.

Oldbear48

I watched game 7 of the 1965 series on TV today in black and white. Kaat vs Koufax. Lou Johnson’s homer that broke the scoreless tie hit the foul pole. I did not know that. Fairly then doubled and Parker singled in Fairly. Also it was strange to note that Maury Wills was not wearing the traditional batting helmet. He was wearing the one that fit inside of his cap.

Bumsrap

I’m all in on Giolito but I want a better 3rd baseman next.

I think Betts should either be the second baseman or the shortstop but not both plus right field. If it is second base then let Vargas and Muncy platoon at third and make Rojas the shortstop. It’s even okay if Rojas takes Muncy’s place at third.

nonicnamebumfan

I agree Bums. Rojas can play third against lefties.(he was playing third during Kershaw’s no hitter when he made that great play)
I think Muncy, thinks that third base is his, other than Doc, giving him a couple of days off here and there for a reset he hasn’t really felt any pressure from competition. Who knows, it’s not like we haven’t been through this before with Muncy, Maybe it’s time to try something new

On another note, this should be forwarded to Doc

Last edited 7 months ago by nonicnamebumfan
Badger

And it continues tonight.

Oldbear48

Roberts says adding a RH bat at the deadline makes sense. Duh Dave.

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