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CT3 Slams O’s in Game 1

Fresh off a road series win against the Mets, the Dodgers will now be facing 4 probable playoff teams for the next 12 games.  6 on the road (Baltimore and Texas), and 6 at home (Toronto and Cincinnati).

The first night was a matchup of two of the hottest teams in MLB.  Baltimore was on an eight game win streak, while LAD has been winners of 6 of their last 7, and 8 out of 10.  Freddie Freeman was 3-5 with a single, double, and triple, but it was Chris Taylor who was the star on this night.  He makes a couple of very good defensive plays at SS, and then in the 6th, he hit his 2nd grand slam of the year, 6th of his career, and 9th for the team.  CT3 was basically back home where he grew up an Orioles fan and spent many nights at Camden Yards.  I grew up a huge Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer fan, and CT3 grew up a Cal Ripken Jr. fan (then again, who wasn’t).  Baltimore has a rich history, and I am thrilled that they are once again a playoff contender.

 

The grand slam turned Emmet Sheehan from being on the line for the loss, to the pitcher of record for the win.  He was not sharp, but he battled.  Baltimore’s rookie pitcher Grayson Rodriguez was very effective the first two times through the lineup.  Not so much in his third time.  Rodriguez has been a consensus top 100 prospect, while Sheehan was a relative unknown until this year.  The two rookie pitchers’ stats were very close on the night.

  • Emmet Sheehan – 5.0 IP, 4 runs (all earned), 5 hits, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 94 pitches/54 strikes
  • Grayson Rodriguez – 5.0 IP 4 runs (all earned), 7 hits, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, 91 pitches/59 strikes

These are rookies.  You can hope, but you really cannot expect much better.  Not every pitcher is Spencer Strider or Eury Pérez.

Will Smith broke out of a mini slump with 2 hits and a BB.  Jake Marisnick got is 1st hit as a LAD.  Jason Heyward may have had the AB of the night with his walk right before CT3’s GS.  J-Hey started at 0-2, and had some excellent takes, including his 3-2 take for the BB.  Max and J-Hey were the only starters who went hitless, but both drew walks and scored runs.

Besides Freeman and CT3, the stars for the night were once again members of the LAD bullpen.  There are still holes in the bullpen, but right now, they are the best pen in MLB.  Once again the starter could not get to 6.0 IP and 4 relievers were required to hold a 6-4 lead against an excellent come from behind team.

  • Yency Almonte – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 1 K
  • Alex Vesia – 1.0 IP, 2 K
  • Caleb Ferguson – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 1 K
  • Ryan Brasier – 1.0 IP, 1 BB

Since the All Star break, the eight relievers have been used A LOT.

  • 4 games – 15.1 IP 1 run (unearned), 6 hits, 3 BB, 15 K

Some very impressive numbers, but can they hold up? Unless the starting pitchers can go deeper, it is unlikely that the bullpen can hold up for the next 70 games as impressively as they have been of late.  Since the All Star break:

  • Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia, Ryan Brasier have appeared in 3 games
  • Yency Almonte, Brusdar Graterol, and Evan Phillips have appeared in 2 games
  • Phil Bickford and Nick Robertson have appeared in 1 game

Since July, Alex Vesia has been unhittable; literally.  In 6 games, 5.1 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 BB, 8 K.  His BAA is .059, and his WHIP is 0.19.  This is the 2022 Alex Vesia we were hoping for in 2023.

Yency Almonte has been his 2022 version since he hit bottom on May 18.  In his last 20 games (before last night’s game) – 19.2 IP, 1.37 ERA, 0.966 WHIP, 24 K, 6 BB, 1 HR, .186/.260/.257/.517.  Very few relievers have put up better numbers.

Caleb Ferguson since June 11 (before last night’s game) – 12 games, 11.1 IP, 0 runs, 5 hits, 2 BB, 14 K,   .132/.214/.132/.346.

 

 

Colton Cowser is one of the up and coming stars in MLB.   Cowser is MLB Pipeline’s #12 prospect and Baseball America’s #14.  At Norfolk in the International League (AAA), Cowser was batting .330/.459/.537/.996, and was called up to Baltimore on July 5.  The International League is a much better pitcher’s league than the hitter friendly PCL.

Since then, Cowser has gone 3-23, with 7 BB against 3K.  His batting line is .130/.375/.130/.505 since being called up.  ML Baseball is very hard.  Much harder at the MLB level than AAA.  That is why I try to temper my optimism with prospects.  The Dodgers have tried 4 different rookie position players, and only 1 remains: James Outman.

The Dodgers have the 2nd best record in the NL and the 5th best in MLB.  Austin Barnes’ hitting is horrendous, and he does not throw out base stealers.  Then again, neither does Will Smith.  Thus most of you out there want Hunter Feduccia in and Austin Barnes out.  To make that happen, Barnes would have to be released.  That will anger pitchers.  I know, I know. They are professionals and they have to get over it.  Regardless IT AIN’T HAPPENIN’.

However, I have begun to wane on my position somewhat. Smith cannot DH, thus in order to keep Smith’s bat in the lineup, he has to catch.  Barnes’ inability to hit ML pitching in 2023 puts more pressure to keep Smith in the lineup.  The result is that Smith may tire more often.

However, I still contend that those of you who seem to believe that Hunter Feduccia will all of a sudden come to LAD and be that game changer and take LAD over the top might be disappointed.  Take a look at Colton Cowser, a top 15 prospect above who plays regularly, and is struggling in his first time at MLB.  Feduccia may give Smith a couple more days off, but he is not going to be hitting anywhere near what he is doing at AAA.  As I said before, maybe he gets 10 more hits, but that is not game changing, and the only reason to change catchers at mid-season is to add a game changer.  Just my opinion.

We will see if the Dodgers agree.  Although I am confident that Austin Barnes will be the backup catcher in the playoffs.  He will not catch much, but he will have the pitcher’s confidence when he does.

Finally for those who thought that Arte Moreno would actually consider trading Shohei Ohtani to LAD:

 

 

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Oldbear48

I have been saying that for weeks. Moreno has enough problems. Trading Ohtani to LA would infuriate his fan base, who, at this point, are not all that happy anyway. Ohtani set up the Angels walk off last night with his 35th homer. Austin Barnes has contributed nothing. At least last season he added some power, 8 homers, to what Smith was doing. This season, no homers, 5 driven in. I believe Feduccia could do better than that. Yes, MLB pitching is better, but you won’t know until you at least give him a chance. And the added plus is that he hits left-handed.
Stolen bases are up, but if you think LA catchers are the only ones who suck at throwing out runners, I saw this little stat while watching the Nats play last night. Keibert Ruiz, the former Dodger prospect, has allowed 72 stolen bases this season. The most in the majors. My biggest concern with Barnes is that he has a contract for next year. Max Muncy gets a lot of credit because of his OBP which is boosted by his walks. My problem with that is the fact that Muncy is usually hitting in the four hole, which is an RBI slot in the lineup. You are there to provide offense. Walks rarely drive in runs. Leading off an inning setting things up for Martinez or extending a rally is one thing. But with 2 outs, or one out, that guy is there to knock in runs. I know how many he has driven in and he hits homers. But how many of his homers have been solo jobs and how many men has he stranded on base? Nope, Max needs to be hitting over the Mendoza line and closer to his career average. He is healthy now, so no frippen excuses.

Badger

I’m with Plaschke. Moreno should evaluate all bids. Angel fans don’t give a damm where he goes, many of them are Dodger fans too. But they sure will care if he goes without getting anything in return. If the Dodgers decide to outbid everyone, then Moreno should do the deal. That said I doubt LA will do it.

I still don’t think this bullpen can last going 4 or more every night. I could be wrong.

Sheehan had the best numbers of all those Tulsa pitchers that have some impressive stats. His ERA is just south of 5. Good indicator on how AA numbers translate to the big leagues.

Last edited 8 months ago by Badger
Bumsrap

I have been wondering if a few of those Tulsa arms could help the Dodgers bullpen. Don’t a lot of teams like to introduce future rotation pieces to the MLB in the bullpen the year before they would be in the rotation?

Badger

I mentioned that yesterday, got a Rule 5 response. I think they could help, for an inning or two.

Bumsrap

Maybe it’s a later in the year thing should the bullpen be too taxed.

Badger

Why is being released the only choice?

Bumsrap

I thought the discussion was about the current relief pitchers being worn out if the starters don’t start going 6+ innings more often.

One solution is trading for one or two starters that can go more innings. Trading for relievers would just wear out the new ones just as fast as the current corp.

The only other way to have fresh relievers would be to bring up prospects. They would have to plan for such a move by making a two for one 40 man roster trade.

Badger

I agree. But Jeff’s point about the waiver wire is a good one. I wasn’t aware of the number of players on our 40 man that are on the IL. It’s 12. That is an insanely high number. Who else you going to put on it?

Oldbear48

I get it Jeff. I still hate all of those empty at bats. I need to see something positive. Trade for a backup then with some bat to ball skills.

Dionysus

A back-up catcher doesn’t need to provide offense. Come the playoffs he won’t even play.

Scott Andes

I know a lot of people like to caluclate Barnes’ value to the pitching staff and I think it just makes a lot of people feel good about themselves to picture Barnes as some game calling genius, or sitting in the lab concocting algorithms around how to pitch to opposing hitters. but let’s face it with the pitchcom era, pitchers are calling their own games more often, or the way the hitters are pitched are decided before the games by management, or even by the board of directors, I.E. the president of baseball ops, the manager, the game stragety guys, the analytics department, the bench coaches, etc. You get the picture. I’m sure the catchers have some input, but all in all, the catcher just throws down the signs, (or presses the buttons) and the pitchers make the pitches. A good game caller can help stop rallies by talking to the pitcher about a scouting report, but we see that less and less these days.

It’s hard to say what kind of value his defense or game calling abilities bring to the team. I think his pitch-framing is probably the most important skill, other than throwing out runners. But we know his MLB worst hitting brings nothing. How may times does he come up with runners on base? and how many rallies does he kill when he strikes out? Hard to justify having anyone on the roster that can’t hit above .200 let alone .100.

What worries me and many of you probably is that if something happens to Smith, Barnes is back playing everyday. Baseball isn’t a science, it’s a game. Sometimes traditional approaches still work. I like Barnes and appreciate what he’s done for the organization, but it’s probably time to move on from him if he can’t hit above .100.

Bumsrap

It’s always aggravating when facts get in the way of a good argument. I’m glad I have been a Barnes tollerator.

Oldbear48

I simply cannot tolerate anymore. I see two huge black holes in the lineup. Muncy and Barnes when he does play. It makes it hard to watch and enjoy when they are at the plate. By the way Dionysus. In 2017, Barnes was Grandal’s caddy. He ended up playing in 102 games, and he took over as the starting catcher in the playoffs playing in 15 games including all seven in the World Series, so your analogy that back-ups won’t play in the playoffs, is totally wrong.

Badger

I see no real holes in the team’s offense. We’re still scoring (only 2 runs behind the Braves) and first in the NL iIn OPS, and with this pitching staff I’m grateful for it. I can live with Barnes for the reasons Jeff elucidated.

Dionysus

It wasn’t an analogy but you do you.

Bumsrap

I should have said I tolerate his hitting because of his value as pitch caller and clubhouse presence.

I taped the Dodger game yesterday and mistakenly got the Oriole announcers. When Muncy came to bat they said his batting average hides a threat in that he is an all-or-nothing hitter.

When Taylor was at bat (and I paraphrase) they were commenting on how hard he swings at every pitch. The at bat where he hit the grand slam they were saying the pitcher needs to get the fastball above the strike zone if he was going to keep with the fastball. They said Taylor was taking good swings. Obviously the pitcher neither mixed in an off speed pitch or got the fast ball above the strike zone. It was a great at bat for Taylor and a terrible plan by the pitcher/catcher.

Scott Andes

Agree with Bear. It’s hard to tolerate anymore. Especially considering if Barnes were with any of the other 29 MLB teams and was hitting .100 he would have been released weeks ago by now. I can tolerate Muncy because he’s hit 21 home runs. Barnes has hit……(checks notes)….ZERO

Bobby

I have to give credit, again, to Andrew Friedman.

This random pickup Ryan Brasier has done a really good job for us, and given us a legit arm in the pen. Last night, I was wondering who would come in the 9th if Phillips was unavailable.

I was happy to see Braiser, so we could see how he handles the 9th and the pressure. He was fine. Great to know we have another guy who maybe can do it!!

tedraymond

Excellent point Bobby. I’ve been critical of AF for signing so many injured pitchers and trying to rehab them for the playoffs. I don’t think any of them contributed much to the team. But, it looks like he might have found a nice arm in Brasier. I guess AF finally realized that signing a pitcher that isn’t injured is more beneficial to the team’s immediate success. A small sample size for Brasier, but so far so good. A tremendous turnaround by the Dodger BP.

The Dodger starters have got to go further into games. Sheehan showed a lot of determination in going five. I was thinking early in the game when he was having control problems and his pitch count was too high that the BP was going to be called upon. I don’t think this BP can continue to be expected to pitch 4-5 innings night after night. When Urias and Gonsolin in their last starts have low pitch counts and have pitched 5-6 innings Roberts has to let them continue until they are no longer effective. Let them pitch! I was shocked to hear the other night that Urias has never pitched past the 7th inning in his career. The front office seems to be too cautious with not only their pitching prospects, but their Dodger starters as well. I’m tired of “keep them fresh for the postseason” philosophy. If the pitcher is cruising along with an reasonable pitch count let them continue until they fail. Or else the BP will not make it to the end of the season.
Carry on.

Bluto

this just in…..

Andrew Friedman is really good.

Bumsrap

And while I don’t disagree it can be said that I am a really good golfer except when I’m not.

Bluto

Only if the former happens a lot more than the latter.

Otherwise you’re a bad golfer who has his/her moments no?

Last edited 8 months ago by Bluto
Bumsrap

Yes but I choose not to go there.

Bluto

I’ve been thinking recently about how impactful the Lux injury has been and how remarkable the team is without him.

With Lux, the team’s lineup is much longer and the depth even more pronounced and consequential.

But without Lux, you really develop an appreciation for:
1. The wisdom of the Dodgers’ preference for versatility and multi-positional players.
2. The rehab of JDM and Hayward

Bobby

I really did think Lux was going to emerge this year as well.
Hopefully the rehab is going great.

Singing the Blue

Random thoughts:

1) Austin Barnes is hitting 100 points below his lifetime average and 100 points below his worst season ever. The law of averages says he’ll get better before the year is over and, as Jeff has pointed out, we win far more often than we lose with him behind the plate. Leave him on the roster. At some point before the end of the playoffs we’ll be glad we did.

2) I’m as big a Max Muncy fan as there is but I’m all in favor of moving him down to 7-9 in the batting order until he gets hot………………..which he will.

3) CT3 looks much better since the break. This Chris Taylor can be a real contributor. It may be that Doc’s patience has paid off again. Maybe the same will happen with Max.

4) Now to speak the unspoken – we’ve been very lucky so far with the health of our top 4 offensive producers (Mookie, Freddie, Will and JDM). Relatively little cumulative time spent on the IL. This has made up for the horrendous luck we’ve had with our starters’ health. If anything should happen to any of the Big Four that would keep them out for an extended period, we’d be in deep trouble, unless Max becomes Max again.

5) A potential relief pitcher acquisition for your consideration –
Presenting Carlos Hernandez of the KC Royals.
He’s been in 39 games this year and except for 3 really bad outings (2 in April, 1 in June), he’s been excellent.
Here’s an article on him and I think he’d be worth going after. Might be a good candidate for our closer’s position at some point.

Nobody is talking about Carlos Hernandez, but we should be – Royals Review

Bumsrap

I read this on another site: Dodgers rookie starters have a combined ERA of over 6.00, but the team has won like 16 of the 25 starts.

Badger

They come. They slug. They win.

Bluto

Grove not too shabby against the Orioles’ lefty heavy lineup

nonicnamebumfan

Yes, it was good to see, an important step in the young man’s growth

Last edited 8 months ago by nonicnamebumfan
Badger

Yeah. Dropped his ERA to 6.40. Almonte saved his bacon.

The box score shows the lowest ERA of the 4 pitchers tonight was 4.76, but, they have looked better of late. They will need better the rest of the way. SF is 7-3. San Diego is 6-4. Every West team won tonight. Cardinals beat the Falcons 16-13.

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