Connect with us

Dodger Baseball

Dodgers Drop Below .500 As They Welcome Austin Wynns

Is this a .500 team or is it early season struggles?  Thus far, the Los Angeles Dodgers epitomize the three outcome approach.  They are #2 in HR, #2, in BB, and #2 in K.  What does that mean?  I am not sure.  I would not care a lick if the team was overwhelmingly the #1 team in strikeouts, as long as they were winning.  But they are not.

I know many of you do not believe in batting average as a key metric, but I do.  I think it is critical in close games getting hits in key late in game situations.  Or in two strike situations.  At some point contact is more important than slugging.  It would have been ideal on Sunday with the bases loaded bottom of the 7th and Max Muncy at bat with 2 outs.  If the Dodgers epitomize the three outcome approach, Max Muncy is the poster character.  Since he did not walk, and did not hit a HR, what did you think he did?

They just scored 6 runs and 16 hits in total, against the #2 – #4 pitchers for the Chicago Cubs, and three of those were on solo HRs.  Justin Steele has all the looks of a future ace, but Jameson Taillon and Drew Smyly are good back of the rotation pitchers and they looked like CY Award candidates against the Dodger hitters.

Jameson Taillon – 1st two games 2023 – 9.0 IP, 7.00 ERA, 13 H, 2BB; against LAD – 5.0 IP, 0 runs, 2 hits, 2 BB.

Drew Smyly (career ERA 4.11) – 1st two games 2023 – 9.2 IP, 6.52 ERA, 11 H, 3 BB; against LAD – 5.2 IP, 1 run, 4 hits, 3 BB.

The offense is inconsistent.  The top hitters, not named Will Smith, are not hitting yet…Mookie and Freddie.  If anyone expected more out of the others might have been expecting too much.  All of them will occasionally get hot (yes even CT3).  But what they do not do well yet is manufacture runs.  They cannot run and they cannot stop the running game.  In most positions they are negative defensively.

But what they should have is a very good starting rotation.

  • Julio Urías – 3-1, 23.2 IP, 1.90 ERA, 1.014 WHIP, 26 K, 3 BB, 3 Quality Starts
  • Dustin May – 1-1, 24.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 13 K, 7 BB, 2 Quality Starts
  • Clayton Kershaw – 2-1, 18.0 IP, 3.50 ERA, 1.111 WHIP, 17 K, 4 BB, 2 Quality Starts
  • Noah Syndergaard – 0-2, 16.0 IP, 5.63 ERA, 1.234 WHIP, 17 K. 2 BB, 2 Quality Starts
  • Michael Grove – 0-1, 13.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1.615 WHIP, 14 K, 5 BB, 0 Quality Starts

Grove was outstanding in his 3rd start.  He was battling with strep throat for his 1st two starts.  Maybe the 1st two starts are representative of Michael Grove, or maybe it was his 3rd start. I am going with the latter. I know shocking for some of you.

Some out there were upset that AF signed Noah Syndergaard instead of Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney.  Let’s do a comparison of the three thus far in the season.

  • Tyler Anderson – 3 GS, 1-0, 14.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 1.841 WHIP, 10 K, 8 BB
  • Andrew Heaney – 3 GS, 1-1, 12.2 IP, 4.97 ERA, 1.421 WHIP, 16 K, 7 BB
  • Noah Syndergaard – 3 GS, 0-2, 16.0 IP, 5.63 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 17 K, 2 BB

None of the three have been particularly sharp, although Thor for games 1 and 3 he was pretty effective.

Dustin May’s 4th start was not good.   He did not have his strikeout pitch working, although he did have Bret Baty struck out on his 0-2 pitch before his single.  Just not called.  Surprising. If Badger can take a hit away from JDM, I am going to take a hit and run away from Dustin’s totals, and give another K.

Dustin was pitching to a new catcher.  How much that had to do with his outing, we will never know.  That should NEVER be an excuse, but it could be a factor.

Dodgers scored 5 through 5 on a pair of Freddie HRs (3 runs), and a 2 run double by the 24 hour Dodger, Austin Wynns.  In all fairness to Austin, he has not really had the RVS exposure yet.  Give him some RVS time and he will try and pull that outside pitch instead of hitting it for an opposite field double.


The Dodgers took the lead in the 6th, on a Maxwell HR (monster HR).  I can hear Badger yell out…take that Jeff and all you doubters.  I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have not been a doubter of what Max can do.  I have stated the opposite, keep playing him until he finds it, but not in the #4 (until the SF series).  My frustration is the incessant negative commentary on JDM.  I will say it again.  I believe Max, JDM, CT3, Trayce Thompson, will all have big games for the Dodgers.  I just do not know how often or if they can string a few of those hot games together.  I guess that will ultimately be the story of this 2023 team.

Then again, I would much rather have had Max single in the 8th with runners on 2nd and 3rd than hit a solo HR in the 6th.  But that’s me.

I feel for Phil Bickford.  He has never before been called for a balk in his professional career.  If anyone has ever paid attention to Bickford’s motion and delivery, you would know that he has always taken a second step before delivering the pitch.  Technically I guess it could be called a balk, but it has never before been called one, and after that he could not take that 2nd step and was not the same pitcher.  That second step was never one to deceive the runner.  It is part of his delivery.

Per MLB:

A balk occurs when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner(s). As a result, any men on base are awarded the next base, and the pitch (if it was thrown in the first place) is waved off for a dead ball.


Exactly what constitutes a balk is summed up in section 8 of the MLB rules, which describes a legal pitching delivery.

Section 8.01

The Set Position. Set Position shall be indicated by the pitcher when he stands facing the batter with his pivot foot in contact with, and his other foot in front of, the pitcher’s plate, holding the ball in both hands in front of his body and coming to a complete stop. From such Set Position he may deliver the ball to the batter, throw to a base or step backward off the pitcher’s plate with his pivot foot. Before assuming Set Position, the pitcher may elect to make any natural preliminary motion such as Rule 8.01 75 that known as “the stretch.” But if he so elects, he shall come to Set Position before delivering the ball to the batter. After assuming Set Position, any natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption.


Rule 8.05 Comment:  Umpires should bear in mind that the purpose of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the base runner. If there is doubt in the umpire’s mind, the “intent” of the pitcher should govern. However, certain specifics should be borne in mind: (a) Straddling the pitcher’s rubber without the ball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk. (b) With a runner on first base the pitcher may make a complete turn, without hesitating toward first, and throw to second. This is not to be interpreted as throwing to an unoccupied base.


Bickford did not attempt to deceive the runner, and he came to a complete stop after his second step.  I am writing this before I have read any commentary from Bickford or Roberts.  But it sure looked like both Bickford and Doc were arguing that it was his normal setup and delivery.  Nothing changed.  Nobody was deceived.

Here is an example of what I am talking about.


NYM 8 – LAD 6

We might have to get used to this picture.  An offense that can score with HRs but has difficulty in scoring runs WRISP.  They score 6 runs, 4 directly from an HR.  9 strikeouts, 1-5 WRISP (thank you Austin Wynns).  A problem in the bullpen.  In other words, if they do not get dominant pitching from the SP, it could be a long game. Dustin May was not dominant, and the bullpen could not hold the lead, and neither Max or Vargas could get the single in the 8th. It is still only 17 games, and the Dodgers have been in this position before early in the season.  I do not quit on players and I do not quit on the team.

Exactly how long before Alex Vesia is optioned to AAA?  I am not quitting on Vesia, but there is something wrong with him, and it would be best for him to work it out at OKC as long as he has options.

Clayton Kershaw vs Tyler Megill in Game 2.



Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hard game to watch. May looked good in the first inning, after that, not so much. He gets flustered with runners on base. Nice debut for Wynns, but he is most likely out of here when Smith comes back. Smith can be activated on Thursday in Chicago.


Heading home to Colorado next Tuesday. Ted, I am going to be out at the Cowboy Palace in Chatsworth on Friday.

Ted Lauritzen

Thanks for the heads up per Friday. Any time frame that night on when you might be playing? I made plans yesterday for a Canon City visit for September.


Probably sometime around 9 to 10 or so

Sam Oyed

Tyler Anderson was very good for the Dodgers last year. He wanted, and deserved, a multi year contract. Given the Dodgers depth of minor league pitching (Grove, Pepiot, Stone, Miller) it would not be good long term to lock up Anderson.

Sam Oyed

Last night Roberts pinch hit for Rojas in the ninth. As a recall hearing, Taylor was taken out and replaced by Outman. If this was the case, who would have played SS for the Dodgers if the game went into extra innings?


Well, if CT3 is our #4 hitter now I’d say let’s have Caleb Ferguson play SS in the 10th inning.


My guess is Mookie could play SS.

Sam Oyed

That was my thought. Has he ever done that before? Is it possible if both Taylor and Rojas struggle Betts plays some SS? Doubt it but who knows.


I’d have to research who would be the weakest hitter on the team and guess he would be put at short.

I think Vargas has the 3rd most games of the 26 playing short if counting all pre-MLB games.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bumsrap


In my mind the reason “staring the clock” impacts prospect value is really centered on two key elements:

  1. Roster space is REALLY valuable. If a prospect isn’t on the 40, then that allows whichever team owns him/her much more flexibility.
  2. Cost certainty. This is self-evident.

LOL alert–“In all fairness to Austin, he has not really had the RVS exposure yet. Give him some RVS time and he will try and pull that outside pitch instead of hitting it for an opposite field double.”

I’ve noticed Outman is pulling more outside pitches lately.


Jeff, my response to you was my interpretation of your post. You like JD therefore it felt you were defending him. Apparently you don’t like Muncy because you threw him under the bus. My take on JD is simple, if he ends up OPSn over .800, I will admit I was wrong.

Yes, I have said I think Max will return to his former self. He’s OPS’n .940. Martinez is hitting .234 and OPSn .724. And I think it’s fair to point out a favorable home score ruling. Swanson should have made that play. I’m sure if asked he would say the same thing.

We can agree to disagree and move on if you like.

Bluto. Feduccia. I understand the reasons why. I just don’t agree. If, in case of emergency, you’re not going to use the AAA first string catcher because of that excuse, I say trade him (for a shortstop maybe?) and give his job to Wynns, or some other DFA veteran catcher.


JDM? I prefer Joc.

Muncy? Not if he can be part of a package that gets a young awesome shortstop.

Urias? I’d rather have a young awesome shortstop.


Where is this young awesome SS coming from? Any suggestions?

AF needs to stop spending money on injured players, reclamation projects, and over the hill past their prime players. We have the money to pay good productive players.
AF is buying Penny Stocks and Junk Bonds when he needs to invest in Blue Chip Stocks.


SS Awesome and young
2B Betts
1B Freeman
C Smith
CF Outman
3B Vargas
RF Hayward
DH Martinez
LF Peralta

May, Gonsolin, Kershaw, Grove, Syndergaard with Miller, Stone, and Pepiot in the wings


Tim Anderson is in Chicago, and I just sent him some of my Southwest miles for a 1 way trip, MDW-LAX (actually maybe he should fly to BUR as it’s much closer)


Tim Anderson is in Chicago, and I just sent him some of my Southwest miles for a 1 way trip, MDW-LAX (actually maybe he should fly to BUR as it’s much closer)


JDM has been a disappointment so far. I would rather the Dodgers had not signed him and put Muncy at DH and Vargas at 3B and Busch at 2B. I think the Dodgers would have been better served to keep JT. JT mostly plays 3B and Muncy mostly at DH. Giving Rojas an extension before he even played a game was not very wise. AF is not the baseball savant everyone gives him credit for.


Turner cost more. But only because he wanted 2 years. When the Dodgers didn’t give it to him, and didn’t sign Bogaerts, I thought for sure they were resetting the cap. Since it appears they are not, yeah, Turner belongs here. He’s off to a better start than Martinez, and has actually played some defense.

The two years for Rojas is not as a starter. He’s a utility guy. Personally I didn’t think we needed him either, we have a well paid Taylor for that.

Friedman has been good for the Dodgers. The jury I sit on is still out on this year. This is an odd looking roster, but still plenty of time to figure something out. One thing I think is clear, Betts, Freeman and Smith need to have, or come close to career years. Without them playing well consistently, this team isn’t going anywhere.

White Sox works. But not Anderson. The player he is blocking. Colson Montgomery

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger

I agree. He is the type of player I would trade for.

Heyward on the play to begin the game Tuesday had to be thinking–“and this is on film?

Must See

More in Dodger Baseball

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x