I do not like losing, but I am not sure how this team can turn it around. They may be able to, but there really is not a lot of positivity associated with this team. Noah Syndergaard made one bad pitch, and he gets the loss, because the Dodgers offense was MIA again. The Dodgers had the bases loaded with one out in the 1st inning against Max Scherzer but could not score.
Scherzer retired the next six in order before he was ejected for “sticky substance”. This umpiring crew is just flat out bad. Scherzer said that rosin and sweat was making the sticky stuff, but apparently the umpires knew better. Judging by Bellino’s strike zone massive inconsistencies, I would not trust him to be able to discern the source of the sticky substance.
The Dodgers broke through in the 4th against Jimmy Yacabonis, Scherzer’s replacement after his ejection. A Jason Heyward double, Miguel Vargas single, and a David Peralta sac fly. Both hits were oppos.
Brandon Nimmo who is seemingly an MVP when playing the LAD slugged a two-out, two-run HR to take the lead, and as it turns out, for good.
The Dodgers continued to swing away and make outs, while the Dodgers bullpen imploded. Alex Vesia is getting the Pedro Baez treatment…just keep sending him out, no matter how he has been pitching. He loaded the bases again and needed help from Yency Almonte, who got Mark Canha grounding out leaving the bases loaded.
But then Almonte surrendered a double and single to put runners on the corners with nobody out, and Justin Bruihl was summoned. He got Jeff McNeil to pop out, but gave up a sac fly for a NYM 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the 8th, Freddie drew a BB, and moved to 2nd on a WP. JD Martinez who has been very good WRISP doubled home Freddie. JDM is now #2 in XBH with 13, behind Toronto’s Matt Chapman at 14. Max was IBB, but J-Hey and Vargas both popped out to end the threat.
Shelby Miller was touched for two in the 9th, and the Mets had a 3-run lead. Almost an impossible mountain to crest for the anemic LAD offense. The Dodgers continued to hit solo HRs as David Peralta hit a long HR in the 9th for his first HR as a Dodger. But that was all they would get as James Outman was rung up on a pitch that was called a ball with Miller pitching.
The Dodgers fall to 9-10 and head into Chicago to face the Cubs in a 4 game series.
- 1-run games: 1-3
- 2-run games: 0-2
- 3-run games: 2-1
- 4-run games: 0-1
- 5 or more run games: 6-3
Unless the Dodgers score a bundle, their chances of winning are not very good. They are 3-7 in non-blowout games.
I know run differential is a significant metric for some. The Dodgers outscored the Mets and were 1-2 in the series. The Dodgers are a sub .500 team and have a run differential of +19. That is a 26 run difference from the DBacks and their -7. Their +19 is good for 7th in MLB. The Dodgers and the Astros are the only sub .500 team with a positive run differential. That portends that they score a bundle when they win, and they do not score very many in their losses. In their 10 losses, they have scored 3 or fewer runs in 7 of them.
- Runs – 99, tied for 3rd in MLB
- HRs – 33, #2 in MLB
Of those 92 runs, 54 have scored as a direct result of a HR. 45 were scored from other than a HR.
- BB – 92, tied for 1st in MLB
- Hits – 143, #22 in MLB
Games Late and Close – 54 AB – .130/.266/.204/.470
- AB – 22nd in MLB
- BA – 30th in MLB
- OBP – 23rd in MLB
- SLG – 29th in MLB
- OPS – 28th in MLB
The Dodgers are not very good at getting runners on in late and close games, and when they do, they cannot get them home. They have one come from behind win.
Miguel Vargas has often been referred to as a hitting machine. His bat to ball skills were/are considered excellent. But a couple years back, a decision was made to get more pull side power. Gee, I wonder who made that recommendation. It has been reported that after speaking with his father, he wants to go back to his previous manner of hitting, realizing that as he gets more strength, those pull side HRs will come, but that he is giving up too many opposite field hits/doubles. He apparently is also getting advice from JDM. It is also reported that JDM is at his best when he hits the ball into right center. He likes going the opposite way. Miggy got a hit on Wednesday by going with the pitch into RF.
We are seeing other teams stay on a pitch and try to hit more on a line to where the pitch is made. Pete Alonso is an elite power hitter, but he delivered three singles, two on pitches very low…one on the line and one well below it. Don’t look now, but Jeff McNeil is hitting the ball all over the field. Pitch up and away, he hits into LF. He pulls a double on a pitch middle in. He hits a double to CF (left center) on a pitch middle away.
Not every Dodger should be a measured in power. Not every Dodger should be told to turn it loose like Miggy Rojas was.
For me, it is not the losses, but it is the way they lose. They do not seem to be able to create runs. It appears that they are satisfied by waiting on pitch mistakes for HRs or walking if they have to. With the rule changes, the game has changed, and the Dodgers management did not respond.
They lost two of the fastest base stealers in MLB in Trea Turner and Cody Bellinger and replaced them with David Peralta, Jason Heyward, and JDM. They do have James Outman, and he has 2 of the 3 SB for LAD, and one CS. Speedster Austin Barnes has the third SB. Mookie Betts has attempted 1 SB. Freddie and David Peralta also attempted 1 SB and none of those were successful. Why hasn’t Mookie run more? Why has Miguel Vargas not run at all. Freddie had 13 SB last year (16 attempts), but has made only 1 attempt thus far. There have been multiple times that LAD has had runners on 1st and 3rd, and they did not attempt to run.
First let me say that I like Noah Syndergaard, and I am glad LAD signed him. But with the rule changes, Noah Syndergaard was not a good addition due to his inability to hold runners on. He is the SP version of Kenley Jansen. No MLB team has had more SB against than the Dodgers.
- Noah Syndergaard – 6 (#1)
- Michael Grove – 4 (t #3)
- Caleb Ferguson – 3 (t #13)
- Julio Urías – 3 (t #13)
The Dodgers have been without Mookie for the last two games, and Smith for the last 6. But how can you put many sustained multiple run situations with batting averages as follows:
- Smith – .333
- Freddie – .311
- Outman – .281
- JDM – .274
- Mookie – .266
- Muncy – .237
- Thompson – .233
- Heyward – .200
- Vargas – .191
- Peralta – .184
- CT3 – .125
- Wynns – .125
- Rojas – .125
- Barnes – .045
- Williams – .000
- Hernandez – .000
That is more players hitting below the Mendoza line (8) than north of it (7), and right on it.
Teams do not fear pitching around LAD hitters late in the game. If they walk, no big deal. They will not run. And then it becomes station to station and that means putting hits together, which the metrics say they do not do.
This does not mean that numbers cannot change. It does not mean the Dodgers cannot turn it around. Regardless of the batting averages reported above, once Mookie and Smith are back in the lineup, they can be good.
I liked the idea of putting Outman in the leadoff. He held his own; 3-10. With Mookie and Smith, Outman should be in the 7-9 spot in the lineup. They need a bat at the bottom of the order.
It is only 19 games. There is 142 games to be played. It is a marathon, not a sprint. All of that is true. But it is the way they are losing. These are not hard luck losses. I think that a change in strategy needs to be made. If they want to look for pitcher mistakes and hit HRs, they will get similar results to the 2022 NLDS. If they are happy to draw walks instead of hitting pitches where they are made, they will not get RBIs. In the playoffs, they will run into pitchers who do not make those mistakes.
The other problems, IMO, are the bullpen and organizational roster structure. But those are for another post.
MiLB Summary Report
OKC Dodgers 15 – Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) 13
- Ryan Ward – 4-5, double (4), 4 RBI
- Hunter Feduccia – 3-5, HR (6), 4 RBI
- Patrick Mazeika – 3-5, double (1)
- Drew Avans – 2-5, 2 BB, HR (3), 4 R, 3 RBI
- Devin Mann – 2-5, 2 doubles (8), 3 R
- Michael Busch – 2-4, 2 BB
Not a lot of good pitching to write about. These games happen.
Tulsa Drillers 4 – Wichita Wind Surge (Twins) 0
Nick Frasso, Tanner Dodson, and John Rooney threw a combined 4 hit shutout. Imanol Vargas hit a 2-run HR in the 8th. Jorbit Vivas and Andy Pages stayed hot.
South Bend Cubs 4 – Great Lake Loons 3
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 2 – Fresno Grizzlies (Colorado) 0
Maddux Bruns, Chris Campos, and Jeisson Cabrera combined on a 6-hit shutout.
· 04/19/23 RHP Braydon Fisher assigned to Tulsa Drillers from Great Lakes Loons.
· 04/19/23 SS Kenneth Betancourt assigned to Tulsa Drillers from Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
· 04/18/23 Tulsa Drillers released LHP Jake Cantleberry.
· 04/18/23 Tulsa Drillers placed RHP Jack Little on the 7-day injured list.
· 04/18/23 Tulsa Drillers placed 3B Kody Hoese on the 7-day injured list.
· 04/18/23 C Max Hewitt assigned to Tulsa Drillers from ACL Dodgers.
· 04/19/23 LHP Franklin De La Paz assigned to Great Lakes Loons.
· 04/19/23 SS Jeral Perez assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from DSL LAD Bautista.
· 04/18/23 Rancho Cucamonga Quakes released OF Gaige Howard.
· 04/18/23 RHP Kelvin Ramirez assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from ACL Dodgers.
· 04/15/23 Rancho Cucamonga Quakes placed LHP Luis Valdez on the 7-day injured list retroactive to April 14, 2023.
· 04/15/23 RHP David Tiburcio assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from ACL Dodgers.
Dodgers are 21st WRISP. That has to improve.
Look at who we have brought up, or acquired, as replacements for injuries. Luke Williams, Yonny Hernandez, Austin Wynns? Vargas looks like he should maybe be put on the IL. Peralta, Heyward, Rojas, and Thompson don’t scare anybody. Barnes never has. Without Mookie and Smith this lineup has no depth. Add to these offensive woes the bullpen has sucked.
Fortunately nobody in the Division has yet put us that far behind. And obviously there is plenty of time to get it together. But this so far has been tough to watch. We’re used to a lot better baseball than this.
You hit the nail right on the head, Jeff. Changes in strategy are necessary, in both batting and the (nonexistent) running game. Other teams have been adjusting their strategies by hitting for contact and running a lot – why haven’t the Dodgers made these changes? THAT is what I’m most interested in – why hasn’t Friedman and company made these changes? What is their motivation for sticking to the wait-for-a-bad-pitch-then-try-to-hit-a-home-run hitting approach and not getting speedier players? Why don’t I ever hear or see the media ask AF or Roberts these questions? The Dodger upper management knew the rule changes would affect the game – why didn’t they adjust? I don’t have the answers but I’m always most interested in human motivation. Does anyone know the answer?
Friedman has done some great things with the Dodgers and I give him all the credit he deserves, but I’m beginning to think that he screwed the pooch a little this offseason. I know, he was hamstrung by the Bauer situation and who knew Lux would get hurt? But the increased speed he COULD have prepared for, and this business of relying on home runs seems to be something other teams are moving away from. Of course the Dodgers will make changes by the trade deadline if necessary. But for those of us who live and die with every Dodger game, this sure is a frustrating start to the season.
Thankyou Jeff, great report.
Not adjusting to the new rules during the off season could be the Dodgers Achilles heel, at least until the trade deadline. For what I consider to be a forward thinking organization, they really seem to have missed the boat on this.
Peralta and Rojas are worthless as starters.
Best case scenario they are bench pieces.
Rojas would be a better seldom used player if he were to go back to his short swing. Big swingers need more at bats to stay sharp.
Yes he would. And that hitting guru who told him to just let it loose, should be fired. Okay, maybe going to the corner with tape on his/her mouth.
Dodgers need a new hitting philosophy. Might be time to make some changes with the hitting coaches.
And get rid of a few of the big swingers. I am going to get back to my mantra: trade Muncy and Taylor.
Would be great to unload KT3.
Great article. Its truly refreshing for a writer to be honest/critical of the Dodgers. I don’t see that at all at a certain other Dodgers site.
Thank you Hondo. You should no longer have to wait for moderator approval.
And thank you for honest & critical. I am generally (OK almost always) glass 3/4 full guy, especially when it comes to the Dodgers and USC. But this is hard to watch. Too many gaping holes for a $250MM payroll. And too many perhaps overly hyped prospects that other teams do not value as do LAD fans. And I love the Minor Leaguers, but again as you said, I try also to be honest.
I griped all last year about the Dodgers use of the same hitting, running, bunting approach in every game regardless of the situation or how the game was playing out. Some of it was due to players like Bellinger, Taylor, and Muncy who didn’t have the mental tools to adjust. They had one swing.
The Dodgers can’t get the player they want in one for one trades and that kept Bellinger, Muncy, and Taylor on the team last year and Muncy and Taylor this year. They seem to want to keep their prospects much like the A’s do.
Maybe the players the Dodgers want are on other team’s untouchable lists.
Can Williams be a better option than Taylor or Rojas at short? We might find out with both Taylor and Rojas injured.
I look forward to watching Betts at short. Maybe that plays out long.
It will be fine. The team won’t win 111 games, but it’ll be fine. Players will return, players will round into form. Tons of talent.
I’m still quizzical if there will be a push to add or subtract. My heart hopes add, but my mind still thinks getting under the threshold is oddly important to ownership.
Really interesting about SBs. Is there any data (albeit early data) that running more is helping teams win?
Not scientific, and small sample size. Top ten SB leaders:
Only sub .500 team is Oakland. And they are just bad. At least there is something they can do. And moving to Las Vegas will not change ownership.
Bottom 11 SB (from worst)
Only teams north of .500 are Minnesota and Texas. LAA is at .500.
You can draw your own conclusions.
I have not watched a lot of the teams, but after 8 games against Arizona, I feel very comfortable saying that they are a far better team because they steal bases. And I do believe the Dodgers would have won more if they were more aggressive on the basepaths.
It’s really good info, and I appreciate that.
So interesting than five of the six div leaders, Braves, Brewers, Rays, Twins and Texas aren’t running that much? Maybe they are! They just aren’t in the top-10.
Also that the Friedman “tree”: Atlanta, Boston, SFG aren’t running in that same top 10.
Running would DEFINITELY make the Dodgers more fun to watch/listen to.
AZ has about 3 speedsters that do the running but team speed isn’t great as I remember reading. Why do I say this? I don’t remember.
They have three very speedy OF, but both SS (Ahmed and Perdomo) can run as can Marte and Rojas. Both the Dodgers and DBacks backup catchers have a stolen base.
Here is a link to 2023 team speed ranks:
#13 – seems about right. Losing Trea Turner and Belli hurt the team speed composite. They do have some decent team speed. But team speed does not necessarily equate to good stolen base capability. It does not tell you how well the runners read the pitchers. They do not take big leads, they do not play hit and run, they do not do a good job of forcing the opposition to make a play. As the chart indicates, they should be able to run more. But I believe they have gotten too comfortable going station to station waiting for that magic 3-run HR.
It is like they are playing afraid to lose rather than trying to win. That is what bothers me. Change the dynamic.
Jeff, ‘nother nice start by Bruns.
He had a walk, though. Boooo.
You think he’s finally turning the corner??!?!
He’s still is in A ball, right?
Yes Bruns is still in A Ball (Rancho Cucamonga – California). Which is good. That is very much a hitters league. And he has not allowed a run yet in 11.1 IP (3 starts).
Yes, even me, perhaps his biggest critic, believes he may have found something to actually improve his control. With only 1 walk, the Dodgers have to be very pleased. He was averaging more than 1 walk per inning before this year. At his age he should get a quick bump to Great Lakes…better hitters, but not a hitters league.
His career WHIP before 2023 was 1.947. For 2023 it is 0.882. That is a significant improvement. He always had good stuff, and is a legit strikeout pitcher (91 in 60.2 IP). If he continues to minimize the free passes, his status as a potential mid-rotation piece will grow. But he still has huge relief risk. How far into games can he keep his control in check? Until this year he has never pitched 4.0 innings. This year he has done it 2 out of his 3 starts. He only pitched into the 4th inning 5 times before 2023. He has now done that 3 out of 3 starts.
His BAA is .128. Pre 2023 it was .243.
There are a lot of reasons to be pleased with his performance thus far.
Grrrr. My bad.
I thought you were bullish on him and Nastrini from that draft.
Nastrini, yes. Still am. Just like I can sour on prospects (rarely), I can have my mind changed on prospects I was not an immediate fan of. It was not that I thought Bruns was a bad risk, just not a 1st rounder. I am a guy who sits at a high top in Starbucks to do research and to watch film. I am certainly not a professional scout. I have talked to a lot of scouts (and learned a lot).
I was not wrong on my choice of Bo Bichette over Gavin Lux, nor my choice of Shane McClanahan over JT Ginn (on day of draft – not hind sight). I know you have been a fan of Bruns since draft day 2021, and I hope he pitches to the level of justifying a 1st round selection. He was ranked #49 by MLB which put him near the back end of the 2nd round. That was a huge leap to take him 1st round (#29). Outside of Walker Buehler (2015) and 2016 draft, what LAD draft picks have been successful at the MLB level.
If (when) Bruns makes a ML start for the Dodgers, I will certainly recognize you as someone who believed in him from the start. I am learning.
Oh. I think odds are he never makes it to the MLB. Way too much variance, especially pitchers.
But I do try to support the draft picks I understand, I don’t know anywhere near what you do. I understood the rationale for the pick so I hope it works out.
Process > outcome
I hate losing in any way. But this has been a frustrating but not unexpected start to the new season. We all know this is not last years squad. Muncy has at least woke up some. Madison Bumgarner to be DFA’d by the D-Backs. .
Nobody is picking up MadBum’s contract. The DBacks do not have a problem of jettisoning and thereby eating a $34MM contract. They now believe they can win, and they are not going to let money get in the way of those aspirations. Give their young stud pitchers more experience and they could be a formidable playoff foe.
Maybe the Dodgers should go that route.
I really doubt it. It would appear he’s got nothing left.
Gonsolin is close. But, Grove might miss some time
I meant the route of jettisoning dead money and giving the young pitchers more experience.
I think we should maybe pump the brakes here.
As bad as we have looked, and we have at times looked awful, we are tied for 4th in runs scored. Our pitching sucks. 16th in ERA.
What we see out there now is temporary. Smith will be back, Mookie will be return. CT3 will or won’t, but he certainly could. Muncy looks ok. Williams and Hernandez aren’t stick around.
We don’t a system overhaul. The players we have must perform with consistency. I think eventually they will. If they don’t, get a real shortstop from somewhere, bring up Busch and Feduccia or use them in trade for someone who knows how to play this game.
Stealing bases would be cool but I’d rather get on base, run smart (talking to you JD) and continue to be at or near the top of the league in runs scored.
Hold serve until the trade deadline. We’ll be ok.
Great advise and prudent policy. Now go do some pushups for failing to help stir the pot.😀
You don’t stir pot, you light it on fire.
So put that in your pipe
Enough stirring going on. Someone needs to pull on the other end of the rope.
Two of the necessary pieces to winning are out tonight. When your #1 and your #3 hitter are missing, and you’re on the road playing a team to whom you just lost a series, one of two things are going to happen – more than one player needs to step up and play over their heads or you will lose again.
Los Angeles Dodgers Team Notes General
The Dodgers pitchers have allowed an average Exit Velocity of just 86.1 MPH this season (196 balls in play) — best in MLB; League Avg: 88.9
HittingThe Dodgers have scored 2.22 runs per game (20/9) in late innings this season — best in MLB; League Avg: 1.28.
Pitching Dodgers relief pitchers have allowed a slugging percentage of just .234 on pitches in the strike zone this season — best in MLB; League Avg: .416.Dodgers relief pitchers have allowed an OBP of just .133 (83 PA’s) with two-strikes this season — best in MLB; League Avg: .231.The Dodgers relief pitchers have allowed an average Exit Velocity of just 85.0 MPH this season (92 balls in play) — best in MLB; League Avg: 88.8
I don’t know if any of that is true. Sounds positive though
Dodgers favored tonight. I’ll take them
63% of all stats are made up on the spot
63% is 102 wins. I’ll take the under.
Pass the pipe.
AF has made a mess. Anxious to see how he cleans it up.
Not sure he made them, but the cleanup may be up to him.
For now no need to knee jerk. We may be only a game out if Padre score holds.
1 for 6 WRISP. But that 1 was sweet.
Two home runs and throwing out a runner at home plate. Are extension talks too early.
Then they play a game like tonight and win a close one. Congrats to James Outman on his first grand slam and first multi homer game.