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Landon Knack’s MLB Debut Was A Success Even With A Loss

Of course it was bound to happen…the mighty Dodgers offense got shut out; on 5 hits.  Three of those hits were by Shohei Ohtani, but naturally there was nobody in scoring position when he came to the plate.  James Outman and Max Muncy each had a double for the other two hits.

The Dodgers did put a runner in scoring position in the first, second, fourth, and eighth innings.  Will Smith, Max Muncy, Andy Pages, Gavin Lux, Teoscar Hernández, James Outman, and Freddie Freeman each had an opportunity to drive in a RISP, and all failed.

Landon Knack’s MLB debut did not get off to the best starts.  3 out of the first 4 batters got hits, including a leadoff HR by CJ Abrams.  The Nats had a 2-0 lead after the first five batters.  After Joey Gallo’s walk in the 1st, Knack retired the next 10 batters.  Eddie Rosario broke the string with a single, but was erased on a DP.  Thus, Knack faced the minimum after Gallo’s walk in the first.

Nick Senzel was Knack’s first MLB strikeout.  He struck out four in five innings.

After a 28 pitch 1st inning, Knack settled down to throw a total of 75 pitches for his 5.0 IP.  He had 7 whiffs on 33 swings.  Knack certainly felt the nerves when he first stepped on the bump.  Once he got them under control, he was very good.

Alex Vesia and Michael Grove completed the final four innings without allowing a hit.  Vesia did walk two in his 1.0 IP along with 2 K.  Grove allowed 1 BB and 1 HBP, to go with his 5 strikeouts in 3.0 IP.

This was Grove’s third consecutive relief appearance without allowing a run or hit.   Those three appearances include 5.2 IP.  His ERA for April is 2.61.  Grove’s slider was his predominant pitch.  Of his 36 pitches, 22 were sliders.  He had 5 called strikes, and 3 whiffs off 9 swings. He also had a whiff with his cutter and sinker (6 pitches each).

Since sweeping San Francisco, the Dodgers have gone backwards.

  • They are 5-7 in the 12 games since the SF sweep.
  • They are 2-5 in their last 7 games, including 2-4 at home.
  • After the first 9 games, the Dodgers had a 2 game winning streak and a 4 game winning streak.
  • For the last 12, they have 1 consecutive 2 game winning streak.
  • For the first 9 games, the Dodgers averaged 6.33 runs per game, and scored at least 5 runs in every game.
  • For the last 12, the Dodgers averaged 4.08 runs per game, and have scored 5 or more runs in 5 of the 12.
  • For the first 9 games, the Dodgers hit .363 WRISP.
  • For the last 12 games, the Dodgers hit .194 WRISP.

The Dodgers’ offense is not as bad as it has been.  Their pace for the first 9 games was certainly not sustainable either.  This team will turn around.  Freddie is not going to hit .204 for the rest of the year.

Shohei is not going to continue at a 1-19 WRISP pace.  Last year he was .317/.475/.604/1.079 WRISP.  For his career, Shohei is .288/.416/.614/1.031 WRISP.  So it appears that 2024 is the outlier.

James Outman is showing signs of breaking out.  Now if only Roberts can get his nose out of the only a RH batter can hit a LHP, we might get to see Outman perhaps develop that production against LHP.  He has only faced LHP 9 times this year.  Ohtani has faced LHP 37 times.  Don’t tell me Outman is not being platooned. And PLEASE, I am not comparing Outman to Ohtani.

BTW, the knock on Outman was that while he could hit singles off LHP, he did not have slug against LHP.  Well, Ohtani has a SLG of .729 against RHP and .500 against LHP.  You cannot convince me that AF/BG/Roberts does not put an emphasis on HR.

So while it is frustrating to see the team flounder as it has the last two weeks, they will eventually break through and get hot.  Last year, the Dodgers were 8-9 on April 17, and 10-11 after 21 games.  The Dodgers did not pass .500 for the remainder of the season until April 28 (game 27).

Once again, defense has taken away runs from the Dodgers, but the Dodgers cannot reciprocate.  Luis Garcia was outstanding at 2B.

Finally, IMO, Dave Roberts is the least imaginative manager and most predictable manager in MLB.    There was absolutely no reason to PH Kiké Hernández for James Outman, other than in his head he had to send up a RH hitter to face a LH bat.

 

 

 

 

MiLB Game Summary Reports

 

 

OKC Baseball Club 4 – Sacramento River Cats (Giants) 3

Nabil Crismatt is showing why he was a good MiLB signing, and he may be showing the decision makers that he is someone to consider for the Big League team.  Crismatt allowed a solo HR to 28 year old AAAA OF Chase Pinder in the 2nd.  That was the only run he allowed in 5.0 IP.  He gave up 4 hits on 69 pitches.  He did not walk a batter, and struck out 5.

OKC had some thunder in their bats as well.  Jonathan Araúz hit a solo HR (1) in the 2nd.  Kody Hoese hit a 2-run HT (1) in the 3rd.  Chris Owings hit a solo HR (1) in the 4th.

Drew Pomeranz and Jesse Hahn each pitched a scoreless/hitless inning.  However, Gus Varland was not as effective.  In the 8th, Varland surrendered a leadoff double.  He got the next two outs, but 3 consecutive 2-out singles, plated 2, tightening the score to 4-3.

Kevin Gowdy pitched a scoreless 9th to record his 3rd save.  Gowdy has held the opponent scoreless in 5 of his 6 late inning high leverage relief appearances.

  • Andre Lipcius – 2-4, 1 run, double (3)
  • Kody Hoese – 2-4, 1 run, 2 RBI, HR (1)
  • Jonathan Araúz – 2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, HR (1)
  • Chris Owings – 1-2, 2 BB, 1 run, 1 RBI, HR (1)

 

Box Score

 

 

Tulsa Drillers 2 – Wichita Wind Surge (Twins) 1 – 11 innings

This was a terrific pitchers’ duel for 11 innings.  Justin Wrobleski started for Tulsa and completed 4.0 innings, surrendering the one Wind Surge run on 4 singles.  Wrobleski was followed by Jack Dreyer (1.2 IP), Ryan Sublette (1.0 IP), Antonio Knowles (2.0 IP), and Jack Little (2.0 IP) who all pitched scoreless innings.

Tulsa was the first to score.  In the 2nd inning, the Drillers scored their 1st run on 1 HBP, 2 BB, and a Brandon Lewis SF.

In the 11th with Taylor Young starting out a 2nd, José Ramos stroked a 1 out single to score Young.  Little struck out the first batter, got the 2nd batter to fly out to LF, and got the final batter to pop out to 3B, to record the victory.

Tulsa had 4 singles in the game, two by Brendon Davis, one by Dalton Rushing, and the game winner by José Ramos.

 

 

Box Score

 

 

West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit) 7 – Great Lakes Loons 5

For three of four innings, Jerming Rosario was outstanding.  But that 2nd inning…HR and 2 doubles plated 2 Whitecaps for a 2-0 lead.

Kelvin Bautista continued his mastery this year.  He pitched 2.0 scoreless innings.  This was Bautista’s 4th relief appearance for 2024, and he has yet to give up a run in 5.0 IP.  He has 0 BB against 8 K.

Jonathan Edwards continued to struggle and allowed a run in the 6th. Kelvin Ramirez relieved Edwards in the 7th  and allowed his first run of 2024, an unearned run.

The Loons were down 4-1 in the 7th and scored 4 to take a 5-4 lead.  Noah Miller led off with a walk.  Both Dylan Campbell and Luis Rodriguez continued their hot start to 2024 with singles, scoring Miller.  Sam Mongelli doubled (1) home both Campbell and Rodriguez.  Mongelli moved up to 3rd on a WP, and scored on a fielder’s choice.

Lucas Wepf had been perfect all year, but surrendered his first run in 2024 for a blown save.  Livan Reinoso is still searching in 2024.  However on this night, the two runs he surrendered were unearned, thanks to a fielding and throwing error on the same play.

Kyle Nevin opened the scoring for GL with his first HR of 2024.

  • Dylan Campbell – 2-4, 1 run
  • Sam Mongelli – 1-4, 1 run, 2 RBI, double (1)
  • Kyle Nevin – 1-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, HR (1)

 

Box Score

 

Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) 7 – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 3

Cameron Day started and could not get out of the 3rd inning.  He allowed 6 runs on 7 hits and 3 BB.

24 year old LHP Garrett McDaniels pitched a much stronger game for his second 2024 appearance.  In 4.1 IP, he gave up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 BB.

21 year old RHP Noah Ruen made his 2024 debut and pitched a perfect 9th on 6 pitches (all strikes). Noah is someone to watch this year to see how he develops.  He has a chance at being a good reliever.

  • Juan Alonso – 2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, double (2)
  • Carlos Rojas – 2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, double (1)
  • Zyhir Hope – 1-4, 1 BB, 1 run, double (6)

 

 

Box Score

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeff

These pitching auditions were not something I could have imagined after the acquisitions the Dodgers made in the off season. I even thought maybe they went overboard and acquired too much. But for some reason, we find ourselves back to similar problems of yesteryear. Hitting slumps, pitcher injuries, and a manager that no one really feels is responsible for any Dodger success. He is rather a guy that seemingly undermines those that are not superstars unintentionally. If it walks like a duck…………..

SandyAmoros

I stil dont understand how people defend Roberts it truly is a duck Jeff great post

Duke Not Snider

I also was disappointed to see Kike pinch-hit for Outman.
Why not save him to pinch-hit for Lux?

While Taylor is clearly the worst performer on offense so far, Lux is the second worst, with an OPS of .374. He struck out twice in this game–and Outman, whose OPS is a disappointing .625, did not strike out.
Lux’s struggles, it seems, have already cost him a full-time job, as Rojas seems to be playing against every lefty.
What can be done with Taylor?

Oldbear48

Put Taylor on the IL. Send him to AZ to rehab. Then in a couple of weeks, after he works on his swing, send him to AAA on a rehab assignment. If he hits there, then bring him back. If not, cut him loose for good. He and Kike are the same guy, only Kike plays more positions.

Dionysus

A supposedly fun season I’ll never watch again.

Badger

Sigh. As often has been posted the value of managers (why continue the reminder?) you guys keep insisting Roberts is costing the Dodgers wins. It just isn’t so. It’s the players. Always.

The players. Jeff has posted several stats that tell us who and what need to improve. Clutch hitting (WRISP) appears need of improvement, but it isn’t as bad as it seems. We are first in AB WRISP and 4th in average, 4th in runs scored. Starting pitching. 21 games in we’ve already seen 8 different starters. Our starters are ranked 13th in MLB, relievers 20th. When these stats improve, and I believe they will, the Dodgers and their manager will look better to those fans who want to win the pennant in April.

Last edited 29 days ago by Badger
Dave

Roberts could be better with a few talks w Ron Washington over in Anaheim. Wash wasted no time stepping in and lecturing his team when they had a lackadaisical beginning.
Every year Roberts has been given a thorobred to ride but he still has to ride it and not let it ride him.

Badger

His thoroughbreds left him at the starting gate last October.

Phil Jones

They played the game yesterday like they were double parked.
 2:16 minutes. It doesn’t take long when there’s 9 total hits and no runs for 8 1/2 innings.  
Knack understandably got off to a nervous start but settled down nicely. I like his stuff and hope he’s a welcome addition to the starting rotation and not bounced up and down to OKC.
Thank you Joey Gallo. Vesia gives up 2 walks and 3 stolen bases in his inning but Gallo bails him out by looking at strike 3. How he bounces around from team to team, hits .136 and stays in the Big Leagues is a mystery to me. Chicks dig the long ball. I remember well a few years ago watching him take BP on the field at Goodyear in Spring Training. I thought they would run out of baseballs. Awesome light tower power in BP. But a true 3 outcome gorilla.
I enjoy watching Ohtani’s swing. It’s like the Master’s; unlike any other. He has the anti-Bellinger head. Not to perseverate on Bellinger, thank God he’s elsewhere, but Bellinger dropped his head down while the pitch was traveling home 12 to 18 inches. No shit. He’s a little better now, but not much. He was tardy with moving eye balls, constantly.
Ohtani’s head is dead level. No dip what-so-ever, so his eyes stay level and fixed on the baseball. It allows him to swing from his ass and generate that great bat speed without pulling off the ball. It’s really remarkable. And his flexibility allows him that awesome separation. But that still head keeps him on the pitch. It’s a clinic.
Play better.

Bear have you done a piece on nicknames? When did they start going away. Where are the “Scooters, Ducky, Pee Wee, and of course…the Babe?
Stuart Fairchild of the Emerson Hancock just beg for a new first name.

Oldbear48

I did one when I wrote for Mark’s site. But I can do that again. Always fun to do that kind of research.

Oldbear48

The losing is on the players, not the manager. He puts them in, it is up to them to perform period. They lost in the playoffs not because of Robert’s decisions, but because their best players did not perform. Even if you go all the way back to the playoff loss to the Braves in 21. Guys who were normally playoff monsters, Turner, Seager, had terrible playoff series. Seager hit .167 in the loss to the Braves, even though he hit two 2-run homers. JT was 6-47 with no RBIs and no extra base hits the entire playoff. Taylor and Bellinger were the two best hitters in the 21 playoffs. Yes, sometimes Roberts will make a move that makes us shake our heads, but it is always on the players. Also, when Roberts gives a medical update, he is saying what the medical staff and front office want him to say. He is always evasive and optimistic. That is by design. I have seen posts where the poster says, I don’t trust Dave Roberts. Dave is just reading or saying what he is allowed to say by the team and the medical staff. Finally on Lux. Lux has been in the majors for parts of five seasons. But he has played less than two full seasons worth of games. He missed more than a year. It is going to take him time to get his feet under him. He only played in 13 games this spring. His first action in over a year. Now, it might be better for him and the team if he was getting his feet under him in AAA. But that seems to not be the plan.

Therealten

Roberts may not be the problem but he doesn’t seem to be the answer. The brass love him apparently. He calls everybody every day to tell them how great they are. I realize he has to play who is on his roster. I just don’t like his style and I don’t believe a word he says. I like a guy like jim leyland who stood up to superstars like Bonds when needed. Tommy lasorda held people accountable. Bochy teams always have an edge a mental toughness. Roberts is too busy kissing a.. and coddling players. Over the course of the regular season depth is a team priority as well as talent. Roberts has had more than anybody. In the playoffs your depth is a minor factor.The first 26 is what matters. The preparation how you matchup pitchers with hitters, how you execute, how u scout, defensive alignment, and this point how u manage the game becomes extremely important. The talent level is not that much different but what u get out of that talent is vital. Robert’s and staff preparation hasn’t worked and the only decision I have ever scene him make is when he left Urias to finish the ws instead of Jansen. That was not by the book. I don’t think he is bad I just think he is an average playoff manager which isn’t enough.

OhioDodger

Well said. Thumbs up. I personally do not think we will win another championship with Roberts.

Last edited 29 days ago by OhioDodger
Jeff

I hope you’re not assuming that the 2020 WS was a real win in the classic 162 game standard. That was not a real championship.

Badger

I would think Pages just wants to be on the big club. He knows the opportunity will be there. If the instructors, and the numbers, say he can hit anyone then he will hit his way into a starting role. I think it’s important that we understand this platooning is not Roberts’ idea, it’s an organizational philosophy.

Also we all know every hitter grows up facing right handers a whole lot more than left handers. Advantage left handers. That changes somewhat in professional baseball. I believe in the big leagues you won’t see platooning done with right handed hitters. Comparing Pages, a right hander, to Outman, a left hander, is applesauce and bagels. They are on the same plate but, they are just not the same If Pages can hit, he won’t be platooned.

Badger

I look forward to what you discover. My guess is more LH hitters are platooned at the ML level. Outman, Lux and Heyward are our guys.

“If Doc has no say, then (a) why have a manager.”

To make out the lineup of course.

I simply meant that analytics drives the bus in the Dodgers organization. And it feels like many of the decisions made in real time change according to the moment at hand. What does Chris Taylor do against this style pitcher in this inning in this month of the year. I see running numbers changing on screen depending on the situation. “Chance of success – 21%”

Anyway, I think Doc’s job is to read the computer generated scouting report and run this play in that situation. If you have better players you will be successful more often than not. Roberts and the Dodgers have proven that over the last decade.

Bumsrap

It’s as if he were elected and won’t get out of line with his Party.

Badger

If he wants to get re-elected he will stay in line.

Jeff

That’s the problem with this team and it management. Some teams fail at the bottom. Some teams fail at the top.

Bluto

https://dodgersnation.com/dodgers-trying-to-avoid-michael-busch-mistake-with-andy-pages/2024/04/17/

I hate the idea that Busch’s handling was a mistake, but I LOVE the idea of Pages getting some real runway.

Last edited 29 days ago by Bluto
OhioDodger

Busch had no path to the show with the Dodgers. He is a 1B/DH and we have those positions sewn up for many years. I don’t know how he did at 2B, 3B, or LF. I think the big mistake they made with Busch was basically giving him away. They should have gotten more for him.

Badger

Yes. Busch was traded because he was blocked in LA. The only mistake made might have been not getting enough in return.

OhioDodger

Small sample size thus far. Busch may still turn out to be a flash in the pan. Let’s see what he does when pitchers start making adjustments to him. We won’t really know if the trade was a mistake until we see how left-handed starter Jackson Ferris and outfielder Zyhir Hope turn out.

Badger

Good point.

Jeff

Isn’t that what OD said?

Scott Andes

They say that, and then we see the Automatic out crew in the lineup versus lefties.

Bumsrap

We have all heard about the guy who was good at winning a battle but not the war. The best I can do for Roberts is that he manages to win the war and he mostly does that by keeping his 26 players relevant and active.

The goal for Roberts is to be ready for the Playoffs. What happens there won’t be negatively determined by who and when a player was pinch hit for but might be positively determined by having a prepared bench player step in for a regular.

Do I really dislike tuning into a game with Taylor starting or Outman sitting? Yes, most definitely.

I wish the Dodgers had a few Manny Motas who could come off the bench ready to hit without any expectations for playing in the field. Do players need rest during the season? Yes.

I want to see Lux as a regular through May.

I want Betts, Ohtani, Freeman, Smith, Outman, Lux starting everyday but I understand Smith does need a day off each week.

I prefer Rojas play for Muncy as many times as he plays for Betts or Lux.

I prefer Betts stays at short and never plays second.

I agree Roberts is too stubborn.

Glaze3

Two thumbs up!!

Bluto

I refuse this is binary. Between a “Bochy” and a “Roberts”. Can’t we hope for a manager who lies between the two, who the Front Office would hire?

Roberts continues to lead to head-scratching. In not a good way.

Last edited 29 days ago by Bluto
Badger

It’s the players. They come through, the manager is a genius. If they don’t – see the Betts and Freeman example last October.

Jeff

You seem to have taken up the party line in your old age. Sad. Your fire is low.

Badger

My fire is low? Well, at least it’s still lit.

I’m just expressing my opinion as calmly as I can.

Listen grasshopper, you live as long as I have you learn from your many mistakes. That’s called wisdom. You’ll get there…. if you persevere and pay attention. .

Jeff

Yes, the party line……….

Badger

None of the managers you mentioned managed in the analytics era.

“But I would prefer a manager who is not the darling of the front office”

Then they won’t manage an Andrew Friedman team.

Wayne

..make it 4 thumbs up!

OhioDodger

Totally agree with you Jeff. Great post. Do you think Roberts will be fired if the Dodgers go one and done in the playoffs like the last 2 years? I think his leash is running out.

Singing the Blue

I agree. If they don’t at least make a good run in the playoffs I think Doc is gone. Not even necessarily because it would be his fault, but because Andrew won’t fire himself and there’s a limit to how much money he can spend on roster construction.

If they don’t make a good run this year, the fans will be screaming for blood and Doc will probably be the one who goes.

Bumsrap

Or not

Badger

I doubt Roberts is fired.

Singing the Blue

I seem to be in the minority on this. I really hope we win it all and never find out.

OhioDodger

That would be optimal.

Dionysus

He has to be

Scott Andes

Correct but Mark Walter or Stan Kasten can fire Friedman.

Wally Moonshot

I really hope it doesn’t come to this, but if the Dodgers fail in the playoffs again I could see ownership getting rid of AF AND Doc. Especially after all of the $$$$ thrown at free agents this past off season.

Ron Fairly fan

Don’t forget Ohtani is supposedly tied to Friedman with an opt out if Friedman leaves. In the past any time it came up about firing Roberts the question was who would you replace him with. I never had an answer now I do. If they were to move on from Roberts I would like to see them make a run at Skip Schumaker . He’s done a good job in Miami with less than superior talent.

Last edited 29 days ago by Ron Fairly fan
Scott Andes

I thought the opt out was based on how competitive the Dodgers were?

Ron Fairly fan

All I know is the talking heads were giving Friedman credit for building in job security with Ohtani’s contract

OhioDodger

Now you’re talking. That would be sweet.

Singing the Blue

I’m in!

Badger

The Dodgers are making bank. They are not going to change anything.

Wally Moonshot

One would hope Ohtani would be more interested in winning championships vs whether AF keeps his job.

Jeff

If they didn’t do it after the last two fiascos of an early exit, all bets are off. They have their man, their making money, and still win the division. That’s a hell of success story for the corporate mind.

Jeff

Dodgers are making so much money that it doesn’t matter to them if they win a WS. Too many fans here have bought the Dodger corporate narrative. I don’t.

Jeff

In your heart you know if the season went the full 162, no way we would go all the way. It’s a paper WS win, at best. Spin it however you’d like, but you will never convince me that this was a real WS win.

Singing the Blue

If you’re sick and tired of reading about Ippei, ignore the link below, but I found this a very interesting read.

Old friend Chris Martin was one of the American players in Japan who used Ippei as an interpreter and apparently had a great relationship with him, as did other American players over there.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/39963548/shohei-ohtani-interpreter-ippei-mizuhara-american-players-japan-gambling-scandal

Oldbear48

Taylor Trammell picked up by the Yankees who claimed him.

Therealten

Buhler 22/3 68 pitches 4 walks 2 runs. All over the place. He threw 58 pitches in 2 innings. Shocked they left him out there. Velo 94-95 not looking good.

Jeff

Even the repair shop can’t fix our problem…………….

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