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NLDS Game 2 Notes and Observations (Okay Rants)

The migration over to a cloud server has been completed, and I have been advised that the migration was successful.  Hopefully the issues we were experiencing will not reemerge.

LA Dodger Chronicles crashes again on the night that the Dodger bats and gloves (and eyesight?) also crash?  Coincidence?  When I mentioned that to a friend and regular commenter here, he blamed it on Machado.  Seems like a reasonable explanation.

Now to last night’s debacle.  Clayton Kershaw could have stuck a fork in a lot of the talk with his inability to seize the moment in playoff games.  Instead he could not control Manny Machado, and pitched in and out of traffic in the 1st 3 innings, ending his night after allowing 3 runs in 5 IP (80 pitches).  I have no idea why they are saving him.  He could have gone back out in the 6th.  He retired the last 9 batters he faced, and only threw 20 pitches in innings 4 and 5.  He had already gotten through Juan Soto and Machado.  I like his chances on Brandon Drury, Jake Cronenworth, and Wil Myers on less than 20 pitches.

I am not about to fault Brusdar Graterol, but maybe Blake Treinen does not have to be used in this game.  Regardless, this loss falls completely on the offense.

  • Runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out…cannot score.
  •           JT strikes out and Gavin Lux hits into DP
  • Runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out…cannot score.
  •           Trea Turner ground out 5-3 and Will Smith lines to CF.
  • Runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 outs…cannot score.
  •           Austin Barnes flies out to CF.
  • Runner on 2nd and two outs…cannot score.
  •           Will Smith flies out to RF.

8 batters came to the plate to make a difference, and everyone of them failed.

  • Bellinger hits a bloop single into CF off the end of his bat WITH NOBODY ON.  WRISP he strikes out.
  • With nobody on base, Will Smith singles on a hard hit ball up the middle that is knocked down by Jake Cronenworth.  WRISP, he flies out for out #3 and RF to end the game.
  • Justin Turner singles into RF with nobody on.  JT Strikes out with runner on 3rd and nobody out.
  • Gavin Lux has two hard hit singles into RF.  One with nobody on base, and one with a runner on 1B.  WRISP he hits into a tailor made 4-6-3 DP.

I am not absolving Lux, but is there anyone out there that does not believe that both Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda would have had Lux squeeze on that play.  As annoying as A.J. Pierzynski is to listen to, he was right as rain that a bunt down 1B easily scores the runner from 3rdTAKE WHAT THEY GIVE YOU.

I also disagree with Houston Mitchell.  I understand that Trea Turner is a 100 RBI guy, but this is the playoffs.  You have to work for every run.  Turner bunts it down 1B in the 7th and a run scores.  There is no way that either Lux or Turner are doubled up on a bunt down 1B.

Houston Mitchell points out that the small ball crowd was shown why there is such an effort by organizations to stay away from SB attempts and bunts.  Amazing.  It took a perfect throw from Austin Nola to get Mookie Betts on an attempted steal.  How many times out of 100 will Nola make that throw?  Even with that throw, I am not sure that Betts was out.  It could not be overturned by the replay, but it sure wasn’t clear that he was out.

On the failed squeeze by Trent Grisham, it took a herculean play by Graterol to barehand the bunt and throw a strike to Smith to get Wil Myers.  Again, how many times out of 100 does Graterol make that play?  It was not the play that was bad or wrong…it was that the defense was outstanding on both plays.  At least 90 percent of the time, both those plays as executed would have succeeded.

Everyone will remember the great catch by Belli on Nola’s line drive over his head.  And I have no doubt that it was a great defensive play.  But it did not need to come to that had he made a better effort on a ball hit in front of him by Brandon Drury in the same inning.  Again, this is the playoffs.  Make the play or at least give it an all out effort.  Dive for the ball.  The ball is not hit hard enough to go to the wall.  Trent Grisham catches that ball.  Heck, Trent Grisham should have caught Mookie’s ball.  He was certainly there.

If there is a CF that I want to go back on a ball, Bellinger is at the top of the list.  Anything hit in front of him, the ball generally drops in.  I do not know if he does not see balls hit in front of him well, or if his first instinct is to go back and is then late to the ball.  Where was that Bellinger that laid out in the NLCS game against Milwaukee in 2018, saving a run and perhaps game and series.  I know there are those (I am guilty as well) that justify Belli in the lineup because of his GG.  His GG went away with his MVP.  He is not even close to being considered a GG candidate this year.  In Fangraphs’ DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), there are 48 CF with more DRS than Belli.  In the Statcast’s OOA (Outs Above Average), he is not in the top ten in any category.  He is -1 on balls hit in front of him, which gives credence to what I mentioned above.  If he is in the top 3 at the end of the year GG, then it is on reputation and not what he did this year.

On the positive side,

  • I am going with the lengthy delay as to why it took Kershaw three innings to become effective.
  • Despite the loss, Brusdar Graterol should have gotten out of the inning unscathed. Until someone can convince me otherwise, I am going with the misplay by Bellinger on Drury’s bloop hit.  The Trea Turner error.  How many outs does he need to get.  He does needs a strikeout pitch.
  • Blake Treinen made a big mistake to Jake Cronenworth, but his ball moved (except the one to Cronenworth).  Hopefully he comes out of this healthy, and will be ready to battle beginning Game 3.
  • Max Muncy is crushing the ball.  Trea Turner looks to be dialed in.  Gavin Lux looks to have his neck ache behind him.  Now if they can only do this WRISP.

Mookie and JT need to wake up.  And the bottom of the order needs to start producing.  Trayce Thompson – 8 PA, 0 hits, 2 BB, 3 K.  Cody Bellinger – 6 PA, 1 hit, 4K.

The Dodgers will be facing Blake Snell in Game 3.  They have had mild success against Snell.  He will have the San Diego crowd going wild, so the Dodgers are going to have to strike quick against him.  HRs will not come easy in SD, so LAD is going to have to make runs.  Can they?

The Dodgers will counter with Tony Gonsolin.  It really is a Gonsolin/Andrew Heaney or Dustin May game.  If they have their command, they will be tough to hit.  The defense has to tighten up, but I like the Dodgers in Game 3.

 

 

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Singing the Blue

The Dodgers’ Yordan Alvarez is Yordan Alvarez. He’s just wearing a Houston uniform.

I’m not entirely certain that there is a second Yordan Alvarez out there. He may be one of a kind.

Badger

Yeah, the Astros have Alvarez. Who do we have? Well, not him, that’s for sure.

Justin, Mookie, Thompson and Smith must step forward. The Padres smell blood in the water. Time to shut them down. I’d like to see a blow out tonight.

Bumsrap

Whoever the Dodger’s version of Álvarez is, he will have to join the team next year. It will probably be an outfielder as it looks like the Dodgers will need two new ones next year and three if Mookie moves to second.

Muncy is a DH and a regular season backup at third. He is not a Playoff level third baseman defensively.

Friedman will have to determine how much salary he will devote to pitching and how much to position players. That will guide him regarding trades and free agents.

The Dodgers could use Seager and Pederson in their playoff lineup. This is the second year that Pederson was not adequately replaced in LF.

I would enjoy watching this lineup next year without regard to it being the best one Friedman could put together.

RF Betts
1B Freeman
SS Correa
LF Pederson
C Smith
2B Lux
3B Vargas
DH Muncy
CF Reynolds

Last edited 1 month ago by Bumsrap
Badger

The 111 win Dodgers need to show up. 0 for 8 WRISP tells the story.

Kershaw with a 5.4 ERA in that game. Only 5 innings. And now Gonsolin, who hasn’t gone 5 since August 23rd. Gulp.

Trea Turner may indeed get his $300 million contract but I don’t think it will be with the Dodgers.

If Taylor is hurt, why is he on the roster? Sending Barnes up was a weak play.

This team needs Mookie.

Singing the Blue

Roberts sent Barnes up because Belli was a K waiting to happen, CT3 is healthy but uppercuts everything and that tends not to work against Hader, and Vargas was simply too inexperienced for that spot.

Barnes has had some past success against Hader and he flew out almost to the warning track so it wasn’t exactly horrible strategy. The offense leaving 834 men on base prior to that at bat is what cost us the game.

Badger

I’m well aware of why Roberts did it. I disagreed at the time and I’m disagreeing today. Barnes and his .212 batting average filed out weakly and that outcome should have surprised nobody. Advantage Padres. In my opinion that was a situation that called for Chris Taylor or Miguel Vargas. Taylor is starting today against the left hander Snell. But then, so is Barnes.

And you’re right, this was a team choke job. Every Dodger writer at the Times agrees.

I still don’t know why Vargas is on the roster. If he isn’t ready for the white hot spotlight, he shouldn’t be there.

Singing the Blue

I’d like to know who decided to add Vargas after giving him so little Sept playing time. Makes no sense to me.

Badger

Me either.

That at bat against Hader was a made for a Dodger hero moment. Im assuming Vargas was put on the roster because he can hack. Go get ‘em kid. CT was there too. And you send up Barnes? Would have been a genius move if it had worked. It didn’t. I would guess the probability of a hit in that situation would have been at around 18%.

All that said that one move wasn’t the reason we lost. That was 0 for 1 WRISP. The rest of team was 0 for 7.

Jeff Dominique

I echo the sentiment on Miguel Vargas. I am not sure why he is on the roster, although there are whisperings that he will get the start today against Snell. As will “Grip It and Rip It” CT3. No choke up and finesse, and go with the pitch, in his swing.

And yes the cluster **** on Wednesday was the 0-8 WRISP, and three of those was with a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs. That approach has to change in order for the Dodgers offense to produce. The HR approach in SD could make for a long night.

And Mookie needs to show up to the party.

Singing the Blue

Where are you hearing the Vargas whisperings, Jeff? I thought Doc pretty much gave out tonight’s lineup yesterday and Miggy wasn’t in it.

Jeff Dominique

It was obviously just mere speculation, but I did hear it yesterday. Maybe wishful thinking.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff Dominique
Badger

It would appear we have a consensus here.

That game is done and with it the momentum swings to the Padres. The Dodgers wil still be favored of course, but they better get serious or the hole will deepen.

I haven’t seen lineups yet, but I read Barnes is starting behind the plate and Will Smith will DH. I don’t believe they will sit Muncy for Vargas. I don’t think I would. Muncy can hit left handers though I don’t know what he’s done vs Snell.

Singing the Blue

Lineups are out and Max is at 2nd.
What’s he done against Snell? 1-17 but the 1 hit was a homer.

Gallo against Snell? 3-5 with 2 homers. I still wouldn’t be able to get myself to put Gallo in the starting lineup tonight, even with those numbers. I guess Doc couldn’t either.

Bumsrap

Aaron Judge went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, his first four-strikeout game since June 23, 2021. In nine career postseason games against Cleveland, Judge is 2-for-37 with 27 strikeouts. Judge is 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts in the postseason

OhioDodger

Mookie and JT are going to have to show up to win this series.

Badger

You’re right about that Ohio.

Michael Norris

Just win Baby! Catman can do! 2-0 with 0.71 ERA vs Pads this year. MLB announced the passing of Bruce Sutter. HOF pitcher RIP Bruce

Badger

Can Gonsolin go 5? I have my doubts.

Sutter was a terrific pitcher. HOF good.

Michael Norris

He can do it!

Badger

Asking a starter to go 5 would not ordinarily seem like a huge ask. In this case it does. It does to me anyway.

Bumsrap

I thought Belli was beginning to make more contact with a less upright stance and less crowding of home plate. He seems to me to be standing closer to home with both feet and standing more erect. I don’t see a lot of confidence in him either.

I hope the Yankees want him next year.

Singing the Blue

Seems to me that the Braves-Phillies dynamic is very similar to the Dodgers-Padres.

1) Division rivals facing each other in the NLDS with one of the teams performing as expected and the other having under-achieved this season but squeaking into the playoffs.

2) Tied 1-1 with the next 2 games in the underdog’s stadium and a rabid fanbase waiting to greet the “favorites” on the road.

3) The “better” team starts an excellent pitcher today, but one who is coming back from injury.

I hope the results tonight don’t mirror the results in Philadelphia this afternoon.

Badger

Gonsolin wasn’t close to his first half performance level. And the team should have known it. Maybe they did. That was a bullpen game. And this is where we are in first post season series – a bullpen game in Game 3. It actually worked as the Pads only scored 2. But when your high powered offense is on hiatus, 2 is enough to get beat.

The last two games have been hard to watch.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger

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