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Dodger Baseball

Why The Long Faces?

I was not able to watch any of the three games.  I guess I can be thankful for that.  But after reading some of the comments on this site, and a myriad of other blogs, one might get the impression that the Dodgers are fighting CWS for the worst team in MLB.

There is no easy way around it.  No way to sugar coat it.  The Dodgers are playing s*** baseball right now.  My wife says it is the James Outman effect.  The Dodgers are 4-5 since James was optioned.  Of course that is not a reality, but don’t try to tell my wife that.

I am also not one who is going to push the panic button.  Every team is going to go through these streaks every year.  It is not fun for the fans to watch it unfold.  And it sure as hell is not fun for the players/coaches/management.

Reading some of the comments throughout the Dodgers blogosphere, I am wondering how long some of them have been fans.  There is no way they would have lived through 2017.  From August 25 through September 11, the Dodgers had a 5 game losing streak, won a game, and then lost 11 in a row.  They were 1-16.  The lead in the NL West went from 21.0 games up to 9.0 games up with 18 games to play.  The Dodgers did win 12 of the final 18.  I remember the number of fans who quit on the team during that stretch, only to jump back onto the bus when they were waltzing through the playoffs, until Houston’s trash cans intervened.

Okay, this is 2024, not 2017. Defend 2024. What about the 16 games before the last 16? The Dodgers were 14-2.  We did not hear from the doomsdayers during that stretch.

For the last 16 games (May 10 – May 26):

  • 29/133 WRISP – .218
  • 56 Runs Scored
  • 61 Runs Against
  • -5 Run Differential
  • 14 HR (.875 per game)

For the prior 16 games (April 21 – May 8):

  • 45/137 WRISP – .329
  • 100 Runs Scored
  • 31 Runs Against
  • +69 Run Differential
  • 26 HR (1.375 per game)

Which is the anomaly?  April 21 – May 8 or May 10 – May 26?  With this team, I like to think the outlier is the last 16 games (May10 – May 26).

Below is the individual metrics for the players for the last 16 games.

 

 

The Dodgers are not the only team to struggle over the last 16 games.  The consensus NL co-favorite, Atlanta Braves, are 8-8 in the last 16 games.  They have lost their best pitcher for the year, Spencer Strider, and have now lost their best player for the year, Ronald Acuña Jr.  Some of the fans on this site and other LAD sites, would stop watching the games if the Dodgers lost Tyler Glasnow and Shohei Ohtani or Mookie Betts.

During this frigid hitting run, are the starting pitchers trying to be too perfect knowing they are not going to get many runs?  It is easy to say the pitchers should not worry about that, and just go out and pitch their game.  And yet they seem to be pitching tight of late.  The game is played on the field by actual players, and not in a computer algorithm.

I do not know when this current skid will turn around, but I do know that it will.  I do not know who will be on the roster after August 1, but I do think it will be different than what there is now. Better???  They have to play the games.  I do not know how many games the team will win, but I do think they are the best team in the NL West, and will probably get a bye in the playoffs.

Doc said that management was going to give Gavin Lux 150 PA before they judge him.  He is now at 151 PA, and is batting .206/.258/.284/.542.  But he is the one player who has improved over these last 16 games compared to YTD totals.  His OPS is also 6th best over those last 16 games.  More importantly, what are the options?  Right now, Miggy Ro.  The Dodgers are committed to Mookie being SS at least up to the trade deadline.  Thus, I do not see any change from the current platoon.  Lux has not proven he is an everyday player, but he is still performing enough to be a platoon player.  There are not many SS/2B who will be available at the deadline, and to speculate now would not be worth the effort.  But if Bo Bichette is available, AF has to consider it.

Not that it matters much, but IMO, Mookie can be a GG 2B, but he is struggling (his opinion) at SS. As the season moves on, do the Dodgers take the strain from playing SS away from him?  He basically ran out of gas last September, and playing 2B (and only 2B) was supposed to help that.

Andy Pages, Miguel Vargas, and James Outman have not played as well as the Dodgers had hoped.  I know some out there are going to quit on them.  I will not be in that group.

BTW, OKC hitting coach, Emmanuel Burris, immediately started working with Outman.  He worked with him to shorten his swing, concentrate going up the middle, and to all fields.  He started out slow, but two nights ago, he had the game tying hit into LF, the next night he hit a 414’ HR to right center at 104.6 MPH.

 

That is the swing that James had when he was playing well last year.

And on Sunday’s game, James went 3-4, including a single to LF, and bunt single, and a single to RF.

Since being optioned, in his 6 games (27 PA), James is hitting .333/.556/.556/1.112, 8 BB, and 9 K.

Just like with 2B/SS, I have no idea what OF may be available at the deadline.  Will Taylor Ward be available?

The Dodgers will not be looking for a SP, but they could look at relievers not named Mason Miller.  Sorry…not going to happen.  It has already been reported that Oakland might consider it, but only with a HUGE overpay.  Most speculate that Baltimore is the only team with their prospects that might entice Oakland.  IMO, Oakland will hold onto Miller this year.

In summary, yes the Dodgers are putrid right now.  But it will not stay that way.  I like the Dodgers chances more than Atlanta’s right now.  I know it is fashionable to dump on the team as they play as they are playing.  Venting about the frustrations are expected.  I am very good at venting.  The Dodgers do frustrate.  Doesn’t every sports team?  But when you go so far as to say that this team cannot win the WS, you have quit on the team, after 1/3 of the season.

 

 

 

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SandyAmoros

Maybe Emmanuel Burris should be the hitting coach in the majors. I have been a Dodger fan since they were in Brooklyn seen all their championships. Friedmans philosphy is flawed they are a 1 trick pony homer or bust it always shows up in playoffs.

Jeff I appreciate the work you do always seems unbiased. God Bless our troops and fallen heros enjoy this Memorial Day.\

Oldbear48

I get it Sandy, but, and this is a huge but, getting to the series is not as easy as it once was. Even when they won in 2020, they had to win 3 playoff series, and then the World Series. Thirteen post-season wins. That is a real challenge. Run into a hot team and you are toast. The closest they got since was 2021 when they were the wild card and had to beat St. Louis in a one game playoff. Then they beat the Giants in the NLDS by the skin of their teeth. And that year, they were really banged up. That they even got to the NLCS was a miracle. Muncy was out, Kersh was out, Scherzer pitched one game and got hammered before crying injury. They started two games of the six with openers. Buehler only pitched 7.2 innings in his two starts. Mookie hit .176 for the series, Seager the same, even though he had 2 homers. Bellinger, Taylor and Pollock, were the only hitters above .300. Taylor hit .476 with three homers, all in one game.

Badger

I think it’s true they cannot win the World Series playing like this, but the question is will they play like this in October. They did last year, but that was last year.

Looking at that Last 16 table it’s the last 7 names that give me pause. What to do about that? Beats me. Can’t replace all of them. It’s possible a few could get hot and turn it around, but do I expect them to? Not really. Lux and Heyward are starters so it’s them i hope will improve the bottom of the lineup blight. Kiké is a valuable utility guy, Taylor used to be that but is a shell of what he was, Pages and Outman have become disappointments, Rojas and Barnes are what they are, backups at important positions. So my guess is Muncy, Lux and Heyward. The bench as it exists now is Mendozian.

So where is a late season spark likely to come from? The top of the lineup is the only logical answer to that. Will it be enough?

Badger

Tried to edit this and the site wouldn’t let me.

I wanted to add I think Muncy and Outman might add a summer bump to the offense. A few other starters are going to need some time off so it’s my opinion a trade will be made for better bench players.

tedraymond

There is no reason for panic. Frustration? Yes! Right now the entertainment factor with Dodger baseball is close to unwatchable. But, as Jeff mentioned, we’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again and again. Baseball is hard. It’s when it is hard for the entire lineup at the same time then we have what we’re seeing right now with the 2024 Dodgers. But, it will change.

It’s times like this that I pay special attention to the young prospects who might be on the team. Last year we had the up and down season with James Outman. There was the injury marred start of the season for Miguel Vargas. And, the emergence of several pitchers.

This year, after ending 2023 strong, we’ve seen the complete failure of Outman and his return to OKC. Then Andy Pages was called up and started off nicely, but has hit a rough patch along with the rest of the team. Will the Dodgers give the James Outman path for the remainder of the season? I hope so. He’s talented and appears to be coachable.

Miguel Vargas was recently called up to sit on the bench. Awesome! With the current injuries and slumping players why not give him a chance to succeed. If he did show some improvement then he could be a valuable player for the Dodgers or a trade piece. I don’t understand the FO strategy of bringing him up to have him not play.

It’s a long season. The West division is not very good right now. There is no chance that the Dodgers will not get into the playoffs. And, we have no idea how the team will perform in the postseason. Lately, I check in to a Dodger game and if it’s entertaining I’ll stick around. If not, I don’ stick around long. The games where early in the game they score several runs in one inning and then go silent for the rest of the way are some of the worst to sit through. I keep hoping to see more action, but it rarely happens. That’s baseball.

With the almost impossible chance of the Dodgers not making the postseason the regular season watching the Dodgers takes up less and less of my time. But, come the playoffs I’ll watch every pitch!

To all of those who contribute to this site who have served in the military, have a memorable Memorial Day. We appreciate your service.

Carry on

Last edited 16 days ago by tedraymond
Phil Jones

Ditto on your comments Ted. You are spot on, as usual.
I’m more anticipating the WSWS and the Men’s Regionals than ever this year and give the Dodgers a break. I absolutely understand the peaks and valleys of a long season. But my problem is I don’t understand too many things. Like bringing Vargas up to sit and the use of pitchers.
My bigger problem is I’m more and more convinced that our outfield and bench can’t cut it. I’m a Rojas fan and still think he’s valuable. But Lux, Kike, Heyward, Pages, Outman, Barnes and especially CT3 just don’t inspire much confidence in me to make the bottom of the order anything but pedestrian. When the top 6 are clicking, we can hide these guys. But when they don’t, the bottom of the order can’t carry the mail with any consistence.
I get it. Like every club, they are at the bottom of the order for a reason. But I seriously doubt this group can improve to the point where they are not a liability.
Am I quitting on them after 55 games? Not yet but I’m more skeptical of all turning it around. I just hate losing like this and I hate shitty baseball.
Like SandyAmoros, I wonder why “OKC hitting coach, Emmanuel Burris, immediately started working with Outman. He worked with him to shorten his swing, concentrate going up the middle, and to all fields.” What a novel idea. Where’s RVS in this picture?
Let Vargas play. Make a decision on CT3 pretty soon and search for an outfield bat either by promotion or trade.

Singing the Blue

I was fascinated to read how Burris was working with Outman and that it seemed to pay off rather quickly (albeit a very small sample size).

If he actually fixes Outman, I would absolutely think he would be a valuable addition to the MLB coaching staff. As we know, not all hitters are made the same. That’s always been my problem with RVS who seems (and maybe I’m wrong here) to use the same or a very similar approach with every hitter. If you have CT3 trying to hit the same way as Ohtani, I think you’ve made a bad calculation in strategy.

I had a conversation with Duke in the last thread about the wisdom of going after a guy like Bryan de la Cruz. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I don’t see anything in de la Cruz worth giving up prospects for because I think our guys (Outman and Pages) have higher ceilings and I’m willing to let them see if they can achieve them. If we want to replace those two or add someone for the outfield, I don’t want to go after a very average player (yes, right now our guys are quite a bit below average). I’d rather go after someone who is better than average. We have the prospects to get that done.

Bumsrap

Maybe someone like Jung Hoo Lee?

Duke Not Snider

The injured guy?

Bumsrap

–“Where’s RVS in this picture?” — Teaching the uppercut big swing?

Bumsrap

It may be that Vargas was promoted just to open a spot for Outman in OK and there was no intention to give Vargas more than a few at-bats.

I look forward to seeing Outman fulltime in CF for the Dodgers.

Bklyn2LA57

God Bless all those who have given their lives so that we may live in freedom in the greatest country on earth.

As for the Dodgers, I read a comment on another blog about Vargas maybe not playing yet because Van Scoyoc wanted to work with him first. Curious. It seems that after players struggle in LA get sent down to OKC they get straightened out by hitting coach Manny Burriss. Look at how well Vargas, Pages, and now Outman hit when they’re there. When they come back to LA they struggle again. Could it be time to get rid of Van Scoyoc and promote Burriss?

Bluto

Could it be time to get rid of Van Scoyoc and promote Burriss?

Why do you prefer the latter over the former.

Therealten

Thanks to all our servicemen and women today. I don’t think anyone has quit on the Dodgers. I watched the year the lead got down to 9 games. I was dismayed at the total arrogance at the time. Experimenting, practicing at the mlb level with absolutely no urgency as they often do. I know you have to rest guys but as many have said it is a hard game. You cannot just turn momentum on and off.

my problem right now is not with Doc. I just don’t think the roster is World Series caliber. You have Barnes, Rojas, kike, heyward,who just can’t hit. I didn’t include Taylor or lux because I believe lux can be a 9 hole hitter. Taylor could come around but doesn’t fit with a roster including Muncy, Teo, and to a lesser degree Ohtani. Kkkk.. Heyway not as much k as the rest, kike should never face a rh pitcher. As constructed this lineup needs someone to put the ball in play and that is not Taylor, pages, outman, kike unless u want to get rid of Muncy or teo. I have ad nauseam suggested bichette and Jansen but I realize it takes 2 to tango. I have been looking at rosters. Marte would be a huge risk but his salary and Taylor’s are close. He is a scary thought but could get hot n would b available.

Oldbear48

Bichette has one year left on his deal. How much do you believe he would cost in terms of prospect capital? Especially is he is playing even better by the end of July. He is at .247 right now, but the power isn’t there. He has only 3 homers.

OhioDodger

Why wouldn’t AF make that trade?

Bumsrap

I like Betts at short and Lux at second. Now if Muncy were traded for Bichette and the Dodgers put him at 3rd, I’m all in. If Lux is still below .250 BA at the end of June, then the existing deck chairs can be rearranged.

Duke Not Snider

I don’t understand why people use prospect rankings (“Two top 13 prospects plus ML player”) to reach these conclusions. I am also skeptical of the “trade simulator” for similar reasons.
Doesn’t every team scout players and make their own judgment independent of the rankings? Wouldn’t AF have a different valuation based on depth at the position? A couple years ago, Cartaya seemed untouchable. But I think his value has been surpassed by both Rushing and Liranzo.
Obviously nobody has a clear sense of the future success of a prospect. My guess is that the Orioles don’t look back on the Machado deal with regret: One of the minor leaguers they got was Dean Kremer, and he became a stalwart of their rotation.
The O’s knew they would be losing Machado–but they got a valuable pitcher in return. Machado, of course, didn’t stay with the Dodgers. In retrospect, I’d say that was damn good deal for the O’s.

Badger

If Bichette is for sale, you can toss any trade simulator matches out the window. Somebody will overpay for him. I agree it won’t likely be the Dodgers.

Bluto

Jeff,

Anyway you would do a writeup of the 2021 draft and where they are/how they are progressing?

Casparius, Heubeck, Nastrini and company?

That’s still one of my favorite drafts of the Friedman regime. It was bonkers!

Singing the Blue

RIP Bill Walton.

I know his political views turned off many people.
I know his announcing bothered the hell out of many people.

But I think the world of basketball was richer for having had him here.

Badger

His views on the world didn’t turn me off. And the way he played basketball was amazing. Too bad his body failed him. And yes, basketball was richer for having his presence.

Oldbear48

No game today, re-scheduled as a Double-header tomorrow. Glasnow and Stone will pitch with Paxton going on Wednesday night. I am not panicking at all. Disappointed? Some, but I have seen this dog and pony show before. Braves losing Acuna is huge, since they already lost their best pitcher, Strider. Riley has played little in the last 10 days, and they are adjusting their roster quite often. The Phillies are the biggest threat to LA returning to the series, not the Braves. Suarez has given them a very good top three starters. Their bullpen is also pretty good. The lowest average in their starting lineup is Castellanos at .202. But he still has 6 homers and 22 driven in. Their backup SS, Sosa, is hitting over .300 replacing Turner, who is on the 10-day IL. They are for real, and seemingly on a mission to return to the series and finish what they could not do against the Astros in 22.

Phil Jones

Bear, you’re not panicking. And most of the knowledgeable posters here aren’t either. We all been around for a lot of campaigns. I don’t think it’s impatience for me to be concerned with the big picture. I don’t see this group in the outfield ever offering the kind of performance I expect from the Dodgers. While we’re pissing around with these guys, we are wasting our players in their prime.
While AF pisses around with pitching reclamation projects and too many utility guys, none of which can hit, legit players who could use a chance to help the club are stuck in the minors or not dealt for.
Example, I would love to see Hunter Fedduccia get a look. His bat could be a major improvement over Barnes’. I know Barney’s value but maybe he should be replaced on a playoff roster by a guy like Hunter? He could catch, if Will gets dinged up and is a better pinch hit option. Barnes can act as a coach in the playoffs. But we can’t get looks at potential options because we keep waiting for CT3, Kike, Heyward, Pages and others to get going.
It’s not panicking. Just lack of faith.
It’s like buying a mule and waiting and waiting for him to develop with the hope he wins the Kentucky Derby. How long can I wait for that?

Oldbear48

Not the first time it has happened. They always seem to bring their prospects along either slow, or not at all. There have been exceptions of course, Seager was 22 when he became the regular SS, Joc was 23 when he became a regular outfielder, and Cody was 21 when he took over at first base for Gonzalez. Feduccia has the misfortune of being a 12th round pick in an organization that is seemingly teeming with catchers at lower levels who are ahead of him on the depth chart. Hunter also turns 27 in 9 days, making him by far the oldest of the bunch. He is hitting .274 right now, not much power production, but his BB-K ratio is pretty good. I would love to see him get a shot. Like you said, he couldn’t possibly be worse than Barnes. I have faith there will be some moves and the players on the roster now will not be the same 26 guys come September. I think a trade or two will happen. Just how much of a difference maker they get remains to be seen. I do agree with Jeff that they should be made sooner rather than later.

Phil Jones

Jeff………..and ME.

Jeff

Knowledgeable posters vs Loser Dodgers.

Being a life-long, born in Brooklyn, Dodger fan, I can tell you the team has always been viewed by its fans as underdogs and losers when it comes to the World Series. As a fan of these losers, I don’t even recognize the 2020 WS as a real WS. It’s a token for the league and another example of the corporate takeover of baseball. Before 2020, it was 3 decades since winning the last WS in 1988. The AF front office is running out the same scenario year after year, unable to win a legitimate WS, full season, no gimmicks. The corporate mentality of this franchise and its inability to play baseball with instincts, not numbers, is what is responsible for this.

Mookie should be put back into RF. It’s better for his health and the overall defense of the infield. While Rojas is a placeholder, it’s a simple job to get a SS who can field and hit. My god, we had Seager then T.Turner. Both fled our team. I guess AF wanted a star at SS and Mookie was the only one available on the team. Lux is completely expendable and they have to rebuild the infield. Losing Justin Turner and replacing him with Muncy is an injustice even if Max tries, and he does, but is not the kind of hitter that JT was. Corporate AF did all this to the team. Our decimation via injury of our homegrown pitching staff is another debacle that falls squarely on the corporate FO. How much longer will we have to endure this? Probably, a lot longer as the ownership laughs on its way to the bank.

RIP Bill Walton. Larger than life with a great legacy. And, to those who died fighting so many unnecessary wars, I weep for you and this country who once represented something great to the world but now represents its own interests.

Oldbear48

Mookie does not want to go back to the outfield. He feels more into the game in the infield. I do not see how playing the outfield is better for his health. Chances of crashing into a wall while chasing a fly ball is far more detrimental to his health than chasing fly balls. You trade for a SS at the deadline, you are going to overpay. At this point just which SS would be available is unknown. Everybody’s two favorite targets are Bichette and Adames. Neither would come cheap, and Adames is a rental. The Dodgers are not the only organization losing pitchers to arm injuries. The entire major leagues are having that problem, so you can’t lay that on the front office. That is a baseball wide problem. Turner hardly played 3rd after he left the team for Boston, only 7 games last year. He wasn’t as good of a defender the last couple of seasons he was here anyway. And he is 39 years old. He also had been on the IL several times over his last 5 seasons in LA. He was only really healthy in 21. Muncy played 124 games at third last year. His defense has gotten better. You might not recognize the 2020 title as legitimate, but I do. All the teams played under the same conditions, and the Dodgers had to win 13 post season games, the first time in baseball history that has been done, to win.

Sam Oyed

Concerning ABS

https://flip.it/__68_z

Last edited 16 days ago by Sam Oyed
Bumsrap

From The Athletic

…even though Bill Walton was one of the most unique men to ever live. Walton was a 6-foot-11 redhead, curiosity seeker, Grateful Dead fan and TV analyst, who just happened to be one of the greatest basketball players to ever live.
But upon his death Monday, the tributes were all the same because the thread of Walton’s life was his tie-dyed passion for people. At times, he might have seemed as if he lived on another planet, but he wanted you and everybody else to join him on it because it was a place where love and dreams come true.

Badger

Well said Fred.

Duke Not Snider

A good friend who was a sportwriter in San Diego became personal friends with two guys he covered: Walton and Tony Gwynn. (I once attended a party and my pal invited Walton. He was fun to talk to.)
He was great player, obviously, with a career limited by injury. Then he became a popular and entertaining broadcaster, even though he was still battling a stutter when he attended UCLA.
I used to play in regular hoops game with a bunch of expats in Hanoi. I was the second oldest guy on the court. The oldest was an American doctor, a serious hoops junkie who told me about meeting Walton at a Celtics fantasy camp.
The campers, of course, were a bit in awe of all the pros at the camp. Walton, he said, talked about how much he envied the campers–because they all could still play and enjoy the game, while his body wouldn’t let him.

Oldbear48

Best news I have heard all week. Angel Hernandez and MLB have reached an agreement, and he is retiring from baseball on Tuesday. Long regarded one of the worst umpires in the majors, he filed a discrimination suit against MLB in 2017. He last worked a game on May 9th, the White Sox and Guardians, and has not returned since. He was replaced on his crew by Jacob Metz. He lost both his discrimination suit in 21 and his appeal last year. When arguing the case, MLB actually cited several specific instances where it believed Hernandez failed at his job and missed calls on the field in key moments. His suit was based on what he believed was discrimination in post season assignments. Hernandez is Cuban. He last worked a World Series in 2005, and a league championship in 2016. He missed all but 10 games last season due to a lingering back issue. In those 10 games according to Umpiring Monitor, he missed an incredible 161 calls. I doubt anyone will cry about his leaving.

OhioDodger

Long overdue.

Duke Not Snider

Boston is reportedly going to deal Kenley. Does anybody want a reunion?
No doubt that Mason Miller would require an overpay because (a) he’s an exceptional talent and (b) there are still several years of team control on his contract.
I think there is also no doubt that the Athletics will be dealing him at some point–maybe this year, maybe next.
When he enters arbitration, the As won’t want to pay a guy who frankly isn’t that valuable to a team out of contention. Premium closers have great value for contenders, not second-division teams.
Whichever team eventually acquires Miller will plan to use him in October.
Let’s say that Miller winds up with Yankees, and Mookie and Shohei are due up with the game on the line….

OhioDodger

Hell no on Kenley unless they take Taylor.

Jeff

Don’t want Kenley back.

Oldbear48

Not a chance. 36 years old, he is past his prime. And not really any better than what we already have in the pen.

Oldbear48

Just saw a poster on another site who offered what I think is the worst trade idea I have seen in a long time. Dodgers send Knack, Outman, Lux, Vargas and Cartaya, to the Jays for Kiermaier, Varsho, Turner and Bichette. Huh???

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