Angels Defeat Dodgers 4-1, Even Freeway Series

Freeway Series

The Dodgers returned to Chavez Ravine on Monday evening to play the final two games of the exhibition Freeway series against the Angels and I worry that I’ve completely forgotten how to recap a game. After all it’s been about five months since I’ve done this, but then Rich Hill gives up a bunch of runs in the third inning and I write 600 words about how bad the Dodgers looked. Now I remember how this is done. Oh yes it all comes back to me now.

The Angels defeated the Dodgers 4-1 to even the Freeway Series at one game each. The Dodgers didn’t look good, but let’s talk about the pattern of it all. If you watch enough baseball games season after season you can figure out the patterns. There’s always a strange familiarity to the results of a Dodger loss and I’ve noticed it happening over the last couple of seasons.

The Dodgers can lose in many different ways. They could lose a nail biter or the bats could go cold in a 2-0 pitching duel. They could blow a lead in the ninth inning or a good old fashioned blowout is another possibility. Those types of losses would all suck, no doubt, but there’s nothing more frustrating than how the Dodgers normally lose. They lost that way tonight and I think if the Dodgers let’s say lose 65 games this year; nearly 30-40% of those potential losses would look exactly like this one.

If you squint your eyes extra hard you can spot the patterns I’m talking about here. The starter allows 3-5 runs in the first few innings putting the team in an immediate hole. The offense is unable to catch up changing the plate approaches. Usually the bats get desperate, and throaty when down by multiple runs early. They swing at balls outside the strike zone and look at strikes down the middle of the plate. Generally this results in a ton of weak grounders or strikeouts. If they get any base runners they’re instantly erased with double plays. Usually they collect 3-5 hits in these types of losses.

They’ve actually done this in important games too. Think back to game 6 of the 2016 NLCS when Clayton Kershaw gave up four runs in the first several innings. The club was down 4-0 right away and how many hits did they get? They got two if I remember correctly. Fast forward to game 7 of the World Series last year. Yu Darvish served up 5 runs in the first two frames. The Dodgers got five hits and left a small arsenal of runners on base. They scored one run and never really had a look at the game.

What makes these losses so annoying is that they’re boring. The Dodgers were boring, never getting a chance of getting into the game. I might be overreacting here, but I can’t deny what I see unfold in front of me.

On this night Dodger starter Rich Hill pitched 5 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits, (three were earned runs) he walked none and struck out four. The Angels scored all four of their runs in the third inning before the Dodgers had a chance to settle in. There were two singles from Zack Cozart and Justin Upton. There was a catcher’s interference called on Austin Barnes that loaded the bases. Mike Trout’s bat swing deflected off of Barnes’ glove. The play was scary since Barnes could have been severely injured. Thankfully he was ok and stayed in the game. The big blow was a three-run bases clearing double from Albert Pujols. That was followed by a ground ball RBI single from Andrelton Simmons which was all she wrote. The Dodgers made two other errors in the field as well.

Opposing starter Matt Shoemaker tossed four scoreless innings allowing just two hits. He struck out five while walking only one. The Dodgers got five; count them five hits on the night. The only extra-base hits were a Cody Bellinger double that was immediately erased when he was thrown out at third and an Andrew Toles solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers left four runners on base.

You could probably say that my comparison is unfair since this is a meaningless exhibition game. Let’s not forget that I’m mostly joking around here, trying to have some fun with a boring loss. Then again this looks like a repeat for the west coast crowd. Check that, nobody wants to see these kinds of losses no matter what coast they’re residing from. Anyways the Dodgers finish their exhibition schedule on Tuesday night. We’ll find out what the opening day roster looks like too. Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu gets the nod while the Halos will counter with JC Ramirez. Remember we don’t have to see Madison Bumgarner after he broke his hand on a line drive while pitching against the Royals. Certainly the Dodgers can handle Ty Blach on opening day right? Welcome back Dodgers!

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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20 thoughts on “Angels Defeat Dodgers 4-1, Even Freeway Series

  1. Scott,

    Hill sucked and I couldn’t agree more that the game left a bad taste in my mouth for all the reasons you mentioned. However, the bullpen seems to be holding steady and I’ve liked what I’ve seen from them so far.

    Forsythe taking over 3B has produced a couple of errors. No doubt he can man the position, but is it the best defensively for the team?

    Barnes looks weak, again, just like he did in the beginning of last year, then turned it around. Do we really have to go through this again?

    Is there any doubt that Toles deserves to be playing?

    Pitching will have the same problems like last year with these starters. Early HR’s and runs given up. What saved them was the bats, like in Maeda’s start against the Angels. Without the bats, the Dodgers will not be as good as last season. Seager needs to step up, Joc needs to step down. Let’s hope Bellinger doesn’t get the Sophomore jinx.

    1. Hill was in mid season form. Putting the Dodgers behind the old 8 ball early. The middle of the lineup was manhandled by the Angel pitchers. Only Taylor was hitting the ball hard. I am not sure Puig is ready for prime time in the 3 hole because he changes his approach in that spot. He did not look like the Puig of last year at all, he looked like he did 2 years ago. This starting staff is rated #7 by MLB.com. Even AZ’s staff is rated higher and the Giants, until they lost Bumgarner were just below. The Cubs and Nationals staffs are rated higher also. The bullpen is going to have to carry these guys again and they still have not decided who the set-up man will be. Toles definitely deserves to be on the team. But they want him to play everyday, same as Verdugo.

    1. True

      After that loss after only one scored, your are the first one I thought about.

      Either you are a jinx, or you are prophetic, I guess it could be either, or just common sense.

  2. I feel you Scott. This happens a lot. We just can’t seem to chip away at leads on a consistent basis. Growing up I always thought the epitome of Dodger baseball was good pitching, subpar hitting but always finding some means to chip away.

    The problem these days is that we do not chip away with SBs and hit-and-run groundouts. We like working the count to 2-2 even if the 1-1 pitch would be a pitch that the batter could handle, even if it’s an out, in order to advance the runner. I imagine there’s no good metric yet in baseball for the “hockey assist” and advancing a runner (for a while the NBA didn’t have it either but now it has that metric as well as metrics for advancing the ball). If it were up to me I’d give more credit to a player who’s able to advance a runner from second to third with an out when there’s no outs, than a player who walks in that situation. And I’d also give credit to someone who brings in a run from third with an out, vs getting walked. A run scored is worth more than an additional base runner, but that’s just me.

    Look at the first game in thisfreeway series. We tied the game on two groundout RBIs. Then comes the home runs to win the game.

    1. YF

      That is the problem with some of the saber metric equations.

      They should not give a walk, the same value as a hit.

      And strike outs with a runner on third, with less then one out, should get penalized more then anything is baseball.

      And the strike out should be given a higher penalty, then a person who makes contact, except when he hitter, hits into a double plays.

      Then you could give credit to hitters, who make productive outs.

      Change these minor things, and also value a batting average, then some of those equations might show more.

    1. It’s not there Badger. The points that MJ and I make are precisely not there. For one, when counting “make other teammates better stats” like the assist in NBA and hockey, you don’t count your own score. That mixes the results. The stats guys in those articles seem to have missed that basic concept. Put in baseball terms, they basically tried to come up with an alternative FIP by adding catchers errors and wild pitches – but all that does is confuse the stat and make in worthless compared to other stats.

      1. Well, what MJ posted came 6 hours after my post, and probably 12 hours after my post actually showed up.

        It’s not there? Are you sure? Seems to me if we combine EQBRR and UBR, divided by RE24, (run expectancy x Willie Mays) + AP (advance %) x wRAA, and multiply that by the square root of mud, you get your MOTB quotient. It’s analogous to a cognates dimensionless value, measured with a Froude number, like a ratio of flow inertia to the external field.

  3. Being moderated again.

    Sigh.

    I was encouraged by what I saw out of Baez yesterday. He’s throwing off speed and hard sliders down in the zone. He missed with them but missing down is what you want. That can add a foot to his fastball.

  4. Being moderated on blog or in life in general Badger? lol.

    Yf, calling those swinging bunts ground outs is extremely generous.

    Jeff, Toles is so far beyond deserving a chance to play. Hell, he was good enough to be our starting LF last year, he gets hurt, comes back and tears it up and he has to sit down? Bullshit, whatever happened to the concept of an injury not taking a job away from a player. I guess all sense of loyalty and honor has not only disappeared in sports but in society in general.

    Now back to moderating Badger, lol

    1. Aging moderates life True. The “usta dids” are adding up. The moderation filter being used here is unlike any I’ve seen anywhere.

      The salary dump changed the outfield for sure. It was to be Hernandez/Toles/Pederson/Thompson/Verdugo out there. Now it has to be Kemp/Toles, right?

      1. Badger

        It will probably be Joc not Toles.

        Why are they having Joc take balls at first base, it isn’t because he is going down to AAA, to learn how to really hit.

        He would have plenty of time to learn how to hit, and practice at first in AAA.

        I read where someone saw Joc taking balls at first, just the other day.

        It is tough, because I don’t want to see Toles sitting on the bench day after day.

        I rather he was playing everyday in AAA, getting consistent at bats, since he has not faced live pitching, for a while.

  5. I didn’t watch the game as carefully as I usually do, last night.

    But when I saw Hill get hit again, of course, I thought of Michael.

    But what happened with Puig, he struck out three times last night?

    Did Scoisa get his pitchers to adjust on Puig last night, or did Puig not have as good at bats, he has had, lately?

    1. They exploited and old weakness, that low outside pitch and he did not adjust. He did just miss a couple though. Spring game…not to worry…..

      1. I saw that the strike zone was wide outside. He chased, maybe because he thought he had to protect, or maybe he just got fooled. Whatever it was, he looked awful last night. I still think he is a bottom half hitter.

        MJ, I don’t understand why they would pick Joc over Toles, but I won’t be surprised if they do. Yes, it would be good for Toles to play everyday, but I’d rather he played almost everyday here, spelling Kemp both in a platoon and as a late inning defensive replacement. Keeping Kemp’s legs rested will be important this year, so I think we’ll see several 3 at bats take a seat games for Matt.

        1. Badger

          Thanks for your take on Puig!

          It is pretty obvious they are going to go with Joc, after they started him instead of Toles, in 6 of the last 8 games.

          I don’t think the players are going to need that many days off, in the first month of the season, because the team has quite a few days off, in April, so I don’t see Toles getting that many at bats.

          And I don’t think Kemp is going to be platooned.

          Toles missed most of last year, and in his first year up to the majors, he played half a season in the minors, before he came up.

          So he was able to see a steady diet of live pitching in the minors, before he came up to the majors that year.

          And since Toles did take an entire year off, that first year, I think it would be better for him to have consistent at bats, and see a little more live pitching, to be ready for the majors, especially if he was going to have to come off the bench a lot, because he missed most of last season, like he did that first year.

          It looks like Toles is catching on better, because he hit that ball out last night, on a full count.

          I didn’t see Joc’s at bat, but I did see in the box score Joc struck out.

      2. Michael

        I wasn’t worried, but it was surprising to me, when I looked at the box score and saw Puig had struck out three times.

        Because he has been hot lately.

  6. Badger, your moderation comments are confusing. Seems like you’re talking to yourself. lol

    No worries about Puig, or Kemp for that matter. Kemp’s health, yes.

    Baez seems to have taken a page out of Kershaw’s book when it comes to fastballs being tempered by sliders. He looked good and knew when to use his slider. Bullpen looks pretty solid, so far.

    Errors=Hernandez 3, Forsythe 2. This is not what you want from your infield starters.
    I like Kike and the way he has been hitting, but I’m not sure about him in the infield. Let’s hope he improves dramatically while he is at 2nd.

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