How Dave Roberts Could Have Won Game 1 And Can Win All The Others

It was a simple solution. Manager Dave Roberts should have started Andrew Toles in left field. In fact, Toles should be starting every game until he shows he shouldn’t be out there.

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Because if there is one place that Andrew Toles belongs in a Dodgers playoff game, it aint the bench.

Ever since Toles joined the team, he’s been showing flashes of baseball brilliance. At the very least, he has proven to be a consistent spark plug, a clutch performer, and an inspiration to his teammates and the fan base.

But Toles didn’t get the start in left field; Howie Kendrick did.  That decision had consequences. Dodgers’ starter Kenta Maeda was in trouble right from the get go yesterday.

In the Cubs’ half of the first inning, Maeda gave up a leadoff single to Dexter Fowler. Big gun Kris Bryant then pounced on Maeda and sent a screamer toward left field. When Kendrick (a part-time outfielder) couldn’t catch up to it, the ball thwacked off the ivy-covered wall for an RBI double, sending the Cubs and their fans into a first inning frenzy.

I couldn’t help but think, “Andrew Toles makes that catch.”  If he does, those runs don’t score, Maeda gets a breather, order is restored, and the inning – maybe even the game – ends up differently.

I get it. Kendrick starts over Toles in LF because of his experience, and because of “matchups”.  It may be all about lefty-righty matchups with the stat-heads, but let’s remember that strategy never really proved itself to be effective throughout the regular season. Joc Peterson has improved his hitting against southpaws with consistent play, and Andre Ethier hit a PH home run off southpaw Lester. If given consistent opportunities, I’m confident Toles can do the same.

While we’re at it, a similar argument can be made for starting Andre Ethier as well.

Before he suffered a broken leg in Spring Training, Ethier was tearing up the baseball so much, the skipper named him the Dodgers’ leadoff batter. After missing most of the season, Ethier returned and showed – in limited playing time – that he still has a steady batting eye, spot on timing, and home run power. And he can hit with power off lefty pitching.

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But Ethier doesn’t start. Josh Reddick, Mr. Smoke and Mirrors does. Reddick was awarded favorite son’s status upon arrival. I suppose that was based on his experience and  the numbers crunchers’ love of his past numbers. He’s put up a semi-decent BA with he Dodgers, but for the most part, Reddick gets his hits when the game isn’t on the line. He’s much more prone to hit a weak grounder with RISP than anything else.

Manager Roberts gave Reddick much more playing time over  Ethier and Yasiel Puig in the Nationals series. He got away with the gamble, but not without our witnessing Reddick coming up short on foul balls that Puig would have caught up to, and barely making catches that Ethier could have handled much easier, considering he patrolled right field in Chavez Ravine for a decade before Reddick came along.

We saw the Cubs continuously shut down Dodger rallies last night, reminding us defense in a playoffs-charged atmosphere cannot be under appreciated. Neither can clutch hitting.  Andrew Toles and Andre Ethier came up with big at bats to show they deserve to start and not ride the bench any longer.

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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37 thoughts on “How Dave Roberts Could Have Won Game 1 And Can Win All The Others

        1. I think it’s possible to swing hard and swing short at the same time. Pederson’s swing is long. Results are prone to be Ks and pop ups.

          1. Joc is getting better. I am just warring with MJ. Joc now rarely swings from the heels and MJ keeps saying that he does. He is hitting much better than most of the Dodgers since the beginning of September and pounding him every time he strikes out ignores what he is doing and ignores what other players are not doing.

          2. Bum
            Get it out of your system.

            I am not the only one that says anything, and I say something when Joc does well.

            Agone is the best RBI guy in baseball, in the last ten years.

            Corey is hitting at the top of the order, and he is only a rookie.

            He is pitch tougher then Joc.

    1. Bum
      I have said stuff about Grandal too.

      And just because someone strikes out, after having two strikes with runners are in scoring position, is no evidence that they were swinging from there heels.

      And non of those players, ever swing by there heels, because they already know, that they can hit the ball out, without doing that.

  1. It’s a series, kids!

    As far as Puig, I think he saw Bryant playing deep at 3b. Unfortunately, he got a high fastball at 103mph which he bunted in the air. If that ball had been down, perhaps it’s a bunt single and we have a huge run and he’s a hero. Oh well, good try i think

    1. Bobby
      You are never suppose to bunt anything but a strike, unless a play is on.

      And I think it would be easier for Puig make contact with his bat, on a good pitch, then bunt.

  2. Teams combined 5 for 56. Dodgers 3 for 27. 0 for 7 WRISP. And we win. The new Dodger way to play baseball. Looks like the old Dodgers circa 1963. I feel like I took some Ambien watching that one.

    1. Hey you did some serious editing. I think you were right the first time. These guys remind me of the 1965 Dodgers. Best position player was a shortstop. Little offense but they found a way to win, but it sometimes took a while. 1963 Dodgers had Tommy Davis, Frank Howard and other boppers.

      1. Boppers? .250 as a team, .307 OBP, .666 OPS. FAZ would’ve traded every one of them, including Tommy Davis who only walked 29 times. Those 60’s Dodgers won with pitching. They didn’t really hit as a team until the 70’s.

        1. Alright, I went and looked, the years have clouded the memories. But, 1963 Dodgers WERE boppers compared to the 1965 Dodgers.

          After looking, the era of NO hitting and very good pitching comes back to me. Wasn’t the mound a mini Mt. Whitney in those days?

          Fact remains, the 1965 Dodgers had to fight for everything they got, like this bunch, 1963 Dodgers dispatched the Yankees in a beautiful fashion. I would like it a lot if this bunch becomes the 1963 Dodgers!

          1. Yeah, there were rumors the mound was 20″, but I heard from a bartender that knew the groundskeepers that was b.s. Allegedly visiting managers would measure it all the time, and it measured legal. Dodger Stadium was a pitchers park, everyone knew that, a lot more foul area then, and the marine air. Pitchers loved pitching there. And we had a darn good staff back then. But the Dodgers of the 60’s were never what I would consider boppers. That came later with Garvey, Cey, Baker and Smith.

          2. And the fences were 10 feet deeper. Interesting about the mound. Bartenders can sometimes be the best source for the real poop! Or maybe not.

            Yeah, the seventies (and early eighties) Dodgers were my favorites. That infield, I liked Russell an awful lot, heads up ball player and of course Lopes. The Penguin had those unbelievable hot streaks. Some of those years were also the years I was able to be at Dodger Stadium the most, like 1974.

    1. Dodger patch

      Were you the one who said Rose said Cubs in four?

      Rose is just an old man, that things he is cool, and no one else thinks that.

      1. I don’t know, I think he is kind of cool.

        I will never forget after 1974 Dodgers lost to Oakland, he said “Dodgers were the better team”, kind of eased my pain a little bit. Dodgers and Reds were the two best teams in baseball in those days. Oh course, I hated him back then, but respected him.

        If he said Cubs in four, I will enjoy watching him eat his words.

        1. Boxout

          I never heard Rose say that.

          I did respect Bench because after the Reds lost a play off game, he went over and shook the other teams hands.

          I remember when Rose played in leftfield at Dodger stadium, and people use to throw stuff at him.

          I think for a while they didn’t sell beer in the pavilion, after a certain time in a game.

      2. I don’t think I repeated that here, but I heard or read that.

        The FS1 coverage, particularly the post game non-stop homage to Cubs and their glorious history is really becoming disgusting. It irks me when I feel like the media is manipulating popular culture. I get a sense that this is supposed to be the Cubs year, that it’s part of the script. It’s kind of like being spoon fed non stop stories about the Kardashians and told I’m supposed to care.

        1. It IS supposed to be the Cubs. I think it’s pretty clear the lovable Cubs are the national favorites. We’re the hated Dodgers, the West Coast Yankees. BEAT LA is part of our national anthem.

        2. Dodger patch

          Someone here wrote that if it wasn’t you.

          The media is so emessed in the Cubs to much.

          And then there is the added feature, that no one in the east coast media, wants the Dodgers to win ever.

          1. I don’t know what it is about sports media that makes it so East coast-centric. Even when the teams are mediocre, somehow it’s still, ” Yankees/Redsox…….oh yeah…and there’s some other teams, too. “

  3. Two comments:
    First, Toles should not be starting for LA. Can’t hit/can’t field.
    Second, is Honeycutt a coach or an observer? Obvious that pitchers are struggling, but no moves until damage has been done.
    Nice job!

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