The Dodger Bullpen Blows Another Winnable Game

Championship caliber teams have strong bullpens. If your team is leaking runs in the late innings then you’re not going to go anywhere in the standings. This explains the 2018 Dodgers, a good team cursed with a gaggle of lousy relievers. Once again the Dodger bullpen snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the boys in blue in the third game of the four game series against the Rockies on Saturday night in Denver. It’s a different loser every night coming in to blow leads in the latter innings. This time it was JT Chargois giving up a walk-off three-run home run to Colorado backup infielder Ryan McMahon with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers lost again 3-2.

It was a total shame because Walker Buehler pitched one heck of a game. The Dodger youngster tossed seven scoreless innings allowing just four hits, striking out six and walking three over 103 pitches. The Dodgers had a 2-0 lead when he left the game. Buehler induced three double plays during his outing. One was a fantastic acrobatic diving stop and shovel throw from Brian Dozier in the third inning that got the Dodgers out of a jam. Check it out below because it was worth seeing.

There was a scary moment when Buehler collided with Max Muncy on a grounder in the fifth inning. Somehow thankfully by the grace of god Buehler was not hurt on the play. He stayed in the game and seemed fine, but the collision looked bad. Note since Buehler made an adjustment in one of his bullpen sessions he’s been great. Over his last three starts Buehler had posted a 1.4 ERA.

Dodgers  2 6 1

Rockies    3 6 0

WP-Shaw-4-5

LP-Chargois-2-4

HR-Puig-15-McMahon-4

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Manny Machado reacts after striking out against Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland in the fifth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Dodgers scored one run in the first and another in the second against opposing starter Kyle Freeland. The Colorado left hander entered the game with the lowest ERA (2.18) for a Colorado pitcher in franchise history. The Dodgers scored in the first when Manny Machado doubled and Justin Turner’s triple over Charlie Blackmon’s head plated Machado for the first run. Yasiel Puig swatted a massive solo home run in the second inning that put the Dodgers ahead 2-0. That was Puig’s 100th career home run. Freeland settled down nicely and didn’t allow anything else for the rest of the game. Freeland pinched out ten Dodger batters over seven frames to earn a no-decision.

Notably absent from the Colorado lineup was Nolan Arenado, who is still battling a shoulder problem. He did however pinch-hit in the ninth inning. With Arenado out and the Dbacks losing in Cincinnati, the Dodgers looked to have an advantage. Caleb Ferguson pitched a scoreless eighth inning and I don’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to stay out for the ninth. But he probably would have blown it anyways.

Scott Alexander started the bottom of the ninth with a strikeout on Carlos Gonzalez. But Trevor Story doubled down the line and Dave Roberts came out with the hook. In comes the next bum, JT Chargois, who has mostly been unimpressive this year. He hits Arenado (off the bench as a pinch-hitter) with a pitch to put runners at first and second. It looked like the Dodgers possibly dodged a bullet as Brian Dozier made another fantastic play, a diving stop on Ian Demsond’s grounder up the middle to get a force out at second. With runners at first and third Chargois immediately served up a three-run home run to McMahon to blow the game. Yup, Dodgers lose.

With Kenley Jansen out indefinitely the entire Dodger bullpen is comprised of Castoffs and journeymen. You can blame Roberts all you want but he doesn’t have anybody in that awful bullpen to go to. Who’s he supposed to bring in? Rosscup? Vendiite? Baez? They all suck. The Dodgers are going to have to rebuild the entire bullpen from scratch and I don’t see how that can happen in the middle of August. Expect a lot more losing.

I’m as furious as you are right now. Memo to Dodger brass: Stop constantly searching for match-ups. Find someone reliable to pitch the ninth inning. Enough is enough. The Dodgers look to lose again on Sunday as the series and road trip wraps up. Rich Hill battles Chad Bettis at 12:10 PM PST in the series finale.

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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23 thoughts on “The Dodger Bullpen Blows Another Winnable Game

  1. I for one am not confident the FBZ can find the right person to help the bullpen. It may be a reliever version of Reddick/Granderson.

    More importantly, I think the searching for matchups problem is a much deeper problem when it comes to the offense.

    The lineup today was weak, in my opinion, and set us back from the get go.

  2. Chargois should only be used early in a game as he is not battle tested for closing out games. Chargois, Ferguson, Floro, for longer stints, Axford, who is better than his 1st game, and Alexander. Or, if there is no confidence with a closer, bring in a starter to finish. Roberts will almost always make the wrong choices in his pitchers. He really is not thinking clearly.

    The Muncy/Buehler crash was jaw dropping. WTF? Do these guys have their eyes opened? Muncy is becoming a defensive liability.

    Turner is turning up his game, but Machado and Dozier have been cruising. Kemp has become a shadow. Bellinger and Puig continue to hit the ball. Barnes has all but disappeared. 2 games in a row lost that we should have won. Can’t keep doing this and expect luck to help you out. Don’t expect any help from Roberts and FAZ/metrics.

  3. Jeff
    “Roberts is not thinking clearly”? What planet are you living on? Roberts is a dummy! How much proof do you need? He needs to be fired and the sooner the better. He has made more mistakes this year than most managers make in two years.

  4. It will remain the nail biting strategy of matchups with whatever arm is scheduled to pitch that day. Axford and Baez today.

    2 runs in in Colorado won’t often get you a win. 6 in two days is pathetic. If this blind squirrel offense doesn’t pick it up I don’t see the pitching carrying this club. We just do not look late year strong.

    Nobody in the West is playing all that well in the last 10 games. It appears to be three .500 teams slugging it out. I’m not crazy about this current Dodger team but I still like our chances. Playoffs? Gulp. I guess we’ll blow that bridge up when we cross it.

    The FAZ plan of all or nothing hitters and wounded wing pitchers can work… when it’s working. Obviously that blueprint has some potential weaknesses. Hang on. It will likely be a bumpy ride.

    1. Bad managing; lefty to bat in 9th, Ferguson should have opened the ninth pitching after a hitless 8th.
      Ridiculous moves.

  5. Like I already said, when we only score two runs in Colorado, you can’t count on winning that game, especially with the bullpen we have right now.

    But paying Forsythe was more important for this team, then getting a decent arm for the pen, even though we have five players on this team that can play second, and Forsythe didn’t do anything offensively, to help this team.

    Cody should have started this game, because he was the hottest hitter on this team, not Muncy.

    And to start Kike as much as they do is another problem, because he only had one decent month offensively.

    He hit 149 for the entire month of July, and he got a lot of at bats, in July.

    He doesn’t do the things that are needed, to get a run home from third with less then two outs.

    He doesn’t recognize he needs to go after the first good pitch he sees, and hit it out into the outfield.

    He either strikes out in these situations, or pulls the ball to third.

    I don’t think we can say any of these pitchers that were available yesterday, would have done the job.

    Because Alexander has walked more hitters then any of these pitchers, in the bullpen.

    Roberts needs to go with his best line up everyday, because if the Dodgers don’t win the West, they most likely won’t be going to the post season.

    1. MJ, although I agree with you that Roberts should put the best 9 out there everyday, we all here know that is a pipe dream and not happening. It is not the way this team management functions. What I would do to have Lasorda managing this bunch.

      1. The front office especially our GM,is more responsiby for these line ups, then any one person.

        Remember he is the guy that said the problem was, the team is not hitting enough HRs.

        I guess he doesn’t see, that most on this team don’t do much against good pitching, or a pitcher having a good game.

        Because when the pitching is sub par, they all hit solo HRs, and look like world beaters.

        Not all saber metric teams, do what the Dodgers do.

        And the A’s only do this, because they don’t have the resources the Dodgers have, yet our GM still manages the Dodgers, like the A’s.

  6. I figured this place would be blowing up today with what ifs and shoulda’s. Once again defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. By all accounts the Dodgers should be up 3-0 instead of down 1-2. Last years team would have put these guys away because even without Kenley they had guys coming out of the pen shooting bullets, not marshmallows. But look at the bullpen as it sits today. Floro, Alexander, Ferguson, Axford, Chargois, Venditte…….Not one of those guys was here last year. Axford and Alexander have closed before. Venditte has been closing at AAA some, the others, not so much. Baez, who I did not list, is a gas can all to himself. Outstanding fastball, but little movement. Almost a BP pitch. Why did Roberts use Chargois instead of Venditte? Venditte has proved he can pitch multiple innings and he can be either lefty or righty, so no need to switch pitchers with a righty coming up and then have Chargois pitch to a lefty with a lot of power. If the guy is on the roster, let him pitch. Muncy, who’s bat has been so good is a poor man’s version of Dr. Strangeglove. 13 errors now for Mad Max. Why was Cody not in there as a defensive replacement late in the game? Why in the wide wide world of sports, when the stats show he is incompetent in the 4 hole is Kike hitting cleanup? Dave has the stats, is he frippen blind? Kemp has obviously lost some of his mojo. But I trust Matt because he is a total pro. He will figure it out, I just hope he does it soon. The offense is sputtering. It took them 7 innings to get it going on Thursday, they stalled when they had the lead on Friday and last night they could not get it going after getting up by 2. Other than Turner, the middle of the order was ineffective. The bottom of the order, save Puig’s blast, was not much better. A more pertinent question, is when are the Dodgers going to get the real Manny Machado. So far, other than stellar defense, his bat is sadly lacking. 2 homers and 5 ribbies in 22 games. A .276 BA. That is not what the Dodgers traded for. They traded for a difference maker and he quite frankly has not been that. Is he pressing? It sure looks like it. 28 K’s in 22 games, and he only had 51 in 96 games in Baltimore. He does not walk much, so that K rate is alarming. Learning the pitchers is one thing. Flailing at pitches so far out of the zone is another. But he is still better than Josh Reddick was. What is the answer? Well, more consistency from the offense. Getting the guys back who have tight game late game experience is there also, Fields, Hudson, Jansen. But they cannot wait too long. I see a waiver trade coming maybe in the next 10 days. If some team can get a reliever through waivers that might make a difference, FAZ might jump. Other teams are loading up, especially the Brewers. They just got Bour from Miami and Rodney. Bonds will have his jersey retired by the Giants, who also are holding high level meetings to map their future.

  7. One other pertinent question. Anyone out there still believe these guys are genius’s ??? I for one am not drinking their swill.

  8. One more pertinent question. Anyone out there still think these guys are genius’s ?? I for one am not drinking their swill.

    1. I never thought they were geniuses. Friedman had a record to view and the first several moves were very Tampa like. Zitti was pasta from Oakland. The two together had potential. Results? Mixed. Hey, we are in first place and did go to the World Series, which feels like a long time ago.

      I have seen all of Baez’ pitches and I know for a fact he has two seamers that move. The problem is, the move from the corners to the middle instead of the other way around. He needs to start those pitches as middle strikes, and he has trouble doing that. Check his splits – they are off the charts weird. The #2 hitter in the order has a 1.376 OPS, the #5 hitter .541. His 7th inning OPS against is 1.446, his 8th inning .671. And this is even weirder – his 4th inning OPS against is .497. So, the computer says in a week or so….. throw Ferguson/Ryu/Urias for 3, then Baez for 2, then go to the pen to finish. And, my algorithms still say a 6 man rotation for the next month (should have started it) then tighten it down the last 2 weeks going into the playoffs. Oh, and leaving Buehler in for 100 pitches is, in my opinion, asinine. But, what do I know, I predicted Kiké would come through last night.

      1. Badger

        With Baez it is mental, because he mostly does these things, in high leverage situations.

        And he doesn’t always throw the pitch that is called, because he reverts back to his fastball, any time he is having trouble.

        Why do you think Roberts has went out to Baez more then a few times, to give him confidence?

        I bet that Rockies rookie is higher then a kite, right now.

      2. I pretty much knew you did not think that way Badger. But there have been some on here who heartily drink the FAZAID> Not me that’s for sure. They still make moves like they are the A’s or Rays.

  9. It may be we don’t have anyone who can do what Jansen does. Big shoes.

    And it’s worth noting that there are no other teams out there that have won their Division 5 straight. Every team but the Dodgers has gone through some kind of reboot phase. Maybe it’s time?

    Where’s Bluto?

    1. Punching Popeye? 5 straight divisions. Yep, that’s there claim to glory. One trip to the series that ended in defeat. So far they are emulating the Braves more than the Yankees. All those titles and only 1 series win. Me, I would have rather seen one world series win sprinkled in than all those division titles.

        1. Yep, and Grandal OLES another pitch in the dirt and walla, 1 run down. Oh, Kasten had a better rotation. Ryu back this week. Maeda and Stripling to BP per reports.

          1. Just watched the dbacks pound the Reds with 5 Home runs.

            Grandal can be counted on for a few gaffes per game.

          2. Bring up Farmer…I am so sick of Grandal’s lead glove…Farmer has to be better than he is. Trade the bum..oh…yeah./….too late for that…

  10. What Matt Kemp just did, is what Kike doesn’t do, in these situations.

    Kike doesn’t hit the first good pitch he gets, with a runner on third.

    Instead he gets in to a deep count, and because of that, he can’t t hit a pitch out into the outfield, or even hit a pitch to the right side, of the infield.

    And a hitter can’t miss these chances with a runner on third, with less then two outs.

    This game just shows that Roberts should have started Turner, in the first place.

    1. Same players everyday. Same lineup every day. So simple and players function better that way. Why is it so impossible for the FAZ/Roberts idiots to understand?

      1. Jonah

        They have to go with the best line ups with the way the race in the West, is going.

        I understand players need days off, but there seems to be more days off on this team, then most teams.

        Turner might be having some soreness still in his wrist, and I understand that, but there was no need to put Muncy at first.

        Roberts should have probably started Joc, but there seems to be something with Joc.

        Because we will be facing three or four leftie starters, in the next few games.

        And I read a post from a guy that was in Colorado watching the first three games, and he said that Joc was very disappointing for him, because Joc wasn’t hustling down to first, in any of those games.

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