Dodger Bullpen Blows Vin Scully’s Final Opening Day

Kike Hernandez

“It’s still early”

“The guys need time to gel”

“Give them some time, they’ll figure it out”

“Spending money on relief pitchers is stupid”

“The Dodgers have to cut payroll”

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“It’s Dave Robert’s fault”

“These guys have loads of potential”

“They’re good pitchers, they’re just struggling right now”

“Games in April aren’t as important as games in September”

“It’s Andrew Friedman’s fault”

 

Ok maybe the last excuse probably has the most truth to it. These are the excuses you are likely to constantly hear uttered as the Dodgers continue to lose baseball games. You will probably hear all of those excuses at least once this season. The apologists love the mentioned excuses above.

The Dodgers returned home to kick off their 2016 home schedule on Tuesday afternoon. They opened a three game series against the Dbacks with yet another blown lead in the late innings. Once again the Dodger bullpen could not hold a lead, and Paul Goldschmidt continued to torture them. The Dodger killer hit his 22nd home run against the boys in blue and drove in two. The Dbacks got another home run from light hitting Nick Ahmed, and an RBI triple from youngster Socrates Brito. The Dodger bullpen gave up all four runs off four hits and only struck out two batters in a 4-2 opening day loss to the Snakes.

Dbacks   4 9 0

Dodgers 2 9 0

WP-Clippard-2-0

LP-Hatcher-1-1

SV-Ziegler-1

HR-Goldschmidt-3-Ahmed-2

There was little chance that the bullpen was going to hold a measly one-run lead. That was instantly blown within minutes. What a terrible way to end Vin Scully’s last opening day, with a pathetic loss. Before the game the Dodgers honored Vin Scully by having a bunch of the all-time Dodger greats autograph a baseball and hand it to him at home plate. It was a touching moment. Then we listened as Vin Scully called his final opening day game at Dodger Stadium. What a shame.

The Dodgers normally play very well on opening day. Before this afternoon they had only lost once on opening day since 2008. The Dodgers activated Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal before the game. Grandal did not play, but Kendrick started at second base and batted fifth. Eventually he was moved into left field during the later innings. Why the Dodgers want to play him there when he’s had a history of hamstring injuries is beyond me. It seems like a bad idea.

Anyways, the Dodgers gave the ball to Japanese import Kenta Maeda. He countered Arizona left hander Patrick Corbin. Both hurlers pitched well, and for the first six innings the game was a tight low scoring pitcher’s duel. The Dodgers had the edge 1-0.

You can’t blame the loss on Maeda, who pitched very well. Maeda threw six shutout innings, allowing just five hits and one walk. He struck out 4, and made 95 pitches. Corbin pitched just as well as Maeda. The left hander tossed six innings of one-run ball allowing six hits and striking out one. Neither hurler was involved in the decision.

Once again it was Paul Goldschmidt and the Dodger bullpen that became their undoing. Pedro Baez, Chris Hatcher, and Louis Coleman all allowed runs. Hatcher was charged with the loss and Baez a blown save. The offense didn’t do the club any favors either. The Dodgers were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

Maeda was a big positive in the game for the Dodgers. He pitched very well again. The Japanese import had to work out of a second and third jam in the second inning, which he did without issue. In that frame Wellington Castillo singled, and Jake Lamb doubled him to third. Then Maeda whiffed Yasmany Tomas for the first out. Corbin and Nick Ahmed both followed with ground outs to end the inning and keep Arizona off the board.

The Dodgers scored first in the top of the second inning. Kendrick singled to right, and Trayce Thompson’s infield single sent Kendrick to second. After Corey Seager lined out, A.J. Ellis laid down a perfect squeeze bunt (scoring Kendrick) to score the first run for the Dodgers. We saw him do this during spring training. It’s obviously something A.J. worked on a lot.

With the Dodgers leading 1-0, Arizona threatened to score in the top of the sixth. However the Dodger’s made a great defensive play to throw out Castillo at the plate. Castillo had singled and was trying to score on a Jake Lamb double to right field. Yasiel Puig’s relay throw to Justin Turner was perfect. Turner threw to A.J. and the Dodgers had Castillo nailed at the plate.

Then the Dodger bullpen ruined everything as usual. Baez was called in to relieve Maeda in the top of the seventh with the Dodgers still up 1-0. He got Tomas to pop out for the first out. He struck out pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin for the second out. It looked like everything was going to be ok. Not with the Dodger bullpen it won’t. Nick Ahmed then slugged a home run just over the low left field wall to tie the game. Ahmed had hit just ten career MLB home runs and has a .225 batting average. It’s unbelievably pathetic.

Move to the top of the eighth. With the game tied at 1-1, the Dodgers brought in Chris Hatcher. Just like Baez he starts off the inning well by inducing Socrates Brito to ground out. Then Paul Goldschmidt crushes a home run into the pavilions to give the Snakes a 2-1 lead. After a David Peralta line out, Castillo doubles to left. Lamb is intentionally walked, and then Hatcher walks Tomas to load the bases.

In similar fashion to Don Mattingly, Dave Roberts makes a bases loaded pitching change. In comes Louis Coleman to retire Rickie Weeks for the final out of the inning. Coleman would remain in the game to give up more runs. Ahmed is hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth. Brito triples him in to give the Dbacks a 3-1 lead. Goldschmidt’s ground out scores Brito for the fourth run of the game for Arizona.

The Dodgers mounted a short rally off of Brad Ziegler in the bottom of the ninth. Of course it was too little too late. Sound familiar? Seager doubled and moved to third on a Joc Pederson ground out. Yasmani Grandal’s first plate appearance was as a pinch-hitter. He grounded out which scored Seager to cut the lead to 4-2. That was it. Kike whiffs for the final out, and the Dodgers lose again.

The bullpen is seriously killing the team. There is no way to sugarcoat this. You guys know I don’t mince words over here. The bullpen is awful. There is not a chance that these guys are just going to magically find themselves. The Dodgers are going to have to make some moves. You can’t win without a bullpen

The series continues with game 2 on Wednesday evening. Former Dodger farmhand Rubby De La Rosa will take on Alex Wood at 7:10 PM. Beating up on De La Rosa is always fun. That’s just what the Dodgers need to pick their spirits up.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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39 thoughts on “Dodger Bullpen Blows Vin Scully’s Final Opening Day

  1. Yup, I expect to see more games like this. Another bullpen implosion, 2 runs and 0-8 RISP…it kind of reminds me of……well, LAST YEAR…..

  2. Goldie is hitting .363 in his career at Dodger Stadium. The only way to pitch him is to walk him and try to pick him off first. As for your comments on our bullpen, I second that emotion. It’s like a flashback to 2013.

  3. Yes, Goldy does hurt the Dodgers. You cannot let Goldy beat you. Walk him if you need to. It looks to me like Hatcher wants out. Those are strong words to say about a pro baseball player. Hatcher throws three balls. I thought Hatcher was just being carefull with Goldy. That was good. Then comes the fourth pitch. The pitch is in the middle of the plate waist high. It was a batting pratice fastball. What Hatcher did defies common sense. The team must of talked about being careful with Goldy. Right now I would send Baez and Hatcher back to the minors. Tell Baez he needs a fast ball that moves. Tell Hatcher he needs to command his pitches. You cannot be pitching 3-0 or 3-1 all the time. A message needs to be sent that this is not acceptible. Every loss has come from the bull pen.

  4. Good write up Scott. You painted the picture that FAZ sees. Whatever actions FAZ takes, it will have been vetted with his 6 former GM team. I don’t think there will be any knee jerk moves like the DeShields for Pedro trade. They will be patient and weave in their current assets before making a trade that cost them too much. Too much of course is in the eye of the beholder.

    They again had trouble scoring off a lefty. Platoons only seem to work against rightys. Turner hasn’t got it going yet and last year he was better against rightys anyway.

  5. Runners in scoring position. Been a problem for this bunch. But this lineup lacks at least one solid hitter. We all know the story. In the end — all positions are spoken for except for left field where they tried Crawford and he is toast. Maybe he does have a few hits left — but he is not a batting force any longer. SVS always gets hurt, always. Cannot count on him as a full time player. The rest are just fill in players they put out there . . . or rookies trying to learn mlb.

    Fix this. And when a real player becomes available — F&Z gets some reject.

    This is not negative —- this is reality of a poor team that is only .500. Get used to it.

    1. I don’t expect Crawford to return. For now, I think Hernandez, Thompson, and Kendrick could be the left field team until one of them separates themselves, good or bad.

      I would like to have more of a set lineup. I can see where a side arming lefty like Bumgarner might be reason to put Thompson in CF but otherwise, let Joc start at CF 90% of the games.

      I would also like to see Utley start 70% of the games at second until he fades if he does. Kendrick would become more of the utility player until traded, filling in at LF, 3B, and 2B. He would play just enough to keep him sharp. I guess that means that Hernandez and Thompson fight it out for LF for now with Hernandez getting the starts against leftys and his share against rightys.

      I would send Barnes back to AZ for 10 days to get his swing back.

      1. Bum why do we need Barnes on the big club? Two catchers are enough, and him playing second base, might be a good thing, for a team, that doesn’t have three second baseman, but the Dodgers don’t need another second baseman. He is only a phone call away, if one of the catchers get hurt. Really it would be better, to keep Culberson, on the big team. He plays shortstop, and all the infield, and some outfield. And actually has hit better then Barnes.

        1. MJ, I think I bought in to Kike’ and Utley sharing second base this year and while I originally thought it would be a good idea for Barnes to come up with Urias and De Leon, I now seem to prefer him with the Dodgers. The one caveat is that I think Barnes needs 10 days in AZ to get his swing back. He is a contact hitter with some pop and he is now more pop and less contact.

          Kendrick is a nice asset to have but let’s trade him.

  6. Paul Goldschmidt what a hitter! Dodger killer is correct.

    Question: which relief pitcher of ours has thrown the most pitches so far? I would guess Hatcher. Anyone?

  7. One of the stupidest quotes I’ve ever read is “The games in April aren’t as important as the games in September/October.” Of course they are. There is a magic number, whatever it will be, to clinch the division. If that number is 92 or 94 who knows? But whatever it is that number will be easier to attain by winning in April. It’s simple math, at least it is to me!!

  8. If you don’t throw 8, a loss is your fate.

    I’m still questioning why it is these pen guys have the same problem they had last year. Same guys, same problem. What exactly is Maddux here for if not to impart wisdom and teach secondary out pitches? 3-0 to Goldschmidt and you throw one right down the middle? Are you really that stupid or did you mean to catch a corner and just missed? Either way you are not a late inning reliever that can be trusted. And here’s something else, you did the exact same stupid sh*t last year.

    What we have seen from these guys, many of whom FAZ traded for, could be the reason why other teams were willing to get rid of them. It could be they are all blockheads. It’s that or Honeycutt Maddux is just not getting through to them. Whatever it is, it must be fixed. I’d rather see 93 on the corners at the knees than 98 down the pipe. And here’s something else from the it ain’t rocket science department – if all you have is down the middle control, throw the ball with a two seam grip, and move your thumb under the ball. This will create spin that will move the ball away from center cut. It’s freshman physics children.

    We need some wins. When do we play the Padres again?

  9. Bumsrap, I agree with you. Let the rookie Thompson play left field. He got two hits yesterday. Kiki also got two hits. When he struggles, give him a rest. Let Utley play until he gets tired or starts to falter. Let Pederson play. Go with a set line up. Get your 8 best ball players out there and let them go. Stop this BS of changing line ups.

    1. I agree with that.

      Let the young players play. You brought them here for a reason. Let’s see what they can do. If nothing else, they gain valuable experience. Also, they may be the only ones here that can play everyday without getting hurt. Personally, I think Utley is a scroinge waiting to happen. Use him wisely so he can get 300 high quality at bats. Let Kiké get needed experience against RHP. If the goal was get get younger and more athletic, let’s see the plan in action.

  10. Thank God I won’t be able to see tonight’s bullpen meltdown. Oh wait, Alex Wood starts, so the melt down will start in the 4th instead of the 7th

    I’ll be at Staples Ctr tonight to say thank you to Kobe. Anyone going? Let’s grab a drink!

    1. Good for you Bobby. I saw a piece on ESPN about ticket prices for this game. I won’t ask, but good on ya for getting in on it. Wish I could join you. It’s on tv, so I’ll be in my recliner with eyes on. Maybe once Kobe is gone the team can turn the page. It’s been painful watching this mess.

  11. Hector Olivera arrested in Washington DC on assault charges…
    Damn it didn’t him long to screw up… Woman had bruises and maybe an eye on that $62M contract…

  12. Badger, you’re right on with Lakers… Being a long time fan, it’s been painful… Some good young talent + an xlnt. Draft + Luring a top FA = possible success down the road a piece…

    1. FAZ seems like Einstein compared to Buss Jr. Kobe’s last 2 year contract was dumb and the trade for Steve Nash that they still owe for–Traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Lakers for a 2013 1st round draft pick, a 2013 2nd round draft pick, a 2014 2nd round draft pick and a 2015 1st round draft pick,

      1. There was a good article in ESPN Magazine back in Feb. about Kobe’s farewell tour and it seems the Lakers’ cable contract with TWC (aka The Devil) is partly based on their ratings not falling below a certain level. No Kobe, no ratings, no butts in seats. It’s all about the money. And the more games they lose, the better the chance of keeping the first-round pick.

        Not that we trust Dumb and Dumber not to screw that up again.

    1. Yep. Slow start for those guys. But they have a history.

      And actually so does Hatcher. He’s no kid. He’s 31. He has a 4.5 career ERA. And if we are willing to settle for this kind od production out of our open, then we can expect more of the same.

    2. Bum the problem is that this bullpen, have not only had a problem for eight games, they have had, an on going problem for four years. And I know the front office, has only been here two years. But the front office knew when Greinke left, that they needed to have a stronger bullpen, and make games, shorter for the starting pitchers they brought here, to help with Greinke leaving.

      And for the pitchers, that they are counting on, in the Starting rotation, like Wood, and Anderson, at that time. The front office tried to bring Chapman to the Dodgers, but when they decided against bringing Chapman, they failed to bring another good arm, to the bullpen, let alone, another closer, like Chapman.

      And even a good set up guy, probably would do the job, but they choose only, to bring Blanton to the Dodgers. And I do not see Blanton, as a decent arm for the bullpen, and he is certainally not comparble to Chapman.

      And if you believe like this front office does, that relief pitchers, can’t be counted on, from year to year. And Blanton, has already had his one good year, in the bullpen, then why did this front office, bring Blanton to the Dodgers? This is probably not going to be Blanton’s year. All of the games, that the Dodgers have lost, is all on this front office, and no one else!

      Once the Chapman deal went south, they should have found a good pitcher, for the bullpen, and that should have been, a top set up guy, not Blanton. They saved money not signing Greinke, and not replacing Greinke, with a top free agent pitcher. But they couldn’t find a good relief pitcher, either with the money they saved, or even though a trade, or did they try much at all?

      I think the problem, is they didn’t try to hard, and the signing of Blanton, sure makes my point. They didn’t give Roberts another ace, to replace Greinke, but they sure should have given Roberts, a much better arm, or a set up man, for the bullpen.

      They didn’t want to invest much, in the starting pitching, but where is that strong bullpen, to make the games shorter, for all of the starting pitchers, they signed, that can’t pitch deep into games?

  13. I can’t believe that they have given the 8th inning to Hatcher, according to Manager Rose Colored. What did he do to deserve that position? Was it by default? Most of these failures followed our suits from Florida. Our front office falls in love with certain guys, mostly based on hope. Hatcher is one. He is keeping that 8th inning position. Check out the KC box score and you will see a playoff bullpen in action. Nothing but 0’s for 3 innings against the Astros. We are quickly slipping into a Mattingly pattern…..without Grienke. All this stuff about Vin Scully merely takes everyone’s mind off how much this team stinks.

    1. Bobby 17 we don’t have to look at the Royal’s box scores, the Dbacks relief, didn’t give up a single run, until the game was over.

  14. They’re using Vin as the Dodgers’ Kobe. Last year it was “Win for Vin” but that seems to have given way to crass exploitation.

  15. What an expose’ Vinnie could write on the Dodger ownership, management and players, past and present. Of course he’s too much a gentleman to do it.

  16. I find myself somewhere between the extremes. There is no denying that the bullpen has been horrendous thus far, but I also understand that 8 games does not a season make. But it just is not the 8 games. The bullpen was not good in ST, nor were they consistently good in 2015. Did they have their moments in 2015? Of course. Hatcher was a different pitcher at the end than the one that started. Neither Garcia nor Baez could be counted on to consistently shut down the opposition. But there were games that made you think that maybe the light finally went on. This is a bullpen full of Don Stanhouse’s (full pack), Brandon League’s, or George Sherrill’s; all band-aids that did not always stop the bleeding. Is consistency 100%? No, but it is more than 50%.

    I understand Roberts saying that it is too early to make changes. What is he supposed to say? He may have input, but he is not going to make the personnel decisions to/from the 25 man roster. I also understand his contention that you need time to give the relievers confidence, but what about the confidence of the other 18 teammates? What about the confidence of Stripling and Maeda? I can see Kershaw walking up to both, putting his arm around them, and telling them to get used to it….you did your job.

    Okay 8 games is too early. Is it 20 games? 25 games? 25% of the season? As good as Urias may be, when he does come (and he will) he is not going to be the second coming. He will still be a 19-20 year old with tons of potential. Zach Lee pitched well again yesterday; 6 IP/9 Hits (8 singles – 1 double)/2 runs (5th inning)/1 BB and 6K, after 6 IP of shutout baseball on opening day. Both Jharel Cotton and Chris Anderson pitch tonight. What if they both pitch well again? Adam Liberatore has pitched in 3 games/4.0 IP/no hits/no runs/2 BB and 8K/1 Hold and 1 Save. Jacob Rhame 3 games/3.0 IP/no hits/no runs/3 BB and 3K/2 holds. Luis Avilan 2 games/2.1 IP/no hits/no runs/2BB and 3K. Sam LeCure and Ian Thomas combined to pitch 7 IP with no hits or runs. LeCure no BB or K, and Thomas 1BB and 3K. Carlos Frias has not yet pitched, and I do not know when Bolsinger is due to return. C. Anderson, Rhame, and LeCure are not on the 40 man, so them getting called up is going to be a while longer.

    There are not going to be wholesale changes (and I do not advocate any), but can’t FAZ just tweak it a little? Perhaps it is time for Hatcher to have another one of those oblique injuries (he has no options remaining). Baez has 2 options and Garcia has 1 option. Howell and Blanton are not going anywhere… yet. Coleman can be released, but he pitched well enough in ST (while others did not) to at least get a few more opportunities. So why not option Baez or Garcia and bring up Liberatore. It may not work, but at least it tells the team (and fans) that we have recognized a weakness and we will try to do something to turn it around. It also sends a message. Adam certainly cannot do worse than Garcia/Hatcher/Baez.

    1. AC Libertore pitched good at the begining last year, and his era was only where it was, because Mattingly pitched him against almost as many righties, as against leftys.

      1. MJ, you are right. He was great thru May. His 1st three games in June were his undoing. If Garcia and Baez keep getting chances, why not Liberatore?

        1. AC I think it is that they don’t think Libertore has as good stuff, as Garcia and Baez. But even if Libertore doesn’t have as good of stuff, that means he has to pitch better, instead of just throw, like the other two. And Hatcher began that inning yesterday, so it really isn’t that.

  17. All of this is too bad, because Roberts is doing good with this team. I just hope they don’t under estimate the Dbacks pitcher, that is pitching tonight. Just because they always seem to hit him, doesn’t mean he can’t pitch a tough game. And I hope our number three hitter, starts having some better at bats, because we need him.

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