Dodgers Lose Battle of First Place Teams – Drop Game & Series

After last night’s extra innings marathon, things figured to come down to which team drank the most coffee for breakfast. Both teams scored early, so it seems the caffeine was flowing in both clubhouses. The Dodgers scored an unearned run off JAke Arrieta, and Dodgers starter, Walker Buehler, gave up a solo HR to Rhys Hoskins, to open the first inning.
Once the teams settled in and the coffee equalized, both offenses shut down – or were shut down by good pitching – depending on whether you’re a glass is half full or half empty type of person.
Both Arrieta and Buehler held their opponents scoreless and relatively hitless for the rest of the first half. Buehler sat ten Phillies in a row at one point. The biggest excitement of the game came from another unfortunate mishap for the home plate umpire. A pitched ball deflected off the heel of the Phillies’ catcher’s mitt and hit the umpire around the throat area. It was a scary moment as the ump straddled on all fours trying to catch his breath. He was eventually alright.
Things got further exciting for Phillies fans when Scott Kingery mashed a solo home run  to break the tie in the bottom of the fifth. Buehler continued to fall down the rabbit hole as he gave up a single and an RBI double. The Phillies went up 3-1, and Walker was sent to a day off.
Scott Alexander came in next, but he turned out to be much worse. He loaded the bases and gave up a base-clearing double. When the inning was over, the Phillies led 6-1.
In the top of the sixth, Max Muncy tried to get the Dodgers back into the game with a two-run HR that brought home Joc Pederson. It was 6-3.
The Dodgers threatened to tie the game in the eighth with two on, two out and Alex Verdugo up, but Verdugo’s long fly ball died at the wall, and with it, the rest of the game. The Dodgers lost the possible playoff match up two games to one, and they did it looking like a team that can’t hold a lead.
The Dodgers next opponent will be the Atlanta Braves. More fun ahead.

 

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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58 thoughts on “Dodgers Lose Battle of First Place Teams – Drop Game & Series

  1. 3-3 in the first 6 games of a 10 game road trip. They could easily be 5-1. They always seem to lose when they should win. Today they had no shot. Yesterday they blew numerous chances. Philly is a good team. They beat a Dodger team that is mostly dysfunctional.

    1. The Phillies played ugly baseball, Michael, and yet they won. We should have swept this series but we have been managed poorly. Roberts is losing us games by poor decision making. Sure, the players hold responsibility too but Roberts has a hard time managing the pitching and substitution patterns of the batters. There is a space between analytics and gut. There has to be a balance and I don’t see this in this man. It made me think that the signing of Manny may not be in Manny’s own best interest. The Dodger problems will become Manny’s problems if he stays. If the Dodgers don’t stabilize soon, why should he consider signing with this team? I’m sure he wants to win and the Dodgers are finding ways to lose. We’ll see how this plays out this season, but the signs are already there. He is already in a slump, joining the mediocrity that this team puts out consistently. Why do teams like Houston roll easily like a snowball down a hill?

      1. Yep, they did and they still managed to win. That’s what championship teams are able to do, win when they are not at their best. The Dodgers bludgeoned teams last year. This year they are hitting homers, but most are solo shots. They miss Turner, no matter that Machado is in the lineup. Roberts has him hitting 2nd to get him more AB’s and RBI opportunities. I get that, but he is still unfamiliar with the pitchers and an adjustment period is expected. They still strike out too much. Cody is in another down slide and not hitting the ball with any authority in the last few weeks. The bullpen, although they have been good, is drastically overworked because most of the starters barely make it through the 6th inning. I have been watching this team and this game well over 60 years, and this is NOT a championship caliber team. Oh, they might win the division again, but it will not be easy because AZ and the Rocks are not going to just roll over and play dead. Neither are the Cubs or Phillies going to sit on their hands at the deadline. Moves are coming. Az already traded for a reliever. Although the 16 inning loss can be blamed on DR for using Kike, it is more on the hitters for not even smelling a run for 10 innings while their bullpen pitched their ass off. They are not clutch. Their best hitter with runners in scoring position got one at bat…..

  2. Your right Michael, always looking to hit the ball out, doesn’t get most hitters much, except a few solo HRs, every once in a while.

    Because hitters like this, don’t adjust to different situations in games, like when runners are in scoring position.

    The Dodgers will win when their line up hits enough HRs, but if that doesn’t happen, their games will be tight, and games like that, can go anyway.

  3. 98 solo homers. This team is not clutch. The big thing to me is that they are not fun to watch. The futility with men on base night after night is draining. Last year they were fun to watch. I do not like this brand of baseball.

      1. Yeah, and the next pope might be Jewish. Not much chance of that. FAZ baseball is flawed. All you needed to see to prove my point was Grandal’s last 4 at bats in the 16 inning debacle. 2 HR’s and a single, then 4 straight K’s, the last 2 with runners in scoring position.

        1. 3 for 7, OPS over 1.500. He’s Squirrel. That what Squirrel do.

          It can be frustrating to watch. I get that. And I agree this doesn’t look like a championship team. But it could be. Maybe we get hot in September. We can beat anybody when we’re hot. We’ll get good again. Maybe not over the next two weeks, but it will
          happen.

          1. Grandal in his career is hitting .205 with the bases loaded. That is pitiful. He is not the lone culprit on this team. Kike is hitting .320 in those situations.

        2. I agree with Michael, but I think the problem is somewhat vaster. I’ve watched the Yanks and the Red Sox quite a bit. It’s all 3-true outcome ball.

          And I agree about Grandal, I posted early in the game about how infuriating his swing (pun) from great to below average is.

          1. Red Sox are hitting .270 as a team, leading the Majors in hits. They lead in doubles too, not surprising with that short wall out there. The Cubs and Cincinnati lead MLB in walks. Dodgers are third, Yankees 5th. Boston way down the list.

      2. Badger

        Most of those players could do the things the team offense needs to do, to make the team’s offense more productive.

        Even weak hitting shortstops, and weak hitting utility players, use to get the things done, to help the team be more productive on offense.

        These things are not hard to do, and not every team in baseball, only use HRs for offense, like some like to say.

        I have seen both the Cubs and Astros use small ball, to make their offense more productive.

        At least it has been nice to have Nomar in the broadcast booth lately.

        Because he mentions this stuff, and says what is exactly on his mind.

        Orel is to much of a homer, and a cheerleader, for certain players on this team.

        And his and Joe’s bromance, is not that appealing, because they end up sounding just alike, and that gets old.

        1. Orel is just horrible to listen to. He gets lost in his own head with meaningless information. Joe and Nomar are much better, but they have this mediocre banter that is annoying like Badger said. Joe is a good announcer but we need a color man with some personality as well as insight. This is why I’ve always liked the Giants guys, Krukow and Kuiper. They talk like they are on your couch listening to the game along with you with a lot of humor thrown in.

          1. I agree about Kruk and Kuip. I think they are the best I’ve heard. Brenly is very good. Joe is ok, better without Orel. Still say Sutton’s kid should have been the hire.

          2. Badger

            Thanks for pointing that out, about the Red Sox’s!

            I don’t know about this year, but the Red Sox have had one of the best offenses in baseball, the last couple years.

            The Yankees offense doesn’t surprise me at all, because they have two of the best sluggers in all of baseball, and they have a lot of young players, on that team.

            And I assume the Astros and the Red Sox numbers, with runners in scoring position, is better then the Dodgers too.

            Because the Dodgers numbers with runners in scoring position has been low, for quite a while, as well, as team batting average.

            And Bluto May be right that most teams in baseball use HRs for their offense, but not every team in baseball does that.

            And the smart teams know, it is better to have more then just one way to score, especially when pitching is dominating the game, like it is!

            And pitchers will give up solo HRs to our squirrels, but pitchers are much different when runners are on base, and that is why this team, has way more solo HRs, then HRs when runners are on base!

          3. Jeff

            Orel is just terrible.

            And it seems like he didn’t learn a thing from Vinny.

            He is not only a homer, he doesn’t stop talking through out the whole broadcast, and he is a homer for certain players, too.

            I think it is hard for Nomar to team with Joe, because he doesn’t do it that often, and Joe doesn’t sprout the truth about the team, like Nomar does.

          4. Jeff
            I agree with you on the Giant broadcasters but I really don’t like Joe. He is too vanilla for me and sounds like he wants to be a Joe Buck clone, and I cannot stand Joe Buck. Orel was a good pitcher but his color is really bias and I do not like being hit with a bill of goods in his opinion. I would much rather hear the radio guys even though they leave a lot to be desired. Guess I just miss Vinny.

      1. Package

        I saw some posts on Dodger com, that sounded just like you, when it comes to Roberts, so you are not the only one.

        I just believe the front office is more responsible, because they are the ones making up the team, and they do work with both Roberts and his bench coach all the time, about most of the things, you don’t like.

        And the HR offense, comes from our GM, not from Roberts, but our GM is Roberts boss, so Roberts naturally is going to think about the front office’s preferences, when he makes moves.

        But it is going to be hard for this team to score, if they make the play offs, because not to many good pitchers, or pitchers having a great day, will give up all of these HRs.

        And the main reason we have so many solo HRs, is because pitchers pitch much tougher, when runners are on base, and especially when runners are in scoring position.

        This team has good offensive numbers, except when it comes to getting hits, when runners are in scoring position, and with team batting average.

        I think those two offensive numbers, are inter related, with each other.

        1. MJ
          If the FO is truly responsible for the lineups and pitching changes then we just need an errand boy. I think on the lineups, FAZ gives Dummy a set of possible lineups and he chooses. On pitching changes, I think Dummy calls it. I know this could be wrong but that is my opinion. As far as HRs go, I think they have a goal of how to hit a baseball and they ask hitters to abide by it. Just and opinion.

          1. Package

            It is a mutual thing, between Roberts, his bench coach, and the front office.

            I agree the approach some of these players have, comes straight from our front office, especially our GM.

  4. In the NL we are 3rd in runs scored and 2nd in OPS. We are 1st in team ERA and 9th in fldg %. If you include the AL we obviously are further down the list. I wonder where we might be if so many of our important pieces weren’t made of glass. Oh well, finding and recruiting the infirmed is part of the FAZ playbook. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

    Adding Machado really bumped our WS chances. SB Nation has us NL favorites, Vegas Insider has equal with Chicago, 538 still has the Cubs slightly favored over us. Money still believe in us. But, what does Money know?

    1. I like this team over the Cubs, not sure or confident about against the East.

      That said, teams rarely, rarely go b2b to the WS

      1. Cubs and Dodgers rate very even. I think it will come down to pitching. If our team is healthy down the stretch we can beat anybody, depending on if the squirrels hit. Playoffs are always a roll of the dice. I see 3 teams in the AL that are clearly better than us. Who knows where everyone will be in October, but, I’m not all that confident at this point in the season. We’re a good team, not a great team.

    2. Vegas knows we can do it, then there is the team itself. Like in the Phillies series. We were favorites, but we didn’t deliver. The numbers show what is present but they don’t show the future. Slumps have hurt the Dodger teams the last 4 years. They have not broken out of this trend and this is what keeps them back from their potential. Personally, I don’t know what to say or do. Everything is covered by the posters on this board. Nothing slips by unnoticed. Adding Manny has done very little, so far. I was expecting a much greater boost, but Manny has fallen into the team malaise. Is it contagious?

  5. Frustrating series overall. This series is on Roberts. With so many arms coming back he should have gone for it in the second game and pulled Maeda, or pitched Hill in the late innings.

    And if I was the FBZ, I still trade Grandal. He has the best numbers amongst the catchers, but those are empty numbers. When the chips are down, Barnes will get the walk and Grandal will strike out. (And Farmer will put the ball in play.) Of course I would rather move Forsythe than Grandal (ideally both), but Forsythe is untradeable at this point.

    And now we have Baez healthy again. Heaven help us. It’s going to get ugly real fast.

    1. Phillies are a good team. We played them close.

      Roberts will forever be skewered by the Kiké decision. I understand why. We all would have done it differently.

      The way I see it there is no good way to squeeze in a 16 inning game into a 17 straight game schedule. This team is being tested. We are 3-3 so far on this road trip, those 6 games on the road against teams with better records than ours. I think .500 on this trip would be a win.

      1. Phillie’s are not a good team, Badger. This is what worries me. Their division has collapsed so they are making it appear that Philly is for real. I don’t believe it. Do a head to head matchup of the numbers and Philly only rates with pitching, not batters. Plus, their defense is atrocious. The Dodgers made Philly appear to be good. We should have swept them. Let’s see what happens in Atlanta. Hopefully, the players have beat the crap out of Roberts and are ready for the Braves.

        1. You’re right. Phillies statistically rank middle of the pack. The fact their record is better than ours is because they are just lucky. Washington will win that Division – right? Braves? Oddsmakers don’t think so, but they don’t believe in luck. Phillies to win Division? 50%. Braves 35%. Nats 14%.

          And don’t be surprised if Machado lands there next year. Phillies on their way UP.

          1. What did Lasorda once say? You will win 1/3rd of your games, lose 1/3rd of your games…..it is what you do with the other 1/3rd that makes champions. So far the Phillies are luckier with their 1/3rd than the Dodgers are. They have some bats over there. But this all or nothing mentality when all you need is a single is so damn ridiculous and frustrating and just down right ugly to watch. If Kike was hitting .290 with one homer and 70 ribbies I would be a lot happier.

          2. Yeah, I get that. That’s one reason I was excited about Machado. He’s a slugger hitting over .300. Rare air these days.

            Phillies are good, but they aren’t great yet. They are moving quickly in the right direction. As are a few other teams.

            I wonder what the next mode du jour might be. I see more guys willing to bunt and successfully go the other way. I like that. Maybe speed will be re-introduced. Get to first steal second. Go Maury Go Maury.

            Sometimes I feels oldt. But I’m on those push-ups. I’ve learned to count to 50 while I’m doing them. I can easily count to 50 before I do 10. I figure that is 50 and that is push-ups. 50. Push-ups. I’m ready pack.

    1. We might do ok in the post season if we get there, if a couple of our streaky hitters get hot at the right time.

      Because we have a team with quite a few of streaky hitters, and a team of average, or below, hitters.

      I like Kike, but he is one of these traditional squirrels, that have some pop, but he doesn’t often change his approach, when he needs to.

      He is hitting just above 200 against both lefties and righties, and Roberts is playing him to much, and when Roberts does this, it exposes all of Kike’s weaknesses.

      Kike should not be starting so many games, because that puts to many average or worse, hitters in the line up all at one time, and that gives pitchers, easy outs.

      1. Well MJ, Kiké wouldn’t be playing so much if Turner could play and Forsythe could hit. We are lucky to have him but unlucky he has to play so much.

  6. Andre Ethier officially retires. Dodgers will hold a special ceremony on the 3rd of August for Andre who retires fittingly as a Dodger and a player who’s entire MLB career was in the Blue.

  7. Here is my take on what is holding us back from easy success. Quite a few teams have gone the route of “all or nothing” and that is quite obvious here in Dodger Land. Toss in the enormity of sabermetrics and we have watched how the game of baseball changed in less than a decade, where prior it would take practically a full generation to see any meaningful changes in the culture of how the game is played.

    For the sake of easiness I am going to say it takes a player an average of 6-8 years to make it to AAA, then AAAA, then AAAA/MLB and then MLB. Granted some skip the AAAA/MLB part and are successful transitioning straight from AAA to MLB. Yet in today’s game most shuttle back and forth for a year before finding a permanent spot in MLB. Hence what we call AAAA. Tear it up in AAA then struggle in MLB and the back and forth begins.

    During this last 6-8 year cycle sabermetrics has exploded on the scene, and for the most part it rules how the game is managed and strategized, from the FO to the on field management. The average player coming up during this most recent time has had the use of statistics pounded into them, and how all of the analysis by the geeks is what WILL actually occur over the course of 162 games. They see the Harpers, Machado’s, Bryant’s, Trout’s etc… pound the ball out of the stadium and then make the covers of all the magazines and the games, and then make a gazillion dollars. Chicks and SabreGeeks dig the long ball.

    So naturally this is how most of the hitters coming up look at how best to succeed and make the most amount of money, POUND THE BALL OUT, and don’t give a damn about striking out. They work on their swing day and night, it becomes muscle memory and almost impossible to change mid-season. So now they are “all or nothing” swingers, NOT hitters. Keep in mind my last comment, “it becomes muscle memory and almost impossible to change mid-season”.

    Ok, but what is the one thing you can change mid-season, in fact you can change it mid-game if you want to and doesn’t require re-programming of the muscles? DEFENSE and positioning of certain players and how the batter is pitched to. Some FO sabre departments have moved forward much quicker in this part of the game than others. They are putting a major emphasis on defense, and not only just the shifts. Then comes the pitchers, they have been working on their pitches day and night too, just like hitters it becomes muscle memory. But here is the major difference that seems to elude certain FO’s. The act of actual pitching hasn’t changed so much that it can’t be tweaked mid-season. The sole idea is to get the hitter/swinger out. Pitchers have always been taught to adjust to the batter and the defense behind you. Other than the goal of getting the batter out, they are not so programmed they can’t make adjustments on the fly. And the other 8 players playing defense are not so muscle memoried that their roles can’t be changed mid-game or mid-season too. Our merry-go-round of pitchers never have the chance make adjustments, the most adjustments they have to make is life between Chavez Ravine, OKC and the infirmary

    Some FO’s have been seeing the changes in the game and have been very quick to adjust what can be adjusted mid-season without a total re-program of the player. While some FO’s, like FAZ still think they are the best SabreGeeks and what they are doing will all work out in the end. LONG BALL please!!!! If we out home run the opponent who cares about the other half of the inning.

    Other FO’s have quickly changed, knowing that it will take a good 3-4 years for hitters to change the way they approach their at bats. Exploit this timeline by making adjustments that involve wholesale changes. Take Joc as a prime example, it literally took him 3 years to make meaningful changes to his approach at the plate. The rest of our current roster is all or nothing hitters. We have a few contact hitters in the farm system but they seem to be blocked by the all or nothings. We still need to see how Manny does over the next 2 months. From what I have seen so far he is the ultimate blend of power swinger and excellent hitter.

    We are so hung up on the long ball that we are failing miserably in identifying our opponent’s weaknesses, especially mid-game or mid-series and exploiting them. It’s a non-stop stream of leftie vs. righties matchups and damn the other half of the inning. Let’s just hit the LONG BALL and pray our opponent doesn’t exploit our weaknesses. Doc is the absolute worst at this part. Although he is heavily influenced by FAZ and he can only make do with the players they provide him. BUT!!!! We all do still question his many head scratching moves.

    The other teams that were supposed to be in the latter part of rebuilding have embraced the ENTIRE inning, make on field mid-game and mid-series adjustments through both pitching and defensive strategies. We just lost a series to one of them and we now play a four game series against the other. They are not all or nothing teams.

    FAZ is so hung up on the LONG BALL that they are totally ignoring the subtle changes on the other side of the ball that the smarter geeks have grasped. I truly wonder how many players in the farm system are so frustrated because they hit the ball and get it in play, yet they are totally blocked by the LONG BALL swingers. Hmm I can name about a half dozen.

    The bottom line is that other FO’s have identified where in game and mid-series adjustments can be made without a total player re-program. They take advantage of the things that can be easily changed. And they try very hard exploit the other teams weaknesses. FAZ is too much of a one trick pony and too big-headed to see that the game just passed them by and it is going to take a few years for them to re-tool and stay competitive. Phew!!!!! That was a ton of typing. I need a beer… or five.

    1. Good takes Bear.

      I’d offer that part of the reason our defense has sucked this year is so many players playing out of position – or multiple positions – due to … whatever. The post by Mexivin (who and where is he?) was insightful yesterday. In one game you will see multiple moves made all over the field. I’d prefer they stop that. Taylor’s at second, Muncy at first, Bellinger in center and Kiké at third. Lose Forsythe, when Puig gets back, sorry, but an outfielder must go down. Adios Alex. Kemp, Bellinger, Puig. Pederson 4th. Kiké, Machado, Taylor, Muncy, Grandal. Suck it up and … play ball. You need a break, you’ll get one in November.

    2. Yeah, I don’t think this is on point at all. Are you just thinking this Tim, or have you looked into it?

      There are several indicators that the Dodgers are at the forefront of defensive shifting and positioning. In addition to changing pitching tactics to address specific hitters and specific situations. This is exactly what Chavez chafed at, a few blog posts ago.

  8. My meaning wasore to address the fact that we use all or nothing hitters and then we have to find places for them to play the other half of the inning. They are out of their natural position 90% of the time. We are a hodge podge on defense. Other teams have made adjustments on both sides of the inning. If it wasn’t for the all or nothing crap we could have more consistent defensive lineups. And then make in game adjustments instead of panic moves to preserve righty VS lefty for the long ball

    1. You know what I find interesting is that all these guys grew up and played successfully in pro ball against same side pitching. If they couldn’t hit it they wouldn’t have made it this far. The best left handed hitters I played with and against could hit line drives up the middle and the other way against left handers. They pulled right handers. And right handed hitters were just used to hitting right handed pitchers because there were a lot more of them.

      We would be better defensively if guys weren’t moved around so much. I’m convinced of that, though I don’t have the trig to prove it.

        1. He’s just great. So much fun to watch.

          Since returning from the DL on June 19, his stats: 2.59 ERA, 50 K, 11 BB in 41⅔ IP

          That’s counting 5 innings in Atlanta tonight

          1. No, not really amazing. Well, unless you love Hill. I guess if you love Hill, maybe. Hill runs like Zsa Zsa. Makes him easier to love I suppose.

  9. Tim, thanks for sharing. Very solid take and I think you’re right. We should be building the lineup based on defense and adjust as the game goes along, instead of playing the matchup game against the starter. And come to think of it, this approach is even more lame than what you’ve said, because everyone knows by now that most teams are pulling their starters in the 5th inning, sometimes earlier, so our SABRtastic lineup at the beginning of the game won’t even be the same halfway into the game, and in fact the better they do in terms of running up pitch counts, the earlier they are losing their “advantage” and the more pressure they are putting on the bench players.

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