I was driving to work yesterday morning and I decided to take an alternate route. I got on the 405 and it was a bad decision. Normally I don’t take the 405. I take a route that avoids that hellish freeway for obvious reasons. But I made the split second choice to try a route that I wasn’t familiar with. I don’t normally drive the 405. I’m not good at driving on the highways and especially not good at driving down roads I am unfamiliar with. As you would expect the results were poor as I was late to work.
I can use this same analogy with the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers asked him to do something he’s not good at. They asked him to pitch in the postseason after the seventh inning. My boss never asks me to do something I’m not good at because it’s not in my skill set. The Dodgers did that with Kershaw and they should not be surprised at the poor results. If you ask someone to do something outside of their skill set then you will get terrible results.
Look, I have no idea why Kershaw is so bad in the postseason. There are many theories but it’s something we will probably never be able to answer. It should never been about getting him that chance to erase his ungodly playoff failures and instead been about the team winning the World Series. The needs of the team have to outweigh the needs of the one player, even if that is Clayton Kershaw.
A few other things I would like to talk about. Let’s talk about Dave Roberts. A lot of people believe that Baseball is slow or moves slowly and that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see baseball actually moves quickly (most of the time) and especially moves quickly in the postseason. You have to be able to react quickly when the results are not going your way or are beginning to go south. That brings me to my point.
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I think the game moves to quickly for him. It’s a problem that befalls many other managers throughout baseball history. He was not able to react. I didn’t mind the strategy of bringing in Kershaw to get a couple of outs, but if he starts to get into trouble or give up dingers than you have to react quickly. YOU HAVE TO STOP THE GAME. As soon as Anthony Rendon hit that lead-off home run in the top of the eighth Roberts should have gone to the mound and stopped the game. I mean he literally should have Bob Newharted the situation, put up his hands and yelled “STOP!” and ran to the mound to give whomever was warming in the bullpen enough time to prepare to enter the game. He just stood there with that weird look on his face and the game passed him by. Lesson learned for all managers…..REACT. When your team is getting into hot water or the opposing team is starting to gain momentum, for god’s sake stop the game.
One of the posters here said something very observant. He talked about Roberts announcing the Dodger’s pitching plans for game 5 before the game began. I have no idea why he would do this. He announced to the Media, the Nationals, and the entire world what exactly the Dodgers would do for game 5. That brings me to my next point…..
The Dodgers are predictable
One of the great things about those old-school Dodgers was that they were never predictable. Tommy Lasorda and those champion Dodgers constantly kept the opposing clubs guessing. Tommy would never reveal their game plans to the media or the opposing team. The Dodgers are way too predictable. The Nationals knew exactly what the Dodgers were going to do. It trickles down to the players too. Clayton Kershaw hangs the same pitches every start. He gives up runs in the first inning of every start. Kenley Jansen throws the same pitch (cutter) every time out. Cody Bellinger swings at the same pitches. Corey Seager whiffs at the same pitches. The Dodgers deploy the same shifts defensively, and on and on and on. Stop being so predictable. Shake things up. Because if you manage the postseason like it’s the regular season or announce your game plans to the world then you are probably going to lose.
There has to be some accountability
Early in April I saw the writing on the wall as did many posters over here. I noticed how poorly constructed and thin the Dodger’s pitching staff was. The relievers were terrible. The pitchers threw the same pitches in the same spots. None of them could pitch more than an inning, etc. etc.
I have never liked Andrew Friedman’s formulas. Guggenheim brought in a bunch of bean counters to cut costs and save money. There is a reason why accounting departments don’t run companies. Despite being so beholden on analytics and date, Friedman has historically spent unwisely, drafted terribly, and rolled the dice on below average and injury riddled pitchers. The first free agent signings of his Dodger career were two of the worst signings we’ve seen. Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy were horrendous. Neither were top tier arms, and both had long and established histories of injuries. The Dodgers needed a top tier arm to replace Zack Greinke and instead Friedman inked two backend starters who were never healthy.
What really frosts my cookie is Friedman’s foolish and unnecessary trade of Howie Kendrick. Sure Kendrick may not be a great defensive player anymore and yes he is older and injury prone, but he’s still a very good hitter. He was supposed to be the guy the Dodgers had long coveted and then Friedman dumped him to the Phillies in favor of bringing in a far inferior second baseman (Logan Forsythe) Those are just a couple examples of Friedman’s mistakes and poor judgment over the years. Answer me this question. Name one player not named Walker Buehler that Friedman has drafted over the least five years that has turned out to be more than a bench player or marginal contributor? I can’t name one. He can’t sign free agents, he can’t draft well, relies too much on brainless lefty-righty matchups and he can’t build a championship pitching staff. He’s a terrible evaluator of talent, (Most of the time). The lack of importance put on pitching is what’s most irritating. It’s beyond time to move on from him.
If the formula is for the Dodgers to make the postseason every year but never win the World Series then mission accomplished. Some people believe that if the Dodgers just make the postseason every year (or let’s say 10 consecutive years) that eventually they will win the World Series. If you have been watching baseball then you know this is wrong. Look at the Twins, A’s, and yes the Nationals. You can lose in the playoffs every single season. The Dodgers have now lost for seven years in a row. It’s conceivable that they could continue to lose until changes are made and different players are brought in.
These guys don’t have the killer instinct
That’s because these players simply just don’t have it. The Dodgers will probably never win a championship with this group of players. It’s sad because we all like them. They’re nice guys and we want nothing more than to see them win the World Series. But we have to face facts. The current core group of Dodgers are losers. Clayton Kershaw is a great regular season pitcher, but he’s a loser. Cody Bellinger is a good player, but he’s a loser. Corey Seager is a loser. Kenley Jansen has been a great closer, but he is also a loser. Andrew Friedman is a loser. Dave Roberts is a loser. They’re all losers. They just don’t have it, and the skill is not something you can quantify with numbers. The Dodgers need an organizational cleanse and it should start from the top.