Congratulations Dodgers! It only took them two games into the season to regress right back into old habits and punt away what should have been an easy win during their record breaking six hour 13 inning marathon gagfest 5-4 loss to the Dbacks at Dodger Stadium on Friday night. The Dodgers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by playing timid conservative baseball.
If you were hoping that the Dodgers would stop using the all-righty lineups against left handers this season, think again. If you thought the Dodgers would stop inexplicably hooking dominating starting pitchers early in games for no reason, think again. If you thought the Dodgers would stop using a parade of ineffective relievers just for the sake of doing so, think again. If you thought that the Dodgers would stop relying on brainless lefty/righty match-ups, think again.
The Dodgers had told the media in spring training that they would be using fewer platoons and going with a more set lineup throughout the 2019 season. If you believed that then I’m truly sorry because low and behold the Dodgers again binged on the all-right handed lineup against Arizona southpaw and Dodger slayer Robbie Ray. It didn’t work.
Joc Pederson who hit two home runs on opening day was not in the starting lineup. Max Muncy who also homered rode the pine with Pederson to begin the game. The Dodgers had 11 hits and no other player besides A.J. Pollock had more than one. After the Dodgers scored in the bottom of the seventh the bats were never heard from again. We’re talking about hours of inept offense that went on forever. Sound familiar? The Dodgers left 17 runners on base and went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Speaking of Pollock, let’s give him some credit. If it were not for him, the Dodgers would have scored zero runs easily. Pollock was 4 for 6 including his first home run as a Dodger (a booming second inning shot into the left field pavilions), a two-run single in the third, and three runs batted in on the night. No other Dodger had an extra-base hit.
Dbacks 5 10 0
Dodgers 4 11 0
Let’s take you back for a moment to the sixth inning. The Dodgers were up 3-0 at the time. Starter Ross Stripling was pitching a gem. He had allowed just three measly hits up until that point, he had struck out five and made just 76 pitches. There was one out and nobody on base. So what was the damned point of taking him out? I guarantee you that allowing Strip to make another 20 pitches and at least finish the sixth inning or maybe pitch into the seventh inning is not going to cause his arm to fall off.
But the Dodgers game management, predictable and exhausting hooked Strip for no other reason than to go to a shaky bullpen just because…I have no clue. Because it’s there? The more pitchers you use in any baseball game, the greater chance that one or more of them will give up runs. This is common sense people. Certainly it’s not brain surgery. So when newly signed Joe Kelly gave up a three-run game-tying pinch-hit home run to Christian Walker in the seventh inning, nobody should have been surprised.
Even worse due to the platooning, all of the position players were used up by the tenth inning. Hyun-jin Ryu had to pinch-hit in the twelfth inning. Eventually Pederson found his way into the game with runners on base in the bottom of the ninth and a chance to win the game. But again the Dodgers are so conservative and so timid they instead asked Joc to bunt the runners over to second and third. Nevermind that Joc had hit two home runs the game before. And yes I know there was a left hander (Andrew Chaffin) on the mound. I don’t care. By asking him to bunt and play conservatively you not only take the bat out of his hands, but you give away a precious out. I’ll take Joc’s bat with nobody out and two runners on base any day over the stupid bunt play there. Even after Joc fouled off two bunts putting two strikes on him and making him protect the plate (which changes the pitch sequencing) Joc still hit a line drive. Unfortunately it was right at Jarrod Dyson. Imagine if he was allowed to swing away normally and work the count in his favor.
Mixed into all the Dodger’s terribly weak game management was an umpire injury, wild pitches, and a botched review. Of course the review went against the Dodgers. When all the dust settled, the Dodgers were forced to use Yimi Garcia in the top of the thirteenth inning. Garcia, who has not had an above average major league season since 2015 and several arm surgeries allowed the eventual winning run to score with two outs.
I’m sick of this style of baseball. I’m sick of watching it unfold in exactly the same way every time. I’m sick of the Dodgers playing baseball with spreadsheets. I’m sick of the Dodgers going against common sense. Baseball can be a feel game. It’s a game of streaks and adjustments. It’s a game of logic. Even the best teams can lose if the pieces on the chess board aren’t positioned properly to win. I just want some balance. I don’t care if it’s the second game of the season or the second to last game. You have to win these games. Innings, playing hot hitters and using common sense count. Let your starters pitch more than 75 pitches if you want to win. Stop using a parade of middle relievers every night. Stop platooning hot hitters out of the lineup. Stop using brainless lefty/righty matchups. JUST STOP.
Oh and there’s a game on tomorrow evening. Or I should say this evening. The third game of the series features either Zack Godley or Luke Weaver against Kenta Maeda at 6:10 PM PST. Originally it was supposed to be Weaver scheduled to pitch for Arizona, but it could be Godley. Now the pitching staff is totally torched. Better hope Maeda goes 8 innings, but don’t count on it.