Dodgers Snap Losing Streak in Bizarre Fashion (What’s not Bizarre this Season?)

In typical roller coaster fashion, the Dodgers put their fans through the ringer tonight – frustrating and delighting them, making bonehead plays and capitalizing on mistakes from the Diamondbacks, and finally …FINALLY…getting a clutch hit with the bases loaded. Whew! What a marathon.

The night began (four hours ago) looking like another depressing Dodgers loss, but at least it was going to have a bit of flair. Nick Ahmed hit a deep fly ball to CF that Enrique Hernandez tracked all the way until he ran full speed into the wall and the ball bounced away. Ahmed flew around the bases and scored an inside-the-park home run. It was looking like another winless game for Alex Wood. That turned out to be the only run the Snakes would score off Wood, who went five innings in yet another non-decision game, his eighth.

The Dodgers tied the game at one in the fourth inning when Chris Taylor scored on a bases loaded wild pitch. The problem was, that was the only run they plated, continuing the frustrating run from last night of leaving the bases full without getting any clutch hitting. The boys loaded the bases again in the sixth inning and they managed to score three runs, but in the strangest fashion.

Yasmani Grandal scored on a sac fly by Chris Taylor and then the Snakes shot themselves out of the game. After a walk to Max Muncy loaded the bases again, Taylor was hit by a pitch, which brought Austin Barnes home. Snakes pitcher Silvino Bracho uncorked a wild pitch and Yasiel Puig scored. When the smoke cleared, the Dodgers were up 4-1.

In the 7th, JT Chargois took over for Pedro Baez (why? I don’t know. Baez pitched just fine in the 6th). Sham Wow proceeded to hand back two runs to Arizona. Dave Roberts lifted him for Scott Alexander, who finally closed out the inning, with the Dodgers’ lead chopped to 4-3.

That held until the bottom of the 8th, when the Dodgers loaded the bases yet again. This time they scored two runs on Chase Utley’s PH double. The Dodgers expanded the lead 6-3 and held on as Kenley Jansen picked up the save, his sixth of the year.

For the Yasiel Puig Marching and Chowder Society: Puig returned from the DL tonight and looked very smart as a batter. He had three hits and scored two runs. Viva Puig!

Next up for the Dodgers is the Zinzinatti Reds.

 

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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37 thoughts on “Dodgers Snap Losing Streak in Bizarre Fashion (What’s not Bizarre this Season?)

    1. I hope you are right YF, but I’m afraid it is more likely “And monkeys might fly out of my Bluto” instead.

      1. Farmer’s sac fly and Utley’s hit is what Dodgers baseball is all about. Get the run home and shorten your swing to hit it onto open grass. Don’t strike out.

        The big question is: Will we win again without there being a wild pitch bringing in a run for us? Seems like we need that to win these days …. since we suck so much with a runner at third and less than 2 outs.

        1. I think that was more a case of Arizona losing than LA winning. We need those though.

          8 for 30, 7 singles. 10 more K’s in 8 innings. 2 for 12 WRISP. 2-5 in the order 1 for 15, 5 Ks. Winning ugly.

          Chase isn’t a bad place to see a game. And, the dbacks are an exciting first place club that is 14th in attendance this year. They deserve a better fan base and I don’t see them getting it in Phoenix. If you’re not in Scottsdale, Phoenix kinda sucks. Chase isn’t in Scottsdale. Don’t know where they would go.

          Baez looked ok. Chargois didn’t. The bullpen is taking turns sucking. Jansen got outs but he isn’t striking people out at his usual rate. Can we beat the Reds?

  1. It is better having Nomar announce the games, because he points out all of the stuff, that these guys need to be doing , to make the offense more productive.

    Orel tells a sob story for the players that are not really producing that he must happen to like, but he doesn’t point out this stuff, or say anything negative about the players, or the team.

    And I don’t think Nomar is necessarily being negative, he is just explaining what they should be doing, to get runs in.

    It is amazing to me, that they still don’t shorten their swings, in these situations.

    One of Puig’s hits, was hit on the line, but when he is getting hits in between third and shortstop, he tends to start rolling over on the ball, and hitting grounders to the left side of the infield.

    I will feel better for Puig, when I see him hitting the ball up the middle, or to the right side.

    But I am glad he got those three hits, because maybe that will help him to be more confident.

  2. “We lost the opener to the Braves and were 47-55 in late July after losing thirteen games in a fourteen-game stretch. I could feel the rumblings. Fans were wondering. Then we hit our stride From July 28 to August 15 we won 17 of 18 to go from last place to first place.” Ned Colletti – The Big Chair, speaking of 2006, his first year. That team made the playoffs.

    We need to show some patience with theses players. Many are backups, the vets are pressing. I still think they are better than this.

    That said, I’m still not crazy about how FAZ works and I’m especially not thrilled about having financial restrictions placed on the team.

    We could still add a veteran presence by trading Grandal and or Pederson. With Barnes looking so terrible, and Grandal looking so not bad, it’s a risk. But, don’t you just know Squirrel will be hot, then cold, and eventually end up at .230 and lead the league in passed balls?

  3. Stuff from around:

    Some people are very high on this guy alert:
    Dustin May had his strongest start since returning to Rancho Cucamonga from injury. he struck out nine over five scoreless innings (72 pitches), while walking just one, lowering his ERA to 3.12 on the season.

    That said, the other day a guy I am actually bullish on, Dennis Santana, walked none and struck out 11 for Tulsa, (6IP, 1R, 83 pitches) It was his second 10+K game of the season, and the sixth time in seven starts that Santana has allowed < 2 runs.

    Scott Alexander continues to progress in his effort to relearn throwing strikes since getting optioned to AAA Alexander has pitched four scoreless innings with five strikeouts and a walk.

    Logenhagen has a top 23 prospects, FINALLY. Has both Ruiz and Will Smith in the top 5. Interesting is this observation of his:
    He (Ruiz) scores well on several teams’ minor-league framing metrics, which is becoming the most important aspect of catcher evaluation for a growing number of teams.

    Not that anyone cares, but I love Longenhagen:
    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-23-prospects-los-angeles-dodgers/

  4. MJ, I wonder if they don’t shorten the swing is because they are teaching, and using, only 1 swing.

    I was thinking about this the other day and I came up with a theory. We know they don’t hit and run, and they hit it hard to right field, but only on occasion. We also know they don’t often try to beat the shift. The answer: they are teaching one swing, and to use that one swing to hit the ball where it’s pitched.

    I learned, and taught, an aggressive swing, but also a swing that was able to square up any pitch, even pitches in, and take it to the right side. And we were all taught how to bunt down both lines. Who does any of that anymore? Apparently there’s a better way of doing it.

    The shifts that we are seeing are for those guys who have one swing, all out, and with that one swing those big hitters aren’t going the other way with it. Unless you’re really late, that one swing isn’t really designed to go the other way unless the pitch is down and away. The point is perfecting only one swing, on any pitch, on any count, anywhere in the strike zone, while seeming odd to old timers, actually simplifies things for a hitter. The long swings we are seeing, on any count, anywhere in the strike zone, is evidence of …. something. KISS principle maybe. Less things to think about in the box for sure. The algorithms of the one swing method clearly say less analysis is better.

    1. I think this is interesting.

      Is there a “do what you are good at” philosophy underlying the batting approach.

      I believe (but don’t know, nor have I read anything to corroborate) that bunting is simply withering on the vine. Bunting to sacrifice is sacrilege because it’s giving away an out. Because of that, batters only practice bunting in Spring Training (unless they regularly bunt to get on base….)

      Also picking up on Badger’s point, so many batters are working to change their swing to impact launch angle, perhaps there’s not enough practice time to work on shortening the swing, or going the other way?

      All speculation here.

      1. Yeah, Bluto, you get it.

        It’s my opinion left handed batters should put extra time working on bunting, or even chopping, a ball down the third base line. It’s not that difficult to do, it’s like playing pepper. (I wonder if anyone still does that?) You just send the ball that way and run like like hell to first base. Your odds of success doing that are better than beating the shift. Isn’t the same for right handed hitters, but hitting that hole over there on an inside out swing is a sure hit.

        Yeah, it’s speculation, but nobody chokes up anymore and there are few I see that actually shorten up with two strikes. Bellinger did a couple of times he was fooled (quit guessing) and Pederson at times has looked less aggressive. Depends on the pitch. Sure would like to see Taylor do it. Frankly I’d like to see fewer 2 strike at bats. First pitch, if it’s a fastball in your zone launch it. If it’s not, ball or strike give it to the pitcher. He won’t likely throw it twice in a row. Unless it’s a change up. I’ve seen a lot of those thrown twice in a row. Mark Grace talked about that last night. If you’re looking fastball and get a straight change you have to recognize it at least half way to the plate and adjust. Otherwise you’re toast. If you guess right on a change up and it’s a strike, it’s kinda like batting practice. But quit guessing.

    2. Badger

      I know they like those big swings, because they will stay in the strike zone longer, but Cody has at times, has shortened up his swing, and hit the ball the other way.

      And because I know he can do this, I don’t understand why he is continuing to swing all out, when runners are in scoring position, especially when he has two strikes.

      Because runs are at a minimum on this team, right now.

      Even our hitters that are not big power threats, are not doing the things they need to do, to make the offense more productive either.

    3. Badger
      I have read your posts many times and although we sometimes disagree I feel that you have a wealth of baseball knowledge. I also feel you do us a disservice to quit giving us the fundamentals that you grew up learning and teaching. Just because they don’t do it that way right now does not make you wrong. The new way might not be the right way. I am not saying not to listen but keep doing what you have been doing and give us your knowledgeable opinion and thanks for giving it .

      1. Thank you pack. I appreciate your kind words.

        It’s true we don’t always agree. But we discuss our differences in respectful conversation, as friends would. I appreciate that as well. We are all Dodger fans. And more importantly, we are baseball fans. I love talking baseball, and I’m glad we can discuss without harsh words being exchanged.

  5. Nice little story on ESPN.com on whether or not the Dodgers will make the playoffs. Only 6 of 60 teams have done so and none in the last 2 seasons. The Dodgers did it in 2013 when they started 15-21. They finished with 92 wins. The D-Backs are favorites to win the division now at almost 48%. The Dodgers chances are down to 37% and they have a 52% chance of making the playoffs. My take is that for the Dodgers to either win the division or even get to the playoffs, 3 things need to happen. First, the offense needs to be more consistent and balanced. Second, the starters need to get much better and at least start pitching into the 6th inning and give the bullpen a blow now and then. Third, the bullpen needs to improve and do so dramatically. This one day good, the next 3 lousy is not going to cut it. I think Turner’s return as long as he returns to being JT will help a lot. If he struggles, the offense will struggle. I am not so much concerned about the power as I am the strikeouts and lack of situational hitting. They scored 6 but with a clutch hit here and there could have just as easily scored 10. Nobody tries to beat the shifts, most are swinging from the heels all the time and pretty much no one on this team can bunt worth a damn. They need to beat teams they should beat. This series with the Reds should result in nothing less than 3 wins. A split is not good. They are a much better team than these guys and should show it. Finally, I do not think this team will make the playoffs unless they get the pitching back to where it should be. They can win if the offense can at least generate some runs when the opportunities are there. But without the pitching, the offense is no where near good enough to win games on its own. Especially against the more elite starters in the league. Oscar, there were men on 1st and 2nd when Chase hit the double, the bags were not juiced. Badger, I posted yesterday that the D-Backs have an agreement in place with the city to vacate Chase Field in 2022. They want close to 200 million in upgrades to the stadium and were suing the city. The suit has been rescinded and this deal is in place. I have no clue where the hell else they would play there since the foot ball stadium is not a viable alternative.

    1. Just read the article. Good read.

      My take on it is the Dodgers, with all 25 of their best players playing healthy, was deserving of being the favorites. Well, every night we’ve been putting out a lineup that has 3-4 bench players in it. Turner hasn’t played, Kershaw ain’t right, Koehler is gone, Jansen isn’t 100%, Cingrani, Alexander, Puig, Hill, Ryu…. the list of early season injuries is long. Who knows how many of those guys will get it together, but our anchor, Seager isn’t coming back.

      I think we have plenty of reason to believe we will hang around .500 until July. If we don’t, and the dbacks extend their lead and look like a juggernaut, we can discuss treading water until next year. But, again, I think we can run off a streak of wins and stay close. Every guy on the team has had moments. They just need to trust the process and believe.

      In the mean time we are getting a look at our depth, reality check, and a few prospects will be given the stage. This is a good thing.

      I’m remain hopeful.

      1. I think the process has to change Badger. They have to start manufacturing runs and getting that third base runner home with less than two outs.

        1. A while back I read quote by a Navy SEAL – “the best focus on what they can control and stay within their 3’ world”. That is some excellent advice for combat soldiers, and it can be applied to a lot of activities.

          By “process” I mean the hitter does exactly what he has spent years training to do. Control the mechanics of your swing and focus on the ball, IN YOUR STRIKE ZONE. You do not chase and you hit strikes where they are pitched. I think most of know what that means but I can explain it if necessary.

          Every hitter knows what pitch he likes. For me it was thigh high fastballs middle in. For guys like Kemp and Piazza it’s belt high middle out. Whatever it is when you get it don’t miss it. If you have to swing at a pitcher’s, on the corners, try to square it up and barrel it up where it’s pitched. Outside it’s deeper in the strike zone and going opposite field or back through the middle. Inside you want to catch it more out front, pulling the ball.

          Hitting an outside pitch to right field is a skill that needs to be developed. Pros all can do it or they wouldn’t get this far. Some prefer it, some avoid it,preferring to pull the ballot. Farmer can do it. He did it beautifully with his first hit against the giants. I’ve seen Joc and Cody do it a few times.

          Part of trusting the process is to not go outside your 3’ circle, in this case that’s the strike zone. I think some guys have been pressing. When you press, you make mistakes outside your circle. Stay composed. Don’t chase. Straighten out strikes.

      2. Hey Badger, MLB.com has a write up about why they think the Dodgers will be just fine. I just finished reading it. #1. They are starting to get healthy. 2. They are hitting better than their production suggests. 3. The rotation is just as deep. 4.They are outscoring their opponents. They have a plus 10 run differential. 5. Jansen is improving. 6. They have 7 games coming up with the Reds and Marlins. 7.They still have the highest attendance in the sport, though what that means to the bottom line is beyond me. 8. The projection systems still love them. 9. They can go get help if they need. 10. Seriously, Turner is almost back. Those are their reasons…..But I will wait and see…..

  6. Badger’s note on the one swing , and Package’s note to Badger above got me thinking again about stats. I believe a lot of times the old school way is the right way, but old school is ignored because there are no stats. I would guess if such a stat existed, it would strongly correlate to winning teams.

    Here is something I’ve always wondered about. There should be a stat for how many runs a team scores without a hit, and how that correlated to win %.

    1. YF

      At the least, award hitters numerically for moving runners over, and getting a run home, by putting a ball in play.

      I don’t think it has to be either a HR offense, or a productive offense, because there are times in situations in games, you could use both.

      It has to be frustrating to everyone here, when they don’t get runs home, when they are in scoring position.

      And a HR offense with all the strike outs, is boring to watch, because their is so little action, only walks, strike outs, and an occasional HR.

      And a HR offense doesn’t usually work against good pitching.

      1. I think they do count moving runners. Not sure how, but I think I read that.

        They also have stats on players strike zone discipline. O swing and Z swing %. An example is Matt Kemp’s O swing % (swings at pitches Outside the strike zone) is 33.9%, his Z swing (inside the strike zone) is 70.7. I see that 33.9% and I cringe a bit. Imagine how good he would be if he he cut that down to 20 or 15 percent. Don’t chase.

        YF, you’re right about older players not having the stat sheets more recent players have. There are some things they can figure, like WAR. Check out Babe Ruth’s Fangraphs page some time. He put up double digit WAR 9 times. He had a 15 WAR year in ‘23. Amazing.

        1. Yes Badger, I understand how WAR and other stats work. The most amazing players, old and new, puts up great WAR. WAR is a nice tool to have when arguing at the bar over who’s the best over generations.

          My point is that there are many blind spots in how SABR is used today. My biggest issue is the lack of correlation to winning (which, incidentally, is why Bill James, the father of SABR, does not like WAR). The vast majority of stats in baseball is geared towards figuring out individual play. There seems to be little study in team oriented stats, which necessarily means you have to correlate performance with winning.

          In fact here is an excerpt from a 2017 Washington Post article that shows what I mean:

          “[Bill James] writes that using the ever-popular WAR to illustrate New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was more valuable than Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is “nonsense.”

          “Why?” James writes. “Because [Judge] didn’t do nearly as much to win games for his team as Altuve did. It is NOT close. The belief that it is close is fueled by bad statistical analysis.”

          He continues his case by criticizing WAR’s characterization of the American League MVP race:

          “Baseball-Reference WAR shows the little guy [Altuve] at 8.3, and the big guy [Judge] at 8.1. But in reality, they are nowhere near that close. I am not saying that WAR is a bad statistic or a useless statistic, but it is not a perfect statistic, and in this particular case it is just dead wrong. It is dead wrong because the creators of that statistic have severed the connection between performance statistics and wins, thus undermining their analysis.”

          Again, that is Bill James, father of SABR. And again I compare to basketball. There are plenty of advanced stats used for baskteball. There are WAR equivalents, like PER or its variations. There are stats on shooting, spacing, defensive positioning, close out speed, shooting form and decision making, etc. However there are also a large number of team oriented stats that attempts to correlate to winning, such as Win-Shares, +/- with different lineup combinations, etc., etc. And over time there is a clear trend of younger players being signed and evaluated for their individual stats, however veterans are being signed and paid based on their team oriented stats.

          But team oriented stats are hard – it requires looking at different combinations and sequences (which I believe AI could do). I think that if SABRmetricians are less lazy and start to build models based on team oriented stats, you will see old school ways, such as situational hitting, make a big comeback.

          1. YF

            I agree with you about WAR.

            I remember when that utility player that the Cubs signed, had one of the highest WARs, in the American League.

          2. I agree that Wins are grossly overlooked by a lot of stats.

            But I’m not sure that matters on aggregate. You get a collection of players with good individual statistics and your chances are better of winning than not.

            Right?

            Maybe?

          3. Precisely Bluto.

            I think maybe the term wins in WAR may be deceiving. Trout has 3 WAR right now. A replacement player, basically a 4A body you throw in there, would have 0 WAR in the metric. To say that having Trout in the lineup instead of your 4A hamburger only makes the team 3 wins better sounds ridiculous to me.

            I’m just an old fart trying to understand it. In that effort I accept it for what it is.

        2. Badger

          They do, by not charging a player with an at bat.

          But when a player walks, they are not charged with an at bat, but they are also awarded the same as a single.

          1. A walk is counted as a plate appearance which is used to calculate OBP, which is part of OPS.

            Interesting take Yueh. Thanks. I’d have to give it more attention but my initial thought is Bill James has been doing this a long time. He’s about as old as I am. There are many young minds that have moved the bar on analysis.

            As for WAR not valuing team wins, I don’t follow you.

            This from definition of WAR:

            “Individual WAR values are calculated from the number and success rate of on-field actions by a player (in batting, baserunning, fielding, and pitching), with higher values reflecting larger contributions to a team’s success.”

            By definition, WAR is supposed to calculate a player’s contribution to the team’s success. It’s position weighted, which makes sense to me. I also know that formulas continue to evolve. Those that I think need more evolution are defensive algorithms.

          2. Badger,

            I would recommend not getting into any conversation/dialogue with MJ about OPS/OBP. It’s very frustrating, or at least is for me.

            As to YF’s query about a stats for runs without a hit, I think that sample size will render the stat meaningless, but I understand the attempt to provide qualification for a team’s ability to generate runs.

  7. 1 for 7 WRISP after only 3 innings. We will be into their bullpen quickly. The Reds are a team we need to dispatch.

    1. We are going to be swept by the Reds at this point. But that’s not the bottom. I think we still suck for a few weeks after Justin Turner comes back and that’s when people are going to realize they’ve got to scrap for runs.

      We think we are a good hitting team but we are not. We either hit and not score, or we score and not hit. That makes us suck at hitting and scoring. So the sooner they realize they’ve got to put on plays to manufacture runs, the sooner we will start winning on a consistent basis.

      Until we start scraping and manufacturing runs, I don’t see us in the playoffs. But I’m hope they will start doing so, just not in May.

  8. I cannot respond to your last post Badger, so I have to do a new one.

    WAR takes into account of wins, but not correlation. That is why Bill James said it is “severed”. Assigning a number/multiplier to a formula is not the same as testing and adjusting that formula to correlate to wins. It is possible to do so, but complicated, because it needs to account for variations of different teammates playing with said player, but a computer today could do run through these variations quickly. Except the computers need SABRmetricians to research and program the machines to do so, but the humans are too lazy to do it. They’re all busy blogging or what not.

    Our inability to manufacture runs is killing us.

    1. I have no idea what you mean with that first sentence and I’m not sure what James means by severed. “War takes into account of wins. But there is no correlation”. Huh? A correlation by definition is a relationship. You are saying there is no relationship between high WAR and wins? That can’t be what you mean. You have a team of 7 WAR players at every spot in the lineup you will beat a team of replacement players, players with no value other than their union mandated payday, 99 times out of 100.

      There are metricians o’plenty working on this Yueh. Not me of course. I just read about it. There is no way of anyone not in the organization that would know what kind of teammate someone is. But for every ball in play there are numerous algorithms at work making correlations between a player’s actions on the field and those actions contributions to winning. The number created by these algorithms gives us an estimate of their value to date. It’s not precise, it’s an estimate. But it’s not a stretch to say someone with a high WAR is a better player than someone without one. I give you Mike Trout and Joc Pederson. They both play the same position but who is the better player? Who contributes more to their team’s success night after night?

      I realize WAR is not perfect but it isn’t designed to be. It’s an estimate. It’s an estimate that everyone is using now.

  9. Pathetic. Buehler deserved better.

    The ruby begonia is placed firmly between our jibs.

    Good night Dodger fans.

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