Dodgers Squeak Out Win Over Champs, McCarthy, Bullpen Pitch Like Champs

The Dodgers squeaked out a win over the Cubs on Wednesday night to even their three game series at one game each. The Dodgers can’t hit, but they certainly can pitch. Brandon McCarthy was fantastic tossing 6 shutout frames, and Ross Stripling was lights out as he pitched two scoreless frames in relief. Kenley Jansen redeemed himself from last night by pitching a scoreless ninth inning to record the save.

Dodgers 2 5 1
Cubs       0 5 1
WP-McCarthy-2-0
LP-Lackey-1-1
SV-Jansen-2
HR-Toles-2

The Dodger bats were their usual flaccid selves, but they were able to muster one run in the first before being gifted a run in the top of the ninth inning thanks to some sloppy Chicago defense. The Dodgers made an Andrew Toles lead-off solo home run in the top of the first inning hold up in their 2-0 victory.

To be fair the anemic Dodger offense squandered way too many opportunities. The boys in blue stranded nine runners on base and were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Most of the game the Dodger bats just struck out during rallies. Opposing starter John Lackey tallied 10 whiffs on the night. Let’s go over all of the rallies that the Dodger offense wasted tonight.

Squandered rally #1-

After Toles homered to lead-off the game, Corey Seager doubled and Lackey issued walks to Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson. But Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal both struck out swinging, and Utley was called out on strikes.

Squandered rally # 2-

In the top of the second, Yasiel Puig singled and McCarthy was unable to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Toles singled to center and Seager was called out on strikes before Forsythe popped out. Dodgers got nothing.

Squandered rally #3-

In the top of the eighth, Forsythe walked, and Gonzo singled. Then Grandal walked and the bases were loaded. Pinch-hitter Justin Turner who was still nursing his sore quad immediately grounded into a double play against reliever Mike Montgomery.

Squandered rally # 4-

In the top of the ninth, the Dodgers wouldn’t have scored at all had it not been for catcher Willson Contreras’ throwing error. Utley was on first after walking and Toles had just chased a ball low and away for strike three. The ball got away from Contreras, and he had to record the out at first. However his errant throw sailed wide, allowing Utley to score and give the Dodgers a 2-0 edge.

Let’s forget about the lousy offense, and talk about the brilliant pitching. On the pitching side, the Dodger arms were incredibly good. McCarthy went 6 innings allowing just 4 hits and striking out 4. He walked three and now has an ERA of 1.50. He looked strong, but Ross Stripling looked equally as strong. His curve was really working as he tossed the seventh and eighth innings. He struck out 4 and did not allow a hit.

The Dodgers almost blew it in the bottom of the eighth when Seager made a bad throw on a routine grounder that deflected off Gonzo’s glove. That gave the Cubs an extra chance  and you never want to give a team like the Cubs extra outs. With a runner on second and two outs, Dave Roberts went to left hander Luis Avilan and he whiffed Kyle Schwarber to get Seager and the Dodgers off the hook. Kenley then pitched the ninth and despite allowing a single to Rizzo, was able to finish the game without anymore issues.

I won’t complain after a win, but the Dodgers could have scored 5 or 6 runs had they not tanked with runners in scoring position. Thankfully the pitching has been pretty solid. They better get the bats working soon though. The Dodgers may end up juggling the lineup again for the rubber game on Thursday afternoon if they think Turner’s quad isn’t quite ready yet.

The pitching matchup for series finale will see Hyun-jin Ryu take on former teammate and old friend Brett Anderson. This will be the real test for the Dodgers. If they can’t hit Brett Anderson then they will have to board the plane back to Los Angeles in shame. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen because it would be really embarrassing. I mean come on, it’s Brett Anderson.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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53 thoughts on “Dodgers Squeak Out Win Over Champs, McCarthy, Bullpen Pitch Like Champs

  1. Is it just me, but perhaps the Cubs have problems with curveball pitchers at Wrigley? Rich Hill had baffled them last year here too. And now Stripling.

    With the winds and the small ballpark, this is something to think about.

    1. YF

      I think both the Dodgers and the Cubs, have trouble hitting curves well last year.

      But both teams are nails when it comes to fastballs.

  2. McCarthy has great stuff. None of his pitches are straight. Now, just stay healthy.

    With the the depth, the farm, and the 25 players on the roster, I do not know how anyone can say FAZ are idiots. Their plan from the beginning was to be competitive now while building up depth and the farm. They did this in three years. Sure they have made mistakes along the way. But looking at the whole picture they have done a pretty good job.

    1. Well, that’s one way of looking at it al.

      McCarthy has always had good stuff. I saw it up close here in Arizona. He was 3-10 with a 5 ERA in 135 IP. He did put it together in New York for 90 innings, and those 90 innings convinced FAZ to give him $48 million. He’s had 2 decent years in 12. He and Hill have that in common, with Hill having 2 in 13. Maybe this the year for both to put it together again? Yeah, maybe.

    2. Wow, prepare to get flamed Idahoal! Well, maybe not, the FAZophobes do get awfully quiet after a Dodger win, especially when a couple “sick and infirm” pitchers dominate for the Dodgers.

      McCarthy and Hill could both be huge for us this year, but if not, FAZ has acquired the depth so there is an excellent chance someone else will. Good job FAZ! Idahoal, I must correct one thing in your post, FAZ has only been on the job since October 2014, a mere two and one-half years.

      1. Nobody really thinks they’re idiots.

        Most people acknowledge they are very smart.

        I think some people have a resistance to new stats (don’t get people started on OPS over BA) being used to evaluate, and to non-traditional roster building techniques like finding value in risk, and finding value in platoons/multiple pitching looks.

        You’ll have these traditionalists spout silly opinions and then defend it by saying “I’m entitled to an opinion.” It’s what makes discourse both great and grate.

        1. Nice job Bluto! I think your discourse was GREAT!

          I especially liked your “It’s what makes discourse both great and grate” quote!

          When “these traditionalists spout silly opinions”, rather than finding them “grating”, I try to remember the following famous quote:

          “The trouble with our “Baseball Traditionalist” friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

          Ronald Reagan

          Makes me want to help them, by showing them the errors of their ways!

          1. Revisionist History???

            MJ, you disappoint me. I am sure you know Ronald Reagan was a U.S. President and actor, but apparently you don’t know that “Dutch Reagan” was also a baseball sportscaster from around 1932 – 1937. He broadcast Cub games, and not surprisingly was considered “cutting edge and ahead of his times”. You see, even then there was “Baseball Traditionalists”, guys/gals who longed for the way it was done in the 1870’s and 1880’s. They missed the “one pitcher” per team. Couldn’t see the wisdom or understand why teams needed “depth” in the form of multiple starters, etc., etc.

            I guess some things NEVER change. And that MJ is today’s history lesson!!

    3. Would have loved to have chimed in today but it’s been a busy day. Some of us have to work so that others can draw their social security while watching the Dodgers.

      I, for one, do not think that FAZ is all that intelligent. He might be a adequate stock broker or a good investment banker but he is not a good Baseball Man so yes, in some cases, an idiot would be the correct term to describe them and their moves.

      Al,
      Without rehashing everything AGAIN. All of the primary players that have led the Dodgers to the last 4 division titles (2 of which were under FAZ’s watch) were here before they got here and even now, the additional ‘primary’ players on the team…. Seager, Pederson and the soon to be ‘savior’ Urias were already Dodgers BEFORE FAZ arrived.

      Look at the personnel brought in by FAZ…..Grandal (.225 career hitter), Gutierrez (chronic pain), Hernandez (performs best with a banana), Utley (the over the hill version), Hill (DL’d on arrival, blister boy that misses more starts than he makes), McCarthy (now you’re going to rave about him….basically hasn’t pitched for 2 years while making millions), Kazmir (Need I say more), Toles (actually might be their best pickup and he would not be on the active roster right now if Ethier was healthy) and Forsyth (to me he is nothing more than a journeyman 2nd baseman of which a top pitching prospect was traded away….we had Dee Gordon, gone. Peraza, gone. Howie Kendrick, gone. None of them would have cost us DeLeon.)

      It’s all how you want to look at things. FAZ has had the highest payroll now 3 years running. Money is not an object. Money has actually bailed them out because they are not good at what they do.

      If Friedman does not value paying big money for starting pitching than why did he offer Grienke 5 years, $160M? Can you say hypocrite. If he does not value paying big money for starting pitching than why would he even consider paying Kershaw something close to $40M. Once Kershaw is gone we’ll see just how great ‘your’ FAZ is. Stick around for a couple more years.

  3. Zack Lee got a win last night with San Diego.

    You guys need to look at the whole picture.

    Now, I will pick a little. I do not like SVSand Kike on the team. There are better options.

      1. He had a good game. But he needs to do it over the long haul, but last night was a start….of course he is on the bench for this one with a lefty going.

        1. Michael

          I don’t have a problem with that.

          But remember what Joc did in his first year, and he was lucky that Mattingly liked him, and he was allowed to play like he did.

          Joc is on the bench today, and really, I would start him, against Anderson, and have Thompson play left, instead of Kike.

          Because Joc has done well, with the leftie pitchers, that Roberts felt, were not that tough, and let Joc start against them.

          And I think Joc would hit Anderson well.

          And if Joc would get that extreme shift, he should bunt and make Anderson have to field the ball.

    1. But they are considered depth!

      They play multiple positions, statistically superior hitters vs left handed pitchers.

      The trouble with FAZ, my dear Mr IdahoAl, is being expects to pay a kings ransom (both in person and graphically) to watch the depth that is Kike and SVS.

      Call it FAZ, call it Dodger brass, call it the evil empire, its all the same: F You, Pay me, enjoy the show.

  4. Peraza with another stolen base. That’s 4. He’s scored 5. And he’s hitting .297. .310 after 300 at bats. But his OPS is low so we can ignore the other stuff – right?

    I wonder if there is an algorithm for speed. I’ll look…..

    Here’s something:

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/stolen-base-attempts-an-algorithm-for-allocating-run-value/

    The run value of any player can be determined by calculating the change in run expectancy from the initial to the final state. BEP= CS Value/ (CS Value – SB Value) for zero outs: BEP= (-0.595)/(-0.595-0.215)=0.735=73.5%. So if you can steal a base 73.5% of the time it’s worth it. I think.

    How about you just add SB-CS total to total bases. That way the OPS goes up a few points so somebody will value the speed. Peraza has 11 hits, 9 singles. He’s stolen 4 without getting caught. That’s 4 singles turned into doubles. That would jack his slg from. .351 to .449 and his OPS from .667 to .765. There. Speed is valued.

    1. Dodgerblue also had a write up on the kids. They raved about a reliever, Joe Broussard down at Tulsa. Guess he has been lighting up the ol radar gun and not allowing anything. The other rave was for Okoye Dickson at OKC, hitting over .400 with 3 dingers already. Also said that Roberts loves the guy.

    2. Badger

      I do agree that walks are given to much credit in saber metrics, especially for hitters, who strike out a lot.

      I think if Toles could learn the art of base stealing, that would give him another thing in his pocket.

      But that isn’t something one can learn over night, especially someone, who is new to Major League Baseball, because one has to learn, pitcher’s moves.

      And I do think it is a mistake for sabers, not to value the stolen base.

      But Badger, I would let that go, you don’t need to do that.

      It is still way to early, to make a judgement on that trade, so the final results, are not in yet.

      Peraza doesn’t even have one major league season under his belt, as a full time player, and you know, it takes time, for young players.

      But he is with a team, that can afford to give him his starts, and his at bats, so he will have stability, like Joc had in his first year here.

      To be able to start and know he will be playing everyday, is a rarity for young players, but it sure helps a player, because of the stability, and it doesn’t happen the way often.

      But give it at least three years, if not more.

    3. Why, oh why, are we still trying to make Peraza into a better player than he is?!?!???!

      It’s arguable if he was ever in this team’s long-term/short-term or medium-term plans. Even if you start modifying stats to make him better, is he more than an average 2B with little pop?

        1. I don’t get it.

          On the spectrum of the top 30 2B in MLB. What do you think Peraza’s upside is?

          Definitely not Pedroia, Cano, Kinsler, Kipnis, Murphy. Right?

          I could be convinced, if I squint, he could maybe become Segura?

          That’s a Middle of the Road 2B!

          1. I like guys who can hit .300, steal bases and play multiple positions. Apparently you don’t. He’s still very young and with experience will get his O-Swing% under control and his value will increase.

          2. I like .300 hitters with speed, too.

            And I think that’s who he is, Badger.

            A slap hitter with good speed and little power.

            But at 2B that’s basically a 1 WAR player.

            That’s the only point I’m trying to make.

        2. Ok. Point made. So far in Cincinnati he’s played 4 positions. If speed were valued he could easily put up 2 or more WAR. And from what I have seen he’s not a slap hitter. He’s 6′ 183. He’s a line drive hitter. His problem has been been swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. His career O-Swing rate is 37%. His contract rate on those pitches is 78%. Lay off those pitches and 3 things happen – your OBP goes up, your OPS goes up and the number of zeroes on your contract increases. The Reds are high on this guy. I can see why. He’s 23 later this month. He’s still a few years from his prime.

  5. Interesting article in Dodgerblue this morning. Mr. Friedman said that starting pitching is over valued. His thinking is that quantity is better than quality. That is why he stockpiles starting pitching. I took this to mean that it is good to have one great pitcher ( Kershaw ) a couple of good pitchers, Maeda, Ryu, and guys who can fill in ( everyone else ). The explanation actually made some sense. But it did not say why he has signed so many lame armed guys. Now, the way McCarthy pitched last night he looks like he is back from his TJ surgery. And if so, he can give the Dodgers some quality starts. One thing to remember is last night he had runners on in every inning. He induced DP balls and got out of those situations and did a great job doing so. He was also very lucky that the wind was blowing in. A couple of those shots to the outfield would have been gone on a less windy night, but over all a great job. Andrew Toles had a good game and I liked his hustle in the 9th after he struck out, his speed most likely caused Contreras to throw that ball away. And Chase Utley proved you can have a bad night at the plate and make up for it with a mad dash. His hustle from first to home gave Kenley a little cushion. Prior to that, Utley was having a not so good night at the dish. As far as what Friedman said about starters, well that is a new idea to me. Things like that take time to assimilate and I would have to see positive results. My thinking is this, that while this might work in a 162 game schedule, I am not so sure about the results in a playoff series. Especially when a manager can set his rotation up to match the other teams weakness. Example would be, say the Dodgers met the Giants, and Bochy could throw the Mad Bum and Moore at the Dodgers the first 2 games. But I have an open mind, so we will see. I have always felt it was best to have 3 really good pitchers at the front of your rotation, but if Friedman’s idea brings a championship flag I would have to revise that thinking. I still think he goes after too many marginal players. But that’s just me.

    1. How can someone say that starting pitching is overvalued when they have the best starting pitcher in the game making over $30 million and were willing to pay their #2 just as much to keep him here? I don’t buy it. $60 million for 2 pitchers? Please. And, without Kershaw would we be winning the West every year?

      The FAZ play is not to pay for near 200 inning pitchers. Let other teams do that, most notably Chicago, SF, Boston, Washington. We are going to win it with 1 stud, 12 five inning warriors and power arms in the bullpen. It might work. Sure hope Kershaw can start 32 this year.

      Three stud pitchers? You mean like Kershaw, Greinke and Latos?

      1. It’s NOT a Dodgerblue article.

        It’s a Bowden article on ESPN.

        And MJ, your point about walks getting too much value by sabers is mind-boggling. More traditional statistics like batting average give walks NO VALUE. In your convoluted logic, any value is too much value.

        If not, please share with what a proper valuation of walks would be.

        Finally, Badger, Friedman’s quote was “Starting pitching has become the most overvalued in the industry because, outside of the aces….”

        The final phrase cannot be overlooked.

        1. Well bluto if anyone would know about overvaluing starting pitchers other than aces it would be him. He’s got a lot of experience doing just that.

        2. Bluto

          I mean the walks that make hitters that strike out way to much, look good.

          I would give a strike out, not a minus one, I would give a strike out, a negative 1.5, because they are not the same as other outs.

          And I would not value a walk, as same as a hit.

          I saw a comparison of Joc’s age 24 season, to Duke Snider’s age 24 season.

          And Snider had much better stats, but Joc had a higher OPS, which sabers go by, for offense.

          Take a look?

        3. May have been Bluto, but I read the article on Dodgerblue, so to me it was a Dodgerblue article…but that’s splitting hairs……

      2. No more along the lines of Koufax Drysdale, and either Podres, or Osteen. 88 team had a decent rotation. But it could have been Greinke, Kersh and Ryu in his first two years. That was decent.

    2. Michael

      I agree.

      I would be ok with that, for maybe the four and five pitchers in the rotation, but I wouldn’t want that, for the three top pitchers, because not only the post season., but it keeps more balance on the team, and the bullpen, if you have three good pitchers at the top in the long season.

      And I am still not convinced that that would be always the cheaper way, when it comes to money, and with valued prospects.

      Because I don’t think the only choice of starting pitchers, is the top flight ace pitchers, or someone like Anderson.

      I think there is a middle ground of pitchers, in the between these two choices.

      1. Bluto

        I will give you the remark I made for Rick, last night.

        The Cubs, the Indians, the Giants, the Mets, the Nationals, the Red Sox, the Cardinals, don’t build there starting pitching rotations that way, and these are the best teams in baseball.

        1. That’s just not the case MJ.

          The Cubs starters only go 6.

          Here’s how the Indians bullpen has been used: 3.0 IP, 3.1 IP, 3.1 IP, 4.1 IP, 2.0 IP, 3.0 IP, 3.0 IP

          The Mets are completely built on limiting their starter’s innings! Here’s what the GM says, “[Wheeler] hasn’t pitched in two years so a realistic target is 125 or so innings, so our question is do you use them early in the season? Or preserve them for later in the season?…We have so many starters with [workload] limit issues.”

          The Cardinals have LEake who eats up innings, other than that it’s all limited usage.

          1. Bluto

            I thought we were talking about starting pitching being over rated, by Friedman, not the inning thing.

            But I bet Lester Arrieta, and there number three pitcher, pitch further into a game, if they are doing ok, just like Kershaw does.

            Bluto I am saying this, because those type of pitchers, won’t want to come out, when they are pitching well.

            They take pride in pitching six, seven, or eighth innings, or more.

          2. It’s APRIL Bluto…..most teams do not let their starters go deep in April. Come May and June, you will see those guys stretched out. As for Wheeler, the Dodgers did the same thing with Stripling last year. They sent him down so he did not get over used.

          3. Read the article Michael. This isn’t me riffing, nor is it based on season/time, it’s based on a trend in Baseball!

          4. I did not get that out of the article, what I got was Freidman’s view of how he see’s value in starting pitchers. Now it may be a trend, but to me it puts way too much strain on your bullpen. Those guys are going to be overworked. I guess I am way too old school. I like to see 3 guys who are legitimate aces either on the team they are playing for or if they pitched for someone else. I like QUALITY over quantity. To me that is the biggest difference between FAZ and a lot of other GM’s. He wants a ton of arms, and he feels he needs them to get through the season. Last year that was the case. But I think it brings a lot of instability to your pitching staff when you are calling guys up and sending guys down. I like continuity. Do not get that the way he builds a staff, and if you go after depth, why keep signing guys who are coming off of or have arm or physical problems? Makes little sense to me, but I am not the team president or GM. That trade they made with the Orioles the other day to me seemed worthless. I doubt that guy ever see’s a Dodger uni, but according to the report, it was another of FAZ’s depth moves. Just like signing Masterson and Jurrjens. But the powers that be who pull the purse strings like the guys making the personnel decisions. We as fans sit here and scratch our heads and wonder what the hell just happened.

  6. In looking at the picture above of Agon missing that throw from Seager, the error was definitely on him. If he could elevate his lead bottom just six inches, it would have been an easy catch. His lack of mobility is going to start hurting the club more and more. Pure stupidity not to adopt the DH Rule asap.

    1. Did you see it live?

      I did. And they ran the video several times. It was close, could have gone either way, but it was an inaccurate throw. The ball hit the top of his glove. I agree with Orel. AGon would have had to leave the base to catch it. And I agree with MJ – he should have left the base.

      I’d like to see the DH rule too. Then we could buy Otani.

      1. Badger

        Did you hear that Trump is playing video games, again?

        The largest U.S. non nuclear bomb was dropped on, an ISIS’s tunnel complex.

        ( The Mother of All Bombs)

        1. yeah, he dropped it on some assholes who seriously needed it ISIS>…and that was no video game..that was a 21000 pound bomb…..good for him

    2. Jonah

      Maybe Agone couldn’t stay on the bag, and do that, and he wanted to get that out.

      But I agree he could have got off the base, and caught that.

      Does that make sense?

      1. Sometimes we want impossible or unreasonable things. His primary duty is to catch the ball. If it beats the runner and an out is recorded, great. But he should have caught the ball, first duty, to prevent worse things happening. As an old coot myself, I sometimes reach (unsuccessfully) for something when I should have stepped toward it. Sign of age. Time to replace Agon. But only if you replace him with someone better. And SVS isn’t it….

        1. Jonah

          That is why I said he has to get off the bag, and catch the ball, so the runner, doesn’t get in scoring position.

          But Corey had plenty of time to throw the ball, so I was suprised that he threw off line.

    3. Lack of mobility….interesting point. I’m leaning towards this concept hurting the team, along with a higher % of hits being singles to LF.

  7. From what I’ve read recently Otani won’t be a batter in MLB. He may want to give it a shot, but most scouts don’t see the bat playing well over here.

    Scouts can and have been wrong, but that’s what I’ve read.

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