The State of the Dodgers – Is It Time to Panic?

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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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29 thoughts on “The State of the Dodgers – Is It Time to Panic?

  1. Panic? I doubt I have ever looked at it like that. The holes I saw at the beginning of the year have not gone away. And the turn around they had that got them over .500 was a long time ago now. Everyone thought the Machado deal would seal the division. They did not expect him to slump like he did, nor did they expect the entire team to go into a funk at the same time. The only guys hitting this month are Turner, and Bellinger. And they can’t do it by themselves when the bullpen without Jansen implodes almost every game and then Jansen comes back and implodes twice. They have wasted good pitching from the starters and done nothing to pull out of this tailspin, the same kind of slump they went into last August. The difference is last year they were up by 20 games. No such buffer this time. I have faced reality for a long time. Although I thought getting Machado and Dozier were good moves, especially since it got Forshyte out of town, I also felt they screwed the pooch not upgrading the pen. Axford had one bad outing and 2 decent , then was lost to injury. Typical of any of FAZ’s pick ups. Machado statistically was a better hitter in the 3 hole, yet Roberts in his infinite wisdom hit him 2nd for way too long. He has picked up the strikeout bug, which seems to infect most of the Dodger lineup. He was striking out at a 23% clip in Baltimore, that is 28% here in LA. I do not think they are going to get the division unless they go on a serious winning streak, starting this weekend. 5 games against last place teams. They need to win them all.

    1. Reality TV is finally here at Dodger Stadium. They stink. Maybe they don’t stink as much as the Padres or some other basement dweller, but they stink all the same. Like Michael said, their problems have not been addressed. No leadoff batter, too many SO’s, all or nothing swingers, and a manager who knows nothing about consistency except his own consistent misreadings. Too many players that don’t contribute.

      The pitching has not been helped by the batters, this year. It was the same problem last year through long stretches of mediocrity. Occasionally, they break out, but this is a pattern that no team wants to see. The batters make both the starters and bullpen look worse in close games. Close games are where the story really lies, not in blowouts. That is where we know how good a team really is, and guess what? The Dodgers are really not very good. Panic is for emotional fans. Reality is what should be engaged in and the FO do not engage in that, they engage in numbers, financial controls, and getting blood out of stones.

  2. Baseball has become quite stale. Strategy has gone out the window. It’s just bashing now. I wish the stadiums are as big as golf courses. If you think about it home runs are a weird concept. You score by putting the “out of play”. At least in golf you have to dial it back and put it in an actual hole. Something that takes patience and skill.
    Baseball has become roid up and swing away. I’m talking to you Taylor, jt, and others..
    Baseball needs to “putt” the ball again.

    1. The results of juicing put butts back in seats. Fans loved the long ball. It’s ALWAYS about the money so since fans responded, MLB figured out how to get that done without drugs – smaller parks, harder bats, launch angle. Strikeouts? Yeah oldtimers bitch about how the game has changed but the money is flowing and that is ALL that matters. If somewhere along this path the flow of cash is interrupted, you might see change. But the Dodgers have high attendance and the second richest tv contract in the game and they aren’t going to mess with that.

      So, get jiggy with algorithms or step aside.

      1. Badger

        I don’t think the money being brought in, is necessarily because the team is hitting a lot of HRs.

        It is more about winning, then HRs, and most people buy their tickets in advance, so most didn’t think the Dodgers would boot, this last series.

        There is a good article in the LA Times from Houston Mitchell today.

        He listed what are individual squirrels are doing with two outs, when there are runners are in scoring position.

  3. Michael

    I totally agree with you about the pen.

    I didn’t even think we would get another position player, after getting Manny early in July.

    I thought they would just give a prospect away, to get rid of Forsythe.

    But taking Forsythe’s option, is the key blunder they made, because the team needed a good arm far more, then another second baseman.

    And Forsythe is all defense, but even his defense was not that great this year, and he has never performed well with the bat, since he joined this team.

    It is just amazing that they thought for about the same money they were going to pay Forsythe was more important, then signing Morrow, or another good arm for the pen.

    But we know how they like to hang on to the players they have brought to the team to long, like Hatcher.

    I thought if anything they would at least get a good arm for the pen, at the trade deadline.

    Think about that slump in August last year, and how the team is playing this year, Corey is the key bat in both of these situations when we lost, because that is when Corey had to go out for a while, after he got hurt.

    He has done a very good job, since he was put in the two position.

    And I think Turner’s wrist might be bothering him, because he was pretty quiet most of this last series.

    I hope this day off will help J.T. so they have a chance to play a good series, although I think our bats will be able to hit the Padres young pitching, if they are not over trying because of the situation.

    But Roberts must manage like this is a two game elimination tournament, for the rest of the way.

    Unfortunately we are facing two lefties in this next series, against the Padres.

    And we face Richards tonight, and as everyone knows, sometimes they knock Richards around, or they make him look like a Ace.

    Fortunately, the young Padre hitters, are much like our line up is, so as long as our pitchers watch their pitches, especially their first pitches, we should be ok.

  4. Alert the media! MJ and I actually agree on something! Well as usual, the lemmings are following each other off of the cliff as the Dodgers go over 3,000,000 in attendance again. Just cannot spend their money fast enough. Throw in the bobble head promotions and these folks will cough up that cash for low value entertainment anytime. After all, baseball is in the entertainment biz. Those so called super star athletes need those millions. Some of these guys haven’t earned their money since the Nixon administration…..note…not a political statement, just to give you a time reference to when guys actually earned their money! The Dodgers at this point in time are very much like a dysfunctional family. When they are good, they are very good. When they are bad, they make you want to rip your clothes to shreds. There is no happy medium with this team. You think they are making a run and then they fade like the last nag you bet on at Del Mar. The blame is everywhere. Players, manager, front office and the ownership. The players blame lies in the fact that a bunch are not performing to the levels expected of them. The managers blame is in the fact that there is no continuity in his lineups, which sometimes make one scratch their heads, and his in game management skills, which this year are abysmal. The front office blame is that they put together this bunch. They cut corners, did not address the obvious flaws, and did not bolster a weakened bullpen when they had the opportunity. They wanted to stay under the luxury tax so it would re-set this offseason and they did accomplish that job. They did address the black hole that was 2nd base, and they tried to pick up some offense with Machado. But he has been pedestrian at best. The ownership, well they are the ones who hired the so-called dream team front office that so far has failed to produce the World Championship that they said they were committed to winning. The off season is going to be something to see. I expect a bunch of moves, both on the roster and possible the FO itself. Ownership right now is concentrating on this subway system they are in a joint venture with.

  5. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-dodgers-biggest-problem/
    Article from Fangraphs points out just how bad the Dodgers are when it counts. Of course it exonerates everyone from responsibility but I can’t go along with that. Our players aren’t really as bad as they seem to be. To me that screams in a loud voice that the problem then must be a coaching/management caused thing. Because FAX has injected himself (themselves???) so deeply into coaching decisions, he/they must share the blame with Roberts.

    1. “With just a few more clutch hits at the right times, the current Dodgers would probably be in first place.”

      Which is precisely why I cannot bring myself to agree with those who say this is on Roberts.

      Bear, if what you say regarding cutting corners and not addressing obvious flaws is true, then how can the makeup of lineups have an effect on outcomes? What can a manager do with a flawed roster?

      This lineup has been given opportunities to win ballgames from the outset and players just have not come through. The numbers Jonah just posted from fangraphs make it abundantly clear our players have failed.

      I know when minds are made up they aren’t likely to change. I accept that. But when I read stats like the ones I just read? Lineup be damned. We suck clutch begonias from top to bottom and we have all year. From April to day before yesterday, we have not come through. Why do I think that will change between now and October? I have no answer to that question. I’m living on hope.

    2. Love that article, great find!

      Is it noise? Probably for the most part, but when you have maddeningly streaky players like Grandal/Kemp I think it accentuates the emotion.

    1. Or when Roberts lets a pitcher hit then immediately changing pitchers the next inning.
      Or running out of bench players in the 9th inning then sending in Maeda to pinch hit.
      Or rarely having anyone warmed up in a timely manner in the late innings.
      Or having Walker Bueler make 3 starts with a broken rib, then rushing him back to make a rehab start IN THE BIGS.
      Or resting players after big games.
      Or Not having Kenley pitch until the last week of spring training. Or having everyone say that he will be gone for a month, then bring him back after two weeks.
      Or having “bullpen games” when you have 10-15 viable starting options.
      Or rarely calling for stealing or bunting.
      Or slavish mentality to lefty right match-ups, regardless of splits.
      Or calling for high fastballs to fastball hitters.
      Or calling for pitchers to make pitches that run contrary to the defensive positioning they are using.

      Just a few gripes.

  6. It is one thing to say the player have failed. Almost all of them have some bright spots even in this down year. Who are we to say that a player should not get depressed when he never knows from one day to the next what position he will play or where in the batting order? Don’t you think some of the players who would be expected to hit clean-up might get depressed and let down a little when they see Kike hitting there time after time? Or after a player has a three hit day, or even several good days in a row, suddenly sees himself holding the bench down, replaced by someone hovering near the Mendoza Line? Think that might get some players thinking either the manager doesn’t know what he’s doing or that he’s not really trying to win games, that there is some other goal afoot? Quit supporting incompetent management.

    1. “Who are we to say a player should not get depressed when……”

      ME, that’s who!! A major league player that gets depressed should seek clinical help. You’re in the Major Leagues dipsh*t, stfu and go help the team win. Ridiculous Jonah.

      “Quit supporting incompetent management.” Really? Have you forgotten my take on FAZ from the very beginning? Have you forgotten the heated debates with the ultimate FAZ sycophants Timmons and catbox? I’m the original anti FAZ voice on this board.

      I think blaming Roberts is seriously taking your eye off the ball. He ain’t perfect, but managers just don’t make that big a difference. 5 games if they are really good, 5 games if they are really bad. Roberts, like most managers, is in the middle. The Dodgers problem is the Dodgers.

  7. I actually think the numbers from Houston on the LA Times today, makes a better point.

    Because he just went by batting average, and in Fangraphs it is more based on OPS.

    We have only needed singles most of the time, in these last three games.

    In the Fangraphs article it said Kike had been clutch this year, and in the Times he was one of the four or five players, at the bottom.

    And Kike has over swung more then most, until August.

    He finally stopped trying to do that, and that is only after he hit 149 for all of July.

    Batting average is a better number in these situations.

    And this team is at the bottom in batting average, and in these situations, and that is no coincidence!

    Cody is sitting today, and Kike is playing first.

    Not only can Kike cost us a game with his unfamiliarity with playing first, and his smaller stature, he can also cost us a game with his bat.

    He doesn’t have good numbers against lefties this year.

    1. MJ
      I am showing Cody at 1st and Kike in CF Mine lineup is from Rotowire and yours from the Dodger home page. I think your’s should be right

    1. Brian Dozier (R) 2B
      Justin Turner (R) 3B
      Manny Machado (R) SS
      Matt Kemp (R) RF
      Chris Taylor (R) LF
      Enrique Hernandez (R) CF
      Yasmani Grandal (S) C
      Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
      Rich Hill (L) P

  8. Here’s in article about the A’s that relates quite well to the Dodger’s current position.https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-as-changed-baseball-once-they-may-be-changing-it-again/

    A nice and easy win tonight. Turner turning it on, our heart and soul. Good to see Joc not in the leadoff spot. Made a difference. Machado masquerading as a streetcorner punk with that stupid hairdo and smirky look. Send him to finishing school. Turner just needs a good barber.

  9. It appears that the A’s are doing the same thing we’re doing, maybe just a little better at this point in the season.

    Street corner punk? Stupid hairdo? That’s a little harsh isn’t it? You don’t like a young Dominican on your lawn Jeff? I couldn’t care less about a player’s hairdo. Can he play? Machado can play, though leaving the friendly confines of the AL East did cool his bat a bit. I still have doubts he’s signed next year. I can see him in NY. The ballpark there is as hitter friendly as Camden.

    What, no talk of panic this morning?

    Good to see Yimi in a game. He’s another terrific arm when he’s right. We could use him.

    1. Makes no difference where he is from, Badger. That would be racist as you imply, but it is your implication, not mine. Nothing to do with my lawn. Don’t have one, and few white faces where I live. The stupid hairdo is pure street bravado and behavior(immature). He’s free to do as he pleases but the way we present often reflects our values and what we think about. I still want him to succeed despite this. You could care less about a player’s hairdo, but does Manny? I’d also like Turner to shave or trim his beard. Athletes with long hair and beards is all wrong, man. Silly self-images.

      N.Y. will probably beckon him. I really don’t see him as a Dodger. Maybe I’m wrong.

      1. My tendencies are similar to yours, Jeff. Manny will change as he gets older, as the rest of us have. Even Turner. His wild hair and beard is a reflection of his spirit and I dare say he wouldn’t be the same hitter with a crew cut and a shave. No matter what we think about stuff like that, we are powerless to do anything about it… And that’s a good thing…

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