Friday, December 1, 2023
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Chase Utley Saves The Season

Chase Utley

After the Dodgers allowed a close game to get away from them yesterday in Game 3 of the NLDS to fall behind 2-1 to the Washington Nationals.  The big question leading up to today’s game was whether the Dodgers should go with Clayton Kershaw on short rest or Julio Urias.  The Dodgers with their backs against the wall decided to go with Kershaw.  This was an elimination game for the Dodgers and boy was it stressful.

The game started off bad as Trea Turner singled and Bryce Harper walked.  Then Daniel Murphy singled in Turner and the Nationals took a 1-0 lead.  With two outs in the bottom of the first, Justin Turner was hit by pitch by Nationals starter Joe Ross, followed by a two run shot by Adrian Gonzalez who has been cold in this series to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the third Trea Turner singled again and was brought in by a Daniel Murphy sac fly to tie the score at 2-2.  In the bottom of third, Kershaw helped his own cause by having a leadoff double.  With two outs, Justin Turner then singled him home for a 3-2 lead.  Ross then loaded the bases and hit Joc Pederson and the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead.  That was the end of the night for Joe Ross.  Yasmani Grandal then came up with the bases loaded again and grounded out.

Once again with two outs in bottom of the fifth, Josh Reddick reached on an infield hit.  Joc Pederson then doubled him in to collect his second RBI of the day and give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead which at the time seemed safe.  Then the second guessing began as Dave Roberts left Kershaw in too long.  The Dodgers finally got to the Nationals bullpen.

The Dodgers blew a 5-2 lead in the 7th inning as the home plate umpire squeezed Kershaw on some close calls.  The Nationals tied the game 5-5 on a Dodger nemesis by the name of Daniel Murphy who singled in two runs to tie the game.  It was his fourth RBI of the day.  The festive mood of the stadium quickly turned into gloom expecting the loss to come.  At this point it was gut check time for the Dodgers as their season was hanging by the skin of their teeth.

In the bottom of the eighth the Dodgers showed the grit they have had all season.  Andrew Toles with two out was hit by pitch.  Andre Ethier made his first appearance of the series and hit a clutch single to move Toles to 2nd.  Then with two strikes Chase Utley saved the day and the season with a single to bring in Toles for 6-5 lead.  It was Utley’s only hit of the day and it was huge.


Kenley Jansen then came in and redeemed himself from yesterdays horrible outing to get the save and preserve the 6-5 win.

NLDS Game 4 series tied 2-2

Dodgers 6 7 0

Nationals 5 8 0

W: J. Blanton (1-0)

L: B. Treinen (1-1)

S: K. Jansen (2)

HR Gonzalez 1

So the Dodgers force a game 5 on Thursday in the Nation’s capital. Rich Hill will be going for the Dodgers trying to get out of the first round. The Dodgers still have their backs against the wall and will be on the road against Max Scherzer. They will have to overcome this hurdle to move on. But for today we can rest a little easy.

James Moya

Hi I’m James Moya. I am an avid Dodgers fan. I graduated Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Communications. I used to freelance at the San Bernardino Sun. I’m excited about this opportunity to write for LA Dodger Report to gain experience. I’m a straight shooter on my opinions and I hope to get some good conversations going. My dream has always been to report on the Dodgers because Baseball is the National Past-time. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

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James Moya
Hi I’m James Moya. I am an avid Dodgers fan. I graduated Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Communications. I used to freelance at the San Bernardino Sun. I’m excited about this opportunity to write for LA Dodger Report to gain experience. I’m a straight shooter on my opinions and I hope to get some good conversations going. My dream has always been to report on the Dodgers because Baseball is the National Past-time. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

80 thoughts on “Chase Utley Saves The Season

    1. Nope…baseball is an infuriating game. The Giants barely squeak in the playoffs and are on the verge of tying up the best team in baseball over the last 162 games.

      That’s why the Dodgers have a chance..a good chance. With the playoffs you just never know.

  1. The Dodgers did what they had to do, start Kershaw and force another game. It was the logical move. Dodger bats barely answered the call in spite of Murphy tying the game. It’s true we have grit and eek out wins. Personally, I’d like to see a little domination! Kershaw failed at this. Washington is a good club.

    Andre Ethier looks anything but washed up. I wouldn’t be uncomfortable with him starting. Grandal continues his slump, but his catching is responsible for Kershaw’s 11 SO’s (he he). Hill will have to enter the zone to get us to the next round. He won’t do it unless the bats wake up.

    1. My only thought was “ok, maybe Werth will have more trouble with Baez fastball than Blanton’s sinker”

      I would rather have seen Blanton there, but I also would have gone to Baez to start the 7th and thanked Kersh for a great 6. And that was my call when Kersh batting in the bottom of the 6th, instead of being pinch hit for

      1. Bobby
        Even after Kershaw went up to bat, and got on base,that didn’t help matters either.

        I would have agree with your insight, because I really didn’t like Kershaw getting that at bat.

        Kershaw did what we needed, and the bullpen has done it all year.

        This game wasn’t about helping Kershaw’s rep in the post season.

        This was an elimination game, and when Kershaw was out, this team played there hearts out, and won a lot of games, without Kershaw.

        This was about the team getting a win, and a win is good for Kershaw too.

        We were three runs up, not one run, so I would trust the bullpen with a three run lead.

    1. ya, some of Kersh’ playoff numbers have been hurt by the bullpen not helping him out with runners on base.

      Last year, it was Baez who gave up that 2 run single to David Wright in game 1; those 2 runs were charged to Kersh. Today, the 3 runs in the 7th. Oh well, we won.

      And SF bullpen now trying to make it fun

      1. He also gave up the HR to Holiday in game 1 two years ago.

        It’s weird but of all the “bad” things that could have happened to Baez, this one was a blessing: one pitch only , hit batter, dead ball, one run scored, out of there!

        1. Artieboy

          I remember that HR, wasn’t it in the game, that we were ahead by a lot, and once again, the seventh inning, brought Kershaw down.

      2. Bobby

        I hope Roberts learned from that inning, because I can’t take anymore of those seventh innings, with Kershaw pitching.

        It is still the right move to go to the pen after, the first hitter gets on base.

        Baez isn’t good with to many runners on base, and most relievers, don’t like to go into a bases loaded situation.

        Plus allowing that to go on to long, allowed Murphy to come up to bat, and that is something, you can’t do.

        Murphy is to good a hitter, to let him come up at all, let alone with the bases loaded.

        And Kershaw coming back in three days, and still getting back to feeling 100 percent.

        But Kershaw did a great job for the first six innings, especially after that first inning.

    1. Artieboy

      Everyone wants to protect Bochy, with his decision to take Moore out of that game, because Moore’s pitch count was 120.

      But Bochy allowed Moore to throw I believe it was 135 pitches, when Moore was pitching that no hitter.

      What is more important?

      Moore pitching a no hitter, or winning a big elimination game?

      And the Giant’s bullpen, and especially there closer’s, haven’t been that good this year, so Bochy letting Moore stay in that game, probably wouldn’t have been questioned as much.

      1. Just read the comments section of the latest Brisbee article on the McCovey Chronicles. Ah, the bitter gnashing of teeth and wailing is delicious to read, but Bochy in particular is getting hammered in there.

  2. I was hoping the Cubs would win in 5 so they would burn Lester and couldn’t set their rotation against the Dodgers if we win.

    Poor job by Bochy, but it makes you appreciate Kenley. The Vagiants 9th innings have been incredibly disastrous all season.

    1. Hawkeye

      I think if that series went back to Chicago, I don’t think the Cubs would have won.

      Just like the Dodgers, the Cubs had a hard time hitting Cueto, with him messing up hitters timing, with his different deliveries.

  3. Great Day!

    The hated ones lose in a heart breaking fashion (for them). There is going to be lots of second guessing going on in SF. I know I have many questions for the Midget fans I talk with.

    And of course, It’s a Great Day, any day, the Dodgers win an elimination game. Let’s see which Dodger players get it done in game five. I have a good feeling about Hill, Seager, Reddick, Grandal, Pederson, Toles and Puig.

    Go Dodgers!

    1. Boxout

      All of those cocky Giant trolls, and there fans, deserved that, after always counting there chickens, before they are hatched.

    2. Boxout

      I have to give you a hard time, Reddick really?

      I guess I have to give you credit, for pushing your agenda, to the end.

  4. All I gotta say is that we will be doing things the hard way this year, with maximum effort.

    But no more Baez in game 5 please.

    And Rich Hill, let’s see what you’ve got. I was not impressed with him in game 2, as I thought his fastball sucked and he was getting lucky until he finally got burned, but he’s got another chance. When he’s on, you see foul outs and a few ground outs. When all of his outs are Ks and flyballs, you’ve gotta pull him.

  5. And I hope all the kids (and GRANDALL!!! You’re killing me!!) look at what happened in the eighth. In crunch time, just go with the pitch. Ethier has no problem just tapping that ball into the gap. Clutch is 99% preparation and 1% staying in the moment and believing in the preparation.

  6. It’s interesting that in the past offseason, and then during the season, the Giants spent big to improve their rotation. Going forward, here’s what they have:

    Matt Cain – Owed $28 million for next year and buy out of 2018
    Johnny Cueto – Owed $113 million the next 5 years
    Jeff Samardjia – Owed $79 million over the next 4 years
    Madison Bumgarner – Owed $11.7 million in 2017, then they will have to cough up a Greinke-type deal for him.
    Matt Moore – Owed $26 million the next 3 years

    That’s $258 million they owe their starting rotation. They tried to build a team around the starters and ended up blowing 31 saves, including last night. The lesson might be, that no matter how good your rotation is, your bullpen still has to save you. Conversely, no matter how bad your starters are, your bullpen can save you ass! That was the direction the Dodgers took and it has already proved superior to the Giants.

    Going forward, the Dodgers owe this to their starters:

    Clayton Kershaw – 4 years/$140 million
    Brandon McCarthy – 2 years/$23 million
    Scott Kazmir – 2 years/$35 million
    Hyun-Jun Ryu – $8 million

    That’s $206 million, which assumes Kershaw stays around and doesn’t opt out. So it’s likely lower or higher. It’s possible that McCarthy, Kazmir and Ryu won’t pitch next year. In the last years of big deals, the chances of a pitcher being productive are not good. Matt Cain has been paid $20+ million for several years and has not been relevant. The Giants have one more year of it. Cueto and The Shark will likely fall into that class too.

    Next year, Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Walker Buehler, Brock Stewart, Ross Stripling, Alex Wood, Josh Sborz, Chase De Jong and Trevor Oaks will be vying for spots in the rotation. Of course, McCarthy, Ryu and KAZ could all come back or one might come back and Rich Hill could be signed, but I love the flexibility the Dodgers have going forward.

    The Giants suck – enter into your search bar and you get the LA Dodgers website. Do the same for and you get some stupid football team. They are nobody! See what I am saying? They suck!

    In the first AFL Game of the year for the Desert Dogs, Alex Verdugo and Willie Calhoun were both 0-3 while Cody Bellinger was 2-2 with a Walk, Double and RBI. He played 1B. Corey Cropping pitched 1 inning, gave up a hit and 1 unearned run while striking out 2.

    Also on that team are Chris Anderson, Ralston Cash, Joe Broussard and Tim Locastro.

    Would the Dodgers have the guts to trade Puig, Ethier and Gonzalez? A package might entice some teams. Bellinger is ready, I think.

    1. Mark

      The Giants have made some bad deals with pitchers, but I still don’t think you are making your case, if we are losing 58 million dollars, not to mention Anderson’s money.

      Isn’t it better to try to not lose money, and get pitchers, are one pitcher, that can make there starts, and earn there money?

      We did sign Greinke, and he did earn his money, and made most of his starts.

    2. Zero point zero chance that Buehler is vying for a roster spot next year.

      A package of Ethier and Gonzalez has what to entice anyone? Ethier and 5&10 rights, so that’s a major depression on value. Gonzalez is on the wrong side of the 30, his splits are dreadful and going worse. Did I mention either of their contracts?

      REally would be surprised if Bellinger were on the 40, but I could be wrong.

  7. I like Chase Utley and maybe he could be a utilityman next year. However, I would sure like to see A-Gon, Andre, Puig and Howie traded.

    This is my lineup:

    1. Toles LF
    2. Hernandez 2B
    3. Seager SS
    4. Turner 3B (if they move the above players, they can overpay for JT if necessary)
    5. Bellinger 1B
    6. Carlos Gomez RF (worth a risk as a free agent if we could get him for 2-3 years/$15 million per year)
    7. Pederson CF
    8. Grandal C

    Puig, Kendrick, Ethier and A-Gon could net some really good prospects.

    1. Mark

      Isn’t Grandal, Gomez, Bellinger, and although Joc has gotten better this year, aren’t all of these hitters, all or nothing type of hitters?

      I just think there are not enough to hitters in this line up, that will make consistent contact, and have a decent batting average, in order to have a more productive offense.

      I like the young players, but wouldn’t even Desmond be better to have, if he can play rightfield, instead of Gomez?

      I know Desmond, was a shortstop, but I think he might make a little more contact, then Gomez.

      But I could be wrong, I have not looked at Desmond’s stats, but I do know he is good for twenty HRs a year, and he will still probaby not be overly expensive.

    2. Responded to this above, but now you added Kendrick to the mix. Laughably.

      Kendrick was on the market for a draft pick last year and got bupkes.

      He’s a year older.

      He has as much value as Ethier (with his rights) and Gonzalez (with his split and contract). That is the three of them together could maybe get Kemp. Don’t delude yourself with a prospect, much less the plural.

  8. Mark, I totally agree. I just don’t see much of a market for AGon, Kendrick, and
    Ethier. Mainly because of contracts and declining skills. Puig may get some interest.
    I am just waiting for 2018 when all the crap contracts and players go away….

  9. Is Bellinger ready? He’s 21. I had him penciled in for 2018. Will FAZ be willing to trade a stalwart pro to give the job to a 21 year old with zero experience? Does that sound like them? I don’t think so. But Bum is right – if they win it this year they will likely be more willing to risk it. They do love risk.

    Yes, SF has paid their starting pitching more than we’ve paid ours. And though they lost, their starting pitching currently ranks 3rd out of 10 in post season pitching stats with a 2.87 ERA. Dodgers? 9th at 5.4. Regular season? SF 5th in ERA, 3rd in IP. Dodgers 6th and 29th. SF starting pitching looks pretty good. Certainly better than ours.

    And, hung up on money again? Neither the giants nor the Dodgers are hurting for money. Both will do what they feel they need to do to take the next step.

    The best team won that SF Chicago series. Will the best team win in Washington? I have those teams about even, edge to Nats. 538 has Washington early favorite by quite a bit – 58%. Scherzer vs. The Blister Boy. Of course they would be favored.

    I too think we have a chance.

    1. Badger: “Yes, SF has paid their starting pitching more than we’ve paid ours. And though they lost, their starting pitching currently ranks 3rd out of 10 in post season pitching stats with a 2.87 ERA. Dodgers? 9th at 5.4. Regular season? SF 5th in ERA, 3rd in IP. Dodgers 6th and 29th. SF starting pitching looks pretty good. Certainly better than ours.”

      Yesterday’s news. Midget 2016 plan is FINISHED. All that counts now is their 2017 plan. Dodger starters next year will be young and improving. Midget starters old, expensive and fading.

      Badger: “And, hung up on money again?”

      Gotta break it to you again huh? Everybody is hung up on THEIR money. Billionaires on down. FAZ and the Midget moves will be HUGELY effected by MONEY.

      1. Billionaires hung up on money is laughable. For fans to buy into it as a “problem” is laughably absurd. That was my point.

        Why do you tell me the giants stats are “yesterday’s news” but don’t tell Mark, the guy who brought the point up in the first place it’s yesterday’s news?

        Never mind. I already know why. Moving on…..

        1. The billionaires may be highly leveraged. I read an article from LA Weekly about Mark Walter and Secure Benefits. Other insurance companies can’t seem to figure out how they can offer such high payouts. Obviously they are counting on making a lot of money off the Dodgers.

          1. Snider

            I just thought about something, if we win tomorrow, and end of facing the Cubs, who is our owner going to want to win?

    2. Badger

      I wouldn’t mind having Cueto, pitching in the post season for us, with his opt out, after next year.

      If we do go farther, I am concerned enough with Maeda, that I think Stewart and Urias, need to start pitching in simulated games, just in case Maeda can’t do it.

      After watching Maeda pitch his last three starts, I think he might have something wrong with him.

      Because he hasn’t looked the same at all, and remember Alanna asked Maeda if he is healthy, after his last game.

        1. Ryu is McCarthy is Anderson is Kazmir.

          They should be counted on for depth.

          Kasten is loathe to spend term on pitchers over 30. Cueto is and will be.

          Kershaw, Urias, Maeda have locked down spots. All reports are the team and Front Office love Hill. If he’s back, then you have 4/5th locked down. The depth in sentence one and Brock, De Leon (who I’m much more down on than others) to staff the rotation.

          1. They loathe to sign pitchers over30? McCarthy, Kazmir, Blanton, Fields, Hill – who am I missing? Others on the staff are getting close, including Kershaw. I think they are looking for guys that age, to get on the cheap and hope they can get innings out of them.

            I agree with your first line. We’ve got a lot of arms that are huge risks.

          2. Badger my line was “loathe to spend term on pitchers over 30”

            Not sure how you got from there to “sign pitchers over 30”

          3. Bluto
            Cueto would be a good signing, only if he opts out, after next year.

            I didn’t want Cueto, because he has been hurt in the past, and didn’t do well, when he was on the Royals.

            But Dodgerpatch

            Convince me, with Cueto’s opt out.

            I thought Kazmir’s opt out was a joke.

            Because he isn’t going to leave this guaranteed contract.

            His pitching has been sketchie, in the last few years, especially in the second half of the season.

          4. MJ,

            I’m not spouting MY opinion on Cueto, I’m just saying that I’ve read Kasten is loathe to sign pitchers over 30 to long term deals.

            Obviously they made an offer to Greinke, so this isn’t dogma, but his leanings.

          5. Never heard the phrase “spend term” bluto. Should have asked. I guess it means spend long term.

          6. Badger.

            Ha! Looking back, I may have made that term up.

            I did mean, as you figured, spend long term (sign for many years.)

  10. Nice comeback…..thank you Cubbies for putting an end to Dodger fans worst nightmare……another SF title run. One thing is for certain on Thursday. It will be all hands on deck. Me, I start Stripling. I have zero confidence in El Blisters. Stripling for 3, then Urias, and then the pen. But they still need to jump on Scherzer. I drop Grandal to the 8 hole, put Toles in the 2 hole, drop Seager to five. so it would be, Utley, Toles, Turner, Gonzo, Seager, Ethier, Pederson, Grandal and the pitchers spot. I give Andre the start over Reddick…..

    1. I leave my best hitter in the two hole. Same lineup as Game 1 for me.

      Agree “All Hands on Deck”. I start Hill, but, he is on short leash. I think he will do well and I like our chances. Even that site Badger listed above gives Dodgers a 42% chance of winning.

      Go Dodgers!

    2. Michael

      It is so good that the Cubbies, stopped all of this even year stuff, it got so nauseating!

      I like Ethier hitting, but I am concerned about him playing in the outfield, because he still isn’t at 100 percent.

      I think the one time I saw him in the outfield, he didn’t move as well, as he can, but if that is fine, I have no problem with Ethier playing.

      Ethier has more patience at the plate, and he slows the game down, and makes more contact, and doesn’t try to do to much, when he is up to bat.

  11. Come to think of it. I sit Grandal and play Chooch. He has a lot of playoff experience and could really bring knowledge of DC’s lineup behind the dish, and he has a HR in this series and Grandal has not done crap since the first game….

  12. My initial thought would be Halloween Kids have a pretty good staff next year…. Most of their SP’s ate innings all season and handed off a lot winnable games to the bullpen… I am pretty sure their blown saves in the second half is in the record books.. As much as I hope that continues I doubt that it will.. So it looks to me like they are a few BP additions from being solid in 17. The back end of those contracts will not end well but I think they will be around in 17. I hate talking about them because of my dislike for everything black and orange… That and the fact that they somehow win by figuring this stuff out..

    I am hoping Hill has the game of his life!!

  13. Maybe Stripling for 3 (his maximum effective range) Blister Boy for 3 then bullpen committee to the final out.

    I think it will be Grandal agin Scherzer. Blind squirrel approach. He could run into one from the left side.

    SF will address their bullpen. You can count on that.

    1. What was amazing with Kershaw yesterday, was his ten strike outs, without him having his slider, in his arsenal.

      Kershaw wasn’t able to get his slider working, so he abandoned it, and went with his fastball, and his curve ball.

      1. I found a lot of things Kershaw did yesterday amazing. Leaving him in too long hadn’t worked in past playoffs, but this time, knowing he has had back issues? Freakin’ incredible in my book. I hope he’s ok.

        1. Badger
          I don’t think Kershaw has back problems now.

          And he has said, that he never wants to get injured again, and sit on the bench, and not being able to help the team.

          He has done the right exercises, to fix the weakness he had, in his oblique area, to prevent any further injuries, and back problems.

          His heriated disc was found and treated much sooner, then anyone else, especially a middle aged unpro athlete.

          1. How old are you MJ? Just curious. Speaking as guy who has been around these issues for decades, I speak from experience – once you have a back scroinge on you, it’s never quite the same.

  14. 1. It’s always about the money. Write this down: The payroll will go down again next year. It was $291 Million Last year. It is about $30 million less this year and it will likely come down another $30 million next year as the youth movement is in full swing. They are not going to keep paying $30 to $50 million is luxury tax either.

    2. For the record, Rich Hill is 12-5 this year with a 2.12 ERA. In 110 Innings, he has allowed 77 hits and struck out 129. Including the HR in his last game, he has only allowed 5 total HR’s this year. It’s a no-brainer – he has to start and in all likelihood, he will do well. Out of 20 starts he only has 3 games in which he allowed more than 3 runs! I can’t imagine why we should be very happy to have him start. This is why FAZ gave up 3 good prospects. Rich Hill: earn your next contract!

    1. Mark
      Hill has to start, just like Kershaw had to start that game yesterday.

      How well Hill pitches, will determine a lot about what Hill will get next year.

      And we find out if the front office’s trade, was worth those three pitching prospects, and having to take Reddick in that trade.

      Because unless Reddick has a game winning hit or HR, in this next game, he sure hasn’t been worth much.

      1. Badger

        I had a back surgery for a heriated disc when I was about thirty five, and I am about fifty five.

        I have always kept my weight down, and I have always rode a stationary bike, and it isn’t a recumbent bike either.

        And I have a bunch a metal in my hip, and my pelvis.

    2. I don’t know that anyone really knows for sure the financial pressure on the Dodgers to bring the payroll level down to sane levels, but just basic economics tell us that everyone operates under the restrictions of scarcity of resources. There is a limit to everything. Even our own government, which can literally print money and tax at will has spending limits (although it can be argued not much).

      If money were truly not any impediment to this ownership or front office, Greinke would be pitching tomorrow.

    3. According to Cots, SF payroll was $172,086,610, not showing the 40. Dodgers 25 was $249,781, 668. Also didn’t show the 40. You say they will go down. Maybe. I guess we’ll see. It’s deceptive with how much we are spending on the international market.

      I do agree it’s not possible for us to determine the real financial numbers. We never see them. And we never will. Billionaire’s can write off a million and pay NO income tax and even those in the public theater do not have to release tax returns. I find it impossible to believe the Dodgers ownership is actually losing money. Oh, they may SAY they are, but just like McFuknuts, they could declare bankruptcy then make a billion on the sale of the team.

  15. This is what we signed him for. He gets a start Game 5 NLDS… no pitch count…. Future earnings on the line…. Wow…. I think the guy steps up to the challenge!!

    1. And it’ll be fun to see if he can. A lot is on the line with his performance, including what the Dodgers paid in prospects for this very game. This is why they got him.

    2. Jake
      I sure hope he does pitch a great game and we win.

      If that happens, Hill was worth that trade.

      Because this would be the first time we have advance to the National League series, since 2013 I think.

      And even if we don’t win that series, Corey and Joc, will pick up some important post season experience, and maybe Urias, or Stewart will too.

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