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Dodgers Fans: Get Used to Close Games and Losses

I’m just like the rest of the blue faithful. I want the Dodgers to win every game between now and the end of the season. Then I want the Dodgers to sweep every playoff series and claim the championship without cracking a sweat.

Of course, that’s not going to happen.

I have no doubts the Dodgers are on a magical mission that will culminate with a World Series win, but as we all  know, they’re going to lose a few along the way. I accept this truth, but despite little threat to the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West, every loss hurts.

The Dodgers series against the Arizona Diamondbacks featured their first loss since June to a team not from Atlanta, and in the series finale,  a game with a comfortable 8-2 lead quickly became a nail-biting, ninth inning,  8-6 save for Kenley Jansen. I’m here to tell you folks, we are going to see more of these. Not because the Dodgers are suddenly vulnerable or getting lazy. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

The Dodgers served notice they are all in for a World Series run with the acquisition of Yu Darvish, and they are going to use the rest of the season – or at least as much as time and the standings will allow them – to clear the chaff and create the strongest postseason roster they possibly can.

The good news here is the team is not going to rest on its laurels and cruise into the playoffs. The not-so-great news is we are going to see a few losses in games the Dodgers should have won while they hold auditions to see which players will be dependable enough to make the postseason roster and starting lineup.

Clearly, the Dodgers are not going to throw games away, but their large division lead, and big score differentials like last night’s 8-2 lead, give the skipper breathing room to allow struggling bullpen pitchers extra rope to get out of jams, and slumping hitters will get extra at bats to work out the kinks in their swings.

The Dodgers have the luxury of allowing Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson extra time to work out of slumps. In Forsythe’s case, it’s paying off and he’s begun adding RBIs to his usual walks. Pederson is the best defensive center fielder on the team, but his bat is becoming a liability. When Andre Ethier returns from the DL, Pederson’s starting job will be in serious jeopardy if he’s batting then like he is now. Pederson’s getting plenty of opportunity to turn things around, like a couple of nights ago, when despite being 0 for 3,  he got a late inning, fourth at bat in a close game.  He ended the night 0 for 4.

Brock Stewart didn’t do very well as a starter, and he had a rough time out of the bullpen last night. Every pitcher has rough outings, but make no mistake, the Dodgers are keeping a keen eye on Stewart and Tony Watson. Both pitchers were recently shelled, so their leashes are shortening. The Dodgers will give them  (and others) plenty of audition time, which may result in big leads whittled away, and an occasional win transformed into a loss, or missed comebacks. But the strategy will also give players valuable experience in finding that extra something needed to turn a bad inning into a success.

Perhaps viewing those types of games through the filter of the Dodgers becoming a better team in the end will take a bit of the sting out of the team’s inevitable stumbles on the way to baseball’s crown.

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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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.

26 thoughts on “Dodgers Fans: Get Used to Close Games and Losses

  1. Joc was part of the discussion in the previous post. I assume you mean putting Ethier in RF and moving Puig to CF.

    I’m sure people here would agree with that move if Joc continues to struggle. And we all know FAZ accept less than stellar defense for more offensive punch.

    But I don’t. I like defense. Joc, like you said is the best defensive CF we have, and is it safe to say Puig is the best defensive RF in the NL. Who else? Pence No, Heyward No, Cargo No.

    But that is not the FAZ model. What’s next Ethier battling lead off?

    1. A-gone comes back and on days he starts Bellinger goes to LF, Taylor moves to 2nd, or into center. Andre is a great LH bat off the bench. He will not be ready until September anyway. But A-gone could be back in 2 weeks. By the way, Ethier was penciled in to hit leadoff last year and did so in spring before he broke his leg…. I watched 42 again last night. It is a very good movie. Harrison Ford nails Branch Rickey.

        1. Reiser is at the plate during one of the sequences. But by 47 Pete was a shadow of the player he had been. Too many encounters with the wall in Brooklyn.

    2. Ethier played a good CF actually, and Joc no longer has a range advantage over Ethier. But I think Taylor is a better option overall if we have to sit Joc.

  2. Excellent article Oscar. Very interesting take, and I agree 100%.
    I was just not bright enough think of it.

      1. Badger

        See my concerns about our bullpen is correct.

        Kenley is the only guy I trust.

        Baez has a good era, but an era, doesn’t mean as much, in the bullpen.

        And we can’t even bring Baez into a game, with runners are on base.

        And Fields who they compared Baez with, has had trouble giving up to many HRs at times, this year.

        And talking about weight, the last time I saw Ethier, he wasn’t in shape, and he was carrying a lot more weight.

    1. Good article. I think the biggest worry is just another team getting on an incandescent run.

      I like this site too

  3. There are holes. Have been since the beginning of the season, and that evaluation did not even factor in A-Gone. My point has been for a while that the bullpen is going to log a lot of innings between now and the end of the season, and the only guy I really trust down there is Jansen. Morrow has had a couple of iffy outings the last couple of times out, but he is still the only pitcher in the pen yet do give up a HR. Fields pitched great on Wednesday, but Baez got roughed up again. I have little faith in him. I still think a good LH hitter is needed off the bench and some more pop from Puig against LH would help out that weakness. But Bellinger and Seager both hit LH well….

    1. 4?

      He’s already earned his money. He only makes $7 million. He has 1.3 WAR with 100 at bats and many defensive plays left to go.

      Hill looking hittable tonight. But, it’s the Padres. He should be ok

    2. Jonah

      Bluto has insistented that Forsythe has been good lately!

      And this was against a leftie, and that is the only pitchers, he is hitting!

  4. FN-orshyte! I just don’t see it with this guy, he fails the eye test each time. WAR SHMORE, get someone else in there.

    Wow, Stripling is just amazing. When he entered the game I knew the lead would be gone before the inning ended. At least he got two outs before giving up the HR, somehow that is an improvement from previous performances. Okay, Stripling lived up to my expectations in the 8th, he gave up the lead with no outs (as I was posting this). That a boy, Stripling, you returned to form.

    1. WAR is just another one of those new-fangled stats that try to convince people that a player is better than he actually is.

      1. WAR is what they all use now. If you want to learn to speak and understand FAZmanian you’s gotsta start with the wins above replacement.

        “People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying ballplayers. Your goal should be to buy wins. And to buy wins you must buy runs”. Peter Brand – Moneyball.

        That was 15 years ago. It’s even truer now. The math evolves. By the way, you may remember that team won 20 in a row, 103 on the season and lost a 5 game series to the Twins. Teams using the formula have now won, but only 1 lower budget team has, and that team is now spending $157mm. There is a lot of money in MLB.

        1. Here’s a link that explains how they compute WAR for position players:
          It is done differently for pitchers. Once again, I THINK there is a lot of discretionary judgement in the computation, enough that you can influence its outcome higher or lower, depending on your personal opinion of the player. Baseball is a game we decide to like or not to like, we do the same with the players. I think the simple stats we’ve used for a hundred years maybe tell me all I want and need to know about a player. As many of the people still around use “the eye test” to evaluate players, I can go along with that. I shall simply disregard those who quote “WAR” and other obscure SABR stats to overly complicate a simple lovely game.
          Bottom line, Forsythe could be improved upon by at least 4 players on the 25 man roster and Joc isn’t much better.

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