Monday, February 26, 2024
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Dodgers Must Stop Punting Games Away

The Dodgers returned home from a tough road trip after playing series in New York, Baltimore and Texas. They played well, winning 6 out of 9 and widened their lead in the National League West to 4 games over the Giants and Dbacks at the time. They seemed to be firing on all cylinders, and despite the pitching problems they were winning series. Since they’ve come home they’ve lost 4 out of 6 games to the Blue Jays and Reds, dropping both series. On the last road trip they mostly used a set lineup and put the best players (except Rojas) on the field. Since coming home management has regressed right back into bad habits of platoons, lefty/righty matchups and game scripting. The Dodgers were shutout today by the Reds on Sunday afternoon in a 9-0 drubbing. We’re less than 48 hours from the trade deadline and the Dodgers are back to punting away games.

The Dodgers have already made several trades, and I have liked all of them. I’ve given them all favorable reviews. They reacquired Enrique Hernandez from the Red Sox. They picked up former Dodger Joe Kelly, along with starter Lance Lynn after sending two pitching prospects (Nick Nastrini being one of them) and Trayce Thompson back to the White Sox. The best move seemed to be when the club dumped the dreadful Noah Syndergaard to the Cleveland Guardians for shortstop Amed Rosario and some cash.

I assumed that the Rosario trade meant that he would take over as the everyday shortstop sending Miguel Rojas to the bench where he belongs. But oh no, that would be far too straightforward for the Dodgers. Apparently they’re going to tinker around with a lefty/righty platoon where Rojas plays against right handers and Rosario suits up against left handers. After starting Rosario on Friday night (where he went 2 for 4), they’ve sat him two days in a row and started Rojas on Saturday and Sunday. It’s not surprising that they only scored 2 runs on Saturday and were shutout on Sunday.

I understand that Rojas is a good defensive player and Rosario is not. But Rojas is a worthless hitter and one of the worst hitters in baseball let along the worst hitting shortstop in the sport. Moving forward Rojas should never start another game for the Dodgers for the rest of the season. There is no reason barring multiple injuries to have him in the starting lineup again. NONE. If you’re going to worry about infield defense and run prevention then maybe start by putting a half decent pitching staff together. You can’t defend against balls that are flying out of the park. Now there are injuries to Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Will Smith. That means Rojas is going to be in the lineup every day, and Austin Barnes probably finds himself there too if the injury to Smith keeps him out. If that happens the Dodgers are going to lose a lot of games.

Speaking of the pitching staff, it’s been horrible this month. Michael Grove got knocked around again by the Reds in his latest start in Sunday’s loss. He allowed 3 runs in the first inning within the blink of an eye. How long can the Dodgers keep going with him? He gave up eight earned runs on ten hits over six innings. He’s got a 6.75 ERA. To add even more insult to our eyes, the Dodgers had Rojas himself pitch the top of the ninth inning. Not cute.

It’s time to stop the lineup tinkering. We can tolerate this in April and May but in July, August it’s not acceptable. It’s time to stop the game scripting. It’s time to stop the lefty/righty matchups that never work. It’s time to stop putting automatic outs in the lineup. And it’s time to focus the last couple of days before the trade deadline on acquiring reliable starting pitching. We’re in the middle of a playoff race and it’s time for the Dodgers to start acting (and playing) like a playoff team.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic
https://ladodgerreport.com

20 thoughts on “Dodgers Must Stop Punting Games Away

  1. This business of not training starting pitchers to go deep into games, in both MLB and the minors, is very concerning. I’m trying to figure out why they do this, but the only answer I can come up with is that the Dodger front office is stubborn and arrogant and refuse to budge from strategies that appear increasingly misguided. Friedman has been a solid captain of the Dodger ship but his flaws are becoming obvious. Just once I’d like to see him admit a mistake. Just once! Anyway, it’s clear to me, an average fan, that barring a miracle, this Dodger team is not World Series bound.

  2. Heh Heh, Scott. You are starting to sound like me! We all know pitching stinks. For the Dodgers to be satisfied, and declaring a 5 inning start is a quality start, is preposterous. Then to put the game in the hands of a shaky bullpen and playing the lefty/righty matchups is the icing on the cake. The opposition knows exactly what is coming. The rookies are doing just OK, but they cannot carry this team to the promised land while the veterans continue to struggle to find their grove. Mysterious injuries has not helped, either. CTDodgerfan is right…to not train your starters to dig deep and provide length is a major problem. Then to use the same pattern of relievers game after game and not train them to give at least two to three innings, is a problem. DR seems satisfied with 1-3 outs and playing matchups, which we know, rarely work out. If a pitcher is pitching well, he can get anyone out. Lefty or righty, it should not matter. It is all about feel, release point, and location. Either he has it or does not. Friedman continues to dumpster dive, instead of finding dependable, proven pitchers who make no excuses. Dodgers cannot afford to wish and hope that these tired arms can resurrect their careers and find their former selves. Look at what happened with Syndergaard? I would hate to think that the only viable option left on the table prior to the trade deadline would be the “The Cheater”, Verlander. And he would be an expensive rental, who would just jump ship next season. The Dodgers should not bow down to the scandal, employ a cheater, and let Manfred and the Ass-tros win.

    Same with hitting. If a hitter is seeing the ball well and making good contact, it should not matter which side of the mound the pitch is coming from. DR’s constant “tinkering” with the lineups and playing matchups is ludicrous. To put a .199 hitter in cleanup is ridiculous. To sit a hot player or PH for him (one who just went 2-4, hit a HR, and is making great contact), just due to lefty/righty matchup is ridiculous, especially if it is not working. These past couple of trades have just given DR more “tinkering” options.Too many “Mendozas” in the lineup. Too many holes….too many rally killers. Dodger Achilles Heels… RISP, LOB, GIDP, weak popouts and groundouts. Boy, I sound like a broken record again.

    To set the bar for your team to “just win the series”, is too low, especially if it is not working, and the team just continues to “punt games away”.

    You are right CTDodgerfan, As this team stands right now, they are definitely NOT Championship worthy.

  3. Dodgers sweep the A’s! This is exactly what I have been saying all along. You have to beat the Bottom Feeders! Even Scott would agree, “Dodgers Must Stop Punting Games Away”, and they did just that!

    A very opportune time for the Dodger pitching staff to reset, taking advantage of the 30-80 A’s. A great opportunity for veteran Lance Lynn to impress in his Dodger debut and lead by example. A great opportunity for Gonsolin and Urias to regain form, and build confidence going into their next games. An opportune time for the Dodger offense to feel good about themselves by giving their pitchers some much needed early run support and take some pressure off the bullpen.

    These are absolutely the games that the Dodgers cannot afford to “Punt Away”!

    Hopefully this will instill some energy, momentum, and team chemistry as they travel to SD to face the Padres. Time for the Dodgers to show the Pads that they are not even close to being considered a “NL West Rival”.

  4. … and punt, they did.

    Dodgers had Snell beat, and DR decided to shank a punt, pulling Grove after five K’s in two innings, bringing in Almonte, and the floodgates opened. An incomplete pass by Ferguson, fumble by Kiké.

    Dodgers blow game 2 against the Padres. A game they should have won, hand down. A dismal 1-8 RISP, 6 LOB, 10 K’s was icing on the cake.

  5. At the end of the weekend wrap-a-round series with the wannabe rivals Padres, the vote is in, Gonsolin still stinks like a box of three month old kitty litter. But as luck would have it, the Dodgers offense combined with the pathetic Padre bullpen, allowed the Dodgers to escape SD with three out of four games. Definitely not a rivalry worthy performance by the clowns just north of the border, and this was with a gapping hole in the Dodger starting rotation. How much longer can they depend on the undependable Catman?

    Now, if not for the shanked “punt” in game two, it would have been a four game sweep! Wouldn’t that have been nice Dodger Fans? Sure, three out of four is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m just sayin…

    1. Bluto, to get beat by a superior team is one thing, that I can accept, but to “punt” away games and stumble over your own feet is another. I don’t think any “true fan” wants to see ballgames to be literally thrown away like that.

      This is not the Little Leagues, where parents have to coddle their kids, and make positives out of negatives. This is supposed to be the Major Leagues, and they make way too much money to “punt” away games. That’s all I’m sayin’…

      Can’t believe I’m wasting my time with you Bluto.

  6. I put together a “best hits” of comments BlueFan4Life has made this season:

    “…the erratic, unstable pitching staff just turns this team into an average sub .500 team”
    “…Gonsolin’s and Lux’ unfortunate injuries have really crippled the Dodgers this year.”
    “There is still time. The season is young, but the Dodgers are rapidly spinning into a death spiral.”
    “Heck, they may just end up joining the ranks of the Loser’s Bracket before you know it.”
    “Management’s overly optimistic beliefs has created a deep hole which the team cannot climb out of, the hole growing deeper by the day”
    “Gnats are closing fast. Panic time yet, Dodger Fans?”
    “Too many “Mendozas” in the lineup. Too many holes….too many rally killers. Dodger Achilles Heels… RISP, LOB, GIDP, weak popouts and groundouts. Boy, I sound like a broken record again.”
    “The Dodgers may soon be joining the Rockies in the West cellar before you know it”
    “they need some drastic changes.”
    “No way to sugar coat it Bluto. Dodgers are sinking faster than the Titanic!”
    “Dodgers will soon be sleeping in the West cellar, fighting over the “baby blankie” with the Rockies.”
    “Time to pray, Dodger Fans. It does not look good.”
    “Disgusting. No other way to put it. Dodgers need to change their approach to the game. What ever they are doing right now, is just not working.”
    “Seriously Dodger Fans, you cannot expect a team like the Dodgers to represent our city in October. Please, no more excuses DR! This is totally unacceptable!”
    “Code Red, now Code Blue. May lost for remainder of season for elbow surgery. Maybe brought him back too quickly. Kershaw to IL. This is serious, Doyer Fans. Out of excuses.”
    “They. Are a disappointing menagerie of overpaid underachievers, and washed up dumpster finds.”
    “You would think that over the years of failed dumpster acquisitions, the Dodger Brass would learn a lesson and hold Friedman accountable for his error in judgment.”
    “They have waited too long, and are no longer buyers, and are now beggers, desperately seeking sympathy from its’ competitors.”

    1. What do you want from him Bluto? An apology for being a fan and wanting the Dodgers to win? For having emotions?

      Look, the Dodgers got off to a poor start. The pitching has been really bad up until a few weeks ago. They’ve done a great job overcoming all of the injuries. They’re playing great baseball. I was wrong on a few things, maybe he was too. So what? The goal is to win a championship. Hopefully they can do that. That’s what we want to see.

      Can we stop snipping at each other?

      1. Wow… Bluto, I am speechless. Words cannot express how honored I am that you would take so much of your precious time to immortalize my rants…. Did I say all that? Must be good reading! To think “You” of all people are actually reading and saving my posts is amazing. Maybe it is that old saying, “Sometimes the truth hurts!”

        Yes, the Dodgers are winning…. 12 of their last 13 games. Other than the the one loss they “punted away”, I can honestly say that they did do what they are supposed to do…“Win the games they are supposed to win”. Yes, there were a few games in there where they came close to “punting them away”, but it was good to see the other teams shank a few punts of their own for a change, and the Dodgers barely escaped with a win. After all, these opponents were just bottom feeders, and they showed why they are.

        The deadline acquisitions of Lynn, Kiké, Kelly, Yarbrough, and Rosarios have been a surprise. Seems to be exactly what the Dodgers needed to get them going, sort of like a swig of 5-Hour Energy or Red Bull! Sure makes Friedman look like a genius for now. How long will the novelty last?

        In the mean time, Muncy may hit a HR or two, but over all, the frequent cleanup batter is still tickling the Mendoza Line. Martinez slowed by chronic injuries… can he make it to October? Gonsolin still falling short of his former self. Does he need a stint at OKC to reset? Kelly sidelined with his recurring elbow issue… Ouch!

        At the end of the day, all the Dodgers have is a seemingly revived Urias. It seems that the “El Toro Weekend” may have struck Julio’s heart in a positive way…. Boy, was he on fire! They still have a questionable Kershaw, and three rookies. Offensively, they continue to struggle with RISP (did I say that?). Will this be enough to carry the Dodgers through October? The Hapless NL West continues to keep the Dodgers atop in the division standings.

        The only thing I hope for is that all my rants were in vain, and the Dodgers can bring back the World Series trophy. We are approaching the time of the season where sugar coating does not work. No more time for excuses.

        Thanks again, Bluto, for reading all my posts! At least I know someone is reading them! That’s the whole point of this Blog, isn’t it? To create conversation? Thanks Scott for providing this forum to vent my frustrations and opinions. I’m done snipping.

        Go Dodgers! …. Seriously!

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