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Dodgers Need a Big Game Pitcher

Yu Darvish

One of the reasons the Dodgers lost the World Series to the Astros this year was due to the lack of a big game pitcher. The definition of a big game pitcher is a veteran with postseason experience; preferably World Series experience that steps up in those must win games. A fierce competitor that can be trusted with the ball in a game 7 or an elimination game.

Guys like John Lackey, Madison Bumgarner, or Jon Lester immediately come to my mind. The Dodgers thought that Yu Darvish was the guy. But he was not, evident by his astronomical World Series ERA and poor postseason performances. Clayton Kershaw could be that guy at times, but he’s had his troubles in the postseason as well. The rest of the Dodger’s starting rotation is good, (I.E. Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, etc. ) but none of those guys can be considered big game pitchers. Again all of those guys are great pitchers, but being a big game pitcher is an entirely different thing and it can’t be quantified with a stat or formula.

The Dodgers need that guy in the rotation once the postseason starts. Since they don’t have one on their roster they’ll have to acquire one via trade or free agency. There are a few out there on the open market and some of them could be acquired for cheap.

One such name that stands out is right hander Jake Arrieta. He’s had some great individual performances over the past three seasons with the Chicago Cubs. Of course his 11-strikeout complete game shutout over the Pirates in the 2015 National League Wild Card game was one of the greatest performances of his postseason career. His 2016 World Series performance was other worldly.

Arrieta was 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his two Fall Classic starts against Cleveland. In those outings he struck out 15, walked 6 and allowed just three earned runs on five hits across 11.1 innings pitched. Overall Arrieta has a 5-3 record with a 3.08 career postseason ERA in 52.2 innings pitched. Arrieta has struck out 66 and has allowed just 6.2 hits per nine in his nine career postseason starts. The Dodgers should seriously consider bringing him into the fray.

Another intriguing option is veteran and fat man C.C. Sabathia. While he may be fatter than you can imagine, he’s been one of the better postseason performers in MLB history. He’s done it for decades with the Yankees and once again came through for the Yanks in the 2017 Postseason helping to get the Yankees to within a game of the World Series.

Back in 2009 Sabathia was the Yankees ace and won the ALCS MVP award when he posted a 1.13 ERA against the Angels. He allowed just two earned runs and struck out 12 over 16 frames in two starts during that series. In the 2012 ALDS against Baltimore he was 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA striking out 16 and walking just 3 in 17.2 innings pitched. He allowed just three earned runs in that series.

He was great in the 2017 postseason as well. He struck out 14 against three walks in 9.2 innings pitched in New York’s five game playoff win over the Indians. Sabathia posted a 0.96 ERA in two starts against Houston in the ALCS. While he did issue 7 walks, he only allowed one earned run on eight hits over 9.1 innings. Overall Sabathia is 10-6 with a 4.20 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 22 playoff starts. Sabathia may be 37-years old but he did provide the Yankees with some solid work during the regular season as well. He won 14 games, posted a 3.69 ERA and struck out 7.3 per nine over 148.2 innings pitched.

Those are just two examples of big game pitchers that have the experience and the competitive fire to come through when their clubs need them most in October. The Dodgers came so close to winning the championship in 2017. They have an extremely talented roster. If they had a Lester, or a Sabathia type of starter they would have won the World Series. Honestly it’s the one thing they lack on what could be considered one of the finest rosters in Dodger history.

The Dodgers need a big game pitcher. If they go out and get one of those guys they will without a doubt win the World Series in 2018. I guarantee it.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

104 thoughts on “Dodgers Need a Big Game Pitcher

  1. Nice post Scott!

    I agree 100% that we need someone with postseason experience. I like Kershaw Hill and Wood (too bad there postseason experience was on us). But no more Darvishes. Get someone who’s been there before without disrupting our Kershaw/Hill/Wood trio. This is one of the reasons why I want a Hamels. I’m happy with Sabathia too. I don’t care as much about handedness but that’s just me. And I also think our big test next year is going to be the Nationals (or the Cubs) and we need all the lefties we can get.

  2. By the way, I think both Hill and Wood will come through for us in 2018. They have that look. Ryu has it too.

    Kershaw and Darvish do not have that look. Just my opinion. No point debating this – this is purely subjective. I’m just saying that I would let Kershaw win the NL West and keep Hill and Wood as fresh as possible for the postseason. They know how to get hitters out when they are not having a good day.

    This whole line of thinking is also why I’d prefer not to get Archer or Gerrit Cole. They are great pitchers but we already can win a ton in the regular season, and they will cost way more than a Hamels or a Sabathia.

    Arrieta… I on the fence. Yes I like him but do we want him for 5 years $100m?

    1. YF

      You already know I agree with everything you said.

      The only reason I brought up Darvish, was because there are not many top pitchers available, and I thought maybe Darvish might give us a good deal.

      I would have to look at Hamels and Sabathia numbers, but I know Sabathia had pitched well most of the year, and he did pitch well in the post season.

      The problem with Arrieta is that Scott Boras is his agent, so you can forget about him.

      And if the Cubs are not going to sign Arrieta back, that should tell us something.

      Although Arrieta has been good at times in the post season, he has had trouble too.

      We beat him in that series against the Cubs in the 2016 season, and we didn’t have that much trouble with him.

      And I know the Met’s hit him hard in the post season too.

      I wish Wood had more stamina for the long season, because he had to go out twice, because he had that soreness in his rib cage.

      Hill and Wood both pitched well in the post season, and they both pitched better then our top guys, in the World Series.

      And Hill is nothing like McCarthy or Kazmir, because he would never gladly come out of a game, like those two other pitchers do, because he is a grinder.

      And if Anderson would have been hit in the throat like Hill was, he would have been in an ambulance on the way to the hospital!

    2. YF
      Guess I am just not up to par with baseball jargon but what is “That Look”?? I would like to know so I can be on the lookout for it.

  3. Preaching to the choir, although I disagree with Yueh about adding another lefty. We have 6 right now, and no real stopper after Kershaw although Wood did a good job. I do not count on Hill to be all that in his age 38 season. I think he is going to be worse than he was last year and the guy brings zip in the innings eater department. I do not think Arietta is going to get more than a 3 year deal from anyone, Sabathia is way over the hill. Buehler is a kid, and I expect him to pitch like one, he did not impress anyone with that performance at the end of the year. He is at least a year or more away. Ryu, who knows, he had his moments, but I want pitchers out there I can trust. Maeda is in there, I think more than Hill. Urias will be little help, and probably be in the BP to start. I see the same holes behind Kershaw that I saw last year. Wood stepping up, saved that rotation, other than his near no hitter, Hill never impressed me not once.

  4. “Big game pitcher”

    Can you get a guarantee on that purchase?

    I think we can expect more of the same from our front office. The pattern is clear. We will look for a Hill/Kazmir/Maeda/McCarthy/Anderson type starter. A 3 year 150 inning a year starter that can be had for $48 million. Looking at the names here all those guys fit, or come close to that model. I’d take any of them as a middle order rotation 25 start pitcher. Big game? I don’t know those guys are that. All of them are past their prime. Sabathia is 37, and we know if his spin rate is still there FAZ is interested. As for the idea of trading for that guy, Cole, Archer, Stroman – when have they done that? The only big name pitcher they gambled on was Darvish and that didn’t cost much and didn’t work out.

    I think the template for purchase is there. I hope they surprise me but I don’t expect it.

  5. Sabathia has been large for a very long time. What he is that is more of an issue is old. If he’s not asked to do much, he could still have value. For how long? Who knows.

    Rumors site reporting Ohtani wants to be only Japanese star on his new team. Don’t know about that one. If so, sayonara dipstick.

      1. They are both outliers. In post PED era hard throwing starting pitchers over 36 that project better than 170 innings is quite rare. Verlander peaked at age 28. Sabathia peaked 26-30. Arrieta peaked in ‘15. All could be useful, but at this point only Verlander projects as a #1. And he won’t be coming here.

        Is Maeda a star? Maybe Ohtani won’t be threatened by Maeda’s popularity.

        1. I agree with Badger on the first 85% of the post.

          I actually think Maeda’s popularity would be a plus-plus for Ohtani. It shows the engagement of the Japanese press and community, and it’s a low bar for popularity. Maeda is middling.

        2. Badger

          I was just making a point, but You would also project Kershaw as number one too, but he hasn’t been a number one, in the post season.

          I don’t consider Maeda a superstar pitcher, in American baseball.

          Sometimes it isn’t about what a starter has, in the post season, it is a mind set, or an attitude, a pitcher has.

        3. Badger

          I was talking about the post season, not the regular season.

          We need that type of pitcher, mainly for the post season!

          We have had no trouble winning the West, with the rotation we have!

          And Kershaw has went out twice, in the last two regular seasons, and we still had no trouble winning the West!

          1. We’ve won the Division 5 times but this is the first year we’ve won the LCS. We didn’t finish with a win. Rats.

            Was it the starting pitching? Yep. Was it also the pen? Yep. Was the team hitting part of the problem? Uh, yep.

            I don’t think a big deal move is needed. But it’s wanted. I admit I want Clubber Stanton. For me it’s a pick-em between all the starting pitchers we’ve discussed. I want to keep Morrow but if we can’t? – go find another one.

          2. MJ
            Using your mentality. The Dodgers should get rid of Kershaw and sign a pitcher that is only good for the post season. Seriously??? I thought you were smarter than that. You are absolutely the only person I have ever seen hate on with regularity, Kershaw who is one of the all time greats in Dodger history. Your opinion of who is good and who is not is terrible. Your credibility sucks!!

    1. That report on Ohtani is probably somewhat misinterpreted. Knowing the Japanese I think he meant he would prefer not to “steal the thunder” from another Japanese star. This means he’s making a excuse not to go to the Yankees, who has Tanaka. Or maybe here to the Dodgers, although I’m not sure Maeda is on the same level as Tanaka. And certainly not to the team that lands Darvish.

      1. Bluto

        That is true about this year, but not in the previous years!

        But Darvish was a big part of us, finally making it to the World Series.

        It is to bad, because Darvish pitched better, then all of our starters, in the two series, before the World Series.

        And if he would have pitched like he did in those two previous series, we would have won the World Series, and probably in five or six games.

      2. I hadn’t considered that but it is an interesting observation YF. The Japanese are known to be well mannered.

  6. Ah Scott Andes on pitchers.

    Is “Big Game Pitcher” the new variation on last year’s “workhorse”?

    Incredibly subjective terms that mean nothing?

  7. I agree somewhat that Kershaw has not pitched extremely well in the post season. He has had his moments. But, in order to get to the post season, you have to win during the season, and at that, Kershaw is as good as there is. Not going to argue his post season flops. But during the season he is about the best in the majors. But, he has not had that #2 guy since Greinke left. And I also agree with Badger that is has not been the DNA of THIS front office to pursue or trade for any pitcher who is going to cost them money. Yes, they offered Greinke a 5 year deal and he took AZ’s 6 year deal instead. Who can blame him for that? Made the guy very rich and secured his family’s future for his lifetime. I do not want some over the hill fat lefty like Sabathia, who would have to hit in the NL and probably would have a heart attack running to first. Hamels would be better, but what makes anyone think that Texas would even consider trading him since all I have read on many fronts is that the Rangers are looking for pitching and are even in on signing Darvish. Kershaw is the only pitcher, besides Greinke’s original Dodger contract that had the opt out, who has been signed for substantial money over a period of more than 3 years. McCarthy got 4 and that has worked out well……..NOT. I look at the free agents out there and I see some value. Of the batch, I like Arietta the best. Because the guy has a lot of bull dog in him. He is a grinder, and I think in LA his numbers would be pretty good. Darvish except for the fact he is going to get tons of money, is still a very good pitcher despite what happened in the Series. Maeda is a very serviceable guy who is about as salary friendly as they get. Perfect for FAZ. Ryu has one year left, McBrittle and Kazmir the same. And the kids are coming. But, FAZ needs to win and win this year. Who knows if Kershaw will not opt out. So this is the last year potentially you can have your in season big gun. Who becomes the ace if Kershaw goes?

  8. Some free agent dominoes starting to fall. None of the major guys yet, but Castillo just signed for 2 years with the White Sox. If I have ever had a gripe about FAZ, it is that to me they always seem to wait a long time before they go after free agents. Today is the non tender deadline. Anxious to see what the Dodgers do.

    1. Garcia got game. He’s supposed to be ready for Spring Training. He and Baez could be two howitzers out of the pen. This could be most helpful in replacing Morrow should he leave.

    2. I really like Yimi Garcia and hope he can have a great comeback year. I would trade Baez – the guys got great stats but he’s always a couple of implosions away from really losing his confidence.

  9. Mr. Norris, Badger and MJ
    Sorry to have been so angry in my last post to MJ but I am sick and tired of hearing how bad Kershaw is. I get that some people like some players for one reason or another but to continue to harp on how bad one is during a certain section of the season is over the top. Kershaw did have one outing this year in the World Series but that does not make him s&*(! I take my team very seriously and I could understand if it were a run of the mill player but any fan knows that Kershaw is an outstanding pitcher no matter when he pitches. He is not Hill , Meada, Ryu or some other average pitcher on any team. I challenge MJ to show me numbers where any pitcher in the last 10 years is better.

    1. It’s ok package and I get it. I think MJ should know you are just letting off steam. Anyways we should remember that the season is a grind and as I said in my Kershaw exit review, I think Kershaw is not a big game pitcher but he is still the most valuable player we have on the team. And I hope Kershaw learns to pitch effectively with less effort.

    2. Kershaw had one bad game in the post season. Game 5 of the World Series. The rest of his post season starts he did a decent job. He was 3-0. The one bone of contention was giving up 8 home runs in post season play. But the HR bug bit every one. Our starters put us in a hole more than once, and all the starters were guilty of that. Difference in the World Series was that the Dodger offense sputtered when it was needed most. Yes, they scored as many runs as the Astros did. But the bullpen blew leads in game 2 and game 5. Had they held the lead in any of those games, it would never have gotten to game 7. You can place blame all you like, but it does not matter because it was a team loss, and only 1 of those 4 losses is on Kershaw. Game 5.

    3. Kershaw is not bad. In actuality he has pitched better the last 3 post seasons since 2013. He has not won the so called big game, and that is the only negative you can lay on him. Me, I would have started him at home in game 7. mainly because Darvish looked so bad his first outing and Kershaw is pretty much money in the bank at Dodger Stadium. As a matter of fact, I would rather have seen Wood out there than Darvish. Kershaw is far and away the best pitcher of his generation. MJ’s rant is because she expects the ace to win every time out when the post season kicks in. Kershaw has had melt downs in previous post season games, notably against the Cardinals twice. Personally, I think she places to much blame on the ace. Nobody is perfect. Koufax was not, and I can name a bunch of other HOF starters who did not do well in a World Series or a playoff. It is hard enough in this day and age to just get to the playoffs. Especially having to beat two teams to just get to the series. That the Dodgers finally got to the series this year to then fall one game short, it is extremely disappointing to us fans. But back up a minute and think how the players themselves must feel. To come that close and miss a chance at what might be the only shot you get in your career to get a ring. That has to be very deflating. Especially to be shut down like they were in game 7. They were out of that game after the 2nd inning and never mounted any kind of threat. I am proud of how the team played. I have seen them win and lose. But they were very competitive in the series. Had they gotten a couple of breaks and made a couple of different decisions, the shoe might be on the other foot.

      1. After 5 years of trying (actually 7 years total), it appears obvious to me that we don’t have the depth behind Kershaw to survive any bad games by him in a short series.

    4. Package

      If you are talking about the post season, like everyone else here are, look at what Bumgarner and Verlander have done in the post season, as compared to Kershaw!

      And I am far from the only one here, that feels that way!

      Badger is you still have that article I sent

      1. Kershaw 6-2 over the last 3 post seasons…..Verlander has NEVER won a World Series game. Bumgarner has been very good in the post season. Apples to Oranges. Bumgarner has never had a regular season as good as Kershaw. You have to win to get there. As good as Verlander has been in his career without a good team behind him, his stats were pretty pedestrian. So in this post season Kershaw had ONE bad game and he did not cost the Dodgers the World Series. That’s on Darvish and the offense not getting the job done. Yeah, Kershaw gave up a big lead. Darvish put the Dodgers in holes twice they could not dig out of. So who is more at fault? The Dodgers were still leading when Kershaw left the game. The bull pen lost that one. Oh yeah, I forgot, MJ thinks wins are over rated………….wrong

        1. Kershaw gave up more HRs in this post season, then any other pitcher, ever has!

          And the Dodgers almost swept those first two series, so Kershaw didn’t pitch as many innings as some of the other starting pitchers!

          And he gave away four HRs, against the Dbacks, in only one game!

          1. Big deal. He did not lose the game to the D-Backs. He got the win. I care less if a pitcher gives up homers. The Dodgers only got him 3 runs in game 1 of the World Series and he WON. Run support that game was not that great. He did not have to pitch extra games because the Dodgers went 7-1 in those first two series. Great. They did not need to pitch him on short rest. He gave up the lead in game 5 and had a miserable performance. That was his only really bad game in the post season. He got the win against the D-Backs because the Dodgers scored a lot of runs, that is true, but all the HR’s he gave up to AZ were solo shots. You and I will never agree on this because I think Kershaw is not the problem and you place a lot of blame on him for the team losing. I think you do not look at the big picture. Kershaw is 7-7 in his career in the post season. 1-5 of that came in the first post seasons of his career. But the last 3 post seasons he has been better. 6-2. You have to keep your team in the game to be able to get the win. That means 5 innings of quality ball at least. Kershaw for the most part usually exceeds that 5 innings. Only Wood came close to that in the World Series. Hill, and Darvish had short outings. Putting the pressure on the bull pen. So in my mind, even if Kersh had won the game 5 start, there is no guarantee the Dodgers win the series. They would have been up 3-2. But they should have been up 2-0 when they went to Houston. To me, the BP blew that game. The first 4 hitters in the lineup had LOUSY series. After game 1 Turner was totally invisible. So to me the onus is on the offense. That’s my opinion. I just happen to disagree with yours. All the exclamation points in the world and your warped vision of Kershaw will not change it. You think you are right, I think you are wrong.

  10. Boone named the Yankee manager. Dodgers tendered contracts to all 8 of their arbitration eligible players. Notable players non tendered, Matt Adams of the Braves.

    1. Michael

      When are you going to understand pitchers wins, are depended on run support!

      Anyone who knows a thing about baseball, knows that!

      And that is why pitcher’s wins, don’t mean much anymore!

      This was Verlander’s first World Series, and he out pitched Kershaw in this World Series!

      And if Kershaw would have pitched as well, as Verlander did, we would have easily won this World Series!

      And that is the truth!

      Kershaw team, gave him two good leads, which he quickly gave away!

      And just because you say something enough times, that doesn’t make it true!

      And I am not responding to this anymore, because everyone else here, agrees with me!

      1. I just looked at the stats as I wasn’t entirely sure of the last 5 years. In no series did Kershaw win more than 1 game, his record is 7-6 and his ERA is 4.67. I am a Kershaw fan, but I say again, if he doesn’t win 2 in a 7 game series we will be hard pressed to win that series.

          1. The team has to win the games he starts. I think the 5 year history shows that. You disagree?

        1. Actually Badger, Kersh is 7-7 with a 4.35 ERA in 24 post season games. Even had he won game 5 and put the Dodgers up 3-2, there is no guarantee they win the series. Their chances would have been pretty good. They would have only needed to win 1 of the 2 at home. But the bullpen blowing game 2 changed the entire direction of the series. Had they gone into game 3 up 2-0, things would have been very different. But the 2 horrible starts by Darvish were too much to overcome. I put way more blame on his lame performance that I do on Kershaw.

      2. Then don’t It is your opinion. I happen to disagree. He did not lose that game. He gave up 6 runs and was ahead when he left. The bullpen lost the game. He got 3 runs in game one and won. That’s not great run support. He pitched 4 scoreless innings in game 7. He had one bad game. It is not his fault they lost.

  11. We got new minor league batting instructors. Anyone got info on them? One is a long time coach from the Mariners organization and the other from the Padres and Rangers. None of those teams have been offensive standouts in my recollection.

  12. ThinkBlue has a write up on our catcher situation and ranks Grandal as our third catcher. Kind of harsh. What interested me was in the comments section. We move Grandal, and see what we’ve got with Barnes and Farmer. If either of them gets injured during the season, it opens up a mid season trade to bring back AJ Ellis for next to nothing, and he retires a Dodger.

    1. Or we bring up the best of the two stud catchers we have in the minors. I think the time to trade Grandal is now.

    2. AJ is a free agent. Has not been signed by anyone. He was with Miami last year. Reports say that both the Cardinals and the Giants are trying to get Stanton to sign off on a trade. They both have submitted packages that Miami has approved. They just need Stanton’s ok.

          1. Not the loss. But again, when he doesn’t pitch well it puts extra pressure on everyone else. In this critical game both he and our All World closer sucked.

  13. And MJ, pitchers wins are not dependent on run support. A pitcher needs to hold the opponent to less runs than his team scores. You consider 3 runs great support? Sorry, I know that is what you think but I disagree. The pitcher has to be effective to win. Kershaw usually is that guy no matter what you think.

      1. The Dodgers were ahead 8-7 going into the bottom of the 7th, Morrow allowed 2 HRs totaling 4 runs but that was the dagger in the heart. Of course the Dodgers came back and we all know what happened in the bottom of the 10th.

        1. The Dodgers gave Kershaw a 4 run lead. He coughed it up in the 4th. They gave him 3 more in the 5th. He needed to come out that inning and shut Houston down. He gave up 2 more and could not finish the inning. It was a very disappointing performance. Then yes, the bullpen was lousy too. Overall it was a pathetic pitching performance from beginn to end. I don’t know why we continue to hash it out. It’s fascinating we can all look at the same thing and see something completely different. Oh well, it’s a sign of the times.

        1. Mr. Norris
          We keep hearing about that stud pitchers must win 2 games for their team to win but guess what? Verlander didn’t win a game. 0-1 with a 3.75 and 2HRs whereas Kersh was 1-0 with a 4.02 and 2 HRs. If that isn’t hatein on Kersh I don’t know what is? Kershaws bad game was what caused his ERA to be as high as it was but Verlander just couldn’t get it done. You Listening MJ???????????

          1. I didn’t see anyone say a stud pitcher has to win 2 games for their team to win. What I did see said was that for the Dodgers to win a 7 game series its important that they win the two games that Kershaw starts. You know, like they did against Chicago. Now somebody may have said that, but I didn’t see it and I don’t necessarily agree with it. It would be helpful if Kershaw DID win 2, but with our lack of great starters after Clayton he needs to give us opportunity to win in his two starts. 4.2 and 6 earned is just awful, and I’m sure even he would agree with that.

  14. And MJ, pitchers wins are not dependent on run support. A pitcher needs to hold the opponent to less runs than his team scores. You consider 3 runs great support? Sorry, I know that is what you think but I disagree. The pitcher has to be effective to win. Kershaw usually is that guy no matter what you think. The loss in game 5 went to Kenley Jansen. The bull pen blew the 7-6 lead and the 8-7 lead. Jansen gave up the game winning run with 2 outs….shades of Broxton. Runs win the game, but the pitching has to shut down the opposition,

  15. My final word on this. Wins are the bottom line. Always have been and always will be. To take importance of a pitchers win total away just because some geek thinks that they mean nothing is asinine. Pitchers have been judged on their wins and losses since this game began. Why do you think Tommy John is not a hall of fame pitcher? The guy won 288 games in the major leagues. Jim Kaat won 283 games and is not in. Why, well probably because in their era 300 wins was the bench mark number for induction. It took Bert Blyleven almost 11 years on the ballot before he got in. And he won 287 games. Same reason, short of that 300 plateau. Koufax was elected with only 165 wins, but the last 7 years he played, he was the best pitcher on the planet. Kershaw is considered by many pundits as a lock for the hall. He has 144 wins in his career. He has a chance to tie Koufax if he wins 21 next year. Different era’s, different game. But if a pitchers win total means nothing, why even keep track? There are games that the offense does nothing and the pitcher wins all by himself. Kershaw himself did that a few years ago on opening day when he shut out the Giants and hit the game winning HR. The only one of his career by the way. Baseball is a team game. You win as a team, you lose as a team. Hill lost a 10 inning 1 hitter last year. You can pin the blame on anyone if you look back over a game. We all sit here in hindsight and judge players on the performance they had in the season and the playoffs. I am totally guilty of it myself. Records are there for a reason. They are how we keep track of who is the best, and who stinks. Koufax although he had a sparkling ERA in World Series play had a pedestrian 4-3 World Series record. He was 0-1 in 59, lost that game 1-0 by the way, 2-0 in 63 2-1 in 65 and 0-1 in 66. He did not pitch in either the 55 or 56 series even though he was on the team. In this day and age the bull pen is much more important than it was back then. The bullpen then was made up of veterans who were pretty much on their way down. Occasionally a failed starter like Clem Labine would go to the BP and excel. Today they are made up of specialists. Your closer, your long man, the 7th and 8th inning guys who bridge the game to the closer. And the reason is money. The investment made in players today has all but made the complete game extinct. Guys rarely pitch 200 innings. That is why you see so many guys on this roster who if you are lucky get you into the 7th inning so your bullpen can take over. So Kershaw, who has been for the most part so dominant in the regular season, is considered the best of his era, and will probably make it to the hall. Will he win 200 games? Depends now on his health. If he can avoid long DL stints, I would say he will. The Dodgers have been very cautious with him these last 2 years. And because of that, they did not start him in game 7 this year. No starts on short rest is the new formula for Kershaw and the Dodgers. But he came in game 7 in relief and pitched 4 innings. 4 scoreless innings. Had he started and done that we might all not be sitting here moaning about losing the series. But that’s all supposition. Wins are important no matter what some stat geek thinks. They are how a starter is gauged and paid. You think Kersh would have gotten that huge contract if he had a losing record? Sorry not me. No stat geek, nor any other person who is into all that saber metric gobbledygook is going to change my mind ever.

    1. Yup, big disagreement with me on this one.

      I think runs are as useful (as in not at all useful) in evaluating pitchers as RBIs are for hitters.

      Too many external factors in both.

      1. Michael

        You can continue to try to change the history, and keep on writing what you want, but we know the numbers, and we saw every game!

        And in baseball today, they don’t focus on pitchers wins!

        That is because a pitcher has to have support from there team, to win a game!

        1. MJ, first, I am not changing history, I am quoting it. Since the game began wins by a pitcher has been an important stat in handing out contracts and evaluating pitchers. Only in the last few years with all the new Saber metric statistics has the win been devalued by the saber geeks. None of those pitchers in history would have won a single game without their hitters scoring more runs that the opposition. I write what I believe, and how I believe. I give a crap less if a guy gives up runs as long as they are less than what the other team scores. Kershaw had one bad game in the series. He did not do the job expected of him in that start. I get that. But the bullpen lost that game. Kershaw left with the lead and the BP blew it. The Dodgers then got the lead again and the bullpen blew that too. I care less what baseball focus’s on today because they look at the game from a perspective that I do not. You have your opinion and I have mine. We are each right in our own minds. I am not going to change how I view a game I have watched and followed and studied for over 60 years just because some college boy with a computer thinks his graphs and stats are the definitive way to evaluate a player. It is a TEAM game. That is the bottom line, and you and your opinion is not going to change that. You win as a team and lose as a team. The Dodgers lost the World Series. Not Kershaw. They all contributed to the loss. Kersh had a hand in losing 1 game. The other 3, 2 of which should have been wins, were not on him. You believe what you want, that is your choice, but do not come on here and try and tell me what to write and what to think. I have been watching this game and team a lot longer than you, and nothing you can say is going to change my opinion. And my opinion is and always will be that a pitchers win total and ERA are still the best way to evaluate a pitcher. End of argument.

        2. I saw every game too MJ, and I have re watched all of them more than once. I know the numbers as well as you do if not better. I think you are single minded and you see what you want to see. I also think you believe you are the final word and you think you know it all. I disagree with all your views, especially placing the blame wholly on Kershaw for that game 5 loss. I understand why, but I do not agree it was all on him. The bullpen BLEW 2 leads. They do their job and we are not even discussing this.

  16. “Had he started and done that “

    Yeah, I think that is where our split here is.
    Had he done that, 4 innings scoreless instead of 4.2 and 6 earned, we would all be slapping each other on the back instead of slapping each other in the face. (Poetic license please) With our #2 pitching like a pile of #2, Kershaw’s poor start in Game 5 has us all second guessing. He just hasn’t been great in post season the last 5 years. He’s had his moments, but great? Not in my estimation. 9 series’, 17 games started, 7-6, 4.67 ERA.

    1. Badger
      No one has ever said Kershaw pitch great in the post season. What has been said is that Kershaw should not be blamed for all the losses or most of them. No, he has had some poor games but not like he is being made out to be. It seems people just want to hate on him and he DOES NOT deserve that just because he does not win every time out.

      1. I don’t sense the hate of which you speak Pack. Starting pitchers today are paid to go 6 and give up only 3. That isn’t asking much really. The best pitchers, the ones making 30 million bones a year, are kinda expected to do better than that. Most of the time Kershaw does. When he doesn’t, it’s noticeable. I think that’s what people are talking about. It’s just observation, not hate.

        1. I do not think it is hate so much. I just think someone is trying to lay a lot of the blame at his feet. Should have done this, should have done that. Well he had one bad game. He blew a big lead and that is what everyone remembers and talks about. Me, I tend to think Dave Roberts overused his bullpen and relied too much on just 3 guys. It back fired.

        2. When, everytime the team’s needs are discussed and it is pointed out that the pitching staff needs more starting pitching it is always qualified by saying it is because Kershaw cannot be counted on in big games or post season or whatever. No other player is denounced more than Kershaw on this site by some commenters. They know who they are and they only know why and that is hate, not observation. All I can say is what goes around, comes around. Personally I think some could use a little education on how the game is played and who should be accountable, but they probably say the same thing about me.

          1. Package

            I have only heard two people here, say they don’t like a Dodger player, or use hate when talking about a Dodger player.

            But they don’t like when someone says anything about a player, they have an attachment too!

    2. I was referring to game 7 Badger. If Kersh had started game 7 instead of Darvish, we might be talking about something else entirely. But Darvish started and put them in a hole they could not dig out of. Kersh’s post season stats are 24 games, 19 starts and a 7-7 record with a 4.35 ERA. He has not been great, but the last 3 post season’s he is 6-2, ERA about 3.50 in those series. He was 3-0 this year. His ERA was 3.82. Not great true, but good.

      1. Michael

        We know his numbers, and your numbers are not correct!

        And by the way, it is far from only one person here!

        1. MJ…..straight from CK’s post season stats as posted by ESPN 2015 . He pitched in 2 games. 13.2 innings. struck out 19, walked 5 had a 1-1 record with a WHIP of 0.88 and a 2.63 ERA. By the way he only gave up 4 runs in those 2 games. 2016 he pitched in 5 games struck out 29 and walked only 4. He had a 2-1 record and a save. His ERA was 4.44 and his WHIP was 1.15. He gave up 13 runs, 12 of which were earned. 2017 He pitched in 6 games. Struck out 33, but he walked 10 guys….very unlike Kershaw. He was 3-0 with a 3.84 ERA and a WHIP of 0.94. He gave up 14 runs, all of which were earned. So, my numbers are right. I did not make them up in my mind. I took them straight from the official stats. And like I said, over the last 3 post seasons he is 6-2 ERA around 3.50…Great no, but good. He had one bad game and it is the one locked in everyone’s mind. I get that. But he did not lose the World Series. The team did. And MJ, I really do not care what you think. You believe what you like, that’s fine. Good for you. Stick to your guns, even when the stats prove you WRONG.

        1. Badger
          If your team is rested for the biggest game of the year and YOU had to give the ball to a pitcher on the Dodgers, who do you give it too??

          1. If it is at Dodgers Stadium, Kershaw. Anywhere else, a pitcher that pitches mostly soft stuff like Hill, Ryu and Wood. I don’t believe Kershaw knows how to pitch to how the game is going and the catchers aren’t going out to help him.

          2. Yueh- there is no big game anywhere ever I would rather have Hill pitch than Kershaw. Kershaw could have the flu and I’d rather have him pitch than Hill. Kershaw’s flu could have a high ankle sprain and I’d rather have him pitch than Hill. Ryu? #5 on the depth chart for a reason.

        2. I agree Badger. I have never said CK was great in the post season. He has had a few moments. But never a Koufax moment. But I never put it all on one player. That mistake has been made before, especially if it is not in a clinching game. Buckner in 86 made his error in game 6. The Red Sox still had one more shot at home and they blew it. Same with the Cubs in the Bartman game. They had one more to play, and they lost that. The Angels in the playoffs against the Red Sox..they had 2 more games and could not win 1. Happens a lot. Considering how bad he was in game 3, I would have started anyone over Darvish. But losing game 2 was the nut cracker. You have the lead in the 9th and your closer on the mound, you win that game 99 percent of the time. Changed the entire direction of the series.

  17. YF

    I have felt like that too, when it comes to a situation like that.

    I think a lot of people don’t give Ryu the credit he deserves, because of all those starts he made in Colorado this year.

    Ryu bares down well, in a tough game, and I think he will be better this year.

    I bet everyone here would have rather seen Ryu come in to pitch, then McCarthy in that second game!

    He should have never been on the World Series roster.!

    Hopefully Kershaw will take a look at himself, and go to a sports psychologist, and change his game up.

    Because at this point it has to be on his mind, every time he starts a game in the post season.

    Like I said before, the catchers don’t go out there, because Kershaw doesn’t like a catcher to go out to him.

    I know that is what AJ said.

    And Brian McCann was constantly out there, almost as much as Yadi Molina.

    It seems like the Astros pitchers, had a better game plan then our pitchers.

    I don’t know if that is better scouting or we just didn’t have as good of a game plan.

    We actually had four more hits in this series, the difference was HRs, and we were suppose to have the better pitching.

    I know we gave up way to many hits, and gave up at least one HR on first pitches.

    The Astros don’t strike out as much as other teams do, but they are still agressive hitters, when the ball is in the strike zone.

    And they did get enough hits off first pitches, that are pitchers should have adjusted on there first pitches, after a couple of times.

    And actually in this series even with Cody’s post season record for HRs, we had less strike outs, then the Astros had, in this series.

    I think the experience came in play in this series too

    Our young players, were not as experienced as the Astros young players.

    Last season was Altuve 7 major league season, and it was Springer’s fourth major league season.

    The only Astro everyday player that didn’t have a lot of experience was there third baseman, and he had some impressive at bats, for being that in experienced.

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