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First Place Dodgers Go For Sweep, Sad Sack Giants Keep Sucking

Ross Stripling

You just want to scream from the mountain tops. I know you do, so go ahead and let it out. The Dodgers are now firmly entrenched in first place, a game and a half ahead of the crappy Giants. It feels good waking up every day and going to work knowing that the Dodgers are in first place and Giants fans are sad. Revel in it. The birds are singing and the sky is clear. Everything is so much better.

Celebrate good times Dodger fans! Thanks to two home runs from Adrian Gonzalez and some decent pitching from Scott Kazmir and company the boys in blue have extended their lead in the NL West to a full game and a half over the slumping Giants. The Giants have been playing like absolute hot garbage and are now 9-21 since the all-star break after their latest loss to the Pirates.

The Dodgers have now won 7 of their last 10 games and are now a season high 15 games above .500. The Dodgers are doing it all with little to no starting pitching. The Dodgers will have to figure out their rotation eventually. For now just enjoy the good fortune. It may not be traditional, but the Dodgers are winning.

Dodgers @ Philadelphia

Ross Stripling-3-4 vs. Jerad Eickhoff-8-12

Game Time – 4:10 PM – TV-SNLA

Tonight they will go for the series sweep against the Phillies. The city of Philadelphia has been very brotherly to the Dodgers. Ross Stripling will get the call tonight as the Phillies will counter with right hander Jerad Eickhoff.

Stripling is filling in for the injured Rich Hill. This will be his eleventh starts of the season and fifteenth appearance. In his last start against the Pirates he got banged around by allowing 5 earned runs on 6 hits over 7 frames. Overall he is 3-4 with a 4.07 ERA in 66.1 innings pitched. Stripling has allowed 8.1 hits per nine and struck out 48 while posting a 1.2 WHIP. He has some pretty big reverse splits. He’s allowed a .746 OPS against right handers and a .559 OPS to left handed hitters. Stripling has been much better as a reliever than a starter.

As starter – 2-4 4.61 ERA – 1.2 WHIP

As a reliever – 1-0 1.54 ERA – 0.8 WHIP

The Phillies will give the ball to 26-year old Evansville, Indiana native Jerad Eickhoff. The second year starter was originally drafted by the Rangers in the eleventh round of the 2011 draft. He was traded to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels deal last year.

In his first season Eickhoff exceeded expectations by tossing 51 innings of 2.65 ERA. This season he has pitched well in spurts but has allowed too many base runners. He’s 8-12 with a 3.83 ERA in 24 starts. He’s whiffed 120 and walked 22 while allowing 9.0 hits per nine innings. Home runs have been a problem as well. Eickhoff has given up 19 long balls.

Eickhoff has never faced the Dodgers and he has a 2.79 ERA at Citizen’s Bank Park. According to the books Eickhoff is a fastball, Curve and changeup guy. They say he is a fly ball pitcher which explains why he has a problem with home runs.

The Dodgers have lined up their rotation for the rest of the weekend. Bud Norris will be activated from the disabled list and make his return on Friday night’s series opener in Cincinnati. Right hander Tim Adleman will counter Norris in game 1. Brett Anderson will start on Saturday night as the Reds will give the ball to left hander Brandon Finnegan. Monday afternoon’s series finale is still undecided. The Reds will start big right hander Anthony DeSclafani.

National League West Standings

Revel in the standings. Take a look and enjoy. This epic Giants collapse has been a joy to watch. Drink it in guys. Smell it. Taste it. The broom depot opens again today with another discount. Type in the promo code “Giantscollapse” and receive 15% off all of your Dodger sweep merchandise.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

40 thoughts on “First Place Dodgers Go For Sweep, Sad Sack Giants Keep Sucking

  1. Apropos of the ongoing dialog regarding the Braintrust, we have today’s article “The Honeymoon Phase is Over for the New-School General Managers”. (see link below)

    A representative sample:

    “Every year at certain points of the season, Mike Bates runs a GM confidence poll in which fans of every major league team are asked—in very simple terms—how confident they are in their favorite team’s front office.

    “From last season, three front offices sit atop—or perhaps abottom—the list of teams by their difference in approval from last year’s poll. Put more simply, these teams have fallen in approval more than any other team in the last calendar year. They are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Rays.

    “Falling the furthest, the Dodgers have gone from a 92 percent approval, to a 68 percent approval. Not only are the new Dodgers brain trust new on the block, they were also considered among the smartest minds in baseball not that long ago. …

    “The moves that likely stand out to fans likely revolve around signing injury-prone pitchers. During his first season with the Dodgers, the Brett Anderson signing made Friedman and Zaidi look like geniuses. Since then, Anderson has pitched just one inning….”

    Most Dodger fans distrust the Braintrust. They sign the injury prone (see previous post) and don’t spend except on roster churn and Cubans.

    1. Well, if fans think it, it has to be true. NOT!

      Fan is short for fanatic and they are almost totally irrational.

      Here we sit in first place and people are still bitching!


    2. I have a few comments and must disagree with some of your conclusions related to the article.

      First, while a drop in approval of 24% from 92% to 68% is substantial, contrary to what you said, “Most Dodger fans distrust the Braintrust”, actually, 68%, a majority approve of FAZ.

      Second, while the author, hypothesizes, “The moves that likely stand out to fans likely revolve around signing injury-prone pitchers”. The article goes on to state, “According to the poll result, many Dodgers’ fans were especially upset at the lack of spending the team has done”.

      Additionally the article states, “In all likelihood, the payroll concerns were likely inherited by the team’s new braintrust. When they were hired, the Dodgers had a payroll of around $260 million. After trading away Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and Dee Gordon, the Dodgers have shed roughly $10 million in total payroll—no easy task. It appears then that the small market wisdom of Friedman and Zaidi was brought in for economic reasons as well. Unfortunately for them, cutting payroll also means not ‘winning’ an offseason, and therefore winning over a fanbase”.

      Third, I would, and maybe 68% of other Dodger fans would, rather see management field a winning team during the season than “winning an offseason”. We are 1 ½ in front of the hated ones, no complaints here.

      1. That was actually a pretty good dissection of those conclusions.

        I don’t have ESPN Insider, but there was a scathing article on the La Russa and Stewart. Here’s a Craig Calceterra (who I typically don’t like) take on the story.

        Always Compete wrote something over on ThinkBlue where he described the shuffling of players and overall management of the roster amid all of the injury and turmoil as masterful. It made me contemplate that a little and acknowledge that yes, it’s been a juggling act, and the players that they’ve picked up have, by and large, done very well.

  2. Regarding injury-proneness:
    There is actually such a thing as injury prone-ness. There may be a genetic component:

    The article notes a particular collagen gene may be involved but suggests that “However, because of the vast complexity of the human genome, it’s highly improbable that a single variant within a gene can determine a person’s genetic risk for a given soft-tissue injury. Researchers agree it’s much more likely that these injuries, like complex conditions such as obesity or type 2 diabetes, are influenced by multiple genes. ”

    Another article cites studies that the way that certain athletes move may make them more prone to injury.

    The Dodgers are 13th in the National League (out of 15 teams) with only 48 quality starts to date. (6 ip with 3 runs or less – not a high bar) And Kershaw has 14 of these, so the rest of the Dodger staff has 34 quality starts in 102 games. The Dodgers are 4th in team ERA, but non-Kershaw starters have an ERA of 4.46. This is no way to run a ballteam, but is what we have to expect given whom the Braintrust has signed to the Dodgers’ rotation.

    1. Ok. Fine. We can look at players and just note that a certain player seems to get injured often, or he has a lengthy history of injury, or we can give him a kit and look for genetic markers for shortened tendons. As you pointed out, this is already accounted for in his relative value on the open market. He’s usually cheaper. What you can’t predict with certainty is if, where or when he will get injured again. If he’s a talented pitcher or performing well, or if he shows other markers of improved performance, there is also a strong possibility he outperforms his market value, which is the key to being comparatively successful vis a vis other teams.

      You seem to making the argument that, because a guy seems to be injury prone, a GM under no circumstances should ever sign him because there is absolute certainty that he will be injured. That’s nonsensical. By assuming some additional risk with a player who’s been injured but shows promising upside, a team stands to benefit by signing a player who outperforms his free market value. That’s the essence of a successful investment strategy. You acquire equities or other assets that might have a depressed market value because of some sort of bad news, but otherwise show good fundamentals: substantial cash reserves, high growth, a good balance sheet.

      With McCarthy, although he had a history of middling performance and shoulder issues, he had shown a dramatic change in fundamentals: increased velocity, spin rate, swing and miss % and strikeout percentage that undergirded his strong performance with the Yankees. Signing him was a risk, but a calculated, researched and smart risk. Maybe it still works out. Maybe it doesn’t. Even if it doesn’t, it wasn’t a terrible risk. There is always risk and uncertainty.

      Anderson was more of a classic injury prone player. The Dodgers took a gamble on him last year that paid off. This year it hasn’t. I think what is important to remember is that the Dodgers haven’t given big contracts to these guys, nor are the Dodgers on the hook financially like they would be with an expensive, so-called “proven” player. The expensive free agents who made a big splash last year haven’t fared so well this year, so not only is there a calculated risk in signing an expensive free agent, especially one over 30, but when they do bust, they’re very expensive mistakes that severely limit a teams financial flexibility to sign other players. Losing capital in the form of either money or prospects to acquire “proven” players that go belly up limit a team’s ability to acquire all of the necessary smaller pieces to construct a successful team and accumulate depth ( I know depth is considered a dirty word, now). The Dbacks should be instructive here. They paid dearly for what they thought were impact players. The story with their horrible season is in large measure the underperformance of these expensive acquisitions, but is also the lack of depth and talent throughout the lineup. Depth creates a resilient team. For the Dodgers, Kershaw went down, but the team is still winning.

  3. “For now just enjoy the good fortune. It may not be traditional, but the Dodgers are winning.”

    I like that line. Simple, specific, and absolutely nothing silly about lessons learned. Kudos Scott!

  4. From Wiseman

    Since the All-Star Break, the lineup has been nearly flawless:

    Joc Pederson: .422 OBP, .623 slugging, .439 wOBA
    Justin Turner: .371 OBP, .670 slugging, .434 wOBA
    Yasmani Grandal: .412 OBP, .600 slugging, .426 wOBA
    Howie Kendrick: .400 OBP, .550 slugging, .405 wOBA
    Corey Swagger: .378 OBP, .558 slugging, .398 wOBA
    Adrián González: .371 OBP, .514 slugging, .374 wOBA
    Chase Utley: .262 OBP, .433 slugging, .296 wOBA
    Josh Reddick: .228 OBP, .189 slugging, .193 wOBA (with Los Angeles)

    1. And Grandal is OPSing over 1000 these last two months.

      And I like your accents all in the right places, for Agone.

  5. Scott
    You hit it on the head.

    We really look like a team in line with fate right now.

    Let’s hope the Mets good pitching, keeps the Giants in line this weekend, with another lost series.

  6. Did I ever mention I have a co-worker who is a die-hard Giants fan. Follows them from the big club all the way down to A ball. A few weeks ago he was ecstatic, “I’m 15 games over 500!” Just saw him earlier today, very quiet.

  7. per
    “No team’s relievers have pitched more innings since the All-Star break than the Dodgers’.”

  8. Artie, I feel your pain, one of my coworkers who is also a friend made it to AA with the gints. And my office consists of 14 peeps. He keeps a low profile but the jabs between us are well calculated and humorous. He runs a huge wiffle ball tournament here in SLO . Amazing how far a gint can fall. All in good fun though.

  9. On offense, the opposite is true – Dodgers hitting at an historic clip. Per Dodgers Insider:

    “Right now, the Dodgers have an .814 OPS since the All-Star Break, which is 30 points higher than the Los Angeles record for second-half OPS of .784 by the 2008 Dodgers. “

  10. I think the “honeymoon” being over, for this season is that expectations are now increased.

    For the last three years, we’ve been winning the division, sometimes running away with it, and fans still complain because we want the deep playoff run and going after it for the WS. As it should be.

    This year, we got put behind the 8 ball, and when the Giants briefly had the best record in the league with Kershaw going down at that juncture, most fans were looking at a wild card slot and writing off a long playoff run.

    Hard to take a balanced approach but I’m a negotiator so here’s my take.

    On the one hand, the team is the same. It’s the Giants collapse, so far, thats put us in this spot. The team is anything but dominant, even now.

    On the other hand, what this team has done is slowly and steadily improve. It’s both the vets finding their bats and young guys improving.

    So maybe a deep playoff run is possible even if you plan use 6+ pitchers per game. 2 for 2 innings each, 3 for 1 inning each, everyone at maximum effort.

    Before the end of September I think the old “largest payroll, this team is not good enough to make a deep playoff run, etc. etc.” will make a strong comeback. And if we don’t make it to the NLCS, the FAZ will really get it from the fans and the media. Is if fair? Based on the way this team is constructed, and I’m a realist, they are lucky to be in this position because the Giants are in the midst of an epic collapse.

    A few years from now, we may all been celebrating, but who knows. We had a huge run of rookies of the year, one of the biggest such runs ever, and we had nothing to show for it – did we even win our division consecutively in those years? Remember who was the manager and who was the owner then. Are we back to that now?

    Time will tell.

    But one last word, as I get ready to open up a tab here, I think we all remember how awful our 1988 team was. No rookies of the year leading the team, a whole bunch of minor leaguers in the lineup, then a slap hitting tank of a catcher hits a home run against what I believed to be the best team in baseball that year, and we somehow cobbled together an extra inning win with our ace coming in as a stop gap closer ….

    So I’m not a realist after all.

  11. As human beings we naturally have the tendency to get stuck on the negative and think about all of our losses for the day, instead of counting our wins and finding all of the good that took place.

    The Power Of Belief , often referred to as Faith, is by far the most powerful and creative force in the universe. According to Albert Einstein, Imagination is the greatest creative force in the Universe.

    When people tell me they are realists, I say I am sorry. My ex-wife died at 37 because she was a realist and knew that cancer could kill her… and it did!

    When you change your thinking, you can change your life!

  12. What a pathetic loss!!! We just lost to a crappy team! No bullpen, as usual. No clutch hitting, as usual!!


    1. No help from Reddick. as usual. (Not kidding) It would be beneficial if he tripped going down the dugout steps and missed the rest of the season…

    2. Bobby

      Reddick left three runners in scoring position on base today.

      Maybe Roberts will finally move him down.

      And Roberts is going to have to be more careful with Dayton now, against rightie hitters.

      I read a comp some where about Dayton, and they compared him to Yimi.

  13. Expectations have been increased.

    I was going to write today that one thing I like about Roberts, among many things, is that he manages the bullpen without falling in love with any 1-2 middle relievers and then overused them. As opposed to Torre and Mattingly who goes with the “hot hand” until it blows up in their face. These guys are middle relievers for a reason. It’s my belief that in the modern game, with such great hitters and advanced stats, you have to view the bullpen as a single organism.

    Then Roberts goes and runs out Dayton again. Sigh.

  14. Bleacher Reports ranks MLB players by position:

    C – Grandal rated #8
    1B – No Dodger rated
    2B – No Dodger rated
    SS – Corey Seager rated #1 – WOW!
    3B – Justin Turner rated #9
    LF – Nothing
    CF – Joc Pederson #6
    RF – Nada

    Here’s what might surprise you (not me): Kenley Jansen is not a TOP 10 closer!

    But some of you are horrified that the Dodgers might not re-sign him!

    Get a grip on reality!

  15. I am as happy as anyone with the Dodgers’ recent offensive resurgence. (See post above.)

    But the Dodgers’ starters have averaged less than 5 innings per start since Kershaw went down. The Dodgers’ bullpen has pitched more innings than any other in baseball since Kershaw went down. The non-Kershaw starters have a collective ERA of over 4.40.

    When that happens, games like today are going to happen. You can’t expect the ‘pen to pitch 4 or more innings per night without slipups.

    The Dodgers’ offensive explosion against the Phils (who are horrible) in games 1 and 2 covered up the fact that they gave up 7 runs in those 2 games and 12 overall. The ‘pen has given up HRs when it shouldn’t.

    Unless things change, there will be trouble.

    The Dodgers can’t play catch up in the post-season — their starters will have to pitch more than 5.

    And as quickly as the creeps from Baghdad by the Bay went cold (9 – 20 since the All Star Break) they could turn around. The Dodgers have to be ready!

    1. Anyone with half a brain can see it is not the pitching that is making the difference. Bats are batting, covering up the woefully inadequate performances of most of the SPs, and injury plagued pitching staff. Can anyone here really say they have confidence in our pitching?

      Kenley not a top 10 closer? How about #11?

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