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Kershaw Must Save The Dodgers Again

Clayton Kershaw

The Dodgers stagnant season continues as the boys in blue must once again turn to Clayton Kershaw to stop a losing streak. The Dodgers had won six in a row before they punted away Friday’s game by starting random bum Nick Tepesch, who was predictably horrendous in the Dodger’s 8-6 loss. Then the Dodgers blew Saturday’s game by rolling out the all righty loser lineup with the execrable Kike Hernandez (.189) batting lead-off. Unsurprisingly that led to another loss. Now the Dodgers must win the final two games of the series just to split.

The Pirates aren’t very good this year either. Their pitching has been dreadful and their ace Gerrit Cole is injured. McCutchen has had a poor season at the plate (Saturday’s two home runs not withstanding) and that’s a big reason why the Bucs are in third place in the NL Central with a 36-39 record. They’ve lost 7 of their last 10 games. The Dodgers on the other hand are 41-35 and sit in second place in the NL West 7 games behind the Giants. The Dodgers are 18-20 on the road.

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Dodgers Lineup @ Pittsburgh

Utley 2B

Seager  SS

Turner 3B

Kendrick LF

Pederson CF

Puig RF

Grandal C

Van Slyke 1B

Kershaw P

Clayton Kershaw-11-1 vs. Chad Kuhl-0-0

Game Time – 5:10 PM TV-ESPN

So they’ll give the ball to Kershaw who is looking to win his tenth consecutive decision tonight on Sunday night baseball. The ace lefty tossed seven innings of one-run ball against Washington in his last start. He only struck out 8 so it was kind of an off night for him. Anytime Kershaw allows more than one earned run or strikes out less than 10 in a start we wonder what is wrong with him. He’s that good. Overall Kershaw is 11-1 with a 1.57 ERA. He’s now struck out 141 and walked 7. He has a 20-1 strikeout to walk ratio which is the best in the majors. Kershaw has made 10 career starts against the Pirates and has posted a 2-2 record with a 2.90 ERA. He’s 1-0 with a 3.63 ERA in 6 career starts at PNC Park.

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The strange sight is seeing the numbers the current Bucs have put up against Kershaw. The Pirates are hitting .310 (36 for 116) against Kershaw with 3 home runs. David Freese is batting .346 (9 for 26) and Andrew McCutchen is hitting .375 (9 for 24). I have no idea how this has happened, but the Pirates have made Kershaw walk the plank before. Can Kershaw sail the seas of PNC?

Kershaw vs. Pirates

David Freese 29 26 9 3 0 0 2 2 4 .346 .379 .462 .841 0 1 0 0 0
Andrew McCutchen 26 24 9 2 0 1 4 2 3 .375 .423 .583 1.006 0 0 0 0 0
Chris Stewart 15 14 7 0 0 1 2 1 1 .500 .533 .714 1.248 0 0 0 0 0
Starling Marte 13 12 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 .167 .231 .167 .397 0 0 0 1 1
Sean Rodriguez 10 9 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .000 .100 .000 .100 0 0 0 0 1
Jordy Mercer 8 5 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 .400 .571 .400 .971 1 0 0 0 0
Gregory Polanco 8 8 3 1 0 1 1 0 1 .375 .375 .875 1.250 0 0 0 0 0
Josh Harrison 6 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Juan Nicasio 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 1 0 0 0 0
Jung Ho Kang 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Erik Kratz 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Francisco Liriano 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Total 128 116 36 6 0 3 9 8 26 .310 .357 .440 .797 2 1 0 1 2


The Pirates will be countering with prospect Chad Kuhl. The 23-year old right hander from Bear, Delaware and will be making his MLB debut tonight on Sunday night Baseball. Kuhl was drafted by the Pirates in the ninth round of the 2013 amateur draft. Kuhl was pitching for the Pirate’s triple-A affiliate (Indianapolis Indians of the Independent league) where he made 14 starts and posted a 6-2 record with a 2.58 ERA and posted a 1.187 WHIP in 76.2 innings pitched. According to the scouting reports Kuhl is mostly a fastball/sinker guy who mixes in a slider and a change. He’s supposedly a grounder machine. He shouldn’t have many problems since hitting weak grounders is the Dodger’s specialty.

The Dodgers have to make better baseball decisions. Starting Tepesch and using the all righty lineup again killed their momentum. They have very little chance to catch the Giants if they keep making such terrible moves. The management has to get better and no big acquisition (Jay Bruce) is going to make much of a difference without using much needed common sense. Enjoy the game everyone!

Go Blue.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

42 thoughts on “Kershaw Must Save The Dodgers Again

  1. Recently something changed for me. A couple of weeks ago or so, if the opponent scored two or three runs early in the game, I would kind of say, “That’s it! It’s over!” But over the last week or so, I am thinking, “We can come back.” I don’t know if this change relates to facts or if a change in diet has made me more optimistic. In any case, I am finding the games more interesting now, to the extent that last night’s game hasn’t changed the feeling. Yet.

  2. “Bruce cannot block trade to LA”. I find that funny.

    Grandal sucks. I think the last time I said that he got a hit. He goes 1 for 5 and it raises his average.

    Starting Tepesch was a mistake that won’t be made again. Who’s the next duck meat to be thrown on the grill? Cotton? Stewart?

    Love Kuhl’s approach at the plate. Take notice Joc.

    1. Hey Scott……How much more of Yasmani Grandal are we going to be forced to watch? The guy absolutely stinks……Bruce trade….a BAD IDEA>…..

      1. Turner didn’t do anything wrong. It was close – he was out, but it took a perfect play. I’d send him every time.

  3. On Grandal:

    Grandal threw out a runner and framed a pitch so that McCutchen got tossed. He also made a great play at the plate.

    He only has one problem – he can’t hit!

    1. He framed a pitch so that McCutcheon got tossed? Really? You want to walk that one back? This ump has sucked all night and that pitch was low. I say again and I will continue to say it, anyone who believes framing is a thing has never stood behind the plate and actually called a game. I’ve shown pictures of how far behind the actual strike zone the catchers mitt is. It’s a good 3′ away. Umps that miss a strike that far out of the strike zone are just bad umps. It has nothing to do with a catcher.

      And yes, Grandal sucks with a bat in his hand.

      1. Wow..

        And that’s why the sabremetrics are a thing.

        It’s just data. It allows you to look at performance more objectively. It’s takes a way the faulty perceptions of faulty humans. It’s the difference between a witness recollecting what he or she saw and the human error that goes with and and having hard videotape right in front of you to play and rewind and play again.

        Your just cited the reason why framing is a thing. Umpires are humans. They’re fallible. If a catcher can influence that fallibility in even very subtle ways, it conveys a subtle advantage. And it’s those subtle advantages that often influence outcomes.

        The statistical significance of the ability to frame a pitch is validated. How much it improves a pitching staff can be measured. One could argue that it’s overrated as “a thing,” but to say it doesn’t exist because you at one point in your life has seen a ball from behind the plate is a pretty amazing statement.

        1. Perhaps the fact that as a former umpire watching catchers try to fool me gave me a different perspective. You aren’t an ump. The ball passes over the plate long before it reaches the catchers mitt. I think framing is a myth. You love FAZ and Zaidi values this mythical stat, therefor you do too. I get it. I also get that whatever I say you are going to find fault with it. It’s personal with you. You want to talk about something ridiculous why not address Mark saying Grandal got McCutcheon ejected. That’s just a dumb statement but you say nothing about that? McCutcheon had several bad calls on him all night and strike three at his shins sent him off. That had NOTHING to do with Grandal and I called him on it.

          Pay close attention what players say about framing. There’s a fangraphs article in this one that talks more to it as well. I think most people with experience realize the whole science is more an indictment on umps than anything else. Catchers have been moving their gloves after the catch since Mickey Cochrane was a kid.

          I don’t think Grandal is all that as a defensive catcher. His stats prove that to be true. If he doesn’t hit, he’s worthless. Mark is right about one thing – moving Kemp was nothing more than a salary dump.

  4. The Dodgers have had other catchers in the past that were not really good hitters. But they were there to catch. Hitting was extra. That is because, as Mark would say, “the Dodgers were usually loaded with hitters.”

    1. Johnny Roseboro wasn’t a great hitter – either was Mike Scioscia. The Dodgers in the 60’s knew that Rosy’s catching skills were important – so did the Dodgers in the 80’s with Scioscia.

      Is Grandal that good a catcher? Or do the Dodgers have enough other bats? Why was Grandal obtained – was it his glove or his glove and bat?

        1. Wondering
          You are right about Mattingly. He hated Puig at the end too. They always try to say he is so good at handling different personalities, but that is BS.

      1. Glove or bat?

        Neither. He’s a career .234 hitter and in 4 1/2 years has put up less than 1 dWAR. His CS% is less than league average and his PB is above league average. I think he was picked up for his potential. San Diego had no problem letting him go.

        1. Badger
          Mark never said it was a salary dump at the time, and for quite awhile. He was talking about all of the merits that Grandal has.

          1. They don’t anymore. Recent articles suggest “framing” is being phased out. Umps have been working on improving the calls using pitchfx info. There are some umps who are just worse behind the plate and those catchers who were identified as framers are not getting away with it. Some are calling for the better ball/strike umps to do more games behind the plate, which makes sense to me. F ups on plays at bases can be reviewed. The less we talk about horrible strike zone calling the better for everybody. The guy tonight was just bad.

      2. Grandal wasn’t so much as obtained as Matt Kemp, on the wrong side of 30, with arthritic hips and bad defense, sometimes bad attitude, and a really expensive contract was unloaded when his value was highest, in spite of the aforementioned flaws. There’s a reason why Ethier and Crawford weren’t traded, and it’s not because the Dodgers wanted them. The Dodgers had a logjam in the outfield and needed to get rid of somebody, and they chose to keep Puig, with his youth, talent, upside and contract over Kemp. Now Kemp can be had for anyone willing to pay the remainder of his contract.

        No one was complaining about that trade a year ago when Grandal was going to the ASG. You’re on record as agreeing with the trade up till recently. The reasoning behind the trade were sound and it was and still is a good one. Grandal is just not hitting.

        1. Dodger patch
          A lot of Kemp’s bad attitude was the way Mattingly handled Kemp.

          And Mattingly spoke up and said that Puig would supply all the right handed power, when Kemp was traded.

          And of course Mattingly was wrong, and not talking to Puig at the end of the season.

          Mattingly couldn’t handle conflict, and if a person can’t handle conflict, they shouldn’t be managing players, or people.

          It was Mattingly who wanted Howie, and players that were more functional for the post season.

          But Mattingly went to the post season once as a player, and that is hard to do when you play for the Yankees, so what did Mattingly know.

        2. Patch…..Matt Kemp was 29 when he was traded…….he is now 31……he also is hitting .262 with 16 dingers, and 53 RBI’s, and it seems his so called arthritic hips are not bothering him at all. His so called bad attitude came from the fact that he felt he could still play CF. He was not so good in LF, but when moved to RF his stats were better. He has only made 2 errors this year and has 6 OF assists. That is more than any Dodgers OF has this year and only Kendrick and Pederson have made fewer errors. Pederson is the only OF even close in HR’s and nobody has over 40 RBI’s. As far as no one complaining about the trade, well, I never liked it from the get go, and I have never liked Grandal. He is an arrogant ass in my book….they salary dumped and got raped in the trade…end of story

  5. I enjoy the different view points here. But someone is missing. Anyone hear from Watford? He hasn’t posted for a while.

    1. Artieboy
      I noticed that, and he should come back, because the guy that said that bad stuff about Walford isn’t posting here anymore, so Waltford, we would love to hear from you.

  6. Well another fine performance by the boys in blue! Come in on a 6 game winning streak and promptly lose 3 in a row. Giants now 8 games up. Best pitcher on the planet has an off night and they lose. Only guys performing right now are Turner and Seager. The rest of the team effectively took the night off. Puig reverted back, but I did like Joc getting 2 walks. Kersh’s ERA is 1.79, he now is behind Arrieta. Grandal proved once again how really bad he is with a bat in his hand. I personally think Roberts gave the wrong LH hitter 2 nights off. We traded Matt Kemp for that slug? DUMB. I would rather have Kemp’s .268 average, his 15 dingers, and over 50 ribbies than that slug any day. The Padres raped us on that one. Grandal is all we have left from that trade. Elfin was sent to the Phillies for Rollins, who is gone, and Wieland was traded to Seattle. I see guys who love his pitch framing skills, which to me are far out weighed by the fact that this guy cannot hit. Potential? If he was so great why did 2 other organizations give up on him???? Cincy had no problem trading him to the Pads. But in reality it does not matter. This year, the Giants are clearly a better team. Better clutch hitting, better starters, and a bullpen that can get the job done. Pence is out and they are playing like the 27 Yanks. The Dodgers are making mediocre pitchers, especially those on the Buc’s, look like Cy Young. Crash and burn. I would like to thank Andrew ( Fried Brains) Friedman, and Farhan Zaidi, aka Zorro, for assembling this motley collection of reserves and injury riddled ball players. Never in Dodger history have so many contributed so little. The DL looks like a phone book. I also would like to thank Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw, the only two guys on this team who seem to understand how the game is played and who give their all every time out. Trade players??? Hell no, trade the front office to anywhere……but here….

    1. Also, they send Tepesch to the DFA list and call up the kid they got for Lee……Why has he not had an AB yet???? Seems like he can hit, which is more than most of these guys….Grandal…..183…SVS….189…Kike…..189….Ellis…..204…..Thompson……..238, and sinking…..Taylor was hitting .320 in AAA..give the kid a shot

    2. Michael
      Basically the Giants saw how much easier it was to win the long season, by having two ace pitchers, and they got what the Dodgers use to have.

      1. Which is why I put the blame on the talking heads in the front office…this is their mess.

  7. Ray Charles could see that Grandal was traded for his potential. He was 26 and many scouts were high on him. I was and still am, but he pretty much sucks right about now. He showed what he could do the first part of 2015 and was an All-Star. For the uninitiated, that means he was one of the best catchers in the game. Then, he went into the tank and has not come out in almost a year!

    Now, I would normally say “Throw the bum out,” but when you have an entire team that is underperforming with the bats you ought to look deeper. Consider this:

    Hernandez is down 70 points from his career average;

    Utley, Turner, Kendrick, Gonzo, Van Slyke and Grandal are all down 30 to 50 points off their career averages; and

    Ellis down 30 points!

    Corey Seager is the only one hitting at all with consistency . Joc Pederson and Trayce Thomson and Yasiel Puig also looked lost.

    Now, I am sure some moron is going to tell me he expected ALL that! Yeah, right. Save your breath! I cannot remember such an utter collapse of an entire team like this. Now, I do know that in baseball, things tend to average out. If the above players return to near their norms, the Dodgers could be in for quite a ride, but I have no clue.

    On pitch framing and Grandal: Yeah, pitch framing is nothing because the great, infallible Badger said it and even though the stats support it, they are wrong.

    BTW, Greinke thinks Greinke is the best catcher he has pitched to, but he’s a bum too, so what does he know? The Legend (in his own mind) Great Invincible Badger has spoken…

    I am down with sending Grandal somewhere, but mark my words – we will regret it!

    1. Mark
      The biggest problem I have with Grandal, is that he has a lot of trouble blocking pitches. And because of that, if a runner is on first, a often allows the runner, to get in scoring position. And that has happened quite a bit.

    2. First off Mark, the guy was good for half a year. He was injured and went in the tank. Shame on the FO for keeping him active. Ellis’s slide can be attributed to playing once or twice a week. When Grandal could not answer the call at the last few weeks of the season, Ellis was playing every day and was the teams hottest hitter going into the playoffs, but he is 37 years old. Grandal other than the first 12 weeks last year, has never been that great a hitter. Potential is one thing, using it is another. The guy is totally lost at the plate, and should be sent packing…and in my mind, that’s a good thing…..

  8. I have never thought that all of the defensive metrics are accurate. Many don’t pass the eyeball test. I’m sure that pitch framing is a valuable skill but doubt that it can be measured as closely as the SABERguys claim it can.

    Grandal, as a catcher, doesn’t pass the eyeball test all of the time. His pitch blocking skills, while improved this year, still aren’t that good. He doesn’t control the running game well. Ellis calls a better game. The one reason that he was obtained was that the Braintrust thought he would be a better than average offensive catcher.

    They stopped letting him bat right handed last year. So much for a switch-hitting catcher. Now he doesn’t hit left handed either. I have wondered whether his swing has been affected by his shoulder. He stopped hitting last year when he hurt his shoulder – he has had surgery since, but hasn’t looked right since his injury.

    This doesn’t solve the problem of the Dodgers’ offense. If you assume that not all of a team’s hitters get worse at once, don’t you have to look at the coaching?

    1. Dodger rick
      I really think that is a possibility that Grandal’s hurt shoulder did cause him to pick up a bad habit at the plate.

      That is why it was stupid to continually play him in the second half of the season, when he was hurting.

      It wasn’t smart for the team either, because AJ was hitting pretty well, by that time.

      They wouldn’t let a pitcher continue to pitch, with a bad knee or sprained ankle, because it may cause a pitcher, to compensate for his injury, and hurt his elbow, or something else.

      That same principle applys to any player, that is tryng to compensate for something that is bothering the them.

      That is just one reason not to play Grandal last year, when he was hurt.

      He was hurt, and not able to hit, but Mattingly continued to play Grandal over AJ.

      That was a complete slap in AJ’s face, and terrible idea.

  9. Read up on it Mark. Umps are on to it and the statistical information says its on it’s way out. Personally I think poor ball/strike umps have been around forever and a catcher moving his glove only fools the already bad ones. Get rid of them by not allowing them behind the plate. It can, and should be done. What they are finding as a more important trend is certain pitchers and hitters get preferential treatment and home teams get more calls, neither of which should come as a surprise.

    Kershaw beat by a guy making his debut. It’s a sign. 8 games back. I don’t know how many 6 game win streaks this team has in it, but I would say not many and we will see more losing streaks. These guys don’t hit. I don’t know why. Off year? New hitting coach? I don’t know but it’s sad to watch.

  10. Hey badger hope your doing well. I’ve been busy being a ballet/t-ball dad for my girls and helping out with my 9 month old son as well as teaching a couple classes for our local JuCo. I try to read up every couple of days. Too many posts by the admin here to keep up daily.

    How’ve you been? The heat is in the teens here.

    1. Thanks Gonzo. 9 month old? Dang. I didn’t know that. Congrats man.

      We’ve been through a grinder here. Won’t get into it now, but challenges abound. Would love to hear from you privately if you feel like it. My email is the same, don’t know if you have it. You can get it from Scott.

      I’ve missed your take in here. A lot of the old guys left, most contacted me to let me know why. Anyway, when its continually over 100 in Sedona, it tells you something about how hot the SW is. Global warming can be quantified. There’s data. Ask Farhan.

      Stick around. Your knowledge on baseball will be appreciated. It gets interesting now and then.

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