Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Kiki’s Big Bomb Sweeps Nats

The Dodgers had to take on Stephen Strasburg today in order to get the sweep. On the mound for the Dodgers was Alex Wood who has been a hard luck starter this year still looking for his first win.

In the top of 2nd, Yasmani Grandal hit a solo shot off Strasburg to get the Dodgers started. Matt Kemp then singled followed by Yasiel Puig hitting into a double play. Logan Forsythe then hit a double to continue his hot hitting of late. In the bottom of third with two outs, Wilmer Difo singled off Wood for the Nats first hit. Then Trea Turner hit a two run shot and the Nats took a 2-1 lead. So once Wood fell behind, I know everyone felt poor guy he is going to get another loss.

In the top of the 5th, Logan Forsythe walked. Then Kiki Hernandez who was slumping badly bombed off a two run shot off Starsburg and the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead and never looked back. So the Dodgers had to face Tanner Roark, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg. The Dodgers combated with Ross Stripling, the bullpen, and Alex Wood.  Granted the Nationals have a lot of injuries but so do the Dodgers.  The Dodgers kept Bryce Harper in check in this series.

In the bottom of the 7th, Alex Wood cramped up and left the game.  Tony Cingrani came in and finally looked like the old Tony Cingrani as he struck out three batters.

The Dodgers who mostly have been hitting solo shots finally got a two run jack when Enrique Hernandez connected. In the top of the 8th, Matt Kemp walked and then Yasiel Puig hit a two run shot for insurance runs and the Dodgers took a 5-2 lead. Eric Goeddel then came in and got two outs but then allowed two runners to get on.  The Dodgers brought in Josh Fields to face Anthony Rendon who represented the tying run. Rendon hit a bullet up the middle off Fields foot and ended up being an out and the Dodgers got out of the jam.  Those bounces weren’t going the Dodgers way earlier.

Kiki Hernandez walked to start the 9th. Joc Pederson doubled him in to make the score 6-2. Max Muncy ground out advanced Hernandez over to third. Cody Bellinger grounded out but scored Hernandez to make the score 7-2 and the final. Hopefully Cody Bellinger can start busting out. The Dodgers will be back home tomorrow. They will face the Colorado Rockies for the first time this year.


James Moya

Hi I’m James Moya. I am an avid Dodgers fan. I graduated Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Communications. I used to freelance at the San Bernardino Sun. I’m excited about this opportunity to write for LA Dodger Report to gain experience. I’m a straight shooter on my opinions and I hope to get some good conversations going. My dream has always been to report on the Dodgers because Baseball is the National Past-time. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

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James Moya
Hi I’m James Moya. I am an avid Dodgers fan. I graduated Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Communications. I used to freelance at the San Bernardino Sun. I’m excited about this opportunity to write for LA Dodger Report to gain experience. I’m a straight shooter on my opinions and I hope to get some good conversations going. My dream has always been to report on the Dodgers because Baseball is the National Past-time. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

38 thoughts on “Kiki’s Big Bomb Sweeps Nats

  1. This was a great weekend fot the Dodgers!

    I still can’t believe we are only five games back now.

    They have to keep this same intensity in this next series, against the Rockies.

    And beat the teams we should beat too, like in the next two series, after the Rockies, against the Padres and the Phillies.

    I don’t know if it was best for Kike, to hit that HR today, but it was good for the team.

    I am only saying that, because Kike has been over swinging, and striking out to much lately.

    I think he needs to try to go the other way at times, to keep his strike outs down.

    But I know it is hard for any player to keep a decent average, when they are not getting consistent at bats, like Kike isn’t.

    And I understand he wants to make the most of any chance he gets too.

    He had a much better month in April, because he had 16 hits, and hit three HRs, but this month, his hits are down to 9 hits, and he has also hit three HRs in this month, too.

    The difference in these numbers might be the fact that Kike started 16 games in April, and he has only started 9 games, this month.

    But I wish he would stop trying to pull everything, and try hitting the other way, not only to keep his strike outs down, but to be more productive on offense, when he gets his chances too.

    Because that would give him a more balanced approach.

  2. MJ, I like Kike but he is what he is, and we’ve got a bunch of utility players at MLB and AAA. He’s not going to be able to hit balls the other way consistently – in fact we have a number of players who cannot hit the ball consustenly to any field, fair or foul. The problem is with his approach and inability to control his strike zone. Joc at least is somewhat consistent at getting walks.

    And personally I would rather have Verdugo up at MLB backing up all outfielders with his cannon arm, and have Muncy as the utility infielder.

    At some point we need to get rid of both of our all or nothing part time players (ie Joc and Kike).

    1. YF

      I think everything you said is true, and when the front office stresses HRs, these guys are not going to stop swinging from their heels.

      But I guess I meant his approach more then anything, but I also think these guys can hit the other way, to move runners up, if they do change their approach, in these situations sometimes.

  3. MJ, thd other day you asked me about Eric Goebbels. He’s got very middling stats and walks too many people. He does has a splitter, which I had earlier said was a great pitch to counter against the new launch angle swing paths, so his pick up, along with Alexander, shows me that our stats guys have picked up on possible counters to the new trends.

    The biggest thing I would like our pitching staff to walk the great or hot hitters. I was actually pleased Giebbels walked Harper. Hopefully we see more of that.

    1. It’s Goeddel there Yueh. He was doing ok in Seattle. He did have 2 wins and a sub 2 ERA. Now he gets to work with Honey a little and we will see if he fixes some of the guys flaws. In my book, he is better than Hudson. Kike’s first name should be All or Nothing. I usually watch his at bats in horror. He got a cookie and did with it what every hitter on this team should do with one of those, deposit it in the seats. But he still swings for the fences too much, strikes out WAY TOO much for a guy with his skills, and is just not all that.

    2. YF

      It was bad because he walked the player before Harper, but we made it through that, thankfully.

      Harper seems to be over protecting himself, and I understand why, but that may cause him to get hurt anyways, but I hope not.

  4. Yeah. Goeddel. Thx.

    I encourage everyone to read the Fangraphs articles on the Angels 6 man pitching staff and their recent spotlight on Andrew Heaney (remember him? We could sure use him – he was one of the early head scratchers – you get a young cost controlled pitcher and you flip him for Kendrick? I was in record hating that move.).

    Badger you and I and a few others have been on the 6 man rotation since forever. Guess we are just too old school and uncreative – until someone actually tries it and we are right it works.

    Could we and should we go to a 6 man rotation if only to try to squeeze 2/3 or one more inning out of our starters per game? I think we have just as good (read: mediocre and questionable) rotation as the Angels. But I guess FBZ is too rigid for that – for all their reputation they sure can’t think their way out of a box (read: the 6 feet under type of box).

    1. Interesting, YF. You think the early hook is related to being tired.

      I think it’s the TTOP, which is why I don’t see how the 6 man rotation (which I also find interesting) would benefit the team.


    2. YF

      I was just watching the Angels for a few minutes the other day, and I saw Heaney was pitching.

      I couldn’t remember if he had TJ surgery, but I knew he got hurt.

      Friedman did say that is the one move he regretted.

    3. I think this year they are going to have to let their starters pitch deeper into games, because of the even more questionable bullpen.

    4. They can’t do that because they don’t have 6 healthy reliable starters right now. They barely have 4 at the moment. It’s not a bad idea though if you have the horses. In 2016 they essentially yad no starting pitching and made it to the nlcs. They had three starters that year. Last year they had 4.5 starters and made it to the World Series. Only because they had strong bullpens both years. This year they have a weak bullpen and only 4 starters. They’re gonna need arms.

      1. Scott, the Angels have suspect starters too. We should roll the dice on using Stewart and Stripling in a 6 man rotation once Kershaw gets back. We do have the players.

        Bluto, previously I think it was the third time through the lineup but after a couple of years of watching bullpens around the league get eaten up, and seeing the Angels’ even more suspect bullpen hold up in a 6 man rotation, I think the data could show that (1) the third time through the lineup is a thing and starter suffer the third time through, BUT (2) overused bullpen does even worse pitching too many innings, as they can’t even get through a few batters the first time if they pitch too often.

        1. They’re down three starters now with hill on the DL. They literally have nobody in the minors that can help. Stewart can start and probably will have to until Kershaw returns but keep in mind Stewart is terrible as a starter. He’s had maybe like two quality starts out of like 15 in his career. Maybe he’ll be better this year but I wouldn’t count on it. After Stewart there’s nobody. Dennis Santana? Manny buenelos? Ughhh. No thanks. If they have to start dipping into the Tulsa staff for starters that should tell you how bad it is right now.

          1. Stewart is more than fine, provided he can find his control. Kershaw will be back soon.

            He had some mechanical issues in Spring. The team hoped he’s have more time in AAA to figure it out. That said, he’s done fine in OKC and there’s not any reason to pooh-pooh him. from what I’ve read he has a lively fastball and a nice changeup. Perhaps it’s the lacking of a 3rd pitch (as well as control) that’s been holding back his progress.

            Given the track record (see Stripling, Ross) I imagine the plan is for him to start as a long man, then find success in the bullpen, then eventually transition him back into the rotation.

  5. Get swept by the two worst teams, sweep one of the better teams.

    Like I said, bipolar. When you’re hot you’re hot. If they get to the playoffs, they might be hot.

    It sure looks better when it’s working.

    Might be less of times through order penalty Bluto if the starters are stronger after 90 pitches. 15 pitches is supposed to get a decent pitcher through an inning. The good ones can average that. 105 should get you 7. If they get an extra day’s rest, maybe 105 won’t be as exhausting. They will be less tired, so even third time through their stuff will be good enough to get hitters out. Just a theory. I have no idea if it would work for this group. But I think it’s worth a try. If nothing else it might keep some of the more frail pitchers, which looks like all of them to me, off the DL.

    1. They don’t do it because they worry the pitchers will get hurt. They do it because they think the numbers say that the starters are less effective facing the opposing order a third time through. I.e. the hitters have seen them twice already and can or could figure them out. I don’t agree with it but it’s because of the numbers and “strategy” then health concerns.

      1. I know why they do it.

        But in reading articles on the subject at Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs I notice the stats are divided into good pitchers and bad pitchers. It also mentions low pitch count and high pitch count. The more pitches seen, and the more pitches thrown, both play into the results.

        It seems to me that all our pitchers have a pitch limit as well as an innings limit. Stripling threw 96 pitches in 6 innings, faced 22 batters. Wood three 82 pitches in 6 innings, faced 22 batters. Scherzer threw 121 pitches, 7 innings, faced 29 batters. I may be stating the obvious here but the better the pitcher the longer he can go. We don’t have horses, we have ponies. Would those ponies be able to go farther if rested more? It’s a question not a statement of fact.

        And I think I disagree with your final awkward statement about health. Our staff is obviously weak physically. Every one of them will go on the DL at some point this year. Maybe that could be helped with more rest through the year. And that too is just a guess. Those guys might get hurt with 6 days between starts.

        It’s my opinion that a major League starter should be able to be effective for 105 pitches every time out. Yeah, third time through the order they may not be quite as effective but honestly our $14 million starter having thrown around 80-90 pitches should be the better option than say… Baez, Hudson or Cingrani. On this staff that just doesn’t seem to be the case.

        1. Badger I think you and I are ahead of the curve here. 22 hitters means third time through the lineup. With a 28 man squad you can keep pitchers from going 21 but I think many teams know if you try to do it with 25 you end up worse off with a bad bullpen.

          1. I get that Yueh.

            When your plan is tonhire people you know can’t go the distance you can get them on the cheap. Example: Rich Hill. All of the analytics fans knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere near 200 innings, that’s why he didn’t cost $25 million, he only cost $14 million average. He’s at best a 135 inning guy, which we got from him last year. 22 starts, 2.2 WAR for $12.66mm is cost effective. But in a 5 man rotation each slot comes up 32 times in a season. What are you going to do with the other 10 starts he can’t make? Not only that, in those 22 starts he does make, he only went 5 IP average. How are you going to cover the 88 innings he doesn’t complete when he does start? Just having one guy like that in your rotation creates an enormous backlog of unfinished work. We appear to have an entire staff of pitchers who can’t start 32 and can’t finish anything they do start.

            It seems obvious to me if your business model is to save money by hiring 5 inning 25 start starters, you by gosh better have a deep and talented bullpen to carry the load you are creating. Good luck with that.

            We are currently 18th in IP by starters. Frankly I’m surprised we are that high. ERA is good, 3.42. Our relievers are 20th in ERA, 4.33. 7th in IP. We are now second in blown saves.

            I don’t know what the answer is other than somehow finding more better pitchers, both starters that can go 6-7 and relievers that can provide clean innings. How do you do that without spending money or trading your best prospects? Beats me. But I’m not a well paid genius GM with a brainiac assistant and a staff of analytic know-it-all’s. That would be Andrew Friedman.

            Show us what you got Andy.

      2. Scott

        I know you have always been an advocate for having at least four horses in a starting rotation, and I still think that is the way to go, especially for teams that go to the post season almost every year.

        Because if you don’t have two ace type of starters, then you are going to have to rely on your bullpen even more, once you get into the post season.

        And if your bullpen is already wore out, at the end of the season, they will be even less effective in the post season.

        And if you are going to give these starters these multi year contacts, they need to pitch further into games, or why give multi year contracts to starters, that can only pitch effectively for five innings.

        But right now, I know we are down to many starters right now.

  6. There’s some interesting strategies and tactics in play in Tampa. They call it bullpenning.

    They’ve started Sergio Romo on consecutive days against the Angels. Some around the league liked it. Others thought it was “bad for baseball.”

    There’s a nice writeup in the Athletic.

  7. I think there is not good data on overuse of the bullpen. It just seems to me they measure and over-rely on data for third time through the lineup but fail to address the side effect – ie your bullpen goes to pieces.

    1. Well they have the information now don’t they?

      Clean 6-9 innings are becoming harder to find.

      As of today the teams with the most innings by their starters are Houston, Washington and Boston. Best starter ERA’s, Houston, Washington, St Louis, Cleveland. Best relieving ERAs are Cubs, Milwaukee, Arizona Houston.

      Our starters ERA is actually 5th in the Majors. Obviously that’s pretty good. But – 22nd in IP. Looking at those numbers tells me the reason we are 5th in ERA is because we get our starters the hell out of there early. But our bullpen is taking a beating. Is this model sustainable? Beats me. I doubt it, but, what do I know. I’m an old coach that still believes in scouting.

      1. Your last sentence reads like a non-sequiter. What does scouting have to do with anything.

        I agree with the rest though. It’s a deadly mix, starters who don’t go long and a bullpen that struggles for clean innings.

        In this past this hasn’t been an issue as the pen was a lot stronger. I have faith in Fields, Jansen and Alexander. Beyond that….

        Maybe Cingrani.

        1. “What does scouting have to do with anything”

          Spoken like a true analytics only guy.

          You might consider reading Colletti’s book. Or at least the chapter on the lost art of scouting. Many of today’s scouts are like kids on their devices. Why go to the trouble of visiting a memorial when all I need to do is google it and I can find videos of it from all angles, including aerials shot by a drone.

          The reason I said that will be obvious to those who grew up without cell phones.

          We agree on maintaining deep strength in the bullpen. With our starters we won’t win without it. If we finish the year second in blown saves, we won’t finish the year first in our division.

          1. There are very few Ralph Avila’s, or Mike Brito’s left……The Dodgers had some of the best scouts in baseball for years and not one of them used analytics or sabermetrics and they managed to get the guys that dominated the 50s and most of the 60’s, did pretty good in the 70’s and 80’s. 5 straight Rookies of the year in the 90’s, before that they had Sutcliffe, Sizemore, Fernando and Sax. Scouting is indeed a lost art. That is one of the reasons I love watching 2 movies that involved scouts. One was Talent for the Game, and the other is Trouble With the Curve. It was more scouting and good evaluation that led the Dodgers to draft guys like Seager and Bellinger. FAZ and his minions impress me less and less every day. I know one thing for sure, guys like Hernandez and Pederson would have been traded long before now 20 years ago. Utility players hitting .206 did not last long back then and outfielders who did not show any power were usually defensive all stars. Of course, this is a different era. Analytics and sabermetrics are king. Does not mean one bit that the game is better. If anything the games are longer, less entertaining and full of so many roster and player moves, that it is hard to know at any one time who the hell is on your team….Hard to keep a fan base happy with that kind of movement.

          2. The Front Office scouted Blanton, Morrow, Taylor, Kike, Barnes and, to an extent in making my point, Toles.

            I think those scouting jobs were not just done by looking at numbers.

          3. And how many of those guys are stars in the major leagues? Morrow and Blanton had long history’s in the majors prior to being signed. They had scouting reports on those guys for sure, but it is not like going out and beating the bushes looking for RAW talents. Friedman knew about Toles from getting him while he was in Tampa. None of those players were scouted and signed by Dodger scouts. Not the main way they do business anymore, and the scouts today are totally different animals than the old bunch. They use analytics and sabermetrics, and making my point, guidelines set by the Front office looking for players that fit the FO’s plans. But finding a 17 year old who has the tools of Willie Mays, or even a Pete Rose, that raw undeveloped ability, those guys are not in the game any more…..and Taylor reinvented himself. There is no way FAZ expected the year he got out of him. And the FO did not SCOUT those guys, they read reports and probably watched some video…

          4. I remember reading my media guides and they would list all the Dodger scouts. It was pretty much a who’s who of former players and scouts who had great reputations in the game. Camilo Pasqual, Jerry Stephenson, Ralph Avila, and many others. Lasorda was actually a scout for a short time. I was impressed at how many there were…..

  8. The main point is that the Dodger pitching at best has been mediocre. Oh, there have been a few really nice outings like Maeda the other day and Striplings effort. Wood pitched one of his better games. Kershaw, other than one really bad game, pitched well enough to have his record 4-1 instead of the other way around. But the bullpen has been shaky, the offense spotty, and it adds up to where they are right now 20-26. As Scott pointed out, there is really no help at AAA at this point. The injury’s have kept mounting. Seager was a huge blow to the offense. His steady bat in the 2 slot is really missed. But when you lose 3 starters like they have in the rotation, replacing them is not all that easy. Kershaw threw a bullpen session yesterday. So he might be right at 2 weeks away. Urias is throwing off a mound in AZ right now, and he is probably a few weeks away from a re-hab assignment. So for now it is Buehler, Maeda, Stripling, Wood and Mr Unknown. Funny, they started with 4 lefty’s in the rotation and now there are 3 RH. Stewart only has 21 innings under his belt at AAA. So that makes me wonder why he has not made more starts. I know he was up here a couple of times, but I do not think unless they used him as a long man out of the pen that he would be much help to the rotation. Banuelos and DeFratus have been knocked around a little lately. They are no doubt perusing the waiver wire for additional pitching help. Goeddel seems like he has pretty decent stuff. So he should help the pen. But a 6 man rotation with this bunch would seem a stretch at best.

    1. Good points Bear.

      With Kershaw and Urias both tender, with Ryu and Hill out, yes a 6 man rotation with the names being mentioned doesn’t seem likely. The reason I have been pounding the 6 man idea for a few years now is because I saw immediately that with the signings FAZ was making – McCarthy, Anderson, Kazmir, Hill, Maeda (elbow was an issue) Wood…. we were going to see a lot of short outings and a lot of DL activity. I got a lot of resistance from the FAZphants about my positions regarding that take. We had “depth” and used as many as 16 different starters the first year FAZ was here. And now I can’t help but wonder had we used all those starters differently, say a 6 man rotation, would those older, more used, more damaged arms have remained in better shape having had more rest over the course of the last 3 years.

      I know I was right about the wear and tear on already repaired arms being a problem, clearly it is, what I don’t know is if more rest through the season would have made a difference. With my background in kinesiology and training techniques, I believe I am right. It is common training knowledge- the older you get, the more recovery you need.

      1. The only plus to any of the Kershaw injury’s is that they have not been elbow or shoulder related. But he is a TJ surgery waiting to happen in my mind. Especially if he has any more lower back issues. I feel for Ryu. His shoulder issues seem to have been solved, he is pitching lights out and then his groin jumps up and bites him. Hill has never been right. Maeda has not had any injury concerns so far, and is on probably one of the better team friendly contracts. The kid, if used correctly, is going to be a pretty good MLB pitcher, and I expect Buehler to be one of those guys who can stop losing streaks. You would think that Wood would be an injury risk, but so far he has remained pretty healthy. Now if the offense would be more like yesterday when he pitches, he should notch some wins.

        1. Can the kid get 7 on 105 pitches?

          It would help to have a staff of starters that would put up quality starts night after night. We are 16th in that stat. That should not be that difficult – 6 innings of 4.5 ERA? They consider that quality. I have a different definition of quality, but going with that definition we are second tier in starting pitching strength. For $190 million shouldn’t we expect more?

          The FCI keeps going up and fans keep paying it so the answer to that question appears to be no. We are ok with it. Mediocrity has become very expensive in ‘18.

  9. How well has the Rockies bullpen pitched this year?

    I know they put a lot of money, into their bullpen this year.

    1. Their bullpen has pitched pretty well, they have a 4.69 ERA collectively, but their closer, Davis has 16 saves. Ottavino has pitched well also. Their starters have been so so. None have an ERA below 3.

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