Playoffs: Setting Up or Blowing Off?

for-whom-the-bell-tolls

As the Dodgers get ready for a four game series with the Diamondbacks, we ask the question:  Is the team going to be more prepared for the playoffs than they were in 2014, or is 2015 just a repeat of 2014?  Last year, the team was beset with injuries, to the point where Skip Schumaker was playing center field in the playoffs.  Not good.  This year, Chris Heisey (who was Designated for Assignment, and left the team earlier this year) is back in the outfield during September.  Last year, Clayton Kershaw could not win games against the Cardinals, because the only trustworthy reliever in the bullpen was Kenley Jansen.  This year, the Dodgers have struggled all year to determine who else besides Kenley Jansen is trustworthy in the bullpen.

The Dodgers ran a nice 13-2 record from August 25th through September 8th, but are just 5-5 since then.  Will they be able to clinch the division before they travel to AT&T Park for a four game set with the Giants?  Or will we go into that Giant Series wondering whether the Dodgers will even be in the playoffs?  The recent lineups handed out by Don Mattingly leave me wondering about that.  Perhaps it is due to real injuries.  Perhaps he is resting vital players, getting them ready for the playoffs.  Perhaps he is giving valuable experience to the current best hitter on the team, Corey Seager.

Whatever Mattingly is doing, we are still left wondering who will answer the bell?  The bell tolling for leaders to take charge of winning now and in the playoffs.  Kershaw, Greinke, and Jansen will certainly answer the bell.  Andre Ethier will answer the bell, but only if he is given the opportunity.  Questions remain about most of the rest of them, including Rollins (phantom injury?), Gonzalez (anemic bat of late, injury?), Turner (no bat since injury), Pederson (the struggling rookie), Van Slyke(cyst), Hatcher, JP Howell, Baez, Garcia, etc, etc, etc.

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81 thoughts on “Playoffs: Setting Up or Blowing Off?

    • The main one who has to answer the bell is Donnie! Smart lineups…..smart pitching changes…etc. Oh, I forgot, we are talking about Mattingly!

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  1. If Puig can’t answer the bell for the playoffs, this team is in deep trouble. I know there are a lot of Puig haters out there, but the guy is a scary force in the line-up–way too valuable with the bat and glove and arm to be dismissed by the nay-sayers. If you don’t want Heisey facing every lefty out there in October, you’d better hope Puig’s hammy gets better…and soon. Donnie has shown zero inclination to start Ethier against lefties, and the likes of SVS, Ruggiano and Heisey do NOT equal playoff victories, in my humble opinion.

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      • Kike’s return is welcome news. It can’t happen soon enough. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want a recurrence of his hammy issue due to being rushed back. Kike hits lefties very well, hits righties too and is super versatile on defense.

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  2. Brett Anderson will reach his high-water mark for innings pitched in his next game after tonight. Does the following chart worry any of you? It worries me.

    2009 175 IP
    2010 112
    2011 83
    2012 35
    2013 44
    2014 43
    2015 164

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    • Anderson has been reliable and healthy to this point, so hopefully he’s good for the duration. But, yeah, I do wonder.
      *
      Getting back to Beav’s comment on the last edition, it does look like the Dodgers can’t get over the hump against good teams at times. Too often it looks that way, really. But a month ago it looked like they were rolling over when they put on a spurt and opened up their lead over sf. So, once again, I’m not betting the farm on it, but I’m going to be looking for them to heat up going in to the playoffs. Thinking positive, I suppose you could call it.

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      • There are a few pieces that will help us in the playoffs this year in comparison to last year. Utley and Roenicke – one or both have really helped the running game. Utley has experience and, even though he’s 36, he doesn’t seem worn out. Pederson is a real center fielder, which we didn’t have last year. Greinke is even better this year than last year, to the point that I’m not sure whether Greinke or Kershaw will be the #1 guy in the playoffs. Grandal is a big improvement at catcher, but only if his shoulder gets healed in time.

        We still have a big ??? question mark in the bullpen – same as last year.

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  3. It is interesting we are asking the same questions today that we have been asking since Opening Day. I recall saying it is hard to know how this team will do when the season opened because typically the roster that finishes the season is so much different than the one that starts it. But the one thing that has been constant since Opening Day is the Dodgers struggles with runners in scoring position and how they have been dominated by top tier pitching. Add to that the problems with the bullpen, which seem a bit more settled now but still not where any of us think it should be by this time of the season. Do any of us get excited and confident whenever Donnie makes a pitching change? Don’t you wonder if he is thinking the same way? Did the Dodgers make a big mistake by sending Bolsinger down in favor of other pitchers?

    As you all know, I don’t make much of Donnie’s lineup choices. Maybe that does affect a hitter, maybe not. Whenever he decides to rest a regular, he gets all sorts of grief. I do agree that the Dodgers are missing Puig a lot more than most of us thought when he went down. I do not expect him back, at least not when the playoffs begin. I did not expect Kike to be ready but now we are hearing he might be ready. Clearly the Dodgers who were hot for the first two thirds of the season have cooled of considerably and I have no doubt some of that is due to wear and tear if not specific injuries. Pederson looked like a legitimate rookie of the year but he has tapered off so much he lost his job to someone with far less overall ability and only got his job back when Hernandez went down with the hamstring. So I think Donnie’s lineups are based on what he believes are better matchups but also limited by who is available to play. This does not mean anyone has to agree with those lineups but just an observation that there is a thought process. As I said in a prior post, Ethier’s struggles against lefties last season and this season led to Donnie not trusting Andre to ever hit against a lefty. It is hard for me to believe even Donnie thinks Heisey is the best choice but then again, Donnie puts him in anyway.

    Are the Dodgers ready for the playoffs? Hopefully most of the injured players will be ready but that means someone is going to be left off the roster. The Dodgers have done well since the rosters were expanded on Sept. 1 and it will be hard to leave someone like Corey Seager off the roster. I still would like to wait until the Dodgers clinch the division and then start talking earnestly about the playoffs.

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  4. Lets beat the snakes tonight with Anderson. Magic number to 6. Lead to 8 games. Anderson has been a splendid surprise this year, considering his history. There is only two pitchers from Last years BP still pitching for the Dodgers, JP and Kenley. Yet, I am more astonished that they hold a team to zeros, then if they cough up a game. So hopefully Frias rested can help there, Hatcher, Johnson, Garcia must throw good stuff. I trust mattingly got a clue the last outing with kershaw, although Kersh wants to win, it may not be best to leave out there. Our bench is stronger than last year. It seems we will play the Mets, shades of 88 again.

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  5. Might as well see if Utley can play third now than during the playoffs. The Dodgers understood the risk of playing Turner everyday when they traded Uribe but with the way Turner was hitting at the time compared to what Uribe was doing it made sense to make the switch permanent. We may see Seager at third as well one of these days.

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    • I missed Tommy John and Valdez. I had Messersmith and that knuckleballer Cande-something. Thought about Valdez though. Didn’t remember TJ being with the team so long.

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  6. Pretty much what I’ve come to expect from a Donnie coached team – stumble bumbling their way into the playoffs instead of playing their best ball of the season.

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  7. I get no satisfaction watching the Dodgers lose. And while I do understand the manager’s job is to put his players in the best situations to succeed, the players still have to perform.

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  8. These guys had their little run to put some distance between them and the Gnats, but the last two weeks they’re right back to the on again off again mediocre ball they’ve been playing all year. 5-6 in the last 11 and 0 for the last 3 is exactly where Donnie usually has these guys playing the last few weeks of the season. No edge, no intensity, no nothing. I’ll be happier than a pig in slop when they finally fire his ass.

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  9. The Rally Snout!? Oh My, keep that one for when we play the gnats and Mad bum aka the snot rocket.
    Yeah, I was tired of those Rally Bums

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        • I don’t mind Ruggiano once in a while…..he’s better than Scotty and Heisey (and, yes, he’s wasting a spot on the team).

          i got pissed last night when he took Dre out just to have Rollins pop up….and, Joc too….I know Joc isn’t killing the ball but he and Dre are studs in the field. And, yet, he left Carl in there….hadn’t done jack-shit….Donnie is a MORON!

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  10. Dear Little Joe: I know you don’t know stats for shit, so please pass this message up to your superiors – the ones that make the real decisions about the lineups.

    Chris Heisey cannot hit. Both his 2015 and Career splits against left handed pitchers are no better than Andre Ethier’s splits. Add to that information that Andre is a superior defensive outfielder, and you should easily come to the conclusion that Ethier should not be platooned with Heisey or someone else of his ilk, neither in regular season nor in the playoffs.

    BA/OBP/SLG/OPS

    .118/.273/.176/.449 Heisey 2015
    .200/.214/.250/.464 Ethier 2015

    .213/.273/.388/.661 Heisey Career
    .234/.291/.344/.636 Ethier Career

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  11. Tonights game is a repeat of a blow-out the Snakes secured on 11-Sept. Wood did not pitch well, let’s hope he gets it together and the other eight bring hitting. 7 game lead can disappear quickly. Go ask the Astros, Yankees or Cardinals

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    • Astros – Up 5.5 games on Aug 26 – now 1 game back

      Yankees – Up 6 games on Aug 2 – now 3.5 games back

      Cards – Up 6.5 games on Sept 5 – now up 4 games

      Dodgers – Up 8.5 games two days ago, now up 7 games, but going to San Francisco Sep 28-Oct 1 for 4 games

      I feel like we really need to clinch before Sep 28. Otherwise, there’s a nightmare waiting for us at AT&T Park.

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      • Dodgers have six games before heading to Pac Bell. Can you imagine what that place will be like if the Dodgers have a four-game lead or less? But before we curse Donnie–which I do regularly, especially when it comes to Ethier–look at the pitiful, awful, disgraceful, lackluster bunch of hacks that Friedman and Co. have surrounded Greinke and Kershaw with in the bullpen all season.

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  12. How many different line-ups now not counting pitchers (EXCEPT the game Greinke batted 8th?)

    Play your best 8 period. There were guys like Lacy, Auerbach and Von Joshua on the teams of the 70s, but unless someone was injured, how many games did they play, especially down the stretch? This team will probably stumble into the playoffs like before and get bounced like they always do. Are there no good baseball minds out there anymore? Nothing the new regime has done has impressed me at all, especially with the pitching. At least Ned knew you had to have that. Hitting you might as well forget it. No team I’ve ever seen hits as poorly as this one does with RISP. What good are high OBPs if they’re left standing out there when the innings over? Might do some good if they had a monumental meltdown and didn’t make the payoffs.

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  13. The new front office went out and got not one, not two, not three, but four pitchers at the trading deadline. How have they done?

    Latos – the worst, DFA’d
    Johnson – the worst, somehow still on the team
    Avilan – marginally okay, his WHIP is low but ERA is high
    Wood – pretty good, sometimes on, sometimes off. Okay for a #4 starter in the playoffs?

    In total – the front office performed poorly at the trading deadline. They have not helped us set up for a successful run through the playoffs.

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  14. Ok here is the Lefty line-up, out Joc, Dre and Crawford, two of these lefties are experienced professionals with All-star credit, Joc was an allstar in a freaky early season whirlwind, but he may be the best glove of the group. So I have to support My Dodgers, but a loss tonight will send another Fire Mattingly chorus through the internet. All I can say from this, besides donnie’s methodical L/R match up is: Turner and Grandal are not in a healthy place, and perhaps Utley didnt like 3rd, so he whined and AG gets the 8th slot, to be Intentionally walked if runners are on base. Wood better have a feel like he did last outing vs. Rockies.

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    • Turner is not in a good place. I have a bad feeling that he is not going to be able to help us in the playoffs. Grandal is starting to be a little better.

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  15. I’m starting to sense the Dodgers’ collective collars beginning to tighten. The players have no core team to rally around…it’s a 30-headed, everyone-plays-whether-you’re-productive-or-not, flailing beast.

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  16. RIP Yogi Berra amazing winning 13 WS mostly as a player for the Yankees. He just lost his wife Carmen Berra on March 6, 2014 due to complications from a recent stroke, the couple having recently celebrated their 65th anniversary.

    Berra died of natural causes during his sleep at an assisted living facility in West Caldwell, New Jersey on September 22, 2015 at the age of 90, the same day as his MLB debut 69 years before.

    I was almost 3 months old by just 1 more day since Berra won his last WS which was one of the coaches on that 1978 WS Yankees team that beat us 4-2 in that series.

    Happy Belated Birthday to Tommy Lasorda turning 88 but last night game stinks.
    .

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  17. SOP of every Donnie team of the last three years, they press the accelerator down just long enough to put a good distance between themselves and the rest of the division, then they let up and try to coast to the finish line instead of keeping up the intensity that got them the big lead in the first place. Then they go into the playoffs flat and can’t pick it back up against teams that have played at a higher level for weeks.

    But that’s if they go into the playoffs at all. I’ll be laughing my ass off if the Gnats catch and pass them. Then maybe once and for all we’ll be rid of that Yankee asshole.

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    • Hear, Hear – I have the same feeling.
      Unlikely as that is to happen, I do hope that they nearly lose the lead, so that they finally have to come out and fight to win the division. Maybe the team would get some character and carry it into the playoffs. What would it matter to Donnie – nothing, the asshole would carry on like he always has. Donnie will never change. That’s why the team needs to get rid of him no matter what.

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  18. I’m just loving our new and improved FAZ bullpen… Geez!! Wood pitched well. The offense once again was no where to be found and the bullpen once again sucked…. I’m not very optimistic about our chances in the playoffs. This team is just not a championship quality team…. I hope I am wrong, but I’m not getting my hopes up too high..

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  19. Well, I’m reconciled to the fact that the new front office isn’t any better than Ned ever was, except now it’s so bloated you don’t know who to call accountable. Friedman is an asshole from a small market team that never had to deal on the level he is at now. Same for Zaidi. Kasten is a has-been, but then he’s now one of the owners. I wish we could blow up the entire management structure and get some old fashioned baseball people in place. Mattingly, Honeybutts, and the rest of them on the field level all need to be GONE.

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  20. RIP, Yogi.

    As a Dodger fan for 46 years it distresses and depresses me that I sometimes root for their demise, based on my dissatisfaction with ownership, management, pricing, and TV. I still bleed Dodger Blue but no longer consider myself a “fanatic.” The Dodgers just don’t “feel right” to me anymore.

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  21. I got Yogi’s autograph at Wrigley Field after a game in ’61. Other than Mantle’s arms, I was surprised how normal the players looked, that they weren’t bigger. I hate to see the old timers go.
    *
    The last several games lead me to wonder “SERIOUSLY?”. You can’t close the deal against the d-backs?
    I really hate the thought of going into sf with the giants still alive. With these hodge-podge line ups, no scoring to speak of, and that bull pen, I’ve just got to wonder. The beav has already pointed out what happens to teams that coast into the playoffs, so why don’t they step on the gas?

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  22. Grienke and Kershaw cant save this team, if they dont start hitting the ball where no one can get it, in fair territory that is. Last nights game was pathetic ( kudos to Wood though). This bull pen is a disaster.
    Just when I think some pitchers have got it, they revert back to no movement on the pitch.
    Hatcher, Johnson, JP all sucked, and here comes Yimi and he gets the job done. scratch my head. what really throttles me, is what communication is going on between honeycutt and the BP coach???
    Who knows who is hot or not? I dont want to see Peralta or Nicasio ever again, Jonson is in that same boat now. they bring Libertore up what a joke, Send Frias to the mound.
    I cant compare this team to anything because they haven’t shown that fire. In 1965, a simuliar team, weak hitting with two studs in the Starting rotation. Yet the supporting cast on the field gave their all, I dont see that on the 2015 team. If it is pathetic hitting vs a D-back team, what would they do vs. the Mets of 2015. Yep you saw last night!

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