Game 40, 2015

Dodgers at Giants, 12:45PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, CSN-BA

This is a marquee matchup on paper. The Dodgers send out their ace Clayton Kershaw, who is a three-time Cy Young winner, MVP and four-time ERA title winner. The Giants send out last year’s NCLS and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, who was the best pitcher in baseball for the last three weeks of last year. When they’ve faced one another Kershaw’s had the statistical edge but the Giants have gotten the win in three of four games (thanks to foultip in the comments to Game 39).

Kershaw’s off to a rocky start (for him) this season, with a 2-2 record and a 4.24 ERA. Bumgarner is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA so far in 2015. In his career Kershaw is 8-2 with a 0.97 ERA at AT&T Park.

Ryu had surgery this morning. They found and fixed a partial labral tear in his left shoulder. He should be back next spring.

Lineup when available.

156 thoughts on “Game 40, 2015

  1. I am reading how the Dodgers are focusing on Cueto. I don’t know, but paying big time for him on an extension he will undoubtedly want, but watching Greinke leave…I don’t get it.

    • It’s not a lock Greinke will leave. He’s said his opinion of a team’s chances to win matter a lot to him, and he loves LA and pitching with Kershaw. The team won’t hand him a blank check, but despite conventional wisdom money is not everything to Greinke.

  2. I know I will be belittled for saying this, but I think there is something wrong with Kershaw. And maybe it is just mental. But since the Cardinals in the playoffs, he just doesn’t have that out pitch working. Yes I know, he only gave up one or two runs in most of his outings. But he used to make that pitch, so that run did not score. I probably expect too much, but that is what happens when this level of excellence occurs over a few years.

    On the other hand, the hitting. Very exciting all the home runs and runs scored. But pitching wins in the post season, assuming we get to the post season. And when we do not score a lot, we do not win. That is a problem with the staff.

    I am a little worried when we enter a stretch against the top teams with winning records and lots of pitching. It’s easy to beat up bad teams like we have been doing so far. The Giants are good, better than everyone gave them credit for. They are the Champs, 3 out of 5 years. But other teams in the league are better. Like I said, I am concerned, to say the least.

    • I think we are all searching here and part of it is expectations relative to last year, which was in some ways historical for a pitcher. The numbers so far show that he is having a year similar to 2012, when he also won the CYA. In both years he is at 2.5 BB/9 (as compared to 1.4 last year, but his K/9 is at 11.3 relative to 9.1 in 2012 (and 10.8 last year). What is up is H/9 at 8.6 relative to 6.7 in 2012 and 6.3 last year. In 2012 he had a babip of .271, whereas this year he is at .347 (last year at .281). How much is luck or random not sure, but his line drives were at 23% last year but have risen to 29% this year.

      • I keep reading that batters this year are swinging at Kershaw’s first pitch strikes, and connecting, far more often. I wonder if he needs to change things up more with his first pitch? Thoughts?

        • Saw that analysis based on numbers before yesterday’s game. In that game Bum homered on the first pitch and Pagan’s single in the eighth was on the first pitch.

          • Saw where Bum’s HR was on a FB. But AJ had set inside up to try to run it in on his hands. CK missed, in a bad spot, unfortunately.

            Kershaw relies heavily on his FB as first pitch, and I’ve read that other teams–not being dumb– know it. So many of them go up hacking away, thinking their best shot at him is early FB. They don’t want to face that slider or curve later in the count, if they can help it.

            Even knowing this, his stuff is so good most of them can’t square his FB up and usually don’t make very good contact. We are talking Clayton Kershaw here, after all.

            Still, makes sense to me it’d be good to mix in other pitches as first pitch at times. Would add more unpredictability to facing him–just what already overmatched hitters don’t want.

    • I can’t criticize that thought, I’ve had it too. Another factor, maybe, is pressure. With the hits to the starting pitcher’s corp, he may feel more pressure to carry too much of the load himself. I pray it is not an injury; if it’s just law of averages playing catchup, I can live with that…

    • ” I probably expect too much, but that is what happens when this level of excellence occurs over a few years.”

      When a pitcher delivers about as close to perfection as we’ll ever see, perfection becomes the expectation. When the result is less, the “what’s wrong” questions arise and become low-hanging fruit and an easy narrative for some media.

      If his results aren’t back to more normal in a few more starts, then the question will have more legitimacy. We forget that he started slow last year, too–tho he’d begun to turn it around somewhat by this point.

      At this point my answer to “what’s wrong with Kershsaw?” is “bad luck” and “not much.”

    • Agree with all the points.
      Re points cited below, I heard a breakdown on how batters who swing earlier in the count fare better vs. Kersh.
      One would hope that if “everyone” knows this, that that includes the Dodger staff.

    • What a tough situation for him after getting a taste of the Bigs last year. I would imagine that he was warned, but his frustration and desire to play at the highest level was too much for him even at the price of $5 million a year.

      • I understand that Cubans can have a hard time dealing with their own expectations.

        Signed for big money, they think their big contracts mean they’ll be plugged into lineups right away. Some are. But some have to spend time in the minors for whatever reasons, and they don’t understand, thinking they’re MLB-ready from the getgo.

        They can think they’ve already paid their dues in Cuba and shouldn’t have to again.

  3. After a series like this–for that matter, even one game like it–it’s a really good idea to stay out of comments at Better still, just avoid comments there entirely.

    I’ve known that forever but sometimes still get curious. Not a good idea. Not at all.

        • Should have said, team sites. Maybe I’m mistaken, but it seems as if comments from both – make that all – teams are intermingled in the game recaps now, as opposed to separately. So you are exposed to every snide and/or crude remark from wherever. Maybe it was ever thus, but I don’t remember it feeling like such an assault before.

  4. In more than half century as a Dodger fan, this is the most lifeless single series I can recall.

    • You articulated my sentiments exactly….. ( and, better than I would have )

    • It’s just a stage, it will pass. They are too talented a team to have many weeks like this. And nobody here gives the Giants enough credit. They are not near as talented as the Dodgers but they seem to know how to win, on half the Dodger payroll. Lots of credit to the manager and GM.

  5. Okay. Back to work i go. If I don’t write another thousand or so words, I’ll have to add sloth to my litany of today’s deadly sins, which currently include wrath (at both teams), lust (for a run), and envy (at the Gnats current spate of luck and apparent skill).

  6. Missed Bob from Vegas today. But I’m sure he is having a better time being with his nephew than watching the dregs of this game.

  7. I’m going to imagine this series as the Dodgers treating the Giants like little kids learning how to play a game. That is, you let them win while trying to make it look like you are not just letting them win.

        • Had a behind-the-scenes tour of Pearl Harbor in 1991. Fascinating. What a significant spot in world history.

          • My Dad’s last duty station was there, when he was the Navy’s Officer in Charge of Construction Mid-Pacific.

            I worked there after I got off leave while waiting for my flight to my first and only duty station in Japan in 1972.

      • I agree. Nice to see a pic of you. Helps me get more of an image of who’s captaining this ship here.

        • At the moment I seem to be steering it onto the rocks.

          There’s another post for yesterday with another picture of me in front of a B-25 like the ones used in Doolitle’s Raid.

  8. Remember that feeling when the momentum shifts, and you just know that your team is about to do something amazing, come back, and win?

    Me, neither.

  9. Well, that was the perfect ending to this disastrous three-game series. Egads, unbelievable visit to the City by the Bay.

  10. I remember the days when we were concerned when the Dodgers only scored one run. At least you can win with one.

  11. The last 3 games – perhaps more – the bullpen has allowed 2 inherited runners – perhaps more – after Kershaw has left the game.

    Either Donnie should let him finish the inning or not throw him out there to start the 7th or 8th inning.

    Yes – I am frustrated and no – this is not exactly logical. But did I mention I’m frustrated.

  12. Should we end up being shut out three straight times, it reminds me of the 1966 World Series vs. Baltimore. After we lost the first game, 5-2, we were shut out 6-0, 1-0, and 1-0. in the 6-0 game, Willie Davis made three errors in centerfield in the same inning, opening the flood gates. When the Dodgers returned to dugout, Koufax, who was victimized, sat down next to Davis and consoled him. What class. What empathy.

    • The Baltimore manager was Hank Bauer. If I remember rightly from one of Angell’s books, Bauer said about Davis, “if the Dodgers don’t want him, I’ll take him.”

      I’m right: it was Bauer.

      • Willie Davis was a fine outfielder. He covered an inordinate amount of ground. The second game of the 1966 World Series was just one of those unfortunate and unbelievable innings, and it came with all the baseball world watching. I was a huge fan of Willile, but while I was growing up I and my friends always lamented the fact that he never became a good bunter. He could have upped his batting average by many points had he mastered the bunt. Wills and Gilliam both did.

        • Willie D was a fine player, but got by more on natural talent than skills.

    • We could have all used some consoling after that game, Sandy’s last!

  13. I simply don’t understand Donnie’s infatuation with Hatcher. I would rather see Mickey Hatcher pitching.

    • Maybe it’s actually Teri Hatcher that Don is infatuated with and Chris is guilty by association.

    • He is no Baez, but has actually been pretty effective since mid-April in 15 appearances barring one.

  14. As much as I love celebrating winning stretches with you guys, it’s times like this that I truly appreciate having this site. My misery not only loves your company, it requires it. Otherwise, the black dog of despair might take over completely.

    • I have heard that bark and snarl a few times myself without community.

      I’m glad that I re-discovered this spot as well and appreciate the conversation and connections we have here.

    • RBI, I feel exactly the same way. I need all the commiseration I can get from you all over these last three games, and throughout the last few seasons. I love my wife — of 35 years — but she is not a baseball fan and cannot understand my dismay. She has rooted for only two athletes in all the years we’ve been together: Joe Montana and Kobe Bryant.

  15. Positives:
    The game will be over this afternoon, sparing me an evening of frustration.
    It has actually rained a little bit in Central California over the last few days.
    We don’t play again in San Francisco until Sept. 28-30.
    Kershaw and his wife are fine people.

      • You’re right. That was an error (of omission) on my part. My apologies to baby Kershaw.

    • Sept 28-30 is the series where Dodgers have already clinched the division and the Giants have already been eliminated from post-season play. I look forward to that.

      • I like your spirit. I have a good friend, a former co-worker in California, who lives in Saskatoon. Pardon my American ignorance, but how far is Winnipeg from Saskatoon? My friend is also named Dave. He’s a poet, novelist and short story writer of some renown.

        • Saskatoon is about a 7 or 8 hour drive from Winnipeg – close to 800km (500 miles) away.

          I have friends who moved there recently but haven’t been there myself.

          Your friend sounds like he an interesting guy. I love chatting with creative types.

          • His name is Dave Margoshes. You can Google him. I just finished his latest novel, Wiseman’s Wager, which I greatly enjoyed.

    • We had rain in Oakland last night too. Won’t need to water anything for about a week.

      • Vinnie was talking about the cloud level inside the park last night and said it ought to be fog to be reminiscent of Jack London, but then the game would have to be in Oakland.

        • Vinnie knows his history. Ever been to Wolf House, the home that London built in Glen Ellen, CA, and which burned down shortly after he completed it? I think his despair helped cause his early death.

          • I love that place. And yes, I found it eerie and full of gloom and doom. The day I visited, it was sheeting down rain.

          • It is eerie, indeed. We bought the wine for our wedding from a place near there, Chateau St. Jean. I was an enormous Jack London fan growing up. Wanted to go off to sea. Got as far as two cruises on Royal Caribbean. Ever read The Star Rover, a very different book by London?

  16. What in the world was Guerrero thinking, down two with one out? Stay at second, you’ve got two on and one out. This way, one on at first and two out. Stupid play.

    • Emblematic of the entire three-game series….And you don’t get off Cuba by being timid.

      • I was in the shower and I yelled at him. Good thing the shower drowned me out or my mother might have thought I banged my head and drowned.

  17. Dodgers: 10 baserunners, including two doubles and five singles, plus two walks and a baserunner on an error. Nine left on base, 0-for-7 with RISP. If the team doesn’t play up to expectations this season — I know I am getting ahead of myself — and Donnie walks the plank during the summer, they will refer to this series.

  18. Dang. Just checking in from my office. Hauntingly familiar score so far – hopefully Kersh can keep them at one. (Too late for that, just as I write these words.) As for our offense, I’m feeling the same despair as Link.

    • You can’t keep ’em at one when you throw what Gameday said was a pitch right down the middle to Hunter Pence with Pagan on second.

      • And it was an 0-2 pitch against Pence, who is well below .100 against Kershaw in his career.

  19. Top of the third, the speedy Pederson on third with one out, scoreless game, we can’t seem to score a lick lately, Kendrick, 0-for-7 lifetime against Bumgarner including three strikeouts, at the plate, Hey, Donnie, how about a SQUEEZE bunt! How about doing something daring (for you, anyways)? Oh, never mind. You can’t teach an old Don new tricks.

  20. Have to get ready for work, hopely get some good news when I get there

  21. I speculate… With Ryu out for the season, the Dodgers need to get a frontline starter like Hamels. Here-to-fore Pederson, Seager, and Urias were not on the table for trades. I wonder if they might now consider Pederson, while they can still sell high. Ethier’s rejuvenation, Guerrero’s emergence as a viable left-fielder, the bench of Crawford (when not on DL) and SVS, gives them the ability to get along without Joc. Between Puig, Ethier, SVS, and Crawford, there is no real center-fielder but they apparently like Heisey a lot, so who knows…

    • None of those three is going anywhere. Cueto, in any event, would be a better pickup than Hamels, and his pending free agency should make him available at a lesser price.

      Heisey has his good points, but his ceiling is that of a platoon player and late-inning defensive replacement.

      • I think trading Pederson would be a big mistake. He has tremendous potential, and he is already starting to fulfill some of it. I remember the mistake we made on July 4, 1998, when we traded Paul Konerko, who was then 22, after 166 MLB at bats. Konerko had had very good numbers for the Dodgers in the minors. Before retiring at the end of last season he hit 439 homers. The Dodgers sent him and Dennys Reyes to Cincinnati for Jeff Shaw, who was a good closer for the Dodgers for four years. The Reds sent Konerko at the end of 1998 to the White Sox for Mike Cameron.

    • They bet on Joc and he is performing. Can’t imagine them changing their game plan and trading him. We have several second tier prospects that could be moved.

  22. I would like the Dodgers to give me reason to be upset that I’m blacked out again today.

    • At least you’re close enough to go to the game. Hating the Giants is hurting you, not them.

      • I do not hate the Gnats, who are annoying little insects. I do not like The Phone Booth, though; Candlestick was a better place to watch a game.