Game 123, 2015

Dodgers at Astros, 11:10AM PT, TV: SPNLA, TBS

It will be Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.34 ERA) going against Lance McCullers (5-4, 3.17 ERA). McCullers has spent the last two weeks in AA ball at Corpus Christi in an attempt to limit his innings in his first year in the big leagues. I guess it worked: he only threw three innings there in those two weeks. In his last big league start he went 1/3 of an inning and gave up seven hits and six earned runs.

Lineup when available.

  • foul tip

    Excerpt from Mike P piece yesterday about non-use of Kenley and bulllpen usage generally, not just DM style–

    “But nearly no matter what happens tonight, short of a blowout on either side, I want to see Kenley Jansen. He’s having arguably the best season of what’s shaping up to be an elite career… and he’s thrown all of 19 pitches since last Friday. That’s partially unfair — there were two off days in that span, of course — but he didn’t appear in either game in Oakland as the bullpen melted down, and he’s thrown just 98 pitches in the entire month of August.

    “I know that will open the floor to Mattingly-bashing by those who choose to perceive it that way, and I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of the way the bullpen has been managed. But you know as well as I do that an overwhelming majority of the managers in baseball won’t use their closers in non-save situations. Hell, you have pitchers like Huston Street actually saying he’d rather retire than work that way. It’s a stunningly inefficient use of resources when Jim Johnson, J.P. Howell, and Pedro Baez have all thrown more pitches than one of baseball’s top relievers.

    “I’m not sure when that viewpoint is going to change. Doesn’t seem likely that the Dodgers are going to be the ones leading the charge. Might be that it takes another decade. It’s just frustrating, is all. Jansen is really, really, really good. You should want to use him as often as possible. Because what happens when you don’t — and watch this happen tonight — is that he sits idle for so long that you’re all but forced to “get him some work” in an unnecessary situation, and then he’s not available the next night, or at least not at full strength, when you really need him. It’s not great. But welcome to baseball, 2015, which in some ways still looks like baseball, 1995.”

    • WBBsAs

      That, apparently, was the original idea behind the acquisition of Brandon League – to let him close and use Kenley in critical situations. Unfortunately, League was awful and so were Chris Pérez and Brian Wilson.

      • john galt

        How good was Bud Black on using pitchers? As an ex-pitcher, he might have some insight into that. I wouldn’t mind seeing him replace Donnie Baseball…

        • WBBsAs

          I’m no Mattingly fan, but neither do I want the team to play so poorly as to get him fired.

    • Here’s what Street had to say about that. It was a little more nuanced than Petriello gives him credit for, but not much.

  • WinnipegDave

    Let’s end the weekend/start the week with a win today. 3-2 Dodgers. Feeling like they got a bit more comfortable at the plate yesterday and will do just enough today to squeak it out. Think they will need to have a homerun with some one on to do it though.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Recall Lance’s father as a fairly successful young pitcher for the Pads.

  • WinnipegDave

    A first inning lead is nice.

  • Altuve is becoming a pest. I’m waiting for the David Eckstein comparisons.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Yep, pretty much have had enough of him.

  • WinnipegDave

    Another poor baserunning decision by the Dodgers.

    • WBBsAs

      Not that bad. González played the ball well and made a perfect throw.

      • WinnipegDave

        Sorry. I thought I heard Rick Monday say the throw beat him by 15 feet and assumed it was not a good decision.

        • Bob_Hendley

          Don’t know about this play, but ragging on “modern” ballplayers is a favorite pastime of Mr. Monday, as far as I can tell.

        • WBBsAs

          I thought it was a risk worth taking.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Hung out to dry!

  • WinnipegDave

    K’shaw is dealing so far.

  • Take THAT, Eckstein!

  • WinnipegDave

    Kershaw has 53 pickoffs in his career. That is almost two games worth of outs.

    • From what I can tell without paying Baseball-Reference $36 for its Play Index, Steve Carlton is the career leader by a country mile: 145 in his 20+ years.

      So says somebody at this forum (scroll down about four posts) who actually did have access to the P-I, anyway. It’s through 2012, and he had Kershaw as active leader even then.

      • WinnipegDave

        That is a lot of pickoff throws!

  • WinnipegDave

    There’s a gift run.

  • WinnipegDave

    Nice to leave the runner stranded at 2nd and not give back that run right away. Hope Kershaw can go 8 or perhaps all 9 today. 58 pitches through 5.

  • WinnipegDave

    So Usain Bolt is still pretty good at this short distance running thing. http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/08/usain-bolt-justin-gatlin-iaaf-world-championship-gold-medal-beijing

    • WinnipegDave

      Sorry if that spoiled it for anyone. Should have written that up differently.

  • WinnipegDave

    Gonzo is clearly part of the Dodgers slumping offense.

  • WinnipegDave

    Another double against Kershaw. Hope we can strand Altuve – or throw him out on base again.

  • WinnipegDave

    Hope AJ is okay. Good they got the out at the plate.

  • WinnipegDave

    Are they going to overturn this call?

    • WinnipegDave

      Phew. Caught stealing and no run.

  • WinnipegDave

    Let’s get that run back. Back to back hits a good way to start.

  • WinnipegDave

    That backfired – strike out, thrown out double play.

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      I like being aggressive and trying to make things happen . . . but these guys aren’t making anything happen offensively.

    • foul tip

      Just checked in and saw the TOOTBLAN. Was there an earlier one too?

      Of all the Dodger problems, wouldn’t be surprising if their bad baserunning was what kept them out of the postseason or cost them dearly during it.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        Good point — it gets overshadowed because of all their other short-comings.

  • Man, Lopes’ instruction is either being forgotten or ignored or not being given this season. Baserunning has been awful all year long.

  • WinnipegDave

    Another extra base hit against Kershaw. This time with no one out.

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      He knows he’s not gonna get much support from his bats and I’m sure he doesn’t want to hand it over to the bullpen.

    • 3 doubles. How big is that outfield?

  • WinnipegDave

    Nice strikeout by Kersh after starting 3-0 on Carter.

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    Kid K starring as Kid K!
    C’mon, bats — support your local ace!

  • WinnipegDave

    Well the slider is working right now for Kershaw.

  • foul tip

    Doesn’t appear to be much wrong with Utley’s bat.

  • WinnipegDave

    One more for Kershaw and then bring in Jansen. That would be a good scenario at this point.

  • foul tip

    OK, Clayton. You got 2 whole runs. What more do you expect? Isn’t that enough?

    • WinnipegDave

      Counting today’s game, Kershaw has only had one start in his last 9 in which he gave up more than one run. 5 times it has been 0 runs.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        He has definitely lived up to past years, having a better 2nd half (MUCH better this year).

  • WinnipegDave

    Altuve not getting on base is a good thing.

  • WinnipegDave

    Glad that ball was foul. Phew.

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    Whew! — Foul is fair for LA on that one!

  • Bob_Hendley

    Clayton is magnificent.

    • package206

      Always remember you are seeing history!

  • 111 pitches is enough. Kenley, do your thing.

  • WinnipegDave

    Dodgers and Astros pitchers are tied with 10 strike outs each thus far.

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    C’mon, bats — make it easier for KJ!

  • WinnipegDave

    Bring in Joc for defense.

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      Good call anyway, but have to now, thanks to Puig.

  • Hard for me to blame Puig there.

  • WinnipegDave

    Not giving up on Puig for this season, but next season has to be easier/better – doesn’t it? Seems like between the injuries and the struggles, it has been such a lost year for him.

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      Sure hope you’re right . . . for his sake AND the Dodgers’.
      But I’m concerned with his maturation as a player — there’s no question about his talent.

  • WinnipegDave

    KJ’s velo is way down right now.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Gameday not working very well right now.

      • WinnipegDave

        It has been slow all day today.

  • WinnipegDave

    Would a double play be asking for too much here? It would help my nerves.

    • WinnipegDave

      The strike out is good.

  • WinnipegDave

    One more out please.

    • package206

      Are you standing?

  • WinnipegDave

    Shooooooot.

  • package206

    Kenley is rusty.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Puig gets to that?

    • package206

      I think you are correct, Sir.

    • Maybe, maybe not. As hard as Kenley throws, you don’t expect guys to hit the ball down the right field line, so you play straightway in right.

      • WinnipegDave

        Except Kenley did not have the velocity today that he might usually have.

  • WinnipegDave

    The crowd is so quite for having just tied the game in the bottom of the ninth.

  • WinnipegDave

    Just end this now. Kenley is letting them steal so easily.

  • WinnipegDave

    Dodgers can not get out of their own way. Playing lousy baseball.

    • WinnipegDave

      0-7 with runners in scoring position. 5 left on base. 2 thrown out on base. That just kills a team.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        Winning teams find ways to win.
        The Dodgers find ways to lose.
        “One day more” (apologies to “Les Miz” — tho Dodger fans ARE miserable) Kersh leaves in line to win and doesn’t.

        • WinnipegDave

          Almost any song from Les Miz could work:
          Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, where my friends will win no more.
          On My Own – the Clayton Kershaw story.
          Beggars at the Feast
          Bring him home – okay that strikes a lttile too close.
          I Dreamed a Dream – that’s what we have left after today’s game.

          • Bob_in_Vegas

            Bravo, maestro!

            “Master of the House” was a big part of the magic year of ’88 — I believe Nancy Bea played it when Orel was pitching.

            Regardless of the standings, it looks like “One Year More” will be the motto for hopes of the glory of ’88.

  • WinnipegDave

    Dodgers can’t do anything with that lead of hitter. Hatcher will get them through the 10th but will they find a way to score in the 11th?

  • WinnipegDave

    Hatcher is rolling of late.

  • WinnipegDave

    Review it just so the Astros can enjoy the victory twice.Shoot me now.

    • Actually to see if there was fan interference. I think if this were the NFL the fan’s touch would be ruled “incidental contact.”

  • WinnipegDave

    I feel like this guy (the first minute especially):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY9O4M8DS7c

  • package206

    HEARTBREAKER!!!

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    In consecutive games, they played the last-place and the 1st place team . . . . and were feeble/impotent/ineffective etc. vs. both.
    Poor Kersh.

  • Get used to seeing Kiké in CF. It may go on for a while. Mattingly:

    I have no doubt that Joc’s going to end up being a great player. But at
    this moment, we feel like Enrique is a better alternative.”

  • Hey, our bullpen leads the majors in blown saves with 19. Isn’ t that something?

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      Jinx!

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    Unfortunately — but not surprisingly — LA DOES lead the Majors in one category: blown saves (19). http://m.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article/144859690

    • package206

      That speaks volumes for their bullpen.

  • scooplew

    As painful losses go this season, this one may be No. 1.

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      Unfortunately, there are quite a few of them to choose from.

      • scooplew

        Sad, but true.

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    The victory was stolen from LA . . . legally.
    The SB is a wonderful weapon — too bad the Dodgers don’t have it in their arsenal.

    • package206

      When they had Gordon, they had that threat.

      • WBBsAs

        But Dee gave them little else.

  • JonnyTAFKAJ

    Hang in there, guys and gal!

  • RBI

    Oh, brother… Somehow we’e still 1 1/2 up, but this bullpen and the offense are getting worse. Which I didn’t think was possible.

  • RBI

    Okay. Back to vacay I go.

    • The Dodgers are showing that they can lose in your absence as well as they can in your presence, so you might as well enjoy yourself in the Rockies. 😉

  • Howard Fox

    I am sure I do not know as much as DM or the Dodger brain trust. But if it were me, I’d have stuck with the 5 man rotation, even if there are a couple off days sprinkled in here. And I would have let Kershaw pitch the 9th, pitch count be damned. He would have won his last 2 starts if we stay out of the bullpen. Better yet, maybe its time they spent another $100MM or so and got a couple relievers who can throw strikes. Or maybe bring up some young relievers from this self proclaimed great farm system.
    Hard to watch another season about to end prematurely.

  • john galt

    I’m sure the Dodger’s performance over the last week/month/half season hasn’t made anyone but the Giants feel good. And I can’t believe bringing Roenicke onboard at this point was a random thing. Lundy may have made some mistakes, all third base coaches do, but the vast majority of base-running faults are on stupid players, not the coach they didn’t look at. I don’t think any of us believe any longer that the Dodgers are a sentimental club, just giving an ex-player and coach a job. Not at this point. I think he is a dagger threatening Mattingly: Right the ship or you’re gone. This last week may have been the straw that break’s the camel’s back. Fine with me, Torre forced him on us and I never liked Torre either.

    • package206

      No question that Roenicke is a threat to Donnie but I still say that the FO put Donnie in a bad position. Their new philosophy is terrible

      • john galt

        Agreed, but the FO has a big stick to enforce it and he’s not taking votes…

      • Howard Fox

        my first question would be, what is their philosophy?

        • package206

          I am saying their philosophy is one where they get less than average players and then hope they perform or get well from injury or some other reason. Also, it is apparent that even though they have the money they will not get free agents such as Cueto, Hamels and Price among others.

          • package206

            I also said that Donnie would be fired for anything less than a World Series before the season started and during all the changes this FO made in the off season.

          • Bob_Hendley

            You could be right, but not picking up these fellows is not an indication of unwillingness to spend money, more the unwillingness to part with top prospects.

    • WBBsAs

      Who was Lundy, and did he have to do with coaching third base?

  • Bob_Hendley

    Gotta hand it to those giants (sic), just glad they don’t take it!

  • foul tip

    From the search for silver lining dept., via TBLA:

    ‘It was the fifth start this season for Kershaw with double-digit strikeouts and no walks, surpassing Sandy Koufax in 1965 for most ever by a Dodgers pitcher in one season.”

  • WBBsAs

    I only saw the first few innings, but I can’t say I was surprised. Unless someone can contradict me on this, putting a rusty Kenley out there was not necessarily a wrong decision, but it was risky. Had Kenley pitched in Oakland, for instance, he would probably have been sharp and the Dodgers would probably have won the first game there, but that’s what we’ve grown to expect the from the Mattingly School of Bullpen Management.

    • john galt

      I know you and others will disagree with me but… Kenley has a lot of talent, could be as good as any closer in the business, but, he’s a head case. There are times he doesn’t want to pitch, or thinks he can’t, or something. He’s not the only ballplayer or non-ballplayer with that problem, it’s just that he has such a high ceiling when it doesn’t bother him. I cannot even suggest a solution, just get what you can out of him, like you do with any other ballplayer. If you could download Andrew McCutchen’s attitude to Kenley’s body, you’d have the greatest pitcher there ever was…

      • WBBsAs

        So, you’re Kenley’s analyst, or have you hacked into some confidential database?

        Kenley IS one of the best “closers” in the business. The problem is Mattingly’s unwillingness to use him in anything but a “save situation.”

        • john galt

          Kenley is one of the best and Mattingly does misuse him. He’s also a head case.

          • WBBsAs

            You ARE Kenley’s shrink, then? You may be committing a crime: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2922345/

          • john galt

          • package206

            John, you have way more patience than I do.

          • WBBsAs

            So, it’s you who are Kenley’s shrink then? Or are the two of you “head cases?” (I can probably judge that as well as you can Kenley).

      • Bob_Hendley

        A couple of times this season Kenley has seemed a bit uncomfortable on the mound, but I believe that in each case he was recovering some ailment and had indicated his availability. Seems more head strong than head case, but perhaps you can point to some other occasions.

  • Off the DL comes Nicasio, down goes Yimi.

    • WBBsAs

      Yimi will be back up soon enough.

      • scooplew

        Glad to see we have taken this forthright action to once and for all solve our bullpen issues.

        • WBBsAs

          Nicasio’s been pretty good. Yimi’s been inconsistent, but still has upside.

          • package206

            Define pretty good?

          • WBBsAs

            From Eric Stephen: “Garcia is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 46 games this season for the Dodgers, with 58 strikeouts — second among Dodgers relievers to Kenley Jansen — and just nine walks in 45⅔ innings. Garcia has also allowed a bullpen-high seven home runs, which first got him sent down just before the All-Star break.

            But Garcia hasn’t allowed a home run since July 6, and in his last six appearances with the Dodgers has allowed just one run in 8⅓ innings with five strikeouts and no walks.”

            Only perfection, though, appears to be good enough for you.

          • package206

            I believe you said that Nicasio has been pretty good. I was not referring to Garcia. I don’t expect perfection but they need to be better than bad.

          • Bob_Hendley

            Looking at Juan’s hold and IS numbers, he seems to have been as effective as Howell.

          • WBBsAs

            Nicasio has a 3.06 ERA, 52 K’s and only 39 hits in 47 innings. His BB numbers are higher than I prefer, but overall stats still very good.

    • package206

      That is your favorite Front Office. Problem is, it doesn’t seem to be working very well.

  • Other ideas for bullpen help: bring back Bolsinger and use Urias in the pen after September 1 when rosters can be expanded.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Get the feeling that Ballslinger is being kept in the back pocket as possible starter, if needed. Frias would normally be an option as a reliever, but not sure how his rehab is going. (update: just saw that Frias had been placed on 60 day at some point).

      • foul tip

        He went 4.1 relief innings at AAA last night, did pretty well. The team may be trying to keep him stretched out enough to long relieve or start, depending on need.

        Saw somewhere he takes a while to warm up. If so, relief not too likely.

        • Bob_Hendley

          Thanks.

  • WBBsAs

    Grant Brisbee on Hanley and the Sawx: “The Ramirez signing was a bold, dumb move, though. It was a thought experiment: In theory, if Manny Ramirez could play left field, couldn’t everyone play left field?”

    https://twitter.com/SBNationMLB/status/636229512112553986

    • Bob_Hendley

      Panda?

      • WBBsAs

        Grant thinks Phlablo still has an upside, but he’s not exactly optimistic about him.

  • NPUT