Game 72, 2015

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Two righthanders battle one another this evening. Zack Greinke hasn’t gotten a win since May 5; he’s pitched well enough to win in most outings since, but his team’s lack of offense has let him down. He’s still 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA. He’ll face Jason Hammel, who’s also 5-2 and has a 2.89 ERA.

Lineup when available.

Turner gets a day off.

146 thoughts on “Game 72, 2015

  1. The only thing consistent with this club has been its inconsistency. Therefore, I predict multiple runs tonight…

  2. So Mattingly’s head has been mentioned. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him go but I think there is little chance of it. Remember one of a manager’s functions is to take the blame and shield the high command, so until the fans start finding fault with the FO, Mattingly’s job is safe. Not my desire, just my opinion. To paraphrase Strother Martin in “Cool-hand Luke”, “What we have here is a failure to communicate”. That too is part of a manager’s function, although sometimes they get lucky and one or two of the players are leaders. Not so on today’s Dodger team, too many new (to the Dodgers) players, the players who could and should lead (I’m looking at you, Agon) don’t want to, and Mattingly isn’t capable of it. Remember how some of us have kept moaning about Matt Kemp being traded? That was the Dodger leader they traded, not just a guy who couldn’t put up Triple Crown Numbers anymore and was now overpaid. (And was that his fault too?) Remember how he used to get into the other player’s faces and push them to do more? Oh, I forgot, that was dissension, making Agon and Either uncomfortable, expecting them to cheer-lead and show emotion. Well, the man at the top (Friedman) has the ultimate responsibility. He has assembled a very talented team, a young team, but they have no leader. So maybe he does need to replace Mattingly, but that is the easy part; Who do you get to replace him, that will correct his deficits without adding too many of their own? I don’t know. I have a lot of respect for Bud Black, I’d like to see them give him a try with a good team, which he never had in San Diego. But that’s all moot, I really don’t think they’ll change.

    • Good analysis. I also feel that the team lacks leaders. It’s hard to be a leader if you are not producing. Perhaps that is the case with Rollins, although I don’t know his demeanor. Perhaps Turner could be a leader. He certainly is producing. As for Mattingly, I am no fan of his for reasons I have expressed more than once. I would expect that Friedman is not happy with what is happening on the field. Friedman is not going to fire himself and he is not going to fire (too many) players and he inherited Mattingly. If the team continues to flounder — we’re 17-23 in the last 40 games and that is one-fourth of the season — then I think Mattingly becomes toast before the season ends. If the team fails to make the post-season or is eliminated before the World Series, then I think we will have a new manager next season.

    • I am not sold on the fact that we have assembled a very talented team. I think the hype machine was working overtime since the new FO got here. I do believe a good job has been done with the minor leagues, but I have been skeptical of the major league team all along.

      You take a team that is one round from the WS for two years, a team lacking pitching, you add and subtract players galore, but play the same game with retreads filling out your starting rotation and bullpen, how can you expect improvement?

      • I would have liked them to have acquired a front line starter myself (heck, at one point I was willing to trade Joc for a couple months of Lester), as well as shore up the pen. So far, however, our overall pitching has improved to date over the 2014 season (not sure how long that will hold and still want a frontliner, especially with Ryu and McCarthy out). RA/G is 3.5 versus 3.81 last year and ERA+ is 112 versus 103 in 2014. Where we are lagging a bit is on the offense. RS/G is 4.22 versus 4.43 last year, though OPS+ is 113 as against 110. (our RISP over the last month is reducing our yield even though we are hitting a bit better so far).

  3. TLBA stats of the day, Vol. 2. Meet Zack Greinke, owner of your #1 ERA in MLB.

    “Greinke pitched well yet again with six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to an MLB-best 1.70. He allowed five batters to reach base, and struck out five. But Greinke also labored and threw 111 pitches in his six frames. In his last nine starts Greinke is 0-2 with seven no-decisions despite a 1.79 ERA.”

  4. TBLA stat of the day: “The Dodgers have scored two or fewer runs in 21 of their last 37 games. This was the sixth time the club has been shutout in 2015.”

    Once again, those hollering about the team needing more pitching stand to be right longer term, but pitching has not been the main problem over the last 37.

    • My take that the oft-repeated claim of late that the Dodgers suffer because they “wait” on the HR and should play small ball instead is just not borne out.

      If a major league hitter gets a meatball, hitting a HR is exactly what he should do with it.

      Hitters don’t have the luxury of deciding whether they’ll hit a single, double, triple, or HR. But some of the fan chatter sounds like they think hitters do.

      They’re “waiting” on something they can hit, period, however successfully–or not.

      Joc’s BA may suffer a bit from swinging for the fences, but that’s a big part of his game, as are Ks. And he’s making it work at the ROY level. No complaints here about that.

      • and that being Joc’s apparent m.o. he should be batting in the middle of the lineup, probably 3rd?

        • I don’t think Pederson’s batting average, at least this early in his career, merits batting him third, but I think fourth, fifth or sixth would be suitable. Ron Cey. who had a career batting average of .261 and hit 316 homers, usually batted fourth, fifth or sixth in the lineup.

          • then 4, 5 or 6 in the order, I am good with that…but someone does need to teach others on the team how to get on base ahead of him

          • And that brings up another point. We don’t have an adequate leadoff hitter. With the makeup of this roster, that is not an easy fix..

          • hmmm, maybe we could trade for a second baseman, maybe Gordon…oh wait, we need defense, got to keep the other team from scoring because our only chance is a shutout…

      • I think a successful team can be the product of both: HR and small ball. We have demonstrated the former this year as we lead the NL in HR. But we have shown little of the latter. Mattingly eschews small ball. How often does he try the steal, double-steal, hit-and-run or squeeze? The Dodgers have stolen 14 bases this season. Our first-base coach, Lopes, in 1975, stole 28 bases by the end of June. As far as Joc is concerned, his 19 HR have produced a total of 25 RBI. He has not once this season batted third, fourth, fifth or sixth, where his homers would produce more runs. In doing some research last night, as I was recovering from the defeat, I came across this, from 2013:

        Fewest RBI for a player with 20+ home runs

        Chris Hoiles
        : 20 HR and 40 RBI (1992 Orioles)

        Kevin Maas
        : 21 HR and 41 RBI (1990 Yankees)

        Chris Duncan
        : 22 HR and 43 RBI (2006 Cardinals)

        Fewest RBI for a player with 15+ home runs

        Scott Hairston
        : 17 HR and 31 RBI (2008 Padres)

        Daryl Boston
        : 15 HR and 31 RBI (1988 White Sox)

        Lucas Duda
        : 15 HR and 33 RBI (2013 Mets)

  5. I’m not gonna call for Don’s head but, if I saw it rolling off the guillotine, I probably wouldn’t be upset.

  6. If Donnie is going to violate his almost sacred rule of not using Jansen in a non-closer situation, then he should have started the inning with him, not throw him into an almost untenable and likely completely unfamiliar situation: based loaded, nobody out in a tie game in extra innings on the road. Yes, I know I am very frustrated at this juncture, but I hope the FO does what many of us hope and relieve Mattingly of his command.

      • I agree with you both — it was a terrible situation, but who else do you put in there at that time?
        And if you put Kenley in at the start of that inning, why not the start of the 9th?
        Not arguing here, questioning.
        Let’s face it, the onus — AGAIN — is on the offense. They get a run anywhere during the game and there’s no question but KJ starts the 9th, going for the win (save for him).

        • Usage of KJ is not the issue. There was a time not too long ago when that was exactly when you put in your aces out of the bullpen, not like it is today.
          Issue is the hitting, whether that is DM or McGuire or we never were as good as we all thought when the season started, I don’t know.
          I never thought this team was as good as the headlines early on. We don’t have enough pitching, same as the last couple years, and now we don’t have the depth of hitting. This all compounds DM’s moves as manager. This is an organizational problem, there are issues with this team top to bottom.
          Then again, they could embark on a 20 game win streak today.

        • Putting a recently DL’d reliever in a high-leverage situation was inept bullpen management. You have to go with your best, and give the top of your order a chance to win it.

  7. The Dodgers are interesting now. Can the best reliever in the game get out of the worst possible jam?

    • Unbelievable. A move of a desperate, panicky, inept manager, Jansen should have started the inning.

  8. Sending out one (non-Jansen) reliever after another is a bit like playing Russian Roulette.

  9. Okay, need to find a way to get it to the 11th for the top of our order.

  10. After Rollins had his best weekend of the season, Mattingly benched him yesterday. I didn’t understand that.

  11. Donnie should be using Kenley right now, not Yimi. I think the game doesn’t get to the 10th inning because of his (lack of) strategy.

    • I would be thrilled to have a batter hit a triple or home run this inning.

    • That’s why they’re not playing as a “team.” I don’t mean disharmony, but that they need to string together more than one person successfully executing.

      • Agreed. But Mattingly does very little “managing,” in my humble opinion.

  12. The Cubs sure aren’t the team they were last year.
    The Dodgers sure aren’t the team they were early last month.

  13. Won’t RBI be excited to see how few runs the Dodgers have given up? And how econonmically prudent they have been on offense?

  14. Eight games left on this road trip, which will take us to almost exactly halfway through the season. Surely the second half will be better than the last month-and-a-half have been, right?

    • Just like when Joc popped up on the first pitch after Puig’s fortunate triple.

  15. Counting tonight, Greinke is now 0-2 in his last nine starts with an ERA of 1.70. Overall, he has an ERA of 1.79 this season and is 5-2. Will he re-sign?

    • Not if he wants to be on a winning team.
      Yes, LA is in first right now, but this does not have the feel of a team that will go far in postseason, IF it makes it that far.

    • Or RRSP – trying to save their hits and runs for after they are retired.

  16. Hammel looks like he has got another inning left in him. An easy 1,2,3 inning and at 93 pitches through 7.

    • And even though I hope I’m wrong, it doesn’t feel like their uninterestingness will end any time soon this evening.

  17. While manufacturing a run is nice, would like to see Grandal hit a dinger for his batterymate.

  18. Fortunately the Cubs don’t take advantage of the Dodgers fielding miscue.

  19. For the Dodgers RISP might as well be an acronym for Remarkable Inept Situational Production.

  20. Based on nothing but my own desire – I will say the Dodgers score 2 runs here this inning.

  21. Clicking on “Highlights” on Gameday for the Dodgers, a sign drops down that says,”Sorry”. (Actually, there are no highlights.

    • Gameday is as polite as the typical Canadian. Sorry is one of our favourite words. If one person bumps into another here, both people apologize.

      • If that translates to the highways, no doubt you have fewer road rage incidents than we do.

        • Sometimes I have a few choice words going under my breathe – or out loud – towards drivers when I’m on my bike.

          But yes, less road rage in general I believe.

  22. I just checked Gameday to see how this game is going. It would be funny, virtually game after game after game, if it weren’t so disappointing. With an occasional exception, It really doesn’t seem to matter whom we face. The team is simply incapable of often scoring many runs. Our 22-10 start has been followed by a 17-22 record. Where will we be in a month?

  23. Greinke’s pitch count much higher than Hammel’s. I think that has been the case recently with Zack and he hasn’t pitched as deep into games as he could have.

  24. A What-If Question for someone who likes working with stats:
    Assume the Dodger hitters score four runs per game for Kershaw and Greinke, and that their relief pitchers allow zero runs, What would their W-L record be?

  25. If the Dodgers don’t start supporting Zack with runs he won’t WANT to re-sign with the team.

    • I don’t relish the Dodgers having to face Greinke next year if they don’t re-sign him.

  26. Once again, I have a commitment tonight, so I will be listening in at the very start, and hopefully back around the eighth inning or so. Let’s score many runs in between, please, Dodgers.

  27. Puig, RF
    Pederson, CF
    Kendrick, 2B
    Gonzalez, 1B
    Grandal, C
    Ethier, LF
    Callaspo, 3B
    Rollins, SS
    Greinke, PCHC

    • 4 against 9?

      Puny offensive output lately may have seemed like 4 on 9, but surely they’ll let the Dodgers have a full lineup. ;-])

  28. A big part of our problem is wasting much of Greinke’s remarkable pitching, Here are his last eight starts:
    Innings — 54.1 (average of 6.8 innings per start)
    Hits — 47
    Earned runs — 12
    ERA — 1.99
    Walks — 8
    Strikeouts — 49
    Wins — 0
    Losses — 2
    Team’s mark in those eight games: 4-4
    Let’s hope he picks up a win tonight.

      • Ha! Thanks Bob. I’m glad we weren’t taking a poll last night. I get overly frustrated when Kershaw loses.

        • Same boat . . . I’m the same with the ineffective offense no matter WHO is pitching — which means a lot of games since mid-May.

  29. Continuing the discussion about Kershaw, his record, like Zack’s, reflects a lot on the lack of offense he’s received.

    But focusing just on his pitching, he’s getting the Ks, but he’s giving up the HRs — the #s on both are obvious.

    He’s not going as deep as he usually does — not sure if that can be blamed as much on the lack of offense as his pitch count (lack of faith in the bullpen could also be part of that, but in the past, he would either take it all the way or hand directly to KJ).

    He doesn’t seem to have the ability to put people away when he gets two strikes on them. Bob H., you always seem to have these #s — is there something on the outs Kersh gets this year when he gets two strikes on a hitter vs. years past?

    • The outcomes are actually better this year than last when the count is 0-2 (OPS .208, 0 dingers, versus .298, 1 dinger). Numbers a bit worse after he gets an 0-2 count (.359, 2 dingers versus .297, 2 dingers). When the situation is more generally “pitcher ahead” there is a drop of from OPS .381 in 2014 to .468 in 2015.