NLDS Game Five, 2015

Mets at Dodgers, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

“This one’s for all the marbles.” “Win or go home.” “There’s no tomorrow for one of these teams.”

Those are clichés for a reason: they’re all true. Banal, trite, and eye-roll inducing, but true.

The Dodgers ask Zack Greinke to do what he’s done all year: hold the other team to fewer than three runs as he did in all but two starts and score more than that themselves. The Dodgers will have to get those runs off Jacob deGrom, who’s got a 3.66 ERA in three regular season starts against them, which shows he can be reached. In Game One, though, he was nearly unhittable, striking out 13 in seven shutout innings.

Turner is probable to start while Grandal is 50-50.

Lineup when available.

Defense, defense! That’s the goal of this lineup, as Mr. Weisman sees it.

389 thoughts on “NLDS Game Five, 2015

  1. David Price went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts for Toronto. Hadn’t realized he did quite that well.

    Cueto and Hamels, not so good for KC and TX. But Price hasn’t done so well postseason:

    12 games, 6 starts, 50.0 IP, 51 H, 9 HR, 11 BB, 43 K, 2-6 W-L, 1 save, 1.24 WHIP 5.04 ERA. Make than 7.20 ERA so far in this year’s playoffs. 2 HR, 8 IP, 10 H. Ouchie.

    So the “can’t win in postseason” narrative is available. No doubt it will be brought up if he’s a Dodger. And it would absolutely mean nothing for him in future years, same as it did for Kershaw.

    Would have been the height of dumb to give up prize prospects for Price as just a rental with his FA looming. He likely remembers the doggy red carpet rolled out for his mutt a couple years back when Tampa visited DS for the first time. Selling future free agents on your team thru their pets dept., evidently.

  2. Saw this and wonder if Bob H or anyone else can verify the Dodger OPS by halves as claimed? Timing is everything, but if accurate it would very much fit a lot of perceptions.

    “Dodgers were 1st in OPS during the 1st half, but 9th in the second half. It was the worst second half offense of any playoff team. It was inadequate to the task of facing a good pitching staff like the Mets.”

    • Don’t know the source, but no reason to doubt these numbers, but will check. Always best to cut these sorts of numbers in different ways to see how they look, for example by month. Particularly in the case of the Dodgers not having Howie and Justin for extended periods during the second half, but then having them for the playoffs (and them hitting the ball pretty well), i.e, the second half team was not the team we had in the playoffs.

    • Yeah, these are the numbers (though I measure by OPS+ – don’t think there is all that much difference unless your team is the Rox). BTW, Mets were top team in the second half. For the season, we came in second to Rox (like last year) and Mets 9th.

    • The second half numbers are interesting to contemplate in terms of looking forward to next year and the offense and where the FO might try to make adjustments to the roster. Grandal getting well, Joc making the adjustment and Seager continuing with the promise shown would be factors. Would be great if Howie agreed to another one year contract to see how Quique and Peraza develop, but seems unlikely. He will want 3-4 years and the FO may not want to give it to him. Another right handed outfield bat, particularly if they continue with platooning approach might be important, though Quique might fit in there as well. Not sure where this leave Schebler. Not sure when and if they bail on CC, as the cost of doing so declines. Barnes could be in the mix as 2nd back up and an extra catcher.

  3. If this posting stays up till Spring Training, it would likely have several thousand comments, maybe a world record.

  4. I know this is probably too soon for some of us but this question popped into my mind:

    Is Kershaw the best Dodger player never to have played in a World Series? Where would he rank for you on an all-time of greats?

    • With 30 Major League Clubs, there will be quite a few great players who never play in a World Series.

    • To answer my own question with one quick stat (WAR from Baseball Reference) – Kershaw is the player with the highest career WAR for the Dodgers never to make it to the WS.

      • Of course, I kinda cheated. Dazzy Vance for example had a career war of 61.6 with the Dodgers (highest for any Dodger pitcher) but didn’t get into a WS until 1934 – 2 years after he left Brooklyn.

  5. Just read this quote about hope that describes this site for me:

    Hope doesn’t say “Everything will be ok.”
    Hope says “We will get through this together.”

    Blah. I didn’t see it, but apparently snow was in the air today in Winnipeg. Winter is truly coming…

    Hanging in here with you all until Spring.

  6. Another rehash from Bleacher Report.

    What happened in Game 5 was essentially a microcosm of L.A.’s 2015
    season. It seemed like the club couldn’t be stopped early in the
    campaign, hitting its peak at 22-10 in mid-May. But from there,
    adversity got in the way, and the Dodgers roughed it to a good-not-great
    92-70 record.

    • I think some of us kept trying to make the point here that that winning percentage was unacceptably low, the club’s personnel SHOULD have been capable of much more.

      • That may well be, but not sure that it has much to do with the playoffs (and a game being a microcosm). The teams with the top two winning percentages in baseball are nowhere to be found.

  7. Buster Olney and Keith Law of ESPN discussed the Dodgers in today’s podcast (audio link, with Law appearing around the 27-minute mark), specifically last night’s game (including managerial decisions on both sides) and the future of Mattingly. Both Olney and Law feel that Mattingly will be dismissed. Law opines that while Mattingly isn’t one of the game’s better tactical managers, he’s not among the worst, and much of the team’s postseason struggles must be blamed on the front office and the roster construction. Olney discusses the fact that Andrew Friedman’s strategy of building platoons and part-time roles worked in Tampa Bay with less-established players, but it’s highly difficult to make that strategy work when dealing with veteran players on expensive contracts. Also discussed is how the Dodgers should be willing to overpay to retain Greinke, with Law projecting Greinke’s style of pitching to hold up well over the life of a theoretical free agent contract. (From MLBTR)

    • Haven’t read the article, but not sure what “highly difficult to make that strategy work” means in regard to platooning. We are basically talking about LF and RF. Dre had his best season ever as a Dodger measured by OPS+ and CC was injured so much that he only had 193 PA.

  8. From Grant Brisbee’s very fair take on the Dodgers. Well worth a read…

    “… The Dodgers are as good as the team that will win the 2015 World Series. Put them in direct competition with 162 head-to-head games, and maybe they’ll win 85 or 90 of them. The Dodgers have two of the very best pitchers in the game, with a lineup that generally does good things. They have a fantastic closer and a deep bench, and they were set up well for the postseason. They just ran into Daniel Murphy.”

      • A fastball up the side of his head would have made him irrelevant… I don’t really believe in those tactics but there was a time it would have been the accepted way to handle him.

    • I’m glad he wrote this. The post last night, weirdly, really hurt my feelings. I like his writing so much I forget that he hates the Dodgers, and it shocked me to read his glee at our loss…

  9. No way to know if AJ’s resurgent bat would have made a difference, but obviously putting Grandal in the lineup when he had near zero chance to get even one hit was the wrong move. AJ’s recent performance and playoff history cried out for him to start over the injured Grandal, and IMO AJ has every right to be highly offended that he didn’t, no matter any “whatever helps the team win” stuff he might say.

    DM may not have made that or other lineup decisions. There was a defense-first narrative from the team about Game 5, which fits the front office reputation–though offense in any form is tough to get v deGrom.

    Defense-first didn’t work so well. The failure last night clearly was on the RISP-challenged offense.The Dodgers should have had at least 3-4 more runs. Someone had to come thru when deGrom was on the ropes.

    No one did. End of story.

    So, on to next year, which starts too early.

    • Donnie makes all the line up decisions. That’s what managers do. In the case of this FO, I would imagine with a lot of input.

      • According to a couple things I’ve seen lately, input maybe in the form of some strong suggestions. If he didn’t agree, would he go with his employer’s suggestions anyway?

        • What is it that would make you think something like this, particularly with a guy like Donnie?

          • Intended more as a question than an assumption, based on a couple things from national writers. Don’t have links. When you get down to it they don’t have first-hand knowledge either, just better sources than fans.

            If the FO does insist on certain things, I doubt they do so very often.

          • My guess is that they sit down before every series and discuss the line up during the regular season and for every game in the playoffs.

          • Probably. This FO is not exactly hands-off, but neither are they micromanagers. As a general principle, good management puts good people in place, then gives them the tools and freedom to do a job. That’s the impression I get of this FO.

            Not to say they’d never insist on something. But no idea what that might be.

          • The feeling around here seems to be is that the one thing they insist on is for Heisey to play.

    • Last night was one of the most frustrating Dodger games I have ever attended. First of all, and no one here has mentioned this so I’m curious if my eyes deceived me, Greinke seemed to be getting seriously squeezed, while DeGrom got several of what looked like the exact same balls just outside called as strikes. That hurt us when DeGrom was struggling. Secondly, Greinke’s inexplicable decision to challenge Murphy with that low and in pitch. Really? Then?!?! With a free swinger right behind him? Third, the asleep at the wheel stolen base. Fourth, Grandal, who could barely lift his bat – although he should have walked at least once more, given the bad ump call. (Maybe the ump “didn’t believe in not swinging.”) and Fifth, DM not putting on a squeeze when DeGrom was so shaky.But the offense is the most to blame. We had them on the ropes, and we couldn’t land anything resembling a punch. This was a loss on everyone. I’m just glad it didn’t happen to Kersh this time. And we’re on to the next year! Meanwhile, even though I grew up a Mets fan, for this round, I’m rooting for the Cubs. The wounds aren’t healed yet.
      Oh, and the fans were great last night. Whoever said a pin could drop was wrong. They screamed their support all night, and stayed until the last futile strike!

  10. It would have been nice if Crawford could have started in game 5 but he had been swinging at so many pitches a foot out of the strike zone that he basically forced the Dodgers to bench him. With a tough right handed pitcher going in an elimination game and the Dodgers sitting a $31,000,000 a year left handed batter and inserting a rookie right handed batter in his place that really is a platoon player against left handed pitchers says a lot about this team.

    • What does it say besides CC hadn’t looked good so far in the series? Frankly, he never looks looks very good in his PAs until he gets a hit.

      • It says the Dodgers do not have their payroll wisely distributed and have a few players blocking the acquisition of a replacement.

        • Payroll is not an issue here. Crawford’s salary is a sunk cost that does nothing to keep them from acquiring a better player and he’s generally been productive when healthy. In any event, there’s a lot of money coming off the books this year.

          • If the Dodgers did not have Crawford or for that matter Ethier, Kemp would not have been traded and Martin would have been offered enough to sign him.

            If the Dodgers had not traded for Crawford and Gonzales they may have been more apt to make a new ownership splash by signing by out bidding for Tanaka and maybe have done the same this year with Scherzer.

            Its not that they can’t afford more payroll its that they would have to DFA several $30M contracts to find space on their active roster.

          • Gonzalez!? and then I recall that you were a big fan of WGJ (me too) However, not sure that would have worked out. OPS+ of 103 since leaving the Dodgers at a prime hitting position. I’ll take AGon’s 127. Even on the defensive side, Loney has put up -1.8 WAR compared to Adrians’ 0.5.

          • I won’t deny loving WGJ but as I read your reply, I have yet to figure out who that is. It’s kinda driving me a little crazy.

            I like Agon. He is a much better player than Loney. It wasn’t Loney’s skill that made him one of my favorites. I had hopes for him. I wound really liking his personality.

            He is still one of the best fastball hitters which is great for late innings relievers who now throw mostly fastballs. He was more than sufficient as a #6 or #7 hitter.

            At the time of the trade with Boston the Dodgers weakest bat was at LF and they needed a cleanup hitter. I have always thought that they should have tried to get a left fielder who could hit cleanup.

          • Weird Game James, a nickname for Loney given to him by his housemate Delwyn “Pee Wee” Young.

  11. If I were to sum up what went wrong I think it would be that the Dodgers swung at too many balls way out of the strike zone not only in game 5 but for the whole series.

    • I like that. I can also see where the Yankees might let Giradi interview with the Nationals as well. I don’t know who the next Dodger Manager might be if Mattingly leaves but I can see where Mattingly goes to the Yankees and Giradi goes to the Nats.

  12. One final thought. I have DirecTV. I do not get the regular season games. I have found that there is a life outside of planning each day around what time the Dodger game is on TV. I have a family…who knew?? But having been following the bums since 1959, I am and always will be a fan. There is possibly a generation of possible Dodger fans that may be lost to them because of what is going on with TV.
    That being said, I am pissed off at the Dodgers for temporarily becoming part of my routine again, then making it all for naught. Now, where did my family wander off to again………

  13. I have never been a DM fan. His moves late in the game…Utley for Joc, putting AJ in the 9 spot so he could not bat for him in the 9th, and leaving Puig on the bench…just typical head scratching moves he has always made. Personally, I would have put in AJ instead of Yas who was injured but that is neither here nor there.

    That being said, this game was on the players. DM never should have been confronted with the opportunity to make those and other late game choices. The lack of a big hit, a clutch hit, each of the first 5 innings, that is why they lost. They wasted numerous opportunities. That is why they lost this one.

    If not for Turner, where would be have been. And while he did great, does great, he never inspires fear in opposing pitchers. We need a couple guys in the lineup that other teams need to pitch around. It changes the whole dynamic.

    • Howie is probably the last Dodger I would ever question regarding his approach at the plate.

        • It’s a good question on whether they try to resign him, but I would guess that he may want a good number of years and the FO may feel that Quique is their 2nd baseman of the future. His performance over the past couple of years at least suggests that he is not a flash-in-the-pan like Cruz was.

      • different issues entirely….Yas is not healthy and cannot swing the bat, and AJ, much as I like him, is not the guy you want up bottom of the 9th needing a home run

          • true…but if I need one swing to tie it, I’d rather it be Joc, then Puig taking those swings….they may strike out…probably would…but you stand a better chance at a game tying home run with them

  14. I want to add my thanks and three cheers for Link for hosting us all so well.
    Losing is so tiring and disheartening. so it will be good to have a break from baseball for a bit. But the World Series is the World Series and at least the Giants can’t win it. Go Royals or maybe Cubs. Please not the Blue Jays with their insufferable – and beer bottle throwing – fans.

  15. After hearing stats about the lack of production with RISP — tonight, this series, and the second half of the season, I really can’t see the onus being on Donnie.

    • Before tonight they were hitting .303 with RISP (10 for 33). After tonight it dropped to .260 (12 for 46).

      That’s reasonably respectable, I guess. It just seemed like they couldn’t get runs across when they got guys on base.

  16. I’m just hoping that Vinny is back next year….
    Perhaps I’ve missed it, but have there been any updates on his health?…

  17. End of the season is always disappointing but, in a few weeks, I’ll be enjoying springtime in the Southern Hemisphere.

    • They may fire Mattingly. And there will be trades but I wouldn’t even try to guess who gets traded or for whom…

        • Gordon yes, Price maybe, but not Murphy. He had a few good days. He saved the Mets, but if he wants too much money they will let him go.
          Trade Puig, get Cespedas. An outfield of Cespedas, Pederson, Gordon. An infield of Gonzo, Peraza(?), Seager, Turner. I could live with this lineup.

  18. Well, I hope we all keep in touch here over the rest of the playoffs….
    Lots of thoughts……..None really matter……. The end of any Dodger season is reason to be sad.
    Looking forward to next season.
    Talk soon……….:-)

    • Likewise……..:-)

      How about we comment all throughout the playoffs……..
      And, we violate every rule on the board. HA.

  19. I can hear it now: “biggest payroll in baseball, out in the first round. Two of the best pitchers in baseball, out in the first round.”

      • First one up “Dead Wake” about the Lusitania by Erik Larson (also got on of RBI’s books).

        • LOVE Larson’s work.
          I enjoyed Brad Meltzer’s talk tonight . . . MUCH more entertaining than the frustrating news coming through my ear bud.

          • My first, but the blurbs on his other books may them appear interesting (as they are wont to do).

          • I recall a blurb which said the non-fiction reads like a thriller . . . and I totally agreed.

  20. I just got caught up with live action. Been watching recorded game since 9:00. I would have left Joc in to get a walk or HR.

  21. This is the second straight year I’ve taken a seven-day Unlocator trial to watch MLBTV post-season. Last year I cancelled it before paying. I don’t want to do so again.

  22. Dodgers would be the only home team to lose the deciding game of the division series this year.

  23. Not feeling too good right about now. I don’t mind them beating us, but we are doing this to ourselves.

  24. Hey Guys…. Just got home…. “Nail-biter” going on at Chavez Ravine…. 🙂
    Have faith !!!!!!!!!

  25. Think someone said Greinke is 30-5 at home as a Dodger. No good reason for it not to be 31-5.

  26. In no way giving up, but if the Dodgers don’t come back, the unpleasant truth is that teams that go 0/11 with RISP really don’t deserve to win.

  27. What started so promisingly offensively has returned to the same old frustration. But at least they’re getting on vs him this time.

  28. Not that Greinke could be happy with all the RISP failures, but odds are very high it will affect him far less than most pitchers.

  29. Ha! In pre-game Pedro underestimating JT because of the bad wheels. Said that Howie should bat fourth to protect AGon.

  30. Greinke looks like he knows what he wants to do our there and so far is getting it done.

  31. The Dodger bats apparently didn’t make adjustments in Friday’s game . . . but apparently have since then.
    Score more . . . and even more!

  32. Was walking my dog when I heard NY score.
    Stayed for the bottom of the 1st and they scored again. It wasn’t three runs this time, but three consecutive games out walking and LA scores.
    We WOULD stay out there the entire game, but it might rain and I’m trying to hear author Brad Meltzer give a talk (while also listening to the game).

  33. This is the Game 5 scenario that we had hoped for and imagined would happen last year – Greinke pitching at Dodger Stadium.

  34. What’s going on in the comment’s section at places like TruBlu LA or Dodger Digest? I can’t stand to go there.

    • I guess Greinke prefers Grandal and Mattingly doesn’t think Grandal will hit any worse than Ellis against de Grom. Greinke doesn’t need Elllis’ play calling as much as other pitchers do.