Don’t Look At This!

As I watch the Dodgers and Yasmani Grandal destroy the Colorado Rockies at home, I marvel that the Garden Gnome, Brett Anderson, who at one time was down 4-2 (but the way he was pitching it could’ve been 14-2) was even allowed to set foot on the mound.   I guess the Blue are holding auditions for their fourth starter for the playoffs, but I think they need to get in the playoffs first.  Of course, they will, having a 6 game lead with just 9 to play, but I can’t imagine Brett Anderson actually being a candidate.  He’s been hurt, hurt and more hurt and he’s been bad, horrid, and not good.  Tomorrow, they’re actually gonna give the ball to Scott Kazmir again.  Really?  I mean, he does have post-season experience, but this year the experience I’ve had watching him has been extremely painful.  And I hear Brandon McCarthy, the famous “yips” sufferer, is due to pitch as well.  I agree we need a fourth starter, and it can’t be Alex Wood, as he hasn’t pitched since May (kinda glad), but can’t that fourth guy in the playoffs just be Urías or De Leon?  I mean, how many innings is your number four guy really gonna throw?

The Dodgers are good.  I will say they are very good, and perhaps the best of any of the previous Western Division title holders these last 4 years.  They just got over another hump, beating up on a good lefty in Matt Moore last night.  This team has really improved.  What changed?  Guys who weren’t hitting started hitting big time.  The impressive depth the Three-Headed Idiot was hoping for, began to shine and pay off.  Andrew Toles happened.  Rich Hill happened.  Josh Reddick happened.  Their bullpen stopped sucking.  Blanton actually became good.  Grant Dayton showed up.  Kenley improved.  Their manager, yes, their under qualified, marionette manager, turned out to be oddly effective.  If any Dodger team had a reasonable chance to win an NLCS, it could be these guys.  They have an intangible the other Dodger teams didn’t have:  Fight, grit, chutzpah.  Whatever you wanna call it.  Let’s get past the Nats first, then worry about the Cubs, because I’ll tell you, between the Giants, Mets and Cards, ain’t none of those teams advancing beyond the Division Series.

Speaking of the Giants, what the hell are they going to do about their clearly troubled ace?  Clayton Kershaw has four things Madison Bumgarner doesn’t have: Three Cy Young awards and an NL MVP award.  Madison Bumgarner has something Clayton Kershaw doesn’t have:  A World Series MVP award and Three World Championship rings.  Kershaw would trade all four of those awards for just one of Mad Bum’s World Series rings.  But Kershaw has one other really important thing Bumgarner doesn’t have: Class.  Bumgarner, as I’ve stated many times in this space, is an asshole.  His childish meltdown Monday night because Yasiel Puig was apparently ‘looking at him’ was another example of a guy who needs some serious anger management counseling.   What an idiot Mad bum made of himself.  When is baseball going to finally step in and do something about his crazy behavior?  Bumgarner is the self-appointed Emily Post of baseball etiquette.  Etiquette he seems to make up as he goes along.  You can’t look at him, you can’t celebrate, you can’t toss your bat this way or that way, you can’t get too frustrated, you can’t show him up, you can’t appear to show him up, you can’t say anything when he shows you up, you can’t have any more pudding.  Bumgarner, just the shut the f**k up and pitch.  You’re too good to be such a jackass year in and year out.  I don’t care how big and tough you think you are, you’re due for an ass-kicking.

Matt Kemp’s numbers?  With 9 games left, hitting a solid .272 with 33 HR’s and 104 RBI with an OPS of .830.  Not bad.  Grandal’s numbers?  Hitting .231 with 27 HR’s and 69 RBI with an OPS around .800 after tonight.  So, should the Dodgers have made the trade?  Well… with Grandal, they have a decent defensive catcher who can hit for power and produce some runs.  Hard commodity to find.   Obviously, Kemp’s numbers are better and we could sure use his righty bat, (Grandal’s right-handed granny notwithstanding) but you really need to ask, is the combination of Grandal and one of the outfielders  better than the combination of Kemp and Ellis or Barnes?  Tough call.  Could we have gotten Grandal without parting ways with Kemp?  The Dodgers privately hated Kemp, so it’s a moot point.  But please, don’t tell me Kemp stinks.  His number speak for themselves.

I haven’t checked the stats, but it sure seems like almost everyone in baseball has at least 20 homers this year.  I can’t remember when I’ve ever seen so many guys with at least 20 home runs.  Guys you’ve never heard of have 20 dongs.  And there are a huge amount of guys with 30 + and there will be quite a few with 40 +.  Kind of minimizes the accomplishment of 20+ homers, doesn’t it?  What does that say about Adrian Gonzalez?  He still has time.

Nice play, Utley.  If you haven’t seen it, find the link.  Gotta love that guy.

Stripped

Ross Stripling looks awful.  Yeah, he’s young, and no, he’s not used to coming out of the pen, but in the 4 innings he threw in today’s extra inning loss to the snakes, he was in trouble every one of them.  He allowed 4 hits, walked 3 and finally got the much deserved loss.  I think Stripling has some promise and it’s tough to be asked to change roles this late in the season, but he looked bad and we may very well need him come the playoffs.

They should do themselves and Bud Norris a favor and release him.

In spite of the 9 runs, but with the 10 hits they got, half of them were from Howie Kendrick and Kiké Hernandez.  The Blue still looks kinda flat at the plate.  They have a couple weeks to pick it up.   Seager’s numbers are dropping.  He looks a little fatigued and has not played good defense lately.  Today would’ve been the day to rest him.  They should’ve played Culberson at short, Barnes at second and Ruiz behind the dish again vs. the lefty, Ray.

By the way, is everyone still excited that Friedman traded Ellis for Ruiz?  Are we seeing the big difference we were supposed to see?  How much has Ruiz brought to the table that Ellis didn’t?  Seems like they just traded away Kershaw’s best friend on the team and favorite catcher for no reason.

What a blast by Pederson yesterday!  That ball was crushed!  Pederson’s rebounding a little bit.  Still a lot of K’s, but great defense and some timely, though fairly inconsistent hitting.  But, is it just me, or does Joc seem like a real prick?   Anyone catch his post-game interview with the lovely and professional Alana Rizzo yesterday?   He couldn’t have been more rude and condescending.  I’ve heard rumors he’s not a particularly nice kid, but it’s really been coming out for all to see.  He talks a lot of crap to the blues too, evidenced by his ejection today for cussing out the ump after a called third strike that clearly caught a lot of the plate.  Someone should tell him he’s not Mickey Mantle.  Or Mike Trout.

I think Rich Hill doesn’t get his tits lit the other night if he’s given a chance to finish his perfect game in his previous start.  Just sayin’.

Corey Seager will win the NL Rookie of the year Award this year, and in rather deserving fashion.  But what about the job Trea Turner is doing in his brief stint in D.C.?  That kid is a stud, and if you project those numbers over an entire season, I think he blows Corey away.   Honorable mention to the big “D’s,” Duvall, Diaz and Dahl.

Well, they kind of got to a lefty today.   They got 5 runs off Ray.  In spite of their loss, unless they get punked by the Giants at home this week, the Dodgers appear to be on their way to a 4th consecutive Western Division title.    They’ll likely open up the playoffs in D.C. against the Nats and, even though their aces are Scherzer and Strasburg, if he’s healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dusty Baker tries to throw lefty, Gio Gonzalez at us as much as possible.  If we get past the Nats to the Cubbies, expect to see a lot of lefty, Jon Lester.

Quick shout out to my buddy, Steve Parent, who’s been tweeting every one of my posts to the Dodgers front office.  Steve was a hell of a ballplayer and now he’s successful doing whatever he’s doing and I’m… not quite as successful doing whatever it is I’m doing.  But I’m glad he likes the blog.

This is a very sad week, as it’s the last home stand for our beloved Vinny.  As most of you know, Vin has announced he won’t announce the playoffs if and when the Dodgers qualify.  He doesn’t want to say goodbye again and again.  I get it, but come on.  What if they go to the World Series, Vinny?   He has to be there, right?

I really want to be at the Ravine for the ceremony and the good-bye, but it’s gonna be a zoo and tickets will be hard to come by and the prices will be outrageous.  I think it would be better if I just watched it on TV.  I don’t need to be there to personally say goodbye to Vin Scully.  His voice is the soundtrack of my past, of every spring and summer.  I still hear his voice  emanating through the garage as I sat with my dad at night while he worked on whatever it was he was building or fixing.  Vinny was my third parent, my guardian, my constant, reassuring friend.  I don’t need to be in a crowd of 50,000 + to see him off.  I can say goodbye to him in my living room and in my heart.

 

 

 

 

What’s Left?

The Dodgers can’t hit lefties.  I mean, they simply can’t hit lefties.  Tonight in the Bronx, they made C.C. Sabathia of old look like the C.C. Sabathia of new.  Or the Vida Blue of new.  I think it’s fair to say that, against left-handed pitching, the Dodgers stink.  Hmmm… If I’m a manager of a team the Dodgers are about to play, who would I start against them?  Maybe… a lefty?   When and if they get to the post-season, that means the Dodgers would have to worry about Jon Lester and Gio Gonzalez.  As far as the Giants, it’s Bumgarner and Moore.   But, in the meantime, expect managers to throw every southpaw in the house at them.   Or, the Dodgers could try to figure out how the hell to hit lefties.  Roberts platoons everyone except Seager, AGone, Turner and Grandal, who’s a switch hitter.  Grandal doesn’t hit well right handed.  Utley has been sitting against lefties in favor of Kendrick at 2b, with Puig in left or right, in favor of Reddick.  Whatever combo Roberts tries, they seem to struggle.  My advice is, since Kiké is hitting under the Mendoza line, I think he’s no longer an option.  I’d rather see Toles out there and see how he does against lefties, or just keep playing Joc.  No more Kiké.   At least we have Ethier back.  Another lefty bat.  If this team can’t learn to hit left-handed pitching, they could be in trouble.  Tomorrow, they face a struggling Michael Piñeda.  A righty.   Here’s hoping Kershaw gets closer to being Kershaw.

Since Roberts (Friedman) pulled Hill during his perfecto, (I still can’t fkn’ believe it.)  the Dodgers have looked listless.  Yeah, they hit it in the Bronx pretty good yesterday, but the Pins helped ’em a bunch with some horrendous fielding.  Today, the Dodgers looked like crap.  Urías, who I thought was done starting for the year, struggled mightily.  Probably because he hasn’t been used regularly.  I hate that innings limit thing with young arms.  I don’t believe in it.  Unless you can see a pitcher’s velocity dipping or he loses command or says, “My arm hurts,” I think you gotta use him.   Stripling, who they’ve also spared, looked even worse.  He just started throwing BP in the 7th.  The Giants aren’t completely out of this, folks, so the Dodgers need to get it back into gear.   I really think taking that possible perfect game away from Rich Hill took the wind out of their sails.

So, it came out today that on August 1st, just before the waiver deadline, the Dodgers were @20 minutes away from trading Puig and Brandon McCarthy and prospects for Ryan Braun.   Braun would’ve added that big righty bat they needed to join J.T. in the middle of the lineup.  All season long, I’ve been pushing for the Dodgers to get Braun and they wait til the last minute and then fail to finalize.   Now, the talk is they’ll complete the deal after the season.  Puig probably feels so special these days.  At what point does the Dodgers’ treatment of him become kinda unfair?   Yeah, he’s a goofball, but he still has a butt-load of talent.  Anyway, he looks like he’s getting ready to get hurt again, so it’s probably moot.  However, aside from today’s at bats, he seems like he’s doing what they’re asking him to.   How long it’ll last, we may never know.

 

 

Perfectly Stupid

“There was heat on his index finger.  It was starting to get tender,” Dave Roberts said.  “Heat??”  What??!?   Rich Hill said his finger was fine.  Rick Honeycutt said the finger was fine.  Hill isn’t gonna lie.  Honeycutt’s not gonna lie.  Why does Dave have to lie?  They say it was a very difficult decision for the manager.  No, it wasn’t.  It was a no-brainier.  Rich Hill’s finger was fine. There was no return of the blister.  No “heat.”  (I’m sure he was referring to a hot spot.)  What really happened tonight in the Dodgers 5-0 win in Miami, when Dave Roberts made the decision to REMOVE RICH HILL WHEN HE HAD A PERFECT GAME THROUGH 7 INNINGS AFTER ONLY THROWING 89 PITCHES was likely not his decision.  More likely, it was Andrew Friedman’s decision.  Dave Roberts was obviously covering up for the front office when he said the nonsense about “heat.”  Let’s be clear.  Dave Roberts has done a good job dealing with the injuries and the setbacks.  Unlike Donnie Spaceballs, he’s been a positive force and a motivator and the guys seem to like him.  But, the bottom line is, this is Andrew Friedman’s team and he makes the personnel decisions and many of the decisions as to who plays where and for how long.   Friedman and Zaidi issued a 90 pitch limit for their prize acquisition from Oakland and they laid down the law with Roberts, their marionette in the manager’s office.

The Dodgers want to win the World Series.  More than any Dodger team in the past four seasons, this one seems the most determined and the most intense.  Kershaw came back Friday and looked like someone other than Kershaw to a degree, with only glimpses of his former self.  It was essentially a second rehab start at the big league level.  Expect him to look better next time.   The Dodgers have a formidable lineup all of a sudden and their injured pitching staff healing, they’ve suddenly found themselves four games up on the Giants and they look as though they may have a realistic shot at the Nats and Cubs, as long as Pedro Baez stays away from the mound.  Rich Hill’s health means everything.  If that blister were to flare up again and he were to miss significant time and have to try to come back in the post season, or even worse, miss the playoffs, we’d be screwed.  Andrew Friedman knows that and he’s erring on the side of caution and on the side of “I’m the boss and you do what I say.”  But here’s the thing:  You simply, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES, take out a healthy pitcher who’s throwing a perfect game through 7 innings.   You don’t.  Ever.  If the Dodgers win the World Series and Rich Hill plays an integral role, it won’t be because Roberts removed him from the game in the 8th inning today.  It’ll be because he’s at the top of his game and in the prime of his resurrected career.

The ramifications, however, from removing him could prove more harmful.  Did anyone see the game on TV?  The team was filleting the Fish and Pederson  was going off.  Seager and Turner also hit bombs. Puig made an amazing, perfecto-saving grab to end the 7th.   In spite of this, the team appeared downtrodden and stunned.  They looked like they were down by ten runs, not winning 5-zip.  Morale took a nose dive.  They looked somber and down and guys were clearly pissed off.  Kershaw just kept shaking his head.  You think the players are gonna blame Roberts?  Some might, for not having the huevos to stand up to Friedman and just say “no.”   But most of them realize this wasn’t Roberts’ decision.  I’m sure the players know with whom to be angry.  Yes, the team always should come before individual accomplishments, but gimme a fkn’ break!    A perfect game almost NEVER happens!   Your team is going to benefit greatly if your pitcher tosses a perfect game.  If he gives up a hit, okay, take him out then, but YOU DON’T PULL A HEALTHY GUY WHO’S THROWING A PERFECT GAME IN THE 8TH INNING!  Hill was dealing.  His curve was nasty and his fastball was cutting in and out with dead-eye accuracy.   Did Friedman do what’s best for the team today?  In a word, no.  Look for Rich to likely not re-sign when he becomes a free agent at season’s end.  Hill, a classy guy, gave an honest, classy interview after the game, but he was clearly pissed off and who can blame him?  What guy would want to keep playing for a manager and front office that pulls dreams out from under him?

I’m not sure what the percentage of pitchers who throw perfect games in their careers are, but I can tell you it’s low.  Very, very low.  This would likely have been Rich Hill’s only chance to accomplish this in his career and the manager inexplicably took him out.   Yes, yes, yes, again, I agree the team is more important than the individual and winning the World Series comes before throwing a perfect game.  But sometimes a huge accomplishment like a perfect game adds momentum and propels the team even further toward their ultimate goal.  Think Hill’s morale and mood are where they’d be if he gets to record 6 more outs?

If we find out tomorrow – and I’ll need to see proof – that the blister or hot spot was indeed returning, then I’ll lay down my sword at the feet of Dave Roberts.  But that won’t happen, because there was no blister and there was no “heat.”  All there was, was an egotistical front office hot shot who wants to show everybody how smart he is and how in charge he is.  And baseball wonders why it’s losing its fan base.  You think taking away a chance for a perfect game is good for the fans?  Think they enjoy that?  Think it’s good for baseball?  Just imagine if Hill was doing this at the Ravine.

I can’t stand Andrew Friedman.  Lose or win it all, I don’t care, I can’t stand him.  I say again, this team is winning in spite of Friedman and Zaidi, not because of them.

Rolling!

Well, I gotta admit it’s kind of sad watching Zack Greinke get destroyed this way.  Honestly never seen a pitcher have a worse inning since Chan Ho park gave up not one, but TWO grand slams to the Cardinals’ Fernando Tatis in the top of the first inning years ago.  That was manager, Davey Johnson’s fault for leaving Park in to have that opportunity for historic failure, and Snakes manager, Chip Hale is also an asshole to have allowed Greinke to stay in long enough in the 5th to allow the Blue to hit 4 bombs in an inning and 5 bombs in a game.  Gonzo, in the 4th, Pederson, Seager, Turner, and Grandal in the 5th.  Greinke is a great pitcher.  So, great, in fact, word is the Dodgers tried to get him back at the waiver deadline last week.  According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers started a conversation with the Diamondbacks about bringing Greinke and his $206 million dollar contract back to LA.   Didn’t pan out, obviously, but it serves as an admission by the front office that they screwed up letting him go in the first place.  Does today’s performance by Zack makes that a good thing?   I doubt it.  I think the Dodgers hitters know Zack and I think he just had a bad night.  He’s a great pitcher and I still wish he was a Dodger.

Evidently, the Dodgers also tried to acquire Ryan Braun last week.   Wonder if Friedman reads my blog.  It was the Brewers who plucked Puig off the waiver wire and the Dodgers were trying to engineer a Puig-for-Braun trade last week.   Not sure why it didn’t happen.   Can you imagine Ryan Braun in left field and hitting between Seager and A Gone?  …Oh well.  But Puig sure has looked good, though.  If that’s a reformed Cuban, we have a very strong offense and platoon situation in right field.  Especially now that Reddick may be finding his stroke.   I wanna say sit Pederson for Toles, but Pederson is starting to hit a little.  Do you start Toles in left and platoon Kendrick and Utley?  These are good problems to have and makes the bench absolutely formidable.  The lone feather in Andrew Friedman’s cap.

Man, did Rich Hill ever look good against the Dads!  That Hill’s the real deal!  I was gonna start calling him Pitch Nil, because it rhymes with Rich Hill and it more aptly described his contributions, but he’s apparently blister-free now and he’s dealing.   And a little bird told me Clayton Kershaw is starting against Miami on Friday.  Wow!  It’s like Frank Capra wrote this script.  Meanwhile, aside from one mistake to Yangervis Solarte (I knew a Yangervis once.  Or was it a Dr. Seuss character?)   Jose DeLeon was added to the 40 man and looked almost dominant in his MLB debut and he’s not anywhere close to his innings limit for the year.  And tonight?  Kenta Maeda looked more than almost dominant.  So, the bats are batting and the arms are pitching.  Now, if Vinny could just stop delivering terrible, ironic trivia questions in his last month as the greatest sports announcer of all time, it would be a perfect Labor Day weekend.

On top of all this, the Giants just suck 57 different varieties of ass.   The best record in the majors before the break, the worst record after the break.  By the time you read this, the Blue will be 4 games up.  Does this mean it’s all over?   No way.  The Giants may suddenly stop sucking – they DO have Bumgarner, Cuero & Moore, and the Dodgers may resume sucking.  But you gotta love the Dodgers’ chances long about now.  They are rolling!  And when all is said and done, they have a very strong club.   I still don’t much like our pen, and I’m still pissed off we didn’t get a big bullpen arm and I’m still annoyed we didn’t get that other starting pitcher.  I still dread the returns of Scott Kazmir and Brett Anderson and I still don’t think it’s smart to shut down Urías at this point.   I’m still furious about trading Ellis and I’m not sure how Clayton will respond.  BUT… the scenario of “ifs” I brought to light in my previous posts seem to be going the Dodgers’ way.  If Kershaw is Kershaw and Hill keeps pitching tough, you’re not gonna believe this, but this team has a shot.  A real, honest to goodness shot.

I Toles You About Toles

Well, as I said, I don’t like my posts to necessarily be about right or wrong, but I must admit, I did say ya gotta play Toles.  Double, single, granny, we win.  Enough said.   That’s one for Friedman.

The Blue came an out away from being swept in Denver and would’ve just been a half game ahead of San Fran.  Why didn’t Rich Hill start in one of today’s games?  Some flimsy reason about how he warmed up too long yesterday before the rain out and so they wanted to give him more time, because the “blister area is tender.”  If you ask me, it’s BS.  My guess is his damn blister is back.  Rich Hill was great in his one start, but basically, if he ever actually pitches again, he’ll be tantamount to a September call-up.  The waiver deadline is passed and the Dodgers still have the same guys throwing.  Hopefully Kershaw can make it back after one or two rehab assignments.  Hopefully, Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood CAN’T make it back after one or two rehab assignments.  And I wish they could take Bud Norris with them.  Boy, is he bad!   Nice first inning.  Stripling pitched okay today in the first game, but they couldn’t score for him.  Not sure if they’re planning on shutting him down.  They ARE planning to shut Urías down soon, so I’m just not sure what the hell they’re gonna do for starting pitching when we get down to the wire.  I’m sure Friedman and Zaidi have a brilliant plan because they’re so brilliant.  Their analytical, sabermetric brains are pulsating with new-agey ideas as I write this.  I hate them.

And their pen?  No David Robertson, I guess.  Blanton looked like shit tonight.  Liberatore looks terrible.  Howell has been pretty damn bad all year.  Right now, Grant Dayton is the guy, I think.  Jessie Chavez has done surprisingly well of late, but I don’t trust him.  Baez is sent down, thank the Lord.   How do we not pick up a starting pitcher and a reliever?

The thing that’s sad is, should the Dodgers wind up losing this year, the front office and some dumbass fans will blame it on the injuries.  Frankly, the Kershaw injury is the only injury they’ve had all year that really matters.  (And it was huge.  The chances of Kershaw coming back and being his old self are pretty slim after that kind of injury and a two and a half month lay-off.)   In contrast, the injuries to Ryu, McCarthy, Anderson, Kazmir, Ethier, Van Slyke, Puig, Thompson, Hernandez, Wood, are fairly meaningless as far as I’m concerned.  None of those guys are what I would consider impact players, and as far as the pitchers in that list are concerned, I actually think it’s better not to have them than to have them.  Yes, they’re THAT bad.  Now, it’s another thing entirely if the injuries were to Seager, Gonzo, Turner, Kendrick, Kenley, and Utley.   As I’ve said all along, most of these guys – McCarthy, Anderson, Wood, Kazmir – were injury prone when Friedman and Zaidi got them, so, they can’t blame those injuries if they lose.  They can only blame themselves.  On the other hand, if they somehow win, Friedman and Zaidi will be lauded as heroes.  Also sad, because they really don’t deserve that kind of recognition.

I think it’s most impressive that this team has played as well as they have without their ace.  But, again, let’s put things in perspective.  In August, the Dodgers were 15-13,  just 2 games over .500.    They’re not a dominant team by any stretch of the imagination.  They need to hope September can somehow bring them momentum.  Rich Hill needs to cover up that blister with some Krazy Glue and pitch. (What ever happened to callouses?)   They need to use tonight’s comeback win vs the Rocks as a jumping off point against the Dads on Wednesday, they need to figure out how to hit lefties (worst in baseball)  and they need to play their new star, Andrew Toles.

They Needed The Rain

Rained out.  Split doubleheader in Denver tomorrow.  This Dodger team needed the day off.  Their bats have really quieted down, facing top-notch pitching having a lot to do with it.  The Dodgers have scored only 10 runs in their last 6 games.  That’s not good, especially when one of those games was in Denver with a guy who started the game with an ERA in the high 4’s.  (I actually think Jon Gray is a pretty good pitcher)  But the Blue have looked flat, frankly, since letting go of AJ Ellis.  Not saying that’s the reason, but the clubhouse is not thrilled.  Andrew Friedman is a very high level of jackass.

It was nice to win 2 out of 3 against the mighty Cubs after being nearly no-hit by Matt Moore and the Giants, and then watching Kenley have a meltdown when he tried to pitch to newcomer Carlos Ruiz.  I know Kenley has a complicated cutter, but Ruiz has been doing this for a while.  Whether he’s caught a guy before or not, he should be able to catch the ball from any pitcher with a runner on third.   But they eked out the next two victories with brilliant , though brief performances from Julio Urías and, of all people, Brock Stewart. Their pen did OK in those 2 games, but have not looked great in games prior or since.  And I’m still still not sure why Pedro Baez gets to be on the team.   They have a few more hours to try to wrest top reliever, David Robertson away from the Chisox, and to get another starter.  Last I heard, they’re still planning on shutting down Urías.  Can they afford to?  With Kershaw due back soon, and Rich Hill healthy, Urías may very well supply them with that third starter they need.   Maeda?  Pitched OK in Denver last night, gave up a 2-run yak to light-hitting Nick Hundly and tossed his customary high pitch count 5 innings before giving way to an effective Grant Dayton, followed by an extremely ineffective Adam Liberatore, Baez and J.P. Howell.

I know a lot of people are excited.  I’m happy too, because I love the Dodgers.  But some people are acting da foo’, like the Dodgers are the best team in baseball and Friedman and Zaidi should win the Nobel Prize.  Look, people, the Dodgers are in first place by a game and a half at the time of this post.  Maybe they’ll be up by as many as 2 games by the end of the night, if Zack Greinke can hold on to his lead over the Giants.  (Wouldn’t it be cool if we had Zack Greinke?)   But if your thing is to try to poke holes in my blog and point out every time I’m “wrong” in your opinion, have at it.   As I’ve said, my whole thing is to write about the Dodgers chances of getting to the World Series.  Let’s be plain.  In spite of having won the series at home against the Giants and Cubs, the Dodgers are only 1 game over .500 for the entire month of August, which ends tomorrow.  So, it’s not like they’re world beaters.  The Dodgers, in my opinion, STILL DO NOT have enough pitching in either their starting rotation, nor in their pen, to win a playoff series, or at least the NLDS.  I’m not even sure, with only a 1 1/2 game lead, if they’ll manage to hold off the Giants.  If Kershaw can come back and BE Kershaw AND IF Rich Hill remains effective AND IF they don’t shut down Urías, AND IF their pen can be consistently effective , AND IF they can get their bats back on track, they may actually give the highly fortified Cubbies and Nats a run for their money.  (If they win the division, they’ll play the Nats, and the Cubs will play the Wild Card winner in the first round.)   But that’s a lot of AND IF’S and all we can do is wait and see if they can fulfill them.   I sincerely hope it all happens.

I must repeat, win or lose, how can anyone credit the guys who got signed mediocre, oft-injured Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy before last season as their answer to filling out the pitching staff?  How can anyone credit the guys who brought in Alex Wood and Matt Latos at last year’s trade deadline?  How can anyone credit the guys who failed to sign a top free agent pitcher in the off season?   How can anyone credit the guys who clearly don’t have a handle on the value of starting pitching?   Kershaw and Greinke were the best one-two punch in the bigs since Pedro and Schilling.  How could anyone credit the guys who let Greinke go and broke the pair up?  All they needed to do was to add a Cueto or a Scherzer or a Price (Yes, a Price.  He’s among the AL leaders in strikeouts and his ERA is dropping while his win total is rising) to that formidable pair.

It just seems like many baseball fans are rather shallow in their thinking.  For some Dodger fans, anyone ownership installs must be brilliant or they wouldn’t have been hired.  Look, loving analytics and sabermetrics is fine, but I’m here to tell ya, if the Dodgers win it all this year, analytics won’t be the reason.  If they win, it’ll be because they have a pretty good team and it was simply their time.  Not the Cubs’ time, like most people believe, but the Dodgers’ time.  But, with the wealth and resources the Dodgers have, there’s just no way anyone could convince me that Walters, Kasten, Friedman, and Zaidi have done everything possible to help this team win.  Absolutely no way.  Remember, this Dodgers team has an 8 BILLION dollar deal with Time Warner, has the highest attendance and more funds than ANY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD.  On top of that, they have the number one farm system in baseball.  So, it’s the Dodgers that should be the juggernaut this year, not the Cubs or the Rangers.  Instead, they’re barely in first place in a bad division, with little or no starting pitching and just 15 games over .500 at the end of August.  That is simply not where this team, given their resources, should be.

“The Rangers insisted on Seager for Hamels, so that must mean you wanted them to trade Corey Seager,” an idiot friend of mine said the other day.  No.  I did not want the Dodgers to trade Corey Seager.  And, any trade that involved Seager, including Cole Hamels, I would have been against.  But, yes, I would’ve been all for them trading Urías and Pederson if it brought us Cole Hamels last year or Chris Sale this year.  Why?  Because, as a lifelong, frustrated Dodger fan, I want to win now, not later.   Does anyone really want to wait another year or two or three or four… or five?

Some brief notes:

Yasiel Puig was put on revocable waivers yesterday and was grabbed off the waiver wire by some unknown team.  I don’t think they’ll deal him unless they can get a top flight starter or reliever in return.  Likelihood is they’ll wait til the off season when they can deal with all 29 teams instead of just one.

Andrew Toles was in the starting lineup tonight, but as Pederson’s average begins to plummet again, and his strikeouts rapidly rise, and as Reddick continues to suck, Toles has done nothing but prove he needs to be in the lineup every day.  Play him.

In response to the Corey Seager for MVP people, gimme a break.  Corey is having an awesome year.  .320/23/62/.920 while playing an extremely demanding position well.  But Bryant, Murphy, and Arenado are having better years and will each get more votes.  Maybe even Rizzo.  There will be an MVP or two in Corey’s future and he has the Rookie of the Year award wrapped up.

Hey, for those of you who have criticism of my cynicism and like to point out when I’m wrong, just try not to be a child or a dick when you do it.  And don’t do it via text first thing in the morning, do it on here.  There’s a comment option.  And know that I love the Dodgers and I want them to win.  I just see no reason yet to get so excited about this team.   Let’s see what happens, shall we?