So much has happened since the end of the 2013 Season and this is only the beginning. As we approach Winter Meetings many teams will be filling needs or shedding roster. The Dodgers certainly will have a lot of things they have to take care of in order to reach their goal of winning a World Series. After being eliminated by the St Louis Cardinals, Many questions began to come up and with contract expired and players on the trade block things will get interesting during winter meetings. One thing that has caught many fans attention is the Outfield. The Dodgers have already expressed that they will listen to offers for all their outfielders not names Yasiel Puig. That means Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and MAYBE Prospect Joc Pederson are available for trade. Why are the Dodgers considering trading their outfielders? What for? Well there’s a few reasons you have to look at when it comes to it. One being that Kemp, Ethier, Puig, and Crawford are starting everyday Outfielders and doubt that any of them will accept a bench role or a platoon role.
Who is more likely to get traded is the big thing right now. Obviously Yasiel Puig is going nowhere and Carl Crawford won’t be going anywhere so that eliminates those two leaving Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Both Kemp and Ethier have some value and teams will be interested in both of them but one thing that comes to mind is their contracts and risk that comes with them. Matt Kemp makes $160 Million and has issues with being injury prone and tailed off while Andre Ethier makes $85 Million and also has a history with injuries and struggles to hit off Left Handed Hitters. This past season Kemp not only struggled hitting wise and defensively but also was hit hard with injuries once again leaving Andre Ethier to move to Center Field. Ethier did perform pretty well in that position while Kemp was out and while he isn’t as athletic as Kemp he is defensively better (Ethier with .992 Fielding percentage and Kemp .964 Fielding percentage). We’ve been hearing Kemp’s name a lot in trade talks and leads to a lot of people’s mind that he could be traded soon. While Kemp has been hit with injuries the past two seasons and subject to poor play, some think he can reach his 2011 form again. So far teams such as Boston, Texas, and Seattle have been really interested in obtaining Matt Kemp. In a report on ESPN Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart has even said that they are prepared for a trade if it’s to happen. So some speculation that something could happen.
Andre Ethier on the other hand has had his name in trade talks for a while now. Last season Ethier basically played all over the outfield for the Dodgers and ended playing in Center field when Matt Kemp was injured with a sprained ankle. His performance out in Center Field was pretty solid. Early in the season Ethier did struggle like Kemp did batting wise and many fans were really unhappy with their performace. Andre Ethier managed to pick it up as the team went. While there isn’t much talk about Ethier being traded you can bet that theres something out there for him. Ethier still has good value that the Dodgers could really use to upgrade at a few spots and prospects. Texas could use an outfielder and Boston could also ask about him as well. Whether teams are going to want to take a Right Fielder who struggles to hit off Left Handed Pitching remains to be seen. However Andre Ethier is a top trade target based on WAR (2.7 WAR).
Winter Meetings are coming up this Monday and Ned Coletti has already said that they are open to trading an Outfielder. Whether they do it or not remains to be seen. I think it’ll be wise to keep 4 Outfielders after what happened with the surplus of pitching they had last season. You never know what could happen with injuries and so on. I do however believe that the Dodgers will trade either Kemp or Ethier but they have to be willing to eat some of their contract which the Dodgers have said they’re willing to do. You can bet that teams are compiling a package for the Dodgers to offer and they will be reasonable ones that could help the Dodgers. All we can do is speculate and wait to see what happens.
Just like everyone I’m feeling the same way as I was Wednesday. Nervous, worried, wondering, all of the emotions running through my head. Why? As some may ask. Because today, Just like Game 5 one mistake, one big hit, one swing in momentum could End the Dodgers season or get them to A Game 7. In this post I’m not going to give you stats or any of that because this series proved to us that ANYTHING can happen. Instead I’m going to speak about tonight’s game as a fan. I’ll make it short and sweet. I’m nervous about this game…I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t but I won’t shower you with negatives on how Michael Wacha has been virtually unhitable or how the game is in St Louis tonight. I will say that it have confidence in the Dodgers because baseball is a weird game. One thing can change the outcome of a game and a series like this. Dodgers are at a point where one loss sends them home. Game 5 saw tickets as low as $13…Yeah some have given up on the Dodgers but like a lot of us the faith in this team. These guys were 9.5 games back of first place and roared back to win the NL West, made numerous comebacks in games, and left it on the field for us. This I believe is the biggest adversity they have ever faced this season where their backs are up against the wall. Kershaw is pitching tonight and the Dodgers have showed fight but tonight they must continue to show it. It’s win or go home for our boys in blue. I haven’t given up on you and the fans haven not given up on you Dodgers. It’s Game 6…..Baseball is weird…..We’re all nervous and the Boys In Blue ready to play.
It’s set. Dodgers will face off the St Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. Both teams had tough challenges and gotten through them which proved them to be worthy of getting to this stage. The changes in the League Championship Series, Instead of a 5 game series we now have a 7 game series in a 2-3-2 format. Last round in the NLDS the Dodgers faced the Braves where they manage to eliminate Atlanta in 5 games. This allowed the Dodgers to get the extra days rest they needed and wait to see who their opponent would be in the NLCS. Now we have our teams but what are the matchups looking like between the two teams. Lets preview our NLCS Series between St Louis and Los Angeles.
The Cardinals pitching staff is no joke when you look at the names but during Postseason it’s a tail of the Bullpen and Starting pitching. Starting pitching wise the Cardinals have a decent staff posting a 3.42 ERA during the regular season. Postseason wise starters are pitching a 3.38 ERA. It’s not a deadly rotation but the Cardinals starters are no joke. St Louis Ace Adam Wainwright has been pitching great in the 2 games he started in the Postseason, pitching a 1.13 ERA. In game 5 of the NLDS vs Pittsburgh he pitched a complete game in the win. In his only start vs the Dodgers Wainwright gave up 7 hits and 3 Earned Runs in a game where he was given the loss. Joe Kelly, who will be starting game 1, has been lights out the past two months going 9-2 with a ERA of 2.06. Game three vs the Pirates he gave up 5 hits and 2 Earned Runs in a 5-3 loss. Kelly has also pitched 2 games against the Dodgers as well with only one of them being a start (5-1 win on Aug 6th in St Louis) and the other as a bullpen appearance in the 5-3 loss in Los Angeles. Another guy we can’t forget is Micheal Wacha. For those who aren’t familiar Wacha is the rookie who No hit the Washington Nationals through 8 innings and went 7 innings without giving up a hit against the Pirates in Game 4 of the NLDS. Wacha hasn’t faced the Dodgers this season but he will present a great challenge for Dodger batters. When you look at the St Louis bullpen you’ll see a different story. St Louis bullpen have pitched a 2.45 ERA this postseason giving up 4 runs with 3 of them being earned. During the regular season this bullpen pitched a 3.45 ERA with a 20-19 record and 44 saves. As a staff the St Louis has had trouble with Dodger batters in the 7 game they have played in the regular season, pitching a 4.21 ERA against Los Angeles.
The Dodgers on the other hand go into the NLCS with a good rotation but questions in their bullpen. Los Angeles is pitching a 3.09 ERA this postseason. Dodger starters this postseason pitch a 2.73 ERA from their 3 that played in the NLDS against the Braves. With this being a 7 game series the Dodgers will now have to use all 4 of their pitchers. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced that Zack Greinke would start Game 1 in St Louis. Greinke started Game 2 of the NLDS against the Braves and had a solid outing against the Braves but the run support just wasn’t there for him. Greinke made a start against the Cardinals back on August 5th in St Louis. In that game he went 6 innings giving up 8 hits 2 earned runs and had 4 strikeouts in the win against St Louis (3-2 Win). Clayton Kershaw, who will be starting Game 2, has continued his dominance in his two starts in the Postseason pitching a 0.69 ERA with 18 Strikeouts. Kershaw however has had trouble against the Cardinals doping both starts he made against St Louis, Pitching a 4.15 ERA against St Louis and giving up 13 hits (The most against a team outside the NL West.). Game 3 will have to be decided between Rickey Nolasco and Hyun Jin Ryu. Nolasco was expected to start Game 4 of the NLDS until the choice was made to go with Kershaw in the closeout game. Ryu started Game 3 of the NLDS and was very shaky in his start giving up 6 hits and 4 earned runs through 3 innings. Both pitchers have started against the Cardinals and has had success. Ryu in his only start gave up 5 hits, 1 run, and had 7 strikeouts in the win at St Louis where Nolasco in his two starts pitches a 0.75 ERA against St Louis. When it comes to the bullpen the Dodgers will have to be on their A game. With JP Howell, Brian Wilson, and Kenley Jansen pitching well you think things will be alright..right? Well anyone outside of that has struggled, giving up hits and putting the team in bad positions to work with or giving up runs. Left off the roster for the NLCS is Chris Capuano and Paco Rodriguez while Edinson Volquez and Carlos Marmol are in. That leaves JP Howell as the only LHP in the pen. The Dodgers pitching staff against St Louis has had a lot of success, Pitching a 3.05 ERA against Cardinal batters.
The Cardinals have been known as a consistent hitting team and their ability to score runs is nothing to take lightly at all. During the regular season the Cardinals were in 3rd the NL in runs scored. The reason for that is how they’re able to hit with RISP (Runners In Scoring Position), batting .333 which is a NL best. Postseason however the Cardinals go into their series with the Dodgers batting .209. Looking at players like Pete Kozma, Matt Holiday, Yadier Molina , Matt Adams, and Carlos Beltran you don’t have room to sleep against them but one player you have to watch for is David Freese and Matt Carpenter. While both players are batting low averages in Postseason they’re still dangerous hitters in October and can strike in big moments that can shift momentum. The Cardinals also have some flaws with their batting that could haunt them in this series and that’s the inability of St Louis being able to hit against Left Handed Pitching. St Louis bats .238 against LHP which favors the Dodgers as they have two LHP in their rotation (Clayton Kershaw and Hyun Jin Ryu). Against the Dodgers St Louis struggled during the 7 game regular season series only batting .237. While they have struggled swinging the bat St Louis can strike at anytime which makes them a pretty scary team.
The Dodgers have been really lighting it up in the Postseason with their hitting .333 in their last series. Being led by guys like Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez the Dodgers have really been hitting. If you look at this team going into the NLCS things could really swing in their favor. The Cardinals have no Left Hand Pitcher in their rotation which is great for guys like Carl Crawford (Struggled against LHP this season.). Another thing you can look at is the return of Andre Ethier. Andre didn’t start a game in the NLDS due to an ankle injury but pinched hit in certain situations when he was needed. Speaking of Hanley Ramirez he has been hitting the ball really good as well. In the NLDS against the Braves Hanley hit 6 extra bases in the series which was key for Los Angeles. Another guy who has been hitting well is Juan Uribe. Uribe is hitting .375 in the Postseason with 2 HR and 4 RBI’s. One of his home runs was the 8th inning shot that lifted the Dodgers to the NLCS. Los Angeles bat .280 against the Cardinals in the 7 game regular season series and that’s without Hanley Ramirez.
As stated many times the Dodgers and Cardinals met 7 times during the regular season with the Dodgers taking the regular season series 4-3. When it comes to postseason these teams have seen a lot of each other in the NLDS. Last two postseason meetings the Dodgers faced the Cardinals in the 2004 and 2009 NLDS with both teams splitting one each(Dodgers in 2009 and Cardinals in 2004). Last time these two teams met in the NLCS was back in 1985 when it was moved to 7 Games. The Cardinals won the series 4-2.
If you look at this matchup on paper it’s really evenly matched. The Dodgers are going in with hot bats and two aces starting games One and Two while the Cardinals go in with a rotation that has been pretty good and a Lineup that can strike at anytime. Cardinals are a fundamentally sound team and has been here before (3rd Straight NLCS appearance) but the Dodgers also have a veteran team while making their first NLCS appearance since 2009. I believe it will com down to who can be consistent and the Bullen. This series can go either way.
Dodgers in 6
The Dodgers have completed the second step. Last night the Dodgers advanced to their 10th NLCS in franchise history by defeating the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS 3-1. This was going to be a tough series one way or another as the Dodgers started off the NLDS in Atlanta where they split 2 games with the Braves coming back to Los Angeles. In L.A. the Dodgers would finish up the series dominating Game 3 and pulling out some heroics by Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford’s 2 Homer night. Now before I go any further I have to say hats off to the Atlanta Braves. They’re a tough team and no doubt look for them to be back in the postseason next year.
Last night many Dodger fans as well as the players celebrated this win and should. Yes is was advancing to the next round but for this team to really face adversity and momentum being shifted to the Braves side, The team found a way to pull it off. Fellow Dodger fans you should be proud of what the team is doing this far and the potential of this team right now because if things keep up a bigger reward will be coming for us. While this is a great feat this only means that another step has to be complete in order to get where this franchise needs to get. Nothing is set and stone yet and we know that this team will be all business once Friday gets here.
For right now the Dodgers will once again play the waiting game to find out who their opponent will be in the NLCS. Wednesday the Pirates and Cardinals will play a decisive Game 5 in St Louis. This also means the Dodgers will wait and see if they’ll start off the NLCS at home or on the road. If you’re loss the scenarios goes like this. If the Cardinals win Game 5 then the Dodgers will start Game One and Two (Friday and Saturday) in St Louis (Cardinals have the best record in the NL). However if the Pirates win Game 5 then the Dodgers will host the first two games of the NLCS (Pirates are the Wildcard team.) Times have not been announced as of yet but all NLCS games will be shown on TBS. Also if you are lost about the postseason Schedule make sure to check it out the Dodger website for Dates and Times so you can plan accordingly.
Tomorrow the Dodgers will take the field in Game 1 of the NLDS for the first time since 2009. The road to the World Series start here for Los Angeles…Their opponets will be no pushover at all in the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers will travel to face the Braves in Game one and two at Turner Field which will be no joke. Dodgers have been playing pretty good while the Braves have been up and down but this will be an interesting match up all over from the lineup’s to the pitching staff. Lets go ahead and breakdown the NLDS match up between the Dodgers and Braves.
PITCHING: The Braves enter this series as the best pitching staff ERA wise (3.18 Team ERA). This is a team who can really get it done pitching wise and have been consistent as well. When it comes to their pitching against Los Angeles they have had great success against this team posting a 1.88 Team ERA. So Atlanta has had their way with the Dodgers. The Braves bullpen have been very stellar posting a 2.46 ERA. This I believe is the strong point of their team and have the ability to shut opposing batters down. One guy in that bullpen that really gets it done is their closer Craig Kimbrel. The Braves closer, pitching a 1.21 ERA, has been lights out for this team without a doubt. Starting pitching is another thing that will be crucial for the Braves. Looking at the starters for Game 1, 2, and 3 the matchup is really good. Kris Medlen has been lights out coming into this series going 9-1 with a 2.01 ERA. During the regular season series with the Dodgers Medlen in 2 starts have not given up any earned runs and struck out Los Angeles 11 times. Mike Minor has also had good success against the Dodgers as well. Minor has also started 2 games against the Boys in Blue posting an ERA of 2.25 with 15 Strikeouts. Lately Minor has been struggling recently going 0-4 in September posting a 3.94 ERA.
The Dodgers on the other hand are right behind Atlanta when it comes to pitching staff with a Team ERA of 3.25. When you look at this team’s pitching staff you’ll see a tale of two halves. The first half saw the Dodgers starters play well while the bullpen was getting knocked around left and right. Teams were hitting at least .280 off the Dodgers bullpen which saw this team give up many hits and blow many saves. The 2nd half saw the starters pitch really good and the bullpen pitch lights out. When it comes Atlanta the Dodgers have some success but couldn’t get it done to help the team posting a team ERA of 2.66. Bullpen wise the Dodgers got their act together in the second half. With players like Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen, and JP Howell stepping up and pitching well. The Dodgers addition of Brian Wilson also helped solidify the bullpen paring him along with Kenley Jansen making the Dodgers play a “Pick your poison” type of ordeal. Starting pitching for the Dodgers maybe hands down the best in baseball. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun Jin Ryu have been having really stellar seasons. Kershaw who will be starting Game one as well is a hands down candidate for Cy Young entering the series with a 1.83 ERA which is the lowest in baseball. Kershaw have yet to face the Braves this season but a stat that favors Kershaw is that the Braves are currently batting .146 against him career wise. Zack Greinke on the other hand has also been pitching really good this season. Lets not forget that Greinke was off to a great start before getting his collarbone injured in that fight with Carlos Quinten back in April. Greinke only made one start against Atlanta but inhis only start he gave up no runs and 7 strikeouts. Hyun Jin Ryu has seen the Braves the most and while he won’t pitch at Turner field, where the Brave had a hit fest against the Korean rookie, He has had advantage against the Braves at Dodger Stadium. His last game against the Braves Ryu had 6 Strikeouts and gave up no runs in the 2-1 win.
Batting: The Braves have a pretty stellar group when you look at them. Justin Upton, BJ Upton, Jason Heyward, Freddy Freeman, Brain McCann, I can go on and on with the names on the roster but things have not been what you thought for the Braves. Atlanta right now has a team batting average of .249 which is 9th in the NL. BJ Upton has really been struggling all season long with the bat (Batting .184). While BJ been struggling he still has a spot on the Postseason roster while Dan Uggla, who is batting .179 is left off the postseason roster. The Braves don’t have a lot of guys hitting in the high .200′s but that doesn’t mean they can’t hit the ball at all. This team can also capitolize with RISP as well (Runners In Scoring Position) and runners on base as they bat .251. Don’t let the middle of the pack to decent BA’s fool you this team can hit. They also can get on base as well with .321 OBP (On Base Percentage). In the regular season the Braves had good success against the Dodgers hitting .242 in the 7 Games played against them.
The Dodgers are basically they same as the Braves if not better with the bat thanks to their turn around. Remember during the 1st half of the season the Dodgers issue was getting hits and hitting with RISP. It was a constant struggle with a talented line up of Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, AJ Ellis and more but you also have to remember that Hanley Ramirez was out due to injury and Yasiel Puig wasn’t with the team yet. Matt Kemp struggled badly as did Andre Ethier…Pretty much everyone did. The 2nd half saw the Dodgers go on an on slaught with their hitting and a spark. Yasiel Puig who was called up with Matt Kemp hurt came in and had a monster start, Andre Ethier was picking up where he left off and Hanley Ramirez was back and hitting the ball very very well. With the 2nd half surge the Dodgers saw their team BA rise up to .264 (3rd best in the NL). A team who also struggled with RISP managed to clean it up with .252 BA with RISP, One percentage better than their NLDS Opponet. Right now this team will be missing Matt Kemp, who will be missing the postseason due to an ankle injury, but will have Andre Ethier back to pinch hit. Either way the Dodgers still have talent on their team to get it done. Dodgers also get on base a lot as well posting a .326 OBP so this team will get on base anyway. Against the Braves this season the team has struggled batting .197 with a .253 OBP.
History: As stated many times the Dodgers and Braves earlier this season with the Braves taking the regular season series 5-2. Braves swept the Dodgers in Atlanta back in May and the two teams split a 4 game series in Los Angeles in June. These two have met in the NLDS before back in 1996. The Dodgers were swept by the Braves 3-0 in the NLDS. That Braves team would go on to play the Yankees in the World Series.
Looking at this Matchup it can go either way. When you look lineup for lineup it’s almost even. I believe it’s going to come down to pitching and who’s pitching can come through. With that said I believe the Dodgers will win this series.
Dodgers in 4
Well we are at the end of the regular season which means it’s time for another edition of I-5 Bias. For those are are new to this allow for me to explain. Kristen , who runs a great blog called This Is A Very Simple Game and a huge Angels fan, and myself will answer 7 questions about the Dodgers, Angels, and other Baseball related issues. Out here we don’t call it westcoast bias but its I-5 Bias!
The Dodgers and the Angels both had abysmal starts to their seasons. But by the end of June, the Dodgers started to turn things completely around. What are your thoughts on the Dodgers comeback/why do you think they were able to turn their season around?
Matt says: It’s amazing to think about what the Dodgers did. At the begining a lot of things were going completely wrong. Injuries, Leaving runners on base, Errors, Mismanagement, I mean whatever you thought of it happened with the Dodgers. When they went on that run It was unbelieveable run and took first place, There was a feeling that this team could do something special. How they were able to turn it around? Honestly there was a number of things. Everyone started to trust one another, In an Interview before the Blue Jays Series Adrian Gonzalez and AJ Ellis said that everyone on that team started to trust each other. Taking a few pitches and not over do things knowing the next guy behing them. Anotheher was the pitching started to get better. If you look at the Dodgers Statisiticly pitching it started with their top two starting pitchers in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. In the 2nd half both are a world better with low ERA’s and great win-loss records so there was no doubt that they would get it together. The rest of the staff on the other hand really went on to shock me. Ricky Nolasco was really getting it together, Hyun Jin Ryu continued his success, and the Bullpen as a whole managed to get better and the addition of Brian Wilson made it better as well. Let’s also not forget about Yasiel Puig! I think he was the huge spark that the Dodgers needed with his play.
Kristen says: I think it was as close to a perfect storm of good as a team can get – things started clicking for the Dodgers when Yasiel Puig debuted right as key players started coming off the DL. This is, perhaps, an oversimplified explanation for a pretty epic comeback, but that’s all I’ve got and, really, it’s no worse than Vin’s Magic Castle explanation.
And what are your thoughts on the Angels continually frustrating season/why do you think they weren’t able to turn their season around?
Kristen says: Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it. Trust me, I watched something like 145 of 162. Seriously. There are a lot of things that went wrong – injuries, veterans failing to perform, an on again/off again offense – but I think that the worst thing, the truly irreparable nail in the coffin, was pitching. This is a team that had relied on stellar pitching for the last string of seasons and they went into 2013 without a true starting rotation and no improvements to speak of in a shaky bullpen. Then injuries and aging arms made the pitching situation even worse and the powers that be failed to make any moves that constituted so much as a legitimate patch before the trade deadline – not that they really had a lot of funds to make such a thing possible by that point in the season.
Matt says: The Angels were a team I thought would also get it together in the 2nd half of the season. They had the offensive fire power, Pujols, Trout, and Kendrick was doing their thing, Josh Hamilton was starting to come around but ultimately the Angels couldn’t get it done. You had the injury to Albert that put himout for the rest of the season and inconsistant play it just wasn’t good all around. I think what hurt the Angels was the inconsistant ball play. The inability to really put something together to make a run hurt them. In the AL West you can’t afford to lose series against the A’s and Rangers and expect to make up ground. Droping games against Seattle and Houston didn’t help at all either. I believe the Angels needed to get it together consistantly and didn’t.
With postseason baseball coming for the Dodgers what is their biggest strength and weakness? How far do you think they can go?
Matt says: Their biggest strength will be pitching. I always preach that pitching will win you championships. Look at the Giants in 2010-2012 and look at the Phillies 2008-2009. Both had a great pitching staff that lifted them to World Series appaerances/Championships. That’s what the Dodgers needed and they tackled it well the Dodgers pitching staff is getting it done at the right time and when it’s really needed. Kershaw and Greinke in game one and two is scary enough and the bullpen has been lights out. As far as their weakness I do believe it’s their health. Dodgers for some reason have this issue with staying healthy and that tend to hurt them a lot. Right now L.A. have Matt Kemp out for the season with a ankle injury and the status of Andre Ethier is really up in the air right now. This team must stay healthy in order to really make an impact. I do believe the Dodgers can go far. It’s going to be difficult because they have a lot of good teams to pan up against and will be on the road. I think the Dodgers can make it to the World Series due to their pitching and talent.
Kristen says: I think pitching is the Dodgers biggest strength and an on again, off again offense is potentially their biggest liability. They sure aren’t hitting right now but even the last few games leading up to the postseason aren’t always an indication of play come October. If the Dodgers start hitting again, they could go pretty far.
What, if anything, do you think the season fallout will be in the Angels organization? Is there anything this team can do to get back on track for 2014?
Kristen says: I feel like Sadusky in National Treasure, “Someone’s got to go to prison, Ben.” I don’t know or even really want to predict who is going to leave but it’s certain that someone, and probably several someones, will. There are rumors flying far and wide about Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia. On the one hand, if you take injuries out of the equation, Jerry Dipoto is responsible for the pitching situation – he dismantled the old starting rotation to build this one. One the other hand, Scioscia has managed four teams that failed to make the post season in a row, two of them with losing records…and don’t think we haven’t noticed that this is the first season Arte Moreno has failed to respond to questions over Sosh’s future with with instant unwavering support. So is it one or both of these guys or will it be a massive player shift? Or, D, some of all of the above? Personally, I’d like the fallout to be enough player movement to get an actual starting rotation going into 2014 without throwing all babies out with the bathwater to accomplish it. But I learned a long time again that I don’t think like a team owner, especially not this team owner, so I doubt it will be that.
Matt says: I don’t think much will happen in the Angels Organization really but ig I had to pick I do believe the Angels will let go Jerry Dipoto. He has made splash signings with Albert Puljos, CJ Wilson, and Josh Hamilton but really nothing much has come out of it. He also failed to get the Angels true help which was to upgrade the pitching staff. I do believe that there is something that this team can do to turn it around in 2014 and that’s to get pitching help. They have the offensive firepower and enough of it but now is the time to really lock down on pitching if they want to make an impact in the AL West.
After winning the NL West the Dodgers came out of their clubhouse and celebrated in the Diamondbacks pool in the outfield. This was controversial and commentators have expressed differing opinions on the matter. What is your take on the celebration?
Matt says: Well I maybe in the majority that actaully don’t have an issue with this. I honestly think the Diamondbacks and media are making a huge deal out of it than we are or the Dodgers. If anything it started with them saying that the Dodgers couldn’t comeback out to celebrate which puzzles me. It was all done when everyone was out of the stadium and Los Angeles didn’t mean any harm over it at all. I understand the sportsmanship and classiness of celebrating but lets not forget when the Dbacks clinched they went swiming in their pool in 2011. It’s really no issue at all really and I think it’s bigger deal to Arizona than anyone else.
Kristen says: On the one hand, I think the DBacks telling the Dodgers not to come back out of the Clubhouse to celebrate on their field was out of line and contrary to baseball tradition. So, if the Dodgers had just come out of the Clubhouse and celebrated on the field, I wouldn’t have any objections. But come on Dodgers, you can’t tell me that a large part of your motivation to celebrate specifically by jumping in the DBacks’ pool wasn’t sticking it to a division rival with whom you have bad blood and have brawled this season, knowing that such an action would really piss them off. While that is certainly an understandable, human motivation it isn’t exactly a classy one. So, do I think the Dodgers are evil? No. But they sure aren’t winning any kudos for sportsmanship this season. Of course, did they actually set out to? Probably not.
So, baseball fan boys and girls, what does the 2013 season have to teach us about pre-season media hype?
Kristen says: Well, both the Dodgers and the Angels were heavily hyped to go all the way. The Angels…yeah, ‘nuff said. *sigh* While the Dodgers have made it to the post season in style for sure…but with significant help from guys who weren’t even on the team when the predictions were made. Look, an MLB season is too long and complicated to ever listen to the preseason predictions with anything more than the kind of interest a diehard baseball fan shows any MLB news when there are no live games on yet and a ‘that’s nice’.
Matt says: I think it taught us something very valuable. Baseball isn’t played on paper. If you were to tell me the Giants, Angels, Nationals and Blue Jays wouldn’t even come close to playoff contention then I would think you’re crazy. This season basically showed us a lot when it comes to pre-season media hype. The Dodgers and Angels got off to bad starts but the Dodgers managed to get it together in the second half of the season and the Angels struggled which was disapointing to see. I think we will all be more careful when we take a look at things in the pre-season but this was another example of how anything can happen in baseball.
Get to Know Your Bloggers Bonus Question: Do you have any favorite memories and moments from the MLB Postseason?
Matt says: Well I do have a few memories and moments from the MLB Postseason. The Dodgers sweeping the Cardnials in 2009 is one that sticksout because St Louis was a heavy favorite and it really shocked a lot of us when the Dodgers swept them out of the playoffs. Another was the Cardinals/Rangers World Series. It was sad to see Texas lose it when they had two chances at winning it but amazing to see the Cards win it thanks to David Freese heroics but I think my favorite has to be the Red Sox and Yankees 2004 Series where the Yankees were up 3-0 in the series and was bound to win the series only for the Sox to pulloff an amazing comeback to win the ALCS which was crazy to see. I hope to see some this postseason as well that we can talk about for years to come.
Kristen says: You all know what I’m going to say here, right? ‘Erstad says he’s got it. Erstad makes the catch!’…except, favorite memory though that was, I wasn’t strictly back to being a baseball fan in 2002. I was a bitter, bitter lady over the strike, and I’d been raised a Dodgers fan, after all. No, I wouldn’t come back to baseball until I fell head over heels in love with the Angels about three seasons after the 2002 series. Sad, but true. But I do remember when they won. My grandfather was a lifelong Angels fan going back to the Minor League PCL days, but he passed away in 1990 and missed the team’s truly good years. It’s maudlin, but I remember catching the end of game 7 on TV and wishing that somehow he knew, as you do.
Now, with my odd mixed fan base baseball background, I also have vivid warm fuzzies over 1988, and that first Saturday game, building the Lego castle of the weekend all along the den floor with my sister while we watched the World Series. Memories of Vin Scully’s, ‘And look who’s coming up…’ and just knowing who I was going to see when I put down the Legos and looked up at the screen, because Kirk Gibson was my hero, so of course he would come in at just the right moment to win the game like it was some sort of fairy tale.
Ah childhood! But I guess that’s part of why I really get into doing this whole I-5 Bias thing, even when my team blows so many goats for the season that they actually made me momentarily happy the regular season has ended. Oh well, here’s looking forward to 2014 and hopefully less drama and more editions of I-5 Bias where I get to brag about my guys. Cheers!
It’s been 4 years since the Dodgers last made their postseason appearance. In 2009 the Dodgers were once again the NL West Champions, One of the favorites to win the whole thing. Dodgers started the 09 playoffs against Cardinals in the NL Divisional Series. Dodgers managed to sweep St Louis 3-0 to advance to the NL Championship Series where they ran into the Philadelphia Phillies, The same Phillies team that knocked them out of the playoffs and went on to defeat Tampa Bay to win the World Series. The hope around Dodgertown was to beat the Phillies and advance to the World Series. Dodgers couldn’t pull it off as the Phillies eliminated the Dodgers in 5 games in the NLCS. Ever since then things has been a roller coaster for the Dodgers. Now 4 years later the Dodgers find themselves back in the MLB Postseason and as Division champs. I have to say that this season was a crazy one. Who would’ve thought that the Dodgers would come from last place where they were 9.5 games out and left for done to NL West Division Champs? Who would’ve thought that the Dodgers would go on an amazing run from July 22nd to now and catch the baseball world’s attention? If you predicted all of that then please make sure you go to Vegas. The fans of this team should be happy and excited for this moment coming. The day after the Dodgers clinched playoff tickets went on sale instantly sold out minutes after. The excitement is running high in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Dodgers organization from the front office to the players have overcome a lot and worked day and night to put a contending team. If anything I do believe the credit goes to Mr. Stan Kasten as he has done a lot to help this team and franchise. A team that was bankrupted, depleted in the farm system, and missing talent that would’ve taken a while to fix Kasten done in 2 years. Now just cause I’m putting this out here doesn’t mean I think their job is done but lets take the time to look at what Mr Kasten along with ownership and Ned Colleti has done with this team. Another thing I pointed out earlier was the excitement for the playoffs by Dodger fans. Playoffs tickets selling like crazy and fans scrambling for tickets, more gear, anything to prepare them for the postseason. You can sense the feeling that the Dodger fans can feel that this could be the year the Dodgers do something special and win the World Series, Something that hasn’t been done since 1988.
The job isn’t done as this is only the beginning. the Dodgers are healthy and playing good ball at the right time. Now that the Dodgers clinched they can get core guys healthy and keep them fresh while certain players audition for a spot on the playoff roster. Fans are excited and postseason is around the corner. Prepare yourself for…..
So many things have been going on for the Boys and Blue. After yesterday’s series finally with the Marlins, The Dodgers find themselves in 1st place of the NL West by 9.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The boys are playing good Baseball but there’s no time to let up on teams. Lets go ahead and look at what’s going on with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Vin Scully To Return In 2014
That’s right you heard it. The legendary Vin Scully has announced that he will be coming back for another season. Whenever Vin ponders his future in broadcasting for the Dodgers first thing that plays a factor is his health. I think if Vin feels he can do it and if his wife is okay with it then Vin gladly takes it. Either way me along with many Dodger fans are very happy to hear that he is returning. For all of our lives We have been blessed with having Vin Scully broadcast games for us. From telling us things about the players/managers that we never knew to telling us his interesting story it’s always been a treat to hear Vin. Without a doubt the greatest to do it and in 2014 Vin will do it Again.
Brian Wilson Dodger debut
Yesterday we saw the debut of the beard in Dodger blue. While it was indeed a very VERY weird site to see for many of us it was indeed exciting. Wilson came in and got made a very successful save for the Dodgers which impressed a lot. While Wilson won’t be the closer for the Dodgers (That role belongs to Kenley Janson) he does bring much needed depth and help to the bullpen that could be critical to the Dodgers. I do believe he will do well here and contribute. Los Angeles the Beard is here!
Red Sox come to town
Who would’ve thought that the Dodgers and Red Sox would be a potential World Series preview? This weekend two Baseball powers clash in Los Angeles for interleague play. For the Dodgers the Red Soxs will be the last AL team they face this season. The Soxs come in like the Dodgers playing great baseball and find themselves in first place in the AL East. This is the 1st time since 2002 that Boston will be in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. Last time the Dodgers and Red Soxs met was in Boston in 2010 (Red Soxs won the series). This will be another huge test for the Dodgers and the whole nation will see if the Dodgers can continue there hot play against the Red Soxs.
Ok so what has gotten into the Dodgers? Morning of June 22nd this team was 12 games under .500 and 9.5 games back of 1st place in the NL West. Many of the media and fans wrote the team off and even said that they should be come sellers when the deadline comes. Well from then on the Dodgers managed to go on a hot streak surging them past the Giants, Padres, Rockies, AND Diamondbacks. The last two series after the break shown something that has fans really excited. In the 2nd game of the Nationals series and the 2nd and 3rd game of the Blue Jays series the Dodgers trailed late in the game but rallied back to win. Something that we haven’t seen much of from this Dodger team this season. So the question remains….What has gotten into the Dodgers?!
Well if you ask me I think it’s a few things. One they’ve finally gotten healthy. Through the 1st half of the season the Dodgers have been banged up and missed players when they needed them the most. If you remember this was the same thing that hurt the Dodgers last season. Another thing you have to throw in there is the fact that guys are finally producing. Early in the season the Dodgers had a low Average with RISP and the Bullpen ERA was as high as a kite. If you listened to what Adrian Gonzalez said before yesterday’s game in Toronto the guys are finally feeling the pressure fall off. They can take a few pitches, get walked, and do their part to help the batter behind them and have the confidence that they will cash in. Everyone is doing their job to help the team out and that’s what’s we’ve wanted out of them. Let’s also not forget that the Dodgers have gotten some help from the Giants and Padres cooling off.
This team is playing up to their potential and even in late games they’re finding ways to pull through and come away with wins. Dodgers don’t have to win EVERY game but just keep taking series and hold off Division rivals. If they can do that they’ll take the NL West and play onto October. The Dodgers are on fire right now and on top of the NL West. Lets hope they can keep this up.
In a season full of expectations and a new era of Dodger baseball there has been a lot of umm Drama around the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you looked at the roster you’d think this team would be in first place in the NL West by the All-Star break right? Right now as of today the Dodgers find themselves 2.5 Games out of first place which is being held by the Arizona Diamondbacks and are 4.5 Games back of the Wild Card. They also have a record of 47-47. So you might be wondering what on earth happened? Let me answer your question with this: A LOT! The start of the 2013 Season seemed very promising after opening day but from then on things kind’ve sent south. Losing games due to lack of offensive and defensive production, Bullpen issues, Mismanagement of the team, and Injuries were the main issues that hurt the Dodgers in the first half of the season. It seemed like an ever lasting nightmare from April to Mid June. It got to the point where the Dodgers found themselves below .500 and 9.5 games out of 1st place in the NL West. Come Late June things took a turn for the better. Lets break down the 1st half of the Dodgers 2013 season.
Injuries: Dodgers kept getting hit with Injuries left and right. From the begining of the season and on the Dodgers have struggled to keep healthy and that has hurt the Dodgers from producing. Think of it like this, Pretty much majority of the Dodgers roster has been on the DL at some point. Hanley, Kemp, Crawford, Aj Ellis, Scott Van Slyke. The group that took the hardest hit when it comes to injuries has to be Pitching. At the start of the season the Dodgers had Starting Pitchers like there was no tomorrow but with injuries that number quickly fell. Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett will miss the season which hurt the 4 and 5 pitching spot before the Nolasco trade, Zack Greinke broke his collar-bone in the bench clearing fight with Carlos Quentin and the San Diego Padres, and Fife/Capuano missing time as well. Last season the Dodgers injuries cost them and this season it has hurt them at the start.
Lack of production and bad play: Outside of injuries the lack of production was another thing that killed the Dodgers. Whenever there were runners in scoring position it seems as if the Dodgers failed capitalize on the chance given. Yes we all understand about the injuries and pitching but there’s no excuse for the Dodgers not getting runs when the chance is there. Leaving men on base, below average with RISP, It just doesn’t add up with a Line up like this. This season Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier who are usually key factors have really under produced and many Dodger fans aren’t happy about it. Lack of bench production hasn’t been all that great either and defensively the team just hard to watch. Overall it was just bad baseball.
Pitching issues and Bullpen Problems: Where can I start? Well lets put this out there the 1-2-3 Starting pitching slot was not an issue at all. We kind’ve got that but when it comes to the 4-5 spot and bullpen….thats a different story. The Dodgers came into the season with a loaded starting pitching staff and a bullpen that was one of the best in the NL last season. As the season went it was the complete opposite of that. Chad Billingsley went down to an ongoing arm injury that required Tommy John Surgery, Josh Beckett was winless during the season after he had an amazing Spring Training. A nerve injury forced him to have surgery and miss the season as well. As for Ted Lilly? He continues to struggle with injuries and had multiple rehab stints and continues to have a set back. Steven Fife tends to have solid outings and has potental but Chris Capuano has been very inconsistent and has given up a lot of hits in his outings. The bullpen on the other hand as really been an issue for the most part of the season. Josh Wall who is no longer with the team has really not helped and struggled before being sent down and later traded in the Ricky Nolasco deal. Ronald Belisario has hurt the Dodgers and come in only to give up hits and runs. His ERA has sky rocketed as the season went but seems to get the hang of things towards the break. Brandon League on the other hand as took a complete turn south. After closing games last season and showing that he can be a solid reliever League has blown saves left and right. Many of us kept wondering why Mattingly sending him out to close games but finally he got it together and had Jansen as closer. Jansen out of the two is a no brainer right there to have as closer. The Dodgers also brought up guys like Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez who can really throw the ball in the high 90′s. Paco Rodriguez and JP Howell also have had solid outings and can also get the team out of innings as well so things won’t be all doom and gloom for the pen from the looks of it. As far as Starting pitching? The Ricky Nolasco deal solidified their Number 4 starting pitching but still the 5 spot is the big question mark.
Puigmania- Something uplifting here that really took Los Angeles and the Baseball world by storm. Yasiel Puig. They hype started up when he played in rookie leagues and Single A but it was Spring Training where many started to hop on the bandwagon after posting impressive numbers but due to the lack of room for him on the 25 man roster Puig, As expected my many scouts, was sent to Double A Chattanooga for more development. Once the injuries hit the Dodgers Yasiel Puig was called up to the Dodgers and from there everything played itself out. Puig lived up to the hype he generated batting above .400 while playing and exciting fans around baseball. Before All-Star Break he had many write his name in on the All-Star ballot and came in 2nd in the Last Chance vote. Yeah he didn’t make the All-Star game but his presence provided a spark for the Dodgers that helped them make up ground in the NL West.
From 9.5 to 2.5: By June 21st the Dodgers found themselves 9.5 games back of the NL West and pretty much left for dead by many but when June 22nd hit things changed. The Dodgers would go on and hit a streak that would really shape up the NL West for them. Winning 17-22 Games from June 22nd to July 14th. The Dodgers ended up gaining ground on the Padres, Giants, and Rockies in that stretch of games. Now that Los Angeles find themselves in a great position come All-Star break it’ll be interesting to see what they can do in the 2nd half of the season.