It’s time for another edition of this Dodgers Spring 2014 breakdown. Last post was previewing the Dodgers solid starting pitching rotation. This post we will now take a look at the Dodgers bullpen. Los Angeles bullpen has been what you can say up and down the last few years. There’s games where they look really solid or games where they’ll make you really want to pull your hair out (Assuming anyone has hair). This season the Dodgers upgraded the bullpen which looks good on paper but will they produce and help the Dodgers or will it be another year with the Box of Pain?
2013 Review: Last season was an up and down season for the Dodgers Bullpen. During the first half of the season the Dodgers bullpen was just a constant struggle. How you ask? Well Dodgers would go into late innings with a lead or training by one or two runs before the relief pitchers would come in and blow a lead or put the Dodgers way out of the game. Brandon League, who was the Dodgers closer for a good part of the first half of the season, blown countless amount of saves and pitching a 6.25 ERA while Ronald Belisario, Peter Moylan, Matt Guerrier/Carlos Marmol/Josh Wall wouldn’t help matters at all. Yeah it was that kind of start for the Dodgers. The Dodgers would make moves to attempt to better the bullpen like trading Matt Guerrier to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol (We all know it was for International Money) but it really didn’t help that much. Things would however start to turn for the Bullpen towards the last few weeks of the break when the Dodgers as a team got their act together. After the break the Dodgers bullpen would really turn around and get a complete revamp as well. Dodgers brought up Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez who would make solid contributions, Ronald Belisario and Carlos Marmol Sorta turned the corner, and JP Howell, Paco Rodriguez, and Kenley Jansen continued to have solid seasons that helped out the Dodgers but one signing really put it together. Los Angeles would go on to sign Brian Wilson to a one year deal which had a lot of Dodgers either excited about the move or iffy about it. Once Wilson hit the mound for the Dodgers many Dodger fans would go to love him. Wilson would pitch a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 Innings he pitched in 18 games. Overall the Dodgers bullpen would end the season with a 3.49 ERA and considering how the season went at the start I would take the way how it ended.
Off-season: The Dodgers off-season was a time to really revamp pitching. Los Angeles were in need of improving the bullpen from last season in hopes to really make a serious push towards brining a title to Los Angeles. First order of business was re-signing Brian Wilson who was a huge part to the Dodgers late season run to the NL West title. Wilson decided to sign back with the Dodgers over the Detroit Tigers. Dodgers would also get JP Howell back who also had a solid season with the Dodgers and was a huge pick up for Los Angeles. Now there were a two interesting signings the Dodgers made in the off-season with one brining back a former Dodger in Jamey Wright. Wright signed a deal with Tampa Bay last off-season and pitched some pretty good numbers coming out the pen pitching 3.09 ERA 1.20 WHIP. Wright towards the end of the 2012 season was also solid for the Dodgers as well. Another is Chris Perez who is coming from Cleveland. Perez is an iffy signing seeing that the 4 years in Cleveland he went from a ERA under two to a 4.33 ERA. Change in scenery can really help pitchers at times and it’ll be interesting to see if being in Los Angeles in a pitchers league and park helps him out.
Jamey Wright: Pretty much Jamey Wright was a brought back after having a solid season in Tampa Bay. Last season Wright pitched a 3.09 ERA coming out the Bullpen. This will be an upgrade to the pen when it comes to those mid innings when Los Angeles need to get out the inning. His numbers with the Dodgers may not have been great with the Dodgers but lets not forget towards the end of the season in 2012 he was doing pretty solid.
3 Questions To Be Answered:
1) Can we expect consistency from the Bullpen?: A consistent bullpen is something that the Dodgers haven’t had at all last season and that’s what they worked at improving this off-season. On Paper the Dodgers upgraded but we all know that it doesn’t matter until you actually play the game. I think all Dodger fans eyes will be this Bullpen as it will be a key to the team’s season. Think about it like this. Even though the Dodgers managed to win the division, how many of those games early on were lost due to the bullpen?
2) Brandon League Turnaround?: When he came to Los Angeles Brandon League was having solid outings and also closed game while Jansen missed the season with a heart issue. After getting a good contract by the Dodgers and was closing things took a complete turn south. League got knocked around left and right and blew saves which cost the Dodgers games. No I’m not pin pointing him as the reason why they struggled at the start. Brandon League finished the 2013 season with a 5.30 ERA and saw less and less time on the mound as time went along. This season will be a chance to League to really clean things up and turn it around but the main thing is can he recover from that horrendous 2013 season? I think that’s something everyone will be keeping a close eye on.
3) Closer Platoon?: Let’s state this right now. The Dodgers have a lights out 1-2 punch in the pen in Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen. The question is that are we looking at a platoon at closer? Reason I ask that is because we know Brian Wilson will likely want to close games as well and not set up all season. I think they’ll be games where Wilson can close when Jansen will need an off day and Wilson I believe is fine with that otherwise he would’ve gone else where. One way or another no matter where they pitch in the pen the Dodgers have a killer Set-up/Closer 1-2 punch.
Players To Watch:
Brian Wilson: I have Wilson as a player to watch because this is his first full season with the Dodgers. Last season Wilson came to the Dodgers after missing a full year due to Tommy John Surgery and had to pitch in Minor league games to get back into game speed. Wilson looked great in rehab games and continued to look great once he came to the Dodgers by not giving up a run the whole season. Not bad at all. What many want to see and looking at is for him to continue his dominance on the mound.
Paco Rodriguez: Paco really had a solid 2013 Season and came along pretty well. Rodriguez pitched a 2.32 ERA in 76 games he appeared in and really had it going for majority of the season but towards the end and in Playoffs he really struggled giving up hits and couldn’t get out of innings. This season the improvement of Rodriguez is something I want to see. This kid really has a right future and can really produce in late innings when needed.
Chris Withrow: Chris Withrow might be one of my favorite pitchers coming out the bullpen. Initially a starting pitcher in the minors, Withrow came up to come out the bullpen for the Dodgers and really provided some solid innings for the Dodgers. One game many Dodger fans will remember is the game against Arizona in late July when Withrow continuously pitched for 3-4 extra innings to help the Dodgers defeat the Diamondbacks in extra innings. Likely Withrow won’t be on the 25 man roster but when he’s needed Withrow can go long innings if needed. You need a pitcher who can go 2-3 more innings for you then Chris Withrow is your guy.
Overview: This is a deep deep deep Bullpen. On paper the Dodgers really improved in this area but will it look that way on the field? Some players return to the Dodgers and new solid players join the team so it’ll be interesting to watch. One thing is certain is that this will be a interesting group and I’m excited to see how it develops from Spring Training and through out the season.
That’s right Dodger fans. It’s time for another year of Dodger position previews where we break down the Roster by splitting them up into groups like Starting Pitching/Bullpen Pitching, Outfield, Infield, and the final Overview. This year really looks to be interesting because they’re so many changes to this roster and with the expectations for the Dodgers are indeed high for this season. Today we will start off with pitching. This was an area where the Dodgers really tended to in the off-season. You’ve heard the term before: Pitching wins championships. So today Starting Pitching gets the nod.
2013 Review: Last season the Dodgers starting pitching staff was indeed the strength of the team. We all knew about Clayton Kershaw but the Dodgers knew that they needed help with the Pitching staff so they went out and signed former Cy Young Award Winner Zack Greinke and Top Korean Pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu to compliment the Dodgers Ace. On top of that the Dodgers were going into the 2013 season with a platoon of starting pitchers. So much that anything after 1-2 was a plain out mystery. Well that problem of having too many starting pitchers quickly turned into having not many options at all as the Dodgers saw injuries wipe away many options. Zack Greinke went down for a number of weeks after the fight in San Diego, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett went down for the season, and Aaron Harang was traded to Seattle. Lets not forget Chris Capuano went down to injury as well. Basically the Dodgers were calling up pitchers left and right (Matt Magil and Stephen Fife were called up). Somehow the Dodgers starting pitching held its own. Things turned as Zack Greinke came back along with Ryu and Kershaw who have been pitching great for Los Angeles which really helped the Dodgers a lot. The last week before the All-Star break the Dodgers would then trade for Ricky Nolasco who would also provide a solid outing for the Dodgers. Thanks to the help of starting pitching the Dodgers would win the NL West. At the end of the regular season the Dodgers Starting Pitching would statisticly be the best rotation in the MLB with a 3.13 ERA. Also to add that Clayton Kershaw would win Cy Young and Grenike would win Silver Slugger.
Offseason: The off-season was a time for the Dodgers to work on adding/improving on a few key spots including the starting pitching. One of the major things the Dodgers got out the way was the extension of Clayton Kershaw making him a Dodger for a few more years and the highest paid Pitcher in MLB History. Outside of that finding a solid Number 4 pitcher was also key for Los Angeles. Ricky Nolasco would sign with the Twins for a bigger deal than what the Dodgers would give him and the Yankees would outbid Los Angeles for highly coveted Japanese pitcher Tanaka. This off-season would indeed be different from the splash the Dodgers would make last off-season.
Dan Haren: Dan Haren would get signed by the Dodgers for a 1 year $10 Million Dollar deal during the off-season. While this wasn’t a knock the socks off deal it was a well needed and solid move at a cheap price. Last season with Washington Haren had a disappointing season which was had him at a 6.15 ERA which would be the worst ERA among starting pitchers. He would finish the 2013 season with a 10-14 record posting a 4.67 ERA.
Paul Maholm: As pitchers and catchers would report to camp many reporters would notice that Paul Maholm’s jersey would be in a locker. It would soon be announced that the Dodgers have signed Paul Maholm to a 1 year deal. It’s unknown at this point that Maholm will be a starter or a relief pitcher (Pending on the health of Josh Beckett). If starting Maholm will be fifth in the rotation as expected.
3 Questions To be Answered:
1) The Health of Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley: It was just a year ago that I was asking about the health of Chad Billingsley in one of these previews. Well now its STILL a question that has to be answered. Chad Billingsley is recovering from Tommy John Surgery that forced him to sit the whole season. If you remember Billingsley was dealing with injury issues during the 2012 season just when it seemed as if he was turning the corner back to his all-star form. Josh Beckett on the other hand also had surgery to for a nerve issue in his throwing arm which also sidelined him for the remainder of the 2013 season. Beckett struggled before his injury going 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA. This season will be a fresh start for Billingsley and Beckett as they return from injury. Both are saying that they feel great but how their pitching will be remains to be seen. Beckett could return sooner but once Billingsley return will it be the bullpen for Beckett? I think we should see how healthy the two are before we jump to any conclusions.
2) 2nd Year of Hyun Jin Ryu?: Ryu had a very impressive 1st year going 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA. This season Ryu will be looking to repeat if not improve from his rookie year. Now that he has a year under his belt in the MLB it’ll be interesting to see what he learned and how he has improved. Will Ryu improve and be a better pitcher in 2014? The thing I’m worried about is the sophomore slump (2nd year players perform below expectations after a good rookie year) but with Ryu he keeps himself motivated so I’m sure he will improve for next season.
3) 5th Starting Pitcher Issue?- The Dodgers spent the off-season improving the pitching rotation. We all know as of now the projected rotation 1-4 is set but the 5th spot in the rotation is a huge mystery. Before camp the Dodgers signed Paul Maholm to likely take that 5th spot while Josh Beckett, who is now cleared to throw, recovers from his surgery and get things going. Right now it’s a toss-up between Beckett and Maholm pending how Beckett feels but then come May-June when Chad Billingsley return then comes the question of how will Billingsley fit into the rotation? I thought it would be more confusing than it is now but with injury bound to happen things can change so it’s a good problem for the Dodgers to have.
Players to Watch:
Dan Haren- Haren is coming of a bad season with Washington last season. He is now in Southern California once again and in a pitcher’s park with a better line up. If Haren can provide solid innings for the Dodgers and stay healthy then he will be fine. I put him as a player to watch because I believe he has a lot to prove this season, especially after the season he had with the Nationals.
Zach Lee- Why Zach Lee? Well this Spring Training he will be with the Dodgers so this will be the first time many fans will see what he is all about. One of the top Pitching prospects in the organization for a while this will give him the exposer as well as a chance to pitch with the big leagues in some form. I think his performance this spring will give us an idea how ready he is for the big leagues. I think Lee will get called up as soon as this season but how soon will depend on a few things. Based off what I read on him I do believe he can develop into a really good pitcher.
Hyun Jin Ryu- As he enter his 2nd season in the MLB Ryu is still a pitcher to keep an eye on. Reason why is because his development will be interesting to watch this season. Last season he really impressed and became a solid Number 3 in the rotation. this year I see nothing but good things for Ryu.
Overview: Overall I think this year the Dodgers starting rotation will once again be the strength of the team. While Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu will indeed give us good outings the likes of Dan Haren, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, and Paul Maholm will be a huge unknown factor as of now. At the end of the day I do believe this is the best starting rotation in Major League Baseball and will indeed pitch like it as well.
It’s about that time everyone. Pitchers and Catchers reported to camp, Spring Training is on the Horizon, Yeah Dodger baseball is just up the street. Last season was indeed a wild one. Dodgers starting the first half of the season struggling, Injuries, and just a lot of negatives but towards the end of that a Cuban rookie sensation by the name of Yasiel Puig help provide a spark for the Dodgers historic turn around. The Dodgers managed to go on a rampage through the National League and came from being 10 games out of 1st place to winning the NL West and making it back to the Postseason for the first time since 2009. In the Postseason the Dodgers knocked off the Braves in what was a pretty wild NLDS before getting eliminated by the St Louis Cardinals in 6 games in what I believe was caused by mistakes and mismanagement. This season coming up now filled with a lot of expectations but along with those expectations comes many questions that are asked. This season is none different. Have some questions regarding the Dodgers 2014 Season? You can find them right here.
Yasiel Puig?- There’s so many questions you can ask regarding Yasiel Puig. There’s two questions that I have in regards to him. How much has he learned/improved in the off-season and Can he repeat his Rookie Season performance? The first question I ask is because there were some bad habits that he had that I do believe needed attention. You have to remember that Puig has raw talent that needed to be coached and I do believe the off-season was the best time for that. In an article Don Mattingly talked about maybe having Puig switch with Crawford in the lead off role. Puig’s big thing was the lack of patients at the plate so maybe he learned to take a pitch or two at the plate. The other questions is more about consistency. Yes Puig will have bad games, That happens but I am worried about the sophomore Slump. Something that tends to happen to second year players a lot. Puig slumped a little towards the end of the season and in the Postseason and this season he will have big expectations but he handled the pressure coming into the Majors. Lets hope he can handle it this season.
What can we expect from Alexander Guerrero?- This off-season the Dodgers made another splash in the international market. No not Tanaka but a Cuban infielder by the name of Alex Guerrero. Guerrero originally plays shortstop but is being converted to 2nd base which huge need for the Dodgers. Many Dodger fans let alone baseball fans don’t know much about Alexander Guerrero but from what we have seen in workout videos and reports from winter league is that the kid can play. During the Winter League Guerrero was really impressing with the bat by batting .289 with 6 RBI’s in 36 at bats. Guerrero was also hit with injuries which cut his season short. Yeah we don’t know too much and won’t know much until Spring Training but I can’t wait to see what he can bring to this team.
5 Starting Pitching Spot- This really has been a huge question for many fans as of late. Dodgers have Kershaw, Grienke, and Ryu as a for sure 1-2-3 and have already signed Dan Haren which means he’ll most likely be 4th in the rotation. That leaves the 5th spot in the rotation open and multiple options. There’s Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley who are returning from injury. Well only Beckett as Billingsley is out until July. Beckett who was apart of that huge trade back in 2012 had a promising Spring Training last season only to really come out the gate struggling before getting injured and missing the whole season. Dodgers can’t really trade him so it’s a matter of what the Dodgers will do. Then there’s the option of maybe calling up a pitcher. Zach Lee will be with the team during Spring Training so many fans will get a real look at the Top pitching prospect in the Organization. While Lee getting dropped into the 5th spot of the rotation is highly unlikely it’s an option I wouldn’t mind the Dodgers exercising at all. Then there’s signing a pitcher out of Free Agency which is another route the Dodgers seem to be taking. Lately Dodgers could be in on Bronson Arroyo which would give them a set rotation right there. It’s not really the most favorable but it shows that they aren’t too keen on the idea of Beckett or calling up a pitcher. I honestly believe if they miss out on Arroyo then we’ll see Beckett 5th in the rotation until Billingsley return over the summer. (Update: Paul Malhom was signed to a 1 year deal for 1.5 Million)
Outfield Log Jam- This seemed to be the huge issue as of late and the talk of baseball. The outfield situation that the Dodgers are facing right now between Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Yasiel Puig. In the offseason it seemed as if Ethier or Kemp would be on the way out until Ned Coletti said that keeping All four was the plan right now. Reason this is a question is because you have this issue. Who starts and who sits? We know Puig will likely be in there everyday in some way but what about the rest? Well that won’t be a problem for now because Kemp won’t be available anytime soon until he’s completely healthy. So Dodgers will mostly go with the outfield they had during the Postseason. Now when Kemp returns things will get interesting. I’m interested to see how Mattingly handles things. Will he make Kemp earn his spot or will he throw Kemp right into the mix? Something tells me that there will be a platoon situation. You can bring up a possible trade but it’ll be hard to see if any trade will take place during the season unless one of them gets frustrated over not playing everyday. Lets also not forget that Joc Pederson down in the minors. One of the top prospects in the Dodger organization was close to being called up with Puig. Could see him up this season if needed.
Matt Kemp Rebound Year?- Last season was a very forgettable one when you talk about Matt Kemp. A season filled with slumps and injuries that hampered the Outfielder. Once Puig was up and performing the way he was then things got complicated about who would play where. Kemp missed the postseason with an ankle injury and was forced to have surgery on his ankle and a clean up on his shoulder. During the off-season Kemp name was on the Trade block and teams like Seattle and Boston wanted him but at the end of Winter Meetings Dodgers opted to keep him. This season key thing to ask is this: Will Matt Kemp be a productive player? When healthy he can be but with bad discipline at the plate which was something we saw a lot last season. It’ll be unknown when Kemp will be available and Kemp isn’t rushing back at all which is good. I do believe Kemp can stay healthy but I do see the return to MVP form with the number of surgeries he has had.
Can Juan Uribe repeat his 2013 season?- Last season Juan Uribe had an outstanding 2013 season batting .275 with 12 HR and 50 RBI’s. A huge improvement from his 1st two years with the Dodgers. In the postseason Uribe really came up huge especially hitting the Home Run to put the Dodgers up and eliminate the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of the NLDS. His 2013 performance earned him a 2 year $15 Million dollar contract with Los Angeles. Come the 2014 season Uribe will be the starting 3rd Baseman. Can he repeat his 2013 season and be the Juan Uribe we all expected him to be when the Dodgers first signed him? It seems like he can be with plate discipline he has developed last season by taking more pitches and laying off the bad ones and defensively being a monster. We can only wait and see.
Can The Dodgers Get Production From The Bench?- This is another huge question mark on this team. The Bench. Dodgers lost Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, and Mark Ellis to free agency and Michael Young retired rather than accept a deal from anyone , Guys who produced pretty well for the Dodgers last season. This year the Dodgers will most likely have Scott Van Slyke, Justin Sellers, Dee Gordon, Kemp/Crawford/Ethier, and Tim Federowicz to name a few on the bench. Van Slyke can provide a power bat off the bench and Dee can provide speed off the bench but if one of the starters go down then what can we expect from them? Dee has had fielding issues and trouble getting on base to utilize his speed, Sellers hasn’t been hitting that well in the Majors, and Tim Federowicz can be really inconsistent. While there are negatives to it they could surprise us this season off the bench. It’ll be unknown how much the Dodgers will miss those guys they lost to FA or retirement.
These are just some of the many questions that will be answered once the season starts. I along with many Dodger fans can’t wait to see what the season holds in store. Spring Training is here and some of our questions will soon be answered.
Clayton Kershaw has done a lot of things in his career in the MLB. 2 time Cy Young Award Winner, 3 Time MLB All-Star, A Triple Crown winner, 3 Time MLB ERA Champion. You can now add the highest paid pitcher in MLB History to that long list. On Wednesday the Dodgers signed Kershaw to a 7 year $210 Million Dollar extension with a opt out clause come the 5th year. That means he would be making $30 Million a season if I am not mistaken. Crazy once you think of it huh? There were rumors that Kershaw would make $300 Million and that he turned down that deal but in the end of the day Kershaw is locked in with the Dodgers for a good while and that was really key for the franchise.
Clayton Kershaw has been the best pitcher in MLB for a good 3 seasons. The numbers he has posted in that time span have been outstanding. I know many people worried about the thought of Kershaw leaving Los Angeles because of the numbers but I can assure you that him leaving was NOT going to happen. Money he was going to get was going to keep him a Dodger and he loves Los Angeles and the Dodgers organization. It was going to be a better move for him if he stayed with the Dodgers instead of going else where. Lets not forget that Clayton Kershaw is 25 years old. He’s doing all this stuff at such a young age so appreciate that fellow Dodger fans. I know I will that’s for sure. I will admit that the large deals do scare me a bit because when you look at other players who get these large deals their play either declines or something takes a turn for the worse. With Kershaw I think it could be different because he has been getting better every season and his work ethic and will to win never changes and that’s what eases me a good bit.
Clayton Kershaw will only get better and better and better. I am sure others in the NL West or the NL at that was hoping it would be else where. He’s a great player on the field and an even better person off the field. I have to say this contract it is indeed well deserved. The first major part of business for the Dodgers is done and out the way. What the next order of business is something we all have to wait and see but we do know that the Dodgers are not done making moves at all.
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!