danks_2014-06-05

White Sox 2, Dodgers 1: That Was Boring, I’m Bored Now

danks_2014-06-05Leury Garcia is maybe 5-foot-7, had never hit a homer in 162 previous major league plate appearances, and he’d had only 13 in 2004 minor league plate appearances — I don’t know if any were inside the park, but since he had seasons of 51, 31, and 30 steals, I’m going to presume that at least one was — so when he took Josh Beckett deep in the third inning tonight, I figured, well, this is going to be the bad Beckett, isn’t it. But you know, even though Beckett gave up a second homer, a no-doubter to Adam Dunn in the fourth, this really isn’t about Beckett. He was fine. He wasn’t terrible. He wasn’t great, obviously, not when he let 11 runners reach base, but both homers came with no one on, he didn’t let Jose Abreu smash him into tiny little pieces, and he survived through six. For a fourth or fifth starter, depending on how you feel about Dan Haren at any given moment, it’s perfectly acceptable.

The problem, as it’s so often been of late, was the complete lack of support provided by the offense, which contributed only a perfectly-placed Dee Gordon bunt single (quickly erased when Tyler Flowers threw him out stealing, after Yasiel Puig completely inexplicably tried and failed to bunt himself) and a somewhat fluky Gordon double (it bounced off the third base bag) against someone who vaguely looked like John Danks. And since Danks had a hit of his own — charitably called as such, since Gordon’s throw to first was poor — he essentially canceled out anything the Dodgers had to offer.

Danks left after that eighth-inning double, after which Zach Putnam allowed Gordon to steal third when he wasn’t busy walking Puig. This turned out to be bad, because you never want Puig to not be hitting, and Hanley Ramirez‘ bouncer to third base forced Puig at second, though Ramirez’ hustle to beat the throw did allow Gordon to score. Scott Downs got Adrian Gonzalez to ground out, and that was that. Old friend (I guess?) Ronald Belisario took down Matt Kemp, Scott Van Slyke, and Justin Turner. Quietly. As always. Boooo, went the crowd. Boo, indeed.

Only one other time did the Dodgers even manage to get a runner to third base, and to achieve even that mild success A) took a fielding error by second baseman Gordon Beckham to allow Gonzalez to reach; B) required the White Sox to terribly botch the fundamentals of a rundown; and C) lasted for about two seconds after Gonzalez rounded third and was cut down (after a replay) trying to get back.

It must be said, again, that this is merely a slump. This offense has the third-best wRC+ in baseball. Every team, every year, will go through a down time. There’s too much talent here for this to keep up. But I’m not blind to the fact that the last week has been really, really tough to watch, more boring than anything. As I’ve said privately, I’m not really at all disappointed that there’s no game tomorrow. We could use the break. So could they.

* * *

Ramirez, like everyone who wasn’t Gordon, went hitless. He did do this, though:


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


194 comments
deblueDodger
deblueDodger

Im soooooooooooooooo           tired. 

Dang88
Dang88

We actually almost won last night 

Vin_Skully
Vin_Skully

I am sulking about this teams performance and it is not out of ego. Maybe these guys care too much and are trying too hard... I don't think we can assume that being upset is obviously out of a bruised ego. 

We are all butt-hurt here and it is just because we love too much!

moneynow27
moneynow27

So I go to sleep last night with the score 2-0 after 5 innings, thinking we'll come back this time and win.  2 hits the entire game, and 1 run.  I'm tired of all the excuses.  There's chemistry in the clubhouse, Puig keeps things loose.  But I have to say, there are selfish players on our team.  Kemp is upset because they moved him out of CF?  Players should play where the manager wants them to play; that's why they're the manager.  I don't think the move out of CF is an excuse for the -7 WAR or whatever it is.  The Dodgers are my sports passion....Yes, I'm upset and disappointed.....but it's also only June.....

tpmerrill
tpmerrill

No, an offensive slump isn't out of the norm, but for a team that has found ways not to be good all year, it's yet another reason that watching the 2014 Dodgers (for those of us that have been able to) has not been an enjoyable experience at all.

Tired Math Cat
Tired Math Cat

let's go for ridiculous theories. dodgers are slumping so the kings can get all the attention

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

Who do you think are the leaders of the clubhouse, it seems like there could be a few.

deblueDodger
deblueDodger

Funny. Dee is slumping, but from a fantasy baseball scoring perspective he's still ranked #25 on the season in my Yahoo league, and ranked #91 over the last 30 days.

Vin_Skully
Vin_Skully

This is the first time that I really think that Hanley is not going to get resigned. 

We have a whole group of Manic personalities... Hanley seems to flip from class clown to emo teenager pretty quickly.

deblueDodger
deblueDodger

ugh. Nights where you can't stop thinking about stuff. Spent the last three hours in bed, awake.

ugh


Gilbert_Vengeance
Gilbert_Vengeance

In the GIF, Brian Wilson's reaction to Hanley is priceless.... *Bows Head*

Vin_Skully
Vin_Skully

Remember when Puig's antics were going to ruin this well juggernaut's chance of winning it all?

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

Gee, and I haven't even been to any games yet to jinx the team.  (Although last year they were 6-2 at games I attended, so maybe that's no longer a thing.)

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

We need to give up. Its all over. Just drink your hemlock and quit.

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

@moneynow27 athletes have egos, all of them.  Some can just manage them easier.  Has Kemp told the press he is upset?  Like pissed upset, not "who wouldnt be" upset

Vin_Skully
Vin_Skully

@steelmohawk - Part of what I like least about Matty being demoted (maybe not the right term, but you know what I mean) is that he should be that guy, but it is hard to do when you are not playing... 

For a while last year their seemed to be a spanish and english split in the clubhouse with AGon in the middle. I would love for AGon to step up, but he just seems to not want to get into it, which I understand.

Ultimately, Donnie's strength as a manager was his ability to connect with players and be a clubhouse leader. If he has lost that then I guess he is just a shitty strategist now.

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

@Vin_Skully that's bipolar.  I am trying not to give any of my worries/concerns/frets any credibility, because of the irrational thinking these losses are producing

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

@EephusBlue It's NOT all over.  Not yet, anyway.  Yes, we have to make up an 8-game deficit on the 'ants to take the division.  Or do it via the wild card.  Either one is possible, although the odds get longer, the longer we keep playing .500 ball.

The 'ants are playing on a pace for 104 wins.  Do YOU think they can continue that for the rest of the season?  I sure don't.  But let's give them that pace for their first 59 games, and give them a .600 (97-win) pace for the rest of the season.  That gives them 100 wins at the end of the season.  For the Dodgers to match that, they have to do better (obviously).  How much better?  They would have to win 69 games the rest of the way, for a .683 pace for the remaining 101 games.  Not impossible, but fairly unlikely unless they start winning series.  No, they're not going to go 42-8 in fifty games, but they have to start winning series, and for each ten games, averaging 7-3, not just 6-4.  This team has the ability to do that.  But again, it's fairly unlikely.  Baseball Prospectus puts the odds of the Dodgers winning the division around one in four, and that sounds about right to me.  It could happen, but don't count on it.

Then the question is whether the Dodgers can get to the LDS via the wild card route, and then continue to win.  I think this is a stronger possibility.  Right now the Dodgers are only half a game out from a WC slot.  So the question is whether they can play good enough to have a better record than no more than four other NL teams, and I think this is perfectly do-able.  They would probably need to win about 91 games to have a good shot at the WC (based on previous seasons, not on the fact that all but two NL teams are within 4 games of .500 thus far).  So they need to go 60-41 the rest of the way.  So for each ten games, they have to average 6-4, not 7-3.  Again, perfectly do-able.  But only if they wake up and start winning, and put an end to the endless 5-5 and 5-5 and 5-5.

If they DO get to the WC game, they have a good shot.  The bats need to come around, and that's the only way they're going to average 6-4 the rest of the way; if the bats keep slumping, they aren't going to make the WC.  They have a terrific rotation.  The bullpen's been inconsistent, but that may just work itself out.  That rotation will not only help get them into the WC game, but also make the WC game less of a disadvantage; if they win the WC game (let's say with a Kershaw start), they'll still have Greinke-Ryu-Beckett starting the first three games of the LDS.  That gives them a good shot of going 2-1, and then Kershaw comes back for game 4.  So that seems to be the more likely path to a successful postseason.  Baseball Prospectus agrees, giving the Dodgers a 50-50 chance of having a wild card slot (in addition to that one in four chance of winning the division), and a 55 percent chance of getting to the LDS either way.

Oh, and BP gives the Dodgers a 10 percent chance of winning the World Series.  To put that into perspective, that's better than everyone else in the NL except the 'ants, and only the A's and Tigers in the AL.

All hope is not lost.  But it all depends on this team waking up and winning more consistently.  They have the horses to do it.  They might, they might not.  But don't rule them out just yet.

moneynow27
moneynow27

@steelmohawk @moneynow27

Kemp and everyone else on this team has to do what's best for the team....the team is not winning, 8 games out, so they should just check their egos at the door.  It's not like if they play more games they get a bonus, so this is not about money....Does Kemp think the team is better off with him in the lineup everyday in CF or at all?  He may think so, right now, I'm not so sure.

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

@Vin_Skully @steelmohawk I feel the same way about Adrian.  He seems to get along with everyone, but it doesn't look like his words are getting through to some of the guys.  AJ would be another candidate, but I think he is too busy helping the pitchers.  They goof around a lot but it seems like that has hurt the chance of a leader emerging.  this is all conjecture, since I know nothing about what happens in the dugout and locker room

Vin_Skully
Vin_Skully

@steelmohawk - I am trying that too, but it is not working... I think bi-polar is just the modern term for manic depressive.

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

@moneynow27  @steelmohawk was trying to say, Athletes compete so they will always have egos on the line.  The second half is, Matt looking like he is sulking doesn't mean his negativity is affecting the team

Vin_Skully
Vin_Skully

@steelmohawk - Yeah, but we are on a blog comment section... we can guess and goof around all we want.

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

@Vin_Skully @steelmohawk but I probably do have more experience with bipolar, not historical psychology though, having the illness doesn't really teach you any of that