Pedro Baez, Dave Roberts and the best record in baseball chase

Dave Roberts wanted to prove a point last night. That point being Pedro Baez, despite his past success (however you want to define that), should not be on the postseason roster in any way, shape or form.

I think Roberts accomplished what he set out to do. Some may criticize the way he did it, but last night’s handling — or lack thereof — of Baez had a purpose.

Roberts has been talking up Baez of late, especially since he has been struggling so mightily in the last few weeks. He even chastised the fans for booing Baez at Dodger Stadium. I mean, what else is he going to do? Last night, Roberts (or Rick Honeycutt) didn’t even take a trip to the mound as Baez was, clearly, struggling to get through his 35 pitches. Maybe it was Roberts’ way of seeing if Baez could work through it; his version of “tough love.”

In the moment, it was almost satisfying to see Baez fail either to reaffirm and confirm our thoughts about him, but it was also hard to watch — especially in hindsight. I’m not big Baez fan, but after stepping away from the moment, even I felt bad for the way his outing went last night. Still, Roberts felt it best to approach the situation in this way.

As Andy McCullough tweeted this, I was busy watching my mentions burn.

My menchies were lit as fuck after that.

Baez has elite fastball velocity, his changeup flashes plus at times and his slider even looks decent at times. But there is zero consistency with Baez, and it starts with command and confidence. Baez has neither of those right now. That, coupled with the fact he gives up a lot of hard contact, means Baez won’t be on the postseason roster. Roberts all but confirmed that after the game.

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The thing I’m most baffled by is the fact folks criticized Roberts for losing this game as if it means a ton in the standings. It doesn’t. Yes, the Cleveland baseball club is 2 games behind the Dodgers (3, really, since the Dodgers own the tiebreaker) for the best record in baseball, but the Dodgers are still clear of the Nationals for the best record in the National League by 4 1/2 games (and 5 games in the loss column). There are only 11 games left in the regular season, so it’s going to take a Dodger-esque stretch of poor play for the Nats to catch them. It would also take the Clevelands continuing to play at a high level to catch the Dodgers for best overall record.

And about that best overall record thing:

  • 2016 Cubs
  • 2013 Red Sox
  • 2009 Yankees
  • 2007 Red Sox

Also, from 1992 through 2002 (since 2003-16 had that ridiculous All-Star Game home-field rule), the team with the better record in the Series (i.e., home-field advantage) were just 4-6.

Yes, it’d be nice for the Dodgers to end up with baseball’s best record — before September, that looked like an inevitability — but if they don’t, all is not lost. And, believe it or not, the Dodgers could win the majority of their last 11 games and end with 102 wins. That would mean Cleveland would have to get to 103 wins, which means they’d have to go 9-2. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially since Cleveland has been on some kind of run, but the odds are still in the Dodgers’ favor.

If they don’t end up with the best record, they don’t end up with the best record. We all know the playoffs are a crapshoot anyway. By the way, the Dodgers are 8-7 at home in the postseason since 2013, if we’re talking about numbers and the like.

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Losing sucks. Losing when things looked much different a month ago sucks even more. But this is still a 96-win team that won’t have Pedro Baez on the postseason roster. None of this really matters until Oct. 6 and beyond. It’d be nice if they got on track if for nothing else than to feel a little better as a fan base, but if they don’t, oh well.

Bring on the playoffs. Please.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin’ Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.