Dodgers @ Rockies August 12, 2018: So Long, Satan Field

It’s hard to imagine a series going much worse than this one (despite the game one victory). Between the Dodgers losing Kenley Jansen for the foreseeable future and the bullpen coughing up two late leads after his departure, this has been a weekend to forget. It’s par for the course with the Dodgers in Denver, which is why Chad always calls this place Satan Field. It’s apt.

12:10 PM
RF Puig
Grandal C Ianetta
Hill (L)
Bettis (R)

Let’s not forget that last night’s bullpen implosion was also made possible by the offense scoring two runs in Coors Field, including zero in the last seven innings. Between the Manny Machado and Brian Dozier trades, this team was built to outscore any bullpen deficiencies, and lately they are not doing so consistently. Yes, Dave Roberts should not have let Chargois face a left-handed batter with the game on the line last night. That’s indisputable. However, it’s hard to blame him for the team not hitting. If the Dodgers bats didn’t go quiet for 80% of last night’s game, then we’d be having a different conversation this morning.

Tasked with stopping the bleeding is Dick Mountain himself. Rich Hill has been extremely effective since returning from the disabled list in mid-June, though he was lucky his last outing didn’t go much worse (which could be said of every starter in their last turn other than Walker Buehler). Hill struck out five A’s in 5-1/3 innings but walked four, and will be looking to recapture his control at altitude today. Somehow, this is Hill’s first start in Denver as a Dodger.

Facing Hill will be right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis, making his second start since coming off the DL. Bettis missed over a month with a finger blister, something with which Hill can sympathize. Before the blister sidelined him, Bettis was having a pretty bad year, with an ERA of 5.67 in 100 innings pitched. The Dodgers faced Bettis at Coors Field on June 3rd and scored five runs against him in 5-2/3 innings, carried by two home runs off the bat of Max Muncy.

Muncy is in the lineup batting eighth today. The rest of the lineup is the pretty standard arrangement against right-handed pitchers, with the exception of Justin Turner getting the day off. The lineup is good, they just need to hit better.


Meanwhile, I am mad online:

Maeda is five starts short of a $1.5 million contract incentive, and is set to earn $250,000 for every ten innings pitched at this point. This move could cost him north of $2 million before the end of the season, depending on if they move him back to the rotation if Jansen returns.

I don’t really want to re-write my column from last year, when Maeda was almost moved to the bullpen due to poor performance in April. He ended up digging out a new cutter in what could have been his last start, giving him a second wind and saving his season. The push-back to that column then was that it would have been the right baseball move, and that’s probably the case here too, with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood returning next week and Ross Stripling returning to the bullpen as well.

My issue, then, returns to the original contract, which I describe as evil. “Baseball is a business,” people say. “Nobody forced him to sign that contract.” That is true, but nobody forced the Dodgers to offer that contract to him in the first place. Why is all of the onus on the player in this situation? I would hope that we would expect better of the Dodgers than to do something so blatantly anti-player. So much of the response to teams doing shitty things is an expectation of them to do shitty things to save money in the first place, and I’m sick of it. They should do better.

Hopefully they will take steps to remedy the financial hit they just handed to Maeda over the off-season. Considering that they’re a few weeks removed from blatantly prying a year of free agency away from Walker Buehler, I have my doubts that they’ll do it.

About Daniel Brim

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Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.