1988 was the last time the Dodgers won a World Series crown and since that time the Dodgers have struggled to form a stable bullpen for late inning baseball. Tonight was no exception as the Dodgers squandered multiple leads only to lose to the last place Phillies 7-5. The Dodgers may well be on the cusp of clinching another division title but without stellar pitching from not only the starting pitching but the bullpen alike, the Dodgers won’t have a good chance at competing at a higher level of play. I hope the team proves me wrong but this simply means no World Series trophies until management is serious about fixing the bullpen.
Imagine for a moment if a person like Elvis Presley the music legend were still walking this earth? Well, we have such a person right now on this earth and his name is Vin Scully.
Vin Scully the longtime announcer (67 years! most of any broadcaster) of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team is nearing the end of his announcing career. As a lifelong Dodger fan and baseball fan, I think it is only fitting I pay a tribute to Vin Scully in a post!
Vin Scully is a living legend who I know I will miss hearing on the radio, and who will be greatly missed by sports fans and friends alike all across the world. Now there are only two Dodger home games left this weekend where Vin Scully will be announcing at Dodger Stadium so I wanted to share a few links commemorating Vin’s life as a sports broadcaster.
Interesting to Note: the Dodgers are only 2 games away from becoming Western Division Champions in the National League. There are also only two games left for Vin Scully to be the Dodger’s announcer and be at Dodger Stadium. I think a nice parting gift to give to Vin might be for the Dodgers to clinch the division one last time for Vin Scully at home!
Something I suspected a few years ago is that the Dodgers FO is in the game for the money and they don’t really care if the team is mediocre. After all, they have traded away great players like Matt Kemp, Dee Gordon, Zack Greinke while continuing a bullpen staff that needs an overhaul. The abrupt trade loss of AJ Ellis to the Phillies has only stood to strengthened my view on exactly what the motivations of the Dodger’s FO are.
I think that the Dodgers upper management really doesn’t care if the team wins or loses as long they pad their wallets. I believe this because the Dodgers are not in any desperate need of better hitters but this appears to be the only reason (if its not money) for why they traded away Ellis. AJ Ellis has been a solid defensive force behind the plate, and above all, a huge morale booster for the team. And yet the upper management chose to play Grandal more often than Ellis even when Grandal struggled. However, the Dodgers ARE in desperate need of solid pitchers who pitch well especially in the bullpen. But do we see a great trade for better pitchers? No, instead they keep and rotate virtually the same set of guys they’ve had for the last 3-4 years. It’s true that many of the team’s starters have gotten hurt even if they were already not very good but the management continues to put their faith in they players. You know, the ones who lose a lot, are old, get hurt over and over, or came from the A’s, Tampa Bay, or the Phillies.
With the most recent Ellis trade, I believe we will see a downward losing trend for the Dodger team this year. I truly hope I am wrong about this but having high morale, and a positive winning atmosphere in the clubhouse is something AJ gave the team (much like Tommy Lasorda and Mickey Hatcher did in the 80’s) and it’s pretty important to have for a winning team. If the Dodgers can’t get that back and resentment builds within the team toward the FO as many fans already have, they team as a whole may not recover this year. And a day after the trade it hasn’t started well. They we’re nearly no-hit by the Giants after a recent two month long winning streak. I hope the Dodgers prove me wrong and they bounce back better than ever and still figure out how to win even the management tries to slow them down.
First, the team has lost their second best starting pitcher Zach Greinke and have not added any replacements worth mentioning. The bullpen has not been fixed, which has been leaking for a few years now. Adding two or three great pitchers to the bullpen would go a long way to helping the team stop those leaks when the game is on the line. If they expect to have a chance at the World Series they must at least add two more strong starting pitchers and trade Alex Wood. Brett Anderson should only be used in an emergency or a 10 plus inning game.
The offense hasn’t changed in terms of adding great hitters. In my opinion re-signing Chase Utley was a wasted resigning which will only return similar mediocre results seen from the 2015 season. Without great pitching, both starting and from the bullpen, and without great hitters throughout the lineup, the Dodgers can only expect the same sorry outcome we have seen from the last three years.
Come spring training and the start of the 2016 season, I do hope the front office cares about truly fixing the team to better than championship caliber. The holes are real and the holes are big. Time will tell if they fill the holes and build a better team or if their fat paychecks hinder them from caring about the fans.
The 2015 Kansas City Royals baseball team proved that you don’t need a $300 million dollar plus payroll like the Los Angeles Dodgers to win a World Series. What a team needs is a solidly deep pitching bullpen, reliable starting pitching and great hitters in the clutch. The Dodgers and New York Mets both proved that a weaker bullpen loses games and inconsistent hitting will also lose games.
I hope the upper management for the Los Angeles Dodgers will take notice from this 2015 World Series that money doesn’t necessarily win games, but great players win games. In addition, computer analytics can hinder winning a game when it’s great pitching, battering and old-fashioned baseball playing that it takes to win. In 2014 and 2015 the Dodgers seemed to forget about playing old-time Dodger baseball with small ball and by adapting to each play as it unfolds. The management of late has appeared to become more concerned about what a computer says about a situation, overall game statistics and pitching counts regardless of how the players are playing. Of course without solid pitching from the bullpen and reliable clutch hitting, no amount of flexibility is going to win a game.
It is my opinion that when good players are left alone to play baseball and the coaching and management knows the right times to step aside, great things will happen on the field for the team. The 2015 Royals proved just that by not only winning the World Series but because they were able to come from behind to win three of the five games in the series. The 2015 Kansas City Royals are a team all baseball clubs should be watching and be taking notes on how winning baseball is played.
And for the third straight year, if the Los Angeles Dodger’s intend on being a serious contender in the post season, they must fix their pitching woes and the continued “not being able to hit” in the clutch. They must spend some of the millions they have on players who are great at hitting and pitching when it counts. Sadly for us fans however, I get the feeling upper management doesn’t really care about winning it all because whether win or lose, they get paid plenty. So in the meantime, we Dodgers fans won’t hold our breath for things to change but we’ll keep rooting for our team anyways.
If it hasn’t become apparent to everyone who follows baseball, with a recent sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers by the Colorado Rockies, there is a elephant in the Dodgers’ clubhouse. This elephant that not many in Dodger management seem to want to talk about is the Dodgers’ bullpen and good pitchers or lack thereof. This year the Rockies sweep has kept the Los Angeles Dodgers’ magic number stalled at two, but the bigger problem that needs addressing is why they have struggled at all–since 2014. To me and other fans, it has been simple to figure out–the Dodger’s pitching, particularly the bullpen, needs fixing. However, for unknown reasons to us fans, upper management went for supposed hitters (who have also struggled) yet if a team expects to win a tight game it is essential they be able to hold one run games. So now we are seeing what happens when a baseball teams’ bullpen leaks. Until the Dodgers get their pitching fixed by adding good, solid pitchers (starters and relievers), I predict they continue to have trouble winning games–even if it means the need to win one against the last place team.