Categorized | Mark Timmons

The magic carpet ride is over

What a run it was, but in the last 5 games against playoff teams, the Dodgers are now 0-5 and that dreaded lack of clutch hitting monster is rearing it’s ugly head.  The stats aren’t horrible, in fact here’s the breakdown since the All-Star break.

  • Adrian Gonzalez – .281/5 HR/28 RBI/.315 OB%/.720 OPS
  • Yasiel Puig – .301/ 7 HR/19 RBI/.392 OB%/.898 OPS
  • Hanley Ramirez – .299/9 HR/27 RBI/.329 OB%/.898 OPS
  • Andre Ethier – .281/6 HR/22 RBI/.387 OB%/.883 OPS
  • Carl Crawford – .309/0 HR/15 RBI/.351 OB%/.744 OPS
  • Mark Ellis – .297/2 HR/17 RBI/.340 OB%/.733 OPS

The most glaring lack of hitting comes from AJ Ellis (.604 OPS) and Juan Uribe (.663 OPS).  Something else that jumps out is A-Gone’s lack of power and low OB%.  Someone said that it was asinine to say he was in decline.  Does the stats suggest anything to you?  Look at his past stats – he is not the player he once was.  Still pretty good, but not a superstar!  The stats say it’s asinine or delusional to think he’s not declining, but believe what you want.  I don’t want to confuse you with the facts if your mind is already made up!

Could some of this malaise be blamed on taming of the wild horse?  Yasiel Puig used to play with reckless abandon and sheer joy and now it seems like he just does his job.  Could that be contagious?  This team plays with no soul.

We think Clayton has a bad game when he goes 7 and gives up two runs.  He struggled with command last night, but battled and should have got a W.  Instead, the offense let him down.  Let’s not forget that he still has a sub 2.00 ERA and will win his 3rd ERA title in a row.  He struggled with his command last night, but only gave up 3 hits – 2 HR to Jay Bruce.  A struggling Clayton Kershaw is still better than most other pitchers’ A-Games!

I am not generally a second-guesser, because hindsight is 20/20 and second-guessers are never wrong, but I would have brought in Kenely Jansen to pitch the 9th and 10th innings last night.  Belisario is useful – just not in that spot!  Bad move, Donnie!  Kenley hadn’t pitched in about a week and could have used the work.

Earth-Covered-70

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

50 Responses to “The magic carpet ride is over”

  1. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    No doubt Gonzo is at an age when he could start declining. At the same time he could still have several productive years ahead. And although he doesn’t hit with the power he once did, he can still be productive. What concerns me most is the decline in his patience at the plate, which I discussed at the end of the previous thread. And that should having nothing to do with age.

    First time I’m doing this on my iPhone. Think I’ll stick to my computer in the future.

  2. Michael says:

    As we head home with our asses handed to us on a platter, I am confident if anyone could blow this thing, Donnie dumbfuq could.

    As we’re looking more and more like the team that sunk to the bottom of the division earlier in the season, don’t print the playoff tickets quite yet.

    True a struggling Kershaw is still better than most guys A games but something isn’t right with the franchise. Is he tired, that hip bothering him again or what? Just know he hasn’t been himself lately.

  3. Badger says:

    I learned in a college physiology class that we start approaching senility at age 18. So we all are in decline, including AGon. And if we were paying attention to professor Badger (ok, a little over the top) we also learned that MLB baseball players peak between the ages of 27 and 31, with a +/- of about a year on either side of that number. Gonzalez turned 31 in May. So, we should know that his numbers will not be what they were when he was 27. So to keep saying that Adrian Gonzalez is “in decline’ is to state the obvious.

    And here is another obvious statement that we will likely continue to hear – several of the Dodger players are overpaid and will never put up the numbers they once did. OK, with that said…….

    AGon can be a productive contributor to a successful team if he is used properly. To use a basketball term, his minutes must be reduced. Because the Dodgers did not have a decent back-up (Young), Gonzalez has played more innings than he should have.

    The league has caught up to Puig. And it doesn’t surprise me what is being used to get him out. My grandpa, the AA pitcher back in the 20′s, taught me this when I was 11 – high and tight low and away. Pitchers are busting him in under his hands then going outside. It’s working, though he is still expanding the strike zone for him. SWING AT STRIKES!! Have the Dodgers thrown a rope around him? Well yeah, they had to, but I don’t think that has anything to do with his plate approach. Know how they are zoning you and react accordingly. Take the walk when they offer it. This game has ALWAYS been about OBP. The team that has the highest team OBP will be a team that wins much more than it loses. We are currently 17th and that ain’t gonna get it. The teams that are the best? Boston, Detroit and St. Louis. Look for them in the play-offs.

    Belsario always makes me nervous. He is the classic hundred dollar arm ten cent head player.

    Withrow will be our 8th inning guy by next year. All he needs to do is locate. That will come with experience.

    The fact that Ellis and Uribe are fading should surprise no one.

    Last night was a close one. Uribe just missed a home run, Kershaw DID NOT balk and a properly executed relay should have nailed Cozart at home. No one should score from first on a double down the left field line.

    It’s not going our way these days. Will that continue through October? Maybe. That’s what happens in baseball. This is a good team. This is a Division winner. Is it good enough? I don’t know, but like I have said from Day 1, there are some holes in this squad. If our JV team plays over it’s head the rest of the way, we can win this thing. But, we are not as deep offensively as some teams in this league are. We will win, or we will lose, with our pitching staff. We can talk about improving the holes this off season.

  4. jhallwally says:

    Mattingly is a dildo!!!!!!!! Hence his nickname on another blog, Dildon….

  5. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Well said Badger. And by the way, I believe I heard or read that we begin losing brain cells at the age of 25. In my case the trend is continuing, relentlessly.

    “Yasiel Puig used to play with reckless abandon and sheer joy and now it seems like he just does his job. Could that be contagious? This team plays with no soul.”

    Do we really want him to play with reckless abandon? Sounds to me like a formula for serious injury, and less than fundamentally sound baseball. There are plenty of players in the game who play with enthusiasm, hustle, etc., etc., without being reckless. Like any young player he needs to get control of his game at the plate, in the field, and on the bases. There is nothing wrong with smoothing out the rough edges, and no reason he can’t harness his talent without losing his enthusiasm. Does Jerek Jeter play with reckless abandon? He’s just one example, and there are others.

    When a team isn’t hitting it generally appears to be listless. If they start to hit again, the appearance of listlessness will disappear.

    Mattingly and McGwire both preach patience at the plate, and aggressiveness on pitches in your hitting zone. This team isn’t doing that.

    Are you surprised that Uribe and A.J. Ellis aren’t hitting much lately? You suggested that the Dodgers should re-sign Uribe to be out third baseman next year, whereas I’ve been of the opinion that he should be let loose after this season, and the Dodgers should seek an upgrade at 3B. Uribe’s excellent defense will not carry his bat. That leopard is not about to change his spots.

    A.J. Ellis is a solid defensive catcher who can throw, calls a good game, and who relates well with the pitching staff. Those are valuable qualities. On a team that surrounded him with offense, he could be our regular, hitting at the bottom of the order, and getting on base in front of the pitcher. Without a strong offense to complement all of his obvious attributes, he simply does not bring enough to the table to make him anymore than a backup on a championship team.

    As Badger said, there are issues that will have to wait for the offseason to be addressed. Thankfully it won’t be McCourt at the helm. And maybe, just maybe, we can have a little health on this team next year. But don’t get me wrong. This year isn’t over, and with all my concerns, this team could still go deep into the playoffs, and even win it all. And they could get knocked out in the first round. Of course, that can be said about any playoff team. Did any of us think the midgets could win it last year?

  6. Badger says:

    I think AJ is the perfect back-up catcher. Since we really don’t have a catcher in the system ready, then we should pursue one.

    I think Mark Ellis is the perfect back-up second baseman. Since we really don’t have a second baseman in the system, we should pursue one.

    Uribe could be a great back-up third/first baseman. Since we already might have one (Young) I think we should let him go.

    I think Puntomacher is the perfect utililty guys. Do we need him both?

    The area a team like this one needs to improve in is hitting WRISP. Since we are middle of the pack in nearly all offensive categories, some clutch hitting would really be nice. Problem is of course, WRISP is when pitchers bear down. When a pitcher is bearing down on a group of .240 WRISP hitters, the outcome is kinda predictable. However, we only need to get hot for a couple of weeks and it could happen. I have confidence in a couple of guys, but, we all know where the lineup softens. This group is experienced, and I think there is some gravel below the delicate gelatinous surface of our JV team. I hope play-off baseball rubs the jelly off and exposes the grit. I guess we’ll see won’t we.

  7. the truth hurts says:

    You have two teams playing for two completely different scenarios this past weekend. The Reds are playing for their LIVES. The Dodgers have essentially won the division and punched a ticket for October already. If we were playing to get out of the wild card playoff spot like the Reds, I bet we would play with a little more passion this month. Look at the Braves who have flopped 4 in a row, THEY ARE IN OCTOBER TOO!

    We did the incredible in July and August and put ourselves in a great position to win the division, no need to panic. The Reds had a lot more at stake than us.

  8. Badger says:

    That’s true truth. (What would I expect?)

    Guerrero cleared. Let’s sign him up.

  9. Bobbie17 says:

    Hope that the middle bullpen isn’t needed in this coming series.

  10. jerry says:

    is AGON POWER really declining or is it just dodger stadium,, every one on here keep say it is hard to hit hr..in dodger stadium..so maybe that is the problem….and uribe is trying to hit home runs again…instead of going up the middle..and in the last inning ..i dont remember his name ..but the pitcher for the other teem who hits 100 on the gun ..most of them was out of the strick zone. we all where swing at bad pitches.

    • Badger says:

      Good point jerry. Chapman is his name. Hard to time a 102 mph fastball. You might as well keep your zone from the waist down cuz you ain’t gonna catch up to anything above that.

      Gonzalez had 40 down in San Diego, which is like hitting in a wheat field. We won’t see that again, but there is no reason he can’t continue to hit 25. The question I have is why isn’t Ethier hitting 25 every year? The guy is 6’2″ 205 pounds. Stop the modeling and starting lifting weights!

  11. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Yes, Agon’s power has declined. It is definitely more difficult to hit HRs in Dodger Stadium, but remember, Agon used to hit them out to the opposite field regularly at the even more difficult Petco.

    Bullpen needs to be used more judiciously going forward. And I don’t particularly trust Belisario (trade bait this winter??????). Nor do I have lots of confidence in Wilson. Paco has been overworked lately, and Howell had too a long of a layoff before being used. And we haven’t even seen Kenley for a while. But Withrow looked good, and appears to be using his offspeed stuff more, to his advantage. Bullpen is still OK overall, but it’s a bit much to be asking them to be constantly holding onto thin leads, or to keep the Dodgers in games where they have very little room for error due to an anemic offense. Just like our starters, this bullpen needs some more runs to work with.

  12. Gionfriddo says:

    “This team plays with no soul.”

    For nearly 40% of the MLB season the Dodgers have played .800 ball & went on one of the most incredible runs in the history of the game… YET, one lull & they are hit with a they have no soul tag? Seriously, how the hell do you respond to a remark like that? My only inclination was purposely trying to surpass the asinine marker from the previous post…

    Simply mystifying. …..

  13. Quasimodo says:

    Its kinda easy being pessimistic. It comes with being a Dodgers fan through history. But the ‘magic carpet ride’ ain’t over till its over. Dodgers will still be standing after the season is over. That’s when we cross our fingers and hope the Dodgers A-team steps up. That COULD happen. Its safer to feel it won’t and it might not. Its not supposed to be easy. 20 teams won’t be playing next month and Dodgers won’t be on that list. 2 more teams shortly after join that list – not the Dodgers though. And that’s the real time the games begin. Its the final table and Dodgers are in the money. So cheers for that!

  14. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Gionfriddo,

    Amen. I have my doubts about certain things, but I also recognize that no team can keep up the pace the Dodgers were playing at indefinitely. Lose a few games and people put you back in the toilet. Any rational person knows that there will be bumps in the road, and anyone who knows anything about baseball also knows that the playoffs are a crapshoot, the winner often being the team that just happens to put together a good run at the opportune time, or one that manages to have a little more luck than its opponents.

    Another argument could be that the stretch they’re going through now could be good for them. Maybe they’re getting the inevitable losses out of their system now, and will be primed for another good run. Who knows? Maybe this bad run puts a little more fear into them, the good kind of fear that makes you play harder and more focused. I argued against the notion of “Destiny’s Dodgers” because I know that in baseball, as in most things, their is no such thing as inevitability. I DON’T THINK that the Dodgers will win or lose, I just HOPE that they win.

  15. Roger Dodger says:

    Brooklyn — it is not a few bumps in the road, it is a change in direction that the Dodgers have seem slid into . . . So so pitching (another way to say it, being out pitched by the other team) — and being out hit to win games.

    I am remembering — way back in 1966, the Dodgers were playing great with a nice team and (again) strong pitching. But toward the end of the season in 1966, they fell flat ——— and that continued into the World Series against Baltimore, and they lost 4 straight games to the Orioles. (Remember Willie Davis and the errors in CF!)

    That season has always stuck in my mind, and I do not want to see that again this season. So you can pardon me, but 1966 was a great season with a pennant, but a bust at the end of the season for the Dodgers.

  16. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    It’s not official, but there are reports that the Dodgers are nearing a deal with Alexander Guerrero that could be announced this week. Based on reports, he may well not be big league ready next year, and could start out in AA or AAA. His biggest asset appears to be his raw power. Whether he hits enough or not remains to be seen. Depending on what the Dodgers think of him and what’s available out there, they could do any number of things.

    http://www.truebluela.com/2013/9/9/4712220/alexan

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/09/dodgers-nea

    The Dodgers have a team option that they could pick up for Mark Ellis next year. They can bring him back for $5.75 million in 2014, or exercise a buyout at $1 million. Maybe they bring him back to play 2B again, or as backup insurance. They could consider Cano or a trade for Howie Kendrick. But those deals would commit the Dodgers to either of those players for a number of years. Cano would have to be long term and Kendrick is signed through 2015. Since Guerrero is, I believe, 27, I doubt if they would want to keep him in the minors for an extended period of time. Of course, maybe there’s another good second baseman out there that could be had for a short while. One other thing, since Guerrero has power, and is considered wanting at short, perhaps he has the arm to play 3B. Probably does, simply because he’s played short.

    Maybe, maybe, maybe. Who knows? Not me. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  17. Badger says:

    5.75 is too much for the aging Ellis. Puntomaker could be had for about a third of that. Young is not earning what he will likely demand as he currently has a .1 WAR for the year. I wouldn’t re-sign him, unless of course he is the only guy available, but he isn’t worth what he has been making (16 mil)

    Actually maybe only one of Puntomaker is needed, especially if there is an upgrade ready to happen this off season. Punto has the highest WAR of the group, but he is getting up there in age too. Not sure who might be available for second and third, but, those are the positions we need to seriously look at. If we upgrade at 2b, pick the back-up you like the best and re-sign him. I like the higher WAR guy myself.

    As for magic carpet, bumps, et al – I have confidence the team will be ready for post season. Are they good enough? I think so, but as you all have mentioned, it will be the team that is playing the best at that time of year. The midgets were not the best team in the league either year they won it, but, they were the hottest at the right time. Would love to see the recent win streak Dodgers show up in October, but….. who knows.

  18. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Roger, it could just be a bump in the road. For all we know they could do a complete about face. Teams hit lulls and they get hot. And there is no way ahead of time to know when it’s going to happen, whether it will continue or whether it will end.

    You remember 1966, and so do I. And they ran into some really good pitching in that WS. Not to mention that Koufax was sabotaged in game 2 when Willie Davis made three errors in the outfield (at least two of them dropped fly balls). Also, when the Dodgers did score in game 1, they didn’t have the benefit of Koufax pitching that game because it was a Jewish holiday. And they lost the last two games 1-0 if memory serves.

    I also remember 2006, when the Dodgers WON their final 7 games (9 of their last 10), and then were swept by the Mets in the NLDS, and Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew were both thrown out at home after Russell Martin’s hit over the right fielder’s head in game 1. In fact, I was at that game.

    Sorry Roger. Nothing that happens now predicts what will happen in the future. Everything could turn on a dime. And that’s what makes baseball such a great game. Who knows, maybe Matt Kemp comes back and gets white hot. I’m not counting on it, but it’s not impossible. And maybe if Kemp can come back successfully, his bat lengthens the Dodgers lineup, creates a chain reaction, and everybody gets better pitches to hit. And of course, the Dodgers could just stay flat offensively and Kershaw and Greinke could get bombed.

    And rest assured, after it’s all over, someone or some people will tell us how they predicted the outcome, no matter how it turns out. I won’t be one of them, however, since I only HOPE that the Dodgers will be at their best, and blow through the postseason. What I do know, however, is that the Dodgers are a talented team, which when fully healthy and playing at their best, takes a back seat to no team.

  19. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger, agree with all that you said. There’s so much that we don’t know, that just about anything can happen. Despite what some people might think, I’m just happy that the Dodgers have the resources to be players in everything, if they so choose.

    • Badger says:

      Yeah, I agree with that. The Dodgers are relevant again. It was painful for a while as we watched the franchise we love become so…. embarrassing. Now we are back, and though that doesn’t make everyone happy, the fans are showing up at over 46K per game, and no other team is close to that. I’ll take it. The money for the new tv contract will pay the bills, people will keep coming, the Dodgers will find a way to win every year and MOST of us are very happy about that.

      I wonder if Guerrero can pull another Puig and force his way onto the team next year. Heck, if we are paying several million a year for him, why not just let him play second base and upgrade at third?

  20. Badger says:

    It was NOT a BACKWARD pass.

    Amateurs.

  21. Badger says:

    oops

    Not a football crowd?

  22. Roger Dodger says:

    Brooklyn, I have 25 dimes sitting by the computer — just waiting for them to all turn a bit.

    Watching the Cubs beating the Reds 2 zip in the 8th inning. How can that be?????

  23. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    “Watching the Cubs beating the Reds 2 zip in the 8th inning. How can that be?????”

    Very easy. Travis Wood, who’s had a very good year is pitching for the Cubs. Besides, the Reds didn’t exactly light up the Dodgers pitching staff. And last I looked, the Cubs haven’t gone winless this year. They actually win games, sometimes against good teams.

    And, the Chicago White Sox are beating the Tigers 5 zip in the 5th inning. And Max Scherzer (19-2) is on the mound for the Tigers. How can that be?????

    Baseball, what a wonderful game. You just never know.

  24. Badger says:

    I know! I know! ………,

    Nevermind. I thought I knew. I don’t.

  25. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    And Roger, if you’ve been watching baseball as long as you say you have, then you had better keep an eye on those dimes. They might turn when you least expect it. Or maybe they’ll just sit their in perfect stillness.

    And by the way, didn’t some dimes turn for the Dodgers around June 22nd? So now, at least for the time being, they’ve turned in the opposite direction. You never know when they might reverse field.

  26. Roger Dodger says:

    See Brooklyn, that is why I love this time of year in baseball. Even the weak going nowhere teams have much to say about just who wins and looses games.

    And who knows, maybe Nolasco will be the Dodgers best pitcher over the last two months of the season.

  27. Badger says:

    Swing at strikes dammit!

  28. Badger says:

    One inning and we are already 0 for 3 WRISP.

    We just HAVE to do better at that.

  29. Quasimodo says:

    I would like to see the pitch grid on every pitch. It seems they don’t have it just to protect umpires bad calls.

  30. Mark_Timmons says:

    When I say the Dodgers played with no soul, that is what I saw last weekend. If you have on blue glasses, you might conclude otherwise. I did not say they would continue to do that…

    but Puig on 3B (result of pure hustle) and we can\’t score him? No soul! That\’s my story and I\’m sticking to it.

    Things can change…

  31. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Last two months. Does that mean you believe the Dodgers will be playing into November?

    And as I write this Ethier just went deep. We need to see more of that from him.

  32. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I should have hit “submit comment”.

    We need to see more of that from Uribe too.

  33. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    See how excited I am. Can’t stop those typos. I “shouldn’t” have hit that button.

    And see, the D-Backs can play sloppy baseball too.

  34. Badger says:

    24 and 6 from a team with no soul. Man, that’s a glass that’s more than half empty.

    Uribe!

    Hopefully that dinger will get Andre off his schneid.

  35. Bball says:

    Statement game

  36. Gionfriddo says:

    Driving the ball out to left-center; beautiful swing to behold.

    20 HR.. 89 RBI

    Full decline………………

  37. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Puig on 3B was not the result of pure hustle. No doubt he hustled, but it was really the result of sloppy play by the D-Backs and PURE SPEED on the part of Puig. I am guessing that Carl Crawford and Dee Gordon would have done the same thing. And I’m not taking anything away from Puig. He definitely hustled, but it was his innate talent that allowed him to get to 3B.

    And since that first inning it would appear that the Dodgers have regained their soul. And nice to see that opposite field power from the declining Agon.

    Uribe just hit #2 on the night. The Dodger dugout looks souless, lifeless, listless, and whatever other adjectives you can think of.

    Just because a team goes into a lull doesn’t mean that they’re not trying. I think even you know that. Sometimes you try hard, put your heart and soul into what you’re doing, and the results just aren’t there. Consequently, even though you’re giving it your best, it seems as if your dragging. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re never as good as you look when you’re at your best, nor as bad as you look when you’re at your worst.

    And I’m sticking to that story.

  38. Badger says:

    UUUUUU – REEEEEBAY!!!

  39. Badger says:

    Puig has trouble with sliders and cutters down. I wouldn’t throw him anything else until he proves he can hit them.

  40. Quasimodo says:

    Well, Giants, and Rockies, are officially eliminated tonight! Cheers!

  41. Rob says:

    Jump back on the magic carpet ride! Really funny how Ramirez fed uribe that banana after his third shot.

  42. Michael says:

    Man, I[we]needed that.
    That statement game pretty much sealed the deal for me.
    Happy days are here again…

  43. Bill Russell says:

    Wow, comments will be different in here today I’m betting.

  44. Badger says:

    If Mark meant the .800 winning % when he said the Magic Carpet ride, then, perhaps he was right.

    But the ride from national embarrassment to the play-offs is still rolling down the road.

    It looks pretty good when it is working doesn’t it.

    Uribe is working on his next contract and the timing could not be better. Hope he can keep it up for another couple of months. With the proper rest, no reason to believe he won’t hit 3 a game a few more times this year. Unless, of course, he runs into a pitcher who might think about some off speed stuff around his ankles. And that could happen when he goes up against post season staffs.

    The Cards are looking like the Cards again. Those guys are scary when they put the foot to the pedal.

    Adios midgets. You are right where you belong. We hope the first to worst is completed by the end of this month.

    dbacks are a disappointment to everyone down here. But, thems the breaks snakes. .500 is not so bad. Better than .400.

    Puig needs to think about looking for sliders in fastball counts. He is now better at getting ahead, but these guys at the ML level are not going to give in to him. All the fastballs he has been getting lately are under his hands, followed by hard breakers (sliders cutters) shin high on the outside corner. He even got one right down the tube last night and missed it completely. I don’t think he was looking for it. This is a guesser’s league and the best only get fooled occasionally. I always looked fastball, adjusted curve, but these sliders and cutters are fierce and you have to know when they are coming. He’ll figure it out and when he does, pitchers will pay. btw, he was safe at the plate. Why he slowed down at third is just another Puigism, but, he did beat the throw. Should do what Little League does and review those plays. All scoring plays should be reviewed. It would only take a second. And screw protecting the umps. They are already an embarrassment, reviewing would actually add to their credibility. At least it would show they have enough respect for the game to attempt to get it right.

    OK, off the Denver this morning. Gotta meet with lawyers. Not exactly a vacation.

  45. Bobbie17 says:

    Paco: 25 innings last year; 50+ innings this year. I sure hope he’s ready to go for the playoffs. I would give him all the rest he needs. But how much is too much? A different aspect of coaching, but a nice problem to have….finally.

    • Bobby says:

      Let me get this straight. The last 3 days u complain Paco isn’t being used enough, and today you say let’s give him the rest he needs.

      Love it

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