What Went Wrong with the Dodgers?

As a diehard Dodgers fan I was saddened, but by now inured to their inevitable fate. So I asked myself, “Self, what went wrong this time?” Let me point out a number of things.

1 The Mets are pretty good. In a lot of ways the Dodgers didn’t lose, the Mets simply won (and congrats to both Bill and Glen). It’s a good team and good teams tend to win. So in many ways the answer to what went wrong with the Dodgers is that the Mets played better ball.

2. An over reliance to two pitchers won’t, as a rule, get you a championship. Yeah you can pull it off if you’re the ’63 and ’65 Dodgers (Koufax and Drysdale) or the 2001 Diamondbacks (Johnson and Schilling), but you’re not going to do it very often. All the other team has to do is beat your big guys once or twice (in this case the Mets beat both Kershaw and Greinke once each) and your team has nothing to back up the big guns. On point the ’65 Dodgers were in trouble until Claude Osteen turned things around in game 3. This year’s Dodgers didn’t have an Osteen.

3. It helps if you know how to trade something other than ball cards. The Dodgers pickups and losses before the season began and after it started weren’t inspired. They got rid of Dee Gordon. You know Gordon, don’t you? He hit .333, stole a league high 58 bases, had a league high 205 hits, had 4.9 WAR (BBREF version). In 2014 he played for LA. In 2015 he played for Miami. And the Dodgers got Howie Kendrick who hit a reasonable .295 but with 137 hits, six stolen bases, and all of 1.1 WAR. They also got Jimmy Rollins. I don’t want to imply he’s old, but he has to remember where he was when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor (and he probably shouldn’t have won the MVP he won). His numbers were .224, 12 stolen bases, 116 hits, and -0.1 WAR. Then there was the Latos deal. Seriously? They expected Matt Latos to put them into the World Series? Heck, I coulda done that bad and would have done it a lot cheaper. Then they traded for Chase Utley. I like Utley but he’s as old as Rollins and equally over the hill.

4. This is a team that doesn’t hit all that well. In a fifteen team league that led in home runs, but were 13th in hits. They were second in walks, but 11th in doubles and fifth in total bases. They were tenth in batting average. Kershaw and Greinke had a WAR over 7.5. Next on the team was Adrian Gonzalez at 3.9 tied with Justin Turner.

I could go on, but I’m tired and I’ve vented long enough. There are a lot of things LA has to fix (not least of which is resigning Greinke) in order to repeat as West champs. I’ve been a Dodgers fan so long I know better than to hold my breath.

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9 Responses to “What Went Wrong with the Dodgers?”

  1. William Miller Says:

    The Mets benefited from some good starting pitching, and Danny Murphy. Their starters didn’t give up a single homer in that series. But aside from Murphy and Granderson, many of the other Mets hitters failed to even show up at all. There was some luck there for the Mets.
    As for L.A., I’d be surprised to see Mattingly back at the helm next year. When I saw Ethier yelling at Mattingly in the dugout on one occasion in the playoffs, I knew they were all but finished. The Mets were loose; the Dodgers seemed a bit uptight.
    I actually do like the Dodgers (my second-favorite team after the Mets), so I can’t and won’t gloat over this win.
    -Bill

  2. The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    “It helps if you know how to trade something other than ball cards.” I love that! It’s good advice for many teams. Actually it’s just good advice, period.

    Over the summer, there was a twitter thing going on to come up with a rhyme for Kershaw and Greinke (a la “Span and Sain and pray for rain”). I came up with “Kershaw and Greinke. The rest are stinky.” Come to find out, dozens of people had come up with the exact same “poem.”

    There was a point in Game 5 when I looked at the Dodgers and I looked at the Mets and I said to Randy, “The Mets want to win, and I just think the Dodgers want to go home and rest.” There’s something to be said for “mighty mo”.

    If Greinke can’t pitch for the Orioles (and, honestly, we couldn’t afford to pay him to pitch just one inning), then I hope he re-signs with the Dodgers. I loved that piece Brandon McCarthy wrote earlier this season about the Yin and Yang of Kershaw and Greinke together.

  3. Bruce Thiesen Says:

    I thought that the Dodgers had a chance. They had a lot of talent and proven ballplayers. These things are hard to call.

  4. glenrussellslater Says:

    I like watching baseball for the fun of it. I’m not really into rooting for any particular team anymore, although I thank you for congratulating me about the Mets. I WAS a true-blue and orange Met fan from 1970 through their good times and their bad times until partly through 1988. Then I was living in Portland, Maine and it was hard not to get caught up in the “Morgan Magic”. You’d have to be up there to know what I mean. Joe Morgan, “the Red Sawx manaja”, was a native son of northern New England, and it was contageous. It was really impossible NOT to root for the Red Sox up there. And after the Red Sox lost to the A’s in the playoffs, and I moved back to New York in 1989, I just couldn’t get back into the Mets, really. Just like when my father came out of the Army in 1955 and moved back to the Bronx, a mile away from Yankee Stadium, where he had always lived; he’d fallen out of the habit of rooting for the Yankees or ANY particular team, for that matter. But both he and I enjoy rooting watching the game, but not really rooting for anyone in particular.

    As for the Dodgers, I think that you might have gotten spoiled by all of their great years. Look at them in the 70s. Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey. One of the greatest infields ever, plus great hitters like Dusty Baker, Rick Monday, and in the 60s, Willie Davis and Tommy Davis, catchers like Yeager and Scocia, etc. They were always in competition with the Reds for first place throughout the 70s, and they were in the world series in ’74, ’77, ’78, and they won it against the Yankees in ’81. Then they won the world series again in ’88.

    Most Dodger fans in Brooklyn did NOT become Los Angeles fans after they left; quite the contrary. They ESPECIALLY rooted against the Dodgers and the Yankees, of course, and waited and hoped for a time that they would have a team to LOVE and not just teams to HATE. That finally came in 1962 when the Mets were born.

    Since you were a Dodger fan who lived nowhere near Brooklyn OR California, you didn’t feel robbed or betrayed when the Dodgers left Brooklyn; after all, they still had Hodges, Zimmer, Koufax (your favorite), Roger Craig, Furilo, and others. You had no allegiance to a place, only to a team. So I don’t fault you for that. You were in a territory that mostly rooted for the Cardinals, and you rooted for the Dodgers, and that’s what I call being a non-comformist. (which I look up to.)

    As for this year, well, it’s just a matter that, in any given series, anything can happen. There’s really no explanation. Look at the Cubs sweeping the Cardinals, the best team around. It can happen. Things happen. That’s the nature of baseball.

    Glen

    • glenrussellslater Says:

      Of course I wasn’t saying that Sciosica and Yeager were on the Dodgers in the 60s. In the 60s, you had Roseboro and then later on Jeff Torborg, as I recall.

      But you get my point anyway, right, V?

      Glen

    • Steve Myers Says:

      I hope you don’t take this the wrong way Glen, but what the hell happened? You sound so cool and sophisticated – just “rooting watching the game.”

  5. wkkortas Says:

    First, it was very nice of Bill not to gloat. I doubt I would be so magnanimous. I think your point about the Dodgers being top-heavy, especially in the pitching staff, is an excellent one. It reminds me of something Bill James said about the Expos of the early 80’s, when trying to explain how a team with Carter and Dawson didn’t win; he said their problem was that they surrounded their core with guys like Doug Flynn and Ray Burris, who essentially wiped out the value of the club’s stars. The Dodgers are a little like that, in my view. It’s great to have Kershaw and Greinke and A-Gon and Jansen, but if you’re surrounding them with Rollins and Mike Bolsinger and Alex Wood, you’re pretty damn vulnerable.

  6. Steve Myers Says:

    I hate it when my team loses, one of the worst things in the world.

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