Series Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

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Headlines

The Dark Knight Returns: Matt Harvey had a little bit of a resurgence last night, striking out 10 batters over 6 innings. It was by far the most effective start for Matt Harvey this season, despite giving up a two-run shot to Christian Benthancourt.  Matt was helped by a tremendous relay throw by Wilmer Flores that just barely beat Andrew Cashner to the bag.

Matz The Way, I Like It:  Steven Matz has been tremendous since getting shelled and giving up 7 runs in his season debut on April 11th. Since that game he is sporting a 0.67 ERA over 27 innings pitched and holding opposing batters to a measely .216 average.

Puig in the City: Yasiel Puig was benched Sunday for the second time in seven games. Puig has been in a prolonged slump of about 20 games, where he has seen his batting line drop from .366/.458/.561 on April 15th to .243/.294/.361 entering tonight’s game. Puig is batting just .171 over that stretch – but some of that may be attributed to luck as his BABIP has been an unlucky .204 over the same period. Puig discussed changes to his approach this year with ESPN in an article published this morning.

Know Your Foe

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.13.38 PM.pngWe teamed up with Scott from Ladodgerreport for the Q&A this series. Check it out as we discuss the frustration of being a Dodgers fan, the state of their financials, some emerging talent, and the “Buttliness” of a certain second baseman.

The Dodgers have now been eliminated from three consecutive post seasons since Guggenheim Partners revamped the roster and took payrolls to unprecedented levels; are Dodgers fans thrilled with the recent success, or is frustration from not making it to the World Series starting to boil over?

Frustration has already been boiling over for the last several years now. When you haven’t been to a World Series in 28 years there’s bound to be some frustration from the fan base. Dodger fans are split into two groups: There are the Freidman moneyball robot kids who think he is god and praise every move he makes as genius. They root for executives and want the payroll shrunk. Whenever Friedman signs a reclamation project or another injured pitcher they applaud and laud him as a revolutionary. They probably cheer every time they see the Dodger’s bottom line go up.

Then there are the more rational fans. The ones that can see the forest through the trees, so to speak. The fans that don’t like seeing the club filled with marginal players and injury riddled pitchers. Mediocre play and division titles are simply not enough. These fans set their bar higher, and want to see the Dodgers back in the World Series. These are the fans that are not hypnotized by moneyball and slick talking executives. Those fans are very aware of how underwhelming the Friedman administration has been. There is a great divide between Dodger fans right now

Despite leading the league in attendance over the last three years, the Dodgers (according to Forbes) have posted an operating loss of nearly $165m. Is the way this team built sustainable, and how much does young talent like Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Kike Hernandez factor into that sustainability?

I don’t believe that nonsense about how the Dodgers are “bleeding money all over the field, and are in the red or losing profitability or whatever. They just signed an 8 billion dollar television deal. They draw 3 million fans every season. Combine that with the ticket sales, merchandising, global branding, marketing campaigns, and other revenue and the Dodgers are one of the richest, if not the richest club in all of baseball.

The one thing that the Friedman regime is good at is keeping their young talent. Part of the plan is to develop the Dodger farm system into one of the best pipelines in all of baseball. The Corey Seagers, the Julio Urias’ and all of those other good young prospects are a big part of the Dodger’s future.

ks.JPGClayton Kershaw racked up 301 strikeouts last season – a feat accomplished by only 13 pitchers in the live ball era*; can he do it again, and will he be the last player to record 300 K’s in a single season? I thought the significance of 300 was completely over looked in Cy Young voting last year.

You know, I thought so too. Striking out 300 batters in a season is a very rare feat these days. We haven’t seen a pitcher do that very often. Sandy Koufax used to do it every year. We saw Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling do it during the early days of the 2000’s. Otherwise it’s hardly ever done. I think if there is any pitcher to do it again, it would be Kershaw. He is simply the best pitcher on the planet. His utter domination over all opponents is a delight.

Chase Utley is a Butt-ley.

20151011-utley-tejads

A perfectly cromulent slide.

No he isn’t. Oh come on now. Are you guys still upset about this? Ruben Tejada isn’t even a Met anymore. Making such a huge stink of that slide actually changed the game for the worse. It made the play at second base MORE DANGEROUS for middle infielders. Without the neighborhood play that was usually given to infielders by the umpires, the infielders have to actually touch the second base bag, putting them at risk to be spiked or ran over. So when Yasiel Puig spikes Neil Walker in the ankle on a legal slide, then hey you only have yourselves to blame for crying Argentina last postseason.

By the way, I still don’t think Utley’s slide was that bad anyways. He slid a half a second late. You try being 37-years old and telling your body to do something split second and see if it cooperates.

Yasmani Grandal is having a surprisingly effective campaign so far this season, and Joc Pederson looks very much like the future of the franchise; who else should Mets fans pay attention to during this 4-game set?

I would guess that would be Howie Kendrick. He’s finally starting to get his timing back after missing much of the spring with a calf injury. You know he was never going to bat .143 all season.

Thanks Scott! No hard feelings when it comes to Chase Utley; it’s just fun to have someone to boo. Let’s just say that I hope it is he who gets spiked by Puig instead of Neil Walker.

Standings & Probables

Mets (yes!!!)
19-11 .633
Nationals 19-12 .613
Phillies 18-14 .563
Marlins 16-14 .533
Braves 7-23 .233

Monday, May 9: Steven Matz (4-1 2.83 ERA) vs. Scott Kazmir (2-2 5.68 ERA)

Tuesday, May 10: Jacob deGrom (3-1 1.99 ERA) vs. Alex Wood (1-3 5.18 ERA)

Wednesday, May 11: Noah Syndergaard (2-2 2.58 ERA) vs. Kenta Maeda (3-1 1.66 ERA)

Thursday, May 12:  Bartolo Colon (3-1 2.82 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (4-1 2.04 ERA)

Beer From the Bad Guys

To be honest – I’m going off memory on this review. I haven’t been to LA in over a year, but last time I was there I ran into some of Golden Road Brewing’s collection; today I’m reviewing the solid yet economic ‘Point the Way IPA’.goldenroad

The beer comes in both traditional 12oz cans – but you can also find 16 oz cans in case you need those extra 4 ounces because the Mets bullpen exploded or something. The beer pours a clear golden-orange color and has an earthy and floral nose. The beer is smooth – well balanced in terms of mouth feel, bitterness, and carbonation. The beer has some nice citrus undertones that helps counterbalance any lingering bitterness from the hops. If you are a hop head, you’ll enjoy the piney Chinook and earthy Bravo Hops that give this beer personality.

Scouting Report (20-80 scale)

See: 60

Smell: 65

Taste: 65

Feel: 75

Overall: 65

 

Let’s Go Mets!!!

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