GAMETIMES: 9:05 Friday, 3;05 Saturday and Sunday
TV: ABC Friday, WGN and FS1 Saturday, CSN Sunday
Dodger Dogs Absolutely Suck: True Blue LA
Hammel v. Ring Toss Guy
Lester v. Bridge Troll
No that’s seriously how it lines up for the Dodgers right now. While it’s more than likely Kenta Maeda is going to start Sunday, they really are just inventing people and dressing up assorted sea creatures to start games for them. And the thing is, it’s actually working.
The Dodgers have a whole rotation +1 on the DL right now in Kershaw, McCarthy, Anderson, Wood, Ryu and Kazmir. They’re going to bat with Rich Hill (who threw a shutout in his Dodgers debut on Wednesday), Bud Norris, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, and Maeda. None of these guys were on the roster to start the year nor expected to be. And yet the Dodgers have surged to a two-game lead in the West, also aided by the Giants thumbing their own ass for a solid six weeks at this point.
All of this would seem to make Dave Roberts a shoe-in for the Manager of The Year award, while negotiating the same injury problems in the field as the rotation as overall 27 Dodgers have ended up in the infirmary this year. He’s also had to negotiate the Yasiel Puig gaseous emissions in the clubhouse, or at least that’s what they’d have you believe. Now he’s got a new headache as the Dodgers just traded Kershaw’s personal catcher and clubhouse fave AJ Ellis for Carlos Ruiz. Because the Dodgers’ front office really believes in chemistry, or doesn’t at all, given the day of the week.
The Dodgers have gone 27-19 the past two months basically on the strength of their lineup. Seager, the impossibly ginger Justin Turner, and Yasmani Grandal are rocking +160 wRC+ marks for the second half. Kendrick, Pederson, and Gonzalez come in at over 130. About the only one not pulling his weight in the past couple months is the dinosaur-bones Chase Utley, which can’t be a surprise to anyone once the carbon dating results came back on him. Josh Reddick hasn’t hit for shit either, and now he’s assuredly to emotionally racked over the look of the WWE Universal Title belt to concentrate on baseball. They are simply mashing their way to the West.
In the 2nd half of the season, the Dodgers lead in the NL in Team wRC+, slugging, and 2nd in average. The Cubs starters will obviously have to tread lightly.
The Dodgers bullpen has obviously had to pick up some serious slack given the slap-dash nature of the rotation these days. I still have no idea how anyone hits Kenley Jansen ever, and he’s been backed up by Country Joe Blanton, Louis Coleman, and something called Grant Drayton. Or Drant Grayton. I’m not sure it matters.
Obviously the question for the Dodgers is how long they can keep propping up the whole thing on the pillars of cardboard they’ve fashioned. Kershaw has begun throwing in the bullpen again but is probably looking at the end of September for any kind of return. Brett Anderson can’t be trusted to throw four pitches without something falling off of him, so guessing at any return for him is pointless. McCarthy looks to be coming off when his 15 days are up, but what does that even mean for a guy who has barely thrown 50 innings the past two seasons? Ryu and Wood you can pretty much forget.
Hill is still a question mark in his first season in forever as a starter, which obviously won’t keep him from winning a playoff game against the Cubs in October which is going to send most of us to the sharp objects to dull the pain. It’s so clearly going to happen. Urias is going to be the truth one day, but has already thrown far more innings this year than he ever has and can’t stay in the rotation much longer. Bud Norris torched the Cubs on the mound and at the plate last year, but he remains aggressively Bud Norris.
The schedule may come to get them too. The Dodgers have dates with the Marlins and Yankees left, both scrapping for playoff spots. They also have six games left in September in October with the Giants which will almost certainly decide who’s winning the West and who is heading to the coin flip game, likely to combat St. Louis voodoo magic. While the Giants have their own dates with the Cubs to worry about, they also have a remaining schedule that is overstuffed with Arizona, Colorado, and San Diego. You’d think that eventually they’ll get their act together. But we’ve been saying that for a while.
While it’s shaded by just personal recollection and horrors, it feels like the Cubs never play well in Chavez Ravine. They lost two of three there last year, only salvaging the Arrieta no-hitter. Of course, they won the series the year before. It just feels that way, ok? Look, I had a lot of trauma there when I lived there, shut up.
And Dodger dogs really do suck.