|Kershaw's worst start of the year couldn't coincided with his most important start of his career. (photo by Jeff Curry.USA Today Sports)|
Friday, October 18, 2013
Dodgers Fall Two Games Short in Embarrassing Finale in St. Louis
So I'm sitting in my living room, watching the Dodger season fade away as the boys in blue trail 9-0 in an embarrassment of epic proportions. The TBS announcers have been making things worse with their constant reminders of the Dodger foibles. I guess you can't blame them, they are simply calling the action. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive having lived and died with this team since the first pitch at Spring training by Hyun-Jin Ryu, (that I personally witnessed at Camelback Ranch).
Clayton Kershaw will without a doubt have to live with having pitched the worst game in his career on the night when everyone recognized that it was the most important start of his career. That, my friends, is going to be hard to live with. It'll also be something that will haunt him until he does win the big one. I hate for a great player like Kershaw to be the kind of guy that is constantly reminded of that failure, but such is the world of sports.
The Yasiel Puig bashers are having a field day. Both on TBS and on twitter. There is little doubt that Puig has had better days, and the two errors attest to that. But the joy they get in his failures is something that irks to no end. Puig is an amazing talent and he'll recover, but he'll also continue to make mistakes. That tends to happen with players that play with reckless abandon and have little seasoning. I just hope that fans will be patient with him and not expect that next season he'll magically turn into that mature major leaguer that never makes mistakes. Remember, the kid has been learning the major league ropes on the fly while making his way through the majors in his first go-around. It has been quite an exciting run for the kid.
Players that probably won't be back:
1) Mark Ellis, even though he has one year and $5.75 million remaining on his contract, I see Ellis being moved or released. He'll be age 37 next season. The rumors of Alexander Guerrero seem to attest to the fact that the Dodgers are looking in another direction.
2) Juan Uribe, because his contract is up and I highly doubt he accepts a one year deal, which is the only contract the Dodgers should offer him. His production in contract years seems to be a recurring situation. It was a great comeback year for him, but Uribe will be 34 years old next season.
3) Nick Punto, is a free agent and at age 36, it's time to let the little Pony ride off to another team, if there are takers.
4) Jerry Hairston Jr., also he needs to retire. It was a nice career. He played one year too many.
5) Michael Young, at 37 he's another retirement candidate. It was a good career for the versatile infielder, but his bat isn't as quick as it once was and he's a DP machine now.
6) Ricky Nolasco will seek a multi-year deal (probably 4 years) in the $45 million range. He'll probably not accept a home town discount if there's a team out there willing to guarantee him a number 3 slot with big money. That team shouldn't be the Dodgers.
7) Brian Wilson, what a great acquisition. He's still a closer and unless the Dodgers agree to hand that role over to him, he'll get a multi-year deal with a team that agrees to hand him the ball in the 9th inning. I wish they could work something out, but his success pretty much guarantees that he'll seek a closer job elsewhere. I hope he doesn't come back to haunt us.
8) One of the three outfielders should be dealt, with the Dodgers paying a ton of his salary, Ethier, Crawford or Kemp. I just get the feeling that they don't want to go into the season next year with the turmoil that could be created by four guys vying for three spots. Of course, injuries may resolve this dilemma once again, so maybe they'll stay. One thing for sure though, they'll need better production from all three. It's fair to say that all three disappointed.
9) Skip Schumaker, also a free agent in 2014. He isn't anything other than an above average utility-man with little power. A nice team guy and team player, so maybe he re-signs, but Schumaker will be 34 next season also.
That's nine players off the roster, and some important ones as well. In the months that come, we'll be debating the areas of weakness and the things the Dodgers must do to advance at least two games further and into the World Series. It is painful to come so close. A little better luck In the injury department and this team could have gone all the way. Hopefully 2014 provides better fortune on that front.
A thank you to the readers this season. All the tweets, comments and support were really appreciated. At 200,000 strong, it is amazing the growth over the years as I try to provide my personal analysis of this team we all love. it's not always easy. I wish I was in a position to do this full time, and one day in the not too distant future, I hope that will be the case. (Retirement is on the horizon...but still a few years away). Here's to a great off-season and just think, it's less than 120 days until pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch.
We'll be warming up the hot stove shortly after the World Series.
Congratulations the the St. Louis Cardinals for their pennant winning season.