Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unfair to Blame Guerrier

As I watched last night’s game action, a 6-3 loss to the Padres in extra innings, I followed along on twitter to see the comments as the game progressed as I often do.  Often times it’s an opportunity to commiserate with follow Dodger fans on twitter.   Arguably the most diehard and rabid fans of the blue around.  Over the years I have come to understand the emotions that swing amongst our group as a game progresses.  Usually we get quite emotional.  Sometimes irrational even.

Second guessing of Mattingly’s moves are constantly made.  The sabermetric guys rant about wasting outs with sacrifice bunts, or hitters bad approaches at the plate, such as swinging at the first pitch.  The Donnie haters bash him about bullpen management or the failure to double switch.  Then you have the guys that obviously are not experienced with game strategy, that complain about stupid things like his failure to pinch hit a certain player even though history shows he’s hitting .090 against  left handed pitchers or they may complain as they did last night, that Kershaw wasn’t allowed to hit for himself in the 7th, though his pitch count was already at 116.

Yasmani Grandals' two-run shot off of Matt Guerrier tied the game in the 8th inning last night (photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP)

I noticed an almost universal opinion of all tweets that agreed Matt Guerrier is awful.  I am going to take an unpopular stance with many.  I refuse to blame last night’s loss on Guerrier.  I contend that he has been put in an impossible situation and if you really think about it, the poor guy is essentially trying to get in game shape at an March or early April Spring training level, while doing it in the heart of a September pennant race.

It’s unfair to put Guerrier in a game like last night, but Mattingly has little choice.  He’s out of relievers.  Injury has hamstrung the Dodger manager and forced him to insert a guy like Guerrier in a crucial point of these games, when he should be working himself back into game shape during mop up duty or in less stressful situations.

We have now seen Guerrier mostly responsible for the last two Dodger losses.  (Note: there is always the offense to blame too, but I’m referring to the pitching end of things).  He has been serving up some long balls.  Types of mistake pitches that are usually remedied with a bit of Spring Training work.  Guerrier is pitching scared out there and not aggressively.  As a result, he’s been tagged a bit.

The undoing of this team appears to be the depleted bull pen.  Losses of Jansen, Guerra, and Elbert has caused the unfortunate overwork of everyone in the pen.  I think we often forget how valuable Josh Lindblom was to the pitching staff.  He certainly could have been used last night.

Steven "Paco" Rodriguez, pitching for University of Florida earlier this year.

I would be in complete agreement with the ascension of Paco Rodriguez as a left handed situational lefty to this bullpen right now.  The Dodgers are facing a lot of obstacles with the 40 man roster and making room for such a player right now, so unless some more creative 40 man roster maneuvering is completed, we probably won't see him.  They still haven't figured out how to get Dee Gordon and Tony Gwynn Jr. back up to the big club, and both could be used in key reserve roles right now.

As things stand, the depleted bullpen is a major concern and I really see no easy solution to the current state of things.  This pen could really use a complete game tonight leading into an off day before the big San Francisco series.  That would be exactly what the doctor ordered.  Does Harang have it in him?


  1. Kind of ironic that you and I wrote about the exact same thing (at about the exact same time) but with an entirely different perspective, Evan. Don Mattingly did have a choice and, in my opinion, he blew it.

  2. Ron, Just read your post at: http://www.thinkbluela.com/index.php/2012/09/05/the-mattingly-plan-have-rested-relievers-watching-the-playoffs-instead-of-being-in-them/

    I don't think we disagree too much. In the interest of time, I really didn't address the other options that Mattingly had. I probably should have emphasized that it wasn't Guerrier's fault because it was Mattingly that put him in. I know you think that Mattingly had better options than Guerrier to put in there. Probably so, but one thing that had to be in the back of his mind was. 1) Guerrier in the loss to Arizona, gave up the homer to Kubel and 2) then looked impressive in retiring the next three hitters, two by strike out. I guess he though that a two run lead was enough cushion for him. We now know how obviously wrong he was.

    Now had he brought in Belisario and League back to back, things might have turned out better. Then again, maybe not due to the fatigue factor. I'm disappointed that the Dodgers haven't stacked the bullpen with more options for him now with the expanded rosters. The 40 man is loaded and a guy like Uribe continues to take a spot when some young strong arms could be up helping the big club.

  3. Why is Matt Angle still on the 40 man roster? Not saying Matt is not deserving of a spot, just that as an outfielder he is far down on the depth chart. There's one spot for Gordon or Gywnn.