Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bullet Points on a Day of Rest from the NLCS

After spending a good portion of the day prepping a positive piece that would outline that the Dodgers are far from eliminated from the race, an alert arrived and I read another blogger’s piece that pretty much touched on every point I had.  So....Since I don’t want to be accused of lifting someone else’s ideas, it was back to the drawing board and starting over from scratch.    Anyway, here it goes.

Several bullet points:

  • A report from Eric Stephen at TrueBlueLA states that Hanley Ramirez is still unable to swing a bat and he was sent to get an CT scan of his ailing rub section that was hit by a Joe Kelly fastball last Friday.  The scan was received this morning and as of this writing, there is no report on the results.  That doesn’t sound too good to me.  Had everything been fine, what damage would have been done in announcing that by now.  I’m just speculating now, but I believe that Ramirez may be out of tomorrow’s action.  It is reported that had the Dodgers played a game today, Hanley wouldn’t have been able to go.
(photo by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers courtesy of Dodgersphotog.mlblogscom)

  • St. Louis’ ace Adam Wainwright will hasn’t got stellar numbers at Dodger Stadium.  In six career starts at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers have a slash line of .270BA/.354 OBP/ .468 SLG/.8234 OPS with an ERA over 5 runs.  Those are pretty good offensive numbers for the Dodgers when considered they have been against a top of the line starting pitcher.  But Wainwright is capable of going far in games at Dodger Stadium and though his team lost to them in the NLDS here in 2009, it wasn’t because Wainwright pitched badly.  On that night he went 8 innings and tossed a three hitter giving up one run only to watch his bullpen cough up the win when James Loney hit that infamous line drives into Holliday’s privates.  Yes, Wainwright was the guy complaining about the white towels in the stands, which is a rather interesting recollection due to the fact that Cardinal fans were waving them through games one and two in this series. 

  • Tomorrow’s home plate umpire will be Mike Everitt.  Wainwright loves pitching in games that this guy calls.  In three starts over his career, with Everitt behind the plate Wainwright is 2-0 with a 0.40 ERA.  Over 22 IP he has allowed 8 hits and one ER.  The opposition OPS are at a .346 level.  Sure, it’s a small sample size, but certainly not encouraging for a Dodger team attempting to avoid an 0-3 deficit.  Hyun-Jin Ryu has never pitched a game that Everitt has called behind the plate. 

  • I just noticed that Wainwright is from Brunswick, Georgia and graduated from Glynn Academy High School there.  I personally know the area well, having completed my job training within five miles of the place and returning many times since.  It’s also the High School of NBA first round pick and former Laker Kwame Brown.  Since they are about 9 months  apart in age,  their sports careers mirrored each other as Wainwright and Brown were basketball teammates on an undefeated middle school team.  When Brown was the first pick in the NBA draft in 2001, Wainwright was no slouch as the 29th pick overall in the 1st round of the 2000 draft.  Quite a year for Glynn Academy High School in the athletic front.

  • Dodger fans have the opportunity to leave an impact on this series and provide that “10th man" home field advantage affect.  With so many breaks going against them in games one and two in St. Louis, here’s hoping that a loud and boisterous crowd will impact the ball club in a positive manner.  Not much has gone their way this far and it’s time for the tide to turn in their favor.

  • Being down 0-2 isn’t a lead that can’t be overcome, especially with three consecutive home games.  Championship teams have their bumps in the road, and the Dodgers have definitely had their share of them this season.  Ask yourself this question though:  Was it realistic to expect the team to march through post-season without some rough patches on the way?  Even those championship Dodger teams in ’88 and especially ’81 had some dark moments where it looked like the season was over.  Perhaps this point of the post-season will be a rallying point.

  • The Dodgers aren’t hitting, but they are actually hitting better than St. Louis in the series.  That’s a sign that luck will tilt in their favor.  Unfortunately, they have fallen short in the “clutch hits” department, going 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position.  That has to change if they are going to win this series.

  • Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will need to provide some clutch hitting if the Dodgers are to win this series.  It isn’t realistic to expect anything out of Hanley Ramirez or Andre Ethier at this point.  Look for Mark Ellis and/or A.J. Ellis to have a clutch hit or two.

  • Don Mattingly has to know that his job is really on the line now.  Has he finally learned his lesson and will he stop bunting in situations that will force the opposition to take the bat out of the hands of his largest offensive threat?  I sort of doubt that.  After the Uribe homer that won the NLDS, he bunted again in this series, costing the Dodgers their best bat in the lineup (Ramirez) and game one in the process.  The man is stubborn and the Dodgers will have to overcome his foibles to win the series.

  • The Dodgers, with the best record in the league as a road team, can win at St. Louis following the three games in L.A..  A return to the “Gateway” city with a winning result would be sweet as the Dodgers can silence the “greatest fans of baseball.”   Sorry, but after viewing a number of profane tweets from those fans, I have a hard time believing their claim of being such a classy bunch.
(photo by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers courtesy of Dodgersphotog.mlblogscom)

  • If Ricky Nolasco is to make an appearance in this series, but it’ll probably have to be in relief along the line somewhere.   Hopefully it’ll be in a mop-up relief role with the Dodgers far ahead in order to conserve the arm of Greinke or Kershaw who may be needed on short rest for another start.   I believe it’ll be Greinke in Game 4 on Tuesday and Kershaw in game 5 on Wednesday.  Perhaps Nolasco starts on Friday in game 6, but probably not as Ryu would be set up to go that date on regular rest.  I’m assuming that if there is a game seven, it’ll be Greinke in the finale.

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