What Drei Said Before The Series…
” The Boys in Blue head to the post-season on a roll, having won 8 of their last 10. Everything seems to be clicking at this moment for the Blue. If their is one concern I have heading into the post-season, it is the status of our bullpen . It is no secret that our bullpen has been inconsistent, particularly our middle relievers. The status of Hyun-Jin Ryu is a minor concern for me but in a Best of 5 the Dodgers may be able to get away with a 3 man rotation of Kershaw, Greinke and Haren. “
As I was looking back on my pre-season NL Picks , it was both my fear and hope that the Dodgers could survive on a 3 man rotation. Hyun-Jin Ryu did make it back on the hill and pitched an admirable 6 innings in game 3. However, Dan Haren, who after a mid-season slump, finished strong but was nowhere to be seen in the post-season.
” St. Louis has had a long history of post-season success and like it or not , are one of only two teams to have success against Kershaw . However, Kershaw just seems to get better each year ( Is that even possible ) , having won his 4th straight ERA title en route to a possible MVP season. In a short 5 game series, anything can happen. Will Game 1 between two game tested battlers between Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw set the tone ? Runs will probably be at a premium here. However, with a deeper lineup and most everyone coming back healthy, I gotta like our chances to advance … “
Why St. Louis has had continued success against our Cy Young Award winner is beyond anyone’s guess. Aside from Game 1, runs we’re at a premium, however, even with the momentum of a strong finish and a healthy lineup, the Dodgers, sans Matt Kemp’s solo shot in Game 2, just could not come up with the timely hits, and the Dodger playoff blues against St. Louis continues .
“Dodger Blues in Mizzou…
1985 NLCS 0-3, Lost in 6 games
2004 NLDS 0-2, Lost in 4
2009 NLDS 1-0, Won in 3
2013 NLCS 0-3, Lost in 6
That, my friends, adds up to an overall mark of 1-8 in the post-season in The Show Me State. Now on the positive side. The Dodgers had MLB’s best road record this season at 49-32, so being in a hostile environment will should not phase them. One of these stats has to give. Let’s all hope for the latter.”
Make that, 1-10, dating back to 1985, when they Meet In St. Louis during post-season …
“Does Hyun-Jin Ryu feel no effects of his recent injury and pitch deep into the game through at least 7 ? How much confidence does Mattingly have in his bullpen ?”
I think by now you guys know the answer to that last question .
Plenty of Blame to Go Around
So now is the time everyone starts playing the blame game. Truth be told, there is enough blame to be passed around . Was this a successful season ? It would be hard to say it was a total fail with 94 wins and a 2nd consecutive NL West Title in the books. Compete success ? Hardly. When $240 million is spent on player salary, it’s expected by everyone that the season would go well beyond 166 games ( Yes folks, that’s 162 and the 4 playoff games that ended before we all had a chance to blink ) . So today, we can only wonder, how and why did it all end so quickly ?
Much of the blame will go down to two things. Don Mattingly, and the bullpen. OK, 3 things. Let’s add GM Ned Coletti’s inability to acquire a setup man that may have been the difference between me writing my post post-season post, or giving my insight to the NLCS. It will be easy to point the finger at Don Mattingly as well, it seems as if that has been a yearly tradition around these parts. Truth is, he was only playing the hand he was dealt. Also, who could have seen our soon to be 3 time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw coming apart at the seems in the 7th inning, not once, but twice ? Want some other daunting numbers ? Clayton Kershaw is the first Dodgers pitcher to lose 4 consecutive post-season games , bringing his all-time post-season record to 1-5. Those 4 consecutive post-season losses ? You guessed it. All to the St. Louis Cardinals. So Cy K isn’t quite clutch in October. YET ( Yes folks, I did that in all CAPS for a reason ) .
As for Mattingly’s decision making ? The only glaring one I really could question is using Scott Elbert in the 7th inning of Game 3 . Nothing against Scotty, but he had only pitched a little over 4 innings in the bigs all season while practically rehabbing all season. In one of the most crucial moments of the season with a trip to the NLCS in the balance, and we go with a setup man who has pitched , again, a mere 4 plus innings. On the flip side, that just tells you how much confidence Donnie has in that bullpen. $240 million spent yet the only one reliable down the stretch was our closer, Kenley Jansen, who mad a mere 1 appearance this post-season.
At this moment, rumors are flying. The big one of course, is the status of GM Ned Coletti . Will he be around at this time next week ? Also, who stays and who goes ? Do the Dodgers retool at shortstop and let Hanley test the free-agent waters ? Brian Wilson has already indicated he will $9.5 million player option for 2015 . Why wouldn’t he ? With his 2-4 , 4.66 ERA stat lines, it would be hard for him to test the open market.
So now begins the descent into a long L.A. Winter. One that won’t be so dry this time around. L.A. and it’s proud Dodgers fans are thirsty for a championship. It’s been 26 years now. Ronald Reagan was on his last term the last time a World Championship was celebrated around The Ravine. Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy was the chart topper. Yes, it’s been that long folks. For those of you born after 1988, I feel your pain.
I will stop short of calling this 2014 season a disappointment. It had it’s moments. It gave us 2 no hitters from Josh Beckett and of course Clayton Kershaw . This past season also gave us the emergence of Dee Gordon. This season also gave us the resurgence of Matt Kemp, who I believe will come back stronger next season. I’ll even go so far as to say 30/30 could come back, provided he stays healthy, and that could be a big question. We also saw Adrian Gonzalez lead the NL in RBI’s. There was plenty of highlights to remember in this past 2014 season. Unfortunately, none coming in a double digit day in October.
I do want to thank you the readers for your continued following of Good Dre in L.A. . I always do my best to provide you with as much of my Dodger knowledge as well as other fun and at times light-hearted posts from my perspective. I also want to give a shout-out to the Dodgers-lowdown as well for their tireless work and for helping me reach out to you the readers.
So our off-season begins now. That does not mean I will stop posting. Just not as often. I also do plan on posting other topics non-baseball related at well in a feature I will be calling, Beyond The Yard . Hopefully, you will all continue to follow my posts and of course I will also be giving some off-season thoughts as well. It was a memorable 2014 season, especially for me on a personal not. Unfortunately, this joyride of a season ended all to sudden, and Just Like That… It’s Over .