From ‘Best Team Ever?’ to ‘Worst Team Ever?’

The good news is that if you stayed up until 2:11 am PT to watch the completion of the very long rain-delayed game between the Dodgers and Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco and you were also following the live-game chat on Twitter, you enjoyed some incredibly humorous – albeit sarcastic – tweets from some very loyal and dedicated Dodger fans.

The bad news is that many/most of those tweets had to do with the fact that the post-August 26 Dodgers… well… suck.

As every Dodger fan knows, their beloved team is struggling right now (apologies for the gross understatement), but the Dodgers lost yet again on Monday night / Tuesday morning to the worst team in the division, and did so with a starting lineup that few Dodger fans considered the proverbial ‘best nine’ out there.

Granted, Kenta Maeda is still the best right-handed starter the Dodgers have to offer, at least until they finally realize that rookie right-hander Walker Buehler needs to be in his proper role as a starter. But just like every other Dodger starter not named Clayton Kershaw, the 29-year-old Senboku-gun, Japan native got lit up on Monday night – and bad. Maeda lasted only three innings, during which he allowed four runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. The problem was, two of those four hits were home runs and another a triple.

But the real culprit in the early morning marathon was once again the Dodgers bullpen; not all of the six relievers used by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on the night, just half of them.

The bullpen failure started when right-hander Josh Ravin and left-hander Tony Watson led off their respective single innings pitched by walking the first batters they faced, both of whom came around to score in the eventual 8-6 Dodgers loss.

And then there was Pedro Baez.

“I felt Pedro could get those guys out, I really did,” Roberts told reporters, after the game.

Pedro did not get those guys out.

It’s no secret that Roberts is extremely fond of (and very defensive of) his 29-year-old hard-throwing right-hander. In fact, Roberts recently – and publicly – criticized Dodger fans for booing the Bani, Dominican Republic native at Dodger Stadium. But while Roberts’ loyalty and support of Baez is commendable, Baez has been nothing short of atrocious in his last five outings, including Monday night’s game against the lowly San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

One can only imagine what would have happened if Baez had given up the go-ahead and eventual winning run to Giants slugger Hunter Pence at Dodger Stadium instead of AT&T Park.
(Video capture courtesy of SportsNet LA)

In his last five outings, Baez is 0-3 and has allowed eight runs (six earned) on eight hits and three walks in only 2.2 innings pitched. This equates to a 20.25 ERA over those five appearances. Unfortunately for Baez (and the Dodgers, and their fans), he allowed base hits (all singles) to three of the six batters he faced on Monday night and allowed what would prove to be the winning run to score. In fact, of the last 20 batters Baez has faced in his last five outings, 11 have reached base either via hit (8) or via  walk (3), eight of whom have scored. To add insult to injury, three of those eight hits have been home runs. Now this certainly isn’t to suggest that Baez is deserving of the boos he has been receiving at Dodger Stadium, but you have to admit that he has been anything but efficient during the Dodgers horrific skid.

But through all of the doom and gloom that Dodger fans have been experiencing of late, an age-old phrase comes to mind: “Laughter is the best medicine,” hence the on-going humorous dialog on Twitter that has kept even the staunchest of Dodger fan from going crazy during this seemingly endless losing streak. In fact, one such creative person took the recent Sports Illustrated magazine cover featuring Justin Turner getting a Gatorade bath from Yasiel Puig following a walk-off win during the Dodgers historic 43-7 run and made a parody from it.

But when all is said and done and regardless of how the Dodgers ‘Best Team / Worst Team’ 2017 season ends, it could very well be the decisions that Dave Roberts, the defending 2016 NL Manager of the Year, makes when filling out his lineup card over the remaining 18 regular season games that he will be remembered for in a season in which the Dodgers were unquestionably the best team ever.

…until they weren’t.

 

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One Response to “From ‘Best Team Ever?’ to ‘Worst Team Ever?’”

  1. oldbrooklynfan says:

    This game didn’t get started until after 1:00 AM here on the east coast. I went to bed right after watching the Rockies beat the Dbacks bringing the magic # down to 10.

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