Do the Dodgers have enough pitching?

It’s clear the Milwaukee Brewers are lacking quality starting pitching, aside from a great start from Wade Miley in game 2, but are the Dodgers in the same boat?

Coming in to the NLCS the talk has been about how the Brewers do not have the starting pitching to stand with the Dodgers and would be forced to lean on a stout bullpen, but through two games it has been the Brewers’ starters that have got the job done.

Clayton Kershaw continued his playoff woes in game one lasting only three innings and in game two Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu
By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Hyun-Jin Ryu) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
only went one and a third innings further. Yes, in game one the Brewers pulled their starter Gio Gonzalez quickly, but a great 5+ inning performance by Wade Miley surprised just about everyone. If Kershaw and Ryu were not able to handle the prolific offense of the Brewers who can?

Walker Buehler will take the mound in game three to try and turn the tide for Los Angeles starting pitchers, but will the young gun be ready for the big stage? If the Dodgers can not figure out how to get their starters through five or six innings it may shift the outcome of this series in the Brewers’ favor and through baseball for a loop.

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Dodgers vs Brewers in the NLCS

According to @OddsShark the Dodgers and Brewers are +350 to win the World Series, just behind the Astros at +260, but let’s be honest is anyone picking the Brewers to beat LA?

Let me be clear I am not a Dodgers fan, but clearly they are the horse to bet on in the NLCS. Los Angeles finished 2018 with an National League leading 3.38 team ERA lead by not Clayton Kershaw (2.73 ERA), but by Hyun-Jin Ryu (1.97 ERA over 82.1 IP). Oh and that guy Kershaw, may be the best pitcher we have ever seen, wasn’t even the team leader in wins. That honor falls to Rich Hill. Why then am I bringing up Kershaw in all this, because that just shows the depth of the Dodgers starting rotation. They will have to face the likes of Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley, Chase Anderson and a few other castoffs from other teams. Hands down the Dodgers have the better starting staff.

While the Brewers have the clear favorite for the NL MVP in Christian Yelich and a solid center fielder, though over-hyped coming out of Kansas City, in Lorenzo Cain I dare you to name the other seven starters. Go ahead, I can wait while you try. Times up. Milwaukee was second in the NL in home runs, behind the Dodgers. They finished seventh in average, LA was eighth, and sixth in OBP while their counterpart was third. Los Angeles is lead on offense by guys like Manny Machado, Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig and Kemp, household names for fans of the MLB. Clearly the advantage in hitting swing to the Dodgers.

With all that being said the one category that the Brewers may dominate in over the Dodgers is heart. No statistic can measure heart, but you can see it on the field and for sure the Brewers have it. Unfortunately pitching, hitting and skill usually beat out heart in professional sports and the NLCS will be no different.

NL Rookie of the Year

Corey Seager
By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Congratulations to Corey Seager for winning the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year award. Seager was a standout for the Dodgers in 2016 and was hands down the top rookie for the NL. Many have even mentioned his name as a possible NL MVP. This young man has a bright future in Los Angeles where he will man shortstop for many years to come.

What were the Dodgers thinking?

clayton_kershaw_2010_28229
By SD Dirk on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Clayton Kershaw”) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I meant to write about this the other day, but life got in the way so please excuse my tardiness. In game five of the Dodger and National NLDS Dave Roberts made some rather unconventional moves and many celebrated him for it, but I think one of them was absolutely wrong. That move was using Clayton Kershaw as his closer.
I have no problem using Kenley Jansen earlier than the ninth innings as managers have to manage in a deciding game like there is no tomorrow and Jansen is the team’s best reliever. But what was the team thinking when they brought in Kershaw to close the game?

Let’s not forget Kershaw spent an extended period of time on the disabled list this season, had never closed a game before and is your most expensive player on the roster. Now, many judge the move by the outcome and they won so it was a genius move. I on the other hand completely disagree. Let’s put aside the fact that you could have done serious damage to Kershaw pitching him in hat situation because he is not use to it, but what message are you sending to your other relievers. Basically we have such little faith in all of you that we are going to take a huge risk with Clayton and pitch him over you.

It all turned out for the best to this point, but this is a risk that no manager should take in the future. You have relievers for a reason and they get paid to do a job. If you don’t have faith that they can do their job then why are they on your post-season roster.

A Deeper Look at Deciding the MVP

 

Every season there is much debate about who should win the MVP award in the American and National Leagues. There are many out there who think that the award should go to a player on a contending team, while others say that is not the case. We decided to look a little deeper and share our opinion on the subject.

The official rules for voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the MVP award look like this: (1) actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense; (2) number of games played; (3) general character, disposition, loyalty and effort; (4) former winners are eligible; and (5) members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team. As you can clearly read in no way does the strength of the player’s team come in to the rules of voting. There is no mention of games won, a team being in playoff contention or anything else regarding the team a player plays for. So, why is it that so many people in the media and around the water cooler feel that the MVP needs to be on a contending team?

Does a player on a contending team play harder than one who is not? Or do opposing teams not give their best against players on non-contending teams? Of course not, so why care what the team’s performance has been for an individual award.

With all that being said there really is no argument in my mind as to how the MVP should be chosen. It is simple, use Wins Above Replacement or WAR. By definition WAR is a measure of how many wins, or how much value, an individual player brings to a team over a replacement level player. Higher the WAR, the more valuable that player is to their team. It’s a measure that takes team record and performance out of the equation and is strictly based on the individual.

Now that we have established how he MVP awards should be decided it’s easy to see that the National League MVP is Kris Bryant with a WAR of 7.3 and the American League MVP is Mike Trout with an MLB leading WAR of 10.0. Neither of these players isn’t already in the discussion for MVP, which just adds more credibility to the argument that WAR is the measure of who should be MVP.

On a side note, if you don’t realize it Mike Trout’s WAR of 10.0 is somewhat historic.

If you need more proof, then just look at the runner-ups in the AL and NL; Mookie Betts and Corey Seager. Both of them are also in the MVP discussion. Or maybe we should look at last year’s MVPs and where they fell in WAR. Bryce Harper lead MLB in WAR and Josh Donaldson was 5th. Not convinced yet? Ok, 2014’s MVPs Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout were number one and two in MLB WAR.

Yes, there will be plenty who say I am oversimplifying the MVP award by using one stat as the deciding factor, but those people are just behind the times and don’t realize stats rule baseball.