May 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton in the dugout against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Dodgers at Braves, L.A. Views


 

After losing the series to the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1, the Braves head back home to face the Las Angles Dodgers.  The Dodgers came into the season with high expectations filled with All-Star caliber players but in the early months of 2013, LA hasn’t had good success going 16-22.  So with the series starting on Friday we decided to reach out to our buddies at Lasorda’s Lair to help us preview the matchup.  Lasorda’s Lair do a terrific job of covering all things Dodgers related, so we asked Scott Andes a few questions to get his insight.

Tomahawk Take:  Who are the probables pitching starters for the Memorial Day weekend games? Enlighten us a little about each…

Lasorda’s Lair:The pitching match-ups for the weekend series will be Hyun-jn

May 11, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) during the game against the the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

the South Korean all-star in game one, Lefty Chris Capuano in game two, and game three should feature whoever is filling in for the injured Josh Beckett‘s spot. That could be rookie Matt Magill. Capuano was supposed to be just a long man ths season because the Dodgers HAD a surplus of pitching not long ago. Of course that was obliterated by injuries. Then Capuano hurt himself running from the bullpen during the Greinke brawl, and had to go on the DL. His last start he won, and pitched much better, and we’re hoping he’s back to form. Magill is a rookie nad has show alot of promise but is very green around the gils. He’s a fastball, changeup, slider power pitcher, but is still learning his command.

TT: Just who is Hyun-Jin Ryu…where did he come from and is the guy for real?
LL: Ryu is the all-star lefty that the Dodgers signed from the Korean league, (KBO). He is the real deal, and has been very solid in his short time with the Dodgers so far. Ryu has some great stuff, and is the definition of a power pitcher. He has whiffed 51 in 50 innings and only issued 15 walks. He has a 3.40 ERA, and hopefully he does ok pitching down in Hotlanta. He;s veru durable, and is turning out to be a very good signing for the Dodgers.
TT: With all the All-Star players in the lineup (Kemp, Gonzalez, Either, Crawford…etc), how are the Dodgers not statically the best team in baseball?
LL: The Dodgers have alot of problems, and it doesn’t look like they are going to go anywhere in 2013. It’s extremly dissapointing expecially after the new ownership hyped up the team this offseason. The Dodgers have absolutely zero fundamentals, and are a very poorly coached and managed team. They have a lot of problems. Of course you must know they rank 23rd with a .223 batting average with runners in scoring position. But the real problem with the offense is the terrible base running. the Dodgers don’t take any extra bases, and almost NEVER EVER go from first to third on base hits, and or score from second on a hit. The Dodgers are one of the worst and least aggressive base running teams in the league. It;s hard to score runs when you play station to station Baseball. Crawford and Gordon are the only ones that can run the bases. Otherwise it takes them like five hits in an inning just to score anyone because they only take one base at a time. Of course, it’s not just the base running. the bullpen has been horrendous blowing any and all leads obtained, and the defense has been shoddy. So, with one of the worst bullpens in Baseball, terrible base running, and shoddy defense, (the Dodgers are one of the worst defensive teams in Baseball), it;s no surprise to me that they are langusihing in last place. That’s where I expect them to stay for most of the year unless they make major changes to the roster. Injuires have played a huge role of course, but the Dodgers fail at every single aspect of the game.
TT: What is the weakness in the 2013 Dodgers lineup and where can the Braves pitching staff take advantage?
LL: Again, the major weakness is the base running. It’s atrocious, and angers me more than the horrendous bullpen and shoddy defense. They only take one base at a time. It’s very frustrating because the one thing the Dodgers do well, (the only thing in this crappy season) the only thing they do well, is their ability to get guys on base at an impressive clip. The Dodgers rank third in the league in OBP. Of course it doesnt matter when you only move up one base at a time on every hit. Watch the games and you will see. This is why they will get three or four hits in an inning and not score, or only score one run. You can’t win ball games playing station to station Baseball.
TT: The bullpen for the Dodgers seems to be an early problem, is this something your worried about holding the lead late in games?
LL: Oh god yes. It”s horrendous. The only pitchers that have even been halfway decent in that stink pen is Kenley Jansen, and Paco Rodriguez. The rest are a bunch of overpriced mediocre bums. Guerrier is cooked, Belisario has lost his control, and J.P. Howell has been ineffective. The worst is “closer” Brandon League, who blows every single lead he recieves. Again I use the word closer loosley here. His 6.23 ERA is just the tip of the ice berg if the Dodgers keep using that piece of garbage. Note that the Dodgers foolishly paid 33 million dollars for that loser, and they will regret that poor decision soon. The Dodgers will have to, and I mean have to move Jansen into the closer role, or they will continue to lose games in the late innings.

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  • Lee Trocinski

    While the Dodgers’ baserunning has been below average, it’s not as bad as Scott says it is. They take extra bases 34%, compared to a 40% league rate. Their 1st-to-3rd rate is 22%, opposed to 28% league, which turns out to 5 less bases so far this year. At least they’re 23-27 in steals.

    The biggest problem with the offense is the lack of power. Their ISO is 29th in the league, only above the Marlins, and 20 points below the 3rd-lowest Cardinals. They may need to start being more aggressive on the bases because of this, but who would have thought Crawford would lead the team in ISO at .170? Hanley being out hasn’t helped, but Ethier and especially Kemp haven’t provided any pop to the lineup.

    The defense has been fine, outside of Kemp and Schumaker. League suddenly can’t miss bats, but Jansen, Rodriguez, and Howell have been good. A top-heavy rotation and a couple main relievers struggling has dropped them to an average pitching staff.

    Missing Greinke and likely Kershaw, assuming he doesn’t get moved up a day with today’s day off, will be the main reason the Braves should win the series.

  • cheadrick

    I think the Braves organization can attest that spending a lot of money (a LOT is not comparable for both clubs), doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the offense you hoped for.