The True Face Of The Dodgers

MLB is running this “face of [team]” promotion/files/includes/,.css which is mildly interesting/files/includes/,.css I guess. Fans can vote by using hashtags for the “face” of their team/files/includes/,.css and so far the results have been expected — Joey Votto/files/includes/,.css Felix Hernandez/files/includes/,.css Joe Mauer/files/includes/,.css etc… with the obvious exception of the fact that Oakland fans trolled the game and voted Eric Sogard.

So I got to thinking/files/includes/,.css and well/files/includes/,.css people aren’t taking this seriously enough. Giants fans/files/includes/,.css you’re really voting for Buster Posey when this face exists? Come on now. People are making this a popularity contest/files/includes/,.css but it’s supposed to be about faces.

And the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css well… they have some faces. Who is the true face?

Dee Gordon/files/includes/,.css out at second:


Gordon/files/includes/,.css looking at his stat line:


Former utilityman and future broadcaster Jerry Hairston either in shock or realizing he chose poorly:


Super mega happy A.J. Ellis:


Evil Zack Greinke:

Passive-aggressive face:

mattingly_colletti_press_conference“I have so many dollars face/files/includes/,.css” even though this picture is two years old:

“You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of money/files/includes/,.css but what I said was: Give me all the money you have." (via)

“You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of money/files/includes/,.css but what I said was: Give me all the money you have.” (via)

Derp face:

Whatever the hell this is:


2013 Dodgers in Review #30: SP Zack Greinke

90topps_zackgreinke2.63 ERA / 3.23 FIP 177.2 IP 7.5 K/9 2.3 BB/9 (A-)

2013 in brief: Might have made some noise in the Cy Young vote had Carlos Quentin not assaulted him.

2014 status: Still under contract for the rest of time.


With all that happened in Zack Greinke‘s debut season as a Dodger/files/includes/,.css it seems that absolutely no one remembers just how terrified we were when it began. No/files/includes/,.css not the huge contract/files/includes/,.css which we loved/files/includes/,.css or the opt-out/files/includes/,.css which I really had no problem with at all/files/includes/,.css and certainly not three days into camp/files/includes/,.css when we learned about how engaged he was in scouting Corey Seager when he was with Milwaukee.

No/files/includes/,.css it was early in March/files/includes/,.css when we started hearing that Greinke’s right elbow was giving him trouble. He was scratched from a March 11 start/files/includes/,.css then when he returned two weeks later/files/includes/,.css he didn’t exactly give everyone a lot of confidence by looking terrible.

Miraculously/files/includes/,.css he was declared ready for the season/files/includes/,.css and he threw 6.1 perfect innings in his debut against the Pirates. Okay/files/includes/,.css he didn’t/files/includes/,.css but…

But most of all/files/includes/,.css there was Zack Greinke/files/includes/,.css throwing six and a third perfect innings in his Dodger debut before allowing a hit to McCutchen. Lest you be eager to point out a potential mistake and note that Garrett Jones actually had a single in the second inning/files/includes/,.css let me remind you how that play actually went down…

…and so I stand by my statement. Greinke went 92 pitches/files/includes/,.css striking out six/files/includes/,.css in what was known to be an outing where he’d have a bit of a leash on him after his abbreviated spring.

So with Greinke and Clayton Kershaw leading the way/files/includes/,.css everything was puppies and roses/files/includes/,.css especially when he looked good over five innings against San Diego his next time out and… oh… oh no. Damn you/files/includes/,.css Carlos Quentin.

You know what happened/files/includes/,.css and so I’m not going to regurgitate it here. Greinke had surgery/files/includes/,.css but was back on a mound for a rehab stint in less than a month/files/includes/,.css on May 10. Needless to say/files/includes/,.css we were terrified:

Considering that the original diagnosis for Greinke was around eight weeks/files/includes/,.css or mid-to-late June/files/includes/,.css this would be a phenomenally quick recovery. Is it too soon? I don’t know/files/includes/,.css and neither do you; we aren’t doctors and don’t know the specifics of his health. We’ve heard that he’s already thrown two bullpen sessions of 60 pitches where he’s reached 90 MPH/files/includes/,.css and that all sounds great.

My hope/files/includes/,.css however/files/includes/,.css is that he’s nearly ready to come back because he’s nearly ready/files/includes/,.css and not because the team has lost seven games in a row. We’ve seen that be attempted and fail far too many times — looking at you/files/includes/,.css Matt Kemp from last year — and it’s the last thing this club needs.

Greinke returned on May 15/files/includes/,.css and… it wasn’t good. In his first four starts/files/includes/,.css he allowed at least four runs four times. His velocity was down. There were quiet reports indicating that he had absolutely come back so quickly mostly because the team was in such sad shape. There were flashes/files/includes/,.css like when he threw six scoreless on June 6 against the Braves/files/includes/,.css but it was mostly about inconsistency. In four starts from June 16 to July 3 — remember/files/includes/,.css this is when things started going wonderfully for the team — he allowed four or more earned runs three times. And/files/includes/,.css of course/files/includes/,.css he was a primary participant in the June 12 brawl with Arizona.

But on July 8/files/includes/,.css he went into Arizona and shut out the Diamondbacks over seven innings. His next time out/files/includes/,.css he shut out the Rockies on two hits… and then shut down the Nationals on one run over six innings… and he’d kicked off a run where over his final 16 starts of the season/files/includes/,.css he allowed more than two earned runs once.

Why? Well/files/includes/,.css it helped that the velocity came back:


…but I found it fascinating that he was seemingly doing it without his best pitch/files/includes/,.css though that ended up changing as the season went on. Over the second half of the season/files/includes/,.css his K/BB was 80/19; only Kershaw and Ubaldo Jimenez topped his 1.85 ERA. Oh/files/includes/,.css and he merely hit .328/.409/.379 in 72 plate appearances/files/includes/,.css contributing 1.2 WAR on offense alone. Yeah/files/includes/,.css he was that good.

Greinke kept up his run in the playoffs/files/includes/,.css striking out 17 against just two walks in three starts/files/includes/,.css and I know I can’t wait to see what a full season from him might bring. There’s so much risk in these nine figure deals/files/includes/,.css especially for pitchers/files/includes/,.css and when you can look back one year in and say “yep/files/includes/,.css I’d do that deal again 10 times out of 10/files/includes/,.css” that’s a nice place to be.


Next! Chris Capuano‘s weird year!

NLCS Game 5: Dodgers 6/files/includes/,.css Cardinals 4/files/includes/,.css Back to St. Louis


When Zack Greinke loaded the bases with none out in the first/files/includes/,.css missing badly a few times/files/includes/,.css you could be forgiven for thinking the worst. After last night’s loss/files/includes/,.css with elimination staring them in the face and the knowledge that an injured Hanley Ramirez wasn’t likely to be the savior this time around (hitless again today/files/includes/,.css he left after six)/files/includes/,.css it wasn’t at all hard to see the fifth game of the NLCS — and the 2013 season with it — falling apart before it even got started.

But he managed to escape that first inning without damage/files/includes/,.css thanks to a crucial Matt Adams whiff and a nice Juan Uribe double play/files/includes/,.css and after getting Yadier Molina into a double play to end that third/files/includes/,.css he cruised through seven/files/includes/,.css retiring 13 consecutive Cardinals. Greinke wasn’t really at his best today/files/includes/,.css striking out only four/files/includes/,.css but clearly he managed to make it work. If that doesn’t say enough about how fantastic of a pitcher Greinke is/files/includes/,.css I don’t know what does; it’s the 15th consecutive time he’s allowed two or fewer runs.

Greinke also knocked in the second run of the game with a single in the second/files/includes/,.css but that’s really just a gateway into the other main story of this game: Offense/files/includes/,.css sweet/files/includes/,.css sweet offense! A third-inning ball crushed by Adrian Gonzalez! A fifth-inning ball absolutely crushed by Carl Crawford! A seventh-inning blast from A.J. Ellis/files/includes/,.css pushing the lead to 5-2! Gonzalez hitting yet another in the eighth! In the first four games of the NLCS/files/includes/,.css the Dodgers had scored only seven runs; they nearly matched that today.

Brian Wilson threw a quick eighth behind Greinke/files/includes/,.css while Kenley Jansen ran into trouble (thanks partially to Yasiel Puig losing a ball in the sun)/files/includes/,.css allowing two runs to score and the go-ahead run to come to the plate. But he survived — technically/files/includes/,.css he struck out the side/files/includes/,.css while inciting thousands of heart attacks while doing so.

With the win/files/includes/,.css the Dodgers finish off the Los Angeles portion of the NLCS by doing all you reasonably could have asked — they took two of three/files/includes/,.css and they send the series back to St. Louis. So after a day off tomorrow/files/includes/,.css we get something truly fun on Friday night: Clayton Kershaw against Michael Wacha in St. Louis/files/includes/,.css with the Cards trying to earn a trip to the World Series in front of their home fans/files/includes/,.css and the Dodgers trying to push it to Game 7. I can’t say this has always been fun/files/includes/,.css but… lord/files/includes/,.css this is fun.

You All Know There’s No Way Ricky Nolasco Starts Game 4/files/includes/,.css Right?


As things currently stand/files/includes/,.css the Dodgers are planning to send out Hyun-jin Ryu against Adam Wainwright in tomorrow’s Game 3/files/includes/,.css and Ricky Nolasco in Tuesday’s Game 4 against Lance Lynn. If the series goes beyond that/files/includes/,.css the Dodger rotation is lined up for Clayton Kershaw in Game 5/files/includes/,.css Zack Greinke in Game 6/files/includes/,.css and Ryu again in Game 7.

You may remember that this was the plan in the NLDS/files/includes/,.css too — Ryu in Game 3/files/includes/,.css Nolasco in Game 4/files/includes/,.css Kershaw ready for a possible Game 5. That didn’t happen/files/includes/,.css of course/files/includes/,.css because Kershaw came back on short rest to start Game 4 instead. And I’m telling you right now/files/includes/,.css there’s no way that Nolasco starts Game 4 this time around either.

Yes/files/includes/,.css that’s despite Don Mattingly saying that “we haven’t talked not even once on using Zack on short rest” and then immediately changing the subject to trying to “regroup”. I assume I don’t need to remind you not to ever/files/includes/,.css ever trust the statements of baseball officials in public — it was only a few days ago that Rick Honeycutt was flat-out insisting that Kershaw wouldn’t start Game 4 of the NLDS/files/includes/,.css don’t forget/files/includes/,.css and Mattingly all but admitted to the press earlier this year that he wasn’t always truthful to them.

That’s especially the case when you look at how Greinke himself replied to Dayn Perry when asked about it:

 ”I mean/files/includes/,.css I could probably respond to it [the question]/files/includes/,.css but I might give information out that we might want to keep a secret/files/includes/,.css so I just won’t respond to that question for that reason.”

Greinke’s not known to be a man who plays games with the media/files/includes/,.css so you tell me if that sounds like a guy who hasn’t had a talk “not even once” about starting on three days rest.

Unlike Kershaw/files/includes/,.css Greinke has started on short rest before… sort of. Last year/files/includes/,.css he actually started three straight games for Milwaukee/files/includes/,.css but that was more than a little bit of a fluke. Greinke made only 4 pitches on July 7 before being ejected/files/includes/,.css so the Brewers brought him back the next day; since that was the final game before the All-Star break/files/includes/,.css he also started their first game back on July 13. In 2007/files/includes/,.css he spent most of the year in the bullpen/files/includes/,.css and moved into the rotation in late August/files/includes/,.css three days after a relief appearance.

The only two times that Greinke made real starts on short rest came in the midst of another playoff run/files/includes/,.css in 2011. He started the season finale on three days rest as the Brewers tried to secure home field advantage (six innings/files/includes/,.css two earned runs) and then again in Game 2 over Shaun Marcum against Arizona. That was one of the weirder starts of his career/files/includes/,.css because he struck out seven and walked none/files/includes/,.css but also allowed three homers. Part of the decision-making at the time? That Greinke had a low season innings count after missing time due to a broken bone suffered in a freak accident (he’d broken a rib in a basketball game). That doesn’t sound familiar/files/includes/,.css does it?

It’s fair to remember that Greinke missed much of the spring with right elbow soreness/files/includes/,.css though that hasn’t been an issue so far as we know this season. Over his last four starts/files/includes/,.css dating back nearly a month/files/includes/,.css he’s thrown only 345 pitches/files/includes/,.css an average of about 86 per. Over the same time frame/files/includes/,.css Nolasco has thrown 186/files/includes/,.css but that’s because he hasn’t started in well over two weeks/files/includes/,.css an entirely separate concern. You really think that Mattingly/files/includes/,.css still without a contract for 2014/files/includes/,.css is going to down with Nolasco/files/includes/,.css if the series is 3-0? Or risk going down 3-1/files/includes/,.css if they win tomorrow? Not a chance.

Ryu will start tomorrow/files/includes/,.css of course; he has to. But then starting Greinke in Game 4 allows you to start Kershaw in Game 5/files/includes/,.css also on short rest. That’s not ideal/files/includes/,.css of course/files/includes/,.css but remember that he only threw 72 pitches in Game 2/files/includes/,.css which is why I didn’t hate the move to lift him nearly as much as everyone else did.

That does/files/includes/,.css of course/files/includes/,.css leave you in a bit of a spot for Game 6. Ryu on short rest? Nolasco then? Edinson Volquez? But without ignoring the issue/files/includes/,.css that’s a problem for later. If you don’t even survive long enough to see Game 6/files/includes/,.css then it’s not a problem/files/includes/,.css because right now/files/includes/,.css it’s far from a guarantee. We’ve already seen Nolasco get pushed aside once. With the season on the line/files/includes/,.css it’s going to happen again. Believe it.

Dodgers 1/files/includes/,.css Padres 0: Start the Playoffs Now/files/includes/,.css Please

greinke_sandiego_gonzalez_2013-09-22If you’re wondering if Zack Greinke is ready for the playoffs… yes. Yes he is. Greinke allowed just three baserunners in five scoreless innings against the Padres/files/includes/,.css leaving after 72 pitches only because this game was utterly without meaning/files/includes/,.css as these days increasingly take on an “are we there yet?!” feel. It’s only been a few days since the Dodgers clinched/files/includes/,.css but they’ve been the obvious division champions for weeks now/files/includes/,.css and September feels like an endless slog at this point. (He says/files/includes/,.css fully aware that he’s complaining because his favorite team did so well that they laugh at the very idea of a pennant race.)

Andrew Cashner actually managed to match Greinke/files/includes/,.css until he allowed a Michael Young double in the seventh to score the game’s only run; in the only actual news of note/files/includes/,.css Andre Ethier made a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth/files/includes/,.css his first game action since September 13/files/includes/,.css but struck out — one of six consecutive Dodgers to whiff to end the game. J.P. Howell got the win/files/includes/,.css because wins/files/includes/,.css and I bring that up only because of the “Greinke in the Cy Young race?” conversation we had earlier.

Kenley Jansen closed it out easily and… oh lord/files/includes/,.css a day off tomorrow? When will then be now?