Game 1 NLDS Recap: Mets 3, Dodgers 1

October 9, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts after loading the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Mets in game one of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This is the collective face of every Dodgers fan right now. There is plenty of blame to go around for this loss. But don’t you dare place any of that blame on Clayton Kershaw.

“He couldn’t even pitch a full seven innings.”

-Some guy on Twitter

I mean, if innings pitched is your thing, then you’re right. But you still said nothing. By the time Kershaw loaded the bases in the seventh, he had already thrown 113 pitches. This was the result over the course of those 113 pitches.

IP K BB H R
6.2 11 4 4 1

Obviously, loading the bases in the top of the seventh is never a good thing. And if there is anything you can/want to hang over his head, it is that – other than the bomb he gave up to Murphy. The other two runs that were tacked on to Kershaw was the result of Pedro Baez doing what Pedro Baez does. Earned runs are stupid.

Once Kershaw is off the mound, the rest in the hands of the reliever. With two outs to start is outing, Pedro Baez came in to relieve the gassed Kershaw. Let’s take a look at his time on the mound.Pedro Baez strikezone map against David Wright in the top of the seventh of Game 1 of 2015 NLDS

See that lovely teal square? That’s the meatball that Baez served to Wright. If there’s blame to go around, pass some along to Baez. I mean, I get your point, “If Kershaw had not loaded the bases, the run would not have scored.” But we all knew what Baez was going to do and if he had done anything other than what all of Twitter knew he was going to do, that would have prevented the runs also. Plus, Wright is a career .298 hitter, he will find a way to muscle that ball up the middle if all the pitcher is doing is throwing heat straight down the pipe.

Of course, Baez would not have been on the mound if there was not a strict adherence to the “closer” and “setup” roles. Yes, I’m heaving some blame over to Donnie. Though, I’m definitely not a part of the #FireMattingly crowd – because, holy fuck, that’s a circle jerk for the ages. Yet, when the team is down 1-0 in a bases-loaded situation, a manager should put in the team’s best reliever, not an arm that is merely serviceable in high leverage situations. Who knows, maybe Jansen gives up a single as well; however, Jansen has proven time and again that he is the best arm out of the pen. A manager should plan to win the game right now, not plan to win at some hypothetical time in the future.

In three subsequent innings, the Dodgers were able to get a double, another double, and two singles – all in the second, third, and fourth innings, respectively. There is not much Kershaw can do when there is zero run support. The Mets got five hits and brought three runs across the plate. The Dodgers were able to get seven hits off deGrom, but only mustered a single run. The fact that the Dodgers were unable to capitalize on those opportunities is ample reason to pass blame to the offense as well.

Credit to Jacob deGrom for outpitching Clayton Kershaw. At over a 100 pitches per pitcher, the game came down to a war of attrition more than anything else. The Dodgers bats will need to wake up tomorrow because New Yorks arms will not let up.

Say what you want about Kershaw’s previous starts in the playoffs, tonight was a masterpiece that was smeared by poor decisions and weak bats.

Don Mattingly: Not the Best Manager In Baseball, Definitely Not the Worst Either

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are currently 85-63. According to Fangraphs, they are on pace to have a 93-win season and have a 99.5% chance of making the playoffs – that is a statistical certainty. For the last five seasons, the seasons in which Don Mattingly has been managing the Dodgers, Los Angeles has had a winning record and have made the playoffs twice. The 2015 postseason will mark the third consecutive time the Dodgers make an appearance, a first in franchise history.

Year Win-Loss Division Standing
2011 82-80 3rd
2012 86-76 2nd
2013 92-70 1st
2014 94-68 1st
2015 85-63 (Proj: 93-69) 1st

With Mattingly at the helm, the Dodgers have had one of their best multi-season runs in years! But how much of the Dodgers success can be attributed to Donnie Baseball?

‘Players win games; managers lose them’ goes the axiom, but even that assumes that managers have some influence over the outcome of games.
-James Click, Baseball Between The Numbers

The logic follows as such: If a team’s losses can be attributed to a manager because of poor decision-making, then certainly a team’s wins can be attributed to a manager’s superior in-game tactics. Unfortunately, when looking at wins and losses, there is little correlation between a team’s wins and a manager’s influence. A manager simply cannot “get more” out of his players. Thanks to Baseball Prospectus for doing the heavy lifting, we know that the correlation between a manager’s actual won-loss record and his Pythagorean won-loss record – based off of runs scored and runs allowed – is .030. In other words, a manager is unable to repeat winning seasons consistently over the period of several seasons. Even the managers that have been labeled “The Best” will experience awful seasons more often than they wish.

Managers have to make in-game decisions! They do have some influence on the outcome of a game!
-Some guy on Twitter, probably

Over the course of thirty-three seasons rarely has a manager used in-game decision-making to positively affect a team’s win expectations over the course of a single season. In fact, according to Baseball Between the Numbers,  only six times in thirty-three seasons has a manager used tactics such as stolen base attempts, intentional walks, and sacrifice hits to positively impact a team’s win expectations. Moreover, Dick Williams in 1983, the manager that was worth the most wins in any given season between 1973 and 2006 was only worth 0.63 wins. The implications being that while Williams may have been a “better” tactician than most in 1983, he barely made more beneficial decisions than worse decisions. With that said, the fact that Mattingly is a poor tactician should be no surprise, neither is every other manager in baseball.

However, there are more to in-game managerial decisions than meets the eye. Because we are not in the front office or the clubhouse, we are not privy to the inner workings of a team’s thought process. We simply cannot know if Mattingly ever asked Dee Gordon to bunt and steal as often as he did or if Gordon made that decision on his own; or, if the front office requests that Kenley Jansen’s workload is lightened to preserve his health, thus limiting his appearance in relief situations. Of course, this may sound like a copout, but the until we are given uninhibited access to the Dodgers’ think tank, we cannot know what influences an individual’s decision making, or lack of, on a team.

ADMIT IT! THAT’S A WEAK COPOUT! YOU’RE JUST A MATTINGLY APOLOGIST!
-Another guy on Twitter

Even if we were to assume that Mattingly has free reign over in-game tactics, there is still so much that is out of his control. If we look at pinch-hitter OPS, the data shows that pinch hitters hit for 30 points less off the bench than if they were in the starting line-up. This does not mean that Andre Ethier vs. any lefty pitcher is now favorable, but it does mean that removing a starting Joc Pederson for a benched Justin Turner is probably not the best idea either. Most managers are just not adept at putting a pinch-hitter in a successful situation. The same can be said for using the best reliever at the right time. According to Baseball Prospectus, a manager may show an ability to manage their bullpen effectively an a given season, but that does not mean they consistently do so. Most, if not all managers, employ poor decision making when using relief pitchers.

Unfortunately, there really is not a sexy conclusion to this post. I’m sure there are more nuanced arguments to have, but at that point it becomes a crusade to try to find some unfavorable attribute to pin on Don Mattingly. The objective of this post was to show that Mattingly is on-par with almost every other manager in the league, and probably in recent history. There are some managers that are worse than others, but when they all use similar in-game strategy, a manager that is worse than others usually is simply by virtue of being at the bottom of the list.

A manager’s success and failures most likely lie with things that we call intangibles. One such intangible for Mattingly has always been clubhouse management. The Dodgers are a team with massive personas. Seasons past have proven Mattingly’s adroitness at keeping egos at bay – look no further than last year’s outfield logjam. Managing a team certainly includes managing what happens off the field, and Mattingly has successfully done that with reeling in a green Yasiel Puig and tempering a neglected Andre Ethier.

Unfortunately for him, that does not translate into wins. Though, frankly, players bear the burden of earning wins. No, Mattingly is not the best manager in the league; however, I dare anyone reading this to find one. Instead, Mattingly is the best manager the Dodgers have and have had in some time.


Data used was retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus – Baseball Between the Numbers 

Heading Into The Playoffs, The Rotation Is In Good Shape

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers rotation has been a jumble of arms since Brandon McCarthy was shut down in late April. Since then, Los Angeles has used twelve starters other than Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Brett Anderson. While the rotation has not been in shambles, the frustration regarding the “other two” pitchers in the rotation has been lamented ad nauseam. With the playoffs in the Dodgers sights, fans are wondering what the front office’s plans are for the rotation. However, it may come as a surprise to know that the “other two” are not in as bad of shape as fans may think.

When looking at who the Dodgers have used as a starter, we can see that, as a whole, the pitchers they’ve used as the “other two” have performed around league average.

Pitchers ERA FIP WHIP K% BB% K-BB% xFIP
Dodgers (Min. 20 IP; Not Incl. Kershaw, Greinke, Anderson) 4.15 3.95 1.43 17.3% 8.7% 8.6% 4.10
League Avg. 4.07 4.00 1.30 19.6% 7.2% 12.5% 3.92

Minus Brandon McCarthy, the pitchers included in these numbers are Mike Bolsinger, Alex Wood, Carlos Frias, and Mat Latos.

It is not a stretch to surmise who is likely to make the playoff rotation. Carlos Frias last pitched in Triple-A Oklahoma City before landing on the 60-day DL with back tightness. The likelihood of him making the playoff roster is slim. The same is true for Mat Latos, albeit for different reasons.

The Marlins traded Latos to the Dodgers on July 29th and he did not make his first start with his new club until August 2nd. From the start of the season until his move to LA, Latos posted a 4.48 ERA, 3.42 FIP, and 3.69 xFIP – all unimpressive numbers. Despite posting some of the worst stats of his career, Friedman and company banked on his upside when bringing him on board. Unfortunately, Latos’ numbers took a nosedive. Since arriving in Los Angeles, Latos is posting a 6.56 ERA, 3.66 FIP, and 3.74 xFIP.

If we remove Frias and Latos from the “other two” pitcher stats, we’re left with only Bolsinger and Wood. Here is how their numbers look.

Pitchers ERA FIP WHIP K% BB% K-BB% xFIP
Bolsinger & Wood 3.56 3.78 1.35 19.8% 9.5% 10.3% 2.96
League Avg. 4.07 4.00 1.30 19.6% 7.2% 12.5% 3.92

In terms of additions to the playoff rotation, the reality is that the Dodgers options are Bolsinger and Wood. Despite what fans think, these two hurlers are either performing better than or around league average. No ballclub could ask any more from the back end of their rotation.

Indeed, the recent addition of Latos has not done the team any favors; however he has been relegated to the bullpen and, given his shitty attitude overall, probably won’t see postseason action from the mound in any capacity. The Dodgers rotation, as it stands and going forward, is not in dire straights. In fact, it never has been.

Game One Hundred Forty-Three Recap: Dodgers 4, Rockies 1

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw took the mound tonight against the hapless Rockies. The Dodgers ace was not as efficient as we are used to seeing. By the time the fifth inning started, Kershaw was at 71 pitches. I guess you could call tonight a rough outing, seven innings pitched, five Ks and two walks. Kershaw gave up a the only run of the game in the top of the first, dropping his ERA to 2.12

Yasmani Grandal looked notably sharp as well. After being hitless since August 19th, Grandal was 2-3 with a sac fly. There was some serious pop in Grandal’s bat, which is a good sign that his power may have returned as it looked noticeably sapped during his offensive drought. Corey Seager continues to rake and makes it harder for the Dodgers brass to keep him out of a playoff lineup. After going hitless last night, the young infielder went 2-3 and drove in a run.

With all the hoopla around Seager, a lot of Scott Schebler’s production has been overshadowed. Schebler has homered three times in twenty-two plate appearances! One of those three occurred tonight and was the go-ahead home run for the Dodgers. I’m not saying he’s now on Corey Seager’s level –  I mean, aside from offensive production, Seager has the babe-factor on lock – but Schebler is definitely a name you never heard of until now. And according to Mattingly via Bill Plunkett:


The magic number is 12 and the Boys in Blue continue their series against the Rockies tomorrow. Brett Anderson is on the rubber and faces Chris Rusin. First pitch is at 7:10.

Game One Hundred Forty-One Recap: Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 5

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

I spent the early afternoon writing about Mike Bolsinger and how I would rather see him pitch than have Mat Latos on the mound. That still stands, but I did not mean to use my jinxing magic to ruin it for Bolsinger as well. There are two possible reasons as to why Bolsinger only lasted 3.2 innings tonight.

The first reason could have to do with batters recognizing his arm slot. Back in June, Eno Sarris of Fangraphs wrote about Bolsinger’s the subtle differences of the pitches in his arsenal. While he was not necessarily cruising through the innings, he really started to labor in the fourth – the second time through Arizona’s lineup. With only the arm slot to really differentiate his pitches (you did click on the link right?), it is possible that Arizona knew which pitch was coming before it even left the mound. Here is a look at his release points from all four innings.

I get that it is difficult to decipher which pitch is which based off of the quality of the gif. The point I want to highlight is that after the first inning, there was virtually no change in his arm slot with his slider and his cutter. Interestingly, the release points of his pitches in tonight’s game is noticeably different from the release points in his previous three starts.

This leads to the second reason as to why Bolsinger was off.

[tweet https://twitter.com/DanielBrim/status/642881167461613568]

There is little room for error when it comes to Bolsinger. The movement of his pitches relies so much on release point that any change in delivery can alter the pitch tremendously. I present you one last gif.

As you can see, Bolsinger’s pitches were flat and predictable. There was very little movement, especially when the pitches made tonight are compared to those made in his last three starts. Whether this a trend that continues remains to be seen, if he gets another start.


That was more of a pitching recap than anything else. Moving on, Corey Seager esta en fuego tonight! He went 4-4, drove in three runs, and drew a walk. He also smacked his first dinger over the right field wall. Yasmani Grandal made his return tonight and went 0-3, striking out twice but also drawing two walks. The bullpen did an outstanding job keeping Arizona at bay by only allowing two runs.

The magic number for the Dodgers is now 14 with twenty-one games left in the regular season. Tomorrow, Zack Greinke faces off against Patrick Corbin. First pitch will be at 1:10 PST. You can catch the game on Sportsnet LA or AM570.

Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks – Bolsinger Takes The Mound

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Yasmani Grandal returns to the lineup after being listed “day-to-day” with a shoulder injury. He will be batting in the number seven hole, between Corey Seager and Joc Pederson. Prior to the All-Star Break, Grandal had been slashing .282/.401/.526. Since then, Grandal’s triple slash line has been .194/.294/.243. After a few days of batting practice and today’s BP session, J.P. Hoornstra had this to say:

[tweet https://twitter.com/jphoornstra/status/642490881333854209]

That is especially refreshing considering his slugging percentage and ISO took a nosedive soon after the All-Star Game.

Period SLG ISO
First Half of Season (Lg Avg.) .390 .137
First Half of Season (Grandal) .526 .244
Second Half of Season (Lg. Avg.) .412 .154
Second Half of Season (Grandal) .243 .049

The return of a healthy Grandal will provide a nice boost to the lineup.

Mat Latos is still out with a stiff neck and a bad case of suck. His last start was in San Diego where he pitched four innings, gave up eight hits, and four runs. Before bringing in relief, there was a delay in the game as the grounds crew had to pick up the shit Latos left behind on the mound. I doubt he is done for the season, but don’t expect him to start until the Dodgers clinch the division. As a result, Mike Bolsinger will be on the bump tonight.

Bolsinger was last seen against the Padres on September 4th when he pitched five innings, gave up two hits, and struck out six batters. So far this season, compared to Latos, Bolsinger has been a superior pitcher.

Player IP ERA FIP cFIP
Bolsinger 94 2.97 3.13 99
Latos 111.2 4.92 3.46 100

According to cFIP, they are both average pitchers. I mean, you know that is true even if you have just casually watched baseball this season. But I am more comfortable seeing the average pitcher who is not horribly average.


There was no game recap last night because, frankly, what was there to recap. I have something in the works regarding Alex Wood and no he is not a shitty pitcher. He was terribly unlucky last night. Baseball happens, man.

Tonight’s game starts at 6:40 PM PST. You can catch it on Sportsnet LA or AM570.

How Many Games Over .500?

Major League Baseball Standings - Google
Major League Baseball Standings – Google

A week ago, Brandon McCarthy posted a tweet that sent Twitter into a frenzy.


Many people believed that McCarthy was incorrect. After all, they reasoned, all the media outlets report games over .500 this way. How could all of them possibly be wrong?

Let’s do some math. For the sake of simplicity, we will say that the Dodgers have played one more game than their record indicates so that we have a nice even number. They are currently 80-59. We will add that extra game to the win column, thereby making their hypothetical record 81-59. With that record, how many games have they played in the season? To figure that out, we add the number of wins they have to their losses.

Wins + Losses = Games played so far
81 + 59 = 140

Now, we want to find what the .500 mark is at this point in the season. The way we do that is to divide the number of games played so far by 2. Why by 2? Because that is how you calculate half of a number.

Games played so far / 2 = .500 mark
140/2 = 70

So if a team’s record is .500 at 140 games played, then they have an equal number of wins and losses. Thus, a .500 team has a record of 70-70 at 140 games played.

Now if we have a team that is 81-59, that team is NOT 22 games over .500. Many people are claiming that in order to reach a .500 record, a team at 81-59 has to lose 22 games but what happens when we do that? If we add 22 losses to our 81-59 Dodgers, their new record becomes 81-81. How many games played is that? Going back to our formula, it is 162 games played. But we are not concerned with 162 games played. We are concerned with only the 140 that have been played thus far. So what do we do? Well, we look at the current record of 81-59 and the .500 mark of 70-70. We subtract the number of wins at the .500 mark from the number of wins a team has and that will give us how many games over or under .500 a given team is. For example, our 81-59 Dodgers are 11 games over .500 because

81 – 70 = 11

Now the confusion lies in this comment.


A team with a .500 record is the midway point. And any record over or under .500 is also how many games ahead or back other teams are. In other words, a team that is 11 games over .500 is also 11 games ahead of a .500 team. OR, a .500 team that is eleven games back in the standings also means that the first place team is eleven games over .500.

Math is not an easy subject. I get that. But for the love of god, just because everyone else is spewing incorrect information does not mean that it is right. And really, there is nothing wrong with being wrong. Math is math and the most basic of math is practically indisputable.

Your regularly scheduled Piazza Parlor content will continue tomorrow. The Dodgers take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Alex Wood will face Robbie Ray. Game time is at 6:40 PM.

Game One Hundred Thirty-Eight Recap: Dodgers 6, Angels 4

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Winning is nice. My god, it is so nice. The Dodgers have won their last five games and are 13-2 in their last fifteen games played. SO NICE! The Angels’ loss puts the Halos at 69-69, N-I-C-E! At 80-58, the Dodgers’ magic number for a playoff berth is 16.

Clayton Kershaw was absolutely masterful tonight. Going seven innings, he only gave up four hits while striking out eight of the Angels’ batters. If there was ever a sign of Kershaw being less than stellar, well, it’s gone. Truth be told, nothing has ever indicated that Kershaw was struggling.

Month IP ERA FIP
04/15 31.1 3.73 2.83
05/15 34.0 3.97 2.44
06/15 41.2 2.16 2.69
07/15 33.0 0.27 0.69
08/15 45.0 1.40 1.92
09/15 16.0 1.13 1.64

Yeah, his ERA was far from sexy in April and May. But as it has been said all season, his peripherals were telling of what was actually going on: batters were far luckier earlier in the season. As we head towards the end of the 2015 season, Kershaw is now in the conversation for the NL Cy Young, because duh.

Even more impressive than our magnificent ace is the resurgent offense. The Dodgers have won their last five games and are 13-2 through their last fifteen games played. With seven hits tonight, the Dodgers were able to put six runs on the board. Between tonight and last night’s outing, the Dodgers have scored thirteen runs on twenty-three hits. Arbitrary end points be damned, that is the kind of offense Dodger fans have been hoping to see at some point in this final stretch.

Corey Seager has been nothing short of amazing. Since being called up, Seager has played six games and has gotten at least one hit in all but one game, including the two he got against Andrew Heaney tonight. His composition at the plate is spectacular and his raw ability in the infield is smoother than butter. Here’s a highlight from last night’s game in case you’re in doubt.


The future is now!

The Dodgers finish the Freeway Series tomorrow. Mat Latos will take the mound against Garrett Richards. The game, should you choose to watch Latos shit all over the mound, will be on Sportsnet LA and Fox Sports West. First pitch is at 7:05 PM.

Game One-Hundred Twenty Recap: Dodgers 2, Athletics 5

What Went Right

Jimmy Rollins hit a home run in yesterday’s game! No, I’m not joking. Rollins’ dinger gave the Dodgers their only two runs of the game. There is something incredibly wrong with the offense when one of the worst run-producing players on the roster is generating the only runs of the game.

Player (250 Min AB) wOBA wRC+
Justin Turner .393 156
Yasmani Grandal .377 145
Adrian Gonzalez .375 144
Andre Ethier .365 137
Joc Pederson .350 127
Howie Kendrick .331 114
Yasiel Puig .327 111
Jimmy Rollins .282 80

Alex Wood managed to go 5.2 innings before giving way to Chris Hatcher. Hatcher, and later Jim Johnson, kept the Dodgers within one run as they pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, respectively.

What Went Wrong

A better question, and likely a shorter list, is what is not going wrong. After being swept in Oakland, the Dodgers are on an 2-8 skid in their last ten games played. In yesterday’s game, the Dodgers mustered two hits. TWO HITS! While the A’s are not exactly the worst when it comes to keeping hitters off the bases, they are not the best either. When looking at K-BB%, Oakland ranks 13th with 13.2%.

Even though Johnson had pitched a scoreless eighth, he did load the bases before being pulled. Luis Avilan got Stephen Vogt to fly out to right, but that brought one run across the plate. Pedro Baez entered with men on the corners and gave up a double to left field. These hits, in and of themselves, are not concerning. With no one on, Vogt’s sacrifice gets the Dodgers to the inning’s end. Of course, these hits do not occur in a vacuum and as a relief pitcher, your job is to get through the inning unscathed. Sometimes, baseball does not want to work that way.

What To Look For

Enrique Hernandez provided the only other hit for the Dodgers, besides Rollins’ home run. Hernandez has been a great boon for this lineup. On the season, he is hitting .304/.353/.513 with a .370 wOBA and 141 wRC+. Even more encouraging is that there has been a steady improvement from month to month since May.

Month Avg/OBP/SLG wOBA wRC+ BABIP
05/15 .206/.250/.382 .275 75 .261
06/15 .260/.309/.769 .329 112 .256
07/15 .379/.406/.552 .405 164 .579
08/15 .366/.435/.634 .456 200 .400

His unsustainable BABIP is concerning. His true production level is somewhat of a mystery as he has only made 304 major-league plate appearances.

What Is Next

The Blue Crew enjoys the day off today before they face Houston tomorrow. Chase Utley will join the team in Houston on Friday and fulfill every Dodgers fan wet dream from 2008. First pitch tomorrow is at 5:10 PM PST.

Game One-Hundred Nineteen Recap: Dodgers 4, Athletics 5

I have been doing a lot of writing for places other than this barren wasteland I call a blog. Don’t worry, Tio Piazza Parlor is here to stay. Now on to the game recap.

What Went Right

Demigod, Clayton Kershaw pitched seven innings and tallied seven K’s while holding the Oakland A’s to one-run ball. He did give up five hits – I mean, I guess you can call tonight a struggle. The lone run that came across the plate was the result of Oakland small-balling the crap out of the second inning.

The Dodgers managed to score in the fifth after some small-ball of their own. A.J. Ellis started the inning off with a walk. Joc Pederson followed with a walk of his own. One wild pitch and Jimmy Rollins single later, the Dodgers scored, tying it up 1-1. The scoring continued in the top of the eighth when Ellis crushed a three-run dinger, giving the Dodgers the lead, 4-1.

What Went Wrong

Pedro Baez, J.P. Howell, and Yimi Garcia could not close it down. Baez was given the nod in the eighth and promptly put men on base. Danny Valencia singled to center, Josh Phegley doubled to left, and Mark Canha doubled to right. It took just seven pitches for this game to go from good to, “Jesus fucking christ!” For funsies, let’s see if you can find where that is on this Fangraphs chart. http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1120062&type=wins&num=0&h=450&w=800&date=2015-08-18&team=Athletics&dh=0
Source: FanGraphs

Mattingly pulled Baez for Howell and the 32-year old southpaw wasted no time in giving up the tying run. In fact, it only took the A’s three pitches to tie the game. Garcia came in to pitch the ninth and the tenth. Despite retiring the side in the bottom of the ninth, Garcia earned the loss after giving up back-to-back doubles to Canha and Billy Butler.

What To Look For

Andre Ethier went 1-2 as the designated hitter tonight. So far, though, he is having a renaissance season. Thus far, he is hitting .291/.369/.487 with a .369 wOBA and 140 wRC+. Interestingly, in his last 100 AB (arbitrary endpoint), he is hitting .350. His platoon splits are still atrocious as he can’t hit left-handed pitching worth a damn, but even more concerning are his home/away splits.

Home vs. Away Avg/OBP/SLG wOBA wRC+
Home .336/.422/.587 .431 186
Away .252/.320/.399 .311 96
Home (vs. RHP) .350/.444/.634 .459 202
Home (vs. LHP) .250/.273/.300 .249 57
Away (vs. RHP) .264/.337/.419 .326 110
Away (vs. LHP) .133/.133/.200 .143 -16

Ethier’s issues with lefties is no surprise, but his platoon splits on the road are troublesome. Really, -16 wRC+, how is that even possible! You have to be running the basepaths backwards.

What Is Next

Alex Wood will face off against Jesse Chavez. Dave Cameron wrote an interesting piece on Wood’s increasing strike rate since coming to the Dodgers. The Athletics are not a team that strikes out a lot. In fact, their offense ranks 28th in the league in K%. If the Dodgers are looking to capitalize on Wood’s increasing K-rate, it will likely happen after their series in Oakland.

First pitch is at 7:10 PM PST.