10 Thoughts on NLCS Game 4 – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Chicago Cubs:

Jake Arrietta is a scary pitcher. He is imposing on the mound and he owns the Dodgers. I was hoping the Dodgers would not give the Cubs a breath of life in this series. However with a 3-2 win tonight, the Cubs have shown they are a hard team to put away.

  1. Jake Arrietta came out throwing hard. Nasty hard! He was also a little erratic early. He dominated the Dodgers for the 6.2 innings.
  2. Yasiel Puig is still raking in this series. Puig went 1-3 and missed an opportunity to drive in some runs.
  3. Wilson Contreras and Javie Baez hit home runs in the bottom of the second inning. Contreras’ home run went 491 feet off the scoreboard in left field. Baez hit a low changeup down the left field line. The Cubs struck first again which didn’t seem to bother me because the Cubs had been ahead in all three of the prior games.
  4. The Dodgers bounced back in the top of the third inning when Cody Bellinger hit his second home run of the postseason.
  5. I am not sure what Dave Roberts did with his lineup for Game 4 but I was not a fan. After Yasiel Puig in the cleanup position, the lineup was a waste of time and was doing the Cubs a favor. Andre Ethier struck out twice. Curtis Granderson struck out four times. Yasmani Grandal walked three times; which was ok for him. Chase Utley struck out twice. That means batters 5 through 8 went 0 for 12 with strikeouts. Why not play Logan Forsythe who has been hitting? Why sit Austin Barnes?
  6. Justin Turner just hits. He went 2 for 4 with home run and two walks. He is seeing the ball so well, I am sure he doesn’t want an off-season.
  7. Javier Baez has two hits in the postseason and they are both home runs he hit in Game 4.  The Dodgers have allowed this guy to get confident and it could be a series changer.
  8. The Dodger bullpen shut down the Cubs yet again. The part of the team that was the Achilles heel in past seasons has really put up some great appearances. They need to go to the World Series.
  9. Wade Davis pitched a two inning save; throwing 30 pitches in the first inning. I wonder how much he is going to have left for Game 5.
  10. Dodgers 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position. I am not sure what is more suprising: they didn’t drive in runs or they had such few opportunities to drive in the runs.

10 Thoughts on Game 3 of NLCS – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Chicago Cubs:

As the series shifted venues to Wrigley Field, I was worried the Cubs would be able to get some momentum that escaped them in Los Angeles. The Cubs are a resilient team and just needed the ball to bounce their way to get back in this series.

  1. Kyle Schwarber started the game off with a home run.
  2. After the homerun, my first thought was Yu Darvish may not have it tonight. However like I have said of Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, we only need five good innings.
  3. Andre Ethier’s homerun in the top of the 2nd inning was a surprise that couldn’t have happened to a better person. Ethier had been recovering from injuries all season, and I am not sure how healthy he is right now, so stepping in at that time was a big contribution going 2 for 3 with some great verteran hitting.
  4. Chris Taylor hit another home run. As I have said before, he is my MVP for this team and maybe should be MVP of the NLCS. He followed up the home rune with a triple.
  5. Joc Pederson’s double was another big hit for a guy who really needed a big hit.
  6. More surprising was Yu Darvish drawing a walk off of Carl Edwards, Jr. I thought Edwards had exorcised his demons in Game 2. However walking the opposing team’s pitcher on four pitches with the bases loaded shows there are still some demons to be worked out.
  7. Scoring on a pass ball in the 7th was a sign to me that the Cubs were melting down. The frustration was kicking in as they had leads in all three games only to see them disappear.
  8. The bullpen was once again lights out. They have retired 29 of 31 Cub hitters they have faced in the NLCS.
  9. Ross Stripling came in and gave up the two black marks on the bullpen record.
  10. Kenley Jansen is un-hittable right now. It is not even worth trying when you are facing him.

10 Thoughts on NLCS Game 2 – Chicago Cubs v. Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 2 was a classic match-up of two teams bringing their A-game defensively. I was stressed out watching a game that felt like it could go either way. Going into the bottom of the 9th, it was a 1-1 game and then Justin Turner happened.

  1. Game 2 paired two left-handers who brought it for 5 five innings. As I discussed in the NLDS, you know what you are getting early with Rich Hill. John Lester will probably go down as one of the best post-season pitchers in baseball history.
  2. Yasiel Puig is seeing tons of pitches. He walked two times. I was entertained by all his dancing instead of swinging at bad pitches. It must be annoying to the other team or their fans. I am sure I would hate it if he were on the other teams as much as I don’t like some Javier Baez’s antics.
  3. Wilson Contreras has a canon for an arm. The Dodgers don’t appear as aggressive on the bases with Contreras behind the plate.
  4. Addison Russell is a Dodger-killer. He has four post-season home runs and three of them are against the Dodgers. He is the guy who scares me coming to the plate with the game on the line because he is a Dodger-killer.
  5. Rich Hill’s five innings was as good as you can get from him. He had 8 strikeout and one mistake. Just as I said about Kershaw, the Dodgers didn’t need Hill to do more.
  6. The fifth inning was where all the action occurred until the 9th inning. Russell hit his blast in the top half. In the bottom half, Charlie Culbertson doubled. The Dodger decided to pinch hit instead of having Rich Hill lay down a bunt (which I thought and still think is a mistake). Fortuntately Justin Turner singled Culbertson home with two outs.
  7. In the 6th inning, Carl Edwards, Jr. and Brandon Morrow were lights out. Both handling the meaty parts of each team’s lineup. Morrow handled Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
  8. Kenley Jansen once again handled Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in the ninth. He struck out Bryant and hit Rizzo in the hand.
  9. I scratched my head when the Dodger sent Kyle Farmer to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. I guess Yasmani Grandal is really at the bottom of the Dodgers’ barrel when it comes to hitting.
  10. 29 years to the day of Kirk Gibson’s famous home run in 1988, Justin Turner hit a game-winning 3-run home run. I remember Gibbie’s home run and we all know teams need a little bit of luck to win the series.

10 Thoughts on Game 1 of the NLCS – Chicago Cubs v. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers dominated the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the NLCS. I was nervous coming into this game. The Dodgers have made it to the NLCS in three of the last five years. I have always felt they had what it takes but they came up short. I left the game quietly confident they are going to make a run.

  1. It was Kershaw Day, and while it was not vintage Kershaw, he pitched well enough to keep the Dodgers in the game. He pitched around Anthony Rizzo and he served up a meatball to Albert Almora, Jr. for a home run. He pitched five inning and it seemed weird to see him sitting in the sixth. Something you realize about this year’s version of the Dodgers is that they don’t need super-human Kershaw.
  2. Kris Bryant has a canon for an arm. Watching him throw from his position at third base to first base, I was more than impressed.
  3. Kike Hernandez hit in the clean-up spot for the missing Cory Seager. Kike was an interesting pick for clean-up. He hits left-handed pitching very well; but clean-up seemed presumptuous.
  4. Logan Forsythe is still hot from NLDS. His was a crucial part of the Dodger scoring innings.
  5. Albert Almora, Jr. smashed a home run which felt like a game-breaker. He mashes left-handed pitching.
  6. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale had an interesting strike zone that was hard to figure out all game. All the players want is consistency…he was not.
  7. Yasiel Puig is poised to take over another series. His double and homerun were vintage Puig. I have never seen him play better. His bat-flip on a double was ridiculous; but it also makes a boring sport a little more entertaining.
  8. Chris Taylor, who should have gotten MVP consideration if you ask me, hit a bomb to put the Dodgers ahead 3-2 and they never looked back.
  9.  The controversial play at the plate shows a change in baseball which is hard for a purist to swallow. I watched Culbertson be denied home-plate and it felt wronf that a guy who never touched the base should be safe.
  10. Kenley Jansen got a four out save to lock down the game. What is more impressive is that he struck out Bryant and Rizzo to get his save.

10 Thoughts from NLDS Game 2 Arizona Diamondbacks v. Los Angeles Dodgers:

After dominating early and holding on late to win Game 1, I was curious who was going to show up for the Dodgers in Game 2. Robbie Ray had dominated the Dodgers during the regular season. The stigma of being spanked by the Diamondbacks in September was still on my mind.

  1. Rich Hill is schizophrenic. You can tell what kind of Rich Hill start you are going to get by the end of the first inning. He gave up a two-run homerun two walks and struck out two. It was going to be a tightrope kind of game.
  2. J.D. Martinez had a pop-up that floated to the warning track. This guy has ridiculous power.
  3. The Dodger defense is the anchor of the team. They had to beat some rust off in Game 1. Seager and Bellinger made eye-opening plays that saved some innings for the win.
  4. While he was not giving up any hits early, Robbie Ray was walking a lot of batters. He was walking enough batters for the Dodgers to threaten to score without a hit.
  5. Home plate umpire, Phil Kuzzi, had one of the most inconsistent strike zones I have ever seen in the playoffs. I guess umpires get nervous too.
  6. The Dodgers’ 4th inning breakthrough was power by Logan Forsythe, Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor. Puig is looking like the player everyone believed he could be.
  7. Curtis Granderson getting a pinch hit single is hopefully a sign of good things to come. At the end of Game 1, I was ready to bench him.
  8. Logan Forsythe is making Andrew Friedman look like a genius this postseason. most Dodgers fans felt like Forsythe was a Plan B to acquiring Brian Dozier from the Twins (Dozier hit a homerun in the wild card game). However Forsythe had three hits in Game 2 and is playing his best ball at the right time of the year.
  9. The matchup of Yasiel Puig against Archie Bradley was worth the price of admission. Puig is taking over the series and did not disappoint. I hate Bradley’s beard. He could have a few animals living in there.
  10. Kenley Jansen is the best closer in baseball with his 5-out save.

10 Thoughts from NLDS Game 1 Arizona Diamondbacks v. Los Angeles Dodgers:

I cannot remember a time when two teams from the same division played in the divisional series. It is a testament to the seasons that both teams had.

  1. Justin Turner put his stamp on the series early with a first inning 3-run homerun and driving in a total of five runs.
  2. Taijuan Walker had a large task ahead of himself when he was given the job to start Game 1. He was not up to the task giving up four runs and throwing 47 pitches in the first and his only inning.
  3. Yasiel Puig may take this series over. He has been playing so well and it feels like he is ready to explode for the playoffs. His triple with the tongue wag would have blown the roof off of Dodger Stadium if it had one.
  4. Kershaw was dominant until he ran out of gas in the 7th inning. He struck six of the first nine batters he faced. He also gave up four homeruns. The homeruns are concerning. I think Roberts should not let him go out there after six unless they have a big lead like last night.
  5. J.D. Martinez hit yet another homerun. I would think this guy does not want the season to end with the way he is seeing the baseball. The free agent at season’s end is going to get paid.
  6. The Dodgers bullpen held the game in check after Kershaw left which is a sign of good things. Tony Watson did what he had to do in the seventh to get the ball to Morrow and Jansen to close the game.
  7. Curtis Granderson and Yasmani Grandal went a combined 0 for 4 with 4 strikeouts. What was most disturbing was they both struck out in the first inning with Taijuan Walker on the ropes. If I’m Dave Roberts, they have one more game to show they can be competent hitters and then I am moving on.
  8. 6 Dodgers hitters saw more than twenty pitches in this game; while there was no hitter in the Diamondbacks roster than saw 20 pitches. It could be two different approaches; but it also says something about the quality of at bats the teams were having.
  9. The Dodgers defense looked a little rusty. The long break between the season and the series caught up with them; but hopefully they will be ready to go from here further.
  10. When the broadcast showed Tommy Lasorda watching the game, I felt sad. Tommy is 90 years and looks like he had to be there. He didn’t look all that into the game. He actually looked like he was ready for a nap. I am sure he would rather be at home watching from somewhere a little more comfortable.

10 Things from the Dodgers v. Phillies Game:

The Dodgers visited the Phillies with Yu Darvish on the mound. The Dodgers were trying to recover from Kershaw giving up his first grand slam homerun the night before. Somehow they found a way to lose 6-2.

  1. Yasmani Grandal homering is a good sign for him. He has been in a slump for the better part of a month and is in danger of losing his job to Austin Barnes.
  2. Grandal’s catch in the bottom of the fifth inning is the best catch I have seen by a catcher ever.
  3. Darvish continued his streak of scoreless innings. He is rounding into shape for the playoffs. He also got his 200th strikeout of the season.
  4. The Phillies are giving the Dodgers a helluva a series. They do not go away. They play the complete 27 outs.
  5. Rhys Hoskins is a true hitter. I had heard about his power; but he has a great approach at the plate.
  6. Justin Turner is hitting again which is another good sign for Dodgers playoff prospects.
  7. Aaron Nola gave the Phillies a solid start that kept them in the game until the offense could come alive later.
  8. Tony Watson looked like he is ready for the playoffs.
  9. Pedro Baez cannot be on the playoff roster. After giving up four runs in an inning, his September ERA is 22.50.
  10. The magic number for the Dodgers is down to 2 thanks to the Padres beating the Diamondbacks.

Episode 8 – NFL Week 2 Wrap-Up

Langston Aron and Craig Aron break down Week 2 fantasy and NFL results for Week 2. They also bring back the Two Minute Rant. Craig Aron used the Two Minute Rant to do a victory lap for his teams. Langston Aron ranted about the Big Baller Brand.

10 Thoughts on the Dodgers v. SF Giants Game:

After playing until 2:15am, the Dodgers and Giants were back at it tonight. The big question was whether the Dodgers’ losing streak of 11 games was going to end tonight.

  1. The streak has ended. Thank God!!!
  2. There was a discrepancy in pitch counts between Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto. After two innings, Kershaw had thrown twenty pitches and Cueto had thrown 45 pitches. Cueto only lasted three and two thirds innings.
  3. Kelby Tomlinson was 0 for 14 against Kershaw until he hit a homerun tonight that gave the Giants a 1-0 lead.
  4. Chase Utley and Kershaw sparked the Dodgers in the fourth inning with an Utley homerun and a Kershaw double. Their two hits sparked a four run fourth inning for the Dodgers.
  5. The Giants made some serious defensive errors which lead to Dodgers runs. There was a misjudged fly ball in right field and Kershaw’s double was misplayed by the left fielder.
  6. Curtis Granderson and Yasmani Grandal are slumping real hard. They combined for 0 hits and left seven runners on base.
  7. Cory Seager stunk it up as well with 0 hits and three strikeouts.
  8. Puig is finally playing like the man we knew he would be in 2013. He has finally found his swing.
  9. Chris Taylor threw out another runner at the plate. He leads the team in outfield assists.
  10. Kenley Jansen pulled off another four out save. He had the deal with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth. He dealt with it in Jansen-like fashion by striking out the final two batters.