Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

But can they hit?

They have Clayton Kershaw going Friday in Game 6. If they win, they’ll have Hyun-Jin Ryu, who preyed upon the Cardinals’ weakness against lefties, going Saturday in Game 7.

But the question that Dodger fans probably don’t want to confront, as the National League Championship Series careens toward its conclusion, is this …

Against Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright and a tough bullpen, with walking wounded in Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier or scrappy subs in Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker, even after four home runs on Wednesday …

Can they hit?

There were good signs in Game 5, but those came largely against pitchers the Dodgers won’t see again in this series. The challenge going forward for the offense rises to a different level.

Can they hit? Will they score?



And we go to St. Louis …


National League Championship Series Game 6 chat


  1. thescrounger

    If Hanley can’t move better than he did yesterday, he shouldn’t start tomorrow. A healthy but not very capable Punto is still better than a disabled Hanley.

  2. John_from_Aus

    The title sums it up perfectly

  3. Gilberto_Reyes

    Can they hit? Will
    they score? Great questions and you accurately summarized what many of us are thinking.
    Fortunately, the Cardinals
    must be asking themselves the exact same questions. They have not scored a
    single earned run off Kershaw or Ryu in this series.

  4. Left behind in the last post:

    The author of this WSJ blog post suggests that in any other field Puig’s enthusiasm and effort would be prized; it’s in baseball that the old fogeys grouse about it.

  5. NoahUCLA

    I’m confident that if we can get 3 runs tomorrow, then we will win. I’m also convinced though that we will need to pull out 5 or more runs against Wainright and co. in game 7, which is a very, very tall order to say the least. I know Ryu was awesome last time out at home, but I just have a feeling that we get a good, but not great, start from him (6 innings 3 earned) and then I just don’t think 4 runs will be enough to pull off a 4-3 win. But for now let’s just worry about tomorrow night, right?

  6. NoahUCLA

    I know Uribe was awesome last series, and we scored 6 runs yesterday, but I would move AJ up and move Uribe down.

  7. WBBsAs

    I was cautiously optimistic before yesterday’s game, more confident today. I’m thinking Wacha is due for a regression, and the Dodgers haven’t found Wainwright unsolvable. It may come down to how good Ryu is, and those who follow him from the ‘pen.

  8. Jack Dawkins

    I think it’s key that we are seeing Wacha a second time. He only has 2 (great) pitches, so I’m sure now they see his pattern. Will Molina be able to shake it up enough to overcome film study? Stay tuned.

  9. Jack Dawkins

    Also, Puig had a horrific game 2. he seems to have found his zone again.

  10. berkowit28

    Michael Young and Skip Schumaker not looking so good there.

  11. Bumsrap

    It won’t be but a few more days and Hanley can be DH.

    • SaMoDodger

      His injury prevents him from hitting as much as it does from fielding.

  12. Keith Pluymers

    If you factor out Puig’s dismal stretch in the first two games, he has been excellent in all 3 home games, not just by actually getting hits but also by grinding out some long at bats and drawing walks. I’m just hoping he can keep it up away from home crowd cheers.

  13. Dodgers today claimed outfielder Mike Baxter from the New York Mets and designated outfielder Alex Castellanos for assignment.

  14. SaMoDodger

    Can Scott van Slyke do any worse than the guys who have come off the bench so far? I really don’t understand why e’s on the postseason roster if Mattingly isn’t going to use him at all. Ditto Volquez. Capuano would have come in handy in Game 1. Hairston gives you the flexibility to play infield or outfield, even if his bat isn’t much.

    • Short of if the Dodgers had pinch-hit for Nolasco in the bottom of the second, when should Volquez have been used?

      I still think Capuano had to be a physical concern.

      • SaMoDodger

        I thought it was a mistake to use Schumaker as the first ph off the bench in game 4, since you might have needed him to spell Ethier if Ethier weren’t healthy. Hairston may not be able to play center, but he can play left with Crawford moving to center–you know, just so you can have lousy arms in two spots.

        I never saw a role for Volquez and wondered why he was on the roster. I did, however, see Capuano being useful in exactly the kind of extra inning game the teams played in Game 1.

        None of these moves would have made a big difference, but sometimes little differences matter in short series. If Juan Uribe gets the bunt down against Atlanta, the Dodgers lose that game, and maybe the series. If Hairston is playing instead of Michael Young,does he hit a longer fly ball that can score Ellis? No possible way to know.

        • I certainly wouldn’t spend much time thinking about whether Hairston might have hit a longer fly ball than anyone.

          Yes, the little things matter, but not the infinitesimal things. Omitting Jerry Hairston did not cost the Dodgers anything.

        • Jon_Wymore

          Also part of the reason we haven’t seen Van Slyke is that once you pinch hit Schumaker, you have to leave Van Slyke on the bench in case of injury in OF since there’s no one else on bench to go in.
          Don’t see any reason to mentino Hairston, but do agree that we could have seen Van Slyke PH a time or two at least.

  15. Neither Andre or Hanley played in game 2, and in fact have never faced Wacha. So there is potential that if effective they can help spark the offense. Or they can both go 0-fer and drag the team down with them.

    • Branch_Rickey

      Hanley and Andre went a combined 0-7 yesterday and we won scoring 6 runs. It’s still a team effort. We want to have the best players out there but nobody’s individual performance means failure or success. I’m betting that we’ll have 9 players on the field and several more on the bench and we’ll have a real chance to win. That about all i’m certain of.

      • What I meant was, in game 2 when the team had no success against Wacha, those two guys weren’t in the line up. Seeing as how they’ve never faced him we have no indication of how they’ll fare. I’m hoping they have positive results vs Wacha.

  16. Branch_Rickey

    Fun fact: Of the five games played so far, only one has been won by the team who had more hits.

  17. WBBsAs

    I fear that, having been second-guessed for not pulling Nolasco with a scoring opportunity, Don will do so with Kershaw.

  18. Gilberto_Reyes

    Not to get too far ahead, but the Dodgers are undefeated in Game # 7’s since they came to Los Angeles, winning in 1965 (WS vs Twins) and 1988 (NLCS vs Mets). They have not lost a game # 7 since they were in Brooklyn in 1956 (WS vs Yankees). Hopefully, Kershaw can get us there!

  19. ASW1

    You guys hear about this Joe Strauss guy who writes for the St Loo Post-Dispatch?

    According to him, the Cards respect the game, the Dodgers don’t, and their fans are better…

    “Hey, baseball is the primary religion in Our Town. Out here it’s a place to be seen, maybe flash some gang signs on the matrix and bat a beach ball. (The series became official when one went onto the outfield in the seventh inning.) The Dodgers reflect the culture….”

    What a buffoon.

    • foul tip

      A staple for many traveling “journalists” required to file x-number of stories is the not so innocent abroad condescension piece.

      Plays well with hometown readers who like to believe that wherever they live is superior to just about anywhere else. But primarily useful just to placate editors.

    • Onlyatriple

      There is another excellent example of the genre at yahoo sports, including the description of the Cards, according to this author, as about “focus and dedication to actual baseball,” in contrast to the Dodgers as the “Hollywood Showmen of the Cuban Theatrical League.”

    • Casey Barker

      It looks like he is St Louis’ TJ Simers.

  20. KT

    Don’t believe reports for rain during game 6
    Heavy rain expected early Saturday morning through 10-12 local…hard to tell with the limited navy weather charts I can use

    • NoahUCLA

      Greinke on Sunday? 3 days rest.

      • KT

        rain will stop at least 5 hours before game time

      • Jon_Wymore

        I’d still start Ryu. Greinke got out of jams but was certainly hittable to other day. Not sure I would chance a good hitting team like the Cardinals not zoning in on even a pitcher as good as Greinke the 3rd time in just a few days. Plus they hit worse against LH pitching…Have Greinke ready if Ryu stumbles at all early though maybe

  21. Jon_Wymore

    Michael Young’s bat looks soooo slow.

    • WBBsAs

      Once a decent hitter, never much of a defensive player.

  22. foul tip

    OT, likely good for some chuckles. Early clubhouse leader in the immediate unanimous election to dumbest criminals Hall of Fame Dept:

    The clincher for the HOF: “The woman told police the shoes belonged to her husband.”

  23. rumped6

    Noted yesterday that the home run ABs looked different from the RISP ones.

    We still need an ’88 Steve Sax, someone who can take a very good pitcher’s
    very good pitch with risp up the middle for a game winner.

    I’m also a little less certain than some of you that Clayton is a lock to get the Ds
    to game 7 (where a nice note by Gilberto Reyes yesterday tells the story of Dodger

    success in the LA era of the franchise).

    On That Other Subject: those of us not in a Manny Ramirez Fan Fog about the kid

    have been at great pain to say we also love his enthusiasm and effort, bungling as

    it is at times. It’s the cultural poison of “Watch me be Magnificent among my
    pedestrian teammates” “Watch me glare, full of righteous hate, at this balls and strikes
    peon” and “Just watch me in contemplation of my own Gorgeous Navel when anything
    else is happening” that makes us grind our Team Teeth.
    The kid brings some good stuff, the kid brings some not-so-good stuff. That constant
    species reality, a challenge for all of us at all times, seems especially difficult for

    “true (insert team name here) fans.” (Vin Scully makes some great calls; Vin Scully
    makes some awful calls. Vin Scully adds color to a broadcast; Vin Scully makes a Dodger
    game all about Vin Scully. Vin Scully was great on radio; Vin Scully abuses tv. “Grandpa,
    why does that man keep talking and talking?”)
    (My hanging tomorrow at High Noon:-).

    Tom Coughlin, head coach of the Giants, twice in charge of the ship on amazing and

    unexpected but genuine trips to the championship, has also been in charge when
    some of the most disappointing football in the history of the franchise has been played

    most Novembers and Decembers in his decade here. Just awful, uncompetitive and
    unimaginative football. But, somehow, someone else is responsible for all those

    misadventures. A rational observer says, “Huh???”

    As for the LA bashing, it’s a favorite of all sportswriters (as noted nicely by Foul Tip

    yesterday) no matter the town. And usually
    based on some uncomfortable and unflattering truths springing from some real live

    members of the collective. How many attendees at Dodger Stadium bring beach balls,
    leave in the seventh inning, care about “stars” in attendance? Some few, at least.

    Join those saying a conditional (he has to be genuinely healthier than he was in LA)
    no to Hanley. If he plays, move him down in the order. Until he proves otherwise,
    he’s no protection for anyone else, can’t be protected by anyone else.

    This team has already gone further than I ever imagined; has been resilient under

    great stresses; been fun to watch, especially at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and is a credit to

    D history. Enjoy the finish, a day more, two weeks more:-).

    • WBBsAs

      I enjoy Puig but hope that, as he matures and adapts to life in this country (after Cuba, it’s not surprising to see an anything-goes attitude), he will continue to play with verve.

  24. Nick Punto is starting tonight, per @dodgers.

  25. NoahUCLA

    I know Hanley is hurting and hasn’t been effective lately, but seeing Punto in there at the #8 spot just makes our lineup look so much weaker. Do you think Hanley is hurting more than he was, or Mattingly just felt he was hurting the team more than helping at this point? Dre needs to step up now. We need the extra extra base hit man. That goes for Puig as well, since he has only 1 extra base hit as well.

    • Adam Luther

      Puig batting 4th. No pressure. We’ll miss Ramirez’ bat for sure but defensively Punto has to be in there. Ethier has to start driving the ball tonight!

    • I don’t understand your question as an either/or – I think it’s pretty clear that if they thought Hanley could help at all, he would be playing.

      • Adam Luther

        If he was hurting less than he was he’d be in. Didn’t he throw one (routine play) in the dirt over to A-Gon on Wednesday in the 4th? The bat is one thing, but we’ve got to have the defense as well.

  26. thescrounger

    I hope Hanley is back soon but I think Punto tonight is the right move. We have a big bat on the bench now (although the wood may be cracked…)

  27. btimmer

    I think it’s worse news for the Dodgers that Jon Jay isn’t starting.

    • NoahUCLA

      Because of his defensive blunders or his bat? Is Robinson solid in the field?

    • WBBsAs

      Jay drove in the winning run v. Kershaw in Game 2.

  28. dalegribel

    Well, the top 7 guys on that list are in the lineup tonight. They’ll hit.

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