Dodger Thoughts

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

Andre Ethier starts ahead of Yasiel Puig in NLDS Game 4

NLDS-Game Three-Los Angeles Dodgers against the St.Louis Cardinals

For more photos from Monday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Cardinals, 2:07 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

Matt Carpenter, 3B
Randal Grichuk, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Matt Adams, 1B
Yadier Molina, C
Jon Jay, CF
Kolten Wong, 2B
Shelby Miller, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig, who has a .774 OPS in the National League Division Series but has struck out in eight of his past nine at-bats, has been replaced in the Dodger starting lineup by Andre Ethier.

Ethier will bat sixth, while left fielder Carl Crawford moves up to the No. 2 spot behind Dee Gordon.

Since August 29, Ethier has made one start in a game that had meaning for the Dodgers, going 0 for 2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch September 7 against Arizona. In his final 46 plate appearances of the regular season, Ethier went 12 for 39 with a .413 on-base percentage and .436 slugging percentage, then went 1 for 2 in Game 1 of the NLDS.

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A few pieces related to starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw to pass along.

While A.J. Cassavell breaks down the risks of pitching on three days’ rest at, Russell A. Carleton at Baseball Prospectus notes that the Cardinals do not own Clayton Kershaw.

… When we look at Kershaw’s performance against the Cardinals, we see that his BABIP is quite high at .343. I know that during the postseason everyone likes to pretend that games are won and lost based on magical fairy dust, grit, and character. But frankly, a lot of what drives a baseball game is dumb luck. That’s not comfortable for people to hear, but the sooner that you accept that, the sooner we can have a real conversation about baseball. …

Clayton Kershaw has gotten very unlucky over the last four years against the St. Louis Cardinals, and luck is not a character trait. Luck just kinda happens. If you made bets on a series of coin flips and won seven in a row, that would be an unlikely event (though possible). Yes, you still have the money you just won in your pocket, but it’s not because you have a special skill for calling coin flips or because you are a morally righteous person. You caught a run of good luck. Congrats. Don’t expect it to last. …

NLDS-Game Three-Los Angeles Dodgers against the St.Louis CardinalsJeff Sullivan did a deep analysis on the seventh inning of Game 1 at Fangraphs, and concluded the following:

… Kershaw made some mistakes. One wonders if he and Ellis made some sequencing mistakes, given that there could’ve been more timing-disrupting curveballs. The Cardinals, certainly, came through with a number of quality swings. Kershaw still could’ve gotten out of the inning. He was ahead of Carpenter 0-and-2. The way he pitched to Taveras made it seem like he still had good-enough stuff to remain. A few more inches of depth on the last slider to Carpenter, and the Dodgers emerge still ahead. But because the slider stayed up just enough, Carpenter earned another opportunity, and that’s when Kershaw made his biggest mistake. Sometimes the story’s as simple as failed execution. Too many times in the seventh, Kershaw failed to execute. And on enough of those times, the Cardinals’ hitters succeeded with their own execution. You don’t expect this to happen to a pitcher like Kershaw, but it happened on May 17. The next time out, Kershaw threw six shutout innings. The game makes failures out of everybody. Sometimes even Clayton Kershaw.

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Among players on all four NLDS teams, A.J. Ellis (.615) and Hanley Ramirez (.583) have the highest on-base percentages.


Down but not out, the Dodgers can still make a splash


The end unjustifies the means


  1. Mattingly did not look very good in his pre-game press conference. He looked flustered, avoided answering questions and was vague. Maybe it had to do with where they are at in this series, but Matheny came across as more creditable, knowledgeable and answered questions unlike Mattingly.

  2. 14hodges

    Wow. I am surprised at this news, but I am excited for Ethier. For his sake and the sake of the Dodgers, I hope Andre produces and makes this call look great. Here’s to Puig getting many more opportunities as the postseason proceeds.

  3. Hope there isn’t a defensive play that Puig probably would make that Etheir can’t that will cost them the game/series/season.

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