Dodger Thoughts

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

The end unjustifies the means

NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers workout at Busch Stadium

By Jon Weisman

From 1989-1994, the Dodgers didn’t play in a playoff game.

From 1997-2007, the Dodgers played in four postseason series, but didn’t come close to winning any of them, losing 12 of 13 games.

It was the next year that the numbness turned to pain. After sweeps in the 2008 and 2009 National League Division Series, the Dodgers entered two winnable National League Championship Series, but gave up gut-stabbing doubles and homers that led to their demise.

Last year came the slow torture of not being able to score when the pitching was superb, leaving no room to absorb an unexpected Clayton Kershaw beating in the sixth and final NLCS game.

This year, in the NLDS, I don’t even know what to say. Never have I seen four consecutive games with backbreaking home runs after the sixth inning. I could not even imagine it.

When singles in the seventh inning by Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta each eluded Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez by inches, I still couldn’t believe it.

When Matt Adams came up as the winning run, with Kershaw on the ropes, I wouldn’t believe it.

And when Kershaw let go of that pitch, and that curveball hung in the air like a child’s balloon waiting to be cruelly punctured, I shouted “No!”


I truly believe this team deserved better.

It kills me that Kershaw will be scarlet-lettered for a postseason performance in which he tried to put the team on his back and held them up so high for so long.

That the most well-balanced offense the Dodgers have had in years would lose three games by one run and the other by two.

That a manager I respect, who isn’t perfect but who rarely gets enough credit for what he does well, couldn’t even luck into having one of many impossible decisions with the pitching staff end right.

Most of all, it kills me that fans who have been so passionate have been forced to wait another year for relief and release.

What might have been.

Thanks to everyone who has read Dodger Insider this year. We’ll be back Wednesday to kick off the offseason.


Andre Ethier starts ahead of Yasiel Puig in NLDS Game 4


Ten years ago, a much-needed Lima Time


  1. Thank you Jon for wonderful insights and sharing of it.

  2. Well said. This series was perfectly designed to maximize pain and suffering. On top of that it fed so many cliches about StL’s strengths and the Dodgers failings. The Cards have minimal power, and they outhomer us 7-3. We lead the majors in avg with RISP and we strand everyone in sight. 2 runs on 13 baserunners today. They get 3 runs from 5 runners. There’s no lesson to be learned here about team construction. Just wait another year and roll the dice again.

  3. Jon, thank YOU, as always–for the magazine, which is terrific, and the blog, which is also terrific. We don’t have to agree on everything for me to love what you do and how well you make your arguments.

    No one should blame Mattingly (or, today, Kershaw) for the outcome of the series. The hitters didn’t hit after the first game. Pitchers shouldn’t have to throw a perfect game to win. That doesn’t mean I give Mattingly a pass in the least. But he wasn’t the one swinging at pitches too far out of the strike zone to hit.

  4. Congrats to the Cardinals.

  5. oldbrooklynfan

    A fellow Dodger fan and I watched the game, as we’ve done often during the post season from a restaurant (Dodger games only) in Manhattan. We have a losing streak that dates back to 2008, but we believe in the law of averages.

  6. charleyman48

    Another season of what ifs. A player so talented and gifted hanging his head after a season of unbelievable memories and benching your young outfielder with incredible talent and needing to mature. A season full of promise to once again having to say “next year”. Do we clean house? Do we stay the course? Firing the manager who does more with so much talent and egos to play day in and day out? We know that something has to change because being so close to the goal and falling short does not cut it. My father was a Brooklyn Dodger fan and passed the love for them to me and I have bled Dodger blue all my sixty- six years. Close is not good enough and with all that money spent and finally having a group of owners who want to win it all it’s no more ifs.

  7. Jon – thank you. Thank you! Somehow, even just the above title of this post makes me feel a bit better. It was unjustified.

    It is heartbreaking to lose to the Cardinals again this year. Just as it was losing to the Phillies in 2008 and 2009. I have always known the history – but suddenly realize how much it would have stung, absolutely stung – to have lost the World Series to the Yankees in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1956. I suppose that’s what made 1955 (and 1981!) so much sweeter.

    Finally, with an eye to next year: It is surprising but next year could be the first time ever that the Dodgers (Brooklyn or Los Angeles) are in the playoffs three years in a row. And people were concerned this season about the lack of Dodger winning streaks longer than 3 games! Here’s to the hope for 3 consecutive NL West Division Championships!!!

    Thanks again Jon for the help in keeping (most of) our sanity – especially this week. Especially today.

  8. Thanks, again, for all of your insights throughout the season (and the past eight seasons that I have been following you). You make the highs higher and the lows a bit more bearable.




  10. Hey, we are all Dodger fans and we will be back next year just like them. As far as Donnie and Ned, Donnie held the team together and its egos in check for most of the year but Ned never improved the bullpen. Maybe there wasn’t anyone that could improve it. “Wait till next year” never sounded so sad.

  11. Hard to blame Donnie with having no one to turn to in the pen during the series, but I suppose he may have overused Howell during the season (like Paco last year?). So hard to blame him for trying to ride Clayton as long as he did. He might have thought out of the box and used Kenley as a smoke jumper, but that is asking a lot of out of manager these days.

  12. I have enjoyed the column and it has often given me insight into the game. Reflecting on the season, I have a bit of an empty feeling over the fact that Puig did so much to give us a good year, but was benched for the final game. I hope that he can use the experience to continue to grow as a player, but I wish that he had been in the starting lineup.

  13. Keep Donnie but get rid of Honeycutt–that is the problem—we NEED A BULLPEN!!!!! and a pitching coach would judge talent better than Honeycutt.

  14. The comments so far are mixed except for their appreciation for what you Jon are consistently doing for the Dodgers and letting us all feel like we have a friend on the inside.

    I was against sending Kershaw out to start the 7th inning in both games 1 and 4. A mid 90 pitch count on a very hot day and extra adrenaline adding to fatigue in game one and short rest in game two sitting on top of last year’s ending was enough for me to pull Kershaw. Let him leave with a successful 2 hitter and 1 hitter and do for him what he is not yet ready to do for himself–accept his limits.

    Sitting Puig against a pitcher with a 97 mph fastball was a no-brainer. Puig needs to adjust to a good fastball this off season.

    AS much as I have lost faith in Wilson, he does have World Series experience and is a veteran and therefore would have been able to come in for the 7th inning and at least pitch to his capabilities and not wilted with butterflies.

    I look forward to seeing Pederson and Seager give it a go in 2015.

  15. Jon, Let me echo the others in thanking you for your column. Yesterday is a faded memory. I have to admit, this one hurt a little more than the others. Hate to see Kershaw and Mattingly get blamed like that… Those two 7th inning singles an inch or more are outs. Congrats to the Cards who always seem to have the answer against the Dodgers. Sitting Puig was a no-brainer.. he was awful at the plate. I’ll leave this one final note about this year in baseball…. The Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, and Nationals… the teams with the best regular season records during the regular season, were all dumped unceremoniously in their first round in the playoffs. Enough said.

  16. Thank you Jon for expressing your feelings and for helping me realize others feel the same way as I do. I am siting here at my desk just bummed! I cannot believe the Dodgers lost! I bleed Dodger blue and this one stings!!! I really thought we had the game last night. But, then I thought we had the game with Ryu pitching as well. I know it’s easy for me to sit and make assumptions why Donnie made the moves he did. But, when he pulled Ryu, after he was pitching so strong, I think that was a mistake. But, we don’t have the inside scoop of what Ryu says when he comes into the dugout. And… you, I just hope people don’t rip on Kershaw. He was pitching on a few days rest, after pitching in 90+ degree weather just days earlier. I just feel for Kershaw! He was soooo great all year long and to end his wonderful season this way, just doesn’t seem fair. I want to remember this season of how great Kershaw did. Not, how it ended. He did have a no-hitter. He did strike out so many, with so little walks. He did win the Cy-Young and should win it again for this season. It’s easy to blame him and say he can’t pitch in October, but where were our bats? One game we had Eithier on 3rd, and he was the tying run, and we couldn’t get him home. Last night we left two runners stranded out there. Our bats didn’t come thru, when we needed them. We have to remember that we win as a team, and we lose as a team. We will be back next season stronger and wiser than ever! Go Blue!!!!

  17. Awesome article. Any passionate Dodger fan can read your words and relate to your emotions and heartbreak knowing it all ended too soon. But it’s unfortunate to read on various message boards those calling for Mattingly and Honeycutt’s jobs. I understand the disappointment, but why take a new route and hit the restart button on a management that have improved our record with every season? The move for Puig pinchrunning and JT pinchhitting is logical, Puig’s speed with Turner’s hot bat. Why not? Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet that had not given up a HR to a lefty – how could Donny and RH not have faith in him? Perhaps a new GM is the best change instead of on-field management. Our bullpen is providing an abysmal return for what we’re paying and that lands on Ned. It will be a long and interesting off-season.

    • Correction, Kershaw did not give up a HR to a left handed hitter with his curveball. Just read my post and noticed the big error ;)

  18. First off, Ned must go, 9 years in the job, and he’s made too many mistakes, he can schmoze with the media as good as anyone, but rarely makes a good trade, this year overpaying for Coriera and Hernandez, he should have trusted some youngsters instead of signing old vets for the pen, they were average at best, or downright awful, and it cost this series. Having a plan to have your starter get all the way to Jansen (which never happened) was a disaster waiting to happen.
    If Mattingly has lost control in the clubhouse as some articles are saying this morning, he needs to go as well, because he is deer in the headlights in game manager. But no matter what, if the new GM wants his own guy, Mattingly goes.
    I’m afraid with the combo of Ned and DM in place this team at best wins division, but will never make a World Series.
    As far as the pen, I wouldn’t mind the youngsters setting up Jansen, Baez, Frias, both Garcia’s, Dominquez, and hopefully a healthy Withrow is just fine. I know Wilson and League are under contract, but the new GM needs to find them a new home somehow. Same with Etheir and Crawford. Pederson needs to take over left, with SVS staying as 4th OF. Offer Hanley the qualifying offer, so at worst you get a draft pick, and at best he’s back for only one year (sorry you can’t sign him to a multi-year deal). Look into what it would take to bring back Martin as catcher, moving AJ to Kershaw’s personal catcher and the occasional day game. Have Guerrero and Dee fight for 2B (Gordon was average at best in second half), if Hanley isn’t back, one of the Cubans plays short. Re-sign Turner and have him play at least as much as Uribe at third, keeping them both fresh. Look into bringing in one of Sheilds, Lester, or Scherzer (although I doubt any of them come, but at least try), you can never have too much starting pitching.

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