Official 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers Thread : Game 4

Joined Sep 17, 2013
Kersh and bullpen weren’t great but good enough to get the W. Let’s get this World Series this year boys!!!
Joined Oct 25, 2006
Love May's poise so far, gave up a double with Goldscmidt and Ozuna coming up but gets out of the inning. Just like his first start with runners on early he found ways to get outs. Here's a decent piece on him by Andy McCullough who is with The Athletic now (formerly LA Times):

McCullough: Working out a plan for Dustin May, the Dodgers learn from Walker Buehler’s experience

By Andy McCullough 7h ago

One morning this past spring, Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling predicted the future through the haze of a shaggy wig and the shade of tinted glasses. To break the Cactus League tedium, Stripling penned a song sending up his organization. He arranged it as a parody of 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite.” David Freese and A.J. Pollock chomped unlit smokes and strummed acoustic guitar. Stripling sang alongside fellow pitcher Brock Stewart. One verse lamented the plight of the replaceable Dodger.

“If I throw seven shutty,” Stewart sang, “will I get sent to Triple A?”

“And how much time is left,” Stripling followed, “until my job’s taken by Dustin May?”

The drumbeat for May, the organization’s finest pitching product, only increased as spring turned to summer. The crescendo arrived last week during May’s debut at Dodger Stadium. The ballpark serenaded the 21-year-old, 6-foot-6, ginger-haired right-hander with a standing ovation, even after he permitted four runs in 5 2/3 innings to the San Diego Padres and exited with a loss on his resume. The result did not obscure the ferocity of his 96-mph sinker or the flurry of groundballs he generated.

That, any reasonable observer could see, will play in the postseason.

At this point for the Dodgers, who are galloping toward a seventh consecutive National League West title, only October matters. These final two months can serve as an apprenticeship for May. He has a chance to grow comfortable in the major leagues before the organization asks him to adjust to life as a reliever. He will be afforded an opportunity that Walker Buehler, the team’s top pitching prospect in 2017, did not receive.

That autumn, as the Houston Astros flew west for the World Series, a small group of Dodgers officials huddled to discuss how to greet their guests on the diamond. The trio of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, general manager Farhan Zaidi and manager Dave Roberts occupied the highest rungs of the organizational ladder; responsibility for the construction of their team belonged to them.

They had spent the past few days reading reports about the Astros from scouts, listening to recommendations from advisors and hearing input from coaches. When the three men sequestered themselves to finalize their 25-man roster, a question lingered: Who would occupy the final spot in the bullpen, 33-year-old veteran Brandon McCarthy or 22-year-old Buehler?

Neither McCarthy nor Buehler had thrown a pitch in the first two rounds as the Dodgers romped to their first National League pennant since 1988. The brain trust understood the 101-win Astros represented a more formidable challenge. Each spot on the roster was vital. The discussion about the two pitchers occupied the thoughts of the three officials.

The debate centered on ability versus experience. Each candidate featured flaws. McCarthy had been a credible starter for most of the summer before his command evaporated. He had pitched for more than a decade in the majors, but had never appeared in a postseason game. Buehler was the first player drafted under Friedman and Zaidi’s regime, and the wielder of a wicked repertoire. But he had walked nearly a batter per inning in a lackluster, eight-outing September bullpen audition. His glimmering future guaranteed little in the present.

“Walker didn’t feel comfortable out of the ‘pen,” Roberts said. “You had somebody who didn’t perform out of the ‘pen, didn’t feel comfortable, and now you’re going to put him in the [World Series] … ? That’s ultimately what made our decision.”

McCarthy made the roster. The organization offered Buehler tickets to the first two games at Dodger Stadium. He watched from the stands as McCarthy surrendered a game-deciding homer in the 11th inning of Game 2. The Dodgers lost that night and went on to lose the series. In a Fall Classic stocked with what-ifs, you can add this one to the pile: If Buehler was available, would the outcome have been different?

The question cannot be answered, but the Dodgers can still learn from it. They face an analogous situation with May. He will make his second start on Wednesday against St. Louis. From there, the options are open. He could stay in the rotation as Stripling recovers from nagging injuries. He could return to the minors. Or he could ply his trade in the bullpen.

The Dodgers did not have an opening in their rotation for Buehler in 2017. He relieved in nine games for Triple-A Oklahoma City before getting promoted in September. He found that “learning how to be a reliever in that structured, Triple-A environment is not what it’s like being a reliever in the major leagues,” he said. His command suffered and his results sagged. On some nights, he looked electric; on others, he was cooked.

Buehler grappled with the cavalcade of adjustments. He hoped those who followed him would be able to avoid some of those hurdles.

There are few aesthetic similarities between Buehler and May. An All-Star this season, Buehler combines the physique of Tim Lincecum with the arsenal of Justin Verlander. May has drawn comparisons to Noah Syndergaard, but he looks more like Justin Turner’s gangly cousin.

Buehler radiates self-belief. While May does not project as much charisma, or overflow with as much palpable confidence, he has impressed team officials with his studiousness and curiosity.

“Beyond the obvious talent on the mound, what is arguably more impressive about him is the way his mind works,” Friedman said. “His burning desire to be great at what he does is as good as I can remember in a young pitcher.”

Buehler has tracked May’s development since the Dodgers chose him in the third round of the 2016 draft, a year after Buehler was selected. Earlier this summer, he fell into conversations with team officials about their plans for May. When Buehler learned May might aid the bullpen in October, Buehler offered a suggestion: Call him up before September.

“I told some of the front office guys, at that point, it probably would have benefited me to have more time, to settle in and get some of the **** out of the way, and then try to get ready for the playoffs,” Buehler said. “I think they’re doing it differently with him, where they’re giving him a little bit more time, and a little bit more runway to learn the big leagues and learn the bullpen.”

The top three spots in the Dodgers rotation are occupied by Buehler, Hyun-jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw. In the postseason, the fourth could serve as a waystation for a diverse collection of arms including May, fellow rookie Tony Gonsolin, Rich Hill and Julio Urías. All four could either start or relieve at different intervals. In May’s case, he will need to learn how to harness his gifts from the bullpen. He cannot pocket his curveball, as he did for stretches in his debut.

“It’s about being able to have that secondary pitch immediately,” bullpen coach Mark Prior said. “Because you might throw it five straight times out of the chute. That’s definitely something that people take time getting used to.”

May must also learn to tailor his approach toward specific situations. Sometimes he will require a strikeout. At others, a groundball will suffice. He must make these adjustments inside the pressure cooker of the postseason, when mistakes get punished and gaffes live forever.

Adjusting to those contours takes time. The Dodgers carved out two months to prepare May for October. They want him on the mound in the World Series. Not the bleachers.

Edit: Big Red is nasty after 3 so far with 5Ks, 1BB, 1H.
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Joined Dec 19, 2013
Need the Stros to lose. We need home field. Something magical happening at the Ravine this season. Plus F that little league stadium :smh:
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