Tag: MLB

The Dodgers Must Fire Dave Roberts

Call this emotional. Call it recency bias. Call it whatever you want. Just don’t call it wrong.

Dave Roberts has been the Dodgers’ manager since 2016. Since then, they have won one World Series – the Covid-shortened 2020 season. This in spite of the fact that the team has wielded a star-studded roster with one of the game’s largest payrolls since then.

Sure, one championship is one more than most other teams have in that time frame. But considering the resources the team has, and how it has spent them over the years to make sure the team is competitive, just one title seems far short of what would be expected.

One could argue, it’s not all his fault. To a degree, they could support it. Sure, he hasn’t any idea how to manage a pitching staff, but he isn’t the one that assembled a roster that required the likes of Billy McKinney and the corpse of Albert Pujols getting key at bats. But at the end of the day, despite imperfections dotting the roster, it comes down to this. Did you win the whole thing? If not, well, why not?

Roberts isn’t without his redeeming qualities. He’s a nice fella. Keeps the clubhouse loose. Makes sure guys get enough playing time to stay involved. Faces the media.

But wow. A blind rhinoceros could handle a pitching staff, and especially a bullpen, better.

Over the 162 game slog of the regular season, his ineptness is generally obscured by a combination of indifference and success in spite of it. After all, about 100 of those games are coming against teams more interested in losing than they are in winning. If you make an absurd bullpen call against the Oakland A’s, it’s unlikely to cost you.

That luxury, however, doesn’t exist in the playoffs. There are no Oakland A’s, Colorado Rockies, et al in the postseason. Decisions matter. And while you can accuse me of cherry picking, the list is too long for that argument to hold water. Whether it’s leaving Kershaw in to die against the Astros when it was clear as day they knew what was coming; or going to Kershaw against the Nationals out of the bullpen, instead of Kenta Maeda who’d been dominant out of it, or Adam Kolarek who was acquired specifically to face hitters like Juan Soto; or leaving Joe Kelly in for a second inning when his ERA after one inning was somewhat close to a billion; or whether it was pulling a cruising and dominant Rich Hill against the Red Sox; or keeping a clearly injured Blake Treinen on the roster over battle-tested veteran Craig Kimbrel, who wasn’t nearly as bad during the season as Dodger fan casuals will have you believe, against the Padres. If there’s a big pitching decision to be made, he’s going to blow it. Every time.

But what about 2020, you say? If you need a reminder, this is the postseason where Julio Urias was utterly unhittable, and closed out the championship in style. Now, I have no firsthand knowledge of this, but I would bet my bottom dollar that there was a conversation had between Roberts and the front office that went something like this.

FO: Any big spot, you’re going to Julio

DR: But…

FO: No buts. You’re doing it.

DR: But Kenley… Kershaw can pitch in relief!!!!

FO: It’s Julio, or you’re fired.

So I digress, there is no need to belabor this point. But tonight, it came to a head.

No, it isn’t his fault that the front office has assembled a bullpen consisting of guys like Shelby Miller and Phil Bickford, while cycling through guys like Andre Jackson, Jake Reed, Dylan Covey, Zack Burdi, and Tayler Scott. It’s not his fault that instead of World Series hero Dylan Floro, they have Alex Vesia, who was so bad he was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. It’s not his fault that Andrew Friedman got crunk as fuck one night and decided to make Noah Syndergaard an offer resembling one given to a pitcher who could get outs at the big league level. None of that is his fault.

What is his fault is not making the most of the resources he does have – primarily reclamation project turned top three reliever in baseball, Evan Phillips. Sure, there’s arguments to be made that your best reliever needs to be used to get the opposition’s toughest part of their lineup out. I get it. But in the playoffs last season, Phillips was used as early as the fifth inning. Good thing the opposition’s best hitters never come up again after the fifth inning, right?

Time and time again, he’s gone to Phillips way too early and left the likes of Brusdar Graterol to invariably fail in big situations.

Tonight it was the 8th inning, and it wasn’t even the Reds’ best hitters. Fortunately, he’d already used the calamitous Graterol earlier in the game, but going to Phillips in the 8th left Caleb Ferguson, who has struggled badly with his command, for the 9th. Even that is forgiveable, if he’d realized after the second of Ferguson’s four consecutive walk/HBPs, that he needed to make a change. Nope. About 15 pitches too late, he finally went to Shelby Miller, probably the third best option he had remaining at the time which is infuriating on its own level, to predictably give up the game-winning hit.

Back to the slog of the regular season. In years past, this gets papered over. It’s one game, and yes, Roberts is so bad at his job that he makes people yearn for the days of Don Mattingly, but this isn’t the same Dodger team as in recent years. Stars have departed, replaced by rookies who are going through their understandable ups and downs. This isn’t a team that is going to win 100+ games. This is a team that is, perhaps luckily, 9 games over .500 after 61 games. Not awful, perhaps even decent, but gone are the days of running away with the NL West. This team is nowhere near guaranteed to make the postseason, so these winnable games that are pissed away on an otherwise innocuous night in Ohio are going to matter.

Despite the tone of this article, I’m not even mad. I saw it coming as early as the 6th inning. I’m just realistic. I’m ok with this team being probably 25 games worse this season than last season, if it means making a run at Ohtani next offseason. But the trade off is, you have to win the games you have in the bag.

And the truth is, if you have a blithering idiot as your manager, it’s just not going to happen. For all of Roberts’ likability as a person, he’s an all-time bad manager. It’s time for the Dodgers to decide if they’re serious about winning, or if one title is enough for the next 20 plus years.


Pride Night: Dodgers Bungle it Shamefully

How do you screw up Pride Night? How, with billions of dollars at your disposal and thousands of people on your payroll do you screw up any night, for that matter? But especially this one. Pride Night is important.

For as long as there have been sports, the LGBT+ community has been excluded. Shunned. Ridiculed. Especially in baseball. To date, there has never been an openly gay active MLB player. Some came out after retirement, notably Glenn Burke. But how many people do you think gave up on their baseball dream at a young age because they knew they’d be an outcast due to their sexuality? Could we have had more Mike Trouts? Ken Griffey Jrs.? Dwight Goodens? We’ll never know, but odds are the sport and its fans have likely missed out on generational superstars due to institutional homophobia.

If that is ever going to change, the sport and its teams need to execute events like Pride Night correctly. Unequivocal inclusion is the message, and anything short of spotless execution is going to dilute it.

Here’s a summary of how it went down.

The Dodgers announce their Pride Night and the participating organizations. So far so good? This is where it all started going to shit. One of the organizations invited by the Dodgers was the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a charitable organization of men who dress in drag as nuns. Nobody will dispute the group’s good works, but the problem is, they openly mock Catholics. They claim not to, but they sell dildos in the shape of Jesus on the cross on their website. Read that sentence again.

This is problematic because a large part of the Dodgers fanbase is Latino, their primary religious affiliation, Catholicism. As you can imagine, there was some blowback. The Dodgers were caught off guard, not because Catholics took offense but because nobody had bothered to do any background research on any of the invited organizations. Also getting in on the blowback were people like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, an anthropomorphized pile of excrement if there ever was one.

Then the Dodgers compounded their error by… capitulating to the blowback. They uninvited the Sisters and whoa boy. If the ballclub thought the blowback to inviting the Sisters was bad, they had no idea what they were in for. Prominent California democrats condemned the team for giving in to right wing pressure. Other invited LGBT+ organizations withdrew from the event. Social media went crazy.

And if you don’t think Social media matters, well, why do you think every big league team in every big league sport has an active Twitter account. And wow, did the Twitter warriors go nuts on the Dodgers. Now, it’s true that probably 95% of the people most outraged didn’t actually care one bit what happened. They’re not really “allies.” They have likely never donated a penny to an LGBTQ+ cause, or stood up for an LGBTQ+ person being bullied. They lack the ability to care about anything other than how many likes and retweets they get, how much clout they can acquire, how much attention they can manufacture for themselves. They lack the intellectual capacity to process nuance. They’re honestly good for little. But what they can do is amplify a message. And did they ever amplify it.

Fast forward to Monday, May 22nd, the Dodgers once again flip flopped and reinvited the Sisters to Pride Night, reigniting the slobbering, flop sweating rage of the right wing bigotry machine. And probably, and less vocally, a whole lot of Catholics.

This is where the nuance comes in, and the aforementioned useless clout addicts of the Twitterverse. Not a lot of people outside of the Catholic faith are going to have a ton of sympathy for Catholics. The church has a long history of sexual scandal, pedophelia, homophobia and very public opposition to marriage equality. So when an organization engages in anti-catholic behavior, the sentiment is generally, “so what, fuck ’em.” Well, isn’t that inclusion for you.

Again, more nuance. While all of the warts on the Catholic church on that front were earned, the tides have indeed shifted. President Joe Biden is a lifelong devout Catholic, and the most pro-trans president in history. And while there remains a long way to go with the Vatican, Pope Francis has taken a publicly conciliatory tone toward homosexuality. So I maintain, you are either for inclusion and equality for all, or you’re either a piece of shit or a brainless twit who derives self worth only from online engagement.

Here is how it should have gone down.

  • All organizations invited should have been thoroughly vetted.
  • Once they fucked that up, they should have stuck to their guns, and released a public statement along the lines of this. “It has come to our attention that there are some concerns regarding of Pride Night’s organizations sentiment toward Catholics. While we don’t condone actions that denigrate anyone’s faith, we continue to believe in the importance of what the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence do for the LGBTQ+ community and look forward to their participation in this important event.”
  • Then, when people critized that, they could have followed up with a statement that says, “We continue to hear concerns. While we don’t disregard any of them, the Dodgers remain committed to making baseball and Dodger Stadium a safe and welcome place for all. We believe all people should be treated equally, and if you are not of that same mind, then you are welcome not to attend Pride Night.”
  • But they didn’t.

    All it would have taken is for one low level intern to do some basic research and say, “Hey Boss? They sell Jesus on the cross dildos. Is that…problematic?”

    Hopefully other organizations learn from the Dodgers’ failure.

    March/April MLB Debuts

    Each month here at The Stain we will look back at the players who made their MLB debuts in that month. This month we will extend a few days as the season started on March 30th.

    This year we saw plenty of big name prospects debut with three players in the MLB top 100 prospects coming into the season, Anthony Volpe, Jordan Walker, and Grayson Rodriguez. We also saw Masataka Yoshida debut after being the big international free agent signing, and we also saw a 2022 draft pick in Zach Neto find his way to the big leagues. 

    Best Hitting Debut:

    Joey Ortiz, 2B, Baltimore Orioles – 1-3, 3 RBI – Ortiz got his first career hit in the top of the fifth inning on a grounder into right field scoring both Jorge Mateo and Adam Frazier. Two innings later he connected on a sacrifice fly to score Adam Frazier giving him the most RBI in a debut of anyone to start the season. 

    Best Pitching Debut:

    Logan Allen, LHP, Cleveland Guardians – 6 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 8 K, W – There were quite a few arms that secured a win in their debut, but nobody performed better than Allen. The first batter of the game was Jon Berti who went down swinging to give Allen his first career MLB strikeout, although Berti did get his revenge in the third as he hit a solo home run for the only run Miami managed to score against Allen.


    Best Hitting Month:

    Masataka Yoshida, OF, Boston Red Sox  – It is no surprise Yoshida had the best month, as he is a 29 year old Japanese veteran in his first MLB season. That said, he has been much better on the road than at home, where he is hitting below the Mendoza Line. Given his ability to use the whole field it was, and still is, expected he take advantage of the Green Monster in left, but just hasn’t found it enough yet. 

    Best Pitching Month: 

    Jose Hernandez, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates – In addition to the Pirates being a surprise team in the first month, they have also seemed to find them a quality reliever as well. It won’t likely be a trend to see a reliever have the best month, but given he has only walked one hitter, given up only a single run, and struckout 11 through 11.2 innings over nine outings is proof positive he has become a reliever the team can rely on. 

    Worst Debut:

    Hogan Harris, LHP, Oakland Athletics – 0.1 IP, H, 5 BB, HBP 6 ER – This won’t be a monthly feature, but the stat line is just too eye popping to ignore. Harris managed to face just eight batters in his debut, walking five of them, hitting another, and only recorded one out. He was sent back down to AAA after the game so he currently has a career WHIP of 18.000 and career ERA of 162.00.

    Best Story:

    Drew Maggi, 3B, PIttsburgh Pirates – Another entry that won’t necessarily be a monthly inclusion, but how can you not include Maggi when discussing player debuts this month?!?! Maggi spent 13 season in the minor leagues with six different organizations and seen action in over 1,100 games before finally making his big league debut, with the team that originally drafted him back in 2010. The 34-year old went 0-1 in his debut, but finally got his first career hit in our nation’s capital over the weekend.


    DraftKings MLB Tournament Lineup – 4/1/21

    Is there a better day of the year than Opening Day? In honor of my favorite day of the year, here’s the DK tournament lineup to make you rich.
    Early in the season, your biggest opportunities to field a powerful lineup is the lag in which it takes pricing to catch up to new aces. If you want to start the powerful Dodgers in hitter friendly Coors? Ok. Then you need to either punt multiple positions or find value with your starting pitchers.
    You won’t see Woodruff and Alcantara available at these prices by June, or maybe even May. Now is the time to pounce. Here is today’s money maker. Use it. Or don’t, and let me get rich alone.

    Predicting the 2021 MLB Season

    Predicting the 2021 MLB Season

    World Series ChampionsToronto Blue Jays
    AL PennantToronto Blue Jays
    NL PennantLos Angeles Dodgers
    AL EastNew York Yankees
    AL CentralChicago White Sox
    AL WestOakland Athletics
    AL Wild CardToronto Blue Jays
    AL Wild CardMinnesota Twins
    NL EastAtlanta Braves
    NL CentralMilwaukee Brewers
    NL WestLos Angeles Dodgers
    NL Wild CardSan Diego Padres
    NL Wild CardNew York Mets
    AL MVPMatt Chapman 
    AL Cy YoungLucas Giolito
    AL ROYBobby Dalbec
    NL MVPFernando Tatis Jr.
    NL Cy YoungJacob deGrom
    NL ROYKe’Bryan Hayes
    Bizarre Happenings in Spring Training

    Bizarre Happenings in Spring Training

    Spring Training of 2021 is as unique as there has ever been. Typically the oddities are limited to seeing minor league guys come up wearing a number in the 70s or 80s pinch hitting with the massive MiLB dual flapped helmet while listening to the announcers shuffling through their notes to try and find the player’s name. Instead, the minor league guys are wearing single flapped helmets and there aren’t any call ups for the day thanks to the limited number of players in camp, but the rest of the game has gone odd, here are the ones that stand out:

    7 inning Games

    The default length of a game this Spring is just 7 innings. With the previously mentioned limited rosters there aren’t the guys to fill out the 8th and 9th inning duties, so most games end after seven, which is just weird to watch MLB games essentially last as long as a local High School game.

    6 Inning Games

    If 7 inning games are odd, 6 inning games are downright bizarre. In no level of baseball are there games scheduled to go just 6 innings, except Spring Training 2021. A number of games have been scheduled to go just six due to pitching availability.

    8.5 Inning Game

    The March 4 game between the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks was scheduled to go 8.5 games regardless of the score. The D-Backs happened to be up 9-2 after the top of the 8th, so the box score looks normal, but had the score been flipped, there still would not have been a bottom of the 9th!

    Double Walkoff

    On March 2, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 after 6 innings thanks to not one, but two winning free passes. Bases loaded tied 2-2 with Christopher Sanchez in the mound, Riley Adams gets hit by the pitch to give the Blue Jays the 3-2 victory. One problem, the Phillies wanted to see more from Sanchez, so they allow Phillip Clarke to step into the batter’s box where he proceeds to draw a walk to walk it off….again.

    Free Substitutions

    Also on March 2, John Means got the start on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles against the New York Yankees. Means gave up a single, fly out, single, groundout, single and was pulled from the game in favor of Jay Flaa who got a fly out to end the inning. Fast forward to the top of the second, replacing Flaa on the mound was, yup, John Means! He after struggling with his feel in the first he took a breather then went back out despite having already been removed from the game and finished the second inning on his own, but only going 1.2 innings.

    Box Score Glitches

    So, this one is more of a glitch, or somebody asleep on the job, or both, but the Phillies-Yankees game from Sunday March 7 showed a bizarre scenario. DJ LeMahieu lined out for the first out of the second inning before Aaron Judge is called out on strikes for out number two, then it gets weird. I have yet to confirm what actually happened, mainly because I don’t want facts to get in the way of a good story, but apparently Zach Britton, the pitcher, “starts inning at 3rd base” despite there having already been a grand slam earlier in the inning and he was not on base, and he is immediately out at third. No explanation, not play-by-play just out at third. The box score after the game does not list Britton as having participated in the game, and the Yankees opened the next inning with Aaron Hicks, who was batting behind Judge in the lineup.

    MLB 2020 Season Projections

    Baseball starts tonight and the playoff setup is still TBD. I have decided to put the seed number next to the division winners, then Wild Card spot 1-5 next to the potential Wild Card teams so you can see who makes it with standard 2 Wild Card scenarios, and who makes it based on the proposed 5 Wild Card scenario. With teams being separated by region in terms of schedule, it is worth noting I would consider the East to be the toughest, followed by the West, then the Central the easiest. In a traditional year, I would project the Pittsburgh Pirates to have the worst record in baseball, but the Central will allow them to win too many games to get the first pick in next year’s draft, so I project that to go to the Baltimore Orioles.


    AL East

    1)      Tampa Bay Rays (3 seed in playoffs)

    2)      New York Yankees (1st Wild Card)

    3)      Boston Red Sox (4th Wild Card)

    4)      Toronto Blue Jays

    5)      Baltimore Orioles

    AL Central

    1)      Cleveland Indians (1 seed in playoffs)

    2)      Minnesota Twins (2nd Wild Card)

    3)      Chicago White Sox (5th Wild Card)

    4)      Kansas City Royals

    5)      Detroit Tigers

    AL West

    1)      Houston Astros (2 seed in playoffs)

    2)      Los Angeles Angels (3rd Wild Card)

    3)      Oakland Athletics

    4)      Seattle Mariners

    5)      Texas Rangers

    NL East

    1)      Atlanta Braves (2 seed in playoffs)

    2)      Washington Nationals (1st Wild Card)

    3)      Philadelphia Phillies (2nd Wild Card)

    4)      New York Mets (5th Wild Card)

    5)      Miami Marlins

    NL Central

    1)      Cincinnati Reds (3 seed in playoffs)

    2)      Milwaukee Brewers (4th Wild Card)

    3)      Chicago Cubs

    4)      St. Louis Cardinals

    5)      Pittsburgh Pirates

    NL West

    1)      Los Angeles Dodgers (1 seed in playoffs)

    2)      Arizona Diamondbacks (3rd Wild Card)

    3)      San Diego Padres

    4)      Colorado Rockies

    5)      San Francisco Giants


    World Series: Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles Dodgers

    Why it’s OK Derek Jeter Didn’t get 100%

    Derek Jeter getting into the Hall of Fame with all but one vote has sparked plenty of debate. There are many reasons for him to have gotten 100%, but I think him falling shy of unanimous is actually the correct result.

    Let’s start with the arguments for being the second ever unanimous member of Cooperstown. The simple fact Mariano Rivera earned 100% of the votes a season ago has eliminated the argument of those who have come before not receiving 100% as an argument. Babe Ruth should have been 100%, but you can no longer not vote for someone on that argument. There is also no questioning Jeter’s Hall of Fame resume, so he should land on all the ballots on that argument alone.

    Now, for the reasons the one voter who did not vote for him got it right. The argument since the results were announced has been Jeter is easily a top four shortstop of all-time. A top four guy at his position, not top four player all-time, so should a guy you can’t really argue was the best at his own position get 100%, I argue no. On that, he wasn’t the best player of his time, never winning an MVP, and you can argue he wasn’t the best at his position at any point of his career. Cal Ripken Jr. was better than Jeter early on, and Alex Rodriguez was already in the big leagues when Jeter debuted, and he was the better player most of, if not their entire careers.

    Now, there has often been an argument to spread out votes to players who need a boost or to keep them on the ballot an extra year, but the ballot was rather weak this season so that isn’t a valid argument. Another issue with the vote is the fact it is a secret ballot. Baseball writers vote for the Hall of fame, yet their names and ballots are not made public. Those who are tasked with writing the story of baseball literally vote for the stories, yet they are not made to make their opinions public. This needs to change and that may make it more common to see 100% vote getters, or at least make those who don’t vote for a guy like Jeter explain themselves. The writer who did not vote for Jeter has a quality argument for not voting, but the fans of the game do deserve an explication.