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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Plaschke, Shut Your Piehole!


"Ned Colletti has done nearly everything in his power to fill Dodgers' postseason needs, with one glaring exception: They still lack an ace pitcher."
Where have I heard this before? We have 2 aces in fact, Messrs Kershaw and Billingsley. Whether they are pitching like an "Ace" is an entirely different question. I have no problem with these two fine young pitchers leading the charge.

The Dodgers' general manager was smiling through the stifling heat Tuesday, wearing a long-sleeve dress shirt in his fancy steam bath.

"This is great," he said. "I'm great."

Oh yeah? Well, it's about to get hotter.
That's right, those fires are really wreaking havoc on the air quality near Dodger Stadium. Makes everyone feel a bit hotter. Don't hold your breath though, that would be bad. OK, maybe you can Bill.

Colletti finished his season's work late Monday night, acquiring enough players to satisfy most of the team's postseason needs.

All but the one that burns brightest.

The lack of an ace starting pitcher is still hanging out there, blinding and brutal.

Colletti has done a masterful job of collecting every other imaginable championship piece, but none of it will work without an ace starter.
Tell that to the 2005 White Sox. Or, according to the logic Bill Plaschke uses to determine an ace (i.e. whoever the fuck he deems worthy and "mentally tough enough"), the 2008 Phillies before they won. I'll revisit this point shortly.

Jim Thome and Ronnie Belliard will be nice late-inning threats -- if the Dodgers can hold the lead that long.
*Ranks in MLB for 2009*
Team FIP: 1st
Starters FIP: 4th
Bullpen FIP: 6th

The Dodgers appear quite capable of keeping other teams' offenses in check, so it's really a matter of the Dodgers' offense doing enough, which has been the problem this year. And how exactly does an "ace" help that situation, especially when it could have cost us someone like Matt Kemp? Not that Plaschke would have had a problem with Matt being traded away.

The Dodgers can be confident in nearly every player at every position, except the most important player in the most tenuous spot.
I don't know about you., but James Loney and Rafael Furcal have made me worry more than the pitching. Just saying.

Who will take the ball in their first game in the first full week of October?
Chad Billingsley. Or Clayton Kershaw. Or Randy Wolf. Someone who's either really really good or has been really really good this year.

Who will set the tone the way Cole Hamels set the tone for last year's Philadelphia Phillies?
The same Cole Hamels you would have criticized for being young and inexperienced? The same Cole Hamels you would almost certainly have advocated trading, like you did so many of the young Dodgers, for that crafty veteran? Funny how most of the guys Plaschke wanted the Dodgers to get have no postseason experience themselves. But don't let the facts get in the way William.

The personality of a postseason series is entirely established by the team's No. 1 starting pitcher. Most of the other top NL contenders each have two; the Dodgers don't have one.
We've been over this already Bill, and in fact, your math sucks, because we do have 2. Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley. Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw. Remember 'em Bill, they'll be around for a long time.

The Phillies have Hamels and Cliff Lee. The St. Louis Cardinals have Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. The San Francisco Giants have Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.
Going by Plaschke's longing desire for guys to have postseason experience, let's look at that above list. Three have it, three don't. The last two and Lee don't, but guess two guys who do have it and wear Blue: that's right, Clayton and Chad. Yet we should have traded for Lee while giving up someone like Bills (if we strictly go by Plaschke's postseason experience decree, which is not even close to the first reason why I wouldn't trade Chad for Cliff)? Great logic Plaschke.

If the playoffs began this week, their top starter would be Randy Wolf, who has 274 career appearances but zero in the postseason.
Pitchers Bill Plaschke likes better than who the Dodgers have: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee. Guess what they all have in common........NO POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE! Like Randy Wolf.

Their second starter would be Chad Billingsley, who has disappointed the organization with his inability to either act or pitch like an ace. Not to mention, his career postseason earned-run average is 7.24.
3 starts, 5 total appearances. Way to not understand small sample sizes Bill. Though that is 3 more starts and 5 more total appearances than the aforementioned Halladay, Lee, Cain, and Lincecum have combined. And wouldn't acting like an ace simple be pitching like one? Chad Billingsley has a career ERA of 3.47 (a stat Bill will know), a career ERA+ of 125 (with seasons of 135 and 138), and xFIPs of 4.16, 3.74, and 4.04 in the last 3 years. And he's 25. Coming off of hamstring problems and an off-season where he broke a leg. So yeah, he's fine.

The other night in Cincinnati, Billingsley shook his head and said what the Dodgers hate to hear.

"Lately, I haven't been able to find it, and I don't know what it is," he said.
I'd rather him admit when he sucks then act like he's pitching well. So I guess that's something the Dodgers would hate to hear more than what he actually said.

Their third starter will be Clayton Kershaw, who will be a postseason ace in coming years, but not now, not at age 21, not with the sort of inconsistency that could end a game early.
Like Derek Lowe, who at the youthful age of 33, did this in 2006? And suddenly Plaschke can tell a postseason ace before he becomes one? But I thought you said experience and success were necessary, Bill? That's why Randy and Chad aren't any good, and Chad's not an ace....stop making my head spin!

This is why the Dodgers should not have taken a chance. This is why Colletti should have offered more to the Cleveland Indians for Lee.

It is a failed trade that could haunt them through October, a failure of the entire Dodgers organization to either offer or cultivate the right prospects.
It could also be that "failed trade" that leads us to the promised land, as it probably would have taken Kemp or Kershaw to facilitate a trade. And that doesn't make us better, right Bill? Right? And again, the same Cliff Lee with no postseason experience?

Or it could be that this belongs on Frank McCourt's desk. Remember that last summer, in an effort to save money, the Dodgers traded some of their best prospects for players -- Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Greg Maddux -- instead of just buying them.
Eduardo Perez and Michael Watt for Maddux. Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris in the Manny deal. Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan for Blake. I see 1 elite prospect in Santana, 1 solid prospect in LaRoche, and a bunch of fillers. Bill's right on Santana, but "best prospects" is worse than a stretch. It's factually incorrect.

And guess who could be on the mound [ Cliff Lee] against the Dodgers in October?
Any number of pitchers to tell you the truth Bill.

But postseason pitching is about raw, period. It's not about cold statistics as much as swagger and savvy and stuff.
Really, because giving up the least amount of runs and baserunners seems like it's statistical to me. Plus, Kershaw and Billingsley have some of the best, if not best, stuff in the game.

The top pitchers in championship rotations bring the heat. If that guy doesn't emerge soon, the Dodgers will be feeling it.
Heat? Heat!? It's heat you want!?!? Was that as nonsensical as this article, because that's what I was going for.

Whew, I'm spent.


  1. Sorry, neither Bills and Kershaw are aces for World Series calibur teams. Ace is a stupid term. I think it either means the best SP on the team or a superstar pitcher. Either way, our two youngsters are not there yet. Case and point, look at Bills tonight pitch 4 awesome innings and totally implode in the 5th. Not the first time this season, but has happened so many times that the team should really make him a 4-5 innings pitcher before he f*cks up. I feel people are asking too much from these 2 guys.

    They are very good 2nd tier starting pitchers. So the Dodgers are a team of 2nd and 3rd place starters.

    Even so, it is the offense that is problem. I don't blame the pitching.

  2. Of course the offense is the problem, but seriously, Bills was incredibly unlucky in the 5th. One bad pitch all game, and it was clobbered halfway up the bleachers like it should have been.

    That was some of the worst luck I've seen a pitcher have. 4 ground balls, and none end up as outs. 2 end up in Dodger gloves, and the Montero double was a pretty damn good pitch from Chad.

    And yes, ace is a stupid term, but Kershaw and Bills are aces in my mind (and the minds of many others), so we must agree to disagree on that point.

  3. There is a difference between ace-right-now than potential ace. They are potential aces. I have no trouble saying that Wolf has posted the most steady outtings throughout the season. If there is a club ace, I would have to give it to Wolf.

  4. Wolf has never been and is not and will never be an ace.

    Kershaw is better, Bills is better. Wolf has been pitching better than Bills lately, but Bills is clearly better.

    Pitchers who have career years at 32ish are not better than elite 25-year-old pitchers.

  5. Then this team has no ace. Problem solved

  6. Obviously I disagree, but what I've never understood is why having an "ace" (and clearly we disagree on the meaning of an ace) is deemed as necessary for success. Sure, it's nice to have one or more, but the playoffs and World Series are about who's playing better, not who is better or who should be better.