After the hubbub and craze of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ fantastic stretch ended, analysts and fans alike started to disrespect the team’s accomplishments as their recent record began to show signs of human-like results.
With the Dodgers struggling to win games recently, their momentum has seemingly halted in its tracks. It is true that the Boys in Blue are 5-10 in their last 15 games, but the seriousness of this subpar stretch has been seriously embellished by critics:
— ESPNLA 710 Radio (@ESPNLA710) September 16, 2013
Can we all stop for a minute, stop listening to the crazies of the world and actually look up the statistics and facts?
The fact of the matter is that the Dodgers’ recent starting lineups have been the main causes for their recent losses. If you actually analyze these lineups, it becomes fairly clear that manager Don Mattingly and the rest of the coaching staff have not been very concerned with playing their best players every day. As the Dodgers’ magic number continued to slowly drop to none, the team’s management gave plenty of time for the stars to rest, recover and refocus for the inevitable postseason.
During the span of the last 15 games, the Dodgers gave superstar Hanley Ramirez five games off as he was resting a sore back. To the critics who freaked out about this, Ramirez played in two of the Dodgers’ last three games and recorded five hits and four RBI. This is not a serious injury, but merely a precautionary way to let Ramirez heal up and be 100% at the start of the postseason.
Mattingly and company have not been shy to employ similar tactics with many of the other starters as well as the lineup has been missing some of the Dodgers’ biggest names frequently. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez both got a couple games off during the 15-game stretch and even Cy Young shoo-in Clayton Kershaw got his most recent start pushed back three days for extra rest and to line him up for the start of playoffs. Minor leaguers of the likes of Nick Buss, Alex Castellanos and Stephen Fife were called up to give the Dodgers’ starters important time off.
The Dodgers’ lineup has looked like a quadruple-A minor league team at times, with one of the most laughable list of starters coming from Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants: Dee Gordon, Mark Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Juan Uribe, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston Jr., AJ Ellis, Nick Buss and Edinson Volquez.
As the rest of the baseball world watched and laughed at the Dodgers’ apparent stumbling, the team’s management enjoyed their team getting rested and healthy while still managing to clinch the division crown with 9 games to play in the regular season. Well played, Donnie Baseball!