Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 5/25/13

  • May 25, 2013

My Friday card was a short one, and the overall result was a harmless split. The Saturday agenda would appear to offer more substantial possibilities, as I’m already set on three baseball plays with a good chance of adding a couple more if the numbers cooperate. To purchase the entire card, just click the tab to the right and get either the daily or weekly package. For info on lengthier terms along with guarantees, drop me a line directly at cokin@cox.net.

There has been quite a buzz on the West Coast regarding the respective futures of the two SoCal skippers, Mike Scioscia and Don Mattingly. This isn’t knee jerk media and fan overreaction, either. The Angels have been falling short of lofty expectations the last few years, and the Dodgers are on their way to being what could be the monster flop of the 2013 campaign.

Scioscia has enjoyed a long reign in Anaheim. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s a very capable manager. In fact, the strongest argument I’ve made against Scioscia has been a tendency to micromanage just a little too much during games. I look at the Halos and see what should be one of the best grip it and rip it teams anywhere. Scioscia seems to prefer grinding things out small ball style. That worked like a charm with some past Angels rosters , but this club is better off playing bombs away in my opinion. As for the pitching, I’m not sure what Scioscia can do to fix the problems that exist. You’ve either got the arms or you don’t, and the fact is that this is simply not a great staff.

The dumping on Scioscia has subsided with the recent surge by the Halos. This team has lots of ground to make up, but they’re hot now and could stay that way with just average contributions from the pitching staff. However, that is anything but the case with the Angels neighbors from Los Angeles.

The Dodgers are  simply a bad baseball team right now, despite a roster loaded with big stars. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Having stars is awesome, but not if the remainder of the roster is loaded with what amounts to journeymen rather than solid complimentary players. Add in the fact that the stars are also falling well short of expectations, and you’ve got a bad situation. That’s the Dodgers in a nutshell.

That said, the Dodgers are also one of the most consistently flat teams I’ve seen in awhile. Watch a Cardinals game, check out the Reds, take a gander at the Pirates or even the Padres. You’re likely to see teams that look like they’re having fun at the ballpark, and are really into what’s happening. Then take a look at the Dodgers and notice the difference. This is a team that isn’t playing baseball. They’re working baseball.

Mattingly is not responsible for the clunky roster he’s saddled with, that’s on management. But he’s not getting the most from what he does have, in my opinion, and I’m also very down on many of his strategic maneuvers, most notably an apparent obsession with going “by the book” on way too many occasions. That “book” has been exposed as just plain wrong by the sabremetric world, yet Mattingly continues to plod along, giving his team less chance of winning games in the process.

Mattingly received the dreaded vote of confidence earlier this week. I’m not sure why anyone would take this seriously. Barring an unlikely turnaround in the very near future, the Dodgers are going to have to make a change.  From a business standpoint, not to mention in terms of wins and losses, I have to think the sooner the better for the Dodgers.

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05/25 07:10 PM  MLB   (913) SAN DIEGO PADRES VS (914) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Take: (913) SAN DIEGO PADRES

The San Diego Padres have gotten cooled off the last few nights following a major surge that brought them within a whisker of reaching the .500 plateau. But I like the Friars chances of snapping their 0-3 run with a win tonight at Arizona.

Andrew Cashner will be doing the pitching for the Padres, and the big righty is really starting to put things together. This is a guy with good enough stuff to be a legit #2 starter, and could even approach ace level as time goes on. Command is the key for Cashner. When he’s working ahead in the count, Cashner can be downright nasty. Lately, that has been the case more often than not and not surprisingly, he’s generating some very positive results.

Things have not been going as well for Wade Miley. The lefty enjoyed a breakout 2012 campaign, racking up 16 wins in the process. Miley gave up an inordinate number of hits per inning, but hitters had to beat him, as he simply would not beat himself with walks and consistently unfavorable counts. But 2013 has been a different story for the southpaw. Control has been a nagging issue for Miley, and while he’s been a little sharper lately, I don’t see him as a go with guy right now. Miley, it should be noted, has also had some real problems with some of the Padres he’ll be facing tonight.

Things are going pretty well for the Diamondbacks right now. Despite a bullpen that’s not exactly lights out, this team is winning games and will enter Saturday’s action now tied for first place in the NL West with the surprising Rockies. On run differential, Arizona is 45 to the good against San Diego, and they’re hosting a Padres team that is not exactly the nuts on the road. But I prefer Cashner to Miley enough to look at the Padres as a live dog tonight, and I’ll therefore side with San Diego to pick up the victory this time.