Dodgers News: Team Had a Closed-Door Meeting

The Los Angeles Dodgers are now on a six-game losing streak after falling to the San Diego Padres in back-to-back games.

But, it was after getting swept by the Miami Marlins that the Dodgers held a closed-door meeting where they were able to freely discuss everything that seemed to be going wrong with the club over the last several days.

While the result of the game on Friday and Saturday night might lead some to believe that the meeting didn’t do anything, the true results don’t happen overnight.

In general, this seems like a team that really does like each other. They fight for each other, they play hard for one another, and they compete through it all. The purpose of the meeting was for the team to get back to the fundamentals and basics. It’s not pushing the panic button, but rather pushing the reset button after a series where everything went wrong.

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From Doug Padilla, staff writer for ESPN dot com:

“Over the course of a season there will be times when you’re not playing well,” [manager Dave] Roberts said. “You try not to be too results-driven, but I think that I’m taking a step back from that and I’m looking at that series. Hitting the reset button today was good and I think the guys took the message well and we’re in a good place right now.”

The general mood within the clubhouse seems to be fantastic despite the recent results. The team knows they’re eventually going to bust out of their slump and hit the ball well again. After all, teams aren’t this bad offensively all year. The talent is there, but the execution is lacking right now. This closed-door meeting should help bring some of that execution to life.

Just look at the way Adrian Gonzalez is trying to inspire and motivate the team:

And his teammates responded:

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  1. The people from TWC aren’t LAD fans. They’re from NY. The Guggenheim Partners aren’t fans either, just big businessmen. LAD made 4.3B on the deal. I don’t think they really care about the 70% of fans that are blacked out unless they are losing $ every year on the deal. Why should sponsors pay full bore for only 30% of a viewing audience?

  2. Bleed Blue Forever Dodgers need to just leave the same line up in everyday.  The team has no real chemistry, and can’t get any rhythm going.  People are playing every other day, in different positions, and different spots in the order.  Nobody can win like that.

  3. It’s nice that the players like each other and are trying to stay positive, but that can’t compensate for a dysfunctional offense, a woeful bullpen and unreliable pitching on the back end of the rotation.

    There is a new manager and hitting coach, but the offensive shortcomings this season are familiar: an inability to hit with runners in scoring position, poor situation hitting, too many strikeouts  and poor base running and no speed. Things may improve a bit when Ethier and Van Slyke return, but the fundamental problems remain.

    They have options in the bullpen and may start exercising them. Look for Urias to come up and pitch out of the pen. Strickland will be moved there as soon as Ryu or Bolsinger can move into the rotation. Montas could be an option if he recovers from surgery quickly. DeLeon is another possibility.

    The rotation still will be Kershaw, Maeda and then cross your fingers and close your eyes. The best hope may be that Ryu can come back as someone resembling the pitcher he was before the shoulder operation. If not, it’s going to be a very long season, indeed.

    I’m sticking with my pre-season prediction, somewhere between 85 and 88 wins and no playoff appearance. Then Friedman will come out and tell us again what a wonderful job he’s doing with the minor leagues in preparation for the Dodgers’ 2020 season.

  4. The true test of greatness is not how you handle winning, it’s how you handle losing. The Dodgers will bounce back from this one losing streak all season long? Even if it’s gotten up to 6 games, that’s not so bad. Going into the series with Florida we had won all but 1 series over the month and we kept our losses isolated. We can get back to that, and when we do it’s going to be trouble for the rest of the league. At some point in the season every team has their bats go slow, they have their pitching turn sour, and they even have both happen at the same time. It’s nothing to panic about, but we do need to make adjustments and figure out a way past this. Once we get a few timely hits and win a couple ball games you’re going to see an entirely different team.

  5. Blue58 Going into the series with Miami we were 7th in runs scored and in the top 10 in BA and OBP. now we’re 12th in runs scored and BA and 15th in OBP. That’s hardly a dysfunctional offense. Especially when you consider half the teams on that list have an extra batter every game by virtue of the DH rule. The “woeful bullpen” is also very much an overstatement. When they’re bad the bullpen has been really bad, but thus far the bullpen hasn’t been all that bad. When the starters can get through 6 innings with the lead, we’ve won most of the games we’ve played. But when a bullpen pitcher is coming in with runners on, or in a game where the opponents have already gotten a lot of hits, that makes things tougher on bullpen pitchers. As for the back end of the rotation, Stripling has been a pleasant surprise. Wood hasn’t cut it, but we do have other options (most of them on the disabled list). The guys you’re talking about aren’t expected to last through the season as starters anyway, and most people expect them to be back in the minors once our injured guys are back.
    We’re the same team as last year for the most part. So naturally you’ll see the same shortcomings from this team as you saw last year. The biggest one being hitting naturally. They are in a pitcher’s park. A successful Dodgers team is always going to fall short offensively when compared to other teams. Look at how we’ve done on the road we’ve been scoring runs just fine prior to this losing streak. This coaching staff has only had 25 days to work with the team on things. You don’t work on that kind of stuff in spring, spring is more for getting in shape and working with the rookies. Even early in the season there’s a lot of things you don’t work on yet, as it takes time to isolate not only what the problems are, but why they’re problems and what can be done about them. Seems to me our offensive woes are much more simple then you’re making things out to be. It’s not even about the strikeouts if we struck out more we could still be OK. The problem as I see it is guys are striking out swinging from their heels or not swinging at all on 3-4 pitches. When the team has been successful, it’s been by forcing the pitcher to throw a lot of pitches. A couple 7-10 pitch at bats here and there to throw them off, even by Puig as he draws a walk. Take 10 pitches to strike out, I’ll forgive a player for striking out. We need to shorten up our stroke though and find the holes. Focus on solid contact over power shots.
    We’ve been exercising our bullpen options and that will continue. We brought up Liberatore, who has done well. Urias, deLeon, and Montas, that can be touchy. While they could be valuable out of the bullpen if we bring them up, they’d get more work in the minors, and their development is a huge consideration. As much as I’d like to see improvement, if it stunts a player’s growth I’d rather see the Dodgers look into other options. When Ryu, Anderson, and McCarthy are all healthy, Wood and Strickland are bullpen pitchers or in AAA. One of the three (likely not Ryu) is also going to need to be moved to the bullpen. So yeah we really do have options, but let’s also not discount the trade deadline. As it stands right now, we just need to get through the all-star break in contention. If this team can wake up and get healthy, there’s really no moves we could make anyway as we don’t have the roster space, and moving a position player to try to improve would be too much of a risk to team chemistry unless we can pick up a superstar, and that’s not going to happen. And hell even if it could happen, after the Manny deal, I don’t think the Dodgers would be too keen on making such a move. Pitching, we can’t really make a move either. We won’t get a top guy good enough to make it worth giving up on what we already have. The only room we really have to deal is to pick up relievers and bench/utility players, and even in those cases we’d have to move a guy to make room. The bench there’s not really any room to do that unless we finally give up on Crawford, or if Kendrick keeps stinking up the place and we end up cutting him. So yeah I would expect the Dodgers to make a move or 2 after the all-star break if our bullpen doesn’t come around, but it makes sense to stand pat at this time. See what you got, see who steps it up and who flops, and work from there once everyone’s back.
    As for your prediction, I think it’s rather pessimistic. We made the playoffs last year with the same offensive players (after trimming a little fat) and arguably inferior pitching. Despite the loss of Greinke we’ve improved our starting pitching. Maeda so far has been better then Greinke ever was for us, and Greinke was damn good for us. But even if Maeda wasn’t being so dominant, we’ve still improved our pitching. The problem is half of that is on the DL. Ryu, Anderson, and McCarthy alone make for a pretty decent rotation. Now consider that we only have room for 2 of them, and we need them to cover for the number 3 and 4 slots? Huge improvement, and that’s putting Kazimir as our number 5, which is vastly underrating him. things have been rough for him now with his blisters, and if we didn’t have so many starters on the DL as it is he likely would have been put on the DL until he recovers completely, but he’ll improve.

  6. bgemini51 Do you know how much it costs to run a baseball team? Dodgers are paying out close to 300 million bucks in payroll alone. That doesn’t count stadium costs, maintenance, and upkeep, travel costs, employee salary and payroll… do you even know how many thousands of employees the Dodgers have? Actually technically that’s not true as the Dodgers allow third parties to handle as much as possible (such as concessions, parking attendants, ushers, etc.) but the Dodgers are still paying them even if they’re employees of a separate company. Running a baseball team IS big business. They spent 2 billion dollars buying the team in the first place what do you want them to do run it like a mom and pop restaurant? They don’t care about the fans that are blacked out. There’s a reason for that. The chief reason is, that 70% is an exaggeration. That is the number of potential cable subscribers in the entire southern California area adjusted to represent people that choose not to have Time Warner Cable despite it being available in their region. The Dodgers are on Time Warner Cable. If you choose not to get Time Warner Cable, you choose not to care about seeing the Dodgers. Why should they in turn care about you? Either way you’re spending money to watch the team regardless of where you live. Everywhere across this country baseball teams “home channel” is a cable network. Sponsors pay full bore because they know people complaining about TWC are cheap and lazy, and would not be viable customers even if they could be reached. Advertisers know that the people who would actually spend money on their product are the people who stopped complaining about TWC a long time ago and found a way to watch the games, via TWC, or via other methods.

  7. LauraLunsford Bleed Blue Forever I agree in a sense. I like the idea of this rest rotation, but Roberts seems to be resting them a little too much. Sometimes it seems like it’s 2 games on 1 game off, which is never going to let guys get into a rhythm. So slow that down a bit but keep the same core lineup, and give up on this vs lhp/vs rhp crap. Move guys up and down in the lineup to play to your strengths, and if you can schedule rest days to coincide with pitching weaknesses then by all means, but the young guys especially are never going to learn how to hit both lefties and righties if they aren’t hitting against both types.
    The different positions, that to me is the biggest thing. Kendrick, I’ve been pretty hard on him but I feel bad for the guy. Here he is trying to pull out of a huge batting slump and he’s gotta learn how to play 3B again, and how to play LF again. All cause the guy he was brought in as an improvement over got hot. But that being said there comes a point where the player has to say “eff it” and go big or go home. That point came with Crawford a long time ago I honestly don’t think people would hate him so much if he looked like he cared. But he comes across as being content to make his money while he struggles and while he’s on the DL, which makes people want him gone. Uribe was the opposite his stats were never great. He was never that big presence at the plate though his defense was lovely. But we forgave that because when he was slumping, we’d see him doing everything he can do to pull out of it. We’d see the adjustments he’d make, and the hustle as he tries to beat out that infield ground ball. I don’t see that in Kendrick. For now I’m willing to accredit that to there being too much on his plate, but even turning him into Kike #2, there’s going to come a time soon now where he’s going to have to produce, or make room for someone who can.

  8. Smokachu Blue58 The best reason for optimism is that the Dodgers are in a weak division, so 88 wins might be enough to get them into the playoffs, where they can be summarily knocked off as usual.

    The team finished the first month of the season one game below .500, lost six straight to two lousy teams and were paralyzed at the plate by two pitchers just called up from the minors. Now, think about this: they haven’t played any good teams yet. None of the team they played in April had a winning record at the end of the month.

    Today, they finally won, but the offense was more of the same, with Kershaw driving in the only run and pitching a shutout.

  9. You are absolutely correct. Couldn’t have said it better.
    Today’s performance by Kershaw was brilliant. He’s a one man wrecking crew. Who needs an offense when Kershaw is throwing?

  10. Smokachu LauraLunsford Bleed Blue Forever I think you are right about Kendrick. 

    Remember, he missed most of spring training because of injury. Now, a guy who is used to going out on the field every day at second base is bouncing in and out of the lineup at three different positions. He’s too professional to complain about it, and Utley has earned the starting job with his hot start, but this must be a difficult way to get into a hitting groove. 

    I suspect Utley will cool at some point and Kendrick might get a few consecutive days at second. Perhaps that will help. With all the second basemen in the organization, though, either Utley or Kendrick has to be considered trade material at the deadline, barring more injuries. Some team looking for a professional hitter to help them cross the finish line, as Zobrist did for the Royals last year, will want one of them.

  11. Blue58 Smokachu LauraLunsford Bleed Blue Forever Utley’s on a 1 year deal. Kendrick is on a 2 year deal. I suspect Kendrick will be moved before the end of the season to make room for one of our youngsters. Barring retirement, I expect we’ll see Utley back next year, but in the role he was intended for this year. The veteran presence off the bench. Manny Mota, or Dave Hansen. That sort of role. But eventually we’re going to have to pass the torch to someone even Kendrick he’s only signed through 2017. I don’t expect him to last past that even if he turns it around we’ve got too much young talent that we’re either going to need to bring up, or get rid of to make room for someone better.

  12. Blue58 Smokachu The best reason for optimism is this isn’t the time to win ball games. If Roberts is going to play around and experiment now is the time to do it. So long as we’re near ,.500 and within shouting distance of first place come all-star break, we’ve got room to make our move. Naturally it’s nice to win games whenever you can and losing streaks against bad teams always suck, but how many times have the Dodgers been a .500 team (or worse) at the all-star break only to win the division?
    The Dodgers finished the month in first place. Come what may that’s where they need to be. Even bad teams play above their station, and good teams go through slumps. We had every bat in the lineup go cold all at the same time. We’re kinda luck it only lasted a week, and here’s hoping getting out of this pitcher’s park and playing a few on the road gives us some stride back. Except for that one rough week, the Dodgers had looked pretty good. No reason to believe the Dodgers we saw the first 3 weeks of the month aren’t going to show themselves again soon.

  13. Smokachu Blue58 I sorta agree with you but consider how many times the Dodgers hovered around .500, win the division, and then lose in first round?  Also, if you throw out the seasoning opening series at SD, they’re not doing very good.  We all know that the opening series results only happen once every several years or so, it’s kind of a fluke.  Dodgers were hot, Padres weren’t.  Everyone they’ve played so far are sub .500 teams, what will happen when they play top teams?

  14. Smokachu Blue58 Smokachu, I appreciate your optimism and point of view, but please don’t trot out the baseball cliche that games in April count less than games in September. You know that’s nonsense.

    You are correct of course that it’s still early in the season and it’s dangerous to draw many conclusions from what’s happened so far. I am admittedly discouraged by several trends: Puig, despite his improved attitude, has hit just .194 since the first week of the season and is swinging at 41% of pitches thrown out of the strike zone, third most in baseball. Pederson is striking out nearly 40% of his plate appearances. Gonzalez usually hits well in April but was 0 for 20 on the homestead, which, when you add it to his difficulties in the last couple months of last season raises the question of whether he is finally showing his age. With Gonzalez, Turner, Puig and Kendrick all struggling, the Dodgers have weaknesses in the middle of the lineup, where the RBIs come from.

    The bullpen is, we agree, going to have to be rebuilt on the fly, and it’s unlikely they will get help from another team. The rocky rotation going forward is dependent on injured players returning to form and let’s face it even when Brandon McCarthy was healthy he wasn’t very good. 

    Those trends, plus the low quality of the teams played so far worry me. Having said that, I never expected the team to compete for a World Series berth this year an way. Friedman’s priorities obviously are building up the minor leagues and finding jobs in his front office for his friends and former colleagues in the industry. 

    We certainly will know more in a month. In May, the schedule turns. After going to Tampa Bay and Toronto, the Dodgers play the Mets, Cards and Angels at home and end the month against the Mets and the Cubs in New York and Chicago. The only respite will be trips to Anaheim and San Diego and three games versus the Reds at home. Let’s see how far above .500 they are at that point.

  15. Blue58 Smokachu You are correct.  I see things generally the way you do.  I don’t call that pessimistic, but rather realistic based upon the Dodger track record.  West Div is the weakest in baseball, so finishing April in first and at near .500 while playing all sub .500 teams isn’t saying much.

  16. Blue58 Smokachu You are correct Blue 58.  We will know a lot more by the end of May.  The Dodgers have their work cut out for them.  They must perform, and get their offense together and the bullpen charged.

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