Friday, October 04, 2013

On Dee Gordon, And That Ninth Inning Caught Stealing

Gordon may be shocked, but it's Dodger fans who got the air kicked out of them after this CS.

A friend of mine and I have been texting this evening about Dee Gordon's CS in the ninth inning of last night's game. With the Dodgers down 4-3, Gordon represented the tying run after he pinch-ran for A.J. Ellis with one out, after Ellis had earned a walk. PH Andre Ethier came to the plate.

First, there was a pickoff move by Craig Kimbrel to first. And then, on the first pitch of the AB, Gordon was off and running. Atlanta catcher Brian McCann threw to second, and even though Andrelton Simmons' tag looked a little late, the umpire called Gordon out. Replays were inconclusive; the play did look close. Gordon, upon getting called out, had this expression of indignant surprise, but he was polite and ran back to the dugout without argument. Two out. Game basically over.

I don't know why Dee Gordon is on the postseason roster, but I can tell you why he isn't on the roster. Gordon can't hit (.234 BA in the regular season). He doesn't hit for power; in complete contrast, Gordon annoyingly tries to bunt his way on incessantly, almost always with unsuccessful results, since he's not a very good bunter. And, to paraphrase Bill Plaschke: in one moment, Gordon is not a good fielder. In another moment, Gordon is not a good thrower, either.

Which leaves one tool left for Gordon to try and shine: speed. Dee Gordon is indeed fast, and if he could just figure out how to use that power for good, he could be transformatively powerful--sort of like Impulse of DC Comics.

But that means Gordon has to succesfully steal bases, and that means figuring out the right time AND making the play NOT close at second to begin with. In that situation, with the game on the line, Gordon has got to steal that base hands down, period. Otherwise, with the current state of the rest of his skills, Gordon is dead weight on the roster.

The Dodgers should have won tonight's game, but they didn't. I'm not alarmed yet; it's just unfortunate. But if we had come back from that 4-1 deficit to tie, or even win--that would have crushed the Braves like James Loney's grand slam crushed the Cubs in the 2008 NLDS. Gordon's whiff was a missed opportunity.

Look, we didn't lose this game because of Dee Gordon. But on the other hand, we didn't win that game, either, partially because of Dee Gordon.

We need more from you, Dee! Make those SBs happen, dammit.

photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

26 comments:

Dusty Baker said...

Great take, brotha Sax. You've got the soothing analysis we need.

But while the game doesn't rise and set on one play necessarily, the little man Dee was safe. safeSafeSAFE! Replay after replay showed it. It was all over sports TV in the hours after the game, with a succession of analysts noting that the refs had blown the call.

Steve Sax said...

Thanks Dusty for the comment.

But that's just it, shouldn't Dee Gordon be safe all the goddamn time? Shouldn't it be so obviously safe that even a homer umpire couldn't screw up the call?

And if not, why the hell is Gordon on this team again?

MSTI has a good take on this, and other missteps, in tonight's game.

I'm simmering with fury tonight. BRING ON THE BEER!

Dusty Baker said...

(brings on the beer)

Dusty Baker said...

Excellent MSTI take.

Steve Sax said...

Agreed, Petriello does a great job.

Paul said...

Speaking of MSTI, these rumors about Ryu not being 100% are making me want to puke. I guess Cap is better than Lilly but we are screwed if Ryu is down.

Neeebs (The Original) said...

I blame Frank.

Paul said...

Frank Stallone?

Dusty Baker said...

Is it that Ryu's health isn't 100 percent, or he's not on target?

Alex Tarkian said...

I firmly believe that it was the right move to have Dee on the post season roster even though he has no business being on the regular season roster. As we all can agree, the post season is much more situational and Dee is clearly a situational (granted a single situational player who can run fast) player who cannot do anything else.

I also believe that it was the right move to send Dee to steal during the AB especially given that the Braves had their backup catcher in that inning. Logic dictates that the backup catcher (even though a veteran) could be rusty and less likely to make a good throw.

Further, no matter what replay you see, it is physically impossible for Dee to be out regardless of him being tagged on the butt or leg. If you are tagged in either of those 2 areas, logic dictates that your outstretched arms are already on the base.

The reason why we lost game 2 has more to do with the peculiar managerial decision of Donnie for insisting on a lefty to lefty matchup involving Paco and Hayward. This is not the preferred matchup as Reed Johnson is a much lesser player. Either have Withrow pitch to Johnson or get another righty in there. Why would you IBB a lesser player to get to a better player. This is a serious mistake by a manager who always makes a mistake or two but gets bailed out because he is likeable.

When you have a veteran team like ours, you do not have a young manager. Young managers are for young teams. A veteran team needs a veteran manager. Do you think that Dusty or Sciossia would make the same moves as Donnie? No way. Out.

Paul said...

Well I hope the surgeon who was apparently at the bullpen session is just a really big Dodgers fan.

Dusty Baker said...

Good take, Alex. Yeah the DG steal tends to mask some really head-scratching late managerial decisions. Those are the things that can end up turning a series around, unfortunately.

Wait, I was trying to be positive here...

Alex Tarkian said...

Winner of Game 3 is the winner of the series. We have the advantage as Ryu is better than Teheran. As long as Donnie does not screw it up, we will win and we dont have to start Kersh in Game 4.

Fred's Brim said...

I don't trust Paco or Beli anymore and I wish Donnie trusted them a little less. I was really hoping the week off would help them but it doesn't seem like it has

FB grumpy

Neeebs (The Original) said...

Donnie wasnt terrible when we sucked. Donnie wasnt brilliant when we were unbeatable.But Donnie cant think creatively and has no balls to make bold choices. #Stopbunting

Dusty Baker said...

How drunk and belligerent and I going to get and use Teheran's name in geo-political derision?

Fred's Brim said...

very?

Hideo Nomo said...

You have to be drunk to do that?

Fred's Brim said...

Watching Major League. Why can't Dee be as good as Wesley Snipes?

Paul said...

I would settle for Dave Roberts good.

Steve Sax said...

I can't believe Ned hasn't re-signed Rickey Henderson out of retirement. Again.

Fred's Brim said...

I am antsy and grumpy as a muhfugga tonight

Paul said...

Can't wait to get to the ravine tomorrow. At least the packed stadium will pump me up.

Fred's Brim said...

@Paully - I am mega jealous. Did you bring a sleeping back so you can crash in Elysian Park after the game?

Fred's Brim said...

Did I really just see a bunt by the As? Is Billy Beane dead?

Dusty Baker said...

Interesting ALDS game tonight. Love that Sonny Gray kid - it looks like he got caught in a time warp and just arrived from 1952 minor league ball. Love this guy even if he does wear his cap at a jaunty angle.