Monday Morning Coffee

October 16, 2023

Look people, don’t make excuses. I don’t want to hear that the MLB postseason format needs fixing. It’s the Dodgers playoff approach that needs fixing. That’s why they were eliminated last week, and that’s exactly what I’ve been telling you needs fixing for over a year now. By the way, Lance Lynn should just pitch to Mookie Betts in next year’s home run derby if he wants to win. Lynn clearly knows how to throw those meatballs. In all seriousness though, the Dodgers have been going to the postseason for over a decade straight, and there’s only two postseasons in that time where they actually hit consistently. 2017, and 2020. Don’t tell me you don’t like Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman as leaders or that they aren’t “passionate enough” or some nonsense like that. The bottom line is that when your lineup is dependent on a couple of sluggers to hit the three-run homer because analytics tells you to sit back and do so, you’re going to go through droughts. Obviously the Dodgers need pitching, and we knew that going in with all their injuries. They can fix that by signing the likes of Yoshinobu Yamamoto from Japan, and another starter. However, they need to look for players that are just good at putting the ball in play, have a high-on base percentage, and can steal bases. That’s how you must manufacture runs when your sluggers go through droughts in the playoffs. If they get Shohei Ohtani that’s great, but to be honest, spending $500 million on a power-hitting DH doesn’t fill any need for this team. If you want to replace Dave Roberts because he’s a bad in-game manager, you have no idea how baseball works. If you want to replace him because you think they need a new voice and leader, then that’s fair. I also don’t want to see Clayton Kershaw retire after the last start he had. Can’t go out like that.

While we are on the topic of baseball, I cannot imagine that the Angels would get anybody that is high profile to take their managerial job. I’ve heard rumors of Buck Showalter, or even John Farrell, but these guys aren’t going to want to let some half-ass analytics people from The University of Phoenix tell them how to do their jobs. The Halos are probably going to get someone who has never managed before, or someone who wants an opportunity to run the show (or at least thinks he will with Arte as his boss), or has previous ties to the organization. Think Walt Weiss, Ron Roenicke, or Ron Washington if they are lucky.

To College Football, where USC finally got exposed over the weekend, losing to my Fighting Irish of Notre Dame 48-20. The Irish defense played very well, as they have for much of the season, but Caleb Williams also played so bad, I was beginning to wonder if he had money on Notre Dame and the under. It was a bad night for USC, but ironically, it really wasn’t their defense that did them in. It was the critical turnovers by Williams, which gave the Irish prime scoring opportunities they couldn’t mess up. Still, the Trojan defense is a concern, and with the remaining schedule that includes Utah, Washington, Oregon, and UCLA, they could easily finish the regular season with 4 or 5 losses. That would suggest that Lincoln Riley is in for a much bigger rebuilding project than we all thought. By the way, that victory has to be bitter sweet for the Irish. They beat USC, barely lost to Ohio State who is #3, or they would be in much better contention for the playoffs.

Then there’s UCLA, who got beat by Oregon State. The Bruins defense is still tough, but Dante Moore showed that he’s still going to go through growing pains in some big games this season. There was some thought going into the game that some of the Pac-12 teams would beat up on each other and UCLA might be able to sneak into the Conference Title game, but that seems unlikely after what we just witnessed. There’s going to be some game-to-game volatility with this kid. They might still be good for another big win or two against Top 25 teams, but they aren’t quite ready for prime time. That’s ok though. That doesn’t mean things aren’t looking up with more development from Moore.

In the NFL, I have no idea why Sean McVay abandons the run like he does from time-to-time. When he did yesterday, the Rams couldn’t score against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. However, once he decided to let his offensive line bully the Cardinals and open some holes for Kyren Williams, the game was effectively over. The Rams improved to 3-3, and this is truly the stretch of games they need to win since their schedule got lighter. Cooper Kupp looks like himself again, Williams looks solid, and Matt Stafford is being protected well and producing as a result. With the Steelers, Cowboys, and Packers looming, I expect at least 2 out of 3 wins before the bye week, which is a decent place to be for this team.

The Lakers are nearing the end of the preseason. There’s a few things to feel really good about as we near the start of the season. First of all D’Angelo Russell looks amazing. Not only is he shooting the ball very well, but he’s actually making a focused effort to improve his defense . Anthony Davis looked sharp last night too, so has Rui Hachimura, and Taurean Prince looks like he could be a 3-D wing the Lakers have been needing for quite some time. He might even start, but in any case, the Lake Show has plenty of versatility in their front court to be excited about, and a lot of ways they can round out their starting lineup around D-Lo, LBJ, AD, and Austin.

I know we are only two games into the NHL season, but the LA Kings are already off to a disastrous start. In two games, we’ve already confirmed that the defense and goaltending are hot garbage. To make matters worse, Rob Blake has managed the salary cap like Enron managed their balance sheet. The Kings barely have enough cap room to have a full NHL roster, and certainly not enough to fix their crummy goaltending and defense. Also, how long do we have to wait for Brandt Clark to be called up? Dude will instantly be a top 3 defenseman on the team once he’s in the lineup, and he’s rotting in the minors. Feels like 80 more games of aggravation coming.

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