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The Dodgers seem to have a core group of players who wilt under pressure. Note that early last season, when given no chance, they played very well. When they got the new players and had a run at the playoffs, they folded. Once they were out of it, they played well again. Note, too, that this season, after an entire winter and spring of hype, they wilt. On a smaller level, note their failure rate with RISP.
The frustration of the opposite sort of team—teams that play better under pressure—is that they often lose to weak teams. But when it's playoff time, they flourish.
The common denominator is wilting under pressure. It's personality, not salary. Reggie Jackson had a big contract in NY. What the Dodgers need is guys like Reggie, who DREAM of coming up with the game on the line. That's what makes the game interesting to them. They can get bored and play badly in non-pressure situations.
Interestingly, I think Gil Hodges and Duke Snider were like this too: very talented guys who hated pressure situations.
I think Kemp wants it, Ethier wants it. But they play better when the pressure is off. Their response to pressure is to tense up, where Reggie et al's response is to focus, slow down, go into the zone.
I don't think this can be taught, or learned. So here is my serious suggestion: hypnosis. If these guys can be hypnotized (not everyone can), maybe a hypnotic suggestion could break their habitual responses and allow them to perform at their highest abilities under pressure. Ethier, Kemp; most of the bullpen; Gonzalez and Crawford, perhaps, judging by their Boston experience—would all be candidates. Maybe others.
Seriously. It couldn't hurt, and it might help.
1 week, 6 days ago on Marlins 5, Dodgers 4: Oh For May
@Morry @Bill Over 50 years, here. Do you have any idea how weird that is?
9 months, 3 weeks ago on A.J. Ellis, of Twitter Fame, Has Really Got Something Trending
@I Alivandi If it's a pure salary dump, yes. But if they want offense, a 3-team deal might be the solution.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on Dodgers Acquire Joe Blanton
Hopelessly optimistic prediction: Ned does a 3-way deal, giving pitchers for bats to the 3rd team, then bats to Phillies for Lee.
@lafan4life78 A guy who's hitting .246 doesn't suddenly become an all-star just because he changes teams.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on Diamondbacks @ Dodgers August 1, 2012: Fife Hard With a Vengeance
About time Montero did something for the team.
@ThtsaPaddlin That is awesome. Physicists are weird guys.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on Capuano & Dodgers Downed by Diamondback Dingers
@Frank J Lapidus Too early on the Blest Coast. Give it time.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on Diamondbacks @ Dodgers July 30, 2012: When Are We Going To Get To the Fireworks Factory?
My little brother's take on Victorino:
"Absolute gamer, winner, hustler...was a Rule 5 player the Pads took from the Dodgers, returned to the Dodgers, then eventually wound up in Philly and has been a catalyst to their great teams. However, he has been less than himself this year...not sure if it is a free agency thing (pressing), or just a bit of age and injury. Seems to have been dinged up this year. Has been a speed guy. Good centerfielder...not sure if he would knock Kemp to left...doubt it."
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says: "I think we have a chance to do at least one thing"
9 months, 4 weeks ago on Diamondbacks @ Dodgers July 30, 2012: When Are We Going To Get To the Fireworks Factory?
@EephusBlue Overbay DFA'd
9 months, 4 weeks ago on There’s a Bat Coming Soon
Yanks looking for defense at 3B. Uribe!!
@wdevil67 @davstein48 @GordonMoody Maybe you're right. Still, neither Victorino nor Soriano gets me very excited. Maybe they trade for Dempster + Soriano then flip Soriano to an AL team . . .
@davstein48 @wdevil67 @GordonMoody Depending on what the coaches say about Sands—a) momentary hot streak, or b) has turned a corner—I'd rather have a young guy on the way up than an old guy on the way down. Soriano can't hit any better than he has been recently; Victorino has dropped off considerably in the last year+.
@GordonMoody Tried to post this as reply to your earlier comment about Sands, but Livefyre won't let me do that. Very strange.
Meh. I'd rather they bring Sands back and give him another chance.
Gil Hodges. Returned from the grave to buff up his HoF numbers and help win another WS for the Dodgers.
9 months, 4 weeks ago on Dodgers Flying High to Complete Sweep of Giants, Gain Share of First Place
@LA Woman @JoeyCaltabellotta I like "head-assploding"
9 months, 4 weeks ago on Dodgers 10, Giants 0: That Could Not Have Gone Better
@LA Woman Oh! I missed the "1B upgrade" part. In that case, let's go Texeira for Uribe ;^)