There’s still plenty of question marks as to what will be the path for the Dodgers to reach their first World Series in 29 years. So before we continue to speculate, I wanted to share a growing concern for Rick Honeycutt if the boys in blue fail to reach their goal this postseason.
The Dodgers have been one of the most successful franchises in the past five years. That’s evident with their five consecutive division titles. However, despite their dominance of the NL West, the club has failed to reach the World Series. This in large part has to do with the Dodgers pitching in the postseason.
We are all aware of Kershaw’s October blues and the inconsistency of key components of the bullpen, but what seems to be the cause of these struggles in October? As crazy as it may sound, the answer may lie with the 12-year pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt.
Honeycutt is the fourth longest tenure of any Major league pitching coach. Since joining the Dodgers in 2006, Honeycutt has led the Dodgers pitching staff to rank first in the MLB in ERA (3.66), WHIP (1.26), strikeouts (14,115), SO/BB (2.61), and fielding-independent pitching (3.68). Honeycutt is coming off of a season in which the Dodgers set the MLB single-season strikeout record with 1,510 strikeouts last year. There’s no doubt in my mind that Honeycutt is one of the best in the business.
So why am I putting Honeycutt in the hot seat?
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Obviously, the way the playoffs turnout will have a significant implication on Honeycutt’s future with the Dodgers. But if it’s more of the same from past seasons Honeycutt may be the lone casualty from the Dodgers coaching staff.
The Dodgers are not going to fire Dave Roberts. All Roberts has done since taking over the job is win two division titles and win at a 60% rate, including this season which was the most wins since the Dodgers moved to LA. He gets a lot of heat from time to time for making controversial decisions, but he’s the perfect man to manage this club and will continue to lead this team until the front office presses the reset button.
Honeycutt is a long time Dodger and has done a tremendous job. The issue is that the pitching isn’t showing any improvement in the postseason, which means that the arms could be overworked during the regular season. If Yu Darvish doesn’t deliver as expected in the postseason, it will be in large part to Honeycutt not being able to make the proper adjustments to his mechanics.
We put a lot of the blame on Roberts for continuously calling on Pedro Baez in high leverage situations, but some blame should go to Honeycutt who works directly with the pitchers. The front office is giving the Dodgers everything they need to make a World Series run this October if they can’t meet the goal I’d expect it to be because of the pitching.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Honeycutt. He’s been the Dodgers pitching coach for as long as I could remember and has helped develop the greatest pitcher on the planet. I just have a feeling that the ownership and the front office will be looking to make some managerial changes if the boys in blue fail to deliver this October. I hope I’m wrong, and the Dodgers win the title, but if they don’t, I will keep a close eye on Honeycutt.