Industry veteran Brian Park is putting his 40 years’ experience to good use by advising bakery firms on everything from new product development (NPD) to training.Park has set up Optibake Consultancy International, after working with major flour milling companies and big bakery groups in areas such as wheat, flour and premix development to bakery management. He said: “I’m applying this experience to the customer’s requirements.”He is now taking on projects in the UK and Europe in product applications, NPD, problem-solving, efficiency and training applications, with a wide range of flour, pre-mix, ingredient and machinery suppliers, bakery manufacturers, food retailers and high street restaurants.For more information visit www.optibakeconsultancy.com or call 07798 611 617.
The Marcus King Band is one of the fastest rising acts on the music scene. At the age of 22, Marcus King is already known as a force to be reckoned with, with his list of sit-ins and collaborations serving as a shortlist for some of the biggest names in the music scene. Today, King expands his resume with the announcement of his second-annual music festival, The Marcus King Band Family Reunion, which will take place on October 6th and 7th and Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, North Carolina.In addition to two sets from The Marcus King Band, The Revivalists, Billy Strings, Devon Allman Project (feat. Duane Betts), Nikki Lane, Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), Naughty Professor, Geoff Achison Music, DeRobert & The Half-Truths, The Shady Recruits, and Steelism have all been announced for the 2018 installment. More artists will be announced in the future.For more information on The Marcus King Band Family Reunion, head to the ticketing website here. Furthermore, the Marcus King Band has a huge summer ahead of them, with most of July spent on the road with Tedeschi Trucks Band and the Drive-By Truckers as part of the annual Wheels of Soul tour. For a full list of upcoming dates, head to MKB’s official website.
Here’s how I see things now:HittersLocks (11): Will Smith, Russell Martin, David Freese, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, A.J. Pollock, Chris Taylor, Kiké HernandezOn the bubble (3 players for 2 spots): Matt Beaty, Gavin Lux, Edwin RiosNot happening (3): Jedd Gyorko, Kristopher Negron, Austin Barnes Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Editor’s note: This is the Friday, Sept. 27 edition of the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.The Dodgers have clinched the number-1 seed on the National League side of the playoff bracket. They won’t know their first-round opponent until next Tuesday’s wild card game is complete.Dave Roberts has said the final roster spots depend on the Dodgers’ first-round opponent. I tend to believe him. The Nationals, for example, are a largely capable group of hitters against left-handed pitchers. The Cardinals are not. For a relief pitcher on the bubble – right-hander Dylan Floro or left-hander Caleb Ferguson, for example – the opponent could dictate whether or not he watches from the Dodgers’ bullpen or from Camelback Ranch.With that in mind, I wanted to take another look at the Dodgers’ projected 25-man NLDS roster. Is anyone actually auditioning for something this weekend in San Francisco? PitchersLocks (9): Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Kenta Maeda, Joe Kelly, Julio UríasOn the bubble: (6 players for 3 spots): Ross Stripling, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Adam Kolarek, Caleb Ferguson, Casey Sadler, Dylan FloroNot happening (2): Josh Sborz, Yimi GarciaFirst, some injury-related caveats.1. Hill has one more start (Sunday against the Giants) to prove his knee can handle 2 or 3 innings on a mound. I’m only calling Hill a “lock” on the premise that his knee holds up. If it doesn’t, I imagine the Dodgers would plug Urías into his spot. Maybe Gonsolin or Stripling. The ability to pitch 2-3 innings seems to be the main qualifier for whomever starts Game 4. It’ll be a bullpen game regardless of who pitches and when.2. We can only take Kelly and Roberts at their word when they say Kelly is going to be ready for the postseason. If you buy that, then Kelly’s next appearance is not a test of his health, but a tuneup. If it is a test – of what, neither will say – and Kelly does not pass, then another short-inning reliever would need to take his place.3. Seager’s latest hamstring injury is a good omen for Lux’s chances of making the final cut. Turner’s back injury might help Beaty. If some roster “insurance” for Seager or Turner is unwarranted, both Lux and Beaty probably make it anyway.As for where the few remaining “position battles” stand …BenchThe first time I ran this exercise, I nearly penciled in Beaty and Lux as locks. (Lux as locks. Heh.) I almost did it again, in spite of how they’ve hit lately. Beaty is 1 for his last 20. Lux is 1 for his last 16. If Scott Elbert and Brian Dozier can get postseason roster spots, these guys can too, though I wonder if Edwin Rios’ surprise September call-up (3 for 9, two HRs) has changed the internal conversations at all. All three are left-handed hitters with pop. Rios’ lack of positional versatility might off-set his value as a pinch hitter, so even a 470-foot home run into San Francisco Bay might not get Rios in at this point.BullpenThere are a lot of wrinkles here. Some if-then scenarios. Let’s start with the big “if.”Roberts asked Kolarek and Kenta Maeda to pitch the ninth inning of a 1-0 win Thursday because Jansen wasn’t allowed to pitch three days in a row. For those of you who just tuned in, you might think the manager is open to using that ninth-inning committee in similar situations in October. Dave Roberts says he’s open to a lot of things, but ninth-inning committees aren’t one.Before Wednesday, Jansen had not converted save opportunities on consecutive days since May. While closing the Dodgers’ first two wins over the Padres, Jansen looked downright normal. If back-to-back scoreless innings against the Padres counts as “earning the closer’s job,” then maybe Jansen is not the question mark I envisioned three weeks ago. But that’s a big “if.” It’s the big “if.” Right now, with three games remaining, Jansen, Maeda and Kolarek all look like necessary ninth-inning options. That means they’re all in.In his seven relief appearances since Sept. 7, May has used his two-seam fastball to neuter right-handed hitters, and his four-seamer to neuter lefties. The two pitches regularly clock in at 95-99 mph. His low-90s cutter has been an effective if unconventional “off-speed pitch” in short situations. For the Dodgers, this was the best-case scenario.May has adjusted to his new role. Kolarek has been dominating his, for the most part. If Kelly is healthy – also a best-case scenario for the Dodgers – that leaves one bullpen job for Gonsolin, Stripling, Ferguson, Sadler and Floro. Woof.I think we can safely peg Sadler and Floro as the longshots here. They’re essentially right-handed specialists, Floro more so than Sadler. Floro is the bigger liability against left-handers, while Sadler’s 2.23 ERA looks a bit deceiving. They’re both behind Maeda, Baez and Kelly in the bullpen pecking order. Those three all offer the added bonus of postseason experience, the ability to pitch multiple innings, and a better chance of retiring the occasional lefty. I think Sadler and Floro are out.Ferguson has emerged as an unusually versatile relief pitcher. Since Aug. 1, the left-hander is almost evenly dominant against lefties and righties. I could make the case for him to take Kolarek’s role, but Roberts seems content with what he’s gotten from his designated LOOGY. If the Dodgers weren’t planning to throw their entire bullpen at Game 4, Ferguson would have an even better case than Floro or Sadler to be the final pick.As things stand, however, I imagine Roberts and Andrew Friedman will want to guard against the danger of a bullpen game that runs too long. Asking three or more pitchers to tag-team six or seven innings isn’t monumental. If Game 4 is tied after nine innings, however, managing workloads becomes a bit dicey – for that game and for the remainder of the series. Stripling and Gonsolin have pitched up to five innings as recently as August. Ferguson hasn’t completed three innings in a game all year. That’s why I think Ferguson draws the short straw here – only because Hill couldn’t stay healthy enough in September to start 5+ innings in the NLDS.The two remaining options are both attractive. Despite a shaky first inning Wednesday, Stripling has been reliable overall this month. Gonsolin has limited his September opponents to a miniscule .504 OPS, but seven walks in 11 innings might not cut it. Throw in Stripling’s experience and I give him a slight edge for the final roster spot over Gonsolin.Whether the Dodgers draw the Cardinals, Brewers or Nationals in the first round could determine who gets the final bullpen spot. So could the health of Hill and Kelly. Gonsolin has had two poor innings all month: one last Wednesday against the Rays, and another Sept. 7 against the Giants. Maybe one good outing by Gonsolin and one bad outing by Stripling this weekend shifts the balance.There’s a broader takeaway here, too. Back on Aug. 1, fans were up in arms when the Dodgers failed to consummate a trade for Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez. Friedman chose to build a new bullpen out of his existing parts instead. At a distance, that might have sounded like a hope and a prayer. Yet since Aug. 1, the Dodgers’ bullpen has been one of the best in baseball just about any way you slice it. Their internal options for October are bountiful, and Vazquez is in jail. What a difference two months makes.-J.P.Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.More readingBelli or Yeli? – FanGraphs’ Craig Edwards declared the National League MVP race “too close to call.”Who’s your padre – Clayton Kershaw’s final regular season start offered a compelling audition for Game Whatever.Pescascarian diet – Walker Buehler says he won’t eat anything that swims.