Andre Ethier in the crosshairs

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Shane Victorino, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
James Loney, 1B
Luis Cruz, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Chris Capuano, P

People getting impatient with Matt Kemp for a few hitless games is pretty silly. But Andre Ethier has been a source of frustration for some time now.

Tuesday’s game-ending double play was a tipping point for a few people to point the spotlight at him, including Steve Dilbeck of Dodgers Now, Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. and — in the most detail — Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.

Petriello notes that a second-half slump is nothing new for Ethier, although in the past it was easier to blame things on injuries. This year, he’s not so sure:

… While the poor K/BB trend isn’t good, I don’t think he’s suddenly lost all patience and ability to make contact. It seems to me that it’s more of a symptom than a cause, and that the real root of the trouble is simply this: other managers aren’t blind.

Here’s what I mean by that. Check out the percentage of lefty pitching that Ethier has faced over the last six years, shown in the table at right. For years, Ethier routinely faced lefties 25-30% of the time. This year it’s well over 40%, and as I hardly need to tell you, Ethier is absolutely awful against lefty pitching. Well, I don’t need to tell you, but I will – in over 1,000 career plate appearances against southpaws, Ethier hits only .238/.298/.351 (.650); this year, it’s even worse .216/.281/.315 (.596). Despite his briefly effective first few weeks against lefties this year, Ethier’s back to his typical awful performance against them, and other managers are taking advantage of that fact. If there’s any mystery here, it’s why it took them so long to do this since Ethier’s never really been able to hit them.

Yet either because Don Mattingly is unwilling to offend a star or he simply has no one on the active roster to turn to (and while I know Mattingly-bashing is a fun sport, I’m more inclined to believe the latter, because the bench is short and does anyone really like Rivera that much?) Ethier continues to hit against lefties.  …

It’s a problem without much of a solution, certainly not as long as first base is in its current quandary. The only moves I can think of are to call up Jerry Sands and Elian Herrera as platoon partners for first base and left field, and get rid of a couple of Juans. Otherwise, we’re just hoping for the best.

In the short term, Stephen offers a source of optimism for tonight:

… A pair of left-handers have had success against Cain in their careers. Andre Ethier is 24-for-50 with two doubles and a triple, hitting .480/.500/.560 against Cain in his career, and is 2-for-3 with a double this season. Ethier has still sitting on 29 doubles on August 5, one double shy of becoming the first Dodger in the 129-year history of the franchise with six consecutive seasons of 30 doubles or more.

James Loney is hitting .364/.429/.533 (16-for-44 with five doubles and a triple) against Cain with 11 RBI in 17 games, including 2-for-3 this season. …

  • Anonymous

    Playing a man short tonight, are we?  Might as well.

    • Anonymous

       Been playing short all year.

  • Anonymous

    The bench is truely short or bad or both!

  • Adam Luther

    At the game last night (once I made it into the park, but that’s another story), I couldn’t help but look up at Ethier’s numbers on the 76/coke/traderjoes/whatever scoreboard and say to myself…well .277 and the power numbers…that’s pretty much what to expect in Andre, no less, no better.  He’s just a first half player and he seems to have prolonged slumps/streaks.  Consistent is consistent.

    • Anonymous

      His career OPS splits are 1st half: 848; 2nd half: .820.  His worst month is actually June at .753.

  • Andrea Berman

    Ethier needs to take BP anytime one of our lefties throws a bullpen

    • Anonymous

       Reading Jon’s post, I had a similar thought about Andre:  he should spend the off-season hitting against lefties every day. 

      • Anonymous

        He can hire a BP pitcher for all the swings he wants, but the problem is facing ML quality lefties in game situations.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Do people really think Andre doesn’t practice hitting against lefties?

    • Anonymous

       If practice makes perfect . . . or even better . . . then the answer seems to obvious.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

        And yet, the answer is … yes, he does practice hitting against lefties.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, but does he try it from the right side?

    • Anonymous

      But does he practice hitting – rather, recognizing – sweeping sliders down and away?  

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

        I’m sorry, I don’t want this to come across wrong, but do you think these questions don’t occur to Ethier and the Dodgers?  Sincerely, what do you think he does? Swings at 10 fastballs and pronounces himself fixed?

        I know it’s frustrating that he’s not better, but I really can’t fathom this line of thinking: “He has a weakness, so he must not be trying to improve it.”

        Are people that unfamiliar with the concept of a hurdle that is hard to overcome, even with effort?

    • Andrea Berman

      No, I think he practices against a lefty BP pitcher.  I’m talking about taking BP from a Cy Young winning lefty.

      • Anonymous

        No one practices against CY winning lefties.

    • Anonymous

      Do fish do the same?

  • Anonymous

    I had no TV last night, but I am wondering whether the Gnats were bothering to hold Kemp on when Andre was up. Sanchez’s presence behind the plate is prima facie evidence of “defensive indifference,” which should have helped avoid the DP and kept the inning going.

    • Anonymous

      Belt was standing about a step behind Kemp, but not standing on the bag. The Giants weren’t completely conceding second.
      Also, Lopez was pitching out of the stretch.
      If Kemp had tried to take second, he would have been credited with a steal I think.

      • Anonymous

         Thanks, timmer and nsxtasy, for the clarification. Personally, I detest the idea of “defensive indifference” but, when the other side is conceding it, you should take it.

    • Anonymous

      I think “defensive indifference” is a bad practice for exactly that reason – it allows the runner to take a base, thereby avoiding the double-play.  I think “defensive indifference” is inexcusable.  But so is failure to take advantage of the other team’s willingness to allow it.

  • Anonymous

    This week in baseball scheduling:

    Arizona and Miami are playing a regularly scheduled doubleheader today.The A’s series in Tampa this weekend ends on Saturday. 

    The Dbacks-Marlins doubleheader was necessitated by the Marlins ending up having too many games in a row to play.

    The Rays need to leave Tampa before the Republican Convention starts. And maybe a hurricane.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe they can go to St Petersburg?

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Meanwhile, a piece about HanRam:
    Dodgers’ Ramirez, energetic and healthy, swinging hot stick
    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/scott-miller/19870796/dodgers-ramirez-energetic-and-healthy-swinging-hot-stick-

    Be kinda nice to have a few games where Kemp, Ethier and HanRam all rake at the same time. The few we did have (say one or two in Pittsburgh?) sure were fun.  And runs and stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Prior to the posting, I had done some compilation of my own today on Ethier vs.
    left-handed pitchers.  Some of its is covered above, some isn’t:

     

    2006 – 82 PAs (plate appearances)– .351/.378/.468/.846 –
    13Ks, 3 BBs

    2007 — 119 PAs– .279/.319/.396/.716 – 22Ks, 7 BBs

    2008 – 155 PAs — .243/.325/.368/.692 – 24Ks, 15 BBs

    2009 – 187 PAs — .194/.283/.345/.629 – 39 Ks, 13 BBs

    2010 – 178 PAs — .233/.292/.333/.625 – 36Ks, 13 BBs

    2011 – 151 PAs — .220/.258/.305/.563 – 41Ks, 7 BBs

    2012 – 180 PAs — .213/.278/.311/.589 – 49 Ks, 10 BBs

    Career – 1052 PAs — .237/.298/.350/.648 – 224 Ks, 68 BBs

    The following are all vs. left-handed pitchers:

    Grounding in double plays

    2006-2011 – 2.87 percent of PAs

    2012 – 3.89 percent of PAs

    Strikeouts

    2006-2011 – 20.1 percent of PAs

    2012 – 27.2 percent of PAs

    Bases on Balls

    2006-2011 – 6.65 percent of PAs

    2012 – 5.56 percent of PAs

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Jon, you probably already discussed this but with Adrian Gonzalez clearing waivers… well, what would it take do you think? (Beside all of the AL passing, which is possible, etc.)  It’s likely very unrealistic but can you imagine a lineup with Kemp, HanRam, Ethier and AGon? (Plus Ellis and Ellis, and Shane.)

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I don’t really speculate in “what it would take” conversations – they’re not at all a strength of mine.  I would assume that there’s interest from the Dodgers, and I’d assume the Red Sox would want Zach Lee-caliber talent, but I don’t know what the package would be, or what $ would be involved.

      • Anonymous

        Gonzalez’s seven-year contract extension calls for him to make $4.82MM for the remainder of 2012 ($21MM total), $21MM annually through 2016, and $21.5MM in ’17 and ’18.  The veteran also holds a partial no-trade clause.

        Boston should be happy to give him away on a waiver claim but they aren’t

  • Anonymous

    I love this post…. (great by Weisman….great bonus content as well)
    ….
    Five-year, $85 million contract extension?
    Also, “The deal also includes a $17.5 million club option for 2018 that would
    automatically vest if Ethier were to reach certain plate appearance
    thresholds in 2017 or in 2016-17 combined, potentially taking the total
    value of the contract to $100 million over six years.” – Tony Jackson
    ….
    You need to be able to hit lefties…. “PSSST….Seriosly Andre, It’s time.”  :-)

  • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

    I dunno. is the idea that ethier doesn’t hit lefties some sort of revelation. and that there’s no one to logically replace him with. if your answer is Sands that’s a no sale. if you think sands has a better chance than ethier with a major league pitcher you just haven’t been watching.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I have been watching.  And I also know that while Sands has a .301/.289 OBP/slugging against righties, he also has a .372/.532 mark against lefties in the majors. If you have been watching, that’s exactly what you’d have seen.  You’d have seen Jerry Sands get 17 singles, eight doubles, three homers and seven walks in 86 plate appearances against lefties. No more, no less. Regardless of his batting style, approach or the position of the moon, that’s what you’d have seen. So if you think he can’t be successful against lefties, then you’re the one that hasn’t been watching, because he already has been.

      Now, whether he can continue that success against lefties, I don’t know. Pitchers adjust, sometimes batters don’t re-adjust. But the question isn’t whether Sands is capable of ever doing it. He already has. The question is whether he can sustain it.

      Ethier is at .298/.350 against lefties.  We have seen plenty of him against lefties and know pretty clearly what we’re dealing with.  Not wanting to see if Sands can continue the success **that he has already had** against lefties is a sign of stubbornness.

      To be clear, I don’t write this in anger, so don’t start down that road :)

      • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

        well if you want to cherry pick stats make sure to do that with dee next time he’s discussed. he hit well last september too. what has mr sands did THIS year when he was up. 

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

          I’m doing the opposite of cherry picking.  I’m using the entirety of Sands’ career against lefties, which is what we’re talking about.  You, on the other hand, seem to want to only count the stats that support your argument.

          • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

            stats are great aren’t they? seeing as how the dodgers clearly don’t want him in the majors and that he struck out 40 percent of the time he was up this year could have something to do with it. but i’m sure stats and fans know more about sands that the coaches and such that he plays for. i’m sure they’re ignoring the stats out of spite.

            go ahead and play him at first. there can’t be a drop off there. that is unless you use how he’s actually done this year..

          • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

            Stats are great! In fact, stats are so great, they can be used in the same paragraph to support an argument being made by someone who is trashing them!  

            I’m not suggesting that Sands is a future All-Star.  I’m suggesting that he can possibly do better than Ethier is doing against lefties.  SInce you seem to agree Ethier is terrible against lefties, I’m not sure why this troubles you so. 

          • http://twitter.com/nrmnbates Eric Enders

            I don’t even know where to begin with this post. You make an assertion, someone refutes it convincingly and at length, and unable to muster any sort of coherent counter-argument, you resort to a sarcastic personal attack (“fans know more…”)

            Sometimes, you know, the other guy is just right.

          • Anonymous

            I assume by your name, very old, that you have seen lots of Dodgers over the years.  Who do Sands and Ethier remind you of?

          • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

            I’m not so distressed Jon. i just find the idea that you rather have sands (over ethier) bat against a lefthander as something not being reasonable. The guy got handed the leftfield job in spring training and his performance was so bad they sent him out. he came up sucked again. i feel for the kid. but if you’re saying you rather have the dodgers bat sands against a left hander rather than an all star major league outfielder i think that’s really odd.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Here’s an off topic post that might bring some fond memories to those of you who grew up in the East San Gabriel Valley. Here is the link: http://whenwewerehome.com/

  • Anonymous

    Totally off topic, but I think the Dodgers should consider adding Randy Wolf for bullpen depth when the rosters expand – presuming there’s room on the 40-man.

    • Anonymous

      Off topic isn’t the only thing off about that idea.

      • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

        bumsrap i can’t answer your question below because sands hasn’t played a major league season yet so he doesn’t remind me of anyone.

        • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

          hold it he does remind me a little of Van Slyke at least at the plate.

          • Anonymous

            I hope you mean Andy Van Slyke.

    • Anonymous

      If not pitching, then for pinch hitting purposes. He’s pretty good…

  • Anonymous

    Victorino vs RHP 2012 653, career vs Cain 470   these are OPS
    Mark Ellis 568, 516
    Kemp 873, 701
    Ethier 909, 1060
    Hanley 808, 772
    Loney 667,951
    Cruz   719, 533
    AJEllis825, 667
    It would help the team if the 2 Ellis’ switched line-up spots vs RHP

    Top OPS at Alb. for 2012 at least as many AB as Herrera (227)
    vs R; Castellanos 1123, SVS 1089, Sands 929
    vs L: Cruz 1125, Fedex 1110, Herrera 1068, Fields 995, Castellanos 984, Sands 887
    Sands 6th in the group against LHP

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    “the minute you sign ethier for 80 million or whtever the idea that he’s sitting because of logic or some stat doesn’t apply for at least a year or two. you can get all outraged or whatever but it’s a dry hole for now.”

    Someone never heard of Andruw Jones. 

    Look, I’m not eager to sit Ethier against anybody, and I know the Dodgers aren’t.  I’m not even convinced Sands will be better than Ethier than lefties in the long run.  I’m certainly not outraged about the situation.  But when a guy has struggled as consistently as Ethier against lefties – and heaven knows you can see it without looking at the stats – why wouldn’t you try something else?

    Sands has had three hitless starts in 2012.  Three. That means he should never get another chance?

    • Anonymous

      You are playing Br’er Rabbit to the commenter you quoted

    • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

      From below. I’m not so distressed Jon. i just find the idea that you rather have sands (over ethier) bat against a lefthander as something not being reasonable. The guy got handed the leftfield job in spring training and his performance was so bad they sent him out. he came up and performed very poorly again. i feel for the kid. but if you’re saying you rather have the dodgers bat sands against a left hander rather than an all star major league outfielder i think that’s really odd.

    • http://veryolddodgerfan.blogspot.com/ veryolddodgerfan

      wow now we’re comparing  ethier with Andruw Jones. i think we should cease with the idea that my argument are out of whack if that’s the direction you’re taking.

      • Anonymous

        I would rather have Andruw Jones against lefties than Ethier. I think most anyone would.

  • Anonymous

    Beltre 3 HR so far tonight, 2 in one inning (not GS’s)

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Wow!

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    From Dylan Hernandez: “Andre Ethier has a popped blister on the palm of his right hand that has exposed an area of raw skin the size of a quarter.”

  • Anonymous

    I am sick of mediocrities like Pagan having this kind of success v. the Dodgers.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    It never ends.

  • Anonymous

    Arias is less than mediocre – he’s bad. This is inexcusable.

  • Anonymous

    Goodness.

  • Anonymous

    Turned the game on to see them already losing 3-0, not even surprised.

    • Anonymous

       I had hoped they would finally escape the 1st inning without giving up a run . . . instead, it was the worst inning of this series . . . yikes!

  • Anonymous

    One word describes this series perfectly up to this point :
    Disgusting.

  • Anonymous

    Someone should say something about Ethier’s defense if we are to debate his play over Sands’..

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      That is relevant. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7VN5CNNJSLBZQXS3NX7DTIUTA4 jasonu

    Over the last few months WBB almost had me convinced that we were better than the Giants. 

    • Anonymous

       I dunno if “we” are, but the Dodgers are.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7VN5CNNJSLBZQXS3NX7DTIUTA4 jasonu

        maybe they can prove it then. because how they are playing is pathetic.

        • Anonymous

           They will. There are always bumps in the road.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7VN5CNNJSLBZQXS3NX7DTIUTA4 jasonu

            You know of course I hope you are right. But seriously they are totally outplaying us in every facet of the game right now.

    • Anonymous

       They are — SOME days.  To paraphrase the Dudley Moore Arthur (the REAL “Arthur”), you just can’t count on it being one of those days.

  • Anonymous

    Good play by the Giants SS there.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know why—but if trends continue, the Gnats will cream the 
    Dodgers again tonight. Then the Dodgers will sweep the Gnats in the next series commencing about Sept. 7. So neither team gains anything, and the pennant race will depend on the record against outside teams. Why this has to happen, I don’t know!.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s go Dre!

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if USPS/UPS/FedEx will have our offense delivered from Atlanta in time for our next series

  • Anonymous

    Well, at least they had to make a nice play to get us.

    • Anonymous

      That showed Fatsoval’s maximum range.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I meant Belt’s play on Panza’s throw.

        • Anonymous

          Gnatfans don’t appreciate how appropriate “Panza” is. Belt can’t hit, but has a decent glove.

          • Anonymous

            Belt is hitting just as well as Ethier and this is his first full season in which he is supposed to be struggling mightily.

          • Anonymous

            He’s hitting about the same as Ethier is now, which is hardly good, and he’s been really awful most of the year. His upside is Loney.

          • Anonymous

            Belt is hitting also about as well as Kemp did in his first full season.

      • Anonymous

        Sandoval was statistically the best defensive third baseman in the NL last season (based on defensive runs saved and UZR/150).

        • Anonymous

          A prime example of misleading defensive stats.

  • Anonymous

    He really handles that bat.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Wasted.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    New non-baseball post up top.  Baseball chat can remain here. 

  • Anonymous

    You can’t walk Christian, who couldn’t get a hit in slow pitch.

  • Anonymous

    Dodgers getting embarrassed now, 6-0.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Intentionally walking Belt with two outs… interesting decision. By interesting I mean stupid.

    • Anonymous

       Especially since he’s such a poor hitter.

  • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

    This series has exhausted me. Such a high from that road trip to lay this _______. You know?

  • Anonymous

    Rubby!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Turning it off. Calling it a night.

  • Anonymous

    Monday is correct that Gnat batters have been far too comfortable in this series. Pagan and Arias, in particular, need to eat dirt.

  • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

    Might as well let Uribe pitch.

  • Anonymous

    Thankfully, I decided not to watch tonight’s game.   Instead, watched a great film, “Patton,” with my wife and daughter, with George C. Scott from about 40 years ago.  When it was over, turned to the game, saw it was 6-1, and turned it off.  Didn’t miss two hours of growing aggravation.

  • Anonymous

    Nice, but didn’t get all of it.

  • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

    IT IS A MIRACLE!!!!!!!! A Uribe walk. I am so happy I stayed awake for this…

    • Anonymous

      But messes up Vin’s 3 ball shtick.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7VN5CNNJSLBZQXS3NX7DTIUTA4 jasonu

      rally caps…come on AJ

  • Anonymous

    Just a salami down.

  • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

    Hey Luis Cruz, have a year now.

    When did AJ turn into Benji Molina?

  • Anonymous

     Double play kills it, perfect

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT