Another dry day in the desert for the Dodgers

This pinch-hit Dodger Thoughts post is dedicated to Mark Sweeney.

Two days after getting shut out in San Francisco, the Dodgers traveled to Arizona. This time, they would have their ace, Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Their best hitter, Matt Kemp, would be back in the lineup. And, it didn’t matter, as the Diamondbacks picked up an unearned run in the 7th on a Hanley Ramirez throwing error and a Miguel Montero RBI double to win 1-0.

The Dodgers had only one look at the game. That came in the fifth after Andre Ethier hit a two-out double. Luis Cruz then sent a drive deep to left that Jason Kubel leaped for, and, to the surprise of many, actually caught. In the seventh, Cruz reached on a one-out single and was pinch run for by Dee Gordon. Gordon never tried to steal and A.J. Ellis hit into a double play. Shane Victorino got a two out double in the ninth off of David Hernandez, but Adrian Gonzalez was caught looking to end the game.

It may finally be time for the Dodgers to retire their “the Dodgers are challenging for the NL West title” commercial. The Giants won a very Coors Fieldish 9-8 game against the Rockies to increase their lead to six games. The Rockies were mathematically eliminated from NL West contention, but they are still alive for the wild card.

But, there was good news down in San Diego. The current owner of Wild Card #2 in the National League, St. Louis, lost again, 6-4. The Cardinals lead over the Dodgers remains at one game. Even the Pirates, who have lost 11 of 16, are still just 2 1/2 games back. Even more surprisingly, the Phillies and Brewers both got to the .500 mark and they are just four games out of a playoff spot. However, if your team still needs to pass up the Pirates this late in September in order to make the playoffs, there is something inherently wrong with your team’s late season surge.

And with this I bid you adieu and go back to the world of commenting. Sorry I didn’t have better news to relate to people. But, if it were all good news, it would have been boring right? No, it would have been more interesting. Life doesn’t let you pick your spots that often.

The Dodgers, somehow, still have a decent chance at a playoff spot. All they need to do is score a run. Not a run or two. We’ll settle for one and go from there.

  • Anonymous

    Great job filling in, Bob!

    Since all the hitters are slumping, one would think there’s something common amongst them causing their anemic play . . . maybe it’s the uniform — they should try a different detergent or new material!

  • Anonymous

    “Not that it matters…but looks like Ned lost the Sherrill for Bell/Johnson trade. Steve Johnson is doing some things for the Orioles”If it is any consolation, SF took him from Balt. in the rule 5 of Dec.’09 but returned him during spring training

    • Anonymous

      It only shows up on the minor league page for Johnson. He’s also pitched all of 8 games in the majors.

  • SteelMohawk

    Enjoyed your work BT, I would like to say you were bad luck, but let’s be serious now: this team has been in a 5 month funk.

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Back in the 60s when I was first a Dodgers fan I expected most games to be low-scoring or no-scoring affairs. That was the kind of lineup they had back then. This lineup astonishes me with its continued failures to hit and score runs. 

    • Anonymous

       Thanks for the perspective.  I knew the Koufax teams didn’t score much but wondered about the comparison. 
      Now I can be legitimately depressed about this team’s offensive offense.

      • Anonymous

        The 1965 and 1966 Dodgers were set up to be low-scoring teams that depended upon pitching. Buzzie Bavasi knew his team had no power hitters and tried to make it even more speed-oriented. Unlike this year’s Dodgers team, which, in theory, should score a lot more runs and hit more home runs.

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

          uh i don’t think they were intentionally set up to be low scoring (bad hitting) teams

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

        Koufax’s five big years from 1962-1966 the Dodgers averaged 662 runs, and that was with a humongous 842 in 1962. The other years were 640, 614, 608, and 606.

        So far this year they’ve scored 557 through 141 games.

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/LAD/

        • Anonymous

           Wow great stat. I lived through much of those seasons and never knew the runs scored is pretty much on par with this pathetic team’s offense. What  a difference 50 years and $250 mil make?!?

    • Anonymous

      Those teams were almost never shut out. Wills, Gilliam and the rest could always scare up a run or two or three.

      • Adam Luther

        Post of the day…ever so true…Dodger team batting average-1965:  .245.  Current team: .250

        Those 65-66 clubs barely scored 600 runs. The crazy stat is the runs against: 1965-521 RA, 1966-490 RA!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Hitchcock/1676059435 Jim Hitchcock

    Really enjoyable posts over the last week, Bob. I move that you be well compensated in Dodger Thought Dollars.

  • Anonymous

    Great job Btimmer!

  • http://twitter.com/snakealicious75 Snake Smith

    I’m frustrated becuse I don’t know what to possibly complain about.  The front office made some big moves and ostensibly made the team better.  I like the lineup Donnie’s trotting out there every game.  They just can’t seem to get the job done.  Complaining about Uribe and Kennedy seems pointless now too.

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

      yes i wonder how the hitting results compare before and after the trades. and how is that explained using statistics. could it be “massive regression.”  or a left-turn away from the mean. Some sort of BABIP thing. Maybe Xwar is involved. I dunno. what is it.

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

        there were sure lots of terms like that flying around before the trades

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

    So the following didn’t make the pinch hit blog list: Cookie Lavagetto, Jay Johnstone, Jose Morales, Len Matuszek, Stan Javier, Olmedo Saenz, Marky Loretta. Maybe they weren’t good enough or maybe they will be in the next installment of pinch hit posts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felton-Suthon/1592090085 Felton Suthon

    It’s probably time to consider how poorly the Dodgers will fare on a table of dollars spent per run scored in 2013.  I’d also suggest a patch for the 2013 uniforms: “1989-2013 – Celebrating 25 Years of Non-Championship Baseball”.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes your team is so broke that it can’t acquire good players.
    Sometimes your team has so much money that it acquires players who are expensive, but only ostensibly good.
    And sometimes the Orioles are in first place.

    • Anonymous

      These types of comments are why I read Dodger Thoughts. Thanks for pinch-hitting.

    • Adam Luther

      Election year – O’s vs. Nats – certainly a possiblity in today’s wacky baseball world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felton-Suthon/1592090085 Felton Suthon

    42-25 to June 17 as the best team in baseball.  Then 5-15 to the All-Star Break.  Then 6-5 to the Hanley Ramirez trade.  Then 15-13 to the Big Trade and 6-10 since the Big Trade while being outscored 49-72.  Sigh

  • Anonymous

    I’m willing to stand at the plate and look at strikes.  And I’d do it for considerably cheaper than these guys currently are.

    Ned, hit me up.

  • Anonymous

    Wait ’til next year?
    Well, here’s the schedule:
    http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=la#y=2013&m=4&calendar=DEFAULT 

    The Dodgers will play interleague games in every month except September. They open the season at home against the Giants on April 1, 2013. The final regular season game is September 29 against the Rockies.

    The MLB season Opening Day interleague series will be the Angels at the Reds. The teams stuck playing interleague to finish the year will be Detroit at Miami.

  • Anonymous

    Yankees!

  • Anonymous

    How bout the most recent terrible Simers column?  Good for Matt Treanor.  What I wouldn’t give to see a video of that.  

    • Anonymous

       I thought it was pointless. Just tell him “no comment” and, if he insists, “no comment to YOU.”

  • Anonymous

    Took me a while, but I found that the weak-hitting 1965 Dodgers were shut out a total of six times in 162 games. The staff, meanwhile, threw 23 shutouts.

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

      if my memory is anywhere near correct bunting was a significant part of the dodger attack then.

      • Anonymous

        When Maury was stealing 94 bases, you didn’t need to bunt a lot. In total, they had 172 SB and 103 sacrifice hits. Wes Parker led the team with 19 sacs, while Wills and Fairly had 14 each. The pitchers had 14, led by Osteen with six.

  • Anonymous

    Bob:   Great job pinch-hitting.  Really appreciate your knowledge and observations.  

    • Anonymous

      Me too.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for pinch-hitting, sir!  Appreciated the dedications and fresh takes.  
    Onward – through the fog!

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

    NPUT

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    From 1965 through 1968 in particular, the Sixties were a decade of extreme pitching, for a variety of reasons. That meant that strategies such as the bunt, the hit and run, and the stolen base were vital. Back then, if you were Maury Wills or Lou Brock, you could get by with a 65% successful steal percentage, because the big inning was highly unlikely. Particularly in the orginal configuration of Dodger Stadium, which was essentially an airport.

    Today, the run scoring rate is much higher, which lessens the efficacy of playing for one run. This means that if a guy isn’t stealing at at least a 75% clip, he’s probably hurting you by burning outs. Same thing for the sac bunt…one run meant a lot more in those days.

    While run scoring has declined from the 90′s and the early part of this decade, it is still FAR more hitter friendly today than in the 1960′s. And the tactics have thus changed. If you tried to play today the way they did in 1965 (particularly in the NL of that time), sacrificing early and often, stealing with impunity, burning outs…you’d guarantee yourself loss after loss. In 1966, Maury Wills was successful on only 61% of his SB tries, had an OPS+ of 81…and was considered a good leadoff hitter and offensive player. Different world, different time, different game. What would we be saying about him on DT with those stats today, I wonder?