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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Who Says Hitting Coaches Do Nothing?
2003-09-09 08:43
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

With two men on in the top of the eighth inning of a tie game Monday night in Phoenix, Jeromy Burnitz swung at a pitch that was headed spiraling down toward Lima, Peru.

Veteran baseball players deserve some rope, but sometimes enough is enough. When a player approaches a critical plate appearance with the focus of a pre-repair Hubble Telescope, sometimes you have to get up off the bench, or in my case, couch.

Twelve inches from the TV screen, I got in Burnitz's face and demanded that he focus.

And the rest was history. A game-winning three-run home run.

* * *

Kevin Brown on Monday: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K, Game Score 55

Russ Ortiz on Monday: 6 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 5 K Game Score 50

But if you ask Joe Morgan, Russ Ortiz is clearly the better pitcher. Why? Because even though Ortiz went out and allowed four runs in the first inning of his game, his Atlanta Brave teammates rallied to score five runs off Kevin Millwood in the next six innings, so Ortiz got the victory.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers didn't score their winning run until the inning after Brown left. So Brown doesn't get the victory. And that's the most important stat when evaluating pitchers, according to Morgan.

Honestly, you could just as effectively judge pitchers by barometric pressure readings as win-loss records.

* * *

I don't know if there is a better newspaper columnist writing about the Dodgers than Kevin Modesti of the Daily News. Modesti brings solid perspective to the Eric Gagne for Cy Young debate today, looking at both sides of the issue even-handedly. (I think that's redundant on my part, but you get the idea.) Too many writers are over-eager to take a dramatic stand. Modesti will go as far as he can, but without leaving reason behind.

* * *

Vin Scully pointed out that not only is it Edwin Jackson's 20th birthday today, it is Randy Johnson's 40th birthday tomorrow. Almost perfect, but perfect enough.

Johnson has not allowed fewer baserunners than innings pitched since his no-decision against the Dodgers on July 25. Here is his game log for the season.

Perhaps the most encouraging news surrounding Jackson is that instead of letting him start on the final day of the regular season, with a chance to earn a Southern League strikeout title that management could have trumpeted to the press, the Dodgers decided he needed to rest. It's scary to ponder whether Jackson's game inactivity will combine with rookie jitters and the fact that he was only a 3.70 ERA pitcher in AA to create a combustible major league debut tonight, but at least I'm not scared of what might happen if he does well.

Jeff Elliott of the Jacksonville Times-Union raises the question of whether the Dodgers might start Koyie Hill, who was Jackson's starting catcher for most of the season at Jacksonville and is also now on the major-league roster. Interesting notion, especially with Paul Lo Duca banged up, but my guess is that the team will want a veteran influence behind the plate.

* * *

Since the All-Star Break ...

Adrian Beltre has more home runs (12) than walks (8).

Beltre is tied for third in the league in RBI.

Shawn Green has an on-base percentage of .402.

Mike Kinkade has three hits and has been hit by three pitches.

Jeromy Burnitz is second on the Dodgers with nine home runs.

Dave Roberts has been caught stealing 43 percent of his 21 attempts. The rest of the team has been caught 30 percent of its 20 attempts.

* * *


Update: Dodger postseason chances, from Baseball Prospectus
Today: 9.4 percent
September 8: 5.4 percent
September 7: 5.3 percent
September 6: 4.8 percent
September 5: 3.5 percent
September 4: 4.3 percent
September 3: 7.9 percent
September 2: 4.8 percent
September 1: 7.9 percent
August 31: 6.9 percent
August 30: 5.5 percent
August 29: 4.8 percent
August 28: 2.6 percent
August 26: 3.6 percent
August 25: 3.1 percent
August 24: 4.4 percent
August 23: 6.5 percent
August 22: 5.8 percent
August 21: 4.2 percent
August 20: 2.3 percent

Projected NL Wild-Card Standings as of September 9
Wins ... Team ... Chance of winning wild card
89 ... Philadelphia (50.3 percent)
88 ... Florida (32.6 percent)
87 ... Houston (3.4 percent)
86 ... Los Angeles (9.4 percent)
85 ... St. Louis (1.3 percent)
83 ... Arizona (0.3 percent)
81 ... Montreal (0.0 percent)

(Division leaders account for the remaining wild card possibilities.)

The Dodgers' run of nine wins in 11 games has raised their wild-card chances to a high since Dodger Thoughts has been tracking them. Baseball Prospectus' formula also finds for the first time in this period that the Dodgers should play better than .500 ball the rest of the way.

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