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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

First of All
2003-07-01 04:24
by Jon Weisman

Happy July ...

Home runs by the Dodgers in 2003: 49
Home runs by the Angels in June: 42

Home runs by the Dodgers in June: 15
Home runs by Jim Edmonds (St. Louis) in June: 14

Now that that's out of the way ...

The Dodgers are still a winning team.

Jim Tracy is right about that. No matter how you slice it, however exceptional you think the Dodger offense, the Dodger pitching has more characteristics of exception.

Can the Dodgers improve their team? Yes. We addressed that Monday. Improve, not save. The Dodgers don't need the sizzle of a Heather Locklear to boost their numbers. A solid talent like Phil Hartman, rest his soul, will do quite nicely. Or the unsung brilliance of a Brad Garrett, assuming Brad can hit right-handers. (Just make sure that the Dodgers don't acquire Ted McGinley.)

Today, let's remind ourselves that the three losses in a row and six out of seven are an aberration. There is an offense worse than the Dodgers, and it's that of Dodger opponents.

Dodger runs: 277
Dodger runs allowed: 242

Dodger OBP: .306
Dodger OBP allowed: .290

Dodger SLG: .359
Dodger SLG allowed: .336

Dodger batter strikeouts: 469
Dodger pitcher strikeouts: 661

Dodger pitchers whiff 2.3 extra batters per game - 8.3 per game total. That means that Dodger fielders only have to get about 18 outs per game, while the fielders of Dodger opponents have to get 20. Who wouldn't like to have two extra outs per game to work with?

Dodger ratio of ground balls allowed to fly balls allowed: 1.58
Dodger rank in this category among 30 teams: 1

When Dodger pitchers do allow bat to hit ball into fair category, more often than not it is going in the neighborhood of three quality fielders: Adrian Beltre, Cesar Izturis and Alex Cora. The Dodgers are pitching to the team's strengths - 1) the strikeout, 2) the ground ball. That is a winning formula. That is Gatorade, not GatorGum.

Here's where it's going wrong: the two categories where the Dodger offense trails even Dodger opponents:

Dodger home runs: 49
Dodger home runs allowed: 59

Dodger walks: 202
Dodger walks allowed: 251

The walks, of course, are mainly the fault of Kazuhisa Ishii and Hideo Nomo, who alone have freebied 110. Ishii has allowed 60 walks and 30 runs. I really want to research how many times that 2-1 ratio has been achieved in history. Ishii is the pitching equivalent of Eddie Gaedel. Imagine how many times Gaedel would have walked in a full-time career, and imagine how rarely he would have scored. Ishii may have an average personality off the field, but on the diamond he is truly a circus act.

How are these most negative of Dodger negatives this mitigated?

Dodger total bases via hits: 960
Dodger total bases via hits allowed: 883

Dodger HBP + walks + SB - CS: 268
Dodger HBP + walks + SB allowed - caught stealing: 297

Still, the total of these categories is closer to break-even than someone rooting for a division winner might hope:

Dodgers: 1,228
Opponents: 1,180
Difference per game: 0.6

What does the above not include? Bases on errors, for one thing. Bases on sacrifices, extra bases on a hit and run, bases scored on a groundout. Those bases can make a difference. Something tells me that the Dodgers are less likely than their opponents to take an extra base on a single to the outfield to score a run, but more likely to get the strikeout they need to prevent a run.

If the Dodgers made no roster moves for the rest of the year, what would happen? Would the great pitching outlast the bad hitting? No one can answer conclusively. There is an explanation for both to continue, and there is an explanation for either to recede.

Change for the sake of change is the last thing the Dodgers need. Whatever new peg the Dodgers acquire should be a damn good fit. He needs to hit right-handed pitching. Period. Otherwise, don't even bother.

Because, believe it or not, the Dodgers are doing a lot of things right that you wouldn't want to mess up.

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