Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Help
Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
Frozen Toast
Search
Google Search
Web
Toaster
Dodger Thoughts
Archives

2009
02  01 

2008
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2007
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2006
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2005
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2004
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2003
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2002
09  08  07 
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

The Cold Front
2003-04-29 08:52
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Okay, kids - time for Extreme Dodgers!

With Monday night's shutout loss to the Phillies, the Dodgers fell to last in the National League in scoring at 3.57 runs per game. Extreme!

At the same time, they held their position as No. 1 in fewest runs allowed: 3.19 runs per game. Doubly extreme!

So, where are we headed on this extreme course? Crash and burn, or ... the opposite of crash and burn?

In 1965 and 1966, the Dodgers won the National League pennant with offenses that were ranked eighth in a 10-team NL.

In 1995 and 1996, the Dodgers reached the postseason (falling short of winning a pennant) with offenses that were 10th and 12th in a 14-team NL.

More often than not, however, the Dodgers have not been able to overcome a poor offense, even with the best pitching in the league.

Here are the worst offenses in Los Angeles Dodger history (The league had 10 teams through 1968, 12 teams through 1992, 14 teams through 1997 and now has 16 teams.):

Year...Rank in Runs...Rank in Runs Allowed...W-L Record
1967..............9............................5..............................73-89
1968.............10...........................3..............................76-86
1984.............12...........................3..............................79-83
1987.............12...........................2..............................73-89
1989.............12...........................1..............................77-83
1992.............12...........................7..............................63-99
1993.............12...........................4..............................81-81
1998.............12...........................5..............................83-79
1999.............11...........................8..............................77-85

The point being, even if the conditions at Dodger Stadium dampen offensive production, the Dodgers have historically needed to find a way to overcome them.

Now, there is some potential for the Dodger offense to move up in the National League rankings.

2003 Runs per game, through April 28
6.08 Colorado
5.84 Chicago
5.65 St. Louis
5.58 Philadelphia
5.21 San Francisco
4.72 Atlanta
4.70 Florida
4.56 Cincinnati
4.48 Montreal
4.42 Houston
4.08 Milwaukee
4.00 San Diego
3.73 Arizona
3.60 New York
3.58 Pittsburgh
3.58 Los Angeles

Here's an illustration of how big an offensive hole the Dodgers are in. In order to move into the top half of the league in scoring - if everyone else held their pace - the Dodgers would have to average 4.75 runs per game the rest of the season. That's an increase of more than one run per game above their current scoring rate.

The simplest way for the Dodgers to do make progress toward such a leap would be to start hitting home runs. Last year, the Dodgers averaged 0.96 home runs per game. This year, with a similar lineup to last year's team, the Dodgers are only hitting 0.58 home runs per game. That's a pretty noteworthy difference.

To reach last year's total of 155 home runs, the Dodgers will have to hit 140 more - or 1.03 per game. Even if all 140 home runs were solo shots, that would have a huge effect on getting the Dodger offense out of its hole.

As predictable as this season has been - good pitching, bad hitting - the Dodgers remain a mystery team. They are not doomed to failure. An improved offense is necessary - but it's not a pipe dream. The power potential is there.

The obvious fear is that even if the hitting improves, the pitching will falter. But in looking at the stats, while I honestly don't see how the hitting can get any worse, the pitching can still improve. The ERA of the Dodger starters is 3.83. And while the bullpen ERA is out-of-sight good, improvement by the starters should allow the relievers to remain effective, if not spectacular.

Monday, Shawn Green hit a long fly ball to the wall in right field. Vin Scully said that on a warmer night, that ball might have gone out. Shortly thereafter, Jim Thome blasted a ball through the cool air halfway up the left-field bleachers.

With all the other factors that are out there, I think the success of the Dodgers this season depends quite simply on reversing those two events.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.