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The Hatcher Connection
2004-10-06 09:19
by Jon Weisman

Everyone's been comparing the 1988 Dodgers to the 2004 Dodgers, but Rich Lederer finds more interesting parallels between the '88ers and the 2004 Angels on a special weekday edition of Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT.

An excerpt:

Darin Erstad (.295/.346/.400) at 1B, Alfredo Amezaga (.161/.212/.247) at 2B, David Eckstein (.276/.339/.332) at SS, and Chone Figgins (.296/.350/.419) at 3B must be one of the worst infields ever to start in a postseason game. Letís face it, when Figgins has the highest slugging percentage among your infielders, youíre in a world of hurt.

The aforementioned quartet hit 16 home runs all season. Yes, you read that right. SIXTEEN. In other words, the Angels starting infield in Game One of the ALDS went yard fewer times than Mark Bellhorn over the course of the 2004 regular season despite approximately 1,250 more plate appearances than the Red Sox second baseman.

I think one would need to go back to the 1988 Dodgers to find such an inept-hitting infield that started during the postseason. The Dodgers that year featured Franklin Stubbs (.223/.288/.376) and Mickey Hatcher (.293/.322/.351) at 1B, Steve Sax (.277/.325/.343) at 2B, Alfredo Griffin (.199/.259/.236) at SS, and Jeff Hamilton (.236/.268/.353) at 3B. Including Stubbs at first, this infield hit 20 homers. With Hatcher, they hit just 13.

Brief note: Hatcher, now the Angels' hitting coach, actually only played 25 games at first base for the Dodgers during the 1988 regular season, but found himself there in six games in the National League Championship Series before moving to the outfield in the World Series.

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