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NL West Rotation Check
2005-08-01 09:38
by Jon Weisman

DiamondbacksBrandon WebbJavier VasquezBrad HalseyMike GoslingClaudio Vargas
PadresJake PeavyBrian LawrenceWoody WilliamsChan Ho ParkPedro Astacio
DodgersBrad PennyJeff WeaverDerek LoweOdalis PerezD.J. Houlton
GiantsNoah Lowry Brett TomkoJason SchmidtBrad HennesseyKirk Reuter

*two teams
Source: Baseball Prospectus

This is just a snapshot - there will be further changes to the teams' rotations over the final two months as ptichers come and go, heal and unheal.

The difference-makers? How about Brad Halsey and Mike Gosling, who entered the season with 57 1/3 combined career innings, then combined for 55 innings in July 2005 alone with an ERA of 2.13. Add in the July ERA of 2.01 from Washington Nationals import Claudio Vargas, and you can understand how Arizona ascended in the National League West.

More power to the Diamondbacks if they can keep this up through August and September, but those are pretty pristine numbers to maintain.

My gut told me that Chan Ho Park would improve in coming to a pitchers park in the National League and therefore help the Padres, but the stats don't support my gut. He has pitched more poorly on the road than at home this season, and his ratio of flyouts to groundouts, 1.58, is the highest of his career. While Petco Park will protect him from some flyball damage, it can't smother them all. Park has only allowed eight home runs this season in compiling his 5.66 ERA, so how much more can San Diego's environment help? The best thing Park has going for him is that his strikeout rate, 6.57 per nine innings, is his highest since 2002 - but it's still unexceptional, and his strikeout/walk ratio is actually down from 2004. Correction: With the help of Rob McMillin at 6-4-2, I realize I read the stats wrong - and that Park's ground-ball ratio is the highest it has been. Which makes the trade much more promising for San Diego - though the infield defense behind Park still won't be anything wonderful.

Can the Dodgers get better performances out of their starting rotation? As much as the offense and bullpen have been blamed for the losing in June and July, an increase of seven-inning, two-run performances from the starting pitchers could thrust the Dodgers upward in this downstream NL West race. They're capable of doing it - which is not at all to say that they will.

Just to keep things in perspective, however, the Dodgers now have the same record as Cincinnati.

Comments (51)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-08-01 10:15:26
1.   rageon
I suppose I might as well make my comments in the latest post...

Raffy testing positive is huge!! I remember hearing something just a day or two ago about how his HOF chances will always be hurt by allegations of steroid use, but I certainly take it to mean him personally. I've got to think that this pretty much kills his chances of getting in. Or at least takes him from a probable choice to someone right on the bubble. But craziest of all is the fact that he flatly denied using anything in front of Congress. With how high profile this has become, I wouldn't be suprised to hear them chime in on this as well. At least McGwire has the good sense not to deny anything by lying about it. I guess he figured that looking like an idiot is better than looking like a lier.

2005-08-01 10:18:49
2.   rageon
Committee on Government Reform
United States House of Representatives
March 17, 2005

Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. My name is Rafael Palmeiro and I am a professional baseball player. I'll be brief in my remarks today. Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never. The reference to me in Mr. Canseco's book is absolutely false.

I am against the use of steroids. I don't think athletes should use steroids and I don't think our kids should use them. That point of view is one, unfortunately, that is not shared by our former colleague, Jose Canseco. Mr. Canseco is an unashamed advocate for increased steroid use by all athletes.

My parents and I came to the United States after fleeing the communist tyranny that still reigns over my homeland of Cuba. We came seeking freedom, knowing that through hard work, discipline, and dedication, my family and I could build a bright future in America. Since arriving to this great country, I have tried to live every day of my life in a manner that I hope has typified the very embodiment of the American Dream. I have gotten to play for three great organizations – the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles – and I have been blessed to do well in a profession I love. That blessing has allowed me to work on projects and with charities in the communities where I live and play. As much as I have appreciated the accolades that have come with a successful career, I am just as honored to have worked with great organizations like the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Shoes for Orphans Souls, and the Lena Pope Home of Fort Worth.

The League and the Player's Association recently agreed on a steroid policy that I hope will be the first step to eradicating these substances from baseball. Congress should work with the League and the Player's Association to make sure that the new policy now being put in place achieves the goal of stamping steroids out of the sport. To the degree an individual player can be helpful, perhaps as an advocate to young people about the dangers of steroids, I hope you will call on us. I, for one, am ready to heed that call.

2005-08-01 10:24:07
3.   Marty
Those VORP numbers for all the #5 starters reenforces my belief that no team has five good starters. So I can't fault Depo too much for starting the season with a hole in #5. It seems all teams have the same hole. I'd like to see someone try to go a season with just 4 starters.
2005-08-01 10:26:57
4.   Steve Saxs Sweaty Jockstrap
Special thanks to Raffy on a 10 game suspension. I had you active in my fantasy league this week and just found out about your suspension. It's now too late to change my roster. Thanks Raffy, you dump truck.
2005-08-01 10:31:36
5.   Steve Saxs Sweaty Jockstrap
Another special thanks goes out to Wilson Alvarez for serving up the game winning home run to Jim Edmunds.

It would be nice if DePo would get us a lefty reliever who can actually get batters out.

2005-08-01 10:34:42
6.   fanerman
It'd also be nice if Tracy realized that Alvarez, even in his better days, is NOT a LOOGY and does BETTER against RIGHTIES. But anyway...

I've found over the last week that a good way to cheer myself up is reading the "Only Baseball Matters" giants blog. I guarantee it'll lighten your day, at least a little.

2005-08-01 10:40:27
7.   fanerman
And sort of related to #5,
Anybody have any guess as to if Kuo will be brought up sometime soon?
2005-08-01 10:50:41
8.   Borchard504
"Just to keep things in perspective, however, the Dodgers now have the same record as Cincinnati."

I realized the same thing about 30 minutes ago.

Just let me tell you, here in Cincinnati, coventional wisdom and sentiment is, that the Reds are and have been, a woefull team, not worthy of much support. "Can't wait for Bengals training camp" is a common comment heard when talking sports.

Reds and Dodgers, separated at birth I guess. Lack of pitching. Inconsistent hitting. Leadership issues. Empty seats. What's the difference between the two. I guess, just who you're chasing ahead of you, and not much else.

2005-08-01 10:51:36
9.   regfairfield
8 - One team has been ravaged by injuries, the other paid Eric Milton 8 million dollars.
2005-08-01 10:53:51
10.   fanerman
The Reds and Dodgers are "A Tale Of Two Teams."
2005-08-01 10:54:01
11.   King of the Hobos
If Alvarez retires as he's threatening to do, Kuo could replace him, or more likely, one of the Vegas lefties. Or DePo could just bring up Osoria, leaving Tracy without his precious LOOGY.

And how much longer until Dessens is put in the rotation? Tracy never uses him in the pen, and Houlton hasn't exactly been pitching shut outs. I really hope if Houlton fails to impress on Wednesday, he's demoted to the pen

2005-08-01 10:56:06
12.   fanerman
Why is Dessens never used? He can't be worse than CarrAlvarez. I wouldnt't mind trying a Dessens/Houlton 4 innings each combo as a #5 starter.
2005-08-01 10:59:28
13.   Penarol1916
8.-The Reds and Dodgers are on pace for similar attendance figures? Now that is sad.
2005-08-01 11:00:12
14.   King of the Hobos
12-If they were to do the Dessens Houlton thing (and it's not that bad of an idea) Dessens must start, with Houlton pitching 2-3 simulation innings in the pen. Whatever we can do to do away with 1st inning problems
2005-08-01 11:04:01
15.   Marty
6. Thanks for the tip. The Only Baseball Matters blog is pretty good, even for a Jints blog. He seems to recognize how bad that team is, (better than I recognize how bad ours is :-) )
2005-08-01 11:04:36
16.   Bob Timmermann
Since I'm out of town, how is this particular story playing in Southern California:

2005-08-01 11:06:42
17.   Marty
Bob, at first I thought it may be people selling "Team Depo" and "Ghame Over" shirts. They are a well-known rough crowd.
2005-08-01 11:08:06
18.   bokonon42
13- Nope. The Dodgers are averaging 46,080; Reds, 24,789. Only the Yankees have drawn more than LA this year.
2005-08-01 11:08:57
19.   fanerman
That makes more sense. I had the impression LA was doing very well selling seats.
2005-08-01 11:14:38
20.   JJoeScott
Plaschke, today:

*Though the daily attendance announcements are often in the 45,000 range — the club announces the number of tickets sold — the actual count at the stadium this week was sometimes less than half of that.

The Dodgers are surely leading the league in no-shows, and soon could be leading in no-cares, and owner Frank McCourt knows that's no way to build a business.*

2005-08-01 11:16:04
21.   Steve
18 -- There is a complete disconnect between what McCourt has done to the stadium, DePodesta has done to the team, the fans response to those moves, and the media coverage of them. When Plaschke was writing moony love letters to Kevin Malone every six weeks, you could barely get to your seat without tripping over twenty empty ones. Of all the stories in the LA Times about the stadium, I have yet to read one fan say "I enjoyed my experience at Dodger Stadium" or words to that effect. The downsides of more advertising and the like are obvious. They hardly merit mention. Why do I own a TiVo? But it seems clear enough that, at least as of now, the fans are enjoying the overall experience of buying tickets and going the stadium.

Or the marketing department is just doing a good job selling season tickets to law firms. :)

2005-08-01 11:18:34
22.   Penarol1916
18- Thanks, I was thinking that the Reds fan was off base in that comment, but didn't know for sure.
2005-08-01 11:22:00
23.   bokonon42
20- I don't believe for so much as a second that there was a single game last week where fewer than 22,500 showed. I watched those games, I know what less than 25k looks like. Still, supposing that it's specifically true, he's still only questioning the attendance figures from last week. If nobody had come to the last homestead, the Dodgers would still be among league leaders in attendance.
2005-08-01 11:26:24
24.   Howard Fox
yeah, Plaschke's estimate of low 20's in attendance was quite the thing...I don't know which stadium he has been at, unless he did his head count between the 10th and 11th innings yesterday
2005-08-01 11:27:32
25.   Borchard504
Dodgers will hugely outdraw the Reds. But a TV shot of each ballpark looks very familiar. The Dodgers lead the league in noshows.

23) is correct, in saying the acutal attendance at Dodger stadium has been in the 20,000's lately, when paid attendance is in the 40's.

2005-08-01 11:28:57
26.   bokonon42
McCourt should run a promotion where anyone who cancels his subscription to the LA Times gets four free tickets. GM played hardball even when the Times was right, and it got the hide of the ediotr, right? I've heard a dozen different theories about how that happened, but this is my favorite. How could the coverage of the Dodgers get nastier?
2005-08-01 11:33:44
27.   Marty
When we did the Adam Dunn expedition last week on a Wednesday night, the reserve level and both pavilions were at least 3/4 full. There had to be 40k plus there. Not bad for a Wednesday with two floundering teams.

And our group only skewed the numbers by 10 :)

2005-08-01 11:34:31
28.   Penarol1916
23- Not being there and only seeing both parks on TV, I really disagree that Cincinatti's park and Dodger Stadium look similarly empty. Dodger Stadium appears to have some form of attendance.
2005-08-01 11:39:02
29.   Brendan
I went to the Wed day game against Cincy and there couldn't have been more than 30,000 in the stands. About 5,000 -7,500 them were kids, in brightly colored shirts ,that they bused in from summer camps. But that was a Noon starting wed. day game against Cincy. I've been to about 10 games this year and every other crowd has been easily 40K+
2005-08-01 11:40:26
30.   Brendan
of course I meant the thursday game, not Wed.
2005-08-01 11:44:34
31.   Brendan

I think you might have seen the crowd shots for the extra inning four hour plus game yesterday. in the 11th inning a ton of people had left and I can't blame them because sitting in the sun at Dodger Stadium for any length of time is ungodly hot.

2005-08-01 11:49:50
32.   JJoeScott
I've paid for one ticket this season, and used it. Saw the vintage blue outfield wall was now green; heard the vulgarities and watched the riot-inciting actions of "true blue" Dodgers fans; paid too much money for an undercooked "grilled" dog; liked the new scoreboard (it is newer, right?) and the electronic visual wall around the loge level; got stuck in traffic because they still haven't comeup with a way to re-open the Scott Ave. exit; and decided I might wait another year before going back.
2005-08-01 12:04:17
33.   King of the Hobos
29-Businessman Specials probably don't get the same attendence as night/weedend games. Considering everyone is working...
2005-08-01 12:04:25
34.   Steve
Do not credit Plaschke with anything but opinion unless the sentence reads "X person from X reliable source stated that Y." Otherwise, it's just him talking. Nothing wrong with talking, but to sell it as news is outrageous.
2005-08-01 12:05:20
35.   Brendan

That must have been one of the $2 dollar Tuesdays or an early game this year. Agreed the fans were a bit rowdy the first few weeks of the season but they have calmed down since(or I'm sitting in better seats 0

The extra ads stink but at least it's still Dodger Stadium and there aren't ads on the uniforms(yet)

2005-08-01 12:08:26
36.   Steve
When they closed Scott Ave., it took me three years to memorize a new way into the stadium. Old habits die hard.
2005-08-01 12:10:42
37.   Bob Timmermann
Ads on uniforms would have to be approved by the owners and players, so those won't sneak up on you.
2005-08-01 12:14:58
38.   Bob Timmermann
Scott Avenue isn't going to reopen because the neighborhood there won't allow it.

And Echo Park is a lot more upscale than it used to be, so those people's complaints hold more truck with the City Council.

2005-08-01 12:56:46
39.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 7

On a possible callup of Kuo, that seems very unlikely. There was an item on him in a Dodger Notes article from the site, and it seems that the org thinks that Kuo's thrown far too few innings to be called up. Minor league gurus like Nate and Fearing have commented on how they're having him pitch only two innings per outing with many days rest in between, so I think the goal right now may be to gradually build up arm strength and stamina before they even think about calling him up. I for one might like the idea, if it seems workable, to convert him back to a starter. But it seems unlikely he'll be called up this season.


2005-08-01 13:10:17
40.   alex 7
re: Kuo why can't Kuo build up the arm strength with the Dodgers instead of AA? Being that he seems capable of performing very well for brief stints every few days, couldn't he do that for the Dodgers bullpen? Or would the possibility of overusing him be too high? I'd think Tracy could just be told what the inning/pitch limits are on Kuo and we'd still get better results than using Carrara.
2005-08-01 13:18:41
41.   King of the Hobos
There were inning/pitch limits on Wunsch, and look what happened. Tracy isn't very good limiting LHPs, as he has this crazy notion that only they can face lefty hitters
2005-08-01 13:54:48
42.   Jon Weisman
41 - your comment doesn't make sense to me.
2005-08-01 14:03:26
43.   fanerman
Wunsch was sort of injured on a freak accident (boy, it really does seem like all our injuries are from freak accidents). Pitch limits had nothing to do with what happened (or so we think...).
2005-08-01 14:10:08
44.   db1022
43 - Untrue! If Tracy had been imposing a innings limit on Wunsch, he never would've been warming up for that game, and therefore not been called in. We could've avoided that whole nasty incident had Tracy not used Wunsch that day.


2005-08-01 14:11:47
45.   db1022
Add 44 - If you use a reliever practically everyday, it only stands to reason that eventually he'll hurt himself walking out of the bullpen.

(Again, kidding. This is fun.)

2005-08-01 14:19:38
46.   King of the Hobos

"I've had that workload before and I'd rather not go there again," said Wunsch. "I know I have to be prepared for a lot of appearances. I expect to be in about 70 games and I'd like to try not to cross that line. But I know a lot of managers like to go with a hot hand.

"Tracy is a very smart guy, so is Colby [pitching coach Jim Colborn] and Mr. DePodesta (general manager Paul DePodesta). They know I'm coming off a year with an injury and that will enter into their thinking. Understandably, I'm a little gun-shy."

It may have been self imposed by Wunsch, but he wanted to limit his workload because he knew he was coming off an injury. The new injury may very well have had nothing to do with the old one, but Tracy hardly listened to Wunsch

2005-08-01 14:42:49
47.   Nick Iyengar
Erickson said after he was DFA'd that he would accept an assignment to AAA; did anyone see if the Dodgers actually offered him a gig with the 51's? I hope not, because letting him hang around LV is just going to give DePo an excuse to call him back up to the big club in September.
2005-08-01 14:54:36
48.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 40

I interpreted this as a concern over stamina and arm strength, which may be somewhat incorrect:

"The Dodgers have no immediate plans to promote Taiwanese left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo from Double-A, despite his current dominance.

Kuo has 26 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings and a 1.26 ERA at Jacksonville. But he's also returning from two Tommy John elbow reconstructions and has fewer than 100 professional innings over the past five years."


2005-08-01 14:57:34
49.   db1022
48 - So we let him blow out his arm againg in the minors, rather the big club? I don't understand that logic really.
2005-08-01 14:57:49
50.   db1022
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-08-01 15:03:33
51.   King of the Hobos
Maybe DePo knows that if Kuo is promoted, he'll pitch every game. Tracy uses a LOOGY whenever he can, whether it is Jim Edmonds or Dontrelle Willis. Kuo is currently pitching an inning or two every few days, and I have a feeling Tracy wouldn't realize this, and would put him out whenever he wanted. That said, I wouldn't have minded Kuo vs Edmonds yesterday, followed by Broxton vs Pujols.

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