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

Talk About a Five Hole
2006-07-06 22:50
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

I haven't gone soft, I don't think. I've just lost most of my interest in caring about who bats where. I'm not saying it doesn't matter at all. But I'm not sure it matters much, and mostly, I'm concerned with getting the best guys out there every day possible. Getting them to bat in my preferred order is just gravy on the cake.

But I don't suppose I can retain any integrity and let Ramon Martinez batting fifth slide. Even in this career year of his, his OPS is merely .793. And even that just shrieks "fluke."

Now, there weren't many alternatives among tonight's starting eight, but either Andre Ethier, or, if you prefer to have a righty behind J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, would be better choices. The tethering of Martin to the No. 8 spot when everyone else roams free like Cheetah is getting a little silly. (Yes, Martin's OPS has slipped below .800, but I have a little more faith in his rising.)

With Jeff Kent out - once again, for perhaps longer than the Dodgers said they expected - the Strat-o-Matic solution would be to move Nomar Garciaparra off first base and put another power hitter there. I'm assuming that's off the table - and maybe for good reason. Maybe the relative spa treatment of playing first is reviving Garciaparra's bat.

Absent such a move, the Dodgers have really put themselves in a bind. The only possibly better infield option tonight was to play Olmedo Saenz at third. And I say that with no love for Saenz against right-handed pitchers. The Dodgers could also have started Matt Kemp in center field in place of Kenny Lofton, to put another power threat in there. (Lofton, by the way, looks like he just isn't seeing the ball off the bat defensively.)

No matter what they did, thanks to the Toby Hall pickup, the Dodgers were stuck with an all-righty bench and no other true middle infielders. Playing with Kent in limbo is a real stresser. When Ramon Martinez is batting fifth for you, that's a sign that something's wrong. Let's hope it's temporary.

Out in the distance, a cry echoes through the breeze. A cry for Andy LaRoche, untested, maybe even unhealthy Andy LaRoche. Too soon to be true, but you can hear it.

Comments (144)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-07-06 22:58:03
1.   bobbygrich
I have heard this elsewhere but there have been complaints by outfielders that they have a hard time seeing the ball off of the new lighter seats. Not sure if that flies since most those seats are filled but I have heard that.
2006-07-06 22:59:02
2.   Linkmeister
"...move Nomar Garciaparra off first base and put another power hitter there."

But what power hitter might that be? Ain't no first basemen on the current roster. Come to think of it, if Nomar got hurt, they'd have to call up Loney, wouldn't they?

Oh, wait. Maybe move Kent there and Furcal to second, Izturis to short. Is that what you're thinking?

2006-07-06 22:59:57
3.   JoeyP
Maybe Grits subscribes to the Bruce Bochy school of managing? Bochy got so used to batting Piazza 4th, that when Mike needed a day off he'd just plug Josh Bard into the very same cleanup spot.
2006-07-06 23:00:38
4.   Landonkk
At this point I don't know what is worse; Lofton struggling in CF, or Kemp struggling at the plate.
2006-07-06 23:02:27
5.   Uncle Miltie
It's pretty ridiculous that Martin is still batting 8th. He's one of the better contact hitters on the team and he has pretty good plate discipline. He has decent speed and gap power. Sounds like a top of the order hitter to me.

I know people are going to disagree with me here, but I'd like to see Kemp get sent down. I don't see any reason why he should be up here if he's going to rot on the bench. It's bad for his development and means that we are wasting precious days on his arbitration clock. It's a shame that Repko is hurt. The Dodgers should seriously consider calling up Loney soon and sticking him in LF (where he's playing tonight).

This could be our new lineup:
1. Furcal SS - he's starting to hit better
2. Martin C
3. Nomar 1B
4. Drew CF
5. Kent 2B
6. Ethier RF
7. Loney LF
8. Aybar 3B - (after Ned trades Izturis for a washed up middle reliever coughToddJonescough)

2006-07-06 23:06:58
6.   JoeyP
If Grits wont play Kemp, I doubt he'll play Loney either.
I think Kemp gets sent down once Ledee is activated. But I agree with your point that it does Kemp no good to sit the bench.
2006-07-06 23:08:47
7.   regfairfield
5 I'm really thankful the Tigers have Omar Infante.
2006-07-06 23:10:16
8.   Jon Weisman
Cub Town gets a shoutout:

http://tinyurl.com/z5zze

2006-07-06 23:33:07
9.   JoeyP
One must love Dodger PR chief Camille Johnston:

The Dodgers in conjunction with San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people playing bingo at one time and claim the title of "largest bingo house" in the world.

The Dodgers host National League West rival San Francisco on Friday at 7:40 p.m. PT with a projected crowd of more than 50,000, where everyone in attendance will receive a bingo card to play. The game will be called between innings and cash prizes will be awarded to winning participants. All winning cards will be entered into a random drawing held at the stadium, where three lucky participants will be drawn to win cash prizes totaling $20,000 in recognition of San Manuel's 20th anniversary. A Guinness World Records representative will also be present at the game to officially recognize the record attempt.

2006-07-06 23:39:41
10.   the OZ
I just got back from the game. My friends had to endure my moaning about why on earth Ethier was hitting behind Ramon Martinez so it's funny to crank up Dodger Thoughts and first thing, see a post about R-Mart hitting 5th.

Given how bummed I was while at the game, I can only imagine the vitriol in the game thread (I haven't read it, and probably won't).

2006-07-06 23:52:14
11.   King of the Hobos
3 It's probably worth noting that Bard is OPSing 1.024 though. Anyone have a good explanation for how the Padres catchers are doing so well offensively?
2006-07-07 00:15:57
12.   Linkmeister
[11 You ever looked at Piazza? He's a big dude; I'll be he's terrifying his backups.
2006-07-07 00:16:14
13.   Linkmeister
Grr. "bet"
2006-07-07 00:17:27
14.   Bob Timmermann
Most of my vitriol was directed at the city of Redding.
2006-07-07 00:23:53
15.   bobbygrich
At least there is something to look forward to on the weekend.

"In the booth: The Dodgers will use former players Todd Zeile on Saturday and Robin Ventura on Sunday as radio partners for Charley Steiner this weekend as Rick Monday has time off."

2006-07-07 00:25:36
16.   Jeromy
I will start the cry for LaRoche. I just got back from the marathon 51s road win over the Portland Beavers (3-2, 14 innings) a few minutes ago. Some first hand observations:

LaRoche absolutely crushed a fastball for a line-drive homerun to left. If there wasn't a wall behind the fence, that ball was still elevating and would have gone a long, long way.

Loney hit the ball hard in 4 ABs: 2 singles, lined into a DP at 1B, and ripped a one-hopper to 2B for another DP. He also walked and grounded out. Loney also leaped up an robbed Termel Sledge of a homerun, snowconing the catch. It was a highlight reel play. Since when is Loney in LF and Joel Guzman at 1B? By contrast, Joel Guzman didn't look that impressive. 0-6, BB, K. His K in the 14th was very weak, swinging at a pitch around his eyes. I think he only hit one ball hard for an out. D. Young struck out 3 times and flew out to center, then left on a double switch.

Osoria and Carter each gave up HRs late to ruin an excellent start by Justin Reid. I hadn't really heard of Reid, but he was making the Beaver hitters shake their heads in disgust.

The game finally ended when the Beavers made their 4th error of the game, allowing the speedy Wilkin Ruan to score. Luis Gonazalez pitched the 13th and 14th for the win.

2006-07-07 00:31:59
17.   Jeromy
Loney actually had 3 singles and a walk.
2006-07-07 00:44:38
18.   natepurcell
16

heh i figured loney robbed a homerun. on gameday, it showed the ball being caught behind the fence. Did his outfield defense look okay?

Did laroche's defense look okay as well? Could you tell if he was favoring his shoulder at all? I'm just concerned hes going to re-injure it.

2006-07-07 01:23:20
19.   dkminnick
Jon, I was at the game tonight and complaining to my companion every time Ramon Martinez came up in the 5-hole with runners on base (which was every time, if I remember correctly).

The last straw was in the fifth inning, when SF brought in new pitcher Hennessey with the bases loaded. In a situation like this, the pressure is all on the pitcher to throw strikes, right?

Right. But never mind. Ramon immediately swings at two pitches clearly out of the strike zone, gets in a hole, and finally kills the rally with a double play.

Hennessey was struggling and Ethier followed with the 4-pitch walk that was Ramon's for the taking.

Look, Ramon has had a remarkable year so far, but the game was lost on this at-bat. And it was just so... avoidable? Careless? Stupid? I'm searching for the right word.

Gio looked good, though, as did Beimel. Even Hendrickson was ok - he got burned by lots of seeing-eye grounders.

But sheesh, Ramon in the 5-slot? Please, no more. That was the difference in the gane tonight.

And I was saying this when I saw the lineup BEFORE the game. Honest, I was.

2006-07-07 05:19:45
20.   Uncle Miltie
Oh no! I just figured out who the Dodgers are going to acquire.

Jose Mesa.

Old? 40...check
Proven closer? check
Former all star? check
Good ERA, despite mediocre peripherals? check

Willy Aybar for Jose Mesa. You heard it here first.

2006-07-07 05:25:19
21.   Uncle Miltie
Roberto Hernandez also meets the same qualifications. And as a bonus, he's a former Giant!
2006-07-07 06:26:09
22.   Sam DC
The tethering of Martin to the No. 8 spot when everyone else roams free like Cheetah is getting a little silly.

See, it's because of moments like this that we need a (low key, no pressure, only if you're able) fundraiser.

Oh, and of course, for moments like this too: "My friends had to endure my moaning about why on earth Ethier was hitting behind Ramon Martinez so it's funny to crank up Dodger Thoughts and first thing, see a post about R-Mart hitting 5th."

2006-07-07 06:52:17
23.   Terry A
Well, here's the LA Times explanation. Sounds like Bochyism 3:

Second baseman Jeff Kent sat out his third consecutive game because of a mild abdominal strain, which he aggravated Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Hours before the game, the fifth spot in the lineup was left blank, leaving the possibility that Kent would return. But after hitting in the batting cage before the game, Kent was told by Johnston not to play.

The trainer said he'd like Kent to rest the injury another "day or two."

When asked if he'd be willing to sit out until after the All-Star break, Kent said, "That would mean I would have to watch another three or four ballgames and I don't know if I'd be able to make that because I hate watching baseball."

Depending on how one reads that last Kent quote, one wonders how in the world he ever got involved with the game. A pact with the devil, in which he agrees to a miserable career as an exceptional ballplayer in exchange for cool facial hair and a monster truck?

2006-07-07 06:53:21
24.   Terry A
Point of clarification: None of my tags worked on that last post. The first and last 'graphs are mine. The ones in-between are the LA Times'.
2006-07-07 07:40:22
25.   D4P
City of Redding: our common enemy?
2006-07-07 07:52:58
26.   Sam DC
I can't believe The Griddle doesn't have this quote up yet:

"It's part of life, it's natural, it's from the earth."

2006-07-07 08:37:53
27.   the OZ
On second thought, Ramon delivered an RBI hit in one of those innings (the play in which Nomar broke from 2B but Drew stayed at first). I'm not saying we should accept Ramon batting 5th, but he did have an RBI hit. Sure, he left eleven guys on base, but are we really that mad that he only went 1-4 instead of 2-4 or 3-4? You can't expect that kind of performance out of anyone in the big leagues.

Except David Ortiz, apparently.

2006-07-07 08:43:52
28.   twerp
A bit OT, but one of the threads yesterday mentioned Gary Maddox, asking if he was really as good in CF as the poster remembered.

It reminded me of what I thought was a classic line about him, from Sports Illustrated, I think===

"The earth is two-thirds covered by water, the other third by Gary Maddox."

2006-07-07 08:46:01
29.   PlayTwo
Well, at least Kent has plenty of time to wash his truck, or play Bingo. He was, by the way, one of the nicest guys at Autograph Day. Very friendly and outgoing.
2006-07-07 08:47:44
30.   Blu2
19 'Stupid' is the right word. And it describes Little and every other manager in baseball. GMs, not being Phi Beta Kappas themselves, ALWAYS look for someone dumber than themselves to hire, someone they can control and who won't complain about the lousy job they're doing furnishing players. As I'm sure everyone of you knows, communication in the chain of command is always top to bottom, feedback or criticism from the bottom up is not allowed. Business sucks.
2006-07-07 08:51:38
31.   Sam DC
For Bob:

Arlington, Va.: Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I didn't get to see the Nationals Wednesday night game against the Marlins. The final score was 18-9 in favor of the Marlins but I noticed in the box score that a Marlins pitcher got credit for a save. From what I can tell, Renyel Pinto entered the game in the 7th inning with the Marlins leading 15-5. He gave up 4 runs over 3 innings (with the Marlins scoring 3 runs of their own) to "earn" the save. How are the rules written that a pitcher can have a 9 run lead (minimum) and still get a "save"?

Tom Boswell: If you pitch the last three innings, you can be given a save no matter what the score it.

[ducks]

2006-07-07 08:54:09
32.   the OZ
30 May I suggest a correction - business is awesome when you're not at the bottom of the chain. And it can certainly suck even then if you work for a big or evil company, like Disney.
2006-07-07 09:00:12
33.   thinkingblue
8. Aybar 3B

Why do you still have so much faith in Aybar? Hopefully, when we trade Izturis, we will call up LaRoche NOT Aybar.

2006-07-07 09:00:31
34.   Sam DC
For LAT, great line from Mark Lerner, reported in Boswell's chat at washingtonpost.com:

"I asked Mark Lerner what he hoped that fans could begin to expect at RFK. He said, 'If you buy two hot dogs, they should be the same color.'"

2006-07-07 09:01:53
35.   thinkingblue
And it describes Little and every other manager in baseball. GMs, not being Phi Beta Kappas themselves, ALWAYS look for someone dumber than themselves to hire, someone they can control and who won't complain about the lousy job they're doing furnishing players. As I'm sure everyone of you knows, communication in the chain of command is always top to bottom, feedback or criticism from the bottom up is not allowed. Business sucks.

Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre don't seem stupid.

2006-07-07 09:04:59
36.   Jon Weisman
27 - Mark Hendrickson could have batted fifth and gone 1 for 4; that's not the point. What you want in theory is the best chance to do better than that at the time the most runners are likely to be on base - and for that 1 for 4 to be more than a single.

That's all. Ultimately, everyone has to bat somewhere, so I really don't lose sleep over it, but this one just stuck out for me.

2006-07-07 09:07:21
37.   Blu2
They would probably like to send Kemp back down but they are so short of outfielders (good outfielders) that they simply can't before Repko gets back to replace him. Apparently they have no faith in Loney's defensive skills as an outfielder, if they did they would certainly call him up for his bat. As long as Nomar is on first, Loney is blocked. Solid. Moving Nomar to third would solve a whole handful of problems for us.
2006-07-07 09:10:18
38.   thinkingblue
36.

Exactly, I think Ethier has a much better chance than the banjo Martinez.

2006-07-07 09:14:08
39.   Howard Fox
Jon, seems you've been reading my mind again.

Why Ethier wasn't batting 5th as hot as he is, it's beyond me. Martinez? It's shades of the days of Billy Grabarkewitz (sp?)...

And if Martin had a hitter behind him instead of the pitcher, he might see some better pitches.

I still think the underlying problem (I have said this all along) is Grady Little. His rep whether deserved or not, and probably only based on one incident, was not knowing how to handle pitchers. I think the bigger problem is his rotation of the hitters. Seems to me that just when a hitter starts going good, he sits for a couple of days. Along this line, look for Ethier to sit a game or two over the weekend. And look for Kemp to play until he starts hitting again.

The love affair with Lofton? Can anyone say "deer in the headlights"? If Kemp was in center, I think there are a few rallies against us recently that would not have happened on catchable flies had Kemp been in there.

Then again, what the hell do I know.

2006-07-07 09:14:32
40.   Blu2
35 And for the most part they are almost GMs themselves. At least because of their success over the years, they have enough reputation to protect them more than the average manager. I accept your criticism of my blanket statement; such statements are always wrong to some degree. If we watched and analyzed their every move as we do with Little, I think we would find many instances where we would be critical of their decisions. I'm glad I'm not God and don't have the power to act upon my every impulse. I'd make a lot of errors...
2006-07-07 09:14:48
41.   Marty
Sorry I missed out on the Redding bashing. I've been there a couple times in August-September. Thought I was going to melt.
2006-07-07 09:21:19
42.   Sam DC
Padres in town tonight. Last year, the Nationals went 1-5 v. San Diego. Hopefully, they'll give us a little more help this time around.

It's Jose Guillen bobblehead night at RFK. Am I failing in my husbandly duties by letting my wife and son go to the game?

2006-07-07 09:27:23
43.   Marty
I'm guessing the head explodes if it's a Jose Guillen model.
2006-07-07 09:29:38
44.   Sam DC
43 LOL.

Well, one more from the Boz:

"Phoenixville, Pa.: When Mike Piazza finally makes it to Cooperstown, which team will he represent: Dodgers, Florida, Mets or Padres? Or at least 3 of the 4?

Tom Boswell: His plaque in Cooperstown better not include an image of ANY catcher's equipment."

Huh?

2006-07-07 09:29:55
45.   the OZ
There's an interesing piece over at BP on how prospects become busts, featuring our own Jonathan Figueroa:

http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5278

2006-07-07 09:33:14
46.   jujibee
39. I disagree a little. I think Little has made a lot of good decisions throughout the year so far. He has made some decisions that I find questionable, but what manager doesn't? It's always easier to know what to do and who to put in from afar, and even easier to do in aftermath, just like it's easier to be the ref or ump from a recliner. I thought that Tracy was the problem a lot more than I think Little is. Personally I think Little has done a pretty good job with all the injuries to key players he's had to deal with, not to mention the rest that he's giving to certain individuals should pay off by seasons end. A lineup full of rookies, though I have a hard time calling some of them rookies based off of their performances, is something Little has a problem with. I often wonder why Loften starts more than Kemp and can't figure that out myself, but I have a lot of faith that Little knows what he's doing and has a purpose for it. Martinez batting 5th, I'll never understand though.
2006-07-07 09:46:39
47.   jasonungar05
Home runs since May 30

Drew: 1
Nomah: 4
Kent: 3

Ryan Howard. (For example): 10

2006-07-07 09:47:41
48.   dsfan
The pieces don't fit. So the manager is more apt to look stupid, whatever the lineup choices. Subtract the 2B and 3B, and it's a field day for wondering whether old skip has a brain in his head.

Martinez is the No. 5 hole, in any event, warrants extra scrutiny. Spotting Martin higher in the lineup has appeal.

However, as part of the debate, allow me to renew my case that defense needs to be part of the equation.
A lot is being asked of Martin defensively. He's learning a new, difficult pitching staff, plus the opposing hitters. He's playing a great deal. And frankly, he's probably been hitting over his head. Crater potential is there as the league figures him out. If hitting eighth is less strenuous, there's a valid argument for it, because so much is already being asked of him.
Ideally you would have productive Nos. 2 and 3 catchers who warranted significant trust, which I believe would maximize Martin's talent. The Dodgers lack such catchers. The Padres have them -- one of many examples of the Padres' pieces fitting better for a whole lot less money.

2006-07-07 09:52:42
49.   Jon Weisman
48 - But is hitting eighth much less strenuous? So much less strenuous than hitting fifth or second that it makes a difference behind the plate the next inning. His mission at the plate is hardly any different.

Plus, the No. 8 hitter has pressure not to make the last out, because no one wants the pitcher to lead off the next inning.

2006-07-07 09:55:36
50.   Gen3Blue
I finished a leisurely perusal of our minor league results. Beyond Loney's 3for6, Laroch's HR and perhaps Kershaw, our best news was the Jax getting rained out.

Some days like this make me pessimistic about how much pitching is coming along, except for a few promising relievers. Well we can use them, at least.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-07-07 09:55:45
51.   Jon Weisman
47 - Yeah, I'm noticing.
2006-07-07 09:59:16
52.   jasonungar05
Personally I would argue that batting eight is tougher than batting fifth or second.

Even though second/fifth is more important.

2006-07-07 10:03:17
53.   D4P
47
HRs at home:

Dodgers: 39
Opponents: 39

HRs on the road:
Dodgers: 35
Opponents: 41

For whatever reason, there just aren't many HRs hit in Dodger games, by either team.

2006-07-07 10:06:36
54.   Gen3Blue
49 Yes, I have recently noticed that pressure not to make the last out and its importance. I wish I could think its a canny move by Grits but I can't.
Its still prob. more important to offense to be in the 5-hole. Is there any statistical approach to this kind of conundrum.
2006-07-07 10:06:55
55.   jasonungar05
With all the medicore arms available, maybe getting additional power would be better. It's hard to complain about the offense, but come playoff time stringing 5 singles together gets tougher and tougher. You need that threat of power at least. It's like someone today who mentioned that if you have soft tossers and can't strike guys out, things can happen on defense or balls "find" holes.
2006-07-07 10:10:54
56.   hedgemytickets
Speaking of old ex-Giants, Edgardo Alfonzo is an available 3rd base option that could be brought in inexpensively.
2006-07-07 10:14:34
57.   D4P
56
Hmmm...interesting. Alfonzo would appear to meet most of Midusa's criteria.

1. Old
2. Crappy
3. Overvalued (see: $8,000,000 salary)
4. Ex-Giant

2006-07-07 10:15:12
58.   dsfan
49-

These are debates on the margin. Hitting in the No. 2 spot, fair to say, is more physically demanding than hitting eighth.

Is it more difficult? In some cases, no. Could be easier. You're apt to get better pitches to hit. But you're expected to do more, you will bat more and in turn you could be on the bases more, running.
As for the No. 5 spot, kind of in between those two, but there's a pretty strong expectation that you will drive in runs. Certainly teams will come after a rookie who's batting fifth. There are times you might welcome such a scenario, or not.

Another part of it is, the pitcher that day for each team. Are there aspects of the Dodgers pitcher that add to Martin's strain of catching him and working with him? Are there aspects of the opposing pitcher that make a more leveraged matchup more or less favorable?

Little, a former catcher, should have a pretty good idea of just how much of a mental load Martin is facing -- and what it will take to preserve him for a season barely 50 percent done. As you know, Martin's never gone through this kind of grind. Problem is, Little really has only one catching piece -- Martin.

I tend to believe catching is more wearing than most of us can fathom. Piazza, for one, said Bochy, a former catcher, has shown him just how valuable judicious usage can pay off in renewed mental and physical energy. Of course, Bochy has three catching pieces, a triumverate with a nice blend of talents, some of them offsetting.

Back to my premise: The pieces don't fit.

2006-07-07 10:17:08
59.   hedgemytickets
57 - Maybe a 2005 Jose Cruz like renaissance for Alfonzo in Dodger Blue is in order??
2006-07-07 10:20:40
60.   Bob Timmermann
Edgardo Alfonzo signed with an indy league team on the East Coast somwhere.

Those contracts are ironclad!

2006-07-07 10:21:59
61.   D4P
BTW: For those who think that Colletti's ratio of gold to stone is significantly less than 1, I suppose you might prefer the moniker "Nedusa" over "Midusa."
2006-07-07 10:23:19
62.   Marty
If I see Alfonzo on the Dodgers I'll kill myself. I'm not kidding.
2006-07-07 10:23:23
63.   Bob Timmermann
Dave Smith's recent study on batting order:
https://griddle.baseballtoaster.com/archives/423152.html

Note that it is from Dave Smith, not me.

2006-07-07 10:23:33
64.   Blu2
It was mentioned on TV a couple of times earlier this year that Little has 'hunches' about who's going to do well in some games and makes out the lineup accordingly. Martinez hadn't done a thing all week, Ethier had been red hot, Little had a hunch that Martinez was overdue to get some hits, Ethier was overdue for an 'ofer', so he placed them according to his hunch rather than recent past performance. Izzy batting ahead of Russel? Even God is scratching his head on that one...
2006-07-07 10:30:36
65.   Bob Timmermann
Ahh, Little falls for "The Gambler's Fallacy"!
2006-07-07 10:33:30
66.   hedgemytickets
65 - What's the Gambler's Fallacy?
2006-07-07 10:37:05
67.   Bob Timmermann
The Gambler's Fallacy is the belief that past events will affect future events that are not directly connected to it.

For example, "The dealer there hasn't dealt out any blackjacks for the last ten hands. He's bound to deal one out this time!"

But if the deck is shuffled, the chances of getting a blackjack are the same.

Or, a roulette wheel keeps coming up with 23. Presuming the wheel is fair, the chances of getting 23 on the next spin is the same as it was before. You're just betting on one spin. You're not betting on 23 coming up over and over again.

2006-07-07 10:38:13
68.   Marty
67 But I'm due! I need to double-up this bet.
2006-07-07 10:39:51
69.   Marty
When 23 comes up on a wheel I make a lot of money. I always crowd my roulette bets around 23. No reason, I just do it. I don't play much roulette.
2006-07-07 10:46:42
70.   hedgemytickets
67/68 - Okay. But I think one could argue that the outcomes of individual at bats by a baseball player are not independant and "memoryless" like rolls of a die or spins of the roulette wheel. Would need to analyze Grady's specific "hunch" plays to determine whether they work or not.

When Grady says "hunch", I take it to mean he's using intuition or experience and at least some logic. I might give him more credit than most.

2006-07-07 10:48:58
71.   D4P
While I'm not sure that hitters are ever "due," I think it's nevertheless legitimate to think that ABs are not completely independent of one another. For one thing, both hitters and pitcher make adjustments based on previous ABs, such that players who are hitting really well at the time may get fewer "pitches to hit," while the reverse might be true for hitters who have been hitting poorly.
2006-07-07 10:57:28
72.   still bevens
I was speculating with a friend of mine while at the game last night about Martin. He's always batting eight, but do you think it might have something to do with making the pitchers spot not a complete waste of time? Martin is a good contact hitter, good knowledge of the strike zone, so the odds of him being on base for the pitcher to bunt him over is better than some else such as Izturis. Is that a myopic view? I guess its only really relevant when there are outs to give.
2006-07-07 10:59:48
73.   Bob Timmermann
I think ABs are dependent within a game, but to think that some player is "due" because he's been underperforming recently is a dangerous approach. That player may not be "due". He may just be bad.
2006-07-07 11:06:18
74.   bobbygrich
A small nugget that I summarized from Baseball Prospectus to ponder as we hit the break.

The last time the Dodgers led the league in scoring was 1978. The last time they finished in the top 5 was 1991. Since then they have finished 10th or lower 8 times and their highest finish in a full season was 7th. This year, they continue to score runs at a pace unheard of in the history of the team in Los Angeles.

Everyone points to Dodger Stadium as being one reason why it is difficult to score runs, however,this year the Dodgers lead the league in runs scored at home while also leading the league in opponent's runs scored at home.

On the road they fall in the middle of the pack in both categories. What this means, I'm not sure, if they can keep that pace up, they should balance things out on the road while compiling more wins at home.

Does this mean we need more pitching, something to shore up 3B, I don't know but I do think that if you get a chance to go to espn.com and do the splits by position, what you will find is that the jobs that Ethier and Kemp did in the OF, Aybar at 3B and Russ at catcher really pushed this team to where they are today, as well as Nomar's play since he came back.

Can they do it for a full season, I'd feel better if we had guys who had some history that I could rely on but not having that, I have hope they do. I still think that they are a player or two from securing a playoff run, if those players are in Vegas or somewhere playing in the majors, I don't know but I guess that is what the next 3 weeks are about.

2006-07-07 11:11:19
75.   twerp
58 dsfan, your posts seem to be considered from different perspectives, informative, and well reasoned--educational, even. IMO, way, way ahead of most. Keep it up.
2006-07-07 11:17:18
76.   Monterey Chris
Do you think that most managers would have pulled their starting pitcher in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and a 5-2 lead? Even though Cain was struggling, I think many would have left him in. While I don't generally like Alou, he may have won the game for the Giants with that decision last night.
2006-07-07 11:19:01
77.   Gen3Blue
63 Fascinating stuff. Thanx Bob.
2006-07-07 11:20:03
78.   Blu2
76 The Giants didn't win the game last night, the Dodgers lost it. A million runners left on base.... ONE more hit would have won it.
2006-07-07 11:26:18
79.   screwballin
72 I had a similar thought, that Martin's plate discipline might be part of the reason he's batting 8th. I think some managers want a guy like Martin there because, with 2 outs, he has a better chance of getting on so the pitcher isn't leading off the next inning.

It's a shame to use him that way, IMHO, but that may be the thinking.

2006-07-07 11:27:05
80.   Bob Timmermann
76
Little did about the same with Penny in a game in Atlanta in May. And that was with his ace, not a 21-year old prospect.
2006-07-07 11:27:18
81.   Gen3Blue
74 I hope I don't sound like a broken record, but is it possible Dodger Stadium has changed dramatically. It only takes a few subtle seating changes. And is it possible for a "pitchers park" to lead the league in home and away runs for long.
2006-07-07 11:28:04
82.   Bob Timmermann
I think we shouldn't discount the fact that Little has preprinted lineup cards or has templates saved on a computer and he doesn't feel comfortable with cut and paste.
2006-07-07 11:32:56
83.   regfairfield
81 At least last year, doubles leaped dramatically in Dodger Stadium. From 2003-2004, Dodger Stadiums park factor for doubles was 81, last year it was 99. I would imagine that the new seats have a lot to do with it, reducing foul territory and causing the ball to take a funny bounce, turning singles into doubles.

Interestingly, overall park factor actually slightly dropped from 90 to 89 last year.

2006-07-07 11:36:39
84.   the OZ
79 Of course, if you flipped such a #8 and #7 hitter, the guy with good plate discipline would make fewer outs ahead of the banjo-hitting hacker, meaning his popups to the opposing second basemen would be the first or second instead of third out of an inning, netting the same outcome.

Either way, the out is getting made in one of the 7 or 8 hole.

2006-07-07 11:37:19
85.   Monterey Chris
80 --

So do you think that Little and Alou made decisions that are commonly made by most managers or did they both make the rare, right call in situations where many managers might get it wrong?

2006-07-07 11:40:10
86.   Bob Timmermann
85
I think they both realized that winning the game was important than their pitcher getting credit for a win. Alou had the advantage that Cain wasn't likely to go off on him like Penny did since Cain is a rookie.
2006-07-07 11:42:01
87.   Blu2
Do you realize our outfield problems are so bad (Drew injuries, etc; Lofton Defense plus injuries; Kemp not hitting), we can't even try to move Cruz now during the best time of the year? When is Repko coming back?
2006-07-07 11:43:20
88.   Daniel Zappala
Bob, just for you:

http://www.visitredding.org/

2006-07-07 11:43:24
89.   Blu2
85 Personally I wouldn't mess with a guy named Cain!
2006-07-07 11:46:14
90.   Bob Timmermann
It's 91 in Redding right now.
2006-07-07 11:46:17
91.   bobbygrich
81 Aside from some foul territory being smaller, nothing really has changed and for the last the 3 seasons, 2004-2006, the Dodgers have given up 4, 4.2 and 4.2 runs a game at home.

So, despite the ups and downs of the pitching staff, the results have been pretty much what it was when they won the division and last year.

Now, I am going to sound like a broken record but when this team faces anything less than really good starting pitching, they get on base (.380 at home) and they drive them in.

They do need a healthy Jeff Kent and I do think the Izzy experiment has to resolve itself before too long but other than that, you are looking at something similar offensively to what the Dodgers' pitching was in 2003.

2006-07-07 11:48:04
92.   bobbygrich
87 With his splits, Cruz is a candidate to be waived, he is now the definition of a 5th OF and those guys you don't have the opportunity to trade.
2006-07-07 11:48:54
93.   Daniel Zappala
In addition to the cool bridge, Redding has the Big League Dreams sports complex, with 3/4 scale replicas of Boston's Fenway Park, Chicago's Wrigley Field, and New York's Yankee Stadium. And they're near 11 different waterfalls.
2006-07-07 11:49:02
94.   thinkblue0
I wonder if I slip the parking lot attendant a Benjamin if he/she will casually tell Izturis he's not allowed into the park tonight.

Keep trottin' out that sub par lineup Trac...errr...Grady

2006-07-07 11:52:39
95.   Marty
The best thing Redding has going for it, is it's close to some really beautiful places. Lake Shasta is very close and Lassen National Park (my favorite) is not far away to the south.
2006-07-07 11:56:27
96.   dsfan
Thanks for the feedback; I feel the same about several posters here.
2006-07-07 11:56:54
97.   dsfan
That was for 75.
2006-07-07 12:02:30
98.   screwballin
84 I'm not saying it's right, just that it's a possible explanation.
2006-07-07 12:16:55
99.   Bob Timmermann
Dave Smith's study on batting order showed that the fewest runs per inning are scored in both leagues when the #7 hitter leads off. The most runs are scored by both teams in the first inning with the leadoff man up.

I don't think there was much of a difference except between the first inning leadoff hitter and the #7 hitter phenomenon.

2006-07-07 12:19:14
100.   bobbygrich
The other thing about the offense is that they are doing this without any breakout year thus far aside from the kids playing well.

Sure Nomar is playing well but I wouldn't say it is above his norm when he is healthy.

Kent and Drew certainly have not really turned it on yet.

We don't have a Pujols, Berkman, Wright, Cabrera, Ryan Howard and yet somehow they get it done.

Good, three of the four teams that hit the worse against us are the Giants, Padres and the Rockies (.205, .239, .245)

Bad, two of the three teams that we hit poorly against are the Padres and Giants (.194, .222)

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-07-07 12:23:39
101.   King of the Hobos
Roy Oswalt is now an all star. Garner chose someone from his own team, but Oswalt deserved it and it's not like Garner filled the NL team with Astro players like Guillen (Berkman was the only other player).
2006-07-07 12:24:37
102.   bobbygrich
99 Dodgers are 5th in the league (6 runs behind leader) in runs scored in the 7th spot with 38. The only spots where they are not among the top 5 are 4th and 6th. (Yes they are 4th in the 9 spot).
2006-07-07 12:27:08
103.   Jon Weisman
Are there any AL pitchers that might miss the game that would open up a spot for Liriano?
2006-07-07 12:27:49
104.   JoeyP
AL's probably going to stomp the NL without their best hitter or best pitcher even on the team. Thats impressive.
2006-07-07 12:32:51
105.   the OZ
Speaking of Liriano, here's a fantasy baseball question:

Would you trade away Liriano for David Ortiz? How about if you already had Derrek Lee and Giambi in a simple Yahoo! league?

I'm inclined to say no, but I'm curious to hear other opinions.

I'll definitely be trading Verlander when he hits the 150IP milestone.

2006-07-07 12:34:03
106.   Jeromy
18-Nate, Loney's catch last night was incredible, but other than that, the outfield defense of the 51s wasn't really tested. The Beavers only managed to hit a handful of singles and their flyouts weren't really challenging. Ruan is very speedy. He hit a triple in the late innings were he slowed up and rounded the bag as the ball was just getting to the cutoff in shallow center. I could see him as a September callup, pinch-run specialist.

I knew LaRoche's shoulder was giving him trouble before the game, but anyone just watching him wouldn't have noticed him favoring it. I think I saw a tug at his shirt on a swing and miss once.

Another side note, I sat near an older couple who were Beaver fans and carefully keeping their scorebooks. They had been to the game on the 5th as well and whenever Loney came up they were nervously mumbling to each other: "this guy's their best hitter."

2006-07-07 12:35:53
107.   JoeyP
That would be kind of a gamble I think. Lee's not going to produce much in that brutal Chicago lineup, and Giambi is always an injury risk.
I'd probably just keep Ortiz.

If you could get DLee for Liriano, that would be a good deal.

2006-07-07 12:35:57
108.   Sushirabbit
95 - I whacked my head on the top of the cave at Lassen.
2006-07-07 12:38:58
109.   JJoeScott
105 - Depends on the rest of the staff, but Liriano helps you in WHIP, ERA and K's; Ortiz might not make as much of an impact.

Then again, if my staff was strong enough, I'd acquire Ortiz so I could check the box score each day.

2006-07-07 12:41:08
110.   dsfan
Glad to see BAmerica write kind words about TJ Nall. How's this for a K/W line: 103/14 in 81 IP (AA, '06).
2006-07-07 12:50:07
111.   the OZ
I may not have been clear. I have Liriano, Lee, and Giambi. Someone wants to give me Ortiz in exchange for sending them Liriano.

But thanks for the input so far.

2006-07-07 12:51:13
112.   dsfan
106-

Great to see LaRoche show some power post-labrum injury, but it's still an uneasy situation. The combustible ingredients are these: An athlete who sees a major league opening on the horizon...an injury to a body part that is stressed repeatedly every day, starting with pregame throwing and hitting...the Dodgers' ability to regulate comebacks from injury. The club's recent track record in this area isn't reassuring.

2006-07-07 12:52:06
113.   JoeyP
Yes, make the Liriano for Ortiz deal.
Then trade Derrek Lee for a pitcher to replace Liriano.
2006-07-07 13:00:46
114.   skybluestoday
re: 95

Lassen is absolutely beautiful -- one of the coolest of all of the California National Parks, especially since it is largely unknown (except for NoCal weekenders). Went there for a week last August with my girlfriend -- we came on a Sunday, when all of the big-calved weekenders were on the way out, and stayed in a campground through the ensuing Friday. Great hiking, virtually nobody around, a great vacation. Hiked most of the major hikes and just loved it. The best week I had experienced in a long time.

2006-07-07 13:03:10
115.   skybluestoday
Lassen is also crucial to the answer to the question: When was the last time a volcano went off in California?
2006-07-07 13:07:54
116.   dsfan
Excellent writer named Mnookin has an insider's book on the Red Sox that explores the team's various machinations since Warholian billionaire/Selig crony Henry bought the club.

Manager Little comes off poorly in the following account, excerpted in today's Globe:

Henry, who felt ``pure rage" toward manager Grady Little when he left in Martínez to pitch the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Yankees, was unhappy with the manager all season. ``Henry had taken to joking that if the Red Sox did not win the World Series and he was tapped to star in one of the iconic `I'm going to Disney World,' commercials, he would instead announce to the world, `I'm going to fire Grady Little.' "

2006-07-07 13:13:59
117.   Icaros
People are aware that Wilkin Ruan has already had a tour in LA, right?

He came over with Guillermo Mota in the Matt Herges deal.

2006-07-07 13:19:58
118.   Linkmeister
114 "big-calved weekenders" might be the most descriptive phrase I've read in quite a while, and I often hang out on a blog written by SF editors.

I commend you (not that that means much).

2006-07-07 13:26:03
119.   King of the Hobos
Magglio Ordonez is now an all star. Too bad Hafner or Liriano couldn't make it, merely because they aren't OFs.
2006-07-07 13:28:03
120.   blue22
92 - With his splits, Cruz is a candidate to be waived

Are you saying the reason he's a candidate to be waived are his splits? If so, I disagree. LA has only Kemp as a righty outfielder, and the book may be out on him.

LA should hold onto Cruz at the very least until Repko comes back, at which point Cruz should either be traded or Repko kept in Vegas. I don't think you can expect Repko to OPS over 1.000 against lefty pitching.

2006-07-07 13:36:20
121.   Fallout
Batting Martinez 5th is debatable but so many ask "why" like Little has no clue. It's easy to make a decent line-up when Kent is available but with him out there are so many possibilities. Why Martinez 5th?
My answer is that he has been hot and to keep him hot you have a hot hitter behind him. If Martinez has Izturis behind him, my guess is that he would not see as many pitches to hit and would hit more like his history than as he is now. In the 5th inning in last night's game with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd (after Martinez hit into a DP)Ethier was walked on 4 pitches to get to Izturis.
Martinez in the 5th, by theory, should have seen good pitches and had a good chance to come through. Obviously the plan did not work. Izturis should see better pitches because Martin is behind him.
The manager has to choose what kind of line-up he wants. One where all the good hitters are bunched together and forget the innings when the poor hitting group bat, or to separate them and try to get more out of it than what you have.
2006-07-07 13:41:12
122.   hedgemytickets
121 - Better to bunch your hits then scatter them.
2006-07-07 13:42:13
123.   JoeyP
Which is worse:
Oscar Robles 3rd or Ramon Martinez 5th?

Silly lineups arent a big deal anymore.
I think Jimbo de-sensitized me.

2006-07-07 13:51:05
124.   Monterey Chris
121--

When "Inside the Dodgers" posted the lineup yesterday, the 2B spot was left open. The reason Martinez batted fifth was because the lineup was made with Kent in mind and then Martinez simply filled in for him, both in the field and in the 5-spot.

2006-07-07 14:01:07
125.   Blu2
124 Boiling that down, we have: Little doesn't care who hits where. It is very little work to erase two or three names and re-enter them someplace else or even to fill out a new card. Not a good attitude and not good to let your players know you care so little. I keep finding more reasons to dislike him. One win, not to mention the half dozen others he's blown so far, would make a lot of difference in September.
2006-07-07 14:02:29
126.   JoeyP
If this team is starting Hendrickson/Tomko/Sele for the rest of the season, it wont matter what the lineup is.
2006-07-07 14:04:06
127.   Blu2
126 TOO TRUE!!!! (SOB)
2006-07-07 14:08:05
128.   Fallout
The Dodgers have scored more runs than any team in the NL. Maybe it doesn't matter who hits where???
2006-07-07 14:08:14
129.   alexx
You guys have probably talked about this once before but I've always wondered. Did Jim Tracy bat Robles third to sort of spite DePodesta for trading his "guys" or was it because he just thought it was a good idea?
2006-07-07 14:19:02
130.   Uncle Miltie
People are aware that Wilkin Ruan has already had a tour in LA, right?
Yea. I actually thought that Wilkin could stick in the majors as a backup. He's one of the best defenders in all of baseball. He has fantastic range for a center fielder, gets very good jumps and has a strong arm. His speed is excellent. It's a shame that he can't hit very well and has no plate discipline. I'd actually like to see him come up. I'm sure he'll be up in December. He can help us in the pinch runner/defensive replacement role. He kind of reminds me of Endy Chavez who has developed into a serviceable backup.
2006-07-07 14:19:50
131.   twerp
88 93 Went to Redding site. Curious. Browsed, noticed following====

"City of Redding Recreation

FREEDOM FESTIVAL

July 04 - July 04, 2006
Redding Convention Center grounds FREE ADMISSION. Largest fireworks display in northern California! Food and entertainment too. Get their early. Some spectators begin arriving the day before."

Get their early....Oh, well, it's a Freedom Festival, not a Literacy Festival.

Get their early...it that anything like git youre pitcher made rat hear, rat now....?

(Yeah, I know. It's hard to appreciate a smart a$$.)

2006-07-07 14:21:53
132.   Uncle Miltie
*September
2006-07-07 14:22:28
133.   the OZ
Ominous that in Will Carroll's UTK column today, he discusses Gagne's malady du jour by writing "the former closer has a pair of severaly herniated discs in his lower back..."
2006-07-07 14:22:28
134.   D4P
Yeah, I know. It's hard to appreciate a smart a$$.

But a shapely one is a different story...

2006-07-07 14:26:21
135.   Nagman
Anybody else find it strange that Pedro was replaced with Oswalt instead of a pitcher that was a candidate for Final Man (the thing Nomar won), i.e. Capuano or Chris Young?

Obviously Garner took his own guy but it seems the right thing to do would be to take one of those guys.

Wait, what am I doing, trying to make sense of the All-Star selections...

2006-07-07 14:27:09
136.   Jon Weisman
133 - I think we're past "ominous."
2006-07-07 14:56:28
137.   blue22
135 - I think the stranger thing was that Oswalt wasn't on the fan ballot.
2006-07-07 14:58:18
138.   Daniel Zappala
136 More like incredibly sad. It's a good thing we are not Yankee fans or we would all be dead by now.
2006-07-07 15:13:23
139.   Uncle Miltie
135- Capuano has been better than Oswalt this year, but it's pretty close
VORP
Capuano 38.7
Oswalt 37.0

I'm really impressed with how much Nate Robertson has improved. After the 2004 season, I really wanted the Dodgers to acquire him. In each of the past two years, he's had a big 2nd half collapse. He looks like he's in better condition this year.

Jeremy Bonderman is finally starting to put it all together. Easily, Billy Beane's worst trade ever. At the time, I thought it was a horrible trade. Bonderman pitched very well for a 19 year old in A. His ratios were very good and his stuff was always excellent. It was like Beane was trying to get back at his scouting director for drafting him in the first place. Franklyn German never amounted to anything, despite a 100 mph fastball. His command will always hold him back from becoming a dominant reliever. Carlos Pena had a few solid years with the Tigers before going into suck mode last year. All the Tigers had to give up for these three was Jeff Weaver.

To make things worse Beane then traded Ted Lilly for backup outfielder Bobby Kielty, a switch hitter, who's basically a platoon player, only hitting well against left handed pitching.

2006-07-07 16:06:43
140.   Another Bob
Fun with BPro's sortable stats:

Guess which Dodger who has been a reliever all year has been brought into the lowest-leverage situations on average (ignoring Gagne and Carrara)--Jonathon Broxton. The order:

Saito
Kuo (!)
Baez
Osoria
Hamulack
Beimel
Carter
Brazoban
Broxton

I'm guessing the Bull will move up this list as the year continues, while Baez will move down.

Jon--Is quoting the list from BPro OK? I'm not sure if the sortable stats are available to subscribers only, but I think they are. I don't want to run afoul of copyright.

2006-07-07 16:10:01
141.   Jon Weisman
140 - I think an excerpt like that is fine, it's short and encourages people to buy the service to seek out more.

In fact, I have a new post up top using the BP sortables. How convenient.

2006-07-07 16:33:01
142.   skybluestoday
Hey, Linkmeister. Re: 118

It means a lot to me. That was really sweet. Thank you very much -- I do my best to turn a phrase the right way on the few occasions that I post. (And I really do love Lassen.)

2006-07-07 17:35:46
143.   Linkmeister
142 You're welcome. The image it conjures up is horrible, but the phrase does it well. ;)
2006-07-07 20:16:23
144.   Gen3Blue
Martin was motoring. He didn't look back once he headed for second.
Plugging the nos. in Dodger stadium is now a hitters park. It will take a year or two more stats to be sure.
Boy this inning is crucial and I'm afraid we may blow it.

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