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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

Why ... Why, That's a Closer By Committee
2006-08-15 10:00
by Jon Weisman

The noive, I tells ya. The utter noive.

Not Takashi Saito, not Jonathan Broxton, not even Joe Beimel or Brett Tomko, but Giovanni Carrara got the save for the Dodgers last night. He came into the game in the eighth inning with a three-run lead, retired the side on 16 pitches, and faced the ninth inning with the same three-run lead.

The Lance Carter debacle of April 30 in San Diego taught us the perils of assuming a big ninth-inning lead is an automatic save, so it was not without some risk that Carrara returned to the mound.

Now, I can't explain the living organism that is Carrara, thrice coming to Los Angeles with no credentials and pitching well at the outset of each term of service (21 1/3 innings, 22 baserunners, 21 strikeouts, 2.95 ERA this season), except to say that relievers simply have ups and downs, and Carrara takes that to an extreme.

Right now, he's in the ups. So rather than be a slave to the single closer mentality, or even the single backup closer mentality, Dodger manager Grady Little let Carrara stay in. And why not? There would be time enough to do something if Carrara got in trouble.

Carrara got the first two men out in the ninth before giving up a home run and a bunt single, bringing the tying run to the plate. On the verge of victory, the Dodgers edged closer to defeat.

With the tying run came to the plate, I would have activated my backup plan and brought in another reliever. Instead, Carrara got pinch-hitter Wes Helms to ground out, and instead of a devastating loss, the Dodgers won their Los Angeles-record 16th game in 17 attempts.

I believe you use your best relievers first if they are able to pitch. So Broxton, who didn't pitch Sunday, would have been my first choice to commence the eighth inning. But once Carrara was in the game, I didn't see the need to take him out until he got in trouble.

I'm not trying to take anything away from the Dodgers or Little to talk about how easily Monday's nice victory could have become a heartbreaker. Fortunately for the Dodgers, that's not a storyline they have to deal with this morning.

Little simply felt that Carrara could do the job, part of a season-long pattern in which, by and large, Little has displayed the valuable willingness to give players greater responsibility (as well as take it away). That flexibility has helped the Dodgers in 2006. Saito himself came out of the minors to become the team's No. 1 closer after Eric Gagne went out for the year. But Saito can't do it every day - and moreover, he shouldn't have to.

The only question about Carrara on Monday was whether he could get the outs in front of him, not whether he should be pitching in an inning that happens to be the ninth.

* * *

All the papers had news of the latest season-ending surgery for Dodger outfielder Jayson Werth, but Al Balderas of the Register had the most detail.

The mystery surrounding Jayson Werth's injured left wrist has been solved.

Werth underwent surgery Wednesday at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where Dr. Robert A. Berger repaired a split tear in the ultra-triquetral ligament.

The procedure, coupled with the removal of scar tissue, will keep Werth in a cast that extends above his elbow for about six weeks. He will begin physical therapy at that point and should be ready for spring training.

"The doctor told him that he will be 100 percent after the surgery," Dodgers trainer Stan Johnston said. ...

"According to Werth, this physician is one of the few wrist specialists who has seen this type of thing and has recognized it," said Johnston, who has not yet spoken directly with Dr. Berger. "It's not something that is out there and everybody knows about."

* * *

Baseball Prospectus spotlights the Dodgers' 1-0 victory over the Giants on Sunday, with the most interesting tidbit for me being that six Dodgers went into the game slugging .570 or better during the recent hot streak.

Am I the only one who for the past few days has been seeing question marks where apostrophes should be on BP articles? It's the kind of thing that happens when people are sending stories from different computers and they're not transfering right. Update: Apparently, I was the only one. Problem solved.

Update 2: Dodger Thoughts commenter John Stodder delivers his own recap of Sunday's game, "A Perfect Sunday Evening at Dodger Stadium," at From the Desert to the Sea .... I love how burdened he is by the storytelling responsibility.

(O, muse, give me the wit and skill to write this post that people indifferent to baseball might enjoy it!) ...

It wasn't just that Maddux was perfect. It was the efficient way he achieved perfection. Maddux no longer possesses a real fastball. The Dodgers have several pitchers who can throw the ball 95-97 miles an hour. Maddux fastest pitch is about 85 mph. What Maddux can do is aim the ball exactly where he wants to aim it, and vary the speed of the ball enough so that the hitter can never feel confident that if he just swings in a certain location, he'll hit the ball hard. And, he threw strikes, almost exclusively, so the batters knew that if they didn't swing, they'd be struck out.

As it happened, Maddux only struck out four, but he didn't have to do more than that to completely dominate the Giant hitters. They would swing at his first or second pitch, and hit it weakly, right at somebody. He needed a few good defensive plays to help keep runners off the bases, including another one of his own. Bonds almost hit a home run off him in the seventh, but it didn't go quite far enough, and it was caught for an out.

It is hard to convey to a non-fan how amazing the following statistic is: In his eight innings, Maddux threw 68 pitches, and 50 of them were strikes. (In the same number of innings, Schmidt threw 114 pitches.) Most starting pitchers are taken out after they've thrown 100 pitchers, and they usually hit this threshold by the sixth or seventh inning. The high ratio of strikes to balls is amazing. If you divide these numbers by the eight innings he pitched, an "average" inning by Maddux last night consisted of only 8.5 pitches (to get three hitters out), of which 6.25 of them were in the strike zone. That is a level of finesse you just never see. In his 20-year major league career, I doubt Maddux has ever pitched with such precision. Nor have many other pitchers, ever.

(Tip from SoCal Sports Observed at L.A. Observed)

Comments (115)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-08-15 10:09:23
1.   FirstMohican
With Billingsley going today, Grady was probably saving Broxton etc. for the 3+ innings that Billingsley won't pitch. Not necessarily what I'd do, considering the possibility that the 3+ innings that Billingsley doesn't pitch may well be garbage time. Saving your best relievers for garbage time the following day doesn't make sense. But that might be what was going on in Grady's mind.
2006-08-15 10:16:57
2.   bigcpa
I still haven't forgiven Gio for this abomination:

2006-08-15 10:21:00
3.   ToyCannon
Jon thanks for the insite on the injury. I don't get the register so I would have missed the details. Amazing that the LA Times and Daily news couldn't provide more information on his surgery.
2006-08-15 10:24:08
4.   Jon Weisman
2 - Yeah, I remember that game well. Carrara can definitely get your hopes up and then dash them. I'd just enjoy the good times while you can.
2006-08-15 10:27:20
5.   the OZ
Whether or not it was a decision forced by circumstance or reliever availability, I'm encouraged to see Grady refuse to bow to the dogmatics of 'closers'. Saving your best relievers for the toughest circumstances is a good plan, and a three-run lead is a fine place to use a middling pitcher (even if he brought the tying run to the plate). Save the Broxtons and Saitos of the world for a one or two-run lead tomorrow or the next day.

Also notice how the Giants lost the Maddux game in the inning where Felipe Alou chose to use Vinnie Chulk in a tie game rather than his 'closer' Benitez, who might be his best reliever.

2006-08-15 10:27:57
6.   Gagne55
I gave a thumbs up to bringing in Carrarra. He's been decent this year. It's not like he's Carter, Kuo, Brazoban, Orsoria, or Hamulak. And the Dodgers had a moderate lead which Gio has proven to be able to protect. Tomko, Broxton, and Saito have been way overworked recently due to the Dodgers having so many leads in recent games. Gio was 100% fresh. It was nice for him to be able to mop up. Now Saito and Broxton should be fresher.
2006-08-15 10:28:26
7.   s choir
Using Carrara for 2 innings was a gamble by Little and it paid off. The upside is that he has a full, rested bullpen to work with (aside from Carrara) on a night he is likely to need it, since Billingsley is starting.
2006-08-15 10:29:08
8.   Gagne55
5 If Benitez is the Giants best reliever, then they must have serious problems in the pen.
2006-08-15 10:30:37
9.   Jon Weisman
2 - Two days before that, on 8/21/04, was when Carrara got his most recent save (before last night).

On 8/20/04, Gagne allowed the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth against Atlanta, but Carrara was the winning pitcher in extra innings.

Gagne did not pitch again until 8/26/04.

2006-08-15 10:31:17
10.   Disabled List
I remember that April 30 game as more of a Lance Carter-Danys Baez co-debacle. There was also the May 13 game against the Giants, where Baez blew a 3-run lead in the 9th. Afer that one, I remember posting in the game thread something to the effect that the Dodgers were doomed with the bullpen as it was then constituted.

I've got to give credit to Grady and Ned. They completely overhauled the bullpen since the start of the season, with Ned bringing in new players, and Grady giving everyone lots of room to find their roles.

I used to shudder every time the bullpen phone rang. Now, I only do when it's Tomko who gets the call. And even then, not so much.

2006-08-15 10:31:38
11.   bhsportsguy
Little simply felt that Carrara could do the job, part of a season-long pattern in which, by and large, Little has displayed the valuable willingness to give players greater responsibility (as well as take it away). That flexibility has helped the Dodgers in 2006.

Jon, those few sentences are and will be the most concise explanation of what has made Grady the perfect manager for the 2006 Dodgers.

While not one for quick hooks, he also does not let the milk get bad sitting out on the kitchen counter.

While we may argue about the eternal debate about how to build a team, certainly for most of this year, there has not been many debates about how to run it on the field.

2006-08-15 10:32:36
12.   regfairfield
The Giants are possibly the only team in baseball where its a bad idea to give up a middle reliever. Losing Jeremy Accardo made them a worse team.
2006-08-15 10:32:40
13.   Gagne55
And whay does everybody else here hate Gio so much. Outside of the blowup in St. Louis he's been pretty effective.

Ugg. Billingsley goes today. Why has the Homecoming King fallen out of favor?

2006-08-15 10:34:42
14.   Gagne55
10 Tomko? When has Tomko imploded?
2006-08-15 10:36:51
15.   regfairfield
13 For me, the turning point on Gio came in a game against the Brewers last year. Tracy brought him in to face Bill Hall and I said, "Gio's going to give up the bomb here". Two seconds later, I got the ol' "In play-run scoring play" message.

Gio has been a middle reliever throughout his career, so I guess I'm being a little harsh on him.

2006-08-15 10:37:14
16.   scareduck
Jon -- I tend to think the apostrophe weirdness is that most non-MS browsers gravitate toward UTF-8 encoding, and for reasons completely unknown to me, Baseball Prospectus is generating Windows-1252, a Microsoft-specific encoding that is typical of that company's attitude toward standards: all the meaningful ones are set in Redmond. If you have your browser encoding hard-selected to UTF-8, you should probably enable autoselect.
2006-08-15 10:37:20
17.   regfairfield
14 Every time he started from mid May until he went on the DL.
2006-08-15 10:40:24
18.   Greg Brock
16 I understood six of those words.

Insulting myself, not you.

2006-08-15 10:41:35
19.   Jon Weisman
16 - It took me five minutes to read your comment and figure out what it was suggesting I do, but I think that worked. Thanks.
2006-08-15 10:41:53
20.   Disabled List
14 It's a reflexive move from his days as a starter. The same goes for Sele too, although that's because I have the words "regression to the mean" permanently etched into my brain from reading too many DT threads.
2006-08-15 10:43:11
21.   Bob Timmermann

Woo hoo, I understood it. I'm geekier than Jon! I'm geekier than Jon! USA! USA! USA! USA!

2006-08-15 10:44:16
22.   misterjohnny
Off topic, but does anyone know where I can find Blown Saves totals for the Dodgers for this year?
2006-08-15 10:46:53
23.   Terry A
Thanks to Rob, BP?s problem is easily solved. That?s good to know.
2006-08-15 10:47:55
24.   Greg Brock
23 Well played
2006-08-15 10:49:49
25.   Disabled List
13 Billingsley hasn't fallen out of favor. I think most people here still believe he'll be a top-level starter someday. But we also call 'em like we see 'em. Chad doesn't have the best pitch efficiency around. Whenever he takes the mound, we know the bullpen is in for a busy evening.
2006-08-15 10:53:03
26.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Little has displayed the valuable willingness to give players greater responsibility (as well as take it away).
It seems if Little doesn't know a player, at first he'll use them in low-leverage situations. If the player succeeds, he'll get tougher assignments. If he doesn't, then Little moves on. However, if a player has an established reputation, then Little will use him in a role to which he's become accustomed - which explains why Baez's disasters came in save situations.
2006-08-15 10:54:22
27.   the OZ
25 I'm choosing to believe that his success in preventing runs despite retarded BB/K ratios is a testament to his 'stuff' and that he'll be great once he is able to throw more strikes. Which I'm also choosing to believe he'll do tonight.
2006-08-15 11:01:13
28.   Jon Weisman
26 - and then Little responds to the disasters and makes another move
2006-08-15 11:09:15
29.   bhsportsguy
22 There are probably other sites but go to and their MLB stats, page 2 of pitching stats but remember that a save opportunity starts from the 6th inning on so even though they show 16 blown saves, not all of those are what you might consider a true save opportunity.
2006-08-15 11:13:18
30.   gibsonhobbs88
25,27 - Like I had said in the previous thread to this one, Bills is young yet and either he still hasn't learned to trust his "great stuff" against ML hitters or he hasn't learned to harness his pitches into the strike zone on a consistent basis. I am like others here that believe he will be a quality major league pitcher but am not sure he is ready for the pressure cooker of a pennant race right now. His "great stuff" has kept him in games while he was wild, i.e. the last start against the Rockies, but eventually 5 and 6 walks per outing is really going to bite you in the behind. It's quite a puzzlement though, because he shows composure on the mound, not letting his emotions show even when he is frustrated with himself or the events around him. I hope he finds "it" tonight and we see the pitcher that dominated the Triple A hitters with his stuff and command of the zone.
2006-08-15 11:32:28
31.   Ken Arneson
Jon, you weren't the only one with the character encoding problem on BP...I told Will about it three days ago (and told him how to fix it), and he passed my suggestion on, but apparently they still haven't fixed it.
2006-08-15 11:35:07
32.   Jonny6
I was in my car last night headed home and listening to the end of the game on the radio. When Steiner announced that Gio would be coming back out for the 9th inning, I kind of smiled and thought well that's pretty ballsy Grady - you're really pushing your luck with this lucky streak aren't you (I also thought "cool, with Gio pitching I'll be able to get home and watch the last couple of outs on TV). But it made perfect sense from the standpoint that it was a "save" in name only (3 run lead only 3 outs to get) and the bullpen, especially Broxton and Saito, has been pretty overworked lately.

As far as Gio himself goes, I love the chubby Venezuelan. For some undecipherable reason, every time I see him I get a mental image of a butler in a top hat named Jeeves asking silly questions in snooty, accented English. Gio seems to genuinely love the game, gets excited to contribute to the team in any way possible, and unlike a lot of the guys on this team (say Kent and Drew) seems like he'd be a fun guy to knock down a few brews with. But let's face it, he makes all of us nervous because it's just a mystery of physics how he gets the job done. He is the ultimate "smoke and mirrors" pitcher, and I think Jon said it best with "just enjoy the good times while you can". Gio has absolutely no heat, and control that seems to vary widely from outing to outing. He also has no reputation, so unlike Maddux who batters fear despite his lack of a big time fastball, opposing players must light up with excitement every time Gio steps on the mound in anticipation of bumping up their BA and slugging percentage. I can't remember which announcer described his breaking ball as a "a soap bubble" but that's a pretty accurate description, and we all just sit in wonder that major league hitters flail away and actually miss that bubble. But less talented people than Gio have hit it big with even less talent, like the Simpsons sisters for example (sorry, couldn't think of a baseball analogy), so I say "all hail to Gio the Venezuelan butler".

2006-08-15 11:38:37
33.   Gagne55
25 The Homecoming King refers to Sele since he pitches so much better at home than on the road. I'm disappointed that he's not starting, because Billingsley has been walking way to many batters and Sele is lights out at home on extended rest.
2006-08-15 11:39:38
34.   s choir
I can't remember which announcer described his breaking ball as a "a soap bubble" but that's a pretty accurate description, and we all just sit in wonder that major league hitters flail away and actually miss that bubble.

Have you ever tried to hit a soap bubble with a baseball bat? It's not that easy. :)

2006-08-15 11:44:39
35.   Gagne55
6 3 3.95 13 13 0 0 0 70.2 57 32 31 7 3 32 78 1.26 0 0

That's pretty good but it's not exactly dominant. Look at what Sele did for the 51's this year.

2006-08-15 11:48:23
36.   Sam DC
Now I get it, that Martin "eh" headline was just a subtle advert.

2006-08-15 11:50:03
37.   Jacob L
On the Sele/Bills decision I think the key point is that Bills is projected to mature into a "front of the rotation" guy while Sele is overdue to turn into a pumpkin.

I think Billingsley should get the starts up to the point where either his struggles are costing us games or overtaxing his young arm becomes an issue. If he's well established as a major league starter for next year, that's a huge bonus for us.

In other words, I say ride Billingsley as long as you can, within reason (not like a Dusty Baker ride). Having Sele take an occasional start or skipping that spot in the rotation if the schedule allows are both nice fall-back positions.

2006-08-15 11:51:34
38.   Paul Scott
With the almost certain exception of a 4-man rotation, I think the "closer by comittee" - which more appropriately should be "best reliever in highest leverage" - is the most significant area in which departure from "the book" (the bad "the book" - not Tango's blog) can translate into more wins. If Little is actually employing this, or some version of it, I will have gained more respect for him than I expected.

For me, "the jury is out" as to whether this is actually happening or whether instead these last few games have simply been exceptions, but I am encouraged by what I have seen. I suspect part of it is the "luck" of not having Gange - since I doubt Little would have the rocks necessary to put Gange in for the 7th if that was what the game demanded. With that, however, I remain encouraged and hopeful.

2006-08-15 11:53:15
39.   Sam DC
Hey Jon, they're calling you over at Humbug.
2006-08-15 11:53:41
40.   Paul Scott
37 I agree to the extent Billingsly's issues are hits or homeruns or high pitch counts (resulting in earlier than optimal exits). If his issue continues to be walking 1+ batter an inning, then I think a shorter rope is appropriate.
2006-08-15 11:55:29
41.   Jon Weisman
39 - Believe it or not, my office blocks me from reading the comments at any Toaster site but this one and Bronx Banter, for reasons I don't understand but am afraid to bring up.
2006-08-15 11:56:59
42.   Sam DC
Well, they think the've solved your picture and are looking for confirmation. I'll put a note that your review will be forthcoming, but not for a while.
2006-08-15 11:58:53
43.   Jon Weisman
42 - Why don't you or Bob e-mail me the comments.
2006-08-15 12:00:38
44.   s choir
38 Little used the closer by committee approach in 2003 in Boston.
2006-08-15 12:03:30
45.   regfairfield
44 He's constantly mocked it, and judging by his comments, he just didn't get the concept.
2006-08-15 12:07:18
46.   Sam DC
43 Sent. Oddly, I already left a comment here saying I would send it. I just sent the sum-up comment, not the whole 86 comment thread, figuring you could review the detective work at your leisure. If you prefer it all, just holler.
2006-08-15 12:08:53
47.   Bob Timmermann
Little, Epstein, and Bill James all thought the problem with the closer by committee concept in 2003 was that the relievers weren't very good to begin with.
2006-08-15 12:12:35
48.   Jon Weisman
42 - Okay, please relay this to the Humbug Mystery Photo people.

Shortly after graduating from college in 1989, I embarked upon a mini-ballpark tour with my family. The first stop was in Yankee Stadium for a July 4 day game, the only game I've ever seen there. We sat high behind home plate, and did not stay for the Beach Boys concert afterward.

We then went up to Toronto, and sat low down along the right-field line, where I took the picture you see above. I have another shot at home that has part of the scoreboard, but I think I confirm the accuracy of your guess. I'm just amazed by the confidence about whether the batter/runner had a mustache.

Our trip then brought us to Fenway Park to see the Sox (against the Yankees, I believe) and finally to Wrigley to see the Dodgers play the Cubs. It was my second trip to Fenway and first and only trip to Wrigley.

2006-08-15 12:12:58
49.   Mr Customer
42,44 I think he feels BPBC is partly responsible for his departure from the Sox. They struggled in close games the whole season. Derek Lowe closed games vs. Oakland in the ALDS, and Wakefield coughed up the Boone HR versus the Yanks. I guess you could say that it didn't really work out.
2006-08-15 12:14:55
50.   regfairfield
47 True, but the way Grady used them, he'd just name one crappy reliever his closer, wait for them to get bombed, and then repeat the process.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-08-15 12:15:55
51.   Jon Weisman
48 - Oh, and also tell them - good job! (Despite Timmermann's initial misdirection ...)
2006-08-15 12:17:10
52.   s choir
47 The Boston bullpen became a force that October, though. Which is why it's so inexplicable that Little left Pedro in.
2006-08-15 12:22:14
53.   the OZ
49 In fairness to Grady/the system/whatever else, I remember that Wake was only pitching that inning because he volunteered since all the other pitchers had been used. He started two games in that series. The HR to Boone was his only relief appearance in the 2003 ALCS.
2006-08-15 12:38:32
54.   Mr Customer
53 Correct. Lowe closed in the ALDS, but was forced back into the rotation for the 7 games series. First problem was that John Burkett only pitched 3.2 innings in game six, and was relieved by Arroyo, Jones, Embree, Timlin, and Williamson. Game seven, most of the 'pen was basically unavailable. Embree and Timlin both pitched after the Pedro incident, but there was nobody left with any arm for extra innings. The only thing that could have been done differently was go with DLowe on short rest, out of the 'pen.
2006-08-15 12:40:18
55.   Jonny6
Re: update #2 above.
Are there any other Dodger Thoughts readers that DON'T have a webblog? I feel like I'm in the minority and hopelessly behind the times, kind of like my parents when I was 10 and they always made me program the VCR.
2006-08-15 12:40:21
56.   dzzrtRatt
Jon, thanks for the link to my post on the Sunday night game.
2006-08-15 12:58:46
57.   Jeromy
I believe Gio closing last night was purely a function of two factors: 1) there was a 3 run lead, with 3 outs left, none of the Marlins hitters scared Little into replacing Gio and 2) the Dodgers have been winning so often. With a winning streak like this, you generate more save opportunities and less garbage time. Naturally, you might see a middle reliever pick up a save or two.
2006-08-15 13:06:54
58.   Linkmeister
55 I put out a call for links to DT bloggers a week or two ago and only got two responses (other than the Toaster writers), so it's safe to say (based on that sample size) that most readers aren't bloggers, despite appearances. Many of them actually have (gasp!) real jobs!
2006-08-15 13:13:27
59.   jkrometis
Jon, one more question about the photo over at Humbug - can you recall the camera you used to take that picture? A number of us were puzzled that neither the pitcher's mound nor third base were within view. Someone speculated that it might have been taken with a telephoto lens....
2006-08-15 13:16:15
60.   Jon Weisman
59 - It was an everyday Minolta something or other. I'm not any kind of real photographer. I think it was just the weird angle of where I was sitting. I think the mound and third base are just out of frame on the left.
2006-08-15 13:25:43
61.   gibsonhobbs88
58- Yeah. I have a real job that's a cover for my true calling, "A living breathing Dodger fanatic" that loves this site to interact with other diehard fans of the blue! It's very interesting to see the different viewpoints from other fans that all have the team's best interests at heart but yet see the direction of the team's future success in different ways. Keep it going Jon, it's a worthwhile venture to keep this site. I am on the reserved level, section 6, row R, seats 22 & 23 tonight if any other DT posters are there tonight!! Go Blue!!
2006-08-15 13:32:54
62.   gibsonhobbs88
A look at the two LA teams monthly record for amusement purposes:

Dodgers: 12-13 April, 18-10 May, 11-15 June, 9-17 July, 13-1 August to date!!

Angels: 12-13 April, 11-17 May, 12-14 June,
19-7 July, 7-7 August to date.

Same records in April, Dodgers Hot in May but cooled off in June and July and you know about August!!
Angels cold in May, so-so in June and sizzling in July but cooling off in August.

Dodgers winning the battle of LA as of August 15, 63 to 61 victories, we're in Blue in first by 2 1/2, Angels Tie for 2nd and sliding down in GB to the sizzling A's. 6 weeks, 43 games left.

2006-08-15 13:33:47
63.   Bob Timmermann
If anyone is Downtown and wants ONE free ticket to sit in the outer reaches of Aisle 55 of the Reserved, you can drop by the library and get the ticket.

But there's just one.

Aisle 55 is the ideal place to be an angry, disgruntled loner.

2006-08-15 13:37:55
64.   bhsportsguy
63 By what time?
2006-08-15 13:38:39
65.   Bob Timmermann
I'll be out of the office from 4-5. So before 4 or after 5 and before the game starts.
2006-08-15 13:39:58
66.   Terry A
I'm a once and future blogger.

I have a project in the works that will not be Dodger related and, if it goes to plan, will involve blogging.

And I can, with utmost confidence, say that it will be of minimal (maybe zero) interest to the DT faithful. But when/if it launches, I'll let you all decide, of course.

2006-08-15 13:43:29
67.   Jon Weisman
Terry had one of the best baseball blogs going for a little while - it was too bad that he decided to devote his life to being a useful member of society.
2006-08-15 13:51:37
68.   bhsportsguy
If someone told you that on June 3rd, the Dodgers are going to win 31 out of their next 63 games, what place do you think they would be in. (At the time they were in second place, trailing Arizona by a game and a half.

Since that date, the Dodgers, Padres and Rockies have identical 31-32 records, the Giants have gone 27-36 and the D-Backs have gone from 11 games over .500, to a .500 team at 26-37.

There are some constants, everyone except the Rockies had horrible interleague records in June. Since that date, the D-Backs, Giants, Padres and Dodgers have shared first place and the Giants, D-Backs and Dodgers have been in last place.

2006-08-15 13:51:59
69.   Terry A
Jon, as always, you are too kind.

And may I say, I am grateful for your dedication to Dodger Thoughts for so many reasons: the opportunity to read your work, the challenging discourse in the comments, the introduction to great writers and great baseball minds in the blogosphere, but most of all, for the class and grace you've shown here from day one.

2006-08-15 13:52:23
70.   xaphor
This morning's Non Sequitur is a nice allusion to all us fans of the Blue Crew. Let's hope the road continues right into October.

2006-08-15 13:56:42
71.   Marty
I don't have a blog but I do have a job. Not sure if it's a real job but a job none the less.
2006-08-15 13:58:41
72.   Greg Brock
58 Some of us blog, but some of us realize that we are so sophmoric that to add any links to our blog would be a blight on DT.

Plus, it's got lots of swears. Lots.

2006-08-15 14:05:08
73.   Jon Weisman
69 - I'd say you're too kind too, especially because I've been so pissy to people in the comments in recent days.

Did you take all your Bench Coach posts down? I can't access them anymore.

2006-08-15 14:08:28
74.   Jon Weisman
Jon Weisman update: Coming off a 25-homer season, the redshirt senior was named a captain for the 2007 Wayne State baseball team.

2006-08-15 14:11:18
75.   Greg Brock
Nice goatee, Jon.
2006-08-15 14:11:33
76.   Terry A
73 is a clear violation of Site Rule #1, Jon. And I would argue that 67 certainly violates Rule #6. :)

You know, at one point, I went back to see if I could salvage the archives. But I found that Blogger had given the URL to a guy writing about Penn State football.

2006-08-15 14:15:50
77.   GoBears
68. Thanks for that, bh. That's remarkable. In this case, it's interesting to think about which is more informative, the relatively large sample of games since your starting point (63) or all of the streakiness within that window of time. Are the Dodgers really a much better team (a la the last 16) than they were for the 3 weeks before that? Or are they basically the .500 team that they've been over that whole span? Or is the season record the best measure?

The reason it's not obvious that the season record reflects the true quality of the team going forward is of course that today's team is very different from the one that compiled much of that record. OTOH, in terms of balancing of luck, and the overall quality of opponents, the "current team" on its current run is also not the best guide to the future.

To my mind, the biggest improvements in the team since early in the season were dumping Odalis Perez in favor of Houdini Billingsley (so far, so good, if also so scary), and dumping Carter/Hamulack/Baez/even Kuo in favor of the current crew. The lineup has had its ups and downs, but the main gain has been Ethier over the Repko/Cruz/Ledee group.

Furcal started slow and now is hot. Nomar started hot, and has slowed down. The rest of the position players have been fairly steady, albeit at different levels.

So the team's streakiness seems to me to be largely due to changes in opponents and changes in luck. And unless one or the other (or both) stay in the team's favor for the last 6 weeks, the Dodgers ought to come back down to Earth during that time. Roller coasters bring you up and down, and are alternately thrilling and nausea-inducing, but you start and finish on the same level.

2006-08-15 14:18:19
78.   GoBears
77. I should have added the ups and downs at 3b as Mueller, Aybar, Martinez, Izturis, and Betemit have shuffled through. It's tempting to compare the team's record during Izturis's tenure at 3b to that of the Betemit administration, but of course that's overstating the case.
2006-08-15 14:23:34
79.   underdog
I was glad to hear about Werth's surgery - it's about time he found someone who could pinpoint the problem. Wonder why it took so long, is all. Hope he recovers, though it's hard to imagine being able to count on him being more than an injury prone outfielder with more talent than luck.
2006-08-15 14:24:41
80.   bhsportsguy
77 I used that date because it represents the last time the team was at its peak of 8 games over .500.

I do think that this team has been an work in progress, stat of interest, name the Dodger with the second most starts in the field, do the initials JtD mean anything.

2006-08-15 14:26:23
81.   bhsportsguy
78 A certain poster, who will remain nameless, is happy to point out the Dodgers record during that tenure.

Other, perhaps less biased observers like Rob Neyer and Joe Sheehan, have pointed that out as well.

2006-08-15 14:33:27
82.   bhsportsguy
Nice tip from So Cal Sports Observed but he referred to "Vin" in his lead paragraph and while Jon Miller does a great Vinny impression, I know Vin Scully, I have met Vin Scully (if meeting means saying hi in the stairwell of Dodger Stadium), Vin Scully is the greatest Dodger of all time and Jon Miller is no Vin Scully.
2006-08-15 14:36:13
83.   savetheblues
This is totally unrelated to the current thread but on the last one, I was wondering about the advanced splits on for pitchers. It said that runs scored against Lowe on 0-0 counts was 80, which of course is false(which I know to be true anecdotally. Does anyone know how these advanced splits work, exactly?
2006-08-15 14:38:59
84.   regfairfield
83 When I was running scripts off's data, I learned never to trust it. It's sometimes just wrong.
2006-08-15 14:40:11
85.   D4P
I don't know the answer to your question, but I'd also be curious if "runs scored against Lowe" includes inherited Lowe baserunners that subsequent relievers allowed to score on 0-0 pitches, with the runs being charged to Lowe...
2006-08-15 14:49:48
86.   savetheblues
Where did you get all the dodger math numbers, then? Was it just espn, but with the knowledge that some of it might be wrong?
2006-08-15 14:53:37
87.   Todd
I agree with Jon about Gio although he hasn't seemed quite so toxic to me-though I am probably wrong-as some here believe. Perhaps I'm living in the past though and remembering some of his more effective outings. I don't know. Anyway, I do agree that he's not quite as effective now.....but I like Grady's attitude (about most things beisbol)-he seems to go with what's working now and he gives his players breaks as he sees fit. He makes sure everyone gets a shot out there-see his endless lineup shuffling. Anyway, I'm very impressed. He's the Dodger manager who seems most effective to me anyway.

As for Billingsley, I wish he would just trust his stuff a bit more. Seems he has the last few starts more but when watching him, you just want him to relax and use that hook and that fastball. Hopefully, with time, he will. He's obviously got the physical tools to succeed.

2006-08-15 14:56:11
88.   Bluebleeder87
Nice goatee, Jon.

I'm more impressed with the hair.

2006-08-15 14:59:52
89.   regfairfield
86 I use a variety of sources. I usually run my scripts from's data.

It's sad because ESPN has far more data than anywhere else, and I do occassionally use it, but when I was running my linear weights script off ESPN, it would sometimes come up with wrong numbers.

2006-08-15 15:45:26
90.   blue22
I know, this isn't the right site to point out Joe Morgan', interesting perspectives, but this comes from today's chat on

I don't think they [LA] can win the whole thing. I think there are better teams. But they can win the NL West and once you get into the playoffs you always have a chance. But if they face the White Sox, for example, they can't win. They would have a better chance against a team like the Yankees or Boston than they would against the White Sox or Detroit.

Why does LA have no shot against the White Sox (or the Tigers even), but would fare better against NY? I'm assuming the answer is "pitching", but how does Chicago fit in there?

I say, bring on the White Sox, bring on the Tigers!

I'd be a bit more concerned about having to face the Yankees lineup though.

2006-08-15 15:57:43
91.   s choir
90 The only team the Dodgers really don't have a chance against is the Twins. As a matter of fact, no NL team has a chance vs. the Twins.
2006-08-15 15:58:01
92.   Bob Timmermann
Judging by the Dodgers interleague record, I don't think it really matters whom they would face in the World Series.

I would just be happy to see the Dodgers in the World Series.

"Matchups" in World Series are over stated in my opinion.

2006-08-15 16:01:15
93.   the OZ
90 I'm surprised that Joe's answer wasn't something like:

"I don't think they [LA] can win the whole thing because they are too streaky. They lost a bunch of games in a row and they got lucky now and have won a bunch of games in a row, but when they lose games again it will be many in a row just like in July and that doesn't fly in the playoffs. If the Giants had more pitching, they would have the best chance of anybody because they have Bonds, who can beat a team like the Tigers or White Sox all by himself with the bat. The Dodgers don't have Bonds, so that's why they can't beat those teams. If they face the White Sox, for example, they can't win because they don't have Bonds.

2006-08-15 16:01:40
94.   regfairfield
90 I doubt they'll reach the playoffs without Liriano.
2006-08-15 16:02:01
95.   bigcpa
90 One of the best posts I saw at BTF was a board discussion of one of Morgan's last chats pre-Insider. The guy says something to the effect of "Why do you people keep posting these? Is this tee-ball for newbies?"
2006-08-15 16:03:03
96.   regfairfield
93 You should preface that with "I haven't seen the Dodgers play much, so I can't say either way, but..."
2006-08-15 16:04:05
97.   bigcpa
Also gotta love the Wikipedia entry on Morgan. How did we ever get real history before Wikipedia?

"Morgan has also gone on record as stating that RBIs are the best statistic for hitters and win-loss records for pitchers, although the utility of these statistics is disputed by some sabermetricians. These statements, among others, have resulted in complaints about Morgan and his broadcasting, including a website devoted to criticism of Morgan."

2006-08-15 16:06:12
98.   blue22
93 - Yeah, your first sentence is already answering the guy's question (which was basically "Hey can LA win it all?"). It is very un-Joe to 1. answer the question, and 2. not contradict his answer by the end of the answer.
2006-08-15 16:11:30
99.   the OZ
96 98 Haha. Look, I read FJM as much as anyone, but I can't just copy their classic "Joe Morgan Bad Answer Structure" here; I needed some room to be original. Plus I pretty much just copied the first sentance of the original post.

Still, your points are well-noted, appreciated, appropriate, and amusing.

2006-08-15 16:13:05
100.   the OZ
99 Dizzang. Despite multiple reviews before posting, I still typo'd "sentence". Apologies.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-08-15 16:23:03
101.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
He makes sure everyone gets a shot out there-see his endless lineup shuffling.
Bill James occasionally would break out a feature called "Manager in a Box," which would offer a thumbnail sketch of a skipper's tendencies.
One category, IIRC, was how he used his bench. Veteran role players? Rookies, used only when the regulars take a day off? A bunch of guys, with ill-defined jobs, sitting around getting grumpy?
The Dodgers bench, as of today: Repko, Lugo, Martinez, Saenz, Loney and Hall.
Only Martinez and Hall are spot starters in the typical (i.e., rare) sense.
The other four all have Little's confidence to start, and so they have. Lugo is turning into a Tony Phillips play-him-anywhere type (ironically, anywhere meaning other than his preferred position of shortstop). Saenz seems to have settled into a role of big gun off the bench, although he's seen games at first and third. Repko shares time in the outfield, acting as Lofton's defensive caddy. And Loney is a pinch hitter, defensive sub and sometimes starter at first.
No point here - just some observations.
2006-08-15 16:26:04
102.   s choir
94 I don't think the Twins will make the playoffs either, and even if they do, I don't think they'll make it through the AL. But if I'm wrong and they make the series, I don't think any NL team will be able to beat them at the Metrodome, and they'll have home field.
2006-08-15 16:27:17
103.   bobbygrich
Today's lineup and probably one that could have been predicted.

Furcal, SS
Lofton, CF
Garciaparra, 1B
Drew, RF
Kent, 2B
Ethier, LF
Betemit, 3B
Martin, C
Billingsley, P

2006-08-15 16:27:50
104.   s choir
Lineup's posted at Inside the Dodgers.
2006-08-15 16:29:20
105.   Paul Scott
Everytime I see Lofton batting 2nd and Martin batting 8th I have to remind myself that order doesn't really matter...
2006-08-15 16:29:31
106.   bobbygrich
Tomorrow, I think Grady will rest Furcal and start Lugo at short and since Hendrickson is starting, we will see Mr. Hall, since it gives Russell 2 days off too.

It will be Tampa Bay West.

2006-08-15 16:31:20
107.   the OZ
105 Somehow, I imagine that Kenny doesn't take kindly to batting 8th. I'm guessing that Martin is far less likely to break things in the clubhouse if he doesn't bat at the top of the order.
2006-08-15 16:33:15
108.   Paul Scott
107 Let the wookie win...
2006-08-15 16:33:20
109.   bobbygrich
105 Lofton has been hitting well recently and since the only asset that he has is speed, that element does not come into play much batting 8th.

I think it is more that if you are going to play Kenny, 2nd remains the best option for him to bat.

2006-08-15 16:35:09
110.   Jon Weisman
Game thread is open, hopefully with the proper Gameday link tonight.
2006-08-15 16:42:35
111.   Paul Scott
109 I do not agree. If fact, I think I could not agree less. Speed is much more important batting ahead of bad hitting than batting ahead of power. A SB has more value and a CS has a lower cost.

Additionally, a hitter like Lofton - who if he gets on base is more likely to do so with a banjo base hit - is more valuable batting 8th (a head of the free out) than.

Everything about Lofton's offensive value is screaming for him to be the #8 hitter. Putting speed at the top of the line up before the power is about as stupid as it gets where lineup construction is concerned - luckily, again, lineup construction does not matter much.

2006-08-15 16:45:41
112.   blue22
111 - Lofton has a .365 OBP and a .272 eqa. Martin has a .365 OBP and a .278 eqa.

Splitting hairs?

2006-08-15 16:49:08
113.   s choir
111 There's not a lot of power in the lineup anyway.
2006-08-15 16:51:33
114.   Mr Customer
107 Didn't he get bent out of shape when he played with the Yanks? They had him in the 9 hole. I doubt he'd like 8 much better.
2006-08-15 23:17:16
115.   PDH5204
106 bobbygrich:

Tampa Bay West? Maybe not a bad thing so long as the opponent is the National League, given that the TBD are 11-7 in interleague play, while their overall record is an abysmal 47-72 [coming down the stretch looking for that 100 loss season].

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