Saturday, July 16, 2005

Whither the Dodgers?

Time to pony up on some of the things I predicted for the Dodgers before the season started:
  • I stated that Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew would replace the offense lost by both Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre leaving the team via free agency and trade. Thus far, Kent and Drew are running an .891 and .931 OPS respectively, while Green and Beltre finished last season with an .811 and 1.017 OPS. Looks like I'm right about on there.
  • I stated that the Dodgers had added pitching, although they paid too much for it. Looks like I was wrong about that. While Brad Penny and Jeff Weaver have pretty much put in a status quo performance for themselves, Odalis Perez has fought injury and mediocrity, and has not earned the $8 million/per he signed for (I actually thought that contract wasn't too bad). Derek Lowe has fought mediocrity as well, and he's not nearly earned the around $9 million/per he signed for (I thought his contract was ludicrous). Lowe's ERA is a competitive 4.27, but he had better hope he keeps his walk rate below 2.00/9 (2 walks per 9 innings pitched), because it's his only saving grace right now, as he's given up 17 home runs already, and 144 hits in only 124 innings pitched. I pretty much ignored the bullpen when I had said they added pitching, and that was a mistake. Injuries to Eric Gagne has not helped, but it's easy to see that even with him, the Dodger bullpen is light years behind last season -- mainly due to the regression of Giovanni Carrara and Yhency Brazoban.

I also said Buster Olney was an idiot for ranking the Dodgers behind teams like the Rangers, the Indians, and the Mets in his preseason rankings. Well, it's hard to say for sure exactly how wrong I was with all of the Dodger injuries, but at least at the moment...I'm wrong. I think that if the Dodgers were to be healthy they'd be right around the winning percentage of those teams, which is right about where I thought at just at or just above .500, but as that has not happened, we can only go with the Dodgers current performance -- that of a poor team.

Of course, if I say I'm wrong, that's like saying that Olney isn't an idiot, which is true regardless of my correctness in predicting how good/bad the Dodgers would be.

If the Giants add some more black to the Dodger blue today and win the 3rd game of this series, they'll take sole possession of 3rd place in the division and really begin to breathe down the neck of...the Arizona Diamondbacks. For 2nd place. Which doesn't really matter, because the Giants are still a few Galactic Parsecs behind the Padres.

We can forget the wildcard, folks, unless the collapse of the Nationals is as...inevitable (that's for you, Nick) as it seems to be given their runs allowed is more than their runs scored, and that they keep making questionable roster moves (like trading for Preston Wilson, for instance). If the Nationals do collapse and the Braves take over 1st place, then the wildcard would be contended for by teams with something like a .520 winning percentage -- and the Giants could do that, though it'd still be miraculous.

As for now, the wildcard rests with the Braves at a .560 clip, and there's no way, by the nose of Snuffuluffugus, that the Giants could do that.

Actually, nevermind. Before any of us can talk, the Giants need to get to .500, which would still be a titanic feat in and of itself.

They can however, get a bit closer by walking over the Dodgers some more in the next two games...


Kevin said...

This is sort off off-the-subject, but I think Olney did a bang-up job on the midnight Saturday Baseball Tonight. The guy was constantly referencing slugging percentages and strikeout-to-walk ratios in addition to the typical analyst jargon. (You know, so-and-so "kept the ball down," this hitter "uses good hitting mechanics," etc.)

That's the kind of balance and skill that show needs right now. Ya know, intelligence.

Daniel said...

Well, I never said he wasn't smart, only that he's an idiot.

Ahem. All kidding aside, regardless of who it is, it would be nice to change up from the catch phrases of "veteran leadership", and "clutch hitting", and all those other intangible expression thrown around on the ESPN baseball shows like things that you can actually see and touch.

SLG, k/bb ratios? Yeah, you can sink your teeth into those -- they mean something every day of the week, and twice on Sundays. The veteran leadership and clutch hitting are difficult to spot when the score is 10 to 1.