Well that sure was enjoyable, at least the from the 6th inning on anyway. The Dodgers pounded out 15 hits and scored in double figures for just the second time this season. At one point part of me was hoping they would just shut it down and save some runs for today and tomorrow. But for one night at least our collection of Dead Ball-era bats that the Dodgers have assembled, as Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness so aptly put it, produced like real major leaguers.
But let’s not get carried away and think that everything is alright in LA LA land. The win was costly as one of the Dodgers more effective relievers, Blake Hawksworth went down with what appeared to be a groin injury. As if the bullpen didn’t already have enough problems, it was so bad that the Dodgers actually had career American League reliever Matt Guerrier hit for himself, with the bases loaded, and leading 7 to 2, and of course Guerrier walked giving him his first career RBI.
Even more disturbing is the historically bad streak that first baseman James Loney is currently on. I meant to reference this article over the weekend, prior to my meltdown, but since Loney still hasn’t had an extra-base hit since, I encourage you to take a look at this article from MSTI. Loney just turned 27 years old, typically that is the year that most players experience a breakout or peak season, yet Loney is now 30 games removed from his last extra-base hit.
Looking at the numbers that Mike references in his article, Loney isn’t just bad, he’s approaching all-time historically worst ever at his position bad. And it’s not like this is just a 30 game sample to start the season. He has a .220 batting average since July 15 2010, which was the start of the second half of last season. At some point if he doesn’t turn it around the Dodgers are going to have to make a change. But the article is really worth a read to show just how bad Loney has been during his current streak.
But let’s focus on the positives here for the rest of this post rather than going down the long list of negatives surrounding this club, thanks again Mr. McCourt.
I hate to use the pun but yesterday was certainly a Rubby Tuesday for our favorite pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa. Young Rubby threw 7 shutout innings, striking out 8 and only allowing 2 hits. (Thanks to Brandon Lennox over at True Blue LA for his minor league recap yesterday) RDR now has an ERA of 2.10 in 34 innings pitched, to go along with 44 strike outs. Even more impressive, if that’s possible, is his batting average against which is a minuscule .200.
Ok now I am going to go total baseball geek on all of you here so for those of you not familiar with non-traditional stats like FIP I apologize I will explain below, but right now Mr. De La Rosa has an impressive FIP of 2.15. But what is FIP? Glad you asked:
Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP was invented by Tangotiger.
To give you an idea of just how dominant Rubby’s .215 FIP is, the only starters in ALL of MLB who currently have a FIP of .215 or better include Cliff Lee,and Matt Garza yep that’s it. So needless to say young Rubby continues to dominate the competition at AA. I realize the Dodgers play most of their AAA games at high altitude parks, but it may be time to start having Rubby pitch against better competition.
On the hitting side Trayvon Robinson continues to mash in his first year at the AAA level. He’s hitting a solid .327, with 7 HR’s and 22 RBI through 29 games. He continues to strike out at about a 25% rate, but he continues to get better at each level and is building on a solid 2010 campaign.
At the very least it’s nice to know the Dodgers have someone who is close offensively, and in the very near future we could see an outfield with Sands in left, Robinson in center, and Kemp in right, with Andre Ethier as the new first baseman. That sounds pretty good to me, especially if Loney continues to trend in the direction he is currently.
The great Sparky Anderson used to say that it took 40 games before you knew what kind of team you would have. The Dodgers have played 37 and sit at 17 and 20. In spite of everything that has gone wrong, including a ridiculous list of injuries they are only 3.5 games behind Colorado. Hopefully they can get everyone healthy, and stay that way so we can truly find out what kind of team they have. On that note Scott Elbert is on his way to Pittsburgh to join the team, presumably to replace Blake Hawksworth, so much for staying healthy.