Today is Labor Day. The annual holiday is known to most for barbecues, beaches, and traffic. For Baseball, it marks the three quarter mark of the season. The Dodgers (72-63) have only 27 games remaining, 13 at home. Normally this is a time when we take a look at how the Dodgers have fared in each facet of the game up until this point. I’ll take a look at each category, and give the Dodgers a letter grade based on their overall performance, and their performance against the league. The three main areas are Pitching, Hitting, and Defense. Let’s get started shall we?
It is the name of the game. The Dodgers have it. They always have don’t you know. Of course the boys in blue have been known for their great pitching. From the legendary legacies of Koufax, Drysdale, Valenzuela, Hershiser, and now Clayton Kershaw.
The Dodgers have had very good pitching this season. While sporting the reigning Cy Young award winner, the Dodgers have been in the top five in just about every single pitching category. The Dodger’s starting rotation is one of the best in the league, and their bullpen has been solid as well. Despite my bemoaning of the pen back in April, it really settled down and became an effective force on most days. Once Kenley Jansen, was moved into the closer role, and Javy Guerra to middle relief. Overall the Dodgers have ranked in the top five in overall staff ERA all season. They also rank third in BAA (.240), and fifth in WHIP (1.26) The Dodgers have whiffed 1,073 this season. I’ll give the pitching a solid A because generally speaking it has been strong. Despite the injuries, and a few rough patches here and there. Clayton Kershaw leads the team in Wins (12), ERA (2.85), whiffs (192), and Kenley Jansen leads the team in Saves (25).
Rotation-50-47 ERA-3.53 MLB rank-3rd -A
Bullpen- 22-16 ERA-3.34 (35 for 51 saves) MLB rank-11th - B
Overall- 72-63 ERA-3.47 MLB rank 5th -A
The Offense-Grade D
The Offense we will break down into several sub-categories. Batting, OBP, Power, Speed, RISP, Runs scored.
Overall, the offense is what has let the Dodgers down this season. It has been inconsistent to say the least. However it isn’t as bad as we all may have thought. It’s still not good though. Keep in mind these are numbers considering four months with no production from the infield corners, one month of Hanley Ramirez, and only about a week of Adrian Gonzalez. Don’t forget Matt Kemp also missing a good chunk of the season as well. As you can see below, the Dodgers rank at the bottom or near the bottom of every single category. They’re middle of the pack in stolen bases. They’re Almost dead last in home runs. The only team that has hit less home runs than the Dodgers this year in all the majors, is the Giants. In comparison, Arizona has hit 144 home runs. Ranking 24th in the majors in runs scored, isn’t going to cut it. The Dodgers are middle of the pack in hitting with runners in scoring position. That is one of only two passing grades on offense so far in 2012. In case you are wondering, the Dodgers have drawn 419 walks, which is good for 12th in all of MLB. Matt Kemp leads the team with 18 home runs.
Batting- .251/.318/.371-MLB rank -18-D
Power- 91 home runs MLB rank-29th
slugging .371- OPS. .689-F
Speed-88 stolen bases in 37 attempts. –C
RISP- .255/.342/.381 25 home runs- MLB rank -15th -C
Runs Scored-542 MLB rank -25th -D
Pinch-hitting- MLB rank -6th .271/.354/.341 1 home run 25 RBI. 46 pinch-hits
The Defense- Grade C+
The fielding and Defense has generally been solid all year, until veritable stooge Tyler Green upended second baseman Mark Ellis on a take-out slide, putting him out for weeks, and nearly causing the amputation of his leg. With Mark Ellis out, the infield defense plummeted. We learned that we can’t survive without the solid defense of Mark Ellis. Since he has been back, the infield defense has since stabilized. The Dodgers still rank middle of the pack, but are steadily climbing upwards again, and I expect to be in the top half of the league once the season is finished.
Having your starting catcher (A.J. Ellis) throw out runners trying to steal at a 38% clip, also helps your defense as well.
Fielding %-.983-Defensive efficiency- .700- MLB rank 14th –C+
Errors allowed-85 Caught stealing 71 of 108-MLB rank 10th B
As you can see, the pitching has been very good, and the defense has been generally solid. It’s the offense and lack of power that has let the Dodgers down this year. Of course losing Matt Kemp to injury for over two months of the season has a big deal to do with that. These numbers should improve now that we have Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez. This is also the time of year when rosters expand, and the Dodgers have called up several players who might help down the stretch. Let’s take a quick look. Remember a few more guys should trickle in once the Isotope’s season is over.
John Ely- Starting pitcher
We remember Ely from a couple of years ago, when he was called up to the Dodgers and was really good for about a month before the league figured him out. Ely never adjusted, and as a result his career totals in the majors are 5-11, and a 5.35 ERA. Ely only pitched in one game in 2011, and hasn’t been seen since. Anyone else jones-ing for some Elymania? I know I am. Ely really put it together this year down in Albuquerque, putting up an all-star season. Ely this year is 14-7 with a 3.20 ERA, 165 whiffs and only 36 walks, in 168 innings pitched. That gives him an 8.8 whiff per nine rate, and a low 1.9 walk per nine rate. Pretty darn good for pitching half your games in Albuquerque. Ely is expected to provide the Dodgers with long relief innings out of the bullpen, and an emergency starter if needed.
Javy Guerra- Middle Relief.
Guerra was only sent down so that he could work on some stuff, or so the Dodgers told us. It seemed stupid to send him down when he was pitching so well. The truth is, after Javy got off to a rough start as closer in the early part of the season. If you remember he was hit in the face with a Brian McCann line drive, has been very effectively since then. Javy is 2-2 on the season with a 2.60 ERA, 8 saves, and 37 whiffs in 44 innings of work. Like most young pitchers, he struggles with his control, walking 23 guys, and putting up a 4.6 walk per nine rate.
Tim Federowicz (Fedez)-Catcher
Third string catcher Tim Federowicz, also known to us as Fedex, will be getting another September call-up. It is very common teams to carry a third catcher in September. It just makes sense. Fedex was having another fine season in the minors, putting up a slash line of .294/.371/.461 with 11 home runs, and 76 RBI. Fedex was 2 for 13 in his September call-up last year, and has played in just one game so far this season.
Bobby Abreu, also known to us as Bobby Blue is back! After the Dodgers DFA’d him when they believed they no longer needed his services, Bobby cleared waivers and ended up back in the minors. This way he was able to stay in shape, and prepare for eventual September call-up. I have always liked Abreu, despite the fact he cooled off considerably in the summer months. (.318 in May, .220 in June, .200 in July). Regardless he is 6 for 20 as a pinch-hitter, and is still a professional valuable bat off the bench. Bobby overall is hitting .250, with two home runs, and 17 RBI.
NL West Standings NL Wild Card Standings
San Francisco 76-58 - Atlanta 76-59 -
Dodgers 72-63 4.5 St. Louis 72-62 -
Arizona 66-69 10.5 Dodgers 72-63 .5
San Diego 62-73 14.5 Pittsburgh 70-63 1.5
Colorado 55-77 20.0 Arizona 66-69 6.5