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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Stop Stealing My Heds, Ken Gurnick: Dodgers 2, Rockies 1

Ken Gurnick grabbed my headline, "Sweep And Lowe", but I guess that only means it was obvious and I shouldn't have stooped to it... right? Well, whatever linguistic frustrations I might be suffering from, it was probably more frustrating for the Dodgers. This isn't a good-hitting team right now, and if not for the staggering gift of 27 walks over the course of those three games, this team would have been clobbered. How important were those walks? I asked RC/27, the Bill James run estimator, how many runs the Dodgers would have scored without them; it came up with a grand total of 1.91, about two runs, or 12 less than the Dodgers actually scored.

Even though the Rockies outhit the Dodgers 20-16 over the series, those extra walks were enough for the Blue to pull together a series sweep. How long can Clint Hurdle keep his job with these kinds of performances, I wonder? That pondering aside, the Dodgers are hurting badly at third base, with Jose Valentin 1-21 since April 20, and this exclusively against righties. Jon mentioned how the Karros signing burned the A's last year, but I wonder: in Valentin's case, does this work in reverse, i.e., does his inability to hit lefties also indicate an inability to hit righties? The problem is, we'll never know until the season's over. Last year, he hit .226/.298/.503 against righties and .191/.262/.404 vs. lefties. That's not much of a difference, but maybe DePo figured his occaisional outbursts would be worth it. Whatever, he's hitting more like he did last year against lefties so far, and with little power lately (.197/.370/.377 on the year). My guess is that this is the Valentin we're going to see for the balance of the year: occaisional success marred by extended bouts of failure, as he did last year in July, when he had only a single multihit game.

Of course, I pick on Valentin because he's an obvious target, but shortly behind him is placeholder Ricky Ledee, who makes me wish for the speedy return of Jayson Werth. Any team with credible pitching is going to leave the Dodgers in the dust, the way they're hitting now; relying on the kindnesses of opposition pitchers isn't a recipe for success, not against teams whose pitchers are stingy with both walks and homers.

Rockies pitchers gave up a lot of walks to the Dodgers, and it's just an old habit; they lead the league in that statistic. But what I bet you didn't know is their batters take fewer walks than any other NL team. Now there's a recipe for failure.



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