Sunday, June 29, 2008
Answering Don Drysdale's Question: Dodgers 1, Angels 0
The Dodgers of the mid-1960s featured pitching, speed, defense and light hitting. The last quality was so notorious that teammate Don Drysdale, while briefly away from the team, was informed of a Koufax no-hitter and famously asked, "Who won?"Thanks to Eric Enders in today's DT thread (at comment 117) for mentioning that there have only been three games in the Retrosheet era in which one team has thrown a complete-game no-hitter and lost; the most recent was Matt Young, a one-time Dodger then with the Red Sox, who pitched a complete game no-hitter for Boston against the Indians on April 12, 1992 and lost.— cribbed from B-Ref's Wiki, which is down right now
Of course, this game was not one of them, Jered Weaver being Jered Weaver and getting behind almost every batter, but it pretty much was a showcase for that which irritates me endlessly about Weaver:
- Weaver often does not throw first-pitch strikes, and rarely gets ahead of hitters. Not one of the batters Weaver faced in the first inning saw a first-pitch strike, four of twelve batters he started off that way (out of 23 batters faced). Now, granted, home plate umpire Jeff Nelson's strike zone was peculiar, but as we saw in Torii Hunter's first at bat, he was giving pitches below the knee to the pitcher. That is to say, Weaver was often outside a generous vertical zone.
- He has trouble (this year at least) fielding his position. The critical play was the leadoff batter in the fifth, Matt Kemp, who bounced out to the first base side of the mound. Another error back on April 16 against the Royals cost the Angels that game, too.
- He simply does not control the running game. Once again this bit the Angels, as Kemp immediately stole second, and thanks to the allegedly superior defense of Jeff Mathis, Kemp not only reached second, but because of the airmailed ball, arrived safely at third — whence he was cashed in by a Blake DeWitt sac fly.
- The petulance whenever something goes wrong. He expects himself to be perfect all the time, and according to other reports, was engaged in glove-shouting again. He also took his replacement for a pinch-hitter badly, sulking into the tunnel to the clubhouse.
- He seems to be regressing a little every year. His ERA will go down after this one, but there's little question but that his inconsistency seems to get worse each year. Certainly his ERA has, and he's below league average, even with this game in which he allowed no hits and no earned runs. In many ways, this game was a step in the right direction for him, though I would also posit that until he gets his control problems straightened out, he's not going to improve in other areas.
Lost in this historical swamp is a very good performance by Chad Billingsley, who seems to be doing better and better as the season progresses; the Dodgers offensively performed poorly otherwise.
Your target is misplaced.
If he fields that ball correctly, the game goes to extras in a scoreless tie.
Such a statement fails logic, and I think you know how.
so you nailed all Weave's deficiencies in your summary. it's a fair enough criticism despite shutting down the Dodgers.
on the flip side, blame has to go to the Angels offesne - they're the ones who lost the game, and Weave almost certainly did not deserve to lose.
In conjunction, there are lot of kudos to the Dodgers, starting with Billingsley to of handed out.
Nonsense. Weaver's inability to control the running game once again was his undoing. I most certainly don't place all the blame on him for this one — that error aside, he pitched well — but this one was against the Dodgers, a losing team with a manager who doesn't know how to manage his bullpen and can't tell good players from bad, and a GM who certainly doesn't know good from bad.