Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Another shutout. Oy. Third in four games. That's terrible.

At least Juan played well in this one.

1. Singled to center.
2. Fouled to first. #365.
3. Singled to left.
4. Singled to center.

That's a fine game.

But boy, is my team struggling. Five in a row, 13 of 17.

I'm not giving up on the season, but I don't really have anything to add at this point.

Jimmy Rollins has six more outs than Pierre.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Heavens to Murgatroid!

Before posting, I noticed a typo: I originally titled this post "Heaves to Murgatroid." It was fitting and I almost kept it.

The team I root for began the weekend one game back from the Diamondbacks. They are now four games back. They were shut out twice.

I have nothing else to add at this point, so I'll count outs and exit stage left.

1. K, swinging. #361.
2. Grounded to second. #362.
3. Popped to center. #363.
4. Flied to left. #364.

Another one run loss

Another day, another razor-thin margin, another tick in the L column. This is beginning to get painful.

1. K, swinging. #359.
2. Singled to center. To 2nd on a balk. Would score.
3. Hit by pitch.
4. Singled to right, scored on Nomar's homer.
5. Popped to center. #360.

That's a fine day by Juan... and they did score 7 runs.... But Lowe gives up 6 (4 earned) and Houlton gives up 2 and 7 runs is not enough.

* * *

Meaningless but maybe interesting:

In their current loss streak (9 out of 12), the Dodgers' wins have been by one run, two runs, and eight runs. Their losses:

4 by one run
2 by two runs
2 by three runs
1 by four runs

* * *

Jimmy Rollins, with 363 outs, has taken over the major league lead.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Cannot. Catch. A break.

1-0? This team cannot catch a break. Billingsley pitched great.

Billingsley aside, though, the pitching is struggling... which is why the team has now lost 8 of 11 and 10 of 14. This is basically what I was worried about back a few months ago. The Dodgers' offense is, at best, average. For a few weeks there, right when Loney/Kemp came up and Pierre was on his hot streak, everything was clicking. But even after that streak, they have now scored 499 runs -- which puts them right in the same neighborhood as Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Toronto, Minnesota, Houston, and the Cubs. Meanwhile, team ERA -- once fourth-best in baseball -- is now sixth-best and falling. At 3.98, they are just 0.02 ahead of division rival Arizona.

When San Diego and Arizona have as-good-or-better pitching than the Dodgers do and are even worse at scoring than the Dodgers are, it's frustrating to watch the Dodgers refuse to do the things they can to improve the offense. The pitching isn't gonna get any better, folks -- so the other side of the ledger is going to have to pick up the slack.

But yesterday, nothing doing.

Juan didn't have the worst day evah, but it was kind of indicative of how the game went for the Dodgers.

1. Infield single. Stole second (on a pickoff move!). Went to third on error. Stranded. From a man whose game relies on luck, he got an extraordinary amount of it this at-bat... but his teammates couldn't convert him.
2. Grounded to second. #357.
3. Walked.
4. K, looking. #358.

Let's turn it around, team.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Fun with Splits: Back to Reality

Remember when Juan had that good game two nights ago? That was nice.

1. Grounded to third. #353.
2. Flied to center. #354.
3. Walked.
4. Grounded to short. #355.
5. Lined to pitcher. #356.

One more game played than Rollins; five more outs made.

* * *

Some people looked at Juan's hot streak a little while back and used it as evidence that Juan had turned his season around.

Not the case.

Juan Pierre, pre-All-Star break: .282/.311/.338/.649 in 373 AB. That's bad.
Juan Pierre, post-All-Star break: .253/.317/.307/.624 in 75 AB. Ouch, babe.

Juan is doing two things better in the last 3 weeks:

1. He's walking more. Since that's not his game, I expect it to fall off.
2. He has not been caught stealing. 34 SB/9 CS before the break; 9 SB/0 CS after. That's commendable.

That concludes Fun with Splits week. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fun with Splits: The Good Stuff

Dave Roberts tells a story about Maury Wills. The story -- and I'm paraphrasing -- says that Maury was advising Dave on the life of a base stealer. There will come a time, young Dave, when you will have to steal a base. You will know it. Your team will know it. The opposing team will know it. 50,000 fans in the stadium will know it. And Dave -- said Maury -- you will steal that base.

Of course, this happened to Roberts, famously, in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS when he was with the Red Sox, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Life is a little different if you're Juan Pierre. Oh, sure, he has those base-stealing moments, and they're great. But I have never been more sure of anything in my life than last night, eighth inning, nobody out, Furcal on first, lefty Steve Kline coming in to face Pierre, that Pierre would bunt.

Pierre has been taking a lot of heat in this space over his bunting and his hitting against lefties and his hitting against the Giants in recent days. This seemed to be the perfect storm of outmaking.... but Juan beat it out. Juan beat that bunt pretty hard, but ran hard down the line, Vizquel rushed the throw, and before you knew it, Dodgers were on first and third with nobody out. Pierre would steal second and before long victory was at hand.

And Pierre had already had a good day before that; with a grounder to the right side and a triple, he got Furcal home twice.

1. RBI grounder to second. #351.
2. RBI Triple!
3. Grounded to second. #352.
4. Bunt single to short. Stole second. Scored.

First, let me call Juan crazy. What in the name of sweet baby Jesus was he doing bunting in that situation? The Dodgers needed two runs, not just one. If recent history is any guide -- and it is! -- Juan was likely to get thrown out in that situation, leaving Furcal at second with one out. That would not have been good for the Dodgers.

But all that said, he got it done. He beat the throw. I can criticize the method all I want -- and I will, because it doesn't pay off nearly often enough -- but last night he got the results.

* * *

In honor of his good game, here's some of Juan's good splits.

He likes playing against Washington (remember that three-doubles-and-a-triple game?), Cincinnati, and, shockingly enough, the Mets. Against New York, in 28 at-bats, he has an OPS of .938.

When he faces a pitcher for the fourth time in a game, he excells, batting .448/.448/.517.

He's also pretty good against those pitchers that ESPN has labeled "finesse pitchers." I don't know who these guys are, but in 24 at-bats against them, Juan is hitting a quite fine .375/.400/.417.

In 9 at-bats with a man on third (first and second empty), Juan is hitting a Bondsean .556/.556/.889/1.445.

Oh, and lest we forget: in four at-bats in August, Juan is hitting .500/.500/1.000/1.500.

* * *

Yesterday, Juan's OPS against the Giants was .444.
Today, it's .531.

What a difference a day made.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fun with Splits: NL West

How badly was Juan Pierre doing against lefties entering this game? So badly that this execrable performance raised his on-base percentage.

1. Walked.
2. Grounded to third. #348.
3. Grounded to first. #349.
4. K, looking. #350.

That's right -- where he was once .241/.271/.268 against southpaws, he is now .237/.273/.263.

With the same number of games played as Rollins, they are exactly tied for the major league lead.

* * *

Fun with splits: against the NL WEST!

Baseball being what it is, it is most important that Juan Pierre does well against our vaunted NL West rivals. What's he do?

vs. San Diego: .277/.306/.298/.604
vs. Arizona: .282/.333/.359/.692
vs. Colorado: .313/.324/.344/.668
vs. Jints!: .205/.239/.205/.444

In some ways, this isn't surprising. Pierre sees most of his action in the division, so that's going to drive his season averages as a whole. But wow, that 444 OPS against the Giants -- he hits the Giants worse than he hits lefties. That is saying something.

vs. NL West -- and check my math here, somebody -- .265/.298/.321. That performance against the Giants drags this into dreckdom.

Monday, July 30, 2007

From OutWatcher Shidoin

Your fellow OutWatcher Shidoin writes in:

"For the edification of my fellow outwatchers, I went back and counted up the number of bunts our man Juan has made this year. 30. (I included 2 that may have been pop ups to pitcher) with 8 for hits, 18 for outs (inc. the 2 qestionable PU's) 2 sacrifices; (Don't get me started...) and 2 squeezes. These are not numbers that should encourage more bunting attempts! I was suprised it was only 30. It seems like every time I see him, he's attempting to bunt. "

Good work, Shidoin. I'm surprised, too.

The 18 bunts for outs -- do they include sacrifices? According to BB Ref, Pierre leads the league with 14 sacrifice hits.

What are the 2 sacrifices that you call sacrifices?

Final question: would any of this indicate that Juan Pierre should bunt with 2 outs and a man in scoring position?

Keep investigating! Your fellow OutWatchers want to know why Juan Pierre is bunting so much!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fun with Splits: Hands

I attended the game last Saturday. Juan was good in that game. He had a single, a double, and a hit by pitch. He also had a long out -- out, true, but he hit it hard.

I remarked at the time that he was in quite a fine hit streak and I hoped it last.

My hopes were ill-founded. Since then -- once you count today's 0/4 --

1. Grounded to pitcher. #344.
2. Grounded to short. #345.
3. Grounded bunt out to catcher -- for the third out of the inning! #346.
4. Walked.
5. Grounded to second. #347.

-- he is 3 for his last 26, with 3 walks and 2 sacrifices (both of which, I'm guessing, were really hit attempts). The Hot Streak is over, mes amis. I fear his July numbers will very much resemble his June and his May and his April and none of them was any good.

Rollins was responsible for just two outs today -- he grounded into a double play as he went 3-for-4 -- so Pierre's lead grows.

* * *

Fun with Splits -- Lefties vs. Righties!

This is key. There is a very good argument to be made that the First Step in What Will Eventually Be Getting Rid of Juan Pierre will be benching him against lefties.

Entering Sunday -- and remember, these numbers will all go down -- Juan was hitting .279/.312/.332/.644 overall. Poor.

Vs. Lefties, those numbers are the maggot-inducing, fly-attracting .241/.271/.268 -- 268 slugging!/.539. Against left-handed pitching, Juan Pierre might be the worst player in baseball. 112 at-bats against lefties that's basically an automatic out.

Vs. Righties, he doesn't look so bad. He doesn't look any good, either -- .296/.328/.358/.686 still isn't gonna win any awards and certainly doesn't deserve a starting job -- but neither would it be the team's number one problem.

So maybe I've been thinking too big. Benching Juan Pierre? It's the right thing to do, but won't happen soon.

Platoon Juan Pierre? That's an idea that Colletti and Little could wrap their minds around. Do it.

Fun with Splits: Batter's Counts

In the thin air of Coors, nothing gets out of the infield for Juan. In fact, only one ball made it past the pitcher's mound.

1. Grounded to pitcher. #340.
2. Sacrifice. #341.
3. Grounded to short. #342.
4. Grounded to pitcher. #343.

Pace: 534 outs.

Juan's 343 outs are still good for the major league lead by one over Rollins.

* * *

Welcome to Fun with Juan Pierre's Splits Week. This week, we will be looking at individual lines on ESPN's Splits page for Juan Pierre. Scintillating information there.

Today, we look at his batter's counts.

For example, what count do you think is Juan's favorite for putting the ball in play?

If you said 0-1, you were right! Juan has 80 at-bats in which he put the ball in play on an 0-1 count, the most of any count. Juan has 26 hits with four doubles in this situation, leading to a .325/.325/.375/.700 record! Hey, he's slightly above his own average with a strike against him!

Not surprisingly, Juan does poorest with 2 strikes against him. Unfortunately, this happens a lot more often. In 221 plate appearances with an 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, or 3-2 count, Juan has 42 hits, 11 walks, and has been hit twice. That's .202/.248/.236. OPS of 484.

When does Juan do his best? Also not surprisingly, after 2-0, 3-0, and 3-1 counts. (You will be happy to know that Juan has not yet swung on a 3-0 count this year.) In a grand total of 16 plate appearances, Juan has four hits (including a double!) and an astounding 7 walks. In these situations, he is .444/.688/.555/1.243! As long as the pitchers don't throw strikes, Juan Pierre hits like Barry Bonds.

Unfortunately, those 2-0, 3-0, and 3-1 situations have only happened to Juan 16 times this year. Compared with, I'll remind you, the 221 plate appearances with two strikes.

More fun with splits tomorrow.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Big Frank bunted and scored. But Juan?

Things have been cuh-ray-zee at work. Boss is out, meaning I get to do his job in addition to my own. Swell.

But last night I got a chance to catch up with my favorite team and my least favorite player.

1. Singled to short. Erased on Martin's double play.
2. Singled to left. Stole second, went to third on the throwing error, would score.
3. Lined to second. #338.
4. Bunted out to the pitcher. #339.

Then replaced in a double-switch.

Not a bad game for Juan. Not bad at all. 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Fine.

But let's talk about that fourth at-bat. 7th inning, Dodgers holding on to a 2-run lead. Bullpen, as everyone knows, is pretty taxed (tho that's been better very recently) and as a result has been slightly shaky (tho that too has been better recently). Takashi Saito sat out seven games with pain in his back -- who knows if he'd be effective. Any more runs the Dodgers could get would be extremely useful.

There are two out. Dodgers are on first and third. I'll remind you -- two out.

Pierre bunts. With two out, he bunts.

I mean, did he expect that to work? That only seems to work in Danny Kaye songs.

Juan is supposed to be good at this, but he has not impressed me so far. Seriously, unless this supposedly prodigious talent somehow starts showing up, the only way he's gonna reach base is through the Miller-Hiller-Haller Halleujah Twist.

Pace is 533 outs. Juan is still in the major league lead with two outs more than Rollins, but the Phillies have still played two fewer games than the Dodgers. That is some stellar outmaking by J-Roll.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

so very busy

ignoring capitalization typos spelling commas and other rules of grammar i am just here to remind you that juan pierre still stinks


1. grounded to pitcher #331
2. grounded to first #332
3. fouled to right #333
4. walked would score


1. grounded to second #334
2. flied to left #335
3. grounded to first #336
4. grounded to second #337

so juan's last good game was on saturday and since then he's 1 for 15 with 2 walks and a sacrifice which is really pretty stinky and he's on pace for 535 outs and of course he still leads the league by four over rollins

so sorry ive been out of commission and ill try to watch more outs very soon peace out

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Post: All Billz

Kudos to Chad Billingsley on his excellent performance. Jeff Kent -- you were the star hitter of the day. James Loney -- nice homer. Love ya, James.

And then there's Juan. So is the hot streak over?

1. Sacrifice. #327. I know, I know, 71and91 -- we'll get to it. Things have been busy at work. Still, regardless of whether you think the sacrifice is a good idea -- what's he doing sacrificing in the FIRST INNING? Surely, that's insane. It's getting to the point that I think when Juan sees a guy on first base, he automatically bunts.
2. Grouned to second. Like old faithful. #328.
3. Singled to right. Would score.
4. Flied to left. #329.
5. Grounded to second. #330.

Pace is 534 outs.

Juan is now seven outs ahead of Rollins for the major league lead, but the Dodgers have played two games more than the Phillies. Given Rollins' prodigious outmaking abilities, this is going to go right down to the wire.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Freak show

Wow, I'm glad I didn't watch that.

1. Flied to right. #323.
2. Flied to left. #324.
3. Flied to left. #325.
4. Flied to center. #326.
5. Walked. Stole second, advanced to third on wild pitch, stranded.

Sad for Broxton and sad for Kemp. They are two of the guys on this team who are getting it done, and I'm guessing -- from the play-by-play -- that they are going to get called out in tomorrow's dog trainer. Too bad.

We know, we still owe the treatise on sacrifices, but we just don't have it in us. It's been a tough week at Chez Kavula. We'll get to it, I promise.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A beautiful day for a ballgame

Nice day at the ballpark. Penny struggles early, settles down, and gets the win. Matt Kemp, a beautiful three-run shot. Even Juan got in on the fun with two RBI hits:

1. Flied to left. #321.
2. Singled to right. RBI.
3. Doubled to left. RBI.
4. HBP.
5. Flied to right. #322.

Very good game for Juan.

Pace: 532 outs.

Rollins plays the night game in San Diego and can take over the major league lead if he has a terrible day.

This is the city. Los Angeles, California. I work here. I count outs.

I need to make this quick -- just the outs, ma'am, just the outs -- but rest assured, I will address the topic of the sacrifice when I have more time.

Here, for the moment, are Juan's latest plate appearances.

1. Singled to second; stole second; stole third; got stranded. He's been hellfire on the basepaths lately -- much, much better than he's been.
2. Grounded to first. #318.
3. Fielder's choice; erased on Martin's double play. #319.
4. Grounded to short. #320.

Just one ahead of Rollins (319) for the major league lead.

Pace: 534 outs.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Breaking News: Pierre Not Worst Player in MLB!

If you'd told me that the Dodgers would score 9 with Derek Lowe on the mound, I'd have been very happy.

But the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley, as Adam West once said.

1. Singled to center. Would score.
2. Grounded to first. #315.
3. Doubled to right. One of the Juan's best-placed hits I've seen.
4. Grounded to second. #316.
5. Flied to center. #317.

Three total bases makes this a good game. Three outs too, of course.

* * *

Loyal OutWatcher 71and91 has been asking some very astute questions this week. After I've been noting that Pierre has made more outs than anyone else in the majors, he wondered who the worst players in outs-per-plate-appearance.

JimBilly4 was kind enough to list the top ten. In case you didn't tune in yesterday to the lively comments, here's what he compiled:

0.778 Miguel Olivo
0.748 Omar Vizquel
0.743 Khalil Greene
0.741 Bengie Molina
0.743 Pedro Feliz
0.741 Felipe Lopez
0.735 Chris Young
0.735 Alex Gonzalez
0.734 Ryan Zimmerman
0.730 Juan Pierre

By this standard, Juan isn't the worst outmaker in baseball -- he's tenth-worst.

Two of these ten players, Chris Young and Ryan Zimmerman, are extraordinarily young (22 and 23) to be playing in the majors. They have had terrible seasons to be sure, but one can make the case that their teams need to give them major league at bats to figure out what kind of players they will be. I give those two guys a pass.

Felipe Lopez was good as recently as two years ago, but declined seriously last year and has continued that decline this year. I suppose he could bounce back, I guess, but two straight years of declines make me wonder.

Everyone else on the list -- from Olivo to Vizquel to Molina to Gonzalez to Pierre -- has been terrible. Most of the rest of these guys play SS or C, which means that replacements are very hard to come by. Most of them, too, are not on the list of most plate appearances, meaning that their managers at least have the good sense to drop them in the batting order and possibly not even play them every day.

These are the players that Juan Pierre compares to this year. He's not the worst player in the major leagues -- he is merely among the worst. That's the starting fielder for the Dodgers, one of the favorites to make the postseason. A large-market, storied team. A team that laughs at the likes of the Kansas City Royals. That team starts a player in center field every day who is among the worst players in baseball.

I'll also note that Pierre makes more money than anybody on the list above, but that's neither here nor there.

Pierre's only chance is to maintain his current hot streak. I certainly hope he can do it. Even if he can, he has a lot to make up for.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Point, Counterpoint

Nice to see the Dodgers take 2 of 3 from the Phillies, who can mash.

Juan got to keep his hit streak going, but not a great day for the center fielder.

1. Singled to center. Erased on Gonzalez's double play.
2. Popped to third. #312.
3. Grounded to short. #313.
4. Grounded to third. #314.

Pace: 535 outs.

Pierre is still tops in the majors in outs made -- three ahead of Rollins.

To address loyal OutWatcher 71and91's point from yesterday, a point of information: here are the top players in MLB in plate appearances, followed by their On Base Percentages and Slugging Percentages.

Rollins 334 / 523
Sizemore 389 / 462
Reyes 382 / 443
Uggla 320 / 476
DeJesus 353 / 396
Pierre 316 / 339
Jeter 401 / 470
Utley 404 / 583
Roberts 404 / 447
Rios 359 / 541

To me, that looks like a bunch of all-stars with three exceptions. By and large, players who are getting as many opportunities as Pierre is getting are either getting on base a lot, hitting for power, or both. There are three exceptions.

Dan Uggla's 320/476 isn't terribly impressive, but he does play second base, the third-most difficult position on the diamond after catcher and shortstop. I haven't looked it up; it's quite possible that a slugging percentage of 476 is good for a second baseman and that Uggla should be grouped with the rest of the guys. Don't know off the top of my head, but it deserved to be noted. I'll point out that he plays for Florida, which is kind of lost as a franchise at the moment.

David DeJesus's slugging percentage, 396, is low enough that I'd like to see a higher OBP, but on the other hand, an OBP of 350 isn't bad by any means. Plus, he plays center field (like Pierre), the fourth-most difficult position on the diamond. And he plays for Kansas City, which has been lost for a franchise for a long time.

I'll point out that Juan Pierre's production, 316/339, is far, far below these two guys. And he plays for the Dodgers, who are in a large market, hanging onto first place, and should know better.

So the excuse that "Juan makes a lot of outs because he gets a lot of plate appearances" doesn't hold water. Everybody else who gets a lot of plate appearances is better than he is, and usually, better by quite a bit.

We don't judge Pierre on the basis of his total outs made; we judge him based on his production, which affects his total outs made. Still, we will continue to count his outs because it's a shorthand, a focus point, something to do every day, an ever-larger number that reminds the Dodger management of his mediocrity and that the team could be better just by sitting Pierre and playing Kemp and Ethier and Gonzalez every day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nothing to see here

Last night's game was like an accident on the 405. I just didn't wanna know. I tuned in about once a half-hour, saw that it'd gotten worse, and just stayed away. Cooked dinner for Mrs. Kavula instead.

Let's just count the outs and get ready for today's 12:10 game.

1. K, swinging. #310.
2. Flied to center. #311.
3. Singled to center.

That's it. Then Little put Kemp in center.

Let's put it behind us, boys! Go get 'em.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Making Things Happen

Fun win last night and a fun night at the ballpark. Pierre played a big part -- really swinging the bat well lately and a terror on the basepaths.

Last night's game, though, was an example of why we don't like the guy even when he does well. We do not like his game.

Here's his start, which helped the Dodgers, nodoubtaboutit:

1. Infield single. Would steal third and score.
2. Singled to right. Would steal second and score.

The stolen bases were fun to watch, no doubt -- if by fun you mean anxiety-inducing, which we do. Juan's been getting such a better jump the last few weeks that it's hard to begrudge him this success.

Hard, but not impossible.

The thing is, Juan would have scored both his runs whether he'd stolen those bases or stayed put. On the first, he was on second after the Martin grounder; Nomar eventually doubled, which would have brought him in (as he'd still have been on second after Loney's flyout). On the second, just after Juan stole second, Martin walked (which would have pushed Juan to second anyway) and then Kent homered. So whatever the risk of the stolen base was -- even if Juan was 90% probable to have those two bases stolen -- it shows why the stolen base is rarely worth the risk.

You can say that with those two SBs, Juan was "making things happen," but we believe that it was not Juan but the extra base hits, slugged by Garciaparra and Kent, that made things happen. The stolen bases are footnotes.

Anyway, that's good enough production for one day, so Juan called it quits from there.

3. Grounded to short. #307.
4. Grounded into double play. #308 & #309.

Of course, even though we don't like his game, there's no denying that Juan's playing well right now. He is reaching base at a very acceptable clip, which is his job, and he is scoring runs, which is also his job. However he chooses to do that is up to him. The OutWatch feels that the way he is choosing to do it is a method that isn't likely to last long, but all we can do is keep on top of the situation, point out when the hot streak ends, and repeat and repeat the meme. You can count on us to do that.

* * *

Juan's last ten games: .362/.375/.447 with 6SB and 1CS. That's great, of course. If he does that for the rest of the season, he'll be a valuable player. Let's just say that we're not shutting down the OutWatch just yet.

* * *

Juan's pace: 538 outs, which would be a Dodger record by a fair margin (20 outs) and the fourth-highest single-season total of all time.

Juan's lead over the other outmakers: 6 outs.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Language is a funny thing: the only meaning words have is how they are used. Sure, dictionaries are useful reference tools, but they do not so much define words as chronicle their usage.

Today's redefinition: the phrase "pretty terrific."

After Juan posts this on Sunday:

1. Bunt single, in which Juan runs both inside and outside the baseline, yet is not called out. Lucky Pierre!
2. Lined to center. #304.
3. Walked.
4. Sacrifice -- another successful squeeze. #305.
5. Ground to short. #306.

...that means that for the weekend, Juan was 5-for-14, all singles, with a walk. Couple of sacrifices mixed in there.

We can call that "pretty terrific." .357/.400/.357. But remember: this is the very, very best we can expect from Juan Pierre. This is his amazing hitting streak. This is, for Pierre, like Furcal's three-straight four-hit games; this is Pierre's version of Loney's debut this year. This is what it looks like when everything is clicking for Juan. And I have to say: it's good, no doubt about it, but not... what's the word... great. When everything is clicking for other players, they become unstoppable offensive forces; they become Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb for a week. When everything is clicking for Juan Pierre, he becomes Shane Victorino for a week. He becomes a useful player, and that's all. Useful.

It's sad to me that I now define "useful" -- even "very useful" -- as being synonymous with "pretty terrific." I used to have a higher standard for the pretty terrific. Now I just want useful. What have I become?

While I'd agree that it's meanspirited to pick on Juan after his... sigh... pretty terrific weekend -- after all, the Dodgers swept the Giants and moved into first place, and I'm a happy fan -- I'll point out that this weekend only put into focus what I hate about this guy. While it's nice to see everything go right for him -- finally -- it just reminds me that a player who needs everything to go right in order to be useful is not a player I want on my team.

Juan's pace is 539 outs. He remains the major league leader in outs made, five ahead of Rollins and six ahead of Uggla.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

300 -- prepare for glory! Or, if not glory, mocking!

Juan Pierre began the game at 298 outs, meaning he was very likely to hit 300 before the day was through.

Not content to make just two outs, Juan doubled his pleasure, then went one better.

1. Grounded to short. #299.
2. Flied to center. #300.
3. Singled to right. Would score on Kent's homer.
4. Singled to left. Stole second. Would score on Kent's single.
5. Bunted to pitcher. #301.
6. Grounded to second. #302.
7. Flied to left. #303.

Still, that's a serious contribution -- his hits came at the right time. Not Juan's worst day.

His pace is 539 outs. He began the day three outs ahead of Rollins and Uggla; Rollins made just two outs and Uggla just one (three walks for him!), so Juan Pierre is the first man in the majors to reach 300 outs.

Not what John Sebastian intended

Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out

1. Grounded to first, #296.

Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about

2. RBI single. Stole third. Scored.

Well, the names have changed since you hung around

3. Sac. #297.

But those dreams have remained and they've turned around

4. Fielder's choice. #298.

Who'da thought they'd lead ya
Back here where we need ya

5. Singled to center. Would score.

Yeah, we tease him a lot, 'cause we got him on the spot... Welcome back!

Three outs ahead of Rollins. On pace for 536.

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Catching up, getting ready for the second half

All apologies, gentle outwatchers. After being levelled by a cold during a cookout on July 4 -- and JimBilly4, you know that I will continue to blame your cute, infectious daughters -- I tried to soldier on, but had to make a few sacrifices due to health. The OutWatch was one of them. Fortunately, the All-Star break gives me time to catch up. Where was I?

Ah yes.

THURSDAY. The Dodgers lost this game, to the Braves, 8-6.

1. Grounded to second. #280.
2. Singled to left. Would score.
3. Tripled to center. Would not score. C'mon, Dodgers -- when Pierre does something good, you have to take advantage of it!
4. Flied to left. #281.
5. Grounded to second. #282.

FRIDAY. The Braves leave and the Dodgers get the Marlins... and lose, 6-5, in 10 innings.

1. Grounded to second. #283.
2. Grounded to short. #284.
3. Singled to right. It was an RBI, and he scored on Martin's homer.
4. Flied to right. #285.
5. Grounded into double play. #286 & #287.
6. Popped to short. #288.

SATURDAY. Marlins beat on Derek Lowe and Dodgers lose, 7-2.

1. Grounded to short. #289.
2. K, swinging. #290.
3. Singled to center. Stole 2nd.
4. Singled to right. Would score.
5. Grounded to second. #291.

SUNDAY. Desperate for a win, the Dodgers got one, beating up the Marlins 9-3.

1. Reached on bunt single. Scored on Martin's homer. Just think how awesome this team could be if Martin could be knocking in Pierre all the time... alas, only half that tandem is operating.
2. Singled to left. Would score.
3. Grounded into double play. #292 & 293.
4. Fielder's choice. #294.
5. Flied to center. #295.

Yeah, an OK series. 7-for-21 with a triple. Also responsible for 16 team outs in four games, including six in the 6-5 10-inning loss. Not saying that the loss can be pinned on Pierre -- Saito did blow that save -- but Pierre didn't help at all. 30 outs in 10 innings, right? One-fifth of the team's outs -- your center fielder, ladies and gentlemen.

Pace: 537 outs. Leading the majors! But Jimmy Rollins, it should be noted, has played one fewer game than Pierre has and is only 2 outs behind.

* * *

It's the second half. Time for an evaluation, and, if needed, a new start.

This is a great opportunity to look at Juan's stats for the year. He is batting .282/.311/.338, which is far off last year's horrid pace of .292/.330/.388, mostly in power. I do believe it's possible that Juan can pick up the pace hitting singles in the second half to bring his yearly OBP up 20 points... but ohh that slugging percentage. Juan used to hit doubles and triples somewhat regularly: 32 doubles and 13 triples last year. This year, those are down to 13 and 4, so far, putting him on pace for 23 and 7, a significant falloff.

So why are the Dodgers just one game out of first place? The Dodgers have been getting by based on great pitching. Their batting has improved somewhat in recent weeks -- thanks, I believe, without looking it up, to the performances of Kemp, Loney, and Martin. They rank 19th among all MLB teams in runs scored -- that's distinctly below average. On the other hand, their team ERA is fourth in all of baseball. It is unlikely that the pitching will get even better, since they're already near the top in the sport; in fact, I wonder if the pitching can continue to be as great as it was in the first half.

Clearly, the Dodgers will need every run they can get on offense; there is only so long that the team will be able to accommodate bats like Pierre's and Garciaparra's. If neither shows significant improvement in the next couple of weeks -- and really, I'm not holding my breath -- it's time for a major change.

It's frustrating to note that the Dodgers are not fielding the best team they can among the players available to them right now. The team would be better if Pierre sat in favor of Kemp and Ethier both playing every day. The team would be better if my former favorite player, Nomar Garciaparra, went on the DL and tried to figure out what was wrong with him in favor of Wilson Betemit -- yes, Betemit -- playing 3B every day. Otherwise, it just seems like the team is treading water.

Not that that's so bad -- treading water might be good enough to get to the playoffs... after all, the team is just one game out of first. Getting to the playoffs might be the goal, but I wonder if I really need to witness another 3-losses-and-out performance like last year (and has been the Dodgers' norm since the world championship in 1988).

In order to make the playoffs, and to make a splash when they get there, the Dodgers should bench Juan Pierre and play an outfield of Gonzalez, Kemp, and Ethier. Juan Pierre should be a pinch hitter/pinch runner.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Other Facts Include: Grilling Steak Helps Fight Global Warming

My favorite Probably Not True Fact that I Just Made Up: all of Juan Pierre's good games come in Dodger losses.

It would be fairly easy to go back and check on this fact. He hasn't had all that many good games -- and I think for most of them I went out of my way to put the words "good game" into the post, so one could just search for that phrase. I remember the extrabase extravaganza in Florida, and that time he walked twice... ahhh, memories.... okay, seriously, there have a been a handful of other good games and it would be easy enough to see if they came in Dodger wins or losses. I'm not going to do that, though. I'm going to stick with my Probably Not True Fact that I Just Made Up and see if anyone notices.

Anyway, last nice, case in point. Good game for Juan Pierre. Mark Hendrickson performs about as well as could have been expected. Brett Tomko: Not So Much.

1. Doubled to center. Stole third.
2. Grounded to short. #279.
3. Doubled to left.
4. Singled to left.

That's a good game, made even better by this: bottom of the ninth, two out, Dodgers on first and second, Pierre due up, and... Little hits for him! Takes the bat out of his hands! On a night when he went three-for-four with two doubles and a SB! It didn't work out, which makes me sad, but it was still the right move. A very small step on the OutWatch's Long March to Victory, By Which I Mean Juan Pierre's Benching!

Pace: 531 outs. Juan falls way behind Rollins in the race after the Phillie shortstop goes 1-for-5. Rollins is at 283 outs. (Of course, bear in mind that Rollins is also OPSing 835 and plays shortstop, while Pierre is OPSing 642 from center field. Just sayin'.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Worst yet

Words fail me.

1. Sacrifice. #273.
2. Popped to short. #274.
3. Grounded to short. #275.
4. Hit back to the box. #276.
5. Force play, #277; Caught Stealing, #278.

Six Dodger outs for Juan Pierre. In eight offensive innings. In a season of uselessness, this game saw Juan at his uselessest.

Pace: 536 outs. In extra innings, Rollins also makes 6 outs, though he required 13 offensive innings to match Juan's uselessness. Still, each of those outs counts just as much, and the bottom line is that Pierre is still one back on the major league lead.

In Which, in a Rambling, Nearly Nonsensical Post, I Blame Mother Kavula for All This Nonsense

When I was a small OutWatcher, on the occasions when I took a test in elementary school, Mother Kavula would often ask me how I did on the test. I would report my score, and then, Mother Kavula's next question, invariably, would be to ask how the neighbor's kid -- my best friend at the time -- did on the test.

This was grating and not a fun experience and has led to all sorts of insecurities and bad feelings that have no doubt led me to doing something as inane, pointless, and obnoxious as counting outs...

...but I bring this up because it is not without some pity -- yes, pity -- for Juan Pierre that I ask:

Ohhhhhhh, Juan, why can't you be more like that nice Russell Martin boy?

Look, I realize that it's not fair to compare every player to an All-Star, which is -- yay! -- what Russell Martin is. I also realize that Russell is not perfect. He grounds into double plays. He strikes out with the bases loaded. But it's easy to love his game. I love the fact that he's homegrown, a Dodger through and through. I love his patience, the way he looks for the right pitch to hit. I love the way he works with his pitching staff, seeming to get along with everyone, from the mercurial Penny to the Owenwilsonesque Derek Lowe. I love that he is a catcher.

Just as I find it easy to love everything about Russell's game, I hate everything about Juan Pierre's game. Even when things work out for him, I just shake my head.

Yesterday, case in point. First, let's go through the plate appearances by Juan-for-five:

1. Flied to left. #269.
2. Flied to center. #270.
3. Grounded to first. #271.
4. Bunt doubled to shortstop. Stole third, scored on a Martin single.
5. Grounded to first. #272.

I know it's not really possible to ignore the four outs -- and believe me, I'm not -- but it's the bunt double that I want to talk about. At the time that Pierre hit that bunt double to short, the Dodgers were hanging on to a 3-1 lead over the Braves. They really did need an insurance run, and Juan did his part. He got the results -- that's all that matters, right?

No. Juan was clearly bunting for a hit, something he's done well in his career but has done very poorly this year. Chipper Jones was in on the grass at third, ready to make the play.

Then Juan screwed up the play and popped up the bunt. He also hit it way too hard.

Normally, that results in an out... but Juan got very lucky. The pop-up bunt went over Jones's head, bounced just past third base, and immediately squirted away. Juan got into second.

I hate that play. I hate everything about it. I hate the bunt, I hate that he screwed up the bunt, and I hate that it worked out for him, even if it meant that it was good for my team in the short term, because it's something that the management will be able to point to as a sign that Juan is a player who "makes things happen" and deserves a spot in the lineup, which just drags down the offense.

Juan is a below-average major-league hitter. He needs to be benched. The three every day outfielders need to be Gonzalez, Kemp, and Ethier. Kemp and Ethier switch off CF duties until we see which one plays the position less poorly.

Sigh. Juan, if only you were more like Russell Martin, who came up with four fabulous hits, including a very pretty double in the fifth that scored Furcal and tied the game. If you were like him, I wouldn't count your outs. I'd just enjoy your game.

Instead, I'll point out that you are one off the major league lead for outs (Rollins has 273) and on pace to make 531 by the end of the year.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Back in business

The move went easy, like Sunday morning, thanks for asking.

All I was able to find out about the Dodgers was that they dropped Friday and Saturday but then got behind a great Chad Billingsley performance on Sunday. Let's get the details, by which I mean a certain player whose name rhymes with Juan Pierre.


1. Singled to right! Stole second! Stole third! Scored! Great start, Juan!
2. RBI single to center! Went to second on an error! Got to third on a balk -- a balk!! Awesome.
3. Singled to center! Stole second! Wow!
4. Lined to short. #261.
5. Grounded to short. #262.


1. Flied to center. #263.
2. Grounded to second. #264.
3. Bunt single to catcher! Stole second!
4. Sacrifice. #265.
5. Grounded to third. #266.


1. WALKED! But erased on Martin's DP.
2. RBI single to center! Stole second! Scored on Martin's single!
3. Grounded to third. #267.
4. Flied to left. #268.

A very good weekend for Juan! 5-for-13, BB, 5 SB, 2 R, 2 RBI! That's very fine indeed. Please keep up the good work.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Movin' Day (Part II)

This will be the last post for a while. Movin' Day has arrived! We are grateful, but the internet goes with the old place and won't be up until Monday.

So what did Juan do yesterday?

1. K. #257.
2. Popped to center. #258.
3. Singled to short. Would score.
4. Grounded to first. #259.
5. Singled to right. Would score on an error.
6. Popped to second. #260.

So Juan gets a little more of that luck that we were talking about the other day. It's a fine day, but when we consider that it's the best we can expect on anything approaching a regular basis by Juan... it still looks pretty meh to me.

Part of me wonders how he keeps getting opportunities to make outs. Perhaps he is an alien -- the batter from another world -- who has brainwashed Dodger management into giving him a large fortune and a spot in the batting order. It is as likely a reason as any. He is not earning his spot with production.

Pace: 533 outs. And Washington didn't play yesterday, so -- TRIUMPH OF TRIUMPHS! -- Juan Pierre has retaken the major league lead in outs! He leads Zimmerman by two, Rollins by three, and Lopez by eight. Pierre is on an outmaking roll! Can anything stop him now?

Yes. Grady Little can. And should. But likely won't. Sigh. The alien, the batter from another world, will press on.

See you all on Monday... until then... Watch the outs, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the outs!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

13 Angry Men (Left On)

We knew this would be a tough game going in. Brandon Webb is one of the best pitchers in the league. It's just frustrating when you get scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity and can't cash none of 'em in. 13 left on base, zero runs scored. That's the Dodger offense we've come to know and live with in mind-numbing agony.

Juan had a nice plate appearance in the third. Not so much, rest of the game.

1. Flied to center. #253.
2. Walked! Stole second! Stole third! Got stranded!
3. "Lined to pitcher," says the yahoo play-by-play, but I recall this being my least favorite play: the bunt pop-out. Either way, it's #254.
4. Fielder's choice. #255.
5. Grounded to short. #256.

Juan for five in a 2-0 loss. What can ya do. Meanwhile, on the James Loney front, #7 goes 3-for-4. Holy cats, is that guy seeing the ball well or what?

Juan's pace: 531 outs. He's just two off of Zimmerman for the league lead!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Juan Pierre's bat, on the other hand, will be denied

What a fun win. The kids -- especially James Loney and Tony Abreu -- get to play a big part. Loney especially -- the Garciaparra move to third happens sooner than expected and Loney continues to show why: his bat will not be denied. Tony Abreu couldn't have picked a better time for his first major league home run. First place was on the line. Just great.

But this is the Juan Pierre OutWatch, so we focus on him. Vin made a big deal about how Pierre wasn't getting any breaks, and out of respect for Scully, I considered for a moment that maybe I was looking at this all wrong. In my opinion, though -- and I say this with humility and respect for the broadcaster -- I'm not sure I agree.

There are those who say that though they recognize that Pierre isn't getting it done, they like Pierre's game -- his hustle and his drive. Hustle and drive are all good, but another way of putting it is that Pierre's entire game in "getting the breaks." He puts himself in a position where he *has* to beat out close throws at first and have others muff plays, because if he doesn't, he's oh-fer. Last night, he went one-for-five... the very most he could have expected is one of those other four close plays to go his way.

1. Flied to left. #249.
2. Lined to first. #250.
3. Fielder's choice. #251.
4. Grounded to second. #252.
5. Beat out an infield grounder for a single. Stole second.

Could Pierre have gotten luckier? Of course. All of those four outs required good plays to get Pierre. But it doesn't change the fact that Pierre's main offensive weapon is luck. I would much rather root for James Loney, who, in his last six at-bats, has hit for the cycle.

Pace: 530 outs. Pierre is just three outs off of Zimmerman for the Major League lead.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What's good, what's not

I am -- finally! and at long last! -- falling in love with this team. Of course, I have finally been given a team that I can fall in love with, so maybe that's no surprise.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to watch James Loney, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Takashi Saito, Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, and Chad Billingsley play ball for my team. It is also good to see Andre Ethier come back around, and I have high hopes for Tony Abreu, though I also believe that he might need more time in the minors. I believe that Hong-Chih Kuo will prove himself to be a back-of-the-rotation starter. I am enjoying the fine swan-song season from Luis Gonzalez. Wilson Betemit is fun off the bench and it would be good to see him get a second chance (though I admit that he got a good look in April and May and didn't do much with it). Rafael Furcal is a fun player when he's not hurt (and I believe he may be hurt more than he's letting on). Get well soon, Andy LaRoche, and get back to the majors. It is a good time to be a Dodger fan.

Of course, it's not perfect. And OutWatchers got the best non-Pierre-benching-or-even-Pierre-related news out there: in deference to James Loney's bat, Nomar Garciaparra -- the poor-hitting first baseman -- is moving to third base soon. If the management is willing to do this with Nomar -- one of the faces of the team -- we know what's next....

...less and less of this:

1. Grounded to second. #245.
2. Grounded to second. #246.
3. Reached on error. Should have been a DP... instead, #247 and noted it in the addendum.
4. Flied to left. #248.
5. Singled to center.

1-for-5, three outs. 2 RBI, a run scored. As excited as I am about the team, I just can't get excited about that... Tells you all you need to know.

Today was a fun win, and as we get more and more lineups with both Kemp and Loney in there, it'll get more and more fun.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Movin' Day (Part I)

Apologies, loyal readers and OutWatchers. It's been a busy weekend for Mrs. Kavula and I. Next weekend is the big move -- we move into our new home and wait for the arrival of Spawn of Kavula. That is causing much anxiety and not much time to OutWatch.

After reading about the games, though, perhaps it's all for the best.

SATURDAY's box score is extremely troubling. It says the Dodgers left 15 men on base. What'd Juan do?

1. Grounded to pitcher. #237.
2. Fielder's choice. #238.
3. Singled to left.
4. SQUEEZE! Redemption, finally! And #239!
5. Lined into double play. Aarrggghhh. #240 (apparently, this only counts for one out.)

SUNDAY -- no better. Apparently, Grady Little thinks they aren't trying hard enough. I think if you give up 9 runs, you'll generally lose... the pitching has generally been great, so don't pick on them. Pick on the offense all you like.

1. Singled to center. Would be erased on Martin's double play. I amend my previous sentence: pick on the offense all you like unless you pick on Russell Martin, because he is thirteen kinds of awesome, despite this double play.
2. Singled to center; caught stealing. #241. Apparently, he got jobbed on this play. Hopefully, a little later, I'll have a report from someone who actually saw it.
3. Grounded into double play. #242 and #243.
4. Grounded to second. #244.

Wow, that's some fantastic outmaking over the weekend by Juan... pushing his pace all the way up to 527 outs.

Juan's back to the Juan we know. Since his 3 SB game last week, he's 5-for-22 with no walks, a double, and a CS (that's .227/.227/.318). Yeah, five games, I know. Small sample size, blah blah blah. That's an OPS of 545 and it won't even get him dropped from the 2-spot in the lineup, much less benched.

I will continue to post as opportunity allows, but when the Actual Moving Day comes on Saturday (meaning the computer gets unplugged Friday night at the latest), be prepared for a big gap in your OutWatch entertainment.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ohhhh Juan.

Say this for the guy: at least he's consistent. He goes out there every day, knowing he's mired in a season long slump, and gives it his all. Nothing changes for Juan... he just knows his game will come.

Unfortunately, it's not coming very quickly. Just when he seems to be having some success, he enters another minislump that makes me wonder if he ever got out of the maxislump to begin with.

Once again, it's difficult to get too upset about it when the Dodgers are pitching like they are... and The Kids are certainly driving the offense nicely (good game for just about all of 'em yesterday, when those of us who root for the kids big time got the lineup we'd been waiting for). I'm just picking on Juan because, well, it's easy, and I'm lazy.

1. Lined to center. #233.
2. Popped bunt out to pitcher. I swear, the more I see this play, the more I hate this play. I know it's just another out, but it drives me completely bonkers. #234.
3. Well-timed single to center! Comes home from a single by Martin! Wow, do we ever love Russell Martin. What a player!
4. Grounded to first. Nice of him to run it out... made it a close play, and only looking on the replay do we know for sure that Juan did, indeed, earn out #235.
5. No such questions about his K. #236. He's been better lately with the Ks, I have to say.

Pace: 524 outs.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Eighth Blunder

Just when I thought that Pierre had turned his season around... after all, on Wednesday, I noted that he'd batted .361 in his previous 10 games... but since then, 1-for-9, including a truly Pierrish performance in the eighth inning yesterday.

It's hard to get too upset about an inning in which the Dodgers score six times to take an 8-3 lead (they'd eventually win 8-4), but c'mon. Pierre hits a comebacker; Nomar singles; Kent doubles; Gonzalez is intentionally walked; Martin doubles; Saenz singles; Kemp doubles; Abreu singles; Furcal singles. Good stuff so far, right? Then -- in an inning that has been so improbable, the entirely predictable happened. Pierre lines out to third. (Nomar finishes things up by lining to short.) JimBilly4 wonders: hmm, if he'd hit into a double play, he'd have been responsible for all three outs in the inning. Then he wondered: occasionally a team will have one of those mammoth innings in which they bat around twice, scoring 13 runs or more... in any of those incidences, has any one player been up three times in an inning and made out all three times? That's gotta be embarrassing. Pierre's performance in the eighth: only slightly less embarrassing.

So the question is: in a season full of Pierrish performances, was yesterday's eighth inning Pierre at his Pierrest? I don't know. The busted sqeeze play has got to be up there. And the five flyouts day was infuriating. But two outs in an inning in which every other Dodger is taking batting practice? Mirror, mirror on the wall, perhaps this is Pierrest of them all.

At the very least, it looks like the Pierre we ruefully accept as our every day center fielder is back.

1. Grounded bunt out to catcher. #229.
2. Fielder's choice. #230.
3. Doubled! Would score on Kent's homer!
4. Grounded to pitcher. #231.
5. Lined to short. #232.

Pace: 522 outs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cure for the Common Offense

Scoring 10 runs in a game? Nothing like a little Roy Halladay to nip that in the bud.

Juan caught it bad, but everyone was bad.

1. Grounded to pitcher. #225.
2. Flied to left. #226.
3. Grounded to short. #227.
4. Grounded to short. #228.

Just when I'd started to have hope. Maybe I picked the wrong day to start to have hope.

Pace: 520 outs.

Fantastic Five: Rise of the Silver Sluggers

Okay, the subject line overstates the case. The Dodgers' hitters are not going to be winning any awards this year. But the fearsome fivesome (I wonder who sits out when they play bridge?) of Pierre, Nomar, Kent, Gonzalez, and Martin went 11-for-20 with three walks and the 5th-worst offense in MLB entering Tuesday scored 10 runs to whomp on the Blue Jays.

Pierre played a big part.

1. Ground rule double to left! Would score!
2. Walked! Stole second! Stole third! Scored! Maury Wills, eat your heart out.
3. Singled to right! Stole second! Would score!
4. Grounded to short. #223.
5. Grounded to first. #224.

Sure, he also bobbled a play in the outfield that led to the Blue Jays' only run, but yeah, I think 2-for-4 witha double and a walk and three stolen bases and three runs scored might be considered a very good day. Congratulations, Juan! More, please! Make us eat our words! Unfortunately, Juan is still on a pace to set the Dodger record for outs. His pace is 518 and falling.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Return of Juan-for-Five

Well, at least the Dodgers won on Friday, so they didn't get swept... but man, the Angels do seem to have the Dodgers' number these days.

SATURDAY, the offense struggled, but they were in the game the whole way. After he was caught stealing -- on a guy who Vin pointed out is slow to the plate -- Juan ended up with one useful apperance and the Dodgers had no runs.

1. Flied to center. #216.
2. Singled to center!..... aaaaand caught stealing, #217.
3. Walked!
4. Grounded to second. #218.

SUNDAY was very bad. Juan-for-five returned...

1. Grounded bunt out to second. Juan's favorite play. #219.
2. Grounded to short. #220.
3. Grounded to first #221..
4. Singled to right.
5. Grounded to second. #222.

Juan's pace: 521 outs.

* * *

The OutWatch sends its very best to James Loney. Get well soon.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

All about the pitching

It continues to be All About the Pitching for the Dodgers, who, behind a remarkable performance from Derek Lowe, defeat the Angels, who got only a slightly less remarkable performance from Ervin Santana.

Fortunately for the Dodgers, Juan Pierre was part of the sixth inning rally that resulted in their two runs, which was good enough for last night.

1. Popped to pitcher. I wasn't watching -- was it a bunt pop-out? Somebody tell me. #213.
2. Flied to left. #214.
3. Singled to left, would score the winning run.
4. Grounded to second. #215.

Good enough for one day.

Pace: still 520 outs -- and falling by fractions.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Work to do

Though I'm loving Juan's recent offensive outburst, it's important to recognize that he still has work to do. Even after yesterday's 2-for-5...

1. Grounded to short. #210.
2. Lined to third. #211.
3. Singled to right! An RBI for Juan! But out stretching at second. Addendum #4.
4. Grounded to third. #212.
5. Singled to center.

...we note that he was still responsible for four of the team's 27 outs... and still, his OPS is only 641. He's got to get that up.

* * *

Despite all this evidence to the contrary, the LA Times still thinks that Juan is a good ballplayer, cherry picking his stats like hits, runs scored, stolen bases, and batting average, but not outs, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and caught stealing.

The OutWatch, realizing that it still has work to do, is cowboying up. We are ready.

* * *

Juan's pace is still 520 outs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Production continues

Juan follows a good game with a good game! What's going on here?

1. Lined out to center. #208.
2. Tripled to right! Run, Juan, Run!
3. Flied to center. #209.
4. Singled to second -- beat out grounder and went to second on an errant throw.

Of course, the true story of this game were the three home runs on three pitches by the 7-8-9 hitters, but I can't help it. Juan's pace is now 520 outs and still falling due to actual production at the plate. I could not be more happy for him.

It's also important to note -- I hadn't been paying attention! -- that Juan is no longer the league leader isn outs. That dubious honor goes to Jimmy Rollins, who has followed up his fantastic April (.297/.366/.613/.979) with a hoooooooorrrrrrrible May (.250/.279/.400/.679.... ouch, babe) and now has 216 outs. (In fairness, Rollins has been better so far in June, but there's a lot of June left to go.) Messrs. Lopez and Zimmerman, both of the Washingtons, are tied for second with 211 outs. Juan Pierre is fourth. With his initial lack of opportunity and his subsequent production, he is no longer quite the embarrassment that he was.

I just found the bright spot in Juan Pierre's 500+ out pace: "not quite the embarrassment." Hey, that's just the sunny guy I am.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Extra! Extra!

Read all about it! Juan Pierre walks twice in a game!

...all on tonight's Dodgers Believe it or Not!

The game started like any other. Juan -- back in the 2-spot -- comes up in a game in which the Dodgers are down 2-0 already, and...

1. Grounded to second. #207.

...but then!

2. Walked! Stole second! Scored on a single!
3. Walked!
4. Singled to short!

1-for-2, 2 BB, SB, Run. Holy crap. Maybe he's turned his season around after all.

Pace: 524 outs and -- due to actual production and not lack of opportunities -- falling.


One thing was clear to me during the Jays' shellacking of the Dodgers yesterday: there has been a change in thinking about Juan Pierre. He was given exactly 2 at-bats on Sunday -- after making the third out for the second time, Juan was pulled. Granted, it was part of a double-switch -- Schmidt had just allowed his sixth run, making it 6-2 -- and countless other Dodgers (Martin, Furcal) would get a break as the score would get even more lopsided. But at that point, the game was still very much in reach and there was no fear of offending the $44 million man.

That's the bright spot in an otherwise thoroughly dispiriting game: Little and Colletti have seemed to realize that only the kids can save this season and they are going to find ways to get them at-bats.

1. Grounded to pitcher. #205.
2. Grounded to third. #206.

As far as the pace goes, it seems kind of silly to keep this up. Pierre has lost his job (or part of it, at least). He's batting eighth. The record is out of his reach. His pace, for what it's worth, is 529 outs and falling.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Batting eighth, in center field...

It was good that Juan finally got moved to the 8-spot. I don't think it'll make much difference, except that it means that he'll have fewer chances to make outs for the Dodgers.

Last night: complete offensive failure, but Juan did get two hits.

1. Singled to second.
2. Grounded to third. #204.
3. Singled to right. Dodgers get three hits and fail to score. Argh.

So despite complete offensive failure, it wasn't Juan's fault. He had a fine game.

As for me: off to Dodger Stadium!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Juan's back, and more the same than ever!

Last night was a frustrating, joyful, frustrating, and joyful game to watch, in that order.

Memo to the Dodgers: when Juan does his job and does it well, you cannot waste the effort. It just doesn't happen often enough that you can let such opportunities go to waste.

Memo to the Times, Daily News, and P-E: See, Sammy Saito can blow saves, too -- and his was a home run. Sure, it was just one run, but that's the thing -- it happens to the best of 'em. So lay off Broxton.

Memo to Grady Little: when you use Matt Kemp as a pinch runner in a close game, you are wasting his bat.

Juan started the game quite well... then, not so much.

1. Singled to left. Stole second. Went to third on Furcal's flyout. He's on third with one out... and doesn't score. Come on, Dodgers!
2. Popped bunt out to pitcher. I know that Juan is supposed to be especially good at beating out the bunt, but it gives me hives to watch him try. I just hate this play. I know that my hate doesn't make sense -- if Juan is good at it, he should do it, but I just can't stand watching the ball go thirty feet for an out when he doesn't make it. Anyway, #201.
3. Grounded to second. #202.
4. Grounded to second. #203.

One for four, a stolen base, two grounders to second and a bunt pop-out. If there was just a fifth at-bat in which Pierre made flyout to shallow center, it would have been the most Pierrish game so far this year, but Saenz's walk-off home run came with Pierre on deck. Probably -- no, certainly -- for the best.

Pace: Well, I think all those games in the 2-spot and sitting out a full game have taken their toll on the record chase. Juan's now on a pace for "just" 539 outs, which would be fourth all time (and the Dodger record).

Friday, June 8, 2007

Okay, now I want to talk about it

What is the deal with the beat writers blaming Broxton for the loss? What game were they watching? The Times, the Daily News, and the Press-Enterprise all center their stories on Broxton's failure to save the game.

I'm not saying Broxton is completely blameless. You give up a double and a single with the bases loaded and you shoulder some blame. But how did those bases get loaded?

1. Grounder to Kent that could have beeen scored an error
2. Error by Nomar
3. Tough-luck single to left (it hung up there, just not quite long enough)
4. Chopper to Nomar -- he refuses to toss to Broxton, who's right there, ready to tag the runner or step on the bag... and instead, tries to make the play himself and loses the race to the bag.

Then Gonzalez's double and Cameron's single and it was all over but the cryin'.

Only Tony Jackson in the Daily News properly covers the ninth inning, and I'm not sure he's right when he says that Broxton might have been late getting to the bag on that chopper. (Of course, Jackson does say "might," so he's covered himself.)

By my count, he should have been out of the inning already... I mean, bad luck happens and you have to roll with it, but at least, could the beat writers acknowledge that Garciaparra's play in the ninth was completely terrible?

Picking arbitrarily, here's how I assign blame in Thursday's loss:

Garciaparra: 70%. If he makes both routine plays, the Dodgers are fine.
Broxton: 20%. His fielders will, occasionally, let him down, and he has to make the best of the situation.
Kent: 10%. Make that play and get the inning started off right.

* * *

In brighter news, Matt Kemp has been recalled. The proper move, Grady Little, is to bench Pierre again and play Kemp in center field.

What I expect Grady to do, however, is to sit Andre Ethier, who hasn't hit all that well himself (though better than Pierre).

I'll wait and watch.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I don't want to talk about it.

...except to say that it did not go unnoticed that the momentum of the game swung not long after Juan Pierre entered.

I don't know what mystical forces he presents, and the logical side of my brain says that this loss gets pinned on Nomar and, to a much lesser extent, Kent, and, to an even lesser extent, Broxton. But I can't be sure Pierre had nothing to do with it.

Just to be safe, maybe he should sit out an entire game.

Success! (Sort of.)

Starting in center field for your Los Angeles Dodgers... Brady Clark! Mr. 200 outs, grab some pine. It is good to see Pierre being used in his natural role as a pinch hitter. I bet he'll be a very good one.

Obviously, this is not exactly what we wanted. Brady Clark is not a long-term answer in center field. We want Matt Kemp*.... but this is a start and worth applauding. The first step to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem.

*We would also accept, for shits and giggles, Mitch Jones, though we recognize that he probably does not have enough talent or skill to start every day in the major leagues. Of course, neither does Pierre, and Jones's skill set (power and lots of it) is more in line with what the Dodgers require. Also: it would be fun to see a 29-year-old journeyman minor leaguer get his first crack at the majors. That said, if the Dodgers are serious, their next position player callup will be Kemp.

Even Vin!

Even Vin Scully is getting in on the act now. Paraphrasing, he singled out Pierre after one of his outs last night, saying something like, "It's the leadoff man who makes things happen. Pierre isn't getting on, so it's no surprise that things aren't happening." Of course, nobody else is getting on either, but Pierre does symbolize an inability to get on base.

1. Grounder to first. #198.
2. Grounder to second. #199.
3. Grounder to first. #200.
4. Infield single? Or reached on Kouzmanoff's error? Anyone watching the game would assume the latter; play-by-plays say "Pierre safe on Kouzmanoff's throwing error"; but box scores credit Pierre with a hit, so I will too. I'll edit this post if that changes.

Pace: 552.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Match game

If he reaches 550 outs -- his current pace -- Juan Pierre would hold the #2 spot in the single-season list of all-time outmakers, second to Omar Moreno.

Obviously, this would set the Dodger record for outs in a season. Any guesses who currently holds the Dodger record? And what year did he set it?

Hint: I was surprised, but I shouldn't have been.


It's tough to get on Juan's case when no Dodgers were getting on last night, but maybe, just maybe, last night was a time for him to try that bunting-for-a-hit he supposedly does so well. Looks like he tried in the first, couldn't get it down, and then swung away...

1. Foul bunt out to third. #194.
2. Fouled out to third. #195.
3. Popped to center. #196.
4. Grounded to first. #197.

Juan is now hitting .269/.298/.318. That's just 2 points of OPS above where he was before his great game last week. He's basically given it all back.

Pace: 550 outs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Baseball's Diamond

Diamond Leung cites USA Today: Juan Pierre is the best clutch player in baseball.

I could do the math and the research and show why this really isn't much of a deal... after all, if Juan was a little better at getting on base, maybe the Dodgers wouldn't be in so many late-and-close games.

But no bother. Congratulations, Juan, for having sliced out your tiny sliver of goodness.

P.S. Yesterday, Diamond noted that 200,000 people think that Juan Pierre is an All-Star. Surely some of these folks are just Dodger homers, voting for any Dodger on the ballot... but really? 200,000 people? Is that possible?

Monday, June 4, 2007

One hit, no-hitter

This game was exciting (can Lowe seal the no-hitter), then, briefly, boring (no-hitter gone, Dodgers have 5-run lead), then way more exciting than it should have been as the Dodger pitching looks a little shaky and it's up to the Dodger offense to hold on.

In short: Russell Martin is a golden god, and Juan Pierre is not. This wasn't his worst game, but it wasn't great, either.

1. Bunted, beat it out! Came around to score on Kent's double! Awesome.
2. K, looking. #191.
3. Sacrifice -- but fielders rush the throw, and Juan reaches on the error. #192, and noted in the addendum.
4. Grounded to second. #193.

This post has been edited so that it no longer reflects my stupidity.


I'd had such high hopes for Juan after Tuesday. I don't know why; he's had a career of proving otherwise.

SATURDAY's loss was too bad. Kuo got a bit unlucky, then a bit lucky... but they lost the game because the offense did not show up.

1. Beat out a bunt to the shortstop.
2. Popped to right. #184.
3. Grounded to first. #185.
4. K. #186.

Nice game SUNDAY by the Dodgers, pulling victory from the Fightin' Tracys. I seem to recall that the Dodgers used to be on the losing end of this kind of game when the Tracy was on the other foot... Definitely a better-late-than-never performance by the Dodger offense.

Of course, Juan-for-five showed up.

1. Popped to left. #187.
2. Flied to left. #188.
3. Bunted to pitcher. #189.
4. Grounded to pitcher, beat it out! Lucky hit, but we'll take it.
5. K. #190.

Pace: 549 outs.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tick, tick, tick.

The ticking time bomb in CF ticks away with more of the same.

1. Grounded to pitcher. #181.
2. Singled to left. Would get to second on a passed ball and steal third. Good stuff; too bad his teammates couldn't get him home.
3. Grounded to second. #182.
4. Grounded to first. #183.

That's not so bad, but he usually gets another at bat and wastes another out. Again, this is not a problem when the Dodgers get pitching performances like they did yesterday (from Billingsley and Saito).... but as soon as the pitching fails to be quite as spectacular as it's been, CF will be the biggest problem on the team.

Pace: 549.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

If Juan Pierre were a carpenter

Juan Pierre wanted to build a house. He came to work Tuesday and laid a foundation for the best house he's ever built. It was a fine foundation; strong, deep, well-made.

Stepping back to look at his work, he decided to quit while he was ahead.

1. Grounded to second. #177.
2. Popped to second. #178.
3. Fielder's choice. "Only the speed of Juan Pierre was able to avoid the double play," says Monday. Of course, only the bat of Juan Pierre got the grounder to second in the first place. #179.
4. Grounded to second. #180.

So though Juan started this series 4-for-5, he finishes 4-for-13. His OBP is right back where hes started on Tuesday, at .307; his SLG, of course, is higher, at .329.

Pace: 550 outs.

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Center Fielder

Well, whatever got into Juan on Tuesday is gone.

1. Lined to left. #173.
2. Grounded to second. #174.
3. Grounded to short. #175.
4. Grounded to first. #176.

That's the Juan we've gotten to know so well.

P.S. Just in case you're curious, Juan gave back 11 of the 44 points of OPS that he picked up. Line is currently .281/.312/.335.

Pace: 548 outs.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tastes like chicken

I have said all along that I would like nothing better than for Juan to make me eat my words... and today, he did.

In not only his best game as a Dodger, but quite possibly the best game of his major league career, Juan smacked a triple and three doubles. That's unambiguously good (despite his getting picked off second. What was he thinking?).

So, for one day, I eat crow. Keep it up, Juan.

1. Tripled to right. Would come around and score.

2. Doubled to center. Would get picked off! Aaarrrggghh! What would happen if you just stopped making stupid, stupid outs? Addendum #3.

3. He answered my question: Doubled to right. Got Penny to third, but Furcal failed to get 'em home with two out.

4. Doubled to left. Scored.

5. Flied to center. #172.

Juan Pierre started Tuesday at .274/.307/.307, and finished the day at .286/.317/.341. 44 points of OPS in one game. Wow.

In honor of his great day, I will not list his pace. Congratulations, Juan. Please, please keep it up.

What's the problem? An investigation

There has been much discussion lately about Juan Pierre's hitting flyballs. I've been on his case for it, too. Today, Baseball Prospectus gets on board.

If you've been following along, there's not much reason to click the link, except to serve as a reminder that Dodger Stadium -- "cavernous Dodger Stadium" -- is friendly to the home run, but not so much to the double and the triple.

Juan Pierre doesn't his home runs, but over his career, he HAS hit doubles and triples. 32 and 13 last year. 19 and 13 in '05. 22 and 12 the year before. Always with a not-quite handful of home runs: 3, 2, and 3, the last three years.

This year, he's on pace to be just off his career numbers in hits, and one possible interpretation is that he's simply not getting the doubles and triples he usually gets -- Dodger Stadium is eating them up. If one were to imagine he played in a ballpark more friendly to extra base hits... take eight of his outs and make them 5 doubles and 3 triples... and all of a sudden, he looks OK. .311 BA, .339 OBP, .396 SLG. (I'm not too sure about my math and will stand corrected if someone writes in with better numbers.) That's right around his career averages.... a little above, from the SLG, but small sample size etc.

So the questions become:

1) Is it possible that a stadium can sap a player of three-quarters of his power?
2) If so, is Juan Pierre just that horribly suited to Dodger Stadium?

I don't know the answers to these questions, but I will:

1) Continue to root for Juan Pierre to embarrass me and force me to rip down this blog in shame; and
2) Continue to be horribly disappointed by his performance and call him out for it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Juan takes one for the team

Just as Juan Pierre seemed to be set up for his most useless day yet...

1. Flied to left. #168.
2. Flied to center. #169.
3. Flied to right. #170.
4. Flied to right. #171.

... there he was in the 11th, up with the bases loaded and nobody out.

"Ya know, self," said I, alone on the couch, after having placed the lovely and talented Mrs. Kavula on a plane, "If there's one guy on this team who you want up with the bases loaded, it's Juan Pierre. He's extraordinarily likely to put the ball in play. If he does what he's done all day, the good guys win. If he hits a grounder to the right side, that'll very likely do it, too. Let's see what he can do."

5. Hit by pitch. RBI.

Dodgers win!

It wasn't the best hit involving Juan Pierre all season, or the prettiest, but it did the job. Good job, Juan, to take one for the team.

(As long as this is the day that Humma Kavula kinda sorta lays off Juan Pierre -- I mean, I did point out his four fly balls, didn't I? -- let's point out that he also made a nice catch in the top of the 11th on DeRosa's looping liner.)

OK, Juan, vacation's over. You're still on pace for 554 outs.


I'd have to go back and look at each individual game to be more sure of what I'm about to say, but it sure seems like when Juan has an unambiguously good game, like he did on Saturday, the Dodgers lose, but when he has a good-game-with-faults or a bad game, they win. It's strange.

There was the April 17 game, in which he hit the double and the triple, going 2-for-5, but five bases. That's unambiguously good and the Dodgers won. I think that's it, but I'd be willing to stand corrected.

FRIDAY... 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI looks okay, but add in the SF and that caught stealing -- caught by a mile, too; it was really a pickoff -- and the fact that if he had just sat still on first base, the Dodgers wouldn't have need to work quite so hard to squeak this one out... it's upsetting. It looks okay, but he still makes four outs and if the Dodgers had lost, that CS would have bee costly indeed.

1. Grounded to pitcher. #162.
2. Beat out a bunt to the pitcher! Yay! Caught Stealing! Oh, no! #163.
3. Singled to center. Would be moved up and score.
4. Bunted to catcher. Out. #164.
5. Sac Fly to center. #165.

SATURDAY is an unambiguously good performance, from the box score (I didn't watch)... and the Dodgers lost.

1. Flied to right. #166.
2. Singled to left. Didn't foolishly try to steal... would get pushed to third and stranded. Oh, Luis Gonzalez, please hit.
3. Flied to center. #167.
4. Singled to center.

That's a fine game. I wish his two outs had been grounders instead of fly balls, but whatever... 2-for-4 -- two bases and two outs -- is about all you can expect from any ballplayer on any particular day. Can Juan enjoy it if his team doesn't win?

Pace: 552 outs.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Repeat the meme

T.J. Simers rips on Juan Pierre in today's dog trainer.

There is a time and a place to say that Juan Pierre is not a good everyday major leaguer and should be benched and used as a pinch hitter. That time is any time you can get anyone to listen, and that place is anywhere that anyone will let you write it and not punch you in the face.

Is Simers' piece mean-spirited? You bet it is. I tend not to read his column because it's mean-spirited about everything. That might seem hypocritical from the author of the OutWatch, but I hope you'll believe me when I say that I reserve the wrath and anger in my life for this blog. I get my hate out on Juan Pierre. I'm generally not a hateful person, so it's tough to read his column.

Still, when it comes to Juan Pierre, all bets are off. Say it loud, say it proud: Juan Pierre is not a good everyday major leaguer and should be benched and used as a pinch hitter! It's not pithy and it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker, but it's not hyperbole -- it's just what should happen.

You might be mean, T.J., but the OutWatch thanks you for repeating the meme.

The return of good pitching = good stuff

Taking two of three from the first-place Brewers? Yes, I will take that.

Of course, both those wins come on the back of (a) the great Dodger pitching and (b) His Dreaminess, Russell Martin (though, I will note that tonight, Juan did have a good game, kinda). Not much has changed since the four-game losing streak (except, of course, the pitching is back on track).

1. Juan gets lucky as Tony Graffanino forgets to make a play. It's scored an infield single; he'd come around to score on Martin's bases-clearing double.
2. Graffanino makes the play this time. Grounded to third. #159.
3. Singled to center!
4. Walked(!), stole second, got to third on a balk(!), and scored on a sac fly. One manufactured run! Ned must be so happy.
5. GIDP. #160 & #161.

What's that add up to? 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored. That's a good game.

If I were a mean, nitpicking, Juan Pierre-hatin' bastard, I'd point out that one of those hits is really Graffanino's boneheaded mistake, and that even with that "hit," Juan still managed to be responsible for three of the team's outs. I suppose if I were that person, I'd have something of a point -- even when Juan Pierre has a good game, scratch the surface and it doesn't shine quite so brightly.

But I'm not going to point that out. I'm going to bask in the glow of Martin's fantastic play and the Dodgers' win.

Pace: 555 or so.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Creativity Abounds!

Very nice, compact, quick 3-2 win for the Dodgers. Once again, the pitching comes through -- Randy Wolf is Randy Wolf: shaky early, dominant later, and it works out. Good win.

Pierre, of course, had nothing to do with it.

1. "Grounded bunt out to first" says the play-by-play... but really, he was called out for running inside the baseline. Despite making more outs so far this year than anyone else, I don't think he's made that one yet. At least he's getting creative -- anyone can ground to second base four times in a game, but Pierre finds all new ways to make out. Credit the first baseman with the putout and make it #155.
2. Grounded to short. #156.
3. Bunt out to third. I mean Pierre smacked that thing, hard, and was waaaay out. #157.
4. Comebacker, grounded to pitcher. #158.

Pace: 556 outs.

Who's the Worst? Redux

Looking at the Hardball Times' stat of Runs Created per Game is nice, because it uses the number of outs the player himself has made, times 27, as the definition of "game." (Confused by Runs Created? Click on the link, go to the glossary, and find the definition. It's a nice way of measuring performance.)

By that definition, Juan Pierre is the 25th-worst regular major leaguer right now. Despite leading the league in plate appearances, he also leads in outs. According to THT, he is averaging 3.4 RC per 27 outs. That's bad, but it's not the worst.

So who is? Of the 24 players worse than him at the moment, more than half (13) are shortstops or catchers. While they're bad, I don't feel like I can pick on them. They play key defensive positions and aren't expected to perform like a corner infielder or an outfielder. Picking on Jason Kendall or Ronny Paulino just isn't all that fun.

Let's look at the other 12 -- including Juan -- to see how they stack up.

Alex Gordon / 2.6
Robinson Cano / 2.8
Jim Edmonds / 2.8
Ronnie Belliard / 2.9
Ty Wigginton / 3.1
Scott Rolen / 3.1
Joe Borchard / 3.2
Garrett Atkins / 3.2
Josh Barfield /3.2
Sean Casey / 3.2
Chris Duffy / 3.3
Jermaine Dye / 3.4
Juan Pierre / 3.4

Let's pick, for a moment, on Scott Rolen. Big contract, offensive position, 3.1 RC/G. But: he's almost certainly hurt, and if he gets healthy, his performance will likely improve.

Joe Borchard, come on down! You play right field.... but it appears that you have lost your job. The outwatch will not pile on.

No, friends... I think in a squeaker, the Worst Regular Major Leaguer, right now is.... Jim Edmonds! You play center field! You are tied for the second-worst non-catcher non-shortstop RC/G in baseball! With a slumping second baseman! And you make a lot more than he does!

Unless I'm wrong and it's Sean Casey. He's been stinky, like old cheese.

Now leading off for the Dodgers...

"You really can't blame Juan Pierre," went one argument over the past two weeks or so. "He's a leadoff guy. His whole career he's been a leadoff guy. Now he's being asked to hit second, which is a whole different beast. Let's jump start him by switching around the lineup."

I didn't see much point in this. Is batting second really all that different from batting first? Isn't a batter likelier to see BETTER pitches to hit with a guy on -- especially Juan Pierre, who's actually been OK (10-for-23) with RISP this year? We know that batting order doesn't matter all that much -- would moving him to leadoff make any difference?

It was that last question that made me decide not to argue all that hard against moving Pierre to leadoff. If it doesn't make much difference, why not try, just in case I'm wrong and there's something psychological that Pierre likes about batting leadoff?

In the Dodgers' most recent tussle -- with the Brewers -- Grady Little decided to give it a shot. How'd it go, Grady?

1. K, swinging. #151.
2. Grounded to third. #152.
3. Grounded to first. #153.
4. Grounded into fielder's choice. #154. (Stole second.)
5. Hit by pitch.

Pace: 554 outs.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Still waiting

Still waiting for runs. Holding my breath

1. Popped to center. #148.
2. Flied to center. #149.
3. Fouled to third. #150.
4. Singled to left! Would score the Dodgers' only run of the day on Kent's double!

....................................and, exhale. Phew!

Very little, certainly too late.

Pace: 552 outs.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Some runs would be nice

Anytime the Dodgers would like to start hitting would be okay with me.

How about....nnnnow. Okay, nnnnnnow. I'm serious, guys. Nnnnnnnnnnnnnow.

It may be ridiculous to make this criticism when they were facing Jered Weaver. I recognize that. Still: sigh.

1. K, swinging. #145.
2. Flied to center. #146.
3. Flied to right. #147.
4. Doubled! Got to third! Stranded.

The beat goes on. Juan's on pace for 553 outs now. Heavens to murgatroid, this is a tough record to beat -- he makes three outs and loses ground.

Omar Moreno, you were a golden god. Or the exact opposite of a golden god. Whatever.


Actually, Juan wasn't terrible... 1-for-4 with a walk isn't fantastic, but it is to be expected. But I wonder -- is this game an outlier, or a sign of things to come? With the Dodgers' offense still looking average at best, I note that team OPS is 23rd out of 30 MLB teams. Their average performance might be overachieving. We'll wait and see.

Let's get 'em tonight.

1. Flied to left. #142.
2. Walked.
3. Lined to second. #143.
4. Singled to center.
5. Flied to right. #144.

Pace: 555 outs.

P.S. Fire Joe Morgan gives Bill Shaikin the what-for.

Friday, May 18, 2007

In Which Bill Shaikin Makes Me Upset

Oh, Bill. You can do better than this:

Yet, if you base the early returns on the standings, the investments are paying off. The Angels are in first place with Matthews, the Dodgers are in first place with Pierre, and isn't that the point?

"To some people," Pierre said.

The fact that the Dodgers are in first place has nothing -- nothing! -- to do with Juan Pierre. He has been thoroughly awful at the plate and in the field. The Dodgers are in first place -- and Colletti deserves credit for this -- for building a very deep rotation of starting pitchers and a bullpen that has, so far, been about as good as could be.

What's more, the Dodgers are in the top-third in baseball in OBP. That's smart. Juan's not contributing, of course, but when you have patient guys like LaRoche, Martin, and even Betemit getting on, that's a good thing. The Dodgers' offense is failing due to a lack of power. At the plate, they're thoroughly average.

Shaikin -- and Pierre -- are wrong if they think that being in first place is all that matters. In fact, it doesn't matter one bit who's in first place on May 18 if that team collpses down the stretch.

I haven't looked into it, but I wonder how likely the Dodgers' pitching success is to continue. If that answer is "only sorta likely" or worse, the offense will need to step up. With Pierre sucking four outs from the Dodgers' 27 just about every day, he is simply not contributing to the effort to make sure that my favorite team STAYS in first place. He should be benched in favor of Matt Kemp.

Let's do better, Bill.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hey now!

The Dodgers' continued ability to eke these out has warmed the cold, cold stone that exists where I used to have a heart.

Taking two of three from the Cardinals was a must -- they're stinky this year, and you have to beat the stinky teams... but on the other hand, I wonder if the Dodgers got a little lucky. The Cardinals' woe has been a lack of ability to score runs, and the Dodgers let 'em have 19 in three games.

On the third hand, they got it done, so who's complaining.

On the fourth hand, Juan Pierre is still making outs at a rate matched by only one man in major league history.

1. Grounded to second. #138.
2. Grounded to short. #139.
3. Singled! Knocked in a run. Go Juan.
4. Flied to center. #140.
5. Grounded to second. #141.

Juan-for-five strikes again. Pace: 557 outs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You take the good with the bad, I guess

It's very good that the Dodgers finally beat the Cardinals. It's been a long time, and it's good to see.

It's even better than it comes on the return to form of Rafael Furcal, who has busted his slump big time, with 12 hits in his last three games. He's raised his average from .214 to .297. He's raised his OPS from an anemic .579 to a still-low-but-approaching-healthy .729 in three days. Rafael Furcal hitting like Rafael Furcal is key to the Dodgers chances this year and his return is welcome.

Of course, this game also featured a classic performance from Juan-for-five.

1. Flied to left. #134.
2. Flied to left. #135.
3. Doubled to right!! woo hoo!! Scored Furcal, and would come around to score.
4. Grounded to first. #136.
5. Fielder's choice. #137.

Pace: 555 outs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

G'night, everybody

Juan had not had the chance to stink when this one was in the books, but he did not let that stop him.

1. Grounded bunt out to pitcher. #130.
2. Grounded into fielder's choice. #131.
3. Grounded to short. #132.
4. Grounded to third. #133.

He was then replaced as part of a double-switch and didn't get a chance to bat in the 9th. Brady Clark would foul out in his spot.

At least all of Juan's outs were groundouts. I look for comfort where I find it.

Pace is 552 outs.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Who's the worst?

So who's the worst regular major leaguer right now?

There are a number of possibilities. Let's discuss the criteria.

1. You have to start every day (or nearly every day).
2. You have to be a big drain on your team's financial resources.
3. You have to be a big drain on your team's outs, and not doing enough with the hits you do get. This is the Jimmy Rollins rule.
4. You can't be nursing an injury. I don't really pay enough attention to know who's working his way through a sore shoulder and who's just bad, but it's not in the spirit of this question to get on an injured guy's case. He's just got to be bad for no good reason.

Let's start with that. As point of comparison, our man Juan -- who is pretty clearly NOT the worst regular major leaguer at the moment -- has made 129 outs (leading the majors!) with an OPS of 639. Who else is out there?

Clearly, Jason Kendall has been terrible. 107 A's outs for an OPS for 424! Wow. I don't know how much he makes, but no matter what it is, an OPS of 424 has got to mean there's a better choice somewhere in the system. On the other hand, he's a catcher and batting 9th. There aren't a lot of expectations for him. He's done nothing with the opportunities given to him, but when Juan Pierre has made 20% more outs for not a whole lot more production, I wonder if there are better choices for the title. Same thing with David Eckstein and his poor production, but only 93 outs...

Scanning the list... Mike Cameron: $7 million, center field, a whopping 124 Padre outs -- and an OPS of 558! How about a shout-out to Bobby Abreu? Whopping salary, huge expectations in the Yankee outfield, 126 Yankee outs -- and an OPS of 603.

I think it's gotta be one of those two guys at the moment. What say you?


Sorry, fell asleep at the switch there. I did notice that Juan had a pretty good weekend, sort of, as the Dodgers swept the Reds.


1. Single to right.
2. Single to center.
3. Grounded to pitcher, #121.
4. Groudned to second, #122.


1. K. #123.
2. Singled to left. Caught stealing, #124.
3. Singled to center.
4. Flied to right. #125.
5. Popped to short. #126.


1. Sacrifice. #127.
2. Single to first.
3. Grounder to third. #128.
4. K, swinging. #129.
5. Bloop single to short. Charlie Steiner says, "Pierre could not have hit that any softer." Lucky devil gets a two RBI base hit instead of an out! Good for him, and good for the Dodgers -- it looks like a line drive in the box score. He'd steal second and score.

He came up 14 times and didn't make an out in 5 of them. That's fine. He certainly looked a lot better than he did on Wednesday.

Pace is now 549 outs.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Back on the horse

I am writing this in the sixth inning of a scoreless tie... and I'll say that this is one of Juan's best games as a Dodger so far (following one of his worst), no matter what happens from here. Good for Juan to put this together after yesterday.

He was batting leadoff today in a lineup shuffle -- Furcal was sitting. I'm not sure where it matters where Pierre bats -- leadoff, 2nd, 8th -- I think he is who he is. That said, I could be wrong -- if there's something psychological that makes him better suited for leadoff than second, then put him there. Since there's neither downside nor upside -- it's likely not to make a difference at all -- why not try it, just in case I'm wrong about the upside?

1. Bunt single! Blind squirrel, meet acorn. Pierre steals second, but is stranded at 3rd. Still, good job... this is what Colletti envisioned when he signed Pierre, and it sure is fun to watch. It just doesn't happen often enough.
2. Juan comes up in the third with two out and nobody on. Walks on four pitches! WALKS!
3. Leading off the sixth, Juan works the count full (!!) and then strokes a line drive base hit! Got to second on Martin's grounder and then stole third!
4. Grounded to pitcher. #120.

This is a tough loss, but hand it to the Marlins for coming through in the clutch. Juan did everything he could. Good game.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

...and that's the inning. ...and that's the inning. ...and that's the inning. ...and that's the inning.

Juan makes the third out four times in this game, finally leaving the bases loaded in the 8th. The Dodgers won 5-3, but it was a closer game than it needed to be.

Five flyball outs. Come on.

1. Flied to left. #115.
2. Flied to left. On the first pitch. Against a very shaky Willis, who had, to that pitch, walked four and thrown as many balls as strikes. As the third out of the inning (man on first). #116 -- but oh, it feels like so much more.
3. Flied to center. Again, the third out (man on second). #117.
4. Juan's up. Rick tells the world about Dontrelle's quote that "Fans in LA will appreciate Juan's game by the All-Star Game." Humma says, "Only if pigs are flying by the all-star break." Juan pops to center, making the third out (man on second) for the third time this game. #118.
5. They walk Furcal to load the bases with two outs. Juan swings at the first pitch. Flies to left. Leaves three. #119.

Pace: 567 outs. Back on record pace.

I have upset Dontrelle Willis

Diamond Leung of the Press-Enterprise informs us that I have upset Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis.

If I may quote the passage from the article:

But Willis, who will pitch against his "little big brother" and the Dodgers today, has also heard what he feels is unwarranted criticism of Pierre, whose .304 on-base percentage is lower than Wilson Betemit's. Pierre admittedly has struggled on defense.

There is even a blog called "The Juan Pierre OutWatch" that launched this season to track every single out Pierre makes.

"That upsets me," Willis said. "I've heard that he doesn't hit for power and that it's going to be hard for him to make the All-Star Game. But I know what he did over here. If we didn't have him, we wouldn't have won the World Series. Hopefully, the (fans) really appreciate Juan's game, and I think by the (All-Star) break, they will.

You've heard that he doesn't hit for power? Yes, Dontrelle, it's true. Hate to be the bearer of bad news. Juan Pierre doesn't hit for power.

It's going to be hard for him to make the All-Star game? Yes, that's true, too. Perhaps it has something to do with being one of the worst regular major leaguers. It's also going to be hard for Jason Kendall to make the All-Star game.

Juan Pierre doesn't get on base, doesn't hit for power, and plays terrible defense. He is not without skills, though. He'd be a good bench player.

Still, I'm sorry I upset you, Dontrelle. I don't mean to cause you emotional pain. I know it's cold comfort, but please know that your suffering comes at a greater good: through your pain, we are spreading the word that Juan Pierre's constant outmaking must be stopped.