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.