Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sandy Koufax's First Record-Breaking Night

He was a wild fireballing lefty that simply hadn’t been given much of a chance to pitch.  By late August of 1959, Sandy Koufax had a lifetime record of 26-24 and an ERA with over 4.00.  Walt Alston had mishandled Koufax's development and never consistently placed him in the the starting rotation.  So frustrated was Koufax with his career development that at the 
conclusion of the next season, he dumped his spikes and uniform in the trash, deciding that he was through with baseball.

It was 52 years ago, August 31, 1959,  that Sandy Koufax entered the record books with the most strikeouts ever recorded in a National League game.  The record was 18 strikeouts at the time.  There are those that think that this was the game that put Sandy Koufax on the map.  Yes, he had his struggles for a time after this game, but the league took notice that Koufax was a force to be reckoned with.
This game was a crucial one in the midst of a  pennant race with the Dodgers entering it being 2 games behind the first place Giants.  Though Koufax pitched a masterpiece and broke Dizzy Dean’s National League record, it wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth that Wally Moon sealed the victory with a 3-run Moon shot hit over the left field screen for the victory in the bottom of the ninth.

The Los Angeles Times reports that attendance in the Coliseum this Monday evening was near 83,000.  Baseball reference reports that attendance was 60,194.  Interestingly the Saturday and Sunday crowds for the first two games of that series are reported as 66,068 and 44,391.  These were the largest crowds of the year, even surpassing the final playoff game against Milwaukee when the Dodgers finished the year tied for first.  I am assuming that this may have been the labor day weekend, though that is really a guess on my part.  Why else would a Monday night game be the third highest gate count of the year?

It could have been even more historic, perhaps the most strikeouts ever recorded in a Major League game.
Koufax, not known for his abilities with the bat, got a base hit in a 2-2 game to help his cause in the bottom of the ninth, meaning that Alston was going to let him continue to pitch beyond the ninth inning.  Who knows how many more strikeouts he would have had if the game had gone into extra innings?  He struck out the side in the top of the ninth and seven of the last eight outs he recorded were strikeouts.
L.A. Times archives reported the following about that historic August night:
'Sandy Koufax stuck out 18 to break the national league record and tie the Major League record, leading the Dodgers past the Giants in front of nearly 83,000 fans last night at the Coliseum.
And he almost was overshadowed.
Wally Moon hit a three-run homer in the ninth to provide the difference in the 5-2 victory.  Koufax and Jim Gilliam singled to set up the Moon shot.
As for Koufax, he said “the Giants must have been anxious.  I never saw so many bad pitches swung at in one game.”
The victory pulled the Dodgers within one game of the first-place Giants."

I would be interested in hearing any recollections of fans from that time of this game, one that occurred two years before my birth.  It must have been an exciting time, knowing that Koufax had such a high ceiling and promise.  How could the kid not be noticed following such a performance?  Erratic as Sandy was, 18 Ks against that fine Giant team in the midst of a pennant race was quite a feat.  In Koufax's previous start, he fanned another 13 Phillies, making his two game strikeout total 31 k's, a record for the most batters struck out over a two game span.


The current Dodger run of 8 out of 9 wins and a 5-1 homestand is definitely a great thing to see.  The downside is as they climb in the standings, their draft pick ranking goes higher and higher.  The offense is clicking though.  Let's hope they continue it on the road in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Washington, and San Francisco.  That's a tough road trip and a lot of miles to be logged.  Not to mention, another 18 straight days without a day off.  The Dodgers are currently 6 games into a 24 day span in which they don't have a day off. 

Dana Eveland gets the start in Pittsburgh tomorrow.  It's a well deserved reward for Eveland, who has had a fine year in Albuquerque.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Laugher Almost Reverses Course as Dodgers Hang On To Win

I almost felt sorry for the Padres in the 2nd inning tonight.  But then I realized that the team I follow is the laughingstock of MLB due to the owner’s inability to pay his bills and  the GM’s inability to make good deals.
I can’t remember a time that the pitcher walked in four runs in an inning since I made my Little League mound debut and only pitching appearance ever as a 9 year old in 1970.  (Yes, I came in with the bases loaded and walked four guys in a row to take the loss).
Tim Stauffer threw 36 balls and 25 strikes tonight.  That was absolutely pathetic, a ratio of 59% balls and 41% strikes.  C.B. Buckner did appear to be pinching him a bit.  Though I also saw a few charitable strike calls on 3-0 counts.  The Padre coaching staff that was giving Buckner the business had to know that Buckner’s zone was consistent.
Stauffer’s performance tonight was purely an aberration.  His bases on balls allowed per nine innings coming in to tonight’s game this year was 2.3, the best for a starting pitcher on the San Diego staff.  To put things in perspective, Clayton Kershaw has the same BB/9 rating of 2.3 too.
Kenley Jansen pitched a solid 8th inning tonight
By the 7th inning I was beginning to wonder if this would be another of those games that I won't ever forget.  With an 8 run lead, the Padres pecked away to pull within three runs and getting the tying run to the on-deck circle.  It took a full all out effort for the blue crew to hold on to win as the pesky padres battled back.

Padre announcers began to reflect on the August 21, 1990 game that the Dodgers blew to the Phillies after having a 8 run lead in the ninth inning.  A game that I recalled just about 8 or 9 days ago in what I remember as the worst loss ever.

The Bet, the Standings and My Awful Pre-Season Prognostications
I wagered a steak dinner with a Giant fan co-worker that the Dodgers will finish the year with a better record than San Francisco.  It didn’t look good a few weeks ago but as of tonight, the Giants lead over the Dodgers has dwindled down to 6 games.  The Diamondbacks win over the Rockies tonight has put the Dodgers in sole possession of 3rd place.  Kirk Gibson has Arizona running smoothly on all cylinders.  He is definitely the Manager of the Year.  The Diamondbacks from last to first journey is the National League success story of the year.  
I’m embarrassed with my pre-season prediction on the D-Backs.  Here is what I wrote in March:
“I love Kirk Gibson as a manager.  I wish he was in the Dodger organization.  If there is anyone that can light a fire under a club it is him, as we well know.  But he’ll have to be a true miracle worker to get the Snakes out of the N.L. West cellar this season, and that's too bad, because it could cost him his job.  Arizona lacks a bullpen.  Their starting staff is too inexperienced and has too few that can eat up innings.  There are question marks at first base, third base, left field and catcher and now the closer in the bullpen.  I see the Diamondbacks winning 68 games this season and finishing last.  There are too many holes with this club.”
Wow, 68 games?  Arizona already has 77 wins.  I guess I need not apply for a job as an odds-maker in Vegas.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Last Minor League Road Trip of the Year

I just returned from the Reno Aces Ballpark where I took in the first 4 innings of the Reno-Fresno AAA game.  I found myself watching my i-phone looking at MLB play by play results of the Dodger game with Kershaw than I did watching the action.  I must say though, the Reno venue is a great baseball experience for this town.
I arrived at 5:30, an hour and a half before game time.  Since the ballpark is downtown, there is no parking lot and numerous businesses allow you to park in their lots for between $5-7.  I found a space in a law office parking lot and paid $5.  I could see the ballpark about 2 blocks away and started towards it, but I kind of ran into an obstacle.  The Truckee River.

I wasn't about to swim across, and the current was pretty swift, but I really couldn't see any other passage.  Then this guy with the fishing pole trying to catch his dinner pointed me to a bridge that was beyond the trees.

Voila! The ballpark!

I went to the ticket window and expected to shell out about $20 for a top tier seat.  The woman in the booth told me that General Admission tickets for the night were $1.00.  Hey, what can I say?  I’m cheap.  I bought the $1.00 ticket and walked around.

The enemy was present too.

The upstairs restaurant and bar is named after the Manager.

I looked at a tweet from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times and he showed a picture of the sparse crowd at Dodger Stadium just before game time.  I then looked at the Reno crowd and realized that there were more people at this game at start time then at Chavez Ravine.

I got hungry and noticed that the ballpark favorite was the "Fully Loaded Tamale."  That sounded delicious, so I shelled out $7.50 for one.  I wish I could report that it was fantastic, unfortunately I'd rate it about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Did you ever wonder what happened to Lucas May?  He was traded to K.C. last year for Scott Podsednik along with Elisaul Pimentel.  Well, Lucas has since been dealt by the Royals to Arizona and he is currently hitting .258 with Reno, splitting time behind the plate with another player.  A lot of us weren't happy with the Podsednik deal, thinking May had a decent future.  He got his cup of coffee in the majors with the Royals last year and started this season in AAA Omaha, where he got off to a poor start, hitting .176.  Kansas City then traded him away in June.  Here he is in a Reno Aces uni.

During the National Anthem, Brett Butler and bench coach Rick Burleson stand together.  Burleson led the Dodgers Single A affiliate San Bernardino Stampede (along with Steve Yeager) to a California League Championship about 11-12 years ago.  Go figure, Butler and Kirk Gibson are in the Arizona organization.

Altogether, a great night.  But I couldn't just stay there and watch this game against the Giants affiliate Fresno Grizzlies knowing full well that Kershaw was spinning another gem back in L.A.  I left in the 4th with Reno leading 4-2.


Kershaw is now 17-5 after throwing another complete game.  The Cy Young Award, (and a 20 win season), is looking more and more promising.  With the Giants loss tonight, my prediction that the Dodgers pass the Gnats for 2nd place is looking better and better.  The Dodgers are now 7-3 in their past 10 and playing winning baseball.  It's a shame that it's probably too late for a playoff run, but I'm optimistic about a very successful September.

Where was this James Loney the first 5 months of the season?

Lastly, how many times does Andre Ethier get caught in a run down after driving in a run?  I'd love to see that stat.  Andre's base running has been of Little League par this season.

Looks like I should have stayed.  Reno's 5-2 victory clinched the Pacific North Division Title.  I could have seen a celebration on the field.
Reno Manager Brett Butler celebrates championship

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nights don’t get much better than this

Vin Scully is returning next year.  Ted Lilly is pitching decently, now in 4 of his last 5 starts.  James Loney is hot, finally.  Justin Sellers has brought a new spark to the club.  Matt Kemp is officially a 30/30 man, with 32 games to play.

Ted Lilly won his eight decision tonight in the Dodgers 6-1 win
The Dodgers came back in dramatic fashion and are within one game of third place and are as  close to .500 as they have been since June 21st.  They have won 6 of 8 as they begin a string of games against the N.L. West.
Call me crazy, but I haven’t given up yet.
Games remaining: 
2 vs. Colorado at home
6 vs. San Diego (3 home, 3 away)
5 vs. Pittsburgh (4 home, 1 away)
3 vs. Atlanta (all away)
4 vs. Washington (all away)
6 vs. San Francisco (3 home, 3 away)
6 vs. Arizona (3 home, 3 away)
In my opinion, the Dodgers have to win 25 of their final 32 to have a chance.  They haven’t had a string of victories even close to that this season, so the likelihood of that occurring isn’t too probable.  But a sweep of the Rockies and Padres during this homestand would be a real good start.  
Why Does this always occur?
Ted Lilly is scheduled to pitch the final game of the homestand on August 31st against the Padres.  We all know how the ball carries during day games at Dodger Stadium.  Of, course, that getaway game is a 12:10 start.  With all the day games that Lilly has pitched this year, wouldn’t you think that Mattingly would mix up the rotation a bit to ensure that Lilly pitches only night games in the heavier air?

Vin Scully will be back in 2012

The Dodgers just  put out the following press release  a few minutes ago:
Friday August 26, 2011

LOS ANGELES – Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, widely considered the best broadcaster in sports history, will return to the broadcast booth for an unprecedented 63nd season in 2012, he announced during this evening’s Dodger telecast. Scully will again call all Dodger home games and select road games.

“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, you and I have been friends for a long time,” Scully told the audience on PRIME TICKET. “But after a lot of soul searching and a few prayers, we’ve decided that we will come back with the Dodgers for next year. God’s been awfully good to me, allowing me to do the things I love to do. I asked him one more year at least and he said okay.”

Scully’s 62 years of service constitute the longest tenure of any broadcaster in sports history. While he handles all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts on PRIME TICKET and KCAL 9, the first three innings of each of his games are also simulcast on KABC 790 AM.

He began his professional baseball broadcasting career in 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. During his unequaled career, he has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.  He was also at the microphone for Kirk Gibson’s miraculous Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series, Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run, Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 71st, 72nd and 73rd home runs and the scoreless-inning streaks’ of Dodger greats Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser.

When Scully first began broadcasting, the Dodgers had yet to win a single World Series. Three years later, at the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series game and in 1955, he had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers' first and only championship in Brooklyn.

The following season, Scully once again found himself in the enviable position of calling what he would later say was the greatest individual performance he had seen -- Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series.

----------------end of press release---------------------

We have just received the best news of the year.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guilty as Charged

I hate to say it, but I think I’m starting to think like a Giants fan.

You see, for years I never understood Jint fan fascination and total glee in watching the Dodgers lose.  I always viewed it as more proof of them suffering from an acute inferiority complex.  I never really got excited about Giant losses, nor did I pay too much attention to them unless we were in a  pennant race with them.

Sure, I’d joke and say that I rooted for two teams each night.  “The Dodgers and whoever was playing the Giants,” I’d say,  but that wasn’t serious talk.  I really didn’t pay much attention to the halloween colored foes.  But something changed.
The Giants won it all.  With that World Series victory, their fan base not only has gotten cocky, they are downright obnoxious.  Obnoxious in a Yankee/Red Sox vein.  Something I never experienced before up here.  The Dodgers are scoffed at with an attitude.  Their hatred for the Dodgers still exists, but I have actually heard some of their fans pity the Dodgers and their troubles.  There is nothing worse than getting pity from a Giants fan.  That has irked me.

A common scene with San Francisco Giant fans this past year
So what has resulted this year for me is unprecedented disdain for the Giants.  I REALLY root for them to lose and I get almost as much joy out of their losses as I do Dodger wins.  In fact, at this moment I’m watching the Giants trail 3-1 in the 8th inning against the Double A Houston Astros and I’m really enjoying it.
A Giant loss tonight puts them a mere 7 ahead of the Dodgers.  With two series left against them, I say they’re catchable.  That my friends, would make September a real enjoyable month of baseball to watch.

Is this Giant fan kid upset about the score?  Nah, he dropped a foul ball and the smiling lady in front of him got it.


There's a  very interesting article on McCourt and the Bryan Stow fallback in Sports Illustrated.


I'm not sure who was more excited, my 22 year old son who gave me this late birthday gift today, or me, the recipient.  This is one sweet leather jacket.

Very cool!

A Tale of Two Series

Clayton Kershaw delivers pitch in St. Louis on Tuesday

The two series this year between the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals essentially closed out this season’s hopes of each team.  Though it was as early as April this year, the Cardinals domination of the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium took the wind out of their  sails as the Cards won 3 of 4 from April 14-17.  It was during that first St. Louis series that the Dodgers dipped below .500, a harbinger of things to come.  Though the Dodgers won the finale of that series on a dramatic Matt Kemp walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth, we all saw that this Dodger team had serious weaknesses following those four games.
(Results were Cardinal victories 9-5, 11-2, 9-2 with the Dodgers winning the last game 2-1)
I chronicled the first two games of that series in the post linked below.  

I find it interesting to see my thought process at the time.  Yes, I was still hopeful on the season, but I saw the warning signs and could see things slipping away.

Fast forward to August, 22-24th.  With the Dodgers essentially out of the running.  They plunged the dagger in the Cardinal post season hopes with this three game sweep in St. Louis.  The last time a Dodger club swept the Cardinals in St. Louis was 18 years ago.
Now both teams are on equal footing in the standings.  Yes, the Cardinals have a winning record at 67-63, but they are 10 games out of first place in their division, the same as the Dodgers.
Wishful thinking

The three game sweep has made things a bit interesting.  With 33 games to play, the Dodgers are 10 games out.  But what if they caught lightning in a bottle during this Cardinal series and they were to roll out  10-11 games in a row?  The NL West is weak enough that a comeback of epoch proportions could occur if the Dodgers were to get real hot.
Yes, I’m dreaming, I know that.  But that’s what makes the grand old game so special.  Magic occurs almost every year with somebody.  Why not us?  This year has been so bad so far.  How about a little luck turning our way for once?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kemp and Kershaw step a Little Bit Closer to the MVP and Cy

Kershaw and Kemp - Both give us reasons to watch September baseball

The thirteen run drubbing of the St. Louis Cardinals was another step in the Dodgers trek to have Clayton Kershaw win the Cy Young and Matt Kemp the MVP.  Both players moved a few paces forward in pursuit of those goals.  I expect the Dodger P.R. department to go on a full court press to stress each player as being deserving of each award.
With 7 starts remaining, Kershaw needs 4 more wins to become the 1st Dodger pitcher to win 20 games in the past 20 years.  As lame a statistic as the “win” is, I can’t help but be lured in by the magic of 20 wins.  20 game winners just don’t seem be as common these days.  Kershaw as a 23 year old is creeping up the ladder as a leader in other statistical categories as well.  
He now is 3rd in the ERA race.
He continues to lead the league in strikeouts, now with 207.
He is the youngest pitcher to have back to back 200 strikeout seasons since Doc Gooden in 1985.
He is tied for the league lead with 16 wins. 
The Cardinals are as good as any team against Kershaw, always working him deep in counts.  Today’s game was no different, with Clayton tossing 108 pitches through 6 innings.  This time however, Kershaw was coasting with more run support than he ever dreamed of.
That run support started three hitters into the game when NL MVP favorite Matt Kemp blasted a 420 foot, 3 run shot, deep into the left-center field stands.  It was a mammoth no-doubter and put Kemp within one homer of reaching the 30-30 plateau.  
Kemp still remains in the running for the triple crown, something that hasn’t happened in the National League in since Joe Medwick did it in the year before The Wizard of Oz hit the movie theaters for the first time.
Kemp is 4th in batting averge (.321, trailing Ryan Braun who is hitting .336)
He is 3rd in RBI with 95, (Prince Fielder has 100)
He is 4th in home runs with 29, two behind league leader Albert Pujols who has 31. 
Additionally Kemp ranks third in hits, stolen bases, slugging %, and fourth in OPS.
If Kemp is able to kick things up a notch in the final month, September may be a rather interesting month, despite the Dodgers being out of the pennant race.
The Kershaw and Kemp performances have made the 2011 season the strangest Dodger season I can recall ever following.  Do the Dodgers dare have two players win the most prestigious awards in the league while the club is in the cellar?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Worst Loss Ever

21 years ago today was as painful a Dodger loss as I ever experienced.
Let me set the stage.
I was living in San Diego, but I had full access to the Dodgers home telecasts because my local cable package had the LA stations on it.  In this pre-internet era, I also had a subscription to the L.A. Times delivered to the front door of my home, keeping me fully functional with the L.A. Sports scene.
Lastly, it was the first of my many 29th birthday celebrations (which, if you do the math means I hit the 1/2 century mark today).  Dodger games on my birthday were always special to me as a kid.  It would be the first thing I looked up, “who were they playing on August 21st?”

In 1990 it was Skinny "Slim Fast" Tommy at the helm of the Dodgers
I had a nice meal and sat down to watch the Dodger game, an 11-3 schalacking of the Phillies when I fell asleep in the 8th inning.  It was a Tuesday night, and I needed to get up early to do that 40 mile commute to my work site. The Dodgers were battling for the Division title, with a 63-59 record, six games behind the eventual World Champion, Cincinnati Reds.
They were playing a 4th place Philadelphia club, led by sparkplug Lenny Dykstra, first baseman John Kruk and outfielder Von Hayes.  Even Dale Murphy in his final days as a player was on that roster.

Dale Murphy was traded to the Phillies a few weeks before this game.  Murph had a key ninth inning hit in this debacle.
The Dodgers had Mike Hartley on the mound.  With Eddie Murray at first, Lenny Harris at second, Alfredo Griffin at short, Mike Sharperson at third and Mike Scioscia behind the plate.  The outfield was made up of Hubie Brooks, Kirk Gibson (in center field) and Kal Daniels.  With such an enormous lead, Lasorda put in Stan Javier in left, Jose Gonzalez in center and rookie Jose Offerman at shortsop.
Mike Hartley did his job, going six innings and surrendering one run
If you look at the baseball reference box score of the game, you’ll find the Dodgers win probability chart showed the Dodgers at 100% from the bottom of the 5th inning until the top of the 9th inning when Offerman kicked his first ground ball.  Then the graph line slowly starts to creep upward in Philadelphia’s favor.  L.A. win probability moves from 97 to 95, 90, 56, 50, 44, 18, 10, and then to 0. 

Rookie Jose Offerman performed as we always remember him

In this grainy you tube video, someone taped the lowlights of the disaster that was replayed on ESPN many years later.  Follow along if you dare.  Listening to Giant fan Chris Berman call the action is almost as painful as watching the debacle itself.

It wasn’t until the following morning when I got up and opened my morning L. A. Times that I got the news.  The Phillies scored nine runs in the top of the ninth inning to take the lead and eventually defeat the Dodgers 12-11.  I believe it was the largest ninth inning comeback win in over 80 years.  You talk about a downer to start the day.  I'm just glad I didn't go to sleep after watching the final inning of that train wreck.

Kirk Gibson, started in Centerfield.  He wasn't around for the end

So was this the beginning of the end for the Dodgers that season?  No, not really.  Following this defeat, the Dodgers spun off eight victories in their next nine games including a three-game sweep of the Phils at Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia.  Cincinnati held tough though and the Dodgers never got within 3.5 games of the Red’s lead, finishing the season in second place, 5 games back.  Of course, they were eliminated in San Francisco when the Giants swept them at home.  Wasn’t it always that way?

I almost forgot, Fernando had a pinch hit single in the 8th inning of this game.

Needless to say, after the disaster of August 21, 1990, I have never checked to see who the Dodgers would be playing on my birthday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

An Offensive Offense - Why the Giants will fall short this year,

Andres Torres fails to score, something that the Giants have had a lot of trouble with in 2011

Sure, they have had injuries.  Buster Posey is out for the year, and that was devastating.  Andres Torres, David  Ross, Mark DeRosa and Pablo Sandoval have all been out for significant portions of the season, but then again, the Barry Zito injury was a blessing in disguise for them as Vogelsong rose from the ashes to an All-Star season.  Everyone has injuries.  Look at the Dodgers for heaven's sake.  It could easily be argued that the Dodgers suffered more devastating injuries this year, (Garland, Padilla, Kuo, Broxton, Uribe, Furcal, Blake, De La Rosa, and Gordon are just off the top of my head).  It's the good teams that overcome those injuries.  So why is it, besides the injuries, that the Giants won't repeat? 

 It’s their offense plain and simple.  

Buster Posey, out for the season

While the Giant pitching staff remains near the top in many statistical categories, usually trailing only the Phils, they would have run away with the division had they simply performed with a mediocre offensive output.  2011 stats show that the Giants are the worst offensive team in the National League.  They simply cannot produce runs.  Below are some of the Giants key offensive statistics that show this.  Many ranking them last in the league.
Runs/game: 3.4  (rank: 16th out of 16)
Runs: 428 (16th)  *next to last team (Dodgers) is at 456
RBI: 400 (16th)
Batting Avg.: .239 (16th)
On Base %: .301 (16th)
Slugging %: .358 (15th)
OPS: .659 (15th)
OPS+: 85 (16th)
Run Differential: -15  (10th) *428 runs scored, 443 runs allowed
The argument often made is that “pitching wins championships.”  Those that support this assertion often mention the ‘63 and ’65 Dodger clubs that won World Championships with great pitching staffs in place and poor hitting.  Let’s compare the same offensive statistics mentioned above with those two teams, remembering that the N.L. was a 10-team league then:
                    ’63 Dodgers                  ’65 Dodgers
Runs/game: 3.9 (6th)               3.8 (8th)
Runs:           640 (6th)                       608 (8th)
RBI:              584 (6th)                      548 (8th)
Batting Avg.  .251 (4th)                     .245 (7th)
On Base %:  .309 (5th)                     .312 (6th)
Slugging %:  .357 (8th)                     .335 (9th)
OPS: .666 (7th)                    .647 (8th)
OPS+: 98 (3rd)                       89 (6th)
Run Diff:        +90 (2nd)                   +87 (3rd)

The 1963 Dodgers club actually ranked in the middle of the pack in the same offensive categories.  The ’65 team fell short more offensively, but the pitching picked up the slack with an even more formidable performance with a league leading ERA of 2.81.

Dodger Slugger Frank Howard led the '63 Dodger team with 28 homers that year.

What is most noticeable in the comparisons is the Run Differential stat, with the 2011 Giants in the negative while those Dodger Teams were way in the positive.  The 2011 Giants offense is simply much worse than the two Dodger teams in comparison.

A look at last season’s Giants team stats in the same categories really explains why the Giants are in trouble this year.  

2010 Giants
Runs/game: 4.33 (9th out of 16)    
Runs:           697 (9th)                       
RBI:             660 (9th)
Batting Avg. .257 (7th)
On Base %: .321 (10th) 
Slugging %: .408 (6th)
OPS:           .729 (8th)
OPS+: 97 (6th)
Run Diff:        +114 (2nd)

That Run Differential is the key.  Ranked second last year, the Giants were way in positive territory.  Unless they really start hitting and follow rookie Brandon Belt's lead in taking pitches and working counts, the Giant pitching is not going to be able to carry that feeble offense.  My observation of this Giant team is that they are making things too easy for opposing pitchers by swinging away way too early in counts, keeping opposing pitcher's pitch counts down and allowing them to pitch deeper into games.  The Giant offensive approach is lacking big time.  They have time to turn things around, being only 2.5 games out, but time is running out.

Are Lincecum, Bumgarner and Cain enough to take the Giants to the post season again?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kershawsome Again (apologies to Jon Weisman, not sure if he has used that term)

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Today was what I look forward to every 5 days or so, a Clayton Kershaw start.  With today’s 5-1 gem against the Brewers, Kershaw now has a 15-5 record.  The possibility of a 20 win season for the young left-hander is reachable.  By my calculations, Kershaw will have 7, possibly 8 starts left, depending on whether Mattingly makes adjustments to give him additional starts when days off come into play.
What follows are the probable starts that remain for Clayton Kershaw:
Tuesday, August 23rd, at St.Louis
Monday, August 29th, vs. San Diego at Dodger Stadium
Saturday, September 3rd, at Atlanta
Thursday, September 8th, at Washington
Tuesday, September 13th, vs. Arizona at Dodger Stadium
Sunday, September 18th, vs. Pittsburgh at Dodger Stadium
Saturday, September 24th,at San Diego
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
There is a day off on the final week of the season, which might mean that Kershaw starts on the final Friday and then goes again on the last game of the season at  Arizona on September 28th.  I think it all depends on Kershaw’s health and the position of the Diamondbacks in the pennant race in the closing days.
From what I see based on the way the rotation turns are, the Giants luck out and fail to face Kershaw again this season.  That’s fortunate for the defending champs and it’s unfortunate for Kershaw since the San Francisco offense is ranked dead last in the National League in runs scored.
Diamondbacks fans may be upset at this turn of events since Kershaw will probably face them twice and not the Giants at all.
Steve Martin (aka Orin Scirvello from Little Shop of Horrors) is not my dentist...just wanted to make sure that was understood

While sitting in my dentists chair today, the conversation got to baseball and eventually the Giants-Dodgers, this blog, etc.  My Giants fan dentist Steve, by the way, is a great guy and conversationalists extraordinaire.   I really enjoy my visits with him every six months.  The conversations get quite engaging while he picks away at my teeth.   I find it frustrating that I can’t always get a word in other than nods and, “Yaahs” and “Uh-huhs.” He said to me that he and his father cracked open a beer in celebration when it was announced that McCourt declared bankruptcy.  My response to him once his hands were free from my mouth and I was given a chance to rinse was, “you don’t know how many of us responded in celebration when bankruptcy was announced and we felt that the end of this crisis may almost be over.”


A good read from Ken Steinhorn over at isportsweb.com, the Dodger week in review.  I wanted to mention Ken's postings in the past and failed to get around to it.  He's an excellent writer and he provides a well-rounded approach to covering the Dodgers.