20 May 2007

Leadoff walks and what they do

By Griffster

Hendrickson's time in the rotation has reached midnight, and with the stroke of the bell, he turned into a pumpkin. Will Little wait for dawn, which means at least four more losses by Hendrickson, going by my remark that Hendrickson will have to lose at least five in a row before they'd even consider demoting him? ( Not counting ineffective outings that get hung on the bullpen, here ) Or will we see Billingsley in the rotation at some point in the first half of the year?

The Dodgers did splendidly against the past two teams in red they faced, but the third was just too much. Perhaps mostly because this third team happened to be an AL team and the Dodgers have gone 1-19 in their last 20 road interleague games. Bad. I wonder if the Dodgers feel weird with a DH in their team, if they enjoy having the pitcher hit? Do they enjoy suffering and scratching out runs, instead of going "Yay DH!" and piling them up? Little's managed in the AL before, you'd think he knows how to handle the DH.

As a side note, the Dodgers' inability to win in AL parks suggests that, even if they reach the World Series somehow ( and I do not think this team has a good chance of doing that unless they start leaving less runners on ) they will probably be swept out of the door.

It is too early in the season to even speak of the postseason though, so, back to last night's game:

Hendrickson issued a troublesome leadoff walk. Aybar's hit would not have been a hit had Kent not broke to cover second on the hit and run - which he wouldn't have done had that runner not been on.

Has issuing leadoff walks been a problem for the Dodgers this year? Well, I had Penny's leadoff walk from two days ago coming round to score in mind, so I went digging and found:

The Dodgers have issued 23 leadoff walks this year, and of those 10 scored.
The Dodgers have been issued 27 leadoff walks this year, of which 11 scored.

( Notable is the May 6 game against Atlanta, in which Harris walked and scored on a double. The score was 4-2 Dodgers at that point, but three two-out hits makes the score 6-4 after the inning. That was a walked that hurt a lot. Also, on May 4th a two-out double scored two more, after another leadoff walk. Leadoff walks can have deeper repercussions than just that runner scoring. )

The ratio is a bit worse for the Dodgers than their opponents, ( 43% of opponent leadoff walks score, and the Dodgers score 40% of their own leadoff walks ) but this small sample size doesn't indicate the Dodgers to be much better or much worse than other teams. What is does show is that issuing a leadoff walk is not a bright idea, because the odds of it scoring is quite good - but we knew that already.

I also noticed that both yesterday's game and today's were really cracked by one big inning allowed. Can we try to do that less please, Dodger pitchers? You know the "offense" is not good enough to get all those runs back. Our veterans make too many first pitch outs and the lineup as a whole doesn't hit that well with runners on! ( Come to think of that, I will analyse that last remark more. It does feel as if every first pitch hit by Kent, Gonzalez and Nomar results in an out, but I know that is a skewered perspective. ( Also a skewed perspective! ) Watch this space. I will report back on whether it is a good thing that they swing thusly, or not. And I will also report on how often they go first strike swinging, and what good that does them. )

Lastly: oh hey, remember me babbling about a 5-1 home stand back when I really wanted the Dodgers to just win a couple in a row? Got my wish. I guess I'd better start wishing really hard that the Dodgers have another 5-1 home stand!

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