*by Joshua Worley*

Just how poorly have the Dodgers been playing lately? For one offbeat answer to this question, I decided to see how many recent at-bats I had to search through to find 10 total bases for each player. Obviously the fewer recent at-bats one has to search through to find 10 total bases, the better.

**Dodger Hitter Decimal Rankings**

( recent at-bats to reach 10 total bases )

Ethier -- 9

Loney -- 14

Young -- 18 (*)

Martin -- 26

Betemit -- 26

Garciaparra -- 28

Pierre -- 28

Kent -- 31

Furcal -- 40

Saenz -- 40

Kemp -- 45

Martinez -- 46

Gonzalez -- 51

This is a depressing list. Consider that 20 at-bats to reach 10 total bases is a 0.500 slugging, while 25 to reach 10 will be a 0.400 slugging. So anything above 25 is pretty bad. These are small sample sizes, of course, so it's not shocking to see a good hitter around 30 or so: it just means he's going through a small slump. Conversely you'll expect to see a few players who are in hot streaks, with fewer than 15 recent at-bats to reach 10 total bases. For the Dodgers, though, 6 of 8 starters are above 25. Only Loney and Ethier are hot. Even the bench has been awful; only Young has a respectable number, and that's a projection, since he actually has 8 total bases in 14 at-bats so far.

One of the shocking things about the numbers is that players like Furcal and Garciaparra have high recent at-bat totals to reach 10 total bases even though they've each hit a recent home run. The Dodgers just have no one outside of Loney or Etheir who can pick up extra-base hits consistently. Martin has a lot of recent singles, but little power.

One has to go back to June 8, 2007 to find 10 total bases to Saenz's credit. That was the night of his last home run, a pinch hit bomb in the tenth inning to give the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays. I was at that game: it was certainly the highlight of the season for me.

One has to go back to July 8 to find 10 total bases for Martinez. This is a month better than for Saenz, but remember Martinez has been starting a lot lately. Betemit would have gotten a lot of those starts if he hadn't been traded away, which is why I included him. His numbers include his Yankee career. Betemit has 8 total bases in 16 at-bats with the Yanks; he was struggling just before the trade, though.

As bad as Saenz and Martinez have been, Gonzalez has been worse. I hadn't realized he was this bad. One has to go back to July 24 to find 10 total bases to his credit.

The one that hurts the most is Kemp. You have to go back to July 19 to find 10 total bases to his credit. He hit a home run that day, and then another two days later on Dodger Thoughts day; since then he's had just 3 singles. I suppose seeing that most recent home run at the stadium was my second favorite moment of the season. I wish the Dodgers would just play Kemp full time. Give him a chance to develop. The season is probably lost anyway, and if you want unreasonable hope, who between Kemp and Gonzalez is more likely to get absurdly hot? I say it's the younger guy.

What about the pitchers? We can do a similar recent history search for them as well. How many recent innings pitched do we have to search through to find 10 earned runs allowed? Starters first, then relievers. Obviously now higher numbers are better.

**Dodger Starter Decimal Rankings**

( recent innings pitched to reach 10 earned runs allowed )

Penny -- 30

Billingsley -- 29

Lowe -- 17

Tomko -- 17

Hendrickson -- 9

This is a trinary distrubution. 30 is very good, while 18 is very bad, and 9 is demonic. A pitcher who consistently gave up 10 runs every 30 innings would have an ERA of 3.0, while a pitcher who gave up 10 runs every 18 would have an ERA of 5.0. So to go with their sputtering offense the Dodgers have two good pitchers and three awful ones, at least in recent games.

For the relivers, it might have been better to ask how many recent innings it takes to find just 5 earned runs allowed, since that would result in a more comparable time frame to the starters. But it's ten for everything, and in any case staying with ten will show just how good Takashi Saito has been.

**Dodger Reliever Decimal Rankings**

( recent innings pitched to reach 10 earned runs allowed )

Saito -- 53

Broxton -- 31

Proctor -- 23

Beimel -- 19

Seanez -- 14

Seanez looks bad, but this is mostly from his homer-fest in July. He's been great in August so far. Beimel has been about what one would expect. Proctor has allowed only one run with the Dodgers; his value of 23 innings reflects some of his struggles with the Yankees. Broxton has been great, of course. One has to go back to May 31 to find 10 earned runs allowed by him. In fact, since he allowed 4 earned runs to San Diego is that awful defensive melt-down, Broxton has allowed only 2 earned runs. ( I'm appalled that Broxton was charged with 4 earned runs in that San Diego game, by the way. It's not right. )

But the real star here is Mr. Smile. I have a smile as big as one of his post-save smiles just thinking about the next sentence I'm about to write. One has to go back to September 18 of

*last year*to find 10 earned runs allowed by Saito. Last year! Amazing.

I'll end this with a surprising and sad note about an ex-Dodger reliever, about the man who showed us what it was like to have a dominant closer, the man who taught us to love the ninth inning. ( Some of us, anyway. ) I note this with a bit of dismay, but also, I am ashamed to admit, a bit of schadenfreude. It does take some of the sting out of seeing him in a different uniform. I'm only human, I guess.

**Dodger French Canadian ex-Reliever Decimal Rankings**

( recent innings pitched to reach 10 earned runs allowed )

Gagne - 7

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