08 April 2008

The Ace Excuse

The Dodgers have fared very poorly against the opponents' starting pitching so far this season. It's a worrying trend, but two important things to note: it's very early, and a lot of the starters they've faced have been really tough.

Starter --- 2007 ERA+ --- runs scored

Zito ----------- 98 --- 4
Cain ---------- 122 --- 0
Lincecum ------ 111 --- 1
Germano ------- 91 --- 1
Peavy -------- 159 --- 1
Young -------- 129 --- 2
Haren --------- 137 --- 3

I've listed Lincecum as a starter even though he ended up going 4 innings in the middle of that rain game. His ERA+ from last year probably understates how good he'll be this year. I'd say of the 7 starters the Dodgers have faced so far, only Zito and Germano haven't been elite starters.

Here is the 2007 ERA+ of the remaining two starters in the Arizona series:

Davis ----- 111
Owings --- 109

Grunt. They're not as bad as I had hoped, or thought. It's really hard to know what to expect from Davis, given that this is his last start before cancer surgery. I'm sure the home crowd will be very supportive, and may lift his performance. I don't know. And Owings is a pretty good young pitcher. But still. These guys aren't aces. They aren't even deuces. It's time for the Dodger offense to break out against the starter. They really haven't since Opening Day.

The three runs against Haren last night were encouraging, to be sure, even though only one of them was earned. The Dodgers are going to have to start scoring off of the good pitchers. They're going to face a lot of them this year! Every division rival save the Rockies ( maybe ) has at least two elite pitchers on staff. Most of the division staffs are at least average through the fourth starter. Five elite pitchers in seven days is a lot, but the Dodgers are going to face really tough pitchers in almost half of their division games this year. Time to start making a habit of scoring off of them. It may be Davis and Owings today and tomorrow, but this weekend the Dodgers get Peavy and Young again. Be patient; be disciplined; be aggressive when the pitch is there --- and leave Pierre on the bench.

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