31 July 2008

Srooc Field

Below is a modest presentation of average runs the Dodgers have scored and allowed this season home and away, along with the pythagorean winning percentages based on the home and away run differentials.

------ Dodgers -- Opp -- PythWP
Home -- 3.9 -- 3.1 -- 0.605
Away -- 4.5 -- 4.9 -- 0.457

The Dodgers have been a far better team at home, and most of that is due to a huge home/road disparity in the Dodger pitching. Last night's win was the tenth shutout for the Dodger pitching staff. All ten have come at home.

The Dodger relievers do well on the road. Park, Kuo, Broxton, Saito, Wade and Beimel all have sub-4 ERAs on the road. The starters are the ones who fall down when pitching in strange ballparks. Kershaw, Penny, Lowe and Kuroda all have ERAs above 5 on the road. Only ace Billingsley does well away from Dodger Stadium, with a sparkling 2.84 ERA that's even better than his home ERA.

At home, nearly every Dodger pitcher does well, except for two pitchers who have battled injuries this year, Penny and Proctor. Billingsley, Kershaw and Kuroda are all in the 3-3.6 ERA range, and everyone else has an ERA below 3.

What is going on here? Why is the Dodger pitching so much better at home? Is it park factors? The Dodger offense also benefits from being on the road, though the disparity is not as severe as it is for the pitching. There was a time when Dodger Stadium was the most extreme pitchers' park in the major leagues. But that was before all the new dugout seats were put in and the foul territory was cut almost in half. Lately Dodger stadium has played neutral, or even as a slight hitters park! But just based on this year's numbers Dodger Stadium is looking like the most extreme pitchers' park around. What could have changed this year?

I don't know. I can't even come up with any half-baked theories. Are they microwaving the baseballs to deaden them? Is the mound a little too high? Is the air heavier this year? Is the grass different this year? Maybe it's just --- random.

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