21 June 2009

Game 69 Unfair Win Shares

My memory of the 1996 brother battle between Pedro and Ramon Martinez is that younger brother Pedro was more bothered by facing his brother, while older brother Ramon seemed to take it in stride more. I wish I could find a quote to back that up --- in any case, Ramon prevailed in a tight 2-1 win. If that game had gone the other way and everything else had remained the same that season, the Dodgers and Expos would have tied each other at the end of the season for NL wild card. It was an important game.

That game in 1996 was a splendid pitching duel. The game last night was not. Jeff ended up pitching what for him has been a typical 2009 start: effective and short. He keeps you in the game. He's like the veteran quarterback who is damned with the faint praise that he "manages the game" by moving the chains occasionally and not turning the ball over. And it's true, Jeff manages the game. But I mean that as a unreserved compliment.

Jered Weaver did not manage the game. It is not out of the question that pitching against his older brother got to him just a little bit. Jered tried to call his brother before the game, but Jeff would not talk to him, presumably because he wanted to focus on winning. Jered's quote: I called him a couple of times, and he big-leagued me, so I don't know what quite happened there. He big-leagued you in the game, too. Or, to get to the real story, the Dodger hitters big-leagued you. Psychological explanations are fun, but let's be serious: Jered Weaver's bad game had more to do with the excellence of the Dodger lineup than facing his brother.

The Dodgers have a great lineup. You can never count them out. Not even against a pitcher with an ERA of 2. Not even without Manny. Not even when they've been struggling lately. Not even against the hated Angels of the hated American league. ( Well, hated by me, anyway. ) Not even when their former heart and soul has been hitting more like a diseased liver this year.

Speaking of Martin --- freaking finally! A home run. I loved it. I cheered more for that home run than I have for any other home run this year, excepting crucial late inning home runs. And that wasn't even his most impressive hit of the evening. He just smoked the single he had in the sixth inning. Kemp followed Martin's single with his own solid line drive single, but Kemp's was like a dribbler down the line compared to how hard Martin hit his. If it was possible to say it based on one game, and I wish it was, then I'd say that Martin is back. What the hell, I'll say it anyway. Martin is back.

Martin is back and Kemp has arrived. He arrived a while ago, but there's no harm in saying it again. Kemp is a star. Even if he never improves from what he is now he's a star. Only Carlos Beltran is better in center field in the National League right now. Kemp was on base three times and made that amazing catch at the wall. He's probably the Dodgers' best hitter right now. And he batted ninth. That's one hell of a number nine hitter, Torre.

Belisario and the Troncuilizer had very good games, combining for 3 innings of scoreless relief. Unfortunately neither will get an unfair win share. It's just one of those unfair games where the relievers get pushed out by other players. By Weaver. I just liked Weaver's game too much, especially his third through fifth innings. Belisario was great, but he was also shaky. Five dominating strikeouts, three baserunners allowed. He stranded Weaver's triple in the sixth inning, then left a mess for Troncoso to clean up in the seventh. It's tough.

Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Kemp -- 1
Martin -- 1
Weaver -- 1

Unfair Loss Shares ( Angels )

Weaver -- 2
Izturis -- 1

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