26 July 2009

The Magic is Back

Why not? I was feeling mighty cranky about the thought of losing the first pair of the series to the Marlins, with Schmidt going today in an attempt to prevent a third loss in a row. All the little things were going wrong again, last night. Though five innings it seemed that the Dodgers were supposed to lose that game. And then the magic came back.

Or maybe it's just that the Dodgers are a good team. A really good team, who puts pressure on the opposition more innings than not with a flood of base runners. A great team, at times, who limits the opposition to just a dribble of men on base. The Dodgers put 18 men on base, and limited the Marlins to 8. Given that the final score was just 4-3, it would seem that all the magic belonged to the Marlins, in fact. The Dodgers lost runners to a double play and a botched hit and run and a great throw behind the runner on a single. They wasted two opportunities when Kuroda reached safely.

The Dodger magic is that they get on base so much more than their opponents. On the season, they lead their opponents in OBP 0.352 to 0.315. Remember back in June, when I said the magic was gone? The Dodger offense slumped to a 0.302 OBP that month, against 0.298 for the opposition. Now, in July, the Dodgers are back to a large OBP advantage of 0.359 to 0.307. Walk-off wins are what we remember, but it's all the grunt work of getting on base that makes the magic possible.

Friday night's series opener:

Game 96 Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Troncoso -- 1
Hudson -- 1
Blake -- 1

Both Blake and Hudson had a hit and scored, and Blake's hit was a triple, so his share seems especially harsh. After his triple, Blake grounded into a double play, struck out with the go-ahead run at second, and flied out with runners on second and third. That was harsh too. Hudson, of course, had his mysteriously urgent throw toward the general vicinity of third base that allowed an extra run to come in. Poor Troncoso just happened to be the worst offender on an off-night for the bullpen.

Game 96 Unfair Win Shares ( Marlins )

Helms -- 1
Bonifacio -- 1
Johnson -- 1

Last night's game:

Game 97 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Ethier -- 1
Furcal -- 1
Mota -- 1

Starting rallies is nearly as important as ending them, isn't it? You can't end what you didn't start, unless you hit a home run, I suppose. But Blake didn't hit a home run to end that game. He hit a shallow fly that fell in between three fielders. The hit was unimpressive but the effort was very impressive, after he fell behind 0-2 on two questionable calls by the umpire. I loved that at bat by Blake, the way he resisted the strikeout, worked the count back to 2-2, and then gave him and his team a chance by getting the bat on the ball. Sometimes that's all you need. And I'd like to give him an unfair win share for it, but Furcal started two rallies, including that last one with a fabulous bunt hit that was nearly a mirror image of Blake's. With Blake's looping airborne hit three players converged but none could field the ball, while with Furcal's bunt three players converged, and all could have fielded it, but there was no one to take a throw at first. Even if there had been a player there to take the throw I don't think it would have mattered. Furcal had it beat.

Game 97 Unfair Loss Shares ( Marlins )

Coghlan -- 1
Uggla -- 1
Pinto -- 1

No comments: