21 July 2009

So, Can He Make It "Dodgers Triumphant"?

The Reds got further and further away from hitting a home run as the top of the first inning unfolded. Progress, I guess?

Taveras came as close as you'll ever see, blasting a ball off the top edge of the wall. Then Hairston hit the base of the short fence in left --- close, but not as close. Then Votto cranked a ball off the right field wall for an unlikely single. Then, finally, Schmidt allowed a deep fly ball that didn't hit the wall on the fly, when Phillips hit a deep fly to right and Ethier lost it in the sunset sky. Then Nix hit a regular fly ball that didn't come close to being a home run. The fans went wild.

The relevant stats for Schmidt: 5 innings, 3 runs allowed, 86 mph top speed fastball ( more or less ), 2 times on the ropes with 'pen warming up back of him, 10 fly balls ( hits and outs ), 4 pop ups, 1 line drive, 2 ground balls, 2 strike outs, 3 walks, 1 hit batter.

That's not good enough. Oh sure, the runs allowed and innings pitched were just barely good enough for this one game, but the rest of it isn't. If that game is a true representation of what Schmidt is now, then the Dodgers can probably do better. Stults is healthy again, and pitching in AAA. ( Odd fact: Stults has precisely the same ERA in AAA and MLB this year, at 4.80 ) McDonald might deserve a second look as a starter. What about Elbert? He's been starting for years in the minor leagues.

But Schmidt will get another chance. That's okay, that's fair, but I don't expect much good to come out of it. Prove me wrong, Schmidt. I am rooting for you. Really, I am. ( Do I protest too much? ) But if this is his top fastball speed, he's going to have to show exquisite command if he's going to be anything more than a dogmeat fifth starter. He's going to have to laser his fastball on the outside corner every time. Throw his curveball for strikes. I don't know if he can do that. Next time the pitcher he's up against may be better. Next time some of those deep fly balls may sail for home runs. We shall see.

Game 93 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Ethier -- 1
Manny -- 1
Blake -- 1

The pitchers got the job done in most innings, but this one was about the offense. I think the Dodgers striking back quickly for four in the first after the Red scored three had to help Schmidt at least a little bit. Manny, Ethier and Blake each picked up a pair of runs batted in.

Game 93 Unfair Loss Shares ( Reds )

Owings -- 2
Dickerson -- 1

Dickerson misplayed Ethier's double in the bottom of the first inning, and had earlier ended the Reds' threat in the top of the first inning, when Schmidt was really on the ropes. Owings is just lucky he doesn't get tagged with all three of the unfair loss shares. He is a known run-allower, especially this month, so I wasn't too worried even after Schmidt gave up three runs. The big question was not if the Dodgers could come back, but if Schmidt and the relievers could limit the runs allowed by enough to allow the comeback and victory.

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