08 September 2009

Greatness Lost

I've been a Dodger fan since 1983. I've seen just about everything from the Dodgers in 26 years. But I've never seen a truly great Dodger team.

The 1988 team that won the World Series was very good, and more importantly they were legendary. They had great performances, dramatic performances. But that wasn't a great team, not if you look at them coldly and rationally. They didn't win 100 games. They had a fine pitching staff but a rather average offense.

I thought the Dodgers might be great this year. I thought they might win 100 games. They won't, unless they finish 18-5 or better. Maybe if that happened I would feel like I had seen a great team this year.

I know I was watching a great team the first few months of the season. They haven't ended that way, but the ending has not ended yet. They can still be a great team in October. That wouldn't make them a great team overall, any more than it made the 2006 Cardinals a great team, but I would take it.

And now, a whole lot of catching up in the unfair share department. Four games worth!

Game 136 Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Loney -- 1
Ausmus -- 1
Martin -- 1

There are some games where the Dodgers win despite the struggles of Loney and Martin. There are some games where either Loney or Martin does well. And then there are games like the one last Friday, when the Dodgers lost 2-0 to the Padres. Loney was terrible, going hitless and leaving 6 runners. Martin was terrible in limited duty, hitting into a double play in the ninth inning that prevented the Dodgers from getting any of their best hitters to the plate in the ninth inning.

This was a rare game where both Dodgers catcher picked up unfair loss shares. Before Martin was in the game hitting into a double play Ausmus left 4 runners on by striking out twice.

Game 136 Unfair Win Shares ( Padres )

LeBlanc -- 2
Bell -- 1

It was like the spirit of Jake Peavy returned to the Padres.

Game 137 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Furcal -- 1
Ethier -- 1
Wolf -- 1

The hardest part was telling James Loney that his Dueces Wild performance wasn't good enough for a share. 2-2 with two walks and two driven in. But the listed three did a little more.

Game 137 Unfair Loss Shares ( Padres )

Gwynn -- 1
Latos -- 1
Mujica -- 1

Is it painful for Padre fans to watch Tony Gwynn's son hit rather poorly for their team?

Game 138 Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Kuroda -- 1
Pierre -- 1
Hudson -- 1

This one made me really frustrated. So close.

Kuroda walked three in five innings. That is a lot for him. Maybe his control will be better next time around, or the time after that. If not, he probably wouldn't make the top four Dodgers starters for potential postseason duty.

Game 138 Unfair Loss Shares ( Padres )

Gregerson -- 1
Bell -- 1
Kouzmanoff -- 1

The Dodgers were beat by the Padre bullpen. Bell was great and Gregerson was even better.

Game 139 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Belliard -- 1
Loney -- 1
Padilla -- 1

Belliard? Padilla? Who are these guys? To fit in Loney will have to spell his last name "Lloney".

So far I have been completely wrong about Padilla. As for Belliard, who know how long his good hitting can last, but I'm sure that with Blake hurt I'd much rather have Belliard in the lineup than Loretta.

Game 139 Unfair Loss Shares ( Snakes )

Upton -- 1
Drew -- 1
Scherzer -- 1

Drew was 2-3 with a walk yesterday, so his inclusion is a little strange. Well, if you saw the first inning you will probably understand, if not necessarily agree. Drew doubled with one out in the first inning, then thought he might go to third on a ground ball hit to Furcal. Three throws later and the Snakes had run into a soul-crushing double play.

Up until that point the game had felt like a Snakes win. Though it was very early Scherzer looked clearly better than Padilla. Then that play happened, and the game just seemed to turn. It did turn the next inning. Coincidence, most likely. But I wonder if Scherzer's confidence was shaken in some unquantifiable way after seeing his teammates run out of a scoring chance. Probably not. This is really irrational territory here, but I know that as a fan watching the game seemed to turn with that play. Players are irrational too, many even more so, and so is it so crazy to think some of them saw the game turning too, and that it might in some small way affect their play?

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