21 September 2009

Nearing Greatness

The Dodgers are 90-60. I'm really impressed, and I'm reconsidering my lament that the Dodgers had lost their shot at greatness with a middling second half to the season. Objectively they are still falling somewhat short of being a great team, but what happens the last 12 games and more importantly the postseason could change that.

If nothing else winning the series from the Giants and most likely ending their hopes was pretty damn great.

Game 148 Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Padilla -- 1
Troncoso -- 1
Martin -- 1

Martin and Troncoso have shadows, players who could easily take their places in the unfair loss share column. For Martin it's Loney. Combined those two were 0-9, with no walks. This isn't anything new for these two. They are disappointments. We all expected better of them. And yet, for all we expected of them that they haven't delivered, they aren't dragging the offense down. They're a part of what makes the offense so good. Look at this:

0.422 -- 0.366 -- 0.364 -- 0.362 -- 0.359 -- 0.354 -- 0.351 -- 0.325

Those are the on base percentages of the Dodger regulars. This is a solid group, except for the last one. No easy outs here. 2-8 the Dodgers will wear you down, make you beg for the showers by the third inning, if they're really on. 9 is the pitcher, who sometimes is sneaky good with the bat, and 1 is Furcal, who has the 0.325. Furcal is the real drag on the offense. It's too bad Belliard can't play shortstop.

Troncoso's unfair loss share shadow in that game was Billingsley. Both gave up two runs in relief. Both were great in the first half of the season, and have fallen on hard times during the second half. Both are question marks headed into the postseason.

Maybe neither one will make the postseason roster. That's how bad it seems now. Though, really, it's almost impossible to imagine Billingsley not making it. Only if the Dodgers determined that he was hurt and had no hope of being effective, I think. Billingsley will get two starts to convince the Dodgers he is effective. As for Troncoso, he's sitting at about sixth or seventh on the bullpen depth chart right now. Is he even ahead of Elbert at this point? I just can't imagine the Dodgers needing Troncoso in a short series with days off and at least one starter in the 'pen. I don't think he's going to make it.

Game 148 Unfair Win Shares ( Giants )

Velez -- 1
Sandoval -- 1
Romo -- 1

Maybe this was it. I think it was. This was the last time the Giants really had a good look at making the playoffs this season, right after this game. They gave it an amazing shot, really, given their offense. The eight they scored to win Friday was an anomaly, though. They scored all of three runs in the next two games, and their pitching was undressed by the Dodgers, and they fell hopelessly behind the Rockies.

Game 149 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Belliard -- 1
Loney -- 1
Garland -- 1

Garland gave up one run in eight innings, but he wasn't really dominant. He only struck out three. Garland just let the Giants be who they are, and that is a bad offensive team. I think that's what Garland does. He just lets an offense take what it can, but he doesn't give them anything. You can hit him if you're good, but you probably won't drive him to cover after a few innings. I don't really know if that's the kind of pitcher you want in the postseason, but you could do worse. I think I'd rather have Garland starting than Padilla. What about Billingsley? Oh, that's easy. I choose Billingsley, unless he really shows nothing at all in his last two starts.

Belliard may get some playing time at second in the playoffs, assuming the Dodgers make it. Which I am, since the magic number is 4 with 12 games to play. Sure, nothing is clinched yet, but let's be serious. Anyway, Belliard is playing great for the Dodgers, after not doing much for the Nats. And yet he doesn't really fit in with the Dodgers. Even as he's been blazing hot with his new club his on base percentage since coming over is a rather limp 0.339. For the entire year? Don't even ask. Let's just say he'd fit right in with the on-base challenged Giants. I guess I'm asking if he really deserves to start ahead of Hudson. What happens if the home runs dry up?

Game 149 Unfair Loss Shares ( Giants )

Penny -- 3

Metaphorically, the Dodgers pulled down Penny's pants, pointed, and laughed. That's about what happened in two and two thirds delightful innings on Saturday.

Here's another one: Penny was dropped into one of those souvenir coin machines, and the Dodgers smooshed him flat and stretched him out and stamped him with Belisario hitting a grand slam on one side and Larry Bowa smiling on the other side.

Game 150 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Ethier -- 1
Wolf -- 1
Belliard -- 1

There he is again, that Belliard. I can see why it's going to very tempting to put him in the lineup every day. And there again is Ethier as well. Around my house we call him Ethi-bomb, because Ethi-bombs are what he hits. I love Kemp's raw all-field power, but there is also something to be said for a guy who just pulls all of his home runs ( almost all ). Even if that pitch is outside he can still pull it into the right field seats.

Game 150 Unfair Loss Shares ( Giants )

Lincecum -- 2
Molina -- 1

Oh sure, they beat Lincecum, but he was having a bad day, so it doesn't count. And I would counter that it was the Dodger hitters who made him have a bad day. That pitch Ethier hit for a home run didn't look like an awful pitch to me.

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