Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day - A Third of the Season Benchmark

Now that we're about to turn the calendar to June, I thought it might be a worthy exercise to take a look at the Dodgers' body of work through the first 50 games of the season. With the caveat that 50 games is still a relatively small sample, here's what the Boys in Blue have done thus far:
  1. Record. Presently, the Dodgers are 29-21, having scored 218 runs, while giving up 200. Based on Bill James' Pythagorean formula, that would roughly equate to a record of 27-23, so the Dodgers have outperformed what would normally be expected. Interestingly enough, the Dodgers have had several games thus far where they laid the wood on the opponent - a particularly satisfying result when the opponent is a hated rival. Of course, these things tend to even out over the course of a season (see, e.g., the recent series sweep by the Angels where the Dodgers were outscored 19-4). Even so, the Dodgers would appear to be fortunate to have banked a couple of wins beyond what would normally be expected. Interestingly enough, the Dodgers have a record of 20-3 when scoring 5 runs a game or more.
  2. Hitting. The Dodgers have been paced by Old Man Kent (.287/.369/.509), Russell Martin (.307/.387/.452), and, surprisingly, Older Man Luis Gonzalez (.275/.373/.419). Now, the sooner the Dodgers get past this silly "2 leadoff hitter" setup with Furcal and Pierre, the better off the Dodgers will be. The real issue will be how many times we have to watch Pierre feebly ground out and not-so-feebly kill rallies.
  3. Pitching. Of course, the other half of the equation is run prevention (while the Dodgers have allowed 200 runs thus far, the Padres, for example, have allowed a stingy 167). While the Penny (VORP of 21.9), Wolf (14.3) Lowe (9.5) troika has been solid thus far, the Hendrickson and Tomko experiences have been like that infamous brown acid at Woodstock. An equally pleasant surprise has been the Game Over v. 2.0 combination of Broxton and Saito. Let's give a proper tip of the LA cap to Trader Neddie and Grady for entrusting the back end of the bullpen to these two relatively cheap assets, rather than feel the need to rush out and buy a "Capital C on the Cape" Closer.
Part of the beauty of the baseball season stems from the long grind of the 162 game season. Buried within the data of innings pitched and plate appearances are 0 for 30 slumps or leads blown by the bullpen. At least we have some things worth watching. . .