Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Post-Game 78 Thread: Following Nomar's Lead, Dodgers Go From First to Third

This has not been a good series for Nomar Garciaparra. Anyone who has watched him struggle can see, he's not in form. But the stats don't lie, either.

  • On Monday's blowout 8-1 win, Nomar batted third in the order and went 0-for-5. Team LOB: 4.
  • On Tuesday's narrow 6-5 victory, Nomar moved to third base, batted sixth in the order, and still went 0-for-5. Team LOB: 10. Dodgers retake first place in the NL West.
  • Tonight, losing 2-0 against a quality pitcher, Nomar again started at third, batted seventh in the order, and went 0-for-4. Team LOB: 13. Dodgers fall from first place to third place in the blink of an eye.

There's not many other places we can hide Nomar in the lineup. And I don't recall this strategy, of sending a slumping veteran hero down into the abyss of the bottom of the lineup, of having any healing or restorative powers (I may be wrong, but in the case of Sammy Sosa and the Cubs, it led to Dusty's dismissal and Sammy's smashed boombox). It's time to give Nomar a rest and let him recharge his batteries.

Now, Nomar's aggregate 0-for-14 is not only to blame for tonight's loss and two nights of untimely hitting. Rafael Furcal has gone 2-for-15 in the series, with one run and 9 LOB. Juan Pierre is a modestly better 2-for-14 in the series and has scored one run with 5 LOB. But Nomar looks uncommonly awful up there at the plate, swinging at bad pitches and hesitating at the good ones, and it seems logical to give him a rest before this slump gets into his head any further. Furcal and Pierre could also use a rest, but the latter has a consecutive-games-played streak that probably weighs against logic, at least in Grady's head.

But leaving all these men on base is worrisome, as the Dodgers seem to amass double-digit team LOB numbers relatively frequently (AZ has had 5, 8, and 8 LOB in the three games). This speaks to not only the poor quality of the individual batters, but also the aggregate makeup of the lineup. Grady needs to shake up this lineup further, since the hitting we do have (we've outhit the Snakes all three games) does not seem to be timely, or, in tonight's case, run-producing. And this has to stop.

But let's give Nomar a break. His performance last year as a Dodger, and his overall grit and class as a player and human, merit giving him a couple days' rest. And having newborn twins at home can't help any.

A win tomorrow against Johnson would be key. First pitch at 3.40p, so let's get out of work early and catch the game at a bar.