Monday, September 17, 2012

Noffense Explained (Part 2 of 2)

Sure, let's do another leadoff bunt. Those have worked really well. (cries)

While Matt Kemp has contributed to the Dodgers' noffense mainly because of the lofty expectations, there are other contributors who have had limited expectations, and still aren't delivering. Shane Victorino, from this fan's perspective, seems to the biggest culprit in the latter category.

After all of those years killing us as a Phillie, I expected Victorino to provide some sort of spark at the top of the order, at least gutting balls out or driving them to the gaps and hustling around the bases. Instead, he's been an automatic out. On Sunday's game (which I attended), with the exception of a nice catch in left field against the wall, he was a worthy target of derision.

But at least I can take some solace in the fact that he's not happy about his performance, either, at least according to Mark Saxon of ESPN:

LOS ANGELES -- A few days after the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Shane Victorino, first-base coach Davey Lopes -- who made a living for 15 years disrupting another team's flow -- was asked how much Victorino could help spark a team struggling to create action.

"He can help a lot ... if he does his thing," Lopes said. "First, he has to do his thing."

You didn't have to be an expert interpreter of body language Sunday evening to see that Victorino hasn't exactly been doing his thing. After the Dodgers' 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in 12 innings, Victorino -- who went 0-for-6 and may have had the game-turning at-bat -- sat staring into his locker for a good 10 minutes.

When I asked him if he had a moment to talk afterward, he tossed something in his bag, snapped "Nope," and walked toward the showers.

That's kind of what it's been like for the new guys around the Dodgers these days. Victorino has batted .233 since the Dodgers got him from the Philadelphia Phillies and he has struck out more (26 times) than he has scored (20 times).

Adrian Gonzalez is batting .233 with one home run since coming west. Hanley Ramirez has hit some long balls, but he's batting a mediocre .264 in Dodger blue and has, frankly, played awful defense at shortstop. Josh Beckett has been better than many people expected (3.38 ERA) but the Dodgers have gone 1-3 in his four starts.

Manager Don Mattingly said he happened to talk to Victorino on Sunday about the difficulty of coming to a new team in midseason.

"He hasn't really gotten rolling, put it that way," Mattingly said.

His problem Sunday happened to involve rolling, actually. With Mark Ellis 90 feet away from winning a crucial game for the Dodgers -- at third with one out -- Victorino couldn't get the ball over a drawn-in infield. He slapped the ball to Daniel Descalso at second base and the Cardinals got Ellis in a rundown that defused their 10th-inning rally. St. Louis broke it open in the 12th off young reliever John Ely.

Victorino and Gonzalez combined to go 0-for-11 Sunday. They hit only one ball out of the infield between them.

I may be letting AGon off the hook, perhaps because I believe AGon will turn it around, and I'm less confident Shane has a clue out there. Perhaps it's my rationalization since I know we're stuck with AGon for a while, but Shaney is gone at season's end.

All I know is, these are not the droids I'd been looking for. But Victorino seems to be as fried as that R5-D4 model that couldn't even make it off the lot.

photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America (9/3/12)


Hideo Nomo said...

Bad motivator, personified.

Hideo Nomo said...

Related to the analogy:

I was rewatching Star Wars over the weekend for the umpteenth time, and I had a thought I've never had before. Is it possible that R2 remotely sabotaged R5-D4, so he would get purchased instead? Or is it Occam's Razor, and R5-D4 broke down at the most opportune time?

Hideo Nomo said...

Hmmm...supposedly, in the radio play adaptation, R2 sabotages R5's motivator while they're riding in the Sandcrawler.

Dusty Baker said...

Are you writing SW fan fiction again, Gnomes?

Steve Sax said...

Are you riding in a Sandcrawler again, Gnomes?

Steve Sax said...

More on R2-D2's sabotage, from Wookieepedia:

There is a continuity error in Episode IV, involving R5-D4. Just after the red droid's motivator has blown, C-3PO puts a good word in for R2. For a second, we are shown R2, with R5 inexplicably replaced beside him. The next shot shows the Jawas running over to retrieve the droid from where he stands (correctly) next to Luke and Threepio. The explanation for this is that the act of sabotage by R2 was edited out of later versions of the film, the "continuity error clip" was shown seconds before the act as R2 looks around to see if anyone is watching him. This scene was in versions of the film shown at U.K. Cannon Cinemas (Sheffield) in 1978.[source?]

Steve Sax said...

More from the same link:

The R5-D4 card from the Star Wars CCG series, claims that R5-D4 purposely blew his motivator to prevent splitting up R2-D2 and C-3PO. This seems to be in line with the non-canon explanation from "Skippy the Jedi Droid".

Dusty Baker said...

R5 sacrificed himself for R2 and Threepio? How tragically romantic.

Hideo Nomo said...

Notice how R5-D4 is far more interesting to talk about than Shane Victorino.

Orel said...

Maybe R2 used one of his hidden jet packs to injure R5.

Steve Sax said...

Maybe Shane is a LF7-0-fer unit.

Hideo Nomo said...

Giants win again. Yawn.

Fred's Brim said...

Let's win tonight!

Steve Sax said...

Everybody have fun tonight!