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21 – 3 is as good as it has ever been

2014 Kershaw celebration

Clayton Kershaw put his final stamp on what was possibly one of the greatest Dodger regular season pitched performances ever, but that is a story for a another day.

As has been my trend since Clayton was 18 – 3, we have been tracking his incredible winning %. Going 21 – 3 has put Clayton on the top of the LA Dodger winning percentage leader-board for starting pitchers with at least  10 starts.

Player            W-L% GS Year  W L    IP BB  SO  ERA ERA+
Clayton Kershaw   .875 27 2014 21 3 198.1 31 239 1.77  197
Orel Hershiser    .864 34 1985 19 3 239.2 68 157 2.03  171
Sandy Koufax      .833 40 1963 25 5 311.0 58 306 1.88  159
Tommy John        .813 22 1974 13 3 153.0 42  78 2.59  132
Clayton Kershaw   .808 33 2011 21 5 233.1 54 248 2.28  161
Brad Penny        .800 33 2007 16 4 208.0 73 135 3.03  147
Rick Rhoden       .800 26 1976 12 3 181.0 53  77 2.98  113

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/25/2014.
What I love even more is the Dodger winning % in games he started. Clayton was only able to start 27 games because he missed a month, but the team still won 23 of his 27 starts. The Dodgers only lost one Kershaw start after May 28th. One.  And that one loss was a complete game 2 – 3 decision.

So

27 starts

23 team victories

21 Kershaw victories

Only one thing stands between Clayton Kershaw the greatest regular season pitcher of the 21st century and legend.

A world series

Make it happen

Just your basic pennant clinching game at the Ravine

Sometimes you need a nudge to get off your ass and yesterday Joe Benardello harangued me enough over at truebluela about going to the game last night, that I finally scored a ticket and made the journey.

Thank God for Joe, because that was one hell of a clinching game. I’ve been to three now this century (I can’t remember the previous century), and each one will hopefully stay stored in the databanks.

While everyone wanted the clinching game, I was more interested in Clayton ending the season at 21 – 3 because I knew the pennant was inevitable but 21 – 3 is historic. It took me a while to get on the Kershaw MVP bandwagon that started over six weeks ago, simply because he’s a pitcher, but this year Clayton Kershaw is Cy Young, MVP, and hell give him the Hank Aaron trophy to boot.

This game had all the flavors:

  • Clayton hitting a triple to tie the game
  • Dee Gordon swinging at the 1st pitch after his pitcher had hit a triple. I might have been swearing at Dee.
  • Clayton doing the snag behind his back with a runner at 3rd when the game was tight. Might have been the best play you will ever see a pitcher complete in a clutch situation
  • Puig simply blowing our minds with his throw from CF to 3rd, that cut short, and basically slit the Giants throat for the evening. Throws like that, that you see live, remain forever. The emotional jolt I simply can’t adequately describe.
  • Puig giving the Dodgers the lead with the shot to RF
  • The eighth inning that would never end as every Dodger came up big

But best of all, it had my Dodger fans with me, and that made it the sweetest taste of all.

2014-09-24 22.29.02
This usherette was the best. Our group had commandeered the drinking/Standing area right behind home plate loge level. David Young and CtB scored it around 05:30. The usherette handled the box next to us, and the aisle. She was as into the game as any usherette we had ever witnessed. By the 9th we moved down the seats and spread out. She inexplicably plopped herself down next to Joe. I thought she was going to carry him home.
2014-09-24 22.05.53
Going right from left, we had David Young, Bobby Down, CtB, Kelley Stephen and his talkative son.

2014-09-24 20.59.54
Smiling Joe, backside of Craig, CtB, and David
2014-09-24 18.33.37

CtB, Berko, David, Craig

Kelly and his son spent the whole game us. Berko left before the game started, Bobby Bruin stopped by for a long while, and eventually Bobby Down showed up to finish the game. I may have broken my high-five record for a game.

Dodger outfield is as hot as the San Fernando Valley in Sept


All the Dodgers starting team, and key bench players are on fire, but leading the charge has been the starting outfield. All stats are courtesy of Fangraphs.com. Notice that three of them have a plus .600 slug %. Strangely enough, it is Carl Crawford with the highest Slug%.  SVS has the strange stat of a lower OB than Average. This sure beats having to write about how no one can hit who plays Centerfield.

September Dodger Outfield Stats as of Sept 21st

Outfielder PA Hits XBH HR Avg OBP Slug%
Matt Kemp 73 24 12 7 0.329 0.369 0.685
Yasiel Puig 69 22 6 2 0.319 0.405 0.464
Carl Crawford 53 23 9 2 0.434 0.448 0.698
Scott Van Slyke 24 10 3 1 0.417 0.400 0.625

I guess facing the likes of the Rockie/Cub pitching staffs can do wonders for a teams statistics.

Using total bases, Dodger 1st base coach, Davey Lopes reigns supreme at Wrigley Field

Davey Lopes

On Aug 20th, 1974 Davey Lopes had one of the all time great offensive games the LA Dodgers have ever produced from an infielder, when he accounted for fifteen total bases against the Cubs. Included in that total are three home runs and one double. With a score of 18 – 8 you can expect that everyone chipped in. Ron Cey and Willie Crawford both had four hits, while Steve Garvey drove in four runs. Jimmy Wynn had a perfect game doing what he always did, hit a home run and take a few walks.

It was strange to see Billy Grabarkewitz on this list from his 1970 season. Not because Billy didn’t have a great 1970 season but because most of his damage in 1970 came before the all-star game. Billy was hitting .341 at the all-star game, but hit just .232 afterward. Games like the one he had on Aug 14th had to be far and few between after the  break. This is a great box score to look at if you love Dodger history. Maury Wills had five hits, and Bill Russell was playing RF. Combined, the old SS, and the future SS went eight for nine. Grabarkewitz who did play a lot of SS in 1970 was playing 3rd base.

Ron Cey had the large RBI game with seven, again in 1974. Looks like the Dodger infield beat the crap out of the Cubbies that year.

The Bull, Al Ferrera had two games of two home runs at Wrigley.  That extra single is what got him on this leaderboard.

Player                        Date   Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI
Davey Lopes             1974-08-20 W 18-8  6 3 5  1  0  3 15   4
Billy Grabarkewitz      1970-08-14 W 13-9  4 3 3  0  1  2 11   2
Pedro Guerrero          1982-08-18  W 7-4  5 2 3  1  0  2 10   5
Roger Cedeno         1996-06-18(1)  W 9-6  5 1 4  2  0  1  9   4
Ron Cey                 1974-06-01 W 10-0  4 3 3  0  0  2  9   7
Willie Davis         1967-09-04(2)  W 8-6  5 3 4  0  1  1  9   2
Al Ferrara              1967-05-20 L 3-20  4 2 3  0  0  2  9   2
Al Ferrara              1966-06-07  W 8-6  5 2 3  0  0  2  9   2
Willie Davis            1962-04-26 W 12-5  5 2 3  0  0  2  9   2
Frank Howard            1961-04-29  W 9-4  4 2 3  0  0  2  9   6
Duke Snider             1960-05-29  W 4-0  4 2 3  0  0  2  9   4

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/19/2014.

Breaking down Adrian Gonzalez – A platoon player in waiting

Adrian Gonzalez

Just in case you have also missed what Don Mattingly has missed, Adrian is what some might call a platoon player in waiting. Meaning, that his manager still remembers when he could hit both sides of a pitcher, however the stats now say something has changed, and eventually the winds of change will be upon Adrian.

Or not, maybe this is  just a one year anomaly.  The last time Adrian had an OPS below .700 against LHP, was 2008, and he bounced back quite well. He was also only 26 not 32, so I’m not sure how much I’d be betting on 33 year old Adrian to rediscover the magic of hitting the MLB southpaw.

I’m only pointing this out on Sept 19th, 2014 because the postseason beckons and given that SVS or Juan Uribe (Turner at 3rd) offer alternatives to giving away at bats against LHP, it might be best if Donny put his best team on the diamond.  Unless of course over the next 10 games, Adrian magically discovers how to hit LHP again, in which case you can use this for silly things bloggers have written fodder.

Batting Against AB Hits XBH HR Avg OBP Slug%
Right Handed 409 125 52 21 0.306 0.362 0.535
Left Handed 151 30 10 2 0.199 0.262 0.291

Besides not being able to hit left hand pitching, Adrian has been a very streaky hitter in 2014. I’ve created these data points by using the Bref game logs and taking the high and low OPS. For example on May 1st Adrian’s OPS peaked at 1.043 and bottomed out on July 20th at .735.

Every hitter has streaks of good and bad, but Adrian this year seems to have taken those streaks to Hee Sop Choi levels.

Date From and To AtBats Hits XBH HR Avg OBP Slug%
03/22 – 05/01 109 35 18 9 0.321 0.392 0.651
05/2 – 07/20 255 56 17 5 0.22 0.277 0.325
07/21 – 08/07 57 18 8 1 0.316 0.385 0.491
08/08 – 09/09 106 38 16 8 0.358 0.403 0.66
09/10 – 09/18 33 8 3 0 0.242 0.286 0.333

Fernando sets rookie record with eighth shutout thirty three years ago today


Fernando started the season with five shutouts in his first seven major league starts. Basically every game Fernando started he was rewriting history during Fernandomania.

What Fernando did in his first 8 starts was a streak for the ages: 8 wins, 7 complete games, 5 shutouts and 4 earned runs surrendered in his first 72 innings. In streaks of over 80 innings, only Bob Gibson’s 3 earned runs in 103 innings In 1968 was better than Fernando’s 4 earned runs in 89 2⁄3 innings dating back to 1980

His fifth shutout came on May 8th, he would not pitch his sixth shutout until Aug 16th. Of course the MLBP strike shut him down for two months (June 12th – Aug 10th). From Aug 16th – Sept 17th Fernando would throw three shutouts as readied himself for his historic 1981 postseason run.

These eight shutouts still rank as the best in baseball for a rookie. Note the age compared to others who are on the leaderboard. Many rookies have thrown five shutouts, I’ve included only the Dodger pitchers who accomplished the feat. You can also note the name of Don Newcombe. Newcombe in his Rookie season also won the ROY and Cy Young award, just like Fernando.  Strange to see they were the only two pitchers to even win ROY on this leaderboard.

Player                          SHO Year Age  Tm    IP   H  ER  SO  ERA  FIP ERA+
Fernando Valenzuela (RoY-1st)     8 1981  20 LAD 192.1 140  53 180 2.48 2.44  135
Reb Russell                       8 1913  24 CHW 316.2 250  67 122 1.90 2.68  154
Russ Ford                         8 1910  27 NYY 299.2 194  55 209 1.65 1.88  160
Jerry Koosman (RoY-2nd)           7 1968  25 NYM 263.2 221  61 178 2.08 2.70  145
Pete Alexander                    7 1911  24 PHI 367.0 285 105 227 2.57 2.83  133
Harry Krause                      7 1909  20 PHA 213.0 151  33 139 1.39 1.91  174
George McQuillan                  7 1908  23 PHI 359.2 263  61 114 1.53 2.31  157
Irv Young                         7 1905  27 BSN 378.0 337 122 156 2.90 2.53  106
Harvey Haddix (RoY-2nd)           6 1953  27 STL 253.0 220  86 163 3.06 3.40  139
Gene Bearden (RoY-2nd)            6 1948  27 CLE 229.2 187  62  80 2.43 3.89  168
Fred Glade                        6 1904  28 SLB 289.0 248  73 156 2.27 2.17  110
Don Newcombe (RoY-1st)            5 1949  23 BRO 244.1 223  86 149 3.17 3.13  130
Dazzy Vance                       5 1922  31 BRO 245.2 259 101 134 3.70 3.64  111
Henry Schmidt                     5 1903  30 BRO 301.0 321 128  96 3.83 3.74   84

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/17/2014.

 Here is the box score from Sept 17th, 1981 – a few notes:

  • This was the last year of the Garvey/Lopes/Russel/Cey infield but on this day Cey and Russel took the day off with Gary Weiss playing SS, and super utility player Derrel Thomas manning 3rd
  • Fernando who also add the Silver Slugger to his trophy mantle that year, got a hit and drove in one of the two runs. Strangely enough it was an infield hit to second and scored the slowest runner in baseball Mike Scoscia who was on 3rd base.
  • This win would put the Dodgers up by two games, but they would lose the next five and end the year four games out. But it did not matter, because they won the first half of the strike shortened season and Reds could only claim to have the best record but no invitation to dance.

 

Hideo Nomo does the improbable eighteeen years ago today – No No at Coors

Hideo Nomo no hiiter

On Sept 17th, 1996 Hideo Nomo did what no one thought could be done. Pitch a no – hitter in the hitters paradise known as Coors Field.

Rich Westcott, author of No-Hitter, wrote the following, “A pitcher has about as much chance of firing a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver as someone would have sliding down Pike’s Peak in a canoe.”

Dodger Nation wrote about the no hitter earlier this year. Note the 20th no – hitter in LA Dodger History. would need to update this by two later with Josh and Clayton adding to the LA Dodger total.

On Sept. 17, 1996, Hideo Nomo threw a no-hitter in a 9-0 win over the Colorado Rockies. This feat is all the more impressive because it was the first no-no ever thrown in the hitter-friendly setting at Coors Field. Furthermore, it came down the stretch of the regular season and during a highly competitive pennant race. This made Nomo the seventh Dodger to throw a no-hitter, and his performance marked the 20th no-hitter in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

Here is the box score – a few notes:

  • The Dodger outfield was Wayne Kirby / Curtis playing CF (combined to go 4 for 5), and two ROY Todd Hollandsworth / Raul Mondesi
  • Just like Tom Brownings perfect game, this game was also delayed by rain, but in this case it was two hours instead of three
  • Because of the rain delay, Nomo pitched from the stretch from the 1st inning on
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