Manny-less Dodgers still easily best in MLB

The Dodgers were supposed to come back to earth when Manny Ramirez got suspended. And they did... for a while.   Immediately following the suspension, the Dodgers lost 4 of 5. Things looked good for the rest of the NL West, - until LA promplty won 7 of 8. 

They lost their weekend series vs the Angels, but they have still actually increased their division lead by one game since the suspension.  How is that possible?  Among other things, the dropoff from Ramirez to Juan Pierre hasn't been as steep as expected (though the manager there probably doesn't hurt).  Check out Fangraphs values.  Pierre is already nipping at the heels of Ramirez.

Pierre has hit safely in 13 of 16 games since the suspension, giving him a scary (.403/.481/.657) line in that span.  That certainly is unsustainable (.409 BABIP this year), but there is no question he is on a roll, and he's just the kind of annoying hitter that can quietly beat you when he's on.

So there's that, and the rest of the team turns out to be pretty good too.


F_losangelesdm_0f3c210_mediumLos Angeles (30-15, L1, 1st)

Monday-Wednesday: 3-game series at Coors Field

Los Angeles holds the notable distinction of being 1st in MLB in batting average AND 1st in ERA.  It doesn't take a blogger, newspaper columnist or big league manager to recognize how scary that relationship is for Dodgers' opponents. 

Let's see how they are doing this.  First, offensively.  They are bottom ten in HR, but otherwise:

  Stat   Amt MLB Rank
BABIP   .335       1st
BB%  11.7%       1st
LD%  21.8%       1st

I'm already tired of listing their firsts...A team-wide BABIP that high might suggest a bit of luck the first seven weeks of the season, but those other two stats tell a different story.  The Dodgers are being more selective than any team in the league and wait for their pitch.  When they get it, they turn them into solid line drives, line drives always yield the most hits.  That's just good fundamental hitting all the way down the roster.  On to pitching:

          Stat  Amt MLB Rank
HR Allowed  0.66       3rd
Avg Allowed  .227       1st
WHIP  1.27       2nd
BABIP Allowed  .275       1st

Again, we are talking cream of the crop here.  They are limiting hits and limiting the big hits.  Generally a good sign...  But the peripheral stats just don't explain their BABIP as much, which is partly why they have a fairly large ERA/FIP split.

Also, in case you are wondering, the Dodgers have allowed just 6 unearned runs, second only to the Phillies.  So even when they've made errors, they haven't come back to hurt them.



Probable Pitchers:

Tonight, 1:10 MDT

2009 - Eric Stults 4-1 3.82 1.41 25 16

There is no new Eric Stults.  This is the same guy that went 2-3 in 7 starts last year.  If anything, he's been slightly less effective via his peripheral stats.  The difference is the offense behind him, which has helped the Dodgers go 6-1 in his starts.  Still, Stults version 2008 or 2009 is formidable.  Stults is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his career vs. Colorado, though interestingly, Rockie lefties have been the ones to hit him hard.  Brad Hawpe (7-for-20, 2 HR), Seth Smith (4-for-9) and Todd Helton (7-for-23) represent the three Rockies with the most success vs Stults.  Also of note, Stults missed his last start due to a thumb sprain.

2009 - Jorge De La Rosa 0-4 4.27 1.29 46 21

Apparently, Jorge was sick of getting undeserved losses, so he went out and earned one last week.  Still, his overall statistics are exceptionally strong, and he is very deserving of a win.  He allowed no runs on 5 hits in 5.2 IP on April 17. We are just 2-6 in his starts.

Tuesday, May 26, 6:40 MDT

2009 - Eric Milton 0-0 4.50 1.50 3 4

The former Twin and Red makes his second big league start in two years after Tommy John surgery.  The lefty lasted just 4 innings in his first start this year, a Dodgers loss.  He struggled with control while averaging 2mph more on each pitch than career averages.  That surgery is amazing.

2009 - Aaron Cook 3-1 4.68 1.44 24 21

Erase the sore back + rain inning in Pittsburgh, and Aaron Cook has allowed just 2 ER in his last 24 IP and five straight quality starts.  I'll leave it at that. 

Wednesday, May 27, 1:10 MDT

2009 - Clayton Kershaw 2-3 4.32 1.28 51 28

Six of 10 starts this season, Kershaw has allowed 1 or 0 ER, including his last two and 4 of his last 5.  When he's on, he's on.  He limits HR, limits hits (4th best average against in the bigs) and strikes out a ton.  There's a lot to like - or be scared of.  Still, he walks more the 5 per 9 IP, so the key for him is control. 


 2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez 3-5 4.25 1.42 48 24

Ubaldo was 3rd in MLB in HR/IP last year, and he's actually improved on that this year.  He has 5 straight quality starts, all in May, with a 2.38 ERA in that span; yet, the Rockies were only 2-3 in those games.  April Baldy must have stayed in April.

Prediction:  My favorite color is white (see below).  After a strong series in Detroit and the first winning week of the season against two hot teams, I think (more hope) the Rox can take advantage of the back end of LA's rotation.



33_15_10---fire-flame-texture_web_mediumThree starters are hitting over .300 the past week.  Juan Pierre (.320/.452/.400), James Loney (.333/.370/.375) and Casey Blake (.462/.563/.769) have been carrying the offense.



Russell Martin (.200/.273/.300), Andre Ethier (.125/.286/.188) and Matt Kemp (.227/.292/.227) have balanced out the above trio. 



LHP Eric Stults missed his last start with a sprained thumb but is cleared to pitch tonight.  OF Xavier Paul, who was promoted after Manny Ramirez' suspension, has been hospitalized with a staph infection and is on the DL.  Jamie Hoffman was promoted in his place.


Flip under the fold for the weekly NL West Report 

NL West Report

Arizona (19-25, 4th, L1, 10.5 GB)

Last Week: 3-1 @ Marlins, 2-1 @ Athletics. 

This Week: 3 game series vs Padres, 4 game series vs Braves

News: Arizona DFA'd IF Josh Wilson, and San Diego promptly claimed him up

Due to Brandon Webb's injury, Webb is unlikely to be traded, but Jon Garland could be a trade chip. 

Jon Garland

#52 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Sep 27, 1979

A list of other possible trade candidatesEric Byrnes, Augie Ojeda, Tony Clark, Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Felipe Lopez, Chad Tracy, Scott Schoeneweis, Jon Rauch and Tom Gordon.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Tom Gordon hamstring 05/04/2009
Yusmeiro Petit shoulder 05/09/2009
Conor Jackson pneumonia 05/12/2009
Tony Clark other-excused 05/06/2009
Brandon Webb shoulder 04/07/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Felipe Lopez hamstring 05/24/2009
Scott Schoeneweis other-excused 05/21/2009



Los Angeles (30-15, 1st, L1)

Last Week: 3-0 vs Mets, 1-2 vs Angels

This Week: 3 game series @ Rockies, 4 game series @ Cubs

News:  Jason Schmidt had a AAA rehab start this week and pitched flawlessly for two innings.  Then Schmidt was beaned in the head by a line drive.  He left on his own power and did not go to the hospital, so he should be fine.

Jason Schmidt

#29 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Jan 29, 1973


LA got Krebs from the Pirates.  RHP Eric Krebs is the PTBNL to complete the Delwyn Young deal.

Ned Colletti also signed two Korean pitchers, 22-year old Ji-Mo Lee and 38-year old Hyang-Nam Choi.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Eric Stults thumb 05/24/2009


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Hong-Chih Kuo elbow 04/30/2009
Jason Schmidt shoulder 03/30/2009
Hiroki Kuroda oblique 04/07/2009
Xavier Paul knee 05/21/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Doug Mientkiewicz shoulder 04/17/2009
Claudio Vargas elbow 04/05/2009



San Diego (22-22, 2nd, W9, 7.5 GB)

Last Week: 3-0 vs Giants, 3-0 vs Cubs.  The last five Padres' series have been sweeps - the first two were losses, the last three wins.  They seem to be feeding off Petco and Jake Peavy wanting to remain a Padre.

This Week: 3 game series @ D-Backs, 3 game series @ Rockies

News: Kevin Towers failed to complete the Jake Peavy trade with the White Sox (thanks to Peavy), but don't think that means he'll be in San Diego for the rest of the season, despite their recent surge.  The Cubs are still interested and Peavy hasn't completely shut the door on the White Sox

Jake Peavy

#44 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





May 31, 1981

The Brewers remain a possibility, and Peavy apparently has decided that he is partial to "Middle America."


Brian Giles is having a terrible season, but Giles is not close to retiring.  At least on his own terms.

Tony Gwynn will be a Padre OF again.  At least Junior will be.  The Padres gave up CF Jody Gerut for Gwynn Jr in a recent trade.

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Shawn Hill elbow 04/26/2009
Luis Rodriguez ankle 05/14/2009
Cliff Floyd shoulder 04/05/2009
Walter Silva forearm 04/14/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Cha Seung Baek forearm 03/30/2009
Mark Worrell elbow 03/27/2009
Mike Adams shoulder 03/27/2009
Everth Cabrera hand 04/20/2009


San Francisco (20-23, 2nd, L1, 9 GB)

Last Week: 0-3 @ Padres, 1-2 @ Mariners.  The Giants have continued their freefall out of second place by losing three straight series and 11 of their last 13 games.

This Week: 3 game series vs Braves, 3 game series vs Cardinals

News:  GM Brian Sabean has realized the Giants' bats are not playoff caliber.  After losing 4 straight one run games last week (despite allowing only 10 runs in those games, the Giants are actively trying to trade for a bat.  They have inquired about Dan Uggla, though such a trade would probably require trading Matt Cain or Jonathan Sanchez, as they are resitant to give up top end minor league talent.

Matt Cain

#18 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants





Oct 01, 1984

The San Jose Mercury News' Andrew Baggarly reports that Sabean is actively dangling Matt Cain specifically to see what can return.  Other bats Sabean may be targeting include Nick Johnson, Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, Paul Konerko, Matt Holliday, and Felipe Lopez.


LHP Noah Lowry hasn't pitched since August 2007, and his agent blames the Giants.  Damon Lapa asserts that theGiants had Lowry get the wrong surgery and complete the wrong rehab.  Naturally, the Giants deny it.

Pablo Sandoval has a sore elbow.  Luckily, San Francisco was on the road for interleague, so Sandoval was able to DH.  It's something to keep an eye on.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Sergio Romo elbow 03/27/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Noah Lowry ribs 03/27/2009
Joe Martinez concussion 04/10/2009

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