I’d written up a whole bit about how Vicente Padilla had shaken off the rough start to his 2010 by throwing out quality start after quality start, capped by tonight’s 9 K, 0 BB gem. As he struck out Ronny Paulino for the 2nd out in the 7th, it became clear that the bullpen would be coming in for the 8th, and I started doing some research on Padilla’s season, including this nugget, which I oh-so-brilliantly put on Twitter:
Unless something awful happens right here, this is going to be Padilla’s first outing of 2010 in which he doesn’t allow a homer.
Less than two minutes later, Marlins rookie Mike Stanton deposited the 112th and final pitch of Padilla’s night into the left field stands, because of course he did. I invited the punishment which I so richly deserved, which I’ll post along side to the right here for your enjoyment, because it’s the only way I’ll learn.
Still, Padilla’s got a pretty interesting stat line going on. 9 K against 0 BB is quite impressive, and he joins Chad Billingsley (11 K on May 31 against Arizona) in being the only Dodger to strike out as many as 9 without a walk this season. (Four Dodgers did it last season, including Padilla himself when he set down 10 on October 4th against Colorado).
Following up on what I mentioned last time regarding Padilla:
Vicente Padilla showed just how effective he can be when he’s right, allowing just three hits and a run over seven innings. Remember, his ERA has been misleading all season. After his first two lousy outings, in which he allowed eleven earned runs while not making it out of the fifth inning either time, Padilla’s allowed three, two, (DL stint), four, two, and one earned runs in the five starts since.
Just two earned runs in 6.2 innings certainly qualifies as a solid start in keeping that streak alive, though the fact that he has become so oddly homer-prone is disconcerting at best. Regardless, his slow start and ensuing injury were huge parts of this team’s May starting rotation panic, and his turnaround is of utmost importance.
But wait! There’s more jinxing to come. Travis Schlichting started off his 2010 season by putting up 10 scoreless innings in his various MLB stints. (That’s 10.2 consecutive if you cheat a little bit and include the two outs he got to close out a 6-0 loss on June 12 of last year, in a game also started by Padilla… but for Texas.) Schlichting set down the Fish in the 8th inning, and as Vin Scully pointed out that Jonathan Broxton was warming to enter in the 9th, I noted the scoreless streak fact. What could go wrong?
Well, Rafael Furcal just had to go and extend the lead to five in the bottom of the inning, meaning that Broxton wasn’t needed (yet, anyway)… and you can note my increasing horror at this fact in this succession of tweets as Schlichting allowed his first run to cross the plate:
Uh-oh. Vin: “With a 5 run lead, Broxton has stopped throwing, so Schlichting will go back out for the 9th inning.”
I’m more nervous about Travis Schlichting‘s mop-up 9th inning than his mom is right now.
Farewell, Twitter. I’ll miss you.
If you want to see the replies I got to those… well, you’re just going to have to go search it out yourself. Disaster city on my part.
Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, & Casey Blake all hit homers, two of which came off of Marlins starter Chris Volstad (who was optioned back to AAA within 10 minutes of the game ending). Kemp’s blast was a particularly monstrous shot, in addition to two stolen bases. He’s OPSing 1.124 with three homers over the last seven days. Can we please at least agree that whether or not he did need some sort of wake-up call, that this is the result of an immensely talented player coming off a poor month far more than it is some sort of voodoo clubhouse magic worked by Joe Torre? I’m not immune to the idea that the time on the bench may have gotten into Kemp’s brain a bit, but the level that some people are going to credit this all to Torre is mind-blowing.
Rafael Furcal had two more hits and 3 RBI. You may have noticed this, but he’s sorta good. I’m in the middle of writing the dedicated post to him which he sorely deserves, but know this: we’re in the midst of some of the finest shortstop play in the long history of the Dodger franchise, dating back to Brooklyn.
I posted this on Twitter earlier, but I can’t help but add it here as well. In all of Dodger history, there have been 1,337 seasons in which a Dodger has received at least 134 plate appearances, or exactly what Garret Anderson had seen entering tonight’s game.
Rank those 1,337 seasons by OPS+ (Manny’s 2008 is at the top, no surprise), and you’ll see that Anderson ranks 1,318th. That means that 98.57% of previous Dodger hitters dating back to the 19th century were more productive with that amount of plate appearances than he’s been. And some could even play defense, too!
But why stop there and just say those things, when through the magic of baseball-reference I can show you them specifically? (And no, I didn’t have to start with Andruw Jones on the list. I could have just put GA at the top. But I wanted to make it clear that GA has some work to do just to reach the tubby depths of Jones’ 2008 debacle.)
That means there’s 19 seasons in which a Dodger has performed more poorly than Anderson, but two things should have jumped out at you immediately. First of all, a solid eight of those 19 belong to the legendary catcher Bill Bergen, who was an excellent defender but was infamous for being the worst-hitting player in baseball history (no, really; he holds the record for longest hitless streak by a non-pitcher) and who was out of baseball by 1912. Second, note the third column on line 1332; Tommy Brown was just 16 when he was pressed into service for the wartime 1944 Dodgers.
Finally, note that I’m even in a situation where I’m comparing Garret Anderson to a 16-year-old – and that the teen had a higher OBP. Anderson’s not going to come anywhere near the 250+ PA Bergen got on several occasions, and he’s probably not even going to get up to the 192 that Jul Kustus got in his one season in Brooklyn, 1909. But if you look at the PA numbers on the list below him, he’s going to be knocking some names off quickly. His next PA will dislodge Doug Camilli, and it won’t take long to say goodbye to Jeff Torborg, Ben Geraghty, and Moe Berg either. Even the 152 PA Dodger legend Maury Wills got in his final season (when he didn’t start a game after July 31 and was used strictly as a defensive replacement for the final two months because the team didn’t want to just cut him) isn’t out of reach.
We could be looking at the worst season in Los Angeles Dodger history; with a little luck, the worst in Dodger history since Bergen’s 1911. Or as you know I’d call it, “the worst season by a Dodger in one hundred years.”