In Which MSTI Attempts to Jinx the Entire Pitching Staff

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.

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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:

Ha. I only said it when Vin made it clear JB was coming in. @DodgersDynasty: @MikeSciosciasTI hopfully Schlichting doesn’t pitch the ninth.

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.

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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.

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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.)

Rk Player OPS+ PA Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1315 Andruw Jones 35 238 2008 31 LAD 75 209 21 33 8 3 14 .158 .256 .249 .505
1316 Juan Castro 35 246 1998 26 LAD 89 220 25 43 7 2 14 .195 .245 .255 .499
1317 John Shelby 35 371 1989 31 LAD 108 345 28 63 11 1 12 .183 .237 .229 .466
1318 Garret Anderson 34 134 2010 38 LAD 64 128 6 24 5 2 11 .188 .203 .289 .492
1319 Jeff Torborg 34 136 1969 27 LAD 51 124 7 23 4 0 7 .185 .241 .218 .458
1320 Wally Gilbert 33 171 1928 27 BRO 39 153 26 31 4 0 3 .203 .274 .229 .503
1321 Rube Walker 32 187 1957 31 BRO 60 166 12 30 8 2 23 .181 .243 .265 .508
1322 Bill Bergen 32 265 1905 27 BRO 79 247 12 47 3 0 22 .190 .213 .219 .431
1323 Bill Bergen 31 320 1908 30 BRO 99 302 8 53 8 0 15 .175 .189 .215 .404
1324 Randy Jackson 30 145 1957 31 BRO 48 131 7 26 1 2 16 .198 .246 .252 .498
1325 Bill Bergen 28 347 1904 26 BRO 96 329 17 60 4 0 12 .182 .204 .207 .411
1326 Doug Camilli 26 134 1964 27 LAD 50 123 1 22 3 0 10 .179 .226 .203 .429
1327 Ben Geraghty 25 138 1936 23 BRO 51 129 11 25 4 0 9 .194 .241 .225 .466
1328 Jul Kustus 25 192 1909 26 BRO 53 173 12 25 5 1 11 .145 .204 .191 .395
1329 Ramon Martinez 24 147 2007 34 LAD 67 129 10 25 4 0 27 .194 .248 .225 .473
1330 Moe Berg 16 138 1923 21 BRO 49 129 9 24 3 0 6 .186 .198 .240 .439
1331 Bill Bergen 16 372 1906 28 BRO 103 353 9 56 3 0 19 .159 .175 .184 .359
1332 Tommy Brown 14 160 1944 16 BRO 46 146 17 24 4 0 8 .164 .208 .192 .400
1333 Bill Bergen 12 143 1907 29 BRO 51 138 2 22 3 0 14 .159 .165 .181 .347
1334 Bill Bergen 6 273 1910 32 BRO 89 249 11 40 2 0 14 .161 .180 .177 .357
1335 Maury Wills 3 152 1972 39 LAD 71 132 16 17 3 0 4 .129 .190 .167 .357
1336 Bill Bergen 1 372 1909 31 BRO 112 346 16 48 1 1 15 .139 .163 .156 .319
1337 Bill Bergen -4 250 1911 33 BRO 84 227 8 30 3 0 10 .132 .183 .154 .337
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/6/2010.

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.”

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  1. [...] earlier this week I noted that 1,337 Dodgers in history had as many plate appearances as GA did, and his OPS+ rank [...]

  2. [...] Schlichting. I jinxed the poor guy’s scoreless streak. Least I can do is give him an A. Now can someone please [...]

  3. [...] of course, jinxed the hell out of that, and his season went pretty downhill from there. In 12.2 IP over his final 10 games, Schlichting [...]

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