Your 2013 Dodgers: On Pace To Be The Worst Los Angeles Dodger Team Ever

mattingly_honeycutt_2013-05-13This… is not getting better, is it? Despite having Clayton Kershaw on the mound and being lucky enough to face a team that had to pull an unexpected bullpen game together after Clayton Richard was forced to exit after after only two pitches, the Dodgers lost again last night — their ninth loss in twelve games. (Hey, that Arizona brawl really saved the season, didn’t it, Bob Nightengale? That looks just as awful now as it did the day it was written.)

But even that doesn’t tell the tale, really. Through 72 games, this team is 30-42, and allow me to present to you the full list of other Los Angeles Dodger teams that have had that many losses through 72 games: _________.

Oh. Okay, how about all Dodger teams, both in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, with that many losses through 72 games since Don Drysdale was born in July of 1936: ________.

Oh, again. That’s right, while the dawn-of-the-20th-century Brooklyn Dodgers were worse than this more than a few times, the last Dodger team with 42 losses through 72 games was that 1936 Brooklyn club that had All-Star catcher Babe Phelps, a pretty good pitching season from Van Mungo… and not a whole hell of a lot else. (I think people forget just how bad the first 50ish years of Brooklyn baseball generally was; if not for that last decade or so with the glory days of Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, and friends, somehow I doubt anyone would still be talking about the origins of this franchise with such reverence today.)

Comparing them to the other worst teams of recent vintage, the 1992 club had 41 losses through 72 on their way to 63-99, while the 2005 team was actually at 35-37, better than the 2008 NLCS club, before cratering down the stretch.

I don’t think this team is going to lose 99 games, because it just doesn’t seem possible. Not with this collection of talent, not with Yasiel Puig lighting up the night, not with Carl Crawford & Matt Kemp coming back in the next few weeks, not with a rotation that’s fronted by three very good starters in Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-jin Ryu. And while we’ve been over the reasons why endlessly — the constant injuries, years of damage from the GM’s office, lousy on-field managerial decisions, a leaky defense — there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.

Really, the team shouldn’t be this bad. The pitching is 14th in ERA, 13th in FIP. (That’s a bit skewed towards the rotation, which is much better than the bullpen.) The offense is 20th in wOBA. The fielding, while leading the game in errors, is 17th in Defensive Runs Saved and 18th in UZR/150. They aren’t a good team, but none of those numbers indicate a club that should have more losses than everyone other than Houston & Miami.

Just don’t give me “lack of grit,” not on a team that has Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker, and two Ellises. Don’t give me “how could a team with this much salary not be in first place,” because it’s neither relevant nor true. Hanley Ramirez, Greinke, Crawford, & Kemp are making something like $84 million combined between the four of them this year. Here’s how many times we’ve seen them all playing on the same night: _______.

If you want to blame it on Don Mattingly, go right ahead — I can’t really argue against it at this point — but let’s not pretend that Tim Wallach or anyone else would be single-handedly responsible for the six additional wins (and hence six fewer losses) that it would have taken to merely be at .500 at this point.

This team is bad, and outside of Puig, they’re boring, which is just as bad. It’s not going to stay this bad; it can’t stay this bad. But when we’re even having discussions in late June about “being on pace to set records for futility,” well… I’d like to be more eloquent, but that’s just bad.

561 comments
VinSmith
VinSmith

The key to this Dodger team is depth.  The key to any team is depth.  One note clubs must have everything fall into place.  If their big banger is out, they simply don't win.  If their best hurler is hurt, they simply don't win.  My advice to the Dodger brain trust?  Do not trade away any of the four big outfielders.  Instead, sign another big bopper in the off-season.  Have five of them.  Tell the team that they can have a choice; slightly better stats with some also ran team, or play like the Yankees historically played.  When the old Yanks lost a piece to injury, they had someone else to step in and carry the load.  I believe that is what Stan Kasten and Company have attempted--so successfully--this year.  If the Blue Crew does that in the future, the team will be a perennial contender.

FJ is hibernating
FJ is hibernating

HELLO MIKE. I AM FROM THE FUTURE. CHECK IT OUT, MAN, EVERYTHING IS WHITE AND SHINY AND WE ARE 10.5 GAMES IN FIRST PLACE. I KNOW, IT'S WEIRD. ALSO, ROBOTS NOW CONTROL VAST ARMIES OF WEAPONIZED DOLPHINS, BUT EVERYTHING CAN'T BE AWESOME ALL THE TIME.

VinSmith
VinSmith

...The 1951 Giants were not really very good until August.  Watch the 2013 Dodgers make a gigantic run.  It won't even come at the last possible moment.  No Shot Heard Around the World.  The Miracle of Cooggan's Bluff.  The Dodgers will completely turn it around.  Post Season--here we come!. 

zedtivx
zedtivx

if you want to now why the dodgers are so bad, just add up all the at-bats given to players like punto, schumaker, cruz, sellers, hairston, and dee gordon and marvel at the insane volume of incredibly bad production.  infield depth has been the team's biggest problem from day one.

then look at all the innings given to pitchers who haven't performed like beckett, magill, lilly, and league. it doesn't matter how many stars you have if the rest of the team isn't even replacement level - it will more than cancel out all the positive contributions from the top of the roster.

moneynow27
moneynow27

I don't like the guy personally, but for a guy who's bounced around a lot, had some ok years earlier ( '04-'09), and now emerges as an ace, Jason Marquis has pretty good stuff, esp. with his out pitches.

PagansOedipalComplex
PagansOedipalComplex

So if it comes down to a bidding war between us and the Red Sox, who wins out for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez?

PagansOedipalComplex
PagansOedipalComplex

So Magill to the DL  we are a Capuano injury from complete rotation destruction... 

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Magill to AAA DL

Allen Kim
Allen Kim

HELLO MIKE. I AM FROM A MORE DISTANT FUTURE. CHECK IT OUT, MAN, EVERYTHING IS DODGER BLUE AND WE JUST WON THE NLDS. I KNOW, IT'S WEIRD. ALSO, THOSE ROBOTS WERE ACTUALLY BEING CONTROLLED BY THE DOLPHINS! THEY SUCCEEDED IN ABOLISHING LOWER CASE TYPING. BUT EVERYTHING ELSE IS AWESOME.

Lobo
Lobo

@zedtivx This is called "What happens when a team loses almost it's entire projected starting lineup to injury during the season?"

PagansOedipalComplex
PagansOedipalComplex

@zedtivx Yeah, this is the reason as to why there are almost no Ned defenders, if you want to blame someone, it's him

VinSmith
VinSmith

@ahwang24 @VinSmith 

Why thank you! 

Much of my feeling was based on the fact that Don Matthingly truly is Donnie Baseball.  He did a credible job keeping the Dodgers mostly viable under a bankrupt ownership.  When Mattingly played, if I had been a GM, I would have chosen him first for my team (if such a thing were possible), and I would have picked Wade Boggs second, to shore up the other corner infield position.  Both were throwbacks who knew how to win.  I knew once the Dodgers got healthy, they would be solid. 

 But the real secret was bringing up Yasiel Puig.  I posted, somewhere, that the twenty-two-year old Cuban playing AA ball should be brought up.  If Puig wasn't the next Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, I didn't know what he was.  He proved to be just that--a phenom worth his salt.  I've waited for a quarter-of-a-century for this kind of Dodger club. 

I worked extra hard selling "starts," new subscriptions on my paper route for the Whittier Daily News, in order to win a trip to the Coliseum to see the first Major League Baseball game in Los Angeles, against the Giants.  I had been quite upset that the old PCL days were over; I was a diehard Hollywood Stars fan (which might be why I have never warmed up to the MLB Angels). That one game on a warm Sunday in April--I even had my transistor radio to listen to Vin Scully--made me a lifelong Dodger fan.  Of course, I rooted for the Dodgers against the Yankees starting with the '52 Word Series, the first Series that was televised.  But day-in- and day-out, I rooted for the Pittsburgh Pirates, because they had a working relationship with the stars. 

I knew nothing about Vinnie.  I was a huge Sam Balter fan, the voice of the Stars.  Sitting in the Coliseum that Sunday, listening to Scully and Jerry Doggett, I knew my grandfather's prediction in 1954, while he mended his lobster nets, was the single most important sports declaration I had ever listened to.  Ruby Diamon Harry Hill, a legendary New England fisherman in Guilford, CT, my maternal grandfather said to me, "...I am sorry your uncle failed to take you to Ebbetts Field 

VinSmith
VinSmith

@ahwang24 @VinSmith

Why thank you! 

Much of my feeling was based on the fact that Don Matthingly truly is Donnie Baseball.  He did a credible job keeping the Dodgers mostly viable under a bankrupt ownership.  When Mattingly played, if I had been a GM, I would have chosen him first for my team (if such a thing were possible), and I would have picked Wade Boggs second, to shore up the other corner infield position.  Both were throwbacks who knew how to win.  I knew once the Dodgers got healthy, they would be solid. 

 But the real secret was bringing up Yasiel Puig.  I posted, somewhere, that the twenty-two-year-old Cuban playing AA ball should be brought up.  If Puig wasn't the next Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, I didn't know what he was.  He proved to be just that--a phenom worth his salt.  I've waited for a quarter-of-a-century for this kind of Dodger club. 

The Dodgers are in my blood...

I worked extra hard selling "starts," new subscriptions on my paper route for the Whittier Daily News, in order to win a trip to the Coliseum to see the first Major League Baseball game in Los Angeles, against the Giants.  I had been quite upset that the old PCL days were over; I was a diehard Hollywood Stars fan (which might be why I have never warmed up to the MLB Angels). That one game on a warm Sunday in April 1958--I even had my transistor radio to listen to Vin Scully--made me a lifelong Dodger fan.  Of course, I rooted for the Dodgers against the Yankees starting with the '52 Word Series, the first Series that was televised.  But day-in- and day-out, I rooted for the Pittsburgh Pirates, because they had a working relationship with the Stars. 

I knew nothing about Vinnie.  I was a huge Sam Balter fan, the voice of the Stars.  Sitting in the Coliseum that Sunday, listening to Scully and Jerry Doggett, I knew my grandfather's prediction in 1954, while he mended his lobster nets, was the single most important sports declaration/prediction I had ever listened to.  Ruby Diamon Harry Hill, a legendary New England fisherman in Guilford, CT, my maternal grandfather said to me, "...I am sorry your uncle failed to take you to Ebbets Field this summer, but don't worry.  I happen to know that the Dodgers will move west--to Los Angeles--in a few years.  Ruby Diamond as grandfather was known to folks Guilford, was a close friend of a number of politicians, and the most avid baseball fan I ever met.  He regularly advised on New England fisheries to all of the powerful people.

While I have fond memories of the Hollywood Stars--guys like Frank Kelleher, Gene Stevens, Monty Basgall, Bubba Church, Johnny Lindell, Irv Noren and many others, the Dodgers completely replaced the Stars for me--I never followed the Salt Lake City Bees. 

I get these electric tingles when I just know the good things that will happen to the Blue Crew.  I felt it when Scully announced Kirk Gibson limping into the game to face Eckersley.  And I knew it when Gil Hodges (who should be in the Hall of Fame) was on second base.  It was 1959, and Carl Furillo was pinch hitting.  Scully's call:  "There's a bouncing ball, over the mound, over second base, Mantilla up with it...  He throws it away!  Here comes Hodges!  We go to Chicago! 

Go Dodger Blue!

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

Yeah, Ned was gambling on having a healthy roster, excepting Bills.

And He can't wait for talent to rise past AA

moneynow27
moneynow27

@Mike Petriello @moneynow27 

Is he not the Padres top starter this year?  Who else? Stults? Volquez? ....he looks like an ace vs. the Dodgers this year, but then.......oh forget it....

Tycho Blue
Tycho Blue

@John M @Tycho Blue @PagansOedipalComplex That other Stan, the Rams owner and my BPL team Arsenal owner was in the final running for the Dodgers.  I'm glad that fell through, all my emotional baggage on one owner may be too much.