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Tag Archives: Joe Torre

Since July 31

Andre Ethier: 2 plate appearances, 1 hit, 1 walk.

Juan Pierre: 13 plate appearances, 4 hits, 0 walks.

On the year:

Andre Ethier: .781 OPS, 11 HR, 46 RBI

Juan Pierre: .644 OPS, .298 OBP as a leadoff hitter.

“To me, Juan certainly deserves the right to play.”

“When [Rafael] Furcal went down, he’s meant so much to the club. He brings another dimension, his basestealing ability. He gives a professional at-bat on a regular basis. He’s done it [leading off] longer than Matt. He’s willing to take pitches.”

– Joe Torre

Matt Kemp, as a leadoff hitter: .402 OBP, .931 OPS

Pitches per plate appearance: Kemp 3.75, Pierre 3.75, Ethier 4.17

That’s a whole lot of funny math going on Joe Torre’s head. Either that, or he’s completely full of crap, and is head over heels in love with Juan Pierre, much to the team’s detriment. What’s the point of keeping one of your best outfielders if you’re not going to play him?

An independent arbitrator reduced Kemp’s four-game suspension to two. Meanwhile, the four-million-dollar man trotted out this lineup today….

CF Pierre
LF Young
RF Ethier
C Martin
1B Loney
3B DeWitt
SS Berroa
2B Maza
P Kuroda

Yes, that’s a 7-8-9-1 of Berroa-Maza-Kuroda-Pierre. Against Jake Peavy. Because you know, Peavy needs all the help he can get. In a game when the Dodgers have neither Matt Kemp nor Jeff Kent, THAT is the lineup they’re running out. Wasn’t the whole point of having Andy LaRoche play 2B was so that he could relieve Kent?

I suppose I could mention that the aforementioned foursome are now 1-for-8 so far in the game that they’re trailing 6-0, but that would be beside the point. Besides, Pierre has one of the game’s only hits so far against Peavy (the other a double by Loney).

Even in his best year, his AL ROY-winning 2003, Angel Berroa still only managed a pedestrian .789 OPS. In 332 plate appearances for Triple-A Omaha, Berroa had a .797 OPS. While that certainly is an improvement over Chin-Lung Hu (.430) and Luis Maza (.585), was it really worth spending the $500,000 the Dodgers will pay to buy out Berroa’s option for 2009?

Silver lining? Acquiring Berroa probably signals the end of Chin-Lung Hu’s time with the big club. Hu just looks flat-out awful at the plate, and should benefit from some time in Las Vegas. In a perfect world, Mark Sweeney and Luis Maza would join him as well. But the Dodger world under Ned Colletti has been far from perfect.

I expect Hu to be sent down, and with no backups to incumbent 3B Blake DeWitt, Andy LaRoche should finally be recalled to L.A. If Rafael Furcal can return on June 17th as the club seems to think, that should also signal the end for Luis Maza, leaving Furcal and Berroa as the primary middle infielders, with LaRoche backing them up.

Still, you can’t help but be amused when you hear four-time World Champion managerâ„¢ Joe Torre say that he needs time to evaluate what Berroa can do. Um, Joe, I can do that for you, and save the club valuable time and money. Berroa sucks.

In spite of Berroa’s suckitude and Hu’s apparent need for a change of scenery, assuming Rafael Furcal is back in a week as anticipated, why even bother with Berroa? Hu’s defensive ability clearly outshines Berroa’s. And while Berroa is marginally better with the bat, any gain made there is erased by his defensive inability. Hu certainly could benefit from time in Las Vegas, but the Dodgers don’t benefit at all by having Berroa. They could’ve easily gone with a combination of LaRoche, Maza, Tiffee, and Hu to fill in for Furcal until he returns.

Someone should remind Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe that Jim Edmonds isn’t very good anymore. Jim Edmonds 2008 (.455 OPS) is a far cry from Jim Edmonds 2004 (1.061 OPS), but that didn’t stop them from openly gushing about him on-air. Someone ought to remind Lou Piniella as well, since for some reason, he saw fit to have Edmonds bat ahead of Geovany Soto.

Then again, Berman & Sutcliffe waxed poetic all night long about the managerial virtues of Joe Torre (playing Andruw Jones/Mark Sweeney at all; playing Juan Pierre ahead of Andre Ethier) and Piniella, so maybe this is a hopeless cause.

I believe that the most effective way to score runs is to get on base and hit for power. Take for example yesterday’s game against the Cubs. The Dodgers wasted a good outing from Chad Billingsley (6IP, 4H, 2R, 7K). Billingsley’s only mistake — a two-run blast to Derrek Lee, preceded by a walk to Ryan Theriot. But there you see the fundamentals of scoring runs — Theriot gets on base, Lee makes Billingsley pay with a home run.

Later in the game, Aramis Ramirez added a solo shot off of Scott Proctor, who continues to struggle this year. Two months into the season, and he’s still not looking very sharp. According to the broadcast, more than half the hits he’s given up this year have gone for extra bases. Perhaps he needs more innings, but it’s hard to argue in favor of it given his rather unsightly opponents’ OPS to date.

The Cubs won this game, despite good pitching from the Dodgers’ starter, by getting on base and hitting for power. I don’t think that could be any clearer to the Dodgers. Nonetheless, I should note that the Dodgers did just fine getting on base yesterday, racking up 10 hits and four walks. Fourteen baserunners, and only one run. Did they hit for power? Matt Kemp doubled twice, and Andre Ethier added one of his own. Other than that, just a bunch of little singles here and there. No power.

The Dodgers clearly lack power. Andruw Jones, their power-hitting messiah, has instead been a power-hitting void. Jeff Kent looks every bit of his 40 years. Meanwhile, developing hitters Ethier and Kemp are within reach of their career slugging percentages. Russell Martin and James Loney are a little further back of their career SLG, but still within striking distance.

According to the Dodgers (Joe Torre, anyway), inexperience is the problem. Inexperience, and not batting Mark Sweeeney (.100/.196/.125) fifth behind Jeff Kent (.242/.287/.373) is the problem. Meanwhile, I hear Andy LaRoche is getting PT at 1B. Why? You can never tell with Ned Colletti (improving LaRoche’s trade value/trading Loney/FINALLY DFA-ing Sweeney), but if it means he gets to LA faster (a la Jonathans Meloan and Broxton in the bullpen), then so be it. You’d think given Kent’s apparent to everyone but Bob Brenly and Joe Torre rustiness, that LaRoche would start taking grounders at 2B.

And speaking of Bob Brenly, I won’t even touch the very thinly-veiled disdain for Kemp. The guy must be a dear friend to Luis Gonzalez.