The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

There are two things that every baseball team must have

And those two things are magic and voodoo. That, anyhow, appears to be the opinion of Yahoo’s Tim Brown, who can’t think of any other reason why the Dodgers are winning. Take it away, Tim!

The Los Angeles Dodgers, by now, were to have collapsed upon themselves.

What? Why? The Dodgers are a pretty good team. I knew they weren’t going to collapse, and I’m a board-certified moron.

Beneath the heft of ownership that has artistically executed the leap from self-destructive to certifiably wacky …

That’s not my ellpisis there; Tim wrote it that way. And there’s nothing being elided — he just wrote that subordinate clause and then, I guess, couldn’t come up with anywhere to go from there, so he just left it dangling.

Another problem is that he implies that going "from self-destructive to certifiably wacky" is a bad thing, when I and Robin Williams both consider it a material upgrade.

Grasping for a pitching staff that had turned to mist …

He did it again! He did it again. Tim, that’s not the way you write, man. Not for money. That’s like 3 a.m. stoned teenager Livejournal shit. Especially with that terrible metaphor. "Mist?" Also, their pitching isn’t that bad. Kuroda and Kershaw have been fine, and Broxton’s been unstoppable. If Billingsly and Sherrill can get their shit together, this pitching staff’s going to look really good really quick.

Running an offense (and payroll) around a PED-head cleanup hitter whose slugging percentage (were he reliable enough to accumulate the qualifying at-bats) would rate 59th in the game …

You know what would be a nice addition to this article? An independent clause. Also maybe you could mix in a true fact somewhere in this list of false facts.

Manny Ramirez, 2010: .298 / .386 / .504 / .889, 141 OPS+

That’s not that bad, Tim. Yeah, he’s down a bit, but it’s early days; checking his game logs — since here, in the grim darkness of the far future, we can look this shit up instead of just scratching our chins and asking ourselves "Hmm… what would Old Hoss Radbourn do?" — suggests that he’s been in a slump for about a month now, before which he was crazy dynamite, what with his 1+ OPS and all. But he’s also absolutely raked in his last two games — to the tune of six hits with a HR — so he may be coming out of it. Hitters do slump, Tim. Especially 38-year-old hitters. More especially 38-year-old hitters recovering from an injury.

Tim wrote this article four days ago. In the four days since, Manny has brought his slugging percentage up high enough to tie Dan Ugly for 36th. .504 SLG ain’t too bad, Tim.

The Dodgers were to have gone the way of one of those fire truck-swallowing sinkholes you hear about out here.

Did anybody think that? Idiots, maybe. They went to the NLCS last year, and the whole team’s back again this year except for, what, Randy Wolf? Not seeing why we’d expect them to lose 400 games.

Even after a lopsided loss to the Los Angeles Angels in the first game of the Freeway Series on Friday, the Dodgers are even with the San Diego Padres in the National League West and among a small handful of teams in baseball flirting with a .600 winning percentage.

Now, here’s where I need to get careful. The Dodgers are overperforming. Unlike what Tim says, they shouldn’t be drowning — they should still be winning, just… not by as much. They’ve scored 304 runs and allowed 290, which gives them a Pythagorean expectation of 33-31, compared to an actual record of 37-27. So, yeah, they’ve been a little bit lucky. Not an unreasonable swing, though.

If you want to go by third-order wins — and, hey, let’s get fucking nerdy up in this place — the Dodgers actually pick up a third of a win over their Pyth, though they move down to fourth in the division because the Rockies are meaningfully underperforming.

So. Short version: yes, .600 is pretty silly for this team. No, they shouldn’t have collapsed. The end.

The owner is into his ex for $7.7 million a year (or almost what he’s paying his starting shortstop)

Why is that important? The Cubs are paying their starting shortstop about $450k. The Yankees are paying theirs like $30M. Does this matter somehow? Furcal’s pretty good, for what it’s worth.

the iconic manager can’t bear to commit to another season

Joe Torre will be seventy years old next month. Can you blame him?

the entire starting rotation has 100 career wins

So? The Yankees’ rotation has 656 career wins, and they’re just about equally as good. Turns out that what Andy Pettitte did in 1998 doesn’t have much bearing on the 2010 season. Or, since we’re talking about wins, I guess I should say: turns out that what Andy Pettitte’s teammates did in 1998 doesn’t have much bearing on the 2010 season. Really the only thing worth taking out of the total career wins of the Dodgers’ rotation is: hey, these guys are pretty cheap and probably have their best years still ahead of them. Which is usually considered a good thing, crazybones.

Manny Ramirez has morphed into Austin Kearns (sans glove, arm, hustle)

That’s a remarkably asshole way of saying that Austin Kearns is in the middle of a career year. Note carefully that the player Tim dismissively compares Manny Ramirez to is having his best season ever. That’s a good sign that Manny isn’t nearly as done as Tim, for whatever reason, wants you to think. I won’t talk about hustle — since that’s something all my fucking numbers can’t measure and don’t you forget it — but, if you want to talk glove and arm, well, Fangraphs puts Manny at -3.5 UZR on the year, and Kearns at -1.6. So, yeah, I guess Manny is two whole runs less glove-y and arm-y.

and all the Dodgers have done for the last six weeks is win baseball games.

That and the thirteen they lost, yeah.

It can’t all be about the "V energy," can it?

No it goddamn can’t. V energy, Chi energy, Kaio-ken times three, N-rays. It can’t be any of those things on account of: they don’t exist. True answer: it’s been hitting and pitching. But mostly hitting.

Well, no. Even Vladimir Shpunt – the club’s faith healer/cosmic 10th man/DirecTV subscriber – admitted to the L.A. Times that at his best he covered the last 10 percent of good fortune, 15 percent tops. (Like we often say, "If all else fails, Shpunt!" Other times, we say, "Hey, who’s the guy mind-melding with his Samsung?")


In spite of marginal production from Ramirez

In Tim Brown’s world, 141 OPS+ is "marginal."

a so-so start for Matt Kemp

In Tim Brown’s world, 115 OPS+ from a CF is "so-so."

and a starting rotation that ends with unheralded rookies John Ely and Carlos Monasterios,

In Tim Brown’s world, John Ely’s and Carlos Monasterios’ unreasonably low Heraldedness Over Replacement Player (HORP) are more important than, say, their ERA+es of 116 and 132.

the Dodgers have been just mediocre enough in everything to make something of themselves.

But keep in mind that this man considers a 141 OPS+ "marginal." I’m not sure it’s possible to be good enough to break through the other side of mediocre.

That’s pretty much it. The rest of the article’s just a big sloppy hand-job to bench players, since apparently the real key to the Dodgers’ season has been Reed Johnson’s 102 PA of 93 OPS+ goodness and not that slumping asshole Manny. The real key to my enjoyment of this article is that, usually, when somebody writes an article about how a team is winning because of voodoo and mojo and hustle from the bench players, it’s because he hasn’t noticed that the pitching is really, really good. And this time he’s overlooked the hitting. Tim has actually overlooked Andre Ethier’s fifth-in-MLB OPS of 1.021 in his rush to lavish praise on Reed Johnson and Xavier Paul. And that’s terrible.

June 16th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

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