dodger_stadium_openingday2013

Giants @ Dodgers May 10, 2014: Hey, Where’s Andre Ethier?

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Expectations are a funny thing, aren’t they? The Dodgers are 19-18, and a sizable portion of the fan base appears to be acting as though the season is completely dead, that Don Mattingly must be fired immediately, that Joc Pederson should be recalled immediately so he can be 40 Mike Trouts, etc.

One would hope they’d remember that a year ago at this time, the team was 13-21 and had just started Elian Herrera in left field. But no, of course not. THE SKY IS FALLING, EVERYONE. PANIC.

Giants
Dodgers
1:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Pagan
2B
Gordon
RF
Pence
RF
Puig
1B
Posey
SS
Ramirez
LF
Morse
1B
Gonzalez
C
Sanchez
CF
Kemp
3B
Sandoval
LF
Crawford
SS
Crawford
3B
Figgins
2B
Hicks
C
Butera
P
Cain (R)
P
Greinke (R)

But the problem here isn’t exactly a secret, and it’s got nothing to do with “passion” or bat flips or any of it. The problem is simple: over the last two weeks, some of the hot starts have started to fade away. Dee Gordon has been about league average over that time — I know, selective endpoints here, but we’re trying to illustrate the team’s recent lousy performance — and while that’s fine, because I would happily take average performance from him over a full season, it’s obviously not the insanity he put up in April. Nor was it ever going to be.

Adrian Gonzalez has slowed, hitting .200/.315/.356. Hanley Ramirez has collapsed, hitting .231/.273/.346. Juan Uribe, .244/.326/.268, and out of the lineup again. Miguel Olivo, just as not-good as expected. Remember, these are random two-week samples that don’t mean anything larger than “it’s baseball and slumps happen and anything can happen in a short sample.” It’s just a bunch of things that are happening at once, and it’s a big part of why the team is struggling lately.

On the other hand: just about the entire outfield is all hitting at once, particularly Yasiel Puig, who has been outstanding, and that makes for a somewhat interesting lineup decision today: Andre Ethier is not in the lineup against Matt Cain. Now, Carl Crawford has been pretty hot of late, but so has Ethier, and he traditionally crushes Cain. (Not that I generally care about pitcher-vs-hitter numbers, but Don Mattingly usually does, and in 78 plate appearances, Ethier has a stellar .429 /.449/.557 line.) Ethier also hasn’t started since Wednesday in Washington, getting into the 10th inning of Friday’s game and not appearing yesterday.

Clearly, something’s going on here, and while it could be physical, it’s more likely that it’s unhappiness with the playing time situation. We know there was a team meeting the other day. We know not everyone left happy. We know Ethier and Mattingly have clashed before. This is all pure speculation, of course, but when Ethier is out for the third day in a row, and against a pitcher he destroys…

Wed 10/1Thurs 10/2Fri 10/3Sat 10/4Sun 10/5Mon 10/6Tues 10/7
RP. Baez--12-26
LS. Elbert--9-11
RC. Frias---
LJ.P. Howell--109-8
RK. Jansen--20-
RB. League--212-21
RB. Wilson---9
RJ. Wright---

About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


1435 comments
deblueDodger
deblueDodger

Hey Grienke!!    There's yer run support!!

Johnnyswing
Johnnyswing

Who's going to watch the old timers game?

moneynow27
moneynow27

We just sent a huge message to the Giants today. 

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

now how about doing that consistently for more than 1 game

KMT59
KMT59

Need to split the series tomorrow to keep the people off the freeway overpasses

Lobo
Lobo

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

BIG NASTY REDHEAD!!!!!! (finally)