Phillies @ Dodgers, April 23, 2014: Enter Hamels

dodger_stadium_openingday2013As the Dodgers continue to try to figure out the Phillies, the biggest story of the series so far has been Carlos Ruiz (because of course). In two games, Ruiz has hit two doubles, a triple, and a home run and has walked twice. So far this series, he’s raised his 2014 OPS from  0.614 to 0.807. He’s raised his wRC+ from 80 to 125. Ruiz has had some decent seasons in the past, but to watch him constantly play at a hall-of-fame level against the Dodgers is frustrating.

Zack Greinke is being tasked with shutting down Ruiz (and the rest of the Phillies). Eno Sarris has written some terrific articles about Greinke for both Fox and Fangraphs in the last few days. The articles really show how much thought Greinke puts into pitching, which is one reason why he’s so much fun to watch.

Phillies
Dodgers
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Revere
RF
Puig
SS
Rollins
LF
Ethier
2B
Utley
SS
Ramirez
1B
Howard
CF
Kemp
RF
Byrd
1B
Van Slyke
LF
Brown
3B
Uribe
C
Ruiz
2B
Turner
3B
Galvis
C
Butera
P
Hamels (L)
P
Greinke (R)

There will be no rest for a weary offense tonight. Cole Hamels is on the mound for his first start of the season. Hamels missed spring training and the first few weeks of the season due to throwing shoulder tendinitis. Hamels’ 2013 season, his first after signing a six year $144 million contract extension, was largely viewed as a disappointment. This perception was due to his win-loss record (which I don’t even need to go into further depth on) and a 3.60 ERA. However, his FIP was almost exactly in line with his career numbers. His xFIP was a little higher, but his SIERA exactly matched what he had produced previously. At worst, his peripherals were very close to his career average, and he’s a tough assignment for the Dodgers’ hitters tonight. Greinke against Hamels should be a pretty good pitchers’ duel, and is also a duel of good pitcher name spoonerisms.

Tonight’s lineup is extremely confusing. Turner isn’t batting second, which is progress, but a slumping Andre Ethier is in his place. Against a lefty. Puig and Kemp fill out the other two outfield spots tonight. Scott Van Slyke is still in the lineup, giving Adrian Gonzalez a night off at first base.

Clayton Kershaw will throw his first rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday. According to Ken Gurnick, Kershaw will throw about 55 pitches during the outing and will need more than one rehab start to get ready. Julio Urias is also scheduled to pitch on Friday, so it should be an exciting game for Dodgers fans.

Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20Mon 4/21Tues 4/22Wed 4/23
RJ. Dominguez25
LJ.P. Howell171512
RK. Jansen3016111714
RB. League1727
RC. Perez2618
RB. Wilson282315
RC. Withrow2618
RJ. Wright1618

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: Inventing Ways To Lose

CarlCrawfordHanleyRamirezFail

Losing always sucks, but it’s especially terrible to lose like this. In extra innings. On a routine flyball.

Sure there were lots of other chances to win, the Dodgers finished 1-for-8 with RISP. But if that catch is made by Carl Crawford or Hanley Ramirez the game is at least still going with the Dodgers having the sudden death advantage.

But they didn’t, and that ginormous fail looked like this:

Continue reading

Phillies @ Dodgers, April 22, 2014: At Least It’s Not Cliff Lee

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Say what you will about A.J. Burnett, who starts tonight for Philadelphia — and he’s had a long, outstanding career — but at least he’s not Cliff Lee, who made the Dodgers look foolish last night and pointed out, once again, why he’s one of the absolute best in the game. Burnett has been battling a hernia, which is partially responsible for the fact that he’s walked more than he’s struck out, but he’s managed to at least keep runs off the board.

Phillies
Dodgers
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Revere
LF
Crawford
SS
Rollins
RF
Puig
RF
Byrd
SS
Ramirez
1B
Howard
1B
Gonzalez
C
Ruiz
CF
Kemp
LF
Brown
3B
Uribe
3B
Nix
2B
Gordon
2B
Galvis
C
Federowicz
P
Burnett (R)
P
Ryu (L)

Also good news: No Chase Utley! The Phillies give Utley the night off against lefty Hyun-jin Ryu and start instead Freddie Galvis, who has a .225/.266/.365 line in parts of three seasons and is a charter member of the “fans only care about PED suspensions when it happens to good players” club, because remember kids, there’s no such thing as cognitive dissonance in simultaneously believing that PEDs made Ryan Braun and Mark McGwire stars while having little to no effect on lesser players like Galvis and hundreds of other guys you’ve never, ever heard of.

And more good news: Alex Guerrero had three more hits, including two triples, in today’s 6-4 Albuquerque win over Salt Lake City. That gives him 14 hits in 30 tries; when asked, via Eric Stephen, about Guerrero, Don Mattingly said that it’s really more about what he’s doing on defense, which was expected. And really, this is one of the great side effects of Dee Gordon‘s wonderful start: there’s no need to rush Guerrero. If Gordon had been struggling terribly, obviously Chone Figgins and Justin Turner aren’t really any kind of alternative. We’d have been deluged with “but .467 batting average!” demands. This way, you can let him play. You can see what he is. If nothing else, I’m appreciative to Gordon of that.

That said, something has to change soon. Not that I miss Figgins, but I don’t love the 13-man bullpen. You figure the short bench will come back to bite this team sooner than later. That may be especially true if Andre Ethier, out of the lineup tonight due to a cold, is unable to appear at all.

Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20Mon 4/21Tues 4/22Wed 4/23
RJ. Dominguez25
LJ.P. Howell171512
RK. Jansen3016111714
RB. League1727
RC. Perez2618
RB. Wilson282315
RC. Withrow2618
RJ. Wright1618

Phillies @ Dodgers April 21, 2014: Welcome Back, Dominguez

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight, the Dodgers begin a four game series against the Phillies, and they didn’t wait for the game to start to start making news. Jose Dominguez was called up to give assistance to a weary relief staff. In a corresponding move, Chone Figgins was optioned to Albuquerque. Eric Stephen notes that Figgins had two options left but had to approve being sent to the minors. This type of approval is relatively rare for veterans on the 40-man roster, so I suppose that he’s happy in the Dodgers organization thus far.

The move brings the bullpen up to eight pitchers, which usually isn’t great. Even so, the Dodgers weren’t really using Figgins, who has nine plate appearance and has only played two thirds of an inning on defense. The Dodgers are in the middle of a stretch where they play 29 games in 30 days, so the bullpen could use the extra help. Dominguez will probably swapped with Paco Rodriguez (who can’t be called up until the 25th unless somebody gets injured) later in this stretch.

I didn’t think we’d need to talk about Miguel Olivo again until his opt-out date, but he’s currently hitting well in Albuquerque, which prompted this tweet:

It’s true that the Dodgers catchers have been really bad. But there’s issues with this beyond the number of hits being wrong. We should all know the danger of citing raw Albuquerque statistics by now, and even after adjusting for environment Olivo is putting up ridiculously unsustainable numbers. He currently has a .533 BABIP and a 50% HR/FB rate, both of which are crazy even for the PCL. Even if Olivo stays in Albuquerque, those numbers will regress in a big way.

Phillies
Dodgers
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Gwynn
RF
Puig
SS
Rollins
2B
Turner
2B
Utley
SS
Ramirez
C
Ruiz
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Howard
CF
Kemp
RF
Mayberry
LF
Van Slyke
LF
Brown
3B
Uribe
3B
Galvis
C
Federowicz
P
Lee (L)
P
Maholm (L)

The current catching tandem of Tim Federowicz and Drew Butera has been awful. But Olivo’s major league offense leaves a lot to be desired. He has a .241 OBP since the start of the 2012 season. He’s also a poor defender and pitch framer. Federowicz’ offense will regress (at least a little bit) in the positive direction with time. He is asolutely a better option than Olivo. Since Butera’s offense is so putrid, a case could probably be made that Olivo is on par with him (though I still would disagree with “better”), but the replacement isn’t worth it. Such a move would remove Butera from the organization, further thinning the catcher position, and would impact the catchers’ rapport with the pitching staff.

As the Dodgers start their series with the Phillies, it’s worth pointing out that they haven’t been as terrible as expected. Their success has been led mostly by Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. Utley already has 1.5 fWAR (second in baseball behind Mike Trout, because of course) and is currently hitting .406/451/.672. Jimmy Rollins is also in the top ten in position player fWAR, but his offensive slash line is a more normal .292/.370/.492. Every position player on the Phillies not named Utley or Rollins has combined for a -1.2 fWAR.

Cliff Lee is pitching tonight for the Phillies and he’s had a really weird season so far. In his first start of the year, Lee allowed 8 runs in five innings while only striking out one batter. In last start, he threw a complete game and struck out 13 batters, but allowed 11 hits in the process. He has a big FIP-ERA gap, which will probably resolve itself into being the regular Cliff Lee once his BABIP drops below .432. Against Lee is Paul Maholm, who will be looking to improve upon his terrible 2.84 K/9. Despite the uneven pitching match-up, Fangraphs’ new pre-game odds feature thinks that this game is more or less a coin flip.

All signs remain positive for Clayton Kershaw. He plans to throw another bullpen session tomorrow, and if all goes well a rehab start will follow shortly thereafter.

Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20Mon 4/21Tues 4/22Wed 4/23
RJ. Dominguez25
LJ.P. Howell171512
RK. Jansen3016111714
RB. League1727
RC. Perez2618
RB. Wilson282315
RC. Withrow2618
RJ. Wright1618

Dodgers 4, D’Backs 1: Puig and Some Other Stuff

puig-points_2014-04-01

After sitting out yesterday, Yasiel Puig certainly made up for it today. Everything that Dodger fans love about him was on display. In the second inning, it looked like Miguel Montero had a sure double off of Beckett, but, well, this happened (GIF via Chad):


GIF link

The game stayed quiet until the sixth. Dee Gordon singled, then Carl Crawford tripled. After Hanley Ramirez popped out, Kirk Gibson intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to get to Puig for some reason. He made them pay (GIF via Chad):


GIF link

Here’s a good photo of the ensuing batflip from the game, since the TV broadcasts cut away early.

Even though Puig’s great game will grab most of the headlines, Josh Beckett‘s performance shouldn’t be overlooked. Beckett struck out seven batters and walked two, and only allowed one hit in five scoreless innings. His removal from the game was puzzling at first, but it was later revealed that Beckett is sick and could not pitch any longer. His stuff didn’t suffer too much; he missed spots here and there, but his pitches looked sharp in general. He was only really in trouble once, partially due to Tim Federowicz‘ second catchers interference in three games.

After Jamey Wright, Chris Perez, and J.P. Howell combined to give one run back, Kenley Jansen closed out the game by striking out the side on 11 pitches. Jansen is now up to 17.18 K/9 on the season and his xFIP is down to 1.49. Nothing is “wrong” with him. His usage in a three run game is a bit confusing, though. He has now pitched 13 times in the team’s first 19 games. If you can’t trust a pitcher to not allow three runs in an inning, that pitcher shouldn’t be on the roster. It seemed like a good opportunity to give Kenley a night off, but unfortunately nearly every manager in baseball would have made the same move.

The Dodgers are now 12-7 on the season and are eight games in front of the 5-16 Diamondbacks. Next up is the Phillies, who enter Dodger Stadium with Cliff Lee on the mound tomorrow night.

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 20, 2014: No Beckett Marathon Please

beckett_2014-03-08

Josh Beckett takes the hill for the Dodgers today, and while he threw five scoreless innings against the Giants in his last outing, the Dodgers will be looking for a more efficient performance this time around. The five walks he surrendered in his last outing ran his pitch count high and also put him at danger for the big inning, though he was fortunate enough to escape trouble. Most importantly, we should all be rooting for him not to struggle so that we don’t die of old age watching this game. Against the D-Backs, Beckett has a career 3.90 ERA in nine starts and 57.2 innings.

Beckett’s opponent will be Josh Collmenter, who moves between relief and starting duties for the D-Backs. Collmenter has a career 4.08 ERA as a starter and a 2.49 ERA as a reliever, so while he’s solid in the rotation the D-Backs would probably prefer if he was allowed to stay in the pen. Collmenter has a 5.06 ERA against the Dodgers in 32 innings for his career, including giving up a run in an inning of relief against the Dodgers down in Australia.

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DBacks
Dodgers 
1:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Parra
2B
Gordon
SS
Pennington
LF
Crawford
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
2B
Hill
RF
Puig
3B
Chavez
CF
Ethier
LF
Trumbo
3B
Uribe
CF
Pollock
C
Federowicz
P
Collmenter (R)
P
Beckett (R)

In important injury news that’s probably more important than the game, Clayton Kershaw faced hitters today in a simulated game to test his upper back injury further.

Apparently it’s still too early for a timetable, so all we can do is hope for is no major news, because major news would likely mean a setback of some sort.

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In unfortunate minor league news, the Dodgers released Angelo Songco, who some of you may remember was once a decently promising prospect.

Songco broke out in 2011, putting up a .313/.367/.581/.948 line with 29 homers in high-A during his age 22 season. Songco was a bit older and lacked the impact tools to be a regular, but a continuation of his performance at AA could have continued his ascent in the system, so I was looking forward to his 2012 season against advanced pitching. However, he unfortunately needed a rod inserted into his leg in 2012 and never could get his stroke back.

Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20Mon 4/21Tues 4/22Wed 4/23
RJ. Dominguez25
LJ.P. Howell171512
RK. Jansen3016111714
RB. League1727
RC. Perez2618
RB. Wilson282315
RC. Withrow2618
RJ. Wright1618

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 19, 2014: Bolsinger?

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks will at least have an interesting start. The Diamondbacks’ starter is Michael Bolsinger, who I’d never heard of before this week. Bolsinger was called up to replace the struggling Trevor Cahill and is being tasked with helping to fix the Diamondbacks’ rotation. So far this season, Diamondbacks starters have a 7.26 ERA, nearly two runs worse than the closest team. That includes Wade Miley‘s one run performance last night.

Bolsinger isn’t really a prospect, but is a 26 year old pitcher making his first career start. In his first career major league game earlier this week, he allowed two runs in three relief innings. The most notable thing about Bolsinger might be that he isn’t top prospect Archie Bradley, which stirred up a bit of controversy earlier this week. From the Diamondbacks’ point of view, calling up Bradley for a season like this (and starting his service time clock) doesn’t make a lot of sense. Nick Piecoro of Azcentral Sports has a good interview with Bolsinger here.

DBacks
Dodgers 
5:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Parra
2B
Gordon
2B
Hill
LF
Crawford
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Ross
CF
Kemp
3B
Prado
RF
Ethier
LF
Trumbo
3B
Uribe
SS
Owings
C
Butera
P
Bolsinger (R)
P
Haren (R)

With a rookie starter going, it’s worth looking up how well the Dodgers have done against pitchers as new as Bolsinger. The perception among many fans is that the team generally has trouble hitting brand new pitchers. Since 2010, the Dodgers have faced a starter throwing his first or second career game ten times (the most recent was Mike Kickham last year). In those ten games, the Dodgers have scored 30 runs in 52-2/3 innings. That doesn’t really match the perception, and could be good news for the struggling offense.

Facing Bolsinger is more or less the standard right-handed pitcher lineup (Drew Butera gets the start at catcher), with one notable exception: Yasiel Puig has the night off. With the current outfield rotation, and since Ethier and Crawford have started the last two games on the bench, the choice of who to sit today came down to Puig or Matt Kemp. Of those two, I really think that the playing time is more important for Puig, so Mattingly’s decision is a bit puzzling.

After a busy night for the bullpen (as shown below this post), it’s important that Dan Haren makes it deep into this game. He looked pretty shaky during his last start, which was also against the Diamondbacks. Haren did make it nearly six innings, but it took 110 pitches to get there and he allowed five runs and six extra-base hits.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (in addition to SNLA), which is good news for those of you without Time Warner. I also really enjoy the earlier start times on Saturday, though I’m sure we’ll hear about shadows a few times at the beginning of the game.

According to Eric Stephen, Clayton Kershaw will throw to hitters tomorrow. The team still hasn’t set a timetable for Kershaw’s return or rehab starts, but it seems that he’s progressing nicely.

Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20Mon 4/21Tues 4/22Wed 4/23
RJ. Dominguez25
LJ.P. Howell171512
RK. Jansen3016111714
RB. League1727
RC. Perez2618
RB. Wilson282315
RC. Withrow2618
RJ. Wright1618

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 18, 2014: Hanley Lives

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight, Zack Greinke makes his fourth start for the Dodgers this season. So far, he has pitched very well, only allowing five runs in 16-1/3 innings. his peripherals have been very interesting. In his first three starts, he’s struck out 21 batters and walked just two. Both walks came in his first start of the year; he’s faced 50 batters (and struck out 17 of them) since he allowed his last walk.

Greinke’s FIP is higher than you’d expect (4.03, above the league average), since he’s given up four home runs. However, the high home run rate isn’t because Greinke is throwing more pitches in the strike zone. So far this season, he’s thrown 41.2% of his pitches into the Pitch F/X strike zone, almost identical to his 2012 and 2013 rates. The biggest peripheral difference is that Greinke is inducing a lot more swings on pitches outside of the strike zone (38.6%, compared to a career rate of 26.8%), and batters are making contact less often overall (71% contact rate this season, career rate is 79.5%).

DBacks
Dodgers 
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
RF
Parra
RF
Puig
2B
Hill
2B
Turner
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
LF
Ross
CF
Kemp
3B
Prado
LF
Van Slyke
SS
Owings
3B
Uribe
CF
Pollock
C
Federowicz
P
Miley (L)
P
Greinke (R)

Greinke’s high home run rate seems a bit like luck, and stats that adjust for it love what he has done so far. xFIP adjusts Greinke’s HR/FB rate from 30.8% down to the league average (around 11%), which results in a stellar value of 1.94. After adjusting for park, his xFIP is third in baseball, behind Masahiro Tanaka and Felix Hernandez. Since his line drive rate is down and his ground ball rate is up, his SIERA (which uses batted ball characteristics to estimate ERA) is 2.02, which is also third best in the majors behind the same pitchers.

In lineup news, Hanley Ramirez is alive! Given how bad the injury looked when it happened, it’s pretty amazing that he missed just one game. Hopefully the medical staff isn’t rushing him back before he’s ready, but for once it feels like the team was lucky on a potential injury. This allows the Dodgers to re-establish the second base platoon, so Dee Gordon gets the night off against lefty Wade Miley. Greinke’s last two games have been caught by Drew Butera, but tonight Tim Federowicz starts in his place.

On the Diamondbacks side, Cody Ross returns from the disabled list and gets the start in left field. Ross dislocated his hip last year. Mark Trumbo gets the night off (and has gone 3-for-36 in the past week).

Below, you’ll notice the return of a feature that was present on Mike’s old site: the bullpen usage chart. You can also find it here. Many thanks to reader/commenter ABSmileBunch for maintaining the chart!

Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20Mon 4/21Tues 4/22Wed 4/23
RJ. Dominguez25
LJ.P. Howell171512
RK. Jansen3016111714
RB. League1727
RC. Perez2618
RB. Wilson282315
RC. Withrow2618
RJ. Wright1618

Dodgers @ Giants April 17, 2014: No Hanley, And Bad History For Ryu

attparkThe Dodgers are looking to salvage this series — much like the last series against the Giants — in the final game of a 3-game set. They turn to Hyun-jin Ryu to be the “stopper.”

Normally, I’d feel pretty confident (even going up against Madison Bumgarner), but for whatever reason, Ryu struggles against San Francisco.

In six career outings — including the disastrous April 4 home opener when he gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings — Ryu has been less than stellar against the Giants:

Dodgers
Giants
12:45 pm PT
San Francisco, CA
2B
Gordon
SS
Arias
SS
Turner
RF
Pence
RF
Puig
3B
Sandoval
1B
Gonzalez
C
Posey
CF
Kemp
LF
Morse
LF
Van Slyke
1B
Belt
3B
Uribe
2B
Hicks
C
Federowicz
CF
Blanco
P
Ryu (L)
P
Bumgarner (L)
  • 3.89 ERA
  • 1.58 WHIP
  • 3.4 BB/9
  • 5.2 K/9
  • 1.54 K/BB
  • .300 BAA

If you take out his numbers against the Giants, Ryu looks like an even better pitcher than he already is against the rest of baseball:

  • 2.77 ERA
  • 1.11 WHIP
  • 7.8 H/9
  • 2.2 BB/9
  • 7.9 K/9

The only thing that hasn’t done (knock on wood) is give up a lot of homers to the Giants. Ryu’s biggest problem has been the walks. In fact, 22.8 percent of the walks he’s issued in his career have come against the Giants. The Giants’ plate discipline won’t be confused for the Red Sox or A’s anytime soon, which makes the higher-than-optimal walk rate against SF rather surprising.

The hitters who have given him the biggest problems are Angel Pagan (5-for-8), Andres Torres (5-for-11, 1 2B), Hunter Pence (6-for-15, 2 2B, 2 BB), Marco Scutaro (5-for-12, 1 BB) and Pablo Sandoval (4-for-14, 1 2B, 3 BB)

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Ryu has fared better in San Francisco against the Giants than he has in Los Angeles.

  • 3 games
  • 3.20 ERA
  • 19 2/3 IP
  • 16 H
  • 7 R
  • 7 ER
  • 1 HR
  • 6 BB
  • 11 K

The Dodgers have struggled against the Giants so far (1-4), and a win on Thursday would do a lot to stop the bleeding. I’ve said it on the podcast, but I think the Dodgers and Giants will be fighting for the majority of the season for first place, with the Dodgers ultimately pulling away in August or September. But, as is always the case, the Giants will be a tough draw for the Dodgers.

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Yet another story detailing Yasiel Puig‘s journey from Cuba to the United States was published. ESPN has it this time with some additional details than the article that came out on Sunday in Los Angeles Magazine.

“Sometime after 1 in the morning, the knock came. Two men dressed in burglar back stood silently at the door. Somehow, there were no guards that night. (Yunior) Despaigne is at a loss to say why. Regardless, Tomasito had chosen an inopportune moment to relax his grip on his captives. Following the two men in black, Despaigne, Puig, his girlfriend and the padrino crept out of the hotel and down a few dark streets and into a marina and onto a waiting boat that ferried them across the water to Cancun. No violence, no Tomasito, no Leo, no guards. The heist had worked. But the Rubio group had also just ripped off a criminal gang whose highly lucrative underworld ventures required the sanction of Los Zetas. They had now motivated some darkly uncompromising individuals. In plotting the heist, they hadn’t really even discussed the dangers; they were just that obvious. But so too were the rewards, and they’d come to an unstated consensus: For a chance to get Yasiel Puig, they were willing to risk their lives.”

So, the next time you run into someone who’s badmouthing Puig for “not playing the game the right (white) way,” show them these articles. It might be a waste of time because there are just some folks with tiny brains and a complete unwillingness to open their minds to the other side.

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Hanley Ramirez is out today after taking a fastball off his hand/wrist last night. X-rays were negative, which is encouraging. Ramirez says he plans to play tomorrow, which is nice, as though we all haven’t heard that one before. But the Dodgers can really ill-afford to lose Ramirez for an extended period of time. Justin Turner gets the nod in his place.

Dodgers @ Giants April 16, 2014: The Problem With Juan Uribe’s Offense

attparkJuan Uribe has been getting a lot of praise for his offense so far this year. And rightfully so: Uribe currently leads the Dodgers’ batters in wRC+. However, he’s taken an unusual path to get there. So far this season, Uribe has not drawn a single walk. Including last year’s postseason (when he didn’t draw any walks either), Uribe has gone 101 plate appearances since his last free pass.

Walk rate takes about 120 plate appearances to stabilize, and so far this season Uribe has 58. It’s too early to declare this as a big problem; so far it’s a statistical curiosity. At this point last year, Uribe’s walk rate was 23.9% and he finished the season at 7.0%. When Uribe’s .476 BABIP inevitably regresses, he’ll need the walks to keep his offensive contribution at a respectable level. Luckily, he still has his defense, which will help maintain his value.

Dodgers
Giants
7:15 pm PT
San Francisco, CA
2B
Gordon
CF
Pagan
LF
Crawford
RF
Pence
SS
Ramirez
3B
Sandoval
1B
Gonzalez
C
Posey
CF
Kemp
LF
Morse
RF
Ethier
1B
Belt
3B
Uribe
2B
Hicks
C
Butera
SS
Arias
P
Maholm (L)
P
Vogelsong (R)

Paul Maholm gets his second start for the Dodgers tonight. His first start was, well, bad. He gave up five runs in 4-1/3 innings, striking out one and walking two. Given how hard the bullpen worked during yesterday’s marathon, Maholm will need to last longer than that tonight.

Maholm’s season has been rocky so far. He gave up a run in relief on Saturday, so his ERA is currently 8.10 (and his FIP is 7.78). He’s only struck out two batters as a Dodger. Despite the rough start, it’s too early to bury him. Maholm has been a league average starter for most of his career, and less than seven innings isn’t enough to outweigh that. If he’s as good as his career numbers, or even slightly worse, he’ll be good enough for a back of the rotation starter.

Since the Dodgers need Maholm to start right now, that means that without him they’d be relying on Stephen Fife or Matt Magill. So far this season, Fife has allowed 16 runs (15 earned) in 11-1/3 Albuquerque innings, so he isn’t doing much to shake off his late-season slide. Magill is doing a bit better, allowing 8 runs (6 earned) in 14 innings.

While Fife and Magill’s samples are small (and in Albuquerque), they don’t currently seem like pitchers who should be in the majors over Maholm, or at the very least it doesn’t make a very big difference. You could probably make a valid argument for Zach Lee, but the Dodgers don’t seem interested in starting his service time clock. With Clayton Kershaw on the mend, we might see Maholm out of the rotation sooner rather than later, anyhow.

In other starting pitcher news, the results of Chad Billingsley‘s MRI are back and aren’t as bad as they could have been. Elbow tendinitis isn’t great, but it’s better than “needs Tommy John surgery.” There’s still a chance that we’ll see him this year.

The lineup is more or less the standard one for right-handed pitching, though Puig is getting the day off because he has never faced Vogelsong. The reasoning isn’t the best, but at this point it probably doesn’t have to be.