Brushing a sweep aside
June, 8, 2012
By Dan Braunstein | ESPN Stats & Information
Some notes and stats on the Dodgers, focusing on the week of June 1-7. Many thanks to Baseball-Reference.
A HAPPIER FOUR-GAME SWEEP
One week after being swept in a four-game series at home by the Brewers, the Dodgers went to Philadelphia and took four from the Phillies. It was the first four-game sweep for the Dodgers in Philly since 1946; since then, they had played 27 series of at least four games in Philadelphia without a sweep. It was the Dodgers’ first four-game sweep on the road against any team since 2004 against the Diamondbacks.
JANSEN WORKS HARD
Wednesday was Kenley Jansen’s third straight save, marking the first time all season he’d worked three straight days. He needed a season-high 32 pitches to finish Wednesday night’s game. His 32 pitches were the most by a Dodgers pitcher in a one-inning save since at least 2000 (as far back as complete pitch counts exist).
Jansen saved the first three games against the Phillies, the seventh time a Dodgers pitcher has saved three consecutive road games against the same opponent since the save statistic was introduced in 1969.
HERRERA COMES THROUGH
Elian Herrera drove in the winning runs for the Dodgers Monday night and Tuesday night. He singled off Jonathan Papelbon to break a ninth-inning tie Monday night and then doubled in two runs off Cliff Lee in the eighth inning Tuesday with the Dodgers trailing by a run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Herrera is the first Dodgers rookie to record a go-ahead RBI in the eighth inning or later of consecutive games since Pedro Guerrero on September 28 and 30, 1980.
DODGERS FINALLY SCORE OFF LEE
When Herrera stepped to the plate in the eighth inning Tuesday night against Lee, Lee had allowed just one run in 30 career innings against the Dodgers, and that run was the result of a reliever allowing an inherited runner to score. Herrera’s double then was the Dodgers’ first run-scoring play ever for the Dodgers with Lee on the mound, and it came in their 115th plate appearance against him.
Despite taking the loss, Lee managed to strike out 12 Tuesday, the third straight start against the Dodgers in which he struck out at least 10 hitters. The last pitcher to do that to the Dodgers before Lee was Randy Johnson, who did it five straight times over 1999 and 2000.
BILLINGSLEY WINS AGAIN
Tuesday’s rally made a winner out of Chad Billingsley, improving him to 3-4 on the year. After winning his first two starts of the season, Billingsley had taken a loss or no-decision in nine straight starts, the longest such streak of his career. His streak of nine straight starts without a win matches Ryan Dempster and Cliff Lee for the longest by a starter this year. Lee’s streak extended to nine when the Dodgers came back to beat him Tuesday.
WHO NEEDS HOME RUNS?
The Dodgers won all four games in Philadelphia despite not hitting a home run. Before this week, the Dodgers hadn’t swept a four-game series without hitting a home run since 1966. That year, the Dodgers shut out the Astros four games in a row in Los Angeles, outscoring them 13-0 over the four games.
On Wednesday, the Dodgers won despite allowing three home runs and hitting none of their own. It’s the 17th time since the team moved to L.A. that they won such a game and the first since August 27, 2007.
KERSHAW CAN’T BEAT THE PHILS
Clayton Kershaw pitched effectively against the Phillies Monday but had to settle for a no-decision. He’s now winless in seven starts against them, although he did manage to his lower his ERA against Philadelphia to 4.95. However, it’s his still his highest ERA against any National League team.
ROCKIES TAKE 2 OF 3
In Colorado over the weekend, the Dodgers managed to lose Sunday despite allowing only three runs in Coors Field. According to Elias, Colorado had lost its previous eight home games this season in which it scored three or fewer runs and had lost 19 straight home games under those circumstances before Sunday's victory (since a 3-2 win over the Braves on July 20, 2011).
On Friday night, the Dodgers allowed a season-high 13 runs in a loss to the Rockies. The Dodgers hadn’t allowed 13 runs since August 15, 2010, in a 13-1 loss in Atlanta. L.A. has allowed at least 11 runs three times this season; last year’s team did it just once, but the 2010 team did it eight times.
NO HELP FOR EOVALDI
Nathan Eovaldi was the tough-luck loser again Friday, his second straight start to begin his season in which he took the loss, this despite allowing no more than two earned runs in either outing. He’s the first Dodgers pitcher since John Duffie in September 1967 to allow two earned runs or fewer in each of his first two starts of the season and lose both. For Duffie, a call-up as a 21-year-old late in the 1967 season, those were the only two starts of his career.
LINDBLOM GOOD AND A LITTLE LUCKY
Setup man Josh Lindblom has been very effective for the Dodgers thus far this season, posting a 2.51 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings and leading the team with 13 holds. Lindblom has seen his performance improve dramatically against left-handed hitters, who hit .370 (10 for 27) against him last season. Lefties this season against Lindblom have been held to a .209 (9 for 43) clip.
One area where Lindblom has struggled is keeping the ball in the park. He’s allowed six home runs, although five have been with no one on base, including back-to-back shots Friday night in Colorado. His six home runs are one shy of the most allowed by a reliever this season, and he’s one of only 11 relievers to allow at least five home runs on the year. The other 10 all have ERAs over 4.00, suggesting Lindblom may not be able to keep his ERA down much longer if he continues to allow homers at this rate.
How has Lindblom managed to keep his ERA down? The six home runs have scored only seven runs; Lindblom has allowed just one run on something other than a home run this season. Opponents are hitting .135 against Lindblom with men on base, tied with Kenley Jansen for the seventh-best mark among pitchers who have faced at least 40 hitters with men on.