Friday, May 25, 2012
Home is where the wins are
By Dan Braunstein | ESPN Stats & Information
Here is a statistical look at the Dodgers, focusing on games from May 18 to May 23. Baseball-Reference.com continues to be an invaluable resource.
HOME, SWEEP HOME
The Dodgers’ sweep of the Cardinals over the weekend was their fifth of the year, all at home. Last season, the Dodgers had four series sweeps all season. The Dodgers are now 19-4 at home, and their ERA at Dodger Stadium is nearly two full runs lower than it is on the road.
Clayton Kershaw’s shutout in the middle game of the series improved the Dodgers to 7-0 on Saturdays and lowered his career ERA at Dodger Stadium to 2.39. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the best home ERA among any active pitcher with at least 50 starts.
The sweep of the Cardinals was the Dodgers’ second straight sweep against St. Louis, dating back to last season. It’s the first time the Dodgers have swept consecutive series against the Cardinals since 1976.
ANOTHER WIN STREAK
Wednesday night’s loss in Arizona ended the Dodgers’ six-game winning streak, the team’s third streak of at least five games this season. They’re the only team in baseball with three separate win streaks of at least five games. The 11-4 loss was only the team’s second of the season by five or more runs; only the Rangers have as few five-run losses as the Dodgers.
In the latest streak, the Dodgers scored at least six runs in all six games. They’re the only team this season with a six-game winning streak in which they scored at least six runs in every game. The Dodgers hadn’t done it since 2006, when they did it twice.
CALL IT A COMEBACK
The Dodgers overcame a 6-1 deficit entering the seventh inning in beating the Diamondbacks Tuesday night 8-7. According to the Elias, it was only the second time in the last seven seasons that LA won a game in which it trailed by five or more runs in the seventh inning or later. The other was at Cincinnati last season.
Dee Gordon’s acrobatic double play turn sealed the win. Had he not been able to complete it, the game would have been tied, as the Diamondbacks trailed by one with a runner on third.
The Dodgers hadn’t won a game with a game-ending double play in such a situation since May 1, 1984, when Carlos Diaz induced a Chili Davis double play to end a 3-2 Dodgers win over the Giants. Between then and Tuesday, every team besides the Dodgers had pulled off at least one game-saving, game-ending double play.
Tuesday’s win was the Dodgers’ 30th of the season, and it took them only 43 games to get there. The Dodgers hadn’t won 30 games so quickly since 1983, when they also started 30-13.
MORE BENCH HEROICS
The big hit in the win was Ivan De Jesus’s go-ahead double with the Dodgers down to their final out in the ninth. It was the first go-ahead hit for the Dodgers when down to their final out in almost three years, dating back to a walk-off two-run double from Andre Ethier in a 4-3 win over the Phillies on June 5, 2009.
De Jesus drove in three runs off the bench Tuesday, and Scott Van Slyke drove in three with his pinch-hit, three-run go-ahead home run Sunday. Four Dodgers have driven in at least three runs in games they didn’t start, the most by any team this season. The Dodgers hadn’t had four such games in a season since 2004. Last season, only the Cardinals had four such games.
The Dodgers trailed at some point in three of their five wins on the week. Because of their success this year, the Dodgers haven’t been behind much, but when they have been, they’ve come through. As a team, the Dodgers are hitting .303 when trailing, the best such average in baseball.
One key for the Dodgers’ offense this year has been situational hitting. The Dodgers have been the best team in the league in advancing runners from second with no out and scoring runners from third with less than two outs. Sixty-four percent of the time, the Dodgers have advanced a runner from second with no out, and they’ve scored a runner from third with less than two outs 61 percent of the time. Both numbers are best in baseball. The Dodgers are hitting .375 with a man on third and less than two outs.
ONE OUT AWAY
The Dodgers won Friday’s game against St. Louis despite Kenley Jansen surrendering a game-tying home run to Lance Berkman with two outs in the ninth inning. It’s the second time this season he’s allowed a game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth, as he gave one up to Chase Headley on April 13.
Jansen is the third Dodgers pitcher in the last 40 seasons to allow two game-tying home runs with two outs in the ninth inning or later in the same season. He’s the first since Jeff Shaw in 2000. Like Jansen, the second of the two home runs Shaw allowed was hit by Berkman.
After each of his home runs, Jansen still picked up the win after the Dodgers won with game-ending walks. Before this season, the Dodgers hadn’t won a game with a walk-off walk since 2009, when they did it three times.
Friday’s game ended with a four-pitch walk to A.J. Ellis. Ellis has seen 20 3-0 pitches this season and has yet to swing. For his career, he has zero swings on 36 3-0 counts.