Friday, June 1, 2012
Matter of record ... kind of
By Dan Braunstein | ESPN Stats & Information
With help from Baseball-Reference, here are some notes and statistics on the Dodgers, focusing on the week of May 25-31.
RECORD DOESN’T MATTER
The Dodgers dropped five of seven games on the week to the Astros and Brewers, two teams currently under .500. L.A. has the best record in the league and the easiest strength of schedule, but the two aren’t necessarily related. The Dodgers are now 20-16 against teams under .500 and 12-3 against teams at .500 or better. In particular, Dodgers pitching has excelled against the better teams, posting an ERA under 2.00 in those 15 games. L.A. is scoring runs at about the same rate, although they are hitting over 40 points higher against .500+ teams.
SWEPT BY THE BREWERS
To end the week, the Dodgers were swept by the Brewers in a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. It gave the Dodgers their first losing streak of at least three games this season, making them the last team in baseball to drop three in a row. The Dodgers hadn’t been swept in a four-game series at home since August 9-12, 1993, when the Rockies did it in their inaugural season. In this year’s sweep L.A. didn’t hit a home run, the team’s first four-game homerless stretch of the season.
The Dodgers dropped six of seven games on the season against the Brewers, losing more than four times against the Brewers for the first time ever (the Brewers joined the National League in 1998). Milwaukee went 4-2 against L.A. last season; before then, the Dodgers had been 55-30 all-time against the Brewers.
The Dodgers grounded into four double plays Wednesday night and then three more Thursday night. It’s the first time in almost 40 years that they grounded into seven double plays over two consecutive nine-inning games, dating back to August 9-10, 1972.
KERSHAW NOT AT HOME
Clayton Kershaw lost on both Friday and Wednesday nights, the first time he’s lost consecutive starts since September 1 and 7 of 2010. He hadn’t even lost consecutive decisions since April 16 and 26 of last season. He’s lost three times already at home this year; he lost only one decision at Dodger Stadium in 2011.
Kershaw lost Wednesday despite not allowing a home run; he had won his previous 20 decisions when not allowing a longball. His career ERA against the Brewers rose to 4.94, his second-highest against any National League team (5.18 against the Phillies).
A PAINFUL DEBUT
Alex Castellanos made his major-league debut Thursday night, coming in as a defensive replacement in left field. He came up to the plate in the eighth inning and was hit by a pitch in his first career plate appearance. The last Dodger to have that happen to him was Thursday’s starting pitcher, Chad Billingsley, in his debut in 2006. Before Billingsley, it had happened only three times since World War II: Roy Campanella in 1948, Norm Sherry in 1959 and current Rangers manager Ron Washington in 1977.
ELLIS PICKS UP JANSEN
After a Kenley Jansen blown save Saturday night, A.J. Ellis hit the first walk-off home run of his career to give the Dodgers a 6-3 win. Ellis’ walk-off home run was the first by a Dodger other than Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp or James Loney since August 13, 2008, when Nomar Garciaparra hit one. Before Ellis’ blast, eleven of the Dodgers’ previous 12 walk-off home runs had been hit by either Ethier or Kemp.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the Dodgers' 131st walk-off homer since the team moved to California in 1958, moving them into second place in the majors over that span. Cleveland leads the majors with 142 walk-off homers since 1958.
Despite the blown save, Jansen picked up the win Saturday. It was his third blown save of the season, and each time he’s gone on to pick up the win. Jansen is one of only two pitchers in baseball with multiple games in which he’s blown the save and then picked up the win, and he’s the only pitcher with three such games.
CAPUANO CONTINUES GREAT START
Chris Capuano allowed one run on two hits over seven innings Sunday, striking out eight in a win over the Astros. According to Elias, Capuano is only the second pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela (8-1 over his first 10 starts in the majors in 1981) to win at least seven of his first 10 starts after joining the Dodgers. The only other pitcher to do so over that span was Kazuhisa Ishii (8-1 over his first 10 major-league starts, all for the Dodgers in 2002).
Capuano is the only pitcher in baseball who has allowed two runs or fewer in eight starts and one run or fewer in six. He’s tied for the league lead in both categories. Last year with the Mets, Capuano allowed one run or fewer in only five of 31 starts.
ABREU LIKE DODGER STADIUM
With Matt Kemp out of the lineup, Bobby Abreu will move back to batting third. Abreu has taken a liking to Dodger Stadium, hitting .364 in 16 games at home as Dodger. On the road, Abreu is hitting .227 with eight strikeouts in 22 at-bats. He has 10 strikeouts in 44 at-bats at home.
FREQUENT FLYER MILES
The Dodgers embark Friday on a 10-game, three-city, three-time zone road trip that takes them to Colorado, Philadelphia and Seattle. It’s the Dodgers’ first road trip to three different time zones since 2009, when they went to San Diego, New York and Milwaukee. The Dodgers finished that road trip 7-3.