Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Way too easy to knock Dodgers 9-1 start

The Dodgers won nine of their first ten games, playing the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates. Is that a good sign? For the Dodgers, it's a very good sign.


By BILL PETERSON
Big Leagues in LA

Concerns about the quality of opposition have tempered euphoria about the Dodgers' 9-1 start. Should fans be giddy about beating the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates?

Depends on what makes you giddy. If you're happy with a playoff contender, any 9-1 start is a good sign. Only the playoffs compel your baseball club to defeat winning teams. During the regular season, winning teams win by defeating losing teams, which lose.

In 2011, the six clubs that won divisions held the six best records against losing clubs. The best was Milwaukee at 69-32. The worst was Detroit at 67-44. Of those six clubs, two held losing records against winning teams, one broke even against those teams and three finished with winning records against those clubs. The best was Philadelphia at 37-25. The worst was Milwaukee at 27-34.

Half of the 2011 playoff field failed to post winning records against winning teams – Arizona, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Texas. St. Louis (30-30 against clubs .500 and better) and Texas (35-37) played in the World Series.

If your team can win two out of three against the losers and just break even against the winners, it adds up to around 95 wins, which should be comfortably enough for a playoff berth. So, Dodgers fans should fear nothing from their 9-1 start against the Pirates and Padres. Neither club is very good, true, but neither is even approximately the worst in the National League. They still haven't gotten to the Houston Astros or Chicago Cubs.

Dodgers fans should take wins against losers as a good sign, for two reasons. First, the games are all weighted the same. The Dodgers receive no more "points" for beating winners than for beating losers.

Ask the Atlanta Braves. Last year, the Braves missed the playoffs by one game as the Cardinals overtook them for the wild card position. The Braves were 61-41 against losing teams and 28-32 against winning teams. But for two more wins against the Padres or Pirates, the Braves would have made the playoffs and history would be changed. The Braves finished a combined 8-7 against those clubs last year.

The other reason 9-1 is good news? It's early. Last year, the Dodgers were 37-51 through the Wednesday before the All-Star Game. From that point, they were 45-28. The difference was entirely in their results against losing clubs.

During those first 88 games, the Dodgers were 21-33 against losers. During the last 73 games, they were 28-8 against losers. Throw in this year's 9-1 and the Dodgers are a torrid 38-9 against losers from then to now.

Against winners, there was almost no difference. The Dodgers were 16-18 against winners during the first portion of 2011 and 17-20 against winners during the second portion.

Apparently, the Dodgers you see now are the Dodgers you missed while you were boycotting Frank McCourt last August, but not the Dodgers you missed while boycotting McCourt last April. In fact, the Dodgers were 14-3 against the Padres and Pirates during their winning portion of 2011, but 5-4 against them during the losing portion.

The difference between the early 2012 Dodgers and the late 2011 Dodgers is that early 2012 started the season with a clean slate, while late 2011 started 14 games below .500. As Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly told reporters after Sunday's game, everybody is fighting early in the season. It's not like you’re beating teams that have packed it in. These are all good wins.

If we're looking for problems with the Dodgers, they're easy enough to find. We might start by pointing out that only two guys are hitting – Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Maybe Kemp is hitting enough for two hitters right now – 39 at bats, 13 runs, six homers, 16 RBI, .487/.523/.1.026/1.548. NL Player of the Week three weeks running – the first two weeks of this year and the final week of last year. A great player on a hot streak carrying a team offensively. A sight to behold.

Kemp won't hit three homers per week through the entire season, so the Dodgers need to hear more from James Loney, Juan Uribe, Juan Rivera and Dee Gordon. But Ethier is giving Kemp good support right now, and that has been enough.

Is that because the Dodgers are playing Pittsburgh and San Diego?  Don't knock it. They count.

Labels

Los Angeles Dodgers (118) Los Angeles Angels (90) St. Louis Cardinals (60) New York Yankees (50) Texas Rangers (48) San Francisco Giants (37) Cincinnati Reds (35) Matt Kemp (34) Minnesota Twins (33) Oakland Athletics (33) First Division (32) Houston Astros (32) Chicago White Sox (31) Kansas City Royals (31) Cleveland Indians (30) Henry Aaron (30) New York Mets (30) Atlanta Braves (29) Clayton Kershaw (29) Detroit Tigers (29) Boston Red Sox (28) Albert Pujols (27) Baltimore Orioles (27) Chicago Cubs (27) Don Mattingly (27) Center League (25) Andre Ethier (24) Dick Allen (24) Harmon Killebrew (24) Tampa Bay Rays (24) Second Division (23) West League (23) Milwaukee Brewers (22) Third Division (22) East League (21) Pittsburgh Pirates (21) Washington Nationals (21) Mike Scioscia (20) Mike Trout (20) San Diego Padres (20) Arizona Diamondbacks (18) Fourth Division (18) Seattle Mariners (18) Hanley Ramirez (15) Adrian Gonzalez (14) American League (14) C.J. WIlson (14) Dee Gordon (14) Miami Marlins (14) Toronto Blue Jays (14) Jered Weaver (13) Josh Hamilton (13) Philadelphia Phillies (13) National League (12) Yasiel Puig (12) Zack Greinke (12) Colorado Rockies (11) Howie Kendrick (10) Mark Trumbo (10) A.J. Ellis (9) Bryce Harper (9) Bud Selig East (9) Carl Crawford (9) Chub Feeney League (9) Dan Haren (9) Dodger Stadium (9) James Loney (9) Joe Cronin League (9) Jon Lester (9) Kenley Jansen (9) Billy Beane (8) Bud Selig West (8) Erick Aybar (8) Ernesto Frieri (8) Garrett Richards (8) Justin Verlander (8) Golden State Warriors (7) Yoenis Cespedes (7) Andrelton Simmons (6) Angel Stadium (6) Bobby Abreu (6) Bud Selig (6) Chris Sale (6) David Ortiz (6) Hyun-Jin Ryu (6) Juan Uribe (6) Miguel Cabrera (6) Prince Fielder (6) Torii Hunter (6) Anaheim Ducks (5) Chris Capuano (5) David Price (5) Ervin Santana (5) Harmon Killebrew Award (5) Jerry DiPoto (5) Jim Leyland (5) Joe Blanton (5) Joe Maddon (5) Los Angeles Clippers (5) Mark Ellis (5) Minnesota Lynx (5) San Antonio Spurs (5) Scott Van Slyke (5) Alex Rodriguez (4) Carlos Beltran (4) Chicago Blackhawks (4) Columbus Blue Jackets (4) Connecticut Huskies (4) Fredi Gonzalez (4) Henry Aaron Award (4) James Shields (4) Jason Vargas (4) Jose Altuve (4) Kendrys Morales (4) Mark Teixeira (4) Mat Latos (4) Matt Holliday (4) Ned Yost (4) Nelson Cruz (4) Nick Punto (4) North Carolina Tar Heels (4) 2014 World Series (3) A.J. Burnett (3) Adam Jones (3) Adam Kennedy (3) Alberto Callaspo (3) Alex Wood (3) All-Star Game (3) American League Championship Series (3) Andrew McCutchen (3) Billy Butler (3) Brandon Phillips (3) Chub Feeney (3) Cory Rasmus (3) David Dombrowski (3) David Freese (3) Dick Allen Award (3) Dustin Pedroia (3) Eric Hosmer (3) Florida Marlins (3) Francisco Liriano (3) Huston Street (3) J.B. Shuck (3) Jack Morris (3) Jacoby Ellsbury (3) Jerome Williams (3) Jerry Hairston (3) Joaquin Benoit (3) Joc Pederson (3) Joe Cronin (3) Joey Votto (3) LA Galaxy (3) Lance Lynn (3) Los Angeles Lakers (3) Los Angeles Sparks (3) Magic Johnson (3) Major League Baseball (3) Miami Heat (3) Minnesota Wild (3) National League Championship Series (3) National League Division Series (3) Pittsburgh Penguins (3) Robinson Cano (3) Ryan Braun (3) Scott Downs (3) Stan Kasten (3) Tim Lincecum (3) Vin Scully (3) Virginia Tech Hokies (3) Winnipeg Jets (3) Adam Dunn (2) Al Alburquerque (2) Alcides Escobar (2) Alex Gordon (2) Alex Rios (2) Alexander Cartwright (2) Allen Craig (2) American League Division Series (2) American League traveling championship (2) Anibal Sanchez (2) Arte Moreno (2) Austin Jackson (2) Barcelona (2) Barry Bonds (2) Bartolo Colon (2) Baseball Hall of Fame (2) Bayern Munich (2) Billy Hamilton (2) Borussia Mochengladbach (2) Boston Bruins (2) Brandon Crawford (2) Brandon League (2) Brian McCann (2) Bud Norris (2) Buster Posey (2) Carlos Gomez (2) Central League (2) Chad Billingsley (2) Chase Headley (2) Chase Utley (2) Chicago Bulls (2) Chris Davis (2) Chris Iannetta (2) Chris Johnson (2) Chris Paul (2) Chris Young (2) Clemson Tigers (2) Cleveland Cavaliers (2) Cliff Lee (2) Clint Hurdle (2) Cole Hamels (2) Corey Seager (2) Craig Kimbrel (2) Cy Young (2) Dallas Keuchel (2) Davey Johnson (2) Derek Jeter (2) Doug Fister (2) FC Dallas (2) Florida Panthers (2) Frank McCourt (2) George Springer (2) Gerrit Cole (2) Giancarlo Stanton (2) Gio Gonzalez (2) Greg Maddux (2) Hall of Fame (2) Hank Conger (2) Hisashi Iwakuma (2) Jacob deGrom (2) Jason Grilli (2) Jay Bruce (2) Jeff Bagwell (2) Jerry Sands (2) Jimmy Rollins (2) Joe Girardi (2) Joe Kelly (2) John Lackey (2) Jordan Zimmermann (2) Josh Beckett (2) Justin Upton (2) Juventus (2) Kelvin Herrera (2) Lee Smith (2) Logan Forsythe (2) Luis Mendoza (2) Lyle Overbay (2) Madison Bumgarner (2) Manny Machado (2) Marlon Byrd (2) Melky Cabrera (2) Michael Wacha (2) Mickey Hatcher (2) Mike Fiers (2) Mike Moustakas (2) Mississippi State Bulldogs (2) Montreal Canadiens (2) Montreal Impact (2) Nathan Eovaldi (2) National League West (2) National League traveling championship (2) Ned Colletti (2) New York Rangers (2) Nick Swisher (2) Oklahoma City Thunder (2) Oregon Ducks (2) Paul Goldschmidt (2) Pedro Alvarez (2) Pete Kozma (2) Real Madrid (2) Ricky Nolasco (2) Roger Clemens (2) Roy Williams (2) Russell Martin (2) Ryan Vogelsong (2) Ryan Zimmerman (2) Seattle Storm (2) Shane Victorino (2) South Carolina Gamecocks (2) St. Louis Blues (2) Stephen Strasburg (2) Steven Strasburg (2) Ted Turner (2) Terry Francona (2) Tony Cingrani (2) Tony LaRussa (2) Toronto FC (2) Toronto Maple Leafs (2) Torri Hunter (2) Tottenham Hotspur (2) UCLA Bruins (2) Victor Martinez (2) Villanova Wildcats (2) Washington Capitals (2) Werder Bremen (2) Wil Myers (2) World Series (2) Yu Darvish (2) interleague traveling baseball championship (2) women's pro basketball traveling championship (2) A'ja Wilson (1) AC Milan (1) AS Roma (1) Aaron Hamilton (1) Aaron Harang (1) Adam Dunn (1) Adam LaRoche (1) Adam Wainwright (1) Al Campanis (1) Alabama Crimson Tide (1) Alan Wiggins (1) Alejandro De Aza (1) Alex Avila (1) Alex Guerrero (1) Alexander Ovechkin (1) Alysha Clark (1) American League West (1) Andrew Heaney (1) Andrew McCtchen (1) Andrew Miller (1) Andy Pettitte (1) Annibal Sanchez (1) Anthony Rizzo (1) Aroldis Chapman (1) Astros (1) Atlanta Hawks (1) Atlanta United FC (1) Auston Matthews (1) Babe Ruth (1) Baltimore Orioles Kansas City Royals (1) Barry Larkin (1) Bayer Leerkusen (1) Ben Wade (1) Benji Molina (1) Bert Blyleven (1) Bert Campaneris (1) Bill Foley (1) Billy Buckner (1) Blake Griffin (1) Bo Porter (1) Bobby Cox (1) Bobby Thompson (1) Borussia Dortmund (1) Boston Celtics (1) Brad Ausmus (1) Brad Havens (1) Brad Lidge (1) Branch Rickey (1) Brandon Maurer (1) Brandon McCarthy (1) Brandon Morrow (1) Brandon Moss (1) Brandon Snyder (1) Breanna Stewart (1) Brendan Ryan (1) Brett Lawrie (1) Brett Wallace (1) Brian Cashman (1) Brian Harper (1) Bruce Bochy (1) Bryan Price (1) Buck Showalter (1) Buffalo Sabres (1) Bundesliga (1) Butler Bulldogs (1) Buzz Williams (1) C.J. Kron (1) CBS (1) Caleb Joseph (1) California Angels (1) Candace Parker (1) Carlos Correa (1) Carlos Frias (1) Carlos Gonzalez (1) Carlos Marmol (1) Celta Vigo (1) Chad Qualls (1) Charlie Coyle (1) Chelsea FC (1) Chiapas (1) Chicago Sky (1) Chris Archer (1) Chris Carpenter (1) Chris Perez (1) Chris Tillman (1) Christiano Ronaldo (1) Citi Field (1) Clay Bucchholz (1) Cleveand Indians (1) Club América (1) Colin Cowgill (1) Colorado Avalanche (1) Columbus Crew (1) Coors Field (1) Cornbelt Conference (1) Cotton Nash (1) Craig Biggio (1) Curt Schilling (1) Dabo Swinney (1) Dale Murphy (1) Dallas Wings (1) Dan Straily (1) Daniel Nava (1) Danny Duffy (1) Dansby Swanson (1) Darryl Sutter (1) Darwin Barney (1) Davey Lopes (1) David DeJesus (1) David Murphy (1) David Ousted (1) David Peralta (1) David Wright (1) Dawn Staley (1) DeMar Derozan (1) Dean Chance (1) Detroit Red Wings (1) Devan Dubnyk (1) Devon Travis (1) Dick Jacobs (1) Didi Gregorius (1) Dillon Gee (1) Dioner Navarro (1) Don Mincher (1) Don Sutton (1) Dr. James Naismith (1) Draymond Green (1) Drayton McLane (1) Drew Hutchison (1) Dries Mertens (1) Duke Blue Devils (1) Dustin Byfuglein (1) Dusty Baker (1) Earl Weaver (1) Ed Creech (1) Edinson Volquez (1) Edmonton Oilers (1) Edwin Jackson (1) Efren Navarro (1) Eintracht Frankfurt (1) Elena Della Donne (1) Elian Herrera (1) Empoli (1) Ender Inciarte (1) Endy Chavez (1) English Premier League (1) Eric Sogard (1) Eric Staal (1) Evan Gattis (1) Evan Longoria (1) Everton FC (1) Farhan Zaidi (1) Felix Hernandez (1) Football Association (1) Frank Viola (1) Frank Wren (1) Fred McGriff (1) Freddie Gray (1) Freddy Galvis (1) Garrett Williams (1) Gene Mauch (1) Geno Auriemma (1) Genoa (1) German traveling soccer championship (1) Gerry Hunsicker (1) Gonzaga Zags (1) Goran Dragic (1) Grant Green (1) Green Bay Packers (1) Greg Holland (1) Guggenheim Baseball Management (1) Halle Berry (1) Happy Chandler East (1) Happy Chandler West (1) Harry Carey (1) Hassan Whiteside (1) Heath Bell (1) Henry Aaron Award. (1) Houston (1) Howard Kendrick (1) Ian Kinsler (1) Ichiro Suzuki (1) Indiana Fever (1) Indiana Pacers (1) Italian traveling soccer championship (1) Ivan DeJesus (1) J.B. Schuck (1) J.J. Hardy (1) J.J.Hardy (1) J.P. Howell (1) Jack Kent Cooke (1) Jack McKeon (1) Jackie Robinson (1) Jake Marisnick (1) Jake Odorizzi (1) Jake Peavy (1) James Paxton (1) James Shielss (1) Jamie McCourt (1) Jamie Wright (1) Jared Weaver (1) Jarrod Dyson (1) Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1) Jason Giambi (1) Jason Hammel (1) Jason Heyward (1) Jason Isringhausen (1) Jason Zucker (1) Javy Guerra (1) Jeff Samadrzija (1) Jeff Samardjzia (1) Jhonny Peralta (1) Jim Abbott (1) Jim Eppard (1) Jim Eppel (1) Jim Fregosi (1) Jim Hickey (1) Jim Johnson (1) Jim Palmer (1) Jimmie Hall (1) Jimmy Nelson (1) Jimmy Piersall (1) Joc Pedersen (1) Joe Mauer (1) Joe Morgan (1) Joe Saunders (1) Joe Thatcher (1) Joe Torre (1) JoeGirardi (1) Joel Berry II (1) Joel Hanrahan (1) John Angelos (1) John Farrell (1) John Helyar (1) John Jay (1) John O'Donnell Stadium (1) John Roseboro (1) Johnny Cueto (1) Johnny Giavotella (1) Jon Niese (1) Jonathan Papelbon (1) Jonathan Quick (1) Jonathan Schoop (1) Jordan Lyles (1) Jose Abreu (1) Jose Bautista (1) Jose Peraza (1) Jose Quintana (1) Jose Reyes (1) Jose Valverde (1) Joseph Wapner (1) Josh Donaldson (1) Josh Harrison (1) Jozy Altidore (1) Juan Marichal (1) Juan Pierre (1) Juan Rivera (1) Justin Jackson (1) Justin Turner (1) Kansas City Royals Pittsburgh Pirates (1) Ken Rosenthal (1) Kentucky Wildcats (1) Kevin Correia (1) Kevin Jepson (1) Kevin Kiermaier (1) Kevin Malone (1) Kevin Tapani (1) Koji Uehara (1) Kole Calhoun (1) Kris Bryant (1) Kris Jenkins (1) Kris Medlen (1) Kwami Leonard (1) Kyle Kubitza (1) Kyle Seager (1) L.J. Hoes (1) La Liga (1) LaMarr Hoyt (1) Lance McCullers (1) Larry Dolan (1) Leicester City FC (1) LewWolff (1) Liga MX (1) Ligue 1 (1) Liverpool (1) Logan White (1) Lords of the Realm (1) Lorenzo Cain (1) Los Angeles Kings (1) Louisville Cardinals (1) Lyon (1) Major League Soccer (1) Major League Soccer standings (1) Marcell Ozuna (1) Marge Schott (1) Mariano Rivera (1) Mark McGwire (1) Mark Mulder (1) Mark Reynolds (1) Mark Scheifele (1) Martin Prado (1) Marvin Miller (1) Masahiro Tanaka (1) Matt Adams (1) Matt Carpenter (1) Matt Dominguez (1) Matt Harvey (1) Matt Joyce (1) Matt Moore (1) Matt Shoemaker (1) Matt Wieters (1) Max Kruse (1) Max Scherzer (1) Maya Moore (1) Memphis Grizzlies (1) Miami Hurricanes (1) Michael Bourn (1) Michael Cuddyer (1) Michael Roth (1) Michael Young (1) Mikael Granlund (1) Mike Bolsinger (1) Mike Ilitch (1) Mike Illitch (1) Mike Leake (1) Mike Matheny (1) Mike Minor (1) Mike Mussina (1) Mike Napoli (1) Mike Piazza (1) Mike Zunino (1) Mikko Koivu (1) MilwaukeeBrewers (1) Minnesota United FC (1) Mookie Betts (1) NBA (1) NBA Ear of Corn (1) NBA East Ear of Corn (1) NBA West Ear of Corn (1) NBA east traveling championship (1) NBA traveling championship (1) Napoli (1) Nashville Predators (1) National Football League (1) National Hockey League (1) National League Divisional Series (1) Nebraska Cornhuskers (1) Nes York Yankees (1) New England Patriots (1) New Jersey Devils (1) New Orleans Saints (1) New York FC (1) New York Knickerbockers (1) New York Liberty (1) New York Red Bulls (1) NewYork Yankees (1) Newcastle United (1) Nick Markakis (1) Nick Saban (1) Nino Niederreiter (1) Nolan Ryan (1) North American traveling soccer championship (1) North League (1) Oakland Raiders (1) PNC Park (1) Pachuca (1) Palermo (1) Paris Saint-Germain (1) Paul Maholm (1) Paul Molitor (1) Paul Splittorff (1) Pedro (1) Pekka Rinne (1) Pete Carroll (1) Peter Bourjos (1) Phil Hughes (1) Phil Jackson (1) Philadephia Eagles (1) Pittsburgh Steelers (1) Preston Tucker (1) Prince Fielder (1) Quad Cities Angels (1) R.A. Dickey (1) R.A.Dickey (1) Ralph Garr (1) Randy Choate (1) Real Sociedad (1) Reggie Jackson (1) Reims (1) Rich Gale (1) Rich Hill (1) Rick Monday (1) Rick Reichardt (1) Rickey Henderson (1) Robert Cannon (1) Robert Lurie (1) Roberto Hernandez (1) Roger Scruton (1) Rogers Hornsby (1) Rohinson Cano (1) Ron Cey (1) Ron Washington (1) Roughned Odor (1) Rubby De La Rosa (1) Ryan Howard (1) Ryan Ludwick (1) Sacramento Kings (1) Safeco Field (1) Salvador Perez (1) Sam LeCure (1) San Francico Giants (1) San Francisco Giants (1) San Jose (1) San Jose Sharks (1) Sandy Koufax (1) Scott Diamond (1) Scott Dres (1) Scott Kazmir (1) Sean Marshall (1) Sebastian Giovinco (1) Second Divison (1) Seimone Augustus (1) Serie A (1) Seth Smith (1) Sevilla FC (1) Shin-Soo Choo (1) Sonny Gray (1) South League (1) Southern California Trojans (1) Spanish traveling soccer championship (1) Sporting KC (1) Staples Center (1) Starlin Castro (1) Stephen Drew (1) Steve Carlton (1) Steve Garvey (1) Super Bowl (1) Swansea City (1) Sylvia Fowles (1) Taijuan Walker (1) Texas A&M Aggies (1) Texas Christian Horned Frogs (1) Tim Federowicz (1) Tim Holbrook (1) Tim Hudson (1) Tim Raines (1) Tina Charles (1) Todd Frazier (1) Toluca (1) Tom Glavine (1) Tom Seaver (1) Toronto Raptors (1) Toronton Blue Jays (1) Trevor May (1) Trevor Rosenthal (1) Tronto Blue Jays (1) Ty Cobb (1) UNAM (1) Utah Jazz (1) Vancouver Whitecaps (1) Vernon Wells (1) Victor Vázquez (1) Vladimir Guerrero. (1) WAR (1) Wade Davis (1) Wade LeBlanc (1) Wade Miley (1) Walter Haas (1) Walter O'Malley (1) Wandy Rodriguez (1) Warren Giles League (1) Washington Mystics (1) Washington Natinals (1) Washington Redskins (1) Washington Senators (1) Watford (1) Wellington Castillo (1) West Ham United (1) Will Myers (1) Wilmer Flores (1) Wily Peralta (1) Wins Above Replacement (1) Wisconsin Badgers (1) Yadier Molina (1) Yan Gomes (1) Yankee Stadium (1) Yuli Gurriel (1) Zach Britton (1) Zach Parise (1) Zack Cozart (1) baseball (1) baseball continental traveling championship (1) baseball traveling championship (1) college football (1) college football national traveling championship (1) continental traveling hockey championship (1) drug testing (1) eastern hockey traveling championship (1) hockey traveling championship (1) pro basketbal traveling championship (1) pro basketball Ear of Corn (1) realignment (1) steven Souza (1) test (1) traveling championship (1) western basketball traveling championship (1) western hockey traveling championship (1) western pro hockey traveling championship (1) women's pro basketball First Division (1)