Tag Archives: Dodgers

Ted Lilly’s Homerless Allowed Streak–You’re Gonna Want to Read This

I don’t know what to call it. No Homer Streak? Whatever, let’s do this.

Ted Lilly has literally never gone a month in his career without giving up a home run. In 2002, he had only two starts in July and didn’t allow a home run, so there’s that. But September 2011 is the first time in his career he went a whole month without giving up a home run.

That was six consecutive starts without allowing a home run.

His longest homerless streaks before this:

1999: 4
2001: 5
2002: 4
2003: 3
2004: 4
2005: 3
2006: 3 (2)
2007: 3 (2)
2008: 2 (3)
2009: 3
2010: 3
2011: 6

Not only did he break his personal best for most non-homer-allowed games, he did it at the end of the season when he needed to allow only two home runs to join the 30/30 club.

Lilly has started 318 games in his career, appeared in 343 total. He’s given up 286 homers in that time; with multi-home run games, he’s had 193 games where he’s allowed a home run.

For averages, his HR/9 rate is 1.4 for his career, but since he averages 6 IP per start, it’s more like 0.933 per start. Yes, averaged out, he gives up a home run per appearances.

—Betting Odds—

Since he’s had 193 games with a homer allowed, 193 divided by 342 is 56; 56% of the time he made a MLB appearance he allowed a home run. That leaves you with 44% of the time he was in a game and didn’t allow one. That’s even on the lighter side, since we’re including non-start appearances (fewer innings, fewer chances to allow a HR).

You have better odds betting on the brightly colored spots on a Craps table and winning six times in a row than betting Lilly not giving up a homer.

So what are the official chances? The chances of Lilly not giving up a home run in six consecutive games are slightly less than 1% (about 0.73%; h/t @jeffersonlives). And he did it solely to prevent himself from entering the history books.

That’s pretty cool. We saw a >1% odd happen tonight.

The 30/30 pitcher season is rarer than Lilly’s homerless streak. There are about 17 seasons I think of a pitcher giving up 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in tens of thousands of eligible pitching seasons. But instead of Lilly breaking a negative record, he created a positive one–and a personal one at that. Good for him.



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Who’s Gonna Buy Me This?




If you’re reading this in the distant future, today is the day Frank McCourt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  It was a big middle finger to Bud Selig, who was basically about to take over the team, the local media (he reported it to the New York Times first) and to the fans of the LA Dodgers, who now have to wait at least until the end of the season for a new owner, since he now has a $150 million loan from MLB because of the bankruptcy.

It’s been real, Frank.

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We’re gonna want to remember this one for a while.

Matt Kemp blasted a shot OUT of Coors Field on Saturday. Link is here.

Dylan O. Hernandez on Twitter:

Heard that Kemp’s HR ball last night hit the concourse and one-hopped out of the stadium. Landed in the parking lot.

And the distance it would have gone approximately, thanks to Google Earth:

Yes, 490 feet is approximately how far it went. Even in a bad season, it’s pretty good to be a Dodger fan.

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Picking Mattingly’s Brain About Kershaw’s Ability [From a Hitter’s Perspective]

Everyone knows who Don Mattingly is; not many know, I guess, that he’s a very intelligent baseball guy. I was taken aback when he just opened up this conversation with me about what makes Kershaw so effective.

Here’s what he had to say about Clayton Kershaw’s performance, and skill set, tonight and for his career since coming up.

[Clayton] can use his breaking ball, he used his change up tonight, and his curveball is always there.

How much of Kershaw’s efficiency tonight was because of the line-up he faced?

These guys were pretty aggressive, but you still gotta throw the ball in the strike zone. That’s really the biggest difference, is establishing fastball counts all the time and now Kershaw is at the point as much as he throws a slider for a strike, he throws a slider for a chase (when the batter swings at a ball); he throws a breaking ball for a strike, he throws a breaking ball for a chase. He works both sides of the plate and to me that’s the evolution for him. Coming up, watching him as a young kid, he was one side of the plate and now he’s both.

He went from being a fastball-curveball guy to being a fastball-curveball-slider-change. When you’re [on the receiving end] of four weapons as a hitter, you have to start picking sides of the plate, you’re gonna try to eliminate pitches, but with Kershaw, you can’t do it.

I wish I asked more questions, guess I’ll have to settle for this and wait ’til my next interview.

More from Kershaw coming tomorrow.

Here’s some more comments from Donnie Baseball:

Seems like usually with good pitchers you have to get to them early. If you don’t, they get settled. The Cubs had their chance and Kershaw was able to get the big out in that first and then basically stopped them from there.

When you get to [their pitcher] early with Kershaw it helps too. You know, they get the run early and from there he pretty much stopped them. We were able to get back in the game. Ivan’s hit down the line with two outs … he gets that hit and then Jerry’s big hit there too so it kind of opened it up.

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Counterpoints: Uribe Will Stay, Loney Will Go?

There’s two counterpoints to the last post.

First is about Juan Uribe. Uribe is expensive, but plays the three positions that the Dodgers have serious needs in: 2B, SS and 3B. His positional flexibility makes him very important and thus less likely to be traded. So get used to that.

Second is about James Loney. Someone pointed out to me that Loney is more than likely to be traded this year because Sands can play 1B and Trayvon Robinson can fill the outfield (along with Xavier Paul or another replacement player), if both are capable of playing every day.

Again, money is in the driver’s seat here and Uribe will likely make almost twice as much as Loney, but depth-wise, it makes more sense to do trade Loney and keep Uribe.


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So What Happens Next for the Dodgers?

You’ve heard the news by now. MLB has taken over the Dodgers day-to-day operations, wresting it from Frank McCourt, who nearly had to take a $30 million loan to meet payroll obligations.

Amazin Avenue has a great breakdown of teams in similar dire circumstances and there are two major examples: the Expos in 2001 and the Rangers in 2009. The Expos owner at the time, though (one Jeffrey Loria), up and left the team and no one was willing to buy them and the Rangers situation wasn’t dire enough to force MLB to control the team (though Selig threatened it. More about the Expos from that Amazin’ article:

In 1999, art dealer Jeff Loria bought the team and made things worse with bad personnel moves (spending way too much on middling free agents like Hideki Irabu) and worse business moves (failing to secure English language broadcast rights). He also failed to secure public funding for a new ballpark in downtown Montreal, and rumblings that the team would be moved began in earnest.

In other words, terrible, costly moves cost the team more money which was eventually the reason the team moved to DC (damn you, Loria).

The Dodgers do have some things going for them, so this won’t be as brutal as the Expos, but it won’t be as seamless as the Rangers.

So what’s the first thing that’ll happen?

Cost-cutting. And yes, we’re talking about the MLB payroll.

It certainly won’t be pretty, but the only young, talented player the Dodgers lose to FA after this season is Jonathan Broxton. That’s the fortunate thing. The bad news is that Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Jamey Carroll, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla will be gone too. That’s three position spots to fill and two starters.

The line up will look like this:

C AJ Ellis/Barajas again?
1B Loney/Sands
2B Uribe/Ivan DeJesus
SS ???/Uribe?/Gordon?/DeJesus?
3B Uribe/cheap FA guy
RF Ethier
CF Kemp
LF Sands/Tony Gwynn Jr.

SP Kershaw
SP Billingsley
SP Lilly
SP Fill-in/de la Rosa?
SP Fill-in

RPs staying for sure: Blake Hawksworth, Kenley Jansen, Hong-Chih Kuo, Matt Guerrier.

Which, effectively, isn’t all that bad. Really depends on the replacement players that are brought in.

In the event of a freaking panic fire sale, which isn’t altogether likely, but not out of the picture, things get more complicated.

Of those that are going to arbitration this coming off-season:

Arb 1
Clayton Kershaw

Arb 2
Tony Gwynn Jr.

Arb 3 (final year)

Arb 4

In the 2011 year, Rafael Furcal is making the most money ($13 million), followed by Kuroda ($12 million), Ethier ($9.5), Lilly ($8.2) and Kemp ($7.1).

Of people who’ll potentially be back in 2012, Lilly is the biggest money maker at $11.5 million–whether he gets traded until then remains to be seen. Ethier’s the second biggest in the group (likely $10 mil in 2012). After that, Billingsley (9 mil), then Uribe (8 mil), then Kemp (likely > 7.1 mil).

I know almost everyone who’s a fan of the Dodgers is praying for Uribe to be traded off, but that’s not happening for two reasons: 1) nobody goddamn wants him for that price tag and you’re delusional if you think otherwise and 2) organizational depth is shallowest at the three positions Uribe plays: 2B, SS and 3B.

On the flipside, it won’t be too hard to keep Kemp and Kershaw, the only problem is they’ll be the easiest to trade. Colletti will get the most phone calls about them and Kemp is the easier of the two to let go because he’ll be making more in 2012. Yes, this sucks. But Colletti has stuck to his guns on Kemp, so while I’d understand Kemp being traded away, I’d still be shocked if it happened.

Assuming the team’s core sticks together for next year, with all of the arbitration payoffs, the team’s payroll will likely be at $65-70 million, which is still too much, but trading away one of Ethier or Billingsley will balance that to about $60 million. Add in a few minor league players and some waiver wire acquisitions and you have a full major league roster. The only real problem with this is if McCourt was so highly leveraged that the team still had to make payments on his debts, but declaring bankruptcy would be a good start in that case.

With market sharing, ticket sales and TV revenues, that’ll put the team into the manageable payroll area until the end of 2012, when basically everyone on the team is a free agent.

After that is complete chaos, but let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.

The best solution is clearly getting potential buyers organized ASAP and have the team sold by January 1, 2012.

In conclusion, it’s possible that an MLB-run Dodgers squad can at least keep together the best players on the squad for the next year and maybe a bit more–at least ideally. But in practice, that’s a little more difficult. The three big questions are:

  • How fast is MLB going to act to cut costs? (The answer is probably immediately)
  • How dramatic will those cuts be?
  • And what will be the market be for trading away players?

I get the feeling the market for pitchers will be better than the market for OFs at the trade deadline or even before it. Of major contenders this year, the Giants and Phils seem to be the only two with a solidified staff. Meanwhile, the Rockies, Braves, Rangers, Yankees, Rays, White Sox, Twins and Tigers could use an SP of Kuroda or Lilly’s stature down the stretch.

So players who are likely gone: Lilly, Kuroda
Players who probably are gone: Ethier, Uribe (if anybody will take him)
Players who might be gone, but probably not: Billingsley, Kemp
Players who are staying: Kershaw, James Loney, Jerry Sands

It seems the Dodgers’ scouting has served them well.

These cost-cutting measures also mean the team will draft at slot, which hurts Logan White and Dejon Watson quite a bit, but hopefully it’ll be only for one year.


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YouTube: Zach Lee’s Curveball

This comes from Dingers friend OdinsBeard, who’s a downright cool dude for posting this video of Zach Lee’s curveball on YouTube:

Nice break on the curve with pretty damn solid mechanics.

OdinsBeard also has three other pitches from Lee, including a slider, a fastball and an unknown pitch (looks like a fastball that tailed inward to the batter).

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