I had to take a look at the Dodgers’ stats on Baseball Reference, because when in doubt, there’s always fun things on Baseball Reference. And then I had to take another look, because this team is in first place! I mean, look at this:
I’m cherry-picking a little, of course. There’s Ethier and eventually Kemp and for some reason the withered corpse of Bobby Abreu, and the pitching has been pretty good. But still, for how dominant they’ve been…let’s take a look at their Pythagorean winning percentage (i.e., how many games they ought to have won & lost based on their actual run scoring & prevention.)
Huh. Baseball-Reference has them at 41-32, with an actual record before tonight of 43-30. That’s not that far off. Hey, how about the Giants?
Oh. Apparently we ought to be 37-36. Moving right along, then.
The point I was originally going to make had something to do with how it’s hard to understand how the Dodgers keep winning. Tonight it is also hard to understand that. Nathan Eovaldi, in his brief career with the Dodgers, has been roundly Cained time after time. Tonight, well, his defense let him down to open the gates, and then he pumped hanging sliders into those gates to the never-ending glee of the Giants offense. It really just took the two innings; Eovaldi settled down and awaited his inevitable doom.
And Barry Zito. Last time I wrote about a Zito start, I said this: Essentially, I think Barry Zito still looks like Barry Zito. When he has his curveball working, it’s a thing of unexpected beauty, but that’s always been the case in his Giants career, and he’s never had it working for long. If he stays healthy, he’s probably going to manage to be an okay fifth starter this year.
Barry Zito had his curveball working tonight. He had everything else working, too. It wasn’t an electric, dominating performance, but it was Good Zito, who bears a certain resemblance to Lucky Zito – that’s true of most pitchers, of course, but still. Anyway, Zito pitched a good game, the bullpen didn’t have an improbable collapse, and the offense worked like a well-oiled machine in the absence of Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval had his best night since his return from the DL, and we all knew he was going to start hitting again at some point, but it was still fun to see. Missed a home run by a few feet, hit a bullet double off a ball that was probably going to get smothered in the dirt. Pablo, everybody. The outfield did stuff too. Thanks, outfield, I was starting to wonder.
Last note: Brandon Belt’s basically taken the last two games off. And I’m not really worried about it. He’s the starting first baseman now! For reals! He’s allowed to slump, and I’m even a little glad that the rest of the offense stepped up and got back to scoring runs like they were before Belt emerged from his chrysalis, dingers flying. It’s the mark of a well-rounded offense that no one player needs to carry it.
And damnit, I’m just going to keep telling myself that to avoid getting the “Sanchez catching full-time, Posey at first” night terrors. KNBR callers, you have no power here.
Two games back! Tomorrow, the Giants try to score runs off of Clayton Kershaw to back up Vogeltron. This ought to be
frustrating wearying a collection of feeble swings worth of Sotheby’s auction house exciting.