Beware of the Fog
There’s a cloud over AT&T Park this morning and maybe it’s the start of the NFL season. I, for one, am not ready to start thinking about football — not with three weeks left to go in the regular season, most of which come against the very teams we’ll need to beat to play in October.
It was great to see a couple of Inside the Dodgers readers up here in the Bay Area over the weekend. Glad you guys are all up north supporting the team.
Meanwhile, I know a lot of you guys have been worried about Russell needing more days off so I did some research to see how he stacked up historically against Dodger catchers. With 20 games left and three off days, it’s conceivable he could catch every game until the end of the year. If he were to do that, he would have caught 149 games and would break the record for most games caught by an LA Dodger catcher, but not by very much. Believe it or not, Mike Piazza caught 146, 146 and 139 games in 1993, 1996 and 1997, respectively, and somehow it didn’t seem to hurt him in the long run (the strike-shortened years of 1994 and 95 were the main reasons his games were down in those seasons).
And though Martin’s run production has tailed off a bit in the second half, he did did hit .300 with a .432 OBP and .511 slugging percentage in August, which is when the hot summer months usually take a toll on catchers across the game. He’s batting .280 so far in September, but it’s only a week so it’s tough to gauge much from such a small sample size.
Defensively, his numbers in throwing out runners in the second half are down (33 percent to 22 percent), but he’s thrown out six of his last 16 (38 percent), so he’s getting better lately. Plus, he hasn’t had a passed ball since the All-Star Break.
So while I certainly understand everyone’s concern for a player who will hopefully be a cornerstone of this team for several years to come, it’s not exactly like he’s being driven into the ground to the detriment of his future. Or at least there’s a historical precedent to look back on in that regard.
Anyway, I just wanted to throw a few facts out there so the debate is actually based on reality over beliefs.
Here’s the lineup for the road trip finale here in SF:
Abreu, SS (day off for Furcal)
Pierre, CF (batting .333 since the start of August)
Kemp, RF (his average is 5th in baseball over the last three weeks)
Penny, P (he and Webb have the most wins in the NL over the past two years)