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What’s Wrong With Andre?

What’s Wrong With Andre?

This is really simple – call me names, say I’m an Ethier hater, say I am biased.  Say what you want.  Make yourself feel good.  Cite some obscure stat.  Say he has a great swing.  Say I’m not objective.  Say I don’t know what I am talking about.  Say something (make it up) that will make you look smart.   How do you feel?  Do you feel better?  However, nothing you say will change the fact that Andre Ethier has become a platoon player. 

dodgersRight off the bat, I have to question why James Loney sat and Andre Ethier played against a LH last night.  Andre was 0-5 and left 8 runners stranded.  James Loney is hitting .301 against left-handers and Andre Ethier is hitting. 187.  Ethier is also hitting .203 on the road.  Want more?  How about  the fact that he’s hitting .111 in July?   He started out the season hitting .306 in March and April, then .211 in May and .268 in June, only to totally tank it in July.  Juan Pierre is hitting .377 against LH!  It is felony stupid to play Andre Ethier against any lefthander right now.  He can’t hit them.  He leads the team in hitting into double plays (15) by more than double, when his  next nearest teammate has only 7!   When he came to bat in the 9th last night I told my son that the game was over.  One out, runners on 1st and 2nd and behind by one run.  It’s a lock that Andre will hit into a double play… and he did!  Game over, Andre!

The time has come to sit Andre against LH pitching.  Andre’s OB% against lefthanders is .272  and his overall OB% is .338.  When Martin was struggling, he had to stay in because he’s our defensive anchor and his OB% was always .360 -.370.  Andre has become a liability.  In 2007, Andre struck out 68 times, 88 times in 2008 and he currently has 62 strikeouts this year.  He is on pace for 121 K’s.  He is no longer a middle-of-the-order hitter.

Last night, we had better options than to sit James Loney.  Blake could have played RF and Loretta 3B or Pierre could have played CF, shifting Kemp to RF.  Joe needs to figure out what his options are in RF, because Andre isn’t getting it done right now.  For whatever reason(s) he is ineffective against LH and it is hurting us badly.  Hopefully, he can regain his sweet stroke, but right now, it is what it is!  Could Hoffman be a platoon partner?

It has been suggested the Matt Kemp should hit 3rd – I totally agree with that.  I like breaking it up (L/R) so, I would do it like this:

  1. Furcal  SS
  2. Hudson  2B
  3. Kemp  CF/RF
  4. Manny  LF
  5. Loney  1B
  6. Blake  3B
  7. Martin  C
  8. Ethier RF/Pierre CF  (Platoon)

DODGER NOTES:

  • Belisario’s elbow is allegedly OK after an MRI, just overwork!  Duhhhh…
  • Vargas has the same procedure done on his elbow that Saito did last year.
  • What’s up with Kuroda?  Bad streak (not THAT bad) or a pattern?
  • How can we only score 2 runs when Oliver Perez walked 7?  Amazing!

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

22 Responses to “What’s Wrong With Andre?”

  1. Badger says:

    What’s wrong with Andre?

    That’s easy. Pitch selection.

    I think you are again being a little too hard on Ethier Mark. He is a streak hitter and you must know that you have to live with these slumps. I believe he will light it up very soon. He stays in my lineup – period.

    What I want to know is why Loney didn’t at the very least pinch hit for Loretta. What’s up with that? And I agree 100% with Brooklyn’s post about Kemp batting 8th. There is just no excuse for that. None. Zip. Nada. Kemp is a middle of the order hitter, maybe even a number 3. Put Blake back where he was hitting .317 with a .980 OPS – in the 8 hole and move Kemp up where he belongs.

    Sometimes I have to wonder what Joe is thinking.

    I’ll say it again. Kuroda deserved better. He made the pitch to get himself out of that big inning and Blake’s error cost him big time. Stuff happens, but that error was absolutely huge. He makes the play, a Taylor made double play ball, Kuroda might go 6 saving our pen and the game is at the very worst 4-4 after 9.

  2. Blue Haze says:

    I hope your hip isn’t feeling as sensitive this morning as your…

    I have been an Ethier supporter from the start, but he is in a terrible place right now. He does need an extended period on the bench, allow him to hit in the cage during the game and work on his swing. He really should not be getting starts against lefties until he can show me a little something. He is brained-#%&@ed right now. He’ll be back, give him some time.

    A very strange line-up last night.

    Nice to see Martin hit the ball hard last night, maybe the Jack Daniels Factor is kicking in, about time.

    Manny hits a soft HR in the 9th, we were down by more than one, qualifying it as “soft”.

  3. BobDS says:

    I thought you might be interested in some first hand observations of last night’s gift from the Dodgers to the Mets. Talk about another game there just for the taking and the Dodgers not up to the task.

    Kuroda wasn’t even remotely close to the pitcher who pitched so well for the Dodgers in last yrs playoff. Very hittable. When he got ahead of hitters he couldn’t put them away and it cost him dearly. Can’t tell how dependable he will be for the second half. His stuff looks very mediocre.

    Orlando Hudson looks like he’s playing with some sort of injury. He’s so tentative at the plate and even appears to be reluctant to swing. He takes so many called strikes. I watched him after his atbats and while he waits for his glove and such, he’s slumped over and he looks like he’s favoring something. I think the guy’s hurt and is trying to play through it. Did you see him going down the line on the DP? Not his usual speed down the line.

    Either absolutely stunk last night at the plate. Killed Dodger rallies every atbat. Had to leave atleast a thousand guys in scoring position. That last atbat was the worst where he tried to pull a ball down and away. Hits it right to the shortstop for a DP with the tying run on second and the go ahead run on first. I think he got one ball out of the infield all night. He looks terrible against left-handed pitchers.

    Manny miss-judged the first ball hit to him for a double but it didn’t cost a run. Later he made some nice plays in LF, running catches and one strong throw. People around me were shocked at the strength of his throwing arm. So was I. His throw had a alot of carry on it.

    They are calling it the “miracle play” in NY. Thet Mets were so lucky. Loretta’s ball hits the first base bag instead of going down the line for a double. The ball pops straight up, takes a nice Met bounce to Murphy their first baseman and he flips it behind his back to the pitcher covering. Of course, Loretta, who has was hesitant getting out of the batters box to watch the ball and has to be one of the slowest, if not the slowest Dodger, arrives at the base exactly when the ball does. “Tie goes to the runner” was what we were all taught as kids. Not anymore, especially when it gives an umpire a chance to make a very dramatic, animated call before the hometown crowd. Another blown call in a yr of more blown calls than I have ever seen.

    Kemp has elevated his game to yet another level. Everyone was asking me why he was batting eight while Loretta was hitting fifth? Good question. I guess Joe likes him there, feels he’s comfortable there and doesn’t have as much pressure there. It’s hard to question Joe when his team is 23 games over five hundred.

    Manny hit an absolute bomb for his homerun starting off the 9th. Blake walks and the Mets are frantic. KRod goes to change ups and strikes out Loretta. When I saw Loretta come to bat in the 9th, I thought he would be bunting Blake to second. When he didn’t bunt, I wondered why Joe didn’t go to Loney. But it’s hard to question Joe, when…..

    I already mentioned Ethier’s futility.

    One last thing, Corey Wade doesn’t have much on the ball. What a difference a year makes. He is very hittable.

  4. lawdog says:

    Eithier, like Martin, has trouble with good breaking stuff, off speed with deceptive arm speed. Loney and Kemp have the problem as well, but Martin and Ethier seem to have the problem in spades. I think they are both pressing, and bercause they are basically great fastball hitters in terms of their careers, when they’re pressing they’re trying to hit everything that appears to be a fastball 650 feet.

    The Dogs need to pick one right handed power hitting outfielder up from AAA and really platoon him with Ethier. DeWitt needs to see more time at second so O-rod can heal and get his stroke back. And we need to go get an Ace. Kuroda is done, methinks. Old age eventually gets us all.

  5. mark says:

    Kuroda is only 34 and has consistently been throwing as hard (maybe harder) as he ever has (95-96 MPH). I think he’ll get it back soon.

    Martin is hitting .381 this month with a .480 OB%.

    His overall OB% is still .375. That’s not shabby.

  6. lawdog says:

    This month is only 9 days old so the figures for Martin aren’t as significant as they might first seem at first blush. I do agree however that he has improved of late. If he can hit over .325 for an entire month I’ll breathe easier. Ethier will stop trying to hit every change up 6 inches off the plate in the seats soon and he’ll get streaky hot again. He plays like kids on a see saw. Up for a week, down just as long the next as the season winds on. I think it’s nuts to keep playing Kemp at the bottom of the order and Ethier will probably instantly recover if you bat him in front of Manny like we did last year. O-Rod needs to move down in the order after he’s given about 7 days off to recover from all the aches and pains that are effecting his game now.

    Do we rename Manny “Softee-Manny” if he keeps going 1-5 with solo shots in the 9th? They could rename his section down in the cheap seat area “Softy-Man’s Land” and have a special on soft ice cream cones.

    I think all those years of throwing hard in Japan have prematurely aged Kuroda. He can still throw all his pitches. It’s just that about half the time he can’t get it anywhere near where he wants it and he gets whalloped. Everyone has their own aging table. In the old days most players were considered old by the time they were 34. Maybe Kuroda is a throw back to an era gone by. But he’s pitching like he has run out of gas right from the get go in most of his games this year.

  7. mark says:

    He claims that he just can’t get into a rythum.

  8. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    This could be dangerous, but I had the same thought as Mark when Ethier came to the plate in the ninth. I was at the game, and told my Met fan friend that Ethier hits into a lot of double plays. Suffice to say, following the at-bat he was impressed with my knowledge of Dodger hitters.

    Good point about Ethier starting and Loney sitting. I also thought about having Loney hit for Loretta. Could be that Torre let Loretta hit because he had hit the ball well in his previous at-bats.

    Manny’s “soft” HR was hit awfully hard.

    Surprised no one has mentioned this, but during the game I thought the Dodgers should have put Castillo on in front of Oliver Perez before the former drove in the first Met run. It was early in the game, and there was no way I thought the Mets would hit for Perez at that juncture. Maybe Torre was hoping that Castillo would make an out, thereby not clearing the pitcher to lead off the next inning. Nothing else seems to make any sense. In that situation, I play the percentages, and pitch to Perez rather than Castillo.

    I saw Ethier’s final out on a replay after I got home from the game, and it looked to me as if he was trying to do too much with a pitch that was asking to be hit to left or leftcenter. I’m not so sure it was down and away as it was middle away. Whatever the case, it had “hit me” written all over it, but NOT “pull me”.

    As much as I like Ethier’s swing, and as much as I live by the credo that you’re never as good as you are when you’re at your best, and as bad as you are when you’re at your worst, he is a player that I would consider trading, but only in a deal that brought back equal or better value. And if it was a package deal, it would depend on who was in the package, and for what.

    The interesting thing about Ethier not being able to hit lefties, is that he hit them well when he first came up with Dodgers, and has since gotten steadily worse against them. Here are his averages against lefthanded pitchers since 2006:

    2006 = .351 (better than his .298 against righthanders)

    2007 = .279 (nearly identical .286 vs. righties)

    2008 = .243 (.326 vs. righties)

    I don’t have his 2009 stats at the moment.

    If my memory serves me correct, I recall that Ethier went to leftfield more often against lefties when he first came up.

  9. lawdog says:

    If my memory serves me, Ethier didn’t try to hit every pitch 650 feet and assume everything that left the pitcher’s hand was going to be a fastball middle/inside like he does now. I think the 3 homer game may have been the worst thing that could have happened to him.

    I’ve been told my golf game would be level or two better if I didn’t swing so hard. The trouble is, every time I release my swing at the top of my backswing I think I’m swinging easy. Not so. But I can’t seem to get over the bad habit.

    Same seems to be true for Ethier. Martin had the problem for most of the season but seems to be getting over the problem. Kemp and Mondesi have/had the same tendencies.

    When the Duke Snider went into a slump, he’d hit his way out of it the same way he became the best knuckleball hitter the game knew in his day. Since Ethier has Duke’s swing, he might as well learn Snider’s balance and patience as well. Balance your swing and hit the ball to center. And back off the breaking balls and hit them to left/left center if they’re pitched low and away. Only turn early and drive the ball hard to right/right center when the pitch is clearly a fastball in your wheel house low and mid/inside to inside..

    Balance is the key. And learn to “hit it where they ain’t.” like Wee Willie Keeler so eloquently said.

  10. Badger says:

    Good takes in here today.

    The Ethier at bats I have seen this year, and the number is limited, tells me he is having trouble with pitch recognition. He currently has a hole in his swing and it’s the low and away curve ball. He looks terrible against LH pitching because lefties have found his weakness. You cannot hit a pitch 8″ outside and ankle high. If he could lay off those pitches and force the pitcher to throw him strikes, he could be back in the groove very quickly. Number one rule in hitting – get a good pitch to hit. I would sit him against LH pitching. Who plays RF? I don’t know. Kemp I suppose, with Pierre in center.

    And nobody has been able to tell us why Loretta hit instead of Loney.

    Kuroda didn’t look that bad to me. I think he is just rusty. Again, he gets a play from Blake, and he goes 6. And on the Dodgers, 6 is considered a good start.

    The Dodger defense looked weak last night. Stuff happens. They will bounce back.

  11. lawdog says:

    I think the following batting order would pull us out of our collective slump:

    Furcal

    Ethier

    Manny

    Kemp

    Loney

    Blake

    Martin

    O-Rod

  12. Blue Haze says:

    Well said Badger, wholeheartedly agree.

    Furcal looks healthier to me in the last several games. He seems more willing to totally exert himself. I have noticed some tentativeness in his swings and his running that made me think he was still nursing a recovering back. Maybe I have been paying attention to him since I have been fighting a bad lower back problem and will be seeing a specialist tomorrow morning, hearing the MRI results.

    Mark, I bought the “Your Aching Back” and have jumped into to it, I want to know some basic terms and facts before I listen to the doc. Thanks for the recommendation, I really appreciate it, that book is golden!

  13. Michael says:

    I think the line-up needs a tune-up, it isn’t firing on all its cylinders. There isn’t anything wrong with Andre that a move to the 3 hole wouldn’t fix. If Matt Kemp would hit like he has in the 8 hole, in the middle of the order[ he won't and hasn't ]he wouldn’t need to worry about votes to be an All-Star. He is the best 8th place hitter since, well, Casey Blake. Next go around, how about Ausmus work with Hiroki. Really disappointed that James didn’t get to play. Whos next? To take over when Mr. Torre goes? Bobby V,could we pry Mike? Hmmm.

  14. Badger says:

    I have no problem with that lineup. Kemp needs to move up and Hudson needs to rest or move down. Ethier would benefit greatly hitting in front of Manny and you all know I think he is a good fit in the two hole. I think I would bat Loney behind Manny and then Kemp.

    It does look like Furcal is coming around. Good for him and really good for us. I am concerned about Hudson. I would rather he took the All Star break off and rest up. Hopefully he plays only a couple of innings with only 1 or 2 at bats.

    The All Star game. All I can think about is Penny throwing 100 mph and pitching like crap the rest of the year. I hope Broxton only gets in for 1 batter and I don’t want Bills to pitch at all. In my opinion it’s just not worth it.

    Good luck with that MRI Haze. I hope it’s nothing and some pilates core work gets you back on the field.

  15. Ken says:

    The problem with Ethier is that he can not prove that he is as good as Andruw Jones.

  16. mark says:

    Jones had 3 jacks last night.

    In 200+ at-bats last year he had 3 jacks.

    Go Figure!

  17. Ken says:

    Pinch hit for Wolf, save his arm, and give him another no decision

  18. Michael says:

    Hope it is nothing serious with the O-Dog, I missed the play. Hopefully this will give him an opt-out of the All-Star game to heal up.

  19. Badger says:

    Wolf 118 pitches to go 6.1. Same crap different day. At least he will get a W tonight, that’s a scoop.

    What happened to ODog?

  20. Blue Haze says:

    The thing I hate about Kemp batting 8th is classically displayed in his line tonight. He goes 3 -4, scores zero runs, 1 rbi, that stinks, talk about do as little as possible with someone’s production. So it really doesn’t help the dodgers win games even if Kemp hits .319, talk about soft hits, soft hits in terms of what it actually means to the team. Torre has to move him and take a chance of making the most of his production, not the least.

    Nice to see the Dodgers back to scoring early and often. Furcal looks right again, coincidentally with his health or with the return of MAN RAM. Hmmm, or a little bit of both, who really knows, I don’t care it is fun to see the Dodgers have an edge and excitement to them again. Say what you will about MAN RAM, but he does cause some electricity where ever he goes in the NL.

    Manny is back ( at least against the Mets ) and not a moment to soon!

  21. Juane Pierre should start says:

    I didn’t know clutch hitting was batting .204 with runners in scoring position and almost leading the league in hitting into double plays.

    The fact is Ethier is a mediocre player at best that occasionally shows some power that misleads people into thinking he good be better. We should trade him for Halladay why we can still get some value out of him and start Juan Pierre.

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