When looking at the 2011 Dodgers, it would be easy to say “Everything“ or “it’s all Frank McCourt’s fault.” Neither would be true. Everything didn’t go wrong (Kershaw & Kemp), although MOST THINGS did go wrong. It’s also incorrect to say it is McCourts’ fault as I do not believe Frank McCourt played an inning this year. Let me know if I am wrong on that…
In a nutshell, what went wrong is that all but 3 of the Dodgers Top 11 offensive players “underperformed” from their career norms. I compared OPS, and only Jamey Carroll, Matt Kemp and Rod Barajas (barely) had OPS in 2011 that were above their career percentage. It’s likely that Barajas will decline before seasons’ end, which will leave the Dodgers with just two players who would be OPS’ing over their career averages.
Contrast that with the Arizona Diamondbacks who currently have 6 players OPS’ing over their career averages. Last time I checked, they were pretty good, but if you looked ar career OPS, you would conclude that the Dodgers were a better team. The thing is: they don’t play the game on paper!
The Dodgers are 5th in the NL in team ERA and the D-Backs are 10th, while the Backs are 4th in the NL in hitting and the Dodgers are second to last (just ahead of San Fran). The Dodgers have scored 100 fewer runs than Arizona, while Arizona has given up 70 more runs than the Dodgers.
Clearly, timely hitting and pitching is the difference, but when only 3 of 11 position players OPS above their career average, you won’t do as well as when 6 players beat their career OPS. Even Ray Charles can see that!
What bothers me is why that happened.
Did the Dodgers just have bad players? That’s not it, because most had a higher OPS than this year.
Did the Dodgers pick players who were destined to decline? An argument could be made for that (Furcal, Uribe, Blake, et al).
Was it the manager and coaches? That’s an interesting idea. Kirk Gibson seems to have instilled more excitement in AZ than Donnie has in LA…
I want to know.
What do you think?