Friday, March 16, 2007

2007 Preview: LA Dodgers

Last year, the Dodgers tied for first place in the NL West, but they finished last in the National League in the category of plunking batters, with just 41. Only Minnesota hit fewer batters than the Dodgers in 2006. In games when they did hit at least one batter, the Dodgers compiled a record of 18 wins and 19 loses, but they were 2-1 in games when they hit more than one batter, and 1-0 when they hit 3 batters. Obviously they would have had more success last season if they hit more batters (although intentionally hitting batters is not supported or endorsed by this website).

The Dodgers didn't hit Craig Biggio with a pitch last year, and they were 0-2 in games when they hit an Astros batter. The Dodgers haven't plunked Biggio since September 3, 2003, and they haven't plunked him in Houston since June 21, 2000. This year, they'll have 7 games in which they might contribute to Biggio's inevitably record setting HBP total, but they will not face him until July 23rd, when he will have most likely already passed the all time record for getting hit by pitches. Biggio has made it to July 23rd without being hit 6 times in a season in the past, but not since 1994.

If he is on the brink of the record breaking plunk 288 when the Dodgers visit Houston in July, Brad Penny might be the most likely Dodger to throw it. He led the Dodgers with 9 plunks last season, but he has never plunked Biggio. Two time Biggio plunker Greg Maddux left the team in the offseason, but they picked up Jason Schmidt, Randy Wolf, Rudy Seanez, and Chin-hui Tsao who have all plunked Biggio once. The Dodgers active leader in career plunks is Derek Lowe with 60 plunks, followed by Wolf with 49 and Schmidt with 48.

The Dodgers should also be too late to participate in the 3000 hits milestone this season, although it's possible he could still be looking for that one in late July - if he gets about 25% less playing time, or decides to go after the single season plunk record so aggressively that he stops bringing a bat to the plate. Biggio's average season hit total as of July 23rd has been 97.5, though he only had 90 hits on that date in 2006. If he has 90 hits by then, he'll be looking to pass Rafael Palmeiro's career mark of 3,020 hits, and move into 23rd place all time.

If you already know that the 2006 Dodgers didn't hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, and for some reason you still care who they did plunk, here's the list: Garrett Atkins (twice), Brad Ausmus, Jason Bartlett (twice), Barry Bonds, Jeromy Burnitz (twice), Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, Sean Casey, Jeff Cirillo, Ryan Doumit, Damion Easley, Johnny Estrada, Adam Everett, Sal Fasano, Prince Fielder, Chone Figgins, Cliff Floyd, Ryan Freel, Luis Gonzalez (twice), Shawn Green, Khalil Greene, Wes Helms, Todd Helton, Matt Holliday (twice), Conor Jackson (twice), Corey Koskie, Damian Miller, Albert Pujols, Mike Rouse, Aaron Rowand (twice), Jeff Suppan, Ryan Theriot, Shane Victorino and Eric Young. This knowledge will come in handy someday.



At 3/16/2007 08:28:00 PM, Anonymous Lionstone said...

Biggio predictions:
3000 Hits: June 17
288 HPB: July 29

At 3/17/2007 01:08:00 PM, Anonymous DM said...

Good. Glad to see I'm not the only one who is optimistically picking June dates.

At 3/19/2007 02:58:00 PM, Anonymous Lionstone said...

I'm counting on him starting the year looking like his old self before wearing down in the second half. He's not losing any talent, just aging. ;)

At 3/19/2007 03:21:00 PM, Anonymous Cat said...

He'll hit #3000 AND get plunked on September 11th, 2007. I have purchased tickets to the game.

At 5/09/2007 10:54:00 PM, Anonymous R2 said...

I was hoping hit 3000 would be August birthday...and I hope it would be a ball that lands in the first row of the bullpen boxes...thats where I'll be. First pitch fastball....I can see it now!!!


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