Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness: Mike Petriello asks whether we should start worrying about Andre Ethier. Go over and read the whole thing, but he brings up points I wanted to address:
The obvious answer is that it’s yet another injury, but I’m not sure it’s that simple. Yes, he strained his oblique in San Francisco at the end of June and landed on the disabled list, and as his return coincided with the start of the second half it is technically accurate to say that “he’s been awful since he was injured.” The thing is, that oblique strain hardly interrupted a hot streak; over his previous 30 games before that, he’d been only at .241/.317/.352 (.669).
Nice. I had brought up on Twitter that maybe he just needed time off after the season to rest his oblique (notoriously naggy injury that can sap power), but he’s been struggling longer than that. Also, I looked at his swing to see if anything has changed, it hasn’t.
Here’s what I mean by that. Check out the percentage of lefty pitching that Ethier has faced over the last six years, shown in the table at right. For years, Ethier routinely faced lefties 25-30% of the time. This year it’s well over 40%, and as I hardly need to tell you, Ethier is absolutely awful against lefty pitching.
In my brain, I called bullshit on this. Either managers are figuring it out or he’s just run into an abnormal amount of lefty starters this season. My gut said it was the latter.
While I don’t have the exact amount of plate appearances against lefty starters for the team, I do have this:
So the dip that MSTI’s chart shows from 2010 to 2011 is expected, and so is a spike in 2012, but Ethier’s spike is around double that of the rest of the team. This suggests that while he has run into a bit of bad matchup luck this year, Ethier is indeed facing a greater diet of lefty relievers.
The league is learning, so when will the Dodgers?
Beyond The Box Score: A frightening look at young stars who went on to disappoint during their primes, centered around Hanley Ramirez. It had me worried for a while, but his line is now at .311/.368/.544/.912 with the Dodgers, so that makes me feel better.
ESPN: A.J. Ellis wrote a guest article at Buster Olney‘s blog and gave insight into what players are feeling around the trade deadline. Good read.