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Which Dodgers Scare You? It May Not Be Who You Think

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Dodgers fans and the national media are in a tizzy over Los Angeles' now complete lineup.  No longer are they giving plate appearances to Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, and Nomar Garciaparra.  Instead, they have Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, and Rafael Furcal.  Along with Matt Kemp, Blake DeWitt, Russell Martin, James Loney, and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers lineup is certainly a good one.

As Phillies fans, which of these guys are we supposed to be afraid of?  Conventional wisdom tells us that the new guys who lifted the team in the second half are the ones to watch -- Furcal, Ramirez, and Blake.  But, looking at how these guys have done historically against the Phillies, both generally and at Citizens Bank Park, the numbers tell us otherwise.

Here's a chart showing the career numbers of these three newcomers:

 

Against Phillies   At CBP
PA AVG OBP SLG OPS   PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Rafael Furcal 478 0.255 0.309 0.356 0.666   114 0.274 0.316 0.453 0.769
Manny Ramirez 115 0.274 0.383 0.611 0.993   53 0.191 0.264 0.383 0.647
Casey Blake 43 0.205 0.256 0.282 0.538   16 0.143 0.250 0.143 0.393

What we have here is three guys who have not thrived against the Phillies or at CBP. Furcal, with his service time as a Brave, has the most plate appearances. He's struggled against the Phillies, with only a .666 OPS. He's done better at CBP, but that comes mostly from power and not at all as a table-setter who gets on base. Ramirez has hit well against the Phillies, but even his .993 OPS is only a 96 tOPS+ for him (meaning it's 4% lower than his overall OPS). At CBP, he's been awful, with a .647 OPS in 54 plate appearances. Blake has the most limited time against the Phillies, but his stats are the worst -- barely hitting up to Endy Chavez levels against the Phillies as a whole, and reaching sub-Abraham Nunez levels at CBP.

So, based on the past, Furcal, Ramirez, and Blake are not the guys we should be scared of. The problem is, it's the rest of the lineup that's going to give us problems. Removing DeWitt from the analysis because he's never played the Phillies, we see that the rest of the Dodgers' everyday lineup gives the Phillies fits, both generally and at CBP:

Against Phillies   At CBP
PA AVG OBP SLG OPS   PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Russell Martin 64 0.300 0.453 0.560 1.013   27 0.238 0.407 0.524 0.931
Andre Ethier 65 0.291 0.400 0.564 0.964   29 0.292 0.414 0.625 1.039
James Loney 73 0.348 0.389 0.500 0.889   42 0.400 0.429 0.575 1.004
Matt Kemp 73 0.353 0.397 0.662 1.059   30 0.333 0.400 0.519 0.919

All of these guys have thrived against the Phillies, particularly at CBP. All four have a .400+ OBP in Philadelphia. All four are right around that number generally against the Phillies as well. Their slugging percentages are .500 or better, with some in the .600 range. Basically, against the Phillies, in Los Angeles or Philadelphia, they get on base, and they hit for power.

Furcal, Ramirez, and Blake are getting all the attention these days, but Martin, Ethier, Loney, and Kemp are the Dodgers that should scare us. Our only comfort is the statistician's favorite refrain: small sample size. Put that on repeat in your head for this series.