Garret Anderson Returns To Anaheim

Garret Anderson, who has had reason to smile in the last two weeks, returns to his former home tonight in Anaheim

Garret Anderson was drafted by the Angels in 1990, made his major league debut in 1994 and for 14 seasons was a mainstay in the Angel lineup.  He is the franchise all-time leader in many categories:

  • Games played (2,013)
  • Plate appearances (8,480)
  • Runs scored (1,024)
  • Runs batted in (1,292)
  • Hits (2,368)
  • Total bases (3,743)
  • Doubles (489)
  • Extra-base hits (796)

Anderson is also second in runs created (1,173), third in triples (35), fifth in batting average (.296) and Wins Above Replacement (28.6), and eighth in slugging percentage (.469).  No matter how you slice it, Anderson is one of the greatest Angels of all-time.  Tonight is his first regular season game back in Anaheim since leaving after 2008.

Anderson did play in Anaheim once this spring, on April 2, but the crowd response was lukewarm at best.  The man was one of the best players in the history of the franchise, and he didn't leave on bad terms (the Angels made the decision for him by declining his 2009 option).  I am willing to chalk the muted response in April to the fact that it was spring training.  It didn't count.  That's fine, but tonight does count.  There is no reason Anderson shouldn't receive a long, loud standing ovation tonight in Anaheim. 

Even with his recent hot streak (eight hits in his last 18 at-bats, with three doubles and a home run), Anderson has not had a good season for the Dodgers.  But tonight is his night.

Pitching Matchup

Clayton Kershaw has been lights out for a month and a half, going 6-1 with a 1.82 ERA in his last eight starts, averaging nearly seven innings per start (6.79).  He is pitching tonight with five days rest, his fifth start this season on extra rest, something that has served him well this season:

Clayton Kershaw 2010 Starts
Rest GS W-L IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
Extra Rest 4 3-0 25.2 21 6 6 0 3.86 9.47 2.10 1.247
Regular Rest   10 4-3 59.1 43 24 22 4 5.16 10.62 3.34 1.298

Kershaw has made one career start in Anaheim, pitching seven scoreless innings and getting the win last June 21, with Kobe Bryant in attendance on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

Ervin Santana had a five-game winning streak from May into the beginning of the month, but has struggled in his last two starts, allowing a total of 10 earned runs in 10 innings to Toronto and Milwaukee.  On the surface, Santana has struggled at home this season, with a 5.12 ERA in Anaheim compared to 3.04 ERA on the road, but his x-FIP is lower at home (4.03) than on the road (4.39).

Casey Blake has six hits in 14 at-bats against Santana, hitting .429/.556/.929 with a double and two home runs, but he hasn't faced him since 2008 when Blake was with Cleveland.  Manny Ramirez has one hit in 12 career at-bats against Santana, including the postseason, but their last encounter was in the 2007 ALDS.

Hits Hard To Come By

A number of Dodgers have gone a few days or more without a hit:

  • Andre Ethier:  0 for last 17 (plus a walk)
  • Jamey Carroll:  0 for last 10 (plus four walks, a hit-by-pitch, and two sacrifice bunts)
  • James Loney:  0 for last 9
  • Casey Blake:  0 for last 8 (plus a walk)
  • Matt Kemp:  0 for last 8 (plus a sacrifice fly)
  • Russell Martin:  0 for last 7 (plus a walk)

Eight Isn't Enough

The Dodgers have struggled mightily in interleague play on the road, with a 41-68 record since interleague play started in 1997.  Since 2005, they have been even worse, losing 35 of 45 road games in American League parks.  Only the Pirates have been worse, with a 6-30 interleague road record during that time.  A main reason has been the lack of production by Dodger designated hitters.  Here is a look at Dodger DHs with their AL counterparts since 1997:

Designated Hitters 1997-2010
Team PA 2B HR RBI BA/OBP/SLG OPS
Dodgers 466 20 5 41 .240/.331/.337 .668
AL vs Dodgers 466 18 16 60 .280/.372/.446 .818

No team in baseball has had their designated hitters hit fewer home runs than the five hit by the Dodgers.  If we look at the numbers since 2005, the disparity between the Dodgers and their AL counterparts is even worse:

Designated Hitters 2005-2010
Team PA 2B HR RBI BA/OBP/SLG OPS
Dodgers 170 7 2 13 .229/.314/.318 .632
AL vs Dodgers 164 8 9 26 .268/.351/.482 .833

The production gap in designated hitters is expected, by design.  American League teams build their rosters with nine hitters, at least in theory, while National League teams think eight is enough.  This is not news, of course, but it's as big a reason as any why American League teams are 966-717 (.574) at home all-time in interleague play.

In a strange twist, the Dodgers were swept in Boston even though they got production out of their extra hitter.  Manny Ramirez started at designated hitter in all three games and went five for 12 with a home run, but more importantly fill-in left fielders Anderson and Reed Johnson produced as well, combining for six hits in 12 at-bats with two doubles and a home run.

Notes

  • Jonathan Broxton has yet to allow a run on the road this season in 10 2/3 innings, but his peripherals are a bit more normal:  two unintentional walks and 13 strikeouts, and a 1.82 FIP.  More importantly, this means that at home, Broxton has zero walks and 29 strikeouts, and a FIP of 0.02!
  • Torii Hunter is hitting .353/.439/.691 in June, with five home runs and 21 RBI in 19 games
  • Congratulations to Robert Timm on Dodger Dugout turning six years old today

Game Time: 7:05pm

TV:  KCAL

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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