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Kenny Lofton: Feelin' You!

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I have mixed feelings about Vic The Brick. Giving the man his own show was a terrible idea, since he's loud, annoying and is somehow the least knowledgeable of the Loose Cannons. (Case in point, "the Dodgers are losing because they traded Izturis and Cora".) But, I think his shtick works well in short three minute bursts. So, when I see Vic on a billboard informing me that he is, in fact "feeling me", it brightens my day.

Two weeks ago, I declared the Dodgers dead in the water. To win even the modest sum of 85 games, the Dodgers would need to go 38-22 the rest of the way. Since I thought that this was near impossible, I fully endorsed selling the team and playing for next year. Since things seem to work out so I look as dumb as I possibly can, the Dodgers haven't lost since I wrote that. The team now only needs to go 27-22 the rest of the way to win 85 games, something that seems much more reasonable.

As the Dodgers rolled to their 11th straight win, I noticed that both Kenny Lofton and Rafael Furcal's success seemed to be tied to the success of the Dodgers. It seems like during the Dodgers two big winning streaks this year, the 18-4 stretch in May and the current streak, Furcal and Lofton were constantly on base. Since perception and reality are rarely aligned, I looked into this.

Furcal during the win streaks: 150 AB .340/.381/.507
Furcal otherwise: 316 AB .256/.348/.352

Lofton during win streaks: 105 AB .400/.447/.514
Lofton otherwise: 208 AB .255/.311/.341

While Furcal's improvement is still very real, it mainly comes from slugging percentage; his on base makes a decent, but not huge improvement. Lofton on the other hand, is a monster during these streaks, and near useless outside of them.

A correlation between Lofton and Furcal getting on base and the Dodgers winning makes sense. Since the butter and egg men on this team can't drive themselves in with the home run, the Dodgers need the top of the lineup to produce for the middle of the order to drive in any runs. It's the difference between a two run double and a bases empty double.

Of course, it is a bit dishonest to say that this win streak is entirely due to the top of the order. Dodger's pitching putting up a 2.45 run average during the streak is probably a bigger influence. But when people ask, "where is the love for Kenny Lofton and Rafael Furcal?" I can say, "it's right here, baby".