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Disabled Dodger Offense?

The Dodgers have finished the first 50 games of the season with a record of 28-22, a .560 winning percentage that projects to a 91 win season.  They have managed to do this despite having their preferred eight starting position players on the 25-man roster for only 30% of the season, the first 15 games of the year.  Since then, at least one of Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, or Andre Ethier has had a stint on the 15-day disabled list. 

Expected to be key elements of the Dodger offense, Furcal as the leadoff hitter and the other two in the heart of the batting order, two of the these Dodgers have been on the DL simultaneously for 19 games, or 38% of the season.

Despite the extended presence of important offensive cogs on the DL, the Dodgers runs per game average is fourth in the National League, surrounded by teams who play in the offense-enhancing stadiums in Cincinnati, Arizona, Colorado and Philadelphia.  Not surprisingly, the offense was most effective when healthiest, averaging 2 1/3 more runs per game than when one or more starters were disabled.

Healthy Disabled
Dodgers Full Strength 1 on DL 2 on DL 1 on DL 2 on DL 1 on DL
W - L, Runs/Game
Dodgers 7 - 8, 6.53 1- 3, 1.25 5- 5, 5.00 5- 1, 5.33 7- 2, 4.33 3- 3, 3.33

Full Strength 7 8 6.53
One on DL 9 7 3.56
Two on DL 12 7 4.68
Overall 28 22 4.88


Jamey Carroll, Reed Johnson and Xavier Paul received the bulk of the starts substituting for Furcal, Ramirez, and Ethier, and filled in more than adequately, especially considering their status as backup, and in Paul's case AAA, players.  Carroll hit .295 / .385 / .321 while Furcal was disabled, and Johnson and Paul combined to hit .296 / .339 / .409 after Manny hit the DL. Russell Martin helped out with a .360 OBP as a leadoff hitter.

Ethier is expected to be activated from the disabled list for the start of this homestand.  It would be foolish and unrealistic to believe that when all starters are healthy the Dodger will continue to average 6 1/2 runs per game, but it should be fun to see the full Dodger offense back on the field together for the first time since April 22.

It is probably instructive to note that the Dodger won-loss record doesn't mirror the disabled-list population or the runs scored per game by the offensive during those time periods.  Good pitching still goes a long way in baseball, and the Dodger have received plenty of it (see the starting pitching table here) while Ramirez, Furcal, and Ethier, took turns recovering from injuries.

(Note that Furcal was officially placed on the DL starting April 28; however, he was injured in the first game of the April 27th doubleheader in New York.  For the purposes of this article, Furcal's disabled-list time included the second game on April 27.)