The reason for Andre Ethier’s early-season success … and tonight’s lineup

Well, it’s not the WHOLE secret, but it’s at least a part of it. It has to do with how he is hitting against left-handed pitchers, which is supposed to be a weakness for LH hitters. Ethier entered this season hitting .305 for his career against RHPs, .281 against LHPs. Last year, the difference was stark: .326 vs. RHPs, .243 vs. LHPs. Well, so far this year, he is hitting slightly HIGHER against LHPs (.316) than against RHPs (.314). He also has hit three of his five HRs and has seven of his 20 RBI against LHPs, and to put those numbers in perspective, he has 19 ABs and 21 PAs against LHPs as opposed to 51 ABs and 66 PAs against righties. He also has a ridiculous .842 slugging percentage against lefties (second in the majors) as opposed to just .510 against righties. He does have a higher OBP (.455) against righties than lefties (.381).

Here is tonight’s lineup. Many of you have been clamoring to see Matt Kemp in the cleanup spot, and you are getting your wish tonight. But don’t get used to it. My guess is the only reason he is there is because James Loney is sitting. Loney is 1 for 20 lifetime, albeit with six walks and no strikeouts, against Barry Zito. Kemp is 14 for 27 (.519) against him, with seven walks and only three Ks.

Furcal 6
Hudson 4
Ramirez 7
Kemp 8
Ethier 9
Martin 2
Loretta 3
Blake 5
Wolf 1

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    I seem to remember that when Ethier first came up with the Dodgers he hit lefties well, mainly because he took what he was given, and drove a lot of balls to leftfield. He’s back to doing that again this year. Also, at 27 Ethier has definitely matured. Balls that used to be caught at the warning track are now clearing the fence, and he’s hitting the ball a lot harder, resulting in less hang time. Lots more balls are making it into the gaps and over the heads of outfielders.

    I think we can eventually expect the same from Loney, who is two years younger than Ethier.

  • grumpy3b

    I liked seeing Kemp hitting clean-up tonight. I do not think he is ready to be the everyday clean-up guy yet, but it’s a good chance to put him there for a night.

    I still think the ideal order had MRam cleanup and ET 3rd. It is simply because even though MRam is the best overall hitter he is also, over the course of the season, the best power & RBI guy they have. I feel he has been hitting 3rd so far simply because he was a couple weeks behind the rest of the guys and hitting in the 3-hole with Furcal & Hudson in front of him will get MRam more FB’s was the plan. But as we have seen they simply are not pitching to MRam and making ET beat the pitcher. Luckily ET has been doing just that for the season. But long term I like ET 3rd, Manny clean-up, Kemp 5th and Loney 6th though flip-flopping Kemp & Loney (just this season) would probably make sense now and then.

    We all still need to be more patient with Kemp, he had almost no time in AAA ball (only 83g & 386-PA’s. He pretty much made the jump direct from AA ball. So, another season or two and he’ll well could evolve into “the guy”.

    Such a cool core of guys in ET, Loney & Kemp. I hope Manny can stick for another season at least, but am not gonna think about that until the season is done. Even if Manny slows down a bit and hits 5th or 6th with Loney/Kemp/ET as the 3-4-5 guys that would be a pretty solid middle of the order.

    And yeah, I really see Martin as the 7-hole guy right now. He needs to decompress and stop pressing. Tonight I think he saw, what 5-pitches in his first 3-AB’s? I cannot say for sure but I have the sense of noting he’s been having shorter and short AB’s as his hitting slump continues. I might be wrong in that though.

    Tough loss tonight but pitching to Molina with the game tied and runners at 2nd & 3rd w/one-out was a mistake…walk him, load the bases, setup the DP/force. I think they chalk up the loss to a whole team effort tonight, including Torre.