Tommy Lasorda managed by the book last season. Unfortunately, the book was Gray's Anatomy. The Dodgers led the majors in both disabled listees (16) and lineups used (123), while displaying the NL's worst bullpen (25 saves) and most error-prone defense. "It was like fighting somebody with my hands tied behind my back," says Lasorda.
This spring Lasorda was rubbing his hands together in anticipation—except when he was handing out samples of, yes, Tommy Lasorda Microwave Popcorn. The man is happy. And why not? His biggest popper, Pedro Guerrero, showed up in camp with a smile, an improved attitude and only a slight limp left over from last April's knee injury.
These are mostly the Dodgers we knew back in '85, when they won the division. They may even be better. L.A. shored up its bullpen over the winter by acquiring lefty Matt Young from Seattle and should see improved results from starters Orel Hershiser and Bob Welch.
Replacing the departed Greg Brock as first baseman is Franklin Stubbs, who had a team-high 23 homers but tailed off badly. One Dodger who didn't tail off was second baseman Steve Sax. He barely missed the league batting title despite a painful bone spur on his right heel that had to be surgically removed after the season. "It bothered me the last half of '85, when I hit close to .300, and then last year, my best year ever," he says. "If I ever start doing bad, I'm going to tell them to put the heel spur back in."
The Dodgers may also have history on their side. L.A. won division titles in 1981, '83 and '85, and as Lasorda says, "It's an odd-numbered year, right?"
Set career highs in hits, BA, HRs, RBIs and fielding percentage.
Tough hops or tough scorers? He had 17 errors at home, eight on the road.
Drove in 88% (22 of 25) of runners from third with less than two out, best in NL.
Over last five years Dodgers are 317-271 (.539) with him in lineup, 109-113 (.491) without him.
Played in 103 games last season, three short of the other Mike Marshall's Dodger total in 1974.
Failed to drive in a run in 17 consecutive games, Aug. 5-24.
Not the next Manny Mota. Pinch-hitting: 6 for 31 last year, 21 for 105 for career.
Among active NL players, only Tony Gwynn, Greg Gross and Ozzie Smith fan less frequently.
Most complete games (20) by an NL pitcher since Phil Niekro in 1979 (23).
Opposing righthanders have a career batting average of .206 at Dodger Stadium.
Compiled a 2.95 ERA in 13 no-decision starts last year.
Last HR allowed to a lefthanded batter: Terry Kennedy, June 25, 1984.
Did not allow a HR in first 31 games; allowed four in his last seven.
Opponents' career BA of .381 (24 for 63, 4HRs) with the bases loaded.