1979 Los Angeles Dodgers
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 1979 Los Angeles Dodgers / Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers / BR Team Page
Managed by Tommy Lasorda
 History, Comments, Contributions
The 1979 Dodgers were a low point in a great era for the Dodgers. In the period 1969-83, the Dodgers finished under .500 only once, in 1979. In the period 1973-83, the Dodgers finished lower than second in the division only once, in 1979. To add insult to injury, the other team in town, the 1979 Angels, won their division.
Still, the Dodger team wasn't terrible. Although they finished under .500, they scored more runs than they gave up, and had a Pythagorean of 83-79. Five players hit at least 20 home runs as the team was second in the league in slugging. Davey Lopes had his best power season, with 28 homers. Youth such as Pedro Guerrero and Mickey Hatcher started to get a little playing time. Young pitchers such as Rick Sutcliffe, 17-10 and Bob Welch, 5-6, started to show what they could do. Manny Mota, a 41-year-old pinch-hitter, hit .357.
The problem was the overall strength of the pitching staff. The 1979 team's batters scored more runs than in 1978, a year the team went to the World Series. But the pitchers as a group gave up 150 runs more in 1979 than in 1978. In 1978, Terry Forster saved 22 games for the Dodgers, but in 1979 no reliever had more than 7 saves, with Bobby Castillo having that total. Indicative of the season, the Dodgers would battle back to tie a game, only to lose in the late innings. As for starting pitching, the loss of Tommy John (trade to the Yankees) and injuries to Andy Messersmith and Doug Rau, were critical. Burt Hooton (11-10, 2.97) and Don Sutton (12-15, 3.82) had less than ideal seasons, but proved their consistency as winners once again in a difficult year.