Los Angeles Dodgers
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The 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers won their division and surprised many people by going on to beat the 2008 Chicago Cubs in post-season play.
The Dodgers started the year with great ballyhoo, as Joe Torre was signed to manage the team after many years with the New York Yankees. The team spent most of the season in second place, getting into first place to stay only on September 6.
Although not a particularly old team, the 2008 Dodgers had some older players who figured prominently in their fortunes. Derek Lowe, 35, went 14-11. Reliever Takashi Saito, 38, had 18 saves, tops on the team. 42-year old Greg Maddux appeared in 7 games during the regular season (after coming over from San Diego) and was also in post-season play. 40-year-old Jeff Kent was the regular second baseman, hitting .280. Nomar Garciaparra was injured for much of the season, coming back to play 55 games at age 34, and slugging .466. And perhaps most notably, 36-year-old Manny Ramirez was acquired with great fanfare two-thirds of the way through the season, and he proceeded to slug an incredible .743 during his time with the Dodgers.
Due to injuries and part-time appearances on the team, the top home-run hitter on the team was actually Andre Ethier, not known as a slugger, who hit 20 home runs and led the regulars with a .510 slugging percentage. The team as a whole slugged .399, one of the lowest percentages in the league. Ethier was also the only season-long regular who hit over .300, although six of the eight regulars hit at least .280.
Juan Pierre, who appeared in 119 games, led the team with 40 stolen bases, while Matt Kemp had 35. Kemp, who tied for the team lead in doubles, was also second on the team among regulars in stolen bases, homers, slugging percentage and batting average.
Chad Billingsley led the starting rotation in wins and ERA. Notable relievers included Joe Beimel (2.02 ERA in 71 appearances), Cory Wade (2.27 ERA in 55 appearances), Hong-Chih Kuo, (2.14 ERA in 42 appearances), and Jonathan Broxton (3.13 ERA in 70 appearances).
Blake DeWitt, although the team's youngest position player at age 22, was the regular third baseman, and Clayton Kershaw, although the youngest player in the 2008 National League at age 20, appeared in 22 games with a 5-5 record and an ERA lower than the league's ERA.
On June 28, the 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Los Angeles Angels without collecting a single base hit. Jered Weaver held them hitless over the first six frames, but Matt Kemp eked out a run in the 6th on an error by Weaver, a stolen base followed by a throwing error and a sacrifice fly by Blake DeWitt. Weaver was removed for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh and Jose Arredondo held the Dodgers' bats in check over the next two innings. The lone run was enough for a 1-0 win. The Dodgers were the first team to record a win without a base hit since the Cleveland Indians beat Boston's Matt Young 2-1 in 1992. They were the fifth MLB team since 1900 to pull off such a win.By BR Bullpen