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Dubious Record Is a Real Possibility

Times Staff Writer

While rummaging for reasons to maintain their interest in a season gone sour, the Dodgers might consider this: They are dangerously close to becoming the worst team to start its season with a 12-2 record.

The 1914 Pittsburgh Pirates hold the distinction with a winning percentage of .448, according to researcher Mike Carminati. The Pirates boasted two future Hall of Famers -- shortstop Honus Wagner and left fielder Max Carey -- but were 57-83 after the strong start to finish 69-85.

Wagner was 40 and nearing the end of his illustrious career. He batted .252 in 1914, ending a streak of 15 seasons with an average of .300 or better.

With a winning percentage of .450, the Dodgers must win six of their last 13 games to finish above .448. They are 55-80 since starting 12-2, a winning percentage of .407 over the last 135 games.

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As could be expected, most teams that burst out of the gate finish with winning records. The average winning percentage for teams that have started 12-2 or better is .585.

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It seems every record the Dodgers threaten is the wrong kind. They have been hit by 62 pitches, tying the L.A. team record set last season. The franchise record of 125 was set in 1899.

Dodger pitchers have responded in kind, hitting an L.A. team record 59 batters.

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Any player who gets his first taste of the major leagues at 29 has a story to tell, and Brian Myrow is no exception.

In high school and college he produced with the bat without showing major league tools. Scouts yawned. Myrow wasn’t drafted after playing at Louisiana Tech and caught on with an independent league team in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1999.

It wasn’t until 2001 that the New York Yankees signed him and sent him to Class A in Tampa, Fla. Myrow spent two years there, then played two more in double A, making headlines only for testing positive for steroids.

The Dodgers acquired him in a trade last season for reliever Tanyon Sturtze and he batted .359 in 153 at-bats with triple-A Las Vegas. He returned to the same team this season, and although his average dropped to .282, he had 22 home runs and 73 runs batted in.

On Sept. 11, he doubled against San Diego’s Scott Linebrink for his first major league hit and singled Sunday against San Francisco. A runner was thrown out at the plate on both hits, but that hardly diminished the excitement for Myrow.

“When I got that first hit, I felt like crying,” he said. “It’s been a long road to get here and there weren’t many people who thought I would.”


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