The Dodgers & A Crisis In Confidence

It has been a frustrating start for the Dodgers.

Going into the 2011 season, we knew the Dodgers were built on pitching, and that the offense would go only how far Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier would take it. So far, on offense, Kemp and Ethier have indeed carried the club, but the bulk of the supporting cast has been lacking.

Players PA 2B HR R RBI SB/CS BA/OBP/SLG OPS
Kemp & Ethier 118 6 3 15 16 8/1 .402/.483/.549 1.032
Other Position Players 376 13 5 32 23 7/2 .221/.271/.319 .590
Pitchers 32 0 0 1 0 0/1 .071/.161/.071 .233
2011 Dodgers 526 19 8 48 39 15/4 .251/.312/.354 .666

If you remove Casey Blake (.863 OPS) and Jamey Carroll (.826 OPS), the rest of the position players have hit just .191/.239/.288 in 298 plate appearances (a whopping 56.7% of the team's total PA). The devilish team OPS of .666 has meant a hell of a struggle on offense, averaging 3.43 runs per game. That seems an awful lot like the 2010 post-All-Star break Dodgers, who averaged 3.30 runs per contest, and was 31-43.

This year was supposed to be better, and given that the Dodgers have only played 14 games, there is still plenty of time to improve. But it's not just the offense. The starting pitching has been lacking of late. The Dodgers started the year with four quality starts in their first five games. Since then, Dodger starters have had just two quality starts in nine games, with a collective 5.40 ERA.

Now the Dodgers have lost four straight games, and there seems to be a growing vibe of frustration among the fans. Whether it's in the game threads here, where intelligent discourse has devolved into a race to see who can complain the loudest, or at Dodger Stadium, where security personnel seemingly outnumbered fans on Thursday, there is a cauldron of negativity just waiting to bubble over the surface.

However, as the old saying goes, confidence is today's starting pitcher. Clayton Kershaw pitches tonight for the Dodgers, so I remain hopeful.

Today.

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