Shane Victorino will provide an upgrade in left field for the Dodgers.
Shane Victorino may have gone 0-for-4 as a Dodger in his debut on Wednesday, but he wasn't alone. Fellow new Dodger acquisition Hanley Ramirez was 0-for-10 in the three-game series with Arizona, and both Randy Choate and Brandon League allowed a run in relief on Wednesday.
But for Victorino, it was just his first game, and one that saw him arrive less than three hours before first pitch. In addition, he was rejoining an organization that drafted him, seeing many of the same faces he saw as a minor leaguer eight years ago, so it's understandable if the emotions were riding high.
"Putting on that Dodger uniform, I was a little kid again. There was a lot of adrenalin today for me, a lot of excitement," Victorino said on Wednesday. "Hopefully Friday things will be a little better, I'll be a little more calm and relaxed, and just go out there and have fun and be the guy that brings energy to this team."
The Dodgers open play on Friday a half-game behind the San Francisco Giants, with the Arizona Diamondbacks lurking two games back in what has become a three-team race in the National League West. Victorino will play a big part in determining whether or not the Dodgers can win the division.
Victorino doesn't have to do anything out of the ordinary, not that the Dodgers wouldn't love a hot streak down the stretch. Prior to the Victorino trade, Dodgers left fielders this season hit .259/.329/.348 with a major league low four home runs. Victorino isn't known as a home run hitter, but even he hit more than that this season...on the road (six).
This is similar to last season, when the Dodgers got nearly nothing out of both first base (.263/.308/.332, four home runs) and left field (.231/.305/.313, two home runs) prior to the All-Star break, but simply getting ordinary production out of new acquisition Juan Rivera (.274/.333/.406) was a welcome relief.
And this is just talking about offense, before considering the defensive upgrade of having a center fielder instead of Bobby Abreu or Rivera in left field.
In addition, Victorino is a sure bet to improve upon the performance of Dodgers leadoff hitters, who have hit .217/.274/.271 this season.
"I'm definitely excited to be the spark plug (at the top of the lineup)," Victorino said. "But I'll hit wherever. I just want to go out there, be a part of this team, have fun, and win."
If Victorino can bring that energy and provide anywhere close to his normal production (.277/.342/.434 in his career) the Dodgers will be much better off for it.