I miss being able to talk smack about the Angels. Sure, they tend to beat us a lot, and they've been finishing with better records of late, but at least I could make fun of they way they play baseball. Sure, you may have a better record, but at least we don't have Darin Erstad batting second. Yeah, you're pitching staff may be vicious, but at least we don't sign players based on their ability to hit with runners in scoring position.
Now, I've got nothing. The Dodgers and the Angels are the exact same team. Both teams have very good pitching, both in the rotation and in the bullpen. Both teams have an utter lack of power, and are generally uninspiring offensively. (Well, the Angels will be once things like Orlando Cabrera hitting .342 stop happening). Both teams are sort of scary defensively. Both teams seem to pride themselves on their clutchiness. All I have left in me now is stadium related smack. "Oh yeah, well at least the Dodgers don't have commercials ordering that we "shooby dooby down to Ruby's". Then again, there's less likelyhood in getting shanked by a gentleman with a neck tattoo down at the Big A, so that's also a wash.
It hurts watching the Dodgers and the Angels morph into the same team because I don't find Angel ball all that enjoyable. I like my offense to do be able to do something other than pray that you get your hits relatively close together, while waiting for "the rabbits to be loose" on the rare occasions that Furcal and Pierre are on base at the same time.
The thing is, there's no easy way out of this. The way the Dodgers are constructed, they're going to be slapping the ball into center for the rest of 2007. Matt Kemp replacing Andre Ethier in right certainly helps, but after that, our biggest power threat is probably Jeff Kent, who seems to be taking more and more time off these days. Luis Gonzalez has been surprisingly good this year, but he's still hitting for less power than the average NL left fielder. Wilson Betemit could be a nice power threat, but right now he's splitting play time with Tony Abreu and playing in front of the best power threat in the minors, Andy LaRoche. The Dodgers may have more power at third base than at any other position, but it's the position the Dodgers are most likely to try to improve by trade, so it can't be leveraged. On the bright side, Tony Abreu is less of a factor now that he has a .691 OPS, so I'm no longer as concerned that the Dodgers will consider him an actual solution at third base.
The rest of the team has little power, and that won't change. Furcal, Martin, and Pierre aren't going anywhere, like it or not, and while Loney can replace Nomar (assuming his knee doesn't go gangrenous), Loney isn't a guy that's going to solve the teams power woes. Granted, almost anything would be better than Nomar's .340 slugging percentage.
This is the 2007 Los Angeles Dodger offense. Our only real hope for power the rest of the year is that Matt Kemp goes loco on the rest of the league. Other than that, the Dodgers have a couple of guys who might hit 20 home runs, and that's about it. I don't like it, but the Dodgers are going to be a slap happy team all year.
Jason Schmidt was placed back on the DL and was replaced on the active roster by Marlon Anderson. Chad Billingsley is the leading candidate to start in Schmidt's spot on Thursday.