It is tough being a Dodger fan these days, not because they aren't playing well but because these ludicrous stories perpetrated by the media that keep being fed to us. Normally I'd ignore this stuff but it has been going on to long now and I'll admit it is getting to me.
While watching the Dodgers come from behind and get one of their luckiest wins of the year, I had to endure Ken Rosenthal on national TV impugn our kids once again. In case you missed the game, Ken said that Dodger Management is getting tired of the kids not learning how to adjust to game time situations and that it may result in one of Kemp, Loney, or Ethier being sent to AAA or be traded. Are those three guys the reason this team cannot score runs? If this team is in trouble it is a combination of veterans and kids who have let this team down, as they have not been able to overcome injuries and performances by key veterans who were supposed to lead our offense.
Jeff Kent until this week was dead in the water. The man who is our clean up hitter has does little cleaning up with players on base. He hit two home runs in a game earlier this week in a game we lost. Two solo home runs. Today with a runner on 2nd did he do the little things that are supposed to separate the veteran from the child? No, he popped upto the left fielder. Did anyone mention it? I don't even care that Kent didn't do the little thing, his job is to drive in runs, not move a guy from 2nd to 3rd, but you can bet your ass that if Loney, Kemp, or Ethier had popped up to left field without moving the runner to 3rd base they would have had their ass handed to them for not adjusting to situational hitting.
Rafy Furcal our most potent offensive weapon has been shelved again. 3 years into his 3 year contract and we haven't come close to having a healthy Furcal for a full season. Everyone is anticipating his return but they should be hedging their bets. History has shown that when he plays hurt, he plays lousy. What are the odds that he is going to come back 100% from this back problem? Maybe not so bad as unlike the previous two years, Rafy is actually spending time on the DL trying to get better instead of playing with an injury.
Nomar is done and is earning 10 mill, sitting in the clubhouse spitting out sunflower seeds with a mysterious illness that no one questions. Tony Abreu had some serious problems over the last 12 months and everyone questioned his fortitude. Both problems ended up with surgery, so I guess something was really wrong.
Juan Pierre keeps getting accolades from every talking head as they ignore the fact he has been putrid since replacing Furcal in the lead off spot. This is his line from the leadoff spot. .233/ .298/ .258/ .556. Yeah the 298 OBP is really helping the team. Today he was out from me to you on his attempted steal of 2nd but Theriot dropped the ball. The Dodgers were lucky all day on the base paths, getting call after call, and getting dropped ball after dropped ball. If the Cubs are the best team in the NL, then they should fear playing the Rays next weekend.
Before his surgery Andruw Jones has the distinction as being the player I've been the most disapointed in, in my entire Dodger career. The defense was what it was cracked up to be but the offense was as bad as it gets. I put my chips on him and he let me down. If the Dodgers had a hole in their offense it was caused by the hole in his swing.
Brad Penny for the 1st time as a Dodger decided to collapse in the 1st half instead of the 2nd half.
But who do they go after when trying to find fault with this team. Ethier, Kemp, and Loney. Loney has decided that 4-5-3 is his real nickname but if anyone thought Loney was going to blow it up this year they were wishcasting. We haven't seen enough of James but we do know that he has had two slow starts in 2006 an 2007(AAA) so maybe he's a 2nd half guy. His offensive production at 1st base has been sub par and we can lay some fault on him for some of our teams offensive woes.
Kemp even with his faults is still the 2nd best player on this team. The fact that he has now shown he can also play CF just adds value to him. He may be to young to carry this team on his back like they seem to be expecting but there will come a time when he will be able to do just that.
Ethier still does everything well, nothing great. For a corner outfielder he is okay, and he is still right on the time line to become a Paul O'Neil type.
The Dodgers have plenty of problems but instead of lumping the kids as the problem it would have been nice if they had enough imagination to look beyond the common stereotype and offer something to the casual fan instead of the same old bullshit.
The worse offensive player I've seen since A Jones hit the DL has been Hu. In my long history of watching the Dodgers I can't remember two players get so many at bats who have been so worthless from the offensive spectrum as Jones and Hu. I can't imagine how Dewitt has continues to see anything to hit with this guy hitting behind him.
We do have problems, the struggles of the kids is only one part of this problem. As with most teams, health is probably the answer to our problems. A healthy Furcal will change the whole equation. At this point even the Furcal from last year would be a huge upgrade. A healthy Jason Schmidt would be welcomed. And for me a healthy A Jones would also be welcomed back. He can't be done, he just can't be. For my mental sake, I need him to bounce back big. To have D4P be so right and me so wrong would just ruin my year.
Update via Dodger Thoughts BigCPA
Dodger HR leaders:
8 - Kent
5 - Kemp
5 - Ethier
5 - Martin
5 - DeWitt
5 - Furcal
5 - Loney
5 - Rest of team
Now that is strange on June 7th. As Mastermind said last Monday, it would not shock me to see Kemp go on a home run bing and I'd have to put my money on him to win this tight race.