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2006 has led us to this moment - Part Two

How many times since 2006 have this pair celebrated victories?Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
How many times since 2006 have this pair celebrated victories?Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Many things happened in 2006 but only six things are worth noting related to the 2012 team.

1. Twenty Two year old James Loney replaced the injured Nomar and made his major league debut about one year ahead of schedule starting on opening day April 4th. He would hold down the starting job until April 21st when he was sent to AAA. James would tear up AAA (.380 / .426 / .546) and return to the Dodgers on July 29th. He would have a memorable Sept including his infamous nine RBI game on Sept 28th.

2. Twenty Four year old Andre Ethier was called up on May 2nd and would never see the minor leagues again other than rehab work. For most of the year Andre hit above .330 and did not slow down until Sept showed up.

3. Twenty one year old Matt Kemp would make his major league debut one / two years ahead of schedule, and strike out three times on May 28th. Over his next fourteen games he would hit seven home runs in forty one at bats putting up a triple stat line that eventually would become all so familiar .390 / .435 / .967. Reality would set in and after flailing at sliders in the dirt Matt would get sent to AAA on Jul 13th. Matt would return on Sept 2nd but was never able to find his groove as he finished Sept in a horrible slump.

4. On June 6th the Dodgers would draft Texas high school phenom Clayton Kershaw with the 7th overall pick. He would turn out to be the Dodgers greatest first round pick in history.

5. One week later, Twenty One year old Chad Billingsley would make his debut on June 15th, and stay in the rotation the rest of the year.

6. Eighteen year old Kenley Jansen would go to the Gulf League as a catcher and catch the eyes of the coaches with his arm not his bat.

While James Loney struggled in his debut, Matt Kemp and Andre went off. We have already noted what Matt Kemp did in his first forty abats. Andre Ethier on Aug 31st had folk wondering if he could get enough at bats would he be able to win the batting title. On Aug 31st Andre was hitting .335 with a high of .350 on Aug 7th.

So in 2006, we had cold Loney early, while Kemp and Andre got hot. Then Loney was in the minors, Kemp got cold, and only Andre was hot. Loney came back in Aug to join Andre and they were both hot while Kemp continued to slump. In Sept it was only James.

Sept 2006 Numbers

Name At Bats Average On Base % Slug %
Matt Kemp 32 .156 .182 .250
Andre Ethier 53 .132 .302 .151
James Loney 30 .333 .355 .833

The 2006 season is a microcosm of the inability of our three core position players to hit in synch. Most of this is James Loney's fault since he is the one who has rarely been hot. Part three looks at the different streaks these three hitters have had since 2006 and sadly I expect to note that at no time have all three been hot at the same time. A pattern that started in 2006 and continues to this day.