Today the Dodgers rolled in Rockies camp and laid the smack down! Like Jon Gruden used to say “Pound that rock! Pound that rock! If you keep hitting that rock, eventually it will break. The Dodgers kept swinging their sticks and the Rock became the Rockies as the good guys won 7-1. The bats are starting to heat up while the pitching keeps mowing opposing hitters down. Jerry Sands continues to impress slamming another homer and driving in three runs and later added a triple.
I know it is still only Spring Training but wins have been few and far between. It feels good to finally see some offense. And the veteran pitching depth that Ned Colletti built up is looking better every day. Tim Redding pitched three more scoreless innings in relief, demonstrating that he may have some solid innings left in the old arm.
Ted Lilly had another solid outing, allowing only one run before reaching his pitch limit with one out in the fourth inning. If the rotation continues to produce, the Dodgers look to have a formidable staff capable of procuring a victory with or without much offensive support. Mike McDougal, Blake Hawksworth, and Kenley Jansen were outstanding in relief, blanking the Rockies for the rest of the game.
But the offense is starting to show some signs of life. Jerry Sands was not the only man in the lineup swinging a hot stick on this day. Xavier Paul also homered while Juan Uribe, Marcus Thames, and Trayvon Robinson added doubles as the offense scored 7 runs. 7 runs without a hit from Matt Kemp and Rafael Furcal. While there is still plenty of time left for these guys to find their strokes, sooner would be better than later.
In other good news, James Loney has returned to practice after tests on his sore knee proved that it was not serious. If the Dodgers are going to contend this year, Loney needs to be an offensive source for the boys in blue. He and Andre Either are essential as they provide the all important balance to the lineup from the left side of the plate.
If they both can provide some offense, then Don Mattingly will be able to put together a lineup that will present nightmares for the opposing managers. The ability to alternate hitters for the left-side and the right-side can cause serious issues, especially when most teams are lucky to have two reliable lefties in the pen.
Casey Blake and Ivan DeJesus Jr also continue to struggle to find hits. It is looking more and more likely that DeJesus will begin the year in Albuquerque where he can get more at-bats. Blake is slated to play third and bat second according to Don Mattingly, but the new skipper may have to explore other options if Blake can’t get things going. Here’s hoping that Mattingly and new hitting coach Jeff Pentland can help get him going soon.
Things are looking a little better as the Spring moves on. Let’s knock on wood that there are no serious injuries and this Dodger team could cause serious trouble in this weak division.