Most of us hate the idea of Monday bringing an end to our weekend. But after the weekend the Dodgers just had, Monday could not come soon enough. The Dodgers began the weekend by getting a beatdown from the Oakland A’s. And they never recovered. The schedule makers did the boys in blue no favors with split-squad games on Saturday and Sunday. The Dodgers responded by posting a big old zero in the win column.
A few of the highlights from this weekend (and few would be a generous statement). Aaron Miles, that crafty old veteran, continues to produce hits while playing all over the field. He may just play his way onto the roster for 2011. While I usually prefer to give the young guys a shot, Miles may change my mind. Besides, what is better for a young guy, sitting on the bench in the bigs, or getting regular at-bats and getting better? Ivan DeJesus Jr, while loaded with talent, has not proven he is ready. Dee Gordon is at least a year away still. This all works in the favor of Aaron Miles.
The need for another infielder, especially with so many older players on the roster, was driven home as Casey Blake is on the infamous day-to-day list with a rib/back problem. The team is hoping that rest will solve his ills. I worry that Blake may be at that age when he just cannot stay healthy. If that turns out to be the case, having Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles, along with the versatility that Juan Uribe brings, would give the team more options should an injury happen.
Speaking of veterans trying to earn a spot, don’t look now but Tony Gwynn Jr has been on fire! He is consistently getting on base, stealing bases, and providing a spark to the offense (one of the few guys doing that for the Dodgers this Spring). While Jay Gibbons continues to swing and miss, literally, Gwynn is demonstrating that he can be a solid contributor off the bench. Plus, he can pinch run and put pressure on the defense which Gibbons cannot. Things have gotten so bad for Gibbons, batting under .100, that the team sent him to get his eyes examined today (no joke).
Mike MacDougal has also been a pleasant surprise. While only working 4.1 innings thus far, he has not given up an earned run or a walk. The former All Star may provide some insurance if Broxton collapses like he did at the end of last season. Speaking of the beast in the bullpen, Jonathan Broxton did rebound for a shaky outing to pitch a scoreless frame over the weekend, helping to calm the masses. We must resist the urge to overreact every time he has a bad day. No reliever is perfect. He still has nasty stuff. He will be a big contributor for the Dodgers this year. Dude can flat out pitch!
Today the Dodgers head to Texas to face the defending American League Champs. John Ely is taking the ball, hoping to make his case for a shot in the rotation, albeit it is a longshot. Ely has had a good Spring, pitching in three games, starting two, going six innings with no earned runs allowed. Ely has struck out seven batters while walking none. Our very own Kenny Shulsen will be on hand to keep you in the know all week long.
While Ely’s situation is yet to be resolved, the Dodgers have announced that Wilkin De La Rosa and Carlos Monasterios will be starting the year in the minors. The roster is starting to shape up. What do you think Dodger fans? Are you starting to get excited or is worried a more accurate assessment of your feelings?