Now Things Get Serious

Stop the presses! The Dodgers finally lost three games in a row! Not only is the season over, but the world may in fact crumble in on itself!

I admit, those were my initial thoughts as the last couple innings of the game tonight faded away. But that’s because I’m slightly crazy.

Things get serious now – not just because this tiny losing streak is a new feeling for the 2012 Dodgers. Not just because Matt Kemp re-aggravated his hamstring scoring from first in tonight’s game. And definitely not just because Clayton Kershaw had an outing more reminiscent of rival Tim Lincecum‘s awful 2012 season.

But those things all do contribute. Yesterday, I wrote a piece of (mostly) fiction. Call it delusional hopefulness, but with the deep pockets of new ownership, why can’t the Dodgers start Opening Day 2013 with a 3-4-5 of Josh Hamilton, Kemp, and Andre Ethier? It would cost somewhere around $40 million per season more than we already spend, but wouldn’t it be glorious?

And while we’re at it, why not toss Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels into the rotation behind Kershaw? That would mess with the opposing batters, no? I realize what I’m proposing is at least a $50 million per season payroll increase.

But shouldn’t a group of owners who were willing to spend the largest sum of all time for a professional sports franchise, also be willing to spend more to make that franchise a champion?

Otherwise, it’s like buying a Bugatti and not washing it. Or driving it, even. Show that baby off, Stan!

So…back to the point of this piece. I know this seems like a bad time, considering the last three games were painful to watch, but I promise you one thing. My proposal isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to losing a measly three games in a row to a fifth-place team at home.

Really, it’s a theory I’ve developed over 50 games of intensity and dedication to watching, listening, researching, BREATHING the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. And the plain truth is: We are not that good.

Team chemistry is one thing. And we lead the league in that. But it doesn’t actually win games. Sorry, dreamers.

We are the best team in baseball because we pick each other up, come through with clutch hits, and rely on solid starting pitching. But only a blind fan could possibly say this team hasn’t had it’s share of fortune. Are we really better than the St. Louis Cardinals? The Cincinnati Reds? Anyone in the National League East?

Not really. We have an ace that can match up with anyone in baseball. And there’s the two big bats in the order; legit MVP candidates every year, when healthy. After that…?

Take the lineup from tonight’s game, for example. Our lead off hitter is a AAA player, who isn’t nearly ready for the big leagues, despite his hot start. Our third baseman hasn’t been a regular starter in years. The left fielder has about as much bat speed left in the tank as my Grandmother.

Watching the bullpen on most nights is like a slow-motion car crash scene. Sometimes they crash and burn, sometimes they skid to a stop, averting disaster at the last second.

And you’re kidding yourself if you think Chris Capuano is a pitcher who will maintain a low-2.00’s ERA, or if Ted Lilly will continue to throw this well, or if Chad Billingsley will finally break out this year.

I apologize for the negativity – I love this team, and I love the success so far. But not only are we in danger of not running away with the West (what seemed like a sure bet just a week ago), we could take a tumble from the highest of places.

Dodgers fans. We all know what needs to happen. I’m just going to be the first to publicly announce it: We MUST be buyers at the deadline, or this team is in for a hell of a scary second half of baseball. Keep Kemp on the DL until he’s 150 percent healthy. Trade for a real third baseman. Maybe even one who can – gasp, imagine this – hit 20 home runs.

Stock up bullpen arms. Good ones, not a bunch of nincompoops like Scott Elbert and Todd Coffey. And for the love of Sandy Koufax, can we get a reliable arm not named Clayton? Greinke and Hamels are both out there. Quality pitchers are just waiting in the minors. It will help.

The Diamondbacks did their job tonight. They beat the Giants. And the Rangers allowed three touchdowns to the Mariners, allowing us to stay ahead in the very unimportant race for the best record in baseball (but it’s fun to brag about, no?). So rest easy, just not comfortably.

Because the bottom line is something’s got to happen at the deadline. Let’s make a little Magic.

It’s a long season, folks. We have well over 100 games left to play, and anything could change. But I promise you, even if the Dodgers win the N.L. West, this success can’t be maintained. Unless a couple quality parts are added. And that would hurt a lot more if we don’t recognize, acknowledge and do something about it before the trade deadline passes.

What do you think about the current Dodgers roster?

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Tweet at Jeremy and yell at him for this article. How dare I speak badly of this glorious team. Oh, it’s @Jamblinman. Bring it on.

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