I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, especially after totaling 1 run in the first 2 games against the Rockies, yes the 40 Win and 68 Loss Rockies, but even with a Giants win tonight the Dodgers are only a game and a half out of first place. If you asked Dodgers fans before the season started that with just over 50 games to go you’d be within 2 games of first place, considering the Abyss Frank McCourt had placed the team in coming into the season, I’m sure you would have heard a resounding yes, and despite the last 2 games that’s exactly where the Dodgers are.
Let’s consider the long odds the Dodgers were facing before the season, and what obstacles the team has overcome thus far during the season. I’ll mention it 1 more time then you will never hear his blasphemous name uttered during another one of my post ever again. Frank McCourt had the Dodgers roughly a Billion dollars in debt, the longest divorce in the history of California was still on going, and the nightmare of bankruptcy court seemed to have no end in sight.
So the Dodgers entered the season with arguably the worst offensive corner infielders in all of MLB. A talented young SS who was rushed to the MLB level out of need. A huge question mark in left field. An unproven catcher who has been all the team could ask for and then some, a rotation consisting of the reigning Cy Young Award winner and 4 question marks, including the teams highest paid player in Ted Lilly. An unproven bullpen full of holes. And finally, one of the weakest farm systems in all of MLB, courtesy of the bankrupt owner who would rather invest in expensive haircuts than developing future talent. Yes there were several promising young arms the most ready of whom were in AA, but the argument could be made that the most promising offensive prospects in the Dodgers system had not advanced above A ball. It speaks to the genius of Logan White and his player development team that the Dodgers had anything to be excited about at all as far as prospects go.
So in spite of all of the aforementioned issues, the Dodgers of course stormed out of the gates behind Matt Kemp who had one of the greatest offensive April’s in Dodgers history, a resurgent Andre Ethier, and solid pitching. The franchise was finally sold, and Dodgers fans had a legit baseball executive in Stan Kasten, an LA icon in Magic Johnson and the deep pockets of Guggenheim Baseball Management, they combined to form the most extreme polar opposite of the guy who bankrupt them. Logan White was like a kid in a candy shop calling this year’s draft the best since they drafted Clayton Kershaw. And the Dodgers had MLB’s best record for most of the first half of the season.
Then the problems started, Kemp would miss over 50 games with a hamstring injury, the highest paid Dodger $12 million dollar Ted Lilly wouldn’t pitch again after April, Andre Ethier would sign an $85 million dollar contract extension, he has hit exactly 1 HR since, James Loney has hit 2 HR and has 29 RBI in over 300 AB’s, Juan Uribe would do what he does best, nothing
offensively then get hurt. Dee Gordon struggled then went on the DL, Mark Ellis spent a bunch of time on the DL, Chad Billingsley would start great then go 2-and-9 only to turn it around, Kershaw has shown that he’s actually human, and basically whatever could go wrong for the Dodgers has.
But the trade deadline brought the Dodgers some serious offensive help in Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino, and didn’t cost the Dodgers Zach Lee, their top pitching prospect. So here we are Dodgers fans, 51 games left, a game and a half out of first, despite everything that could possibly go wrong, including an ugly start to the Rockies series.
It’s going to take some time for the new lineup to gel, most importantly Mattingly needs to figure out a lineup and use it every day. The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” is still Taxiing down the runway, Ethier will get it going, as will Kemp, and most importantly the Dodgers have a savvy baseball guy who will probably pull off another waiver wire deal. The Dodgers had no business contending in 2012, especially after everything that has gone wrong during the season, yet the NL West is there for the taking.
It’s time to shake off these last 2 ugly losses and go out there and get it done. The Dodgers are a better team than they were just a couple of weeks ago and they have the final 50 games to prove that. Plus it’s nice to know that the Dodgers will enter next year with a first baseman who actually puts up offensive numbers rather than just being offensive. So take a deep breath Dodgers fans let’s enjoy these last 50 games, after all they are playing with house money.
Topics: A.J. Ellis, Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Dee Gordon, Dodgers, Don Mattingly, Frank McCourt, Hanley Ramirez, James Loney, Jerry Hairston Jr., Jerry Sands, Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe, Kenley Jansen, Magic Johnson, Matt Kemp, Stan Kasten, Ted Lilly