We have passed the quarter-pole of the 2014 season and the Dodgers performance to date certainly leaves much to be desired. A team that was pegged by many to reach the World Series for the first time since 1988, has fallen short of the expectations that come naturally with a record-setting payroll. Currently, the club is hovering just above the .500 mark and are sitting four games behind the rival San Francisco Giants. Some of the Dodgers early struggles could be attributed to the injury bug. Obviously, losing Clayton Kershaw at the top of the rotation hurt. Couple that, with the injury to A.J. Ellis and the Dodgers were faced with some early season adversity. It was hoped that Tim Fedorowicz and Drew Butera could fill the void when Ellis landed on the DL. This has not been the case. Both struggled with the bat, but even more disappointing, were the defensive gaffes both suffered behind the plate. With the team having difficulty scoring runs, the margin for error has been slim. Ironically, the number of errors has continued to grow. Despite what can only be described as an auspicious start, there are still plenty of reasons to feel that the boys in blue might be about to turn the corner.
The old adage is that “pitching wins championships”. You know how something becomes an “old adage?” It does so, simply by proving to be true. This bodes well for the Dodgers. Despite the sluggish start, the Dodgers lavish spending has afforded them an elite starting rotation. Kershaw’s return to action will pay immediate dividends. Combining Kershaw with Zack Greinke at the top of the rotation should help to ease the burden placed on a weary Bullpen that has been overworked to say the least. Greinke has been outstanding, especially during Kershaw’s absence. The Dodgers are also getting quality starts from the projected back-end of the rotation. Dan Haren has proven to be a nifty signing by Ned Colletti. Even former Cy Young winner, Josh Beckett, has looked strong to this point. Once Hyun-Jin Ryu returns the Dodgers will be afforded the luxury of trotting out a capable starter every day. There are not many clubs who can boast such depth at the most critical position.
The Bullpen has certainly been abysmal but I remain hopeful that they will be able to sort things out. For the most part I like the arms we have. Kenley Jansen will be fine. Chris Withrow has been terrific. I’m not sure what the story is on Brian Wilson? Although the club was already loaded on right handers in the pen, I liked Colletti’s decision to bring back Wilson, because it was obvious Colletti must be a firm believer in “old adages”. However, Wilson, to this point, simply has not performed even remotely close to the 2013 version. On a positive note, the oft-beleaguered, yes, pun intended, Brandon League has actually picked up the slack recently. This time a month ago, we all were wondering how we could get rid of League. Once again, this proves that you can never have too many arms. Especially in this day and age where the number of serious injuries to pitchers continues to escalate. I was hoping that League could contribute and he has. For now, we can only hope that Brian Wilson can do the same. While it has been a rough start for the Bullpen, I am confident that the stuff is still there. Quality starts from the horses in our rotation will hopefully give the pen the boost they need. Greinke definitely kicked off this road trip on the right track last night!