After losing three of four against the Pirates after winning two of three to the Reds, the Dodgers would like to finish this long homestand up by coming out with a series win against Chicago. The Dodgers offense and bullpen inconsistencies still plague this team, and now that June is underway the Dodgers would like to produce results which are consistent with their payroll and with all the expectations which surround this team. The dollars have flowed into this team since the Guggenheim crew took over, but the championship hasn’t come just yet. The Dodgers have all the talent in the world, but they have yet to clinch that golden berth. They may not even clinch the NL West division title again this season if there isn’t some winning happening and soon.
The Dodgers have been terrible at times, and the Dodgers have been excellent at times. The “Season of the Ankle” and the season of high expectations has proven that all the Greinkes and all the Hanleys in the world cannot buy you a championship. A championship season needs a little special extra magic in which everything including defense, offense, and pitching all cohesively work in a fluidity of motion and excellence. A championship team is not so much completely void of weak links, but a championship has a lot of ways to pitch around those weak links in order to pull ahead and win when needed. The Dodgers are not there just yet.
Van Slyke CF
The thing is, the Dodgers could get there, and they could get there this season. There’s still plenty of time to make the necessary changes. The bullpen must be shored up. Whether it is through trade or through a call-up from the minors. The offense must come through. Without Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Matt Kemp contributing nightly, the Dodgers will have no chance to take over first from the Giants. The defense and base running needs to be on point. While I have seen less errors of late, the Dodgers’ poor defensive play can’t be overcome when the bats are cold. If the Dodgers choose to improve these areas, there could still be Dodger baseball come October.
Clayton Kershaw has had an up and down year. From winning the Opening Day game in Sydney in March to six weeks of disability, to a horrific start in Arizona, sprinkled with some amazing Kershaw moments and dominating curveballs. This season proves that Kershaw is human. He’s one competitively charged human who strives to be the best at what he does. Kershaw is a warrior, and whenever he pitches it is a battle for the southpaw. Last time out against Cincinnati, Kershaw picked up a loss after pitching 7 innings and allowing 3 runs on 7 hits with 9 strikeouts and a walk. Kershaw is winless (0-2) with a 5.40 ERA against the White Sox in 2 career starts. Adam Dunn has crushed Kershaw in the past, and the big ogre has 8 hits including 4 homeruns and 9 RBIs in 13 at-bats against Kersh. Alexei Ramirez has 4 hits in 5 at-bats versus Clayton.
Surprisingly Kershaw is winless at home this year. His 3 wins came on the road.
Chicago will counter with their left-hander Jose Quintana. The 26-year old hurler beat the Indians in his last start while allowing 2 runs on 5 hits over 6 innings. Quintana has only made one prior start against the Dodgers, but he wasn’t involved in the decision. He pitched 8 innings and allowed no runs on 5 hits back in his rookie year, June 17th, 2012 at Dodger Stadium. Most of the current Dodgers have never faced Quintana. Chone Figgins, Dee Gordon, and Adrian Gonzalez have one hit against him each.
Former Cuban teammates Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu will reunite at Dodger Stadium in the series opener on Monday night. Abreu is just coming back from a disabled list stint, but he was absolutely raking it the beginning of the season for the Sox. He has 15 homeruns with 42 RBIs in the 44 games he’s played in. Abreu also had a ankle injury. Seriously, what is with all of these ankles! Abreu’s return which comes in a game which Clayton Kershaw is pitching in will promise to have some great match-ups between the rookie phenom and the Cy Young Award winner.
Prediction: Dee Gordon runs wild once again and steals two bases.
Let us know what one thing the Dodgers could do- one move or change- which would instantly impact the club in the comments below.