We discuss the current state of the Los Angeles Dodgers based on the following seven criteria: managers, coaches, pitching, hitters, speed, injuries, and future odds. They score highly in all these categories; watch out when Matt Kemp returns from injury.
the Dodgers GM said recently that the new ownership gives him a bit more
flexibility to make trades and explore other avenues which were closed when
previous owner Frank McCourt was struggling to stay afloat. At the very top of his wish list would be for
the trainer's room to become much quieter as L.A. has been riddled with injured
The spate of
injuries the Dodgers have suffered this season has not hampered manager Don
Mattingly's ability to field a competitive team. Los Angeles currently leads the major leagues
with a 39-22 record and Mattingly, the former Yankee great, has to take a
decent share of the credit.
coach Dave Hansen has done a fine job with the Dodgers hitters this
season. They are currently ranked 9th
in runs scored, amassing 268 runs thus far. But the pitching has been even better and that is a testament to the
hard work of Dodgers' pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. So far the pitching staff has responded to
Honeycutt's methods as evidenced by the third lowest runs against, allowing
only 217 plated against them.
Naturally, they are complemented by bench coach Trey Hillman, bullpen coaches Ken Howell
and Rob Flippo as well as former big leaguers Tim Wallach (third base coach),
Davey Lopes (first base coach), Steve Yeager (catching coach), and finally the
venerable Manny Mota, who is in his 33rd consecutive year in a
coaching capacity with the Dodgers.
Kershaw and Chris Capuano are a lethal one-two punch for Los Angeles this
season. They have a combined record of
13-5 and both are sporting ERA's in the twos. Even veteran Ted Lily was helping the Dodgers cause mightily with a 5-1
record until he was sidelined towards the end of May with a shoulder
It appears that Kenley Jansen will get the opportunity to save all the games himself
now that Javy Guerra has been sidelined with knee surgery for the foreseeable
future. Jansen is a 24 year old reliever
with an arsenal of nasty pitches at his disposal. He currently has nine saves under his belt
and the way he is pitching, there will be plenty more in his future.
It is not
often that a team counts on their catcher to move runners along, but AJ Ellis is
precisely that guy, hitting at a .306 clip. Ellis has plenty of company in LA's hit parade with 36 year old Jerry
Hairston Jr. banging in with a .356 average followed within a whisker by the
currently shelved Matt Kemp (.355) and even old veteran Bobby Abreu who the
Dodgers signed after his release from the Angels in early May is chipping in
with a .326 average after 32 games with the Dodgers.
is knocking in runs like the talented Andre Ethier, who has been responsible for
driving in 48 runs this season. Ethier
picked up four more when he smashed a grand slam against the Mariners on
Sunday, June 10th and will continue to be a force, barring injury,
throughout the season.
is leading the National League in steals with 16 so far this season. That's good news for the Dodgers, whose only
other consistent base thief is Tony Gwynn, Jr. After those two, there are only a smattering of players who have any
thefts under their collective belts. The
Dodgers are ranked 19th in all of Major League Baseball with 0.64 steals per game.
will certainly add to that stolen base total when he gets off the shelf and
back on the field. Kemp has 146 steals
during his six year career and, at the age of 27, he's got plenty more in him.
Major Injuries -
Any time a
team loses a player of Matt Kemp's caliber, it's a blow not only to the offense
but to the team morale as well. However,
LA has demonstrated their resiliency and are currently 7-4 since Kemp was
sidelined with a strained left hamstring. Due to the nature of the injury, LA management may advise a more
cautious approach with an injury that tends to linger like a hamstring.
Ted Lily was
notching the victories with relative ease until shoulder inflammation proved
too debilitating for him to continue his successful campaign. A recent MRI showed there is no serious
damage, and Lily could be throwing again very shortly for the Dodgers. Factor in Javy Guerra's knee surgery, which
should keep him from taking the hill for 4-6 weeks, and the injuries are
mounting early for the league leaders.
Future Odds & Predictions -
are currently 10-1 to win the World Series if you plunk a wager down with
Bovada. It seems a bit strange that the
team currently blazing a trail of victories is listed as double digit entrants, but the season is still fairly young and Matt Kemp's hamstring could certainly
give MLB bettors cause for pause.
currently five games ahead of San Francisco and 8 ½ in front of the middling
Arizona Diamondbacks. Looking forward,
the Dodgers have enough bang in their bats to claim the NL West. They have the pitching to boot as Kershaw and
Capuano lead a solid group of starters. Once Javy Guerra returns, they will either platoon him with Kenley Jansen
as they did before his injury or he will be a premier 8th inning set
Los Angeles ranks 3rd
in the majors
with a +51 run differential. That stat
tells a full tale as it encompasses both pitching and hitting. If the Dodgers can make a few key moves
before the trade deadline and Matt Kemp returns to the club relatively soon and
in good health then you may very well be looking at the NL West division
winners and if the pitching holds up, a pennant or World Series title could be
very much in the offing.