I’m as excited as you are about this new Dodger offense. These guys can freaking hit. The reason? Adrian Gonzalez who lay dormant from April through July has come alive. Justin Turner who lay dormant from April through June came alive. Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal, and Joc Pederson also ended their season-long slumps. This pretty much all happened at the same time. Add this to Seager’s continued MVP-like performance and Utley’s stability, and you’ve got runs. Lots and lots of runs.
Another thing you have is an intangible I haven’t seen in any Dodger team in recent years: A little anger. This team got their asses handed to them by Cincy the first two games of this series by scores of 9-2 and 11-1. Most Dodger teams I’ve seen would struggle to eke out a win in a four game series that started that way. Not this team. They made a real “F you!” statement. They shut the Reds out yesterday behind the child, Urias, and then today, in spite of another horrible outing by their starting pitcher, in this case, the awful Scott Kazmir, annihilated the Reds 18-9. Seven home runs is almost a Dodger record. They just beat the crap out of a lesser team. Rare for any Dodger team to show any chutzpah whatsoever. This team, however, appears to have more than just a little chutzpah.
Now, let’s all gently waft back down to earth from the euphoria generated by the smokey aroma of maple friction off their hot, air-seasoned Hillerich & Bradsbys. A reminder: The Giants come into town tomorrow for three, followed by the mighty Cubs, and this Dodger team has no pitching. None. Zero. The empty set. Without Kershaw, their ace is Kenta Maeda. Maeda is OK. I’d say he’s a pretty decent #3 or #4 guy who needs to be able to go deeper into games. He gives up lots of homers and isn’t the toughest dude on the team by a long shot. I actually wonder if he’s ever even gotten mad. Rich Hill is finally supposed to pitch Wednesday. Let’s face it, so far, he hasn’t done much. Ok, so far he’s done nothing. We’ll see how he does, but they pretty much need him to be Tom Seaver and Vida Blue rolled into one. Kershaw, meanwhile, is playing catch and throwing a little off a mound, which is encouraging, but he’s going to need a few rehab assignments. They’re talking about having him back my mid-September, which would be wonderful, but I’m not sure how likely it is. But assuming all goes well, the Blue would eventually have a hopefully healthy, effective Kershaw and a hopefully healthy, effective Hill to go along with a reasonably effective Maeda. Urias pitched well yesterday, but, since they plan to shut him down soon, he’ll be of no help. So let’s talk about who else they have. Scott Kazmir. Hopefully he gets shut down after today. He is terrible. Now he says he’s having neck problems and needs an MRI. Brett Anderson and Bud Norris? The Dodgers should hire huge security guards to prevent them from coming within thirty feet of the mound. Both claim to be hurt, now, (thank God.) Brandon McCarthy? Bad case of the yips they’re blaming on a bad hip. Yeah, right. Bad hip. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know how I feel about his prospects. Who does that leave us? Ross Stripling. He pitched very poorly his last outing and he, too, may be on an innings limit. Brock Stewart? Yeah, no. So, outside of Maeda, a soon-to-be-shut down Urias and Stripling, and an iffy Rich Hill who hasn’t pitched since mid-July, we literally have NO pitching. I guess they can try to pick up a couple guys at the waiver deadline next week, maybe try to add Jose DeLeon to the 40 man roster, but, man… we be in lotsa trouble.
The bullpen, in my opinion, though overused and taxed, has not been that wonderful of late. Pedro Baez should have to join Anderson and Norris in being banned from the mound. Grant Dayton’s new thing is giving up home runs. Lots of home runs. They need to keep him away from Baez. The talk is they may land David Robertson from the White Sox, but not sure how he’d clear waivers.
And now they have the Giants and the Cubs. It’s one thing to beat up on Cincinnati and Philly in hitters parks, but it’s another thing entirely to go up against the Giants and Cubs at home with the thinnest starting staff in baseball in the Ravine.
Look, as I said, I love the way the offense is going and I love that we’re back in first place by a game, but I’m just not sure how this can continue with what could be the worst Dodgers staff I’ve ever seen. In 1992, the Dodgers finished 63-99 and had a much better staff than this one. I’ll happily take Orel Hershiser, Kevin Gross, Tom Candiotti, Ramon Martinez, and Bob Ojeda over these guys. (Kershaw, excepted, of course) If they pull this off, they could indeed be the Miracle Dodgers.