Friday, August 24, 2007

Rosenthal Breaks Down a Dodger Squad on the Cusp

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes that this weekend's series with the Mets could stand to get the Dodgers back on track for the post-season, despite recent woes:

For all of the Dodgers' troubles, guess what?

They still might make the postseason.

It would be quite an accomplishment, considering the team's injuries and offensive ineptitude, not to mention the clubhouse frustration with manager Grady Little and failure of general manager Ned Colletti to complete a major trade.

Granted, most postseason teams don't start August by going 5-for-88 with runners in scoring position. And most don't contend when two major free-agent additions, right-hander Jason Schmidt and lefty Randy Wolf, combine for only 24 starts.

Ah, but all sins are forgiven in the National League, and the Dodgers actually might be on the verge of a revival entering their weekend series against the Mets at Shea Stadium.

Robothal goes on to break down the sources of the Dodgers' offensive woes:

The Dodgers' offensive problems start with leadoff man Rafael Furcal, who opened the season on the disabled list with an ankle injury and still does not appear fully recovered.

Furcal is on pace for career lows in stolen bases and slugging percentage. With Martin and Juan Pierre the team's only other stolen-base threats and the club ranking 14th in the NL in slugging, the Dodgers are the worst possible combination — a station-to-station team of singles hitters.

Heaven forbid the Dodgers grind down an opposing starter; they're last in the NL in pitches per plate appearance. First baseman Nomar Garciaparra, currently on the disabled list, has hit only six homers. Little rarely employs the sacrifice, depriving the offense of another element.

If the Dodgers' hitting was even mediocre, the pitching would be good enough. Penny and Lowe are terrific starters. Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito are lights-out relievers. Even without Schmidt, Wolf, Kuo and relievers Yhency Brazoban and Chin-hui Tsao, the Dodgers are second in the NL in ERA.

Thirty-five games remain, plenty of time for the Dodgers to steal the wild card or even the division. One final push, and few will remember the myriad of issues that the club faced in 2007.

The present isn't so bad. The future remains bright. All teams should have the Dodgers' problems.

The future could be now--but only if we keep playing the young guys who have home-run potential...


Orel said...

I don't see us "getting well" against the Mets.