Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The April Bloom Is Ending

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier get mixed up in the first inning of last night's game against the Giants.

The Dodgers weren't charged with any errors in last night's game, but that doesn't mean they didn't make mistakes. It's a good reminder that their near-flawless first 13 games won't be a microcosm for the entire season.

For all our hand-wringing about Ronald Belisario's role in last night's heartbreaking loss to the Giants (redundant, I know), Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts provides us with a canny analysis of whether Belisario should have been pitching the eighth inning at all.

It's also time to acknowledge that Matt Kemp is coming back down to earth. While Kemp is still in the black with a 2.8 UZR, he's starting to pay the price for his max-effort style of defense. On this road trip, we've seen Kemp almost plow into Manny Ramirez; we've seen a ball bounce off the tip of Kemp's outstretched glove, allowing three runs to score; and we saw Kemp have a rotten first inning last night.

Kemp's troubles have also extended to the plate. Last night many of us got our wish when Joe Torre batted Kemp in the cleanup spot. Naturally, Kemp went 0-for-3 while hitting into a rally-ending double play in the seventh inning. After a torrid start, Kemp has hit .182/.308/.273 on this road trip.

Elsewhere in the dugout, Hiroki Kuroda is still weeks away. Oh, and has anyone noticed that Rafael Furcal's 75 OPS+ is second lowest among starters, only behind Russell Martin's 69 OPS+? And don't look now, but the entire division is within five games of the first-place Dodgers.

13-7 is still great, but no one said it would be a cakewalk. Enjoy the ride, everybody!

UPDATE:

Tony Jackson has quotes from Kemp and Torre's reasoning for not bringing in Kuo for the eighth.

photo by Jeff Chiu/AP

9 comments:

fanerman said...

I'm not worried. This road trip feels really long right now for us. I'm sure it must have taken its toll on our players. Some home cookin' is probably exactly what we need.

Hong Like a Chih Kuo said...

Yay bullpen! Methinks that there is a reason nobody ever heard of Ronald Bellisario before. I wish I was still in that group...

Fred's Brim said...

Heading home with two wins vs SF and a winning road trip wouldn't hurt either

Orel said...

You think we can take Lincecum tomorrow?

Dr. Geek said...

"Orel said...
You think we can take Lincecum tomorrow?"

Not with that attitude!

Orel said...

Hey, it's an open-ended question!

Nic j said...

i dont really think so. but hey we beat peavy right?

karina said...

I have hope on Belisario. I think Torre should use him more as a middle reliever so he gets used to the Major Leagues. This guy has the stuff, he doesn't seem to trust in it as you can tell in his concentration issues.
I've seen him pitch a lot throughout the years (he started in venezuelan winter baseball with Aguilas, then he was traded to Tiburones).

Orel said...

Not a bad idea, Karina. Maybe use Belisario in less pressured situations.