Monday, April 09, 2012

On Opening 2012 3-1

4-0 would have been sweet, I know. Best start for a Dodgers team since 1981, and all that. After seasons of hoping for mediocrity amidst a front-office circus, a sweep against the Padres would have unleashed the best expectations of every Dodger fan. It also would have kept us a game up on the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and one of only six other undefeated teams in the majors (not to mention the only one who would have notched four wins).

But come on, who are we kidding? First of all, we're playing the Padres. On the road, sure; but it's the Padres, whose eight errors in this four-game series lead the majors (to be fair, the Diamondbacks, who rallied from six down to beat the Giants 7-6 yesterday, are giving SD a run for the title with five errors yesterday alone).

The Dodgers may be third in the NL in runs scored (with 17), mostly due to the bats of Matt Kemp (1.212 OPS), Andre Ethier (1.086 OPS), and a surprising start from AJ Ellis (1.205 OPS), who notched his first HR of the season on Saturday.

As the LAT's Dylan Hernandez pointed out, twin black holes of Juan Uribe's 1-for-12 and James Loney's 0-for-12 can't hide, not in this lineup. (And for all those people who say that Loney could be okay at first as a non-power-bat--that only works if 3B is potent, which it's not going to be.) Recent Dodger offeree Prince Fielder, btw, is 5-for-12 with 2 HR and a 1.345 OPS.

I can take the light hitting of Dee Gordon when balanced by his incredible speed (3 SB in Saturday's game) and usually good defense (although his error cost the Dodgers an unearned run Sunday). Dee's a work in progress, I'm okay with this.

And then there's the starting lineup, which gets bad fast after Clayton Kershaw (who muscled through a flu-ridden opening day start) and Chad Billingsley (whose 11 Ks lead the NL). Neither Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang made five full innings in their starts, leaving our bullpen pretty ragged and used in three of the four games.

The Dodgers are probably better than we think, and 3-1 is not anything to scoff at. I should be happy, even though a 4-0 start was in a tantalizingly close striking grasp yesterday (if not for an eighth inning that got away, we might have overcome Harang's disaster late). But maybe not getting that 4-0 start was a good thing, just to keep us honest.

UPDATE 1:03p: Steve Dilbeck likes the pro/con four-game assessment take, too!


Dusty Baker said...

If by 'honest' you mean 'pessimistic.' then it totally worked. I'm slightly less worried about the offense than I am about the non-Kershaw and Bills starting pitching.

Fred's Brim said...

Yikes, Saxy. I am no karina by any means, but we won three out of four vs a division rival who, apart from last year, has driven us crazy time and time again with their MSB-style play versus us. We had one ridiculous inning on Saturday and the eighth yesterday. Apart from that, I think we were pretty decent.

spank said...

I agree with FB. He's no karina.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

I doubt the Dodgers would have scored two runs in the ninth if the Padres don't hit a grand slam in the eighth.