Sunday, July 29, 2012

This Offensive Power Thing Is New To Us Dodger Fans, Too

The San Francisco Comical can't believe yesterday's 10-0 stomping. And in the wake of our signing of Hanley Ramirez, and the Giants' countermove of signing Marco Scutaro, Giants fans are still reeling...and looking to us with offensive envy:

Not that the Giants harbored anything close to a run-scoring machine of late, but Pablo Sandoval's injury has made the lineup especially dull and punchless. Chad Billingsley had an effortless cruise in Saturday's 10-0 win, allowing four hits in 7 1/3 innings, and on that rare instance of a Giants runner in scoring position, the excitement vanished like sunshine on the coast.

Shift now to the Dodgers' clubhouse, where the Hanley Ramirez trade has changed everything: the mood, the postseason hopes, the level of fear from the opposition. Matt Kemp, after taking a dandy Barry Zito curveball for a strike in the first inning, got a fastball on the next pitch and drilled it into the left-field bleachers. Kemp wound up adding three more hits, and when he and Ramirez hammered consecutive RBI doubles in the seventh, it illustrated exactly why this club looks so different.

"That deal," manager Don Mattingly marveled, "it's like getting another Matt Kemp. Somebody who can fly, who has great power - not the same player, but that type of hitter."

As Kemp put it, "That dude can still hit, man. That's a pretty swing. Dangerous. He's definitely going to help us win some games, as you can see."

Marco Scutaro is going to help the Giants - interesting that he was essentially handed the third-base job until further notice - but he's strictly a handyman. Ramirez, when properly motivated (and why wouldn't he be right now?), is a difference-maker. Sullen and injury-ridden the past 2 1/2 years, Ramirez has given the Dodgers every reason to believe he can revive the talent and energy that made him such an unstoppable force in 2009.

So it's L.A. with the newfound power, and San Francisco with superior pitching. The Dodgers, already pleased with their staff, figure to acquire another starting pitcher by Tuesday's trade deadline - and if that happens, what's Sabean's next move?

Being up here this weekend, it was odd to see the Dodgers show some power, after having seen such a dearth of it during June, in particular our scoreless series up here last go-round. But on Friday night, the breaking news of Scutaro left the post-game show crew simply non-plussed; and then on Saturday, the shots of an emptied stadium late in the game were stark.

After losing three of four in St. Louis, I certainly didn't think the Dodgers would win the series, let alone have a chance to sweep. Hanley Ramirez has been huge, but the impact has spread to everyone in the lineup. And now, this power thing is going to take some getting used to.

Here at home, the LAT's Dylan Hernandez talks about Matt Kemp's resurgence and Chad Billingsley's brilliance, and Ben Bolch chimes in on Hanley Ramirez' catalysis. It's a good trio of articles to read this morning, in order to get pumped up for today's game.

Factoid from ESPN: Dodgers beat Giants 10-0. That's tied for 4th-biggest shutout of Giants since teams moved west in 1958, biggest since pair of 11-0 wins in 1997.

photo of Ramirez running through Tim Wallach's stop sign to score at home around a contact-shirking Buster Posey: Tony Medina / Getty Images / July 28, 2012


Dusty Baker said...

I'm already pumped and I haven't even read those articles yet!

Steve Sax said...

Dusty, you're running through the stop sign, too!

Dusty Baker said...

Heh....associating Dusty and running...

Steve Sax said...

USA stomps Parker and Friends!

Dusty Baker said...

What sport, Sax?

Dusty Baker said...

OH, I see.

Dusty Baker's Toothpick said...

Great post Saxy! I'm ready for today's sweep. Shake n bake baby, shake n bake.

Steve Sax said...

There's a deadspin post this morning that has a shot of everything gone blue in a Nats game. One commenter wrote "MUST HAVE ALMONDS. MUST HAVE ALMONDS.". Took me a while, but that was brilliant.