The Dodgers are a pretty clearly mediocre team. It's a team half-built by guys like Paul DePodesta and Logan White. The other half is Ned Colletti's doing. Clayton Kershaw, Derek Lowe, Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, James Loney and others all showed the good half at times. And guys like Juan Pierre, Angel Berroa and Eric Stults (results be damned) demonstrated the suck. The Sox didn't look that much better, frankly. The margin on the series was 2 runs and it happened to be the 2 that came yesterday in a shutout victory.
We needed a shutdown performance to escape LA and Johnny Danks wasn't exactly convincing. He struggled with his control and appeared to be opening early, leaving his fastball up and away. Fortunately, playing in Dodger Stadium allows for error and good defense, a hallmark of the series, stepped in to get the 2-0 lead built on key leadoff walks and singles in the second and third innings to stick. The walks, by the way, came from unexpected places: from OC and JD, two of our typically less than walk prone batters.
Hopefully, OC is realizing that he's playing the Leadoff Position (Free Nessie!) and as such, we need the damn guy on base. His performance during the Cubs series last weekend was perhaps the one that made me the most angry. One pitch at bats that end in groundballs seemed the only thing he was capable of. Granted my memory is somewhat tainted by the outcome (and the copiously flowing alcohol...Wrigleyville has its positives, you know), but that kind of thing just isn't acceptable when our pitching is off as it was most of the series. So, basically, a two walk performance as well as a good looking steal of third makes me feel a little better.
Another feel good item: the defense. Alexei and OC appear to be a hell of a pair up the middle, Scott Boras has finally decided airmailing throws is bad for his client and BA/DWise appear to be more than competent in center. The only issue now is catching, where AJ is giving up a significant number of bases per game. Maybe part of it is an effort problem, but he just looks discombobulated on throws sometimes. That throw in the second game of the series was one of the worst I've seen from an uninjured MLB backstop.
Since I like it as a quick and dirty (the nature of this recap, in case you couldn't tell) subjective method for judging this team, let's check out bally's sig and see what my quick-no-peeking impressions are:
1)Pitching - Danks' issues seem correctable, Jose's a crapshoot, Javy's a concern, Gavin is still just Gavin and Buehrle's en fuego. End result: the summer has brought out a major question mark, imo. Coop's work is cut out for him; let's hope that hammy doesn't land him on the 15-Day.
2)Defense - As mentioned, I think we're good, even distinctly above average. I'll wait on the numbers after the season for confirmation, but few teams can throw out OC-Messiah-BA up the middle.
3)Health - Aside from Paulie and Crede's two game scratch, it's been okay. But finding out what this team looks like when Fields isn't an option was scary. A little teetery, but the hull hasn't been breeched.