From the outset I haven’t really thought much of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ever since their despicable December in which the front office thought the status quo for the bullpen was acceptable I have not had much faith in the 2016 version of our beloved Boys in Blue.
With a keen eye toward the future I have enjoyed the season knowing the Dodgers were not in the same class as the San Francisco Giants and that AT BEST the Dodgers might garner a wild card berth.
But here I sit on July 22nd and something peculiar is happening. The Dodgers are playing much better than the sum of their parts and the Giants are going through a July Swoon, delaying the inevitable by one month.
With no Kershaw and a line-up that mirrors the days of Danny Heep and Tracy Woodson, the Dodgers are 11 games above .500 and sit at 53-42 playing fantastic baseball at The Ravine. Even without Kershaw the Dodgers starting rotation has been serviceable over the last few weeks. Justin Turner is on a roll and my man Corey Seager is showing why the Dodger faithful may have found their version of a Posey in San Francisco or a Jeter in New York. No, I am not talking about MVP’s and Championships yet, I am talking about a true “face of the franchise.”
The bullpen, which has been the bane of the Dodgers organization since 2013 has performed exceptionally well since the beginning of May. I can’t believe how well they have pitched. I am shocked, stunned, flummoxed etc…..I still don’t believe they can keep this up but so far so good.
The Giants appeared to be on the verge of running away with the division and were going to give the Cubs a run for the best record in the National League. But, suddenly the Giants rotation looks a little thin. Jeff Samardjiza has morphed into the guy that flirted with a near 6.00 ERA in Chicago last year. Peavy is old and inconsistent and Matt Cain’s best days are behind him. That leaves Madison Bumgarner who is a stud and the mercurial Johnny Cueto who started the season 13-1 but I can feel a second-half meltdown on the horizon. If this sounds delicious if you are a Dodger fan, wait until we go over their bullpen. The middle relief has been inconsistent over the last six weeks, showing a penchant for giving up the crooked number and with Santiago Casilla seemingly wanting to give the closer job away, the Giants have some real issues at the back-end of their pen.
The Giants every day starting line-up has been problematic as well. Their spiritual leader Hunter Pence has been out nearly two months with a torn hamstring and is a few weeks away from being back in a major league uniform. Free-agent signee Denard Span has not had a good year and perennial super-star Buster Posey is having a down year for him, take it from someone who has him on their fantasy baseball squad. The concussion symptoms of Joe Panik have kept him out for several weeks. If not for the Brandon’s, Belt and Crawford, the Giants would be in serious trouble.
I type this with the Dodgers have just beaten the Nationals 6-3 and having taken two-of-three from the Nats on the road to wrap up a rare successful road-trip. The Giants have lost 5-in-a-row and look like they are taking on water. The Dodgers sit only 4 games out of first in the National League West. Three weeks ago they were 8 back and I thought the Giants could have started counting down their magic number by August, not so fast.
The injury to Kershaw throws a wrench into the Dodgers division title hopes, but could this be the year where I expect NOTHING from my beloved Boys in Blue and they muster the guts and guile to give us something to remember ? Hmmmm, can’t wait to find out.