Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, March 14, 2011

What a Difference Two Years Make

Two years ago I looked at the Dodger lineup and thought, “wow, this lineup is scary!”  (Furcal, O-Dog, Manny, Ethier, Loney, Kemp, Blake, Martin).  Now I look at it and think, “wow, this lineup is scary!” (Furcal, Blake, Ethier, Kemp, Uribe, Loney,Gibbons, Barajas).  Identical quotes, absolutely different meanings.
Today, the Dodgers enter Cactus League play with a 5-14 record.  Is it time to get nervous?
Here are a few reasons to be worried:
  • Aaron Miles is hitting over .300. Meaning he’s probably the last utility infielder to make the squad.  The best option, Ivan De Jesus, isn’t going to get a shot it appears.

  • The outfield defense is a BIG problem.  I have harped on this to no end.  Tony Gwynn Jr., has had a good Spring, but it’s still up in the air if Mattingly will start him.  If he does, Mattingly is penciling him in left field while Kemp remains in center and Ethier in right.  Everyone knows with those three it should be Ethier in left, Kemp in right and Gwynn in center.  Yet, Ethier hasn’t sniffed left field and Kemp hasn’t played an inning in right.  This isn’t a good sign.  After watching the Cubs-Dodgers game from Las Vegas yesterday, I saw that Kemp is still failing to take good routes to the ball and getting bad jumps.  And Gibbons in left showed that every fly ball in his direction is an adventure.

  • Now that hitters are getting their timing back and are catching up to the pitchers, Dodger starting pitching is beginning to get hit.  Bad outings from Kuroda, Lilly, Billingsley and (gulp) fifth starter candidate Redding in the past few days may be a concern, unless they are simply working on some experimental pitches and mechanics.  Quotes from Lilly and Billingsley seem to indicate otherwise.  They are just having difficulty throwing the ball in specific locations.

  • Casey Blake has one hit all spring and is now out with a back injury.  That could mean Uribe starts at third and Carroll at second.  (Perhaps not a bad option).
  • Garland is out with an oblique problem, Padilla went under the knife with an impinged nerve in his elbow.  Even if they are only out 6 weeks,  they'll have to start over and go through Spring Training all over again.  Most likely their earliest effective return would be June.  And that's a "best case" scenario. 
  • The 5th starter options are: John Ely and Tim Redding.

Here is one reason to not be worried:
  • It’s Spring “Freaking” Training!  As I walked into the office today, a Cub fan co-worker started giving me the business about his Cubs winning in Vegas.  All I could say was, “you are aware that it was a split squad Spring Training game, right?”

So I went on an eBay baseball paraphernalia purchase splurge recently.  I bought the following items:
  • Mitchell and Ness, Koufax Home Uniform.  (Paid $61.00 for it).  I thought that was a pretty good deal.

  • Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds Jersey. (Paid $30.00 - it’s used, and an enormous size,but said to be in good condition and I don't plan on wearing it).

I’m thinking that the day will arrive once in my life that I can attend a show where Sandy is signing and I can pay a gazillion dollars to have him sign my jersey, then I’ll have it framed.  The Morgan jersey I got because he is signing here at a show in May, so I figure, why not go ahead and have him sign an authentic Reds jersey.  Hey, I couldn’t stand the Reds and Morgan, but I can’t deny he was a great player and Hall of Famer.
  • 7 Bart Giamatti Official NL Balls in the boxes from 1986-89 ($51.00)

For signatures of players from that era, specifically the ’88 Dodgers.

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