|Mark Ellis bangs out a two-run single (photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP)|
Saturday, September 1, 2012
The Team Has a Heart, but no Pulse
On paper they look awesome. Inside their core, this team is empty. In my near 45 years of fandom, this is the most frustrating bunch that I can remember. Originally I was going to write that this is a heartless bunch of Dodgers. A group of guys that don’t care. That they are collecting their individual pay checks only, but that isn’t accurate. I see guys out there hustling and scuffling. They simply aren't getting it done.
I see a guy like Matt Kemp who hustles his tail off and runs full bore, going face first into the Colorado centerfield wall in an effort to track down a game changing fly ball. I see him playing last night, obviously not anywhere near 100%, stealing a bag, and hustling to take an extra base on a lazy fly ball. I see his exuberance as he scores on the single that Ethier squirted into left field to tie the game last night. Kemp has a ton of heart.
I see a player like Luis Cruz who is spanking the ball all over the field and coming up with highlight reel defensive plays, such as last night’s double play starter in the 9th inning. He's a spark plug. He's inspired and he's giving it his all. Cruz tiene un corazon enorme.
I see a scrappy player like new-comber Nick Punto, diving head first into the first base bag after hitting a nubber to shortstop. I see his excitement as he’s called safe on the play while he claps his hands and urges his teammates to get things going.
I see Mark Ellis show rare signs of emotion after banging a two out, two run RBI single in yesterday’s action.
I see Shawn Tolleson come in and retire six straight to get the Dodgers back into the game and Brandon League striking out the heart of the D-Backs order with nasty sinkers that were unhittable.
Those aren’t guys that are mailing it in. They are really trying. They are giving it their all. They have desire, passion and grit. Those guys have heart. What the team doesn’t have is a pulse.
The Dodgers need someone to activate the electronic defibrillator and get their heart pumping again. The number 2 through 6 spots in the lineup. The mashers, made up of Victorino, Gonzalez, Kemp, Ramirez and Ethier went 1 for 20 last night in the 4-3 11th inning loss.
Those are the guys that must get things right. Those are the guys that must carry this team. Time is running out. Things look bleaker than they’ve been all season. It’s make or break time. The trades have been made, the roster is set, the team meetings have been held. It’s time to put up or shut up. 29 games left. This group needs to play .750 ball. Is it possible? Sure. Likely? I doubt it.
Back to the grind tonight. Frustrating, frustrating, team.