Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Tough Stretch Coming Up

Eovaldi's first Major League start this season resulted in a 2-1 hard luck loss to the Brewers (AP Photo)

Believe it or not, it’s crunch time for this Dodger team.  By no means am I saying that the pennant is on the line or that they haven’t faced their difficulties yet.  I’m just saying that they are about to hit a patch on the schedule that will be challenging.  Over the next 12 games they face Milwaukee at home for 2 final games. Then they travel to Colorado for 3, Philadelphia for 4 and Seattle for 3, only to return home to face their annual nemesis, Anaheim at home for three more.
Meanwhile, the Giants have a favorable schedule during that same time period.  Arizona at home for one more, the doormat Cubs at home for 4.  They then travel to San Diego for three only to return home and face the Rangers for 3 and the Astros for 3. 
This is a 16 day stretch where if the Dodgers can hold on strong, they should be in good shape.  We often forget what a marathon the season is and there is a ton of obstacles left to face, but this will be a challenging month.   Now with key injured players returning to the fold, the Dodgers are set up well to continue their successful run, even after dropping two in a row at home to the Brewers.

The starting pitching suddenly becomes a concern over this stretch of games.  Following Nathan Eovaldi’s debut last night, I’d have to say that he continues in the starting  rotation.  This Dodger starting staff is facing some obstacles.  Both Billingsley and Harang have been mediocre lately.  Eovaldi is about to face the challenge of his life, leaving only Kershaw and Capuano at the top.  Hopefully these guys can step it up like the bullpen has lately.
There has been talk of John Ely and the fine year he’s having at Albuquerque.  I have to believe that he’ll be up to the big club some time this year to make a contribution.  Ted Lilly’s shoulder problems have to be a concern.   The Roy Oswalt situation was simply a tease, as expected he signed with the Rangers yesterday.

(photo by Jake Roth/US Presswire)
If Juan Rivera returns by the road trip.  What does Mattingly do with the lineup?  Abreu and Gwynn are both deserving of playing time and have performed better than all our expectations.  Somebody is going to be sitting.
If it were up to me, Abreu plays.  Gwynn serves as a pinch runner/late defensive replacement.  Herrera starts at second base and becomes the leadoff hitter and AJ Ellis is entrenched in the 5th spot in the order.
I have been an advocate of James Loney for years but his weak at bats in clutch situations have become so frequent, that he has no business in this lineup (unless he is a defensive replacement).  There comes a time when the team needs to cut him loose.  Perhaps that time has arrived.
I know Loney has always been a streaky hitter, but he has never hit well at Dodger Stadium nor has his power ever materialized.  I would be in favor of including him in a mid-season trade as part of a package for a big bat.  He has defensive value and we might take our lumps on the field as his replacement fails to dig out some of Gordon’s wild throws, but I believe that the change would be a move worth taking if a decent power bat could be acquired.
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound tonight after arguably his worst start of the year against Houston.  There were a number of hard hit balls off of Kershaw last Friday.  The heavy night air kept at least two in the ball park.  Here’s hoping that he can right the ship and be a stopper to this mild 2 game losing streak.

No comments:

Post a Comment