Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Friday, July 13, 2012

aaaaaand they're Off....

The batteries are recharged for the Los Angels Dodgers, after a five day respite from the grinds of the National League schedule, they are back.   After closing out before the All Star break on a brutal 5-15 run that brought the Giants and D-Backs back into contention, the Dodgers return with their best offensive weapons following D.L. stints.

photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP
It seems like Matt Kemp has been out all year.  April was eons ago.  When he started the year with that amazing first month, (where he was player of the week twice and player of the month), it appeared that an MVP run was in the making.  Nothing seemed to be in his path to stop him.  Kemp at the time was the iron man of the N.L.  Sure, his consecutive games streak wasn’t anything near Ripkenesque, but it was pretty much a given that Kemp would be in the lineup every night.  Injury never really entered my mind when thinking of Kemp.
I recall watching Matt during a post game celebration against the Cubs at Wrigley.  As Ethier and Gwynn approached to do the celebratory jump into each other, Kemp backed off.  I could read his lips as he said something about his “hamstring” to Ethier.  It was the first sign that things were not well.  Within a week he was on the disabled list.
Though the Dodgers played respectable ball without Kemp in the lineup during that first disabled list stint, it was always in the back of everyone’s mind that they just needed to hold on for a short period of time and maintain that lead as long as possible because Matty would be back.  They did that.  The guys played well.  It was a gelling that the team needed.
When Kemp returned three weeks later, optimism reigned.  The club had held serve and the Bison was back.  Kemp’s injury two games later deflated the team’s energy like a tack puncturing an inflated balloon.  Their first prolonged losing streak occurred, at home no less, against a weaker Milwaukee lineup than they’ve had in recent years past.   They rebounded during a grueling road trip though.  Sweeping the Phils at Citizen’s Bank Park in impressive fashion, even though they hardly scored any runs.  The Mariners no-hit them, but they still took the series 2 out of 3 up in Seattle.
Then came the Angels and A’s and then a sweep to the resurgent Giants in their home park.  An offensive scoreless streak of epic proportions that made us all wonder if they’d ever score a run again.  The Dodgers returned home reeling and with their lead gone.  The Giants caught and then passed them, only see the boys in blue come back and have a decent homestand to retake the lead by a sliver.  A poor road trip at Arizona to close off the first half allowed the D-Backs to return back into contention. 
And that’s where we stand now.  The Dodgers hold a 1/2 game lead over the Giants and a 4 game lead on the D-Backs.  They are in position to win this thing, but a lot will have to happen for them to end up on top.
First, the offense needs to step up.  There is virtually no production from the first base and third base position.  Shortstop has a lot of questions now that Gordon is out for 5 more weeks.  The Dodgers were dead last in hitting, runs scores and on base percentage during the month of June.  Hopefully a return of the two big thumpers int he lineup will change that.
photo by Getty Images
Second, Chad Billingsley needs to be at least mediocre.  We’re not asking for good.  Simply mediocre.  He needs to be a starter that is able to give a few quality starts and can hold leads.  Billingsley suffers from a crisis of confidence and it’s time for him to trust his stuff and go out and get hitters.  The nibbling at corners and his inability to punch out hitters has cost him dearly in pitch counts.  He has been gassed by the 5th inning in games that he starts.
Third, Ned Colletti needs to pull the trigger on a deal that addresses the #B and 1B problems without depleting our top prospects.  Perhaps money will do the talking and the Dodgers will be able to acquire some decent talent in exchange for them paying off a large contract.  
With regard to Colletti moves.  He needs to understand that he already has a decent bullpen.  There is no more tweaking required in that department, (No McDonald/Lambo for Dotel type deals needs to be made).  Colletti needs to understand clearly where the weaknesses on this club are and go after repairing them.  Though left fielders may be dangled out there, the Dodgers already have an over-abundance of players that can cover that position.  It’s got to be 3B, 1B and perhaps shortstop that he attempts to fill at the trade deadline.

1 comment:

  1. I have a concern that the Dodger world will expect Matt to right the ship immediately. That is, cause him to put a lot of pressure on himself. It might take some time for Matt and Andre to get going again.