Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Thursday, September 13, 2012

There's Not Much to Say

This should be an exciting time.  It should be a time were fans are fired up and their spirits are high.  The Dodgers are within a game of a playoff spot and they are about to embark on a 4 game home series against the team they need to catch.  They have 19 games to play and optimism should reign, but it's a gloomy picture for many of us.

What’s there to write.  For the first time in a long time I’m at a loss for words.  This Dodger team is as dead as any Dodger team I can remember.  The '92 team that lost 99 games was a low water mark for me, but at least those guys scored some runs.  It can also be argued that they weren’t as talented.  These guys don’t have an excuse.

Adrian Gonzalez takes a called third strike in the 9th inning, for the second day in a row.

This stuff about “chemistry,” “gelling,” “adjusting,” etc.  It’s old and it’s meaningless.  These guys are professionals.  They are veterans and they’re supposed to do all those things.  What I'm seeing is this is a group of established stars that are playing like rookies.  They’re whining at close strike calls instead of squaring up on 2-strike pitches at crucial times in the game.  Allowing a called third strike to go against you at the games’ end, and for two days in a row.  They are first pitch swinging in instances that merit patient plate approaches.  These are rookie mistakes.   You learned that stuff in Little League.  These are inexcusable mistakes.

Many of you know that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  You can only imagine how brutal that is with the way things are going.  There are the jokes at work.  The constant ribbing from all corners.  As bad as this team is playing, especially after the high expectations following the trades, I have to say that the criticism is deserved too because this Dodger team is choking.  I don’t use that word too often.  But it’s as simple as that, the Dodgers were handed the second wild card spot by the Cards and Pirates and they choked.

They have stars.  Heck, we have superstars in the lineup and they are folding under pressure.  They’ve scored 24 runs in the month of September.  24 runs, and 11 of those runs were scored on the first three games of the month.  So since September 3rd, the team is averaging 1.85 runs per game.

As much as Mattingly tries to change routines and and create some levity (such as phantom infield), nothing works.  There is one thing that he hasn’t done of any significance and that’s change the batting order of his lineup.  I would start with the top of the order and see if mixing things up there has any positive results.

Luis Cruz

Cruz is quickly becoming a fan favorite.  Let me throw this out there though.  Since August 30th Cruz is hitting .348.  At the same time, his on-base percentage is .348, so he hacks away.  There is no walking this man.  Additionally it should be noted that in the11 games in which he is hitting .348, all 15 hits he has accumulated are singles.  He also has a total of 1 RBI in those contests.  It probably has something to do with seldom having anybody on base ahead of him.  How many times have we seen Hanley and Andre retired, there are two outs, and Cruz lines a single to right field.

So he’s scoring runs, right?  No, not really.  He has scored once in those 11 games.  Those feeble numbers have little to do with Cruz’s failure to produce in my opinion.  Frankly I think it’s because the ball club is failing offensively around him.
Cruz and Victorino in happier times. (photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

Put him in the leadoff role where with singles he can set the table for the middle of the order.   Maybe they'll produce runs. Then bat A.J. Ellis second and lets see if mixing up the order is in any way a solution to the team’s offensive woes.  Many are clamoring for Ellis to hit in the two hole.  What do they have to lose?  It isn't like sulking Shane Victorino is doing anything in that spot.  Perhaps moving Victorino down to the 7th or 8th spot will wake him up.

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