Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, May 27, 2013

Comeback Win Impressive, Clutch Hitting Overcomes Defensive Lapses

So the Dodgers come back win, from 5 runs down was quite the shock.  They impressively beat the Angels in an 8-7 in game one of the 4 game set with the Anaheim club.  I say impressive in tongue and cheek fashion.  The Dodger defense early in this game was deplorable.  What is most impressive about the win is that the Dodgers gave the Angels about 33 outs in this contest to do their damage, and they still came out on top.

I can’t remember watching a Dodger team this bad defensively in years.  Maybe 2005 was like this but I’d say this is worse because the expectations of this club were so high.  The thing is though, that ’05 team was no where near the highest paid team in baseball.  
Matt Kemp drops an Albert Pujols fly ball in first inning.  It was  ruled a double (photo byStephen Dunn/Getty Images)

In tonight’s action, there were arguably 5 errors in the first three innings of play.  Kemp’s dropped fly ball that was right smack in the middle of his mitt and how that wasn’t ruled an error is beyond me.  There was Ramon Hernandez’s throw away toss to first base (after a passed ball) which allowed two runs to score, Mark Ellis’ botched grounder that was hit two steps to his right (also ruled a hit), Adrian Gonzalez’ failure to field a sacrifice bunt that resulted in pitcher CJ Wilson beating it out.  I know I missed a play or two.

There were badly played balls and awful routes to fly balls by Hairston, Kemp and Van Slyke.  There was a poorly played exchange at second base that resulted in Punto getting leveled by the hard charging CJ Wilson.  There was a hesitation on a play by Punto on a grounder when he took the ball to the bag himself and in turn he got leveled and sent head over heals to the ground.

Those first few innings may have been the sloppiest Dodger defense I have ever seen.

Zack Greinke wasn't sharp in tonight's action (photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

But the feisty Dodgers fought back.  The club actually hit well with runners in scoring position and Juan Uribe, a pinch hitter and defensive replacement tallied three key hits including RBI doubles to lead the way.

Jerry Hairston got called up today, so the Dodgers sent Dee Gordon back to AAA, even though he’s hitting 80 points higher than Luis Cruz.  That’s not saying much, since Gordon was hitting .175, but at least he had some value as a pinch running threat.  Cruz is a pop-out and GIDP machine.

To the shock of everyone tonight. Cruz actually laced a single to center field.  What wasn’t so shocking was it was on a first pitch swing again with no on base and after he popped out leaving a runner in scoring position in the second inning.

It’s tough to win when you grant the opposition 33 outs to your 24 (over 8 turns at the plate), but that’s what the Dodgers did, and as good as I feel about the comeback win, I can’t help but feel uneasy about this porous defense that seems to be getting worse everyday.  Hairston isn’t an outfielder, plain and simple.  Punto isn’t a shortstop and Hernandez doesn’t belong behind the plate.  Adrian Gonzalez has been awful this year and simply can’t dig out throws in the dirt or make simple plays on bunts and grounders hit his way.  I’ll dare say it too, Matt Kemp is a corner outfielder at best as his jumps to balls are awful.  He’s getting terrible reads and his troubles at the plate he is taking out to the field with his glove.

So, sorry about being a downer on a night that was an exciting win.  The Dodgers snapped the Halos 8 game win streak and overcame a poor start by Zack Greinke.  It’s a win and an impressive one at that.  To be quite frank, when I started this piece for the blog, it was a total attack on the teams lackluster defensive play.  After the third inning, this team looked as dead as they have anytime this season.

Gritty offensive hits by Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis and Scott Van Slyke got the team rolling.  Suddenly 6-1 was tied up at six.  To Don Mattingly’s credit, he made the right moves, double switching, getting Hernandez out of the game, inserting Ethier at the right time and removing defensive liabilities Hairston and Punto at the right time.  The bullpen has suddenly become quite good over the last 4-5 games and the tandem of Jansen/League to close it out worked as planned.

It’s Ryu against Blanton tomorrow.

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