Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Biggest Lead in 36 Years

The Dodgers completed their 136th game of the season this afternoon and moved 11.5 games ahead of second place Arizona in the process.  This is their largest lead in  int he N.L. West in 36 years.  Not since August 18, 1977, when the Dodgers held a 12 game lead over second place Cincinnati, have they held such a commanding hold on the division lead.  Coincidentally, that Dodger team in '77 was also 26 games over .500 at that time.  This 2013 edition is in prime position to be the earliest post season clinching team in Los Angeles Dodger history.
Steve Garvey, Dusty Baker, Ron Cey and Reggie Smith each hit 30 home runs in 1977.  A first for a team in baseball history.  

Speaking of 1977, that team was chalked full of solid starters (John, Sutton, Hooten, Rau, Rhoden) and four 30-home run offensive starters.  They eliminated the defending champion Reds on the 151st game of that season, the franchise earliest clinching in history.  This Dodger club could very well surpass that mark and sew up the title before their 151st game.  They’ll need some outside help, but for the most part, they can do it on their own as they’ll face the D-Backs at home for three on their 143rd, 144th and 145th games of the year, a prime opportunity to finish them off.  The current magic number now stands at 16 games.


September call ups create a cramped clubhouse this time of year, but nothing compared to previous years as the real estate in the locker room has grown substantially with the remodeling this off-season.  When I made my first trip to the locker room last year, I found it shocking that a major league clubhouse could be so cramped.  I asked a fellow writer what it was like in September for the call ups and he said, “You don’t want to know.”  

Essentially the Dodgers set up make shift lockers in the middle of the dressing room that was smaller than what I remember my high school locker room to be.  Now with thirty two on the squad, space is no longer an issue and comfort in the dressing room is at a premium.  Adrian Gonzalez called it the coziest home locker room in the major leagues, and that's quite a contrast from what they had 12 months ago at this time.


Zack Greinke continued his dominance over the National league for his 6th consecutive win today, 2-1 over the Padres.  Now with a 14-3 record and 2.78 ERA on the season, it really isn’t far fetched to throw Greinke into the Cy Young Award mix along with Kershaw.  Another hot month by Greinke could substantially raise his standing in the race for that award.  

Admittedly Greinke didn't have his best stuff to start off the game today, as he was uncharacteristically wild in the third innings, with two walks leading to the only Padre run. He buckled down his control shortly thereafter after making a few adjustments.  On a warm and uncomfortable day at the ball park where balls tend to fly out and carry better in the daytime, Greinke pitched a masterful 7 innings.  Again, he showed his stuff with the bat too.

The Dodger right hander continued his offensive dominance with not only a key single, but a nifty head first steal of second base that Ned Colletti admitted had him cursing under his breath.  Greinke now is batting .347 on the year.  He only had a season and a half of National League play on his resume prior to this season, so his hitting prowess was not really known to the baseball world before.  It’s no secret now.  Greinke has 55 plate appearances this year and a "Puigian" .429 on-base percentage to show for it.

Zack Greinke willing easily win the silver slugger award this season.(photo by Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports)

He hit .143 and .212 in his previous years in the National League.  

My collegue, Ron Cervenka at ThinkBlueLA.com researched Greinke’s hitting skills prior to his arrival and at his introductory press conference asked him about it specifically.  The coy Greinke kind of brushed off the question and hinted that he needed to concentrate on pitching because that was what he is paid to do.  Deep down inside there’s no doubt that Greinke really looked forward to getting a bat in his hands and a full season of swings in on a regular basis.    We haven’t seen a Dodger pitcher with this much confidence as a hitter since Fernando Valenzuela and there is still another 5 starts to go for Greinke.  He's far from done as a hitter this year.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't Dusty hit his 30th in his last AB or something like that.

    Greinke can hit. I was surprised after his lame swing on a second strike yesterday he laced one to the OF requiring a good catch to prevent a double.

    Stealing a base, running hard on the bases, hitting with two strikes - Greinke is a ball player as Tim Wallach would say.