Saturday, April 20, 2013

Never Thought I Would See The Day...

It is now becoming one of the strangest Dodger's seasons I've ever seen - and I've seen plenty.

I've come to the bewildering conclusion that a "bases loaded" situation is the worst thing that can happen to this squad.  I'll say that once again, because I'm pretty sure on every other team in MLB, the opposite is true...

BASES LOADED IS THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO MY TEAM!  The season is officially upside down.

Before today's game, the Dodgers were 1 for 21 with the bases loaded.

On the bright side, these 2013 Dodgers have loaded the bases 21 times.   That's pretty good for an early season stat.  However, the Dodger batters have gotta DO SOMETHING with that.  Matt Kemp - who didn't even start in the final game against the Padres - came up TWICE with the bases juiced, and both times crapped out.

The situation arose yet again in today's game.  The newest Dodger, Ramon Hernandez, got his shot at a bases loaded situation.  Every batter wants that, right?  Ramon officially joined the boys when he fouled a pitch back into the catcher's mitt and the inning was over.  Now 1 for 22.

You're probably saying, "Don't gimme one stat and say these super talented, highly paid Dodgers are not the team we want them to be."  Fair enough.  I won't focus on one little tree, let's look at the forest.  With runners in scoring position, before today's game, the Boys in Blue are batting a ridiculous .171. Hell, they're not even batting MY weight!

Yes, I know it's early and anything can happen.  But the Casey Stengal inside of me fears nothing's gonna happen until something happens!

 Where to look for answers to what ails this team?  Matt Kemp is one target, for sure.

Yes, him.

The L.A. mainstream press has been verrrryy forgiving and patient of Kemp up to this point.  While they obligingly list his abysmal stats, most articles pointing fingers at the anemic Dodger hitting have let Kemp off easy.

Most Dodger fans say Kemp will come around...eventually.  As a Dodger fan myself, I certainly hope so.   There was a good sign as Kemp was credited with three hits in today's first game of a double-header with the Orioles.  Maybe he'll break out - starting today.  But did we really have to lose 3-5 games while Kemp kept killing rallies and innings in all those other games up to this point?

All that said, Kemp's just one guy.  Surely one big bat in a slump shouldn't sputter a club as much as this.  Especially when the club has other guys hitting pretty well.   Guys like Adrian Gonzalez,

 Carl Crawford,

 and almost-hitting-pretty-well Andre Ethier.

Don't look at me. I hit a home run today. 

So why isn't this club winning more games?  Why do Dodger pitchers have to work harder than necessary, more often than necessary?

When a stable of starting pitchers or a bullpen is not doing well, the press will occasionally look up the pitching coach.  Well, since we're not hearing from the bats he's supposedly coaching, why aren't we hearing something from this guy?  

simply 'roid up and swing fer the fences!  Right?

 When word first hit the wires that Cheater Mcgwire was hired to be the Dodger's new batting coach, I asked if we were going to hire a cheater, why the heck didn't we hire Pete Rose, the Hit King?  That debate aside, McGwire's the man, and he's MIA in more ways than one.

I've come to the conclusion this guy isn't a very good manager.

He's certainly not a World Series caliber manager.  This team was assembled to be a World Series caliber tam.  We've got a Formula Series race car with a Manhattan cabbie for a driver.

In a basic test of managerial capabilities - Mattingly has shown he simply won't tweak a batting order to capitalize on hot hitters (see Luis Cruz in his moment of brilliance last season), nor is he willing to drop an inning-killing liability out of a prime hitting spot (see Matt Kemp end of 2012 and start of 2013).

But it's more than that. The team is starting to not believe in itself.  It's one thing for fans at home to change the channel when the Dodgers are down by 2 in the 6th.  It's another when you get the feeling the team isn't so sure it can come back also. 

A manager's job is to give his team the best chance of winning on any given day.  That means intelligently managing a line-up and a bullpen, and handling the unique psychology of a clubhouse full of major league egos.  Mattingly can't do those things and chew gum at the same time just yet.

It's time to consider the possibility that he learn his craft elsewhere. 


  1. I feel like the Twins went through the same problem last year. Had no problem getting the bases loaded but could just never get any of those guys over... even with no outs!

  2. We're living that nightmare now. It's gotta break sometime, but it's a drag while it's happening.