Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hey Mattingly! Magic! Anybody! Here's How I Would Fix The Dodgers...

An Open letter to Damn Mattingly,

Hey, skipper. So you were encouraged and feeling better about the Dodgers after being swept over the weekend by the evil ones in Frisco?  I guess that means you're absolutely giddy after opening at home last night and losing for the fifth time in a row.  This time getting stomped 9-2 by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I'm ecstatic the boys are in last place."

Skip, I know I've been after your hide in my blog and other places.  I've been on you about your learning of the managerial craft while using my beloved team to do it.  But most perplexing to me has been your ridiculous refusal to move Matt (I can't hit with RISP) Kemp far away from spots in the lineup that require him to hit with runners in scoring position.

"Next year I'll be a 60-60 player. You'll see!"
Kemp has hit like crap pretty consistently since the final third of last season up until now, and you've consistently continued to pencil him in to bat third, and on occasion, fourth.   These are prime spots in the batting order reserved for a team's best hitters, not "potentially" or "fondly remembered as best".  You've steadfastly kept Kemp within those "hero or the goat" spots, only to have him come up as a bellowing billy goat while the automatic outs piled up.  The result?  Your team fell short last season, and now it's opened up this one horrifically.

I can certainly understand the hope that our multi-million dollar, over-hyped star will eventually "break out".   Why, just the other day, our infamous batting coach, Mark McGwire, opined that Kemp and all of the other Dodger bats will magically begin spraying hits everywhere, or knocking outfield walls down with rocket-like line drives, or some other similar sounding post-steroid-delusional drivel.

"Home runs and Andro for everybody!"
Believe it or not, I feel just like McGwire and yourself, skipper.  I feel just like Kasden and the boys signing those huge Kemp paychecks, and I feel just like all the rest of the folks in the Dodger Nation waiting and praying that Kemp and the rest of the boys will break out any day now. 

However, as I write this, our team wallows in last place.  I said - LAST FRIGGING PLACE!! - in the N.L.West.  We certainly can't sink any lower than last, so I think it's about time for a new approach.  Maybe the Dodgers really will wake up from this sleepwalk, but I'm starting to get the feeling that it'll take something drastic to snap the team out of this bloody malaise.

It's a simple plan, really.  The Dodgers currently have two guys in the lineup mashing the ball and amassing hits with decent consistency.  Those two guys are Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.  Heck, even though he practically batted with a neck brace last Sunday night, an injured Gonzalez pinch hit against the giants and immediately drove in two runs with a clean single.  This isn't rocket science, Mattingly.  Meet your new number 3 and 4 hitters.

You say Kemp is gonna break out any day now?  I hope so too.  So let's help him out and bat Kemp - get ready for this - Lead Off.

That's right.  Matt Kemp leading off.  At this point he pretty much only hits singles, so it's a natural fit.  For all the Kemp believers out there, batting first gets him more chances to come up.  And for all the Kemp realists, he gets less at-bats under high pressure (RISP) situations.

We really can't lose with this move. If Kemp makes an out, at least he's not killing rallies (and our pitcher's morale) with double play grounders twice a night.  Those do nothing but increase the pressure and frustration in Kemp's head.  Not good.  But if he gets a base hit, this opens a solid win-win situation.

I wish we still had Mark Ellis batting second, but we don't, so a little more creativity is needed here. For now, Nick Punto will do in that slot.  I'd be open to batting A.J. Ellis there as well. Let's go with whomever can lay down a better bunt. 

With Kemp on, the pitcher immediately has to deal with the threat of a pretty darn good base stealer.  With his speed, Kemp can steal, set up a buncha hit and run plays, and score from first on a whole slew of deep hits. What do you think that'll do for Kemp's and the team's confidence?  

Next, the Dodgers roll up with the heavy hitters, Crawford and Gonzalez.  Now, PEDs McGwire, the RBI's might start falling into place just like you said they would.  This gives Crawford's wicked bat a chance to clear the bases 2 or 3 times a game.  And if  Kemp and Punto yield two fast outs, as they will do on occasion, Crawford's power can still get us a lightning quick home run, as we know he can do on occasion.  There be your first four batters, skip:

 1. Matt Kemp
2. Nick Punto
3. Carl Crawford
4. Adrian Gonzalez.

Bat Ethier fifth and figure out the back end of the line up for yourself, skipper.  I can't do everything for you.

THANKS for reading, everybody!

1 comment:

  1. The Dodgers are resting on the lurals of having too much talent they need to wake up. I'm not a Dodger fan but It pisses me off when teams don't play to anywhere near there potential (Like my Marlins last year). Hope fully things get fixed in LA. Love the blog btw just started following check mine out http://truschoolsports.blogspot.com/ feel free to join the site. Good luck to the Dodgers!