Los Angeles Dodgers: The good, bad and ugly of the opening series
Yes, I’m ticked off that the Los Angeles Dodgers blew the momentum from Clayton Kershaw’s other-worldly performance on opening day to lose the series against the San Francisco Giants.
It stinks to get punked by your biggest rival at your own park, whether it’s the first series of a new season or the last. However, I’m trying to remind myself that it was the opening series of the 2013 MLB season.
There are still 159 games left to sort all this out. It does seem, though, that the Los Angeles Dodgers should have spent more time on fielding and throwing drills in spring training. Four errors in the first three games did the Dodgers no favors against San Francisco.
As we head into a three-game tilt against the Pittsburgh Pirates, here are my observations from the first three games:
Carl Crawford looks alright – Coming into this season, Crawford was the biggest question mark for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The health of his tender elbow was a huge concern. Then, when Crawford was shelved during spring training because of soreness in the elbow, the doubts escalated. If the opening series against the Giants is any indication, we should move on to other concerns … like fielding! Crawford played in all three games against the Giants and had five hits in nine plate appearances, for a .556 average. Crawford was caught stealing in his only attempt, but that’s about it for negatives.
Calling all power hitters … APB on the heart order – I was salivating heading into the season thinking about the heart of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ batting order. Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier hitting three-four-five? Forget about it! That’s almost unfair to opposing pitchers! Well, after the opening series against the Giants, the Dodgers might need to put these players’ bats on the back of milk cartons in Los Angeles and ask, “Have you seen me?” Kemp followed his chilly spring by going 0-for-10 against the Giants with three strikeouts. Gonzalez wasn’t much better, with one hit in nine attempts for a .111 average. Ethier hit a respectable .250, but he struck out five times in 12 tries!
Justin Sellers did himself no favors in the shortstop department – All I’ve heard about the 27-year-old Sellers over the past two years is that he can pick it at short better than a preschooler with a stopped up nose. Sellers’ hitting was supposedly questionable, but manager Don Mattingly threw him in the starting lineup with Hanley Ramirez out. How did Sellers reward Mattingly? By going hitless in the first two games with two strikeouts in six at-bats, along with committing two errors. Way to seize that opportunity, Justin! It got so bad that Mattingly did us all a favor in the final game of the San Francisco series by sitting Sellers and playing Juan Uribe … and I was for it! Hearing me welcome Uribe in the starting lineup is akin to hearing my wife say Ryan Gosling has nothing on my abs!
The new kid can pitch – Whether you say his name Hyun-Jin Ryu or some other combination, this kid looks good in Los Angeles Dodgers blue! In the second game of the season, Ryu took the mound against the Giants and went 6.1 innings, only allowing one earned run. Ryu did take the loss, but his 1.42 ERA and five strikeouts (without a walk) were impressive. If not for poor fielding and the disappearance of the heart of the batting order, Ryu might have been able to pull out a win. The 26-year-old Ryu has good command of his pitches and looks like he is most definitely a “pitcher” and not just a “thrower.” He should be a good left-handed complement to Kershaw in the rotation.