Dodgers fans: Take one Valium and call me in May

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are making it look easy for the 5-1 Los Angeles Dodgers. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If I uttered the following words, “the Los Angeles Dodgers are the best team in Major League Baseball in 2012,” TTFB readers would ask Jamie Shoemaker for a drug-testing policy for writers.

Do you know what’s cool, though? No one can debate this statement: The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in baseball in 2012!
You can argue as to just how good the Dodgers really are, but you can’t challenge the record. I texted a buddy who’s a misguided New York Yankees fan and said, “Can you do me a favor? My Internet is down and I need you to do some online research and tell me which team has the best record in MLB.”

My friend’s response? “Let’s see if you can send me that same kind of text in July! There are still 155 games to go!”
You know what? My friend is absolutely right.

I am excited about the Dodgers and their 6-1 start this season. I love seeing the team play great defense (two errors in seven games). I am thrilled to see the bullpen enter games in the sixth or seventh inning and not throw away what our starting pitchers have built.

I smile when I see Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp crush baseballs like Bobby Petrino crushes Arkansas football fans’ hopes and dreams. I’m on cloud nine because of Dee Gordon’s base stealing and Javy Guerra’s saves.

But I’m also a realist.

Are the Dodgers playing solid baseball right now? No doubt about it. However, look at who the Dodgers have beaten to get those six victories – the San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Padres and the Pirates stink. My apology to their fans, but there is just no tactful way around that. The Padres and Pirates are already making their last-place beds so that they can comfortably rest in their division cellars where they belong.

The Pirates have been so bad that they’ve finished last or next-to-last in seven of the past eight seasons. How’s this for bad? Pittsburgh hasn’t had a winning season since 1992 … that’s 20-straight years of losing, for those who are still counting.

The Padres are a little less bad, but they’ve still only made the playoffs twice in the past 13 years. Poor Padres fans have seen their team make the playoffs a total of five times in the team’s 43-year existence.

What does all of this mean? It means that so far in 2012, the Dodgers have beaten the losers. Good baseball teams obviously need to beat the teams that are inferior to them, but before I jump on the “Dodgers: 2012 World Series Champions” bandwagon, I need to see more.

After the Dodgers handle the Milwaukee Brewers (April 16-18), the Atlanta Braves (April 23-25) and the Washington Nationals (April 27-29), then I’ll be convinced. Give me a solid opening month and then I’ll believe that there is enough of a sample over which to debate.

I like what I’ve seen so far, but I also know that baseball can be a very streaky game. Mediocrity is just one bad series away this early in the season.

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