If you’re a Los Angeles Dodgers fan and you aren’t giddy about the first five games of the 2012 MLB season, then there’s something wrong with you.
All is right with the world in Magic Land (a.k.a., the Dodgers) after the team won four of its first five games. Naysayers may point out that three of the Dodgers’ wins were against the pitiful San Diego Padres.
Other glass-is-half-empty pessimists may also say, despite the hot start, the Dodgers still trail the undefeated Arizona Diamondbacks. Still other Dodger haters might say our ace, Clayton Kershaw, is 0-for-2 in an attempt to get a win this season.
Know what I say?
You can stick your Dodger-hating where it belongs – in a neat folder that you can break out in August if we have fallen flat on our faces!
Why am I so kid-on-Christmas-morning about the Dodgers? It’s not just because they’re 4-1. It’s the way they have gone 4-1. Some pretty special things happened in just five short games that have my hopes soaring like a Bubba Watson drive!
Here is why I’m on a Dodgers high:
- The Dodgers have not one, but two players who have driven in nine runs thus far. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have both smacked two homers and have nine RBIs (Ethier in 19 at-bats, Kemp in 21). This is sick production from two guys we need sick production from!
- Little Dee Gordon is only hitting .238, but he already has stolen four bases in just five games. Gordon gives the Dodgers a terror on the base paths for the first time in far too long.
- Juan Uribe has played in every game, has fielded nine of 10 balls cleanly and had three hits in the home opener. Uribe has yet to homer or drive in a run, but I’m encouraged about what I’ve seen from him so far (yes, I wrote about Uribe without any “fat” references! … there is hope!).
- Chad Billingsley looked superhuman in San Diego against the Padres. He went 8.1 innings, only gave up three hits (no runs) and struck out 11. Billingsley always had the tools, but he just hasn’t harnessed them over the long haul. Here’s hoping that 2012 is the year he finally does.
- Closer Javy Guerra has been lights-out! Guerra has three saves in three opportunities, hasn’t given up a run and has struck out three in his three innings of work.
- Josh Lindblom is becoming a bullpen stud. Lindblom is 1-0 and hasn’t given up a hit or a run in his four innings of work this season.
- Kershaw is the man, whether he’s sick or not. Battling the flu on opening day in San Diego, Kershaw still pitched three scoreless innings. In his home opener on Tuesday, Kershaw pitched well enough to win, but the offense didn’t get him the support he needed. Although he is winless, Kershaw has pitched 10 innings this season, given up one run (0.90 ERA) and has struck out 10.
The 2012 season hasn’t been perfect for the Dodgers (James Loney’s 0-for-14!), but it’s still a far cry from life under former owner Frank McCourt. Last season, I was wondering if the Dodgers were going to make payroll. I was worried that Kershaw and Kemp would grow tired of not having any offensive or defensive support.
This season, I feel confident that the Dodgers are headed in the right direction. New owner Magic Johnson has been a visible supporter of the team, at the games and on Social Media sites like Twitter.
Johnson Tweeted on Tuesday evening that he was excited about the 4-1 start to the new season. How many times did you see McCourt Tweeting about the Dodgers last year? He was too busy fighting with his future ex-wife and trying to figure a way to weasel out of town with enough money in his pocket.
The pieces seem to be in place for the Dodgers to still be in contention late into the summer. That might change if the Diamondbacks remain hot and if the San Francisco Giants heat up.
However, I can live with it if the Dodgers are simply bested in the National League West by a more talented team. What I can’t stomach is watching the owners and front office dig a hole that threatens to swallow the team.
Thank God those days appear to be over.