After watching two of three games this past weekend between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers, I have to say that I came away from the series with a good feeling about the team.
Winning consecutive series against the New York Mets and the Brewers is encouraging. It’s still a long way from where the Dodgers need to be on a nightly basis, but at least it’s moving in the right direction.
I changed my mind, and then decided to write about the solid hitting (and fielding) of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Then I scrapped that idea.
So, guess what? I’m going to write about all of that and more! Welcome to the Dodgers’ Potpourri Ponderings, where you get all kinds of interesting tidbits in one fell swoop!
• Welcome to the $200 million club, Mr. Kershaw! – There has never been a $200 million pitcher in Major League Baseball, but in the audition year for a new contract, Kershaw is a lock to make that ancient history. Kershaw has won three games so far this season, all by shutout. He has struck out 47 hitters in 41 innings and has an ERA of 1.73. Against the Brewers on April 28, Kershaw didn’t just dominate, he made hitters look silly! Kershaw struck out 12 Milwaukee hitters, many of them frozen on third-strike curves that dropped off the table. It’s a good thing that the Guggenheim Partners own the Dodgers, because it will take a boatload of money to keep Kershaw in Los Angeles.
• If I’m ever in a bar fight, I want Nick Punto on my side – I don’t know if Punto can fight, but I do know that he is a big pain in the keester for opposing pitchers. This guy is pesky with a capital P! The Dodgers have to find a way to keep Punto in the lineup. All he has done this season is hit .400 in 30 at-bats with an on-base percentage of .500. The 35-year-old Punto can play shortstop, third and second base and I bet he could even hold his own everywhere else on the diamond, except on the mound, if he had to.
• Carl Crawford looks sweet in left field – Prior to Crawford, name the last quality Dodgers left-fielder! No Googling, either. The only more inconsistent position on the Dodgers than left field has probably been third base, but that’s in the past. Crawford’s elbow looks to be fully healed, and he has such a sweet left-handed swing. Guess who leads the Dodgers in home runs, stolen bases, slugging percentage and triples? That’s right, Crawford! What had been the biggest question mark for the Dodgers in the spring has become an exclamation point over the first month of the season thanks to Crawford.
• Anyone who misses James Loney at first base, please report for mental testing – How much fun is it to have Gonzalez at first for the Dodgers? He is an amazing fielder and has been rock solid at the plate the entire month of April. Gonzalez leads the Dodgers in hits, doubles and RBIs and looks like the kind of player you can take to the bank with his consistency. The best thing about Gonzalez is that I can now stop rubbing my Steve Garvey baseball card and longing for the 1970s at first base.
• Yasiel Puig’s recent arrest is not big news – The Dodgers’ next-big-thing prospect was arrested on Aug. 28. Dodgers fan held their collective breath when the news broke. When I saw the headline, “Puig Arrested In Tennessee,” my first thought was: “Oh man, I hope it wasn’t because of drugs, a DUI or from shooting someone!” Then, I read what Puig did, and I moved on to bigger and better news, like Miley Cyrus’ racy new photos that are trending on Yahoo!. Puig was arrested for reckless driving (allegedly changing lanes without using a turn signal), speeding and for not having proof of insurance. You have to remember that Puig is playing in Chattanooga, Tenn., and not in Los Angeles. I live about 70 miles from Chattanooga and have been there often. You can get pulled over for having a tail light not working or a headlight that’s burned out … especially if it’s the end of the month and the Chattanooga police need to meet some quotas! Does Puig still need to mature? Most definitely. Okay, maybe I’m embellishing a little about the Chattanooga police, but the point is that Puig is not going to have to join “SA” (Speeder’s Anonymous) and start meetings by saying, “My name is Yasiel, and I’m a speeder.” Puig is 22 years old, and he is adjusting to a new culture (anyone who’s been to Rock City in Chattanooga knows that it’s a different culture!).