Turn out the lights, the party’s over for the 2011 Dodgers

There seems to be a whole lot of hands on hips and waiting-for-something-to-happen stares for the Los Angeles Dodgers so far this season. (AP/Nam Y. Huh)

Although it does happen, it is rare that Major League Baseball teams are completely eliminated from playoff contention in a given season before the All-Star break.

It has happened in the past with pitiful examples of teams in places like Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Washington. But in Los Angeles? As they say in mob movies: “Fuh-get about it!”

That is until this year.

For any of those disillusioned Dodger fans who still want to hold out hope that 2011 will turn around, heed these words of advice: “fuh-get about it!”

The 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers are a bad baseball team. I can hear you saying that the Dodgers resemble an Army MASH unit with all of their injuries to key players. That may be true, but every MLB team has to fight through injuries.

The main problem in Los Angeles is this: The Dodgers can’t hit. Left field has been a black hole of whiffle ball bats this season.

Rookie Jerry Sands may be the answer some day, but his .241 average and one home run aren’t cutting it right now. His platoon mates of Tony Gwynn, Jr. (no homers, .203 average), Jay Gibbons (no homers, .194 average) and Marcus Thames (one homer, .176 average) have been an embarrassment.

Add this left-field abyss to the fact that the Dodgers only have one player with a slugging percentage higher than .500 (Matt Kemp’s .537), and you don’t have to know Billy Bean’s MoneyBall to realize that the Dodgers aren’t scoring runs.

Los Angeles is already six games under .500 a week before Memorial Day. That number is just going to get worse as the next summer holiday arrives the first week in July.

Opposing pitchers only have two players on the Dodgers they really have to concern themselves with: Kemp and Andre Ethier. Other than that, no one in the Los Angeles lineup causes opposing pitchers to worry.

Show me another team with a lineup that weak, and I’ll show you another team destined for early playoff elimination in 2011 (i.e., the San Diego Padres and the Houston Astros).

I can hear Dodger fans complaining right now with some of these rebuttals:

• Once we get Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake back, things will get better.
• Once Sands settles in, he’ll improve his power numbers.
James Loney is bound to pick up his hitting.
Rod Barajas can’t keep hitting a homer or striking out, but not having much in between.

A trade deadline blockbuster isn’t going to solve everything for the Dodgers. A new owner isn’t going to solve everything. The Dodgers don’t have a closer. They don’t have a deep bullpen. They don’t have solid catching.
Do I need to continue?

Los Angeles fans (no, not those in “Anaheim” who wear red, but true “Los Angeles” fans!), it’s time to realize that 2011 is a lost cause.

If you want to go to Chavez Ravine to just watch a game and enjoy the special atmosphere of Major League Baseball, that’s fine.

However, if Dodger fans are hoping that somehow, some way, the team will turn things around this season, there will be nothing but disappointment. Go to the park, get a Dodger Dog and just relax.

At least you can always say, “Well, at least we don’t pull for the Royals or Pirates”… no, wait a second — they’re both better than the Dodgers this season. Never mind.


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