It seems to me that many Dodger fans are hyperventilating after seeing their beloved Dodgers start 2-4. It doesn’t make me happy either, but lets’ not forget that it’s not how you start – it’s how you finish, and the Dodgers stumbled at the finish line last year. They had a stretch where they went 2-7 before finally clinching from the Rockies. I am going to suggest that the .069 ERA George Sherrill had as a Dodger last year will not be duplicated, but neither will he have 22.50 ERA. Jeff Weaver was reliable last year, but he had a few hic-ups – all pitchers do. What can we learn from the first six games? One thing – Don’t Jump to Conclusions! It’s a long season which is officially 1/27th over for the Dodgers.
Charlie Manual stuck with Brad Lidge last year, even with a 7.21 ERA and 11 blown saves because he believed in him. Like Yogi used to say, “90% of the game is half mental.” Guys have mechanical issues and guys have mental issues. The mechanical issues, as hard as they are to work out, are easier than the mental aspects of the game. Right now, just about everything that can go wrong, is going wrong. Matt Kemp is not playing the way he should, even though his stats look good. Our bullpen looks to be a shambles. Our hitting with RISP is poor. All of this can change overnight.
Jeff Weaver is part of this team until he blows several games. George Sherrill is a co-closer, like it or not, and Joe Torre will use him as such (at least until he proves he can’t do it). Russ Ortiz and Ramon Ortiz are getting a chance to show that they belong (or not), before Belisario and Kuo are re-called. The team is 2-4 not because of poor managing, but because of poor execution – both hitting and pitching. The manager will get fired before the players, but right now, the Dodgers are not executing the way they should. Matt Kemp should be able to get a runner home from 3B with just one out. George Sherrill has to be able to hold a two-run lead. Jeff Weaver should not have imploded like yesterday. Yada, Yada, Yada! . All of our hitters are to blame in one way or another. Our starters have to pitch deeper into games, like Hiroki Kuroda. Some of it is simply bad luck, but luck is often where preparation meets opportunity.
Next man up! Whoever is put out there has to deliver… and I believe they will. The home opener seems to be what the Dodgers are focused upon. Maybe the season starts now…
The Dodgers pitching was the best in baseball the past two years. Has everyone forgotten how to pitch? I doubt it. Our offense will be very good, but what is happening is more mental than mechanical. It’s a mindset. A mindset I wonder whether our current batting instructors are able to impart. I’m not saying they can’t. I’m just saying I’m from Missouri – you have to Show Me!