As I mentioned yesterday, the national pundits are falling in love with the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Giants. Few prognosticators are picking the Dodgers, but you should like that because the prognosticators are usually wrong anyway. Who picked Butler and Duke to be in the NCAA Finals? Not one of those shills did! The Dodgers have made the playoffs 4 out of the last 6 years and have reached the NL Championship Series two years in a row, and yet some Dodger fans are lamenting how bad the Dodgers are and that they will be lucky to win 81 games. I have heard it all before and it means less now than it did. I can’t predict how many games the Dodgers will win this year, but I will tell you it will be North of 90! Maybe 95 again.
Jon Weisman gives it to cranky Dodger Fan in a post yesterday on ESPN/LosAngeles entitled “Don’t Be Jonesing For Failure”:
Case in point: Entering the third inning of today’s game, Billingsley had a 1.84 ERA this exhibition season. It didn’t mean much to me, because no Spring Training stats mean much to me. You can bet that it also didn’t mean much to those who have complained about Billingsley since last fall. But when Billingsley ran into trouble and gave up six runs in the third inning, suddenly across the Internet and Twitter you could find people shouting out about the latest proof of how awful he is.
Yep, that’s what they do, Jon. By the way, read the entire article and then think it through.
I have blasted Jon Broxton in the past, mostly because he needs a change up to go with his heater. His problems are pitch selection. I used to blast Andre Ethier for being “soft” – getting soft hits, but he changed all that. It wasn’t that I stopped blasting him for being soft – he stopped being soft. Was he soft? Yes he was! Is he now? No way! It’s a maturation process for these young players, but I will call them out when necessary (or I feel it necessary). I have called out Brox, because he should be unhittable… if he could just master than change. If I were him, I’d stay up all night, every night figuring that puppy out.
Which bring me to two issues: Spring Training and Chad Billingsley.
Fact: To Russ Martin, James Loney, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Vicente Padilla, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ramon Tronscoso, George Sherrill, Jon Broxton, Brad Ausmus, Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll Spring Training meant little because they all had guaranteed spots on the team. That means that 18 of the 25 roster spots were taken by players who are just intent on getting out of Spring Training healthy. As early as March 22nd, Joe Torre said they were bored. So, don’t read much into Chad Billingsley’s great spring… or the grand slam he gave up either. Don’t ready anything into Raffy’s poor bating average. Forget the spring – it doesn’t mean much to these guys. They have a mission and that ‘s to get back to the NL Championship and win it! That’s what they are focused on and if you want to judge this book by it’s cover, well you would be dead wrong! These guys are determined to atone for the last two “failures” in the NLCS – yes, they see them as “failures” and they are bent of succeeding. Hang on for the ride!
P.S. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the final roster spot taken up by Cory Wade.