Depressed and Impressed
It’s risky business to try and evaluate a player based upon the microcosm of one game or even the four games I will watch here at Camelback Ranch. However, there are some plays that seem to solidify a players’ grip upon a roster spot or reveal his character or demonstrate his ability to deliver (or not) in the clutch. Today, the Dodgers played some amazing defense which practically nullified the nine hits given up by Hiroki Kuroda. If Ramon Troncoso had done his job, Kuroda would have only given up one run. Troncoso continues to depress me without his sinker. If he can’t throw the sinker he used to, he can’t be on the team. He looks like an arsonist. However, I also saw some things that I really liked. Players who impressed me included:
- Marcus Thames impressed me with his hitting, base-running and with a stellar sliding defensive play in LF. Maybe he’s not the statue we thought. He also looked lighter on his feet in running the bases – he used to look really heavy-footed when running. Now, I’m not saying he’s a freakin’ gazelle, but he’s better than advertised in the field. I have a feeling it will be Thames who is the everyday RF…
- Aaron Miles drove in the first run (which was Thames) with a nice piece of situational hitting and played a solid 3B, even starting a nice double play. He also had a diving play at 3B, taking an extra-base hit away and throwing out the runner, followed by nice double in the ninth.
- Juan Castro just seems to seize the day (arrrgggahhhhh) had a two clutch doubles, scored a run and played a solid SS in a short sampling. He also had a sharply hit ball in the hole at SS which was ruled and error, but it moved the runner. He could have scored the winning run if he hadn’t ran all the way from 2B to home plate with a piano on his back. He went from Hero to Goat as he was gunned down at the plate.
- Scott Elbert pitched a solid inning and didn’t walk anyone while striking out one. The Dodgers need him in the pen.
- Jay Gibbons drove a shot in the deepest part of CF, but was robbed by Chris Dickerson (I mean really robbed) of a hit in the 10th inning. It’s amazing how much better you can hit when you can see.
There are a number of players in camp here who are major league ready, major league willing, major league able and often, major league experienced… and they won’t make the team. Kapler, Giminez, Oeltjen, Paul, DeJesus, Paul, Navarro and Castro all come time mind. Of those eight players, at most only two will make the team. TWO!
Attendance is obviously down (42% for the Dodgers, 50% for the Angels). Is this a Spring trend or a portent of things to come?
Tomorrow we get serious.