If you were grading the Dodgers first-half performance the team would have to get a D -.
There’s no way to sugar-coat it – the Dodgers sucked big time in the first half. There were a few bright spots including Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Jamey Carroll and even Aaron Miles. At the end of the season, Kershaw and Kemp will likely be near the top in Cy Young and MVP voting. The hitting overall and with RISP was horrendous and the bullpen was full of bull.
Look, it’s really not likely that the Dodgers can win the division, but they have a lot of games to go within the division and ground can be made up rapidly. I can see San Diego, Colorado and Arizona all fading even more in the second half. I feel that the Dodgers have underperformed during the first half of the season, however, that does not mean they will play over their heads the second half.. but this is a game of averages and it can happen. You never know.
How the Dodgers do in the second half will depend upon the bullpen and the following players:
- Juan Uribe - If he can end up with 20 HR and a .250 BA, he will be a big help. I doubt he can do it though.
- James Loney - He needs to hit .320 the second half if the Dodgers have any hope. Again, I can’t see it.
- Juan Rivera - He is a professional hitter who has the potential to put up a nice second half. I hear “declining offensively” being applied to Rivera, but I also heard it applied to Lance Berkman (who is a lot older) – how did that work out?
- Rod Barajas and AJ Ellis - This duo needs to get it done, and Ned should just dump “Fat Boy” Navarro. He’s worse than Russ Martin since May 1st and that’s pretty bad!
Ned admitted that his Marcus Thames idea was bad by cutting him – Rivera is an upgrade, but any team with Velez and Navarro on the roster is a train wreck! I’d much rather see IDJ2 and Jamie Hoffman instead of them. AJ Ellis and Barajas need to split time behind the plate. Ellis has earned that right. Dump Navarro! Dump Navarro now. Velez? Do I even have to discuss him?
Kershaw, Bills, Kuroda, DeLaRosa and Lilly can handle the rotation, but the pen is the key. Kuo, Guerrier, Jansen, Guerra, Hawksworth, MacDougal, Elbert, Lindblom, even Tolleson (he could get a call), need to step up.
I am sure you are going to see a straight platoon in LF with Gwynn, Jr against righthanders and Rivera hitting against lefties. Having Rivera behind Loney could also help James a lot.
How does this lineup look?
- Furcal SS
- Miles 2B
- Ethier RF
- Kemp Cf
- Loney 1B
- Rivera LF
- Uribe 3B
- Barajas/Ellis C
Bottom Line: The Dodgers should probably be sellers. They can’t make a run at the Giants… Can They?
July 20th could bring some clues…. stay tuned!