You sure have to feel a lot better about this team after the last week, but if you are honest with yourself, you still have to have some trepidation. Here’s why:
- The clutch hitting is better, but not great. It took fourteen hits to produce 6 runs. The Phillies produced 16 runs on 21 hits the night before. The Dodgers have to get better in this category to continue to win.
- The defense is still horrible… and the defensive concentration.
- The Manager is still Don Mattingly and I have almost no confidence in him.
- I have no confidence in the training staff.
- There are some old guys on this team.
That said, I would warn the Dodgers to resist the temptation to trade for another starter. They are set at 1-3 with Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. Capuano, Lilly and Fife should be able to handle the last two spots and Ross Stripling can’t be far off. If the Dodgers could get Zach Lee for Ricky Nalasco, I would jump at the deal, but Stripling has to stay. Of course, the Marlins will want Stripling. They see the difference between him and Lee.
Matt Kemp may or may not recover his swing this year, so I see him and Crawford as platoon partners with Ethier playing CF when Matt is out. Matt has to understand that it is what it is now, not forever. Crawford will certainly benefit from playing 3 or 4 days a week and pinch hitting. If these guys will accept their roles, this team can continue to move.
Dominguez looks to be a difference maker. Vin said the same thing I did. “He looks like Pedro.“ Chris Withrow scares me – his pitches are straight and he has poor control. I prefer Steve Ames.
The Dodgers have five players who can carry a team at times: Puig, Ramirez, Kemp, Gonzalez and Ethier. Puig and Ramirez are the studs, but the others can also step up. They need to at times.
This team needs to be above .500 by the break. They can do it, but will they? Before the season, I said I would not be surprised if they won 81 games or 95 games. I still stand by that, but hope for the 95!