I had so many other articles that I wanted to complete but, as Paul Anka wrote in one of his many songs “you wake up and time has slipped away.” Seems to be my story of late! So rather than something profound, I’ll just share some random thoughts that have passed through my cluttered mind lately.
- I’m very glad that we’re passing on from June to July. The June gloom was making me ill. The doctor told me that I had a very serious case of the “losing to inferior teams blues.” He told me there was a cure but, he wasn’t sure I would be getting better anytime in the near future. But alas, a 3-1 victory over the Padres served as a temporary elixir.
- I wanted to give some of you a heads up in case you catch it. This ailment causes you to turn off the Dodger game and join your wife in watching “All Creatures Great and Small.” I’m telling you folks; these blues are some seriously bad stuff!!
As we head into the All-Star break, there are several questions facing the Dodgers. By way of reminder, last year, the top questions facing the Dodgers heading in to All-Star break and trade deadline were:
- Would they have enough pitching depth to go all the way, now that Dustin May was done for the year, Clayton Kershaw was on the IL with forearm inflammation and Trevor Bauer’s future was uncertain? Despite trading for Max Scherzer, the answer was no.
- Will Cody Bellinger return to his MVP glory? The answer was a resounding No! Sadly, we’re asking the same question this year. The good news is, last night Belli was only a single, double, triple and home run away from the cycle!! You find hope wherever you find it.
- Will Trevor Bauer pitch again this year? Nope, and we’ve probably seen the last of him as a Dodger.
- Can Cole Hamels be a rotation help for the remainder of the season? Not at all.
- Will Jo Jo Gray be able to step into the rotation and be of help for the remainder of the season? Nope, he’s going to the Nationals.
- Will we see Keibert Ruiz take a more active role in the lineup? Nope, he’s joining Gray with the Nationals.
- Has Gavin Lux’s career stalled? It appeared that way for the remainder of last season, but thankfully he has rebounded nicely this year!
- Can David Price be able to carry the load of a return to the starting rotation? Nope and hopefully they won’t entertain that thought this season.
- Will Jimmy Nelson be a factor? He had some good moments, but just couldn’t stay healthy. Sadly, he won’t be a factor this year either.
- Will Victor Gonzalez be able to come back from his injuries? Nope, and he probably won’t this year.
- Is Billy McKinney the answer to our offensive woes? Not at all.
- Are we ever going to give Kevin Quackenbush a chance, he’s been dealing at OKC? We did, but he was of zero help. Apparently the distance between OKC and the majors is a lot greater than most of us think.
As you can see, some of the questions remain the same this year, with some slight variations. You can throw in some questions about whether or not Max Muncy is washed up, is JT getting to old to contribute (Joe Musgrove doesn’t think so), can Pepiot, Knack, Miller, Stone or Jackson step in and pitch some meaningful innings, can Vargas, Busch, or Amaya provide some much needed offense?
The calendar changes, but the questions remain the same.
While I really liked Seager, I can’t say I missed him that much. I also like Turner, he is a special player that brings so many positive elements to the table. Speed, power, hit for average and plays an adequate shortstop. I hope they can resign him, but if they don’t, oh well! I’ll just move on to rooting for the next guy.
- Looking at the players that have left the Dodgers this past season, I can’t honestly say that I miss too many of them. In fact probably the only player I miss is A. J. Pollock (and I don’t miss him that much). I’m also in the camp that I’d rather have Craig Kimbrel over Kenley Jansen. Not that I particularly disliked Jansen, I just like my relief pitchers to be able to hold on runners and throw some consistent gas. Are there any players you wish the Dodgers still had?
- Some get excited over the fact that the Dodgers are second in run differential to the Yankees (151-129). Frankly, this is not a statistic I get too excited about. In the Cleveland vs Dodgers series a little over a week ago, the Dodgers “won” the run differential battle 11-8, yet they lost 2 of the three games. There have been other series similar to the Cleveland series. Perhaps I’m cherry picking, and while I’m also certain there is some correlation between run differential to victories, I would rather just have the wins.
- I will admit that I have found the Dodgers’ play this year significantly more frustrating than in years past. I know that any team can beat another team on any given day, but mercy, losing to the Pirates, Guardians and Rockies in the way the Dodgers did leaves a whole lot to be desired. It’s my observation that presently, this team does not look like a world series championship team. Yet here they are, atop the standings again.
- As a kid, one book I referred to quite often was “The Dodger Way to Play Baseball,” by Al Campanis and others. It was based on fundamentals. I gave away my copy of that book to my neighbors, along with my 3,000+ baseball cards. There was a time when the “Dodger Way” was considered the soundest instructional system in baseball. Some of the “ways” may seem outdated today, but most of the book holds up as much today as it did during the Brooklyn Dodgers’ glory years, when it was first issued. Fundamentals! The book is no longer in print, although I think you can get a copy on Amazon for $300.00. Watching the Dodgers play this year, I think that they too have given away their copy of the book. With the exception of a few plays here and there, I don’t recall a Dodger team so lacking in the fundamentals as this years club.
- I don’t know what to make of Freddie Freeman’s lovefest in Atlanta. While it did seem a bit over the top, I do think it was the genuine expression of joy from a man who spent his entire career with that organization. My best friends nephew is a brother in-law to Freeman and he vouches that Freddy Freeman is as quality a human being as you will find. I’ll accept that. I just want him to continue to hit over .300 and drive in 115 runs.
- Recently, there was a post on the Dodgers website encouraging fans to go out and vote Cody Bellinger into the top 2 outfielders. I appreciate the corporate spin, that’s what they have to do, but no thank you. Belli needs to take the all-star break off and spend some time with his new baby. He has no business being on the all-star team.
- I was looking over some of the MLB statistics last week and noticed that the Milwaukee Brewers had only 3 regulars hitting over .250. I then checked the NL West teams, the Padres have 3, the Giants have 3, the Rockies have 8, the Diamondbacks have 2 and the Dodgers have 5. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, MLB has screwed with the balls again? You would have thought that with the elimination of the sticky stuff, the hitters would have benefitted.
I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July holiday. With all of its warts, the USA is still a wonderful land, and I’m ever so grateful that my parents made the choice to immigrate when I was 5 and bring me to this wonderful land!!