Will the Dodgers’ Early Season Success Continue Until October?
Before the season started I noted the convergence of prophesies stating that the Dodgers were on their way to something less than the best record in baseball by Mid-May. A season is a marathon not a sprint, and there’s a long way to go until October. Even so, Dodger fans have got to be pretty thrilled with how things are unfolding. Here are 5 reasons to believe the Dodgers early season success will continue.
- Matt Kemp is having another MVP caliber year. Despite his recent move to the disabled list, Matt won’t be slowed down long and will get right back into the groove he’s had since opening day. Kemp is a potential Triple Crown threat, and over the last couple of years he’s showed he’s capable of carrying the team.
- A.J. Ellis is having a breakout year. After spending the previous 4 seasons split between the Dodgers and AAA, no one could have expected A.J. to become this type of everyday regular. A.J. is delivering solid at the plate stats, strong defense, and exceptional handling of the Dodgers’ very successful early-season starting pitching performances. Rarely does a team win it all without the Catcher being the best at 1, but impacting all 3 areas where they are a key contributor.
- They’ve done this so far without a table setter. Dee Gordon’s numbers at lead-off are not very good. In fact, they’re among the worst of all lead-off men. Dee has too much talent to keep struggling like this and even if he does, Don Mattingly has options, and time. Should this area be (and it looks like it might be the only glaring weakness) the key considered deficiency that could negate a potential pennant; it can be addressed by a trade. It’s nice to see a need before the trade deadline, rather than after, when it’s too late in the season to fortify the roster.
- The home cooking tastes real goods so far. As of 5/18, the Dodgers have 16 wins out of 20 games. It’s highly unlikely they’ll keep that pace up, but any kind of dominating numbers at home greatly increases your odds of making the playoffs. Playing .500 on the road doesn’t hurt either (they’re 9-9 heading into the May 18th home series against the Cardinals.)
The ownership group is not a distraction. The Dodgers played their first home game under Guggenheim Baseball Management on May 7th. That night the Dodgers beat arch rivals the Giants adding to the jubilation. The evening’s victorious starting pitcher Ted Lilly said, “You felt it. The energy was big, especially when you hear Magic Johnson’s name announced. A lot of happy people in L.A. right now.”
I’ll meet you back here at this precise discussion at the All Star break and we’ll re-evaluate how these 5 factors unfold after another month and a half into 2012.