Tagged: NL West

Sink or Swim

          Living here in Southern California we have the luxury of the best weather year-round and access to the beach so its to no surprise that you will find locals, tourist, and celebrities catching some sun and keeping cool in the California beaches. It is no different for the Dodgers around this time of the year, they are under some heat (and not from the sun) but from the standings, they find themeselves in 3rd place (6GB) of the Padres. They just concluded a 4-game series vs. the Mets, who back in April swept the Dodgers in the Big Apple. The Dodgers won 3 of 4 games vs. the Mets this time around keeping pace with the Padres who swept the Pirates. The Dodgers had a rough first week in the 2nd half, but these three wins, and 4th win of the last 5 is certainly going on the right direction, but now its time to bring the “A+” game on Tuesday.

    On Tuesday, the Dodgers will head South to San Diego, to take on the division leading Padres. This series is HUGE in as many ways as you can think. The Dodgers have a chance to cool down the Padres and get closer in the division as much as 3GB if the Dodgers are to sweep. But really, the Dodgers just dont want to leave San Diego worse than they came in, 9GB if they are swept (knock on wood), it should be a great series because there is a lot on the table.

    The Dodgers starting pitching has been on fire!!!! Billingsley who will start on Tuesday for LA, pitched a complete game shutout his last time around. Kuroda followed him by going 8IP of scoreless baseball and although Padilla got the loss on Friday, Vicente went 7 innings and gave up 2 runs. The 5th starter who each week is a new face, has been the question mark for the Dodgers all season. Finally, Kershaw pitched 8innings and gave up no runs vs. the Mets on Sunday and picked up the win. So the Dodger starting pitching needs to continue their momentum especially in this upcoming series. The bullpen on the other hand also improved…slightly in this series. Although they werent really used, with the exception of Saturday’s extra-inning fiasco. But on Friday they did give up 4 big runs to let the game get away. So, there is definite room for improvement, although Kenley Jansen (spanish for Johnson?) has really put his mark early. Getting his first save on Sunday. Im not jumping on his bandwagon…yet. He still has a lot more to prove than two apperances, but so far so good.

On another note, the offense has been “ok”…Ethier is having a harder time up there with those outside pitches. Casey Blake cant seem to get a key hit in key situations. Furcal and Kemp have been doing good offensively, but everyone else is playing like they use the internet, just from time to time. We will need offense in this upcoming series.

Joe Torre are ready to hit the beach on Tuesday, they certainly would love to avoid the heat and swim on to another  NL West championship, rather than get left behind and sinking. HUGE matchup to say the least.


Meet me Halfway

Well we have reached the midway point. The Mid-Summer Classic, the Halfway mark. There is many terms for it but it all means the same. We are done with one half of baseball. For our Dodgers it was certainly a fortunate first half to say the least. There has been more bumps on the Dodgers road rather than smooth sailing ship.

First half the Dodgers began sloppy. There was a lot of errors on the field and not much pitching. Our bullpen has been struggling most of the first half although of late it has shown signs of improvement. The club has not been healthy. Manny has been injured twice and his offensive power is greatly missed on the field. Good thing Loney, Ethier, Kemp and Furcal has picked up the load and carried the team offensively. Meanwhile, our pitching staff has taken some licks, we lost Padilla and Bills for a while. While our bullpen looks the elevator with people being send down and send up.

As a fan I hate to talk about it but also the “McCourts Divorce Court” drama really hasnt affected the team on the field, but maybe financially by not allowing the Dodgers management to get that one more big pitcher to complete the pitching staff. Although, we didnt get Cliff Lee (it was a LONG shot) i think the Dodgers will get one more pitcher by the end of the month. The name Haren has been floating around but im not sure if Arizona is willing to trade within the division but it would be a nice acquisition.

MVP no doubt has been James Loney who has been the most consistent of all the players on the field. Not many home runs but a lot of RBIs and I think although the “chicks dig the longball” they cant atleast appreciate a guy who can cash in runners. Pitching MVP has to be Kuo, he has been great coming in from the bullpen, if Sherrill was as good as he was last year we would have an unbelivable lefty weapons in our pen.

Whats to expect in the 2nd half? More like “what not to expect?” 4 teams in the NL West are fighting for that top spot and Im sure that the Wild Card will come out of the NL West once again. Padres have had a nice momentum so far, but im not sure they will be able to ride that wave, my guess they finish 3rd. Meanwhile Dodgers and Rockies are pretty even. I see the Dodgers/Rockies winning the Division and Wild Card. I would love for the Dodgers to 3-peat as NL West champs but as long as we make it into October im ok with that. Giants on the other hand have been very unpredictable at times they look unbeatable and at times they look just defeated early on, but I just dont see them having that offense to beat LA or Colorado. If the division is as close as it is right now. September, the thick of the pennant race is the month to watch where its NL West matchups all month. But i am very confident that the boys in blue will finish the year on a good note and into the playoffs.

Looking at the rest of the NL, the Reds are still hot but the Cardinals are creeping up. In the East, could the Phillies NOT make the playoffs this year? The Braves look very solid and it should be a good division to watch. How nice would it be for Bobby Cox to end his tenure in the big leagues by making it to the playoffs one last time (not win the pennant though).

Im excited for the second of baseball it should be very interesting and scoreboard watching second half. Dodgers resume ball on Thursday in St. Louis for the start of a 4 game series. Manny should be back on Thursday. Good Luck to our FOUR All-Stars (Furcal, Ethier, Kuo, Broxton) lets win Home Field Advantage for the World Series.

Think Blue and support the troops!