First Glance At Dodgers And Giants In 2013
With a team right across town from the NBA proving that big names don’t win titles, the Los Angeles Dodgers are getting a clear lesson on not achieving lofty goals set by payroll expectation. Having said that, the game to game roller coaster that the Lakers have created will not be felt by the baseball fan base in LA. I will say if the team doesn’t hit well out of the gate, the pressure will mount with every game much like Albert Pujols homerless streak just a season ago.
With no (baseball) championships in LA since 1988, the fan base is itching for a successful season and there is no surprise that they think this is the team that can take them to the Promised Land. As well as Opening day went for the Dodgers, the next two nights did not go according to plan. No matter how early in the season it is, games against the San Francisco Giants have become the benchmark in the NL West.
Hosting the team that has won two of the last three World Series titles is no small task with the pitching staff they send to the mound each night. The Dodgers may have beaten Matt Cain but Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum pitched well in games two and three to each earn the victory even though Lincecum walked seven. The first series of six that the two teams will play goes to the Giants.
To be fair, the first series of the year is no barometer of how a team will do for the rest of the year. The Dodgers and their fans certainly hope that the team will improve at the plate. Mainly the team’s best hitter, Matt Kemp, is 0 for 10 on the short season. If Kemp gets going, the Dodgers won’t need Clayton Kershaw to carry them on offense anymore.
Facing the tough pitching staff of the Giants this week led to rough starts for the entire heart of the Dodgers order. With Kemp struggling it doesn’t help when Adrian Gonzalez (1-9) and Andre Ethier (3-12) combine to hit 4 for 31 from the 3-4-5 spots in the lineup. When the meat of your order hits like that, it would be tough for anybody to win.
A huge positive for the boys in blue has been Carl Crawford who is five for his first nine. Crawford is definitely doing his part to get on base in front of the loaded middle of the Dodgers lineup. Unfortunately, when Crawford has been on base the Dodgers are unable to get him around to score. One of the question marks the Dodgers had coming in to the season was whether Crawford will be healthy all year. That remains to be seen but the first few games have been very positive.
Provided the Dodgers can keep Crawford and Kemp healthy, along with getting Hanley Ramirez back on the field, I like their chances against the reigning champs. I’m looking forward to the dog fight that the NL West is going to be this year. Not only are the Giants and Dodgers good, the Arizona Diamondbacks will have something to say as well. Keep an eye on this rivalry as it will only get better as the season progresses. I can’t believe there are only 159 games left in the season.