Trying to figure out what we've learned about the Dodgers after two weeks
So what did we learn the first two weeks? For the faithful's sake, we hope not much.
We learned Joe Torre is absolutely serious about resting his regulars, a Gold Glove is no guarantee Matt Kemp is going to find his way to the ball, Chad Billingsley is not yet the pitcher he was the first half of last season and Manny Ramirez still has a knack for dramatics.
Otherwise, here's a quick look at the first two weeks:
Starting pitching: Better hope it's a work in progress.
Consistency has been sorely lacking. It's been an early disappointment, with starters struggling to pitch past the fifth inning, outside of Hiroki Kuroda. Throwing strikes has been a real challenge.
The last three games, however, Kuroda, Vicente Padilla and Clayton Kershaw offered hope, each pitching seven innings.
Relief pitching: If they can get the game to Jonathan Broxton, they're in great shape. The trick has been getting it to him. He's seen one save opportunity.
Middle relief mostly has been a mess, though on the bright side, struggling setup man George Sherrill has actually retired his last six consecutive batters.
Defense: It really can't stay this bad, can it?
Let's go with no way, though a bad early pattern has emerged. The Dodgers are currently tied with the Detroit Tigers for the second-worst fielding percentage in all of baseball (.974).
And the only new starter from last year's strong fielding team is Blake DeWitt, who has just one of the team's 12 errors. Torre crosses fingers and calls it one of those things.Offense: OK, here is something to cause the boys in blue to hold their chests out. They have hit well, and one Tim Lincecum start aside, hit often.
The Three Amigos in the outfield have been all that was hoped. The Dodgers are hitting for average and power. Their team average of .303 trails only the Royals and their .468 slugging percentage is fourth in the majors.
"I feel very strongly that offensively we're going to score runs," Torre said. "We can do a lot of different things, especially if the top of the order works. It's not going to be easy going through [Andre] Ethier, Kemp and Manny. And I think when it’s all said and done, [James] Loney’s gonna make a statement here this year too."
Here's one other thing we learned: The Dodgers are going to keep coming at you, no matter the situation.
Half their victories have been come-from-behind affairs, with Manny and Ethier offering up walk-off hits.
"I think we found out when we got behind in so many games that we just kept battling," Torre said.-- Steve Dilbeck