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Dodgers think they're starting to get their mojo working

Ethier_300 With apologies to that famous baseball crooner Dinah Washington, what a difference a day makes … or two or three.

Ah, the Dodgers. What to make of them? Are they going to be fun or what? Losing five consecutive games, followed by a three-game winning streak.

Teams are never as good or bad as they appear while streaking in either direction, but the Dodgers are making it particularly difficult to feel comfortable about anything close to a real assessment.

Certainly the rotation remains a major concern, but the hitting that had dissipated and the maddening fielding, all turned around once the team arrived back to Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers have not committed an error in their last five games. Hold the confetti. Once last in the majors in fielding, they’re up to 26th. Hey, it’s a start.

Even more impressive has been how the offense has righted itself behind the Greatest Hitter in the History of All Mankind, Andre Ethier. Anyway, he was the last three games.

Others have joined in, the Dodgers scoring 20 runs in their last three games.

"I think we’re swinging the bats with a lot more confidence now," Manager Joe Torre said. "Everybody was trying to do it themselves, now a number of guys are doing it and it’s a little bit easier."

Well, not everybody. Casey Blake has had a series of poor at-bats. After a strong start, he has one hit in his 16 at-bats. His situational hitting has been a problem and he has struggled to advance runners.

He was given Sunday’s game off.

"I think he’s just a little tired," Torre said.

Russell Martin also has only one hit in his last 14 at-bats. Although he has had some hard-hit outs, he seems back to trying to pull everything after starting the season using the entire field.

Yet overall, for the moment the Dodgers are feeling pretty good about their offense, and themselves. They might not have their full swagger back, but they’re working on a little strut.

"We’re feeling a lot better about ourselves right now," Torre said. "It’s a real, quiet confidence. Where before when we were in the middle the struggles, I think everybody was trying to be animated but you could just sense it was forced.

"We’re pretty confident right now and hopefully will start off Tuesday the same way."

At least that’s their hope, because they know what a difference a day makes. And baseball has 162 of them.

--Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Andre Ethier watches his two-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens May 2. Christine Cotter / Associated Press.

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Got a trade idea...Manny Ramirez to the Mariners for Cliff Lee

Andre Either, currently in triple crown position, subject to change.

Leader in average and rbis, tied for homers.

doesn't Manny have custody of the 'mojo'?
I thought that I saw it in a vial on the top shelf of his locker

Defense is the key. I'm not worried about our offense. With Manny the Dodgers have one of the best lineups in baseball. Without Manny they're just really good. The wins and losses are going to begin and end with how well the guys catch the ball. If they catch it Kuroda and Kershaw will win a high percentage of their starts. The same goes for Bills if he can start throwing his fastball more and for strikes. With Haeger out of the rotation we won't be giving away the 5th game every time through the rotation. I guess that leaves Padilla deciding our season. If he can come back and win more than he loses we still have good shot at winning this division. Seems like every melt down the pen has had starts with misplayed balls or errant throws in the field followed immediately by walks. With Belasario and Kuo looking strong I think the pen is gonna return to form. But none of this happens if thay don't catch the ball. I think a good May followed by a better June could have us around the division lead. And if we can avoid the post all-star funk that seems to hit every year we could be in the driver's seat down the stretch again. With the overall balance of our division we are going to have to win it to make the playoffs, the wild card is coming out of the east. Yep, alot of divisional games in June.

It all comes down to pitching. If Bills, Kuroda and Kershaw can keep us in games, and the fourth and fifth spot do the job half the time, with the fifth spot skipped as much as possible, then we have a chance. at least until ned earns his paycheck by getting us a quality starting pitcher. maybe ned's been taking it easy since he got that big, fat extension last fall. i still can't believe ned calling out the major league leader in HRs, RBIs and Runs (at the tiome) for not playing well because of his contract. my GOD, ned, look at what you did this past winter?! and you're calling out kemp? un-be-lievable!

As you said, let's not get too excited about a three-game winning streak. If they win, say, four of the next six against the Brewers and Rockies, then perhaps we can better assess this club. But you can't really tell...after all, it's a long season.

wow, what a sad & serious case of collective self-deception/denial!!!
the dodgers are a horrible team, who happened to beat an even worse team (the "pie-rats").....dodgers have horrible record & so far, have "accomplished" this feat by largely playing teams Xpected to finish @/near bottom of standings (pie-rats, nats, reds, etc.)...
what's gonna happen when the level of competition gets FAR better (cards, phils, etc.)???
answer: dodgers will be outright humiliated!!!


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