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Hope and fears look familiar in early going for Dodgers

March 8, 2011 | 11:09 am

Sands_300 First the required disclaimer: Eleven spring training games means zip.

Particularly for a veteran club, which -- surprise! -- the Dodgers actually are.

That doesn’t mean eyebrows won’t be raised, and concerns grow when things don’t start off swimmingly during the spring. And very early in, Dodgers fans at least have to fight the uncomfortable feeling that this team could be exactly what they were afraid it would be: great starting pitching, sketchy offense.

For all those positive types, the encouraging aspect to the early going is the starting pitching looks as impressive as the Dodgers are counting on it to be during the regular season. Through the first 11 games, their starters have compiled a 1.20 ERA (four earned runs in 30 innings).

That offense, however, is having some serious trouble getting untracked.

Monday’s little offensive outbreak was sparked by players -- Jerry Sands and Xavier Paul -- not expected to make the final 25-man roster. A look at how the projected starting lineup is doing in 11 little games is not so encouraging:

Player               Avg.    HRS    RBI
Rafael Furcal    .154      0      0
Casey Blake      .111      0      0
Andre Ethier     .125      0      0
Matt Kemp        .333      0      3
James Loney    .500      0      0
Juan Uribe       .100      0      0
Jay Gibbons      .111     0      0
M. Thames        .286     0      1
Rod Barajas      .308     1      1

Yep, that’s troubling in a it-would-be-nice-to-get-started kinda way. Overall, the Dodgers are batting .233 as a team, second lowest in the majors this spring only to the Pirates (.226).

Again, ultimately, it means nothing. A small sample size from an exhibition season. Which doesn’t mean the concern level doesn’t rise with each day the starters struggle to get untracked.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Jerry Sands. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images