The Los Angeles Dodgers roll into PNC Park with the look of a team that is ready to make a move in the National League. L.A. has a fresh look since sweeping the Pirates back in April.
We reached out to the Dodgers blog Lasorda’s Lair and fired a few questions at them. Here is what the guy that bleeds Dodger Blue, Scott Andes, the Co-Editor for Lasorda’s Lair had to say about everything that is happening in L.A.
How excited are you with what the Dodgers did at the trade deadline?
We are very excited, about the moves that were made at the deadline. But at the same time we are also worried, and concerned, because we feel that the moves made may not be enough to beat out the Giants, and get our beloved Boys in Blue into the Playoffs. The evil scumbag Frank McCourt left the team bankrupt, damaged, and with many holes on the roster to fill.
New shrewd executive Stan Kasten made several brazen moves to try and plug as many holes as he could, to shore up the team for the playoff run. The biggest hole to fill was at third base, where there has been a veritable black hole of abyss for the last few years. Imagine a tumbleweed blowing in the wind, as a metaphor for how bad our hot corner situation has been. (actually I still think a tumbleweed could out-hit Juan Uribe, but I digress) Juan Uribe has been a massive failure in every way.
The pick-up of Hanley Ramirez, was a move the Dodgers had to make.
The Dodgers were also in need of a lead-off hitter. Since Dee Gordon while being amazing on the basepaths, was not getting on base. The trade for Shane Victorino gave them a lead-off hitter and a left fielder in fell swoop. Lefty reliever Randy Choate was a throw in, and Brandon League was acquired to replace Josh Lindblom, who was traded to Philly in the Victorino trade.
The Dodgers also picked up Joe Blanton to take the place of Nathan Eovaldi, who was traded to Miami for Hanley. Randy Choate was a lefty reliever and was a throw in going to the Dodgers in the Hanley trade.
The Dodgers are a good team, but they have some flaws. The lack of power is what could hold them back.We are hoping that the lineup starts to gel soon. overall though, we are very happy. We have come along way, from Bankruptcy, to a pennant race. It seems almost surreal. Hopefully it ends with a sixth Blue championship in LA, and seventh overall.
Is there any concern over some of the numbers behind the numbers for Shane Victorino, such as his reductions in line drives? I was curious how you feel about his pickup specifically.
As Dodger fans, we were very conflicted with this move. As you may know, Victorino is more commonly referred to by us as “Rat Face”, and or “Rat Boy.” That evil little man has been an enemy of Blue since he was a main cog of the 2008-2009 Philadelphia soul crushers who ripped out our hearts and served it to us like that guy from the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom film, during back-to-back NLCS appearances.
Despite our longtime hatred for Victorino, we can’t help but admit that he is a good player. But I have noticed that his numbers have declined significantly. His power numbers have dropped, so we are seeing an overall drop in his slugging and OPS. Maybe that can be explained by his drop in line drives?
However, he can still get on base at a near league average clip, he can still steal bases, and he is still a very good contact hitter. I think he was injured earlier in the year; that, combined with being on a bad team, and getting older (he’s now age 31), could explain his overall decline.
I still like the move, though. The first few games he didn’t do much, but lately he is starting to pick it up a bit. He is starting to get on base more, and is using his speed. For the Dodgers this is a big upgrade at the top of the lineup for a team that lacks overall speed, other than Kemp and Gordon. If Victorino performs well for the last two months, I think it is likely the Dodgers will bring him back for next season.
The club hasn’t been scoring a lot of runs recently, any concerns in that regard?
It is very concerning, and to be honest with you, we’re a bit scared. The club has the second best pitching staff in all of baseball. They rank in the top 5 in staff ERA, whiffs, BAA, and WHIP.
What is holding the club back is the offense, specifically the lack of power. Ramirez and Victorino help a lot, but it still may not be enough. Power and hitting with runners in scoring position continue to be an issue for the Dodgers, who are ranked 22nd in batting, and dead last in home runs, slugging, and ISO.
The thing is, regardless of the trades, the Dodgers lineup revolves around Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Those two are the catalysts for the offense. Without those two we are screwed. If those two can continue to bludgeon NL pitching like they normally do. Generally when those two hit, it’s just enough to win games combined with the solid pitching staff. Other days it’s not. Once again, the Dodgers’ fate relies on the bats of Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier.
Holy hell, I just checked out the road trip, L.A. has four games against the Bucs, and then three against Atlanta. Wow. That’s a really tough week with the Giants playing the Nats and Padres. Good luck. But anyway, back to our question: is Mark Ellis human?
Yes it’s a tough road trip – we’re not looking forward to playing either team, but then again, the Dodgers seem to play better against winning teams, anyways.
No, Mark Ellis is not human. He is from the planet called “you’re out!” His amazing defensive abilities come from that planet which has allowed him to incredibly heal from nearly getting his leg amputated. Our new head female trainer Sue Falsone saw his leg swelling and immediately ordered him to the hospital. Thank god for Sue, because she saved his leg from amputation. During the series you will notice that if you hit the ball anywhere into Mark Ellis’s vicinity, you are in fact OUT.
Predictions for this series?
It is going to be tough, but I’ll say a series split seems doable.
Bonus: The number of homers Matt Kemp will hit at PNC Park will be…..? Is eleventy billion a number? It’s not, huh? Okay, I’ll just say his uniform number of 27 will be sufficient. Go Blue!