April 19, 2008. By now you would think that the Dodgers would have either a decent lead on everyone else in their division, or at least be within striking distance at a game or so out.
As of today, they are 7-10 and five and a half games behind Arizona for first place. I know it's early to hit the panic button, but none of that has happened and Dodger fans everywhere are wondering what happened to their team that looked so good on paper.
So what are the woes for the Dodgers that could be causing such turmoil in the early goings in the city of angels this year?
The biggest reason I think for the Dodgers’ slow start this season is Andruw Jones and Russell Martin. They are a combined 33-for-111, have just 2 HR and 8 RBI.
Jones was brought in to spark an offense that over the past few seasons, has seen better days. The Dodgers haven't seen a 30-plus home run hitter since Adrian Beltre departed for Seattle, and if things stay the course, the won't see one in 2008 either.
Martin, while off to a slow start, is doing better than Jones thus far. Last season, everyone’s question was will he have a sophomore slump this year? Who knew that he would have an even better season than his rookie year? Nobody questioned a junior slump, and so far that's what we've gotten.
With that said however, the Dodgers have too good of a team to stay in or around the basement all year. I think once they have Nomar Garciaparra, Andy Laroche, and Jason Schmidt back full time, that could turn things around a bit. Also, I think before July they need to add a reliever or two to their bullpen. The starters have been lights out, but the bullpen has been a bit erratic.
So, I'm predicting the Dodgers will turn things around by May.
I think by the beginning or middle of May, Jones and Martin will start hitting again. Then with everyone in the lineup hitting, they'll be tough to beat. I thought the Pirates’ series was a turnaround one for the Dodgers, but it looks like we'll all be feeling blue a little while longer.