What's Wrong with the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Most Dodger fans did not expect this, with the team coming off two straight NLCS appearances with a good core of young players.
However, when the season started, I was afraid that this swooning futility might happen, sorry to say.
Here, in my humble opinion, is why the Dodgers are where they are at this point:
Manny Ramirez and Jeff Weaver are currently on rehab assignments in the minors, they are scheduled to rejoin the team this weekend.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal is on the disable list with a bad hamstring, and opening day starter Vicente Padilla is out with an arm injury for roughly two months.
Particularly with Ramirez and Furcal, those are key players that the Dodgers have been missing.
It is safe to say that these injuries have hurt L.A. badly, if not outright decimated them. Unlike Juan Pierre last year, outfielder Reed Johnson and infielder Jamey Carroll haven't stepped up in Manny's and Rafael's absence; they went 0-for-8 last night in the Dodgers' 11-3 loss to the Brewers.
In my view, this is the biggest reason why Los Angeles has only won 11 out of their first 27 games.
The starting pitching was a concern for me going into 2010. I felt that Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw had to step up big time, and have dominating seasons in order for the Dodgers to win their third straight division title.
Even though Billingsley has been pretty good of late, he gave up four runs in the first inning last night; he and Kershaw have not pitched as well as expected.
Kershaw gave up seven runs in two innings in his last start, and he continues to throw too many pitches and walk too many batters.
As for the bullpen, except for Jonathan Broxton, who has been lights out, it has flat-out sucked.
Charlie Brown would fit right in with L.A's middle relievers and their ineptness, and may be the best one if he was a Dodger.
Guys like Ronald Bellasario, Ramon Troncoso, and especially George Sherill have thrown gasoline on the fires whenever they've taken the mound. It has gotten to the point where high school players could probably hit off them, their pitching has stunk so bad.
If the Dodgers are going to climb out of the cellar and be the contending club that they are more than capable of being, the pitching absolutely must perform better.
Otherwise it could be a long, frustrating year in Chavez Ravine.
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