One of my earlier articles that I wrote during the year outlined the fact that the Dodgers needed to improve their bench. They had hitters Luis Maza, Delwyn Young, Mark Sweeney, and Gary Bennett on the bench.
Now is the time for the NLDS. The Dodgers are facing the Chicago Cubs in the best of three series.
The Dodgers bench is a lot more scary than in the beginning of the season. Veteran Nomar Garciaparra, who has been injured througout this season, is ready to thrive again in the playoffs. The Dodgers, in 2006, rode Garciaparra's bat all the way to the playoffs, where Nomar injured himself. He finds himself in the super utility role, where he is adept enough to play multiple positions (third base, shortstop and first base). He is a great hitter and a fan favorite. Maybe Nomar can bring the same type of magic he brought to Los Angeles in 2006. He may not be the comeback player this year but he can still deliver the performance of a lifetime.
The next player in the Dodgers arsenal is that wiry veteran, Jeff Kent. Kent earlier this season took a jab at Vin Scully, where in Los Angeles, that is like insulting a baseball god. Kent is in his last year of playing and he cannot wait any longer for that World Series ring. He just recently recovered from knee surgery but he also showed that he can still drill the ball. He may be a defensive liability but he will be valuable as the pinch hitter whose role is to drive in runs. Don't be alarmed when you see Kent blast a scorcher into the left field pavilion.
Who said speed doesn't thrill in the game of baseball? The forgotten outfielder, Juan Pierre, may stick it to his former team. He is extremely valuable with his knack to get on base somehow to disrupt the opposing pitcher. He is a speedster and even though he will not hit the long ball, he will be valuable when the Dodgers need to score a run. He may show showcase his talents for other teams that may be looking to add speed to their roster.
Remember the role Dave Roberts played in Boston? How sweet would it be if Juan Pierre stole second with the game on the line, then come around to score?
Pablo Ozuna, another versatile utility player, does have some pop in his bat. The few times he has come up to bat, he has scorched the ball. He can play multiple positions and the Dodgers will need his glove if they are to succeed in taking down the cubs.
Angel Berrora, the light hitting shortstop who has filled in nicely for Furcal is back on the bench. He is great for bunting and defense. He may even hit the ball when the timely hit is needed.
Danny Ardoin is pretty much on the roster in case anything should happen to Russell Martin. Hopefully he can call another almost no hitter with Kuroda.
See what happens in October? No more Mark Sweeney. He was supposed to be the left handed hitting specialist on the team but he was hovering around .100. Young was out of options and was supposed to be a great hitter but after a horrid spring training and reduced playing time, he could not find his way on to the post season roster. Luiz Maza was designated for assignment and has not been heard from since. Bennet? I still can't believe we paid this guy to figure out how to throw the ball out to the pitcher.
The Dodgers will be relying on their bench to take the fight to the Cubs.
Go Blue. As the MLB motto goes:
"I Live for This"