Before the start of the season I jokingly told several people that except for hitting, pitching and defense, the Dodgers looked pretty good this season.
Well to be honest, I was only partially joking—but I knew the Dodgers starting and relief pitching would be shaky at best, and I knew runs would be hard to come by on most days.
Yes, like any team, the 2011 Dodgers will have those days when they score ten runs. But unfortunately, they will probably have many more days when they only score one or two.
Matt Kemp is currently the Dodgers leading hitter with a torrid .444 batting average. He only has two home runs, but he does have eight RBI, which is respectable compared to the National League's leading RBI man, Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who has 15.
But we all know Kemp isn't going to keep hitting above .400.
The Rockies Troy Tulowitzki leads the National League with seven home runs. No one is really tearing up the league with home runs so far this season.
Jamey Carroll is batting .372 and Andre Ethier is currently at .360, which is good, but James Loney is batting a pitiful .184 and Juan Uribe is batting even worse at .146.
The Dodgers are currently 19th in the league in runs scored, 15th in team batting average and a poor 21st in slugging percentage.
Unless your starting and relief pitching is among the league leaders, you are not going to win many games with batting statistics like that.
The Dodgers entered the 2011 season with a lot of question marks in the starting rotation and in the bullpen. The problem so far this season is the Dodgers pitching staff isn't doing much better compared to the league leaders than the hitters are.
The Dodgers pitchers are currently 21st in ERA at 4.26—however Clayton Kershaw's ERA is at 1.37, which is very good. Kershaw has definitely been the bright spot on the Dodgers pitching staff so far this season.
However Hiroki Kuroda's ERA is at 3.48, Ted Lilly's is at 6.0 and Chad Billingsley's is at 7.71.
Hong-Chih Kuo and the rest of the Dodgers relief pitchers haven't fared much better.
Jonathan Broxton has five saves in six appearances, but his 3.38 ERA is not going to get it done on a long term basis. Many fans are having anxiety attacks whenever Broxton comes in a game lately.
With starting and relief pitching like that, you are not going to win many games unless your hitting is among the league leaders—and we already talked about that.
The Dodgers won the Western Division championship in 2008 and 2009 with strong pitching and good—but not great hitting. Both years the Dodgers went on to lose the NLCS to Philadelphia in a large part because they lacked the consistent hitting a championship caliber team needs.
The Dodgers were also lacking the consistent long-ball power hitter (or hitters) that are usually needed to be a real contender for a World Series championship.
The Dodgers still do not have the consistent power hitter they so desperately need. Yes, Ethier and Kemp so have some power, but what the Dodgers need is that Albert Pujols type of hitter. But then again, most teams would like to have a hitter like Pujols.
In 2008 and 2009 the Dodgers pitching held up decently in the playoffs. It was the lack of run production that doomed them against the Phillies.
Unless something is done to get the Dodgers the hitting and pitching they need, they will most likely finish third or fourth in the National League West this season. And even if they should win the division, they would falter in the playoffs just like they did in 2008 and 2009.
Of course we all know the main reason the Dodgers have not been able to go out and get the hitting and pitching they need to be a real contender in the National League.
Four words—Frank and Jamie McCourt.
Until the Dodger's owners get their messy divorce situation settled, the Dodgers and their fans will suffer again this season.