The Dodgers have already had a season to remember for all different kinds of reasons. The off-field drama with owners Frank & Jamie McCourt to the firing, I mean retirement, of manager Joe Torre and the promotion of Don Mattingly to Matt Kemp's hot start to Andre Ethier's 30-game hitting streak to the rash of injuries that would cripple most organizations and the horrendous beating of Giants fan Brian Stow on Opening Day.
But after Tuesday night, the Dodgers and the Dodgers fans have hope not just in the future but for the present.
On Sunday, the Dodgers called up their top positional prospect in shortstop Dee Gordon to replace incumbent Rafael Furcal who was placed on the DL (again) with an oblique injury. Gordon, the son of former pitcher and World Series champion Tom "Flash" Gordon, is a top of the order hitter with speed to burn.
On a scale of one to eight an MLB scout I talked to had Gordon rated at an "eight-plus". His defense is a work in progress, but he has a strong arm and range, although his struggles are with the routine plays.
Gordon got into Monday's game as a pinch runner and scored a run on an RBI double, but Tuesday night in his first start at shortstop, he "flashed" what the Dodgers can look forward to for many years.
Gordon led off the game with an opposite field single off Roy Oswalt for his first major league hit. In his second at-bat, he laced a single to right field and in his third at-bat he chopped a ball over Oswalt's head and beat a rushed Phillies second baseman Chase Utley's throw for an infield single using his speed.
He promptly stole second base two pitches later for his first major league steal. Gordon, who also played a flawless short, finished 3-for-5 with a steal and a run scored in his first major league start.
"It was nice for him to get out of the gate with a couple hits," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's going to be exciting. He's a guy that's fun to watch."
Gordon is just one of the Dodgers top farm hands that has made an impact in 2011. Jerry Sands is another rookie player just about everyday for the Dodgers in left field. While he didn't get off to the fast start Gordon did, he has shown enough to allow GM Ned Colletti to release Jay Gibbons and say that he thinks Sands may be the guy in left field for the foreseeable future.
If he isn't, the Dodgers have another outfield prospect just about ready to make an impact in L.A. native Trayvon Robinson. I think Robinson, a switch-hitting outfielder, is a better player than Sands with more of an upside, but Sands provides depth at first base as well as third base.
It wouldn't surprise me to see the Dodgers try to move James Loney before the trade deadline and move Sands to first clearing the way for Robinson to be their everyday left fielder.
But back to Tuesday's game because Rubby De La Rosa made his first start for the Blue Crew after making his debut as a reliever, and it was "Rubby Tuesday." He was shaking for the first two innings but settled down to get the win going five innings striking out four and walking five surrounding one earned run on four hits throwing 95 pitches.
"I was trying to throw every pitch on the black and the ball started cutting on me. I kind of started focusing on throwing to the catcher's mask." De La Rosa said.
Have you checked out this site? It is a fan site that has an interesting perspective on why Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would be the ideal next owner for the Dodgers. Cuban actually contacted the site's founder and didn't deny an interest in buying the Dodgers but was focused on the Mavs NBA title run.
For the record, I have been calling for either Cuban or former Dodgers owners the O'Malley family to buy the Dodgers because I feel they would restore the Dodgers to glory. The first order of business for whomever owns the Dodgers should be to lock Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Ethier up long term, and I don't think that the McCourts will (or can) do that.
As frustrating as the Dodgers season has been off the field, they have given the fans hope on it. Kemp is putting up triple crown numbers, Clayton Kershaw has been the ace that they envisioned when they drafted him and Ethier has been his normal self.
If you throw in Chad Billingsley and the group of youngsters ready to make an impact, the Dodgers should have blue skies in the future, a future that will most likely be without the McCourts as the owners.
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