As “The Best Team Money Can Buy”, in other words, the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers, was preparing to play the Baltimore Orioles, the empty uniform of a manager, don mattingly, submitted a lineup that included five, count them, five, batters hitting UNDER .200.
One of the five is slumping star Matt Kemp, but the others sort of defy logic. They include new back-up catcher Ramon Hernandez, who was acquired in last week’s horrible trade of Aaron Harang. As the Dodgers struggle now to find capable starting pitching, the solid, dependable Harang now toils for Seattle. The Dodgers, on the other hand, have the soon to be 37-year-old Hernandez, who so far since the trade has appeared in three games and has one hit.
Majestic Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers Cooperstown Baseball Jersey #42
|The generally capable Skip Schumaker occupies the seventh spot in the batting order, and is scheduled to play left field, with Carl Crawford in as the DH due to baseball’s now daily diet of interleague play. Schumaker has gotten off to a slow start at .118, and hopefully he will soon start contributing.
And then we have the left side of the infield. The WBC injury to Hanley Ramirez has knocked the team for a loop, with Justin Sellers now the regular shortstop, and hitting .179. One would have thought that in Ramirez’ stead, the team would have turned to Dee Gordon, who played so well in 2011, and though
he saw his average tumble last year, still would bring tremendous speed and excitement, and potentially a real leadoff batter, to the team. For the record, he is hitting .319 with eight stolen bases in 11 games in AAA Albuquerque so far this year.
Finally, the fifth sub-.200 hitter is third baseman Luis Cruz, who checks in at an even .100, with all of four singles in 40 at bats. The former Pirate and Brewer hit a solid .297 last year for the Dodgers, despite coming in to last season with a .221 lifetime average over three previous seasons. Was last year an aberration? Should the Dodgers have expected Cruz to play and hit like he did last year, or should they have been concerned that he would fall back to the .221 hitter of prior seasons?
The Dodgers go into Baltimore with a four game losing streak, after suffering the ignominy of being swept, at home, in a three game series, by the lowly Padres, a team expected to likely be in a season-long dogfight to stay out of the West Division cellar. Will that dogfight be with the Dodgers, “The Best Team Money Can Buy”?