Dodgers’ Turmoil and Giants Fast Start

For the past few months, I’ve been saying that the Dodgers, the best team money can buy, are the best of the National LEague West, and the only other decent team that could even finish at .500 is the improved Giants. The first week of the season is following this evaluation pretty closely.

The Dodgers got off to that great Australia start but then the effects of a rushed spring training and then two 14-hour flights kicked in, and Clayton Kershaw & Brian Wilson are each on the disabled list for the foreseeable future. Start Paul Maholm instead of Kershaw and throw away a sure win by using an injured Wilson, and the Dodgers are 4-3 instead of

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6-1 as they would otherwise be. Going forward, there will be more losses as the starting rotation is sorted out, with no Kershaw, and still no Josh Beckett or Chad Billingsley. The deep bullpen should be ok, though, with plenty of depth to make up for the one missing part.

People who have said that the Dodgers need to trade an outfielder just do not know about what they are talking. The four regulars they employ will all be missing games during the season, and the same day Matt Kemp returned Yasiel Puig began missing time, first with his punishment

for Friday’s tardiness, and now with an injured thumb. I guarantee that he will miss more time with assorted injuries during the season, and also remember who is the “regular” in left field. So much has been made of the time Kemp has missed over the past two seasons, but Carl Crawford has played in only 147 games over the 2012-2013 seasons, LESS than Kemp. The reality is that of all the outfield depth, they will be lucky to have three healthy front-line outfielders healthy and available for any one game.

As to the Giants, they, are even better than I’d thought they’d be, and despite a generally disappointing start pitching wise, early contributions from Brandon Belt, Angel Pagan, and newcomer Michael Morse, among others, have propelled SF to number two in the majors in runs scored, and a 5-1 start. While the starting pitching so far has been less than stellar, at least at the back

of the rotation, they do benefit from no longer having the burden of providing a spot for the mega contract of barry zito, the former trojan brain surgeon who retained a Giant’s roster and rotation spot solely due to his paycheck. Notice that no other team signed him for this season once his contract expired. Replacing him with Tim Hudson was a significant upgrade for the Giants.

Also, the Giants bullpen has been excellent, with closer Sergio Romo two for two in save opportunities and the trio of Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, and Jean Machi yet to be

scored upon over ten total appearances.

By winning the first two in the current series against the Dodgers, the Giants have now won five straight at Dodgers’ Stadium, and if they win a sixth tonight, it will be the first time in 31 years that they have beaten the Dodgers six straight in LA.

As to the rest of the West Division, the Padres are doing what was expected, starting off 1-4, despite ESPN’s Buster Olney calling them his surprise team of 2014. As to the disaster in Arizona, I said they would be pretty bad, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving organization and the architect of their decline, Kevin Towers. Their 1-7 start is the worst in the franchise’s history. The Rockies are actually at .500, but that is doubtful to last too long.

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