Have the Dodgers Regained the “Spark”?

Bringing in questionable players from losing teams, treating September as Spring Training 2.0 for the post season, and a lethargy prompted by just too big a lead over all those other inferior teams lead the Dodgers to a previously unthinkable losing streak where pitching was sub-par and the offense non-existent, but now just maybe the tide has turned back, and maybe the spark has returned. A four game winning streak, the last two against the National League’s second best team, can be extended by another game later today, and if the Dodgers can do that defeating a solid starter in Stephen Strasburg after wins against

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the likes of the slumping Johnny Cueto, followed by Matt Moore, Edwin Jackson and A.J. Cole, it will actually mean something.

But is the lineup scheduled for tonight’s game the right way to approach a game against Strasburg? What in the world has Curtis Granderson done in the last month to earn a spot in the Dodgers’ lineup, and similar questions have to be asked about yasmani grandal who CLEARLY is the inferior catcher, both defensively and offensively, to Austin Barnes, who seems to have earned the first starting spot over the past couple of months.

Granderson, hitting .115 over his 24 games in a Dodgers’ uniform overall, is actually hitting below that, at .108, in September. Contrast that with Andre Ethier, finally healthy enough to play after a season of injuries, and who is hitting .316 over his 11 September appearances, and even with top prospect Alex Verdugo, who at .188 is still hitting light years better than Granderson. If the thinking is that grandson can be a better addition to the post season roster than Ethier, or even Verdugo, then that is ridiculous. One also needs to mention Joc Pederson, who has, truthfully, been awful since his return from Triple-A, and while maybe getting him playing time could help straighten him out and get him back into some measure of major league form, the odds are that will not happen and he has all but forfeited a post season roster spot.

As to Dodgers’ catchers, grandal’s defense has sunk to the bottom the barrel, with passed balls, misplays, mental errors and more. Barnes is by far the significantly better defensive catcher an don that alone should be starting six of every seven games. Offensive, the difference between the two is even more striking, with granola now hitting a robust .247 against right hand pitchers. For the record, his average against lefties is far worse, at .228. But Barnes is batting .360

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against right-handed pitchers! Yes, .360!

So, despite these two major handicaps, can the Dodgers continue their winning streak against one of baseball’s best starters and best teams, and show that yes, the spark, that certain intangible, has returned, or despite a few wins, are they the vulnerable team of just a few days ago that seemed to be limping towards the post season?

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