The Excellent, the Good & the Bad from the First Month of the Season

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The Dodgers are reaching the end of their first full month of baseball. If the adage that the Dodgers always start April slow is true, then the rest of the season should be an incredible show.

The Boys in Blue currently posses the best record in the NL at 19-11. They are in first place in the NL West by two games over the San Diego Padres, in the midst of a four game winning streak and have won 11 of their last 14 games.

Since the first month was such a big success, we’re going to do the excellent, the good and the bad, instead of the good, the bad and the ugly of the month that was.

The Excellent—This category had to be made to recognize the history in the making we are watching, courtesy of Cody Bellinger. After being chosen Rookie of the Year in 2017, he had a little bit of a sophomore slump of a year in 2018. But Belli has come out of the gates swinging, literally, in 2019. He leads all of MLB in batting average, RBI, runs, OPS, OBP, slugging, and hits, and is tied for first in home runs.

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As the batting average portends, Cody isn’t just doing it with power, he’s also not trying to do too much and is making timely hits. He has set a record for the most total bases in the month of April with 93, breaking former teammate Chase Utley‘s record. His 14 homers are tied for most home runs before May 1st. As the month still has two games, he has ample opportunity to add to both of those. There really isn’t too much hyperbole about what Cody is doing right now. An inevitable slump will come, but this is so dang fun to watch.

The Good—The starting pitching, overall has been really good. There was a rough patch in which no pitcher could seem to make it through five innings, and where three of them were on the injured list. But they’ve since gotten it together. Clayton Kershaw, despite the decline in velocity, has looked sharp in his return from the IL. He has 21 strikeouts and a 0.75 WHIP in his three starts. Rich Hill was shaky in first two innings after his return from the IL on Sunday, but then settled in and retired the next 12 Pirates. Ross Stripling and Julio Urías were doing well, but will be relegated to the bullpen now that Hill and Kershaw are back. The staff leads the league with starter wins. Other teams should be so lucky.

Alex Verdugo is making the most of his time now that he’s reached the majors full time. He’s currently slashing .333/.353/.636/.989 with four homers. Defensively, he’s gunned down runners from outfield. The Kid is going to be okay.

Dylan Floro has been incredible out of the bullpen. He has yet to give up a run, and has a 0.73 WHIP. Overall, Scott Alexander and Pedro Baez have been clutch. On Saturday, Báez came into the game and somehow managed to get out of a bases loaded, no-out jam unscathed. He is really quite good when he is on.

And, overall, the offense has been good. The Dodgers are third in the majors in homers, second in RBI, tied for third in OBP, fifth in slugging and fourth in OPS. Perhaps the best stat is they have taken more walks than any other team in the majors. The Dodgers are patient at the plate, and it shows.

The Bad—No team is perfect, and the Dodgers definitely have some weaknesses. The bullpen is currently the biggest one. Joe Kelly has been the biggest disappointment, although he has been a bit better recently. Kenley Jansen is still giving up too many home runs and hits overall. And they could use a bit more consistency.

A.J. Pollock hasn’t quite lived up to his offensive reputation. He’s currently only batting .223 with two homers. We know that a better hitter is lurking in there somewhere, hopefully he’ll show up soon.

Chris Taylor continues to struggle, as mentioned previously. In 65 AB, the utility man is slashing .169/.267/.246.

But the fact remains, even the bad is not all that bad. It can’t be when you’re the best team in the majors. Sure things need some tweaking here and there, but overall, the Dodgers are really good. Even after the last two seasons, Rich Hill yesterday remarked that “this is the best team he’s ever been on.” Orel Hershiser has remarked that this team has a 2017 feel about it. Let’s just hope they have what it takes to finally win the World Series.

 

31 thoughts on “The Excellent, the Good & the Bad from the First Month of the Season

    1. If Toles gets a shot it won’t be with the Dodgers. They really do not need him anymore. No room on the MLB roster…Trade bait at best/

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  1. An element of bad last night.

    How can you get an L and an H in the same inning? There are some stats that make no sense to me.

    BS. We are in first place in our Division with the second best record in the NL and we are tied for 4th in MLB in blown saves. It is a weakness.

    Another weakness. Health. Each year I await “who’s next?” to go on the DL. This is not of course exclusive to the Dodgers. Looks like Pollock will be next.

    Toles? A fine ethereal apparition seen on grass or floating in the air at certain times of the year. A baseball phantasmagorical figure. Will a Toles be spotted on a Major League Baseball field this year? Possibly. Also doubtful. At least he’s back at work. I wish him well.

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  2. Confirmed last night by Gurnick. Pollock headed to 10 day DL with a infection in his elbow…who will be recalled remains to be seen.

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    1. Well that could explain his less than performance.

      A right handed hitting center fielder? Do we have one in the minors? Or do we shuffle the cards that are already here? This is why half the guys on our team play multiple positions. We expect IL activity. We plan for it. If you see it you will be it….. or something like that.

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      1. None of the outfielders at AAA are hitting a lick. Orlando, Perkins and Cabrera all hitting down by the Mendoza line. Garlick is the only outfielder hitting over .250. He has 4 dingers and 7 ribbies. Rios hitting .221, Beatty .271. Nobody except Castro hitting over .300. AA not much better…..

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  3. Seager and Turner will eventually hit like stars. Right? Because if they don’t there is no WS future for this team! So much for spring training being any kind of indicator for the regular season. Look no further than Turner and JOC!

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  4. Turner has hit 91 big league homers. 2 have come before May. JT will hit. It is in his DNA. Seager’s track record says he will hit too. I would not put too much into his early performance since he is still knocking the rust off. Remember, Corey had a limited spring.

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    1. Spring Training is for veterans to get in shape and minor leaguers to impress. Frankly I think it’s 2 weeks too long, but people love it and would start it February 1st if they could. We have plenty of outfielders ready to step in. Bellinger and Verdugo can both play center…. not at the same time of course. Might mean we see more of Taylor…. not sure I like that idea, but mayhaps he needs more at bats to figure it out. Roster move might could perhaps maybe possibly be a different position. Nobody’s hitting down there, Is anybody pitching?

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      1. Nope…and they sure are not going to go with a 3 man bench. Castro hitting the best, but not on the 40 man. Beatty and Rios are the only position players on the 40 man who are not on the roster. I could see Beatty coming up. He actually has played the outfield a few times, but is a lefty hitter. Only other position players on the 40 man are catchers Ruiz and Gale

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  5. This is what the OKC outfielders are doing as of today. Joe 6 games, no HR’s 3 RBI. I extra base hit. Garlick 22 Games. ,254 avg, 4 homers, 7 ribbies. Perkins 19 games .207 avg no homers 6 rbi’s. Orlando 18 Games .196 avg, 1HR 5 RBI’s Carrera .167 Avg 0 homers 2 ribbies….no help down there at all. Castro is the best hitter there so far.

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  6. I think there are two options for dealing with Pollock’s absence. First, add an extra pitcher, but as someone pointed out, that leaves a very short bench so that scenario is unlikely. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Castro brought up and using CT3 and Kike in the outfield when Roberts feels he absolutely needs right handed hitting outfielders. Of course, if this 10 day trip to the IL is just the beginning and they already know it will last a lot longer, there is also the option of a trade.

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    1. They definitely will not bring up a pitcher, and trade this early in the year? Only some teams meatball cast off would be available. No, they will probably promote either Rios or Beatty.

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  7. There aren’t any good options so I say bring Peter’s up and maybe we catch a miracle. He’s been bad so far but very streaky. Why not?

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  8. We could go with short bench for a few days if necessary. Gee, our starters going 9 innings? Perish that evil thought. This ain’t your grandpa’s baseball team. I do agree they won’t likely do it.

    Is there an all field no hit centerfielder in our system? Probably not. I’m thinking the pitchers wouldn’t mind a defensive wizard out there for two weeks. Or will Pollock be out longer than that?

    I want more better pitching. Blown Saves is BS! (see what I did there?)

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    1. I’m thinking it’s going to be a lot longer than a couple of weeks and as long as Verdugo and Joc are producing I see no logical reason to bring up another left handed hitter (Rios/Beaty), especially since neither of them is knocking the cover off the ball at this point. That’s why I suggested Castro with Kike moving to the outfield for southpaw starters or a trade for a right handed hitting outfielder, although I think we can assume it wouldn’t be an All Star outfielder. Anybody want to sign Austin Jackson, Matt Holliday or Jose Bautista? 🙂 All right handed and unsigned (and no, I’m not recommending we do that).

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      1. Castro is not on the 40 man either, and I see no candidates on there to be DFA’d their options are limited….

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    1. Why would they carry 3 catchers? Gale is not hitting a lick, and believe it or not, Smith is not on the 40 man, Ruiz is and Smith has not been doing that well lately at OKC.

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      1. I don’t mean to speak for Rich, but I think he was indicating that Gale could be the one to drop from the 40-man if that were to become necessary and then we could bring up Smith if we needed a temp replacement for Barnes or Martin. We also have Josh Tholes at Tulsa and his batting stats, lifetime, are much better than Gale’s, although I don’t know how he rates defensively.

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    1. I just checked and you get the door prize…there are only 38 listed on the 40 man. So a signing is not out of the question. Toles was removed and placed on the restricted list and has not been added back. Josh Fields opted out of his deal today. It is almost 2 PM. Some sort of announcement should be coming soon

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      1. Yippee, I get the door prize. Problem is a don’t need another door. I need a right hand hitting outfielder!

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