I'm a little surprised by the lack of attention the Dodgers see here on SoSH, especially given that they've seemed like the West Coast haven for Red Sox refugees for most of the past decade or so. In any case, I'll give this thread a bit of a nudge... and perhaps with the Dodgers coming to Fenway soon (and with the legendary Vin Scully broadcasting one of those games!
), we'll see a bit more action here.
The Dodgers enter the day (June 7, 2010) 33-24, putting them just a half-game behind the rather shocking division leader, the San Diego Padres. They are making a bit of a surge here after a horrific start to the season. Indeed, their past week or so has been a thrilling one for local fans--they've had four walk off (or, in one case, balk-off!) victories, a seven of their last eight games have been decided by only one run (six of which were in the Dodgers' favor).
The Dodgers biggest question mark entering the season was starting pitching, and with good cause: no one really wants to see Vincente Padilla trotting out to the mound in the first game of a new season (Sadly for those of you holding tickets to the Dodgers' first game in Fenway, Padilla is scheduled to return on the 18th). Lately, though, some young starting pitchers have putting racking up some good innings for the team. In particular, 24-year old rookie John Ely has been doing his best Mike Leake impression: even after a relatively rough outing this weekend, Ely is boasting a respectable 3.00 ERA in 51 innings pitched, and he's striking out nearly seven batters per nine innings, while walking fewer than two. He had a nice run of quality starts, and is starting to garner a bit of attention, both locally
(warning: ridiculous Harry Met Sally theme in that ESPN column. Not for the faint of heart).
Also providing some starting pitching help has been another 24-year old rookie, Venezuelan Carlos Monasterios. The converted reliever will never be a star, and doesn't seem to make it beyond 5 innings, but he's been pitching pretty well, all things considered. He's the scheduled starter tonight, and will bring an ERA of 1.87 and a WHIP of 1.04 into tonight's matchup against the Cardinals. This will also be my first Dodger game of the season, so I'm looking forward to seeing him in person for the first time--hopefully, he can follow up on his 5 innings of shut out ball from last week. If he does, look for the still skeptical Joe Torre
to tap him as the team's #5 starter.
Beyond Ely and Monasterios, the Dodgers' can run out Clayton Kershaw, who seems to be settling into a groove, and the somewhat mercurial Chad Billingsley, plus a whole lot of dreck. Their relief corps has been pretty decent, especially mainstay closer Jonathan Broxton, who continues to be a stud. George Sherrill, the team's nice deadline pick-up from last season, is due to come of the DL next week.
The Dodgers offense has been about as expected for the season, with Andre Ethier seemingly capturing some walk-off lightning in a bottle before spending some time on the DL. A pleasant recent surprise has been the play of utility infielder, Jamey Carroll over the past week. To my surprise, I hear much more about Ethier than I do about Manny these days here in LA (caveat: I certainly don't qualify as a die-hard Dodgers fan--rather, I'm just a die-hard baseball fan who happens to be living in LA--so my case may not be typical).
The NL West has been fairly unpredictable this year--I mean, really, the Padres
lead not just the division but the entire NL?!?--but as of today, I'd say things are looking good for the Dodgers to hoist another Division Championship this year. With no clear NL beast (a four team logjam just after those miraculous Padres), it's not outside of the realm of possibility for the Dodgers to play well into the Fall. And with this possibly being Vin Scully's final year calling games
, that's not a bad thing.