CRUCIAL SERIES FOR DODGERS; THEY MUST WIN

Not really.

The Dodgers are visiting the Nats (April 23-25) and the Mets (April 26-28) before coming home to play a four-game series with the Pirates (April 29-May 2).  That May 2 game against the Pirates will conclude a 6,000-mile road trip and a streak of 13 games played in 13 days.  Yeesh.

Better to face Washington and Pittsburgh now before they both start bringing up their future stars (Strasburg and Alvarez should be up before the season is over), so that’s fine.  Just maybe if they didn’t have such a long trip … would’ve been nice.

Just a bit of perspective on the start of the season:

-Matt Kemp is on a TEAR.  A .735 slugging and a .405 on-base have him ripping through opponents.  He’s gotten two “just enough” home runs, but hit-tracker says he’s averaging 399 feet on homers, so they’re all legit. Last year, he led the league with four “lucky” home runs.  Maybe a sign of improved strength and contact?

-In fact, the whole offense is doing amazingly well right now. By OPS+:

Russell Martin: 141
James Loney: 90
Blake Dewitt: 88
Rafael Furcal: 134
Casey Blake: 118
Manny Ramirez: 209
Matt Kemp: 198
Andre Ethier: 208

Good lord that’s a powerful outfield.  Obviously they’re not gonna keep this up, but what a great start.

-Dylan Hernandez announced on twitter Manny is going on the 15-day DL and Xavier Paul is up in his place.  I imagine this means more time for Reed Johnson with Garrett Anderson filling in once every couple of days and Paul coming in as a defensive replacement. I kinda like Johnson and want to see him get a good shot in Manny’s absence.

-At the start of the year, pitching was supposed to be a problem, but not this bad.  Everyone’s favorite boating enthusiast Chad Billingsley and 1880s carpet bagger George Sherrill are off to bad starts while Ramon Ortiz, Russ Ortiz, Charlie Haeger and Vicente Padilla have all been worse than expected–and the expectations were pretty low to begin with.  The offense is good enough to get around that for the foreseeable future, but the doom-and-gloom predictors are smiling right now.

-James Loney is currently posting a slugging worse than he posted last year.  ……..

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