So what about the Dodgers, since it’s not all about my having my portrait painted by a famous artist me and Joyce met when we were staying with Justen Hunnycut a couple weekends ago in Santa Barbara?
They certainly are tempting me to count me some chickens before they hatch: it’s June 4th and they’re 10½ games ahead in their division. Anything can happen – there’s like 90 games left for Colorado to catch up 11 games, which is very mathematically possible – but, for the time being, the Dodgers are pretty dang awesome. They may be playing better than they did even in 2017, and they’re certainly playing better than they did last year.
First thing they figured out: not stranding runners in scoring position. They’re hitting plenty of balls out of the park, but they’re also manufacturing runs. That’s the thing they couldn’t do last year, and one of the biggest things that cost them the World Series. I’m not sure what did it (could it be the new batting coach?), but it’s like the whole team suddenly got a clue. It’s a big relief not having to expect that a player on 2nd with 1 out is gonna see the dugout before he sees home plate.
Meanwhile the pitching has been totally awesome. It’s not even close to just being Kershaw and 4 other dudes. It’s 5 dudes who can pitch lights-out when they’re on…and they’re on plenty. I’m not sure who I like better, Ryu or Buehler, although I reckon Buehler is a little more fun. Ryu is more like a big tank that runs over anything that’s in his path. Maeda and Hill aren’t quite that spectacular…and then, oh yeah, there’s Clayton Kershaw.
That’s about as good a set of starters as you’re gonna find anywhere.
And the bullpen can keep up their part of the bargain. Well…most of the time. I like it how Baez has gone from being the dude everybody hated to one of the team’s best relievers. I’m not Joe Kelley’s greatest fan, although I reckon he’s gonna get himself together pretty soon, but I do like Scott Alexander. Maybe that’s me thinking like a shortstop: a pitcher who induces that many ground balls is going to keep his shortstop busy. Garcia and Stripling are usually pretty dang good…and then, oh yeah, there’s Kenley Jansen, who’s back on form and has stopped handing out long balls the way he was doing last year.
Every bullpen is going to have some holes in it some nights, but I think we can have confidence in the guys we have. One thing we’re good at is guys getting out of messes one of the other relievers got us into. There are times when a good bullpen can win a game for you. Most of the time, though, the bullpen’s job is to not lose the game for the team…and we’ve got a bullpen that can do that.
Position players? You gotta start off with Bellinger who’s been a fuckin sick tear all season long. He’s got to be the best player in baseball at this point in the season (no disrespect to Mike Trout…and Bellinger is a lot more spectacular than Trout anyway.) There’s just nothing the dude can’t do. He’s a fuckin monster with the bat, he runs as good as any ball player I’ve ever seen, his fielding is as good as his batting, and he’s got a fuckin laser cannon when it comes to throwing. (There was a throw last week that could well have left his hand at 100 mph.) There’s still a lot of season left, and there’s a lot that can happen, but I reckon he’d be a unanimous choice for league MVP if the voting were today.
I’ve only been following the Dodgers since 2017…but, in that time, I’ve never seen a dude on the team play the way Bellinger’s been playing this season. Like I said: he’s on a fuckin sick tear. I don’t want to jinx it, so I’m not going to say I reckon he can keep it up, but that’s something I would say if I weren’t afraid of pissing the baseball gods off.
Ok, so what about my two regular boys, Corey and Kiké? They’ve both been going through a bad period, but that’s temporary. They’re both too good to stay in a slump for too much longer. Kiké’s gonna come out of it, y’all will see, and we’ll see some of his insane fielding before long too. (I’m glad for him that he’s found a steady home at 2nd, but I gotta admit I really enjoyed watching his crazy versatility.)
And Seager? I reckon it’s normal for him to need some time to adjust to what’s pretty much a new body. There’s rehab and there’s playing with a new ligament in your elbow, and the guys I know who had the surgery said it took some getting used to. He also has to adjust to his new leaner physique. He’s far from having sucked all season long, but he was going through a pretty bad period for a while. I was real relieved when he nailed that grand slam on Mother’s Day, although things didn’t turn around right away. But they have in the past week: think of last nights’ game where he hit a home run and a 2-run double, making 3 RBIs and all the scoring we needed to win. That’s the Corey Seager we know. Get used to seeing a lot more of him. (That doesn’t sound like it would jinx him, right??)
Maybe he’s wised up and gotten off that silly no-dairy kick he was on? If you ask me, what the dude needs is a little ice cream lol.
All in all it’s a dang good team and following them is fun as heck. I’m not counting no unhatched chickens yet, but they’re playing about as well as a baseball team can play. So all they need to do is more of what they’ve been doing and they’ll blow the rest of the division out of the water.
If they haven’t done that already