The Los Angeles Dodgers have been an early disappointment for most people, however, with the team 7-3 in their past 10 games, fans now have reason to believe that the Dodgers will turns things around. Sure, the pitching still needs a lot of work (4.76 ERA), but the Dodgers are seeing a lot of positives from their hot-hitting offense.
Andre Either, who has an incredible .390/.446/.729 line, has been the Dodgers best player on offense. Either’s 10 home runs lead the team, in fact, Either leads the team in all major offensive categories. Currently, Either’sOPS is an astounding 1.175. Either’s production level is off the charts right now, and the Dodgers are certainly benefiting from the hot-hitting outfielder.
Along with Either, the Dodgers have seen a lot from their other outfielder, Matt Kemp. While Kemp’s numbers are a little more human than Either’s, the Dodgers have nonetheless enjoyed Kemp’s solid start. Through 33 games (136 at-bats), Kemp has a .272/.344/.493 line with 7 homer runs and 21 RBIs. Combined, Either and Kemp have driven in 56 of the Dodgers’ 175 runs this season (32%—almost one-third of their offense comes from Either/Kemp alone).
James Loneyis also enjoying a quick start to the season for the Dodgers this year. Loney, 26, has three homer runs and has driven in 23 runs of his own. Loney is currently hitting .326/.361/.474. Casey Blake, who’s hitting just .250 in 106 at-bats, has driven in 19 runs so far this season for LA. Overall, the Dodgers have been performing well at the plate, and are currently the leaders in team batting average (.278) in the NL. The Dodgers have also scored 175 runs (2nd in NL), and will look to continue their strong hitting through the rest of the season.
On the pitching side of things, however, the Dodgers still have room for improvement. Their team ERA (4.76) ranks 12th in the NL, and opponents are currently hitting .258 against them (9th in the NL). As a result, opponents have maintained an OPS of .744 against LA, which is 11th in the NL. Currently, the Dodgers have received 15 quality starts from their pitchers, which ranks 10th in NL.
Chad Billingsley leads the team with three wins, but overall, he’s struggled for most of the early season. Billingsley has an ERA of 4.82, and has been relatively hittable this season (40 hits allowed in 37.1 IP). As a result, opponents are hitting a sizzling .282 off Billingsley. If the Dodgers are to make it to the post-season, they will need to see more from Billingsley.
Clayton Kershaw, who is considered a big part of LA’s future, has not had a great start to the season. Through seven starts, Kershaw has an ERA of 3.96 despite the fact that opponents are hitting just .211 off him. Kershaw, who I believe to be a better pitcher than Billingsley, should be able to rebound for the Dodgers, considering that he’s had just one bad game (7 earned runs against Colorado on 5/04/10). If the Dodgers can get more from Billingsley and Kershaw, they should have no problem reclaiming the NL West this season.
Despite the Dodgers sluggish start, Hiroki Kuroda has been able to establish himself as the team’s early season ace. Kuroda, through 40 innings pitched, has an ERA of 2.90 and a 3-1 record. He’s been the Dodgers’ most consistent starter this season, and if he can continue his strong start, the Dodgers should have a formidable rotation once Billingsley and Kershaw come back to form.
The Dodgers are 4.5 games back of the NL West-leading Padres, but it seems as if the boys in blue have finally picked up some steam. Tonight they will try to extend their winning streak to four games.