July 21st, 2014
What a strange team the Los Angeles Dodgers are. The Boys in Blue managed to salvage a win last night against the Cardinals, their only one of their 3 game set in St. Louis. Clayton Kershaw gave up three runs, which happens about as often as it snows in Los Angeles. Hanley Ramirez was hit not once, but twice, which only added to his various ailments, but Adrian Gonzales came through in the 9th to put the Dodgers back into a 1st place tie with the Giants. The more I watch this team, the more I realize that it’s a talented lineup that lacks fundamentals and discipline that could cost them in the long run. It starts with four expensive veteran outfielders, all of whom have yet to find consistency at the plate, and are playing defense as if Mike D’Antoni were coaching them.
If Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, or Carl Crawford played halfway decently, the Dodgers would be running away with the league. Kemp isn’t the same superstar after all his injuries, neither is Crawford, while Ethier’s consistency has been in question for years. Even Yasiel Puig’s power numbers are down, while Adrian Gonzales has struggled for over a month. Maybe Mark McGwire needs to introduce steroids to his hitters, because thus far, it looks like he’s teaching his hitters a complete lack of plate discipline. To make matters worse, the fat contracts of these outfielders are forcing the Dodgers to play their most talented players, but not their best. Joc Peterson is easily the best center fielder in the organization right now, and one of the best prospects in baseball, yet the Dodgers won’t call him up. It seems as though the only way LA will be fix this situation is by eating some salary on one of these outfielders through a trade. In the meantime, it seems like a good bet that this situation will cost the Dodgers on the field this season.
Meanwhile. the Angels are on fire, but unfortunately they play in the same division as the Oakland A’s, who have the best record in baseball. The Halos took two of three over the weekend against the Mariners, to remain 1.5 games back of Oakland. For a team with one of the worst farm systems in baseball, according to those baseball nerds at ESPN, the Angels have quickly developed some solid major leaguers that are helping them right now. CJ Cron, Garrett Richards, Kole Calhoun have all come out of nowhere to make Jerry Dipoto suddenly look like he knows what he’s doing. I don’t know who Efren Navarro is, but the dude sure looks like he can play ball. On Friday, he had the game winning RBI single in the 16th inning, and he even threw out a runner at 2nd base on a nice defensive play. It probably doesn’t hurt either to have Mike Trout on your team.
Obviously Jerry Dipoto has been reading Jock Talk LA, in hopes of saving his job. For months I’ve been saying that Dipoto needs to add at least two arms to the bullpen to give the Angels a chance down the stretch and in the playoffs. Over the last three weeks, Dipoto has traded for Jason Grilli, Joe Thatcher, and Huston Street. The Angels have now completely revamped the backend of their bullpen, which was a must. The bullpen is really one of the easiest problems to fix for a team. The Halos pen was giving away games like they were some charity organization. Now the Angels seemed poised for a great duel with the A’s down the stretch, and possibly a deep post season run. Just think how good this team could be if Josh Hamilton remembered how to play baseball?
When the Lakers acquired Carlos Boozer off of amnesty waivers this week, somewhere, Jack Haley was screaming “I told you so!” For those of you who don’t remember, the former Laker player, and Fox Sports Analyst put his reputation on the line in 2005, when he declared that the Lakers were going to acquire Boozer in a blockbuster trade with Utah. That trade never happened, Haley lost his credibility, and eventually, his job. Back in those days, Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher would have been out of a a job much faster than Haley. As for the Lakers, they rounded out their roster this week by signing Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly, Ed Davis, and Wesley Johnson in addition to Boozer. I really don’t see the point of adding Boozer. He’s half the player he used to be, and he’s only going to take minutes away from Julius Randle’s development. For those of you that missed the Lakers Championship drought video from Funny or Die, you’ll get a good laugh….
The NFL to LA rumors are picking up again. Well, not really. It’s just that the LA Times is trying to make us think that they are picking up. The NFL has decided to hold next years draft in Los Angeles, which has begun to fuel this speculation. There’s also the fact that the Chargers, Rams, and Raiders, can now opt out of their stadium deals at any time after this season, and potentially relocate to LA. None of that matters though. Those teams can’t get a stadium in their current city, and they won’t be able to get one here in LA. We’ve got two different proposals, and the league likes neither, yet they are the ones who desperately want a team or two back in LA. The tax payers of Southern California refuse to fund a stadium, and rightfully so. If the NFL wants back in LA, then they should be the ones to pay for it. Football has been gone so long that nobody here knows they miss it, which mean nobody is going to pay for a stadium.
Finally, Rory McIlroy cruised to an easy win at the British Open over the weekend, but what a boring tournament it was to watch. Rory is a very good golfer, and I love the story about his dad placing a bet on him years ago, and cashing in on it yesterday. However, the average fan doesn’t care. The average fan wants to see Tiger, and wants to see him dominate. I’m not sure we’ll ever get to see Tiger play at that level that he was at back in 2006, but at least seeing him back near the top of the leader board would make things much more interesting for the viewer.