Was it all a dream? I know I watched a young ball-club come together and blast through the first half of the season. First they broke the new record with the home wins streak. We watched Matt Kemp find his groove and become the dangerous five tool player. Then the shocking news of Manny Ramirez being suspended for 50 games came, and nobody expected what happened next. The Dodgers pulled together and built an amazing chemistry, and though players like Furcal and Martin have struggled throughout the season. The Dodgers found life behind the bats of Casey Blake and Orlando Hudson. Those two guys carried the weight of the team and helped ease the pain of losing Manny for half the season. Juan Pierre filled in perfectly at left field and put on a first half MVP award like show. Pierre got it done with Manny being absent and it’s as simple as that. The rest of the young crew Ethier, Kemp, and Loney found ways to generate offense and provide excellent defense to help lead this team to hold the best record in baseball for several months.
The pitching was and still is very questionable at times with Kuroda off and on the disabled list, and the incredibly inexperienced but talented bullpen. We have Broxton no doubt when he is on his game he is the best closer in baseball. However between his bum toe and his lack of consistency has blown five saves this season. You can bet eyebrows are being raised as those five games would make our lead look much more comfy. Then you have these once in a lifetime pitchers like Billingsley and Kershaw who have all of the talent in the world yet can’t find a way to be consistent. Billingsley had a great Cy Young candidate like first half, however he struggled quite a bit through the month of July. He was recently on the disabled list for a strained hamstring and is hopefully on track after his amazing performance Monday against Chris Carpenter. Kershaw, I just can’t figure this guy out. At times he looks like the best pitcher in all of baseball and then he looks like he did last night throwing 4 innings of mediocre at best baseball. Both Billingsley and Kershaw are very young and may be struggling by adding pressure to themselves as they seem to be pressing at times, and it’s obvious their mental toughness is just not there yet.
There is no doubt this club is struggling and it seems that Dr. Evil has stolen their mojo. The Dodgers have gone from the best team in baseball to a team desperately trying to hold on to first place. The bullpen is exhausted since the starting rotation has a rough time going more than five innings except on the rare occasion. The offense seems to be hanging in there and the team as a whole seems to be going through a major slump. I will say if there was a good time for a major slump now would be it. There is still plenty of Dodgers baseball to be played and plenty of time for the Dodgers to get back in the groove and get their mojo back. It wasn’t by luck or chance that this team was the best team in baseball. They have the tools, the coaching, and the chemistry to win it all. The Dodgers need to regroup and regain focus and know that it’s times like these that make you stronger and become a better baseball team. The time is now there is no time to waste. Let’s go Dodgers and remember THINK BLUE.