07 June 2007

The dog days of June or, .500 ahoy!

By Griffster

Okay, so here's my dire prediction: Unless one or two of the well-known unproductive pieces of the everyday Dodger lineup is switched out, or those pieces suddenly start playing out of their shoes, the Dodgers will finish the month of June with a .500 record.

Here's how they'll do it:

Current record: 34-25

Play: 1 game against the Padres today.
Result: loss.
Record: 34-26

( I mean, we're not going to beat Peavy with this lineup. Sad to say. At best we may hope for an improved performance from Kuo bolstering our hopes for the future. )

Play: three games against the Blue Jays.
Result: 1-2.
Record: 35-28

Now, on paper this series looks good for the Dodgers. We match three of our best, Penny, Lowe and Schmidt, against three pitchers from a below .500 team. The best of the bunch, number-wise, is Marcum with his 2-2 record and his 4.06 ERA, and he's up against Lowe.

In practice, though, the limp noodles that form our batting lineup will not be able to hit these guys well. Plus, Toronto plays in the AL, and they play with the BoSox. Their strength is not as bad as their record makes it seem.

Fortunately, the Dodgers play at home, but that will at most help them win a game ( make it tomorrow's, please, because I'm going to be there! )

Play: Three games against the Mets.
Result: 1-2
Record: 36-30

The Mets are rolling, and they're likely to send Hernandez ( 1.94 ERA ), Maine ( 2.81 ) and Sosa ( 3.22 ) against, probably, Wolf, Kuo and Penny ( or Lowe ). There's no escape, not even at home. I'm hoping we squeak out a win somewhere, but hey, I don't think it will happen. I'll leave the win there, though, and hope.

Play: Three games in Toronto.
Result: 0-3
Record: 36-33

Guys, it is an AL team in an AL park with artificial turf. Not a win in sight for us here. We're one for our last twenty-odd in AL parks. Just not happening.

Play: Three games at Tampa Bay.
Result: 1-2
Record: 37-35

Oh no! Another fake turf AL away series! Just because Tampa Bay is a bad team, we should be able to scratch out a win from somewhere.

Play: Four at Arizona.
Result: 2-2
Record: 39-37

This series comes at the end of a long road trip that went to the corners of the continent ( well, almost. Toronto to Tampa Bay to Arizona? Ouch. At least it will be a dry heat ). The Dodgers will be beat - by the travel schedule, the humid Tampa Bay air, the losses. Even with all of that, I sincerely hope they can split the series. Arizona have hopefully cooled off enough by then that we can pilfer two games.

Play: Two against Padres
Result: 0-2
Record: 39-39

What, we'll suddenly beat them when we couldn't before? Not if the lineup stays as weak. Padre pitching is truly dominant. Ours is just very good. And a weak lineup against dominant pitching means losses.

Okay, so those are my dire predictions for the Dodgers' near future. There's two sweeps in there, and there almost were three but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. ( Surely we'll be able to win at least one at home against the Mets? ) There's only one series tie predicted, the rest are losses.

Now, without a doubt nobody connected to the Dodgers want to see this happen. How do we avoid it?

Make. Some. Changes. Get rid of Murray and O'Donnely, or Pierre, or Nomar, or somebody else who is not pulling their weight. That'll shake everybody else up. You don't need to sweep them all out the door at once. Just get rid of one, maybe the rest will shape up. Baseball is a business, isn't it? You can only "believe" that someone will come around or start adding value for so long. Then you have to jettison the "believe in" you hold in that player, and find somebody who can actually get the job done. Playing a bad 7.5 million player just because you paid for him is bad business. You basically throw the other 99.5 million of your payroll in the water too, because that one player weakens the whole team.

I am fairly confident that my predictions will hold with the team playing at its current level. If some of the unproductive spots start producing, or if some changes are made, you can shimmy between two and four games from the loss column to the win column for this month. If, forbid, something bad happens like an injury to a productive component or somebody else slumping, you can peel off a win or two and move it to the losses. There won't be more wins lost, because there is already so few to be had. 5-13 is not going to be pretty, but that is the reality of our lineup of over-the-hill vets and the overpriced toothpick stick in center. At the very best we can hope to be around 43-38 at the end of the month ( if we really get surprising production from some of the weak spots in the lineup ) and at worst we may be 37-41.

Presumably the Padres and Diamondbacks will also be playing some tougher competition. The Padres also get Tampa Bay, and then they get Baez and the Orioles, and then the BoSox. But they have the Cubs while we have the Mets. The Snakes also get Tampa Bay, to go with the Yankees, the BoSox, and the Orioles. I don't know how the standings will shake out around us, I can only predict what I think our record will be.

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