After a dreadful April, things have been looking up for the Dodgers in the month of May. The Dodgers finished their series with the Pirates today with a 9-3 victory for their third straight victory. The Dodgers had a rough start in the season’s opening month, going 9-13 and sinking to last place. However, after taking 3 of four from Pittsburgh, the Dodgers open up May 2-0 and now have some company in the basement with the 11-14 Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers’ pitching stepped their game up in the Pittsburgh series. Chad Billingley notched his second win of the season on Friday, but still proved to be unable to make it into the 7th inning. On Saturday, Carlos Monasterios and Ramon Ortiz tag-teamed for a 5-1 win, going a combined 7 innings and Ortiz going three scoreless, striking out five and picking up the W. Earlier today, Hiroki Kuroda continues to be L.A.’s most dependable pitcher, with eight strong innings, only giving up one run, and improving to 3-1 on the season.
As for the bats, right fielder Andre Ethier was the big man on campus, homering in all three of the Dodgers wins (including two bombs in the series finale). The four homers gives Ethier nine for the season, as well as 26 RBI. Ethier currently leads all Dodgers in home runs, RBIs, OPS and batting average. Matt Kemp, on the other hand, has hit a bit of a slide. Kemp, the previous team leader in homers and RBIs, failed to go yard or drive in a run in the Pirates series and you have to wonder whether GM Ned Colletti’s public criticism has got in the star center-fielder’s head.
Kemp has also been sloppy on the bases, as he was caught stealing for the sixth time this season. Kemp is now just 3-for-9 on stolen base attempts as the team clearly misses shortstop Rafael Furcal’s speed on the base-paths. Another former speedster the Dodgers might be missing? Former outfielder Juan Pierre. While you can’t debate the team allowing Pierre to go to an outfield that wasn’t so crowded, the Dodgers could really use Pierre now at the top of the lineup with Furcal out and a spot open in the outfield while Manny Ramirez is hurt. Pierre has 10 stolen bases with the White Sox. Outside of Furcal’s 8 steals, the next best Dodger is first baseman James Loney with 4, then comes Kemp with three and then not another Dodger with more than one.
The lack of speed didn’t seem to hurt the Dodgers en route to their current three-game win streak but, to be fair, they were playing the Pirates. Tuesday, they will host the Milwaukee Brewers for a three game series in what will be a good litmus test as to whether the Dodgers are finally back on track or just a disappointing bully that can only beat down on teams even more pathetic than them. After the Dodgers try to stand toe-to-toe with the Brew Crew, they get back-to-back series against divisional rivals with a three-game homestead against Colorado and then traveling to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. By the end of those nine games, we’ll know whether this is the same under-performing ballclub that dragged through April or the balanced contender that took care of business and handled a sub-par bottom feeder in the opening days of May.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.