The All-Star break finally arrived for the Dodgers. They can now take stock of all they accomplished during the first half of the 2012 season. Sure they may have lost 15 of their last 20 games. Sure their lead over the San Francisco Giants, which was once 7 1/2 games, is now down to a half a game. But they can still hold their heads up high after an injury-plagued first half forced them to field lineups that would make some minor league managers shake their head. They were so depleted that they were forced to bat a .245 hitter with one home-run clean-up and a .228 hitter fifth for multiple games. Yet, they are still in first place.
Manager Don Mattingly was forced to field 73 different lineups in 87 games. 73! That’s almost a new lineup for every game! MVP candiate Matt Kemp, who set a Dodger record with 12 home-runs in April, has missed 51 games due to a nagging hamstring he pulled back in May. After coming back in June, he re-aggravated the injury racing home on a run-scoring double by Andre Ethier against the Brewers. Ethier, himself, ended up missing the last 10 games due to a strained oblique he suffered against the Giants.
The additions of Kemp and Ethier should do wonders for a team that has continued to defy the odds this year. They came sprinting out of the gate led by Kemp and his hot bat. With Kemp’s hitting and solid pitching, the Dodgers had the best record in the league all the way up until late May. Key in-season acquisitions Bobby Abreu and Elian Herrera have proved their value. The odd man out in the Angels outfield, Abreu has performed admirably for the Dodgers, batting .272 in 55 games. Herrera, who has spent all 10 of his years in the minor leagues, is batting .243 in 51 games. Howewver, what he lacking in batting average, he surely makes it up with his ability with the glove. He has played every position, with the exception of pitcher, catcher and shortstop. As the great Vin Scully noted during a recent telecast, “he’s a team photo all by himself.”
Each victory this season, a different Dodger has come through in the clutch. Whether it’s Scott Van Slyke belting a three-run go-ahead home-run against the Cardinals back in May or Justin Sellers going all out diving into the stands to catch a foul ball, these Dodgers continue to amaze. They have also amazed in the bad way as well, going 0 for San Francisco in a recent three game series in June. Swept by their rivals, the Dodgers did not manage to score a single run in the entire series for the first time since 1937, and were shut-out five out of seven games.
But after all the injuries, the lack of scoring, the Dodgers have found themselves right were they want to be heading into the second half of the season: in 1st place and getting healthy. So buckle up, Dodger fans, it should be a wild and crazy 2nd half for the boys in blue.
About the Author
Written by Simran Reyatt
Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles I became passionate about sports around 1988, watching the showtime Lakers and the miracle Dodgers. I have been hooked ever since! Lakers, Raider and Dodgers are my main passions, but really, I'm a huge sports lover as a whole.