Padres @ DS

padresdodgers

The Padres are coming to town!  The Padres are coming to town!  Will they be good for what ails the Dodgers?  Can the Dodgers take care of business against the Padres at home, similarly to the first series of the season in San Diego?  Can the Dodgers right the ship after being rent asunder by the Marlins?  Stay tuned this weekend (if the Dodgers are available to you on your TV screen).

What is the real story behind Dee Gordon’s Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) suspension?  He says he does not know how the drugs got inside his body.  Perhaps someone slipped it to him in a drink without his knowledge.  Likely story.

Did he decide that he needed “help” after his 2014 season, when he did well in the first half, only to tire in the second half?  How much of his 2015 season including his league leading batting average was due to PEDS?  How much of his new $50 million contract was earned due to PEDS?  How much of $50 million should be returned to the Marlins.  The Marlins only save $5 million due to the 80 game suspension.  What kind of player will Dee be if he doesn’t take the PEDS when he returns?

How much of the Marlins sweep against the Dodgers is due to the use of PEDS?  Why did not the MLB suspend Dee before the Dodgers series?  Too many questions.

Let’s get back to the Dodgers winning ways with a series at home against the Padres.  Up in the rotation are Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, and Clayton Kershaw.

Mattingly Returns

MattinglyMarlins

The Miami Marlins are coming to town, and they are bringing their new manager, Don Mattingly.  This is the first time Mattingly has appeared at Dodger Stadium (at least in public), since he parted ways with the Dodgers.

So far, Mattingly’s Marlins are just 6-11.  Interestly, they are an even 3-3 with the Nationals, who lead the NL East with a 14-4 record.  The Marlins also took two games out of three from the second-place Mets at Citi Field.  Yet this same Marlins team was swept at home by the last place Braves, and dropped two of three to the Giants.

In my humble opinion, this is a four games series in which the Dodgers should win at least three games.  That goal seems achievable given the Dodger starters of Stripling, Kershaw, Kazmir, and Maeda.

Dodgers @ Coors Field

Coors_Field_July_2015

Are we dreading the Dodgers series at Coors Field?  Yes, but maybe that has to do with the rotation order (Kazmir/Maeda/Wood), and not so much about the location.  After all, both teams are playing in the same place.

There is no doubt that the thin air at Coors Field (altitude 5,200 feet above sea level) allows a batted ball to travel faster and farther than at lower altitude baseball parks.  Nothing that MLB does with the “humidor” can totally offset that thin air effect.  The field does have the fences at greater distance from home plate than normal, but that just allows more singles, doubles, and triples.  Also, the thin air reduces the amount of curve on your curve ball.

As evidence of the offensive “shift” at high altitude, look at a couple former Rockies all-stars.  Todd Helton had amazing career offensive numbers (AB/OBP/SLG/OPS) of .316/.414/.539/.953.  His slash line in Denver was .335/.441/.607/1.048.  But when he was away from Denver, those numbers fell to .287/.386/.469/.855.

Troy Tulowitzki was .321/.394/.558/.951 at Coors Field.  But elsewhere he bats .270/.344/.456/.800.

Even the Dodgers have a better offense at Coors Field.  Last year, their overall numbers were .250/.326/.415/.739.  But at Coors Field last year, the Dodgers hit .303/.388/.508/.896.

Which of the Dodgers has done especially well with the bat at Coors Field?  The following are career numbers.

Chase Utley .356/.396/.611/1.007
Justin Turner .367/.426/.531/.957
Adrian Gonzalez .312/.382/.559/.940
Howie Kendrick .375/.432/.450/.882
AJ Ellis .289/.383/.478/.861

Lest we forget, Coors Field has been unkind to the Dodgers in the injury department.  It was here that Matt Kemp ruined his left shoulder crashing into the center field wall on August 28, 2012.

Hot Atlanta

hotlanta

As the Dodgers begin their three game series in Atlanta against the Braves, let’s take a look at just where the team stands.  Yesterday, the Giants lost 9-7 at home against the Diamondbacks.  The Rockies beat the Reds 5-1 in Cincinnati.  So the Rockies are tied for first place with the Dodgers, and both of these teams enjoy a one and a half game lead over the Giants.  How in the world did the Rockies get into first place?  The old-fashioned way, by winning a majority of their series.  They took 2 of 3 from the Diamondbacks, lost 2 of 3 to the Padres, took 2 of 3 from the Giants (at home), and took 2 of 3 from the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  Are the Rockies playing over their heads or are they legitimate?  Time will tell.

Meanwhile, as Oldbrooklynfan said, it’s time for the Dodgers to beat up on a weaker team.  The Braves started the year losing nine games in a row to the likes of the Nationals and the Cardinals.  But in their most recent series, they swept the Marlins 3-0 on the road.

Pitching Matchups:

Alex Wood (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Williams Perez (0-0, 7.00 ERA)
Ross Stripling (0-0, 2.03 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (0-2, 6.35 ERA)
Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 1.64 ERA) vs. Matt Wisler (0-1, 4.61 ERA)

How is the Dodgers’ offense shaping up through the first four series of the year? Given the small sample size available, it’s a little too early to tell too much, but let’s look at the position players in descending order of hits, and show just the hits and batting averages:

Yasiel Puig, 16 hits, .356
Adrian Gonzalez, 16 hits, .314
Corey Seager, 13 hits, .265
Kike Hernandez, 12 hits, .400
Chase Utley, 12 hits, .300
Justin Turner, 11 hits, .250
Joc Pederson, 9 hits, .257
Trayce Thompson, 7 hits, .292
Yasmani Grandal, 4 hits, .444
Charlie Culberson, 4 hits, .308
Howie Kendrick, 4 hits, .211
AJ Ellis, 4 hits, .174

Before the year started, I said that the offense really needs good hitting from Puig, Pederson, and Grandal. Puig is doing pretty well, he’s hitting the ball hard and he’s getting good at bats. Pederson is doing okay; but he’s definitely a work in progress. Grandal has not yet had a ton of at bats, due to his time on the disabled list, but so far so good.