June 5th, 2011
We are getting closer and closer to All-Star Break which can be a make or break for a team pending on where they are. The Dodgers right now are 28-32 and are in 4th Place in the NL West. Winning 3 straight series and winning 2 straight games including a big comeback against the Reds on saturday they find themselves 5.5 games out of the NL West as they go into the series with the Phillies. Many Dodger fans like myself have been asking this question..Can The Dodgers get into striking distance to take a Division/Wild Card lead? Some things are going to have to come in to play in order for that to happen. especially with a tough road ahead of them.
One thing the Dodgers have to do is stay healthy. Through out the season the Dodgers been hit with injuries losing key players like Casey Blake, Juan Uribe, and Rafael Furcal. Furcal in the first game of t series against the Reds was hurt and sent to the 15 Day DL along with Garland. I always said the Dodgers are a better when healthy (Look at Opening Day and the Last two series at home). If the Dodgers can keep healthy then look for them to make a strong push.
Constant play will also have to come if staying healthy isn’t their thing. From the offense to the pitchers. In most games the Dodgers bats are either there or not and from what I’ve seen/Hear it’s not there. Besides Kemp and Either the offense either can’t get a hit or leave runners stranded and it does get irritating to watch. So far guys like Jamie Carroll and at times Aaron Miles have stepped up. This team has to play the same way they have in the last two games. Pitching also has to be constant as well. The Starting Pitchers (Lilly and Billingsley can not continue to have Bi-Polar games) The more guys they let on base the worse it will look. Dodgers can keep relying on Kershaw to get them out and at times Karoda. The Bullpen is a whole new issue. The Bullpen had been depleted by injuries and closers blowing the lead. Dodgers need better Bullpen play and in BIG need of a closer.
As far as off the field distractions Don Mattingly has taken care of keeping the teams mind focused on the field. Confidence and So on will help this team mentally. Can the Dodgers get into striking distance? I believe they can but those will have to come into play. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Boys in Blue but they’ve gotten off to the right foot. All of it starts now with beating the Phillies the continuing to winning series. We can only watch and see what the Dodgers can do but they will need to get into third and get to .500 in order to do some damage. Time is ticking fast and they have to get to work in a hurry.