Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Dodgers aren't good, but there are still reasons to watch

It's been almost a month since I blogged. A lot has happened in Dodgerland -- mostly bad. Here are a few of my thoughts.

Jerry Sands seems to be finding his groove. While he isn't getting a lot of hits, he's hitting doubles at a solid rate (10 in 88 ABs) and improving his walk rate since his call-up (17.4 percent). That is something to be excited about. Here's hoping Mattingly just lets him play every day.

Kenley Jansen seemed to be close to getting back on track before last night's disaster. Not counting last night, since giving up five runs to the Braves on April 19, Jansen has pitched 10 2/3 innings, giving up three hits, walking five and striking out 18. Here's hoping last night was just a hiccup.

Rubby De La Rosa is apparently going to get the call, writes Ken Gurnick of dodgers.com. He's going to start in the bullpen. His two dominant pitches -- his upper-90s fastball and devastating changeup -- should play well as a reliever. De La Rosa pitched 40 innings for Chattanooga. He has a 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and an awfully impressive 11.7 K/9 rate.

Matt Kemp is still by far the team's best offensive player despite a poor month of May (.368/.446/.613 in April, .240/.326/.453 in May). He is 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts this month. His walk rate has fallen (15 in 106 ABs in April, 8 in 75 ABs in May) and he's almost matched his strikeout total from April this month (24 in April, 21 in May). Aside from Sands, Kemp is the one player on offense I look forward to watching on a nightly basis (yes, I intentionally did not include Andre Ethier).

Clayton Kershaw has turned it up a notch in May. He's 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10. 2 K/9. He's allowed only one home run this month after giving up five in April. Let's just go ahead and call him an All-Star right now.

Despite going winless this month (0-3 so far), Chad Billingsley has a 2.25 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP this month. His K-Rate and K/BB rate are nearly identical to his April, a month in which he had a 4.46 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. I still don't understand why the "average" fans don't get behind this guy.

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