Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dodgers' lineup is going to suck for a couple weeks; get over it

Hurry back, Matt.
Look, we all know the Dodgers' lineup was going to suffer without Matt Kemp. But the overreaction to guys getting regular days off is astounding.

The Dodgers lost today in San Diego 4-2. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Unfortunately for Chris Capuano, he wasn't as sharp today as he had been in his last six starts (5-0, 1.38 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, .200 BAA), but it would have been realistic to expect him to keep up that pace.

So, one of the Dodgers' best pitcher this season (numbers-wise), manager Don Mattingly put together a less-than-ideal lineup:

Tony Gwynn CF
Elian Herrera 2B
Bobby Abreu LF
Andre Ethier RF
Jerry Sands 1B
Justin Sellers SS
Adam Kennedy 3B
Matt Treanor C

Yes, this lineup sucks in so many ways, but why get so pissed off about it? What was the alternative?

A struggling Dee Gordon leading off; Mark Ellis in the 2-hole (never mind he could use a day off every now and then as a 35-year-old second baseman), James Loney, who is hitting .244/.326/.293 this month, and so-on. Yes, all these guys could have started, but Mattingly gave them the day off. Not to mention Clayton Richard was on the hill (a lefty), so it made sense for guys like Gordon and Loney to get the day off.

Scott Van Slyke got a start last night, but was left out today in favor of Gwynn. A.J. Ellis is 31 and needs day offs if he's expected to make it through the season. Would you rather have him sitting against the Padres or a team like the Giants or Cardinals? Think about that.

The Dodgers' lack of depth is not secret, and it's showing with four position players (three Opening Day starters -- Kemp, Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe -- and the team's best bench player -- Jerry Hairston) on the disabled list.

The Dodgers are just going to have to ride out the Kemp injury and make due with what they have. It'd be nice for the front office to upgrade the depth, but that won't happen for another month-plus.

The Dodgers have a 5 1/2 game with the Giants still to play tonight. It's not the end of the world. The Dodgers, surprisingly, aren't going to win every game they play. Mattingly is going to have to pick and choose when he gives guys days off (especially without Kemp around). I'd rather throw a "Triple-A" lineup out there against the Padres more than almost any other team in baseball.


One move that really bothered me and made no sense was Mattingly's decision to pinch-hit for Sands in the ninth with Abreu on. The fact he pinch-hit for Sands with Loney was flat-out dumb.

My tweet:
@FeelinKindaBlue "Loney pinch-hitting for Sands. Oy vey."
 The responses:
@mike_petriello "Um, you're doing it wrong, Donny."

@EephusBlue "Oh God. Why. Donnie, c'mon bro"

@Kai_John10 He's now going to hit a homerun... Oh wait, its Loney, nm...

@mnanezLAD "At least he can't GIDP!!"
Pretty much.

It basically meant Mattingly had more faith in Sellers, who was on deck, than Sands. I mean, he could have pinch-hit Van Slyke or Ellis for Sellers, but is Van Slyke really that much better than Sands? If you're going to pinch-hit Loney for someone, it should have been Sellers, not Sands (had the opportunity presented itself).

If the game had gone to the bottom of the ninth, Gordon could have replaced Sellers at shortstop.

This was just something that didn't make a lot of sense to me.

Photo credit: EephusBlue

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