Hi, welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, reminding you that no matter how bad things get, remember that it could be worse: You could be a Clippers fan.
So, just when the Dodgers are ready to be anointed the World Series favorites by everyone, they go and split four games with the Colorado Rockies, who had the next-to-worst record in the National League. Here's the big overlooked fact in the Dodgers' 24-13 start: They have yet to play a good team. They have played Arizona, Colorado, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, Milwaukee and Seattle. Of those teams, only San Francisco is above .500, at 20-18. The other teams are a combined 36 games below .500. As good as the Dodgers have been, they have yet to face the other elite teams in baseball.
More on opponents
In fact, the Dodgers don't face a real test until May 29, when they open a three-game series in St. Louis. The Cardinals have the best record in baseball. If the Dodgers can come away with two out of three there, then it will be time to get excited.
Koufax backs Kershaw
A lot of people are worried about Clayton Kershaw, because Kershaw, the best pitcher in baseball until the playoffs, is struggling with a 2-2 record and a 4.24 ERA. One very important person, however, isn't worried: Sandy Koufax. "Clayton is the kind of guy who's always trying to do better," Koufax told Times Dodgers blogger Steve Dilbeck before the old-timers' game on Saturday. "No matter how high you set the bar, you're doing the best you can. You can't do any better than that. Sometimes you pitch well, and the other guy pitches better. Last year he didn't get off to a great start and it was a great year. He's just too good for bad things to keep happening."
Last season Kershaw got off to a shaky start, with a 3-2 record and 3.57 ERA. He finished 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA.
Rotation is set
It looks as if the Dodgers have found the final piece of their rotation. Mike Bolsinger pitched six scoreless innings in the 1-0 victory over the Rockies on Sunday. In three starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA. Don't get too comfortable though, because last season he went 1-6 with a 5.50 ERA in nine starts with Arizona.
The countdown continues this week. Since the last edition of Dodgers Dugout we have revealed two more names:
The countdown continues, with one person being revealed each weekday until we get to No. 1. Oh, if you want to see a great photo of a young Vin Scully, click on the Alston link above.
In the last issue of Dodgers Dugout, I talked about the frustration Don Mattingly had with the instant replay system and his idea to change it, namely, not letting MLB officials in New York know what the call was on the field, so they don't know if they are overturning the ump's call. I asked for your thoughts, and you all sided with Mattingly.
Brian Beer in New Zealand said: "I think Mattingly has a good point that the umpires on the field make their initial decision un-influenced by anyone else. They see it and decide. The replay umpires however are already influenced before they see it. They are starting from a different position. Is this difference significant? I think so. Peer pressure for one thing.
Rich Jones from parts unknown: I think Mattingly has a great idea in regard to replay. Why should it matter what the call on the field was? The whole point of reviewing the call is to get additional perspectives that the official on the field cannot be expected to have. What the call was on the field should be irrelevant.
Greg Figge of Newport Beach: "It also makes the umpires look silly if they overturn something, which I think is important."
Your next challenge
Who is your personal favorite Dodger, and why? This is different than picking the greatest Dodgers. I want to know who your favorite Dodger was. My first favorite Dodger was Jimmy Wynn, and after that, it was Lance Rautzhan. Why? I thought his last name was cool. What can I say, I was a kid! So, email me who your favorite Dodgers is or was and explain why in one paragraph, and I will run one in each edition of Dodgers Dugout. Reader participation! That's what makes America great.
The TV impasse needs to be settled now, because the Dodgers and Time Warner have irritated Koufax. When asked what he thought Kershaw did differently Friday night to get the win over the Rockies, Koufax responded: "I was here in L.A. and couldn't watch it."