Posted by beaston26 on 1st November 2011
The Los Angeles Dodgers season opening win over Tim Lincecum was marred by an ugly incident with the beating of a Giants fan in the parking lot. This incident seemed to be a bad omen and coupled with other distractions, hung over the team’s head the entire year. With a core of strong young players, the Dodgers were expecting to be a strong team competing for a division title. The divorce case of the owner Frank McCourt and underperformance of key players In light of these circumstances, a few players had some monster individual performances. Unfortunately the team was not able to build on the momentum generated by those individuals and the team struggled to an 82-79 record.
Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp seemingly had to carry the rest of the team on their backs from start to finish. Kershaw outdueled San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum 4 times over the course of the season and each was a tightly contested contest. Kershaw finished with the pitcher’s version of the Triple Crown (strikeouts, wins, and ERA). Matt Kemp was equally as dominant in the batter’s box. Kemp was simply awesome. He nearly finished with the Triple Crown, but finished third in batting average. The performance by the rest of the team ranged from wildly mediocore to hardly inspiring at all. While Kemp had 39 home runs, the second highest on the team was Rod Barajas with 16. Andre Either, the player supposed to be second fiddle to Kemp, hit only 11 home runs and was a shell of his former self. The same could be said for starter Chad Billingsley, the number 2 starter behind Kershaw. Billingsley had the worst season of his career. His strikeouts dropped for the 3rd consecutive year and recorded the highest ERA and most hits allowed of his MLB tenure. Dee Gordon, son of former pitcher Flash Gordon, came up to play shortstop for spurts and was electrifying on the basepaths. His game is very raw right now, but he could be a great sparkplug at the top of the lineup in the near future. The bullpen was also very strong minus the efforts of injured Jonathon Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo.
The key for the Dodgers to have a more successful season in 2012 is to upgrade the lineup. Andre Eithier and James Loney are solid pieces, but not hitting in the middle of the order. Rod Barajas is an abomination at catcher, and veterans like Casey Blake and Jamey Carroll fail to strike any fear into opposing pitchers. The starting rotation must also be improved upon. Hopefully a settlement to the McCourt divorce case will allow the owner to set forth a direction for the team.
Bright Spots: Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Bullpen, Hiroki Kuroda, Dee Gordon
Disappointments: Andre Ethier, Casey Blake, Rod Barajas, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, Jonathon Broxton
Tags: Andre Ethier, Casey Blake, Chad Billinglsey, Clayton Kershaw, Dee Gordon, Flash Gordon, Frank McCourt, Hiroki Kuroda, Hong-Chih Kuo, James Loney, Jamey Carroll, Jonathon Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp, MLB, Rod Barajas, San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum
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