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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dodgers Swamped By Beachy Tsunami: Braves 10, Dodgers 1

James Loney had a 1-for-4 night at the plate, which represented one-fifth of his offensive output over the last week. Loney's craptacular start led MSTI to write a post defending him, albeit as someone who desperately needs to get the hell out of Los Angeles (his road splits, and splits against right-handed pitching, show a fairly compelling-while-cheap first baseman). It occurred to me early on that Loney was remarkably similar to the Angels' Casey Kotchman. While their career arcs are liable to be quite a bit different, neither is outstanding. One of Loney's comps is the infamous High Pockets Kelly, widely regarded as the defining moment for vote-rolling favoritism by the Veterans' Committee, while Kotchman's comps include underwhelmers like Sid Bream. Kotchman seems to have reinvented himself in limited playing time for Tampa Bay, where he currently sports a small-sample-sized .313/.389/.313 slash line. It seems a similar fate awaits Loney, who deserves jettisoning at the first reasonable trade opportunity, or at the very least, a dramatic reduction of his playing time.

The real question this game answered, was "Is the Dodgers bullpen really this bad?" The answer, it seems, is an emphatic "yes". The team's relief corps is the fourth-worst in the league, with a 5.00 ERA collectively, with only three relievers — the fragile Hong-Chih Kuo, the unreliable Mike MacDougal, and Matt Guerrier — having ERAs below 3.50. Kenley Jansen, last year's 0.67 ERA superhero, and Ramon Troncoso, who still hasn't found his 2009 mojo, both self-immolated on the mound to put the game well out of reach. Leaving Jansen in a game that he was allowing to steadily slip away felt like a vote of no-confidence in the offense from Don Mattingly.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

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