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Dr. Tommy's Checkup: What's Wrong With The Los Angeles Dodgers?

Joey Kaufman |
June 8, 2011 | 3:55 p.m. PDT

Contributing Writer

Andre Ethier is one of few bright spots in the Dodgers' starting lineup. (LWY via Creative Commons)
Andre Ethier is one of few bright spots in the Dodgers' starting lineup. (LWY via Creative Commons)
Reason for visit: Expected to at least contend in a weakened National League West in 2011, the Dodgers find themselves four games under .500 and trailing the first-place San Francisco Giants by 5 ½ games--good for third place in the division.

Symptoms: Just 230 runs scored (3rd worst in the NL) and 216 RBIs (3rd worst in the NL) despite being above average in terms of hitting--fifth in the NL with a total of 531 hits. Pitching has at times been problematic, as the team boasts a collective ERA of just 3.91--11th in the NL.

Diagnosis: The Dodgers have posted a 3-3 overall mark thus far in June, but many problems remain. First baseman James Loney has been particularly frustrating for Dodger fans, as the left-handed slugger has been hitting just .242 with three HRs and 19 RBIs. Injuries have also been problematic, as projected starters third baseman Casey Blake and shortstop Rafael Furcal have appeared in just 24 and 17 games respectively due to various ailments. And the bullpen has been of concern as well, since the team’s original closer Jonathan Broxton has been on the Disabled List since May with a bruised elbow.

Treatment: It’s tough to figure out where to start here, especially with an owner that was only able to make payroll in May because sponsors were willing to give cash up front in exchange for discounts rates. But in large part, the team has holes in its lineup that needs to be filled, particularly in left field.

L.A. has a great 3-4 in Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, but the dropoff is far too steep. Ethier and Kemp have combined for 80 RBIs and 19 HRs, but the next-best power hitter in the lineup is Juan Uribe, who has three HRs and 20 RBIs despite appearing in just 43 games. Similarly, the team’s pitching staff faces a significant dropoff after 1-2 starters Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley.

The best treatment for the Dodgers would simply be more bodies.


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