The Numbers: The Dodgers are eighth in MLB with a team .265 average and are only behind the Cubs, Cardinals and Braves in the National League.
Teacher’s Pet: Russell Martin leads the team with a .321 average while the Dodgers have a core of regulars hovering around .290, including Matt Kemp, Andre Either, Blake DeWitt and James Loney. Grade: B+
The Numbers: Los Angeles is dead last in the National League with a total of 43 team HR. They are only ahead of the Royals and the Twins in the entire league. Middle schoolers have a better time getting to second base, as the Dodgers are last in the league with 99 doubles.
Problem Child: Andruw Jones who was acquired to add some umph to the line-up has been a huge bust. Grade: F
The Numbers: The Dodgers are second in the league hitting .351 with the bases loaded, and they are tied for second with a .283 batting average in the league with runners in scoring position with two outs. They have to improve on their overall hitting with RISP (.266) as they are in the middle of the pack in that category.
Teacher’s Pet: Jeff Kent has picked up Jones’ slack as he leads the team with eight home runs. Grade: A-
Numbers: The starters have a middle of the road 3.79 ERA and .254 opponent batting average.
Problem Child: After opening the season five-two (his five wins still lead the team), Brad Penny has suffered six straight losses in his last seven starts and his ERA has ballooned to 5.38. Grade: C
Numbers: The Dodgers sport the fourth lowest ERA in the league with a 3.03 ERA from the seventh inning on. Jonathan Broxton has been spotty at best as a set-up man, and Takashi Saito has just been so-so as a closer. Just 11 out of his 25 appearances have been save situations and Saito is eight-11 in converting those save opportunities.
Teacher’s Pet: Long reliever Joe Beimel has tossed scoreless relief in 28 of his 31 appearances and just one of his 21 hits allowed has gone for extra bases. Beimel boasts a 1.40 ERA and is 3-0. Grade: B
Numbers: SS Raphael Furcal, who looked like he would be coming off the 15 DL any day, will now be out of the line-up for at least another three weeks, possibly not returning until after the All-Star break. Look for Nomar to return to his original position to fill in the gap in the meantime.
Problem Child: As far as the injured Jones goes, it is almost better the inept batter is out. The biggest question that remains is whether Jason Schmidt will ever recover from major shoulder surgery? Grade: Incomplete
Joe Torre has brought some much-needed stability to a team that saw some infighting late last year under Grady Little. The fiery Bowa adds a nice spark as the team’s third base coach. Bowa has already been bounced from a game inspiring the club. Grade: B+
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is on the hook for his horrific Jones blunder but has saved some face with his acquisition of pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who recently pitched the team’s first complete game shut-out win in nearly three years since Aug. 31, 2005.
Owner Frank McCourt is courting fans as he recently unveiled refurbished stadium plans including a cool center field park/walk way. McCourt has also tried to improve traffic congestion with a state of the art traffic center on the stadium grounds. Colletti’s Grade: D; McCourt’s Grade: A
Despite being two games under .500 at 31-33, the Dodgers are still in the thick of the NL West race, sitting in second behind the Diamondbacks, who keep coming back to the pack. However, the Dodgers must improve on their starting pitching and power hitting if they are to play past September. Grade: B-
Shane Igoe writes about the convergence of sports and pop culture for www.rotohog.com.