Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have started relatively slow this season, despite manager Joe Torre's promises that a playoff berth is still in site. Even with their slow start, the Dodgers have managed to keep second place in the National League West division with a sub-par 35-40 record. Former MVP Jeff Kent leads his team at the plate with 8 home runs and 33 RBIs, with outfielder Matt Kemp providing 7 more home runs and a team-leading 43 RBIs. The pitching provided by Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley rounds out the defense. Lowe has pitched for 97 innings and 67 strikeouts, while Billingsley has pitched a team-leading 95 strikeouts in 89 innings. The Los Angeles Dodgers look to get a turnaround to this relatively slow start to get them over the hump and into first place in their division towards a successful postseason. Ticket sales are slow until Manager Joe Torre provides his promised mid-season turnaround and post-season pennant and World Series title run.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of baseball’s
most storied teams in all of Major League Baseball. The franchise
actually started out in Brooklyn where they won nine National
League pennants. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, the Dodgers
have won nine NL pennants and five World Series trophies. The
Dodgers most recent World Series appearance came in 1988 where
they defeated the Oakland A’s in five games. There were
two amazing performances put on by two Dodgers, Kirk Gibson and
Orel Hershiser. Kirk Gibson hit a home run in the bottom of the
9th of game 1. The amazing part is that he didn’t even
show up to the park until the 2nd inning because he was so sure
he wasn’t going to play on his sprained right knee and
pulled left hamstring. He was hobbled up to the plate in the
9th and the rest was history. Orel Hershiser pitched 18 innings,
had 17 strike outs, and only allowed two runs on his way to a
World Series MVP. The last time the Dodgers earned a post season
berth was in 1996 where they fell to the defending champion Atlanta
Braves in three games. Last season Los Angeles finished 2nd in
the NL West but were 15.5 games out of 1st place. This year manager
Jim Tracy hopes to push his team back into the playoffs.
During the off-season management made quite a few
moves to add some needed talent to the roster. They traded
oft-injured pitcher Kevin Brown to the New York Yankees for
pitchers Jeff Weaver, Yhency Brazoban, Brandon Weeden, and
cash considerations. They also traded for slugger Milton Bradley
to help out their lineup.
The Dodgers were an atrocity from the plate in 2003.
They finished 2nd to last in batting average in the majors
with a dismal .243 team batting average. They finished in dead
last in the bigs with a ghastly 574 runs scored all season.
This year they added a new bat in Milton Bradley to help out slugging first baseman/
right fielder Shawn Green. Green has averaged 36 home runs and 108 runs batted
in during the last three seasons.
The Dodgers off set their horrible hitting with stellar pitching. They had a
staff ERA of 3.16 which was first in the majors. The second best staff in the
league, Oakland, was light years behind the Dodgers with a 3.63 ERA. The staff
is lead by CY Young Award winning closer Eric Gagne. Through the May of ’04
he had the longest streak ever of without a blown save at 75 games. The second
longest was by Tom Gordon of the Red Sox who closed out a then record 54 straight.
This streak is only comparable to DiMaggio’s 56 game hit streak, Cal Ripken’s
2,632 consecutive games played, and Orel Hershiser’s 59 consecutive scoreless
The Dodgers have played their home games at Dodger Stadium since 1962. This historic
56,000 seat stadium is nestled in the heart of Chavez Ravine, which overlooks
downtown Los Angeles.
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