Catching up with the Dodgers – True Blue LA

During the game last night The Nats Blog and True Blue LA exchanged thoughts on our respective teams. To see what I said about the Nationals head over to True Blue LA and check it out. Here is what Phil from True Blue LA had to say:

The Nats Blog: Do the Dodgers have the pitching to repeat what they did last year?

True Blue LA: Not at the moment but I hope it will start to jell now that Kuo and Belisario have re-joined the bullpen. We have had a hard time getting the lead from the starters to Broxton. Our bullpen has been awful but that should start to change as we remove some dead weight and put others in spots they should have been in, in the first place. Kuroda is actually our most consistent pitcher when he’s healthy. Kershaw can be dominant at home, still needs to find consistency on the road. We don’t quite know if he’s ready to step up and be our ace yet but I’ll address that further down. Chad Billingsley is maddening right now. Our blog is a huge defender of Chad but he’s letting us down. For this team to repeat we can live with someone like Haeger as the fifth starter but Chad Billingsley has to step up and be the all-star pitcher he was last year in the first half.

TNB: When it’s all said and done who do you believe will have the bigger offensive impact this season, Kemp? Ethier? or Ramriez?

True Blue LA: Tough call between Matt and Andre. It is a joy to watch both of them as they hit their prime years. One thing about Kemp that could change his ceiling is that all of his home runs have gone to RC or RF this year. He is just going with the pitch and driving the shit out of it. If you had asked me this question in the spring I would have said Andre, but after watching Kemp modify his approach this year I’ll go with him.

TNB: Clayton Kershaw is a pitcher that has a lot of people excited. Where would you rank him with the games best young pitchers?

True Blue LA: Other then Brett Anderson he’s younger then all of them. By the time he’s 23/24 I expect he will be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s already got the fastball and curve, but is now trying to use the slider and change up more. Great kid, great composure, fun to watch. Hopefully someday soon we will see a matchup of Kershaw/Strasburg and watch the K board light up. At home he has had some dominant games, not so much on the road.

TNB: Tell us about a prospect who you are excited about that our fans might not know about.

True Blue LA: I’m going to assume you know about Dee Gordon and Chris Withrow. I’m going to head down to Low A and talk about Allen Webster and Jerry Sands. Both of  these guys were after thoughts in the draft so they aren’t getting much press.  Sands is 22 in Low A but he’s destroying the league. I ‘m probably unreasonably excited about him but our favorite Dodger prospect hound compares him to Jason Bay. Webster (19 years old) tweaked has mechanics and add 10 feet to his fastball last year and blew through the rookie leagues. They still have kid gloves on him but the word is that his stuff is as good now as the guys we drafted number one.

TNB: Defensively the Dodgers outfield isn’t very strong, at least according to UZR, is that a concern for you?

True Blue LA: Yes. Last year Matt Kemp may not have earned his Gold Glove but he was a highlight film all year long. This year Kemp is simply not doing the job in CF that he did last year. Andre has a lousy UZR but a good arm with a quick release. He doesn’t go back well on balls. Some of us think that Orlando Hudson hawked so many fly balls to RF that it impacted his UZR. We are curious how it is going to play out this year since DeWitt goes back on fly balls like Jeff Kent used to. Manny has no range but surprisingly does a good job of releasing the ball once he gets it with sharp accurate throws. With him on the DL you will probably see Xavier Paul/Reed Johnson who should be significant upgrade over Manny’s defense.

TNB: What’s your all time favorite Dodgers memory?

True Blue LA: I’m an older guy so the 1981 World Series victory over the Yankee’s is on top of my list.