It is hard to make an accurate assessment of the 2013-14 Los Angeles Dodgers up to this point because the team has been so inconsistent. Some guys have been playing incredible while others have fallen flat on their faces. There have been a couple of injuries as well as a couple of hiccups. The Dodgers are also 6-9 at home, but 9-3 on the road. Nothing about this team has been consistent so far aside from the play of a couple of key guys, but the month of April was an overall solid one for the team with all things considered.
Contributing to the Dodgers’ solid record so far is the team’s 7-1 record against the Diamondbacks, the worst team in baseball through one month. They went 7-11 against everybody else.
L.A.’s main issue to this point has been the inconsistency of the outfield. The Dodgers have four great outfielders in Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, and manager Don Mattingly has understandably had a difficult time incorporating all of them into the lineup and keeping each one engaged. None of them are used to being part-time players, and so far only Puig has been in the lineup every day and producing up to his capabilities. Crawford has had a miserable season so far, hitting .194 with just four RBIs and no homers. He has also crossed the plate just seven times and is sporting a putrid .225 on-base percentage, which left Mattingly no choice but to drop him in the order. Crawford fell all the way to ninth in the Thursday’s game against Minnesota.
Atoning for Crawford’s ghastly play has been Dee Gordon, who has finally lived up to some of the advanced expectations bestowed upon him in years past. The diminutive second baseman hit .344 in April with 14 steals, getting caught just once. His production is well-needed since no one else on the roster provides the kind of threat he does in terms of base stealing, especially since Crawford gets on base about once a week. Puig had an inauspicious start to the month, but picked it up towards the end and finished April with a .276 average and 15 RBIs. Juan Uribe also had a very good month, hitting .305 with four homers and playing in every game.
Top Dodgers Player for April: Adrian Gonzalez
Gonzalez is in the top five in the National League in homers, RBIs, runs scored, slugging percentage and OPS while hitting .317 with 11 walks. He has been seemingly the only Dodger who has avoided any offensive lulls, and has at times carried this team so far. The eight homers lead the NL and are a welcome sight for a player who has suffered from declining power. After three consecutive seasons over 30 homers, Gonzalez has hit less than thirty in each of the past three, including just 40 total the last two years combined. If Gonzalez is hitting for power in addition to his usual high average, he is one of the most dangerous hitters in the league.
Top Dodgers Pitcher for April: Zack Greinke
A close second goes to Dan Haren who went 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in the opening month, but Greinke is on an extended run of unparalleled dominance. Greinke went 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA in the month and has an astounding 46 strikeouts to just six walks. Including last year’s playoffs, Greinke has gone 21 consecutive starts without allowing more than two runs. He has filled the ace role with Kershaw out and been the main reason the staff has held it together in his absence. There is no question he is an early front-runner for the Cy Young.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox