For the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans, Opening Day couldn’t really have gone much better. Yes, the Giants won, but a 15-run victory and watching the pitcher who got away get roughed up should suffice.
Well, maybe not for everyone, that is.
The narrative having to do with winning now or eventually remains as omnipresent (and frankly, as annoying) as ever, no matter what players and executive say. The latest example: The L.A. Times’ Dylan Hernandez’s recent article in which he sits down for a lengthy back-and-forth with Adrian Gonzalez.
No matter what Gonzalez said to explain the state of the team, Hernandez had a story to tell, and he wasn’t going to let it go. Here’s Gonzalez on the advantage depth offers.
“If you look at every year, every team has major injuries,” Gonzalez said. “They’re going to go through a major injury at some point. And almost to a T every year — and it’s true, it’s not an excuse — the teams that don’t win the division will at some point say, ‘Well, injuries played a big role in why we didn’t win.’ Everybody in baseball has acknowledged we have the best [40-man roster] and the best farm system in baseball. That puts us in prime position to sustain any major injury.”
Look at Greinke’s current team. A.J. Pollock’s injury couldn’t possibly have been predicted, right? (No, the answer is no). Based on how Diamondbacks fans sounded, as that news dropped, the broken bone was a death knell for the season. They don’t have anyone to step in to provide even a fraction of their fractured centerfielder’s production.
You know who else sustained an injury no one could’ve possibly seen coming? Andre Ethier fouled a ball literally off the perfect part of his leg to take him out for a prolonged period of time. Now, obviously Ethier isn’t Pollock. That isn’t the point here.
The point is that the Dodgers’ depth meant there was another player to immediately step up when Ethier went down. Watching Carl Crawford flail around at the plate and play defense like this (courtesy of Chad Moriyama) wasn’t ideal by any stretch, but if he struggles, in steps Scott Van Slyke, Trayce Thompson, Kiké Hernandez or whoever. The point is: The Dodgers have options.
Carl Crawford playing left field in a nutshell. pic.twitter.com/y1As45hnod
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) April 5, 2016
Options are great, especially in a season that involves playing roughly a million games. Injuries happen. Slumps happen. Crawford happens. In the Times’ case, narratives happen, no matter how obviously flawed they might be.