Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Los Angeles team, spends a lot of money on high profile players, key players get injured, coach gets fired, team underwhelms and searches for answers.
It seems like the 2013 Dodgers are headed down the same path the 2012-13 Lakers were on, yet there seems to be much more light at the end of the tunnel.
Entering this season, the Dodgers payroll was the largest in baseball history at $220 million, but the talent didn’t warrant the amount of money the club was spending. Josh Beckett isn’t worth $17 million and Ted Lilly sure isn’t worth $11 million, yet the Dodgers had lofty expectations coming into the season.
Meanwhile, the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard and expected him to carry the franchise to their 17th championship only to realize they had no supporting cast around the Big-4.
So why is the Dodgers season so similar to the season most LA fans just watched end in disastrous fashion in the Los Angeles Lakers?
For starters, the team has undergone significant injuries and haven’t been able to all play together, but for a couple games in San Francisco before Hanley Ramirez injured his hamstring.
Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, Ramirez, Beckett, Lilly, Chad Billingsley, Zack Greinke to name a few have all missed time this season as the Dodgers have been waiting to get everyone back in order to truly evaluate the team.
It also wouldn’t be a Dodgers season if manager Don Mattingly wasn’t on the hot seat as it seemed inevitable last week that he was going to have his Mike Brown moment at a local Arby’s.
Mattingly bought himself some time with the Dodgers recent strong play, but if the team falters in their series against the Angels, his seat will definitely get hotter.
In looking at the cast of characters, Clayton Kershaw is Kobe as his performance through the first part of the season has been nothing short of incredible.
Then first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is comparable to Pau Gasol in terms of he always shows up to play, he’s incredibly consistent and doesn’t cause a stir. Gonzalez was finally outspoken about the Mattingly situation and put the onus on the players, a very Gasol-like remark.
However, the thing everyone is trying to understand are the struggles of Matt Kemp. That sounds familiar to Lakers fans wondering why Dwight Howard wasn’t the same player he was before his back surgery.
Kemp’s off-season shoulder surgery wasn’t supposed to be a problem coming into the season, but it’s clear that it’s bothering him at the plate. His plate discipline has been un-Kemplike as he’s chasing pitches more and more while striking out at a frighteningly high rate.
Even the Dodgers defense has taken on the personality of the Lakers as they committed three errors last night and are tied for the most errors in baseball with 40 errors in 49 games.
The whole “wait for Steve Nash” line is comparable to waiting for Hanley Ramirez to get back into the lineup as the left-side of the Dodgers infield barely has a pulse at the plate.
Last night’s win against the Angels is reminiscent of so many Lakers games this season when you thought the team had turned a corner, only for them to lose to bad teams and put together long losing streaks.
With over 100 games left in the season, the Dodgers still have time to get back into the NL West race and even compete for a wild card spot, but they’re going to need to start winning at a very high rate.