Well, it’s been about two weeks since the Los Angeles Dodgers 2012 season ended. It was bad enough that it was ended at the hands of the rival San Francisco Giants. But to make matters worse, the Giants have still found themselves playing October baseball, worsening the blow for the Dodger faithful.
But the future is looking bright for the Dodgers. Gone is the horrible ownership of the McCourt era. In are free-spending Guggenheim group who have already put their stamp on the team this year, with a dramatic make-over.
However, before we look forward, let’s take a look back at a season that started with so much promise and hope, only to have it fizzle away due to injuries, slumps and roster turnover.
The Dodgers started off the fast, taking three of four in their opening series against the San Diego Padres. They then came back home to sweep both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Padres, giving them a 9-1 record. The momentum carried them through the rest of the month and well into May.
They were beating teams they had no business beating, especially when you look at the players they were sending out there. Here was the Dodgers opening day lineup: 1B, James Loney, 2B, Mark Ellis, SS, Dee Gordon, 3B, Juan Uribe, LF, Juan Rivera, CF, Matt Kemp, RF, Andre Ethier, C, A.J. Ellis.
Now I realize that many of these players were major players during their attempt sneak in to the wildcard, but keep in mind, Kemp, Rivera, Ellis and Gordon suffered major injuries that kept them out of action for extended periods of time.
To compensate for the injuries, the Dodgers were throwing out minor league players such as Elian Herrera, Scott Van Slyke, Ivan DeJesus Jr., and Tony Gwynn, Jr. Utility players like Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Adam Kennedy found themselves thrust into key roles.
Guys Uribe and Loney, who were just flat-out terrible, were pushed aside. Loney was dealt away in the big August blockbuster deal and Uribe was relegated to the bench.
Yet, the Dodgers kept winning. Kemp, with his injured hamstring, would end up on the disabled list and miss a big chunk of games. Even as far as into June, amid all the injuries, the Dodgers were 17 games over .500 at 42-25. Unfortunately, that is where the wheels fell off.
Whether it was the minor league players hitting the wall or coming back down to Earth, the Dodgers suddenly stopped hitting. The lack of hitting resulted in a lack of runs scored.
A June trip through California was their eventual undoing. They were sitting in good shape, 17 games over .500 and five games ahead in first place. They were then swept by the Oakland Athletics and then dropped two of three to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Their lead over the Giants was now only three games. And lo and behold, who was next on the schedule? None other than the hated Giants up at AT&T Park.
To say that the Dodgers lost all three games would be an understatement. They were swept, humiliated, battered, bruised and broken. They were shutout in each game. Think about that. The last time the Dodgers were shut out in a three-game series was 75 years ago.
Also it came at the hands of the Giants. In San Francisco. When they needed to win three games to catch the Dodgers. It was the perfect storm.
The Dodgers limped their way to the All-Star break losing their final three game and with a record of 47-40. Crazily enough, they actually held a half-game lead over the Giants for first place.
All in all, one could consider that a successful half of a season. An ownership change, a depleted roster who then suffered multitude of injuries, sitting atop the National League West was no small feat.
Little did anyone have any idea what was in store for them in the second half of the year. Trades, more injuries, slumping and an untimely collision with the center field wall were all on the menu for the second half of the 2012 season.