Behind The Series: Dodgers Off To Fast StartDouglas Benton. 16th April, 2012 - 11:38 pm
The Los Angeles Dodgers have carried forward the momentum from new ownership to a 9-1 record after sweeping the San Diego Padres. See how Matt Kemp has picked up where he left off in 2011 and a good first start for Ted Lilly.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
In case you missed the memo last year, Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball and is off to another terrific start in 2012. Against the Padres, he went 7-for-10 with four home runs, seven RBI and four walks. Kemp is hitting .487 with a .523 on-base percentage and a 1.026 slugging percentage as one of the top performers in the early season.
Ted Lilly's first start of the year was a good one on Saturday. The veteran left-hander went seven innings of two hit ball and allowed just an unearned run to get the win. He was very efficient in throwing just 79 pitches and threw first pitch strikes to 18 of 24 batters. The Dodgers will need starting pitching depth behind Clayton Kershaw if it wants to continue its hot start.
The Dodgers have been one of the surprises this year at 9-1 after sweeping San Diego. The schedule has been soft so far with four games at San Diego (2-8), three versus Pittsburgh (3-6) and the last three against the Padres. Los Angeles won't face a team currently with a winning record until the Atlanta Braves on April 23. Building on the momentum from new ownership is attainable and key for the Dodgers this month.
San Diego Padres:
For a team that is going to struggle for wins, San Diego took a couple of tough losses last weekend. In Friday's loss, Andrew Cashner and Joe Thatcher walked four straight batters to end the game and the bullpen couldn't hold onto a 4-4 tie on Sunday. Any success in recent years has been attributed to strong late game pitching, but the bullpen has been depleted by defections.
The Padres are batting .191 as a team with six home runs as the line-up lacks impact hitters. Hitters like Will Venable and Chase Hundley are serviceable, but one young hitter who will be counted on in the future is first baseman Yonder Alonso. He is hitting .233 with two doubles, but has seven strikeouts in nine games.
The road doesn't get any easier for San Diego the rest of the month. The Padres travel to a tough place at Colorado before home series against Philadelphia and Washington before traveling to San Francisco. They figure to be among the bottom third teams throughout the year and a tough April won't help that out.
Follow Doug on twitter @DougBenton