SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today: Los Angeles Dodgers(2009: 95-67, NL West champion).
STARTING PITCHING Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley both have the stuff to be a No. 1 starter, but neither one has displayed enough on the mound yet to be given that role. In fact, the Dodgers are so lacking an ace, that on Opening Day they started Vicente Padilla. (Thanks to Joe T. of Los Angeles for submitting this joke. Via lineup card.)
LINEUP The Dodger lineup is a nice mix of young stars Matt Kemp, Andre Either, James Loney and still productive older stars(Rafael Furcal and Manny Ramirez). In the eighth spot in the order is another veteran, 36-year-old Casey Blake, who hit .280 with 18 home runs and 79 RBI last season. And this year he has shaved off his beard, so he should even be more productive now that he won't be tired out from all that axe murdering.
BULLPEN L.A.'s shaky rotation is buoyed by an outstanding bullpen. George Sherrill, Hong Chih-Kuo, and Ramon Troncoso pave the way for closer Jonathan Broxton. Broxton throws a four-seam fastball that comes in between 98 and 101 mph. He also throws away anything that is healthy or at least not deep-fried. Because that stuff is disgusting.
BENCH The Dodger bench features Ronnie Belliard, Garrett Anderson and Brad Ausmus, who are 35, 37 and 41 respectively. It's hard to imagine Los Angeles will get much of a contribution from any of them. In fact, Ausmus was just placed on the disabled list for the first time in his 17-year career. Amazing, huh? Somehow teams have employed Brad Ausmus for 17 years. Just mind-boggling.
OVERALL Los Angeles' obvious weakness the last two post-seasons was their starting pitching. So they made a big move in the offseason and let Randy Wolf sign with the Brewers. Hmm. I suspect that wasn't enough.