Would you say that Bill Plaschke is a glass-half-full sort-of guy? Or a glass-half-empty sort-of guy? Here's a bit of today's evidence:
- The Dodgers can be confident in nearly every player at every position, except the most important player in the most tenuous spot.
Who will take the ball in their first game in the first full week of October?
The personality of a postseason series is entirely established by the team's No. 1 starting pitcher. Most of the other top NL contenders each have two; the Dodgers don't have one.
"We've improved our pitching," Colletti said Tuesday. "But time will tell if we've done enough."
Cole Hamels is little (if any) better than the Dodgers' best starters. Matt Cain is little better (if any) than the Dodgers' best starters. The Rockies' best starters are no better than the Dodgers' best starters. The Braves' best starters are no better than the Dodgers' best starters.
It's fair to say that the Dodgers can't quite match Carpenter and Wainwright. But nobody can. Not in the National League, anyway. It's fairly rare for one team to feature two legitimate (at this point) Cy Young candidates.
What gets Plaschke's goat, I suppose, is that Chad Billingsley leads the Dodgers with just a dozen wins and nobody else has more than nine. Clayton Kershaw, with the lowest ERA (2.94) and (perhaps) the most talent, is just 8-7. It's been an odd season that way.
Is this a problem, though? Sure, everybody wants their starters to average seven innings per start. But few pitchers these days actually do that, and anyway the Dodgers are blessed with fine relief pitchers. Righties Jonathan Broxton, Ramon Troncoso and Ronald Belisario all have sub-3.00 ERA's, and lefty Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill have both been highly effective lately.
Plaschke's been around for a while. He must remember Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, which won two straight World Series despite the lack of a single starting pitcher with more than 15 wins in either season. These Dodgers aren't as good as those Reds. But they're good enough to win a World Series.
(Addendum: The New York Times on the Dodgers' oh-so-twisty season.)