Gonzalez and Crawford are paying early dividends

LOS ANGELES -- You can't judge a player's value by one good month. You can't say the Los Angeles Dodgers got the better of their trade last August with the Boston Red Sox, because Boston is 16-7 and in first place in the AL East, while the Dodgers have just pulled back to .500.

But for all the flak the Dodgers have taken for their lack of pop from a record payroll, you also can't pin any of the blame so far on that trade. Maybe it was the rare transaction that works out well for both teams, the Red Sox getting a much-needed reboot and the Dodgers buying a new $250 million engine for their sputtering offense.

So far, it certainly looks that way.

Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez have looked rejuvenated with a change of scenery. Crawford got back to swinging a dynamic bat in the leadoff spot Friday and Gonzalez continued to drive everybody in during the Dodgers' 7-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers had the 29th-ranked offense coming into Friday. Imagine where they'd be without these two. Crawford has scored 18 runs. The next-closest Dodger, Mark Ellis, has scored 10 and might be done scoring for a while, as he left Friday's game with what looked like a pretty nasty strained quadriceps.

Gonzalez has driven in 17 runs. The next-closest Dodger, Matt Kemp, has pushed across 10.

"I've seen both those guys play enough to where that's what I'm accustomed to them doing," Josh Beckett said. "Carl Crawford hands down is one of the toughest guys I ever competed against, and I've told you guys that. I think he's just getting back to the things he does well."

The other two guys from that trade, Beckett and Nick Punto, are also adding some value. Beckett has pitched well at times, though he's five starts into his 2013 season and he has yet to win a game. Punto is hitting .346 and has played skillful defense wherever the Dodgers have played him. If Ellis goes on the disabled list, Punto could be in for a larger share of playing time.

Friday, Crawford and Gonzalez brought an AL East kind of look to Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers applied relentless offensive pressure for one of the few times this season.

Crawford crushed a couple of balls on the Dodgers' last homestand, but they both died at the warning track in the cool, damp, breezy conditions that prevail at Dodger Stadium at night. He finally got one over the fence here with his fifth-inning home run to center field.

"I heard how the ball really doesn't travel here too much at night, but golly, I hit a couple of those balls hard and thought they had a chance," Crawford said. "It was nice to see one get out tonight."