The Dodgers have a good team. They play in a division where nobody is going to run away with things. But watching the Dodgers play on Sunday night, they are missing a few ingredients to put them over the top. Kemp, Manny and Ethier are top notch players. Furcal is good from the lead off position and needs to get back from his injury. But it just seems like the Dodgers are two players short.
From one through five, they are equal to anyone in their league. Furcal (when he isn't injured), Kemp, Ethier, Manny and Loney put pressure on any pitcher in the league. But what happens all too often is that two or three of those players get on base and the guys behind them like Blake, Russell and DeWitt allow the rally to wither. And so with the core five being all good offensive players, the Dodgers should score a lot more runs than they do. They are in the middle of the pack in team OPS.
Likewise, the Dodgers are short in the starting rotation. They have Kuroda and Kershaw they can count on but no other starter, including Billingsley (who is out hurt) is over 100 in ERA+. Ely looks promising as his K/9 and K/BB ratios all show him to be better than his results so far indicate. But any team that depends on Billingsley and Padilla for a pennant run is difficult at best.
Because they are short in the line up and short in the rotation, the Dodgers can't put together any kind of long string of victories and will not be able to put away the NL West with any kind of ease. Such weaknesses will allow the Padres, the Giants and the Rockies an ability to stay with the Dodgers and overcome them at the end.