Fire Jim Tracy

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Power of Two

The pundits still don't believe. Stark gives us his Top-10 Improved Teams List and DePo's work goes unheralded. And that's to be expected, I suppose.

But Stark does drop one interesting line: with Sabean's spree at nursing home for aging ballplayers, Stark proclaims the Giants to be the new favorites in the West.

My view? It may come down to two players. Assuming arguendo that the offense got neither better nor worse in the offseason (old starters: Beltre, Finley, Green, Cora / new starters: Drew, Kent, Valentin, Choi), the fate of our 2005 Blue Crew may depend on how well Brad Penny and Derek Lowe perform.

We can reasonably expect Odalis Perez and Jeff Weaver to repeat their 2004 performances as above-average-to-very-good starting pitchers (postseason performances notwithstanding). We can also expect the fifth mystery starter spot not to be a complete disaster--we simply have too many options and prospects available. A revitalized Edwin Jackson looks like the most promising possibility.

But Penny and Lowe--the two men who will be expected to start about 40% of our games--are up in the air. Lowe's roller-coaster track record gives us no clear clues--will we get the 2002 Cy Young contender or the 2004 hard-luck pitcher of the 5.42 ERA? We're intrigued by unsubstantiated conjecture that Lowe will thrive at Dodger Stadium--but, at this point, that's all it is--unsubstantiated guesswork.

And Penny? Can anyone say with any reasonable certainty how Penny will rebound from a freak injury that apparently no pitcher has ever suffered before (IIRC)? He looked absolutely phenomenal in his Dodger debut, but will baseball ever see that Penny again?

If Lowe and Penny perform the way Dodger fans hope they will, the 2005 Dodger starting rotation will be the best in the division. But if not, DePo will have an expensive bust on his hands and the Carlos Perez comparisons will be lining Plaschkers' columns before you know it.

Excited yet?

1 Comments:

  • One can nitpick over how well the D-Backs or Mets did in the offseason, but this paragraph does not reflect reality as we know it:

    They may not be the Big Red Machine reincarnate yet. But this team is better, after acquiring Eric Milton, Ramon Ortiz, Joe Randa, Kent Mercker and Rich Aurilia --even if the Great American Ballpark isn't exactly a perfect fit for Milton and Ortiz, two of the five active pitchers who have served up 40 gopherballs in a season.

    By Blogger Steve, at 1/27/2005 10:30:00 PM  

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