This is unprecedented around here: just about 24 hours after I made a post singing the praises of Blake DeWitt, I pretty much need to make the same post again. Sure, I could just update last night’s post, but what would the fun be in that?
I’m not going to reiterate his great story; you can see all that in the previous post. But I am going to point out what he did in his first three at-bats tonight.
1st inning: singles to right, scores a run
3rd inning: singles to right, drives in two
5th inning: hits inside-the-park homer, drives in two
That’s right, an inside-the-parker. Kid gets his second MLB home run in two days, and it’s one of the most exciting plays in baseball. Stats aside, when’s the last time you saw a Dodger Stadium crowd latch on to a young player this quickly? Even with all of the great new faces this team has had over the last three years, I can’t remember any of them becoming such fan favorites.
You know what, I don’t usually do this, but I just have to interrupt this post with another full-spread picture.
That’s DeWitt celebrating with Martin and Hu after plating that inside-the-parker, and I can’t get enough of it.
Anyway, he’s 3-4 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. Remember when we were praying that he would at least be mediocre at best at third? He’s carrying the team tonight. Sure, he did commit an error that led to a run, but I’d say he more than made up for it, no? He’s now hitting .321/.402/.494 on the season, and I still can’t even believe I typed that. About Blake DeWitt. What is happening in the universe right now?
Let’s make it as simple as possible: the kid who was decent but not great in A/AA ball last year is statistically one of the top 5 offensive third baseman in MLB right now. He’s 2nd in batting average at .321, behind only Chipper Jones’ insane .425. He’s 4th in OPS, behind only Jones, Aramis Ramirez, and David Wright. How about this? He’s on pace for 101 RBI this season. Think about that for a second.
I still haven’t decided if he’s for real or not. Players who OBP .338 in A-ball in 2007 don’t raise that 70 points upon jumping three levels right to the bigs. They just don’t. But the fact is, DeWitt has. It may be highly unlikely that he keeps this up, but he’s only gotten better in the last week, so I don’t care whether it’s Nomar or Andy LaRoche at his heels, DeWitt deserves the chance to play everyday until he proves otherwise.
Speaking of “deserved chances”, I can’t say how depressed this story from today’s LA Times makes me:
Torre said Garciaparra might need to complete a minor league rehabilitation assignment depending on how quickly he progresses. Is his spot as the everyday third baseman secure upon his return?
“He really didn’t do anything wrong, he just got hurt,” Torre said. “I think he certainly needs an opportunity to pick that up.”
Didn’t do anything wrong? What do you call the .226 batting average, 66 OPS+, and 2 errors in 8 games (plus, even from that small sample, at least 2 others I recall that were generously not called errors.) Like I said, I’m not convinced that Blake DeWitt is the real-deal, long-term solution at 3B. But I am convinced that Nomar is not, so by all means just leave the kid be, the way he’s playing. Deal? Deal.
Also, Hong-Chih Kuo in relief of tonight’s one sore spot, Hiroki Kuroda? 3.2 hitless innings – that’s 11 outs, 8 of which came via the strikeout. Simply dominating, and a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
Remember folks, early game tomorrow! Let’s go for the sweep.