The NL West is weak, they said. Beating up on the Rockies, D-Backs, and Padres are hardly a fair test of skill, they said. Just wait until they get out of that lousy division and we’ll see what’s what, they said.
So, how do you like us now? After a nine game run through the NL East – six on the road – the Dodgers enjoy their offday with a 7-2 result and an 8.5 game lead on the division.
Oh, there’s still going to be excuses. “But the Phillies are only 4 games over .500!” (They’re still leading the East and are the defending World Series Champions.) “But you missed Johan Santana and Carlos Delgado & Jose Reyes were injured!” (Okay, that was a nice break, but the Mets were still the #3 team in the land on the most recent Baseball Prospectus Hit List).
I take your reality and I substitute my own: the Dodgers are getting this done without their best hitter, second-best starter, and a shortstop whose game has completely disappeared. This team isn’t even close to operating at full capacity.
So sure, this weekend series against the Angels will provide another test, and the Dodger rotation couldn’t be lined up better for it – Kershaw, Wolf, & Billingsley. But make no mistake: lousy competition or not, this team is for real, and there’s still room to improve.
Here’s a question, though, which I’ve asked before: why is Eric Milton in the rotation over Jeff Weaver? Jeff’s now started three games for the Dodgers and has been nothing if not consistent – 5 IP/1 ER against Arizona; 5 IP/3 ER against San Francisco; and now 5 IP/1 ER against the Mets, while apparently batting a blister. What more could you ask from what is basically an emergency fifth starter?