Matt Kemp, top, celebrates with Andre Ethier after Ethier walked with the… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Like taut, nervous little games? Like it when the game’s outcome seems at stake in most every inning?
Have the Dodgers got a team for you.
Half of the Dodgers’ first 18 games have been decided by a single run. And I don’t think this is going to prove some aberration as the season progresses.
If the Dodgers are going to actually contend, they’re going to have play a lot – and win a lot – of very close games. That’s just the way they’re built. They are not going to be confused with the Texas Rangers. They’re not going to pound teams into submission.
They’re going to have to get solid pitching, play good defense and muster up enough offense. Pitching is going to have to keep them in games, while the offense tries to piece enough runs together around its lonely one-two punch of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
“We anticipate in being in all these games,” said manager Don Mattingly “We’re going to be in tight games. We’re going to be in a lot more of these than blowouts.
“It’s going to be the team that gets the big hit, that makes the big play, that makes the pitch when you need it, that wins these games.”
The Dodgers are 6-3 in one-run games. And they’re 2-0 in their only two-run games. The only other team in the majors to have appeared in as many one-run games are the Diamondbacks, who are a reverse 3-6.
Winning close games, of course, means their young bullpen will have to continue to thrive. And when you’re dealing with youth, that’s a difficult thing to count on.
But that’s your 2012 Dodgers. When you’re offensively limited – Kemp and Ethier have combined for 13 home runs, the rest of the team three – you had best be able to win the tight ones.
Think of it as a season of nightly drama.
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