Matt Kemp, right, and Andre Ethier exchange a high five on April 23. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
Could the Avengers save the world if they were just Ironman, Captain America and six nice guys from the local police department?
Really, what kind of a super team would that be? If you want to win big, you need some depth. Some guys who can swing the hammer, pull surprises out of that quiver, get green and mean.
The Dodgers are currently a two-headed offensive team. Matt Kemp is off to a remarkable offensive start, and Andre Ethier to a terrific one.
And then there’s everybody else.
The formula has worked well enough for the Dodgers to start 13-6 and take an early three-game lead in the National League West, but it smacks of short-term solution.
Could two guys having career years actually be enough?
“It can be, but you can’t really expect them to stay on record pace,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “It’s hard to believe that’s going to happen.”
Not unless you think Kemp is headed for 90 homers.
Dee Gordon needs to do his thing in the leadoff spot, the Ellis boys — Mark and A.J. — have to be solid role players. And at some point Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe and James Loney are going to have to offer more than some once-a-week contribution.
Nineteen games into the season Kemp and Ethier have accounted for 55 of the Dodgers’ 78 RBI and 14 of their 17 home runs.
“With me, you always talk about kind of having the big two,” Mattingly said. “Two guys in that order that you can build around. We’ve got two pretty good players to build around.”
The big two, they currently have. The builders, not so much (Rivera, .263, 1 homer, 9 RBI; Loney, .222, 1, 4; and Uribe, .255, 0, 5).
Long term, that’s just not going to get it done. Those three don’t need to have career years, but at least average personal years.
“We’re getting better. We’re OK,” Mattingly said.
“We’re not talking about having somebody drive in 120 runs. We’re talking about guys chipping in on a daily basis. It needs to be different guys. It can’t be the same guy every day.”
And it can’t be the same two leading the charge every day. The season only figures to get tougher. Those super villains have a way of regrouping, and if Mattingly is going to do his Nick Fury routine, he’d better have more than two contributors.