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Don Mattingly calls for caution about Dodgers' fast start

Manager points to last season's Colorado Rockies, who won 17 of their first 25 games before faltering. 'It's too early to think anything other than that we got off to a good start,' Mattingly says.

May 01, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis, left, turns a double play in front of Colorado baserunner Carlos Gonzalez during Tuesday's game. A fast start didn't do much for the Rockies' postseason aspirations in 2011.
Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis, left, turns a double play in front of… (Barry Gutierrez / Associated…)

DENVER — The Colorado Rockies started the 2011 season the way the Dodgers have started this one.

"So much for 17-8, right?" Rockies Manager Jim Tracy said Tuesday.

The 2011 Rockies, who won 17 of their first 25 games, finished the season with a losing record and in fourth place in the National League West. Over their last 139 games, they were 56-83.

"I remember that," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said. "See, that's what I'm saying. Nobody is going to remember a good start."

The Dodgers were a National League-best 16-7 in April.

"It's too early to think anything other than that we got off to a good start," Mattingly said.

He continued to stress that players other than Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier had to produce.

"They're at a pace history says they can't really sustain," Mattingly said. "Maybe they can, but it's really asking a lot."

In the case of the 2011 Rockies, they stopped hitting in May. Later in the month, they lost pitcher Jorge De La Rosa to a season-ending elbow operation.

"Everything started to spiral in the other direction," Tracy said.

Most baseball veterans believe that how a fast-starting team responds to adversity determines whether it will reach the postseason or finish like the 2011 Rockies.

Tracy recalled the words of current Chicago White Sox Manager Robin Ventura, whom he managed with the Dodgers in 2003 and 2004.

"Over the course of 162 games, all 30 teams will step into a pothole," Tracy said. "Every single one of them at some point in time will go through something like that. The teams that figure out quicker than others how to get the hell out of the pothole that they stepped in, that will go a long way in determining what your season will look like."

Tweet, tweet

There was a major online event this week: Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw joined Twitter.

"Yeah …" Kershaw sighed.

In three days, Kershaw's account, @ClaytonKersh22, gained more than 18,000 followers.

He has only posted two messages on the social networking service: one announcing that he joined Twitter and another explaining that catcher A.J. Ellis pressured him into doing so.

Ellis (@AJEllis17) is among several other Twitter users on the team.

One of the most active and followed accounts belongs to Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp). On Tuesday, Kemp posted a picture of his new shoes. Last week, he posted pictures from the inside of a dentist's office.

Dee Gordon (@skinnyswag9) recently posted a picture of Aaron Harang's badly bruised foot that was the topic of several clubhouse conversations.

"It's just to have fun with the fans," Gordon said.

During spring training, closer Javy Guerra (@JavyGuerra54) asked his followers to choose his entrance music.

Other players on Twitter include James Loney (JamesLoney_7), Josh Lindblom (@JoshLindblom52), Justin Sellers (@SellBlock_12), Todd Coffey (@ToddCoffey60), Blake Hawksworth (@BlakeHawk425) and Jerry Hairston Jr. (@TheRealJHair).

Short hops

Juan Rivera (hamstring) is expected to return to the lineup for the series finale in Colorado on Wednesday. … Reliever Ronald Belisario is eligible to return Friday from a 25-game drug suspension. Because he is out of minor league options, the Dodgers would have to expose him to waivers and risk losing him if they do not immediately add him to their major league roster. A decision of what to do with Belisario hasn't been made, according to Mattingly.

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