Quick Hits: Marlins / Dodgers preview with Lasorda’s Lair

As I promised, Kenny Shulsen of Lasorda’s Lair and I went ahead and did a quick three-question segment with each other as a preview to the current Marlins / Los Angeles Dodgers series. Kenny was unable to get his answers to me in time for the series preview post, but he was gracious enough to send them anyway, and he had a few questions for me as well with regards to the Fish.

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First off, here are my three questions and his answers.

1. What do you see as the biggest difference between 2011 Matt Kemp and the 2010 version?

He lost about 15 pounds in the off-season and he is clearly motivated by last years disappointing season. He has spent a lot of time with new first base coach Davey Lopes and seems much more focused on the field. His pitch recognition is also much better as he is finally laying off of breaking balls in the dirt. Most of all he just seems to be enjoying himself on the field again.

2. How much longer until we never hear about James Loney in a Dodgers uniform again?

The way he’s going it could be sooner than later. He is not only off to a terrible start this season, but he didn’t hit the second half of last year. The Dodgers have already called up one prospect in Jerry Sands, who can play first base and they have an outfielder in AAA named Trayvon Robinson who is off to a great start. It’s not far fetched that if Loney doesn’t start hitting by the end of next month, they could call up Robinson and move Sands to first. Loney is getting blasted in nearly every post you read on other Dodger blogs.

3. What are your first impressions of Jerry Sands?

His average is down, thanks to an 0-16 slump, but he has a great approach and I think it’s only a matter of time before he starts hitting. He has played solid defense, and had outfield assists in 2 games in the Cubs series. He also has a really solid makeup which will help him not get too excited if he starts going good and not get too down if he struggles. I got the chance to interview him when I was in LA last week and it’s amazing to think that in less than 2 years he made it from Rookie Ball to the bigs but he definitely acts like he belongs and his production will show he belongs sooner than later.

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And now his three questions and my responses.

1. The Marlins are playing exceptionally well despite Hanley Ramirez off [sic] to by far the worst start of his career. Is he battling an injury or what are team officials attributing his slow start to?

Sometimes a guy just struggles out of the gates. Sometimes he hits the ball and it doesn’t find the gaps like it would normally. This early in the season, it’s hard to get worked up or concerned about anything we’ve seen so far, especially if the explanations aren’t clear in the stats. It could very well be that he is struggling with a tweak here and there, but I attribute a good deal of these “struggles” with bad luck.

2. What’s are the biggest differences you’ve noticed between new manager Edwin Rodriguez and former manager Fredi Gonzalez’s managerial styles?

Not much honestly. Neither knows how to write up a proper lineup card, and both seem to be in love with Emilio Bonifacio, a guy most Marlins fans love to hate. They were both cut from the more passive type of manager, so there isn’t really much of a demeanor difference anyway. It just adds fuel to the whole “managers don’t contribute a whole lot” fire.

3. Third base seems to have been a revolving door for the Marlins this year. Is a healthy Donnie Murphy the answer or is there a prospect they can promote who would be  a more longterm solution?

Donnie Murphy is definitely not the long-term answer to the question of third base. At the beginning of the year, the Marlins were hoping and praying that former first-round draft pick Matt Dominguez would take the job and run with it, but he struggled and was option to Triple-A. He then followed that up by suffering an elbow injury and being knocked out of action for two months, pretty much ending his shot at coming up early to the majors. Right now, the Fish are content with a three-headed monster of Bonifacio, Murphy, and Greg Dobbs, with a dash of Wes Helms. No Marlins fan is content with such a concoction, but at this point it is the team’s only remaining choice.

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I’d like to thank Kenny for his time and wish him and Lasorda’s Lair the best of luck. Check them out if you have any interest in the goings on of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Topics: Donnie Murphy, Edwin Rodriguez, Fredi Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Dominguez, Matt Kemp, Miami Marlins

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