Miami Marlins @ Los Angeles Dodgers Series Preview: The Hanley Ramirez Is Missing Series


May 3, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (13) is assisted off the field during the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT

The Miami Marlins continue their west coast trip into Los Angeles to face a Dodgers team that has lost seven consecutive games. The two bottom teams in the National League will get a chance to beat up one another. The Marlins will be lucky in that they avoid Clayton Kershaw, but the Dodgers are not as lucky as they have to face Jose Fernandez in the opener.

To preview the series between the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers series I had an email chat with Scott Andes , the editor of Lasordas Lair, the Fansided Dodgers site. Scott and his staff do an excellent job of covering everything Dodgers related. Be sure to check out their great site for all Dodgers-related news and updates.

Scott and I chatted about everything from the early struggles for Matt Kemp and the Dodgers to Hanley Ramirez‘s injury woes.

Without any further ado, here is my chat with Scott:

Ehsan Kassim: The Dodgers come into the series with the Marlins as losers of seven straight and are currently only four games better than the lowly Marlins. What’s wrong with the team?

Scott Andes: What’s wrong with the Dodgers? In one word Everything. It’s not just one particular part of the game that has failed for the Dodgers but nearly every aspect. Of course the injuries have killed the team, especially the injuries to the pitching staff. The Dodgers currently have nine players on the disabled list. They have three starting pitchers on the DL, and not one, not two, but three of their regular position players are ailing. Besides the injuries, the Dodgers have three main problems, 1. and ineffective bullpen. The Dodger pitching staff as a whole is ranked 22nd in MLB with a 4.21 Staff ERA, but their bullpen has been one of the worst in Baseball. The Dodgers relievers rank 26th in MLB with a 4.71 ERA, and have walked the eighth most amount of batters.

And as for the offense, it’s nothing but a huge failure. Obviously the big headline grabber has been the cub’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers are batting .213 with RISP (59 for 227). However the bigger problem with the Dodger offense has been their atrocious base running. The Dodgers are one of the worst and least aggressive base running teams in the majors and it has been killing them. When teams don’t take extra bases and don’t go from first to third on base hits, then they are not going to score a lot of runs. There is a stat that records this, it’s called hitting advancement opportunities with men on base. Or HAR for short. This stat measures how often a team goes from first to third, and second to home on hits. The Dodgers rank 28th in all of Baseball in taking those extra bases, They have an HAR rating of -2.17. That means they take negative bases. The league average is around 0.00. When you play station to station Baseball, you wont score many runs. So when the Dodgers get a rally going they only move up one base at a time on each hit. So they have to get three or four hits in an inning just to score one run, because the guys can’t go from first to third on hits.

The Dodgers are also one of the worst defensive teams in the game. The Dodgers were supposed to be a team centered around pitching and defense and it has been terrible. So the Dodgers are one of the worst defensive teams. Their base running is atrocious, and their bullpen blows any and all leads obtained. basically the Dodgers fail at almost every aspect of the game.

May 8, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Matt Kemp (27) follows through on a single against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ehsan: Hanley Ramirez was hurt immediately upon his return from the Disabled List. Are the Dodgers cursed? What’s wrong with Matt Kemp? Will he be able to return to MVP form?

Scott: We have long wondered if the Dodgers are cursed, because they can’t seem to keep any of their players healthy. Hanley returned for three games and then pulled his hamstring, just running the bases. This whole season has been a joke.

We are hoping Kemp can return to his MVP form soon, but after having off-season shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, it may take him a while. Some players are never the same after returning from an injury of that severity. A shoulder injury like that can really affect your swing, and Kemp wasn’t even swinging a bat until late January this year. But Kemp has years of quality play to back himself up, and we hope he should be fine.

Ehsan: Clayon Kershaw has been amazing, like usual, when do the Dodgers get him signed to an extension?

Scott: Oh yes indeed. Kershaw’s complete and utter domination against all opponents is always a refreshing joy for Dodger fans. We expect for Kershaw to be locked up to one of the largest contracts in Baseball sometime this winter. Kershaw has told the Dodgers that he does not want to discuss contract extensions due the season. He can have whatever he wants in any way he wants it. You hand him a blank check and let him fill it out. We expect for Kershaw to garner a contract on the range of around 250 million dollars. What the Dodgers should do is just give him part ownership in the team. That is how special he is. That wonderful man is worth every cent.

Ehsan: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series

Scott: The first game will feaute rookie Matt Magill, who the Dodgers had to call-up to replace the old and rusty Ted Lilly. Magill is 22 years old and very wet behind the ears. But he has potential. He’s a fastball, slider changeup, curveball guy. who’s best secondary pitch is his power slider. he’s still working on his command and learning how to pitch, but has a lot of potential. He can get up into the mid 90’s occassionally but usually 92-94 is what can be expected form him.

May 6, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; American-born Korean singer Tiffany Hwang, member of the South Korean girl group, Girls

The second game the Fish will have to face South Korean star Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been very good for the Dodgers. His strikeout to walk ratio is amazing, as it was when he pitched in the KBO. Ryu is a power pitcher, so primarily, fastball, slider, changeup. He throws hard!

The third game the Fish will face lefty veteran Chris Capuano. Cappy has barely pitched this year. The Dodgers were going to keep him in the pen as a long man spot starter, back when they had all of their “pitching surplus” Once that was obliterated, and they lost Zach Greinke, the Dodgers had to put Cappy back in the rotation. Then he got hurt runnig from the bullpen during the Greinke brawl, and pulled his calf muscle  He made one lousy start before going on the DL. He has hardly pitched at all this season and his last start was a disaster. I hope he can somehow get it back together, because when he is healthy, he can be very effective.

Ehsan: Make a bold prediction for this series. Which Dodger player will step up and have a huge series? Can the Dodgers end their 7 game losing streak?

Scott:  Well, I am hoping the Dodgers can gain some confidence back during this series and win two of three. But with the way they are playing, I don’t know if they can beat anybody right now. That;s how much they suck. This season has been a train wreck  and I think they are so bad, they could possibly lose 100 games. I guess we’ll see which team sucks more in the battle of the cellar dwellers  I am hoping and praying the Dodgers can turn it around, but they suck balls so much this year, that I have little to no confidence.

A big thank you to Scott for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Dodgers fans the best of luck in the upcoming series. If you get a chance, please check out Lasordas Lair for some of the best Dodgers content on the internet.