Written by Debbie White, Ravine Report Contributor
The season isn’t quite over, so perhaps a postmortem is slightly premature. But after attending 5 games in the last 10 days, my season is over.
When I wrote my mid-year report back in July, the Dodgers were 41-51 and my personal record was 8-11. The team was struggling like crazy and things seemed dire. They couldn’t score runs. They had a bad owner, bad players, bad karma. Ok, so the owner is still bad. Actually, he’s worse than ever. But thanks in no small part to Don Mattingly, the team went about its business and, with a few personnel changes, put together a surprising and way-more-than-respectable second half. My final tally: 29 games attended, 15-14 record – which somehow seems fitting, since as I write this, their overall record is 78-77.
It turned into a very memorable season. I saw Clayton Kershaw throw a complete game shutout in June and win his 20th game in September. I saw him beat Tim Lincecum twice. I saw Matt Kemp join the 30/30 club. I saw him hit 3 doubles and a home run in the same game. I saw the team start and end their Dodger Stadium season by beating the Giants. I saw them score 15 runs in a game – twice! Heck, I even saw Aaron Miles hit a home run. In some ways it was a really satisfying year.
Will Clayton Kershaw win the N.L. Cy Young Award? He has earned it.
Will Matt Kemp win the N.L. MVP? He deserves to.
To have witnessed these two supremely talented players have such spectacular seasons is truly a gift that I will never forget. I hope their achievements are rewarded on the national stage.
Many important questions remain for the off-season. Will they extend Kemp? Try to lock up some of Kershaw’s arbitration years? What about Andre Ethier? Will they go after Prince Fielder? How are they going to work around the Juan Uribe contract? How much money is Colletti going to throw at Juan Rivera? What should they do about James Loney? With Rubby De La Rosa on the shelf for probably most of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery, who besides Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly will make up the starting rotation? Will Hiroki Kuroda agree to return for another year?
A few things seem a little clearer. Dee Gordon and Jerry Sands appear to have earned themselves an excellent shot at being starters next year. Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra should be in the bullpen, making a potent 1-2 late inning punch.
Some things will forever remain inexplicable. Why does Mattingly like bunting so much? Why is Eugenio Velez on the team? Why did Ned Colletti trade Trayvon Robinson? If only we knew. In the meantime, see you in 2012.