Can the Dodgers Keep It up?

We are all happy with the 22-10 record of the Dodgers in the first months of the season. Few of us expected them to do this well. I am among those who question if it can continue. Adrian Beltré over his years as a Dodger (based on a 162 game season) has a career batting average of .262. He is currently hitting .385. He averages 20 home runs but at his current pace that translates to 45 this season. His 78 RBI average at the rate he's going, would 130 runs. Do you think that's going to happen?

Paul LoDuca is current hitting .381, but in his Dodger career his overall average is .285. Because of that big career year he had, he's averages 15 HRs, but he's hit just one so far. His career RBI amount to 74 and he driven in 13. His on base percentage of .341 is currently .402. He appears to be putting up numbers which may not hold up.

Cesar Izturis is batting .287 with a .320 on base percentage well above his career stats of .246 and .270.

Alex Cora who many fans would like to see replaced, is having a good season so far. His BA is .291 with a .355 OBP. Careerwise those figures coming into 2004 were .241 and .301. Shawn Green a .284 career hitter with an OBP of .357 plus 30 home runs, is hitting .252 with a .370 OBP and his 7 home runs would be 35 if his current pace is maintained.

Juan Encarnacion coming into this season had a batting average of .270 with a .313 OBP and he was good for 21 home runs and 87 RBI. So far in 2004 he is hitting just .237 with a .274 on base average, but has 5 homers and 19 RBI which if maintained would be 25 and 95. Dave Roberts currently on the DL is doing his usual job. His career BA is .261 and he's hitting .265. His OBP was .334 but is sitting at .382 and his stolen base average of 51 based on a 162 game schedule would reach 75 if he continued at his season rate so far.

Milton Bradley is pretty much on par with his career stats but everyone was looking at his 2003 career year which at this point seems like it might have been an aberration, reminding us of Paul LoDuca a few years ago. We are in first place despite an overall poor starting rotation thus far. The bullpen is doing fine, not quite up to last year's records, but still very good.

Therefore, based on the past, where we are today and where we might go in the next four months or so, we are happy, but I can't say, yet, that this is the year we have waited for. Too early to tell, and the Giants and Diamondbacks could come back.

The keys are:
1. Izturis and Cora have to keep delivering at the plate.
2. Beltré has to have a career year.
3. LoDuca has to meet his career averages.
4. Roberts has to come back healthy.
5. Shawn Green has to at least maintain his current production if not improve on it.
6. Encarnacion has to beef up his batting average and on base percentage. and maintain his home run and RBI paces.
7. Nomo has to return to some semblance of his 2003 performance.

Ishii has to continue pitching as well as he has this season to date and Weaver has to start winning. If the bullpen continues as it has been going, that's fine.

For now, Dodger fans can and do feel good, a welcome change.

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