Early Season Struggles

The Dodgers have stumbled out of the gate and are not looking like the previous winners of the National League West. Fortunately, the season is still young and now is not the time to panic. The Dodgers have time to correct their early troubles. Tyson Qualls breaks down the sources of their recent slump.

Starting Pitching

Vicente Padilla and Charlie Haegar have not impressed during their first trips to the mound of 2010. Padilla is currently nursing an injury and his 7.06 ERA hardly reflects the talent necessary of an opening day starter. Haegar was expected to challenge hitters and keep the game close, but has been rocked in his first season as a full time starter.

Chad Billingsly has also struggled, giving up 24 hits in 20 innings. Luckily for the Dodgers, Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw have been carrying the rest of the staff. That cannot last for an entire season and it is safe to say if the Dodgers can't find more than two consistent pitchers, October will find the squad watching playoff baseball from their couches.

A Lack of Manny

The recent three game sweep at the hands of the Mets, only further highlights their offensive struggles when Manny Ramirez is not in the line up. The Dodgers may be missing Juan Pierre more than ever this year. When Manny was suspended at the beginning of last season, Pierre stepped up admirably and the offense didn't miss a beat. This year, the Dodgers have been shut out three times in since he went on the disabled list.

Manny has made it clear that he is not going to return to the Dodgers next season, so if the youth revolution is Los Angeles is going to continue, they must find a way to hit without Man-Ram.

Getting to Broxton:

Jonathan Broxton has been lights out this season and has yet to give up a run in seven appearances. The rest of the bullpen has been about as consistent as the starters. Ramon Troncoso and Carlos Monasterios have been the only pitchers not named Broxton that have not given Joe Torre headaches.

Hong-Chih Kuo, Ronald Belisario, and George Sherrill all currently have earned run averages over seven. In tight games, the team has been let down by a relievers that frequently open the run flood-gates in the sixth, seventh, and eight innings.

Questions or Comments? Contact Tyson Qualls at tysonqsports@gmail.com