Carl Crawford Is Off To A Surprisingly Hot Start As The Dodgers Leadoff Guy
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By Enrique Rivera (Dodgers Correspondent) Follow @eriqwiththeq
When the Dodgers acquired Outfielder Carl Crawford last year, they definitely didn’t know what they were getting, it was a pretty much a gamble they were able to afford. With the Dodgers’ new ownership willing to spend the big bucks on big players, this trade seemed like the ideal move to do for General Manager Ned Colleti.
Crawford wasn’t able to perform at all right away after he got traded to the Dodgers as he was rehabbing from his Tommy John Surgery but he was able to get healthy just in time for Opening Day. He has been healthy ever since.
Dodgers’ skipper Don Mattingly right away decided to make Crawford the leadoff hitter since Opening Day and has not disappointed. Through April 29th, 2013, Crawford is hitting .307 with OBP. of .390 (obviously doing his job as Leadoff hitter) with 4 SB and has been caught twice. He has also walked nine times but perhaps the most impressive stat is his team leading 4 HRs.
Slow motion video of Carl Crawford’s Home Run swing
On Sunday’s game against the Brewers, Crawford went deep twice against Right Hander Kyle Lohse – runs that proved to be enough for the 2-0 victory. Left-handed Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw helped by pitching 8 Shutout Innings against the Brew Crew and with closer Brandon League closing out the game successfully.
With Matt Kemp‘s early struggles, the Dodgers really needed somebody to come up with clutch hits. The problem at the time, was that the guy who has been getting hits was the Leadoff man so there wasn’t really anyone on base when he got those hits. Crawford’s 6 RBI is a prime example of that issue.
Kemp has been hitting pretty well lately working his Batting Average up to .261 with Home Runs. He’s slowly getting hot and it could be just a matter of time until he starts hitting homers regularly.
Along with his 17 RBI, Gonzalez also has 7 doubles already to his credit. The Red Sox – Dodgers swap in 2012 is shaping up to be a great trade for the Dodgers for those two main reasons at the moment, Crawford and Gonzalez.
Another player who has surprisingly helped the Dodgers’ offense is Second Baseman Mark Ellis. Ellis is hitting .342 with 2 HRs (same as Gonzalez) and 11 RBI. His totals also include a 2 HR game against the New York Mets – in which he also record his 100th Career dinger. Watch out, Barry Bonds!
How about we keep the surprises going? This next surprise has something to with Third Baseman and fan least favorite – Juan Uribe. Uribe is hitting just .214 but it is better than his .191 average from last year. He also has 2 HRs, which is more than Matt Kemp at the moment.
The Dodgers began the season with 7 men able to be in the starting Rotation but not so great events has turned it into a four-man rotation and a desperate move to call up a rookie pitcher.
That left Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu and recently activated Ted Lilly for the top 4 in the Starting Rotation. That forced the call-up of young Matt Magill who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2008 in the 31st round.
Magill had an impressive debut when he pitched against the Brewers on Saturday April 27. He pitched 6.2 Innings giving up 2 Earned Runs on 4 hits, giving out two walks and he fanned 7 hitters.
He ended up getting a no decision when the Dodgers’ Bullpen let the game get away.
Brandon League has taking care of the closing duties as he has already picking up 8 Saves out of 9 opportunities. He’s also carrying a steadily improving 4.09 ERA.
If I write a “surprises” type article next month, the next surprises should be something Magill picking up three-four straight wins, Crawford continues his red hot hitting, Hanley Ramirez hitting red hot coming off from the DL. There are many possibilities, but who can actually come through? Tune in next month.
Okay, how about one last final surprise sort of. Sure, it’s early in the season and not many players/teams “focus on the standings” but currently neither the Dodgers or the Giants are leading the division. The division leaders are actually the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies as they’re tied in first place.
Luckily for the Dodgers, there’s still a lot of baseball left.
***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***
Today’s feature was prepared by our Dodgers Correspondent Enrique Rivera. Enrique was born in Los Angeles and raised in Compton, CA. He has been a Dodger fan since he was introduced to the greatest sport of all time.
‘Eriq’ also has written a couple of baseball stories for another website here . Eriq has also talked Dodger baseball on a college radio show called LA Sports Weekly.
His second favorite thing in the world is rock and roll – and he owns his own website called xstaticradio.com as well as hosts/produces his own college radio show called X-Static Radio Live. You can also follow Enrique on Twitter Follow @eriqwiththeq
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Posted on April 30, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @eriqwiththeq on twitter, aaron harang, adrian gonzalez, arizona diamondbacks, boston red sox, brandon league, carl crawford, carlos quentin, chris capuano, clayton kershaw, colorado rockies, dodgers, don mattingly, hanley ramirez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, josh beckett, juan uribe, kyle lohse, luiz cruz, mark ellis, matt kemp, Matt Magill, milwaukee brewers, new york mets, san francisco giants, Skip Schumaker, ted lilly, zack greinke. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.