Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Welcome to Mannywood

There's somethin' brewin' at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers tied a 95-year old record set by the Tigers by winning their 12th consecutive home game to start the season.  There's an old adage that to succeed a team needs to play .500-baseball on the road, and dominate their home field, and the Dodgers have decided to take that somewhat seriously.  LA is an exact 8-8 away from Elysian Park, and a perfect 12-0 at home, giving them a league-best 20-8 overall record, and a league-best 5.5 game lead over the second place team in their division.  Most beat writers and experts have basically handed the NL West to the Dodgers after 1 month.  As a fan of the Dodgers, I hope that's true, but there's a long, long way to go.

While we're on the topic of Dodger Stadium, I felt it would be worth noting that the crack marketing executives have turned the section of seats nearest the home bullpen (field level, next to the left field foul pole) into a zone called "Mannywood."  Make no mistake - this move is not for the fans.  This move is to feed Manny's thirst for attention and give him just one more tiny reason to stay in LA after the season ends.  And maybe it will help, I don't know for sure.  Might as well try.  I wouldn't be surprised if the Dodgers shipped off a 9 game road trip and returned home to find 25 new harnesses hanging over the second level ledge, each with built in dreadlocks (HoverManny?), or perhaps thick chunks of the mighty Oak tree in the team store being marketed as the ManRam.  However this shakes out, you can bet "Mannywood" is not the end of the Keep Manny Campaign.

Jose Guillen, by the way, continues to reward those who picked him up, reaching base 3 of 4 times last night, including two WALKS, and also scored twice.  I still think he's a top option for the outfield, especially if he remains patient at the plate.

A couple names to watch:

Christian Guzman - He doesn't walk.  Ever.  But he's hitting in the high-300's right now, and while that number will eventually peter off just a tad (he'll probably end up in the low 3's), Guzman is a leadoff man, and if Washington can get any kind of consistent production from Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn, Guzman could be a decent source of runs and BA.  He missed about 10 games, mind you, so his TOTALS right now are a little under what they should be, and that might be why he's flying under the radar.

Jhonny Peralta - A career .270 batter, Peralta is stuck in the .210 zone.  He'll break out, and I just want to make sure people are paying attention to him when he does.  He is off to a veeeery slow start, making him just the type of player that you can stick into your lineup for a slumping starter.  When Peralta surges, which he inevitably will, we want to be there.

J.J. Hardy - Same deal as Peralta.  Hardy is a much better player than his early 2009 numbers would indicate, and he showed signs of busting out of his slump with a 3-for-3 night yesterday.  Sadly, that raised his average to .195.  But anyone who has been playing fantasy baseball for a few years remembers what Hardy can do when he's on his game.  I would never advocate going out and buying a .195 hitter, but keep a close eye on him, as J.J. could very well be at the beginning of a 10-game stretch where he bats near .400.

Hopefully more fantasy-relevant news comes out this evening as the Dodgers shoot for 13-straight against a sleepy Nationals team that had a 10-10 tie with Houston postponed so the two teams could catch their respective flights.

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