Monday, April 27, 2015

With Puig on the mend, Guerrero gets his chance

If there's ever going to be a silver lining in a superstar like Yasiel Puig getting placed on the DL, it's this: Alex Guerrero may finally get his chance to play everyday.

And if all goes to plan, maybe he never comes out of it.

That's what the Dodgers can only hope for, as they'll look to turn a negative into a positive.  Don Mattingly won't go so far as to say Guerrero will be in the starting lineup as long as Puig's not, but comments like the following are encouraging:
"There's a good chance you're going to see him out there. Obviously with Yasiel down, it changes some things. A guy swinging the bat, you're going to find a place to play him, that's just the way it is."
I like the sounds of that.

The Dodgers are 11-7 right now, which is tops in the NL West.  Even though they're the division favorites by most accounts, there's already some cracks in the armor.  The back end of the rotation has the potential to be a mess, as Brandon McCarthy may have a creaky elbow, Hyun-Jin Ryu is still on the DL, and Brett Anderson hasn't exactly set the world on fire.  The bullpen is better than last year, but very young, and still without Kenley Jansen for a few more weeks.

The other problem is the offense, which looks to be deep and dangerous one game (11 runs on Saturday), and lifeless the next (one on Sunday).  It's not like we can count on six or seven runs a game, but after going a perfect 6-0 a couple weeks ago, they followed that up by going 3-3 last week and scoring six runs total in the loses.

A guy like Guerrero can help turn around an offense that is a bit stuck in neutral.  He's only appeared in 11 games, only has 22 at-bats, but his numbers are incredible: .500 AVG and OBP, five homers, two doubles, 13 RBIs, and five runs.  You can't ignore stats like that, especially when he was regarded as being a very good hitter when the Dodgers signed him before last season.  He may not have the greatest glove, but he looks to have definitely improved upon that as well.

The bottom line is that with Andre Ethier sliding over to right field to fill in for Puig, Guerrero will get looks both at third and left field.  In my mind, if he's not playing one position, he needs to be playing the other.  Juan Uribe (.244, one homer, three RBIs) and Carl Crawford (.229/1/3) look terrible and old.  I can appreciate Donny wanting to give his veterans a chance, but not at the constant expense of someone as exciting with the lumber as Guerrero.

The best thing Guerrero can do is continue to play well on both sides of the field, and force Mattingly to etch his name into every starting lineup.  The offense will benefit on the whole if he does.

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