- Thursday, April 19, 2012 4:14 PM
- Written By: Dodgers Diaries
Before Gilligan's Island became popular, the opening theme song neglected to mention "the Professor and Mary Ann," relegating them to the catchall "and the rest," following "the movie star."
The theme song for the Dodgers 2012 offense might have to be written the same way. The headliners are impressive: Matt Kemp (the league’s most valuable player in 2011, even if the Baseball Writers didn’t see fit to give him the award because of the team he played for), and Andre Ethier, an All-Star and gold glover whose 2011 season was curtailed by injury.
After that, however, the Professor and Mary Ann might be better options, even at their advanced ages of 87 and 74 respectively. Kemp and Ethier have combined to hit 11 homers, drive in 18 runs apiece, and OPS a ridiculous 1.432 and 1.044 respectively. Those gaudy numbers have earned Kemp Player of the Week honors for the first two weeks of the season.
The offense tails off after the middle of the order, however. More like swan dives. "The Rest" collectively have just one home run (AJ Ellis) and 23 RBIS. Not counting pitchers, the other Dodger position players are bating .223, slugging .355, and OPSing .668.
Or, pretty much what I expected when this season started: Kemp would carry the offense, just like he did last year, and the Dodgers would be better than .500 if Ethier returned to form, and worse if he didn’t. The fact that they are 10-3 can be attributed to some lousy April opponents, and to Ethier and Kemp hitting the cover off the ball.
Projected over a full season, each man would have 224 RBIs. Kemp would have 87 homers, Ethier 50. Kemp's batting average of .451 would shatter this single season record of .439 set by Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters in 1894. Ethier would hit 62 doubles, more than any man since Paul Waner in 1932.
In other words, it can't go on like this forever. The heart of the Dodger order isn't going to stop beating, but it can’t keep hyperventilating like this for a full season. When Kemp and Ethier come back to earth, so will the Dodgers. Unless one of The Rest work their way into the credits.
-- JOHN ROSENTHAL