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Just When They Least Expect It ...
2004-07-20 14:18
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Two game-winning home runs for Shawn Green on one road trip? More than most will do in a career.

Here are my theories. Perhaps, now that teams are recognizing Adrian Beltre as the focal point of the Dodger offense and are pitching more carefully to him - eight walks against 34 at-bats in July - Green has been earning less respect and in turn getting better pitches to hit. It's like a crop rotation thing. Additionally, perhaps Green is feeling less pressure to produce having been removed from the cleanup spot. (Note that some press coverage today focused more on Milton Bradley than on Green.)

In any case, I feel pretty good about having recommended the Dodgers drop Green in the batting order, without benching him. (Does it seem like I keep patting myself on the back? I have admitted some mistakes recently as well.) He is no longer the team's best hitter, he does not justify his salary, but the costs are not completely sunk - he does belong in the lineup. He can contribute. He's also probably the Dodgers' best defensive first baseman, other than Robin Ventura.

I'm more curious about whether Bradley's recent upswing at the plate is for real. (Although on the bases, anecdotally, I can't recall a player getting picked off more often than Bradley.)

* * *

From Jeff Elliott of the Florida Times-Union comes news that shortstop Joel Guzman and pitcher Chad Billingsley have been promoted from Class A Vero Beach to Class AA Jacksonville.

* * *

Monday, the Dodgers made fielding, baserunning and pitching mistakes, and still won. Scary.

Tonight's Game

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