Led by the most potent offense in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers are off to their best eight-game start since 1988.
Things worked out pretty well that season.
The Dodgers open their fourth straight series against an NL West opponent when they face the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta took plenty of heat in the offseason for his decision not to re-sign Adrian Beltre and Steve Finley, as well as the trade that sent Shawn Green to Arizona. They were replaced in the 3-4-5 spots in the order by free-agent additions J.D. Drew and Jeff Kent, and holdover Milton Bradley.
Kent’s signing looks like a brilliant move so far because he is batting .419 with a major league-leading 12 runs scored and 11 RBIs—tied for third in the majors.
“I just show up and play and do the best I can in all areas of the game,” Kent said. “Good things happen, bad things happen. You just go with the flow. Right now, the flow is going well for us. There’s nothing that I’m doing that’s special.”
Drew is hitting .125 with no homers and no RBIs, but Jose Valentin, another newcomer, is batting .409 with two homers and eight RBIs in 22 at-bats.
Los Angeles leads the NL in batting average (.282) and runs scored (55), and is third in on-base percentage (.355).
The 6-2 start is the Dodgers’ best since 1988, the last time they won the World Series.
One player who is very happy with the Dodgers’ offensive improvement is Odalis Perez, who pitched 6 1-3 strong innings in a 4-1 victory over San Francisco on Wednesday.
Perez led the majors with 18 no-decisions last season, when he received the lowest run support among NL starters.
“We have guys who can put the ball in play,” Perez said. “We’re scoring runs, our pitching is doing the job. This year will be different. I’ve never heard of a pitcher who had 18 no-decisions two straight years.”
San Diego split a doubleheader at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, beating Chicago 8-3 in the opener and losing the second game by the same score.
“I wasn’t out there long enough to figure anything out today. It was just a horrible day,” Lawrence said.
Nady went 6-for-12 in three games against the Cubs, raising his average to .412. He ranks among the NL leaders in hits (14), RBIs (11), total bases (28) and slugging percentage (.824).