Originally written May 09, 2012 on Taking Bad Schotz:
We are now into May there have been several surprises this baseball season. To the surprise of most people, the Dodgers are in first place in the NL West. This is almost as crazy as Albert Pujols not hitting a homerun in the month of April, but oh wait… that happened… So how are the Dodgers having all of this success? Well, a large part of that is due to Matt Kemp. Most people expected the young centerfielder to have another amazing year, but he is posting numbers that are absolutely unheard of. At this point in the season it would almost be an upset if he didn’t win the triple crown. Andre Ethier is back and better than ever, providing protection for Kemp and leading the National League in RBIs. Not only do Kemp and Ethier bring the bat, but their fielding ability and arm strength are way above average, saving numerous runs for Dodger pitchers. As far as pitching goes, Clayton Kershaw is still dominating opposing teams, pretty much guaranteeing a win every time he takes the hill. However, it is the ”mediocre” pitchers on the Dodgers that are making the true difference. Chad Billingsley is pitching like he did in his all-star season, and Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly are pitching like they are five years younger. These pitchers aren’t posting crazy strikeout numbers or making batters look silly at the plate, but by simply getting the job done. The Dodgers’ one main weakness thus far is the bullpen, which has blown numerous games. In a young season, closer Javy Guerra already has three blown saves. It is only a matter of time until manager Don Mattingly makes the switch to current set up man Kenley Jansen, who has been far more effective than Guerra. Yes, a large part of the Dodgers’ success is due to their strength of schedule or lack there of. The Dodgers opened up the season 9-1, with all of those games coming against the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates, lackluster teams to say the least. Although the team has struggled since, the Dodgers did sweep the NL East leading Washington Nationals. In a weak NL West, it is very realistic to believe that the Dodgers could win the division crown. The new owners have already proved they are committed to winning, adding veteran Bobby Abreu to add more power to the lineup. If the Dodgers are able to add a few relievers and find a replacement for Juan Uribe at third base, they would be a very difficult team to face. Realistically, Kershaw is the second best pitcher in the league behind Justin Verlander and Matt Kemp is the best hitter in the league; so if role players continue to step up, watch out for the boys in blue. -Langer
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.