When the White Sox last saw the Dodgers, they were sharing a brand new spring training complex in Glendale, Arizona.
Much has changed from then until now.
The Dodgers – without Manny Ramirez mind you – have rolled to the best record in baseball while the White Sox have stumbled to a 33-37 record, six games behind A.L. Central leading Detroit.
The two teams met last night in Chicago to start a three-game interleague series, and after a 5-2 Dodgers victory the White Sox were impressed.
”To me, the main thing about this Dodgers ballclub is they’re pretty good athletes,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. ”They have a great pitching staff, and they catch the ball. To me, that’s the reason they are where they are. Good pitching and good defense give you a chance to win as many games as you can, and they do that.”
”They’re really balanced well,” Guillen said. ”They’re not really hitting homers because the team isn’t a home-run-hitting club. That’s why they’re relying on a lot of speed and a lot of defense and good pitching.”
The Dodgers were obviously ecstatic with what they saw from Hiroki Kuroda, who shut down the offensively challenged White Sox over 8 2/3 sharp innings and seems to be fully recovered from the strained oblique muscle he suffered after pitching opening day and sidelined him for nearly two months.
Offensively, it’s nice to see James Loney continue to keep up his recent power surge after blasting his third home run in his last four games.
More and more, this year seems to shaping up as one of those special seasons in which everything just seems to fall perfectly into place for a ballclub, even while dealing with injuries and adversity,
It’s incredible to think back to the first week of May when the Dodgers lost Manny to a 50-game suspension, and everyone held their breath wondering if they could hold on until their power-hitting left fielder returned at the beginning of July.
The Dodgers haven’t just flipped that script by rocking the best record in all of baseball, they’re now set up to welcome Manny back for the second half of the season as a vastly improved ballclub.
The return of Manny is like making a bold deadline trade to add one of the best hitters in the game, only without giving up a handful of prized prospects to make it happen.
Obviously there is a long way to go this year, and plenty could go wrong. But for now, things are going pretty well for the Dodgers.