Dodger Offense Will Thrive With Manny Being Manny

There are good problems and bad problems to have. Joe Torre has a little of both this spring.

The good problem: What order to hit a lot of powerful bats.

Assuming everyone is healthy, Torre said he would bat speedy switch-hitters Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson first and second. At 3-4-5-6 he listed Ramirez, James Loney, Andre Ethier and Russell Martin. He gave no specific order other than Ramirez at either three or four, but last year he most often had Loney batting fourth behind Ramirez and it turned out pretty well.

The best guess would be Ramirez third, Loney fourth, Ethier fifth and Martin sixth. Or Ramirez fourth, sandwiched between Ethier and Loney. Either way, Matt Kemp would be seventh and Casey Blake, who hit 21 home runs between Cleveland and Los Angeles, would be eighth.

Pitchers throughout the National League West just got a chill up their spine. Even in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, this lineup could rival the 1977 team where four players (Steve Garvey, Reggie Smith, Ron Cey and Dusty Baker) each hit at least 30 home runs.

And they may need every run, because Torre’s bad problem this spring is trying to piece together a good starting rotation out of young kids, journeymen veterans and guys trying to bounce back from injury. The bullpen has depth, but that depth could be tested with a lot of work if the rotation doesn’t come together as hoped.

No doubt the Dodgers are going to score a lot of runs this year. The question is will it be enough?

Kurt Helin has fond memories of that 1977 Dodger team, but he blogs about basketball mostly.

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