First Place...finally and there is the thought we got there beating up on a weak NL West. Could be. That could be the reason the Dodgers have such a good record. The Dodgers having a good team could be a reason as well. But, for those of us in Red how about another theory? The Angels did so well against the NL West, despite having its pitchers having to bat, because the lineup required Scoiscia to leave out the cleanup hitter. Vlad.
Vlad has some good baseball left in him and I think he will have a good second half. But that does not negate the fact that his power numbers are worse than Mathis, Issy and just about everyone besides the pitchers. A manager has to have balls if he wants to win. Inter-league play gave Scioscia his balls. Vlad had and has no business batting clean up. Obviously he spent a few games in minor league rehab [even Manny will] but not enough. Vlad the pinch hitter--Vlad the hitter is an older hitter whose Hall of Fame skills are slipping. Still...he is not coach-able. He won't be selective. In one Colorado game he was up three times saw about eight pitches and accounted for four outs. His latest pinch hit experience was a one pitch grounded back to the pitcher. His rehab should continue in a seventh or eighth spot [if at all] in the batting order.
But Vlad likes Texas, so Mike might do the coward thing again and place him at cleanup tonight...but that would be based on the historical Vlad...not the Vlad we have today, injured and in need of some mending. The skipper loves to profess "team", he ought to start acting that way with Vlad.