The Dodgers won today in Milwaukee, 7-2, and got home runs from Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent and Gary Bennett (with minor league veteran Luis Maza collecting his first hit in the bigs.) But the nice result can't mask an urgent potential issue that Jon Weisman whispered recently at Dodger Thoughts: what if Kent is done? Losing the Dodgers cleanup hitter to age and absorbing Jones' rapid loss of skills in the same season would be tough to overcome in a lineup that wasn't so great to begin with. In Kent's case, the list of slugging second baseman who could still do the job at 40 is alarmingly short: in the last 60 years, only Tony Phillips and Joe Morgan. Kent's April wasn't bad, but he has just five hits in May and today's home run was his first since April 15. Jones gets the bad ink, but he looks almost hot by comparison. Weisman:
Jeff Kent, who in previous seasons lost most of his fielding range, has stopped hitting at age 40....
Great players have bad stretches, and I've always advocated patience and keeping the faith. That's why I've done so with Andruw Jones, as difficult as it's been to endure and as unguaranteed as the outcome might be. That's why I did so with Russell Martin in April and with some of the pitchers this month.
But Kent is at a stage where you have to wonder how much he can turn it around.
What seems likely is that Kent will have reassuring little bursts of offense here and there to disguise his mediocrity, much like Juan Pierre has had, and then fade again....At a minimum, the Dodgers had better make sure they have a Plan B in case Kent's decline is real.
At SoCal Sports Observed: Phil Wallace updates the Lakers, the Trojans' O.J. Mayo situation, and the Dodgers — and announces he's heading to China for two weeks.