The Dodgers looked real good yesterday, but did you notice how they also looked almost exactly like the same team as last year? Of the starting (and staying) lineup, only Carl Crawford didn’t play with the Dodgers last year, and that was because he was hurt.

Catcher A.J. Ellis

Catcher A.J. Ellis

This is not a complaint. I loved that lineup. You got your home-grown heros, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp; your longtime fan fave, Andre Ethier; the two guys bought midseason last year, Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez (who, I have to admit, can hit and play first very well); the first great second baseman we’ve had in a long time, Mark Ellis; and then your three Cinderella stories, Luis Cruz, Justin Sellers and A.J. Ellis, whose combined salaries probably equal less than the team’s Gatorade budget.

Shortstop Justin Sellers

Shortstop Justin Sellers

Who could not love those three guys, who are so happy and grateful to be part of a Major League squad? Especially A.J. Ellis. That guy is a phenomenal catcher. Kershaw laid credit for his four-hit shutout yesterday squarely at A.J.’s door. He stays so calm under pressure and knows the game better than the umps. Remember last year when he directed the triple-play from the plate after a bunt that rolled back onto the field? Even Vin Scully didn’t know what was going on. Sellers is just a balls-out dynamo, playing shortstop like his life depended on it. He knows he’s only there until Hanley Ramirez gets better, so he’s making the most of it.

Third baseman Luis Cruz

Third baseman Luis Cruz

And then there is Luis CRUUUUUZZZ!!! In the paper yesterday, Matt Kemp was quoted as saying he wished he had a name like that, one that fans can intone in unison every time he comes to bat. After 11 years playing baseball everywhere BUT in the majors, this is his chance, and so far he has taken full advantage. He hits in the clutch and makes dazzlingly fleet plays wherever he is stationed on the field. And people love him.

These are the types of players who make the Dodgers so special. I know they can go far if the fatheads in charge don’t tinker until there’s nothing but bored bazillionaires on the field. “Let’s go Dodgers!” I’ll be watching with a cold one.

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