De Jesus, Gwynn Jr., Hairston, Ellis, Eovaldi. Those are the names that Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wrote in to his lineup before last night's loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Aside from Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, Mattingly has had to rely on other players in his lineup to over-achieve while weathering the storm of those who have slumped from the start of the season.
Although the Dodgers have cooled off a bit as of late, they still hold the best record in baseball with a mark of 32-17. That's good for a .653 winning percentage and a 5 1/2 game lead over San Francisco in the National League West.
How have the Dodgers dominated the first quarter of the season?
As a team, their stats are average. Sure they are second in the NL in batting average (.269), and second in team pitching (3.08 ERA), but their success has gone well beyond the box score.
If you follow the Dodgers like I do then you've seen time and time again how they've managed to make their hits count. There are times when the team only gets five hits in a game, but two of those hits came with runners in scoring position.
Mattingly has also created an atmosphere within the clubhouse that appears to be harmonic. Through all the adversity the team has faced over the last two seasons, how many clubhouse issues have surfaced?
Timely contributions and a confident manager are the two reasons why the Dodgers are surging to begin their 2012 campaign. There is nothing flashy about what they do.
There are some issues the team will need to address as the season goes on. Primarily, Mattingly and Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti needs to decide how much longer they are going to stick with Dee Gordon at short stop.
Gordon has hit safely in six of the last seven games, but still owns a batting average of .224. His fielding percentage of .948 is tied for last in the majors and creates just as much of a concern as his poor plate production.
The Dodgers are on pace to win 105 games this season. While many, including myself, anticipate them slowing down over the course of the season, it wouldn't surprise me to see them win the NL West and make a deep run into the playoffs.
How many wins do you think the Dodgers will finish with this year?
Joe Chacon is a staff writer for Operation Sports and a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.