(Photo Credit: flickr.com)
Prior to the start of the four-game series against the Marlins, the Dodgers boasted a respectable 12-7 record atop the NL West, while Miami was struggling at 6-11 and dwelling in the cellar of the NL East.
At the same time, the pitching matchups seemed to favor Los Angeles — surely the combination of Ross Stripling, Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda would yield a series win, if not a sweep, against the lowly Marlins.
Yet the Dodgers chose a very inopportune time to begin an offensive cold spell. As a team, Los Angeles went a mere 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position. Adrian Gonzalez, the team’s leading hitter entering the series and notorious for his success with RISP, had three opportunities in the series finale with runners on both first and second base — only to come up empty in the end.
This was the Marlins’ first four-game sweep of the Dodgers ever, their first three-game series sweep in Los Angeles since July 2010 and their first four-game winning streak against the Dodgers since 1997 — quite the homecoming for former skipper Don Mattingly.
For many fans, being swept in the Miami series really stung, especially since it occurred at Dodger Stadium. Sure, it’s really, really early in the season, but with each slump or cold streak, the memories from years past always seem to resurface and trump any type of logical thought.
Plus, the prices of tickets have risen. Parking costs are always irritating to think about. Concessions have gone up. Some fans can’t even watch the games on their own televisions. And if you haven’t heard yet, the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series Championship since 1988.
Envy ensued when Dodgers’ supporters saw how diligently and successfully Mattingly managed his bullpen, while the Los Angeles relief corps initially seemed so much better, at least on paper. Finger pointing and quite a number of blame games spread like wildfire across social media. First there was the issue of Pedro Baez apparently not being on top of his game Thursday night.
And the constant “Jekyll and Hyde” comparisons being directed towards setup man Chris Hatcher.
The opinions stating that left fielder Carl Crawford is nothing but a defensive liability were quite plentiful Thursday evening, inferring that opposing baserunners are taking extra bases and scoring runs at will, to put it mildly.
And ultimately, dreadful criticism geared towards manager Dave Roberts or Andrew Friedman or whomever creates the lineups, for always finding a way to include the slumping Howie Kendrick on a daily basis.
Looking at the brighter side of things, San Diego is in town beginning Friday night. If the Dodgers have the ability to turn around their current stint of misfortune, the Padres have the appearance of being the perfect victims. After all, the Dodgers swept the Friars to open the season. Remember?
And sooner or later, the squad will begin to get healthier. Outfielder Andre Ethier is moving around better and is in town to have the fracture in his right leg reexamined. Hyun-jin Ryu is scheduled to throw another monitored bullpen on Saturday. Brandon McCarthy is also slated to pitch in a bullpen session over the weekend — his second since having Tommy John surgery last year.
So things are starting to look up, at least a little bit.
Let’s just hope that Los Angeles is able to grind out a series win against San Diego — because if they don’t, tempers will escalate even higher, while the fury and the rage will continue to rise amongst impatient Dodgers fans everywhere.