“And when the tears you cry
Are all you can believe
Just give these loving arms a try
Have a little faith in me”
Well, that was quite the week. Series losses to the Angels and the Padres, with the two defeats against the Padres coming on walkoffs. The offense sputtered and lay dying. The bullpen (including Kenley!) gave up more runs. Kenta Maeda has regressed, or maybe the league has caught up with him. The Giants are on a hot streak. All hope is lost.
But wait! Maybe, all hope is not lost! It certainly was a bleak week, but maybe there are reasons to have faith.
Kershaw is, well, the best. Clayton Kershaw just continues his mastery of pitching. He extended his streak of double digit strikeouts and one walk or less to six games, striking out 11 and not allowing a walk in an eight-inning outing with a 5-1 over the Angels. He has 88 strikeouts against only four walks, and his ERA is a lovely 1.67. Monday’s start vs the Reds will be the first in five games not following a Dodgers loss, and comes after a 17-inning game where the entire bullpen minus Chin-hui Tsao was used. Couldn’t be a better time for a Kershaw start.
Alex Wood looks good. Alex Wood struck out 13 in a 3-2 loss to San Diego Saturday night. He went six innings, allowing only two runs on four hits. Since fixing a flaw in his mechanics, his last five games have seen him at a 2.67 ERA, with 43 strikeouts and five walks. Solid.
Young guns — The future of the Dodgers roster is currently doing most of the heavy lifting. While the core veteran group is in a slump, the guys that will carry this team down the road are carrying the team now. Joc Pederson leads in home runs with eight, and Corey Seager and Trayce Thompson are right behind him with seven each. Both Pederson and Thompson had multi-homer games last week. Thompson leads the team in OPS with .902, and Pederson and Seager are next in line behind him with .886 and .8oo, respectively. Thompson definitely deserves more playing time, and is a very bright spot from the three-way trade with the Reds and White Sox.
Old Man Utley continues to impress — I’m sure you all thought that at the end of May the team leader in batting average would be Chase Utley, right? While it’s not a high batting average, his current mark of .285 is right around his career average of .281. Utley is batting .300 in his last seven games. He also continues to dazzle with his defense – in Sunday’s game, he tied a Dodger team record with 13 assists and 9 at bats. He and Howie Kendrick, who is batting .321 in the last seven games, have been solid in their play, wherever the night brings them, whether it be second base or first, filling in for an ailing Adrian Gonzalez.
I think that Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider summed it up best in his column Sunday.
My favorite bit from it is this – “5) If the Dodgers had a 4 1/2-game lead over the Giants, you wouldn’t think the Giants’ chances were over. (I know this from experience — recent experience. Like, last year. And the year before that. And the year before that.)”.
As tough as it has been to watch this team the last week or so, this team is too good to stay at this pace. Changes will be made, and the team will find its stride. They are not so far out of contention to make up ground, and it’s a long season. I was very encouraged by the fight in the team in last night’s 17 inning marathon win. Maybe it took a long time, but they got it together and got the job done. Maybe it’s just the catalyst they needed. Have a little faith.