Our beloved Dodgers need to look back to July.
Usually, living in the past can be harmful, but taking a quick glance back has never hurt anyone. A lot of changes have come upon the Dodgers since their historic run in July, and I think some of those changes are starting to affect the team negatively. Was the addition of Yu Darvish a mistake? Absolutely not. Darvish has the potential to be another ace in the Dodgers’ rotation, second only to Clayton Kershaw. He needs to find his stuff again— his last few starts have proven that—but he’s going to get there. Adding the two Tony’s wasn’t a mistake, either. I, for one, have started to trust Tony Cingrani in high-leverage situations. The Dodgers front office did an amazing job, but I think the fans have gotten lost in it all. These additions are just that, additions. They’re meant to boost a team that’s already great, but somewhere along the way the version of the Dodgers we saw in July has gotten lost in the shuffle. The Dodgers need to look back to the before this slump happened, and find themselves again.
The Dodgers were historic in July, I see no reason they can’t get back to that.
I’m not Dave Roberts. I can’t create a lineup and put it into play during Game 7 of the NLCS and feel confident that I am doing the right thing. What I can do is observe, and write about what I see, and what I feel. The Dodgers need to reset.
What worked in July? Chris Taylor in the leadoff spot, Yasiel Puig in the 8th spot, and scoring early. Scoring early is what the Dodgers need to do again. Get the lead. Keep the lead. Take it inning by inning. That’s what baseball is about, it’s about each moment— each inning.
Tinkering with a lineup can be good, sometimes it’s even neccessary. I don’t think it was neccessary for the Dodgers. Additions are one thing. Changes are another. I’m not saying I don’t like the additions, I do, I just don’t like how this team looks right now. I’m worried. I don’t want to be, but I am.
What will looking forward to October do to help this slump? Not much. In July, we thought that the games in September wouldn’t matter very much. We thought the division would be clinched. None of us expected this, but it’s happening and how we deal with it and what we say will be remembered. Looking back to July, how great things were, is what this team needs to do right now. In order to get back on the right track, they need to remember what works. July worked.
Taylor hitting leadoff works. Cody Bellinger playing first base works. Joc Pederson in center, Puig in right, and Taylor in left; it all works. I like the additions this team has made, but they can’t forget what made them so amazing. If they lose that, they lose everything.
The Dodgers will be okay. I honestly feel that the worst of this slump is behind the Boys in Blue. We’re tired of losing. They’re tired of losing. It had to end, and it did. In order to keep Tuesday night’s feeling alive, a few things need to happen: Darvish needs to find his All-Star groove again. A lineup, any lineup, needs to go out there and win a pivotal game, and that same lineup needs to be out there every day. The Dodgers are good. They’re still the best team in baseball, in my opinion, because despite the slump, they have the potential to go right back to winning like they did in July. All the Dodgers need is consistency, and momentum.
I think they have that now, and I’m excited to see what comes of it.
(Sarah is an 18-year-old, soon-to-be college student from Southern California, who currently manages her own blog, “The Ground Rule Double.” She has recently joined the TBPC crew, and will be publishing a story each Wednesday. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahManinger)