On Monday, we discussed whether or not the Dodgers are finally turning the corner. They are 7-3 over the last 10 games, but it feels like every game is a struggle, and losing a series to the Miami Marlins isn’t great in the least.
The bats still do not look like what we know them to be capable of producing. The Dodgers managed to only muster 20 total hits and 10 runs against the Marlins. Coming into the series, those Marlins were third in hits allowed. A high powered offense should be able to do more damage. There is still a lot of looking at fast balls right down the middle, jumping on first pitches when the pitcher has thrown a lot of balls to the previous batter. Basically, they need to get back to their cumulative, patient approach to batting. I know Chris Taylor loves to jump on that first pitch fast ball, but so far, that hasn’t been working for him.
And then there was Kershaw. CK has been looking human lately, and it’s really starting to worry me. He threw too many pitches, and seemingly had touch and go command. After striking out the side in the first inning, he worked himself in and out of trouble until finally in the fifth inning it caught up with him. After two walks, with two out, he gave up a three-run home run to former teammate Miguel Rojas. He left the game having thrown 105 pitches after 4.2 innings. It was his first six walk game in eight seasons, and four of those came after two outs.
Kershaw is now 1-4 on the season with a 2.84 ERA. He had four losses total in each of the last two seasons. His velocity has been down. As you all know, I’m not the panicking type. But I am beginning to worry about our beloved ace. Whether he’s hiding an injury, back, elbow or otherwise, or if something else is going on, he needs to figure it out quickly.
If you look at past Aprils, you will find that in each of the last five years, the Dodgers have started off just like this. It takes them until about the end of April to get to and over the .500 mark for good. So I guess it behooves us all to be patient and things will work themselves out.
I am still of the belief, however, that some sort of catalyst is needed. A spark plug, more veteran leadership, whatever it is that you want to say, or how you want to say it. April business as usual is not cutting it for this team I think a shake up as needed. I know that things will be begged when the lineup is back to 100% healthy, but that won’t be until June. In the meantime, I think Joc Pederson needs to be sent down to Triple-A to work on his batting, and Alex Verdugo should be brought up. Andrew Toles will still be out with a hamstring injury for while, and Verdugo can match the defense of Pederson. I suppose it’s difficult with so many players all seeing playing time, but I’d like to see a more consistent lineup. And while again I know that it’s early, I’d like to see a little urgency from someone, anyone, to get this team on track.
There’s quite the road trip coming up, through San Francisco, Arizona, and against the San Diego Padres in Monterrey, Mexico. The Dodgers have struggled mightily against two of the three teams that they are going to face on this road trip. You can’t just keep waiting to beat up on the Padres. There was a team meeting last Saturday, and it might be time for another one. A reminder of last year, when they went into every game expecting to win, no matter what the score was at any given time. Anything to get them playing like they should be.