After losing to the Reds in the third game of the four-game set, the Dodgers have now dropped six of their last seven games and are in danger of being swept by a club that had the worst record in the bigs not even a week ago.
Yet, even though the club has sunk to its lowest point of the young campaign, there still remains a bit of hope for a turnaround as a new week approaches.
Perhaps the best news of the weekend came when Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts told reporters that barring any unforeseen circumstances, infielders Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe will be on the team plane to Miami on Monday and be activated to the 25-man roster for the opener against the Marlins on Tuesday.
Consequently, Cody Bellinger, who connected for his fifth home run of the season with the bases empty in the third inning on Saturday, believes that there are good things on the horizon for his squad.
Bellinger said the 12 hits are a sign the offense is trending in the right direction. He said he’s seen progress not only with his own swing but with his teammates’ as well, who “had a really good day in the cage” and “found some little things we were missing.”
“We had a lot more barreled balls,” Bellinger explained. “Good things to come in the future. I think everyone’s getting really near to where they need to be.”
Regardless of the number of hits, the Dodgers still managed to drive just three baserunners home. Coincidentally, we mentioned yesterday how runners in scoring position have been the club’s biggest nemesis for the first seven weeks of the season.
However, one other positive emerged for the Dodgers in Saturday’s defeat—the re-emergence of righty Ross Stripling into the starting rotation, who was converted back after Clayton Kershaw was sent to the disabled list with biceps tendinitis last weekend.
Stripling, who is still being stretched out in hopes of going deeper into games, gave his club 5-1/3 quality innings over 79 pitches while striking out a career-high seven opposing batters. The 79 pitches for a swing man relegated to the bullpen until recently is indeed an impressive mark.
Like Bellinger, Strip remains positive as the Dodgers hope to salvage at least one game from a series which could be labelled among the most dreadful of 2018.
“This is definitely a tough one,” Stripling stated in the post-game. “None of them have been easy to swallow, but this one definitely hurts. You’ve got 120-plus more, so we’ve got to keep coming back. We’ll be ready tomorrow, so hopefully things start turning our way.”
The bullpen was once again the culprit for the ultimate demise on Saturday, as the hard-throwing J.T. Chargois was roughed up for the brunt of the damage. The righty officially completed just 1/3 of an inning while surrendering three earned runs on four hits; however, things may have been different if he could have cleanly fielded a come-backer that could have conceivably been a double play ball.
In spite of everything, it’s hard to see any progress in the relief corps, at least from a fan’s perspective. There hasn’t been a single reliever who’s been in shutdown mode for the early part of the campaign. Even Kenley Jansen, who was nearly perfect for the entirety of last season, has fallen victim to the club’s misfortunes.
To make matters worse, southpaw Adam Liberatore was unavailable Saturday evening because of what some to believe an ankle sprain. He still remains on the 25-man roster, though, as Brock Stewart may still be riding the bus back to Oklahoma City after being optioned on Saturday afternoon.
First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.