Allow me to start off by saying that Justin Turner has only been back for one game, and fans should be under no impression that the Dodgers will turn things around right away. However, Turner’s first game back brought little to no hope to a team stuck in a losing streak.
This is a place none of us expected to see the Dodgers. They’re playing like a last-place team but have, for now, been able to keep themselves from slipping to the bottom of the division.
So, is there hope for the Boys in Blue?
In a word, yes, there is. Turner is by far the team’s best hitter, simply going off of last year’s stats. Even though he’s missed the first six weeks of the season, he’s still perfectly capable of hitting 20+ homers.
Logan Forsythe, who also returned to the team last night, is one of the best when it comes to being patient at the plate. Last season, he led the team in walks with 69. Should the Dodgers succeed in leaving fewer men on base as the season progresses, Forsythe could score even more runs than he did last summer.
Frankly, the Dodgers have some problems to solve, and Turner and Forsythe, though helpful to their cause, are not the answers.
A lot of things have gone wrong for the Dodgers this season, but I think the most surprising has been that they’ve been unable to beat the teams they should be sweeping. It’s far too early to talk about the Dodgers not being postseason ready when they’ve been losing to teams that will be selling veterans and restocking their systems by the trade deadline.
Like this past weekend, last night was more of the same for the Boys in Blue.
Tuesday night, the Dodgers scored two runs off the long ball, but fell to the Marlins 4-2. Like losses past, they left more than 10 men on base and only accumulated five hits as a team, compared to the Marlins’ 12.
LOB is a common stat, and quite possibly the most unforgiving. It shows whether or not a team was able to score when they had the chance. So far this season, the Dodgers have lost nearly every game simply because of missed opportunities.
This season, though ominous and a little cruel, is not over for the Dodgers. They can bounce back from this. How do I know? Because it’s happened before.
In 2016, an article written by Robert Pace, Danny Farris, Adrian Garro and Lindsey Farris of FoxSports.com provides the kind of historical context that all teams in the Dodgers’ current position need.
In 1964, the Cardinals were 7.5 games back from the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies and, like the Dodgers right now, sat in fourth place. One month later, when the playoffs began, the team from St. Louis had won the division and would go on to beat the powerhouse Yankees in the World Series.
It happened again, in 1993, by the Atlanta Braves. This team, however, overcome a greater deficit. In August, as Fox Sports reports, they sat 9.5 games back from the Giants. Then, in a historic run lead by Greg Maddux, David Justice, and John Smoltz, the Braves won the division and charged into the postseason.
Those final games for the Braves, though, were pivotal. They had to win, and the Giants had to lose. Tom Glavine pitched a gem in the regular season’s last game and the Giants lost a wild game by a wide margin.
Who’d the Giants lose to, for the Braves to make the postseason?
The Los Angeles Dodgers.
I’m not saying the Dodgers are going to make the postseason, because I really don’t know. I doubt anyone does. What I do know is that there is a lot of baseball left to play. I know that Turner is going to do what he does best, hustle, and Clayton Kershaw, once healthy, is going to keep fighting for each and every win.
Tuesday may have been more of the same for the Dodgers, but something is bound to change, and when it does, we may be lucky enough to see some of those 2017 heroics for which we’ve grown oh-so-accustomed.