Even if it isn’t the turnaround we’ve all been hoping for, even if it’s just a blip, an anomaly, the Dodgers sure gave us one heck of a fun weekend.
Think about all the crazy things that happened in the last four games. In the last game in Miami, Kenta Maeda has the best start of his Dodgers career after rumblings of moving him to the bullpen abound. The Dodgers got multiple hits with runners on base.
In Washington, after a rainout on Friday, three games in 48 hours gave us, in no particular order, Alex Wood stealing a base. The starting pitcher in the second game, Rich Hill, leaving after just two pitches. The Dodgers got not one but two home runs with runners on base, something they had failed to achieve over the last 19 games. They had four lead-off singles and scored all four of them. They came from behind to win in the ninth inning.
They won all three games against the Nationals, while facing Scherzer and Strasburg. Those pitchers got to to 118 and 115 pitches in 7th innings, respectively, and had leads on both. When the bullpen gave up the lead in the Scherzer game, L.A. handed Sean Doolittle his first blown save since September of 2017.
These were things that we expected from the 2017 team, that we had yet to see this year. Finally, it seems like they are playing as a team.
“It’s about grinding, it’s about putting team at bats, and we did all day today, and this entire series,” Enrique Hernandez told Alanna Rizzo after the game on Sunday. “And I feel like we’re headed in the right direction right now.”
It sure seems that way. With the return of Justin Turner, the team appears to have gotten a little of the swag back that I previously had lamented that they were lacking. They have gotten production from unlikely people—Matt Kemp is still producing, and Max Muncy, while maybe not a Cody Bellinger-like boost from last year, has been a very nice addition to the lineup. Muncy being able to field multiple positions only adds to his value. Ross Stripling had a fantastic outing against the Nationals and has proven to be a welcome addition to a depleted pitching staff.
The Dodgers start a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies tonight at home, and it will certainly be a test to see if they have actually righted the ship. Thanks to a huge losing streak by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rockies come into Los Angeles in first place. And also thanks to that losing streak, the Dodgers are now only five games out of first place in the division. Clayton Kershaw, barring any set backs, could be back in the next week or two.
There are still issues, no doubt about it. Even when Kershaw comes back, the starting rotation probably could use another arm. Brock Stewart will start this week, but he may not be the answer. The bullpen, oh the bullpen. Still lots of issues with the bullpen. And one has to hope that the offense can remain hot. Still, it appears that the Dodgers are in fact headed in the right direction, back with the swagger we know they have, back to working their way back up to first place in the National League West.