I, like many, am guilty of this. I won’t stop talking about 2017 because let’s be honest, before Thursday, 2017 was a far prettier thought. The problem with this, however, is that remembering 2017 does next to nothing for the team now. Of course, strategies that worked for the team back then may work again now, so in that case, by all means, think about last year. What I think has made it tough on a lot of people is the losing, and rightly so. In the same week, the Dodgers got swept by the Cincinnati Reds but later swept the Washington Nationals.
I’ve read plot twists less wild than that.
The Dodgers, however, are not the same team they were last season. They’ve lost players, and they’ve added players. They’ve changed their swings and their windups. Ross Stripling was not a dominant starter last season, but he is now. The arrival of Walker Buehler still seemed so far off.
Buehler, though he was called up to the majors sooner than anyone predicted, has been a revelation. In 34 innings this season, he’s given up only two home runs, including a solo shot to the Rockies’ Gerardo Parra on Monday night.
This season, the Dodgers have dealt with far more injuries than anyone could have predicted. Clayton Kershaw is on the DL, which wasn’t a total surprise, and he is expected to return soon (potentially next week, Dave Roberts told reporters.) Hyun-Jin Ryu is out until at least late-June, and perhaps the most devastating news of all, Corey Seager is out for the year.
The Dodgers, simply based on the makeup of the DL, are not the same team they were last season. That said, it doesn’t mean they are destined to miss the postseason.
Last year, the Dodgers were on the receiving end of so much good luck and stood as the end result of constant hard work throughout the season. The stats, though, aren’t as different as we may think.
Here’s how the 2018 Dodgers compare to their 2017 selves;
TEAM BATTING AVERAGE (among qualified hitters):
HOME RUNS ALLOWED PER NINE INNINGS:
Statistically, the Dodgers aren’t much different now than they were last season. On paper, these teams look almost the same. Baseball, however, isn’t played on paper, and teams with the best stats don’t always win the World Series. The Dodgers lead baseball with 104 wins last season but failed to win the one game that actually mattered in the end. It’s time to stop talking about 2017 with the hope that the Dodgers will become that team again. They might, but baseball teams are a combination of various formulas. I’ve always been pretty bad at chemistry, but I do know that changing the contents of something also changes its outcome. Maybe the outcome this season will be better, even if it doesn’t look like it now.
Remember 2017, and how great it felt, but also remember that 2018 is a new year, and the Dodgers still have plenty of time to not match the team they were last season, but surpass them entirely.