Will the Dodgers’ Regular Season Strength Also Be Their Postseason Weakness?

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After a nearly unprecedented June (preceded only by June of 2017) the Dodgers climbed out of the hole they were in and now find themselves neck-and-neck with the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the National League West. How they were able to do it is a story in and of itself—one that is always worth telling. The story that I am interested in now, however, is how the Dodgers will fare going forward.

The trade deadline is on the horizon. Last season, apart from the Yu Darvish trade, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi traded for the two Tonys—Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson. Both of those guys went on to bring a new sense of strength to a Dodgers bullpen that was already solid.

Here’s the thing about the Dodgers front office, and it’s one I have always admired—they don’t let the nerves and the anxieties of this game get to them. When the Dodgers were eight games back this spring, they didn’t run out and trade for a big arm or an MVP-type slugger to fix the problem.

They let the problem fix itself, and guess what? It did.

With the help of under the radar guys like Max Muncy, Ross Stripling, and the unexpected, yet welcome resurgence of Matt Kemp, the Dodgers are back in the pennant race.

Right now, fans are grateful and amazed by how the front office built this team up from expected winners to unexpected and dominant pennant champs.

So what happens if the Dodgers get there again this year?

Do they rely on a big, trade-deadline defining acquisition? Do they rely on the contributions of a few, under-the-radar players like they have been thus far?

Or do they stay as is?

I’m not sure what the Dodgers are going to do come July 31st. I know that it didn’t work out too well last season but I do hold the belief that, as a contender, nobody will take you seriously unless you make the take the big step. The Astros were good, but they became great when they traded for Justin Verlander.

The Dodgers are thriving right now. Even as a write this, moments after losing in the ninthy to the Anaheim Angels, I can say the Dodgers are going to be okay. Muncy came out of the blue to lead this offense. Stripling is the solid, reliable starter the team didn’t even know it had.

Matt Kemp. Well, I’ll let his stats speak for themselves.

Those are the three guys most regularly linked to the Dodgers’ recent success, but can they sustain it?

Though we may never know the full cause of the Dodgers’ Game 7 loss, we can know that in that one game, the Dodgers were not able to overpower the Astros and it cost them the series.

The past two years, the Dodgers have quite literally defined ‘under-the-radar.’ They’ve coached players in ways unlike any other team. But one can’t help but wonder if the Dodgers need some more star power? Do they need Manny Machado, or Michael Fulmer, just to be safe?

It’s hard not to be a skeptical fan and a skeptical writer at times. Sometimes, when the Dodgers lose 3-2 in a game they pretty much already had won, you can’t help but wonder if this recent success is fleeting and if they are bound to repeat the past?

Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the Dodgers seem to be back to their old selves—to their winning ways, and until that changes, neither should our views of the team we know, love, and believe in.

 

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4 thoughts on “Will the Dodgers’ Regular Season Strength Also Be Their Postseason Weakness?

  1. That loss was absolutely brutal but in a season with 162 games you’re going to have a couple like that. Hopefully no more than a couple. I have tremendous admiration for Kenley who went out of his way to shoulder all the blame for the loss, pointing out the walk to Ohtani and his failure to back up the plate. He has no problem doing interviews and focusing attention on himself after a bad performance which is not all that common for a star athlete. He was definitely the major cause of the loss last night but certainly not the only one. Anyway, that’s the kind of behavior that makes you a leader in the clubhouse. Speaking of star power Sarah, I’m going to quibble about definitions with you. Not getting into whether or not we should trade for Machado or Fulmer, just saying that in my mind Machado is definitely a star, Fulmer………….not so much. If we’re talking stars, I would sub the name deGrom for Fulmer.

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  2. I’m gonna keep beating my own drum (much to Keith’s “enjoyment”on here:::eyeroll:::lol) until the Dodger front office finally hears it loug and clear: BARRACLOUGH (or a bullpen arm either on or close to that level) & REALMUTO OR KISS THIS SEASON GOODBYE! Last night’s embarrassing loss to the non-contending Halos was what I like to call foreshadowing. In a way, I kinda expect this sort of thing to rear its ugly head at some point with the fundamental lapses I witnessed throughout that game (Bellinger and Kemp with their Keystone Cops routine on the basepaths:::cue Benny Hill theme:::Muncy’s dropped foul ball that would’ve gotten Maeda out of one inning, Maeda not trusting his middle infielders to get him out of another with a DP ball he needlessly deflected back through the box, and the worst culprit of all: Grandal and his ongoing defensive issues behind homeplate culminating in that epic 9th-inning breakdown that nearly had manager Dave Roberts losing what’s left of his mind when it was all over). At the bare minimum, Grandal’s gotta go to make room for Realmuto. You need a catcher who not only can truly replace Grandal’s offensive stats, but one who doesn’t hang his pitching staff AND his fielders out to dry with the laundry on a regular basis. Of course, they also need to land that elusive 8th inning Jansen bridge but that’s already understood around here so no need to rehash that. Glad Jansen owned up to what went down in that 9th inning, but he was actually covering for Grandal quite a bit.

    Point is, Dodgers have done well digging themselves out of their own hole so far this season but if they don’t make those mandatory moves by the trade deadline then there’s no place for them to go but right back in that very same hole they spent nearly two months crawling out of to get back in the playoff hunt…

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    1. We know that Keith knows how much you want Realmuto Manuel, but we haven’t yet determined if Farhan or Andrew read this blog. That’s your first task, unless you can somehow get Keith appointed GM so he can carry out your plan. I agree with you that having Barraclough/Kenley as our 8/9 inning guys would be great; however…………………………
      they both gave up walk-off hits last night and in Barraclough’s game it was the first batter he faced and it was a walk off homer. Just shows how crazy this game is. I’d still be very happy to have him as a bridge to Kenley.

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      1. Maybe Dennis can get their attention somehow, lol! And that walk-off Halo victory wasn’t really on Kenley, unless he was the one calling his own game in that fateful 9th instead of Grandal (which I truly doubt at this point, heh). He does share responsibility for not backing up Grandal on that wild throw from Puig which led to that run scoring and I’m glad he let manager Dave Roberts know about it personally. And yeah, a Barraclough/Jansen tandem would pretty much solve roughly 90% of the club’s current bullpen issues for the rest of this season at least. All this talk of Machado being an ideal pick-up for the Dodgers has been making me dizzy of late, almost like MLB wants to push that guy onto them in the worst way possible. If it has to be, Dodger front office should remember how the Halos played it when Atlanta was trying to get them to take Mark Teixieira at the trade deadline ten years ago and all they gave up in return was their top 1B prospect Casey Kotchman (whatever happened to HIM? lol) and one of their top RP prospects in Stephen Marek. Otherwise, I’d rather stick to boosting up the bullpen first and then see about prying Realmuto out of his current Miami confines in the meantime…

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