There is no doubt that the Dodgers are a really good team, and there is also no doubt that they still have some issues. The good news is that there is time until the playoffs to deal with them.
One issue that they have had to deal with, as does any team, is injuries. Most of the injuries have been on the pitching staff – some due to fluke circumstances, and some due to signing injury prone players. We as fans withstood the Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy experiments. Both pitchers, when healthy, were pretty decent. But they were injured more than not, leaving a bitter taste in Dodger fans’ mouths.
Rich Hill, however, was one who Dodger fans were very worried about in the beginning, worried that his blister issue would never allow him to pitch well again. That certainly wasn’t the case; since he’s solved the blister problem, he’s been one of the most reliable arms on the staff.
Clayton Kershaw has been dealing with injuries on and off every season since that fateful flight to Australia in 2015. Between those and his advancing age and declining fastball, he’s not the stellar pitcher he once was. But he’s figuring it out, and the Dodgers are 18-1 over his last 19 regular season starts. He is personally 10-1 in that same time frame. Hyun-Jin Ryu was out for almost all of two seasons in 2015-2016, and then out last season after ripping his muscle off his groin, and now is the best pitcher in the majors.
The latest blow dealt to the Dodgers is a hamstring injury to shortstop Corey Seager. Thankfully it’s not as bad as initially feared, although he will not return until after the All-Star break. Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez will take over the duties at short while Seager heals.
Taylor and Hernandez have not been having the best seasons, although Taylor has been heating up lately.
The other issue with the Dodgers is their highly fallible bullpen, especially Joe Kelly, who was brought in to be the bridge to Kenley Jansen. Kelly has had flashes of what he looked like against the Dodgers in the World Series last year, but mostly has not looked anything close to that. This has lead fans to complain every time he’s brought in, ask for him to be traded, or boo his presence on the field.
The one biggest luxury the Dodgers have though, to deal with both injuries to key players, and the subpar performance of others, is time. Los Angeles currently enjoys a 9.5 game lead over both the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. And even though it’s too early, they have about a five game lead for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. So if there is a team that is able to weather injuries and bad performances and let players right themselves, it is the Dodgers.
Time probably isn’t something Dodger fans want to deal with, especially after getting so close to seeing their team get that elusive World Series win the last two years. But baseball requires patience, no matter how good or bad your favorite team is. It’s a long, slower paced game; it’s a longer, slower paced season than any other sport.
It sucks to watch a star player get injured, or watch a bullpen a give up a lead yet again. But the goal is to have the best team come October, not the regular season. The Dodgers have the luxury of time to figure it out to finally bring that World Series championship back to LA.