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Could a Late-August Team Slump Be a Good Thing?

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Skipper Dave Roberts will be one of the first to tell you that there’s some type of positive lesson in every negative situation—that’s just the type of person he is.

It’s one of the primary reasons he’s been so successful as a manager.

He’ll also be quick to say that the 162-game season is a marathon and even the very best teams go through some spurts of non-productivity.

The Dodgers are no exception.

Although it was a freak throwing error from center field that was the chief ingredient of the loss on Monday evening, many fingers have been pointing back to a quiet offense that has otherwise been a juggernaut since the beginning of the season.

What’s more, fans can be certain the Dodgers are gaining valuable insight from a stretch when they’ve scored just 13 runs over six games. Since the beginning of the weekend series with the Yankees last Friday, Los Angeles has lost three out of four contests.

During those four games, the team struck out a whopping 52 times.

With runners in scoring position, the Dodgers went just 2-for-16 against New York. In the opener against San Diego on Monday night, they went 1-for-10.

Slumps happen to the best of teams. Whether or not this is just a mini-decline or something that will stretch a bit longer remains to be seen—that’s the beauty of baseball and why the game is played. However, the fact that a slide in production is happening now rather than October could be a good thing.

Third baseman Justin Turner, amid a moment of frustration after Monday’s loss, offered up a few of his own thoughts.

“This is baseball,” Turner said to reporters. “I mean, if you guys expect us to score 10, 12 runs every night, you guys are out of your minds. We just got to keep working. Keep trying to put together ABs. Stuff like this happens to every single team throughout the course of a season, no matter how good or bad they are.”

Regardless of the reasoning, the fact that the Dodgers are playing the Padres may be the perfect opportunity for Los Angeles to break out of its current funk.

Walker Buehler, who is slated to start the middle game on Tuesday night, has absolutely owned San Diego over his short career. In three lifetime starts against the Padres, the young righty has a 3-0 record with a 0.82 ERA with 31 strikeouts over an even 22 innings of work. His WHIP over those three appearances calculates to a ridiculous 0.545.

Part of those numbers includes a game back in May of 2018 when Buehler and three relievers combined to no-hit the Padres during a series in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Dodgers will be facing righty Cal Quantrill, who is part of a very young, but exciting San Diego rotation. Despite his recent success, though, the 24-year-old righty took the loss against the Dodgers back on August 3. Turner had the hot hand for Los Angeles that evening, going 2-for-4 with a home run in the fourth inning that broke the game open.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM Los Angeles time.

 

 

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