One can’t be too mad at a loss after seven straight wins, but fans of the Dodgers might think they could have lost a little better.
On Wednesday, the Dodgers lost 6-4 to the Seattle Mariners. Los Angeles took their seven-game winning streak into Seattle, and the Mariners had lost seven in a row; so hey, it was bound to happen. But the loss was due to bad starting pitching from Julio Urias, as well as bad defense and situational hitting.
Even All-Star teams have clunkers from time to time. The Dodgers normally have excellent defense, and had just traveled from LA to Seattle late the night before, so one might overlook a flub here and there. The Dodgers also have been historically not great at situational hitting, although they’ve been better with RISP this season. Again, we could just chalk it up to an off night.
The most worrisome thing was the pitching of Urías. In his previous start, he allowed two solo home runs in the first inning and then pulled it together. Wednesday night, he never found it. He went only 1.2 innings with four hits, five strikeouts and one earned run. Acting manager Bob Geren pulled him quickly in favor of Dennis Santana, who worked around traffic on the bases to end the second inning.
The Dodgers have some unsteadiness in the starting rotation. Walker Buehler has not looked at all like what we know him to be. Alex Wood is on the IL after some shaky outings. Urías is having issues on and off. Clayton Kershaw has one bad outing, but has looked vintage in his other two starts. Dustin May has been decent, and Tony Gonsolin, just as we all foresaw, has been the rock star of the rotation.
While the Dodgers have the bullpen and offense (when they hit) they can beat anyone, but a WS winning team needs all three components working at the same time, especially in a year with an extra round of playoffs. It can’t all be reliant on Kershaw once again. I think the bullpen can handle it this year. But….
When do we start to worry about Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy? Both of these big lefty bats have batting averages in the bottom 10 of the major leagues. In a regular, long season one could shrug it off as just a slow start. Now that we are almost halfway through this season, the longer it takes for either to get going, the more worrisome it becomes.
Monday I wrote about how special a player Mookie Betts is. It turns out he’s even more special than we thought. Betts is apparently the catalyst behind Austin Barnes’ resurgence at the plate. Is there nothing this man can’t do?
Okay, that was a little harsh, but it’s great to see Barnes matching his defensive skills behind the plate with those while he’s standing at the plate. Maybe Betts can talk to Muncy and Bellinger, too.
It’s might be silly to nitpick a team that has the best record in the major leagues at this point in the season, but after eight division titles and no World Series wins, I think Dodgers fans are allowed a little slack to wonder when it will all come together.
The Dodgers take on the Mariners one last time Thursday afternoon, and then head back to Chavez Ravine to start a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies. Probable starters will be Friday, Buehler and Jon Gray. Saturday, May and Kyle Freeland and Sunday, Ross Stripling and Antonio Senzatela.