For most teams in baseball, sitting where the Los Angeles Dodgers are right now would be a thing of beauty and excitement. For most fans of the Dodgers, coming off their first series loss of the year, and to the San Diego Padres no less, it’s anything but fun.
The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, but it doesn’t feel that way. Many players are on the injured list, and other key players are not pulling their weight. The team to the south seems to be having more fun, wanting it more. Losing three of four to them feels like Doomsday, at least according to the Twitter timeline.
This weekend’s series did highlight some issues with the Boys in Blue. Sloppy defense, bullpen usage and execution, and injuries wreaking havoc on the lineup. Not being able to bring home runners in scoring position. All things we’ve talked about ad nauseam before. And a new one, not being able to hold runners on first without stealing.
Obviously, overall, I’m not worried about this team. When healthy, it has the best core group of players and starting rotation. They know what it takes to win and will get it together. Barring a lot of bad luck and more crazy injuries, Luke Raley, Sheldon Neuse, DJ Peters, and probably Edwin Rios won’t be in those positions in the playoffs. But still, Sunday night’s game was incredibly hard to watch. Implosions on national television are never fun.
As stated, the biggest issue facing the Dodgers at the moment is the amount of players on the Injured List, and who those players are.
Cody Bellinger is still on a slow recovery track from his shin injury. The team is waiting for the bone to heal. Belli has started taking batting practice, however. Zach McKinstry was placed on the IL on April 24, retroactively April 22, making it May until he will be able to return to the lineup. Who knew that McKinstry would be one of the players most missed from the lineup in such a short time.
This Padres series also claimed two pieces of the bullpen. Corey Knebel left the game Friday night with what was eventually diagnosed as a right lat strain. He is expected to miss many months to his injury. Then in Sunday night’s game, David Price left the game due to a hamstring injury. No update on Price as of this time.
One bit of good news in the injury department is that Gavin Lux is expected to be reinstated Monday. He had been on the IL with right wrist soreness.
Although it showed some signs of spark from the guys at the top of the lineup, the beleaguered offense and battered bullpen are now set to take on the Cincinnati Reds for a three game series at home. The Reds are 9-12, last place in the NL Central, and losers of their last seven games.
Pitching matchups will be Monday, Julio Urias and Tyler Mahle. The Reds right hander is 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 31 strikeouts through 20.2 innings pitched, along with a 0.87 WHIP. Tuesday will see Walker Buehler and Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman is 2-1 with 2.66 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. And Wednesday’s matinee with see Clayton Kershaw and Sonny Gray. Gray has only pitched eight innings over two games so far this season, tallying a 7.88 ERA.
The Dodgers need to get some things right against a bad team, as after this series they will fly to Milwaukee to take on a four-game set against the Brewers. The starting rotation will have to take on the bulk of the work with the bullpen depleted as it is at the moment. The depth of the entire roster will be tested as the Dodgers do not have an off day until next Monday.