Things are looking dire in the city of Los Angeles at the moment, at least if you’re a fan of the Dodgers.
It may seem silly to say things are dire when the team is in possession of the second most wins in the MLB, just a game and a half out of first. They still have many of their 2020 World Series championship team on the squad. But things are not looking good at all for the Boys in Blue, especially in the starting pitching department.
What’s more, the offense can’t quite ever be the juggernaut it should be. There are flashes, sure, but nothing consistent. The defense this year has left a lot to be desired. Justin Turner commented on this after the Dodgers’ extra inning loss on Wednesday. “We’re not doing all the little things right, and it seems like we’re paying for every mistake”.
One mistake the Dodgers are definitely now paying for is the signing of Trevor Bauer, and one can wonder if one is bleeding into the other. There were many warning signs with the controversial pitcher, from his narcissism to his online harassment of people who didn’t agree with him, especially women.
Now, they have lost Bauer for an uncertain amount of time because of sexual assault allegations. Currently on a seven day administrative leave, Bauer is also not expected back before the All-Star break. He may also not be back this season, or ever again.
And now, the next shoe to drop — Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 10-day IL with an forearm inflammation. After their extra innings and third-straight loss on Wednesday, Kershaw and Manager Dave Roberts spoke to the media about Kershaw’s injury.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to be,” Roberts said. “I think we’re going to have to be smart about this, knowing we’re going into the All-Star Break.”
When pressed on how it happened, Roberts said that Clayton first felt something playing catch on Monday.
“Something in his elbow. It just didn’t feel right. A lot of it is inflammation and we just thought it was best to get ahead of it and take care of him.”
Kershaw will have an MRI Friday when the team returns to Los Angeles.
Many times, forearm inflammation can lead to bad things, such as surgery. But before Thursday’s matinee with the Marlins, Roberts sounded more optimistic that Kershaw would only need the minimum 10 days or just a little more until he was able to return to the starting rotation.
As it stands right now, the Dodgers have just two pitchers from the Opening Day rotation still healthy — Walker Buehler and Julio Urías. In addition to Kershaw and Bauer being currently out, Dustin May went down at the beginning of May, eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Tony Gonsolin, who joined the rotation after being out with an injury for the first third of the season, still isn’t built up. Roberts has said they will work on building up David Price towards being a starter, but that will take some time.
Even if Price and Gonsolin were built up, that is still only four starters, should Kershaw not be able to return after the All-Star break. The Dodgers will have to do some finagling with their rotation to sandwich their bullpen games between starts when the pitchers are able to go deeper into games.
The All-Star break is coming at a good time for the Dodgers. The team will have to put together another bullpen game on Friday when they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks for the last three game set of the first half.
The front office has some big choices to make as the team moves forward. Will they rely on just those they have in-house, and call up help from Triple-A such as Josiah Gray? A trade seems almost certain at this point. Other teams always ask for the moon when trading with the Dodgers, and now knowing that the Dodgers absolutely need a starter, the asking price for anyone will no doubt be high.
The next few weeks will be very pivotal, in the outcome from Bauer’s off field transgressions to Kershaw’s injury to whomever the Dodgers decide to trade for or call up. The club is lucky it’s in the position it is in — both in the division and with its farm — that it may be able to weather these multiple storm fronts and still make the playoffs or even win the division. But they’ll have to batten down the hatches for a bit until they can see the daylight of a healthy rotation again.