When Will the Dodgers Find Consistency and Will It Be Too Late?

(Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers are finding things very frustrating at the moment. Sure, the team has the second-best record in the majors and are just coming off of a World Championship. But they could and should be doing so much better.

This time of the season is also fraught with worry and suspense over what the front office will do to better the team at the trade deadline. And, this year more so than in recent years, the Dodgers definitely need one, if not two or three significant upgrades in the pitching department if they want to repeat as World Series champions.

As has been discussed many times, in the starting rotation, the Dodgers have two starters who can go deep into games, in Walker Buehler and Julio Urías. They have two long openers, as it were, in David Price and Tony Gonsolin. Clayton Kershaw will be back from his IL stint sometime in August, and Trevor Bauer may not be back this season at all.

I have no doubt the Dodgers front office will figure something out and get another reliable starter at the trade deadline. But that is still more than a week away and the bullpen will have to try to keep games close that much longer.

Manager Dave Roberts has said that as Mookie Betts goes, so goes the team. The team is 18-6 when Betts has multiple hits in a game. Conversely, they have lost seven of their last eight when Mookie has not been in the lineup. Betts has been unable to play since Sunday with soreness is his hip that has been bothering him all year.

In as such, the bullpen has had to hold close leads and is not always able to do so. In Wednesday’s game against the NL West leading San Francisco Giants, Urías had a stellar outing, going seven full innings and allowing only one earned run. Blake Treinen held the eighth, and Kenley Jansen did not have it in the ninth, allowing three runs to score and the Dodgers could not answer in the bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers only mustered two runs the entire game.

In Monday’s game, starter Gonsolin allowed three runs in the top of the first. The offense countered by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first… and then going silent. The four runs given up by Phil Bickford and Victor González almost didn’t matter as the offense could only get four hits the whole game.

Tuesday’s game was the fun one sandwiched in the middle. Down 6-1 in the top of the fifth, the team battled back and won on a walk-off, three-run home run by Will Smith. The win came against the Giants closer Tyler Rogers, who has been very good all season. Chris Taylor called it “probably our biggest win so far.” And yet, Wednesday they were not able to reproduce that sense of urgency to win, even though a victory would have brought them back into first, tied with the Giants.

162 games is a grind, even under the best of conditions. Coming off a 60-game, pandemic-shortened season is nothing any player has ever been through before. And as frustrating as it is for fans watching, it has to be more frustrating as a player, knowing you’re better than what’s showing on the field.

Roberts keeps reiterating that the team has yet to be at full strength this season, and that is true. It’s a testament to their team that they’ve been able to stay within two games out of first with all the of turmoil and injuries they’ve been through. The end goal is to be healthy at the end of the season for the playoff push. Still, the team that wins the NL West should have the best position to come out of the National League to make it to the World Series.

“We have not seen our team at our best yet,” said Roberts. Fans and players alike cannot wait for that day to come.

5 thoughts on “When Will the Dodgers Find Consistency and Will It Be Too Late?

  1. Only the front office and training staff know what’s really going on with Mookie. Since the team always publicly underestimates a physical problem with a player we’ll know a lot more if AF trades for a better than replacement level outfielder by next week. My guess is that Mookie will not give us many more quality innings this year.

    We’ve spent a lot of time this year reviewing bullpen problems like what happened last night and starter problems like the small number of innings that Gonsolin and Price have given us as starters, but I don’t think we’ve spent enough time on how badly the offense has performed. Sure, they’re right up there with the leaders in total runs scored but that’s because time and again the score 10 runs one day and then spend the next three days scoring 2 runs on 4 hits. A perfect example is what has happened so far in the Giants series. We scored 8 runs on 10 hits to win on Tuesday, but on both Monday and Wednesday we scored only 2 runs, once getting 4 hits and the other game 3 hits.

    It’s nobody’s fault that so many of our better offensive players are either literally missing or missing in action, but maybe we need to trade for offense before we think about pitching. We don’t know if Belli will figure out how to hit again this season. It’s looking more and more like Mookie may not be able to contribute much and who knows how long it will take Seager to regain his batting eye once he returns.

    1. This is an all or nothing team that used to have solid starting pitching. The difference this year is two fold – 1. injuries to key players and 2. the giants are actually playing well.

      As bad as things have looked we are playing at a 98 win pace. One would think that would be good enough as having a team with more wins than that in the same Division seems highly unlikely. At least it did.

      If Mookie doesn’t come come back I don’t how this team wins 98. Bellinger isn’t hitting, Lux isn’t hitting, Seager may take a while, Kershaw? and Bauer is … well, who knows how Bauer is.

      This year’s club is challenged. They need to hang in there, support players need to come through and Friedman needs to work his magic,

    2. Need to let go Dave Robert’s and Jensen Robert’s doesn’t know how to coach he keeps pictures on to long and Jensen just doesn’t have it anymore

  2. Bullpen blows another one!! That’s 5 out of the last 6. If this is not addressed , then we will never repeat as champions and maybe we might not even get out of the first round of the playoffs. So let’s see what else is plaguing the Dodgers, terrible defense, bad managing, injuries. Stars (Bellinger)not hitting and inconsistent hitting with men in scoring position. I think that sums it up in a nutshell. What this all means is Dodgers are in deep trouble!!!!!

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