The Los Angeles Dodgers have started the month of August off at 2-1, and if they want to catch the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, they’re going to have to stay at least at that pace for the rest of the month and beyond.
The Giants are 11-8 since the All-Star break, not great, but obviously not terrible. The Dodgers are 9-9, and find themselves 3.5 games out of first. The lack of urgency in the head-to-head matchup for the Boys in Blue against the rivals to the North did the team no favors.
Dennis touched on this lack of consistency yesterday, and we saw it in the Houston series. The crowd was hugely into the game, Walker Buehler while having too many pitches was shutting the Astros down, and getting fired up after every strikeout. And yet, the offense did nothing.
As Dennis also noted, some credit does go to the opposing pitcher. Lance McCullers also took that game personally, tweeting after the game “That was for the H.” He systematically shut down the Dodgers offense. But if the Dodgers want to go deep into the playoffs again, they need to be able to handle pitchers of that caliber, and mostly, get back to their patient, grind-it-out at-bats that have helped them in the past.
The August Edition of the Dodgers does look markedly different than the previous renditions. It now includes former Cy Young and World Series champ Max Scherzer in the starting rotation. His energy and intensity was immediately felt, on and off the mound. While not brought to the team to replace Clayton Kershaw, his fire on the mound rivals his new teammate’s and Buehler’s. With Kershaw out of the rotation for who knows how long, it is a welcome addition to a team that cannot keep the intensity from game to game so far this season.
While Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock have been consistently good most of the season, others have not. Cody Bellinger is still dealing with the long-term effects of his shoulder surgery and finds himself at the bottom of the batting order. Corey Seager also has yet to find his power stroke since returning from his own injury. Justin Turner, once Top 5 in batting average in the National League, is hitting .226 over his last 15 games.
But the good news is that the lineup is all back together and about to get another jolt of energy added to it. Trea Turner has yet to join the team due to Covid-19 protocols, but is expected to be around this weekend. So far this season, Trea is batting .328 with 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases. That’s 11 more stolen bases than the previous team leader Taylor, the highest batting average on the team, and third highest in home runs.
Once the new lineup is constructed and the batters settle into their new, hopefully consistent spots in it, I have no doubt they will become more consistent at scoring, and not just at the top. This lineup will be stacked.
The Giants just saw one of their top pitchers, Anthony DeSclafani, go on the injured list. Aside from games with Arizona and Colorado, San Francisco has a tough month of opponents ahead, facing the New York Mets for six games, the Milwaukee Brewers five times, and the Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves for three games each.
If there was a time for the Dodgers to get hot and hit their stride, it is now.
7 thoughts on “Dodgers Poised to Make NL West Run at Just the Right Time”
Losing DeSclafani may do the same thing to the Giants as what has happened to the Dodgers most of the year. Constant bullpen games lead to an overworked bullpen and most of the time the Runs Allowed is significantly higher.
I too hope the addition of Trea Turner will help the offense. Seager should be finding his timing soon as will Betts both after IL stints. If the Dodgers are going to win the pennant they must return to the grind-it-out type batting style they had last year. This swinging for the fences every pitch no matter the count has to go, I may be in the minority but they need to sit Bellinger down. By now he has physical issues and mental ones.
I also think something needs to happen with Belli, but I just wonder how much it is mental and how much it is physical. Is he in there bc he needs to be? His defense is definitely worth it, and if the rest of the team is hitting they don’t need to have him mashing all the time. It’ll definitely be interesting to see what they do there. Pollock and CT3 have earned their playing time in the outfield
Once TT joins the club, there will be one guy left out every day. Whether that means benching Belli for a long period (ain’t gonna happen), benching Belli against lefties (might happen), or having CT3 rotate among 4-5 positions, resting each guy one day per week, there will be one too many guys for the lineup. Let’s see how Doc solves that situation. Of course, the way the season is going, that problem could also be solved by another injury.
They still have Reks and McKinney on the roster I believe. Once TT gets here one of them goes. I wonder if they bring back Lux this year? I think Belli will sit when there is a left-hander at the least. Pujos has been too clutch. Muncy plays second well enough and Pollock has the best average on the team currently. Taylor has to play. Bellinger is a very easy out against lefties I think he is hitting less than 100 in the last month or so against them.
Reks will go first, I would guess. They seem to like McKinney and I’m not sure he has any options left. At some point, there won’t be any space for him any more and they’ll have to cut him loose. I’m sure he won’t pass through waivers without someone claiming him.
Mckinney is able to work a walk occasionally so his OBP is a bit higher.
Dodgers sign free agent RHP Nick Tropeano to a deal. Tropeano is a former Angel.